Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fresh Footprints ...

 In the Morning Snow ...
All Bundled Up with Places to Go ...
Hoping that It Snows and Snows ...
Building a Snowman with a Carrot Charcoal Nose ...
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 

Merry Christmas from our home to yours.
Glory to the Newborn King!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Birthday Girl

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sweet Baby Little Girl! You are two already!  Oh, the joy you bring us! 
Here's what you are up to:

You are a big girl ~ while your two year appointment isn't until this next week, at your last appointment you were in the 75th percentile for height and in the 80th percentile for weight. And, you have quite the buddha belly ~ maybe it's from your fondness of "i-cream."

You are starting to talk more and more which can be a challenge in our house with the chatter of the boys.  Perhaps that is why we often hear you speaking in a higher and louder octave and saying things multiple times.  You want to be heard!  Some of your popular phrases right now ~

"Look it, look it"
"I touch it?" (You want to touch everything!  Including the moon - Daddy keeps telling you that in order to touch the moon you need to be an astronaut)
"Come!" (While patting the floor / seat next to you and then waving your pudgy fingers at us)
"Maizey No!"  (Hmmm ... must get that from me)
"Boys!!!" (You will often call Jack and Samuel Boys and then insert one of the above of your favorite phrases)
"Pa-rump-pum-pum" (Little Drummer Boy is your favorite Christmas song right now)
"No Monkeys Bed" (Said while waving your finger no)

You have been learning a few new tricks as well ~ you still use sign language for please and you are proud to march around with two (or a few more) fingers up saying "two." And, one of the most endearing to us is that you cradle your arms and say "baby" and then do sign for Jesus and say "Jesus." Oh, how precious and sweet.
 You LOVE your baby dolls and your new stroller is fabulous! You are also loving your little high chair / seat that you got for your babies.  And, the Christmas tree, oh the Christmas tree.  It is amazing to look at the Christmas tree and decorations through the awe and wonder that you are exhibiting.  Now, if only you would stop taking the ornaments off the tree, little lady!

We are still in awe that God would bless us with you, sweet little one.
You and Samuel celebrating your birthdays last weekend.

 Happy 2nd Birthday, Liddybug!  We love you so very much!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Golden Boy

Today is Samuel's 7th Birthday, his Golden Birthday.  Last year I described Samuel here.  Well, Samuel is Samuel, the core of his being and his personality have not changed dramatically over the past year.  He continues to bring us joy, to make us laugh and to bring us to tears.  He is persistent, persistent, persistent! 

Here is a small glimpse into our Samuel ... received a call from his teacher yesterday, nothing earth-shattering, just a report that Samuel has been losing focus (he's been a "bit" preoccupied with the excitement of it being birthday month) and that when he was supposed to be narrating a story about an owl, he wrote two words.  We are very close to Samuel's teacher (she was my 1st grade teacher and Jack's teacher) and appreciate these calls of awareness.  Oh, how we adore her.  Anyway, back to the story.  Here's my and Samuel's exchange last night regarding this topic:

Me:  "I heard that you talked about owls today."
Samuel:  "Yep"
Me:  "Did you have to write a story about owls?"
Samuel:  "Yep, but I didn't have time to finish."
Me:  "Really?  No time to finish?"
Samuel (with a twinkle in his eyes):  "Really."
Me:  "I heard you wrote two words, and that was your story."
Samuel:  "BUT, they were two really good, big words."
Me:  "Oh, that's great.  What were they?"
Samuel (with a smirk):  "The tree"
Me (with a chuckle and near eye roll):  "The tree?  Wow" 

So, there we have it ... a glimpse into life with Samuel.

Happy 7th Birthday, Sweet Samuel!  We love you!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Beginning to Look ...

I may bite my tongue later, but it would be nice to say that it's beginning to look a lot like a WHITE Christmas.  But, so far only rain.  That, however, did not hinder a weekend of Christmas tradition ...

1.  The annual women's luncheon at church where Nikki and I turned a vision into a stunning table (I know, I'm bias, but the table was beautiful!).  The morning was enjoyed with some of the sweet ladies in my life (for more information and photos, see Nikki's blog here).

2.  Pepper McTwist (aka, our Elf on the Shelf) is back and up to mischief.

3.  A fun night with sweet friends including going to a nearby Living Nativity.  I didn't get any photos of this, because, well, the weather was a bit miserable.  We were all bundled up, sitting on hay bales, under blankets and umbrellas, watching the story of Mary and Joseph unfold before our eyes.  The children did wonderful, not one complaint.  And, we couldn't help but reflect on the fact that although we were sitting in the rain watching, Mary and Joseph had less than ideal circumstances surrounding their His story.  Really?  Baby Jesus?  In a feeding trough.  Amazing ... truly amazing.

4.  To cap things off, the annual Cocoa & Carols service at church.

Ah, a tradition and blessing filled weekend ...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little Helpers

This is a weekend rich in tradition for us.  Jason heads up north with his dad and brother, and the kiddos and I find ourselves in activity including such things as decorating the house for Christmas, making ornaments for gifts, watching our first official viewing of Elf for the season, and meeting Grandma for lunch. 

Admittedly, decorating the house has historically been, at times, more stressful than joyful for me as the boys have been so anxious to help (um, so I may have mentioned a few times that I am a bit of a control freak and have many "Martha" tendencies).  I would fret over things that didn't matter as the boys insisted on unpacking the bins of decorations in their little boy ways. 

I'm not sure what it was this weekend (well, I'm pretty confident that it could have only been a peace from God), but this year was very different.  My vantage point had totally changed.  I saw the boys as helpful, and I truly appreciated their giddiness as they removed decorations from the bins.  Of course, some innate personality quirks did take over, and I did have to do some directing of where to place things.  However, I did allow the boys a little creative freedom.
Evidence of the creative freedom - you will find these little crayon cars "parked" in various places in the village.  Here they are at the Snow Factory.

A wise friend has told me many times (and far more eloquently than I'm going to write here) that we need to cherish each and every day and not get caught up in the little things.

Now, the test will be this - will I really let anyone help decorate the Christmas tree and will I NOT move ornaments after little ones go to bed?  Hmmm ... that will be a test!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Double Digits

It's been a tradition-filled past few days as we celebrated Jack's birthday ... the boy entered the realm of double digits.  How can it be?  It seems like just yesterday that this guy was known as "Baby Jack" and then "Jackers" to many.  Now, it's just Jack (admittedly, an occassional Jackers does resonate within our walls though).

Jack, you are a fun-loving, enthusiastic boy.  We are so proud of you!  Happy 10th Birthday, Jackers!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

First Day of School ... A Little Tardy

Well, hello there. Remember me? Life in general and falling into a school year rhythm has kept us a bit occupied. In addition, I had been preparing for and was on a business trip (here’s a hint as to where I was).
Finally, here is one of our annual first day of school pictures. Jack is in 4th grade now and rules the roost at the elementary school, and Samuel is in 1st grade. Once again, we are blessed with amazing teachers. If this past first month of the school year is any indication of what the remainder of the school year will be like, it’s going to be a really good year. Jack has been having some really, and I quote, “awesome-dy awesome” days. And, Samuel is really enjoying life as a 1st grader with a teacher that I also had in 1st grade and Jack had as well. Tradition and memories, bliss.
And, this little lady? She is adjusting to the boys being gone during the day.  For the first week of the school year, she cried when the boys got out of the car to go into school ... we're not sure if she was sad that they were leaving or if she was just mad that she wasn't going with them.  As innocent as she looks, this sweet one is our little “master of disaster” leaving a wake where she goes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Flower Picking

 Maizey has been picking flowers again ... for Lydia ...

to destroy.
Maizey is definitely our "Marley" dog!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime ...

                                         1.  Weekend
                                         2.  Walk
                                         3.  Days
                                         4.  A Cure 
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure
August 5-7, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lydia's New Friend

Meet "little green man" ~
This is Lydia's new friend.  Unfortunately, "little green man" lives in St. Louis.  Bummer.  Lydia was obsessed with her new "friend" that she met at a water park last week.  She kept walking up to "him" saying "hi" in her sweet little toddler voice. 

And, she even had hugs for the "little green man."   
I couldn't help but be reminded of Kelly's daughter Harper at Kelly's Korner who was enamored by the mannequins at Old Navy.  So funny!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Summer ... In Photos

I've been an awful blogger lately!  So much so that I'm almost tempted to give in and join Facebook!  So, what has been keeping us busy?  You can get a glimpse into some of our summer fun on these photos ... a "school's out" weekend in Door Co., Jack's first overnight camp (three nights of many adventures) with his cousins, lots of baseball games (no photos yet), 4th of July festivities, home improvement projects, and just general summer-time fun.
Hope you are having a blessed, fun-filled summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Little Miss Independent

A couple of weekends ago we ventured to an Air Show, and it was hot! As a treat we stopped at a favorite ice cream “parlor” afterward. We all (Jason, Jack, Samuel and I) got our cones, and I picked up a spoon so that I could share with Lydia. Well, turns out, the girl just isn’t into sharing these days. Nor does she want help. She wants to do it herself. It was really cute … at first. The cuteness wore off when the ice cream started dripping, and she refused to give up “her” cone. This was accompanied by not-so-cute screaming and crying (let me clarify … by Lydia … I was refraining from these behaviors ... this time).

How often am I like that? So independent that I have a hard time accepting the help of others? And, so selfish that I am just worried about myself? Ouch. How many times do I “throw a fit” because I can’t have what I want or do what I want? Too many times to count or to keep track of (and, thankfully so, because who wants all that being kept track of?). Aren’t we blessed that our Father doesn’t keep track? That He loves us despite our selfishness, despite our “I can do it myself” attitudes? And, that He is the ultimate example of selflessness? Jesus’ death has provided life for us. What a gift we have in that.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:16-17

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A New Chapter

When I get into a good book, I have a really hard time putting it down.  I have been known to sacrifice sleep, reading by my little book light into the wee hours of the night.  And, then, as I finish chapters and finally the book, I am disappointed that there's no more.  That's kind of how I feel about this past school year.  It was such a fulfilling and rich year with so much growth and learning, not only for the boys but for us as well.  New relationships with teachers, new life experiences, so much.  I have said it before, and I pray that I will continue to feel this way, but our experiences in this community and with this public school system have been so positive.  We are so blessed.

And, so now, a new chapter begins as we move into summer break and the few months that separate the boys from officially becoming 4th and 1st graders.
The Ceremonial Last Day of School Photos - 2011

And, of course, little sister wanted her picture taken too!

You may remember this post, the 1st day of school, these boys have grown so much (as has this little lady).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Three Blue Balloons

Happy 3rd Birthday, Sweet Owen!
We love you, Sweet Little Boy and miss you so!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, May 13, 2011

China Girl** Update

We've been getting questions on the status of the adoption process, so here it is.  Our dossier has been in China for nearly two years. The current wait time for "healthy" little girls under the age of two is approximately five years.  Yes, five years.  Unfortunately, the wait time does not seem to be getting any shorter.  However, we do know that in mid-2007 the requirements for adoption through China changed, becoming more stringent.  Perhaps once the China government gets to mid-2007 dossiers the wait time will start getting shorter? 

We continue to be in the pipeline to review referrals of special needs children as well.  We have, however, requested that any referral we review is of a little one younger than Lydia as we would prefer not to break birth order.  For now, we are content with the waiting.  But, I do know that as the months and perhaps years tick away, we will become anxious.  We often wonder when we will get to meet our little girl - how old will the kids be when China Girl officially becomes a part of our family?  We know that we will need to lean on God for strength and patience as we continue the journey.
We often talk about what life will be like when China Girl is here - how will our family dynamic change?  We keep little reminders here and there to remind us of our future daughter.  One of our reminders is this little kimono dress from China that Lydia is sporting (one day China Girl will wear this - perhaps it will flow a little better on her as Lydia's generous belly stops a bit of the flow - ha ha).  
**For anyone new to my blog, please know that we refer to our daughter as China Girl in a loving and affectionate way.  When we began the adoption process, this was how these guys could understand describing their one day sister.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Then & Now

Easter 2010

Palm Sunday 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Grandma

This time of year brings so many emotions ranging from deep pain to glorious celebration for many reasons.  Namely, we mourn Christ's crucifixion, and we wonder in awe how God would so intentionally choose to sacrifice his Son for us, sinners in this world.  Easter then culminates in glorious celebration as we rejoice knowing that Christ rose from the grave to save us.  

Spring and the Easter season also bring me to reflect on life and loss in general.  In a little over a week, we will celebrate and we will mourn the loss of my sweet friend's daughter.  Elizabeth would have been celebrating her 3rd birthday.  Oh, how we miss Elizabeth, and we continue to wonder why?  A question that may never be answered this side of heaven.  We also near Owen's 3rd birthday, and we continue traditions that we were able to make when Owen was full of life in utero ... burning the Christmas tree, making stepping stones, and the Awana Grand Prix, to name a few. 

In addition, we approach the anniversary of my Grandma's passing.  At the end of the month, it will be 10 years ago that my Grandma passed away.  It saddens me that my children never met her, never tasted the fruit of her labor.  We did get to tell Grandma that we were expecting (Jack) literally days before she left this earth. 

So many little things remind me of Grandma - flowers and baking especially.  And, with that aprons.  It seems aprons have become popular and trendy again, and that makes me smile.  A couple of months ago I won this fun apron in a giveaway. 

It makes me think of my Grandma.  She was a pastry chef, a really good pastry chef.  She made the best sticky buns ever, ever!  In fact, I haven't even had a sticky bun or attempted to make them since Grandma passed.  I'm convinced that nothing could compare.  One of Grandma's other specialties was pies.  She helped me win blue ribbons with homemade pies for 4-H at the county fair when I was in junior high (okay, so I think my memory is a little skewed as I know she did far more than "help" me, I'm pretty sure that she did the work while I sat at her kitchen counter observing and probably snacking). 

Pies seem to be regaining popularity again as well.  So, in memory of my Grandma, I donned my apron, tinkered in the kitchen and whipped up this little rustic blueberry crumble top pie.  It was good ... but not as good as Grandma's. 
I miss my Grandma, especially this time of year as we are surrounded by so many reflections of life, loss, and immeasurable blessings.  While we remember lives lost, I pray that we also turn our eyes toward heaven and remember what Christ did for us.

Pause music at bottom of blog to listen to Casting Crown's Glorious Day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope ..." 
Romans 15:13

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Smocked Dresses and Little Monkey Toes

Today I pulled this sweet little smocked dress out of Lydia's closet (with long sleeves under it, of course, as this is Spring in the Midwest). 
Jason's first comment was that he was wondering if Lydia was wearing a curtain.  That's okay, we won't judge him just because he doesn't understand little girl fashion.  I told him that if we lived in the South, Lydia would just blend in with the other little girls in an outfit such as this.  His response - maybe we should move south?  With the weather we have been having, that does sound enticing!  Thanks to Kelly at Kelly's Korner for influencing Lydia's wardrobe.  I LOVE how Kelly dresses her little girls - so sweet.  And, just for the record, Kelly does live in the south.  And, just being honest here, I do get a little giddy when I see that Lydia has the same or a similar outfit that Kelly's daughter Harper has.
Aren't Lydia's shoes so sweet as well?  I stumbled across a (non-Etsy) fun site - Little Monkey Toes with a crazy selection of shoes for children, along with other fun boutique items.  While these little shoes did not come from Little Monkey Toes, they do sell this brand, and I did buy a different pair of cute shoes for Lydia from Little Monkey Toes, likely for Fall, a couple of weeks ago.  Great customer service, so personable!  If you "like" them on Facebook, you can get advance notice of special sales and discounts.  Almost makes me want to give in and get on Facebook ... almost.

I know, I'm a little obsessed with dressing our little girl.  I do not take for granted how blessed we are that I can splurge on sweet little dresses, shoes, and hair accessories for Lydia (and to be put away for China Girl).  This smocked dress came from eBay as did the shoes - both new and both discounted.  I have picked up a few things from Zulily, a site with daily deals and discounts, and I tend to buy ahead, off season if I can, to find better deals.  So, that's that. 

On a different note, my project referenced below is coming along and is nearly finished.  Every day life has consumed us these days with not much extra time for crafting!!!  Here's a peak at what I'm working on.  Can you guess?
It's a gloomy day here in the Midwest, perfect for crafting.  Maybe I'll get this done yet!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I would love to learn how to sew, there are so many amazing patterns and fabrics available ... how I would love to make Lydia peasant dresses, apron knot dresses, ruffle pants, and other adorable handmade treasures that I stumble upon when exploring Etsy.  And, I'm sure the boys wouldn't mind me whipping them up super cool costumes and such.  But, I'm just not that skilled and one could argue that I really don't have any waking hours to fit that in at this phase in our lives. 

But, I really do enjoy projects, creating and crafting, and I have been wanting to tackle what seems like a pretty easy project for some time now.  I finally got the supplies ...

I am anxious to see how this little project comes together.  Stay tuned ...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Etsy Fun

I realize that I have had nothing thought-provoking to post on lately.  Rather I seem to be doing a lot of blogging about Etsy ... maybe I should have chosen a career in marketing?  Ha ha.  Consistent with my slight obsession with Etsy, check out Ellison's here or at, where you will find fun, new products added - lots of super cute stuff for Spring and Summer!!!

A few of my personal favorites ...
The "Going on a Picnic" Korker

The "Sweet Watermelon" Korker

The Ladybug Clip - so, so cute!

The RaggieMuffin
And, these elegant flower clips ... would be so perfect for Easter!

Of course, there's lots more, but I'll let you check those out ...