Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter Morning

My Mom's favorite holiday was always
Easter. I can remember when I was really little
asking her, "Mommy, what's your favorite
I was a kid, so you can guess Christmas was my favorite, I was
sure it was hers.
It wasn't, she told me that Easter had always been
her favorite.  She loved the week between Palm Sunday and
Easter Sunday, she referred to it as Holy Week.
She loved the rebirth of her
faith that happened every year.
Growing up, Easter was done big in our house.
One year she made hot cross buns, another year
she used bread dough to make little bunny rabbits.
She used pressed sugar to
make my brother and me panoramic eggs.
Every year she sewed me an Easter dress.
She made sure that we decorated eggs, enjoyed
the Easter bunny, but still learned what Easter
was all about.
Every year, she and Dad would dress us up,
and take us to a Sunrise Service. One year, we
didn't have a sunrise service to go to, so my parents
dressed us up and took us to the back yard, so that we could learn
what it must have been like that first Easter morning.
Easter was the first holiday that my parents
met our older children.  It was the first holiday
that my Mom made clothes for them.
Easter was when my younger boys' mother decided
to sign over her parental rights so that we could adopt them.
Easter was also the last holiday that I celebrated
with my Mom.
Although Easter is so much different without her,
here is what she's left me:
The desire to allow my kids to make memories that
involve Easter baskets, egg hunts, and church services;
 a true love of the holiday
of Easter and what it means for our faith.
 Mostly, she has left me with a life time
of memories of Easters that I shared with her
both as an adult and as a child.
Memories of new dresses, sunrises, hot crossed
buns.  Memories of
chocolate bunnies, colored eggs,
cakes baked just for the day,
Memories of the joy she had stitching up clothes for our
four kids, and the thrill of seeing Easter as a grandmother.
Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, the empty tomb,
the promise that one day, I will hug my Mom again, and
I will tell her how very much I've missed her.

Friday, April 6, 2012

February and March in Pictures (or where has the time gone?!)

I have come to realize that this
poor blog has been sorely neglected.
Neglected because we have been so busy, 
just living.
During the past few months
our lives have been packed with all sorts of fun!
P. celebrated his seventh birthday!
I can't believe he's seven already!
Baby J. turned five, and I'm sad to say, he
really isn't a baby any more!
We have spent our days relaxing and reading
We've enjoyed spending our time
finding our groove with home schooling. That perfect fit
between too much and too little.
Baby J. has spent time learning how to cook.
Last week he made us all brownies for dessert.
During these past few months,
we've just enjoyed
the time that we have together
as a family.  
As I watch my children grow and change,
I am reminded each and every day how
short their childhood is, how blessed I am to be there mother, 
and how soon these days will just be
Sometimes, I wish I could just stop time
and make these days last forever.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our Month in Millions of Pictures

During this past month, I managed to break both
my camera and my computer.
Our poor blog has been very neglected.
Finally, I've replaced both a camera and a laptop.
Electronics, who knew they would break when they were dropped (a lot)?!
So, here is our month, in millions of pictures.  During the month
of December, we spent a lot of time making
memories, having fun, and treasuring our
We made holiday cards for the troops to thank them
for their service to our country.
We enjoyed family movie night, making paper chains,
making millions of Christmas presents for our friends
and family. 
We made gingerbread men,
saw the lights on the lake (a yearly family
and enjoyed the family sleep over.
Not a lot of sleeping was done that night, but
boy did we all have fun!!
The kids sang in our church's Christmas program.
This is the ONLY picture I was able to get of
them all dressed up.  It is REALLY hard to get
four kids to look at the camera and smile.
Notice how Doodles looks like
she'd rather be anywhere but having her picture taken, and
Baby J. is looking at something more exciting to the side of us.
During the month of December, we slowed down.
We enjoyed our family, our
extended family, our friends, 
our time together.
We took a break from school. Jon took time off from work.
We spent time just enjoying every second
of every day.
We spent time celebrating Christ's birth.
We spent time enjoying our children.
We spent time marveling at the gift of the time we have been given.
December was a magical, happy, memorable month for us.
I hope that it is a time that our kids will look back on with smiles
and fondness as they grow older. I hope
that the traditions that we shared together will be
traditions that they will one day share with their own families.
Mostly, during the month of December, we
were thankful.
We were thankful for each other, for the miracle that
is the family God made for us.
A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
from our family to yours.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I hate Christmas. Isn't that awful? Don't I sound
like a total scrooge?  So, let me rephrase that,
I hate what Christmas has become.
Like every good mother, or elderly person, I have spent the time
leading up to Christmas reminiscing about Christmases  past.
When I started seeing Christmas merchandise in the stores with the Halloween stuff, 
all before the month of October, I would mumble, "I hate Christmas." and 
then proceed to tell my kids about "The good ole' days", when
Christmas stuff didn't come out until
after Thanksgiving. That's right,
AFTER Thanksgiving.
Wow, I'm old.
I hate that I turn on the television and every commercial
talks about spending money, buying toys, gadgets, or cars.
I hate that the underlying message is the more you spend the happier you'll be.
If you buy enough, your family will have the perfect Christmas.
That's simply not true. I mean, sure, they'll be thrilled that morning, at that
moment, but I guarantee you that soon they'll want more, and
before you know it, Christmas will become nothing
more than a binge of consumerism.
Thus the reason I hate Christmas.  Money and things
will NEVER make you happy. Never.
One thing I love about being a mother is the fact that my children
absorb my values. That's a lot of power and a lot of pressure.
What I say, they say, what I think they think.  It's important
to me that they are absorbing the right things.
If I talk about everything that I want for Christmas, how will they
see the holiday?  If I talk about the newest gadget, greatest toy, biggest gift, what will
their values become?
Every year, Jon and I work to teach our kids that things are just
things. Money is only worth what you can do with it, and giving to others
is by far the best thing you can do.  We also work very hard
to create an atmosphere in our house that limits consumerism.
We celebrate the holidays by making gifts for the people that
we love. We spend our time doing things together
as a family.  Doing things together, sharing time
together, and giving to others are truly what makes special
Christmas memories.
For us, Christmas doesn't involve
 running out to buy the latest and greatest anything, because in a day, week, month,
something better will step in and take it's place.
This year, we've made our very own advent calendar.
The kids decorated paper gingerbread men, that we
strung on a garland, and hung on our front window.
Each gingerbread man has an activity that we'll do together, as
 a family, as we count down to Christmas.
The activities are simple, but fun. They're meaningful for the kids, for us,
and they help us all remember what Christmas really is.
Christmas isn't about all the gifts that we can get. It's not about buying something for
someone and then buying yourself the exact same thing, because hey, 
you deserve it. Christmas is about remembering that
one night, God sent His Son, for me, for you, for us.
He sent us the greatest gift we could ever hope for.
He sent us love, unconditional love. So this holiday season,
our family will be giving others love, lots and lots of love.
If you should receive a sweet handmade gift from one of my children,
it's not because we're cheap, or lazy, it's because we have
chosen to make Christmas about giving, really giving, 
from our hearts.
I hope that you too will enjoy this advent time,
and that this year the Christmas season will become a time of showing those
you love how important they really are to you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Getting Ready For Christmas (Where did November go?)

I spent all of November away from my blog, because I 
 spent the month writing 
a novel. My brother  talked me into participating
in National Novel Writing Month.  I have to say, it was a lot of fun.
I was thrilled not just to write, but to achieve my goal.
Now, the Christmas season is already upon us. I still can't
believe it's December.
The weekend after Thanksgiving, we made
our annual trip to a local tree farm.
It seemed incredibly strange to be hiking through mud
 instead of snow. The day that we went, the temperatures were
in the 60's!
It was the first time EVER that we've gotten our tree
without hats, mittens, gloves, boots, and complaints about
the cold. P. was THRILLED to be the one that
found our tree. Here it is, still in the field.
Baby J. and The Big K. got tired of waiting for the tree
to be chopped down, so they decided to do
some sword fighting. Ah, boys.
After chopping down the tree, it was time
for our tree decorating party. In our
family, everything is a party.  Like all good parties
we had sweets and eggnog!
The kids look forward to chopping and decorating our tree every year.
It's fun to see the older two kids sharing our traditions with the 
younger two.
Celebrating Christmas with the kids is always so much fun!
I hope that the traditions that we share as a family will
be happy memories that all four of them will have
as they grow up and have families of their own.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just Like Daddy

Baby J. is the only one of our children that
we had as an infant. When he was about eight or
nine months old, he'd get really excited
whenever Jon came into the room.
He'd squeal, bounce up and down, crawl himself
over to wherever Jon was.
Recently, Baby J. took a trip to the toy store to spend
some birthday money.  He walked with Jon through the aisles, 
saw all sorts of toys.  He didn't get too excited
about his choices until he saw a lawn mower.
With glee, he declared "Just like Daddy's."
The lawn mower was the only toy he wanted.
He couldn't be talked into anything else.
Proudly he came home with his new mower, and
then he begged Jon to mow the lawn, so he could help.
Yet another reason I love my husband, Jon took the time
to let Baby J. "help" him mow the lawn.
Needless to say, we have one very thrilled
four year old who LOVES to mow the lawn
"Just like Daddy."

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Men In My Life

We live in  an era where there are advertisements that
encourage men to be "fathers".
Where women grew up being told,
"It's okay. Your child doesn't need a father. You
can do anything. You can be both parents."
I have many friends who are single mothers, whether by choice or not.
It's a job I could NEVER do. It's hard work to be a parent.  I can't even
begin to imagine doing it alone.
All four of my children were born to single mothers.
When they were removed from their single mother birth homes,
they were placed into single mother foster homes.
None of my children had "fathers".
A few weeks ago, Jon thought it would be great fun to go hiking.
I of course agreed.  Together, we hiked a mountain.
I watched as my husband easily lifted our children onto rocks
they couldn't reach.
I listened as he encouraged them to climb.
I watched him, with our three sons, as they took in the view from the
top of the mountain. I couldn't help but think how
fortunate my children are. Not just that the Lord brought them
to a permanent, loving, stable family, but that He saw
fit to give them a father. A man who loves them more
than he loves himself.  A man who does all the things
Dads do with their kids.  A man, who every day, makes the choice to
be their father.