Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wish we could send one to all! :)





Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day of Silence....



Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday....

Just can't seem get past Friday's news.
Those 20 kids/6 adults and their families are constantly on my mind.
Fear has risen in me about sending Bella to school.  Thankfully, as weird as it sounds, she is home sick today so I can just hold and snuggle her one more day.
Seeing the faces of the sweet children that were taken so violently just kills me.

May we never forget and be praying as the funerals start taking place for these families.

Max Lucado wrote this prayer and I think it's perfect:

Dear Jesus,
It's a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Hopefully,
Your Children


Thursday, December 13, 2012

We have some news.....

....the girls got an early Christmas present this year!! 
(turn up your volume)


(Also explains my major absence on here!!)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finally.....

Merry Christmas to us!!!  I have been completely out of commission because our computer had NO space left to do anything.  But I am excited to say this Friday the hubs and I got our present to each other early and our NEW COMPUTER ARRIVED!!  Woohoo!  Boy is it fast and my email doesn't crash every time I open it.  I almost don't know what to do with myself!  Oh wait, yes I do!!  Major catching up to do over here!!!

Of course now that I can catch up, it is the craziest time of year.  But I hope to be catching you up on how we are all doing over here very soon. :)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh two year olds!

Have I mentioned how fun it is to photograph a two year old!?

Oh my goodness.  

Brooklyn does not like to be posed and if I do pose her and by some miracle she stays there, in no way will she look at me, let alone smile.  

I love to attempt fall pics.  I just love this time of year and the changing leaves.  The last couple of years I've been able to get some gorgeous pics of the girls, especially the big girls.  I usually attempt several times and try not to make any attempt too long because it just doesn't work.  With the big girls in school now so much we really only have the weekends and we were up in MN for my grandpa's funeral for two of the best weekend, color and temperaturewise.  So not too many attempts this year.  I did try to get a few up in MN.

I had to just show these.  I attempted to go out briefly with just Brynn and Brooklyn while Bella was in school.  Here are the fabulous outcomes:


 And if she did happen to look at the camera it was up close and personal. :)
 This one however was always ready to strike a pose. :)





Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't tell....

I know this is totally illegal, but hey I'm advertising for the company right? ;)

We went to a family picnic AWHILE ago now and they had a photographer taking free pics.  They forgot to mention, however, if you'd like to order said pictures you'd have to pay an arm and a leg.  So needless to say we didn't by any but I did manage to screen capture my favs. :)

Just had to share 1.
Be still my heart.
These girls are just TOO PRECIOUS!




Monday, November 5, 2012

Apple Orchard Trip 2012

Every year we go to Royal Oaks Apple Orchard (rewind here).  It has been a tradition with our wonderful friends the Chevriers since before we even had children!  We never know when the best time to go since our lovely Chicago weather is so unpredictable in Sept/Oct.  Last year when we went it was 90 degrees!  This year we were thankful for a sunny day but it was a bit chilly.  Unfortunately the day we chose to go both big girls had school.  I considered taking them out but the hubs wasn't to thrilled with that idea and an outing with just my baby girl sounded fun.

Looking back now on the pics I am a bit sad they weren't part of it.  And that we didn't have a family outing to pick our pumpkins but the big girls each took a field trip to a pumpkin patch so they had their fun too!  Next year we'll try to get to one as a family. :)

Here are some of my favs of my outing with my little bean!

Sitting so sweetly listening to the lesson/movie about the orchard
Avi took on the big sister role for Miss Brooklyn, she was so sweet!
We had a big group with us this year since we invited mom's from our MOPS group




Love this sweet face and bright blue eyes!
They gave us a small bag of apples this year since the crop was very bad but let us pick our own pumpkin!

 She knew just the one she wanted!
 This girl RARELY gives me eye contact for pictures, stinker!

 No matter what you do mom, I'm not looking at you!

And of course ended our time with a yummy donut!
Checking out the animals with one of her besties Molly!
Tried to get a couple pics but again no eye contact, trouble I tell ya! :)

Had a fun, fun time with my little bean!


Friday, November 2, 2012

House Hunting.....

Its been a few months now, but early this summer we decided to start looking for a new place.  We love our house and the area we live but down the road its just not going to be practical.  We are already busting at the seams of this house.  We'd love an actual guest room for when our families come in.  We also have 3 GIRLS and only one bathroom upstairs that we all share.  I know that will be a mess during their teenage years.  We would also really like to be in an area where our girls will attend the Central High School in our area not the North High School where they would currently be headed to.  So I know the bathroom and high school issue are down the road but we just feel with the mortgage rates and the prices of homes right now, it is just the best time to start looking.  We are in no rush so it has been a really relaxing time so far.  There have been a couple we've wanted to jump on but we haven't gotten our butts in gear fast enough.  So right now the hubs is getting us pre-qualified and then we'll be able to make an offer if we want to.  

Some good friends of ours live in this neighborhood that we just LOVE.  The houses in this neighborhood a couple years ago were way beyond our reach at high $300s-low 400s.  But right now you can snatch some up for low $200s.  In fact one that we almost went for was asking $199.  Its crazy.  Two houses we really liked are pending now. Since we're not in a hurry its nice that they might come back on the market since things go and come back often.  However, this last Monday we went out and found a house we actually BOTH LOVE.  They're asking too much right now but found out they're motivated to sell. So once we get our finances in line I think we'll make an offer on it.  This neighborhood is just SO family friendly, everyone cares for their homes, and it seems like a close community.  A gorgeous bike path runs right behind the house which I just love.  Also the laundry room is upstairs!!!  And bonus, its only about 9-10 houses down from our friends!

So I'll keep you posted on progress but prayers would be so welcomed!  Just pray we are approved finanically, pray this house stays on the market until we are, and pray we can get them to a price we feel comfortable affording!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

My 3 B's!!

Well I managed to squeeze just a few pics on to my computer.  I was feeling so left out seeing all the precious kids in their costumes on here and FB.  I just have to show off my 3 B's!! :)

Kelly from Kelly's Korner posted a pic of her girls' costumes awhile back and they were bees.  When I saw those I thought how cute would it be for my B's to be BEEs!!??  I wrote her and she told me they were from TJMaxx.  TJMaxx can be such hit or miss and the chance to finding 3 in the 3 sizes I needed, including a 6x, was probably a long shot.  But by some miracle I was able to!!

We went out twice this year.  Our neighborhood always does the Sunday before Halloween and then some friends had us over to their neighborhood on actual Halloween.  The big girls had a blast of course.  We did have a moment when one occupant flew open the door and screamed Boo that sent Bella, of all girls, into hysterics.  Going forth she was much more timid about going to the doors.  However, we went in for dinner, and her friend, her, and their dads ended up going back out for awhile!  Brooklyn ate up EVERY minute of it!!  She was running to every door.  She'd push through the big kids to get to the candy bowl.  She'd yell "Tic Teat."  It was precious!  At one house the person handed her one piece of candy and she proceeded to stick her hand in the bowl and grab a whole handful!!  We offered the stroller numerous times but no way!  Towards the end I was finally able to bribe her to get in with a sucker.  Boy does this girl LOVE her candy!

Enough words, time for the cuties!!  Again I wish I could share more!







Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Love this.....

Saw this on Breezyacres's Blog and I just loved it!

"Our ministry [as moms] is in continually learning to know and read our children correctly so we are able to address their heart issues. The heart is vastly more important than outward actions, but takes considerably more prayer, time and effort to see and address properly.
Our ministry is learning to take immense pleasure in being with our children, laughing, working, talking, praying, learning and playing--no matter how old or young they are.  Motherhood is time consuming; it takes vast effort, thought, care, creativity, and selflessness to be done well--but the blessings of fulfilling that high calling are worth every sacrifice." -Kari Lewis

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vent and Help?

I have been a bad blogger.  The hubs keeps graciously making room for pics on the computer but then we keep filling it up.  We need a new one definitely.  The one we want doesn't come until November.  I am going to have some major catching up to do, which seems to be how I roll these days. :)

I don't have any fun pics today but I do have something I want to get off my chest.  My heart is just aching right now.  My sweet Bella.  Bella just LOVES school.  And she LOVES people.  Before she even started school the hubs and I decided we would drive her to school.  We felt she could be well protected in school but on the bus supervision is so hard.  However when our two neighbor kids asked her to ride the bus with them, she of course wanted to go with them.  Things went great last year.  However this year, often in the morning, and sometimes on the way home, she ends up riding in a seat alone.  Of course this makes me SO sad for her but it doesn't seem to really bother her so I don't push it.  So this summer a new family moved in a couple doors down.  It is a single mother with 4 kids.  Man does my heart go out to her!

So last week Wed. I get a call that Bella is in the office with an upset stomach and is REALLY upset.  So I rush over there and I can tell she has been crying hard.  She's definitely bad when she doesn't feel good but the crying in front of the office staff and stuff was very unlike her.  I asked if everything was ok and she insisted she had a stomach ache because she ate too much junk and she needed to eat healthier. Ha!  So she was fine the remainder of the night and I sent her to school the next day.  Then early that morning I get an email from Bella's teacher saying that she started crying on the way to lunch.  She was saying her tummy hurt and she just wanted to be home with me.  Talk about heart wrenching!  I got 3 more emails from her teacher that day just updating me on how she was doing.  She cried all through lunch and wouldn't eat.  Her teacher later got her to eat during math and she had a good rest of the day.  That afternoon I got her off the bus and it was like nothing had happened???  I was so confused.  I started talking to her, asking her, trying to pull something out of her.  Although she still won't correlate the stomach ache with this incident, she did admit that our neighbor boy (the new family that moved in) on her bus is teasing her, calling her stupid, etc.  I was furious!!  Bella is sweet, sensitive, and just so....innocent.  Everything in my being wants take her away, protect her from everything hard.  But I know these experiences are what will make her stronger.  Its still just so tough to hear.  And then this week this neighbor boy's sister stole a toy from Bella and wouldn't give it back.  She is also having some seat issues, wanting to sit by a friend but two other girls like to also so she ends up by herself.  Sigh.

I talked with her that night and she started getting super upset about it.  I'm struggling with wanting her to share with us, get it out, and help her solve them, but talking about it also draws more attention to the situation and seems to agitate her more.  I'm just at a lost of what to do.

Any time I start to talk about it my eyes fill with tears.  Its just killing me to see her go through this, wanting to help, but not being sure what it best.  In all this I am SO thankful at how AMAZING her teacher and the lunch room lady have been.  Her bus driver did say she was going to make the two boys causing issues sit in a seat up by her but who knows. (Update: Bella did inform me today the problem kids are in a seat up by the driver)  I am very close to just driving her, unfortunately I can't in the afternoon since Brooklyn is napping.  Sigh.

Any wise counsel on this situation?

Kelly Stamps from Kelly's Korner shared this a while back and it was super hard to hear but I know its a great lesson and definitely one I'm asking God to help me with!


When I was pregnant with both girls there were two prayers I would continuously pray: "Lord, give her a PASSION for you. Let her chase after you her whole life" and "Lord keep her safe and healthy".   Every single day without fail I pray these two prayers over my girls.

Right away God answered one of those prayers a little differently than I would have imagined for Harper.  I never dreamed she would be born sick and that we would nearly lose her.  And yet through that hard period - I drew closer to God. I saw Him move in ways I had never known before. I saw Him work and still continue to see Him get glory from her story.  Through the ashes of a hard time - He has given me so much beauty and opened so many doors to share my faith than I ever could have dreamed.

I am learning that praying for "health and safety" and praying for "a closeness to God" may not necessary go hand in hand.  God has been teaching me this over and over in the last few weeks.

A few weeks ago when I invited my friends over to pray for our families, I shared how I had a lot of anxiety for my children and I just prayed constantly that God would protect them.  When the time came around for my wise friend Bethany to share........she spoke something that has been circling in my head on constant re-play every day since.  She said that she used to be the same way and one day God changed her prayers and she began to pray that He would just make them like Him.  And if that meant her boys had to go through struggles or hard things in order to be closer to God - than she wouldn't want to pray for protection from that.

That hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know without a doubt that it's the hard things in my life that have always made me seek Him. It's the tough times when I had no one else to turn to that I learned to trust in God.  I want my girls to have a "perfect" tear free, pain free life........but that might be a life where they don't need to depend on God.  And that's the polar opposite of the one thing I truly want for them.

Last Tuesday in my Bible Study we were studying fear and how we are not to fear because God is with us.  Once again we began to discuss this very thing.  Fear is the opposite of trusting God. And we can trust God with the little things in our lives as well as the most important things in all our lives - our children.  He made them. He numbered the hairs on their heads. He already knows the plans for them (Jeremiah 29:11) We are kidding ourselves if we truly think we are "in control" here.

I'm not saying to just be reckless and tell your kids to go and play in the highway because "God is in control" or to not try to do everything you can to protect them and keep them safe. But I think at some point we just have to "Let go and Let God" and pray that God uses them.

I have a stubborn streak and when God wants me to learn something .....He often has to really hit me over the head with it. I'm not a patient person so God had to teach me the lesson the hard way by having me wait for a husband AND for a child.  Clearly I wasn't going to learn trusting on His timing with just one area. So two discussions were not going to be enough for me to realize God is trying to teach me to change my prayers and my focus for the girls.

When I was at Dot Mom this weekend, Jen Hatmaker got up and said God had just given her this message to share with all the moms in the room to "relax".  And then she proceeded to say almost WORD for WORD what I have said here above.  I'm not the smartest girl in the world but I had to raise the white flag and say "Okay God - I get it".

She shared with us that being conformed in the image of Christ is NOT easy.  As parents - we are to raise up disciples. What a concept, huh? Our biggest job is not making sure our children are the smartest or the sweetest - but that they are following Christ.

Something she said that really struck me was this:
"Don't be the reason your kids choose comfort and safety".  I don't want Harper and Hollis to decide to take a desk job rather than following a calling to Africa to work as a missionary because I have instilled fear into them.  Raise BRAVE kids.  I don't want Harper and Hollis to remain silent in high school because they are scared to share their faith.  Or because they think their mother will be a nervous wreck.

My prayers are changing. And it's hard. I DO want my girls to be safe and healthy.  But the safest place you can be is the center of God's will.  And that's exactly what I'm praying they will always be in.  Whether that's a teacher in Texas or a missionary in the Middle East.  My prayer is that they will be bold women for Jesus. That they will have a passion for Him. Period. No matter what path gets them there.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Papa Bear.....

It has been a tough week.
My sadness for the Turners (see last post) has been overwhelming.  Even though I don't know them I can only imagine she pain Julee must be feeling.
Also last Thursday my grandpa went to be the Lord.  My grandma died two and a half years ago and he has never quite recovered.  They were married for 65 years and he just didn't know what to do with out her.  My aunt and the rest of the family have been taking care of him the best she/we could but he is in a much happier place.  He is with his Lord and Savior, the love of his life, and his body is healed!
So I am so so sad to lose him and but am rejoicing for how happy he must be! 
Here is a little something my Aunt wrote about my grandpa, details him so perfectly:

My dad passed away on Thursday night.  I had the privilege of living down the street from him for the past 12 years – and closely shared in his life the past 2 ½ years since my mom passed away.  I am so thankful for those years. 

For those who never met him, I’d like to share a bit of who he was.  Dad was born to Irish immigrants, Katie and Neal, who both grew up in one-room stone cottages with dirt floors on the often harsh coast of Northern Ireland. Neither of them attended school after they were 16.  My dad always had a strong sense of patriotism to this country that allowed his parents to move to Chicago, find good jobs, own a home, go back to Ireland occasionally, and send their children to college.  In high school, dad was captain of the Calumet High School football team in Chicago and editor of the school paper.  He never stopped loving sports or writing.  Dad served as an officer in the Navy, (playing football for a short time at Notre Dame while he was in Officers Training) and after his service in the Pacific and in Navy intelligence after the war, attended Northwestern University where he received his bachelors and masters degrees in hospital administration.  In 1958, he opened a hospital in Chicago where he served as Administrator until his retirement.  For 15 years after retirement, he served as President and Chairman of a Foundation that awarded scholarships and grants to those in volunteer service and ministry.

He had a wonderful Irish sense of humor, was remarkably generous, and dedicated to his family and community.  But what defined him most was his faith. God’s presence was the core reality of his life.  And the presence of God within each person he met and the responsibility that this fact put on him, to reach out to others in whatever ways he could, was the guiding principle of his life.  He lived a life with intention and integrity.

In the last two years, as I saw much of my dad’s exterior drive and competence dwindle, I was touched to see the core of compassion and service that were at his heart.  He lived 90 full years and his body was worn out, so I wouldn’t have wanted to hold him here one day longer.  But our whole family will miss his presence in our lives.

I Remember:
Sunday Dinners
how much he loved popcorn
how he used to salt his pizza
how he like this terrible licorice candy
his silly Johnny and Debbie stories
sleepovers at his and grandma's
his awesome back scratches
how supportive and encouraging he was to me
what a spiritual role model he was
always reading his bible
the joy his great grandchildren brought him
his funny sense of humor
How much he Loved!

Today we head up to MN to say goodbye.  Even though it will be a tough weekend I am SO looking forward to seeing my awesome family.

I dug up some of my favorite pics of Papa Bear from the last few years, even a couple pre-digital era. :)
Papa Bear and GG on our wedding day!
Grandpa giving our blessing prayer.
In Vince and my first apartment.


At my college graduation.
 Graduation from college
Telling Papa Bear and GG that we were expecting their first Great Grandchild!
 Time at camp

 Meeting and holding his first grandchild, Bella!


 Christmas at our place.
 Celebrating Conor's wedding

Cousin Jesse's wedding
Holding his second Great Grandchild, Brynn, for the first time

 Visit up to MN.
 Papa Bear, Bella, and Poppi doing Papa Bear's exercises.





The day we lost GG.
The whole family together to celebrate GG.
All Papa Bear's grandkids and maybe a sneaky little great-grandchild.
Laurin wasn't born yet but here is 3 of 4 of his Great grandchildren.





Our last Thanksgiving and visit to MN with Papa Bear.
At his favorite eatery, Culvers!
First time meeting his Great grandchild, Brooklyn.


We love you and will miss you always.  Till we meet again!


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    I used to be an elementary teacher but am now a stay-at-home mommy with three sweet baby girls. Bella is 6, Brynn is 4, and Brooklyn is 1. We also have a sweet Golden Retriever named Beckham. I have been married to the love of my life, Vincent, for almost 12 years. Although I hate the cold I am a Chicago girl through and through. And thats about all I've got!

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