A letter for my boys

Dear Roman, Judah, and Silas,
I should have been writing more over the last month and a half.  I should have been writing more about how crazy awesome you guys are and how much I love being your mama. 

Roman, I should have been writing about how much you love to draw.  Every day for your schoolwork you read a story and then you draw a picture and write your own story.  Over the last couple of weeks the drawings have gotten more and more detailed and it is so much fun to watch your little mind coming up with all of these wild images.  Yesterday the story in your book was about a dad grilling meat for his kids.  So your story started with a grill and then you drew a whole kitchen followed by other rooms in your house.  You drew yourself in (as an adult) and added all the things you wanted to have in your house when you grow up.  Including five guitars.  Somehow you also included you and Dad fighting dragons in the picture.  I'm not sure how your brain moved from grill to dragon, but it makes me smile thinking about it.  It's still hard to get you to want to write your own words to go with your pictures.  I can usually get you to write 2-3 sentences (and then you want to dictate and have me do all the "work" of penmanship) but your handwriting and spelling is really good for a five year old. 

This is another one of your masterpieces that I love. 

This is the conversation we had about it:
R:  "It's the pool!  This is Tony blasting me off!"
Me:  "Wow!  Awesome!  Tell me about what you drew here on your chest and on Uncle Tony's chest"
R:  "Well, these are my nipples, and this is my belly button".
Me:  "I see.  And what about this?"  (In regards to the squiggly line between nipples and belly button)
R:  "That's my hairy". 

I should have been writing about all your funny dreams.  The other day you came into our room at 5:30 in the morning and said "Mom!  I had a dream I held a baby shark!"  You were so excited about it that I couldn't even be grumpy about the 5:30 part.

I should have been writing about the way you cried during a movie for the first time.  Homeward Bound.  The boy gets a puppy for Christmas and doesn't want it, so they leave him in a box on the side of the road in the rain.  You were so upset because "they should have loved him".  You made me promise that we would never leave Charlie on the side of the road.  I promise. 

I should have been writing about the way you wear a costume all the time.  I mean, even to Bible study and the grocery store.  Currently, your favorites are a Jedi or Captain America. 

You with your brothers on Halloween  (although this might as
well have been any day of the year because you wear costumes
every day.) 
Roman, a Jedi
Judah, Superman
Silas, a polar bear

I should have been writing about how you love to reenact movie scenes.  You love Night at the Museum and so you'll often dress as the cowboy, Jedidiah, and say "I'll shoot you in your dang eye!  In your daggum eye!"  I'm sure that sounds terrible, but it's just so funny how much you sound like him.

I should have been writing about how you love to accessorize with anything that makes you feel like a big kid.  Belts, watches, gloves, wallets, etc.  You hide them under your bed when you find them so the little boys won't mess with them.

I should have been writing about how you have lost two teeth now!  We have never found either of them.  I noticed one day during breakfast that you were missing one.  The second one you lost when we were in Virginia.  We went into the bathroom and you looked in the mirror and said "Hey, I lost another tooth!"   I'm not sure how one can have so little self awareness, but I'm glad that losing teeth hasn't been traumatizing.  You are always so excited to see what surprises the tooth fairy will leave you.

I should have been writing about how pumped you are for Christmas.  You wrote a letter to Santa the other day:
It says:
Dear Santa,
Will you give me a Christmas presents?  We are going to South Carolina.  Will you please come to our house late?  Roman
(You told me that by "late" you meant "late tonight".  You were very excited to see that Santa did bring you presents the next morning.)

Roman, your dad says the only word to describe you is "vibrant".  I would say that's about right.  Your enthusiasm for life is such a blessing to witness on a daily basis.  You make everything so much fun. 

I should have been writing about what a lovebug you are!  You love hard.  Your big hugs can quickly turn to wrestling.  You will often come running into me for a hug and say "I love you so much".  Totally makes my day.

I should have been writing about the way you dive in to every project.  The picture on the left was when we decorated ice cream cones with green frosting to make them look like Christmas trees.  You never decorated a tree.  You made yourself a green Santa beard and ate frosting with a spoon.  Same deal when we paint.  You put some paint on a brush, run it across the paper a few times and then cover your arms and legs in paint.  You roll around in the dirt and do somersaults in the mud.  You enjoy every minute of life, no hesitations, and although you're constantly a mess, I love that about you. 

I should have been writing about how you ask me for "crazy hair" every day.  Meaning you want me to give you a fauxhawk.

I should have been writing about your obsession with clothes.  You change your outfit about 30 times a day.  Your current favorite is a swim suit.  It's 31 degrees outside. 

working on some Christmas crafts, in your swimsuit.
 I should have been writing about all the adorable things you say the wrong way. 
"cordurboy" instead of "corduroy"
"whatcher got there" anytime you're curious about what someone else is holding
"I'm so proud of you!" when you want me to say that to you.  :)
"meed" instead of "need".  My fave:  "Mommy, I meed to cuddle".

I should have been writing about how incredibly excited you are to go to South Carolina for Christmas.  The other day I said, "Judah, you need to put your shoes on so we can go to the store."
Your response?  "Wanna go to South Carolina".
Every I ask you to get your coat on to go to a playdate you say "I'm ready to go to South Carolina!"

You are starting to understand time but not enough to understand what you are actually saying.  So, when you want to see someone you'll say "Mary.  See her in two weeks". 

Judah, although you are able to speak, you are a man of few words.  It's so funny what you choose to say and when.  It's often totally unexpected which makes it even better.

I should have been writing about the way that you steal food from the cupboards and refrigerator every half hour but will not sit down to eat at meal times. 

I should have been writing about the way that you are a carbon copy of your daddy when he was your age.  I mean, absolutely identical.

I should have been writing about the way you love your dog.  You call him what you hear other people call him...so "Charlie pup", "char char" or "charlie babe".  You often hug him and say "So cute."

I should have been writing about the "snarly face" you have recently discovered. 

I should have been writing about your sweet dance moves.  They are really something.  As with everything in life, you have zero inhibitions, so you just let loose with your entire body.  So.so.funny. 

Judah, your dad says the only word to describe you is "terrorist".  And we do mean that in the most endearing way possible.  You are so, so charming.  But it is a bit deceiving because no one expects your wild side.  You keep us on our toes and we will have SO many hilariously embarrassing stories to tell your friends when you're a teenager.  Judah, you bring us so much joy and laughter.  Your smile is absolutely contagious.  We can't wait to see what God has planned for your life.

My adorable baby boy...I should have been writing about how incredibly sweet you are.  You are quite the talker these days.  You consistently say 6 and 7 word sentences.  You have such a loving nature about you.  You are always the first to thank me for a snack or for reading a book.  Well, except that you say "sank you".  My other favorite things you say:
"t'mere" for "come here"
"wanna tuddle" for "want to cuddle"
"want some Jesus" when we're in the communion line at Mass

I should have been writing about how you say "stop kissing" every time you catch daddy and me...you want us to stop because you want us to give you a sandwich kiss.  You love the love.

I should have been writing about what a thinker you are.  When you are in a new situation you like to take a few minutes to soak it all in.  You stand on the "sidelines" and just observe.  You watch what your brothers do and you slowly start to explore.  You aren't usually scared, just quietly thinking.

You copy whatever other people say, so when you hand something to one of your brothers you often say "here ya go, baby".  Makes me laugh every time.

I should have been writing about your wide variety of voices.  You use a very high pitched voice when you want to be charming.  And then sometimes you use this very growly voice when you want to sound tough.  Like when you say "I'm a Jedi".  Although you used the growly voice to say "Merry Christmas to everyone we passed at the grocery store yesterday.  I'm sure that wasn't at all disturbing to the sweet old ladies.

You also come up with a lot of your own ideas.  Your dad and I always talk about how impressive it is that you have considered something in your head and know what you want.  For example, you'll say "Grandma?  Wanna go see her.  Wanna play with".  Or you'll pick up some keys and you'll say "Get in the van.  Wanna go store". 

I should have been writing about how you love to read.  Current favorites:  Green Eggs and Ham, Baby Mickey's Nap, Harold and the Purple Crayon.  You like to have Roman read to you, too, which is really fun for me to watch. 

You always tell me when you think something was or will be fun.  I.e.  "Go see friends.  That would be so fun".  or when we get in the van after playing you tell me "that was so fun".

I should have been writing about how great you are at singing.  Current fave:  "How Great Thou Art".  And when I ask you to sing it, you say "No, you sing it!"

Silas, your dad says the only word to describe you is "rascal".  You are sweet but silly; wild but cuddly.  You are always making funny faces or grabbing someone around the legs for a hug.  We simply adore you.  You are so precious to us. 

I love you boys so much.  Don't forget.


The Stages of Parenting

We have had a rough couple of days around here.  There are many reasons for the struggling, but I have been thinking and praying so much about our children and our family ...and it has brought me back to this conclusion that I have mentioned many times before:  parenting is constant transition. 

There is always something new and different.  There are always new moments to savor.  It seems like, at the end of each day, I remember a funny or sweet moment I had with each child.  There is always fresh joy.  But we are always broken and sinful members of this family.  There is always a new challenge.  There is always some new behavior that needs to be addressed (in the kids or in me).  There is always a change to be made in the way that each child needs to be loved and disciplined. 

Some days it's just so...exhausting.  I am honored that I get to do it; that I get to be "in the thick of it" with my kids everyday, helping to form their little hearts.  But, as I mentioned, exhausting

So, as I have been doing all of this reflecting, I have come up with this:

The Stages of Parenting (by child's age)...

Expecting a Child:  "I Know Everything There is to Know About Parenting"
Maybe this actually starts when you decide that you'd, one day, like to have children.  Maybe it starts when you find out that you're pregnant or decide to adopt a baby.  I don't know.  But it becomes clear to you that you are a parenting genius.  Of course, you don't mention this out loud to anyone, but you know it.  You hear parents talking about their children and their maniacal, out of control behavior, and you actually smile inwardly.  You know exactly what you'd do in that situation.  You have basically already written the official parenting manual.  Before I had kids, one of my mom friends was telling me about her kids wreaking havoc on her house.  I thought to myself "Oh, your kid wrote on the wall?  Then put the markers, up.  I'm surprised this hasn't occurred to you yet."  Parenting Genius, I tell you.

Newborn-Age One:  "I Could Use a Nap, but Oh, the Bliss"
I mean, aside from the not sleeping and the constant feeding and, if you have biological children, the physical recovery from labor, this is when you realize that yes, you are in fact a parenting genius.  Sure you're still figuring out how to swaddle and what to pack in your diaper bag, but come on.  You have an adorable child, who also happens to be perfect.  They will obviously not be throwing tantrums like Suzie ScreamsALot that you saw at Target the other day.

Two Year Old:  "The Beginning of the End of Bliss"
Well, you still have the most adorable kid that ever lived, but he/she is starting to learn about pushing his/her limits.  You knew this was coming.  Everyone talks about the Terrible Twos and, some days, you think that it IS terrible.  But all-in-all, your child is just exercising independence for the first time, and it's neat to see their little brains trying to figure things out.  It's sure frustrating sometimes, though, and so maybe you start to consult some other "parenting experts".  You start to realize that maybe you don't have it all figured out.  Just a little help in a few areas and we'll be back on track.  And as soon as they can really talk, it will get so much easier.  That's what the experts say.

Three Year Old:  "What's Wrong with My Kid" AKA "I Know Nothing About Parenting", also sometimes called "What Did We Do Wrong?"
(If you do not yet have a child that has reached this stage, I'm so sorry to be the one to have to tell you this.)Well, your child just did that thing that you said they would never do.  And all your friends were watching.  Your method of discipline has failed and seriously, what now??  The markers that were "up" - well, there are these things called chairs and three year olds can climb.  While you were cleaning the "artwork" off your walls, the child found something else to destroy.  This is the time in your child's life where you don't go anywhere because it's too stressful and you have thoughts such as "It's better to let them watch another movie than it is to sell them...right?"  Oh my.  I have a dear friend, who happens to be a fantastic mom, who told me the other day "I HATE the age three".  I hear ya, sister.  Suzie ScreamsALot has nothing on my three year old.  The good news is four comes next.  Four is fun.

Preschool Age 4-5:  "Sweet Relief"
I'm not saying they are perfect by any means, but I love this age group.  It's like something clicks in their brain and they suddenly become normal little people.  There are challenges with every age and we will certainly have to continue working on obedience, respect, manners, and honesty, among other things, but now we can carry on rational conversations and, most of the time, the monstrous meltdowns are few and far between.

Now all these stages are very broad.  There are tons of little milestones and phases and struggles that we could add here.  What would you add?  Or maybe your stages of parenting are totally different than mine?  I'm sure there must be some differences between boys and girls, spacing of children, temperaments, etc.  And I only have littles, so there are plenty of stages I don't even know about yet.  Surely, everyone's journey will look different.

All of this is just to say, parenting is hard.  Sometimes people see these frustrating moments and they are judgemental or they give some "helpful" advice that makes you feel like you're ruining your children.  You're not.  It takes time and effort and prayer and consistency and TIME to change your child's heart.  Yes, heart.  Changing behavior is momentary, changing hearts is a much bigger and more important job.  It's so hard to remember these things when you're carrying a screaming, flailing child out of the restaurant, but keep on.  Galatians 6:9 says "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

I'm not always the mom I want to be.  Most of the time people only see our "best" on the internet, but I just want to say, on those most challenging days, I'm WITH you and I'm praying for you, friends.


On Things that Matter.

A few days ago, a friend of mine posted this quote on facebook:

"You know, you can never get enough of what you don't really need". 
 -Matthew Kelly

Deep, right?  It has been haunting me since I read it.  In a good way.  In a convicting way.  In a way that makes me think about all the unnecessary distractions in my life.  The short moments when I lose sight of what's important and the longer stretches of time when I have deliberately lived in disobedience.   Both keeping me from a deeper relationship with God.

When I read this quote it was one of those times when I knew God was trying to get my attention.  You know, like when the teacher says "for this project you will need a partner" and, before you even look up, you can feel your friend giving you THAT look from across the room.  God was giving me THAT look.

It was just a few days earlier that I was reading this:  (not.a.coincidence.)

Psalm 4
Answer when I call, my saving God. 
In my troubles, you cleared a way;
show me favor; hear my prayer. 
How long will you people mock my honor,
love what is worthless, chase after lies?
Know that the LORD works wonders for the
the LORD hears when I call out.
Tremble and do not sin;
upon your beds ponder in silence.
Offer fitting sacrifice
and  trust in the LORD.
Many say "May we see better times!
LORD, show us the light of your face!"
But you have given my heart more joy
than they have when grain and wine abound.
In peace I shall both lie down and sleep,
 for you alone, LORD, make me secure.
(emphasis mine)
At this stage in my life, it is my temptation to love "a good day" more than I love God.  I find myself wanting "me-time" more than I want God's will to be done through me.  There have been too many days that I have skipped prayer to get the laundry started and snapped harshly so that I would get the behavior I wanted.  A moment's good behavior and clean clothes will never bring fulfillment, though.  How foolish. 

This week I was desperate for some peace in my house.  The bickering brothers were wearing on me.  But even quiet in the house does not really mean peace in the house.  Jesus in our hearts means peace in our homes.

I don't want to live my life striving after things that I don't need, that don't matter. 
If I am walking in Truth, I don't need a "good day".  I need Jesus. 

You alone, LORD, make me secure.

So, how long will we love what is worthless?  I don't know what it is that you're trying to "get enough" of today.  I don't know what worthless things you have been loving.

Is it Clothes?  Food?  Sleep?  Men?  Money?  Success? The feeling of being liked/wanted/needed? 

"You can never get enough of what you don't really need".

Let us pray.


73 Seconds.

Well, hello strangers. 

August was a crazy but super fun month of visiting for us.  We went to South Carolina and we also went on a very quick trip to Iowa... I'm talking less than 48 hours, but oh-so-worth it. We also had about 5 different friends/family members visit us in Wisconsin.  We had such an awesome time seeing everyone.  The boys just savor the time with the people they love but don't get to see often enough.  We all do.  We really did appreciate every moment with these precious people.  So, if you are one of them, thank you so much for loving us and for being such faithful friends.

And if we didn't get to see you, I'm sorry.  Let's work on that.

So, I have about 3 very serious posts in the making, but I'm not feeling very serious this evening, and I didn't want to wait any longer on posting...since it's been, you know, six weeks or so.

This is the part where I'm at a total loss for a good segway, so here we go:
Today, we went to the Farmer's Market.  We hadn't been for over a month, with all the visiting and what-not.  And, oh my friends, the spicy cheese bread did not disappoint.  I'm pretty sure that Judah thought he had died and gone to heaven.  The kid just loves food.  (I have no idea where he gets it)  He sat still and ate, and ate, and ATE for a good solid 20 minutes.  Donuts, cheese curds, spicy cheese bread, and muffins. 

And, I know you're thinking, "wow, I thought people went to the farmer's market to buy produce".  Well, sure.  Sure they do.  And we did get some great deals on produce today...but I need to be honest...the cheese bread trumps the produce any day.

We love taking our blanket and sitting on the capital lawn and eating (almost) a whole loaf of cheese bread between the five of us.  We also love the produce, and strolling down some of the other side streets where vendors sell art and jewelry and pottery.  We love the street musicians. 

But, let me tell you what we don't love:  the girls that walk around offering free balloons to children.

Ok, the girls seem just fine.  Very sweet, in fact.  It's the balloons that we despise.  And I know...I know I'm being judged right now for being a total fun-hater of a mom. 

How can I hate balloons you ask?  Well, let me tell you, friends. 

Each of our three boys got a balloon today.  And oh the joy.  It was magical.  (And what is it about balloons anyway?  What is so amazing about this floating sphere?  I don't know.  But I do know, that if one child has a balloon, every other child in a 100 yard radius knows about it and is coveting that balloon in their little heart).  So, you basically can't say "no" when someone offers your kid a free balloon.  And, as I mentioned, it does seem like their lives are filled with utter bliss.

For 73 seconds.

Seventy-three glorious seconds.  And then, all Hell breaks loose. 

We had securely tied said balloons around the older boys' wrists and we tied the third balloon onto Silas' stroller.  Bliss ensued for 73 seconds, and then Judah slipped his string off his wrist and let go.  He screams "You dropped balloon!" but, of course, it's too late.  I picked him up and told him I knew how disappointed he was.  We waved bye-bye to the balloon as it floated up into the blue sky.  He cried.  I cuddled him a little more and we continued to talk about how he was sad about his balloon.  We then attempted to start walking back toward the parking ramp.  About every five feet he would go all limp and scream "You dropped balloon!" 

Bliss, no?

Another 5 minutes pass as we get some produce along the walk back to the car.  Judah and Silas are now both messing with the balloon attached to the stroller and Judah continues to lament his "dropped balloon!" while trying to steal his brother's.  Sure enough, balloon number two slips off the stroller handle and out into the great unknown. 

More wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues.

Roman managed to keep his balloon the whole morning.  Good job, buddy.  Except that this made him the target for the rage of the little boys on the way home.  Judah and Silas basically turned into balloon-thirsty zombies.  Roman even tried to share his balloon a couple of times but it was just so dangerous.  The screaming and the thrashing over the one surviving balloon....

Oh my.

We really did have a very pleasant day all around.

But, we might be those parents who say "no" to the free balloons next time.


Your Dose of Random For the Day

Have you been watching the Olympics?  Of course, I can't stop watching gymnastics.  Whenever I start watching, it makes me so excited.  It makes me miss the adrenaline of competition and the feeling of being airborne.  It makes me miss my team mates and the kids that I coached.  I just can't get enough of it.

I just heard Bela Karolyi say this about Jordyn Wieber:  "She's the strongest I've seen...maybe since Nadia". 

Um, whoah. 

But, seriously Jo, no pressure.


This morning we woke up to Roman and Judah jumping our bed at 6:00.  We told them to go read books quietly, because we're really good, attentive parents like that. 

So what did they do?  The went out into the hall, opened the door to Silas' room, turned on the light and yelled "Good morning, Silas!" 

Silas thought that was hilarious. 

So, I hear them laughing in there and I heard Judah get into the crib.  I yelled for him to get out of the crib.  The next thing I know, Silas comes into my room.  Yes.  The baby that was in the crib made his way to our room.

Now, thankfully, Silas hasn't really been trying to get out of his crib... yet, so I knew he probably had some "help".  (And, Lord, PLEASE, if you could prevent him from learning to get out by himself I would be oh, so grateful).  I should mention that there was no crying, so I knew everyone was fine.

So, I say "Roman, how did Silas get out of his crib?"
And Roman replied (while acting it all out) "Well, Judah picked him up and put him oooover the crib and then I dropped him verrry carefully". 



After the horrific and hilarious start to the day, we went to Mass, had coffee with some of our friends and Father John, dropped Roman off for a birthday party, ate Thai food, got some DELICIOUS GiGi's Cupcakes...today's flavor may have been my all time favorite:  tiramisu.  To.die.for.  Then I got to take a nap.  Bliss.  Then we made dinner, skyped with some family, and now we're watching gymnastics. 

I'm sure that rundown of my day really made yours.  And since the random train has now come full circle, I'll stop the rambling here. 

Have a good night...maybe watch some gymnastics and eat some cupcakes.  It makes a great combo.


Summer in Wisconsin

First, I just have to say that Charlie just did his crazy low bark and so I immediately thought there was someone robbibg our house or something.  My heart might have stopped beating a little.  Turns out there were some raccoons on the porch munching on his dog food.  I wish I would have gotten a picture for Roman.  But Charlie scared them away.  Good dog. 

The latest on the boys:

  • Has been having more dreams (or is just able to tell me more about them now.)  Last week, he had a dream that he was flying with Super Grover.  He told me that he got to wear Grover's hat and cape and that he held on tight to him and went to his house.  It was so cute that it made him waking me up at 6 AM to tell me totally worth it.  He was one excited boy.  He has also recently had dreams about being a "grown up and a famer" and about killing Darth Vader.  Somehow that one is less endearing than the first two. 
  • The other day when we were talking about different people's jobs:
Roman:"I could be a helper for the monkeys". 
Me:  "Oh, you'd like to work at the zoo?  I bet you'd be good at that, Roman.  You love animals.  You could be an animal trainer".
Roman:  "Yeah, like the girl that lets the monkeys outside and feeds them.  Can you drop me off at the zoo now?"    
  • The other day he asked me "Does Charlie have a soul?"
  • "Mom, can you go to the light sabre store and get me a blue light sabre?"
  • When he's talking about something that is lemon flavored OR lime flavored he says "limeon".  I can't bring myself to correct him.  Another one that I've been avoiding correcting is the word "covered" instead of "cupboard".
  • Always asks me "Am I doing a great job?"  (Can you tell that Words of Affirmation is his love language??)
  • Also, when he's practicing handwriting he'll show me and say "Mom, is this a perfect 'E'?"
  • Always talks about Jesus putting joys in our hearts.
  • He's starting to try some small talk which always cracks me up.  Recent examples:  "How's your coffee doin, Mom?"  or "Eating crackers, huh?"
  • Is sooooo awkward with strangers sometimes.  His incredible memory is a huge blessing in so many ways.  It's just a little bit strange to other people sometimes.  Especially when those people are people that we met one time at a park and then we saw two months later at the same park....and Roman ran up to them and said "Hi, Jamie!  Hi, Aaron!  Is your paper cut all better?" 
  • He is just so sweet and talkative.  I LOVE his personality.  He wants to know everyone and he wants to know about everything.  It's going to make him really good with people - it will make him a great husband or a great priest, it will make him really good at his profession someday.  He's awesome.  It's just that not everyone understands that when he's 5.  Like the plumber that came to fix the water heater.  Roman opens the door and asks his name and asks what he's going to fix and how he's going to fix it and if he's a plumber and does he fix sinks?  and did he bring tools?  and what's a water heater?  and will it make his bath warm?  and can he watch Ryan the plumber do his job?  and would he like to color with us?  I can imagine it might be a little overwhelming for Ryan the plumber.

  • Says "scooty" for "scooter"
  • Likes to put on my red high heels and wear them around the house.  When he does he always says "I wiiiiike dese boots!"
  • Instead of "What does a cow say?"  Judah always says "What a cow says?"
  • Always swings his legs everywhere while he's swinging so he's all over the place...and then he says "I so curked" (crooked)
  • Is obsessed with Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street.  Sigh.
  • Dropped a piece of salami down the vent the other day.  1.GROSS.  2.  Now he sits by the vent and says "I caaaan't fiiind sawaaaaami". 
  • Is pretty much potty trained!  YAY!!!  He hasn't had any accidents for the last four days - we told him he gets a big boy bike as soon as he goes a week with no accidents.  So, maybe this weekend?  He is sooooo excited for a new bike, so I hope we make it to the weekend.
  • Sings "Father I Adore You" constantly.  Which I love.  Joe had to go get something out of the boys' room after he put them to bed the other night and when he went in, Judah was whispering Father I Adore you to himself.  LOVE.

  • Is putting two words together a lot these days. 
  • Still super super sweet and cuddly.  He's such a content little guy and is so lovey.  Can't get enough of him.  He currently loves eskimo kisses (he says "eh-meh-mo") and butterfly kisses ("Fah-fy")
  • I wish I could explain how adorable his voice is.  I'll have to do another video soon.
  • Thinks every animal says "moo".  I blame Wisconsin.  :)
  • When we drive past the dairy farms by our house (instead of yelling "Cows!") he yells "Tows!"
  • When we get back in the car after going somewhere he says "fun!"
  • He will also say "funny" or "silly" when his brothers are entertaining him. 


You Know You Have a Good Priest When...

Today at mass the boys were...well, let's just say ridiculous.  That's the nicest way I can think of putting it. 

I feel like there's no rhyme or reason to how church goes for us.  You would think that maybe sleep or what they had for breakfast or some other factor might determine their behavior during mass, but I have not being able to make any correlation to anything that makes it better or worse. 

Today was worse, though. 

Judah and Silas were both whiney and loud and throwing things and trying to roll around on the floor and  yelling "no!" everytime I picked them up, etc.  You get the picture.  We were that family today.  For the record, Roman was pretty good.  He usually is.  He went to Children's Church for part of mass, and when he comes back he usually has to tell us everything they did (loudly) but he wasn't bad behavior-wise.  I didn't think he was paying attention to anything, but that seemed like no big deal in comparison to the little boys.

Anyway, after mass things just got better.  Judah ran right out the front door and towards the playground...into the street.  Awesome.  I'm the new girl yelling at her child and chasing after him...and he is totally ignoring me.  Then when he finally aknowledged by presence, he just stomped his feet and screamed.  I'm sure everyone is really impressed with us.

So, as I'm taking the walk of shame, carrying Judah back into the entrance of the church, passing all the nice people enjoying their pleasant post-mass conversations, I try to put a smile on my face and introduce myself to a couple that Joe is mingling with.

Fr. John, our new, amazing, young, faithful, sweet, thoughtful priest walks up to me and says "Do you know what Roman just asked me?"
"What?", I say.
"He said 'Father John, what is The Passion of Jesus?'"
I smile.  (And make a mental note that he was, in fact, paying attention.)
"He's a smart little guy, isn't he?  He just heard me say that phrase during mass...that's impressive."
Joe and I talk a little about Roman and how he remembers everything you tell him.
We contiue mingling and then some of the families head to the coffee shop down the road for more fellowship.  Father joins us. 
As we're standing in line at the coffee shop, Father John says "Roman, what is The Passion of Jesus?"
Roman responds "When Jesus died for us".
Father turns to me and says "Wow.  He does have really good retention".
Joe and I joke about how he remembers names better than we do.
We get the boys seated and I finally get to sit down. 
Father looks at me and says "You are doing a great job."
I smile weakly.  I think he can tell it's what I needed to hear.
"I mean, you know that right?  Your kids are incredible".
I choke back the tears and somehow manage a "thank you". 
He says "I saw you guys during mass - on the left side...about three quarters of the way back.  They're doing great."
We laugh and enjoy new friends and an awesome priest.
Judah climbs into Father's lap and, in the process, gets frosting all over his black pants.  Father doesn't seem to mind at all. 

It reminded me a lot of someone else I know.

What a blessing.


K-LOVE - For King & Country "The Proof Of Your Love" LIVE

We can't stop listening to this song at our house.   Enjoy!



The Latest Funnies

This is going to be one my standard list posts.  Some of these go quite a ways back. 

Best of Roman:
  • One day, for preschool, we were reading a book that talked about jobs. I had Roman make a list of all the different types of jobs he could think of.  We came up with a pretty good amount.  Then we went through the list and wrote someone's name next to each job.  So, Chrissy by hairstylist, Katy by teacher, etc.  He was very insistent that I write his name next to "farmer" and "priest".  Love that.
  • For quite some time we had been trying to put an end to the constant jumping off of couches.  (For the record, it appears that we have been successful...for now).  Anyway, right before we moved, Roman kept doing it and I explained that, since Silas can climb up on the couches now, we have to stop because he could really hurt himself if he tried to do that.  The rest of the conversation went like this:
Roman:  "We should sell Silas"
Me:  "UM, NO.  I don't ever want to hear you say that again.  We love Silas.  You love your brother!  You're always so sweet to him".
Roman:  "Yes, I love him.  But I want you to grow another baby in your tummy."
Me:  "What?  Uh, okay.  If that is God's plan, someday I would love to have another baby in my tummy.  But we don't have to sell Silas for that to happen."
  • Is that not the most random conversation you have ever heard?  That kid is something else. 
  • But then he comes up with these very profound thoughts during some of our discussions about Easter.  Like "Three days was long" and "The tomb is life".  Uh, whoah.
  • As I mentioned in this post, we had a little incident on Easter Sunday which involved Roman's index finger and our very first trip to the ER.  Later that day, we were getting ready to skype with family and I asked Roman "Are you going to tell Grandma and Grandpa about your finger?"  He looked at me very seriously and said "That was terrible.  I don't want to talk about it."
  • One day I told Roman that he could not have a treat after lunch because he had been disobedient.  He yelled back at me "This is unjust!".  I laughed out loud.  A+ parenting.  For the record, he learned that one from Charlotte's Web.  It just surprised me that he used it in the right context.
  • Our dear friend, Monica, got the boys a book when she came to visit us a while ago.  The story is about a baby bear that goes exploring by himself for the first time.  It has beautiful photography of a real bear cub in nature.  Love it.  I was reading it to Roman for the first time and, just a few pages in, we read something about the baby bear going out to explore the big wide world.  The whole left page was a picture of the bear cub and in the bottom corner of the right page was a small bunny.  I asked Roman "What do you think is going to happen next?"  He responded "The bunny is going to eat baby bear".  Wow.  Apparently, we need to work on our predicting skills.
  • Current favorite game:  The Describing Game.  This is really fun.  Just ask him to play and he will be thrilled.  He starts with "I'm thinking of an animal..." (or food or person) and gives you clues until you guess what he is talking about.  He loves it.  Then it will be your turn to describe.  As soon as he thinks he's got the answer he starts laughing really hard from the sheer excitement.  It's awesome. 
  • We painted the walls in our new kitchen/dinging room gray.  I asked Roman if he liked it.  He said "Yes.  But I wanted you to paint the walls red." 
"Which walls?", I asked. 
"All of them", he told me. 
"All the walls in our whole house?", I asked. 
"Yes", he said. 
  • And, of course, the raccoon updates.  Because I know that's what you're waiting for!  :)
Roman:  "What day is tomorrow?"
Joe:  "Raccoon day".

Roman:  "Is your mama a llama?"
Joe:  "No, my mama's a raccoon".
Roman:  laughs...then thinking..."No, your mama's a grandma".

Joe always gives the boys these very elaborate high fives before bed.  They involve movie quotes, and other crazy shenanigans.  There is really no way to describe it with words.  It's like a ten minute process.  At the end of the high five, he has recently added a raccoon sighting.  He will pretend they are done with the high five, like he's about to leave their room, when suddenly he will "find one" in the hallway...he makes raccoon noises and scratches on the wall so they will think there's one there.  Sometimes he has to chase it to catch it.  He ends with pretending to have one in his arms when he runs back into their room.  I feel this may have scarred me for life as a child, but they love it, so whatev.

Best of Judah:
  • says "Eener" instead of "Ernie".
  • loves trying to make Silas do tricks - like he will start singing "Jesus loves..." and wait for Silas to chime in with "Me".
  • He still has a crazy lisp, which  know is still totally normal for his age...which is good because I think it is the cutest thing in the world. 
  • Sings phrases that happen to be in his head.  example:  "Mrs. Drake's house" over and over - to a tune.  a very random tune.  So funny.
  • Misses Iowa.  He is still struggling at going to bed on his own and staying in his own bed the whole night.  Most of the time I am more than happy to cuddle him.  Sometimes when I have his knee over my shoulder in the middle of the night, I don't  feel as happy about it. 
  • But, really, he talks about our friends and family in Iowa a lot.  (we all do) He doesn't seem to be upset about it, just talks about them a lot.  And then he does things like this:
Me:  "what should we do tomorrow?"
Judah:  "go to park"
Me:  "that's a good idea.  What park would you like to go to?"
Judah:  "I go to Mrs. Aitchison's house". 
  • He really is just the sweetest little guy.  I'm loving the stage that he's at.  I love that he's talking more and I'm getting to hear more about what he's thinking.  I love that he's still cuddly and that he's so excitable.  Love.
  • If it weren't for the fact that he is a boy and Charlie is a dog, I would say they were twins separated at birth.  They are both wild and gross and cute and cuddly and love to wrestle each other and run away from me when I ask them to come.  They both want to be outside all day and they both want something to eat as soon as they're inside.  They always want the same toys, they want the sand out of the sandbox, they want to dump out any container that happens to be full of water.  They both destroy a lot of things.
  • Still loves to vaccuum.
  • He is just getting to the "I want to do it myself" phase, which is fun and super annoying all at the same time.  So fun to see him work on something and be proud of his accomplishment.  So not fun that he FREAKS out if I so much as touch the buckle in the carseat.  It takes us a while to get anywhere these days.  :)
  • Today we went to the circus.  The boys had a great time.  When we got in the van I said "Judah, what was your favorite thing at the circus?"  (You know, I'm expecting him to talk about the monkey driving a wagon, or the magic show or the pony ride).  Do you know what he said?  He said "I eat popcorn".  ha!
  • And if you want to hear a funny story about Judah...that involves me nursing Silas, you'll have to ask me about it in real life.  It's a good one, but not necessarily appropriate for the blog.

Best of Silas:
  • One night, I made the mistake of pointing out that he had penguins on his pajamas.  Now, if he is wearing them, I will think that he's about to drift off to sleep when suddenly I will hear "Pen-win!" very loudly.  :)
  • "duddle" for "cuddle"...and he does love to cuddle.  And I love that about him.
  • loves to give Charlie commands like "Sit!" and "Betch!" for "fetch".
  • If you start the counting he will chime in with "two" and "boor" (four) in the right places.
  • "nuss!" for "nurse"
  • calls Roman "Judah".  all the time.  Maybe he just thinks "Judah" means "brother". ?
  • he's a lot like one-year-old Roman was, in that he will try to say almost any word you ask him to say. He's a lot like one-year-old Judah was, in that he feels the need to climb on top of the kitchen table every 3 minutes.  This combination could, potentially, be the death of my sanity.
  • loves to sing "wheels on the bus"
  • will eat his lunch nicely until I look away...when he will immediately begin throwing all the food on the floor, regardless of whether or not he is actually enjoying eating said food.
  • says "bahma" for grandma and "bahpa" for grandpa.
  • Daaadddy! is still his favorite though.  The way he says it totally trumps any other name on the planet.  Cutest ever.

And, just for fun...Best of crazy things that have come out of my mouth recently (because no one should ever have to say some of the sentences I catch myself saying!!):
  • "Please don't put that sticker on your penis".


I'm not exactly sure what it is.  Maybe it's the new house.  Maybe because we have spent so much more time in nature.  Maybe it's my lack of a social life.

Whatever the reason(s), my eyes have been opened.  Suddenly things seem clearer.  It's not a realization of things I didn't know before as much the rebirth of timeless truth.

We serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances, who can do more than we could ever ask or imagine.  And the most beautiful part is that He is nearer than we know.  He always was, but I think the whole being thrust into something I dont' know at all, has made me acutely aware of His presence.

I have found that God loves to prove himself faithful in the midst of chaos.

Our last days in Iowa, I stood in my kitchen watching these women pack all of my dishes into boxes.  The crinkling of the packing paper, the sound of the tape sealing it all snugly in...it was almost deafening.  It was hard to think that one day we would live in Iowa and the next we wouldn't.  For three and a half years we lived in a house that had been in our family much longer than that.  We brought babies home to that house, we sang them lullabies and prayed over them, and tucked them in under that roof.  We laughed and celebrated friends and family, babies and weddings and graduations.  We had our share of struggles there, too, of course, but oh the sweet memories that we have in that place.

For the months we spent preparing for the move, I was trying to not let my feelings "get in the way".  That day, though, as I walked around the house aimlessly cleaning and answering questions about what to pack, I was overcome with the sorrow of leaving... and at the same time, I began to feel how near God was to me in all of this.  I knew without a doubt that His hand was on this situation.  I knew that he wouldn't just lead us away from good - that he was intentionally bringing us to something new. 

And everyday, he is gracious enough to show me more and more purpose in all of this. 

The details have fallen together in an astounding way.

Joe's new job is as amazing as we had hoped.

Our location is a perfect fit for us.

He has led us to all of this. 

But He has also led me to this fresh take on motherhood. 

I can't remember a time when I didn't have the desire to be Mom.   I think it has been written on my heart for all of my life. 

But even though my desire is to love my children well, I will certainly always fail.  My biggest goals as a parent (so far!) are to be present and purposeful.  That has kind of been my mantra over the last few years.  Be present and purposeful.  But, I think for anyone with goals, it's easy to lose sight of what/who you want to be in the mundane day-to-day.  Sometimes amid the diapers and the tantrums and the cooking and cleaning and bathing and bedtime, I just feel overwhelmed...you know like I want to cry and eat chocolate and go shopping, because certainly a trip to target is the same as therapy.  (anyone with me here??)  Don't get me wrong, everyone needs a break sometimes and you should take one for yourself.  It's a very good thing.  But, in my case, I mostly have to face the fact that taking a break to refresh and reset is not the same as being selfish.  And lots of times, it's just me being selfish.

But (to make a long story longer) here's what I'm realizing (again):
  • It's not just the daily tasks of providing for my childrens' physical needs, it's the formation of souls.  It is eternally significant. 
  • I love spending time with my kids.  That's not saying that there aren't moments when I want to rip my hair out because for.the.love, how many things can Judah break while I'm trying to unload the dishwasher??  But, I determine my attitude.  And I can make or break our day by how I handle a situation.
  • Not worrying about hair and make-up, having no schedule and no place to be, leads to all kinds of fun and creative and messy play.  Which is my favorite kind.  Everyone is happiest that way.
  • On that note, we hadn't done a lot of messy play when we were trying to sell our house, it has been a while.  Our current favorite is water and sand.  I had seriously forgotten that the combination of these two things will provide hours of entertainment.
  • There is enough time to get the important things done.  I obviously can't do it all.  I would love to cook and clean and do crafts and write books and teach gymnastics and help with  youth group and volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center and etc, etc, etc.  All of those are good things that I love and maybe I'll get to do some of them here.  Or maybe I'll get to do other things I don't even know I love yet.  But, with what I've been given today, I know what the priorities should be, and making them happen is as easy as knowing the other things can wait for another day.
  • I often miss my friends/groups/things we were involved in.  But on the other hand, there is freedom in knowing that no one will be stopping by so I have to have the house clean or myself "put together".  It's nice that I don't have to look at my calendar before knowing if we'll have time to go to the park tomorrow.  I can say "yes" to my kids more often and I'm realizing that that's how it should be.  I don't particularly want to go back to saying "we're too busy for me to do that with you today".
And I'm just in awe that He knew all of this before.  This timing was not an accident.  God putting this family together and placing us right here right now was no accident.  How generous that He would allow me to have a renewed appreciation for their childhood and for the honor that is is to witness it all.

All the glory is yours, Lord.


Things I love about Wisonsin

1.  best.burgers.ever.
2.  the beer is good.  really good.  and I'm not usually a beer drinker.
3.  cheese.  (duh).  specifically fried cheese curds.  at The Old Fashioned.  Mmmmmm.
4.  green.  beautiful, green landscape. 
      *On the phone with my brother the other day he said "how's your yard?  It looks really green".  this is how the rest of the conversation went:

me:  "Our yard?  Yeah, it's green." 
J:  "I've always thought that Wisconsin was really green"
me:  "Really?  You've always thought that about Wisconsin?"
J:  "Yeah.  Well, actually it started when I came home from Iraq.  We flew into Ft McCoy and, granted, we were coming from the desert, but there was a plane full of adult men who couldn't stop talking about how green Wisconsin is."

isn't he the cutest?  :)

5.  the scenic:city ratio.  We live a little ways outside of town in a beautiful little wooded neighborhood.  I love it.  It's more private, there is more space.  There are dairy farms less than a mile away and we can hear the cows mooing when we play outside.  We have a big hill the boys love to roll down/ride bikes down/etc.  There is plenty of room for the dog to run around.  We LOVE the location of our house.  What makes it even cooler is that it only takes about half hour-40 minutes to get to ANYTHING in the city.  not at all similar to our options in old B-town.  In our old location, half an hour would get us to church and Target.  Now, 15-30 miles gets us unlimited options.  And we get to see beautiful scenery on the way.  best of both worlds.
6.  Our house is awesome.  We feel at home.  We feel at peace.  We are making it our own.  Don't get me wrong, we have a ways to go, but we love it.
7.  So many fun things to do.  Free zoo.  Awesome indoor playground.  Incredible parks everywhere.  There is always something new to explore.  Still on the agenda:  children's museum, farmer's market, many-a-delicious-restaurant, and much more.
(Can you tell I like food?)
8.  My boys love Wisconsin.  This is huge.  It would be very hard for me to love it if they didn't.  Don't get me wrong, we miss Iowa.  We miss my family and our friends and our church and all the familiar.  We talk about Iowa a lot.  We are still mourning much of what we have left behind.  But, somehow, at the same time, we are all so excited to be here.  We really DO feel at home and we are enjoying the family bonding that has come with only having each other and the good Lord to depend on.
9.  God likes to show off in Wisconsin.  (Ok, He is amazing all the time and everywhere, but it is just incredible to watch Him prove his faithfulness in this new endeavor.)  We have had one confirmation after another that this is where we are supposed to be.  The short version goes like this:
  • when we learned we would be moving to WI, our friends got us in touch with some of their friends who live in the area.  We went to dinner during our first visit to WI and they are fantastic.
  • also, the first time we visited WI to house hunt we were drawn to a particular suburb... but how were we supposed to know if our gut instinct was a good choice for relocating a family?
  • turns out we know a couple that live in this suburb (they used to be in a Bible study with us when Joe and I first got married). 
  • the second time we visited the area, we found this house and were praying we'd get it. (we actually got a better deal on it than we were anticipating!  yay!)  we also visited our friends' church - where we got to hear a guest speaker - who turned out to be another friend we know from Iowa.
  • we keep "coincidentally" meeting people who are awesome.  example:  yesterday at the park, I met a lady and was asking about her kids.  During the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she goes to the same church we visited.  Her kids go the school.  She is the coordinator of Family Adoration.  "coincidence".
10.  There are raccoons.  Okay, this one is a little strange, but it's become the running joke in our family.  Before we moved we told Roman that there were woods behind our house.  He was very excited and asked about the animals in the woods.  We told him there were probably deer, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, bugs, etc.  He got really excited about that and was always telling us that he was going to see all these animals when we got to Wisconsin.  We had to explain that we probably wouldn't actually see those animals very often.  One time I was telling him that raccoons don't really like people, that they would be scared of him, and that if they weren't scared, he should leave them alone because they could bite.  Then he got a little worried about raccoons.  SO, when we got here, one day he asked Joe if they could go exploring in the woods.  Joe said "no, there are raccoons in the woods".  He dropped the topic.  Then the next day they were in the yard and Roman heard something in the bushes.  Roman said "is that a raccoon?"  joe said  "We should go check it out"  So, as they approached, Joe grabbed Roman and scared. the. crap. out of him.  They had a good laugh about it after Roman calmed down.  So now, anytime we are doing something new or Roman doesn't want to do something (or any other time it seems appropriate) we bring the raccoon to the situation.  Examples:
Roman:  " i want chicken and fries for lunch." 
Joe:  "how about raccoon and fries?"

Roman:  "I don't like these noodles"
joe:  "but they're raccoon noodles"

Roman"  I want to go to McDonalds"
Joe:  "I want to go to the racoon restaurant"

Roman:  "I don't want to go to bed"
Joe:  "If you don't go to your room, I'm going to put a raccoon in your bed"

I wish I could think of more, but it's just constant, so there are too many to remember.  This is awesome because Roman finds it hilarious.  instantly puts him in a good mood when you say the word "raccoon".

So, in summary, Wisconsin is delicious, beautiful, clearly God's plan for us, and full of raccoons. 
Which, apparently, is all we need.


Magic Moments

I feel as if I need to give you a brief (ok, probably not so brief) run-down on the last few days.  A lot has happened.  I dont' want you to think that I'm complaining, though.  We feel very blessed to be in the midst of this transition to an awesome new opportunity.  But, has it been stressful?  Sure.  Sometimes very much so.  And is some of it so ridiculous that you can't believe it's real life?  Yep.  So, please, bear with me as I get all of this out so as not to forget it during this crazy season.

And, please, have a laugh at my expense.  It's the right thing to do.

As you probably know, we are moving.

Next week.

NEXT.  Week.

So, there has been a lot of organizing of things, throwing of things, donating of things.  There has been a little bit of freaking out and a lot of excitement.  There has been much talk of what is to come.  There is a lot of anticipation and also many wishes for time to slow while we savor friends and family here.

Anyway, that's the true-but-glossy-picture of my life in the last few days.  Now let me tell you about the ridiculousness of how life has been.

Joe's dad was here to help with some projects around the house a couple of weeks ago.  (Super helpful and fun, by the way).  After he left we also re-painted the toyroom.  But we'll get back to that later.

We took a little break from house projects to properly celebrate Easter.  And, all-in-all, it was a really great weekend and a moving Easter celebration.  We attended Holy Thursday service, opted on just reading the story of the crucifixion on Friday because the boys were to tired, visited our dear friends the Aitchisions for dinner and an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, and celebrated a beatiful Easter Mass on Sunday.

BUT, on Easter morning we had a first.  Our first ER visit.

Now, don't freak out.  Everyone is fine. 

Joe and I have visited the ER before, but none of our children had. 

Sunday morning we enjoyed a nice big Easter breakfast and then started the task of getting everyone ready for church.  Joe had the boys in the shower with him when I heard Roman crying.  I came in to see his finger covered in blood.  Apparently he was messing with the drain in the shower and somehow a took a chunk out of his left index finger.  We bandaged him up and told him we were going to have to take him to the hospital so a doctor could fix his finger.  "Am I going to DIE??" he responded.  After we calmed him down and reassured him that going to the hospital does NOT mean imminent death, he did a great job.  The put a gel gauze around it to help it clot and scab and sent us on our way.   I felt like it was a win...I mean it was relatively low on the trauma scale for a first ER visit.

AND, we even made it home in time to get to church.  We also got to have Easter dinner with my family and spend the evening with Tony.  More winning.

Now, the craziness really began Monday.  Remember the freshly painted toyroom walls?  Yeah, at some point Sunday night or Monday, Judah decided that the walls were too bland for his liking.  The paint that we chose was called "Artist's Canvas".  We should have known.  We.should.have.known.

Monday morning I found pencil scribbles on every wall in the toy room.  I just stood there staring and being furious and trying to form words and not wanting to deal with it.  But, that's not really an option when you're trying to sell your house.

So, we headed to Wal-Mart on Monday to pick up a few things:  Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, a Swiffer Vac, some shoes for Silas (because for the last week I have only been able to find two shoes for him...and they don't match), bread, and more bones for Charlie (because if he chews up another puzzle piece it might send me over the edge).  I came home with only the swiffervac, shoes, and dog bones. 

That's not a good track record.

I don't even have good excuses.  I just forgot about the bread.  (Yes, i had a list).  And I was having trouble finding the Mr. Clean erasers.  You would think that would be a simple fix, wouldn't you?  If you're thinking "why didn't you just ask someone?"  then, you've clearly never been to the Wal-Mart in B-town.  Trying to find someone to help you is like trying to find water in the Sahara.  And don't be deceived.  Just because you've found someone does not mean they are going to be helpful.

So, this is all a very long drawn out way of saying that the kids were getting antsy and I thought I already had 2 erasers at home.  No such luck.  I had one that was partially used.  Oh, well, pick one up tomorrow, right?

Well, that's when our realtor called and told me she was going to show my house the following day (which was today) at noon.  Good and bad...lots of cleaning in a short amount of time = not relaxing or fun, but selling the house would = awesome.  So I kicked it into high gear on the cleaning while the boys watched Charlotte's Web.  It was after they were asleep that I realized I had no way to clean my walls.  And no Joe at home so I could run to the store.  That's when Paulette (the best neighbor ever) came to my rescue AGAIN and brought me a magic eraser at 9:45pm. 

After that I kept cleaning. 

And, Let me tell you.  I don't know that I have ever loved a material object more than the SwifferVac.  I may never have to use a broom and dust pan again.  It gets EVERYTHING up, including dog hair (which is really annoying/next to impossible to sweep) in less than half the time.  It's cordless and light - and maybe the children can learn to use it....and then I may never have to clean the floors again EVER. 


But, seriously I love it.  Best $38 investment I've made in a long time.

More cleaning.

Then Charlie got sick multiple times.  Probably becase of the puzzle pieces he has been ingesting (and the fact that Judah fed him an entire dinner roll that day).  Yuck.  and TMI.  I'm sorry.

Then we spent all of today out and about - which was tiring but fun.   We had the showing this morning and the people actually came back for a second showing this evening.  Yay!

If only they knew what had gone on in this house the last few days.  :)  There must really be magic in those erasers.


Bittersweet doesn't cut it.

It's hard for me to describe my thoughts and feelings on life right now.  But, I tend to be a wordy person so, obviously, I'm going to try. 

Lucky you.

My heart if full.  There are so many reasons to be joyful and hopeful during this crazy time.

I have a husband who works very hard and loves his family deeply.  He is so much fun, he spoils us, but he also takes life seriously.  I think I mentioned that we have a goal to read through the Bible together this year.  Well, truthfully, it's looking like it will be more like a year and a half at the rate we're going.  But, what a blessing!  I feel like we've grown together spiritually more than we ever have before. 

I have three beautiful boys who are smart, hilarious, healthy, and adorable.  They make me laugh; they drive me crazy; their sweet, profound comments often move me to tears.  I feel so honored that I get to share the love of God with them everyday.  I grieve at the ways I fail them at this task.  And yet, I am so thankful that God has chosen us for each other in this crazy life.

I have amazing family and friends.  I have been trying to avoid thinking about how much I'm going to miss them when we move.  But it's catching up with me.  So, watch out for me in the next couple of months.  I'll be the girl who suddenly bursts into tears in the middle of the mall when I hear the song "Friends" by Michael W. Smith.  So awkward...mostly because it is quite possibly the cheesiest song ever written.

Even though we are leaving so many amazing things and people here, I feel like we're getting a fresh start.  Not that we want to change anything in our life too drastically, but we get to set a new routine for ourselves.  We get to meet new people and try new things and re-prioritize if we want to.

We are so so blessed to be moving to a beautiful city with a great community (and we even know some people there now!)  God clearly has his hand on this situation even though we still have some loose ends to tie up. 

He is so faithful.  There are lots of questions in our future.  We still need to sell our house.  Which means we could be paying two mortgages for a while.  The inspection on our (probably) new house came back with some fairly major issues that need to be resolved before we can proceed with the purchase.  It has been a stressful few days.  With all of that being said, we have peace because we know that He is in the details.  And we believe that he has our best in mind.  It might not be the easiest road, but it will be the best.

So, life is a bit of a rollercoaster, basically.  We are sad to leave but excited to go.  Bittersweet doesn't even cut it.  When I walk into our church I want to cry because I can't imagine not being a part of that community.  I get irritated when someone doesn't want to buy our house because don't they know how much I love it and I am going to miss it?  It's an awesome house...why aren't they jumping on the opportunity?  And at the same time, a part of me is a little relieved because I'm not sure how I'll be able to handle the emotion of acutally handing over the key to someone new. 

But when we're in Wisconsin...we know.  We know it's the right place.  Amazing people show up and we hear about great opportunities at a new church and our kids are excited about all the things we'll do there. 

Bittersweet doesn't cut it.  But grateful does.  We are so grateful for the life we have here.  And we are so grateful for the life we'll have there.  We are grateful for the people that we love and that love us...in both states (and many others, for that matter!)  We are most grateful for a God who holds it all (us all) in his hands.

PS - To teach the boys about giving something up in order to make more space in our hearts for God, we are praying for someone/something specific each day of Lent when we normally have our treats.  We would be honored to pray for you.  Let me know if you have a special intention.


Movin on Up

If this blog isn't completely random all the time, I really don't know what it.  I post 5 times a month and then I go months without posting and then I post once every six weeks for a while and then I go back to 5 posts a month.  At least I hope to get back to that number someday. 

We have a lot going on right now (as I have previously and mysteriously elluded to...) so I just wanted to make sure you all heard the news that we are moving to Wisconsin in April!


I am still trying to take it all in.

                        (this was, by far, the funniest image that came up in my google search)

Our house in on the market; we are going to have to find somewhere to live in Wisconsin by the first weekend of March; and, other than that, we're really just trying to get through each day.  Don't get me wrong, we are super excited, but it's overwhelming to sell a house and move away from family and friends and figure out what your life will look like in another state....and try to be a good wife and a good mom to 3 little boys. 

But, seriously, so excited.

Joe was offered a promotion, and this is a great oppotunity for our family.  It also happens to be a really cool area of Wisconsin, so extra awesome.

Anyway, I feel like I have million other things that I wanted to say, but now they kind of all escape me.  Everyday, it seems, I think of plenty of things that I should blog about and then it just never happens. 

Maybe when we move and we have that awkward transition time of not having any friends, I'll have more time to blog.  I'm one of those creepy people though, that LOVES a new friend immediately.  I kind of  hope that the Mary Katherine Gallagher in me doesn't come out:  "Do you have a best friend??  Do you want to be my best friend??"  Let's all take a moment and pray for my personality to simmer.down. a little.

And for me to remember to write on my blog more than once a month.



Whoa. Nelly.

Life is crazy around here and only getting crazier.

And do you know what I do when I'm overwhelmed with craziness?


Just nothing.

I do nothing for a month and then I think "Oh yeah, I have a blog that's supposed to be documenting this crazy life so that when I'm old and gray and my sweet, sweet grandbabies ask me about what life was like "back in the old days", I'll have something to say other than "uh...I think we had fun?"


We had a great Christmas in South Carolina with Joe's family. Joe got me a new laptop for Christmas since my old one crashed. He is amazing. And also a total cheater since we "weren't doing gifts this year". I guess I’ll have to think of a sweet birthday gift for him!

We got the boys a puppy for Christmas. He's a 14-week-old Golden Lab. His name is Charlie. He is beyond cute and they are beyond overjoyed. I will try to post pictures and video soon.

Silas can walk now. He started taking a few steps at a time right around 9 months...but he started really walking - as in walking across a room - when we were in SC. He's starting to talk, too, which is super fun. He says "ha-yo" for "hello" - almost always while holding a hand up to his ear as if he's holding a phone. He says "dada", "Bow-ba" for "Roman", "ba" for ball, book, and pretty much any other "b" word. His favorite word, though, is "Dyoo-dah" for "Judah". :) He also signs "more".

Judah loves his "Char-yee" dog. He is always hugging him. He is starting to recognize a few letters and is currently obsessed with puzzles. His favorite book is Go, Dog. Go! Judah is Roman's biggest fan (or worst enemy depending on the situation). But, for the most part, he loves him. He asks for him when he's not around and tells me "Want mwo-mwan". We're still working on those Rs. :) Some of my favorite Judah moments:

·   waving to daddy out the front window "Bye, daddy! Have fun at preschool!"

·   always wants Silas to clap so he can tell him good job. He says "Siwes cwap". I think he's saying "crap" almost every time. What is wrong with me?

·   I have often said the following in my house: "You're being sneaky. I don't like that". Judah doesn't really understand that it's not a compliment. He will proudly come out of a room and announce "You're snakey" when he's been up to no good. At least he's honest.

·   We have a hard time figuring out what motivates Judah. He just so rarely cares about anything. Except shoes, apparently. He lost a shoe outside at Chrissy's house a few weeks ago and was devastated the whole ride home. When she called the next morning to let us know Jon found it outside, she became Judah's hero. He still tells me, almost daily, "Chrissy find your shoe".

Roman, oh my Roman. You can most often find him acting out a scene from Lion King. For example, he will climb up the slide at the park and pretend to be Mufasa hanging on the cliff for dear life, while yelling "Scar! Brother! Help me!" This is followed by him letting go, sliding back down and yelling as if he is plummeting to his death. I'm sure this is no way alarming to the other kids (or parents) at the park. He is getting really good with sight words and sounding out words he doesn't know. I'm sure he'll be reading in no time...and then, Look out, World! He had a great time "looking at all of Grandma's beautiful bugs" in SC. Roman always has lots to say...here are a few examples:

·   He's getting really close to being able to do a cartwheel. I had made him "try again" one too many times apparently, because he told me "Mom, I'm all out of cartwheels".

·   One of his favorite movies is Prince of Egypt. One day he was reading a children's Bible and came to the page with Jesus on the cross. He declared "I AM that I AM". Maybe coincidence. Maybe some pretty solid Trinitarian understanding?

·   Also (I'm guessing due to the current love for Moses), he mashed up red jello the other day and told us it was the burning bush.

·   My brother and his wife were invited to attend a concert at the White House a few weeks ago. We were lucky enough to be able to watch it on TV a few days after. When I was telling Roman what we were going to watch, I asked him "Do you remember who lives at the White House?" He responded "Snow White?" I laughed and said no. Then he said "OH! President Obama!"

·   Running around the ottoman he said "Look, Mom! I'm running in rectangles!"

·   So, somehow, four-year-old boys magically know how to turn their eyelids inside out. I am confident that this is not an innate ability in girls. I'm also confident that no one taught him how to do it. All I know is that he thoroughly enjoys saying "Hey, Mom!" and getting me to turn around and freak.out. about how he looks like a character in a horror film. Seriously, so so gross.

As for Joe and I, we have a goal to read through the Bible together this year. Thanks to Monica for organizing a chronological schedule and posting here: http://therewillbebiblestudy.blogspot.com/  (We would love to have you join us!)

It has been such a blessing to us already.

And just when I begin to feel overwhelmed about how my plan is not going…well, as I had planned, ( read:  when I start acting like a two year old trying to jam the puzzle pieces of life where they clearly do not fit), I am reminded of how the One who has designed every inch of this beautiful world, has perfectly orchestrated all that is laid out before me.  That.  Is.  Peace.

Job 38

The LORD Speaks
1 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.