Monday, April 24, 2017

Bring On May

April Showers Bring May Flowers

This can be thought of as metaphorically, as well as literally as the phrase applies to our Month of April; it has been a rough one. Without exaggeration I can honestly say this has been one of the hardest months I've had to survive since Travis and I were living apart for all those long months. 
It's been rainy with no sun: I thrive on sun
We've had A LOT of commitments: I've felt overwhelmed
Travis's hours were insane: He worked a week of days and nights... only to sleep 2-4hrs in between.
The boys have started sports: I absolute love this, and it's been hard to balance it all. 
We've been sick, a lot. 

And then I've had school... this has been one of my hardest semester's I've experienced in my program; i.e. Saturday I had an 8 hr assignment to do while Travis actually had a day off and he and the boys were out enjoying the gorgeous weather, doing yard work and having fun... and I felt like a piece of me was dying inside... and then as I sat in that dark little office, I began feeling sick again...

And I have what we think is really bad food poisoning from the restaurant we went to on our date night on Friday; it has been awful, probably because I just don't handle being sick well at all. I have been down and out for the count. 

BLESSINGS of the Month: I have the sweetest friends and neighbors who have driven Maddix to school for me, taken Aaron so I can work on homework, and just gone above and beyond to help us in tough times when Travis can't be around. Then there is the fact that Travis had this weekend off; I would NOT have survived, the boys would not have survived had he not been home. And not only was he home, but he was SO engaged and on the ball. He completely transformed our yard (it looks so good), played with the boys, they hand-washed the Explorer, cleaned the house, cooked, shopped, brought me crackers and Gatorade, went to a church meeting for me, bathed and put the boys to sleep, and seriously never stopped to take a moment for himself this whole weekend. Now he is back to work today and only has one day off this weekend and then works another 14 days straight; he is my Hero

Aside from this being the longest most unbearable month, we did enjoy Easter, We've enjoyed the couple of soccer games we've gone to as a family in good weather, we are STOKED that the boys are about to start BASEBALL!!!! I've waited 6 hrs to become a baseball mom! And... Travis just received a fun calling he's looking forward to: I'll update on that later. This month just needs to end. 
May is going to bring SOOO many good things that I just can't wait for the "flowers" that will bloom from all this "rain" we've received this month! 
Hail storm; they weren't too big, but they came down

Dancing in the car

Went to a "Ghost Buster" themed
bday party

Easter loot! 

Easter Egg Hunt with friends

Picnic, and enjoying some sun

Took Daddy his phone and ended up getting
to come in for a treat:) Made Aaron's DAY!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring has ALMOST Sprung

So Maddix has begun soccer season. 
This Saturday was his first game; it was also the nicest weather we've had so far. 
We reached 70 degrees and I can't tell you how great it felt sitting in the grass with a warm breeze, and sunshine while we watched our Maddix run around the field. 
I can't tell you when he got so tall, but he was one of the tallest out there, and he was one of the fastest. We were so proud! He scored 3 of the 4 goals also. 
And did I mention Travis was there?? YES, he finally has a weekend off, and fortunately it fell on the weekend of the first game. 
Afterward we made a quick trip to Minnesota to shop at Costco and visit our cousins. 

This weekend was everything I needed it to be. Lots of time outside, and lots of family time. It was a foreshadow into what our future could be like once we get Travis around more. We loved it. 
Enjoy your week! 

I didn't snap a picture at the game, but here was his practice
Also, the boys each got haircuts and are looking so much older these days! 

Such a darling

Hansom Goof

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!