Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's no secret that I'm not good at updating my blog.  I really, truly am sorry for that.  I wish I had the passion for writing and the time to do it that I used to have ... but I just don't!  I don't think that's a bad thing, though.  Here are some of the great things that are keeping me busy:

- I went back to work almost two months ago.  I am managing a salon in a town near me and I absolutely LOVE it!  My life is a little more chaotic, and trying to balance it all out doesn't always work out the best, but at the end of the day I am a much happier wife and mom because I have this job!

- Ethan has been in daycare since I started my job and it has been SO good for him.  Miss Holly (his daycare provider) is completely amazing!  He is learning so much and he loves the other kids at his daycare.  Plus, he's REALLY happy to see mommy pick him up at the end of the day, which makes this mama's heart SO happy!

- Claire will be 16 next month!  She currently has her learner's permit (for driving) and is doing her best to figure out the chaos of controlling a vehicle.  She's doing pretty well, though I do wish we had more time to dedicate to letting her drive more frequently.

- Monte and I will celebrate our 5th anniversary in a few weeks.  I can't believe that we have been a family for five years already!  Those years have flown and our kids have changed and grown so much - it's almost unreal!  I am hoping that the next five years slow down so I can truly enjoy the time that my kids are still living at home with us!

- I'm starting to wish that I was a little less of a morning person!  Days like today are great days to sleep in a little bit, but my eyes popped open at 5:30am and there was no going back to sleep.  My family and friends make fun of me that I go to bed right after I put Ethan in bed at 8:30pm, but it is so nice to be awake and refreshed in the morning!

- Ethan and I have started a bedtime routine that I love!  After I put him in his crib, he wants me to crawl in there with him and snuggle.  We will snuggle, make airplanes out of our hands, play "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" and pretend that his crib is a ship.  The other night he wanted me to get daddy to climb in there with us ..  he doesn't quite get the fact that there's just not enough room!

- I attended Women of Faith in St. Paul again this past October and it was SO wonderful.  Great time with amazing friends, wonderful music, phenomenal worship, great speakers.  I LOVE it!

There are lots of other things going on, too, but those are the highlights!  I hope to blog more regularly, but unfortunately I can't make any promises.  For now, now that I'm missing you!! :)

Peace out, girl scout!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This past week we were up north at a cabin on a lake in central Minnesota - just the seven of us, with nothing on our agenda but relaxation and time to spend together.  It really was a wonderful week away - we spent a lot of time fishing, swimming, making meals and taking walks among other things.

Ellis, Colin and Iain proudly display their morning catch!

It was during one of our walks that I learned a parenting lesson that I felt all the way down to my toes.  We had been walking for a couple of miles and I really had to use the bathroom, so we stopped in to a local resort and Monte and the kids played in the game room while I headed to the lobby in search of a restroom.  On my way back out through the lobby I was caught behind a family of three, slowly meandering their way through the hallway toward the exit.  Since I didn't want to be rude and rush around them I, too, slowed my pace and drifted through the hallway toward the door.  I watched the couple in front of me, listening to their accent that hinted the obvious fact that they were not originally from Minnesota.  I watched their little boy who moved back and forth through the hallway, not really paying attention to where he was walking, but instead being distracted by all of his surroundings, as little boys often do.

Then it happened.

I saw the easel sitting nearby that was displaying a large sign promoting the various activities the resort was currently offering.  I saw the little boy walking toward the easel, all the while looking the other way.  I saw his foot get caught on the easel leg.  I saw him trip and I saw the sign begin to shake.  The boy's dad very nonchalantly reached out his hand and steadied the sign while the boy's mom reached down to the ground and extended a hand to help him up.  A very familiar fire of frustration began to burn inside me, and I expected to immediate hear the boy's mom scold him for not paying attention.  What she said left me speechless:

"Oh dear, that must have hurt.  Are you okay, sweetie?"

The fire inside of me immediately was quenched as I watched this display of a mother's love.  Instead of being frustrated with her son for not paying attention, she was concerned that he may have hurt himself.  She was filled with love for him and that love was her only reaction.

How many times has it happened in my life that I have scolded my children for not "being good"?  How many times have they been distracted and I have allowed that to frustrate me?  Too many.

This is a lesson that has stuck with me and one I am deeply trying to put into action in my own life.  I want to be a mom who first loves in all things.

So while this felt like a major Mommy FAIL, I know that it is going to lead to Mommy Victories, too.

I'm grateful for this lesson, grateful for being humbled.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I haven't been great at updating.  In all honesty I haven't been great about keeping up on most things - when did life get to be so insanely busy?!  We're in the full swing of summer at our house and are staying busy with baseball, soccer, cross country, driver's education (for Claire) and a new job (also for Claire)!  At this point in life, my main job is chauffeuring my kids to the many different activities we have going on.  I am often so busy with our schedule's craziness that I find I'm not sure what to do with myself when I get some downtime.  Like right now, as I'm sitting in the waiting room at a local car repair shop, I'm realizing that I can't handle just sitting and watching "The Price Is Right" ... I need something else to keep me busy, thus this blog post is being created!

The issues with my truck are minor - my air conditioner just needs a little love so it can operate correctly, and with this amazing heat wave we're experiencing in Minnesota, I'm okay with having to wait to get it fixed!

I recently realized my need to update when I had many of you asking if we had sold our house.  The answer to that question is a big fat NO!  We had received an offer that came in significantly lower than our asking price, but beyond that we had a lot of showings that didn't result in anything more.  I don't think that would have bothered me so much if we didn't have five kids to get out of the house every time someone wanted to see it!  So, after much discussion, we made the decision to take it off the market.

I was initially a little frustrated that we won't be moving, but we have since found a church right here in our little town that we really like, and I'm believing that this is a great thing for our family.  Being we enjoy the church so much, I think that takes some of the sting away from not selling!

So that's where we're at - moving forward and walking together in life, enjoying the heat of the summer and looking forward to some milestones that are coming up soon!

Through it all, we are moving forward together and choosing to Keep On Keepin' On!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I know I mentioned in a previous post that we currently have our home on the market in anticipation of selling and moving closer to our extended family.

Our home, desperately searching for its next owner!! :)

When we listed our home on February 25th, I was filled with excitement and anticipation about what this journey would bring.  Now, 92 days, 25 showings and five open houses later I would have to admit that my spirit is dragging.

We have already reduced the price once with anticipation of drawing the attention of new buyers, but unfortunately we have yet to draw the attention of someone who wants to buy our property.

I can't help but feel frustrated at the fact that it hasn't sold.  I can't help but feel frustrated with the whole process.  I can't help but feel frustrated at the possibility of it not selling and our family not moving.

In my frustration, I can't help but wonder if it is God's plan to keep us in this house, or if there is a possibility that He is trying to teach us something through this long journey.  I can't help but let my emotions go on a roller coaster of their own - getting super excited and hopeful for a sale, and then bombing out at the bottom and being super frustrated and ready to just pull the house from the market.

I've never been through the sale or purchase of a home before, so I think I came into this sale with unrealistic expectations.  However, 92 days of people telling you they're not really interested can start to wear on you after awhile.

Lord, my faith is taking a beating here.  I really haven't been able to see beyond what I want to know if it's what You want for our family.  Please remove the blinders from my heart and my eyes and allow me to see what You desire for us.  Open the doors that need to be opened and slam shut the ones we shouldn't even look at.  Help us to put our trust in You.  

... and I really would love it if You wanted to bring us a buyer.  I really really would :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

No, I don't mean a conversation with myself.  I mean a conversation with Kelley.  She was my four oldest children's mother (so, if I were being technical, my step-children's mom).  She was killed in a snowmobiling accident when my oldest was 10 and my youngest was 2.  She was a phenomenal woman - a loving wife, sister, daughter, friend - and most of all, an incredibly devoted mother.  I often wonder what a conversation with her would be like.

Kelley had one very beautiful smile, and my kids tell me she loved hats!

I imagine that we would sit down with our cups of coffee and, all jealousy aside over both of us so dearly loving Monte, I think we would have a great conversation.  

Kelley and the kids (from left to right) Iain, Colin, Ellis and Claire on the day of Colin's baptism.

There are a lot of questions that I would love to ask her.  I would love to know what her dreams were for her children.  I would love to know where she envisioned them years down the road as they move into adulthood.  Did she know that Claire wants to be a neurosurgeon?  Was she aware of Iain's dream of playing baseball for the Phillies?  Did she see Ellis's love for outdoors as something that will follow him into adulthood and a career?  What did she dream for dear, sweet Colin (who was only 2 when she passed away)?

Kelley, Colin, Ellis, Claire and Iain in the pool on a family vacation to Breckenridge, CO.

I would love to ask her how she dealt with the stress that can come with raising so many kids.  I would love to know if there was a system she followed in her day-to-day routine, or if she was able to just "wing it".  I want to know how she handled it when one of the kids would sink into a "funk" of a mood and what she did to help bring them out.

Ellis, Iain, Kelley and Claire dealing with a funk of a mood while on a family hike!

I want to know what she dreamed her relationship with her kids would be like.  Did she see her and Claire being incredibly close?  Would she and Iain enjoy playing sports together?  Would she jump in on a game of hunting with Ellis and Colin?  Part of me truly believes that the answer to all of these questions is a big, loud YES!  Knowing her love for her kids, I have no doubt in my mind that she would have given anything she possibly could to be close to them and make them happy. 

Kelley and Claire on a paddle boating trip.

More than anything, I want to ask her if she knows how much I truly love her children.  I know my love for them can never be what her love for them was - there is absolutely nothing that can replace or match mama's love; but my love for them is fierce.  I want the absolute best for them in this life.  I want them to know each and every single day how unconditionally loved they are.  I want them to know that our home is always a safe place for them and that they can always come to Dad and me about anything, anytime.  And I really want Kelley to know that.

I want her to know that I think I'm doing a good job raising her kids - because, I promise, I am trying with absolutely everything in me.  

I want her to know that everything is alright.  I really do.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A week ago today, on Tuesday, April 23, my Grandma Evelyn passed away.  She was 90 years old and had lived a very full life.  My sister and I, along with our two youngest munchkins (Khloe and Ethan) were able to go visit her a few weeks ago - a visit for which I will forever be grateful.  I got to look into my Grandma's beautiful blue eyes and tell her just how much I love her and I got to hear her talk about her excitement to finally see Jesus face-to-face.  She was at a point where she was done with everything here - there was no more reason to eat when she could be feasting in Heaven.  I am so thankful that she had Jesus in her heart, which means that we will see each other again!

Grandma and I - February 2011 

Growing up, we would visit my Grandma every Saturday (as we lived only 15 minutes apart) and we would spend time together playing 'Kings in the Corner' and eating Pinwheel cookies (which were my favorite, once upon a time).  We would listen to "Wheeler Dealer" on the radio and watch "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Waltons" on TV.  My memories of her are priceless and she will forever be in my heart.

Khloe, Grandma, Ethan and I - February 2011

I love you so much, Grandma!  Enjoy your reward, dance with Jesus and eat the feast prepared for you.  I miss you like crazy and can't wait to see you again!

Evelyn Anderson
July 16, 1922 - April 23, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My darling little boy is now almost 29 months old.  Funny that I put it that way when I promised myself I wasn't going to count his age month-by-month, so allow me to correct myself: my darling little boy is now two-years-old.

He is a ball of energy and excitement!  He loves to play outside, to "drive" my truck (in other words, to sit in the driver's seat and hit every button and switch he can find!), to chase each other through the house, to play, but most of all he loves to TALK!

Here are some of the precious things that come out of his mouth quite frequently (that I'm blogging about because I don't ever want to forget them!):

"My Rumple-Tum-Tum" - this is what he calls his belly!  It's my fault, really, because I started telling him that his stomach was his "rum-a-tum-tum", and that changed into rumple-tum-tum.  It's incredibly cute, though!

"Christmas Clear" - if the kids are in trouble and Monte is correcting their behavior, he often ends with asking them if it's clear to them how they're supposed to behave.  They say yes, he then asks them "How Clear?".  The expected response is "crystal clear", but Ethan has this one just a little confused!! :)

"The Forte Giant" - this comes from an episode of Little Einsteins.  In the specific episode, there is a giant (called The Forte Giant), who sings "Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum".  Ethan loved this so much that he often will go and put on anybody's shoes, stomp his feet and sing out "FE-FI-FO-FUM! ... I'm a Forte Giant!"

He's also a truth teller (which is great!).  For example, last night Monte saw him eating a piece of chocolate right before bed, so he (Monte) asked me, "did you give Ethan this chocolate or did he just take it?"  Before I had a chance to say anything, Ethan looks Monte square in the eyes and says, "I just take it."  :)

He's such a silly little boy who makes me laugh all the time!  I'm so grateful that he is mine :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

It seems as though I've abandoned my blog, which I truly kind of have.  Life has been extremely busy for me as of late ... these are the things we've been up to since my last post:

My amazing husband and I celebrated four years of being married (and no, this picture isn't from our anniversary .. I just realized we don't have many "just us" pictures anymore!).

We celebrated Christmas as a family (this was the picture on our Christmas card).

We threw a surprise birthday party for Claire, and some of her friends came over and spent the night.

Monte and I went on vacation to Playa del Carmen, Mexico where we stayed at an incredibly beautiful hotel and spent as much time in the sun as possible!

We celebrated Colin's 7th birthday with a Lego cake made by the world's best nanny, Krista!

Our front-toothless birthday boy got lots of great presents, too!

I've done a lot of snow removal...

... and plan on doing more with the anticipated 6 to 10 inches of snow that we're supposed to get in the next two days!

And unfortunately, we've had many bouts of sickness sweep through our family.

We also are listing our home for sale with anticipation of moving to a suburb that is closer to our extended families!  There has been so much going on and so much change lately - and that is why I've been away from the blog.  Here's hoping I learn to update more regularly! :)