07-31-16 Finally Vacation!


Today was a pretty laid back day. The kids didn’t let us sleep in. Big E woke up with a smile on his face and couldn’t wait to get upstairs to say hello to his great grandparents. My normally timid child rushed upstairs to find great grandpa and show him all the toys in his back pack. Then he impatiently waited for his cousin to wake up so that they could play. We had a nice breakfast, a gator ride, and then played in the yard for most of the day. We brought bikes for the kids, and since the great grandparents paved their driveway, they had a lot of fun going up and down the small hill. We also took a nice walk on the train track.


We laid down this afternoon for what I assumed would be a short nap and three hours later we woke up! Whew! But I guess we needed the sleep.


We all love being up here and we are enjoying the quiet and spending time with the great grandparents.



I’m guessing that my posts are going to be pretty bare bones because even when the internet works, it seems to get bogged down when I try to upload pics.


07-30-16 We made it!

It wasn’t the trip I planned, but we made it safely and are ready for bed!



We got out much later than we had hoped, and we were well on our way when we hit some pretty impressively bad storms so that slowed us down as well! And if you’ve ever travelled with small children, you know they have to go to the bathroom 10 minutes after their last bathroom break! Sigh!

At one point we got off on an exit and pulled off on the side of the road so that Big E could use the bathroom outside, and out of curiosity I checked our geocaching app and we were 135 feet from a cache! So, we took an extra two minutes to find it!


The kids love geocaching (we call it treasure hunting) and kept begging us to find more along the way. We found one more in Breezewood when we stopped for gas.

Overall, it was a nice drive, just late when we got in. Baby E was wired and just wanted to run around, so we had to wait for him to calm down until we could settle in for the night!

Let the vacation begin!!!


07-29-16 My best girl


I ran across this photo taken six years ago today of me 37 weeks pregnant with C. When I look at the me staring back at me I acknowledge that I had no idea how my life would soon be changing. I was terribly scared, terrified about having a baby, and convinced there was no way I could handle motherhood. I was overwhelmed with the thought of someone else being completely and absolutely dependent on me for their survival.

But that was six years ago and now I have three kids and I can’t picture my life without them. I snuck into their room tonight and stared at C for a few minutes, watching her chest raise and lower with each breath and thought, Wow I am blessed!

Six years happened fast, and at times, painfully slow and my little girl will be six in just a few short weeks so I’m excited to spend the next week hanging out with my best girl.

07-28-16 Packing


I started our packing list for our upcoming vacation and I have come to the startling conclusion that we are going to need a semi. You would think that the upgrade to the minivan would have been sufficient, but do you even realize how much stuff has to come with us when we travel?!?

Here’s a sample of our packing list (mind you, this is only a sample.)

1 suitcase for me and Tim.

1 suitcase for the kids.

1 Pack N Play for Baby E.

2 small cots for the big kids to sleep on.

4 camping chairs.

1 portable booster/high chair thing for Baby E.

1 bag for all things outdoorsy- to include, but not limited to, swimsuits, towels, puddle jumpers, swim diapers, bug spray, and sunblock.

1 umbrella stroller

1 box of diapers and wipes

2-4 pillows

2 blankets

1 electronics bag to include camera, phone chargers, flashlights, etc.

1 medicine bag with baby inhaler, Rx’s, baby Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.

1 food bag for the drive to include various small snacks and drinks.

1 diaper bag with diapers, pacis, bottles, etc.

2 small kids backpacks to be filled with toys and entertaining things for the kids in the car and at destination.

Whew! I’m exhausted and I haven’t even packed it yet!

Seriously, we are barely going to fit in the van after it’s loaded!! But that’s ok. We are all chomping at the bit to get away, so we will make it work!!

07-27-16 Night Terrors


Baby E had his first night terror last night (not to be confused with a nightmare!) C used to get them quite often when she was younger, but hasn’t had one in about a year. Big E has had a few, but not many. Last night was Baby E’s first. I knew almost immediately that it was a night terror because the screaming coming from his room sounded different. All of my kids have had a unique “night terror” scream that I’ve only ever heard during these episodes.

I went into his room and tried to connect with him but he screamed and flailed and shoved. I tried picking him up and he hit me and scratched at me. I tried giving him a bottle and he threw it. I took him out of his room and walked him around and still he screamed that horrible, terrifying scream. I took him downstairs and set him in his chair. He just got more violent. He would scream at me, staring me down and yet not seeing me at all. I carried him back up to his room. After laying him back in bed, him still screaming at the top of his lungs, he suddenly relaxed and I could see that he had finally snapped out of it. His eyes opened wide and he smiled at me. He reached for his bottle and playfully handed it back to me. He said he was sleepy and wanted to go night night and as I tucked him into his covers he giggled and smiled.

Man I hate night terrors. I loathe them. Thankfully, though, the kids do not remember them.

But I certainly do.

07-26-16 The Storms

It has stormed here two nights in a row- loud violent storms that made the house tremble and light up with every flash of lightning. I’ve never been a huge fan of storms, though we used to sit on our front porch as children and watch them pass by. Last night as I climbed the stairs to my room, I heard the first distant rumble. Knowing the kids waking up was a distinct possibility and the fact that there was no way I would actually be sleeping before the storm hit, I decided to take up watch in the kids’ room. I dragged a sleeping C and her bed away from the window so the noise wouldn’t wake her up and I settled in for the storm. The lightning was intense, refusing to let the shadows settle before dousing the room in shades of white and blue. The thunder, sometimes crackling and sometimes rumbling, broke up the sound of the water hitting the pavement and grass below. The kids didn’t stir, their breathing was quiet and rhythmic. How they could sleep through such a display is beyond me, but thankfully they did. As the storm receded, I crawled into my own bed, closed my eyes and waited for the room to stop flashing from the then distant lightning.

This morning C came into my room yawning and complaining about how tired she was. According to her she had spent the entire night awake because she couldn’t get to sleep.

No, sweet one, you didn’t, because I sat in your room and listened to you breathe as the floor beneath me rumbled ever so slightly with each round of thunder. Trust me, you slept just fine!



07-25-16 Wrestling

The fall of 2001 was a very difficult time. As a nation we had just experienced the largest attack on our soil and just blocks away I was trying to come to grips with what had happened and how it had completely altered my world. The dust had quite literally not yet settled and I was suddenly viewing life through a dramatically different lens, struggling constantly against the images and experiences replaying mercilessly through my mind. It was in this fog and numbness that I found myself once again in the great auditorium of Hunter College in the Upper East Side of Manhattan on a Sunday evening. Redeemer Presbyterian Church was weeks into a series called The Gospel According To Jacob  when they started reading from the middle of Genesis 32, the passage in which Jacob wrestles with a man in the darkness. As I listened to the sermon unfold before me I was captivated. I had read this passage countless times, but it wasn’t until that evening that this passage became real to me, and through it I came to view my God and my relationship with Him in a profoundly different light.


Genesis 32:22-30 (NIV)

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face,and yet my life was spared.”


The gist of the sermon (and forgive me if I do not do it justice, but feel free to check it out at the link above) was that Jacob had spent his life wrestling and deceiving. He had wrestled with his brother for the birthright. He had deceived his father for the blessing. He had wrestled with his uncle for his wife. He spent his life as a conman and a smooth talker. At times he had the upper hand and at times he had been bested. But this particular evening was the eve before he would reunite with his brother- and in his mind, possibly his last night. It was here in the utter darkness he meets God. Not in a gentle, peaceful manner, but rather he is attacked from behind and struggles all night with this unearthly stranger.  And at the moment he thinks he can overpower him, the man permanently maims him with the slightest touch. It is then that he realizes that it isn’t a man he has been wrestling at all, but he has been wrestling God. And further more, that it wasn’t Esau and it wasn’t Laban that he had struggled with his entire life, but rather it was God himself. He began to understand that it wasn’t his father’s blessing that could make him whole. And when all common sense would scream at him to let go of the very One that has it within His power to destroy him, he clings even tighter and refuses to let go until the stranger blesses him. And the Stranger does indeed bless him. And yet Jacob spends the rest of his days walking with a limp, his scar bearing witness to his encounter with the Living God.

God sometimes has to wrestle us into a transformed life and it isn’t until we come to the point that we realize that the one we have been wrestling with our entire lives isn’t ourselves, and it isn’t our culture, or our peers, but rather the Living God, that we can suddenly choose to risk it all to hold on to the only One that can ever truly bless us. And that blessing far outweighs the limp or the scars we may carry with us. 

That passage and that sermon spoke to me in the darkness that I was experiencing. It cut through the numbness and the apathy that had engulfed me. On my hardest days and my loneliest days, I would remember Jacob and look up to heaven and whisper, “I will not let go until you bless me.”

07-24-16 Waiting

I was recently challenged to post my favorite verses from the Bible every day for 8 days and challenge someone else to do the same. I’ll admit, I’m not very good at these kinds of challenges. Just recently I had been asked to post a picture of me and my husband every day for a week and tag two other couples. By day three I was so stressed out about who to challenge that I gave up completely!

But I thought I could devote some time to it here, so here I am. I’m going to try to post about a few verses this week and why they are important to me.

Tonight I am going to start with Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

If you’ve watched the news or read a paper lately you will be hard pressed to find anything good to discuss between politics, terrorism, and shootings of police officers and unarmed citizens. Every news cycle brings more fodder for our morbid curiosities and more fears for our overactive imaginations. Add all the horror stories shared on social media about the dangers lurking in the foods we eat or the sunscreen we put on our kids or the hidden killers in our kitchen cabinets and it’s amazing we have the courage to get out of bed each morning!

I think that is why this verse resonates so strongly with me, that in spite of all the ugliness  in the world, and in spite of all the pain, I can look forward in confidence that I will also see goodness- the goodness of the Lord.

So when I feel overwhelmed and when I feel like the future is muddled and scary, I remind myself to wait for the Lord. When I can’t be confident in myself, or in my surroundings, or in the people around me, I can most certainly be confident in Him. I can be strong, and I can take heart, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and that even now, I can see it. I’ve seen it in my own life and I’ve seen it demonstrated in the lives of people around me.

So even though I cannot always see God’s plan, and I don’t always understand his methods, I’m choosing to wait, not in fear or anxiety, but in confidence for God’s goodness knowing the greatest goodness has already happened, the death and resurrection of his son in payment for our sins. Everything else is just detail. And while there is still pain and there is still suffering, there is also purpose and I can wait in confidence knowing that!


07-23-16 Our little game


C and I went to the beach this morning before the sun got too high. We made up a game in which we were assigned a certain number of steps we were allowed to take, for example- four. We would walk the four steps and then look at the sand around us and pick up the most interesting thing we could find. Then we would compare and see who had the more interesting object and whoever won that round got a point. We played for awhile and collected shells, rocks, small sticks, chunks of wood, and glass. It didn’t take long before the heat got the best of us and we wandered home in search of breakfast.

The rest of our day was spent running errands and trying to stay cool in this atrocious heat. It’s supposed to be like this for a few days and we certainly aren’t looking forward to it!

Big E was under the weather yesterday, but woke up this morning feeling fine. Today he was a trooper going out with us, but he tired out pretty easy and kept asking if we could go home and take a nap. Poor guy! The few times I tried to snap a picture of him he just looked glazed over.  Baby E, on the other hand, was in an exceptionally good mood and greeted just about everyone we passed.

07-22-16 A bad night for noses.

I have a headache tonight, the result of a rather silly episode today. C and I were sitting, talking and having fun. I leaned down to hug her at the same time that she leapt up to give me a hug. The top of her head rammed full force into my nose, and I heard a small pop and instant searing pain! I thought for sure she had broken it as I ran downstairs to get Tim. He found a bag of frozen peas in the freezer that we used as a makeshift ice pack (note to self- buy an icepack that can conform to any surface) and I kept it on my face for awhile. Surprisingly, my nose did not start bleeding. It has been a few hours, and thankfully the worst pain has mostly subsided and I am not black and blue, however my entire nose is tender and I have a dull pain that goes from the tip of my nose up to my forehead and behind my eyes. I took some ibuprofen. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be better!

A little while later, Tim took C aside to explain to her what happened- not that we were angry, but that she needed to be careful with her head and make sure she is paying attention. At the end of their conversation she jumped up to give Tim a hug… and yup, you guessed it.. she rammed her head into Tim’s mouth and nose!! Thankfully the bag of peas was still mostly frozen, but the poor guy did come away with a bloody lip and a headache.

And C was pretty upset too. I think our reaction frightened her and we had to assure her once again that she wasn’t in trouble, but please, please be careful with your head!! 

So if you see Tim and I with matching bruises this weekend, just pretend that you don’t notice and we will all be ok! 🙂