2013 recap

well, everybody's doing it, so i think i'm going to join in too.

a look back at 2013...

we kicked of the year with a potential job transfer for my husband, which would move us back to seattle. by march we were preparing for our big move cross-country, and in april we said good-bye to our beloved CLE.  after almost 8 years, God said it was time to go back.  back to where it all began.

as we waited for our cleveland house to sell, the kids and i made our temporary home in spokane, wa with my parents, while aaron spent his weekdays in seattle working and his weekends in spokane (about 250 miles one-way trip for him) with us.

gibson, emma, leilani and i celebrated birthdays at ibu and grandpa's house.  gibson and emma both got to pick out their very own birthday cake with ibu.  i didn't get to pick mine, but emma designed one for me, which was very sweet. and little leilani celebrated her first birthday with a yummy birthday brownie cake, which she devoured.

when daddy was back on the weekends we enjoyed being able to explore the area.  some favorites included hanging out at lake couer d'alene, strawberry picking, the carousel ride, doing the caber toss at the spokane highland games, and an afternoon at wonderland family fun center for some mini golfing. it was a funny feeling to be back in the city where i spent my high school years, but this time with a family.  kind of a weird nostalgia...if that even makes sense.

after 5 months of trying to sell our house, it was clear that God did not want that home sold.  although we had been enjoying the time exploring spokane and having our kids get to know their ibu and grandpa better, it was time to take an alternate approach with our home so that our family can be re-united again. 

within 2 weeks of deciding to rent the place, we found someone.  it was an answer to our prayers.  even though things didn't work out how we imagined it, i firmly believe it worked out the way God had planned it.  and God's plans for us, based on our past experiences, have turned out to be the best plans for us, even if it isn't always easy.

in september, we were all finally living under the same roof again.  we found a little house to rent that overlooks lake washington, and i admit that it's a pretty sweet view out there (minus the telephone lines).  what a treat to be back in seattle and living in a place with a lake view...a girl can get spoiled that way.

i think everyone was happy to finally have access to all their stuff, and be able to sleep in our own beds again.  the kids are back to their usual antics, and i think we are slowly settling in. 

we have had fun exploring the city with our kids, and being able to hang out with my sisters and brother.  there have been so many great memories made already, and i'm sure there will be more to come.

i guess 2013 gave us what we've always had every year...ups and downs.  granted some years may be tougher than others, but i think the past few years for us have been tough.  thankfully, we don't have to let the tough parts in our lives over-shadow our experience of a whole year.  each year, we can find moments of joy and happiness, and those are the ones i want to cling to.  i don't want to forget the challenging parts either, because those experiences have helped shape me into the person i am at this point in time.  BUT, the joyful moments (big and small) are the ones i will cherish and remember most: happy faces, giggles of delight, snuggles, kisses, dates with my man, the shower of blessings we received from our friends during our moving process, one step closer to becoming debt-free, baby feet, coffee, chocolates, sushi, a certain little boy that likes to join us in bed in the wee hours of the morning, family time, silly time, church, and warm socks.

so farewell, au revoir, auf widersehen, adios, and ciao 2013.  thanks for the memories, but now it's time to look ahead...

happy new year, everyone! 


merry christmas!

there is much to rejoice and be joyful for!

love and hugs from our family.  merry christmas!


i can't wait until christmas is over

there.  i said it.  it's out.  i know, it sounds very scrooge-like, doesn't it?

it's christmas eve. i remember as a kid feeling so excited when december 24th rolled around, because the next day was the day that i got to finally dig into the pile of presents under the tree.  now, the truth is, i can't help but look forward to christmas being over.

well...that's how i feel some days.  the holiday season is probably the most challenging time of year for our family.  every year.  for maybe the past 10 years.

once the month of december starts, i pretty much don't see my husband until christmas.  we pretty much write-off the month of december.  i mean, i get it.  he's in a job where the busiest time of year just happens to be christmas time (kind of like accountants have their busiest time during tax season). but it can get hard.  yes, there's the hard part of single-parenting it for 2 weeks, and the lack of sleep (mostly for aaron), and watching the kids only see their dad one or two days a week for 2 weeks straight, and not really being able to make any holiday plans, and being totally beat by the time christmas rolls around so that you don't want to do anything but sit around in your pajama pants and eat cookies all day.  and of course this year, my husband gets to work christmas day.  what a treat! and you wonder why i can't wait until christmas is over.

but whatever.  we can make plans for family gatherings another day (i like thanksgiving because we get to share a big feast with our extended family).  the kids are very understanding, and post-christmas they get to see him more often again.  and who says we have to do the present opening stuff on the 25th?  that isn't what defines christmas anyway. 

no, that's not really the hard part.  the hardest part is keeping myself from becoming bitter, grumpy, and turning into a full-blown grinchy scrooge.  those holiday songs about christmas being the most wonderful time of the year, gathering with family, blah, blah, blah.  i really can't relate anymore.  it's busy, exhausting and trying.  every year.  how can i think it's the most wonderful time of the year full of happiness and cheer?  my husband is working on christmas not because he is saving lives, helping people in need or serving the community.  he's working on christmas day because he is serving the needs of others who must have their christmas presents on christmas day otherwise it will be ruined forever.

see, right there, that kind of attitude, is what i have to watch for every year.  fight it off.  repel it with an anti-scrooge repellent.  but i feel it trying to creep in.  every year, i sense it trying to get its foot in the door all sneaky-like.  and if i'm not careful, it will let itself in and completely consume me.  then i really will turn into scrooge-grinch lady.

after writing this out, i now see how i've managed to keep from being bitter about christmas.  no, it's not the anti-scrooge repellent.  it's because i have hope.  as a family, we celebrate christmas because it is the birth of jesus.  god, who humbled himself to take on human form so that he can grow up for the sole purpose of sacrificing his own life for us.  no matter who we are or what we've done. no matter how much i've screwed up, i can be confident in the fact that god will forgive me and loves me...to the point that he gave up his life for me.  how can i be grumpy, when i think about that?  christmas is just the beginning of the celebration. 

i'm not going to lie, some days are still going to suck, and i'll probably find myself looking forward to christmas being over, but i know what makes our christmas wonderful.  i can still find little bits of joy scattered through out the holiday season, because i have hope and peace thanks to god and his work in me. 

we have been preparing our hearts all month long, and tomorrow we celebrate.  big or small, all day, half the day...it doesn't really matter.  go have yourself a merry little christmas.  because i sure will.


wordless wednesday : that perfect pumpkin

last saturday, we went in search of pumpkins to carve.  

we found some, and also some fun along the way.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


fun with food : quinoa balls

so, this one time, while we were still doing the whole seattle-spokane thing, aaron and i decided to spend a date night at manito tap house.  our eyes came across an appetizer involving cheese, frying food, and quinoa.  surely it would be delicious!

now, the handful of times i've ever had quinoa was when it was served plain, and only when i was out at a restaurant.  i always enjoyed it, and made a mental note in my head to someday try making some at home.

the server brought out 4 walnut-sized, fried balls on a bed of greens and a side of Thai aioli and stout aioli.  i probably could have eaten all 4 to myself.  i was secretly hoping that aaron wouldn't like it (since he had indicated to me in the past that he was not interested in quinoa), but to my dismay he happily ate his share.  we both enjoyed the dish so much that we both began throwing around ideas of how we could make it at home, and some changes we would make to make the dish even more to our liking (a.k.a. more cheese).
so 2-ish months later i bought myself my first bag of quinoa, and experiment with my own version of manito tap house's "quinoa balls." [okay, they really need to re-do the name, because my immaturity shows its face every time i read that!]

it's not exactly the same, but they were just as good.  i promise i'm not just saying that because i made it.  haha.  the whole family LOVED it, and there were no left overs.  not even a crumb.

now usually, when i do up my own "thing" with food, i never have the foresight to write down the measurements of all the ingredients i use.  this means, when i try to make it again, it doesn't taste exactly the same as the last time. but this time i must have had some extra coffee or something, because i remembered to write down the amounts of all the ingredients i used so that if it turned out crappy this time around i can refer to the recipe and change things as needed.

and this also means i have something concrete that i can share with you! a real recipe, with measurements and everything, so that you can try it at home.  enjoy!

:: fried quinoa balls ::
inspired by manito tap house's quinoa balls

Yields: 24-26 balls

3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup bread crumbs
1-1.5 cups mozzarella cheese
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried rosemary (or you can use fresh)
1-2 tsp garlic powder (or mince some fresh garlic which would be super yummy)
2 eggs

Combine all the ingredients listed and mix together.  You can mix it with a spoon, but I found using my hands did the job much better.  Take some of the quinoa mixture and begin rolling into walnut-size balls, maybe a little smaller.  Place the quinoa balls on a cookie sheet or a piece of wax paper. Heat a skillet to medium heat and fill with about 1/4 inch of oil. If you have a deep-frier then I would fry these babies in there until golden brown.  I have a deep-frier, but I was too lazy to dig mine out so I used the cast-iron skillet instead. Place a few of the balls in the skillet (I could fit about 8 in mine) and cook until golden brown. Be sure to rotate the balls so that all sides are equally browned and crispy.  Place the cooked quinoa balls on a plate lined with a paper towel (or cloth) to absorb some of the excess oil.  Serve on a bed of spring greens and honey mustard dressing for dipping. 

:: honey mustard dressing :: 

dijon mustard or some other fancy-pants mustard 
Sadly, I did not write down the measurements for the ingredients in this recipe, but I'm sure you can figure it out!


wordless wednesday :: this boy

i love this kid, chocolate face and all!

more wordless wednesday here and here.


wordless wednesday::little free library

have you come across one of these (or started your own) in your neighborhood?

more wordless wednesday here.


{not so} wordless wednesday::on this day

then and now...

9 years ago today, i married my best friend (as cheesy as that may sound, it's totally true).  my #2 guy (i know you know what it means, babe).  life together has been AMAZING.  a thrill.  an adventure. 

we've laughed together, cried together, gotten stressed out together, been stupid together...it's been so neat to reflect on how much our marriage has grown, especially these last 2 years.  so much crazy stuff has happened, but i'm thankful they did because it has drawn us closer together.  i think we make a pretty good team!

you keep me grounded when i want to have a panic attack.  you always make me laugh when i'm having a crappy day. you bring a new perspective when all i can see is one way (which is usually my way).  you help simplify my life (that's a good thing) when i want to over-complicate.  you bring me lilly's handmade chocolates when i need a pick-me-up...except now you're gonna have to FedEx them since we're in a different state. 

i'm thankful that God brought us together, and that he has made you my ultimate partner in crime on this earth.  thank you for loving me, for encouraging me, and for supporting me.  happy anniversary, my love!

more wordless wednesday here and here.


baby's birthday celebration

we had a lovely, low-key first birthday celebration for our little lani. 

we made sure to start the celebration the weekend before her birthday since daddy wouldn't be around for her actual birthday. aaron and i figured out that lani wanted thai food for her birthday meal so we went out to a thai restaurant (we have these special skills that tell us exactly what our kids are thinking, no matter how old they are).

after a full tummy, the birthday girl got to open her present from us.  nothing beats a vintage baby book (it was such a great find!).

big sister also made her a little gift basket full pretty, hand-colored, choke-able, little rocks.  perfect for baby!

on her actual birthday, we celebrated with more birthday singing, birthday presents and birthday brownie.  she had lots of excellent helpers when it came time to open presents.

and i think she thoroughly enjoyed her brownie.
i think she felt pretty loved.  thanks everybody!


12 months

my dearest lani,

i can't believe today we celebrate your 1st birthday! it has been an exciting and adventurous year, and you have just taken it all in stride.

it was love at first sight when i first met you. i felt like a first-time parent all over again, totally in awe with everything about you. from little newborn hands and feet to your sweet, newborn smell i couldn't get enough of you.

it has been a joy watching you grow, learn and discover things on your own. and those smiles always brighten up my day.one of my favorite things is to watch you and your siblings interact.  they are so sweet to you, and you absolutely love being around them.

i'm so thankful that i get to be your mommy, and i love you so, so much that my heart sometimes aches just thinking about it. i hope you will feel loved today (and everyday), and i can't wait to see what God has in store for you in the years to come.

happy birthday, leilani!


mommy (and daddy, ty, emma, gibson and cash)
Related Posts with Thumbnails