Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nine Children...

We have benefited so many times over the years from others watching out kids so Birch and I could go on a trip.  We finally had the chance to pay-it-forward and watch Emi and Ryan's kids while they went to San Diego for a week.
These two have had so much going on in their lives over the past few months:  buying a house, a dental practice, moving, and finding out baby four would be joining them this fall.  We've loved having them back in town again!
 These three little girls are so sweet and get along fantastically with our kids!  Even better they think Birch and I are da' bomb!
Chloe's first time feeding a baby. The things the last child just doesn't learn. Hazel didn't seem to mind the yogurt bath.

 I had lots of time with these two girls in the morning while the other kids were at school.

 By the end of the week Hazel grew to love us all!  The kids were all so helpful in playing with Hazel.  Alysee loved being in charge of putting her to bed.
 Mila and I are two peas-in-a-pod!

We certainly had some crazy moments with having nine kids in the house but we survived.  Birch and I are still feeling good about keeping our family to six :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Crazy Hair Day

 Birch was commenting how amazing it is that Chloe six months ago couldn't even stand to have a hair clip in her hair.  She truly has been healed from her sensory disorder.  Thank goodness!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Nut

This kid is such a nut. He sure keeps our family laughing!

St. Patties Day Flop

With everyone posting their super cute St. Patties day ideas I thought I should shares totally crappy shamrock pretzels that didn't turn out and ironically didn't even taste that good. I've never been able to get onto a holiday that requires making elaborate traps and then making your house a mess in the morning with the finger pointing at the mischievous leprechaun. Am I grouchy?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nate Turns TEN!!!!

 Nate choose to have lunch at Olive Garden for his birthday.  I picked him up from school and we headed over to save a spot for Birch.
 Not too often that I get to spend time with JUST this boy!
 We tried the Zeppole (Italian Doughnuts) for dessert because we had a coupon for free.  They were so delicious but we could each only eat a couple since we had already stuffed ourselves.
Birch headed back to work and decided to surprise Nate and not have him go back to school.  We went to the local family fun center and had a great time playing some arcade games together.

Nate knew exactly what he wanted for his birthday dinner, White Bean Chicken Chili.  Our friends made it for the kids while they were staying with them when we were in Nicaragua. Nate said it was SO delicious that he wanted it for his birthday dinner. Alysee was gone the night they had it for dinner.

Last night Alysee said, "I never had the soup. Was it good?"
Nate: "It was SO good"
Coop: "It was like Heavenly Father was kissing you."

 Nate made his own cake again this year.

 This kid is truly unique.  To describe him in one work I was say "INTENSE!"  He is such a hard-worker at school and excels in all he puts his mind to do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mother/Son Superhero Social Take II

Not to be outdone by last year's costume I was lucky to borrow this awesome Wonder Woman outfit.  Yikes, I felt hot!
The boys and I had a great time going out to dinner at Dairy Queen with friends and then off to the social to stand in line FOREVER to do the lazer tag.  We threw in an ice cream bar, some games, and a little booging on the dance floor.  It was a fun night!

All I Want for St. Patties Day Is My Two Front Teeth

Nate has been waiting and waiting to loose his two front teeth.  This kid is way behind in his teeth growth...should be a good sign that his adult teeth will last forever!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ami and Poppi to the rescue

Ami and Poppi have saved us several time in making it possible for Birch and I to go on a trip.  This visit was extra productive for them as my sister, Emily and her family moved in the same week so they got to spend every waking moment painting their new house and entertaining the kids.
 My mom has seriously huge muscles.  Not sure how I didn't inherit them.

Thanks so much for coming and making our kids feel so special around you!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nicaragua - Day 7 and flying home

It was strange waking up in the morning and not hearing Annie giggling in the hammock above us or Donald making us all a freshly squeezed drink.  Casa Ola was silent!  Everyone else had left early in the morning to catch flights in Managua.  Birch and I had used frequent flier miles to fly to Nicaragua and in order to use less miles we flew out the following day.
Before saying, "Goodbye" to Casa Ola we took a walk on the beach.

I feel so lucky to be eternally connected to my Lover!
Goodbye Casa Ola!
We stopped at several fruit stands throughout the day and purchased some delicious fruit.
The papaya were not our favorite but were sure plentiful in Nica. 

Love me some mangoes!

There are horses everywhere in Nicaragua and most are all SUPER skinny.  You could literally see the ribs on most of the horses.


Our time had been cut short in Granada so we decided to return there for part of the day. 

Before going to Nicaragua Birch and I had done a lot of research of things we wanted to do.  One adventure that we had run out of time to do the day we went to Granada was going kayaking on Lake Nicaragua to Monkey Island.
I don't know what I would have done if I had been in a solo kayak.  My arms got SO tired as we paddled and paddled and paddled.  Good thing for my handsome and strong motor in the back.
Lake Nicaragua has over 300+ islands.  We kayaked to around several dozen of the islands and found that many of them are inhabited.  Some by poor locals and others by rich Americans.

Tons of white cranes
Wash day
After paddling until our arms were screaming we finally made it to Monkey Island.  I won't lie that as the tourist boats came speeding in with their motors I did wonder for a second why we took the hard scenic route to the island.
I was a little nervous getting too close to the island as Birch and I had read an account of two ladies that were in kayaks that got too close to the monkeys and were mauled by them in their kayak.  The monkeys were put on the island as a tourist attraction.  After many of the boat companies started feeding the monkey's beer, pizza, chips, etc... the monkeys have become very friendly to the tourists as long as they have food for them.  They have no outlawed the beer as the monkeys started to get real mean.

We kayaked for over two hours straight...I now have a better appreciation for this arm muscles.

We could see the volcano Mombacho from our kayak.
After all that rowing we totally deserved some cold Gelato!
We found this little Italian restaurant and enjoyed some super tasty pizza.

After our late lunch we hopped in our car and drove the last couple of hours to Managua to return our rental car, have our last Nicaraguan meal, and stay at our hotel.  I was so sunburned by then that it was quite uncomfortable to do anything. 
Early in the morning Birch and I loaded the plane and started our loooong trip home.  We were greeted to snow covered roads and a sheet of ice over our car in the Tri-Cities.

I'm so thankful for all those that helped with the kiddos and made this trip possible.  I feel blessed to have family that I love spending time with and can't wait until our next adventure!