Life is, indeed, very good.

Life is, indeed, very good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peter's lists...

You may remember Peter's birthday list that I posted here a few years ago. I always keep their Christmas and birthday lists, because I think it's so fun to see what their hearts' desire is as they grow older. I thought you might like the Christmas list that Peter handed to me a month ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

a new blogger in the family

Miss Amelia Jane has just started her very own blog! Look over to the right, under "blogs I read", and click on Welcome to My World to see what she has to say!

Sam Adams

I promised the kids I would blog about each of their birthdays this year, and Sam brings us to the end of birthday year. He turned eleven in I'm not as behind on posting his than I was with the other kids! I'd like to know - where is the little boy who used to be painfully shy, almost angrily shy, around other people? The little boy who used to be tiny but has just shown me that the pants that fit LAST WEEK are now inches too short? (Maybe that would explain his leg pain last week!)

When did we emerge from this little cowboy (whose picture just breaks my heart in two).... this crazy boy with a great sense of humor..... this young man with ideas and enthusiasm and creativity?

As much as I cherish those little cowboys pictures and the sweet memories that accompany them, I love the young man that Sam is now and look forward to another year of growth, maturity, and uniqueness in him. Happy Birthday, Samuel. I love you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Joseph Timothy turned NINE years old in August! Enjoy a few classic Joe snapshots from years past!

Those EYES!!! He still knows how to use 'em! :)

His sweet smile still warms any room....

His sensitive heart still sees the needs of those around him...

...a little obnoxiousness thrown in the mix.. now that he's nine and all..

..a birthday treat of tubing on the river made this nine year old's day!

...Giving thanks for this precious young man!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

12 years...

While we relaxed in Babbitt, MN in August, Janie celebrated her 12th birthday. She was completely surprised by her gift of an ipod touch...she really couldn't believe it! We've never been big on getting the kids the latest techie gadgets, but we found a great buy on Craigslist and knew she would love it. It was fun to see her open it! She also started middle school this year....knowing not a soul as she entered a school with 900 students. To watch her overcome her fear and face it was hard but necessary....and she is blossoming. I thought it would be fun to post some pics of her in years past (the photos on my computer only date back to can see I've got some transferring to do)....

2008....pre-glasses, summer softball, American Girl dolls, sweet smile...

2009...maturing, helping so much with foster babies, becoming independent...

2010...sporty, silly, musical, carefree girl...

2011...a young lady...sharing her mother's heartbeat but finding a rythm of her own..

Twelve years can 12 years have gone by so quickly?

You are loved, dear girl.

Friday, October 14, 2011

August up North...

In August, we had the opportunity to take a trip to Babbitt, MN...the hometown of some dear friends of ours. They no longer live there, but keep the house they grew up in as kind of a "vacation house", which they offered to let us use for a long weekend. Babbitt is a tiny little town about 15 miles away from Ely, MN. Way up north, der, eh? There is a grocery store, a couple of gas stations, and not much else. PERFECT. Just what the doctor ordered!! We loaded up our van with bikes and playclothes and hit the road. Within five minutes of arriving in Babbitt, our kids were on their bikes riding around everywhere (something they can't do in our neighborhood at home). Pete had not yet learned to ride without his training wheels, but on those quiet Babbitt streets he had it down pat within minutes! There is a bike path that leads from Babbitt, through the woods, and down to the lake. So each morning Tim and the kids got up and took a nice long ride. One morning, a young black bear crossed the bike path right in front of them! We swam in the lake, enjoyed bonfires in the backyard, roasted marshmallows, did some sightseeing in Ely (and bought souvenirs of course), saw the Wolf Museum, and RELAXED. It was GREAT.

Catching up...

Well, I sure have fallen behind on keeping track of all the goings-on of the last few months! You'll have to forgive all the backtracking, but I wanted to make sure some of our fun summer memories made it on the blog!

Amidst all the craziness of the breast cancer diagnosis this summer, we did not slow down one bit, it seemed. July was a VERY full month. Our little foster daughter, "the Gulford" as we lovingly called her, was ready to be reunited with her dad. So we made sure to fit in extra trips to the park and extra snuggles. We really miss her, but she's doing great.

Also in July, Peter turned SEVEN years old! Pete is always content with a pretty laid-back birthday, so we had a little family ball-game at the ball diamonds....kept Grandpa and Grandma on their toes around the bases, and enjoyed cake and ice cream afterwards.

I love my family!!! Now...on to August....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to July....Joe goes to camp!

This year was Joe's first time as a camper at Pine Lake Christian Camp in Eldora, IA! He's been there countless times already...once for family camp, once for a work weekend, and many many times taking Janie and Sam to and from their weeks at camp. This July was Joe's turn! Joe is my sensitive, tender-heart boy; I wasn't sure how he would do being left at camp (even though his age-group only stays for three nights). Once we met his counselor and found his cabin, however, it was clear he was going to be just fine! He had his Blow-Pops and Juicy Fruit and his disposable camera, he found his bunk, and he was with his buddy Trey.....he was on top of the world! I knew he would have a great time at camp....having new experiences and learning more about Jesus...and a taste of INDEPENDENCE! I also knew what old friend was secretly folded inside his pillowcase for those moments when he missed home just a little! ;) Joe came home three days later with fun stories, a cool T-shirt, and a faith perhaps a little more his own. Thanks, Pine Lake - we're blessed to have you in our lives!

Monday, August 1, 2011

wedding shorts

A pause in the July series for a little anecdote:

(preface: We don't have to really dress up very often....our church is fairly casual, etc, and there just aren't too many occasions to get really fancy...the boys do NOT like to wear dress pants..they think JEANS are dressy. Their father perpetuates this notion, I might add.)

In the car a while back, I was discussing with one of the boys (I will spare him the identification) why he was wearing the same shorts over and over...

Me: Why do you keep wearing those shorts? (gym shorts)
Boy: I don't have any other shorts!
Me: Yes, you do! You have plenty of nice shorts that fit you really well (meaning nice khaki cargo shorts)
Boy: MO-ooM! Those are WEDDING shorts!!!

Those boys! We let them wear nice shorts and polo shirts to a wedding this summer, and now he thinks those shorts are too dressy to wear any other time!!! He received quite the lecture after that conversation. So did his father, because while getting ready for said wedding, he (Tim) accused me of "trying to kill him" by making him wear a nice, long-sleeved shirt. :) Like father, like son!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July: part 2 The Strongs

Just after the Ann Arbor wedding, we headed 15 minutes west to Chelsea, MI, where our dear friends Tanya and Luman Strong live. Tanya and I met one summer while working at a camp in the Crystal Falls, MI (she was the camp nurse, and I the arts and crafts director) and became kindred spirits at once. After college, we both found jobs in the QC and became roommates, and have been part of each others' lives ever since. It had been SIX YEARS since we've gotten our families together, so our being in Michigan meant a must-stop at the Strongs. It was great to see them and spend the 4th of July together....our husbands both avid (and particular) coffee drinkers made for a delicious and caffeine-filled few days. Here are some highlights!

It was a HOT few soon as we arrived, the kids all jumped in the pool for some cooling off.

Tim with little 17 month old Simeon. He is such a funny little guy with the cutest little grin!

On July 4th, we were up early for a pancake breakfast and parade. Chelsea, MI is home of the Jiffy Mix factory, so during the parade, they tossed out boxes of various Jiffy mixes! Fun! None of us got hit in the head with one, in case you were wondering. :)

We spend some time at Long Lake swimming and hanging out...the kids had fun catching fish with their nets! (Janie has one in her net)

We also got to canoe around the lake...the kids had fun jumping/diving off the dock that was out in the middle of the lake. That's some real summer fun!

That night, the kids were pretty worn they crashed on the couch with a movie and parade candy while we adults sat outside and drank iced coffee...

The Strong Family..Selah, Tanya, Simeon, Boaz, and Luman

Janie had Selah by her side the WHOLE time! So cute!

It was so good to spend time with the Strongs...friendships like these are good for the soul!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer 2011

Well, it has certainly been a crazy summer. Full of all the usual summer, swimming, weddings, trips, birthdays, camp. Most of you already know that in early June I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At first it looked like all our summer plans were about to go out the window, but it hasn't turned out that way. We had some waiting to do while we decided what kind of surgery I would need, so we were still able to do most of the traveling we had planned on. I thought for a long time about how to keep folks updated on the cancer side of things. I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve, so it's important to me to open about what's going on in my life and especially as we begin this walk through breast cancer. But I decided that I'd rather this blog not be the place for that....this will remain the place where family memories and funny "kid-isms" are recorded. Caringbridge has turned out to be the perfect way to post updates on surgery, treatment, etc.

So I have a camera full of photos from a fun month of July...I'm looking forward to recording the fun memories in the next few posts!

July: A series

It has been a FUN and BUSY summer! We kicked off July by heading to Ann Arbor, Michigan for our niece Lindsey's wedding. Lindsey and Carl got married in the oldest Methodist church in Michigan...a picturesque old white church...and they had their reception under a big white tent on the lawn of the church. We arrived around lunchtime on Friday and jumped right in helping with food runs, wrangling cousins, holding new baby Lily (our other niece and nephew-in-law's new baby), setting up tables, etc. I had the super fun privilege of helping my sister-in-law decorate the cupcakes Lindsey made for the wedding. It was so much fun! Of course, I uploaded pictures in reverse order here, so we're starting with the day after the wedding, but here are a few snapshots of the fun:

The cousins in the hotel elevator....they always have so much crazy fun together!

The newlyweds, Lindsey and Carl, at the Sunday brunch...

Whitney and Dustin and new baby Lily...

At the reception they had a "picture wall" with old family wedding photos, where you could pose behind an open picture fun!

The girls showing off their moves at the outdoor reception...

Just one of the delicious cupcake selections.. yum!

Another of Lindsey's fun ideas...among the tables were mason jars holding "moustache" cut-outs glued to long sticks...made for some fun poses at the picture wall!

Our family just after the wedding.....

The girl cousins looking beautiful....

The handsome boy cousins waiting "patiently" for the pictures to be done.... :)

We had such a fun time....since Ann Arbor is part of Tim's old stomping grounds, we made sure to have our fill of Coney Dogs. We also took a drive around town to see the new football stadium. Super fun!

Next Stop: Chelsea, Michigan to see Tanya and Luman Strong and family!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

a lego courtroom

Yesterday we had to hold court at our house. One boy (the defendant) was using a lego piece that he believed belonged to a set he purchased with his own money. Another boy (the plaintiff) was VERY distraught, because he claimed it belonged to the set HE purchased with HIS own money. They both had recently purchased two small sets each. They each bought the "Pharoah's Quest Scarab Attack" set. The other two that they bought were different.

I took these pictures of the piece for evidence....a "scythe" that fits onto the end of a we have the full perspective of this tiny piece of plastic that caused so much turmoil. You see, the boys share legos all the time, but this was a matter of ownership. Principle. We had to get to the bottom of it. After several interviews with the plaintiff, the defendant, and one witness, we had conflicting reports. I thought maybe the Scarab Attack set had come with a scythe, so there would be two floating around the house somewhere. After a futile search for the assembly instructions for all sets in question, we turned to the internet. A quick google search and a little poking around revealed that the scythe was NOT part of the Scarab Attack, nor was it part of the "Prison Carriage Rescue", which is the set purchased by the defendant. The plaintiff was right...the scythe came with his set, the "Prince of Persia Ostrich Race." Case closed.

Welcome to my world. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rookie League Champs!!!

Joe and Pete's baseball season ended with a bang on Sunday! Their team won the championship game! Whoooohooooo!!! What a fun time it was......the last game really was a nailbiter. Both teams did a great job. It has been an enjoyable season for the boys...their coaches were fantastic. They expected a lot from the boys and didn't take any guff from them, but they treated the boys with respect...I think that went a long way. Of course it's not all about winning, but it sure was fun to see the looks on those boys' faces as they lined up with their medals!