Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life Lately

Hello! I suppose it's about time for an update, huh? It's so hard to believe that it's May already! Now that I have school aged kids, time seems to go even faster. Cameron has 2 weeks left of school and then he is done with Pre-Kindergarden. And then, in just 3 and a half months, he'll start kindergarden! Schools around here start in the middle of August and I know that it will be here in no time at all. Typically I dread summer (the heat, mostly) but this year I'm looking forward to it making the most fun memories with my kids! We have lots of swimming ahead, a beach vacation, and other fun things planned that are sure to make summer fly. 
 Easter Sunday

We've been having a great time this spring, spending as much time as we can outdoors. We visited the Tanganyika Wildlife park in town a few weeks ago, and its such a special treat to be up close and personal with all the animals. It's also a great learning experience as every area has a knowledgeable staff member telling you all about the unique animals.

The kangaroos- probably my favorite. It's so neat to see the little joeys nursing or sleeping in their mommas pouches. 

One of the things keeping us busy outdoors at home is our new vegetable beds we built. We've had some onions and carrots in the ground for some time, and we'll soon get several varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli in. Cameron has been helping me water almost daily but we are ready to see the fruits of our labor!

Random: I've mastered french braiding Kylie's hair! 

My niece got married and Kylie was the flower girl. She did perfect and looked so cute!

Seriously, is he not the most handsome boy?!

Cameron had his Pre-K singing program the other evening and it was a western theme. All the kids sure were cute! I am so proud of the kind, sweet boy he is. It really makes me so happy when all of his teachers tell me what a joy he is! I still can't believe I'll be walking him to his Kindergarden class in about 3 months.
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back before too long. =)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Kitchen Updates (and new flooring)!

A couple of weeks ago, we completed a few long awaited updates to our home! We have always wanted a home with hardwood flooring. It was a desire of ours even while living at our old home (and knowing that it wasn't the place to do it) so when we started looking for new homes, we knew that hardwoods would definitely be a part of it. Our current home was very much everything we were looking for, it just needed some changes to make it less cookie cutter and more "ours". We've been at our home how for 2 1/2 years, and have lived with the tile floor and basic carpeting it came with up until this point, knowing that we had other priorities to take care of first (namely, basement finishing). The time finally came and we are so happy with how it turned out!

The After:

We chose a 5" hand scraped maple, and while you cannot see it in the above photo, the planks are fairly distressed have quite a bit of natural wood dimpling. Having that characteristic in wood was really important to me so I didn't freak out every time Cameron dropped a hot wheel on the floor or came into the house with dirt covered roller blades. Jon actually dropped a wrench from a ladder the day we got the new floors in, and we couldn't even find the indention from the fall.

We also chose to change out our countertops to granite, and change the old backsplash (old pictures below). I've never been a big fan of granite as I generally tend to gravitate toward more "subtle" stone countertop patterns. Jon never really has much of an opinion when it comes to home decor, but really expressed his desire for granite in the kitchen. I ended up finding a beautiful granite slab I liked- not too busy or loud- and it looks incredible with our existing cabinets. 

We were able to use our old sink, and undermount it which has been awesome!
The Before (from move in day, hence the mess): Our kitchen came with laminate counters, and a tile backsplash and floor (also the same tile on the bar top there).

Another view of the "before"

I also had the chance to paint the entire living room and kitchen (what a project in itself!). Previously (see: The before) it was the paint color the builder had chosen, which was a beige with yellow-green undertones. I knew I wanted to lighten it up a bit (especially since we were bringing in dark flooring) so I chose 'Chocolate Froth' by Behr (a creamy white) for the majority of the main level and 'Mocha Accent' by Behr for the accent wall you can see above. LOVE those choices. I probably went through 15 paint samples before I landed on these.

Previously, the microwave had its home above the stove, but its been down for weeks and I LOVE not having it (and all its bulkiness) there. The plan is to tile up a bit further, and install a hood. A smaller microwave will go inside the pantry. Also, the floor reads pretty red in this picture, even though it's not. 

The dining nook. Oh, this table set has seen better days. It is really beat up but the size is so perfect for our family and the nook that it's in. I have been looking for a different table for many, many months, one that's the same size but has the capability of extending to seat more people. I have come up empty handed (bar height tables are hard to find!) so Ive decided to build a new table top with a leaf, and use the existing table base and install an extender. I scored some really sweet (and ridiculously cheap) new chairs from Restoration Hardware right before Christmas that will be a part of the new "set" once I'm done.

That's about it! The living room is pretty bare bones and I hope to share more later as I find a rug and some artwork to hang on the walls (that have largely remained blank!). Hope you enjoyed a tour of our updates! =) 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kylie turns 3!

Kylie is officially 3! I'm a little late with her birthday update (she turned 3 on the 10th) so I thought I'd better update before January was actually over! We had such a fun time spoiling her on her special day. On the evening before her birthday, we went to Chuck E. Cheese for a little fun with the family, and on her actual birthday we celebrated at one of our favorite hibachi restaurants for dinner.

Kylie is a little bit sassy and and is definitely more independent of the two. She doesn't crave or give affection quite like Cameron does, but she still shows her sweetness from time to time. She is much more adventurous than her brother, so open to trying new foods and other things. She is a coffee lover, and most mornings will ask for her own (little) cup of coffee. Last month when we were in Kansas City at The Great Wolf Lodge, we were doing a bit of shopping and Kylie was tired and on a short fuse. While we were inside a store Cameron was harassing her (as he often does) and she wasn't having it. All of a sudden she bursts into tears and screams "I JUST WANT COFFEE!! I JUST. WANT. COFFEE!!" It was a hilariously epic meltdown witnessed by many, and within seconds of exiting the store, she was asleep on my shoulder. Poor girl just wanted some coffee!
She is into everything girly- princesses, bows, jewelry... you name it! I love having a girl so much.

Kylie is definitely a daddy's girl, these two are just so sweet to each other. Jon even got her a bouquet of flowers for her birthday to put in her room. He's such a great dad and the relationship they have is so special!

I made Kylie an Ariel cake for her birthday and it turned out OK, especially for piping it all on (instead of cutting out shapes out of fondant). It took me forever though and I probably won't ever do anything quite that fancy ever again, ha! 
I don't think I will ever get over how incredibly blessed I feel to be her mom. Sometimes I look at her and can't believe that this life we live is indeed real, not just a dream. I just love her to death! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Gone December

Hello dear friends and family! I hope that you all have had a wonderful holiday season! For us, it seems like the weeks that surround Christmas are just one, giant celebration- with Cameron's birthday, my birthday, and Kylie's birthday all crammed into a few weeks. It really is such a special time of year!

We started off December with Cameron's birthday. We had a party with a few of his cousins on his actual birthday, and a sleepover with some of his boy cousins that weekend.

We also took our annual trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. The kids had a great time as they always do. It's hard to believe that the first time we came, Kylie was a fresh little newborn- now, she's almost 3!

Carriage ride on the Kansas City Plaza. The lights were so pretty!

We take advantage of EACH and EVERY nice day there is in the winter time.

We crafted and made ornaments all month long! 

One of my sweet nieces, Brittney, got engaged right before Christmas! I had the incredible opportunity to be able to take pictures for them on such a beautiful, snowy day. In fact, the snow was falling as we were out taking pictures- it was so much fun. And the timing was perfect- the very next day it was so sunny and the snow melted instantly. I am so, so happy for her!

Christmas was truly wonderful. With the kids birthdays being so close to Christmas, we really scale down the amount of gifts we buy. Also, I don't ever want my kids to feel entitled to a bunch of gifts at Christmas. When we would talk about Christmas it was about the true Christmas story in Matthew (or Luke) and about the birth of a Savior. In our Bible study (BSF) that the kids and I attend, we have been studying Matthew so I think that really hit home with them.

I am so excited to share soon, some big updates to our house! We are in the process of selecting new floors on the main level and countertops in our kitchen. It's all happening so quick and hopefully it will be done over the next month. Until then! =)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Five on the fifth.

My sweet baby boy Cameron turns five today! It's absolutely mind blowing how fast time seems to go these days. I mean, I remember when he was a baby, thinking about things like him being in school and playing sports- and thinking that those things were so far away. Well, here we are! The days are long but the years are short, my friends.

I am completely honored and humbled that God has allowed me to be the mother to this boy. Through Cameron He has taught me patience, mercy, and kindness. To be loving when it's the hardest. To strive (though I fail) to be as Christ like as possible in my everyday life. And to teach this precious boy all of these things to the best of my ability.

People always comment on his great behavior and for that I am so proud of him. For the most part, he gets along and plays really well with his sister (they have their moments, though!). He is very much a typical boy- loud and obnoxious, etc... but he is very sweet, caring and loving. 

I am not good at writing things down that my kids say, but the other day Cameron and Kylie were building some "weapons/shooters" from a set of straws and connecters that Cam has. They came to attack me with these weapons that they made while I was doing some things in the kitchen and I pretended to fall on the ground. They piled on top of me and continued to strike me. As I pretended to cry, I asked them "do you guys not love me anymore? DO YOU GUYS WANT A NEW MOM?" 
Kylie yelled "YESSSS!" but Cameron said (feeling sad) "No, Mom! We love you JUST the way you are. You are as beautiful as an angel!" 

I feel like that is a true picture of his caring and loving personality- he is just such a sweet boy. These past five years have been so great and I can't wait to see what the next five bring! Happy Birthday, Cameron!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Colorado Vacation

This last weekend, we went on a road trip to Colorado! To say we had the best time is easily an understatement- I'm currently waiting for my husband to give me the green light to search for real estate there. =) I'm kidding, sort of, but man... I'd love to have a little vacation home in the mountains. I don't know what it is, but being in the mountains does something for me that I can't explain and I'm already thinking ahead to the next time we go!

So, back to the trip: we stayed in a small town called Fraser, just outside Winter Park at a little Bed & Breakfast called the Wild Horse Inn (which was amazing- more on that in a sec). We've traveled with the kids a number of times through the years, but have never taken a trip in the car longer than 4-5 hours so this 9-10 hour stuff had me a little scared. To my surprise, the kids ROCKED in the car (both ways) and it couldn't have gone better.

 This was the first time our kids got to see mountains (we went to Washington when Cam was 9 months, so he doesn't remember) and they were giddy with excitement as soon as we hit the Denver area. It was so snowy on the Pass between Denver and Winter Park, the kids couldn't wait to get out and play in it!

The Wild Horse Inn Bed and Breakfast we stayed at was so neat. The main lodge (above) had several rooms, a dining room for their daily amazing breakfasts, and a large living room with cozy couches and a giant fireplace. There were also 3 private cabins, one of which we stayed in. It was so perfect and I'd love to stay there again!

The first few minutes of the sunrise was quietly breathtaking- spiritual almost. This was also the view we had from our cabin every morning! 

Our first morning there we decided to do a bit of hiking. We found ourselves somewhere outside Winter Park in the National Forest- driving up into the mountains until our 4-wheel drive said "stop", and began hiking for about a mile and a half. Other than the sound of snow crunching beneath our boots, it was eerily quiet up there- there were no cars passing and no hikers that we saw. I knew that we'd end up in a bit of backcountry (knowing my husband) so I took along my tripod for a few photo ops. We were hoping to see some wildlife and even though we didn't, the hike was gorgeous and rewarding. 

One of the original reasons we went to Colorado was to attend the wedding of a longtime friend of Jon's. I don't have pictures of the ceremony (which was at the B&B we stayed at) but it was gorgeous, sunny, and warm(ish)- couldn't have been more perfect!

Sunday (our last day) we drove to Georgetown (about an hour from WP) to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Back before we had kids (I was pregnant with Cameron, actually) we did the Narrow Gauge train ride that takes you from Durango to Silverton. It was one of the best experiences and we knew our kids would love to do it someday, so we thought the Georgetown ride would be perfect.

 Since it only covers 3 miles (an hour train ride) it was perfect for the kids- it was cold, and we sat in an open car. The kids loved it and I hope Cameron will have lasting memories of it!


After the train ride we just drove- the kids were champions in the car and we were able to experience so much by just driving. We stopped near Silverthorne because Jon spotted water and thought it would be fun to get out and check it out.

My husband grew up in the Pacific northwest and is a "mountain man" (his words, not mine), so needless to say, he is far more adventurous than I. The hike down to this reservoir was so incredibly narrow and steep I had to scoot down the path on my hands and feet (picture a crab here) to get there while he flawlessly and effortlessly carried the kids. But the pay-off, well... you can see just how beautiful it is. Had it been up to me we would not have attempted it. But here we played, looked for gold shiny rocks, and just explored like we were on a private island with no one else around for miles.

Mountains do something good for my soul in a way that beaches cannot.

In a lot of my photos I relied heavily on the self-timer, but I handed Cameron my camera for many shots and he does quite well! But once I give it to him, it's a fight to get it back. 

Since we've been back all I can think about is getting back there. I love making such precious memories with my crew and hope that we can continue to do so for many years to come! 


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