Saturday, May 21, 2016

last day of school {2016}

This year's last day of school (mainly Ella's) was a bittersweet and somewhat emotional one for me as a mama. It marked her last school days at Covenant, her little school we have come to love since she was about 2 1/2. She went there from Tiny Tots, Big Tots, PreK 3 and then PreK 4. She absolutely loves it there and she tells me that's where she wants to go to Kindergarten. It was no easy decision for us to start her elsewhere but feel at peace that we are. Russ and I have watched her grow and mature and learn so much during her little school years there. She has overcome fears and has learned to love others- her teachers and friends. And, it wasn't hard for her to love school...she is very social and loves to be around people and interact with others. I feel confident in her next step at a new school as a kindergartner. I have so enjoyed watching her during her years at Covenant and all that she has accomplished. I will look back so fondly on those times and how they have helped her develop into the little lady she is becoming.

Isaac had his last day of school as well in the Big Tots class. Man, I can't even begin to describe or put into words how far that little boy has come. Makes me emotional just thinking about it. He is my shy, unsure, very cautious about new things/environment, not so social little boy. I had a hard time deciding to put him in school or not but decided it was the right thing and it was a good thing for him. I'm so glad I did. He has strived and gone far beyond what I would have thought during his first year at Covenant. I think his teachers were a little worried about him at first because he was so quiet and didn't talk or do much. By the end of the year, he was dancing and singing and talking and playing. His teachers would love to tell me when I would pick him up in car line how much he was interacting. They just adored him and one teacher in particular would send me pictures sometimes throughout the day of him dancing or singing or doing whatever. As a mom, that means so much. Especially when you're not sure how your little shy boy will do. They loved on him so well and helped him develop into a more outgoing, school loving child. And I mean, he came to love school. On the days I would just take Ella, he would get upset that he wasn't going and he would ask about going to school often. When I dropped him off, he would just walk right in and not even turn back. He usually went straight to the books and sat down and would start flipping through. I have truly seen such a dramatic difference in him from the first day to the last. His teachers invested so well in him and I am so very thankful for that. He is growing and maturing and loving school and others and it does this mama heart good. One little thing to remember: I think his favorite song he's learned this year in music class was "see ya later alligator" and he always wants to sing "God our father" before all meals. And he would always tell me when I asked him who he played with "Jeremiah and Nora..or Noah. I haven't figured out that last one yet. Some days it seems Nora and others Noah. 
I'll never forget how his teachers loved him so much and cared so well about his development this past school year. 

Levi had his last day in the baby class. He only started when he turned one but he never had any issues with going to his "school". He only went once a week so not too often. The teachers adored him as well and he enjoyed his time there. Never fussed when I dropped him off. He decided on the last day of school, he was going to walk the whole time. His teachers thought that was funny. I enjoyed getting all the little crafts he made me ;) This fall, he starts Tiny Tots!!

Levi dressed and ready for his last day with his new kicks on

Last day at the same school together for a few years- made me extra emotional cause they love being there together and Ella is always looking out for him...I just know I'll miss these days of them like this. It really is hard to think of them being at different schools- in some weird way, my heart breaks a little because of it. But, I guess that is all part of this parenthood journey...there will be hard decisions and unknowns and you just have to trust you are doing the right thing for each child. I feel strongly we are doing the right things for each but goodness, its just not easy sometimes. Maybe I'm thinking too much into it and just more emotional right now. I just feel more than ever the fleeting of time as she's about to embark on this whole new journey where she's actually going to kindergarten. It seems like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms while she slept on me. This growing up thing and getting all big and starting like "full time" school is a little too much for me right now. I'm just not ready to let go of my little girl :( 
And leaving her brothers. That makes me sad too. But I will trust. I will lay down my fears and know He who has this and has led us this far and has given us great peace about our hard decisions.

Ella and her teacher, Ms.Kim. She has been so great and Ella already misses her and has asked about her! Ms. Kim has been so sweet and loving toward the class and I'm thankful for teachers like her!

Two of Isaac's teachers, Ms. Amber and Ms. Alicia...loved him so well. Right after I took this picture, he started with his goofy smile ;) He likes them too. Ms. Amber would send me pictures of Isaac sometimes and I loved it. She really really loved her some Isaac man! They had a sweet little bond and she was always so excited to see him!

And Ms. Wendy was Isaac's teacher too. They were all so great and helped him so much this school year- I hope they are back in the fall so Isaac can visit with them. She was his teacher on Wednesdays whereas the other two were his teachers on Thursdays.

And little Levi's teachers too. They are just the sweetest and absolutely loved having him in their class. Levi really liked them too- always ready to go straight to them. I mean, I just have nothing but wonderful things to say about all these ladies that have touched my children's lives in positive, encouraging ways!

And this was on the last day too- Ms. Amber sent me this picture saying she went straight to him when she went outside. This just melts me. Love them so much! And thankful for little pictures and glimpses into their day like this!

{mothers day 2016}

I like to look back on each Mothers Day post I do- mainly to look at the current pictures and see how the Lord has graciously loved and answered prayers for us throughout the years. I don't take Mothers Day lightly and know the ache and deep heart pains this day can bring for many...I was there once.
But, the Lord knew in His perfect timing when it was right for us to become parents and goodness, what a journey it has been! I love these little ones with every ounce of my being, with all that I have in me, even when they can drive me off the walls and make me want to pull every strand of hair I have left off my head. Even when the days are hard and long and I don't think I can do it and that motherhood must not be for me because I'm not good enough. Everyday I mess up. Everyday I want to do better but if there has been anything I have learned from this journey of raising up these little loves...its one word. Grace. Grace upon grace. From Him. Over and over and over. I don't deserve it but I sure don't know what I'd do without it because really, I couldn't do much. I know I can't do this on my own and I need His sweet mercies and grace and love to carry me and so very often, pick me up and remind me that He's got this and that through Him, I can and will do this. Motherhood, though messy, has brought me so much joy.

This Mothers Day was so sweet. My little family loves me so well and I'm so thankful for them. It started like most of my Mother Days do with breakfast in bed (an omelet he made, cinnamon roll and hash browns from the hospital because might I add, my hubby was on call and went in to round at like 5:30 just so he could get back and make me breakfast and get the kids so I could sleep in and they could bring me breakfast. There was also orange juice along with a flower from our garden outside; the only flower that was ready to pick. Daddy and Ella went out that morning to get it- so sweet). Ella and even Isaac were so excited to bring this to me and they also brought up some little gifts with them. Ella and daddy were sneaky and hid the gifts Ella made me from school and I got to open those up and it was so sweet and funny to see what she had to say about her mommy. I love those little gifts so much! They are the best! I had already found Isaac's in his book bag a few days ago that he made me, which I love as well and Levi made me a little card at school too that I got on his last day of school. So special to me! Ella also made a card for me with daddy. And the hubs got me a foot massager and brought me a beautiful arrangement of flowers. Its not about the gifts, we know that, but I do want to remember the little things they did for me to make me smile and make my day extra special.
We spent the day just being together, went to church together and then got a (somewhat) surprise visit from a very dear friend of mine that was passing through town and stopped and had lunch with us and caught up on life for just a bit. It was so good to see her and her twins! We then took it easy the rest of the day, hubs made dinner and went to the Fresh Market and got me a cupcake for dessert. :)  I was spoiled for sure and I'm sure I couldn't stop smiling throughout the day. I just love my family so much.

Mothers Day 2016:

 my breakfast in bed- just perfect

my cuties (Levi was still sleeping- which might have been a good thing...he would have tried to eat all my food otherwise ;)

zinnia from our garden

love waking up to these people

flower arrangement made by my man

Ella made this at school and hid it away until Mothers Day- she was so excited to give me these little gems of presents that morning. They made me smile big! I love some of the things she came up with ;)

This she also made at school and just makes me laugh- she currently loves paw patrol (more than her brother) and I think I have bought her two paw patrol little toys ;) we gotta work on that one ;)

This is the present Isaac made me at school- love it! It sits on my nightstand by my bed so I see it constantly

And this from my Levi ;) Sadly though, he got to it and ripped part of his little fingers off the butterfly. Love these little treasures for sure

 My one request to the hubs is that I get a picture each Mothers Day with my babies. Love these little ones more than they may ever fully know. 

so happy to see this friend for a little bit on Mothers Day!

and because it was Mothers Day and this is most likely my last baby and I haven't documented much of, my 30 wk 3 day bump of baby boy!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

San Fran trip 2016

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary a little early this year since we will have a new babe this summer and aint no way we'll be able to do much celebrating other than sleeping ;)
It wasn't our original plan but I have been wanting to go to California (since I've never been before) so we decided what better place than San Francisco! It was absolutely beautiful and lively and crazy and so much fun! I loved the beauty within the city- so much to do and see and the food was amazing as well! It was so nice to get away for a bit and enjoy some much needed time with the hubs; we slept in, stayed up and watched tv, explored the city over and over, ate awesome food, walked around, hiked in Muir Woods, took a little boat ride around the Golden Gate Bridge, a lot of bus tours, shopping and just admired the city and enjoyed each others company. Definitely one of the best trips and I hope one day we can go back and see it all again. So thankful for my husband who made this dream trip possible and worked hard (and works hard everyday) to do things like this for his family.

 missing this place and the amazing views...couldn't get over them

Day ONE:
Of course one of the first stops and the first purchase we made was at a cute little cupcake shop we passed as we were walking to get some info and travel tips nearby...amazing yummy salted caramel cupcake! 

cupcake in hand in the midst of San Fran= happy girl :)

the city has these hearts all throughout the area and this was the one right down from our hotel...just a minute walk. for some reason, i joked that we were going to take our picture in front of this heart everyday...well, what started as a joke turned reality cause everyday, i made sure we took our picture with this poor husband, he loves me so well ;)

Day TWO:
We slept in real late (I think it was like noon our time) and then took our first bus tour around the city to site see...

on the bus

loved looking up and down the streets- so much to see and the buildings all unique and beautiful

the start of China town 

TransAmerica building- tallest building in the city

lunch stop- i've heard so much about this place, had to give it a try for the first time...pretty good!

first sighting and one of many pictures of Golden Gate

driving on the bridge in the bus

we were pretty excited :)

looking back at the city from an area just beside the bridge

view of San Fran city to the right (from the bridge area)

we took a lot of bridge pictures 

San Fran behind us

Russ had to snap a pic of the bus we rode on- it was actually fun and one of my favorite things to do...sitting on top and seeing all the city

we rode over the bridge to the cute little town of Sausalito- such a quaint little place with very pretty houses, shops,views and restaurants  

we had just enough time to stop at the very busy and yummy ice cream shop there

taking in the views in Sausalito

daily heart picture 

and a random picture of the cable car street

Day three was packed full! Started with an amazing breakfast at a little coffee shop (the Beanstalk) very close to the hotel. I finally had my first latte with an art work ;) was delish and that to the right is a "cragel"- a croissant/bagel that was amaze! We had this breakfast twice while there we liked it that much. We then got back on the bus (since you buy passes- we had a three day pass) and went to the Golden Gate bridge and around the bay area, ate lunch at a yummy food truck and walked around China town. We then headed back to the hotel for a little bit and then got on the bus again to go for an early dinner to Fishermans Wharf/Pier 39, walk around there a bit and then take an evening bus tour. It was a fun filled day with so much to see and do!

views along the way

i love all the architecture and beautiful victorians that line the streets- so unique and the windows so cool

 views on our way to the bridge

 more bus views when we got closer into the city away from the bay area 

heart picture 

we ate at this food truck for lunch when our bus tour was over with...the tour guide mentioned this truck as being the best one around so Russ researched where it was and we walked to it. we shared a Phillippino  style burrito and it didn't disappoint. 

 china town

selfie in the streets of china town

china town was my least favorite thing we did- just wasn't my thing but at least we saw what it was all about

Pier 39.....where you'll see tons of sea lions...and hear them too (they are loud)

early seafood dinner so we could catch the evening bus tour

start of the evening bus tour

so much fog

obviously, we really liked the golden gate bridge

moving on to more of the city...this tour guide dude was pretty awesome

night lights

 we rode all the way to the other side of the city to the "Bay Bridge" which lights up beautifully at night with a little light show as well

Day four was the first of the rain and windiness...but that didn't stop us from adventuring out and about...we went back to the little coffee shop up the street and got another latte (with art work);) and cragel for breakfast! We then got on a boat to cruise around the golden gate and Alcatraz..

 just because....a heart

heart picture

on our little boat cruise around and under the golden gate and around Alcatraz island...that's looking at San Fran from the ship

typical San Fran fog which they even have a name for 

going under the bridge

Alcatraz on the left and San Fran on the right- Bay bridge in the middle


later that night, we went to a good Italian restaurant and this is the only picture I took- of the dessert of course (actually the hubs took this one)

and to end the day, this was out of our hotel window (we were on the 12th floor and Russ opened the window to get this)...kind of hard to tell but tons of cop cars lined the street with their lights on so it provided some entertainment for a bit...not sure what ever happened but it was pretty crazy

Brought on more rain but we started off with a wait in line for the cable car to ride us through the city, went to the Ferry Building Market (amazing food), went by Pier 39 one last time and then had a low key evening with pizza for dinner
waiting like crazy people in the rain for the cable car

finally on!


of course, i had to take a lot of selfie pics- thank goodness for the selfie stick ;)

to the Market which had so many good food choices

root beer float- always reminds me of my dad!

and just because they also had these amazing donuts...i've never had donuts like this before

just a picture of the city street cars

one last stop by the sea lions...the hubs pointing at them for the kids- we sent them a picture earlier on and they apparently really liked them ;)

back to the hotel but had to snap our daily heart pic

Day SIX:
We headed to Muir Woods- the Redwood tree national park to see the tallest trees- very pretty, then went back to the Ferry Building Market for an early dinner, after that went back to Union Square (where our hotel is), walked around there and did some last minute souvenir shopping and then went to our room, watched tv, packed and relaxed since we had such an early flight in the morning.  

Russ trying to show how big the trees are :) he craz

 strugglin with the selfie stick here

 history of a Redwood

 last heart pic

pic where our hotel is (union square) 

We flew out earrrrly the next morning so that was our time in San Fran- loved every bit of it!

and just because...
all the heart pictures ;)

love San Fran!!