Friday, January 20, 2017

Things I'm Loving Today

We're coming out of a busy few weeks of life with Peter at work and the kids coming off of being sick oh and numerous snowed in days. That whole combination has been a little bit rough. But I always want to reflect on the positive and today I have several things that I'm loving.

1) I love that when I was awoken by terrible screams from our 2 year old in the middle of the night and went running, she clung so tight to me because she knew she was safe in my arms.
2) I love that when Peter kisses me goodbye every morning, he has to walk through a maze of children who have found their way to our bedroom floor.
3) I love that Malachi can make the kids breakfast now (and find it even more hilarious that he once made them cumin and sugar toast because he thought it was cinnamon).
4) I love that Malachi wore my big ole fur lined boots this morning when he unloaded the dishwasher.
5) I love the sound of kids running through my house, giggling and playing with puppies.
6) I love that I have the privilege to spend my day at home with my children.
7) I love that the kids are old enough to start helping out with chores.
8) I love that the kids have spent most of the day making a lot of noise and messes, but it also means they weren't sitting in front of the tv or kindle.
9) I love that I get to teach the kids and watch them learn and celebrate every milestone with them!
10) I love that our last kiddo is 90% potty trained now.
11) I love that Malachi has a huge interest in cooking and loves to help me make dinner.
12) I love that we have sports games (in this case basketball) to look forward to with the kids on Saturday morning.
13) I love that for the first night in awhile Peter is home and NOT stressed and we can just relax tonight!
14) I love that all the snow and cold air is gone so I can run!
15) I love little wet footprints and kids bundled up in towels after bath time.
16) I love how miss Bina wants to sleep in her brother's room or next to our bed.
17) I love little whispering kids all bundled in their room together at bedtime.
18) I love that my husband cleans the kitchen each night.
19) I love the time we have to snuggle and chat after the kids finally go to sleep.
20) I love climbing in my cozy warm bed at the end of another long day.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Foster Pups #21 and #22 Tesla and Tori (aka Cutie Patootie and Puppy Love)

We started our new year off with some house guests and our first puppies of the new year.  They were super sweet and quiet and cuddly the whole week long. 

Eli is usually the one who is head over heels for the puppies, but this time it was Sabrina who was obsessed and gave them new names (Cutie Patootie and Puppy Love). She was particularly obsessed with Tesla (Cutie Patootie).

They were my snuggle bugs all week too! Which who doesn't love a super snuggly puppy! 

And does a picture get any cuter than this?!?

All that to say, these girls really bonded with our family. I was actually surprised when it was time to say goodbye that it was even a little difficult for me. Fortunately they were gone before Sabrina was up.  We did show her a picture a day later and it broke my heart to see her tear up a little bit. My sweet sensitive little girl!  Unfortunately the weather wasn't great for puppy adoption day so they are still currently looking for their home but I am hopeful they will soon, they deserve good ones! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Ringing in the New Year - Family Style!

One of our new favorite New Year's Traditions is to keep it low key and celebrate with the kids.  It's fun to guess how many kiddos can actually make it to midnight. Last year only Sabrina made it to midnight but I thought a couple would make it this year!

We ate yummy food 

Played games

Including lots of video games 

Around 10:00 we settled down to watch Secret Life of Pets and snuggle those sweet foster pups! 

And finally midnight snuck up on us!  We tried our best to keep them all awake but poor Malachi passed out around 11:30. Try as we might to wake him back up, he was out cold. 

But the other three made it, Eli just barely but he was awake!

New Year's day was glorious as the house was still silent at 9:30.  We kept it low key but the kids had been begging us to take them to another movie so we (and everyone else it seemed) headed off to the movies to see Sing!

We are off to a fun start to the year. I'm glad we can soak in a little bit more family time before the chaos of January and Peter's crazy work schedule takes over.  This family is ready to rock 2017! 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hopes for 2017

Oh 2016, what a year it has been. I look back and I see so much to be happy about. Just watching our kids grow and change and try new things has made life exciting.  It has been good.  I also look back and the general consensus on 2016 was that it was not a great year.  We experienced some really wonderful things in 2016 but along with that we had some really hard times too.  It's always nice at the end of a year to look back and also look forward.  So with that being said, here are my hopes for 2017! 

Sidenote: For the last couple years, I have composed a post using this format. Sometimes it feels a bit too "honest" but I love being able to look back and see what all we've hoped for and accomplished.  Even if you don't blog, this is a good record to have year to year as you think about the year that has passed and the year to come.

 I love my husband with all my heart.  We celebrated 10 years of marriage this year, with many many more years to celebrate together in our future. It was a milestone worth celebrating and we celebrated it well, including renewing our commitment to one another moving forward. This has not been an easy  year though.  It is not easy to admit that.  We have been forced to be truly real with one another.  We are growing through it. It has shown me that through it all we have a one of a kind friendship on even the toughest of days and a love and commitment strong enough to make it through no matter what.  We've always worked hard to keep our marriage a top priority and that has been no different this year.  Even though we've had a rough time, we're truly in a better place and better people in general than we were a year ago.  We are genuine and happy people, not only as a couple but as individuals.  Our hope for 2017 is to continue the groundwork that we've established this year. and that we will be stronger than ever before by the time 2017 comes to a close. I am confident that this goal will be accomplished because we are already accomplishing it. We move forward with a renewed commitment, stronger love, true honesty and intimacy, and greater happiness than ever before!  

   This has been an amazing year with the kids. Yes, I always have challenges with time management especially as a home school mom.  But I've spent a lot of time this year simplifying life for the better of the kids. It has been hard to let certain fun activities go, but it really has been worth it. The kids needed some down time, as did I.  I think my favorite thing each year is just watching them grow and develop. They're all at a really fun age. To think I love the baby stage so much but I am also really enjoying each stage these kids are in now.  As challenging as parenting 4 kids is, I feel like it may be getting "easier" the older they all get. I can't wait to watch their personalities continue to develop and see their interests grow and develop in the year ahead. It is a blessing and privilege to be their mama!   There is always room for improvement and it seems that every age and phase requires adjustments to our parenting. I of course know I can do a better job. I want to be more present this year with them.  I want to grow in my patience with them.  I want them to always know how dearly loved each one of them is!

Things at the house are going great. It has been a fun year in my opinion as we work more and more on some of the finishing touches.  We completed a few big outdoor projects like putting in a playground for the kids and replacing the shared fence with the neighbors. Inside we completed some smaller projects while also raising a sunken floor and getting new family room and dining room furniture. The inside is looking more and more homey and I am thrilled about that!  In the year ahead we have a few smaller projects to focus on (trim work, continuing the hardwood flooring in the family room, new living room furniture, sprucing up the outside etc) before we move on to start saving for one of the last big purchases for the house - new windows. It's hard to believe that this house still has old windows but hopefully in the next year or two we can take care of that!

Eh, I feel like a failure in this area. I've tried to keep up on working out and doing better but didn't do as well as I would like. Busyness of life won out and just a general burn out after years of working hard.  I've been taking steps to get back in shape and right the ship. I don't want to set any specific resolutions or anything for the year ahead but I do know that overall health and fitness is a huge part of what I am going to be working towards in 2017! 

We had an incredible year of travel with fun places like Whistler, New Orleans, and Jamaica this past year. I love that we get to travel and see new places together. This coming year we aren't exactly sure what the plan is yet, beyond a family trip to Whistler coming up here soon. I may try to tag along with Peter someplace this spring and other than that we are discussing what plans we might want to come up with in the fall, but nothing is set yet! 

We continue our journey on our Total Money Makeover.  You may remember that we took a bit of a detour for our last adoption and have been working hard ever sense to get things completely back on track.  We depleted our savings and had even gone into debt, but in 2015 we paid off that debt and in 2016 we were able to get back to 6 month expenses in savings. That gets us back on track to Baby Step #4 - 15% income to retirement. We're continuing to work hard on this goal but we are also relaxing things just a little bit and focusing on other things too. Financial freedom remains a priority for us but I am also very proud of what we've already accomplished!

     This has been the calmest year for Peter as far as jobs go in awhile and that's a good thing.  There's really nothing much to report. He's hit 8 years in his field and is doing well. It was nice to have a calm year and we always hope for career growth and good things to come in the year ahead.  

This has honestly been one of our more boring years for us. We thrive in chaos and this year has been more calm than we expected, but we may have needed it. I tried to create a bit of chaos by fostering all these puppies, as if homeschooling 3 earlier Elementary kiddos while chasing a toddler isn't chaotic enough.   I look forward to the year ahead as we have exciting hopes and plans. I know there will be tough days and challenges of course but the good always seems to outweigh the bad. I count my blessings!  So farewell to 2016, you presented challenges that caused us to grow and stretch ourselves and our faith.  I am full of HOPE as I look forward to the year ahead.  I know good things are coming!  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 In Review

I've seen 2016 was a hard year for so many, and I have to say it has been a challenging year for us too. I'm not really sad to see it go, but as I take a moment to look back on 2016 we've also had several memories of good to get us through. So here's a photo look back on 2016 for our family. 

We started the year with Malachi's first basketball season 

We also snuck away to the beach for a quick weekend away

Eli turned 5

We celebrated Valentine's Day with our sweet kiddo's!

We got to head up to Seattle for one of our favorite weekends away for the Refresh Conference! 

Peter surprised me with a fantastic weekend away to Whistler for my 30th Birthday! 

And I got to cross something I've always wanted to do off my bucket list! 

We celebrated Easter 

Malachi turned 6 

Sabrina turned 4!

The kids finished another school year, and Malachi graduated Kindergarten! 

I crossed another item off my bucket list by visiting New Orleans! 

I also crossed a few new states of the list with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and a fun day trip to Pensacola Beach in Florida! 

Then another school year began! 

The kids had a blast as the big summer project was completed! 

We also started a fun journey in fostering puppies, with over 20 coming through our home before the year is out! 

We made lots of fun family memories all summer long! 

And not so fun memories, like our first ER trip with a baby girl and a 106 fever (she had strep and an ear infection. 

Peter turned 30! 

And soon after LB turned 2! 

And we celebrated our first milestone anniversary with 10 years of marriage! 

We also crossed the first child surgery off the list this year, something I don't care to repeat anytime soon. 

ALL the kids finally cooperated for family pictures! 

We had a fun labor day away to Coos Bay with the kiddo's! 

Another soccer season started and the boys were superstars! 

Halloween was adorable! 

And then the crowning jewel of the year as we went on an incredible trip to Jamaica to commemorate that 10th anniversary and renew our vows! 

We also went away for a long weekend to Eagle Crest and had some fun with the kids at the beginning of December. 

And we've had more snow already this year than we knew what to do with, and lots more it seems is in the forecast. 

And last but not least, we had a fun and very busy Christmas! 

Yes, there is still so much to be thankful for in a year that was not my favorite. We've made fantastic memories in some new and fun places and the kids have grown so much and remained healthy.  I think we've proved we can make the most of a cruddy year but I sure look forward to even better times ahead in 2017!