Sunday, November 9, 2008

Precious pictures 2

Daddy and Blessing carving a pumpkin...Mommy, it is so cold and slimy!

Look at me...I'm so adorable!

Blessing playing in the rain on vacation! She had a ball scooping muddy rocks in the water!

What a great painter Blessing is! Thanks for your help!

Blessing with her caterpiller cake for her 2 year birthday.

Precious Pictures

Blessing and Joy sitting together. Blessing loves Joy so much!

Tummy time for Joy! Look at how strong I am getting!

Blessing and Joy hugging. Joy sure doesn't know what to think of big sister!

Look mommy, Joy is sleeping in my arms. So precious!

Joy taking a nap on her tummy.


I know - you are probably thinking "finally, a post!" Well, I have been reflecting on what I wanted to post and how I wanted to post it for about 5 months now. Every time I think I am going to have a chance to post, either my 2 year old needs something, my now 4 month old needs somthing, or my wonderful husband needs something.

So, what is different tonight....My two year old is in bed. My 4 month old is sleeping, I think. And, my husband fell asleep putting my 4 month old to bed. So, I have picked up the house from a crazy weekend, and am now making and taking the time to update.

So, since the last time I posted, we have had a baby. She was born on July 7th. We will call her Joy for the purpose of the blog. She is completely different than Blessing. Joy actually sleeps - well most of the time. She is in that stage now where she doesn't want to miss a thing. She is our little cuddle bug. She will sit with you for hours and cuddle and coo. I will post some pictures - so enjoy!

But, for the real reason for this post....

This fall has been a time of reflecting for me. Besides being extremely hormonal and emotional from having a baby, this fall has affected me in many ways.

I can not begin to tell you how blessed we are with our children. Just 3 years ago, on this date, I knew something was funny. I took a pregnancy test and discovered that we were expecting our first baby. I was in the middle of my second year of teaching at a public school, my husband was working 60 to 80 hours a week for a local farmer, and our marriage was falling apart. I did NOT want to add kids into the mix. Even though my husband and I vowed to never get a divorce, our marriage was heading south. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that God took my husbands hand to save us. Anyway, I found out I was pregnant and cried and cried and cried. I was sicker than sick (for all 9 months) and really didn't want to have any kids. I had just lost 50 pounds and was beginning to feel fabulous about myself and how I looked. However, God had a different plan...

Over the next couple of months, he helped me to accept that I was pregnant. However, I still didn't "want" the baby. I found out I was no longer going to be employed at the public school come the next school year and was devastated. How was I supposed to be a stay at home mom....How was I supposed to care for this baby that I didn't even want...How was I....How was I...How was I...

The list went on and on. And, time continued to pass.

Today, three years later, I can honestly say that I do not know what I would do without my 2 year old. Yes, she is a challenge somedays, but she is a miracle sent from God. She helped to save our marriage (along with a special group of women that I met about a month after having her). She has taught me patience, tolerance, how to love, how to cherish, joy, and hope. As I sit and rock her at night, some nights I don't want to put her into bed - I just want to hold her all night and thank God for the miracle of kids. She is growing into such a beautiful little girl on the inside. It has been truly amazing to watch her change and develop...I am looking forward to what the future holds.

With the addition of a second child, I was scared. What if I didn't love the second baby as much as I had learned to love the first? What if I couldn't take care of the second baby? What if the second baby was just as demanding as the first? What if...What if...What if...

Once again, the list went on and on. However, the addition of a second child has changed me yet again. Yes, I am still the same woman, but at the same time, subtle things have changed. The love in my heart has multiplied. The time that I spend cherising my two kids has changed. The joy in my heart has increased. The time that I spend making the house into a comfortable home for my family has also increased and the things that I value have changed as well.

I would not go back to having only one kid, and I definitely would NEVER go back to having no kids. The addition of children to our family has been a challenge. It is a challenge I am glad to face every day. Even though it is frustrating to have to discipline Blessing, for Joy to be fully dependent on me, to take care of the house and garden and kids and finances and..., and to be a wife of a loving husband, I thank God every day. Each obstacle that is placed in front of me helps me to become a stronger woman of God. Each challenge placed in front of me helps to develop character. It is my prayer that I will be able to someday help other women and families that are dealing with similar situations. It is my prayer that God will use me one day to serve others and to make a difference in others lives. I am trusting that I am not going through what I am going through for nothing - there truly is a plan for my life.

Finally, on this anniversary of discovering our lives would be changed forever, I just want to thank two special women who have helped me to be a good mom.

To my mom-in-law - Thank you for loving me unconditionally, even when I was failing at being a good wife for your son. Thank you for your support and encouragement when things are tough. Thank you for allowing me to marry your son and for accepting me as your daughter. I love you!

To my best-friend - Thank you for helping me to be a better mom and wife. Thank you for encouraging me every Wednesday when things are tough. Thank you for the Godly perspective that you provide and for challenging me on making my house a home and serving my family. You are an amazing wife, mom, and friend. Your encouragement is priceless and words will never thank you enough! I love you my dear sister-in-Christ!

God is good and provides even when times are tough. He has given me two kids that help me to appreciate the little things in life - from the wire worm crawling on the floor to egg shell in my baked goods.

What a change in my heart from 3 years ago when I didn't even want kids in my life...Thank you God for blessing me and changing me!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Invisible Woman

Tonight, I just feel plain defeated. I feel as if my job makes no difference, that being a mom and a wife isn't recognized and the work that I do isn't appreciated. Then, I had an e-mail come from a good friend of mine who married a man with children and in her mid 30's, became a grandma. Her e-mail lifted my spirits and has given me a rejuvinated reason for being a wife and a mother. Enjoy...

Invisible Mother.....It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on thephone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this ? Can you tie this?Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30,please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of afriend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sittingthere, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied,'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing tosacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to hisf riend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Springtime pictures

Just a few pictures to update you on how our daughter is growing! She is getting so tall and acting more like a kid and less like a baby. It is amazing to hear her talk and to watch her change every day. Today, she climbed up on the rocking chair in her bedroom during naptime and reached the lotion and a couple of other things off of a high shelf. We had no idea she could reach those by standing on the chair. My, oh my, how she is growing! The determination she has is so strong! What a personality! Enjoy the pictures and look back on previous posts to really she how she has changed.

Giving Kirby a hug!

Hey mommy, look at me! Climbing on the steps and the railing.

HELLO?!? Anybody there?

Mommy, this is so yummy! Snitching leftover cookie dough after making cookies!

Springtime fun and more

What a few weeks we have had! When you finally think that Spring is here, the cold decides to come back again. Last week alone we had 3 inches of rain! We have about an inch plus in our basement with no way to get it out - the drains are all clogged....oh, the joys of being homeowners with no landlord to run to....I wouldn't trade it for anything though!

Three weeks ago, I had a Pampered Chef show to do down in the southern part of the state. I left home at around 10 am and didn't get back until around 5. It was a long day. On my way home, I stopped at the local grocery store about 5 miles from where we live. By the time I arrived there, my head was pounding and I was not feeling well at all. But, we needed milk, so I stopped and kept my husband from leaving the house again with our daughter. Anyway, I went in and picked up a few groceries. When I came out, I climbed into the car and reached in my coat pocket and pulled out what I thought was keys and went to start the car. The car wouldn't start, so I looked down at what I had in my hand and found that I was holding a binki. A car won't start with a binki. Anyway, I chuckled and came home and dared to tell my husband the story...he laughed and said you have to write about this one.....I will say, you know you are a mommy when you try to start your car with a binki!

On that same Saturday, Mr. Tall and Blessing went on a truck ride on gravel roads and dug approximately 14 cedar trees from the ditches. On our property, we have several old old trees that have not been properly taken care of. And with winters seeming to get colder and longer each and every year, we want to get a wind break started. So, he dug the trees, put them in pots, and came home. We planted them the next Saturday (one week ago) along with 2 other trees we picked up. We purchased the other trees from the DNR/Alliant Energy for approximately 1/3 of the cost of what they would have been from a garden store or nursery. It is a program that the energy company puts on...each family can get two trees at this price one time a year....Operation ReLeaf. It is a great program and allowed us to plant the trees.

The day that we planted the trees, it was cold, windy, and very wet and muddy. We dug the holes and as we were digging them and moving dirt from one hole to another (we dug out an old fire pit and filled it in with dirt and the sod) Blessing climbed into the muddy hole and started playing. I was too slow with the camera, but did get a picture of Blessing, Daddy, and Kirby with the newly planted Swamp White Oak. We vowed to plant a tree for each kid that we have, so the Swamp White Oak is Blessing's. We also planted a Sugar Maple on the east side of our property which is our tree for the baby coming this summer. So, both our our kiddos are covered!

Along with planting trees, we have planted asparagus. I love asparagus and look forward to it each and every spring. Mr. Tall and Blessing will even eat it when I prepare it on the grill with butter and garlic pepper. I can taste it now! Anyway, it was a beautiful, warm day, and I was in the mood to get the roots planted that we had had for a week. I didn't want them to go bad before we got them planted. So, I started working on digging the trench - an 18 inch deep trench that was about 10 feet long. I worked and worked and wondered where Mr. Tall was. He ended up having to work late, and when he got home I was completely exhausted. We went inside and had supper followed by putting Blessing to sleep. Then, Mr. Tall and I went back outside and finished planting the asparagus. Yes, we set up a flood light and dug away until we had enough trench and enough length to get all 20 plants planted. Inside the 18 inch trench goes 6 inches of compost (we used old barn manure), 6 inches of loose soil, and then the asparagus roots followed by 2 inches of soil. What a process! I can't wait for two years to pass so we can eat some home grown asparagus! What a treat!
Finally, I want to tell you about tonight. Our house has been extremely cold as we have ran out of propane (or are extremely close to running out). As a result, we treat Blessing to a warm bath every night followed by cuddling in her pajamas and a nice warm bed. Tonight, was different. We gave her a bath and then took her upstairs and got her dressed. She then had a blast playing in her closet in her room. She would open up the door, tell Mr. Tall and I good-bye and see you later and then close the door. She would immediately open it and run to us and give each of us a kiss before running back to the closet and waving good-bye again. This went on for about 20 minutes. Mr. Tall and I were getting so many kisses we couldn't stop her to put her to bed, as she doesn't usually give out kisses and hugs very freely. I think she gave out about 20 kisses between the two of us....what a huge warm fuzzy. We then cuddled and she went to bed with five blankets over her!
What a great time we have been having this spring. Yes, a lot of work with cleaning up the property, cutting down trees, planting trees and asparagus, picking up rocks, picking up sticks, and just general maintenance! But, it is so much fun to be able to work and not worry about what the landlord will say! What a blessing it is to have a little girl that loves to be outside and enjoys playing in the water, mud, rocks, and grass. What a blessing it is to have a roof over our heads, walls to protect us from the wind, and clothes to go on our backs. Yes, times are rough, but one must remember all the blessings and good things that God is providing! I don't know where I would be without the Lord - definitely not positive, happy, and where I am today!
Thank you Jesus!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Springtime Changes

Yes, it is officially Spring, according to the calendar! However, it isn't necessarily springtime according to the weather and weatherman. Right now, one day we will have beautiful mid 50's with a light breeze and sunshine and the next day we will have 4 inches of snow! It is absolutely crazy. Things will soon match up - seasons and weather - it is just a matter of time!

As the weather became warmer and the snow was melting, puddle after puddle formed. What does a toddler enjoy doing, especially our beautiful girl that loves the outdoors, jumping in puddles! On the nice days that we had, I took Blessing outside and we would walk around our property and explore. When we found puddles, Blessing would immediately start jumping and splashing in them! She would end up muddy and wet and cold, but it was well worth the fun playtime! Even our dog would enjoy getting involved in the puddle splashing - usually just enough to get a drink of water and then take off again. He never let Blessing push him over and get him wet though - which was a very good thing!

On one particular spring day, we were anxious to be planting our garden. We decided where our gardens were going to be, and instead of pulling all of the weeds, we decided to burn the garden off. We really enjoyed the ability to be outside and start preparations for spring and summertime gardening. We can't wait for fresh produce! However, the day after we burnt the ground off, we had a cold snap and 4 inches of snow - not exactly encouraging when you want to plant a garden. A few days later, we were back to the mid 50's. Old man winter just wants to keep hanging on even though we are ready for Spring. Spring come soon!

This last picture just shows the curls on the top of Blessing's head that mysteriously arrived
yesterday. We gave her a bath the night before and when she woke up, she had the curls on the top of her head. We washed her hair and combed it last night and this morning, she still worke up with curls on teh top of her head. What a surprise!
Finally, our baby girl made the jump from crib to big girl bed. We were a little nervous about putting her in her big girl bed, but knew that we had to to allow her time to adjust before the new baby comes in July. So, daddy put the bed together yesterday and she took a nap in it yesterday afternoon. Come last night, it was my turn to put her to bed. Our normal routine is to go upstairs, get pajamas on, and then rock for awhile before going to bed. Well, last night, the first night in her big girl bed, she got dressed and then crawled into bed without rocking. She wanted mommy to rock in the chair and not leave right away, but when she was ready to go to sleep, she said "nigh nigh" and shooed me out! I came downstairs with tears in my eyes and talked with Mr. Tall. Our baby girl is growing up. It is so unbelieveable that it has been almost two fabulous years.
What a time of changes - both outside and inside! Enjoy spring and every second you have with your kids and grandkids! Time sure flies when you are having fun!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Couple Precious Pictures

As I was posting tonight, I thought I would post a couple of funny and precious pictures.

The first one is of daddy and Blessing both using a straws in daddy's bowl. We had made a peach smoothie and put it in a bowl thinking Blessing would use a spoon. More of the smoothie got on her front than in her mouth. So, I decided to take her straw out of her cup and have her use that to drink out of her bowl, except her bowl was too shallow. All she got was air. So, I had her go get on daddy's lap, found daddy a straw, and they both drank!

This second picture is of Blessing sitting in our Pampered Chef stainless steel family skillet. I had just finished washing it and set in on the shelf next to my sink. Blessing grabbed it, pulled it off having it narrowly missing her toes, and then crawled in. She then climbed out and went to my pot holder drawer and found the two oven mitts. She put them on and crawled back into the family size skillet. We couldn't resist but to capture it with a photo. It won't be too long before she won't be able to sit in it anymore....

A Day with a Toddler

Life as a stay at home is truly a joy, most days. As we are preparing ourselves, our house, and Blessing for a new baby to arrive, I have been doing my best to thoroughly enjoy every little thing about Blessing. I try to take in all that she is - from the happy days to the grumpy days. Some days it sure is harder than others, especially with Old Winter still hanging around and not being able to get outside. However, it is so worth it! I would not trade anything in the world to have somebody else raising my kid as I work outside the home full time. The way I look at it - I work part-time outside of the home as a teacher and Pampered Chef consultant, and full-time in the home as a mommy and a wife. I still try to find time for myself in the midst of all the chaos!

So, here starts the journey of a day with a toddler! It is every day for me - some days just look a little different!
Blessing has been waking up around 6:30 am. I hear her talking away in her crib most mornings, some mornings crying or screaming for mommy or daddy. So, I wearily climb out of bed, making sure I am awake enough and not light-headed to make the trip to her bedroom. I open up the door and she immediately says "good morning mommy." That is enough for me to open up my eyes wide! Where in the world did she come up with this? Probably from us always telling her good morning! It brings a smile to my face and prepares me for the day. We then head downstairs and take our vitamins followed by a change of diaper. Sometimes this change of diaper is met with resistance, ok, most times it is met with resistance. She either wants to stay dressed or be completely naked - nothing usually inbetween. After the diaper change comes a little bit of playtime. This allows both mommy and daddy to wake up a little more and allow our bodies to start functioning. Once we play, then it is breakfast time. This usually starts by one of us asking Blessing if she is hungry, and usually ends with her repeating "hungee" and running to her chair at the table. We eat and then clean-up. This is followed by more playtime as daddy is getting ready for work. Daddy leaves, and as he drives away, Blessing is in the window waving until her heart is content. She cries because daddy is leaving, but then says "wove you daddy." We start playing some more.

On this particular day, I was cleaning up the kitchen a little bit, and Blessing was playing. She decided to pull out the bottom drawer of the oven (it wasn't on, I promsie) and climb in. As she was playing in the oven, I started mixing up a batch of homemade bread. She became interested in what I was doing, so I put her on the countertop with me. We then mixed the bread and mushed (kneaded) the bread together. Sorry, no pictures of this. We were both covered with flour and stickies from head to toe! I cleaned her and myself up and we went to play as the bread started to rise.

I was folding clothes and Hallie had decided that she was going to be a big girl and dress herself. She got her shirt half-way on then fought it for a little bit before saying "hep" meaning help. So, I helped get her shirt all the way on and then started the pants.

She didn't get her pants all the way on before she was distracted and headed to the rocking chair. This particular day she would climb up onto the chair, "rocka rocka" for a little, and then bail off. She would laugh and giggle as mommy said splat and then would do it all over again.

After playing on the chair, it was time to mush the bread down. She dug in there with both hands and mushed it down so it would rise the second time.

After doing this we played with baby and made sure that baby was fed and covered up ready to nap. Finally, it was time for lunch, so we worked in the kitchen and got something around. We ate lunch, cleaned up, and then headed "nigh nigh" for a nap. She is so sweet at nap time now. We turn the music on, grab her "wa wa" or water, and then cuddle up in her blankets. When she is ready for nap, I put her in her crib as I am walking out the door she says "nigh nigh mommy." We both sleep for a little bit and then get up and play some more.

Daddy comes home and we eat supper and then play some more. Usually a bath follows and then it is night night time.

So, that is the day. A lot of fun and a lot of learning. I wouldn't trade the time I have had with Blessing for the world! What an amazing opportunity!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Blues

Yes, the weekend blues have hit me. It has been a very interesting weekend at our house. On Friday afternoon, my dad and step-mom arrived for a weekend of re-wiring the upstairs. The goal was to get wire from the basement to the attic, and then from the attic down to what will be Blessing's new room, once it is finished being remodeled.

Well, before Mr. Tall got home my dad began questioning me. He is upset that I am a stay-at-home mom. He feels as if I am wasting my education and the money that I put into my education. He thinks that I should be working full time as a teacher and that we should be putting our kids into daycare. This was a tough blow, especially since it was a tough week of personally fighting with financial issues and the easy solve of going back to work.

As if that wasn't enough, he proceeded to give me a guilt trip on not attending every single family event that occurs down "home" and that the excuse of money being tight was not acceptable. According to him, we go to Des Moines all the time and are never at home. Any of you who know us, know that that is not the case. We hardly ever go to Des Moines or Ankeny any more (because of the distance and gas prices). We do most of our shopping closer to home, especially since Mr. Tall is in town almost every day.

Finally, he proceeded to make me feel as if I was a failure. I had e-mailed my step-mom back in December/January that I was pretty busy. I e-mailed her what my routine was and how things were shaping up around the house. In that e-mail, I also mentioned that I rest or take a nap almost every afternoon whenever Blessing goes down. My dad told me that I wasn't busy and that if I was, I wouldn't be able to take a nap every day. It was so hard to hear that.

I know that we are supposed to work at pleasing and gaining acceptance from our Father in Heaven, but what about from our Father here on earth - especially one that you look up to, respect, and want to please. How are we supposed to get over the fact that our father on earth doesn't agree with what we are doing, even though we know deep in our heart of hearts that our father in heaven does agree and is pleased by what we are doing? Where do we look for acceptance on earth - is encouragement from our friends enough, or do we need it from our parents too - the ones that have spent their whole lives raising us......

I love my father dearly and look up to him tremendously. I think that that is what is making these issues and his thoughts so tough for me to digest. I want to please him, while at the same time doing what I know is right in my heart. I know that it isn't easy and that things are going to be tough, but I feel as if my daughter has such a richer life (not with money) because I am staying home and raising her. I can't imagine having someone else raise her and our baby-to-be.

Needless to say, for that hour when my father was talking with me, I was defending my husband and my choices. I was trying to explain why we do the things we do and why we have made the decisions we have made. I was justifying every little thing that I do and that we have decided. It felt as if I was in a courtroom being closely examined for a crime I had committed.

On Saturday, I had a Pampered Chef show and then came home and scrapbooked while everyone else ran to Ames. Blessing napped during this time and I had some peace and quiet. The men then worked on the wiring and accomplished quite a bit...not as much as they had wanted to, but enough so we can keep working on the room and hopefully get it finished. Mr. Tall and I then went to a church Valentine's dinner. We enjoyed ourselves, but were disconnected and disjointed. I was struggling with the discussion with my father and Mr. Tall was struggling with the fact that things didn't go the way he wanted them. We got home from our date and our guests left. They wanted to beat the weather home and not risk it this morning.

Sunday came around and we made the trek to church, in the start of a mild blizzard. It was a small communion service with the singing of hymns, a communion meditation, and then prayer. It was a nice service, but the drive home was not so nice as the roads were completely covered and the wind was blowing snow and making visibility very limited. We made it safe and sound. Mr. Tall went back to work on the wiring and I hung out with Blessing and played. She stacked small wooden blocks 11 high this morning! Lunch then naps...Mr. Tall kept working. After naps, we played some more and then ate supper. Blessing took a bath and then went to bed. Almost time for us to retire for the night too.....

A couple of pictures from this weekend...

1) Blessing and grandma cuddling on the couch. Grandpa was running the vacuum and Blessing is afraid of vacuums. She typically cuddles with mommy while daddy is working, but this time, Grandma got the pleasure of the cuddle!

2) Blessing and grandpa reading books together. Blessing kept bringing grandpa books, and he kept reading them to her. It was such a beautiful sight - I couldn't pass up the photo, even though grandpa wasn't happy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Over the past couple of weeks, what life means has been on my mind a lot. I can’t promise you that this little entry is going to solve exactly what life means and how to handle it, but, I do know that I have had many lessons lately that have helped me to understand more of what it is.

1) Life goes by so quickly, enjoy the little moments.
I have come to this conclusion while having sleeping issues with our 19 month old
daughter. Blessing has been challenging mommy and daddy, especially when it comes to bed time at night. Nap time hasn’t been quite as much of an issue (except that she screams after about 45 minutes of napping). However, bed time has been another story. Blessing decided that she wasn’t going to go to sleep, even after mommy and daddy rocked her and laid her down. We didn’t change her routine at all and haven’t had any problems with her sleeping since she was about 10 months old. Two weeks ago, Blessing decided that she was going to scream after we put her in bed. All she wanted was to fall asleep in mommy and daddy’s arms while being rocked and then sleep there all night. That was not a possibility as mommy and daddy needed their sleep too! So, the other option was to rock her for a little bit, then put her in her crib. Normally she would fuss for about 10 minutes and then fall asleep. That was not Blessing’s idea – she decided she was going to scream for over an hour. Mommy and daddy had to give Blessing some tough love, and let her cry herself to sleep. We would check on her every 10 to 15 minutes, but had to stop ourselves from picking her up and touching her. It was such a tough time, however, she would always wake up in the morning happy and glad to see us. During these two weeks, Blessing has become such a daddy’s girl. She hates to see daddy go to work and loves to see him pull in the driveway. The “DADDY” that she screams when she sees him coming down the road melts my heart. Also, the times that she wakes up from her nap and wants to be cuddled also warms mommy’s heart. During these two weeks, I had the opportunity to hold Blessing as she fell asleep in my arms. This had not happened in several months. As Blessing was sleeping in my arms, all I could do was look down into her face and smile. Blessing, even though she had frustrated mommy and daddy with sleeping problems, taught me to enjoy the moments in life that seem so small and take time out to create the little things.

2) When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a mix of lemons and oranges, create citrusade.
Ok, so I made the last part of this one up, but it makes sense to me. I have mentioned before that we have been struggling financially for several months now. At the beginning of February, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to pay all of our bills or not. However, God provided for us, and we were able to pay everything. The middle of the month arrived, and once again I didn’t know how we were going to be able to make it. After paying bills, I had approximately $150 left to make it until the first of the month. My loving adorable husband, not realizing where we stood, came home and mentioned that he had spent $130 of that on oil, oil filters, and valentine’s gifts. I love my husband so much that I didn’t have the heart to tell him what kind of a pinch this put us in. I smiled and accepted the valentine’s gift lovingly and appreciatively. He had got a paraffin therapy. He needs it almost more than me right now, as he has been in a high amount of pain due to his amputation. He was so excited to be able to put it together and start using it that I couldn’t imagine crushing his pride. So, I took a tough situation and one that could have become a sour one, and made it into a sweet, enjoyable situation. As a woman after God’s own heart, I have been working extremely heard at being a supportive, respectful, appreciative, and encouraging wife. It is not always the easiest task, however, it is one that I am striving towards. I have other Christian friends who are striving towards the same thing and it has been so helpful to be able to bounce ideas off of them and know that we are all struggling with some similar issues and circumstances. I have a friend who also had very little money as her husband has not been working the past 3 weeks due to the weather. Needless to say, they were struggling in many different ways. I spent a few hours with her last week, and even though she says that I encouraged her and helped her, little does she know the impact that she had on me. It is amazing how God works and helps us to make citrusade out of lemons and oranges – to turn yucky situations into successful situations. I know that I don’t always succeed at being a loving, supportive, Christian wife, but I do know that I am trying so hard to succeed 80% of the time and working at being a better person. That is the sweetest part right now!

3) Finally, take time to renew yourself.
I am not the best at this statement. I always put myself last – after my husband, kids,
friends, and extended family. I have been trying, especially the last few days, to take at least a few minutes for me each day. Whether that is in the form of a nap or reading a book, it has made a difference. I tend to feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day after those few moments. Even though I don’t get it done every single day, it is something that I am attempting to do. Renewing yourself is such an important part of life. We can wear ourselves down so much that it feels as if life is overtaking us, instead of us taking control of life. Take time to renew yourself.

Finally, I just want to say that I definitely don’t have all the answers to life, and these few paragraphs don’t even touch all the thoughts on life that have passed through my mind lately. It is just a snapshot of how I am being touched during this long, cold, snowy winter. Also, with a little life growing inside of me, I have been reflecting a lot on God’s creation. I know that I am tired of winter – all the snow and cold weather – but, being stuck inside has helped me to reflect. This long winter is going to make the spring and warm weather so much more enjoyable once it gets here. If at all possible, attempt to enjoy the last few weeks of winter – even if it means bundling up the kids and yourself and going outside to get some fresh air.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Perseverance - steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement

Over the past couple days, this is the word that keeps coming to mind. If I just persevere, then things will be good. Things will change and I/we will make it through this tough time.

I honestly think a lot of it has to do with the exceptionally long winter we have been faced with this year. It didn't start too early, but it has been filled with ice storms, snow storms, and extremely cold weather. The quote usually stated is "life is short." Right now, life is seeming extremely long with extremely short days, even though they are getting a little longer each day! Hooray!

As winter drags on, and we spend more and more time cooped up in the house with our kids and husbands, we start to get grumpy and antsy and just down right upset. We have cabin fever and are not sure what we can do to get rid of it, because there is no money to spend and it is too cold to just go outside for a long walk on gravel roads with no houses for windbreaks!

Well, perseverance has paid off for me this week. At the beginning of the week, my husband and I were not getting along very well, I was grumpy, and my daughter was just a handful. She was a handful basically because I was not in a good mood, or at least that is my conclusion! Around Wednesday, after talking to a couple of my girl friends from church, I decided that I had to make the most of these days in the house, change my attitude, and change the course of the week.

I got home on Wednesday, after working in the morning and having a visit/play date with a girlfriend, and cleaned the bathroom and made supper for my husband. My husband and I had had a few words with each other earlier in the day because our diesel truck wouldn't start, a telltale sign of how cold it is outside. Also, he didn't put the garbage out to the curb for the garbage man to pick up. All I could think about with that scenerio was the money we were "wasting" by paying for garbage pick-up and not using it. Anyway, he came home, our daughter was excited to see him as always, and I had supper ready for him on the table. After supper, I made some homemade pudding for him - something he enjoys tremendously. Then, we played with our daughter together, had an excellent conversation, and just hung out. It was a fabulous night!

Yesterday, I set out to accomplish some tasks around the house. My husband has been complaining about our bedroom, which is temporary, being hard to get around. So, I worked at putting clothes away that were in boxes from the move, organized a few other things, picked up trash, and cleaned. I did all this while my daughter was engrossed in the television. (We only have one tv in our house, and it is in the master bedroom. Therefore, our daughter doesn't spend much time around the tv. It has changed how creative and inventive she is. Even though it drives me nuts at time trying to occupy her, it has been a great change. If anybody is up for a challenge, I say go for it. It has changed our life.) Enough on the sidenote.....After working in the bedroom, Blessing colored while I worked on her scrapbook. I drained some pumpkin and worked on getting 5 loads of laundry done.

When my husband got home, he carried in 3 beautiful pink roses. If you could only smell them. They made our whole downstairs smell beautiful. So fragrant. I felt as if the last two days had paid off. I warmed up some soup, as the wind had him extremely cold. We ate supper and then spent some time with our daughter together. He then took our daughter upstairs and played with her while I worked at cleaning up my desk and paying bills. We then put her to bed for the night. I worked on pampered chef stuff and then we ordered our seeds. It was a great night together.

A little note on paying bills - many of you know our situation. We have moved and 95% of our bills are due at the beginning of the month now. This is a change from where we last lived. As a result, I have been very stressed and uptight about the 1st of the month coming. I had it in my head that we were not going to be able to pay our bills without dipping into savings. My husband brought home a pay stub on Wednesday night with an unexpected pay check. Plus, it was a free check as no insurance was taken out because it was the 3rd paycheck of the month. This was not an "extra" check, it just happened to be how the month fell. However, I didn't realize we would get an extra check. As a result, we were able to pay all of our bills, except our icky propane bill, without dipping into savings. God truly blessed us and really made me realize how much I need to trust him to bring us through. It is so easy to not trust and take finances into our own hands, when really it is God's money to begin with. I know that I needed that reminder this week.

I guess the moral of this post is to persevere, even when the winter is long and all hope seems lost. Know that Spring will be coming soon, the grass will be turning green, the seeds we plant in our gardens will germinate and grow, and the sun will shine and warm up our hearts and the temperature. Even though life is difficult right now, we just need to stay on that steady course and keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Just having fun in the kitchen of our old house. Mommy was packing while Blessing was playing!

Blessing with the SOLD sign at our new house the weekend after we moved in. It was still cold and snowy, but we had to get a picture!

Blessing on Christmas Eve at our new house. She loves her dress! Thanks to the Winter family!

Back at It

Greetings all! I know it has been a million years since I last posted...ok, only almost 5 months, but it sure seems like a million years! I stopped posting because I became so extremely frustrated with how slow our internet connection was. We were on dial-up, so it was slow. I would only sign on to accomplish what I had to, and then I would get off.

Well, in the past 5 months, a lot has once again changed in our lives. This will be a quick update, and then I will start posting on more of a regular basis.

First of all, we put an offer in on an acreage in Hubbard back in October. My husband was getting his work comp permanent partial disability settlement, so we were able to purchase a house. We ended up in the house that my husband really liked when we looked at houses last Spring. It is a 2 story farm house with 3.5 acres of land with it. The house is a 1900's house and is very breezy, especially in subzero temperatures. However, we absolutely love owning our own place and are looking forward to many years here. The upstairs has 4 bedrooms and a 1/2 bath. The downstairs has a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and office. There are several buildings on the property, so we are looking at getting animals once Spring comes! :-)

In the beginning of November, I started being extremely sick. I was throwing up several times a day and unable to keep food down. This was a sign to me that I was pregnant again. The test confirmed my suspicions. Therefore, we are expecting to add another wonderful child to our family come July. The baby is due July 9, only 2 days before Blessing was due to come into our lives. We are a July baby family I guess.

In December, we moved into our new house and spent the holidays working at unpacking and settling. We also spent time with family and friends during the holidays and really enjoyed ourselves. My husband worked some extra hours which helped us out a lot.

January has been a month of working on getting into routines. We still have Blessing on a bedtime routine, which makes life so much easier. I am working at starting a schedule for the weekdays so that when baby number 2 comes, it will be easier to handle being a stay-at-home mommy.

February is almost here and that is so hard to believe! As we get older, the years seem to go faster and faster.

It is my goal for 2008 to be better at posting on the blog and keeping everybody updated on what is going on in our lives. So many changes!

Thanks for being patient with me!