Category Archives: Adventures

Happy 6th Birthday, Rachel!

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Rachel,

Today we celebrated your 6th birthday! I found myself at different points during the day thinking back to the day you were born and every time I found myself amazed at how quickly time has gone by.  You are, without a doubt, everything we could ever ask for and more.  You are kind, sweet, smart, funny and driven! You love to learn new things and are always, always, always asking questions.  I know that drive to learn will take you far in life.  You are thoughtful and giving, but also shy in certain situations.  I am so thankful that you have a heart that sees the best in people at all times.  You wonder about injustices in a way that makes me wonder about them too in a deeper sort of way.

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This year you held a lemonade stand to benefit our local blessing box that offers food to people who need it.  You came up with this idea all on your own one day after we had dropped off food at the box.  You asked why we took food there and I explained to you that sometimes people just don’t have enough food to eat.  We had a long conversation, in an age appropriate way, about why that might be and what kinds of things can happen in life to make it so that someone doesn’t have enough food.  What I’ll never forget from that conversation is how your mind was processing through the fact that some people’s basic needs are not met and you were “with-it” enough to know that you could help.  When you asked to have a lemonade stand to help I felt such immense pride knowing that you “got” the gist of the conversation.  You knew that it didn’t so much matter the “how’s” or the “why’s” of  what lead people to struggle, all that mattered was that you had the power to help make things a little better.  Taking initiative is such an important step in life, Rachel.  I know that you will go far if you always listen to your heart and look for ways to show people what God’s love is like.  IMG_2627IMG_0104

You raised nearly $100 from your lemonade stand and we filled up an entire grocery cart full of items to put in the blessing box! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too small to do anything to help! You can do anything you set your mind to.

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This year you started school and boy are we ever proud of you! The first day of school I thought there might be tears getting on the bus, but you hopped on that bus so fast and sat down in your seat to wave good-bye and before I even knew it the bus was headed up the street to take you to school.  You are reading and writing like nobody’s business these days.  We find little post-it notes of yours around the house everywhere.

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Still one of your favorite things is playing with Jake and playing on the beach.  Here you both are chasing the birds at the beach.  I’m amazed at how you always see the good in people, even when your brother can be a little bit, um, punchy–shall we say? He can be a handful, but he is A TON of fun! You always tell people that he’s “just a teensy bit wild!”

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Of course, since it’s Christmas time I have noticed that you have not waivered from your viewpoint of his standing on the “Nice List.”  “OF COURSE he’s on the nice list,” you always say.  You are the absolute best big sister.  Sometimes you even help me put Jake to sleep by rubbing his back.  He loves you so much too!

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Rachel, we thank God for you every day.  We know that you are bound to do great things in this world and we can’t wait to see what amazing things are in store for you.  You told me earlier that you think you were put on earth to “help people,” and I don’t mean to sound corny here but it makes me misty-eyed because I feel like you really get what life is all about.  Thank you for reminding us that we are called to love and serve in any way we can, even if (and especially when) we don’t understand.

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Happy 6th Birthday, sweet Rachel! I love you to the moon and back and forever and always.  You are everything we hoped and prayed you would be and more.

I love you.

Love,

Mommy

2016: Patience and Trust

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2016–Wow! What a year! In some ways it’s hard to believe that an entire year has gone by,  but in other ways it seems like this year might have just been the longest year of my life. 2016 was a great year for our family, but at the same time it was also a very tough year for us emotionally, mentally and spiritually for various reasons.  Your Dad and I tried to keep things in perspective when times got tough, and worked hard to rely on each other even when we felt pulled towards the opposite.

It’s easy to feel helpless when it seems like one thing after another keeps happening to bring you down–like things pile up and you just don’t know how to stop it. Everyone’s been there, every one goes through a season like this in their lives.  Don’t ever think that bad things or tough times only ever fall on you–it happens to everyone.  The way you react to those times says a lot more about your character than how you act when things are smooth sailing.

When it seems like things are getting too hard, take a look around and realize that life is good.  The kids are healthy and happy.  Our home is peaceful and steady.  We have food, clothing and good friends.  In the whole scheme of life, we have it pretty good.  Even if life is hard right now, I know that it won’t be like this forever.  Yes, even through the hard times, life is still good.  God is still good and faithful, even in time when it seems like He’s not.  Please know that, like *really* know that.

This past year was an exercise in trust for our family.  Life isn’t always butterflies and rainbows, little ones.  But it is *always* good and we are always here for a purpose.  Thanks for always keeping things in perspective for us.  For 2017 we are holding on to the hope that the future brings goodness and happiness for our family, our community, our country and our world.  IMG_3849

Happy New Year, my sweet babes! I love you to the moon and back!

Love always,

Mom

P.S. I hope you enjoy looking back on some of my favorite photos from this year.  If it seems like many of them are from the summer, it’s because they are.  Summer is my jam.

 

A Weekend to Remember

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Rachelweekend2-7Rachel,

The weekend before your fourth birthday was a fun one! We celebrated your birthday with a party at Monkey Joes! You loved bouncing around on the different bounce houses, as long as they did not include a slide! You said that you felt like the slides were just a little bit too high for you and that you would just rather jump than slide.  Go right ahead, little girlie, jump until your heart’s content!

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We had pizza and cake and icecream and tons of fun with all of your friends and family that came to celebrate with you!

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The next day we traveled to the American Girl store where, after much deliberation, you picked out your first doll, Jessie.  We had lunch at the cafe together where they even had a special seat for Jessie so she could join us for lunch too! Later in the day, we visited the Disney store where you were given an extra special gift from Mickey Mouse himself–what a treat! You enjoyed your special message from Mickey and have worn your pin with pride almost every day since then.

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We had so much fun celebrating YOU and your birthday together. We are so thankful for the day you were born–since then our lives have never been the same! 🙂 We love you so very much!

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I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

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Happy Thanksgiving, Rachel and Jake!

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Happy Thanksgiving to you, my sweet little turkeys! Life with you is so much sweeter than I ever thought possible.  The word “thankful” does not even begin to scratch the surface…

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After a day filled with family and food and friends, the two of you wanted to spend some time snuggling each other before bed. Could you both ever really be any sweeter?

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Thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives and for showing us that there is hope for a nicer and more loving future for our world.  The world is a much better place because you are in it!

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I love you to the moon and back, forever and always.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

Happy Easter 2015

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Happy Easter, my little sweeties! What a fun day we had filled with candy, Easter baskets, songs and a wonderful message shared later in the day by my sweet girl about how Jesus makes us “clean” again (Thank you, Miss Dani!)

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It is because of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross for us that we have reason to celebrate today.  Always know that Easter is not just about the candy and eggs, but that it signifies a promise fulfilled and a love so strong that it was willing to go to any length to sacrifice for you.

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Some people put much emphasis on telling others that they love them…a spouse, a friend, a child; but Easter reminds us that real love is more than just words.  Real love requires action and sacrifice.  Jesus dying on the cross is the perfect example of the ultimate sacrifice to display the ultimate love.  I challenge you, my little ones who will one day grow into adults, to show the world your love not just in words alone, but also through your actions. The choices that you make and the sacrifices you endure will show the world (and yourself) where the intention of your heart lies.  Love the ones who are the most difficult to love, reach out to those who need your help the most, sacrifice your time being of service to others.  Volunteer your time, your energy and your heart.  Do what you can to make the world a better and more loving place.  By choosing to live a life of actionable love, you will get to know the Father’s love for you (and all of us) in ways you would never have known before.

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I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

Happy Halloween

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Happy Halloween, little cuties! You both enjoyed trick-or-treating and passing out candy to kids as they came to visit.  Even though baby Jake had an ear infection (that we didn’t know about yet!), he didn’t let that stop him from smiling and having a good time.  Rachel enjoyed being Snow White and could be found curtsying and twirling at a moment’s notice.

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This year we are having our fill of pumpkins, mums, apple cider, candy corn and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Leaves are changing and falling, temperatures are dropping and days are getting shorter, but we are determined to make the most of all of it!

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Where is the picture of them together, you ask? Well, Jake literally never stopped moving to get one taken.  He LOVED walking around in his little lion costume and I have to admit I loved watching him!  The best I could get of them together was when they decided to take a walk down the street to visit the neighbors.

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Happy Halloween, friends! Until next year…

One Year Old Jake

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Sweet Jake,

First things first little buddy, Happy Birthday!!!!!

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I have been thinking a lot lately about where we were a year ago and how I was anxiously awaiting your arrival into our family.  After months of carrying you and what felt like just as many months having trouble sleeping, walking, eating and doing virtually anything that required even the slightest bit of movement, I couldn’t wait to finally hold you in my arms and kiss your little lips and tell you how much I love you! You came into our lives and brought a sweetness and love that could not have been predicted or even replicated with anyone else.  YOU, my little love, are such a blessing to our family and I can’t imagine what life would be like without you! Heck, it’s hard enough to even try to remember what life was like before you!  Let’s take a little trip back from your very first moments to where we are now.  These are some of my favorite pictures from the last year.

I remember the day that we brought you home and how you slept so much that I really had difficulty waking you.  Your first week of life is pretty much the only time you slept during your first eight months of life! I’m kidding–although, not by much! You really took your daddy and I for a loop with your (non)sleeping habits.  Luckily you came to your senses about eight months in.

You have always been a very happy and smiley baby.  You greet strangers and friends alike with a big smile and sometimes (if you’re feeling it that day) a hug or a kiss.  People often ask if you are “always so happy?” and the answer is, of course, yes! Your daddy and I joke that your smile and happy personality “saved” you on those long nights where you would wake every 20-40 minutes night after night after night after every bloody night.  We love you just the same….whether you needed to be fed or needed us to snuggle you or you just wanted us to snuggle you, it didn’t really matter.  Our beliefs were that if you needed us, we would be there for you no matter how many times a night you needed us.  Those moments are slightly poetic in retrospect, but at the time it was grueling.  One thing is for certain, little buddy, and that is that we were there for you then, we are here for you now, and we will always be here for you. No matter what happens in this life, I can promise you that.

One year has been so much fun with you, little buddy! You love to clap, wave, blow kisses and walk while someone holds your hands to help you.  You love your sister and Zeus and often times will go looking for both when they are not around.  You say “Hi!” and “Bye!” and “Mama!” and “Dada!”  You love to play peek-a-boo and to read stories.  You are happy, you are a go-getter and a daredevil.  We have baby-proofed our house ten times more than we did with Rachel.  We practically clean your highchair with a pressure washer after you eat a meal in it.  Everything you do, you go all out doing it.  You play hard, you sleep hard (now), and you love hard.

We love you Jake, more than anything in this world.  We are so thankful for you and everything that this year brought us.  I wish you the happiest of birthdays for this year, and many, many, many years to come!

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I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy