Thursday, April 30, 2015

3 Kids, My Thoughts After Two Years In

Judah said something to me on the way home from school the other day, that I just haven't been able to let go. From the back seat, he randomly piped up "Hey Mom! You know what? I'm glad we have Eliza in our family. Having a baby has taught me so much." 
Those words of his...I needed them so much.

Since adding Eliza to our family 2 years ago, I've felt spread too thin, more often than not. Someone always needs me and someone else is always having to wait for something. Some days I go to bed with terrible guilt, convinced that I am not enough. When you have 3 young kids, you can't go and do all of the things as easily as someone who has 2 or 1, or kids much older. For me, having the 3rd has been the breaking point, where I no longer have it all together. However, my JOY has truly tripled. 

I've been watching how Judah and Paisley are with Eliza and while it might not as easy for me to take them all to certain places, for example, a pool to go swimming (nope- I wouldn't do that alone), the experience of having a baby in our home has been such a rich and irreplaceable experience for them.

The other day, Judah and Paisley were building all sorts of neat creations with blocks in the living room. Well, you can only imagine what happened when Eliza decided to join in. Two year old's don't build, they destroy. To solve the problem, I overheard Paisley ask Eliza to take her hand and come with her. To prevent Eliza from destroying what they'd just built, she gently led her off to another room and then played with her for awhile.

That baby sister of their's throws fits and she gets into their stuff. When she naps, they need to be quiet and sometimes we can't go as many places because it's too hard for me with all 3 of them.
However.....they know how to care for her and they are so much better from it. They love her and I can honestly say they haven't complained, not even once.

Right now, in my journey with 3 littles, I'm especially thankful for what a beautiful experience this is for my older ones. No, it's not easy for them, but I've never wished for my kids to have an easy life. I wish for them to have a life filled with opportunities to give and receive love. For opportunities to be taught and to teach. For patience, kindness, problem solving abilities and for a sensitivity towards the needs of others. And mostly, for the BIG  joy that comes when you pour out the love God's given us on someone else.
A real friend helps you roll up your pants, before encouraging you to go all in.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pine and Cedar Lakes

Our monthly ladies hikes continue to be one of my favorite days of the month. This last week, we had 9 ladies and together we did the Pine and Cedar Lakes trail.

Here are a few photos from our little adventure:
Thinking of our good friend who lost her brother and his family recently. She speaks the message "Love Well" so bravely, even during this most difficult time. We're so proud of her.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Books I've Read in the First Third of 2015

Seeing as we're almost a third of the way through the year, I thought I'd take a moment to go back over my "12 Books I'd Like to Read in 2015" list and give a little update with where I'm at.
Here are the books that were on my list:
Here are a few of the books I've read.......

1. Hands Free Mama- I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book. I can't recommend it highly enough and if you think it's only about putting your phone down more, think again. This book encouraged me to play with my kids and look for the special moments, which she calls "sunset moments". This book was excellent.

2. Love Does- This book was a quick easy read. It inspired me to show my love for the people in my life with action. I love how Bob Goff writes and I think he seems like an amazing man. I hope he writes another book!

3. Day Hike, North Cascades- Well, this book isn't so much a book to sit and read cover to cover, but I'm happy to own it and I love having it as a reference. I love how it lists hikes by location, skill level and it gives a lot of information for each hike. Definitely a good book to own.

4. Passionate Nutrition- This book started out a bit heavy for me, but I think it's coming around. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it and I'm starting to like it better than when I started it. What I'm enjoying about her perspective is how she encourages her reader to heal their body with food, not medicine. She views food as fuel. When we eat in a positive way, we can give our body health, energy and make ourselves better people. Her message is not "dieting", but life long habits of choosing health for our bodies. I like that.
5. So this book, "Nobody's Cuter Than You" wasn't on my list for this year, but I just couldn't help but buy it. The mail man delivered it yesterday and I can't wait to dive in. Doesn't it look wonderful?

6. Doula Books- These books weren't on my list either, but after a very inspiring coffee date with a dear friend, I decided to start doing the required reading, just in case I ever do pursue becoming a doula. The only thing that holds me back is the darn childcare piece. Having to plan around when I lady could go into labor, is like the most complicated thing.
So, who knows when or if I'll ever pursue this....In the meantime, I've been enjoying these books.

If you haven't entered the giveaway yet for these wonderful children's books, head over and enter right now. It ends in less than two days!
Click here for the giveaway.
So, which books have you read so far this year? Any good ones you'd recommend?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Faithful in the Small

We started seeds in egg cartons during one of my favorite MOPS meetings this year. Planting seeds is sort of like planting hope to me. You plant something small, believing if it receives what it needs to thrive, it'll turn into something great. Sometimes you can't see the growth and you wonder if your tiny seed is growing. Rain comes and then sunshine. One day, you step out and see how that tiny seed has sprouted into something beautiful. Even if it didn't look like it was thriving, it was. You just couldn't see it. 

Over the last few weeks, those little seeds from our MOPS meeting have thrived and their roots have been stretching out beyond the small egg cartons they called home. As the cartons sagged with moisture and roots begged for more space, I wondered where I should plant these little seedlings. We have just about a month left here. My garden will soon no longer be mine. We laugh because we don't know where we'll live.  We know we won't be homeless and we know that God has a big awesome plan, but we're still waiting on the plan to be revealed. 

What I do know is we wanted this and when you pray for something and it starts happening, you don't complain. You pull out your sense of humor and look at the big, crazy situation as a wild adventure. Right now, as I begin to pack boxes, call on rentals and even look into the rates at a RV park, I just can't help but crack up. This is truly a crazy adventure.

Paisley and I ended up transplanting those tiny pumpkins, zucchinis, cucumbers and squash plants on Sunday afternoon. Since we won't be here much longer, we planted just a little less than half in pots and planted the rest for the family who's buying our home.

A tiny portable garden doesn't feel ideal right now, but I'm reminding myself this is only temporary and it can actually be really special to plant a garden for another family.

If I ever want a larger garden, I think I need to be okay with planting a garden for someone else first. It all goes back to being faithful in the small things. Planting for someone else, living in a small house or even an RV for a short time, changing a diaper with a smile, reading the same books over and over. Learning how to do the daily things with great joy, before ever expecting something better.

I think God looks for the people who have mastered the small things, before giving them more. 

Small things we've been enjoying....

Fresh herbs outside the coop.
Kids rolling down the hill. Judah, in jammies with the feet caught off, because they're too small, but he can't let them go just yet.
 Freckle season, as my sis Kelsey calls it.
 This baby, singing to her chickies.
 Evenings that feel like summer.
 Eggs, washed by Paisley (hence the cracked one). I'd say 1/12 isn't too bad.
 Saturday morning breakfast from the tiny garden and the happy hens.

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
-Mother Teresa

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Favorites

Wrapping the week up with a few things that caught my eye this week.

Favorite Photograph. 
"This is the definition of strength, love, and pure raw beauty. Mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer halfway through pregnancy with her surprise gender baby. She had one breast removed and underwent chemo while carrying her miracle baby. She was induced at 36 weeks in order to receive more treatment. Baby BOY was born ready to prove to the world his strength he inherited from his strong mommy."

Kate Murray, you captured one of the most powerful photographs I've ever seen.
Favorite Blog Post.
What To Do, When You Want Light To Overcome Dark. By Ann Voskamp.

“While others run fast, you can just shuffle with perseverance.While others impress, you can simply press on. While others stop for the dark, you can run through the dark."
Favorite New Item on My Mother's Day "Wish-List"
Ya'll know I love Joanna Gaine's and so duh, of course I'd love this candle! Her signature candle features her favorite linen scent and a long-lasting woodwick. Oh hey Joanna???? You listening? Let's do a giveaway?! Ha! I wish.....

Favorite DIY
I've always tried to avoid sunscreen, due to all the harsh chemicals it contains. I absolutely can't wait to give this a try!
Favorite New Website
Discover the NW, was founded just about a month ago, by two adventurous and darling people, James and Nicky. This NW blog is packed full of all the wonderful things the amazing Northwest has to offer. Make sure to go "like" their page here on Facebook to keep up with all the latest posts. 
Have a happy weekend. Have any fun plans?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Turning Your Child's Art Into Notecards

A few weeks ago, I got a wild idea. I wanted to turn some of my favorite pieces of kid art into note cards. These kids of mine are constantly coloring, drawing and designing, with their imaginations running wild. It's one of my absolute favorite things to watch them do. But, do I save it all? Ha! No way! Our home would be filled to the roof with paper.
So, I started stashing away a few of my favorites and yesterday we took their art into our Copy/Print store, just to see if this idea was even possible. Guess what? It totally worked and it wasn't even hard.

Within a few minutes, that nice guy right there had scanned in the kids pictures, shrunk them down to fit two per page, and printed them onto cardstock.
When we came home, I used my paper cutter to cut each page in half and then I folded them to make cards. 

I did the math and these cards came out to be just about 50 cents a piece.

I filled up a plastic box with the notecards and I hope my Mom isn't reading this, because I'm pretty sure I know what her Mother's Day gift is going to be.

If you'd love to turn your child's art into notecards, simply take your favorite pieces (they need to be on white paper) into a Copy/Print store. Ask them to scan it, shrink it down to fit two per page and then have them print your child's design onto nice cardstock.

Package the note cards up in a cute box for a grandparent or teacher gift or save them for yourself.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

5 Things I Learned From My First 5K

Back in January, I did sort of a wacky thing. I signed up for my first 5K run. Since it was a Color Run and hey----color is awesome and fun, it didn't take much for my sister to pull me on board. After I signed up, I was totally pumped about the generous amount of time I had to train.
In my mind, this was going to be perfect. This would be the ideal reason to use the treadmill we own, that I don't use often enough. Woohoo! I was excited.

So, I started training. For a few weeks, I stayed on schedule (with this program) and then, since I had an ample amount of time to train, I fell off track. I mean, why run if you don't really have to? How about waiting until I actually really need to train? And so, I didn't train like I should have- that is, until the Color Run 5K was right around the corner and I realized that oh darn, I'm really signed up to run and I'm NOT A at all.

Running is something that's always been hard for me, but I started doing it anyway. I made peace with the fact that it sometimes sort of feels awful. I get side aches. I breath loud. However, on a positive note- it's super-duper rewarding. Although I'm still such a beginner, I've got to say I think I'm actually starting to like it. The burn tells me I'm getting stronger and you know what? I want to be a strong Mama. I want to do crazy runs and hikes and all sorts of things when I'm an old lady. It just sounds fun to me.

When I'm running, I think about the fact that I CAN run. Some people are stuck in bed with a debilitating illness and they'd only wish to be out pounding pavement with sweat dripping from them. When I run, I thank God that although it's hard, I can and so.....I do. 

The Color Run 5K was an absolute blast. If you've never ran a 5K and you think you need to be an all out "real runner" to do such a thing, please squish that idea right now.

Here are 5 Things I Learned From My First 5K

1. Not everyone runs the entire thing!
What a relief, right? You can do run/walk intervals and you'll still totally fit in. We walked quite a bit and we still made great time. You do NOT need to run every moment of it!

2. It's way more fun to do it with FUN friends.
The two friends I did the run with were absolutely wonderful. We were all there to simply have a great time and when one of us needed to slow down, we all slowed down. These girls were the perfect running partners. I seriously love them.

3. If you're into coffee, have some about an hour before and then pee right before the run.
We arrived early and walked to Starbucks. My americano kicked in right as the run started and Yeehaw! I had a spring in my step!

4. Expect to see ALL levels of runners there. 
Like I mentioned above, I didn't stick to my training perfectly. It was a relief to see all levels at the Color Run. Some gals had strong runners legs. Others looked like they'd never run before. All different levels and body types will be there and for me, a beginner, I found this kind of nice!

5. I can do it, you can too, and it's a total BLAST. 
Before the run, I looked for reasons to bow out. I hadn't trained like I'd planned, I thought everyone would run the entire thing, I thought I'd look like an absolute fool. Oh my word....I'm so glad I didn't cancel! If I would have let my insecurities win, I would have missed one of the BEST Saturday mornings I've enjoyed in a long time.

Friday, April 17, 2015


When we moved in, there wasn't a single tree, flower or bush. 4 years later, it hardly looks like the same place around here! The grass is green, there are more trees than you can count, the garden beds that Jeremiah built me have brought me more joy than I ever knew was possible and oh yeah...we did that BIG kitchen remodel. That was crazy.....and so worth it.

Today I got a call from the sweetest lady, a real estate agent looking to purchase a home for herself and her 2 kids. She said she wouldn't mind if we were here while she looked around and since I've been rushing our kids out for showings all week, I opted to stay.

While I gave her the tour, we clicked. She shared some of her story with me and while we stood in the driveway, talking about life, kids and homes, we both got tears in our eyes.

Right before she left, she told me she was heading back to her office to submit her offer. This afternoon, I signed next to her name and I feel like I couldn't have picked a better person to hand our keys over to.

It's NOT all said-and-done with a SOLD sign in the driveway and this may sound wonky, but I've been praying over the family that buys this place. I've prayed for God to help them make special memories here, like we have. Today I saw God's hands all over this crazy adventure we're on.
So, I guess we're pending! Whoop!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Elliott the Otter and Arrow to Alaska Giveaway!

When Judah was only 2 years old, a gal came and spoke to our MOPS group about preparing our kids for school. She gave lots of different suggestions, but what she drilled into us  more than anything was "Read, read, read to your kids." That's about it.

Reading with my kids has become one of my absolute favorite things. It's our sweet spot, I guess you could say. It's when we're on the couch, reading together, that right then, I know I'm doing exactly what I should be doing, nothing more, nothing less. Just reading.

Today I'm combining my love for the Pacific Northwest, with my absolute obsession with beautiful books and bringing you all a really fun giveaway: Arrow to Alaska, A Pacific Northwest Adventure and Elliott the Otter, The Totally Untrue Store of Elliott, Boss of the Bay.

These books perfectly combine Pacific Northwest living, with fun illustrations and a story line kids can easily relate to. I absolute love them.

Arrow to Alaska

A Pacific Northwest Adventure

"Elliott the Otter lives in Elliott Bay and claims that it’s named after him. And why wouldn’t it be, since he’s in charge of its daily activity? From the freighters bringing in cargo from around the world to the salmon passing through on their way upstream, Elliott is the boss of it all. Young readers will delight in Elliott’s antics as they learn about the bustling bay in Seattle’s Puget Sound.
John Skewes is a professional illustrator living in Seattle. He began work as a product designer and character artist for Disney Consumer Products before leaving to start his own company, Retrodyne Industries, in 2001. As the creator and illustrator of the award-winning Larry Gets Lost children’s book series, John has followed Larry from the southern tip of Texas to tiny Nome, Alaska, and has been lost several times himself. He has illustrated over twenty children’s books.

Eric Ode is a national award-winning children’s singer, songwriter, and the author of Sea Star Wishes. He lives in Bonney Lake, WA."

Enter the giveaway by using the Raffelcopter below, or just leave a comment telling me who'd you love to read these books with. The winner will be notified by email. 
Happy Reading! 


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