what you really want to know…

How are the kids?

The kids are doing really well! They are adjusting quickly and enjoy making new friends. DSC_1009DSC_1010   DSC_1013  

Taken on their first day of school in California! They were anxious, excited, and nervous all at the same time.

Making new friends for them often goes something like this:

Addie: Mom! I made a new friend at the park!
Me: Really? That’s great! How did you do that?
Addie: I just walked up to her and I said, ‘Hi, my name is Adelie. What’s your name? And then she told me and then I asked her how old she was and she said FIVE! {at this point her eyebrows raise and her eyes get wide with excitement}
And then, we were friends!
Me: Wow! That’s awesome Adelie!
Addie: Yep.

Jacob has a friend that lives about a quarter mile from our house. They have hit it off quickly with Legos, Axis and Allies, Mine Craft, and sports.

Hannah, Kaitlyn, and Adelie have made many friends that they are constantly asking to have over.

As a mother I am thrilled!

From almost day one Jacob has said things like, “I really like California. I just want to stay here until I graduate. Can we just stay in this school and ward forever? I really like this house? Can we just stay in this house? It has an awesome backyard!” And when he was praying he thanked God that we could live on this beautiful earth and that we could move to California. When he ended Wes and I just looked up at each other and smiled.

He misses Washington and his good friend Kincaid a lot, but he is happy.

How is the school?

The school is great! Wes and I are really impressed with the curriculum. They have enrichment math classes that both Hannah and Jacob are able to enjoy.

The school goes from kindergarten to sixth grade. It is has a large campus with two playgrounds, a secret garden, several basket ball courts, four square, and tether ball.

The classrooms all go directly outside. It is not one big building. The best comparison I can come up with is that the school is like an outdoor mall with garden areas between the classrooms.

One of the things we all really like about the school is the autonomy they encourage the kids to have.

The kids eat lunch outside on picnic tables and there are no rules about how loud they can talk, or if they can get up to use the restroom, get a spoon, or go play.

On the playground there are very few rules. Kids can sit on top of the monkey bars, they have swings, and they can even play tackle football! Holy smokes, the kids were excited!

Needless to say, they love the freedom and feel more confident at school.

How is church?

I was talking to my neighbor from Washington the other day and I mentioned that we had gone to church. She was surprised, “What? You found a church already?” I explained that our church is world wide and that no matter where we go it is the same church, the same doctrine, the same lessons… It truly is amazing!

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to move without the church. It gives us an immediate network of support and friendship. Everyone in the ward has been so welcoming and kind.

Actually, that was an understatement. We have been overwhelmed with love and friendship. When we first arrived to our house, there was a poster board hanging from the tree welcoming us home with pictures of ten or so families. Another day I came home and found a box of Lucky Charms and a note saying how they feel lucky to have us here. The neighbors and ward members have stopped by with flowers, cookies, and open arms of friendship. We couldn’t feel more welcomed!

What does your house look like?

First off, one of my favorite things about our home is that it is right around the corner from the kids school. YAY! That is the best thing ever!

Our house is a one story rambler. There are three bedrooms and one really large room that we use as a bedroom for Kaitlyn and Adelie and it also doubles as a play room. :)

There is a family room, dining room, and a room off of the kitchen that we use as a study.

It is really different living in a rental home. I was struggling to make it feel like home but after spending a day on the internet and the phone with my phenomenal cousin, Rachel, I am happy to say I have found some solutions. :)

I will post pictures of our house when I get a few more things unboxed, and after I make my happy new pillows out of these fabrics that make my heart sing.

image image image image imageimage

Have you found where to shop?

Yes there are several grocery stores near by, but I am quickly becoming almost completely dependent on shopping online. I LOVE IT!

I ordered a weeks worth of groceries through Walmart to Go! And I even bought light bulbs from Amazon the other night. May sound kind of lame, but with little bodies I think it is the best thing since sliced bread :).

Anyway, we are doing well. I am doing much better now that I have some projects to look forward to. I can’t wait to share them with you.

So, that is us, but how are you doing? I miss you and think of you every day! Love you all!

Advertisements

on being new

I have introduced myself for what seems like the hundredth time. Can I just say, I do not like being the newbie? However, I love meeting new people. I find it fascinating and exhilarating! I just don’t like being on center stage answering the same questions for the ba-gillionth time. I would much rather have the tables turned. :)

Despite that fact, last night I dreamt I was introducing myself to a woman who eventually asked, “So, what do you like to do.” My mind began flipping through the options, hiking, climbing, running, backpacking, photography, camping, gardening, or crocheting.

But I instead decided to simply say, “I love being a mom.” She in responded, “Oh, I bet you are so busy running errands and kids all over the place.” I laughed, “No, actually I avoid that. I like being home. I like creating a home where my family wants to stay.

“I like creating that warm feeling as if you are being wrapped in a big soft blanket, and you never want to leave. I love cooking for my family and eating together as we talk about our day. I love the times when I pull in my soft baby for a kiss or snuggling a child as we read books or sitting close to hear about their day or singing them lullabies before they fall asleep.”

As I talked the woman in my dreams began to get teary and so did I.

Tears fell down my face because my deepest longing is to have this house feel like our home. And as I answered her question a deep peace washed over me as if to say, “Yes Amber, this is what you love to do. You have no need to be ashamed of who you are or what you do.”

Does that mean that I think we have some ideal home? Or that I think I am an amazing mom? Or that I have perfect kids?

HECK NO! That is so far from the truth and anyone could testify to that, as they have heard from miles away. :)

But I do feel like we have perfect moments. Even if they last mere seconds. :)

These moments are what I treasure. It is these mere seconds of pure goodness that make me love being a mom and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Moving has caused me to have a bit of an identity crisis. Who am I? What do I like? What makes me, me?

I am coming to those answers and feeling more comfortable and confident in who I am. Despite the fact, that I am way off the tracks from everyone else.

I am grateful for this opportunity for growth and change. It never would have come, if I wasn’t ripped away from such a wonderfully comfortable place with deep friendships.

It is hard but good.

What helps you when you have moved? How do you help it feel like home?

friends are like sunshine

Moving was way harder than I ever expected.

I was surrounded by angelic friends, as they cleaned my entire house. I was overwhelmed with love for each of these amazing women, that I have learned so much from. Thank you for not just for cleaning my house, but for being part of my life. I love you all so much! We learned to be mothers together, walking side by side in countless conversations, trips to the park, day adventures in the summer, story times, preschool, pregnancies, shopping, late girl nights, and the list goes on. I will never forget those times.

Our last night in Monroe our wonderful friends, the Bettilyon’s, hosted a going away party for us. It was so good to see many of the people that we love and who  influenced and changed our lives for good. I can not thank you enough for your friendship, love, and example to us.

The next morning we finished our final touches on the house with the Hallberg’s help, thank you!

As a family we took a private moment to go inside and pray before we embarked on this new journey. Wes prayed thanking the Lord for how good our life has been in Washington. He prayed for our friends. And he cried.

Wes does not cry easily. Since we have been married he has cried, maybe, five times.

We walked through the house and reminisced.

The Adams’s and the Hallberg’s came to wave us on our way before we left our home. I hate goodbyes. They are so hard, but not final.

As we drove away I sobbed gasping for breathe. It hurt.

The Bates had us over for breakfast, and we left with promises to see them soon. Yay! :)

I said that when I moved I would dry my tears and just be happy, but it hasn’t been that easy. There have even been a few days where I felt depressed and I had to laugh at myself because I wasn’t sure what was harder to do without, friends or the sun.

Personally, I would vote to go without sun. :)

the why, where, and when

* I wrote this WAY back in February and never got around to posting it, because I wanted to slide a few pictures in. Shame on my for waiting so long! It feels like the last few months have slipped into oblivion. But I am back and ready to lay claim to my life. I am running, scouring the web for the happiest fabric I can find, and dreaming of SOMEDAY making a digital scrapbook… Point is I have dreams and I am excited  to wake up to in the morning. YAY!

Anyway, back to February…

As I talk to people about how sad I am to move, with all good intentions they have tried to comfort me, and reassure me that all will be well. I know it will, but for now it is a deep and terrible loss.

To lose is to have loved.

We have lived a full and wonderful life here in Washington, and I will treasure the memories and friendships built here for the rest of my life.

I realized that in my rush to spill my guts, I failed to explain the why, the where, and the when about moving.

The Why

Wes and Chris sold the company Yumprint to Walmart Labs. YAY! What an incredible blessing!

From Wes’s fb post.

Two years ago, Chris Crittenden and I started Yumprint with a dream of making the cooking experience simple and inspiring. Side by side, we worked, dreamed, worked, fretted, and worked some more. The experience has been transformative and I cherish every moment of it.

Today, Walmart acquired Yumprint. I’m excited that now with Walmart, we can continue working toward our original vision but at a massive scale. At Walmart, we will help to create the best experience and prices for grocery delivery anywhere.
Sadly, we will be leaving many dear friends and the great Northwest to move to the Bay Area at the end of March. We will miss our wonderful life here, but fortunately we will carry almost a decade of memories with us and we hope to create more with you in the future.
I’m grateful to our many supportive friends and family who have cheerfully put up with a lot more of Yumprint in their lives than they ever imagined. I’m especially grateful to Chris who has worked with me through good times and hard times. And finally, I could not have done this without my beautiful wife, Amber Dyer, and my children who have lifted me up with their love.

Life is among other things a great adventure and soon our family will begin the next chapter.

IMG_3972 IMG_3970

I never took pictures of these two amazing men pounding it out upstairs in our “office.” I have the girls to thank for these little gems. Who knew I would be grateful for such sneaky and naughty habits :).

It has been a life changing experience, and like Chris said, they have had an experience much like Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings. I am so grateful for Wes and Chris’s tireless work to support our families. I am amazed at their determination to press on through even the hardest times.

When the massive white boards came down, surprisingly, tears fell down my face. “Holy smokes this is real! I will miss having Wes at home. I will miss the floor to ceiling white boards filled with complex math problems, sharing lunch, and even the endless discussions over all the nitty-gritty details of Yumprint.”

However! I will not miss the sometimes almost unbearable amount of stress, the super late nights that lead into the wee-wee hours of the morning, or the long work days of 15+ hours. It has been hard, taxing, and stressful.

But we made it and I am beyond proud of these two!

 

The Where

We are moving to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our absolutely amazing friends took all five kids for the week so that Wes and I could go house hunting. Now are you getting a glimpse of why this is so hard???

We left with bright hope of finding a home.

We spent every day driving to and from house showing appointments and the evenings at our hotel scouring the web for homes, looking into school districts, and commute times.

It is incredibly difficult to find a home in the Bay Area and even harder to find one that will fit our family.

Admits our frantic search we did enjoy uninterrupted time together talking, eating out, and we even slid in a couple trips to the climbing gym. The gym was awesome! Some of the walls are twice the height of other gyms and the rocks were color coded for each route. Yeah, for not having to follow colored tape up the wall :). Thanks Wes for an awesome time!

By our last day, I knew we were not going home with a house. I was so depressed and frustrated. How were we ever going to find a home for our family!?!

We spent the next few weeks searching, calling, and putting in applications for homes only to be denied.

Over time we learned how to play the brutal game of house hunting in the Bay Area. Wes just came home from his week long work trip and with a contract for a home. YIPEE!!! I am so excited. We won’t be homeless :). That is a really great feeling :).

 

The When

We will be moving at the end of the March.

The last time we moved we were poor college graduates and we only had two kids. Moving 9 years later plus 3 kids, is a lot of work! We made lists and then sub lists of all the things we needed to do.

Holy smokes it was and still is a lot!

In Yumprint style, we designated tasks between the two of us and got to work.

As I completed tasks I would cross them off the list. When Wes completed a task he would erase it. As he pulled out the eraser I cried out, “Wait! Don’t erase it. I want to keep it on there, so we can see all that we have done.” Wes retorted, “Why would I do that? I want it out of my life.”

I thought about it and with a great deal of hesitation I erased all the things I had completed. I wasn’t quit sure about this change, but over time I learned I loved the feeling of erasing completed tasks.

I am not defined by things in the past, instead I am defined by what I choose to do today.

The change of perspective and focus reminded me of a conference talk you can find here.

 

Over time I feel a lot better about the move. Finding a home was a big part of that :). I can now start moving forward with my life instead of just closing down on my life here. That doesn’t mean I am any less sad about leaving friends and a place I love deeply, but that I am optimistic and excited for the future that lays ahead.

Parties and Goodbyes

Monroe-2 Monroe-3

The last calling I had in my ward before moving was a Sunday School teacher with the 16-18 year olds. It was by far my favorite calling. I know you are not suppose to have favorite callings, but this was the best! I loved meeting with them each week to hear how their week went and to discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was constantly amazed by their insight and the incredible example they set as they shared their testimony with friends at school. 

I hosted a class party before I left. We had fun playing the game Bang! and having the best root beer freezes ever made with Wes and Matt’s homebrewed soda.

Monroe-7 Monroe-6

We had a going away party for Jacob and his friends at the park before we moved. Wes headed up a football game with the boys, and later ate pizza, chips, and soda. What more could a boy ask for? They had a blast playing in the rain and guzzling soda!

Monroe-5 Monroe-10

Last Day of School in Washington 

 Fryelands-2 Fryelands-4

On the kids last day of school I showed up with my camera like the paparazzi. I was amazed as kids just came flocking to me, “Can you take my picture?” Sure. Wish I heard that out of my own kids mouths more often :).

The kids felt pretty special to have me there. However, I don’t think Jacob’s face could get more red—it was pretty cute! The girl on the far right apparently had a major crush on Jacob. ;) I later found a couple notes from her to Jacob telling saying she was really going to miss him. Maybe I should make surprise visits at school more often, you never know what I could discover.

 Fryelands-27 Fryelands-18

Ugh… how I miss these kids! I have known many of them since kindergarten. They were good friends.

Fryelands-35 Fryelands-36 Fryelands-40

The Bettilyon’s hosted a going away party for us on our last night in Washington. It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone, but at the same time so sweet!

As we live our lives day in and day out, we rarely notice the incredible impact people have on our heart.

I am forever grateful for all of our dear friends in Washington. They supported and cheered us on through so many changes—three of our five babies were born there, we started and sold a business, and they were the family I needed when we lived so far away from our own. I look back on our time in Washington with the fondest memories.

After everyone else left that night, Rebecca pulled out a gift bag full of items to make our travel to California easier. She thought of everything from activities for the kids to a spill proof cup for Cora! She then pulled out chocolates, chips, and candy and told us why she included each—each revolved around special times we shared together. Of course, I just bawled. I am lucky to have such and incredibly thoughtful friend! Love you Rebecca! Months later… but thanks again Matt and Rebecca for hosting the party—it meant so much to us!

moving

We have known for over a month that we are moving. It has been a roller coaster of emotions ever since.

I told Wes “I am going to cry until the day we move, but once we move I will be happy and excited for our future.  But for now, I give myself full permission to mourn the deep loss of leaving our incredible friends, who have stood by us like family.”

My heart has broken to pieces and in the process it feels as if a piece or chunk  is left behind with every person that has touched my life.

I know that when we move it will grow again with each person that I meet, but for now it aches and I cry a lot!

Sometimes that it is super embarrassing. Especially when the people I am crying to are staring back at me blankly like, “What on earth is your problem?” I am always grateful for those who cry with me. “Oh good you are going to miss me too! That is wonderful because I am a basket case of emotions that can tumble out at any given moment.”

I don’t think people have any idea how much they have blessed my life over these nine years. Simple remarks about how they love my kids, or an offer to help me, or come over and sweep my floors, or having a running buddy, or brought me dinner after having a baby, or asking me to go on a walk with them, and the list goes on and on, have brought me a deep sense of comfort and love.

It has been hard for me to live so far away from family– I miss them!

But the Lord knew that, and so He blessed me with amazing friends, neighbors, and a ward family that I will never forget. I love you all so very much!

homebrewed

Soda with Matt Bettilyon-1

Soda with Matt Bettilyon-2Soda with Matt Bettilyon-2

Soda with Matt Bettilyon-7 

Wes and one of his good friends, Matt, spent much of last fall and winter perfecting the art of homebrewed soda. It involved incredibly late nights, zesting, grating, squeezing, mincing, chopping, and of course tasting to create the perfect root beer and ginger beer.

Soda with Matt Bettilyon-8  Soda with Matt Bettilyon-18  Soda with Matt Bettilyon-16 Soda with Matt Bettilyon-19

They collected beer bottles from work parties, searched online for rare ingredients like anise stars, birch bark, and wintergreen, and scoured the web for recipes. One of the trickiest parts was figuring out the best way to carbonate it. And we all quickly learned how intense the carbonation job could be. “QUICK! Don’t loose the FIZZ!” –Matt

Soda with Matt Bettilyon-10

They had good times into the wee hours of the morning and the rest of us enjoyed the sweetness of their labor the next day!

it’s my party…

Happy birthday to my baby, now that she is almost a year and a half old. But January makes for a great time to sit at the computer for hours on end.  :)

Cora-17

Oh, how my heart melts ever time I pull this soft little lady in for a snuggle.

Cora-68

I love that cute little wrinkled nose, adorable teeth, and bright happy eyes.

Cora-55  Cora-26

She went from this…

Cora-76

to this…

Cora-77

to this.

In a matter of seconds. What a goose!

Cora-79 

Cora-81Cora-64Cora-21

My little Cora rides the extremes–she can either be extremely quite, to the point that she is almost forgotten, or THE loudest child known– screaming her wee heart out as she plays with her siblings.

She will not make a peep if she is in a new situation or around unfamiliar people. She still doesn’t say any words but gets her will known through her extremely expressive eyes, gestures, and a whole lot of squawking. ;) One of her nicknames is Screech.

Cora-10Cora-25

Thanks Adelie-Darling for being the most incredible helper!

Cora-105  Cora-106

She recently started playing with baby dolls and using dish towels as blankets. She is a delightfully happy girl and entertains herself emptying the bookcase, flipping through books, smearing lipstick over my entire bathroom floor, experimenting with baking soda across the kitchen floor, and toting around random soft animals. :) I think she is positively adorable when she plops herself down, stretches her legs out, and stacks and restacks random kitchen items over and over again. Ahh! I just can’t get enough of her.

Cora-90  Cora-83

I just love how happy she is!

Cora is funny though. If her she gets hurt, she will often pull a big frown, get red in the face, her eyes are brimming with tears, but she will not cry. Instead she exerts all her will to pull those tears back in as quick as they came. Quite often when this happens she will turn, walk quietly into another room, and come back in without a trace of sadness. When she does let it all belt out, it usually doesn’t last long. It is incredible to watch her stuff and hold back her true feelings at such a little age.

I am going to have to pay special attention to this when she is older. Kind of scary if you ask me.

Cora-108  Cora-151  Cora-153

Cora-98

Cora likes to find small places to sit. Places like the stairs, toy boxes, or Wes’s Dutch oven will do.

She is extremely friendly with other children and quickly evades their space. She has never been given space so why should anyone else have it? However, when Cora does become over stimulated and crowded she lets everyone know by letting out the highest and loudest scream—it is deafening. I quickly respond and shoo the kids away.

What can I say, she has been trained to do this whether she is happy or sad :).

Cora-132  Cora-133

There’s that scream!

Cora-70My sweet Cora Mae,

Happy first birthday!

This past 1 1/2 years has been a delight!

You can magically soften the blow of a hard day and quickly wipe away tears of sadness. Whenever your siblings need a playmate you are there to laugh and join in their adventure. They love you tremendously, are extremely protective, and adore all of your “cute little ways.”

You have your Daddy wrapped around your finger. He loves having you come visit him in his office and enjoys pulling you up on his lap while he works. He even lets you draw on the white boards. Lucky you :).

You are an adorable little dancer and love a good beat. Coloring is one of your favorite activities, but rarely get a chance since it often ends up ever where is shouldn’t. :)

Cora, I love you so very much! You bring pure happiness to our home.

xoxo,

Mom

something has got to change

Hello there.

I have written more blogs in my head than I can count. There are days were I have felt motivated and inspired to sit down at night and get it all out in black and white, but for one reason or another it just hasn’t happened.

Instead I do a lot of thinking, dreaming, and stewing over all the what if’s and possibilities of life. Something has got to change.

When I think about change my thoughts are directed towards what my New Years resolutions should be, yes, I recognize that it is almost February, but have yet to come up with a substantial goal and commitment. I could make a goal to be on time. Anyone who knows me knows I need help on that one! I could make a goal to go to the gym five days a week and eat a salad for lunch. I could make a goal to spend time every day studying photography, editing pictures, and finally making a digital scrapbook, I have been talking about that for, oh, six years now—how embarrassing! I could make a goal to have a delicious healthful meal sitting on the table at 6’oclock every night. I could make a goal to have the kids in bed at 8’oclock every night. I could make a goal to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I could make a goal to study the gospel every day… and the list goes on and on and on…. There is so much I want to be and do better at.

The problem with making anyone of these goals is that they all seem so intertwined… but then, maybe they aren’t and I am just making it more complicated for myself.

Currently I have made the goal with Wes to go to the gym and eat a salad for lunch every day. So far I am doing pretty good. Not perfect, but good. Though it often ends up being a late night trip to the gym.

I work at all the things listed, but I feel I am more likely to be successful when I simply focus on one thing at a time.

Kids are home.

Gotta go.