Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Look out - she's 11!

Dear Audrey,
Happy Birthday - a little late but, fashionably, of course!  In true Audrey style we planned a fun-filled party for you this year.  It was Oh-la-la Paris theme and we started out with the girls meeting us at the Bella Dolche Salon for Mani/Pedi's. 
The girls you invited were all so sweet and I think they felt very pampered.  I can tell by watching you that you make sure every girl knows that pampering is important.  The easiest way I know to lift your spirit is to head right into the bathroom.  A quick beauty routine and you are all good!

The party didn't stop there.  We headed back to the house for a Paris themed dinner of Croissant sandwiches, French fries, and fruit.

You enjoy a good planned out event.  No surprises for you.  Why take a chance when you can pre-plan and have everything orchestrated the way you want it to go?  (I might have encouraged this...)

 You are a diva through and through.  I know you are getting old and I should treat you as such.  But really it is so hard when I am trying to have a serious conversation with you and you are doing pirouettes around the kitchen table.  Don't stop though- dance your way through life.  I know it brings you joy! 

I look at you at 11 years old and I just can't believe what a beautiful young girl I am raising.  You are gracious and kind to everyone you meet.  You are convicted about loving Jesus and making sure people know that he is part of who you are.  Sometimes you worry and can be a little obsessive but I hope you learn to how to cope with those feelings and that you always know where to turn when life becomes too much for you. 
We love you so much, little bean!  Happy Birthday ~ Love, Mom

Monday, June 30, 2014


Couple of pictures from our trip to the Olympic National Park
It looks like a picture out of a movie... (Twilight anyone?)  Not sure if my snapshots do it justice though.  

On our way to the Sol Duc Hot Springs.  

Carissa seems to find the closest downed tree and climb to the end of it at every opportunity.  

One stop was in front of a HUGE Sitka Spruce true. This one is said to be over 500 years old.  We were imagining the centuries of people that may have walked by.

The Hoh Rainforest was another destination.  Love the moss growing over the old phone booth.  Crazy but it rains over 241 inches in the rainforest a year.  To put that in perspective, Phoenix gets about 7" a year and Seattle gets 32".  The day we were there it was so sunny we got sunburned. 
(I continue to believe strongly God has a great sense of humor!)

Grandma turned six-two on this trip.  Happy we could share the day with her. 

We could just end here... forever.  
The sea stacks on Second Beach in La Push, WA.  
Beyond blessed to live in this glorious state!!

Carissa is 8 Plus a lot more!

Dear Carissa, 

This year I am off by about a month posting you a letter.  But I just know you understand, because, well you are just that kind of girl.  You notice the people around you and you adapt to your circumstances.  So thank you for letting us change plans on you and then change plans again!  In case you don't remember the first MAJOR thing that got in the way was this house!!  

Yes, we bought a house 4 days before your birthday and it is so wonderful and perfect.  I see us living her for a long time. (Like more then our 3 year average!)

While we were moving some of the things over one night there were some packages on the doorstep.  A big beanbag all your own from Grandma and Twilight Sparkle from your cousins.  You were in heaven.  People know what you like!
 Since our moving happened to be right in the middle of your birthday you had to wait just a tad bit longer for your party.  Uncle Jake came to help so we took a moving break and went to a Mariner's game.  You loved it!

 We had awesome seats!  It was so easy to watch the game and I think you really got it.  You were counting strikes and watching the guy on 2nd try to steal a base.   When it comes to learning something new you are all in!  

 Finally...we were all settled in and you had two of your best friends over for a camp out birthday party.  We made dream catchers and decorated flashlights.  
 You guys made crazy faces and played in the tent.  We ended the night with yummy s'mores.   
 You would think we could relax after that.  But not so fast... Recital time was the following weekend.  You and your sister rocked it at the dance recital.  You are a beautiful, graceful girl and a joy to watch on stage.  You learned so much this year and get to move up to Ballet II next year!

 Finally, we had the last day of school.  You goofed off with your crazy best friends and I felt so proud of you. My sweet, now 8 year old, 3rd Grader!! You are starting to memorize your multiplication facts and read and read and read. 
 After all that though, Mommy needed a break, so you jumped in the RV with Grandma and she took you and your sister to the Olympic National Park.  

 Even though school is out for the summer it didn't mean you weren't going to learn anymore.  You dove right in to the Junior Ranger Program and completed the whole booklet.  When we meet you up there for the weekend I saw you get sworn in at the ranger station.  You wore the badge proudly and I began to wonder just what you might become in this lifetime.  The possibilities are endless!!
 Sometimes, at birthdays I get a little sad that my "Kissa" is getting so big.  But this year I feel differently for some reason.  I can see great changes in you and am so proud of all you are becoming.  I love chatting with you and hearing your insight.  
You might be the youngest of our family but you will never be the least.   We love you so much Carissa Grace!  Love, Mom

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Horse Love

For Carissa's 7th Birthday she was given Cowgirl Boots and a promise of a horseback riding lesson.  We fulfilled that promise 10 days short of her 8th birthday - Whew - it was a close one!
Meet Trigger
Trigger is an American Quarter Horse (or so I am told) and was just about the most calm animal I have ever been around.  At the moment I took this picture it was just me and Trigger in the "dressage" area and I swear he was laughing at me.  I was so.out.of.place!!!!

Carissa was not!  She was in heaven.  She brushed the horse and picked his hooves.  She learned how to put the saddle on and led him through the stable.  She rode him around the arena and dang if she didn't just look like she belong there!  I was so happy to be able to make her dream come true. 
She has two more group lessons and then who knows after that?  It is not like being on a soccer team or taking your child to piano lessons.  This is serious business (and crazy expensive).  I mentioned to one lady that I was a first-timer and she said "I can tell, you are wearing white". 
Lord - help me. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Trip Back to Arizona

Over Spring Break I decided that the girls and I should take a trip back to Arizona.  We planned on going for a week with Justin meeting us in the middle of it and then cramming each moment with as many people as we could. 
Saying Good-bye to Mt. Rainer and hello to Las Vegas meant traveling in flip flops with the promise of 80 degree weather when we stepped off the plane.  We weren't disappointed!

It was so nice when we first landed.  It felt comfortable to be back in familiar territory.  Although the desert is not my "peaceful oasis" it does feel natural to me there.  I wonder if I will ever feel that way about Washington?

The girls crashed during our 2 hour car ride from Vegas to Lake Havasu and it was quite boring in the car.  How easy it was to travel with them!!

We spent the first part of our trip with my parents and Grandpa.  It was a great weekend of chatting and catching up.  My mom got tickets to the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" which the girls loved, and my Grandpa treated us to a yummy Itailan dinner one night. 
My daughters never miss a chance to get fancy!

The second half of the trip was spent visiting friends and catching up with cousins.   The girls are getting to the age were it might not matter how far away you move, true friends will always be there.  I loved that I was able to show them that. 

What's a trip without a healthy game of bowling? This might have been one of the best day's on the trip, if I was comparing...  It was so relaxing to just spend the afternoon with Uncle Matt, Aunt Suzanne, and Lola.  Again, it really doesn't make a difference how long it's been - family (and good friends) stay the same! 

 A little bonding time with the oldest cousin and the youngest cousin and all the crazies in-between.

 Landon loves his Uncle Justin and I hope  know he loves me too.  Even if he really didn't want anything to do with me..

So after a full week of family, friends, and sun we flew back home.  Justin and I held our breathe, wondering how the girls would react.  But we heard nothing.  No one said "I Miss...", "I wish...", "What if...".  They just continued on. 

For that I am so grateful.  I feel like it translates into - Hey Lady, you might have moved us (again!) away from everyone we knew, but we are OK.  We know you and Daddy love us, God loves us, and we are cool.  So let go of the guilt.  - and you know what?  I think I will. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Don't you dare APRIL!!

I absolutely refuse April to slip by without my posting on this blog!!
So without further Ado... I Begin AGAIN.
Audrey's 4th year in the school talent show.  She just didn't skip a beat.  This year she and her friends sang "I Love the Way You Hold Me" by Jamie Grace.
It's a darling christian song and they felt scandalous because they actually said "Lord, I love the way you hold me" at a public school event.  She rocked...as usual!

Carissa and her sweet, shy friend decided to do - what everyone else is singing this year - "Do you want to build a snowman.  I made the Anna capes and sent them on their way into the audition room.  It was grueling 6 minutes until they came out and announced they would have to join forces with another group to do the performance...Awkward.
These two beauties didn't think anything of it.  They just joined forces with 3 more girls and one AHHH-mazing stage mom (another girl's) who choreographed the cutest little number.

I made matching shirts and the girls sang there hearts out. 
 Justin filmed it and thank goodness he did because he captured Carissa singing into her microphone that was slowly dropping as she sang.  Rather then touch the microphone and bring it back up, Carissa slowly dropped with it until she was almost kneeling.  The crowd was in hysterics and it was glorious. 
I curse it every year - but Talent Shows are probably here to stay in this family!!