Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Black Forest Fires

Many of you already know about the forest fire that so quickly started a few miles north of us just a week ago. A tragedy in so many regards as it comes just one year after the Waldo Canyon fire that blazed over the mountains toward the city summer of 2012, with a housing loss in the 500's as of today. Personally, though not immediately affected, it was sad to watch an area with so many personal memories,  burn so quickly. Even more difficult to watch family and friends be displaced and so uncertain of their future.

In the midst of it all, I do love the opportunity that it provided for us with the children. The girls went through the obvious thought processes of fear, wonder, uncertainty, and confusion. But we chose to speak with them openly and honestly about it, not painting fear, but rather matter-of-fact conversations that would mentally prepare them and put them at ease.

One such conversation stemmed from a hasty comment of fear that the fire would come and burn us up in our home. "What would we do if we lost all our stuff?" "Are we able to run faster than the fire?" and the list of questions went on. What a great opportunity to talk to the girls about being prepared, watching the news and knowing the timing of things so that we gave ourselves plenty of time. We also talked about stuff and how it's just that - STUFF. Stuff can be replaced, but what is most important? As the girl's rattled off answers to that question, we were able to boil it down to people and memories. As long as family and loved ones are safe, along with those special memories, everything is fine. I certainly do love the moments when we get to remind our children of what is truly important - not just the stuff.

We also were able to have the conversation about how the fire started. Mia, being the benefit of the doubt giver that she is, said that she thought maybe someone was roasting marshmallows and then the fire got too big. Or, she said, maybe someones electricity got too hot. Both plausible scenarios in my mind. Lilia thought maybe it started in an armpit - very seriously.(You should see her serious face) So, we flushed that out a little bit and she finally came to the conclusion that maybe an armpit start wasn't as possible as originally thought.

Finally, on Saturday, we got some rain. The first thing I heard as the girls came charging down the stairs is "MOMMY!! we prayed for rain and God listened!! He really listened!" What a beautiful reminder to the girls to always bring things to the Lord in prayer because he DOES listen.

Their sweet hearts continue to pray for the fire, those who have "broken homes" now, and thank Him for the firefighters who "save people." Such sweet moments and lessons that came out of such a tragedy.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Kids say the darndest...

Living in the house with two outgoing girls, ages 5 and 3, one is never short on conversation and hilarious moments. More often than not, both of those are combined into one. Here is a sampling of our week.

(1) *relaying the dinner they had at Famous Dave's with Grand mama and Papa

Me: that was so fun that you went to Famous Dave's

Mia: yup! Its all about the pig!

Me:'re silly

Mia: oh and the strangest thing. Famous Dave's only serves chocolate milk.

Me: oh really...

Mia: yup. Grandmama said they don't have white milk or water so we had to have chocolate milk. It was just interesting.

me: lol

(2) *during a nice dinner*

Lilia: mom, why are your bawndles (aka breasts) so big?

Me: well, that's how Jesus made me.

Mia: well ours are so small. When will they get big?

Me: maybe when you get 12 or 13 they will start growing

Lilia: *wrinkling her nose and scrunching her face* maybe when I turn 30 they'll be really big!

Me: lol...yes, dear...maybe

(3) *who knows when*

Mia: how old are you?

Me: I am 29 years old...super old!


me: lol

(4) *on our way to Ashley's*

Lilia: mom!? *hands on her hips*

Me: yes, sweetie

Lilia: I will not break things today. I promise. Ashley will just love me.

Me: oh thank you sweets! Lol

Saturday, June 1, 2013

SIX years ago today...

To my husband,

Six years ago today I forced myself to stay in bed until 6:00 AM, anxiously staring at the dark ceiling, excited for the day to come. Car wash, coffee with Nikki, nail salon, hair and makeup, and dress up in my princess gown all led to your face at the end of the aisle; best friends vowing to do life together.

The journey has certainly been an adventure, but I wouldn't trade a moment of it. Together we have challenged each other's way of thinking, priorities, and relationship with the Lord and others. We have trusted in ways we never thought possible; we have achieved and lost; we have grown and matured; we have held each other during heartache and celebrated in moments of joy; we have created a life, a family and a world full of blessings.  It's been a blast!

I am so thankful for what the Lord has done in our lives together and separately. Even more thankful that He thought me worthy of you and your love and devotion. Thank you, hubby, for loving me, cherishing me, encouraging and pushing me, and ultimately rallying behind me, our relationship and our family to be the best it can be. You are certainly my favorite!!

I love you....(more. ha!) Now on to conquering the "seven year itch!" :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When I turn 4...

Look at this sweet angel...

heehee...and this precious picture...

She is full of personality; funny, spunky, energetic, sweet spirited and a heart of gold. She is also extremely ornery and some would label her as "a handful." She is beautifully strong willed in a way that the Lord will use for GREAT things one day; until then, we help her learn to harness it. :)

Anyway, Lilia's favorite thing to say is "well, when I'm four..." (fill in the blank.)  Example: she was dying to sit in the back of the van with Mia. Our deal was that she could sit in the back when she could entirely buckle herself. Instead of this pushing her to try, she cocked her head, shrugged her shoulders and sighed "well, when I'm four I can buckle myself." Please keep in mind that she doesn't turn four until December.

Her lack of determination in anything we want her to do just cracks me up - in a separate room, by myself, where she doesn't know it is funny of course. Lilia is constantly drawing on walls or floors, breaking things on purpose (I'm not speaking about the many different accidents that happen), or downright disobeying just to test the boundaries. If you tell her to "clean up your toys or I will get rid of them" she will throw them in the trash for you. If you tell her to eat her dinner or she gets it for breakfast, she will put it in the fridge for a leftover breakfast the next morning. It's a constant challenge staying on top of her quirky responses as we try to teach her value, appreciation and obedience. 

This morning, Lilia came up to me while working and says "Mom, when I'm four I will not break things. I'll just pour my cereal and eat my breakfast." Processing her very serious comment to me, I asked "Well, why don't we start practicing now?" Her response was simply, "Well, I'm just three."

Yes, sweet girl, you are too funny for your own good. But you always know where you stand with Lilia and she will love you to pieces....and some day she will truly value each of those special pieces. One day. When she's four.

Memorial Day Weekend

I love three day weekends! I love the extra time together and the possibility to say "hmmm...what should we do" that an extra long weekend promises. This weekend was just that for our family.

Saturday started bright and early as I motivated myself out of bed for an early grocery run. Payment for such motivation was a nice quiet morning with the children, doing chores, watering flowers, and a yogurt parfait breakfast. The girls and I wrapped up the morning at a little friend's Fairy Garden Birthday Party. The party was so sweet as the girls each dressed up like little fairies, painted their own flower pots, swung at a flower pinata and indulged in pink sprinkled cupcakes before lunch. Such a fun morning! The rest of the afternoon was reserved for family - naps, yard work and going out to dinner.

Sunday we packed up the van and headed to Grandma and Grandpa Samuel's house where the family was grilling out. The occasion? My Aunt and Uncle were visiting from Idaho. We grilled burgers and ate Popsicles. The children splashed in the pool until they turned into Popsicles themselves. We laughed, teased and conversed the afternoon away. The highlight for the girls was an impromptu tea party on the deck, organized by Great Aunt Donna as a surprise for Great Grandma! What fun memories we are making with these loved ones. Tucking the girls in to bed that night, it was fun to explain to the girls that this Monday was a special day; we get to spend extra time together as a family and be thankful for all those people who fight for our flag!

Monday we spent outside...yay for summer!! After watering the flowers and the grass, we headed out back where the girls played with their slide, bubbles, and water table. I brought Kasen's jumpy outside so he could have some fun too. I propped up my feet and enjoyed a good book - and a slight sunburn. We ate lunch on the deck and then after naps we took a family "hike" (really a slightly strenuous walk) with the kids - one of our favorite things to do! Fried chicken for dinner, quiet times and snuggles before bed rounded out the weekend.

So in love!

oh, and just for fun...this pretty much sums up the in between times! LOL

Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent Activities - first week (1-8)

This year has been so fun preparing for Christmas with the girls. With  my schedule how it is, I finally feel like I have the time to enjoy the season with them and truly make each moment magical.

Each morning, the girls take turns on the various advent preparations we do. One of them gets to move the star forward a day on our countdown calendar. The second gets to open that day's advent activity envelope which is always propped up for them next to our small, antique Christmas tree in the morning.

The first day, we enjoyed making Christmas picture frames at Home Depot. The first Saturday of every month, Home Depot does their kids workshop from 9 AM - 12 PM. I thought this would be a fun advent activity for them, as they love being creative and doing their "art projects." The time was complete with swinging hammers, screwdrivers and lots of paint. Home Depot even gives them their very own orange apron and a pin for every workshop they complete. We will definitely be doing this more throughout the year!


On the second, after Kasen went to bed, we took full advantage to the hot chocolate bar permanently set up in our house right now and watched some Christmas movies. One of the movies we watched was Veggie Tale's Christmas Story. It was such wonderful timing for questions that have already been escaping the girls' mouths; since we have never made a huge deal out of Santa around Christmas, the questions about who he is and how he does what he does have been coming up. Without trying to kill the magic about that side of Christmas, we have tried to give them the answers they were looking for. The Veggie Tales Christmas story talks all about St. Nicholas and his desire to help people in need. It also talks about why we give gifts on Christmas because God gave us the greatest gifts - Jesus - because He loves us so much!  It was fun for them to understand that Christmas gifts are given because we love people - not because we have to.  It was also great for us to encourage that the idea of Santa comes from a real man who loved to help others because of God's love, so we should long to help others in need too.

The third day was a sad day....we were supposed to make ornaments. However, we have a rule that if we aren't obeying that day, we don't get to do our fun activity. And it was that kind of a day (probably because I let them stay up late and have lots of hot chocolate...dumb mom....). So, we didn't get to do this activity. I'm saving it for next year. The good news is, though, that we have had fairly obedient children since then! :) However, they did have a fun night as Grandma came over to play with them so mommy and daddy could escape for a few hours!!

Following our discussion about St. Nicholas and why we give gifts on Christmas, I thought it was important that the girls go through all of their toys and donate those which they don't use or feel like they could give to others who don't have a lot of toys. Their playroom is seriously exploding and knowing that Christmas and birthday's are right around the corner makes it all the more urgent to purge where necessary.  So, why not make it an advent activity so that they can bless others and be grateful for what they have? This was our fourth activity.

The fifth day I had to go into the office for work. So I had a simple activity of coloring Christmas sheets. I printed about 30 free ones off of the Internet and let them go to town. Now we have Christmas Coloring Sheets as decoration on our art project door. Totally festive and fun for the girls to participate in the decorating with their creativity.

On the sixth day I had the kids make a Christmas gift for daddy. I wish I could post it here but, alas, he will read it and know. So you will have to take my word for it that it was really fun and the girls are reminded every day to keep the secret (it's torture for sure!)

Friday night, the seventh day, lent a little more time to do something more in depth, as the next morning wasn't as early. So that night I had planned a trip to the mall for dinner, ice-cream and visiting Santa. The kids' cousin Ella and friend Gavin joined us as we had Chick-fil-a (or Chicken Way) for dinner, Baskin Robbins for dessert and then stood in line for the magical experience of visiting Santa. Kasen did not meet Santa this year as he is pretty nervous around...well, anyone except mommy when it is night time. The girls loved it, though, and I loved how even through they know the truth, it is still a fun, magical time for them!! (I wish I would have a picture, but they wouldn't allow us to snap our own this!)

Saturday...the day I had been looking forward to forever!! We had found out that one of our downtown parks put up a free skating rink for the first week of December, with skate rentals. So, this definitely had to be added to the advent calendar for my girls who "ice skate" with their socks on the wood floor whenever possible. Opening that envelope was priceless as they squealed for joy. Mia even tried to explain to me that she was so good at ice-skating because of her sock moves on the hardwood...explaining any differently to her would have been a waste of my time that would never return, so we let her live in her delusions for a few more hours.  The rink was wonderful...and difficult. Because of the fall like weather we were still having, it wasn't real ice but rather the fake plastic that can be skated on. I found it more challenging than I thought it would be. But we figured it out and the girls slowly got the hang of it. Most importantly, it was a fun experience that they can't wait to do again....on real ice! Grandmama and Papa came with us to watch Kasen and encourage the little it was extra special for the girls!


We have moved on to week two as the excitement builds toward Christmas day :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pear Pie Crescent Rolls

My cravings for pie got the best of me. I, however, am way too impatient to wait for an entire pie and then watch half of it sit on the counter all week potentially going to waste. So I decided to make these tasty treats...and they were super easy...and super delicious!

First I used a traditional pear pie recipe and then trimmed it down for my 8 crescent rolls:

2 Medium sized pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
sprinkle of ginger and nutmeg
1/3 tsp of lemon juice

Mix it all together. Try a pear slice, or two, just because you can. (I wish I had a picture of the mixture to insert here)

Next, I pulled out a tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls.

On each triangle I placed a few slices of the pie mixture on the wide part of the triangle. Then I loosely rolled them up. Following the directions for the crescent rolls, I baked them at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

They are perfect size for the little hands in your family, and small enough that you don't feel guilty eating more than one. :)