Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Look!

I don't know, I'm feeling crazy...New Year here we come!! Do you have any resolutions?? I guess we have a few. We always say we want to be more organized. You can see our list of goals, add that we want to wean Mo of the pacifier. We're trying to eat out a lot less! We're trying to save money...please tell me you have something more interesting!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Are you tired?

If you said "No" you must have boycotted Christmas this year, you lucky dog! I'm wiped. I'm still trying to play catch up on all the laundry and still looking for two more presents. Overall, we had fun this Christmas. If you recall, before Christmas the only thing Mo was asking Santa for was a microphone and a guitar. Well, Grandma and Grandpa found the PERFECT guitar with a microphone that plugs in! We have a **ROCK STAR** in our midst!!
The next big thing we're talking about is the polar bear plunge. Yes it's cold, yes Dave is crazy and no Mel is still not considering it! I said this year that if I had enough girlfriends willing to do it, I would. So I'm challenging any of the ladies out there to call me! I figure if I am going to do something like that, I want to be part of a large crowd of people I know so I don't feel so stupid. Does that make sense?
I guess I don't have anything really exciting to write about today, but I felt the blog was neglected. We are all looking forward to some new routines in the New Year and keeping up with the old ones. I know we can accomplish our goals, so stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad

Most of you that have known us for a while already know that we like to do these goofy Christmas letters every year. This year is a little different! We decided to write about the top 5 things that impacted our family life. It's been a year of changes...some good, some not so good. We want to share these things with you because they have changed who we are and how we look at the world. If in some way our changes have a ripple affect on your lives, we'd feel even more blessed to have shared them with you!
1) We started the year with a newly remodeled kitchen! For those of you who haven't been here yet, please call us and invite yourself over! We keep forgetting who has seen it and who hasn't...since we had a wall taken out, it's a pretty significant change. Every now and then, someone comes in and goes, "WHOA....!" This has changed our lives in a good way - we can have people seated around the table and in stools around the counter of the peninsula. It is so open and comfortable! The dark side of this is that there are more counters to clutter and then clean! But overall it's inspired me to cook more =)
2) In spring, Dave's dad was on vacation and wasn't feeling well. After a few trips to various Mayo Clinics, it was discovered that he had an advanced state of pancreatic cancer. Within a few days we learned that it had already spread to his lungs. We had a bittersweet family gathering for Easter. A few weeks after that Dad decided to go to Cherry Meadows, a hospice facility. We felt blessed to see him in a place where we knew he was getting excellent care and attention. We visited numerous times and were able to enjoy music time, prayer time and quiet time together. John went home to heaven on May 13, 2007. (If you are interested in learning more, click on this Caring Bridge website that Dave's Mom kept, which is like an online journal and guestbook.) Sometimes it's hard to deal with all this, especially since it happened so quickly, but we just remember that Dad is restored to health, dancing and singing with Jesus!
3) Moses has been running, tumbling and climbing all over this house!! The newest thing that has been amazing us is his verbal ability. He talks a TON, making up his own songs or singing church ones, and having real conversations with us. Sometimes we have no idea where he gets example:
(Mo) Take these lights, Mom. (He's pointing to the can lights over the peninsula.)
(Mel) What?
(Mo) Take these lights.
(Mel) Um...Where should I take them?
(Mo) Take these lights
to Waupaca, Mom. (He's using his 'duh!' tone of voice!)
I'm thinking, "What?? Where does he get these ideas??"
All this talking has changed our lives in the sense that we really need to pay attention to which conversations he is listening to, as well as how we address him. He's growing up!! Sometimes he sounds like a little teenager. Those are the times we wish the calendar would not move so quickly...anyway - seeing Moses grow and develop has 'fanned the flames' of our desire to have more kids, which brings us to the next point...
4) We are nearing completion of certification to be foster care parents. We have attended 30 hours of classes, cleaned and purged our house (!!!), and prayed. We still need to have a home inspection and interview. We are so excited to share the blessings God has given us, but we have had our eyes opened to many things we almost can't believe. Our hearts hurt for the children in the foster care system, as well as for the birth parents who are working to be reunited with their kids. As parents, we know how hard it is and just pray that we can be a loving and supportive part of the system. We know that you, our friends and family, will pray for us in this new adventure, just as you prayed for us before we became parents to Moses! To everyone who has given us support through information, hugs and ideas - THANK YOU! We can't wait to share many more updates with you all!
5) We've been in Sheboygan now for over 5 years and it really is our home. Just this year a couple of things have happened to make us feel even more 'settled'. Mel started a parents group that meets on Friday mornings. The kids run around and giggle while us parents compare notes and plan adventures! She's still volunteering at church as the nursery coordinator, but now is considered paid part time staff since she is also the drama director. Some friends from college (Jason, Linda and Martha R.) moved here recently. It's been fun hanging out with them on a regular basis. Mo and Martha are pretty big buddies! Overall, we love living the beach, love the people and we're loving the blessings God has provided us with. Maybe if you watch this slideshow, you'll start to see why we call it the good life...(Speaking of the beach, if anyone's interested in doing the Polar Bear plunge on New Year's Day, give Dave a call!)

May God bless you and your families in the New Year!

We hope you enjoyed this green version of our Christmas card! (If you still wish to receive a paper copy, leave a comment.) There are lots of reasons we decided to do things differently this's a few:
1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read do recycle them, don't you??
3) Save printing costs. See reason #1!
4) Save stress. Nothing to print, sign, stuff, address...
5) Expand our options! Now you can see a practically limitless amount of photos.
6) Our greeting to you is saved in cyber-space for posterity! Yes, we can be that vain sometimes!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursdays are good days to review...

Well, it seems that I have only been getting around to writing on Thursdays...on Friday last week Mo and I went to the play place in the mall, and we were shocked to find the place crawling w/kids!! Almost literally too!! Mo was like, "Hey what are all these kids doing in my play place?!" He seemed a little offended. But then he got excited to run around with some other kids. One thing I noticed though was that the height requirement was being ignored, so there were some really big kids. Mo got plowed by this kid and his mom didn't notice right away. She was deep in conversation or something. That made me mad. Anyway - later Dave wanted to see the play place so we went back. Same story, only WORSE!! Friday night at the mall, who knew? I guess you're probably thinking that yeah, Friday night at the mall is busy, but our mall is mostly empty so we were surprised! The thing I noticed this time was that there were over 30 kids and only 6 parents. So unless everyone has large families all under 42 inches, the parental supervision just wasn't happening. That made me a little scared. Liability-wise that's just a I'm thinking we'll just stick to the early mornings.
In other news...Monday we made plans to get new doors and a booth in our kitchen! Ok, that doesn't really count, I know...and Wednesday we didn't work out. Sorry - it's been a really busy week. The toughest part of this week was that our last foster care class was canceled on Tuesday. BOO!! We definitely wanted to show off our family album. Plus the topic was about adoption, which of course we are into. The meeting is rescheduled for next Tuesday, so we'll keep you posted. The good news we got this week was from our friends in Russia - they are w/their son!! Their initial court date went well and now they are in the waiting period. The are watching lots of Russian TV and venturing out once in a while. Their son has learned a few new words, like ostrich (??) and one, two, three and four. We are so excited for them and it will be an eternity until they get home on the 18th! I cried when I saw the pictures of them together. Only God could design their family so perfectly!
By now, some of you have read our Christmas greeting...yeah, we're trying to go paperless! There are still some people who don't use email or the internet, so we'll still send a few cards. The other thing we're trying to do to save money and limit waste is to make presents for people this year. I know some of the them won't be as exciting as something we could have purchased, but it's our way to be good stewards of the money and the Earth that God lets us use. I will talk more about the presents after we have given might be a lucky one who gets to receive one! Hope you like it! Are you doing anything different this Christmas?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weekly review

Phew! Sorry it's been so long...with these foster care meetings and the holidays I sometimes feel like we are just keeping our heads above water. Anyway - we're excited that our last class is next Tues! So this Monday we were making a family album. We plan to make copies of the pages for our own family, so if you ask us some time we'd love to share it! Wednesday we didn't work out. Too tired. Still trying to get our rooms in order upstairs. Progress is being made! We have the one bed taken apart so we could move it. The small room needs a few things removed and the twin bed set up. We'll get there - this weekend both rooms must be photo ready. Tomorrow I'm meeting some other parents at the mall's new indoor play place. Mo loves going there!! It's really not that big, but it's just a great indoor place to burn off some energy. Most of the time we go and we're the only ones there...I guess he might be the only kid who is up that early and I'm the only momma who gets us out the door!! Oh well. No complaints. Well, I was planning to eat a banana split, but the Packers are not doing too well. It's hard to eat when you're nervous or agitated! But banana splits (minus the cherry!) are on my list of favorite treats. What are some of your favorite treats?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving, actually, but I thought I would share some things about our celebration. We were very thankful that all of Dave's siblings and families could be with us for a pre-Packer game lunch! The 16 of us hardly fit around the table. Later in the day we had a white elephant gift exchange - I think I mentioned it earlier (read this). I am enclosing a photo of the funniest gift I got - I don't know, something about it just made me bust out laughing! The collar is fuzzy and it's a ZEBRA!! HAHA!!

The other thing I wanted to write about today is that it's Dave's birthday. Now he's 30, just like me! Most of you probably knew that already, but here's a few things you didn't know...
1) I love the way Dave asks people how they met. He can be pretty romantic and sappy sometimes, but I just get this grin when he asks that question. It's fun to hear other people's stories.
2) I love the fact that he asked to hold my hand the very first time. He had that much respect for me and my body that he asked me. He didn't think it was his right or that he deserved it. Of course I said yes!
3) I love the way he dishes out the hugs and kisses! Moses and I both feel so loved.
4) I love him dancing. If you have never seen Dave's best moves, you are missing out. The way he uses his leg to play air guitar makes me melt! *SNORT* Yes, I'm kidding!
5) I love to be outside doing stuff with him...hiking, biking, camping, going to sports events or just getting the football stuck in the tree! And I love that he always helps me with the garden.
6) I love the way he helps me see the big picture. Sometimes I get hung up on the details and he reminds me that we'll get through whatever it is and we'll move on to the next thing.
After 8 years of marriage he is still my best friend. I thank God for blessing my life with someone who is so committed to me and our family. Anyway - now you know a little more about the birthday boy and why I love him so much! Isn't he cute??

Happy Birthday, Dave!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Today is Monday, but we're flip-flopping stuff due to Thanksgiving. DW and I are going to work out tonight and make bread and pumpkin pie on Weds. Then we're off to Neenah! Everyone will be home and it will be the first holiday w/o Dave's dad. Sorry if that sounded blunt. I guess I'm trying not to think about it too much now, since I know I'll probably be crying about it at some point. Anyway - we are hoping to have a white elephant gift exchange, since not everyone will be at Christmas. I keep thinking I'll find something around here, but I don't want to part w/stuff or it's just dumb and not really all that funny. What's the funniest white elephant gift you ever saw? Did you get to keep it? What did you do w/it? I have a memory of some elephant ashtray or something, but I don't remember when or where that happened.
In other news, we have started to get things in the upstairs bedroom ready for foster care kids. I'm getting excited! Our last class is in 2 weeks!!! We really want to put a pic of the bedrooms in our family album, which is due Dec. 4 - the last class. Did I say I was getting excited? I guess I forgot to say anxious and to say that I'm 'nesting' horribly. Dave didn't get that when I told him that. I keep finding things like our closet that I feel compelled to organize. It's not a bad thing, but it doesn't necessarily get us closer to the foster care goal. Oh well! I'm trying to stay focused...speaking of that, I have some laundry to hang and then I'm headed upstairs! Happy Monday =)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Week in Review

Phew - the week got away on me! Tuesday we went for a really long walk. I didn't work out on Weds...I was crabby, it was cold and I guess I was tired from Tues! We walked to the grocery store and after purchasing a 10lb bag of potatoes and other stuff, we walked up the hill to Big Lots, and home again. I made some bread this week - did I already talk about that? We have a breadmaker and all the supplies, so I feel compelled lately to just make our own. Friday we met at church for playgroup. It was nice to vent a little and feel 'in touch' w/other adults!
We've been working on getting things ready for foster care kids. Today we picked up some furniture from my brother's future in-laws. It was an awesome gift - a bed and a dresser! The 2 rooms upstairs are shaping up...slowly. We have started the fat application. The thing that will take the longest amount of time will be the 'autobiography' section. There's a lot of questions about each of our backgrounds/upbringings...if that's a word! Lately we have heard good news from a lot of friends...adopting soon, pregnant, successful's been emotional for us b/c we are in a time of waiting. That doesn't mean we don't feel JOY for them - we definitely do!! We are not hurt by hearing their news, although many of them have been very considerate of our feelings. We know they are praying with us and supporting us on our journey, just as we hope we can do for them! So I guess that's about it for foster care news. We'll keep you posted - our last class is Dec 4!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I. M. F.

So today I have 3 things I want to write about...
First, I had a discussion with a friend about people who inspire us.
Who inspires you? Leave a comment! You don't have to say names or anything...for me, I am inspired by my friend Tracy to take better care of this planet. Jason and Linda inspire me to eat better. My best friend Dawn inspires me to make stuff. Dave's dad always inspired me to be cheap! My parents inspire me to treat people better, to be faithful to your family and give of yourself. My friend Maria inspires me to keep up my Spanish! Old photos of myself (you can use yourself!) inspire me to workout. (Who is that skinny girl??) The DeVries inspire me to adopt a bunch of kids, make them feel safe and loved. Yeah I could probably go on...
The second thing is Make It Monday - I made granola. I have been wanting to do this forever. It was easy and I'm going to make more. "YUM YUM!!" That's a direct quote from Mo.
Finally, I want to talk about fixing things. You know how sometimes you just don't think you can pay to have an important thing fixed, but you are not sure how you are going to take being inconvenienced by not having it working? And then God just takes over. He either fixes it, finds you something to replace it or takes away the inconvenience. Last year I broke our snowblower. Or at least I thought I did! It was the last big snowfall of the year, a heavy wet one. I like being outside and I like the satisfaction of knowing I can clear the driveway. (I like mowing the lawn, too, by the way, even with the push mower!) Anyway - I was 'throwing snow' and the thing made a large BANG and died. There was a puff of smoke if I remember correctly! I attempted to finish the job by hand and gave up. Well, that dumb things been sitting there for 3 with the weather really getting cold, I kept bugging Dave to get it fixed. We really don't have the money. We have spent a lot of money on home improvements this month. And we are really trying to get rid of the debt, although we know it won't be completely, before we have foster kids. Anyway - I prayed about this...Dave looked online and learned a few things about the machine. Tonight he took it apart and found out it has NO SPARKPLUG. How it just vanished without me noticing, I don't know. So he figured he'd start with that...he brought a new one home and it worked!!! Phew - I said a quick prayer of thanks. I am reminded of how God was good because Dave learned something about the engine and the machine, and I learned to trust. God is in the details, I'm still working on that...

Friday, November 9, 2007


AHHH!!! I'm so excited - I just found out that our friends who are adopting from Russia are going Nov 30 to pick up their son!!!!!! AHHHHH!!! WOO HOO!!! For those of you that know me, you know I love all things kids and I have been praying for this couple as I know they prayed for us when we dealt w/infertility issues...AHHH!!! I'm just writing this all so that I can ask you - please pray for them RIGHT NOW!! Maybe by the time you read this, they will already be gone to Russia, or maybe you're just found this blog and are reading all the old posts or WHATEVER, but please, they will always need prayer!! He doesn't really speak any English and he was in an orphanage in Russia...they hardly know anything about his background, so there's a lot of question marks, but we are all believing that God has put this family together!! It's such a cool, long, cool COOL story and if you see me, ask me about it some time! Thank you for your prayers...Okay, I'm going to go dance a little! WOO HOO!!

Fearless Friday

Today we went to the Family Resource Center. It's not the most fearless thing we've done, but since we'd never been there before, I think it counts. They have a large room with lots of toys, which may sound boring to you, but to a kid, toys you've never seen before are so-o-o exotic! Mo had fun! Some friends from our 'playgroup' (if you call it that!) were there, too, so it was cool to see them. I also stayed longer than usual, which I think counts as fearless because you never know what kind of mood you'll get when you go off the routine! But lunch was great and we had no nap problems. We're looking forward to the zoo tomorrow! Hope you have a good weekend...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Goals update

Foster care training - 3 out of 10 classes done, first interview tonight
Losing weight - um, not yet
Booth in the kitchen - might have a guy coming soon!
Potty training - he goes at night before going to bed, but otherwise, we've not done much about that
Christmas letter - we're all excited b/c we think we've figured out the video thing...stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weekend News Update

We had a lot of fun this weekend! We started the day at Saturplay, which is like open gym for families with 2-3 yr olds. Moses was awed by all the stuff they had at the Early Learning Center and we were wondering if he would be a little scared by all the kids and noise. When the teacher called everyone to sit in a circle so she could go over the rules, he ran right over and found a spot to sit! We were like, "Where'd he go?" and just grinned when we saw him with all the other kids. It's like he's trying to tell us he's ready for school! *SNIFF* But that's cool to see!
Then it was on to Lakeland College. We had a family photo taken at the Family weekend...
...That's Beatrice from Malawi, Africa. Our other "adopted" daughter, Minhee, was working. We'll have to add another photo of her later. We decorated foam fingers together, ate lunch and saw the first half of the football game. Beatrice was happy to go to the game because they had just taught them about it in the Transitions to America class. The players came and showed them the pads and equipment, tried to teach them the rules and warned them about the noise! I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that one...
Well, yesterday was Monday and I didn't make much. I started a crochet project. I have been wanting to buy a wrap or a shawl, because I get so cold in church! Instead I decided to use my resources and save my money. Or as Dave reminds me, our money! Sorry if this project sounds boring...I'll keep you posted anyway. I'm using black because I already have a ton of it. I found a pattern online for 'easiest shawl ever'. We'll see about that!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Fun

We're going to the ARTery today at the JMKAC! They have all these craft projects you can do and it's all free! Mo would much rather use someone else's stuff anyway. This quarter you can put pompons on a mannequin, use wire and buttons to make a sculpture, paint, color, play w/a huge bubble maker, etc. They have this cardboard house (much nicer than you could make at home!) w/beanbags and books. Last time we had so much fun and were the only people in there! I have called a bunch of other parents to invite them so we will see who all comes. If we do anything cool, I'll be sure to report back...tomorrow we're going to Family Weekend at Lakeland w/our 'adopted' family of Beatrice from Malawi and Minhee from Korea. It will be fun to share that w/them =)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


Yeah, ignore the date...we really did take these pictures today! Besides, Mo wasn't even born in January of '05!!

So-o-o Tired!

Well, I have decided to workout on Wednesdays...I rarely work out unless you count running from my car to the mall while carrying a 25 lb kid! Which I don't, and since I've been trying to spend less, I am trying to go to the mall less. Anyway - today I did a few things that I consider to be a workout. On Weds, the leaf-sucker truck comes by, so I thought I was doing great in bundling Moses up and getting outside to rake the leaves. As soon as I stepped off the back stoop, I hear this huge truck...DOH! Missed it. But we raked leaves and needles anyway. Then I power-walked with Mo in the wagon (not heavy) to the grocery store, which is about 7 blocks away. I also tried to power-walk home with Mo and $40 worth of groceries in the wagon (pretty heavy!). After ditching the wagon and getting Mo's piggy bank, we power-walked to the bank, which is about 3 blocks away. Our walk home was much nicer since it's downhill! But yeah, now I am so-o-o tired! Oh well, it felt good! What do you do to workout?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our first post!

...and I can't think of anything profound to say. So I will just introduce you to Make It Mondays. I am challenging myself to make something every Monday. That could mean food (I am still learning to cook), something crafty (I'm learning to sew) or something useful (like a blog, to share family news). Today I made a big batch of burritos to eat and freeze. I guess you could say that I made a mess too, using a bunch of pots and pans for the burritos! Coming soon - Workout Wednesdays!