Tuesday, June 20, 2017


This past weekend we finally celebrated Claire's birthday with my family, 
along with my dad's, Aunt Faith's and mine.

Now that my mom and dad no longer have a pool, our house became the default party house.
Marisol and Jason also have a pool but they couldn't make it this time.
It was a pretty typical family gathering,

Josh grilled hamburgers and hot dogs

and the cousins swam.






It should be noted that ALL of the kids now jump off the diving board, except Jack of course.

Claire really wanted to get helium balloons so she could suck the helium in them. 

We have been watching America's Got Talent and when we saw the magician with the balloons that were filled with a gas that made the judges voice go way lower, the girls were mesmerized and wanted to try it, with helium, obviously.

So we did that but apparently it takes some skill to breath it in and the younger girls couldn't quite do it. They would just let the gas blow into their mouths.

We had cake and opened presents,

 Claire got a slackline from my parents. (Uncle Buddy's idea)

We have been having a good time hanging it over our pool.
No one can do it with out the help ropes yet.

This week we are trying to stay cool and get ready for Claire and Joy and Josh to head off for a Kid's Camp.  This will be Joy's first time.  She is SO excited.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Two Van Family!

We got a new minivan!  I am in love!

In April I was rear-ended coming home from work on the I-17.  It was just a fender bender but I had a feeling God was moving some pieces around on our chess board of life and I was excited to see what would happen,

Then the insurance guy came to see the damage and do the appraisal and much to my surprise he totalled it.

 I have loved that van, it has been good to us for the 7 years that we have had it but with all the driving we do it has 173k miles on it.  Regardless, it is still really very nice and in good shape - except for the rear end damage

and the even more minor front damage from when I was catapulted into the person in front of me from the impact.

Everyone one with eyes knows that Josh needs a new car, he has needed a new car for about 5 years now actually but the Nissan was running fine and with all our moving and what not in the last 4 years it was never a good time to be roped into a car payment.

 SO of course the obvious solution is to get Josh a new car and I would just keeping driving the silver one.  BUT the caravan doesn't have rear air (big problem with four kids stuffed back there in the summer) and it has no room for anything except people.  We are not able to go camping or to the beach because there is NO room in the van and no roof rack.

So we decided, that it would be best for the family to get a new van (with rear air!) for me and the kids and keep the old van for Josh to drive.  Josh often drives youth around and picks up and drops of stuff for church events so it makes sense. Plus there is room for him to take all our kids if an emergency arises.

We ended up getting $2500 for the van from the insurance company to put toward the new van.
I knew I wanted a Toyota Sienna and after 2 solid months of looking and impatient girls complaining that we would never find one, we finally did.  (mostly because I opened up the color options to white.  I was against white at first.)

Here it is, my new ride. This van is awesome.

It is older, a 2004, but only has 90k miles and really good service records.  It was also by far the cleanest and most without flaws that we had looked at and the price was exactly what we had predetermined we were wanting to pay. (and you know what? I LOVE the white!)

Oh My Goodness!  How did we live without rear air!?  No more sweating!  The power sliding door is also the highlight of every outing.  Look at all that room!  I could barely squeeze that stroller into the old van.  (this one also has a roof rack)

We feel so blessed to be able to have it.  God turned something that seemed bad at first into a huge blessing for our family.

We are now trying to sell Josh's car.  It is so bad though.  We took it to the dealer to have it diagnosed - I don't want whoever buys it to feel like we scammed them.   It needs over $4000 worth of work.

What a gem.

Maybe someone will buy it for parts?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Start of Summer

We have been enjoying the summer so far.  The girls swim in our pool for hours on end everyday but we decided to go to the zoo just to play in the splash pads for a change of pace. (Cause we all know the zoo is no place to see animals in the summer)   *Disclaimer - I really do like the zoo now, you just have to know when to go and what to expect*

 Jack is not a fan of splash pads.  He watches the girls run and play like they are crazy.
 He just wants his blanket and his snacks.  Jack is so funny about his blanket.   He HAS to have it with him. None of the girls ever had a "lovey" before.  Today I need to cut some of them to a smaller size because they are too big and bulky (and hot!)for him to carry around all the time. 
 He did get dragged around by Claire for a little while.

 But then back to the dry benches for more snacks.  

Our summer days have been slow and relaxing.  I feel like I have a lot more time than I usually do. (which is evident from my TWO blog posts this week.)  I hope to be on top of my blog and take more pictures and videos.  The girls and I were watching some of our videos I have uploaded to youtube over the years and Paige said "Where is a video of me?"  and it was so sad because there isn't one!  Nor is there one of Jack. Bad mom.

We have a fun summer ahead of us,  Kids Camp, camping with my family (and maybe by ourselves too), VBS, a trip to the beach and hopefully lots of pictures for us to remember it by.

Monday, June 5, 2017


 This month Claire and I had the pleasure of traveling to Oklahoma to visit my younger brother and his wife and to see their new baby, Penelope and of course my two year old niece Norah.

It was Claire's first time flying.  She was very excited and nervous.  Luckily we were able to fly out with my dad (Poppy).  I love to fly but it has been many years since I have done it so I liked going with a frequent flyer.

When we got to Tulsa we couldn't believe how green it was!  Claire was impressed and decided she wanted to move there when she grows up and gets married.  Bryan and Rachel's house was built in the 40's.  I love the way the houses look.

My mom had flown out earlier in the week so we met her at the house and
 Claire held Penny for the first time. 
The oldest and youngest cousins.

Norah was very excited to see Claire and immediately started bossing 
her around and showing Claire her house. For me this was the ultimate
 vacation.  I left the three littlest ones at home - along with all responsibilities.  
Claire is big enoughto take care of herself and I am not required to help
 her make bathroom trips, wash hands, and buckle carseat buckles for 
her like I do with the others.   I literally did nothing all four days that we
 were there and it was like heaven.  I read a book and slept in slept in til
 8:30 every morning without the constant screaming of Jack and the "Mom, 
mom, mom!" from the little girls.  Besides being a little too cold for comfort
 it was paradise.
The first day we walked to a nearby park and Uncle Buddy put up his 
slack line. 

Norah went swimming in some puddles that formed from 
the rain the day before.

Worms are rare in AZ and we've never seen one this big.

Poor Penny was having some infant acne outbreaks while we were there. 

The next day we had a lovely slow morning at home.

Helping Buddy make his famous guacamole.

Then we went to visit Rachel's sister's Emily and her fiance Braden on his 
farm that he owns.  He built a tiny house on his property.

Emily showing us the newly added bathroom.

and the tornado shelter.
(at least SOMEBODY has the foresight to get a tornado shelter. 
- If I had to live in Oklahoma that is the first thing I would get, just saying).

The farm was really neat,  and is truly off the grid with solar panels and everything.

We went to church with Bryan and Rachel and hung out on Sunday
 and went for a walk along the river.

It was a beautiful day and again, the trees and green were amazing.

Claire is catching the cottonwood seeds that were floating all through the air.

There was a nice playground too.

Then Monday was Emily's wedding day.
It was an all day event with prepping and pictures.  Emily was so beautiful
 but I don't have any pictures because I know how much photographers
 hate other people taking pictures on their time.  There was a lot of down 
time between photos that we were required to be in so Bryan tried to 
entertainNorah by reading her a book.  It was so cute to see the other kids
 gather around him like a magnet

My mom and her youngest grandchild.

Buddy and his girls.

Claire getting excited for the cupcakes.

And wouldn't you know that Claire caught the bouquet at the
 end of the night.

We all left the next day.  Claire was bent on coming back to live there 
when she grows up.  A few days after we got back I was helping the girls
 get their pajamas on and I noticed a small brown thing under Claire's arm.  
Upon closer inspection we discovered it was a tick. There were a lot of
tears and some mild panicking (from Claire of course) while I read about
 the best way to get it out. I ended up tying a thread around it's neck and 
pulling it out - The lasso technique it's called.  It worked like a charm and
 afterward this little guy was walking around unharmed. 
 We taped him to the bathroom counter so we could look at him without 
him scurrying off.  We later burnt him on the curling iron.  Claire no longer
 wants to live in Oklahoma.(Thank you tick!)

It was a wonderful time away.   Next year it will Joy's turn to go.