Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day 2018

Today was no day out of the ordinary for us, but we did get to celebrate a few special fathers in our life. Monte's father had stayed at our house for the weekend so we got to spend time with him in person. We also talked to my father and wished him the best day.

Our biggest joy was celebrating my husband and letting his children soak him up. I helped them make some cute pictures and answer questions about their daddy.
Some of their answers were simply hilarious.
These pictures were all taken today and exemplify how my husband dedicates his day to each child individually and is very purposeful in making sure he knows each one. For this, I am truly thankful.

To my husband, it's a real honor watching you as a father. You're one of the best and choosing to help your daughter fulfill her most recent dream to have a fairy garden in this weather is just one of the many examples I have to prove it. We love you so much and you play the biggest role in our lives. Thank you for all you do.

Many moons ago, we had no idea where our lives were headed. We had no idea the trials and tribulations we would endure. I wouldn't have chosen this path with anyone but you.
Happy Father's Day!

Today versus 4 years ago

Today, Payton started her first day of summer dance. It is a moana themed dance camp and she was so excited to go. As I sat and watched her practice (there is always that 1 momma, you know, the one that stays for the whole time instead of leaving) I happened to see a memory on facebook from 4 years ago. It was her first day of swim lessons. Mommy and me swimming to be exact.

That feels like last month. Seriously, I need time to slow down. I now have 3 kids and not just the 1 that I had 4 years ago. Our curly haired toddler then is now a bouncing, busy preschooler. You no longer hold your mommy's hand walking into class and you give the briefest of goodbyes as class starts. But you are also so bold and talk to new children, making friends quickly.

You left dance class today talking the whole way home about dance routines, people you met, the bracelet you made, and what you plan to do the rest of the day. You hugged and greeted your grandmother and brothers with so much love and talked vividly about your morning. 4 years ago, you took the longest nap because swim took it out of you. Today, you won't nap but will rest for an hour before hitting the ground running again.

Time, you are a thief. I am so thankful for my beautiful memories of swimming with Payton and also of my time being the only mom sitting in dance class watching my child blossom and bond. Life goes fast but I am truly soaking up every second I am given.

“I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always, 
As long as I'm living, 
my baby you'll be.”

Hey, Payton, thanks for letting me watch life through your eyes. You teach me more and more every day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Our First Half of June

Oh the craziness in how fast this summer is flying by already. We are trying to find a good balance in staying busy with seeing friends and being active in activities (like our library challenge, swimming lessons, and dance camps) all while still kicking back and relaxing during this summer. Finding balance has been hard. The struggle is real.

We started the month with a trip to Jayden's doctors and while we were away, we took the kids to do a few fun activities, like swimming in the hotel, playing at a local park, and viewing our local Cabela's animal exhibits. My mother was so helpful to come stay at our little farm and take care of all our animals while we were gone. We love her so much and it made it so nice to not have to worry about our own zoo while away.
On this trip, we made our first donation to the hospital and housing unit that took such good care of our baby.
We let the kids pick out a bunch of toys and we donated those. This was a lot to ask of a 5 year old and 2 year old and I hesitated many times. But, in the end, they did so wonderfully and inspired me to live life more like them. They were so willing to give and didn't give it a second thought about parting with new, unused toys that they had just spent a lot of time picking out.

While we were here, we were lucky to witness a child get to pick from our donation pile and that made our whole day. It just adds to the experience of giving back.

As soon as we got home, we took a few days at home and then turned right around and took our summer's first camping trip. We decide to divide and conquer this year. I spent the first night at home with Jayden and then day camped with the kids. On the second night, I brought Riley back as he was so exhausted. It's a win-win for everyone as each parent got some quality time with each of the kids. The kids also caught their first fish and we cooked them for dinner! They were so excited!
I loved watching my boys play together and having Riley without a sister to follow around was quite the experience. He loved the little bit of independence though and he is really one of the best big brothers out there.
 When Payton and daddy returned back home, Payton and Riley teamed up like always. They are such good friends and I am so thankful for that. My  husband said that Payton talked a lot about how much she missed Riley and Jayden while she camped.

We are now spending a few days at home before the craziness starts again. I caught this sweet picture with Payton and Jayden during the quiet of the day:
The kids love to work on harvesting our property and with strawberry season upon us, we are starting to reap the rewards again:

We hope you are having a great week!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Siblings bonding

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is watching my children bond and form lasting relationships, for the better or worse. In this season of life, we have been so blessed that our children are very close and, for the most part, good friends to each other. I am in no illusion this will always be the case but I am hopeful that we stand a chance that our children could always find a way to get along together. Who knows, maybe there is even a chance that they will stay the best of friends throughout this life on Earth. There is always that possibility.

I, for one, would choose to share a cup of coffee with either of my siblings or a parent any day.

I'm not sure if its entirely my parenting style, or the fact that we have no family nearby, or that we live in the country but my children really don't have a choice but to do everything together or play on their own. I'd guess its a combination of all factors and the reality is, most of the time a 2 year old and 5 year old don't want to play on their own always. But, this season brings me so much happiness while it encompasses being such a hard, exhausting life stage as a parent.
Payton is really spending a lot more time on the other side of the camera these days and I find so many pictures at the end of the day that capture the world through her eyes. 
She seems to be a natural with the camera. She loves taking pictures of both her brothers as well as all the daily activities she is engaging in. I love seeing some pictures of myself as it reminds me that I am playing a very intricate role in my children's lives even when I feel like all I'm doing is changing/feeding a baby, feeding children, getting children dressed, making/serving meals, and finding activities to do. And repeat.

It's a beautiful time to watch siblings bond to each other and I hope that my children realize that one of the best gifts I ever gave them was this family unit. One day, they may only have each other to lean on.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend! We are so thankful for those that gave their lives so that we could have the freedom we have to live our lives the way we want to.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Let's Freeze Time

Some days, life just feels so good, I wish I could freeze time. I mean, seriously, how do I have 3 beautiful children when it feels like I just graduated high school? I didn't just graduate high school. This is now more than a decade behind me. Yet, it still feels like yesterday.

The days I want to freeze are nothing out of the ordinary. I spent most of my time at home with my children and a small chunk of time out and about. So nothing special, yet my everything. And these faces:

These beautiful faces filling my phone with the best pictures of my life. Hands down, the best of everything for me. My daughter, who begs to be read to. It won't be long before she's reading on her own and not asking us constantly to tell her a story. I anticipate she will always have her nose in a book.

Our bubbly baby, who loves to fall asleep cuddling mama. I will blink and he will be running to keep up with his siblings. His starting to roll over this week was the little reminder I needed that time goes so fast.

And the last picture, my sweet, sweet middle child. He's always wanting to be our little helper and, on this day, felt he deserved a treat for how well he's done potty training. We can't argue that one, little man, so off I went with him to find a little special something to celebrate. How amazing it is that God can give us something so much better than we could have ever imagined for ourselves? Riley, God really knew what he was doing when he placed you gently into our family.

As the time does not slow down, you can find me breathing my sweet children in and holding them as tight as I possibly can for as long as they will let me. And then after that, I will cherish these moments of such a beautiful season of life where my love runs deep and the views are always breathtaking.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Baby J is 5 Months Old

My littlest baby turned 5 months a few days ago. What a joy he has been and we are so blessed to be chosen as his family.
This baby. So happy, so go with the flow, and loves to sleep so, so much. You smile and laugh all the time. I have too many pictures of you because they are all good pictures. True fact: The above picture was taken and done within 10 minutes and I used my first and only picture taken. That's how happy you are all the time. If he was my first, I would have thought babies were the easiest ever. As my 3rd, I am thankful God made my transition so easy.

The outfit was picked by his siblings and happens to be an outfit that Riley lived in when he was that size. I may or may not have cried when discovering this outfit. As the old adage goes, time flies by. I try so hard to savor and enjoy my time with my little children, even on the most difficult of days. Yet, no matter what, the time still passes me by and I blink and feel like my kids are so much older. It won't be long before our household is celebrating our 3rd baby turning 1.

Baby Jayden, thank you for choosing us. We would choose you in a heartbeat over and over again. You bring so much love and life into our days. You are the absolute best cuddle bug and want to be held and never set down. We're okay with that.

Baby J, we love you so much! Keep growing! Just not too fast.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Our Country Life= Time Spent at Home

This is more of a quick post dedicating my appreciation to country living. We have now been on our acreage for four years and I have come to love this little life we have developed for ourselves. A decade ago if you would have told me I would be living outside city limits, of any city, I would have laughed. But, here I am and totally loving where life has taken me. A gentle reminder that you should never say never.

Our country life seems to have deepened a quieter way of life for us. We like our peace and simple living practices. Like line drying our laundry.
 Something about seeing clothes dry on the line outside brings so much peace and contentment to my life. There's nothing better than sleeping on a bed of line dried bedding. A real treat we have started to bring to our guests when weather permits us.

About six months ago, our neighbors told us they had seen a fox behind their house one morning. This was something they had never seen in decades living on our neighboring acreage. We were excited to hear this and thought maybe we would one day be so lucky. Then, a few weeks ago, we spotted a fox on our security camera from a few nights before. This was a really big deal for us.

Flash forward a few weeks later and one of my husband's coworkers informed my husband of a family of foxes living less than a mile from our house. We went to the den that day and were in luck! We stumbled upon a family of at least 4 foxes.
 My family is so blessed to have seen this. From the first sighting, we have yet to see them at this location again and fear they have moved on. But, we are so thankful for the memories we received from this family.

As soon as the weather hit a warm spot, my kids were ready to throw on their swimming clothes and run through the sprinkler. Water activities are a favorite pastime for our family.
 It's amazing how much these 2 big kids have grown. They bring so much of everything into our lives.

My lilac bushes are in full bloom and our apple trees are also blooming. It's a favorite of mine to make little bouquets and put in our dining room. They are so fragrant and gorgeous! And they come from our own yard.
We continue to find so much beauty in our new dining room table I shared about recently. It's such a beauty and I treasure it so much.

As you can see, we love to be at home. Our property has so many adventures just waiting for us. We hope you can say the same about your home as well!

Happy Mother's Day!

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