Weekend Favorites: Start of Vacation

Every August since we moved away from camp, Ben takes a week off for a family vacation. We’ve usually gone to my parents’ cabin, but this year, we decided to try a “stay-cation”. Everett is easiest to take care of at home, which makes it the more relaxing option! Plus, there are so many fun things around here which we just don’t take enough time for, so we made a long list of things we want to do, and we’re all pretty excited about this week!

We decided to kick off our first day of vacation with a fire, sparklers, and banana boats. It was the most beautiful evening.

banana boatsSince we don’t eat much sugar at our house, the girls thought this treat was pretty exciting. Ben and I have fond memories of making banana boats at camp, so it was fun to introduce our kids to this little fireside tradition.


EverettWhenever I take a picture of Everett, he starts shrieking, “SEE! SEE!” because he wants to look at the screen of my camera.

EvNow most of my pictures look like this, because he’s saying “See” in all of them….

EvWe also had to do some apple sampling, to see if our little apples are ready for picking.

Ev and KayliaAfter we were done snacking, Ben played soccer with the kids, while I did yoga.

2016-08-14 08.36.48


sparklerWhat did you do with your beautiful weekend?



Weekend Favorites, and Thoughts on Creativity

For awhile now, I’ve found it really hard to make time for blogging, or even just for snapping a few pictures. I think there are a number of things which affect my creative energy – just lack of energy, in general, but also state of mind. When I was blogging regularly, my mom said she always knew how well I was doing by how regularly I posted on my blog! There’s some truth to that – this last year, I’ve found that recovering from postpartum anxiety has made it really hard to create.

I’ve also found creativity to have a snowball effect – the more I do, the more I want to do. When I’m not making time for it, I do less and less.

The good news is that over the last few months, I’ve felt more creative energy returning – I’m writing blog posts in my head again.:) Now I just find myself back in the place of needing to make time for creating.

I’ve been reading The Gifts of Imperfection lately, and last week, I came across this:

“Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.” (Brene Brown)

That rings true with me. I’ve felt “clogged up” lately – everything in my life is better when I’m writing regularly, and searching for beauty in my everyday life. I’ve been neglecting something life-giving to me.

The issue of time in my life still remains, but I’m seeing how necessary it is to make the time, not because my blog is that outrageously important to the world, but because it’s one of my favorite ways to create.

Brene Brown also writes,

“There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

I asked Ben what he does to create, and I liked his answer. He’s not into art, and right now he’s not taking much time for music or writing, although he’s gifted in those areas, but lately, he says he creates by coming up with ideas. I hadn’t thought about ideas being his creative outlet, but it’s so true! Ben comes up with ideas just for the sake of having an idea. Sometimes the ideas have to do with his job and are very useful, but other times, they are completely random – commercials he’ll never make, or plots for books I really hope he writes someday! I love the idea of creating being whatever you want it to be, whatever keeps things fun, new, fresh, and exciting.

So in the effort to keep things fresh and exciting, our family went on a little adventure last night, and I brought my camera. We created.:)

AnikatreesEverettflowersBen and EverettriverKayliaWhat do you do to bring creativity into your life?


Week in the Life: Weekend Photos

It is finished!! What a full week – I haven’t taken this many pictures, or finished this many blog posts in a long, long time! Glad I did it, and glad it’s done! I feel like this photo challenge motivated me to capture a great collection of photos depicting what our life looks like right now. But I think it will be fun to just go through the day today without having to run for my camera all the time!!

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Weekend Favorites: Mother’s Day

Every year for Mother’s Day, we pick up food from Taco del Mar, and go to Assiniboine Park for a picnic, and a visit to the conservatory.

conservatoryOh, I love it there so much, and I love that we have pictures to compare from every year we’ve gone! This year was very different from other years – a lot more active! We made an attempt to take the usual picture of me with my sweet children, but this did not impress Everett:

Kendra & kidsAnika says, “Don’t put that picture in, it looks terrible!” But Ben always says, “It is what it is.” Everett didn’t hold still for a single moment, except when he was watching the fish, which he absolutely loved.:) He kept trying to say “fish” so cutely!

fishfish pondHe ran all over the place, and had a great time!

Ben & EverettKidsFortunately, the girls already know how this goes – find your favorite flowers, and pose sweetly while Mommy takes a million pictures!!

KayliaAnikaAnd by some miracle, I managed to get this one of Everett – right before he ran back to the fish pond!!

EverettTraditions are the best! What did you do for Mother’s Day?


My Family in the Forest

We were able to spend some time together as a family at Red Rock Bible Camp this last weekend, and it was just beautiful.

IMG_1131It’s always bittersweet to go back – we love it there so much, and it’s fun to see Anika visiting all her favorite spots, telling Kaylia all the stories of things she was too young to remember. It would have been amazing to see Kaylia and Everett growing up there, too, and yet we know we left at the right time. We love our life the way it is, and feel so blessed, but there’s just something about camp!

AnikamushroomKayliamossEverettThis was the first trail we walked on after moving out there when Anika was three years old, and I’ll never forget the sight of her little fingers stretched out over a pile of deer droppings, calling out excitedly, “Look, Mommy – grapes!!”

Oh, the treasures you find in the forest….


Contemplating Summer

My best moments of the weekend were spent on a blanket. We had a picnic at the park on Saturday, and on Sunday, I napped under the shade of the trees in our backyard. I love you, Summer.

EverettpicnicBen and EverettKaylia


Kendra & EverettEllen DeGenres says, “August is like the Sunday of summer.”

I love the idea of this, but I think our family spends our Sundays differently from Ellen. To me, July feels slow and lazy, like Sundays at our house. People go on vacation, and it feels like this beautiful season will last forever. In August, it’s like everyone suddenly realizes, “Whoa, summer is going by crazy fast! We need to fit everything in before September!” And then there’s this frantic flurry of super fun summer activities, but not slow and relaxing, like a Sunday is at our house.

As I lay on the blanket under the trees yesterday, I thought about how August is more like a long weekend Monday – still part of the weekend, but usually busy with all the things that need to get done before entering a busy week, the gift of an extra day to catch up.

And that’s okay. I feel the pull towards normal life and normal schedules. I will take the gift of August – a chance to prepare for what’s ahead, but still part of summer. We see you coming, September, but you’re far enough away that there’s still time for lying in the grass, enjoying the breeze….

What day of the week is August like for you?

Weekend Favorites

Yesterday was my favorite kind of day – relaxing and slow, with nowhere to go and nothing to do except spend time with my most favorite people.


Kendra & Everett

Anika & Everett

We got out the kiddie pool, made smoothies, and had a water fight.KayliawaterEverettI love the kind of Sunday that makes you feel ready to plunge into another week, all filled up with rest and fun. What’s your idea of the perfect weekend?

Weekend Favorites: At the Lake

I am not a spontaneous person. I like to have everything planned out well in advance. But every once in awhile, things will just suddenly drop into place, and I’ll suddenly realize that spontaneity takes all the stress out of things – if I don’t know about it ahead of time, there’s no time to get stressed! Just rush right in.

That was this weekend.

We had planned to go to my parents’ cabin with them and two of my aunts, but I got sick on Thursday, and the mountains of dirty laundry surrounding me didn’t help me feel any better. Packing for all five of us for the weekend felt extremely overwhelming at that point, so we said we weren’t going.

On Saturday, my mom texted to say that the aunts had brought loads of food, hoping we might still come, and she asked if there was any chance I was feeling better, and we might consider going to the cabin after all, to help eat.

I still wasn’t feeling great, but the laundry was now clean, and lying around at the cabin or lying around at home wouldn’t make much difference, but at least I wouldn’t have to cook at the cabin!

So we threw our stuff together, and got ready to leave in two hours.

cabinThe food was great, and it was good to spend time with family, but Everett’s night was horrendous, and at 4am, I really thought we’d made a huge mistake.

Sunday was so beautiful, however, that in the end, both Ben and I were able to overlook the awful night, and agreed that the spontaneous decision turned out to be a good one.;)

cabinMy highlight was Everett’s first boat ride. I was very curious how it would go – when Anika was a baby, the lifejacket made her scream, and she kept on screaming until the boat started moving. Kaylia, on the other hand, started screaming as soon as the boat started moving, and would wail through every ride until we finally got her used to it.

But Everett decided to show them how it’s done.

EverettHe was totally cool and calm throughout the whole thing. Ben’s reeeeeally hoping he’ll act the same way about waterskiing, since the girls refuse to try it.

AnikaKaylia, like Pocahontas, showed us a thing or two about painting with all the colors of the wind….

KayliaKayliaKayliaShe’s obviously gotten over her fear of boats.

EverettAnd Everett was so happy, you’d never guess he had the worst night of his sleeping career.

EverettAfter a beautiful day of reading, eating, and napping, we headed home.

drivingAnyone else feel like the better the weekend, the harder the Monday?! It’s a bit hard to transition from all that to school and dirty dishes!


Long Weekend Favorites

Now it officially feels like spring – we’ve gone to the cabin for the first time.

springMy parents spend the winter in Florida, so spring makes me happy, because they come home, and we get back to the family stuff I love, like going to the cabin.

Much has changed since we were last there! This was our first time bringing Everett. I think he liked it…except for sleeping in his playpen. Poor baby, I never thought to air out the playpen, and it’s been packed away since Kaylia last used it five years ago, so it stank like crazy. It smelled so bad, it made Everett stink all weekend, too! Fortunately, he’s so sweet, it doesn’t really matter what he smells like.;)

Anika and EverettThe weather was mostly cool and rainy, and I had a cold, so there was a lot of relaxing inside.

storiestreeIt was good to go, and it was good to come home, and give my sweet boy a bath!

Weekend Favorites: Mother’s Day

I have a love/hate relationship with Mother’s Day. Well, maybe “hate” is a bit strong. It’s more of a pleasure/pain relationship….

I love being a mom, and I love having a day to celebrate life with these sweet kiddies. But there have been some very hard moments on Mother’s Day, as well. When Anika was three years old, we lost a baby, and my due date was Mother’s Day.

When Kaylia finally came along, the joy she brought with her swallowed up most of the pain and sadness, and for a few years, Mother’s Day was happy again. But last year, I had a hard time. I was pregnant, but was still battling fear with my first trimester – I have a lot of baggage when it comes to first trimesters!!

This year, it was absolutely WONDERFUL to be able to just be. Be with my kids, be a mom, be content, be thankful, be blessed. After many, many years of ups and downs, waiting, praying, wondering, and hoping, we finally have the family I always dreamed of having. And my nose is being slobbered on once more, which is always a dream come true.:)

Everett and meOur lovely little family went to the conservatory, like usual, and it was warm, tropical, and beautiful – perfect on a cloudy day in early spring!