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Friday, June 2, 2017

~My Hesitation~

I received an email yesterday about the death of a mother of one of Janie’s friends. I am always frozen in place when I hear of the death of a parent. My heart goes out to the parent left behind and the children. I immediately am taken back to that hard stand still time that we went through after Jeff died. I want to help and reach out but I always hesitate…

I have a gut reaction that my experience does not count seeing as I met Hank and was remarried less than a year after Jeff’s death. That fact makes me feel unworthy of reaching out to someone….as if I do not count, my life was “fixed” too quickly…

What I do know is that I was and am still heartbroken over Jeff’s death, the utter destruction it had on our little family of 5. We lost our family on that day and it has never been the same. However in the worlds eyes my family has continued to thrive.

Yes this enormous family of mine is thriving, we are blessed in more ways than I could have ever imagined during that dark time in my life. Yet I discount what I lost because of the enormous blessings God has given me. Actually my basic emotion towards these blessings is guilt. Why would God give me so much more, why would He give me bravery to move past fears and go all the way to China 2 times??

I don’t know the answers but I do know I hesitate because I feel unworthy, I did not do “my time”…who came up with the token amount of time one can marry after a death anyway? I don’t know that answer either.

I do know that I am heartbroken for this sweet family….a family that will never be the same again. All the dreams they had together on the day they married will not be realized and that is heartbreaking.

I can answer to the fact that God is real and in charge. He created each of us for His purposes.  Our lives will always be changing on this earth but He has promised us that He is unchanging and will never leave us. That is enough for me. 

Psalm 102: 25-27
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

~So This Happened~

I had to sneak this one, yes he is huge..



he allowed this one:)
How I love this boy/man!!

~Madeline's American History Play~

The fourth grade at our school puts on a long.... American History play:)
the kids works very hard and learn so many facts throughout the process

Madeline was an immigrant and did an amazing job... it is so hard to believe she is the same child that was terrified to get up on a stage when she was younger!!

she and Declan played an immigrant couple...they said their lines perfectly



my girl has come such a long way...we are so very proud of her!




Madeline and Kylie were both immigrants and ended up wearing the same thing without talking about it:)


LOVE this...the happiness in her eyes!!

Madeline was all about getting pictures with her friends...
it was not that long ago that she refused to be in any pictures...
I am so very thankful for how the Lord has worked in her life
she is a treasured jewel!!!


~ Where Is The Flamingo Play?~

Well after writing about Janie's birthday and her love for flamingos after her play I realized I never posted about her Animal Play.....#badmom #wasthinkingaboutmyupcomingvacay

This was my last first grade animal play....and first that I actually got a bit saddened by that. Being an older Mom and having gone to lots and lots of first grade plays...I have not lamented my youngest getting older.....until that day:). It is not the same kind of sad I had with Julianne, seeing as I thought she was my last hahahahaha #jokesonme
But with Janie I think I have not gone there
 1. because I'm old 
2.  because I've learned that God may not be finished with me yet in the child department even though I think He is...
does that even make sense???

So I am starting to see her as my "last" and it is sad and wonderful at the same time haha!
I am enjoying seeing her as my last and relishing in the sweet moments of childhoold.

Janie with her friend Blake



the girls in her class

I love this pic so so much of my girl!

ok so on the vain side I looked through many filters to hide my wrinkles...sigh...the joys of getting older...I'm learning to embrace that I smile a lot haha ...oh and my nose looks bigger as I get older...what's up with that? 

Janie constantly looked over at us to make sure we were watching:)

she practiced so hard learning her lines and did a great job!!




all of these are a bit blurry but it's all I got!!
love this little actress of mine!!







~All About Janie~

We celebrated Janie's 8th birthday on May 9th!!
Yeah I'm a bit late documentingšŸ˜’
but all is good and she had a great birthday week!

We had her family party on Sunday evening so all the bigs could come
she named each person that was not able to be at her birthday celebration last year haha
they could not come since it was a weeknight and hard to get out of work etc
 It was so funny that Janie obvioulsy held a grudge and decided to have her family birthday over the weekend so everyone could come!

my goodness she looks so old in this pic!!  Janie has totally been into flamingos since she was one in her animal play....Gardner and Kendyl knew she would love this, she was so excited!!



modeling for Kendyl

Janie chooses Osaka every single birthday:)

the flamingo was packed in a flamingo bag as well...she was in heaven:)


back at the house opening the rest of her goodies!


she plays in the wrapping bag as her entourage puts her tent together...she knows how to be taken care of ha!


Janie chose a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake and ate on that thing for a week, she loved it!

we so love celebrating Janie
she loves a birthday more than any of my kiddos except Gardner, he was ALL about his birthday like Janie:)

Even though we celebrated big a few days before her birthday she told me the night before she wanted breakfast in bed "like we always do on the special plate" hahaha

only Janie QingQing wants a spinach and bacon omelette with a side of left over fried rice for breakfast!!

she blew out her candles then wanted me to carry it downstairs because she did not want to eat alonešŸ˜€
She chose chocolate covered strawberries to take for her class birthday treat, this has become a yearly tradition now (Costco has the best strawberries by the way:)
I also surprised her and brought her lunch at which she said "I was going to be sad if you did not surprise me with lunch" hahahaha
told you she loves loves loves a birthday!

her face tells it all in how happy she was to get a new bike:)

she has ridden that bike every single day and Madeline has taken that as a good push to get her back on her bike as well!

Sweet Janie we love you so very much! I know we all say we can't imagine our lives without our children but Janie is extra special in how God took us to her. It is a privilege to be her Mom! I get somewhat exasperated at times with her spunk but that spunk is what saw her through her time in China. She is fearfully and wonderfully made....I'm sure God smiles upon that spunk daily and laughs at me that I was naive enough to think I had my life all planned out!

 His plans are ALWAYS better than mine!!
 We love you Janie Jane and love celebrating YOU!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

~Priviliged To Be A Mom To Many~

we have not taken a group pic since last fall so I wanted a pic with all the kiddos today:)
Honestly I can't believe I have so many kids...
If I had "my plan" I would have had 2....which sounds absurd now
I was "done" at 3
again at 4
again at 5 
again at 6  
and thankfully we have 7
plus the spouses!
My life is richer, deeper, crazier and more lovely with all these peeps!
To say I'm thankful God knows best and decided to hijack my "plan" is an understatement. 
Each one of these "kids" are abundant with their love for me and Hank and each other and I am thankful for each personality, each weakness, each strength and all the individuality (is that a word?) in each one of them. It is my life's joy to be their Mom!

and the best gift goes to Gardner and Kendyl.....again (remember their handprint pic??)
well this beats that....
each of their footprints with their age hahahahaha
I laughed as I was opening knowing it was probably a stepping stone...they did not disappoint!

hahahaha
already in my yard!

Psalm 127:5 "Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

~Napa~

So two weeks upon our return I will finally finish our trip! Life got right back into full swing upon our arrival home....of course!! 

Napa was beautiful, the weather was perfect and the hotel quaint and gorgeous...
there is much to say for a trip that is planned and paid for by someone else
such a treat for Hank's hard work all year long!

driving into wine country


the grounds of the different wineries are so beautiful

our guide informed us that these trees are sycamores....who knew they can look like that???


I took lots of pics of weeping willows since the girls love them...we are still trying to talk Daddy into planting a few in our yard:)


I sent this pic to Allie to show her I was tasting her favorite Rose:)

our hotel...such pretty grounds

the only pic of the two of us in Napa...on this day we tagged along with a few of the sales reps and went to 2 awesome wineries....Peju is now our fave




Julianne sent us some pics from her weekend..
doodle standoff
look at poor Goldbug's expression...I think she is tired of these youngsters haha, she looks like she just gave up on life!!!

The Agricenter hosted The Lantern Festival so sweet Julianne took them. They loved loved loved it!

another funny pic sent to us:)
I am always nervous leaving the girls and especially this time since I have never been gone for this length of time. They did so great thanks to Caitlin and awesome big brothers and sisters! I have not experienced coming home rested like I did this trip! As all moms know it is stressful to get out of town in the first place so it takes about 3 or 4 days to even get to a place of rest. I came home rested...proved by my lack of stress upon reentering the crazy haha!

Within 4 days of my return I hosted Juliannes best friend Sara's bridal luncheon and it was such a treat!