Long Beach &

After Kendall’s girl party, we hurried up and packed for our trip to the beach. It was our first time at the Kite Festival and the kids were pumped!

We pulled in to the camp site and what did we do first? Not the beach but the pool!!! They had a little pool there right next to where we were setup. That water was COLD but do kids care? I swear they don’t have nerves!

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After swimming, we headed to the beach. It was less than 1/4 mile, just right over the hill from our site. And nobody on the beach. Couldn’t have been more peaceful.

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Winston patrolling the beach. That dog LOOOOVES the beach!

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The next day it was kite flying time!!!

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And chill time.

Our camp site had a mess hall where they cooked breakfast Saturday morning. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, coffee. What a nice treat! That’s Sam on the right…Ryan’s childhood friend. The kids just love Sam πŸ™‚

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Kendall eating a mickey mouse pancake πŸ™‚

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Walking the boardwalk in downtown Long Beach. You can see all the kites in the distance. Look at our amazing weather!

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After our trip, we had 2 days to get ready for school. So we did haircuts at Walmart (never again!). Kendall LOVED getting her hair washed!

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And doing her most favorite thing in the whole wide world. Picking berries!

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And that wraps up the summer of 2017. I have to say I struggled the last few weeks. It’s very very hard to keep these kids busy and happy! Even with so many trips and fun outings, I heard a lot of ‘I’m bored!’ or ‘I have nobody to play with!’

Needless to say, I did not shed a tear when it was time to send them off to school. They love school and their friends and all the fun things they get to do. I’m SUPER thankful we have such great schools out here!

Now, to catch up to October….

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Finishing August

I NEED to finish August so I can finish September so I can get into October and be CAUGHT UP! Seriously, I am just on my computer too much these days but Kendall voraciously reads about her early years so I need to keep this going and ensure she has reading material πŸ˜›

So after P and I returned to reality, we had a few weeks before school started. We had some downtime so Kendall I did some baking (yes, we still bake on the floor!):

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And dad had the hair brained idea to build a treehouse! Actually, the kids were THRILLED so before we talked ourselves out of it, we headed to Home Depot as a family.

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Here we have the kids being silly in the cart. I think this is what Ry and I will look like when we’re old! LOL

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Back at home, it was Payton’s job to trim the tree as dad cut wood and Kendall served beverages πŸ˜›

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Already making progress!

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That next week, Kendall insisted on having a GIRL PARTY! She spent hours making invitations, arranging her room, setting the agenda. I just couldn’t say no! So we have 7 6 year olds over at our house for 4 hours. And you know what? It was a blast. I just love Kendall’s friends!

Here she is prepping for the big day (yes, that dress is WAY too long!)

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Payton had his buddy Talen over for the day. They spent most of their day in the tree house!

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They started out in Kendall’s room. They played dress-up and then started getting swimsuits on.

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Some trampoline time.

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And lots of pool time!

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Of course they had to eat snacks!

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And any day is a good day to decorate cupcakes, right? These were some EPIC cupcakes!

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Look at those cutie patooties! Zoei, Genevieve, Alexis, Maelyn, Kendy, and Emma. Zuri was off doing gymnastics somewhere πŸ˜›

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The day ended with unicorn wands! Do you see Kendall on the right there? She’s spent. Had an emotional breakdown of which I fully expected. So much excitement for one day!!!

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Costa Rica, Part 3

After another LONG bus ride, we ended up North central Costa Rica at the Arenal volcano.

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Oh my word, the view! Check this out from our hotel room: NO JOKE

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We spent some time in the natural hot springs but the rain hit us so the kids didn’t get as much pool time as they wanted!

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The next morning it was off to the suspension bridges! Oh man, this was fun but scary. We weren’t strapped in at all and the bridges easily swayed. Glad we did it though. So cool to be on top of the trees!

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Stopped for lunch in La Fortuna and did a bit of shopping

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I didn’t feel well that evening so I spent the rest of the day in bed. I am not the only one!! Man, that food can do a number on you (good thing I had my oils!).

The next morning we packed up and headed to the Pacific side of Costa Rica in a place called Punta Leona. The kids of course needed pool and beach time ASAP.

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We went to Jaco and took outriggers to a private beach for swimming, a waterfall, some soccer, and amazing fruit! I will forever cut pineapple and watermelon this way πŸ˜‰

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You can’t be in Costa Rica and not see DEADLY snakes and critters!! This is an eyelash pit viper!

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Our last day we went ziplining. FOR SURE a highlight and Payton and I could NOT resist going upside down. So fun!

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Here is our group before heading back to San Jose.

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A tree of our group’s favorite things about the trip!

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These kids! They made it so much fun with their energy. And they all loved on Payton. Look at his face!

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Payton and Wes. I wish they lived closer! They were best buds on the grip for sure.

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And Morgan sure loved her Payton πŸ™‚

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I cannot wait to take Ryan and Kendall on our next adventure travel trip. Def. need to wait a few years as it’s not really for kids under 10. But P did awesome and it truly was a trip of a lifetime. Soooo grateful to mom and dad for making this possible!!! I’ll never forget it!

Costa Rica, Part 2

Ok, so we got up at like 5am the next morning to head out for a LONG trip to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, called Tortugeuro (means, many turtles). Payton was such a trooper the whole way! I think it was a 6 hour bus ride and then another 1 hour boat ride. But man, was it worth it. I think Tortuguero was our favorite place. Our room! The pool! The howler monkeys!! Sooooo amazing.

One of our many naps on the bus:

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Getting ready to get on our boat after the long bus ride!

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The turtle-shaped pool was a major highlight of the entire trip. The kids were in there for HOURS one day. That’s Wes on the left, Payton’s bestie on the trip, and Sara on the right. The kids were so much fun and Payton really connected with several of them.

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Learning about turtles with their listening devices:

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Checking out the remnants of a turtle’s nest. They’re huge!!!

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Oh, just having some morning coffee in the middle of the jungle. Sorry, I mean ‘cafΓ© non leche.’

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Mom and me on a boat tour!

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Peekaboo! What do you see! (caiman!!)

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This guy was much easier to spot πŸ™‚

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We went on a night walk to look for frogs insects, and spiders. We found a spider all right!

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Check out this spider waiting to catch is prey…with his own web!

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One of the yummy fruits we had on the trip. One of our guides bought these off the side of the road. I think it’s called mamon. Kind of weird but good. And how gorgeous is it?

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We also did a night tour where we waited and waited and waited on the beach and FINALLY got to see a turtle laying her eggs. Crazy!

After 2 days there, we packed up again and headed to our next stop: Arenal mountains in the North!

 

Costa Rica

In August, Payton and I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to Costa Rica with mom and dad. Payton’s first international trip and it was far more than we both had ever dreamed. Sooo much learning, laughter and experiences, and to do it with P was just priceless. Pictures do NOT do any of it justice but they will have to do!

We made it! Here we are waiting for our ride πŸ™‚

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Pre-drink before our meet and greet!

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Meeting our guides and our group!

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Hard to wake up after a lot of traveling!

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Oh man, the papaya was SO GOOD!

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And Payton eating like the locals do. Can’t you tell?

IMG_1919Getting on the bus for our first trek…to the Toucan Rescue Ranch and then a coffee plantation in the afternoon!

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Those toucans were so gorgeous!

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And the sloths were a ton of fun too! Look at this baby learning how to climb!

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Next we checked out a coffee plantation and learned all about how they make coffee.

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Payton even tasted some! Of course he thought it was nasty.

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Papa was a good sport to participate in a game with P!

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That night we chilled a bit and Payton swam in the pool with his new friends. The next morning we had to get up EARLY for a long bus-ride to Tortugeuro, the next leg of our trip, which is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. More to come!

Catching up, Part 7 (and back to school pics!)

Oh man, already September! The kids are back in school, I’m back to work, and WHAT ON EARTH happened to summer? I mean, it’s still hot but fall is in the air and no more lazy mornings! Big sigh. HOWEVER, I didn’t necessarily shed a tear when I dropped the kids off at school. They were excited, I was excited, and all is well now that we’re settled!

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Kendall’s 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Koenig.IMG_2806

Payton has a split again. 1st half, Mrs. Little (I can’t find her pic, but she is the NICEST teacher EVER). And then he has the high school football coach the 2nd half. Mr. Withrow, on the right. Payton says he’s STRICT. Which I think is FANTASTIC! πŸ˜›

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If looks could kill…(super irritated I wanted yet ANOTHER pic)

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And still not making it easy for me! What a stinker!IMG_2810

Of course, Kendall will smile all day for me!IMG_2809

But, back to July! LOL. Here we go! Catching up, Part. 7. I WILL get back on scheduled!!!

Ryan did a lot of crabbing this summer. 10 minute up the road, he’d get up early in the morning and beat all the ‘crabbers’ out there to get the GOOD ones. We ate a lot of fresh crab! The fam joined him one Saturday morning, including Winnie.

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We did a lot of laying in the grass and watching the clouds roll by this summer. Not really. But we did lay in the grass and take silly pictures!

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Of course we did the YMCA a few times.

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Silliness!

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Winnie used to HATE the car. Now he begs to come with me wherever I go. Seems to be the trend in Sequim. Most people have a dog with them at all times! (love it)

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I took TWO pictures when we went camping at Salt Creek in July. This one…

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…and this one. Yes, this is what you use when you forget spoons! πŸ˜›

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And this is what you use when you can’t find your sunglasses!!!

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Kendall did a week of Dolly & Me camp. I LOVE that she picked out something other than a blonde doll! Zuri is on the left and Zoie is on the right!

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This just can never be forgotten. The time Ryan did Kendall’s hair for dance pictures!

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Me on stage taking a pic of all the kiddos at VBS! I led worship this summer and it was just SO FUN! Definitely a highlight every year πŸ™‚

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Oh what’s this? Payton and me on a plane? Where are we going?? (ahem, Costa Rica). But that’s my next post πŸ™‚

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Catching Up: Part 6

Still catching up but we’re into end of June so that’s progress! I had the incredible honor of going to Utah to the Young Living convention in Salt Lake City. To say I learned a lot would be an understatement. I’ve never ever done this network marketing thing but it grew on me mainly because I’m meeting so many amazing people & building pretty awesome relationships, I’m learning a TON about myself (and how much negative programming we do to ourselves), and of course, how to live a more natural life. Here are just a couple pics. This is me planting lavender!

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And in the fields!IMG_0694

Planting lavender with some new friends I made. IMG_0717

And at the opening ceremony with my friend Angela.IMG_0735

At the Ningxia bar drinking a shot of Ningxia on aΒ swing!ningxia 1

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After the whirlwind that was convention, I hightailed it to Kendall’s dance recital. I was SO thankful to not have missed it!! She did great and of course, loved putting on all the makeup πŸ™‚ Here she is with her best pal Zoie.

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And her other best pal Maelyn!kendall 11kendall 9kendall 4

Summer set in. We took a trip to the PA library which is much bigger than the Sequim one. Here is P engrossed in a book. I LOVE that my kids are readers! Such a gift.

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Oh, did I mention Joey came with us? Right, I don’t need to. #thirdchildlibrary 5

Always snuggles with Winnie.

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This was the 4th of July at the Bower’s house. That’s Harris, Jesse, Lake, and P. So grateful to have friends with a pool/hot tub!!!

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Back in PA to teach a Chemical-Free Home class. Kendall came to assist! She seriously could teach the class by now πŸ™‚

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We went up Blue Mountain, the very place we got married, to visit with Terri and Lexi. Check out that view. Yes, Joey came with us. Those boys.

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Library event with Kendall’s pal Alexis.

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Winnie waiting for a walk.

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One of many trips to the river! So thankful we have a place like this 1 mile from the house. Winnie always comes with us and finds HUGE sticks to chew!!! No wonder he has no front teeth!!! This is Payton with his buddy Talen.

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Crazy dog:

Here’s Kendy reading to her dolls. She’s always so expressive (and always craves an audience) πŸ™‚

Always touching one of us!!

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The church asked Kendall to sing a song to open one of their prayer nights. My stinkin’ phone shut off right when she started but I caught a teeny bit of it!! She blessed many that night πŸ™‚

Ok, we’ve moved into July. ALMOST CAUGHT UP!!!!!