June 30, 2010

A (cold) Day at the Beach

Here are a few pictures of Jack from our trip to Lake Michigan with the staff at the beginning of June. He doesn't look too scarred from his encounter with the pirates on our way up there, does he?

June 29, 2010

Jack's first hair cut

Jack had his first official hair cut at the beginning of June . . . at three years old. My kids just don't have much hair! I forgot to get an after shot, but you'll see plenty of pictures of him now later this week.

Thanks, Jodi!

June 28, 2010

Dear Ben, Month 9

Dear Bennett,

On Thursday afternoon, I was home alone with you. We haven't been home much because, well, it's summer and we just aren't home much during the summer. So when we are, it's like an entirely new world to explore and new toys to play with. And as much as you love your brother, you seem to enjoy any alone time, because he's not there to rip toys from your hands or try to ride you like a horse.

We lose track of you quite a bit because you get around so fast now. And now that you're cruising every where and can a few steps on your own, your horizons have been expanded and you've discovered many new areas of our home.

So on Thursday afternoon, you discovered the kitchen cabinets and doors. And shortly after you discovered how easy it is to pinch your fingers in them because the safety locks only let them open about an inch.

Each time you did it, you'd cry and I'd pick you up and put you back in the living room. And you'd crawl right back into the kitchen and do the whole thing over again. After three times, you decided that it wasn't worth it anymore. You crawled to the cabinet door, and opened it carefully, examining and it looking for ways to get to what was inside without pinching your fingers. But you couldn't figure it out and moved on. Ben: 0. Child safety locks: 1.

I sat there watching the whole thing, totally in awe of how much you've developed over the last 9 months. You've gone from this helpless blob, dependent on us for everything, to this capable little boy . . . still dependent on us, but becoming more and more independent by the day.

As I was watching you pinch your fingers in the cabinet, I wondered if I should do something to keep it from happening . . . but I didn't. Some things you need to learn the hard way. It took you three tries, but you eventually figured out that when you try to get into that cabinet, your fingers get pinched. And what I knew that you didn't know is that the things inside of the cabinet could cause much more harm than pinched fingers. I was ok with you learning the hard way because it ultimately protected you from a much greater danger.

I know, I know . . . you're only 9 months old. Maybe I should have put a chair in front of the cabinet or move the gate so that you couldn't get to it. I really don't know. But I know there will be many things in your life that are best learned on your own. And while sometimes, as your Mom, it's my job to step in and protect you, at other times, it's my job to stand back and watch.

Because while it may cause a little bit of pain and discomfort now, it's saving you from much greater danger in the future. Rest assured that no matter what . . . I'll always be there to kiss your pinched fingers along the way.

I love you, Bennett!


June 27, 2010

Oh my soul . . .

Hilarious. This boy has become so funny. He laughs and smiles so much and I fall more in love with him every single day.

He'll only take a few steps at a time on his own, but he'll walk just about anywhere if I hold one of his hands. Just like Jack did, he loves pushing chairs around the Cedar Center. He's such a happy kid. He claps, plays peek-a-boo, and slaps his hands on his forehead whenever I look at him and say, "OH MY GOODNESS!"

Have I mentioned how much I love him?

June 22, 2010

Honduras is not in Africa

This week, someone on my staff (who shall remain nameless) asked what country Honduras is in. Another girl looked at her and said, "Um . . . HONDURAS!" They proceeded to pull up a world map and prove it to her.

This particular staff member (who I happen to love, by the way) is going on a missions trip there in a few weeks. God help the Hondurans.

While that was amusing, we got onto the subject of Honduras (and how it's not in Africa) because a blogger friend of mine is raising money for a great organization.

And by donating, you enter yourself into a drawing for a lovely quilt she's making! Read about her project here. And then go donate.

Go do it now. Seriously. Right now.

I'll resume regular posting at some point before my kids start elementary school.

June 20, 2010

Ben's first steps? Check.

Last week, Ben started doing a lot of standing unsupported so all weekend, we've been encouraging Ben to take his first steps. But all he'd do was let go, take one and then lunge toward the person waiting for him.

This evening, Kyle and I were sitting in the living room and he took three steps from me to Kyle. And then Kyle turned him around and he came back to me. And then back to Kyle. He was a little startled by all of the cheering going on, but I think he was loving the big hugs and kisses he got from us at each of his destinations.

And me? I'm so proud. But my heart is breaking at the thought of my baby transitioning to a toddler. He'll be nine months old this week and I can hardly stand it.

June 16, 2010

Sneak peek for Zackary (and his parents)

Look who I got to hang out with last weekend! What a cutie this little guy is . . . and SO smart. Even though it was a super humid day, I had so much fun chasing him around

June 11, 2010

Numbers 3 & 4

Ben's top two teeth finally started to poke through last week . . . leaving him a slobbery mess!

But a really cute slobbery mess.

June 10, 2010


For many people, summer signals a slow down. They take it easy. They take vacations and enjoy time with their families.

It's the opposite for me.

Our jobs at camp keep us busy all year long, but things kick into gear a little bit more during May - September. Our staff arrived on Sunday for a two-week staff training and we've been busy working with them this week.

One thing that we do every year is take them on a camp out to Nordhouse Dunes National Wilderness area. I wasn't quite ready to be away from Ben for two nights in a row, so we decided that Jack and I would just come up for the day on Tuesday. That's right . . . four hours there, four hours back. All in one day. As it ended up, we got there and it started raining, so we brought everyone home about three hours after Jack and I arrived. Oh, well.

On our way up there, I stopped about 30 minutes from the camp area to get gas. I was working on filling the car, and Jack was sitting in the back seat on the opposite side of the car. His window was down.

There was a car sitting at the pump across from us . . . just yards from where Jack was. The driver was with a little boy . . . maybe about 10 years old . . . and when they were done filling their tank, they were washing the windshield. Let's call him Frank.

And there was a car behind him, with a trailer attached and no room to back out. The man driving was big . . . and tall. Let's call him Goliath.

Goliath was finished and leaned his head out the window and yelled, "Hey buddy . . . could you move your car?" And Frank said, "In just a minute, we're almost done." It was all downhill from there.

They were yelling at each other, getting in each others' faces, etc. And then Frank grabbed his little boy's hand and said, "Do you need to go to the bathroom? Let's go inside for an hour or two" and proceeded to walk into the store leaving Goliath trapped. Which, of course, infuriated Goliath. He started calling him really nasty names. You can probably imagine.

So Frank came storming out yelling, "WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!"

All of this . . . with my three year old watching on just yards away.

While this was going down, I was frantically trying to finish up pumping gas . . . I only had a half tank and I was fine with that because I wanted to get OUT OF THERE. The man at the pump next to me was calling 911. I didn't want to stick around to see what happened.

So we drove off and Jack asked, "What does f***ing mean?" Awesome. I was livid.

I told him it was a bad word that we shouldn't say and we talked about how those men were not doing the right thing. He asked if they were obeying God and I assured him that at that moment, they were not.

I didn't think Jack was that shaken up over it until two minutes later when we stopped at Meijer and he refused to get out of the car. He was so upset and worried that we'd run into those men. I assured him that was safe, but had to carry him through the store. Seriously. He's almost 40 pounds.

We got back on the road, and Jack was really quiet. It had been about 15 minutes and Jack finally asked, "Hey Mommy? Were those men pirates?"

It reassured me that at least part of his childhood innocence remained in tact.

June 8, 2010

Party details

Jack wanted a dump truck birthday party.

That's right . . . not baseball . . . the sport with which he's currently obsessed.

But dump trucks. I told him he'd be happy with whatever kind of party we threw for him, but we did sort of pull off a "dump truck" theme.

Here are some pictures from the party . . . I didn't get a chance to take many, but it'll give you an idea of what I did. You know, in case you need ideas for when your three-year-old insists on a dump truck party.

The invitation (a version of which is available in my shop):

It's amazing how much you can do with one stack of patterned scrapbook paper. I used it for placemats under each place setting, the pennant banners, the birthday banner and the wraps for the silverware. I think I got it for $15 or so.

We served barbecue pork sandwiches and other "barbecue-appropriate" foods. The biggest expense of the entire party? My sister brought in Garrett's popcorn from Chicago. Worth every penny . . .

The favors. I had LOTS of these and didn't want to take the extras home, where I would surely devour them. So, I stuck extras in every unattended purse and diaper bag.

Click here to see all of the photos.

June 7, 2010

Dear Jack, Month 36

Dear Jack,

You turned three last week, and to be honest . . . it's about time. It feels as if you've been three for months, and it's weird to think that last week at this time you were still technically two. Two seems so young. So little.

And you're not little any more.

You're growing up. You ask all the time what you need to do to grow up. I tell you the usual . . . eat your veggies, get lots of exercise and plenty of sleep. You want to know how long it will take when you ask "When will I be grown up?"

And that's a question to which I don't have an answer. Sometimes, I don't even feel that grown up. In fact, there are still things that I do sometimes that make me "feel" grown up as if I'm not actually an adult during all the other times of my life. The truth is, someday you'll be my age . . . a bigger, more mature version of who you are now. And you'll think to yourself, "I remember when my mom was 31." But you'll remember me as being much older than you'll feel then.

I guess my point is . . . don't be in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy each stage as it comes. It all passes so fast. When I was getting ready to graduate from high school, and sensing that life was about to drastically change and realizing that I could never go back, I asked my mom what her favorite stage of life was, and if she missed high school. In retrospect, I think she was trying to stifle a laugh when she said that each stage had something new and fun and that every stage just got better. I didn't understand it then, but I get it now.

I won't promise that every stage in life will get progressively better for you, because sometimes life doesn't work that way. But I will promise you (because the Bible tells us so) that if you spend your days following Jesus and serving him faithfully, you will one day be rewarded.

I know I've already rambled a lot, but I have one more thing that I really need to say on the subject of growing up: You're so lucky to have a man like your Dad to look up to. Not every mother can say that she hopes her boys grow up to be like their father, but I can. Watch him. Learn from him. He's certainly not perfect, but he loves God with his whole heart and has so much he can teach you. I hope you'll appreciate what a fantastic father you have.

I love you, Jack.


June 2, 2010


Three years ago today, I was sitting in a hospital room. I had a baby who was almost 5 hours old. I was a parent. I was overwhelmed with love for this new little person laying next to me. It seems like just yesterday.

And now, I have a three year old who walks and talks and reasons and loves me back . . . and I'm in awe of him as much today as I was back then.

You can read the whole story right here.

Happy birthday, Jackson!