Monday, June 2, 2014

the latest

A (mostly) photo essay update:

Easter. We went to our new favorite restaurant- the newly opened Olive Garden!!! It might also be where I chose to go for my birthday (which was in the same week).image

This girl loves her cat. I can't say the feeling is mutual, but Leo is at least willing to sleep with her when it's her turn to have him.
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The kids had 2 weeks off of school, so we spent a day at the zoo.
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Marina, Annie, and I surprised Riley by taking her to the One Direction concert. Our seats were on the other side of the stadium, so we're trusting that it was One Direction up on the stage.
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We call Tyler our "Errand Girl." Any errand that Blake or I have to run, she always wants to tag along. Many times she falls asleep in the car. Also, she loves cats.
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Riley made a cake for my birthday, but we were out of eggs. Thankfully our neighbor across the street has a store! Barrio living at its finest.
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We had a Cinco De Mayo party with friends.
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Tyler pushing the limits. She isn't allowed in friends' houses without our permission, so this is where she sits.
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During the kids' vacation, the 3 big kids walked/biked/scootered to Krochet Kids by themselves to "help." We love living so close to KKp!
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We were hosting the interns for dinner when we realized the meat was still frozen. We have no microwave, so we did what you do- ran hot water over it. Except the only place that we have hot water is in our shower.
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Riley and I finally went on a long overdue girls' weekend away.
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We went to Ica where there are huge sand dunes and you can sand board. I rode down the board on my butt because it is a lot scarier than it looks.
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Our little skater girl.
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Mother's Day performances for 2014 were thankfully very low key. No costumes required.
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Tyler was the announcer for her class's presentation. We were so proud of her for getting up on stage and talking in front of a large crowd.
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Brady danced to Mama Mia. He loves being up on stage!
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

moving abroad with older kids: where's the road map?

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I'm honored to have joined the writing team at A Life Overseas. My first post for them went up today and is about moving abroad with older kids. Here's an excerpt:

What I didn’t expect was how hard I would take it all as the parent. We had prayed and talked through everything about our move and decided that putting our kids into a Peruvian school was important to us. We just didn’t realize what we were asking of our kids. The day I rode in a taxi and dropped my 5 year old off for his first day of kindergarten in a language he didn’t understand at all about broke my heart. This wasn’t the kindergarten experience that I had dreamed of for him.

You can read the rest here!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

jack

Meet Jack.
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Since all 4 kids are now in full time school, I thought I would take on an extra kid. Jack's mom works for Krochet Kids and although we have a day care, it is full of kids. So I decided that I would like to help take care of the babies of KKp so that they can get the attention that they need. And right now Jack is the only baby around, so he gets all of my attention. Jack has been with me for almost 2 months now, Monday through Friday, 9-6. We're having fun together and I'm learning how to do things with just one hand again. 

Of course, in the afternoons, I have a few helpers.imageimage

Tyler has officially added Jack to her drawings of our family.
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Here she is telling Jack that he's part of our family, but not really because she knows that he already has a family.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

amsterdam

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We ended our time in Europe with a trip to Amsterdam. This stop was our most anticipated one because my sister, Bekah, and brother-in-law, Clay, and their family are living in the Netherlands for 9 months as part of Clay's PhD program. We took the train from Paris to Amsterdam and then immediately hopped on a train to their city, Kampen, about an hour outside of Amsterdam. There we were reunited with our favorite niece, Ever, and nephew, Owen. Last time we saw Owen he was only a few weeks old, so he was a different kid. It was so fun to be aunt and uncle for a few days. Bekah and Clay are also some of our favorite people in the world, so it was a huge treat to be with them and catch up on life in person. They were wonderful hosts, showing us around both Kampen and Amsterdam. We wish that we had had more time with them and in Amsterdam. We loved the city! The biking culture is phenomenal and it just has such a fun vibe. 

My favorite little guy, who isn't so little anymore.
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My sister and I biking to Ever's ballet class.
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It was really cold and rainy, so we had to stay bundled up.
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Watching Ever's ballet class. She would look at the window every few minutes to make sure we were still there and wave at us.
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After ballet class we walked around the center of town and got gelato and coffee.
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Aunt and uncle happily on duty.
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After our time in Kampen, we took the train back to Amsterdam to spend a day.
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Blake and Clay started the day with the Heineken Brewery Tour.
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While I took my nephew to the red light district as any good aunt would do. 
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We also went to the flower market (on the right side of the canal in this picture).

Bekah and I then grabbed a first lunch (and then ate a second one later with the guys).
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We also toured the Anne Frank house and finally made our way to the I Amsterdam sign. We ended our last night in Europe eating pasta in Amsterdam with family. It was pretty perfect.
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We truly could not have experienced a more perfect anniversary trip. We will be living off the high of this trip for years and years to come. We are eternally grateful for our friends who not only made this possible, but shared in our excitement. Here's to another 15+ years of marriage! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

paris

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Paris. The city I have been dreaming about visiting for as long as I can remember. It didn't disappoint. Architecturally, Paris is the most beautiful city that I have ever laid eyes on. I felt like I was in a movie the whole time that I was there. It was very special to have time together in the City of Love for our 15th wedding anniversary.

After a flight from Rome, we got to Paris in the afternoon and immediately set out for the Eiffel Tour. I was not prepared for how huge the Eiffel Tower actually is. I was amazed. Since the line for climbing the steps of the Tower was significantly shorter than the line for the elevators, we chose the former. Then we paid a little more to take the elevator to the very top. It was magnificent. The Eiffel Tower is just so iconic. Anytime it was in my view I was reminded of the significance of our trip. 

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Our very favorite part of Paris was the 5 hour bike tour that we did with Fat Tire Bike Tours. I cannot recommend it enough. We biked all throughout Paris, seeing all of the big sites. Biking + Paris = Perfection.
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And then Blake got shat on by a bird, so maybe not perfection.
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After the tour we stopped at Luxembourg Gardens, where, unfortunately, it was too cold for anyone to be out doing activities like chess and sailing boats.  
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On Day 2, we started at the Orsay Museum, but it was closed for visiting dignitaries. So we walked over to Napoleon's Tomb and the War Museum. This church was incredibly beautiful and the tomb was so impressive.
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After the tomb, we decided to check out the Orsay Museum again, and thankfully, it was open. It was surreal to be looking at paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh.
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Next up was Notre Dame. Obviously, so beautiful also. 
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We ended up using public transportation in all of the cities a lot. It was a fun challenge for us to figure each system out. In Paris, the subway was free for 2 of our days because they were trying to encourage its use.
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That night was went to Sacre Coeur, another favorite. We walked all throughout Montmartre, taking in life on this hill and its markets, restaurants, and shops.
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We ended our walk at the infamous Moulin Rouge.
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Our last day in Paris was spent at Versailles. I am fascinated by the extravagant lifestyle Parisian royalty lived, so I thoroughly enjoyed all of Versailles. 
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As a landscape architect, Blake thoroughly enjoyed the grounds.
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Marie Antoinette had her own fully functioning farm built (among other things), so that she could enjoy village life whenever she so desired. I just can't imagine why the starving public hated her so much.
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My only request for our last dinner in Paris was that we eat somewhere that I could see the Eiffel Tower. I just wanted to take it in one more time.
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Au revoir Paris! Next up for us was the Netherlands where some very special people awaited us!