Thursday, June 26, 2014

Family Man

I've been having an "aha" moment the past few months. This realization is that I have a pretty amazing husband. I already knew our children had a really great dad. I know this sounds ridiculous to say after being married ten years. Of course I've always thought he was great, hence the reason I married him! But I have truly taken inventory of my gratitude for him lately. I've noticed at times I was falling into the "been married for a while" trap where we are so comfortable with each other that I was overlooking all the wonderful qualities he possessed. Our challenges have brought us to tears, but together we have overcome them. Still together we face trials. Yet together those trials don't seem as rough. And when they do feel like rough waters, together we can cry and receive comfort in one another.

This man makes me so truly happy! There are hundreds of adjectives to describe him, with the majority of them being positive. :) The most important is that our family feels blessed to have him. I'm afraid that this post makes me sound like I treated my spouse poorly for ten years and just now started to express my love for him! Nope, not the case at all. We've always felt we have a special bond that can't easily be wiped away with the stress of jobs, kids, and the obnoxious clutter in life. I think we both just got lazy about making more effort with one another BECAUSE it comes so easily.

At our friends' (Vinh and Shannon) wedding
 Everyone knows about the five love languages and that we feel loved and appreciated when our love languages are fulfilled. Of course we all feel loved when all five love languages are filled, but we tend to have one or two that are more important to us as individuals. Paul has been indulging me in one of my love languages (acts of service) which has made it easy for me to reciprocate in his love language (words of affirmation). The funny thing is that both of these are the COMPLETE opposite in rankings for ourselves so the challenge has been to see how important it is to the other. Luckily the other love languages are ranked the same in our case.
Here's how we compare:
Paul: 1. Words of Affirmation 2. Touch 3. Quality Time 4. Acts of Service 5. Token of Affection (gifts)
Aliisa: 1. Acts of Service 2. Touch 3. Quality Time 4. Words of Affirmation 5. Token of Affection

The funny thing is that we never sat down and decided we were going to hone in on each other's love language. My heart has been bursting with love for my man recently. Maybe he tricked me because he has been doing nice things for me lately (hehe). It's a chicken and the egg scenario. Either way, I know he feels my love reciprocated back to him. It's amazing how some thoughtful words or actions can go a long way in a marriage, and in many other relationships!

A "wallet" filled with coupons from Reina
 Happy Father's Day to a GREAT dad and wonderful husband!

Monday, June 9, 2014

May Days

Our brother-in-law Richard has been researching an adventure to the Olympic National park. Coincidentally, so has my sister-in-law Emily. Memorial weekend was soon approaching and together, they came up with a plan for a family trip up north! Emily found an amazing Tudor style house for us in Port Angeles. It was originally a bed and breakfast so each bedroom had a unique style and bathroom for each family. My favorite things in the house were the cove ceilings and thick moldings all throughout the house, the wainscoting and superb light fixtures. There was lots of thought and detail in every room.

Really great kitchen as well!

We went on a hike at Hoh Rainforest. It was a gentle hike for the kids and the weather was just perfect! The Hoh Rainforest is perhaps the wettest area in the continental United States as it receives over 150 inches of rain a year! The wettest place is Kauai, Hawaii. We explored on the rare sunny and warm day!

It was even nice for us to bare it afterwards at Second Beach in La Push, home of Jacob Black.

The tide was out for us to explore the sea life on the rocks. I was too lazy to put my shoes back on to walk on the rocks during low-tide so my feet regretted it as I had to walk back over the barnacle-ridden rocks.

We explored the beach for hours as the sun and lack of wind was just too good to pass up! The Olympic National Park averages over 12 feet of rain a year. We were happy to have missed the rain as we finished our day eating barbecued burgers by the seafood town of La Push. Apparently La Push has the westernmost zip code in the contiguous United States.

Since Forks was on our way in to our hike in the Hoh Rainforest, we just HAD to stop and take a picture by Bella Swan's famous red truck! By the way, there was NO filming of the Twilight saga in Forks, WA.

Twilight fans visit Forks from all over the world!
We were not quite as lucky the next day for our trip to Hurricane Ridge, just outside of Port Angeles. The view was just too foggy to see anything so we trekked in the snow; unexpectedly fun! We had a delicious salmon dinner, dessert, and games at the tudor house the rest of the evening.

Our last day, I went for a 5.5 mile run in Port Angeles. The only thing that made it slightly challenging was the up and down hills, although good cross-training. We went for a hike on a nearby trail on the way up Hurricane Ridge.

This was a true Olympic National Forest hike as moss and other epiphytes adorned the bridges, trees, and ground. The ground was squishy and the air was wet- a true rainforest. It felt so fresh that it was as if we were breathing in the green all around us.

Reina led the way nearly the whole distance of the 2+ mile hike.

For living in the Pacific Northwest and usually having more than our fair share of rain, we've been stealing the hot and sunny days from down south. Trust me, no one around here is complaining! We've already hit 90 degrees and most days have been as pleasant as can be.

We are already seeing the little sprouts of green beans pop up from the sunny days and sudden rain showers. This year we stuck with lots of tomato plants since they always seem to produce so well. We also included beets (although Baelor and I are the only beet eaters in our home), green beans, snap peas, cabbage and radishes. We planted some herbs in the back corner away from the sun as they seem to always burn every year. This year I found a stevia plant so I'm excited to see what the results of that will be. Our strawberries that we transplanted last year are creating new shoots that are always welcome. We may even get some producing raspberries this year! Then of course we planted zucchini, butternut and acorn squash, and we're trying out a watermelon.

I had to capture my favorite flower (peony) blooming on our front porch

We decided to have an informal little potluck at our house for Mother's Day this year with my sister Sanni and her family, and Mummi and Papa Will. It was nice for the kids to be able to eat outside, and for me to not have to clean up the floors! Reina did great singing their Mother's Day Primary songs...although she was behind an older and taller girl. All I could see was her big eyeballs peaking between the shoulders of the kids in front of her.

Paul knows I am not one for getting gifts like flowers and chocolates for any occasion. He learned that early on in our marriage. He did buy me something for Mother's Day but it was perfect! Just the night before I mentioned how I really wish I had something to play my ipod upstairs in our bedroom. He bought me a new alarm clock with the ipod function and now I can take this with me on trips to do my zumba workouts! I think this time he knew better what I wanted than myself! He has also been doing lots of projects around the house that really gets to my heart. I'll get to those in a different post :)

On a warm evening we took the kids to the local swimming pool. Reina does so great on her own now as long as she has a life jacket. Baelor's favorite was the shower handle in the dressing room. He screamed when he finally had to give it up.