Archive for the 'Family' Category

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!

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!

Nick and Drew Graduate from UNT

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My twin brothers (plus Nick’s adorable and amazing girlfriend, Allison) graduated from UNT this spring! We had a fantastic time attending their graduations with a tailgate outside the Colosseum in between! We’re so proud of you guys and thrilled we live so close that we could celebrate with you!

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Trampoline fun

My sister, brother, our friend Allison, and I took turns with the camera at Maddie’s birthday get together last night. These photos are a mix of all of our perspectives, which I totally love! DSC_1102

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Texas Tulips

One of my very favorite people and I found ourselves flying solo while our husbands were on a Scout campout this March, so we decided to seize a moment and take our kids on an outing. Just Janelle, Me, and 9 kids 9 and under! They definitely ran amuck through the rows of tulips! Our boys are both only sons and they are such cute little buddies when we get together! Despite warnings to stick close and not cross the rows, they chased from one side of the fields to the next and with 4 toddlers and infants between us, there was little us moms could do about it (and they were partly too wonderfully free to really want to contain).

Other highlights are Elle swimming in the dust, the two Lilys giant dragging baskets with a single tulip around, and the kids determination to pick and pay for their very own, over priced, tulip! Most of all, I love that Janelle  teaches me (and I need regular, gentle reminders) to embrace the chaos!

The fields had the most adorably awkward teenage girl dressed up as an Easter bunny. She was all legs and it was the most bizarre thing! Keep scrolling, they’re worth a good laugh!

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Easter 2016

Easter came so early this year! Just a couple weeks after spring break in Saint George, in fact! I wish that I could say that it was an especially reverent and moving one, but really I was just happy to hit all of the important points! I’m sure we missed many opportunities to teach along the way, but I felt constantly a couple steps behind schedule. I just was not working from my happy, comfortable place of what Steven Covey describes as important/non-urgent to-do items!

This first picture taken on Sunday morning is my favorite. Its each of my kids so perfectly these days: Cash with his endless questioning. Clara always needs to hold something cute. Nora bawls if she sees me but can’t have me. Madilynn is the little mother. Lily is a pleaser and poses to perfection whenever the camera is out.

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My mom mad a delicious Easter dinner and brought it to our house to share with Lindsay, David, and Cade. The kids enjoyed an egg hunt together as well.

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Spring Break 2016: Day 8

We intended to start this day off driving, but the kids convinced us to spend a little bit more time with our friends before hitting the road. The Young Women in their ward were hosting a Family Olympics to fund raise for camp and we decided to join our forces with the Bramwell family and get some energy out before we left for Albuquerque.

Photos from Mike’s cell phone. WP_20160312_09_47_42_Pro_LI

(Jeremy, Cash and the girls doing the sponge race)

WP_20160312_09_58_40_Pro_LIAll the kids with Jeremy and Mike pulling up the end of the tug of war)