Friday, October 11, 2013

Hawaii Days 2 and 3

June 3 & 4, 2013

We spent the day of the 3rd at the beach and it was incredible! The sand was so soft and pretty and the water was so blue. It truly looked like a postcard. This day I had a little "wardrobe malfunction" due to some big waves and distraction on my part. A rashguard was promptly bought that afternoon and sported the rest of the trip! We were also very lucky to see many turtles this week. This beach had a rock grouping that was a nice resting place for the turtles so the boys headed out to get some pictures and video. I was so excited, never having seen turtles like these outside of a zoo or aquarium.

That night we went to a nearby mall to watch a hula performance put on by a local cultural group. They were very talented and we had fun talking to them and their parents after the show.

 The next day we took a drive a little bit further south down the island to see the Captain Cook Monument. In order to get to the monument we would have had to take a tour boat. Instead we drove to the other side of the inlet to see it from afar and to marvel at the massive waves. Michelle and Andy got up close and personal with some of the waves. We had a lot of fun first watching our group be surprised, and subsequently soaked, by some rogue waves and then seeing others get "cooled off."
Another very cool stop that day was called the Place of Refuge. This park has a very cool history and was really a great stop.
Our final big stop of that day was to check out the Waipio Valley. It was gorgeous! The lookout is about 2000 feet above sea level and the steep road going down into the valley is not appropriate (duh!) for rental vehicles, so we enjoyed from above. Looking at pictures of the valley online, you can see the beauty that is preserved and protected by the steep walls.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Oh my Miss E keeps me on my toes. She is hilarious!

Yesterday she told me she loved me so much she wanted to marry me. I told her I couldn't marry her, I am her mom and I am already married to her dad. She looked at me and asked, "Where were you when daddy chose you?" I didn't understand so I said, "what?!" She asked the question again so I said, "do you mean where was I when daddy asked me to marry him?" She said, "yes." I told her that I lived in Provo, UT and I was going to BYU. She smiled and said, "I bet he looked at you and said, that's a pretty girl and I want to marry her!"

This afternoon E was in the bathroom for a long time (typical for her). I heard her grunt and then quietly say, "yes!" Then she started cheering, "I did it! I knew I could do it and I did! Yay! Yes! I did it!" And so on. When she came out of the bathroom she told me that she "hugged and kissed that potty!" I told her that I was proud of her, but to please, never do that again. Bleh!

Lately any time someone leaves the home without E she always yells, "Wait! I have something to give you in the laundry room!" Then she runs in to give us a sloppy kiss and hug before we go.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hawaii Day 1

June 2, 2013

My mom and dad provided us with a fabulous vacation to Hawaii to kick off a big year of celebration. My mom was celebration a big birthday (we believe she doesn't look a day over 30!), mom and dad are celebrating 30 years of marriage this year, and my cute brother was preparing to leave on a church mission to Japan later in the summer. My kids stayed with my awesome cousin Lessley for the first part of the trip and my aunt Jayme for the end. Let's just say that they were less than enthused about going home to boring mom and dad!
This was the day they headed down to Lessley's. These two are a crack up!
We stayed at the Outrigger Fairway Villas. The rooms were 2 room condos and they were perfect! We had a lot of fun swimming and playing on the property there. The barbeque area near the pool was right near our rooms, which was very convenient for dinners.

Sorry, Steve, this was the only picture I had of our condo. He was trying on Andy's pants...not a good fit!

The first full day that we were in Hawaii happened to be a Sunday. We got up fairly early, thanks to the crazy time change, and enjoyed the morning before heading to church in Waimea. The ward we visited happened to be Steve's "Aloha O'e ward," the last ward he was in before he left his mission. The day we were there they had two missionaries to sing the Aloha O'e, one leaving to go home, and one leaving for his own mission. It was so touching to stand and sing that song, knowing Steve was there only about 9 years earlier. (I totally cried.) We also got to check out the mission pad (apartment), right across the parking lot from the church. It was pretty basic and kind of dirty...just the way he remembered it! Steve was in heaven in Waimea, so much so that he is still convincing me that this is the place our family should end up.

Signing "the desk" in the missionary pad

My cute sibs, Kelsi and Matt

After church we went for a drive to see the King Kamehameha statue and then on to the Polalu Valley. The hike down to the Polalu Valley was stunning and a bit steep. The reward at the end was breathtaking! I got to see my first black sand beach. It was so beautiful. We loved seeing the tiny, insect-like frogs hopping all around in the brush. The hike back up was a bit more strenuous and I was made only more self-conscious by the family that had competed in the half Iron Man race the day before, basically jogging up holding their children. Steve carried me up at the end, haha.

Andy and Michelle-These cuties celebrated their first anniversary in Hawaii, luckies!

I love my dad!

The whole group: Dad, Mom, Steve, Me, Andy, Michelle, Matt, Kelsi

This is a horrible picture, but I had to document the time Andy just about gave us girls a heart attack. He jumped out of these trees like a monkey and I am sure the screaming was heard from miles around.
Rather than going straight home we decided to hit one more of our hikes. *Side note: My sister, Kelsi, made it very clear that she had no desire to hike while on this trip. The first day we jumped right in by doing two hikes, one very steep and the other loooong and flat.* We wanted to see a sacrificial heiau (hey-ow) that Steve had visited during his time on that island. It was a nice, flat, long, breezy windy hike. It was actually a fun walk with beautiful views. (Sadly I don't really have any pictures of this!)

That night we ate dinner at the mall near our condo. When we got home I think we went to the hot tub, afterward falling into bed exhausted! Kartchners do not mess around on vacation!

New Opportunities

For the last few years our family has considered what should come next. Steve had considered going back to school or looking for a new job. The thought had crossed our minds to look for work closer to Plain City, but in the year and a half that we searched, not much came up. After ruling school out, the job hunt was on. Steve interviewed in Boise; Newport, OR; and Kennewick, WA. Offers were given for each of the jobs: Boise (our desired location) was not a good fit or good offer, Newport was a great offer and a great work fit, but not the best location for our family; and Kennewick, a good offer, a good job, and a good fit for the family. The offer came on either the 23rd or 24th of May and we accepted on the 28th.

Preschool Graduation

May 20, 2013

May was a big month for our Miss E. In addition to her piano recital, she "graduated" from her first year of preschool. This was a bit sad for our family, knowing that we would more than likely be moving before the next school year. We all loved E's teachers, Mrs. Ellis and Ms. Dixie. We knew Ms. Dixie from church and she and E had a very special relationship that Miss E truly misses! At her graduation, the teachers introduced each student and their desired profession. In true E fashion, it was announced that she would be a princess when she grew up. We had a fun time celebrating E that day!

8/27/12 Her first day of school
We loved E's first year of school so much and feel so grateful for the foundation that was set and the nurturing E felt.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Miss E's Recital Performance

May 16, 2013

"The Belltower"
I knew she was super nervous because she was swinging her feet like crazy. Afterward she gave me such a huge grin. I sure love this girl!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spring Recital

May 16, 2013

I held my final recital with my Utah piano students on May 16. This was an especially significant recital because Miss E performed for the first time (first time in a recital-she had already played in her school talent show). She played a song called, "The Bell Tower" and did a fabulous job! I will try to find the video of that to post as well. She was so nervous to introduce herself, but she played beautifully. I was so proud! She was just excited that she was allowed to eat the treats afterward.

This was an emotional recital for me, knowing that I would be leaving my students this summer. I thanked them for allowing me to teach them and did my best to not cry like a little girl. It was so hard! My kids all were fabulous, as usual, and left me with the best memories.

I have yet to decide if I am going to start teaching here. It really is time consuming and I will have to figure out what to do with my kiddos while I am teaching. I had a pretty sweet deal with a family in Plain City, piano lessons in exchange for babysitting. For now I am still trying to find my piano beneath the boxes!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Wholly Summer

This summer was nuts. Truly. Starting with a fabulous dream trip to Hawaii and ending with us living in a new state. Whew!

June brought a family (adults only) trip to THE Big Island. It was wonderful! It was a huge hoorah to celebrate Mom's birthday, Mom and Dad's anniversary, and Matt's last family trip before he left for his mission. We had lots of fun, ate lots, got lots of sun...basically it was lots of everything! We had a wonderful time being together as a family. I couldn't ask for greater siblings and parents. I love them so much!

The end of June meant preparations to move to Washington. This was a very bittersweet time for our family. Steve had to start his new job on July 2 and I wasn't moving with the girls until the 20th of July. That meant lots of late nights and early mornings. I saw the sun rise on many mornings. Without the help of family and friends this move would not have worked as smoothly as it did. I am forever indebted to countless people!!!

Here is one last "beauty shot" of our home. We love this home. It will always be our first purchased home that we poured heart and soul into. Our second baby was brought home here. Many tears, both happy and sad, were shed in this home.

The best of the best people live in our old neighborhood/ward. They were truly there to lift me and my girls up and I know that Steve and I both felt comfort because I was so taken care of. My incredible sister and brother in law also went above and beyond the call of duty that week!!!

The day we loaded the truck, July 19, the house was immaculately clean and all of our toys were packed up. I did not want the girls in the house so we got in the car and they promptly fell asleep. I headed to my favorite lunch spot, Kneaders, and got a yummy lunch from the drive through. We then headed to Beus Pond Park to explore. The girls got even more tired and more dirty. We were lucky enough to be invited to our favorite friends house for dinner and baths before bed.

Once we got all of our stuff to Kennewick and unloaded from the truck, we promptly turned around and went on vacation!!! The girls and I met our besties, the Knights, in Boise and then went to my mom and dad's cabin in Donnelly, ID. It was a wonderful few days of food, fun, and friends. We loved our beach days!

 August brought more tears with the departure of our favorite brother to the Missionary Training Center to learn how to be a missionary to the Japanese people. Whew, that was a hard but great day!

Then it was off the the Kartchner family reunion at Bear Lake to celebrate these two and their fabulous legacy.

Finally, in the middle of August, we were "home," whatever that meant at the time. Our new home in Kennewick is on a huge lot and we have met many kind people. We are still moving boxes around. It still feels new and a bit uncomfortable, but in time I know it will begin to feel like home.

And last but not least, our last celebrations of the summer include our anniversary and to love on this little girl! Tiny turned 2 on the 20th and we loved every minute of that day. She is such a light in all of our lives.

This summer was overwhelming at its worst and incredible at its best. I have cried tears of pain, sadness, even sorrow, and lots of tears of joy. We know that we are loved and I have never felt it so clearly and purely as I did this summer. I have been blessed!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Simple Pleasures

My girls are huge suckers for water. Unfortunately, I don't often feel like a fun enough mom to deal with the aftermath of water play.  After looking at these pictures I have come to the realization that the little bit of watery mess is more than worth the joy that warm, bubbly water brings!

I know this is a terrible picture but it is one of my favorites because it shows how excited she gets about bubbles!