Monday, March 23, 2020

Birthday Surprise / Value Village Find!

The day after Ella's birthday party was President's Day so we were all home having a lazy day. First thing in the morning I got a text from Jen asking if they could stop by and surprise Ella with a visit before they headed home to Spokane. 

Ella had no idea Logan was coming over. She answered the door Jen said she had this funny confused look on her face. They were only able to visit for a couple hours until they had to drive home, but it was still such a fun surprise! 

The day before Ella's birthday the kids were at Ga-Ga &Pa's and Michael & I had a date day. We stopped at Value Village to look around. I found a few workout clothes for Ella since she said she needed new ones for Gymnastics. She only ended up liking one shirt and one workout coat. You have to return things to Value Village within 7 days and since they have 50% off on holidays it was a good day to go in. Ella ended up getting a few things...her favorite was this fun bright puffy vest. 

I ended up finding these....

Prince Albert Rose Cottage China. 

I about fell over when I saw it. I was sure it was a fake. There was no way this could be at Value Village. I turned it over and was shocked to see it was legit. I was then sure its was going to be all individually price, but again I was floored when I looked at the price tag and it said $20 for all of it!!!!! Are you kidding me! I scooped it up and put it in the cart still not 100% sure I was going to buy it. When we were finished shopping I decided to look online to see how expensive this china is....I found one 8 inch salad plate for $18.95. After that I didn't need to look any further I knew I was buying it. It is almost a full set of 4. It's just missing 2 tea cups & saucers and one of the cups and saucers has a small chip in it, but still $20 for all this was a steal! I would actually like to have a set for 8, but this is a great start. Now I just have to start frequenting antique shops or thrift stores to find the other pieces to the set. It's going to be a fun treasure hunt! 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Ella's Teahouse Birthday Party!

I've mentioned before how it's our tradition to have theme birthday parties for our kids through their 9th birthday. For their 10th birthday we will pay for them to go somewhere fun. Ella has been planning her 10th birthday party for years!!! 

She wanted to go to the Secret Garden Teahouse in Sumner with her girlfriends. 

She couldn't invite all her friends, but every girl she was able to invite was able to come. This isn't all the girls...a few hadn't arrived yet. 

I had called and tried to reserve her party last year, but they told me they wouldn't have their schedule for February until after January 1st. I called that first week in January and got everything set up. I had told the Mom's that they were more than welcome to come to the party, but I would only be paying for the girls. When I first sent out the Facebook invite I said that the cost would be $30 per person because that's what it said online, but when I called in to make the reservation that price had gone up because of the increase in minimum wage. The Mom's actually ended up paying $36 per person, but they were all fine with that. We only had one Mom that couldn't make it since she was working. 

When we got in the teahouse we looked into the front room and saw two tables that were all set up. I wasn't sure if those were our tables, but I figured they were. I talked with the hostess and she confirmed they were our tables, but there were these other older ladies there that thought one of the tables was theirs. I walked away and let the hostess take care of everything. I was a little nervous, but I had been emailed numerous times confirming our party so I knew we were okay. Come to find out they didn't complete their reservation so they didn't actually have one for their was 10 ladies. I felt bad, but at the same time I was so happy that our reservation hadn't been messed up. 

All the girls sat at one table.
L to R - Lily, Ella, Helena, Kendra, Olivia, Caitlin, Addison, Anna & Riley. 

Us Mom's sat at the table right next to them....Christina, Ga-Ga & Kim. 

I hadn't really ever been able to hang out with the mom's of Ella's school friends so it was fun to get to know them better. Jessica is Helena's mom, Sheila is Olivia's mom and Lindsey is Riley's mom. 

The birthday girl herself! Her tea party was on her actual birthday too so that made it even more special! 

Precious Kuch girls! 

Us Mom's got the same thing the girls did except we had different sandwiches. The girls got to choose, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and honey or ham and mayo. The tomato basil soup was so yummy. Some of the girls didn't like it so us Mom's got extra. 

My pretty girl! 

Ella got a cute little personalize cake and we sang happy birthday to her. 

Then it was present time!!!

This fuzzy card sang a silly birthday song to her. 

She's SO expressive! 

This was from's one of those bracelet machines. It's been so fun making bracelets for all her friends. 

Anna & Addison know how much Ella loves bling so they got her this beautiful bracelet! They also got her some scented hand lotion. 

Olivia got Ella this cool Peacock painting! As you can see she loves it! 

At Christmas time Rachael told me she was getting her older girls both 2 in 1 laptops. Ella has been begging me for a laptop for over a year. I had already bought all her Christmas presents, but that's the nice thing about having a birthday right after the new year. I got her the purple one and she was over the moon!!!! 

Miss Kim & Caitlynn got Ella a pair of earrings and the next Owl Diaries book in the series. 

Riley got her Scrunchies and you'd thought she died and went to heaven! She also got her squishies and fake nails...all the best girly things! 

Rachael was the only Mom that couldn't come since she was working. Her and the girls got Ella this fun backpack that is a baby holder her for One Generation Doll. She also got her 2 sets of clothes. 

Ga-Ga got Ella 2 more sets of clothes for her doll and a cute highchair so her doll can sit at the table and eat. 

Party girls! 

Helena & Ella

Lily, Ella & Kendra

Anna, Ella & Addison

Olivia & Ella

Riley & Ella

Caitlin & Ella

All these beautiful girls! 

Now all the girls with their moms! 

Jessica & Helena

Sheila & Olivia

Kim & Caitlynn

Christina, Anna & Addison

Lindsey & Riley

Me, Ga-Ga & Ella

I got my dress on Amazon specifically for the party. It's a maxi dress and it is almost too long. I had to wear my booties and I still had to be careful to pick up my dress. I'm planning on hemming it so I can wear it again and wear sandals instead of heels. 

Since the girls didn't really have time to play together we had a few of them come over after the party for a pajama party. 

They played with Ella's toys, ate popcorn and watched Descendants. Helena was planning on spending the was going to be her first friend sleepover. Unfortunately Ella got overly tired and I think she over ate at her party because she ended up puking. She always seems to puke on her birthday. I think Helena would have been okay if that hadn't happened, but it worried her so she decided to go home for the night. Ella was okay with it since she was so tired. Even with the night ending on a sour note it was still a fantastic birthday for Ella. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

New Glasses!

Back on January 3rd, Michael and all the kids went to have their eye exams. 4 of them ended up needing glasses...some more than others. I'm not sure what the problem was, but it took over a month for 3 of the glasses to come in and then even longer for Owen's since they sent only the frames with no lenses. 

Ella has one eye that needs a little bit of help, but only for reading. 

It's so crazy to me that after over 20 years of marriage now Michael's the one that needs glasses. This is honestly the only time I've seen him in his glasses though. He really only needs them for reading and working on the computer when his eyes get tired. He chose to take his glasses to work and only used them there. 

Jack is in the same boat as Ella...he only has one eye that needs some help. He keeps his glasses in his backpack and uses them sometimes at school to read. 

Side note: I was so excited to find this shirt at Target when I was shopping online for shirts for Owen. He is so into Harry Potter right now and he's all about Gryffindor!

Owen is the kiddo that really needed glasses and funny enough he was the one that didn't want them. He is so stubborn when it comes to change. After a week or so of arguing with him he finally started wearing them more on his own. He does take them off during the day if they are playing a game or wrestling. Just the other day he was playing on the computer and he said...."I'm gonna go get my glasses!" so evidently he's noticing the difference and they are in fact helping. 

Zeke was the only one that didn't need any sort of glasses and he was so sad he started crying. Isn't that how it is...we always want what we can't have. The lady felt so sorry for him she reached into a drawer and gave him a pair of extra frames that didn't have lenses in them. He was a happy camper after that! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Valentine's Day!

I'm not a huge Valentine's Day celebrator, but I did want to do something a little special so Ella and I worked together to make the table look all pretty. 

I used our fancy china from our wedding, the gold flatware that my parents gave us and the crystal glasses Michael got years ago. I didn't have a festive Valentine colored tablecloth, but I did have this white one. I ended up using the napkins I bought for the Christmas dinner as placemats. I also looked online and watched a video for how to fold napkins into hearts. It was time consuming with all the ironing, but it turned out cute. 

Once the table was set Ella ran upstairs and came down with her red vase of fake flowers. It was the perfect touch to finish off our place setting. For dinner I made Steak with Gorgonzolla sauce, Parmesan Pasta and roasted Zucchini rounds. It was so yummy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Goals For 2020!

Here's our goals for 2020! 

House Goals: 

Install Flagpole
Get Halo installed on the furnace 
Go through and organize everything
Maintain yard & garden beds
Patch and paint all interior damage
Paint trim around all the windows

Money Goals:

Save for truck
Sell Fusion
Buy Truck
Replenish 3-6 month fund

Vacation Goals: 

April - Michael's work conference
June - Camping @ Deception Pass
July - Family Reunion in Wyoming
July/Aug - Family Reunion in Oregon
September - Michael's work conference
October - San Antonio Trip to celebrate Michael and I turning 40! 

Family Goals: 

Take one kid on a date each month

Owen - March, July & November
Jack - January, May & September
Ella - April, August & December
Zeke - February, June & October

Do a family fun activity every other month with all the kids
Play more games together
Go to Wild Waves @ least 6x

Michael's Goals: 

Have 2 co-worker BBQ's 
Have more people over from church or the neighborhood
Host game nights
Incident Command School
Play w/kids more
Read Extreme Ownership

Lyndsay's Goals: 

Workout regularily - twice with Rachael and twice a home each week
Mentor new believers 
Do devotions with kids every night & every morning
Read Relationship book with Owen & Jack
Read books during the day
Don't worry about politics

Kids Goals: 

Owen - Buy the computer game Starcraft 3 

Jack - Finish AWANA book so he can go to camp

Ella - To get to a level 1R in her reading

Zeke - Continue working on talking like a big boy & try to be more careful so he doesn't hurt himself

Monday, February 17, 2020

Ella's 10 Year Old Pictures!

For Ella's photo session she had the same photographer that Owen had the week before. I was so happy...she was great! She asked me to write on the chalkboard and then I gave it to Ella. She added the little lines at the bottom of the 'm' and then made the 1 look more like a 1. I love that she put her own little touch on it. 

She's such a beauty! 

The morning of her pictures was a bit stressful. Kendra and Lily had spent the night and we hadn't really picked out her clothes for her pictures. She also hadn't decided on what prop to take with her. At first she chose Charlotte...her cat she sleeps with and then she changed her mind and decided to bring Phoebe. While I was getting my purse and it was time to walk out the door I noticed that Ella had put Phoebe in a bright pink outfit that was totally ragged and wrinkled. It clashed horribly with her outfit so I told her she needed to find a different outfit for her. She thankfully was able to find the outfit that came with Phoebe the only downside was it was balled up in a bag so it was a wrinkled mess. Here we were running late for her pictures and I was ironing tiny doll clothes. The funny thing is you can't even really see Phoebe's clothes at all in the picture. Ugh...the things we do for our children! 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ella Is Double Digits!

My Ella Grace is 10 years old!!! 

I do not know what to think about that! 

10 years...a whole decade! 

This time last year Ella was NOT feeling well at all. Poor girl had Logan over on her actual birthday and she spent most of it laying in our bed so her and Logan could at least be together watching movies. We even ended up postponing her party. It was so sad! February is typically a hard month for our family in regards to sickness. Praise Jesus this year has not been like that at all. 

This is Ella with her tooth money right after she turned 9. This girl....teeth just fall out of her head. It's nuts really! She has even had two teeth crack and the tiny piece came out, but the bigger part stayed in. She even had an appointment with the dentist to have the other half pulled out since it was not good having food get stuck under it and sitting right up against her new adult tooth. The dentist gave her a little over a month in order to get it out herself and she did! Just in the nick of time with only 3 days to spare. Thankfully the other tooth that cracked she worked that one out in a few days. She is a great tooth pullerer. I am pretty sure she is now finished losing teeth....ahead of Jack! 

This last summer Ella was getting more and more comfortable on her bike. She was even ride up onto and off of the sidewalks. 

Cute little chipmunk teeth! We did go to the orthodontist again and he wants us to check back in a year to see if Ella's mouth will be ready for braces by then. She is very concerned about her teeny tiny grown up teeth on either side of her upper front teeth. She knows that she's going to get fake teeth and she's happy about that. Every time she talks about getting braces she always mentions the fact that she wants them to close up the gap between her two top teeth as well. That's trait that comes from both sides of the family so it's not a surprise that she has one. 

She thought this was so funny at the Pacific Science Center! 

Ella likes to try out new hairstyles, but then very rarely wears them out of the house. Her favorite hair style is wearing her hair down or in a braid.

Ella loves her Daddy so much! She also loves that he can still pick her up and he says she's light. Unlike me...I about kill myself trying to hold her up. 

Our sweet angel girl does still need more sleep than the boys, but we have noticed that she can go longer than she used to and not end up with a headache. 

This was when we were at the date party at Great Wolf Lodge and she was done...once she gets to that point there's nothing we can do except get her to bed. Thankfully she hasn't had an instance like this in months. 

I had so much fun with my sweet girl at the Sweet Treat spa at GWL. I hope there are many more girl spa days in our future. 

My pretty girl is definitely getting into make-up. She likes to wear lip gloss out of the house and she does make-up with her friends when they are playing, but she always asks if it's okay.

Ella loves her pretty cabin that Pa made especially for her! I love how he made the roof have a scalloped look which is different than that boys. Such a fun touch of femininity! 

Ella loves Awana's! Last year she struggled with memorizing the verses, but this year she has really taken off. 

Ella was such a sweet girl last spring helping Mommy in the front garden. I just love working along side her...even if she supervising from the shade drinking a Slurpee! :) 

While in the garden we decided to clean up Penelope and then Ella really wanted to paint her. I'm so glad I let her! 

She turned out so cute and we've end had neighbors stop and comment on how pretty she looks. 

My sweet girl is so picky with her clothes! I have told her that I will not buy her clothes unless she goes with me from now on. We have also had talks about how leggings are for little girls. When she starts to develop into a young lady we will be transitioning to more appropriate clothes for her body like jeans or she'll have to wear more dresses with leggings under them. 

Ella was just talking about her baptism the other day and how the water washed her sins away. We did talk about how baptism isn't what washes away our sins it's what's Jesus did for us on the cross, but that the water baptism signifies that. 

Ella Grace loves her kitty boy! 

Oh my goodness...friends!!! Ella LOVES her friends!!! She has so many and still she has room for more. She's just so fun to be around. Ella has this amazing ability to also turn "enemies" or kids not being nice to her into friends. She's done it at school numerous times. She such an example to me to not judge someone by a few actions, but to be kind and give them grace. 

She is still right in the thick of things with the boys...climbing, jumping, playing name it she's gonna play! 

Finishing up 2nd grade! 

Miss Castle was the best 2nd grade teacher!!! 

Ella loves animals! 

Dogs, cats, bunnies and horses. She was so happy that she got to feed the horses next to Miss Ruth's house during a BBQ for Papa's birthday. 

Ella braided her scarf into her hair and wanted me to take a picture and send it to Papa & Miss Ruth! 

This is one of my favorite pictures of Ella. There's nothing particularly special about's 4th of July and she's in her patriotic dress with booties no less! But something about it just screams...JOY! She may be holding a sparkler that shines bright, but she shines brighter! 

Mama and sissy sun bathing at Wild Waves!!! 

Speaking of bunnies...Charlie got a hold of a baby bunny and I found it huddled next to the house under where the hose is. It wasn't moving, but it was alive. Ella wanted to hold it and at first we didn't know it was injured, but then it became clear that it was dying. Ella held it and petted it until it passed away. Oh my precious girl was crushed! Big crocodile tears streaming down her face! Her and Zeke even had a hard time going to sleep that night. I told her that at least in the last moments of it's life it got to be held and comforted by her. It still breaks my heart thinking about it. 

Even though Charlie murders things she still loves him! 

Ella loves her brothers, but as you can imagine they do fight. I will say that she gets along probably the best with Zeke just because he will still play with her, but she also loves to play outside with Jack. Owen and her argue the most...probably because they are a lot alike and they are each others buddy. 

The picture of Jack and Ella above was taken the day we found out that we all had lice. Good times! Thank the Lord for Lice Clinic of America and a great health benefits savings account! :) 

Chilling with my girly in my hammock! 

In August last year we got to go visit Logan for a few days. I just love how the girls pick right back up where they left off. I do hope they continue to be that way as they get older. 

Finishing out the summer at Wild Waves with friends was epic! I'm so glad we got season passes again! 

3rd grade...Ella's coming for you! 

Ella loves to help me and I just love having her company. She did such a good job helping me paint the playroom. 

On a nature hike with Daddy and boys! 

She was a pretty savage pirate for Halloween! 

I tried to make Ella's hair look like Rey from Star Wars. 

Getting crafty is something that Ella really enjoys. She does like it to be in smaller increments. If it's something with a lot of steps and takes multiple days she can lose interest. 

Cold shoulder shirts are all the rage and she can't wait to get more of them. I did find one the other day at JCPenney's, but she decided she wanted a new dress instead. 

I love love love that Ella still enjoys playing with her dolls and make believe play. Childhood goes by so fast and I just want her to stay young as long as she can. A couple days ago she was telling me that she wants to stay a kid for a long time since being an adult is hard. Word girlfriend...hold on to it for dear life! 

She has the best reactions! 

Doing crafts with my girl! 

Going on a date to see Frozen 2! 

Loving on her Daddy was the perfect way to ring in the New Year! 

One night while we were watching TV she asked me to find her scar from her brain surgery. 

On Valentine's Day we went to her Neurologist to have her checked out. She hasn't been in to see him for 2 years. He was just amazed by her. She is doing so great! He even said that some of the balance and coordination things he was having her do were beyond what a 10 year should normally be doing. I wondered if it has to do with her being in gymnastics. It was also nice to hear that her shunt is functioning properly and she doesn't really have any signs of ever having a problem. Her head shape is also almost completely normal...her knobbies as we lovingly called them are almost gone!!! God is so good! 

This is what Ella is saving her money up to get....a One Generation Classroom for her two dolls. It's the cutest thing really....little desks, a while board, a clock, cubbies for students and so much more. Ella is still saying she's going to be a teacher at her school one day. 

We got just a little bit of snow this year. Since the yard was barely covered Ella chose to make a snow angel on the deck instead. 

Ella has one eye that needs a little help to see better. She mainly just wears her glasses at school though. 

Loving on Phoebe right before getting her 10 year old birthday pictures taken. 

The dress she found after getting her pictures sort of matches Phoebe's outfit and she just fell in love with it. She's going to wear it to The Secret Garden Tea House for her birthday. 

Ella is quite the artist and her love of whiteboards and dry eraser markers has not waned one bit. She showed me this drawing the other day that she traced from I believe her hand and Zeke's....either that or she traced her had twice. No matter I still thought it was quite fitting since she's turning 10 years old! 

Ella Beanie....You are so special. You are a light that shines in the darkness. I know that you've had a tough class this year with lots of hardships and a few kids that have struggled to make good choices, but I really admire you for not letting it get you down. You focus on what you need to do and you in turn are a great example for others to follow. Your teachers all love you and your work ethic. You try so hard to do the best you can at everything. You never give up! Your favorite subject is Math and you told me it's your favorite because it challenges you. What a great attitude to have! 

Speaking of challenge...for the last month or so you have been challenging yourself in a new way. You've been reintroducing food dye into you diet. You really wanted to try and see if you could eat it without getting a headache and throwing up. I told you it was your body so you could make the decision and so far so good! I don't know if you've just grown out of it, but no matter it's been awesome for you to be able to enjoy all the same things your brothers get to. 

Ella Grace...My sweet sweet girl! I love you so much and I know I say this every year, but I'm so thankful that God knew I needed a little girl in my life. From the moment I saw you on the screen at the doctor's office and it was confirmed that you were a girl...I was hooked! You are truly a gift from God! It always makes me sentimental writing these posts talking about another year of your life because I know it's just getting me one day closer to you being all grown up. At the same time I love looking back at these birthday posts and reading a snapshot of your life at a certain age. You have brought such joy to our lives at each age and I know that the joy you have now will only increase as you grow up. 

Ella...God has made you shine and I don't ever want you to let someone tell you that you can't shine. You are beautiful, you are smart, you are kind and you are perfect just the way you are! Mama loves you so much precious! 

Happy 10th Birthday Ella!