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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Return of The Boppa.

There has always been something special between H and my dad, whom H lovingly refers to as his "Boppa".

I can't remember a time that we went more than week without seeing him. But my dad has been on a little California sabbatical for the last eight weeks, departing just days after Miss E's arrival.

We still connected. Our daily talks usually added up to two or three. And we webcammed here and there.

But it wasn't the same.

"When are you going to come over?" H asked each time he'd talk to him.

It was a reunion worth seeing yesterday.

A boy and his "Boppa". At McDonalds, of course.

And Miss E was all smiles for her Boppa too.
For H, there is nothing better than having Boppa home in Minnesota again. And I can't help but agree.
Welcome home, dad.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Little did I know that preschool would be such a big deal around these parts.

A few weeks back information came in the mail for the preschool that is affiliated with our school district. This is where we had tentatively (unknowingly) already had planned on sending H this next fall. I couldn't believe how bittersweet it was to open the flyer and read the information. On one hand, it's disbelief that it's already time for school for H, which is exciting, yet somewhat sad for me too.

On the other hand I was overwhelmed by the big decisions needing to be made.

Decisions that had to be made in TWO WEEKS.
Decisions being made in two weeks for something nine months away.

Yes, preschool registration happens nine months before preschool actually starts.
The choices for three year olds were plenty. One day or two days. Mornings or afternoons.

And that's just this particular preschool. We hadn't even contemplated other options, like the local church preschools. (Because then we start going through the pros and cons of this preschool vs. a Christian based preschool and then what denomination of a church is the Christian preschool, yeah. It's a process.)

Then there's the whole cost part.

The non-refundable application fee. (Not cheap.)

And then the cost of monthly tuition. (Which is a lot more than it was four years ago when M was in preschool.)

Though for the last several months I've been mentioning preschool here and there to H, we had never really made a decision on what we would do when it came time and I think I was completely torn on needing to make the decision this far ahead.

I know that H will LOVE school. He already loves going to ECFE (Early Childhood Family Ed.) and can't wait to get on that big yellow school bus a few years from now. But at the same time I sometimes start thinking, doesn't he have his entire life ahead of him to go to school?

J and I went back and forth in conversation. I didn't go to preschool as a kid, J did. I wanted H to go because I know he'd love it and J didn't know how much H would get out of it as a 3 year old.

Finally we decided that we'd at least sign him up and enter him in the lottery.

Yes, the lottery. There is no guarantee that H will get into preschool even when we register and pay our not cheap non-refundable application fee because it's a lottery.

Which in my eyes is way better than first come, first serve because I'm hearing horror stories of a local church preschool that does just that and some parents spend the night in the parking lot.


For preschool?!?

I mean, yes I was one of those moms who signed up for ECFE at midnight the night registration opened. But that was from the comfort of my own home and I was in my pajamas. Not sitting in the parking lot somewhere ready to tear through the doors of preschool...

But I digress.

We've turned in the registration and we are anxiously awaiting the outcome.

We'll know by February 6th if H will be in preschool next year.

I'll be sure and let you know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Double Digits.

I was not there the day that you were born. I can't even say that you were an inkling of my imagination.

I didn't ever change your diaper, never saw your first steps and have no idea what your first word was.

What I know of your baby years is only from stories and pictures, I wasn't there to be part.

I met you when you were already a little man. A chatty, adorable three (almost four) year old. You instantly befriended me. And wowed me with your smile and growing vocabulary.

Now you are ten.

You didn't get to pick me for your broomstick riding stepmother, but yet you have always accepted me and never once questioned me and my role in your life.

You have been unconditional with your love, with your grace and especially, with your hugs.

You are, as I've said before, a good brother bear.

You challenge me to open my eyes and see things in a new light, even when I don't want to sometimes. Where I usually am either black or white, you like things every shade of grey.

Now you are ten, and even though I wasn't there when your little life began I still wonder where all the time has gone.

Just yesterday it seems you were a toddler in a booster seat and now you're almost as tall as me.

I am reminded of a mother's day card you made for me that read:

My love for you just grows and grows.

Tyler, as you grow, and as the calendar flips yet another year before our eyes, as you turn ten, may you know that the love I, your stepmom, have for you grows very much, just as you do.

My birthday wish for you;

I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly, that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind. -Neil Gaiman

Happy 10th Birthday, T!

Friday, January 23, 2009

If She Could Talk....

...She'd be saying, "Happy Friday!"
Seven weeks old.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Love Remains.

The other night while J and T were at basketball, I asked M if she wanted to help me out by packing her and T's lunches for the next day. (Something J usually takes care of.) She did a great job and packed up sandwiches, fruit cups, carrot sticks, chips and a dessert.

She even included a little note in T's lunchbox.

At the end of the day, after all of the homework and disagreements, the tattling and the chaos, love (with an exclamation point!) remains.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Regardless of where we each fall on the political spectrum and who we supported on election day , there is no denying that today was a day of history.

All eyes were on DC today. Workplaces, homes and schools had their televisions tuned in.

School children everywhere (including T and M) are learning from live television just how far America has come and the importance of today's inaugaration.

As I sat nursing my seven week old daughter and sitting next to my 2 year old son, I couldn't help but think that this will be their normal.

Our children will roll their eyes as we go over history and talk about how big of a deal this was much like we all did as children when our parents went over the history they lived through, with us.

But do you want to know what really hits me? That they, our children, our future, will never think anything of having an African American president.

And that fact alone makes me happy.

And so very, very proud.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dedicating E.

I stressed about her outfit. She couldn't wear the sweater I'd worn for dedication because it was too small. (Just like it was too small for H as well.) She couldn't wear the sweater H wore for dedication because it was too big. (He was six months old at his dedication.)

So I settled on a dress.

A red dress with pink dots. So not a dedication or baptismal looking outfit.

I stressed about the lunch. For H, we had done a brunch/breakfast before the service but this time we were doing lunch after. What would we make and how would we get it ready quickly afterwards.

But the night before the service J reminded me that really, it didn't matter what she wore. And it didn't matter what we ate afterwards. What mattered is what we were doing.

Committing to raise E in the church. Agreeing to teach her the values, beliefs and lessons of Him. And most importantly, giving our gift (E) back to the Lord and remembering that she belongs to Him.

(The pictures can all be enlarged by clicking on them since I know they are hard to see.)

This is our family, just as we are.

And I have decided that this picture below is my new favorite.

Pastor Carl holding E, looking right at her and praying over her. And the look on J's face of pure joy and such pride. (And Miss M doesn't look so bad herself.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Afternoon.

Watching "Hannah Montana" . Notice the upside down body in the picture.
That would be H, is there a certain age where children stop flipping upside down or sideways when they sleep?

Getting a little chubbier every day.

Even J decided to take a nap.
Is there a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than this?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just Shy Of 33 Months.

I have been writing to you in my mind for about a month now. I go over and over the words each and every day.

More than once I have gone to bed after longingly watching you sleep and sighed that I miss you. How does one miss someone she spends each and every day with?

It is 2:00 pm right now and you are sound asleep. Upside down in your bed. One leg over the bedrail.

That's my boy.

Your breathing is steady. Your bed full of books and cars and everything Lightning McQueen. It's a wonder you stay comfortable.

Your sister is sleeping soundly in the room next door and even if she wasn't, you have learned to tune her out.

Perhaps a skill that will help you for years to come?

Sometimes I go back in time and look at pictures. Though I hardly have the time, the kitchen needs cleaning, the checkbook needs balancing and my husband would like a conversation, I look back. And I see my smiley faced baby who has turned into a boy.

Your face has aged. Your head has grown.

Your hands are not those of a little one anymore. They are big, they are strong. I noticed this as soon as you came to see me and E in the hospital.

The words you say, the things you do.

You are not my babe, but my boy.
Dec. 2008.
Everyone wants to know how you're adjusting to your new baby sister. I don't usually know what to say.
Henry and Evelyn.
Dec. 2008.

You do so love your sister.

Each morning you ask in the cutest way; "Where's my baby sister?" As if for some reason we have gotten rid of her overnight.

Which, by the way, won't be happening. I'm pretty attached to her.

You continue to amaze me. To impress me. To make me laugh, to no end.
Dec. 2008.

You continue to teach me. Most everything I know with E is because of you.
You remind me that your eyes and ears are always on. You repeat what you hear, you reenact what you see.

Usually at the worst possible time.

You tell me what you're thinking, what you're feeling and everything in between. My favorite is when you scrunch your face up into a smile and tell me that you are "So excited."

The "so excited" face.
Henry, Jacob, Kate and Madi. Friends from ECFE.
Dec. 2008.

You have been a trooper. You know no other life than the one you are living but you go with the flow. T and M, coming and going and now a new baby sister. I anticipated changes, meltdowns and lots of issues once the baby arrived. I tried to savor and soak up as much of you as I could because I knew that a baby would soak up much of me soon.

Of course you are jealous. Jealous of the time, the attention, the love and affections little E receives from me. And I torture myself with guilt over this.
But you have taken it all in stride and I am not sure why we got so lucky.

You know how to love. I tell you that I love you when I tuck you in and you tell me that you love me more.

If only you knew that couldn't be possible.

I am no perfect mother. I wince inside when I think of the times that my frustrations, my impatience has gotten me. Sometimes I am counting down the hours until naptime. And it might only be 8:00 am.

But you seem to see only the best in me.

And it's funny the way that works because I, like most mothers, am pretty biased when it comes to you.

Happy 33 months sweet boy.
One of my favorite pictures.
Mama and Henry.
Sept. 2007.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Maybe this helps explain why we keep our eyes on him with her at all times. It might not always be stickers....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hello, World.

Just popping in this morning to wish you all a "Good Morning."
Hope this smiling face warms your heart like it did mine.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What It's Like.

Over the last (almost) six weeks we have been asked over and over what it's like with four kids in the house. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I told you it was always wonderful. It's at times overwhelming, there are times patience runs short and tears come easily, across the board.

And we only have four for half of the week!!!

But the good and the fun outweighs everything else. They are brothers and sisters and they do all love each other, even though the sibling squabbles seem to come especially easy for T and M these days.

Here's a few pictures and glimpses into what our life is like with four.

Both M and T love reading to H. And he is very attentive when they read to him, whether they are reading him Lightning McQueen or a princess story or in this case, the children's Bible.
T helping H get geared up for bed. Not many kids put on a helmet and knee pads before bed. We are wondering if H is moving past Lightning McQueen and onto Batman these days. Hmm.
T and M are always willing to hold E, as long as she's not crying. H has a really hard time keeping his hands off of E. Especially her face. We're working on this big time.

"What kind of family was I born into?!?!"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Add This To the List of Things I Thought I'd Never Do.

See the hat.

I did not buy this hat.

H did not receive this hat as a gift.

And no we did not steal this hat.

We found it.

It was dirty. wet. trampled. muddy. driven over.

In the Target parking lot.

And after H got done ranting/raving about someone leaving their hat on the ground he noticed that it had Mater on it. (Mater is a character from Cars.)

It was all over.

There was no way we were leaving this dirty, muddy, gross hat there. He wanted me to bring it home to wash it.

And though every bone in my body wanted to say NO and tell him how gross that is, I said YES.

And we brought it home. I washed and sanitized it and now he is wearing it everywhere.

Really, if someone would have ever told me I would have done something like this I would have laughed.

But even though my bones and mind were saying and thinking no, my heart was saying yes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Littles.


Monday, January 5, 2009


T's birthday is approaching. (Double-Digits.)

Tonight he sat down and made a list of who he'd like to invite to his party later this month.
Underneath the names he'd written, he drew a line and then started writing more names.

"What are you doing?" I asked him.

"Oh, these are just my back-ups."

You never know when you might need some back up birthday party guests.

Oh, to be an almost ten year old boy.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Month Old.

Someone turned one month old today.


We are continually asked who she looks like, what H looked like at this age and so on.

There is resemblance to H, the nose and the lips for sure.

There is resemblance to M.

Her eyes are so big.

And though her eyes are blue, and my mom's were brown, her eyes remind me (and others) very much of my mom.
Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye. -John Miltons

She is still such a good baby.

I hate comparing her to H, but I find myself doing it all the time.

H was a good baby as well but very different. But sometimes I think that has a lot to do with me being more relaxed this time around. But that's another post for another day.

There aren't a ton of milestones to note yet here.

She eats. (A lot.)

She sleeps. (A lot.)

We did get a smile today. A real one. It was perfect.

Before I knew your name,
Before I saw your face.
Your chin and your nose,
Before I counted your fingers and toes,
I asked heaven for someone as wonderful as you,
And every prayer and wish came true.
Before I knew your name.
-Bob Carlisle

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Goodbye 2008. Hello 2009.

Oh, what a year it has been. Will that be my end of the year mantra each and every year?

Oh, I hope so.

Because there is really no way I could sum up the year in words in just one post, I went back and picked out some of the highlights of our year along with some of my favorite photos I've posted.

January: I made a list of eight in '08, and I'm not quite sure how well I did on them. We started the long process of potty training H. I missed my mom. I survived T's 9th birthday party.

T's 9th birthday. Jan 2008

February: The Wii joined our family. We mourned the loss, yet celebrated the life of grandma B. H continued to make me smile with his dancing moves.

H, 21 months. Jan 2008.

March: Day 84 came quickly. M turned 7. H moved out of the crib. I turned 26.

M and her grin. March 2008.

April: I wrote to Cub Foods. We surprised Aunt Laurie. H turned two. J and I celebrated four years. I learned to let go a little more.

M and that wig. March 2008.

May: Mothers Day made me reflect. I announced that there was a baby on the way. I implemented a new rule when eating fast food.

Sunkissed cheeks. May 2008.

June: The last day of school. The day H got into the baby powder. I reflected on what someday will be. Our deck was completed.

T, at the cabin. June 2008.

July: I encouraged you to join us in Remembering Nan's Battle. Realized I am enough. Saw baby beep-beep for the first time. J turned 35.

My busy boy, H, at the cabin. June 2008.

August: Went to the cabin and then needed a vacation to recover. Prayed for Mr. Gehrke. Went on a crazy-long walk to get donuts. Dillon Rogers sent me a new necklace. Fired our basement contractor.

My flawed photo. Summer 2008.

September: Back to school. The basement was complete. We walked to remember. H reminded me that he does indeed know his grandma Nan.

Mornings at the bus stop. Fall 2008.

October: A power outage taught me to slow down. Maternity pictures. I claimed that we are misundersood. H turned 30 months.

November: We voted. And I nested. And I got impatient. H had surgery. Oh yeah, and J joined facebook.

My little Lightning McQueen. Nov 2008.

December: E finally arrived. And our family went from five to SIX. That pretty much filled up the month along with Christmas.

A more recent photo of E.

Four of a kind.

May this year be everything you hope it to be and more. May your cup runneth over with blessings from the Lord and love and joy. May you truly live each and every day to it's fullest. These are my hopes for you.

And for me. I pray and ask Him that this year is a year of joy. peace. love overflowing. kindness. stability. health. gratitude. contentment.

And as I said just a year ago, may my life and all of my days, be something good.