Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joia!!

Today is Tim's sister Joia's birthday!  If I were looking for a kind, compassionate woman, who was always exploding with creative ideas and plans for some fun, I would look for Joia!  =).  I love the "colour" you add to each of our lives, Joia, and I'm so thankful for you!  Hope you've had a wonderful birthday!
Philip and Joia
The whole sweet family
Keenan, Moriah and Caleb
Mommy/Daughter painting date 
Happy, Happy Birthday, Joia - can't wait to see you in less than a month!!

All pictures were taken from Joia's blog - check it out!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Today is Tim's mom's birthday!  We were thankful to hear she is finally on the mend after having a long bout of sickness that just wouldn't let her go!  Mom, we love and appreciate you so much, and all you do for our family!  We are blessed to be able to call you mom, and so look forward to seeing you, and spending time with you this summer!  Hope you had a super day - we love you!
Dad and Mom at Christmas 
Mom meeting her most recent granddaughter, Olivia Judith Ann - her namesake
Family photo taken in 2013
Happy Birthday, with lots of love from all of us!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joshua!!

Today, Tim's brother Rob and Ada's second son, Joshua, turns FOUR!!  This sweet little guy is full of beans, and is as cute as a button!  I can't wait to hug this little boy, and get to know him and his siblings better this summer - it's one of the hardest parts of being so far away!
His amazing parents!
4 sweet kiddos!
 Happy 4th Birthday, dear Josh!  We love you and miss you, and can't wait to see you in about a month!  We hope you have a GREAT day!!  XO

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Our 14th Anniversary!!

It's 12pm as I write this post.  Fourteen years ago right now, I was just about to walk down the aisle to marry the Love of my life!  My Tim.  The one who, although still seeing me through love-starred eyes, knew many of my faults, knew my past, and loved me anyway - and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together!

Most everyone who knows Tim knows what a kind, generous and hard-working man he is.  He loves the Lord, he loves me, he loves his children - I'm so thankful for that!  I wish I could really tell you how deeply I love this man, my husband.  So much more than that lovely spring day several years ago; that young love when you feel like your heart will burst over it's so full and happy!  With the future ahead looking so bright and perfect, with no doubt that some difficult times will come, but the thought that all will be well - we'll be together!  But oh, the love I have today for this man, my love.  My heart still feels like it could burst over sometimes, but now it's a love that goes so much deeper.  Fourteen years.  It seems so long.  It seems so short.  Having now weathered some difficult, trying times and even years together, and reaching this day knowing his love for me is stronger, that our relationship is so much deeper.  It's a very special thing, and I'm so very thankful for it!  I wonder what our marriage will be like in 5, 10 or even 25 more years if we're still here - how much better it could be even then!

There is no doubt in my mind why our marriage is still together.  And not only is it  just together, but right now, it is strong, too.  Partly, I suppose, it's because we both have amazing examples of love-for-a-lifetime marriages in our parents.  We've also chosen to work at our marriage, chosen to trust, chosen to work to communicate better, chosen to connect with each other, even when selfishness threatens to overwhelm. But, I know, that both Tim and I would say that we owe our marriage where it is at because of the Lord God.  He's the third part of our "cord" - "...a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4.12  He's the One who loved us first, and the One who teaches us to love.  He's the One who directs our steps, the One who encourages us to be selfless, the One who encourages us to fight for our marriage.  We owe everything to Him.

This morning I received a really sweet card from Tim, and I cried.  I don't have a card for him, but there is a Pavlova sitting on our counter, and I know he likes those better!  =)  We have plans to go out for lunch after all the Littles are in bed this afternoon, and I'm looking forward to spending some time just with him.  I'm so thankful the Lord brought Tim into my life, and gave him to me as a life partner!

Happy 14th Anniversary, my Love!  I am so truly thankful for each moment with you!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!!

Today is Mother's Day in Canada, the US and Mexico (Mexico's is always May 10th, so this just happens every few years).  It's been 7 years since we were in Canada on Mother's Day, and I wish now that I would have taken better advantage of the time I had then with our moms.  

Both Tim's and my mom were the "non-working" kind.  YOU know the ones...  They just stayed at home with their kids...loving and disciplining them, training them up to be hard working adults, who love the Lord, their spouse, family and neighbours.  I kind of wished I had a mom who had a "real" job, when I was little.  Some of the other kids I knew had moms who weren't quite so "mean", and had more freedom than we were allowed.

I will turn 38 this year, and have been a mom now for over 12 years.  I've seen a lot and read a lot on parenting, and with what experience I have, I truly believe there are many different good ways to parent your children well - there isn't just one!  I do know that a loving heart, listening to and teaching from God's Word, a commitment to spouse and family, discipline, and having eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head all sure help!  =)  Moms, you made up much of who we are today - thank you!

These pictures are oldies-but-goodies of our parents:
My Dad and Mom-in-love

My loving Dad and Mom
Happy Mother's Day to our dear moms!  Thank you for your loving sacrifice and care in raising your children!  You are an inspiration and a blessing to your children and grandchildren, and we rise up today and called you blessed, and know you are each lovingly praised by your husband!  
Proverbs 31:28  We love you!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

April Update

We're a little closer to being caught up, now - here's some of what we did in April:

After coming back from Seedsowers, we tried to take it a easy for a little bit.  We had wanted to head up to West Phoenix Bible conference, which was the weekend after we returned, but decided it was too much after our long trip south, so we stayed home.  Good thing, too!  Both Tim and I, plus a few of the kiddos came down with a stomach flu-something or other. Thankfully, that was over in a couple of days, but it would not have been fun traveling under those circumstances!

Vivian celebrated her 6th birthday, and we had a nice little party for her!

The mosquitoes just about ate us out of our home this entire month, and thankfully they've been giving us a little break the last couple of weeks!

Gospel meetings began in Obregón April 12th with Shad K and Duncan B.  We got a message from Anna a few days in, wondering if she and Donovan could stay over on their way up to Phoenix?  We were very excited to have them, as well as Andrea, come.  Andrea stayed with Eleo for about 2 weeks, and Donovan and Anna just stayed overnight, but it sure was nice!  Anna and I stayed up way too late chatting, but it was good to get it in!  We went down to Obregón that Friday night for the gospel meeting, and enjoyed a visit with Shad and Duncan before returning home that night.

Tim took on the pleasure, likely in March, of beginning to potty train Nathaniel.  It really didn't go too well until about the last week or two of April, and he now is in underwear during the day.

The weather has been pretty nice the last couple weeks, after some pretty hot spells!  We had the a/c turned on for at least naps and bedtimes, and we've been able to turn it off again!

I deactivated my Facebook account on April 20th (my Dad and Mom's 41st anniversary, by the way - yay!). I'd been thinking since late last year about taking a break from Facebook.  Actually, it was the same time as I stopped updated the blog regularly.  I've struggled especially since coming to Mexico about the amount of time I spent on-line, but when I got a smart phone a year or so ago, it got even worse.  The timing was kind of random, but I felt I had so many things to get accomplished, and that I just couldn't get them all done!  It seems a little crazy, now, that THAT was what I felt was holding me back (lack of self-control, much?!), but it did, and it was a relief when I finally "disconnected".  I wasn't, and I'm still not sure how long I'll stay off of it for.  So far, all I miss are "special events" like birthdays, anniversaries, etc, as well as the pictures that my family puts on, and I think even if I had planned to permanently stay off, I would go back on just for the family pictures aspect.  We have virtually no other way, except for a couple of family members who blog, to keep updated by pictures of our families.  So, pros of going off of Facebook?  I've been much more intentional about getting other things done, and I have been getting things accomplished that needed to be.  I've spent more time doing things with our kiddos, and been more willing to stretch myself, and to go out and do different things.  I've been blogging more, and now that it's becoming a "monthly update" thing, I'm finding that more manageable, too!  For now, I'm happy with my reprieve, and don't know when I'll go back.  Just taking it a week at a time for now!

On with some pictures of our month:
Nathaniel was playing with some play pots and pans, and came and got my oven mitts to carry them with.

There is a picnic table under the playset, and we had a family picnic outside one day!
All our girls so far love to draw and colour

There's a "real" picture for you.  Behind lovely Kyla enjoying her colouring (instead of doing schoolwork), is two mountain high  piles of ironing, as well as a bunch of stuff on the floor that needed to be picked up.  I'm thankful to say that the ironing piles are long gone (as in, ironed!), while the stuff on the floor continues to be a daily occupation!  =)

Playing with Daddy

So sleepy...
The girls thought it would be fun to decorate a cake for Daddy!  They wanted to show him they love him, and tell him in a special way that he is the Best Daddy Ever!  I thought I could bake a cake and cut it into six pieces, and then they each would have one to do themselves.  Tim left to go to Nogales for an entire day, so that was the day we planned it for.
Shaelyn, Kyla, Vivian and Mika starting up

Alisa came along after her nap

Mika's final product - two maple leaves

Shaelyn's - a tree, waterfall and river

Vivian's - lots of flowers

Kyla's - Peppa Pig and Daddy Pig

Alisa's - lots of flowers

I decorated one, too, since Nathaniel wasn't too interested except for eating the icing!
Surprise, Daddy!!

He took a bite out of each one!  =)

He seemed to like it!

The girls discovered a Huge moth on the window, and wanted their picture taken with it
Shaelyn decorated Vivian's cake.  Vivi chose to have an "island in the ocean" cake.  Tim found some fun gummy candies, and Shaelyn had a hoot!  The island is brown sugar.  There are octopi chasing bears in the water, Goldfish leaping, and bears climbing the trees on the island.  I took pictures from a couple of angles so you can see the details a little better.    

Our friends who came for lunch
She loved the cake!

While Tim was up in Nogales, he crossed the border, and went to a grocery store there.  Guess what he found - Rhubarb!!!  I showed him how happy I was by making a strawberry rhubarb pie, and an apple rhubarb crisp - they were SO yummy!
 One night we headed up to Cerro de la Campana - a small mountain where you can see a lot of the ciy.
All seven of our sweeties

Climbing rocks with Daddy
 Meeting in Obregón

Tim, Duncan, Shad

Keeping entertained at Taco Taco, watching a video

Joe and Sam wanted to watch the video, too!  =)
One Saturday night, after Tim and Mika had left for the young people's meeting, I made up a Treasure Hunt for the older girls, with clues to get to the next clue.

The first clue led them to a bathroom...

...then one of the bedrooms...

...then the freezer...

...then the playset...

...Daddy's office...

...and finally the living room couch!

Alisa got to open it

The prize?  A bag of chocolate gold coins (leftover from Christmas).  They had a super time!
 Mika slept over at Eva's the night we went to Obregón.  The Cains went up Cerro de la Campana, too, and took a picture of these two adventurers as they went climbing on some rocks further out.  The girls are almost right in the center of the picture, and actually, the hospital where our 4 youngest were born is the yellow L-shaped building closer to the top of the picture.

The girls found these "baby" mangoes, and thought they looked like birds, so they picked some leaves and put them on so that they looked like tails.
The Sunday in April, Alejandro got baptized.  He came out to as many meetings in the series that we had in March as he could, and finally was saved the last week. We rejoice in his desire to obey the Lord, and look forward to seeing more spiritual fruit in his young life.

That's it for pictures in April -  I keep being happily surprised at the number of pictures that are actually being taken each month!