Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Speaking Love to the Littles

I started reading a new book today that was recommended by my sweet Alisa. 

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.

One of our children has a tough time expressing himself and it often comes out in anger and frustration so Alisa thought this book may shed some light on how to better show and receive love from our angry little bear (my words not hers).

As I read through the first several chapters it was very clear that a couple of our kids most definitely show and receive love through touch. 

Graham is very physically affectionate but he is also very clumsy.  So he will come running at me full speed for a hug or kiss and crack me in the nose or hug me so tight around the waist that he knocks me off balance.  I often will deflect his advances for fear of injury.  After reading I realized I need to initiate bear hugs, wrestling, pats on the shoulder, rubs on the head and the like to really speak to his little self. 

Brennan is also shows and receives love through touch.  He always flops down next to me and lays his head on my shoulder.  He loves to be hugged even in front of friends.  He'll even hold my hand in the middle of Wal-mart.  I'm going to have to work on allowing them to show me love through touch and also showing them love that way.  It is not my love language, and I actually really struggle with it. 

Tanner I'm still figuring out.  But he definitely seems to respond to quality time. 

As I'm working through the kids and trying to learn to love them better, I decided to ask them "How do you know I love you?"

Graham said, "Because you tell me billions of times a day"  This shows that he also feels loved through words of affirmation.

Brennan said, "because you work so hard and do nice things for us" That is acts of service, my favorite way to show love.  Fortunately he sees that as love and not just busyness.

Tanner told me he feels loved "because you tell me all the time and you take us neat places"  That is words of affirmation and quality time.

Anneliese said, "because you tell me and kiss me and you're my mommy"  Words of affirmation and touch.  

Elijah said, "Why...why are you asking?  WHY WHY WHY???" 

Ugh...the main kid I'm reading the book for and I get nuttin'.  Stink pot, guess I better keep reading.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Beach Bathroom Redo

One of the biggest blessings of moving into this house is that we went from one shower to three.  For a family of 7, sharing one bathroom was a huge inconvenience and as the kids grew it would just have become a bigger issue.

The kids bathroom downstairs was one of the last rooms to receive some attention.  We've been here almost 3 years and it didn't even have a mirror above the sink until about 2 months ago.  It's been neglected and gross honestly.  The boys didn't mind, they loved having their own space.

While they were gone this week I decided to give it some much needed attention.  Here are some pics of it when we purchased the house.  This is a huge bathroom with a stand alone shower.  It's such a blessing!

I've never been shy of my love of the ocean.  I was 32 before I ever laid eyes on it and I've been in awe ever since.  It beckons me.  I was so in awe of God's majesty the first time I saw it I literally cried.  So I decided to make the boys bathroom a little reminder.

I started by painting the walls a beautiful blue that reminded me of the sky.  The tile is a perfect "sand."  We made markers with arrows that accurately direct you to the closest beach (notice how insanely far!)  Total Cost:  $16 1 gallon of paint; $5 for surf board rug; $13 for lumber; $5 for teal paint and a couple paint sponges.  Not bad for $39!  The boys were giddy. 
To the East

Thank you Gripp for cutting my "surf board" so I could paint it!

Our shells from our trip to Daytona

Perfect rug found on clearance for $5!!
6ft hand painted sign.  Just LOVE it

To the South

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Random Vacation Pics



Tanner loved all the Bigfoot signs

Waiting for Old Faithful

Love her

Old Faithful

Westcliffe, CO

Westcliffe, CO

Creede, CO

Near Gunnison, CO


We had people offer to take pics of our family for us but the family selfie became our "thing."  I would just decline politely and say, "we have this weird thing we do."  Watch the girl, that's great stuff right there.


Devil's Tower

Crazy Horse

Mt. Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore

Westcliffe, CO


After leaving Deadwood we headed to Crazy Horse.

Jared insisted that we go and I really felt underwhelmed by the idea.  I'm so thankful he won out because it was really neat.

We went in and watched the movie explaining the how and the why.  My favorite part was the original artist had 10 children and even though they had been offered 10 million dollars from the government on two separate occasions, they turned it down both times.  They wanted to do the project privately and it is completely funded by donations and the proceeds of tourism.

The kids loved the video.  They showed the dynamite and explosions.  They were fascinated!

After Crazy Horse we tried to take scenic Needles Highway (see youtube video) over to Mt. Rushmore.

Unfortunately for us, a RV was just convinced the rules didn't apply to him and he went through and got his RV stuck in one of the tiny tunnels and we were forced to turn back.

So we turned around and headed to Mt. Rushmore on the main highway and unfortunately came from behind the mountain so the Presidents appeared in our rear view mirror as we made our way around the front of the mountain.  Regardless, it was beautiful and we all really enjoyed it.  We decided to take advice from our friend Ryan M. and treated the family to the best ice cream we've ever tasted.  We had Thomas Jefferson's original recipe for vanilla ice cream.  Very much worth the cost.  DELICIOUS!
Crazy Horse, The girl was sneezing :)

Crazy Horse

Mt. Rushmore

Best ice cream EVAH

Mt. Rushmore

They loved it

Deadwood, South Dakota

After leaving Devil's Tower we headed to Deadwood, South Dakota. 

We arrived in the evening on Wednesday and the town was super quaint and the scenery was beautiful.  We stayed in a Comfort Inn that was brand new and had the nicest amenities.  There was a tiny little water fall right by the parking lot and the rooms were beautiful.  We were very impressed since our family stayed there for only $99. 

Thursday morning we met up with Dustin (Jared's brother) and his family.  They made a stop in Deadwood on their way to Montana.  Their vacation was just beginning as ours was coming to a close.

We spent the morning wandering around downtown and visiting the little shops.  Jared and I enjoy the history of the town and actually have watched documentaries and read quite a bit about it so that was neat for us.  Unfortunately, the history is one of brothels, outlaws, murder and the like.  I wouldn't exactly call Deadwood "child friendly."  There were slot machines in every building and there were shops named after brothels. 

We ate lunch in a neat Diner that was located in the town's very first gas station.  I tried bison which was very good!  

We stopped in at the Adam's Museum.  That was fascinating, and the kids actually really enjoyed all the information and pictures. 
The cousins in Deadwood

Historic Seth Bullock hotel

Perfect size coffee grinder for home!


Just chillin in Deadwood

Mmmmm Coffee

Adam's Museum

The Courthouse

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Devil's Tower

I hope you are still hanging in there :)  We have a few more stops and whole lotta pics we want to share.  I'm sure during this vaca and the postings after I've lost more than a few Facebook friends due to the constant barrage.  It's okay, I know there's some family (my mom) and church members (Jared's mom) enjoying this.

After being in Yellowstone all day we headed to Cody, Wyoming.  On the drive we decided to see where we were on our budget.  We were way under on food due to the generosity of family (Steve, Ron, Vicki, Heather and Travis).  So we decided to treat the kids.  We stopped at a BBQ place just inside Cody and let each of them order what they wanted off the menu.  No sharing, no splitting fry orders.  You would've thought it were Christmas morning. With full bellies and exhausted bodies we checked into our hotel and crashed.

Next stop, Devil's Tower.  This is the mountain that was in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Jared's favorite movie of all time.  It was super cool.  We hiked 1.3 miles around it's base.  The kids were pretty fascinated by it.  Enjoy a few pics :)
This was a bathroom break on the way to Cody, even potty stops are incredible!

Devil's Tower

My little Holly Hobby has a rough life :)

Holding up the rock

Scenic overlook on the trail around Devil's Tower

taking a breather

Just incredible

Probably my favorite famfie.  That girl is too much!

Yellowstone National Park

On Sunday afternoon we went to church with Sean and Becca and Vicki and Ron at a local church where Sean and Becca gave their presentation from MAF (missionary aviation fellowship).  My eldest two, who have a great interest in missions and aviation, acted as if they had met their soul mates after watching the video of a day in the life of Sean :)

We headed out to Grand Junction Sunday afternoon to visit my siblings.  You can read about that visit HERE.  We stayed overnight in Grand Junction and then headed to Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Monday was just a travel day and it was loooooooong.  Once we got there we checked into what appeared to be a seedy hotel, but ended up being our favorite.  2 huge rooms and a great pool and hot tub, we just swam and relaxed all evening.

Tuesday morning we headed 2 hours to Yellowstone.  A beautiful drive, and Yellowstone was amazing.  We saw countless Bison, an elk so close we could touch it (not quite but almost!), a moosen (purposeful typo for all you Bryan Reagen fans),  and some of the rudest people on the planet.  Just a quick note to all you travelers out there, just because you are on vacation does NOT mean you are the ONLY ones on vacation.  A tiny bit of consideration for others goes a long way.  Our kids got a tough lesson on being kind to others even when they don't deserve it.

We ate lunch right inside the park and then spent the day checking out all kinds of amazing mud pits, geysers, animals, mountains, and searching for bears.  It was an amazing day.  I would definitely go back and explore the parts we weren't able to get to.  Here's some pics
This was Daddy's idea :)

So many great places to stop and take pics

Eli took pride in taking pics of Jared and I with the scenery

This is has zero zoom.  We were that close to an elk :)

The only bear we saw :)

Another of Eli's pics
Famfie (family selfie) at one of the pools in Yellowstone

Best friends
We kept wondering what the first person who came upon it must've thought!
Dragon Mouth Spring, we all thought this was amazing

Waiting for Old Faithful who wasn't so faithful or impressive really