Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Halloween Festivities

When it comes to pumpkin patches, Jacksonville could do some major improvements in the area. Luckily this year we found one that was sufficient enough. Conner's A-Maize-Ing areas was filled with hayrides, snow cones, and train rides. We enjoyed our autumn festivities in the hot 80 degree weather... 

While our kids are young, I like to take the advantage of choosing their costumes... I have a way of making Sam believe ANY costume can be cool because of the weapon that they obtain. This year Wayne and I agreed on a lion tamer. Sam was ecstatic about the whip. We already had the baby lion costume for Sophie, which Sam, used when he was one, so a lion tamer seemed like a perfect fit. I couldn't help but to add an adorable lions cage for our "lion tamer" to carry around. 
They were the most adorable duo. 

Sophie & Samuel

The Traveling Circus

Samuel's Preschool Class

Monday, February 22, 2016

Washington D.C

In October, we were able to fly out to Washington D.C. for our friends wedding and do a little sightseeing. Unfortunately, over the weekend, D.C. was hit with a horrendous tropical storm as a result of hurricane Joaquin. We dealt with a lot of rain. On the bright side (no pun intended) we were able to find parking in front of each monument. I guess we were the only dumb ones to sight see during a hurricane? 

Forgive me if the pictures are a little repetitious, but there are only so many poses you can use in front of national monuments...  

On the plane

Washington Monument

As we were walking around the Washington Monument, we heard music. Assuming it was a recording over a speaker, well luck would have it, The Fray were practicing for a concert that was being held the next day. For the next 30 minutes or so, we danced, sang, and jammed with only about 30 other people. I have to admit, I was a little starstruck when Issac Slade made eye contact and smiled at me. Honestly it was probably my adorable baby girl on my shoulders, but a I can dream right? We enjoyed our semi personal concert. Thanks Issac. 

Lincoln Memorial
"hehe I think I like this"

Sitting on Lincoln's lap

National WWII Memorial

The White House

Vietnam Monument

National Gallery of Art
no caption needed

Holocaust Museum
(Our Favorite)

We spent 2 days in Maryland where the wedding was being held. The wedding was at the most gorgeous vineyard, unfortunately, due to the treaterous winds, and rainfall, they had to move it into the reception center, which looked like a Tuscan mansion, so not too unfortunate... It was a beautiful ceremony, I am so happy for Nate and Courtney and that we were able to share their special day.

Groom and groomsmen

Daddy Daughter Dance

A big thanks goes to my incredible Mother in Law who watched Samuel for us while we were away.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Trying Time in the Nordstrom Family

Every summer I try to make the trip across country to visit my hometown, Spokane Washington. You can say it is what I look forward to most throughout the year. It is a place where Sam can run wild outside, using every ounce of energy, until he finally passes out. It is the one time where I feel happy when I haven't see him for a few hours. THAT is when I know he is having the time of his life, caught up in make believe, filthy pond water, and trekking through the woods without any shoes on. When the day has come to an end, dinner has already been served, my sweet Samuel is still out there, by himself, completely oblivious that all his cousins have already gone inside. To see him in such a state of pure happiness is why I look forward to going to Spokane more than anything in the world.

 This summer however, was not as magical as usual.  Just a couple of days before my sisters and I were to arrive, my mother was dealing with excruciating pain which resulted in a trip to the ER. The doctors weren't quite sure what was wrong, but talk of a tumor was mentioned. After we had all arrived, it was decided she would need surgery, and the recovery would be at least 6 weeks. (Thankfully it was not a tumor.) My sisters and I would take turns visiting her, bringing "get well" cards from the grand kids, massaging her feet, and helping her on short walks around the hospital floor. It broke her heart to not see her grandchildren. She so desperately wanted to be home with them. Even though she wasn't quite her energetic self, there was a peace once she did finally come home. 
 My father had been diagnosed with cancer just a few months prior, and up until we had all arrived he was feeling great. It seemed that the pain, and side effects kicked in once we were all there. It was difficult to see him in agony. Despite his efforts, my dad just wasn't himself. He kept quiet and alone more than usual, and was exhausted through out the day, since he wasn't sleeping at night.

As soon as the kids would all be in bed, our nights were quiet. Typically we would be baking, and playing liver pool rummy. This time we would sit outside on the back patio and just talk. It had seemed that life was tender, and delicate. It was difficult to see both our parents in such an insufferable state. I seemed to cry every night, and through the walls could hear the same despair from one of my other sisters. Life was shakey and we couldn't quite get it together.

Even though our hearts seemed heavy, we were able to have some wonderful days together as a whole family. Our time together was short so what we did have seemed more significant than  usual.

Cousin Fun
McDonald's Break in Missoula Montana

Cousin's outdoor trading post. I paid 25 cents for 2 rocks and a weed. A steal.

Sam playing my own childhood favorite games.
A fort, a stick, and cousins. Nothing better.

A rare sight indeed. Sam never falls asleep anywhere but his bed. 
Exhausted from his day outside
Golf cart rides with Papa is always a favorite amongst the grand kids.
Sunday morning German Pancakes. An "explosion" of giddiness              
This summer was exceptionally hot, so he boat was a great way to escape the heat.

Once again, passed out.

We were able to get in one Girls Night. Sadly, Emily and Abby had already gone home.
Green Bluff is one of our summer time musts. This years heat made the harvest season shorter than normal, but we still managed to pick a substantial amount of cherries. Sam was gracious enough to taste them for us to see if they were any good.

We were able to get family pictures together. Unfortunately, the majority of us got the flu (on top of everything else) and Sam was dealing with it during our photo shoot. He was so sweet to cake on a fake smile, but he just wasn't himself. Thankfully Sophie had enough smiles for the rest of us. 

Although this summer was full of sickness, crying, sadness and pain, it will be one summer I treasure more than many others.  Family is everything. I am incredibly grateful to know that I will be with my Family for eternity. 
      (Since it is now February, when I am actually getting around to writing this post, my father is still fighting his cancer but is doing wonderful. He no longer is dealing with this type of pain, and my mom is her active self, but is not too happy about the large scar on her stomach:) Her surgery was a blessing in the long run .Although not great timing, her abdominal pain, and nausea she had been dealing with for quite some time has finally been fixed and she can concentrate fully on my father.)