Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cleaning Day

My wonderful husband earned a day off with his impressive fitness test skills, and he's using it today to help me clean the house. Seriously. I haven't really gone through with a trash bag since before he deployed, and there have been a lot of cases of moving stuff from the front of the house to the back. So we have a list, and a plan, and a whole day to take care of things. Flylady would not be proud, but my intention is to keep it clean by, you know, picking up after myself and my children every day after this. 2010 Resolution #1, I guess.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Birthday Boy

Clar turned 1 on Tuesday. We waited until everyone in our family was healthy and celebrated last night. Because, as Ellie pointed out, "today he's still one!" I'm glad my children are so understanding about our non-calendar-anchored celebrations.

Clar brings so much joy to our lives. He's excited, inquisitive, and affectionate. He's starting to communicate more and more with his little words and signs. He loves his big sister and wants to do whatever she's doing, but in a more destructive way. He makes his opinions known now. He loves light switches and vehicles and balls. He loves hats (and he isn't picky, anything can be a hat for Clar!) He also loves dogs, and again, he isn't picky about whether the animal he thinks is a dog is technically a horse or an elephant. It is my joy and privilege to be his mommy and to watch him and guide him as he grows.

Happy Birthday Clarence!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Luke is home!

Praise God! We welcomed Luke home from Afghanistan last night. It was so nice to celebrate his homecoming with so many friends from church and work. We thank God for bringing Luke home to us. Everything else I try to write about this is inadequate, so I'm going to stop here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Almost Everybody

We were thrilled to spend this last week with Grammy and Grandpa, Uncle Joe and Aunt Megan, Uncle Frankie and Aunt Kori, Aunt Becky, and her fiance Ben. It started snowing during the worship service today and still hasn't stopped. It's just cold enough for snow, so the flakes are my favorite kind, big and fat.

We took a family picture this evening. It's so wonderful to see my brothers and sisters growing up and bringing their spouses to our family. It's also bittersweet, because I long for my own family to be together again.

We are so proud of Luke, we love him so much, and we are so excited for his homecoming!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Recent Accomplishments

I found it really helpful to set some goals for myself during Luke's deployment. In August, I completed a one mile open water swim, in the ocean of all places. The swim was in a nice, calm harbor, but the water was still cold and salty. I have new respect for people who swim in the ocean regularly. I'm also glad that the shark sightings off Cape Cod were reported after my race.
In September, I completed a sprint triathlon (400 meter swim, 11 mile bike, 5K run). At the end of September I ran my first half marathon. I was so happy to see my mom, Ellie, and Clar at the finish line!
My sister braved the early morning chill to bring the kids to the triathlon. Here's Ellie sporting my finisher's medal and showing off one of her new faces.

Clar was content to sit in his stroller and eat crackers.

Ellie has been working hard on mastering jigsaw puzzles. It's a great activity for rainy days with Grammy.

Of course, Clar has to participate. He likes taking puzzles apart more than putting them back together.
I spend every day with the kids, so sometimes it takes my ancient blog to show me how much they're growing and changing. We're enjoying our time here so much, but we look forward to being back at home in Albuquerque and showing our friends and family there how much we've grown!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summer in Pictures

Fourth of July parade in Wakefield

Dress Like a Cow Day at Chick-Fil-A (we didn't go, but Frankie and Kori brought back hats!)
The Tall Ships in Boston
Clar learned to eat and Ellie learned to feed him
Ellie's first movie: an IMAX show at the New England Aquarium
A Rare Moment
A Boy and A Frog
So, he's not always happy. I was trying to get a picture of the kids in their Pentagon outfits (from Grandpa C, of course), but it was late and Clar wasn't having it.
Summer's over, and it's time to...
...Bring on the fall!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Every Morning

"Yet this I call to mind,
And therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness."

Lamentations 3:21-23

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Know I'll Forget

I really like scrapbooking as a way of storing pictures. They're better than photo albums for being able to look back and tell the story of when someone was born, or when we went on that camping trip. But since I'm two years behind on scrapbooking and I just seem to keep taking pictures, when I finally get to the pictures I'm taking these days I know I won't remember the kids' milestones to complete the memories.

Like how Ellie's so proud of herself for knowing "the whole song" (many whole songs), so I don't correct her when she sings, "Tea, a drink with John and Fred. And that will bring us back to Doe, oh, oh, oh, Doe!"

Thursday, July 23, 2009


There are a lot of upsides to living with so many grown-ups. There are lots of people to play with Ellie and Clar. We take turns making dinner and grocery shopping, so the burden of feeding everyone is shared. Also, my brother Frankie works at Edible Arrangements and occasionally brings home extras!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Making Alumni Proud

Here's some some fun with dominoes from Rochester Institute of Technology, posted here especially for Luke.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Finally, Some Pictures!

I had to order a new camera cord, but I finally have the pictures from my camera on my computer. So here are some pictures to tell the story of our trip from Albuquerque to Massachusetts.
Thanks to the Newnams, Enfields, Overbeeks, Baileys, and Thompsons for taking care of Ellie and Clar while I packed and cleaned!
We celebrated Ellie's birthday (and Uncle Randy's, too!) at the farm in South Dakota. Ellie enjoyed her princess cake and took advantage of the sugar rush to pose for a picture or two.Clar fell in love with Wendy and Cosmo while Ellie talked my aunt, uncle, and cousins into playing dollhouse with her around the clock in Illinois.
We spent a whole week at the home of my mom's sister and brother-in-law in Michigan. Ellie took rides in three different boats, swam out to the raft with a life vest on, and baked us many sand breakfasts. Clar learned to splash, and now there's no turning back! The boy loves the water.

After our week at the lake, we drove a short way to Battle Creek, Michigan, to celebrate the wedding of my brother Frankie to his bride Kori. Ellie performed her flower girl duties well, and even allowed the ring bearer to help her toss petals on the floor. She was really in her element at the reception, where she danced the afternoon away. Being a flower girl is exhausting!

Here's Clar enjoying relief from humidity in front of the fan with Grandpa C:
Ellie owned the dance floor:

Ellie and Frankie, the groom:
Ellie dancing with
Ellie and Clar survived the trip and are finding new ways to communicate and play together all the time. Ellie, always imitating the grownups, offered Clar her knuckle to bite on to soothe his aching gums.
We arrived in Wakefield, MA, all in one piece on June 23rd. We thank God for granting us safe and uneventful travel, and for providing so many family members to drive with us and welcome us into their homes along the way.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We're Here!

I'm sitting at the computer in my parents' kitchen in the Boston area of Massachusetts! (They moved last summer, so I'm still not really sure exactly where I am). It's a drizzly day, just right for trying out cars and trains on the living room floor. Which is what Ellie did for most of the morning. Clar was singing and cooing all morning, partly at Penny the Dog, who he thinks is awesome, and partly because he didn't have to go back into his carseat today.

My camera batteries are dead, but there will be pictures up here soon. Then you can read about our trip after South Dakota. Some highlights were: celebrating Ellie's birthday and playing with kittens at the farm in South Dakota, a week at the lake in Michigan, the wedding of my brother Frankie to my new sister Kori on Sunday, and two long days of driving with my mom to arrive here in Boston.

For now, the kids (and everyone else!) are napping and I have some unpacking to do. Thank you for your prayers for our safety as we traveled. We're thankful to be here and so excited to be out of the car!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

South Dakota

I keep forgetting to take pictures, so I don't have any proof, but we're in South Dakota!

We arrived in the Black Hills area Saturday night and spent Sunday with Grandpa L's side of the family. Monday we drove across the state to the farm, where we're celebrating Ellie's birthday with Grandma L's side of the family. Ellie, Clar, and their cousin Riley saw cows and tractors up close and enjoyed stepping in great big tractor tracks in the mud. Now the girls are taking a bath and the boy is asleep.

Tomorrow we'll get back in the car and drive further East.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Colorado Springs

We made it to CO Springs yesterday just after 4 pm. The kids did great in the car. We stopped for a picnic lunch and to stretch our legs, and stopped a few other times for various reasons. They played and slept and sang along to "The Sound of Music" during the drive. Well, Ellie didn't sleep until about 8 miles from our exit here in the Springs, but she had a great attitude in spite of going without a nap.

Tomorrow morning we'll get on the road again!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quote of the Day

Our church has small groups, organized roughly by geography. We got together yesterday after church to spend time with one another and pray before we leave on our big trip and two other families move out of state. Our neighbors across the street , who are in our group, were right behind us on the drive home. As we got out of our car, Ellie said,

"Mommy, our whole Covenant Group lives on Choke Cherry Pie!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Six Years

Happy Anniversary, Luke!

Okay, now that the rush of the day is done, I can add this: Six years ago, I married my very best friend. We talked this afternoon about how on that day, we could not have imagined this day. I am so thankful to my husband for his leadership, his service, and his care for me and for our children. I thank God for bringing us together when we were young, and pray that I will joyfully serve with him wherever God calls us in whatever He calls us to do.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Great Adventures II

I guess it's a family tradition that when Luke deploys, I take the kids on a long, cross-country road trip to my family's house in Massachusetts and stop along the way for a brother's wedding. Every time!

Here's where we're headed this time. I placed the markers from memory, so those of you better acquainted with Michigan geography can show me where Battle Creek actually is on your hands when I see you. (You know who you are!)

Hopefully I'll take the time to blog our trip. It should be a... well, an adventure.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reminds me of... me

I found this when I was not going to sleep the other night.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kids and Their Puppies

And this is the picture I'm going to pull out and show them when they're older and think they don't get along:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There's no relationship quite like that between siblings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

If We Don't Lose Heart

My mom passed along this tape of Bible verses put to music that we listened to when my little sister was about Ellie's age. It's still in pretty good condition, and although the songs are not all exactly to my taste, I find that it's much more difficult to lose my patience or become irritable with my kids when I've been singing Bible verses all morning long.

One of my favorite verses for this stage of my life is Galatians 6:9: "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." So much of life with little ones is about repetition. The cleaning, the diapers, the bedtime routine, the discipline. Consistency is the key when it comes to discipine, which for my daughter is all about obeying right away and having a joyful heart. It's easy to become discouraged as we talk about the same issues again and again and again, but this verse reminds me that I'm not parenting for short-term success or even short-term obedience. I'm cultivating these little people for God's kingdom, and by His grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, in due season I will see the fruits of this labor. My prayer is that I will take joy in the work God is giving me right now, that I will not grow weary of this work, and that in due season I will see my children confess Jesus as Lord.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The First Leg

Luke made it to his training in Germany without any travel problems. He's taking his class, meeting some of the folks he'll be working with, and enjoying good food and extra sleep while he can.

We are really thankful to all the people who advised us to try Skype. We've been able to talk several times and it really helps Ellie to be able to see Luke when she talks to him. I think it probably helps him, too.

Monday, April 13, 2009


It looks like Thursday's the day. We'll be at the airport pretty early in the morning to say our goodbyes. My parents will be visiting here through Saturday, but I imagine that by next week we'll be ready to schedule some zoo trips, botanical garden picnics, and LOST viewings to help fill the time. Please pray for our family and especially for Luke's safety!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sheet Baskets

I tore up some old sheets into fabric strips for crochet a loooong time ago, (think: Before Ellie) and finally made something from them. Appropriately, I made some baskets for my linen closet to organize the baby washcloths and cleaning rags and kitchen towels that all seem to keep falling into one big pile. Before they organize my closet, they will hold some goodies for Easter.

Here's the pattern:
Materials: 3/4 inch fabric strips, a bunch in one color and a bit in a contrasting color.
Q hook

Basket is worked in spiral until color change at the end.
Chain 4, sl st into first ch to make ring.
Row 1: sc 8 into ring (8 sc)
Row 2: 2 sc in each sc around (16 sc)
Row 3: *sc in next 4 sc, ch 2, sc in same sc (corner made). Repeat from * 3 times. (5 sc on a side)
Row 4: *sc in next 4 sc, sc in ch 2 sp, ch 2, sc in ch 2 sp (corner made). Repeat from * 3 times. (7 sc on a side)
Row 5: * sc in next 6 sc, sc in ch 2 sp, ch 2, sc in ch 2 sp. Repeat from * 3 times. (9 sc on a side)
Row 6: *sc in next 8 sc, sc in ch 2 sp, ch 2, sc in ch 2 sp. Repeat from * 3 times. (11 sc on a side)
Row 7: *sc in next 9 sc, sc in ch 2 sp, ch 2, sc in ch 2 sp. Repeat from * 3 times. (13 sc on a side)
Row 8: In front loops only, sc in each sc around (39 sc).
Row 9-16: sc around. End row 16 with sl st, change to contrast color.
Row 17: ch 1, sc in each sc around, sl st into 1st sc.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Family Pictures

Here are some pictures we had taken of Luke and the kids a couple of weeks ago:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Great Adventure

Luke left this morning for some training in Texas to prepare for his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. We're very thankful that he'll be home with us again for a few weeks between this training and his deployment. We trust God's Providence as Luke travels and serves and as we spend the next several months traveling and growing through another Great Adventure.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Defeating the Purpose? - Our online book club offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.

Luke has some time off this weekend and we plan to go through the house and garage and weed out a lot of the things we don't need anymore. (Where did all this stuff come from?!) We've always been book buyers and very rarely purged books from our shelf. Our house rule is that we can only have as many books as fit on the shelves... so we've put in a lot of extra shelves.

Last night, we went through the bookshelves and removed at least 4 boxes of books. We're trying out to sell the many textbooks we no longer need, but it didn't seem worth it to list the paperbacks. So we checked out It's awesome! Basically, each member posts books he or she is willing to part with. Listing the first 10 books earns 2 credits. Books cost 1 credit. After listing books last night, I can go shopping from everyone else's list of books and they can shop for mine. For every book I send out to another shopper, I get an additional credit. I pay shipping to send books out and the other members pay for the shipping to send books to me. I can also get credits for referring people, so if you're interested and you click through the link at the top of this post and post 10 books, I'll get a credit.

So you can see where this is going... for every paperback book that actually leaves our house, we can get another one. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not For Sale

I'm reading this book called "Not For Sale" that I picked up two years ago but didn't get around to reading. I bought it after hearing the author, David Batstone, speak. In the book, he takes a look at human trafficking around the world. Without going into very graphic detail, he tells stories of several people who were recently held and traded as slaves in different parts of the world. It also talks about some of the the many organizations and individuals who are instrumental in freeing these slaves.

I haven't finished it yet, but so far I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the current state of human trafficking, the organizations committed to fighting it, and the modern abolitionist movement. And it's this month's free download at christianaudio!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

All Together

We're home from our whirlwind trip to Illinois for my grandmother's funeral. I'm so glad we were able to go and spend time with my family, remembering Grandma and celebrating her life as a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend, and child of God. Family was so important to her and I think it meant a lot to her children that so many of her family could gather around to celebrate her life and miss her together.
Saturday morning we made a big breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy. It was the kind of breakfast Grandma made for us when we went to visit at her house. As my parents and aunts and uncles, great-aunts, cousins, and children of cousins filled the kitchen and laughed over our meal, I thought how much Grandma would love this. And then I remembered that she is in heaven, worshipping our God and surrounded by all the saints who have gone before, and even this-- this family gathering that brings me so much joy-- does not compare with Glory.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Where O Death is Now Thy Sting?

"Christ the Lord is risen today,"
Sons of men and angels say.
Raise your joys and triumphs high!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal,
Christ has burst the gates of hell.
Death, in vain, forbids his rise,
Christ has opened paradise.

Lives again our glorious King!
Where, O death, is now thy sting?
Once he died, our souls to save.
Where thy victory, O grave?

Soar we now where Christ has led
Foll'wing our exalted Head.
Made like Him, like Him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

Hail, the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to Thee by both be given.
Thee we greet triumphant now!
Hail, the Resurrection, thou! Alleluia!

- Charles Wesley, 1739

My grandma went to be with the Lord yesterday after a long battle with lung cancer. She loved God and her family and her neighbors. She took great comfort in the Word of God and had peace in the last days of her life, knowing that Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, and today she worships God in his heaven.