7.02.2014

the teen years: v. 1.7

the second installment of our june children's birthdays.  nothing like waiting until the last minute to finish!  now, instead of pretending it's june 12, 2014, let's pretend it's june 14, 2014...

dear ty-ty (as your littlest sister likes to call you),

it's slightly shocking that this birthday post is about your 17th year of life.  not shocking in the i-can't-believe-we've-made-it-this-far kind, but more like the we'll-soon-be-parents-to-an-adult kind of shocking. can we just pause and take a look at this photo for a minute (from 10 years ago), and reminisce about the time when you were actually that small?


and now you are another year older, and another year wiser, right? 

 
it's been pretty cool to be back in the same city with you, and i know your brothers and sisters are totally digging their ty-ty time.  it's like you have your own little entourage/fan club!


we're thankful that we can be close by again, and glad that we could celebrate your birthday with you this year.  we hope you had as much fun with the fondue birthday dinner as we did!


we hope that we can continue to be the one of the first people you come to for advice, guidance, and a safe place to just talk and be yourself. it has been a pleasure to watch how you've grown and matured this past year, and also seeing how God has been working in you.


you are a good-natured, confident, respectful, and helpful young man, who is comfortable in your own skin.  keep it up! 


may your 17th year be another year full of growth and learning, not only in your academics, but also in life and your spiritual journey.  remember to shine that light, and stay true to who you are.


happy birthday, ty!

love,
dad and prasti



6.30.2014

on 8 years ago today (a few weeks late)

before june is officially over, i think i need to post about my june children's birthdays, don't you think? so, let's just pretend we went back in time to june 12, 2014.  it really wasn't that long ago...

****

dearest emma,

how is it that we just celebrated your 8th birthday? every year, i think to myself, "where did the time go? wasn't she just a little baby?"


when you woke up in the morning, i asked you if you felt any different now that you were 8.  your practical, clear-headed response: "not really.  i pretty much feel the same, except now i am just one year older." silly me, for asking!


i'm thankful that i get to be home with you, and that we can "do school" together.  you are a bright, articulate, and creative girl, and it has been a pleasure to watch you first-hand as you learned and grew intellectually as we journeyed through the homeschooling adventure together this past year.  i'm glad that you still want to continue on this adventure with me next year, because i'm having fun and learning so much, just like you!


one of the things i enjoy is hearing the excitement in your voice when you've made some sort of new discovery (or sometimes a re-discovery of something that you've forgotten about).  whether it's finding a little "nest" of rolly-polly bugs in the back yard, figuring out how to hand-sew a fabric pocket, or gleaning information from your current book, the excited chatter that comes out of your mouth makes me smile (and also very excited for you).


i know i sometimes tell you already, but let's have it officially in writing, ok? i appreciate the love, affection, patience and kindness you show to your brothers and sister.  i think that many times, you have more patience than me when it comes to helping your brothers, and the motherly-attention you provide for your baby sister is something that i absolutely love watching.  you and your sister have such a special bond (not that you don't have your own special bonds with your brothers, of course), and i know she absolutely loves her big sister.


you have a compassionate and generous heart, and it shows by your willingness to often share your things with your siblings.  you have even gone so far as to offer some of your own money to help your mommy and daddy pay for things. you love making things for other people, and i know it brings you great joy when you are able to gift some of your creations or treasures.


i hope that your 8th year will be filled with many more wonderful discoveries and learning experiences.  keep pursuing what interests you, and don't be afraid to go where God calls you to go, even if it may seem wacky to other people (or your parents).  we love you and are thankful that we can be a part of your life.


happiest 8th birthday, sweet girl!


love,
mommy (and daddy)

6.04.2014

wordless wednesday {sort of} :: through the wake

i think, the olympic sculpture park is one of my favorite places to go to in seattle with the family. we get to be outside, and enjoy views of the puget sound and some creative outdoor art pieces.

on our last visit, i really fell in love with this piece (even though we've seen it before).  it's massive, yet elegant. it's bold, yet serene.  to fully experience this piece of art requires you to move through it, and each person's experience will be different depending on his/her movement and directional choices.  it's so cool!

and each time we come to this piece of art work, our kids' desire is to run through the "waves," weaving their bodies between each giant piece of metal. 


more wordless wednesday here and here.

5.28.2014

wordless wednesday {sort of} :: outdoor school

it has been such a great spring here in seattle.  our first spring back in the PNW, and we've been treated with more sunshine before july than i would expect. 

i'm definitely not complaining!  on sunny days, we've often cut our table work (i.e. any school work that requires being inside, sitting at a table) short in exchange for some outdoor learning, playing, and exercising. we love sunny days in seattle!


join the fun! more wordless wednesday here and here.

5.21.2014

20/4

Gibson, my sweet, sweet, boy.

Today we celebrate your birthday.  It has been 5 years since you first entered this world.  While the details are a bit blurry, I will never forget how I felt the first time I met you.


You bring me great joy (and I admit sometimes great stress), and much laughter with your silly ways.  I have enjoyed watching you grow and change this past year, and am thankful that I can be a part of your life.


You are loving, reserved, rambunctious, joyful, smart, shy, adventurous, helpful, curious, silly, and sweet little man. I know that your sisters and brothers love you very much, just as your mommy and daddy love you too.


One of my favorite things about you is your curious nature.  Which is funny, because that same curious nature is also sometimes the source of some of my stress.  I know when you deconstruct things and tear things apart, it's only because you want to figure out how things work.  I'm pretty sure that's why you enjoy puzzles and Legos.  At least with those, you're supposed to take them apart when you're done.  Right?


Some of your highlights from the past year: writing and copying letters, writing your name, more detailed drawings (I am still impressed with your Ninja Turtle pictures), knowledgeable about certain animal traits (like why the cheetah has dark markings under its eyes), creative building with Legos (must take after your big brother), mastering the balance bike, counting to almost 20, adding, more detailed narrations of experiences and stories, and mastering 100 piece puzzles.


Sometimes I wonder when your sweet pre-bedtime snuggles will end.  Or when you'll want me to stop giving you hugs and kisses in public.  I promise when you think you're too old for me (or dad) to give you hugs and kisses in public, I'll be more discreet...sometimes.


I look forward to seeing you grow this coming year.  I wonder what I will write next year.  Some things will probably be the same, but I'm sure there will be new things to add too.  I love you forever, my little dude.  That, I know, will never change.


Happiest birthday to you, my son.  Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you and who you are becoming.  May God continue his work in you and through you, and that today and every day will be filled with joy!

love,
mommy

4.24.2014

TBT extended: germany 2002

i've been having fun participating in the whole throwback thrusday thing on instagram, even though sometimes it does make me feel a little old.  ha!  before TBT, i used to dig up my big box of printed photos and look through them when i was feeling nostalgic. 

since i only post one photo on instagram for throwback thursday, i thought it would be fun to do an extended version on here by posting a few more photos. i'm hoping i'll be consistent about doing this every thursday, but i'm not going to make any promises :).

so...this week's extended TBT:

college spring break 2002 was spent with my sister, astrid, and aaron in cologne, germany visiting my lovely auntie.


i remember the airline lost our luggage for a few days.  i can't remember how long, but it was long enough for me to buy new underwear! we had fun exploring the city including a trip to the chocolate museum and touring the cologne cathedral.



we took a day trip via train to amsterdam, which included a visit to the wax museum while we were there.  i wish we had more time to stay longer than a day trip.  i'm sure there was much more to see and do there.



while this wasn't astrid's or my first trip to cologne, it was a different (though still fun) experience since we spent more time there than we did on our last trip.  And staying with my auntie definitely gave us a taste of what it would be like to live there. 

hope you enjoyed this extended version of throwback thursday!

3.26.2014

wordless wednesday :: in full bloom

cherry blossoms. sweet, gentle, delicate little things - letting us know that spring is here.




more wordless wednesday here and here.

3.12.2014

wordless wednesday :: my baby forever


this is my baby.  my baby who is walking and talking and getting more independent each day.

*sniff*

i'm ready and not ready for this transition from baby to toddler.  okay, who am i kidding? she's already in full blown toddlerhood.  i'm just in denial.


more wordless wednesday here and here.

2.13.2014

get cultured: homemade fermented salsa

i have so many thoughts in my head that i long to post on here and share, but i haven't had much time or energy lately to just sit and commit.  do you know what i mean?

so, i'm going to write about homemade salsa.

and this is not just any old salsa, friends.  this is living salsa.  it's ALIVE.  full of beneficial bacteria for your little gut with each bite.

before i go on, you may wonder why i'm making such a big deal about salsa.  and what's up with this whole beneficial bacteria thing?

well, just recently (like maybe 2-3 years now) we began on an eating journey more in line with a traditional diet.  this alone deserves a separate blog post, so i'm not going to go into much detail on how we got to where we're at today in our eating adventures, but i will say i have been learning a lot.

one thing i have been learning more about is fermented foods, and i have been fascinated with the science and research cropping up about the gut health and its relation to fermented food consumption. this post has a lot of great information and provides an excellent explanation of gut health (with links to research studies if you are a geek like me and like to read them).  and now over here, at this post,  you can read more on the history and benefits of consuming fermented foods (beyond just cultured yogurt).

and thanks to those articles, i now can skip having to explain why i'm making such a fuss over this salsa and share with you my experience.

i admit the fermented salsa has not been my first adventure in fermenting food.  the very first cultured food prodcut i ever made was homemade yogurt. that was fun, but the process is a bit more complicated than lacto-fermenting veggies.  so i branched out and tried my hand at making lacto-fermented cucumbers.  those were yummy, and the kids totally ate it up.  and then there was the lacto-fermented cabbage (a.k.a. sauerkraut).  it didn't taste like what i thought it would be...it was surprisingly good, and i'm not a cabbage fan at all.

ok, back to the salsa.  it's super easy, and a great first-timer recipe, especially if you're not quite used to eating many fermented foods.  this recipe is based on a combination of two.  the first is my husbands, and the second is one from the nourishing traditions cookbook.

adapted from the Nourishing Tradtions cookbook

4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 small onions (i used 1 medium), finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (you can use less, but we LOVE garlic)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
juice of 1 lime
4 teaspoons of coarse, unrefined sea salt
*optional spice* 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl. Spoon into a 1 quart wide-mouthed mason jar. Press down lightly with a wooden meat mallet.  I don't own a wooden meat mallet so I used a wooden cocktail muddler, kind of like this one. Keep gently pressing down the veggies until the liquid covers all the veggies.  Be sure to leave 1 inch of room from the top of the jar, you don't want to fill it up to the top. Cover tightly and let the jar sit at room temperature for 2 days before moving it into the fridge.
 

it's delicious, and hard to believe that it's been fermented.  even my husband will eat this, and he's still quite shy about eating all of my fermented veggie experiments.



:: 36/12 ::

my dearest baby cash,

wait...can i even call you baby anymore?  you turned three today, so really you're not a baby anymore are you?  i know you'd rather be called a big boy.  especially now that you're in REAL underwear.

but i want you to stay my baby. remember when you were a baby?  that first time i met you, with that sweet newborn smell...oh man, how could i forget that?  i loved all the snuggles, and having you close to me pretty much all the time. 

you are such a sweet and precious boy.  you wear your heart on your sleeve, and aren't afraid to show us how you really feel. ever.

you hold your own with the rest of the "pack," and i think the time when emma and gibson can pretty much tell you what to do will soon come to an end.  and that's okay.  i love seeing you grow and discover who you are as your own person.
you are loving at heart, whether it's smothering your baby sister with affection or wanting to be cradled in my arms (still! and i'm totally cool with that, by the way).  to be quite honest, i kind of like the times when you sneak into our bed in the middle of the night, even though sometimes it means feet in my face or a random hand smooshing my nose.  it just reminds me of those baby times when i would have you close by. 

you know that mommy and daddy LOVE you so much.  SO MUCH.  i hope that your year as a three year old will be full of adventure, joy, exploration and growth. 

we love you sweet boy, and are so thankful you are a part of our family. happy birthday!
love you forever,
mommy
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