Saturday, March 18, 2017

~Spring Break~

How come the first day of Spring Break started with 10 inches of snow????
I'm getting so jealous of seeing our friends' photos in Utah in their 70 degree weather, yesterday we were 20 degrees... better than the 16 we were the day before! 
One more day winter, one more day and then it's officially Spring, and I'd like you to leave! 
Mason City

Despite the cold Spring break we decided to throw a Moana Party, regardless. And for the day, it felt a little warmer in my house all decorated like the beach... and jam packed with lots of warm little bodies!! Everyone brought an array of themed treats and the kids all brought beach towels and pillows and had a great time watching the movie (as well as a large group of kids can focus;) 

And in other happenings: 
Travis: Drove by himself (we were supposed to come with) to Kansas to take Step 3, his last big Boards Exam before getting his license and becoming a Doctor. He stayed in a rink-dink hotel that had only one other car in the parking lot and its window was duck taped up. Meanwhile the hotels surrounding it were booked solid. Don't worry Love! One day we'll be able to spring for something a little less dingy! 
Lacey: Had a bit of a breakdown because my computer I was using for school died right during Midterms and it threw off our plans, so we ended up staying behind to purchase a new computer, and get caught up on lots of things. I threw the Moana party, which was so much fun. And Saturday I was able to go to Beauty and the Beast with my girlfriends! 
Maddix: Got to spend his hard earned money on a complex lego set that he ended up building all on his own! He taught us a wonderful f.h.e on Temples (his first time teaching, ever). Had an epic play date with a new friend from school. They enjoyed a trip to McDonalds, chasing Nala around the front yard, playing sports, legos, and gun wars before he reluctantly had to leave :) Oh, and he got sick AGAIN and threw up for the day; poor kid. 
Aaron: Received a free lego helicopter that came along with Buddy's lego set he ordered so he loves getting to play along side brother. He LOVES the Moana soundtrack and dances around the house singing, "You're Welcome!" And he also just spent the night throwing up sick. Bleh. 
"The Temple is our Goal"

Aaron loves watching Maddix do learning games
in the morning when we drop him at school

Aaron's Kid fit class

I jumped out of the shower remembering it
was garbage day. By the time I'd run
the can to the curb and come
back my hair had

Little skunk decided to have a
terrible Sunday just after Travis dropped
us off at church and left to Kansas.
So we had no car to hide or leave in.
And had to wait until our friend was
taking us home at the end of church.
Thanks Aaron for that day. 

Proud guy in the middle of building his set
he bought with his own money! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dominos of Life

The game of dominos if fun; not exciting, but rewarding. After the effort you put into it you're equally rewarded with a pay off. Setting up just a few dominos for a couple of minutes won't result in much of an end result. Those set-ups that have taken days of intricately setting up line upon line, loop after loop, and are spread throughout each floor in our homes... those are the pay-offs that bring much excitement! It's truly a rewarding moment to watch each individual domino, that on its own is nothing but ordinary, but when placed amongst hundreds of other seemingly ordinary dominos becomes a key moment, a pivotal piece The a Master's work.
We are those dominos; seemingly ordinary on our own, but when put together we carry out the Lord's Masterpiece in this life. And each of us is integral in carrying out the Lord's work as he's planned it. 

I've seen this so much in my life lately that it brings me to tears of humble gratitude to see and gain even a sliver of the clarity that the Lord has over the plan for my life. 
We are blessed and I try to be grateful for all my many blessings, but sometimes when life throws something unexpected at me my natural tendency is to overreact, panic, stress, and doubt how the situation could possibly resolve positively. Doom and Gloom, that's me. I tell myself I'm just a realist; however, if that were the case I'd recognize the the Lord's hand in my life and how he ALWAYS resolves our trials in a positive way. Faith. That's the reality. 

For awhile now we've talked about the possibility of staying here and accepting a job until our student loans are paid off in the future. This has brought up endless scenarios for our future, both near and far: should we buy this house? Should we buy a different house? Should we rent? Should we move back to Utah after? Colorado? Hawaii? You name it, we've debated it!  When we prayed about it, it felt right, and things began progressing forward. Then they stopped. The natural man in me said, "okay maybe this isn't the right choice." The voice of reason chimed, "Have patience." And then my Landlord called to say they're listing our house for sale, so decisions need to be made.

To our credit we've gone from saying prayers of "please Lord, make this happen" to "thy will be done." So much so that we followed his will across the seas to Europe, to live in Poland. We lived apart for the majority of two years to get by. We unwillingly moved to New York and then Unwillingly left it to come to Iowa as a last minute change from the plan of Arizona or Penn State. 
"Thy Will be done." 
We've become really comfortable in these prayers, almost in an indigent manner, unsure of making our own decisions because the Lord seems to have a concrete plan for us. We've turned ourselves over  to the Lord for years and for the first time in a long time, I feel like he's handed us the torch and expects us find our own way now. So we've been praying. 
Through wisdom from family and council in church lessons our prayers have switched from 
"thy will be done" to "Lord, this is decision we're making; if you're okay with this then we'll move forward... and as always, Thy will be done." 
A parent of a young child often takes their hand and leads them closely. As we age and reach new points in our lives, and understand a bit more we're given more freedom. I can't explain it adequately, but since we changed our prayer to appropriately match the circumstances we're now in things seem to be falling into place, just as they did 5 years ago when learned to change the way we prayed back then. That's not to say things are magically working out, or it's all easy again, but we've gained another sliver of clarity: That which ever direction these next decisions take us, we first have to make the decisions for ourselves; the Lord won't tell us what to do all the time. But since we've decided on some of the unknowns the Lord has unfailingly awarded some much desired clarity. So we're at peace. 
Remember to pray. Remember the pray correctly for the specific spot in life you're at. 
The Lord listens. He hears us. Always. And sometimes even a simple routine life can begin to lack the essential building blocks of faith that we need, simply because we're not using the blocks that fall out of our daily habits. Stretch your faith. Test it. 
Fall to your knees in a quiet place and dare to ask, "What would you have me do?" Dare to pray for patience *that one scares me the most! 
Dare to ask for something you've made a decision on and trust that he'll give you an answer. 
This doesn't sound nearly as profound as this past two weeks has felt to me, nor does it explain the exact dominos that i've been watching line up in my life, but I know none the less that I want to remember this feeling (as best I can). I'm not yet sure what the end result will look like when the last domino is set into place... 
... but I know it will be GRAND. 

And here are some photos from the past few weeks. 
The boys started swim lessons

 Within 24hrs we went from climbing trees to snowball fights

 Had the most fun play date with the Jones' girls

Had a lunch date with Maddix

We've all taken another round of sickness...
I don't know if it's really ever ended. 

I went to a girls night and then came home and rocked out with
this crazy man

 We had a blast at the most fun bday party out in their barn! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

~Record highs this Flu Season~

In the history of Mercy Hospital there have never been such 
a high number of Influenza cases being admitted; lucky Travis, he's on emergency medicine this month... so he's stayed busy. 
And at home... we've also had the flu. 
Long story short, for weeks we've been sick, and occasionally have enough energy to get up and do a few things here and there. 

We celebrated Valentines day at home real low-key. 
Travis's schedule this month has had him working 12pm-12am so he's been able to take the boys out on dates, and my sweet neighbor watched Aaron the other night so Maddix and I could go on a date and attend his school's : Trolls Movie Night. I made him get all dressed up, I got dressed up, he opened my door, and held my hand, and we shared a bag of popcorn; he was a wonderful little date. 
One day during the week Travis was able to go to Maddix's school and have lunch time with him; they encourage the parents to drop in whenever they can and share a lunch with the kids. Maddix loved showing off his dad. 

Today Maddix and I are still sick, but Travis and Aaron have recovered, so they took a lunch date and little Aaron was SO excited when he saw Travis getting ready to leave, "We get to go on a date? with Me? And You? Together? YES!" 

We've also been enjoying Mondays as they're Travis's day off so he gets to pick Maddix up from school, the boys all play lego star wars in the evening, we have F.H.E and then Grandpa Vaughn has been face timing and reading with the boys just before bed; he even mailed out several bags of treats so they can choose one each Monday to open and eat while they read. 
Sick Aaron stayed asleep while I carried him to the car, strapped him in,
picked up Maddix, and carried him back into the house... 

I got to help with Maddix's Valentine's party:) 

Maddix's photo of me sick on the couch. 

Monday night reading with Grandpa Vaughn

My love bug

These two were covered in mud
Poor little sick guys; this is where I found
him reading while quarantined in his room.

My date night with Maddix

Aaron's lunch date with Daddy

Sunday, February 12, 2017

~It takes a Village~

According to Wikipedia,
                  "It takes a village to raise a child is a proverb which means that it takes an entire community to raise a child: A child has the best ability to become a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child."
And you can believe it took a village to make my birthday weekend happen last week. 
Tuesday: Birthday calls, cards, well wishes started rolling in all week:) 
Wednesday: My wonderful friends held a birthday lunch for me
Thursday: Travis & the boys gave me my presents and made me a cake
Friday: We took the boys to our friends, dropped the dog at our neighbors, and set off for St. Paul where we barely made it a sealing session at the LDS Temple there. We followed that up with a few hours exploring the Minneapolis Museum of Art and then got to check in to the hotel; and yes, we did jump on the bed because Maddix asked us to:) For dinner we found this awesome restaurant called The Cadillac Ranch; they had the best service, delicious food, and a live band. Then that night the boys went to our next friends' home. 
Saturday: We slept in, enjoyed a delicious healthy breakfast, then jumped back into bed (because it was FREEZING) and planned our future. We had so much time to relax and get ready before checking out and walking around the ENTIRE Mall of America. We topped the day off with a large trip to Costco then made our way home where we had Oreo shakes and stayed up late. 
Sunday: We were lucky to sleep in again, then picked up our boys and finished off Travis's Sun-Mon off work together as a family. 
But it took so much work on the part of so many families just so we could get away for two nights. And they were so needed and rejuvenating. 
Having kids can make simple things so much more complicated; however, they make everything that much more enjoyable. I missed them the moment we drove away. I loved every minute with just Travis. 
Now I'm ready to get away again! ;) Or... I'm just ready for Winter to leave, sicknesses to go away, and Spring to warm us all back up! 
Birthday lunch Outfit

Actual Birthday: Groundhogs Day

 Weekend Away