Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Look Who's 4!

My baby is 4! This year has had some huge changes, taking down the crib, selling the toddler bed, saying, "Good-bye" to pull-ups at night, being able to buckle herself in her car seat, graduating to 'real' chores, and so much learning.
Sporting her new dress and making cupcakes! 

I am so thankful for my sweet, spirited little girl. She is growing up way too fast. I am cherishing each milestone thinking that it is the last time we get to enjoy these moments with our children. 
I know that she isn't growing up with the same mama Mikaela had. In some ways that is good, others she is missing out. 
 For some reason I do not have any pictures of Liberty's Birthday Party. We had 26 people at the house. For dinner my momm made a wonderful Prime Rib!
I scanned Pinterest for ideas for her party and we had a super cute Owl Themed party, complete with a Happy Birthday banner, missing a 'P' in Happy, Owl cupcakes with Oreos and M&M's for the eyes, cute owl goodie bags.
I love that it was only 5 families and we all agree to do all together. I love that the 11 year old girl and 12 year old boy can be as excited for the 4 year olds birthday as she herself is.
When Liberty opened her gifts she just tossed the clothes over her shoulder, but later LOVED the new clothes, especially the pink sparkly tights from Grandma. she got her own box of cupcake mix and frosting with sprinkles. Ruby gave her a huge purple plastic ring that can often be seen on Ruby's finger. 
She is such a big girl with an even bigger personality. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Polar Bear Swim

Sean enjoys going to the Birch Bay Polar Bear Swim. He has done it every year for as long as I can remember. With the exception of the morning Liberty was born. He really thought about going but decided to stay with his wife and new baby!
Cousins! Liberty, Sarah, Ruby
I'd like you to notice how the girls are dressed. Snowsuits, boots, hats (at least they all started off with hats). I was very thankful for the beautiful CRISP sunshine. There has been years where it was freezing rain and wind. This year was below freezing but still a beautiful Northwest January day.
Kimberly and her dad, my brother, Chris
I have seriously been trying all year to psyche myself up to surprise Sean and join him in the Polar Bear Plunge. I really could not come up with a good reason to subject myself to being very cold and wet.
When Kimberly told me she was going to do it, I really honestly did not think that she actually would. I am very happy to say that she proved me wrong. Not only did she do it, but she did it with a huge smile and an amazing attitude!
Liberty didn't want to go in the water! Yes, we know all those people on the pipe,
Aaron, Ian, Aiden B, Erik, Cael B, and Ellie B
As an added bonus, her dad, my brother, Chris came up to watch her and then came back to the house for Liberty's Birthday Party. We got the whole day with him, a very rare treat indeed.
The Three Who Went
Erik has participated several times, and observed others.  I am never quite sure what factor he uses to determine when he is going to go. This year he joined his Papa and Kimberly and started off the New Year with a Splash!
don't be fooled by the blue sky, it was freezing
I always enjoy going to see so many of our old neighbors and friends. It works out really well because after the Plunge we don't hang out for long, everyone is anxious to get home and take a nice hot shower, so my visiting is kept to a minimum and Sean is happy.
Erik went all the way under, but was quick to get out! 

Kimberly didn't run to get out, maybe it wasn't that bad? 

As always, Sean understates his achievements. 

Terri R, she should be proud! 

Birch Bay, New Years Day

Another great start to the New Year, Happy 2013
I love his smile! I love supporting him and encouraging him to do things that make him smile.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lake Whatcom Trail

To see what the girls and I did on Saturday, and admire beautiful photos of my children click over to:
Happy Monday!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas 2012

For the past few years we have been going up to Mt. Baker on Christmas Day to go sledding. I enjoy being fully present with the children and once again, taking the focus of the stuff. We have finally learned that Under Armor, Fleece and Good Gloves make all the difference for a happy day.

Aaron, Ian, Erik, Ruby, Taylor, Liberty
This year 3 other families joined us and we had a fabulous time. I love how God provides the seemingly insignificant things. One of the mama's is pregnant and had to go really bad. Since the Ski lifts are closed, so were the restrooms. I happened to see someone with a key and ran up to him explaining my friends plight. Thankfully he was generous and the problem was averted.
My favorite quote of the day was from Liberty(3) to Karter (6), "How about if you pull me up, I sled down, you pull me up, I sled down, you pull me up?" To which Karter replied, "Uh, I don't think so." Can't blame a girl for trying.
I enjoyed watching the delight on their faces, and I don't want to forget:
 how Liberty, with complete abandon, would throw herself into the snow and lie there with a great big cheesy grin on her face.
Or, when I tried to give Kaiden a big shove down the hill and instead pushed him right off the sled face first into the snow, and he said, "It's OK Mrs. Carolynn, I still love you."
And, Ruby and Ian and Bree under the tree playing house. They will play house anywhere, anytime!
Taylor, Aaron and Erik advanced to the bigger hills: Longer, Faster, Better! Sean and I joined them for a run, or two, or.... Well, we were able to keep up with them.

Aaron got his wish for a White Christmas
The beauty of where we live truly speaks of God's Holiness, and Creativity. Another lesson I have been learning the past year has been to leave while everyone is still having fun. This worked so well this year because by the time we got everyone loaded in the van it started snowing really hard.
Papa clearing the windows, me, inside the nice warm van pouring Hot Cocoa for everyone
My absolute favorite part of Christmas this year was having 2 of the other families come over for a potluck dinner. We all made Crockpots of soup and brought fresh bread and fellowshipped together. I was blessed by how much joy everyone had. We talked, prayed, laughed, and ate.
There were so many similarities between the adults and the children.
My heart was truly full and we all agreed that this was the best way to spend Christmas. I think we have a new tradition started. If it is new, can it be called tradition? Well anyway, it is something we intend to continue.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Eve

We try to be very purposeful in our parenting. This year we decided make Christmas an experience for the children. We wanted to do things instead of have things. We didn't purchase ANY gifts this year. Don't get me wrong, we never go overboard, and have not once, purchased an item that was the latest fad. I don't buy things unless it it something that they need, or have a use for.  We decided not to buy into any of the consumerism.
2nd and 4th daughters
Honestly, I heard the song "nuttin for Christmas" by Sugarland, and thought, "That is my children!" They spent most of the month bickering, arguing, and in general just being little heathens. This isn't normal for our children, but it sure made it a lot easier for me.
Ruby was so happy she got a slinky! 
 I do like to bring our children delight, several times, I was tempted to break down and get them things but held strong to our decision.
The Children draw names for each other and try to keep it a surprise until Christmas. Every year Erik Always figures it out. That boy is a detective!
I was completely floored at how thrilled they were with their simple gifts from each other. It was a perfect reminder for me to keep it simple and especially focused on The Reason for the Christmas Season.
Ian does this in so many photos! He is either leaning in, or leaning out! 
 The utter contentment with each gift was refreshing. Everyone except Liberty used their own money to purchase the gifts. Some were much more generous than others.
I love the surprise and joy on his face! 
I think it really helps to get what you want when you only have a couple of items on your list. Ian got a new Star Wars Lego set from Ruby.
Ruby only wanted a Slinky and was literally jumping for joy when she opened her Slinky from Erik. I Strongly prodded Erik into getting her a Lego set as well. Erik tends to be quite stingy with his money and really wants to receive nice gifts, but doesn't really want to spend money to give gifts. It was a good thing that when he got the Slinky it was on sale for buy one get one free, because he broke her Slinky the next day.
Erik could not believe he actually got exactly what he wanted! 
 Erik told me that he was really glad he got Ruby such a nice gift, since he couldn't think of a better gift to receive (except a quad, motorcycle, or goat). He got 2 hermit crabs, and a complete habitat! Taylor selflessly gives gifts knowing which things will bring the receiver delight.
I couldn't tell Liberty who she had, because she would have not only told who she had, but what she had gotten. She wrapped Taylor's Barnes and Nobel gift card after I put it in a box so she wouldn't know what it was.
Liberty's pony tail was in constant motion, Repeatedly Thanking Aaron for  her tea set! 
I knew exactly what he wanted to get Aaron and found the perfect Bionicle when we were out shopping. Unfortunately, he spends money faster than he makes is, so he was about $6 short on his $12 purchase. I preferred for Aaron to get something that he really wanted, and not just some junk that Ian could afford (like the $2 rusted pocket knife he wanted to buy at Goodwill) I paid the difference and Aaron was excited and surprised that he got the one he needed!
Aaron didn't put much though into Liberty's gift and when I showed him a miniature china set at Goodwill for $5 he liked the price tag better than the gift. Liberty however, gasped and slowly said, "WOW!" she must have stopped playing with her tea set a dozen times to give Aaron a hug and tell him, "Thank you for my Tea Set." Aaron learned the value of both presenting a gift that looked beautiful, but also giving someone something that they would like!