Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Concert

Monday night was Ashlyn's Christmas Concert at school. Yes, here they still call things Christmas - not holiday. I'm so thankful for that every time I hear it!

Anyway, the Christmas concert is every grade singing 3 songs. It's pretty painless and casual so you can leave after your child's grade is finished. It was however, the music teacher's 30th year conducting a Christmas concert at the Adrian school.

Ashlyn did so well and as you can see if you watch the video, is definitely a princess. When she walks - no struts - by Britney at the end, you can see she was born for life in the spotlight!

Click here for pictures. There are some good ones of Ashlyn, but I've also included some that are examples of what happens with a 3 year old gets the camera :)

Click here for the video. It's a little over 7 minutes long and the quality isn't that great because it was so dark in the gym. Ashlyn is on the front row, 3rd from the left.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Tour of Homes

Well, today was the big day and it couldn't have gone any better! I heard someone say that they stopped counting at 175 people going through their house! That's incredible and means that the Adrian Women of Today raised over $1400 for charity! People were very generous with their comments on the house and most people loved what we have done here.

It was so neat to hear some of the stories from the older people who came through. There were some people in their 70s who had gone to the school across the street and lived in Adrian all their lives, but had never been inside our house. They said they had always wondered what it was like inside and were so thankful for the chance to see it. I was so glad to hear that.

There were also stories of people who grew up with the kids or grandkids of Dr. Neely who owned the house for about 40 years. They relived memories of eating at the dining room table with the Neelys, playing on the stairs, and just the good times they had here. Those stories warmed my heart and made me wish I could've known the Neelys. I hope our kids and their friends have the same kinds of memories here.

For me, hearing those stories was the best part of the day. Sure, I got an ego boost hearing all of the compliments on the work we've done here, but knowing that people had a chance to come in and feel at home here - to remember the fun days of their childhood. That was priceless! I think I learned more today about the history of our house than I ever could from a book.

Was it a lot of work? Sure. Will I do it again next year? I don't know. Depends on what's going on in our lives then. Am I glad I did it this year? Absolutely without a doubt.

I hope you enjoy the tour!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Life has been jam-packed for us lately. School, preschool, Girl Scouts, small group, friends, family, etc., etc., etc. It's that time of year when things just get so busy we sometimes forget to take time and smell the roses. I am more guilty of this than anyone, I think. I always have a to-do list running in my head (or on a thousand notes around the house, which is a habit I inherited from my mom) and they never seem to quite get finished.

I'm trying to at least make some new meaning out of our busyness. We're participating in the Holiday Tour of Homes here in Adrian next weekend. Getting ready for that has been a whirlwind. There were rooms to be painted (which led to more rooms getting painted), Christmas trees to put up, decorations to be found, shopping to be done. The list goes on and on. Now we're less than a week away from the big day and I actually feel like I have things under control. I've had some great times with the kids decorating the Christmas trees and baking gingerbread men. There's still a lot to do, but I'm hoping this week I won't be one big ball of stress. That I'll still be able to enjoy letting the kids help me or doing something fun with them.

Oh yeah, back to the meaning in the busyness. One of the things we decided to do this year was to put up a pink Christmas tree. Not something I would normally do because I LOVE the traditions of Christmas. But as most of you know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago the week after Christmas. So, the tree is in honor of her and all of the women we know, or even don't know, who have fought or are now fighting the same disease. The kids call it Nana's Christmas tree. They don't quite understand the meaning behind it yet, but year after year as we put it up, I'm sure they'll come to understand it, and maybe appreciate their Nana even more. And thank their Jesus for healing her.

Decorating so early and doing it for so many weeks in a row has led to some good conversations with the kids too. I think they're starting to get that Christmas is not just about presents. Yes, presents are the most fun part for me, with my love language being gifts, but I work really hard for that to just be one part and not the most important part. Ashlyn and I have talked about things we could do for people who may not have any presents this Christmas or food on their table for that matter. We've talked about baby Jesus coming and dying on the cross for our sins. I know some of that is getting through to her.

So, as you go about your busyness this season, and especially this week, remember to try to put some meaning back into it. Make it fun for you and your family. And pray for me that I can do the same.

Monday, November 17, 2008

All is Well

We're home and all went well this morning with Carter's tubes. He was such a brave little champ! Thanks for praying for us!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tubes - Finally!

Tomorrow morning I'll be leaving my house at 4:45 with a sleepy Carter in tow. Where are we going so early? To the hospital in Sioux Falls for tubes - FINALLY! He's been fighting a runny nose all week, so I'm praying that they will be able to do the surgery tomorrow. I'll update as soon as I can tomorrow to let you know how it goes. Thanks for praying for him (and me)!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tractor Rides

Carter finally rode in a tractor!!!

A few weeks ago, we went out to the farm with Britney one day when he was going to be helping with harvest. Last year Carter fell in love with anything tractor/combine/John Deere related, but would not ride in any of them because he was afraid of the noise. This year, he was much more brave.

As soon as we got to the farm on this particular day, he jumped out of the car, ran over to the tractor, climbed right in and rode with his daddy for a couple of hours. At one point, he and Ashlyn traded off so that she was riding and he was playing at the farm with me. Ashlyn decided she was done riding, so Britney called me to come get her. Carter then decided he wanted to ride again, but the only way I could get him out to the tractor was for him to ride on the 4 wheeler with me. He was a little apprehensive at first (again, he was afraid of the noise), but once I assured him I would go slow and that it wasn't even as loud as the tractor, he climbed on and had another great time.

Ashlyn has long been a fan of the 4 wheeler. We can't go to the farm for even 5 minutes without her asking for a ride. Her only complaint when riding with me is that I don't go as fast as daddy :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Snow

We went from raking fall leaves and running around in capris and short sleeves to 3 inches of snow on the ground in the last 4 days. You would've thought it was Christmas this morning the way the kids jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. I don't think Ashlyn's gotten ready for school that quickly at all this year! They had a few minutes to go outside and play before school. Well, I should say Ashlyn had a few minutes. Carter has been outside since 6:30 this morning...In fact, he's outside right now shoveling the driveway :)

You know there some magic in the air when the principal of the elementary school comes around in the morning and lets you know he and his wife had a snowball fight this morning!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to the 21st Century!

My computer's hard drive crashed last week. Monday morning I had used it to check email, the weather, etc. Then I took Ashlyn to school, came back home, tried to check something else and...NOTHING! When my in-house IT department (aka Britney) came downstairs, I asked him to look at it. He gave me the bad news, followed by the good news that it was covered by Apple Care and we would just have to send it off for them to fix it.

All in all, it took them less than a week to fix it and send it back. Pretty impressive and I am SO GLAD not to be using the antique laptop that we just happened to have lying around.

And of course I had like 3 posts that I wanted to do last week, but without access to pictures, I figured it was pointless. I'll try to remember what they were about and catch you all up on what's happened here in the last week!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finally Coming Home!

I just read Kristin's blog and God has been faithful! He worked a miracle for her today and I know her faith will be forever strengthened. She will be leaving Ghana tonight WITH her new children, Raymond and Delali. After countless holdups and run-arounds with her paperwork for visas for them, the visas were issued this morning. On a Friday. A day when they don't normally do exit interviews or issue visas. And they're also only open a half-day on Fridays.

Prayer really does work. Thank you to anyone who reads this blog that may have said a prayer for the Spittles. I know their hearts are full and overflowing and now the stress of the last 34 days perhaps was all worth it - for all NINE of them to be together again in a couple of days.

Kristin and the kids leave Ghana tonight!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Today is my nephew Chad's sixteenth birthday. I can't believe he's 16. I know his mom can't.

I was 16 when he was born. I remember that day really well. My mom missed him being born because she was with me at the doctor. I remember her crying in the waiting room because it happened - the birth of her first grandchild - and she wasn't there for it.

My mom and sister describe Chad as a "difficult" baby. I don't really remember much about it except that if he was asleep, you were not allowed to talk - at all. I do remember him being at our house and playing with my mom. They would have coffee by the front door and watch for the cats. They would play Scooby Doo and Mom was "Haggy" - that was how Chad said Shaggy.

I never thought that red-haired little boy would grow up to be such a nice young man. He is such a great kid and I'm sorry I didn't spend more time with him when he was younger. We got to spend a day with them while we were at Disney World this summer and it was probably one of the most fun days we had on our whole trip.

Chad is playing football this year, but since we live so far away, we won't get to see any of his games. That really makes me sad. He's also in ROTC and hopes to go to West Point one day. I can't believe he's growing up.

Happy Birthday, Chad! We hope you have a wonderful day!

And if you're in South Carolina, watch out because he's on the road driving!!!!!!!! Chad - in the words of Nana, Watch out! This is a curvy road!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Please pray, again!

I've blogged before about my friends Scot and Kristin who have adopted the two children from Ghana. Kristin is there right now (and Scot was until last week) meeting the kids and getting the paperwork in order to bring the kids home. But, they've hit a snag.

I don't know a lot about bringing someone into the US, but apparently there are a lot of papers to fill out and of course they have to have a visa. There has been a hold up on the paperwork for Raymond and Delali's visa - on the part of the US Embassy.

Scot and Kristin are both frustrated. Kristin is in Ghana, alone, with their two new children, trying to find ways to pass the days without going crazy. Not because the new kids are bad, but life in a foreign country where you don't know anyone and don't know your way around much, can be chaos.

Please pray specifically for:
The paperwork situation to be resolved today
The visas to be issued quickly
No more hang-ups
Speedy and safe travel for Kristin, Raymond and Delali
Patience for Scot and the kids here in the US waiting for their wife and mom to return with their new siblings

Thanks for praying with me for them in the past, and I know that they would covet your prayers now. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DONE...For now!

Today I installed the last of the eight windows I've been working on since July. It felt SO GOOD to get that last window in. The amount of time it took me to get the last window in was maybe 1/4 of what it was for the first window. I guess practice does make perfect :)

Now, I wonder what my next project will be.....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Window #3!

One of my favorite things to do is work on things around our house. I love that it's old, even though that means astronomical heating bills in the winter. And pipes that need to be worked on every couple of months. And doors that don't close right - or at all for that matter. And un-doing 100+ years of "re-decorating" that various owners have done. I waffle back and forth about making the house truly ours or restoring it to what it probably was in its prime. Paint the woodwork or strip it? Replace the windows or restore them?

I posted awhile ago about starting on the window restoration. It's a VERY involved process, but overall isn't hard. Just time consuming. When you have two little ones running around all summer, time is one of those luxuries you just don't get much of. Luckily, this summer, my kids played together better than they ever have before, and we developed a very healthy give and take relationship! I would take them to the playground or the lake for a couple of hours in the morning and then I would work on the windows for a couple of hours in the afternoon while they played on their own. I think it worked out pretty well!

Considering it takes about one month from start to finish to restore a window, I accomplished a huge amount in getting eight complete windows done while still enjoying summer with the kids. For all of you inquiring minds who are just dying to know - here's the process from start to finish:
Step 1 - removing the window. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? WRONG! When you have 123 years of paint on the window, trim and everything else around, sometimes removing the window was the hardest part! All that's involved is basically removing some of the interior trim around the window and the bottom one comes right out. The upper ones were a bit more of a hassle, but with a little (or a lot) persuasion and some taps with the hammer, out they came.

Step 2 - stripping the window of all paint and putty (otherwise known as glazing). If I hadn't stumbled upon a used Silent Paint Remover for sale, I would probably still be at this stage on the first window...The SPR is the BEST tool ever invented! It basically works like a heat gun, only using infrared heat. It softens the paint so that it can just be scraped right off. Usually one pass with the SPR and I was scraping right down to the bare wood! That was a wonderful sight considering I spent 4 months stripping the woodwork in the guest room. After the paint is all off, you have to chip away at the putty. Most of the time with the SPR, it would be soft enough to just scrape it out too, but sometimes it was pretty stubborn and took some real elbow grease - all with trying NOT to break the glass!

Step 3 - removing the glass. After all of the paint and putty has been scraped away, the trickiest part is finding the glazing points - little metal diamond shapes that actually hold the glass into the wood frames. Occasionally I missed on and cracked a piece or two of glass, but when you're removing 29 panes of glass, 2 or 3 broken ones isn't too bad :)

Step 4 - priming the frame. Enough said.

Step 5 - Reinstalling the glass. This is where some people reinstall the panes of glass, the glazing points and then apply new putty. But, after my first window (and a conversation with my dad!) I decided to check with the glass shop in town to see how much they would charge me just to reinstall the glass and the putty. Lucky me! The charge was only $2 per pane. Well worth the hours of work it saved me!

Step 6 - waiting. Yes, this is an actual step :) Once the new putty is in, it can't be painted until it has skinned over. This actually takes about 3 weeks in mild humidity. July in Minnesota is not typically mildly humid :) This summer I got lucky and didn't have to wait much past the 3 weeks to continue working.

Step 7 - prime and paint!

Step 8 - Reinstall the window! YAY! I was so excited when the time came to install the first restored window! It took me ALL DAY, but I finally got it in. Putting new rope through the pulleys so that the window weights actually work is the worst part of the job. It takes quite awhile and has to be done so the weights hang and balance the windows when they're opened or closed. It keeps us from having to have prop rods in EVERY SINGLE WINDOW! The most important part of this whole process is installing weatherstripping! That's right! We survived a cold Minnesota winter with no weatherstripping around our windows! We're anxious to see what a difference it makes - especially in Britney's office which was one of the draftiest rooms.

So, if you're still reading, congratulations! You now know how to restore any old or new wooden windows that are in need of a little TLC. Now, when are you coming to help me?? I only have 32 more windows to go! By the way - I chose the red for the windows to go with our red gingerbread roof that I HATE! But, at least the red windows make me think the house is now smiling a little :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Day of Preschool!

Today was Carter's first day of preschool. Ever since Ashlyn started preschool in 2006, he's asked every day that she's gone to school if he could go too. Well, wouldn't ya know that the day finally comes for Carter to go and the first thing out of his mouth this morning was, "I don't want to go to school. I want to go play at Jacob's house." UGH! I could've screamed! But, I wouldn't expect anything less from the Little Tonado.

His excitement came back after breakfast and he was ready to go before his slow-poke sister. She was having a sub this morning and didn't want to go until her teacher came back. Anyway, we got to school, walked Ashlyn to her locker and then took Carter to his class. He walked right in, without a kiss, hug or goodbye.

It sure it quiet in our house right now, but so far this morning, I've gotten a walk in and am starting on installing another restored window. We'll see how much I get done without 100 interruptions. And maybe I'll even have time to post later about how Carter liked his first day!

Pictures here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of First Grade

Summer is officially over. The weather suddenly turned cooler yesterday and school started today for Ashlyn. She was so much more confident this year than last year. We had to wait a little while for her class to come to the classroom - the kids wait in the lunchroom until 8:00, but since it was the first day, things were running a little behind. She didn't want to be the first one in her class, so we went to the lunchroom for her to get in line with her friend Ciarra. After that, she walked right into her class and didn't even need a hug or kiss or a big goodbye. Much different from last year when we had to do 3 or 4 kisses and hugs EVERY DAY! I'm so proud of her. She had a great day and can't wait to go back tomorrow!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


One of the things that has plagued me since we moved was not being able to find out much on the history of our house. I've searched online, the newspaper articles at the library, asked around town, etc., but no one knew much about it before the 1940s.

I was at an auction on Monday here in town and one of the items up for bid was a centennial book. It is a pretty detailed account of the town's first 100 year history, almost from the day the first settlers arrived in Adrian.

I bid on the book and won it for $4. I immediately started scanning it for any mention of A. M. Becker, the man who built our house. I found him on page 5 and realized he was a pretty big deal in the settling of Adrian. He had a large mercantile and expanded it several times in the first few years. He was also known as one of the wealthiest men in Nobles County.

But then I hit the jackpot! While I was reading about another expansion he made on the store in 1885, there was one sentenced tucked in there that was the key I had been looking for for over a year!

"In 1885, he also built a beautiful home on Church Street (6th street used to be called Church) costing $6,500."

I almost fell out of my chair and now have an even deeper appreciation for the history of this house and a desire to restore it so that it will be around another 123 years! Now if only I could find a picture...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

101st Post

So, a friend told me that according to "blogdom" you're supposed to post 100 things about yourself on your 100th post. Well, my 100th post was about Carter building an outdoor bathroom with his friend and then peeing in it, so I guess the 101st post will have to do.

This may take awhile...

1. My middle name was Jeannette after my weird aunt. I HATED it!
2. I have 3 sisters.
3. I became a Christian at 5 on my big wheel in the driveway.
4. I don't think I realized the freedom we have in Christ until I was in my 20s.
5. I had a really long awkward phase from oh about 8 to 15.
6. My favorite color is red
7. I hate the color yellow
8. I love living in a small town
9. I still really want my own horse
10. I am scared to death of things that jump (frogs, crickets, spiders, etc.)
11. I also have an irrational fear of fire
12. My favorite tool is my silent paint remover
13. I love doing manual labor on my old house
14. I love that my husband doesn't get mad at my 1001 projects!
15. I love that my kids play so well together (most days!)
16. I even love that Carter is the tornado.
17. My favorite times were spent at Berry
18. My favorite place to be is by the water - either lake or ocean
19. I want to learn to water ski
20. I also want to learn to snow ski
21. I wish I could sing
22. I wish I could play the piano
23. I've also always wanted to learn how to play the banjo.
24. My favorite restaurant is a hole in the wall Mexican place in Okoboji, Iowa
25. I miss my family so much!
26. I think I was born about 70 years too late
27. I love to go to auctions! It's my new addiction
28. I also love to go to yard sales
29. I hate flies (there's one flying around me right now)
30. My very favorite song is Everlasting God (Lincoln Brewster's version)
31. I still like country music
32. I used to want to be a lawyer when I grew up
33. I have always wanted to live in Manhattan for a year
34. I love change
35. I love that my husband understands that I thrive on change :)
36. I think Facebook is one of the best creations for getting in touch with long lost friends!
37. I love to walk barefoot outside
38. I love romantic movies and hate watching ones that are too serious or sad
39. I still daydream
40. I hate to do laundry
41. I love to eat ice cream
42. I love buying gifts for other people
43. I love to travel
44. I still keep in touch with the President of the Girl Haters Club from 1st grade. He finally got married last year!
45. I love the ocean
46. I want to learn how to sail
47. I hate my dog
48. I love fresh sweet corn - the stuff in the stores doesn't compare anymore!
49. I love that I can look at a place I swore I would never visit again in the winter, much less live there, and see God's beauty in it in all seasons
50. I love that I can walk Ashlyn to school every morning
51. I love the smile on her face when I pick her up every afternoon
52. I am too impatient
53. I actually find myself wanting a minivan
54. I wonder when I got old enough to want a minivan
55. I still think of myself as being 24
56. I have some of the best friends in the world
57. I will never never never go caving again.
58. I have a fear of small places :)
59. My favorite place in the whole world is Coronado Island near San Diego
60. I've only been out of the US once - on a cruise to Jamaica and the Caymans
61. I will never go to Jamaica again
62. I love weddings
63. I love to read headstones in graveyards
64. I actually like long road trips
65. My favorite things to wear are jeans and t-shirts
66. I also like to get dressed up every once in awhile.
67. I love to dance
68. I hate being late
69. I love chocolate
70. I love to buy fun shoes!
71. I know how to drive a stick shift
72. I didn't learn to drive a stick shift until I was 21
73. I HATED high school - with a passion
74. I miss my dog Hunter so much
75. I love old photographs
76. I love that my sisters and I are all friends
77. I miss Chick-Fil-A and Waffle House more than any other restaurants
78. I want to learn how to drive a tractor
79. My favorite thing to ride on the playground is the see-saw
80. I love roller coasters. The best one is Everest at Animal Kingdom - hands down!
81. I wish I knew more about my grandparents and great grandparents.
82. I love Christmas
83. I don't like talking on the phone
84. I have only owned 2 cars
85. I love costume parties!
86. I want to have a garden
87. I am a morning person
88. I am addicted to Coca-Cola
89. I also love sweet tea and am so glad that somewhere here finally has it! (The ONLY good reason to go to McDonald's!)
90. My favorite flowers gardenias and gerbera daisies
91. I love to shop for bargains
92. I want to have my own shop or cafe one day
93. I have only ever lived in 2 states
94. I have never broken a bone
95. I love hearing my kids sing worship songs at the top of their lungs with the music blaring
96. I actually don't mind shoveling snow
97. I love bubble baths
98. I have never been camping, fishing or anything else too outdoors-y
99. I love re-connecting with old friends
100. I want to run a marathon one day

Whew - I'm glad that's done. I hope you didn't get too bored.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Carter Moment

I know I've been posting about Carter a lot lately, but when my friend Jackie put this post up on her blog, I just had to share it too. The little boy in the "outdoor bathroom" story guessed it - CARTER!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lemonade Stand!!

We really do live in a small town. The kids had a lemonade stand today that we did with a family down the street. It was so much fun! The kids literally worked for their sales. They went door-to-door to the neighbors on our block letting them know they were doing a lemonade stand. Carter yelled (imagine that!) LEMONADE!!!!!!! at every car that drove by. I think all in all they each earned between $3 and $4. Not too bad for 2 six year olds, a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 year old. Oh yeah - and 2 great mommies!!!! Thanks, Megan!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Quote From Carter

Here's the latest from Carter:

"Mom, I measured the ottoman and it's about 8 minutes to go."

He said this while using a tape measure to actually measure the ottoman. I've never seen a tape that measures in "minutes to go!"

He must use the "special" tape measure...

Saturday, August 9, 2008


As the kids and I were walking down to our little grocery store, I had a memory come flooding back that made me a little sad and a little nostalgic. Maine Avenue, the main street that runs through town, reminds me a lot of Berry this time of year. It's a wide street, lined with stately trees - a lot like the walk I took every day from my dorm at the Ford Buildings down to the main part of campus. It is beautiful! And every day that walk was a time I spent deep in thought - either going over my notes again right before a big test or just about life in general. It was also the location of lots of talks with friends, and time spent just looking at the cows in the pasture. The only difference is it's people looking back at you wondering what you're doing instead of a smelly old cow!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Right now, parenting sucks. Today was one of the hardest days I've had with the kids in a long time. I'm not sure what was so different except that Britney is gone to some sprint car races in Iowa for the next several days and his mom left yesterday after a long visit. I don't know if the kids were just overly tired or not sure how to handle all of the sudden changes. Here's a quick rundown of just a few of the arguments I faced today, and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't always act like the mature adult I am :)

Carter asked for Cheetos for breakfast. That should've been a sign of the day to come. I said no, which was not the answer he wanted. But, I stuck to my guns and he had a slightly more nutritious breakfast of cheese toast.

I was planning to paint some old school desks I got for the kids at the Spittles' yard sale. The kids wanted to help, so I thought I would give it a try. It was just a can of spray paint, after all. WRONG! Ashlyn liked to hold the can about 2" from her desk and spray a steady stream for a good 30 seconds. You can't even begin to imagine how much paint I had to wipe off that desk! After an argument with her, which I'm sure ended with her feeling like a total failure, we compromised and I did the desk and she did the seat. Unfortunately we ran out of paint before we got 2 coats on the seat...

Tonight was the first night of the Nobles County Fair, and in my eternal optimism, I figured that if I took the kids out of the house, maybe our day would improve. At first, it seemed that I was once again, a genius! Happy kids, nice kids, kids who were thinking of others first! Oh, but wait, I only spent $23 on tickets, which was enough for them to each ride 4 rides. All was going fine, until Ashlyn told Carter he wouldn't want to ride one of the rides she wanted to ride, even though he wanted to ride. Because she is the all-knowing big sister, he conceded that he didn't want to ride, which made her happy, until she found out that I couldn't leave him standing all by himself while I rode with her and she would have to ride by herself. Needless to say, she was not a happy camper with that information.

And finally, when I told Carter to pick his last ride, he picked a little motorcycle ride - for the second time. Ashlyn didn't want to ride, so he rode by himself. Then it was Ashlyn's turn to pick her last ride. She picked the swings. Carter didn't understand why we didn't have more tickets for him to ride in the blue swing. So, all of Ashlyn's ride, I was holding a screaming 3 year old, pitching the fit of his life.

Oh yeah and let's not forget Ashlyn and Carter fighting over who would carry the bottle of water and then screaming "I want to go home!" while I was trying to get some information from one of the vendors at the fair.

After the kids went to bed, I made a kindness chart for both of them with some Bible verses on it and character traits that we need to work on. I hope that it will remind me too so that we don't have many more days like today!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Awesome God

Today was the adoption service at our church that we have been working on with the Spittles over the last few weeks. I know that the service was completely covered in prayer, and I know at least Britney and I went to church today with an expectation and excitement that we haven't had since we left Georgia. It was so neat how God used all of our gifts and the service came together beautifully. It wasn't work really for anyone. Sure, there were things that people were nervous about or having to step out of their comfort zone a little. But, we all trusted that He would give us the words and the heart to communicate what needed to be said.

Scot and Kristin were able to share their story, God's heart for orphans, our adoption by Him, and share their two new additions with everyone - Delali and Raymond. We were even able to include every single person there in the service by showing ways that they can support the Spittles, even when it feels like their part is so small. It's not the size of the part you play, but that you allow God to lead you in playing that part.

Two of the many amazing things that happened today have to do with the financial side of the adoption. Money has never been the focus of this adoption, but everyone knows that it IS expensive and Scot and Kristin were trusting that God would meet this huge need. God has already met the need for the first half of the $24,000 they need for the adoption and travel expenses. Today, Kristin shared the grand total for the yard sale over last weekend and Friday. Remember here, I asked you all to pray for $3,000? Well, the grand total was just over $3,300!!! That NEVER happens here. But it did for them! Amazing!

The second big WOW of the day came after the pie social we had after church. Our friend, Shelly, organized a social where people donated pies to be sold for $10 each. All of the money raised went to the Spittles for adoption expenses. There were between 35 and 40 pies total, but people paid way over their $10 for them :) The total for today was $2,047! When we left church, I had heard that the total was $947. I was floored by that. But when I got home and read Kristin's blog that the total was over $2,000, I just started laughing out loud. God is awesome! He truly can meet our every need - even through pie :)

By the way - I thought I would include a picture of most of the Spittles so that you can see this incredible family. Scot is missing only because these guys came over while he was at work :) This is Gabe, Levi, Sophia, Simon, Keegan and Kristin.

Friday, August 1, 2008


That pretty much sums up the last 2 weeks at our house, unfortunately. Carter was sick last week with an ear infection and then some kind of virus on top of it. He was better on Sunday. Now Ashlyn has had a fever since Monday afternoon. She has an appointment today. And Britney started feeling bad on Tuesday. I hope it ends soon!!!!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Spittles!

There was an article on our friends, the Spittles, in the paper this morning. It somewhat shares the story of their family and their pending adoptions. Hope you enjoy it!

The yard sale was a huge success! Scot and Kristin have decided to have a 1/2 price and bag sale next Friday to try to get rid of some of the stuff that's left. We sold A LOT of stuff over the last two days, and even though we don't have the official count yet - we know they made over $2000! YEAH!

Kristin promised she would post the final total on her blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please Pray!!!

Our good friends, Scot and Kristin, are in the process of adopting two children from Ghana. They are anxiously awaiting the final referral and hope to have it in the next couple of days. This will be the news where they find out the names of the children they are going to bring home to be part of their family.

I'm asking you all to pray for them over the next week, especially. Starting tomorrow, there will be a fundraiser yard sale at our church. I heard that another couple of friends of ours are praying specifically that the sale raises $3,000 for them. Would you pray that too?

Next Sunday, August 3rd, they will be doing a special adoption service at our church. The Lord has really made Himself known to them through this adoption. It's neat to see their faith grow and how their walk with Him has changed. He has led them every step of the way, even though this was not something even on their radar last summer. I love watching other people have the faith to step out even though they don't really know what's going on. Having lived through it, you gain a whole new perspective on what other people are going through and can (hopefully) be a new kind of encouragement to them!

Scot and Kristin are some really great friends. She made the extra effort last year after having a baby to come to Adrian when Britney was gone for a fun weekend and get to know me a little. She was part of the Bible study I joined right after we moved. Scot is part of a group of guys that Britney has gotten to know and they meet for lunch every week.

Their family is amazing. And I am so thankful that we have been able to make friends like these. I'll keep you posted on how the sale goes. Thanks for praying with us!!

Oh yeah! Be sure to check out her blog - They're Ghana Come Home!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Part 2)

I know I'm a little late in getting this posted, and it probably won't be as detailed as part I, but better late than never :)

After a mini-vacation in St. Louis, we stayed the next week at Britney's parents'. it was a laid back, relaxing time and we spent time at the pool and playing and visiting with family.

At the end of the week, we left for south Georgia for a family reunion on my dad's side. My grandmother had only seen Carter once before and there were family members who had never met him. it had been way too long sine we had seen those family members! Aside from the heat and humidity (and gnats), it was a really nice visit.

We left from there to head down to Disney World!! We had a wonderful 3 days there with the kids, riding rides, waiting in line, eating, waiting in line, watching shows, waiting in line...You get the picture. Ashlyn rode the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios and both kids were more adventurous than I thought they would be. Ashlyn's favorite ride was the Kali River Rapids, which thanks to a generous person who gave us their fastpasses, she got to ride twice! I was smart and stayed off the ride the second time with Carter while Ashlyn rode with Britney and her uncle Mark. They got SOAKED! But she loved it and had a great time. Click here and here for pics at some different parks.

After the kids left, Britney and I got to stay a couple of extra days with some of my sisters. We had a great time with Melinda, Chad and Rebekah, who we never get to see or really spend much time with since we're always together at mom's with so many other people. It was nice to spend time with such great teenagers and a fun sister :)

We spent a couple of days back at my parents' before heading back home. It was a long trip, but a great trip. I think the one thing we were all looking forward to about coming home was sleeping in our own beds with our own pillows. But we are looking forward to going back at Christmas for a few days!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The kids and I went strawberry picking with Britney's grandparents this morning. We went last year too, but only filled up two gallon-sized buckets, which totaled about 10 pounds. When I got home, I realized a good many of them were green because Carter picked anything that would come off of the stem. In reality, our 10 pounds were probably closer to 8 or 9 that we could actually eat, and they only lasted a few weeks.

So, this year we started out with conversations about what kind of strawberries Carter should pick - RED! I also gave each kid their own buckets, and I had 2 flat boxes that Britney's grandpa had given me. I was determined we were going to have a good time and I wasn't going to nag the kids too much about picking just the right berries. It was about the EXPERIENCE for them :)

The kids did great! Carter picked about 1/2 gallon bucket full and Ashlyn's was about 3/4 of the way full. Not too bad for kids picking on the hottest day of the year so far (a cool 88!). I was so proud of them!

I couldn't believe when I got to the check out and our berries weighed in at a whopping 30 pounds!!! So, I spent the afternoon washing, drying and hulling all those strawberries. It took me over 2 hours, but the strawberry shakes, pies, cakes, etc., will be oh so worth it!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Let the Renovations Begin!!

Until today, the "renovations" we've done on our house have really been more on the redecorating side of things. Except for the electrical upgrade, the only things we've done have been painting or removing paint :)

Today I started restoring the windows! Well, I actually just started removing the windows so that they can be restored, but still, it's a step in the right direction. One of the things Britney and I agreed on was no vinyl replacement windows. We still have the original windows, complete with wavy glass. I love them. Restoring the windows should not be that difficult - just time consuming. And considering we found out this week that we have to have the stucco on our house replaced, we're back to pinching pennies and doing the windows ourselves is one way we can do that. Also, considering it could cost us a small fortune to heat our house this winter (we use diesel fuel), we figured getting the windows in tip top shape couldn't hurt.

When we got the first window out, we discovered that our windows are double hung, but the top windows have been painted shut for who knows how long. We also found the weights inside the jambs, just where they should be. It looked like I was pulling small bombs out when I grabbed the weights and pulled. Those suckers were heavy!

Projects are therapy for me. So is shopping. But with the upcoming expenses, I figured this project was probably the safer way to go, and I'll still get to go shopping for the tools that I'll need :)

I'll keep you updated on my progress, complete with pictures of before and after.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Part 1)

Part one of our summer vacation is our stop in St. Louis, MO. We stayed with Britney's cousins, Tim & Tami, and had a great time. They have two kids - Brandon and Amber. I think Brandon is 14 and Amber is 12.

Despite Carter throwing up in their front yard as soon as we pulled into the driveway, they were great hosts. The kids took to Amber right away (Brandon was camping) and she showed them all of their pets. Ashlyn was doubly excited because they have a bunny. She has been asking for a bunny for over a year...

We got up on Saturday and went to the Gateway Arch. Ashlyn has asked to stop at the Arch every time we drive through St. Louis, which has been quite a few times over the last 3 years. We've never had time to do it before, but with all of the vacation Britney has this year, we decided to extend our trip a little and take the kids to see the Arch.

When we got there, Carter DID NOT want to go up to the top. I think the size of it was a little intimidating to him. But once we stopped talking about it and just took him inside to do it, he had a blast. So did Ashlyn. They were both enamored with how high up we were and how small the cars looked below. Even I have to admit it was amazing! It was a bit claustrophobic (especially the ride up) but I survived just fine :)

After the Arch, we headed over to the zoo. St. Louis has one of the most awesome zoos I've ever visited. I think the most exciting part to me was that it was FREE!!!! And since it was Saturday, it was crowded. And HOT! We walked through one section of the zoo and saw hyenas, fox, rhinos, hippos (they were the coolest!) and some other animals. After that, everyone was hot and tired so we headed back to the pool :)

Thanks, Tim, Tami, Brandon and Amber for opening your home to us and showing us a great time. You helped start our vacation out in a terrific way!

Sorry for the lack of pictures from the zoo and the pool. We mostly used the video camera for those and I'm too lazy right now to go get the camera and the cable to upload them :) Sorry - they'll come later, I'm sure!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Back To Normal

Our new fridge was delivered yesterday, so I'm sure you'll all sleep better knowing that the fish smell is completely gone and we have a wonderful new WORKING fridge in our kitchen. No more trips up and down the basement stairs 100 times a day! YAY!

I really will post about our trip in the next couple of days. It's just been a crazy week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome Home...

"Welcome home after being gone for 20 days!" said the rotten fish from inside our freezer that had stopped working who knows how many days ago.

I'll post more about our awesome trip later. Now I'm off to shop for a new fridge.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Last Day

I posted on Ashlyn's first day of kindergarten, so I thought it was only fitting that I post on her last day as well. She was so excited to go to school today - almost as much as her first day of school. They were having a picnic at the park and thankfully the weather turned nice today for it!

I can't believe how much she has grown and changed this year. She's still timid and likes me to walk her to her classroom every day, but she loves going to school. I wonder how long it will be until I hear, "I'm ready for school to start."

Every time I'm over at the school, the Lord uses it to remind me that we made the right decision moving here. I've never met nicer teachers or administration and they truly truly care about the students. They all even know Carter and talk to him every day. I am so thankful that school is not a stressful thing in our lives. Everyone who knows me well knows how worried I was about school in Georgia and couldn't find what felt like the right decision. Now I know why! School in Minnesota was the right decision :)

I go this afternoon to register Carter for preschool next year. The preschool is at the elementary school, so he and Ashlyn will go to the same place on Tuesday and Thursday. I can't even imagine what I will do with six hours a week all to myself!!! Carter is so excited, he's already talking about when he starts school in September.

So, to Mrs. Erdmann and Mrs. Knips, thank you for teaching my daughter this year and loving her so much. You were patient with her when she needed it and worked with her to bring her out of her shell. We couldn't have asked for better teachers!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Weekend

Usually our weekends are full of errands, painting, cleaning, etc. They're not usually just fun because with Ashlyn in school all week, it's when we get stuff done that we need her for (like shopping for summer clothes!) Well, this weekend was just plain fun. Our friend Stuart came to visit for a few days. He and Britney started out the weekend fishing Thursday and Friday with Britney's cousins up in Alexandria, MN. They had some success and came home with a couple of bags of fish.

Saturday was a rainy, cold, yucky day. But, we took Stuart out to the farms anyway. Let me tell you, there's nothing like the wind changing on a hog farm and blowing a big gust of stinky air right in the car! I thought we were all going to throw up!

Jerry's farm was pretty quiet because with the rain, he couldn't be in the field. So they were up in Alexandria too, fishing...We showed Stuart all the fun tractors, combines, etc., and got some great pictures of the kids. Carter even decided he could sit in a tractor this time! He's always LOVED to look at them but has been afraid to sit in them. Since he knew we were not going to turn them on, he climbed in and had a good time "driving." Maybe he'll actually ride in one this year!

My Mother's Day dinner was Saturday night and we drove down to Okoboji, Iowa to eat supper at a hole in the wall Mexican place. But it's SOOOO good! It's my favorite place to go in the summer because it's right by the lake. Afterwards, we drove over to Arnold's Park, a small amusement park right on the lake with one of the best ice cream shops around. We didn't think anything would be open yet (it usually opens on Memorial Day), but we were ecstatic when we saw that the Nutty Bar Stand was open already. Everyone enjoyed ice creams, even though we were already cold from the rain.

Sunday after church and lunch, we drove up to Buffalo Ridge, which is just a little ways north of us. It's a heaven for windmills and we probably saw well over 300 of them. If you've never been to Minnesota and experienced this phenomenon, you probably won't grasp the hugeness of these things. We told Ashlyn to count how many windmills we saw, so she got out her notepad and made tallies for every one she could. She had over 144 tallies by the end of the day, so we figured it was probably safe to at least double that :)

I also found a great little town for shopping with lots of thrift stores and antiques shops. I can't wait to go back!

All in all, it was a great weekend for everyone and the best Mother's Day I could've asked for!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! After a day of cold and rain yesterday, I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning today. It's not going to be all that warm today, but at least the rain is gone and we have some beautiful flowers about to bloom this morning. In fact, the kids are headed outside right now to pick some for me :)

A friend of mine sent this "new" version of Proverbs 31 to me a couple of months ago. I thought it was so cute and true! I hope you enjoy it and maybe this will encourage you to not be intimidated by the woman in Proverbs 31 but to realize that with God's help, you can be her! Have a wonderful day!

Proverbs 31 – Tribute to the Virtuous Mother
A mom of sane mind, who can find? She is worth far more than a clean bathroom

Her husband enjoys her presence He even tells his buddies how great his wife is

She is always thankful for her husband’s help Regardless if he puts the baby to bed without a diaper on

She picks out the clothes for the toddler to wear And pins him to the ground, while she puts them on

She is like the pizza delivery boy Food on the table in 30 minutes, or the kids cry free

She gets up while it is still dark (multiple times) To nurse the baby, administer Tylenol for teething, or locate that pacifier

She writes out the grocery list And even manages to return home with at least half of what was on it

She works hard; very, very hard Her arms are strong from carrying a baby all day

She sees that being a mom is a worthwhile job And is more than glad to leave the nightlight on

In one hand she holds the car keys While in the other hand the baby, bottle, diaper bag, purse, and groceries

She opens her arm to the crying child And never turns away a sniffling, snotty nosed baby

When it snows, she has no fear Her kids have their coats, gloves, hats, scarves, and boots on

She changes the sheets on the bed without even flinching at the ‘accident’

Her husband is respected and Takes his seat with the other dads at the play area in the mall

She gathers the old baby clothes and sells them at a garage sale With the money, she purchases ‘new’ clothes at someone else’s garage sale

She is clothed in spit up, yet holds her head high with dignity She can laugh at the days to come

She speaks wisdom in baby-talk The phrase ‘No –no!’ is always on her lips

She watches over the affairs of her household There is no option of idleness

Her children wake up and cry ‘mommy!’ Her husband does not wake up at all when the baby cries

Many women are moms, But only you are ‘mom’ to your kids

Sleep is over-rated, and showers are optional But, a mom who trusts the LORD is ESSENTIAL

Give her the reward she has earned Let her hard work bring her praise

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Canadian Snowbirds

I was reading the paper this morning and ran across a brief that announced the Canadian Snowbirds would be landing at Worthington Municipal Airport this afternoon for about an hour. The Canadian Snowbirds are the Canadian Air Force's equivalent of the Blue Angels.

So, being the good mom that I am, I called a friend to join us and buckled Carter in the car to head to Worthington. He was so excited to see the airplanes, but we had to wait a little while for them to come in. He got to play in the hangars and see some airplanes that our friend Cameron is working on. I think he almost enjoyed that part most!

But once the Snowbirds started arriving, he really got interested and stood outside for over an hour watching them refuel. He didn't even get upset when they were taxiing in and got really loud. For those of you who know Carter, this is a huge deal! He just calmly stood there on the edge of the runway covering his ears. I was so proud of him and we had such a great time!

You can enjoy pictures of our afternoon here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Here's a conversation that happened between Carter, Britney and me just a few minutes ago.

Maggie (the dog) - chomp, chomp, chomp
Me - "Carter, did you give Maggie a little bone?"
Carter - "Yeah."
Me - "Did you ask?"
Carter - "I asked Maggie. I asked her red, green or brown."
Me - "Did Maggie say green?"
Carter - "Yeah. She likes green the best." "Daddy, can I finish watching Fairytopia?"

That's our boy!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yard Sales

Today was my first experience with serious yard sale-ing in Adrian. It was the town-wide sale today and we hit probably 12-15 of them! Both kids started out with me this morning, but Carter got cold (yes, it was still snowing a little this morning) so he went home to stay with Britney and play with his new drum kit for $1. Yes, I bought him a drum kit. Crazy? Maybe. But yesterday I found him with screwdrivers banging on the bannister upstairs. Carter has now made his mark on our 100 year old railings.

Anyway, I thought I would share my successes with you! I spent $27 and got the following: a drum kit, sawhorse toy for Carter, 4 dresses for Ashlyn, jeans, a t-shirt, a purse, a pillow, a puzzle, a purse for Ashlyn, and a chair, which of course needs some TLC. All for $27!!! I couldn't believe it!

This is just the beginning and hopefully the next ones won't be so cold! Although on a brighter note - it is supposed to hit 70 here on Wednesday!!!!! Winter will end!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Five Minutes

I'm curious when kids learn the concept of sleeping in. Mine haven't gotten it yet.

School is delayed 2 hours today because of the freakin' SNOW STORM that started yesterday. Yes, it's making me grumpy. No, I'm not seeing the beauty in this one because it's APRIL ELEVENTH for heaven's sake. Anyway, that's another post for another time - when I'm not so crabby.

School is delayed 2 hours today, so last night I stayed up a little later than I normally do and watched some extra TV with Britney, thinking I wouldn't set my alarm and could just get up when the kids did. Sleep in. No need to rush today. Guess what time the munchkins came in my room this morning??? Yep - EXACTLY five minutes after my alarm normally goes off. So much for sleeping in.

I'm just curious why on a normal school day it's like waking the dead and today they were up before the dead???

Monday, April 7, 2008

Happy Anniversary (A Little Late...)!

Friday Britney and I celebrated 10 years of being married! Neither of us feels old enough to have been married that long, but when we look back, neither of us can really remember life before being married (or before kids for that matter).

Britney's aunt and uncle were nice enough to watch the kids overnight for us and we headed off to Minneapolis for a night away. Of course, my main objective for the weekend was a trip to Ikea :) Britney was a great sport and shopped with me for many hours. We also hit the Mall of America for some souvenirs for the kids and took a quick trip to the find a free ATM.

Once back to the safety of suburbia and a free ATM at Target, we headed back downtown to find our hotel. We stayed at an amazing place - probably the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. The Minneapolis Grand is beautiful. It's an old hotel that's been re-done. But, the room had a beautiful bed, terry cloth bathrobes and the biggest hotel bathroom I've ever seen. There were even Godiva chocolates on our pillows after we got back from dinner. It was such a nice treat to have a real haven to go to and just celebrate being together.

Saturday we just walked around downtown for awhile and then headed home. It was a beautiful day - 65 in the Cities! - and we actually enjoyed riding with the sunroof open and no kids yelling that it was too windy or too cold :) What a perfect ending to a perfect weekend :) Britney - thanks for a great treat! I love you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Today was the last of our first major holidays in Minnesota. I can honestly say it was an Easter like I've never had before. First of all, it was SNOWING today. Nothing major - just flurries, but definitely the first time that's happened to me.

We don't have any pictures from today because we ran out the door for breakfast at church this morning and didn't think about the camera until we were halfway there. Oh well. Maybe I'll get the kids all dressed up again and we'll "pretend" it's Easter another day.

After church, we spent the afternoon at some friends' for lunch and an egg hunt for the kids. It was so fun and relaxing! Our friends here have really taken us under their wings and they're always making sure we have someone to be with on holidays or any other special times. We usually end up at the farm with Britney's aunt and uncle, but we went there yesterday for lunch. So, today we were with friends! And my friend Gretchen is the best! She made homemade cheese straws because Paula Deen says that they're truly southern. Gretchen wanted to give us a little taste of home. And they were VERY good! Thanks, Gretchen!

We hope all of you had a wonderful Easter and were able to stop in all of the busyness of the day to remember what Jesus did for us!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes!

There's a saying in Minnesota that goes, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes." There have been days when that really is true. I remember last summer is was damp, windy and cool. Within just a few minutes, the wind turned, the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day.

Well, here are two pictures of the same tree in our front yard. One was taken Monday morning. The other was taken yesterday - when we had no snow and temps in the 40s. I guess this is spring in Minnesota!

I wonder what today will hold? Supposedly rain, but we'll see :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not Another Stinking Snowstorm

Apparently my last post was a bit premature. Although last week we enjoyed temps in the 40s (a heat wave!), winter is not over here yet. After all, it's not officially spring until later this week...

Here is the forecast: Today - SNOW - 100% chance Tonight - MORE SNOW - 90% chance; total accumulation 4-8 inches

There is also a chance of snow for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I knew when I woke up this morning that it was going to be a dreary day since everything was shrouded in white. But, as hard as I tried to be grumpy and as ready as I am for spring, the Lord wouldn't let me be and I found myself smiling as I walked by the window, again amazed at the beauty that waits for us outside. Even if it is COLD :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


That's what I saw when I looked out the window this morning - GREEN!!!!!! You have no idea how good that felt. The snow is melting pretty quickly, and the grass is peeking through. Actually by now, it's more than peeking. It's been in the 40s the last few days - a far cry from the below-zero temps we had for so long!

Spring is definitely in the air. We played outside today for probably 4 hours. It was warm enough to be out with just a sweatshirt, and I even walked down to the grocery store this afternoon - both things we haven't done for months.

The winter was long and cold, but actually not as bad as I was expecting. Yes, it's a lot different than winters in Georgia, but it's beautiful just the same. To look out over all the fields and see nothing but white is actually quite amazing to me. And there were days when it really looked like a winter wonderland when the dew had frozen on the trees and they were completely covered in ice, yet the sun was shining. To know that the same God who made the snow also made the beautiful green that they will be in just a few short weeks. This is truly some of the most beautiful land I've ever seen. You can see for miles and if you're out in the mornings just as the sun is coming up, it's absolutely breathtaking. It really makes me wonder how someone could deny that an awesome God created this. There is no way something this beautiful just happened.

Did I miss the winter in Georgia? Sure - parts of it. But I can honestly say now that having lived through (and survived!) a Minnesota winter means that I will appreciate spring and summer more and more. I can't wait to get outside and plant flowers and maybe even a vegetable garden. I can't wait to take the kids to the lake and watch them swim and play. And I know that when fall is here again and we're at football games and the pumpkin patch, winter will be just around the corner. But, now I know I can handle that too. I look forward to our second year here and enjoying God's beauty in all the seasons!


I think I've been in denial the last week which is why I haven't posted this yet. Ashlyn turned 6 - SIX - last Thursday. Wow. I can't believe I have a six year old.

She had a great day! She told me as she was going to bed that night that it was the best birthday she's ever had. I know her teacher, Mrs. Erdmann, does a wonderful job making the kids feel special when they have to go to school on their birthday. Ashlyn got to wear a birthday sticker and crown all day at school. She got to take cupcakes with sprinkles on them for snack, eat supper at Pizza Ranch (her favorite restaurant) and got some great gifts all on the same day!

Ashlyn had a small birthday party on Saturday with 4 of her friends. We made flower necklaces, played Kiss the Frog (a princess version of pin the tail on the donkey), have a tea party, decorated treat bags, ate cake and ice cream and played hide and seek. It was a great day and there were some very sweet little girls here. They even included Carter in the fun and games - with no complaints or coercion from mom!

Ashlyn - you are such a sweet little girl. You know what you want and aren't afraid to say it. I hope that confidence follows you all through your life. You're known in your class this year as the nicest girl. I hope that follows you too! I love you and thank God every day for blessing me with you. Happy Birthday (a little late...)!

Oh yeah - you can check out pictures from the big days here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I don't know how many of you will even know what this show is, but it's one my kids like. It comes on PBS.

Anyway, for those of you not in the know, it's about 3 kids - Matt, Jackie and Inez - who get sucked into cyberspace to help Motherboard fight off Hacker. Why am I blogging about this? Because I'm sitting here at the table watching my kids play Cyberchase. Ashlyn is Inez, Carter is Matt and they're trying to work out problems with their tractors.

It's too funny!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Before And After

This is a topic I hope to be able to blog about much more in the near future. There are some minor changes that will make a big impact planned for the Fransen house in the near future. But, for now, I've finally finished Ashlyn's room. Her first room. The room she was in when we first moved here, but then decided she wanted the room with the balcony, but then changed her mind again and wanted the bigger room she was in before. So, that's where she is now. For good.

I feel like this post is worthy of some background since you really don't understand how long I've been working on getting her room "finished." It all started this summer with this project. Then we had to wait for the roof to be fixed because when I finally got all of the wallpaper off the ceiling, we discovered a leak in the roof that had been camouflaged by the wallpaper. Then we had to wait for the ceiling to be fixed because the plaster was sagging where the roof had leaked and all of the lathe was rotted underneath. Now all of that has finally been done and Ashlyn decided that she really wanted the big room after all. *Sigh* (No wonder I'm tired all the time!)

So, this weekend while Britney was gone ice fishing, I decided it would be a good time to prime and paint Ashlyn's room. I just really needed to feel like I could finish something. I have a couple of other projects going, but I've lost my motivation on them because they're taking FOREVER! Anyway, I got the room done and here are the before and after pictures. All that's left are curtains and some artwork I'm looking for. Hopefully I'll have both of those in the next couple of weeks. And a rug might be nice :) But, the main thing is that I have quite a happy little girl tonight and all just in time for the birthday on Thursday!

What's next you ask? Stay tuned to find out...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Man in the Suitcase

Here you go - another glimpse into the life of my son.

This was a few nights ago, but I was having computer issues and couldn't get the post to publish. He thought it might be fun to see if he could fit in his suitcase. What do you think? Maybe we can pack him like that the next time we drive to Georgia!

All Scrapped Out and Other Random News

This weekend I went on my first ever scrapbooking retreat. I mostly agreed to go because it was 2 nights away where I was free to do whatever I wanted, even though I went under the pretense of "scrapbooking." Out of the 15-20 people that were there, I only knew 2 others, so I literally was on my own. Friday night flew by and even though when I got to Okoboji the antiques stores and flea markets were calling my name, I went to the resort and even decided to start working on my books.

Before I knew it, I was actually enjoying myself and getting a TON done. Seventy-four pages later - yes 74! I had completed everything I had brought with me to do by 11:00 Saturday night. It was a great weekend and I made it to church on Sunday in time to see Ashlyn sing with the Sunday school classes.

This retreat came after a trying week with Carter - one of the reasons I was so eager to go! The medicine he was on to keep his ears clear until we could get to the ENT made him HYPER! He's one of those kids anyway, but he was almost uncontrollable on the medicine and like clockwork about 30 minutes after his daily dose, he was bouncing off the walls.

Thursday afternoon we went to the ENT and just like everything else with this kid, the answer was clear as mud. The doc basically said if it was his kid, he would do the tubes, but not to count on them staying in any longer than 9 months to a year. Our dilemma is that winter is just about over (snow is actually melting here!) and we're headed into the time of year when last year, he didn't have a single runny nose or ear infection. The dilemma is that if the tubes do help but only stay in 9 months, we're right back to November when all of this started up again this year!

And one final bit of random news - my friend Angela is finally pregnant! She's just gone through in vitro and the blood test came back positive yesterday afternoon. She's only 4 weeks, so please pray for her that things go smoothly over the next few weeks and months for them.

I'm off to enjoy the warmer weather. I check back in later...Maybe when the sun goes down since it's finally out again!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


That pretty much sums it up today. Just when you think you're heading toward warmer weather (it was 35 on Saturday!), a day like today hits and it's just not nice.

Right now the temp is 20 BELOW ZERO and the wind chill is about 45 BELOW ZERO. School is delayed for 2 hours right now because of how cold it is and kids that ride the bus can't be warm enough when it's this cold.

I'm going to put on another sweatshirt...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finally Some Progress

Carter went back to the doctor today for his ear re-check and his 3 year check up. We finally have made progress on his ear problems. The doctor here is sending us to an ENT next week and is recommending that we have a tube put in Carter's right ear. Finally! I had to really fight being angry at the doctor we had in Georgia for not doing this sooner. According to the doctor here, Carter probably should've had a tube put in some time ago. Now we're just praying that there's no hearing loss due to all the ear infections he's had.

In other news, Carter is a whopping 32 pounds and is 37 1/2 inches tall - both of which fall in about the 50% range. So, he's one average 3 year old.

I'll be sure to let you know how his appointment next week goes! Thanks for praying for him (and me!).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ice Fishing

This is one phenomenon that I still cannot wrap my head around. The lakes here have been frozen for a few months with A LOT of ice on top. I heard something like 20 inches the other day.

But. It's. Still. A. Lake. Why in the world would you drive a truck on it?

Better yet, why would you have a "fish house" with a heater in it? On ICE??? This Southern girl just can't do it yet. Maybe one year.

These pictures are of the same lake in Worthington that these pictures were taken at this summer. Blows your mind, doesn't it???

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What If?

I was talking to Britney about this the other day and he said I should blog about it. If you're bored - blame him :)

Do you ever ask that question - what if? What if I fail? What if this doesn't work? What if you move to Minnesota and hate it? What if I make the wrong decision?

There have been so many times I've seen people paralyzed by this. They have to control everything in their lives and by not being "sure" of something, it keeps them from following what the Lord is telling them. Drives me crazy!

If you know me well at all, you know that I am not a worrier and that I have little or no patience for people who are. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. (Not that I'm saying it's right not to have patience - just want to let you know where I'm coming from if you're ever on the receiving end of my impatience...)

When I was in second grade, my teacher, Miss Cantrell, told us that we were not allowed to ask the question What If? I remember being freaked out about that because as a child I worried about EVERYTHING! My thoughts after she told us that were things like what if there is a fire in our classroom - how will we get out? A little dramatic for a 7 year old, I think.

But, Miss C's words have always stuck with me. It probably doesn't hurt that one of my spiritual gifts is faith either. And that my parents were pretty good models of having faith in the Lord to meet your needs.

I'm not saying throw caution to the wind and do whatever the heck you want. I'm just saying the next time you feel led in a certain way, pray about it and if you truly feel like God is leading you there - FOLLOW HIM! Even if you fail and fall flat on your face, at least you can say you had the courage to try and follow Him. I know I don't want to get to heaven and get asked why I didn't trust Him to lead me through life.

And, if you need encouragement or someone to pray for you when you're going through that - call me!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Another First

So, it seems I'm going with a theme here. Yesterday was the first time we went sledding. Our small group at church decided to do family activities once a month. This month the choice was sledding. What a blast! The kids trekked up and down the hill for a solid 2 hours. We only had one injury. Another little boy went right down the hill into a tree. He his with his shoulder luckily and not his head. It looked pretty bad from the top of the hill, but once his parents calmed him down and checked him over, it looked like he was OK - just pretty shaken up. His name is Abel, so if you think about him today, say a prayer for him!

The complete sledding adventure is here.

Now back to a normal day of playing and laundry :) It's beautiful here today - supposed to be in the 40's! It's like a heat wave!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

More Weather Updates

OK, so yesterday was a little short. Mostly because I was too cold and tired to write more. Today is better, but then again, I just got up an hour ago :)

Right now, the temp outside is -15 but the windchill is -34. There are warnings out for today that it is dangerous to go outside for any period of time without you skin being completely covered. We'll be staying inside :)

If I had remembered to put on my long underwear yesterday, it wouldn't have been that bad. But, I was rushing out the door to my Bible study and didn't even think about it until it was too late. Walking to get Ashlyn from school wasn't too bad, until I turned the corner and the wind was blowing straight at me. That got COLD!

In other news, Carter has another ear infection. I don't even know how many this makes in his life, but it's only the second one he's had since we moved 8 months ago. That's some kind of record! We go to the doctor at the little clinic here in Adrian because it's only 3 blocks away and I actually really like him. I don't know if I like the doctor more or the fact that we can go for our appointment, wait for tests to come back, get a prescription filled and be home within less than an hour. There were days when it took me an hour just to drive to the doctor in Georgia. And with as sick as my kids were, that was A LOT of driving in the car.

But the other thing that really impressed me when I took Carter in on Thursday is the doctor is concerned about why he keeps getting infections in the same ear. He's looked through his records and doesn't necessarily agree that it's because of allergies. When I take Carter back for his check, he's going to do a test on him to see if there is fluid staying behind the eardrum. After only TWO ear infections. I was floored and couldn't believe that after 2 years of fighting with the doctors in Georgia, two visits and he's ready to see what the underlying problem is. He may just be my hero.

Friday, January 18, 2008


That was the actual high today. Enough said.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Shoveling Snow

So, what have you been up to? Me? I've been shoveling snow. We haven't had much, but it's the first time I've had to shovel since before Christmas. We got about three inches last week, so I decided Carter needed some time to play outside. He decided he would do daddy's job for him.

I thought I would post these pictures for those of you who have never experienced shoveling snow before. It's usually not too bad. It's like throwing cotton across the driveway almost, unless it's iced over. Then it's like shoveling red clay. And the most fun part is throwing the snow on Carter. Yes, I really throw snow on him and yes, I'm a mean mom. He usually laughs and throws snow right back on me. Or on the garage.

On the day these pictures were taken, a mystery person came and cleared out the front part of our driveway. You see, our driveway is huge. We live on a corner lot and it circles around so that you can enter from either street. After our first big snowfall just after Thanksgiving, the snow turned to freezing rain before the storm moved through. So, it was like trying to shovel through six inches of red clay in freezing cold weather. You can imagine how far we got. We decided to just clear the entrance closest to the garage and leave the other side of the driveway until spring. No big deal.

Britney had managed to shovel a path for me to walk the kids to school without having to go through the deep snow. When I came home from school that morning, the driveway was still covered and our path was still there. While Carter and I were out shoveling snow, I realized that someone had come in the couple of hours we were up in the playroom and used their snow tractor to clear out the driveway.

So, to whoever our mystery snow blower is, thank you! To the rest of you, think of me the next time you hear there's a snow storm in the Midwest!

Monday, January 7, 2008


My boy turned 3 today. Yep - he's no longer a baby. Three. Wow.

And can I just say that we did NOT bid farewell to the terrible twos today. Nope - they followed us right on to three. Hopefully it was their last hoorah and they'll be long gone tomorrow. Or tonight.

Carter, I love you so much! You're the only kid I know who can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' without skipping a beat. You can make me laugh when I'm so mad at you I could spit. You have the best personality in the world and I'm so thankful that the Lord entrusted you to me.

Now, tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully it will be a better one!