01-31-16 The devil knocks louder on Sunday.

I saw it before he did… Evidence of our current warming trend in the dip in the parking lot. What started off as a trickle sloped down into a sizable puddle about ten feet in front of him. He didn’t see it at first, too busy watching his feet as he walked along. As he came to the edge he started to hesitate. I told him to step around it, but I could see in his face that this was a battle that a boy in Spiderman shoes couldn’t lose. Without a further thought, he jumped in. If I hadn’t been so tired, hungry, and cranky I might have smiled at the impulse, but it annoyed me and I scolded him, insisting that he get in line and head for the car.

I swear the devil knocks louder on Sundays.

With three kids 5 and under, most days have their crazy moments, the moments that make me want to throw my hands up and hide in the closet just long enough to catch a breather or eat a snack. But for some reason Sundays are so much harder!

Stand outside our home on any given morning and you might think, Hey, there’s a normal family in there starting their day. You might here squealing or whining or laughing. But stand outside of our home on Sunday morning and all bets are off.

Sunday is the day that for some reason, we are always running late. It’s the day the baby leaks through his diaper. Its the day my kids get a sudden case of jelly legs. Its the day that no two socks will ever match. Shoes will be lost. Cups will be spilled. Keys will go missing. By the time everyone is in the car and we are headed down the road, everyone is exhausted and grumpy!

I don’t believe in coincidences. Nope.

The devil hates corporate worship. He despises hearing God’s word. And he hates Christian fellowship. If he can throw a wrench in our morning, if he can get us off kilter, if he can fluster us and frustrate us then we can’t be terribly effective can we? If I can’t focus on my time with fellow believers because I’m stewing over a miscommunication with my husband, than he has won that round hasn’t he?

So how do we stop it? By recognizing it. When I go to bed Saturday night, I go knowing that the morning will probably be difficult. So I pray. I pray that I don’t lose my focus. I pray that I don’t give in to my selfishness. I pray that he doesn’t win this round.

Today I didn’t do so well. I got sucked in. I got frustrated. I got mad. I lost my focus. Thankfully the big battle has already been won, so these little setbacks aren’t devastating. I snuck off to the grocery store by myself this evening for a much needed break. I got to exhale. I drank some coffee. I refocused myself. By the time I drove home, I was eager to see my family, eager to hug them and kiss them. I didn’t have to pretend to be engaged, I was engaged. I listened to my children laughing and I smiled. They were calmer because I was calmer. This evening was relaxing and pleasant.

The devil may have won my morning, but he didn’t steal my day!

01-30-16 A Perfect Moment

It was late when we got home this evening… well past their bedtime. As we pulled into our parking spot, C said I want to cuddle, Mommy. How could I possibly refuse such a request? Her daddy carried her inside and we laid down together on the couch. Moments later, Big E joined us. And there we stayed. Arms and legs wrapped around me, their breath mingled together, the smell of their hair, the weight of their bodies, a cozy blanket to cocoon us together. A perfect moment.

As we laid there I was once again reminded how fleeting it all is. It happens too fast. They grow too quick. I shower them with kisses while I can. I whisper that I wish we could do this all day, and C quickly agrees, but decides it would be best if we made the boys stay upstairs all day so that just us girls can cuddle together. Won’t they get bored up there? I ask. We can bring them food, she responds as she snuggles closer. I like her plan.

They are all in bed now, exhausted from a long evening of playing with their cousins at a birthday party. On the way home C took the quiet as a chance to plan her upcoming birthday party in great detail, ignoring the fact she has nearly seven months to wait. She never got to have her fifth birthday party, so I’m hoping to make 6 pretty special!


Happy Birthday, Joshua! We hope you enjoyed your special day! We love you!!

01-29-16 Constant Provision

I first felt the tug a few years ago. We were living at the farmhouse. Tim was going to school full time, we had two small children, and we were living off of my paycheck. One day while going through our finances, there was one word I couldn’t get out of my head.


I tried to ignore it, push it deep back, but every time my mind would settle on something else, that word would make its way to the forefront once again.


I scoffed at the idea. Didn’t God know that we were a family of four living on one income?? Things were tight, and if we tithed, things would get a lot tighter. I justified my position and moved on. Every once in awhile that word would come back and out of guilt I would tithe a little, and I promised that when we got to a better financial situation, things would change.

When we learned about Baby E, Tim and I talked and decided to put his school on hold and he started working at the shop. I remembered my promise, but soon realized that with the new added expenses of daycare, Tim driving 150 miles each day, and the price of gas (it was nearly double what it is now), that in the end we were pretty much breaking even. Surely God could wait until we were a little better off, right?!? But again, out of guilt, I started tithing more often. But if we missed church one week, or I forgot my check book, I would shrug it off and move on.

After about six months of that, I felt a deep conviction that I knew what I was doing was wrong. God calls us to give Him the first fruits of our labor, and I was handing Him the scraps we had left over, and justifying it as we went along!

So things changed. Instead of figuring out how we were going to tithe, we decide to tithe first and then figure out how to make everything else work. So every week we tithed. If we missed a week or forgot the checkbook, we kept a running total in our heads and handed it in the first chance we could. We’ve spent well over a year doing this and guess what… we’ve been able to pay all of our bills, have plenty of food in our pantry, and clothes for ourselves and our children. God has provided every step of the way!

Fast forward to this past week- enter the blizzard of 2016. Between some sick days and some blizzard days, Tim has missed enough work to make a significant dent in his paycheck and we had some recent unexpected expenditures (doctor visits, medications, etc.) I spent the past few nights laying in bed, following rabbit trails I had no right following, and wondering how we would get through the next few weeks. I reminded myself, it’s not a desperate situation. We aren’t broke. We have savings. I can transfer some money if I need to. Everything will be fine. 

A few weeks ago we misplaced our one and only mail key. It’s not a huge deal because we pay all of our bills online so there isn’t usually anything pressing in the mailbox. I kept holding out hope I would find the key, but after weeks of looking, we called the post office and got a replacement key. I was expecting to receive a check in the mail for something and yesterday we finally opened the mailbox. Several weeks worth of mail would have fallen out if it could have, but instead I had to pry it out in piles until my arms were full of catalogues, envelopes and junk mail.

I brought it inside and dumped it on the floor and started the task of sorting it. It didn’t take long to find the check I was looking for, but in the process I kept coming across various envelopes that caught my attention. As I opened them, one by one, they all contained checks… In the end I had six checks, five of which were totally unexpected and when I added them up, they came up to approximately the total of what we had lost from Tim being out of work. I started crying as I saw once again that God had provided before I even knew I needed help. Some of those checks had been sitting in that mailbox for a couple of weeks!

I’m not here to say that God is a genie, or that if you tithe He will magically sprinkle you with unexpected money… What I am here to say is that God calls us to trust Him when He asks us to give. He calls for obedience. And trust that He knows what we need.

Our provision from God isn’t usually a random check in the mail. Often it is a fellow mom that hands me a pair of perfectly good shoes that her kid has outgrown. Or a co-worker of Tim’s that sends home a huge bag of beautiful clothing his daughter can no longer fit. Sometimes it’s going to the grocery store and learning that most of the things on my list are also on sale. It’s a drop in gas prices. Last month it was an unusually warm December that kept our energy usage way down. It’s any and all of these things. It is God working behind the scenes, in the small moments of life, in seemingly insignificant ways that when added together are continued proof of His constant provision for our family.


I hope in reading this story, you do not walk away thinking what good christians we are (because trust me, we have a long way to go,) but rather, what an incredible God we serve. We serve a God that gets involved with the nitty gritty details of our lives, that lives with us in the very trenches of marriage, parenting, jobs, finances, school, and life. He answers prayers we didn’t know we had and provides in ways we didn’t know we needed, and personally, I think that is pretty amazing!

01-28-16 Loving on Baby E

The more interactive Baby E gets, the more attention he gets from his siblings. Now that he is walking and “talking” they are often up in his face and blocking his path. They seek out his attention. They try to play games with him, hug him, kiss him, and dote on him.

Baby E’s patience runs thin with their friendly advances. A quick hug might slide by. But beyond that, he only wants freedom. He screams at them when they get in his way. He swats at them when they try to kiss him. He runs the other way when he sees them coming.

In a rare moment this evening, C put out her arms and called his name and he ran to her, throwing himself head first into her arms. They squealed in delight as they rocked back and forth, huge smiles on their faces. It lasted only seconds, as Baby E lost his footing and  they both went tumbling to the ground, Baby E taking it as a personal offense. Not surprisingly, her next plea for affection went unanswered. He had already moved on, swinging his arms and loudly protesting as he walked away.

01-27-16 After 8 p.m.

I see the signs of her impending meltdown long before it happens. She’s been up since 6:30 this morning. She’s been to school. She has done her homework. She has gone to church. She has come home at 9pm. She is tired.

She whimpers when I ask her to go upstairs. She goes limp as I usher her into the bathroom. She screams. She stomps. She screeches.

I heard someone once say Never blame a child for what they do in public after 8pm. That phrase always stuck with me. When a child is tired, they lack the ability to make good decisions. The are reactionary. They are out of control. Their bodies and their minds are exhausted…

So when I make the decision to let my children stay up late, I also take some of the responsibility for their bad choices and behavior. They don’t know they are tired. They don’t know why they are so emotional. They don’t understand what they are feeling. When I ask my daughter to stop whimpering or whining or screaming, she looks at me with wide eyes and tears streaming down and says, I can’t!

She’s right. She can’t. She doesn’t know how. In time, she will learn. She will learn to listen to her body. She will see the cues too. And as she becomes more aware of them, she will learn control.

In the meantime, I will choose to be patient with her when she can’t stop. I won’t assume it is defiance, I will look at the clock and know it is fatigue. I will cover her in kisses and tell her silly stories. I will snuggle with her and I will make her smile, so her last moments awake will leave her in no doubt that she is loved.


01-26-16 Lessons I’ve learned from being stranded with my kids.

We are completing day five of snow induced “family time” and I’d like to share some very important lessons I have learned.

  1. Children love snow. I mean really, really love snow. So much so, that they won’t tell you when their little fingers are freezing for fear that you will make them come inside. They’d rather lose limbs than quit playing in the snow.
  2. Unless under constant supervision, children will eat every color snow imaginable. Black snow, gray snow, brown snow. Snow with dots. Snow with speckles. Frozen snow. Nearly liquid snow. There will be snow pizzas, snow ice cream, snow sandwiches, etc. 
  3. If you have a daughter, she will find the tallest mountain of snow, climb it, and then proclaim at the top of her lungs, I am Queen Elsa of Arendelle! If you are lucky, a kind neighbor will shout, Yes, you are!!! and she will be flying high the rest of the day.
  4. Kids absolutely love sledding. Kids absolutely hate pulling the sled back up the hill.
  5. Kids love to shovel. Kids love to shovel snow and put it on the area of pavement you just cleaned off.
  6. When you decide to make a snowman, the children will not actually contribute. The adult will make the entire thing. Except putting on the arms. The kids will put on the arms and then claim to have made the entire snowman.
  7. Once inside, kids will strip off all their snow clothes and leave them piled on the floor or strewn across the house.
  8. When stuck inside, kids will ask for candy every 93 seconds, without fail.
  9. When not looking, a kid may deposit a diaper in the hamper. If this happens, and you do a load of laundry by just dumping the entire contents of the hamper into the washing machine you will regret it. 
  10. You will bake things. You will eat the things you bake. You will bake more things. You will eat those things too.
  11. When you finally make it to the store, don’t bother taking along a list. There will be no produce. There will be no meat. There will be no bread. You will have to settle for frozen pizza and canned soup.
  12. Starbucks will be closed. It’s ok to cry.
  13. The kids will want to watch movies. Let me rephrase that… They will want to watch one movie over and over and over again. 
  14. Your children’s internal clock will not adjust. They will think that 6 am is still a good wake up time. They will crawl into bed with you, sit on your back, and steal your covers until you agree to give them food.
  15. The kids will play. The kids will fight. They will wrestle. Someone will get hurt. There may be blood. Remain calm. Rinse and repeat. 
  16. Cleaning is pointless. With everyone stuck inside, they have nothing else to do but make messes. Lots of them. Constantly. Embrace your new reality and scrape the pretzel crumbs from the soles of your feet.
  17. With all the extra time at home, chances are you will get cuddle time. Lots and lots of cuddle time!
  18. In spite of all the crazy, you secretly hope there will be another blizzard next week!


01-25-16 An Igloo and a Snowman

Another snowy day! Another chance to play with cousins!

The highlight was definitely when Aunt Laura made a snowman! Also, Baby E got his first taste of playing in the snow. He got to ride around on a sled. He didn’t act all that amused until we would stop pulling him and then he would start screeching at us until we started pulling him again. The kids also got to play in the igloo that daddy made for them! Definitely a fun day!


01-24-16 Snow! Snow! Snow!

My body is sore.

I can feel the pain in my hands and my legs and my back- a not so gentle reminder that I have a sedentary job. We spent nearly four hours outside in the snow today sledding, shoveling, and climbing snow mountains.

One of my earliest memories was from sledding with my father. We were living in an apartment in Greenbelt, and I was less than two years old. The hill seemed huge to me, but having seen it since, I know it was actually quite small. We had a long sled and my dad sat in the back and I sat in the front. I remember us picking up speed as we went down the hill, and since the majority of the weight was on the back of the sled, the snow flew up and hit me in the face. The shock of the cold snow on my face sent me into near hysterics, and my dad returned me to my mom inside, who consoled me by cleaning off my face. It was a long time before I went sledding again.

When we were growing up, the farm house that we lived in was on a few acres of completely flat land. On the outskirts of a large cornfield and near a road, there were not many places to sled. The few hills that were nearby would have been perfect for sledding if they didn’t deposit you into the river below. We owned a blue sled, which in retrospect was probably pretty pointless. I remember one year my dad made an igloo for us and the next day it had frozen over so we turned it into a sledding hill.

We never had a snow like this one, and I am completely enjoying watching my kids revel in it. C keeps pretending she is Elsa, and for once I am okay going along with her. If she can’t be Elsa when it snows, then when can she be, right? And Big E wants to shovel out all the cars. They both ate way too much snow, and there was more than one occasion that I had to remind them that they shouldn’t be eating the blackened or gray snow. I thought that was a no-brainer, but apparently not! They spent hours playing with their cousins and the neighborhood kids, while the adults shoveled and talked.

My work has already called off for the next two days, so I am looking forward to more time outside with the kids. Also, I am hoping to make a much needed coffee run tomorrow. And we might actually get Baby E out in the snow. He was down for naps during the times we went out today.

Or maybe we will do none of that if we wake up too sore to move! Ha!


01-23-16 Snow Day!

12-15 inches of snow later and we are still having fun! It was too windy to get the kids outside today, but we are looking forward to some pretty fun snow adventures tomorrow. We did get to spend some more time with our favorite neighbors. We visited and made snow cream and ate it with fresh out of the oven brownies. Tim and I did some snow shoveling so our sidewalk is at least temporarily clear.

We spent our day watching movies, cleaning (C washed her very first load of dishes!!), and playing games. Now the kids are in bed and Tim and I are watching Star Wars.

One of the things that I love about snow is how it changes the way everything sounds. When I lived in NYC I used to love it when it snowed because for at least a brief amount of time, the snow would dampen the sounds of the city and it would be strangely quiet. It happens here too, the effect is just not as extreme. I like looking out at night and seeing the light from the streetlamps reflecting off the snow and watching the wind push bursts of snow past my window. And nothing beats cuddling up on the couch with my sweetheart and a cup of hot cocoa to end my day!

01-22-16 Dinner with our favorite neighbors!

Our first big snowfall is here. Finally! We’ve already got at least four inches on the ground, with more on the way. A lot more. By morning we should be officially snowed in.

This evening we visited our favorite neighbors for dinner and playtime. Once again I am grateful to have family just three doors down. It will make the winter lock down a lot easier! Once the winds die down, the kids can go outside and play with their cousins!

Here’s to hoping the power stays on!