Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#Light the World

Today the idea to bring Light to the World was to share a scripture on social media. Instead of searching for my favorite scripture, I wanted to read about Christ's birth. As I began reading in Matthew, I was quickly reminded of the other key figures during this season, Mary and Joseph. "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Matthew 1:16 Mary was a very special young woman who was given the honor and the burden of bearing and rearing Jesus. Joseph must have been a kind and patient person who had a deep respect for God and for his wife. I am thankful for their faith and their sacrifices. Something else that I found to be inspiring was how all the events of Jesus's early life was a fulfillment of prophecy. The circumstances, the places and the sequence of events was all foretold.

I am so thankful for the chance to ponder on Christ's birth and what it means to me. I love the Light of the World initiative because we are reminded of how Christ lived his life, close to his Father and serving everyone around him. If I bring light to one person this season I will have succeeded.

May you feel God's love and light during this Christmas season and always.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Yearly Whirlwind


Well, I missed writing in October. Highlights include our annual fall kickoff, Halloween parties and the holiday dinner for Relief Society. Outside of that, I cannot think of much else.

Halloween prep

Just a momma and her baby

After they went Trick or treating.

One of our favorite sister missionaries went home. We will miss her. 

A picnic after Regional Conference.

Quick update on each of us.

Cody is super busy at work. He has a never-ending cycle of work, not enough sleep and coming home to help with the girls.

Jane seems to love Kindergarten. She is the Star of the Week this week so we sent a poster of photos of her to school yesterday and this week I will go into read to the class and bring a special snack on another day. She is loving it. She is sweet and bossy with her sisters.

Maurie is going through a phase right now...at least I hope it is a phase. She goes from giving hugs and kisses to pulling hair, hitting and screaming. I pray daily that I can help her deal with her intense emotions in a healthy way. I relate well to how she feels at times, and I want to model good coping skills. Some days go better than others.

Brooklyn continues to surprise us. She is nearly walking. She took a step yesterday. She is not even 9 months yet! She eats and  eats and  eats. She has moved onto regular table food, and I am truly astonished at how much she can down in one meal. She is so sweet and  rarely fusses. She has two top teeth and two bottom teeth. I love to feel her tiny head resting on my shoulder. She is a thumb sucker and sleeps like a champ.

Our whirlwind November week is coming to a close.

Thanksgiving: We did our own. Cody brined a chicken and we let it cook in the crockpot all day. It was delicious. I made the rest of the side dishes and pies we love. It was a relaxing day. Cody did play football in the morning and was sore for the rest of the weekend. The girls enjoyed running around together at the park while he played. Cody and I actually ate alone since the food finished while the girls were all taking naps. This never happens all at the same time, but we decided to cease the opportunity and eat in peace. We were very glad we did when they all woke up at the same time. Jane and I went shopping in the evening and found out quickly that crowds of crazy people are not our thing. We hid somewhere quiet until the madness had died down a bit and then spent too much time in a line for things I could have gotten two days later without the hassle. Am I the only one that is a sucker for the Black Friday deals? I get reeled in every time. It is the thrill of the deal more than the thrill of the thing I am buying. I will learn someday. ;) Despite the antics, Jane and I had some quality time to talk about what Christmas is about...

toys...just kidding. We discussed the joy of giving and Christ as the center of the holiday. She is actually old enough to get it now and she seems to be excited to have gifts that are "from" her to other family members.

My birthday: Cody did a great job of making me feel special. He had a note and gift for me in the morning and made me breakfast. We then went to see Disney's Moana at the movie theater as a family. We all enjoyed it. Then we bought a Nerf gun set and had a Nerf gun war at home. It was a lot of fun! Later that day the girls sang to me and I blew out candles on a fresh seven layer bean dip. I had many friends and family who wished me well. I am thankful for all of them! I am now 31 years old and it has not been a blow like 30 was. No crying this time.

Wedding anniversary: I reminded Cody last night that it was our anniversary today. He looked defeated and he said, "I just can't do it." LOL! One man can only handle so many important dates at a time. In the morning we shared our favorite memories from our wedding day. I think we have done this before, but each time it seems we remember something different. I got Cody a 1 hour massage and I have been texting him something I love about him on the hour all day. I'm not sure if he likes it, but I have enjoyed thinking about the things I love about him. I am a lucky woman.

I hope you are all well. Is anyone else doing the "Light of the World" challenge. I am looking forward to it.

Thanksgiving 2016

We were pretty excited about the chicken and the fact we had the time to take a selfie. Ha!

We also went to get a Christmas tree and set up Christmas decor. This was set up at the tree lot we went to. We usually cut down a fresh tree, but we didn't have the courage to take all the girls out into the cold this year.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Being 2

My sweet middle daughter turned two years old a few weeks ago. We had an ice cream cake and tried to make her feel special. This post is overdue, but I have pictures, so it is worth the delay. ;)

M is challenging us, as the majority of two year olds do. She takes her diaper off whenever she feels the need and goes to the "restroom" wherever it suits her. For example, the deck, the playroom, and on the side of the house. We have cleaned up some gory messes, and Cody even attempted to potty train her yesterday. It went well until she peed down his back on the couch, right after he asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom. We did use the timer and she did, in fact, sit on the toilet, but she never actually did anything on the pot.

She doesn't have the vocabulary to replace the screaming that has worked fairly well up until this point. She spends her days playing with whatever is around, asking for "TB" (television), crying because I won't let her watch TB and sitting on our kitchen stools or in her room for time-outs. She is very good at puzzles and spatial/visual activities.

She is very sweet with her baby sister and LOVES when Jane gets home. Jane is a lot more exciting than me and they love to romp around together. M is a feisty and loyal companion. I was told that during nursery there was a boy that was bothering the other kids and she went up to him and gave him a push. I don't condone pushing, but my daughter sticks up for her friends and is no push-over. She will figure out how to stick up for her friends without violence. LOL. She is good at cuddling and still sucks her thumb and holds her hair. She sleeps very well in her toddler bed and still takes an afternoon nap. She still calms me and grounds me, even in her fiery moments.

I love M so much, and I am so grateful that I get to be her mother. Cody says that she is my mini-me, and I hope she is glad about that someday. =)

Here are some pictures of my tremendous 2 year old. She will not hold still for photos, so you will notice that most of the pictures are action shots. These are good representations of her personality though.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Before and After

BEFORE: When we bought the house. 

AFTER: My front room now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Beware the Gap

I am an idealist to a fault. This whole week I have pictured myself allowing Jane to try ballet for free during Kid's Week. Jane was excited and so was I. My ideas and reality seem to have a wide gap between them lately.

First, both my 1 year old and 4 month old fell asleep around 30 minutes before we needed to go. I got everyone into the car okay, but when we got there I walked into the building with 4 month old in my carrier, 1 year old in stroller and Jane and her friend holding onto me or the stroller. I was feeling good until we opened the door. A steep bi level staircase is between me and getting my daughter to a free dance class. We opened a door near the entrance on the main level, hoping that there was another dance floor. No, it was the back of a restaurant. I gave in and headed back to the van to drop off stroller. My 1 yr old did not want to get out of the stroller or put on shoes. After forcing her out of the stroller and carrying her alongside my 4 month old, we headed back to the dance studio once more. Once we got to the studio, the area was barely big enough to fit me and the four kids I had with me. I sign a waiver and Jane goes inside. She lines up against the wall to dance and begins to watch the other little girls and the instructor. I can see in her face that she is not going to dance. She looks scared and completely insecure. She does not dance once in the remaining five minutes of the class! Being late did not help our cause, but I don't think she would have even if we had been on time.

So, less than 10 minutes from arriving at the tiny studio, we all climb the stairs and file out. After wrestling kids back into car seats we are on our way with wide awake crying kids...Jane included since she was embarrassed in front of her friend for not dancing. Her friend told her if she wanted a cookie, she would need to at least try ballet. (No one had any cookies.) Jane cried harder and so did my other two. Jane's friend says she is starving, and I feel like joining the crying. 

After dropping off Jane's friend and lots more crying, we are home. Jane and Maurie are asleep and I am too worn out to attempt a transfer to the house, so I sit here in the car breastfeeding Brooklyn. 

That, my friends, is my day and most days trying to get one thing done. I do my errand running after Cody gets home these days. There is hardly anything worth going out for with three small children.

The moms of three were not kidding when they said that three kids tips the scale. 

Do your plans or ideas look different than reality too?



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Heart Full

All my girls are sleeping right now and I want to take a nap too, but my heart is too full of love and gratitude to sleep.

My girls are sleeping because it is the first time in the last seven days that we have stopped. My mom and sister came to visit this week and it was truly a wonderful visit. My mom and Joanie were so helpful with the girls and the house and we had a great time despite the chaos that is my life right now. I miss them both already, but more than anything I am grateful for such a special family! I feel so blessed to have family members in my life that are so loving, understanding and selfless. I want to be better because of my family!

I have to give a run-down of the fun-filled week we just had. I don't want to forget any of the memories that we made.

They arrived on Wednesday at 11:00 am and as is tradition in our family, we spent most of the rest of the day visiting. Joanie and my mom had brought little purses and a bunch of fun goodies as gifts for the girls. Jane and Maurie carried them around constantly until they became a reason to fight and we started to put them up high. Cody was able to visit with us for awhile before his business trip. We ate grilled chicken, potatoes, corn and a salad.

Grandma loves holding her grand babies!

On Thursday, we went downtown to listen to music, but missed it, so we went to the library and ended up going to a performance by David Stokes about animals and their habitats. It was a fun little presentation and we were able to see turtles, frogs, and feel different fur skins. We learned a lot of sign language too. "Not smart" When we got back we took naps and we were too tired to paint our canvases. We at pizza for dinner.

Jane did her own paintings while we painted our canvas.

On Friday, we got the girls down for a nap and did our oil painting on canvas. We had such a fun time watching Clive teach us some tricks and trying to imitate what came so easily for him. In the evening we went out to dinner without the girls. We went to Pullman's and sat on the patio near the Fox River. The food was nothing to brag about but we had a great time visiting. Then we went to Joanns to get stuff for embroidery. My sister Joanie makes beautiful embroidery pieces and she agreed to teach me.

Selfie in front of the restaurant

On Saturday we went to Point Beach State Forest in Two Rivers, WI. It took an hour to get there, but it was an okay time for the girls. When we got there we played in the sand and set up for our picnic lunch. The girls waded in the water and Maurie fell in, face first. Thankfully Joanie was close and quickly picked her up. Jane ended up playing with a little girl on the beach and baby was pleasantthe whole afternoon. Joanie took a short nap on the beach until we thought we lost Jane and woke her up to help find her. We stayed for about three hours and then headed home. When we got home we just relaxed and ate something simple and unmemorable since I can't remember. =)

On Sunday we attended church and had our family's traditional tacos. We stayed up very late talking.

On Monday we had a lazy morning and then had a productive afternoon of making raspberry jam (7 pints) and cookies. For dinner we ate Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner.

On Tuesday, we went to High Cliff State Park where we took a short hike and climbed the tower to see Lake Winnebago. Later we had a BBQ outside and then we scrubbed our feet and hands with a homemade brown sugar scrub and then we painted nails. We set up beds in the living room and had a sleepover. When I say we, it ended up being the girls on the sleeping pads and my mom on the couch. Joanie, me and the baby made our way back up to our beds.

Nature Princess. Joanie made Jane a clover crown.

Buddies with Lake Winnebago in the background

Beautiful sight!

My girls love their auntie!
The whole crew
Setting up our "sleepover"

Today, we just relaxed and visited in the morning. We ate lunch together and then my mom and sister got ready to go. Maurie just woke up from her nap after we dropped my mom and sister off at the airport and she made me cry again because she kept looking for Joanie and Grandma. She looked in all the rooms of the house, even the garage and outside. She was really hurt and confused and it made my heart ache like it hasn't in a really long time. I truly ache to be close to my family. I am so thankful for the time we had though. I am so thankful that my mom and sister sacrificed time away from their husbands and their life to spend time with me and my girls.

It was a visit I will treasure all year and I hope they had as much fun as I did.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Anticipation is Killing Me

My mom and sister are coming to visit me in Wisconsin! I am so excited. I have a very fun week planned and I hope they think it is fun too!

Here are a few photos from the past few days.

I hope you have something to look forward to as well. Summers are so much fun when you have relationships to strengthen, fine weather and the energy and time for cool experiences. What are you looking forward too or what have you already done that has made your summer!


Rain Dance Fountain at City Park, Appleton, WI

Baby Girl

Flowers at City Park

Little One climbing a web at the Park

Yes! We have raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and lots of beautiful flowers at our house. I have been feeling abundantly blessed lately. I hope you are feeling it too!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day Trippin' to Door County

July 1, 2016 We got all the way to Potawatomi State Park sign before we had to stop to feed kids and stretch our legs. Since we were on our way to Peninsula State Park and we didn't want to pay twice, we decided to picnic next to the state park sign. We should have gone inside the park to eat, but we were on our way to another state park and didn't want to pay twice. We ended up buying a year pass, so we could have gone into both parks. Oh, well. We had a nice time regardless, and we did get a photo in front of the sign just to remember our silliness. After that we finally got to Nicolet Beach inside the state park. We had come really prepared minus swimsuits! The girls still had fun digging in the sand, getting their feet in the water and running around. 
Jane and Maurie at Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park

We took a lighthouse tour.

After the beach we went to the lighthouse nearby. I can't remember the name now. We took the tour and really enjoying learning the history of the lighthouse keeper and the lighthouse. One of the children of the lighthouse keeper that grew up in the lighthouse was actually alive and giving tours for a time after it was set up as a museum. Cody and I were humbled when we realized that the lighthouse was a mansion for the era. The house only had three bedrooms and no closets. They usually had two sets of clothes...one to wear and one to wash and if they were lucky they had something nice to wear for special occasions. We sure have complicated our lives! 

After we toured the lighthouse, we went to The Wild Tomato Restaurant where we gobbled up a sausage and pesto wood fire oven pizza. Then we had yummy ice cream at Grumpy's ice cream and made our last stop at a farm/vineyard where we tried some freshly squeezed cherry and apple juice, let the girls play on the outdoor playground and played some horse shoes. We were all super tired and we got home in good time. We all slept most of the way, but at the end Brooklyn cried non-stop until we were home. =(

It was a good day in Door County and we have other things we want to try the next time we go. Lake Michigan is beautiful and the Wisconsin countryside never disappoints.

The only family picture we got because a friendly man stopped to take it for us. 

Our picnic right next to the state park sign. =)

© Lucy Jo. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.