Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year Full of Blessings

As 2010 comes to an end, I am reminded of what a wonderful year this has been. It has been a year full of changes. And a year that I am so thankful for. I am thankful for the good health of my family and myself. I am thankful for the provisions and mercy of a loving God. I am thankful for extended family, for time spent and memories made. I am thankful for wonderful friends, both old and new. I am thankful for a loving church family. I am thankful for good neighbors. I am thankful for Jared's job. I am thankful for our house. I am thankful for time with my family. I am thankful that for another year that I was able to stay home and raise my children. I am thankful for the most amazing husband, who I can see becoming more like Christ with each passing year. I am thankful for two beautiful children, who challenge me and teach me, who make me laugh and sometimes make me cry, who bring so much joy to my life. Wow! I don't know what 2011 has in store, but I am excited to see the blessings to come. I hope you have had a wonderful year, and know that you are one of the blessings in my life!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Little Lamb!

This past Sunday Ellie was in the Christmas program at church. She, with all the other preschoolers, was an animal in Bethlehem. She was a sheep, and was so cute! When she came into the sanctuary and saw Jared and me, she ran up to us and gave us a big hug. Then she ran up on stage. She sang and baa-ed, and even danced around the stage (not in the script, but she's GREAT at improv)! At first she seemed a little shy and nervous, but once she was up there for a few minutes I think she learned to really enjoy the spotlight! It was so much fun to watch her, and Jared and I were so proud of her!

Parker and Ellie, all dressed up for Christmas Sunday

Ellie is the little blue one with sheep ears!

This was her face when she saw us in the sanctuary! Such excitement!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The reason!

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the fun traditions that our family holds dear. I love baking cookies, making homemade candy, making crafts, giving gifts, eating yummy food, decorating our house, making gingerbread houses with the kids, and so much more. But the thing I love the most is remembering why we celebrate this day. And teaching that to my kids. I love reading them stories of Christ's birth, and teaching them why Jesus was born - to save us from our sins so that one day we can be with Him in Heaven. I love teaching them Bible verses about the birth of our Savior. I love quizzing them each day and seeing just how much they know about Christ, and then letting them open their advent door for the day. I love teaching them that although we are blessed with so many great gifts, our most wonderful gift is Jesus. I love that they have such giving hearts, and love to give gifts and make things for people. I love how thankful my kids are for all their many gifts and that they enjoy thanking God for all He's done for us and given us. I have so many wonderful memories of Christmases past, and I know that my children are building memories now that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. And the biggest thing I want them to remember is how very much their Savior loves them, that He would send His only son down to earth as a baby, to grow and then die on the cross as the sacrifice for a world of sin. And THAT'S a reason to celebrate this season!

The kids with our Christmas tree

The kids had a great time making gingerbread houses!

This was Parker's first year making one, and of course he ate LOTS of the candy!

The finished product!

"Yay, Mom! I did it!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wow! She's 4 years old!

This past week we celebrated Ellie's 4th birthday. On Wednesday (her actual birthday) we went to Olive Garden for dinner (Ellie's favorite restaurant). Then we had her birthday party on Sunday. Ellie's really into Hello Kitty right now, and that's the theme she wanted for her party. It was a lot of fun! It was our first birthday party in our new house. I made and decorated her cake on Saturday. Then we decorated the house. It turned out really cute! At her party the kids made Hello Kitty Christmas ornaments, ate cake and ice cream, opened goody bags, did a pinata, and then Ellie opened her presents. She was super blessed with great friends and lots of fun gifts!

We've had a fun and busy past few days, and I plan on writing all about them in the next couple days. For now, I'm going to go snuggle with my handsome hubby and watch a movie!

Ellie and her good friend, Ciara.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This past Tuesday night we travelled down to Oregon for Thanksgiving. We had a good drive, with minimal traffic, and arrived around midnight at my mom's house. We had a great few days with my family. Thanksgiving is usually at my mom's house, and this year we gathered at my brother and sister-in-law's new house, right next door to my mom's house. It was really fun seeing so many family members (I think there were around 30-35). The food was delicious,of course. We even had home-raised turkey, which my brother and sister-in-law had raised this year. We all stuffed ourselves, and then returned to my mom's house to look at the ads and form a game-plan for Black Friday.

My niece, Sara, and I decided to take a short nap on Thursday night, and then we got up at 12:30 to begin our shopping. We went to Walmart, Target (although we didn't actually go in Target because after waiting outside for an hour I found out that all the tickets for the tv I wanted were already gone), Shopko, Fred Meyer, Kmart, and JC Penney. Sara and I went to Walmart and Target, then met some of our family at Shopko, and later we met with the rest of the family for breakfast, before doing the rest of our shopping. Jared and I got almost all our Christmas shopping done, and all of our shopping done for Ellie's birthday. And we found some awesome deals! I don't usually like crowds very much, but I love Black Friday shopping! It's one of my favorite days of the year!

We rested on Friday afternoon, and enjoyed the rest of our weekend, before driving back home on Sunday. It was a great weekend, and already I miss my family!

The kids love spending time with their Uncle Scott (who is famous in our family for his delicious pancakes that Ellie always looks forward to)!

We got to see my sweet great-nephew, baby Connor. The kids just LOVE him (so do I). He is one of the sweetest babies ever:)

I think I will just end by listing some of the things that I'm so very thankful for this year:
  • My wonderful husband, who I fall more in love with every day.
  • My two sweet kids, who are blessings from the Lord.
  • Our new home.
  • My extended family, on both sides.
  • That I can stay at home with my kids, and homeschool Ellie this year.
  • Good friends, both old and new.
  • My wonderful Jesus, who came to earth as a baby and died on a cross so that I could one day live forever with Him in heaven.
  • Our car, that (so far) runs so well and gets us where we need to be.
  • Our new laptop.
  • Jared's new job.
  • SO much more!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beautiful weather! And more...

Well, I am a week late in writing this. Our computer has been on the fritz, and it officially dead. However, I now type from our brand new laptop:) I am thrilled that we were able to get it, and we love it!

Our last couple weeks have been pretty busy. I had a weekend all to myself, when my hubby went to a boardgame retreat and took our kids to their grandparents' house. I did a lot of painting, and then spend some time just relaxing. It was wonderful! I missed my family like crazy by the end of the weekend, but it was so nice to have that break. I have the world's greatest husband, to think of the idea and then drive the kids over the mountains and back!

The next weekend my family from Oregon drove up to visit us and see our new house. It was so much fun, and I was wishing they could have stayed a lot longer!

I've been making Christmas gifts, and preparing our Christmas card and letter. And with homeschooling and just daily life, things have been busy!

In the past couple of weeks our weather has changed from a beautiful fall, with brightly colored leaved everywhere, to a gorgeous winter, with snow covering everything! Of course, we know that the snow won't last long here on the Western side of Washington, but we're enjoying it while we can:)

And tonight we leave for Oregon, to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. We have so much to be thankful for!

Ellie and Parker in the beautiful leaves in our yard.

Our first snow in our new home:)

The kids love the snow!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Ellie has recently started taking a ballet class. She has always loved to dance (and sing, and act, and anything that involves entertaining). We have been wanting to put her in a dance class, but really didn't feel like we could afford it at this point. And now one of my friends is teaching a ballet class in her home, free of charge! The little girls are all so cute, dressed up in their little leotards and tutus! They're learning the ballet steps and practicing for a recital, and are even going to dance at a nursing home. Ellie has only been to one class so far (this morning will be her second), but she LOVES it! I am so thankful that she is able to do this, and that God has blessed us in this way!

Ellie has so much fun dancing, and ballet class is a great way for her to meet some new friends!

Ellie's all smiles as she gets ready for ballet class in the morning!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A time to shine!

We celebrate Halloween in our family. I know that this holiday can be a little controversial, but we have always chosen to celebrate it. Now, we don't ever celebrate in scary ghost, witch, or skeleton ways. And we don't teach our children that this is an "evil" holiday (we don't believe it is, unless it's celebrated that way). But we use even this holiday as a way to teach our children about the God who loves them. For the past two weeks of preschool, Ellie has been learning about why being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. We have a cute little poem that we read each day at the end of school: "Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washed all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed, carves you a new smiling face, and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see." We talk about what each part of this poem means, and how God is always changing us and making us more like Him. It has been a great tool.
Fun at the pumpkin patch!

Ellie and Parker each made their own homemade pumpkins during preschool.

Of course some of our celebration is just for fun! Our church puts on a Trunk or Treat party, and we had a lot of fun going around the parking lot and getting candy from each of the cleverly decorated cars. Parker dressed up as a pumpkin and Ellie was a bride. They were both super cute (of course)! And they now have enough candy to last them a LONG time:)

Cute little pumpkin, Parker Paul!
The beautiful bride, Ellie!
Halloween can be a time to shine in dark places. As Christians, I believe that we are called to do just that:)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rainy Days:)

Fall is absolutely my favorite season! I love the cooler weather because I get to wear sweaters. I love the smells, both outside and in (fall inspires me to bake quite a bit, and when I'm not baking I usually have a "fall-ish" candle burning). I love the beautiful colors, and although nothing can beat the beauty of central Washington in the fall, I'm really seeing a lot of beauty here, too. I think the colors come on the trees a little later here, and they are now becoming very pretty! I love knowing that Christmas is just around the corner, and starting on Christmas crafts. I love being cozy inside and drinking coffee, hot cocoa, tea, or carmel apple cider. I think I could go on and on, I just LOVE fall:)

We have a maple tree in our yard that is turning a beautiful red!

Now that we live on the west side of the mountains, we are experiencing the wetter side of life! I am happy to have a winter with less snow, and hopefully we won't get too sick of the rain! Right now I'm enjoying it. I grew up with weather similar to what we have now, and it's kind of nice to be back in the rain. As crazy as it sounds, I really missed it when we lived on the east side and didn't get very much rain. Ellie and Parker really enjoy playing in the rain and stomping in puddles! Ellie is the only one in the family with a rain coat and umbrella, though, so we may need to purchase a few more for the rest of us.

Ellie and Parker LOVE playing outside in the rain!

Yay! I painted our living room a couple weeks ago! I really think it looks a lot nicer now. It makes me excited to paint another room, but it took 17 hours to finish the living room, with prepping the walls, priming, and painting, so I'm going to rest a little more before beginning the next room! I've been waiting to put up pictures until I paint each room, so once a room is painted and has the pictures on the walls, it feels so much more like home:)
Doesn't the paint lighten up the room?

I am so thankful for the blessings in my life. I pray that you are counting your blessings, too. They are there, we sometimes just need to take the time to see them:)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remembering Ian

Ian Tawney was a great friend to me in high school. We shared a lot of wonderful memories, and I was blessed to have had him in my life. Since high school I had not seen Ian, nor even spoken with him. But when I heard of his death in Afghanistan I was truly heartbroken. My heart is heavy, and I am filled with emotion. I mourn the loss of a great friend. I grieve for his family - his wonderful parents, his siblings, and his wife and unborn child. I mourn the years that I allowed to pass without staying in contact with my high school friend. Ian was a great man. He fought for our country, putting others' lives above his own. He will always be remembered, and he will be greatly missed. I take comfort, though, in knowing that for those of us who have accepted Christ as Lord over our lives, we will see him again one day in Heaven. I remember conversations that Ian and I had as teens, and his love for Christ. I know that while his body may be dead here on earth, he is alive and well in Heaven. I look forward to the day when I will be reunited with friends and family, and we will all rejoice together in the presence of our King! For now I pray for comfort, for myself and for everyone else who will miss Ian so much here on earth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daddy's Little Princess:)

A few weeks ago my sweet husband came home with a bouquet of flowers for me. When he came through the door holding the bouquet, Ellie ran up to him and said, "Yay! Are those flowers for me?" Jared told her that they were for Mommy, and she almost started crying, she was so heart-broken. So last night Jared ran to the store and when he returned he had a bouquet for Ellie. She asked if they were for Mommy, and Jared told her that they were for her. Oh, was she excited! She just lit up, knowing how special she is to her daddy! It really made her feel like his little princess. It was priceless! Now her bouquet is sitting on her dresser, where she can see them all day (and night). And, to top it off, Jared also brought me a beautiful red rose! He is such a wonderful husband and father, and we are so blessed to be his girls! We love him so much!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preschool, kittens, and more!

Well, we've had a fairly busy past week. Last week Ellie started homeschool preschool three mornings a week. It's been a really fun experience for both Ellie and I so far. She's so smart, and she's really doing well with school. She absolutely loves to learn! It's a little tough keeping Parker entertained sometimes while we do school, but for the most part he does great with some cars, coloring pages, or puzzles. I also try to let him be involved in the schooling whenever possible, which he likes a lot. It's fun to have a little bit more of a schedule now (although we still haven't completely settled on which three mornings we'll do school), and I hope to get our schedule even a little more organized in these next few weeks!

Ellie is great at saying the Pledge of Allegiance!

Last Friday the kids and I headed over the mountains for a wedding. Ellie was the flower girl, and she was absolutely precious! When she got to the front of the audience, she opted to come and sit with me rather than standing up front. As soon as the bride started down the aisle, with the wedding march playing, Ellie said to me (in a very loud voice), "Mom, they're playing Farmer in the Dell!" Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home, so I have no pictures except a few low-quality ones on my phone. Hopefully someone else took some, and will give me a few:)

On our way home on Sunday we stopped and picked up our newest addition to our family - a sweet little kitten! Her name is Rose (Ellie's suggestion), and she is very cute. Ellie and Parker both love her, but she's not so sure how she feels about them! So far she likes to spend a good portion of the day hiding under Jared and my bed. Whenever she's out, though, Parker is chasing after her, or holding her if he manages to catch her. He is not super gentle, but we're working on it! Ellie, on the other hand, is very soft and sweet with the kitty. We're really enjoying Rose.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our New Home

Our new house

For those of you who haven't given up hope of me ever posting again, I sincerely apologize for my lengthy absence! I knew that it had been quite some time since my last post, but as I signed in I saw that it has been over two months! Inexcusable, I know. We moved into our new house almost a month ago, and before that we were madly packing and trying to do everything in our old town "one last time" before we moved. I fully intended to blog every step of the way, and well, that just didn't happen. But now I have a new goal. I plan on blogging once a week, on Tuesdays. I may end up blogging more than that, but I will wholeheartedly try to blog at least that often. For now, here are some pictures of our new home. We are not in love with the wood paneling and have plans to repaint each of the rooms, but that will take time. In painting Ellie's room, I was "absent" from my kids for almost two straight days. That is about as much as any of us can handle, so I'm taking it a room at a time, and plan on doing one room a month. So, as I get each room done I will post new pictures. There are other projects we'd like to do as well, but right now Jared is working 12-14 hour days, so any house projects are on hold. Blessings on you today, and please feel free to check back in - I promise to be more consistent in blogging than I have been:)

Ellie's room

Parker's room
Kids' bathroom Our bedroom
Our bathroom (there is a bathtub out of view)
Kitchen Dining room
1/2 of living room
Other 1/2 of living room

Monday, August 2, 2010

A beautiful place

As I was taking a walk yesterday evening, I was really struck by how beautiful my surroundings are. I mean, I always knew they were, but last night I was in awe, and I realized just how much I'm going to miss this place. We are moving in just over 5 weeks, and I've been very excited for the new adventure. I've had some advice to make sure I enjoy the time that I'm here, as it will pass all too quickly. And I've really tried to do that. But it wasn't until last night, in the cool mountain air, all alone, surrounded by the beauty of God's creation, that it really sank in. I'm leaving. These walks will be my last here, for a long time. Yes, I'm sure we'll come back and visit from time to time, but I need to take advantage of every moment here. We have so many memories here. We were married here, in the meadow. I experienced both of my pregnancies here. I have made many wonderful friends here. We have family here. I have walked and jogged hundreds of miles here. Since becoming a family, this is the only place we've ever known. Am I still excited for our new adventures? Yes, very much. Will I cherish every moment here even more than I have in the past? Definitely! I am so thankful for the time that God has allowed us to be here. And in these last 5 weeks I want to make many more happy memories!

Our house (the bottom half, anyway)

Our front yard

My garden

The basketball court across the road from our house, where we often play

Looking toward camp, from our house

Saturday, July 24, 2010


This past week the kids and I went to Oregon to visit family. The kids had a blast on my mom's farm, as always. But this time we did something a little different. We all rode horses! As a kid, I used to ride all the time. I loved it. And now, so many years later, I miss it. There were a few years recently when I couldn't really ride, either because of being pregnant or having very small children who needed my attention all the time. But I realized recently that it would be a wonderful idea to start riding again. My sister still has a few horses which are very well trained. So...even though it's been YEARS since I've been on a horse, I still feel somewhat confident on them. One evening my sister, my niece, and I went out and saddled up the horses (well, actually my niece rode bare-back, which I think is pretty neat). We rode a few times around the field while the kids watched with Grandma. We mostly walked, but we did trot and even gallop for a short time. It was a great time of riding to get back into it. The kids enjoyed watching, but really wanted to get on the horses themselves. So after several times around the field we got off and let the kids ride. They LOVED it! Last summer Ellie tried riding once, but once she got onto the horse's tall back she was frightened and didn't want the horse to move. And Parker had never been on a horse. But they both enjoyed it so much this time. It was already past there bedtime, so the rides were fairly short, but they both wanted to stay on longer. It was such a fun time, and we've decided to make this a tradition whenever we go stay with my mom. Someday I hope to be able to have a horse or two, but for now we're so thankful to my sister for sharing hers with us when we come to visit.