Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

 The family picture that was on our Christmas cards this year.

The kids and me on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taken Care Of

I made a mistake...a big mistake
A mistake that I didn't know I made
until I opened an envelope on Friday morning.
I know I paid that.
I just know I did.
But, when I went back and looked
I noticed it:
my big mistake.
I had paid the right amount
to the wrong bank
and it was our mortgage payment.
Yeah, kind of an important one.
I was frantic.
I made a phone call
hoping to get some answers as to where
my money had ended up
and when I could get it back.
I got no where.
I had sent the money to a closed account
and it would take five business days
for any answers.
I was in a state of panic.
I hung up the phone
and started to cry.
I rarely cry in front of the kids
and they began to ask questions:
"Why are you crying?"
"What's wrong, Mommy?"
"Are you ok, Mama?"
Without going in to a lot of detail
I told my kids that
I had accidentally
sent some money to
the wrong people,
money that was supposed to pay for our house.
Maybe not the best wording
because my four year old
told me he was sorry I did that
and then asked if I had
sent our money to the "wobbers".
My Middle Man gave me several hugs
and my Princess reminded me that
it would be okay because
"at least you and Daddy both have jobs".
Melt my heart is what my kids did.
It was just the encouragement that I needed.
Pray.Pray.Pray. is what I did.
I wrestled all day
with the same worry
the same doubt
talking to God about it all...
asking Him to take care of it...
asking Him to help me
give up these feelings
of worry and control.
I even asked Him to
fix it all before the 5 days.
I would like to think
that after a whole 22 months
of waiting, of seeing God provide,
of leaning on Him
that I have gotten better
but my initial reaction
still needs some work.
I walked the halls at work that Friday night
with a peace
thanking Him for what He was going to do
not knowing that
He had already done it.
My Father had already fixed it
before I even knew I made the mistake.
That night, my husband emailed me
at work
to tell me
that we had the refund check sitting
in our mailbox
and once again
I laughed at my God
smiled about how good He is to me
and confessed my unbelief
to my Father who cares
so tenderly for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas...

This year, my husband and kids surprised me with a real tree.  The tree is tall...very tall...and I laughed when I walked in the door and saw it.  It was the one that my Princess had her heart set on and her Daddy gave in.

My table looks so festive! 

Our Countdown to Christmas Clock on display.

Our Countdown to Christmas Kisses that we have done for a few years now...the kids love getting a kiss every morning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Her

My four year old
all cozied up to her
lifts his head off of her chest
and says, "Gammy, you smell so familiar," 
and I would have to agree 
She does smell so familiar
She smells like comfort
she smells like a soft place to land
a conversation in her cozy bed
or a hug in the kitchen
she smells like home
there's none that smell
just. like. her.
a smell that welcomes me
after an extended time apart
a smell that I breathe deeply in
when I say my sad good-byes
hoping it will linger
a smell that is ingrained
and recognizable
it's her smell
and it's so familiar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday : They're My Favorites

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I am in love with this song...and have been listening to it over and over...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where I Come From

I come from a warm home filled with laughter

I come from a place where a sister's love is what made my day

I come from days spent outside in the snow, sledding, fort building, and ice skating

I come from warm summer days spent beside our pool or by Higgin's Lake

I come from being surrounded by extended family where the more the merrier

I come from watermelon seed spitting competitions on the Fourth of July

I come from gathering around at Christmas time to listen to my Mom play the piano while my grandma sings Christmas songs

I come from a mother's love and sacrifice to stay at home with us and homeschool her three children

I come from a father's love and dedication to work hard and provide and protect his family

I come from summer camping trips up north and out west

I come from home cooked meals and ice cream as a bedtime snack

I come from a place where my Mom's piano playing is what lulled me to sleep

I come from summer nights spent catching lightening bugs

I come from playing tennis in the parking lot at church with my Grandparents

I come from late night games of sardines with a yard full of friends from youth group

I come from shaving cream fights and bond fires

I come from grandparents who took the time to enrich our lives

I come from a rich family heritage of God fearing ancestors

I come from parent's who made sure we were in church every Sunday

I come from a Father who was on his knees every morning for his family

I come from a Mother who poured her heart out in prayer for her children

I come from a Heavenly Father who saved me at a young age

I come from a Savior who has so tenderly cared for me for the past twenty-nine and a half years

I come from a heart of worship for what He has carried me through

I come from a forgiving Heavenly Father who lavishes me with His Grace and Mercy, which is new every morning

I come from overwhelming thankfulness for everything He has blessed me with....

Monday, November 7, 2011

That's Not a Turkey...

The kids were both given a family project to do for homework.  They both had to take the picture sent home (of a turkey) and dress it up to look like something else. 

Landon was given the assignment of dressing his turkey up and then writing a short paragraph entitled, "I'm Not a Turkey!"  When I asked him what he wanted to dress his turkey up as, there was no hesitation as he blurted out, "Mario!"  So, Landon gave the instructions, I did the cutting, and he put everything where he wanted it.

Kaitlyn wanted to get the fabric, glitter, buttons, and paint out and decorate her turkey that way.  As you can plainly see, her turkey came down with the chicken pox (or would they be called the turkey pox?) and is looking quite ill: 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Around My Neck

Today marks five years since my miscarriage
I went to bed on November 4th, 2006 pregnant
and not even twelve hours later I was dealing with

I dealt with a lot of sadness and guilt after
Days of feeling numb
and days where I felt as if
I had no more tears left to cry

Shortly after, I had a dream
She was there
She was beautiful
round face
and blue eyes
she looked just like Landon
and I knew her
I named her Madelyn
meaning magnificent
and believe God knew just what I needed
to heal

Five years later, I still think about her.
I look around and wonder
I sometimes feel like something is missing
and occasionally Kaitlyn will talk about her

I wanted to do something special to remember
on this five year anniversary
and when I saw it
I knew

It's a nest with three eggs
three eggs for my three gifts here on earth
hanging beside it
is July's birthstone
for my precious gift in heaven

Friday, November 4, 2011


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday : Pumpkin Pie

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Little Bit of Catch Up...

The end of October flew by...I hate when that happens.  I guess time flies when you are having fun.

 On one of my nights off, we got out Kaitlyn's slurpee machine and made slurpees after dinner.  I love this picture because they are all waiting so patiently (yes, they are sitting on the counter)...but notice Dr. Evil in the middle.

This past weekend, my parents came out for a visit.  We were all so excited.  They haven't been out to visit in over a year so it was a special treat.  I even redid the guest room for them.  We had a wonderful time.  On Saturday, they took us to see Puss in Boots and I highly recommend that movie.  It was adorable.  The rest of the weekend was spent playing games and soaking up some Gammy and Poppy time.  We were so sad to see them go.  I was holding Collin by the front door as we waved good bye.  As I shut the door, Collin looked at me and said, "I wished they could have stayed for five days.  Guess it's back to normal, right Mama?"  I hate that good byes are part of our normal, but it does make us cherish the time spent with them.

Landon and Poppy playing "Sorry". 

Collin and Gammy playing  Memory

Gammy and Kaitlyn doing nails.

Zoey's first birthday was also on Saturday. She's the only one of our animals that we know an exact age. She had a lovely day.

The kids had a great Halloween this year. Kaitlyn chose to be a mouse, Landon chose to be a skeleton, and Collin chose to be Darth Vader. They got a lot of candy and Dan was home early enough from work that night that the kids finished up Trick-or-Treating with him and then we all sat down together and had pizza for dinner.
Can it really be November already?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Carving Time

We take our pumpkin carving seriously in this house.  It's a tradition.  It's a day usually marked on the calendar, but this year, Dan was home from work because of the weather so it was a little last minute.  It was the perfect night for it last night.  We had dinner together as a family and then headed out to the garage to make magic happen.  Dan fired up the kerosene heater to keep us all toasty...a little too toasty for my liking...and we went to work.

I scored some nice looking pumpkins at Aldi for $2.49 each.  Collin was with me that day and insisted I dig through them to find the smallest one without a stem.  I don't know what that was about.

Kaitlyn likes to get dirty...the boys, however, used spoons to scoop the guts out of their pumpkins.

Every year, I help clean the pumpkins out (I love that part), but after that it's all Dan.  He is awesome with a knife!

 My Middle Man was so happy with how his turned out.

Here's my Littlest Man with his chosen design.

 Kaitlyn drew her design herself this year on a dry erase board to give Dan an idea of what she wanted.

 And she was so happy with the way Daddy was able to make it work...she is obsessed with mice right now.

My husbands handy work.

Love this girl!  This family night was such a blessing and just what this Mama needed!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

On Sunday, I completed my third marathon.  You can read about it here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In the life of a carpenter's wife...

We have gotten a WHOLE LOT of rain the past two days.
I love rain.
I especially love hard rains and big storms.
But, for the past eight and a half years
I only like rain on the weekends.
Yes, a bit picky, I know.
Because when it rains during the week
my husband doesn't work
and when my husband doesn't work
my husband doesn't get paid
Nope, no paid time off in his profession
No work equals no pay.

My husband, my little man, and myself were driving home
from taking the other two to school
My little man says that he wants to build houses when he grows up
to which my husband says
that is not something that he wants to do
not something that he recommends
and I don't think I would recommend it either.

I enjoy a rain day every now and then
I enjoy my husband
climbing back in bed for another hour or so
I enjoy having him around
for our morning routine
I enjoy the time spent together
the family dinner
having him there for our bedtime routine
I love having him around for the day
Two rain days, three rain days, however,
leave me extremely concerned
fretting, worrying, running numbers though my head

and then I remember
how many times we have been here
how many times I have worried
about where the money is going to come from
how many times I have been concerned that a bill
or two, or three was going to have to be set aside
only to have the exact amount covered
some how, He always makes a way

And so, when I felt my husband slide back in bed
next to me this morning
I was worried
and reminded
a soft voice whispered to me
I. will. provide.
and I enjoyed our second rain day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Special Polly

My four year old loves playing Polly Pockets while his sister and brother are at school...and since there is no one left here at home to play with him, I am the chosen one.  We have our routine in the morning and he's very patient.  He came in the bathroom while I was drying my hair and asked, "Mama, do you want to be Soul Surfer Polly today?"

Introducing Soul Surfer Polly:

Let me just say that she did not lose her arm in a shark attack, but it's the name that my littlest man has given this certain Polly...he loved that movie...and I think he's the cutest for thinking of this.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall is in the air...

Living in the midwest, I have always liked the changes in season...maybe not so much when fall changes to winter...but a part of me longs for the blankets of white stuff, if nothing else, around Christmas time.

I have always said that my favorite season is summer...the warm weather, the sunshine, the pool, the beach...but, especially after this past summer, I have changed my mind. 

I have never longed for 60 degree weather more in my life than I did this past July and August.  I have discovered that I don't do well in the heat any more and I welcome the cool fall days, the chilly nights, the leaves changing, the trips to the orchard, the sweatshirts...I welcome it all with open arms.

So, happy first day of Fall!  Since I have already been frequenting our local orchard since it opened the end of August, and I have already had my windows open for the past two or so weeks, and I am sitting here in my sweatshirt I really don't plan to do anything's just nice to be able to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Best for My Family...

In a little over a week I will be starting my new hours at work.  It was a decision that was bathed in much thought and prayer.  I have always held the position that I am my husbands helpmate and the burden to provide for our family should not be his alone.

The big debate between stay-at-home mothers and working mothers, I am afraid, will be something that is always there.  It has been quite evident to me lately...not only in talk among women but also in articles that have been shared via facebook.

The other day, I clicked on one of the links to read and was saddened at what I read.  Not only was this person using scripture about laying down ones life to describe her role as a stay at home mom but was criticizing mom's who either by choice or by need work outside the home...and other Christian mom's were applauding her article.

Let me start by saying that I was strictly stay-at-home mom for five years and loved the privilege to do so.  Then, when my husband lost his job in the summer of 2008, I felt it was my duty to pick up the slack and do all I could to help keep us a float.  I said for better or worse, for richer or poorer and I meant it.  I started out by working at Walmart (a job I hated with a passion) and then six months later, God answered my prayers and allowed me to score the job that I still have now.  The decision for me to work outside the home was not an easy one...not something that I was ready (or really even willing at first) to do.  But, it was something that I felt God was leading me to...and how everything was orchestrated proves that God has had His hand in it all.

About six weeks after Dan was taken off the unemployed list and went back to work, I was able to go PRN at my current job and once again enjoy being at home the majority of the time with my kids.  It has been a wonderful year (and a few months) home with my kids, but once again, God orchestrated this position opening up for me and it was truly an answer to prayer...He provides once again.

I type all this to say how disappointed I am when mom's use this subject to bash each other.  When instead of supporting how hard it is to stay at home 24/7 with your kids or balance life at home with being a working mother, women chose to tear each other down...and using verses from the Bible to make whatever path one is walking seem more noble that another woman's calling.  What about examining yourself using an example from the Bible:

Proverbs 31: 10-31
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Whatever path God has chosen for you, my prayer is that your children rise up and call you blessed and your husband praises you....that the pressures you feel from the Christian women around you (whether they be working or stay-at-home) would fall away...because as long as you are doing what's right by your own family and by your God, who are we to judge.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Happy Anniversary...

For two years, I dreaded this day as it approached.  It was a day that was flashing bright red on the calendar...a day that I thought I would self destruct if I got out of bed that day...a day that was met with so much anxiety and fear.  I dreaded this day when the one year mark hit.  I dreaded it even more when we approached two years.

September 2, 2008, was a morning like any other...that is until the phone rang and my husband gave me the news.  It was news that I thought if I ever heard, I would crumble to the ground.  It almost went that way, but something deep within whispered to me to stand tall.

It was a rough twenty-two months.  There were times I felt beat up, hopeless, forgotten...times when I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day.  These days had been ordained for me before I was a twinkle in my parents eye.  God knew the exact moment, God new my pain, He knew every tear I would cry, He knew every prayer I would whisper through sobs, He knew. 

He never forgot about us and knew just who he would send to bless us and when.  I still remember the pain of those long 22 months and it still brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart...but, I remember even more the food that was brought to my door, the bags and bags of clothes that clothed my children (and still clothe my children) that whole time, the gift cards so we could escape and let go a little, the bills that were paid, the cards that were sent, the miracles of how He provided our every need.  I knew my God was worthy of my praise before, I knew He cared so deeply and tenderly for me...but now my hearts swells because I know these truths in an even deeper way now.

Things will never be the way they were before that day in two thousand eight.  My husband will never feel secure in a job, he may never make the money he made before, we may never have the benefits we had before, I may never be able to be a stay-at-home mom again.  I can sit an focus on that and get discouraged or I can turn that in to praise...that, no, things will never be the same but for different reasons.  I will never take my husbands job (or mine for that matter) for granted, I will never go back to the same mindset I had about money or material things, my relationship with God has changed, my marriage has changed, our family has changed, I have changed.

There has been much thought and reflection today...some reading back over past posts...remembering all that God has done for us these past three years.  And I must say, today is a very happy anniversary.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Watermelon Baby

My watermelon baby keeps getting bigger and bigger.  It's uncharted territory for me, having never grown watermelon before.  We have a couple more along with this one...and I hope they are delicious because we've been waiting a while.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CRIM # Four

This past weekend, I made a quick trip to Michigan to run my fourth CRIM...and an added bonus was that I got to run along side of my sister.

The week before, at a work party of mine, my husband made a great point.  The CRIM is a funny race because as he put it, "my wife is running around the streets of Flint in areas that aren't safe for her on regular days to drive in her car," which is so true.  But, even if Flint is ranked up there among cities with the highest murder rate, I still love the CRIM and will race in it every year that I can.

Last year, I ran the race all by myself...and it is something I would rather not do again.  It was lonely and messed with my head.  This year, it was nice to have my sister by my side to keep me company.  I got teary a few times thinking of just how blessed I was to have her with me and to have running be something we can share together.

It was a good run...I always beat myself up at the end thinking of how I could have done better but all I wanted to come out and do this year was to beat last years time...and I did that by 3 minutes.  So, CRIM number four I came in with a chip time of 1:45:37.  I crossed the finish line, found my sister (who finished a few minutes before me), and gave her a big sweaty hug.  Looking forward to CRIM number five!

My sister and me with our finishers medals...

...and just for laughs, here is a picture my mom snapped of us when we didn't know she was taking one.  I think it's a little ghetto, a tribute to the city we just ran through. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

First and Second

This week, my two older kids went back to school.  I was bummed as the day approached, but there were no tears for anyone on start day...not even Mama!  Although I miss them like crazy, it's nice to get back to a routine.  It's just my littlest man and me for one more year and then he's off to full day school too!  Time is just flyin by!

My big First and Second Graders!!

Getting ready to walk in for their first day of school!  K is so excited...Landon, well, not so much.

This is what I am stuck at home with. :)  Lunch time he exclaims, "Mama, look!  I am a turkey!" with his lunch meat over his face.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There's a First Time for Everything

Collin started throwing up last night.  He had his four year old check up scheduled for today, which I almost canceled because I thought it was just the stomach flu.  His pediatrician did a strep test in the office and it was instantly positive.  My littlest man has strep for the first time...and it has wiped him out!  He finally got up to go to the bathroom and was gone a while.  I went in to check on him and actually found him on my bed, asleep, curled up next to our cat, Curtis.  Later, after he woke up, he said that he liked sleeping next to Curtis...he said Curtis loves him and even put his paws on his forehead to check his fever.  Even when he's sick, he is still my crazy little man!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Six Year Old

My Middle Man is six...six just seems so much older than five.  He's not a little boy anymore. 

We celebrated in a special way for my big six year old.  He opened a few presents in the morning and then we went a saw Rio in the theater (we don't take them to the theater often, but who can say no to the dollar show?!).  After the movie, we headed over to grandma's pool and swam the afternoon away with a few cousins and friends.  That evening, Landon chose to go to the Chinese buffet for dinner...he loves it there!  Then, we came home and Dan put together his new Mario Racetrack and they played the night away.

Happy Birthday, Landon!  You are so precious to Mommy.  I still remember holding you on my chest for the first time, my first baby boy.  You have always been such a sweet, tender soul.  You are so kind and giving...always putting others before yourself.  I pray that you would continue to follow Jesus and make Him number one in your life.  I hope year number six is a great one for you my Middle Man.  I love you beyond words beautiful boy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Baby is Four

It's hard to believe that on this day, four years ago, my youngest was born.  After a long day of contractions, not knowing if he was coming or not, Dan raced me to the hospital to have him 37 minutes after walking in the door.  It was truly an entrance fit for Collin...a night I will never forget.

I will be forever thankful for the events that led up to Collin coming to be.  If it was up to my husband and me, we would be a family of four.  God had other plans, and through the heartache of a miscarriage, He aligned our desires with His will for our lives.

I cannot begin to imagine life without my youngest.  He is my wild and crazy, my talker, the life of the party...but he's also thoughtful and caring, putting others before himself.  Everything about him reminds me of my husband, right down to the shape of his head and the unique color of his eyes.

There were many highlights in his third year of life, but I would say the biggest one was him asking Jesus to be his Savior just days before his fourth birthday.  What a blessing.

Collin, my baby, my littlest man...I pray that you follow Jesus all the days of your life.  I pray that you would not lose your fun loving attitude about life.  There are so many things I love about you and who you are...the way your eyes sparkle, that smile of yours, the way you say your "r"s, how you are cautious yet a little daredevil all in one, how fast your legs move when you run, your wild imagination, your giving heart, your love of your hot chocolate first thing in the morning, your obsession with smells, the compliments you give...Momma could go on and on.  I am so sad that this is our last year together before you start school, but I guess you can't be my baby forever.  I wish I could have frozen you at three.  I am thankful for you and pray for many more years with my Zaiah.  I love you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Highlights of our July

 My blessings and me on the Fourth of July

 My family

 Trip to Chicago

 The kids playing in the fountain in Chicago

 A weekend spent at my grandparents house in Northern Michigan...tubing with Kait.

 My three by the lake

 Cuddling with Nana

 Driving the boat with Papa

 Dan and the kids by the lake

 Celebrating my Mom's birthday

 Kait and her Gammy

 My Dad and the boys in the party hats

My kids and my brother's little girl