Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ava, Ava, Ava...

This little girl can run circles around me from morning til night. She wakes up happy and laughs and plays and dances and sings and packs as much fun as she can into each day. She takes after her big sister that way, even though she never met her. What a bundle of energy!
I took a bunch of pictures of her at her request (I think that's the first time she's ever asked for a photoshoot!) because she was so happy with her new swimming suit. She got it for her birthday, but due to size exchange, didn't actually have it for a month. I guess it was worth the wait! She cranked Hannah Montana in the cd player and showed me some moves and jumps and wanted to make sure Grandma saw her pictures. (Thanks, Grandma Karen. =) )
That last photo is one I just had to take because of the story behind it. We got a call today telling us that Ava can attend Kindergarten tomorrow as a prospective student at school. When I told her the news, she said, "Wait! Let me get dressed and show you what I can wear there tomorrow!". I waited less than a minute, and she showed up dressed, with a crown on to round out her outfit. I let her beam for a few minutes before I broke the news to her that she wasn't going to school as a "princess". I told her we didn't want any of the other kids to feel sad that they didn't have costumes on at school. She was fine with that. She is so ready for school...I'm just wondering if 'school is ready for her? I guess tomorrow we'll find out! =)
One thing is for certain, I love my little Ava to bits. And she knows it too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Big projects.

We took on some big projects the past few days. Today we give a special shout out to all our friends and family in Minnesota...hey! Brock has a oral presentation to give on the great state of Minnesota to all the fourth graders in his class at school. He worked really hard on both a written report and putting a presentation board together. Even though Chip and I were born and raised in Minnesota, Brock felt he wanted to learn more about the state himself. One of his favorite surprises was to learn about the world's largest ball of twine which resides in Darwin, MN. He also was happy to bring the state beverage- milk- and state muffin- blueberry- to pass out to all his friends too. So, hello to all of you reading from Minnesota right now. We miss a lot of you!
While Brock and I worked on the finishing touches of his board, Chip was busy cleaning out our flower bed right outside our front step. Crew absolutely LOVES it outside as the weather warms up. He was all smiles as he watched Chip (and Wyndham) "play" in the dirt. I think Crew has a future in agriculture. Which means he has a good chance of moving back to Minnesota someday. =)
I just want to give you all a few more details as to my previous post and our new concerns for Wyndham. First of all, thank you for so many prayers and support for our family. We will most certainly need them over the coming months. We learned on Monday, that Wyndham will be having double foot/ankle surgery- most likley in early fall. This is something we have felt she wouldn't need, but as the x-rays and orthopedic surgeon confirm, sadly it will need to be done and it will be a challenge too. Not just the surgery, but also the recovery. She will be immobile/wheelchair bound for at least 3 months.
This sudden news really hit us hard. Wyndham has been doing so well in all areas of development. She is a very active and happy 8 year old. It is hard to imagine all the implications that this surgery will present. My heart hurts for the pain and suffering she will have to go through too. They say it's quite painful- we're hoping she has the lesser complicated one too- hoping to avoid the one where she would have bones fused, but that will be determined as she has more procedures done in the coming months. So please feel free to pray for her team of doctors and the wisdom they need to make the best decisions for her care. Also, pray for Chip and me as we have to help make decisions too and be Wyndham's advocate. Pray for us to have peace and be unified when it comes to the things that need to be done. This type of stuff has strained our marriage before- hopefully it will bring us together and force us to grow in new and better ways. Most importantly, pray for Wyndham and all she will endure. She has proved herself strong time and time again, but still, it won't be fun and it certainly won't make sense to her as to why she is healthy and happy and yet still has to put her life on hold and go through this traumatic experience. I am praying that God will just give her everything she needs to be calm, comforted and somehow He will bring helpers into our lives that will ease the burdens of having her confined for so long.
That's sort of the big picture in one paragraph, but hopefully it is enough details to help you both understand why our hearts were so heavy the other day, and also gives you insight as to how to support us- your prayers and thoughts means so much to us! A situation like this is hard to swallow. It is another reminder of how one person's acts have drastically changed/affected our lives forever. It is another chance for us to choose to forgive and let go. But I am first to's still hard.
You know I will keep bringing updates and details as this surgery gets closer. We are very grateful though, to think that we have a whole summer to "be normal" and have fun. Let's hope it's Wyndham's best summer yet!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Some days are tougher than others.

Today is one of those days.
The questions flow freely.
Faith seems harder to hold onto and even more difficult to understand.
Justice and injustice is a concept that doesn't make sense in our head or hearts.

I invite you to pray for our family if you are inclined to do so.
After Wyndham met with a specialist today, it is clear that our family has some major decisions and events to live through in the coming weeks and months.
It goes without saying, that the ramifications of our tragedy are not over.
My heart is heavy and yet at the same time I KNOW that God is in control.
His love and mercies never change.

But still, some days are more tough than others.
I claim these words today and pray for peace in our lives...
Psalm 118:13-15 "I was pushed back and about to fall but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The Lord's right hand has done mighty things".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Time for...

Spring cleaning and sprucing up in all areas of my life it seems. That's what I am trying to do and planning to do some more of. That top photo is an actual picture of what my scrap space looked like earlier this week. I got the most recent Scrap In Style "The Drama Queen Collection" and made a mini album {see it here} and a page {see that here} with some of the contents of it. It's full of vintage bits and pieces and has some really unique items in it. You can get your own set of this great scrap/crafting kit by clicking here. I think this is one of my most favorite collections ever!
I also signed up and can't wait to learn some new things in the upcoming blog class that SIS is offering too. A couple of my best friends are teaching this class online; it's called "Bling out your Blog 2.0" (it starts on Monday, but you don't have to 'attend') and they are sure to offer some great advice and fun too, while we learn how to make our blogs more exciting. Mine has needed help since my first post a few years ago! It's about time I kick it up a notch...join me if you want to enhance the features on your own blog, or challenge yourself to start one if you've never jumped in. I promise you it's very easy. This class is going to help you with everything you need to know and more. I'm really looking forward to it. I hope I have something to show you all from it soon too!
My life seems to just keep getting more and more full as the weather gets nicer and nicer here in Michigan. I am doing more pick-up and drop-off's of the kids at school and therapy and having to stay on top of Crew and his ability to get more and more into trouble these days. My blog gets put on the back burner sometimes for a couple of days or more. So when I don't post as frequently, it is most likely due to 'real life' demanding more of me than I have to give. The blog is one of the first things to go.
My email suffers too. So, if you've sent me a note or expect a reply, I should apologize right now. I still read my mail, but more often then not I don't have the time or two hands free to type a response.
I hope that many of you are still praying for Stellan. He still needs healing and his family could use our prayers to ease the burden of all they've been going through for the past month now. Their story helped put my life in perspective when I was awakened by both Bella and Crew a couple of times last night. I was tired, to say the least, but so content and thankful as I thought about people like MckMama (Stellan's mom) who would like nothing more than to sleep in their own bed at night. Like my previous post, it's others hardships that put our 'little dramas' into perspective. Things like spring cleaning become chores to be grateful for- rather than hassles to dread. I am happy to be able to be home and have people to love and tidy up after. Even if it does take me away from other fun stuff. Like blogging.
It's all how you look at it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prepare to be moved.

The pictures and story of this photo essay {by Romain Blanquart} are powerful and touching. I was moved and inspired at the same time. I often take my marriage and health for granted. Not today. Not after spending a few moments empathizing with this young couple.
True love is a gift.
For better or worse.
Life is a precious and beautiful thing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crew's stats.

We're a bit off on his pediatric visits/shot schedule, but took care of the most recent visit yesterday. He was a trooper with the shots- screamed his head off for a minute and then calmed down and was even happy and crawling around the living room just after we got home last night. He's 7 months old as of this weekend and measures 26 3/4 inches- about at the 25% for height. He weighed in at 16 lbs. 13oz. with a semi-wet diaper on and that ranks him at the 20% for weight. All in all, he's a healthy, active happy boy. We all still feel very lucky to have him in our family. It's a gift to be able to be the people who get to hold him, hug him, see him crawl and grow and laugh and roll around and bounce and then smother him with as many kisses as he will tolerate everyday.
He's loved on 100% of the time. That's a stat that can't be topped!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I just have to say it.

Faith is hard!
I have people say to me from time to time, "I wish I had a faith like yours". I hesitate to tell them the truth, and that is that faith comes through trials and adversity, more often than not. My own faith has grown more in times when my world is falling apart than it ever has when things are going well and life is rosy. The times when I've had no strength to stand on my own, I've had to turn to someone. He has been there without fail, every single time. And my faith has increased.
When I've needed Him most; when there have been no answers; when tears and anger and sorrow consumed me, my faith has been enlarged and peace has flooded my soul.
Even though I have had to cling to my faith, it still is a hard thing for me to accept that sorrow and suffering are ways that God chooses to reveal Himself to us at times. I wish there were 'easier ways'. I wish that we could call on Him and He would snap His fingers or whisper a healing word and all would be right again.
But that's not the way God works. Although He can and He does sometimes. More often than not though, His ways are not the way we would choose or expect them to go. He has a plan and He has given us His Promise that He will make all things new. He is preparing a Heaven for us that will be a place without mourning, sorrow or pain. He holds us in His hands right now, and simply asks us to trust His ways.
I will be the first to admit that there's no better place to be than resting in His hands- trusting fully in His promises- but it's still hard. It's very, very hard.
My heart has been full this week for some friends who will be having a funeral for their baby tomorrow. My heart has been heavy as we pray for a relative and wait for the results of brain surgery- he's young, newly married and has a baby on the way. My heart aches at the losses of jobs and homes and families being pushed to the limits finacially and emotionally as the economy continues to struggle and affect so many lives. My heart is full of wishing and wanting things to be different so many times.
But I trust.
I rest in His promises.
I hold fast to the reality that there is more to this life than that which we can see.
There is Hope, and not just hope for tomorrow.
But Hope eternal.
And that, my friends, makes faith worth the pain and struggle and gives cause to endure.
He is Faithful.
He is Love.
He is Hope.
My heart is thankful that He is more than enough. He is all I need.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An unlikely pair...

Crew and Ava have quite the blossoming relationship as he has become increasingly mobile. They both love to spend time playing on the floor; I'm just surprised at how well they are playing together!
It started about a week ago as Crew discovered the clean laundry inside the basket. It was just sitting there tempting his little hands to pull the clothes through the slats on the sides. Ava watched him closely and 'tattled' on Crew, but grew more and more amused as he continued his new antics. She was delighted at his little game and it sort of "proved to her" that he is smarter than she first thought he was.
A couple of days ago Ava brought a bucket of play food up from downstairs and set up shop/restaurant in our front entry way. I heard her telling Crew to stay away in one of her sharpest tones, but he didn't listen. I fully expected her next yells to be "Mom! Crew's getting into my stuff!", but instead I heard her say, "Hello sir, may I take your order?". They've been playing McDonald's drive thru for two days now. It's so cute, I couldn't help but take photos and watch them both for a long time. Crew is happy to 'eat' whatever she sends out to him through the window, and Ava is happy to have a steady flow of 'customers'. It's a win-win I never would have expected, but am so pleased that it fell into place.
Ava started out sending him mostly baby items, but learned early on that Crew's favorite foods are the chicken nugget container and the pretend fudge sundae. He has skipped a nap or two because they have played together so long and so well.
I think Brock said it best this weekend, "God picked out and sent us the cutest, happiest baby ever!" Even as I type this post, I can hear Crew giggling as Chip plays with him on the bed. He has an infectious laugh and we all love it so much.
Now, if we could get him to start folding all that clean laundry, it be a match made in Heaven!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Celebrating Easter.

We colored our eggs yesterday, while Crew kept watch in his latest spot- the exersaucer. We were up, hunted eggs, ate chocolate, showered, dressed and arrived at church early enough to even have coffee and donuts. But, in all the excitement, I didn't manage to get a family picture. So, once home, I did snap one of me and Crew. And another of me and homemade Nutmeg Cheesecake whipped up by my hubby- who is doing really well on his fitness/nutritional plan. I'm proud of his will-power, even if mine fell prey to his dessert. It was worth every calorie.
Especially since it's the first food that has tasted good to me in over a week. I've still been fighting congestion/coughing, but I think as of today, I am much closer to feeling back to my normal self. Whatever that may be.
In celebrating Easter, I have to share a link to some thoughts on Christ and His resurrection. It is the very fact that He conquered death and gives each of us the eternal hope of Heaven that literally has seen our family through so much. Without the reality of His triumph over death, we would live with sorrow and pain. Instead, Christ assures us that death is only a temporary separation from God and one day those of us who trust in Him will live forever.
It is reason to celebrate, not just today, but each and everyday. He IS risen and lives! What a wonderful truth and Hope we have because of His great love and sacrifice! Amen!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Random #

Number 26 was chosen out of 27 comments. Congratulations, Kristi, on winning Tania's class. Thank you, to all of you, who left comments and shared your favorite signs of spring. I'm so anxious for longer, warmer days that can be spent outside! I miss having big bunches of rhubarb in my backyard though. That was always one of mine AND Teagan's favorite thing about spring. We would pick big stalks off the bush and dip it in sugar. It usually peaks in May. I love spring.

How about a chance to win a free class?

I haven't left my house in 9 days, as of today. We still have some semi-sick people here and aren't back to normal quite yet. I didn't even mention that Wyndham had pink eye and I've pulled a muscle in my back too. That's on top of all the other stuff. Needless to say, I've done very little picture-taking or anything else remotely fun around here for a long while now.
I have been on Facebook for a bit and through a connection there, I am able to offer a scrap class give away.
Here is a description and links for you with all the details you need to learn more about it:
In Loving Memory by Tania Willis (her blog link here)
April 9 - May 7
During this 5-week course (one session per week) Tania will help spur you on to create an album dedicated to a loved one you have lost, all the while encouraging you to be gentle on yourself through the process. She will provide prompts and challenges to help you get your thoughts in order and onto the page, as well as suggestions for selecting photos and how to overcome the dilema of not having many photos at all. In addition, page sketches will be offered and a variety of embellishment techniques will be taught along the way.

There's no better way than to complete a treasured project than in the company of a supportive teacher who is on her own journey of remembrance after losing her mom very suddenly and unexpectedly the summer of 2007.
“It’s scrapbooking as a healing therapy, not just art.”
Registration is open...follow this link to sign up.
Follow this link for some answers to FAQ's.

I think this would be a wonderful way to honor the memory of a loved one. Speaking of that, I invite you to pray for the Smith family today as it would be Audrey's first birthday if she were still here on earth with them. I'm sure it's a bittersweet memorial day for them. But a day to remember and rejoice too- because of the Hope of Heaven. I look forward to rejoicing with them around the throne. Someday.
In light of Easter and what Jesus did for all of us on the cross, it is such a tender reminder that there is so much more to this world than that which we can see. It's wonderful to make memories and hold on the the things we've lived through. But even greater- is the reality that God has a bigger plan. A far-more reaching plan that will bring glory and honor to His name forever.
That's a thought that makes my heart race. I hope it does the same for you!
Now, for a chance to win a spot in the above-posted class, please leave your name and tell me what your favorite sign of spring is. I'll do a random pick for the winner by 10 pm tonight. Good luck!

Friday, April 03, 2009

If you're coming over, bring some Tylenol.

I think, as of this morning, I've beaten my fever. But I still have fun coughing fits at times, and ache pretty much all over. Ava is still down for the count, as are Wyndham and Crew. This has been one of the most miserable weeks in our home in a long time.
I never mentioned that our furnace went out and we awoke to temps in the 50's on Monday morning. Of course, the part that needed to be replaced was covered under warranty until about 6 months ago. Don't you love those kinds of hassles in life?!
Still, I'm hoping the worst of our week is over. Next week the kids are on spring break. We're supposed to be getting snowfall here in Michigan. I'll take healthy kids and snow over this week. If you happen to be following Stellan's story, you know that what I've been dealing with all week is nothing compared to that. Thankfully we serve the same God and I am praying He will choose to get us all back to "normal" very soon!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I'm ruining Chip's birthday today by still running a fever and aching all over. It goes up to 102 degrees when I let the meds wear off. On top of that, I gave it to Ava now too. Last check, she was at 102.7 and she threw up her does of Tylenol. Nothing like having to clean up after a sick kid when you're sick yourself! But I figured that was the best gift I could give Chip today. Sad, but true.
I had thought of uploading a positive pregnancy test and seeing how many of you would scream outloud before reading the words, "April Fools". But with the aches and chills, I don't have much leftover energy for humor.
You can help me out by leaving Chip some happy birthday wishes here today. And hopefully we'll all be eating cake to celebrate a bit late very soon.
Happy Birthday, Chip...xoxo.