Monday, January 25, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

She's ONE

Well, 11 days have flown by and my baby girl is officially one.  What a year it's been.




My sweet little gal.  You have brought such a ray of sunshine into our lives.  We love you so very much.  Your laugh, your frowns, your adorable curls in the back, everything about you is just so special.

I thank the Lord everyday for sharing you with me.

Happy first birthday my special little gal!

Stay tuned for more posts as we celebrate our little girls first year on earth!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Golden Years

Thoughts are funny things.  Sometimes they gently come whispering, teasing around your brain.  Other times, they come and wallop you on the side of the head! LOL  You know what I'm talking about.  A moment of epiphany.  An "aha" moment.

I had one of those tonight.  A vision with unmistakable clarity that, right now, the age my children are at, could be called our "Golden Years".

I had 4 kids in 5 years.  Those early years are just a blur.  All the kids needed me all the time for everything.  Loved it then and I often miss those early days and would love to go back and do it all over again.  #5 came along when I had an 8, 6, 4 and 2 year old.  Still a lot of work, but things were easing up a little bit.  #6 came when I had an 11, 9, 7, 5 and almost 3 year old.  What a difference!  I had independent kids.  I had kids who could pick up after themselves, hold a baby and if need be, make a meal for themselves or a sibling.  They could all use the bathroom w/o assistance (except the baby of course ;) ), which sounds silly but is HUGE. LOL

The road looming right ahead of me that I can see in the distance but not quite touch, is the windy, rolling hills of adolescence.  We haven't hit that yet but are oh so close.  We have a little bit of the preteen attitude, but honestly, it's not that bad.  She still listens to us, she still takes what we have to say and does it, eventually. ;)

The road ahead is an unknown.  With 6 children getting ready to hit that road you can be sure that we will hit those emotional highs and lows quite a few times in the next 18 years.

That's why I'm saying right now, these are the golden years of my life with my children.  As they continue to get older, and they keep doing that despite me telling them to stop, they are going to stretch and grow and move on.   Yes, I am looking forward to seeing who they become and pray for their futures but for now, for this brief, fleeting moment in time, I am going to stop and really live in this season.  I'm going to soak up every ounce of these special years, our golden years.  I'm going to tuck these special days into my heart and hold them there to look back on and remember a time when my children still called me Mommy, held my hand when we walk places and just wanted to hang out with me.  Where snuggles in bed are a must, mushes and hugs are given and received with great joy.

These are our golden years and I'm not going to waste them.

Trader Joe's

Oh how we love Trader Joe's.  There are so many things to love about Trader Joe's, I don't know where to begin!  The kids love their contests and try to enter every month.  A few weeks ago, we got a call to inform us that A. had won for her art work and to come on in to get her goody bag.  We decided to go as a family to pick up her bag o' treats. :)


A. at Trader Joe's



what a fun prize!




Thank you Trader Joe's!


Happy customers are loyal customers and Trader Joe's definitely knows how to make their customers happy. :)

Boys!

Boys are different than girls.  I honestly can't believe that people actually argue that there are no differences between the two sexes.  It either proves that people want to fight about anything or they want to believe something so badly they just ignore all reasoning. LOL

From my own home I can attest that there is a very marked difference between my girls and my boys.

Case in point...


look closely



Tada!


Not to be left out of the fun...



peak a boo



I see you!


Time to bolt that dresser to the wall!

Message in a Bottle

I was in the bathroom the other day and looked down and noticed a little piece of paper sticking out of the toilet paper holder (there should be a little knob thingy hiding the hole.  No idea where that went).



I pulled it out and found a note penned in A's hand.   I read it, smiled knowing that my sweet daughter left the note for me to find and happy that I was the one to find it.



 I carefully rolled it back up and tucked it back into the hole.

Later that evening I was getting ready for bed and glanced at my soap dispenser and noticed another small piece of paper carefully placed in the bottle.



Carefully written, again in A's handwriting, was another verse.




Another smile at the special way my daughter chose to share with me.

These are two of her favorite verses.  :)  Since I need to use my soap, I didn't tuck this one back into the bottle (well until just now so I could take the picture ;)) but the note is resting in a special place to keep as a memory in years to come.  I didn't say anything to A. about finding her notes.  A few days after my discovery she casually asked if I had found anything that was hidden.  She was very happy to hear that, yes, I found the notes and found them to be so very special.  She just smiled. :)

The notes reminded me of a time about 6 years ago.  We were on a short trip to Carlsbad, CA for a time of family refreshment.  We had some empty water bottles and E. decided she was going to write a message, place it in the bottle and leave it someplace on the beach hoping just the right person would find it.

We headed down to the beach to hang out for a little bit, E. with bottle in hand.  She found a perfect spot to secure her bottle.  A place that wasn't too obvious but not so hidden it would never be found.  It was also up above the high tide mark. ;)  There was a breaker of rocks between the parking lot and the beach and she placed the bottle in a crack between the rocks.

We went about our playing and enjoying the cool ocean breezes while waiting to see if anyone would notice her bottle.  There weren't a lot of people there, so we thought chances were pretty good we'd never see if someone found it.  As it turned out, we didn't have to wait very long.  A couple of men had been surfing and were just finishing up about 5 minutes after we got there.  As they were preparing to head up to their cars one of the men noticed the bottle and said, "Hey, what's this?"  He opened up the note, read what was written and got a big grin on his face exclaiming, "This is great!  I'm keeping this."  Made my girls day!

What was the note that my young E. left?   A very simple yet powerful message.  She wrote, "Smile, God loves you."

Both my daughters at two different times did something so simple and yet so special that blessed the recipients.   How often do we get caught up in all the details of making things "right" or "perfect" or "enough" that we never get down to the business of actually blessing someone.

It really doesn't take much!   Have you blessed or been blessed by someone recently?  Please, share so we can all be blessed along with you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Look who's trying to walk!



I can't believe she's turning one in 11 days!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Arizona Skies

Arizona has some of the most beautiful skies I have ever seen!

Just a few shots E. took from a sunset we had the other night.













Simply amazing!



E. doing two of her favorite things, capturing the sun and taking pictures of the sky

Soccer Mania


Since I was in the thick of soccer games and practices this past fall, I never once thought to write about our fall!  Or rather, for my picture intensive blog, post pictures. :D

We had four playing soccer this fall.  When you add it up, that's a lot of practices and games.  We spent hours at the fields and my kids loved every single minute.  When it was hot and humid, they beamed.  When it was cold and rainy, they grinned.  To say they have the soccer bug would be a gross understatement.  I have a couple who would love to try out to play on a competitive team. We just haven't figured out how that would work and still maintain some semblance of family life.  Those who have any wisdom to share, please do.

We switched soccer leagues this year after trying out the league with R and S last spring.  They both stayed on the same teams for the fall season which left E and A up for grabs as to who their coach and team would be.  This league forms "pure" teams, so 8 year old girls will only play 8 year old girls.  No age or gender mixing, until they hit 10.  Then it jumps to U12, which worked perfectly for us! :)  E and A were able to play on the same team which allowed all 4 to play w/o too many conflicts.  All their coaches also opted for only one practice a week!  How lucky could we get.  Definitely God's answer to my prayers on how I was going to make it all work, especially since the parks they were practicing at were pretty far apart.  E and A's coach did end up adding on a second practice (it was needed ;) ) which put a little bit of a crunch on our Thursday's, but it all worked out in the end, as it always does.

All of them had great coaches and all their teammates were a great bunch of kids.   We were more than happy with our switch.

Here are some random pictures taken throughout the fall season of my soccer players. :)


E & A's team meeting for the first time




R's team's first practice



S.'s first practice




1st Game





Night Games!  It was still blazing hot out there. 




Warm up for Semi-finals. 


Nothing's getting past!  






E. made it onto the All Star Team



The Champions!



Very happy ending to a wonderful season!