Friday, February 7, 2020

Eli's 9th Birthday

Believe me when I say (and I'm sure all mom's can believe me) it DOES NOT seem possible that my boys are approaching the end of single digit birthdays.  It does not seem possible that I have 9 year old sons and am quickly approaching 10 years of parenting!  I'm trying to soak it all in and enjoy the small moments because they're changing and growing fast and I know that as these early years have passed so quickly, this second half of time with them is going to go just as fast and maybe even faster as they get into teenage years and want to spend less time with mom and dad!

So with that being said, I'm glad that he is still into celebrating with us and wanted to have a pokemon party!  I'll take themed parties as long as I still can with them! 





After a fun little party, it was time to celebrate the big day just the way he wanted! First request being fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast!


Some favorite and free birthday hot chocolate


We let the kids pick out their own presents from us.  Go figure, it involved some pokemon! 


Burgers and Geocache planning 


It was SUPER cold out so it was a short round of pokemon hunting and geocaching outside 




We hit up the mall where he could continue the pokemon hunting.  Usually we try to make it a day with JUST the birthday kid but he was okay with us bringing baby sister to tagalong and she was a great little tagalong and barely let out a peep!


Since the weather was so too cold for much geocaching he decided a trip to the arcade would make him happy and some fro yo too!  


Dear Mr Eli, Wow another year of your life has flown by.  This year maybe more than others I've watched you grow into a young man.  You've grown a lot taller and grown in maturity.  Overall year 8 has been fun and I'm sure we will have even more fun with you in Year 9.  I can't believe how fast the years have gone from you being this teeny tiny baby boy in my arms. As your doctor even said, for some reason she's always going to picture you as a tiny baby.  So I hope you are okay with still being my baby boy.  I love watching you play sports, you seem so happy and in your element whether it be on the field or court.  I love that you picked up piano this year and have got a natural talent.  I love that we can sit down together and have conversations. I love watching you be a gentle and kind big brother to your new baby sister.  I love when we collaborate on school work together.  You are not only handsome but genuinely caring and we are so lucky and blessed to have you as our son.  I hope year 9 is a wonderful year for you and I can't wait to watch everything you accomplish in the year ahead! I love you so very much! 


Friday, January 24, 2020

Christmas

I realized as I was hunting through pictures that I never posted our Christmas and since this is mostly a journal for me at this point in my blogging journey, I figured I could still add them!  Christmas was a bit weird this year. We were still settling in with a new baby who had nights and days mixed up (hence why I am posting this a month later), my Dad had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery a couple weeks before Christmas which changed some plans around (we just celebrated with my side of the family this past week.  We traditionally go to my Grandma's house on Christmas Eve and that was completely cancelled because so much of the family had the flu. But through all of the changes in plans we still had a really great Christmas and I spent the day very thankful that we had a new baby and that my Dad came through all his trials in good shape.  

Christmas Eve Jammies


We weren't as organized as I would usually be (I think I had some good excuses) but we eventually got around to the baking and I had some great helpers!


It was so fun to have a new little one to snuggle for Christmas. We got to add new touches to the decor for her! 






For Christmas Eve we made homemade pretzels and meatballs. 


It felt a little sweet and old fashioned when the kids gathered around the piano to sing Christmas songs.


Lots of goofing around and some movie time before bed



The stockings were hung.... literally 2 days before Christmas


Christmas Morning





We gave the kids the phone while we made lefsa, fun to see Christmas morning from their perspective and I may need to start doing more things from their view. 




This was our first time having a fresh little one for Christmas and that was extra magical. Nothing better than having a house full of little ones to celebrate with on Christmas day.  Memories I will cherish forever! 


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Ayla at 2 Months

My heart is full of so much joy but a little bit of sadness too, to realize this girly is already 2 months old.  I am so overwhelmed in love with this little one and so thankful God gave her to us! 




Ayla is now over 11 pounds, still in size 1 diapers and wearing 0-3 month size clothes.  We are having a lot of fun learning more about her personality and who she is.  I feel like it took her awhile to adjust and get used to this world, she must have been really nice and cozy in there. She seems like quite the lil character with lots of personality.  She's not afraid to let us know if she's not happy and wants something, definitely the loudest cry of any of our babies. But most of the time she is happy and content and loves to know what is going on around her.  She's full of smiles now and it melts my heart when she catches a glimpse of her siblings and just breaks out in a smile for them! She loves them and I am sure can't wait to be keeping up with all of them.  I am still in awe of how amazing all the other kids have adjusted.  They love having a baby in the house and are so sweet with her, always begging me to share her with them (I'm not the best at sharing baby snuggles, but I'm doing my best).  I assumed the newness of a baby would wear off quickly  but every single one of them adores her and love trying to get her attention! 

  

Obviously the highlight of 2 months is that she is awake more and smiles! Another highlight is that she has finally got her nights and days straightened out!  Whew!  Not only does she go to bed at a decent time but once she is asleep we are getting a nice 8-10 hour stretch of sleep out of her. We have been so spoiled by all of our kids and their sleep schedules from an early age. I'm not sure what we do but we must have some secret sauce to our routine that helps!

We've made great progress with feeding. It has been a bit of a (painful) challenge and I've had a few brief moments where I've wanted to quit but never quit at your weakest moment right?  Fortunately most of that seems to be behind us now!  We have introduced a bottle and that is more of a challenge for her at this point, but we will keep working on that just in case I ever want to leave her for a few hours.  The chest freezer is literally full of milk at this point so hopefully she doesn't hate bottles forever! 

At this point it feels like she has just fit seamlessly into the family.  I think we have adjusted well and the kids have made this transition super easy for all of us.  I am thankful we have such patient and loving kids, she's a lucky girl to have them loving her so well! We are mostly rested and figuring each other out. I just marvel at her and want to snuggle her as much as I possibly can because these days are passing quickly and I know she won't want to be my snuggle bug forever. 















Oh Ayla, All I can do is sit here and be so thankful for your life.  Your presence just brings me so much joy and I delight in the amazing little person you already are.  You are a little character already and your dad and I just laugh and smile all the time at you!  Your name means "halo of light" and your middle name means "shining light" and you are definitely a light in our lives.  It has been so long since we've had a baby to snuggle that I forgot just how magical baby snuggles are! I love snuggling you and talking to you and making you smile, I'm not sure there is anything better than baby snuggles!  We are enjoying every moment with you, truly even the hard moments because we know ALL of this passes far faster than we would like.  We are so thankful for these last 2 months with you and can't wait to learn more about your personality, experience even more smiles and maybe some giggles along the way! 



Monday, January 6, 2020

Hopes for 2020

Now that we enter a new year, it is time for some new goals! I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I want this year to look like and really I just want to "simply live" this year. We are hoping for a calm, simple year and there are a lot of areas that I want to work on and see improvements this year. Of course I won't accomplish much of what I am hoping for, but it is still nice to sit down and put goals to paper and see how the year turns out! 



Spiritually:

2019 Goals: Develop Family Devotions, focus on prayer time, spiritual fast in January.   

Family Devotions had moments of greatness but we didn't succeed as much as we had hoped.  I did make strides with prayer and Bible time and spent over 300 of the days in my Bible but since there are more than 300 days in a year, I still have lots of room for improvement!  We did do a spiritual fast last January and it was really good for us as we focused on the year ahead. This year I really want to focus on being the wife and mother that God would want me to be.  I've found some really encouraging podcasts already that I'm listening to while nursing that are helping to set my mind in the right place.  

2020 Goals: Spend devotional time specifically seeking a desire to grow as a wife and mother.  Spend every day this year in the word. 

 

Marriage:  

2019 Goal: Go on more dates 

This year was challenging!  Between pregnancy and Peter's crazy busy work schedule our marriage has taken a back seat to just surviving life. We didn't do a great job on going on dates last year which is a bummer because when we were able to consistently go out I felt like we communicated better. It is HARD to communicate well when we are so busy with kids and work so we have to do better this year! As the kids get older, we have even less time (or no time) to ourselves before we are exhausted so I want to start a time where the kids head up to their beds and read for awhile before their bedtime so that we can have a little time to ourselves to talk and connect everyday.  

2020 Goal:  Be honest communicators. Prioritize at least a little uninterrupted time each day to connect and some dates here and there!  


Family Life
2019 Goal: Be Present More  

Another failure. Pregnancy really took a toll this year and I was not expecting it to be as hard as it was!  I often found myself sick or exhausted and it was hard to give my kids the attention they deserved.  I am hoping to do way better this year at being present and having fun with my family.  

2020 goal:  Try again at being more present! 



Finances: 

2019 Goal: Complete Dave Ramsey Step #4  

This was an interesting year financially. We did in fact complete the goal with where we wanted our retirement contributions to be and that has been awesome.  We also funded 2 really big vacations (Hawaii and Disneyland) which is no easy task with a family as big as ours.  We had some setbacks in home maintenance with appliances breaking and saving an almost 200 year old tree in our yard! We also had a lot of medical bills between an ER visit for Sabrina and a new baby.  We've come out fine though and I am grateful for following the Dave Ramsey plan all these years to where we have the savings for when Murphy hit!  

2020 Goal: Finish replenishing our savings, continue with retirement savings and hopefully start to contribute more to our mortgage (Baby Step #6).  Save for 2 large vacations and 2 small vacations to take place this year!


Home: 

2019 Goals: at least start to replace our windows (our house as 39 windows, so this is a big one) and finish a lot of our smaller home projects that have been on the to do list for 5 years! 

As mentioned above, we went another year without new windows.  Oh well!  We did replace broken appliances and put a considerable amount of money into saving the tree (just don't remind Peter, he's not the tree hugger I am!)  

2020 Goal: This year I hope to allow the boys to do a little remodel of their bedroom and then we debate whether we want to start on windows or I have dreams of updating our 80's stairs into a more modern look.  


Personal Health:  

2019 Goals: Create Sustainable Habits


I definitely wouldn't say I built sustainable habits last year, but I did lose 10 pounds before getting pregnant and only gained right around 20 pounds over the course of the pregnancy.  Even though I tried a few times, I never got into a good workout routine and I worked out the least I have in years.  Even though gestational diabetes was very disappointing and miserable to keep in check, it created some really good habits that has made the weight fall off post partum! Even though I am already 7 pounds lower than pre-pregnancy weight, I am not going to focus on that this year because nourishing Ayla and keeping my milk supply up is the priority.  But I really missed working out and running last year so I'm hoping to find some balance this year.

2020 Goals:  Continue to keep carbs in check, for sure get back to strength training and run for enjoyment and stress relief this summer, not necessarily for rigorous exercise.  



Vacations:  

2019: We made some really great memories in Disneyland and Hawaii this past year and a short little baby moon to Bend over the summer. 


2020:  Vacations are super high priority to me and I need to have a calendar full of them to give me something to look forward to. Fortunately we have set the calendar for the year and will be taking Sabrina (we owed her a one on one vacation last year) to Hawaii! Malachi won March Madness last year and got to pick the big family vacation for this year, he asked for it to be full of mexican food so we will be doing a big southern road trip in the fall that will be full of yummy mexican food! We also have shorter trips planned at the beach and a summer and winter (fingers crossed for some snow) trip to Bend! 


This year my heart is feeling set on simplifying.  I want to focus on family and keeping stress down.  This probably means saying "no" more often and definitely reducing the amount of activities that our kids are involved in.  With a large family it does not take much for the calendar to be really full and while we went with it last year, I just don't think it is sustainable for the good of the family to keep that pace.  I want to rest in the simple and be content in whatever God has for us this year.  Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Friday, January 3, 2020

A Decade

I always spend a bit of time reflecting on the year that has passed as we enter a new year with a fresh new start.  This year, even more so as I reflect on a decade that has passed.  I'm sure everyone can say that life has changed considerably over a decade and ours is no different. In fact, I can probably say with confidence that the decade that just passed presented the most change that any decade will have in our entire lives.  Sure, future decades will be full of changes too, but this was pretty one was pretty epic for us!

This was us 10 years ago:


We were so young still and skinny :)  2009 was a really hard year.  Peter, only 7 months into his career was laid off in one of the worst economy's in history.  I was officially diagnosed with infertility, my grandma who meant a whole lot to me passed away suddenly.  I was working a job I hated when all I wanted was to be a mom and raise some babies!  We were well into the stressful and expensive adoption process. As the clock rolled over into a new year and a new decade we were hopeful for positive days ahead.

Over the course of this last decade we've added 5 children to our family! I quit my job and have been fortunate to have my dream come true of staying home and home schooling our kids.  Peter has moved jobs 3 times to advance his career.  We bought a new house, celebrated 5th and 10th milestone wedding anniversaries, 30th Birthday's, and traveled to some pretty cool places. We've lived life and matured considerably. We've been thrown major curveballs from "our plans" but through perseverance and a whole lot of prayers we've always been okay.  My life at this point looks exactly as I had always hoped it would but I couldn't see getting there in my 10 year younger self.  We've been so very fortunate and I am grateful for everything life gave to us over the decade we are leaving behind.  Precious memories have been made and we've grown so much!  


Here's a very small highlight reel of our last decade! 































So very much life has been lived in the last 10 years, the highlight of course is our five children.  I have no idea what to expect over the next decade and I am at a place in life where that is okay to me.  I know by the end of this next decade we will be WELL into parenting teenagers, and it breaks my heart a little to think that kids will be leaving the nest.  I know parenting has challenges at every phase and I look ahead with a little trepidation as I know there will be highs and lows in the phases we are entering, but I hope we navigate wisely and are still able to have a lot of fun! I look forward to celebrating our 15th and 20th (WOW!) wedding anniversaries in the decade ahead.  I've heard great things about the years of marriage we are entering into.  I look forward to where Peter's job takes him, the adventures and new places we will visit, and the little life moments that somehow become big memories.  Middle school, high school graduates, preschool again, maybe more children, maybe not. We have been so blessed in this life and I know we will face challenges in the coming years but I hope we continue to rely on God no matter what we face and I hope that life over this next decade holds just as much joy, growth and love as the decade we have left behind.