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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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LIFE ACCORDING TO MY IPHONE

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got these new illesteva sunglasses.  i absolutely love them.

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

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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.

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

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

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elle’s date night at zin burger.

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

 

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

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elle doing ami’s makeup.

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ava, always the animal lover.

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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.

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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.

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PUERTO PENASCO MEXICO – CITY GUIDE

Family Beach Picture Rocky Point Mexico

puerto penasco is one our favorite places to visit.  i came a lot as a child and i love bringing my own family down there to the same beaches i spent my childhood on.  its changed so much since i was little. its such a small town so there are not many options for food but i wanted to share a few of our favorites.  the next time you take a trip down you should try them out.

las palomas resort and spa- this is where we always stay.  the rooms are big and there is plenty for the whole family to do.  the kids love the pool and water slide.  they have chairs and umbrellas on the beach to relax at.  they have golfing + spa’s + restaurants all right in the hotel.

taco’s el poblano- this is the first place we stop at when we get in town.  the waiter, fransisco knows us and just asks if we want the regular.  probably my very favorite meal in any city.  ivan and i get the caramelo taco’s, al pastor + cheese + guacamole + pico.  i top them with their green salsa and get a coke.  the kids get the cheese quesadilla’s and a fanta.

rosy’s- we get breakfast here.  we love the huevos rancheros and the kids get chocolate chip pancakes.

koffee hause- i get the stuffed french toast.  ivan gets the carne huevos rancheros, he says its even better than rosy’s.  the kids get the pancakes.

la curva- ivan loves the el pollo godorniz.  we love the chips they bring out before you order.  the mariachi’s sing to you at your table which the kids love.

thrifty’s ice cream- we go here after taco’s el poblano.  it’s just across the street.

max’s- i love their virgin bloody mary.  i know its an acquired taste but if you like a bloody mary they have the best i’ve ever had.

potato burritos on the beach.  also a breakfast favorite.  just wait for someone, prefferably sonya to pass by.  i like the soft and the crunchy with a side of valentina

mangos on the beach are our favorite snack.  just wait for someone to walk by selling them or there’s a stand outside las palomas resort.  i like mine with lime + chili + chamoy.  the kids like theirs with lime only.

get a pina colada in a pineapple.  you can find them off the side of the road just about anywhere.

visit choya bay mall for mexican blankets + dresses + vanilla and any sort of authentic mexican souvenir you want to bring home.  we also drive down to the fish market for fresh fish and shrimp and stop by mary’s for a shrimp cocktail.

we bring down our ranger, park our car at the condo and drive that around instead.  its a lot of fun and we can ride the sand dunes on the way into town.

on our home way we like to stop and grab tortillas in sonoyta.

 

Rocky Point Mexico

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Rocky Point Mexico

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i love when they play so much that they are this exhausted

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everyday these guys on the beach would make a sand animal and everyday henri would recreate it in a smaller version

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jack loved the mangos

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my favorite beach snack

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the left is the green salsa i love at tacos elpoblano

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al pastor at tacos el poblano

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la curva chips with sauce they give you before your meal

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jack loved the pina colada

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FLYING WITH KIDS

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we love taking our kids on vacation with us.  we want to show them as much of the world as we can.  it’s not always easy and sometimes its exhausting. but the memories are what make it all worth it.  showing them the beauty of other cities, the different cultures and foods.  hearing them talk about their favorite city or vacation, that’s what its all about.  we travel frequently with the kids and we’ve gotten pretty good at.  here are a few tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.

1. PACK LIGHT- this is key when flying.  the airport can be tricky with kids.  hauling your bags + strollers + carseats + kids into the airport, check in and the security line is difficult.  by the time you get to the plane you’re already exhausted.  our kids have gotten really good at navigating through the airport.  typically we have the kids each carry a backpack.  we love Fjallraven.  they are super light and have several different sizes so you can pick which size fits your child.  if we are taking a short trip we will pack their clothes in that bag and take 1 carry-on for everything else.  most airlines allow you to check your strollers and car seats for free.   for a longer trip we take 2 checked bags and use those backpacks to hold snacks + toys for the flight.

2. SNACKS- for those short flights i take a carry on in addition to the one full of our clothes.  usually this MZ Wallace Bag, it’s super light weight and has plenty of storage.  we pack dried fruit, nuts, granola bars and pretzels which are little to no mess and easy to eat on their own.  i also bring a few different candies or fruit snacks in case they get really fussy,  there’s nothing worse than an inconsolable child and ours are usually happy to have a treat.  for longer flights i let them keep their snacks in their backpack and get them out as they choose.

3. BE PREPARED- make sure everyone uses the bathroom and has a fresh diaper before you take off.  we typically take everyone to the restroom when we get to the airport and then again 5 minutes before boarding.  we also eat at the airport, most airports have good restaurants and this ensures they don’t eat every snack they have before take off and are hungry the rest of the flight.  we also grab a few water bottles to take on the plane.  the drinks they give on flight can be difficult trying to keep little one from spilling them on their tray tables.

4. TECHNOLOGY- we limit screen time at home so when we travel our kids are thrilled to play on the iPad or their Nintendo 3DS. we don’t let them play until we are well into the flight and they are starting to get antsy.  this will hold them over until we land.

5. TOYS + BOOKS- we always buy one new toy and stick it in their bag so they are surprised when they get on the plane.  something small like play doh or a drawing set.  paper and a pencil for tic tac toe or hangman.  we also really like Where’s Waldo and Seek and Find books.

6. TICKETS- designate one person to be in charge of tickets + licenses + birth certificates.  i put them all in a large Ziploc and stick it in my carry on.  that way we aren’t digging through our wallets and bags trying to find them all.  make sure you’ve printed your tickets ahead of time.

if you have a baby on flight with you make sure you nurse/bottle feed them while you are taking off and landing this will help their ears adjust and if you’re lucky they’ll fall asleep.

the last piece of advice i can offer is do NOT pre-board.  i know its tempting to be first in line but that just means sitting in a small confined space longer.  we board last.  let the kids get their energy out before getting on the plane.

happy flying.  its never fun but we always get compliments telling us how well behaved our children are on the flight.  i attribute this to being well prepared.

 

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CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS 2014

it was a christmas miracle, we actual stayed in town this year.  it’s the one holiday i want to make sure we wake up to at home.  we’ve traveled for christmas and its just not the same.  christmas is also henri’s birthday and we’ve tried to make christmas day more about him and less about christmas but it doesn’t work out.  i’m still working out the kinks on how to celebrate the two events.  so far i haven’t found a good solution.  i’m still trying.  we took the train to the polar express.  we go every year and we all love it.  this year we took the 3:30 train and i don’t advise it.  the sun was blazing through the window the entire time and it just wasn’t as magical.  jack didn’t nap that day either so that contributed to the chaos. i like it much better when its completely dark outside.


annual christmas jammie’s

the train.
that face.  she’s the sweetest.  i have so much anxiety about her starting kindergarten next year.  its gonna be hard.
jack has a love hate relationship with trains.  he loves to watch them on t.v. he loves to talk about them. he even loves to ride on them.  but the one that we can hear from our house scares him to death.  if he’s outside and hears it he will come screaming in the house.  last time he tripped on his way in and was crawling through the door in tears.  or he’ll stop where he’s at drop to the floor, curl up and cry.  its pretty sad and a tiny bit comical too.
gosh these kids are getting big.  i don’t like it one bit.
ivans christmas gift.  a ranger, its become more of my daily driver.  i think i’ll get a scooter once my kids are grown.  really i hate having a big bulky suv.
we went to a cabin with friends a few weeks before christmas and honestly i think this was the first time i had seen snow fall. actually fall and build up.  not just melt off.  the kids loved every minute.
ava had her christmas concert.  to celebrate we got donuts.
henri’s concert was during school hours so i got him all dressed up before school only to have his teacher call me and tell me i was a day early.  he was not happy to wear “church” clothes all day.  i think i gave him so much anxiety making him spread his nervousness over the course of two days that he called me to get him early on the actual day.  complaining of not feeling well. oh well, theres always next year.  now if i can just get the day right.
we spent new years eve in mexico.  that doesn’t really count as a holiday, right?  so only not real holidays can be spent out of town.  real holidays we have to be home.  thats what i’ll tell the kids so i can get in a few extra vacations.
we sewed blankets to bring down to the hospital.  i  love getting the kids involved with these kinds of projects.  pch will always be our hospital.  i hope to teach the kids how much pch means to our family so they can carry on these traditions with their own.
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SEATTLE+CANADA FOR THANKSGIVING

at our new school we don’t get the usual october break.  instead we get 2 days off in october and an entire week off for thanksgiving.  great for people who have family in other states to travel to for the holidays.  not so great for those of us who love to travel but don’t love to miss holidays with our family here in az.  we decided to ditch out on thanksgiving and head up to seattle.  we were in mexico for halloween.  i don’t suggest missing both holidays.  the kids had fun while we were gone and when we got home they all said ok we are ready for halloween or thanksgiving and i felt pretty bad telling them we weren’t celebrating.  anyways we did have so much fun in seattle and decided to head up to vancouver too.  i highly suggest you go if you haven’t been.  its beautiful.  so so clean.  the air is clean the streets are clean.  and the people are just really cool.  really its one of my top favorite cities.
of course the day we landed it rained.  hard.  the next day we woke up elle was swollen and had a rash everywhere.  oh no biggie it was just scarlet fever.  what?!  who gets scarlet fever?  she got on antibiotics and they kicked in right away.  she was a new woman by the next morning.  oh and the others had strep, so antibiotics all around.
we tried japa-dog.  i do not recommend it!  now i was told it was gross but then the reviews! the reviews are sooo good i had to try it anyways.  so i did and we all regretted it.  the hot dog, especially the pork is so fatty and the dogs are thick and too meaty like a bratwurst.  the worst part is the seaweed on top.  it tastes like a fish hotdog.  $30 later and 4 un-eaten hotdogs i advise you not to go or if you really really want to get one hot dog share it, throw it out after you taste it and call me so we can laugh at how bad it is.  its that bad.  sorry for the rant.  on to the next.  these boys are the cutest.  this is probably what spread the strep throat.  weird thing about my kids and strep, they don’t show any symptoms.  no fever no soar throat no aches, pains.  nothing.  just tiny little red dots on their face and only like one or two.  its weird.
the fish and chips we ate at a small restaurant i think it was in port angeles.  you know when you bring your kids into a restaurant and they seat you next to the older couple who doesn’t have kids with them and you want to crawl under the table and hide cause your kids are noisy and your baby is trying to crawl on the table.  well that was us.  i didn’t even want to make eye contact with the people next to us in this tiny restaurant.  they finished before us and walked out, we never exchanged words.  and then when ivan went to pay they had already payed our bill and left a 50% tip.  i was so shocked and surprised i wanted to cry.  i wondered had they once been us?  the noisy kids and now some 50 years later their kids are grown and the chaos is a little remembrance of those days.  such nice people in this world, that do generous things wanting nothing in return.  no pat on the back. no thank you. nothing.  i think about those people often and how someone you don’t know can touch your life so much.
all those feet in that picture.  they’re all mine.  that puts a smile on my face.




elle’s swollen face.  that poor girl is a trooper and i mean it.  barely complains, always smiles and has a great attitude.  i think we could all learn a little something from her.  henri braided my hair while we sat at urgent care.  boredom does strange things to you.  the cobblestone streets and brownstones in vancouver are real good. funny and really really gross.  the kids rode their first ferry.
pukers in the front non pukers in the back

 there’s my city.  really there are only two cities that make my heart swell.  seattle and san fran.  those both hold so many special memories.  and lets be honest both are totally rad and i could live in either in a heart beat.

a laughable attempt at taking your own family pictures
the glamorous side of traveling.  this makes me laugh cause this is so true.  behind all the fun and great pictures for the album is this.  tired exhausted and way too much luggage.  how do we manage to get all this from the car into the airport?  i still don’t know.

and el charro.  this seems to be a running theme with us and traveling.  we land and head straight to el charro.  we typically do not eat mexican food when we travel.  unless of course we are in mexico.  then its tacos el poblano for every single meal.  anywhere else we skip it.  i know it will never be as good as what we have in arizona.  el charro after you land is always a good idea, i think i’ll keep the tradition.

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SUNDAY

i saw these little tassel door hangers online and have been wanting to make them.  they’re a great project to work on with the kids.  these might be taking over my house soon.

 

i sewed a million pillows.  alright not a million but 12.  once i started i couldn’t stop until every pillow had a new cover on it.  guess i was feeling extra crafty today.
ivan made some jalapeño cheese bread.  dang it, is that stuff good!  we gave a loaf to the neighbors so we didn’t eat it all.
look at all that cheese!!  i love cheese.tacos for dinner because we eat tacos for dinner at least once a week.  i told you we eat too much mexican food.

and then we played in the backyard because we could.  because the weather wasn’t too awful and the kids especially jack loves being outside.  look at jacks pink big toe.  i painted elle’s nails and he wanted some too.  so he got one toenail.  the big toe no less.

and this right here is why sundays are so good.  our church time is good right now too.  so im enjoying it until they switch us.  i can’t wait for the weather to change and the holidays to come.  please tell me i’m not the only one planing halloween costumes.

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