Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Christmas WAS just as special as I was imagining... even though Bentley was mostly interested in the bows and wrapping paper and Harper's main objective was to get through each present as fast as she could just so she could get to the next one ;)

The "specialness" or magic wasn't necessarily from their reactions to gifts (although there were a couple cute ones) but to some of the little moments surrounding Christmas:
  • We loved hearing Harper over her monitor, laying in her bed, singing Jingle Bells.
  • ANYtime she heard Silent Night on the radio, tv, or at church... she would say, "That's my song!" - that's been one of her good night songs for months.
  • Driving home last week, we were trying to distract Harper from a meltdown. Jeremy told Harper to tell him when she saw Christmas lights. From that point on, Harper has said on repeat to every house that is lit up, "There's some Christmas lights dada! There's some Christmas lights dada! There's some Christmas lights dada! And there's Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas..." We didn't think she would take him SO literally!
  • Harper was very clear that everything we did or said in preparation for Christmas was for Jesus' birthday... it was so authentic, simple and inspiring.
  • During the candle light service at church on Christmas Eve, Harper's eyes were sparkling with the magic of Christmas... It was a "stand still" moment for her mama watching her take it all in.
  • Bentley, is still quite too young to understand it all, but we cherished his love for the Christmas tree and wanting to dismantle it and then rehang the ornaments each day.
  • He did do an adorable little "dance" when he helped unwrap the Toy Story action figure set... we got that on video ;)
This year was a glimpse for us... as to how special, tender and touching the story of Jesus' birth, giving to others, and being close to those you love is to our children. It makes me wish we could carry the spirit of Christmas throughout the whole year. And why shouldn't we? I guess that is my challenge... to continue to keep Jesus' life, giving to others and being close with those we love at the core of who we shape our family to be.

I didn't capture many pictures from Christmas Eve or day... But here are a few that we did capture.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Yesterday we did the annual "visit to Santa" thing. And let's just say Jeremy and I laughed a lot... When it was all over.

Harper was excited to see Santa, before the actual visit. Every time we asked her, "what do you want to ask Santa for?" she responded with, "where's rudolf the red nose reindeers' mommy? He's kinda sad... (hand motions of tears falling down her face). Bentley, on the other hand, was of course oblivious to the whole idea. We had fun standing in line, drinking coffee and hot chocolate together. The simple moments are what end up being cherished, right?

When our wait was finally over, we were ushered into a private room with Santa so the kids could have their "moment". Harper immediately was on the verge of tears and clinging to me for life; Bentley was literally clawing for the door as soon as he laid eyes on the big guy! Even though Santa was extremely nice and tried very hard to get Harper to talk to him, it was with no avail. We took our picture, reluctantly paid our $20 and walked outside to pick up the pieces.

Even though one may have considered it an utter disaster, it was a great family memory and lended itself to a fantastic picture!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So much fun at Christmas

Bentley and Harper, Christmas hasn't even arrived yet and your parents are already calling this one our most favorite yet! It's because you both are at an age where you are in the beginning stages of soaking up everything... Everything about Jesus and decorating and lights and Santa and presents and giving... Everything.

We really want to let you experience everything... But reality sets in and your parents realize we can only do so much...

This past week, we've enjoyed making snowflakes, mommy/kiddo shopping days, celebrating uncle Brent's birthday, quality time with Mimi and auntie Kara, and taking cookies to our neighbors.

You both have been pretty excited and tired this week, all at the same time. This Christmas season is pretty tiring for everyone involved with two youngsters, but it's wonderful none-the-less. I love that Bentley wants to dismantle and re-decorate the Christmas tree everyday and Harper still answers my question of "what is she most excited about Christmas?" with, "It's Jesus' birthday!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Too fast

When did my kids get so big? Harper's hair is so long now - which is really just indicative of how old she is acting too... And Bentley just upgraded to a big boy car seat! The poor guy literally couldn't even wear a jacket in his old car seat because it would be too tight - sorry bubu! It felt like it took forever for Harper to make the same transition.

Perspective: it. goes. by. really. fast.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peacock Lane

Since Christmas is just one week away, we decided to take the kids to a classic Portland location to see the Christmas lights. Peacock Lane has been around forEVER! Well, at least as long as Jeremy and I can remember. It's pretty cool since it is a pretty long neighborhood block and every single house is decorated like crazy. We bundled up and brought hot chocolates to-go to keep warm (Harper had her own Starbucks mug too, thanks to Auntie Kae and Uncle Brent).

The kids both soaked up all the sights - the lights, the yard decorations, the music and all of the people walking around. We asked Harper when we first arrived to make sure to tell us when she saw her most favorite house. We walked up to a house with beautiful colored lights and two GIANT candy canes in the front yard. Harper starred at the house with a glazed/mesmerized expression and stated confidently and simply: "This one's my favorite". Bentley even found his favorite house that was lit up red and green... we literally had to drag him away from it.

It's so refreshing to see the magic of Christmas through the eyes of your children... and so fun to see them try to understand it too. Just today while we were out shopping as a family, Harper was asking me what everyone was doing. I said they were all getting ready for Christmas. Harper then pointed at a man walking past us and asked, "is he going to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus?" I love that having these little people in our lives really help us, as adults, get back to the real importance of Christmas - celebrating what Jesus did for us and loving others the way he loves us.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Growing up

Oh Bentley boo, you are growing up faster than I can keep up with. Each day you act older and older and I can hardly wrap my brain around it.

I wanted to quickly record a few milestones for you (14 months old) since I haven't for a while.

•You refused to do any sign language for a while... I think this was for your mother's benefit to keep her pride in check ;) you now have caught on and sign: milk, eat, more, hot, dog, cracker
•You say: mama, dada, hot (ha), that (dat), ball (ba), and we have sworn more than once that you've said door! Just the other day you started putting two words together - you signed "more milk" and then said and signed "dat ha" (that hot) and pointed at the candle.
•You are a CRAZY climbing machine! Every day now, if I leave you in the playroom for even just a minute, your sister is screaming "mommy, bentley's standing on the table!" Your dad and I keep saying we see stitches in your future. Its definitely your curious and bruiser personality, but I think it's also due to "second child syndrome" - which means you take note of everything your older sibling is doing, and then you figure out how to do it better (i.e. more dangerous) and sooner.
•You are a complete boy... Literally crashing and banging on everything. There is nothing dainty or naturally gentle about you. However, I do ask you to show me what being gentle looks like and you stroke my face with your hand... So precious.
•You weigh 26lbs now, which is only 3 pounds less than your sister. It's impressive, you still have some baby rolls, but generally you're just a solid brick. You have been since birth.
•Right now you're a bit of a mama's boy... You're going through one of those attachment phases where you don't want me to hand you off to any one else! I secretly adore it ;)
•You still smile ALL the time and it melts everyone because you have "smiley eyes" and they are full of pure joy. I think there's a tiny flirt-factor you're working too...
•Right now you make me laugh because you usually won't just give out kisses. But lately, if I count to three in a silly way, you lean in for a kiss every time without fail. It cracks me up! I think you like playing games. Many a girls' heart may be crushed by you my boy ;)
•Your walking skills obviously keep improving. You now have more of a run going on... Which makes us a bit nervous ;) you have also found your rhythm and dance a bit here and their.

Bentley, we absolutely adore you! You're personality and charm is dynamic and we are so thankful for the joy you bring to this family. Just please... For your mama's sake... Stay away from the stone wall and don't learn to climb on anything else!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our First Christmas in Our Own Home

This Christmas feels special to me. This is our very first Christmas, as a family, in our own home... Every year in the past, we spent it out of town and always with others. We are already realizing how special it is and how blessed we are to be able to spend Christmas as our very own family this year. We have sweet, sweet memories of Christmases past but there's just something exciting about looking forward to Christmas morning with two tiny kiddos and my dear husband. We have exciting Christmas plans with both sides of the family this year and we always cherish that time. But this year, I'm going to relish sitting next to our very own tree with the three people I love the dearest. Taking the little things for granted is not what I'll be doing this year.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bentley's First Hair Cut

On Friday morning my little man still resembled a baby... That afternoon I took him to get his hair cut. He now looks like a little man. He did so good sitting relatively still for his stylist. I must say, it was one of those moments that remind me how much I enjoy having a little boy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A few pictures from Cabo

My side of the family decided to break away from our typical thanksgiving tradition this year... We rented a house in Cabo San Lucas. It's our first trip here, and we are loving every moment of it. It is breathtakingly beautiful... And the company is equally as perfect.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Oh My!

Oh my sweet Harper,

You are testing your mommy so much these days. I'm told it's because you are almost three. You are much more independent than at 2 or 2 and 1/2. You are realizing that you have a mind and opinion of your own... and it is now actually a "choice" to not obey mommy and daddy. Thankfully I know this is just a stage... it is marked by a lot of whining and more tantrums. I will never forget exactly when the stage started because you burst out at something I said with, "I don't want to, I don't want to, I don't want to!" My breathing stopped, as I had never heard anything of the sort from your mouth!

You are not difficult all the time, my girl. You are also extremely animated, clever and full of imagination these days. You are also markedly compassionate, empathetic and gentle. You love being active, silly and laughing!

Nonetheless, I am tired often these days and am ever thankful for the Lord's guiding your mommy and daddy. I write these things for me to remember what the Lord is teaching us and for you and Bentley to read when you are parents someday. I am so thankful for your daddy's support and wisdom in regards to you and Bentley. I am realizing more and more that I must rely on the Lord's strength and wisdom in parenting and on him filling me with more and more patience.
Here you are Harper, crumbling to pieces... you didn't want to be buckled in the ride just yet because you HAD to play with the controls immediately. My oh my sweet girl!

I have been encouraged by two verses lately:

James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

Isaiah 40:11 - "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Harper LOVES her gymnastics class... But she especially loves the stamps they get at the end!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whirlwind in San Diego (A picture post)

Its been a few weeks since we came home from our month in San Diego. I have been surprised how long it has taken me to feel settled back here, but then I remember just how much of a whirlwind October was! It was a roller-coaster of a month with all the friends we saw, things we did, mixed up with absolute craziness with Jeremy's work. I can't write about everything so I thought I'd just post a few highlight pictures that I actually got. There were many people and events I didn't get pictures of... For all of the friends that are not mentioned in this post - just remember that we love all of you just as much ;)
I got to spend a lot of time with the kids in the Point Loma and Ocean Beach area. They loved playing in the sand and watching the waves... I did too!
One Saturday, we got to go to PLNU's fall festival with our sweet friends, the Khalow family. It was a blast! The event was no joke as it had bounce houses, a pumpkin patch, a petting zoo from the SD zoo, pony rides, live music, a rock climbing wall, etc! It equalled great family time and exhausted kiddos. During the month, we got our families together for a chaotic dinner, and Joanna and I got to meet at the park a few times with the kids. India and Harper had a blast together and Joanna and I enjoyed lots of conversations on parenting (they just had their second, a baby boy as well). Sweet times.
Harper and India were so brave and thrilled to get to ride the ponies! It was a great memory.
Jeremy's family was on vacation in Palm Springs during the month, so we met them all at Disneyland for the day. The girls were in seventh heaven running around in their Rapunzel dresses...
A quick family picture at the end of a long day with tired kiddos (yes, in true form Bentley smiled all day long - what a trooper!).
Jeremy and Harper on the Dumbo ride. She loved the flying rides; Hated the "car" rides that got pretty loud and dark. Taking a not-yet-three year old was just a bit ambitious ;)
Uncle Josh, cousin Claire and Harper starting the day in the front row of Mickey's welcome performance at the castle. It is just plain magical through your 2 year olds eyes.
I think we rode the carousel 92 times... well ok, maybe 10.
The first ride of the day was a family ride in the tea cups... they both loved it!
Even though Josh and Jordan have serious craziness in their lives right now, as Jordan is in the middle of completing her dietetic internship in LA, we still were able to see them more than a couple times. They are absolutely precious friends to us and "Auntie" and "Uncle" to the kids.
We enjoyed an afternoon up in North County at the park/beach with them and my mom... and then wound up at a coffee shop (of course!).
My mom came in the middle of the month to visit us for a long weekend... San Diego is like a second home to her since she spent so much time down there visiting us. We were joking how funny it was that she was visiting us visit SD... but we seriously were SO happy we got our Mimi visit... a month is a long time! I was especially happy that my mom could get away for some fun and a fix of Harper and Bentley, since she had a day off from teaching anyway. She is my gem ;)
We were so thankful to connect with our friends Chad and Kandice and their daughter Cassidy. They were a part of our home Bible study group through the Rock and we adore them. We got to enjoy breakfast with them and the Studes after church one week... it was hectic with all the kids, but reminded us further just how special they are.
I got to spend a very special evening out with my friend Katie. I am so thankful for her friendship, wisdom and example. I always walk away from our time completely inspired and wishing I could have more "Katie time". Sans children and husbands, we chatted the night away... literally, we were the last ones out of the restaurant. I just love her!
The kids and I got to log many hours with Kristy and her two boys, Josiah and Micah... at the park, on walks, at the zoo, etc. I always enjoy my time talking about every topic under the sun with Kristy, but this chunk of time was really fun because Harper and Josiah can now interact in a completely different way than they did a year ago. We laughed so much watching their interactions and chatter!
We walked to the end of the Ocean Beach pier from the house we were staying in. The kids had a blast and Josiah seriously impressed me... he walked most all of the way AND he "flew" his action figure Buzz Lightyear the entire way there and back... a seriously cute obsession ;)
The kids and I walked... and walked... and walked... and walked during the month of October.
And then we got ready to walk some more...
When we finally did make it back to Portland, we couldn't have been greeted by more warmth. Since our flight arrived in the late afternoon and our fridge was completely empty, our friends Adam and Elissa surprised us with a delicious homemade soup, salad, bread and dessert! Mimi and Baba came over (it WAS Halloween!) and helped us get settled.
It was such a blessing to get to reconnect with all our friends in San Diego... and just reconfirmed that those friendships are deep, authentic and vital. We were, however, so ready to be back in our own bed!