Tuesday, July 30, 2013


We found this fun beetle outside last week

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Phone Dump

 18 weeks with #4 :)
 My college friend got married!  We celebrated Carolyn's wedding a few weeks ago and I was so happy to catch up with some dear friends.  I've knowing these two since 8th grade! Love them.
 New babies!  My dear college friend Charity is having her first baby. She and her husband live in Benin, Africa but are home this summer to have their baby.  I was able to go to her shower in Michigan and celebrate with her.
 Tenting and laughing
 Cutie Parade!  Our little town has a mermaid festival and they have a kids parade called the cutie parade.  my friend Jessica and I took our kids and it started raining.  We were DRENCHED!
 Graham didn't mind too much!
 Working with Daddy.  I love this picture. Graham loves to help Shane with whatever he's doing.
 Playing with friends.  This is Grace and Sophie at the mermaid festival.
 Cousins!  Graham loves his cousin Aaron.  Aaron came down to go to camp and he always is so good with the kids. 
 Sickies.  Both kids were really sick a few weeks ago.  They are better now thankfully!
 My sick boy and his baby brother/sister. 
Sillies.  Graham insisted on wearing Gracie's winter hat on a 90 degree afternoon.  He was so sweaty!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:

Early swimming when the sun isn't blaring on the beach and the kids are having a blast with a friend (it's not deep even though they seem far out there).

Silly juice explosions that make us laugh and laugh! 
And A/C.  Amen!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Holiday World

We celebrated Ella's first birthday by going to Holiday World!  I had never been there.  We wanted (and always want) July 5th to be a special family day.  We went down to a camp closer to Holiday World and stayed there.  
I had been so so sad the whole week before her birthday and would cry at random and odd times.  (I was also very a little cranky!) A friend who has lost a sweet baby said it right, sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual event.  Her actual birthday was just like her birth.  I had peace and was able to enjoy our memories and thoughts of her.
If you haven't been to Holiday World...  GO!  It was fantastic and so family friendly.  We were able to ride may rides with the kids and they had lots for little ones in addition to the big roller coasters.  Free sunscreen and pop/gatorade/juice/water all day long!
They also have a great water park that had plenty for our little ones to do.  The kids went all day long and had so much fun.
Shane was able to do a few "big kid" rides too.  
going up.....
and gone!  :)
I love this pic of them watching him!  Graham was not to sure of what his daddy was doing! 
This ride may have been Shane's favorite part.  He said he remembers riding this over and over as a kid at Six Flags.  
He was able to ride it with both kids (no way was I going on a ride that goes in circles, sick for sure!)
And this.  This is my favorite memory.  It's a picture of a picture but I think you can see our faces!  We took the kids on the log ride and I forgot about the HUGE drop off!  I screamed so loud!  Gracie has her mouth open and tongue out!  The funniest/worst part was that when we got to the bottom I flew forward and totally squished Grace against Shane's seat!  Poor Girl.  I don't think the kids will pick that ride again.  Ha!

Friday, July 5, 2013


One of the very best things I've done is to see a counselor.  It's been so healing for me.  She recommended that I write a letter to Ella on her first birthday.

My sweet Gabriella Marie,

Today is your first birthday!  If you were here we would be planning a party and we'd have a little cake made just for you that you could eat and make a mess with.  We'd be having family come and there would most definitely be presents and lots of love all around.  I like to imagine that your little curls stayed and that you'd have a little bow or barrette in your hair holding those curls back.

I was watching your sister today with a baby and she was such the mother hen.  I bet that she would be right up there helping you unwrap your presents and then trying to play with them herself. :)  Graham would be running around I'm sure, asking where his presents were too!

I don't picture calling you "Gabriella" very much. You have always been "Ella" to us.  When we were trying to decide your name I made a list of four or five names while I was away from home.  I sent them to your daddy and he said he knew immediately that Gabriella was it for us.  We always knew you'd be called Ella.  It just seemed to fit.  Gracie most always calls you "baby Ella".  I'm not even sure she knows your full name!

Oh, I miss you Ella.   You were so so wanted in our family.  From the moment we knew you were coming, you were loved.  My heart often aches for what we didn't get to have with you. From your first snuggles to your first smile, to rolling, then walking.  And the baby laugh.  I love that baby belly laugh that comes so easy for little ones.  Your daddy would have been able to get the best belly laughs from you.  He's so good at it because he's so silly and funny.  You would have had many belly aches from laughing with him and Gracie and Graham.

When I get so sad and I miss you so much Ella, I am reminded by something your daddy tells me often.  You were lovingly created by our God just how He wanted you to be.  There was no mistake on His part. Your body wasn't healthy enough to stay here, but the good thing is that you got to go straight to heaven!!  You were able to skip the sadness, pain, and sin of this world and go straight to be with God.  That is amazing.   I like to picture you in heaven with your curly hair, sitting on the lap of Jesus and your body is healed and whole.  I don't know if heaven will be like that, in fact I'm sure it won't be just as I'm picturing it, but if it's going to be anything, it will be better than I'm thinking, so that's ok.

So while I miss you here Ella and while I would have picked things to be different, I am rejoicing that you are in heaven.  I am praising God that He has a plan for each of us.  I am thankful that I have great memories of you and beautiful pictures.  And more than anything I LOVE knowing that this is not the end. I WILL hold you again sweet girl.  Anyone else will have to get in line to get their turn at you.  Your mama's got first dibs.

I am so proud of you Ella.  You were beautiful and strong.  I love you so very much.  Happy birthday baby girl.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Date Night on Vacation

What? I missed this one too!  We love spending time with the Beers.  And spending time with the Beers and no kids too!

(shane's dinner, head and all!)

The pics are a bit dark but it was a fantastic night with great company!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This week

This week, I'm a bit off.  I've been walking through this time a year ago in my head, knowing that in just a few days it would be Ella's first birthday.  So one minute I'm happy, having fun chatting with a friend, or reading a book with my kids and the next minute I am full tears and sadness.  Throw in pregnancy hormones in there and it's a big mess.  Yesterday I went to make cookies and didn't have enough brown sugar and I dissolved into tears on the couch.  For brown sugar!!!!!

So, I'm skipping ahead and doing a Thankful Thursday post.  I need some thankfulness in my life and in my heart today.
Today I am thankful for:
*  cloudy/rainy days where we can put a movie in and curl up on the couch
*  ice cream around the table with my family
*  a play date for Graham this morning. Grace usually is the one who has friends over.  It was nice for Graham to have one come play today.
*  Plans with my family to celebrate Ella's first birthday.
*  Shane
*  God who never lets me forget how much He loves me.

A missed Florida post

Missed these pics!  We went out for crab legs with our friends, The Beers.  There was much consumption of crab legs, even more of butter!
well, some of us had corn dogs. What can you say? :_
After we got back we check out this spider at the bottom of the pool.
It was big (and gross. and dead.) Daddy fished it out of the pool and saved the day.