Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Road Trip!

Our family went on a road trip this Fall to visit one of my dear friends and her family (bad mom...this post has been living in draft mode for a long time!). They live in Milwaukee, so we got in the car right after the kids were done with school and made the 4 hour trek.

It wasn't a great sign that before we were even on the Interstate headed South that I had given my husband the "evil eye" and the demand that he STOP making sarcastic comments to the 13-year-old, and demanded that the 13-year-old stop being so gullible. The boy's response? "What does 'gullible' mean?"

It was going to be a long trip! Enter the use of electronic devices (yes, parents' of the year here folks), and we ended up having a seamless 4 hour drive. We actually at one point asked the 8-year-old if she was still back there...with no response...

There is nothing like the feeling when you reconnect with a dear friend, is there?!?

The ease of conversation that can pick up from whenever you were last together...even if it has been years. *sigh* That was part of the joy of this weekend.

The other joy? Seeing my big kids embrace my friend's little guy and play with childish abandon. 

It Was A Great Weekend!

See for yourselves...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Summer of Fun!

This summer we have been trying to make the most of our time together. With mom being a teacher, and "mostly" off for the summer, and dad trying out retirement (or extended unemployment), we figured that there may never again be a time when we are both home this much. Our kids will definitely be these ages again, so we are having fun! On a budget...

This past week we took a spontaneous trip to northern Wisconsin. Washburn, Ashland and Bayfield areas specifically. My parents were even able to come along for our adventure!

Here are some photos of our trip, in no specific order:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This boy...

This boy

With his electric-blue eyes

Bright blonde hair

Quick smile

And boundless energy

Brings me so much joy!

Aleah the Hat Designer

I had the great fortune of having the world-famous Aleah the Hat Designer design me a hat today. I'm sure you are all jealous.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Special boys!

Being an aunt is one of my favorite things! How could it not be with these 2 special boys as my nephews?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to a Very Special Friend!

Have you had a "best friend"?

You know...the friend that has been a part of your life for so long, you almost can't remember her not being there.

I have to take the time today to wish my best friend a happy birthday (it is a milestone birthday!). This friend has been a significant part of my life since the first days of Junior High, when she came and introduced herself to my sister and me and wondered if we could walk to school together since we only lived a block away from each other. That was it...just a little gesture of friendship that began a lifetime of relationship.

She has been there through first boyfriends and first breakups, smiles and tears, good days and hard days, celebrations and losses.

My twin sister and I were bridesmaids in her wedding, we were both bridesmaids in my sister's wedding, and then they were both bridesmaids in my wedding...all within a year (I got married exactly 1 day less than 1 year after her wedding, and my sister was married almost exactly right in between! Sorry mom and dad...)

There were periods of our life that we spent more hours of the day together than apart, and periods where we hardly have seen each other at all due to distance, the busyness of life, and just all the things that fill up our time.

We could stay up all night talking about nothing (you remember being a teen-ager, right?), and now we still could stay up all night talking, but don't have that luxury very often anymore. We have learned to share our hearts in phone calls, or visits that are always too short.

No matter how much time has passed, when we pick up the phone, or get a rare chance to visit in person, it is like no time has passed. Have you ever had a friend like that? If so, you are blessed like I am. If not, I pray you get one some day.

She was the 3rd Musketeer with my sister and I through much of our lives (and I think we still kind of think of ourselves that way). She was the "filling" of the Oreo (literally...that was our Halloween costume one year in high school!).

The Oreo! Thanks to whoever posted this on Facebook...it was perfect!
Note the great "90's" hair!
She is someone who I always know I can turn to. She has shared more of my life than probably anyone other than my family, and that makes her part of my family (my parents do claim her proudly!).

Happy Birthday, Angie! You mean more to me than you can know. Thank you for that small act of friendship nearly 30 years ago. I know I speak for my sister as well! We love you!

Friday, May 17, 2013

A brave new world!

Taking a first peek out at the big world

This girl

This girl with these freckles and this cute turned-up nose and that sweet smile...

really melts my heart!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I should have taken pictures, but I didn't think of it at the time.

It is FINALLY really Spring here in Wisconsin!

I have green buds coming on my trees and bushes.

Green sprouts coming up from the ground.

Green leaves of flowers beginning to appear.

Our animals are LOVING playing outside in the beautiful weather.

Our kids are also loving playing outside in the beautiful weather...

but they have already started complaining that it is too hot.


We had snow flurries just 4 days ago (really!), and now my kids are complaining that it is too hot.

It could be a long summer.

I hope it is a long summer.

That means I don't have to go back to work for a long time ;)

My semester officially ended on Friday, but I have still been working every day and probably will until the kids are done with school.

Always lots to get prepared and ready for the next year when you are a teacher.

I have 4 weeks until my kids are done for the summer, and I really hope I can get most of my work done by then!

Can you tell I have been thinking for way too long today and my brain is just rambling?

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post.

It is FINALLY done.

Monday, May 13, 2013


You know that great picture I posted of my kids and me yesterday? Here was the picture right before that one. I think I like this one even better. Really tells more about the reality of life.

Can you just hear the kids complaining that the sun is too bright and they don't want to take another picture. Can you just hear me saying "just one more guys...Mike, I want this one cropped really close and at an angle would be awesome"

Life is these less than picture-perfect moments.

I think I might need to get this one framed!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


This Mother's Day, I am very thankful.

I have 2 beautiful children, and they are miracles.

There was a time when I didn't think I would ever be a mom.

After we had been married for about 5 years, we were both finally done with college and it seemed like the time was "right" to start a family. But we waited, and waited, and waited, and our dreams didn't come true.

We visited doctors, had lots of tests, took lots of medications, and had lots of procedures and our dreams still didn't come true.

We started pursuing adoption. We took the classes, completed the home inspections, and made a "portfolio" of our life. But we waited, and waited, and waited, and our dreams still didn't come true.

There were many hard Mother's Days.

Days that I didn't want to be around anyone because everyone was so happy, and it seemed like everyone else was getting the family that I so desperately wanted. Everyone was having babies, adding to their families. Everyone I knew was getting to be a mom, or at least that is what it felt like.

We prayed, and prayed, and prayed for a family. And still we waited, and waited, and waited.

And then one day, we heard about a little boy that needed a family. He was 4 years old. We made a plan to meet him and some of his birth family.

Now I have to take a step back a bit...

After the years of trying to have a baby, we knew it would take a miracle for that to happen. In fact, Mike had said on multiple occasions that it would be like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead...a complete miracle bringing life where there was no chance of life.

We had come to the point of deciding that our next "procedure" was going to be the last one. Period. We just couldn't keep going through the heartache of disappointment month after month. We couldn't afford to keep continuing with treatments. We just needed to be "done".

And so,  back to the story:

We made a plan to meet a little boy that needed a permanent home. The meeting would take place 2 weeks later.

The week in between finding out about this little boy and meeting him, early one morning I took a pregnancy test following our final "procedure. It was too early to know according to the medical professionals, but I just had to see...

So, I took the test, and the test was positive. Wait a minute, I didn't have positive pregnancy tests...ever...and I had taken lots of them.

The test was positive.

In tears I went to tell Mike, and could barely get the words out. "The test is positive." We both were in awe of this possibility. We didn't even know how to process that information.

Somehow, we pulled ourselves together. Mike headed off to work, and I sat down to eat some breakfast and read my daily devotion (part of being a type-A person...if I missed a day, it meant I would need to read twice as much the next day). I was going through a plan that involved reading through the Bible in 3 years. I opened my Bible and looked up the passage for that day. In stunned awe, I realized that the passage was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. This was our miracle. God was clearly showing us that He was able to do great things. Miraculous things.

I called Mike on the phone and shared this unbelievable confirmation of our miracle. I was crying so hard I could hardly speak. Mike was sure something was wrong rather than the truth that things were very "right".

So...a week after that miracle, we went to meet that little boy. He was 4, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and bright eager smile, and boundless energy. He was captivating.

We realized after that meeting that if we had had a child when we first started "trying", the child would be exactly the age of this little boy. He was our second miracle in the period of 1 week.

We had prayed for 5 years for a child, and within 1 week, it seemed that God had given us 2.

The little boy came to live with us. We jumped right into parenting with a child that moved through life in a sprint.

I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. Now we had an almost 5-year-old and a newborn. It was exactly what we had prayed for. But it was hard. That little boy had lived a hard life in his short 5 years. He had experienced things that no one should experience, let alone a small child. He had a very hard time being able to trust.

Now I questioned why God would have given us a situation that was so hard. It was what we had prayed for, but now it wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to be able to parent one child. I didn't want parenting to be so hard.

God had a different plan for us though. He had given us 2 children...at basically the same time...and He expected us to trust Him. We had to trust Him to give us the strength for each day to parent the children He had given us. Our miracles.

Many years have gone by now (8 years to be exact). Life has changed a lot. We have been through many hard times and many joyous times. Now I can say that the joy has greatly outweighed the "hard", but there were times that I didn't think that was possible.

God gave us 2 miracles, and He has been faithful to help us to parent them and raise them up to hopefully be people that seek after Him throughout their lives.

I realize what gifts I have been given, and I am so thankful. I now can truly say that today I had a very happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


This is my Father's world...and He has a great sense of humor!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I hope I am as good at relishing the things I currently have as she is.

(Miley enjoying the last bit of snow while it is still here)

A nice day...

Finally a day that we can really enjoy being outside!

Monday, March 25, 2013


Today I am

thankful for a good job
tired of some parts of my job
excited about other parts of my job
thankful for my wonderful husband
thankful that we have a period of time where he is at home
thankful for all the parts of our life that he has willingly taken on during this time
hoping that life works on just my salary
a little stressed about whether life will actually work on just my salary
excited thinking about some family plans we have for this summer
bummed that my kids are home for Spring Break with dad, and I am at work
sad that my Spring Break was 2 weeks ago...and I worked every day
excited about the progress I have made on some big projects for work
overwhelmed by all I still need to accomplish
feeling like I am sometimes (or often) misunderstood
tired of being misunderstood
exhausted from spending the energy life takes sometimes
feelng like right now...life is taking too much energy
hopeful that things have to get better
thankful for old friends (you know who you are)
thankful for new friends (hopefully you know who you are too!)
thankful for excellent people to work with
thankful for people who "get it"
thankful for electric blankets (especially as ridiculously cold it is here still)
amused by how ridiculously cold it is here still
amused that it is the end of March and we still have 2 feet of snow on the ground
happy that my kids can still go sledding because we have 2 feet of snow on the ground
thankful for a wonderful neighbor who has plowed us out each time it has snowed this year
thankful for a wonderful neihgbor who does this just because he can

Today I am many more things than this, even

but mostly today I am excited to look toward the end of the week

to look toward the cross

to look toward the empty tomb

to look toward my Savior who takes me including everything that I am today

everything I have been and everything I will be

and says

You are worth it

Monday, February 11, 2013

Epcot Center

Getting close to the end of vacation pictures...Epcot and the beach left...

Hope you enjoy these even just a bit as much as we enjoyed our day!
Finding Nemo

Imagination Center

ok, bad lighting, but how cute are these kids?!?

The Countries...

Again, could they be any cuter?!?

Another great day in the books for my favorite vacation to date...