Getting Warmer…

Before leaving for our cruise, Southern California was experiencing a heat wave.  We got back, only to experience more of the same.  I can’t wait to blog more about our cruise, but I’ve been busy trying to balance enjoying this beautiful weather with getting back into the swing of things.  It’s been a good week, and an even better weekend.  I think I am finally caught-up on “stuff.”  (Of course, caught-up only lasts a few hours around here before laundry, dishes, and messes pile up.  A mom’s life is blessed and busy!)  **sigh**  Here is a glimpse of our warm weather activities:


Making “Fairy Water”


Washing the car.



Enjoying glorious apricot tree blossoms.


Painting fairy houses from Grandma.


It is hard not to want this weather.  All the windows are open.  We start our days on bikes and scooters.  But alas, it is not even spring yet, so I am praying for rain.  In the meantime, you can find us outside!

Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise, part 1

Last time I left you, we were headed out to catch a red-eye flight from LA to Miami.  Let me pick it up from there.  Like most red-eyes, it wasn’t a super comfy or fun flight, but we did have Venus Williams on board with us.  I think that was my first time flying with a celebrity.  We arrived and headed to the nearest airport restaurant where I couldn’t wait for a Cuban coffee.  It didn’t disappoint.  And the best part was, my husband tried mine and actually liked it, so we got another.  I have always wanted to share coffee with him.  (I know it’s a weird ‘thing,’ but it totally made me happy!)

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We caught a taxi to the cruise ship and had a good chunk of time to wait.  Once again, it was just fun to watch people arrive, and we had a good time talking to some people who sat next to us.

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Once we boarded, we got a quick bite to eat and then headed to our cabin for a nap.  We learned form last year the importance of resting when possible.  When dinner time arrived, we met up with a cool couple we had met the year before, along with other awesome people for dinner.  This time around, I was really blessed by the dinner conversations and all the people we met over the course of the week.

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After dinner, we had our first major dilemma; which entertainment to pick.  We had 3 options, and decided to see Harris the third — an illusionist.  The show blew me away.  I have always been a little freaked out by magic.  My little pea brain that thinks it should know how everything works was always so disturbed by the fact that I couldn’t figure out magic, and therefore it must be evil.  Seeing a Christian magician perform was a must.  Not only were his tricks phenomenal, but the way he tied in his testimony and truth just made the show.  We decided right then that we would have to see him perform again.  And so ended our first night…

Home Again, Home Again

Words seem to have left me… It has been such a wonderful last few weeks!  We did our second Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, and somehow enjoyed it as much as or more than the first!  Coming home is always bitter sweet.  It’s so great to see the kids, but of course there is lots of cleaning, laundry, meal planning, and school to be done.  (When is Easter break?)

Let me re-cap the day before we left; Valentine’s Day and my birthday.


My parents arrived the day before, armed with fairy house crafts, Valentine Bingo, books, and other tricks up their sleeves for a smooth week without Mom and Dad.


After church we went out to eat… but the real treat came at dinner time.  My husband has a tradition of not going out on Valentine’s Day, but always cooking himself to avoid the crowds. (Not to mention, he is a far better cook than most!)  He blessed us with an amazing meal of sushi, sashimi, miso fish, seared ahi, pickled cucumbers, and miso soup.  Yup.  I am one blessed lady!

vd1 vd2 vd3 vd4We finished with a sea salt coffee cake from my favorite bakery, 85 degrees.  Nom nom.



We snapped this photo, tucked the kids in, said goodbye, then packed and drove off to catch a red eye flight from Los Angeles to Miami.  I was happy to have this picture to show some of the incredible people we met on the cruise our family.  It’s hard to believe this picture was taken just a little over a week ago.  What a blessed week and a half it was!

Cool Kids!

Hellllooooo, summer!  I don’t know where it came from, but it was close to 90 degrees, today!  After a fairly cold winter we seem to be having, it was kind of a warm surprise!



Of course, the kids couldn’t resist a little dip.  Never mind the fact that the pool is ice cold.  (I’m not exaggerating; it’s freezing!)  Kids are so cool.  (Pun intended!)

Valentine “School” 2016

It’s been a long week… a long, exhausting month, really.  I can’t say it’s been bad.  I am just a bit worn out.  When that happens, I usually try to push-through and stick with the plan, but the kids know when I am worn out.  My temper is shorter.  Our “fun” includes lots of Mom yelling, “Why did you spill this?” And, “Hey, I need some help over here.”

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I really don’t like it when I am short-tempered with my kids.  It hurts my heart when I reflect on my day.  Thankfully, kids are quick to forgive when I apologize.  I am so grateful for a God who allows us grace!

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Yesterday I knew I was done with school for the week.  My long list of to-do’s didn’t get a single item crossed off due to me feeling awful, as well as my poor kiddos still struggling.  This girl, in particular, has had it extremely rough.  She has been sick for a week, and for the last 3 days she has woken up with a different new symptom.  Today, she had an eye infection.  But, she was a trooper and still joined in some of the fun anyway when she wasn’t stuck on the couch!  And so, today was out with “school” and in with Valentine fun!

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We started with Sierra’s plastic nails she got for her birthday.  They didn’t last long, but they were sure fun to try!

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We also made salt dough pendants to turn into Valentine necklaces for friends.

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Finally, our Valentine’s were little match sticks.  I tried to teach the kids how to make little origami boxes to put them in, but it was a bit difficult for them.  So, I will probably be making quite a few tomorrow.  I found the idea on Pinterest and thought it was too cute to pass up!  My 6 year old didn’t even know what a match stick was!

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We ended with making bookmarks and using our new Valentine stickers.  I think that was Natalie’s favorite part.

With all I have still on my to-do list, I really should’t be blogging.  But, somehow this is therapy for me.  I like seeing all the pictures without hearing the kids arguing, or stepping on messes left behind in the kitchen.  Our activities took most of the day, and the kids seemed to enjoy them… but one kid had to ask, “Is this all we’re doing?”  (You hear the voice she used, right?)  That’s all it took on a day where I gave it my all despite running on fumes to make my heart sink.  Normally, I would laugh it off or shrug it off — kids.  Today it sinks deeper, but blogging about it somehow makes it seem ok; this is just life.  The good, the tough — they are all a part of parenting, and all a reward.  Blogging allows me to step-back, re-focus, and be grateful for the good.  (And there really was much good to our day!)

Hope you find time for some Valentine fun this weekend!  I am sure we have more hearts in our near future…