Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Some things I want to remember:

  • Doing the first 'homework' w/my kindergartener, Colleen.  She still switches hands when writing, which is probably common for a kid like her.  I stole an idea from the therapist or teachers, or maybe both.  I used highlighter to write the words and she traced over them.  It was interesting for me to see when/why she switches hands!  Her name is like a mirror image of itself!  I wonder if that is a sign of I'm not worried, I just wonder....I do not wonder about her teachers, therapists and anyone that works w/her at school!  They must be very patient, compassionate and patient.  Yes, I said patient twice.  I am grateful for them all!  
  • We made energy bites.  It was fun to watch Moses fill and dump measuring cups of ingredients.  PB was kind of tricky, so we discussed what to do when you don't know what to do!  =)  He was given a leadership role today and needed to apologize to his sisters for leading them down a path of poor choices.  It was nothing serious, but he thrives on leading them and lately we've been giving him more responsibility.  What is that quote?  With great power comes great responsibility?  According to wikipedia, most people think that it's from a Spiderman comic.  But apparently, Voltaire said something similar first, only in French.  (I like learning stuff, even if it may not be true!)  The wikipedia entry also references the Bible - The sentiment is also found in Luke 12:48: "from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (NIV).  I think I like that better anyway...
  • I washed the stove.  The hot water felt good, but I kept thinking about my crazy dry hands!  
  • I am resisting the urge to run out and buy all sorts of discounted/clearanced stuff - obviously most of it would be Christmas stuff....a few years ago I would have scrambled!!  I have slowly been trying to break my (self-diagnosed) addiction to shopping of any kind, but mostly the discounted-junk-I-don't-even-need kind.  Since we have 4 kids in the house, I allow myself to be slightly addicted to the food-on-sale kind of shopping addiction - it's getting harder since I have been working on eliminating junk-that's-not-good-for-our-bodies/you-can't-even-call-it-food!  Not too many sales or clearances there, but we've been realizing that good real food tastes so much better.
  • I am thinking about a goals update and a lessons learned in 2012 post.  I want to write more but housework is not getting done!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

(Once again, we are not sending Christmas cards out in the traditional way - see the end of this post for more on that...We hope you enjoy this online version! If you regularly read my blog, some of these stories will sound familiar...)

Definition of ABIDE
transitive verb
1: to wait for : await
2a : to endure without yielding : withstand
b : to bear patiently : tolerate abide
such hatred
3: to accept without objection abide
your decision
intransitive verb
1: to remain stable or fixed in a state
2: to continue in a place : sojourn
— abid·er noun
— abide by
1: to conform to, abide by the rules
2: to acquiesce in abide by
your decision

Examples of ABIDE
abide in the house of the Lord
a love that abided till the end of their lives

Synonyms: stay, dwell, hang around, remain, stick around, tarry

 ****(I promise, this is our Christmas letter for 2012, 
not just a vocab lesson!  Keep reading…)****

       As I read through the letters of Christmas past (you can find the last 4 years on the blog – 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), I was struck by the fullness of each year.  Like I always do, I scrolled through the photos from this past year to help compile a list of all that we have done.  To my surprise, the list was pretty short in comparison to years past!  I looked over our calendar, tried to think of any major life changing events that I might not have photographed, re-read past Christmas letters…but in the end I was a little sad to realize not much has happened in 2012.  Then I remembered that in some cases, that was a good thing!  No major heartbreaks, no major losses, no health issues…praise God!  As you may know, I enjoy writing special creative Christmas letters and at that point I realized I had little inspiration as to how or what to write!  No news is good news, but apparently not if you pride yourself on your mad Christmas letter writing skills.  I scoured pinterest, googled stuff and kept Dave awake with my questions, self-doubt and tossing and turning.  (Well, not really, that man can insert appropriate-enough responses into my monologues so well that I believe he’s listening!  How one can snore for 2 minutes, answer me in 30 seconds and go right back to snoring, I will never know…!)  Finally, I decided to chuck all of the amateur looking infographics and cheesy photo collages and just pray about the whole thing.  (Seriously, why didn’t I just do that in the first place?!)  Over the next few days I began to realize that this past year we have been holding steady in a lot of ways.  Have you heard the saying, “Keep on, keepin' on?”  Well that’s us.  As always, I wanted a better word to describe that state we’ve been in and I went to my thesaurus.  (The online one – I do still have and use the ‘real’ one but when there is a baby running around it’s easier to use the laptop than holing up in a stack of books.)  The word ABIDE jumped off the screen and I didn’t need to look any further.  We’ve been abiding…each month of the past year has found us enjoying the little things in our daily lives…

January – We celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Colleen’s adoption and her dedication to the Lord on the same day.  Later in the month, Dave and I completed a massive 2000 piece puzzle! 
February – We introduced 3 new chicks to Pippa and Lois and finally got some snow for sledding!  Two of my cousins were so kind to come and make cut out cookies with the kids – they loved making different colored frosting and of course, eating them =)
March – I was in a church drama, the chicks grew into pullets and I got a little better at doing Curly Sue’s (and consequently Colleen’s) hair.  I played Tamar in the drama and was able say I achieved one of my goals for the year!  I also started kicking my butt in gear and going running, which means I can check off another one of my goals.
After a big storm, on the Gulf of Mexico in TX
Spring Break – We were in Texas again, for the second year in a row!  This time we checked out the beach in Galveston and visited the Space Center in Houston.  It’s looking like prices are really cheap again this year, but we might change it up and go somewhere else, assuming we can find decent prices. 
April – Moses began to ride a 2 wheeler (he flies now!), the tree fort was completed and the garden boxes were set up in the front yard.  (Grow food, not lawns!)  During the spring months I took entirely too many photos of everything budding and blooming, but what can I say?  When we moved into this house and the years following that, I planted so many of my favorite things!!  Sadly, though, I think I need to replant some tulips.  The 80 or so bulbs I started with have slowly been disappearing to the squirrels, yard improvement projects and probably just age.   Who wants to come help me plant this spring?
May – We were enjoying the spring sun and the end of the school year programs.  We attended our county’s celebration of foster families, put in some new windows, went for hikes and stopped at a covered bridge to take some silly photos!
Moses with the Lakeland College head football coach
June – We celebrated the first of 4 summer birthdays and traveled locally.  One of the bittersweet times we had this month was when my uncle passed away. These are the moments we feel sad, but blessed to be able to celebrate a life lived well with the rest of the family.  We delivered some roosters to a friend (yeah...maybe we should get sexed chicks next time!), hit a bunch of semi-local parks (including Bay Beach!), and Mo went to Lakeland College’s football camp.  It was both fun and nerve-wracking for this momma to see her sweet boy out there running drills and using his brain to outsmart some tackles.  He loved it and since it was one of the hottest weeks of the year, he also loved the free popsicles too!  Dave and I also celebrated our anniversary by staying in a B&B - special thanks to his Mom for babysitting!  
Me + You = 4EVER
July – There was an awesome triple birthday party (Curly Sue, Colleen and Dewey) and more local travel.  It was a another hot day for the birthday party so I was able to try out something I saw on pinterest.  Dave helped me freeze ‘treasures’ in blocks of ice and the kids worked on chipping them out!  It kept them busy and cooled them off =)  It was also a hoot seeing them strategize how to get the dollar store toys out…We continued to watch the garden grow and hang out in nature – up north, in Madison and Milwaukee.
August – This month contained quite possibly the biggest events of the year – Colleen was a patient at Children’s Hospital for 2 weeks.  I stayed with her while she was undergoing intense feeding therapy.  (There’s a few blog posts on that…)  We got a pass to get out of the hospital for the State Fair and to go to the zoo as a family.  We also had a backyard bash for Moses’ birthday – Army style!   We painted our faces, did a little boot camp workout, an obstacle course, tossed balloon grenades from the fort and of course deconstructed a cake with Army tanks and men on it. Our church celebrated local heroes/civil servants by hosting them, all their vehicles, and equipment.  Flight for Life even came! 
Goodbye kindergarten - movin' on to 1st grade!
September – This Momma saw one sweet boy off to his first day of 1st grade, as well as 2 pretty little ladies off to their first day of kindergarten!  It was such a blessing that Grandma could come and hang out with Dewey while I took photos at school.  Not only that, but Daddy even got to join us.  It was a pretty special morning…
1st day of kindergarten!!
October – We went to a pumpkin farm and watched the lake as the effects of the storm Sandy could be seen even here in WI.  The weather was still nice so we got out into the boat a few times.  We also went to Denver for Fall Break.  We enjoyed God’s creation at Garden of the Gods, a random park when it started snowing, Pikes’ Peak, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, and from the outdoor hot tub!
Pikes Peak, CO after the cog railway train ride to the top
November – We voted and boated!! In fact, Thanksgiving day was a beautiful 60* day – I hung wash, let the chickens out, saw a bald eagle and Dave went boating for his birthday!  The Sunday after Thanksgiving found us hiking by the lake.  It was a brisk, foggy day but we enjoyed moving around and seeing God's creation without her usual covering of snow this late in the year!
December – The kids’ school hosted a family dance party - it was so much fun!!  We also enjoyed school and church Christmas programs.   We fed the chickens some leftover pumpkins and ate kale out of the garden.  See, even the weather has been pretty much staying the same this year!
On the cordwalk at Kohler Andrae State Park
       Family, friends and random strangers reading – make no mistake.  The absence of big exciting events in our year doesn’t mean it was a bad one.  As you can tell – I started this post by saying not much happened and then I still wrote about a lot of good stuff!  I think one of the reasons I liked the word abide for our year was because it reminds me of a Bible verse…
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  
John 15:5  (KJV)
(Yes, I used the King James Version – don’t fret, it won’t hurt you.  Besides, you can feel free to pick up your own version of the Bible and read the same verse.  Better yet, I encourage you to read the whole chapter!  It’s that good!)  Apart from Our Heavenly Father, we can do nothing.  All glory, honor and thanksgiving goes to Him, for He sent a savior to walk on the Earth as one of us.  So whether we have a year jam-packed with action or a quiet one keepin’ on, we abide in Him and He in us. 
Merry Christmas and God bless you! 
Love from our family to yours!
Many thanks to my friend Hyori for taking our family pictures!
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 year (again!)'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 eventually, 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!
7) It went so well the past years...we heard a lot of positive responses, and even some people who said they'd try it themselves. Welcome to the dark (green) side! (Sorry that was a goofy Star Wars joke...)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DPP Day 16

This is one of the days of the year that I think my heart will burst with joy! Suit, Christmas tie, church, singing the songs we practiced a bunch - in Swahili!, seeing a crowd of those sweet faces looking for their families...after trying to process what happened in CT, I needed this. Merry Christmas - here's to celebrating the season, giving glory to God even in times of sorrow or pain. Nothing can take away the Gift of Jesus our Savior! Hallelujah!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DPP Day 15

It doesn't have to be a rainy Saturday for him to enjoy his favorite activity...but it helps!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lucky you, lucky me!

Yes, I am posting again today...celebrating my kids who make me smile.
At dinner, we were talking about how kids grow so fast.  I specifically said that sometimes I look at Mo, turn away and when I glance back I feel like he grew noticeably in the seconds I wasn't looking. He replied, "Yeah, Mom, like with each passing moment..." and he lifted his hand higher and higher.  I gulped big and smiled.  "Yep.  With each passing moment..."  He's going to work for Hallmark at some point =)  I certainly could not have said it better myself.
Later Dave was asking if the kids knew who the Packers are going to play this weekend.  He was going to give them hints, but before he could, Colleen asked, "Germany?" and we all groaned and laughed.  As soon as that died down, she said, "I know!  The Packers are going to play BINGO!"  That was one of those moments where if I were to write the story out, like I am, I'd say I laughed like this - BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA puffing up my cheeks a little at the beginning!  That girl is so silly and smart!
Curly Sue was a cheerleader/Barbie for Halloween and still has the pompons in her room.  Frequently she will jump around making up cheers.  For the month of December, we asked the teachers to keep an eye out for any of the kids going out of their way to do acts of service.  Each time they are 'caught', we put a quarter in the 'shepherd's bag' w/their name on it.  At Christmas they get to combine their $ and pick a gift out from the World Vision catalog - you know, a goat for a family to sell milk and earn some income, some chickens to sell eggs or eat, mosquito nets, Bibles, clean water, etc...Well, Curly Sue's teacher told me that she wasn't sure if it would count, but she wanted to tell me what our girl was up to...apparently she was using her zip up sweatshirt outstretched like wings.  She was dancing around, telling kids she was an angel, Christmas was coming and that meant baby Jesus.  She was saying that they should celebrate and honor him and that they should have joy!  (Or something along those lines...I was trying to keep an eye on a few other kids at the time, but that's the gist of it...)  The teacher said she thought it should count - she was sharing the Good News!  That's awesome!
At some point, this little bundle of boy energy named Dewey is going to be gone from my house...but until then, I am loving hearing him learn how to talk.  Just the other day he walked in to the room and asked, "Whayoudooo-eeeen?"  He wakes up from his nap and immediately asks for the others - "Mo?  Eeeen?  Lee Ooh?"  When no one answers, he woot-woots (our families way of finding each other in a crowd) and when they don't answer again, he tells me, "Le's go.  Ride.  Butts.  (bus)  Ool."  If I don't get the message, he tells me what we need to get and pass on the way.  Jacket, shoes, boat, train...ool.  I think my favorite though has got to be anytime we go to a store that has a huge aisle of decorated Christmas trees, or down a road w/lots of decorated houses.  "OOOOK!  Mom, Momma, MommEEEE!  OOOOHHH!!  IGHTS!!!  IGHTS!!!  OOOOK!!"  His whole body wiggles and feet stomp and head waggles and he just keeps going until he is satisfied that everyone in a large radius pays attention to the eye candy that is around us!  It's a lot of fun...

I am one blessed mom.

DPP Day 14

When I don't know what else to do, I pray and read...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DPP Day 13

+ A stiff breeze
+ Temps above 40*

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DPP Day 12

Please ignore the messy kitchen! It is so very rare I do anything cooking like this....but YAY for Aaron Rodgers Day! (Rockin' the T from my cousin!). And YAY for the hot pepper apron I picked out to motivate me to bake/cook probably 15 years ago! (Quite possibly the cleanest thing in the house...). My kids were CHEERING at the idea of homemade pizza! Can't wait to eat it together!

DPP Day 10 and 11

Yep - it's December and I still have kale!  I wonder if a hoop house would do anything for them at this point...still figuring out of I can buy some at a place nearby.  Lord knows I don't have time to make any!

Wearing a Christmas tie to school, just like Dad!  They make my heart melt =)  When I see this pic, I can't even believe he is that big, missing teeth and doing multiplication w/me.  But!  He is!  And I love it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DPP Day 9

Sunday, at 'the other church'...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

DPP Day 7

Two tired best friends who finally solidified their Christmas travel plans.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

DPP Day 6

Notice anything missing???? Times 2!!!! One fell out during the night and Daddy helped the other one a bit. :). What a sweet wake up call! Oh and my boys are so silly! I love them!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DPP Day 5

Hoping someone likes the special gift we ordered!

Monday, December 3, 2012

DPP 2012

I have decided to participate in the December Photo Project (yes, I know it's already Dec 3!).  I know me and I know I will not post everyday, but I will try =)  Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 are all included in this post...

Music time!  As I type this, there are 5 instruments behind the couch I am sitting on.  Next to the couch is a crate full of kid instruments too.  It's rare that we bust out the 2 you see in this picture, but when we can bet the neighborhood dogs are all ears!  Would it be weird if we gave an accordion/flute Christmas concert?  No, seriously...would it?


We went hiking!!  It was so good to be outside, even if it was foggy.  And you know it's not a day enjoying nature w/me if you don't find some FUNgus =)

We made our way to the beach to find some sun peeking through.

A very happy day, courtesy of Grandpa/my Dad.  The kids were so excited!  Dewey danced and kept squealing about 'freh fies'!  Maybe you won't believe me, but Colleen ate EVERY.SINGLE.BITE of her meal w/the exception of 2 apple slices!  I'd say it was a happy meal, indeed!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I should have taken 2 plates.

I didn't finish the 30 days of thankfulness this year...I know.  I rarely finish things, much less finish them well!  I have a few half written attempts to catch up but I have decided to give myself permission to leave it the way it is.  There are too many other things to talk about.  Do you know how you go through the line at Thanksgiving, especially if you are planning to share some of your food w/the baby, and you find your plate rather full?  So you think you should have just gotten a second, separate plate?  And where are you going to put all the tasty desserts??  This time of year I think I do that w/life.  I just keep adding to the plate...but as I get older, I am more aware of this and I am trying to fix that.  I like to remind myself of my goals as a way to stay on track.  This is an informal goal update, for myself mostly.  I hope to write up a detailed one before the end of the year...
I was doing well getting to bed on time - not so much over the past month or so.  Need to get back to that.  I did really well on my Hello Mornings Challenge this time!!  Can't wait for the next one.  Exercising went well until it got cold.  I could have gone to the Y but didn't, although I just signed up for classes 3x a week starting in January.  Eliminating packaging?  Enh.  Dave said he's on board a lot more (we watched the movie Bag It) which should help for the future.  I am helping organize a women's ministry conference - so much fun!  Well, I should say that it is fun b/c I am enjoying watching it all come together and how God works through so many different people and uses their many talents.  Monday will be the first practice for a play I am going to be in!  One of the pastors at church starting talking about this community project earlier this year and I didn't think it would actually happen.  Not that I didn't believe him, mind you, but I thought all along that it sounded a little too good to be true.  I waited until the last minute to make a decision about being a part of it.  If I gave it too much thought, I would have talked myself out of it!!  What else?  Drinking water?  Yeah, I don't know if I ever get better at that...!  That's all I can think of right now.  Lately I have been working on our online Christmas card and getting outside to enjoy the mild weather.  I have been letting the chickens out a bunch and walking around w/them to see what plants think it's spring!  There's still kale and Brussels sprouts in the garden...I think it's only good for feeding to the chickens at this point though - we had a few hard frosts and they look droopy.
Well, we are about to go for a walk by the lake today!  I was hoping to write more but it will have to wait =)