Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ella's Room Is Finally Completed!!!

After months and months of being on back order the final touches to Ella's room arrived in the mail a week or so ago. Ga-Ga had ordered these for Ella's January I think. They were so loved by so many people they were completely out of stock. It was worth the wait. I love how whimsical it makes her room feel! And as I'm sure you can imagine she is absolutely in love with them.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Little Mt. Si!

Last Thursday and Friday the boys were both out of school due to Student Led Conferences. Because of this Michael thought it would be nice if he took a half day off work so we could go hiking. The weather was so gorgeous we definitely wanted to take advantage of it. 

We had been playing around with where to go....Tiger Mountain, Snake Lake. Owen wanted to climb a real mountain so we ended up choosing Little Mt. Si. I have not climbed Little Mt. Si since probably 2004 when we were up there with our friends Micah and Kim. I don't remember much about the trip except I think I lost the cover to where the batteries go on my camera...I found it on the way down and the fact that I seriously thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I was not in very good shape then...I sat at a computer for 8 hours a day! This time around I'm in such better shape....who said that homemakers sit around and do nothing all day! 

One of the main reason we choose this hike was because it would be a good indicator as to how far the bigger kids could go. It was almost 5 miles round trip and let me tell you they ROCKED IT!!! Ella was the one that needed to stop the most for a rest. She would sit on a rock or a log for a minute or two and then start again. I was so proud of them all! Even people on the trail were cheering them on. 

Zeke had the easiest day! Being lugged around in a pack is a cake walk. Although every time Michael did sit down for a minute and start breathing deeply Zeke would start mimicking if HE was doing the work! That kid!!! 

The weather was perfect...just warm enough to not need a coat on, but not hot enough to sweat you out! One thing I need to remember next time is to bring tissues. For some reason when I hike my nose becomes a faucet and starts dripping like crazy...super annoying! 

Owen kept spotting all kinds of caves...aka leaning rocks...that he just wanted to go in. We were a little freaked about that so no thank you! 

This girl is one tough chick! 

Me and my sweaty self! See those awesome pink shoes! My Aunt Linda gave me those when we were back in Wyoming for my Grandma's funeral....those pair of shoes and tons more! These shoes are simply the best! They are Merrell's and they have made working out, walking around the neighborhood and hiking so much better. I love them!!! 

And here's the view from the top! It took us about an hour and half to reach the top. Not bad really! We sat around on the top for a little bit and then headed down. A little ways from the top Owen realized he left his fleece pull over at the summit. We told him that was something he should have been responsible for. A while later I saw a lady with a boy about Owen's age so I told her when they got to the top if it was still there that she could take it for her son. About 10 minutes or so later we stopped for a rest at a creek and I reached into my back pocket to take a picture with my phone and there was NO PHONE!!!! I literally jumped around and around I was so mad at myself! When I stopped and regained my composure I asked Michael for his phone and then called mine with it. A nice lady answered and I told her she had my phone. She was still at the summit. So Michael gave Zeke to me to wear....I seriously have no idea how he carried him up that mountain...and then he headed back up. I walked the half and hour that was left of the trail with all four kids. Then I got them settled in the van with snacks and a movie while we waited for Daddy. He actually made really great time and was down way faster than I thought he would have been. Not only did he have my phone, but he also had Owen's pull over fleece. I felt so bad that he had to do that, but it was just more proof that he's the most awesome husband ever!!! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Blessing of Yes!

I've been thinking about this post for a while now and I'm just gonna type. I remember when Michael first lost his job it was so humbling having to accept help from others and from the state. 

Side note...we are almost completely off state assistance....isn't that the goal! Zeke still receives WIC and the kids have state medical as their secondary medical insurance and the boys get free lunch at school. Those couple things are still so very helpful right now, but we are so happy we've come far enough to not need EBT. It was fantastic when we had it, but I love that we can now "stand on our own two feet" per se! I remember when the guy at DSHS had to tell me that we were no longer going to be receiving EBT. He seriously looked scared to tell me. Like I was going to rip his head off or something. It's sad that he is used to that type of response. He looked at me like I had two heads when I said...."Okay that's great!" That was the goal we were working towards from the moment we went on state assistance. 


From that humbling experience I learned a very important lesson. If someone wants to give you something, do something for you or buy you something whether it's the gift of food, clothes, dropping something off for you so you don't have to use your own gas, watching your kids or the awesome priceless gift of time....just smile and say, "thank you!" 

I know it's hard to receive a gift like that especially if you are so used to taking care of yourself or if you feel like you would be putting someone out, but for the most part people wouldn't say they wanted to do something if they didn't want to do it. Now they might not be jumping for joy or anything, but that's not the point they offered so take them up on it. If they are the kind of person that says stuff and doesn't actually mean it then they will figure out really quick that they should be careful with their words. 

The blessing of someone saying, "Yes....I'll watch the kids for you" or "Oh sure I can drop that off at the library" isn't necessarily all about you! Yes they are blessing you, but they are also receiving a blessing as well. And if you deny them that, by saying, "No that's okay I can take the kids the with me" or "No I'll just drop it off tomorrow" then they are missing out on something great! I'm not saying it isn't blessing you as well, but it truly is a two way street. 

I absolutely love blessing people with these types of things especially watching other peoples kids. I'm not saying that watching other peoples kids is my favorite thing to do, but knowing that I'm blessing another mom with time is so worth it! Most of the time when I do watch other peoples kids it ends up being a blessing to me in regards to my own kids. They get to play and have fun and seriously sometimes I barely see the kids they are playing so well. I've always said it's easier the more you have! I've also been on the receiving end of this so many times and it truly is priceless. To be able to sit at the doctors office and not have to try to entertain 2, 3 or even 4 kiddos in an 8' X 8' exam room is such a blessing. Or to be able to go out to dinner with my husband and not talk about kids or responsibilities or even if we do talk about those things at least not be interrupted 500 times by children....oh man that is so wonderful! 

My Pastor did a sermon just yesterday about how the body of Christ is supposed to come along side each other in community with one another. Now that doesn't mean that I need to actually live in your community. It does make it easier, but as believers we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are supposed to see a need and help. Now you might not be the person to be able to help with a particular need....I wouldn't know how to fix a clogged up sink, but I certainly know someone that can. Jesus came as a servant and we are supposed to be servants too. I love's just part of who I am. I would say yes a million times and then I'd run myself into the ground so I do have to be wise about what I say yes to, but I love to serve. I know that there are personalities that don't love to serve, but God has called all of us in our way to serve. 

My point is when someone...your friend, your neighbor, your mom, your husband, your brother, a newcomer at your church...anyone offers to bless and say, "thank you!" The blessing is for you and them so don't deny them that! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Tacoma Nature Center!

Our last weekday of spring break I wanted to get out and explore. I had plans with a friend to go up to Mount Rainier with the kids, but things changed and they weren't able to make it. I did not want to go up to the mountain by myself with 4 kids so a change of plans was in order. I remembered that I had pinned a website that listed 10 different kid friendly hikes in the Puget Sound so I brought those up and found one that went around Snake Lake in Tacoma. I had never even heard of Snake Lake, but it sounded like it wouldn't be too challenging. I invited the neighbor boys to go with us so we had an almost full van. Me with 6 kids...a few years ago I would have thought a mom would be crazy for taking out 6 kids by herself, but now it seems so easy for me! I know that I will look back and miss the baby phase, but this older kid phase is pretty awesome too! 

To get there I put in Snake Lake on my phone and it told me our destination was on the freeway. I love GPS...said with the utmost sarcasm. So I pulled off the freeway and put in The Tacoma Nature Center and that got us there. 

The trail starts out straight and flat. 

Of course little man had lots of energy to begin with. 

We took a detour off the path a little to see if we could find some turtles. 

The first bridge across the lake. 

Bridges are always fun! 

The lake is more of a pond with lots of lily pads....we weren't looking to go swimming or anything so that didn't bother us. 

The kids wanted to really go on an adventure so instead of taking the shorter more easy path we went up the switch backs. 

If you zoom in on this picture you will see that Zeke is in full out break down mode. He wanted me to carry him most of the way. At one point I was carrying him on my back and he was freaking out and then I put him down and was waiting for his temper tantrum to pass when he finally told me he had to pee. So he peed into a tree and I was hoping that would lighten his mood, but no such luck. I definitely should have brought the pack to carry him in. 

I had the older kids pose like this tree was a scary hand come to get them. 

We finally made it to the second bridge and crossed back over to the flat side. On the way to the van we saw this pretty bird. 

Ella had something stuck in her shoe so at the next bench the kids took a break. I got a cute, happy picture with Zeke. Side note...the coat I'm wearing is the one Ella convinced me to buy at Costco. 

Chillin' out and relaxin' all cool! 

100 points go to the person who can tell me which TV show that line comes from. 

Once we got back to the van we got out our snacks and went across the parking lot to the Discovery Pond playarea to eat and play some more. 

He was so much more happy after getting a little food in his tummy!

This area reminded me a miniature version of the Disney California Adventure Challenge Trail. It was way cool. The kids especially loved this slide. It was a log and was lined with metal sheeting so they flew down it. 

At the top of this waterfall was an old hand pump. 

Here's the top of the water fall. 

The kids kept lining up like a train to go down the that brings back memories! 

So much fun!!!! 

I challenged Jack to climb up this log. 

Zeke decided he'd get to the top as well...he'd just use the stairs though. 

We conquered! Actually a few minutes later Zeke climbed up the log as well. I just didn't get pictures because I was too busy holding onto him! 

Dominic and Donald climbed up the inside of this hollowed out log. 

After a while Zeke disappeared and I looked over and saw him and Donald chilling out snacking some more. I love that the neighbor boys love to include Zeke and don't feel like he's the annoying little brother. 

Here is a panoramic view of the park. It was great fun and I will absolutely be bringing the kids back here this summer. I'll definitely be wearing Zeke in the Kelty though! 

Even though we snacked the kids were still hungry so we stopped at MCD's and got some cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. Don't worry we were stopped in heavy traffic on HWY 16 when I took this picture. It was a great 4 hour adventure that topped off spring break on a good note! 

I know I might sound crazy, but I absolutely LOVE having my kids home. I'm never in any hurry for winter, spring or summer break to be over. I just want them home and I want to have fun with them. Not saying that they don't drive me bonkers some times, but I just want to enjoy this time while they are little. It's such a precious time! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Date Night With Ella!

Thursday night of spring break was my date night with Ella. We went to Costco as well. I had to stop at the Eye Care Center to follow. Then she chose a Berry Smoothie to drink while we shopped. I just had to get a few things, but you know Costco sized stuff means you have to get a cart even if you're just getting two or three things. 

Since it was just the two of us and I wasn't in a hurry we took some time to check out the clothes. I usually never do that, but Michael is in need of some jeans. I ended up buying him a pair, but he wasn't impressed with the way they felt. He said they felt like cheap jeans. So I'll be taking those back! I found a cute pink jacket and was contemplating buying it. Ella just kept saying..."buy it". I had to figure out how much money I had left in the clothing budget. I was only $3 short. I did have my own personal money I could chip in, but I still wasn't sure. Then I heard Ella again say, "just buy it" and it occurred to me that she's me! I do the exact same thing when I go shopping with my mom. She'll find something she loves and then talk herself out of buying it while I sit there and say over and over again..."just buy it". So I decided to buy it!

Ella and I get to go out all the time by ourselves so it's more normal for her and I. We didn't go to a thrift store because we went to Lollipops earlier in the day and she got to buy a Typewriter and a Barbie horse. It was nice to have special alone time with her and she was so excited to go on a "date" with me. I love that girl! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

That's A Bunch Of Bark!

It's been a while since we've ordered anything from Carpinito Brother's...we love to have dump trucks come to our house. When planning for our home improvements for the year we decided to order 10 yards of bark. The weeds just got out of hand last year...especially in the area where we had the tree cut down. We are hoping this will help with that! 

We kept putting off ordering the bark because of weather or due to our schedule being so full. It just worked out that the truck came during the middle of spring break. I'm so happy that we ordered it then because the bigger boys got to see it. They loves this kind of stuff. Who doesn't! 

We've had many many dump trucks come down the easement....seriously I didn't know how priceless this easement would be when we bought the house. 

It freaks me out every time they come down though...I'm sure they are going to take out our neighbors chimney, but those drivers sure know what they are doing! 

Raising the box up! 

Here it comes! 

The boys said...." stinks" to which I replied...."I love the smell of bark in the mornng!" 

It doesn't look like much since I'm standing on the deck, but the top of the mound came up to my neck. 

Later that afternoon I put the boys to work shoveling bark into the wheelbarrow. I had promised to help Michael do that later in the evening, but my friend Kim was coming over with her kids so I knew I wouldn't be able to. I still wanted to contribute and it was nice to have the boys helping me. 

Eventually the neighbor boys came out to help as well so I had 5 boys helping out. I loved it! 

The boys mainly filled the wheelbarrows and then I dumped the bark and spread it around. 

Jack looks totally thrilled here! The kids did great and really never complained. My how things change as they get older. 

They helped me with the bed near the driveway and then they played with the neighbor kids while I filled in the bed under our stairs in the backyard. 

Michael came home and added a little bit more since I didn't make it thick enough, but it was nice that he didn't have to do the whole thing by himself. The front bed looks so much better now. There is still a bunch more work to do! It's fun to the progress as we go though.