Cousins, Bowling and Pizza

As the family continues to grow and the kids get older and more independent, it’s bittersweet to see what changes and what stays the same.  For the past several years, the U.P. cousins get together at some point during our time up north to go bowling and have pizza!

Here’s a group photo from 2013 where we gathered at Aunt Gretchen’s house for a little laughter and karaoke following our bowling.  It’s amazing to see the changes in each of these kiddos!


Here’s the snap from this year!  Thankfully we’ve begun including more extended cousins, and those who are now grown-up and living far away were able to make it back!


When I needed to pull some photos together this past summer, I realized that there’s a definite lack of pictures of the whole crew.  My guess is that’s that case for most families, where the parents are busy snapping pics of the kids and their activities.

So, we all joined in for a big group photo!  Though the parents usually congregate and chat, I’m guessing in a few years we’ll have to join in to add a new dynamic to this Christmas tradition!


Gratitude ~ Day 5

About 4 or 5 years ago, I found a piano on Craigslist – for ONE DOLLAR!  I contacted the seller, made arrangements to get it and low-and-behold, I was once again a piano owner!  As my husband loves to point out, a piano that costs $1 still weighs the same as one that costs thousands.  Especially when said musical instrument must be hefted from the depths of a seller’s walkout basement.

As is typical, the $1 purchase led to a $160 bill from an excellent tuner (oh, how I wasn’t prepared for that afternoon of c,c,c,c,c,c,d,d,d,d,d,d#,d#, d#, and to think my baby girl slept through the whole ordeal!).

Today, it still sits, always open and waiting for to be played.  Though it likely needs to be tuned again, both kids spent a few moments plunking away this afternoon.  I’m thankful for music and for the opportunities to share it with those I love.  And come Christmas time, I’m oh-so-grateful for the (limited) ability to sing carols with the family.


The Creative Version

When I sat down to write our annual Christmas letter, I got the itch to do something a little different.  So I carefully crafted a poem that chronicled our adventures this year.  When I proposed both versions to G. he preferred the traditional letter.  I agree there’s a lot left unsaid in the poem version, but I still wanted to put it out there.  I do know that I have a handful of people still waiting for their card (I’ve never claimed to be perfect!) but I thought tonight was as good a night as any to share.   I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please, post a comment!  If you want the traditional version too, let me know and I’ll get that posted as well.  Which reminds me…is there are an etiquette rule for Christmas card lists?  Meaning, if we don’t receive one…ever…from someone, should we keep sending ours?  Just wondering….

excited, we rang
in the year
waiting, worrying
wondering how we’d

could it be?
so early, so unprepared
so what.
lesson plans
school, speeding

we walk in, the last
time we are two
our home, the cocoon
time stands still
I see hours I’d
long since forgotten
why not write e-mails
at 3:15am?

God’s plan for
our lives.
We wait.  We pray.
With hope, we
slowly adjusting
to our newfound roles

we fly
we share
celebrating an academic

savoring summer
through family
picnics, perfect flurries
and hammock time
we relax.

we fly
at night, delayed.
we run
we make it
we learn, we connect
we think about
the memories made

we camp
we mourn and celebrate
his life
counting our blessings
and allowing our memories
to keep us company.

we run
work, we run
and run, training
for the race
I compete

we read
write, work
and study
we manage
of drop-offs
and pick-ups.

we cherish
each day.

I fly
and miss
my boys
I revisit
and reminisce
new memories
with the old.

we celebrate
and reflect
on the year’s
worth of

sharing joy
offering hope
accepting His gift
and reflecting
this holiday


Home Sweet Home

It’s funny because we just finished a series called Home for the Holidays at church, and last week our pastor talked about how there are so many instances when we desperately long for the comfort and familiarity of home.  The message went on to explain that even though our earthly homes may not be perfect, we have a heavenly Father waiting to welcome us with open arms into His heavenly home…

I’m always amazed by God’s timing and how He allows me to hear exactly what I need, at precisely the moment I need to hear it.  We just settled in tonight around 7:30 after spending four days celebrating the holidays with Garth’s family.  It was fantastic to feel the energy of a big family Christmas, see C. getting lots of good Gma and Gpa time, sit back and relax and share food and fun with each other.

Yet, each night I was reminded that sleepless nights weren’t quite a thing of the past.  I grew evermore fearful of what sort of crying, fussing, out-right refusals to sleep we would encounter.  I’m sure it has something to do with the top tooth which made it’s debut on Wednesday morning, among the other variables that differed from his normal routine.  Thanks to the help of my fabulous hubby, we survived with only a few tears shed and one dose of children’s Tylenol (the last night of course!)

Even though the bedtime wasn’t back to “normal” yet tonight, there’s something refreshing about returning home after time away.  As I think about these last hours of 2007, make my resolution list for 2008, the idea of “home” will certainly be in my thoughts.