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AZ TO CA

we headed out on our adventure today. we hung out on the porch at my parents house this morning. talking + laughing. the kids ran around the yard + road their bikes. we ate lunch and packed up. the suburban is packed to the brim. i actually had to repack is at my parents and toss a few things. california is typically a 5 1/2 hour drive for us but since we were in the mountains staying with my parents it added on another 1 1/2. there was a terrible accident on the one road coming into town, they blocked the whole road off and made us detour. so that added even more time.

 

we left around noon. my mom made us lunch. we filled our bellies and headed out. jack was pretty good initially. then nap time hit. i always nap him at the same time everyday. in his bed with his blanket tucked underneath him. he’s a creature of habit so sleeping in the car is not something he is happy doing. we stopped after about 4 hours of driving for a snack and to stretch out. we thought surely he’d go to sleep but nope. he didn’t fall asleep until around 5. i knew he would never go to bed at a decent hour but i’ll take any peace + quiet in the car i can take. the other kids did great. they always do.

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we made it into town around 8. yep 8 hours in the car!!! we rolled down the windows and let the cool air blow in our faces. our first stop was Ajisen Ramen. one of our favorite places and certainly our favorite ramen spot. we’ve tried other places in seattle + canada but nothing compares. we love the spicy pork ramen. they kids like the regular pork ramen. i like that they are adventurous with food. especially jack lately. we walked over to 85c for our dessert but they were out of our favorite pastry. i wish i knew what it was called. i’ll check next time we go. its a soft circle bread looking pastry filled with cream. its so so good!

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we are in southern california for the next few days. we aren’t sure how long. the first thing out of avas mouth was “lets live here!” i said well we could. because really we have no plans. we are just winging it day by day. i know this is the only time in our life we will be able to just drive until we love a place enough to stay. we are also trying to decide where to spend the 4th of july. i hear san fran has a pretty fantastic fireworks show. portland and seattle have great shows too.

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NEXT STOP O.C.

wow these last few weeks have been tough. exhausting to say the least. ivan has been so busy finishing up work projects. he would leave before the kids woke and get home after they were in bed. it was really hard on all of us. on top of that i was left to pack the house. my fuse has been short. making my anxiety + stress levels sky rocketing! we finally got packed up and the house is sold. we left all the furniture + rugs + art + towels + beds + sheets. pretty much everything we own. we took our personal belonging and the items in the kitchen. you would think that would make moving a breeze but nope. i still did all the packing you normally do, just didn’t move the big stuff. my life is in a 14 foot trailer in storage right now.

 

we are making our rounds, saying goodbye to family. my sisters little boy was sick friday so we had to skip saying goodbye to them. luckily i saw her earlier in the week. we spent the night at ivans parents friday night. lots of swimming + laughing. we ate our favorite mexican food for dinner. seattle just doesn’t do mexican food like az does. we got to say good bye to a few of our greatest friends and then headed up to pine to stay the night with my parents. its all very bitter sweet. its so hard saying goodbye. az has always been home and always will be. at the same time we are ready for a new adventure and even more ready to see if our baby can grow out of his asthma. its hotter than heck in phoenix right now making it all the easier to go. the weather in pine is pretty great. i’m sitting in bed listen to an amazing thunder storm.

 

next stop is my sister’s in orange county. we can’t wait to see them. spend a few days on the beach with cousins. eat some of our favorite foods and RELAX. heaven knows we are beat! i’m so lucky to have such an awesome husband who works so hard for our family. who is up for an adventure and helps me stay positive when i ask him if we are totally nuts.

 

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we purged a lot of toys. i don’t even know where these all were! i swear toys were multiplying.

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this pretty much sums up my life. all those boxes. everything i own, right there!

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i had a hard time driving away. i was so rushed trying to get everything moved  + cleaned. i didn’t have time to be sad. i was even rushing to an appointment as i drove off with a trailer hooked up to my car. i hopped out and got one last picture. i love that farm. i love the cement we put our hand prints in. i love the tree ivan carved our initials in. in my heart that will always be my farm. i hope the new owners love it as much as we did.

 

 

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LOCAL PIZZA -AZ.

we love pizza at our house.  we eat it all too often.  i love making pizza at home and recently shared our very favorite recipe here.  although some nights its just easier to order in.  here are a few of our favorite pizza joints.

 

grimaldi’s- is our favorite.  we love the pepperoni.  the pesto is really good too.  we get either the house salad or caprese. they don’t deliver, so pick up or dine in.

 

brooklyn v’s- this is the pizza we order in most.  closest to a ny slice that i’ve found in az.

 

sal’s gilbert pizza- garlic knots with cheese + antipasto salad + pepperoni pizza + chocolate dipped cannoli.  the italian sub is good too. it can get pretty busy. the kids like to go here for their date night and sit at the bar.

 

barros- who doesn’t like barros?!  we get a pepperoni pizza and a salad + olives. the kids and i like the cheese sticks (like a sauce-less pizza).

 

casanova brothers- we ate here a lot more before we found brooklyn v’s. the nicest owners from NYC. a great laid back place to take the kids and enjoy and easy night out.

 

lgo- all of their pizzas are great. the wings are even better.

 

slices- on mill or tempe market place. my favorite is the chicken pesto. ivan gets the bbq chicken or pepperoni.

 

anywhere you recommend? we don’t love spinato’s, the sauce is too sweet although i know a lot of people do. i grew up on red devil in phoenix. we don’t eat it often anymore. i know a lot of people in mesa like vito’s.

 

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LIFE LATELY + THOUGHTS ON THINGS

we’ve been swimming a lot lately. its the only way to stay sane when its 115. yep thats right 115 degree’s. we had the best spring/summer until last week and them bam just like that hotter than heck! so we spend our days hopping from pool to pool trying to stay alive. we don’t have a pool so anytime we get invited to swim we go!

 

i started this week off packing. my mom came over and helped me. at one point i looked up at her, standing there in my kids room and it hit me like a ton of bricks. i’m moving. i’m leaving home. this is it. moving away from my family, the only place i’ve ever known. its all very bittersweet. i have a love hate relationship with arizona. i love that its home. i know these streets like the back of my hand. its comfortable in a good way. all of our family is here except my sister in california and i always dream she’d move back. you hear me andrea!! come back to me! we have the best mexican food this side of the border and i know where to find it. we have great food in general. on the other hand the summers are brutal. like so brutal. 115 is the norm. sometimes hotter and it goes on and on. the nights are so hot. the asthma, oh the asthma. i sometimes feel like i can’t take another minute of the coughing. seeing my baby suffer. it breaks my heart. standing there with my mom it all became very real.

 

then i stopped packing. our close date is all over the place and its not going to be as soon as we had thought. so i decided to enjoy our last few days/weeks here at home. tuesday was ivan’s birthday. he worked, he’s so so busy. we met friends at a play place in the morning. the kids got some energy out and i got to laugh with great girlfriends. i grabbed ivan for lunch. mexican food per usual. we took the kids to our favorite sushi joint for dinner. we sat at the bar so the kids could watch them make our rolls and chatted with the owner about our moving plans. we had ice cream cake at home. i’m documenting that june 16 2015 i made ivan an ice cream cake for his birthday. his mom made him one every year growing up and i’ve slacked on keep up with the tradition. every birthday he jokingly says to me maybe i’ll get an ice cream cake next year. we laugh and i say but i don’t like ice cream. this year i did it! ice cream cake for everyone. wednesday we went swimming at my sister-inlaws parents house. the kids love her i love her. her family is great. her other nephews and nieces were there too. the kids had tons of fun playing games in the pool + eating popsicles + jumping on the trampoline. thursday we had lunch with my mom then went to my best friends house to swim. theres something so nice about a friend that is like a sister. comfortable + effortless, we can sit and laugh, chatting about nothing. gosh we will miss so many great families here!

 

i’ve been house hunting on the computer. i love having a small space and am contemplating a 2 bedroom. when i say that out loud it sounds crazy!! it probably is. i want a change of pace, city life sounds like a fun adventure. we are leaving all of our belongings with this house. including tv’s. i don’t think i want to buy another. i hope we spend our days outside. seattle has some great walkable neighborhoods. i’ve also been tossing around the idea of selling my car and getting a bucket bike. maybe one of those madsen cycles. you know, pile the kids in and pedal. depending on our proximity to school’s and store’s. oh and those hills, those can be killer. but i think it could work.

 

another thought i’ve had is homeschooling. anyone doing it? any tips for me? i love the idea of being so involved in their learning. getting out in nature + experiencing those teachable moments as a family. i worry if i am capable. i know it isn’t easy. the idea of taking the best of montessori + traditional + public school curriculum and rolling it all into one seems perfect for our family. just something i’m tossing around.

 

i guess we’ll figure it all out once we get there. for now i have to pack. we should close early next week. we have to stay a little while so ivan can finish up work. we will stay with friends + family. whoever will have us. preferably someone with a pool. only kidding. but really, say our goodbye’s. if he has to work too long the kids and i might venture over to california, spend our days on the beach until ivan finishes up here in az. we are going to be homeless. i say that with a smile and a laugh and i keep getting the “are you serious? oh i could never do that.” then i say  “whats the worst that can happen?” if we hate it we come home, right? if henri is still sick then we tried our best. we did everything we could. how can you regret that? here’s to an adventure. follow along. i think its gonna be good.

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PACKING + BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

i started packing yesterday. my mom came over and we went through toys + clothes. getting rid of stuff. deciding what to pack and bring up once we are settled and what to take in the car with us on our journey. we sold our house furnished so in my mind i thought this will be easy. but you know how you start packing and after hours you realize you haven’t made a dent. thats where i’m at. four kids equals a lot of toys + books + clothes + jackets + shoes. along with dishes and all the little things. needless to say i probably should have started last week. last night we decided to take a break from packing and went to the grand opening of fat cats. we bowled, played arcade games, ate yummy pizza and celebrated ivan’s birthday with cupcakes! it was elle + jack’s first time bowling. elle loved it and jack was scared to death of the strobe lights. elle kept saying how much fun she was having and that she wanted to have her birthday party there. we bowled in the dark and now i’m wishing i had brought a camera instead of my phone to capture all the fun. we’ve been so busy with packing and work lately, it was so nice to forget about everything and just have fun. ivan and i both said how we had the best time we’ve had in a while. it was great for all ages which can sometimes be hard having a 10 down to 2 year old. usually activities don’t cater to everyone but this one did. they have a pizza place inside that was so good. like really good, i’d go back just for the margherita pizza. they also have a movie theater and golfing. we didn’t make our way to either but the golfing was glow in the dark and we promised the kids next time we’ll give it a try.

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ava got the first strike. that’s my girl!

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henri ended up beating all of us. i had the lowest score. i think i can count on one hand how many times i’ve been bowling.

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henri’s always my biggest cheerleader. i’ve never met a sweeter boy in my life. he gave me the biggest hug when i got a strike.

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look at that form. ivan was taking bowling very serious.

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porter’s + huntington’s.  big thanks to the porters for such a fun night and doing such a great job with fat cats. i lucked out with the best sister in-law and her fun family.

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so proud of you elle! i really love seeing her try new things. her love for life is the best. always happy always laughing. i hope she always stays that way.

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jack gave it a go and then the lights starting moving and shinning all over the ground and he freaked out. yep thats a man bun on jack. i think he looks dang cute with it too.

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MOVING ON

i’ve been debating on the timing of writing this for a while now. thinking of where to even begin. so i’ll start all the way back. we always talk about moving to another state. i mean always. i’m more of a fantasizer and ivan’s more of a realist. every vacation we take i’m weighing whether we could live there or not. doesn’t matter where it is. i start picking out my favorite neighborhood and how i could walk to the store and look how cute that school is. i just really enjoy day dreaming and ivan likes to bring me back down to earth. he always jokes that if i married someone like myself we’d be homeless. he’s my voice of reason.  right before we bought the farm i told him this is our chance to move if we want to take it. we could buy the farm or we could move out of state. he pushed for buying the farm and i resigned to living in az forever and truth be told i was happy with that.

 

a few months back after the longest hardest winter henri has had with his asthma, ivan said to me we have to move. now i’m thinking he’s joking. i’ve said lets move a million and one times and he always reigns me in and goes over all the reasons we can’t. so i said really??? he said yes, he went over how he couldn’t forgive himself if henri had life long asthma and he could have somehow prevented it. herni’s asthma has been no joke this year. he’s been on more antibiotic + steroids + nasal sprays + saline solutions + allergy pills + inhalers + essential oils + vapor rubs + cough drops (did i forget anything???) than you can imagine. none of them have worked. we try every preventative medicine we can to keep it from turning into an antibiotic + steroid situation but we still keep going there. within a week of getting off the antibiotics + steroids he starts coughing again which then turns into fevers and a rattling chest. the coughing is a enough to make you mad. its all day and allll night. no one sleeps. his allergy dr. said to me right now this is childhood asthma and he can grow out of it but if he keeps having this many episodes it will be life long.

 

a little bit about henri’s asthma- its triggered by allergies and sickness. he also has cough variant asthma so its a constant cough. its been so bad he couldn’t even talk, he would start coughing even trying to get words out. he gets fevers from it. he feels down and out. he can’t play grass sports. he can’t play on a slip and slide or in wet grass. he can’t be outside when the weather does its random spikes + drops or windy days or those health advisory days. he can’t be around a camp fire. he can’t go outside if anyone on the whole street is mowing. its exhausting and sometime i let my guard down and let him play in the irrigation and then boy do we pay for it. his asthma affects every aspect of his life and ours too. its difficult to watch your baby suffer constantly. i’ve gone back and forth with his allergy dr. and we’ve both come to the agreement this is a bad place for henri to live. az used to be the best place for asthma suffers. back when it was a dessert. then everyone decided to bring their nice pretty flowers and plants and this dry air just blows the pollen all around. that combined with the over population and topography of this valley. its a disaster for asthma + allergy suffers. we bloom year round. if magically we get a freeze and everything dies we are still dealing with sicknesses which triggers his asthma.

 

we had been going back and forth with the idea of moving when one night we ran into some friends at our favorite sushi joint.  they said they wanted to bring their brother over to see our house. they were looking for something just like our house. we looked at each other and i said do they want our house? they didn’t end up buying our house but that set the whole thing in motion. we listed it and got a buyer right away. we love the family buying the house which makes it so much easier. they love everything about the house and are even buying our furniture!! i have to admit i did cry my eyes out when they sent in the offer. this was supposed to be the house i raised my kids in. but having an awesome family who can appreciate all the love and handwork we put into this place makes it easier. that and all the coughing. i know this is whats right for our family. i know i can’t continue to keep medicating henri with no relief from his symptoms. he is allergic to every tree on our property + the animals around us + the grass. we’ve made great memories here. i loved remodeling this house. i’d do it again in a heartbeat. i’m also excited for this next chapter.

 

so whats next?? i get asked this daily. well we don’t really know. how fun is that? i’ve let myself get wrapped up in the nonsense i get for moving the kids. after talking with a friend who travels/moves a lot with kids it made me realize we are all just doing the best we can and what works for one family doesn’t work for another. this works for us. my kids are happy + well adjusted. they love traveling. they love adventure. they have an amazing relationship with each other and with us. henri’s health is what is most important to all of us. we are trying to decide our next step. we want a vacation or fun adventure before we settle into our new life. do we travel up the coast, go to our favorite cities along the way and end up seattle? do we go the opposite direction and head towards the east coast then up to boston and back west? (thats a lot of car time) do we just go to hawaii? for a week or a month?? maybe for good. (my hang up with hawaii is the lack of good healthcare and schooling. i need a good pediatric cardiologist) we need to be on the water. humidity is so good for henri. north carolina? boston? oregon or seattle?? we are lucky enough to be able to pick any city and go. so for now we wait for this house to close and then we are off. any ideas, thoughts or advice is welcome. where would you go? we want an adventure but need to be near a city (doctors for both jack and henri) the ocean or water for the humidity and a great community for families.

i figure this is a once in a lifetime chance. we won’t have much for belongings. we are sort of free of any baggage. i live for this kind of freedom. i can’t wait for henri to be able to breathe without inhalers + medicine. i love a good adventure and can’t wait to start this one. stay tuned!

 

lots of good memories made in this house

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WEEKENDS ON THE FARM

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these sunflowers sprouted up in the yard.  such a bright yellow, i love the color in the yard.

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this swing is the best investment we’ve ever made.

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the chickens are back to laying eggs. did you know they don’t lay during the winter unless you put a light in their coop?  they need a certain amount of daylight to lay.  we gave them the winter off.  we sure are happy they’re back in business.

 

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i finally convinced ivan to take me to lunch at 4pm on saturday.  i was starved and this burger always hits the spot

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we have all been staying up way too late and sleeping in even later.  i really really like these lazy morning and this cute face snuggling up in my bed.

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sharing chocolate milk.

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pancakes on repeat every morning.  jack always has us all laughing.

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who knew chickens could be such loving animals.  our girls are the sweetest.

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jack pushes the stool up to the window and just stares outside.  he gets so excited if a car drives by.

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“hey guys smile”

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that face.  i sometimes think about how awful it would be to not know this face.  this personality.  this jack.

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and this sweet face.  man i’m lucky

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a sunday morning spent in your pj’s and robe is a sunday well spent.

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END OF SCHOOL 2015

another school year has come and gone.  i can’t believe it flew by so fast.  doesn’t it seem like the years are just flying by?  they say with kids the days are long and the years are short. aint that the truth.  elle graduated from preschool this week and my heart has been very heavy.  she’s so easy and good.  i love having her home with me.  jack can be hard and wild.  she’s a breath of fresh air.  theres this strange shift in my family, we are going from that young family with all the little ones to having older kids who are self sufficient.  you don’t realize how much you love those crazy chaotic times until you see them slowly slipping away.  its still crazy around here and they aren’t big yet.  but i see their independence coming in strong and some of them don’t need me like they used to.  this whole mothering business is the best thing in the whole world.  its what i was made for.  i could hold a baby in my arms for the rest of my life.  i’m not that mom who’s kicking them out the door shouting my independence from the roof tops.  i’m that mom crying at preschool graduation knowing i’ve only got one more of these graduations left.  its all so bittersweet.  watching them grow is amazing.  so while i can’t believe another school year is behind us i am so excited for summer break.  i can’t wait to stay up late watching movies + sleep in even later, drag our blankets to the couch and lay around because we have nowhere to be.  i don’t sign my kids up for any activities during summer.  they are all mine.  we’ve got some really fun adventures coming.  ill get into more of those later once they’re set in stone.  but lets just say for now its gonna be good.

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we’ve been picking our neighbors apricots and peaches every night on our evening walks and eating them on the way home.  they are tiny and perfectly sweet.

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we really love tractors + trucks.  jack looks so cute pretending he’s reading.

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heading out to look at the animals around the neighborhood.  our favorite right now is the emu.

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“here chicky’s, come eat it” feeding the chicks some breakfast

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jack is happiest when we are down on the floor at his level.  so we spend a lot of time on the ground.

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ava did elle’s hair in a bunch of braids before bed.  elle loved it so much she slept in them and wore them to school the next day.  theres nothing i love more than seeing my kids doing nice things for each other.

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jacks first real dose of hard rain.  he just sat there staring out the window.  i haven’t heard it rain that hard in years and then in the blink of an eye it was gone and the sun was shining.  thats az for you.

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SATURDAY CHORES + FARMERS MARKET

we went to the gilbert farmers market this morning.  i love showing the kids what fruits and vegetables look like fresh out of the ground.  carrots aren’t always perfectly straight and tomatoes aren’t always perfectly round.  they had a lot of fun checking out all the booths.

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i had no clue that artichokes bloomed into beautiful flowers.  the color was so vibrant.  the nice lady at the market said if you don’t pick the artichoke it will bloom into this amazing flower, once they bloom they’re no longer edible.

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after chores were done we decided to get a pretzel at qt.  i don’t typically eat gas station food.  as in i never ever eat gas station food.  except for pretzels at qt.  did you even know they have pretzels?  i didn’t until this past week when ivan got me one.  they’re delicious and the machine you order them on is so fun for the kids.  you can pick flavor, butter + salt, cinnamon sugar and a few others and then pick your dipping sauce.  a little bribery helps make chores a little more enjoyable and qt pretzels make us all happy.

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we ended the night with dinner at houstons.  i can never decide between the french dip and the cheeseburger.  i got the french dip.  you can’t go wrong either way.  the ice-cream sundae really made my night!

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MOTHERS DAY WEEKEND

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we’ve been doing a lot of ring around the rosy or as jack calls it “raisin” “raisin, mama. raisin”

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ivan took me out for a sushi date so naturally we had to bring the kids a few rolls home.  i’m so happy when they are adventurous with food.

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henri lost another tooth.  ava did too but somehow i missed taking a picture.  the tooth fairy was busy at our house all weekend.

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we went up to pine for mothers day.  this is my dad pushing my nephew and niece on the swings.  this picture makes me so happy.

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i love jacks imagination.  we stopped at one of ivan’s jobs saturday morning on our way to breakfast.  jack and i played in the grass out front.  he loves this truck he got for his birthday.  he had to drive it through the big grass.

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jack loves the new baby chicks.  they’re so cute and he’s so cute with them.  “here baby chicks. you hungry”  they all follow him and he gives them food.

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i love mothers day cards from the kids.  i love hearing how old they think i am + what my favorite things are.  it really is the best part of mothers day.

 

i hope all you mama’s out there had a great mothers day.  i know mine was just perfect.  i seem to only have pictures of jack.  i really need to work on that.  typically its the last child that doesn’t have baby pictures or at least that was the case for me growing up.  i don’t know what i looked like until kindergarten.  not over here, jacks hogging up the camera.  really he’s always by my side while the others are off playing.  i can’t wait for school to end and to have all my babes with me.  less than a week and a half, i’m ready and so are they.

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