Year of the Rooster

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Happy Chinese New Year!  My oldest is a rooster, which means she’ll be 12 this year!  We had to celebrate early since the older girls were heading to camp, so we did a simple hot pot celebration after our busy day out on Thursday.  (And I offered to shop for it since I wanted my husband to hang our new bamboo blinds in the living room.  It was a bit intimidating, but I think it turned out well!)

I love being half Chinese.  (Well, sort of??)  Silly fun fact:  my initials are the same as Chinese New Year:  CNY

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What a Week!

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After a super busy week with my husband mostly gone, I was looking forward to a more relaxed week with my husband home…  Well, it was indeed a fun week with him home, but hardly relaxing!  From celebrating our 13th anniversary and going out while the kids got a babysitter, to a full day at Knott’s Berry Farm, to seeing the play A Secret Garden at our local theater, to celebrating Chinese New Year, to whale watching, to heading up to Winter Camp… and all our activities and school in-between,  I.  AM.  BEAT.  Filled to the brim with joy and family time, but exhausted and thrilled that tomorrow is a “free day.”  (Of course “free” means laundry catch-up, menu planning, cleaning up, and school planning, but in a quiet house with an extra cup of coffee it sounds phenomenal!)

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As I mentioned above, we sent our two oldest girls up these mountains this afternoon for a weekend in the snow with our church’s 5th/ 6th grade winter camp.  I snapped this picture this morning as a reminder to pray for them.  Something tells me I’ll have no trouble remembering.  I miss them, already!  But, I am so grateful for this opportunity for them to meet new friends, draw closer to the Lord, and have fun… and they’ll actually have snow this year!  Hooray!

Lots more pics from this week to come…

This Picture!

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This picture means so much to me for so many reasons.  I see…

  •  a girl who couldn’t read at all in the beginning of the school year, reading a book to her brother.
  • someone who didn’t find much joy in reading until she was given her own Bible!
  • a relationship that can be so much fun when they ( -er- she ) decide(s) they want to have fun and not fight.
  • seeds being planted as Words that promise not to return void are being read out loud.

My Mama heart is happy!

Nothing Day

Last semester it was Wednesday…. this semester it’s Tuesday;  our only activity-free day.  (A.K.A. my favorite day of the week!)  Since we have another huge storm in the forecast, we decided to spend much of this day outside.  It was like a glorious spring day and got me super excited about the upcoming gardening season!

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I went to clean out my gardening rack from the last big storm, and discovered I had left my seed packets out in the rain… And guess what?  The peas wee sprouting right out of the packets!  I immediately called the kids over to check it out and hep me plant them.  I hope they survive!

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And our lemons… more lemons!  I picked a huge bucket full, and hope to juice them tomorrow.  But, there are still SO many more on the trees!

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This girl painted a succulent…

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These guys played in the sandbox, with the fairy garden, on the swings, on their bikes… perhaps that’s why it’s so quiet right now!  Sweet dreams, little ones!

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Thank you for your pollination, Mr. Bee!

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We did manage to squeeze some “real” school in, but I’m not sure which they’ll remember more…. reading about the Magna Charta, or planting gladiolus!

Always

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My husband was suppose to be home today.  He got forced to work.  Again.

It has taken me a while, but I think I am finally at the point where I can truly say I’m ok with it, and I will let thankfulness and joy replace my disappointment.  After all, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always.

Our house.  Those crazy awesome snow-covered mountains.  We’re healthy.  Our church.  I could go on and on and on…  my heart truly is filled with joy and gratefulness.

First.

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We took this picture 4 days ago… the first peach blossom of the season!  Since then, we’ve had torrential rain storms and Santa Ana winds.

We went out today to check, and it is still there… with friends!

Amazing!

Snow!

I knew it was a long shot… my husband was coming off of two days of work, (both of which had sleepless nights).  We hadn’t talked about it.  I didn’t even think about it until I woke up this morning.  But, I had to ask….

“Honey, would you like me to take the kids to the snow while you sleep?”

“No!  I want to go!”

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The kids had one wish… that they would actually see snow falling from the sky.  Their wish was granted. Fresh snow floated down the entire time.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  We found the best spot with a huge sledding hill and thick fresh snow.  I haven’t been in snow like that since living in Southern California!

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Before:  hiking up to sled

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After:  snow-covered face!

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Sierra, Natalie, and I hiked all the way up the hill where we ate snow, pretended to be in Narnia, and pondered the glory of God.  I’d say we covered p.e., literature, and Bible.  School, check!

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Daniel and Malachi ventured up the hill, as well.  The girls weren’t so thrilled about having visitors interrupt their serene spot.

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Daniel hiked up the hill once again with Malachi on his back.  I’d say his lack of sleep wasn’t real apparent.   Of course, he is sound asleep now.  The kids are finishing up watching their Friday night movie, “The Parent Trap,” and I am sitting here blogging with a tired mind, but such a content heart.  I think I’ll go join them and then go dream about our lovely day in the snow.

She Swings

From the time we moved in, the swing set has been a favorite for our Seeser girl.  She used to go out, by herself, and just sing at the top of her lungs.  (None of us were allowed to hear her, but I may have “accidentally” left my office door slightly ajar while she sang to her heart’s content…. And I also may have typed up some of her own special worship songs she made up because… honestly… it was so precious and gave me hope for my girl!)

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Time passed, and I was beginning to think her days of swinging had passed as well.  (sniff, sniff!)   Thankfully, I was wrong.  For the past few weeks, she has been out there multiple times a day.  I haven’t been leaving my door ajar as it’s been COLD, but that hasn’t stopped her one bit.  Today she even ventured out into the rain!

For now, my visions of what could be in that spot will have to be on hold.  And, that’s ok!  I am quite content with my girl swinging the hours away and finding joy in God’s beautiful creation!

Hike – Check!

It’s finally here… the last day of break before returning to normal activities.   Tomorrow it’s suppose to rain all day, but today it is 73 and gorgeous, so I sent the kids outside to play.  (I should probably join them instead of sitting here blogging!)

Anyway, it really was a lovely break filled with cold rainy days and glorious sunshine.  Cuddles on the couch, and running around outside.  New games and old games.  Friend time and family time.  And, miraculously, no sickness!

Though we never made it to the snow, I did want to at least get a hike in.  Thankfully, we got in two.  I only took pictures of our second hike with friends… and the camera was on a weird mode… and half the time, my friend was carrying my camera because I was carrying a 43 pound boy… but I did snap a few pictures that don’t do it justice.  It was beautiful.  Hiking could quite possibly be my favorite activity.

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When Life Gives You…

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I know some people mourn the end of Christmas, and prolong taking down their cozy decorations.  I get it.  But, I just love the feeling of starting fresh… cleaning up, putting away, organizing.  The New Year is such a time of hope and possibility.  I am not bothered by the  “emptiness” at all.  In fact, my spirit just soars and my soul is filled with joy as I ponder it!

Thankfully, my husband was home for a few days and was able to help get things cleaned up.  Besides taking down Christmas, we have cleaned up in the chicken yard, cleaned out a kids’ closet and donated 5 bags of clothes, and I am currently working on my closet.  For me, spring cleaning starts NOW!  (It’s spring somewhere, right?)

In doing the chicken yard, we collected lemons and have been busy juicing them.  With all our hard work and containers of lemon juice, it still appears we’ve done nothing with all the lemons still to be picked.  But, it’s been fun… and we will happily raid our freezer for some lemon juice concentrate when the hot summer swimming days finally roll around!

Anyone need any lemons?