Sunday, July 13, 2014

Going Private - without subscribers

I've had this nagging thought in my mind for a while - that I needed to take our family life a bit more private. I love to blog. I love to take pictures. I love keeping people updated on what our family is up to. However, in the process of keeping this blog public I feel like my voice has lost some of its' authenticity and sincerity. 

The first and foremost goal of this blog is to help me appreciate and document the daily moments with this family that I love so much. And while the blog is still arguably fulfilling that aspect, I feel like other aspects have ventured in and crowded that main purpose out a bit. 

So, after lots of thinking about it and lots of chats with Jason, I'm taking it private. I'm not sure at this point how long term/permanent this will be, I just know that it's what needs to happen at this point in time in order to return this blog to its' intended purpose - documenting our family and the memories we are making. And from there, we'll take it a step at a time. 

I have some other blog and article ideas stirring up in my head, but for now I'm focusing in on welcoming a new baby into our family, gearing up for homeschool, finally settling into this home of ours and, most importantly, embracing the present moment as we work towards our family vision. 

A big thanks to everyone who has stopped in to read around - I hope that you have enjoyed a small glimpse into our lives. 

For close friends and family that read this blog - please leave a message or email us so that we can be sure to send some picture updates your way via email. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Atticus is 5!

We have had lots of fun celebrating around here this weekend. Celebrating because this little man turned 5! Oh, I know it's cliche, but how did that happen!? How did he go from an eager-to-learn little baby to this super thoughtful 5-year-old?


We sure do love having Atticus in our family. He is such a hard worker, great helper and so thoughtful of those around him. He is so determined to always be helping that he gets a little down when there isn't any way for him to help. And he thinks verrrrry far into the future. He really thinks things through; even thinking about how many children he would like to have when he is married and what vehicle would be best to drive. Yep, that's our 5-year-old. And he is a fierce friend.

The most recent accomplishment that we have been celebrating around here is that Atticus is full-on reading. I'll post more about that another time, for now, I will just say that he thoroughly enjoyed getting to read all his birthday cards himself. And he has been practicing away at the piano; knows the names of the keys and can play both Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Hot Cross Buns. He's been asking about learning the violin next so we will hopefully be able to get that going soon as well.

Atticus declared this morning that it feels pretty good to be 5. More details about his birthday celebration soon. The birthday outing was an all around success and the birthday boy announced at the end of the day that every part of the day was his favorite. Above all, I just hope that he felt an outpouring of love, regardless of all the extras. We showered him with even more hugs and kisses than usual and just had fun celebrating him! We sure do love Atticus!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ATTICUS!!!

More photos to come soon!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Milayla's 3 Year Birthday Photos

These are the photos that we took for Milayla's Birthday Photo Shoot. We had a lot of fun letting the birthday girl choose where to get her photos taken around our home. And the boys had lots of fun giving me moose ears to get big smiles from the birthday girl. I really love all the facial expressions she gave us, which made it hard to narrow down the photos, so enjoy them all! Love this girl and her awesome personality and smile so much. More about her birthday celebration soon!

Oh, and yes she is sporting bright green rain boots. It had just rained and we had some fresh mud out back that I knew the birthday girl could not resist playing in so she was equipped accordingly. I think it makes the outfit that much more fun - particularly when paired with the windmills and lighthouses that are on our little dutch baby's dress (not sure you can actually see those in the photos though). 



















Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A New Adventure

The kids sent out this special Easter card to the grandparents.




Apparently, it wasn't direct enough as the majority of the grandparents failed to get the underlying message. We thought the ultrasound picture was a pretty big hint, but I suppose not ;). 

In any case, these kiddos are pretty excited because they are going to have another sibling around here and I sure do have the belly to prove it.

This is at 20 weeks. 



I know, it looks tiny, but this was only 20 weeks. AND it is definitely the biggest I have been at 20 weeks (and that tummy is definitely bigger now with still more time to grow). Everything has definitely happened a lot quicker with this pregnancy, including the hip and rib widening (which has happened in the final month of my last two pregnancies and happened in the 2nd month this time around!). It's felt a little strange for my body to make the changes so quickly and it has made for more aches than I would like.

In any case, we are all just happy to have another baby on the way. I feel like I have gone through a large breadth of emotions about it. When I first found out we were pregnant, I laughed (we've been waiting a while for this little one - I think the laughter was a mix of disbelief, relief and, most importantly, joy). Then I cried - happy tears. Then I had a slight panic as I realized that we didn't keep any baby things.

And there has been the stress of trying to navigate the healthcare system here which has fuelled some serious longing to birth in The Netherlands again. But, after lots of prayers and some serious effort, we were blessed to secure a midwife for the birth which has been a great fit. There has also been the amplified feelings of how difficult it has been for us to make new friends here.

But I think all those emotions have really caused me to dig deep and push myself to grow, in the literal and figurative sense. And to really see what matters most in the grand scheme of things.

It has also helped me focus on this family of ours. I know there will be some adjustments to having a new baby around, but I also know that there is such genuine love already growing in our family for this little baby of ours.





 As you can see, the kids are already proud and loving big siblings. They are so eager to learn what the baby is up to in my tummy and to get to meet the little one. They've been counting down since the ultrasound. And in the days leading up to the ultrasound, Milayla was counting down how many days until she would get to see the baby on the screen. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the kids at the ultrasound appointment - Milayla waved to the baby and Atticus grinned from ear to ear as Jason sat there soaking it all in.

It all made me think of this picture that is in one of the books that the kids got for Easter.


It's going to be a wonderful adventure, this new baby of ours. And we're all pretty excited for this new journey that we're on. And me, well, I am just soaking in all those little baby kicks and doing all I can to be the best mother that I can be for all three of these wonderful kiddos. And I am really starting to crave those newborn cuddles!

Monday, May 26, 2014

april daily

It's nearing the end of May and I am just getting to the last of April - I'd say that's not too bad.

First, it would seem that I am not the only fan of that gorgeous painting of the woman with the angels. There is a news article on it if you click here.  I think I may have to see about getting a small copy of this picture to put on our walls when we finally figure out how to hang things on these old walls without them falling to a crash on the floor.

Secondly, here is April and all it's little smile moments :).

Milayla was pretty pleased with herself when I came in to get her from nap and she had taken her shirt off and put it on upside down and backwards.


Also, notice that thing behind her? It's a bed. A real bed. After 10 months sleeping on our sofa we finally went and got just a basic Ikea bed. You would not believe how comfortable that plain 'ol Ikea mattress feels after so long on our sofa. That said, you also would not believe the absolute guilt I felt in putting the small bit of money we had set aside towards a bed. We at least had a place to sleep before we got the bed, it wasn't the most comfortable and we were each suffering some pretty awful back pain (not to mention sleep irregularities and insomnia for me) but at least we had a place to sleep which is something that a lot of people in this world don't have. I felt selfish getting a bed. Enough so, we didn't sleep in it for a while after it was set up. When I finally caved we slept a solid 10 hours, without waking. I forgot how good sleep feels when you actually get it. And I have been loving extra story times on the bed with the kiddos under piles of blankets.

Atticus has been eagerly learning to tie a tie as well. I know he will get there pretty soon - I think he is still a little nervous about it but with how quickly he catches on to tying things (he learned to tie his shoes in just a few minutes and has been learning knots from a knot book that we have) I don't think he will have any problem with this.


We were rained out for a solid few days so I let the kids have a full on puddle splashing in our back alley. In Atticus' words, the puddles looked like chocolate milk. The puddles were nice and dirty. But they had so much fun. I would do it again. It is definitely a must for enjoying the rain. And we actually do love the rain. I've been trying to work with the kids about discovering nature and how amazing it is and we were talking about how rain sounds like music and the kids decided it sounds magical. I rather agree - we have had some very lovely rainy days and have enjoyed playing in and listening to that magical rain.








And when it isn't raining, the kids have been drawing with a lot of chalk and riding their bikes in circles (and to the store). I think Milayla is due for a new helmet, but other than that - it's been a lot of fun.


Milayla has ditched the push bar a while ago now and is eagerly going at the laufrad. I think it may be time to get her a two wheeler with a little more practice on her balance she will be set. 


And when the slow melted enough that the playground was clear of slippery patches we made a bee line for every park in our area. The kids have had fun picking which parts of each park are their favorite. Though, with the rain, we have had some slippery days with a few wipe outs but the kids are still loving it. And, thankfully, as I write this we are enjoying pretty consistent spring weather that we are loving every minute of - rainy days and all!


On a sad note, we received the news in the mail that one of our neighbours in Germany has passed away. He was the husband of an elderly couple, that lived in our building, that we loved very dearly. They were very sweet, kind and welcoming to our little family and we loved our visits with them. The husband's health had been ailing for some time, but even though it was partially expected our hearts still ached for his wife and the companion that she has had to say goodbye to for now. Yet, we felt assured that their son (who lives nearby) and some other very supportive friends and neighbours will definitely be there to help support her. There will be good people to give a helping hand.


Speaking of Germany.... we got this treat to share one day. It tastes different somehow but still better than most of the other stuff here.



And we had our Easter concert. The kids were pretty wiped afterwards. It was a late night.  While we waited for Jason to run and find a few people the kids were pretty happy to collapse on the chairs in the foyer.



The kids love setting up their own little library with our books. They set up a little 'return' box with their puzzle mat pieces and will take out a book from the library, read it together, and then take it to the return box.



Speaking of books, I found this poem in a book of children's poetry and I thought it was interesting.  I actually think it loses it's power after the first couple lines. But I rather like the first couple lines.



And we have flowers! In April, it was just little signs of spring here and there but as I write this we have tulips, green grass and spring leaves everywhere! I love the brightness of spring.



This picture makes me smile. When we have mornings that we weren't able to get outside we will have dance/gym time where I will put on different types of music and the kids need to come up with different movements for each song. Well, when I put on a slow song they ran and got a stuffed animal and started slow dancing with them. They giggled their way through the song.



I feel pretty lucky that I get to discover the world through the eyes of of those little ones. They're pretty awesome. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Matching

The kids think it's pretty spectacular when we match around here. Same color shirts, same color pants, all wearing shorts, all wearing socks etc - any patterns or similarities are simply awesome to them. It's cute. So when I suggested that I take a few photos of my matching kidlets they were pretty stoked about the idea. Atticus even brushed Milayla's hair out of her face for the picture. So sweet. 





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