Thursday, November 19, 2009


I love reading the blog Kelly's Korner, and she has an additional site on which she reviews products and does giveaways. There is a great giveaway currently happening! If you have dry and itchy skin or eczema and have used Aquaphor in the past, you know that it is a great product. Slade has horrible eczema, and he asks for "itchy medicine" quite often. "Itchy medicine" to him is Aquaphor. We use it at our house for all kinds of things! It's great. Check out the awesome giveaway!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I'll be back soon, and I will have to give a giant update, I know. Although, I am not if anybody actually reads (or cares) what I have to say!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lazy Days

Our household has been so busy and on the go lately that the last two or three days, we have really done a whole lot of nothing, and it's been great. So much so that my oldest told me yesterday that he needed to take a nap, and I almost died from shock, but he slept for a solid two hours and woke up happy as a clam. I guess I could call this "Doctor Week". We have had some form of a doctor's appointment, or two appointments, each day this week, and next week, we have four. Nobody's sick! I am just trying to take care of the 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12-month checkups (dentist, chiropractor, allergist, school physicals and shots, nephrologist, dermatologist, and a few more) all in the same few days so we can start school and not have to to take the kids out in the afternoon or rush from work to appointments and waste our afternoon family time. The transition from nothing to everything will be enough as it is! Truth be told, I feel slightly guilty that I let the kids watch too much TV and play the DS more than I normally would. I also haven't made them pick up their rooms or jump from activity to activity. I just kind of let everyone "be", and so far, nobody has complained.

I've also taken the time to search out some new recipes and last night I made Poppyseed Chicken (which everyone ate and was delicious yesterday for dinner and today for lunch). Tonight, I am making Artichoke chicken which is like Artichoke dip on top of baked chicken breasts. Then, I am going to try Swiss Stuffing Chicken, which sounds fabulous. Plus, they are all really easy, and I think we might be 5/5 as far as everyone eating each dish. In this house, you eat what is made, when it is made, or you go hungry. I tried for awhile to please everyone, and I felt like a short order cook once I had more than one child, so I quickly stopped that business! About the only time I regress is when I make salmon or steak.

I have also enjoyed rereading my most favorite book of all time. Pubished in 1995, Coming Home is the last book of many by Rosamunde Pilcher. Prior to that year, I devoured everything I could find by her. I can still remember the first time I read it; my mom purchased it for me when I was a sophomore in college, and I was so excited. Since that time, that first copy I received is long gone (water damage in a sump pump flood), but I actually have three copies, a replacement paperback and then two copies I have picked up at garage sales. Her books are so wonderful, and in all my recommendations and talking to people about books, only one person has ever said they didn't like Coming Home, to which my immediate (unspoken) response was that they just didn't know what a good book looks like! My sisters and I all love this particular novel, and since Emily has moved to Tennessee, we decided to all reread the book at the same time although we were all in different locations. It's just a way for us to feel connected. That book is like good comfort food! I am also reading The Lace Makers of Glenmara. All my English teachery notions aside, I encourage you to visit your library, the BEST deal ever, and browse for a good book. My students get sick of hearing me tell them that books open up a whole new way of thinking and looking at all kinds of life's questions and issues. Plus, the more you read, the smarter you become!

Also this week, Scarlet has learned how to climb up on furniture unassisted. We have a pretty tall couch, and she is able to boost herself up, which she does repeatedly. I have also found her on the toilet (closed lid), the hearth, and trying to climb up on to her brother's bed. This opens up a whole new world for her! She is very determined. It's probably our fault because we taught her how to climb up and down the stairs awhile ago to prevent her from falling down them and getting hurt. She didn't quite escape that calamity because she did fall once, but so did I in the same week, and I have known how to climb for a lot longer than she has! After that she definitely understands she has to make her way down the many steps instead of throwing herself off the top!

I'm headed to make that chicken dish and then sit on the deck to read while the kids play and Scarlet rides her Barbie ATV around the deck.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thanks to Spencer, Stefan and I were actually captured together for once!

I wrote previously on here about my intention for starting this blog. So that change has happened, actually just happened not even a week ago yet, and we here at my house are trying to adjust to the difference. I am so sad about it, but I am happy, or trying to be happy for Josh and Emily. I have kind of taken the summer off from writing on here, and I have missed it a bit, but then I always second guess myself and wonder, who is really wanting to read all about our life and see the pictures of what we do each week?? Now that I have taken such a long time off from writing, I will have to wait to see that counter number off to the right increase in number. AND, I love it when people comment or follow, so do what you wish, but I do wonder who is reading all this stuff!

I thought summers were supposed to be s-l-o-w-e-r than the everyday hustle of the school year, and they usually are, but now that Stefan is home with us, too, we seem to be busier than we normally are, or it could just be managing three kids at home and making sure they are "well-rounded"! It's August now, and I am beginning torture my boys by making them do some mandatory school stuff (math, reading, writing, etc.)...just pure torture, and if you ask them, NOBODY else has to do this. Then I remind them that they really don't want to be trying to catch up, and they just buckle down and do it. They are doing well, and it would appear that I am more nervous about 3rd grade and kindergarten than the actual students are. Does every mom feel this way?

We have done a lot this summer, but we have kind of stayed close to home. Our list of adventures have included the beach, the pool, the zoo, county fair, up north, LOTS of playing outside with friends, walks, bike rides, bonfires and s'mores, and some home improvement projects. I think it's been really good for us as a family to be home all together. I was worried about it in the weeks leading up to summer, but Stefan and I have really enjoyed being together and just kind of letting life happen (and staying up WAY too late and then sleeping in).

This week was one of those weeks that unfolded unexpectedly. We have been wanting to go to Mackinac, Michigan Adventure, Cedar Point, and really just anywhere that we don't have to look at our kitchen, get our mail, answer our home phone, etc. BUT...we can't do all of those things or we would really be broke, and let's face it, unless you can do them up right, places like Mackinac aren't fun on a shoestring budget. We need days people, to enjoy the island, and a hotel room for naps and such. So, we decided the back burner for that. We would like to wait until we have some crisp, fall air for Cedar Point (much more fun if you are taking an almost 8-year old) because let's face it, that aroma of sweaty people and french fries is hard to manage with sore feet and a boy who is experiencing the awesomeness of CP for the first time, and while both boys can have fun at Michigan Adventure, I'd like to wait a year or so in order to include Scarlet and be all together. Usually, the problem is securing enough vacation days to be together as a family. Now that Stefan has all the "vacation" he wants, the problem is finding all the funds to do everything we want to. We could be gone for weeks with the things we would like to do, and unfortunatetly we can't do everything on our list within three months! Boo.
Anyway, back to this week. We decided Monday afternoon, late afternoon, literally to head up north to the Tawas area on Lake Huron for a few days. We knew we would have to be back today for Slade to go to the dentist for a filling, but he luckily had a late afternoon appointment, and it's just about a 2-hour drive for us. SO, we threw everything together (food, clothes, kids) and jumped in the Envoy. The kids were a little stunned, they like getaways as much as they do, and I think next time we plan a trip, we won't tell them in advance because they were so happy about the surprise of leaving so fast. We really didn't have anything to do up there but just be together in a place that we didn't have to step on a million Lego pieces and tell the boys to clean up their rooms (over and over). We spent the following day on the beach, which the kids loved (just look at all the pictures), went to town and ate pizza and hung out together and hear live music on the streets, shopped in touristy stores (where each boy was granted their own real leather wallet and they collected business cards from everywhere we visited), Scarlet got a new pretty bracelet which she will enjoy showing off, and Stefan and I got to be together. We arrived back home late this afternoon (Slade's filling all done and went well), and then had an impromptu bonfire and s'mores and tag and hide and seek in the dark with some neighbor kids at our house. It was a great night. And one of the best things about the last few days....Sonic vanilla cokes (a diet coke version for me) on the way up north and back home again. Stefan and I love those things, and we agreed today they better not build one too close to our house or we might rot our teeth right out.

To me, this captures the kind of father-daughter relationship I so hope they have. I love this picture.

Looking ahead (notice I didn't say "looking forward") to some more changes....Going back to school is always a struggle, and for me, it's now less than a month away. Each summer, I typically start this grieving kind of process about now. That is setting in for me, as usual, but I am elated that I don't have to send my kids to daycare. I am all for daycare, home or center, if you need to use it. I don't fault a single person for putting kids in the care of someone else in order to provide an honest living for your family. But it was always very, very difficult for me to think of someone else loving on my babies and my kids not having their mom or dad to see them off to school directly from their own home, or someone else kissing them for naptime or cuddling with them when they were anxious or hurt. This year, while I do wish the economic situation was different/better, I am elated that it is Stefan, and not a stranger or even a friend or other relative, who will be the one to care of our kids and make sure it's all okay. Stefan and I are a great team, and we work well together, and lots of times, have the same thoughts about how to do stuff, and we definitely routines and similar (not identical!) ideas about what's what when it comes to our kids, so while I will be mourning the fact that it's not ME who gets to be the caretaker and stay at home with my baby girl, I feel much more peace about being gone during the daytime. Plus, I am geeked about not having to get a bunch of stuff ready for daycare and latchkey and give instructions, and get the kids up extra early and out the door. That is such a relief for me as a working mom! So, thank you, babe. You are going to do an awesome job with our kids, and I know I complain that it's not me, but you are handling it all really well, and I appreciate it very much. Make sure you talk about me a lot and send me phone updates and pictures all day. That helps.

I'm back in the swing of blogging now, but I have to go wash that bonfire smoke smell right out of my hair.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Days

The days are short, and summer is so quickly flying by. We have been busy since the last day of school on June 11th, and I have not been posting lately. The break has been nice, though! All of us are home together, and to be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. I like my summers, and I like to do my own thing, but so far it's gone very well. Stefan and I were talking the other day, and we agree that his being laid off has been one of the most positive things for our family and one of the healthiest times in our almost 10-year marriage. Strange, huh? It wasn't "bad" or difficult before the lay-ff by any stretch of the imagination, and I can't really explain exactly what I mean perfectly, but we are very happy. God's plan isn't totally clear to us quite yet, but we are assured daily that He is in the mix, and even I have found it surprisingly easy to just leave all the details to Him. I kind of look back on the last 6 months in amazement because if you would have told me say maybe 7 months ago that Stefan would shortly lose his job, I can strongly say I would have flipped out and never would have imagined a time like we have actually experienced. For that, I am so thankful, and I am learning to thank God at all times for everything. Stefan would be proud of me because as I have mentioned before, he is my glass half full, and I am clearly not wired that way, but I am choosing to see the good things that have been and are happening for us, even though difficult periods still remain difficult in some aspects.

Within the last month, we have experienced my mom's surgery, from which she is recovering well; my surgery (doing fine); a big garage sale and huge clean out of kids' clothes (yay!!!!); fun stuff with the kids like swimming at the beach and the pool, nature centers and playing outside, lots of trips to the library, hearing the DSO at Kensington, and then of course, the middle of the summer this past weekend with the 4th of July celebrations. We are planning some short trips and day-long adventures like Cedar Point, the zoo, etc., but those are yet to come since we haven't actually nailed down days and times, but they WILL happen!

I always get a little bit melancholy about this time every summer because July seems to FLY by, and then it's August and all those back to school commercials remind me constantly that my coveted free time and family time are quickly ending. Sad, but I am trying to live in the moment and by the day and not think about what happens in 7 weeks. I know those of you who have to work all summer long don't feel too sorry for me, but oh well. I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July, celebrating your independence and being thankful that you are an American. Our celebrations started on July 1 with my family and our annual outing to see the Rochester Fireworks. It was a little wetter this year with all the rain, but the fireworks were AWESOME, and the rain stopped for the show. Then, we had a bonfire, s'mores, and sparklers on Friday night and played cards with Josh and Emily. Saturday the 4th brought an eternal hometown parade that lasted 90 minutes, but I think it was well worth it, and then Saturday evening we went to church and over to some friends for fireworks (big, giant fireworks) in their front yard and a BBQ in the backyard. Sunday, we slept in and then headed to Stefan's parent's church picnic and had more good food and playtime with the kids. We capped our weekend off with a dinner at Cracker Barrel and then headed home to "decompress" and put our kids in bed. We said we would go to be earlier tonight, but since it's just turned into Monday as I am typing this, it doesn't look like a reality!

**There are lots of pictures of Slade because he likes to have his picture taken, and I love to take pictures and play around with my camera settings. I don't think I am great or anything, I just like to take pictures.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I read this, and I found I have no words. Unusual.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mom's Surgery

For those of you who are unaware, my mom is going into Beaumont today for a hip replacement surgery. It's kind of a combination replacement and repair. She had this same surgery (but more intense) when I was 18, and so while we have been through this before as a family, we would certainly appreciate your prayers for a safe surgery and easy and quick recovery. My dad will be updating his blog with details if you are interested, so click on over there and read the updates.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This photo is of Spencer, running towards the candy at our church's Easter Egg Hunt this year. That's my boy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How HE Loves

I really LOVE this song. Remember to pause the playlist music down on the right side of the page, otherwise you'll hear two songs at once. This is king of long, about 8 minutes, but listen to the whole thing, especially if you've never heard it before!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer

Here's a bit of good advice, as always!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Buddy, Babycakes, and Beauty

I know, I know...lack of posting. Sorry to all my faithful readers (Ha). It has been busy, busy, busy lately. Among various other aspects of life, Slade started soccer, Spencer continues to be on the go with Taekwondo and a non-stop run towards life in general, and Scarlet is walking/toddling around. The days keep coming, as they should, one right after another, and I am currently in the countdown to the last day of school (there are only 24 days left until the end!) so that I can enjoy my time, my kids, my husband, and SUMMER!

Stefan is still job searching, so if you know of any jobs available, please call! However, one job he did not expect to have full-time, I bet, is that of full-time stay-at-home-dad. Let me tell you, the man is impressive, and I am OH SO THANKFUL for him. He has lightened my load considerably, and I know that my friends and co-workers are probably imagining my slow death when I honestly tell them that I haven't done a load of laundry, cooked a meal, or cleaned the house (unless I wanted to) since mid-January. I know that our family is actually benefitting from his time off, and we continue to trust our Provider to take care of us. We refuse to worry. (Yes, it's hard).
These next pictures are a direct reflection of the title of this post. I try to have their pictures taken on Sundays BEFORE church, so I can leave them in their nice clothes, we don't have to make an additional 40-minute trip to the photography studio, and the kids are usually in a good mood at that time. All of these were true this time, except Scarlet was a little testy, and so what I thought were the best shots and poses didn't make the cut because she was fussing a bit. I used the opportunity to have both Scarlet's 1 year pictures taken as well as Spring pictures for all three of my kids.