Tuesday, July 8, 2014


They clean up well.  Dyed Easter eggs, had a fun Easter egg hunt, and enjoyed the fun candy from the Easter bunny.  Simple, fun and a great day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Spring Soccer

These two loved the soccer season.  

 Tayler loved the idea of soccer season.  Would have loved being on the field with everyone else but managed to make some new friends on the sidelines and made good use out of her folding chair (which she'd carry herself to and from every game) and lots of snacks.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Move Update

A little over a month ago we started the process of our new chapter.  Lots of moving parts - and lots of conversations over the phone at night as Mike spent most of the working days in June in Utah while we hung out in Nebraska (although I'm not sure that hung out is the right verbiage.  More like survived?).

Honestly, when we first started tackling everything, I felt pretty dang overwhelmed (and still do at times).  Let's be honest, piecing together the idea of selling a home (while your husband is in another state), buying a home (that you won't actually go out to see), having a baby, and then actually moving and starting all the new stuff that comes with a move + a newborn and all of the above happening in less than a 2 month time period, the list seems a little daunting.

But, I have to say, that once we took the step into the direction that we both knew we were supposed to go, our lives have been filled with more blessings than we can count.  From the big ones, like selling our house in only 6 days, and then finding one that very same week, to the little ones like cute primary girls dropping off dinner for me and the kiddos one night, or someone calling me to take the kids for a few hours so I can tackle some of the to do list stuff.

I've taken a step back this weekend and realized that it truly is amazing to see how The Lord really knows and works the finest details of your life.  We've been so grateful to become branches with some really great people here who have long established roots.  It's been awesome to glimpse into their family roots and get to stem from part of it, even if our time here has been relatively short.

It also makes me realize how important all of the little things really are in life.  From stepping out to think about what someone might need - not on a big or even grand scale, but something small and simple - and how it really makes a difference in their life.

Things are moving on and forward.  Baby girl will be arriving on Thursday (if not sooner), and then we'll have two weeks left in our Nebraska home before we head out to Utah.

Yep, it's a tight timeline, but I'm so grateful that she'll get to be born here in Nebraska.  Just as Tayler won't remember a thing about Minnesota, I'm so grateful that she was born there - a beautiful way to talk about the awesome people and memories we had there.  And, our new babe will get to enjoy the same conversations about her birth, and our life, in Nebraska.

I feel grateful for change.  Not because it is anything close to comfortable or easy, but because it is something that builds who we are.  I look back on the great memories we've had here with a big heart of nostalgia, but at the same time a big heart of gratitude that we took the step to experience it all.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The tradition continues...

Maybe you've been reading long enough to remember this post, or this one.  But, we're at it again.  Starting a new chapter.  Mike's company is merging, and he'll be taking a new position - this time in Salt Lake City, Utah!

We're excited, overwhelmed, stressed, happy and grateful all at once.

Because of course, we're selling and buying a new home, Mike's starting a new job (same company, but new stuff), and we're throwing in having a baby all in pretty much the same month.

Or to add a bit of detail, I'll be vacuuming the carpet oodles for every showing (the house went up this week), Mike will be working between the two states and house hunting solo (pick a good one!), and we'll pause just long enough to be in the same place for the gift of a new little person to join our family. And then we'll actually move.


Thankfully, the last time we moved with a newborn (when I said out loud that I'd never do it again), we were able to learn a few things to better prepare us for this time around.

And, while all the pieces of the puzzle haven't been figured out, I really am grateful.

Grateful that we've been able to explore, get out of our comfort zones, and meet some super awesome people.  Grateful that we've been blessed with the journey of adventure and a little unknown, and that choosing to step out of our comfort zone has led us to a place we never would have expected.  Grateful for the confidence and perspective moving has given not only Mike and I, but our kids as well.  Grateful that we get to keep enjoying the journey - not deciding what or where our end result will be, but instead knowing that what matters most is the opportunity we've had to learn and grow from our experiences.

On my wall right now, I have the quote, "your happiness is not behind you, it is before you, cherish it!"    Typically, I like to change up our chalkboard quote quite frequently, but this one has been there for a good month, and I still find comfort in it reading it every day.  Because while all of this really feels stressful and crazy at times, I know and have no doubt that we're on the path the Lord wants us to be on.  And that these are times to cherish.

The beginnning

While vacation was a terrific distraction from our last week with Kermit, I was a bit shocked at how coming back would be so difficult.  I had no idea I would grieve the loss of him so badly.  But, it was really tough to get back at the routine of life and not have my shadow with me.  Sounds crazy, coming from a house with three kids in it, but it was dreadfully quiet and I felt so lonely in so many ways.

From our morning "wake up the kids" routine, to little jobs like doing the dishes (where he'd stay right by me), or pulling out the vacuum (he'd run along with me from room to room), I couldn't believe how many triggers I had of him all day long.  

And, it was tough to see the kids.   Max especially struggled that first week back when he would come home from school.  It'd been there thing to play tug of war (almost) every day after school, and he really missed the energy from Kermit.   One night, he wrote a list of all the things he loved about Kermit.  It helped him a ton to focus on the positive.

Alexis grieved a bit differently, and it all hit her a bit later.  The sweet thing would just melt at different times during the day, saying how much she missed having kermit around.  After a really rough week, I found a picture of a dog and told her to color it and think of all the happy memories she had of him.  She worked so hard on it, and picked our pantry door as the place it should hang.  And it's still there.

Some things do just take time.  There was no quick fix for us (or me), but I did have to consciously decide to focus on all the good that he'd brought to our family, and (try) to separate myself from all the sadness I felt along the way.  After going through the seemingly endless lists of "firsts" without him, I felt more capable to retrain my mind to focus on something positive when sadness crept in.  

Even now, months later, I still have moments where I just miss the little guy.  But, we experience changes and tough things for so many reasons.  And I really believe that things happen they way and in the timing that they should.  

Florida Vacation Part 3

Spent a day catching up.  Seems like we always have someone sick on vacation, and this time it was Mike and Alexis.  A day at the doctors office (where english was a second language, and they seemed shocked when Mike showed them his insurance card instead of paying cash), waiting for prescriptions (which the pharmacy was actually out of?!) and then getting caught up on some sleep.  We enjoyed the hotel pool, and my sister and brother spent the day at one of the "big kid" parks.

On our last full day we took the kids to Coco beach.  We'd been told by locals that it was still pretty cold, and that they probably wouldn't do more than get their feet wet.  We threw the kids suits in the car, but didn't really know what to expect.

Clearly "cold" has such different meanings.  The weather was definitely in our favor and it was a good day to be at the be at the beach.  Three hours flew by.  We probably would have stayed longer had we actually planned for it!  

It was the first time the kids had seen the ocean.  Hilarious to see them figure out the waves, body surfing, and the whole concept of the tide.  One of those things where you can explain it to them all you want, but when they see it for themselves, the light goes on.  It was awesome.

Max had no problem making another friend for the afternoon.

My sister took some of the cutest pictures!

I don't think Alexis stopped smiling the whole time we were there!

 We had no sand toys, but my mom had grabbed some spoons from the hotel and plastic cups.  It was all they needed!

 Tayler became so attached to Kristen.  It was so sweet and I love this picture of the two of them!

Such fun memories.  And so grateful we were able to have the experience!

Florida Vacation Part 2

The next day we headed to Magic Kingdom.  We left bright and early and the girls went one way while the boys went the other.  Gave the girls a chance to see the princesses and Max a chance to ride Space Mountain without a long line.  It worked out great.  Of course, my mom and sister had well planned the princess experience for my girls.  They absolutely loved having dresses to wear, and books ready to be signed.  Alexis insisted on having her hair in a bun just like Cinderella.  And, she still talks about being Mrs. Potts with Belle.  It was much more magical and sweet than I would have ever guessed.  

 Over our time at Disney, Tayler discovered and fell in LOVE with Ariel.  She is completely fixated with her and can't get enough of seeing herself in this picture.  Her fixation reminds me of Max at her age and how he couldn't get enough of car washes (I know, a little different), but she talks about Ariel in any way that she can, and throws her randomly into conversations all the time.  It's hilarious.

The princesses were so big to her, she decided to just stay like a princess the rest of the day.  So cute to see this little two year old in her dress ALL DAY long!

 My sister and brother were great sports and took the girls on the teacups!  They loved it!

Waiting for the electrical parade, Max made a new friend, who loved holding Tayler.  It was pretty cute.