Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hosting Christmas

Our 3rd Christmas is also at our house...Dan's mom, stepdad, brother, sister-in-law and their 4 kids come and celebrate here...we Skype his sister and her family who live in Switzerland, so it's like their here...they just don't need a bed. :) I have found that I really enjoy hosting and overall it seems to work pretty well!

His pile...I have to say, he waited SOOOO patiently for his turn to open presents. It was pretty precious. His new favorite thing to say when he opens up a fun toy is, "It's just what I wanted!" Love that little man!

More building will be taking place...he never tires of building and constructing!

A pretty horse for her AG. Do you see a theme with her?? She had the doll and a brush, but not even one other thing to go with her AG until Christmas when she got clothes, a horse, and a carrying case...she has LOVED picking out an outfit for her each day...or multiple times a day. :)

Our Sunday morning 'we are color coordinated so we should take a picture'....the boys had hand-me-down sweaters that matched and Josiah LOVED having a matching sweater with his brother...I'm not even kidding, he did...very cute! :)

Christmas at Home

We spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at our house with just our family. We enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at our church, then had caramel corn in the van and toured the town looking for pretty Christmas lights. Once we got home we read the Christmas story before going to sleep. The kids woke up in the morning and we came downstairs to open stockings and gifts. After opening gifts we enjoyed caramel rolls and playing with all the new games and building sets (seemed to be a theme this year as I noticed we had few games geared to Josiah's age...and very few even for Alayna).

Her AG set she wanted.

Stocking fun...I found foam swords at the dollar store and so each kid got one and thought they were fun (and pain free) to play with.

We made quite a mess...

We don't dress up for Halloween, but the kids dress up most other days of the year, so I was excited to find costumes for less than $2 after Halloween this year...instead of Alayna wearing our Spiderman or Superman costume, she can now be Spider GIRL! :)

He has no idea what Transformers are, but he didn't care...he wore this get up ALL DAY!

Time to build the k'nex roller-coaster...

It's just not complete without a silly face pic! :)

Canby Christmas

At our house, Christmas isn't just one day...it's more of a marathon. We take our time and spread it out so that we can enjoy each celebration with our family. Our first Christmas was at my mom and stepdads. Just label me 'horrible mom' because though I remember everything I else I FORGOT MY CAMERA!! Can you believe it?? Yes, I know, if it were possible I should be fired. My mom came to the rescue and so I got a few pictures, but I forgot to transfer all of them....so this is what I've got.

The crew at my moms...notice many kids all the same age. It works out pretty well now, but you can imagine the chaos a few years ago when we had multiple babies and toddlers all at the same time. :)

Each year Grandpa H. buys each kid an ornament that they pick out over Thanksgiving...someday when they move out they will have a great assortment of ornaments to remember the years by.

After having practice with gifts in October for his birthday, he was a pro at Christmas. Thankfully he didn't open too many gifts that weren't his...I mean really, when it's your birthday they are all for you...who knew Christmas was different???

She got her pillow pet and some American Girl clothes as well as a case for her AG girl and clothes for her...she was beyond thrilled with everything!!

Her ornament...Seth got Buzz Light Year and Woody...I apparently didn't transfer many pics of him. Thankfully with all our Christmas' I have room for improvement! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Movie

This post brought to you by....my hubby.... :)

If Christmas was a movie at your house, what genre would it be?
Comedy, Action/Adventure, Drama, Political Thriller, Horror? Do you have the guts to ask your family what they really feel? If you were making a movie out of the real Christmas story what genre would it be? Comedy, Action/Adventure, Drama, Political Thriller, Horror? Do you have the guts to really look at the Christmas story to see? I believe it is a little bit of all of these.

Comedy: Do you not see the hilarity of an angel telling little teenage Mary that she is pregnant with the Holy Spirit's baby and the kid already has a name but "don't be afraid?!?" Or how about the Shepards who pretty much wet themselves when one angel shows up and then there is, all of a sudden, a multitude and again they say, "don't be afraid?!?" Or when Joseph tells Mary, "I think it's time to high tail it out of here." Why? "I heard voices in my dream. People are coming to kill us. We need to go to Egypt." All of that seems like it could make some really great comedy.
Action/Adventure: Herod sends his muscle bound goons out to look for a baby. They race through the darkness on horseback, charging into homes, and tragically murdering hundreds of innocent children. (interesting side note: Kind of reminds you of the 10th plague in Egypt doesn't it?)

Drama: Can you see the soap opera style conversation when Mary and Joseph discuss their plan to stay together, no divorce quietly, no actually stay together at the news of Mary's pregnancy? Then even more drama as Mary and Elizabeth talk back and forth about their strange pregnancies.

Political Thriller: Jesus is hailed as a future king by old testament prophecies. Herod and other political elites catch wind of this and they race to get on his good side. Herod plots and schemes to get the inside scoop without getting too close and risk his reputation by cutting a deal with the wise men. Herod is dodged by the wise men on their way home and is left to fear the loss of his power.

Horror: Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds are alone in the night and suddenly, out of nowhere, a spirit who speaks, scares them out of their sandals. Then the spirit whispers...don't be afraid. Yeah...right. I would be totally freaked out.

When you think of your life and how it fits into the movie of God, what role do you play? Are you close to the main character? Are you one of his followers? Friends? or are you just a face in the crowd going about life as normal disconnected from the main theme?
Here is the main theme in the Christmas story. Jesus, the God of the universe, steps out of comfort, into the human mess (literally in the mess of a feed trough), into the middle of a non-traditional family, into a chaotic night of searching for a moment of peace and privacy to give himself as a gift to save the people who will repent and turn to Him from their sin and become like Him and live with Him forever in a place free from all messes. Are you becoming like Him? Have you stepped out of comfort at all this Christmas? Have you moved toward any human messiness? Have you engaged with family even if it is non-traditional? Are you willing to live through the chaos in search of his peace and private moments with Him? Are you giving of yourself in order that some might see Jesus at work in you and then repent, turn from their sins, and live forever?

This movie is still casting...all auditions are accepted upon repentance.

The Little Things....

After reading this I realized that I have those 'little' moments that though they seemed insignificant at the time, they truly stand out as special moments to me...what about you? I started listing some of mine, but I realized in listing them...they do seem insignificant if you're just reading them, but to me they matter and I hold those 'little' moments as SPECIAL moments instead.

The Little Things: A Christmas Devotion

By Cameron McAllister

The second chapter of Luke, which tells the story of Jesus’s birth and his kingship, contains a haunting and easily-overlooked verse: “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2: 19). As I think of Mary’s response to her newborn child, I am struck by her profound insight: the little things matter intensely.

I wonder about the most significant moments of your life. I wonder where you were, what it was you did, who you were with, if you were with anyone at all. I wonder how different you’d be without those moments, or how different those around you would be—your friends, your families—maybe even the world, for that matter. I’m also curious as to whether strangers would share your enthusiasm were they to be let in on the secret, or if they had some hidden point of vantage from which to survey your most significant moments, those memories most of us stuff frantically into our hearts as though they were treasure chests, which of course, they are.

E.B. White, beloved author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, recalls this childhood memory:

I didn’t care for athletics, being skinny and small, but I liked ice ponds and skating, and on winter afternoons and evenings I would visit a pond and skate with a girl named Mildred Hesse. Her eyes were blue and her ankles were strong. Together we must have covered hundreds of miles, sometimes leaving the pond proper and gliding into the woods on narrow fingers of ice. We didn’t talk much, never embraced, we just skated for the ecstasy of skating—a magical glide. After one of these sessions, I would go home and play Liebestraum on the Autola, bathed in the splendor of perfect love and natural fatigue. This brief interlude on ice, in the days of my youth, had a dreamlike quality, a purity, that has stayed with me all my life; and when nowadays I see a winter sky and feel the wind dropping with the sun and the naked trees against a reddening west, I remember what it was like to be in love before any of love’s complexities or realities or disturbances had entered in, to dilute its splendor and challenge its perfection.

Personally, I’m reluctant to share my most significant moments with you. Not because they’re improper or scandalous. For the most part, they’re not embarrassing. But then again, they’re not much to brag about either. They’re just small, comparatively speaking. Quite small. So small, in fact, that, once spoken out loud, they become instantly diminished, like snow melting before it hits the ground, or photographs that turn vital moments of your life to stone. More importantly, they’re things and scenes I can’t make you see the way they ought to be seen. In some ways, I’ll always be the kid in front of the glass window, breathing too hard to see past my own excitement, frosted across the glass. Indeed, most of us can’t see past ourselves into the scenes and roads that have taken others to where they stand today.

I should be clear about what I mean when I say significant moments. Here’s what I’m suggesting: a significant moment is a brief but pivotal event in your life, exempt from public scrutiny, which translates poorly to others because of its seeming irrelevance and lack of general resonance, but without which, you would not be the same person. War and Peace and Anna Karenina are both Herculean accomplishments in the world of fiction. Their author, Leo Tolstoy, never knew what his mother looked like and possessed no pictures of her. It was this “minor” detail about his mother that drove him into a frenetic search of the past and resulted in these two books, but, nevertheless, left his detail-obsessed mind perpetually unappeased.

Or, I could tell you about the first time I saw a film in which the protagonist was reading a book by Jacques Cousteau entitled, Diving for Sunken Treasure, and I could tell you how I was never the same after seeing that title. I felt that that little sentence was a perfect and complete story and narrative of a given person’s life: beginning, middle, and end. And yet I’m confident that few of you will have had that reaction or would sympathize with this sentiment, yet it happened to me as inevitably as an autumn leaf becomes a faded photograph of the summer sun.

I know you’ve had these moments. We rarely notice them at the time but without them we’d be somewhere else, not here. I was reading an article by David Bentley Hart in First Things. If you’re familiar with his writing you’ll know that it’s generally quite academic. But in a rare moment of devotion, he reflected on a housekeeper his family had when he was a child, whom he affectionately referred to as Aunt Susie. He visited her in the hospital when she was gravely ill and he confesses:

It would be quite impossible for me to explain what the hour we spent there was like, or what effect it had on me. I can only say that Aunt Susie spoke about her love of Christ in a very clear and confident way, with a power that the weakness of her voice did nothing to diminish. From that day to this I have never heard another profession of Christian faith that seized me with such irresistible force. I am not a very emotional person, as it happens, but I was almost overwhelmed by the unutterable beauty that emanated from her.

Just as we were about to leave, Aunt Susie said that the Lord was telling her she would not see us again. We assured her that this was not so, and that we would be back before long, but she was quite certain that she was right, and so her last words to us had something of the quality of a valedictory blessing. And, of course, she was right; she died before we could make another visit to her bedside.

This frail and fragile lady, this delicate moment, left an indelible mark on Hart, a scar from which he will never recover, but one to which he’ll always pay tribute. He recognized that the little things matter intensely.

Where, too, might Augustine of Hippo have ended up, had he not surrendered to a strange small voice in a garden in Milan, crying Tolle Lege: “Take up and read”?

But how are we to deal with the world on these terms? A world that has always demanded Blockbuster moments—Waterloos, Jurassic Parks, X-Files—you get the picture. Really, it’s always been this way. More so in the past, I’d argue. There aren’t many subtle insights into the sacred in the everyday in Beowulf; we don’t follow Dante’s encounters at the post office or his hagglings at the marketplace. That wouldn’t be interesting. We’ve always wanted bigger, better, louder. The howling world will always cry for spectacle and epic battles, but we are all of us, made of moments. Moments both fragile and small.

Similarly, Christmas shares this indelible quality: a fragile young mother, the small voice of an infant. Christmas was initially a small affair despite the many efforts to turn it into the next Blockbuster moment. Yet, ironically, it is a colossal event, only manifested in small circumstances. Shepherds, as far from the nobility of the day as you could get, were some of the first to be let in on the secret. Mary, Joseph, the no-vacancy inn, the manger rocking the Rock of Ages. How strange, how quiet, how small.

So again that haunting verse in Luke 2:19 that says, “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” In other words, she safeguarded them, stowed them in the only place fit for such treasure, the place where we are free to revisit Aunt Susie, to glide gloriously on thin fingers of ice with Mildred Hesse. Mary recognized a moment significant enough to stand on its own without public approval, a moment too small for most of the world, but one so great, nonetheless, that only a heart could house it. A small moment that has, quite literally, turned the world upside down, tipped the scales, brought heaven to our doorsteps. A small event set between a squalid manger and a brutal cross.

No doubt, I’ll continue to watch for the Blockbuster moments, the loud spectacles and parades that deafen my ears, and offer enough drama to keep me silent and entertained. But I pray that I’m ever mindful of the fact that the world stands on a thin line between a manger and a cross, and that a significant moment, a pivotal event, secretly stowed and treasured by Jesus’s mother in her heart, has allowed me to stand where I am today. The little things matter intensely.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sharing Truth part 2

Here is Dan's second sermon on Ephesians 6...parenting and work.


Though he did a GREAT job, I will enjoy having him sit with me again for a while during church. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sharing Truth

As an elder at our church (just wanted you to know we don't have random people preaching every week or something), Dan was asked to preach last Sunday on Ephesians 5:22-33....marriage. He/we are no authority on marriage, but he/we know the One who is. As his wife, I think he did a great job of sharing Truth in the context of marriage...I'll be honest and say I think I was more nervous for him to preach then he was! :) If you desire to listen, here is the link:


Monday, December 6, 2010

Some days....

...I just feel tired.

It doesn't help that I have a 3 year old who still can't quite grasp potty training and I feel like I'm constantly working on that concept, talking about it, encouraging, guiding and helping. Trying my hardest not to get or act frustrated, but in reality it's frustrating. It doesn't help that my 3 year old is also...well...3, and so we're working on obedience.

It doesn't help that my almost 6 year old has had hearing problems for nearly a year and I just found out that in fact my maternal instincts were correct and she is having a hard time hearing because she has a lot of fluid behind her ear drums. It doesn't help that my hearts breaks when realize she has been hearing life like a person wearing earmuffs. It doesn't help that I've been trying to seek out options and solutions for this and it has been a bit time consuming.

It doesn't help that my 8 year old hurt his foot last night and had to have it looked at this morning when I had a few other things planned that I hoped to get done.

It doesn't help that right now I have plugged sinuses and am feeling a bit cruddy.

It DOES help when I focus on what really matters, it DOES help when I look at my kids, cuddle them and realize how all the things that wear me out about them pale in comparison to how much I care about them, it DOES help that I have a great husband who loves and helps me, and most importantly, it DOES help when I realize I don't need to become overwhelmed by small details because I love a God who is willing to carry the load with me at all times.

Ahhh...feeling a bit better now. Thanks!

Friday, December 3, 2010


If you live in our home it's almost a prerequisite that you like to read and enjoy books. I've always been a reader, all our kids LOVE reading (even our youngest who seems to have wheels on his feet enjoys sitting to read books)...Dan is probably the least likely to read books, but more so out of lack of time than lack of interest.

Today Josiah came home asking me about a newer book series and if we could go to the library to check out the book. Since hearing about it when they came out I was a bit leery of the books, so I told him I'd do some research and then we'd talk about it. After looking online and reading some excerpts from the books as well as reviews from other Christian parents and websites I told him I wasn't comfortable with him reading them. I showed him the reviews and he read about some of the reasons why they weren't great books, some of the words they use in the books, (not swear words, just not words he's allowed to say to anyone, so why would I let him read them), and just some of the overall content. He was a bit shocked about what was all in the books...and after that he was pretty sad. I asked if he was mad that I didn't think he should read the books....he replied "no" because he agreed that he shouldn't read the books...he was just sad that he would be missing out on knowing about what some of the other kids were reading. I felt sad for him because of that too, but also very proud that he understood why I didn't encourage the books and that he agreed with me.

I love you Josiah!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Alayna came home from school today and said, "Mom, one of the teachers said that maybe we should write a letter to Santa and mail it to the North Pole." I asked her what she thought of that idea and she said, "Not good, because Santa doesn't even live there because he's not real." And then she shared that all the kids in her class believe in Santa, but she knows he's not real and that's ok. When my kids have asked if Santa was real I always told them the truth....it might be a bummer for the kids who still believe in Santa to have my kids in their class!!! :)

Update on the Holder Bootcamp

Yesterday was a GREAT day for my darling 3 year old and his mom. I'm not sure if the Lord was just giving me a break, or if after 2 days of being very diligent, full of praise and consistent with discipline (I didn't get much else done that day...oh well!) we have gotten back to an obedient child. Another positive about yesterday...he was very obedient and a ton of fun AND he was dry ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT!!! :) Again, maybe it's just the Lord giving me a break...but I'll take it!! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holder Boot Camp

When it comes to parenting I often times feel like discipline and correction ebbs and flows. There are times when after correction and discipline occur for a heart/behavior issue multiple times you can let the 'string' go out a little bit. Then when another heart/behavior issue creeps in that isn't positive or God honoring that 'string' comes in real close again until you see a change in their heart and a desire to be obedient.

Right now if you are 3 and live in this house...your 'string' is real close to your mom and dad. :) For a few weeks we were able to see his ability to be obedient and a heart change. Was he perfect...no...are you? Did he DESIRE to obey...yes...did he choose to obey more often than not...yes. I now can see that his heart is defiant and testing. Ugh! It's in these days that I have to remember the end goal. Is my goal to have him 'behave' a certain way? Not exactly...the end goal is for his actions and behaviors to be the overflow of his heart.

"...out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

We recently wrote specific prayers for each of our kids individually...2 parts of our prayer for him are: "thank you for his excitement for life, may he learn to use his excitement and energy for Your glory" -- "please use his passions for engaging people for Your glory" (if you've ever met him, you know he is a people person)

You may have an amazingly sweet face, but I desire even more for you to have an amazing heart. I love you!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So, potty training is a S__L__O__W__ going process right now. It seems no matter what I do, he does great when he has nothing on his bottom, but the moment he has on underwear or a pull-up he forgets. The reality is, I can't take a naked boy out and about...I think people would question that!!

I have tried treat rewards, we have a special cheer, larger incentives, reading while he goes, etc...he doesn't seem to forget in order to defy me...he just doesn't seem to get it yet. He goes when I ask him to go, but he doesn't always hold it in between those times, so even if I have him go every 1/2 hour, sometimes he will go a little bit in between. Plus, I prefer for HIM to be potty trained, not ME to have to tell him to go all the time.

If anyone has any great tips or suggestions...I'd love to hear them. I have successfully potty trained 2 kids, but this 3rd one has made me consider allowing him to graduate from high school still wearing pull-ups...I figure at least by then he will be changing them on his own!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trust and Obey

This morning at church during the sermon Seth decided to start singing his new favorite song. "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." It wasn't loud enough that everyone could hear, but it was definitely loud enough for a couple rows around us to hear his little voice. To be honest, I let him sing...we were in church and he was worshiping. I will admit though that I did ask him to sing a little quieter and after the 3rd or 4th time through I tried to distract him with other things.

How is it that my child that pushes me to the limit is also able to melt my heart. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time to Celebrate!!

We had a great day celebrating Seth's birthday last Saturday. His grandpa & grandma Kiedrowski were here to celebrate and so we went to Yunker Farm and played, came home for lunch, cake and presents....then it was nap time for the birthday boy! We had a great time! He didn't realize he'd get presents, so that was a double bonus...in his mind he kept telling me that what would make his birthday special was to have CAKE! So the day before I made his cake and he was very excited and kept looking at his cake and asking when it would be his birthday and when he could eat it. Happy Birthday Setharoo!
The next day his grandpa & grandma Holder came to celebrate and this weekend some family from my side will be here and we will celebrate again....the birthday that keeps on going...the best kind to have when you're a kid!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My baby turned 3

Seth, today you turned 3. I was excited for you because you were anxiously awaiting your birthday, I realized though that the thought of having a 3 year old truly means you are getting older. Diapers will soon be gone, and though you aren't 100% potty trained, you have made great improvements and I know it won't be long until it's official. I won't miss changing them, but it's another phase of motherhood that will be done and that is bittersweet.

You have an amazing happy personality! You still have the ability to make anyone that meets you smile. You love your brother and sister and still prefer to cuddle up with Josiah at night to go to sleep. :) You communicate your thoughts and feelings very clearly now and you say the funniest things that makes our family laugh regularly ("this looks like a job for...SUPER SETH!). We have pretty much moved beyond the biting phase (that is a phase I was willing to give up!)...thankfully!!
Though WE didn't plan on having baby #3 (you), I'm SOOOOOOOO glad God knew better. I can't imagine our family without you. Your smile, laughter, energy, love for life and love for everyone around you is something I can't imagine living without. You have taught me so much about being a mom, about humility, and you have challenged my/our parenting many times and made us better parents. You are still a mama's boy and would love it if I would lay with you each night and cuddle real close and let you play with my hair. Most nights....I do cuddle up for a few minutes because I know it won't last forever and I love that you enjoy being so close still. Baby Seth, Super Seth, Setharoo...whatever we call you...you are one of a kind and I'm so glad you're mine!

I love you -- mom

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Potty Training....

Yes, I've finally decided to work on potty training. He's been able to go on the potty for a while now, but not consistantly and not without us telling him to. Sooooo...this Saturday he turns 3 (I still can't believe that, but that's another post) so I decided to plan a week where I pretty much stay home and work on training. I have to say (though I'll admit I have a bad attitude when it comes to potty training) he's done really well. He's had a couple accidents, but nothing major and he's been doing great at going in the potty all on his own the last few days. Last night when we had Missional Community at our house I thought for sure he'd be wet by the end of the night due to excitement and distractions...nope, he was still dry!!! I realize we're not done yet (part of the reason I dislike potty training so much) and that there will be accidents and it will still be a process, but we are doing well so far and I hope it continues to improve from here!!!

Could it be possible that we will have NO MORE DIAPERS at any of our Christmas celebrations? With 11 grandkids on one side and 7 on the other....all very close in age...every year for the past 10+ years there have been multiple kids in diapers. What a strange thought...I've changed diapers for more than 8 years now....I really can't imagine not changing them....don't worry, I'll adjust! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Multiple Adventures!

Last week there was no school on Thursday and Friday...Dan and Josiah had a hunting trip scheduled with Dan's dad, his brother and his nephew. Josiah had been thoroughly excited and anticipating this hunting trip for quite some time! They had a blast and Josiah's favorite parts were shooting his new BB gun, riding 4-wheeler, swimming at the hotel and playing DS in the truck (he doesn't have one and loved that he got to borrow one)....and let's be honest, he was having guy time with some of his favorite guys, what's more fun than that!?!? Here's a pic of the crew and some of their loot. Now if only I could find some good pheasant recipes......

While those 2 boys were off hunting....Seth, Alayna and I were left wondering what to do.... I opted to NOT just stay home, we went on our own adventures! :) We headed to St. Cloud for "2 sleeps" and visited friends and family. During our 2 day trek I visited a long ago friend who used to live in Fargo, a college friend, my sister, another dear friend who used to live in Fargo (was it something I did...they moved away!!) :), my sister in law...and of course since we stayed at my in-laws we had good chats and fun play times there as well. It made the time without Dan and Josiah go by much more quickly and even fun!! Thanks dear friends and family for making time to hang out!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What do you want to be?

This isn't a question we even ask the kids, but there are times when I look at their personalities and wonder what God has in store for them in the future...

Lately Josiah has been talking a lot about becoming an engineer someday. Not really the job most kids aspire to be when they are in 3rd grade, but he does. Anyway, he LOVES to build, construct, design and most days after school he comes home and we talk about the day and do any homework and then he will go downstairs to the work bench we built for him (I was tired of my outside freezer being COVERED with all his building projects) and build with a variety of things. Along with these desires he also loves math...he would love to help start a math club at school. Not really something all kids would find 'fun'...not really something this mom thinks is fun! :) He likes to keep parts from various things to try to make them into other things. His mind is always thinking up ideas of things to build. I don't know what God has in store for him, but in this season of his life he is definitely excited about building, constructing and math.

Seth on the other hand...well, I've been cooking and baking a lot more lately and he has always been one that likes to be right by my side or on the counter so that he can be part of the action. He loves to help dump, measure, mix, peel/core/slice apples, etc....if I'm in the kitchen...he is there too...whether I like it or not! :) Needless to say, it's a bit messier when I cook and bake now. Who knows, maybe he will be the next Bobby Flay...ok, probably not...with me as his teacher I won't hold my breath, but I would love to make sure my boys (as well as Alayna) are able to hold their own in the kitchen and he's off to a great start. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dancing the night away

My step brother got married a couple weeks ago. When you bring kids to a wedding and have to be there early for pictures, plus sit through the wedding and reception...well, I was prepared for some meltdowns. However, the kids did great! Seth took a nap in the van and we were all able to sit through the wedding. Oh, did I mention my sister has 4 kids and my brother has 3 and we all sat by each other during the wedding and yet all 11 kids made it through without being too loud. Impressive! :) Anyway, by the time the dance came along we were thankful for the ability for the kids to move.

Seth and daddy dancing...ironically enough the boy who never runs out of moves at home wasn't sure if he wanted to be on the dance floor with so many other people. He only danced a few times. Go figure!

Dancing with Grandpa Hacker

A twirl around the dance floor with daddy

Time to dance with the groom!

Alayna, unlike her brothers never tired of dancing! I couldn't get Josiah on the dance floor even once, he was just too embarrassed to try...bummer!

Organization makes me happy!

I wouldn't say I'm always organized, but I enjoy organizing. I think it makes the day to day stuff go much smoother. There's one area however that I have NEVER been organized, (some of my dear friends who know me well are waiting to find out what area that might be) RECIPES!

I have had multiple books with a few things marked in each, loose pages that I've printed, a book that I got when we were married that ran out of room to add more recipes, recipe cards that people gave me, magazines...well, you get the picture. Recipes in all shapes and sizes and I never quite knew how to make them all work together so that I could have the recipes we like all combined together.

This past weekend I took the plunge to organize them and boy am I glad I did!! It's just a simple binder, black card stock, double sided tape and sheet protectors. Pretty basic stuff. Once I put it all together it looked like this and I LOVE knowing where all my favorite recipes are and I LOVE even more that when I find new ones that I like I can EASILY add them to this system. Hooray for organization!! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010


Sometimes I get caught up in 'life' and forget to step back and realize how blessed I really am. Has everything been easy in my life...no...but does that mean I'm not blessed...absolutely not!

I stepped back today and watched my 3 kids playing together in the backyard, my husband called my on his way home to remind me that he loves me and is looking forward to getting home, I have food cooking on the stove because we have money to buy food, I live in a great house that is more than a house...it's home, and most importantly, I serve a great God that has for now, blessed me with all these things.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sleeping Arrangements

We have a slight cold milling around our household right now. Nothing major, just annoying! I'm not sure if this is the reason, or what has caused this new trend, but I have a 2 year old who likes to climb into bed with me when I'm too sleepy and incoherent to realize it. It's been happening for the last week or so and in the middle of the night he will come to my side and hold my hand so that it gives him a boost into our bed...he then he will cuddle on my pillow right up next to me AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE and fall asleep. Once in a while I'll catch him and he will go back to his bed to sleep for a bit only to come back a couple hours later when I'm too sleepy to realize it. That little rascal! :) Needless to say, when I wake up in the morning (nearly pushed off the bed) only to hear the deep breathing of my adorable Seth...well, it melts me and I enjoy the cuddles for a bit before getting up early and getting ready for the day. I've realized it's hard to go back to sleep when you are nearly 1/2 way off the bed. :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


It's officially been just over a year since River City Church was 'planted' and we have been attending since the beginning. Having never been part of a church plant I had NO idea what to expect, but I can honestly say it's been a great journey full of learning, meeting new people, and defining what 'church' really means for our family.

Josiah and Alayna join us for Sunday services and it's been a great opportunity for them to learn self-discipline and more importantly, to hear and grasp parts of the message. They open their bibles and follow along...Josiah is able to and soon Alayna will to, now she just pretends. Don't get me wrong, they aren't perfect angels...they are kids, but I've been very proud of them over the course of the year, they have their 'antsy' moments, but overall they are great. Seth will be sitting with us soon...pray for us! :) He needs to learn self-discipline as well and we would love to all be together as a family on Sunday mornings, but I know it will be quite the 'transition' for a while....patience...I will need patience.

Sunday mornings...music to my ears!! We used to meet Sunday nights at 5...that was great for some, but not as wonderful for those of us with families. For a variety of reasons we recently switched to Sunday mornings at 10am and I could not be more thrilled!! :) We also transitioned from one downtown space to a larger one and it has filled up quickly.

We have had great opportunities to have people in our house each week on Wednesday nights for our 'Missional Community' (a diverse group of people...young, older, families, college students, singles, anyone!) where we eat dinner together (taking turns bringing the meal...one day out the week I don't have to have a meal planned!), and then study what was talked about on Sunday and how it applies to each of our lives, as well as journeying through life together and praying for one another. The last Wednesday of each month we go and serve in the community...last year we served at the Perry Center...this year we are hoping to set something up to serve a group of refugees in our community.

Being able to enjoy Wednesday nights as a family and having our kids get to know the group of people that comes each week and to have other adults involved in the lives of our kids has been a blessing. Serving each month alongside our kids has been a great experience. Don't get me wrong...there are moments when having the kids involved is more work, but I have to remind myself that it's a teaching opportunity for them as well...patience..always praying for patience!

It has been a transition, but it's been a good one. We are thankful for the opportunities we've had to learn, serve and grow together as a family.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Never A Dull Moment

On Wednesday the kids were playing downstairs in the basement. After a bit Josiah and Alayna came up to hang out with me while Seth chose to stay and play down there. After a little time passed I asked Alayna to go check on Seth and while she was headed downstairs I heard someone trying to get in the front door. Josiah went running to the door to see who it was, while I was trailing behind him reminding him NOT to open it unless he knew who it was....his next words were, "Mom, it's Seth!". Of course my immediate thought was, "WHAT?!?!?!?!".

Yes, our clever 2 year old pushed the kid slide (toy in the basement) up to the window in the basement. He opened the window and climbed out, (he wanted to see if there were any frogs or bunnies he later told me), climbed up the window well ladder and then ran to the front door after he realized there were no critters in the window well.

Needless to say, we now have our screens put back on those windows. We took them off because the 'critters' chewed holes in them....I didn't think the screens would be needed to keep our kids IN the house though. I guess they are!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School

Today was the first day back to school at our house. Wow! Everyone was SUPER excited! Josiah is headed off to 3rd grade and Alayna is starting Kindergarten. Alayna has been asking how many more 'sleeps' for the past couple weeks and Josiah has been excited to go see his friends and overall, he just really likes school (I'm very thankful).

We had a great summer, but now that we are getting into the swing of school again...I'm looking forward to a more consistent routine. I'm not totally sure what Seth and I will be up to while the other 2 are gone for part of the day, but I'm looking forward to some quality time with the cutest rascal I know. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Paper Airplane

Amazingly enough it was even able to fly. I love how his mind works!
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So yesterday was a very laid back day. We played in the house (it was SUPER hot and WINDY), read, and watched a couple shows. Fast-forward to 7pm, after church. Seth was cranky and beside himself. I was talking to Dan on the phone (I had the older 2 in the van with me) and explained that because we hadn't done much that day, he was probably needing to wear off energy. We watched more 'screens' (that's what we call TV, computer, video games) than we normally do.

After that phone call...this is the conversation I had with Josiah:

Josiah: Mom, you're right, we did have too many screens...I think tomorrow I need to not have ANY screens.

Mom: That sounds like a great idea.

Josiah: Mom, I know that tomorrow I might feel differently about it, but I want you to remind me to stick with it. Even if I tell you I don't want to continue anymore.

Mom: ok, that's a great plan. I'll do my best to help you, and I'll remind you that you asked me to, ok?

Josiah: Ok, so you will help me?

Mom: for sure buddy, I think that sounds like a great plan

He's been doing great! He's played more legos than normal, he read for 1 1/2 hours, he drew car pictures...I'm so proud that he knew he would feel weak throughout the day, but still asked me to hold him accountable. We don't watch tons of TV or anything, but in the mornings, they will watch a short show, something maybe later in the afternoon. He had to break himself of that and think of other things to do. I think 'unplugging' has gone well! Way to go buddy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Business Owner

Last summer Josiah tried mowing the lawn...he was able to do part of it, but he was just a bit too short yet to really be able to handle the mower. However, after trying to mow he REALLY wanted me to make him a business card. I work for/with my clients to come up with something that represents them...well, with minimal say from me in what it looked like...this is what he came up with. He had the ideas and picked the font and look for his card. Maybe next summer (he's already asked me) we can get them printed and he can mow for a couple neighbors. I love watching him work, he is very thorough and takes his time doing a really great job!

Lawn Mower

We have come along way....we have kids old enough to help with bigger jobs around the house, and even better is the fact that they enjoy it. Alayna loves helping me fold laundry and this is Josiah's new job. It's his 2nd time and he's been doing a great job!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Best Friend

The kids had their final time with grandparents for the summer...they went to my mom's for an extended weekend. They had a blast with grandma, grandpa and 3 of their cousins!

While they were gone...Dan and I had a blast too!! The best part....we didn't really have anything planned! We just enjoyed spending time together, talking about anything and everything anytime we wanted...no interruptions! :) We went for a 18 mile bike ride together which was a workout (my bum was feeling bruised for a few days...I think I need a better seat!), but we had a ton of fun! It was a great reminder that I truly am married to my best friend. I'm never bored when we are together and I can't imagine having as much fun with anyone else. Though I was ACHING to have our kids back...I appreciate our parents and their love for our kids and their willingness to invest time into their grand kids which in-turn also invests time for us in our marriage. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Would You Do?

Last weekend I took Josiah and Alayna clothes shopping. They each picked a few things and we had a lot of fun together! Neither of them are overly picky about what they wear, so that definitely helps the situation. :) However, while we were at Kohl's I heard a mom YELLING and I mean YELLING at her kids...(she could be heard across the aisle in the adjoining section) She was hollering empty threats that she never followed through on....my first thought (I'm sad to say) was judgment about her being a mean mom. Later, as we were still in the same section and she continued yelling, I started to feel bad and decided to pray for that mom and her kids, I don't know what was going on in her life and I hated that I had judged her. At the same time, I hated what she was doing to her kids. If you're willing to yell THAT loud in public, what do you do at home in private?? Anyway, on the way home I kept thinking....what SHOULD I have done in that situation?? Approached her and asked her if I could help? Continue praying? I don't know.... It reminded me of the show they used to do on 60 Minutes (or some show like that) "What Would You Do?" -- they create situations and see how people respond. Anyway, days later it stills bugs me and I still find myself praying for that mom and her kids....

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vacation Day 2

On day 2 of our vacation we decided to have a day for the older kids...we have a busy 2 year old and sometimes our older ones don't get a much 1 on 1 time and so Seth stayed with grandma and had a GREAT time while we took the older ones to the Mall of America. We weren't sure what we were going to do while we were there other then check our Lego Land and visit the American Girl store. The kids hadn't been to either place and we thought it would be fun to look around. After that maybe we would visit the Under Water Aquarium or go on rides at the park there.

About a minute after walking in to the American Girl store Alayna spotted a doll that looked just like her. She very sweetly asked her dad if she could have this doll. We told her probably not, but we would talk about it. She was so patient and didn't beg or get angry that we told her probably not. Of course, that tugged at her dad's heart strings that she was being so obedient. So we walked around the store and enjoyed looking at all they had there and when we were done she very quietly asked her dad if maybe she could have that doll. Dad said, "mom and I have to talk about it", but first we're going to go build at Lego Land. She was again very patient and so off we went.

We went and built at Lego Land and looked at all the cool creations there. During that time Dan and I talked about it and decided that if the kids were ok with not going on any rides, not doing the Under Water Aquarium and the fact that we didn't stay at a hotel, they could each get something. They were totally fine with this plan...(good thinking on their part...a day of fun, or a toy that will last). After we had a quick lunch, the boys went to the 'boy store' and the girls went to the 'girl store'. It took us about 5 minutes because Alayna KNEW exactly what she wanted and was THRILLED that we actually said YES! (We are normally 'no parents' when it comes to buying things because we get so many toys from other people, so they don't usually even ask when we are at a store). It was so fun to be a YES parent for once! :)

building car and getting ready to race them

some cool dinosaur creations

After buying her doll (notice even the same hair style) we took her out of the box and she could not stop grinning! Moms even stopped and were so excited that she had gotten her, "first American Girl doll"...Dan and I laughed about that later because it's going to be her ONLY American Girl doll (unless they are gifts from other people). :) Since purchasing her, she has rarely left her side (very unusual if you know my not so girlie girl). Her first words after getting her out of the box were, "Now we have 3 girls and 3 boys in our family mom". That was the easiest birth I've ever had! She's only asked for a sister once, but if this works for her, Dan was more than ok with that idea! :)

After our Mall experience we went and hung out with friends and had a great time. We all just chatted and the kids played, we were so busy talking I didn't even think to take pictures. :)

What a great day with the older 2, I'm so glad we had the opportunity to have special time with just them. It was fun having quality time to talk to each of them and just overall spend time with them.