Thursday, July 30, 2009

Big Boy


All day long I've been hugging you extra hard and kissing your soft little cheeks as much as humanly possible. I'm filled with thankfulness for having loved and known you another year. I can't believe that tomorrow you will turn three! You've grown in so many ways this past year.

I know that you will remember this part of your life through pictures and the stories your brother and sisters will share with you. But just for the record, this is how I'll remember you as a two year old.

- You are notorious for finding your way into other people's beds at night. You find the warmest, coziest spot and then spread out. Many a cricked neck and sore arm have resulted. Secretly, we all love it.

- You love to hug and kiss. You often stop while walking by to squeeze my leg and say, "Love you, mommy." Whenever you accidentally hurt someone, you nearly assault them with kisses!

- You are currently obsessed with pennies. You found a box of them that Grandma brought over and now they are spread about the house. We can hear you coming from a distance because you jingle with about a hundred of them in your pockets. We can also hear your cries of distress when you drop them on the floor.

- You're a funny guy. You tell your own version of jokes and crack yourself up!

- Your favorite toy is a tiny stuffed duck that you affectionately call, "Dee Dee." You also love rockets. You count down from five and blast all over the house while running in circles and spraying spit everywhere.

- You've learned to sit quietly in church this year and even pray when asked before a meal.

John, God surely gave us a most precious gift when He made you. I'm sorry I'm going to be such a sap every year when it's your birthday. It's not because I think you are a baby, but because I am so overwhelmed at what a privilege it is to be a mom to such children. As you grow, a chapter is closed in our family while many more are still being written.

Goodnight, sweet baby. Happy Birthday.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Yes, I will blog again

For those of you who for some unknown reason still stop by my blog I'm here to assure you that I will be back. I miss blogging and look forward to a steady return once we find a routine around here.

Where have I been?

1. Waiting patiently for the return of my laptop which crashed. This means blogging requires that I located to the upper corner away from the rest of the family on a very s.l.o.w. computer.

2. Following Sean around to his various speaking engagements. We've been to Chicago and Springfield, IL. Next week we are off to Michigan.

3. Enjoying an extended family reunion time with my family. 10 adults+ 15 kids+ five days= a whole lot of fun!

4. Slowly, but surely, getting the house in order and preparing for our school year to begin. 13 days!

5. Reading a lot of library books. After paying down our mammoth fine, we now have access to the wonder of books again. A lot of my reading has been about simplifying, living intentionally and better relating to my family in the midst of my responsibilities. Perhaps this has something to do with less blogging.

6. Loving extra time with Sean. Even though he's often busy working on his text book project, we've been able to slip away for a few lunches together and some fun times with the kids. We've certainly enjoyed some great movies once the kids are in bed.

All that to say, it's been a busy, yet, wonderful summer. If your still there, please leave a comment to just say "hi". It would make me feel better:)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A day in the life...

I was reminded recently that we, as women, though loving to relate, rarely take the time to really listen or respond rightly to one another. Perhaps it is a reflection of the busy worlds we juggle. Perhaps it is that everyone is always putting on their best faces so the conversations stay shallow. Perhaps it is because we've already placed value on the other person's words before they even speak. Perhaps we are too busy thinking of our next contribution to the conversation. As a result, our careless words and lack of empathy more than often hurt rather than heal. Though I doubt this is ever the intent, it nonetheless results in deep wounds.

I know of instances when I've been guilty of this very thing. And sadly, I know there are many, many times I have not even been selfless enough to recognize it. There are probably people who would never confide in me now because of my recklessness and unguarded words.

It's true that I will never be able to know all that goes on in another's life, nor should I. Sometimes their struggles are private, but must be lived out in the public eye. I can even hear of my friend's pain and pray for them, but I can never truly know what they are going through.

In order to support others, I've decided to begin reading biographical accounts of those who have gone through similar experiences. These authors have come out on the other side of some difficult circumstances and have an important message. My prayer is that in some small way by reading these books I might walk a day in another person's shoes. I desire to be a good listener and to minister words of life when needed.

So far I've read:

Postpartum Depression- Why I Jumped by Tina Zahn

Autism- A Child's Journey out of Autism by Leann Whiffen

Miscarriage- A Deeper Shade of Grace by Bernadette Keaggy

Growing up with a disabled parent - In the Shadow of Polio: A personal and social history
by Kathryn Black

I'm looking for worthwhile biographies about:

Step Parenting


Breast Cancer

Chronic Pain/Illness

I welcome any suggestions you all may have.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Under the Sea

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever. -Psalm 146:5-6

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Friday, July 10, 2009

Modern Day Knights

We made our way to the Chicago suburb of Shaumburg to experience a night of medieval dining and drama.

We sat in a large arena and ate while knights on horses fought bravely. It really was impressive with sparks flying as swords clashed.

We had to bring some of our favorite prince and princess costumes.

The menu: Tomato bisque, garlic bread, roasted potato, ribs, roasted chicken and pastry. Eaten with the hands, of course.

John with the king.

Our blue knight threw Betsy a rose. *blush*

This is how John spent most of the evening- standing up and cheering on the brave knights.

It was great to find an activity that all the kids enjoyed equally, but for different reasons. The older girls who had studied some medieval history saw it come to life. The ones who enjoy horses saw some amazing tricks and skills that they had only read about. The boys loved the action and fighting. And some were just in it for the costumes.

Sean and I are slowly reading through the book, Raising a Modern-Day Knight, so I had that on my mind through the performance. Perhaps God will use this memory in the lives of our sons as He they grow into manhood.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Home is where the daddy is

We decided to tag along with Sean on his recent work week in Chicago. Six days away is just too long for all of us to be separated. Sean drove up early in the morning to teach and we planned to meet him for dinner. As we were pulling up to the hotel we saw him walking along the side of the road waiting to jump in the van.

After several hours in the van it was a welcomed sight. John was thrilled and unexpectedly announced, "Daddy's home!!!"

Of course, we couldn't visit Chicago without introducing the kids to Chicago style pizza. It was so filling there was actually leftovers. I think I'm going to try to recreate this one in our own kitchen- deep dish, cheese on the bottom, sauce on top.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coolest Baby Shower Idea Ever

Using this book, $1 mat remnants, stamp pads, my kids' watercolor set and a sharpie the guests at this baby shower created a priceless work of art for the nursery.

These four mats will hang vertically and be mounted on a ribbon. The top mat will read, "Who loves ....?" Underneath are all the animals signed with love. We plan to add other family members before it's all said and done.

Find other great ideas at Works for me Wednesday!