Saturday, June 30, 2018


We moved here in January of 2012, for what we thought would be a few years.  We still had our house up north and we were pregnant with our third baby.  We called this place our "second home" and still went back and forth as Shane had to work here (and there, and everywhere!) but I wanted to have our baby up north.

We ended up leaving that May when we received the news that our unborn baby, our Ella, had Trisomy 13 and would not be with us for long, if at all when she was born.  We kind of hibernated when we receive the news.  First for a week here, then for the rest of the time at our house up north.

For me, this house here was filled with memories of Ella.  I was pregnant here with her.  And normal pregnant.  Meaning, I was living life like we were going to bring her home.  I remember painting the kitchen here and being pregnant.  I remember buying her some valentines shirts and little clearance Christmas onesies.  I tucked them onto a shelf, only to bring them out months later... with no one to wear them.

When we got Ella's diagnosis we moved back up north and stayed for over a year...  we would come down here sometimes, as Shane still had responsibilities here.  Grace and Graham loved it.  They loved being in the woods, exploring the creek, even their big bedroom.  Shane felt so peaceful here.  He loved sitting on the deck overlooking the woods.  I didn't feel the same.  Everywhere I looked there were little memories of Ella.  It made me sad.  Even the "beep" sound of the Roku in our bedroom reminded me of times when I would sneak in and watch a show and just feel her kick!

After a year or so we decided it was time to move down here.  We didn't know for how long but we knew it would at least be two years.  Here we are four years later....  We have found a church and friends and activities and life goes on.  Yet I have always hesitated when someone visits and says "It is amazing you live here, don't you love it?"  I often will say something like "the kids love it" to defer the response.  It never really felt like home to me, or at least it wasn't what I thought "home" would be like.

Our dear friends David and Marah came to visit a month or so ago.  It was a quick trip but we always love catching up with them.  They are so fun and kind and sweet to our kids.  We used to be neighbors and they are the kind you want to keep around forever.

And Marah is a photographer.  That seems a little bit of an understatement.  She's fantastic and amazing and has photographed two of our kids as babies.  She did family pictures for us after Ella as well and those pics of Grace and Graham remain a favorite.  So Marah is coming to visit and says "I'll have my equipment... want me to take a few pictures?"  Friends, when someone this talented asks, you don't hesitate.  You just say YES and plan some outfits.

It was quick and painless.  We took some pictures and then went on a hike and enjoyed the rest of our time with our friends.  Marah sent these pictures to me that night and they took my breath away.


Never have I felt like this was home until I looked at these pictures.  But it is.  It's our home.  My big kids have made forts in these woods and created fairy houses all over.  They have caught hundreds of crayfish in the creek.  Gavin was six weeks old when we moved here and he loves nothing more than to spend the day with his dad "working" at the camp.  Gagie was born here and this is all he knows.  Home.

This pictures above...  it's got the Moneto sign in the background... you can see our house in the top corner... It's got the creek that we all love.  And my most important people (and the necklace that I always wear with ALL my kids names - even Ella, so she's included too).  I looked at this picture and realized that I DO love it here.  I DO feel like this is home. It isn't the way I wanted it and the way I thought it would look but it's good nonetheless.  It has happy memories and it is the place where my kiddos will remember with fondness and joy.
Sometimes you can get caught up in what you don't have or what you expect to have and not see what is right in front of you.  Sometimes God gives you what you ask for but it doesn't look exactly the way you thought it would.  And it's ok. 
And when you finally see that He is here and He is doing what you've asked it is overwhelming and awesome.  Six years ago I thought that I would NEVER feel good in this place.  I never could imagine doing life without Ella. I didn't think I would be happy here.  And somewhere along the road, God showed up and while it doesn't look like I thought it should, it's pretty great.
This is my home.  These are my people.  And it turns out that the house where I have happy memories of being pregnant with Ella is exactly what I need right now.  And if we move tomorrow (or next year, or whenever....), God will show up and make wherever we land great too.  He's pretty amazing like that.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Five years.

Every year around May/June and I am overwhelmed with the heaviness of the fact that our daughter isn't here with us.  It surprises me.  I don't know why I am surprised. I think because the pain isn't like when we first got her diagnosis or when she was born and passed away.  I guess I don't expect that heaviness to descend at all.  But it does.  Not all the time, mind you.  More like moments.  I can be happy and in a great mood one minute and then just teary and weepy the next.  Or cranky.  Or mad.  Take your pick.  My family is amazing and so supportive.  I am thankful that my kids are quick to forgive and give extra hugs and Shane is so patient with my indecisiveness and moods.

I haven't thought as much this year about what Ella would be doing at five years old.  I just miss her.  I notice every single time someone says something about my "four kids." I even give pause when I say it (note: it's OK to say it, do not worry about it if you say it.  I say it too!).  I silently correct those words. No.  It should be five.  Five kids.  I have FIVE kids.  But it's not that way.  I have four children here with me every day and one that I will be with someday.

This year the way that July 5th is falling, it's going to be a normal day.  It's in the middle of the week and life goes on.  Work has to happen.   I know this.  I know that it cannot always be special and set aside to remember her.   And I am not even sure it has to. But it still is hard.  I remind myself that I can remember her any day and that just because we have to do daily tasks on her birthday doesn't mean it's not important.  It always seems like the days leading up to July 5th are harder anyway.  I remember waiting.  I remember Grandma Shirley coming down to be with us and the dr. apt where they said my blood pressure was high.  I remember eating lunch at camp then coming home to lay down and getting the call.  Come to the hospital.  The baby needs to come.  Come now.  Happy 4th of July.

It's easy to dwell on the awfulness of that time and I sometimes find myself going back to the "what ifs" of those few days.  There is no healing or help in that.  But what I need to remind myself is how the Lord showed up in such amazing ways on those days.  That Grandma Shirley knew to come at that time to be there for Grace and Graham.  That my parents dropped everything and came down and just waited.  That my sister came which allowed all the grandparents to come and meet Ella.  That I was so upset knowing each day was closer to my due date but that the Lord chose her birth day, exactly when He wanted it.  We prayed that she be born alive, and He was so, so gracious to give us that gift.  We had peace for each decision that was made in those few days and that was only from Him.

Shane's vow that the Lord be glorified through Ella's life has rang true over and over.  I read this quote the other day.

While he can be glorified in life's peaks, he is MOST glorified in our brokeness because we're reminded of his steadfast love, his enduring faithfulness, and what it looks like to trust his sovereignty in situations we flat out don't understand.

This.  This is it.  I don't understand why I don't get to have five kids running around my house.  I don't understand why Ella's life was so short, but my prayer is that in my brokenness He will shine through me and be glorified because I trust in Him.
Happy Birthday Ella,
Love, Mommy

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Indianapolis Zoo

 We were gifted some tickets to the Indianapolis Zoo so we went last Thursday.  I had only been once when Grace and Graham were little.  It was a great day!
 This picture tells the best story.  I wish I would have taken a video!  Gav was right up to the glass and this tiger walked right up by him then hit his head on the glass RIGHT where Gav was.  It made him scared and he jumped and fell back on his butt!  So funny!
 Daddy's favorite giraffes.
 The boys had a great time trying to run faster than a cheetah.  ;)

 This video was my favorite part of the day.  The Macaws fly from their enclosure about 1/4 mile away to this pavilion.  Completely on their own.  It was awesome.

 This is them taking off to go back to their home.  It was so neat to see this!
 Then we went to the butterfly garden where Gage couldn't get enough of the water displays.

 Here are videos of the boys "outrunning" the cheetahs!
Look at that stance!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This one's for you...

This one is for you Aunt Michelle, one of our only lone readers who has stuck along with us.  ha ha!  :)
 Gagie is a walker now!  And by the looks of our house, he walks everywhere!

 He also loves to read.  It melts my heart when he climbs in my lap with a book. 💜

 Gracie turned 9!  More on her camping party soon!

 Both Grace and Graham played ball this spring which meant many hours at the park!
 Reviewing summer safety at the drs. office.  Ha!
 Gavin LOVES summer! ;)

Monday, February 20, 2017


 This sweetie has gotten little press here.  But he sure shines in our home!  Gage is full of life and laughter.  Nerf guns invaded our house at Christmas which means bullets EVERYWHERE.  Gage loves it and can often be found with one hanging out of his mouth like this.
 He has taken off in the last month.  He loves to explore and play.  He pulls himself up to anything and IN anything! :)
 He is very close to his first steps.  He will walk with your hands and is starting to venture into letting go just a bit.
With his newfound exploring attitude comes him getting into everything.  Which means his siblings have to find new ways to keep him away hence the stool barricade.  Look at that little guy trying to see what he is missing! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Anyone still here?

I am going to try to bring up this blog.  I miss writing and sharing our lives.  Plus I'd love to someday make these into blog books to replace my old scrapbooks that are gathering dust somewhere!

 Look at this beauty.  Gracie is 8!  EIGHT!?  How did she get so big?  She is turning into such a little lady.  She loves adventures, using her imagination, and all things cats.  A stray showed up at our house last fall (she's super friendly so we think she was someones house cat).  When she didn't leave we adopted her as an outside cat and named her Callie.  Grace and Callie are BFF.  Grace has also decided she wants a cat collection of figurines and when she grows up she will have INSIDE cats.  :)
 Graham is 6.  He has the best heart and is always trying to help.  He's loving his snap circuits and magformers he got for Christmas.
 Gav is 3!  He started preschool a few weeks ago!  He's had in home speech therapy since Gage was 1 week old but he graduated and still needs some speech help so he goes to preschool two times a week and likes it so far!  He loves all things trains, and is starting to love Paw Patrol and Dinotrucks. He is silly and has such a funny personality.
And the caboose!  Gagie is 11 months and try as I might, I cannot stop time.  He has the funniest deepest laugh and loves following his siblings around.  He's pulling up to things and Grace taught him to take steps behind his walker!

We are still loving our little cabin in the woods and have made great connections with our homeschool community and our church.  I'm excited for this next year to see how our kids will grow. We also have some fun things coming up.  Shane and I are taking a walk to Emma's this year.  I am looking forward to that as well as celebrating 10 years together this spring!