Sunday, July 23, 2017

Letter from Ayingeneye!

As promised, the most recent letter from Ayingeneye!

We have to send out a Christmas gift by October in order for the family to receive it in time. We are really hoping to be able to make a big impact this year so please consider making a donation here!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

On hot dogs and magic

2008- Flagstaff, Arizona

Ryan: I feel like hot dogs for dinner.
Sara: Ew.
Ryan: You don’t like hot dogs?! That’s un-American!
Sara: I love hot dogs on a campfire. Otherwise they’re disgusting.
Ryan: They’re always good… but they are best on a campfire. Well, let’s go!

So we did.

We stopped by Fry’s and grabbed a package of Bar-S, a bag of chips, a soda for Ryan, and apples. Dinner was served.

That night was magic. We ate our hot dogs and then we sat there under the stars, the smell of campfire saturating our hair and our clothes, and we talked for hours. We fell in love a little more, though we hadn’t said it yet. He took me home and I put my hoodie in my hamper, then pulled it back out and smelled it one more time. It smelled like the woods, like campfire, like Ryan.

We drove out to the cinders for hot dog dinners fairly often after that. One snowy November night, when we were young and careless and a little foolish, we decided we could make it.

“It’s not that deep,” Ryan decided.
“We have four-wheel-drive,” I added.
“And I got these great tires,” Ryan said.

We called Ryan’s aunt and uncle an hour later and asked if they would please, pretty please, come tow us out of the snow. Ryan explained why we were out in two feet of snow at 7pm and while he, Uncle Kim, and some random passers-by worked to un-stick us, I opened up the door of the truck to get chapstick or water or something. Aunt LeVonne spotted the hot dogs on the center console. 

“Oh,” she said with surprise. “You really were just out here to roast hot dogs?”
“Yeah,” I shrugged. “We like to do that for dinner sometimes.”

2009- Lake Ashurst, Arizona

We blew our paychecks on camping supplies. Camp chairs, a tent, sleeping bags. Hot dog roasting essentials. We had our first big fight and I vowed to never speak of that weekend again… but now I look at those pictures and I smile.

2012- Battle Ridge, Gallatin National Forest, Montana

There was a campfire ban. We should have thought to check on that before we drove six hours out, over an hour away from the last grocery store…but we didn’t. All we had were hot dogs, granola bars, Rainier cherries, and a Bic lighter.

We saw a moose on the drive up. Something brushed up against our truck tent late that night and even though Ryan says it was just a squirrel, I still swear it was a moose’s shovel, knocking against the side as it scoped out the scene.

We woke up in the morning and hiked around Fairy Lake. It is still one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, topped only by the sight of my husband holding our newborns.

2012- Thermopolis, Wyoming

Ryan’s uncle Mark passed through Casper, where we were “stationed” in our RV, on a road trip with his granddaughter. We accompanied them to Thermopolis, where we all swam in the hot springs before settling in to roast hot dogs and fake s’mores.

2013- Avon, Utah

We loaded up our two-month old and everything we thought we might need, and headed up the mountain for a camping trip with Ryan’s dad. Inquisitive squirrels darted uncomfortably close to me while I nursed him, maybe curious about the scent of my milk. Tropical-like greens surrounded us while we hiked. The baby had this look on his face, like he was madly in love with the pines and the sky. It was our first time using that tent and we could sense all the beautiful memories we’d be making in it over the next 18 years. The hot dogs tasted like campfire.


My aunt sends out a group text informing us that it’s National Hot Dog day. I inform the group that I only like them roasted over an open campfire and my aunt suggests that I try them over a gas oven.
“It wouldn’t be the same,” I reply. “You have to be able to smell campfire and feel pine needles crunching under your feet. Otherwise it’s just a hot dog.”

I’m really only half-kidding.

Hot dogs are just hot dogs, unless you’re in the woods. And then they’re magic.

My kids happen to be fishing plastic fish out of their water table, scooping them into a basket they’ve decided is their campfire, while I sit in a camp chair beside them and write out our grocery list for tomorrow.

“Who’s ready for dinner?” my son asks. “Fish cooked over a campfire!”

“This settles it,” I text the group. “We are taking our kids out to the woods this weekend to roast hot dogs, their first time! We’ll obviously finish up the night with fake s’mores, chocolate kisses tucked oversized marshmallows and lit. on. fire. This all sounds so magical but I fully acknowledge that there is a 98% chance this will not end well.”

“toddlers and fire,” my aunt replies. “What could go wrong?”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Made for this

We waited in the waiting room. They waited in the hallway while I used the restroom. We waited in the room for the doctor to come in. They waited for my appointment to be over.

They had waited long enough.

They were restless.

The kicked their legs and bounced around on the bench in our room, climbed off and on and off and on while making strange noises with their mouths, clapping their hands, stomping their feet.

The midwife asked me questions and I turned up my volume to answer them over the noise. I picked up the fussy baby and cuddled her, told her she could take her nap as soon as she was in her car seat.

“How are you feeling emotionally,” the midwife asked me with an overly sympathetic voice.

“Great,” I smiled.

“I mean, how are you doing since you have your hands full?”

I wondered for a moment if she has any children.

“Great,” I said again. “I’m excited to complete our family.”

“Are you holding up okay?” she tried again. “I imagine you’re exhausted.”

I wondered what it was she was hoping I would say. That I was regretting this pregnancy? That I wished we had stopped after one or two? That I couldn’t handle this and was currently searching for a nanny?

“I feel great,” I said again. “I think I was made for this.”

Ryan and I laughed when I told him about the strange exchange later that night.

“It’s true,” he said after a while. “You really were made for this.”

I was. I was made for this. Some days I am overwhelmed and some days I lose my temper too easily or am just not in the mood to play hide-and-seek or build yet another Lego house… but most days, I’m a really good mom. Those bad days are a bummer, but that’s all they are. A bummer. They are not me. They are not a definition of motherhood for me. They are not all that my children will remember of me.

Mostly, I am a book-reading, fort-building, snack-prepping, song-singing, tummy-tickling, cheek-kissing, cape-tying, game-playing, adventure-planning, jungle gym-climbing, car-vrooming, tower-building, hair-combing, belly-rubbing, good mom.

I was made for this.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

4th Pregnancy, week 20!

Originally found and then modified via That Mama Gretchen

How far along: 20 weeks! 50%!

Gender predictions: A keeps saying “her” when he talks about the baby and then saying “But I think it’s a boy.”  Ryan told me that B told him on their date this week she thinks the baby is a boy but she wants it to be a girl. Ryan and I still both think girl.

Fitness: Basically every day goes exactly the same way. No, nope, no way, too hot, not moving today. Then I get a weird burst of energy and workout, then an hour later I am starving and eat everything.

Best moment this week: Anatomy scan! (Nope, didn’t find out the gender!!) This time around they happened to do a cool 3D shot at the end, which was really fun and new to us. We somehow have FOUR adorable children!

Worst moment this week: I had a horrible pregnancy dream and feel like I'm still recovering from it emotionally. It's so hard to separate my dream feelings from reality after dreams like this!

Miss anything: My ring finger is too swollen to take my ring off right now. This is how I find out that I apparently slip my ring on and off as a nervous habit.

Movement: Ryan, A, and B all three got to feel some movement this week! I also got to see my belly move twice in the tub this week, always fun.

Cravings: garlic!

Aversions: The pregnancy tea I have enjoyed through all three of my other pregnancies. Twice now I have brewed a cup, been disgusted by the first sip, and not even finished it. It’s normally a favorite so I’m curious to see if that changes once the summer is over and hot tea sounds wonderful again.

Queasy or sick: No

Looking forward to: Everybody getting to feel more movement, movement becoming really visible

What A thinks: “Ya know Mom, I’m glad you got this baby in yer belly.”

What B thinks: “Um, I fink she a girl. I gonna name her Baby.”

What C thinks: she will now give my belly unprompted kisses <3

Books, movies, etc I’ve enjoyed this week: Your Pregnancy Devotional // Your Pregnancy Week by Week // Praying through Your Pregnancy // 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

5 Things I'm loving this week...

*originally found on Money Saving Mom 

1. The book House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I’m trying to read more Christian fiction so I borrowed this one for the Kindle and oh my goodness, so good and so intense so far! I’m a really big fan of psychological thrillers and mysteries so this one has very much had my attention.

2. Writing observations. I tend to flow in and out of writing modes. I was in a major fiction mode for a bit there, but now I’ve switched gears to finish up a non-fiction Christmas project I have coming out in November. I “wrote” it last December and have been polishing it up, finishing up areas where I got busy and just made myself notes, etc., so it’s all on the computer. I mostly do my writing in cute composition notebooks and then type it all up after the fact so it’s been really crazy to see just how much of a difference it makes to write on the computer again. Even though I don’t have Internet, I do find that I get distracted more easily on the computer. I’ll open up some pictures, change songs again and again, weird stuff. But I also notice that my kids are so aware and unhappy when they see me working on the computer versus in a notebook! All three of them will be happily playing together and I’ll think, I could squeeze in a little writing right now. If I pull out a notebook, I usually get 10-20 minutes to write. If I pull out the laptop, I usually get 3-5 minutes. So interesting.

3. My dishwasher. I’ve finally, finally embraced the dishwasher. I always used to argue against it because “I have to get everything totally clean before I put it in, and then it’s already washed any ways!”
I mean, that is still kind of true. But there are lots of times it isn’t. I feel like it just never really made sense for us in the past but now that we’re five (and probably especially once we’re six!) it just makes sense. I’m just not keeping up with dishes and laundry these days. I told Ryan the other day that I feel like I either keep up with dishes, keep up with laundry, or do a shoddy job at both, but I just can’t seem to manage both in one day and still be present and active with my kids. So now I’m loading my dishwasher throughout the day and running it almost every night, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. Some days I wait and run it after I add the breakfast or lunch dishes but I was surprised to find that it’s totally full almost every night. I guess it does make sense.

4. This great rehearsal video from Ryan’s cousin’s band, Sparrows Rising. I really love the band and highly recommend them if you hadn’t noticed ;]  

5. Precious individuality. Some of my favorite things my kids are doing right now… A is cracking me up with these long, drawn-out stories that seem to only stop when we finally give up and say “I’m sorry to interrupt but I really need to go potty/help your sister/go to work now,” B is saying “everyguys” instead of everybody which makes Ryan and I smile at each other every time, and the other day B made a hammer with three LEGOs and brought it over to show me “Look, Mommy! I made a hammer!” so C made the exact same thing and ran over to hold it out to me and shout “HAM! HAM!”

What are YOU loving this week?