Monday, September 29, 2008

Isaac is SEVEN!!

Isaac requested a Basketball cake. I told him I'd appreciate it if he'd choose a ball of some sort every birthday. It actually looked like a basketball!!
He chose to dress as Uncle Jon's twin for the day. I can hardly tell them apart.

Isaac was so happy to have the Cokes here for his big day. He chose pancakes and scrambled eggs with chicken sausage for his breakfast. For dinner, he opted for chicken nuggets (which I made, successfully, in the crock pot!!), mashed potatoes and salad. He also invited Cody and Nikki Moore over for dinner. We had a great time.

In the afternoon, he wanted to go bowling, which he's never done before. In fact, this was only the second time Jeremy and I have gone since we got married! Needless to say, we were quite rusty, but did better than we expected. I didn't win, but I was sure to point out that I DID bowl right-handed, and I'm a lefty. It's not lady-like to beat the guys, so I didn't.
I really am left wondering where all the time went. Isaac is seriously growing up too quickly. He's such an amazing guy full of personality. His name means "Laughter" and little did we know when he was born, we couldn't have chosen a more perfect name.

Grandma and Grandpa Coke and Uncle Jon

We had such a great time with Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Jon Coke. They were here for six awesome, fun-filled days. We wish Uncle Josh could have come, too, but maybe next time. I'm so blessed with amazing in-laws... I LOVE YOU GUYS!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Property!!

We've been incredibly blessed recently. For several years we've been searching for just the right piece of property to facilitate some goals and dreams we have for our family. We've had some ups and lots of downs and honestly, I have to admit that I began to doubt that our endeavors were anything God saw as what would be in our best interests. But we continued to look and this summer we found what turned out to be THE PROPERTY. The story is too long to fit in this little post, but I'll share just a bit more. After the last piece we made an offer on fell through this spring, I told Jeremy that if we were going to really put this in God's hands, then I didn't feel that we should settle for less than we dreamed of, so our list of criteria was what directed our search. If we believed that God had something better for us than that 5 acre piece, then I reasoned that we should only pursue something that was God-sized. And that's just what this turned out to be. And it appeared to be too-good-to-be-true; the size, the price, the potential... so I held my breath so as not to be too crushed emotionally if it didn't work. I chose to visit the land only once, because I fell in love with it at first sight, and I knew I couldn't be visiting and loving it any more till it became ours.
LONG-story-a-little-less-long: On Sept. 8th, 2008 we became the owners of 15 acres of paradise with a rushing creek running through it, views, and hundreds of state acres bordering it; and all only 10 miles from Wasilla.
The icing on the cake (or it may arguably be the cake itself) is the relationship we've developed with Tom, the seller. Because he chose to not use a realtor, we've been doing the negotiating one-on-one. He's a live-off-the-land 68 year old bachelor. We have a lot in common and I thank the Lord for all the opportunities we've had to share with Tom our relationships with God, and that he's been in our home often enough to see that our faith is not a religion, but a way of living and loving.
So we signed papers this Monday and we all went in a bit of a caravan to the Recorder's Office, then Tom took us all out to dinner.
We plan to put our house on the market next spring and begin building after the ground thaws. Everyone is so excited about the new adventure we're embarking on, and I'm looking forward to all the hands-on real-life educational opportunities this means for my kiddos.

Biking, Blueberries, Baby, and Bunnies

We recently went biking at Eklutna, our favorite place to bike, as a family. After Ryley's football game last Saturday, we seized the moment that we all were in the same place at the same time, stopped off at the house to grab a sandwich and our bikes, and hit the trail. The kids and I have ridden up there several times this year, but it was so much more fun with Dad there. The kids and I also did a bit of blueberry picking at our favorite place. Last year, we got five gallons, but we only came home with about three this summer. We'll have to hoard those and use them sparingly. Everyone always enjoys berry picking, although I must admit, I do most of the picking. When the kids get bored, they play "Hole Tipping", a game reserved for this event, and they jump off all the ginormous boulders into the weeds below, then roll down the hill as far as they can. Hide and Seek is also a favorite. When they tire of the games, they grab the stack of books, spread out a sweatshirt, and settle in for a bit of reading. We've only been able to spend a bit of time with little Avelyn so far, but boy did everyone love holding and snuggling her (especially me). I've noticed that Isaac is especially fond of cuddling, whether it be babies or bunnies. (See below)We've been carefully (HA!) selected by the Kellers to bunny-sit their two floppy-eared little critters while they're at their cabin. The kids are loving it, and Jeremy keeps reminding everyone that "we are NOT getting a rabbit". He won't let them hold the bunnies too often, for fear of the bonding that will inevitably take place.


The kids had a rousing game of "London Bridge" at Ryley's football game.

We had such a great time when Elizabeth and Nate went in the hospital to have Avelyn. The cousins were here livin' life with us from Friday morning to Sunday after church. We had fun pretending to be a family of nine ;-)


September is birthday month around here. Anna's is the 9th. Josiah's is the 10th. Isaac's is the 17th. What? We wanted them two years apart. We're just really accurate! (Just kidding. Actually, this was all God's doing. Anna was the only real "planned" and "tried for" one. And one could make the argument that as the planning was taking place with the fourth, we really could have aimed for any other month. But we wanted them two years apart!)

Grandma and Grandpa Coke are coming to visit from Sunday until next Saturday, so more birthday celebrations will take place then, but we also had to do something on the acutal days.

Anna had her very good friend, Avery, over for the day. We spent the morning playing with new toys (we got her the Playmobil set with a king, queen, kids, horses and a royal carriage). Then after lunch we met some other friends at Bouncin' Bears (a fun building full of "bouncy houses") and spent the afternoon there. Then we came home to prepare for Anna's dinner of choice, Grilled Salmon, Rice, Zucchini, Cucumber, and, of course, Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes. Avery spent the night for a Birthday Slumber Party, and the girls had such a great time. It's hard to believe my baby is now FIVE.

After bedtime that night, we changed out the pink crepe paper and balloons for orange, washed the birthday plate, and set Josiah's place at the table for breakfast. In keeping with tradition, he chose sugar cereal for his breakfast. I'd like to point out that the kids can choose ANYTHING for their meals, but they always want sugar cereal. Oh well, four times a year won't kill 'em.

He had a fun day as well, with just us here for the day. His good buddy, Paul, had come over for a sleep-over last week because we knew he'd be gone on Josiah's big day. Jeremy got home from work early, so we all went to Cold Stone for ice cream just in time to royally spoil all dinners. Next we went over to Just Imagine so Josiah could spend a bit of birthday money (opting to put the rest in savings). Then we headed home to prepare dinner. Josiah chose hamburgers-thinly-packed-to-allow-for-a-double-decker with American cheese and turkey bacon, french fries, salad (yes, salad-because "you have to have a veggie"- but he did get Ranch dressing), and round two of those yummy gluten-free chocolate brownies. Josiah invited our dear friends, Cody and Nikki Moore, over to share his birthday.