Monday, August 28, 2017

Carlie turned EIGHT

Eight years ago from May a bright blue-eyed light was born into our family.

We named her Carlie Joy.

It was such a beautiful I will never forget.

I remember thinking forward to her 8th birthday, wondering what she'd look like...knowing the milestone it'd be. Oh, how she's become a piece of my heart, especially through the hardships of her strong personality that's really stretched us as parents.

I know all children have meltdowns, but we went through several years of very difficult days and tantrums -- trying all sorts of tactics to help her feel at peace and better navigate her emotions. It was not easy, specifically in Argentina when she suffered from a series of illnesses that certainly affected her sleep and behavior problems. Shortly after our return to the States (when she was 4-yrs. old), she underwent a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. This was a turning point for Carlie (and for all of us, really), and somewhere around 1st grade we really noticed some changes. Gymnastics and soccer became a big part of her life, and her self-confidence was truly beginning to blossom.

She was only 5-yrs.old when my Dad passed away. I know she feels the impact of his absence at times, perhaps through me, but she had a special bond with "Papa Stacy," and I know he loved her dearly, too.

And now here she is - eight years old. What a special life you've lived thus far my sweet girl! You're more beautiful than I could've ever imagined.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Change

As I sit here at my computer in the quiet of a Sunday night - reflecting on my life’s journey thus far - I can’t help but consider the ways in which our loving God brings about change in our lives. At times it can be quite quickly, and perhaps dramatically. Other times it’s more subtle and slow — following a series of small happenings over time. Over the course of the past few months our family has experienced large scale changes — some rapid.
Others? Small happenings maybe not so recognizable at the time.

Tri-Cities was our home for the last 9 years. We made very dear friends there and felt like it was going to be our place and our future. We loved our neighbors. We were involved in our community and ward. We were happy.

Only ten days after listing our beloved home (in order to start the building process on a beautiful piece of ground we purchased over 2 years ago), Jared’s job situation changed dramatically, and he was given the option to move to Salt Lake City. Our house sold the next day.

So here we are in Farmington, Utah. We’ve been here now for about 3 weeks, and I’m doing my very best to embrace the change and navigate Davis County, Utah. Although the transition hasn’t been easy, I am grateful for the opportunity to begin a new chapter! I still feel like I’m ready to head back to our house in Washington any day now, but honestly, the people here in Farmington have been so warm and welcoming. There is a definite difference in the feel here, and it’s tangible!

AnnMarie, Carlie, and Gabe started school last week, and boy, was it bittersweet. The girls have been adjusting alright, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say they’ve had their days. I’m so proud of them and the way in which they’re trying to jump in and make life happen for them here.

Gabe had his first day of Kindergarten! What a wonderful day it was. We are so pleased with his teacher and the wonderful person she seems to be! The girls seem to have great teachers, too. We live within walking distance of the school which will be a new experience for us.

“In the end, they became more than what they expected. They became the journey, and like all journeys, they did not end, they just simply changed directions and kept going.” — R.M. Drake

Thursday, July 6, 2017

MOJO Marimba Band

AnnMarie was a proud member of Cottonwood Elementary's MOJO Marimba Band this past school year. The music teacher there, Mr. Doug Edwards, begins teaching students the marimba at an early age. As the students mature and develop their skills, he invites a certain amount of them to participate in the 4th grade MOJO marimba band which rehearses twice a week before school starts. The literal meaning of MOJO is magic spell. These kids were phenomenal -- and I don't use that word lightly! Mr. Edwards arranges and composes most of their music which is an inspiration in and of itself. He truly had an impact on our daughter, and we are so grateful for the opportunity she had to be a part of this group.

Performances included a Christmas Concert, The Leprechaun Dash (a 1-mile kid's run along the river side prior to St. Patrick's Day), the End-of-School-Year Carnival, a Community Mallet Festival, a tour performing at several elementary schools throughout the Spokane Valley, and a Final Concert.

We'd tease AnnMarie about "getting her marimba on" because she really knew how to rock it! The tour was especially rewarding to be able to go on as a family and see the looks on all the kids' faces when the band started playing! It was amazing -- and quite touching, actually. Way to go, Badgers! We were so happy to see AnnMarie shine through this experience.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Joy School 2016-2017

Last summer when we were trying to decide on the best pre-school option for Gabe, a friend contacted me about joining the Joy School group she was putting together for her son and a few other kids. I had heard about Joy School before through one of my favorite websites (Values Parenting), and I remember a childhood friend raving about how her mom did it when she was little, but I wasn't really sure what it was all about -- or if I'd even have the energy to host and teach some of the units with everything else I had going on in my life!

Lo and behold, it turned out to be a wonderful fit for me and Gabe! The units are based on the book, Teaching Your Children Joy. The whole idea is to give kids a social and emotional head start in life, as opposed to an academic one. I was able to teach the units "The Joy of the Body," "The Joy of Wonder," and "The Joy of Family." Each unit ended with a special gathering or field trip involving us moms.

It was so fun to see the boys feel completely safe being silly, experience the joy in serving others, and discover the possibilities of imagination. All-in-all, I loved how special Gabe felt every time he'd come home from Joy School, and I especially enjoyed overhearing him sing the songs he'd learned!

Earlier this spring when I was encouraging the kids to get ready for Carlie's softball game, I heard a few grumbles...and then Gabe started singing, "I cheer for sister, she cheers for me... Because we are a FAMILY!!" I went into the living room to see Gabe getting his shoes on so he could go and support his sister. It certainly taught him some important life lessons.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Gabe is 5

I need to take a moment and gush over Gabe for a minute. He turned 5 years old last week, and I can't seem to get over that little fact.

Honestly, I tend to worry about this one...because he worries so much (hmmm...I wonder where he gets that from), but he is such an articulate little boy, and I've really enjoyed learning from him this past year. I often marvel that I get to be his mom. He's doing better more all the time with sharing his toys and finding joy in helping. He has a hearty laugh that seems to get attention wherever we go.

AND the fact that his eyelashes are longer than any fake eyelash extensions I've ever seen -- naturally makes him a wonder, I say.

I love you, son.