Promised Pictures

I recently watched a video of a woman who spoke of raising children.  The thing she misses most about those days is the gift of the perfectly ordinary day.  Our days have not been filled with big events, but rather, we have been enjoying some perfectly ordinary (i.e. crazy and fun) days around here. 

Chloe wanted to go swimming.  This is how we roll in Kansas.  (She was quite content with her swimming pool.)
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All of my kids!!  I love them!
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Just hanging with mom….
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Luke
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Caleb running
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The pink princess
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Chloe “reading” to Luke
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Our neighborhood has a block party almost every weekend
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Blog….to….Print

I just found out you can upload your blog to a website that turns it into a book.  Well, I remember hearing about this a long time ago but I forgot until now.

I uploaded it just to see what it would be like.  And I realize that I have severely lacked in the picture department as of late.  I have always printed my own blog, and when I transfer it to Word, the pictures get deleted.  So I just simply stopped posting as many pictures.  Which is a giant bummer because pictures make the blog book way cuter.  I think I will spend some time tomorrow uploading pictures of recent happenings.  You know, things like the birth of my 3rd child.  Or ones of my kids who, consequently, are growing up way too fast.  Just tonight, my two older kids each went upstairs, picked out matching jammas (pj’s), got dressed, and watched a movie together.  (Chloe did not watch the whole thing.  She would diaper her babies from time to time.)

With our upcoming move to Florida, I feel like I have had little time to do anything but clean and show our house.  We showed our house 43 times before getting an acceptable contract (which ended up being lower than the first contract, but we did not feel a peace with the first contract….so I guess that’s life).  Did I mention we showed our house 43 times in 10 weeks?  With three young children?  God told me at the beginning that His grace would be sufficient.  Sure enough it was, because how else would I have survived that experience??

But our house is under contract.  We are praying it goes through!!  With so much riding on the sale, we are nervous but hopeful.  Of course, we have to find a home in Florida.  We go in a few weeks to do just that.  Brett and I have decided to rent for a year to get a better feel for the area and hopefully get a great deal on a foreclosure/short sale.

Luke turns 4 months old tomorrow.  Which I am not quite sure how that happened so fast.  He is still an amazing baby.  He generally wakes up once during the night, which is very nice.  He smiles all the time and is content almost always (he only fusses when he’s tired).  He rolls over (both ways) and loves to laugh at his older siblings.  I am loving every moment of his babyhood.  Having a third child was the best decision.  He joined our family so easily, and he is just a delight.  I could not have asked for a better/easier baby.

Caleb is all boy.  He loves to wrestle, play guns, knights/pirates, etc.  He adores all superheroes, as well as Star Wars guys (though he has not actually ever watched any of the movies).  I am so proud of my little man.  He has such a tender heart and plays with older boys (our neighbor invited him over the other day…his first time on a play date without me).  Caleb wonders why people do not realize he is actually 7 and a 1/2.  :).  He is such a gentleman:  he tells me I am the best mommy in the world and tells Chloe when she looks really cute.  He told me just yesterday that he does not want to marry any other girls except Chloe.  Caleb is a protector….he hates it when Chloe gets in trouble or does not listen.  He also likes to tell on her, so it is kind of a funny dichotomy.  The reason he does that is because Brett puts him in charge as the man of the house when he’s gone, so Caleb translates that to he and I are in charge of Chloe and Luke.  Caleb is the most awesome boy.  He just warms my heart.  He has become so much more outgoing and loves to spend time with friends.  He prays for his friends each night.  Just being around Caleb makes me happy.  He is so considerate and sweet, yet masculine.

Chloe is still as cute and spunky as ever.  She overflows with joy and loves to make us laugh.  She is really shy in public, but at home, she is so entertaining.  She loves to dance and sing.  She always raises her arms, closes her eyes, and turns in circles when she is singing.  Very cute.  Chloe still does not really enjoy listening, but at least she disobeys in style :).  Chloe’s love language has to be physical touch because she likes to be held, carried, hugged, and loved on.  She would be quite content to be held all day.  It makes me laugh when she asks me to “hold her like a baby”.  Chloe has the best heart and is so fun to be around.  She says the funniest things and loves all people.  I just smile when I think about her.  I know she is going to be an amazing woman of faith and prayer.  She loves Jesus and sings to Him a lot.  She is also the first to pray for everything.  Chloe is definitely still a Daddy’s girl….she adores that man…I could not be more proud of that.  She loves being beautiful, and Brett truly delights in his little girl.  Chloe is our sweet little princess.

We only have about 4 weeks left as Kansans.  That is so hard to believe.  I am very sad to be leaving my friends and home.  I am sentimentally tied to this home because it was the first place I visited Brett when we were dating, my first home as a new wife, and I brought home all of my babies (so far) to this place.  I know I will still have the memories when I go, but just visually looking around and thinking how much Brett and I have changed within these walls is so wonderful.  I love my life here in Kansas.  While I know God has a great new life prepared for me, it is hard to say goodbye.

I am excited to keep up my blog (hopefully) and tell of our Florida adventures.  I plan to print off my blog after my last Kanas entry.  I figure that’s a good time to do that.  Maybe I will start a new blog once I become a Floridian.

My family!

My Brother-in-Law Got Hitched

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My brother-in-law got married on Saturday.  I have tons of pictures, but most of you are on Facebook….so check them out there!

The wedding was SO fun.  Brett officiated the wedding, and he did an awesome job.

Caleb and Chloe were the ringbearer and flower girl.  They got to ride in a horse and carriage with the bride and her dad, which they loved!  They were so cute all dressed up!  I was unsure if they would make it down the aisle, but they did.  But I had to walk with them :).  I tried to send them on their way, and Caleb turned around, and sternly said, “Mommy, COME!”  He was so precious!!  I loved that he really wanted to do it, but he still needed me.

The absolute best part of the wedding (besides gaining a new sister-in-law) was the proud look on Brett’s face when his two older kids walked down the aisle.  Even the bride’s mom commented how proud Brett looked.  (On a side note, I asked Brett if he planned to officiate Chloe’s wedding.  His response: “Are you kidding me?  No way!  I will not be able to make it through because I will be crying the whole time”.  The poor guy will be a mess on Chloe’s wedding day.)

Another funny moment:  We have been telling our kids for weeks that we are moving to Florida.  Well, we flew to Tampa for the wedding.  So Caleb thought we had moved to Florida.  We got in our rental car, and Caleb said, “Wow, I love our new car.  I knew we would give our car back to Mimi.”  Then we arrived at our hotel, and Caleb said, “I just love my new room.  And I can reach my new sink….”  He went on and on about how much he loved his new home.  So, I guess no matter where we live, Caleb will be happy!

At the reception, Caleb danced the night away with his second cousins, Diana and Faith.  He was so stinkin’ adorable.  I could not stop smiling.
Chloe danced, too, but not as much as Caleb.

Though I am blogging about my highlights, the wedding was actually not all about me.  LOL!!  Though I did color coordinate our outfits.  I was quite proud of that.  My shirt for the rehearsal did not totally match, but it was close enough.  I even bought Luke a tuxedo onesie to match Caleb and Brett.

The wedding was beautiful. My sister-in-law did a fabulous job on it.  I love weddings, and theirs was awesome.  Oh, they totally surprised everyone by choreographing their first dance.  They started off dancing to a slow song, then it changed to “Hot Blooded”.  It was AWESOME!  So unlike my brother-in-law but such a great demonstration of his love for his bride.  It made me smile for hours.

Traveling with all 5 of us was actually quite pleasant.  The two older kids did so well on the plane, and Luke slept the whole time.  Nursing next to a college guy on the plane was a little embarrassing, but other than that, traveling was great.  I was pleasantly surprised.  My kids rock!!

I Find That I Like Lists

So, as it turns out, I like lists.  I have always known this, but blogging in lists in easier for me.

1.  I was upstairs yesterday and from downstairs I heard Caleb say, “Daddy, I am proud of you.”  It was just out of the blue and very sweet.

2.  I picked up Chloe last week and hugged her.  She told me, “You are my best friend.”  Melted. my. heart.  She prefers Brett most of the time (which is so precious), so this was a welcome statement!

3.  No offers on the house yet.  To say I am exhausted keeping it up would be an understatement.  We have shown it about 15 times.  I am ready to sell it.

4.  We have not found a house in Florida yet.  So, Lord, help us with that one.

5.  I jogged today for the first time.  I am not sure that I will be able to walk tomorrow, but it felt awesome to get outside in this gorgeous weather.

6.  I remembered last week why I hate humid weather.  Moving to Florida sounded much more appealing in the winter, but I am still confident of God’s calling.

7.  I got a new Bible last week, and I love it.  The cover is soft, and I really like the size of it.  Plus, I love all things about marriage, and the little devotionals in it all relate to relationships.

8.  I actually fill out the family tree in the front of my Bible.  Is that weird?  Does anyone else do that??

9.  It’s April.  Could time go any faster?  Golly.  I wish it would slow down.

10.  In the car today, Caleb told me the entire story of Daniel in the lion’s den.  Sometimes I do not know if our teachings are soaking in, but sure enough, they are.  Praise God.

11.  When Caleb turned four, I was nervous he did not know any of his letters yet.  A combination of watching the Letter Factory and using the enclosed flash cards solved that problem.  Caleb pays so much attention to the smallest details.  He told me recently, “Bear starts with K.”  When I corrected him, he said, “In the letter factory, K is pointing to a bear.”  Sure enough on the flash card, the K is pointing to a Koala bear (a very small Koala bear, I might add).  Caleb’s ability to notice details amazes me.  As does his memory.  He does not forget anything.  When we are driving, he can tell me where we’re going or whose house we pull up to.  This is fascinating to me.

12.  Chloe is the girliest girl.  That just makes me smile.  She can tell when her clothes do not match, and she loves shoes.  Being a girl rocks, so I am happy she has taken to the gender so well :).

13.  Luke is still an amazing baby.  He is about to roll over any day now.  He smiles a lot and is generally so easy.  He still wakes up once to eat in the night, but that’s it!  Luke just goes with the flow of our family so well.  He is well loved by his brother and sister!  I am so excited to see what his personality will be like.

Extra Grace

For the last 5 years of married life, my life has been relatively easy.  Sure, there have been some bumps, but nothing unmanageable.  In different ministries I am a part of, there is a common theme of extending extra grace to people (especially moms).  When thinking about people going through a tough time (job loss, marital difficulty, faith testers, etc), I often think to myself, “She’s going through a really hard time, so it is important to be extra gracious in those situations.”  I love that I have been able to give of myself, my time, and money to help out others.

Recently, I have found myself in a season of being that woman that I speak of:  in a time of needing extra grace.  (There is nothing wrong with that, but I am just not used to it).

My family and I are experiencing a lot of changes right now.  Though I like change, this has been a little more than I prefer.

Since January, we have or will….

– added a 5th member to our family
– have a newborn, a toddler, and a pre-schooler (no wonder I get so many weird looks)
– to sell our house (with a newborn, toddler, and pre-schooler)
– to buy a home….from halfway across the country
– to move halfway across the country
– leave all of our friends, my family, and all that has been familiar in our 5 years of marriage
– change jobs
– raise extra ministry support to balance out the cost of living

That is just a short list.

My entire life is in limbo.  A must-keep-my-house-perfect limbo.  (As much as I enjoy a clean home, I do not actually like keeping it that way all the time).

I am overwhelmed.

And in need of extra grace.

I forget things often (for example, I killed my neighbor’s plant because I forgot to water it).  I am trying my best in ministry roles, but I am not on my A-game (which frustrates me).  I am excited for what is to come but so sad for all I am leaving behind.  Anytime I confide in my friends, I just get more sad because I realize those friends will be very far away.

I know that the end will be sweeter than I could ever imagine.  Because I love and follow a God who promises that.

I know once we move and are settled in our new home, we will begin a new chapter of our lives.  I will sleep well again.  I will make new friends and new memories.  Shoot, I may even have to teach my kids to swim in our (hopefully) pool!  I will be able to leave my house in the morning without having to make it look near perfect.

But we are in limbo.  And limbo is hard.

I am so thankful to my friends who have extended that extra grace and understand that “life is hard for her right now; it is important to be gracious.”   For friends who invite me over and make me lunch.

Things are hard right now.  But thankfully hard comes in seasons (let’s just hope this season is a North Dakota summer, and not this Kansas winter!).

The Post In Which I Ramble (What’s New?)

I have a lot of thoughts going on in my head.  So I will divulge here….

1.  I am reading The Creative Family.  I am really enjoying it but really wish I had more of a creative drive.  It actually is bringing me some inspiration.  The only problem is that I do not want to buy a whole bunch of stuff right before I move, but the creative juices are flowing and I do not want to ignore them.

2.  Moving.  AH!  It (the actual process of it) goes in waves of being very exciting and very overwhelming.  Brett is going house hunting later this month, so please pray for God to show him clearly our home.

3.  I keep having these weird fantasies that I will start loving to cook once I have a nice kitchen that overlooks our beautiful yard (in Florida).  I do not like to cook.  I am pretty sure a change of venue is not going to change that.

4.  I also fantasize that I will become a great baker once my sister gives me her Kitchen Aid mixer.  (See #3 for the reality).

5.  I read the book Steady Days.  Probably one of the best books I have read on family management.  Her heart is to empower women (not condemn them), and I could totally sense her heart.  I did not feel overwhelmed, but rather encouraged to make positive changes in my home.

6.  I have not made said positive changes because I am tired.  Really tired.  And I know I will one day sleep again.  But for now, I am doing what it takes to survive my day and enjoy my children.  (For what its worth, I also think I will be more organized when I move.  I really have no clue where these ideals are coming from.  Hopeful expectation, maybe?!  I am pretty sure I will be the exact same person in Florida as I am now.)

7.  Our house has been showing a fair amount.  I am tired of barely living in our house because we need to keep it in close-to-showing conditions.  I would like my hand soap to be on the counters and for my toothbrush to be easily accessed.  And for my kids to get to enjoy all of their toys again.  I would also like to exercise my creativity (see #1) but that is messy.

8.  I drink too much Diet Coke.  I know this, but because I am tired (see #6), I enjoy the caffeine boost.

9.  I cleaned out my dryer hose.  No wonder the thing has been drying so slow….it was really clogged.

10.  I finally figured out how to get my shower doors clean.  Scrub them with vinegar and water.

11.  My kids are hilarious.

12.  My sister sent me a new baby carrier.  I love it.  I am typing this post as Luke sleeps soundly in it.

13.  I think I may switch my diaper bag today.  I have a big purse that I am dying to use, and I think it will carry all I need it to.

14.  I am going to stop at 14 to prove to myself I am not totally OCD and do not have to stop at 10 or 15.