Monday, July 23, 2007

Still broke...but feelin' grateful

So yesterday at church I was feeling a little bit like poo. We were singing "Count your many blessings" and amongst the kid chaos I was touched with how blessed I am. So WHAA!, WHAA! about all the broken stuff.

Today I am feelin' grateful for...

-a husband that loves me...and SHOWS it
-a plethora of kids that make our home happy (usually)
-extended family that I enjoy being with
-music that touches my soul
-sunshine that warms my soul
-an education that I worked for and succeeded at
-my husband's job that allows us to live comfortable but also that he enjoys
-parents that taught me a young age how to save money
-having enough money that we can FIX all the broken stuff and still eat dinner tonight
-friends that keep me sane
-my new haircut that although is the same one I have been getting for the past few years still helps me feel beautiful
-a beautiful home in which we have made many happy memories
-opportunities to travel
-running water...I RELISH LOOOOOOOONG showers each morning
-living in America

The list goes on but it's time to get the kids ready for swim lessons. I am truly blessed!!! Might I mention that I am grateful that the new cooling system will be installed over the next two days. But until then...I am grateful!!!I am grateful for the times that I take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy my kids!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's broke...

You might wonder what I am referring to...could it be the towel rack in the bathroom, the sprinkler head, the sliding glass door handle, the cupboard door hinge, or maybe the riding lawn mower and air conditioner condenser?

The answer is "YES" to all of the above plus the list goes on. Last Saturday Birch spent half of the day trying to fix the riding lawn mower. Just when he thought it was all fixed--BAM, the transmission locked up. Then Sunday we returned home from church to find the house heating up like a sauna. Monday morning's diagnosis wasn't good...the condenser is toast=needing a whole new unit. Much of this week was spent listening to boring and complicated important information about getting a new A/C unit or heat pump and/or furnace. We had six estimates given and I felt like I was breaking each heart as I told five of the companies that we had not chosen them. Gratefully our house was only 87 degrees for a couple of days, our friends that are living with us had an awesome in-house air conditioning unit that has really helped and even better the Lord has smiled down upon us and kept the outside temperature much lower the last half of the week.

So I have said "good bye" to the remodel of the kitchen this year and "hello" to a new heat pump and furnace this next Tuesday. Guess I better start liking turquoise for a bit longer...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oregon Bash

Last Thursday evening we all loaded in the car and headed for my ol' stompin' ground Corvallis, Oregon. My family was all gathering for a joint wedding bash for my sister, Emily and brother, Seth. Both of whom got married this past December to amazing people. Since they both married far from "home" they decided that it would be fun to have a summer celebration after they both had a break in their schooling and jobs.

Probably my favorite part of this vacation was being able to actually spend TIME with my immediate family, especially my new one month old baby niece, Lucy, and sister-in-laws and brother-in-law. It seems like most of the time we are together we are all so busy preparing for whatever the event is--that we don't actually get to just hang out. It was also fun spending time with my youngest brother Luke. He is a kid magnet!
The wedding celebration turned out to be an awesome way to have a family reunion as well. Both sides of my family came together for a super fun weekend. Many of my extended family members have not been together for a looooooooong time. As you can imagine, my parents put a lot of work into making everything come together (we ate like kings--well, vegetarian Kings--God seemed to have left out the vegetable taste buds on my tongue).
Cooper had a great time exploring and did surprisingly well being passed around from extended family members that he has not met before.Not only was there a wonderful spread of food at the wedding bash but there was also slack lining, croquet, trampoline jumping, and volleyball games going on.

After the wedding celebration died down my immediate family headed for the Oregon Coast. We spent the most splendid day at Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon. I have lived close to ten years in Oregon and I think I have only been to the beach on such a wonderfully warm and NON-windy day maybe once. I came dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt, and tennis shoes. It didn't take long for all of us to start striping down layers. Cooper loved crawling all over and eating the sand.Alex tried and became addicted to skim boarding. He reminded me of my brothers--they all went through a phase of skim boarding and even crafted several which are still in use today.
Tyler loved jumping the waves and building sand castles.
This is a shot of my mom (the first gorgeous lady on the left--I only tell you because she is often confused as being a sister), Caroline (Seth's 4.5 month pregnant, awesome, bilingual wife--yeah, so excited), Leah (gifted mother of a cute 2.5 year old and 1 month old princess), ME, Emily (eternal student, favorite auntie, and crafty woman just married to Ryan) and Jessica (married to my older brother Matt--also super duper crafty, amazing home decorator, and beautiful person).
Following our day at the beach, my mom and two of my sisters and I headed for the Lincoln City Outlets. We had a wonderful evening shopping and spending time together. I am really grateful for Caroline who offered to take Cooper home and ended up having to change a horrendous diaper (without wipes) and get all the sand and sunscreen out of his hair.

Birch, my dad, and the rest of the kids went south to Waldport, Oregon and camped on the beach. It has been a tradition the past three years for the kids to go on a camping trip with Poppi. We weren't sure how it was going to work this year with all the festivities but they worked it in. The kids had a great time!
The kids had a fabulous time building sand castles and playing in the sand.
Alysee loved going to the tide pools and finding all sorts of neat sea creatures. Her favorite was the star fish.On the Fourth of July we enjoyed a yummy breakfast at a church celebration and then we were off to Otter Beach, an outdoor aquatic swim pool and play center in Corvallis. We all had the best of time!! Cooper had never been swimming before and was quite nervous for the first hour. By the end he was splashing and having a great time.

It was so nice having lots of adults to help with the kids. I find it overwhelming to take the kids by myself (or even with Birch) swimming. After swimming for a couple of hours we changed our clothes and piled in the car for a long trip home. We made it just in time to unload the car and go to the fire works. We were all exhausted by the end of the day--but I wouldn't have changed anything about our trip. It was a wonderful vacation!

Alysee Grace

This past week our family was able to spend several days in Oregon with almost all of my family (minus my sister, Laura who is serving a mission for our church in Switzerland). I come from a VERY talented family. My sister, Leah is a superb photographer, mother of two, beautiful wife, and graphic designer. She owns her own graphic design business but on the side has developed a wonderful talent of photography. One evening Alysee was able to have a photo shoot with Leah. I had to make a montage of the pictures because as you will see it is hard to share just a few.