2015 in Review {favorite pictures}

in a lot of ways 2015 was the best of times and some of the hardest times. our sweet, sweet girl Kennedy Maren was born! we've had 12 months of growing as a family of 5, of serving and loving Alethia Church, of traveling and working, of meeting goals, of enjoying time and food with family and friends, of drawing near to Christ, of parenting and disciplining, of laughing and dancing and growing! 3 small children was been no joke! it's just a hard, exhausting, growing and wonderful! we celebrated 6 years of marriage & birthdays- 1 day, 2 years, 4 years, 29 years, and 28 years! we bought a new {to us} car. Asher & Kennedy got dedicated at church. Manny went out of the country 3 times & on quite a few work & pleasure trips. i got to go see the Krause's in Nashville. Manny & I went to Chicago with Kennedy for a wedding. zoo trips, youth retreat, women's retreat, kitty drama, park days, stroller walks, Montrose trips,  Rockies games, & Johnny's football games. this year was a good year. we have so very much to be thankful for. 
Jesus is so so so good. 
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Joshie & Daddy matching! So exciting for this 3 year old!
36 weeks pregnant. At Dani & Sean's beautiful winter wedding!
Kennedy Maren is born!
We got a fence! It's been life changing for this family!
Family Day at the Zoo. It was a hard time for this family, but together is always good!

Asher Gray is 2!
O My Girl!
Joshua's FIRST 1st Day of School!
Manny, Kennedy & I in Chicago!
Kennedy Girl sharing a cookie with her Gram.
Joshua Manuel is 4 & LOVES the snow!
because really!

a favorite tradition: Christmas Tree Hunting

Every year since we have been married, right after Thanksgiving we trek up into the mountains to find that {nearly} perfect Christmas Tree. It truly is one of my favorite traditions of the holiday season.

 I love packing up into the car with my parents and brother {sometimes a sister has joined} and heading into the unknown, hoping to find that perfect tree. I {sort of love} love prepping everyone in the car once we arrive- gloves, boots, jacks, baby carriers, etc. I also love that it costs $10 for a Christmas tree!
But mostly, I love that every year is different & every year we spend the whole trip talking about the previous trips we have taken. The one year, Blitz ran off & Manny finally caught him by playing dead in the middle of road. The one year, we went to a new spot and there was NO snow & NO trees. The one year, it was so cold we only walked about 50 feet from the car. The one year we saw wild turkeys. And this year: we saw deer, it snowed, the snow was deep and the trees were beautiful.

Each year, we added more children and the boys are just growing and walking and enjoying it more and more! I truly look forward to this day every year! I can't wait to see how Joshua, Asher & Kennedy truly feel about the this tradition. It's the best way to get in the holiday spirit if you ask me!

Merry Christmas Tree!

{no family picture this year - oops!}

Kennedy Maren: 8 months

My Beautiful Girl, 
In all honesty, I am doing this update 1.5 months late. But I don't want to forget & I want to write down all the wonderful things that happened in your eighth month of life. You continued to eat more and more solids. Still not a fan of sweet {bananas, apples, pears, etc} and love sweet potato & avocado + anything I will feed you straight from the table. You've also enjoyed Cheerios and the occasional Pirates Booty :) 
This month we traveled to Gunnison to watch Johnny play football & then over to Montrose to see Gram. Gram gave you your very first cookie and you were not upset about it all. What a gift we have in Gram! 

We also celebrated Halloween- you were the cutest little OWL I ever did see!

And lastly, you worked on you crawling, kept rolling around, and starting getting into more and more trouble!

Your brothers are your #1 fans! They love to cheer you on & always make you laugh!!!

We love you Miss Kennedy Maren! 
You are a pure gift! 
love you more and more everyday, 
your momma  

Joshua Manuel: 4 years

Joshua Manuel,
You are four years old. That seems very old. We have been parents for four years... and are still very much figuring it all out! It's been crazy and fun and hard and awesome and scary and wonderful. All, I know is that we love you TOO much and are so very thankful you are our son.

November 1st landed on a Sunday this year, so we had the breakfast of your choice- donuts, eggs & sausage and then went to church. After church we went out to lunch, your choice- tacos at Chipotle. Grandma Mary joined us for lunch. That night we all just stayed home, had noodles for dinner, and then watched Cars 2 & ate popcorn. You were celebrated the following Wednesday at school and brought clementines & pirates booty for snack with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plates and napkins. Then on Friday, we went bowling with a few of your friends! It was so much fun to just have fun & celebrate YOU! Your Daddy got you SKIS for your birthday and you can't wait to go skiing down the mountain with Daddy.

Joshua, it it such a joy to be your mom. You are kind to those around you. You are considerate and aware of others feelings. You love to run & jump & do karate. You also love shows and pirates booty. You go to preschool on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. School is a great blessing for all of us and you are really enjoying it. Our neighbor, Caleb is in your class. You don't usually tell me about what happens in your day, but then randomly you will start singing a song you learned in school like "Days of the Week" set to the Adam's Family tune or "Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, swish your bushy tail." You love to make your sister laugh and often try to hold her. You and Asher are great brothers. You play hard, fight hard, and love hard. Your favorite "pretend play" is "mom & son" or "dog & owner." The two of you also make lots of messes together and get in big trouble together. You are just starting to like football and watching it with Daddy. We are working hard on learning the consequences of disobedience and how to serve with a joyful heart and what to do when you don't get your way. It's hard for you to not know the plan or when things don't go your way. You love your friends and spending time with family. 

At four years old: 
Favorite Food- noodles, peppers, pizza, apples.
Favorite Show- any NEW show- you don't really care about watching one show over and over, you just always want to watch a NEW show. but you like Rescue Bots & Paw Patrol.
Favorite Toy- all your cars.
Favorite Book- Ferdinand.
Best Friend- Asher, Jackson & Lily.
Favorite Activity- playing outside in the dirt or water.

Happy Birthday, my boy! I am so looking forward to seeing what this year brings. To see what you learn and what you like. To see how you grow, physically and emotionally and even spiritually. To see how your relationships with your brother and sister grow. To see the world through your four year old eyes and hold your hand as we adventure. 

we love you more and more everyday!
love, you momma

Kennedy Maren: 7 months

 Kennedy Maren,
My dear, sweet girl. You are getting so very big. We started solid foods this month - sweet potato, avocado, bananas, and applesauce. Took you a while, but you are big fan of sweet potato and avocado, tolerate bananas, and very much dislike applesauce. You're brothers are always quick to help feed you & Asher loves all the extra sweet potato he is getting.

 You are now a pro at sitting up and getting closer and closer to crawling each day. You love watching your brothers play. They make you giggle more than anyone else. You do great sitting in the middle of the living room, surrounded by a couple toys, and watching and listening to your brothers.
 Our schedule is still pretty much the same. You are sleeping through the night 100% of the time now, so that is wonderful! You don't always take the longest naps, but that's ok. And you absolutely refuse to when we are out and about and rarely fall asleep in your car seat. You are still a really big fan of being close to momma and hanging out in the ergo. I love, love, love watching you grab your bunny, hold it next to your cheek, and suck you thumb as you fall asleep. It might the sweetest thing I've ever seen. You are getting so big- 9 month clothes & size 4 diapers! Unlike your brothers, you are pretty reserved with your smile. You save it for those who either work really hard for it or those you really love. You are always ready to smile for your daddy, brothers, Grandma Mary, and Kma. The first weekend in October, you went with me to the Alethia Women's Retreat in Horn Creek. You did so well. The whole weekend was a giant blessing and you were the perfect baby companion!
 Kennedy girl, you just are so special, so sweet, and so loved. Every second with you is just a pure gift. 
we love you more and more everday!
love, your momma

currently: october 2015

how warm it has been. soaking up as much sunshine & outside time as possible!

the precious one {for book club} and treasuring Christ when your hands are full 

waiting for:
pictures to download off my phone.

excited about:
going to see Gram with Manny & the kids this weekend.

trying to:
decide if we should do something fun for lunch today or just stay home...

working on:
trying to stay balanced with my job and the rest of life.

trader joe's pumpkin bars.

my vacuum. frequently. ha. needing to use the mop.

a beige sweater and floral shorts. i probably need to change. it's colder than i thought it would be.

the one year chronological bible study we are going to start with our small group.

to get the boys dressed and do the dishes.

listening to:
my boys watching Lion King in the living room & the leaves rustling in the fall breeze outside.

the laundry. almost done. 2 loads to fold.

dreaming of:
well... the beach, a day when all my kids are out of diapers, extra time to read, clean kitchen floors, going to see the krauses, Christmas time, hot coffee, the laundry magically folding itself. 

Asher Chronicles : the Asher mess

just last week....

I went to brush my teeth, he pushed the chair up to the kitchen counter, climbed up, opened a cabinet, got out the honey, got back down and proceeded to pour it out. all of it out. onto the floor and onto himself.

I was hanging a shelf in my bedroom and he was watching Elmo in the living room, next thing I know he is in my room holding the chocolate syrup bottle upside down. I retrace his steps and there are puddles and streams of chocolate syrup from in front of the fridge, into the living room, in the hallway, and into my room. thus far, this has been one of the very worst to clean up and my carpet is still stained.

I was feeding Kennedy to sleep and he and Josh were watching tv. I walk into the kitchen and he had poured out the entire jar of relish onto the kitchen floor.

I think I was feeding Kennedy again and forgot to lock the fridge; he opened the fridge and got out the syrup. he poured out a bottle of syrup onto the kitchen floor and was "skating" around the kitchen.

I went to the bathroom soon after making breakfast and he starting cracking eggs into the base of the blender and on the counter.

o that black eye? nobody really knows how he got it.
so if you ever wonder why my house looks they way it does, it's because I spend all my free time cleaning up "Asher messes" ... and one might think, I should just learn how to put things away better, but there are two other little people in this house who always need me and sometimes I just need to use the bathroom! Also, just bring Asher to your house for an hour or two and he will quickly expose all your weaknesses.

Asher Chronicles

people keep telling me I need to write it down so that I don't forget...
well, here I am, writing it down...

my asher, my asher.
all the trouble in the world is wrapped up in my little Asher.
but then he looks up at you with those big brown eyes and you just want to kiss his squishy, wonderful cheeks...

he's like most boys. he climbs. for about a year, he climbed on to the top of the table EVERY.CHANCE.POSSIBLE. i think he only fell off once or twice. he also loves to climb onto the kitchen counter, the kid table in the living room, the dresser in his room, the entry table, on top of every stool and chair in sight... maybe one day he will climb mountains {figuratively or literally}

but we will start these "chronicles" with a classic "it's just too quiet"

Asher was still pretty young, and I was not quite as savvy in my "Asher-proofing."
I was upstairs getting ready for the day and they boys were downstairs playing, when I thought to myself, "They are either playing really well together- how nice! Or they are into trouble- I better go find out!" So I walk down the stairs, turn the corner into the office: Joshua is standing over Asher's head pouring black crafting paint on to his head... I look around there is paint in the carpet, on the walls, on the furniture. I walk in to their room next door, there is paint on the crib, more paint on the floor. And then poor Asher, he is literally covered in black paint. 
I don't know what to say, I just pick Asher up, tell Josh to follow and into the bath they go. 
But thank you internet, Hand Sanitizer gets acrylic paint out and off of most things. 
Lots of scrubbing later and the paint was gone. 
This was just a glimpse into my life with two small boys... 

adventure in the Windy City

adventure is good for me. good for my heart, good for my eyes, good for my marriage, good for perspective and just a fresh breath of air.

Manny, Kennedy and I had the privilege of venturing to Chicago a couple weekends ago, and my-o-my it was lovely. We stayed downtown and did all the tourist-y things:

"The Bean"

"Sears {Willis} Tower & The Skydeck" 

 "Navy Pier"
my beautiful girl 


 "Boat Tour in Lake Michigan"

"Art Institute of Chicago"

"The Wedding of Kelly & Greg"

we had such an enjoyable 4 days. and only got stuck in a rain storm once ;)
it was such a gift to travel and spend time with my love and my beautiful baby girl!
thanks for giving us an excuse to see Chicago Kelly & Greg - the wedding was lovely!