Wednesday, December 31, 2014

dusting off the keyboard.

I don't even know where to begin, because it has been that long. I am pretty sure Paul is the only one that still checks my blog to see if I have updated.

I decided a good place to start is with my annual end of year letter to my family, friends, and stalkers. A recap of everything that didn't happen in 2014. It is my favorite thing to write every year, definitely worth sitting back down to the computer for. 


***


How can a year seem so uneventful, yet I look back at my hundreds of photos and have so many memories and emotions. I have been so excited to wish this year away, and now I find myself sad that it is gone. All my kids another year older, farther away from being those tiny babies I adore having in our house. 2014 was hard, but oh how I wish I could bottle all those good things up and relive them.  
Sabrina {age 2.5}: Our Bina Jane is our favorite 2 year old, she has yet to really reach any sort of terrible in our eyes. She is our child that keeps me smiling and sane most days. What did our baby accomplish this year? Well, she got rid of her paci on her very own, which I still miss. Bina got a toddler bed in hopes it would help her sleep more, it didn't. We had a first ER visit with Bina, I haven't ever done this with a kid before. She learned lots of awesome words/phrases like bootay, fart, and "I don't poop in toilet!" She reminds me every day that God loves me, because He sent her to me.
Devin {age almost 5}: Oh boy! There is never a dull moment with this kid. 2014 he lost his first tooth by getting it knocked out. Devin suckered Paul and I out of more money for toys, treats, and games that I would ever admit to. I will blame him for always being broke. He tells me when he is 6 he will stop sucking his thumb, I secretly think is the most adorable thing he does. Devin has a skill of melting my heart just before I reach my breaking point. He is a pro on his scooter, and still hates church as much as he did in all the previous years.
Savannah {age 10}: Van decided she wanted to start a new sport, soccer. She plays defense, and is actually really good at it. Who knew my kid would like a sport her parents know nothing about!? She would spend every minute away from us if she could, she has reached that stage. We don't do enough, are so embarrassing, and definitely don't let her stay up late enough. We are just so unfair. Savannah likes to be the Mom, but no one else appreciates it. She still has managed to be a straight A student, even though she can't remember to brush her hair or teeth any day of the week.
Evonne {age 33, I think}: I have said this every year, but one word to sum up my life is always PLAY. I do a lot of it, I have come to terms with it. I finally got to see Wicked the musical, the only thing that disappointed was our seats. I went to my first blog conference {SNAP!}, and got my party on. I successfully entertained our children, which is a really big deal...if you ask me. I learned how to curl my hair with a straightener, which is probably my biggest accomplishment.
Paul {age 36}: After breaking his leg in December, he finally got his cast/boot off at the end of April. Paul continued on his quest to see all good movies in the theater, and eat the most delicious baked goods in all the land. He is always looking for a new business adventure to stress him out, and we may have just found a good fit in 2015. Stay tuned. He managed to keep his wife happy by his constant spoiling, and survived my new cooking adventures.

Our favorite highlights of 2014 were a quick trip to Park City as a family, a weekend getaway to Midway as a couple, having the Bess family come from California, Grandma come from Wisconsin, another Summer of #sellfamilyadventureaday, going to the Lil Wayne vs Drake concert, visiting with Paul's mission companion, BFF coming to hang out, and lots of little things in between.

Dear 2015,

Please be kind.

Love,
The Sell Family

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Little Chicks Class at Tracy Aviary {a recap}

Our time in the Little Chicks class at Tracy Aviary has already come to an end. It went by so fast, and left us wanting more. We learned so much, and had so much fun. We can't help but feel a little sad that we will have to wait until January for the next Little Chicks class to start up again. We made so many new little friends, including birds. 
Our love of birds has grown exponentially. Devin's awareness for all the birds around us is awesome, and he remembers so much from "bird class".

I am just going to tell you a little tidbit about each bird that we found interesting. After 6 weeks, Devin can still remember things from the very first class. 
Our first class we met Barnie, the Great Horned Owl. We thought it was cool that it is the softness of their feathers that make them fly so quietly.
The second class we got up close and personal with Millie, the American Crow. This is the class that the kids got to help Millie train with the donation box. So memorable watching them be brave, and Bina trying to pet Millie. 
All the kids running/flying with bird feathers.
Our third class was Inca, the Red-billed Toucan. This is the bird that Devin related to something he had seen on Rio {the movie}.
The fourth class was Irvana, the Volture. We went in thinking these were really ugly birds, but ended up really loving Invana. The little tidbit I found so fascinating was they spread their wings out in the sun to 'ultraviolet bathe', which is when they use the UV light from the sun to burn bacteria off of their feathers. 
Our fifth class was the parrots, and we met Dali, the Great Green Macaw. There are lots of different birds that are considered parrots. Also, when Dali gets excited her white cheeks turn pink, just like for us when we blush. 
Our last class was the cutest White-faced Whistling ducks, Salt and Pepper. They got to eat right out of our hands, and my kids were thrilled. Also, we learned not all ducks quack, these ducks were some that don't. 
See that bird next to Devin, that is Bina!! She hasn't been able to take off the bird costume. 
They made our last class extra special by letting my kids paint pumpkins that went in to the bird enclosures. They were sure proud of their creations, and Devin hoped all night the peacocks were enjoying his pumpkin. 
Gosh, it has been so fun. We have loved every minute. Not only have my kids loved the class, we get to explore the aviary after every class. 

Thank you Tracy Aviary for the best kind of experience possible. We couldn't have asked for a better 6 week course. 

Love your #1 fans!
the end.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Fall Pictures {aka picture overload}

Paul and I have this thing that I will only make him take professional family pictures once a year. Clearly this isn't enough for me, but I make do. We end up doing "just kids" ones a couple of times a year to satisfy my craving.
October is a family favorite month. Between the birthdays, the love of orange, Giants baseball, and Halloween...we really look forward to this time of year. It only seemed appropriate we do a Halloween themed kid photo sesh.
Kim Orlandini Photography has been my photographer of choice for a long time. We all adore her, and her work is amazing. She works quick, always gets the best shots, and we all fun doing something not all of us enjoy.
I think I have said this after every session with Kim, but these pictures are my favorite. Perfect lighting. My kids look so adorable, and she knows how to show off their individual personalities. And even though Paul didn't understand why we were taking pictures "in the weeds", it turned out spot on.
I will always be thankful Kim has and shares such an amazing talent. It truly is remarkable what she can do with a camera!

Mucho love Kim! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

a ten year old.

Can you believe it? We have a child in double digits! I can't even wrap my brain around that right now. I don't feel old because of it, I just wonder where all the time went.
Savannah is such a beautiful young lady, and has always been so easy to have around. She is a perfectionist when it comes to her school work, but not her room. She still is overly sensitive, loves to hang out with friends, and collect mechanical pencils.

She has a love for projects, and would spend hours working on things if Devin didn't like to help so much. Almost everything she wanted/asked for was craft related.
She decided to try out soccer this Fall, and it has been so fun for all of us. As parents we didn't know a thing about this sport, and so we have all learned so much. I love watching her excel in something, and be truly passionate about it. Who knew we would have such a good defender on our hands!?
Paul had made a deal with her many years ago that she could get her ears pierced on her 10th birthday. She didn't forget the deal, and even though she was really nervous...got those bad boys pierced.

There are more days than not that I feel so grateful to have an older daughter to help me take care of the two little ones. Yes, she likes to be bossy, and they don't appreciate it...but I like having the big age gap. She goes in to the play lands to watch over them, she is the extra set of hands to help cross the street safely, and she can make them snacks when I don't feel like getting off the couch. 
So thankful Savannah is the oldest in our family, we sure do love her a lot!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a day late, but still important.

I have written a post almost every year for Paul's birthday, but I failed this year. I didn't realize it was important to him, until he mentioned that I hadn't done it. Whomp, whomp, whomp!

This is that one time of year that I really lay it on thick about how much I love the guy I am married to, and I feel good about it.
His 20th birthday, and the first one we celebrated together.
We have celebrated his birthday the past 16 years together. I definitely look forward to his birthday more than mine. If I wasn't such a horrible gift giver, his day could really be awesome.
 I am constantly reminded how important he is to me, and our family. His birthday ended up with lots of throw up from our youngest, and he cleaned that stuff up like a champ. We teach the Sunbeams together, and without him I get overwhelmed. When the day is over, and I feel like I can't take one more second...he steps in and takes over bedtime without being asked.
Paul is the kind of person you want on your side. He is my constant cheerleader, a good listener, sticks up for him, and overlooks my flaws. I have to say he is pretty good at teasing me too. I will never understand how I got so lucky to have him as my best friend. 
We have been through so much together, and somehow we always make it out better and stronger. We laugh at how cheap we were as newlyweds. We are baffled at just how many things go wrong in our life. And somehow we love each other through it all.

Soooo happy belated to my better half. Mwah!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Farm Country - Thanksgiving Point

Some days I feel Mom guilt for taking Devin and Sabrina to do fun things while Savannah is at school. I have started to let most of it go {patting myself on the back}. But sometimes I do wait until she is out of school, or like yesterday I plan something I know she is no longer interested in. 

We have not been to Farm Country in a long time, mostly because Savannah is too cool for it. Devin and Sabrina are the perfect ages to enjoy the simplicity of it.
I think we sat at the goat cage for a good 10-20 minutes alone. The goats were gettin' it on {if you know what I mean}, and the kids thought it was hilarious to watch him ride her around the cage. All the Mom's sat back and laughed at the comments from the kids. 
Sabrina really loves horses and cowboys. So you can imagine the pony ride was heaven for her. Now that I think of it, I don't know if she has ever been on one...this could have been her first time. #thirdchildproblems
As I sat on the bench watching the kids play, I told my friend that this is what adventures are all about. I like to play with them, but it is nice to sit back and not have to entertain anyone. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

our go to spot.

When we start to go stir crazy while Savannah is at school, we always head to the zoo. I love having our pass, and the kids have not gotten sick of our frequent trips yet. It definitely isn't an all day event, or even an entire morning. We make a quick stop at each exhibit to say hi to all the animals, a ride on the carousel/train, and get a refill in my zoo mug.
We went with friends this week, and even though there was a lot of crying from, uhem, a boy who shall not be named...Sabrina and I enjoyed ourselves. I told my friend that she was never going to invite us to do anything again, because it was crazy town.

This week for whatever reason 2 of my kids have been all sorts of grumpy and off. Despite all my efforts, it has been a hard week. I go to bed feeling worn down, and always hopeful a new day will make everything better.

The kids are getting their pictures done tonight, and I am crossing fingers they can at least snap out of it during the session...or I will be paying them serious cash for smiles. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Little Chicks Class - Crow Edition

Even though Tracy Aviary doesn't expect me to write every week about our experience, I really wanted to after this class. Mostly because it was so much fun, and memorable.

We learned about crows, and I honestly wasn't that excited about it before class. Owls {first class} seem cooler than an ordinary crow, but boy was I wrong.
First of all, the crow is talkative and friendly. My kids fell in love with this bird instantly. The owl you had to be quiet when he was in the room, and we all know how hard that is for my kids. 
Mili {the crow we met} is learning how to do the donation box. All the kids got to hold a dollar for Mili to take and put in the box. Devin was a little nervous, but was still excited to do it. Bina was so excited she could barely wait her turn. She may have even tried to pet him {I wish I would have gotten it in pictures}. It was so cute, I was glad the kids got to participate. Devin proudly told everyone he saw the rest of the day about "bird class".

They look forward to all the singing, crafting, stories, and a quick trip around the aviary to find new birds...and spend all Mommy's quarters to feed the ducks.
We are only 2 weeks in, and I love what it has done for my little people already. They are learning so much, meeting new friends, and looking forward to Friday's. 
Flying their crows all the way to the car...