Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Snow Globe Christmas

We decided it would be best to head out and surround ourselves with new scenery to lighten the heavy feelings this Christmas was bound to bring. We jumped in on Ryan's parents and Kelli and Jared's family plans as they traveled for the holidays. We couldn't have picked a more perfect combination of a cold winter wonderland and the warm feelings between a loving family and four little girls with pure Christmas spirit. It was definitely a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.

Nuremberg, Germany Christmas markets

Rothenburg Od Der Tauber, Germany

We rode a horse drawn sleigh and sang Christmas carols all the way up to Southern Germany's inspiring Neuschwanstein (Cinderella's Castle).

Christkindl Markt in Salzburg, Austria . . .

where the delicious sounds and smells guide you to handcrafted shops and hot chocolate so thick you can eat it with a spoon.

A beautiful view of Salzburg, Jared, Kelli and the girls

Christmas Eve in Budapest, was detailed with our tradition of acting out the birth of baby Jesus, unwrapping a few gifts and reading a Christmas story.
This year we were honored to have Abby read her own written Christmas story titled
"Snowing in Oceanside."

Christmas morning consisted of puffy ponies, pillow pets, two really happy girls,
and one amazing moustache.

Merry Christmas!!

stay tuned for more living

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Moving On

Moving . . .

Sorting through and packing everything in the house was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I wanted it to be like a band aid and just rip it off, but it was a slow and very painful process; a process I wouldn't have been able to do without the help of my mom. My mom, my instant friend the day she gave birth to me. The mother who lost a father while at the tender age of sixteen and later lost her child who was 19. The same mom that accidentally sat next to a stranger at the movie theater and started eating his popcorn instead of my dads! The mom we always teased but came to whenever we needed help. . . and she would always help. She was there to help me as I unraveled the various parts of our lives from various parts of our house and packed them away for future use. With packing tape punctuated with tears, the job was done.

Max, 7 yrs old

Max, 7 yrs old

Max, 9 yrs old

Max, 9 yrs old

"I like to surf. I like to stand on the board. My daddy is the best! daddy I ever had. After I surf, I am going to make a light saber."
Max, 5 yrs old

Ryan and I have dreamed about moving closer to the beach and sometimes would ask the kids if they would want the sand to be there back yard. Max would always say, "If we can pick this house up and put it on the sand, I would move." He loved our house. I did too. Saying goodbye to it was very difficult. As I walked through the completely empty house for the last time, I saw where we would say our nightly prayers together as a family of five. I saw the kids jumping off my bed and landing into a pile of pillows. I looked into the bathroom and saw the countless band aids that were applied and the blobs of toothpaste that were somehow always left in the sink. I saw the exact spot we found our missing hamster and the kisses that were given to it in relief. I saw the kids laughing on the couch as they watched Sponge Bob and Americas Funniest Home Videos. I saw where juice and milk and yummy food was spilt and enjoyed at the kitchen table. I saw the kids faces as they came down the stairs on Christmas morning, . . . my favorite faces. I saw the kids running to meet daddy when they heard the garage door start to open. When I walked outside, I saw all three kids riding their bikes, skateboards and scooters back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, over and over. I cried as I stepped back and took my last real look at the house. I wasn't crying because my perfect life had been completely altered, okay maybe I was a little, but truthfully, my tears were tears of gratitude. So much gratitude. Grateful to have been given the chance to make the memories. Grateful for each day in that house I spent with my kids and my husband. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful. The house, as great as it was, was just a house; but the memories and love that filled it was more than I could have ever hoped for.

"My family is grateful.". . . Charlie is crawling on the ground :)
Max, 5 yrs old

My heart is grateful for the memories and the chance to make new ones.

Stay tuned for more living

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Ryan might be one of the hardest people to buy for or surprise, but I think he celebrated his birthday just the way he likes it . . . on the beach with his family. Fortunately both our families were in town, so we took advantage of the opportunity and celebrated.
Ryan claims September and October are the best months in So Cal and I would have to agree. The day was beach weather in it's perfection.

the kids

the adults

Ryan did get a few things for his birthday...

a snicker doodle cake . . .

Chargers V. Raiders tickets . . .

36 spankings and a pinch to grow an inch . . .

and a whole lot of love.

Love you Ryan

stay tuned for more living

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Abigail Anne

A lot has happened...a trip to North Carolina, El Salvador and oh right, we moved. Before I write about that, something very special happened, Abby turned eight. We celebrated her birthday in North Carolina (pictures to come when life settles down a bit) with grandparents, cousins and friends. After 10 days we flew home and just when we thought our fun meter was at it's max, we hit up some much requested Disneyland. We went to the happiest place on earth and rode every thrill seeking ride possible. We enjoyed a birthday meal at the "Blue Bayou" and closed out the park.

Abby followed in her brothers footsteps and set a beautiful example for her little sister, by choosing to be baptised. Friends and family from far and wide came to support and show their love for our sweet girl with the heart shaped face. We all watched as our little Abigail radiated with joy as her daddy baptised and confirmed her. The room, packed. The people, beautiful. The feeling, bitter sweet. The love, tangible.

Abby waking up to a gift that will keep on giving . . . the scriptures.

The after party was at our Hunsaker house. Big Chris' BBQ spread was beautiful and mouth watering. I watched Abby peek at the scene around her and I could see her for the slightest moment stop and realize it was all for her and she was enjoying it. She felt special and it brought me to tears seeing how many people care about our family and especially our little girl, Abigail.

We love you Abby!

Stay tuned for more living