Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Snowy Day at Home

As many of you know, we got dumped on again with several inches of snow earlier this week. The excitement of getting snow isn't quite there anymore as we draw closer to Spring, but when I woke up the morning after and looked across our land, it almost took my breath away...a beautiful blanket of white was over everything...every branch on every tree was coated. I just couldn't help but thank God for such a beautiful scene...even though I was tired of seeing snow, it reminded me of His ability to turn something that looks dead and barren into a beautiful masterpiece...and that is how he sees me even with all the ugliness of my sins. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

I've been teaching Caedmon a preschool curriculum this year at home on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. He is doing so well and I'm amazed at how much he's improved over the past several months. Kaiya sits in on it too and participates right along doing her own little papers as well. We focus on a letter of the alphabet each week and at the end of the week they get to put an alphabet animal next to that letter on the alphabet train in Caedmon's room. It's hard to believe that it's almost completely full already.

I know these days of having the kids home with me all day and doing things like school will soon be over, so I try to really cherish it.

Another highlight of my day is when one of them wakes up from their naps and they're still a little sleepy. I scoop them up and head right for the rocking chair. Yesterday, it was Caedmon who woke up first...he's never been one to want to cuddle so I take advantage of it every chance I can get. Precious!

So we hung out a little bit before Kaiya woke up.

Along with the joys of motherhood, there are those days that it's not such a joy. We had one of those days this week. I call it Spring fever...the kids are getting antsy along with their mama and I'm running out of things to keep them occupied. I was desperate this week and saw an idea in a magazine to make a flipping mechanism to launch paper balls into cups, well I didn't have all the right supplies and it didn't quite work right. As I was scrounging around in the garage, an old marble game collecting dust in the corner caught my eye. I brought it in, cleaned it up and they loved it and played with it off and on for hours. It was Kevin's when he was a boy. His Grandpa Herman made it for him. Perfect! Thank you Lord for rescuing me with something to take the place of the failed flipping thing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Roller Skating Party

Last night, our church had a roller skating party at Bell's Rink in New Haven. This roller skating rink has been around for years. I remember going there as a little girl when area church's would have a church skate night once a month and then when I was older our youth group went many times. Kevin and I even skated around that rink together hand in hand during our dating months...good memories. It was fun to take our kids and watch them learn to skate. We took Caedmon two years ago and he just wasn't ready yet and didn't enjoy it much that time. This time, we couldn't keep him off the rink. He loved it! Poor Kevin tripped over Caedmon one time and landed on the floor with one leg bent behind...skate wheels pointing up...bottom crashed down on skate wheels...OUCH! This was Kaiya's first time and there wasn't anything that was going to stop her from getting out on that rink with everyone else. She was so brave and did surprisingly well. For some reason though she wanted to suck her thumb a lot which she hasn't done for awhile...I think it made her feel more secure since her feet were unstable.
We invited our little brother, Immanuel along with his family and had a great time with all of them. Here is a picture of his oldest sister, Marquisha skating with Kaiya.
Kevin treated us all at the DQ afterward and moaned about his sore hiney all the way home.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bye, Bye, Blankie

Kaiya has been attached to a particular pink blanket for awhile now and we only would let her have it at night. It seemed to sneak it's way out of her room on frequent occasions lately and a couple weeks ago, she got a hold of the scissors. Before I could stop her, she cut two small holes in it. Well, it didn't take long for the small holes to turn into massive holes and the thing started to look like pretty ragged. She loves to throw things away...I've found several items in the trash that weren't supposed to be I told her she should just throw that blankie in the trash too since it's broken. So off she went to throw it away and came back again with blankie in hand and said "daddy can fix it." I replied "daddy can't fix it honey, it's broken...just throw it in the trash." She bravely marched over to the trash can and put that blankie right in the trash.

Being the sentimental person that I am, I snatched it back out and put it away for safe keeping to maybe turn into a memory quilt someday. She asked for it that night and I reminded her that she threw it in the trash and it went bye-bye. She remembered and went right to sleep.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free Babysitting

This is a picture of the first time my neice Maci babysat for our kids. Two years ago...she was only eleven at the time, but so responsible and mature. She has watched them several times since then and does such a great job. She watched them this past Saturday night for us while Kevin and I had a date night. We went to my favorite restaurant, Cork N' Cleaver, and had a wonderful candlelight meal. Kevin gazed in my eyes and told me all the things he loves about me...and I soaked it all in. After dinner we saw a movie and then had dessert at Applebee's. I love their maple blonde brownie with ice cream served warm and drizzled with white maple sauce. Yum! Everything was free for us that evening because we had gift cards for it all. That doesn't usually happen, so we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This is the certificate Maci gave us for Christmas. She's so creative and thoughtful. Whenever she comes to babysit, she usually brings along a bag of fun stuff for the kids to do. This time she brought movies and dress-up clothes for Kaiya.
She took these pictures while we were gone. I didn't even ask her to. Great idea, Maci! And when we get home, she always leaves a note to let us know what they did while we were gone. Whenever I tell the kids that Maci is going to babysit, they get so excited. She was able to spend the night that night and I found this note on the fridge in the morning.

She's so sweet, and I'm very proud of her.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day Family Meal

Last year, instead of Kevin and I leaving the kids and going out for a Valentine's date, we decided to start the tradition of having a family meal together that day to celebrate all together. The kids loved it and Caedmon has been asking about it ever since that first time. We invited my Mom & Dad to join us this year and had fun lovin' on each other.I made a Red meal consisting of stuffed shells, corn & bread sticks. And for dessert, chocolate fondue with strawberries, pretzels & marshmellows to dip. I think this is Caedmon's favorite part of the whole meal and I'm not sure how many marshmellows (or mushrooms as he would call them) he dipped, but the bowl was pretty empty by the end of the night.
When I was still living at home, my Mom would get a Valentine's Strawberry Yogurt pie from TCBY for our family for Valentine's Day...they were soooo good! Over the years, she has continued giving our family and my sister's family one each Valentine's Day. Last year, they stopped making them. So this year she created it herself and it tastes exactly the same...even better. You are awesome, Mom!

A special delivery came during the day for me & the kids and made a beautiful centerpiece for the table...three red roses for me and a pink rose for each of the kids. I think Caedmon put a bug in daddy's ear. We were on our way up to South Bend a few weeks ago, and out of the blue Caedmon declared to the whole van that Daddy was going to buy me flowers for Valentine's Day. Neither of us had mentioned anything to him about was cute how he figured it all out on his own. They're beautiful...thanks Honey!

Later that evening, my sister and her kids stopped in to pick some things up and we were able to give the kids their valentine's from us.

Now tonight Kevin and I get to have a date night and I'm REALLY EXCITED!! Maci is watching the kids for us and the whole night is going to be FREE! She gave us a gift certificate at Christmas for a night of free babysitting and we have gift cards for a restaruant & a movie. I love FREE!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

For God so Loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 This is Love: not that we Loved God, but that he Loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10 Let us remember the true meaning of Love this Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day!

"Certainly Jesus Christ is only very God, and if thou believe in Him, verily thy soul shall be saved" -Saint Valentine

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Girls Night Out

On Saturday, I went out to dinner and a movie with a group of friends. I got to know this group of friends a few years ago when we met once a month to scrapbook. We started celebrating birthdays together and have had get togethers including all the kids & husbands as well. I love these girls and appreciate their friendship so much. It's a blessing to be a part of a group of women that love the Lord and encourage each other through the good times & bad.

Nicole was our chauffeur and it was fun to all ride together in her minivan. After the movie we stopped by Starbucks for a cup of Joe to warm us up a bit. It cracks me up how we can all start laughing and not even know why we're laughing. It seems like it's usually Jayne that starts and before you know it we're all laughing. We had reservations here at 8:30 and had a great dinner accompanied by live Jazz music. We were celebrating the January & February birthdays. That included Jaime, Nicole & myself.

Looking forward to the next girls night out. Thanks for a great time!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Parenting Perks

Parenting is a hard job, and somedays as a Mom you just don't feel like anyone appreciates what you are doing to keep the family running smoothly. There are those little things that your children do that put a smile on your face or make you chuckle and remind you that yes, it's all worth it.

Kaiya loves to brush my hair and I love it too. She runs for the brush whenever she sees me sitting on the floor. It's so relaxing and she is quite the stylist. Notice the headband across her forehead. Recently, I asked her to wash my back while I was taking a bath. She spent fifteen minutes soaping and rinsing. I kept asking her if she was done and she kept saying "not yet, mommy." Almost put me to sleep.

The kids occasionally will come out of their rooms in the morning already dressed. It's nice if you don't mind the ensemble they've selected. Kaiya will usually change clothes three or four times before the day is over.

Love those red shoes...and the shirt looks great inside out with the tag in the front!

We were at the library last week in the magazine section. I was looking for the latest Family Fun magazine. Kaiya spotted this one at her level and said "It's you,'s you!"

Well needless to say, I walked out of that library feeling pretty good about myself thanks to my daughter. Hilarious!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma Lydia

Today would be my Grandma Lydia's 87th birthday. She died five years ago. I saw an idea recently in a magazine about remembering family members that have passed on before us -- on their birthdays. It gives you a chance to tell stories and show pictures of them to your children so they can know them too. You could even light a candle in their memory at the dinner table. What a wonderful woman my Grandma Lydia was...I can't even scratch the service of how amazing she was. A perfect example of a selfless woman of God. She believed in prayer and prayed fervently for everyone in her family. She loved to quilt and spent many hours making quilts to give to all of her grandchildren as a wedding gift...and there were a lot of grandchildren! When I was still in school, our family would spend a lot of Spring Breaks at their house. She lived in Southern Indiana about five hours was always warmer there...we felt like we were in Florida. We would make homemade noodles sometimes and there was always a big family get together when we could see all our cousins. I love her and miss her. Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Baked with Love

My mom came over yesterday and we baked Valentine cookies. I think Valentine's Day is probably my favorite holiday. I love having another excuse to spread a little love around. Caedmon has been talking about Valentine's Day since Christmas and asking if we could make some Valentine cookies.
Grandma Stoll also brought little Valentine treat bags for the kids...they were so sugared up last night, I thought they would never go to sleep.
Thanks for all your help, Mom! I love you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Winter Hike

On Sunday, our family took a winter nature hike in our woods. Kevin made a trail through it with his tractor a couple years ago. It was great to be outdoors as a family in the fresh air and the kids had fun exploring. We're usually in the woods during the summer and don't usually go back there in the winter. It was so peaceful & beautiful with the blanket of snow on the ground. Kevin pointed out deer tracks and bunny tracks.
Snow plus Kevin equals flying snow.

It's all fun though until someone gets hurt which is exactly what happened. Poor little innocent Kaiya got smacked in the face by a flying snowball thrown by her daddy. With a little comfort, she was soon having fun again.

Barkley was determined to be in this picture...he wouldn't budge.

We finally got Barkley to move and had him take this family picture for us. Very talented dog...amazing what he'll do for a doggie treat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Northwestern Awards Party

On Saturday afternoon we travelled north to the Northwestern Awards Party held at the Windsor Park Conference Center in Mishawaka. Kevin's business partner, Rob rode up with us. His wife, Jenny was supposed to join us as well, but unfortunately she had to stay home with sick kids. Dissappointing for me, as I always enjoy chatting with her... but we enjoyed the conversation with Rob and had a few laughs. We had the kids with us and planned to drop them off on the way at Grandma & Grandpa B's house. I have to brag on my husband a little now. I am so proud of all the accomplishments Kevin has made since joining Northwestern four years ago. It certainly has not come without lots of hard work and sacrifices. Those evenings when Kevin would get home late and I was home taking care of the kids again after having them all day were certainly not easy days...and I probably wasn't always the most supportive. Now he's usually home by 5:30 or 6...some days earlier and some days later. He didn't want me to take this picture, but I forced him. He walked away with the most awards that evening and I was very proud of him. The kids ask almost everyday why daddy has to go to work and I give them two make money and to help people. I'm grateful that his job gives him the opportunity to help others and that is fulfilling for him.