Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apple Picking...Take 2!

 Beautiful Day. Jonagolds all to ourselves. Big, juicy apples ripe for the picking. Maple Doughnuts. A drive filled with color-changing trees. After baths, a dinner of apples, popcorn and apple bars. Pretty much perfect.

Apple Picking 2013. For real this time:)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Girl's Day and more!

 I had every intention of catching up on my blog last night but a sinus headache did me in and I was sound asleep by 6pm!! I have more pictures from the weekend to share:)

On Monday, my sister and I had a girl's day out with our little girls! We went to Ikea, where we spent over 2 hours browsing and shopping!

Two little buddies:)

We just fell in love with our sweet niece all over again this weekend. She is such a little darling! We had to end our Ikea adventures when the two littles started showing signs of hunger and sleepiness so we headed over to Fuddruckers for lunch. Neither of us had been there in years and let me tell you, it was even better than we'd remembered!! Mmmm....

That night our girlies took a bath together:)


Little E!
On Tuesday morning, my Sis and her E had to head home. We miss having them here! The first thing Eliana said when she woke up yesterday morning was, "Is Evy here?" We wish we lived closer so we could have more cousin time!
We are looking into buying a big girl bed for Eliana! We found a cheap one on Craigslist and I am hoping it will still be available for us to buy this weekend! We will paint it and fix it up for her. She is really excited about having a "big girl bed" and I am excited and sad that we will soon be packing away our crib forever!
This morning Eliana woke up and said, "I need Zakkai to help me go potty." I said, "Zakkai? You don't want me to help you?" She said, "I need my brothers to help me!" So I went in the boys' room and said that Eliana wanted her brothers to help her and they both leaped out of bed and ran to help her. Basically they just helped hold her on the potty and let me do the rest:) They helped her each week at MOPS bible study this summer and took good care of her. It was really sweet to see them run to help her and to watch her trust for them.
The boys are doing so well in school, both working so hard and getting challenging work. Their teachers are so happy with them and it makes us proud to see their hard work! They play together at lunch recess a lot (soccer is the big game this year) and apparently, a lot of kids and even some teachers get them mixed up and call them by the wrong names! Samuel said, "I don't get it! We have different clothes, different hair and I am taller!" I said, "True, but you are brothers and you look a lot alike and when people don't see you together, it's easy to get confused!" I think it's kind of funny. I love having them in the same school!
Yesterday, the boys' school sent out an email informing us that a young mother died of cancer. She had 2 children in their school, the exact same ages of my boys (neither in their classes though), and a 3 year old daughter at home. It really hit home with me. I didn't even know this lady but I found myself crying over her, for her children and her husband, who are left to grieve and figure out how to do life with out one of the most important people in their world.
She is the second young mother to die in our school in the last week and a half. It really shakes you up and makes you think about what is truly important in your life. The outpouring that we have seen from the community has truly been amazing. The slots for the meal train were filled up within hours from friends and strangers. One of the young boys is celebrating a birthday tomorrow and women are surrounding this family and putting together a party for him and trying to find ways to reach out to the families. Please say a prayer for these fathers and children!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cousin Time!

 One difficult thing about living away from our families, and there are many, is that our kids have no cousins to play with. I know I have blogged about this before but it often makes my heart sad. I grew up surrounded by built-in playmates in my cousins and family get-togethers were a very important part of our childhood!

Last summer, at our family reunion in CO, it brought me such bittersweet joy to watch our boys having the time of their life with their cousins. They made such special memories. One thing that our years away from home have taught us, is to treasure any and all time we do have with family.

This weekend my kiddos' newest little cousin, E, is visiting! She is 16 months old and busy, busy, busy! We are just loving every second with her!

It took her about 5 minutes of warming up before she was toddling all over the place. She has been especially enamored with Eliana, which is gives us great glimpses into the wonderful friendship they could have as they get older. They are both so petite:)

This morning:)

Just melts my heart to see them together! Two little E's:)

Little E does not like to have bows in her hair but I snuck in an adorable Pebbles hairdo this morning! It lasted a little while before she figured out how to rip the rubber band out:)

Eliana is enjoying having her around, as long as she doesn't touch Baby Anna and any of Baby's accessories! We are working on the sharing thing;)

Cutie pie!

Tomorrow my sister and the little girls and I have a fun day planned while all my boys are busy at work and school! They should be so jealous:)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Our Week

I know I am becoming a regular blog-neglector of late. I just seem to be at a loss for words these days. There is just so much going on and much of it just doesn't have adequate words. I hope that my desire to blog daily will come back soon because I miss the ease of writing and sharing. Of documenting the big and small stories of our life.
Our kiddos are growing so quickly. Lately, just looking at pictures of them, we are blown away at how tall they are getting; how quickly they are changing.

Take this girl for instance. She will be THREE a month from today! Wow. I just cannot believe it. She is such a great conversationalist. She tells us everything these days. All the things she sees and wants to make sure that we saw, too. She has some good vocabulary, too! She likes to tell us, "I can easily do that." ha:) She often has a word of the day that she will use over and over. This week one of her words was "a 'dorable." The way she said it and broke it up into two words was so cute! She just keeps saying, "Aw! That is SO a 'dorable!"

We got her some new shoes this week, since her feet started growing. This was probably only her second brand new pair ever! I usually get her shoes from friends or at thrift stores.

These are pretty special, though! Dora shoes that light up! Can they get any better than that?? She's pretty proud of the lights;)

The boys love this line/box game that they find in certain coloring books. I have no idea what it is called but they love it! They spent a long time playing the other day, so nicely, that I could hardly break them away for dinner:)

During "naptime" today (a.k.a. nap rebellion), Eliana managed to sneak her arms through the crib slats and break into a storage bin next to her crib. She decided to dress herself in some pants. I was so surprised when I brought her downstairs to see pants on her and after questioning her, figured out what happened. She was pretty proud of herself! Nevermind that they are inside out and backwards.....;)

 Look how tall Z is getting!! He just loves first grade. He is getting so good at reading and is making lots of friends. He joined running club like Samuel, which started this week. He ran a full mile and will earn his first charm!

And Samuel got the Friendship Award at school today! In his class, they have this really neat thing where the kids write on post-it notes throughout the week, nice things about their classmates. It can be something they helped them with, a kind act, anything. And whoever gets the most post-its at the end of the week wins the award and a special lunch with the teacher!

We were awfully proud of our guy! He has really shown such growth lately in his compassion and ability to see right and wrong and to want to correct it. It's pretty amazing to watch your child flourish like that and I pray it continues!

I am not sure if I picked up the kids' recent colds or one of my own but it caught up with me today and I am praying and hoping I don't stay down for long! We have company coming this weekend and it will never do for me to be down and out!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Popeye Kids!

Last week was such a long week for me and some of my days just seemed to drag by. This week is full almost every single day with activities! Eliana and I have been invited out twice this week to visit friends, which will be fun. I do enjoy playing pretend, reading books, watching Sesame Street and strapping and unstrapping Baby Anna into her latest contraption 108 times a day (Okay, maybe not the last one) but adult conversation is awfully nice!

I decided that Mondays would be a good cleaning day for me since it is always a day that E and I are trapped car-less at home. Today along with scrubbing the bathroom and other little tidyings, we pulled out some fall/winter wardrobes. Wow, can it be already? Last week, we were melting in 99 degree weather and this week, we are wearing jackets or sweatshirts to go to school!

Eliana gets such good use out of her wardrobe since she's a little mite. She has definitely grown taller throughout the summer but is still quite comfortable in her 2T clothes. She has a bunch of 3T clothes ready and waiting but winter may be half over before we break those out!

The boys, on the other hand, grow like weeds! Zakkai always has insta-wardrobe from Samuel, which he loves and Samuel hates. Samuel has a very hard time letting go of things and really hates to say goodbye to clothes, especially ones he really liked. That's why I do this sort of thing when they are NOT around! Samuel will need several things to fill in the gaps in his wardrobe, especially after I convince him that it is not a fashion statement to have his wrists and ankles showing all the time:)

I actually got my kids to eat some sautéed spinach tonight! Zakkai loved it and asked for seconds, Eliana sneered at it for a few minutes but ate 3/4 of it and Samuel ate it but pronounced it just "okay." Not bad! I will keep trying!

Maybe, just maybe that healthy, very green spinach will balance out the apple pie we may or may not have eaten for breakfast......:)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Weekend!

 It has been a lovely fall weekend for us, starting Friday night! Ben alternates heavy/normal work weeks and this past week was his heavier one, made even longer by the amount of traveling he does either by car or bus/train. He rearranged his schedule so he could get home right when it was time to pick up the boys after school Friday! It was gorgeous outside so we thoroughly enjoyed our walk and letting the boys play on the school playground for a bit.

Yesterday we made a mini apple-picking trip! We are planning to go again when "our" apples are ready but yesterday we just enjoyed picking one bag of Honeycrisp, which we have never picked before. And of course, there was the lure of amazing donuts and a wagon ride!

Eliana was a fuss-bucket yesterday because she just can't kick this cold but she did enjoy munching on some apples!

The boys were thrilled with it all, of course! They can fit a lot of apples in their bellies:)

I love this picture! Right when I asked them to smile, Eliana took a big bite out of her apple:) She would halfway finish one, tell me she was done and then ask for a new one. She works it!

We got yelled at for doing this! The guy came over and apologized for yelling and was very nice but he was just afraid Samuel would fall. I guess he's seen it happen before!

Today was rainy and chilly all day so after church, we all got in comfy clothes and just relaxed! We made chili (yum!!) and I just took a fresh apple pie out of the oven.'s calling my name right now. Or maybe that's just Ben calling me, hoping for a piece....:)

Hope your weekend has been good!

Friday, September 13, 2013


 This was my very favorite kind of day! Upper 60s, sunny, slight breeze, windows open for fresh air, wearing jeans and no worrying about cooking with the oven! It felt so nice to walk to and from school today, even if it was a bit chilly this morning.

Both boys aced their spelling tests at school today! We practice all throughout the week, mostly at breakfast time. Samuel's class has brackets for their spelling each week. If they get so many right on their pre-test at the beginning of the week, they are tested on either 8, 15 or 20 words (15 regular/5 challenge words.) And the kids are allowed to decide if they want to make a goal and go for all 15 or 20. Our hard-worker keeps choosing to go after all 20, of course! I am proud of him for setting goals and pushing himself.

Eliana, Baby C and I had a quiet morning and took a walk to enjoy the cool sunshine. I actually succeded in accidentally napping them both at the same time! I laid the baby down and read some books with Eliana in our bed and came up with the brilliant idea to bring in her elephants and blanket. I told her I would rest with her for a few minutes and before I knew it.....

This happened:) Isn't she sweet?! The blanket was Ben's when he was little; she has loved it since his mom gave it to us! Poor thing was snoring though, since she's so congested. Oh, and she peed on our bed......but before that it was cute anyways! And the bright side is we have freshly washed sheets tonight!

So sweet and innocent!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Beautiful Mess.

 I joined MOPS again this year and the theme is "A Beautiful Mess," the point being a lot of us (or all if we're honest!) are messes inside but we are worth loving and that hopefully this year we will dive into the lives of the women around us and love them with grace, despite how "messy" they are. And vice versa. It sure fit how I felt this morning! I debated whether or not to go to the first meeting all the way up til the last minute...and beyond! Eliana has just been getting over being sick and although she was better today than the past couple of days, she was crying and saying she didn't want to go to MOPS. The baby I watch was getting sleepy and soon ready to eat but I packed them both up and, despite being almost 15 minutes late, marched myself (and the crew!) into the church. I immediately just felt a peace about being there when I saw that not only was I not the only one who was late, but I was greeted with smiles and genuine kindness by several friends there.

I am so very thankful I took the step out of isolation and joined the group last spring. It has been such a blessing to get to know some really wonderful women and journey through the "mess" of motherhood, wifehood and well, just plain humanhood! I really have learned a lot in the past 6 months.  I met several new people today and hope to make a lot of new friends and community this year. So thankful.

Zakkai got his school t-shirt today at school and he was SO excited to show me. He claimed that his other shirt he was wearing today was "sweaty" and he just had to take it off....and try on his new shirt. He's a devious fellow sometimes! I wouldn't be surprised if I have to pry it out of his hand to wash it....:)

These are the looks I've been getting from this little lady lately. I'm sure you can catch the gist, even through the blurriness! She doesn't like having a cough but sure hasn't minded wheedling some extra cuddles and hugs!

Ben and I made a new plan to take the boys on special outings (B won't let me call them "dates") once a month with each of us to spend some special time with them. This month was Ben's turn with Zakkai and will be mine with Samuel. Ben surprised Zakkai by taking him from school for lunch today! He called the school and Z's teacher told Zakkai to bring his lunch and there was a surprise for him in the office. He was SO surprised when he saw his daddy standing there!

Ben walked with him to the park and they spent the whole time just eating and talking and even saw a fox at the park! It not only made Z's day to be loved by his daddy, it made Ben's day, too. Now Samuel is wondering what I have up my sleeve!

If you have any fun little ideas for a simple, cheap little "outing" we could have/do with the boys, please pass it on!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pawna and Koalas..

 Apparently summer isn't quite finished with us yet, despite the stirrings of fall dreams of apple picking, wearing jeans and cooking soups again. We're back to mid-90 degree weather and I know that probably doesn't make my Texas family blink an eye but for us's HOT!

It was pretty miserable walking home from school today so we did not linger at the school. Zakkai decided to take over pushing Eliana for me since I was watching the baby today, which I don't usually do on Mondays. I was wearing him in the Moby wrap and we were making each other sweat!!

Z said, "Mommy, can you please take a picture of Eliana and me??!" No-brainer! I don't get enough pictures of my boys because they aren't home nearly as much and are too busy for pictures!

Here's my 3rd grader! See all the key chains hanging off his book bag? That was "THE" thing to do last year! All the kids were collecting key chains like mad. One little friend of ours even had a huge cluster of over 15! This year the fad seems to be rubber band bracelets. Apparently there are kits that you can buy to make them and the boys are begging me for one. I said maybe for Christmas. We'll see if the fad lasts that long!!

And don't forget Miss Thang! She found some 3D glasses and decided to try them on:) Too cool for words!

She still has that lingering cold and has a cough now. She's not really sick, just a little extra clingy and easier to upset than normal. I've been calling her my little koala bear because she clings to me like one. I showed her pictures today and she thought they were pretty cute!

This weekend Zakkai wrote his first story! He was very busy with many colored markers and took forever to come up with his idea but once he did, he wrote like mad! He kept asking us how to spell words. "How do you spell Once?"

B and I were sitting on the couch when he looked up and said, "How do you spell 'pawna'?" We both looked at each other in confusion and said, "Pawna??" Zakkai said, "Yeah! Like 'Onca Pona? "(Once Upon A). We thought that was just adorable! He wrote a story about some Angry Birds and Pigs and says he's going to sell it for either 5 cents or $2. He hasn't decided yet:)

And Samuel has decided that Nike shoes are pretty awesome because "ALL" of his friends have them and he needs them too. Right..... I will be happy to nip this one in the bud and teach him how to be thankful for what he has!

It's a good thing to practice whether you are 8 or 80! Good night!