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.





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.





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





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.






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.






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.



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!



ava has really taken an interest in cooking. she especially loves it when i let her make a recipe all by herself. she recently learned how to use the stove and is very cautious. we have gas so i explained to her that she has to keep her hair + clothes away from the open flame. i’m so proud of the young lady she is becoming. my mom did such a good job of teaching us how to cook + clean. if you read this post then you know we started at a young age. i feel i would be doing ava a disservice if i didn’t teach her all the things i want her to know before i send her off into the real world. she doesn’t have near the amount of chores i did but she is starting to cook, clean and sew. she helps me out so much and i enjoy these teachable moments. hands on is the best way for her to learn. so the other day when she asked me if she could make something i new this salad would be perfect for her. its easy and really delicious.









strawberry spinach salad

1 bag spinach

1/2 pint strawberries, sliced

1/8 red onion, sliced thin

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. sugar

put spinach, sliced strawberries and onion in a bowl. in a sauce pan on low-med heat cook almonds + butter + sugar until almonds are browned, careful not to burn them. when they are browned pour them onto wax paper to cool. once cooled break almonds into pieces and add to salad. feta would be great on here too. add dressing right before serving.


1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

this dressing is great for all different salads. this recipe makes a lot and it stores well in the pantry. i like to keep it on hand and use it in place of tradition ranch or italian.






got these new illesteva sunglasses.  i absolutely love them.


initially the chickens made her really nervous.  now i see her out there holding them, petting them.  its really sweet.


our neighbor gave us goose eggs to paint for easter.  if you haven’t seen one in person they’re huge and heavy.  the kids had a lot of fun drawing on them.  they ate them too and said they were good.  i’ll take their word for it.


jack loves watching kinder egg videos on youtube.  its becoming and obsession.


cheering ava on at tennis.  he just yells hi ava the whole time.  its really cute.


it was all fun and games letting jack crash into them with the baby doll stroller until henri got it good.  that’ll teach ya!


ironically we didn’t have church on easter we watched it on tv.  so this was our week before easter church picture.  minus new easter outfits.

IMG_5076 IMG_4722

he’s finally starting to pretend play.  i love watching his imagination grow.


i love this swing in the yard.  so does jack.


elle’s date night at zin burger.


catching up on missed homework from being in mexico.  neither one of us was very thrilled.



we had cousins in town for easter.  jack and amelie on the piano.


elle doing ami’s makeup.


ava, always the animal lover.


date night with ava, i love that she still loves little girl things.  i know these days are numbered so ill take as many as i can get.


would you believe me if i told you we are finally celebrating henri’s birthday.  only 4 months later.  christmas day is just a hard day to have a birthday.  anyone else with a christmas birthday out there have any advice for me?  im struggling.



Ava,  You are growing up so fast.  You turned 9 in the blink of an eye.   I think back to being in the hospital after having you.  20 years old, clueless and in love.  So in love with you.  You made me a momma.  We’ve grown up together.  You are strong willed and can test my patience.  You are kind and have the biggest heart.  You are wise beyond your years, understanding and caring.   You love animals and we’d have a farm if I let you.  You are outgoing and life is a party.  You are innocent and still my little girl.   You are brilliant and things just come natural to you.  You have a strong testimony of your Heavenly Father.  You are so good to your brothers and sister.   You are my best friend.   You are beautiful.  I love watching you grow into a beautiful young lady.   I love you so bad.

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