Friday, July 27, 2007


Webster's dictionary defines the word mandate as an authoritative command. So, if I gave birth to you, and you are female, you are mandated to play volleyball from the age of 5 until after your college graduation. You are required to go to summer volleyball camps, and practice with me in the back yard daily, and you WILL watch my high school highlight videos with enthusiasm!
OK, not really. But I have looked forward to this day for a long time now: my daughter is old enough to play volleyball. Her league starts this September, but she attended a summer volleyball camp this last week. It was a momentous occasion, watching my daughter walk into the same gym that I once played in, her water bottle in hand, knee pads around the ankles, perfect outfit (handpicked by me), perfect ponytail, complete with a ribbon tied in a bow. When I picked her up, I watched the last half hour of practice. They were working on overhand serves, and poor Sarah was not getting it, and she was not having fun. As we were walking out of the gym, I excitedly asked her, "how was it?" Sarah gave me a not so excited reply, "it was ok". I told her when we get home I would help her work on her serve. And she sweetly said, "no thanks mom, I'm kinda tired of volleyball"..... The words took my breath away, I was speechless, not believing the words that came from my daughter's mouth. How can this be? She's supposed to LOVE it, we're supposed to spend countless hours playing in the back yard together, we're supposed to hang our state championship medals on the wall, side by side. There's so much I can teach her, so much knowledge and love of the game to pass on. What will I do if she doesn't want to play volleyball?!!!! So I counted to ten, took three cleansing breaths, and calmed down. I have stopped asking Sarah if she wants to practice with me, and after much prayer and fasting (kidding), I have come to accept that volleyball may not be my daughter's favorite sport. In fact, she may decide (deep breath) that she doesn't want to play at all....and that's ok.

There's always Olivia.

In all seriousness, I love watching each of my kids develop into their own, unique person. And I see how God has gifted each child differently. They each have different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. It's a joy to watch them grow. In fact Daniel just reminded me today, that he will have his driver's license in 5.6 years. So yes, time is flying by, and I just want to enjoy them now, while they still want me around....regardless of whether they play sports or not!

Oh, high school volleyball! Such good memories!

Look at you Shauna! It's no wonder Duane fell head over heels for you! 13 years later, I don't think we've changed that much do you?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Goodbye Mullet

Yes, it is time for the mullet to go.

Why did I let it go on for this long?

Reason Number One: I think I've been in denial that my last baby is no longer a baby, and that she really does need a haircut.

Reason Number Two: It is easy to put in ponytails and pigtails when it's long, but I don't always have time do that. And when I don't fix it, oooh man, the mullet was undeniable! Olivia was all business in front and party in the back!
So here she is, my little girl, getting her first hair cut today!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bill's Bed

Olivia is officially no longer a baby! The crib is taken down and in the attic until the long awaited day when Auntie Carey has a baby! And Olivia has a big-girl bed now! We actually bought this trundle bed from some friends of ours. Olivia went with Jon and I in the truck to go pick it up. She was so excited! Now for some reason, Olivia absolutely loves our friend Bill, who we got the bed from. Whenever she sees him, she goes right up to him and says, "hi Bill" and she'll stand there and babble on and on, and even let him pick her up and hold her.
Last night, when she was all tucked in, in her new bed, I started to pray for her...."Dear Jesus, thank you so much for giving Olivia this nice big bed".....I was immediately interrupted by an adamant "NO! Not Jesus, BILL! Bill gave me bed!" So we had to start the prayer over and thank God for Bill's bed. And this morning when she woke up, she happily said, with a big smile, "I go night-night in Bill's bed!" What a funny little girl. She just keeps us laughing!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I love my husband, I really do. There are so many reasons why, but that is a whole other blog post in itself. But there are times when I think I forget those reasons. I forget that I actually do love to spend time with just him. Like when the dishes are piled up in the sink, and the laundry is in a heap on our bed waiting to be folded, dinner needs to be made, the bills need to be paid, but we don't know how they're all going to get paid, Olivia had another "potty training accident" on the carpet, the "check engine" light is on in the car, the garage is unorganized, the floors are dirty, the neighbor kids are all in our house....on and on it goes. And suddenly, out of the blue, we get an unexpected surprise. Jon's mom, the greatest mother-n-law a girl could ever ask for, took all three kids up to Portland to have a fun sleepover at Auntie Carey's house. So last night I came home from work and was greeted by a quiet, clean house and a happy husband. We had such a wonderful night together, just the two of us. And it was so wonderful to go to bed and not have to set the alarm. We slept in as late as we possibly could, and stayed in our pj's till noon. We went out to lunch, just the two of us, no kids menus and crayon cups, no high chairs, no ceaseless chatter, just meaningful adult conversation. Then we mosied on over to Starbuck's for our favorite drinks, mine: double tall nonfat one pump sugar free vanilla latte, and Jon didn't even roll his eyes when I that's romantic. We got home and realized hey, we can go on a run together! We both try to work out during the week on our own, I usually go for a run early in the morning when everyone is sleeping. Later, I stay with the kids while Jon goes for a run or workout before work. But today, we did something we've never done in almost ten years of marriage: run together. I loved it, side by side, except when we got to the hills, I couldn't keep up with Jon. I watched in awe as he powered up the hills so effortlessly, and it took every ounce of energy I had to stay close behind. But I loved how he would slow down and wait for me, and always made sure I was on the inside and he ran closest to the street....ahhh, love! This was such a wonderful day. It's nice to be reminded that we really do enjoy spending time together, and listening to each other, and laughing, and just having a good time.... just the two of us. At 3:00 pm the romantic, quiet day was over. But we were so glad to see our kids' smiling faces, and also be reminded that we wouldn't want it any other way: a busy house, with three kids and tons of laundry!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wish We Could Celebrate

Today is my brother's birthday

He would be 34 today

My heart hurts

My mind questions

Where would he be?

What would he be doing?

I would give him a gift and a hug

I would tell him I love him

He would make a witty remark to end the sappy moment

Wish he was here

Wish we could be together today

Wish we could celebrate I can't end on such a sad note. Here is a picture sure to bring some laughs. Umm...could my hair be any bigger? This picture was taken on the day of Jeremy's high school graduation in 1991, I was 14...that explains a lot!

I love this picture. My two older brothers and I, all decked out in our matching PJ's. We were three peas in a pod, and we stuck together. Thanks to these two boys I learned everything I needed to know about playing tackle football, catching snakes, how to give a good Indian burn, playing GI Joe action figures, shooting BB guns, and yes, even experiencing the pain of being hit by one. You know, I gave birth to three children, drugs. I truly believe that if I didn't have two older brothers that would never have happened. Why? High pain tolerance!!! From the time I was a toddler, my brothers bestowed on me the gift of high pain tolerance. I had to be tough to hang with the boys! I'll never forget watching Jeremy practice his swing with his baseball bat, and all of the sudden, wham! He accidentally hit me right across the forehead. I guess I was standing too close. This is just one of many examples. Life with Jeremy was never dull. He was always making us laugh, even as adults. It's funny, looking back through all of our old pictures, Jeremy always had a smile on his face. And although I miss him every day, I am thankful God gave me such an incredible older brother. I am so thankful for the time that we had together. I only wish I would have known there wasn't going to be very much. But you, O God, do see trouble and grief
~Psalms 10:14
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~Psalms 147:3

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Grace Like Rain

Today we visited a new church. And after we got the kids settled into their classes and the nursery, Jon and I slipped in and took a seat in the back row. Towards the end of the worship service we sang a song which was somewhat like an upbeat, new rendition of Amazing Grace. There was this one part of the song which particularly moved me: "Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me, hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, they're washed away" At this part of the song, the sound of voices in the sanctuary was noticably louder. So many people just raised their hands and wholeheartedly sang out to God, "hallelujah, all my stains are washed away!" As I looked around (I know, I know, I was people watching during church) I realized it is a statement that resonates in the deepest part of every heart: " I am so undeserving, but all the wrongs, all the mistakes I've made, even the same old ones that keep tripping me up, they're washed away." I could see the joy on people's faces as they worshiped, as they sang those words, "all my stains are washed away". How can we not shout it out with a voice of gratitude to our God? It was just a remarkable moment, standing in the back of a church, watching a congregation worship, and noticing how one simple sentence touched so many people. It's something we all have in common. We all mess up, we all make mistakes, we all say things and do things that leave "stains" in our lives. But....."If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
(1 John 1:9) Incredible!!! This is one of my favorite verses. Why? One word: ALL. No matter what it is, no matter how many times, God is faithful, and He will forgive...all of it. Hallelujah, grace like rain, falls down on me!

oops! should've posted last week:
Another Thursday, another swim meet!
Daniel was smokin' fast in his breast stroke race!
And Olivia, well, there was this kiddie pool next to the big pool. She decided to hop on in with all her clothes on. She spent the entire meet playing in this pool, which was actually very relaxing for me!
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
~Lamentations 3:23 & 25

Saturday, July 7, 2007

My Joy

Our precious Olivia Joy, now two and a half years old. She is a fireball, a pistol, a bundle of energy.

Life would be so dull without her, so predictable, so easy. Without her, I would just sit in my chair, quietly, through all of the baseball games and swim meets. Without her, I would burn only half the calories that I do now. Without her there would be no stains on the carpet, no crumbs in the car. Our home would be void of the outbursts of laughter, and the dinner table would be quiet and peaceful. Which is why I am so thankful God blessed us with our precious Joy-Joy! Jon started calling her Joy-Joy when she was just a few months old, Daniel and Sarah picked up on it, and starting calling her that as well. Pretty soon, we were calling her Joy all the time. It was easier and it just fit her so well! A few months ago, I said, "Olivia come see mommy" and she adamantly replied, "I not Lifia, I Joy!"
So we're trying to not call her Joy as much, so she can learn her real name. But it's so hard not to, because she really is our little Joy.
These pictures were taken just yesterday, when she not so sweetly demanded to be wrapped in a blanket after her bath. Which is why I am currently reading "The Strong Willed Child" by Dr. Dobson, I have never highlighted a book so much in my life!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

My Kind of Party

I love throwing a party for just kids, it takes so much of the pressure off. They are such an easy crowd to please!

Dinner Menu: hot dogs and chips

Dessert: ice cream

Activities: Put the sprinkler under the trampoline

Talk about a high-class social event

Like when you flip through your Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and the kids are all decked out in their trendy clothes sitting perfectly behaved around a beautifully, color-coordinated, decorated table, having a party......Umm no, not like that. Both Jon and I had to work on the 4th of July, so I told the kids they could invite some friends over on the 3rd and we could have an early celebration. I got in a little over my head. Jon had to work on the 3rd as well, so I was on my own. I was wishing there would have been someone around to take a picture of me holding a lighter surrounded by a cluster of kids holding out their sparklers saying, "light mine, light mine"
There is something magical about kids and fireworks.What a fun night!
The kids had a couple friends stay the night, and we had a yummy breakfast. Here's to the good ol' US of A. Happy Independence Day!
red, white and blue waffles!

Thanks to Grandma Donna, the kids had a fun 4th in addition to a fun 3rd. She took them swimming all day, and then braved the crowds and took them to Riverfront Park for the fireworks. I met up with them after work, and the funny part was we had to transfer all of their stuff out of Donna's car to my car which was parked a block away. Well, the kids had brought a big blow up, riding dolphin (which is practically life-sized), and an inner tube for the pool. So I was walking downtown with three kids, at 11:00 at night, in the middle of a crowd of people with our giant dolphin and inner tube. I felt very, for lack of a better word, WT!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish...

Cheesy title I know, but I couldn't resist. It is the title of a Dr. Seuss book that I have darn near memorized from reading it to the kids so much when they were little. Daniel and Sarah had their very first swim meet last Thursday. And since this blog page is somewhat serving the purpose of relieving my guilty conscience for never keeping up with their baby books, I feel compelled to document their first swim meet :) Daniel getting ready to start his backstroke race. Poor guy, he was doing great and then stopped halfway through because he forgot he had to do one more lap. He had a great attitude and just laughed it off!

Daniel had a great start and a great freestyle race, he placed third!

Our little miss athlete getting in "her zone" before her relay, her team got first place!

Sarah getting ready to start her freestyle race, she swam her heart out and got 2nd place!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Moments Treasured

Yesterday we attended a celebration in the park for our friend's finalized adoption of their son Jeremy! It was an all-out party with food, games, blow-up bouncy house, desserts, and good friends. We also had a wonderful time of worship and prayer together. As I watched from a distance, as my two older kids worshiped, I just had to capture the moment with my camera. I believe there is no greater blessing for a parent then to see your children grow and mature in their own personal relationship with Jesus, whether they're 5 or 35. As we flip through picture books of "Noah's Ark" and "David and Goliath" with our little Olivia, it amazes me how far Daniel and Sarah have come in their understanding of who God really is.

I can only keep praying that God will continue to guide their steps, speak to their hearts and give them the desire to do what's right no matter what the cost. As I look ahead, public school scares me, the teenage years scare me, driver's licenses scare me, Sarah wearing make-up scares me, Daniel's prom night scares me...But then I look at these pictures and my fears are calmed as I am reminded that they know God, they love God, and they already have the desire to please God. So far so good! May God graciously give us the wisdom we need, to be the Godly parents we need to be, so that they will be raised up in the way they should go.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
~James 1:5

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
~Proverbs 22:6

For now, at this very moment, I will treasure this time.