Saturday, May 26, 2007


I would love to say that it was the Lord who woke me up for the past two days, but it was my sweet little baby boy! As for not getting back to sleep, that maybe the Lord. I have borrowed a bible from my sister, it is a New Living Translation, which I've never used much before, but I kind of like the wording of it. Anyway, I picked it up the last two mornings to read when I couldn't sleep, and such encouragement was found! Today especially was Psalm 112.

1 Praise the LORD!How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands.2 Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.3 They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.5 Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.6 Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered.7 They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.8 They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.9 They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

These verses are so encouraging to me! I, honestly have gone over and over in my head if there is something that we did wrong, like as if this were a punishment of some kind, I keep looking for a reason that all this has happened and many have said that I may not know the answer to that for years. Yes, and praise God, that He is the One in control! I have a renewed confidence that the Lord will care for me and my family, He will provide all our needs!

Praise the Lord!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Keith's Braces

Keith has begun his journey into braces! He talks with the slightest lisp from the crib in his mouth and he got his full set put on the bottom on Thursday, really, a proud moment. For what they cost, he will not only be wearing a helmet for skateboarding, and bike riding, he will wear a mouth guard too! He is so adorable about the whole thing, he is actually very proud of them.
His orthodontist is Dr.Malmstrom, thus far, I really love this doc and his staff! His wife, Donna, who also is apart of his staff is such a sweet heart and the rest of his staff are so friendly and wonderful and one of them even offered to help us with our rebuild! I really love that they remembered our names so quickly! With the flood, our house, the cars, they have set us up on a great payment plan for these braces, and aren't they a beaut!?!

Red and black bands to start off with of coarse, what else for such a huge Chiefs fan? I told him, my first kiss was a string bean boy with braces- my second kiss was YEARS later! Seriously! It made him smile that soon to be straight smile! I love it, I may miss it even! Maybe now he can work on that great personality more over the next few years, but watch out girls, in a few years-he'll knock your socks off! Did I mention his voice is starting to crack too? What a wonderful time of life! He's still the coolest 12 year old I know!

Florida or Bust!

So, about a year ago my Mom promised my kids a trip to Disney World, and then informed my Dad we were all going! So exciting, well, about two months ago my Mom calls and says that she has booked the tickets and NO ONE is backing out now (why would we? Seriously!).
There are 14 of us going, me, Rob, my sister, Andie, her husband Aaron, their two girls- Joy and Bailey, our 4 kids, my older brother, Nick, my youngest sister, Janette and my parents. We are going to have so much fun, it's so exciting!
I have to brag a bit, I really have one of those families that it is so fun to be with, we play games, joke around, watch movies and believe me there is never a silence among the "crowd". I love it, it's exactly why I love that we have four kids, so they can have what I have and I can have what my parents have, a full house-and full hearts!!! I love that my family could double over the next 20 years, even triple! What a blessing children are!

A few days after the flood, my Mom asked if we were still going, I asked if it is paid for and non-refundable (I have to admit if it were refundable, I wanted the cash to fix our house!), it was, so off we all go! This does come at a good time, we are waiting to dry out right now and can't do anything on it till the second week of June now, so relax a forget our worries - we shall try.

I am almost packed, yes, I do plan quite a bit and thank goodness the luggage was in the attic, bone dry! I had given all the eight kids going a duffle bag with their name on it from for Christmas.
The kids freaked out, they love anything with their name on it, and I even got them in "their colors", which looks a little "Mickey Mouse Club", but that's cool (I guess more "Big Brother" now huh!).
Zach's I had to get on
It cost more, but I had to get it in "his color! I know what you're thinking and it's true, I have just embraced it now! I do color-code my kids, it makes things SO much easier to sort, even socks, I know you're thinking "SOCKS?", yes, how much time did I used to waste before Hanes came out with color match socks! Everyone has there own color of sock now! This color system works for everything; toohbrushes, hairbrushes, water bottles, cups in the kitchen (got those at Wal-Mart), backpacks, lunch
bags, you name it. My kids have just embraced it, Mommy is just this way and it makes Mommy happy, so they work with it!

Lazer 105.9

I know that this is a late blog, but I am very proud of my little sis, she entered the American Merrill Contest and is a finalist, if you are a faithful listener I'm sure this is old news for you, but if not you need to go to to check out Andrea Koker. She rocked her audition at the 23rd Street Brewery in Lawrence and became one of the 5 finalists from 9 and was way better than anyone. She would just be great for this job! There are more pictures and her bio on the Lazer website. She and Merrill hit it off right away and I think she balances him out. I think Lawrence/Topeka needs a "Hot Mom" on the radio. As for eveyone else, too comedic, too callous, too old, I fell asleep again, and you have got to be kidding! As a fellow "Hot Mom" (and I DO drive a mini van), that's my review!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Zach is getting three new teeth, in addition to the five he currently has. And his favorite chewing spot, my sisters end table in the living room! He has worked his way around the two edges and has left his little teeth marks, to prove it! It is the cutest thing, and thank goodness he picked the one with the the water damage circle on it, not one of good ones.

He is almost ready to take a step out on his own too, he walks around all the furniture and has let go a few times, he gets so excited that he starts to flap his arms and he falls down! It's so cute, he is so proud of himself too. Don't you just love the footie pjs?!? They're a classic.

Bath Time

Zachary is a water-baby all the way, he has loved his baths and even enjoys a shower on occassion. Splashing and being splashed, he loves the water in his face! Odd, for a baby, I know, he face plants, so we have to keep a close eye on him!
Ethan, loves to help give Zach his bath, all the kids do actually. Ethan loves to splash too, which works well for Zach! Any one of our kids could spend hours in a warm bath if we'd let them!

Preschool Graduation

Ethan is a new graduate of the Countryside United Methodist Preschool. I myself am I graduate and they continue to have an excellent program, twenty-something years later. Ethan learned a lot this year, his teacher, Mrs.Boatwright, was so wonderful and he just loved going to see her and his other friends, M-W-F afternoons. He argued that there was school on Thursdays and Saturdays too, but to no avail. They had the cutest sing-along, I even knew the songs, some from memory and some because Ethan sang them so much. What a great experience for him, what a great year to learn how to tie his shoes and write his name! Mrs.Boatwright had said at the last parent/teacher conference, that we needed to work on skipping, he could gallop, but struggled to skip, you know, we were just fine with our boy not being able to skip (Aren't girls the ones who skip the best anyway?).

Hamburger Helper

Okay, so some may have heard this story, but to understand the current you have to know the past.

My twelve year old, Keith, decided he was sick of Hamburger Helper, even if it was only the one time a week that I make it, usually Wednesday night (it's fast right before church). He made sure that he made a point of telling me this, via, rude comments and sarcastic statements. Well, I had enough of this when he made a few embarrassing comments in front of others about my skills as a cook. I promptly made the judgement that he would be cooking his own meals for a week. The guidelines were as follows; a meat, a vegetable and a bread must be present and he could not use any of the foods I had planned for meals, and he could eat no leftovers that I cooked, and it had to be ready to eat by 5:00, our family dinner time.

The first night it took him a half hour to figure how to open a can of green beans with the can opener, he learned very quickly the hard work that planning and cooking meals is. By the end of the week, I had a very sincere apology and he was very happy to eat whatever was put in front of him!

Zachary has begun eating everything we eat, for the most part and one thing that we found he loves is Hamburger Helper (Beef Pasta), and as he was enjoyably eating this new found cuisine, I jokingly turned to Keith and said, "Zachary loves Hamburger Helper!", to which Keith responded, "He also likes to eat dirt!".

Did I mention it takes three boxes of Hamburger Helper and 3 pounds of beef to feed our family now?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


UPWARD usually does a closing ceremony with a speaker and awards for all the kids, but this time instead of really long closing ceremony, indoor, sitting down, this year it was a short indoor ceremony with a lot of fun after. They rented these three big ol'blow up things for everyone to play on, the kids loved it. We have a really cool director of children's ministries at Western Hills Baptist Church
(Thanks Gina!).

Ethan and Bailey are connected at the hip, only three weeks apart.

Joy and Grace, not as close in age, but they are just as close, they always have fun together.

It's always great when Mom comes to town!
He's not quite the right size to play on the blow-up toys, but he had fun with Zach, watching the other kids play!

This was one of things that really drew us to Western Hills Baptist Church, their great kids programs.


Zach's baby dedication was on Mother's Day, at Western Hills they do this prayer for all the new babies and their parents, I love it, I have done it with all the kids. Our pastor, Mark, does a really good job and he presented us with a certificate to remember the day and a first bible for Zach. My brother, Nick, my sister and her family, Rob's Mom, and even my Mom was there. It was so nice to have my Mom here for Mother's Day. I think it is so important that everyone in our church family is there to support us in raising our children in a godly way. And you know, if "it takes a village", there's one at our house now!

Mother's Day

This year for Mother's Day all I wanted was a nap! A good long one. My sweet Rob is always VERY good at gifts and doing things for me for all occasions, this one I knew was going to be tough, not the nap part, he just always loves to spoil me! Well, my sweet brother in law Aaron helped out this time! They conspired to get me a full night of sleep!!! I have not had one in a LONG time! Aaron got Rob and I a room at the Holiday Inn Express in on of their jacuzzi suites! It was awesome, we vegged out on some mindless TV and then a hot bath with chocolate and strawberries, of course, followed by...we had a great time. My wonderful husband knows exactly what gets me going-COMMUNITCATION, I have been missing him so much, what with all the work going on, we haven't just talked in so long. As horrible as this flood business has been, that evening we figured out that it had not taken away everything, we still have each other to lean on and we still have our hopes and dreams! Rob is the one who taught me to dream, to look forward to the future, and even in devastation I still love to dream with him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Trying Times

I have been struggling (anyone surprised?), emotionally, I am doing my best to not fall to pieces on a constant basis, physically, I am trying to function on very little sleep, and a lot of work, spiritually, well, I know that this is horrible, but today I went searching our house, boxes and everywhere I could think to look and every one of the bibles that Rob and I had were lost in the flood. Both our NIV Study Bibles (gifts to each other), Rob's daily devotional, our couple's devotional that my parents got us as a wedding gift, and all my reference books. I am so heart sick, Rob and I had both written something special in the front of each other's bible, and my Dad had written the most beautiful things about beginning a marriage with God. I am ashamed that it took a week for me to go looking for them and I am embarrassed that I have been talking to, who am I kidding, crying out to God so fervently and not even bothered to see what He had to say about it. Through out the tough times in my life I had collected a lot of books, "self-help" you might call them, most of them I would call "God-Helps" books. Some of them I have shared with many of you even, "God at Your Wits End", "The Invisible Woman", "What Every Mom Needs", and "Watch Out, She's Gonna Blow", just to name a few. I guess I am just mourning yet another loss, or realization of loss, I guess.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Here's a shout out to Frito Lay, sometimes big companies get a bad rap for forgetting their employees matter and this time we have to let you all know how awesome they have been to us. They showed up with a big semi-trailer so we could fill it with trash! Let me tell you, we filled it, the bottom at least.

They brought chips and other snack foods for our volunteers and even catered in lunch on Saturday for eveyone! Not only did they send food and supplies for the clean-up over, I think there were 10 Frito Lay employees there too, and not just the warehouse level guys, Rob's bosses all came out! Rob and I were truly moved, we felt such great support from them . This is one of those times we felt very blessed to be working for what we think is a really great company.

Thanks Frito Lay!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Keep Your Head Up

A theme that I keep hearing is "keep your head up". You know, it's a well-used phrase that you hear in tough times, but it has taken on new meaning for me. I have been caught hanging my head in despair and God has continually sent me angels to say "keep your head up". He is so faithful and so ready to remind us of His love for us even in times like this, I am blessed.

We are being so well taken care of and feel so loved by all of our friends and family that have shown up, called, baked and done so much LAUNDRY! I cannot express what it means to us to have you all showing up, even for a half and hour, it gives us hope, a boost to keep going!

Our adjuster from our insurance came, just in case something was able to be claimed (nothing is), and he told me that turning this in he'd estimate $75,000, this amount was choked down and then he asked what we were going to do. Without a pause I told him, "pray and trust God". That is what the plan is, pray and trust God, He will provide, the amount of money and time to do this is so beyond us that we have trust that it will be taken care of.

Sometimes God gives us trials in our lives so that we can give witness to what God can do, He is faithful , so I am keeping my head up!


This is my beautiful kitchen that was completely remodeled last year, don't you love the paint color?!?
And this is the living room where Zach rolled over for the first time, right about where the cardboard box is sitting actually.
And this is our master suite, what's left at least. That raw sewage is a bear to get out! If I could blog a smell, let me tell you!


This is at dusk Monday night. It was amazing how fast the water receded. The water was deep enough in every room to ruin every piece of furniture, by contamination or just by the damage of water itself. You can see our queen bed floating in the water.

This is our master bedroom, the greenish chair was a beautiful chenille chair that I bought as a gift to myself, I nursed Zachary in that chair 5 or 6 times every day since he had come home from the hospital.
We were so excited to get a monogrammed shower curtain for our bathroom, it was such a little simple pleasure in the mornings.
As you can see this is where the sewage came from that flooded our master suite.

It amazes me all the little things we took for granted on a daily basis. Everyday there is something that you go to find and it's not there anymore, it's just washed away.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


This was the front yard of our home on Shunga Drive, Monday morning about 7 AM. I awoke to the sound of dripping water at 2:30 AM and stepped out of bed into a puddle of water that was quickly becoming a pool of water. It took about 30 minutes for our bedroom and Zach's room to fill 4 foot deep with water, mostly sewer back up because the tub and toilet filled and then overflowed even faster than the water came in the bedroom exterior door. We escaped with Zach in our underwear, Rob had a robe on, I had a t-shirt on. I thanked God for waking me up!In our living room we began to cry out to God, Rob prayed and I shook with fear and could not keep my eyes on the Lord, Rob prayed and I was comforted. I thanked God for Rob. We began making calls to alert others and find out what the extent of this flood was. Rob attempted to get to the truck and start it, beginning to back in out, the current of a the Shunga "Creek" picked it up and began to float it down the street, luckily it ran into our mini van (poor Lucille!) and stopped, allowing Rob to come back to me and the kids. I thanked God for giving me back Rob.Soaking wet and cold, all our clothes were under water and we covered ourselves with what we could find to wait. Finding that we were trapped in our home, we moved to the kids bedrooms upstairs and waited to be rescued. As I was nursing Zach I began to think about our neighbors and how we were one of only a few two story homes among many single story homes. I thanked God we had a two story home! About 7:30 AM a rescue raft came to our house and we all loaded into a rubber raft and were led up Mac Vicar, which was totally flooded, four foot deep in most places. This was Ethan's first experience on a boat, he was shaking from fear and being wet and cold. Zach was wrapped up tight and seemed oblivious to the entirety of what was happening. Grace and Keith joked that they had never had a flood day at school before! I thanked God that they were not afraid.
Even as I look at these pictures again and write this story I thank God that I still have my family.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Holy Crap!!!!

At the kids closing ceremony for AWANA, the kids in Grace's Sparks group were receiving their awards and one of the kids that had memorized the most verses and completed the most books was called forward to receive the plaque and they just happened to be standing next to my innocent seven year old. When they came back to stand next to her with their award Grace exclaimed "HOLY CRAP!!!!", loud enough that, I sitting on the very BACK ROW could hear her loud and clear!! Wow! What kids will say! I wished for pictures of this, but who is that fast!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dream House

Did you know that the average American family moves every two and a half years? Rob and I were shocked to hear this statistic. Since Rob and I met he has been talking about this idea, dream even, of finding a place to settle down, build and call home, a place that we would have a ministry and welcome family, friends and eventually even grand-kids, a place we would grow old together. I have to admit I thought this was a dream that was not actually a possible reality, not to mention I am not future planner, I have never liked to think about growing old or even five years from now. Through a lot of prayer on both our parts I have joined him in this vision of a future and a hope for our family. It used to be that a husband and wife would buy or build a home and live there for the next 30-40 years or more, and even pass it on to their kids, this is a lost art, a lost sense of stability that we want to bring back to our home.
Recently I found a bronze plaque that says, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord", God has always been the center of our relationship and the foundation that our family is built on, we are drawn to this idea of a family heritage and learning and teaching life lessons through this process of building our home.
In our search for where this house would be and where we would settle, we happened upon Maple Hill (west of Topeka), unlikely as it seemed, we were drawn there and not knowing for sure the ministry opportunities that God has in store for us there we found a lot that seemed to be just where we should be. A perfect peace is over this place and we are confident in God.
We intend to use our own hand to build a lot of this home, but our experience only goes so far, we are in need of experts to help us along, it is important to us that we are a witness to each and every person that works on this house and that they know the reasons we are building this home. We have prayed over our floor plan, we have our little piece of Maple Hill, and we are ready to begin this journey!

Swimsuit Shopping

Recently Grace and I went swimsuit shopping for her, she tried on so many suits and in a two piece like she wore last year she said she would like it if her tummy weren't so fat! Now, I don't know about you, but I can't see ANY fat on this tiny girl. I didn't know that this would start so early in her little girl life! I, of course, corrected her, and then at her doctors appointment she was weighed and measured and she has grown 3/4 of an inch since January and has only gained 1/2 a pound. This is not acceptable I was told and that we should try to "fatten" her up a bit!
Grace promptly told the pediatrician that her legs were getting fat and she didn't like it. I am so disappointed in this world that tells little girls that they must look just so to be beautiful! I have never told her anything but that she is perfect the way God made her. She eats what she wants when she wants and I don't want to ruin her healthy choices of eating by "fattening her up".

Flip house before

This is our cute little flip house that we bought in November of 2006, it is a diamond in the rough, it doesn't look like much now but just wait, it is almost done and you won't believe your eyes! It boasts three bedrooms, two baths and chipped paint, with overgrown trees and shrubs. As a bonus, the main floor bath is blue; blue tile, blue tub, blue toilet! You may also enjoy the mismatch kitchen cabinets and paint spattered wood floors!

I have missed my hubby for months now and as the end is in sight, I am very excited to show you pictures of the beginning mess so you will be thoroughly impressed by the final pictures to come!
The profit on this "little" project will get us a little closer to our dream house we will build in Maple Hill!


Introducing the CHIPMUNKS!
This was the day to introduce the teams and individual players to music and they got to run through the streamers, through a line of cheering parents and players! Ethan really enjoyed this.

Even with all the rain outs, Ethan has really loved playing soccer, I have to say he is really good too, in this game he scored two goals and blocked one as goalie.
As you can see his team is so cute and short! We did kick some non-competitive soccer butt though!
He plays soccer with the UPWARD soccer league at Western Hills Baptist Church, I have really loved the league, the kids learn a lot and it is non-competitive, so the kids all cheer for each other and all the parents cheer for both teams accomplishments, so every kid leaves feeling like a winner, that's the great part!

Zachary's First Fries!!!!

If you are oppossed to babies eating fast food, please divert your eyes from the following pictures!

He is double-fisted enjoying his McD's fries with a side of slobber!
"I'm lovin' it!"