Sunday, September 22, 2013

my home & native land


 even though its already been 2 months since we flew up north to visit my family in british columbia, i still wanted to remember that very special trip here on my blog. it was much anticipated (first time our whole family was up there in over 3 years) and very much prepared for (new green card for me, and renewed passports for both josh & i) and when we drove the little car filled to the gills with kids and suitcases over the washington border, into BC and i told the kids, "we made it! we're in canada!" my voice wobbled and i had happy tears in my eyes.


it was a glorious 10 days, truly.


 so much beauty

so many cherished family members! this is my younger brother james holding my newest nephew, ethan whom we met for the very first time.


this was the first trip since moving to california 9 years ago, where i felt like a true tourist. i had my camera out as much as my husband did trying in vain to capture some of the rich, green gorgeous views that surround that part of the world.



the calendar was filled ahead of time with fun little day trips and ideas for things to do and see. my dad got to take josh, tristan and samuel out to see trains, throw stones into a river and watch a giant sturgeon being caught.


ava and i opted to stay closer to home, most days drinking in our fill of quality time with family (especially little ethan) and eating our fill of raspberries, freshly picked from the backyard.



the weather smiled down on us, sprinkling slightly only one day out of ten. warm enough for short sleeves during the day, and cool enough to put a sweater on in the evening. just perfect.



josh had a chance to go on a couple of hikes, the last one being up part of mount baker, the peak of which you can see in the distance in this photo.


our kids loved every minute of it as well. they had plenty of playmates and new destinations nearly every day to keep them occupied (sam and ava are at mill lake, above with presley, our friends' daughter)



cousin time was the best though! my oldest brother andy's kids sarah and jacob got along great with our boys. and whenever uncle james & auntie jacelyn came around to play, the fun increased tenfold.


getting out for breakfast at our favorite pancake place was a huge priority for my mom, sister and i.


but my favorite memories of the entire trip were times just like these. sitting together, laughing together, watching the kids (and uncle james) playing together.



celebrating my little girl's 2nd birthday alongside her cousin jacob was like the icing on the cake for me.

all of the togetherness was the most precious part of all. the goodbyes were really hard this time, but the memories from this trip are doing their part to pull us back again.....and we're definitely not going to wait 3 more years again!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

six-and-a-half



on july 1st, my oldest baby turned 6 1/2. my heart broke just a tiny bit that morning when i realized it. he is far too old for his own age and i tell him all the time that this growing up business has got to stop. he just looks at me with a little twinkle in his eye and laughs.


teaching him this past school year has been such a joy and we are both anticipating the beginning of first grade in a few months time. he retains so much knowledge and so often i find that he is the one teaching me! after visiting the rodeo for the first time with his gran a little while ago, he decided that he wanted to add "cowboy" to the long list of things he wants to be when he grows up. my friend cindy has a sweet old mare that is just perfect for children to ride, and so he and his siblings have been thrilled at the opportunity to ride her. tristan especially though; he pretty much glows whenever he talks about her.


sometimes i'll catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye and will startle at how grown up he looks. he has one permanent top front tooth and the baby one next to it is holding on for dear life. i quietly pray that it will keep holding on a little while longer, that precious little tooth that i rejoiced at when it finally emerged all those years ago. i don't know if i'll be able to throw it away when it finally decides its had enough wiggling and pulling.


because tristan is the oldest, he has had more than his fair share of responsibility thrust upon him, yet he is so good at it! sure, he torments his siblings from time to time (okay, well daily, if i'm going to be completely honest) but they torment him right back and he still loves them dearly and loves helping them out.


ava has a special place in his heart and has since before she was even born. he would do anything to protect her and i detect a certain pride in him now and then when we are out in public and she gets fawned over by strangers, as if he so badly wants to say, "yep, that's my little sister! the cutest girl in the world!" he'll dance with her, sing to her, put a full on puppet show for her, read to her, sit down and have a tea party with her, help her get up or down or unstuck or whatever her little heart desires. he is so good to her.


he is still a shy boy at heart, but his courage helps him push past that so that his shyness tends not to affect his life in a negative way, for which i am thankful. he is so naturally athletic and competitive (thanks to his daddy's genes and absolutely no thanks to mine!) that he will make a game or competition out of everything which can fall rather flat when his completely nonathletic and noncompetitive brother (all thanks to my genes, ha!) couldn't care less.


he is a planner, a romantic, a dreamer, and loves to give. he has such a love for God that it brings tears to my  eyes whenever he talks about Him. today he heard lyrics to a praise song and felt so inspired by it, that he decided to build God out of legos. true story. being a missionary and a pastor are both on his life's to-do list right above being a cowboy, a policeman, and making star wars movies.


i am so in love with the fact that he isn't too old to cuddle with his mommy, or kiss me goodnight. he tells me he loves me so many times throughout the day, just because. he will always be so special to me, my first born, the one i made most of my mistakes on, yet look! he's turned out okay so far! he lights up my life every single day.

man, i love that kid.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

my sam


on wednesday, june 5th, he will be four. four. my sweet little miracle baby, already four years old. it just doesn't seem possible.

he has sprouted up tall and lean, his skin still ruddy and tan throughout the year, showing off his impossibly green eyes. he is my non-photogenic child, the brief flashes of dimples and genuine smiles too quick for my camera to capture. he is my happy wanderer, content with only a stick in his pocket and his imagination to carry him away. he is my middle child, my beloved baby boy, my sam.


he sees a flower and immediately has to pick it for me, holding frail blossoms carefully with his dirty little fists, his mouth smiling shyly as i kiss him and say thank you. most of the time he calls me "mommy heidi" and he calls josh, "daddy josh". we're not exactly sure how that got started, but it sort of stuck and now we both find it incredibly endearing. if i slip and accidentally call him "baby boy" (because he will always be my baby boy), he puts on his angry eyes and informs me that he is a "big boy sam."


he is a stick collector, often asking me permission to take a new one home. when i tell him no, he bursts into sudden tears of such extreme grief, so i have learned that a stick collection does no harm, and i allow him to keep them, though i'm still not sure where he hides them all. he prefers wearing shorts to pants, and deep pockets or belt loops hold various pieces of weaponry (pretend light sabers, plastic swords, guns, and of course sticks.)


he is my dreamer.....i have to say his name several times before he becomes aware that i need his full attention. and his full attention is just as difficult to procure as a good photo of him. he is utterly un-self conscious, and rarely shy, answering strangers' questions in the grocery store line while his older brother remains mute. he does his own thing, often fading into the background, where he seems to prefer to be.


he loves babies (he is so gentle with them) and he loves looking at books. he also loves trains, tow trucks, peter pan, star wars (thanks to his older brother), peppa pig, cowboys, school buses, chocolate and the color red. when asked what he wanted to eat at his birthday party, his answer was, "pineapple, popcorn and watermelon".....we added a few things to the menu and i don't think he minded much.


 we had a small, family celebration yesterday in our backyard with an inflatable pool, balloons, hot dogs, plenty of presents and homemade chocolate cupcakes which were definitely not pinterest-worthy. they were, however, very sam-worthy, and i wish i had captured the expression on his face when he first saw them. (then again, it would've been too fleeting an expression for my sad camera skills, i am sure) it was a sticky, hot day and also a very joyful day for sam, who still can't get over all of the new toys that now belong to him.


oh, my sam. you hold my heart so tenderly in your hands, just as you hold the flowers picked especially for me. may God grant me the wisdom and grace to hold yours just as tenderly and to love just as boldly as you do.


happy birthday, my sweet boy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

dimples


she still has dimples along her knuckles, which is my official way of telling whether they are still babies or not. i'm thankful for those dimples because, though ava is not yet 2 years old, she is growing up faster than seems appropriate for someone so small. she wants to grow up, and i am merely chasing after her, out of breath, yelling, "slow down!" to this she responds by turning her head, flashing her little white teeth at me and then laughing while she careens steadily on toward becoming a big kid.


she knows better than this, but by now she is used to being scolded for whatever naughtiness she has gotten into, then smiling for the camera that i pull out straightaway to capture the event. my boys were 3 years old before i could count on dry undies and no more diapers, but this little one is determined to blow their potty training records out of the water!


she can throw a ball better than one of her siblings (i won't mention any names) and already is perfecting the art of pedaling a tricycle. when tristan goes down the end of our lane to gather the trash cans once the truck has been by to empty it, she goes right along with him and wheels a can nearly twice her size back to the house with ease.


its true that we all dote on her a bit....but how can we not? she is the forever baby, our only girl, the spunkiest and brightest little star who cannot let more than a few seconds of silence go by before filling them with her chatter or made-up songs.


she smells like sunshine and she is in love with the world. she is, by far, my happiest little accident.

Friday, May 17, 2013

this made me laugh


 i have to say i have nothing against the time-warp wife; in fact, most of her cute little quotes about respecting our men and embracing our role as wives and mothers make me nod in agreement. this one, however made me guffaw. you see, my husband is many things, but the words "gentle" and "kind", while descriptive of him at times, honestly don't come to the forefront of my mind when i think of his many qualities. he is very loving, yet sarcastic. good looking while being terribly argumentative. sexily strong and equally as stubborn. faithful and yet often frustrating. i know that there are probably many husbands out there who fit the description of being gentle and kind, but i am so thankful that my husband is who he is because it will have been 9 years of marriage in 4 more days and he and i definitely still have it goin' on! he is the rock to my crazy emotions, the salty to my sweet, the chill to my stress and he loves me good.

happy (almost) anniversary, babe. thank you for being who you are and loving me for who i am.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

it's raining...


...and i love it. ava had her first no-accident day yesterday with her elmo undies and then decided to start this morning with a big poop in her tinkerbell undies. she is, at the moment, dressing herself up adorably as a fairy princess (one shoe on, tiara upside down on her head, purple fairy wings and pink winter scarf fluttering behind her) and is chasing her brothers who are wielding light sabers. i think its going to be a stay at home, do mountains of laundry, and make popcorn & hot chocolate kind of day.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

this blog



 this blog used to be so much more than it is now. i can remember writing and nervously hitting the "publish" button on my first post over 8 years ago and eagerly checking for new comments a million times that day. i can remember friends and family from far away catching up on my life via this blog, before we had even heard the word "facebook".


i can remember excitedly sharing the news that we were expecting our first little one, posting baby bump photos and counting down the days till my due date. i can still remember so vividly pleading for advice from my blog readers on what to do for my baby who would simply not stop crying.


even when facebook happened, my blog was still a necessary way for me to document the goings on in our growing family; it became a baby book of sorts with milestones and cute things the kids said all tidily recorded onto these virtual pages for safekeeping....and for the enjoyment of friends and family.


i'm not sure what exactly happened to change all of that. i do know that life with 3 children is crazy and that the term "free time" is almost something to be laughed at. i know that going onto pinterest uses much less brain power than writing a blog post. and i know that the words my dear friend jessica wrote recently in her own blog resonated with me something fierce: when blogging sucks


you see, i always wanted my blog to be a place where i could be as openly and honestly vulnerable as i wanted to be without having to worry about whether others would think i was being a good enough mom. i wanted to be able to share our glorious, happiest little moments without stopping to think that i may be painting too rosy a picture of our very imperfect life.


all the while i was sorting these things out in my mind, my blog was collecting more and more dust until it seemed pointless to even continue writing. still, it made me sad to think of all the cute things my kids were saying that i'd never remember with this feeble brain of mine, or monumental occurances in our family's history (like tristan breaking his right arm in february) that would never be properly written down.


i still don't have it all figured out. i don't have a goal of how many times i plan to blog in a week. i don't know how i'll manage to walk the fine line between complaining too much and making my life look gaggingly perfect. (and yes, i realize that gaggingly is not a real word, but it works, so i'm not going to change it).


what i do know is that i only have this one life, i only have these 3 little children for a short time, and i want to start filling this empty space up again. i want to post way too many photos of my ava's pigtailed head from behind without apology that i take more pictures of her than of both my boys combined.


i want to share how my boys were so completely enamored with peter pan for awhile that they'd practice making their shadows look just like his.


i want to show you how gorgeous my jasmine vine was this spring even if you don't care at all about flowers or gardening because i do and i love to see how its grown year by year.


i want to tell you about my sam, who is still a small boy with the darkest, longest eyelashes you have ever seen, and who has the most giving heart.


i want to look back on my own stories and pictures and sigh wistfully yet happily, remembering the happy times, glad that the difficult times are over.


i want to see the world through a blogger's eyes again, knowing when something would make a great story and when a picture would be a perfect fit.



and so, if you don't mind adding my blog once again to your list of those you read, i'd love to have you back.


after all, the writing and recording is only half the fun; seeing that i've got new comments on my post still makes me slightly giddy.