Thursday, December 20, 2007

the tree that almost wasn't

this year we are going to be in portland for christmas, celebrating with family. with that said, there was a brief moment when i asked the question, "should we put up a tree and all the decorations this year?" i'm so glad we made the choice to go all out and decorate the house both inside and out. the kids are really at the age where they can get fully involved and love every minute. the kids hung most of the ornaments and we laughed and reminisced about so many of our beautiful ornaments that we have collected over the last 8 years.
this year has seemed so different than previous years. i really can't believe how much the kids have "grown up". we have always talked about christmas being about Jesus, however this year the kids (especially luke) have been so vocal about where our priorities should be at christmas time. on virtually every craft he has made this holiday season both at home and school he has included a cross. when i asked him to explain one of his many art pieces (this one being a large red construction paper ornament) he told me, "christmas is not just about a christmas tree and ornaments or getting a bunch of presents, so i colored a bunch of crosses on my oranment to remind us that christmas is about celebrating jesus!" i could have cried - which doesn't seem to be hard for me to do these days :) as a parent you pray that your child will be safe and protected, feel loved and secured and most of all have a relationship with their heavenly father. however, nothing prepares you for when that time comes and you begin to see your children embrace the holiness of God. (i am officially crying, again) i am overwhelmed at how God can use anybody, including my kids, to spread His message of love.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ginger & german

sorry i haven't posted in a while - our schedule feels as though it hasn't let up this month. with all the busy comes a lot of pictures :) i have compiled a couple of collages from two of our family adventures earlier in the month. i have lots more to share - so tune back soon!

we spent one saturday with the brennan family making ginger bread houses. we all had a blast! jeanne and jenn made special cookies for each of the kids to decorate - they loved it. thank you, thank you!
we also went to frankenmuth for a couple of days with the bean family. if you have ever been to frankenmuth than you know you are entering "germanville" . aside from adeline being sick, everyone had a great time. the kids loved going swimming and playing miniature golf. we also enjoyed going to bronners for the first time (largest christmas store in the world) it was a bit overwhelming to see that much christmas under one roof :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

happy thanksgiving!

thanksgiving was at our house this year. it was so much fun setting the table and preparing the meal. i loved how the table turned out - i had to take a picture!

here's the gang. most years we have too many people to seat everyone at the same table. but due to circumstances (we missed you andrea, jesse & rita) the number at dinner was lower, which allowed us all to sit around one big table. it was great!

what am i thankful for..... my family! i love you all so much!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

a self portrait

caleb is the oldest of our three kids. he is 7 years old and in mrs. fritz 2nd grade class. as a class project each student drew a self portrait of themselves for their class t-shirt. this past week the t-shirts arrived! when i saw the picture my son drew of himself i had to laugh out loud. i know he is creative. i know he is fun loving and free spirited. however, when i saw his self portrait i realized he sees himself in that same light. i love that he is free to be himself and is ok with being different. i look at his self portrait and am reminded of how creative our God is and how we, as his creation, were designed in his "creative" image.

yes, he is wearing sunglasses, listening to an ipod (note: earphones & music notes), his hair is in a mohawk and i am fairly positive he is sporting a gotee. side note: caleb can't wait to have body hair - he thinks it is super cool. i have found him, several times, staring at his legs or staring at his reflection in the mirror looking for a "dark" hair.

caleb wearing his class t-shirt

Thursday, November 01, 2007

birthday and halloween

lilly, jj, caleb, ally, logan, lukie and ben

halloween is a big deal in our house because it is also lukes birthday (oct. 30th). we had a lot of friends over for dinner and trick or treating.

caleb and j.j. striking their ninja-football player pose!

lilly was a barbie cheerleader!

luke was a ninja for halloween - i'm not sure if he had more fun opening presents or going trick or treating :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"the girls"

in college i had the awesome pleasure of meeting several people. some were just faces in a scopebook, others were acquaintances, many were friends, but few were in our circle of "the girls." yes, we were a click (is that how you spell it?) however if you have attended a small christian school you know there is no getting around it :) over the last 13+ years we have known each other we have celebrated 8 weddings & 11 births (plus 3 more on the way), we have laughed and cried together and spent too many hours gossiping about only God knows what. (pause for repentance).

heidi, chrissy, dragana, brooke, shelly, kellie,
me & sarah (we missed you nenette)

on saturday we all got together to celebrate brooke getting married and sarah having her first baby. shelly threw a beautiful shower for the girls with lots of yummy food :) thanks! it was a lot of fun watching the girls take turns opening up lingerie and then baby things. i meant to get a picture of the two stacks of gifts, one being a stack of pink victoria secret boxes and the other a stack of baby bibs, do-dads, and outfits. it was pretty funny. we couldn't help but comment on how one leads to the other :)

sarah & brooke

thanks girls for all the fun over the years. i love you all and can't wait till we get together again - do we know where we are going to gather?! (just kidding chrissy)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

passing on tradition

tortillas are a loved food in our house. especially homemade ones by my mom. this last week grommie introduced the art of tortilla making to lilly. watching the tradition of making tortillas being passed on to my daughter brought back so many memories of me and my mom working in the kitchen together. lilly had a blast rolling out her very first tortilla. and mom and i had a blast watching her excitement and reminiscing about the fun we have had through the years in our kitchens. once all the cooking was done - we enjoyed good old mexican food, grommie style!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


for our 8th anniversary dave and i went on a little vacation to the "big apple". if you can believe it, it was our first vacation (only the two of us) since our honeymoon! we had a blast. i really wish i was wearing a pedometer - because we walked everywhere. i'm sure in the course of the four days we were there we walked around 40 miles. here is a quick list of some of the things we did....
1. walk to times square several times
2. saw two broadway shows on the same day (hairspray & mary poppins)
3. went to a taping of the today show where barry manilow was performing (note photo of me with al roker.)
4. took a ferry and saw the brooklyn bridge, statue of liberty, and elis island.
5. walked through central park
6. visited the world trade center memorial
7. rode the subway
8. went to little italy
9. went to the village
10. went to soho (which i found out stands for south of houston)
11. ate out for every meal (blue fin was my favorite)
12. went shopping
13. visited other covenant church planting friends in harlem. jose & mayra.

i'm sure we did more, but this is all i can think of at this moment. needless to say we filled every minute and loved just being together!

Friday, September 28, 2007

nothing like greys

surgery in real life is nothing like greys anatomy. as i lay in my bed today recovering i watched the season premier of greys and it dawned on me that my o.r. was nothing like the ones where the girl was having her arm re-attached and baby delivered or the guys who swallowed all the money. now, my surgery was nothing that complicated or intense but have you ever noticed how dark the o.r. is on grey's? hmmmm. just a random thought :) with all my free time i have a bunch of photos to post. so, stay tuned........

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

september 4th

my first post on my blog, last year, was of the first day of school - with a similar picture of the kids on the front steps of our house. how fast a year goes by... caleb (7) is going into 2nd grade, luke (5) is repeating kindergarten, and lilly (4) is starting preschool. what a day!

caleb was definately the most excited of the kids about starting school. he woke up around 7am and told me that he couldn't sleep (he thought it was still the middle of the night) because he was so excited. when i told him it was time to get up and get ready - he jumped up and down and woke up the rest of the house. he had so much fun seeing all his friends! he is such a sweetheart!

luke wasn't as excited as caleb about starting school, however he still had a great day. luke was a very young kindergartner last year (his birthday is the end of october) and so we chose to have him do two years. he has a new teacher, which is why he was a bit timid, but he fell right into the groove and came home telling me all about his "awesome" day.

our little lilly started preschool on the same day the boys started school. she is only going twice a week in the afternoon, but it seems so weird. lilly had the hardest time of all the kids - she just couldn't understand why we couldn't stay with her "for a long time". it broke my heart to leave her crying. i stood outside the door and watched as her sweet teacher re-directed her to the baby dolls, it only took a minute for her tears to turn to giggles as she started playing. she too, came home with nothing but praises about her time at school.

the 4th was also our anniversary! 8 years! dave came home from the gym at 7:30 am with a beautiful bouquet of red roses for me. yeah, he works out at the crack of dawn! we spent the day toting kids back and forth to school and home and reminicing about the last eight years. after we dropped lilly off at preschool we stood in the hallway of her school for a moment reflecting on the fact that in eight years, this is where we are - amazing! God is so good and faithful. i love where we are at life and i love that i get to share it all with my very best friend. we often call each other our team mates (maybe a little corny, but i don't care) but mostly he is my best friend. after the kids went to bed we sat in our dining room and tried to take a picture of ourselves, we laughed so hard. what you see above was the "best" of the bunch - aren't we cute!

Sunday, September 02, 2007


this weekend our family was given the gift of time. time to spend together, resting, refueling. as life would have it, we were scheduled to the hilt and completely overwhelmed emotionally and physically and yet our very big God provided a way for us to slow down and bow out of virtually everything. the lawn did not get mowed, my foyer is still not painted, lilly's closet & bedroom are a disaster, i still haven't gotten all the kids school supplies, my heart is still mush and yet somehow it is ok. it is ok, because we went to the beach and played, i made homemade cinnamon rolls, lilly drew a picture of me and it included a head with two eyes, arms and legs, we visited a new church where we had no responsibilities, we helped a friend move and got ice cream afterwards to celebrate and we did it all as a family.

thank you Lord for the blessing of time and the time we have had this summer sharing it with our family and friends. thank you for this weekend. thank you that i laughed more than i cried. thank you for loving me so much.

Friday, August 31, 2007

the cereal aisle

i have started to realize that dave and i parent through bribes. if i was honest, i'm sure i swore i would never say things like, "if you are good, i will give you something special", like my own parents did on occasion, which drove me crazy. and yet there we were last night running errands all over town, passed bed time and before dinner (we did have mc d's around 9:45pm), asking our kids to be good so they could get "a special treat". dave, in all his wisdom, announced in the car what the special treat would be as the kids screeched a squirmed in the back seats, "we are going to meijers and you each can pick out your own cereal". the screeching increased as the kids enthusiasm and excitement escalated with thoughts of marshmallows, chocolate and funny shaped cereals.

once in the aisle, i realized what we had done. we had opened flood gates. as i looked down that aisle and squatted down to my kids perspective i thought, we are going to be here forever - how are any of them going to be able to make a choice, let alone a "good" one. granted, i went into this knowing full well none of my kids were going to choose Raisin Bran or Cherrios, but there was a little bit of me that hoped that one my many lessons on good eating habits would ring between their ears. watching my kids run up and down the aisle, grabbing a box, giggling, holding onto it for a minute until finding another intriguing box to switch it with reminded me of the crazy world we live where the healthy and good things for us are overshadowed by the dramatically bold and bright which typically have little to no nutritional value.

life is hard and full of choices and consequences. i'm so thankful i walk with a God who is there to help me make better choices and in turn experience good and healthy consequences. i sit here this morning overwhelmed and broken hearted for my family - knowing that i am unable to make any decision for them, that they must make it on their own. i hate that i am unable to scoop them up and rescue the innocent ones caught up in this mess. i hate that all i can do is pray, because it doesn't seem like enough. i hate that my faith doesn't seem big enough to believe God can restore this family. my heart is broken and yet i know i must persevere, for the sake of my beautiful husband and kids.

as you can see the kids made great choices :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

two wheels!

we are so proud of luke - riding on two wheels for the first time!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

pouty lip service

we spent the afternoon at the beach today! wow, it was a gorgeous day. the last few days have been very blaahhh, and i was beginning to think fall was closer than i wanted it to be. however, today was an awesome reminder that summer is still here. the water was even warm enough for mommy to go swimming :) even with all sorts of fun going on lilly still found a need to put on her pouty lip. i'm not sure what she wanted or was mad at, but i love that i got a picture of it!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Birthday Girls!

we celebrated ally and lilly's birthdays together this last saturday. ally turned 6 on the 27th and lilly turned 4 on the 31st. it was a beautiful day full of family, friends and laughter.

when i asked lilly what kind of birthday she wanted, she requested a "baby birthday". she told me, "everyone has to bring their baby to the party, and if they don't have a baby they can bring a baby doll." lilly loves her babies, she plays with them virtually all day long. it was so much fun watching her open all of her new "baby" things.


on july 24th dave turned 30 years old. the kids and i took him to a great dinner where a few of our dear friends met us. then we came home for cake and ice cream where we surprised him with a lot more dear friends and family. thanks to everyone who came and celebrated with us. we all had a blast!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

bye, bye

after 7 years we are finally saying farewell to this lovely piece of furniture. it is so weird to think that we no longer have a need for a crib. lilly will be four next week and is ready for her "big girl" bed. she is soooo excited! i feel like i say this all the time but, where does the time go?

Friday, July 13, 2007


the song is still ringing in my ears. last night we took the kids to a Chicago Fire Soccer game. they are playing in their new stadium (dave was completely geeked). before the game i asked if they would show me their emotions for the game. as you can see the boys are very excited, lilly isn't quite so sure. after the game we bought the boys their first official soccer jerseys, they both asked if they could sleep in them and still wear them the next day. we compromised and said, "you can sleep with them, not in them." although the fire lost 4 -0 we all had a blast!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

for almost as many years as i can remember we have celebrated the 4th of july at our families cottage up north. this year was no different than others except that my dad and his wife, suzie, now live there and have made it very, very homey instead of just cottagy. it is wonderful! my brother took all of us tubing, the pic above is lilly's first time. she loved everything but falling off.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

caleb turns 7

it is really hard for me to believe that caleb is 7. i know it sounds corny but, where does the time go and how do you make it stop! he is getting so big. he had so much fun playing in the sprinkler, getting his first webkinz, and fishing pole. we are heading up north for the forth of july and he can't wait to go fishing in the lake and catch a "keeper". when i asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted he asked for blueberry pie and a cake in the shape of a 7. he is so proud of his age :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Let's go to the Zoo!

so, as many of you know we have been in chicago for the last two weeks. dave has been in class at north park and the kids and i have been staying at my in-laws (aka: mimi & papa) in naperville. we have had so much fun seeing old friends, hanging out at the pool and going on excursions! yesterday i took the kids and their best bud nathan to brookfield zoo. when the kids were younger and we lived here we had a membership and came often - however in all those years we never spent an entire day there. we arrived around 10:30am and left at 5pm. we all had a blast!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

a few more pics...

where does the time go...? we have already been back from vacation a month and i am just now putting up a few more pics. we had a blast in florida and feel so blessed to have friends that would allow us to use their condo for a week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Family Vacations

Considering my last entery included snow - it has been a while since i last updated.... however, i figured there wasn't a better time to update than now. we just got back from our 2nd annual family vacation to florida. i have tons of pictures (i will post more later) however, i thought this one would be an appropriate one considering it is the only one we have as an enitre family!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sledding Fun

after all the snow we've gotten over the last few weeks we haven't gotten in as much sledding as i would of liked - it has just been too darn cold. however this last monday, the kids were off school and it was a balmy 30 degrees and we had to go out! we had a blast on the sand dunes near our home (a.k.a. sugar bowl).

All products are from the NYC Urban Beat Collection by Trace Industries.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

- Chicago Blues -
this is a layout i did real quick to show one of our fun new paper lines. more to come!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


i have lived in the midwest all my life and can't ever remember a snow storm like this. you know it's bad when church is cancelled!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trace Industries - CHA SNEAK PEEK!
Here is a little sampling of what we will be premiering at CHA this next week. If you will be going to Anaheim please stop by and say Hi - we will be at booth #5359. I will be uploading more images of our other new stuff later today - so check back!