Monday, April 30, 2012

multitude monday

Well, after 10 {I think it was 10} weeks off, here are last weeks blessings. I kept listing them during my break, but if I started where I left off {#1982} it would be a LONG list, so I'll just pick up with this week.

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2127. Bible study . . . and the wonderful women who share intimately in my life. who pray for me. cry with me. laugh with me {sometimes AT me}. who encourage me.
2128. seeing a little hint of progress after months of work
2129. the arrival of a dumpster in our yard
2130. basement demo :: all gutted now
2131. hearing a wonderful, encouraging, challenging message from Wess Stafford
2132. a few great garage sale deals
2133. CSC banquet :: arguably my very favorite night of the year
2134. seeing so many friends
2135. seeing Angie all grown up :: beautiful and eloquent and loving the Lord!
2136. seeing God's hand on so many lives :: ours and others
2137. 17 years since he asked and I accepted
2138. picking up coffee on the way to church
2139. fun lunch at Bonnie's with my parents
2140. Lydia's spring choir musical and family and friends there to watch
2141. Rebekah's kind, generous spirit
2142. cheering on our church softball team in the rain
2143. teacher workshop day {and a "sunny and 70's" forecast!}

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


seventeen years ago tonight he asked.

seventeen years ago tonight I said yes.

after more than 3 years of dating and nearly 4 years after we met.

with much fanfare and a big {surprise} party waiting for us at my parent's house.

two kids took the first major step into a life that is now so much more than these 2 could have imaged.

i might not be wearing that ring he gave me in the picture on my finger today {it's in a safe place, though}, but i'd answer the same again in a heartbeat!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


A few random things, in case you care::
  • I got a haircut today. I was planning to grow my hair long enough to donate it, but it was driving me mad and since I value what little bit of sanity I've got, I got it cut. It's kind of a shaggy, long-ish bob.
  • I was driving behind a Porsche going about 52mph in a 65 on 94 today. There was no traffic. Most people were doing 70. As I blew past this Porsche in my maxi van, I had the urge to say :: "Buddy, do you realize what you're driving? It's a PORSCHE! Pick up the pace, already!"
  • I had a coupon for a free Frappe at Burger King, so I went through the drive-thru and picked one up. It wasn't really all that great and it gave me a brain freeze. TWICE! Those suckers hurt! Anna begged me for a drink of it, so I let her have the rest. I'm sure I'll pay for that later, but oh well!
  • We have a HUGE dumpster in our driveway. It'll be there for months. It's not pretty, but it is exciting!
  • We are about to start on the drain tile and radon mitigation part of our basement undertaking. Not at all a glamorous way to spend thousands of hard-earned dollars, but it'll be so good to have it done.
  • I love where we live. About a 10-minute walk from home last night {walking at the pace of a 4-year-old} we spotted a white-tail about 30 feet off the road and stopped to watch a deer who had stopped to watch us. Also we walked by a swampy pond and enjoyed the sound of frogs. I love that we could get to either downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis in about 10 minutes by car and still be only blocks away from deep woods and wildlife! Perfect, if you ask me!
  • The sunshine is glorious!
  • Joe has an eye appointment tomorrow. We'll see if his patch on his glasses that he's been wearing for a few months has made any noticeable difference in his vision.
  • I've had a {pretty nasty} cold for nearly 2 weeks. I'm about ready to be done with blowing my nose. Hopefully it will be gone soon . . . like yesterday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Seven years ago today we were introduced to this little man. This bird-skinny, crazy-haired little man.

skinny little arms and legs :: about 3 months old
that hair!

He's been counting down to this day for months. I doubt it will live up to all the hype, but today is his birthday. His seventh birthday. Seven! Wow.

This seventh year has been, by far, the toughest yet for this little guy. Although it is all of our story -- living through this year -- I'll let it be Joe's story and not "air" his stuff to the entire cyber world. But, believe me, it's been a pretty rough 9 months or so around here. By far our toughest parenting {probably whole of life} struggle and challenge so far, piled on top of the normal, day-to-day struggles and challenges of a big family. We're not ignorant enough to think we won't have other struggles. Worse struggles. There are 8 of us who are fiercely interconnected and who fiercely love each other, so there's gonna be plenty of pain and struggle. It's pretty clear that we can count on it. {Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1.2-3 :: it clearly says "whenever you face trials", not "if you face trials".} So, we know this probably isn't the worst of it. But so far, it is our worst and that's no fun.

"I'm this many!"
a typical Joe face::

A bit about Joe at 7 ::
  • he shares a room with Sara, on the main floor across the hall from us
  • he LOVES Legos. especially the Ninjago collection.
  • his reading coach at school is named Fred {he is my friend, Laura's dad and Joe's friend, Maya's grandpa}. Joe loves Fred!
  • he's {mostly} over superheros -- after a run that lasted nearly half his lifetime!
  • he is an exceptionally popular guy! at conferences his teacher told us that one day in class they made "friendship wheels" where everyone wrote down a few of the people they consider to be their friends and Joe's name was on nearly everyone's wheel. far and away, the teacher told us, Joe was named more than anyone else on his classmates wheels.
  • he is a great jump-roper
  • he is in an after school Lego club through community ed and he LOVES it.
  • Lego club is on Thursdays, which means today he gets a birthday AND to go to Lego club. it's a red-letter day!
  • he can be so sweet and loving.
  • he takes up an entire queen sized bed when he sleeps . . . and he grinds his teeth!
  • he got glasses this year -- and big teeth in the front -- and looks cuter than ever, if you ask me!
  • he claims his favorite food is candy, but he also likes macaroni and cheese.
  • earlier this year he banged his tooth/mouth on the dining room table and chipped the table. the table, not the tooth . . . kid's got a hard head!
  • he is always -- I really mean always, like as in constantly, without stopping -- making noise. usually he's not talking, just making random Joe-ish sound effects.
  • he had these corduroy pants with skulls on them that were hand-me-downs that he LOVED and wore through both knees from wearing them nearly every day this winter.
  • we love him like crazy and can't imagine our family without him.

Joe has had a cold lately {so have a bunch of us} and last night his cough was exceptionally bad and he couldn't sleep, so he came in bed with us. It wasn't "us" for long, though, as Kirb decided to relocate to the couch. So, Joe and I were snuggled in bed . . . Joe coughing and coughing. For a while it was nearly constant and he couldn't sleep. He was pretty miserable and at one point a little after 1 he said to me "When will it be morning?". It was probably 3:30 when he {and, consequently, when I} finally fell asleep. He was up again before 6:30 -- even though he usually sleeps until at least 7 or 7:30 -- because, after all, you've got to maximize your big day. Hopefully he'll still be awake and functional when it's time for Lego club! We'll just have to see, I guess.

off to the bus on his 7th birthday
{his backpack is OLD and the front pouch has a broken zipper. maybe next year he'll get a new one. one that wasn't a hand-me-down. one in which all the zippers work . . . we'll see!}::

Monday, April 9, 2012


{typical Sara face}

Well, Sara is officially closer to 2 than she is to 1.
18 months already!
1-1/2 years.

with one of her {many} big sisters::
another classic Sara look::

Here's some stuff about Sara at 18 months::
  • she talks up a storm
  • her words include :: uh oh, up, Daddy, Mommy, Annie {what she calls Anna}, Ama, BopBop, Jo-Jo, a Sara-version of Lydia, baby, Sara {although it sounds like it starts with a "b"}, puppy, yeah, yes, no, out, hi, bye, hot, poopy
  • she eats like MAD. we say she's a bottomless pit. she can eat more than 2 or 3 of our other kids combined and she eats just about anything you put in front of her . . . except for peas!
  • she waves in such a way that you imagine she is turning a doorknob that only she can see
  • she runs. and climbs. and slides. and swings
  • it's a whole new ballgame now that she can reach things on the edge of the counter
  • her favorite mischief, as of late, is to climb up onto the dining room table and make a huge mess of whatever is on there :: siblings homework, a deck of cards, leftover lunch {which she will promptly consume!}. she'd stay up there "playing" for hours, I imagine, if I would let her!
  • it's nearly impossible to change her diaper without pinning her down -- adult legs over toddler arms . . . and if you don't hang on to her feet she'll kick you. hard. it might even leave a bruise!
  • she weighs 27 pounds {85th percentile} and is almost 34 inches tall {92nd percentile}
  • she wears a size 2T in most stuff . . . the hand-me-downs from nearly-4-year-old Ava no longer fit her by the time we get them {Ava's a petite little bundle!}
  • her thighs aren't quite as enormous as they used to be . . . but still quite chubby and adorable
  • she'd stay in the bathtub ALL day if we'd let her {unless she had the option of playing on top of the dining room table} . . . it's been so unseasonable warm this spring, that I often drain all the water and then let her keep playing in there {and since the water's gone, I can go in the kitchen and get stuff done!} until she gets cold and yells at me to get her out. she's happy. she's contained. there's no water to dump all over the floor {another favorite pastime of hers}. it buys me some time! that's a winner in my book!
  • yup, "yells at me". she's a yeller! you should hear it! holy cow!
  • she's also VERY opinionated . . . thus the "need" for yelling to get her point across -- and, let's be honest, to be loud enough for anyone to hear her over the ever-present noise in our house.
  • she still, as a rule, doesn't sleep all night. little stinker!
  • I suppose if I were ambitious I could try to potty train her, since she announces before hand that she's going to poop, then she poops, then she repeats "poopy" over and over, while holding her crotch, until we change her.
  • she still far prefers her daddy to be up with her in the middle of the night
  • she's quite skilled at the puppy dog eyes, tears and pouty face and can call them up at a moments notice, the instant daddy leaves the house {even if just to take out the trash}
  • she's loves to be read to and to "read" books to herself too.
  • she thinks she runs the place. no matter where we go. she is completely comfortable and feels she's in charge :: home, church, preschool, the library, the Y . . .
  • she is a breeze to put to sleep {make sure she has a nuk, put her in her crib and shut the door} but the trade off is the 11 pm crying, but it's nothing a little snuggle and a drink won't fix {96% of the time anyway . . . we won't talk about the other 4%}
Here are a few more Sara pictures, for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome!
hunting Easter eggs with dad
{there was LOTS of competition -- 20 kids 15 and under!}
a bit of her plunder::
relaxing with grandpa {she's a Mennonite through and through, I guess, with that little head covering and holding a baby! see how proud Grandpa is?}::
enjoying some lunch on daddy's lap::
I couldn't pass up these jammies when I saw them at Costco
{on sale, even . . . or, more correctly, with a manufacturer rebate, taken off at the register}
never have truer words been printed on 2T jammies::