If you made it through part one of 2018 and came back for more, you really are a good friend! So here’s the rest of the year in a snippet, and be prepared for pictures, a whole lot of pictures.
July is a continuation of all things summer. Trying to enjoy the sunshine as much as possible before darkness sets in. Trying to enjoy the out of doors, from our newly planted back yard (once the huzband allowed us to step on it) to the Alaskan back yard. Trying to tackle as many home projects as we could while the sun and weather permitted; we were in full blown home project mode (and by we, I really mean the huzband).
This month did hold a few highlights. The first would be when I had my first overnight trip away from my baby!! (And by baby, I mean actual baby, not the huzband.) I went on a girls trip out to a remote cabin that is located in the Alaskan back country. This wasn’t a ‘let’s get our nails done, go shopping and soak up the sun’ kind of girls trip. It was a trek through marsh, high bush, mosquitos, carrying 30ish pounds on your back, don’t walk to the bathroom without your firearm in case of bears kind of girls trip. We were gone two nights and hiked over twelve miles total. It was glorious! (Technically, this was my third trip out to this cabin, but my first girls trip out with some extra hiking.)
Another highlight is when the huzband and our oldest flew down to Washington, where we purchased a used car (to replace our jeep that had died), and road tripped it back to Alaska. It was a fast and furious trip but they had a ton of fun! The final highlight was at the end of July when my parents arrived from the east coast to spend the next almost six weeks with us! There is a whole lot more summer to be had!
the Colombian carpenter
hiking with Mike (it was his cabin we hiked out to)
crossing the bridge on the way to the cabin
there is always a lesson to be learned on the trail with Mike
first glimpse of the cabin
grown men have cried on Mike’s hikes; what can I saw, we awesome!
the huzband and V in Canada on their fast and furious road trip
Rose and Doodad enjoying some chips
August is another birthday month around here! Both myself and my mom have August birthdays and only a week apart. My mom and I don’t get to celebrate our birthdays together very often but this year we did! I was even extra adult like, taking my mom out for her special day, taking her shopping (she is an honorary Alaska chic and therefore needed her own sweatshirt) and treating her to lunch. A rare grown up moment for me!
The huzband took some vacation time this month so we did a little Alaskan fun, fishing at a friends home and visiting Homer for a few days! My dad also earned a whole lot of grandparent points by accompanying the girls and I to the Alaska State Fair!! Hey, rallying kids amongst the mobs, overpriced food, face painting and crazy hair designs, carnival games, rides, potty breaks and diaper changes, overstimulation and a whole lot of walking is no easy task when kids are involved! Doodad definitely earned a big fat gold star!!
Oh, and how can we forget that school started this month. I am never quite ready for the start of school; I always want just a few more weeks of summer fun with my kids
the birthday girls
hanging out in Homer
fishing with the master himself, Ray
the huzband went on a bear hunt
Doodad braving the fair with us girls
this is our last and most recent family photo
many a bonfire and roasted marshmellow was enjoyed over the summer
We bid farewell to my parents after five plus weeks. It is always bitter sweet to see them go. I think they are ready to
be done with us go home and we are ready for a more regular routine, yet sad because we miss them and the house feels emptier in a lonely kind of way after they leave.
In one week of September, quite a few things happened. My parent’s left, our women’s bible study started again after a summer break, and the Midnight Sun Fun Run happened. Midnight Sun is the charter school V goes to. For the past three years I have volunteered with their fun run. The first year, I just helped pack runner bags and took pictures race day. The second year, I was recruited to help organize and put on the race. I decided to invite my afore mentioned friend Renee to come be a part (the one who saved my sanity on an airplane; she’s always showing up to save my hide). Don’t know why she said yes but now she is stuck!! (insert evil laugh: ha ha ha). So at the end of the week where my parents left and we kicked off the women’s bible study, I also had a race to help put on! Every year is a learning curve, moments of “why did I say yes”, holy crud, and I hope it works out, yet race day, when families are gathered, the sun is shining, kids are running, playing and fun is being had, I remember why I said yes. Because providing a fun afternoon for runners, their families and friends, is a pretty stinking awesome thing to be a part of. I still have no clue how to do it but I am so grateful for the group of ladies that keep saying yes, showing up and pouring into this fun run, our school and our community!
Renee and I at the Midnight Sun Fun Run
I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the huzband’s support and encouragement (photo by Renee)
she takes after the huzband
getting in some family hiking
look at that adorable baby face
these girls, I honestly don’t know what is going on here
Two major things happen every year in October. First, our church here in Alaska is really big on missions. (That’s kind of an understatement.) Every year they put on a missions conference where so many pour in blood, sweat and tears to bring this event together. Missionaries from around the globe are invited to come share about how God is moving! It is a four day event that culminates in a night of celebration; a celebration of all we have had the honor to hear, learn, and be a part of, a celebration of all God has done as well as what He is going to do, and a celebration of how we get to be a small part of the big picture by supporting all these truly incredible missionaries that are on the front lines. It’s a big deal around here, the biggest really, and is a busy season at work for the huzband and many others.
The other major event that is even bigger (yes, there’s an event even bigger than the missions conference) and that is our V’s birthday! This year my V turned 10! Double digits people! There is no going back! I feel as though it was only a few short years ago that she was an adorable little bundle of joy that we were just figuring out how to change diapers, waking up in the night to feed, teaching her how to walk, and laughing at all the adorable things she did. Then, in the blink of an eye I am telling her once again to cut the attitude and not be so sassy pants, to make her bed for the umpteenth time and to be kinder to her sister!! I wonder if I could throw a diaper back on her, maybe we could hold off on the teen years a little longer?! I love this kid and I wouldn’t change one thing about her. Well…….
I wouldn’t. She is awesome.
my beautiful, funny, goofy, smart, wonderful 10 year old daughter
spending time with a friends horse
praying for some of our missionaries at our women’s bible study
we get some crazy foggy days here
On the heals of the Missions Conference and birthday celebration, November began by welcoming the huzband’s former boss from Team World Vision. How do I explain without having to explain everything. In a nutshell, our church was taking part in World Vision’s Matthew 25 Challenge. Michael (the huzband’s former boss) came to share on the Sunday morning that ended the challenge. With him he brought his sponsored girl Maurine, her older brother and her World Vision chaperone, all from Kenya. What an honor it was to have Michael, Maurine and the Kenyan delegation. My family and I had the privilege to show them a glimpse of beautiful Alaska, as well as just get to spend time getting to know them and having fun. My heart is full and I am so very grateful for the opportunity to spend time with our Kenyan friends.
In a very small way, V getting to spend time with Maurine prepared her a little bit for her upcoming trip. It stirred up good conversations, made her think what things can be like and ask questions. You see, the huzband and V were preparing for a very big trip. November 16th the two of them hopped on the first of many planes, destination: India. V went on her very first missions trip! I am so very proud of my girl. I could go on and on and on about her trip, but I won’t. I am very grateful to everyone who invested in her and her trip! I am also very grateful to everyone who loved on and checked in on me and the two littles while they were gone.
we took our new Kenyan friends up to see snow for the first time
with Michael, Maurine and our Kenyan friends
saying goodbye to my girl
oh my heart, how much I love these two and how special their relationship is
we surprised V with a fast & furious stop in London & Paris on the way home
hey, that’s the London Bridge, with two exhausted faces =)
shared a part of my story in Fresh Start for the first time; I was so nervous!
baby and Poncho checking out her new toy
We have arrived to the last month of the year! We made it, almost!
You are thinking to your self “FINALLY, how much more could there be!” Oh my dear Watson!! Thanks in part to not just one late pregnancy but two, we now have not one but two birthdays in December. Our Rose turned three years old!! It was like a switch flipped and she was no more toddler and all little girl!! It made my heart so sad to see her growing up! Yet I also enjoy those moments where I see we have moved past THAT stage and can actually handle this stage! My Rose gives me a run for my money! =) I love this kid and the electrifying energy (or drama depending on the day) that courses through her.
Two weeks later we celebrated the release of the next Start Wars movie!! =) The day after, we celebrated our sweet Esperanza’s first birthday (and no I do not have a nickname for her, unless you count “baby” because that’s what she gets called). If Rose is the electrifying energy, then Esperanza is the soothing balm. She is my snuggly baby, melting me everyday because she has more cuddles in her than I know what to do with. However, take note this baby has got spirit in her too. She has no problem voicing her opinion, which usually comes in one word, “NO”. She also has no problem telling Rose what she thinks of whatever it is Rose is doing, especially when she does not approve. These two…
As with every December, we welcomed Christmas for our little tribe. This year I had the honor of being a part of the Christmas reading at our church for our Christmas Eve service. I was so nervous because I didn’t want to screw it up! =) It was a little different because it was not just the story of Jesus’ birth but spoke to who He is and what He has done for us! I have kept the words that were read and wrote them in my journal. I do not ever want to forget who this babe is and even more so, what He has done for me! His gift is evident everyday when I wake up, when I look into the eyes of my daughters, when I hug the gift He has given me in the huzband, when I talk to my parents on the phone, and when I look to the mountains, soaking in the most beautiful gift He made just for me! You see, it truly was an honor to read His story, the story that has changed my life forever!
I would love to end right here. Unfortunately, we found out some very bad news about our Lola girl, our first family dog. We took her to the vet because she was showing a few concerning symptoms, one being that she had stopped eating, except for the occasional nibble or dog bone. After some tests, they found a very large tumor growing between her heart and lungs, pressing down on her esophagus. We took a few days as a family to enjoy, love on and spoil our Lola girl. Then, a few days after Christmas, we said goodbye to our faithful dog. Though we all loved Lola, she was really V’s dog. She was her beloved friend through it all. I hope as V grows, she thinks back fondly of all the fun, adventures, and disgusting stories she has with Lola.
I am also grateful that God cares about our children’s hearts, about the timing of things and the littlest of details. We said goodbye to Lola after Christmas and right before a girls trip that we had planned for awhile. So though V’s heart was sad, she also had something to look forward too. We hiked out to a yurt with our friends, spent the night playing games and eating junk food, enjoyed the beautiful, fresh outdoors and filled out hearts with overflowing joy! I know she will look back and remember sorrow mixed with joy, but more importantly, I hope she will see that God was in the details of it all. He always is.
our baby birthday girl (she’s got pudding on her lips)
my sweet Lola girl
everyone loves hanging out with Lola
ready for our girls hike out to the yurt
Well, we made it to the end. One day my girls will look back on this year and see a glimpse of what was happening in our family life. More than that, I hope they know how much the huzband and I truly treasured our time with them! That it is our girls that make this life so adventurous!
starting off the new 2018 year with a little face painting ?!?
I suspect this year to be a little quieter, a little duller, a little more down to earth, but still filled with all the same fun and adventure that our M family can dream up!