Never Forget


Children in heaven. 
Babies we never got to hold (yet). 
Burying our kids. 
We will never forget. 

It was 2 years ago this week that we lost a baby through miscarriage for the first time. 
Grant David. 

Of course we didn't know then that we would lose 2 more babies in the next 18 months. 

And of course we didn't know that we would now be expecting again.

The first time was the hardest. 
Caught completely off guard. Grief. Depression. Despair. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Learning to trust God in the dark.
Finding the solid rock of faith beneath our feet 
when all else seemed to fall away. 

But here we are. Two years later. 
God has walked with us through the difficulties. 
God has renewed our hope. 
God has given us a deep longing for heaven, as flesh-of-our-flesh and bone-of-our-bone are already there in heaven waiting for us. 

I wouldn't wish what we've been through upon anyone. 
And yet I can see how we've grown through it and how God is proven faithful through it. 

Grant, Hope and Isaac. 
We love you and miss you! 
We'll see you soon enough 
when we all walk with the Lord for all eternity.

Pregnancy - 16 Weeks


16 Weeks Along

Have gotten to the point of not being so tired, not needing an afternoon nap just to make it through the rest of the day.

Still have rare bouts of queasiness, but overall feel really good. Occasionally there is a smell that just hits me wrong, making me immediately gag or completely throw up.

Walking down the steps to our basement has caused me to gag for many weeks now - something about the musty smell. But our laundry is in the basement, so I need to go down there on occasion :-)  The solution: taught my daughter how to do all of the laundry. She's on top of it and I'm not having to face the basement! Win, win!  

I am officially wearing maternity clothes now. I have pulled out those that I already owned and am borrowing some from friends. It feels like a whole new wardrobe, which is fun. It's been 6 years since I've worn maternity clothes, you know?! 

Yeah for queasiness and growing bellies - good signs of a healthy pregnancy! I'm so thankful for the privilege! 

We all love you, Baby Flutter, 
even if Dad is a little jealous of the weekly photos!

4H Fair Project


My son recently made a project for the 4H fair. 
I love that they have projects for little ones - they call them CloverBuds and Mini 4-H when they are younger than 3rd grade (that is when they can take part in "real" 4H, competing against others). The little ones do simple projects and everyone gets a ribbon (no competition). 

My son had trouble deciding which project to choose this year, out of the idea book with about 2 dozen different choices. In the end, he chose the same thing he did last year: making something out of homemade playdough.

He chose blue again (his favorite color).

I do like the homemade playdough over the store-bought stuff. Ours is very soft and stays soft. It's also very easy to make.

The homemade playdough led to an hour or so of playdough fun before he settled on what he wanted to make for the actual project: cookie cut-outs of farm animals and a few other random shapes. 


Diaper Stockpiling


Now that we're past the riskiest time of pregnancy as far as miscarriages go, it seems that we're having a baby in December! That means that it's time to start thinking and planning ahead. One of the things I can do now to prepare for baby is stock up on diapers when they are on sale.

CVS has a good deal on diapers this week. Buy $30 worth of baby products, then receive $12 in Extra Care Bucks (like a CVS gift card to be used for future purchases). Items included in this deal: Huggies and Pampers diapers are both $9.49, Huggies wipes are $3.00, Desitin diaper cream, Johnson's baby oil, as well as numerous other baby products included.

There are numerous coupons out there for Huggies and Pampers diapers right now that can be paired with this sale. I also had $4 Extra Care Bucks from a previous purchase that I used. I also received a promotional coupon from CVS for $4 off a $20 purchase, which I also used. In the end, I spent $17 out of pocket and got the $12 Extra Care Bucks to be used in the future. That makes it almost like spending just $5 to get 3 packs of diapers and a package of wipes. Good deal! also has occasional deals on diapers, so I've been watching those and using Amazon gift cards that I've earned through Swagbucks to get those for cheap or free too. 

 A few random points on diapering:

*I buy size 2 diapers whenever possible. My babies tend to be large, almost beyond the size 1 diapers at birth. Babies generally are in the size 2 diapers for most of the first year, so that is the size I stock up on. 

*Huggies are my preferred brand, with Pampers as a second. I've never had much success with Luvs. 

*I will combine both disposable diapers and cloth diapering with the new baby. I tried cloth diapering with my 5-year-old son back in the day and still have most of the supplies. I found cloth diapering to be a way to save major money, so I plan to go that route again.

Garden Update


It's been a few weeks since I've posted a garden update. Everything is growing and looking so good! 

Our corn is knee-high and looking good. We've also got some cucumbers and cantaloupe coming in.

We continue to have lettuce daily, along with plenty to share with neighbors and friends. In the picture, the lettuce is on the far right, cut off the picture. But it's very bright green and leafy. On the left is broccoli, which hasn't produced any heads yet but should be close. In the middle... turnips, I think. Nothing yet from them either, in terms of anything edible. Lots of green in the garden... besides lettuce, we're still waiting for the parts we can eat!

Our beans are getting taller and vine-ier, but no signs of beans quite yet. There should be some actual beans soon. The tomato plants are looking good, but need a few more weeks before they'll be producing tomatoes.

 We've had beautiful weather for the garden this year. Last year was super-hot and drought conditions. I know of some places this year that have been saturated with rains. We have had a great season so far - good amount of sun, but not too hot. Some rain, but not too much. 
Perfect summer weather so far this year!

Happy gardening!

Family Photo Friday


Friday has rolled around once again, which is when I try to post some family photos. Here are a few recent ones.

I've been doing some "school" with my son. Nothing heavy, but some work with letter recognition and sounds. On this particular day, we talked about the short i and short a sounds. I would say a word (like hit or igloo or hat or apple) and he would hold up the letter sound that he heard. 
A fun way to learn sounds.

Cousin Racquel was over last weekend for a sleepover. She and my daughter dressed up for church on Sunday in these similar dresses. They are both 9 years old right now... until my daughter turns 10 in August. 
Turning into quite the young ladies, though they have always loved playing dress-up together.

This was just plain silly. I got a mailer from Blue Bunny ice cream with a coupon for a FREE box of ice cream bars. Yummy and thank-you! My daughter found this pop-up part of the mailer, ripped it off and pretended it was a real ice cream bar. I took a picture just for fun. It does look real, but it was totally just paper in her hand. 

Happy Friday to you!

Pregnancy - 15 Weeks


15 weeks along. 

Still some lingering morning sickness, but it is improving.

Each day I am slightly more energetic than the day before, thus accomplishing more and resting a little less. Still needing (and taking) a daily nap, however.

Sorted through maternity clothes this week. Though I don't need them all the time, I wore true maternity pants for the first time this week.

Found my pregnancy journal from 6 years ago. Was interesting to read through those entries, to compare this pregnancy with that one, so far.

Felt what *might* have been baby movements this week, but I'm not 100% certain that's what they were. It is about that time, though, that they'll start and only get stronger, Lord willing. 

Next doctor visit: at 17 weeks

Looking forward to: baby movements that I'm certain of! 

We love you, Baby Flutter!

2013 - Year of Babies


I'm sure it's random and it's just me. Or maybe there's some God-thing behind it, which I've not figured out yet. But I find it incredible that I know no less than 20 people - closer to friends, not distant acquaintances - who are having babies this year! Yes, count them - 22 folks!
2013 is a year for babies! 

Tim & Kelly welcomed baby boy Colin in January

Brett & Natasha welcomed baby boy Traeson in March

Dusty & Angela welcomed baby boy Zachary in March

Nick & Senja welcomed baby girl Kate in March 

Adam & Karina welcomed baby boy Mogan in April 

Dave & Jami welcomed baby girl Heidi Joy in April 

Gabo & Emily welcomed baby boy Sebastian in May

Nate & Tricia welcomed baby girl Annabel in May 

Joseph & Merry welcomed baby boy Benjamin (not Jesus) in May :-)

Chris & Kimberly welcomed baby girl Christina in June

Doug & Christina are awaiting their baby girl

 Andrew & Anna are awaiting their baby boy

 Rob & Oksana are awaiting their baby boy

John & Kate are awaiting their newest addition

Aaron & Candace are awaiting their baby girl 

Seth & Leah are awaiting their newest addition (which will be #6 for them - hooray for big families)

Jon & Bekah are awaiting their newest addition

Will & Stephanie are awaiting their newest addition

Dan & Laura are awaiting their newest addition

Nick & Lesley are awaiting their newest addition

Tim & Melissa are awaiting their double-blessing twins

And we're expecting too!

I can't explain it, but there's a baby boom going on, at least within my circle of friends! How thankful we are for new life, for generations to come, for the privilege of being parents. What a joy!

Strawberry Pickin'


One day last week we met up with my friend Leah and her kids for a morning of strawberry picking! What fun we had! 

Two of the 5 kids between us even said "This was the best day of my entire life," they enjoyed it so much. 

All of the kids were excellent helpers, enabling us to pick all the berries we wanted in about one hour - perfect timing, before any of the littler kids started melting down.

We got SO many strawberries and the price was excellent - $20 for all of these! These were just the berries I took - Leah got an equal or greater amount as well.

We spent most of the next 24 hours working on strawberry jam and there's plenty of it! We're definitely set for the next year as far as strawberry jam goes!

This was the first time that Leah or myself had ever been strawberry pickin' but it won't be the last! We have a new June activity that the kids loved (that included free healthy snacks) and we had a lot to show for the one hour of work. 

Pregnancy - 14 Weeks


14 Weeks Along

Still battling morning sickness. In fact, had my worst bout just this week. I'm hopeful the queasiness will subside soon.

Starting to feel a little more pep, so I'm accomplishing slightly more each day. I felt very drained the last few weeks, so it's good to have a little more energy. 

Next doctor visit is still 3 weeks away, barring any problems. 

Looking ahead to: feeling those first baby movements

We love you, Flutter! 

Farewell to Weezy


This is a sad post to write. 
A few days ago our pet bird Weezy flew the coop, literally.

We've owned Weezy for 3 years or so. She's brought much joy to our household, especially to our kids and to guests in our home. Dozens of friends that visit us have enjoyed seeing Weezy too. Last year, we even took Weezy to a Show-and-Tell class at our homeschool co-op and we taught the other children a bit about what it's like to care for a pet bird. 

About 2 years ago we started letting Weezy fly around our house. She enjoyed her freedom. She had favorite places to perch, such as curtain rods in the dining room and the playroom. She navigated throughout the house well, always knowing how to get back to her cage. We often would leave her cage door open, so she could come and go as she pleased. She was a happy bird, enjoying the freedom she had in our home. 

Last week I had windows open, with screens closed, to let in the breeze. Weezy was out flying around, as usual. She perched by the window, which she often did, and was chirping with the birds outside. Never before had she pecked, chewed or gnawed at the screen. But on this day, she did. We didn't notice. When we left the room, Weezy stayed by the window, pecking away at the screen. About an hour later, my daughter was frantic as she realized that Weezy pecked a hole in the screen big enough to fly out and Weezy was gone! 

We spent the rest of that day in the backyard calling for Weezy, blaring a recording of her chirps and tweets. But Weezy was gone for good. We didn't see or hear any hint of her still being within hearing range during our search.

Farewell, Weezy! We miss you.

PS: These thoughts immediately came to mind about Weezy's escape to "freedom." Weezy loved the freedom she had in our home, but she didn't realize it was limited freedom. She was free and safe, because there were walls of security, boundaries that kept her safe. She sought more freedom, the complete freedom of the outdoors. But she was not prepared for that freedom. She knows nothing of predators, of hunting for food, of cold nights. This reminds me of young people who seek freedom way before they are ready for it. Little do they know - when they decide to run away or try to make it on their own - what a big, dark world it is out there. There are predators lurking about that they aren't prepared for. There is responsibility to be had. Hard work to be done to stay alive "out there" in the land of complete freedom. While freedom may be limited at home, it is a safe place. The walls provide safe boundaries and parents should provide the training necessary to prepare young people for the world out there, which they will enter in due time. It was not Weezy's time, but she chose a life of complete freedom. Now, however, I bet that she would gladly trade the life she is living, wherever it is out there in the wild, for the freedom and safety she had in our home. The security of walls. The boundaries that provide safety.

Garden Update


The garden. 
I personally have been doing very little work with it. Despite my absence, it's doing just fine - thanks to my husband, who faithfully tends to it. 

In the last week or so, we've enjoyed lots of fresh lettuce and radishes. The radishes are already done and their spot in the garden has been cleared out! They grow fast - we planted them in mid April and before mid June they were totally harvested and done! My husband and daughter enjoyed eating them in salads and we shared dozens of them with other friends and neighbors.

Everything else is growing well. The broccoli looks like it will be ready soon. Same goes for the turnips. Bean plants are shooting upward, ready for a trellis to climb. Corn is on target to be knee-high by the 4th of July... or taller. 

Our garden remains a source of joy to our family. My daughter is enjoying helping Daddy with it more and more. Sharing the harvest is one of the best things about summer - a great opportunity to bless neighbors. And of course we are able to enjoy the fruits of our labors at the dinner table as well. It really is a joy!

Is it Time to Rejoice, Yet?


The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 that there is a time for everything. 
For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.

I find myself asking "Is this the time to rejoice?"

For many weeks I've been telling anyone who asks that I want to get to the 13-week of pregnancy before I will feel that I can relax. I wanted to turn the calendar to June and have another check-up and ultrasound, just to be sure. Then, I said, I will be able to exhale after holding my breath for 2 months. 

Do you hear it? That's me. Ex....hale.....

We've made it! This baby, whom we call Flutter, has made it further than my last three did. I lost the last three to miscarriages in the first trimester, between 6 and 10 weeks. We're now at the start of the second trimester, where the general risk of miscarriage drops dramatically.

Maybe, just maybe, this baby will be joining our earthly family in December. Maybe, just maybe, I can now let my mind go places I didn't allow it before (to maternity clothes, to buying diapers, etc).

Thank you, Lord, for the privilege!

13 Years Ago


Recently my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. How we thank God regularly for the blessing of our marriage, for the unity we share, for the life God has given us, for the adventure that continues to lie before us.

13 years. Feels like forever ago. We've been parents for almost 10 years. My husband has been a Master's student for two different periods, spending 8 of our 13 years in school either full-time or part-time. We've lived in 2 apartments and 2 different homes. We've lived in 2 states. We've owned a half dozen different vehicles. We've faced job hunts, unemployment, infertility and miscarriages, years of plenty and years of want.

What will the next 13 years hold? More children? Seeing our children grow up, graduate, move out? More moves? Job changes? Medical challenges?

Of course, nobody knows what the future holds. No more than we did when we were first courting in 1998, as in this picture. We had no idea what God would have in store for us. 

But we commit before God and all witnesses that we will be together until death do us part. Our love grows stronger through each storm we pass through. Come what may, we will cling to one another and to our God, for His glory and our good.



Last week we were out of town. While spending some time at my mom's house in Wisconsin, we pulled out a few "old" games. It was a great opportunity to reminisce as well as teach my daughter how to play something "new."

In my teen years and later, my family often played the game Balderdash. Players make up fake definitions of words and try to convince the other players that their definition is the correct one. Can lead to lots of laughs, depending on how seriously the players take their role. 

 Another game we pulled out was Boggle. My daughter, my mom and I enjoyed a few rounds of this game together.

But the best game that we enjoyed was Clue, a good old 70s version game board and all.

This game was a real nail-biter! 

Lots of fun and games make good memories!