Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lessons learned...

Not sure when it exactly happens but sometime around Thanksgiving I blinked and I was suddenly surrounded by and in the FULL BLOWN Christmas season.

I shouldn't be but am always amazed at how quickly time goes by...
I feel like it was just yesterday we were enjoying the warmth of the summer and now we are hunkered down ready for the snow to come. Any day now, my son inherited my patience...

There is something about this time of year that is special. I believe it to be a combination... We spend time celebrating our Savior, we get to spend extra time with all of the people we love the most, and CHILDREN. Children make this time of year extra special. It is magical for them which makes it magical to me.

Just like anything in life there is the flip side. This time of year also comes with sadness. It is a time when I miss the ones who have left us. I guess I should re-phrase this a little bit. I miss them all daily but the holidays seem to bring out how much a little more...


Lorriane Cushing
(Great Grandma)

I had my heart broken for the first time when I lost my Great Grandmother. 
She was 81 years old when she was called home to be with Jesus. 
I was young but remember the day we lost her as if it was yesterday. 
Prior to losing her I would talk as if she would live forever and she would gently smile and say something sweet about how she would more than likely not be around... I thought she was crazy because I could have never imagined life without her.  She might have been 81 but she was the pillar of health. 
She even hit the gym and worked out up until the day she died (water aerobics - Heck Ya)!

Her funeral was a surreal experience. I felt sad and honored in the same breath.
I was a child but when I think back on this day I remember how I felt walking into the church as a family. I knew we were all sad, we would all miss her but I mostly felt proud to be walking into the church with this group of people whom I get to claim as family. 

One of the many family traditions... Christmas caroling. 
My Great Grandmother is in the teal bottom, left
My Dad is the one with the crazy hat and I am somewhere in the back wearing a Santa hat. 

I am sure I complained about this when I was a child but some of my best childhood memories include bailing hay at her farm, learning how to sew on her machine, and crocheting who knows what! 
At her house was where I got my first taste of creating things with my hands. 

To this day I can not have a jolly rancher without thinking of her (she carried them always - lemon is my favorite... If you were curious)

Perry Sundin
(Horsey Grandpa)



I called him Horsey Grandpa - for the obvious reason but I will go ahead and state it anyway... 
He had horses. I know, I was a really creative kid!

There are so many things I could share about him so I will keep this as simple as I can. 
Bottom line. I am so incredibly thankful for the lessons that he taught me about life. 
These lessons allow him to live on. 
My children never had the opportunity to meet him but they are taught similar lessons through me (thanks to him).

First (big one): FAMILY is not defined by blood.
He married my Grandmother before I was born. 
Growing up I never knew that she wasn't actually my biological Grandmother. I mean I knew she wasn't my Mom's Mom... But she was still my Grandmother. I was young I didn't need to understand how it all fit together. 
It didn't (doesn't) matter. 
All that I knew is that they loved me and I was their granddaughter
This is powerful. 

We love our Horsey Grandma. 

Pictures at her house... A little slice of heaven on earth or as Greg calls it Gods country!




I am good enough. 
I know that is a big statement..
Just imagine me as a teenager... I cant decide if I should be a red head or a blonde (yes. I actually dyed my hair red for a hot minute). I wear makeup, I get fake eyelashes, and fake nails .
I love my grandparents so I cruise up to their house and he just shakes his head and asks me over and over again why am I trying to be a "fake" version of myself... "Just be yourself".
At the time. I am sure I just rolled my eyes and laughed it off because he couldn't possibly get it. 

Fast forward and here I sit. The adult me. 
He got it and I hear him LOUD AND CLEAR. 
I didn't need to be a "better" version of me. I just needed to be me. 

I hope to raise my daughter this way. I hope she grows up to know how beautiful she is without putting on a mask. She is beautiful just the way God created her. 
She is perfect. She doesn't need anything extra. She just needs to be herself!

Kendall is 20 months old. This might be a shocker but I haven't pierced her ears. My stance around this is blended by the lessons my Horsey Grandfather and my Dad taught me. 
Today as little girls grow up they are given way to many mixed messages about who they should be and how they should look. Kendall is not exempt and eventually she will be tangled up in this but I didn't want to start to muddy the waters. She can get her ears pierced someday. When she is ready. I will gladly take her to get one hole in each ear. 

So before I end this nice little " I am good enough" lesson I should go on record and say the following before you all jump down my throat... 
I still dye my hair (always will) but I don't have fake nails, I don't do the fake eyelash thing (although I am tempted), I don't tan (I embrace how white I am) and although I like to get dressed up I prefer to be dressed down and outside. 
My stance on make up... It is FABULOUS but it should highlight your beauty not cover it.

I can only imagine what it will be like as a parent raising my own children through the teenage years let alone someday watching my Grandchildren stomp through the house... I am sure all of our Grandparents have had many laughs watching us grow up!

When you fall - GET BACK UP
Last one. Then I move on. ( I told you I could go on and on)
Picture the most amazing summer day in WA. The year is not important but it is important to note that it was the summer between my 8th grade and freshman year. In fact two days later I would be officially in high school. 
I was so excited and like most girls I had even picked out just what I would be wearing (it was lime green and it was going to be amazing). 

On this fateful day I spent the afternoon at my Grandparents house riding horses. (of course)

It was at the very end of a perfect ride and my horse decided to take different turn and he walked right under this LARGE tree they have in their front pasture.
This unprompted turn caused me get fall off this large horse but not without the tree having the last laugh leaving its marks on my arms and chest. I guess it the horse and tree both won. I was the loser in this fight.

There I was laid out on the ground. 
After assessing the situation, asking me a series of questions (through a few tears shed by me). My Grandfather realized that my "wounds" were surface level and I would be okay. So he told me to get back on my horse. Was he crazy. Did he not just see my back roll off of the horse. I am bleeding - HELLO. You want me to do what?
Needless to say. I though he was crazy. I just fell off a horse. It drew blood. The ride was over. I did not see the point of getting back on. 

Regardless. You didn't really argue with the man so I got up and got back on. 
At the time I thought that was annoying but now I get it. 
If I had not gotten back on that horse in that moment I might not have ever gotten back on a horse in my life.
That would have been sad.

But this lesson is so  much deeper than getting back up on a horse. It is about getting back up when you fall. PERIOD!

Now. Let me circle back to the first day of my Freshman year. I did wear that lime green top even though it nicely displayed my war wounds from falling off that horse.
This was also the first day that my future husband would come to know of my existence. Funny he doesn't remember these wounds but he does remember my Grandfather and I am thankful they had the opportunity to know one and another even though at the time Greg was "just my high school" boyfriend.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I cant lie. This was more emotionally taxing than I anticipated.
I have several other loved ones that I have failed to write about tonight. I guess I am going to have to save them for another night.

I will also update this posts with better photos. These are the only ones I had saved on this computer. Trust me I have some GOOD ONES!

I hope during all of you hustle and bustle this holiday season you take time to reflect on the ones in your life who taught you the lessons that helped shaped who you are today!


Kelsey













Monday, December 2, 2013

Santa Photos


WHAT a fantastic afternoon spent with Santa. 


 Mason had a lot to share. 
He went over his list twice and asked if he was good enough to get toys?!?!?!



He is getting SOOO big and his hair... He sure loves a comb over!

 Miss Kendall struggled. She was not a fan and did not want to participate in these photos. I tried to help out but it didn't make a difference. 
 At least everyone else looks happy!

 And then it was just Mason - Again in deep conversations with Santa. 
 Third times a charm with Kendall. Come to find out she just didn't want Mrs. Claus in the photo!
(Not really - this is when the photographer got out some silly looking animal and made some funny noises - no complaints here it worked)

 SUCCESS. Or at least this is the best we are going to get. 
 Next up RY and Hudson!
 LIKE PRO'S!

This one is my favorite. All the Grandma's with the kids.

 time to say Goodbye. Guess who decides to warm up to Santa... KENDALL!

HIGH FIVE!

We missed Greg (he was Santa)!




 Just kidding. He was on shift at the fire station. 
Next year I guess we will have to put him in one or two and get a family shot. I feel weird being the only adult representing our family in these photos! 

Be BLESSED!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Without a DOUBT

Tonight we celebrated Thanksgiving with our family.
Yes a week early but when you have "many" family obligations and you work in retail it is really the only way to get quality time together.
Although this year I get THREE days off this week... Did someone forget Black Friday is 4 days away? Is this a joke? Someone pinch me, quick?!?!?!

Back to what I was saying... We ate to much, took our sugar high children home and put them to bed. Lucky for us they crashed.
Then we started our nightly routine of picking up from the days disaster... Am I the only Mom who feels like their home is a "construction zone" with messes everywhere????
Needless to say... Tonight while picking up I came across a journal I kept while Mason was in the hospital (the first time, right after he was born).

Not sure how this magically appeared but I am pretty sure Mason actually found it and started to claim it as his personal art book.

On the top of each of the pages I had written the following:

GOD loves YOU to much to leave you in a mess!
He has a plan for you the FAR exceeds anything you may recognize. 


WOW. I was almost immediately taken back.
"A MESS" was the polite way to describe where I was when I wrote in this journal. 
But what I wrote everyday was so needed!
I would have NEVER imagined where the past 5 years would have taken us but what he has shown us.. is what I had written above HIS plan is beyond what we can imagine.

For whatever reason. I felt compelled to share.

Today and EVERYDAY...
We are thankful for HIS goodness and grace!

Be BLESSED.
Kelsey

Monday, November 11, 2013

(3) Healthy Habits for your HEART


I missed the boat. 
This post was written to be published in October (specifically around the Seattle Heart Walk)....
Oops. Welcome to my life!

It is something different from my normal post"ings" yet something I have grown more and more passionately about. 
This post is about women's heart health.
After all we first must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. Right?
As a mother speaking I don't usually follow this rule but sitting her without giving it much thought I think DUH? The problem is our actions in one moment (repeated over and over) can = an un-happy heart. 
Lets think about this differently...
You are getting ready to take off on an airplane and even the flight attendants before you fly remind you to put your air mask on before helping your children with theirs.

Its going to be no surprise when I say to you that we try very hard to make sure that Mason and Kendall grow up eating GOOD foods. I mean its gotten to the point where Mason thinks watermelon is dessert. 
(AWESOME). 
So now its time to look at what I eat. I don't eat horrible but man I would be in much better shape if I would follow the rules I lay out for my children. 
I have also seen how UGLY heart disease is and under NO circumstance do I want to face that battle. So living with a boy who has half of a heart I thought I could take a page out of his "diets" book and apply it to us women....
So together we can keep our hearts healthy and free from disease....
Learn to love fish: 
This one probably does not sound so strange. We have heard this over and over and over. Yet I find it hard to follow this rule. In our house we try to eat fish at least one time a week. How are we doing at hitting this goal? I would give us a solid D. Clearly we have some work to do. It is important. Not just for my children but for us. Eating fish just once or twice a week is enough to REAP ALL its healthy benefits. I found some great recipes... If you love to cook try them out (healthy fish recipes). 
Don't STRESS if you don't cook - order it when you go out to eat. (I know I am pretty smart) or if you are a vegetarian there is plenty of animal-free omega-3 sources out there like chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and edamame (just to name a few)
Start meditating:
HERE is one that I need to work on... I have every excuse in the book as to why I can not make the time to just sit down and meditate. Maybe I need to look up that Oprah challenge?!?!? I digress.
Meditation. If its not enough that meditation can improve your brain function and stress levels, multiple studies have shown that it can improve your heart's function! Double score! Less stress, happier hearts. 
I seriously need to make this more of a priority!

FIND AN ALTERNATIVE to diet soda: 


Sure is has ZERO calories. So it seems like a great way to have a good beverage and lose weight too, but aside from sabotaging your weight loss goals it can also put you at risk for many other health issues...
  • Studies show that drinking diet soda may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke by 44 percent. (WOW. I should be able to STOP here... If this is not good enough reason I don't know what is)
  • The artificial sweeteners, though calorie-free, make our body crave sugary calories, so drinking diet soda can actually lead to weight gain.
  • Although diet plays a major role, a diet soda habit may also be linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Caffeine consumption can make you jittery, worsen IBS symptoms, increase blood pressure, cause sleep issues, and lead to osteoporosis.
  • Artificial sweeteners are just that — artificial. Although the FDA deems them safe in moderate consumption, artificial sweeteners like aspartame can cause headaches and migraines.
  • Lastly diet soda offers NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE WHATSOEVER. In fact... Caffeine can lead to dehydration. HMMMM isn't the point of consuming liquid to stay hydrated? I'm confused!
It is amazing to me that even with all of the "soda warnings" women (and men) continue to regularly drink diet soda. 
THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS and I promise you will not miss it as much as you think. I have been soda free for over 4 months. I wish I could say that it has been longer but you have to start somewhere... I hope if you are reading you start here. DROP THE SODA!

There you have it. MY 2CENTS!
Kelsey



Friday, November 8, 2013

LIFE is not a game people...

I know this video has been around. 
But I feel moved to share it yet again!



I think we all need to take his advice what a great pep talk!

"The world needs you to stop being BORING"

"BORING IS EASY... But your gooder than that"

"If LIFE is a game aren't we all on the same team? I'M ON YOUR TEAM. Be on MY TEAM"

"THIS IS YOUR TIME, THIS IS OUR TIME, THIS IS MY TIME"

"WE COULD MAKE EVERYDAY better for one an other. If we are all on the same team lets start acting like it"

"YOU ARE MADE TO BE AWESOME"
 "GO GET TO IT"

"Create something that will make the world AWESOME"








Thursday, November 7, 2013

GRATITUDE

GRATITUDE this month is everywhere. 

Facebook is blowing up with the THANKFUL challenge (that's what I am calling it). This is where each person every day in the month of NOVEMBER posts one thing a day that they are thankful for… My favorite is when they post their thanks with a good old FLASHBACK PHOTO. (The photos make me smile)
If we are “friends” on good ole FB it’s no secret I haven’t joined in however I love this more than I originally thought.
WHY you ask?!?!?

I love this concept because it shifts the focus off of our BUSY lives and schedules and onto people and things that we have to be THANKFUL for….
Raising kids is hard. Raising kids to be THANKFUL can be even harder. We work with M&K on manners and even work with MASON on verbalizing what he is thankful for… (We just work with KENDALL on talking and animal noises; for the moment)!

Being THANKFUL (having a sense of GRATITUDE) is IMPORTANT. It has been proven to be one of the biggest determinate of happiness! I know that as a mother of TWO AMAZING KIDS I not only want HAPPY children but I want to raise HAPPY ADULTS!

Going back to the FB challenge. As mentioned above I LOVE this idea. I think it’s wonderful but I want to challenge you to think about how you are directing your gratitude towards your children… IT CAN NOT ONLY be a post on your favorite social media site that they can not read. 
We need to model our GRATITUDE by our actions towards our children and not just words on paper (or a social media site).

Think about it….

MOST of us make an effort to be polite and to express our THANKS and GRATITUDE to our friends and even STRANGERS that we may come in contact with… OUR FAMILY, OUR LOVED ONES, OUR CHILDREN can get over looked in our “RUSH” “HUSSEL” “SCHEDULES”…

We easily pair down what we mean… “Honey, can you please (fill in the blank)…. THANK YOU” turns into “DO (XYZ – Fill in the blank).

BOY AM I GUILTY OF THIS.

Not so much with my children. More so with my husband (I really do appreciate you taking out the TRASH)
Sitting here. Typing this. Gives me so much objectivity looking at how sharp the latter is… Taking extra time to THANK your children (your HUSBAND) regularly and not just because it is NOVEMBER (the month of THANKSgiving) boosts their sense of self-worth.

My 2-CENTS for the day…

Kelsey

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Welcome NOVEMBER

Well, we are only SIX days in so it might be a little premature to say, but November is going to be a BUSY month. That being said it will still turn out to be a FANTASTIC MONTH and possibly my favorite month of the year... I LOVE FALL, I LOVE THE COLORS and the rain doesn't start to bother me until mid-January! SO BRING ON BOOTS!!!! 

The weather so far this month.... Genuine to what the "EMERALD CITY" is famous for... RAINY with a splash of wind!
Despite the wind and rain we still make it a point to head our to enjoy the beautiful colors of FALL. After all a little rain never hurt anybody!




NOVEMBER also brings us THANKSgiving.
If you are on social media at all you more than likely have a Facebook account which means that at least one of your "friends" have been posting what they are THANKFUL for each day for the month. They are taking the THANKFUL challenge!

Me. I have not started participating. 
I am after-all 6 days late.
I have so MANY things to be thankful for I don't think the number of days in NOVEMBER will cover it. 
So instead of plastering it all over facebook. I am going to plaster it all over my blog (more to come)!

Time to rest up. I have a busy week and I need to dig deep to unleash the holiday cheer. I promised my husband I would jump in both feet first but I think you have to crawl before you can run so BABY STEPS.

PSST. I am genuinely excited for CHARLIE to return from the N. POLE! Can he come before THANKSgiving?

^^Last CHRISTMAS. Mason saying GOODBYE to CHARLIE!^^

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

While you wait....

Okay. I am the worst blogger.
I find it hard to maintain a blog, a career, multiple business, my home, my family, my marriage and my husbands career.... To name a few.

In the most recent future I have been working on a "blogging" project.
I am not ready to air it all just yet.... (I am still working on the courage to hit publish - Pray for me)!

So in the meantime while you wait here are some fun fall photos from our family adventures!



Mason has such a heart for making people happy. He makes me happy in everything he does but he is constantly wanting to write his family love notes... This has turned into such a fun pen-pal relationship with his Horsey Grandma


It is amazing to me how many women in my generation don't know how to sew, knit or make good ole canned applesauce and homemade apple pies. I am not judging I was one of these women but I don't want me kids to grow up not knowing what this heavenly treat in a mason jar tastes like. So I enlisted the help of my Grandmother (Horsey G'ma - and yes I still call her this even in my.... Well do I really need to give you my age) and we spent all day in the kitchen making apple sauce and making apple pies. It was AWESOME and MASON was in heaven!


NOT traveling as much has lead to increased time with both my children. I only hope someday they know just how much I cherish them both!!!!


10 YEARS in the making and we finally had another BURT wedding (the last was mine- no joke about how long I have been married or how long the last Burt wedding was)

I had the opportunity to write Brittany a "letter" wishing her well... but come one - I love to write so mine was more like a three page soap box.
Here is a snipet of what I wrote:

....Growing old sucks but getting old with someone you love makes it all seem just this side of all right!
Before you know it you will be 20 years down the road from now, deluding yourself into believing that you have aged nearly as well as some of the Hollywood A-listers and hopefully looking back on the happiest years of your life to date spent with your best friend!
Saying I-do is only the beginning.
 We are proud of the couple that you and TJ have become and we pray your marriage is blessed with more good times than bad.
We are honored to be apart of your lives and blessed to get to call you family!....

She was a BEAUTIFUL BRIDE. 
(Thank you in advanced because I totally stole this photo from your facebook account)



Kara and I celebrating the happy couple (a few cocktails in)


This FALL Mason learned about selfies!


Kendall fell in love with boots!


The FALL also means its time to start raising MONEY $$$$ for the American Heart Association
We kicked it off with our Annual BUNCO PARTY!!!!


THEN IT WAS TIME TO WALK! I am always so overwhelmed by the participation from the community and local companies. In total the city of Seattle raised $1.5M dollars. A.Mazing!











One of my favorite photos... MASON meeting MASON!


Isn't this the perfect photo of real life OR at least my life.
This is us... Me and my kids. Picking out our pumpkins!


TIME TO CARVE. KIDS get ready!
(Stop looking at my messy house)


Oh WAIT. I meant PARENTS, Parents get ready to carve.


While they were carving I was sewing... Working on Mason's special PJ's!

THEY TURNED OUT GREAT!


Bath & Story time. 
I LOVE BEDTIME. 

Our night time read... 
Also known as the bird book (Mason loves it and I highly recommend it)



With fall also comes Halloween.
Cant lie. I am not a HUGE Halloween fan. I love it for small children. Its cute!
They dress up and get candy.

Its the scary, bloody, "sexy" and crazy side that I don't get (we can save that for later)

 Mason was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and with the help of Kei he got his front shell!
(Whew that was a close call)



Kendall - When she decided to wear her costume was a lady bug. She was beyond cute.
 I cant stand it!






I also discovered the cutest clothes for Miss K!
Matilda Jane Clothing! (click to discover them  yourself)
If you want to make an order be sure to send them the best trunk keeper Sarah Willis!


LASTLY we had our GRAND OPENING for our Snohomish club & our very good friend BLITZ joined us in the celebration!


I hope that each of you has had a wonderful FALL... I still can not believe it is NOVEMBER! This year I vow to relax and ENJOY the holiday season.

Thanks for following our family!
Kelsey



 
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