Monday, November 19, 2012

A happy fall

It is hard for me to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few short days away. This happens every year it seems. September rolls in and I'm ready to savor all the goodness of fall.  And then I blink and it's Thanksgiving and I need to Christmas shop! This year was no different especially since we added to the mix a busy baby boy who's schedule alone keeps me hopping. But we did manage to find lots of fall fun.

 Fall festival horse rides- she loved it!
 Mati wasn't quite so sure.
 We enjoyed some beautiful weather and taught the baby about mini golf. 
 Haven found herself a new reading spot. Looks really uncomfortable but she was thrilled with herself!
 We did some art projects, too. Oil pastels and water colors- a favorite combo!
 Trick-or-treaters ready to go!
This year we had a soccer player, a baby zebra and a veterinarian. They had a blast despite the rain.

I might have my eye on December and be itching to do all manner of Christmas-y things, but I will be clamoring to be the first to share my thankful heart on Thursday. We had a huge hearing for E last week and found out that he will be staying with us for the foreseeable future. We've lived so much of 2012 in 6 week increments, always waiting for the next court date and to not have one looming for many, many months is such a relief.  We have so enjoyed being a family of five this fall and are thrilled to get to celebrate the holidays together!

Friday, October 19, 2012

ten years strong

Ten years married...

Ten years of new dreams taking root in our hearts and old dreams dying.
Ten years of new relationships growing and others fading away.
Ten years of choosing to love each other and liking each other mostly, too.
Ten years of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Ten years of saying yes to the Lord and sometimes Him saying no.
Ten years of holding on to each other and sometimes pushing away.
Ten years of meals shared, dishes dirtied, laundry washed and the everyday mundane.
Ten years of Friday nights on the couch and the just being us.
Ten years of trips and travels to different corners of the world.
Ten years of family and who He's growing us to be.
Ten years of weekends and laughter and being the best of friends.
Ten years of waking up next to and kissing goodnight.

I love you, CHZ. I am overcome when I consider the faithfulness of God in my life and that He gave me you to share it with. You will always be my best one.

Love will be enough. We are stronger than we know.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A long time missing

16 years. That's a long time to miss someone.

But today we're going to focus on celebrating instead of missing.  I'm going to look my people in the eye and tell them a story about this man they've never met.  I will fill my table with new friends and good food.  I will open my heart and mind to the truth of His Word and praise His faithfulness with my church family. I will remember his laugh, his voice, his gestures and maybe cry some.

But mostly, I will celebrate this life that I live and his indelible influence that runs through my life like a strong, bright cord.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Favorites

It has been way too long since I shared some Friday favorites.   So what do you say? How about today?  Good.

-This will be a no-brainer to most of you, but I'm loving the new Mumford & Sons album, Babel. Favorite song so far- "I Will Wait".  It has been my afternoon soundtrack the last 3 days.

-Orla Kiely and Method: a perfect match to me!  Cute bottle, great smelling soap and I'm sold.

-Okay, be patient with me on this one, but Cale and I are loving the ridiculous show "Duck Dynasty".  I had heard people talk about it several months ago and assumed that was not a show for me.  Earlier this week several blogs I read mentioned the wife that is on the show and I decided to look more into it.  All it took was one minute long clip on hulu to know that this was a show Cale and I needed to watch. It is SO FUNNY!  We have watched 5 or 6 episodes this week and we are constantly laughing out loud.  If you want to see some crazy rednecks in action then this is your show.  It sounds ridiculous and it is, but we can't get enough of it!  Good news is you can watch all of season 1 on hulu. I'm going to refrain from posting a nice picture at the top of this note because you might get scared!

-We are going to have family pictures taken by the best photographer I know next week and I've been trying to figure out what everyone is wearing.  I ordered this dress for Haven from Land End and it is adorable.  The top is t-shirt like and the skirt is fine wale corduroy and I love it.  It's a little brighter in person, but I think we're going to make it work.  Thank you Lands End for a 40% off coupon and a sale.

-I saw these English muffins at the store and didn't think anything of it til I read about them on a blog (which I can't find the actual link to).  Then I saw the big packs at Sam's Club and knew we needed to try them.  Let me implore you to buy them!  They are delicious- not too strong of a flavor.  Just right for these fall mornings.  I might stockpile my freezer with them!

And that's all I've got.  I, for one, and very glad it is Friday.  It's been a long week and I'm ready for a not-too-busy weekend!  Hope it's a good one for you, too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here we go again

It has been a week since the phone rang.  And just that like, he was home.

I think it's finally settled in that he's here.  I get to rock him to sleep at night and kiss his chubby cheeks and listen to his silly laugh.  He's here.  For now, anyways.

I'll take it.  And all the crazy that comes with him.  Any day with him is better than without.

sorry about football face, but at least you can see how big he's gotten!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Field Trip: Learning Tree Farm

We are fortunate to have several friends who also homeschool and we decided it would be a great idea to organize some field trips together.  We had our first one last week at Learning Tree Farms and it was so much fun for all of us.  Learning Tree Farms is completely hands on and the wonderful ladies working at the farm that day were so helpful and patient with our kids.
 We got to hold chickens....well, not me.  Didn't volunteer for that one myself, but my son did!
 This is the farm's only black sheep.  Guess what it's name is?  That's right, it's Mattie.  We were dying laughing!  My Mati thought it was cool that the sheep had brown skin like he does.  
 Coolest part of the visit was the baby goat that was born while we were there!  This little guy (who we got to name- we picked Gibson) is minutes old in this picture.  
They also had two little goats that were only about a week old.  The moms couldn't get enough of these baby goats!
 Best buds with the donkeys; we learned that male donkeys are called jacks and females jenny. 
 We took a hike through the woods on the property and were rewarded with a clearing and a tire swing.  Also swarms of mosquitoes, but that didn't bother the kiddos!

See, I was there!  That's me and baby Casper, the goat.  Oh they were cute!

This was a great place to have our first field trip.  It was such a joy to see all our kids of various ages interacting and playing and learning together.  And it doesn't hurt that I got to hang out with some of my favorite women in the world.  We had such a great experience at Learning Tree Farm and I hope that this was the first of many visits there!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Afternoon snack: Cranberry Cereal Bars

Need a little afternoon snack to get you through til dinner?  These little bars are a favorite around our house. As easy as Rice Krispie treats, but a whole lot tastier in my opinion.  There's something about the crunch and flavor of the Cheerios in these bars that I just love.  So a quick, easy, kinda-not-terrible treat for your kids will love to help make them!

Cranberry Cereal Bars
4 Tbs butter
1 10 oz bag mini marshmallows
6 cups Cheerios (or other toasted O kinda cereal)
1/2 tsp salt (sounds weird, but critical- don't omit!)
1 cup dried cranberries

Spray a 9x13 dish lightly with cooking spray.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in marshmallows.  Stir constantly until completely melted.  Remove from heat and add cereal, salt and cranberries.  Immediately transfer to prepared pan and pat into place firmly.  (I usually use a large spoon sprayed with cooking spray to keep from sticking.) Let cool about an hour.  Cut into 24 bars and enjoy!

recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Food
photo: courtesy of Martha Stewart 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A new look and a quote

Like many areas of my life, I decided a little sprucing up was in order here on the blog.  So a new look with many thanks to my technical genius of a husband for getting it up and going for me. I told him what I wanted and he made it happen.  I'm liking the vibe of this new background and we will hopefully get all the tweaks taken care of this week.

And now a little Spurgeon for you.  It would not be overstating to say that C.H. Spurgeon has been vital in my growth as a believer.  Seriously.  A month or so ago, I decided to pull out my copy of Morning and Evening (thanks to Jess!) and it has been just what I needed.  I read this a few nights ago and it was astoundingly appropriate (especially in light of my last post.)  I hope you are as encouraged as I was!

The trials which come from God are sent to prove and strengthen our graces, and so at once to illustrate the power of divine grace, to test the genuineness of our virtues, and to add to their energy.  Our Lord in His infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets so high a value upon His people's faith that He will not screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened.  You would never have possessed the precious faith which now supports you if the trial of your faith had not been like unto fire....While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husk it is useless to man, it must be threshed out of its resting place before its value can be know.  Thus it is well that Jehovah tries the righteous, for it causes them to grow rich toward God.  

May I always long to grow rich toward God, whatever it may cost me!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Eight months

Eight months ago, I had no idea how much my life was about to change.  A tiny baby boy entered the world and would soon enter my life.  I've not been the same since.  It was love at first's hard to not fall in love with 6lbs of nothing but sweetness.  That baby boy grew physically and took more and more of my heart with each passing day.  Life with him was never easy, not because of him, but all the "stuff" that he was burdened with the moment he was born.  And it still isn't easy.  Right now we're in no-man's-land.  He's not here, but where he's at isn't good. 

Maybe he'll come back.  
Maybe we'll never see him again.  
We just don't know. 

And this is the place where I'm finding, by God's grace, that I really do believe what I say I believe.  I believe He is in the midst of every detail of this situation.  I believe that His grace is enough for all of us to walk through the hard days.  I believe that He will soothe the hurts that make my kids cry themselves to sleep at night.  I believe that He is sovereign over us.  I believe that He is always working for the good even when all I see is darkness.  I believe that His plans are always better then mine even when I don't understand a second of it.  I believe that Jesus is my only hope and He will never disappoint me.  

But some days I'm just sad.  My love, especially my mother heart love is active; there is nothing passive about it.  It is caring for the day-to-day, feeding, kissing, reading, teaching, discipling, cleaning....all those things show my family that I love them.  Part of what makes my heart ache is that I have so much love for this little boy that I can't do anything with.  I can't feed him his bottle or wash his clothes or play on the floor with him.  I can only miss him and long to hold him or tuck him in at night.  It's not enough.  I don't know what to do about it. But I do know that we are not supposed to give up on him yet.  So we continue to pray and hope, long for and believe.  And that will have to be enough for today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School 2012

We had a great first day of school together today!  I'm excited about this new year and all the new things we're going to learn, me included!  We are once again part of a  Classical Conversations community and I feel much better prepared this year then I was last year.  I know what to expect and what realistic expectations are for my kids.  Mati will be joining us this year, too, and he is very excited about that.  Here's a list of the rest of our curriculum for this school year in case you're bored or wonder what us homeschoolers actually teach our kids.

Bible- God's Great Covenant
Language Arts/Grammar/Handwriting- Writing With Ease Level 2, First Language Lessons
History- Story of the World Volume 1
Spelling- Spelling Workout Level C
Science-  Read and Understand Science
Math- Right Start Math Level B

We will also cover geography, Latin, more grammar, history, science, art, music, and math as part of our weekly memory work for Classical Conversations (CC). We will also be reading a ton of books each week- one of our favorite parts! Seems like a lot seeing it all written out like this, but it went very smoothly today.  I have a very eager student which makes my job a whole lot easier!  And don't forget about Mati- he'll be listening in as much as he wants to Haven's school work.  We've got lots of things for him to work on as well and he'll be part of our CC review time, too.

Here's to a new year full of learning about God and the world He created!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Still here


It's been awhile, hasn't it?  I never planned to be away so long, but life had other plans for me.  So much has happened in our little family over the last 5 months and a great deal of it I couldn't really document publicly.  It has been all consuming many days and if that's all I'm thinking about, then I've had nothing left to share here.  But I've missed it.  For the two of you that care, I've missed documenting our life and our fun and having an outlet to write when something is on my mind.  So I've decided to give it a go again.  I'm not promising anything, but hope to be around here a little more often.

We have had our fair share of fun this summer, despite some really hard days.  But I'm ready to get back to school (Monday!) and routine and some structure to our day.  I don't feel quite ready, but probably won't until we actually get started and I can get a feel for what it might look like.  These two wonderful kids have kept me on my toes this summer.  We've laughed a lot, played a million games, cried together, prayed like never before and were thankful for each other in a whole new way.  Having a 6 year old and a 4 year old is pretty great I decided.  Mostly.

So that's where we are today.  It is our last day of summer vacation, but feels quite fallish outside.  We don't mind though. We're going to enjoy a lazy day doing what we want, taking it as it comes.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A new look

This is what happens when Cale takes on barbering duties for Mati....

He loves it!  And let Cale mess with his hair for well over an hour to achieve it.  He was trying to recreate this look:

What do you think?  Success??  I'm not so sure!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


tonight is good for...
driving with all the windows down and an open sunroof and turning the music loud

listening to new music that i already love (because it reminds me of the music to a show whose love runs deep)

watching a show, snuggled up with my man and the baby

spending an inordinate amount of time trying to make a tiny boy smile and being rewarded with the drooliest grins and world's cutest dimples

reading a chapter or two in a book by a favorite author

dreaming of our ten year anniversary trip and being thankful that we booked our tickets today

believing that God is not surprised by any news that comes our way

sleeping with the windows open and breezes blowing

remembering what He has done in us, for us and through us

feeding him one last bottle before sleep

kissing my loves goodnight

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Haven and E: 6 years and 6 weeks

Do you know how awesome it is to have your best friend be an amazing photographer who is always happy to take pictures of your family? Well, I do!!  And I'm so thankful for each of the grins, smiles and wrinkled brows that she captured for us recently.  We'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
 this one is my favorite i think...just captures my girl so perfectly!

 these two them both so much and they sure love each other!

And here are a few of our sweet little man.  Can't show you his face, but you can still appreciate his cuteness!

Many thanks to Amber for blessing us with her talents!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Still here

 My six year old and her pancake cake

Well, that turned in to quite the hiatus, didn't it?  Totally not planned, but then nothing in my life feels like it is these days!  We're still here, plugging along. We've been sick (who hasn't?!!) and traveled and are trying to navigate our way through the foster care system (that's a whole other post that will probably never get written!).  I honestly can't believe it is March and that the two day old who showed up on my doorstep is now two months old!  We're still trying to figure out life with three kids, homeschooling, ministry opportunities, and general life responsibilities. So here's a few pictures to bring you up to speed and we'll consider ourselves caught up, okay?
This is what my kids do to themselves when I'm otherwise occupied
 Heart shaped pizza for Valentine's Day with heart shaped pepperoni- a big hit!
 Haven and Cale ready to hit the slopes for a day of skiing
 Mati's first trip to the dentist- he did so well!
Three babes in a bed for a morning snuggle

I'll be back soon...promise!!  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Haven = Six

Six years old?  Who told you that you were allowed to keep getting older?!  I can not believe that my beautiful girl is six!  I love you so much and am so thankful that I've got a front row seat to the amazingness of you!  It has been a big year, this 5...the most important thing being that you believed in Jesus as your Savior and asked Him to be Lord of your life!  It was a decision that you didn't take lightly and, like everything, you did in your own time when you were ready.
Haven's baptism- December 28, 2011

 I have loved to see your desire to do what pleases God and to know His Word.  He has given you a heart that longs for what's right and that deeply loves other people.  I've been humbled and amazed at your generosity this year and your willingness to follow through with even the simplest of ideas to help other people.  You are a born helper- big or small, you truly have a helpful spirit and that has been especially needed in the last month as our family has grown.  You are such a little mama to E and it makes me smile to see you trying to care for him in the same ways that I do.

You are the best big sister and take seriously (sometimes a little too seriously) your job; Mati and E are blessed to have you love them so much!  You love hard and good and long and feel it all deeply.  You get that from me and my first inclination is to tell you I'm sorry because loving that way gets you hurt, but I really wouldn't want you any other way.  Loving people well is part of who you are.

You are a crazy voracious reader!  Nine times out of ten if I can't find you, you are off reading somewhere. You love school and learning and workbooks and going to CC.  You have easily transitioned into school this year and I love being there at the moment when an idea finally clicks for you.  You love to be creative and do art projects.  This year found you slightly obsessed with perler beads, but God even used those to teach us some lessons and help others.  You discovered a love for audio books and that's how you usually pass part of an afternoon.  Listening to a story while you craft is maybe your perfect way to spend a quiet time.

You are funny and crazy and love to be wild. You love a good wrestling match and to sit and cuddle.  You love Indian food, ice cream and apples.  You like to dig in the dirt and get your nails painted.  You love to play games, help in the kitchen and boss people around (again-you get that from me and I'm sorry!).  You love to color and paint and help weed the flowerbeds.  You love a good bike ride, campfires and trips to the library.  You love adoption, helping other kids and playing computer games.  You are a beautiful combination  of so many good things.  

God has great plans for you in being six years old.  New challenges, lessons to learn, places to go...but I'll be right there with you.  I'm your biggest fan, Haven and know that you will face it all with a brave smile and a willing heart.  You are my BEST GIRL!