Haven's front teeth +Mati's forehead = a night spent at the ER.
A horrible collision as they were running through the house resulted in our second trip to the ER in 10 days. In the course of those 10 days we also had a traumatic dentist visit for Haven and a few hours spent at urgent care. My kids have never had this much medical trauma in such a short time span! Thankfully we walked out of the ER Tuesday night with the best case scenario. We thought Mati was going to need stitches and Haven was going to loose at least one tooth if not more. BUT, we were wrong, Praise the Lord! They decided Mati's head would heal okay on it's on. (And it was until last night when he climbed up on a rocking chair to get something off a bookshelf and a wooden box of wooden play food came crashing down on his head, re-opening the wound! He needs a helmet for Christmas!) After waiting a long time for a pediatric dentist consult, it was decided that we should give her teeth a chance to reattach. They might not, but since the teeth weren't cracked or broken off, we should at least let them try. So we'll check again in a few weeks and see what the dentist thinks then. They are ridiculously wobbly and she's having a hard time not messing with them; can't say I blame her.
Who looks like they're in more pain here? Seriously- what was my problem?!
I am thankful that overall I have really healthy kids and that we have money to pay for the great medical care that is readily available to us. I am not taking it for granted! While I hate seeing my kids in pain or sick, I realize it could be SO much worse. The last few weeks have been joyfully busy for our family, but all the medical drama has added another layer of crazy. We've fought hard to not let any of it steal our joy and distract our hearts. He is good no matter what our circumstances may try to tell us. These next few days will be, Lord willing, calmer around here. We're eager to celebrate His coming! And we long for His return!
"Whenever Christmas begins to burden, it’s a sign that I’ve taken on something of the world and not of Christ."
Read the whole post here, because you really should. She says it better then just about anyone. This sentence has been running constantly through my mind since I read it. It's become my gauge to filter what I'm doing, the busyness I find myself occupied with. Thankfully, much of the busy is joyful, but it's a way to keep my heart and my actions focused on what really matters.
Him. The baby Jesus, born to die. For me.
Glory to God in the Highest!
**I'll need to keep this in mind this afternoon as we decorate our gingerbread house!**
It's been a slow, easy day around this house. We had a somewhat self-imposed hibernation day, due to a concussion and trip to the ER for a certain little boy yesterday. We needed to keep an eye on him and lay low and that's just what we did. But we also had some lovely holiday fun. Donuts and bagels for breakfast while we watched a movie. (Don't think we'd ever done that before.) Christmas coffee for the grown-ups (thanks, Amber!). Making treats to eat and share and packing boxes off to friends and family. I also crossed off a major to-do: the Christmas cards! Lots of help from Haven with those and it feels good to see them all lined up, ready to go. Some presents got wrapped and a new list was made of what I have left to do. We watched some football and ate some snacks. It was a lovely day, all around. Productive, but in a low-stress way. Loved it.
And the boy is doing fine. We kept a close eye on him last night, waking him every few hours. After checking him at 3:30am he decided it was an okay time to be up for the day. Let's just say Mama and Mati got a lot of quality time in today. (And I loved it!) We had all the classic symptoms yesterday- vomiting, dizziness, out-of-sorts- so it was a relief to see my little guy back in action today. Even at 4am!
The snow piling up outside only added to the almost hibernation day we had. Couldn't have written it better myself!
We had a great weekend enjoying the snow and lots of holiday fun. Friday night we went to get our Christmas tree. We love the small family tree farm that we found a few years ago. They are so nice and the trees are so reasonably priced.
With in a minute of arriving I spotted our tree and knew it was "The Tree of 2010". I pretended to check out a few others, but I knew who we'd be going home with. I thought it looked kind of small, but that's probably because all the other trees around it were at least a foot taller. As it is, the one we got, with star on top is touching the ceiling of our living room.
We spent the rest of the evening decorating the tree. It's always such a bittersweet time as I pull out ornaments from Christmas' past and am flooded with memories and missing. The tree looks perfect and I just love walking past it; I smile every time. There is something special about the glow of the Christmas lights while watching the snow falling outside. Love it.
I also love this kid. He and Haven loved the tree farm and had fun running around. Saturday night our Christmastime fun continued as we headed to the Lebanon Christmas Parade. We invited our home group to join us and we found some prime seating for all the kids to enjoy the show. It was cold and snowing, but it added to the fun of the night.
We drank hot chocolate, ate caramel corn and maybe tried to catch a snowflake or two while we watched 130 horse drawn carriages go past.
Mati loved the snow and the horses and was just delighted with the whole experience. He yelled, "Merry Christmas, to you!" at all the horses and people walking past.
Cale and I were bundled up tight with layer upon layer. But what exactly is Cale doing with his scarf? I don't know either. But he stayed warm and that's all that really matters. And he helped me when I spilled hot chocolate all over. And ate my caramel corn with his big lobster gloves one. And he's mine.
Sharing the parade with sweet friends made it even better this year. We love our home group and love that they wanted to brave the cold with us. I love these girls and am so thankful to have them in my life!
A fun weekend full of Christmas fun. Did you do anything fun this weekend?
I'm slowly digging myself out from the pile of goodness that was our Thanksgiving. Surrounded by family, tables heaped with good food, hearts overflowing with the goodness of the Lord to each of us...what more can you ask for? (Maybe staying up all night to shop on Black Friday? Oh, wait...I did that, too! And how about a sleigh ride and a preschool Christmas program? Yep, had all that goodness, too!)
I came home to a house that had already had the magic wand of Christmas sprinkled upon it. You have no idea how happy it made me to drive home from our long weekend away, Christmas music on heavy rotation and knowing that my house was already reflecting the season. I've completed much of my shopping already and have good ideas in the works for those that remain. We are planning and making room in our day to not let this Advent season slip past us unnoticed. We don't want to miss it.
The Jesse Tree stands waiting for us tomorrow. The Advent calendar is ready for its first ornament. I've read the first few pages in my favorite Advent devotional. And I'm ready. Ready to ponder and think about and take it all in. I want to celebrate the mystery and let it sink deep into my heart in a fresh way this season. I am choosing to not miss it this year.
My Mat-Mat turned 2.5 today. Around this house we celebrate things like that, complete with a small gift, singing and some cake. Mati spent the day singing Happy Birthday to himself and we managed to get it on camera for posterity!
Back in September I stood in the checkout line at Target and my eyes landed on the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Craft magazine. I'm not one of those people who thinks you can ever start thinking about Christmas too early, so I snatched it up. I loved several of the projects inside, but was immediately taken by an appliquéd tree pillow. I loved the simplicity of it and the idea of finally trying my hand at appliqué. Much like my wreath, I was surprised at how pleased I was with my results. See for yourself...
I think it turned out really cute although somewhat difficult to photograph! It has found a happy home on the chair in our school/play room. And I've discovered how easy and fun it is to appliqué! Next up, a Christmas t-shirt for Haven. If it turns out, you'll surely be seeing it here!
I was so excited about the project I mentioned yesterday that I couldn't wait to get started on it once the kids were in bed. Two hours and fifteen minutes later I was done and this is what I created:
Meet my yarn wreath, also known as a door sweater! It's not often that a project I tackle actually ends up like I envision in my head, but this one did. I could not be happier with how it turned out. I love it! I saw the idea on etsy (of course!) and thought, "Hey! I can do that!" And I was right. The going rate for one on etsy was at least $30. Mine is larger then most I found on there and it cost me $6.50 in supplies with yarn to spare.
I also learned how to make ruffles last night. They aren't perfect, but they still look good on their new home. For us, I love the reds and browns; it fits us and my style and will be perfect for the winter holidays and beyond. But truly the possibilities are endless with the different yarns and fabrics or felts. I'm in love with this project! I'm not sold on the fabric hanger, but I was so excited to show it off that I just tied some scrap fabric on to hang it. Maybe some ribbon or even just a piece of yarn...we'll see.
So that's my big project! I actually finished up another little Christmas item yesterday, too (pictures of that to come). Two projects in one week is unheard of for me. But I was reminded that I do love having a creative outlet and I need to make more time for it.
Anyone's door looking lonely and need some company? Make it a door sweater!
Confession time: I listened to Christmas music in my car today. And I loved it. I had an Iced Capp in hand and my best little guy in the backseat and I was headed to get supplies for a Christmas project. A delightful scenario that required Christmas music. It would have been down right irresponsible to not play it! My shopping trip was highly successful and I hope to show you proof of that later this week.
Gray skies, colder temps (finally!), rain, soup for dinner and bread rising in the kitchen make me one happy girl this Tuesday afternoon. Christmas music optional.
Guess who moved to a "big boy" bed last night? (No, it wasn't Cale.) It was this sweet boy of mine...
He was perfect! Went right to sleep, didn't get up and stayed in bed til we went to get him this morning. Ditto at nap time. I heard him call for me through the monitor when he woke up this afternoon and I walked in and he's just sitting there waiting for me. He is such a good kid! And so darn cute cuddled in to his new bed!
I love things that come in miniature size. I'm not talking about a shelf full of mini spoons and turtles and Statue of Liberty figurines (although there's nothing wrong with that!). I"m talking about normal things, just done mini. I kept a mini bottle of ketchup that came with room service on our honeymoon just because I couldn't get over it's short and squatiness. I have mini little playing cards that I've never attempted to use, because really, who could play Hearts or Solitaire with a card smaller then your thumb. But they're cute, so they stay. Want to know what really gets me? The little tents and sleeping bags that they have on display at Target. I can hardly stand their cuteness and have even been known to take a picture of them. I love them that much. Have you ever been to Pottery Barn Kids and seen the mini little display cribs?
I also love free things. And I'm always signing up for a free sample of this or that and promptly forgetting what I signed up for. Imagine my delight when this showed up yesterday:
And now some perspective on the tiny size...
Might not be useful for much, but it was free and it's mini...two of my favorite things!
I have spent the better part of the last week in the area where I grew up surrounded by my family. Together, we buried my grandmother yesterday. And while it's sad, it's also been a celebration of the remarkable woman she was. I've encountered countless people and heard story after story about the way she impacted them. A public school teacher and administrator, a committed member of her church, Bible study leader, committee member, college professor...not to mention single mother to 6, aunt, sister, friend. And don't forget grandmother of 14 and great grandmother of 18. I realized as I listened to people share stories about her that I really only understand her through the lens of being her granddaughter. It's been such a gift to have that view expanded and see her in a new way.
She wasn't a warm and fuzzy lady, but she had her moments. She was intensely practical and expected others to act in a similar fashion. She taught us that the world isn't that big of a place and to go and see all of it that we could. She modeled for her whole family, in countless ways, that you make the most of every situation-good or bad- and don't use it to make excuses for yourself. She never did. She showed us what determination and hard work look like. She was articulate (exactly what you'd expect from an English teacher!) and always ready with some insight or encouragement or a kick in the pants- whatever she thought you needed that day. She'd smack me in the middle of my back and tell me to stand up straight and be proud of the height God gave me. She taught my mom, who taught me, how to care for people and make them feel welcomed and wanted in my home. She was thrifty and loved to get a good deal (I come by it honest!). She was fully present in conversation and comfortable with silence.
She was all of these things and so much more. She was my last living grandparent and I feel like something has come unhinged with her passing. I can't quite articulate it, but I don't really like how it feels. But I know what I need to do. And it's her voice I hear in my mind saying, "Buck up, Kate."
Life has been especially heavy and hard this week. When my eyes opened this morning I was overwhelmed and not ready to face anything about the day. But I had to get up and feed kids and do all the normal things morning brings with it. Part of what I had to do was take Haven to the doctor. I left the house in a rush, feeling crazy and scattered and unsettled. I got in the car and these words immediately came out of the speaker...
And I believe You're my portion
I believe You are more then enough for me
Jesus You're all I need
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands
And it was just what I needed. The truth, simple and clear. About Him and me. I've held tight to these words all day. The heavy and the hard have not let-up, but I don't carry the burden alone.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me ears to hear just what I needed.
Some days love comes easy. It's simple, carefree and fun. Those days are few and far between of late. But those aren't the days that define us anyway. It's the hard ones; when we choose to love and it costs us something, that tell me who we really are...who we will be.
Fall fun is in full swing around here. Several weeks ago we went to Wesler's Orchards and picked a full bushel of apples. It was a great place to go with the kids and we enjoyed seeing the barn animals, sampling some apple cider and picking eight different varieties of apples.
Quality control by Mati...
Sometimes you just need to climb up in the tree to get 'em!
Our trip to the orchard was just part of an almost perfect day. We drove on back roads and enjoyed the beautiful area that we live in. We had no agenda other then to get some apples and once that was accomplished we were spontaneous. The road led us to an adorable small town that I was immediately smitten with. I was already enamored, but when I was given directions to turn left at Annie Oakley (a statue) I was a goner. The day got even better when we happened upon an amazing sale at a KitchenAid store and my man purchased this for me (at a better price!). We even stumbled upon a garage sale and I scored 2 old small school desks complete with chairs for the kids for super cheap. It was just a beautiful day and we enjoyed being together with no real plans. That doesn't happen often enough. Then we walked in the door and Haven puked. Our idyllic day came to a screeching halt!
We've enjoyed several hikes and walks, taking in the gorgeous fall leaves and changing season. The kids loved going on a hike and collecting leaves to make leaf rubbings. They were a big hit around here.
A classic- leaf rubbings after a nature walk at The Narrows
This past weekend we went to a local farm that has all sorts of fun fall things to do. They are known for their maze, but mazes sound like a torture activity to me. The kids loved playing in the corn pit, trying out the -tiny- hay maze, petting animals and riding in the cow train. We also went on a great hay ride all around the property and through the woods. It was a perfect evening for it and we had so much fun!
Mastering the hay maze...didn't take much, but they liked it!
Mati got in and posed and then got out! He was not having this!
I love these two rascals so much!
Lots of fall fun around here! What have you been doing to enjoy my favorite of seasons?
The world as I knew it stopped in that moment, never to return to the course I'd come to know. I was left to find a new path, a new way.
I'm still finding it.
But today I'll get up with a heart full of memories. I'll live the life I hope he'd be proud of. I'll kiss the babies he never got to meet. I'll fix a dinner he would have loved to enjoy at my table. I'll remember the good and push away the hard, just for today.
I spent my weekend here. Rough, I know. But someone had to do it. And this is just one small room of the beautiful Thistletop Inn. Saturday night we had the run of the place and strangely, felt completely at home and loved every minute of it. Great food, wonderful people and a beautiful setting all with my favorite guy to celebrate -8-.
My sister-in-law is a vegetarian, so it's a concept and a word that Haven's familiar with. We eat a lot of meat-less meals around here and last week we happened to eat three of them in a row. On the third night of our veggie-rama, I was teasing Cale about the lack of meat in our diet and that I was going to turn him into a vegetarian yet. Haven was asking if we knew any other people who were vegetarians; then she asked what we were. Laughingly I told her we were flexitarians, to which Cale snickered because he thinks that's a silly, made-up word. Haven paused for a minute and then said, "What are we again? Mexi-tarians?"
Oh, if there were such a thing, we would TOTALLY be it! Any other Mexi-tarians out there?!
This was the scene of Melissa's kitchen on Tuesday night after nine of us gathered for Recipe Club. We tried something new this time and all brought ingredients to put together two different recipes that would leave us with 4 meals to stash in our freezers. I didn't take a picture of the chaos on the other side of the kitchen- I mean, nine women all cooking in one place- it was a little messy! But this was the fruit of our efforts, stacked 2 and 3 high, chicken enchiladas and stuffed shells. Our little experiment turned out to be a huge success, at least in my opinion! Can't wait to try it again!
A rainy, cool evening; fall has finally arrived and it couldn't be more welcome. After a few days of sickness, this evening finds me better. So I've got a bowl of apple crumble, drizzling rain outside, a favorite show to watch and my best one snuggled next to me on the couch.
If that's not the makings of a perfect, rainy Monday night, then I don't know what is.
And I'm thankful that even though I haven't had the best attitude today, He keeps renewing my mind (Romans 12:12) and reminding me of His goodness. See the list above for proof of all the little ways He loves me.
Thursday already and another weekend bearing down on us. Unlike last weekend, this one is partially unfilled and that means I just might get to relax. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind; we've had so much going on that I've barely had time to think about it all, let alone blog about it! But here's a few pictures of the last week or so and what's been happening in our world.
Last week Haven started her third (!) year of Tuesday School. She loved it and is excited about a new year. Is it just me or does she look so old in this picture?!!
Cale and I had a wonderful time celebrating his birthday at the Steelers game on Sunday. What a great guy to decide he wants to go to a game as his gift and take me along! We won the game in overtime with a touchdown in the end zone right in front of us! Couldn't have asked for a more exciting way to end it!
The birthday boy on the bridge as we hiked to the stadium. We didn't mind the mile and half walk on a sunny day in September, but it wouldn't be fun on a cold night in November!
Tonight we entered a new phase of life: organized sports! Haven had her first soccer practice tonight and loved every minute of it. Her coach is pretty cute, too!
So that's our life. Well, the fun things anyway. I didn't think you wanted to see pictures of the dirty dishes, toys spread from room to room or the face of a child in trouble which seem to be the things I look at all day long! But aren't those all reminders of a good meal, fun being had and in the case of a child in trouble, a good idea that didn't turn out so well?
My weekend is full to the brim of goodness. Which sounds especially good to me after a challenging week. The wonderful mix of time with friends, serving our community and time alone with my man await me. And come tomorrow....tomorrow, I'll be here.
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for the Steelers home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. Cale's 30th birthday present sure does feel like a present to me! I can't wait!
Today, there is much celebrating at our house. It's Cale's 30th birthday! Last week we were discussing his birthday and how old he feels and he commented that I've been a part of his life for the last decade, a third of his life. (And of course I had to add that it was the BEST third!)
That conversation got me thinking about our life and the evolution of our relationship. We first met at a college retreat in the spring of 1999. I had traveled with my roommate 6 hours to be at this retreat and we arrived late that evening. Everyone was gathered in the main room of the lodge and my brother was running me around the room introducing me to new people. It was in that rush that I met Cale and for the life of me couldn't remember his name. I knew that both his names were kind of different and so in my mind he became the boy with the strange name. I never thought he'd make me the girl with the strange name, too!
Cale circa 2001
We've come a long way since then. Our friendship grew and developed over the next few years, even going with me to Benin, West Africa where I'd get a random email from him once in a while. When I returned to Cleveland our friendship escalated and before we knew it, we were dating. A blink of an eye later (literally- it was 3 months later!) we were engaged!
Newly engaged at college graduation May 2002
And before we knew, we were married, had moved to a new city and Cale had started his first full time job. It was a crazy year!
Newly married- on our honeymoon at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada
Now we've been around the world and had all sorts of adventures. Life has not been slow or dull over the last decade. I've had the best person in the world by my side.
Cape Town, South Africa January 2005 (pardon my crazy, wind-blown hair!)
We've grown up a lot and I've witnessed first hand Cale becoming the man God intended. I watched him throw himself whole heartedly into being the best dad he possibly could be and loving his children more then anything.
New family February 2006
Together we've had more fun then should be allowed. We've laughed until we've cried and have a slew of inside jokes and nicknames that would certainly reveal our ridiculousness if ever shared with another. But to us, they're golden.
Chatauqua Lake, NY October 2007
We've also walked through lots of hard things, just like any other couple. We've had to choose to love and hold tight to the promises we made. It isn't always easy, but it is certainly worth it.
Heinz Field November 2008
We've stood hand-in-hand and watched God do things that we never dreamed possible. He's led us places we could have never imagined and Cale has followed hard after those things, sometimes pulling me along. We are overwhelmed with blessings.
Our growing family July 2009 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Thirty years old today and a humble, kind, servant-hearted man. And I get to claim you as mine. How lucky am I?
See, Cale? It's been quite the decade, don't you think? And I've got a feeling we're just getting started!
Don't you love the start of a new month? A clean, fresh start. And September 1st is extra special because to me that means fall has started. I don't care that the calendar says we've got a full 3 more weeks of summer.
September = fall. Anyone with me?
But, it is 90 degrees out there today. Not necessarily fall-ish per se. So let's look at some pictures of our favorite activity of the summer: the pool. My kids LOVE to swim. Haven has always been pretty comfortable in the water, but this summer her confidence grew by leaps and bounds and she's now swimming on her own and even daring to go underwater. She earned herself a pair of goggles for that feat. Cale and I learned early on that we just had to let her go at her own pace. She didn't like us to try things with her in the water. She wanted to do it on her own and then she'd practice with us.
Don't you love the yellow and pink goggles she picked out?!
And then there is my son. He has NO fear. Jumps in, doesn't care who's watching or if anyone is around. This video that I captured so perfectly sums up his pool experience. I couldn't believe he did this and that I was fortunate enough to capture it. This kid is crazy!
--A few weeks ago, I ordered this great map and it arrived bent up. Not good. But the customer service people at Uncommon Goods were awesome and a new, unbent map arrived at my door yesterday. They asked me questions, cared about my feedback and did everything they could to make sure I was a satisfied customer. I will definitely shop with them again. And, how cute is that map?! I love eeBoo things! We have this game and the illustrations are just too darn cute!
--I am loving these cool morning and evenings like nothing else. Gives me hope that fall is on its way. But I really am trying to soak in as much summer goodness as possible. Promise. (But can I just say how badly I want to wear jeans and boots and maybe even a sweater!!) But I love sleeping with my windows open and this week has been perfect for it!
--I had the pleasure of attending Beth Moore's Living Proof Live two weekends ago with a few of my favoritegirls. It was a wonderful weekend in every way. We had so much fun together- worshiping, learning, shopping, eating, talking, laughing, praying- it was just so good. Of course, we had to peruse the bookstore they have on site and I picked up a copy of Beth's Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only . I've only done the first 10 days, but I would already recommend it! They are relatively brief (compared to her usual 5 day/week studies), but deep and meaningful. It's been great motivation to get back into my early morning quiet time.
--Of course we have had a few new recipes recently and two of them are good enough to share. We tried Zucchini Deep Dish Pie and it was great served with a salad on the side. We also had Lemon Orzo Chicken Salad. It was really lemony, but we enjoyed the bright flavor of this light meal. As written, it makes pretty small portions if you're eating it for dinner, but it was full of vegetables, easy to throw together ahead of time and really tasty.
--I've been trying to get up earlier lately and really wishing I was a coffee person (well, beyond my beloved Iced Capps!), but I'm just not. So a few mornings this week I've been trying some tea. Tazo Vanilla Rooibos Tea has hit the spot! I bought some several months ago (in bags, not the loose one this is linked to) and then kind of forgot about it. I've rediscovered it and am loving it! I have loved Rooibos since we lived in Namibia and it was a staple of our diet. I am so glad it's easy to find all over now.