Spring Things // 2024

Spring is here and it is especially joyous here in the Pacific Northwest as we finally get sunny days and start spending more time outside. I begin to wonder how we survived a cold and rainy winter after we are back outside again. Somehow we always get through it and it ends up all being just a blur.

I love the spring holidays and seeing our home become a little more brighter and simplified. Easter is especially fun with my children. Here are some highlights from our spring season so far.

I found this blue and white ceramic bunny at the thrift store and fell in LOVE. It reminded me so much of Melissa Michaels and her love for quirky animal decor. I eventually took down our cute little bunny garland and this ceramic bunny was the only Easter decor I left up. I was craving simple and just one little nod to the holiday was enough for me this year.

Smores in the fireplace for a little Saint Patrick's Day fun.

Our collection of spring books that come out for the season. Many are collected from thrift stores or were asked for on my kids' wish lists.

Curious George and the Bunny | The Story of Easter (similar) | The Country Bunny | You're My Little Honey Bunny | A Little Bunny | Spot's Easter Surprise | You're My Little Lucky Charm | Little Blue Truck's Springtime | The Tale of Peter Rabbit | P is for Peter | A Little Chick | I'm A Leprechaun | The Berenstain Bears' St. Patrick's Day | The Berenstain Bears' Easter Blessings | Bunnies For Tea | Mrs. Peanuckles's Flower Alphabet | Home For A Bunny

Watching food bake seems to never get old. It is so sweet to see them all squished together.

Brent and I got in another take out date night. It was a delightful treat.

Baby girl's springtime mood.

I found this cute egg platter in the dollar spot at Target. I am trying to not bring too much extra junk into the house. But for a seasonal platter I ended up using it a lot and the plaid detail is so sweet.

We have somewhat settled on a new church. It is close to home, where my daughter attends preschool so we are just a little connected already, has a fun kid's church for our children, and we are enjoying the pastor and worship. I would say it is a medium sized church with multiple services - which I realize post pandemic is a rarity. So we are able to attend church around baby girl's nap times which is convenient. If I was Goldilocks, I would say it was "just right". 

We are so thankful to have found a place to be in this season. I mindlessly mentioned to a friend that it would be nice to find a church by Easter. And what a sweet blessing it was to decide on Easter weekend that we would start attending regularly. I am learning to be more bold and direct with my prayers and it is always to my surprise how gracious God is to answering them.

The kids are encouraged to bring their Bibles to their class and so we bought these big kid Explorer Bibles for our two oldest. They are beautiful and have all kinds of fun kid facts and stories inside. They love looking through them and bringing them to church each week. I wrote a short blessing on the inside for each of them.

They come in a variety of covers. We got the brown mountain and sunshine ones.

Our toddler started wanting to bring a Bible to church as well so he has this gorgeous Bible board book.

Cutest little bunny lunch ever! I'm dying.

Kindle reading and enjoying my sleepy girl mocktail. If you haven't heard of the trend, the drink is to help you sleep at night. It consists of magnesium powder (I have used Natural Calm for years and it helps with sleep and my joint pain) with tart cherry juice, and sparkling water. But I also just mix the magnesium powder with water most nights along with diffusing essential oils to help me sleep better at night. Either way, the mocktail is fun and tasty once you get used to it.

Saint Patrick's Day themed lunches are fun for us all!

I have been adding to our little bunny head collection with each kid. I store them in our seasonal bin to hang up with our artwork every year. They are so cute and silly!

Here is my solo decorative bunny and some flowers. Feels just right for an otherwise busy and full household.

It has been so fun to spend some time gardening. I always have plenty of little helpers that are eager to pitch in.

More e-bike adventures with a picnic this time. I got a little buddy who rode with me. She was so cute chatting away about all the things she would see and saying, "whee!"

Taco truck lunch is always a treat!

I got myself a matcha latte with lavender foam from Starbucks and it was the perfect spring drink! Brent picked one up for me on Saint Patrick's Day and I have been obsessed ever since. I have also been recreating it at home using Trader Joe's matcha latte powder (just add water!) and some lavender Torani syrup in my cold foam. It is so yummy!

Love seeing little ones using chopsticks. SO cute!!! We got these ones in their stockings this year and the little finger holders make it much easier for them to hold.

Porch swinging with my girl!

Spring art on display.

We are in sweet potato season for baby girl. I make a giant batch every couple of weeks for easy food to give her. She usually has a banana and cheerios for breakfast, sweet potato for lunch, and then eats whatever we have for dinner. She is my fourth child so we are all about simple most days as we are coming and going from school all day.

A sweet note and flower my daughter left out for me.

Getting rid of more clothes and I can't help but take a picture every time.

A fun after school visit to the library. It is such an easy and fun outing. I always leave telling myself we should do this more!

Some polaroids with baby girl to add to my collection. They always turn out imperfectly (thank you instant film). It is fun...but I usually throw out a couple duds as well!

A Saint Patrick's Day breakfast of Lucky Charms and gold coins!

For dinner we have shamrock shaped waffles using my heart waffle maker. For such a simple meal, I found it a bit labor intensive this year. Next year my goal is to not "style" it so much for pictures. You have seen it multiple times now. I gotta let that perfectionism go. ;)

One of my outdoor goals for a couple of years now was to switch our hydrangea and azalea plants in front of our house. When I was pregnant with #3 I watched a lot of reruns of an old Martha Stewart gardening show. On one of the episodes it talked about having evergreen plants close to your door for more curb appeal. This was my ah-ha moment! I realized I loved our front yard in the spring and summer when everything was green but in the winter it always looked terrible. My problem was I needed something evergreen by our front door.

(Insert gardening helper)

But I have always been either pregnant or with a baby in the months I needed to transplant such big plants to keep them alive. So this year was the year. I have been planning since January that I had to make the time to do it! It took me hours to dig these things up. Every nap time was spent working on this but I did it. It was INSANE. I haven't done gardening grunt work like this for years. It was invigorating and exhausting.

Here are the finished bushes. And thankfully they are both alive and thriving still. They look even more amazing just a month or so later.

It has been the first big project I have tackled in our garden and it was the jump start I needed to taking more ownership of our yard. While the previous owners created an amazing outdoor oasis, there are some things that I don't love. So this has been the year that I have started to really change, transplant, and make it my own. It feels so good to bond with our yard in this way.

The cutest biker gang I have ever seen! Brent was literally riding a kids bike down the hill with the children.

Another favorite spring tradition - plastic egg snack lunch.

My daughter made bracelets for everyone in the family. They are so precious!

Here is my current coffee routine. I switched to a pour over after we moved. Getting rid of our Keurig was part of our downsizing process. I still miss it's convenience sometimes but I really do love my pour over. I use an electric kettle and have found that a gooseneck is not necessary. I also use regular coffee grounds and never get any chunks in my coffee (I use these filters)! Then I make some flavored milk in my frother. It is my best coffee routine yet and very close to what I would get at a coffee shop.

Also if you are a nutella fan, might I suggest putting some in your coffee. Like two heaping spoons of it. SO GOOD. I mix it in with the coffee to melt and then mix my milk in after that.

I bought a new tablecloth after not having used one in years. Of course I had to test it out first before committing. I ended up really loving it and my kids even thought it was special.

Easter treat cups to dress up our Easter dinner tablescape.

I have had my eye on these reusable gift bags for awhile. My parents always ask me to order a small little gift surprise for the kids when they come to visit. So I often have a closet full of Amazon boxes and bags. Especially around holidays and birthdays it can get all mixed together. So I thought these gift bags would come in handy for the grandparent surprises. That way I can bag up the present and know what they are when they are hiding in my closet. They are so beautiful and take up less space. I was so happy to finally have a good reason to purchase them.

I am storing them in the bag they came in to keep them clean with our other gift bags. I picked out this flower/polka dot set, stripes/stars set, and hearts.

It is so fun to bring out the kids' Easter baskets. I love seeing all their different faces. Big kids so excited and obliging to being surprised. Toddler going in with no care in the world!

My sweet little Easter egg hunters!

The egg hunt is always so much fun. But I am finding we have entered into a new season with big kids and little kids. Next year I would like to manage it better by having specific colored eggs for each kid. That way everyone gets a fair amount and hopefully prevents some meltdowns!

My new tablecloth was so lovely! And everyone enjoyed a special big holiday meal!

And the best smiling photo of all my little bunnies! This will be a forever favorite I am sure.

And bunny cinnamon rolls from breakfast.

Baby's first Easter weekly photo!

Using up the last of my polaroid roll of film - some Easter flowers and toddler cuddles.

We have come to the end of baby girl falling asleep on me at her last feeding of the night. Now she either wants to play or cries because she wants to go to bed. It is bittersweet. The freedom, especially at night, is wonderful. But it is also the sad realization that my baby is growing up. I most definitely am savoring every little cuddle I get these days.

My parents were up for another visit and birthday celebration. Gotta love a booth that can fit us all!

Baby girl's first shopping cart ride!

Brent and I got another quick local night away while my parents were here (with our third wheel). We love trying new places to eat and the somewhat uninterrupted time to actually talk.

Coastline Burgers was a fun and casual bite to eat.

We stayed at The Archer Hotel in Redmond. This is one of our favorite staycation hotels to visit. I always love dining at their restaurant for breakfast. They used to have a buffet set up that was SO GOOD. Since our last visit that have switched over to a regular menu. I was a little disappointed at first until I took a bite and realized it was maybe even better. Same delicious food just a different way of receiving it.

We love Molly Moon's ice cream. The salted caramel is salty perfection.

We ate dinner at Redmond's Bar and Grill. It was very tasty!

And in the midst of an otherwise rainy weekend, we got one clear day that we were able to take my parents on a bike ride.

Suns out and my PNW vampire children will melt without their sunglasses!

The children had to take their rocket making daddy to the rocket playground during spring break.

And we filled the whole swing set! So cute!!!

We had a dinosaur themed party for my son (more to come!). But after the party I thought it would be silly to surprise the kids with the dinosaurs in the backyard!

I have been a breakfast smoothie maker for most of my adult life. You can find some of my protein shake recipes in my food archives. I recently started adding a small spoonful of chia seed and flaxseed as I heard on some morning talk show that adding these two items was an easy way to boost your health - like helping lower cholesterol and preventing heart disease. I also add raw oatmeal while I am breastfeeding to help with lactation. And always spinach!

I am always a week or so behind in doing my monthly powersheets but keeping this habit up helps me be so much more focused on my most important to dos.

It has been so lovely to enjoy all the beautiful blooms popping up in our neighborhood. My neighbor, who picks up our son from the bus on early dismissal days (while my little ones are napping), even told me that the walk recently was so good for her spirit! Thank you spring!

And then one day we experienced all four seasons in one afternoon! This crazy hail storm made it look like it had snowed!

Matching boots with my girl.

Trader Joe's has these yummy seasonal mousse cakes. I had the pumpkin shaped ones this fall for the first time and they were delicious. Their spring raspberry version was just as tasty.

Here is a little peek into our bike and outdoor toy shed we added. It came with a shelf up top and I used some milk crates to organize stuff. Then our Bob double stroller is on one side and the bikes get piled in the open side. It came with hooks that we hang the kids helmets from. We also have a small square storage bin to the right for balls and a few other easy to grab outdoor toys. We bought the shed at Costco and it is still currently available at our store.

All I can say is that we have far less toys just sitting out which makes me so much happier to see our yard somewhat tidy everyday. Our yard wraps around our house in a way that you see most of it when you drive up. So not seeing a bunch of toys everywhere is important to me. If we had a separate backyard or garage, I probably wouldn't care as much. But with our open property, this shed has been a huge help.

Baby hack - stuck baby girl in an empty kiddie pool to keep her contained while outside!

We planted our first tree to replace one that fell in a storm. It has been such a treat to watch it bloom!

As our family has grown, our love for Costco has as well! We go a lot now! Hotdog anyone?

This is my favorite baked ziti recipe and it is big enough to split into two. I make one for dinner and freeze the other half for later or to give to a friend. There are lots of pregnant mamas in my MOPS group this year so I have already given out three! It is the perfect meal to share with a friend.

The dinosaurs took over the playhouse!!!

Rhododendrons are my new favorite garden flower. We already don't get a lot of sun but our shaded property is especially dark at times. These flowers thrive like crazy around here. It has been a slow falling in love and we just added three new plants to our front yard that I am excited to see how they grow.

Kiddos looking so cute walking into church with their Bibles!

We had an outdoor snack bowl lunch recently. It was a hit keeping everything confined to a big bowl.

Here is my current melamine kids plate/outdoor plate collection. Some recently broke thanks to a certain toddler who went through a plate and bowl throwing stage! They are often hard to find when I need to replace some so I just buy them when I see them now. I usually buy them in sets of two or four. But summer is a great time to shop places like HomeGoods to stock up on these. The flower bowl with tan edge is currently at Target right now (LOVE this one). And these plates I lucked out and found on Amazon recently (dinner plates and salad plates). The little blue and green bowls are from Target. The rest have been collected over the years.

Here are my kids divided plates. We use the large cafeteria trays the most, especially now with older kids. But the smaller ones were my go to when I just had toddlers. Both are from Target. I replaced my old ones with their new color scheme. So pretty!

We have a little cabinet that I hold all the kids plates and bowls at an easy to reach place. Below that is my lunch packing basket.

We use Yumbox bento boxes for school and have been very happy with them. We have the original and panino sizes as they are the same size outer box. One has a big enough compartment for a sandwich. I usually do M, W, F sandwich with sides and T, TH snack type lunch - bar and string cheese as the "main" and then fill in with fruit, veggies, and snack stuff.

I keep cookie cutters for cutting sandwiches and food picks for fruit.

A leftovers cold spring pasta salad. Leftover pasta with chicken and broccoli, served cold, topped with fresh tomatoes and cut up string cheese. Splash of olive oil to mix it all together.

Most days are pretty crazy but then I have a moment where I see all of my children calmly together and I cannot believe how I lucky I am.

Photo with our newly three year old! Such a happy birthday boy. He didn't know what to do with all the attention. Third child problems!

Spring house views. I used to not like that our house was brown but it is starting to grow on me. I also read an article recently about how a home or building should match its surroundings (and not just always be on trend). I am seeing now that I do like homes in our area that match well with all the beautiful green we have around here. A lot of homes are brown, grey, and navy and they are like humble guests placed in the beauty of the woods. Versus something that shouts out - look at me! Our little cottage in the woods remains cozy and understated. I appreciate that better now.

On another note, redoing our front garden has helped me a lot to make it look how I want it. I am so proud with how it slowly has been coming along. It is hard to believe we have lived here for over four years now. I remember feeling this way with our home in California - I didn't love the tan color and stucco. But over time, especially as I worked with the landscaping, it grew on me. Now I have nothing but nostalgic feelings about it.

We are down to our single Bob stroller to walk to the school bus now that everyone has been trained how to walk safely. Plus my back started hurting carrying her in the Ergo. So we are down to the single stroller and it is like a step back into time seven years ago!

I updated baby girl's shelves. We had a different piggy bank because Pottery Barn Kids no longer sold the piggy bank my other three kids have. But then I finally found one on Ebay and was so happy! Now they all have sweet little ceramic white animal piggy banks.

In the big kids room I had to move almost everything breakable in reach of our toddler. So we have a couple of empty shelves for now. It was cute to go up and find their magformers collection they all made.

They are also really into hanging up all their drawings. It is so cute!

Bunk beds are not the easiest to keep all tucked and tidy. I go in every few weeks and fix them all only to get messed up once they go to sleep. But for now, at least their simplified room feels somewhat peaceful.

Love this profile shot of her sweet face and eyelashes.

We got some kids' table topic cards that we now leave on our dining table. It is so fun to use these during dinner time. I also like that the question side is white so it looks nice out on the table. This set is perfect for my 5 and 7 year old to answer easily.

I thought it was so sweet to see the three youngest all playing quietly one day. I snuck around the corner to take a picture and realized baby girl found someone's applesauce pouch! No wonder she was so quiet and happy!

Spring petals after a little rain. Nature's confetti.

It is so sweet when I see my oldest playing with the baby. He is quite nurturing at times. It is so special to see this side of him that we probably wouldn't otherwise experience without her around. Brent's youngest sister is twenty years younger than him and I truly think he learned so much about caring for a child from early adulthood. It is incredible to consider how we are shaped by the dynamics of our family.

Another at home date night! We finally saw the Barbie movie which we enjoyed but also found a little silly at times. I will say though that it was quite nostalgic. Barbie will forever be a childhood icon.

And our local Gyro place never disappoints. Hello Greek fries.

Baby feet.

Sweet view on a sunny day.

Favorite hi hats cupcakes - marshmallow cream dipped in chocolate from Trophy Cupcakes.

Then we ended April with a routine medical procedure for Brent at the hospital. Since I had to drive him, the whole gang got to tag along. We pulled my oldest out of school and just decided that going together was less stressful for me than trying to get a babysitter. I like that we do things as a family, even if that can seem like a lot of work. But the kids did great and loved hitting up the hospital cafeteria. People were incredibly nice to us and were happy to see a bunch of sweet kiddos bouncing around. I was so relieved as post pandemic it still feels uncertain how people will react to having children in healthcare settings.

And the good news is that Brent is doing better with his health issues. Things are finally starting to heal after years of feeling like we were seeing no progress. So we are incredibly grateful that we have a little more hope. 

I remember being in Virginia and we weren't sure how we wanted to proceed with treatment. We decided that moving close to Seattle was an opportunity to get a second opinion, seek out the best big city doctor we could find, and hope that he would find healing. We are finally approaching the upside of that, four years later. It has been a long journey but I am so thankful for his current doctor and the care we have had at our hospital - both for him and with our two children's births. We have had the best healthcare experience here and I feel so incredibly lucky.

And so we turn another page in the calendar to the next season. This life these days is a whirlwind. It flies by quickly. The days are filled with lots of joy and also lots of child rearing. I have a big job taking care of these four children. It is a joy and honor that I don't want to take for granted. So I take a deep breath, pour another matcha, put out some flowers, and thank the Lord for another day. I hope you are enjoying spring and the beauty that comes from another new season.