Wedding Week, Day 1

My baby brother was getting married and so the family was traveling closer to where the wedding was going to be held in Washington State. There were various complications involved in getting all 10 of us from Oregon up to Washington and in the end Tena & I ended up with the rental van and all the kids! It may sound like we drew the short straw, but it ended up being an easy trip up!

I was designated as one of the drivers for the rental van so I got the responsibility of driving this beast through Seattle!!

We ended up only having to stop ONCE on our trip up, which is pretty good on a 5-hour trip with 4 kids!!

We even had time to spare before we could check in, so we did the natural thing & killed time at McDonalds! Sadly, there was no play place, but the kids entertained themselves quite well!

The house my mom rented was right on the sound! It was a large house with tons of space for all of us & my parents’ friends.

The view from Micah & my bedroom was gorgeous!

After dinner, Tena & I took the kids down to our little beach! It was such a beautiful evening & the kids had a blast!

Throwing rocks into the water!

This little cutie was posing for pictures!!!

“Best Cousin Friends”

Sunset over the water (this was taken from the kitchen window – I could get used to doing dishes with a view like this!)

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Summer Fun!

We made it to Portland!!! We had to take a picture with the old carpet as it will all be changed over by later this fall! For those of us flying in & out of Portland it seems a little weird to have different colored carpet in PDX!

We spent one night with friends & their daughter’s birthday was the next morning so the kids got to celebrate a birthday breakfast!!

Cousin Story Time!!

Time for popsicles!

Sharing a bed!

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Phone photos, vol. 3

The last few photos from my phone that were taken in Spain!

One of the problems of living in a place with hot weather & no air conditioning!!

Waiting to see the dentist

A Spanish friend painted her face, complete with her name, “ODRI” on her forehead!

She fell asleep half-in & half-out of her bed!!

Ezra got to go to a birthday party for one of his Spainsh friends!

Present Time!!

Cute messy girl!!

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Not what we were expecting…

This past year was a really hard year for us, but especially the last two months of school as we began to wonder whether we would be staying at ECA or not. It was actually during our vacation to Provence that it became clear that we would be leaving Spain. It was not what we were expecting and was really hard for us as we dearly love the community at ECA, however we could see that this was God’s plan for our future. As we already had tickets for the 24th of July to Oregon for my brother’s wedding, we knew that not only would we be leaving Spain, but we would be leaving less than a month after we returned from France. To say that it was a whirlwind would be an understatement! Due to time constraints we had ONE week to pack up our entire house to have it ready for the shipment!

To make things even more “fun”, it was over 100 degrees every.single.day!!!

It’s amazing how much stuff a family can acquire in ten years!!

The kids did an awesome job of entertaining themselves for many hours while we packed (they also got a substantially larger amount of ‘screen’ time, but hey, you do what you gotta do!)

A week & a day after we called the moving company they arrived to pick up our shipment!!

This truck was taking our belongings to a warehouse where they would be packed into a container, which would then be loaded onto a boat! When our kids ask, “Where is my stuffed animal/dinosaur/book, etc.? We just say, “It’s on the boat!”

After our shipment left we had just a little over a week to get rid of anything we had decided not to pack and have a small garage sale!

We didn’t make a ton of money, but we did succeed in getting rid of some of our stuff before we simply donated it.

In that week and a bit we also had to clean our house and turn over the keys to our landlord!

It’s a very strange feeling to be homeless and not know what is next or where God might be leading!

In our short month, we also had to cram in some firsts that we hadn’t gotten around to doing!

We’d always wanted to go down into Madrid to do Tapas, but had never made the time, so we finally were forced to stay up late & go out and enjoy tapas! Those shrimp in that brown dish were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!

More delicious tapas!! Thankfully we took friends with us so we didn’t have to eat all this on our own!

We also took our kids to an italian buffet (yes, in Spain!) with a HUGE play place that we’d been eyeing, but never taken the time to take them to!

Of course, the kids had a great time!!!

Obviously, there were lots of lasts….

A last walk around the 5K loop

The hardest of the lasts being our last times with our friends who made our lives so rich! (It was also hard because so many of our friends were already gone for the summer when it came time to say our goodbyes)

We had our last dinner at “Camarma Burger” with our friend Robbyn on the 4th of July! Thankfully, we had some sparklers left over from New Years!

Nothing beats sparklers!!

Some friends had us over for dinner & to swim in their pool – the kids loved this lobster toy!!

They also helped our kids roast marshmallows, which is always a BIG hit with Ezra & Audrey!!

Perhaps the hardest goodbyes were to our friends who we adopted as family!

On our last full day in Spain, we climbed our mountain for the last time:

Audrey didn’t actually ‘climb’ any of the mountain as she had just gotten her cast off a couple days before & her leg was still too weak! Thank goodness for Daddy’s strong shoulders!

Surveying the valley

One last family photo on the mountain!

On the plane, excited to see what the future holds!!

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Phone photos, vol. 2

Time to get at least some of the photos off of my phone!!! Here’s a smattering from the past couple months!

It doesn’t rain very often in Spain, but when it does, it often comes down hard!

One of the prettiest rest stop bathrooms I’ve ever been in!

Taking a little break with our friends during our Provence trip!

Smiling in spite of her cast!

My daughter’s hair is CRAZY in the morning!!!

On the last morning of our Provence trip, our car did not want to start & we had to call a mechanic! I think that all of us wanted to stay in France, including our car!

Audrey holding Elsa’s hand!

Our friends were passing through as they moved back to the states – the kids were excited to have a playdate again!

It’s always a good day for ice cream!!

Nothing slows this girl down!

On a date at our favorite restaurant, Francesco’s! They make the BEST thin crust pizza!

Audrey playing with my friend’s little boy!

Me & my language exchange friend – we take turns speaking in each other’s native tongue to perfect our second-language! Her english is WAY better than my spanish, but she is very patient with me while I stumble through my conjugations & search for the right vocab words!

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Collection of random summer photos

Every now & then I look through my photos on the computer & realize that I have lots of random photos that don’t fit into any one specific blog post, so here is a random assortment of pictures from the past month or so.

The wild flowers are amazing in May, especially the poppies!!

My little country girl all ready for her field trip to the farm!

Chocolate ice cream to celebrate Mother’s Day!

Audrey chose this outfit herself! She asked, “Does it match, mommy??”

One of our 10th graders had been asking to have a llama party since the beginning of freshman year (Random, I know!). As he was not returning for his junior year, I made special ‘llama’ cupcakes for our last class party!

So tired after school that he fell asleep right in the middle of eating his sandwich!!

Mommy & Ezra birthday date at McDonald’s – where else?!?!

Pretending to be a panda bear & eat the bamboo

Like father, like son (Micah always reads while he walks to work)!

The magic shorts on their last morning – they finally got a rip down the back seam! Considering he got them for his first birthday, I’d say we used them up!

“Take a picture of my drawing, Mommy!”

At our church baptism

It was extra special, because one of our 10th graders got baptized!

Making homemade lemonade

Ezra wrote a long message on the day his friends left town. This is only the first part of the message. Translation (for those who don’t read ‘Ezra’): No one come, except Daddy. Don’t come because,…” The message went on to say that he was sad, because his friends had gone. 

Getting her cast re-wrapped! She had a hard cast around the back and was simply wrapped around the front to keep her leg immobile, but still allowed her leg to breathe. 

Ezra drew his own sharks & whales!

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Family Vacation, Day 6

We started our last full day of vacation with another market, this time in Saint-Remy-en-Provence. Once again we found some fun treasures as well as some delicious food!!!

My find at the market: old French postcards!!!

Another delightful picnic lunch! We found this little courtyard park tucked away in the ruins of a convent in Courthezon in the suburbs of Orange.

The Roman Theater in Orange from the 1st century A.D. and one of only three that still has the back wall standing! It was really impressive & the acoustics are still really good! You can see them getting the stage ready for an upcoming production!

Taking a break after our climb to the top on a very hot day!

A statue of Caesar Augustus watches all the plays! 

The triumphal Arch in Orange

A good Roman city had to have a Theater & an Arch! 

We had a nice relaxing night at our place followed by a 10-hour drive home the next day! Sadly, we didn’t take a single picture on our way home! Given that we did little more than drive home with stops only for eating or gas, the kids did remarkably well.

The highlight from our trip home was Audrey coloring a picture and then insisting on giving it to the lady working at McDonald’s near Zaragoza when we stopped for dinner! Needless to say, the lady was a little confused, but happy!

It was a fun vacation & we really enjoyed the chance to explore Provence with our friends!

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