Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our Trip East

We took an awesome trip out east in September. Andrew had training and we decided to tag along. Our trip started in Washington D.C. and then moved to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The kids were excited that we visited so many states on our trip. 

We enjoyed seeing the White House at night and loved walking around the city after dark. (And we lost a kid - he wandered off by accident - took about 10 years off my life because it truly felt like he had vanished into thin air.)

We visited two Smithsonians (Air & Space and American History) - both were fascinating. The oldest two boys saw an IMAX movie which they thought was pretty cool.

The two youngest enjoyed riding the historic carousel on The Mall (truthfully, Emmi had been begging to ride any "up and down" horsey since we had embarked on the trip). Emmi was especially delighted by this part of the adventure. 

(She always chooses a white horse - such a girly girl.)

We walked MILES and visited several monuments. They were all memorable in their own ways (it had been years since Andrew and I had been in DC). The kids favorite was probably the Lincoln Monument and mine was the new WW2 monument.

Washington Monument

WW 2 Monument

We also visited Mount Vernon and spent most of Monday at that beautiful home and property. While Emmi failed to appreciate the mansion tour (or much of anything other than the flowers), the rest of us thought it was wonderful. There was so much space for the kids to run and relax. It was so much fun!

 "Look, Mom, a butterfly!"

Checking out the gardens while the boys played in a field.

This is how she felt at the end of the day...

We arrived in WV on Monday night and Andrew spent the rest of the week in classes. So, Tuesday and Wednesday, the boys had class and then the kids and I spent the afternoons exploring Harper's Ferry National Park and eating ice cream. We hiked, learned about the local history, discussed the Civil War, checked out a portion of the Appalachian Trail (my cousin through-hiked it several years ago), and just generally had a great time together!

They hid their sticks on Tuesday, so they could use them again on Wednesday. 
Boys and their sticks. 

The weather was 100% perfect for these outings! We really enjoyed the great outdoors and the freedom from set plans and timelines - we just went at our own pace.

Thursday was our final day of exploration and that day took us to Gettysburgh. I decided to purchase the audio cd and book and tour it on our own. It was awesome. We did the shorter of the tours (still 3+ hours). We got out at most of the locations, listened to the fascinating narration of the events of that battle, and once again appreciated the wonderful beauty surrounding us. 

The largest monument at Gettysburgh.

The boys were pretty fascinated with the history.

All in all, it was a memorable trip. We are thankful we had the chance to go and thankful for the time we had as a family. The boys had been asking to visit DC for a few years and so this was a dream come true for them. We found some great books at the library and they devoured them in preparation for the trip and on the trip. We listened to Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and that passed time in the car. Emmi at 3 1/2 was a challenge (which was expected), but she had a lot of fun, too.  We are looking forward to our next big trip - perhaps Colorado! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On #4

#4 has turned our world upside down. I was a boy mom and totally unprepared for the drama, attitude, craziness, and joy that comes with girls. I love having both genders! Emmi is a spicy girl...of course, we continued our tradition of non-laid back kids. :) She is on the go, talks all the time, and is a delight. Her toys, fashion sense, and sense of responsibility are quite different than her big brothers. And my word, she has them WRAPPED. She could tell them to fly to the moon and I'm pretty sure they would try. I am loving the hair bows and dresses and shoes and accessories. She asked her dad the other day if she could "buy happy snowman bows" to match a dress - he readily agreed and she poured over the options before choosing two from Etsy. She is now anxiously awaiting their arrival in the mail.

She wears me out with her energy and then gives me limitless energy with her hugs, snuggles, "I love yous," and declarations of "my mommy." She is happy, well-adjusted, and growing like a weed. She made it into 3T clothes in the late spring though she is still super skinny with very little behind. She potty trained in February and we are once again diaper free (HOORAY!). Her language acquisition has shocked me and though she still leaves the endings off many words, she talks in sentences and we understand most of what she says. 

Emmi makes friends easily, loves people, is a dedicated follower of Titus, and loyal defender of our family. She seems to somehow understand what family means and to embrace it. We feel like she has always been with us and yet it's just shy of 18 months. So thankful for this sweet addition who cracks us up, keeps things extra lively, and teaches me daily. 

 With one of her best friends ever, her cousin, Max.

 The doll thing is so sweet - I loved my dolls!

 First trip to the beach - she had the best time!

 Orneriness personified.

 She continues to be a huge water bug with little fear.

 Pink and purple are so cliche, but they are her favorites of her own accord.

 She feels amazing when she accessorizes.

 She loves Pippi so much.

 Art Projects are so much fun until you get your hands messy.

The Fab Four - yep, that look is one we've seen a little more recently...yikes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Life Update

My poor neglected blog. I so often think of when I had the time and energy to write on a regular basis and miss it!

Life...good things, hard things, different things...

E has been home for almost 18 months. She is doing incredibly well, loves being the baby of the family, and always has something to say. She is sassy, sweet, stubborn, and smart. Her fashion sense is hilarious. It is so different having a girl! I'm enjoying almost every minute. :)

The big boys will be 4th graders this year which I find impossible to believe. I cannot possible be old enough to have 9 year olds, right?! (Don't answer that. :)) They will be attending an online, private, classical, Christian school this fall - it will be a quite a change and I think we are all nervous and excited about it. The boys are also getting ready for their first 4-H fair and I'm having flashbacks to judging week when I was a kid - so much to do!

T will be in kindergarten and he cannot wait. I'm looking forward to our time learning together this fall. He is super athletic, loves numbers, and still has time for cuddles with mama.

Andrew started a new job this summer - it seems like a great fit and we are so grateful for it.

I'm working one day a week and thankful for the flexibility and opportunity to stay current in my field. I enjoy my patients and really love my office.

As we continue to parent children from hard places, I'm constantly reminded of the need for flexibility, grace, patience, and endurance. It is far from a one-size-fits all parenting - our parenting is different generally and different with the needs of each child. We are incredibly grateful for our support network as we have navigated some tough stuff this year. While we may not abide by "traditional" parenting books and philosophies, we have found great resources and encouragement. We have great days and good days and really bad days. What a growing and maturing process it has been for Andrew and me as we learn more about sacrificial living, sensitivity, and just how to meet the variety of needs! We are so proud of our awesome kids - their overcoming spirit, tenacity, and growth.

We are a family. We stick together. We love each other. We have fun together. We belong together.

I would like to say I will blog more frequently, but time will tell. :) There is plenty to write about - like how we actually briefly considered yurt living, how we lost a dearly loved grandma/great-grandma, how our kids enjoyed their first ocean visit, how we are using our CSA produce, how Andrew keeps me playing fantasy football... So much to say, so little time/energy. Until next time...