Beauty on a Mountaintop

Beauty on a Mountaintop

Monday, October 24, 2016

This week's goals

I can't believe it's Monday again! Last week passed so quickly with Tristan being home, we did so much relaxing and enjoying and spending time together. The girls' moods were brighter, their attitudes better, and it was just SO nice. I didn't finish everything on my list from last week, and some of it will need to get done this week, so you may notice some repeats! I wanted to start this week off by getting up early and having 'me' time where I exercise and then read my Bible. Last night I set the alarm for 5:30, but when 5:30 rolled around and my alarm went off  my brain said "nope!" so I turned it off and didn't get up until 7. I guess I'm not quite ready for an early morning routine like that. Bummer. I'll do these things this week instead:


  • Carve pumpkins with the kids (Tristan suggested we do Larry the cucumber and Bob the tomato from Veggie Tales- I will post pics when we finish!)
  • Bake pumpkin seeds (yumyumyumyum)
  • Laundry (I'm down to about 1/3 of a laundry mountain ;)
  • Go to a local farm and get produce
  • Buy Christmas presents (I've got the shopping itch bad at the moment)
  • Make a fall/pumpkin/jack-o-lantern inspired craft with the kids (any suggestions??)
  • Shine my kitchen sink (this has been quite neglected lately)
  • Read to the girls at bedtime (we're currently reading Stuart Little)
  • Rearrange the furniture (okay, I probably won't actually do this, but I'm kind of in the mood to)
  • Vacuum. Twice. 
  • Start a new art project (I'm thinking a painting - maybe one with words!)
  • Read voting pamphlet - I like to make sure I know a bit of both sides of all the issues that I'll be voting on
  • Exercise during the day
  • Bible and prayer time
  • Prep the house for a weekend visitor!
Oh I have an exciting week ahead of me! I think I'll go dive in, starting with that sink!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Truth Be Told Friday



It's 7:58 as I sit here, drinking my lukewarm coffee and begin to type. I have been up for an hour and a half, breastfed my sweet baby, taken out the garbage, changed my three year old's poopy diaper (she's not potty trained yet, please don't judge me) and gotten my two older girls up, ready, and onto the school bus. I think I forgot to have them brush their teeth. This my dear friends, is real life.

Tristan has been off work this week, and so we have been on a 'stay-cation.' I haven't done as many dishes, nor cooked as many meals, I haven't put away the laundry that's been washed, I haven't even folded it. My house is a mess.

But do you know what I did do? I drew. I read. I watched football with my hubby (or at least read on the couch next to him while he watched football). I took my oldest daughter on a drawing and hot chocolate date. I took my three big girls on a play date. I exercised in the middle of the day. Tristan and I took our dog to the dog park. One morning, Tristan slept in till 11. One morning I slept in till 11! Our whole little family went to the pumpkin patch. We had a lot of great self-care time and great family time over the last week! And now, I think it's nearly time to bounce back.

Truth be told, my house looks like this.
My kitchen counters are covered.
My living room has laundry everywhere.
My coat closet has exponentially more on the floor than it does on hangers or in cubbies.
And it was all totally worth it.

I think the hardest part about self-care and choosing family time over cleaning is the mess that's there waiting for you when you're done. It's hard for me to not feel regret. Or shame. I come to the end of this really great week and really look at the state of my house and I feel ashamed at the mess and regretful that I didn't take care of it sooner. In those moments I need to take a deep breath and have grace for myself. My worth is not found in how tidy or 'pinterest perfect' my home is. My value cannot be undone by a messy house and my value does not increase if my house is perfect. I have worth because of who loves me. Because I was chosen and loved and sacrificed for by a really big, awesome, personal, loving God.

So today I will move forward in that grace. Maybe I will put my homes to rights today. organizing the coat closet, cleaning the kitchen, and putting away the laundry. Or maybe I'll just close the closet door, put the laundry baskets in the baby's room, and have one more day of vacation. One more day of drawing, playing doctor and patient with my three year old, watching my baby crawl, and cuddling with Tristan on the couch. 💕

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Art - my not so recent work


I have been wanting to write a post with pictures of some of my artwork, and today, here it is! I'll include finished drawings, sketches, and half-done works to give a broader sense of my work. I would also be happy to do a Q & A post if there's any interest in how I got started drawing, how long I've been drawing, if I have any training, etc. Comment below if you want to see that!

Lorelai, First Halloween, Age: 11 Months



Fruit !


Melanie's Stuffed Bunny


Mimi and Melanie


Psalm 119:32


Bird and Flower



Maps




Drawing is so good for me. Yet, it's one of those things I often don't make time for. Can any of you relate to that? Do you find that just because something is good for you doesn't necessarily mean it makes it onto your busy schedule? That is one of my struggles every week. Making time for what is good for me. Lately I've been been doing more drawing and it has felt so wonderful! This is my self-care. It's easy to put off taking care of me in order to take care of my family or home, but I'm trying to turn the tide on that and getting back into drawing on a consistent basis is one step in that direction. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

This week's goals

I can't believe it's Monday again already! This week is a special week for us because my husband has the week off of work! His hard earned vacation time will be enjoyed as a stay-cation. So this week, most of my goals will be centered around enjoying our family time.


  • Take the dog to the dog park together (we first met at a dog park :) )
  • Go to a farm and get some produce
  • Bible study daily
  • Grocery and household shopping (I might even get to go sans kids!)
  • Carve pumpkins with the kids
  • Bake pumpkin seeds
  • Finish up my commissioned drawing (I'll be doing a post with some of my artwork soon!)
  • Exercise
  • Watch a movie with my hubby (haven't done this in ages)
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry (just all the time)
  • Meal plan the next two weeks
  • Day-Date with Tristan while our big girls are at school and our little girls are napping

I don't always complete everything on my weekly list, but creating a list still helps me so much. It gives my life focus and direction. It puts me in a position where I'm leading my life, and not just reacting to my life. It helps me know where I'm going and where my family is going, because I'm able to see what we are choosing to give our time to. 

Creating a weekly goals list is like an architect designing before building. If all you ever did was get out there and put one brick on top of another brick and next to another brick, you're more likely to end up with a wall than a castle. If you want to build a castle it takes two things: Plans or designs for a castle that lay out where each brick will go, and it takes you getting out there every day and laying those bricks where your plan says to. 

Now that I have my plan, I'm off to start laying brick. Mighty things are built with small acts. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This week's goals

Here. Goes. Nothing. I have decided to do a weekly post (probably on Mondays) with some goals for the week, things I want to accomplish, attitudes I want to work on... after all, I'm here with a desire to be vulnerable and transparent (which is a little scary). I got this idea of doing a weekly check-in from this blog that I love. At some point down the line, I'll have to do a post and share with you all some of my favorite blogs! But, for today, here are my goals for the week:

  • Refold all the laundry in my girls' dresser (I don't know if your kids do this, but occasionally mine will look for a specific item and unfold everything in the process!)
  • Work on my commission drawings (did you guys know that I draw?!)
  • Choose to bless Tristan when he works long hours instead of taking my day out on him
  • Deodorize the carpet with baking soda and vacuum
  • Bible study every day (found this daily scripture writing plan on Pinterest)
  • Laundry. SO MUCH LAUNDRY :)
  • Make a big batch of homemade chili (yummy recipe on Pinterest)
  • Cuddle with girls and pray and talk and snuggle and tell secrets for 5 minutes each once they're in bed at night. Best 20 minute decision ever.
  • Pack away outgrown clothing (since I've got four daughters, we keep quite a bit of clothing that each of the older three outgrow so that sisters can have a ready wardrobe when they size up! Unfortunately, I've gotten behind)
  • Read to my girls more <3 
  • Exercise every day - even if only briefly, every little bit counts!
  • Make a list of household items we need to buy this month
  • Have intentional away-from-kids "me" time
  • Budget our next check

I am so excited for this week! I have a lot of goals, I'd better hop to it!

Warmly, Susanne

Monday, October 10, 2016

7 highlights from the last 7 years (with pictures!)




LORELAI ~ She was our first baby, we didn't know what to expect, so looking back this labor was a bit of a comedy of errors. I woke up in labor at about 6 am, and by 7 I was certain this was it so I woke up Tristan. While I was panting and squatting and groaning, Tristan made himself pancakes. Yes. Pancakes. We both thought we would have about 24 hours of labor ahead of us, and I didn't want to eat, but he did. So while I was in crazy intense labor, Tristan was making himself a pancake breakfast. We finally got ourselves together and arrived at the birth center about an hour later (Tristan was driving 80 miles per hour on the highway). Upon arrival my midwife checked my progress and discovered I was already 7 cm dilated and entering the "transition" phase of labor. The birth tub was filled and Tristan got in with me, rubbing my back and holding my hand. I don't think he realized until that day just how strong my hands were. He begged me to squeeze less, and eventually took his wedding ring off. At one point he said he needed to get out of the tub and go to the bathroom, to which I growled "NO!!!" and my midwife and doula had to tell me that I could not tell Tristan he couldn't go use the bathroom, I needed to let his hand go. Reluctantly I did, and when he came back, he got in the tub with me and we were all limbs as I maneuvered my giant belly and got into a more comfortable position. Then my water broke... onto his foot. In a voice that clearly said "I'm not going to freak out but that is super gross" he told my midwife "UMMM... her water just broke. On my foot." It was only 1 hour later that with a mighty push, Lorelai was born. Tristan caught her and she was laid on my chest, lifting her head, opening her eyes, and snorting. Tristan and I became parents at 11:21 am, and I was more in love with him than ever.

GRADUATION ~ I finished college in December of 2010, just two months before Melanie was born. I could not have done it without Tristan's support. The graduation ceremony was June of 2011 and Tristan sat with my parents and our lovely babies (4 months and 1 and a half!) while they called my name and said "cum laude" as I walked across the stage. Four and half years of studying, two majors that didn't stick, and finally a double self-designed major that did, two pregnancies, and a wedding later... Tristan celebrated with me as I graduated with honors.



MELANIE ~ Only 15 months and 4 days after Lorelai was born, I woke up at midnight from labor pains. We had planned a home birth, so our midwife arrived a couple hours later. Tristan was filling an inflatable birthing tub in our living room, and heating water on the stove to fill it. We turned on some comedy tracks and laughed and joked together between contractions. This time, I knew what to expect. I could totally do this. The whole house (midwife Mel, Mel's assistant Jen, Tristan, my mama, and myself) was in this lighthearted sort of mood as we listened to Dana Carvey's "squatting monkeys tell no lies." It was an excellent labor. But I started to plateau, and I was staying at 7 cm dilated, so we decided to break my water. It was only 15 minutes after that that Melanie was born. Tristan caught her and she was laid on my chest, lifting her head, opening her eyes, and crying. Tristan and I were the parents of two beautiful girls and I was more in love with him than ever.



MEDFORD ~ When I was great with child (a little over 7 months pregnant with Elizabeth) we made the long trek from Lynnwood Washington to Medford Oregon. With two little girls (at that point, 3 and 2 years old) we drove over 450 miles to arrive for the Fox family reunion! Our time was filled with uncles, aunts, cousins, cousins-once-removed, nephew, brothers, and grandma. We ate good food, swam in a very cold river, slept in a small cabin,  and played and relaxed at Uncle's house. This was our first proper family vacation and it's when we fell in love with the hot days and cold rivers that mark an Oregon summer.



ELIZABETH ~ Exactly 2 and 1/2 years after Melanie was born, I woke up with labor pains. It was a Sunday in August and the sun had not yet risen, so I went for a walk to welcome the day and see if labor continued. It did not. Tristan went to work and I got the kids ready for church. I packed Lorelai (3.75 years old at that point) and Melanie (2.5 years old) into our giant double stroller and I walked, pushing them and carrying my 9 month belly the half mile to church. During church my labor pains got sharper, then went away while I walked home. It was like this all day. I tried to nap and labor kicked up, I got up and busied myself and labor stopped. Tristan got home and I told him we would be going to the birthing center tonight. I took a short 1 hour nap, and then couldn't sleep any more because labor was ON. Tristan drove me to the birth center where Lorelai was born, getting there around 8, and for a few hours it was just Tristan and I. The midwife and assistant stayed out of the room as much as possible (as per my request). I was throwing up the whole time, my water had not broken yet and I began to plateau at 7 cm again. Finally at 11:48 pm, my water broke and she was born at 11:51. Tristan caught her and she was laid on my chest. We had done it! We were the happy parents of three beautiful daughters and I was more in love with him than ever before.



EUGENE ~ Moving to Eugene was a surprise twist in what I thought would be an ordinary year. On an average day in June, as I was on my balcony, looking at the pool which had yet to open for the summer season, I opened the mail for the day. Then I called my mom in tears. I had just gotten a letter from our apartment community office saying our lease was up! I had remembered (apparently incorrectly) us signing a 12 month lease, not a 6 month lease! And to make matters worse, if we chose to renew and sign another lease, our rent would be increasing by a substantial amount. An amount that we could not afford. We were already in the cheapest apartments we could find within 15 miles of Tristan's work. We could no longer afford to live and work in the greater Seattle area. It was from this unexpected news that we began looking for work in another state. We had felt led to leave Washington, and the time had come! Tristan applied for work and was offered his position here in Eugene. We were quick to accept, and that was the beginning of a whole new chapter in our family's life.





EMMA-CLAIRE ~ 2 years, 7 months, and 6 days after Elizabeth was born, I woke up with some contractions, but they quickly ended. I ate some breakfast and had a cup of coffee, then boom they were back. Tristan had already left for work, so I was home with my mom and the kids. Tristan hurried home and got what we needed in the car, and we were on our way, arriving at 10 am already 7 cm dilated. I had a peaceful, easy labor, focusing during contractions, my favorite worship music on in the background, Tristan giving me light touch massage on my back. It was incredible and powerful! When it came time to push, I pushed with everything I had for 11 minutes, and then there she was, born at 12:19 pm! I caught her and brought her to my chest, catching Tristan's eye from behind the midwives and nurses. We did it! We spent the next 6 hours blissfully relaxing on a soft queen bed, cuddling our beautiful newborn, and eating giant burgers from 5 Guys. We were the glowing parents of four daughters and I was more in love with him than ever before.