Monday, July 23, 2012

Our "summer" so far

Just a few photo updates of what we've been up to this summer!

Free slurpees on 7/11 at 7-11!

Kyle's cousin Jeremiah and his wife Ashley live right
up the street from us, with their 5 kids. Four adorable
boys, and one darling girl. This picture summarizes the
typical welcome we get when visiting their house!

My diploma and transcript came in the mail - which means I'm
 officially done with my Master's program!

It also means I was able to recycle this 6 inch
pile of articles I used to write my thesis!

At the Mariner's game for KC's birthday!

Me, Danna and KC

The hubs and I

Decorating Brooke's car for her 21st birthday!

Dad helping decorate Brooke's bedroom

Kyle helped as well!
The finished birthday surprise product

My first visit to Kerry Park!

Ingredients for turkey dog and corn veggie mac and cheese

Finished product: yum!

American Idol concert at the Key Arena!

Waiting for the show to start

We had great seats, considering we didn't have to stand to see the stage!

Phil Phillips!

Kyle and Zeke playing ping pong at work after
hours. It's really fun to work with family!

Company happy hour to say goodbye to 20-year employee
Chris Brown (2nd from right). Very bitter-sweet day for everyone,
but we had a great evening sharing stories and celebrating
Chris' tenure at Up Time!

Brooke getting her idea checked at her birthday dinner
(the waitress is a friend of mine from high school)!

Can't believe this little girl is 21!

Two of my favs :)

My main squeeze :)

Cute as a button!

No birthday is complete without a photo at the kitchen counter at dad's house
My glamour cat - this pic cracks me up!

My dear friend Chelsea's bachelorette party - love this girl!

View of Golden Gardens

It was so windy!

Celebrating sweet Abigail's 1st birthday. I had the honor of nannying
for this little miracle earlier this year while finishing grad school. 

Abigal loves to clap!

Such a joy to watch this little girl turn 1!

Giving it grace: So that's our summer so far in a nutshell! We've also been enjoying flirting with the sun when it comes out (don't blink or you'll miss it!).

Despite the happy smiles in these photos, it seems that this summer has been filled with news bites of sad, devastating news...Colorado shootings, breakups, addictions, cancer diagnoses, troubled seems as though every day I find myself saying "that's terrible" or "I"m so sorry to hear this". It hard not to feel "guilty" about enjoying the little day-to-day joys when I know so many people are suffering right now (including my family, for various reasons). 

I'm constantly called back to Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." This verse is commonly misunderstood to mean that God will work all things together for good, according to what our definition of "good" is. Clearly, we would say that not having cancer is good, so why do people still have cancer? 

What the verse is actually saying though, is that for those who love God, He will work together all things for good according to what is good in God's eyes...and that is something we can't fully understand. I, for one, believe that if God fully revealed Himself of His plans to us, it would be incomprehensible beyond our wildest imaginations. Thus, if I believe the Bible to be true and without fault (which I do), then I can believe that God is working all things together for good [according to Him] for those who love Him. I also believe that our God is trustworthy, so I can trust that His version of "good" far surpass what I could ever come up with in my selfish, self-serving heart. While this doesn't remove the heartache attached to hearing devastating news, it does help remind me that God is in control always - from the joyous moments, to the mundane moments, to the moments we never wish would happen in our lives. 

And for that, I am grateful.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A very relaxing 4th of July

This year we had a very relaxing 4th of July (as the title of this post suggests!). We kicked off the day by aggressively sleeping in, which means staying in bed long past when it's socially acceptable to "sleep in". For breakfast, Kyle made pancakes from scratch!
Whole-wheat, blueberry and coconut pancakes
After our aggressive sleep-in and pancake feast, we decided to actually do something productive. We'd been meaning to clean our patio for a few weeks, but we we waiting for the rain to stop....and it. never. stops. Every year, though, it seems that we get a streak of good weather starting July 5th. This year, we lucked out with the good weather starting on July 4th!
Before picture...pretty gross.

Working on the railing...
Kyle scrubbing the patio deck
All done!
We used this all purpose cleaner and it worked
GREAT! Plus, the deck  smelled like lemon!
After cleaning the deck, we packed up and headed up to Hilltop Lake to enjoy the evening with some friends and watch the fireworks.
View of the Lake
Our view for the evening
The dessert feast! I brought the red, white and blue strawberries. 
Not quite like they look on Pinterest,
but they still tasted great!
Watching the fireworks!
Giving it grace: It's hard to celebrate the 4th of July and not be reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can freely be Christians. To be sure, many Christians would voice that publicly loving Jesus in this city comes with it's fair share of judgement and persecution by others. Having experienced much of that myself, I do agree. That being said, however, the social judgement pails in comparison to the freedom we experience to be able to go to church on Sundays, gather with other Christians, and be open about our faith. Kyle and I humbly say thank you and bless you to those who serve and defend our country.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adventures at Big Land

This past weekend Kyle's cousin Joel organized a family trip up to Hansen family cabin up in the foothills of Ellensburg (Big Land is the name they have affectionately given to this plot of land). Big Land consists of two cabins: the main cabin, and Joel's cabin (and I guess you can count Nathan's unfinished fort as a potential cabin some day). None of the cabins have electricity or running water - so often times people camp on the land outside the cabin, which is what we did this weekend. The cabin can get really hot inside in the summer, so it's actually nicer to be outside (not that it was "summer" there this past weekend, but one can pretend).

Big Land is located about 20 minutes outside of Ellensburg, literally out past where the road ends. The paved road ends about 10 minutes outside of Ellensburg, and the rest of the way is just a dirt road that's been created. The turn-off to the actual plot of land was just a mountainous "path" until this past weekend; Joel hired a bulldozer to come and pave the path to the plot of land, as well as make some individual camp sites.

Clearly not summer yet!
Where the paved road runs out...

Road to Big Land!

New development: individual camp sites!

Kyle snug as a bug in a rug in our tent!

Nothing quite like living out of your car :)
The main goal of the weekend was to build some bunk beds for the main cabin. The upstairs of the main cabin is intended for sleeping, but just really needed fresh start given that a whole new generation of kids will be coming up to Big Land in the coming years.
The main cabin.

Jere and Joel laying the foundation.

My pretty husband.

Jere had a misfire with the nail gun; it shot a nail right
into his knee!

But it wasn't anything that couldn't be healed with some love from his wife :)

Finished product, many hours later!

Kyle demonstrating how the new bunks work.

Ashley and I even took up a little project of our own - cleaning the top nook!

Good finds from the top nook...

Everyone got to help do something!
Micah "helping" Kyle fix the stairs.
While the guys were busy building, the ladies spent time chatting and watching after all the kids. If know me at all, spending time with all the kids is a major draw for me!
Nature Walk with the J Hansen kids!

Grace enjoying the great outdoors (as cute as ever!)

The beautiful Alice and Hailey

Me and baby Jake

Taking a break from the rain squal - everyone inside!

The sun came out after the rain...
Tiff and Grace staying dry during the rain!
The guys even managed to get in some family time in between work projects:
Kyle discussing avatars

The Gwins!

Jere and Ashley with two of their fab five
Dinner was of course, none other than TFDs (Tin Foil Dinners). The rain held out for dinner and after dinner treats:
TFD Fixings: basically potatoes, meat, and any veggies
you want wrapped in a tin foil burrito.

On "the grill"

Micah got smores going after dinner.

Camping hair!

So. yummy.

Kyle and I had commitments at church on Sunday morning, so we had to take off late Saturday night. The drive back down to Ellensburg was so pretty!

Group shot before we headed out!

Giving it grace: after spending time with three of Kyle's gal cousins for the weekend, I couldn't help but think of the Titus 2 woman. Titus 2: 3-10 reads "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." I've read these versus before and always wondered what a real life Titus 2 woman might look like. Of course, I always come up with an image in my mind that no human woman could ever achieve, which is discouraging to say the least. This past weekend, however, I was surrounded by women who all strive to be like the woman in Titus 2 - and it was really encouraging to watch. Do they get it right all the time? I'm sure all of them would tell you "NO!", without hesitation. But that's not the point, the point is they continue to strive to be that woman, which is awesome. And what is even more awesome is getting to spend 24 hours with them as the "younger woman" of whom the Titus 2 women are called to teach and train. That's not to say that I'm not consistently blessed with older woman who serve as role models for me, but God definitely used this weekend in particular to provide me with a really heartwarming reminder of what I get to look forward to as a new wife, and hopefully a mother some day!