Monday, June 30, 2008

time with our cousins...

this weekend was an exciting opportunity for us to see joshua's dedication at his church. unfortunately, i didn't get any good pictures of the actual event (especially when joshua kept trying to reach down his mommy's shirt while they were being shown on the big screen), but it was yet another emotional moment for me (yes, maybe just those pregnancy hormones kicking in again) to see how God has so blessed joshua, as well as his parents and siblings. makes my mind wander down the "what-if" road... what if angie and phil hadn't adopted him? what if he was still in an orphanage in china and spent his entire childhood there... most likely never learning about Jesus and how special he is in God's eyes. and of course, the what-if road makes me think of all those other children out there, desperate for a family to embrace them...

ok, emotional ramblings done for now. we then enjoyed a fun afternoon at our cousins' house. nothing like 5 kids (not counting their dads or uncle) enjoying sugar-filled cupcakes and trying to run it all off stuck indoors (i'm pretty sure it was like 140 degrees outside. ok, or maybe 114 or something, but really is there much difference?) anyhow, thanks angie and phil for great food and a great time. and happy birthday, grammy!

bennett enjoyed sharing his boyhood energy with caleb...

(yes, that is caleb licking bennett's forehead.)

grace announced the kids would be putting on a show for everyone.
allow me to introduce to you... "the garlic press" taught to the kids by uncle chad. (although i'm not sure he does it with his tongue sticking out.)

ways we pass our summer days indoors...

hide and go seek: finger painting with chocolate pudding:

reading books in cozy tents: (although i am reminded through the entire construction process that daddy actually brought a real tent inside and set it up in the living room while mommy was gone last weekend. yes, daddy is much cooler than boring old mommy.)

hopscotch, randomly created by ella today. i was very impressed with her creativity:

i realized there was going to be trouble when the instructions were: "you do this, and then this and then this." not exactly clear for a 2 year-old. ella got frustrated quickly and tackled her brother for not following directions. it may look like she is hugging him, but if you look closely you just might notice her clenched jaw:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

one whirlwind week of fun

last week our family went on a wonderful summer vacation. san diego was the destination with various other stops squeezed in. we had the joy of seeing family, great times with the garate clan, a special stop at disneyland, and of course the beach. life is good. some of our highlights....

1. family time. its always a treat to spend time with cousin dylan, as well as auntie julie, uncle jim, nana, papa, aunt dede, and this time even sharon, michael and amber. we enjoyed a few fun parks and lots of special time together. bennett got to enjoy special birthday attention at 2 different stops, and ella an "un" birthday celebration. how cute was that? we love you guys!

2. garate time. anthony went to college with the garates and we always enjoy our time with them, even if this visit ended abruptly when my son threw up right before dinner. hopefully they still love us :) the garate's tend to be a little on the competitive side and i notice that whenever we are together there is some little game thrown in for fun. this time it was t-ball. i've always hated sports but i figure since its a plastic bat and these are my children's memories, i'd suck it up. ella hit the ball once, i "helped" her run to 2nd base. by short stop, she walked off the field and parked it in the cute pink chair. girl after my own heart...

4. disneyland. the hottest, most crowded place on earth. ok, so that is just how we felt when we first got there, but we had so much fun. thanks michael! anthony's wonderful cousin is a huge kid at heart and a highlight of so many of our times together with the fam. his part time hobby of working at disneyland offers benefits to his family... like free admission for us! we can't tell you how grateful we are. and one of the best kept secrets at disneyland... naps at the first aid station. we couldn't have made it through the day without it. and i'm sure they would love for me to share this little secret with everyone i know.

5. watching the kids wave to the parade characters. we saw 3 parades at disney. ella refers to these as: the dry one, the wet one, and the loud one. the dry one we saw in the blazing sun. the wet one included water guns by just about every character and ella hated it. the loud one happened to be the electrical parade and we were sitting by the speaker. the loud one was the favorite.

6. the beach. is there any better place? it was cozy, cloudy and perfect. the sun did make an appearance our last day, but it was never hot (like home) and the kids could not get enough of the sand.
7. the us open. anthony enjoyed thursday at the open (thanks, curt!) and we enjoyed the day at the beach. my children even napped on the sand (can you believe it!) and i enjoyed a fantastic book (thanks, angie).
8. the pier. especially bennett stopping at every single crack to look beneath at the waves. it was so much fun to see him press his head down against the wood planks, yell "splash" and then look up with a huge smile and filthy forehead.

9. a bike ride on the boardwalk and around mission bay. we even stopped at the hotel with the seals out front, not something we see every day in good ole phoenix. anthony asked ella, "aren't those cool? wouldn't it be fun to have one for a pet?" ella's answer, "yeah, but i'd really like a snack."

10. the car ride. ok, not the actual car ride with 2 little kids. but we recently got a new kid cd of fun worship songs instead of the really annoying songs like bingo and a sailor went to sea. its a cd i can actually handle. anyhow, this trip ella listened to it enough that she started to sing along with it. i had a few tears in my eyes hearing "you are my king" and "blessed be the name of the lord" from the backseat.

and... if you are still reading, scroll on down for some more pictures.

caution: picture overload ahead.

beach fun

disneyland and garate time

Monday, June 16, 2008

happy birthday, bennett!

the big man is officially 2. we celebrated his birthday yesterday. no extravagant fanfare. no pony rides or clowns. just a simple family party with lots of love and laughter. we just returned from our family vacation to california (more to come on that... i know, you can hardly wait!) and i simply didn't have the energy to plan a birthday party. truth be told, he doesn't know the difference.

birthdays for my children find me a bit sentimental. and combined with pregnancy hormones for this particular birthday, also a tad more emotional than usual. my kids are growing up. the years go by way too fast (although there are some days that seem to drag on for an eternity). our life is good and filled with so many happy times. i love the life God has given me.

bennett is such a wonderful little blessing in our lives. he is practically bursting at his little boyhood seams with joy and energy. he is rarely found without a smile lighting his entire face and shining out his eyes. his laugh and squeal (or is it high pitched scream?) fill our house with joy. and where his energy comes from, i'm not too sure. he loves to run like crazy, and it almost looks like his body won't be able to keep up with his determination and excitement. he loves to tackle his sister. sometimes she's game, other times not so much. those are the times i say, "bennett, run some laps." and he takes off with a squeal of laughter to run countless circles around the couches. he appears to be living life to the fullest, even at the ripe old age of 2. and i must add, he loves to give kisses and hugs. what a little lovebug he is.

amidst my sentimental, emotional thoughts, i think of bennett's birth and how close we were to a tragic outcome. i'm reminded of how God has always looked after us, and after bennett and how our lives are always in his hands. bennett truly is a gift from him. (so is ella, of course. but more on her october 8th!)

tribute to the birthday boy

Sunday, June 15, 2008

reasons my daddy is the best daddy ever

(as told to mommy by ella)
  1. does things kind

  2. cause he's a sweet daddy

  3. pushes me so high and i go to outer space (on the swing)

  4. tells me tony bologna and ej stories

  5. cuts really careful with the knife
  6. drives the car and drives us to "old" mcdonalds

  7. feeds jake and sometimes he feeds oakley (our neighbor's dog)

  8. grabs our sippy cups before we go

  9. talks on his phone right away

  10. changes bennett's diaper

  11. opens the kitchen door when i want my treat... and sometimes you do too, mommy

  12. plays with me

  13. rocks me when i'm a baby

  14. eats dinner so well

  15. makes dinner sometimes

  16. waters the plants

  17. turns on the water if my hands are dirty

  18. heats up food and gives food to me

  19. does something i need

  20. turns on the movie

  21. reads stories with me

  22. goes to the grocery store with me

  23. goes to the grocery store with nobody

  24. gives us vitamins

  25. gets a band aid for me when i get owies sometimes

  26. wipes bennett's nose sometimes

  27. does his work out

  28. baptizes people sometimes

  29. brushes my hair and gives me a bath
for these reasons, and many, many more... we are excited father's day is here for another chance to say how much we love you, daddy. thanks for your love, attention, sacrifice and endless storage of energy. life is better because of you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

happy birthday!

the masche sextuplets turn 1 on june 11th! what beautiful, happy babies they are. as if this year wasn't already a marathon of its own, jenny and bryan ran a marathon this past weekend! wow! i have been beyond blessed by the testimony of the masche family and the ways God has strengthened them, provided for them and been glorified through the way they live.

and seriously, could you imagine if this was your life?!? you amaze me, jenny!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

where is that little man?

so this morning, my journey around the house to find bennett ended in his room, where i discovered him sitting on his changing table, holding a diaper and a wipe. when he saw me, his face lit up as if to say "ah, there you are" and with a big grin he said, "change?" and held out his diaper.

hmmm... could this be a sign of potty-training readiness?

the joy of summer

this time of year brings out the worst in me. (well, that and sleep deprivation.) as the temperature begins its seemingly unending upward climb here in phoenix, i take advantage of every opportunity to express how much i dislike this sweltering desert. and really, the reasons are endless and bear repeating almost daily amidst my misery. so, i thought i would try a different tactic this year. maybe a little reverse psychology would help and i can list all the great things about summer. so here goes...

1. air-conditioning. seriously, i can't believe people live in temperatures like this and survive without it. or work outside. one day a UPS driver delivered a package and i asked him if his truck had a/c. he said no, but some days it is so hot he can turn on the heater and it is actually cooler than the air. this is sick. he, and all other faithful drivers bringing packages to my door so i don't have to run errands in my hot car, deserve a raise.

2. electricity. i can listen to the sweet hum of the air conditioning thanks to good old benjamin franklin and his kite. thanks, man. not only have you enabled my air-conditioning to save me, you have also allowed my popsicles to stay frozen and the tv to work so my kids have something to do while stuck indoors.

3. my wonderful husband. he loves to grocery shop and run all misc errands so i don't have to drag my kids around in this heat. he also listens when my lists aren't so positive and finds way to make life more comfortable.

4. strawberries, mangoes, cherries and other miscellaneous fresh fruit. summer is the best time for these, and they are usually cheaper. or so my husband tells me since he's the one shopping for them.

5. ice cream. my dad always made the world's best homemade ice-cream. what a wonderful legacy he has passed on to me and to his grandchildren. thanks, dad.

6. our pool. it's only 12 inches deep and we can't fit the whole family in it at once, but it was about $13 and worth every penny.

7. high gas prices. really, i was looking for an excuse to not have to drive around town and lug my kids in and out of a hot car. now i can stay home and eat popsicles.

8. parents who live up north. its only just over an hour away, but much cooler. it also often comes with free babysitting and lots of relaxing.

9. in-laws who live in san diego. really, is there a better place to go within driving distance in the summer? can't wait to go to the beach, and possibly even need a long sleeve shirt for the evenings! can you imagine!?!

10. less laundry to wash. why? because the kids rather enjoy running around in diapers/choneys when it is this hot. why bother getting them dressed?

11. dominos. it sure is much easier to justify pizza, or some other take-out, when its too hot to cook. and of course, my husband is always happy to pick it up.

12. compassionate friends. i have one dear friend who lives in northern california who checks our weather almost daily to feel my pain. thanks, sara. i love you too!
happy summer!