Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Thanksgivingness

I am doing my own version of InstaFriday today!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving day meal at one of our favorite local restaurants.  It was all you could and they brought you a huge platter of food plus your choice of pies afterwards. It was awesome. I was very excited about it (as you can tell), probably because I didn't have to cook anything. 

I was out doing errands on Wednesday and I saw this card and it really struck a note with me. I absolutely love the message and I think it is so true. I have been trying to carry it close to my heart since. 

I was out just gathering some supplies for holiday decorating and it was so crazy out. I almost had an anxiety attack in the aisle of hobby lobby. This time of year is very, very hard for me because it seems like everything is so overwhelming. The extra ccommitments, store crowds and traffic seem to be what triggers me the most. So, trying to plan and be proactive I have actually backed off on some commitments like our holiday weekly bible study and participating in our annual church cantata. I do love doing these things but this year I have conflicts already with two of our studies because of school concerts and a conflict with the cantata because of celebrating with Scott's family so that makes it in easy choice. 

We are also going to make a December/Advent fun list of things to do as a family to help us stay focused and remember the reason for the season. I am looking forward to brainstorming ideas with my family. We did this one year when Scott and I were first married and it was lots of fun to go out of our way to do some fun things together. Hopefully I can put a "school snow day" on there somewhere...the very best type of Christmas gift. :o)

And amid all the hustle and bustle, I have been crafting a little this weekend and it has been really nice. I feel like it is one of those things I really have to make time for but when I do actually do it, I just love it. Above is my inspiration for this year's Christmas decorating and I hope to share some things along the way with you. 

Have a great rest of your weekend! :o) Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!

We are enjoying a very low key holiday today...we are basically just waiting for Scott's parents to arrive so we can go out to eat at one of our favorite local restaurants, who is having a great holiday special. We cleaned and got everything ready last night so we can just enjoy a peaceful house this morning. We are drinking coffee, reading newspaper ads, and getting ready for football watching later. Michael is busy telling stories to himself and playing with a great new toy I found him (a serving piece). 

We tried to do a little decorating this year for the holiday. After Halloween Michael asked me why our house wasn't decorated and I felt terrible. Of course he wants to decorate for every holiday- who doesn't? So we bought a kit of turkey ornaments that we worked hard on and hung up on door handles and I've been trying to put up his little things he brings home from preschool. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I think it is so important to always be mindful of your blessings, even when things are not feeling so bright. I know I am living a life that no one would ever trade me for (losing a child) and maybe it is crazy to still count my blessings...but it one of the few things that keeps me going. 

I was getting my hair done yesterday on my day off from school and there was a guy in there who was complaining about having his second child. He was saying how it was so terrible because he wouldn't be able to sleep any more and his wife would probably make him drive the mini-van. I usually try and let stranger's comments roll off my back but it just hurt my feelings so much to hear someone being so ungrateful the day before Thanksgiving, right as the holiday season is starting. I just wanted to ask him if he was really serious? Does he even hear what he sounds like? My goodness.

Even in our loss, I am so blessed. I am thankful every day that Trace was here with us so we could have him. I think how terrible it would be if we never even knew him or never even got to hold his sweet little body. 

I am so thankful for my son Michael and all the joy that he brings us. He is always joyful, energetic, positive and is such a blessing to us. 

I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for our beautiful home. I am thankful we both have jobs that can support our family. I am thankful for my students who make it a joy for me to go to school every day. 

I am thankful for my whole family and especially for my mom's recovery from her accident. To hear doctors say things like, "awesome!" and "a miracle!" makes us appreciate how lucky we are. It makes me thankful that I have both my parents in my life and they still help guide me in the right direction. I am so thankful for my aunts who were able to be there with her when we weren't able and that she was able to get to the hospital right away. I am thankful for surgeons in other countries who can perform successful surgery on my mom's brain. I am thankful we were able to get her home swiftly and for everyone who helped make that possible. 

I am also thankful for the power or prayer and for everyone who continues to keep our family in their prayers. It works! I know it, I've seen it, I've felt it.

Have a blessed holiday!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

Happy Monday! 

Happy....Thanksgiving week?? What the heck?? 

I am in total denial that the holidays are here, like for real. Trees and wreaths out at Fareway, lights up on houses- wow. Are you feeling ready? Not me. I finally just ordered our Christmas cards because I should probably be sending them out soon, huh? I settled on the absolute cheapest option after waffling for weeks and not finding the perfect fit for the photos I wanted to use. I think we will be putting up our lights this weekend and trying to plan out our advent season and how we will spent the days leading up to the big day of Jesus' birth.

Holidays have never really been the same for me since Trace died and I also know some of it has been dealing with my mom's accident and the crazy way that being under that amount of worry and stress affect my view of time that makes it seem like the holidays are here without me realizing it. But some of it is just that mom is doing so awesome that I kind of feel like I have already been celebrating the holidays, just with the blessing of her good health. 

She is doing so well. So, so well. I was amazed to see her progress in just the few short days I visited with her. Every hour that went by she seemed to be acting more and more like her old self. God is good. Prayers are good. Thank you so much for everyone that has been thinking of us and sending prayers our way. They are much appreciated.

I thought I would just share a little bit of what we've been up to the last few days so you can get a feel for our journey (and for me to remember as well).

We ate sooo many meals in the hospital cafeteria. For the most part, they were very good meals and I am thankful for that but I was also happy to make a quick shopping trip to stock up on some things to have at my parents house while we were there. 

I picked up some fun activity books for Michael to work on at the hospital and he was so cute while he very intently worked on them. He kept sticking his little tongue out in the cutest way when he was concentrating hard! We also let him pick out "any toy he wanted" at Kmart to play with at the hospital and boy...that was a parenting mistake! Too many choices and eventually we had to give him a choice between three toys. Next time...I will just do a little pre-choosing for him!

I am also thankful that this Starbucks opened in the HyVee en route to the hospital the very week I was there visiting. Not a big deal to most, but a big deal to me! :o) Blessings come in all shapes and sizes- and flavors! 

Michael was so excited to visit my parents house because he had so much fun when he spent a week there this fall. He mostly wanted to play outside the whole time and we managed to squeeze a few minutes of play in here and there. He is just at such a fun age where anything and everything is exciting! Snow! A fence! The dog! A Chicken! A pile of corn! 

Mom was doing especially awesome right before we left on Sunday morning. It made me so happy to see her have a big smile on her face and I hope we brought her some joy and comfort while we were there. It is the absolute worst feeling in the world to know someone you love could be gone and I never want to stop being thankful for my mom's presence in my life. God is so, so good. 

So I hope you are feeling as thankful as we are this Thanksgiving week. I am excited to eat turkey and spend time with family members and only work one (!! I know!) day this week (I took off 3 days last week and was home sick with Michael today). A nice break is definitely needed.

Have a great week! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Psalm 103

I have been in the hospital with my mom since Wednesday morning and yesterday our pastor from my mom's church came to visit. We had a great visit with her and she shared Psalm 103 with us. As she was reading, I just felt a sense of peace come over me and the words have been sticking with me ever since. I wanted to share it with you today. 

(I especially like the mention of the eagle because it reminded me of the incredible blessing of getting mom home on the medical flight!)

Friday, November 22, 2013

I have shared on here before how my mom's younger sister, my aunt Karen, is suffering from terminal cancer. She has been going to Mexico to recuperate after treatments and just enjoy the warm air and relax. My mom has been planning a trip to spend time with her ever since her last visit. She left on the 4th and was going to stay for 10 days and she was looking forward to it very much- probably the only time she has traveled by herself.

She was supposed to come home on the 14th and I was looking forward to seeing her and talking to her again and couldn't wait to hear about her trip (and of course tell her about all the things we need to tell our moms about in our lives- you know what I mean!). Then I got a phone call from my dad on the way to school yesterday. Keep in mind, I go to school very early so he was calling around 6:30 a.m.....not usually when he calls just to see how things are going or to chit chat. My dad is a farmer and anytime I get a call at an odd hour my first thought is that something has happened to him- an accident. However, since it said Dad on the phone I didn't really think it could be anything bad. Dad's calling, he's the one I'm usually worried about, things are probably fine. 

Well...he calls to tell me that my mom fell down a flight of stairs in Mexico on Monday. She had to be transported to a hospital in Puerto Vallarta and had emergency surgery to reduce the swelling and bleeding in her brain. She was in a medically induced coma for four days and was unresponsive.

My aunts were able to get to Mexico ASAP to be with my mom. They were there with her the whole time trying to formulate a plan of action. Lots of phone calls, insurance dealings, and money talks were made but we finally got mom on a medical ambulance flight back to Iowa on Monday night. 

My mom is now talking and walking and is a miracle. Lots of prayers were said and her guardian angel was watching out for her. 

I feel like I should have updated sooner but to tell you the truth- I have been in a very dark place ever since getting the phone call. It is hard to be caught in the place between life and death and not knowing what to do. I tried to pray but was also angry with God. I wanted to jump on a plane to Mexico to be with her but my passport was expired which I didn't realize so I could deal with it before the weekend. I could have gotten it renewed in Chicago but by the time I would have flown to Mexico, Mom would have been already to leave on her medical flight. To say things moved 100 mph is an understatement. 

I am so thankful my mom is here in Iowa and is on the mend. It is a miracle and quite frankly, I was ready for a miracle to happen in our family. We are so happy to have her back.

I've been with her at the hospital this week and it is nice to be near her and spend time with her. I will give updates as we know more- I think it will be a long recovery until she is back to 100% but she is a hard worker and I know she can do it. 


I've had this post as a draft for a week so I thought I'd share my instagram photos since they were already uploaded into the post, hopefully they will bring a smile to some worried (and now relieved) family members faces. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A visit from a friend

This past weekend our friends Josh and Kelly came for the ISU football game and brought their son. He is just past a year old and so much fun! It was fun to have a kid that age around the house again, even for a little bit. Thanks Kelly and Josh for letting us get to enjoy him! 

(also, playdoh engineering requires mucho concentration) 

I think Karsten thought he was big stuff getting to hang out with older boys. Isn't that always the case? I remember when Michael was that age and loved looking up to his older friends and cousins. 

We also pulled this jersey (a size 2T!) out because Michael says, "that's my number!" and he thinks pretty much any time anyone wears a shirt with a number on it, that is their age (mostly because yes...I do force him to wear shirts all the time with his age on it!). Scott has a jersey with the number 7 on it so Michael says that is his age and then he says I am 8. I'll take it! :o) 

In other news, ISU lost another football game and I celebrated my (ahem) 31st birthday. I will post some more on instafriday since most of those are on my phone! 

Have a great Wednesday!

Friday, November 8, 2013


Last Friday, Michael and I snagged some park time on our way home from school while it was still sunny out after 5. I miss those days already and we are only one week in to the time change!

I dropped my favorite (new!) coffee mug this week. A surefire way to start out a day on the bad foot. 

Michael and I have been having fun exercising our imaginations this week. It seems like I always forget how things change when we can't go outside or go to parks after school and we have to fend for ourselves indoors. We've been having fun playing with legos, blocks, play doh and doing little crafts. I try and keep little sets of things together in Michael's closet so that we can just pull something out for the evening, play with it, and then put it away again. 

We've been trying to get our evening family routines under control also and it seems like if I can just have a half hour to get things organized and dinner ready, I can make a family dinner happen. That's all I need folks, just 30 minutes to get things organized, empty the dishwasher/pick up the kitchen, prep and cook things without someone asking me for a snack or telling me they are hungry, bored, want to watch TV, etc. It may sound easy but I know all you mothers out there know how hard it is! 

This week I cooked squash soup that we ate for several nights, pork chops with roasted veggies, and broccoli cheese soup. I am very proud of myself! Low expectations for the win! :o) 

This morning, I thought to myself, "why is our pond water pink?". Oh. Wow! Beautiful! 

And finally, it's Friday! I moved my orthopedic inserts over to my tennis shoes so if that doesn't signal the weekend, I don't know what does. :o) 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Recap

Michael had so much fun being Spiderman for Halloween this year. He loved wearing his costume before Halloween which shows in the wear and tear on the mask! I think he mostly loved being able to put it on and take it off by himself. 

Also, I am thankful that they started marketing the coordinating stocking hats with the costumes. Genius! Now if only they had a matching fleece or something so you didn't have to wear your costume over your jacket. (although we did have a talk about how sometimes Spiderman might need to wear a jacket). 

We also carved pumpkins for our porch the night before Halloween. I was really looking forward to it and we had fun!

Michael's design (I love the big smile).

My design- the classic jack-o-latern. 

Our spooky porch ready for trick or treaters!
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