Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween Nostalgia

past post I did on Halloween popped up today in my news-feed and that lead me on nostalgic journey of Halloweens past. Man, time is a crazy thing. I can't stop smiling as I sift through images of my babies with cherub cheeks and baby grins, while at the same time tearing up from time gone by.

Wouldn't it be such an amazing thing to be given the opportunity to go back in time for a day? You would get to be you in that present time, but with the future knowledge you have now. Trippy! It would be so hard to choose, but I think I would go back to just an ordinary day at home when the kids were ages: Matt 2, Jon 3, Ella 4 and Abby 6. This was such a sweet time. Our family was complete and we were in a groove. What a gift it would be to go back and squeeze them and munch on their cheeks. There might only be one problem, I might not stop crying the whole time!

I decided to keep the nostalgia going and round up all the images from Halloweens past, so they could be in one place. Now I can scroll through the years gone by smiling and crying at the same time.

Two years in a row I didn't get a group picture, I could kick myself. Oh well, what are you going to do? These were some crazy years, I'll give myself some grace... collages will have to do. 

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Eighteen Years: What's Our Secret?

Today marks eighteen years of marriage. It seems like it has gone by in a blink and yet it also seems like we have been together forever. A lot has happened.

Yesterday evening we went on a family hike. It was a gorgeous fall evening, we hiked a path that overlooked the Rogue Valley. It was so nice being out in nature together, lots of room to stretch, breathe and explore freely. A big contrast to what we had experienced the night before. We confirmed our crew doesn't do well in small confined spaces as we attempted to tackle the "Escape Room." All chiefs, no Indians, trying to escape a small, dark, confined space, under the pressure of a ticking clock. Complete and utter chaos, which included tears, a lot of screaming and us realizing that if this was a true scenario, we would all be dead. If only we could have the video footage!

On our hike, we enjoyed watching our kids interact with each other. We were so proud as we watched them converse about various topics, laugh at each other's jokes and lean on one another when the path got steep. The boys would occasionally wrestle with each other, their way of communicating, "I love you." We might not do everything well, like rescue each other from sudden death, under pressure, in a false reality, but we know that no matter what happens in life we all have each others backs. We love each other deeply. They are products of us, our relationship. Not perfect, but passionate and committed. We don't have it all together, but together we have it all. If we've done one thing right, it's show them what it looks like to love.

We were nearing the end of our hike, Erik had been holding my hand the last quarter mile. Matt needed help with his shoe, so we stopped a second. When we started to walk again, Matt grabbed each of our hands individually and joined them back together. He said, "You know Mom, a lot of kids at school have parents that are divorced. But, that won't happen to you guys, because you love each other!"

They are watching us. They know what we have. They are just as into protecting it as we are!

I love this from The Message:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Our secret is that we don't have the option to give up. We committed from the beginning. At the young ages of 17 and 19, we knew the relationship we were stepping into was forever. When we fail, we still keep going. Always together. There is no option to give up, we have to figure it out. We challenge each other to become better. Loving each other more is our only option.. And so we do. 

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Quick Five Year Re-cap: "What was that all about?!"

I thought it would be good to get caught up. What's gone on these past five years?

Sometimes it feels like this

Since we last met:

We sold the Gypsy Cafe in Bailey, CO.

We sold our house in the mountains. My parents moved to Denver and we bought a house in Littleton, CO.

We re-homed Luke (our boarder collie) because of health issues, cried our eyes out and went and picked him up first thing the next morning.

We decided to travel on the road full-time and sold everything.

We traveled the United States (and a bit of Canada) for 6 months. It was an amazing experience and one we still crave from time to time.

We survived a major accident at the end of our 6 months on the road and moved to Oregon, the town Erik and I grew up in. We re-bought everything we sold.

We've built a successful business.

We've moved five times.

I worked on a few personal photography projects.

We went through therapy to overcome the trauma of the accident (we were a mess), which ended up helping me overcome a lot of hidden crap. Life changer! It's too much to mention here, but I see a future blog post going into more detail.

Erik and I have both gone through topical steroid withdrawal (I might go into my personal journey in a later post, but for those interested now, here is what it is:

The kids have all become pre-teen/teenagers.

We've brushed our teeth approximately 4380 times.

We've spent a collective 7110 hrs eating.

We've vacationed, made life-long new friends, re-connected with old friends, grown closer as a couple and a family and have defined even more what's important to us in life. We've laughed a ton, cried a ton, failed, succeeded, experienced and dreamed.

Oregon has been a great experience, but a new chapter is in front of us...

Where are we heading next?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017


It's been almost five years since I posted. I can't believe it, time is such a crazy thing.

A lot has happened in five years.

I decided to resurrect this blog and document our lives again. I keep getting Facebook notices of past blog posts and I realized how much I treasure those posts. I don't have a great memory (maybe I'll get into that in a later post) so I truly treasure being able to read back over those precious days with my babies, that are now teenagers... what! I want to remember these days too. In less than five years they are going to start leaving the nest. Accckkkk!! I can't process that right now...

So even though reading back over my past blogs makes me cringe at times, because of bad grammar, poor spelling and a ton of run on sentences. I don't care. I'm older now and I'm caring a whole lot less about what people think, gosh that's freeing! If you don't mind dealing with those flaws, I'd love for you to join me in digging this blog out of the grave and putting some life back into it. Fitting that it's right before Halloween (oh yeah, and you'll also have to put up with my cheesy references and jokes that won't always make sense!)

What you can expect from me:
- Sporadic posting (can't commit to a schedule right now).
- Guest posts from the hubby (I haven't told him yet but he encouraged me to start this blog again, so...).
- Transparency, it's my thing.
- A fun time, because that's what we do best!

And photos...

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last but Not Least: Date Day With Mommy and Her Littlest

Relationships take work. The parent-child relationship is no exception, but I think it's one that can easily be forgotten about. I think we can sometimes forget that just like our other relationships our children need that individual bonding time as well, especially as they get older and are more independent.

With the busyness of life it's easy for me to just go about our routine. I forget to take the time to really see the blessing my kids are on a more intimate level. They're happy, fed, bathed and loved so it's easy to think everything is great. I'm around them constantly and interacting with them daily, so it's easy to assume that all their needs are being met. Sure, I'm with them all the time and I giggle at their cuteness all day long. But there is something so different about giving them that undivided attention that brings a whole different dynamic to our relationship. They feel special and significant. They feel like they are needed and that I care about them when I purposefully make time to be with them. 

Just like we need date nights with our spouses, we also need them with our children. Sometimes you don't even realize how bad you need a date with your spouse until your on it. I've said to Erik on many dates, "I remember now why I love you so much." It's because I'm able to just focus on him, on us for that time. We walk away from our time together with a relationship that is strengthened and refreshed. So too we need that time with our children to build a healthy relationship with them. They are growing and changing so quickly, it's so important to get that quality time in because before you know it they will be grown. 

When date-days happen the kids know that our time together is completely about them, so they really let their personalities shine.  Without the intimidation and distraction of their siblings they are able to just be themselves in an entirely different way. As their mom, I know them better then anyone but I always see something in them that I hadn't seen before. I cherish these precious times with them and I know they do too!

It was Matt's turn. He was the last one to have his date day for the year. I'm so glad I had him go last because I think he was really able to enjoy and understand how important this time was with Mommy was. He talks almost daily about our date together. "Member mom, when we had our date?" So cute! We spent the day at the Children's museum, then went to the mall for a little dinner and some shopping. No agenda, just me and him having fun! 


It feels like just yesterday you were crawling around the house in your diaper trying to keep up with your brother and sisters. Now I look at you and you are an independent little man. I am sad when I think about you getting older because I want to hold on to these days of you being my sweet baby a little longer. I cherish the times that you ask me to still carry you. You tuck your little arms down between us so your all snuggled in... something you've always done. It's becoming less frequent and I know one day soon it will be the last time you ask, so until that time I will treasure every single snuggle. I secretly like when you have a nightmare because you crawl into our bed and I get to hold you and comfort you... holding on to those baby moments a little longer.  But as much as I want to keep you as my baby I also know that God has big plans for you. I can see this amazing little person you are becoming and my heart is overjoyed. 

I pray that you grow into a man completely dedicated to God, always looking to Him. I pray that you would be a man of integrity and a man that is always putting others before yourself. You have a heart that wants to please others, use that to serve those around you. You love to share, use that to bless others. By seeking your savior first your life will be full of happiness and your days filled with joy. 

I feel so blessed to be your mommy and I can't wait to see the good things God has in store for you!

Mama (please don't ever stop calling me that).

He told me he just wanted a little alone time because his belly hurt. I think he just wanted to try out the cool seat he found on the back of the door. Just hanging out in the bathroom stall at the super fun children's museum full of awesome exhibits. (hahahaha)

Lots and lots of bubbles... such a fun room.

Loves to cook!

And dance!

Getting his groove on!

At the mall that night they had the strangest little attraction. These gaudy ride-on toys. They cost a ridiculous amount of money to bring happiness to your kid for five minutes, but they were too funny not to let Matt try. And it was his day after-all and he wanted to rid them so bad it was as if we were in line for the Dumbo ride at Disneyland. He's so animated in everything he does and it was so funny watching him. Especially when he shared his turn with this old dude!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

My Life On the Farm as a King Cousin

The other night Erik was busy with school so I grabbed the remote and started channel surfing. There wasn't a whole lot on, but then I came across a classic, "Anne of Green Gables." It was starting in five minutes!  "I have to DVR this," I said as I was thinking of how I was going to cuddle up with my girls and introduce them to Anne with and "e" and the simple way of living that took place on Prince Edward Island. 

Erik quickly responded with,"Why?"

"What do you mean why? Because I love this movie. That's why!" I said with a "back-off" attitude. He was mocking me and ruining my feel good moment, he should know better than that by now. 

The truth is I want to live on Prince Edward Island. I want to be a King cousin and live in a simple but elegant home decorated with gorgeous frilly things. I want to wear fancy hats, dresses with lace and adorable leather boots with buttons up the side. There is a part of me that thinks there would be nothing greater than sitting on a big white front porch sipping on freshly squeezed lemonade, smelling the aroma of dinner from the kitchen window as I watch the children frolic in the island breeze. 

As my mind wonders the realist in me starts to come out and I start to think about the garden that's out back and how I'm going to have to tend that garden and grow those vegetables that are cooking in the kitchen. In the dirt. In the blazing hot sun. And how the dress I'm wearing is going to have to be washed after working in the garden. On a washboard. By hand. And how dirty the children are going to be after frolicking in the field and how they will need a bath. With water that I will have to boil. In a tub that I will have to fill. 

And let's not forget about Bessie the cow out back that has to be milked every morning at the crack of dawn. I'm not a morning person and getting up early to milk a cow sounds about as much fun as having my armpit hair plucked out one by one. I really don't think I'm up for that kind of commitment. 

I come to the conclusion that I really love my washer and dryer, my running hot water and the fact that I can drive in my car to the grocery store to buy bessie's milk. I will continue to dream of living on Prince Edward Island for all the positive reasons and then come back to reality when I realize I'm as cut out for farm life like Miss Piggy is for roller skates.

Even though I could never make it on a farm, I still allow a hint of my inner prairie-life to come out once an awhile. And when I say "hint" I might mean just a sliver of a hint. I might mean putting a few Pinterest ideas into action. Ones that are easy, don't require too much sewing and include all ingredients that I can find at my local grocery store! 

I am actually pretty proud of a recent discovery that makes me feel like I'm rolling up my sleeves and doing my part on the farm. I made my own laundry soap! I'm serious, I really did. It's easy, and it works! I'm hooked because this recipe requires no real skill at all, you just dump all the ingredients into a bucket. Also, it last forever, like six months or longer (we have nine people in our house). Everything you need to make it you can find at any grocery store. Here is the recipe I used. And it works awesome!

1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax 

1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda 

1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz 

3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent isle 

2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean 

1 container of laundry crystals (optional, but I love the added fragrance)

Directions: Grate the bars of Fels soap and then combine all ingredients!

I use 1/4 cup per load for our large front loader.

Here is a picture of what it looked like all said and done (before I added the crystals). Cool, huh?

The only thing that makes this next one somewhat prairie-like is that it involves pretty lace. I really don't think anyone on Prince Edward Island would approve of my new look. I would have all the townswoman gossiping about me and my ungodly ways the next time I ventured into town! 

At first I thought I was going to have to sew lace patches under my jeans, so I knew I was going to have to recruit my mom for that task. Then I realized, duh lace tights! I found them on Ebay. Seriously how cute is this? 

One of our favorite lines from Little House on the Prairie (I know, I'm mixing up shows here, but I also want to be Laura Ingalls!) is when Pa says, "There's nothing like a nice cup of coffee before bed." 

I couldn't do it Pa! Caffeine makes me crazy. I have realized that I function better off of caffeine. I have been off of it for a few months and I feel amazing. I don't wake up ready to bite someone that gets in between me and my coffee pot. My desire to be completely unproductive and take a nap every afternoon has ceased.  Here is a letter the girls wrote to me a week or so after I gave it up. 

It's really that noticeable!

I have a feeling this was not Ma or Pa's parenting style, but it pretty much sums up ours! 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and here's to a wonderful New Year! I have a feeling 2013 is going to be great!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Buddy Turns Six with a Captain America Party


You're killin me buddy, how in the world are you six years old? My heart is overwhelmed thinking of how fast time has gone. It feels like just yesterday I was staring at your cute little infant face asleep in my arms. But instead of focusing on how big you're getting, because I would easily turn into a blubbering mess, I'm going to focus on what a blessing you are to me and our family in this season of life. You are the sweetest boy I know. You have a heart of a servant and you always aim to please and love everyone around you. You have a smile that lights up the room and your "big eyes" captivate anyone who is listening to your current story. You are a very hard-worker. When I ask you to do something, your response is always, "I'm on it!" You love praise and in return love to give compliments. A day doesn't go by without you telling me how beautiful I am and how much you love me. You melt my heart daily. Your sense of humor keeps us all laughing and your comedic timing is ridiculous. You are passionate about movies and have told us that you want to grow up to be an actor, but not just any actor, a superhero actor of course. We can always count on you for the perfect movie line. Last night you were wiping down the kitchen table after dinner and I heard you in the kitchen saying, "Wax on, wax off." I'm so thankful for the joy you bring to our home everyday, keep making us laugh little man! 

I love that you are all-boy and at the same time you are a tender heart, you remind me a lot of your Daddy. The wife that God has for you is one lucky lady! For now I feel like the lucky lady that has the privilege of being your mama... I love that you call me mama. I see glimpses of what kind of man you are becoming and it makes my heart swell. God has given you so many wonderful gifts and talents and I know He has big plans for you. 

Jon my prayer for you is that you continue to let God direct your life, every-step-of-the-way. I pray that loving Him and loving others will be your life's mission and that you let Him use that huge heart of yours to do big things. I pray you would be a man of integrity and always put others before yourself. I pray you would continue to be a man of action and use that amazing work ethic to do great things. As your mom I want to pray that God would protect you and keep you from heartache, but I know that no matter what life holds for you that you are in His hands. 

All my love, 


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