Easter!

I can’t believe how late I am in sharing our Easter festivities! Ah well! Better late than never, right? Anywho…Easter was a wonderful day. Not only in celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, but we got to do it with family! My parents, sister and her crew, and my grandma all joined us for church and lunch afterward. We had a really great day celebrating together, having lunch, visiting and letting the kids play a lot together. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on Easter, and we were all so thankful to be able to sit and bask in the sunshine! We also celebrated my mom’s birthday, a few days early, and had fun doing that too! I love my Lord, and I love my family, and I love that we, as a family, all love our Lord together! David did a great job preaching a beautiful sermon from the perspective of Mary Magdalene. For the first time ever we got the 2 older kids a few Easter treats to open in the morning. Cora was absolutely adorable. She comes into our room and at the top of her lungs, and with as much excitement as she can, she says, “MOM! DAD! COME QUIIIIIIICK!!!!!!! THE EASTER BUNNY WAS HERE AND LEFT US STUFF ON THE TAAAAAAAAABLE!!!!!” So. Precious. I love seeing these holidays through the eyes of my children.

Goodies from the Easter Bunny!

Goodies from the Easter Bunny!

Is this not precious?!?!?!?!?

Is this not precious?!?!?!?!?

I love these 3 so much!!!!

I love these 3 so much!!!!

She very proudly picked this dress out herself. And, she was tickled that it got glitter all over the house, church, etc. :)

She very proudly picked this dress out herself. And, she was tickled that it got glitter all over the house, church, etc. 🙂

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The kids with Great Grandma!

The kids with Great Grandma!

When did he loose his baby look?????

When did he loose his baby look?????

So grown up!

So grown up!

I love this photo...she looks so cute just sittin' there, playing with the tulips! Oh, and this pot did end up tipped over...

I love this photo…she looks so cute just sittin’ there, playing with the tulips! Oh, and this pot did end up tipped over…

Cora really wanted a "sister" photo. Her sister wasn't too in to cooperating... :)

Cora really wanted a “sister” photo. Her sister wasn’t too in to cooperating… 🙂

Cora and her cousins waiting for church to start.

Cora and her cousins waiting for church to start.

My beautiful niece, who is quickly becoming a young lady...isn't she beautiful?

My beautiful niece, who is quickly becoming a young lady…isn’t she beautiful?

Eh...it's an OK photo...I think we've taken better, but the kids are cute anyway!

Eh…it’s an OK photo…I think we’ve taken better, but the kids are cute anyway!

Cora and Haddie spent the morning at church walking around holding hands.

Cora and Haddie spent the morning at church walking around holding hands.

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WIth our mom!

WIth our mom!

My sister, Ruthie, and I with our Grandma

My sister, Ruthie, and I with our Grandma

One day they'll all say, "Why aren't there any good photos of us???" We just embrace the cuteness! ;)

One day they’ll all say, “Why aren’t there any good photos of us???” We just embrace the cuteness! 😉

I have no idea what that pink thing is or where he got it, but it was with him the rest of the time at church and his prop in all photos!

I have no idea what that pink thing is or where he got it, but it was with him the rest of the time at church and his prop in all photos!

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Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my Grandma’s birthday! It’s been nice having her live so close so we can celebrate these events with her, even if we just have a wee, little celebration. I asked her what she would like for her birthday meal and dessert, and she requested tomato soup, biscuits and lemon cake! I also cut up a pineapple, which I know is one of her favorite things to eat. We had a good time! We opted to do supper because Sunday mornings are so crazy, and once church is over the kids are just done and ready for naps! I wanted to be sure to celebrate her and not have it be a crazy time full of cranky kids (and adults!). We had a really great time, the kids LOVED helping pick out cards, a small gift and getting things ready for our little party. They had so much fun singing “Happy Birthday” to Grandma, and well, it was just a good celebration. One never knows how long we have on this earth, and so we want to be sure to celebrate when we can!

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Christmas, Part 1

Wow! Christmas! What a crazy, busy time of year!!!! I don’t know how it was for you, but it was a very busy season for us this year! One great thing was that I wasn’t pregnant so I greatly enjoyed making all sorts of cookies and goodies for all of our Christmas gatherings (which we had a lot of!). We began our Christmas season with our traditional open house that we have. We open it up to our congregation and other friends and acquaintances we have in the community. We had a good time this year! Not too many people came (probably due to the dumping of snow we got the day before and day of!), but it was nice to be able to spend more time and conversation with those who did come!

Because there are 3 sets of parents in our family we tend to have a lot of Christmas gatherings. This year was no exception. Our first gathering was with my MIL, her husband, his daughter and her husband. We had a wonderful time! We prepared a yummy meal of herb-crusted pork tenderloin, roasted veggies, rolls and cranberries with cookies for dessert. We ate too much and then opened presents! The kids, of course, made out like bandits, and it was just a nice time with family! They stayed the night at a local hotel and joined us for church and lunch the next day. We had a really nice time! Here are some of my favorite photos from that day!

Aunt Dei and Bekah

Aunt Dei and Bekah

My absolute favorite photo of the whole month! Ben doing the perfect photo-bomb ever!

My absolute favorite photo of the whole month! Ben doing the perfect photo-bomb ever!

New doll clothes for Cora's doll

New doll clothes for Cora’s doll

Ben got a new Spiderman sleeping bag, which he loves!

Ben got a new Spiderman sleeping bag, which he loves!

I love this man!

I love this man!

Uncle Travis and Aunt Dei

Uncle Travis and Aunt Dei

"The Aftermath"

“The Aftermath”

The amazing Flying Baby!

The amazing Flying Baby!

Uncle Travis "fitting" into the Spiderman sleeping bag.

Uncle Travis “fitting” into the Spiderman sleeping bag.

New doll modeling her new clothes!

New doll modeling her new clothes!

Ma-ma with her granddaughters

Ma-ma with her granddaughters

Fun at the Zoo

My mom has been wanting to take us to the zoo all summer, then that lead to fall, and it’s almost winter, and we finally went! You know, life just happens sometimes and things you want to happen don’t. In any case, we all went to the zoo yesterday! It’s a good zoo, on a smaller scale and perfect for small kids. We almost didn’t go because “they” were calling for rain, but we took a gamble and went. I’m so glad we did! The weather was warm (especially for October!), it was cloudy, which I actually think was good. The animals were out and active, and the kids were good and had a lot of fun! Plus, it was great to spend some time with my mom! We had a great time, and it was fun making more memories with and for the kids!

Our very own penguins!

Our very own penguins!

What is your wingspan? This was at the condor exhibit.

What is your wingspan? This was at the condor exhibit.

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The carousal ride was OK. Cora loved it, I got dizzy and Ben cried unless I was holding him! :)

The carousal ride was OK. Cora loved it, I got dizzy and Ben cried unless I was holding him! 🙂

I love how my mom love her grandkids!

I love how my mom loves her grandkids!

This was the coolest thing! There was a clear tube slide that went under the otter exhibit. You could see the otters playing as you slid down! It was so fun!!!

This was the coolest thing! There was a clear tube slide that went under the otter exhibit. You could see the otters playing as you slid down! It was so fun!!!

Hiding out in a tee-pee!

Hiding out in a tee-pee!

Just give a boy a shovel and some pebbles.

Just give a boy a shovel and some pebbles.

Our cutie!

Our cutie!

I love this girl so much!

I love this girl so much!

Mimi and Cora feeding the very aggressive goats!

Mimi and Cora feeding the very aggressive goats!

We thought this red bush was so pretty! The kids semi cooperated to get a photo with Mimi...

We thought this red bush was so pretty! The kids semi cooperated to get a photo with Mimi…

The cooperation evaporated when it was time to get a photo with me! :)

The cooperation evaporated when it was time to get a photo with me! 🙂

The girls on a giant caterpillar! Ben was being uncooperative...

The girls on a giant caterpillar! Ben was being uncooperative…

October? Really?

I just have to know…is it October, or July? Our small town had their annual Pumpkin Festival, and it’s the beginning of October, and was nearly 80 degrees on Saturday!!! What???? We were going through the hay maze sweating! I had the kids in shorts and t-shirts, and us adults were dressed the same way. The Pumpkin Festival takes place on our town square, but this year they moved all of the kid-friendly stuff to another location a few blocks down. It was so nice! They had a hay maze (with a bushel of apples in the middle), a blow-up bouncy thing, face painting, pumpkin painting, all sorts of crafts, balloon animals, pick-your-own-pumpkin, a hay ride, and other things. It was fantastic! The kids had so much fun and with the weather being nice I found it most enjoyable too! We went to the square to have lunch (read: fried, greasy fair food) and then went back to the other location to wait our turn for a hay ride. To top it off, David’s dad and step mom were with us and got to enjoy the day (weekend) too! But, I had to keep asking the question: is it really October? I mean, really, 80 degrees, in October, in the Midwest???

These kids crack me up!

These kids crack me up!

Bekah and Grandad

Bekah and Grandad

David got to the middle of the maze first! :)

David got to the middle of the maze first! 🙂

Yum! Apples!

Yum! Apples!

A quintessential fall photo...

A quintessential fall photo…

Bekah and Mammaw

Bekah and Mammaw

I love her ponytail flying out behind her! She was so excited to see how to get out of the maze!

I love her ponytail flying out behind her! She was so excited to see how to get out of the maze!

Just following along, munchin' on his apple...

Just following along, munchin’ on his apple…

Grandad and Mammaw with the babies

Grandad and Mammaw with the babies

The fire department took a fire truck down for the kids to sit on and climb around in/on.

The fire department took a fire truck down for the kids to sit on and climb around in/on.

Cora absolutely LOVES these inflatable things!

Cora absolutely LOVES these inflatable things!

Getting their faces painted: Ben a football and Cora a cat

Getting their faces painted: Ben a football and Cora a cat

Rebekah taking it all in and also starting to suck her thumb!

Rebekah taking it all in and also starting to suck her thumb!

Eating our uber healthy lunch! HA!

Eating our uber healthy lunch! HA!

With this Ring

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This is my grandmother’s wedding band. Simple, round, white gold with a slight amount of etching along the edge. I never saw it on my grandmother’s finger. By the time I had memory of her, her hands were already gnarled with the affects of rheumatoid arthritis. She had long since taken off her rings and had placed them in her jewelry box. When she passed away I was given her wedding band. Unfortunately, I was too overweight to wear the ring and so put it on a chain and wore it around my neck a lot. After I had Rebekah, and am a lot thinner, I thought I would try the ring on again. It fits! I’ve been wearing it on my right hand ring finger for weeks now. Every time I see the ring I think of her.

This October it will be 8 years that my grandma passed away. I was close to her. I helped care for her in her last months on earth. I lived with her and my grandpa as she fought for life. It was such a hard time, but I would NEVER change that time for anything. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. With the addition of Rebekah I remember my grandma has never met any of my children. It’s soon to be October, and I remember what I was doing 8 years ago at this time. And, I see her ring. As I look at her ring on a daily basis I think about what this ring signifies.

It signifies simplicity. My grandparents were not flashy people. My grandma was more the quiet observer, but when she spoke, she spoke quietly, gently and with power. You stopped and listened to my grandma. She was not going to be the person to volunteer to be the leader, or take the position in the spotlight. But, she wasn’t afraid to help in quiet ways.

It signifies love. A fierce love. A love that survived over 1/2 a century. A love that was kind, gentle, full of passion. A love that endured through illness, a disease that disfigured, and a love that was ever-lasting. I’m not disillusioned to think my grandparents had a perfect marriage. Who does? However, I know without a doubt, my grandparents loved each other more than anyone else. For as long as I can remember every. single. time my grandpa left the house he would kiss my grandma on the lips. Not a little, obligatory peck on the cheek. A kiss of love.

It signifies unity. My grandparents were united in Christ, they were a unit themselves, and they did their best to keep unity within our family. My grandparents loved the Lord first, each other next and the rest of us third. We were family. We were told to stick up for each other, love each other and not ever forget that we are family.

Both of my grandparents have passed from this earth and are celebrating their eternal life with their Savior. I know they are no longer in pain, they don’t have to deal with the sorrows of this world. They are fully whole in body and spirit. I miss them, absolutely, but I am so glad I have this ring to remember the things they taught me and to remember what this ring signifies.

The Warrior Dash

My dad was in a race called The Warrior Dash on Sunday. We all (us, my grandma and my sister and her crew) planned to go down to the race and watch Dad. Well, turns out a few of the ladies on his team wanted to race earlier than originally planned, and so we missed it. We were all very bummed and disappointed. And, I must say, I was a bit angry at the ladies for being so selfish! In any case, we all went to my parent’s house and waited for Mom and Dad to return from the race (we had planned to meet here anyway for supper). We had a great time as a family. It was so relaxing, the kids all played well together and well, it was just fun! At the race my dad got a furry Viking hat. We all donned the hat, and I took photos of each person with the hat on. They are too good NOT to post! I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I have!

Haddie

Haddie

Sophia

Sophia

Riley

Riley

Cora

Cora

Molly

Molly

Ben

Ben

Dad--The Dashing Warrior!

Dad–The Dashing Warrior!

David--MY Viking warrior

David–MY Viking warrior

Moi

Moi

Ruthie

Ruthie

Micah

Micah

Jamie

Jamie

Mom

Mom

Grandma

Grandma

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Rebekah