Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Seven Christmases

Monday, 22 December 2014

Candy for the Troops

Tommy's scout pack collected halloween candy this year to donate to a nonprofit organization that sends care packages to U.S. troops on deployment. Tommy, Nic, and Kenny each set aside a large portion of their trick-or-treat haul to send to the troops, and we were able to collect even more candy from friends at church and Amy's bible study. All together the scouts collected quite an impressive load of candy, as you can see below. Tommy and I went with a few other scouts to drop off the candy we collected - and to tour the care package operation. While we were there, the kids got to put together some Christmas care packages for the soldiers. Tommy really enjoyed getting to put together a care package. Thank you to everyone who donated candy to this project! And thank you to all the soldiers spending the holidays away from their families.

Saturday, 29 November 2014


It's been pretty cold lately, so since we had a warm (almost 50°F!), mostly sunny day today I thought I would take advantage. We got the boys dressed up and took some pictures for this year's Christmas card. Here are some of my favorite outtakes:

Thursday, 27 November 2014


I set the table up this morning before I started cooking. When Tommy saw it he was so impressed that he decided he needed to dress up, and he convinced his brothers to do the same. It was completely spontaneous and all his idea, but I thought it was so sweet that he felt inspired to put on his fanciest outfit. Before we ate both Tommy and Nic took a turn to pray, and one thing that Tommy mentioned being thankful for was tradition. Considering how last minute this year's meal was, and therefore, how close it came to not happening, his enthusiasm for the day made all of my (hasty) efforts worth it, and for that I am very thankful.

Here is proud Nicolas the pumpkin farmer showing off the fruits of his harvest.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Halloween 2014

Monday, 10 November 2014

Mom's Birthday

Today my mom would have turned 58. It has been a hard day. I'm sad, the kids are sad, and dates like this just make the missing that much harder. We are all remembering mom in our different ways. Kevin and Emily are meeting up for dinner, Katie is making my mom's favorite cake for her family and my Dad, and since today is my one day to stay home and get things in order, I cleaned my house and matched socks.

My sock pile drove my mom crazy. I swear that my children put one sock in the hamper and hide the match in some secret spot for a few weeks before tossing it in the laundry. Thus, even though I carefully match up all the pairs to come out of the dryer on any given laundry day, I have a sock pile. Whenever Mom came to visit she would get out the sock bag (which has since been upgraded to a cute basket) and lay them all out and match them all up. Then she would harass me to throw away the unmatched socks. So today I conquered the unmatched sock basket, which I'm pretty sure hasn't been touched since her last visit a year ago, in her memory. I even threw out a handful of socks for her. That would have made her happy.

Although today has been very hard, I have enjoyed having the space to reflect on my Mom and what a blessing she was to me, and my kids, and to all of you who have been leaving comments and messages for our family. I wish I could be celebrating with her tonight, but since I can't, I am so thankful to be able to celebrate her memory and her legacy.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Windy City Project 2

I am still playing catch-up, but this was one of our favorite activities this summer, so I wanted to make sure I shared. We recently began attending a church that is much closer to our new home, and were thrilled to find out that they had a family friendly mission project happening this summer. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to serve alongside our kids, our new church family, and the organization we partnered with to complete the project. We worked with a group of teens from Lawndale, called YMEN, and together we served a few buildings in the suburbs that help people transition out of homelessness, and we also worked on the YMEN property in Lawndale.

Our family spent three days working on the Lawndale project. We got to help beautify an existing urban garden and to put up a new one, and participate in a sports camp and a VBS. Now, you can all imagine how helpful we really were, what with most of my time spent trying to prevent the kids from slowing the project down, and with the children chasing chickens more than they pulled weeds or moved dirt, but the beautiful thing was that everyone was okay with that. It mattered more that we were working to build relationships with our fellow workers and that we were teaching our kids how to serve God by loving their neighbors. Our boys loved the time they spent at YMEN, and we did too. We received far more than we gave (really, by leaps and bounds).

Since the projects were split between multiple locations, the only day that everyone spent together was Sunday. That day was spent at our church, worshiping together (outside!) and enjoying a great meal, amazing music, and lots of fun games. Aside from the time that we spent with out family in Wisconsin, this was probably my favorite day of the summer. It is such a blessing to see my kids excited about worshiping God and serving Him!

Can't think of a better way to spend our 11th anniversary