5 Reasons to Love This Rain!

5.  We live in a desert… we always need rain!

4.  We’re stuck at home anyway… why not put on a pot of tea, bake muffins, and enjoy the rain?  (I tried a new one today… vanilla butter nut muffins with vanilla chai tea)

3.  Once the rain stops, (which it will pretty soon), there will be no rain and too much sun for far too long!

2.  rainy days = play doh!

1.  I LOVE the rain!

Random Photo Dump

We’ve spent A LOT of time in our cul-de-sac the past couple weeks.  This guy has gotten so good at his balance bike that we may need to get him a real bike for his birthday.  (Good thing he can’t read, yet!)

Though the chickens are gone, I do have a new favorite lunch spot.  I’ve eaten there alone as well as on a date with my son…. both are precious!

Boxes are the best.  These guys even chose to eat lunch in their box!

Since Daniel hasn’t been around to make his famous beer-batter fish tacos, I had to take over.  The kids agreed… mine were just as good.  Woohoo!

Though I couldn’t give her a hug, at least I was able to bring some flowers to my friend for her birthday.  We have so many more, I think I need to bring a bouquet in to our house as well to brighten this Holy Week as it will be dark and rainy outside.

I don’t mind him catching lizards… I do mind when he brings them into the house!  Isn’t this little guy cute??

Care Package

Look at Malachi’s face… giant marshmallows!!!!

We were sitting at the table playing Rummikub when the surprise knock at the door came.  One kid looked out the window and exclaimed, “It’s Glory!!!”  My dear friend brought us all kinds of goodies including crafts for the girls, yummy treats, and fresh blood oranges from her tree.

It’s not that we needed anything… but this happened to come yesterday…. day 19 of my husband working and day 4 of Sierra being sick and it just touched my heart so deeply.  Today Daniel came home… finally!  Sierra was able to eat and get out of bed and acted like herself again… finally!  And we played more games, enjoying the end of our spring break, only this time we snacked on all our goodies as we played!

Thank you, my dear sweet friend… not only for your generous display of love, but for all the prayers I know were happening even before you came.  Wish I could have given you a REAL hug!

Hiking

It started over Christmas break… Daniel took Malachi for a hike up our local trail to the waterfall….

It was so beautiful, we decided that just Daniel and I would hike it again early the next morning.  We watched the sunrise and came upon puddles frozen overnight in the cold.  Because we were the first ones there, we were able to  let the dog run freely.

We showed Natalie the pictures, and she wanted in on the action.  She asked if I would wake up early with her on New Year’s Day to watch the sunrise, discuss resolutions, and hike the falls.  THIS from a TEENAGER?  Um, YES!!!!!  Would you believe she came in and woke me up?

Fast forward to this week.  It was our intention to go for a new hike over spring break.  The trail we were going to hike had lady bugs galore, so Sierra made a little lady bug catcher to bring along.  Unfortunately, she woke up with what we thought was either food poisoning or a stomach bug, so the hike was to be postponed…

We were hoping Sierra’s bug was only 24 hours, so we planned our hike for the next day.  However, her fever continued to spike and the doctor had us come in.  Turns out she has a bad infection and is on antibiotics.  Since the other kids were disappointed, I asked if they would want to hike our local trail to the waterfall by themselves.  Allison and Malachi jumped at it!  They packed their water and snacks and my phone and we headed up.

Turns out all the hiking trails are closed “due to COVID-19.”  So, I dropped these two off anyway and told them to hike home… and they did!

Can’t wait for my sweet girl to feel better and for the trails to re-open so we can do our family hike after al!!

Weird Day. Weird Times.

Bathroom drawers and cabinets completely cleaned out and organized: check!

Virtual piano lessons via zoom

Dinners brought home from the fire station and a night off of cooking!

Yesterday was certainly a “weird” day.  To be honest, I’m kind of at a loss for words.  I was able to check off the first item on my spring break goals list, which was to clean out and organize my bathroom.  You’d think with all this time on my hands I’d be super productive, but ironically I’ve been feeling kind of lazy.  If I hadn’t literally written it down on my goals list for that day, I probably would have spent the entire day convincing my kids to let me beat them at cards!  (Which may have happened quite a bit in-between cleaning… and I may have lost quite a few times, as well!)

Then came the offer for doing piano lessons via zoom.  Piano lessons?!?!?  Oh yes, it was Monday!  Keeping track of days is totally beyond me now… Natalie was convinced it was Thursday!  Overall, lessons went well, but we certainly miss having our sweet teacher in person.

My sweet husband had brought us these leftovers from his fire station the night before.  I was so excited to just stick some “tv dinners” into the oven.  The kids thought it was pretty cool to eat out of the foil, too.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t even home to enjoy them with us.  He literally dropped them off and turned around and drove back… but a quick “hi” in person is better than nothing, so I took it!

I tell the kids every day, “There is no one else I would rather be stuck in quarantine with…” and it’s true!  Tonight we rented “Frozen 2” and ate big bowls of ice cream.  The kids all started saying, “This is the best spring break ever!”  Then they thought more about it… “Well, except it would be nice to see friends.”  Yes, it’s been tough in some ways, but also a blessing in so many others.

Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2020

Our 3rd Love Like you Mean It Cruise!!!  (And our first time bringing friends!!)  We arrived in Ft. Laderdale and were picked up at the airport by Kirk and Deena in their rental convertible.  Off to a fun start!!!

After going out to a Cuban restaurant for dinner and then talking until late at night, I felt like my vacation could end right there and I would have been happy… but it hadn’t even begun yet!

The next day we boarded the ship… (after we almost boarded the wrong ship thanks to the uber driver, but that’s a long story!)  As usual, we headed straight for the food where I had to eat a burger in honor of Malachi.

Our room and deck were fabulous!  Hanging out with my amazing friends and my sweetheart was such a treat!  After a relaxing lunch together, Daniel and I headed out to explore the ship…

Jordan Feliz in concert!

The next day we were suppose to stop at their private island, but since we got a late start leaving and the winds were so great, we just spent a day at sea.  Ping pong, running the track, running into old friends, (Hi, Nick and Margie!!), trying the zip line, and napping made the day wonderful!

Arrival in Puerto Rico!  (I’m so glad someone made us take this picture; our whole gang!)

Lovely hair nets for the horseback ride.  It was such a beautiful ride!  Blue skies, fun horse guides, gorgeous scenery.  After some deliberation, we opted for the one hour ride, which was such a blessing.  No sooner did we get back then it started to downpour like only a rainforest can!  Had we chosen th two hour ride, we would have been drenched and super uncomfortable as our van driver gave us the long ride back, sharing all details about the city he proudly lived in.

For our Puerto Rican dinner we had to try the Mofongo.  It was so delicious!  And despite the fact that it was 2 days early, Daniel told the waiters it was my birthday… had to get the free dessert!

Day 4:  St. Thomas  We spent the day on the beach, almost lost our shoes, spent much time in the gorgeous clear water, and watched planes soar over the beach…

Mac Powell!!!  Front row seats.  Boom.

Valentine’s Day was a day at sea.  Deena did my hair and make up and Daniel treated us all to the sushi restaurant for dinner.  What a special night!

Above:  Each couple sent in a wedding picture and they made them into stickers that we got to put on a giant collage…so creative!

Below:  The marriage pictures also flashed on the big screen.  Daniel was able to capture ours.  He also captured our anniversary on the top row of the scrolling screen.  Each night, as always, there were gifts waiting for us in our room.  The custom “Love like you mean it” connect 4 was my favorite!

One again, our time at sea did not disappoint.  We laughed together, prayed together, cried together, and yes… we even fought together!  I think the exhaustion of getting ready to go took a toll on us, and we ironically got into one of those crazy fights that you don’t soon forget.  (embarrassing, but true!)  Thankfully, it was just one bad night and God is so good to restore, renew, refresh, and all the other “r’s” that I can’t think if right now, but which we celebrated each day on the cruise.

Quarantine Pizza Night

Fridays are good.  The Friday before starting Spring Break takes Fridays to a whole new level of good.  Add to that homemade pizzas, homemade cookies, and a movie, and it’s really a Friday that’s hard to beat… (Even when we’re all still in quarantine with the rest of the world!)

I must say, if I had to choose who to spend quarantine with, I really would choose these guys.  They worked hard this week, and really haven’t complained, though I know they are missing their friends and their dad!!

After we finished school, but before we went on to “fun,” I had each of the kids write out their goals for spring break and collected them.  They had to have a minimum of three.  We keep talking about how, despite being home for so long, we really don’t want to waste our Spring Break in front of a screen.  I wrote down my goals too, and it feels great!  The kids started some of their goals today which included some exercise and some organizing… I plan to start my goals tomorrow! 🙂

Montana Getaway!

We’ve landed in Montana!!

Aunt Carol is such a sweet hostess!  Butternut squash soup and cheese toast while the snow fell outside.  (Not to mention a quiet house; a definite luxury for us!)

I can’t pick my favorite… Montana skies, Montana birds, or Montana trees!!!

Wild turkeys… geese… bald eagles…

It was short but sweet; 2 days and 2 nights to visit Aunt Carol and Uncle Gary in Montana while scoping out houses and experiencing a taste of a Montana winter!  Ironically, some of the homes we liked online were definitely a “no” in person, whereas some of the “no’s” online turned out to be a huge hit in person!  It confirmed for us how important it is to see homes in person!

This all took place mid-December… so much life has taken place since!  Christmas, Chinese New Year, a marriage cruise, my birthday, getting our house ready to sell, putting our house on the market, taking our house off the market, and of course… corona virus.  Yes, a lot of life has happened!  Glad to know God has it all in His hands!!

Bird Watching

Bald Eagle

Sharp shin Hawk

Pelicans

About a month ago, my friend asked me if I followed a mutual friend of ours on Instagram.  When I said “No,” she proceeded to pull up her account and I was in awe… when did our friend become a bird watcher/ amazing photographer???  I went home that day and texted her…. “I want to learn your ways!”  We set a date, and met early in the morning in search of bald eagles. It was a beautiful, chilly winter morning with just our cups of coffee to warm our hands.  We drove through the canyon catching up on life as if no time had passed.  (I love that kind of friend!!!)  At every turn, the view caught my breath as fog hovered over the water.  Then we pulled up to “the spot.”

A few other bird watchers had their cameras ready.  “We haven’t seen them yet,” we were told.  Inside I doubted they would show, but within 2 minutes there they were~  I couldn’t believe it.  There they were!  I soon discovered my camera had nothing on that of my friend or the others there.  I took a few pictures, then contented myself with the binoculars as I watched TWO bald eagles fly back and forth to their nest.  It was spectacular!!!

Once we had our fill of the eagles, it was on to Bonelli Park.  Sadly, there were no owls in their usual spots, but the high from the bald eagles lingered on, and I was soon caught up on all the happenings of my sweet friend.  We did get to see a hawk up close as well as some pelicans.   Mostly, we enjoyed the fellowship and the brisk walk.  I cannot wait to do it again!!!

Her Specialties…

Chocolate cupcakes?

Smoothies?  Grilled Cheese?

Lemon Cookies?

Which do you prefer?  If you can overlook the mess, it is really nice to have a cook/ baker around!  Sierra is amazing at both grilled cheese and fried eggs… mmmm…. The best part is, she offers to make them for siblings, who love to say yes, and you know what that means for me!  The only problem now?  Without our chickens, we are going broke buying eggs!!!