Monday, December 3, 2012

Duck, Duck, DUCK!!

I realized my blog has been reflecting my "Debbie Downer" mood lately and decided it was time to fix that!

I also realized that it's been far too long since I posted about our sweet little Ethan.

Our little man has really been blooming lately. His personality and vocabulary are growing by leaps and bounds. Ethan is quite funny (who knew) and more than anything, he loves to follow and mimic his big sister in anything she is doing.

We noticed that he will watch Ellie intently and try to do exactly what she's doing. He especially loves to try and play the same games Ellie does.

Recently when I was gone from the house one morning, Caleb tried playing Duck, Duck, Goose with the kids, fully expecting Ethan to not understand and just sit there.

To our surprise, Ethan understood the game (for the most part) and had to join in on the fun. He would go around patting our heads saying "Duck, Duck, DUCK!" and then take off running. The BEST part is when he came back to the circle to sit. At full steam and in mid-air he'd throw himself on the ground. I've said this many times before, but he is SUCH a BOY!

Caleb's parents were over this weekend and we decided to capture Ethan playing this game in action. He's too funny! Check it out:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Where Are You Christmas?

I've always loved Faith Hill... and Christmas.

But when I heard Faith's song "Where Are You Christmas?" for the first time (watching The Grinch) I thought to myself, what a depressing song during the Christmas season. It didn't make any sense to me why anyone would write a song like that and associate it with Christmas.

And then this year hit, and I have a whole new perspective on that song and mostly how the holidays can be so hard for some people. When I was reading the lyrics to the song I thought, this, THIS is how I'm feeling right now.

My family has been talking a lot about how we're all in this slump, or fog, or whatever seems to fit. Between losing Grandma, missing her terribly especially with this being our first holiday season without her, and now with Dad's recent cancer diagnosis, getting in the "Christmas spirit" is just taking some extra work this year. I'm having a hard time feeling that "magic in the air" feeling that I usually feel this time of year. 

 Even our 3 year old Elliana has randomly made comments like "Christmas is going to be really hard this year without GG."

Forgive me. The last thing I want to be is Debbie Downer or the Grinch. I have children and I'm determined to make this Christmas special for them. I know life has to go on and it will. This year I will find joy in the bright smiles of my kids, in their warm embraces, in the arms of my husband and the company of my many loved ones that are still here sharing life and their love with me.

I know as well as anyone what Christmas is all about, about celebrating Christ coming as a baby and coming to be God with us. So that is what's getting me through when I'm crying or down. God came to be with us then and he's with us today. He's with us and he knows how we're hurting and for me, that's how Christmas has a whole new meaning this year. In the midst of my pain, I will come and adore him because he came to die so that some day, we will be with him in glory and never have to feel pain again. Oh come oh come Emmanuel!

I leave you with the lyrics to "Where Are You Christmas?"
Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our God Is Greater

Again, I apologize because this will be old news to anyone that follows my sisters on social media. This is a big deal though, and I couldn't not put my own thoughts into words on my own blog.

I wish I had a chance to blog when my feelings were more raw and true, but we've had one of the craziest weeks and this is the first time I've had a chance to sit down and blog.

Our family got bad news on Monday. I mean heartbreaking, world shattering news (our world anyway).

Remember, 2012 has not been kind to my family or to many of the loved ones around me. There have been deaths, miscarriages, fires, divorces, I could go on and on. Of course the most earth shattering and heart breaking event to effect my family was the loss of my Grandma Nancy after being diagnosed with cancer only 30 days prior.

We hoped and prayed the worst of heartaches were over. We were wrong.

Monday, after months of postponed and rescheduled appointments and biopsies, we finally got news about my dad's health. News we didn't want to hear and certainly didn't expect. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I can't even tell you how surreal it is to say that my dad has cancer.


It's one of those words that you always shake your head to and apologize to whoever it is you may be talking to going through the journey. You just never think it will effect you so closely. Not one of your loved ones, not one of your parents.


You would think we would have learned that lesson from losing Grandma this past summer. Unfortunately, that word has come back to put us on our knees once again.

I made plans to catch up with an old childhood friend for Tuesday morning long before I remembered that we would get the results to Dad's biopsy on Monday. Tuesday morning I got a message from this friend saying "I just heard the news. I'm so sorry. Do you still want to meet today?" I assured this friend that I did still want to meet with her. Especially since she knows me, she knows my dad, and she is a woman of strong faith and she believes strongly in the power of prayer. This is a friend that called me to pray with me the day she heard of our first miscarriage. She prayed one of the most amazing prayers and I instantly felt better after praying with her.

For whatever reason, this friend and I have grown somewhat apart over the past few years. Not for any good reason other than life has gotten crazy with both of us raising our little ones. But we ran into each other on Halloween night and made plans to reconnect over lunch, and soon.

I believe that God had us schedule this lunch/playdate for the day after the news for a reason. She shared with me that her mom had gotten a tumor a little over a year ago and how hard that time was for her as she waited for test results and then as she waited to hear treatment options and eventually helping her mom during surgery and recovery from surgery. She shared with me that she understands all of the emotions that come with news like this. But then she said something that really stuck with me.

She said "Don't give the word cancer too much power. Don't let it scare you. Our God is greater than that word." I took these words to heart and I believe they are so true.

I've spent the last several days processing this info and going back and forth from being okay to not okay. I go from telling myself, this is fine, Dad will be fine. He will fight this with God's help and he will be just fine. But then, honestly, I do have my moments of crying, of telling God that I can't go through it again. That I can't lose Dad the way we lost Grandma.

There is a silver lining in all of this. The good news, we caught the cancer early. We don't know exactly what the plans of treatment are for Dad yet, but we know we'll be fighting right alongside him. He has a large number of family and friends that love him and are praying for him to be fully healed from this. In the end, God is the great physician and he is greater than ANYTHING! All we can do is lean on his word and his faithfulness, pray, pray, PRAY and believe he will carry us through this, one way or another.

I love you Dad!
 
P.S. Thanks once again to my incredibly talented sister Jenn for designing another beautiful Christmas design for me. My blog was in need of a new look and I LOVE this design! If you're interedted in putting some holiday cheer on your blog, check out Munchkin Land Designs.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Journey Of Faith

I hate the waiting game. I hate wondering if news is going to be good or bad. I mostly hate being inside my head, going back and forth convincing myself that the news is either good or bad based on how I'm feeling at the time.

It's moments like this that I know my faith always has room to grow. I believe that God IS sovereign, and in the end, he deserves praise and glory no matter what journey he decides to take us on, whether we're going through a valley or standing on top of the highest mountain.


I'm always awed by the fact that Job was able to say "“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) after he had lost everything. I long to have that kind of faith

I'm sure by now you're thinking, what the heck does any of this have to do with Christine? Well, I'll just come out with it. Almost 3 weeks ago I got a positive pregnancy test! Yes, Caleb and I were trying, but I was not on clomid (fertility drugs) like I had been when we were trying to get pregnant before. We had only been trying for 3-4 months and I had an appointment at the end of October to ask my Dr. if I should get back on clomid. Due to the fact that this happened so fast and without drugs, I was shocked, and overjoyed! When I sit back and think about how far we've come from the day I was diagnosed with PCOS almost 10 years ago, I am in awe of how God has moved in our lives to have a family.

I'll never forget what my father-in-law said to me that night when we told him and my mother-in-law about the pregnancy. He put his arm around me and said "Welcome to another journey of faith." At the time, I thought that was an odd response to a pregnancy announcement, but in the following days and weeks I came to understand exactly what he was saying.

Getting pregnant and raising kids is a constant journey of faith. From the moment you see those first two lines telling you that you're carrying life inside of you, you have to trust and lean on God. Trust that he'll carry you and your baby through the first days, weeks, and months of pregnancy. Trust that he will give you a healthy baby and delivery. Trust that that baby will grow to be a healthy child. Trust that he will protect that child from the evils and dangers of this world.

I've lost 2 babies before (I'm thankful that if it had to happen, it happened really early in my pregnancy). Because of this, the first days, weeks and trimester are SO hard for me. It's a constant battle in my mind convincing myself that everything is or is not okay. I dry myself (and my closest friends and family) CRAZY! I feel like God has taught me a very valuable lesson this time around, and I have a whole new peace.

Have you seen Courageous? If you haven't, it's a very moving movie, you should check it out. I kind of stole one of the themes from that movie when I was thinking about the what ifs with this pregnancy.

I have to be thankful for every day that there is life. Every day that my family is together and healthy. I'm thankful that I have 2 healthy kids and that today, I have a baby growing inside of me. :) I have to believe in faith that God knows what's best for me, for Caleb, for my children and all of my loved ones.

Up to this point, we've gotten great news! We had an ultrasound yesterday and we got to see one beautiful, beating heart! We are so excited and thankful! I am a little over 6 weeks pregnant and am due July 9th. We hope and pray that God will carry this baby full term and that we'll welcome another little brother or sister to the family for Elliana and Ethan this summer.

Since we got such a great report from the Dr. and ultrasound yesterday, my Dr. doesn't need to see me again for another 4-5 weeks. I'm not used to this. I know I've been spoiled with my past pregnancies, but I'm used to having ultrasounds every 2 weeks throughout the first trimester. Caleb says this is going to be good for me, to not have that constant reassurance that everything is okay, to just pray and trust that God is taking care of our baby. I hate to admit it, but I know he's right.
I don't know what the future holds, but I trust God and his sovereignty. I have peace knowing that he's on this journey of faith with us. I'm thankful that he's given us another life to trust to him. Praise God!

I just want to add, that I have very dear friends and family that are on their own journey of infertility. They don't know yet how their story ends. Caleb and I have committed to pray for them daily. If you think of it, please pray for them. Women struggling with infertility has always been near to my heart.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dorothy and Elmo, Halloween 2012

Yesterday was a fun and exhausting day!

I'm finding that the more holidays I celebrate with little ones, the more I find myself completely wiped out at the end of the day. When you see the joy on your kid's faces, it makes every penny spent and minute planning worth it!

This year the weather was beautiful and unusually warm. Typically a Halloween in Colorado means snow and bundling the kids up so much that their costumes are covered up by coats and hats. Due to the nice weather, we got some fun outdoor shots.

Ethan's costume was a no brainer this year. Over recent weeks he has become obsessed with Elmo. I mean OBSESSED! He requests to watch ONLY Elmo movies, anytime he finds an Elmo book he'll bring it to me or Caleb and plop down on our laps to read it to him, and he can spot the smallest Elmo face on anything-even in a large, crowded store. When he spots Elmo, his face instantly lights up and he points exclaiming "Elmo!" So, naturally, Ethan HAD to be Elmo this year.

Once his costume came in the mail, he carried it around all week hugging it like a stuffed animal. When he was upset he would find his Elmo costume and snuggle it. Too funny.

It's really hard to get a good photo of your 19 month old son in constant motion. This was the best photo of Ethan I got only because Caleb was holding him. Ha!


Then there was Elliana's costume. I kind of laughed to myself when I realized that Elmo's pet fish is named Dorothy. Ellie was not Dorothy the fish. She was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Ellie has only seen the movie once or twice so I was surprised when she got attached to the idea of being Dorothy. I even tried to make other suggestions, but once she heard the idea of being Dorothy, she did not want to be anything else. I think she was most excited for me to braid her hair, something I don't do often. :)


I wanted so badly to get a good sibling shot of Ellie and Ethan next to each other, but no such luck. Again, Ethan's need to never stop moving didn't help.

This was the best one I got of my 2 kiddos:


After getting dressed up in the afternoon, we packed up the kids and headed to the Fall Festival at a nearby large church. This is the church that Caleb's school is attached to. We'd never been to the festival before and we heard it was quite the party for little ones.

We asked Jon and Jenn to join us with their 4 littles and I'm SO glad they did! We got some great cousin shots outside before heading in.

Here's the 4 oldest cousins. Aren't they adorable?!? We have Devyn as a 50's girl, Ellie as Dorothy, Hudson as a cowboy and Reagan as Tinkerbell. Ethan and Ashlynn weren't in the mood to take pictures.


Once we got inside the festival, we were amazed at how large and crowded it was! I swear, the church must have rented out every bounce castle and inflatable slide within 30 miles! There was SO much for the 4 older cousins to do that it was hard to decide where to start.

Unfortunately, these 2 little ones were just a bit too young to enjoy much of the activities. :( At least they had each other. :)

 

After spending an overwhelming hour at the festival, we went back to our house to host dinner for my parents, Caleb's parents, and Jeremy and Courtney. Jon and Jenn went home to have dinner and Trick or Treat with their neighbors, kind of a tradition. At our house we enjoyed 2 different kids of hot soup, rolls, and apple dumplings for dessert. Yum yum!

Of course Jeremy and Courtney were instructed to bring their dog Willow to play Toto to complete Ellie's costume. Ever since they got Willow, I've been saying she would make the perfect Toto and I finally had the chance to prove it. ;)


During dinner we got a few Trick or Treaters. We've never been home on Halloween before (we've always been with Jon and Jenn at their house) and it was really fun to see how many Trick or Treaters we got. We didn't expect very many since we're always saying we live in an old neighborhood and don't see very many kids around. To our surprise, we had quite a few.


After dinner we quickly took the kids in the wagon to Trick or Treat at just a few homes. We had a great time but it got pretty late quickly and after about 10 homes went back home to put the kids to bed.

I swear, the holidays just become more and more fun every year with our two sweet babes to keep us smiling and seeing life through their eyes.

I hope you had a fun and safe Halloween too!






Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

In case you haven't noticed, I've been pretty much absent from this blog of mine lately.

Nothing incredibly great or terribly bad has been going on-life's just been kind of ho-hum. I'm not sure if I'm feeling really blah because I'm still grieving the loss of my Grandma Nancy, or if I'm just waiting for something new to happen.

This past week has been especially hard. On Thursday night, Ellie and Ethan came down with high fevers (101 and 102) and went to bed early. Then Friday morning we discovered they had croup.

I was SO disappointed! Not only because this meant a trip to the Dr. for some meds/steroid injections, but I also knew it meant spending the next several days cooped up at home, feeling tired, sick, and well, grumpy.

My disappointment increased when I realized it meant missing out on the event I was REALLY looking forward to---cousin night! I know the word cousin means many things to other people, but my cousins, my sisters and I are tight. We've always been more like siblings and grew up having "cousin nights" often. A few times at Grandma Nancy's house even.

This was the first cousin night we would have since losing Grandma, and we were determined to make it fun. We had planned a night of pumpkin carving, making pizza and just having a good time.

I mean, look at all the fun we missed!


But Ellie and Ethan had croup. Caleb was with the volleyball team. And after a long week already, I would be spending the next several days nursing my babies back to health.

Don't hear me wrong. I love my babies more than anything. And I've even found some joy in having to slow life down over the last few days. We've watched movies, snuggled, read books, colored and rested a lot. And we've gotten plenty of quality time with one another. :)

Now it's Tuesday. 6 days later and I still can't take Ellie and Ethan anywhere we can get others sick. The fevers are gone and I think we're on the mend, but I am going crazy-with a capitol C! SO ready to get back to the land of the living. :)

 
 I want to see my babes wear these great big smiles again:

 
 
And I'm ready to see them playing dress up, running around and playing outside.
 

Ellie cracks me up with her love for hats.
 

That being said, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. Caleb has fall break next week and we plan on spending some time at the beautiful family cabin in the mountains near us. Then we're taking the kids to a big fall festival on Halloween and hosting dinner for family at our house. We plan on having dinner with some friends next week too.

The beginning of fall break also marks the beginning of playoff time for Caleb's volleyball season! WOOHOO! I really do enjoy watching and being a part of Caleb's volleyball team, but I don't enjoy the many nights he's away at games or tournaments. The beginning of playoff time marks the end of Christine being a single parent for many fall nights. ;)


Then once volleyball is done, the holiday season will be staring me in the face!

Yes, the holidays this year will be very bittersweet as they will be the first we celebrate without Grandma, but I will still look forward to being with family, having Caleb off and eating delicious food.

 
 
Writing this post lifted my spirits already. I think we're over the worst.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who's Who?

When I was younger (and thinner) I was often told that I looked like Jennifer Garner. I even have this vivid memory of walking into a car parts store and the man at the counter thought I looked so much like Jennifer Garner that he asked if he could call me Miss Garner while he helped me. Yeah, I thought it was weird too, but I humored him and played along.
 
 
I think I would look much more like her if I was 8 inches taller (I'm just shy of 5 feet tall) and lost about 10 pounds. ;) Man, I would love to have her body!

I haven't heard that I look like her in recent years, except for when we were both pregnant at the same time (her 2nd child, my first).


Due to the fact that my kids keep me busy and the fact we don't have cable anymore, I hardly ever keep up with celebrity news. I think I heard that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck had a third child this year, but that was the most I knew.

Last week I got this text from my sister Courtney, "So you know how some people think you look like Jennifer Garner? I think her son looks like Ethan" and she attached this picture:


The moment I saw the picture I saw the resemblance! It was a little creepy to me how much her son Samuel looks like my son Ethan. Especially at the same age.

 
I think Samuel Affleck was about 4 months in the picture above, so I went and found pictures of my Ethan at around 4 months old. I had a little too much fun cropping pictures and matching them up. I wanted to make a little game of it. I put the pictures of both my son and of Samuel Affleck in this collage. Do you see the resemblance? Who's who?


 




 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

This is one of those "I have a bunch of random thoughts about nothing posts". Don't say I didn't warn you. :-)

Caleb and I were looking at our bed a few weeks ago and were admiring loathing it. We had the same duvet cover and sheets that we got when we were married 7 years ago and it was definitely time for a new set. One afternoon last week the new duvet set and pillows arrived and Ellie helped me set it up and surprise Caleb when he got home. We're loving the new look!

 

I realized after I put up these photos of the bed that I've done a very poor job of documenting the many, many, many home improvement projects we've done since moving into our house 4 years ago. There are so many I could show but I'm afraid I don't have pictures for all of them. My goal is to do a better job of taking before and after pictures from here on out.

 
The weather has been so beautiful around here. I just love being outside in the fall when it starts to cool down. Even just taking a walk to look at the gorgeous colors in the trees makes me happy. :)

Since the weather has been so great, the kids and I have taken many trips to the park in the afternoons. I'm enjoying these two so much lately my heart could burst. I love spending time with them and I mostly love watching the two of them interact. Sure they have little sibling spats every once in a while, but for the most part they are best of friends and truly enjoy each other.


 

I had a sudden realization the other day that I am WAY past the half way mark between Ellie's birth and starting school. I'm now less than two years away from her starting kindergarten. Along with that came the realization that once that time comes, my every day, all day time with Elliana is over. Be still my heart-I may have to go cry now.

 
It's hard to believe, but our sweet baby Ethan will be turning 18 months old this week. His vocabulary is really taking off right now. He tries to repeat every word we say. Although probably only 50% of his words come out crystal clear, we know he understands us and he definitely has improved in communicating with us. Here's just a small list of words he says all of the time; Ellie, Mama, Mommy, Dada, Daddy, Elmo, Bobo, Papa, Nana, Abby, Night-Night, Done, More, and Ball. He loves when we ask him about sounds that animals make and we love asking him to show us where his nose, mouth, eyes, ears, hands, feet and hair is. He's gotten really good at this game. I hope to get this on camera soon.

Both Ethan and Elliana have grown like weeds this year. I had Ellie try on some of her fall/winter clothes from last year and although everything fits the same around her waist, all of her pants are very short on her. I'll be curious to see how Ethan has grown at his 18 month check up this month.

Ebay and I have a love/hate relationship. Most of the items I buy for my kids on Ebay end up being exactly what I hoped for. Recently I tried buying some clothes on Ebay to save some money and with the exception of 1 shirt and the earrings that I bought, everything else turned out to be a big fat fail. Turns out that even if you know your exact size, it's not enough. I finally gave in to the fact that an adult's body is much harder to dress than a child's. From now on, I must try clothes on before I buy them. Seems obvious to me. Shoot.

 
My side of the family rarely NEVER goes on vacation. We are currently trying really hard to schedule a vacation for some time next year (2013). We have 10 adults and 6 kids in the family. 5 of those adults are opinionated, emotional women. It's already been an adventure trying to plan and schedule a vacation.  I'm holding on to the hope that a vacation will happen and we WILL all enjoy it. ;) It could happen... right?
 

I'm going on a women's retreat with the ladies from our new church this coming weekend. While I'm ecstatic to be spending another weekend in our beautiful Colorado mountains in the fall (I've been in the mountains 3 out of the last 4 weekends), I don't know anyone really well yet. I decided that if I was ever going to make new friends that this is as good a time as any.

 


I'm also singing on the worship team for the first time next weekend. There's nothing like jumping in with both feet. I'm nervous, but I'm SO excited to have the opportunity to sing again. It's been too long.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, ours is off to a good start. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ellie's Growin' Up

When I look back at pictures of our beautiful little Elliana when I first started this blog, I almost can't believe she's the same person.

She still has a larger than life personality, a mousy voice, a strong will, a love for people and life and a smile that lights up any room. But in many ways she is not the same person, and she's definitely no longer a toddler. She is a little girl, through and through.

The closer to age 4 that Ellie gets, the easier she gets. Although she's like any other 3 year old that cries, whines and throws fits when they don't get their way, those moments are becoming less and less for us. Ellie is finally understanding the idea of discipline; why we discipline and what actions require discipline. She also now understands that she only gets rewards for good behavior.

Don't hear me wrong, I never wanted to change the person that God made Ellie to be. I love her for who she is-strong will and all. I just always prayed that God would use her strong will for good, and today that is still my prayer.

I'm loving the things I'm seeing in our Ellie. She is compassionate and she has a big heart for others. She has a way of bringing a smile to almost anyone. She loves Jesus and isn't afraid to talk about Jesus to anyone-Christian or not. I'm so proud of her and I'm excited to see how God will use her in the future.

Here's a few little day to day stories of what makes Ellie so fun and grown up lately.

When Elliana was a baby and toddler, she wasn't very good at entertaining herself or sitting still for anything. Now she loves to color, do puzzles, or watch a movie in her room all by herself. Or, she loves to play with Ethan, chase him around and mother him. :)

She LOVES to help out with any household chores Caleb or I need to do. She hangs out with Caleb while he mows the lawn, she tries to help me fold laundry, and she loves to help me cook or bake. Anytime I go to the kitchen to start whatever I'm making, she pulls up a chair and asks how she can help!
 

Elliana has her own sense of style now, and most mornings she wants to pick out her outfits by herself. To my surprise, I often times love what she's chosen to wear. That girl has better style than I do. ;)
 
 
I had been talking about organizing Ellie and Ethan's clothes. I wanted to box up the shoes and clothes that don't fit anymore, and go through some used clothing we'd been given and put the next size up in ther drawers and closets. I was busy cleaning the kitchen when Ellie asked me what shoes don't fit her anymore. I was preoccupied and didn't know why she was asking so I just casually listed a few pairs of shoes that don't fit her anymore. The next thing I knew, Ellie came into the kitchen and showed me that she had boxed up the every exact pair of shoes that I was going to box up. I was amazed!

Every so often, Ellie acts like she's older than she is. I wouldn't call this a good or a bad thing, but often it makes me laugh.

This past weekend I was driving with my kids and my niece Devyn to her family cabin. I had given both girls some grapes when we picked Devyn up. After a while Devyn asked for some more grapes. Then Ellie piped up with "Oh honey, I'm SO sorry but I ate all of them." Yep, Devyn is 4 years Ellie's senior and Ellie called her honey.

Later in the car, Devyn said she felt carsick and needed to vomit. I was so proud of Devyn as she waited until I was able to pull over (it took a few minutes) to hop out of the car and do her business. After we were back on our way Ellie kept asking Devyn if she was okay, if she needed anything, and to be sure and let us know if she needed to throw up again. :)

Elliana likes to "parent" Ethan too. She calls him "Dear" and "Sweetheart" and tries to care for him or get us when she can't help him. It's adorable and hilarious at the same time. She'll often say "Oh Ethan, what are we going to do with you?!" Ha ha.

These days Ellie likes to count and do simple crafts. She talks all the time about turning 5 and starting school some day. She likes to talk about the things she'll be able to do when she's 5, like getting her ears pierced and finally being free of a carseat.

I've had a few people talk to me about how ready Ellie is for preschool. Although I know this is true, and that she would love preschool, I'm just not ready to say goodbye to these toddler days yet. To have my Ellie gone for a good chunk of every day. As it is, she's already growing up too fast.
 

 
And don't think I'm neglecting this adorable face, I'll be doing a post on him soon. :)



Sunday, September 9, 2012

The End Of An Era

I've been feeling nostalgic lately. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with losing my Grandma Nancy. I've been thinking about all of the ways life is going to be different from here on out. Then it dawned on me. A LOT is going to be different this year, especially the holidays, and it doesn't all have to do with the fact that Grandma is missing from the picture.


This is the first year our family will be celebrating the holidays in separate churches.

 
Up until this past year, our whole family (my sisters, their husbands and families, my parents, my in-laws and Grandma Nancy) was still attending the church we fell in love with 13 years ago. It was the church where all four of us sisters met our now husbands, and it was the church that Caleb literally grew up in.

 
Over the past year, one by one, each sister and their families felt that God was leading them to find a new church. Caleb and I had been feeling that tug for much longer than just this past year and with excitement and fear, joy and sadness, we began the search for a new church this past spring.

Each family left for several reasons, some the same, some different. The biggest reason was distance. We all live all over Northern Colorado, and we all felt that God was leading us to find a church closer to where we each now live. Closer to our communities.

Let me be clear in saying that none of us left our other church in anger or frustration. We still love the church and the people we left dearly and we pray that it thrives.

That being said, the change has been good for all of us. We're all very much enjoying our new churches, and getting settled in.

But, the change for me is very bittersweet. People will no longer meet or know me as one of "the Sanchez sisters" and for Caleb and I we will know longer be known as Duncan and Laney's son and daughter-in-law. On the one hand, it's exciting for people to meet us as Caleb and Christine with our two littles, but on the other hand the truth stares me in the face. We're really grown up now. We're really our own family unit. Of course this is good and the way God intended it to be, but I had a good childhood and I am still proud to this day to be a Sanchez sister and a part of Caleb's family.



I already miss watching the cousins run around with each other, or watching Ellie run up to her grandparents when the service was over. I miss Grandma Nancy asking if we could do lunch after church every Sunday.

Now, as I look ahead to this fall and the Holiday season ahead of me, I know I'm going to miss so much more. I'm still feeling excitement and fear, and joy and sadness.

I will miss going to the Women's Retreat that my 4 sisters, my mom and I went to early in the fall. I will miss the annual Turkey Dinner that the church put on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I will miss sitting with Grandma at the table. Most of all, I will miss being together, in the same church all dressed up on Christmas Eve.

I know we are all where God wants us to be, and that this change is good. Still, it's hard not to note that this is the end of a beloved era.




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our 3 Day Weekend - A Perfect Beginning to Autumn

We had a wonderful 3 day weekend. We were finally able to get away at the family cabin in the mountains. I'm not sure what it is about being in the Colorado mountains, but being there always brings the peace, rest and relaxation that I need.

This was a big weekend for us and the cabin. Our family got to break in the "new" cabin. Confused? I'll explain.

When Caleb's parents built the cabin 3 short years ago, they never dreamed their family would grow as quickly as it did. In 5 years they gained 5 grandchildren and another daughter-in-law. Because of the size of their expanding family, it became nearly impossible for the entire family to all stay at the cabin at the same time. When they built the cabin, they built it with the hopes that the whole family would make memories there together, for long weekends and holidays.

So, they decided this past year that the cabin had to be expanded in order to accomadate everyone. That's 8 adults (4 couples) and 5 kids (all ages 5 and under) to be exact. So, over this past summer the cabin was under construction as it was expanded to 4 bedrooms (2 large bedrooms for the couples with kids) an extra bathroom, and a larger living room. Now we can all easily fit in the cabin and enjoy it for a lengthy stay - even in colder weather. :)

After arriving and oohing and aahing at the addition, we helped set up furniture and got a little settled in. In the evening we made a campfire at their firepit and enjoyed burgers, hot dogs and smores.

 

We slept wonderfully Satuday night. It may have been the best night of sleep I've had in months! Then Sunday the kids, Laney (my mother-in-law) and I spent the day hiking, walking, splashing at the nearby lake and playing in and around the cabin while Caleb helped his Dad finish staining the outside. After dinner we headed home. It was a wonderful time and just what we all needed.

 



We wanted to be home Monday because our small little town makes a big deal out of Labor Day weekend. They put on a Harvest Festival that includes many fun activities. We really wanted to see the Labor Day Parade and go to the fair where they have kids rides, face painting, a petting zoo, booths and food.

Of course I always have big dreams about what days like this will look like and most of the time reality falls a bit short. I forget how young my kids are and that they just don't have the ability to last as long at these things as I would hope. ;)

We only made it halfway through the hour and a half parade. Thankfully, the parade was very close to our house (within walking distance) and the 45 minutes that we were there, we all had a wonderful time. The kids loved it! I think their favorite part was jumping out of the crowd to catch candy that was being thrown out to the kids.

After we cut the parade short we headed back home to rest up a bit and cool off from the heat.

 

 
The calendar may say that Fall is coming, but unfortunately the weather doesn't agree. I'm so ready for Fall weather. We still had 90 degree days this past week.

Anywhoo, after a brief rest we headed to the fair. Ellie got to ride on the swing ride (too bad the rides cost a LOT more than I had remembered)
 
...and Ellie and Ethan had fun petting the pets in the petting zoo.

 
After only an hour at the fair the kids were hot and exhausted so we all headed home for some lunch and a little nap and rest time. We went back for an hour in the afternoon and Ellie got to ride just a few more rides.
 
 

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend. It was just the R&R that we needed and I got to spend some quality time with my adorable, beautiful babes and my handsome hubby.


Now bring on the cooler weather and some more Fall fun!



 

 

 

 

 

About Me

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I am a daughter of the King. Saved by grace. Follower of Christ. I love my God and I believe that he is faithful and true to his word! I'm still figuring out and trying to follow his plan for my life. I am a wife to my best friend Caleb, a mother to my miracle babies (they are my greatest joy and challenge), a sister and best friend to 3 passionate women, and a daughter to 2 amazing parents that continue to teach me what it is to be real and faithful to God and his word. I am lucky to get to be a stay at home Mom (thanks to God's provision). I love music, singing, coffee, cooking, baking, traveling, our beautiful state of Colorado, and mostly being with the family and friends that I love!

Husband, Caleb

Husband, Caleb
Caleb is an amazing husband and father. He is always so good to me. He is my best friend. He is the romantic one. We love to laugh and spend time together. We've been married for 7 years and I just love that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Our 1st Miracle

Our 1st Miracle
Elliana Faith... God blessed us with our first miracle little girl in December 2008. She is sweet, smart, spunky, funny, strong willed, precocious, extremely outgoing, vocal and so full of life! She brings us so much joy.

Our 2nd Miracle

Our 2nd Miracle
Ethan James,.. God blessed us with our little boy in March 2011. Ethan was a bit of a surprise and an even bigger miraclle. Ethan is ALL BOY! He is very active, into sports and running around. He is also sweet, introverted, affectionate, and laid back. These days he often has us laughing, he's starting to show a little bit of "clown" in him. He makes our hearts happy too. :)

Our 3rd Miracle

Our 3rd Miracle
Emsley Jeannette... Our surprise baby girl was born on June 11th, 2013 and came into the world 4 weeks early. Her first 2 weeks of life were spent in the NICU, but due to God's hands and the prayers of many people, she grew quickly and came home to join our family! She is an easy, sweet baby and we are enjoying getting to know her personality.

Sisters

Sisters
We fight one day and then the next day we're fine. We're always loud and crazy when we get together. We're very passionate. We've been through it all together, lots of ups and downs. We're eachother's biggest supporters.

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