Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Troubles, Joys

We said good-bye to our beloved dog Rudy yesterday. What a good dog she was and a true friend. Vance and I got her when we were engaged, nearly 14 years ago. She was a really loyal, really good dog. She was the perfect dog for our family. She watched us bring each of our babies home from the hospital. The biggest adjustment was Merit. Rudy was our baby before Merit. She watched our babies with curiousity and took measures to protect them. A few times the kids were outside and I was inside when the UPS or Fed Ex guy came with a package and Rudy would go nuts. Lots of barking and warnings so that I knew a "stranger" was approaching the walk with the kids outside. She loved going for walks and hikes and was good company on explorations. She lived in four different houses with us, she went on trips with us, she especially enjoyed Alaska. Her first trip to Alaska was with Vance and me on our honeymoon!  She road in the back of the car on many Lynden trips. Breathing her hot breath and sometimes drooling on the kids and their head rests. :) Man, it is a bummer she isn't here. A dog is such a good companion and seems to ease ones troubles.

I have been feeling sick and not sleeping good at all, so that has been hard too. But I think I am on the mend. I really need to be.

I loved it that Hazel picked up baby Jesus so many times out of the Nativity scene and with wonder would say "Baby Je". Each time she did that I was reminded of the true reason for the season.  She would look over at me with her sweet smile as she cradled baby Jesus. A reason to celebrate even during the tough moments. I found JOY in this.

I found joy and thanksgiving in how much work my dad put into Christmas Eve at his house, how much care Adie and Stan put into Christmas day at their house and how much love my Grandma Alma put into Christmas night at her house. Hosting something like that is a lot of work and it was so nice to be a part of three wonderful Christmas parties. Also, Lesha opened her home up to us a couple of times and was so laid back about this. I really loved that. Being with family is really good.

Remembering our good old dog:















Tuesday, December 20, 2011

enjoying this week


Yesterday Willem and I hit the Senior Center Thrift Store.
Everything in the store was 50 percent off!
I bought lots of fabric.
I plan to wrap Christmas gifts in some of it and I want to pass
some of it on to my sweet friend Maria. I have a feeling she can sew something with it or
maybe she too would like to use it for wrapping paper. I bought LOTS of fabric, two childrens books
and some votive holders all for $2.50 - can't beat that.


On Sunday the boys and I decorated a gingerbread house!
I love this tradition.
Yesterday Merit had a Christmas Around the World presentation in
his classroom. It was wonderful and fun! Third graders are something else.
I really love this age.
Last night, I got some quality visiting time with a few dear friends -- felt great!





I have had some time for card making!!

I have had lots of time to snuggle my sweet little blue eyed girl.

We officially begin Christmas break at noon today.
YIPEEEEEEE!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TIME

TIME. Time is precious, what I do with my time is really important. Soaking up these kids, loving them, building them up, teaching them about the TRUE meaning of Christmas and expressing to God my THANKS for these children is very important.
Today during Hazel's nap I cleaned the bathroom. I didn't really feel like cleaning the bathroom, I never do. That is why it needed to be cleaned in such a bad way.Willem entertained me through the process, something
he is very good at. He likes to play "honey."
He pointed out that Vance and I call eachother honey a lot. So, when he wants to be a grown man with a wife and kids, he calls it playing honey.
He is my husband who is also a spy agent. :)  My job is to be really impressed with all he accomplishes. Today his friends came over (imaginary) and we talked over his spy work with them. Again, I am so thankful for half day kindergarten. Willem makes sure my life is never dull or boring!
Today, after cleaning the bathroom I was overwhelmed with what to do next... finish addressing Christmas cards, tackle the laundry, make gingerbread cookies with the kids, help Willem with his homework, run on the treadmill, work on my continuing cert.teaching stuff... this time of year there is a lot of juggling. But I really am grateful I have so many wonderful things and people to juggle. Even if it feels overwhelming at times.
My mind has been on my nephew Case these past few days. His mama (my sister Natasha) is so good about continuing to find JOY in her JOURNEY, even though losing a child must be so life changing, very tragic... I am so proud of her and Reese for carrying on, being good parents, finding joy, working together... Case had really been on my heart and then I headed over to her blog today and saw that she has been thinking a lot of him over this Christmas season and beautifully shared her love and thoughts.
She shared this sweet picture on her blog. And now I want to share it.

His time here on earth was short, 5 1/2 months
But his life touched a lot of people during that TIME.
Natasha and Reese were so wonderful to come up to Washington for
both Thanksgiving and Christmas with Case! We got to share those
holidays with that happy, sweet baby.
Natasha knows how precious TIME is.
She is carrying on and being intentional about spending quality time with her loved ones!

I want to share some pictures of precious TIME with my family.
Hazel loved the sights of Seattle!
Monday morning Vance, Merit, Willem, Hazel and I headed to Seattle for
some city fun.

The boys in a cool car store in Pikes Place.



The boys at our hotel -- all pumped up for the football game!


Hazel and Aunt Kelcy
It was so good to see Carly and Kelcy while we were in Seattle.
The guys got to see my brother Matt too, at the game.


Hazel loved watching these ladies make their candies and carameled apples. This little
girl and I did lots of window shopping while the rest of the gang enjoyed the Monday night Seahawks game!


We got back to the hotel and ended the evening with a wonderful bubble bath!

Our sweet girl all tuckered out...


Thank you God for this TIME.
I really do love all of these moments.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Time

Last weekend we headed to Couer d'Alene, quite possibly my favorite overnight get away destination. It was really fun! It is pretty magical there during the Christmas season. Willem was out of his head with excitement. In fact the afternoon we arrived at the hotel I suggested to Willem and Merit that I could take them down to the Starbucks in the lobby and treat them to a hot cocoa. They were excited! We left the hotel room and these boys ran FULL SPEED to the elevator fighting over who would push the buttons. My kids and elevators... they really get jazzed up over them. Anyway, we got our hot cocoas with whip cream and headed back up to the room. Willem was hopping and leaping everywhere and accidentally swatted Merit's hot cocoa, his FULL hot cocoa, right out of his hands all over the elevator floor! I ran to the room grabbed a towel and cleaned up the mess. Willem felt bad, but honestly that child could hardly control himself. He said "BEST day EVER" about 8 times that day.

We went out for a delicious meal that night. Beverly's on the fifth floor is a pretty classy restaurant. The food was fantastic!

The "journey to the North Pole" boat ride was a highlight of the weekend.


oh the anticipation!



This time of year is busy and full and although Santa is so fun and a boat ride
to the North Pole a treat, but remembering the true REASON for the SEASON is so
important.


Sharing the awesome joy of Jesus' birthday is wonderful.
I love watching Hazel carefully pick up baby Jesus in the manger.

Isaiah 9:6,7 

6 For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Enjoying Life

Life is busy and good. I have been decorating the house for Christmas with LOTS of help from Willem! He covered his eyes today and said "I just LOVE Christmas!!! It brings me tears of JOY!" It sure is fun to have his excitement.
These crisp, wintry days are really nice and if it isn't too cold, I try to get Hazel outside in the morning. When she is irritable or a bit cranky it seems like it makes such a difference to just get her outside for a bit. Today we went for a walk/stroller ride and this afternoon she took a LONG nap. She is in a good mood a lot of the time, but last week we had a morning where she cried on and off for a couple of hours and really wanted to be in my arms. It is hard to get things done around the house when she is in these moods. But I do treasure the time when she cuddles up on my lap and wants to be snuggled or read to. Kids grow up too fast!
I am way behind on my photography blog, I have photographed several families over the past couple of weeks and haven't posted them. My photography is something I really enjoy and I hope I can just continue to learn and grow.
Every now and then Hazel and I pop in on Merit's classroom. Sometimes I bring him Subway or McDonalds when I am at the school to pick up Willem or other times I just have a little something to drop off... Merit's face the other day when I stopped in told me that my drop ins have been a bit too frequent. I imagined there HAVE to be other moms who pop in on a regular basis. And besides, I usually try to find good times like RIGHT before lunch or right at the end of the day. So I asked him last night "Do other kids' moms pop in?" He said, "No one stops by as often as you and Hazel do." I was surprised! And decided then  that my pop ins need to be less frequent. I try to be very respectful and try not to interrupt instruction... oh listen to me I could make a list of reasons WHY it is okay! :) I just need to give this growing, handsome third grader a little space.
I LOVE it that Willem just goes to school half days! One of my favorite times of the day is picking him up from kindergarten. His smile is so bright and I love to hear about his day.

I love going for walks on cold crisp days.
The scenery is beautiful.



Our Thanksgiving was really nice too.
Vic welcomed us all out to his place. The food was delicious and the company was great.

Hazel being read to by Grandpa Vic

Cousin fun
Emily, Luke, Willem and Merit!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful

I am so thankful for a warm, cozy home!!
Our house feels like home, it is full of my favorite people and lots
of fun and love.


It is sure feeling like winter!
We have had a light layer of snow a couple of different days.





 Vance and Merit watch LOTS of football! It is something
they really enjoy doing together. We also play quite a bit of football out in our yard. I am thankful these boys have so much fun together. I am also thankful
that they include Hazel in their fun, even FOOTBALL!

Willem and I went for a hike Sunday -- it was beautiful!!

This picture is so precious to me!  I am thankful for this little girl!


There is so much to be THANKFUL for!







Friday, November 18, 2011

SNOW!

It is already gone, but it sure was fun.
I loved watching these three play in the snow!
Yesterday was a 2 hour late start for Merit and no school for Willem -- it was so fun to get outside first thing in the morning and enjoy the SUNSHINE and SNOW!