Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cabo San Lucas and Isabella's 9th Birthday

This trip didn't come without its hiccups (but really, what travel experience does?), but the good news is that nobody got left behind like the last time we went to Mexico! Hurray! It was a wonderful getaway and hopefully I can write about it with being too scatterbrained!

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^^The resort we stayed at was on the face of a big hill, and so in order to get around quickly, there were golf-cart-looking vehicles that took us everywhere. This was our view every morning as we waited for our ride to the pool.

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^^ Above and on the left: the walking fruit stand that Grandma Rise stopped so she could treat us to the most mouth-watering mangoes while we were at the beach one afternoon. On the right: my favorite view from our room. The light was heavenly.

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^^ Five words: Hot. Tub. On. Our. Balcony. So dreamy! This was definitely a favorite thing for the kids. We felt extremely spoiled! It also happens to be Isabella 9th Birthday in these hot tub pictures. She likes to tell people that we went to Cabo FOR her birthday, and while that's not exactly true, I love that our trip happened to line up with her birthday. I think she will always remember turning nine in Mexico!

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^^Speaking of Isabella's birthday, our lost luggage, which had her gifts and party decorations in it, arrived in the nick of time! Thank heavens! (The lost luggage also had ALL of my clothes and toiletries in it, grrrrr.) Anyway, I have hardly any pictures of the evening birthday festivities because it was super dark and late at night when we finally had the birthday dinner (nutella banana crepes per her request) and opened presents. But she didn't seem to mind, and loved it all. Anyway, I love this girl so much! On a daily basis, I'm in awe of her goodness, helpfulness, and sweetness. She brings me more joy than I could possibly express and I'm grateful for the relationship we have.  She loves her little brothers and sister so completely and is always so happy to help me. She truly makes our family better and I can't imagine life without her. Isabella, you are everything I could ever hope for in a daughter and I love you with all my heart. Happy Birthday!

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^^Just some smoochy goodness. I couldn't just pick one. These kids are just too sweet together!

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^^On the left: I loved how this sunset turned the world pink-- such a magical setting for taking pictures of my sweet family enjoying an evening at the beach. By the way, the whole time we were there, we had to be really careful about getting near the ocean because of a storm in the Pacific that made the waves crazy harsh. On the right: Here were are waiting for a golf cart again. :)

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^^On the left: Grandma Rise is always so helpful and amazing with her grandbabies, and how we love her so! On the right: I don't think it's possible to go on an exotic vacation and not take a picture of a palm tree.

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^^Juliette Claire, always lighting up my life. (Again, great photo op while waiting for a golf cart.)

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^^On our very last night in Cabo, we made reservations to attend an all-you-can-eat buffet on the beach while being entertained by a mariachi band and fun dance performances. My kids were mesmerized! And then afterward, my kids got up on that stage and danced their hearts out. I will never forget Liam's moves up there. Front and center. He killed it. I may have even gone up and danced with him. My moves were not so killer.

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^^On Sunday, after a wonderful church meeting (in Spanish), we ventured downtown Cabo for a walk around the city. I loved, loved taking pictures of the beautiful boats at the marina, the cacti, local soccer boys, and colorful shopping stands. It got c r a z y hot walking around for so long, but I'm so glad that we did. Such a beautiful area.

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^^ We spent most of our time in that pool, but sadly I don't have too many pictures of our swimming fun, probably because I was actually in the water myself most of the time. It was so hot and humid, which made swimming extra enjoyable and refreshing for me. Charlie and I were both water babies! I have such great memories of our pool time together!

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^^Relaxing after some pool time. Oh, Charlie boy. My heart goes to mush when you smile at me like that!

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^^And last but not least, THE BEAUTIFUL BEACH! It looks calms in these pictures, but we couldn't let the kids near the water. Because of that storm in the Pacific, the swimming conditions were pretty dangerous. The men did swim for quite a bit (I think Will had the time of his life in those waves), and I even ventured in for a few minutes (maybe seconds?), which was really fun. And while the kids didn't swim, they sure had fun eating mangoes, playing in the sand, and letting grandma buy them trinkets from the walking vendors.

All in all, we had a wonderful time together and are so thankful to Will's parents for sharing their time share with us. I love my family so much and whether we're vacationing together or not, I just love to be with them!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

You Are So Beautiful To Me!

So, it's become a bit of a tradition to participate in our library's annual talent show every summer. Each year I secretly dread it for some reason... I guess because it's quite a commitment. But I also always come away grateful that we did it. For one, the kids LOVE it and work really hard to get ready for it and two, it's such a good experience for them to perform and also watch other talented peers perform. And of course, I just get all bursting with pride when I see them up there.

Isabella decided pretty quickly that she wanted to make up a dance this year, which proved to be a lot more prep-work than either of us anticipated, but it was fun to work on together. I don't have any dance background, but I really enjoy pretending it's something I'd be good at given the chance. She's a natural and is especially good at feeling the music and freestyling it. Anyway, she danced beautifully and with so much confidence.

Liam is our little singer, who loves to belt it (especially at church it seems, haha), and so we brainstormed quite a bit about what a good song choice for him might be since he really wanted to sing. This was his first time doing the talent show. Anyway, when I asked Will for input, he suggested maybe something from the movie, "The Little Rascals." I think he was thinking along the lines of the silly burping song or something, so we took the opportunity to borrow the movie from a friend to refresh our memory about the music in that movie. Us girls concluded that him dressing up as Alfalfa and singing, "You Are So Beautiful" would pretty much be the cutest thing ever.

I did have to really talk him into it, but I bribed him with ten bucks and told him he didn't have to his Saturday jobs that week, and he was sold. After that he was super committed and super fun to work with. However, he did not like practicing if any of the neighborhood girls were around to listen, which is funny to me since I don't think he minded or got very nervous about singing in front of the library crowd. Anyway, we had one of our most adorable little friends, Makayla, dress up as Darla and it went really well. He definitely ended with a bang, and hopefully I haven't scarred him for life! haha Next year he says he's singing the Lego song...

I had my hands full and couldn't manage playing videographer and photographer, so I don't have too many photos, but I love the ones I do have (Darla and Alfalfa--I die! They looked so cute together!):

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Lucky for me, the library had a photographer at the event. I'm so grateful for these shots, too:

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And finally, the videos of their performances! These kids sure have my heart.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Our 4th of July Trip to Spokane!

Our trip to see my sister Lauren in Spokane for the Fourth of July was just perfect! She recently moved into the cutest house and it was fun to be her first guests. Uncle Steve was quite the chef while we were there, spoiling us with amazing apple sauce pancakes and cowboy burgers. We also got to eat at Cafe Rio, which is a definite favorite of ours. Our neck of the woods doesn't have nearly enough good eats, so this was a real treat.

Everything was within walking distance... the farmers market, the splash pad, the library (we didn't venture to the library, but still! How cool would it be to live within walking distance of the library?!), the fireworks show.

Every afternoon, Lu, Isabella and I would go for an afternoon shopping trip. It was so fun. I love to shop so much, especially with my sisters!

But best of all was just visiting, of course. It's so, so awesome to have a sister live within driving distance! And now if the rest of my family would hurry up and migrate to Washington. 

And last but not least, Happy Birthday, America! We love you so much!

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Had to include my iphone pics from the trip too (looking at them makes me want to plan our next trip already!):
Spokane for the Fourth

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