Thursday, June 29, 2017


Last night, we met up with some new friends (and met some brand-new friends) at the festival of the Hills fireworks show in Rochester Hills. We parked at Heidi's parents house and walked with Heidi, Mike, and their boys, as well as two other families, about 2 miles to the park. We got there around 6 PM, just in the nick of time to set up our blankets for the 10 PM show. ;) Despite a tiny bit of drizzle throughout the evening, the weather was very nice and it was really enjoyable getting to know some new faces. The only bummer was that there was a very loud music show which made it impossible to talk unless you were right next to somebody. The boys walked around with Brian and enjoyed some of the bounce houses. Today William piped up out of the blue, "Mom, we just had a blast in the bounce houses." 

I know the evening was not exactly Brian's cup of tea, which made me all the more grateful that we went. The highlight of the night was when the fireworks finally started- and I spent more time watching Will than the fireworks themselves. William was very concerned that he be wearing his hearing protection, and Brian made sure he had it on in time. When the fireworks began, Will stood in rapt attention, clapping spontaneously after certain fireworks made an impression on him. I never want to forget the sight of him, standing with a green glow stick around his little polo shirt collar, his red hearing protection cupped tightly over his ears, standing straight as an arrow for the whole show, even while the rest of us sat, clapping. It was tangibly precious, and I kept reaching out to touch his little back- is this my boy? A couple other fun things were seeing Neva dance to the music (not something I necessarily encourage but it's still so innocent and sweet), a stranger stopping to pick up Neva's dropped tennis shoe as we were walking out (among thousands of people), talking about homeschooling with some new acquaintances, and dodging two bullets: once when I unwittingly unclipped Brian's car keys and nearly left them in the grass in the dark to be trampled and lost in the mob, and when Brian didn't apply the stroller brake on the walk home and sent William and Barrett hurtling backwards into foot traffic-  thankfully we caught it in time! Two mistakes that could have been bad, but God was merciful. 

It was past midnight when we got to bed, so this morning we were all quite tired. I thought it would be a hard day but it was actually a really nice day with the kids. We spent breakfast listening to Adventures in Odyssey, courtesy of Aunt Katie and Uncle John who are sharing their membership with us. And lately, the weather has been just lovely. We took a walk and picked black raspberries and dug holes in the driveway and ate carrots on the porch and yogurt for lunch together.  During Neva's naptime the boys and I must've read seven new library books. And I made a good start on the laundry and generally survived the day despite being very tired.

My girl. She says, "Bush you!" when you sneeze, and hates to go down to bed without kissing her brothers first. She LOVES baby dolls (and all babies in general), shoes ("Oosh!"), Grandma, and JoJo. The highlight of her day is when daddy comes home.

I was looking at these pictures and I found myself thinking, do I really and truly have a daughter??

I was very nice and picked lots of black raspberries for my little baby birds. Neva made hers last a little bit longer than the boys did and Barrett looked on in envy as she savored the last berries ("bees").

"Mom, we are making ant holes! Barrett, don't let the ants come near them. Ants destroy everything."
Barrett: "They do?"

Neva kept saying, "Yum. Yum."

Barrett and his fistFUL of carrots. 

She eats her yogurt a lot better if she can feed herself, so it's easier just to clean up the disaster after.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Post-haircut treats

"Mom, I had to give some of my chocolate chips to Barrett because he ran out."


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

My incredible husband and our three (soon four babies) and a dog who is equally devoted to him:

I am SO tremendously blessed with Brian as my husband. I pray almost every day, "Lord, please help my boys to grow up to be hard workers and faithful husbands like their dad, so their wives will feel as blessed as I do." Not only is he skilled, diligent, intelligent, and wise, he has also been an INCREDIBLE source of grace to me in these final months of pregnancy. Instead of, "Isn't the laundry done?" or "It's been forever since you made dinner," or "This house is a wreck!" (all things that would be very well true) I hear lots and lots of, "You're doing a great job," "You need to rest- it's ok if things aren't done," and "You look great; you're working so hard." He's taken on so many tasks and duties that I used to cover, like planting the garden or helping me make the Easter rolls. Every night he muscles the boys into bed- teeth, pjs, washing them up- while I tend to Neva. But it's not really about everything he does around the house. It's hard to convey and I don't think I'm doing a very good job, but Brian has simply been Christ to me. Which means at any given moment, he is the person I want to be sitting next to when the kids are in bed... being with him is like rest to my soul. 

Case in point: Father's Day was as relaxing for me as it was for him (maybe not that relaxing for either of us, ha! but he made it super low key). He made himself a sandwich for his Father's Day dinner, took a nap, then packed the boys' bikes into the back of the Pilot to head to my parents' for ice cream and watermelon. 

There, we saw Joel and Dayna, who despite being in the middle of a really stressful personal situation, were very gracious and were so much fun for the kids. Joel and Matthew are extraordinary uncles and are going to be awesome dads. 

When Joel and Dayna had to leave, Matthew and Kassidy arrived. They pulled in towing a big trailer that they had borrowed from Kassidy's parents... the following days were going to be moving days. Moving into... my parents'! Final push before they can buy a house!

We all ate ice cream, pulled the kids on a sled ("I never want to come outside in the winter because it's cold, so I never do this with them," said my mom), set off fireworks (thanks to my dad!), and rode bikes. It was a beautiful evening and a lovely Father's Day. I'm so blessed with an incredible dad who sacrificed in countless ways to raise us according to God's instruction for his family. If I stop and think for a minute of all the ways they sacrificed for us kids, my mind just floods with examples. I LOVE them so much and am so happy to live in Michigan near them. 

Pulling the sled

Mom really helped William become confident enough to ride down this hill. She worked with him for a while!

Dad pulling the sled

Mom still encouraging, "You're a volcano rocket!"

Barrett trying to hop on 

Neva's current favorite person is undoubtedly my mom... "Gamma"

Me and the dad of the day

I recollect that Brian and my mom were somewhat heatedly discussing a controversial topic when I interrupted her to take this selfie!

Getting ready to light fireworks! We are not a big fireworks family so this is kind of new. My dad saw them at Kroger picked them up.

Matthew and Kass and a couple of their biggest fans

Here we go! They were so fun!

Will is very cautious about such things. He kept his ears tightly covered during the fireworks and firmly decided the sparklers were not for him. It took Barrett several minutes to work up the courage to hold the sparkler, but eventually he held it and enjoyed it!

LOVED Matthew's shirt- "WOD now, Wine later"- LOL

The boys made lots of artwork for daddy for Father's Day. William picked out the letters himself for the picture below. Barrett drew a face on his project, of which he was very proud.

On the reverse of Will's letters was a picture of Daddy riding a bike

See below- Barrett's guy's face:

The card we made together for Daddy (Barrett colored the outside, Will drew the picture on the inside), and a picture Will colored for Daddy at church. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Barrett's Well Visit

Truthfully, the only reason I'm publishing this blog post because William got hold of my phone during the doctor's appointment and took some pictures of it. We had to go back a month after Neva's overdue one-year checkup because not only was she overdue for her 12 month shots, but she was also two months overdue for her 15 month shots. So we split them up and, when we came back for Neva's 15 month shots, we also did Barrett's annual three-year-old exam, a visit that, again, I wasn't aware was needed, but whatever. Now I know. Kids visit the doctor once a year. Got it.

Barrett, of course, did so well during his visit. I just like these types of visit because I love bragging about my kids. They are not by any means advanced, but they certainly hit their milestones, and they're always so well behaved and cute during visits like these that I can't help but imagine the doctor must surely be thinking that these are the best kids he's seen all week… perhaps even all month… Maybe even EVER IN HIS LIFE! 

William was HIGHLY ENTERTAINED by my camera

And bonus! This adorable picture was three years ago today! Barrett was sick and snotty that day, but still such a pleasant, happy boy. He was a total joy, and still is.