Friday, February 14, 2014

Why I love Valentine's Day!

There seems to be a growing number of love day haters these days.  Lots of people saying we shouldn't buy into this commercialized holiday.  I get it, but I still stand to say I love Valentine's Day!   I also love making my family feel special on their Birthday's.  I love seeing how the kids get excited over small, but special gestures on all the various holiday's. I love reminiscing over our love with my husband on our anniversary!   I love days that are a bit more special and different than than the norm. Some say that everyday we should express our love to those around us, and while that is true, I often fall short.

I don't necessarily think today is about the commercialized and store bought version of Valentine's Day.  I don't need those thing (although I do like my fair share of chocolate and flowers).  I love Valentine's Day because I have an extra opportunity and reminder to lavish love on my kids and husband!  

I have been so blessed with my little family!  Sometimes it is hard to believe that I've been blessed with this much joy!  My kids are incredible and mean the world to me!  I have the most hard working and selfless husband who I look forward to being with every day!  I have been blessed with the most wonderful gifts this world has to offer!  

So I look forward to today and the extra opportunity to express my love to my family.  They have added so much to my life and I would be empty without them.

Happy Valentine's Day. From my little loves to you! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It's His Birthday Recap!

We sure do love Birthday's around here and we all look forward to celebrating the birthday boy or girl!  

Eli's actual birthday we were up bright and early to surprise him with birthday cake waffles for breakfast!  

Something Peter and I enjoy doing for the kids birthdays is to take just the out for their day and do something fun with them.  One on one time with the kids is hard to come by so it is something that is greatly enjoyed by all of us!

First stop after dropping brother and sister off at Grandma's for the day was to lunch! Eli loves his french fries and chicken!

What Eli really wanted to do was go to the zoo but since the weather was very cold he was willing to settle for a movie.  He was so excited to see some snow falling on his day!  

Then we settled in to see Frozen!  Daddy and Mommy were even pretty excited about this movie!

After the movie it was off to the big toy store where Eli got to pick out his birthday present. It was a bit overwhelming but our big 3 year old knew exactly what he wanted. We were so surprised that it was not in fact superheroes leaving with us but a pretty cool wooden train set!

We had a few more fun birthday surprises up our sleeves but our poor little birthday boy was all tuckered out after a day full of fun. He really just wanted to get home to play with his trains.  So, since it was his day, we obliged.  

The day after his birthday it was off to the doctor for his 3 year check up.  He's growing great and even a bit above average now!  37 1/2" tall and 32 lbs. Way to grow Eli!  All was great even if our little man did get stuck with a diagnosis for asthma.  We knew it was coming and hopefully he'll out grow it in a few years like his daddy did when he was little. 

After a few more days of waiting, our little spider man got to have his big boy party!  Now there are two things our little guy loves - Building things and Spiderman.  Up to about a month ago, this party was being planned as a construction party before our little boy informed us that he was going to be having a spiderman party.  Oookay then!  So Spiderman it was and I must say it turned out pretty good and Eli was in heaven!

We got a little bit snowed in for our party, having the biggest snow fall for our area in several years. Unfortunately that meant that most party goer's couldn't make it but we still had a wonderful birthday party for our man!

My mom outdid herself yet again with the cake! 

Sabrina seemed like such a big girl just sitting in her chair watching big brother open his birthday presents!  All my kids are growing up far faster than I would like.

                                           Then it was time for some webbing fun!

                  And some birthday cake!  It was a fabulous party for a fabulous little boy!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

He's 3!

Somewhere, in the busyness of life we're back to February 4th.  The day I gave birth to this little sweet guy 3 years ago.

Those first few hours of your life are forever ingrained into my mind.  The days were tense and scary. But you were a tough little cookie!

And now here you are 3 years old!  You've grown up so much lately and have left the baby days behind in favor of super heroes and "fixing" things around the house.  You are a big helper and love to be mommy's sidekick.

You're so stubborn at times that some would think you were born of two stubborn parents.  You have the cutest little scowl that as much as you wish we would, we just can't take serious!

 There just aren't words quite right to describe you.  But the word that comes to everyone's tongue is sweet!  You have the sweetest little giggle and smile.  You spend most of your time content to play quietly with cars, or rescue bots, or your numerous tools laying around the house.  And we just can't get over that adorable curly hair!

You absolutely love Spiderman and there's just no other way to put it but you love everything that is "all boy".  You love balls and sports and wrestling and dirt.  Throw in some action figures and cars and you are good to go!  It is so fun to watch your personality and likes and dislikes develop as you begin to become your own person!

We love you spiderman!  You've brought us so much joy and more snuggles than we can count!  We're very blessed to have you in our lives and know you were a precious miracle that God watched over and protected for us.  He must have some big plans for you!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Our journey home has been more challenging than I expected. We left Ethiopia at 10:30 at night and spent the next 18 hours on that one plane.  It was a very long journey just to get back in the states.  My mind wanted to start processing but I just couldn't allow myself to go there yet.  So, I responded with two sleeping pills and cranking my music as loud as I could.  This worked well until about 17 hours into the flight and my ipod died (sad when the flight outlasts the ipod).  After that flight, we ran through the DC airport to just barely catch our connection (Thank you United for holding that flight, because the jerky TSA agent at Customs was not sympathetic).  Flew 2 hours to Chicago where by the time we made it to the gate, it was already time to board and then spent what felt like an eternal 5 hours on that plane.  Exhausted was an understatement.  As excited as I was to return to my babies, I did not expect such sadness and grief to be back on American soil.  My soul longs to be back in Africa already.  I didn't expect to wake up to tears rolling down my cheeks my first morning back here or to look forward to being on my FB in the early morning or late evening hours because it explodes with messages from new friends I met in Ethiopia. I feel broken.  And I guess I am.  Broken because that is right where God wants me to be right now.

My feet left Ethiopian soil 1 week ago.  And I miss it.  I miss it so much and honestly, that wasn't supposed to happen.  The days leading up to our trip, I was just looking forward to going and getting it over with so I could come home and get back to my life without this trip looming over me.  But now I don't know how to get back to "normal" life.  I don't want to go back to normal life.  My heart longs to be walking back through the streets of Korah because no matter how disgusting it was, I have never felt closer to God.  I normally would have been terrified of all the disease and sickness around me and yet in those moments the only thing I cared about was meeting as many needs as we could and sharing Jesus with these people.  There is still much work to be done there.

I long to be back with the orphaned children who are the most incredible kids I have ever met.  Who just long for someone to connect with them and give them a little bit of special attention. I want them all to know they are loved. I want more time with them.

  I know some of these feelings are normal as we return to our life in America. But I know us well, and feelings like this demand change in our lives. We're talking about things that I never in a million years thought we would consider.  Nothing in this world feels better than living in the center of God's will for your life.  We could live the rest of our lives with general happiness regardless but more than anything we long to live in God's will.  We're trying to decipher what that is right now.  So we pray.  I'm just now starting to scratch the surface of processing this trip.  I was mentally and physically just too exhausted this first week back home.  It's still a difficult task for me and I have to just take baby steps forward.  My heart is heavy and I want to do so much more.  This trip really was just the beginning!