10 Years

I think I started this blog right after Curtis and I got married? I don’t know. But, I can’t believe its been a decade already. Our photographer and friend asked us some questions reflecting on the last 10 years of marriage and I almost started crying. Marriage hasn’t been easy. But, I am so thankful for Curtis. He has been the biggest blessing and gift.

Thank you Amy.

Your pictures and our time with you was so fun!! We love our photos and are thankful for you!

 

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Remember This.

I need to remember this.

I’m sitting at a local coffee shop planning our official homeschooling year. Although, I’ve been doing preschool at home for a couple years, this year feels like we are doing the real thing. Like, we are committed to this schooling at home thing. I’ve fought homeschooling for a bit as it’s not something I really wanted to do or feel “called to”, but here we are…doing it. I feel incredibly incapable and have so many gaps in my own education and wondering how the heck will I do this?!

But, God has brought a small homeschool community to me. That in itself is a prayer answered! I just wanted to write out that I am so excited about this year! I am smiling and feeling really excited planning our year. I’m excited for our new kinder/early elementary co-op and as I am piecing our very eclectic curriculum together, I feel excited. I feel like I needed to write this somewhere, because I am sure there will be tough days this year. I hope I can remember my excitement through out the year!

Love looking at this pic. The laundry and mess. Jon trying to drink my coffee, James looking through the kid bible. Evie working on making letters for friends. My sleep deprived disheveled self! This isn’t the life I imagined when I left my hometown to go to bible school in hopes of becoming a missionary overseas.  Quite the opposite actually. Hahaha

But, I am really really thankful for it all. I do have a great life. Even in the ups and downs of life.

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July 2019

I feel like I have less and less time to do these updates! Too many mobile and busy kids to keep tabs of. But, I find looking back to these post so precious. Anyways, very quick. Here we are celebrating the 4th of July. We went to a local baseball game and then came home for a BBQ with a few friends. After dinner we did fireworks. The kids had so much fun.

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The kids eating dinner.IMG_1408IMG_1414

Having Popsicles for dessert. I love summer. Even though it took forever for it to come!IMG_1415

Kids waiting for the show!IMG_1427IMG_1436IMG_1440IMG_1443

Ev working on projects. She is doing much more independent play and it’s rad.IMG_1509IMG_1513

James and our neighbors helping us bring piles of dirt. We needed so much dirt to fill the holes in our yard. We have the best the neighbors.

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After all the work, we sat around had drinks and chatted. My goal is to actually get to know our neighbors. And it’s been really sweet. We had two of our neighbors come for game night and we were up till like midnight playing Sequence! Hahaha. I pray they see Jesus in us and in our home. It’s all for His glory. And like I said, we have some great neighbors. HahahaIMG_1518IMG_1519

Annual blueberry picking with friends!IMG_1524IMG_1533IMG_1538IMG_1540IMG_1542IMG_1557IMG_1571IMG_1568

We celebrated Jonathan turning TWO this month. We went out for dinner and then ice cream!

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VBS at our new church! We had dinner at the church with all the families and this night was Kenyan night. We had a delicious Kenyan dinner. SO delicious! img_20190725_175357746_hdr

I was a crew leader at VBS. The kids had so much fun!! They were sad when it ended. Hahahimg_20190726_173531592

Cherry picking with dear friends. We drove to hood river to pick cherries and then went to the waterfront for water play and dinner outside.img_20190728_153252713img_20190728_153358264img_20190728_153826329img_20190728_153918580img_20190728_160929838img_20190728_161234640

After playing in the water we had pizza for dinner. Yay!img_20190728_181618756

Love this picture of all of us. Curtis and I are trying to figure out how we can get a compound and live with these dear friends! LOL. We still have that dream for communal living!! Hahah67234312_1340096902822260_2427008692378402816_nreceived_334715540813045

My friend Julie and I at a pool party. She moved away this month. And it was another hard loss for our community. Curtis and I are praying how we can continue to have an open heart, even with loss. Last week we had another goodbye party for some other close friends!! It’s so hard to see dear friends leave!

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The day after cherry picking. The kids got sick and were all tired and worn out the next day!

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On one of our nature days with our friends! Exploring the local wetlands! And eating wild blackerries while we are hiking.img_20190731_113243686

We’ve returned to visiting my Afghanistan friend every Friday morning. We practice her English and go over the English lessons/homework. I feel incredibly blessed by her hospitality. Some snacks and tea while we go over homework and watch our kids run around and play. There is always endless pots of tea at her house. It’s amazing.

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James taking a break from playing to sit and eat some snacks with Aminah and I!img_20190726_104525047

Another pic from blueberry picking. I want to go back and get as many pounds as I can to freeze and store for winter. Berries are expensive in the winter! I love this time of year. IMG_1860

Ev and one of her bff’s had a special girls playdate this month!

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Well, these are just a few snapshots of the month!

July Camping

I decided to do a separate post for our camping pics. I took too many. And I still need to add more…once I can find my camera. Hahaha

Anyways, we last month we went on a camping trip with a few dear friends. Although, camping with young kids is so much work and we feel so tired after, it’s so worth it. I couldn’t have said the same thing last year or the year before that. Now that our kids are gettting older, some things (like sleep!) are getting easier. Anyways, here we are having dinner one night. We ended up having most of our meals together.

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We also did alot of river play. This is a spot we hiked to. It was 1.5 mile hike in and then another 1.5 hike back with 5 kids under 6. We got creative on keeping them motivated. And by we, I mean, our friend Evan did. Hahaha

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Seriously so pretty. Mount Hood Area is just amazing.IMG_1646

Thanks Pam for my Keens. I feel like a real Oregonian. Hahaha. IMG_1653IMG_1640

Pictures are out of order, but, here we are hiking to the water. We are almost there!IMG_1638

Girls collecting flowers on our hike. IMG_1633IMG_1622

Jonathan loves camping! He loved riding his scooter the whole weekend! Going from our campsite to our friends campsites!IMG_1621IMG_1613IMG_1611

My friend doing water color paintings. She’s so good!IMG_1608The guys playing games.IMG_1604IMG_1602

The kids acting like they are BMX people….riding up and down hills!IMG_1601IMG_1598IMG_1595IMG_1591

Friends. Chopping wood!IMG_1588IMG_1585

Morning time. Breakfast scenes. IMG_1582IMG_1580IMG_1576IMG_1575IMG_1574

The kids hanging out before dinner. Playing in the woods. Between all the families, we had 9 kids under the age of six. Whoa.

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After dinner we hiked to a swimming hole at the campsite. IMG_1692IMG_1697IMG_1690

It was really a great time. So excited for our next camping adventure!

June 2019

Here are some photos from last month. My brain is so fuzzy from not sleeping enough these last few years…I don’t even remember what I did this weekend. Anyways, I am thankful to have some photos to remember what some of our days look like. First, some camera photos.

I had to capture this scene. I don’t even know how this happened, but, here are Ev and Jon napping together.

 

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Grandma came to visit while Curtis spoke at a conference in Canada. Thank you, Pam! The kids had so much fun with her and I did too!IMG_1260IMG_1243

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I hosted a friend’s babyshower. SO MANY BABIES!IMG_1118IMG_1114

Some school stuff. We are still doing school stuff this summer. It’s just been really laid back.IMG_1110IMG_1108

We had some friends over for Father’s Day to do our annual whiskey and pie thing. I made old fashion’s for everyone and it was so fun!IMG_1224

Brown sugar Bourban and peach pie!IMG_1223

The morning of fathers day. Opening presents and cards. We love you Curtis! We went to church, then indian food for lunch, and then naps for everyone. We barbecued for dinner and then we had friends over for dessert and whiskey. I hope you felt loved, Curtis. You’re an amazing dad.IMG_1220IMG_1219

The kids and I did our annual starwberry picking with friends. The kids ate more than they picked, but it was so fun to see them run around the strawberry fields with their buddies. We froze most of them. I didn’t can any this year, because I don’t have time anymore. Having three mobile kids keeps me so busy. It’s hard to text people back or do anything really! Hahaha. I miss the days when Jon napped a couple times a day and I could make stuff, can, garden, or be in the kitchen more. Just a season. I keep telling myself this!IMG_1298IMG_1293IMG_1291IMG_1289IMG_1282

Oregon strawberries are different! This is the Hood variety. They are smaller, but soooooo sweet and delicious!IMG_1288IMG_1279IMG_1274

This summer we are following the Exploring Nature with Kids curriculum. We did a pollinators theme. The kids are painting and reviewing the anatomy of a bee.

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The reality of school days. While Jon naps we all grab our school stuff and run to the living room. I make another cup of coffee and messes are made. 2pm right here. James is done with what we have been doing. So, while I try and help Ev finish her work, James is ripping paper and throwing it all over the living room. Fun times. IMG_1332IMG_1329

We went camping with our new church! We are now going to smaller church  that has a strong focus on missions. It feels like home and we’ve only been there for a couple months! HahahahIMG_1324

We shared a site with these sweet friends. Camping is so much easier with others!IMG_1321

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We hiked up to the swimming hole at the campground. The kids splashed and looked for crawdads. We had a huge campfire with the church one night and roasted smores and hungout until bedtime. This was our most successful camping trip with kids. A miracle! Makes us excited for our next camping trip next month. IMG_1319IMG_1318

James had a birthday this month! He turned FOUR! Curtis took him on a donut date while Evie and I decorated and prepped for his birthday breakfast. We made pancakes and then got ready for church. We came back for naps and then Curtis and I got things ready for James’ party. This year, we decided to have his birthday at a local park. We actually did a combo party for James and Jon. It was so fun! We grilled hotdogs, ate treats, played and ran around, and then ended the day with playing in the splashpad with his buddies.

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The four year old and almost two year old!IMG_1397

After the party and splashpad, we came home for cake and more presents. We invited our sweet neighbors and hung out on our patio till late. IMG_1400

 

Other stuff this month:

Watering all the plants.

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Ev lost TWO teeth!img_20190625_132028599

We also celebrated my birthday this month. Curtis and I went on special date to Han Oak and then pie and coffee after. I had a watercolor/painting night with my friends to celebrate too. They made me an ice cream cake I have been craving and we painted, laughed, and drank rose. Such a blessing!

Right before I went to my friends house (who was hosting the party) Jon threw up and he was on day 3 of vomiting. I was hesistant to go to the party because I was so worried about Jon. Curtis made me go and  I told him to call me after he called the advice nurse. Long story short, I got a text hours later. Curtis had taken Jon to urgent care because of dehydration! He woke up the older two and he managed urgent care with THREE kids after bedtime hours. Meanwhile, I was having a fun time with friends! Hahaha. My husband is amazing. P.S. Jon was totally fine. Just a random virus.

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The big kids did their first VBS at a friends church! I had only one kid every morning for a whole week. It was awesome. Hahahah

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They did the VBS with their preschool co-op friends. They had a blast.Resized_20190627_120939

Date night with Curtis!

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May 2019

May was a funny month for me. We spent 17 days in California and getting back to Portland and our normal routine was a little rough. The kids had too much fun, lots of spoiling and sugar, and literally had no routine for most of the month. Now, that it’s June we are feeling a little normalcy again. My body and brain shut down the day we got back to Portland and I was out for like a week. Hahaha. Traveling solo for 2 weeks with all three kids was more exhausting than I thought. Plus having to figure out my dad’s health stuff…it was a pretty crazy couple weeks. But, I am thankful we did get to go. And even though there was some tough things on the trip, we had some good times too.  I didn’t take many photos this month, since I didn’t want carry my clunky camera around most days. First some camera photos that I or friends took.

Our neighbor took this photo of us trying to figure out traveling with three littles. We are smiling, but, Curtis and I were sweating!

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Made it to CA. Kids were so excited.

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Double date with these two! It was really great to hang with so many of the cousins…WITHOUT children. YAY!img_20190426_221121865

Game night. We went to bed so late. I paid for it the next day. SO TIRED. I’m so old. I can’t hang.img_20190427_215029796

The kids favorite thing about CA….the grandparents and cousins! img_20190429_171517051

I was able to leave the kids with Jimmy and Pam one day, so I drove to Modesto for some quality time with my parents, sister, and nephew. img_20190430_132905359

Aquarium with grandma and grandpa! This day was really fun. To top it off, we went swimming with the cousins after the aquarium. img_20190502_110205057_hdrimg_20190502_113545293_hdrimg_20190502_133513599

Patiently waiting for ice cream. Ice cream for dinner. These kids living their best lives.img_20190502_165305898_hdrimg_20190502_165315711

Girls night with the cousins. Wine and dessert! I got to get out alot…solo and with friends. Thanks Jimmy and Pam for watching the kids, so I could have grown up time!!img_20190502_200653640

We drove to San Jose to see my Abuelita and Tia’s. My kids had pan dulce for the first time and I drank my Tia’s famous cafe con canela. Mmmmm. My Abuelita didn’t remember me and parts of this visit were sad, but, I am thankful my kids were able to see her. img_20190504_110945393

On another day we went to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History with grandma and then tacos on the beach. The kids really loved the museum. It was totally their jam.img_20190509_134720661_hdr

Back in Modesto. We got to see my old highschool friend. Her son had a birthday and we joined the party. And we ate all the homemade tacos. Yumm.

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In Modesto with my sister. It was SO warm. I’ve missed the sun. HAHAHAimage-1

James playing my brother in law’s drum set. James is now asking for one for his birthday.img_2384

One last ice cream date with my sister and nephew. The meltdown of the year happened right after this outing. So many tears. Including me! Parenting strong willed children is no cake walk.img_2456

Back in Santa Cruz. So much driving back and forth had me exhausted by the end our stay. This was their first time riding rides at the boardwalk. They loved it!received_515322062206082received_934187420084894

 

Heading back home on Mother’s Day. img_20190512_222618281img_20190512_222845501

How we spent our days back in Portland. We were all so tired from our travels. img_20190513_163926285_hdr

 

Back in Portland. Hanging out with friends and holding new babies. img_20190517_123027391

Back at it with our nature and hiking days.

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Hosting co-op at our house.resized_20190522_102247-1

Another birthday party with friends. May was filled with birthday parties!!img_1729-1

 

Now to REAL camera photos. We had friends over for dinner the day before we flew to CA.

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We studied butterflies in May. We saw them form a Chrysalis and we saw one emerge before we left on our trip!IMG_0904IMG_0905IMG_0907IMG_0910

Playdough play. Making “tortillas” Love my Mexican kiddos. HahahaIMG_0993

We went on a fieldtrip to the local fire station and then walked to a coffee shop for homemade donuts.IMG_0998IMG_0999

 

The kids on their last day of nature school. They get a bead after they complete a session. They are off for the summer.IMG_1017

This was my kids classroom one day week. Rain or shine. So lovely! And I’m also really proud of them. Hiking around in all the elements for a couple hours is not easy!IMG_1020

Memorial day weekend. We had our community group over for a BBQ. My friend, Annie shucking the corn with the kids. IMG_1021

We have been learning about gravity and rockets this month too. “Gravity Painting”IMG_1025

Last day of pre-school co-op! Seriously, so sad! This little co-op has been an incredible blessing to me. Especially, during the time of really hard postpartum days. This community carried me the last two years. I am so thankful. And now, a new season begins!IMG_1027

We celebrated the end of the year with waffles…because it is now a tradition. IMG_1033

Talking about the moon and craters. IMG_1049

Experiments. Talking about rockets and “thrust”. How fast will they go?!!IMG_1051IMG_1053IMG_1055

Evie is doing ballet. Curtis takes her on Saturday mornings. She loves it.IMG_1056IMG_1065IMG_1066

We are back in the gardening game. We paid our community garden dues and began by weeding this mess. Another gardening season begins and I am excited. IMG_1087IMG_1093IMG_1099IMG_1100

 

It’s been really good to be back home. I told Curtis that this last trip to CA was great because it gave me closure. I know God led us to Portland, but, it’s been a hard 3 years trying to establish our young family, all while missing family, our people and life in Santa Cruz. After three years in Portland, I can finally say this is HOME. And it feels really good to say that. I was so excited to be back in Portland and get back into our life here. I had missed our co-op, our people, our nature days, our fieldtrips, my mom friends, and our home. I feel incredibly grateful for the life we are making here. Thanks to my brave husband, who forged the way!

April 2019

I had such a weird time uploading these photos. They are super scattered and all over place. I am too tired to fix them hahahaha.

I am uploading photos again while dinner is cooking and the kids play outside. THANK YOU SPRING!!  And hooray for backyards and children that play independently! Even if it’s just for a few minutes. I am almost positive they are getting into some sort of trouble and Jonathan will come inside covered in mud or something. Oh well.

I just came back from therapy and feeling super grateful and looking through these photos only amplifies my gratitude. I love this little family Curtis and I are raising. We are broke and pretty much always exhausted and have more stressed out days than relaxed…BUT, these little people are such BLESSINGS.

Anyways, this week to fly out to CA and I won’t be back till mid May, so I thought I would post these photos before my memory card gets super full.

Today I am dragging. We hosted Easter at our house yesterday and I am wiped! And because we had people over after church in the morning and had a full house until 4:30 or so, I ended up staying up till midnight recharging and basking in the quiet and alone time. Introverts are weird. Hahaha. Saturday was full with two birthday parties and then last minute we were like, let’s build a firepit outside! We (Curtis) finished at like 10pm and then we were frantically cleaning our house for guests the next day. And then I remember I still had to prep the kids Easter baskets and fill plastic eggs for the egg hunt at our house. Apparently, I don’t like to sleep?!!

 

Pictures from Easter yesterday. Look at this handsome boy! Love this feisty boy.

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Jonathan with his buddy on Easter. Can’t believe Jonathan is now hanging out with the big kids.IMG_0875IMG_0870

Now a picture with one of her BFF’s on Easter Sunday.IMG_0866

This is our attempt at Easter photos. This was at the end of the day when the kids were tired and dirty from playing all day. We tried!IMG_0859IMG_0856

After the egg hunt at our house. Friends brought so many eggs. I think we had 3 different egg hunts. So hilarious.IMG_0846IMG_0843

The kids waiting while grown ups hide the eggs!IMG_0832IMG_0829

On good Friday we dyed eggs. It was actually the most relaxing egg dye we had. Mainly because Jonathan was sleeping for most of it. And also because Curtis was home. Yay! IMG_0781IMG_0780IMG_0777IMG_0776IMG_0775IMG_0774IMG_0771

We also made hot cross buns! I’ve made them before with them and it’s been chaos. It went so good this year! I can definitely see things getting easier as they get older. Look at them kneading. Precious.IMG_0763IMG_0762IMG_0759

My favorite baking assistant. IMG_0758

More Easter family photos!IMG_0863IMG_0852

My friends new baby. He is giving Curtis and I baby fever. His first Easter!IMG_0850

Homeschool:

This month we’ve been studying birds and butterflies.

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We made bird nests from things we found from a hike. Also, James cut his hair. He gave himself super short bangs. IMG_0679 (1)IMG_0681 (1)IMG_0682 (1)IMG_0683 (1)

Homeschool Co-op at our house. Painting pots and then planting seeds. Spring theme is strong over here. IMG_0693 (1)IMG_0695 (1)

More homeschool stuff. Math lessons over here.IMG_0708 (1)IMG_0709 (1)IMG_0711 (1)IMG_0712 (1)IMG_0713 (1)

This is how I kept Jonathan entertained while I worked with the other kids. Ev made butterflies and James joined Jonathan with pipecleaner play.IMG_0722 (1)

During circle time, we talked about the life cycle of the butterfly and pretended they were caterpillars in a cocoon. We sang a song while I wrapped them up and then they broke FREE and pretended to fly around the house.IMG_0637 (1)IMG_0639 (1)

Jonathan joined in too. IMG_0649 (1)

Jonathan was here. My poor plants. And also my house! IMG_0672 (1)

Our favorite family meal: Pad Thai. Look how happy Evie looks! IMG_0677 (1)IMG_0678 (1)

I love this girl. Helping with the hot cross buns. IMG_0757 (1)IMG_0769 (1)

The kids set up a tea party for us! Evie said, “it’s because we are really good parents”. She even added dried oranges to the tea! And rose hips?! Lol.IMG_0725 (1)IMG_0726 (1)

Easter/Spring party at co-op. Craft time and then we made “resurrection rolls”IMG_0732 (1)IMG_0744 (1)

 

Back home the kids set up a “nature store” They made “nature shakes” and apparently they are really healthy and delicious. I love their imagination!IMG_0753 (1)

We also went on a family hike on Good Friday. Jonathan hiked the way. This was a perfect toddler hike.IMG_0787 (1)IMG_0790 (1)

We got to see wild flowers in bloom! These are Oregon’s Camas flowers. IMG_0794 (1)IMG_0798 (1)IMG_0799 (1)IMG_0800 (1)IMG_0803 (1)

Jonathan helping out with the crosses. IMG_0813 (1)IMG_0818 (1)

These pictures are all over the place! More Easter brunch photos. IMG_0827 (1)

The waffle maker was going non stop for like 3 hours. We fed 30ish people with it…crazy! IMG_0828 (1)

The steam coming from the waffle maker. Whoa.

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Happenings at co-op and some phone photos.

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At our weekly nature days searching for wildflowers.

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Lunch with new friends after church. Sizzle Pie Pizza is delicious.img_20190414_123121678img_20190414_123056738img_20190414_123051378

Went to the wetlands in North Portland with our Wild and Free group,img_20190412_110949743_hdr

Visiting Curtis at work and having a quick lunch. And also, look who got a haircut!img_20190410_140923657img_20190410_133315849_hdr

Jonathan did too. He was not happy about it!img_20190406_162821426

Curtis and I finally going to the Science Friday event. I got him tickets for his birthday. We had mystery cocktails served to us and we had to try to guess the ingredients. img_20190405_192526744img_20190405_184023589

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That’s it for April. It took me days to finish this post! Tomorrow we leave. And apparently I like to procrastinate and invited friends over for dinner instead of actually packing and getting ready for our trip. Typical me. I hate packing! My friend took this photo of me and another sweet friend and goodness, look at that BLUE sky. We see so much grey over the winter, the blue sky is such a gift!!!