Dustin and I took a trip for work to Hawaii in February. It was the best kind of trip -- kidless and free. Every job has its advantages and disadvantages. I spend a lot of nights alone while Dustin travels all over during the week, but every once in awhile his company lets us know how much they appreciate all his hard work.

The trip was especially fun since a few of our favorite work colleagues also came along, which meant lots of time chatting around the pool and long dinners. Vacation is so awesome because you don't have to clean or cook.
Dustin and I flew in early and spent the first day by ourselves. My favorite part had to be dinner with the most delicious fresh sushi.
When we woke up, we got to eat breakfast on the beach while the sun rose. (The perk of being in a time zone 3 hours behind).

Another fun perk of the trip is that every night, after you return from the evening's festivities, there is a little gift on the bed. This year we were gifted Maui Jim sunglasses, Tori Burch beach bags, Tiffany's jewelry, a Sony camera lens for our phones and Beats wireless headphones.

There are also activities you can sign up for every day. One day Dianelle and I spent the whole afternoon at the spa, including a massage on the beach.
 Dustin and I went an ATV ride up to a waterfall hike one day.
This picture is terrible, but I had to have proof that I actually got in the water at one of them and swam around.
For lunch we had this view:

We also went night swimming with manta rays.
And to top everything off, there were two concerts-- Kings of Leon and Michael Buble. It was a ridiculously perfect week.


Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a family celebration in our house. Dustin and I go on lots of date nights and have lots of opportunities to show love other days of the year. So we are always so excited to make our kids feel like they're a special part of the day too!
I stopped helping the kids make Valentines once all 4 kids were in school and we needed approximately one million Valentines, but I do let the kids make a few for special friends. Luke made one at school for his friend, Piper, who had made him one earlier in the week.
 I asked him if he liked it and he said, "Yes. And then she corrected all my mistakes." I about died laughing.

Sadie made hair bows for a couple of friends.
And drew little cards to put them on.

Friday, the 13th, all of the kids had class parties. I was up subbing 5th graders at school so I got to attend a party of my own. And they even brought me Valentines!!
 I managed to stop by and see everyone on my lunch break, except for Nate who is way too cool for me anyway.

 I also made sure Sadie had some swanky hair to celebrate!

Valentine's morning, we woke up to flowers and cards and everyone's favorite -- fruit in the shape of hearts!
Nate had an early morning football game, so after getting home at midnight from Galentine's Day, I had to stay up and put together the scavenger hunt for all the kids to find their gifts from us.
In return, Sadie made breakfast for everyone.
Dustin made us a fancy dinner and then we sat outside and made s'mores around the fire pit while the kids entertained us with jokes, stories and performances. There are lots of moments of crazy at our house, but there are just as many moments of perfection.


GAL-entine's Day

“What’s Galentines Day? It’s only the best day of the year! Every Feb 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we come and kick it breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”  Leslie Knope

I think everyone should celebrate Galentine's Day. I know that my friends make me a better mom and wife and I value their positive contributions to my life.

C.S. Lewis has said, “In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”

I have been blessed with amazing friends. Last year when I was down and out they brought me meals, loved my children, came to buoy up my spirits and loved me even when I wasn't quite myself. I was so especially grateful to be able to celebrate them this year.
For the occasion, we had a waffle bar because Leslie Knope always says,“We need to remember what’s important in life. Friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. It doesn’t matter. But work is third.”
And then we just had fun! It felt so good to just relax and know that we were surrounded by so many people who love us despite our flaws.   

At dinner everyone gave a toast. Some were funny and some brought tears to our eyes, but I know that we all realized how lucky were are to have each other. Women need women. 


Photo Shoot

To make up for the lack of photos from Sadie's birthday party, I present Sadie's photo shoot!

With her baptism coming up, I wanted some pictures taken for invitations but also just to capture her personality at 8.
She's got so much spunk and personality. We just love the ray of sunshine she is in our family.
Our friend, Mike Sherwood, did the most amazing job. He is so easy to be around that he got her to relax and she felt so special the entire time.
 As you can see by my pictures, there is a reason I hired a photographer for this job.

I also wanted to get some pictures in her gorgeous dress that Dustin's mother sent her.

 It was a good thing I did this because we didn't end up with very many pictures on her actual baptism day!