Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opal's 6th Birthday Flower Fiesta!

Opal's birthday is actually Feb. 5th, but the 21st was the first weekend we had available to celebrate her big day. We actually threw her a mini surprise breakfast on the 5th but she was so confused and didn't really count it her birthday until she had her party. She wanted a party with a piñata, a cookie cake and flowers, so we decided to have a fiesta! All the kids and I made papel picados out of tissue paper and hung them all over the house. I designed Opal's cake to her specifications and put flowers all over the place too.

We had a delicious meal of enchiladas, quesadillas, refried beans, Spanish rice and chips and homemade pico de gallo and guacamole thanks to Mrs. Schock, Auntie Tonya and Dodie. The best part was the Mexican (non-alcoholic) drink bar with Jarritos of every flavor and horchata.

 Opal invited just the right amount of people for our tiny casa. 

Kivi and Eben made up a Flamenco dance for Opal by watching Youtube videos. They performed it for her and her guests after dinner.

Opal's favorite part was when they spun her all around.

The everlasting piñata took a long time to break open. I now know why they are usually made out of paper maché and not cardboard - so they will break. We had to give it some help by slicing it open with a knife before Eben took his sixth turn. Opal also invented an edible flower craft for the kids to make and we played a little game I remembered from elementary school called "Señorita". 
 Opal picked out snicker doodle, oatmeal white chocolate and pink lemonade as the three flavors for her cookie cake and we frosted it like the Mexican flag. It also had to have her name in purple and pink and a purple flower. It was very colorful! We sang "Happy Birthday" to the 6th year old, ate cookie cake and Mexican popsicles and she opened her presents.

Oh, dear, sweet Opie O you did it. You turned six! It was quite a year! You love the Lord so much and talk about His love for you and others often. You are helpful and sharing and take such good care of your little brother and sister. You are still working on that Happy Heart part, you have great days and hard days. You really like to do things your own way and I know that is going to come in handy in life, but right now we are still trying really hard to help you "Obey, right away" - a phrase you repeat daily and then usually have to run a couple of laps for your strong little will. You are super strong in other ways too. Physically you are crazy strong, you can lift up or cling onto anything especially Mama and Dada and we call you our Little Monkey. You are a strong memorizer in Awana and even got to throw a pie in your leaders face! You've already become a strong skier advancing onto the "big hill" on your second ski trip. You're also a strong reader in Red Phonics level 3.You have moved up to the top bunk so Kivi and Pella can sleep below on the full bed. You have beautiful printing and are great at math doing the same work as Jasper and are amazing at art! We love you, Opal! You are a growing into a strong woman of God, learning to put others needs first and be a servant. Happy Sixth Birthday, Baby!

Love and Letting Go

 We love Poppie and Nonnie and are so glad they came back to ski with us since we didn't get to go out on the snow in Bend. Mr. Steve and Dodie came up to Snoqualmie too on Feb. 11th and everyone took turns skiing with the big four. We let them all go down the big hills this time! Even Opal did amazing on the big hill and getting on and off the chair lift. Berg went on the magic carpet once and called it a day and Pella even got pulled around on the snowboard. She loved it. We set up soup and cornbread and our own movie viewing station for the little ones and skiied until they closed.

On Valentine's weekend we went over to our friend's the DeyArmins, who live out in the country and spent the night at their house to watch their great kids and let them have an overnight date adventure. The kids love to play in their big garage and set up tracks it's actually amazing no one gets hurt, it looks like a 3 ring circus going on.

They also held court many times and at points all of them were sitting on the couches presenting their case to the judge - even the babies - it was hilarious.

We had our own Valentine's Party and made cookies, decorated envelopes and taped them all over the house and then stuffed them with fun Valentine's and candy. Then each kid got to go find their envelope and open up all the cards and eat the candies. I'm sure Carl and Drea were thrilled we were there to fill their kids with sugar. The sugar jar at their house is literally labeled "White Poison". We had fun with the label maker while we were there too and added some fun titles to some of their 300 labeled items in the kitchen like "Eye of Newt" on the lentils and "Rabbit Pellets" on the black beans.

While we were there we also dropped off our oldest boy at his first camp - Movie Maker Weekend at Shiloh Bible Camp. What we didn't realize, is that the camp was for middle schoolers and high schoolers! He was definitely the youngest one there. We were actually nervous and scared for him and prayed for him like crazy. We were even going to go back and get him if it wasn't working out the next day. But we were reassured by the camp director that he was doing fine by phone, so we let him stay. We came back four days later to pick him up and he had loved it! The older kids were all so nice to him. He had a starring role in his team's movie and won best actor, and even learned how to do this:

He showed us all where he slept in his cabin, then we all ate lunch in the dining hall and watched the movies they had made before we drove back home with our boy - all in one piece, who talked about how much fun he had the whole way home.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Skamania Surprise!

On February 7th, after surprising me with a brand new pair of Keen boots, Peter told me to pack a bag and be ready to go! I was really surprised, he had told me he had to work and I really thought he had forgot about it, not realizing that was a cover for his surprise. 
After dropping the kids off at Auntie Tonya's, Peter asked if I wanted anything for the drive. All I could think of was See's candies, but I didn't say anything, knowing he'd turn around and go the opposite direction just to get them for me. I just thought it and said, "Nope, I'm good!" Then he pulls out a box of See's from behind his seat and says, "Well, you can snack on these"!!! He's so amazing, he even reads my mind!  On the drive south it started snowing hard and was a little crazy especially with all of the spun out 4 wheelers facing backward on the side of the freeway. So we drove very slowly. It took a while to get there, but it was worth it! The lodge was beautiful and overlooked the Gorge. It looked like this except completely covered in snow.

More surprises; the Schocks came along too as a surprise to Shari. We had such a relaxing time, playing games, eating good food, resting, swimming, playing more games and eating more food. We thought it was pretty funny when we both showed up to breakfast in our boots, jeggings, floral skirt and green shirt. 

On Saturday, Peter took Shari and I to the Carson hot springs that was built in the 1920's and hasn't changed a bit! It was wonderful! We soaked in the rusty, sulfur filled tub and then got wrapped up in linens like a swaddled baby all for only $20. Quite a deal!

After swimming inside, where Shari jumped into the shallow end and broke her foot, we all braved the cold and made snow angels before plunging into the hot tub. 

We made snowmen statues around the hot tub and tried to knock them down with snowballs and Peter broke me off a huge icicle. He didn't stab John. 

We had so much fun and thought we might be snowed in, but Monday it started raining and washing the snow away.

The last thing they surprised us with was another hot springs trip, this time to the really nice, upscale Bonneville Spa. It was hilariously different than the first hot springs experience. We had a lovely soak, with bath salts, got wrapped up, had a pedicure and a paraffin hand dip. It took most of the day. Meanwhile our poor men had to play games in the restaurant and lobby. 

It was a wonderful, romantic just before Valentine's weekend with great friends and an amazing hubby! I love you, Babe! You're the best!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


After some days of rest, we decided to actually get out of the house and do something, so after breakfast on the 17th we headed over to zoo to see the animals and use our new pass Grandma and Grandpa got us for Christmas. We didn't stay long and just tackled half of it. When we came back home Kivi decided she was ready to purchase her animals. She was able to purchase a share of an alpaca, a share of a pig, one rabbit, two chickens, ten ducks, a share of a donkey, a sheep and a goat. She was so excited to be able to give to those in need in other countries.

The next day Mimi came back to our house from the Bend trip and we went to the zoo again and the Spaghetti Factory for lunch. Berg wore his mustache all day. It was adorable.

On Wed. the 24th we found out that both of our girls had won a contest to say the most verses at Awana! Kivi and Opal were both able to throw a pie in their leader's face in front of all their friends - what an honor! Thanks Mr. Tim and Ms. Teresa for being so fun and motivating.

On the 25th, Peter got a great idea to take the kids skiing. They were so sad that they weren't able to go while we were in Bend and Opal and Jasper were excited to finally learn. We called our friends, the Schocks, to see if they wanted to join us for some spontaneous night skiing and they were in! I love fun friends!

Se set up camp in the vacant Rosa's restaurant complete with a pot of chile and cornbread and movies on the iPad! The adults took turns skiing with the kids and staying indoors or walking around in the snow with Megan, Berg and Pella.

All the kids did great! We mainly stuck to the bunny hill except for Eben and Kivi who were off by themselves on the bigger hill. They all tried some snowboarding too. At the end everyone was going all by themselves - Jasper and Nathaniel even tried the chair lift and went down the bigger slope with me! Here's a video of all the skiiers at once: Eben, Kivi, Nathaniel, Jasper in red and Opal in pink and Grace up the hill.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Our Epic Bend Epidemic

Mimi came to a sick house on Jan. 9th the day before we were suppose to drive down to Bend. Eben and Mama spent all day lying on the couch and Dada chair and that should've been the clue that we should've just stayed home. The next day though, we rallied and decided we would be fine to take the drive. We didn't want to miss the trip or have the rest of our family miss out on the fun. So sweating and panting and painstakingly we packed everything into the van. The best part of the trip was the snow! The first day we got there it looked like a desert but the next day it started snowing and kept on till morning. So as soon as the deck was just covered, Peter and Mr. Steve made snow angels and then hopped into the hot tub. 

On Sat. night almost everyone went on a snow walk. (Not Eben or I, we stayed indoors and rested. He practically played the Wii the entire time we were there while lying on the couch.) When they got back they all had a snowball fight.

On Sunday we had Bend Christmas since Poppie and Nonnie had Christmas in CA by themselves, we reenacted the Happy Birthday Jesus song, Luke 2, stockings for the kids and LOTS of presents.
After Christmas 2.0, as the kids called it, we started building an igloo. It was a great feat and although we never finished our quest, it was a great beginning. Soon after this more than just Eben and I started feeling sick. Berg, Jasper and Kivi all were acting a bit out of it and super sleepy.
But Pella still loved going on snow walks with Nonnie. That night Peter and Nonnie and Kivi all took a turn for the worse.

All of the sickies slept almost the entire day while I stayed and watched the kids with Mimi. Mr. Steve, Dodie, Uncle Kookie, Buggy and Poppie left to go to a brewery and shopping all day. I tried to get up enough strength to take the kids on a walk around the little village and build a snowman. That was about the extent of our day. We were done. Early Tuesday Peter called it and we packed up and headed home that morning while everyone else went skiing. The kids were all sick, but so sad to leave. Later poor Uncle Kookie ended up getting sick too. So we really didn't do anyone any favors spreading our disease to everyone. It was too bad, because the house was so beautiful and big and there was so much potential for an amazing time, and while we had a fun time being with everyone, it was a lot of work. Thanks Poppie and Nonnie for the gift and sorry for the horrible "gift" of disease we brought with us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

First Week of January

New Year's Eve was filled with fun parties! We went to two different friend's houses and played games, ate yummy food and laughed. In between we put the kids to bed and let Eben and Kivi stay up and light off fireworks, float lanterns and have a toast to the New Year with Mama and Dada. The bottom right picture is of Kivi almost killing me with a Roman candle! I said, "Kivi" so she would look my way and I could take her picture and she turned not only her head but her whole body, arms extended holding a flaming stick. Just as she turned to smile for the camera fire shot out of the end and zipped past my head. We all froze for a second and then started yelling! The flaming ball missed - good thing - and now we've learned a valuable lesson; you can never overemphasized firework safety (something we are obviously very bad at).

Most of the week we just played, with new toys, games and each other. We built a lot. We watched the whole second season of Little House on the Prairie while having a "build the tallest house" competition. (Eben won!) We sorted all of our new and old Legos into sets so we can actually build what we're suppose to with them. We had a build the coolest contraption out of the Christmas cardboard trash competition. (Eben - best invention, Kivi - cutest, Jasper - scariest) We built each other up in love with lots of hugs and kisses!

Great Grandma Lee came to visit and tell stories and we got a picture with all the kiddos.

Shari took me along to her super secret 90% off Target day!!! See how it's still dark out, we left that early in the morning and had so much fun!

 Jan. 5 and 6th we took the Big Three and the Schocks with us to our Great Wolf Lodge get a way that we won from our church for a praying competition. They spent a lot of time at the water park and doing Magi Quest and we got to lick the most gynormous gingerbread house made with real ginger bread and frosting inside the lobby. The kids all had a ton of fun, but it was here the second day that I started feeling not so great and spent most of the time in the room. Little did I know I was about to bring an evil sickness to the world!