Chris & I brought our niece, Justice, home with us from an Oregon trip. I have always been really close to her and have helped with her upbringing. Living 6+ hours away makes it hard to spend quality time with her, or any of our family for that matter. So, we decided to take her on a California summer vacation. Both Chris and I were a little nervous about this decision. I’ve had many sleepovers and whole days spent with my nieces and nephew. Piece of cake. The thought of having just one sibling stay for longer than a couple nights left me wondering “How am I going to keep a 10 year old entertained?”.
Not only did I manage to keep her busy, but we had a lot of fun as well. She’s a very creative person with a HUGE imagination. She’s loving and thoughtful. Not only does she have a heart for animals, but she genuinely cares about peoples feelings.
In fact, the 3 of us went to the Starbucks drive-thru for drinks & Chris ended up throwing away his drink due to it being too sweet. She felt so bad for him that she was still talking about it the next day. How unfortunate that he didn’t get the drink he wanted!
Kids are so funny. They see the world in a completely different way.
I’m so glad we had her come stay with us. I know she’ll forever remember her trip to California. And I can only pray she’ll remember the things we taught her in our short time together.
(PREPARE FOR PICTURE OVERLOAD)
Of course I had to get her a couple summer outfits. Here she’s showing off her new clothes & flip flops.
I took her to San Francisco (she’s never been!) and we walked Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf.
We stopped by the candy store and loaded up on an assortment of candy. She was stoked. Candy is her favorite thing in the world.
Showing & teaching her all about Alcatraz. She thought that was pretty cool. So she sent her mom a postcard telling her all about it.
Stretching pennies at the Musée Mécanique.
Chris took us to Great America! It was her first time to an amusement park. It was so fun watching her take it all in.
Bunny ears, like I was just born yesterday.
This was taken right before we rode Flight Deck (formerly known as Top Gun). This was her second roller coaster ride ever and she demanded that we sit in the front. Although, I warned her that “Once you are strapped in and the ride is moving, there is no turning back” that did not stop her from crying & screaming for her mom the entire ride. I could not stop laughing. & after it was over? “Let’s do it again!” she said. ;)
Tailgate lunch break.
Cotton candy pit stop. A necessity at an amusement park.
Her favorite ride, The Vortex. She is so brave.
This kid got spoiled while she was here. Uncle Chris made her dreams come true when he brought home a brand new Kindle Fire just for her. She was ecstatic. She actually ran up to her room and screamed at the top of her lungs into her pillow. She cracks me up!
The 3 of us had a wonderful time while she was here. It’s fun having a kid around reminding you to take life easy, be silly and enjoy the small things. Time well spent if you ask me. :)
Today my mom & dad have been married for 25 years. Their silver anniversary. What an accomplishment!
1988 was a very big year for my family. Their marriage was more than just a ceremony of commitment to one another. Their marriage was the result of a choice they both made just weeks beforehand. To really understand what I’m trying to explain, I will have to take you back in time.
Joey, my older brother, was born in April 1981. And I followed him in July of 1982. For a few years, it was just the four of us. I remember a lot about my childhood, especially the years we lived just outside of Portland, Oregon.
The drinking, the major drug use, the parties, the drug deals, the fights, which sometimes led to the police (which sometimes led to arrests).
But, most of all I remember the darkness.
Now, I don’t want to paint a negative picture about these two precious people. Yes, they were addicted to a dangerous lifestyle, but in no way, at any point in my life did I feel neglected, abused or abandoned by my parents. They were good parents and made us kids priority.
Both my mom and dad were loving, kind and faithful parents. My dad was a hard-working man and has always supported our family. My mom was patient, nurturing and made growing up fun for us kids.
We eventually moved back to Medford, Oregon where the rest of our family lived. Johnny, my younger brother, was born in 1987 and our family of 5 was then complete.
Then, one day, a breakthrough happened.
My dad was working at a mill one night and couldn’t get the lyrics to the old gospel hymn ‘Just As I Am’ out of his head. Long story short, that night my father gave his life to the Lord. My mother shortly after. They both quit the drugs, quit the drinking and started attending the church my grandparents went to.
And several weeks later they got married.
and baptized. (I love this photo of my mom. So full of joy and freedom!)
Things changed for our family BIG time. And my parents have been devout Christ followers ever since.
When people ask me why I believe in God, I think back to when my parents were addicted to deathly substances and devastatingly poor choices. I’ve seen firsthand the regeneration of an individual. I have watched someone not just simply make better choices, but be completely transformed by a higher power. I observed their change in behavior, their devotion to their conversion, their outlook on their former lifestyle.
They taught me how to love God and how to love others without stuffing religion down my throat. They taught me the value of self-worth and made me feel treasured. They showed me, by example, that I was more than a conquerer through Christ who loves me. Sorry if I’m getting a little preachy, but I cannot deny my reasons why.
I simply can’t.
Through these 25 years of marriage my parents have taught me what true love looks like. How true love fights for each other. How true love prays together, is considerate of the other persons feelings, and stands together. Not only has their marriage been an example to me, but a standard for how I want my marriage to be.
& I am SO lucky to have found someone who is a lot like my daddy!
So, thank you mom & dad for all your love. It has made a world of difference for me and the boys.
I am so thankful that I had you two as parents. I am convinced that you both are truly the best. And I wouldn’t change our story for anything. It has made me who I am today. Cliché, but so true. Happy Anniversary.♥
Today is the first birthday of a very special boy.
& even though he is just a
pet pup, he truly brings us happiness, love and a whole lot of laughter.
I make this salsa weekly. It doesn’t last very long in our house. Especially when our favorite [quick] snack around here is chips & salsa. It’s simple and easy, yet SO delicious. Not to mention how it compliments a slow-cooked pork taco beautifully.
Just chop up the following ingredients.
We like the tomatoes chunky, but you could use a food processor to make this salsa more of a ‘restaurant style’.
I only like green onions, but I’m sure any kind of onion would work.
A lot of cilantro.
I squeeze a lot of lime juice for this salsa. For a small batch I only use one lime, but for big batches I use 2-3 limes.
At this point I mix in some salt & pepper [not pictured above].
or eat it. ;)
Better late than never, right?
I can’t even put into words how crazy busy the months of Nov-Jan were. And now that life has fallen back into a slightly normal routine, I can finally relax a little bit.
Now here we are, year 2013, and already at the end of January. Time is flying by, people. I personally feel like the years are getting shorter and shorter. I’m assuming this feeling comes with age.
Anyway, Chris and I were able to go home for Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Years. I’m grateful that Chris has a job where he can work remotely if need be, and I’m also enjoying the fact that we live closer to home. Makes the drive worth it!
Hey Family, we love spending time with you all and we are blessed by each and every one of you!
I made a german chocolate cake for the first time for Thanksgiving dessert
Trying to teach Brutus how to fetch a stick. It was pretty comical.
Chris and cousin Nick. Our Aunt and Uncle live on some beautiful property. I feel like a true Oregonian whenever I’m out there.
Our second Thanksgiving dinner with my family and Chris’ parents. I love spending time with all these people under one roof!
These guys are two peas in a pod.
Zoey is a Grandma’s girl through and through.
Time well spent at Noble Coffee with my BFF Sunni.
Brūt’s first time in the snow. :)
I made gingerbread cupcakes for our Christmas Eve stocking exchange.
Christmas Eve at the Fulton’s house this year.
Getting ready to steal gifts from each other. It was such a fun night.
Brutus ‘opening’ presents on Christmas morning.
My kangaroo singing his little heart out. What a ham!
Now that’s what I call a cozy Christmas.
My two favorite cuties. Uncle Chris and Joey.
Eddie Christmas photo 2012. Merry Christmas …
… & a Happy New Year! Ca$ino night out at the Saling house. I took 3rd place. ;)
Goodbye 2012. Thanks for all the wonderful memories.
Both of the bathrooms in our house have pedestal sinks, which [for a girl] I find very unfortunate. Luckily our downstairs bathroom has a pretty big closet where I can store most of our toiletries and towels, but our bathroom upstairs only has a medicine cabinet above the sink. If you have ever seen the amount of makeup and hair products/tools I have, you would know that a medicine cabinet doesn’t cut it.
A few weeks ago my mother-in-law came down for a visit and we went thrifting. She also brought me a cute little corner table for our bathroom downstairs. At the thrift store I found a cabinet that was the perfect size for our bathroom for $10! I just used paint that we had around the house and was able to give these pieces a facelift.
Before • I don’t have a better ‘before’ picture of this table. This is the picture my mother-in-law texted me asking if I wanted it or not. Yes, Please! I think corner tables are so neat.
In Use •
In Use •
I realize that both of these designs are pretty popular. Both the look of ‘dipped’ table legs and chevron patterned furniture are all over Pinterest, but I couldn’t resist! I don’t think I’ll ever paint another chevron pattern for as long as I live. It was a tough one.
It sure is fun to take a piece of furniture and make it your own by painting or distressing it. Especially when its free! Thanks to Sonja for the corner table. I love it. :)
'Well, it's not far down to paradise
at least it’s not for me
and if the wind is right
you can sail away & find tranquility.’
Puerto Rico. On the boat, setting sail.
St. Thomas ferry to St. John
Ahh, snorkeling. One of my favorite ocean activities.
St. John. My mother-in-law facing her fear, snorkeling for the first time. So proud!
St. John- one of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen.
Trunk Bay Beach
Yeah, I could live there.
They make you take these cheesy portraits on the boat. Well, you don’t have to, but why not? I just want to know…who actually poses like this for a photo? Ha!
Lunch at Pigeon Island Jambe de Bois Restaurant & Bar
Enjoying his hard-earned vacation. ♡
Barbados. On our way to another beach.
I know that it has been quite some time since my last blog post, but I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here! :)
Right now I’m in the process of sewing my first quilt [thanks to my mother-in-law for helping me get started!], re-painting a bathroom cabinet bought at a thrift store, writing more songs & of course eating anything ‘pumpkin’ that I can get my hands on.
October came and went, but it was a great month. We even squeezed in a visit home that was absolutely wonderful and refreshing. I can’t believe it’s November already and the holiday season is right around the corner.
Here’s what we’ve been up to lately [via photos].
Brutus had his big surgery in the beginning of the month. He’s officially an adolescent & weighs a little over 40 pounds. His most recent favorite thing to play with is any kind of ball…we think it’s because he had his removed. ;)
Since his surgery we’ve been letting him sleep in our bed. Big mistake. Oops.
While I was home, Sonja invited my parents over for dinner. We had a mexican food feast. & I made a really really really ugly cake. Not pictured of course.
A sleepover with my favorite kangaroo.
Took my niece to her gymnastics class. She’s on the far left with the pink headband on.
So much fun!
Had the chance to spend some much-needed quality time with my very bestest friend.
Stoked out of my mind. I’m convinced Ben & Jerry love me.
Halloween consisted of baking pumpkin spice cookies, listening to The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack while carving pumpkins & a funny movie.
Chris chose a classic pumpkin face [top], Johnny chose scary [middle], & I opted for cute [bottom]. :)
Do you see this pumpkin!? I am terrible at carving pumpkins, but this year I finally figured out the trick. You have to take your time. & I just can’t sit still for that long. I’m pretty proud of this year’s carving.
Hope everyone had a fun & safe Halloween.
The Fall season is a little over a week away. And I will be on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean, so it won’t feel like the end of Summer at all. I am a Summer girl through & through. Mainly because I love the heat & love being warm. But, alas it is time to say goodbye. Can’t say that I’m not looking forward to wearing boots again. ;)
Here are just a few of my favorite moments from this summer…
Fourth of July picnic with Chris & Brutus.
On a walk with Johnny at the Golden Gate Park.
Enjoying the sun & some Starbucks.
All the women in Chris’ family came down for a girls road trip. This is my mother-in-law. She is a pretty funny character.
We went on a wine tasting [more like wine dumping for me] tour at Sterling Vineyards in Napa.
My pretty cousins Ashlee & Kate.
Cousin Nikki & I. We are afraid of heights…here we are acting like the lift ride to the top wasn’t scary. [It was!]
Touring the winery was pretty fun even though I don’t drink. It’s always cool to learn how things are made & the process of wine making is really interesting.
We also visited the Old Faithful Geyser of California.
Shopped around in Calistoga.
Took a tour of Alcatraz. Loved it. So much history there. This is the rec yard where the prisoners could let loose, get some exercise, play baseball, talk to each other etc. From here they could see the city of San Francisco & all that they were missing out on.
Aunt Mel in the dungeon. Solitary confinement.
My good friend, Kristina came to visit us Labor Day weekend. She had never been to San Francisco so of course she wanted to do all the touristy stuff. It was a beautiful day. We had so much fun!
An after dinner game of Sequence.
I think Brutus’ favorite activity is wrestling with Johnny. Well, that & eating.
Hometown visits are the best. Spending time with my favorite kids.
Staying the night with Auntie. We watched the Lion King three times. I think I can quote it now.
My two [oldest] nieces stayed the night with me also. We baked/decorated cookies and played Wii. They danced for hours & didn’t go to sleep until 1 am! Loved every minute.
A hummingbird flew into the studio and couldn’t figure out how to get back out. It was flying up against the window trying to get out and his beak kept clanking against the window. When he finally landed I was able to push him toward the open door and off he flew.
Time spent in the backyard.
Brūt loves the water hose. He tries to bite the water and step on it. It’s so cute.
& this is where he sits every single day when I’m getting ready for the day.
About one more week of Summer and I am definitely going to make the most of it. Show me some islands!
Hope you all had a fun summer too. :)