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CHRISTMAS IN SEATTLE

christmas in the city is absolutely beautiful. i love all the decorations around the city. there’s a never ending supply of christmas things to do too. i sort of wish we could keep the christmas decorations up all year.

 

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trains at the macys window. the boys loved this. all the macys windows have a different christmas theme. of course trains won them over. i loved the baking one. they were all really cool!

 

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we ice skated a few times. elle found a friend out on the ice and the two stuck together. they were so cute out there. elle was so brave and wanted to be out on her own without a walker. she did great. we ran into a few of avas school friends too and they were so sweet with elle, holding her hand around the rink and teaching her how to skate. i swear seattle is filled with the sweetest most helpful children. i feel so lucky to be raising my kids in such a great environment.

 

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we made blankets for the childrens hospital again this year. this is another tradition we all really enjoy. ava was able to help me sew them this year. i love watching her learn a new skill and she enjoys sewing so much!

 

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we stood in line for a good 2 hours to see the nordstroms santa. its a beautiful set up and santa was so sweet. but they told me the wait would be a half hour. the unlimited supply of free cookies and hot cider is so not worth it. i’ve heard that line can get up to a 7 hour wait. my kids were exhausted. we were exhausted and it was a school night. we ran over to pacific place to grab some chowder for dinner. heres a fun seattle tip for you -the famous pike place chowder down in pike place that has an hour long wait also has a location in the top of pacific place with no wait. of course its not in the market so if ambiance is your thing then maybe the wait is worth it. but if you’re just looking for a great bowl of chowder pacific place is where its at.

 

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the pacific place santa doesn’t have a line at all and comes down when the snow starts falling and the music turns on. he takes pictures with all the kids. next year i know where we will be. this was a much more enjoyable experience. seeing santa should be fun not excruciating.

 

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we went downtown for the figgy pudding christmas caroling. we had so much fun and got to sing along to all of our favorite christmas songs.

 

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the downtown sheraton puts up gingerbread houses every year. this year was star wars themed. they are really impressive. that is all candy! the detail is amazing.

 

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we opened our christmas eve jammies and the kids each exchanged their presents to each other. this year they drew names. this is the first time we let them open their gifts to each other christmas eve night and i think its a new tradition we’ll keep. it was fun for them to have something to play with the night before and it got the excitement going a day earlier.

 

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some friends invited us to light lanterns and let them go over the sound. the lanterns flying in the sky were so beautiful and the kids had so much fun holding them and getting them ready to fly.

 

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the market all lit up at christmas time. the fruit and vegetable christmas lights are my favorite.

 

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THE NUTCRACKER

the girls are both talking ballet classes this year. ava’s taken classes in the past and decided to switch over to sports. by the time we got up to seattle and settled in, the sports teams were full so she decided to try out ballet again. this is elles first year of a traditional ballet class. they both really enjoy it and i love watching them learn all the techniques. i thought the nutcracker would be a great opportunity for us to share a girls night along with something they are interested in. the performance was so beautifully put together. the ballerinas were amazing. the props blew my mind. i can’t wait to go again next year. i think we might bring the boys along too if jack seems content enough to sit through it.

 

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the pnb is a prestigious ballet school here in seattle. when we first got here i thought about signing the girls up there not knowing much about it other than that it was close to the house and they taught ballet all the way up through a professional level. well they said ava would have to audition, ha! i don’t think thats happening. she could barely remember 1st and 2nd position. i told the girls if they really love ballet and work hard they can try out next year. we found a class even closer to the house thats been great.

 

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again i realize my iPhone doesn’t take great pics. but this tree was so beautiful and massive. i had to snap a shot.

 

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we got a few photos in front of some of the props they had out. there were so many beautiful ones. they girls kept running up to the next one checking them out and wanting me to take a picture. my favorite was this one of them peaking out from under her dress.

 

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you’re not supposed to take pics while the show is going so i snapped this quick one of us in our seats before the show started. my girls! i had such a great night with them. we went to the 7pm showing and elle fell asleep at the very end. maybe a 5pm would be better next year. if you haven’t been i highly recommend going. we had the best time.

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THANKSGIVING IN ARIZONA

initially we were going to arizona for christmas but ivan ended up having to start a big job two weeks before christmas and didn’t want to stop working for vacation just after starting. so we decided to ¬†go back for thanksgiving. we needed to bring our dog pearl back to az to live with my parents. we don’t have a fenced yard and she hated the rain. it really was so sad. i’d open the door to take her for a walk, she’d poke her head out and if was raining turn right back around. she wasn’t happy here and she loves my parents and their 2 acres she can run around on. we actually got her from my parents so they are a familiar place for her. we get pictures of her from them all the time and will take her back once we have a better place for her. since we had to take her with us and she was too big to fit under our seat on the plane and i did not want to put her with the cargo, we ended up driving back. wow, that drive! its a long one. we left wednesday night after i taught a class at church. we were going to leave thursday morning but we were too excited to get there and thought we’d get a few hours out of the way. we drove straight through. stopping only a few hours to sleep in the car. we landed in phoenix friday morning. dead tired with kids who slept just fine and were ready to play! the minute we pulled up to ivan parents house we handed them the kids and crashed for 3 hours. ivan went in to work and we visited with family.

 

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ivan put this giant tv in the car ontop of the cooler so a + h could play xbox while the other two could watch the tv in the car. way to much technology happening here. typically they can only watch tv or play xbox on saturday so you can imagine how happy they were.

 

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we played at our best friends house. they have the best backyard and toys! this board was a big hit with my kids. unfortunately for them this toy is not practical for seattle! henri loves that phx shirt. its actually a phoenix marathon shirt from those same friends. she is the race director for the phoenix marathon so we are always big supporters!

 

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my sister in law braided jacks hair. ha! he’s the prettiest little boy. he hasn’t had a haircut yet and i know he needs one but we really have become so attached. with everything we’ve gone through it feels very emotional to cut his hair. we are headed to hawaii in a few weeks, i figure we’ll cut it when we get back.

 

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matta’s for lunch! we’ve really missed this place. seattle just doesn’t do mexican food like az. that sunshine too! when we left seattle it was pouring all the way to the california border. the sun felt so bright!!

 

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soda shops are popping up left and right in az. of course it makes me laugh because a soda shop wouldn’t last 2 minutes in seattle. i had to give it a try and may have stopped by a few more times after that.

 

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thanksgiving morning i ran the turkey trot 10k with my sister in laws. i haven’t run much here in seattle so it was killer. every thanksgiving ivans family hosts the child crisis center. the child crisis center is a place children can go when they have nowhere else or when they are placed in cps custody. its a temporary place while they wait to go back home or are placed in a foster home. we usually host the east valley crisis center but this year we hosted phoenix too. its such a wonderful tradition. i love watching my kids serve these beautiful children. they each get assigned a child to help get their food, make them feel comfortable and be a friend to them. of course its very emotional and we all want to take the kids home. at the end santa comes and hands out stockings full of christmas gifts. this is one of the best days of the year.

 

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i ran into target on the drive home to grab a few activities for the car. if you can believe it the kids were burned out from all the movies. i had to snap a shot. the target was massive! all on one level, no elevators or escalators. it had every food you could ever imagine down to anything you could want for your home. i love super target and its probably up there with one of the things i miss most about home.

 

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all this snow!! utah, idaho and eastern washington were covered in it. we had to drive through a pretty big snow storm in utah. that was scary! we are not used to driving in snow so of course we were scared to death. we drove about 15 miles an hour for hours. it made the drive feel like forever.

 

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did you know idaho has a grimaldi’s pizza??!! it does! we were so happy. grimaldis is a favorite and we have several locations back in az but non in seattle so this was a welcomed surprise. i actually really like idaho. its clean, beautiful and feels like a small town with some big town amenities. great shopping too!

 

going back to az felt so comfortable. we picked up right where we left off. the kids didn’t want to go back to seattle, a few tears were shed. i was nervous about coming back. i didn’t know if it would feel like home or if we’d all still be longing for az. we pulled into the city and saw all the bright lights and big buildings and it felt good, it felt like home. i breathed a sigh of relief. we were back in our house in our city.

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LIFE LATELY

 

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ivans parents came to visit and we ended up playing basketball at the WAC with the senior citizen league. i was cracking up, it was my little kids and about 10 65+ year old mens league. we don’t play basketball often and seattle doesn’t have an nba team so they never watch it. it was really funny watching them throw the ball in the air. sometime it would get close to the net and other times it would just come bouncing back down on top of their heads. lots of granny shots. they had a great time. we grabbed milk shakes in the cafe and rode the elevator up and down.

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seattle from this view isn’t one i see often but its one i do love. this city is pretty great. i love all the tall buildings and big city and if i turned over to the left you’d see the sound. the water and nature so close make it feel like like the best of both worlds.

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we tried hello robin for dessert one night. i liked it. its molly moons ice-cream between two cookies. ivan doesn’t like molly moons so he’s not a fan. i love their vanilla its not too sweet and super creamy. the cookies were delish!

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well i bit the bullet and got a van. i resisted for a long time. i convinced ivan to sell the suburban, i hadn’t drove it in months. it was way too big for the city. i couldn’t park anywhere. i felt like i was going to run into everything. i told him i’d just bus or walk. which is very do-able. and i did for over a month. until you have a kid who see’s a cardiologist over at the childrens hospital or need to take your kids to their dr. that is all the way across town. or when your friends want to meet up for dinner and you have to start asking people to pick you up. i could’ve gone carless but its just easier not to. we searched for weeks. i would not commit to the minivan. the kids were pushing hard but i wanted a cute small suv. we drove to the dealership to test drive the van. i told the kids not to get their hopes up. ultimately they won. the van had me at automatic doors. the seat warmers, the tv, the doors for heaven sakes!! no more slamming their doors into other cars. no more realizing the door is too heavy and asking me to get out, walk around the car and shut the door. plus the van feels like a car the suburban was too bulky for the city. my only question is why’d i wait so long? the van rocks!! lets be honest any shred of cool i had left when i had my 4th child. i’m a minivan mama and i like it!

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our best friends came to visit and of course i took 1 photo. whats wrong with me?!! we loved having them and showing them around our city. this picture of q and jack is so sweet.

 

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11

 

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happy birthday to my first babe! you stole my heart 11 years ago. you’re sweet and kind. funny and caring. you love animals and little kids. you’re always helpful. you love helping out and love being in charge even more. you went on your first away field trip and realized just how much you like being home. you’re so creative. you love sewing and knitting. crafting and drawing. you’re really good at them too. you read more than anyone i know. i can’t order new books as fast as you read them. you are so smart and you are mine! i know you’ll read this, you love looking back over the years on this blog and thats why i do it. for you. know that you’ve brought more joy to my life than i could’ve ever wished for. 11 of the best years of my life! love you so bad sis.

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i was sort at a loss of what to do for ava’s birthday. our house is too small to have a big party. the weather in november is unpredictable so planning a party at a park seemed like a bad idea. there aren’t many game/play places like back home. so we decided on a movie. lots of popcorn, sugary drinks and candy. we picked up as many friends as we could fit in the car, drove downtown and watched the peanuts movie. we decided to only take kids from school and her very best friend, we are working on making friends at school and thought this would be a great way to do just that. she’s got a great group of church friends. she was so sweet and invited two boys. one we found out had never been to the movies. i was so proud of ava for inviting him and another boy so he wouldn’t feel weird with all girls. she’s so thoughtful that way. he was so kind too and told us how much fun he had. after the movie i took the kids to the park and let them run around to burn off all that sugar before i took them back to their parents. in all i’d say the birthday was a success!

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HALLOWEEN

seattle has got to best the best place to trick or treat! the city is so beautiful in the fall. the trees, the cool weather the overcast skies. its all very dreamy. i’ve lost all control picking out ava’s costume but she decided on a really cute one on her own this year. of course i always want the kids to coordinate but they don’t and thats a battle i don’t care enough to win. henri had his heart set on a sumo wrestler which i thought was cute and so fitting of his personality. they got to bring their costumes to school and dress up in them the last hour of the day for their party. i showed up for his party and he told me he didnt want to put his costume on. he was worried what one boy was going to say. i mentioned it to the teacher and she gave a little speech on being respectful and kind to each other. he ended up putting it on and i was so glad he did. everyone loved his costume including the kid he was worried about. elle wanted to be anything fancy and jack didn’t care so they were frankenstein and the bride of frankenstein. i really loved their costumes!

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jacks other costume was a minion. he’s obsessed with them and calls them minyets. he wandered the streets of capitol hill as a minion.

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the kids school had a halloween bash. we all had a great time. jack figured out how to win the marshmallow eating contest.

 

 

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i really need to start using my camera. i phone pics just aren’t great. especially at night. this is the best i got of them all together. those leaves!!

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we were heading to dinner after trick or treating and stumbled into this halloween parade in freemont. police escorts shut down the street to let them pass so we got to watch the whole thing.

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jack insisted on trying on henri’s costume and he loved it!

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WEST SEATTLE

 

 

 

 

 

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we spent the day in west seattle. i haven’t spent too much time over there but the time we have has been really fun. we had lunch at husky’s deli. its a cute little convenience store/ sandwich/ ice cream shop. we grabbed sandwiches and wandered the store. that candy case is impressive. a lot of people seemed to be coming in just for the ice cream but the line was long by the time we were done eating so we thought we’d save it for another day.

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one of the most beautiful parks in the seattle area is lincoln park. its easily one of our favorite place to explore outdoors. the trees are enormous and beautiful. the colors are striking. the kids could spend all day there. henri in his socks and birks! he’s just trying to fit right in. ha! i give up trying with these kids.

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the first time we came to licoln park was on vacation in the fall and let me tell you these tree’s were the most beautiful shades of yellow. its worth spending a day in this park.

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TAPVR UPDATE

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i called our previous cardiologist that we loved back in az. dr. stock and asked him for a recommendation for a cardiologist here in seattle. he gave me the name of one he highly recommended and actually did rotations with when they were in school together. it’s a scary thing leaving a doctor you love and who knows everything about your baby. dr. stock was the first cardiologist we talked to once we got the diagnosis. he sat down and drew a picture for me of jacks heart and a healthy heart. he explained every detail of jacks surgery. he answered all my questions. we formed a bond and felt nervous moving on to a new doctor and new hospital. we thought about keeping dr. stock and making the trip back to az for check ups. we were still watching his asd and weren’t sure if it would need to be closed or close on its own. needless to say we knew we needed a doctor close to home if he did need another surgery we wanted it to be with a doctor we established care with and in a hospital here where we could be together as a family. not thousands of miles away.

we went to jacks appointment nervous. hoping his asd closed on its own but preparing that if it hadn’t this would be the time they would make the decision to close it. he did so great sitting through his ekg and ultra sound. it felt like it was dragging on forever. i laid next to him and sang songs, fed him snack and watched tv. waiting for the doctor to come in feels like torture. we met the doctor and he told us his asd closed!!! no surgery. the biggest relief ever. we go back in a year for another checkup. he’s cleared to be as active as he wants and has no restrictions. this miracle baby is one tough guy.

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NEW SCHOOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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we got an extra long summer in 2015. we ended in may back in az and seattle doesn’t start until september. the teachers ended up on strike so we got an extra 9 days of summer. we’ll make up for them over the school year and will have a shorter summer this year. we walked by the school when all the teachers were marching out front. elle’s teacher spotted us from across the road and yelled out elle. we ran over to chat with her. elle thought it was so great she saw her new teacher. thankfully everything got sorted out and we started school. the kids have really enjoyed their new school. they’ve made friends and all the families are really great.

 

 

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the first year we’ve ever worn winter clothes to school. we live close enough to walk to school. we’ve never been able to do that. it feels really nice to have that time to talk about their day with no interruptions. for some reason they start fighting in the car. the walk home is always enjoyable.

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i snapped a quick pic and sent this to my sister. this was for elle’s kindergarten class. read the last line -no weapons. i know this isn’t a joking matter and its very serious but i didn’t get that on my older kids homework. really, kindergarteners?? coming from the suburbs already worrying about raising kids in the city i saw this and was like what??? well i can now say with confidence these are the same sweet kindergarteners i saw living back in the 3rd safest city in the country.

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the girls started ballet. they are so sweet together. ava gets to help in elle’s class and she loves that. i took them to the nutcracker this year and we had a really great time. the production amazing and the dancing so beautiful.

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henri finished an entire soccer season. i felt like shouting from the roof tops “he did it” he’s never ever finished a season. two games in his asthma flares and he’s done. this year nothing! not a cough a sneeze or wheeze, nothing. i imagine if we had always lived here he wouldn’t have asthma. i want to tell all asthma sufferers if you suffer from environmental allergies and asthma (not mold, if you suffer from mold allergies this is the last place you want to live. az might be the place for you) move to seattle! your life with drastically improve. you will be able to breathe without an inhaler or steroids. i feel beyond blessed to have been able to pick up our family and make this transition. it hasn’t been easy, most days ava dreams about moving back home. but it was so worth it.

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SUMMER IN THE CITY

we made our way through every park in the city this summer. we’ve got a list of favorites now that i keep handy when we need a day out. summer in seattle is the greatest! i say this now as i sit here in a down jacket freezing in my house. gosh i’m a wimp! i give everyone a good laugh with my 3 jackets, wool socks, beanie, scarf and anything else i can get on. its that arizona blood. its been in the low 40’s and sunny this past week. so yes i know it’s not really cold. just cold for me. i sit and dream of summer. i can’t wait for more days spent in short sleeves at the park.

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we spent lots of time at the movie theater this summer. that popcorn is as big as elle! ha! waiting for the bus is always an interesting time.

 

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lots of bus rides. jack thinks its the greatest time ever. he just sprawls out on those seats like he owns the place. i’m asked daily if i’m the nanny? if all those kids are mine? if they’re biologically mine? how old am i cause i look way too young? i laugh everytime one of elle’s friends ask me if i’m her nanny. i just clarified to a group of moms at school that i am indeed the mom and not the nanny. they didn’t believe me. we really are a sight to see wandering the city. i feel like i’m herding cats. they’re starting to get the hang of it though. they now know we don’t just dart into traffic. theres no running around in the road. back home our street was quiet and you could ride your scooter around. its fun to see them all race up to the edge of the sidewalk, stop and turn around to wait for me to catch up. they are actually listening and learning something! now if i can just get them to put their dishes in the sink without me asking. i think we are getting this place down.

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i really miss the neighborhood farmers market. i think they re-open in april and we will be there! after henri’s soccer practice we’d walk over to have dinner on the lawn with the rest of the neighborhood. the kids would run around with all their friends from school. i love the sense of community in our neighborhood. we live in what feels like a small town in this big city.

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