October 18, 2014

Where the East Meets the West

We just returned from a family vacation to Turkey. It was an incredible place to visit, so much history, culture, and things to do. I have close to 1,500 pictures to sort through, so for now I will leave you with just a few. More to come later this week :).

October 8, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Benjamin!

Happy 2nd birthday Benjmain Aaron! You warm our hearts and can light up any room with your sweet hugs, big smiles and laughs.
One year old
Two years old
You are an all around happy kid that loves to play, explore, and is taking in the world around you! You love to sing and dance. Your favorite songs are Twinkle Twinkle, The Wheels on the Bus, and ABCs. You are a true boy and you love everything cars, trucks, trains, and balls. You play very well independently, and also like playing with others. You love to help around the house, from baking, unloading dishwasher, putting away groceries, doing laundry, and cleaning up. We hope you still enjoy doing these things in the years to come!

You love the water and this year you learned how to float with your floaties by yourself. You like to jump off the side of the pool, and you like to be tossed high in the air. Your sense of adventure is a little worrisome at times, but we are glad that you are not scared to explore new things.
You have learned to communicate a lot this past year. You tell us what you do and do not want, though you can be a bit stubborn at times. You know the names of many animals, foods, cars, buses, trucks, tractors, and basic body parts. You say please and thank you, wave hello and goodbye to people you see out and about, and give lots of hugs, kisses, high fives, and knuckles. You more recently started to enjoy being read to. You like to read your 100 Animals Book every night before bed and sleep with it in your crib. Some of your other favorite books are Do Crocs Kiss, Baby Einstein Animals, and Chuggington.
You started pre-school this year and you are doing great. Your teachers absolutely adore you and say you are a very sweet, sweet boy. You are learning colors and you like to sing the ABC song. You make friends easily and are having a lot of fun with the new learning this year. When we drop you off in the morning, you put on your backpack, look back to wave goodbye, and walk right inside. You are a big boy!
You are growing fast, and now weight almost 25 lbs (25%) and you are 32.5''(10%) tall. You wear 2T-3T clothes, size 5 diapers, and size 6 shoes. You have all of your teeth and you especially love to brush them morning and night. You have one of the best appetites we have ever seen! You will eat anything we are eating, to include ethnic and spicy foods. Preschool says they regularly give you 2-3 helping of lunch a day. Some of your favorite foods are bananas, apples, avocados, fruit snacks, crackers with peanut butter, hummus, yogurt, pizza, french fries, and pasta.
You are a good sleeper. You go to bed very easily with a hug and a kiss, and you always wake up in the mornings with a big smile. You go to sleep around 8pm and wake up around 6am. You take one nap a day for about an hour and half.
You love your brother very much, and right now it is monkey-see monkey-do with you two. We love when we find you two laughing, hugging, and holding hands, even if it is after a small pushing match. You play together very nicely, and especially like to dress up in costumes together. In the mornings, you both get big smiles when you see each other, and it is such a delight to see you two developing brotherly love.
We celebrated your birthday the day before your actual birthday. We had a new crock pot shredded pork recipe and butternut squash.
After dinner we enjoyed a delicious cake that Tes baked. She is amazing us with her cake ideas and creativity. This cake was perfect for Benjamin!
The roman candle mesmerizes the birthday boy.
Tes loves the boys a lot, and we are so thankful for the loving care she has for our family. She wouldn't let me take her picture, but she also enjoyed the birthday festivities :).
The cake was delicious and we all had seconds.
After cake, Ben opened card and gifts, and he got lots of birthday wishes over Skype from his grandpas, grandmas, and the birthday bear. We could feel the love from around the world, and appreciated all the birthday wishes.
Check out this cool guitar he got so he can play music with daddy.
He especially loved his farm set from Caleb, and the boys enjoyed playing with it for the rest of the evening.
It was nice quiet evening to celebrate our sweet two year old boy. Happy 2nd birthday Benjamin Aaron! We are thankful everyday that God gave us you, and we love you more than you may ever know.

October 6, 2014

Eid Mubarak

It's Eid al-Adha in our neck of the woods, which is the Feast of the Sacrifice. This Muslim holiday honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son. Muslims believe that Abraham brought Ishmael, not Isaac, to be sacrificed before God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. 

We did see lots of sheep in trucks and driveways being delivered, and also saw quite a few getting slaughtered and hanging from neighbors homes. After the sacrifice, the meat is divided into three parts. One third for the family, one third for relatives, friends, and neighbors, and one third to the poor. We did not partake in the Eid festivities, but we have been enjoying a few extra days off with the boys. 

Ben loves to help in the kitchen, and yesterday we made Elizabeth's granola bar recipe. It has been a big hit in our house, especially because they are hard to come by in the stores. This batch was chocolate chip and butterscotch flavor.
The boys got new super hero PJs that they love! They literally jumped up and down and were so excited to put them on and play. Thank you Great Aunt Eileen ;).
Yesterday I made a crock pot pumpkin soup recipe that is delicious and we have had it a lot lately.
While the soup was cooking, Nathan and I did some spring cleaning/organizing and fall decorating while Ben played with some toys and colored and Caleb watched a movie.
I love having the fall decorations out, especially because it does not feel like fall around here with our still 100 degree days. It is a nice reminder when we walk in our home.
We received some new fall decorations and some candy corns from mom P. that we have been savoring in the evenings.
Home sweet home :)
Yesterday evening we went to a nice shaded park with lights and a long walking path.
Ready, set, go! These boys run fast and have fun racing each other.
The boys learn yoga in preschool, and they were showing us the tree pose and downward dog.
We stopped for ice cream at our co-op on the way home. Good way to end a hot day!
Today, Nathan and I went to breakfast to celebrate our anniversary at one of our favorite restaurants on the gulf. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed talking, drinking coffee, and eating delicious food. It was a nice treat to get out alone, we do not do that often.
 On the way home, we passed this construction project gone bad. There are a lot of things that don't appear to make sense here, and this sight was one of them. All Nathan could say was, 'well I don't think his backhoe is going to be working much longer.' Hay, dirt, rebar, or concrete…it's all good!
It has been a fun few days off and we have enjoyed the extra time with the boys.

October 3, 2014

Wood you Marry Me?

Happy 5 year Anniversary to the love of my life, my best friend, amazing husband, father, and help mate! 
The last 5 years of our life have been quite an adventure! We moved 5 times, welcomed Caleb and Benjamin into the world, traveled around the world, and moved to the Middle East.

Five years ago, I would have never guess that we would be where we are today, but that is the beauty of God's plans for us.
I love the journey that we are on, the life we continue to make as a family together, and I am so thankful that God chose me to take this journey with you! And I love that you always buy me roses on on this special day:)
I love you so much!