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Welcome to Married Life



every day is a new adventure!



Last Build Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:09:50 +0000

 



Cyber Monday with Tea Collection 30% Off Sale

Sun, 26 Nov 2017 08:00:00 +0000

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. The new sale at Tea Collection is 30% off almost everything plus free shipping with code MAGICAL.  Even sale items are an extra 30% off!The only things not included are non-Tea items and sets.  Yes, even global archive items are included this time and they rarely go on sale!Usually I'm all about the girls dresses, but there are some really cute tops and skirts this season like this Lauriston skirt and Queen of Scots top.Or this fun Fairy wings popover top!The boys have some super fun tees from this Highland guitar shirt ...To this Lochness monster tee that even has a tail on the back!My kids love stuff where the graphics run around to the back!There are even soft and stylish shirts without graphics for days when you need something a little more classic.Don't forget the babies.  How cute is this Snowdrop romper???You have four days to shop, but don't wait as some styles will sell out.  Ready, set, go!This sale runs through November 29th.[...]



Tea Collection Black Friday Sale!

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:00:00 +0000

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. It's here, the most wonderful time to shop Tea Collection!  The Black Friday sale has $15 dresses, $12 tees and $10 leggings!Only select styles, like this awesome double decker dress are on sale so be sure and follow the sale links.But seriously, how lovely are these McKenna Flutter Dress (above) and Islay Henley Dress (below).  They just say Scotland to me!My girls are getting more interested in colors other than pink and purple and this lovely green Faileas Graphic Dress got their attention.  It fits like a tunic top and works great with tights or leggings.There are lots of fun graphic tees for girls too, we have the McHamish cat tee, and the tail is on the back!Whatever you're shopping for, get your shop on this week while the sale lasts!Sale runs from November 21st through the 25th.Tea Collection’s Black Friday Event prices are only valid on select styles featured in each category’s Black Friday shop. There will be no adjustments on previous purchases. The promotion is limited to stock on hand. [...]



Holiday Sweeps and Sale from Tea Collection

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 07:00:00 +0000

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. Did you know there are only a little over seven weeks until Christmas?  Seven!  Who's making a list of things to do each week so we're ready?Tea Collection is here to make one part of your holiday preparation a little bit easier with their new sale on Holiday styles for kids and a fabulous giveaway worth over $2500!Enter the giveaway from Tea, Red Tricycle, Paper Culture, Melissa and Doug, and more!  Then pop on over to the sale and find the perfect coordinating outfits for your little citizens to wear at Christmas.  Use code TWIRL at checkout for 25% off these styles.The styles from Scotland remind me of cozy winter days by the fire!  I love this destination's designs!Sale runs from November 3rd through 6th.Sweepstakes runs through November 15th.Offer valid only on the purchase of sale styles. Tea Collection product only, not applicable on third party product.[...]



Soccer Man

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 22:47:00 +0000

With multiple events always scheduled for the first weekend of October, this year we did the "divide and conquer" thing.  I took three of the kids to the annual cider press put on by our dentist, and Brian went to Noah's soccer tournament since he hasn't been able to make most of the games due to conflict with Awana.  It's always something it seems!Anyway, Noah's team has had quite the winning season this year and the tournament was no different.  After tying the first game, they went on to win the next two, facing the first team again in the final and winning that one as well.It's been fun to watch Noah gain confidence and really go after the ball.  Some of his teammates have a LOT more ball control, but he's getting there.  He definitely has the kick down, when he connects with the ball, now to work on aiming for a teammate!Noah is playing up, to stay with his classmates, but since the national soccer league changed the rules to calendar year rather than school year he's actually still playing with a few boys that are behind him in school.  So I think it's a pretty good fit.  He's neither the smallest nor the biggest on the team and keeps up pretty well.Number One Team!Unfortunately he's been sick and home from school the last three days so he'll miss his game tonight.  But there's one more next Saturday to finish out the season.  No matter what, they've had a winning record.[...]



The Exhaustion Cycle

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 18:07:00 +0000

Hey look, three more days before I post again.  Some days I'm not sure if this is a symptom of my busy life or if this just isn't a priority anymore.  This blog used to be about keeping a record of my life and I'm SO thankful that I can look back on when the kids were little.  But now that I have Instagram for so much of it and Facebook does the daily memories thing I get it in bits and pieces.  I do miss the depth though and those other platforms are just not as searchable.Anyway, I caught a cold last week that I am just finally recovering from.  It's amazing how much you don't feel up to doing when you are even slightly run down.  I feel like I've been in the "slightly-run-down" phase for about 6 years now, ever since I was pregnant with the twins.  And now that I am totally out of the baby stage (Hallelujah!) it's different.  I can let them be unsupervised, but we have so many more activities to do now that I feel like I'm hardly ever home.  Which would be great if my house actually looked like we were never home... but it doesn't.Then the cycle is, I stay up late because I crave alone time, I don't get enough sleep so I'm tired again, I don't get as much done without as much energy, and I stay up late again.  Even when I manage to break the cycle for a few days, I'm such a night owl that it creeps in on me again.  And don't even think about having motivation to exercise or eat healthier when you're tired because that requires more energy!Something's going to have to give before I break though because we are getting up earlier and earlier (hello 7:10am strings practice!) and I have to be ready to go for the day when I take the girls to school.  I know some of you are going "boo hoo" because I have to leave my house at 8am, but this is not normal for me in the last 10 years, at least on a daily basis!I'm slowly working on some changes.  We've started to shift our going to bed habits a little earlier.  I'm trying to gain some self control and not eat all.the.sugar whenever it's available.  It's crazy how much food, and especially treats, we have in our society.  I realized how much we revolve around food when we found Cory's gluten allergy.  Can you imagine a social gathering without some kind of food? It almost never happens!  I am seeing a slight shift in what's available now though, more fruits and at least not straight sugar usually.  (thanks church!)Basically, I'm trying to learn to take care of me.  With all of my "free time" now that the girls are in school half days I've gotten an eye appointmentnew glasses coming my wayAnd today I actually went to the doctor for myself.  I've been putting that off for awhile too, but after I got SO sick a year and a half ago and accidentally overdosed on Sudafed my heart likes to do this lovely slow beat thing.  So EKG's for everyone.Little changes over time, hopefully they will add up to a healthier mom, with less stress, that makes for a happier and calmer family.  We'll see if we get calm though, my kids are wild. [...]



On Writing Again

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 22:12:00 +0000

My friend Kristi is doing this write every day thing in October.  I think I did that once upon a time in November... something about NaBloPoMo*... oh look, there it is in 2008.  Wow, talk about a trip down memory lane!

And so, since I sometimes feel like all the thoughts get caught up in my head, and I'm also kind of sad that my blog has been SO neglected since I finally got on Instagram, I'm going to write again.

***

All yesterday I was thinking about what I might want to write and why.  Life is ever so busy and tiring and I didn't get around to it last night.  Feels like the story of my life, always a day late and a dollar short.

And then this morning when I woke up to the news from Las Vegas I thought, how appropriate, all the things I was thinking about were yesterday.

Loneliness.  Busyness.  Isolation.  Anger.  Division.  It seems this is the way the world works these days and it's not pretty.  I have lamented lately that I have no real friends.  It doesn't feel that people reach out to each other anymore.  Are we all expected to put ourselves out there and hope that someone will respond?  If they happen to see it on social media?  What if they don't?

What's gone wrong in our world that we all live in our little bubbles of isolation and feel like it's us against the world?  I can't be the only mom current or past, that ends up at home every afternoon with her kids napping or waiting for the bus.  I can't be the only mom that has a few evenings a week where she could go out, but no one willing to go out with her. 

I used to say that social media saved my life when I became a stay at home mom 11 years ago, but now I'm not so sure.  The actual community we had back then is gone, replaced with product placement and a race to be the most noticed and liked in the feed (you choose the medium).  When did we stop sharing our actual lives, all of it, and start to compete with each other on yet another playing field?

I don't have the answers to any of this.  I'm still tired, still trying to make healthy choices that will help me get out of this (5 years long) tired.  I'm hoping that writing will be another healthy outlet for me.  We'll see.


*National Blog Posting Month
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Tea Collection: Destination Scotland! Sale!

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 07:00:00 +0000

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. The new fall collection of children's clothes from Tea Collection is here and I couldn't be more excited! Tea went to Scotland for this line and their patterns and colors are just so fun for kids! There's a Labor Day sale going on this week, 20% off and free shipping over $50.  With all the adorable mix and match options it's not hard to get the best deal on styles for fall and winter.Use code HALOFALL at checkout for your sale now through Tuesday.My girls are going to love these bright prints and look at the most adorable cat,with a tail on the back! *finally in stock! The boys will not be left out with lots of fun animals and designs too.The Tea designers have really hit this line out of the park!Cute little kilt skirts, perfect for fall!This sale runs through September 5th.  *Does not Everyday Playsets, Global Archive pieces, or anything by another brand, but sold at the Tea website.[...]



Double Digits

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 07:00:00 +0000

Some people say, "oh my goodness, 10!" as if they can't believe 10 years have gone by, but I have [most of] the memories to prove it!  As of the end of March my oldest child is now 10.He still loves that chartreuse green, but wears other colors and looks good in all of them.  His shoes are officially as big as mine and he's over 5 feet tall already.  I imagine well before high school he'll be taller than me at this rate!He wanted to play the cello this year in strings at school and has done really well.  The all district orchestra festival last month was so neat to hear.As I missed last year's update due to being very ill, it's even more of a difference to look back two years. I did get to be in his classroom a little bit this year, but 4th graders don't need as much outside help so I mostly did projects for his teacher.  He was always happy to see me though and give me hugs so I'll take it.I totally failed on the birthday treat front and ended up sending Snickers to school instead.  And we had special cupcakes for the painting party so ice cream sundaes were had on his actual birthday.Yes, I filled the bag with pretzels because he mostly already knew what he was getting and I am a silly mom.This spring at school every kid in his class got an iPad so he's starting to learn his way around the digital world.  Time for lots of conversations about how life works, but thankfully he still talks to us most of the time.He got to go on a special trip with Dad and he picked Seattle.  I'll try to get some pictures up (that he took!) sooner rather than later.Buddy, I'm happy that you're doing well in school and always curious about how things work.  I can see a scientist or an engineer (or whatever you want to be) in your future![...]



Tea Collection Half Off Swim Sale

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 07:00:00 +0000

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

The pool we frequent opened last weekend and my girls were first in line! Needless to say I think we'll be spending a lot of time in the water this summer. Which is why it's a good thing Tea Collection is having a half off swim sale this weekend. I think we may need a second swimsuit for each of them.

Use code SPLASH for 50% off ALL swim on Tea Collection from now through Sunday 6/4.


With our pale skin we love the long sleeve rash guards Tea has available for boys and girls.


But there are certainly cute one piece suits that my girls like too!
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And don't forget the boys, sharks and jellyfish galore are sure to be big hits with the little guys.


What kind of swimwear do you and your kids prefer?

This sale runs June 1st through the 4th.


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The Noah: Seven

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 07:00:00 +0000

Yes, he gets a definite article before his name.  He's unmistakable!The Noah turned 7 on St. Patrick's Day.  These pictures I took back in February are a pretty good impression of him.Once upon a time we nicknamed him the Loud Lemon.  It's appropriate.  He's so expressive and wears his emotions on his face all the time.The Noah is 7 and moving up to the second grade has been good for him.  His report card last week showed him at grade level for second grade and he really enjoys this teacher as well.  It's the same teacher Cory had for second grade.  He still misses his first grade teacher and friends though.  He's so outgoing he had made plenty in just the 4 months he was in that class.Fun story, I've really had more time to consistently volunteer this year now that the girls are in preschool and last week when I showed up they were talking about Alaska and glaciers.  So I was able to pull up this blog post about our trip last summer and Noah was the star of all the photos while I explained to his classmates about the glacier and how it worked.Nana and Papa brought him a scooter for his birthday.  He was immediately trying to pop wheelies with it.  And then rode through the mud puddles.  This one loves the outdoors and doing all the things.  He played soccer last fall for the first time and was one of the more aggressive kids on the team.  It helped of course that he was almost a head taller than most of the rest of his team and a lot of kids on the other teams too!With Cory being three years older he often feels like he doesn't get to do the same things because he is younger.  It's hard to wait when you want to try all the cool things that your older brother gets to do.  So in a few things he gets to do things early (like skiing!), but other things he has to wait.  It's hard being the middle child.  I'm hoping to get a weekend with just he and I in a month when Cory goes to a camp and the girls go with my parents.Noah's good buddy from school last year and Awana came for his birthday dinner.  Noah couldn't open the box with his present in it... so he tried to use his teeth.  He was successful.More nerf bullets for his Zombie nerf gun.  Boys!The saying on his shirt is rather appropriate, "Wild is my middle name" courtesy of our trip to Alaska last summer.  And the birthday boy requested ice cream sundaes for dessert rather than cake.  We are nothing if not unconventional in our family!Overall Noah is a caring and compassionate boy.  He hates it when anyone is sad or hurt in a movie and cries for them.  He's old enough to understand a little of what's going on in the world and cares about the people we hear about on the news in the car.I love you Noah!  Never lose your love for people and you'll go far in life![...]



New Tea Collection: Destination Australia Sale!

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:00:00 +0000

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. Tea Collection children's clothing has gone down under with their new spring and summer collection!  Time to visit the land of kangaroos and koalas.  Yes, there are each of those cute tees on high quality fabric, my kids picked them as their favorites already!Right now is a great time to stock up and save with their Buy More, Save More event.  Buy 3 items and get 15% off, 4 items for 20% off and 5 or more items for 25% off your entire order* using code KOALALOVE.Besides the awesome graphic tees there are fun twirly skirts and dresses!And don't forget Easter is coming next month, check out these beautiful dresses for spring!  This year I might not even need to add a sweater to it with it being so late in the season.There are plenty of fun things for boys here as well.  Creatures that inspire!This sale runs March 21st through March 26th.*Non-Tea branded items are not included in the sale, nor are clothing sets or a specific few pieces marked Global Archive.[...]



Five

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 07:08:00 +0000

People keep asking me if I miss my children being little. No, no I don't. I like them just the way they are right now. I will admit it IS pretty crazy that the twins are five now, but looking back at these posts from when they were born feels like a lifetime ago.I just went to my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower on Saturday for their first baby. It will be fun to have a baby niece nearby, but I guarantee you I'm not one of those people who always has to be the first in the room to hold the baby. Anyway, the girls are SO looking forward to having a baby cousin nearby since they aren't getting a little sibling.Some days I get kids that will smile for a picture, some days I don't. These were taken a few weeks back when I needed portraits to submit for something and the lighting was just right in my dining room.You'd never guess from these pictures, but Joy is quite the silly bug. I guess it just depends on the mood by day (or hour). And really she was being quite cooperative for these pictures, which I didn't really want silly!She is very independent and knows what she wants and why. Or where. Or how. I think she's going to be a bit particular, a little like her oldest brother. Things have an order to them. In this she also follows directions very well and has learned how to color quite neatly within the lines. She's very proud of that skill.At times like this I struggle a little to come up with ways they are different. They each have their own personality for sure, but they like to do most of the same things and are together almost 24/7. So for as much as developmentally kids go through things at roughly the same ages, that's what we have here. If we ever wonder if they are identical I think this always reminds me that they most likely are. (No, we haven't had them tested, but it's highly likely that they are)Poor Hope is my toothless girl. After these were taken she even had to have one more on the top removed from the trauma a year ago because it had gotten infected as well. She does pretty good at crazy 5am dentist visits and isn't too traumatized by the actual events.She goes about her days singing quietly almost all the time. And always reminds Daddy when he forgets his glasses before leaving for school.They go back and forth being clingy still when I leave them at preschool, but away from me I hear that Hope is a bit more reserved. It's like if she knows I am in the vicinity she is fearless. But even sometimes in the grocery store she will hide her face from someone we know. We're still working on not just running away ahead of Mama though.For the most part though, these are THE most outgoing (and loud) children you've ever met. They will hug anyone I even have a casual conversation with!For all their clinginess in the mornings I think they are really enjoying preschool. They're learning their letters and numbers and at their conferences last week I was surprised to find they can each count almost up to 50 without missing a number! We have lots of interesting conversations in the car about the weather and the things we see as we drive to and from school and all around town for errands.  One really cool part about having cousins living on the other side of the world is this giant wall map at church where we can point out every week where they live.  And where my penpal Amy lives.  And where Sweden is that Mommy went to 18 months ago.  I love geography so it's really fun that they like it too.The twin bond is still very strong between these two.  They do occasionally do things apart from each other, but more often than not you will find them doing the same things.  If one is coloring, the other will eventually join in.  If one is playing with the dollhouse, very soon the other will [...]



Book: The Mark of the King

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 08:00:00 +0000

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on? With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption. ***I'm not sure how to do this book justice without giving away half the plot!  It's a time period in history that I haven't read much about, well, outside of Regency England.  This book takes place during the first 4 years of the settling of New Orleans.  I've been to New Orleans once and the gulf coast.  I can't imagine what it would be like with no infrastructure, trying to survive with help from France months away by boat, if they ever send it.Love, betrayal, treason, you'll find it all in this book and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.  Green does a good job of filling out the setting just enough to put me in it without going over the top and the characters were well thought out and in depth.  Some of the plot might be a little over the top, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction so maybe things like this really did happen.  Either way, it was an intriguing read and I'm glad to have another snipped of history brought to life.***Read other reviews or purchase your own copy here. Or click on the graphic to win a copy!Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.[...]



Alaska: Glacier Time

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000

On Wednesday we finally picked the perfect day to take a trip out to the Matanuska Glacier. (It's seriously highway robbery to get in through the private land in front of it though)The view of "their" mountains before we left.It was about an hour and a half drive to get to the glacier and the scenery along the way was simply stunning.You drive high along the hillside opposite the glacier before going down to it so you can see some of the sheer size of it.  Four miles across and 27 miles long.  Much of the front of it on the left side is actually ice, but covered by the silt and gravel that the glacier has churned up.The glacier moves about a foot a day, but enough falls off at the front end that it is fairly stable in it's location.  We felt a piece of it shift while we were walking out on it! Spooky!This is Shalom, and froggy had to visit the glacier with us!Distances are deceiving... it probably took us a good 10 minutes to walk from this photo to the glacier edge.At the edge, a lot of the ice is covered with dirt and silt.  But you can see the clear solid ice through it!David juggling rocks...All of these rocks have warmed in the sun and melted themselves down into the top layer of the ice.Checking out a hole in the ice.The guys got a lecture from Dahlia about letting kids get too near holes... safety first!  We all (except the girls) had these Cat Trax things on our shoes that made it much easier to walk on the ice.  The poor girls had to just be held up as they walked.Family picture on the glacier!  If we go to Glacier National Park in the future I think the kids might be a little disappointed...There were many of these holes, most not big enough for anyone to fall into.  You can see the amazing blue color down in the ice though.Our lovely hosts!We were on the very front edge of the glacier and it's so choppy that we couldn't climb up on top like I thought we were going to.Boys on the ice!These two photos (above and below) are taken looking back towards the parking lot, and from the parking lot respectively.  You can see that we are on the glacier, but in the photo below, where we were standing is very much at the bottom and front.Let me just straddle a crack for fun!Checking out how cold that ice water really is!The boys were drinking the water pouring off here.This is us, in front of one little piece.  To your right, the rest of the glacier was easily 4 to 5 times this tall, just what we could see!And after we took this photo the boys walked over to where the ice turned into a small lake.  What they didn't know was that the water had essentially melted out the ice under the edge so under their combined weight it broke, dumping them both into glacier water!  Dahlia was there to grab them out and they must have been treading water hard because neither was wet above their armpits, but they said they never touched the bottom!  You can see that most of us are actually in shirtsleeves because it was such a warm day thankfully, even the air blowing across the glacier was warm, but they were cold then!Boys: let us push this rock over!There were some amazing patterns where the ice had fissured and the silt had flowed down into the cracks.  Try to blow this photo up and look carefully.Views on the way home!Just a mile or so before we got back to their house there was another moose spotting!  This one had a baby with her, but it was hiding from my camera.And then just as we were getting the kids to bed (yes, at 11pm) I saw a giant shadow outside the window and this owl landed on top of the tree just off their deck.All the nature is pretty awesome in Alaska![...]



On Giving and Overspending

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 01:33:00 +0000

Today has now become fashionably known as "Giving Tuesday".  Where, after we've all blown all our Christmas cash on Black Friday and the newer Cyber Monday, we stop and think, "Hey, maybe I should donate to some poor people too".Ugh.I have so many thoughts about this I don't even know where to start, and I'm preaching to myself here too.  I bought a lot of "stuff" this last week.  Things that were on sale and I'll use for the rest of the year, but still, that's a lot of expendable cash going to things that will in the end, just be consumed.We Americans are such a consumer society and if we're not careful it consumes us too.  All the time spent shopping, and then organizing, cleaning, and finally purging.Now I have kids, and they grow and so need new things, but still, we have too much.  I'm trying to be a bit more mindful of what we have as I stretch that buying to another child, but it's so easy to pick up things here and there and before you know it, mountains of things overwhelm your home.What if we flip this on it's head? I wish Giving Tuesday could come before Black Friday.  You know, give some away, before we spend every last cent on ourselves?  It's kind of a Biblical principle after all!I started thinking about the various organizations we've given to this year, or in the past.  My inbox got flooded in the last few days with most of them so that made it easy to summarize.There truly are so many worthy causes out there, but may I suggest starting with ones that are close to your heart?For us, that means people.  But it also means programs that benefit people long term, things like reforestation by The Eden Projects, who also provide jobs for people who have been devastated by that deforestation.It means donating to organizations like International Justice Mission or Freedom Firm, who are actively working to rescue men, women, and children from all kinds of slavery.  Or my personal friends, the Besks, who work with Go Zoe in Thailand.It also simply means donating to organizations that are working to bring people out of poverty and hard places.The Preemptive Love Coalition working with displaced people in Iraq and Syria.Compassion International working with kids in poverty all over the world.Kiva, making micro loans to help those in poverty help themselves (and they pay you back directly, or you can choose to re-invest that money over and over again).Sister Connection, sponsoring widows in Burundi as well as helping them become self sufficient through micro financing.And finally, one of my personal favorites, Village Schools International, working in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia WITH villages to build their own schools and provide education that is otherwise unavailable to almost all of these kids.~Many of these organizations have matching grants going on today that will allow you to double your impact.Whatever you choose, will you think about how you could give out of your bounty to make the world a better place?  What are your favorite organizations to support?I receive nothing for telling you about these organizations, I just think they do really good work![...]



Cyber Monday at Tea Collection

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 08:00:00 +0000

This is the rest of the sale you've been waiting for at Tea Collection!  Cyber Monday sales are 30% off everything Tea branded online for two days only with code YETIPARTY.  Also you get free shipping on any size order!


You'll find the best deals in the sale section, but 30% off anything is still a good price.  Check out the line of holiday dresses for your little lady, or button down shirts and sweaters for your little man.


I love Tea for multiple reasons, but over the years their quality has sold me.  They don't pill or stretch out of shape after many washes.  And Tea has a relationship with all their manufacturers to make sure they have good working conditions for their employees.  Honestly, this has become one of the biggest selling points for me as I become so aware of how people are treated in other countries.


For the girls, play ready dresses


For the boys, classic looks that are still fun


Happy Shopping!

The sale runs November 27th and 28th.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.
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A Fifth Child

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 23:49:00 +0000

Wondering about the title? No, we're not pregnant again, read on for the explanation! Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with things going on in the world I just want to stick my head in the sand like an ostrich.I hear about the suffering in so many different places, Aleppo, North Africa, people who have lived their entire lives in refugee camps.  Even people in the US, homeless, and children in foster care.   Sometimes I read Jesus' words to the rich young ruler, "Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, and follow me." Mark 10:21 and I know that we are rich and will be held accountable for what we have done with our riches.But I don't know where to start.  What can one person do *unless you are Warren Buffet* to alleviate much suffering?***Sometime in the last year I came across the writings of Craig Greenfield.  I believe I was introduced to him through A Life Overseas (also a wonderful place to read) or perhaps another missions blog or group that I subscribe to. Craig writes from a place of coming alongside those in poverty and what helping them practically looks like, both in missions overseas and at home.A few weeks ago he shared a blog called How to Balance the Needs of your Family with those of the Poor and to put it bluntly, I can't get it out of my head.When you have time PLEASE jump over and read the whole thing, it's not long and I'll wait!***Read it? *(there's a summary at the bottom here)  Great, now tell me, could we stretch the resources of our families to include just one more?  I'm buying all the snow clothes for my kids (see boots in the photo!), can I find an extra set to give to a child in need?  At Christmas an extra $50 gift out of the Compassion or World Vision catalogs doesn't seem like much, but that's usually what we spend on each of our children.  Can we spread it just a little farther?The day I came across this post of Craig's I had received a call that my latest Compassion child dropped out of the program and would I like to sign up for a new one.  It occurred to me that it's been exactly 20 years since I started sponsoring children through Compassion.  $38 a month doesn't seem like it could help a lot, but what if that's my fifth child? In those 20 years I have had 4 different children.  A couple have dropped out, one has graduated the program, and I honestly can't remember what's happened to the other.  But I know, even if they dropped out, their lives were changed.  How can you change things for just one child?There are so many ways to do this that it's blowing my mind!Have a child in diapers? There's a local diaper drive next week, pick up an extra package when you stock upLook for an Angel Tree at Christmas and buy the presents or needed items when you're buying for your own childrenNew school supplies? Buy an extra set and donate them in the school office for a child who can't afford themCall your local women's shelter and ask if there are any children there who need new shoes when your kids doKnow a friend with a foster child? ask if they need anything, even a mealAnd I'm sure you could come up with many more examples of ways that you purchase things for your children, mine are still small so there may be things older kids need I wouldn't even think of.I am so excited about this though!  I've always felt powerless to change the world, but I don't think that's our calling, unless we are specifically blessed in ways that allow for that.  But can you imagine if each and everyone one of us would spread our resources just a little f[...]



Alaska: Friends and Mining Camps

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 07:00:00 +0000

After a crazy late night/morning with our friends we hung out and a friend of mine from high school(!!!) came over to catch up.  I'm pretty sure the last time I saw her was in 1997 at her wedding!It was fun to have a couple of friends locally that I could meet up with after many years.The men engaged in an epic game of Axis and Allies down in the cabin on their property...And there was morning and evening on the beautiful mountain range view.  It's funny because as I'm editing these photos I can't get a lot of clarity on the mountains.  And then I realized it's because they are really really far away.  There were lots of little planes taking off and landing on the gravel bars in the river, but after the first day I didn't even bother to take any photos of them because they would look like tiny white specks against the hillside, if you could even find them.  So the haze is just from the atmosphere, so much of it, between me and them.  According to Google Maps probably about 5 miles across the valley bottom, which is a lot farther than you think!After a beautiful day on Sunday, on Monday we decided to drive up to Hatcher's Pass and the Independence Gold Mine... in the rain.We were essentially in the cloud layer as you can see, and unfortunately while some of the buildings have been redone, it wasn't open on Mondays.  So we walked around in the rain (and just missed some friends from home!) and read the few outdoor signs.  The big building with the red trim was a dormitory building.The remains strewn down the left side of the trail above are where the ore was dumped in from the track above, then sorted/shaken into different sizes, and then smelted.  I've forgotten the process already, but it was a long series of buildings down the hillside.Pretty mountain stream... I wonder just how polluted it is.The entrance to the water tunnel (above) was just to the left of the stream.  You could only go in about 10 feet, but there was running water below the boards and some holes that Noah conveniently stuck his foot in.  Big enough for a small child to fall in, too!The track that came out of the mountain and dumped the ore.  The view of the processing buildings and camp from above.Looking down the valley pretty much straight south.  The dark line on the horizon is the mountains on the south side of Palmer.  I really couldn't believe how wide and large the valley/river bottom was there.We had planned on doing some hiking, but in the rain and the fact that Brian broke his toe while playing Axis and Allies (something about a cast iron chair down in the cabin) meant that we just had snacks and went home again.  We thought about trying to go again, but ran out of time.  Next time!Dahlia found rubber chickens and flamingo flyers.  Taval is here demonstrating how one fits on your nose.  Maybe it's a rubber dinosaur?  Kids!And then there was much late night entertainment while the guys put together a new 3D printer.  David plans to use it to make a 3D topographical map of his property, and maybe more!Ah Alaska, so many fun adventures![...]



Alaska: Air Show

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:00:00 +0000

While we were driving in to Anchorage on Friday night for our anniversary I happened to notice that there were some really low fast planes flying around. The Blue Angels were practicing for an air show on Saturday! So we checked it out online and found that it was free and went from about 10am to 4pm on Saturday.Little did we know that deciding to leave at 1pm just to see the Blue Angels at the end was not a wise decision.  We sat in traffic trying to get in for probably almost 2 hours.We watched some planes from the road, this one was pretty amazing in its maneuvers.And then by the time we finally found some kind of parking place and walked in... the show started 10 minutes early so we were barely at the entrance and not near the actual show area.Of course you can see them for miles so we still got to watch!They really are amazing!Then mobs of people started leaving and we heard that they were closing down and were bummed that we had wasted our day, but it turned out that only some of the planes on display were closed and we got to walk through a few of them still!Checking out the seatbelts.  I think this was a regular C-130 type.Joy would not even look at me she was so enthralled pretending to fly this plane!  Future pilot!Noah and ShalomIt's pretty exciting to be in the cockpit of such a big plane!This one was next in line, even bigger, but closed.  They had flown in from all over for the air show.This C-5 Galaxy is the biggest plane I've ever seen.  We walked through it, and right out a ramp on the other end just like this one.  I'm pretty sure my entire house would have fit inside width wise, and perhaps 2 times lengthwise!You can sort of see Dahlia and the kids back under the wing next to the wheels...Unfortunately the line was quite long to go up in the cockpit of this one and then they did close it down too.  It's up under where the nose is tipped up.The week was catching up with the girls... after another almost hour home in the car this is how they were!But they perked up again when we got out some paints for them before dinner.  Princess Sophia to the rescue!Of course after that day it was the night that we stayed up ALL night talking (just the adults) and it was exhausting, but soul refreshing to actually get to talk to friends about life.The one and only sunrise I saw in Alaska.  In the two weeks we were there they lost an hour of daylight, half in the morning, half at night, but still the sun was coming up at 5:30am and going down at 10:30pm when we left.  The morning one isn't so unusual, but the evening one really threw us all off![...]



Tea Collection Japan: Exclusive Sale

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:00:00 +0000

The newest destination for Tea Collection clothing is out and it's inspired by Japan.  Beautiful prints for girls and fun graphics for boys (and girls too).  I've got my eye on this fun robot tee for my middle son!


Right now only readers of this blog get 20% off all Tea branded items on their site with code JUSTFORME20.  You won't find this code on the site so be sure and enter it before you complete your purchase!


Check out all the adorable dresses for girls and these fun tees for boys.  I might have bought another pair of the cargo pants for my son too, he loved them so much last year and amazingly enough the knees didn't wear out all winter.



The sale runs August 24th and 25th only.

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.(image)



Alaska: Life and Anniversaries

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 07:55:00 +0000

Who knew going to Alaska meant I would get to meet up with a ton of old friends I hadn't seen in years.Amber and I were housemates in the "casita" 15 years ago when we went to Portantorchas together in Costa Rica.  It was fun having breakfast and catching up on where she is now.Thursdays are homeschool day at Dahlia's house and between the 4 families we had 20 kids there!  It was high school history so all the big kids were downstairs and of course babies don't do Legos, but all the middle group of kids were here.  How do you catch kids?  Apparently put out a big pile of Legos!Cory found a book with ideas and created this zip line for some Lego guys.  Later there was even fishing line strung between the porch railing and the cabin down below and/or the garage farther down! I really really couldn't get enough of this view.Too bad one of the few days we had nice weather was a school day because most days the view looked more like this.I failed to realize that Alaska summer ends at the first of August so when we arrived they had had weeks of lovely weather and then it rained half the time we were there.  Whoops!  Will plan better next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time!)Friday the 29th is our anniversary so the kids stayed at the house while Brian and I drove in to Anchorage for the afternoon.  Or I should say evening since it was almost 6pm when we found a parking space, but the light was still throwing me off so badly it felt like mid-afternoon!Dessert first at the Cake Studio on 4th St.  If you ever get to Anchorage I highly recommend it! This was my vanilla mousse chocolate bomb.  Then some cool art (it's a special trip tradition) from the Sevigny Studio next door, and finally dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse.There was a very long wait unless we wanted to sit in the bar.  Sometimes it pays to be out without children!  I had fresh halibut and Brian had steak.  Once in a long while a very fancy dinner tastes amazing!  Usually we decide we could have made it better at home for less, but not this time!After dinner we went down to the "waterfront", if the mud flats can be called that!The train from Fairbanks was pulling in when we hit the Coastal Trail.  My parents have ridden this a couple times and the colors are so different than the trains we have around here that it was fun to see.Just for fun we sat and waited for sunset and watched the planes come in.  The airport is off to the left, south of downtown.  I really couldn't believe how incredibly flat the whole bay and valley around Anchorage are.Unfortunately this is all the sunset we got and below the spot where you can see it, it completely disappeared behind the clouds and didn't give us anymore colors.  But I did notice waaaay off in the distance that you could see a snow covered mountain range.  I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me until I used my zoom lens and could actually see defined ridges.  Too bad we never did get a clear enough day to see Denali.On the way home we saw a moose on the side of the freeway, but thankfully it didn't decide to cross!  And then we got home at dusk... or 11:30pm![...]



Alaska: True Vacation

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 07:30:00 +0000

The view from their front windows, I simply couldn't get enough!I'm not sure it's possible to put into words just how amazing this vacation was for me.  We went to stay with some long time friends at their new home about an hour outside of Anchorage.I have not seen Dahlia or her kids since we went to visit them in 2008 in Arizona, so neither had she met any of the rest of our kids besides Cory (and David only met Noah briefly just after he was born).  But we have talked on the phone off and on for years and she is so laid back it makes it easy to get along.  Plus we have 4 kids in common!Noah and Shalom playing mini UnoAfter day one, which was us ladies shopping expedition to Costco and Fred Meyer to stock the cupboards for 12 people for 2 weeks we were ready... to relax!The next day we trekked down to the river, you can see it in the top photo, and played in glacier fed water!That's the Knik Glacier in the distance, in the middle just above the trees.  Funny enough, the water didn't feel that cold, until we'd been out there an hour or more and had to wade back across the shallows from the sand bar.  Then it was cold!The boys had a blast playing in the silt.  They made dirt bombs complete with puff flower fuses.So of course the girls had to copy them.Macaiah is a rugged mountain man and keeps a canoe in the small lake between the road and the river.  I really think Noah would be just like him if he could... nine year age difference, but he was his little shadow.Cory also got a turn in the canoe and with more paddling and swimming experience they went down around the point to check and see if the salmon were coming upstream yet.Discussing the merits of skipping stones with DavidBrian spent his weeks with one of his best friends, playing games and nerding out with a new 3D printer.This vacation really had nothing to do with the place (although yes, Alaska is beautiful) and everything to do with the home of our friends and their welcome of us into it.  Three stories for the girls to roam, tons of new toys, outside adventures (even moose in the yard!), and older kids to help keep an eye on them so I didn't have to be "on guard" very much at all.Plus just having a girl to talk with every night for many hours, yes once we even saw it get light again.  We were very short on sleep (kids don't go to bed when it's light out!), but my mental exhaustion was so much lessened in those two short weeks.  What a treat![...]



And Then We Went to Oregon

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 07:00:00 +0000

After driving by for so many years we were actually relatively early this time (does it actually get easier to pack as the kids get older? someone pinch me!) and on a whim stopped at Multnomah Falls.The kids were happy to get out and stretch their legs.  It was a little cool.  And in a couple more years maybe we will be able to hike to the very top.  I was there once as a kid!This time we just went up to the first bridge and checked it all out.First morning at Grandma and Grandpa's house... a tea party with cousin Cassia and our friend Isha.There are always plenty of takers if anyone will read a story.Time for snuggling on Grandpa's new couches!  (which seems to have almost entirely cured my allergies in their house, hallelujah!)Don't forget swimming in Grandpa's pool!Cousin Cassia floating all around and Uncle Brian trying to teach cousin William how to kick!This is the crew, six cousins from 2 to 9, all in the pool!And that was just the first weekend![...]



Girl Quotes

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 03:36:00 +0000

All the kids will sometimes ask to be tickled.  Brian likes to say he's going to "count their ribs".  So tonight Hope asks, "Daddy, will you count my ribbons?"

Joy: Hey mom, are we in a planet?
Yes, planet earth.
When are we going to another planet?
Geography by 3 year olds is hard when all your favorite cartoon characters go into space all the time! (Yes, I've been saving these for awhile)

The girls call the deep end of the pool the "deepness".

They have decided they will name their future babies Rosie Rose (Joy) and Sparkles (Hope).

Always when it's time for bed they want to "tell you a question" just one more time or say "I just remembered that...".  It's their, cute, yet annoying way of stalling.
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Tea Collection Summer Sale

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 07:00:00 +0000

It's the heat of the summer and you may not feel like shopping, but I guarantee if you take a few minutes to shop this sale it will be worth it! 

Tea Collection is clearing out their spring and summer collection from destination Italy and these are the best prices you'll see as things start to sell out.  Take an extra 40% off styles already marked down for savings up to 70% on some items!  Use code EXTRA40 today through Tuesday.

If you're all set for this summer pick up a few things for next summer.  I promise you won't be sorry.  At these prices you really can't get the same quality in your local mass market stores.  They won't be badly pilled after just one wash or so faded that you can't even see the graphic designs.


The sale runs June 30th through July 5th.

Happy shopping!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.(image)