Easter

We had the very best Easter week that I can remember this year. We began what I hope will be a new tradition and honored our Savior each night of Holy Week by holding a family devotional each night. We focused on the events leading up to his passing in picture, song, and thoughts. Occasionally a video or activity. I’ve found that videos on LDS.org work so well when you have a large chunk of scripture to cover in one night.  I really feel like it helped us to feel closer to Him when Easter day rolled around.

Easter was the week after we moved into our new house and I thought this would be a disappointment because I wouldn’t be able to focus while unpacking, but we put a giant print where we hung several paintings of Christ and for awhile this was the only decoration in our home. This tradition was such a blessing and really, really helped me through a rough week!

We had MiMi & PaPa, Lindsay, David and Cade over for dinner. I can’t remember anything about the dinner, but the kids had a fun front yard egg hunt (even using our neighbor’s yard since they weren’t there yet) and we filled the street with confetti from cascarones. The construction guys and Mike Lynch, our builder, commented on the mess we made, but we figured they leave trash in our yard (construction woes) all the time, so they’ll live! :)

Nora wouldn’t sit still for her own portrait. Other than those sweet, sweet faces, these pictures are technically awful! I don’t care though, they make me so happy! My mom and I bought their outfits the week we lived with them.

Saint Patrick’s Day

   

Update

 

 

 

 

I’m kind of in shock that its been a year since I posted on our blog. Let face it, Instagram has a lot more appeal right now…mostly because of the “insta” feature. We’ve been so busy moving TWICE, exploring as a family, a year of school, soccer season, 3 volleyball seasons, tumbling, ukulele, middle school orientation, 7 birthdays, and the day to day life of a family of seven! Its a lot. But mostly, its a lot of good.

We started building a house back in July of 2016. It was a whirlwind 9 months of preparation! We were told by our lender that we needed all funding for our March close 90 days in advance, i.e. January 3! We knew we couldn’t get the best for our sale by listing it over the holidays, so we listed in October. It had multiple offers and sold quickly, which we are so thankful for. Mike has actually struck up a friendship- forged by a love of home automation and the new owners fulfillment of several of Mike’s remodel dreams!

We moved into an apartment in our area the week before Thanksgiving, expecting to be there until early March, but our new house was delayed by about 6 weeks. So we spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break in our 1500 square foot, 3 bedroom apartment. I know that so many big families thrive in that amount of space and often less, but this was a big scale down for our family. Maddie, Cash, and Lily shared a room that was barely big enough to walk around their beds. It was a full fledged party most nights (aka, keeping everyone up yelling at Cash for being too noisy!) Clara had her own room that was also the play room. She transferred to sleeping in a big girl bed while we were there. Nora slept in our master closet…again!

Despite all this, I thought we handled it well. We kept most of our things, so many unneeded things, in our garage and lived a bit more simply. In hindsight, everything felt heavy during that time. It felt like an eternity before our house was ready. it was delayed and delayed again. There was a point when we thought we may not close. Our apartment lease was extended, resulting in paying insane rates for being out of contract (it went from $2800 to $3600 a month).

It got to the point when it could be extended no more, but our close date was set for 4 days after our lease ended. Mike had to travel the day after our lease ended. We loaded everything into 2 uhauls, parked them at the Uhaul facility, and moved to MiMi’s to wait it out! MiMi and PaPa went above and beyond to make space for all of us and the kids loved our time there. My only complaint was the 25 minute drive to school, preschool, sports practices, and Activity Days without Mike’s backup. Luckily I was able to leave the little girls with my mom instead of waking them early to drive to school!

Our new home is wonderful. We adore the space and the view, the privacy and yard. It amazing how time bends depending on your situation. The time that seemed an eternity in the apartment has flown by in our new home. We’ve been there for 3 months and are feeling very much at home. We’re meeting neighbors one by one as they join the neighborhood. We’re really making an effort to set an inclusive and welcoming tone and feel it a privilege to be the 2nd family in the neighborhood so that we can do that.

Anyways! These pictures of the little girls were taken back behind our apartment. It had a fantastic view of cottonwood creek, which now runs behind our house and we look over its greenbelt (can’t actually see the creek). These girls are so sweet together. Nora often follows Clara in her imaginative play and refuses to go to sleep without a kiss and zerbert on her cheek. She is not a blind follower though and as much as Clara wants to be the boss (she’s a opinionated little goose!), Nora isn’t one to be pushed around!

Our darling girl turned 8 this summer! Lily is seriously the sweetest, most genuine girl you’ll meet. She is bouncy and silly beyond measure, comes across as though she has her head in the clouds but will startle you with brilliant observations. She is the first to say thank you. The first to apologize. And just all around brings such light to our lives!

We host friend parties when the kids turn 8 (a couple years ago we decided to celebrate 1, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 18 with parties, all other birthdays are still a blast, but more low key) Lily’s request was for a surprise party, which I loved. I run across so many party ideas I love, so it was fun to brainstorm the best fit for Lily and her friends. We chose a painting party and invited school and church friends, siblings, plus a new neighbor!

The girls had a ton of fun, Lily was completely surprised when she arrived home from a playdate to find a house full of friends, and I didn’t have to cook because all we ate were cupcakes. I consider that an all around win!

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dsc_2687-largeShe enthusiastically pointed to herself on “Happy Birthday to ME!” each time!

Lily’s Baptism

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Our sweet, sweet Lily chose to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in July. Her Nana and Papa flew in from their mission to celebrate with her and we had tons of our Texas family here as well. I let Lily be in charge of the program and she asked her Nana to speak on Baptism, her big sister Madilynn to speak on the Holy Ghost, her Papa sang a beautiful song for her as well. MiMi and Uncle Joe gave prayers and I lead the music. Afterwards we had a little get together with family here at home.

Lily wanted to keep things very simple, and have a small guest list, so I tried really hard to do just that- even though our Texas family alone could fill the Relief Society room! :) Really though, the focus was on her, the talks were simple and rang true , and she felt so much love from her earthly and heavenly families!

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Blackberry Jam

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Austin Summer Vacation

Right after school let out for Summer vacation, we took off for a quick getaway in Austin. We rented the same home we stayed in last December and really enjoyed exploring the city in beautiful, shining sunshine!

So, we’ve been to Austin, and this specific ranch, twice in the past year, and just love it! The trees and nature feel so good to my Seattle lovin’ guy (I’m not complaining either) and the kids go wild chasing giant dogs, feeding horses, riding a hot walker-turned-swing, and just being kids! Its been such a great way for us to disconnect and reconnect with each other.

Some of our favorite things about this vacation were exploring the Hope Gallery, searching for arrowheads, Hopdoddy’s fries with cheese sauce (!!), making up very complicated secret hand shakes while sitting on the porch at sunset, sneaking the big girls out of bed to chase fireflies with me, the hot walker. They could spend half the day on the hot walker.

I’m updating this 4 months after the fact, but I’ve got to make space on my computer by transfering pics the my external hard drive. I’m afraid once they get there I’ll never get them on the blog/blog book. So here I sit, less than a week prior to putting our home on the market, and I’m blogging! However, I just don’t have time to edit the pictures too. It kinda hurts to put them out here in their less than perfected state!

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Visiting the State Capital 

Whew! This was a hot, hot trip! But the kids and I raced to the top of the Texas State Capital (via the stairs!)

It was fun to wander the grounds with the kids because I’ve heard stories of my mom waiting on a bench for my MeMa to get out of meetings with the State House of Representatives back in the 70s.

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Jake and Jacquie’s Family visits the Ranch

We’re so lucky that Mike’s cousin Jacquie and her husband summer in Texas while Jake sells security. They came over for Sunday dinner and play while we were in Austin. Love those two and their cute little boys! Clara thought Grant was the coolest, even though he insisted on driving!

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Do you see the deer? Its wild, but was so curious about us! There were FIVE of us standing on the other side of the fence, and it was obviously nervous, but still approached!

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Jake’s face! :)dsc_2045

Visiting the Hope Outdoor Gallery

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That smile!