the obligatory Christmas letter, 2014 style

Merry Christmas!                                               {all photos taken by ivy & tweed photography}

2014 is almost over and while I can't point to anything that made it a bad year, it was a hard year. Lots of changes; some good and some difficult, and it felt long.
Most years feel like they flew by, but 2014 has had moments where it feels like its dragging on and on.
Our family had good health all year. No terrible sicknesses or hospital visits (woo-hoo!) and we did some traveling which is always fun.

Jason had a business trip with Amazon in November and I got to tag along with him, which was awesome. We enjoyed the alone time and enjoyed a few things about Vegas. Its a fun place with weird people :)

We took a month long trip to California in June and while the visit went amazingly well, we decided a month is way too long to be away. We were all a hot mess when we got home and it felt like it took us several months to recover and get back to normal life. But we loved the time with our families and enjoyed seeing some friends.

We left our only church here in Washington back in April and began the search for a new church home. Its rarely an exciting endeavor, but I have to say I am extremely thankful that the process was smooth and we enjoyed visiting lots of churches and meeting a ton of new people. It was exciting to see what God is doing in the greater Seattle area.
We felt called to one church in particular and have been blessed there and are enjoying making some new friends and finding new areas we can serve God and our community.

We moved in October into our first home we're BUYING here in Washington! This felt like a long time coming, but its finally here and we couldn't be happier. There are so many fun and interesting details wrapped up in this news. If you haven't already heard or read the long version, go here.
The super short version is, God provides. He shows us in the most amazing ways that He's taking care of us and this home sale was nothing short of His amazing grace and provision.
We're feeling settled in the new home and definitely enjoying our first holiday season here.

When people ask Jason and I what we "enjoy doing" we usually both stare and probably look a little confused. We enjoy being together. We have 4 kids, he works full time and I homeschool, so its hard to pull out these random, exciting hobbies we have. Right now our "hobbies" are,

serving God.
raising our kids.
being involved with our church.
spending time with friends.
keeping in contact with family.
watching movies, going on walks, playing board games, visiting new places, trying new recipes, working around the house and yard, talking (our family loves to talk) and just being together, the six of us. We're all most happy when we're all in the same place at the same time.
We both have a "core group" of couples that we enjoy spending time with on nights when we want to get out and enjoy guys' nights or girls night.

Ethan is almost 10 and just typing that made my heart race a little bit. 
He's in the 4th grade and with that comes a much different school schedule. He's still doing the Foundations class with Classical Conversations but has also begun the Essentials program which has been as fun for me as it is for him. And I'm not joking, we both love it! We've enjoyed reading, writing papers, coming up with interesting vocabulary words and learning as we read.

 He loves football and was so excited that his team went to and won their first Super Bowl! He got to go to their post Super Bowl parade with Jason and said its a day he'll never forget.
He enjoys being outside, playing with friends, playing Legos, Minecraft, reading, and having one-on-one dates with Dad or Mom. Out of all our kids he is the one who most enjoys being one on one with us.
Ethan has a sweet personality and is super friendly. He has no fear of meeting new people, finding random kids to play with him at the park and truly likes everyone. 
 This year we focused on some character issues that definitely pop out more at home and while some days are harder than others, we're really thankful for such a kind, outgoing son.

Rachel is 8 1/2 and has had the most noticeable growth spurt this year. In looks and personality she just seems to have aged overnight. 
She's in the 3rd grade and says her favorite subjects are History and Art. She is very artistic and has great plans of designing and creating many things when she gets older.
She likes to be busy with projects and enjoys playing dress-ups and make-believe with Kara.
The two of them are so fun to watch because they start playing and enter this amazing world that is their own and they totally forget anyone is watching them. It takes me back to my own childhood and makes me long for being a kid again.
Rachel also likes to read and enjoys when I read aloud to them. The kids said their favorite book this year that we've read are The Land of Stories and The Bronze Bow. Two very different books, but both excellent.

Rachel is my helper girl. She is always willing to serve her family and does it with a great attitude. I'm often amazed at how often she's already doing something to help out, even before I ask. Its definitely a huge blessing on days when I'm pressed for time and feeling overwhelmed.
She isn't a born leader and feels comfortable following, but does a great job being a big sister and is very trustworthy and responsible.

Kara is 6 and the life of the party. She has endless amounts of energy, never runs out of the things to talk about, likes to make people laugh, has a hard time turning off her silly side and when she's done for the day she crashes in a major way. 
She's in the 1st grade and is a happy early reader. She was beyond thrilled when she learned how to make sense of all those letters on the page :) It amazes me how much Kara and Miles pick up from hearing me teach Ethan and Rachel. I've been really impressed with math facts that she already knows, simply from hearing them being taught when she was little.

She said her favorite subject is Geography and is most excited that she learned ALL the U.S. states and capitals, can point to each one and is learning how to draw the United States map by herself.
Kara is driven and determined. I always tell her she can conquer the world someday because she definitely has that "I'm going to try and not give up" mentality.
She is outgoing when she's comfortable, but definitely shy at first. She likes to follow closely behind Rachel and when the situation seems safe, she opens up :) 

Miles is 2 1/2 going on 12. He has the most elaborate vocabulary and makes us laugh often. He reminds me of a mix of Rachel and Kara's personalities, with Ethan's fondness for books.
He sings all the time, but mostly in the car. His new thing is to take a common tune and then add his own words. The other day it was the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star but he was singing "I like the sun and I like the rain. I like God and I like Mommy..." :)
He is passionate in every sense of the word. Passionately happy and passionately sad. If the older kids take a toy he was using, he is not passive about it. We heard loud cries and I've often panicked thinking he's had a bad fall, only to find out he is just completely broken over someone not being nice to him. I think when you're the youngest of 4 you find creative ways to be heard :) 

 He struggled a lot this year with sharing. I would have a little friend over for him to play with and he would gather all his toys up into a pile and inform the child they were HIS toys and not to be touched.
I was so happy the last time someone came to play with him and he handed his friend a toy and said "you can play with this... but when you go home, just put it on my bed." ... Progress :) 
He loves Curious George, being outside, playing with his train table, talking on the phone, and doing crafts. Rachel is his 2nd Mommy and if Jason or I am not around when he gets a boo-boo, only Rachel is allowed to console him. Out of all our kids, Miles is the one who enjoys it the most when the whole family is together. He cheers when Jason walks through the door at night and says "yay! everybody is home now! Everyone is here!" and we even notice his mood improve on the evenings and weekends. He's a major cuddler and is always worried if someone is hurt or sad.

Its hard to wrap up our kids growth and changes into one letter and I always feel like I need to shorten what I write. Because this is being posted on the blog and not sent out in an actual LONG letter for you all to read, I worry a lot less about its length :)

We hope you each had a wonderful year. I'm praying 2015 is a year full of good changes and fun times for our family, but I know that whatever comes, it is first known by God and He will take care of us and provide our every need.

We love you all,
Jason, Stef, Ethan, Rachel, Kara and Miles


outtakes always make me laugh out LOUD

We had our annual family Christmas pictures taken a few weeks ago and as per-usual, I mostly love the hilarious outtakes. Miles doesn't like to pose, because, well, he's 2 and a half. He'd rather jump, spin, show 2 fingers or completely turn around and pretend not to see you.
Thought I'd share the silliness here with you all :)

this one isn't very funny until you see it with the rest. 
I told Miles he should stand closer to Kara... 

So he did, but he also started jumping, frantically. 

and then Mommy said "Stand still, Miles!" 

Kara is bouncy too. 

and then, of course, we all had to be crazy on purpose :) 


Hi, November! Bye, November.

Oh, hi. I have a blog.

Its coming on December now and while I love to write, I'm finding I don't have the time. If its a paper that's NOT due for a school-something-or-other, it goes unwritten. I suppose its the phase of life I'm in, but who knows. Its also possible I've just lost the zest for blogging frequently.

We moved into our new home back around October 1st. The move did not go very smooth and at the time it seemed horrible. Almost unbearable. Now, looking back 2+ months, I laugh at how silly I become when things aren't easy. How quickly I forget God is in complete control and I am not.
There's a Steven Curtis Chapman song called God is God and I am Not that I find myself humming a lot these days ;-)
The short version of a very long story (with all the dramatic details you'd get if you were sitting here sipping coffee with me in person) is... the man selling us the house wasn't ready to move out when he said he'd be out. We got here with a truck filled with our home in it and had almost no space to unload it. But we found space, quickly made arrangements for our family to sleep at a friend's house {we have amazing friends} and grabbed whatever belongings we could find and needed for the next 24+ hours. The night went well; kids all slept fine and Miles slept on the floor like a champ for the first time! We were able to at least sleep at the house the next night, but it took him an entire week to be mostly out of the house in order for us to be mostly in.
I had a day where I completely lost it. Sent a very desperate texts to Jason at work, called a friend and cried like a baby, and prayed a whole lot.
In the midst of all the chaos, Kara turned six and we had a lovely celebration for her. We spent the day as a family and she had her annual birthday breakfast alone with Daddy, followed by a treasure hunt and gift opening.
She says she loves being six and was thrilled to lose her 1st 2 front (bottom) teeth right around her birthday.
We went to Beni Hana's for her birthday dinner {also tradition} and just enjoyed taking a breather and celebrating our crazy, spunky, sassy girl. I can't believe its been six years since we met her. She's

We love the new house. Its a lot smaller than our previous homes, but it has worked well for us.
We've already done some work in the backyard with our good friends Nick & Amy, but come Spring, there's still a lot more to do.

We managed to escape the horrible Fall sicknesses that loom around at the beginning of school and everyone sharing germs. This is the first year in the history of us that we haven't filtered through some disgusting sickness during this time of year.
I'm telling you, if I wasn't a firm believer in these essential oils before, I am now. We've been using DoTerra oils since last October and haven't seen our Pediatrician since last September. No joke. Aside from slight sniffles and a random (light) fever here or there, my kids haven't been truly ill in a year. I'm beyond thankful because I know at the bottom of all the "oil magic" lies a good and gracious God.
When we kept hitting sickness after sickness I did step back and pray about ways I could try and improve our families health and one major conviction was that I change up our eating habits. We didn't become weird mountain or cave dwelling people, but we did cut out a significant amount of sugars and said good bye to most boxed foods. It was hard for about a month and now it feels like a normal way of life. And like I said, we're not overly strict with it and we do allow junk food in moderation at birthday parties and events like that.
Its been a good change for our whole family and even our Dentist has noticed!

This has been a really busy but fun school year for us! Our move threw me off schedule which has proven to throw me off completely, but God keeps reminding me to S L O W down and relax. My kids aren't going to miss out on college because they didn't learn more about Columbus ON Columbus Day. Seriously, people, I need a chill pill sometimes.
I'm officially home schooling all 3 older kids now and so our days have become a bit more intense and there's definitely a need to at least lay out a "this must get done today" schedule.
Because Miles is at the darling, fun, and incredibly obedient age of 2 1/2 -NOT!!!-  we save some of our schooling for his nap time, so its thrown our days off a bit, but so far its working for us.

My Mom came up for a week in early November and during her stay she took care of the kids while Jason and I went to Vegas! Our first getaway with NO children in .... 3 years? Something like that. It was fun and while I didn't love Vegas (I hope never to return) I loved the alone time with my husband and enjoyed actually looking at him at meal times, not having to feed any other little people at the table, and best of all, not having to clean up the mess :)
When you're a stay-at-home wife/mom, it takes very little to please us.
Jason went to Vegas for a business trip and we saw it as a golden opportunity for me to tag along and turn it into a parent getaway trip.

I don't want to write too much in here because, well, Christmas letter! but I felt like something needed to be said on here. We're still alive and kicking. Looking forward to my favorite holidays of the year {Thanksgiving} and excited about doing lots and lots of cooking in my big kitchen this week.

The days feel like they're going by too fast. It sounds cliche but its totally true. My baby is turning 3 in five months. I'm honestly having a hard time wrapping my mind around that one.
I often go to bed and tell Jason that I didn't finish nearly half the things I had hoped to do that day. I even find that I get in bed and worry that I didn't have the right conversation with that child, or did I hug that child enough, did that child hear me when I told that very interesting and insightful story or will he/she fail when he/she is older because I didn't speak directly to them?! - Its all the silly things I need to remember Jesus covers when I simply can't.
Laundry always needs to be done, piles of clean clothes are typically found on top of Mom's dresser, dishes are almost always in the sink, "what are we gonna eat for dinner" is a common question around 5pm and still, no one ever knows who moved the important thing Dad or Mom is looking for.
But all of this reminds me to give thanks. Not just in November and not just because its Thanksgiving. But to always give thanks. We have clothing, food, dishes, school books, a car, friends to keep busy with, places to travel, family to enjoy seeing, church to attend, the ability to serve others and Jason has a great job.

I am thankful. 

And I'm done with this post.
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!


soak it up. soak it all up.

Moms, these days are fleeting.
Like them or not, relish the moments or wish they'd go faster, they're goin'. 
I have days where I constantly feel myself thinking, "just a few more hours!" and days where I'm literally wondering if God is playing tricks on me and slowing the clock down until bedtime. Like, I'm convinced on those days that the hour literally took 2 hours and someone is laughing at me as I climb a never ending cliff, trying to find the top. 
Lately though, I've been feeling a little bit of both in the same day. 
I love getting up and starting the day with my kids. I love breakfast time and usually make a meal that's probably over kill, but its my favorite meal of the day, so my kids have to deal with it ;-) 
I love going on our morning walk. Sometimes we walk to a destination, but usually we just wander and talk and pick flowers and sing. 
But there's this moment I face lately, in almost each day, where I'm done. My head hurts, I can't hold anything more in my brain, if someone comes to me and says "mommy?!" I feel like dashing for the front door and gettin' out of here so fast. Nap time becomes my most cherished time of the day and doing dishes in peace and quiet actually feels like a mini vacation. 
Outdoor play is my most favorite subject. Its the reason I think I fell in love with our new house. Just under half an acre AND a pool?! Yes please, sign me up! 
And then when you throw in things like, getting dinner prepped and served hot for everyone to enjoy? That's enough to turn me into a person who juices. Okay, not quite. 
But with all the crazy and exhaustion and the "I have to get out of here for just a few minutes to hear myself think!" feelings, its slipping by.
These days where everyone needs you for something and no one knows how to solve problems or conflicts on their own... they're gonna vanish. I have a feeling when we're older and our kids are grown and gone we're going to actually enjoy the phone calls where they need advice. We're going to welcome those long talks where hard stuff needs to be said. We're going to wish they could be little cute things again. And I know for myself, I'm gonna be that annoying old lady at the store telling all the new moms how fast those incredibly exhausting baby days really DO go by. 

My 9 1/2 year old son is pretty quiet. He has his moments where he acts like he's 2 and riles everyone in the house up and I'm like, "wow, thanks for that, dude. Just what I needed from my oldest child" but for the most part he's quiet. He likes quiet play and loves to read and most of all, adores being outside. He's not my clingy, whiny, constantly needing me child. At all. And for the most part, I appreciate it. Because I know God's wisdom is perfect and I can see exactly why he made Ethan the way he is. 
But in the evening, when the house is quiet and I sit back and wonder which child I didn't hug enough. When I go over all the ways I probably failed that day {we all do it, ladies, not just you} 
when I wonder how many opportunities I squandered because I thought it was more important to text a friend, or do some chores, or distract myself with something.... its in those moments he usually comes into my room in his pj's, climbs up on my bed and says "hi, Mommy. Wanna talk?" I love those moments. 
We lay down together and talk. Sometimes I hear ridiculous jokes that he and his friends shared with each other {I don't usually think they're even funny, but I remember the lame joke telling days all too well, so I humor him}, he usually talks about what he read that day and what he thought about the stories; how he'd change them or ways he thought they'd end and they didn't.
He always asks to hear a story about when I was little. He thinks my childhood was pretty hilarious and gets a kick out of the crazy things I did. I will never forget the first time I let him read from one of my journals. I had written in it when I was 15 and I shared a page with Ethan. Mostly to show him the things I struggled with as a teen and the ways I had to lean on Jesus when I had no clue what the outcome would be. He read the page and then looked at me and said, "I can totally see why Daddy married you." Heart-melting-soul-refreshing moment. I got all choked up and thanked him for his sweetness and I remember thinking "Lord, please help me never forget these days." 
I pray that because during so many parts of the day I battle feelings of wishing they could just be grown up. Or wishing I could be on vacation and not in the daily mundane of routine. 

When I read blogs about parents who've lost a child I realize how badly those parents want the tiring, repetitive, crazy moments back. They'd take them in a heart beat. 
When Miles fell last year and fractured his skull, I remember laying my hands on him while he slept in the hospital bed and praying "God, please heal him! Make him a strong, adventurous, crazy-at-heart boy who's not afraid to try new things and pushes himself to be braver." Yeah... I don't know what I was thinking ;-) 
But in all seriousness, it was in that moment of worrying he'd be injured in ways he could never heal from, I suddenly begged God to give me a boy that never gave me a moment's rest. It that moment I knew what good health and being alive and full of life looked like. 

Sometimes being content with the blessings is hard. 
Being thankful for what we think is owed to us can be difficult. 
And as we start this new school year and slowly approach Fall, I'm learning (again) how important it is to not over schedule our lives. When a million other things become so important in our lives that our family and home life becomes the stress? That's when I know its time to say no and simplify life. 
Jason and I deleted Facebook for a million reasons but that was a big one. It was just another distraction that pulled us (even for a few minutes here and there) away from our family. Away from what was really important. It was always there, ready to distract us and sometimes I felt jipped if I had a day where the kids demanded so much of me that I wasn't able to "hang out" on Facebook for a bit. 
I think the real lesson is learning that it can be anything. Distractions are everywhere, especially nowadays. 
And don't misunderstand me.... Time away and time alone and kidless hours are awesome and much needed. But I hope you don't spend your days wishing these days would be gone. Because soon enough, they will be. And we'll have plenty of time to sit around wishing we could go back and do it better. 
I have so many days where I forget to enjoy my kids. So many days where I forget they are kids and I spend the day wishing they could be adults. How boring life would be if there were no kids?! I don't even want to think about that.  
My brother is here visiting from Japan. I don't get to see him too often and when I do, I have to walk myself through the shock of him being 28 years old. In my head, he's Ethan's age still. 
Last night he was watching me play with Miles and he told me, "you always loved being a kid." Its true... I did. 
I look back on my childhood with a lot of fondness. It felt too short and you never get it back. Let your kids be kids and maybe sometimes be a big kid with them. I doubt we'll get older and regret those moment ;-) 

Learn from the passed, be IN the present and look to the future with hope. 


because the days are insane | deep breaths.

This summer has been a doozy. I always leave the school year with this dreamy attitude about Summer. Like, sleeping in, gourmet breakfasts, totally obedient, cheerful kids, weather that cooperates the entire summer long {this means no intense heat, among other things}, fun day trips and weekend getaways, out of town guests and meeting new friends as we play at new places....  and every end-of-August I find myself growling because the summer did NOT go as the above little story was laid out.
For the past couple years, we've found ourselves moving at the end of Summer into the beginning of the school year. Jolly good fun. Its a total thorn in my side, but every year we get through it.

Last year we got through it with a quick trip to CA to see Jason's ailing Grandma, brought my nephew back home with us for a week long visit, sent him home on the plane just in time for Miles to fall and fracture his skull, landing us at the Children's hospital in Seattle for 2 days, only to move a week later. We barely got moved in and we started school, along with tutoring at Classical Conversations completely blind {no experience at all}.
I keep telling myself, if we got through that fine we can get through this move like total pros.
Wish I felt like a total pro.

The house is looking packed, which has a way of making me feel completely anxiety ridden and at ease all at the same time. Because if its packed, it means we're almost ready to move and yet living in a mostly packed house makes me want to pull hair out of my head. I wonder if that's why I felt inspired to cut my hair off earlier this week {thanks for the new do, Candice!}

She gave Rachel, Kara, Miles and me amazing cuts and then spent the afternoon 
with us. Candice is our favorite. If you haven't met her yet, I'm sorry. 
{you can see her amazing photography work over here at her blog} 

Anyway, the house is in a state of chaos and school has started.
I feel weird talking about school starting only because we never really stop. We're learning constantly and didn't put our books away this year. The kids did random work all summer long, which I found to be really helpful on those days when they decided to fight and bicker and wander around driving me nuts. "Grab a book, do some reading, work on your cursive or do a puzzle!" - those words came out of my mouth more than once a week ;-)

The Seahawks played their first game of the season last night and won! We went for a walk Thursday morning {before the game} and I laughed so hard at how into the new season everyone was.
I love that they have such devoted fans; especially since they've played horribly over the last decade. These Seattleites are faithful and were ready for a win. We bought a few things at the drugstore and they gave the kids these 12th Man holders. I had the kids pose along the sidewalk for this picture and while they stood there, cars driving by were honking and people were screaming and cheering "GO HAWKS!" The excitement is fun and funny :)

I took the kids out today to buy them all new shoes {do kids feet grow by inches in their sleep?!} and we first went to Stride Rite. I've been going there since Ethan was a baby because I love the quality of their shoes and I like that I can hand down pairs to new babies we have. Today though, I decided we will be doing our shoe shopping somewhere else. If their prices weren't enough to drive you away, the fact that they NEVER have sizes in their sale items and only have their most expensive shoes in stock  is definitely enough to get me to never return.
I left in a huff after realizing I'd be spending over $200 for 4 pairs of shoes even with a coupon at 20% off. Grrr...
We ended up at Famous Footwear with a BOGO deal and under $100 when all was said and done.
In my book that was a WIN.

Oh! My Uncle thought it was funny to announce my pregnancy on Instagram this week. Except I'm not pregnant. The 20+ text messages I got over that one was fun. Miles is coming on 2 1/2 so I think my family has decided if they invent pregnancies, it will just happen. NOT pregnant, friends. Sorry to disappoint.

We have a couple rooms in the new house that we'd like to paint - please share your favorite brands and colors if you have any! I'm leaning towards spending a bit more for quality paint, but when it comes to *what* quality I have no idea. If you have any favorites, please let me know.

I've literally been rambling. Sorry for the all-over-the-place post. My head feels all over the place lol

Happy Weekend!


the new house

Our home inspection went really well and we're thankful we have nothing major to report. Such a praise!

 While we were there we took some pictures and the owner graciously allowed the girls to swim in the pool for the 1st time. It was a grand day :)

    the pool can be heated, so we plan to use it quite a bit all year long.

 the fireplace/mantle is probably our favorite spot in the house. 

 the little patio outside the master bedroom sliding door. 

 getting a view of how large the lot is. 
We have some bushes to pull out, but we're actually looking forward to it. 

 looking out one of the kitchen windows 

September '14

 4th Grade 

 3rd Grade

 1st Grade 

Preschool a.k.a running around the house hearing and repeating 
everything his older siblings are learning and pulling all the books off 
our shelves while Mommy isn't looking. 

Its a good life. 


We're buying a house!
I'm gonna try to tell this story somewhat quickly and hopefully I won't confuse you. I feel like I should say, "when you hear the chimes sound like this *bling!* turn the page.... 

Back in '09 we short sold our house in California and moved up here to Washington. Only problem was, took our house 3 years to sell, which meant we had an additional 3 year penalty before we were able to purchase a home here :(
Two weekends ago Jason told me there were a couple open homes for sale that he wanted to look at. They were over by our last house we rented and we were already in the neighborhood so we went to look. After seeing those few, he told me he wanted to go back to the area we first lived in when we moved to Washington. Its a great area and homes are much less expensive there.
We looked at one we liked, but it was huge (we're that weird family that wants a smaller, more manageable home with a much bigger lot) and it needed some work and was at the top of our price range. Just before heading home he told me there was one he really wanted to see because the pictures were amazing. Since we were only 2 blocks away we decided to check it out.
We pulled onto the court and couldn't find the house and realized it has its own long private driveway, away from the other houses.

At first glance I didn't think much of the house. Just looks like a home built in the 70's, cute hanging plants, nice trees, etc... but I couldn't figure out why Jason thought the pictures online were "amazing".
I barely made it in the front door and was gasping. I couldn't get over how welcoming and warm the home is; how open and beautiful the floor plan was... and, the amazing pool and spa in the backyard!!

We spent about an hour there, just looking and looking and looking again. We thanked the realtor, told her how gorgeous we thought it was and apologized for being there so long ;-)

We came home and for the rest of the night Jason kept telling me how much he loved the house and how he couldn't help but feel like it was perfect for us. Everything we've been looking for.
I agreed, but knowing we can't purchase until January, I felt like we should let it go.
The next day he was still talking about how he couldn't take his mind off of it. I teased him because I came in the kitchen and saw the flyer for the house stuck on our fridge. He told me he put it there because he needed a reminder that God was going to give it to us. I will admit, I thought he was crazy :)
So when Tuesday rolled around and he was still talking about it, I suggested he write an email to the realtor and just let her know we loved it and if for some odd reason it doesn't sell and he still wants to sell it in January, contact us. He wrote her an email, explaining our situation and the next morning she wrote back and said she would be more than happy to let the owner know. 24 hours after that she emailed and told Jason the owner loved our email, is thrilled we like his house so much and would be willing to work with us. Talk about crazy surprising! We were shocked and thrilled. We started praying like crazy that God would be really clear what steps He wanted us to take; especially since it could be amazing or go very wrong.

I won't bore you with all the details here (but let me assure you, there were many amazing, clear answer to very specific prayer details answered!)
After only a week we had come to some agreements on what we both expected, what would need to be done, loan officers, realtors, etc... were brought into play and things were figured out.
He agreed to rent the home to us starting October 1st and the purchase of the home will close sometime in February.
I'm still in complete shock and in total awe at the ways God provides. Especially when He reminds me His time table isn't always my expected one and He can make what seems impossible be possible.

The home is totally remodeled (and thankfully to our taste) 4 bedroom home. Its on just under 1/2 acre with an in-ground swimming pool and hot tub, lots of backyard land and plenty of room to grow!
We couldn't be happier and are incredibly thankful for this gift.

For those of you who've been going through this fast paced process with us and have been praying and sending encouraging texts, thank you!! We're really excited to be back in an area we love and the city we spent our first 2 years here in. We have lots of good friends over there and are thankful we get to stay so local to Seattle.

As we get closer to moving in, I will post pictures here, but seeing as this is all happening right as school starts, it may take me a little while. I'm tutoring again at Classical Conversations and thankfully I have a couple more weeks to prepare for that starting. We'd appreciate continued prayer though; there's a lot on our plate and we want to be mindful of God's provision and care, even when life gets really stressful. He never ceases being good, no matter what.

because blogs are cool.

I always knew I'd come back to my blog, which is why I never deleted it, but I didn't realize it would be this soon.
photo bombing goodness. 

For various reasons I've closed out most of my social media outlets and have definitely missed being able to write and post here. I know blogs are no longer "in style" and I get that actually reading something beyond a quick sentence or two is nearly impossible for people these days {thank you, Facebook}. I get that. I'm okay with it. I don't write on here for anyone but me, really, and have always been flattered when people actually take the time to keep up with us here.

we saw epic sunsets 


So pop in, pop out, never visit again, do your thing. I don't mind.
I can't promise weekly posts. I will definitely not post about every.little.thing we do, but I will keep updates coming.
Here's a quick one {including descriptions below pics}

We bought a new family car
went to CA for an almost month long visit
came home and celebrated the 4th of July
potty trained our youngest
went on lots of fun day trips with friends
enjoyed visits from out of town friends and family
celebrated Rachel's 8th birthday
went to VBS
In May we resigned from our church we've gone to since moving here to Washington and began the church hunt, which ended up being more 'fun' than we thought it would be. Great to meet new people, visit many churches in our area and to wait for God to say "this one".

We've had an amazing Summer, but we truly can't wait for Fall and Winter to get here. We're all excited about the formal school schedule starting and getting to see our Classical Conversation friends on a weekly basis!

the beach trail a few miles from our house. 

I post pictures of our daily lives on Instagram {eatsleepandrun} and will definitely post pics here. I'm keeping this blog locked down though to approved guests only. I wanna know who's lurking into our lives :)

you guys. c'mon. 

Grandpa & Grandma came for a visit! 

and we've played A LOT this summer. 

took this beauty the other night. I'll end with this. 

Its good to be back. 

two years ago today...

This day has arrived much faster than I expected. Our baby boy is two years old!
These past two years have been filled with more joy than I could've imagined.

He's into everything, funny, adorable, wild, cuddly, imaginative, bold and sensitive.
He's a handful and pretty easy at the same time. When we're home he tends to be a handful because he likes to get into everything and be all over the place. I don't rest until he's resting.
When we're out and about he goes with the flow very well. He likes to blend with the big kids and does what he's told, which is an awesome blessing for me :)
taken today - his birthday donut 

He talks up a storm; using complete sentences and occasionally big words. He tries to copy everything we all say and does a pretty good job of it! He's going potty on the big potty, which was totally his idea. Not something I planned to do right now, but he wants to so we're doing it. I'm planning to fully potty train him in May.
Still naps like a champ {because when he's awake he never stops moving} and is currently learning his colors. He can count to 10 and sings his ABC's, along with some sign language and part of our Timeline in Classical Conversations ;-)
Makes me laugh so hard when I hear him singing "Creation and the fall, the flood and the tower of Babble!" complete with hand motions. The things younger siblings learn just from watching their older siblings amazes me.
taken yesterday (Easter) at our friends house. 

I'm so thankful for him. I'll never understand the reasons God had for our 3 miscarriages followed by Miles' healthy pregnancy, but I do know that God has a reason and a purpose for what He does and that His ways are always good.
I still remember special dates with our other babies. Like 3 years ago this month we lost Micah. Its a time of my life I will never forget and has impacted me more than anything else I've ever gone through. I'm so thankful to God for that. So thankful for the ways he's changed me through the babies we lost and changed me through Miles' beautiful life.
Our children are gifts from the Lord and until we see them as such, I'm not sure we'll ever understand just how important and special they are.
Miles' life has changed the way I view all my kids. I'm so very aware of how incredibly amazing it is that they each have life and are blessed with such healthy lives. So maybe that was God's purpose, who knows! I'm just thankful He blessed us with this sweet boy.
I took this pic after church yesterday. 
so bummed Kara closed her eyes. But this is reality :) 

I love how different Miles is from his other siblings and I love how much he tries to be his own person. He has a very determined personality and likes to try to everything all by himself. He's very brave and adventurous and I laugh out loud when HE'S the one trying to talk Ethan into doing something crazy :) 
I love watching him Skype with the Grandparents; I love the way he'll forget friends of ours that we actually see somewhat often, but he remembers every little thing about his Grandparents and his face lights up when he hears their voices or sees them on the screen.
We took these this morning as we all greeted him from bed and sang to him. He loved every moment of it :)

He loves Mickey Mouse and Curious George and his first movie he sat through (several times) is Frozen. He has the "Let it Go" song pretty much memorized and we hear him around the house belting out, "yet it go! yet it go! A pass is in a pass!" 

He loves to help me with dishes. 
My only issue with it is that he leaves the water on the whole time 
and I see dollar signs going down the drain :-\
SO I thought up an idea. I fill a big bowl full of water and put some little dishes of his in there to clean and he goes to town having a ball for quite a while! 

This morning he was kind enough to let the girls help :) 

His most favorite thing is to build fires with Daddy and be outside. When its time to come in there are many tears shed.

He loves to go on walks on the trail by our house and gets a thrill when I let him stop and throw rocks in the lake. He's definitely an out doors boy.
He likes Legos and Playmobil and also likes dressing up with his sisters. He's very good about noticing when we girls look all pretty for church and tells me every time he sees my jewelry, "so petty, Mommy! I yike it on you." ;-)
He's  Daddy's boy, but definitely comes to Mommy when he needs lots of sympathy and snuggles.

We had his 2nd Dentist appointment this morning and he did great, with a 
"perfect teeth" report! He hammed it up good for the Dental Hygienist too ;-) 

We love him so much and can't believe he's 2! 
Time refuses to slow down for me. 

Happy Birthday, Miles Jonathan! 


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