Friday, February 22, 2019

8th Birthday Interview: Elizabeth Grace


Little Ellie!

 Elizabeth Grace

Ellie is all heart and passion when it comes to life. She loves people but also loves the quiet, and can often be found retreating into a book if she needs some mental space from her siblings. She has a tight network of friends at school, and has learned the importance of choosing them wisely while also being inclusive of others. Just last week, her class voted her "most trustworthy" which made this Mama heart sing! Ellie is so sweet, but also has a strong sense of right and wrong and what needs to happen next to move a project, game, or assignment forward. Truly, if we weren't sure that she was our "runt", we'd be absolutely convinced that our little leader was actually the first born. As it is, she's finally come to accept and be proud of being the youngest....that only took about six years. haha!

How old are you? "8"
What makes you happy? "Playing my tablet and play with Abby"
What is your favorite animal? "Cats" 
What is your favorite color? "Blue and purple"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "You know those brownies Cita (Grandma) makes and she puts ice cream on top? Those are good!"
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts" 
What is your favorite thing to do? "Play my tablet or watch TV"

What is your favorite TV show? "Sonic Boom"
What is your favorite movie? "Mary Poppins Returns"
What are you really good at? "Reading"
What is your favorite song? "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things by Taylor Swift"
What do you and your mom do together? "Go out for ice cream - we do a lot of stuff together - we do almost everything together, I think." 

What do you and your dad do together? "Go on adventures"
What is your favorite book? "The Kittycorn Book. McKinley and me are writing and illustrating it together at school." (McKinley is her friend at school)

What is your favorite toy? "Grey" (her stuffed cat)
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A vet" (veterinarian) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

8th Birthday Interview: Elijah James


Elijah's turn!

 Elijah James

One thing I love about Elijah is that he knows exactly what he's interested in. This boy loves science so much! He's not picky either. If it can be related back to any scientific field, he is 100% on board. Like any good scientist, he loves asking questions....looooots and loooots of questions which keeps us on our toes, but he's a sharp kid, with a kind heart, so we try to remember that while he's talking non-stop.

How old are you? "8 on my birthday"
What makes you happy? "Playing my tablet and watching TV"
What is your favorite animal? "Husky Puppies" (stuffed animals)
What is your favorite color? "Green"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Tacos...crunchy tacos!"
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Brussels sprouts. Put an exclamation point after that." 
What is your favorite thing to do? "Play my tablet and watch TV"

What is your favorite TV show? "Arthur
What is your favorite movie? "Mary Poppins Returns
What are you really good at? "Science, the school subject"
What is your favorite song? "I like all the classical music, but my most favorite would be the Nutcracker one."
What do you and your mom do together? "Cook sometimes, Kiwi Crate sometimes"
What do you and your dad do together? "Kiwi Crate most of the time" 
What is your favorite book? "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the National Geographic Junior Almanacs"

What is your favorite toy? "My tablet" 
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A scientist...I have no idea which kind"

Monday, February 18, 2019

8th Birthday Interview: Abigail Rose


Up 2nd....Our Abby! 

 Abigail Rose


Abby has always lived in a land of unicorns and rainbows, and nothing much has changed there. If you've never met Abby in real life, she is every bit Amy Adam's character from Enchanted. In fact, I'm pretty sure Abby will do this exact song and dance number when she finds true love in about 20 years. She will probably be wearing that dress too. Until then, everyone she meets her new best friend, and she can turn any situation into "the best day of her life!" She is most definitely our ray of sunshine!

How old are you turning? "7.....wait a minute....I'm turning 8!"
What makes you happy? "Butterflies, princesses, mermaids, puppies and kittens, jokes, Mary Poppins, and unicorns" 
What is your favorite animal? "Unicorns!" 
What is your favorite color? "Pink"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Ice Cream - Strawberry!"
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Potatoes"
What is your favorite thing to do? "Dance and sing"
What is your favorite TV show? "Vampirina"
What is your favorite movie? "Mary Poppins Returns"
What are you really good at? "Pretending to be a unicorn"
What is your favorite song? "How Far I'll Go" from Moana
What do you and your mom do together? "We go out for ice cream"
What do you and your dad do together? "Wrestle the boys. They are knuckleheads."
What is your favorite book? "The Candy Fairies: Marshmallow Mystery

What is your favorite toy? "The Puppy Purses"
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A mermaid princess!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

8th Birthday Interview: Caleb Sean


Yay, birthday interviews! Our kids look forward to these as much as I do!


 Caleb Sean

Caleb has been doing so well in school lately! He's learning how to be more flexible, and I think he finally realizes that school is a non-negotiable. haha! He takes great pride in being able to help when teachers or staff give him a way to be involved in his school community, and....our biggest news....he has stopped wearing his headphones all the time! He rarely ever wears them at home, church, or when he is out in public with our family now. He does still wear them at school somewhat, but he will leave the house with them in his backpack to start the day. He is adapting to life so well. We couldn't be more proud of the strides he's made in the past year!

How old are you turning? "8"
What makes you happy? "Whenever I watch Phineas and Ferb, be with my mom and dad, go to World's of Fun, when I see Blue (his stuffed doggy), data days with my resource teachers, I like speech (therapy) because it's during math time and that's not my favorite, but don't tell my teacher."
What is your favorite animal? "Lions"
What is your favorite color? "All the colors"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "BBQ Bacon Burgers
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Orange Chicken"
What is your favorite thing to do? "Build with Legos, build Fort Magic structures, hang out with Blue (his stuffed doggy), play Polly Pockets with the sisters, and hang out with all my Ishum Friends which is also known as Elijah, Abby, Ellie and Mom and Dad"
What is your favorite TV show? "Phineas & Ferb and Sonic Boom"
What is your favorite movie? "The Greatest Showman"
What are you really good at? "Making stuff for my Mom and Dad and all my Ishum Friends, building stuff with Fort Magic and Lego bricks"
What is your favorite song? "Under Pressure and anything with jazz"
What do you and your mom do together? "We hang out a bit. We eat, we cook, sometimes we bake a bit and play."
What do you and your dad do together? "We hang out with each other. We talk about stuff, drink pineapple peach kumbucha, and other things but I can't say them all on this thing." 
What is your favorite book? "Kung Pow Chicken and Super Rabbit Boy books"
What is your favorite toy? "Legos and Fort Magic stuff"
What do you want to be when you grow up? "I can't decide if I should be a builder or a preschool teacher. This year, I think a builder...or an ice cream truck driver.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Hopeful Expectation

In 2018, I picked a word of the year out of sheer peer pressure, and then promptly forgot it about 5 minutes later. I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to work. 

This year, the word picked me. Or two words, actually. Because apparently I'm consistent in my need to do things in multiples. 

I was sitting on an airplane, heading toward Ecuador, when the phrase "hopeful expectation" leaped off of the page in my book and hit me square between the eyes. I read the paragraph again. I wasn't looking for any significant, life-altering concepts...I mean, I was reading one of my just-for-fun books, after all. I tried to keep going in the fiction story that I was reading, but I kept getting pulled back to the same paragraph. I read it a third time. I finally reached for my phone, typed in the brief phrase, hit "send" on the text message to myself, and then went back to my book.

It's almost two months later, and that phrase has popped up in my head so many times....along with the rueful knowledge that I can't for the life of me remember exactly which book I was reading at the time. (I'm blaming my lack of memory there on the trauma of our return trip from Ecuador).

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to not look toward the future with hopeful expectation. My approach seems to be much more of a "I hope I duck fast enough to avoid whatever is going to get thrown at me" strategy. So when I read about having a hopeful expectation for the future, I realized that those two words pretty much summed up what I have been missing in life.

I spent the majority of 2018 in a pretty bad funk. I had a hard time looking to the future for anything much other than the required grocery/meal list that my hooligans rely on in order to magically be fed each night. At one point, I ended up in my closet sobbing because I just didn't have anything left to give to any member of my family, my business, or my friends. It was a hard year on so many different levels, and one that I'm quite glad is over. I need a fresh start. 

But it doesn't really make any difference if the fresh start comes and the hopeful expectation part is left out of the picture. 

So I don't have a word this year. I have two. I *need* two. I need the word hope because it reminds me that even on my hardest days, the game isn't over until it's over. No matter what anyone says or doesn't say. No matter how I feel. The game isn't over yet. I need the word expectation because it's a word that gives movement and force to the phrase. It pushes me to keep my face turned up instead of my eyes buried in the dirt around my shoes. 

Good things are coming this year. It's not about ducking fast enough to avoid the hard and scary stuff. It's not about trying to numb everything to avoid the emotional pain that sometimes accompanies life. It's not about racing through the days, thinking that maybe tomorrow might be better.

I'm choosing to live life in 2019, filled with hopeful expectation. Seems a heck of a lot easier than the way I did it in 2018. And if that means picking two words this year instead of one, then I'm cool with going rogue. In fact, expect a little more rogue-ness going forward. After all, hope does that to a person.


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Monday, December 24, 2018

Our 2018 Family Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

If you want the official year-end Christmas letter...here you go! ;)

The Kids 

Our kiddos are now 7-years-old and in 2nd grade. We joke that the hours of 3:30 pm to 8 pm are long (from school pick-up until bedtime) but the years are short. It does seem hard to believe 2018 is already drawing to a close.

Caleb had the best start to the school year ever! Usually, the fall is very difficult as he tries to adjust to a new routine and new expectations. This year, it went sooooo smoothly. I'm used to crying my way through September and October due to the stress of getting him settled, but this year, I didn't get a single call from the school about him. He adjusted so incredibly well! We've even noticed in the last few weeks, that he has started leaving his headphones at home as we've headed out the door for family activities. While he still wears them a lot at school, his teachers tell us that he has started taking them off occasionally. We are very proud of his progress!

Abby has had a much better year at school as well. Last year, we put a 504 in place to help her with anxiety. Between those accommodations, checking in with the school counselor, and her amazing teacher who she had in 1st grade and now again in 2nd grade, Abby has done quite well! She still gets nervous on occasion, but she is very grounded and secure for the most part. She has the best handwriting out of the kids and still lives a fairy tale life in her head.

Elijah has had the most difficult year out of the kids. He's naturally a sensitive kid, and picks up on a lot of what people are thinking and saying around him and then internalizes it. Unfortunately, this year has been a rough one for him, and we've had our work cut out for us as we've tried to help him protect his heart, manage anxiety and self-doubt, and rewire the negative self-talk that he has adopted about himself. We are definitely grateful to our school counselor who stepped in along with his teacher who noticed a marked change in his ability to function at school. His ups and downs come in waves, and Christmas seems to be extra hard on him, but we are confident he's going to be stronger on the other side.

Ellie is a feisty as ever, and her sense of justice seems to refine itself with each passing year. Watch out for this one, because she will most definitely end up making an impact on the world! This year, she has learned a lot about what makes a good friend, the importance of hanging out with people who make good choices, and that every decision has a consequence...whether that's good or bad. We're proud of the sweet girl that she is and her clear view of what's right and wrong. We just need to work on her delivery a bit. ;)

The Parents

Sean still works for Sprint (20 years!) in the IT department, and enjoys getting to work from home 2 days a week. This year has had it's challenges for him personally, but it's been amazing to watch him walk through situations with strength and choose to take the high road. I still teach people how to use essential oils and take toxins out of their homes with Young Living. I love working full-time from my couch, being available for my kids when they need me, and jetting off to Panera or Target when I need a brain break without having to check in with a boss. It's been the perfect job for me to have with our family and still be able to live in my passion.

As a couple, Sean and I started working out at the gym this past year. We began the year with a personal trainer and now follow an online workout plan. We've had a good number of pretty sore days, but we plan to continue on in 2019. We also took several trips to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and an all-expense paid trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador with Young Living this year. Sean and I love getting to travel together and see the world!

We are grateful for a year of good life lessons for our kids, blessings of provision for us, and good health despite Sean trying to crap out on me on the airplane back from Ecuador (click here for that crazy story!). We are excited for 2019 and a fresh start in a fresh year.

With love,
Sean and Rebecca
Caleb, Abby, Elijah, and Ellie

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Halloween 2018 - Knights and Princesses



Every year, the highlight of the fall is our Halloween costumes!

And every year, I wonder if they are going to choose to dress up together, or if this will finally be the year when they all go their separate ways with their costumes.

This year, the verdict came instantly and was unanimous: dress up together!

Even more incredible was when they settled on their theme within 5 minutes and every single one of them loved it. It was crazy easy this year to figure it out...I definitely wasn't expecting that!


Caleb was 100% into his role as a knight. When I took the kids outside for photos, he snapped from pose to pose to pose, fully living and embracing his knighthood. He went with the more "hardcore" look and stance. He totally cracked me up!


Elijah loved his costume as much as Caleb did, but was a bit lighter on his feet. lol! Sorry for the weird orbs in these photos. We didn't actually have a ghost hanging out with us, although you'd think that might be the case given the occasion. Instead, it was just the sun at an awkward angle combined with my truly stellar photography skills. haha!


You know...when I went to buy the plastic swords, my inner mom voice said, "you are about to buy plastic swords for two 7-year-old boys. Are you sure that's a solid idea?" And I did it anyway. We clearly laid out the rule that if they hit anyone with the swords, whether on purpose or on accident, the swords would be confiscated. They were allowed one sword fight, and that's what you see in the photo above. (If you were curious, Caleb won. haha! I'm sure Elijah will deny that when he's a teenager, but it's now been documented.)


No one was more happy with her costume than Abby. If it involves princesses, unicorns, or the color pink, this little girl is allllll over it. Since this year's costume hit two out of three of those (and believe me, there was plenty of unicorn discussion going on at the same time), it was one of her favorite years of all time! Abby fully embodied a princess, right down to the way she held her chin up and her shoulders back, and walked with a regal air everywhere she went.


Ellie loved her costume too. She's really into blues of all shades right now, and this dress made her feel gorgeous. She was a little sad when the middle jewel on her crown fell off though. Other than that, she loved it!


My two girls. :) 


And this year, we decided to get in on the fun as well! Yep, I got myself a princess dress and bought Sean a knight/king costume. He was a good sport! haha! The kids totally LOVED having the whole family dress up all together. We made the most of it and hit a few different trunk or treat activities around our area, and collected FAR too much candy. Before long, they will be past the dress-up years and be too interested in other activities to have time for this sort of thing. Until then, we will take all the photos and make all the memories!


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