Saturday, September 20, 2014

Holding My Breath

I feel like I've been holding my breath for the last twenty days or so. My blog reflects that. Silence.

It's been a wild wild wild ride of becoming a preschool teacher, helping my children adjust to full days at school, and working on several big home projects. Keeping house has been at the bottom of my list -- I'm surprised ants haven't moved in. This evening, for me, was spent re-scheduling my time so that I don't fall down into a heap after a morning of teaching, but know what I plan to do with my afternoon. Hopefully there will continue to be fun and photography and outdoor adventures in our lives -- we just need to be more intentional than ever about fitting them in.

I sorted through this month's [small] amount of photos and several from last month, remembering our trip to Montana and Idaho end of August and grinning at my silly kids' back to school photos. I'll share a few of the best ones here so I feel like we can move on.

School Pics
School Pics

Did you hear me exhale? That there was a deep cleansing breath.

It's all going to be okay. Thank God we were created with the ability to adjust, to do hard things, to find new ways to live that work. We've got two teachers in this family now and two school kids! There are lunches to be made and tickles to be delivered, homework to be checked, piano to be practiced. We've said goodbye to an amazing summer and we're ready for a blessed school year.

And now that my camera card is cleaned out, I'll be taking pictures again.

Friends, we're back in business.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last Day of August

Coquihalla River

First, WHERE did summer go? Seriously, I don't think I've ever experienced a summer that flew by so fast. I know, I know -- we tried to smash too much into a few short weeks. I have all sorts of different goals for next summer. We learn from our mistakes, fortunately.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of September 2014 and this year mommy is putting her teacher cape back on! My little guys are in kindergarten and second grade and I'll be teaching preschool. WEIRD and COOL. I'm really excited about this. It's been a long {and short} seven years since I became Stay At Home Mom. There's a little something in me that really really wants to get back in the classroom and explore a bit of what God made me to do. I think it's possible to explore this AND be a great mom to my sweet boys. They are ready for more of a social life than I can provide by homeschooling them. They perform better for a teacher who is not MOM. I think/hope/pray that this year will be good for all of us.

Eating: Lentil Soup and brown rice. I had no idea I would be making hot soup already, but I am really tired of camp food.
Wishing: For a more contented heart. I find myself wishing for home in the middle of a gorgeous evening by a glacial lake. Then when I'm home, I long for the campfire smoke and the relaxed feeling as I swing in my hammock. I just wish to love the present more.
Reading: Wild Things. I've been slowly digesting this one, chatting about it with a friend when we have girl nights. It's really really good. I'll be reading it again as my boys get older.
Listening toI Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz
Planning: To go visit my poor abandoned garden and harvest some stuff. We have more peppers and okra than we ever needed.
Resisting: All the nervous feelings racing through me about teaching!! Two more days!!
Grateful for: SILK chocolate soy milk.
Sharing: I just ordered another of these thermos food jars, so both boys can have yogurt in their school lunches. The first one I ordered has been awesome.
Aspiring to: I'm feeling more and more like we're put here on this planet to share HOPE with everyone. Can we live like what God has done and is doing and will do gives us such great hope??

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Backpacking to Sheep Lake | Rainier National Park

It's been several weeks since this adventure. If I had posted my thoughts right away, they would have come out steaming with frustration and angst. I was ready to toss my whole love of the great outdoors in a bucket and walk away. But I hated to do that. I was questioning whether my priorities were right, whether we were trying to escape real life, whether this really was the best thing to do with my kids.

Letting things sit for a few weeks often helps to bring clarity. The layers separate, the sediment settles to the bottom, the liquids clear.

I can look back on this experience now and chuckle. I was that mom. The mom with a goal, something to prove. The mom who thinks she wants something for her kids and will press through crowds and climb up on high things to get the prize.

See, I want my kids to choose nature experiences over just about any other form of entertainment. I want them to crave exercise, to crave time in the wild -- loving fresh air, cold water, mountain berries.

I'll admit that maybe I'm trying too hard to make them fall in love with the things I love.

We hiked 2.5 miles into Sheep Lake in Rainier NP. The description I had read said it was a great first backpacking trip for kids, without much elevation gain. They were kinda right. I would call it a gradual climb. Yes, the trail is pretty kid friendly. We could have had more fun if I wasn't "come on, we gotta get there" mom [my backpack wasn't packed well and was causing great pain to my neck and shoulders]. We would have had more fun with friends [but umm, the looks we get when we talk about backpacking?].

We should have packed in more water.
We should have patched the hole in the tent screen.
We should have brought books and games.

Ezra carried a box of wheat thins, Peter had a small backpack stuffed with his sleeping bag and his water, and I carried the rest. We should have brought donkeys. #justkidding #maybe

So -- long story short -- we made it, we played in the water a bit, we sprayed way too much bug spray, we ate most of our food and drank all of our water, we set up camp. And then we decided to pack up camp and hike out. We just weren't having a lot of fun.

This summer has been the summer of canceled plans -- mama planned for every weekend to be full of adventures, but this just didn't end up working for everyone else. We didn't go to Lake Crescent, we didn't go to Lake Chelan. We hiked five miles in Rainier NP that day and then drove back to daddy's hotel in Yakima. We watched a whole bunch of PBS Kids and then decided to go home and skip the whole Lake Wenatchee thing too.

I felt like a failure to myself and to my kids.

But, at the end of the summer, with a bird's eye view on things [if only], I'm thinking this summer taught us a few things. We'll probably need reminders [fo sure], but I think we'll start to put a greater priority on home life and simple routines and people who mean a lot to us. I'll always love a cool dip in a mountain river, the sound of paddles pushing through a silent lake, the feeling of summiting anything and looking around on the world from an outsider's perspective. But there IS more to life.

Sheep Lake is pretty cool, if you can get there in between snows and mosquito seasons. ;p Bring friends, bring donkeys, bring strong husbands, bring lots of water or a water purification device, bring a good book.

GO. Adventure. Chill. Clear your brain.
Then STAY. Mow the lawn. Harvest the tomatoes. Go out with a friend.
Adventure and Home. Both good things. But too much of any good thing can make you sick. #lessonssummertaughtus

Now -- on to the adventures of the school year [announcements to come]!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#RiverPlay + #LyveHome = Easy Photo Management

Family Reunion
Family Reunion

A couple weekends ago found us soaking up the sun and the cold river and the family love at #RiverPlay on the Columbia River. When we weren't eating delicious food, we were basking in the glory of SUPER COOL cousins keeping our kiddos busy and out of trouble!

I was tired after a stretch of single parenting/camping in Canada and my honey was equally tired after working his tail off {four 12 hour days}, so it was the perfect weekend retreat. Relaxing and refreshing. Kinda like lemonade.

Making Lemonade
Making Lemonade
Making LemonadeMaking Lemonade

I should have taken more photos and now looking back, I really wish I had BECAUSE waiting for me at home was the coolest photo syncing device ever. It can hold a crazy amount of photos -- like over 16,000. Every time I take a photo using my phone, it goes directly into the database and can be accessed from all other connected devices. Same thing if the photos are on my computer -- I just plug into the #LyveHome box and choose the folder I want to send over. Once those photos are transferred, I can view and share them from my phone.

I used to have to email myself photos to get them from computer to phone or the other way around! No longer!

And if I had other devices {like an iPad or any other cool gadget}, I could connect those up too. My husband's phone....the kid's tablets...everyone can have access to the pictures and send their photos onboard too.

It's pretty sweet stuff. You wouldn't happen to want one, wouldya?


LyveHome | Your Personal Photo and Video Manager [yep, video too]
  • Your photos and videos are automatically protected on your LyveHome, from wherever you are.
  • All photos are cataloged by date and easy to view on any device.
  • The LyveApp is available on any Android or iOS device.
  • The LyveHome box has a USB port and SD card slot so you can import old photos from external hard drives, memory cards, etc.

Check out this short video to see it in action and tell me what your favorite feature is in the comments for a chance to win a LyveHome [$299 value] for your family!

Life doesn't stop just because your memory card or phone is full. With Lyve, you've got plenty of space for all those times you want to remember, at home or on the go. Your first marathon, baby’s first steps, summer days at the park…you focus on capturing and let Lyve focus on keeping your photos & videos safe, sorted and always accessible.

How to enter to win:
1. Click over to the LyveHome site {it will open in a new window}
2. Look around, check out the cool features, watch the video
3. Come back over here and write a comment telling me what you like best about the LyveHome

One winner will be chosen on September 1, 2014 and will receive a LyveHome soon after in the mail! Congratulations Andrea Jamieson -- you're the winner!!! Everyone else can use this code to get free shipping in checkout: LyveUnleashed

This post is sponsored by LyveHome: Your personal photo & video manager. Lyve brings together the memories scattered across your mobile devices, automatically consolidating them into an easily accessible, organized view.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Bee Stung Me. Ouch.

Coquihalla River
these are my feet in the crystal clear and cold waters of the Coquihalla river near Hope, BC
I'm wishing I could stick my throbbing foot in there right about now

I just stepped on a bee while playing ultimate frisbee. One of those I love more than the other.

So, I limped home. The sun is casting glorious colors all over the sky as it sets and I'm sitting here wincing while I try to be a big girl.

I can't even begin to explain how busy I've been this week. I thought we were busy with traveling back to back to back. Well, that one was brand of crazy and this week was another! I've got several posts waiting half-finished. They are going to get stale if I don't hurry up and get them out onto the shelves.

Ow. My foot hurts. I gotta get my sorry self into bed.

Here's a quick update on me.

Making: Plans for teaching preschool this fall. YEP, I got a job!! My first classroom teaching position!
Feeling: Well, there's a distracting stinging sensation in my foot. I was feeling super excited earlier today.
Reading: Almost finished with The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Tough just because so much is wrong relationship-wise. But a very good story.
Planning: For a busy week of training and classroom setup and then end of summer vacationing.
Resisting: The urge to cut my foot off.
Thankful for: When things fall into place without me doing really anything at all. When it's really obviously God's hand at work.
Sharing: My favorite quote this week -- "The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water." John Keats

Sometimes I wish we had a nice cold river in our backyard. Mmmm.