Texas, Friends and Hope

Memorial Day weekend we said goodbye to the 4 older kiddos and sent them off for a fantastic camping trip with grandpa and grandma. They go every year to their church’s family camp and almost always take some or all of the kids with them. Which is one of the reasons they deserve the “grandparent award” in my book.

Meanwhile, Tad, Jo and I packed our own bags and set off for a weekend with the Von Guntens, a.k.a. our most fun, belly laughing, besties in Texas. This is basically how Jo handled the plane ride. Lucky her. Got to snuggle with daddy and had him all to herself for 4 days!

TexasThough I brought my camera, it rarely made its way out of the bag…except for a few shots of this fabulous family. We just adore this family – every one of them. They fall into the category of friends that you could go 5 years without seeing and pick up instantly where you left off. We’re (not-so-secretly) praying that they make their way back to Oregon in the near future. Texas-4We got to visit them at Camp Tejas, a fabulous Christian camp they are serving at this summer. We stayed in an adorable room, ate yummy camp food every meal, enjoyed the pool and SUN, and mostly just sat and laughed for hours. Texas-3Jo couldn’t get enough of these kids and the feeling was mutual. I don’t think she ever got put down for 4 days straight. In fact, most the time, there was a line of eager boys waiting for their sisters to hand her over.

Texas-5This girl. She brings so much JOY everywhere she goes. Texas-6

IMG_1339Texas-2She lived the life last weekend. Like an only child, soaking up every second of being the center of attention. Who am I kidding? She lives like that 24/7 even at home with 4 siblings. I don’t think she could be any cuter…

Texas-2-2Oh! And since I’d been pondering getting a tattoo for a few months, I decided Austin was the place to do it. I’ve never had an overwhelming desire to get a tattoo, never been drawn to them personally, but for some reason I had really been thinking about it as an option lately.

So we called Scarlett’s tattooist and asked if she could get us in before our plane took off. She came in just for me. I decided to get the word written in Japanese Kanji. I am 1/4 Japanese and I just plain love the look of their alphabet. I chose the word HOPE and had her place it at the back of my neck.

Texas-4-2I’m in love with it! It’s feminine, small, easy to cover with my hair (if I want to) and most of all it is a constant reminder that my HOPE is in the Lord and nothing else. Not in where I live, how I’m performing as a mom (or not performing), what choices my kids make or where my husband works. Hope. Without it life can be super hard, and downright dreary. With it we can face each day knowing that God has our back and has already paid the price for our ultimate hope in eternal life with Him.

 

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Settled

It’s nearly been a month since we’ve moved and we are all feeling settled now. Boxes are emptied (ok, I still have one in my living room), and most of my pictures are on the wall. It’s really feeling like MY house.

So many people have asked us if we miss our old house. Nope. Even my kids are loving the new neighborhood, the new house (with stairs, even!) untitled-2We love our little backyard and the fact that daddy feels more inclined to sit and hang out, than burdened by all the work of acreage.

untitled-4We celebrated this young man’s 12th birthday with a trip to Bullwinkles with our friends, the Falas. And after that was a family BBQ at our home where he got this styling hat he’s been wanting for a few months.

untitled-3 untitledA boy after his mama’s heart…chose cream puffs for his “birthday cake”. Yes!

untitled-6And we’ve even had time to start up swim lessons again.

untitled-3-2untitled-4-2Ruby is doing so well…getting the arm strokes and breathing down this year.

untitled-2-3The boys? We’re just burning energy, baby. Tired boys are good boys, right?

untitled-5-2The first day of lessons they gave all the watching moms quite the scare as they jumped, dove and flipped off the diving board like they’d had diving lessons their whole lives.

untitled-6-2Yes. We are loving living in the burbs. I’m still a country girl at heart, can’t ever change that. But boy howdy (do people still talk that way?) do I love the fact that we are just minutes from everything! Gonna enjoy this season fully.

Boxes, boxes and more boxes

Moving sure does suck the life out of you! It’s exciting and exhausting all at once. Thought I’d share some images of our “before” the move with you, simply for your amusement AND to remind myself not to move for at least 5 years! I doubt that will happen, but I can always be hopeful, right?

(Ever feel like your boxes make babies while you are sleeping? Seriously!)

(Time to clean the oven – why is it we always get the house perfect right before we leave?)

For the last week I packed up as much of the kitchen as I could…meaning, the kids had to only use one cup a day…novel, I know.

And…packed most of the pantry leaving us with few options and the desire to eat out more than we should!

Finally, the UHAUL truck. Believe it or not, it only took 2 trips with this baby! One for the house and one for the man shop. Well, maybe we still have a few things left in the man shop…like a whole bay full of stuff we aren’t quite sure what to do with at the moment. I’m confident it’ll work itself out in due time.

Oh! And the last lawn mow on the tractor. Max gets to use the tractor all the time, but never with the mowing deck attached. Tad decided he could finally have a go at it since there wouldn’t be another opportunity for quite some time. I love these boys…

Guess he’s not such a little boy anymore…