Sunday, December 1, 2013

Reasons to be THANKFUL!!

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In this week of Thanksgiving, I first wanted to capture this year’s school pictures of these handsome guys.  Eli – kindergarten; Trevor – 5th grade; Brett – 7th grade. I’d say these are very good reasons to be thankful. 

There is another BIG (or little?) reason for us to be thankful this year … just over one week ago, we told these 3 fellas that next Spring they will be getting a baby brother or sister.  We weren’t really sure what to expect for a reaction – but Eli didn’t believe us, Trevor seemed pretty excited, and Brett told us “Congratulations … I’m really not sure what to say”  :)

This will definitely take some adjusting – but we are getting used to the idea and I know it will be a big blessing (in a small package). 

Other than that, things have been clicking along like normal.  (ha)  Brett played football this fall and loved it – of course.  He decided to pass on basketball this year because he didn’t feel like it was “his sport”.  I’m sure that he would’ve done fine, but I’m not going to push him into doing something he doesn’t want to do.  Trevor didn’t play any sports, but has started playing trumpet in the middle school band – I think he likes it so far and is having fun with it.  And Eli is just loving kindergarten.  He got a perfect score on his assessments just before parent-teacher conferences at the beginning of November.  He is learning to spell lots of words and even helped me read “Green Eggs and Ham”.  He does his best to try and keep up with those brothers (and usually holds his own). 

As the Advent Season begins today, we are so looking forward to celebrating the events that lead up to the birth of our Savior.  How could we be more blessed than to receive a gift like that? 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Can Blogs Expire??

Wow – I guess I’m not all that good at writing a blog.  There has been so much going on this summer & now school has started.  What happened to all of that precious time?  I took an intentional blog break early on because I decided I didn’t want to spend any more time on the computer than was necessary. Basically work, online banking and the occasional Facebook post.  (What?  That last one was not really necessary?  Oops!) 

Anyway, after that break – I just had too many things to update about that I ignored all of them and chose to focus on my husband and kids and just enjoy summer.  I still worked, but I actually took some time off.  We went camping (much more than we did last year), spent a weekend at the lakes, took the kids to a waterpark, and just generally enjoyed summer.  June started with a week of VBS, and then was ridiculously busy with baseball.  But it was still so fun.  Brett did rec ball and was on a tournament team.  Trevor did rec only.  I think they both enjoyed it a lot but were still happy when they could have a breather.  Eli was a trooper and went to lots of games.  Truth be told, I ended up bribing him with Icee frozen slushies (or he conned them out of Grandma).  Oh, and did I mention the major event of Brett hitting “teenage’ status?!  WHAT??  Great. 

July & August were when our summer happened.  Although we didn’t go on a big, major vacation – we did relax.  Brett & Trevor learned how to fish.  Eli learned how to ride his bike without training wheels and a Ripstick.  He is a determined little fella.  Good thing we did all that camping so that he’d have some concrete on which to practice.  The bike thing he picked up on the very first try.  I guess this means we may have waited a little too long to have him try it out.  ;) 

During August we have had a few more big days… Trevor turned 11, Eli turned 6, and Matt turned … ummmm… older.  Ha!  We are just grateful for every day that God gives us as a family.  We know that each day is a gift, and we do our best not to take them for granted (even though I know we still do). 

And as of Tuesday, August 20 – we now have a 7th grader (JUNIOR HIGH!), a 5th grader (MIDDLE SCHOOL!) and a kindergartener (FULL TIME, BIG KID SCHOOL!).  This also means we are done with sending our kids to their “2nd mom”.  Gretchen has been our daycare provider for the last 13 years, and we could not have gotten this far without her.  She has been amazing for all of it – and she probably has no idea how much she’s taught me about parenting over the years.  It makes this mom a little (or a LOT) sad to think of how fast time is going.  I’ve always known it to be true when other parents have said “enjoy this time” or “they grow up so fast” or “before you know it, they will ____”.  I just hope we are doing what we can in order to enjoy this to the fullest, and also giving glory to the One who deserves it all.  God, your blessings on us are wonderful, and we are so very grateful.  I sure do love this life! 

Here are my school kiddos… :)

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

But they that wait upon the Lord…

I think I have always loved eagles (or as long as I can remember, anyway).  They have one at the zoo – in a cage.  So beautiful to see it up-close.  But out in the open?  SOOO much better!  These pictures were all taken in the last couple of weeks – 1 is about 1/2 mile from our house, and the other 3 are about 1 mile from our church.  Breathtaking!


It would be a slight understatement to say I have a passion for these birds.  Sitting in my living room, you’d be surrounded by pictures of these magnificent creatures.  But they are more than just beautiful.  They are our country’s national bird – a symbol of freedom.  And they are also something that God uses in scripture to speak to us. 

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31 – “…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

And this week that verse took on a whole new meaning.  Because this week, Brent and Kelli left to go and meet their new baby girl.  The one God has had planned for them all along. We have hugged & cried over the waiting, and watched as they endured some bumps in the road as they continued on this journey.  We have prayed for them & with them about this little one – and now they have her in their arms.  I can’t share pictures yet (there are lots of rules related to that!!), but we are overjoyed to have her as part of our family.  They will be gone for a while yet as the paperwork is processed – but today we offer many, many prayers of thanksgiving to the God who is the author of this beautiful love story.  They are one step closer to their Destiny.  And we could not imagine things any other way.  We love you so, so much sweet, little girl!  We can’t wait to welcome you HOME!

Friday, January 25, 2013

July 25

It’s not July 25 today?  OH!  It’s January 25.  Right.  That’s why it’s 30 degrees instead of 85.  I think I prefer July. 

The reason I’m writing about July 25 is because it’s a day that’s etched into history for me in a way that no other day is.  It’s the day that my dad entered into Glory.  So it’s always a bittersweet day when it rolls around.  So today, January 25, 2013, marks 5 1/2 years since he went Home.  Hardly seems possible.  So it’s fitting that tonight my entire family is getting together to spend some quality time … it’s our Christmas hotel night.  Yes, we already celebrated Christmas, but one of our gifts from mom was a hotel night – so tonight’s the night.  God just doesn’t miss details.  I love that. 

But… back to July 25.  I wanted to capture how I spent July 25, 2012.  (Yeah, this post is 6 months late, but who’s counting?)  :)  I took the day off from work and spent some one on one time with Trevor, since Brett was at camp & Eli still went to daycare.  We had the whole day planned, and he was looking forward to it just as much as I was.  Or at least I think he was.  It was our “Random Acts of Kindness Day”.  I got the idea from another blog (I honestly don’t remember whose blog it was, so I can’t even give credit where credit is due).  But here is an account of our day.

It’s no lie when I say that I woke up that morning and missed my dad so much that it actually hurt.  But, God took that mourning and turned it into dancing (well, not real dancing), but He definitely spoke to me through music that day.  I took Eli to daycare & was listening to KNWC, and right when I needed it, they played 2 songs in a row that completely hit me (in a good way).  “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me, and “Better is One Day” by Kutless.  Yep, my dad is right where God wants him.  And I can’t wait to see him again someday. 

On to more of our day.  Here is a list of our random acts of kindness…

  • Took a bag of groceries &  thank-you card to Gretchen to let her know how important she is & how much we appreciate her
  • Took a casserole & a get well card to a friend who recently had her appendix out (she’s actually a sweet friend who just happens to have a son who is one of Trevor’s best friends… bonus!)
  • Took a flower to Grandma L. at work so she would know we were thinking of her on this day too. It’s not an easy day for any of us, but especially not for her.
  • Took mini brownie cupcakes & a thank-you card to the police dept
  • Took a cake & thank-you card to Phil & Wendi since they took us boating the weekend before.
  • Took our crib mattress & changing table to Paul & Steph to get the nursery ready

Then we headed to Sioux Falls for a couple of other things.  Trevor got to pick where we ate.  True to form, he picked McDonalds.  (umm, I should have used some veto power, but I didn’t)  And I told him that because he picked McDonald’s we had some extra cash left over to do one more random act,so we gave the money to a homeless woman that was standing on a corner in the heat.  We told her how much God loves her.

After all of that, I surprised Trevor & took him to the Butterfly House & park.  We went through the aquarium displays & then to see all of the butterflies.  I had never been there before, and Trevor’s class missed out on this field trip, so it was fun to take him there.  Then we played in the park (they have very cool equipment that is a little more interesting to older kids, and they have a gigantic shelter house – the shade was a welcome sight on that hot day)!  We sat in the shelter house and prayed over all of the people we had served that day.  I hope it taught him something about how we can show God’s love to others in many different ways.  I know that I learned a lot that day & hope to make this a tradition with all of the kids.  (Oh, and we stopped for ice cream on the way home!!)

Thank you, Lord for the memories of that day, and for blessing me much more than I deserve.  Thank you for my sweet family.  May we all strive to always be your hands and feet here.  Thank you also for the memories of my dad.  On July 25, today, and every day.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him – but I know you are taking good care of him, and his days are filled with praising you.  Thank you for my mom and all that she is to our family.  She has taught me how to love others well, and forgive even when forgiving is hard.  Thank you for the gift of your Son.  May we always show the same kind of love to others that He showed.  Amen.


Saturday, January 19, 2013


Today is the 3rd Saturday in January, and it is 42 degrees!  (very windy, but still – hard to believe)

I thought I should post this picture of Brett’s ankle.  He got tangled up with another kid at basketball practice on Thursday, and needless to say, he missed his last 2 games of basketball for this year. 


Here are some pictures of him having a bit more fun with basketball, though…

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He did enjoy playing (this was the first year he’s done it).  He isn’t sure if he will do it again next year or not.  For now, he likes football just a little bit better – but we’ll see what next year brings. 

And here is a picture of Trevor & Eli enjoying a game…


Oh, and just so I remember later … Trevor got his first pair of glasses in November of 2012.  (and I think he looks adorable!!)

And since this post is all about being random, I thought I would post this picture of what I made for breakfast a day this past week:


I really liked them.  I don’t know if the boys were all that impressed.  Brett & Trevor each tried them, but Eli ate cereal (as usual).  :)   But Matt seemed to like them.  It’s good for me to find new things for breakfast.  I have been making breakfast for my family every weekday since school started last year.  I usually make pancakes, French toast, eggs (scrambled, omelets, or fried), ham/egg/cheese biscuits, and cinnamon rolls.  Just wanted to toot my own horn a little bit since spending time in my kitchen is not exactly on my “favorite things to do” list.  I love those guys though, so if making them a good breakfast is a way that I can show that I love them, yes – count me in. 

Okay, that’s all for now – time to pick the kids up from the rec center.  (good way to spend a Saturday)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013–New Year, New Blog

Okay, it just feels like a new blog… so it’s been 5 months since my last update.  That’s probably not considered very “good” blogging, huh?

I have missed capturing a lot (a LOT) of important things in the last year, and that part makes me sad.  I know that I remember them (most of them?) right now, but I won’t for long.  It’s not exactly a New Year’s resolution to be a more consistent blogger.  I never really set out to be a blogger.  (in fact, that word is kind of weird)  I just want to have a place to capture some information about my family because there are so many things I have already forgotten & WISH I could remember!

So anyway – hello, 2013.  It’s so nice to meet you!  And hello, again, Blog.  Let’s catch up very soon!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


You know the saying “It’s the little things”?  Well, it’s true.  Very true.  I have been thinking so much lately about this – and yesterday I was in the middle of it.  And it was awesome!

Matt heard that the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) cars were going to be racing in the area, so he called & asked what I thought about going.  I do like watching those races (really, they are FUN!), but I just didn’t think that Eli would want to sit through the whole thing.  So Matt called Jed, who said he’d be interested in going – and they took Brett & Trevor along and had a “guys night out”. :)

This meant that Eli & I got to have some 1 on 1 time after I got home from work (and picked him up from Grandma L). Since it’s been about 100 degrees most of the week, we tried to think of some things to do inside. First we made some supper (mom gave me some awe-some sweet corn when I stopped by – THANKS mom!), and then we switched the laundry.  Eli decided it would be a good idea to walk to the train tracks – so we headed outside. 

We walked east & it was so fun just to talk to him and listen to all of his stories. He’s so dang cute when he talks because most of the time he’s so expressive.  It’s also the time of year when the planes are out spraying the fields – so he got to see 6 airplanes while we were out there.  He thought that was the coolest.  When you’re 4 years old – sprayer planes are just as cool as any other kind!

He got a little tired before we actually made it to the tracks, so we turned around & started to head home.  Most of the way back, we talked about what it means to be thankful – and how we should remember to thank God every day.  For whatever reason, he just seemed like he “got it” in a way that he hadn’t before.  Maybe I made that up in my head, but I think he caught on.  Anyway – we ended up sitting on the sidewalk in front of the house for about half an hour after we got home, and we made “Eli & Mommy’s Thank You List”.  I adore that little boy so much more than I could say (and I feel the same way about his brothers)!  But I wanted to capture our lists here so someday he can look back and see what he was thankful for when he was 4. ;)  Eli started, and we took turns telling each other (and God) what was on our list. (*Note: I couldn’t figure out how to get the lists side by side, so it seems like this post is a mile long!)

Eli’s List

  1. sky
  2. shooting stars
  3. pretty clouds
  4. Heaven
  5. lightning
  6. toys
  7. Reese’s Pieces
  8. rainbows (in his words, “that I saw at Grandma Langstraat’s house next week”) ;)
  9. snow angels
  10. camper
  11. sprinkler
  12. bird baths
  13. tomorrow
  14. tree house
  15. if we can buy a snowboard
  16. birds
  17. cheese pizza
  18. ABC books
  19. Christmas tree
  20. Mickey
  21. purple flowers
  22. ice cream
  23. Grandma
  24. baby kittens
  25. cousins
  26. coke

Mommy’s List

  1. family
  2. rain
  3. Jesus
  4. friends
  5. food
  6. sunshine
  7. rainbows
  8. seasons
  9. home
  10. grass
  11. today
  12. Bible
  13. our country
  14. saving us / forgiveness
  15. farmers
  16. jobs
  17. Christmas
  18. beds
  19. church
  20. senses
  21. fireflies
  22. moon
  23. eagles
  24. neighbors
  25. safety
  26. blessings

So those are just a few of the things we came up with.  He also thought that while we talked to God about these things, we could also have Him say “hi” to Grandpa L. (*tears*)

Then we went inside and had root beer floats & watched The Veggie Tales “It’s a Meaningful Life” movie.  And then we snuggled up and fell asleep on the couch.  The night was precious and I would not have traded that time for anything in the world. 

(oh, and all of the other boys had a great time at the races too!)

Thank you, God for blessing me in so many ways – and for making these “little moments” a very BIG deal.  Please forgive me when I take things (and people) for granted & help me to always know that these little boys are watching and learning from my words and actions.  Please help me to live each day for you.  I love you.  Amen.