Sebastian’s 7th Birthday Party

This year Sebastian has taken up a new love of dominoes. Not playing the game of dominoes so much as stacking them, making knockdowns, and doing incredible chain reactions with them. When I asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted, it surprised none of us when he said, “A DOMINO PARTY!”

I enjoyed making this into a party theme! We decorated with dominoes, made a domino cake, had a domino pinata, and ate Domino’s Pizza!

Sadly the party didn’t go exactly as Sebastian or I imagined it would. We were hoping that some friends would come over and calmly learn his love of dominoes and build knockdowns with him. We even intentionally invited the calm boys from his class, or boys who have mentioned liking building with dominoes. However it turns out that when you get 7 boys in one place, it becomes Lord of the Flies very quickly. Let’s just say that after the party Daniel and I turned to each other and thanked God for our amazingly calm boys that he gave us!

It wasn’t a total hit, but it wasn’t a total bust either. Sebastian had a good time and got some great gifts….and now we have some calm one-on-one domino play dates on the books too. 🙂

Camping at William Heise

In May of this year Daniel and I went camping with some of our closest friends and had a really really wonderful camping trip. Well okay, it was actually more of an “extended picnic at the beach” since to me camping involves trees, but it was a really marvelous extended picnic.

I love that camping slows down time. I love that there are no T.V.’s, and better yet that kids aren’t ASKING for T.V.’s. Our kids aren’t old enough yet to have cell phones so that isn’t a battle either. So we just get out into nature and our kids run, dig, hike, explore, swim, bike, laugh, and play. Yes, like kids used to do. And the adults sit around and talk uninterrupted…and even get time to play some games together.

When I am camping with my family and our friends, life feels REALLY REALLY GOOD. Everything just feels right in the world and full in my heart.

All that being said, after our “extended picnic” camping trip in May, I really wanted to harness that again. Our kids are all in a really prime camping age…just old enough that the parents get to enjoy the trip, and just young enough that the kids still really enjoy the adventure of it all. So days after our trip in May, I booked up some camping sites in September.

This time around there were trees. Just 3 families went this time so it was a bit quieter then the 6 families trip, but it was still perfect. The weather was 80’s during the day and mid 50’s at night. There were trees, a camp fire, a nature/bird presentation, hiking, biking, and again lots of laughter and fun. August did trip and fall onto the fire pit, burning his hand so badly that he got 6 or 7 blisters, so this wasn’t HIS favorite camping trip….but the rest of us had a pretty amazing time. [see his band-aid picture below]

[I can’t wait to keep camping this year. Daniel and I are upping our camping gear and hoping to get some more trips in this spring.]

Dayla’s 11th Birthday Party

Over the years I have done amazingly elaborate themes and decor for Dayla’s birthday parties. Last year when Dayla turned 10, we talked a lot about how that would be my last “over the top” party for her. She was very kind and very understanding (mostly because she sees how much work it takes me!) and happily settled for a “tuned down” party this year.

It was fun brainstorming together ways to still make it a fun party, but with a lot less work. The thing that helped the most was that Dayla agreed to invite only 3 friends AND did a LOT of the decorations and preparing on her own (this mama is SOOO proud…wait until you see!!)

I love the wonderful woman that my girl is growing up to be. She is confident and strong, but also so sweet, thoughtful and empathetic. She is the perfect balance of both toughness and softness; I just know that she is going to be one of the world’s most amazing women.

Happy 11th birthday sweet Dayla! Thank you for all your help planning and executing this beautiful, “Night at the Movies” themed party!! I LOVED everything you made…it all turned out great and we had such a fun night!

Beach Camping-Mother’s Day

A few years ago we went camping with a group of friends on Mother’s Day weekend, at my request, and it was TERRIBLE.  The friendship was warm and wonderful, and memories were made, but it was SO COLD and it rained the entire first night.  It put a damper on my family and our friends wanting to go camping again for quite some time.

Years have now passed and our hopes for a good camping trip have at last re-built.  To hedge our bets and try to make sure it wouldn’t be in the 30 degree territory again, we opted for beach camping this time.

Now I need you to know that I grew up going camping under massive redwood trees with the sound of birds chirping and maybe a babbling stream in the morning. So needless to say that when we drove up to this campsite that was next to a major Hwy, with a gravel patch for our tent, no trees, and a picnic table….not to mention next to the railroad that had trains going by every hour…yeah…I can’t say I had the best attitude. And it started to sprinkle rain right after we all set up our tents. But it wasn’t too cold, so that was a plus.

To calm my bad attitude I made myself feel better by saying that this was more of an “extended picnic with friends” than a camping trip.  And then we headed into a pizza joint the first night to get out of the rain and enjoy some hot food.

Although the first night wasn’t the best, I am so pleased to say that the next 2 days were incredible. We were met with clear skies, an incredible ocean view, a cool but temperate 65 degrees, beach access to swim in the ocean, and many adventures with friends.

It wasn’t exactly what I hoped for when I asked that we re-ignite our camping tradition, but I will say, it ended up being a really marvelous extended picnic.

Easter 2018

Every year I want to make a big deal out of Easter. Two reasons.

1. It is indeed the holiday that my faith rests on. No resurrection means Jesus was just a man, or a prophet at best. The resurrection is the one event that solidifies he deity…and that matters because if Jesus is indeed God, well it leads to so many more things.

2. It was my favorite holiday growing up. The spring flowers, the amazing See’s candy that my mom filled my basket with, the egg hunt, the delicious lamb my parents would splurge on, the bunny cake my Grammie brought over, the sugar eggs my mom would set up for us to gaze into…it was all magical and warm and perfect.

Easter is interesting because in my quest to make it “perfect” or “a big deal” it has morphed over the years. I just want to share my love of it…and each year it always goes down very differently from how I imagine it is going to go down…but each year it is perfect in it’s own way. This year we are part of a new church, our first day opening was Easter Sunday, so Easter celebrations at home were quiet.

 
So this year was simple: an egg hunt with the neighbors, candy, and the one fact that Jesus did indeed rise. If you doubt the last part, don’t be afraid to look into the historical. Many witnessed it. Historians verify the validity of those witnesses. So we don’t have to take a “leap of faith” as much as we can use our brains and our logic and come to a conclusion that indeed Jesus was truly God as he claimed to be. So we celebrate that, as well as celebrating that the rest of the things that Jesus said were probably true too. Celebrate because he made some pretty cool claims, that in my opinion are totally worth a read. 😉

Happy Easter. 🙂

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Monkey Bar Champ

August is now a master of the monkey bars. The real story is how he became a master that sunny day 3 weeks ago.

Determination is the word that came to my mind that day.  Pure, raw, real, determination.

It was a beautiful March day, sunny and cool, and we found ourselves at a park called Hilltop Park.  August has been trying to master monkey bars for quite some time, but this park had something the other parks didn’t have: monkey bars that he could reach from the platform without mom’s help!  He said, “Mom watch.  I am going to make it across.”  He grabbed the first bar, swung to the second with ease, but found himself dropping as he tried to reach the third.  “Keep watching mom, I am going to make it this time.”  Again he got the first and the second bars, dropped on the third.  “Keep watching mom,” he pleaded.  5 minutes. 10 minutes.  Same thing; first bar, second bar, dropped at third. Then suddenly he got to the 4th bar out of 6.  Now he plea had turned into a self-motivating mantra.  “Again,” he said.  And with each drop, “AGAIN.”  4 bars to the 5th bar.  15 minutes, 17 minutes, 20 minutes.  5th bar!  Then within one more minute…6 bars…and the landing on the other side!  He looked at me BEAMING.  I screamed in delight!  Determination.  Not one cry, whine, or moment of self-doubt squeaked out.  Just the word, “AGAIN.” and the look of determination.  With this boys lack of fear and powerful determination…I can’t wait to see the plans that God has for him!

Now he is our monkey bar master!  Across any set of monkey bars you put in front of him..  Gymnastic bars too?  Yes! Flips upside down…and lets go of his hands to hang.  He can even pull himself on adult size gymnastic rings into a  full flip!

Not even 4 years old yet…Go August go!

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Spring Garden 2018

Our garden has seemingly gotten weaker and sadder each year since the year we put in the beds. It is so disheartening to plant, water, hope, and wait, only to end up with sad veggies.

Yes, we made a point to amend the soil like last year. BUT the other thing Daniel did this year is what turned out to be even more important: sifting through the soil to take out all the roots from previous years. AND you will never believe the surprise we found! When Daniel was sifting through he found out that one of our neighbor’s trees had roots in our veggie bed! Roots that were sucking out all the good nutrients from the soil! Clip and out they go. Then we amended. Then we planted.

Check out our bounty so far…so much better! YAY!

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My Quilt

I can’t remember the exact year mom gave my quilt to me…I think it was right after I graduated college or so. I pulled the quilt of the attic last week to take a picture for my mom that she requested, and I am SO GLAD I did. The kids oooo’ed and ahhhhh’ed. I got to tell the story of each piece. You see, my mom took all those clothes that every kid has, the ones that they don’t ever want to give away, and saved them over the years. Then she made a unique quilt for each of us. Each quilt for each kid’s personality. My quilt pieces were made into a painting of sorts, because I always loved painting.

I don’t think I can let it live in the attic anymore. What an amazing gift!

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