Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Lot To Look Forward To

Caleb and I love to travel, but this is the longest we've gone without a vacation since we were married. I know it sounds spoiled since not many people get to travel as much as they want to, and with 3 kids and living on a teacher's salary, I feel very blessed.

Other than a one night get away, our last vacation was almost 2 years ago when we went to San Diego with Caleb's family. Since then I got pregnant and our 3rd baby came into the world 4 weeks early. Juggling a preemie baby, Ellie's new preschool schedule, Caleb's volleyball schedule and our wild 2 year old boy left no time for vacations.

But now there are so many vacations up ahead (some of them are small, long weekend get-aways) that I can't stop thinking about all of the places I'll get to cross off of  my bucket list.

First up is a long weekend escape to Austin to see this beautiful family. We'll leave on Valentine's Day and come back on President's Day.



Joe is Caleb's best friend and I adore Joe's wife Kim. We were not thrilled when Joe moved his sweet wife and boys to Austin. I haven't seen Kim and the kiddos since that move a year and a half ago. Since then we have both added a baby girl into our families. I'm excited to meet their little Madison and we'll be bringing Emsley with us so the girls can play. :)


Then, on March 8th, my sisters, my mom and I are flying to Vegas to celebrate my sister Alli's and BIL Brian's 30th birthdays! This trip kind of happened overnight and was totally random and impromptu. What started out as a hypothetical "Wouldn't it be fun if we joined Alli and Brian in Vegas?" turned into reality and it's going to be SO much fun! 



We'll only be there for 2 days and 2 nights, but we're going to enjoy every minute of it. I already know the highlight of our trip is going to be the Faith Hill and Tim Mcgraw concert we officially have tickets for. 


I.can't.wait!


Brian and Alli will be staying at the Monte Carlo and Jenn, Courtney, Mom and I will be staying at the New York, New York.


We owe the husbands BIG time for encouraging us to do this and for watching all of the little ones for us while we're gone.  

And then, speaking of New York, New York, Caleb and I will be going to New York in the fall!!! Pinch me now. This has always been a dream of mine and at the top of my bucket list. I can't believe it's going to happen.


This past Christmas Caleb's parents surprised each of their sons and daughter-in-laws with a card saying that their gift to us was a trip to go anywhere in the U.S. with them. It didn't take long for me and Caleb to come up with New York!



We'll only be gone for 4 nights since it's hard to leave these 3 beautiful babes behind for too long. 







We had fun doing our own little photo shoot at home today. :)

It's going to be really hard to prioritize what to cram into those 4-5 days since we can't see everything in that time. I do know that we will for sure be seeing a Broadway play (I'm pushing for Wicked),


seeing the Statue Of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, etc. Basically, as many tourist stops that we can fit in. :)



I'm sure I'll talk a lot more about this as it gets closer. :)

As if all of this wasn't enough, next year (2015) we'll have a few more vacations. Caleb and I are planning on going somewhere tropical for our 10th Anniversary. Probably back to Riviera Maya where our honeymoon was. I can't believe we'll be celebrating our 10th Anniversary next year. Where did the time go?

Anyway, with all of these vacations up ahead, I am one excited and happy girl!


Oh yeah, and before I forget-  GO BRONCOS!! SO excited to watch the Superbowl this Sunday!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Hymn To Him

I just wanted to dedicate a post completely to Ethan, because he doesn't get a lot of love when it comes to pictures and posts on this little blog.  It's probably because he doesn't sit still long enough for pictures, or the fact that he's the middle child, or the fact that Elliana and Emsley demand the most attention these days.

The truth is, Ethan makes me smile daily. Actually, several times a day. He is sometimes so serious, and other times as funny as they come.




I often feel like people don't get him as much, or they don't "fall in love" with him as easily as they do/did with our girls. 

I so want to tell people just spend some time alone with him, even an hour or two and you will see why he makes me smile every day.

And so I want to give you a little glimpse of our lives with Ethan James. 

I won't lie, I was terrified when we were expecting baby #2 and discovered we were going to have a boy. I grew up in the girl world. I grew up with 3 sisters and my first born was a girl. I knew what I was doing with girls.

I had no clue what to do with a boy. I knew I was in for a lot of surprises. 

What surprised me most was how quickly I fell in love with him.









His smile. Oh, how I love his smile! His smile is mischievous and wonderful at the same time! He doesn't smile all that often. Not because he isn't a happy boy, but because he's serious, pensive and introverted.




Ethan is ALL BOY in every way. He is full of high energy, extremely curious, loves to run around (naked at times), loves to growl and scream, he loves cars, trains, dinosaurs, balls, sports, Toy Story, etc. If you were to name any cliche thing a boy should love, Ethan loves it.





BUT, what I love just as much is his tender side, which is SO sweet! He won't let me leave him, even for just a few minutes, unless I've given him a hug and kiss goodbye. He is the first to notice when someone from our family is missing (like when Caleb is at work or Ellie is at preschool) and once he notices he'll be the first to say "I miss ______ (whoever is missing)." He is the one that asks me to pray with him and sing "Jesus Loves Me" every night before bed, and as I leave his room every night he never fails to say "I love you Mama."

He is incredibly loyal, almost to a fault. He has a stuffed Winnie The Pooh bear that has to go EVERYWHERE with him. This stuffed bear is DISGUSTING because it has gone everywhere and sleeps with him every night. Ethan won't have any other toy, and believe me, we've tried. He has other favorites, like Toy Story and Elmo and when he gets stuck on something, nothing else will do.


He loves his sisters. SO much! He likes to help with Emsley by giving her toys or sing to her or give her her pacifier when she's upset. He and Elliana can play and laugh with each other for hours. I can't wait to see what he'll be like as a teenager when his sisters start dating. 




In no way is Ethan perfect. When he melts down, he MELTS DOWN! He falls apart quickly. Sometimes he enjoys screaming in Emsley's face to get the response (a crying baby) he expects. Actually, I think he just generally likes to bully his baby sister. He'll often wake her from her naps even though he knows better. Like any toddler he is a challenge when it comes to eating, or sitting still for long periods of time, or well, a lot of things. He likes to push the limits to see what he can get away with.

I'm continually in awe of his love for learning. I know all parents like to brag, but I think he is a bright kid! He already speaks in full sentences, knows all of his letters (upper and lower case), can count to 20 and likes to be challenged by puzzles.

So now you know a little more about the boy. I love him dearly. I'm not afraid of boys any more. They are so much fun! And dare I say it, even easier than girls in some ways.

The only thing I'm afraid of now is watching him grow into a man and having to hand him off to another girl/woman when he's ready to fall in love. She better know how lucky she is. ;)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Emsley At 7 Months

Wow. Another month has flown by! Our baby girl turned 7 months old on the 11th!

First of all, I want to thank once again Nate and Amanda at The Shalom Imaginative for these AMAZING photos they took of Emsley! I adore these and will cherish them always!

These are technically Emsley's 6 month photos, but since they were taken at 6 1/2 months, and due to the holidays, I'll be using them for her 7 month stats and updates.

Some of these are not Nate and Amanda's, but I thought it was pretty obvious which ones were theirs. :)

Dearest Emsley, this past month you seem to have grown up a lot. This is what was new for you at 7 months;

~You began sitting up TOTALLY on your own. Now you enjoy sitting on your own to play all the time.








~For the first time, on Christmas day, you rolled from back to stomach to back again. You haven't done it a lot since.

~You are trying SO hard to be mobile. I think you're still several months away from crawling, but I can see you staring at things from across the room and trying to figure out how to get to them.

~You are a pro at eating solids. You LOVE to eat and open your mouth really wide. :) You love all fruits and veggies and baby oatmeal we give you.

~You can hold your own bottle now. If I get the bottle even close to your face you'll often times grab it from me and want to feed yourself. This makes me a little sad.

~You now LOVE to take baths! You'll often times splash in the water and just laugh the whole time.

~You practice "talking" a lot and you are quite loud. :) I can't tell if you're louder when you're happy or sad. You're not quite babbling yet, but I think you're close.

~I believe you weigh around 14-14.5 pounds.

~You are now wearing size 6 months in clothes.

~You are still in size 2 diapers but I think you will need to move into size 3 diapers soon.

~Due to having 2 older siblings with busy schedules, your nap times are still inconsistent. I feel for you. Luckily, you have a great, laid back attitude about it and are rarely grumpy.


~You are still sleeping through the night in the bassinet in our room. I think we will need to move you to the pack n play soon. We decided that we will move you into your crib in Ellie's room once you are 1 year old.

~You LOVE to watch Ellie and Ethan and laugh along with them! Your relationship with Ethan has grown the most this month (since you've always been close to Ellie). I can't wait for the day that all 3 of you are running around laughing together.



We love you more than words can say Miss Emsley! You are definitely the spoiled baby of our family and we all love to dote on you. :)


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas Break Part 2

On our way home from the cabin we had dinner at my parents house to have dinner with my family and the Janelle family. We've grown up with the Janelles and we get together every Christmas break. I always look forward to seeing everyone.

The next morning Caleb and the kids made me breakfast in bed to celebrate my birthday. Caleb then informed me that we were getting away for a night to continue the birthday celebrations. :) 

I'm such a lucky girl. Caleb is very romantic and always does a wonderful job of surprising me and spoiling me for my birthday!

After packing up all 3 little ones (this was my first night sleeping away from Emsley) and myself, Caleb and I dropped the kids off with my parents and headed for lunch at Panera. Caleb didn't tell me what was planned, only that we were getting away. 

After Panera, Caleb suggested that we go for a little walk and he walked me right into a new massage place. He had planned the massage, but my parents wanted to pay for it. Did I mention that I'm a lucky girl? So, I got to enjoy a wonderful, hour long massage. :) It.was.heavenly!


After the massage, Caleb greeted me with my favorite drink from Starbucks (Cinnamon Dulce Latte) and we headed to Denver. 


We headed straight to the hotel, The Curtis close almost right on the 16th street mall. 


We had never stayed at this hotel before and it was awesome! Every floor has it's own theme. For example, the 13th floor is the horror movie floor. When you reach the 13th floor, the elevator plays "Heeere's Johnny!" from The Shining. 

I'm not a huge fan of horror films, so thankfully we ended up on the 11th floor, the chick flick floor. Perfect if you ask me. :) We relaxed a bit and then showered and got ready for dinner.

We had dinner at our very favorite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory on the 16th street mall. 


After splitting a delicious dinner we decided to try out a new cheesecake and it was amazing! It was called Chris's Outrageous Cheesecake and it did not disappoint! Even though we split the cheesecake we couldn't finish it all!

After dinner we wandered the 16th street just a bit. We stopped in at Bath and Body Works to use up a gift card I was given for Christmas. They were having this HUGE 1 day sale and I got a lot for the money!

By the time we were done shopping, it was show time at the movie theater for Catching Fire. We had heard that it was soooo good and way better than the first movie, The Hunger Games. We couldn't agree more. We loved it! The character development was so good in Catching Fire, and I loved the way they brought out the emotion to make you hate the capitol and President Snow just as much as the characters in the movie. I can't wait to see Mockingjay!

There's not much to say about the rest of our getaway. After the movie was over we went back to the hotel and to bed. The next morning we had a nice breakfast and then headed back up to my parent's house to pick up the kids and watch the Broncos game.

The next day or so was spent organizing and cleaning from Christmas and having some down time at home with the kids.

Our New Year's Eve celebration was perfectly small. We went to my parents house and played poker and Apples to Apples with my sister Jenn, BIL Jon, and our good friends David and Becky while the kids played and watched movies. Sometimes a small gathering is just what you need to ring in the new year. It was a very fun night!

We had promised the kids that we would do a night at a hotel with them while Caleb was off so we headed back down to Denver with them on the 1st. 

We found a GREAT deal on priceline and got this sweet hotel for a good price! 


The rooms were perfect for families! We had a mini kitchenette complete with a fridge and microwave and there was just a little separation between our bed and where the kids slept. Yes, perfect!


Really, the only thing the kids cared about was swimming, so we made sure to find a hotel with a pool and hot tub. We spent the evening swimming and watching movies/TV with the kids.


Here's a sweet moment with our girls the next morning. :)

The next morning we all enjoyed the delicious hot, complimentary breakfast and then we swam some more. After a somewhat slow morning we headed to the Denver Children's Museum and met up with Caleb's parents, his brother Josh and our niece Abby. The kids spent a good 2+ hours at the museum and then we headed home to crash!

After that, there was just a few days left before Caleb had to head back to work. We just hung out and enjoyed being with each other. I already miss getting to spend all day every day with my family. We sure packed a lot in in just 2 weeks. I love Christmas break!


P.S. We got Emsley's 6 month photos back from Nate and Amanda yesterday. I LOVE them! 
Here's just a few of my favorites:








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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