Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This Little House

I remember walking into this house for the first time. I can't remember what number house it was, but I looked at on my birthday 7 years ago...in the midst of a day where I looked at over 13 houses without Nick. The realtor and I driving around a town that was foreign to me, looking for a house to make our first home.

We had lived in 3 apartments in our short time of being married and each had had positives and negatives, but this was going to be home. A place to paint, to decorate a nursery, to build a life in.

I remember walking through and knowing without a doubt that this was it. This was where our family would grow. I imagined kids growing up here, the space was perfect for kids to grow in.

Here we are 7 years later. We will move out 7 years after we closed on the house, just shy of 7 years from when we moved in. We did what we hoped, putting paint on almost every wall (only the half bath downstairs remains the same color as when we moved in). We decorated a nursery for Lucy, then for Murray, added a color to the girls room for Ginny and brought Wiley home here as well.

These walls have heard laughter and tears. We've had amazing gatherings of family, friends and youth. This house and yard have been such a gift to share with all those we love.

The location has been ideal. Close to church, walking to school once the kids were enrolled, a sledding hill down the street, parks, the pool and the library all within biking distance.

This place has been home.

It's surrounded by love. The best neighbors we could ever hope for. The type of neighbors you borrow, sugar and eggs from as well as many other random forgotten ingredients, gardening tools, other tools, their expertise and wisdom and most importantly their company, a listening ear and love. I will miss my neighbors more than words can express. They've helped me bandage wounds, driven me to the ER with a bleeding child in my lap, come to my rescue on countless occasions and been the people I've shared in daily life with.

I have spent the last 7 years of my life growing babies and nursing them. This phase of my life has been incredibly home based, focusing on my role as a wife and a mother. I've spent countless hours in this home growing babies and rocking babies. This home has certainly seen me at the greatest moments of my life and a few of the hardest. We've brought babies home here and had the heartache of never meeting a baby lost. I've seen each room of this house at every hour of the day. Walking the rooms with a restless baby or while laboring. I can close my eyes and picture the kids' rooms in moonlight, the warmth of a summer breeze coming through an open window and a newborn baby in my arms. I can picture my "big" kids asleep in their beds as I tuck them in one more time before I head to bed. I walk through the house and remember who bled where, who puked, the messes that were made, the projects created, the block towers built, the make believe worlds that were created and the cars raced across the floor and the imaginary battles fought.

As we leave this home after 7 years, Nick and I will be celebrating a decade of marriage. I feel like he and I have "grown up" here. Grown in our love and understanding of each other and of what a marriage is all about. We've learned how to fight here, fight with a purpose to reach a compromise and understanding. We've learned how to love unconditionally, to work towards a common goal and help each other be better and stronger than we could be as individuals.

This house, this home will be hard to leave.

God has a plan, a purpose in all of this. Heaven is our home. I know this. This house is only bricks and wood. Walls that will one day be destroyed. The memories, the love that was made here will carry with me. I have often been reminding Lucy in her tearful goodbyes that the love we have shared with people here has shaped who she is and will stay with her for the rest of her life. I know that is true for myself as well, but it is still tearful. Hard to say goodbye to a place that has been my world for 7 years.

This house has been our first home and I will forever carry it in my heart.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Murray Man is 6

I can't believe it's been 6 years since I became a believer that a girl can fall in love with a boy in an instant. That moment I held you, stared into your eyes and made a final debate about your name. I'm so glad we chose Murray, you're such an amazing Murray Man and it suits you so well.

You're such an amazing little man Murray. You are kind, sensitive and full of life and love. You are all boy, loving anything rough and tumble, competitive in almost everything you do. You love your bow and arrow, nerf guns and wrestling and fighting "ninja style". You also can spend hours building with legos, kicking a ball or racing around in the backyard.

I am so proud of who you are growing into. You are considerate of others and are extremely well attuned to others wants and needs. This is evident everyday in the way you play so kindly with Ginny and Wiley and on occasion used against Lucy to "push her buttons" and get her fired up, but usually you get along well with her also.

We celebrated your birthday a few days early while up in Traverse City with a Moomers ice cream cake and great friends around. The Bauer's and the Troxel's. It was fun to share your special day with them since your actual birthday Daddy had to leave for a trip.

We love you Murray Man, I can't believe you're 6! I can't believe what a smart, funny, sensitive, and strong young man you are becoming. I can't wait to see what this next year of life has in store for you. It is a joy to share  life with you and watch you grow.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wiley-12 Months-1 year Old!

Can it be that it's been 12 months already? A whole year since I woke up knowing you were going to arrive? Then after just a few short hours of labor and 3 quick pushes they placed you on my belly, seeing you on the outside it was love at first sight. I remember such great joy of meeting you, of knowing you, of finally holding you and seeing all the goodness that had grown inside of me. 

Oh Wiley. We love you so much. We call you "smiley Wiley" and you live up to that name each and every day. You are so relaxed and easy going. You appease your siblings and only squawk when they overstep and take things a tad too far. You love to bop around to music, walk and climb most of the time and just be near people and interact with them. 

Lately you like to bend over and "stand" on your head...a few times it's even led to a somersault. Everywhere we go people comment on how easy going you are, how good natured and happy you always seem to be. I just keep saying you're that perfect 4th baby, the baby God knew we needed to complete our family. Love you little man!

You love to read books, love to snuggle, love to pick something up and pretend it's a gun...I know, seems crazy, but you watch your brother do it and you try  your hardest to make noises just like he does. You really try to mimic the way the older kids play and they think that's a blast. 

You love clapping and smiling. Love sunglasses and phones. 

You still have your 4 teeth on top and 4 on bottom with quite a few more sitting just under the gums...I can see patches of white lining your gums waiting to break through. 

You love to eat. You're loving all the summer fruits and berries, really enjoy peas and carrots, but your absolute favorite food is chicken. Yum, you can not get enough. You'll eat spicy things and then rub your tongue and yell until you get a drink. You're very adventurous like that. 

You're growing bigger and stronger. Weighing in at just over 20 lbs. 

I can't believe it's been a year. Happy Birthday little man. We love you always and forever and are so thankful you are ours.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lucy is 8! Eight is Great!

I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Psalm 139:14

That verse dear Lucy girl was on your birth announcement 8 years ago, I will also mention that you were the only child whom I actually mailed birth announcements for...but that's what you get for being the first.!

What a sweet, spunky girl you have grown into. I can never forget the day you made me a mom, how my world changed, how my universe grew and how you opened my eyes to instant, unconditional love, constant worry about someone elses' needs over my own, and indescribable joy. 

I look at who you've grown into and it amazes me. You are compassionate for other people, you're passionate, you're emotional, intense and incredibly creative. You continue to amaze me with how you see the world and insights you share. 

This year you are taking art classes, swimming lessons and piano. You work hard at all of them and each of your teacher's has great things to say about you. You've blossomed in second grade and are becoming a true leader. 

At home you love your siblings. You are sweet and playful with Wiley, goofy and playful with Ginny and a great companion for Murray...when you aren't arguing the way brothers and sisters do. 

Recently you were in the talent show at school and we were all incredibly proud of you. Proud not only of your talent of piano playing, but of your strength and confidence to go on the stage alone and play. 

You are strong, you are gentle. You are wild and quiet. You are spunky, you are sweet. 

You are growing into a young lady. Your lifetime of 8 years is amazing to me. It seems like just yesterday I held you in my arms in amazement of the tiny person you were. Today you growing too big for my lap. Your giggle brings me joy and I truly enjoy your company and sharing in life with you. 

I am so thankful the Lord chose you for our family and I am excited to see what HE has planned for your days ahead.

I love you Lucy girl, my first, sweet baby girl. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wiley-10 months old!

10 months old! Wow! Even though I didn't let you turn 9 months old (there was no 30th last month, so I forbid it),  you just kept growing, so I agreed that today you could turn 10 months old. I mean, it would be odd to celebrate your first birthday in June and since you insist on growing, I guess i can't fight it...

So, 10 months old. I have pictures to post from previous months, really I do! You my dear child are such a joy these days. You are into everything, into cabinets, drawers, stairs, standing at the window, lifting the toilet seat multiple times a day (potty training Ginny has been a whole new experience with you around...I'm pretty sure my boxing out is NBA worthy...or at least March Madness worthy).

You still only have 8 teeth...ha! only! They are bigger and sharper and you use them so well, you use them while nursing, on my shoulder, on my legs, on the high chair, oh and for food as well...

You are crawling EVERYWHERE! You're fast too! You are standing. The big kids all clap for you and get so excited when you stand on your own. You're close to taking steps...Daddy and I call it falling with style. You just can't get the balance and speed thing under control yet, but soon you'll be cruising. You're already cruising around furniture and one of your favorite places is at the front window looking out at the sky and playing with the dollhouse. I can't wait until the leaves are on the trees and you get to see something bright and beautiful out the window and experience warmth outside! It's been an incredibly cold winter. 

Your smile is amazing. Your eyes light up when you see any of us and it is such a joy. 

Your personality is complex. You have a quietness about you, but you are also fierce and incredibly stubborn. We certainly know what you want. 

This month has brought on your first double ear infection :( But you've handled it like a champ. You also have graduated to only wearing your helmet at night and we love seeing your hair again! Soon we'll check on your kidneys and we continue to pray for them to grow healthy and strong. 

Your siblings adorn you with love. They are so good at playing with you, making you laugh and engaging you in different types of play. You have almost given up on the baby toys, trading them in for super heroes and doll house characters (including Mickey and princesses). 

You're eating great! We've traded in most of the baby food for finger food, although we try to get some baby food in to pack in the calories so you sleep better (I'm starting to notice a difference with that!). You are a super fast nurser these days, not wanting to miss the world around you, but still snuggle in when you're tired and ready to sleep. 

I am SO enjoying watching you grow. I think back to the itty baby you were not too long ago and I am amazed to see that baby melting away and a toddler slowly appearing in front of me. I say slowly, but it is in reality happening way too fast. 

Slow down sweet boy. Let me enjoy a few more months of snuggles before you get too fast for me. I love you little man and can't wait to see what adventures this month will bring us!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I love about my littles


Chubby little hands that grab my fingers while he nurses and my pant legs while he struggles to stand on his own. 

Smiles from across the room and his eyes that light up as he crawls toward me. 

The look of mystery on his face as he puts something in his mouth to discover if it's delicious or what it feels like. 

That little toothy grin.

His hair. Oh his hair. Taking the helmet off and seeing his hair. 

Little toes, chubby thighs and rosy cheeks. 

Raspberries for kisses. 

The way he eats, the way he thinks about it, chews it and decides if it's good or not.

Reading books and tasting them.

Standing at the window, barely peeking out and staring into the sky.

Headbutts for love.

Now onto Ginny:

Her slimy, sweet and affectionate kisses on my cheek or as she grabs my face and kisses my lips. 

Her laugh, that infectious laugh. 

Her stories, her explanations of the world around her. 

Her singing and dancing. 

Her need for dresses, to be in something sparkly and beautiful. 

Her love for praying and her siblings. 

Her desire to do whatever I am doing.

Being close to me, wanting to mimic my every move. 

Her joy in the little things of everyday.

Her emotions when something doesn't go her way. 

This is my list. My list of things that I will miss when my littles grow beyond today. Because I see it slipping away, but in my state of exhaustion I sometimes let myself get caught up in the hard stuff, the tantrums, the teething, the runny noses and the "I DO ITs!" of the day, and I'm afraid I'll miss these last moments I have with these littles. Soon enough they'll be as big as my bigs and I'll be sending them to school and I will love the new adventure, but I will miss these moments of cuddling and growing every moment together. 

So, today, on a hard day I am writing a quick list in a brief moment of quiet, of the things that I LOVE about the right now. About the hard day at home, so I remember to cherish it, to take it all in, before they move on to whatever comes next! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wiley-8 months

Here it is, you're 8 months old and I haven't even posted your 7 month pictures yet (your 6 month ones long forgotten). It's happening too fast and the time just seems to be ticking away. While this winter has been filled with freezing cold days, lots of snow and a longing for spring, I can't help but hope spring takes it's time arriving, because with the warmer weather comes my last little man's first birthday. Sigh.

Here's what we've been doing this month. January was filled with COLD days, lots of cold days. Lots of days of staying home to stay warm. Lucy and Murray had days off school almost every week because of the cold and while it didn't help us keep a routine, it did help you be entertained. You're loving your older siblings and they're loving you.

Lucy and you have a special bond. She has decided you're hers and she plays with you each day. Making sure the 2 of you have some time just for each other. She likes to help you "walk", holding you in a standing position and moving you around the room. She also lets you sit on your belly and you bounce up and down while she holds your hands. You always seem to have lots of smiles and laughs for Lucy.

Murray is your tough big brother. He loves to play with you and it's usually a gentle rough. Murray uses you in all forms of his fighting against bad guys....sometimes he even assigns you the roll of evil villain! You oblige happily and smile as he pretends to defeat you, unless of course it really does get rough, then you alert us all right away!

Oh Ginny. You and Ginny are together day in and day out. You share your space quite well together and she lovingly refers to you as "My Baby Wiley". You're starting to find your place, giving her kisses, pulling her hair and taking her toys, but she does enjoy having you around and often shares with you throughout our playtime. She also helps keep you safe, telling you "No baby Wiley, don't go  by the stairs" or "No baby Wiley, don't eat that!" Ginny also enjoys helping to feed you and tells me when you need a diaper change...recently she's started blaming you when she has a stinky diaper as well.

You're getting so big, you're moving around, often on all fours or on your hands and feet trying to push around or hold yourself up, but your preferred method of moving still seems to be the army crawl and man are you fast at it!

You're finding mischief more and more, opening cupboard doors, eating every small piece of lint on the floor and attempting to explore the stairs. I can tell that while you're very mild mannered you have an element of curiosity that is going to make your toddler years and adventure.

You've been waking more often during the night, but then in a single night 2 teeth popped out in a single night just a day after 1 had popped through. At 8 months old you have 2 teeth on bottom, 3 up top with a 4th just aching to come out. If we keep going at this rate you'll have all your teeth by 1 (hopefully things slow down a bit...)

We love you little man. I know I say it every month, but your daddy and I just can't imagine life without you in it. You bring us so much happiness and joy. These past 8 months have been flying by and I'm trying my best to enjoy each sleepless night, and crazy day because I know it will be gone before I know it. My newborn baby, and small little infant are disappearing before my eyes and a toddler is slowly starting to take over...I'll keep you little as long as I can, but I know you're growing way too fast!

Friday, January 17, 2014


I like the idea of choosing a word for the year. I've done it the last few years. 2012 was intention, last year, although I didn't "publicly state" it, the word was survive. This year, I've decided to focus on TRUST.

Merriam Webster defines Trust as the
belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

So, in 2014 I will be working on trust. I will trust the people around me more. I will trust my circumstances and mostly I will work on trusting all these things to God. Allowing my questions, my doubts and my thoughts of what is "right" to be put to the wayside and trust His plans for me.

Things are calming down in our world. No babies this year, no big changes in anyone's school, our day to day is becoming normal again and I find that's when my lack of trust can hold me back or become more evident. I can become anxious in the small things, waiting for something bigger, questioning if this is good, or if someone is honest or reliable, questioning if I am effective.

So, this year, I will trust.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wiley-7 months old

7 months old! It happened again! and AGAIN we were traveling while you slowly grew up, hit another milestone...another month gone...another month closer to growing up.

You're SO big Wiley man, and this month was a big month for you.

You had a GREAT ultrasound and visit with your urologist Dr. Wan. He was so impressed with the improvement your kidneys have made that he decided to do another ultrasound in April instead of waiting only 3 months and doing a repeat in February. Hooray! (and Mommy showed off her ultrasound skills, because even though the technician wouldn't tell me anything I came home and told Daddy..."I know they're getting better, there was a lot more gray than black in his kidneys, I think the fluid is a lot less this time!" and I was right! Thanks for teaching me so much about kidneys on ultrasound little man!)

You also had a great head growth. You're making leaps and bounds with your helmet and as soon as we have one more growth spurt for your diagonal rations you should be helmet free! You'll be glad to show off your hair which is growing in darker and thicker, but I think deep down you'll miss seeing Miss Molly for helmet adjustments, you can't take your eyes off her when we're there.

Besides these medical milestones, you're growing in so many ways. You're almost 20 lbs. already, you're soooo close, but just haven't crossed over yet. You're sitting up on your own. You love to sit with a basket of toys in front of you and squeal as you play.

You're rolling, army crawling, and up on all fours bouncing your bottom around and even jumping off your legs...but still no conventional crawling. I have no worries, you'll get it, and when you do you'll be FAST and I'll have to put up gates. For now, you get where you want to go and we can let you roam free.

You travel like a champ. You must be our best car rider and our best sleeper when we're traveling...it's amazing! You had a great time in St. Louis visiting the Troxel's and ringing in the New Year. On our way we visited Greta and Tom and they took us swimming for your first time and you seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. You love their puppies and all the extra love and attention you get when we visit people.

You still only have 2 teeth on bottom, but I think those top ones are starting to move, you've been chomping quite a bit lately and I'm excited to see when those top teeth make an appearance.

You're eating everyday now, you've tasted lots of food with squash being your favorite. You've tried sweet potatoes, green beans, mangos, bananas, apples, and carrots. (maybe a few more I can't remember). You love to eat, excitedly opening your mouth for each bite and lately you've enjoyed grabbing your spoon between bites. Your siblings love to feed you and while it makes things a bit messier, you laugh with them as they do it.

We love you to the moon and back Wy guy. It's such an honor to watch you grow, to see hints of your personality coming out and grow. You're such a cheerful, content baby, determined when you're trying to get something and observant of the crazy world that surrounds you. I'm thankful each day for the gift you are to me.