Category Archives: Holidays

Baby, its cold outside!

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Happy National Taco Day! The Hays family religiously celebrates Taco Tuesday every single week. However, I am totally failing this week because not only are we not celebrating Taco Tuesday, but also completely failing at National Taco Day. Attempting to celebrate Taco Tuesday would require me to leave my house to get ingredients, but that is not happening. Nope. It is too cold and it is only October. I’d just like to formally announce that Annual Winter Hibernation has officially begun and I probably won’t be leaving my house unless I absolutely need to. So, if you need me, you will know where to find me. Hint: Inside where it is WARM.

I’m not even exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little bit. But I nearly died yesterday walking Bug to school. It was 25 degrees. I realize that isn’t even close to cold for Alaska, but for this lady who is always cold, it was a sign that I need to pull out my wool socks already. Did I mention it is October 4th?!? Welcome to the land of endless Winter! To be fair, Mister walked Bug to school today and I’m pretty sure he came home with snot-sickles. His words to me were, “Wow, it really is cold out there. You’re going to die this winter.” He knows me well. Did I mention that our forecast for next week is showing highs only in the low 30’s. In October. One of these days the shock will wear off, right?

Alaska is truly bringing us new adventures. One of the less-fun adventures this month has been Mister’s insane work schedule. We haven’t gotten to see a lot of him. We are pretty selfish. I think we would really only be content if he never had to work. The craziness of life has just forced us to get creative with our time together. We have broken the rules and stayed up late on school nights, snuck in a few extra moments in the mornings, and most definitely taken advantage of any of his few days off.

Naturally, being the time of year that it is, there has been lots of football watching. How about those Dawgs and Seahawks!? Its been a great start to football season this year!

We read a lot of books in our house. It might be one of our favorite family past times. I am so glad to be raising little book worms because, for real, we aren’t leaving the house except for food and Jesus until May.


Okay, we might leave for the Great Harvest Bread Co. too. It is one of our favorite pit stops while our running errands. And oh my, what a handsome guy I have.


Stealing precious moments with Daddy. And yes, Baby is totally passed out.

Probably the biggest news and bit of excitement as of late is that our Bug got baptized! Mister got to do it and it was seriously such a special moment. We are so thankful for such a wonderful church family.

And, oh, the shenanigans. I cannot even begin to describe the silliness that the Irish Twins get away with during the day…


Seriously, two peas in a pod. I think another favorite Hays Family activity is nap time! That and this past month it was catching every.single. strand of the stomach bug known to man-kind. My adventures have gone from carsick kids puking their way around Europe to this. It all involves puke. Being a Mom is clearly the most glamorous job on the earth.


Oh, and we are actively working on building a time machine. My Baby turned 4. FOUR. It needs to stop. I told Mister it is more babies or a time machine. For whatever reason he thought a time machine was a better option. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t want to live with any more little ladies!
Its not like we are dramatic, emotional, or wanting all his time and attention or anything….

And we got to decorate for FALL this month. I love it. Baby really, really wanted a light up pumpkin for her room. She might be a little spoiled.

And all the fall baking and recipes. Mm! Might be my favorite time of the year. And, naturally, my little shadow is always there to help!


Sneaking in those late night snuggles and loves with Daddy!

My Dad came for a weekend visit for Baby’s birthday and so we prepared a couple surprises for him! This is the most beautiful apron in the world for der Grillmeister and his new Grillhutte!

So, we were really living on the edge one night, and went grocery shopping as a family a half hour before bed time on a school night! Mister was not quite as amused or entertained by my spontaneity as I was. I’m not really sure why he’d be so tired after all the long hours he has been working?! Anyways. He and the Bigs went to look for a birthday gift for Baby while she and I got food. Well, a few days later this following picture was produced. I think we can all agree that Mister enjoyed the trip a little more than he led on….


These were my very last 3-year-old snuggles… sniff sniff

Special lunch out with Papa on his visit with us!


Papa brought some sunshine and warm-ish weather with him! We saw 55 the weekend he visited! So, naturally, my kids decided it was summer and didn’t wear a coat at the park. Also, some things never change. Baby has always been our dare devil.

Someday when the girls are grown I am sure there will be much discussion about how Baby was clearly the favorite because all the picture are of me and her. To be clear, I base my favorite based on the size of their dirty laundry piles, so this varies day to day. However, when you are Mommy’s little shadow and taking selfies are one of your favorite past times, well, there is lots of photographic evidence in your favor towards a claim for favorite child.


Oh, and being October, I let the girls have their Halloween shirts/socks. It may only be October 4th, but they could.not.wait. And they are oh so adorable so I don’t even care if it is too early.


Sassy Kitty!


In about 10 years when they are fighting over who gets to wear what shoes and boys and all things nonsense I am going to pull out this picture and remind them that once upon a time they really did love each other and that shoes and boys should never come between such an adorable set of sisters….

So, our adventures may not be taking us to see beautiful beaches or cathedrals that take our breath away, but trying not to freeze to death in October is certainly a new adventure for us and all adventures are with experiencing when it means I get to do it with this lovely bunch!

 

 

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Hello from ALASKA!

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Hello there, it has certainly been a while! I have really struggled with the decision about whether I should, or shouldn’t, continue on with our family blog. It felt easy and necessarily when we lived in Europe and were exploring amazing countries and places all of the time. It truly felt like an adventure. While Alaska has proven itself to be insanely beautiful and full of adventure, too, the adventures available are of a much different kind. Initially we felt like, okay, we are here we have to dive in and embrace this life. However, I think we very quickly came to the honest truth about what life is like in a house full of women who don’t like bugs, getting dirty, or being physically uncomfortable. We just aren’t hikers, fishers, hunters, or wilderness campers. We prefer adventures that include walking around ancient castle ruins or admiring the beauty of a centuries old piece of stained glass in a cathedral. So I haven’t written and I haven’t posted because I felt like there wasn’t really anything worth sharing about our lives here in Alaska so far, nor did I think I would have much worth sharing.

Until…… I came to the realization this week that adventures are simply exciting tidbits of life waiting for us to claim them. Our adventures may look a lot different now — they may not be checking wonders of the world off our bucket list — but they are still adventures. We may not be traveling much anymore, but we are still growing and exploring what it means to be a family in this new, beautiful place we are calling home-for-now. And I think it is worth sharing — even if my sweet Grandma Lunchbox is the only one who cares about reading it. So, Grandma, if only for your sake, may the blog live on!

(Warning: This will probably be a LONG one.)

In February the girls and I bid Deutschland and all our many friends there farewell! It was so tough and full of lots of tears. It was a long day of traveling many, many miles with three little ones on my own. But we survived — and no one puked! So I consider that a success. And, really, moments like this where we are reunited with family make all the stress of moving and traveling completely worth it! :

We had many, many sweet moments with family. The girls and I were lucky enough to get to spend just shy of two months in the PNW!

We were able to be there for lots of birthdays while we visited which was a real treat since we normally miss out on celebrating those (and most holidays) with our families. I think one of my favorites was being there for my Grandpa’s birthday. This has to be one of my favorite pictures of all time:

I got to go on a Ladies’ Retreat with my Mom and what we consider our home church in WA. It was located in the beautiful Leavenworth which I had never visited before! It was a beautiful and super fun weekend.

We got to attend a fun round-up that our home church put on! The girls loved dressing up… Baby insisted on going as gangster Sassy Kitty, naturally.

We also took the girls to see the musical ‘Hairspray’ put on by the high school I graduated from that has an absolutely incredible drama department. Baby slept through it, but the older two loved it to pieces. They even got to get autographs afterwards — which I think may have excited the actors and actresses more than my girls!

Naturally Grammy & Papa spoiled them and loved on them with every ounce they possibly could. Papa, knowing Bug is super into dinosaurs, buried some mini-dino skeletons in their garden and let her play archeologist. Consider her life-made at this point.

My Christmas present from Mister had been his blessing for me and the girls heading out of Germany ahead of him so I could be apart of so many special birthdays, ladies retreat, and other happenings. As well, it made the move slightly less stressful for me since he took care of cleaning and handing back over our home as well. After three long weeks, though, we were beyond ready to have him with us to enjoy a month of family-time!

We enjoyed so many fun things while we were in WA. We took the girls to the Great Wolf Lodge for a mini-vacation. We visited the Children’s Museum in Olympia which was incredible. Mister and I got to go on our first ever sibling-date with my siblings to see Ben Rector in concert in Seattle:

We also got to visit with a lot of Mister’s family on the eastern side of the state, most of whom we hadn’t seen in 3+ years. Many who hadn’t even had the pleasure of meeting Baby yet.

Another bonus of our trip was that it fell over Easter Sunday and we were able to spent an actual holiday with extended family!

Easter Sunday was an especially special time with family because we were also able to help my Grandparents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary! SIXTY! I am so thankful to have grown up with such an amazing example of marriage!

Our time home was simply incredible. It was refreshing, full of love, and joy. It was so hard to leave. I know I cannot wait until the day when we fly into Seattle and just get to stay. Until then, though, it was time for our Alaskan adventure to begin!

We spent almost exactly a month living in a hotel before we got our home here. I will be honest, it has taken me some time to love our home. Our days still occasionally are filled with little ones asking when we are going back to Germany. Moving is never easy. BUT! We have been so blessed in so many ways. We have great neighbors. God led us to an incredible church that simply feels like home to us while we are here. We have started making amazing friends. It hasn’t all been butterflies and roses, but slowly and surely the positive and the good that awaits us here in Alaska has outshone the tough stuff.

One perk of our new home is a giant basement that provides us sweet relief on the rare-hot Alaskan summer days. Family camp-outs in the basement have become a fun tradition!

In June we needed to head down to Anchorage for a medical procedure mister needed done. We got to spend the whole weekend there despite only actually needing to be there about about 2-3 hours total. It was a nice mini-vacation getaway for us. A break from the unpacking and settling in. And it sure was a beautiful drive and beautiful weekend!

A couple weeks ago my parents and sister came up for their first visit. What a huge blessing that we are only a short, 3 hour flight away now. We are thrilled to be getting to see family more often these days! We did a bit of local sight-seeing with them. We visited the pipeline for the first time, the Alaska bowl company, the Farmer’s market, and a few other places around town. We mostly just enjoyed their company, though.

Lots of snuggles were had during their week with us. We also visited North Pole, Alaska and got to see Santa which was a fun little trip. My sister is a Christmas-crazed woman and so it was a little slice of heaven for her, I think.

So fun. And another perk of their visit was that it fell over Bug’s birthday! She turned SEVEN! We had so much fun celebrating her! She got her ears pierced and had an insanely cool Jurassic Park themed cake.

I simply cannot believe our Bug is already 7! She even started 2nd grade last week! How do these things happen so quickly? I seriously blinked.

And! Mister and I celebrated our 6th anniversary this past month, too!

So thankful for this sweet guy. Even though our adventures are changing, I am so thankful that I get to share them with HIM. Life is never dull with him by my side!

We are looking forward to more family visiting this upcoming week! And I will do my best to continue to share our new and different types of adventures these days in a more timely manner. Like how crazy light summers are in Alaska! We had 22 hours of daylight on the longest day of the year — I will definitely have to share about that phenomenon next summer! In the nearer future, though, we are about to enter into our first winter here. That will surely be a new and mostly likely comical adventure for our family! So stay tuned!

 

 

If you would like to see more of what we have been up to, you can visit our Photo Share Site HERE.

December 2015

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Happy New Year! I cannot believe that 2016 is already here! What a year! It seems like just yesterday we were starting out adventure here in Germany. Later this week we will hit our three year ‘anniversary’ of living in beautiful Deutschland! It is kind of bittersweet to know that we will be saying good bye to our home here next month! We are so excited to be heading home, though, and then off to start our next adventure in Alaska! I know that 2016 will be a great year for the Hays Family!

We had a pretty fun December! We didn’t get around to doing nearly as many fun activities as we hoped, but we still had a really wonderful holiday season!

Princess and I played A LOT of games of ‘Matching’! It is her favorite and she is really good!

Bug all dressed up on St. Nicholas day with one of her little treats that he left her in her shoe!

Baby has finally mastered this ‘slide’ at the park behind our house and is so proud. It has be a wild ride watching her go from a baby laying on a blanket to running around with the big kids at this park!

Princess on St. Nicholas day!

St. Nicholas was good to the girls this year! I’m not sure how they will manage with out their favorite treat — Kinder Eggs!

Baby on St. Nicholas Day!

We had a blast at the USO Holiday Market! Santa was even handing out dvds! They loved The Muppets Movie!

The girls all dressed up to go see a Christmas Show!

The show went a little late for Baby!

Meeting the USO Santa!

The girls with the USO Santa.

A fun afternoon making and playing with Christmas themed playdough!

Bug was so excited because she got to play a sheep in the children’s performance at Chapel. She also got to play a bell and did a great job!

I got to visit Bug at school and help construct her gingerbread house with her! So fun!

Princess working on one of our Christmas crafts this year — a 3 wise man banner!

Bug hard at work!

Baby too!

Playing one of our new games we got for Christmas! We love board games!

Merry Christmas from the Hays Family!









The girls with the ACS Santa.







Ringing in the New Year (a few hours early) with two of my dearest friends here in Germany. I seriously don’t know that I could have survived my time here with out them!

We did visit the Wiesbaden Christmas Market this year, but I didn’t wind up taking any pictures. Probably because my hands were too full of yummy things to eat and drink the whole time! As well, we had a really fun time making candy trains with friends! So much happened. And I totally failed to take pictures of a lot of those things! Oh well! At least we have the memories!

To see more of our adventures from the past month you can view the entire albums HERE and HERE.

November 2015

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November was such a fun month! Mister was recovering from surgery and so we had the privilege of having him home a majority of the month! He recovered very quickly from the surgery (and is continuing to make great progress and getting back to normal) and so it really was quite an enjoyable time together! It has been a little rough on Baby to understand the concept of him going back to work. Mostly mornings when she first wakes up and doesn’t see Dad around she’ll ask, “Is Daddy still sleeping?” She is sure a Daddy’s girl!

November also was a month of some big news for our family! We finally worked out all the details for our upcoming move. We were not approved to stay here in Germany until next fall as we originally thought we would be (to give Mister enough time to get back to normal post-surgery). However, we are staying a few extra months and will be heading out in early March! We will get to spend some time with our extended family and then in April we will be starting our new adventure in Alaska! We are super excited! I know it will take some getting used to, but everything is falling into place perfect and we have only been hearing great things about our upcoming adventure! I can’t wait to get there and start exploring!

Earlier in the month Bug got the chance to go to a little cheer clinic with the cheerleaders for the NFL Kansas City Chiefs! She had an absolute blast and they really were amazingly sweet gals!



Baby as been becoming more and more independent and that means that she likes to dress herself:


Princess loves to look at books! Some of her favorites lately include ISpy (or similar type) books!


Bubble baths are a big favorite around these parts! We keep the bubble bath soap company in business!

So cute and getting SO big:


We all got haircuts! Princess and Bug kept similar cuts, but Baby and I both got shorter cuts!


We had a great Thanksgiving holiday with some friends! We also had a really fun weekend seeing a movie and having lots of family time! We decorated for Christmas and got out all our fun Christmas movies and books! We just LOVE Christmas time! We even kicked off the Christmas season with our first Christmas Market of the year!




I hope everyone is having a wonderful December so far! Merry Christmas!

If you’d like to see more photos from November you can do so HERE.

You can also see more photos of the Christmas Market in Oberursal HERE.

October 2015

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Hello! I hope you all are having a great fall so far! I think that Autumn is my favorite season of all! The colors are just so beautiful and nothing beats a cozy Autumn day with a yummy cup of something warm and a good book!

October was a busy month for the Hays family. I am happy to report that we survived our month and a half of havingย two 3 year olds and now one of those precious girls is FOUR! Mister had his knee surgery mid month and is recovering better than expected which is nice! We are really enjoying having him home while he recovers! We are also really thankful for all of our amazing friends here who helped us get through his surgery. Having to drive 60-90 minutes to the hospital and not being able to bring kids was a bit chaotic at times between the various appointments and the surgery day. We seriously have the best friends in the world!

Along the lines of knee surgery… due to Mister’s surgery we won’t be moving in December and heading to San Antonio as planned since he needs time to recover before our move. While we don’t have many details we do know that we will be back stateside in the February or March time frame. We still have no idea where we will be going, but hopefully we can share that exciting news sometime soon! We are really, really looking forward to being at least somewhat closer to our family and friends though! Germany has been a wonderful adventure, but we are ready to go home.

Princess and Baby both got to start preschool this past month and are absolutely loving it. They are in class on alternating days and so they each have their own classes and they each get days with Mom all to themselves. It is working out really nicely. Before school started, though, we got to go on an adventure to pick apples! They had so much fun!


Speaking of preschool! The girls shared a class for one week before Princess started in her new class. On one of those days the firefighters came to their class and Princess made the local newspaper!


Our Littles are seriously the best of friends! Some call us crazy for having two so close together, but I wouldn’t trade it in for the world!


Bug has been LOVING first grade! She is reading like a champ and is really starting to love to read which has been a lot of fun! Here is a picture of her with her first book report:


We also had some fun this month celebrating fall/halloween and getting into the spirit. One of those was a short day trip down to Ludwigsburg for their annual Pumpkin festival! It was such a beautiful day out and it was so nice to get out of the house for a little while. We enjoying some great pumpkin – foods, too!







Closer to Halloween we opted to get some pumpkins of our own to carve which was a hilarious disaster. The girls refused to touch the pumpkin guts and wound up just having a dance party while Mister and I did all the work. Just for the record, we had gotten 5 pumpkins with a vision of us having fun gutting them, carving them, etc. Instead Mister and I spent hours cleaning, cooking seeds, carving, etc. It was fun and yet also very tiring. And the pumpkins rotted and had to be thrown out within the week and no one really cared for the seeds and those ended up getting thrown out too. We totally nailed that holiday tradition! Mister did a really great job carving the pumpkins, though, and we really enjoyed them before they started smelling disgusting.




The girls had some fun shirts to wear to school the day before Halloween, too!







Halloween night was an absolute hoot! Poor Mister was still not super mobile at that point so he wound up getting put on ‘passing out the candy’ duty. The girls and I, though, got to join a nice group of friends and neighbors for the evening! We walked around collecting candy and finished the night at a BBQ put on at the park! Can’t beat a free hot dog dinner on Halloween! ๐Ÿ˜‰









We’ve spent the past 3 Halloweens with the same friends! I am so sad that we won’t be able to share in all the festivities with them next year! Going trick or treating with them has become our tradition!

To see more of our October fun, you can view the entire albums HERE or HERE!

Easter 2015!

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As I was uploading pictures from our most recent trip I realized that I had never uploaded the Easter pictures nor blogged about it! Better late than never, right? To be perfectly honest we’ve just been having way to much fun lately I haven’t even had time to stop and think about blogging. The weather has been amazing and I think we have practically lived outside! We even ate dinner outside for the first time this year last week! On the down side, I’ve suddenly developed insane seasonal allergies. Never had them before in my life and all of a sudden… Boom! I’m slowly getting better. At least now my eyes aren’t insanely swollen and red and itchy. I’m still congested, but I will gladly suffer through this congestion compared to pure torture my eyes gave me recently. Enough about me, though, lets get on to Easter!

This year Easter was a little extra special because it fell on Mr.’s birthday!! Last year we had looked into doing a leg of lamb for Easter and received a bit of sticker shock. This year, though, the shock was a little less and since we were celebrating both Easter and Mr.’s birthday we decided to give it a go. SO glad we did. It turned out amazing. I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to settled for an Easter Ham again!

Our day was mostly a relaxing one. We didn’t do anything insanely crazy. Peter Cottontail did leave a bunch of goodies for the girls, though, which they appreciated very much so! This year he was kind enough to bring some fun educational things like puzzles and work books that proved to be very useful since the following week was Spring Break!


I decided to introduce the girls to the glorious world of Peeps this year. And not just any peeps. Purple peeps. Unfortunately they don’t share my love for the adorable, delicious little critters. And since you can only eat them fresh and I didn’t want the poor, sweet little chicks to go to waste I consumed one too many of my little friends this past Easter. Note to self: In the future only buy the girls Easter Candy you yourself don’t like.

Baby checking out her loot!

Ready to hunt down all the eggs! This was the first year that all three girls could really hunt by themselves! It was a lot of fun!

We were playing ‘egg hunt’ for days afterwards… I’m still finding random eggs around the house that have been long forgotten about!

All in all it was a great, relaxing day! We are really looking forward to next Easter, though, when we will hopefully be celebrating with our extended family!!

Our Christmas (and more)!

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I hope that everyone had a great Christmas this year! I know that we sure did! We were very blessed to get to ‘celebrate’ with a lot of our extended family thanks to the great invention of Skype. We ate some yummy food and enjoyed spending time together as a family. This year the girls did get a couple of toys, but we mainly got them books and board games! Its been really nice to facilitate lots of family time together during this long weekend!

For those of you not on Facebook, here is our family on Christmas Eve!

The girls being silly!

They sure are getting big!

Baby decorating cookies for Santa– a Christmas Eve tradition!

The girls all decorating cookies. Princess wanted to give Santa some extra special germs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The girls in their matching Christmas Jammies on Christmas Eve!

I was letting the girls play with the extra cookie dough after we got done cutting out the shapes. I asked them not to eat any because it was almost dinner. Baby has some hidden in the palm of her hand and was just so innocently resting her face in her hand all the while sneaking nibbles of cookie dough!

New shirt!

The Littles were being so silly playing in our winter box in the closet!

Even Bug joined in eventually!

We got a new jogging stroller/bike trailer that we are all super excited about!

The girls having a blast at gymnastics!

Princess doing the balance beam. This was the first week her teacher lifted it up off the ground a little bit! She did so great!

The balance beam is Baby’s favorite station! ๐Ÿ™‚