Tag Archives: happiness

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jake!


Happiest of birthdays to you, baby Jake! You are our smiling, happy go lucky, sweet little boy.  You can be found at any given point of any given day reading, emptying drawers, or playing with your trucks.  No pair of shoes is safe with you around–you claim them all as your own! You LOVE to run and jump and kick soccer balls.  It certainly didn’t take long for you to learn to push yourself on the scooter, and did we mention you taught Rachel how to drive the PowerWheels Corvette? JakeTurnsTwo-2


There are so many things I’d like to say to you about how sweet you are and how precious you will always be to me, but my words are failing me right now.  Instead I have a little bit of a lump in my throat thinking about that teeny tiny baby that I held in my arms the first day you were born. So delicate and sweet. I remember your tiny little hands and how they would grasp to hold on to mine anytime yours were set free.  I knew right away that you were “my” little baby, the one that I had prayed for since I was a little girl, given to us to bring so much love and joy to our family.  Since then you have done that and so much more! We love you more than anything, sweet babe!




Sometimes it’s still surreal for me to think about all those times I prayed for you before you were born.  I remember praying for my future children when I was just a little girl…and now here you and your sister are.  I had no idea what you were going to look like or act like, or how your little personality would light up my life, but I knew that I would love you always–because I already did! You are such a blessing little Jake, I hope you always remember that.


Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. if things don’t always go according to plan.  Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. to smile…even if people don’t smile back, that doesn’t take away from the smile that you gave.  You help me to appreciate the little things in life.  I’ve never paid as much attention to birds flying by, ants crawling on the ground, or cars stopping at a stop sign before you were born.  When the wind blows, you stop and close your eyes just to be able to feel it blow across your face.  I could cry at the sweetness of your innocence and it reminds me what life is all about.  Thank you for that, Jake.




You are the best Jake I could ever ask for.  Thank you for being so precious and perfect for our family.  Being your Mom is truly one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I love you always, little Jake.


To the moon and back.

Happy Birthday, little buddy.  xoxo

Love always,



Relationship Advice #8


“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

Our wedding day

Our wedding day

Rachel and Jake,

Another year has passed since I last wrote to you about relationships.  If you need a refresher, you can look here and here to see some of my other entries about love and what it takes to make a relationship work.  Now I’m not saying I have all the answers, because I don’t.  Marriage is work and it is hard, hard work.  But with that being said, it’s also the best kind of work.  It stretches you and helps you to grow and see yourself as a part of something that is working for a common good.  It’s a beautiful thing, really.  Anyway, my hope is that by the time you are old enough to read this blog you will have a nice collection of advice from your dear old mom to consider when navigating through the dating world and eventually settling down into marriage–then the real fun begins! Each year I hope to give you one more tip to add to  your Rolodex of relationship advice (not sure what a Rolodex is? It’ll probably be non-existent by the time you can read this, but as your mother I find it most appropriate to talk about the things from yesteryear anyway 😉 )

tim and jake

Let’s talk a little bit about presence.

Ok, ok, I’m sorry, but we’re going to talk a lotta bit about presence, because it is very, very important in any stage of any relationship.

So little!

When you, Rachel, were born, your Dad and I had no idea what the every day expectation of having a newborn was going to consist of.  We knew that we would feed you and change you and hopefully get to rest when you did, but we did not know what our new little family of three was going to look like and how those dynamics of our family would be shaped.  It’s something that you just can’t experience or fully prepare for until it happens! We had lots of conversations about what we thought it would be like, but looking in from an outsider’s perspective before something happens is always different from when you are 100% in the trenches living it day in and day out. By the time Jake was born, we had a better picture of what our expectations were–but again, you can never really be prepared until you are living it.  So once Jake was born, things were shifted and moved around in ways that we could not have foreseen, but it just worked for us.

Rachel and Daddy

Rachel, my sweet little dear, I have a confession to make to you right now.  From the time you were born until the time you were about one week old, I did not change a single diaper.  Your Dad changed every. single. one. until you were nearly a week old.  Every single one.  Every single time.  I still get blown away when I think about that.  There I was on the couch after a tough delivery that left me in pain to move any ol’ which way I tried, and there was your Dad (never having changed a diaper before you, by the way), taking it upon himself to change your diaper no matter what time of day or night without giving so much as an inkling that he felt it should or even could be any other way.  Luckily, when Jake was born my recovery was much easier so luckily for us both, I was able to help out much more the second time around.

daddy snuggles

Before you were born, I thought it was only a mother’s instinct that would cause her to wake up because her newborn baby was stirring in the bassinet beside her, ready to be fed.  And yet, each time either of you woke up at night, guess who was the one to get out of bed and bring you to me before I even had a chance to sit up? Yes, it was your Dad.  From the very beginning of our parenting experience he has been there for us with an enthusiasm and outlook that can only come from love in it’s most pure form.  He’s there because he loves us and he wants to be there.  It really is as simple as that.


There isn’t a job that he won’t do. He has never handed either of you off to me because he doesn’t want to change a diaper, and he doesn’t ask me what I’m making you for lunch. If he’s playing with you and your diaper needs changed, he changes it! If he notices that it’s time for lunch, guess what? He makes it! And likewise, I do the same.  It’s truly a wonderful thing.  In your Dad’s and my mind–there are no “woman” or “man” jobs, there are only “parent” jobs.  And for those jobs, either one–mom or dad– will work.  Our expectation is that whoever is able to do it, does it. At the end of the day, we clean up the toys together, we put the dishes away and prepare things for the next day.  Oh yeah, your school lunches? Those aren’t always packed by me either–your Dad can cut sandwiches into sailboats better than I can!

photo 2

The best part, is that these are things we didn’t even talk about ahead of time.  These examples (and there are many more to go along with them!) are just some of the ways that your Dad has been there for us without ever even giving it a second thought.  Not keeping score, not throwing it all on one person, but really choosing over and over again to be there for us in every way possible.

So…without further adieu, here’s relationship tip #8.

Tip #8: Be with someone whose second nature is to be physically, spiritually and emotionally present in your relationship.

Choose someone who not only wants to be there in those ways–but someone who really does not see any other way of conducting themselves in your relationship without those things.  Begging for support in any of those areas can be totally draining to both sides.  Choose someone who will meet your expectations in each of those areas.  If your expectations are not met, it can lead to resentment and hard feelings–both of which can be toxic to any relationship.  In the entire picture of your life, your relationship should be equally balanced between two people who are willing to sacrifice and give in order to make it work.  BOTH people need to be present in order for those sacrifices to be made and valued.


In closing, here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to determine if you and your spouse are really and truly present in your relationship.

– Do I offer help with every day tasks without keeping score? Do I see what needs to be done and do it, or do I wait because it’s not my “job”? Do I value my partner enough to go outside of my comfort zone in order to help my partner feel supported?

– Do I know the spiritual concerns of my partner? What can I do to help my partner along in their spiritual journey? What do they feel called towards? How can I help them reach their calling?

– What is troubling my partner today? What is my partner proud of themselves for doing recently? What is my partner’s emotional climate like? Why? What can I do to help support my partner’s feelings and emotions?

Don’t worry–you got this! And if you don’t, your partner will be there to help you pick up the slack! 🙂 Right?


With all that said, I love you both very much. More than you could ever know.

Love always,



PS. Let’s just take a minute and cheers to your Dad! He truly is one of the best one’s out there…Cheers to you, Tim! We wouldn’t be who or where we are today without you! Happy Anniversary! Here’s to a hundred, and a thousand more.

I love you so…



After story time one evening, I carried you over to your bed and we talked about your day and laughed while I tickled you in such a way that you could barely catch your breath.  “I love you so much!” I told you before leaving your room; it’s always the last thing I want you to hear from me before you close your little eyes and drift off to sleep for the night.


“I love you so peanut butter and jelly!” you said in a fit of giggles as I kissed you goodnight and tucked you in to bed.  In your silliness and sweetness I couldn’t help but feel a lump catch in my throat because I knew what you meant.  I knew that was your way of telling me that you loved me as much as one of your favorite things in this world–peanut butter and jelly! It was your way of saying “I love you to the moon and back!” and your way of saying “I love you so much!” Only it was more meaningful than any of those because you put your feelings in to your own words.  I was reminded in that moment that you are growing up so quickly and it seemed like just yesterday that you were six months old and learning how to crawl and now here you are joking with me and telling me that you love me, more than just an “I love you too!” Time is flying by, little one…

In all the silliness, I know there was great truth behind what you were saying.  You made the word “love” make sense in your own special way, in an endearingly sweet way that only a three year old can.  Trust me, if your Daddy ever told me he loved me “so beer,” I would not be sharing the same sentiment about it.  🙂

I love your spunk! Here you are trying your absolute best to wink at me! :)

I love your spunk! Here you are trying your absolute best to wink at me! 🙂

“I love you so (insert favorite thing here)!” has become a sort of common expression in our house these days.  If we have pizza for dinner, you can bet someone will say “I really love pizza.  Rachel, I love you so pizza!” or if we are watching Frozen (for the 40,000th time) that day, it’s “I love you so Frozen!”

Our first secret code. How exciting and terribly sweet that it relates to love and spreading happiness to those around us.

After all, I love you so Rachel and Jake!

photo (2)

Love always,



11 Month Old Jake


jake113Dear Jakie,

Happy 11 months, sweet boy! You are getting bigger by the day and what seems like faster by the minute! Nothing is out of your reach these days as you love to open drawers, explore and empty out cabinets and hide in closets (but only after checking everything out first!).  You haven’t taken any steps yet, but your Dad and I wonder if it will happen soon.  You stand freely on your own for several seconds at a time and then get so excited that you “go boom!” down to the floor.  Sometimes you even giggle and clap for yourself and my heart just melts a little bit more over you when you do that. You still have only 3 teeth, your bottom two and then your top left front tooth.  Although I suspect by your slight fever and cuddly attitude tonight that a new one might just be making it’s debut soon.  You love to do your “SO BIG!” trick, although you hardly ever do it when someone new is watching (it’s ok, we know you’re probably just wondering why your silly parents insist on asking you how big you are in front of everyone).  You are slowing saying good-bye to your bottle, despite my best efforts to get you to take it.  You just smile and scoot around and push it away with a gentle yet determined force.  Speaking of smiling–everyone always asks us if you are “always so happy” and our answer is a resounding “Yes!” Sometimes I wonder how we ever got so lucky.  Happy kids=Happy life


This month we took a trip to the beach where you spent your mornings *not napping* and playing on the beach with your sister.  You loved to splash in the waves at the shore and LOVED to be carried out to where the waves could crash around you.  You even rode your first horse this month! You loved it!! The horse came out with less hair after your ride because you still have some hair pulling issues we are trying to work out, but the horse didn’t seem to mind one bit.  Speaking of vacation…did someone say french fries? I think there was one day of vacation where french fries were pretty much the only thing you would eat, thank goodness that didn’t last long!


Usually your days are spent exploring and babbling some sweet baby talk (like “bababababababa” or “mamamamamama” or what sounds like a very high pitched “eh!”).  Other than your laugh, I enjoy hearing your baby talk the most.  I wonder sometimes what you are really trying to tell us and I know all too soon I will be finding out 🙂 Everything is happening so fast, Jake Man.


Everything is happening so fast buddy–you are changing and growing every day right before my very eyes.  One of my greatest joys in life is watching you grow and learn and explore and try new things.  With all these changes around us little buddy, there’s one thing that will never change—and that is my love for you.  One of the most interesting things that I’ve found about motherhood is that overwhelming feeling of love feels like an old love and a young love all wrapped up into one.  New love because we have only been together for a short while, I’m always learning new things about you and finding new things that I find endearing or special about you.  Old love because it feels like, in many ways, that our bond is so easy and natural and strong that it couldn’t possibly develop that way in just a mere 11 months alone….right? I feel like I have loved you and known you my whole life. More than my whole life even, it feels more like forever. Infact, I like to think and believe that I have.


I love you to the moon and back.


9 Month Jake Day


Jake Man,

Look out, world! You are on the move! You scoot and army crawl anywhere your little heart desires.  Just this morning we found you underneath the couch as you had scooted and crawled your way there in the amount of time it takes to go put a bottle in the sink and walk back to the living room.  You love to try to stand up on your own.  Lots of times when you are on your hands and knees you push up your legs so that your little hiney is in the air and your legs are pushed up straight.  Then you wobble back and forth as if the swaying motion would give you the momentum you need to stand up on your own.  When you eventually sit back down, you look around like “Did you see what I just did!?” You are a baby on a mission these days and are determined to make your way in this world.

  You love to pull hair and give kisses…sometimes you even insist on doing them at the same time! Your sister has fallen prey to your hair pulling ways, but even she doesn’t mind all that much.  We like to think that that is just the easiest way for you to pull us close 🙂 jake11

You are enjoying more table food and with that, some summer treats have made their way into your repertoire.  This month had your first taste of a Popsicle! You loved every minute of it–in fact, it was very difficult to convince you to let go so your sister could have the rest of it.  Don’t worry buddy, they’ll be more time for Popsicles in your lifetime.

Your sleep has made a huge positive strides over the last month.  You are now on a (mostly) predictable schedule and very rarely wake up during the night.  We are SO thankful that you have started sleeping well.  For your sake..and ours! A good night’s rest is good for everyone 🙂

You love your sippy cup and cheerios are an all time favorite snack.  You have been known to have more cheerios on the floor around you than cheerios you have actually eaten (half are on the floor by accident and half are from trying to feed the dog).  You love to watch your sister play and you love when she plays with you. Lately you have been scooting yourself over to her so that you can play with her as well.  Your sister loves you so much.  She comes to get you every morning when you wake up and makes she she says good night to you each night before bed.  She loves to read to you and she just loves when you snuggle her.  I am amazed at the bond you two share already, and I hope that it continues growing stronger for the rest of your lives.


You are mesmerized by birdies flying by and are very inquisitive about the sounds around you. But, my sweet babe, you are also very content to sit in the wagon or stroller and watch Mommy work outside or to watch Rachel play in the yard.  Content is a good word I would use to describe you.  If you are upset about something, then we know something is really bothering you.  You are not picky or finicky, and you know what you want–but you are also a very “go with the flow” kind of baby.  Thank you for that, little buddy. 🙂

We love you Jake, more than you could ever know.  I love to watch your expressions change as you get older.  You are much more excitable now and are quick to flail your arms in anticipation or give several excited snorts when someone you recognize enters the room.  I love how you flail your arms, snort in excitement and scoot yourself over to me when I come home from work every day.  You have the ability to make every day brighter just by being you! I am so thankful and blessed to have you be a part of my life.

I can’t believe that you are 9 months old already! I’m already starting to think about your first birthday party (ahh!).  It’s incredible how fast time goes by.  I am so looking forward to spending the next few months home with you and your sister for summer vacation.  You two are the best!

I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,



Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! 2012 was, in many ways, the best year of my life. We spent most of the year getting to know our sweet little babe and growing together as a family.  My daughter and my husband are true blessings to me and I hope they know how much they are loved.  I can not imagine life without them!  I am excited for what the future holds for us and have no doubt that many more great things are in store for our family in 2013.

My New Year’s resolution is to focus on what is important and meaningful.  Life is about loving others and being good to those around you.  Too often we can get bogged down by the small things that, in the grand scheme of life, don’t really matter.  Focus on what matters…family, friends and love. Don’t sweat the small stuff!  🙂

Enjoy some of my favorite pictures from the past year.  When I think back on 2012, these are my “happy thoughts.” 🙂 Sorry it is a bit long, I had a hard time choosing only a few happy times!  Guess it’s not a bad problem to have.  Happy New Year, friends!


Happy Rachel Day!


Happy Rachel Day, everybody! We spent our afternoon taking advantage of the beautiful weather here today and took an impromptu trip to a local pumpkin patch that also has a petting zoo! Rachel had a nice time smiling at the animals and watching them with wonder as they came over to greet her.  We ended our visit with a walk through the pumpkin patch for a few more pumpkins for our front porch.  Have I mentioned that I love the coziness that fall has to offer? Seeing pumpkins and mums on the front porch gives my heart such a happy feeling. Pumpkin patches and petting zoos are so much sweeter this year now that I have Rachel to share it with.

I can’t believe that my girl is ten months old today.  She’s in the double digits already! Time needs to sloooooooooooow down! Unfortunately I’ve been told it just gets faster and faster as they grow up.  I can not believe how quickly Rach has gone from a smiley baby to a smiley toddler-like little person! In honor of her newly blossoming “older” personality this blog will be dedicated to some of her favorite things for this month. Who knows what they will be next month!

Rachel has discovered a LOVE for baby dolls! She loves to hold them, pretends to rock them and always gives them kisses over and over (gee, wonder where she learned that?! 😉 ) You can tell her to go “Find your baby” and she will crawl around on the floor and search until she finds her.

Gerber Graduates Arrowroot Cookies- The best shortbread cookie she has ever had (and also the only one!).  These things are  a great after dinner dessert.  Don’t go near her when she’s eating it though or she will literally turn away from you to be sure you don’t try and get her cookie.  A girl after my own heart…

The sound “sssssss.” It is especially funny if she says the sound and you repeat it back.

A game of chase! In the mornings we put her on the floor in our room and she crawls away from us giggling and laughing hysterically.  Then she will turn and look at you as if to say “You’re coming to get me, right?” and when you do, man, you will hear the laughter roar! Sweetest little thing EVER!

Reading stories before bedtime has become a nightly routine now! She even pats the pages as we go and loves to help turn the page.  “On The Night You Were Born” is an all-time favorite.  Most nights I can’t get through the story without getting a little teary eyed and/or choked up.

She loves going for a ride in her new wagon or for an evening run with Daddy in the jogging stroller.  She can often be seen leaning forward and holding on to the stroller tray with a huge smile on her face while they run down the street together.  It warms my heart every time.  When she’s in the wagon, her friend Minnie (a gift from her Nana from DisneyWorld) rides along on the opposite side.  🙂

Puppies! My girl loves to sit on the porch and any time someone walks their dog past our house you can almost guarantee Rachel will give some sort of squeal to try to get to the dog.  Not surprisingly, she will be a puppy for Halloween this year.


I can’t believe how fast these last 10 months have gone by! I am amazed at everything motherhood has to offer and am so thankful and blessed to have such a happy and sweet little babe.