Monday, September 27, 2010

Joel's Birthday

Last Thursday, for Joel's birthday, we decided to celebrate all together at Red Robin. Joel had a free burger-so that was motivation enough!
And the wait staff came and sang to him--and then gave him a sundae. The looks on the kids' faces were priceless--a mix of fear and utter confusion.

Oliver was so excited to go and decided to dress just like Daddy.

On the way home, after lots of rain we saw a BEAUTIFUL rainbow in the sky.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Special Visit...

From Grandma GG!!! (Joel's Grandma--G.G. stands for "Great Grandma")

Last week we found out that Grandma GG was in Wichita...from OREGON!!! We were so excited--it's been almost 3 years since we saw her. Luckily, she was free and came and stayed with us for two days. What a fun time together!
Ollie and Lily ADORED her. We took her to Druber's and to Aunt Marge's--it's all about the food.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Joel!

I hope that for your 31st birthday,
All your wildest dreams come true:

The Bears win Monday night,
Notre Dame wins on Saturday, too.
The Cubs win the World Series,
And you dominate basketball at noon.

I'll feed you gummy worms for supper,
And make you a root beer float,
You can get some new work boots,
and an insulated work coat.

The kids will give you candy,
And won't even ask for a bite--
And we'll watch the season premier of 'The Office',
All on your special night.

Happy Birthday Joel!

Monday, September 20, 2010

For those Near and Far...

It's fun to see what the kids really get into.

Ollie, for example, is still REALLY into worship leading. Most days he dresses up as a worship leader and plays guitar and sings and preaches and prays. He brought his guitar to Andrew Peterson the other night...but unfortunately wasn't called up on stage like he had hoped.

Here he is jamming on the drums and clapping.

He also LOVES airplanes suddenly. Luckily, with a car, a rubber band, and a long yardstick, you can make yourself an AWESOME airplane.

(That's how he goes anyplace now, too...with his wings out and his engine running)

Lily is into things, too. Most are of the destructive nature, but we're slowly seeing her play more, instead of just destroy. (As a sidenote, here are few examples of her recent destructive-ness: She pulled a huge pile of stuffing out of a large stuffed duck during naptime one day, she has [twice!] taken off her clothes AND diaper during naps and then...ummm....wet the bed, and she tears apart most books that she gets her hands on, therefore, we're back to board books)
Oh, and this giant yellow duck? She really wants to take it to bed with her--but I have yet to fix it. This afternoon, after I put her down, she sat in her crib and yelled, "Duck! Where are you?" (which actually sounds like, "Duh, weh-ah-ooo?")

But anyway--she does have some new hobbies...

She loves her baby. She is good at rocking her baby and saying,"Shhhh, quiet!"

She loves to 'help' with dishes...

She's great at running...(sometimes TOO great)

And she is definitely learning new words. She is FUNNY. She has this infectious laugh that just gets Ollie going. And I love it, too.

On another note...what do you get a guy for his 31st birthday when all he wants is work boots? Ideas, please! (I mean, BESIDES work boots)

Friday, September 17, 2010

REALLY funny

Okay, so I found this blog the other day...and wow. It's really funny. And her husband? Also funny. It reminds me a bit of this blog that I also love. You should check them out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I realize that most of you already read Megan's blog...if so, then you probably already saw her post today. If you didn't though, please read. It truly moved me to tears!

We'll be picking out vitamins this week, too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

These Moments

These moments give me perspective, too. (in reference to my previous post) I LOVE how well these two interact (most of the time). Although we have our fights, they really are super playmates.

Lily looks for Ollie the minute she wakes up. (And has been known to burst into his room to wake him if he's not already!)

Oliver often hugs Lily and comments on what a 'cutie' she is.

Sometimes they play TOO well together and gang up to cause mischief! I commented to my mom yesterday that some days it feels like I'm already outnumbered!

But they are sweet and funny and keep us on our toes. And these pictures remind me that we do have LOTS of good moments together!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


That's what I really need today. I too easily get thrown into a tailspin by misbehaving children and a slightly critical email. These things consume my thoughts and make me immediately doubt whether I'm fit to be a mother at all.

I especially hate when these days come on one of my full days at home with the kids. (By the way, I LOVE my 3-morning a week work schedule!) But it frustrates me a lot when I have such rough days on my days off.

I was really thankful to read this today, in "My Utmost for His Highest":

"The things that Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God's power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way."

It is HARD to be at home with little children. It is hard to clean and cook and discipline when there don't seem to be any lasting results. My natural response is to just shut down and give up.

But this reminds me that I can't do this well on my own. It is only through the strength God gives me (and maintaining that relationship with Him DAILY) that I can do this well.

For today, that is a huge encouragement.

Monday, September 13, 2010

State Fair Fun

We have made it a (mandatory) tradition that we attend the State Fair each year. It started out as a food thing...and, come to think of it, it's still completely about the food. (But the kids have fun with it, too.)

We went Friday evening and ate supper before to make sure we didn't totally gorge ourselves. Although, I suppose supper at McDonald's completely misses the point...

The highlights:

The big slide (Lily tried it out with Joel this year!)
(she was a little freaked out...but kept saying 'more, more!' when they got to the bottom!)

The digging machine (where the kids found real money, and won a prize afterwards!)

The tractors and mowers

The train ride (Ollie begged to go on this--he's really becoming brave!)

And animals. (these cute piglets were in the birthing center)


We stayed a long time and the kids did really well! Then, we drove home to constant lightning in the distance. It was incredible.

We look forward to this every year--especially with such fun friends! (Thanks Balzers and Macs!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This is what you do...

When the football game you've been looking forward to all week goes EXTRA long. Instead of missing a single play...

You simply move the dining room table into the living room.

(And Notre Dame didn't even win!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It seems that Ollie has been ready for preschool for over a year now. Last year, every day after I worked, Ollie would ask, "So what did you do in preschool today, Mom?" And I'd have to give him the full run down.

Today, finally, it was his turn to go! I was relieved that he did really well. It's not that I was too worried, but he's had a few difficult days this fall, and I wondered if it had to do with him starting something new like this. Thankfully though, he loved it.

He woke up and put on his Cubs and Bears gear. (I wish I would have had time to take a cute picture outside or something--but the morning was crazy and at school, I was in 'teacher mode'! Oh, and look. I have a snowman towel hanging up. Nice.)

Then, I dropped Lily off at Sarah's, while Joel thankfully took Oliver to work for an hour. Good boy time. He brought him to preschool, which I think helped. Then he didn't have to 'leave' me.
I snuck in for a quick picture. I love that I get to be close to him during the mornings at preschool, and that he gets to have some time doing something on his own. He LOVES his teacher, Mrs. Helsel, and her son, Cooper. Those boys are TOO funny together!

And I think it will be extra good for Lily to have time with Sarah and Luke during the week. That girl needs a chance to talk, too! :-)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Camping Day!

Last Thursday at our house was Camping Day. Taylor and Mason joined us again for a fun morning 'roughing it' outside. (Again, I totally stole several ideas from Julie for this one!)

We set up our tent and had sleeping bags inside it for the kids to camp out. Unfortunately, my camera is dying, so I don't have pictures that I can show for that.

But Amanda did bring hers to document more fun activities we did! (These were all taken by her!)

Making Texture Bears:

We used flour, sand, and coffee grounds. We painted the glue on, which was a bit messy--but they did turn out pretty cute.

We also went on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. These binoculars definitely came in handy--those feathers were tricky to see with the naked eye!

We also enjoyed a picnic--complete with picnic basket and play food. (This was the point I had to haul out my pack and play so that Lily would stop throwing food/utensils/plates/cups/anything she could get her hands on in to the pool. *sigh*

We ended with a yummy lunch of watermelon, hot dogs, beans, chips and CapriSuns--perfect camping food, if you ask me!

*This was SUCH a fun way to spend a morning! I will definitely plan more of these--but I may wait until summer. With preschool 3 mornings a week--we stay plenty busy during the school year!

Friday, September 3, 2010

A horrible attempt at humor...

I'm sorry. My last post was a horrible mess. Really, I meant to write about how difficult it is to not always try to 'keep up with the Jones's' and be content what we have and where we are. My thoughts were not well organized or presented...which is not unusual. :-)

Joel and I are completely on the same page with buying a house and saving money. Really. We work hard to provide for our kids' needs, but at the same time, know that these short years we are on earth are not 'the end' of the story. We want God to be glorified in EVERY part of our lives--our marriage, our finances, our jobs.

So my attempt at humor flopped...but hopefully the point is a little clearer now... :-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In an effort to save my marriage...

I'll vent to my blogging friends. Vent maybe isn't the right word...have a heart-to-heart, maybe?

Many of you know that we have lived in our house for 7 years. 7 years in our cute, little, 2 bedroom house. And in that 7 seven years we've noticed that our family has grown larger--we now have two little ones running around the house. Things have gotten a bit 'snug'.

If it were up to me, we'd have moved 4 years ago. But it's not up to me. Thankfully, Joel is an extremely wise, stable, and financially savvy guy, and he is (mostly) making this decision. (Herein lies the marriage comment. Anytime I start a 'conversation' about quickly disintegrates into me whining.)

So here's the thing:
I have this battle going on inside me. I desperately want a big house. I don't mean a NEW house, or a huge mansion. But big. So we can fit lots of kids and guests when they come over. I want a full basement so my kids can run like crazy during the winter, and a bedroom for each of them. (So Lily doesn't have to sleep in the bathroom.) And I really want a dishwasher. I also like those nice neighborhoods where kids play and there are big yards and not many cars.

I can't wait to paint and decorate and redo and garden and just make it our home. And the more I focus on this, the more I start to think that I'm entitled to this.

But then I remember that most people in the world don't live like I am now. I am warm, fully fed, clean, and healthy. My children are happy and free to run and play. I remember huts in Africa where 6 people slept and lived--in a room the size of my bedroom! I have enough food in my house to feed SEVERAL families for a while.

God has given us so much. I WANT to remember that each day.

**And added later...
I really hope it doesn't sound like I'm mad at Joel! After I re-read this, I could see how it may have sounded like I'm venting about him. I'm not. I'm upset that it takes this much energy to stay content with what I have.