Wordless Wednesday


Just dropping in to say...

we had a GREAT Christmas!

Did you?

We enjoyed






The boys got a huge Lego set to share
Ava got a new dolly
I accidentally got Marvin the wrong thing
Marvin got me...

 a new camera!!!!


My wonderfully creative, romantic husband wrote a long story for me
complete with pictures (that I had taken over the past few years)
interspersed with clues to open several gifts in a certain order

The last gift (or so I thought) was Photoshop

After we opened our stockings, he gave me another card with another story
complete with pictures
with another clue to open the REAL last gift.

I cried when I opened the package and saw my very own
{{Cannon 40D}}
all snuggled up in the bubble wrap

I had to just keep coming back and peeking in the box for most of the morning
until I got enough nerve up after lunch to actually take it out
It really didn't seem real!

I would have been  super excited 
with just Photoshop
that's not how Marvin rolls

Remember this post from last Christmas?
The one about making it *magic* for me?

Well, my magic man did it again
I once again felt like a
total dork
since it's nearly impossible to buy the guy anything
and when I tried this year, I bought the
wrong thing.

So, sweetie, if or when you read this, I want you to know...

I don't take you for granted
I never expect what you do
feel entitled or deserving
treat me like a princess
~~~~~I love *YOU* so much!~~~~~






from all of us


all of you!

~May you and yours find the true peace, love 
and joy of our Savior this holiday season~


{proof} and Steve

quickly snapped proof that absence indeed does make the heart grow fonder...
but they were so fond of their cookies that they wouldn't look at me!

who's Steve?
We are the King and Queen of campy nicknames and phrases...
One year, we randomly decided that because for us Christmas Eve was a holiday in itself, that the day before Christmas Eve needed a name, too.

So...in honor of the day before the day before a holiday,

happy {Christmas Steve} to you all!

update: tonight, in true Christmas Steve tradition, we took our annual Pajama Drive (it's where we bundle the kids up in their pj's right before bedtime and drive them around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights)

As we were nearing the end of this year's Pajama Drive, Ava suddenly remarked, "Look Daddy!  It's baby Jesus and His friends!"



Brittany's home! Wa-hoooooo!

Need some?

pictures, that is...

I noticed that I hadn't posted any for a while

Here ya go!

~The Tree Farm~
(and afterward)



Last weekend we had fun going to a tree farm for the first time and harvesting our own tree.

This weekend, not so much!

We spent the day Saturday cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, trying to crawl out from under all the Christmas boxes, laundry and toys that had built up over the past week.  We got all the decorations up, organized the toys in the office, and I started vacuuming before I took a shower and got ready for Marvin's work Christmas party that night.

At first, I thought my vacuum bag was full, because our normally dirt-thirsty sweeper was declining the offering of Christmas tree needles on our carpet.  After changing the bag and going over the area several more times, I got down on my knees to investigate.

The tree we chose had extremely sharp, stiff needles but we picked it anyways 'cause it was purdy (big mistake, won't do that again).  Those sharp, stiff needles were now imbeded, parallel to the floor, in every loop of our berber-style area rug!

I spent nearly half an hour yanking them out one by one like so many splinters out of a finger.  I begged and pleaded with Marvin to help me just roll up the rug until after Christmas so it wouldn't get worse, but he wouldn't have any part of it.  He tells me that he hates the way the room looks without a rug, and ignores me when I say I'll hate the way the room looks with a permanently prickly, pine needle carpet. Then he promises to pick needles each night after work. Ha!  I say.

He says give it till Wednesday and if the tree is dropping more needles and the carpet is getting worse then we'll roll it up.

Don't think it didn't cross my mind to give that awful tree a good shake or two each day while he's at work between now and Wednesday!

But wait, there's more...

Today, we left for church in a bit of a hurry, and I forgot about my very full bowl of purple, blueberry oatmeal sitting on the table.  Our dog has become slightly aggressive in her older age about scanning for table scraps under and on the table.  Not thinking that she'd go for blueberry oatmeal, I dismissed the thought that suddenly occured to me during the service.

When we got home, I passed the kitchen and mumbled "dang, the kids were messy this morning, look at the floor" under my breath. Then I suddenly turned and did a double take, when I realized that the mess I was looking at would have taken thirty toddlers to accomplish.

Upon further inspection, I noticed my no longer full oatmeal bowl sitting upside down and broken under the table.  My black and white tile floor was now beautiful swirls of purple and beige, thanks to the long, rough tongue of our German Shepherd.

Anyone ever tried to wash an oatmeal bowl that sat all day on the counter?  Uh-huh.  Try cleaning hardened oatmeal film off of a floor.  I mopped as best I could, but what I need now is one of those steam mops to dissolve the THOUSANDS OF LITTLE SPECKS OF PURPLEN-ESS that are all over the tile.

Maybe while I'm shaking the tree, I'll shake the dog, too!


Benji said...

"Mommy, did you know that it's not good for girls to go first?"

"Why is that, buddy?"

"Because if a pirate catches a boy and a girl, he'll say, 'ladies first' to walk the plank, and girls should not go first, but neither should boys."

Is it time?

I don't have the brain power to make this a cute post, or play with my words, or such...I just want to say something about my present state of being to whomever cares to read...

I was sick for nearly two weeks.  One of the weeks, I was completely bed-ridden, with vomiting, fever and diarrhea (I can never spell that right, thank goodness for automatic spell checker!)  The other week was spent with me wobbling between the bed, bathroom and kitchen in a daze.  Trying to figure out what to eat to make my stomach stop cramping, wishing that I had an IV of water because I was so thirsty, and in awe of the disaster that had come upon the house in my "absence".

During that second week, we also had a broken dishwasher, and we were down one car.  Not great circumstances to try and recover under.  Thankfully, my mom and my BFF Sarah were willing and eager to help out, and made me start to feel like myself again.

Monday the haze lifted, and I began picking up the pieces.  As I cleaned, I began to process mentally all that had gone on, and all that we had missed.

Here's the rundown:

We missed a wedding for which I had stayed up late countless nights, recycling an old silk bridesmaids gown into a beautiful dress for Ava to wear to it.

We missed Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws, and the kids cousins, whom they rarely see

We missed a long-awaited lunch "date" with my bloggy friend and her family at her house, where our kids were supposed to meet each other and become fast friends

We missed an appointment for family photos with our extended family that had taken such grit and determination to schedule that it felt like being in labor

We missed our yearly tradition of decorating the outside of our house the weekend after Thanksgiving

Marvin missed countless hours of sleep, as he frantically tried to help me keep from throwing up, and worked late into the night doing dishes, etc. so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed

The kids missed their mommy, I hardly laid eyes on them for nearly a week, Marvin religiously kept them out of my room, envisioning how horrifying it would be if one of them caught what I had

Alec and Benji missed two weeks of school.  I am assured, however, by many homeschooling peers of mine, that this is just one of the wonderful flexibilities of home education, and they will be none the worse for wear.

We also missed Ava's birthday party, postponing it until sometime in January, when things slow down.

{on a side note, I don't miss the 13 lbs. I lost!!}

This lasted long enough to really start messing with my head.  Made me wonder, will I ever feel normal again?  What even is normal? How on earth do I normally handle parenting three kids and running a house?

Happy to say, that today, Thursday, I'm feeling fine.  Feeling capable, competent, energetic (most of the time, but I still need to sit down occasionally), and able to handle my full, beautiful life again.

But...is it really that time again?  Is it really Christmas? Somehow, with my head in the pillows, I missed that spark that ignites my heart every year. I'm not excited, not seeing beauty in our decorations, not eager to share once again about the Holy Baby, not catching the sparkle in my children's eyes.

I feel very flat.  Like we're just having bad weather at some anonymous point in the winter.  Maybe I'm still overwhelmed deep down inside, and not able to reconcile myself to reality.

I'm not sure what I'll do, but what I won't do is give up.  This time of year is such a special one, the rare time that those around us are open and willing to accept the possibility of something more, something special, something divine that would yank them out of their drab existence.

I want to participate in that again, to feel the pull of heaven on my heart just a little stronger than the rest of the year, to see another glimpse of understanding on my children's faces.  I won't give up, I'll put one foot in front of the other, load the dishwasher again, and put the rest of the ornaments on the tree.

It is time, the feeling will come.  It always does.


Wordless Wednesday


she's {3}

{you were}

born three years ago


i still can't believe i have a daughter

{you are}

full of life and personality

very funny

very girly

the delight of your brothers

quite precocious

a little bit spoiled

{you love}

long twirly dresses

anything pink

washing dishes with mommy

hugging daddy

playing dollies with nanna


sparkly shoes

kitties, puppies, and anything small and furry that you can pet

wearing your backpack and pretending you are Dora



letting mommy fix your hair
alphabet flash cards

your pink tea set


{you miss} Ozzie

created by Jesus
are perfect
exactly the way you are
are exactly the daughter
was meant to have
i love {you}
more than words can say
happy birthday, 
my little sugar bean!


Wordless Wednesday


a sneek...


Ava's birthday is coming!

On another note, I've been sick.

Not just "sick" but S.I.C.K.

Since Wednesday afternoon, I've been in bed with a very ferocious strain of stomach flu.
I've lost 13 lbs. in 5 days.  Not ideal.

I tried to get out of bed yesterday,
but when the kitchen floor started pitching like the deck of a fishing boat, I headed {slowly} back.

So...today, for the first time in 5 days,
I"m not wearing a nightgown,
I'm sitting in a room other than my bedroom,
I'm answering emails,
and phone calls

and really sad that we missed Thanksgiving, a family wedding, lunch with a friend, and family portraits.

I'll be back soon with those Chicago vaca photos!


I'm so excited

...and I just can't hide it!

Change is happening, change is good

Marvin accepted a position recently at work that was a promotion.  It meant a tad more time away from home, but not much, and it meant more enjoyment for him at work, more challenge and fulfillment.

I totally think that Marvin deserves to do something he enjoys since he spends most of his day at work, working to support us (while I sit at home and eat bon bons and the maid and nanny run things)

So, I was excited for him, a little nervous for us, but eagerly trusting in Jesus to take us where He wants us to go with this.

Well, here's more of the excitement...

Marvin has to go to Chicago for training, and we're tagging along! 
(One of the MANY benefits of homeschool.)

Not only that, but we're staying FREE at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago.  OK, seriously, click the link and drool.  It's going to feel a tad strange parading our family of 5 through that posh lobby; I hope my boys can resist the urge to play ninja in the elevators

We also get free admission to nearly all the awesome museums there because of a reciprocity program that includes a museum that we already have a membership to.

AND, Marvin was approved to take all of Monday as a travel day, so that means we can leave a day early and have a whole day together before he starts training.

So, I'm sure you can tell that I've never been to Chicago before, huh!  My plan is to not freak out that I'm in a brand new city "without" Marvin, take the bus to our museums so I don't get lost, and bring plenty of suckers (organic from Trader Joes' of course!) to stave off any budding temper tantrums.

I'm also intending to be a major wet blanket and take some of the boys school work. Hee-hee!  Hopefully the shininess of the hotel will distract them from the fact that they both strongly dislike math.

Marvin's classes are right in the hotel, and he's finished each day at 5, so we'll have the evenings to go and see what we can see together.  I"m praying for nice weather so we can walk out on Navy Pier and such without being blown away.


Tomorrow is my birthday (I'm turning 27 again!)


Thanks to the generosity of her blog readers, it looks like Brittany and family will be returing home in a couple of weeks to pack their house and officially move out.  While I'm devastated that it looks like they still might not be able to save their house, I'm ecstatic that I get to see her and the kids for several weeks.


Have a great weekend, you all!








I took pictures of these precious children last week.

They belong to my best friend Sarah.

I took the pictures in front of the barn at my other best friend's house.
I was sad, but we had fun.

I've known Sarah since we both got preggers with our boys, Benji and Noah
(Noah's 6, and Benji's 6 in a few weeks)

We didn't really connect until after the boys were born, but since then we've been as tight as
peanut butter and jelly!

We stuck to our guns when Benji and Noah went through the
"I'm two and I don't share" phase,
and it paid off.
Noah and Benji are best friends now, too.

Our friendship has weathered job losses, another baby, summers and school years, parents moving, a very long mission trip, sickness and more sickness,
nursing school and home school.

Through each change, we've changed and shifted,
always making time for each other,
making time for our kids to play.

Ava is like a little sister to Sarah's daughter Mia.
Alec looks up to Nate, Sarah's oldest

Our husbands are friends

I love her mom and dad

I love her kids like they're mine

We know everything (maybe too much!) about each other

This is a friendship I cherish

{Sarah, I can't wait to see what your nurse says about you when you get old!}


La Vie en Rose

life through  ~rose~  colored glasses

she sees  
everywhere she goes

every song is a 

laughter  is currency

daddy's  sweet  pea

mommy's mimic

but already 18

my  daughter



Hi, y'all! 

I know I haven't posted in a while, so here's something to read...

A couple weeks ago in church, our pastor talked about how often, when he was upset, he'd go grab some candy...chocolate or Skittles, preferably.  The chocolate bit had all the ladies laughing.

The point of the message was that we are too easily satisfied.  Why would we be satiated with some cocoa and sugar when we can have the peace that passes all understanding from our Lord and Savior?

On a personal note, I'm all for earthly comfort (and chocolate!).  We were made to enjoy our life here, why else would we have taste buds, eyes, ears, noses?  We were not, however, made to substitute earthly comforts for what Jesus wants to offer our souls.

I am guilty of being too easily satisfied in many areas.  But, I also have tasted the comfort of the divine presence of my Jesus, nearer and dearer than any thing else.

So what does the squirrely picture of Benji have to do with Skittles? 

Nothing, I just thought it was cute...

I'm sure he'd like to eat some, though!

I'm asking you...

Most of you probably know my precious friend, Brittany, from 4 Little Men and Girly Twins.

Her family has hit on some very hard times and I have put together a fund raiser on her behalf.

If you know her, or are just interested in helping out a needy family, please visit

and click donate!

Thank you all in advance for your support.


Interval Training

Ever tried {interval training} at the gym for weight loss?  Ha!  Here's my home-gym version ::

A bit of back-story::

Yesterday as I was dressing the three kiddos for our trick or treat festivities, Ava was a bit over-excited.  I was bending over her putting on her tights and she was jumping up in the air.  Since she apparently finds no value yet in obeying me the first time I ask (we're working on that), she jumped one more time, REALLY high.





I'm not a wuss when it comes to child-inflicted injuries, but this time I actually wept so loudly that Marvin came running with an ice pack and some Tylenol.

Also yesterday, we realized that overnight Ava and Benji had wet their beds, AND Benji's bed somehow didn't end up with a "piddle pad" on it, so his mattress was S.O.A.K.E.D.  I attempted to use our carpet cleaner's upholstery attachment to shampoo the mattress, and ended up also using every towel we had to soak up the water that leaked out of it's canister onto the carpet.

In spite of all, yesterday ended up being a beautiful day.

OK, back to my home-gym training excercises...

The first thing I heard this morning was Marvin whispering, "Hon, hon!  Get up, it's 7:30! I'm so sorry, I was trying to be so quiet and I forgot to wake you up at 6:30 like you asked!  I'm so sorry!"
I'm not a morning person and this does not make me happy to be faced with the knowledge that I"ll be one hour behind for the rest of the day.

I pretend to be cheerful as I haul myself out of bed and suddenly remember that nearly every towel, comforter, pillow and sheet we have plus a weekend full of dirty clothing was waiting for me in my own personal wet leaf and urine-scented Laundry Hell.

As I contemplate my strategy, my allergies attack and I blow my nose wondering why it hurts so much.  I groan as I remember the jumping and the tights and the disobedience.

I find my work out clothes, determined to exercise at all costs.  Blow my nose again, and it starts to throb. Before stepping on the treadmill, I continue with my morning routine of re-booting the laundry and folding what comes out of the dryer.  Just as I finish and glance at the treadmill, Marvin says, "Hey, can you fix my hair real quick?"

I fix it and think about the treadmill some more as I wash my hands.  I hear, "Hey, can you wash out that new mug for me before you get on?" Since it's a mug that I've gotten for review and I don't want to stand in the way of it's first test run, I head out to the kitchen.  On the way, I blow my nose for the third time and idly wonder if Ava actually broke it.  I reach the sink and discover that the dish soap bottle is newly emptied, thanks to Ava and her penchant for VERY soapy water when she plays in the sink.

Refill soap.

Wash mug.

Kiss hubby goodbye.

Think murderous thoughts about any child who dares to wake up and come downstairs right now.

R.U.N. to the treadmill and leap on.

My foot hits the belt, I touch my iPod, and I hear some alarming thumping coming from the direction of the stairs.  It's Ava, who has woken up decided to bring Huge Baby (a newborn sized doll that used to be mine) and Alec's huge Dumbo down the stairs.  The thumping was Huge Baby's head bouncing off each step and hitting the wall as Ava dragged her down by the foot.

After quelling a temper tantrum regarding the color of "juice" in Huge Baby's bottle, I settle Ava and Friends in front of a DVR'd episode of Dora and head very swiftly back to the treadmill.

I did my warm up plus 10 min of power walking and jumped off to restart the Dora episode so I could jog my newly-accomplished mile {uninterrupted}.        Ha!

I jump back on and jog for 1 1/2 songs, heading happily towards my time goal of 23:20 min.  At 18:45 minutes, Benji appears.  I reluctantly pause the treadmill and my music, mumbling "this had BETTER be good!" under my breath and say sweetly, "Good morning honey!  What do you need?"  "Can I have a brownie, Mommy?" he says, with his cherub grin widening.

Trying to remain peaceful, I grit my teeth and say in a harsh loving voice, "No, honey.  No sweets today, you had all that candy yesterday and you're trying to get over that cold."  To my utter shock, Benji grinned again, nodded, and disappeared into the living room.  I push away thoughts of conspiracy on his part, and punch the START button again.

My sore nose starts to drip again, and as I'm jogging, I gingerly use the hem of my T shirt to wipe it...Heck NO I'm not gettin' off to get a tissue!!!

At 20:34 minutes, Ava reappears with a petulant look on her face.  I pause the treadmill again, with much less calm and try to ignore the nausea that suddenly takes up residence in my empty belly.  After about 2 minutes of reassuring Ava that Dora and Diego will come back after the Danimals commercials, she retreats, leaving me with my last 3 minutes of jogging.

As I finish, my nose and head start to throb with each step.  Resignedly, I cut my workout short, but only after pausing to admire the display on the treadmill that confirms that I have indeed jogged a mile and walked another one.

Still sweaty, I sneak a look at the TV to see how much time I have left before I see Ava again, and begin folding load two of Laundry Hell.  I'm on my last towel, when I hear a voice in the living room that is definitely NOT Diego or Dora.  I round the corner to discover, to my utter shock, a woman standing in the open front door, shoving our German Shepherd into the room.

I give her a blank stare, hear her mumble something about the dog being on the street and her wanting to be sure she got home safely, and shut the door as she retreats down the front walk.  Wondering wildly why the front door had been opened, I get my answer as Ava says innocently, "Mommy, I opened the door because it was one of our neighbors!"

As all the thoughts of stranger danger, doggie road-kill, innocent toddlers and Did I Thank the Nice Lady? banged around in my head, I gently blew my nose again and looked at the clock.

It was only 10:30.


Snappin' Apples


Apples grow mighty well here abouts, and we always can't wait to go and pick them each fall.  Nothin' tastes better (or smells better) than homemade applesauce, or warm apple crisp!

We had a fun weekend:: a trip to the park, an impromptu evening with new friends over a fire, an early neighborhood trick-or-treat, more progress on Ava's dress (another Handmade post coming soon!)

Looking forward to a new week:: school, hosting my mom's group, play-dates, and a decision about Marvin's possible new job

Pondering a question from our small-group leader: "What has your attention?"

What has {your} attention this week?

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