The purpose of this blog is to capture some of the high lights and low lights of just normal day to day life. Our life is loud, busy, and fast, but we love it!


Chiara Turns 7 (Part 2)

If you missed part one, you can read it here.

It happened to be "kids get in free" day at the county fair on Chiara's birthday so all 6 of us went out to see the animals, hear the music, and have some family time before 6 little girls came over for pizza, popcorn, and movies.

Chiara's Great Grandma Koebler sent her $5 to spend as she wished. So, I told Chiara to take it to the fair. We treated all three girls to one ride each ($3/ride is RIDICULOUS!) and then Chiara decided she wanted to do the 'bungy' jumping with her money. She did this about 2 years ago and was a bit scared, though she would not admit it her tight grip and face showed it for sure! I was excited to see that she wanted to give it another try.

Here she is all strapped in and ready. She had some difficulty jumping, but the guy helped her get up there. And UP there she went!

No fear, just enjoying the experience.

David asked her to find the truck in the parking lot! I love ALL that hair!!!!!!

Birthday party has begun. Since we were not making a cake and Chiara wanted her friends to sing to her I told her we could put one in her pizza. She loved it.

Here are all the girls in PJ's watching Dolpin Tale.

My personal favorite part of the party....the girls all taking turns doing each others hair. So girly. Such memories of my childhood!

Chiara and Sarah

Chiara and Lorelei

Chiara and Amee (Amelia)

Chiara and Savannah

Chiara and Heide

Chiara and Mikelle

All the girls

Of course we had to have one silly shot.

It was a great birthday and birthday party. A week later Chiara gets to have her own sleepover at my parent's house and then her family birthday party when they bring her home. Love this kid. Love celebrating her. Just wish it was not going by so fast.
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Chiara Turns 7 (Part 1)

Well, it happened. I tried to stop it, really I did. However, Chiara insisted on turning 7. Didn't we just celebrate her turning 5?!?!?! Well, if she was going to turn 7 I figured I better make it memorable.

I came up with the party idea "Pizza, Popcorn, & Pajamas". It was not a sleepover, but close to it. Chiara was allowed to invite a handful of girls-her dearest friends. I want her to really think about who she invites. Her list was ready, invites handed out, and planning began.

Here are the favors I made to go with our theme. Popcorn containers containing a bag of popcorn and a sleep mask that said Sweet Dreams. Super cute. Chiara loved the idea.

I even made movie ticket stubs with each guests name on it.

Getting ready the night before her birthday. I decorated the house,which includes window crayons on the back door and both bathroom mirrors.

Good Morning Birthday Girl! Chiara woke to 7 balloons and a gift from Daddy and Mommy. It was a great morning. She requested cinnamon raisin bagels and bacon for breakfast.

Daddy picks out the cards in this was a talking one. It sang "What I like about you!" She loved it.

One of her gifts from us....she loves American Girl and really loves Kit. She has read 3 Kit books already from the library.

SURPRISE! I love surprising our girls. David had planned to take a half day, but we wanted it to be a surprise-it's always better to go that route since we never know what may come up with his work these days. So, we sat down to lunch and planned on opening up some more gifts. I knew he was on his way, so we started later than planned. When we walked in the door the joy just about jumped up to the ceiling. There is SO much love in this house!!!

Chiara opening her cards and gift from her sisters.

She was so excited (as if her face did not give it away!)

It was Barbie Fairy Secret.

Another gift from Daddy and Mommy....I love her face!!!!!!!

She would not let it is a Barbie Jet, Set, and Style Wii Game. She is fascinated that we remembered what she wanted. I love seeing her filled with happiness.

The day did not end here. We were all off the the Pinal County Fair followed by her birthday party. You can read about that all here.

She's that kind of kid.....

I just posted about sweet Chiara Marie's 7th birthday. Some days she has the attitude of a 13 year old and other days the maturity of a young lady. The hormone fluctuations of females starts young....way too young. Anyway.....

It is in Chiara's personality to be helpful-sometimes I even find that I need to limit her because her sisters need to contribute too. She does not do it to brag (most of the time) or get something from David or I. She is a lot like me....if you want something done right and quick, just do it yourself. Not always the best approach, but when you are working along side a 5 year old who is highly distracted and a 3 year old who still has tornado tendencies, it works.

We have started having conversations with Chiara regarding the fact that she is the oldest and therefore an example to all her sisters. They watch her and mirror her. Yes, it can be a heavy weight being the oldest, and we tell her that, but with that shadow side there are a lot of privileges too.

The other evening David went to a "Man Church" event and Emma was headed to bed early. I told the 3 oldest they could watch a television show (Dora) while I nursed Emma and put her to bed. I suggested to the two oldest that it would be nice if I came downstairs to a clean tv room- the only things out are some books and Emma's toys since the "toy" room is upstairs now. As I was nursing Emma I could hear sounds in the kitchen that sounded like dishes being put away. I knew the sink was full, but David empties that each night for me. When I came down the stairs after putting Emma and Leah to bed this is what was on the bottom step:

When I heard the noises upstairs I had a feeling Chiara was doing this great blessing for me so I was praying that she would leave the knives alone. I am sure she was very careful (even so careful it needed two L's), but I explained to her that it made me nervous. Of course she got a BIG squeeze and many thanks. She truly only did it to bless me, to "make my day." She is that kind of kid. She was also the only one who cleaned the tv room. I know her sisters saw this example and also saw the praise. I believe all my girls will have this helpful attitude as they grow and mature in this home. David and I teach them about team work, serving others, and most importantly we live out what we are teaching.

Love in a snack bag

I am a morning person. Not sure when that happened, but I think in college. I would rather get up early and feel ready for the day ahead than stay up late at night getting things done. Even on the weekends I am up early. Having four children-all still very young-almost requires it. Once they are up it is go, go, go. Because we choose to home school the dynamic of our home is different too. I am not rushing to get kids out the door, but rather spending LOTS of time together. I love this, but I am a person too (yes, outside of being a mom I am Jennifer) and I need time to myself. So, up early.

Another benefit of being up early is seeing my gorgeous husband before he leaves for work. Since he leaves around 6:15 am everyday I need to be up much earlier than that if I want to have time to myself and time with him each day. We just started working out together (30 Day Shred) at 5 am. We are holding each other accountable and getting in shape. Love it. Ok, right now I hate it, but I love the time together. After we work out, he showers and I make him breakfast. Eggs. Always eggs. He loves a breakfast scramble, but time is tight in the mornings now. He was chopping veggies every morning, which was 1. time consuming and 2. annoying. I am a morning person, but I like quiet in the morning. It is loud enough here all day long that an hour in the morning should be as close to silent as possible.

To solve both problems I decided to chop and freeze. I made 14 little baggies yesterday with onion, peppers, mushrooms, and either spinach or broccoli. Since David eats totally grain free and I am getting back there too, this is a fabulous way to serve eggs. I did not tell him that I did this, so when he came home and I showed him he was thrilled. What is great is that peppers are on sale right now so I can stock up, do all the chopping and since I am freezing them I do not worry about them staying fresh. Cost saving, time saving, and David feels loved. Awesome.

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Emma Crawling Video

A la Jennifer/Mommy

Since David and I were married he has eaten MANY "a la Jennifer" meals. It is something we use to name meals that I just throw together. Some I make all the time now and others are a one shot deal-partly because I can't recall how I made it. Now we call them "a la Mommy" meals but most of the time they are "scrambles". If I tell the girls I am making a "scramble" for dinner they get very excited....little do they know it's because I have a bunch of left over veggies that need to be used or I really have no idea what to make for dinner. (Yes, I try to plan but it is usually a day ahead of time only).

Well, this one I wanted to document. Partly because I want to remember the "scramble" and also this one was goooooooood!

Ground beef (2 lbs)
Seasoning (the key): salt, pepper, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, oregano
Red onion
Black beans
red and green peppers diced (I froze them when they went on sale super cheap!)
Sour cream and cream cheese to get the creamy texture
**Since we do not eat grains I served this just as it time over cauliflower "potatoes" would be fantastic!

I love that my kids think I am some gourmet chef when something like this is in front of them....I hope all four of them can fool their children too!

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Mayah's Board

I finally got around to making Mayah her covered cork board. She picked out the fabric, ribbon, and bows. Beautiful. It is now hanging in her room ready for pictures and keepsakes!

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9 Month Old Nonsense

I don't know who gave Emma Lynne permission to grow up so quickly....too quickly. Nine months, seriously? Why do the months go by so fast? She is babbling all the time, crawling everywhere, pulling herself up, and back to not sleeping well. I am sure it is the impending teeth (nothing yet) and growing, but this Mama feels like I have done my time in the middle of the night and I am spent.

I am enjoying her smile and laugh. She "talks" so much now...I tell everyone she is Russian "da". She loves when we Skype with people and will move all around so she can see and be seen. She loves to feed herself and rarely takes from a spoon, unless it is mine! It's this time of eating that I am glad to still be nursing, knowing she is getting such great nutrition from me because what she eats otherwise is unpredictable.

She is such a cuddle-bug and I love it. She will not fall asleep being held-never has-but loves to lay her head on me. Love. She loves being read Goodnight Moon before bed and lately all she wants to do is practice standing. We already have a gate at the bottom of the stairs because we have found her on the bottom step crawling up twice now.

I love her face. I love her smile. I love watching her personality develop and be seen. I love how she fits in this family so perfectly. Perfection.
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Shoot 'em Up!

My parents invited us to the Tres Rio Nature Festival. It was a great family time-archery, fishing, bouncing, pony ride (for Leah), snakes, and kettle corn!

We love Arizona Game and Fish-they have such great events and activities. Chiara LOVES archery! In fact, she asked for a bow for her birthday, but we told her we were going to wait. Not because we do not want her to have one, quite the opposite, but we want to find a place where she can learn and use her skills before making the investment. Mayah and Chiara were in line to shoot some arrows and at the last moment Mayah decided she was too scared. The instructor asked me if I would like to shoot....HECK YA!!!! I have not shot a bow and arrow since grade school....and I was a great shot then! I have good aim-I did with the .22 revolver at the shooting range a while back and again here with a bow and arrow!

Chiara rocked it out too! I was so proud of my girl. What is great is that she does it with a huge smile on her face. I am happy that David had his phone since I forgot my camera at home this time. It really was a great day together, with Nanny and Grampy, and enjoying nature!

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"Photo"graphic Memories

There are some memories I want burned into my brain for the rest of my life. Breast feeding is on the top of that list. Knowing first hand how difficult it can be to breast feed ( I was not able to successfully BF our oldest) I do not take it lightly that I have breastfed 3 daughters with ease and enjoyment. As Emma is just three short months away from her first birthday I am faced with the reality that this is it for me. Of course I could breast feed longer and I applaud those who can and do, but both David and I are ready to move into the next season of life with our family. After seven years of baby after baby...after baby....after baby....we will be moving out of this season and into whatever lays ahead.

As I was nursing my Sweet Emma Lynne this morning before nap she was putting her hand to my mouth for kisses, stroking my arm, I was stroking her head as she rubbed my hand. I never want to forget that feeling. Ever. I want to be able to remember it when my daughters have children of their own. I want to be an old lady and be able to close my eyes and remember that feeling of closeness and intimacy.

I have a few pictures of Emma breastfeeding when we did her newborn photo shoot ( keep a small one on this blog), but I may ask David to sneak in and grab a few more. Though he would have to be stealth-like as Emma is another Daddy's-girl and is extremely distracted by his presence.

Here's to the next 3 months.....I know it is going to be a paradox of wanting to be done and not wanting it to end. A tough place to be in, but part of the process of parenting.