Thursday, November 22, 2012


The last few months I have been reading, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The book is about developing a heart of thankfulness; finding blessings in every aspect in life- the exciting things, the mundane things, the good, the bad. And it has really changed the way I look at life. All of life is a gift to be cherished. (If you haven't read this book, it's worth reading. It's poetically written and not a quick read. But it makes you think and reflect and learn to look for the blessings in everyday life).

This Thanksgiving season I have much to be thankful for.

~I am thankful for the newest addition to our family- Haley Marais. She is our littlest baby yet- born at only 5lbs 9oz. She is 3 weeks old today and still not 7lbs! She is a little bundle of cuteness and we have all fallen in love with her.

~I am thankful for Luke. He is an amazing man! He's a great father to our children, he's a wonderful husband, and my best friend. There is no one I would rather walk through the journey of life with then him. It was 9 years ago on November 16th that Luke asked me to be his wife. I am so glad he asked and that I said yes. One of the best decisions of my life!

~I am thankful for our oldest, Silas. It's hard to believe he will be 6 years old in about 2 months! He is a great brother and such a fun kid. I am thankful that he loves going to school each morning and loves to learn. He is loving being apart of AWANA and learning more about Jesus.

~I am thankful for our princess, Eliana. She is 3 going on 13. She is LOVING her role as a big sister to a baby girl. She is a helper, a snuggler, and an all around wonderful girl. She loves to color, dance, wear jewelry, and paint her fingernails.

~I am thankful for our fiesty 1 year old, Levi. He is all boy- loves trains, throwing and kicking balls, screaming, and hitting. :) He has a strong will, but melts quickly when he gets a hug or gets in trouble! He is a mama's boy and we weren't sure how he would do with sharing me with a new baby. I am very thankful that he loves his baby sister and has had no issues with sharing my attention.

~I am thankful for Luke's new job and our new church. We are so thankful that Luke has a job that provides for our family and gives our whole family health benefits. Luke love his job and the team he works with. He is learning and growing in a great environment where he enjoys going to work each day and is valued and appreciated. We are so happy that Woodmen is a church that fits our family- a worship style we love, solid Biblical preaching, and a great children's ministry. We have a church home again as a family and that is something we are very thankful for.

~I am thankful that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my children. They are only young once and life is flying by. I am thankful that I get to be in the trenches each day and have an impact each day on their lives.

~I am thankful for food. I come from a food based family. Food is a central part of all family activities. There are so many who don't have the simple luxury of food. I am also thankful for water. Water that pours out of the faucet to drink, to cook with, to wash little hands, to shower.

~I am thankful for friends. Friends that I have had for a lifetime and friends who are newer. It's great to have people who really know you. Friends who support you through the good and bad- and still love you!

~I am thankful that we live in Colorado (and yes, that means I am thankful that we don't live in California. California is a great place in some aspects, and we miss many things about California- especially people! Friends, all of Luke's family, my brother, our church family. But it was not a great place for a young family to live.) We love living in a state with so many beautiful outdoor activities in our backyard. We love living in a state where we can take road trips to see family rather then always flying. We love living in a state where we can afford (to rent) a house with a yard and garage. We pay less for rent then we did for our 2 bedroom apartment in California. We love living in a state with seasons and snow (or at least I do!).

~I am thankful for my parents. My parents are our only family that live here in Colorado. They make life easier and richer on a daily basis. Our children absolutely adore them. Levi? He might actually like my dad more then he likes me and Luke. The vote is still out. As an adult, my parents are some of my best friends. And I am thankful that we get to be a part their lives on a regular basis- and that they get to be a part of ours.

~I am thankful for my siblings. They are some of my most favorite people ever. My sister? We pretty much talk every day. It's great- because with little kids running around she is someone I can abruptly end a phone call with because of a toddler meltdown. She is someone I can call for advice or to share funny stories with. My brothers? They make me laugh. They debate with me (well one brother in particular). They are great uncles. I also equally adore my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and nieces and nephews. My absolute favorite tv show is Parenthood. Seriously, I might like it more then Friends. And THAT is saying something! I cry during every episode. Every. Episode. And part of the reason is because it reminds me of my family. Since we live in 3 different states right now, I am hoping in heaven we can live next door to each other.

~I am thankful for the country we live in. It's far from perfect, yet still better then almost any other country out there. I am thankful for the men and women who put their lives on the line and sacrifice each day to keep our country free.

~I am thankful that all of these good things aren't just an accident. I am thankful for my Lord Jesus Christ- who ALL of these good things are from. I am thankful that through the known and the unknown of life I can trust in Him. I am thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; because His death and resurrection, we can experience true LIFE. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Another long absence from blogging, but that's life right now. Busy! This week life is going to get busier. I am scheduled to be induced tonight! Our little girl will be here before we know it. And I must say, I have never felt the mix of emotions before delivery that I am feeling right now. I am excited to meet our baby girl; though honestly? It's still very surreal that we are having another baby. I am excited to not be pregnant. Since moving to Colorado, I have basically either been pregnant or nursing. And we have lived here almost 2.5 years! But at this same time, this is it. We have our 4 kids. And we have had them closer together then we ever would have thought. So it's not as if I want to have more babies, but at the same time, to know that this phase of our life is over forever... it's sort of sad too.

When I look down at my stomach which is literally rolling with the constant movement of this baby- I am vastly aware that I am carrying a miracle. Being pregnant and giving birth is all a miracle- and for me, this is the last time I will experience it. Part of me is excited to move onto a new phase as a family, and part of me is full of sadness that this phase is already coming to an end. As long as I can remember, I have wanted to have babies. And I am so thankful that my dream came true and God has blessed us with 4 healthy pregnancies, and now wonderful children. I warned Luke a few days ago that I just may be emotional this week. So far, I have had held it together just fine. Through this whole pregnancy, I have really tried to cherish it. Even though it's probably been my most complicated pregnancy since I have been high risk. I have known that this is it- and I have wanted to really just enjoy it for what it was.

So if you happen to be up through the night tonight, say a prayer for me and Luke. We are supposed to check in at the hospital at 8PM. Pray that the delivery goes quickly and smoothly. Pray that our little girl will be born healthy and without any issues. Pray that the other kids will sleep well and behave for my parents. Silas and Eliana are over the moon with excitement to meet their baby sister- especially Eliana. Poor Levi has no idea that life is about to change; he will no longer be the baby. Pray that the adjustment will go well for him. I am so thankful that Luke has 12 days off work- this is the most time he has ever taken off when we have had a baby.

I will try to blog soon with an update on our sweet girl, and of course, pictures!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer... where did you go? (And update on life)

Literally, the title says it all. Life seems to be FLYING by right now. I can't believe that summer is over and that my firstborn started kindergarten this past week. Not to mention that in about 10 weeks, we will be adding another child to our family. Life is moving fast!

We had a great summer, though in went by fast. In June we took a trip to Minnesota to visit my sister and her family, as well as friends. We had a few days up in northern Minnesota visiting some of our favorite Minnesota spots (and restaurants!). We came back to Colorado on fire- literally. The fire in Colorado Springs was insane. I have never in my life seen anything like it; it was hellish. We were put on pre-evacuation status, and thankfully did not have to actually evacuate.

Hiking Gooseberry Falls in Minnesota. Levi was on my back.

World's Best Donuts- Grand Marais, MN 

Levi playing at the lake in Minnesota.

Cousins! Teddy Bear Park.

Though we did lots of fun things this summer there are so many things we never got the chance to do - because it seems that summer just flew by in a blur of appointments and naps and playdates. Next summer I am going to make a list of the things we want to do so that we can be a little more intentional about doing some of the fun things that are close that we so often forget to do.

Silas had a little surgery at the beginning of July. He was born tongue tied and it was never corrected as a baby because it didn't cause any problems. This spring we came to realize that being tongue tied was effecting his speech and decided to have the surgery done to correct it. It was a simple procedure- and the recovery happened amazingly fast. Literally, he didn't miss a beat. We walked out of the hospital- less then an hour after surgery- and he wanted to know where we were going to eat breakfast. We are so thankful it went well! Silas started kindergarten last Wednesday and LOVES it. He loves bringing a snack each day. He loves all of the "specialist" classes- he was very excited for today (computer day!). His teacher seems very sweet and the class size is great- not too big, not too small (I think 18 kids). He is only attending half day kindergarten- so he is done by noon each day- which I think is making it an easier transition for me. :)

Silas- all prepped and ready for surgery.

First Day of Kindergarten

Eliana is FULLY POTTY TRAINED. It happened in June- and we are so proud of her! She really needed to learn on her time table it seems. But now that she has it, she has it. Some days, a little too well. Last week I told her she needed to go to bathroom before she went to swimming lessons (so it was about 4:30PM). Her response? "Mom! I already went today!" Yep, she had been to the bathroom one time all day- and thought it was ridiculous that I would ask her to go again. :) She can hardly contain her excitement for her baby sister to be born. And asks just about every day when she will be coming. :)

Eliana at swimming lessons

Levi just turned 18 months old and has just started making some improvements in walking last week. Up until this point, he has showed really no interest in walking. He was just last week evaluated to see if he needed physical therapy (which they said he did). And now he is starting to get brave and take 3 or 4 steps here and there. And Saturday? He fell out of an arm chair in our living room. After much crying, I took him to urgent care. They did x-rays and found that his bone had a buckle fracture. In babies, it's very uncommon for bones to actually break because they are still softer. So his little arm is now splinted- and will be put into a cast on Wednesday. In the meantime, crawling is basically impossible because he can't put any weight on his wrist without crying. So he has started to walk even more. The only problem is that the walking is so new that sometimes it leads to falling- and falling on his hurt little wrist. :( On the plus side, he now has a good little weapon to defend himself against Eliana and Silas, who are less then thrilled when he hits them with his splinted arm. :)

Levi with his little splinted arm after leaving Urgent Care.

I am almost 30 weeks pregnant now- and feeling pretty good. A Walmart employee told me I looked "HUGE!!!" Yes, as you can imagine I was slightly less then thrilled, especially because I am not huge! :) I am actually measuring a little small right now, possibly because the baby is still breech. We have another ultrasound in 2 weeks and are hoping the baby will NOT be breech so that we can confirm it is a GIRL! Right now the baby is very active- which I am thankful for this pregnancy more then ever.

And possibly the MOST EXCITING news in our life right now is that Luke has a new job. Seriously. So exciting- so thankful. Luke started his new job this past week at Woodmen Valley Chapel as the Tech Director. Woodmen is the church I have been attending for Bible Study for the past 2 years, so I am already somewhat connected there and some of our best friends attend there too. It's a church we are excited about attending as a family. They have a children's ministry that we feel good about putting our kids in; we trust that they will be cared for, loved, safe, and taught about Jesus. It's closer to our house (thus cutting our gas bill in half each month- which will be a great savings!). It will better provide for our family financially and the benefits are great. We finally have health benefits for our whole family! We are so thankful to see how God provided this opportunity in His time; it was definitely a God thing and not something we can claim any part of orchestrating. My parents were over for dinner a few nights ago and my dad commented to Luke about how he just looked happy. Happier and more relaxed then he has looked in a long time. And that is how he feels. We feel like God has brought us to a great place and we are so excited to see what He has planned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A love not lost...

Well some of you may remember about 6 months ago, on Silas' 5th birthday, I lost my wedding band. You could say that it was a rough day. I was devastated and have spent many hours searching craigslist and ebay hoping that I might find it being resold... But that hasn't happened. We aren't in a place right now with 3 young children and a 4th on the way to just go replace it. And every time I look down at my ring finger and see only my engagement ring, I am reminded of my lost ring.

Well I am currently reading, "one thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp. An amazing book that I would recommend to just about anyone. It's about learning to live with a thankful heart each day. After reading a chapter of the book the other night, I turned the light off and my mind went to my wedding ring. And it occurred to me, that though I have lost my wedding ring, I still have my marriage. I look around at people in my life and in our world who have lost their spouse through death or divorce. And probably many of them would gladly give their wedding band and much more, just to have a healthy, loving marriage.

So though I still wish I hadn't lost my wedding band, I am approaching it with a new perspective. The symbol of our love has been lost, but I have not lost my love. Our marriage is stronger then ever. There is no one I would rather be on this crazy journey called life with then Luke. I am so thankful for the amazing man that God has created him to be- and thankful that he is mine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

And life changes again...

Again, not a lot of blogging. I have great intentions of blogging, but it just doesn't happen in reality right now. Maybe it has a little something to do with three little ones. And a fourth on the way. That's right! We are pregnant again- due (as of now) on November 8th. Though we did want one more baby, this was sooner then we were planning, thus quite a surprise! But a good one. I went to the doctor pretty much the day after I found out I was pregnant. I knew that there were risks with being pregnant and having thyroid issues. Well five tubes of blood and many tests later, my doctor told me that I have Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder. So NOT postpartum thyroiditis like I had hoped. So the Graves makes this a high risk pregnancy. Needless to say, after having three basically typical pregnancies, it's a little overwhelming/frightening. And thus, the whole learning to trust God thing is forefront yet again. Maybe this time I will learn better. :)

So the biggest reason I share the news about my pregnancy is that I am asking for you to pray. Pray that this pregnancy goes well. Pray that the baby develops perfectly. Pray that the Graves disease will not be passed to the baby. Pray that the baby will be able to be born full term and that he or she will be healthy. Pray that the doctors will be able to the prescribe the appropriate medicine to keep the Graves under control. Pray that through this whole journey ahead that both Luke and I will learn to trust God in a new way.

I did some research on Graves and found that naturopaths believe that one of the main causes of Graves is stress. Well we have had a bit of stress in our lives over the last two years (quitting jobs, moving, finding new jobs, pregnancy, financial). Thus, I do believe that it is possible that this has been caused by stress. The two most common ways to treat Graves are pretty drastic (radioactive treatment to kill your thyroid or having surgery to remove it). I am considering alternative options that might be a better and not so permanent fit. Graves can go into remission or disappear completely. And when Graves appears after a pregnancy? Sometimes a subsequent pregnancy will actually cause Graves to disappear. So friends, there is another prayer request. Pray that after this pregnancy, the Graves will be gone. That would be awesome.

One thing I am so thankful for is my endocrinologist. I was referred to her by my OBGYN. And this endocrinologist1? She is also an OBGYN. So the only patients she treats are those who are pregnant with thyroid issues. And she only sees patients one morning a week. She is one of the doctors doing research and writing papers on thyroid issues while pregnant. So I don't have just any old doctor to help treat this- I have an amazing doctor who is very knowledgable and truly an expert in this field.

So there you have it! The newest news in our life- exciting and joyful, but a little scary too. Thank you for caring and for praying!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Late Night Ramblings

Well it's late, and I feel like I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon. I have a few random things I want to write about, so here it goes!

When I heard the news of Whitney Houston's death, I was overcome with sadness. There have been plenty of "stars" that have died over the last few years. But for some reason, her death really struck me. Partly because she was too young. Partly because she has left a daughter with no mother. I know that Whitney Houston grew up in a Christian home- and got her start in music singing in the church choir. Her life is an example of how our world (and Hollywood) can so easily eat you up and spit you out. Her life was destroyed by addiction. Addiction gets ahold of your life and so often, it doesn't let go. I heard one of her more recent songs this weekend and it encouraged me. I pray that Whitney Houston knew Jesus and even though it seems that addiction ultimately destroyed her life, I hope and pray that she is with her Maker.

On a lighter note, we started potty training Eliana in earnest yesterday. I have heard many times to wait until your child is ready. Well she wasn't. But we were. She melted into tears when I told her that she was going to get to wear a princess pull-up. She wanted a diaper. She did not want to be a big girl. After attempting to reason with her, I convinced her to try it. Over the next few hours she ran to the potty more times then I can count. Nothing. About 4 hours later, it happened. She peed in the potty. (And during those 4 hours kept the pull-up dry, I might add). And it's all been up hill from there. She has already completed one line on her reward chart for going potty, and seems to get it. No reminders are necessary, and sitting her on the potty when she doesn't want to sit there is pointless. She goes when she is ready and managed to be accident free all day. Tonight another victory. She pooped in the potty- and for those of you who know our first child, who will remain nameless, it was months before he did that. She may or may not have gotten a small handful of jelly beans and two more stickers on her chart. It's been a big couple of days around here!

And today, Valentine's Day. I love Valentine's Day. Making cookies with my kids. Making valentines for friends and family. Valentine's Decorations. It was a (mostly) great day. Silas had a fun Valentine's party at school. We did our weekly Target trip with my parents and had lunch there afterwards. Luke brought home some beautiful red and white tulips for me. Tonight, we had a fondue dinner. The cheese fondue was delicious and very similar to one that we like at La Fondue. We had a cooked chicken tenders, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and bread to dip in the cheese. The kids were not fans and stuck to Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets, carrots, and fruit. We had chocolate fondue for dessert- so good! We had strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, cookie dough, Snickers, rice krispie treats, and rolled wafers to dip in. I have a doctors appointment in the morning and I am hoping my cholesterol is not checked. I am glad we only do this fondue dinner once a year- I love it but it's so heavy and full of fat. I feel like somehow I *must* work out tomorrow. Hopefully it will actually happen! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Alternately titled: Welcome February!! January, don't let the door hit you on the way out...

Today is February 1st- a new month! I could not be more excited. January was a rough one for us. An ER visit for me with my not so great insurance. A speeding ticket for Luke on a road where the speed limit changes 3 times in less then a mile. I lost my wedding ring. My kids lost their insurance because a payment took over a week to go 50 miles with the good ol' USPS. Thankfully, I have reapplied for the insurance and everything on that front will work out eventually.

So this month I have posted a few of my bemoanings on facebook, normally with regret later. I mean, we all have bad days. And typically it annoys me when people spout off negativeness all over facebook. And then? It was me this month. Ugh. I hope I learned my lesson!

Despite the suckiness of January, we had some great times too. My friend, Jeanette, came for a visit with her two cute kids. My sister and her family came for a visit which was super fun. Silas turned 5 years old- which I can hardly believe. He had a fun birthday party with friends. Eliana is still not potty trained, but that's ok! Her hair seems to be growing longer, so that is exciting. :)  Levi got three new teeth, which is not awesome for him, but does mean he can start eating more food. And Levi has started crawling.

Through some of my pity parties this month I have also been reminded of the many things I have to be thankful for. I know people who have sick children, people whose marriages are struggling, people who have lost jobs. And I am sure most of those friend would give *anything* to have my problems, which really aren't huge in the grand scheme of things.

It's all about perspective. And choosing joy. Choosing to be content in all circumstances- knowing that God is in control. God is bigger. I feel like it's a lesson I am continually learning. To trust Him through it all- the good and the bad. Choosing to look at what is great in my life rather then what I want to change. I have an amazing husband who thinks that I am the most amazing woman in the world. (I really have him fooled!) And I have three precious, adorable children who make me laugh and bring joy to my life each day. And I have a God who loves me unconditionally, whether I am singing Him praise or questioning the way He works. I am glad that January is done and look forward to what God has planned for February and the rest of the year.

I Corinthians 4:18
So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in my you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.