Monday, June 30, 2008

Still a little time to...

buy something in the ScrapInStyle Boutique (tonight until midnight CST) and be eligible for a grand prize which includes everything you see pictured in the second photo here. Also, there is free shipping on all orders domestic orders of $50 or more. Talk about a good deal! There's a lot going on at SIStv tonight and you read this there are games and challenges under message board threads titled "Slumber Party". I had previously mentioned that the Girly-Girl Collection goes on sale today. That's what you see in the top photo and what I used to scrap this for Wyndham's room...a little wall-hanging.
Speaking of slumber party.
Our family took a spontaneous trip up to a friend's cabin this weekend and we had a little bit of our own slumber party. The weather was gorgeous and I have a sunburn to prove it. The kids loved the lake and Brock was an expert kayaker...we had no idea he would do so well! I have a ton of photos, but also a ton of wet swimsuits, towels and dirty bedding to wash, as well as some home keeping to do as a result of our trip. So you will just have to be patient for pictures from the lake.
I have to say, as much as it's fun to get away for a short time, it mostly serves to reaffirm to me just how much of a homebody I am. And nothing feels better than a shower {with Buttercream shower gel} and your own bed once you get home. =)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Staying busy.

My summer seems to be flying by already, as June is swiftly coming to an end. We're just starting to get warm temps and high humidity though, so hopefully that means there is still a lot of splashing and playing to do.
I pulled out the kiddie pools a few times this week and found I still fit into a swimming suit. =) {I'm 27 weeks today and updated my pics here if you're following the 'journey to you' pics in my SIS gallery.} I got a cute chinese take-out box with some onesies tucked inside from the owner of, as well as some cute t-shirts for the rest of the kids this week too. I just had to share a pic and say a public-blog thank you!
I know you don't all scrap, but for those of you who do, I can tell you that there is going to be a new Collection coming out in the SIS Boutique on Monday. It's called "Girly-Girl" and it has some of the most adorable papers and items included in it. I scrapped a mini 'wishes' album with it- which you can view here- and I'm looking forward to making a few more things over the weekend as well.
Ava fell in love with the above pink felt flowers as soon as I opened my box of stuff. She took one look at them and then said to me, "Let's go scrapping right now...I'm using the pink flowers first!". I think it broke her heart when I told her they were mine. In fact, I might just have to make her a special hair clip or bracelet or something wearable with one or more of them. It would make her day!
Thanks for so many of you who continue to send me emails and encourage me to share my stories here at Nitty.Gritty. I am getting further and further behind in my replies as a result. I also have found several emails that have gone straight to my spam folder. If you have any sort of website or bloglink in your note, it almost always gets sent to that box. I'm happy to have saved a bunch of them...but just wanted you to know that if you never hear from me, it's likely your note slipped by me. I do read all my emails from my readers and I respond as often as I can. If you write blog or Teagan or Nitty.Gritty. or even buttercream in the subject line, I will be certain to fish it out and make sure it gets read. =)
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I love warm banana bread.

Things I loved today... banana bread, hearing the baby's strong heartbeat, smelling the fresh earth through an open window as the rain drizzled outside, watching my girls play together without arguing for more than an hour, having Brock say, "I love you, Mom" more than once, getting an unexpected phonecall from my sister {thanks, Steph!}, remembering fond memories of my inlaws home as today is their last day in it after 37 years there {Chip and I were married in the backyard of that home...}, eating a buy 1- get 1 free waffle dish from Marble Slab with Chip and kiddos, reading Isaiah chapter 40 and realizing what a gift it is to 'wait on the Lord' only to have Him renew your strength, seeing Wyndham so happy to join her friends at therapy for a field trip to the Childrens' Museum, getting kids into jammies knowing today was a gift with them and tomorrow will be another gift with them, giving them hugs and kisses and getting them right back, hearing my mom's voice on the answering machine saying, "Hi, this is Mom, I just called to talk..."
It's the little stuff in life that often matters most of all. I am so blessed and I never want to take the little stuff for granted. Even fresh-baked banana bread.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Without question...

Chip was down on one knee asking me to make him the happiest man on earth and say yes to being his wife about this time- 14 years ago.
I said "yes...but you have to understand..."
And then I went on to tell him how I was so opposed to having kids- ever- I made him promise me that he never, ever wanted kids either. He did. He said he could live without kids, but he couldn't live without me, and with that, we were engaged. It was a really wonderful time in both of our lives. The photobooth pictures here are some we took, I think, on the day or within the week we were engaged. The last set of pics we took on that winter on one of our dates out at the Mall of America.
I love seeing how happy we look, how much fun we had together, and I love that even though I had my heart set against falling into a relationship at that point in my life, that I couldn't help myself when it came to Chip. I was smitten from the very first date. He was the smooth...or otherwise we were just 'that meant' to be together. {We were married about 14 months later.}
I regret over and over that I was so selfish though at that time in my life, that I made him agree to 'no kids'. I really was that set against having kids consume my time, my life, my money, my agenda. I was so selfish that at the time, it didn't even sound ridiculous to me when I made him promise me such a thing.
But God was already at work in my heart and in our lives. I am so glad that He was. I am so glad that He was willing to have me angry and hurt and depressed at Him for allowing me to get pregnant {we found out the morning of our first annivesary weekend that we were expecting a baby- Teagan..} and yet He knew what was best for us in our lives at that time. Even if it didn't fit my agenda.
I am so glad that God, through Teagan and through Chip, softened my heart and made me "see" my selfishness. I am so glad that I have grown and changed and lived and learned and followed a path that I never would have even been on had it not been for many events in my life. I am so glad that I said "yes" to Chip fourteen years ago. I am so glad he even asked me to join him in this life journey we are on- even when I needed a change of heart.
I would say "yes" again to him. Without question.
It has been one of the best things decisions of my life.
I love you, Chip and I thank you a hundred times over for asking me to be yours. Forever.

Monday, June 23, 2008

So many

So many of you to thank. Lots of you have sent me means so much and makes me happy to know you are encouraged or inspired or just laugh and cry along with me on this Nitty.Gritty. journey through life.
God is Real.
I think there just aren't enough people sharing their stories of how Real He is, and therefore mine looks pretty amazing or incredible or even 'unbelievable' for some people. So thank you for many of you for contacting me and sharing how God is real in your life. There is so much "fluff" and meaningless stuff out in the world- from the media to people not living authentic lives and lots of messages come at us that sometimes it's hard to know what to believe.
I am grateful to be learning that I do know and hear Truth and am seeking each day to understand it more fully and to have God be even more real to me. He is blessing me as I call out to Him. Some of you made mention of my 'deep faith' and even wished you had such a thing. I am here to tell you that it is not unique to me. It is free and available to anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. God will hear you. He is knocking on your heart's door and waiting for you to come to Him.
When is the last time you cried out to Him?
Have you wondered about God's purpose and plan for your life?
Do you believe you can have as much Joy and Hope as Christ has?
You can.
And it's free to all who seek Him.
I hope, if anything, that my life and words occasionally make you want to know Him more deeply- more fully- more passionately.
He is worth whatever you have to give up inorder to find Him.
I'm no saint and I certainly don't have all the answers.
But I continue to seek and I am humbled and appreciative that so many of you are seeking Him too and find my stories encourage you on this journey.
Thank you for coming alongside me- even anonymously or unknowingly often times. I was moved by how many of you wrote to me for the first time. I am still reading your emails and hope to respond to as many as I can! You have encouraged me. I would love to chat with you over a Starbuck's or bowl of carrot cake ice cream. You sound so nice and interesting and many of you have been broken in this world too. I would love to listen to your stories, and I'm sure that I would find God being real to you too.
I'm grateful that Truth always has a way of touching people and I will never be ashamed of sharing my story and my convictions as long as I know they come from my heart...that they are true. Thanks for many words of encouragement. I appreciate you and them!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The polls...

I find it hard to follow posts in which there is controversy or misunderstanding in what I write, so I have literally taken time to think and process and pray before I came back to share my thoughts again.
Each blogpost here at Nitty.Gritty. surprisingly gets on average 1100-1200 views. I'm not sure who you are or where you are reading from, but I find that interesting, to say the least. I really don't consider myself that exciting or thoughtful or well-written or even that controversial of a person. Really. If you were to meet me at line in Target having never read my blog, you would think I'm just another ordinary mom. Or maybe you would see me ride the cart out to my car and think I was crazy...but certainly you wouldn't point or whisper or think anything outstanding about me. =) And I wouldn't expect you to, nor would I want to stand out.
I have been very happy to just sort of 'blend in' with people around me- never moreso than since when Teagan died. There was a time in my life when our town was small and everyone knew me as "the lady whose daughter was killed in the restaurant accident". They watched me at church and at Wal-mart and when our family went out to eat. It was hard to be 'on display' knowing that whatever I/we did people would have an opinion about it. It would either be 'too early to be doing that' or 'I could never do what they do' or just the quiet, watchful eyes waiting to see when and if Chip and I would split up or any number of other things.
The first couple of months after our tragedy I found I couldn't even shop for groceries without crying or falling apart in the parking lot as I loaded bags into our car. Then one time I was so determined not to cry- I didn't even want to think about what happened- I actually wanted to pretend it never had happened. And hardly three steps through the front doors, someone who had been at the scene came up to me with a big hug and started crying- and I just stood in that embrace and tried to forget.
And maybe it was that moment, but I realized that 'it' was always going to be with me- a big part of me- a part that would affect how I think, how I feel, how I act, how I respond, how I live. Every single day.
But I also determined at that point, that I didn't want to live with that 'banner' over me. I wanted more out of life than just a dark tragic incident. I think I spent some time yelling at God about "how could He let this happen to me- to us?" where we didn't have a choice- even though my heart was longing for change?! I was confused and I didn't know how to 'live with grief'. I'd never done it before...I'd never read a manual on how to do it- much less do it well.
I guess maybe that is my disclaimer for sharing my story. I never signed up for or wished to have "grief" be the 'big thing' in my life that shapes much of what I think, say and do. I never thought I would grow up and be "a mom who lost a child at a young age and as a result also has a child with special needs". I never thought this would be my life. But it is. And how I choose to journey through life with it, I guess, may not be 'popular' or fit with the way others would choose to do it. I respect that. But I would also expect others to respect my way of doing it...and the fact that I share as openly as I do doesn't make me 'dark or obsessed with death' or in need of therapy as some suggest. I also don't believe that grief is something that will lead my kids down a road wrought with mental and emotional scars all their lives. I think it is one aspect of our lives- but it's just that. One part of it.
Just as others have their 'thing'...we have ours.
Yours might be financial burdens or alcoholism or divorce or abuse or depression or addiction or compulsive behavior or any other number of emotional and mental problems that are out there in our world. None of us are immune from the hurts in this world. No one. But it doesn't automatically make us and those who share our lives victims of that- we can choose how to respond. And that, I believe, is what Chip and I are doing in our lives- in our family.
We choose to remember Teagan and to share some of the stories and memories we have of her...but we also have spent years and energy to create new, happy memories and let our kids personalites guide us as to how much we talk about Teagan. I have never been concerned for them 'picking up on nonverbals'- which I believe would be the occasional tears we shed, or the way we smile as we tell them our memories. We have never made them feel guilty or ashamed or scared of death. I have no concerns for our children to grow up and read any of these blog posts. I think it will more likely help them understand and hopefully it will be something fun for them- to remember more clearly- not just Teagan, but their own childhood and antics and they will see their personalities grow and develop. I worry about my kids watching Prime-time network television and other things far worse than anything I have ever written or posted here.
All that to say, I appreciate the comments. I enjoy the dialogue and many of you choose to email me and encourage me and share your own thoughts and stories. I have gained deep friendships as a result of writing this blog, and I have also learned so much about myself.
I have never worried about 'writing for my audience' I said, there are more than 1000 of you and I have no clue who most of you are- so it would be impossible to tailor my posts for you anyway. What I do know, is that I enjoy writing. I enjoy sharing. I feel very strongly that God has a purpose and a plan that far exceeds anything I could dream up for my own life and by noting some of the ups and downs on a blog, I literally can 'see' how God is in control. That gives me peace and great assurance. At times some of you say you can 'see it too' and to me, that is only by the grace of God.
There is a lot of 'fluff' out there in the world and the media seems so full of negativity. I try to balance some of what I share with fun and depth and meaning, because that is what I seek in life. I seek to live a life of purpose- but a life with Joy and Hope...and with so many kids and a great husband, I would be remiss to not post fun, light-hearted stuff. It's just a part of my life.
So although I may not get the 'best ratings' when I post on certain topics, I have no plans to change the way I write, the things I write, nor be ashamed or intimidated by those things. I'm not in this for the glory. I'm just being me.
Thanks again to so many of you who choose to share your thoughts with me- both in comments and by way of email. And sometimes by phonecalls too...Mom. =)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I found a website with some really cute {I love the side-wrap style shirts and snaps for babies} newborn outfits that has made me think that boy clothes can be fun too. After so many girls I have gone through lots of pink and purple stuff with butterflies and hearts and so it's actually kind of fun for me to think about the more 'mellow side' of clothing and just seeing the small clothes is getting me more and more anxious to meet our next baby. A little boy. We're still discussing names andopen to suggestions. I have no doubt something will just 'seem right' in the end.
In the past couple of days I have done lots of thinking and I start getting in the 'memory mode' of the summer that our tragedy occurred and Teagan was suddenly gone. I look at Ava right now and she is almost the identical age of Teagan at the time of her last days with us here on earth. {They are just four days apart in age and so I clearly recall Teagan through Ava right now.} I can't help but remember, and wonder too. That time in our lives- even though Wyndham had had some medical concerns earlier that spring- still holds some of the best memories for me and our family. The kids traveled back home with us to Minnesota a few times and we hung out with family and friends and really just loved a simpler time and lots of happiness.
Teagan was turning into such a little lady- she was mostly sweet with a little bit of attitude that she would put to use when she felt it served her best. =) She was not afraid to play the role of big sister to both Brock and Wyndham (Brock was 2...Wyndham was 5 months) and would tell them stories and dictate the activities they would play. She would tell Brock, "we're going to play house and you're going to be the dad" and he would go right along with her pretending and having fun. She would invite him to her room to play Barbies and he never turned her down. He was her little shadow and the two of them had so much fun together. Rarely a squabble was heard as Brock was so easy-going and just seemed to thrive with Teagan leading him around the house and yard. It was a perfect match as far as brother/sister matches go.
Even with Wyndham, Teagan seemed so happy to be a helper and she was often at my side to help dress and change and feed and play with Wyndham. She would tell her things like, "Purple is my favorite color, but you can have pink" and "I have some coconut sparkle lip gloss that you can share with me when you get bigger". I was so happy that things seemed so 'easy' with 3 kids and that there was never an issue of jealousy going on or a constant fight for my attention. We were just happy being a family.
I couldn't help but wonder what I would have been doing in my life had God not sent me the gift of these kids- especially since my heart had been so dead-set against ever having kids. I found myself loving every minute of being a mom and I even thanked God {in my prayers and in my journal} for giving me the opportunity to be the one to watch them grow. I wasn't perfect in my role- I often then and still do feel inadequate for the task of raising and molding and shaping my children, but it was a wonderful thing for me and I was learning patience, humility and dependence on God.
The past few days as I have been doing my morning quiet times and reading through some wonderful stories and history of God at work in the Old Testament in the Bible, it makes me see just how thought out and planned our God truly is. He can be trusted in all circumstances and He never makes mistakes. No matter how out-of-control or upside-down our world can feel or be. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if we never had our incident and Teagan was still here. Chip and I have talked and agree that likely we wouldn't have possibly one or two of the kids we have since Teagan's death. God has opened our hearts to His ways and plans and that has resulted in us being open and even exicted about more kids- where prior to July 2001, the idea of more kids caused worry and stress and we looked at our finances and abilities and it made the possibility much more slim.
Now, we're still not perfect, but we do know that God can use us anyway. We rely on Him for the needs and concerns we have each day and we know from our past experiences that God is never going to fail us. He will always give us the strength and ability to do and be who He wants us to be.
I have to admit, I still find myself wondering and questioning that the things that have happened in our lives and I still wish they could be different. I wish Teagan didn't have to die and I wonder what kind of girl Wyndham would be if she could talk and play and be 'normal' like the rest of her siblings and friends. But I have learned to stop asking questions, to let them go because there are no good answers, and instead, I look forward to the future and try to love the moments I have today.
Today that means I miss Teagan and still can remember her laughter and smiles and how she lit up our lives from the moment she woke up each morning {or sometimes noon or later...she was a night owl!}, but at the same time I can hear my other kids talking and laughing and I am feeling the kicks and stretches of another member of our family from the inside and my heart is at peace. (If you want, click here for most recent belly pics.) I will never stop wondering. But I have learned I can love this moment just the way it is. And it makes me love God even more. He is good and His mercies continue to overflow in our lives. I will never stop loving Him- no matter how often I question His ways. He is all we need!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To Daddy- all the way from Heaven~

Dear Daddy,
I know it seems like forever since we last hugged like this, but I want you to know that you're still the love of my heart. I love how you have found ways to smile in life, even though I'm gone, and that you have danced with my sisters, Wyndham, Bella and Ava many times since I left you. I love that you have made Brock laugh and Mommy too. They have needed you so many times and you have always been there for them.
I love how you have cried and hurt for me, but found ways to remember all the good times we shared. I have seen how hard you have worked to make sure that there have been lots of good times for the rest of the family- even when it has been difficult to do. You are my hero, forever and always.
I hope you know that I don't miss you a minute while I'm here in Heaven, but I can't wait for you to get here...someday! Make sure you love on the new baby that God is sending you soon. I helped pick him out for you, so I already know he's going to fit in perfectly! Tell Mommy hi and give her and everyone else a big squeeze for me.
I hope you have a really great Father's Day!
Love, Your Angel in Heaven~ Teagan

Friday, June 13, 2008

Maybe it is cliche, but I have to admit...

I think I got the world's greatest dad. This post is my tribute to him as we head into Father's Day this weekend.
Really, as I sit here and browse through hundreds of pictures, many of which have my dad in them or remind me of him, I can literally feel my heart burst with blessing. And that's only going back in photos to 2007! I did nothing in my life to deserve a dad as wonderful as he, and I am humbled and grateful for him- more than he knows.
Growing up I had no clue how great he really was. He was a dairy farmer turned pastor/minister very early in my life and it's only now, as an adult, that I appreciate that God placed him in my life and I was able to grow up with his amazing example of love, dedication, leadership, and servanthood all wrapped in one. I know that many people in this world have broken relationships with their fathers, or non-existent relationships with their fathers, and many do not even know who their father is. My heart hurts for those people- maybe you are one of them, and yet I know that God can use even these 'broken relationships' to draw you into a closer relationship with Him. God is my Heavenly Father, but I am lucky that on earth He gave me a Dad whose heart seeks after Him. The two together are more than I deserve. As I said, it's humbling.
That's why I'm having a hard time trying to decide what to put into print here. I could write a book on my dad alone, and still it wouldn't be enough to put the impact he's had in my life into perspective.
I first posted a picture of cereal with berries, because not only is it one of my favorite meals this time of year, but it is probably the one food that reminds me most of my dad. He has a routine of eating a big bowl for breakfast and many times he has a bowl before bedtime too. He loves fresh fruits and vegetables and so anytime I throw a handful of berries on my cereal, I can't help but think of my dad. He has always been a man who loves 'the earth and growing things'...and although he left a life of farming, it has always stayed in his blood. We were fortunate to have big gardens and fresh produce and flowers in and around our home all the years I was growing up. My dad has grown 'healthy' in his eating habits, especially in the past 10 years- not that eating big, hearty meals was ever a bad thing in his past, but he has modified his diet to maximize his health and well-being and it makes me proud that he cares so much about himself that he would give up red meat many times and opt for something low-fat/high fiber. He still loves a good steak and mashed potatoes and a homemade pie for dessert...he just has gotten very good about being balanced, and that's not always an easy thing to do in our society.
Beyond his eating habits {sorry, Dad, if I am sharing too much of you with my blog readers} he has so many other gifts and character qualities that make me love and respect him. I love that his whole life he has been a 'family guy'. Again, in our society, it's not always the most macho thing to be, and yet he has more reasons to be respected than many 'guys' I have met and known in my life. I am thankful for the example he has been in every situation- whether it is being home at dinner to eat meals, keeping up his home and property and caring for other peoples' property, or for the many times he has read the Bible and prayed next to the bedside of someone who is sick or even dying, including his own granddaughter, Teagan. I have watched him hold back tears when he has had to be strong, and at that same instance I have known his heart is breaking. That to me speaks volumes and he doesn't need a Harley bike to prove to me he is a man- through and through. Although....he would look great on a Harley and I have seen him on a motorcycle, and I mean no offense to any guys out there who do ride. I think it's awesome. I just am trying to say that my dad has this amazing thing about him where he has the most gentle spirit, yet the strength he needs to face hardships in life is equally evident. I've never seen him fold under pressure, but I have seen Him cry out to God for strength. That to me is a special gift.
So he loves his family, he loves his kids and grandkids and extended relatives. He shows he love in many ways, and one of the greatest things I can say about my dad is that I can't ever recall a time that he has ever said anything to tear down my mom. His love for her is deeper and wider than he probably ever thought it could be, and all the years I have seen them love together, work together, hurt together and serve together, I have yet to see him say or do anything negative to my mom. I love that his example of loving his wife is practically flawless. He might have a few regrets over the many years together, but he has never shown in front of others, anything other than love and respect to her. It makes me love him more- for that reason alone. I think my mom would jump in here and tell you that she thinks she's pretty lucky to have him at her side, and I know for a fact she wouldn't trade him for anything!
I've covered food, family, strength and love for God and his wife...and yet there is so much more. My dad has been the one on my life who I can turn to for questions and advice about money, about discipline, about God's purpose and will in my life, about cars and about carpet. I can ask him anything and know that he is going to give me a solid answer, or I can expect him to be honest and tell me that he doesn't know- but he will pray about whatever concern I hand him. He has answered phonecalls with me in tears in the middle of the day and night. He has dropped everything for my needs at times- without a second thought.
All that and I still can remember some of the 'little stuff' too. The time he took me out pheasant hunting- even though he knew I wasn't going to shoot a thing. Or the many times he let me pick out a "free puppy" and bring it home- knowing he'd be doing much of the care for our new pet. I think of the times he had to discipline me or say 'no'- knowing I wouldn't like what he said/did and yet he did it because it was best for me. I think of all the times he drove me to work or school- and had the car all warmed up and waiting- even if it was 10 below zero in the middle of a Minnesota snowstorm. I think of all the accomplishments- with dairy cows and with his Bible schooling that he has shared with me and been excited about. From the MN State Fair to church and lots of things in between, he has shared his heart with me and many others. Today, my own heart wells up with love and find memories for my dad and who he is in my life.
I don't deserve him, but I thank God for placing me in his care and I can never say enough about how much love and respect I have for my dad.
Those last few pictures are some of my favorites from last summer when I spent three weeks with my dad (and other family in MN) and all my kids messed up my parents' home as we made ourselves at home with them. I love that we share life together simply- we make homemade icecream and sing songs and choruses together. We go to the zoo and the park and run errands and visit other family. We basically just love being together- knowing that the time is short, so we should just soak it all in. When I see the pictures here of him with Ava, that's exactly what I see. Now my dad would say his hair looks terrible in these pictures- the humidity and wind were both kicked into high that afternoon. But what I see in these pictures, is a dad- a grandpa, who knows that his love for God and family and his love for nature and enjoying life is not something to be taken for granted. He appreciates these simple moments. Watching him wrap one arm around Ava and use the other arm to teeter-totter two other grandkids is just a beautiful metaphor to me- he is a picture of strength and love and balance that I could only hope others get a taste of at times in their lives too. He didn't have a care in the world when I snapped these pictures- or if he did, he didn't let it show.
I want to wish my dad and all the other amazing dads out there a Happy Father's Day weekend. And to those who of you who are reading who can't relate to a single thing I've written about my dad, my heart hurts for you, but at the same time, I know you can cry out to God as Father, and He is more than able and willing to meet every need of your heart. More than my dad has in my life.
I am doubly blessed; I am thankful for my Dad and for God in my life.
Today and always.
I love you, Dad!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Same stunt, different year.

The top picture here is of Ava at about a year and a half old. She had this obsession with pulling everything out of the closet, and this particular day I caught a picture of her sitting in the piles sipping a bottle of water. I knew one day I would be glad that I paused to take her picture, even though I was getting really tired of cleaning up the same mess so often.
She has continued to be quite the little tornado around our house and is known for dumping buckets of toys out at a time, and she of course throws a fit if she's asked to help clean up. Lately she has had a thing for her dress-up clothes. Normally she takes one out, wears it for a bit and then changes into the next outfit; she does the same thing with swimming suits.
But yesterday, she pulled this same move that I caught on camera 3 years ago. She wasn't very happy in the pictures because I told her she was going to stay where she was and after a few pictures of the mess, she was going to help put everything back in its place.
She was happy once the room was cleaned. And she vows never to pull everything out all at once again. I wonder how long it will be before she breaks that promise...and Chip wonders what I do at home all day. =) {Not really, but sometimes I think he thinks I have it too easy.}
If you want to see the scrap layout I made with the top photo, you can click and view that here.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I had the camera out to take pictures of the girls not really doing anything special, and it was interesting to me to see so much of their personalities come through. Even when they weren't 'really doing anything'. Bella was setting up the Game of Life her picture. I just asked for a smile. When she smiles with a natural smile, her eyes smile too. Wyndham was 'calling Grandma' in her picture, and when she is focused on doing something, you really can't get her to pause. She was too busy and into her little cell phone to stop for pictures.
Then there's Ava. I asked if she wanted to smile and snap a picture for us to put on the computer for her grandmas and Aly to see. This is the look she gave me. Totally giggling and then she did a few twirls and wanted me to take a couple more pictures of her with her tongue out. She said, "They're gonna see me being funny!". I love that I get to see it firsthand. Even if she wears me out most of the time. =)
Finally, I had to take a picture of a bunch of flowers that Brock just brought to me an hour ago. He and I had a rough morning- lots of whining and just general unhappiness with some of the rules he was asked to follow. He must not have eaten enough breakfast, because he was in a rare, crabby mood. Just after lunch he went outside to play with some friends and he was much more pleasant as he headed out the door. The next time I saw him he was bursting into the kitchen shoving this handful of daisys toward me saying, "These are to say how much I love you...and also sort of to smooth things over from before". I had to smile and I wonder at times if Brock is going into politics or something. He has a way with words. =)

Friday, June 06, 2008

The first week of summer...

and I've taken zero pictures thus far.
I've had kids up before 7 am a few times, no fast food {yet} =), one bee sting, a couple of big thunderstorms, one daughter creating a 'library' in her room, one to therapy a few times as well as a routine doctor appointment, hubby working long hours, and an air conditioner not quite working like it should.
Summer is in full swing. I have a feeling it will be the first day of school way too soon.
And because I'm just feeling lazy this week...
Happy Birthday to my sister, Stephanie (June 4th). Happy Birthday to Auntie Kim (today) and Happy {early...June 8th} Birthday to Grandpa John! Love from all of us here to each of you!
And just as a warning to all my readers who aren't family, you may be in for 3 months of long breaks, boring posts and random thoughts from me here at Nitty.Gritty. I'm 24 weeks into my pregnancy and finding that putting my feet up and just 'watching life happen' feels pretty good most days. Even when the air is hot and humid. Wish me a little luck and a lot of patience getting through the next few months. Hopefully I'll find a way to take a few pictures, and I hope we have a little bit of fun along the way too!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Growing on me.

Ava's bangs are starting to grow on me. It's taken about 10 days of seeing her with choppy hair, but now I sort of like it now. Also {for my mom =)} the baby is starting to really grow on me too!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A little Scrapjack fun...and lots of prayers too.

Some of you may not be familiar with the fun and games that go on in the scrapworld. It's not all just memory-keeping and recording birthdays and holidays when it somes to scrapping pictures. I had the chance to play along with some of my Fashionista friends from SIStv and as we were invited to be 'guest Jackers' over at the Scrapjack blog.
What a scrapjack is really is looking at someone's page/project and taking away some sort of inspiration from it and then you go back to your scrap space and create your own page/project. (Here's the link to my page above.) It's a fun concept and this round happens to feature a SISter as well as offers a prize for the best Jack- which is a $25.00 gift certificate to the ScrapInStyle Boutique! How's that for fun and scrapping?!
I hope to do more scrapping and playing around and just plain ol' having fun this summer.
I also want to remind some of you about the needs of some of my 'online friends' as their summers aren't going quite as they had planned.
Of course, there is the Steven Curtis Chapman family who continues to appreciate and need our prayers as they grieve the death of Maria. I have found this blog to be a good source of keeping updated on how best to pray for them.
Also, Jaymun is in much need of our prayers and I know his family was so grateful for cards and gas cards and just the thoughts any of you can send their way as he battles for his life for the second time. I wish they were just looking forward to a summer of fun and games with him and the rest of their kids...but it looks like God has other plans at this time. Please keep praying and checking out his blog. I'm hoping we can watch another miracle unfold in his life.
Tomorrow {Monday} happens to be a really hard day for the Smith/Sponberg family. Many of you have followed and prayed for Todd and Angie as they welcomed Audrey into this world and then said their good-byes to her on the very same day. They have been a picture of God's strength and mercy in light of the death of Audrey. Yet I know they feel weak and incapable of bearing their grief and sorrow even though God is their rock. The feelings have been even greater the past few days as they joined Todd's sister Nicol and her husband, Greg, in sharing in the sorrow and pain of the death of their infant son, Luke. Monday is Luke's memorial service and Angie has been so gracious to share her thoughts and their addresses where anyone who wishes may send gifts and cards.
My heart is heavy for all these families and even others I know who I continue to pray for in time of grief, sickness and sorrow. Life can seem overwhelming at times. It's true. But I also know, without a doubt, that God is so real and shares in our burdens and when we give our pain to Him, He often turns it right around and makes it a gift to us. It doesn't always lessen the pain and sorrows we feel... but in time, there is often great peace and purpose and there is always Hope.
Thank you for caring for so many who need our prayers, for loving them through the web and your comments and cards. And for those of you who don't fully understand how God is able to bring good out of that which can destroy, I urge you to just bookmark these stories and watch the miracles unfold. God is good- ALL the time. Even when we don't understand His ways. I will never stop praising Him and giving Him glory for all He still does in my life and the lives of countless others.