We are so thankful for Hope Kids, and all the fun they organize to bless families like ours. This month, we got to enjoy a private screening of Pete’s Dragon with free popcorn and drinks, unlimited arcade games, two games of laser tag, and bowling. Such an incredible gift to all of us!
Best Daddy award goes to…
I took Asher and his buddy on a dude night to dinner and a movie. All of the Pokemon conversation was cute to listen to :).
Beck graduated to a dolphin! He loves the water!!! Now he’s moving on and working on his butterfly stroke. We might have a future swim team star :).
Grandma Necas came to visit us, which we absolutely loved, but we need a do over. Beck got super super sick. We were so thankful to have Grandma for a few days, but we didn’t get to do much at all together. Come back, Grandma :).
Thankfully, Beck is feeling better! The epic 2016 flu bug has continued on through our family, but we’re hopefully near an end!
July 2016. The month the boys started sharing a room…and a bed. This is how Jeremy and I find them practically every night. It’s so sweet.
Asher started 3rd Grade! Holy cow, that’s insane! He picked out a Pokemon backpack for this year. Pokemon is still such a love for him, and now it’s even cuter because Beck has jumped on the bandwagon too. Lots of Pokemon cards and trading going on in this house :).
We love you, Asher! So proud of the little man you’re turning out to be!!
I turned around in the store to find these two being boys. Beck had the helmet on and he was saying, “Asher hit me and see if I can feel it!!” Lol!!! It was straight out of a Friends episode.
We took a trip to visit the headquarters office for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for Arizona. So neat to bring the boys in there and show them where our friends are working so hard to fight for a cure for them!
Lovin’ a little monsoon rain!
Ohhhhh how we love Punkie. I took him to a musical show at the library, and at the end of the show they invited the kids to come up and participate in the storytelling. This was a first for Beck. Afterwards, I asked him why he didn’t want to jump around with the other kids and he said, “I only like to be silly at home.” What a sweetheart.
Special date at Main Event with our little.
We took a day trip Horton Creek. We love this spot! It just so happened to rain that day, so instead of the creek being crystal clear, it was chocolately brown from the mountain run off. But it was still such a pretty walk!
Asher grabbed my phone for some selfies, and I later discovered these gems.
How lucky are we!!!
One of the prettiest hikes through Maplewood State Park.
We tried to find colorful leaves to make a rainbow. We couldn’t find blue. Beck said he would be our blue :).
After he drank a measuring cup full of homemade chocolate syrup, Grandpa was pushing him down the hill. This is what you call, “livin’ it up!”
I walked outside to find everything incredibly quiet (rare…and a little concerning) and found them standing super still in the water. Asher said that he was showing Beck what it feels like to have the minnows nibble on your toes :).
The clothesline was constantly full, because these two were in and out of the water all. day. long. They considered their regular clothes swimming suites. I mean, really, who has time to put on a suit when the water is calling you :). Asher’s favorite was catching fish in his net…which he did several times.
Beck’s favorite activity was collecting seashells. We had to take a picture of his 2016 Shell Collection so he could beat it next year :).
This was a big Summer for the boys. They shared a room. That took some adjusting too, not because they didn’t want to, but because there was a lot of partying, ha! But, it ended up going so well, that they are now sharing a room at home…with still a lot of partying :). And, I’m not quite sure what is the point of two beds :).
He was so quiet working in his coloring book. Pretty incredible that he was adding up all his birds :).
We went to the cutest little zoo!
This is what happens when you don’t have a little girl, and you’re going through old boxes with your mom :).
Ping pong with Grandma!
We celebrated the 4th of July for a whole week! Every night the boys would put on a little fireworks show for us :).
Beck has always loved sink baths :).
Our trips back to MN require a lot of planning and effort, but we are so thankful to be able to go and make a metric ton of memories. Here’s a picture of just breakfasts for the boys, and 1/2 of what they need for their lungs. God, please allow us to one day look back on this as a distant memory.
Thanks, Dad and Mom for being so willing to open your home, and do all you can do to give our boys wonderful lake memories!! Looking forward to 2017 :).
We went and cheered on our Arizona Soccer team with our cousins :)! Asher was glued to the game…minus about 30 minutes where he played soccer with some other kids. Such a great night!
Just a couple of Star War fans :).
Asher waited for a very long time to babysit our friends baby. The day he was finally going to come over was all the buzz for weeks. Asher was so thrilled that his little friend fell asleep on him :).
Beck enjoyed his time as well…but he definitely did not know what to do with the crying, ha! After our little friend left, he made a sign for his bedroom door and told us that it said, “no babies allowed”. He’s four. LOL!
Beck has a lot to say here about Goosebumps and zombies. And, he’s serious about it. “Boom, he’s the boss.” Ha!
Beck keeps progressing in swimming! He loves being in the water!
We are so blessed to be able to enjoy summers at the Lake with Grandma and Grandpa Necas! Our list of memories made is uncountable. The boys are already talking about next Summer!
Fishermen. It was a big year for Asher. He baited his hook, and held on to the fish he caught. He keeps honing his skill every year. He’s completely in love with fishing. Beck…well, this year he didn’t throw his fishing pole into the lake, so that’s progress, ha! He also named the nightcrawlers, “Moving Night Noodles” so that was cute as can be!
Touching a fish is a big deal.
Both of the boys got to have Corvette rides!
We found a turtle at the lake for Asher to race in the Turtle Races this year! He took care of the turtle for a whole week, changing out his water, cleaning his tub, feeding it, letting it stretch it’s legs. It ran a good, hard race, but it didn’t win. Asher was pretty sad about it, but he did donate it to some other kids, and we’re certain he trained the turtle up for them to win :).
Beck named his turtle “Naked Bob”. We still talk about Naked Bob, ha!
The boys and I took several rides on the golf cart…several times a day. So fun to pop on and go for a ride down our roads, or through the trail in the woods, and the nearby field. The new big thing that happened this year, was that Asher was given the privilege to drive him and Punkie around on the roads by our lake. They were so cute traveling around together.
Punkie had his turn at the wheel this Summer, and was quite thrilled about being a big boy :).
Grandma and Grandpa took us to a little fair in town, and we had all a great time! Beck was finally tall enough to ride some bigger rides, so here he is on the ferris wheel for the first time!
This ride was hilarious, and the best one they had by far!
Not a great picture, because I had to grab a shot quick before he noticed. He said, “Mama, look! I’m doing it for my first time!” He just jabbed the fork in, and then used his hand to hold the chicken in place, ha! Too cute!
We also got some Auntie Dana time.
Well, first of all, I can’t believe I forgot to post about one of the most important things that happened in April! We had our walk for teamASHER+BECK with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation! Jeremy and I were so blessed by everyone who came out to walk with us, and who donated to our team to help us fund research for a cure! Our hearts felt so encouraged to press on. We’re so thankful for everyone who has stood alongside us in this journey, and has helped us both financially and emotionally. We couldn’t do this without our team! And, this was the first year we felt like the boys could attend the event. There were many fears and concerns about them being there…but they needed to see all the people that love and fight for them!! It was such a beautiful morning together!
Daddy+His Boys+Camping = Lifelong Memories together
Then they let me join them for another camping trip :). It was so beautiful! We talked about making this a family tradition destination, because the area where we camped was perfect. A little cave for the boys to explore, a little creek for water, and plenty of space for the boys to just run around. It was a perfect weekend! The boys (particularly Beck with his little legs) did so awesome with the 1.5 mile hike too!
I’m not sure I’ve heard Beck chatter more than on the hike into our campsite. He made a comment about everything! He was stoked for us to be on our first backpacking trip together. Here is one of the many little hills he wanted me to take a picture of him standing on :).
I love listening to Beck mimic everything his big brother says, it’s so cute.
Lots of “Gold Fish” in the woods :).
We setup an obstacle course for the boys. This was hours of entertainment…for all of us :). Asher was the first to test it out.
Naps and playdates at Grandma’s are so much more fun :).
We have another little artist in the house :).
Peach pickin’ with this little peach!
Asher finished out 2nd grade this month! He had a great year! He enjoyed everything about his class, and learned so much this year! The last week of school was full of parties and a new theme every day. One of those days was the class talent show. Asher decided to sing “hello” by Stephen. He was pretty nervous (I’m not sure I’ve seen a nervous Asher before :)), but he was still brave and sang his little heart out :).
Asher and his teacher, Ms. Gray.
Daddy bought Asher his first real backpack as a graduation gift :).
Just hanging out.
May. The month the boys were introduced to Indian Leg Wrestling. I have no idea why it’s called that, but it’s provided for loads of fun for our family :). And, surprisingly enough, it’s really hard for Asher to beat Beck! Thankfully, Asher is a good sport about it, because Beck really celebrates :).
I just had to take pictures of Asher’s Mother’s Day gifts to me, so that I will always have record of this sweetness :).
Unfortunately, Asher got really sick this month. We had to take him to the ER, because his little body needed some help from IV fluids. We’re so thankful for doctors, hospitals, and medicine. There’s just no way that Asher’s body would have been able to turn things around without all of these things. We’re so thankful for how God took care of him.
He wins best big brother award. Taking care of himself, as well as his little brother. So much love for him!
The latest craze.
I told Asher I would pay him .50 cents if he could hold himself up until we got to the store. He negotiated for $1.00. He totally deserved it, ha!
We finished up another season of soccer, and Asher is already counting down to the next one in a few months…and so are we. It’s definitely one of his most favorites things God created, and it’s a blast watching him play. He HAS to be at school 15 minutes early so that he can play soccer. He skips snack time at school so that he can play soccer. And, whenever he’s outside and there’s something to kick, he’s working on his dribbling and moves. Asher has loved running since he first learned how to walk at 9 months old, so combine that with kicking a ball, and you have pure magic in his eyes :).
He just missed the goal here, but I love his fancy foot-work :).
Chest bump. He was really disappointed when he found out they couldn’t do headers this year, ha!
Asher’s biggest fan.
Asher moved up in the league, which means we scored some Friday night games…hello, our favorite! Beautiful weather and gorgeous sunsets!
“Ooh low!” Beck loves this game!
Found this gem in the book I was reading :).
I love this so much. Pokemon trading. Beck loves his new “minder” that brother gave him :).
I love having the boys answer questions like this to see what’s going on in their little minds. This is hilarious and sweet :).
Dates with Beck look like this :). I’m going to miss him being little!
Jeremy had the opportunity to open the Senate in prayer, and it was pretty cool that I got to come too thanks to Grandma Olimb and Grandma Joy Joy :).
Oh sweet fingers, where art thou…
Punkie, I don’t know how we’re ever going to break this habit. You are so at one with your little fingers. It makes us feel like you’re still our little baby, and you look so calm and peaceful when you’re enojoying them…but I’m certain this gravy train must end sometime soon…or you could just stay little :).
Always check your pedometer. Always.
Oh my gosh, it’s been really hard not chuckling at Beck’s outbursts, ha! I do love his sensitive little heart though :).
So fun to have Asher stand in front of the cool logo that Daddy made :).
Jeremy and I had talked about this wonderful organization for quite some time, it’s pretty common in the cystic fibrosis community to see our friends’ kids’ wishes granted from Make A Wish Foundation. We waited until we thought Asher was an age when he could pick something that would be meaningful to him. We had generically asked Asher, “if you could do anything or go anywhere where would you go?” He said, “I would go to Hawaii to learn how to surf. Or, I would go to Antarctica to see real life polar bears. Or, I would go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower.”
I called the Foundation to inquire about the process, and to ask some questions about the application. After this sweet lady talked to me for 40 minutes, she said, “ok, we’ll let you know”. I had no idea I had just completed the application. As soon as I hung up the phone the emotions were overwhelming: The painful devastation that Asher even qualifies for a wish to be granted was heartbreaking; The struggle with feeling like it was too soon for him to be hit with this reality; The weight of the conversation we would need to have explaining in more detail what he has and why he qualifies; And, he had already been expressing some real hatred about having to live with cf, I was worried about this starting a tailspin of emotions that would make coping and persevering for him even harder.
A couple of months later, we got the call that Asher’s Wish had been granted, and that two ladies from the Foundation would be coming to our house to interview Asher. So many tears and anxiety… and excitement for our boy.
Jeremy and I took a week to process how we were going to present all of this to Asher. A couple of days before the ladies came out, we sat down to talk with Asher. Jeremy explained the mission behind the Make A Wish Foundation. He explained how they seek to grant wishes to kids who have extra challenges in their lives, and how they were created to bring encouragement and joy to these special kids. Jeremy said, “….and, they picked you, Buddy.” Asher started cheering and crying. His sweet emotions overwhelmed us. Then he said, “well, let’s go tell them. Can we go now?!” He thought he had been selected by the Foundation to go and tell these special kids that they get to have their wish granted. It was one of the most tender and heart-wrenching moments that Jeremy and I will never forget. We love him so much.
We’re so thankful for these two sweet ladies, Bev and Patty, who held our hand through all of the stages, and made each one of them so special. First they came to our home and brought pizza, gifts for the boys, and interviewed Asher about his wish. After Bev was finished she said to us, “Well, he definitely wants to go to Hawaii!”
We waited a few months while the Foundation figured out the details of Asher’s trip. All the while, Asher thought that the Foundation was still deciding whether or not he would get his wish. So, when Bev and Patty came back out to reveal that his wish was granted, he was overwhelmed with excitement and tears. It was another memory we will cherish.
A couple of weeks later, before we were leaving for Hawaii, they gifted us with free passes to one of the boys’ favorite museums, hooked Asher up with a sweet snorkel set, and gave us all of our travel information.
The excitement in our home, and the Hawaii talk was on repeat mode. It was all anyone could talk or think about.
The day finally came, and by the grace of God, it was incredibly early in the morning…because I’m not sure the boys could have handled another day of anticipation :).
At 5:00 am a SUV Limo picked us up at our home to bring us to the airport. God blessed us with the most beautiful sunrise that morning!
The Foundation organized it so that we could board early and visit the pilot and the cockpit. The boys thought that was the coolest!
The boys did so great on the 6 hour plane ride! So thankful for technology and snacks :).
We were greeted at the airport and the hotel with fresh beautiful leis!
Our first lunch in Hawaii, while we waited for our room!
Our first sunset on the beach!
I have to make mention of this, because it was an unexpected blessing for all of us…and one of the greatest components of our trip. We had full access to the Lanai Club. We had gourmet breakfasts and dinners and pretty much any food or drink need we had available to us on the 30th floor of our resort. It. Was. Remarkable. Our days are so full of treatments and medical needs, that it was the biggest blessing for us to just hop in an elevator and travel up a few floors to eat. We didn’t need to find or coordinate travel time to restaurants, and work around treatments. It was the most thoughtful gift to us, and made for Asher’s wish to be all the more relaxing. On top of the very practical blessing it was to our family, we got to soak in this view several times a day! Amazing!
So, every night while we had dinner it became tradition that we would sit and play Goldfish with the boys. Beck was so proud that he could play a card game with us :).
We got to spend the day at the SeaLife Aquarium! We thought we were going to just enjoy the park, but when we arrived they offered us an incredible deal to be able to swim with the dolphins. Asher lost his mind. We had to.
Asher really loved this dolphin. He was down front for the entire show, and then stayed after to get some alone time :).
They reserved us seats at the Chef’s Luau! This was such a fun night of games, and great food and entertainment! We all had so much fun!
Beautiful spot off the side of the road.
They let us go to see the beautiful Kualoa Ranch! We got to go on a tour of the Ranch and see where parts of Jurassic Park, LOST, and several other movies were filmed.
We barely made it out!!! 🙂
Couple of trips to the beach!
Asher’s wish comes true! Learning to surf in Hawaii!!! Two added blessings: They gave surfing lessons for Jeremy too, so he was able to share in the experience with Asher; and, they hired a surfer photographer with a GoPro to capture everything for us! Unbelievable!
Asher was really proud of this moment, and so was his instructor and photographer! He was riding a wave and noticed that another surfer was approaching, so he stirred to miss her, then stood up and rode out his wave. He was a total natural!
We walked 3 miles to Hidden Beach. It was the biggest adventure we made the whole week. We were all so tired and hungry, and so happy we did it :).
Random awesome memories…
We’re so thankful for the Make A Wish Foundation, and everyone who donated to making Asher’s wish come true!!!!
We love you so much, Asher!
Two big celebrations this year in March! Beck’s 4th Birthday, and Easter!
Dear Mr. Wiggles, Punkie Bear, Punkers, Beck-a-roonie, Little Meatball – Our whole family loves you so much. You’ve brought an endless amount of joy and laughter and sweetness into our home. You just fit perfectly with us. We’re so thankful God gave you to us!!
Then we went to Grandma and Grandpa Olimb and Grandma Joy Joy’s house for family swimming and dinner together! Grandma decorated everything perfectly in Mario to warm your heart! You’ve been talking about wanting a Mario Birthday Party since your birthday last year, ha!
You wanted to put the candles on your cake. You kept going…and going…and going…we had a little bonfire!
The other monumental thing that happened on your birthday was that you got to chew gum for the first time. You’ve been asking for a piece of gum since you were two. We kept telling you that you had to be four before you could try a piece. Well that day finally came. You’re so proud of your new big boy privilege, and enjoy your piece of gum like it’s the first time every time you start chomping. It was such a big moment, we had to film it :).
We have an Easter tradition with our Hoverson family to get together and have an egg hunt for the kids, and enjoy dinner together. It’s one of our favorite traditions all year!
This man and his chocolate. He’s pretty enthusiastic about it, ha!
Sunset Egg Hunt. Best idea we’ve ever had!
Asher found one of the prized golden eggs this year!
Easter with the Olimb Fam! We got to be with Auntie Dana too!
The bunny decoder glasses to help solve the clues in the Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt.
I ended up getting a couple of keepers of the boys on Easter, but it was all very reminiscent of our Christmas photoshoot, ha!
We ended the day with Daddy baptizing Auntie Dana, which made for such a special Easter Sunday.
Beck was spending a lot of time playing with his piggy bank and counting all his money he’s been given, mostly from Grandma’s and Grandpa’s :). We figured it was time for him to get his own savings account. He was so excited, and seriously stole some hearts at the bank :).
Enjoying the weather!
Going to Auntie Lori’s is full of fun!
Our community hosted the best spring festival for families. Lots of fun things for kids to do, and free hot dogs and drinks! It was a fun morning!
Park and spontaneous splashpad!
I love this picture of the boys. It really describes their different personalities. Asher: all in, full steam ahead, everything is awesome, joy. Beck: compassionate, calculates risks, loves hugs and snuggles. Equally crazy, and equally loved!
I love this sequence of Asher. Pure joy!
So many beautiful nights.
Asher made it on a special date with his teacher for good behavior this year. I volunteer a couple of times a month in his room, and I can testify to his behavior. He’s such a good listener, and enthusiastic about learning!
We spent all morning at PCH for an appointment for the boys. Overall the boys are doing well. We are under doctor’s orders to try our best to help Asher gain some weight. They increased his meds to help, but they technically shouldn’t have because he’s at the top end of the red zone for the dosage that should be allowed. Since the boys were born, there has been a battle of figuring out the right dosage of enzymes. They need enzymes, because their body cannot digest and retain fats and nutrients on it’s own. Too few enzymes cause belly cramping and malabsorption, and too many enzymes cause constipation and liver damage. It’s a tricky, tricky little bugger of a deal. But we’re working it. Although little Punkers is throwing us a curve ball because we figured out he is lactose intolerant too.
It was a long dr’s appointment, so we rewarded ourselves with skipping school, taking the boys for a walk in downtown Phoenix, going to the Phoenix Public Library, and food trucks. It was such a fun way to end the long appointment.
I love how much the boys love going to the library!
The long anticipated Fun Run at school! This event warms Asher’s heart every year. It’s really an event made just for him, ha! Money, prizes, running, competition, goals. He’s so happy and excited during these weeks. He ran 56 laps this year! Just a reminder to us next year: don’t sponsor him for $1 per lap, ha!
Love that we can ride bikes to a yummy pizza and sandwich place!
Oh Beck. There are not too many things that are higher on your list of favorites than playing video games…mainly Mario. You’re always so excited to play with Daddy when he gets home…and so is he :). We’re thinking a future in the gaming industry has your name all over it!
Many months of beautiful days just hanging out enjoying our backyard and being outside.
Night at the Desert Botanical Gardens!
Sometimes the day is just too long.
I have to record Asher’s little prayer, because it’s now evolved as he’s growing up, and it’s a sad little phase to leave. It would make Jeremy and I smile every time. It was so sweet and sincere. For quite some time, Asher’s prayer always started with this prologue. “Dear God. Thank you for this day. Thank you for all that you’ve created. Thank you for life. Thank you for eternal life. Thank you for dying on the cross so we can have eternal life with you in heaven. And God…”
Here he is, jamming out to Michael Jackson, eating breakfast, and working on his homework :).
Just because he’s cute.
The boys continue to make just about everything into a fort.
Beck graduated to his next class of swim lessons! We’re so thankful for Grandma and Grandpa Necas for paying for these lessons every week! He loves them so much, and we love him learning something so valuable and fun!
Asher continues to rock out 2nd grade! I can’t believe we’re in the last quarter of the year!
Auntie Dana came for a visit, which we all love :).
When you show up to a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and they’re playing the video that Jeremy made with little Asher…your heart is heavy. So thankful that God has equipped Jeremy to help the Foundation raise so much money and awareness for this disease and our boys…and, it hurts like crazy that our boys are a reason for these fundraisers.
Jeremy and I got to go to Washington, DC to Capitol Hill to advocate at the House of Representatives and Senate offices for more funding for the National Institute of Health and the FDA. Our boys futures depend on it. Money buys science, and science is adding tomorrows to their lives. It was incredible to go right to the top of the ladder and plead for our boys and everyone else fighting a disease! So much thanks to our director at our Arizona chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation allowing us the opportunity, and Grandma and Grandpa Olimb and Grandma Joy Joy for watching the boys, which is no small feat! Jeremy and I were so blessed to March on the Hill!!
Jeremy and I got some Asher time! We took a very beautiful, and very exhausting hike! We were on the Barks Canyon Loop for four hours, and hiked almost five miles. The last hour of the hike was the gnarliest of them all. I can tell by our pictures. Lots to share of the beginning and middle of our adventure, and we just survived towards the end. We were all tattered walking back to the car, but we did enjoy our major feat together…and the in-n-out burgers afterwards :).
Puppy Bingo with a 3 year old in a tie. Perfection.
These two love forts. And, watching shows in forts, ha!
Asher. Mommy and Daddy gave you a jar and a challenge. To fill the jar up with legos. Every time you showed an act of kindness without any prompting to your family and anyone outside of your family, you got to add a lego. Well, you filled that jar remarkably fast. We’re so proud of you. We celebrated with bowling and the arcade with Grandma and Grandpa Olimb :).
Asher. We had to take a picture to show you this when you get older. You weren’t kidding. This is how you rode the motorcycle, leaning side to side. It was hilarious, and just really really wrong, ha!
Beck. Speaking of kindness. This is pretty unbeatable. After our bike ride, when we were pulling into our driveway, my shoelace got stuck in the chain. I told you that we would have to wait for Daddy to get home to help me out, because I couldn’t move. I was so confused by what you were doing when you got on the ground and started scooting forward. When you finally revealed to me that you were trying to help me, I had to capture the moment. What 3 year old is this kind and thoughtful?! You are gold Punkie.
Cheering on Zach and Christian while they played soccer on a real field about blew Asher’s mind. Of course he was itching to get out there after the game :).
Fire Station tour with friends! Just as we were ending the tour, they got a real live emergency, so we all got to witness how quickly they move to protect us!
Beck wrote his name for the first time!
Well, we tried this for awhile. Everyone was excited. We guessed there would be some partying and a little less sleeping going on…but it was going to be fun for them and all worth it. Well, there was A LOT more than a little partying going on, and significantly less sleep :). We all bailed, and decided for everyone’s sake, their separate rooms (which are not too far away in our quaint house) will be just fine for them :).