Sunday, November 30, 2014


She is growing up right before our eyes. . .










It sure doesn't feel like it's been nine years since that brand new baby was placed in my arms.  But here we are.  And nine years from now she will be an official adult.  Halfway there.  Unbelievable!

It's always bittersweet to watch the kids grow up; but I guess it's more sweet than bitter.  Bella is such a fun girl and I love hanging out with her.  She has a sweet personality and a tender heart and can also get a little crazy at times - in a good way!  You can often find her reading a book or drawing - her two favorite things to do.

I'm so proud of Bella and the beautiful girl that she is - inside and out.  Thank you Lord for another year with this sweet girl and for this day to celebrate her.  

Happy Birthday Isabella!!! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our New Home

Well. . . maybe not so new now that we've been here for three months.   And many of you have seen the house in person by now; but in case you haven't. . . here's our little house tour.

Living Room

I'm standing at the front door.  No one uses it; but if they did, this would be the view from our entryway.  

Now I'm standing in front of that leather chair in the corner.  The front door is to the right of that closet. 

Here's the view of the front door from our kitchen. 

Kitchen/Dining Area

I turned myself right around from that spot and now I'm looking at the dining room.  The door to the deck is to the left of the coat rack.  This is where everyone enters the house.  

To the right is the bistro table.

And to the left is the kitchen area. 

To the left of that coffee wall hanging are the basement steps.  To the right of the coat area is the laundry room and garage. 

Now we're back to this part of the kitchen.  To the left is the hallway that contains bedrooms and a bathroom. 

Guest Room

The first door on the right is our guest room.  It is the smallest bedroom in the house and I think several previous pastors used it as an office.  It has much more value to us as a guest room and has already gotten some good use!

A pretty simple room, but we like it.   

Bella's Room

It is quite pink and girly, just the way she wanted it. 


I love her artwork and was excited to decorate her room with it. 

Boys' Room

By far, the hardest room to keep clean. 

The yellow dressers were Curtis's idea.  The little boy sure does love yellow.  They used to be purple and were in Bella's room in New Jersey.  I was originally planning on a deep red, but the yellow sure is cheerful!

Our Room


The door in the corner leads to our bathroom. 


We are definitely settled now with the exception of one bathroom that we have yet to paint.  And a garage that needs to get organized so that we can finally park our vehicles in there.  But it felt good to turn this house into our home.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Mental Health Day

Tears spilled out of Bella's eyes at the thought of going to school that Monday morning.

"Is it that you don't want to go to school?"  I asked her.  "Or are you just sad about leaving home?"

"I just don't want to leave you." she replied through her sobs.

Andy and I conferred.  We had never done this before, but we decided to keep Bella home from school that day.  It snowballed from there and soon I was calling out all three kids from school.  Andy had been gone that weekend prior and we all needed some time to reconnect.  I sensed pretty strongly at a gut level that this was the right decision for our family that day.

We took the morning slow.  Bella and I read our Bibles together.    

Then it was a family gator ride.

Dairy Queen for lunch thanks to some gift cards.

Filling boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The drop-off for this will continue until November 24th, so there's still time to participate if you want to!

Harvest season was about to come to an end and we had yet to ride along in the combine.

We remedied that.

That day delivered so many smiles and laughter and lots of special memories. I'm so glad that we did it.  We all need a mental health day from time to time. 

Here's a little else that we've been up to.

Beard hats.



Snow! Not long ago, these trees were filled with orange and yellow leaves. Now it's a blanket of white. This is the ever-changing picture that fills our dining room.

Bella made me a new pen!

Andy and I went to a Colts game! This was our first time at a professional football game.

Some friends from church have season tickets and they invited us to tag along.

Our loyalties are still with our Packers; but we love to root for the Colts too!

Somebody is getting in the Christmas spirit. This is actually one of Curtis's favorite bedtime outfits. We call him our little elf.

Stay tuned for house photos. I finally took some. They should be up tomorrow!

Saturday, November 08, 2014


Curtis and I played in the leaves one beautiful fall afternoon.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but our pile was massive.  Our yard was completely covered - couldn't even see the grass; which made for great pile potential.   I loved it!

Every time I pull into the driveway, I am overtaken with awe over the beauty.  When the sun was hiding on this gray day, the orange and yellow leaves offered their cheer instead. 

On to Halloween. . .

I spent the morning at Curtis's preschool party.  His teacher did such an incredible job.  The gym had stations set up all around for the kids to play games and win prizes.  There were enough activities that no one had to wait in line!

And of course there were some delicious, sugary goodies. 

The Meade family (Andy's sister, husband, and kids) were with us for the weekend.  We LOVED having them here.

Curtis and Charlie got a little pummeled by our massage chair. 

We had a little Halloween party in our basement with games, prizes, and pool. 

Ready to trick-or-treat!

Shortly after this photo, the clouds rolled in and the rain began to fall.  Plus it was COLD!  Our visions of bopping around from house to house were replaced by an indoor 'trunk-or-treat' and crafts/treats at the museum.  As we were settling into our vehicles after exiting the museum, the lights went out.  It seemed, at first, that maybe just a parking lot light shut off.  But when I looked across the street and saw a darkened gas station, I quickly realized that the whole town was in a black-out.  Driving home and getting into the house were interesting.  We had six super thrilled kids running around declaring this the best Halloween ever!  (It seems that the black-out made up for their lack of candy collecting that evening).  Laura came prepared for the weekend with glow sticks and flashlights.  Who knew how much they would come in handy!  She corraled the kids and got them into their jammies as I looked around the house for every candle that I could find.  The evening concluded with all of us in the living room, snacking on Halloween candy, and telling stories. 

Not exactly the Halloween that we imagined, but it definitely offered us some fun memories. 

The following evening was our church's barn bash.  This is held at the barn of some church friends and they did such a wonderful job transforming the space that usually stores their tractors and farm equipment into an awesome fall party.   

Country music provided the soundtrack to the evening that consisted of food, games, prizes, and a bonfire.  Everyone had a blast!

All good things must come to an end. . . 

Fitting in a couple more gator rides before the end of our visit. 

And here is some proof that Tim, Laura, and I were there. 

We were sad to see the Meades leave, but are happy that we live close enough for more visits!

The kids' school held a Fun Run this morning.  Andy is out of town at a Fall Retreat for some of the kids in our church, so it was me and the kids.  When we got there, Graydon informed me that he was wearing his crocs.  Nice.  The boys' age group ran one time around the track.  For not wearing running shoes, Graydon actually did pretty good.  Curtis started off strong, but got a little tired about halfway through.  They both finished well though. 

Bella's age group did the half mile.  She was awesome!  She finished third in her age group, and was the first girl. 

It was another super chilly morning though, so we were glad to come home afterwards and get some hot cocoa!

Later on this afternoon, they called me into the living room to show me how they were snuggling up together.  I love when they are getting along so well!