A Lesson in s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g

Cooper seems to have a good ear for music—not so much for spelling…

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Money 101

Silas has been drooling over the Lego “Gray Avenger Ship” for months now, but recently decided he’d like to get the “Blue Avenger Ship” instead. We’re letting him earn money for simple jobs and {hopefully} teaching him some diligence, discipline and patience in the process.

The concepts of pennies, dollars, and how much things cost are rather hard for little people to wrap their brains around. So, the other day I created an earning chart for both boys. {Cooper is now earning his way towards buying the Lego “Fire Helicopter.”) I glued on pictures of the toys they want, and now the boys have a visual of just how many dollars they need to earn.March2002

Since the pay is pennies at a time, I needed a way to track the boys’ earnings until they reached $1 to add to their chart. Using a variation of a Pinterest idea, here’s our counting-pennies Lego tracker. Each little circular “peg” represents a penny. An easy way to help kids visualize that 100 pennies make up 1 dollar.March2001March2004

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Hey, everybody! I’m 9 months old now. March1007That means I can wave, pull up on furniture and eat Cheerios.YouTube Preview Image March1004My first tooth popped through on the day before Valentine’s Day. (Mommy thinks it’s adorable that I have just one tooth.)March1003

I also love to dance! Music is optional. My favorite dance move is to bounce up and down while sitting on the family room floor. My hobbies are smiling, exploring the house with my army crawl “swim,” and staring at Daddy.March1001March1002

Happy March!

Love, Brynn KathrynMarch1005

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P is for…

Peeps
These are my peeps. My people. My marshmallowy sweet, squishably loveable (and often sticky) people. My peeps.Feb7011Feb7012Feb9001
P
ete’s Fish & Chips
Rachel was our tour guide for our first visit to Pete’s Fish & Chips in nearby Tolleson. Apparently the restaurant and downtown Tolleson had recently been given a facelift. It was super cute! Pete’s is somewhat of an iconic Phoenix lunch spot, so I wanted to try it before we moved away. Personally, I liked the chicken strips better than the breaded fish, but I was happy to try Pete’s signature dish.Feb8001

Pond
The boys fed the ducks at Friendship Park during playgroup the other week. Yes, there are a few area parks where one can see ducks swimming in actual water. If you look closely, you may also see another rare species called “turtle.” Feb7008

Popeye’s
The kids and I had a lunch date with an incredibly cute guy the other day. Stephen met us at the Popeye’s near his office. While it was nice to see my man during the day, I was glad I don’t have to make Stephen’s commute each day. That traffic can be intimidating—and I wasn’t even driving in rush hour. It’s incredible to me how God has kept Stephen safe all these years driving all those miles.Feb7006

Peoria Sports Complex
Food Truck Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex advertised a Super Hero Night, so of course the boys dressed for the costume contest. We brought our very own Spiderman and Ironman, but Ironman was too shy to get up in front of the crowd for the contest. Silas posed with Spiderman and Black Widow for a photo op, and I had my first lobster roll from the Cousin’s Maine Lobster food truck.Feb7013

Parade
The Tale of Two Cities parade, celebrating Goodyear and Avondale, was worth seeing—especially with friends. The parade is only about five years old but we really enjoyed watching the floats, bands, and military and rescue vehicles go by. Collecting a bag full of candy from the parade entrants was a new concept for the boys. They were thrilled!Feb7003Feb7001Feb7002

Pink Eye
Silas looked like he had contracted Cooper’s pink eye last Sunday, and then Brynn came down with it in both eyes this past Wednesday. Cooper has been keeping me up all night with a bad cough, and Brynn developed a bad cold and slight fever too. We’ve been doing eye drops, vaporizer, tylenol and cuddles to try to get these little peeps better. Can you find the three wild humans in their native habitat?Feb7015

Portland
Stephen left on a business trip to Portland for a few days this past week. He and his boss hosted a brunch at Greater Portland, Inc. to introduce Portland business owners to GreenLoop’s work concept. Then, Stephen and Peter scoped out some possible office locations. Stephen was also able to tour two elementary schools and get a feel for some neighborhoods and homes for sale in the area.Feb7005

Painting
In the midst of our pink eye epidemic, I forged ahead with my goal of painting the master bedroom while Stephen was away. The first day of painting was great! The kids entertained themselves so well that I was able to do two full coats and half of the edging. We’ve now moved our furniture back in and will start on the master bath soon.Feb7004

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Ahoy, Matey!

It’s been a pirate kind of afternoon at our house today.Feb6001

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Of Valentine Ninjas and Mountain Men

I think I’ve created a new holiday character. Introducing—-the Valentine Ninja! Here’s the story…Feb4005

Back in my Utah days, my roomie Tara and I hosted a Valentine sleepover for the teen and tween girls at the school where we were teaching. That night Tara introduced us all to a “heart attack” as we forked the teen boys’ yards with paper hearts in the dark of night.

I loved it so much that I had been itching to do it ever since. (If you’ve been reading this blog for several years, you might remember that I dragged Stephen along to give the Horkavys a heart attack the first February we were in Arizona.) Well, I couldn’t resist doing it again.Feb4002

But this time, the boys and I gave “heart attacks” in broad daylight to my two closest friends from MOMS Club, Kristy and Randi. We did the dirty deed on a morning when I knew both of them would be at a club board meeting, but I still wanted the boys to be quiet. And thus the Valentine Ninja was christened.Feb4001Feb4003

(Parent tip: One of the best games for noisy little boys to play is Ninjas. They sneak around the house as quietly as possible {which is to say that you have to pretend to ignore them since their “sneaking” is so obvious}, and as long as you don’t glance their direction, you and your spouse can hold an adult conversation without interruption!)

We celebrated Valentine’s Day all week. Tuesday was craft day at the park where the boys decorated valentine boxes and exchanged valentines with their friends. Friday, I dressed Brynn in her valentine tutu so we could surprise Stephen at his office with his gifts. Feb4008(Even mini ballerinas sometimes don’t like to have their picture taken.)Feb5001Feb4007Instead, Cooper decided to go all out for the holiday and contract pink eye. So festive!

Silas got his first WarHeads candy, and it was fun to watch his reaction.Feb4009YouTube Preview Image

Sunday afternoon we loaded up for a family outing at nearby Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Upon seeing the desert hills, Silas excitedly said, “I’ve always wanted to walk up a mountain.” He picked a mountain, and we climbed it. Feb4011Even Cooper made it all the way to the top by himself—though he did need some carrying on the way back to the car.Feb4010Feb4014“Mount Silas” (as we named it) was over 1,200 feet in elevation, which meant we climbed up about 400 feet. Feb4016I’m proud of our hiking crew!2016-02-14 14.56.02aFeb4013

Stephen and I rewarded ourselves with Dutch Brothers iced coffees.

Another Valentine’s Day with the person I love most!

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Brynn on the Big Screen

This has been a big month for Baby Girl. Feb2001She turned 8 months this past Thursday and can now sit unsupported, pull herself from lying down into a sitting position, do the army crawl, and even get up on all fours. Feb2003She’s exercising her voice through babbling and making the motor boat sound. Brynn sometimes sings herself to sleep or sings as she rides in the stroller—cuteness overload! I think I feel two teeth starting to make their entrance on her lower jaw, but it’s still pretty early to tell.

When Brynn is happy, she kicks her feet for all she’s worth. You can see her kicks and hear her motor boat impression in this clip. YouTube Preview Image

She’ll raise her hands and kick her feet like crazy when she’s on her belly and sees something or someone she wants. I’ll miss it when she outgrows that move.YouTube Preview Image

Cooper wanted to have his picture taken with little sister, and he was too cute as he read this book to her. Feb2002YouTube Preview Image

Videos help me remember their voices and expressions so much better than pictures, but it’s hard to capture the best moments without ruining them.

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New Beginnings

January is my favorite desert month. The holiday busyness is over, my home is clean and simpler with the seasonal decorations put away in the garage, the weather is sunny and silent—which makes me smile inside, the new year has begun with whispers of goals to be met, and my mood is both reflective and hopeful at the start of a new year.

At least that’s how Januarys have felt in the past.

But in 2016…January is a different story.

This would be a good time to mention that we’re planning to move to Portland, Oregon this spring. Our upcoming move has been planned for a while, and we’ve told our family and friends our intentions, but now our move date is approaching and things are starting to get real.Jan1007

Our project this month was to paint the interior of our house. I began by gathering paint samples, and after a patchwork of colors was painted on the wall in almost every room, we chose Churchill Hotel Ecru as our neutral. Jan1001Our home was built in 2006, and most of the rooms hadn’t been painted in those ten years. Believe me, white flat builder-grade paint shows every scuff mark and dirty fingerprint.Jan1005

As of now, the guest room, hall bathroom, front room, and entryway are completely finished. The kitchen and family room have just a few touch-ups left, and then we’re on to the master bath and bedroom and the hallway. Jan1006The front room has been the worst so far. The people who lived here before us had painted the walls and the ceiling a dark tan, so it took primer and several coats of paint before we were satisfied.Jan1002Jan1003My days have been filled with moving furniture, clearing out clutter and unwanted toys, puttying and sanding holes in the walls, taping, painting, and washing out paint brushes and rollers. The kids are at a great stage now where Brynn can’t really get into the paint supplies, and Silas and Cooper know enough not to bother all the paint gear.

Jan1008

Add to that, the search for a school for Silas’s kindergarten, and it’s been kind of an overwhelming month!

We’ve also been busy transitioning away from our responsibilities at Crossroad. Reminiscent of prepping for a substitute teacher, it’s often more work to teach your job to someone else, but we’re thankful for the opportunity to have served Christ at Crossroad.

I guess I should also explain the exciting news surrounding why we’re moving. For the past five years, Stephen has been employed by GreenLoop IT Solutions. It’s been a wonderful fit for him and a great company to work for. Their main office is in Phoenix, and a few years ago, they opened a branch office in Bend, Oregon. Now Stephen will be opening another branch office in Portland. It’s a great opportunity for him and for us. He’s worked his way up to Head of Engineering, and I’m very proud of his diligent and capable hard work.

We are sad to leave our dear friends here in Phoenix, and we will miss them! But we are also excited for this new beginning (and we can’t wait to see some green again).

Our move out here to Arizona was stretching, to say the least, and we learned to walk by faith. However, our move to Oregon will be its own kind of stretching as we move with babies in tow for the first time, as Silas starts school in August, and as we search for a church home in Portland. Hang on for a roller coaster ride!

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Love x 5

{My friend Jen Barnes took these family photos for us in Verrado. Jen is a talented photographer, and I’m happy she did such a beautiful job for us!}

Our family of five.Jan7001Jan6006Jan5022Jan5020Our three treasures.Jan5010Jan5008My love.Jan5025

My baby girl.Jan5015Jan5017a

Brynn and her brothers. These boys love her so much.Jan5004Jan5009Jan5026Jan5027Jan5028Jan5029

God’s grace.Jan5001

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A Moody New Year’s

Happy 2016! Jan4012We rang in the New Year, little-kid-style—and it was a very stressful New Year’s. Mommy and Daddy were irritable and the little guys were hyper. Don’t let these pictures deceive you—we were moody Moodys, and it was all we could do to make it to 8:30pm!Jan4003Jan4008

The boys helped me filled yellow balloons with confetti, and I strung them up above the doorway. We popped one every 15 minutes until “the countdown.” Jan4002Instead of a usual meal, we ate finger foods for supper. Our after-dinner entertainment was making our own butter. I had bought a carton of heavy whipping cream, and we took turns shaking it.Jan4004Jan4005 Finally, we put the cream in the food processor and added some kosher salt for a tasty result.Jan4009Jan4007Jan4006

Thanks to the Netflix countdown, we could celebrate 2016 a few hours early. Our three little party animals loved the noisemakers, but were so fascinated by the countdown that they didn’t quite understand they should make lots of noise once it ended. Jan4011Jan4010To celebrate 2016, we popped the remaining confetti balloons, (we’ll be finding confetti for weeks!) and then drank sparkling cider with Gummi Bears and Sour Patch Kids mixed in. We sang Auld Lang Syne and All Glory Be to Christ, which shares the same melody—a song perfectly fitting for the beginning of a new year.YouTube Preview ImageJan4013

On New Year’s Day we took the kids to Food Truck Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex where we enjoyed a progressive dinner, eating a little something from the various food trucks that caught our attention. Jan4015Jan4016And to top it all off, we ended our holiday at a Burger King to let the boys get out some wiggles in the play place.Jan4018

Nothing says New Year’s-with-three-kids-in-tow like a Burger King play place. Jan4017

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