Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some more sweet stuff.





I've been basically out of commission the past three days as Bella apparently shared her illness with me. I've been loving that feeling of being achy, no matter where I sit or lay down, topped off with a fever that makes me feel like I'm freezing. Yuck.
Hopefully I will be back in business by tomorrow. Three days of this misery is enough for me. In the meantime, I thought I'd share some pictures of Crew enjoying his first Reddi-whip. He loved it and wanted more- straight out of the can. He's one of us, that's for sure. =)
I feel bad that I haven't been able to give my kids and hubby the hugs and kisses they usually get each day. Hopefully they've missed them too and will be ready to make up some of them when I get back in business.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How sweet!

Am I making your mouth water?! I just got done making some Peanut Butter Krispy bars- the kind that are so easy to make, so delicious to eat, and so bad for your waistline! Yes...these: Peanut Butter Krispy Treats
In a saucepan over medium/high heat, bring to boil 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of corn syrup. Then stir in 1 cup of creamy peanut butter. Stir until combined and then pour over 6 cups of krispy rice cereal. Mix well and spread into a greased 9x13 pan. (You can melt chocolate chips in the microwave and spread over the top of these to make them even worse, I mean, better for you! Finally, try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting!
Bella is home from school for the second day due to fever and achiness. She's sad to not be helping in the kitchen, but I told her we'd make something yummy when she starts feeling better. I even went hunting for a new recipe. The picture you see above is what I found (I take no credit for it, just love it!). Bella loves Samoas Girl Scout cookies, and I googled and found a recipe for Samoas cookie bars here! This recipe looks easy, tasty and indulgant too. I won't be making these right away. Swimsuit season is just around the corner; I'm fully aware of that!
The last sweet thing I'm sharing with you today is a link to Polly's blog. Polly won the drawing here for a Starbuck's minibook and she is offering a giveaway in return! So stop by her blog and leave her a comment and her kitchen items giveaway could be yours! Happy gooey, yummy Friday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A little book goes to...

Brock chose the random number of 32 today. Polly's path...email me (nitty.grittyjody@yahoo.com ) your address and sometime between now and a month from now you will get a little book in the mail. =)
Thanks for all your fun comments. I enjoyed reading about all the ways you relax and spend free time. Sounds like Barnes & Noble and the tub are among two of the best spots to relax! =) You all speak my same language when it comes to downtime. How I wish that cleaning bathrooms or organizing closets were really forms of downtime for me. My house could use some loving that way, but unfortunately, I'd rather surf the web or scrap or anything but clean closets.
I guess if we had fun all the time it wouldn't feel like fun after awhile.
Or would it? =)

Even the "unseen" matters.

I have written recently about the feeling I get- maybe even a touch of minor depression- from doing 'ordinary tasks' over and over again. I've shared how I love being SAHM (Stuck-at-home-Mom) =), but also admit that sometimes it just feels overwhelming, or feels unimportant in the scheme of things. I struggle with attaching meaning to the things I do. I admit, I fear "wasting" my life- especially after living with a brush with death and recognizing all the more how short and fleeting time truly is.
Insert my daily reading today titled "Faithfulness in Everything" from Our Daily Bread. The message is a good reminder, or an important thought to chew on as we go about our work- whatever that may be. It also hit close to home for me, as some of you may remember our family connection to the I-35 bridge collaspe in MN and also because we lived in Gaylord, MI for several years and traveled across the Mackinac Bridge many times- it was just an hour to the north of our home. I just was touched by the reading and scriptures tied in with the post today, so I wanted to share it with the rest of you. I'll be back soon to post a winner for a Starbuck's mini-book later this evening.
Here's the reading for today: Faithfulness in Everything
In August 2007, a major bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people. In the weeks that followed, it was difficult for me not to think about that tragedy whenever crossing a bridge over a body of water.
Some time later, I was watching an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Host Mike Rowe was talking to an industrial painter whose work he was trying to duplicate. “There’s really no glory in what you do,” he said. “No,” the painter agreed, “but it’s a job that needs to be done.”
You see, that man paints the inside of the Mackinac Bridge towers in Northern Michigan. His unnoticed job is done to ensure that the steel of the magnificent suspended structure won’t rust from the inside out, compromising the integrity of the bridge. Most of the 12,000 people who cross the Straits of Mackinac each day aren’t even aware that they are depending on workers like this painter to faithfully do their jobs well.
God also sees our faithfulness in the things we do. Though we may think our deeds—big and small—sometimes go un-noticed, they are being observed by the One who matters most. Whatever our task today, let’s “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). —
Cindy Hess Kasper.
Whatever task you find to do,
Regardless if it’s big or small,
Perform it well, with all your might,
Because there’s One who sees it all. —Sper
"Daily work takes on eternal value when it is done for God."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A few pictures...




of just Chip and me. I sometimes forget what we look like as a couple. =)
The truth is that it's a rare thing for the two of us to go out alone. We know it's a healthy thing to do and it strengthens your relationship, but it just doesn't work out all that often. We did enjoy a nice dinner with our friends and we did have Crew along too.
I think it's funny that people look at us and see a couple with their first baby, when in reality we're far from that! You never know how many kids someone has home with the babysitter. =)
I do love getting away for a bit...free time/down time is a good thing.
I carried that over into a bit of scrap time with Ava yesterday morning and turned out this little mini album. I have been saving coffee sleeves whenever (on rare occasions too!) I get a latte and decided that they would make great little covers for a small book.
So don't throw out your cupholders any more. You can whip up some cute brag books or tiny notebooks of your own!{You can see the whole book here, if you like.}
Since I'm in such a carefree mood, leave me a comment telling me where you go or what you do for "downtime" and I'll do a random drawing and make you a blank mini book too. I'll draw a winner by Thursday. Saying you read my blog for downtown doesn't get you any bonus points. Although I will get a good chuckle from such comments. =) Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This week...




I've been enjoying flowers in memory of Teagan from some dear friends. I love that even in Teagan's absence, there is beauty and meaningful friendships because of her. Something as simple as some fresh, bright colored roses serves to remind me that Teagan's life held great purpose. I truly believe she has helped change some hearts this side of Heaven.
Also this week, Wyndham and I took a trip to the salon for haircuts. She was very concerned during the actual process, but seems to be very happy with the results. It seems to have made her grow up too- she looks like she is wise beyond her years when you look into that face of hers. I sometimes think she has a lot more going on inside her head than she lets on to the rest of us in her world. I think there are a lot of us who could learn from her if that's truly the case. To know when to be silent and hold your tongue is a lost art all too often in this big world. It's a lesson I'm still learning. Sometimes silence is golden. =)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where did that time go?





Look who's six months old today and ready to drive. Crew just seems to have grown up to this point in the blink of an eye- seriously! Maybe it's just me, but it seems that he went from newborn to teether faster than any of my other five kids did. I have been so conscious and aware of how quickly the first months go and they still seem to have flown by too soon.
I will say that he has been one of our best babies. He is so easy-going; whether there is lots of noise or activity going on around him, or if he's just getting doted on by me and/or Ava. =) He has shown a sudden interest in laptops, remote controls, cell phones, and ice cold cups of water. He had his first (tiny nibble!) of sweet cream ice cream last night and he loved it. I don't blame him for wanting to grow up and do everything he sees his siblings doing.
But I sort of hope he's happy taking his time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thank you.

Thank you for your support and care for me and my family as we marked another birthday and celebrated despite Teagan being gone. I have to tell you that the days leading up to 'special days' are often harder than the actual days themselves.
There was laughter and fun in our home and out for dinner tonight. We were graced with beautiful bouquets of flowers from some thoughtful friends. Teagan was remembered and recalled with smiles and joy. She had a charm all her own that seems to still have a way of touching others.
I am always humbled to think that God sent her into our lives to live out her days- even as much as He knew it would be short. I find it amazing that in His mercy, He gave her to us and allowed her to change our hearts and lives forever. He is a good God and even in Teagan's absence and through the pain of losing her, I can and always will say that His ways can be trusted. He never fails.
I thank God for His comfort and strength to see us through these years without Teagan. I thank Him for the ways He has blessed us with so many good things as the days go on. If you don't know for sure that you are going to spend your eternity in Heaven... if you don't know God personally, I would invite you to seek Him and know the peace and assurance that I experience everyday. There is nothing like it. He gives peace that passes all understanding.
I can't even imagine what it is that Teagan experiences in Heaven each and everyday. One day I will find out though and we will make up for missed birthdays and praise God for all eternity. I hope you'll be there with us too. Thank you for your care for us until we get there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If.

If we lived in a perfect world I would get to see Teagan blow out 12 candles on her birthday cake tomorrow. Instead, we will celebrate the memories we have of the 4 years we did get to spend with her in our lives.
I have to admit, that for whatever reason, the sting of marking yet another year without her hurts more deeply than I ever imagined it would- eight years later. A big part of me still recognizes how unfair and tragic it was that her life, and so much of our happiness because of who Teagan was, was cut short.
So here we go again...digging deep, looking to the hope of Heaven, and leaning on the strength and sovereignty of God to see us through the bittersweet days. I think my thoughts from her birthday 2 years ago sum it up well. I still think and feel every word I shared then- now.
I'm still glad she was and always will be one of the greatest joys I have in my life. I will never stop loving my little girl. I will never stop holding on to her memory. I will never stop looking forward to the day when we meet in Heaven. It will be perfect.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Five is a fairytale.






Our Little Miss Ava turned 5 today. She wanted a pink cake with a princess crown on top of it. She got her wish and more. Her day was filled with happiness and fun; exactly how life should be for every five-year old child.
I'm so glad to have a little girl who is a mixture of spunk and love.
I'm so glad I get to be a part of her fairytale world each day.
Happy birthday, dear Ava.
We all love you so much!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Real life...

video

This is six minutes of life at the Ferlaak home. Unscripted and unedited. In addition, Ava is just two days away from a birthday. She is excited about anything and everything right now. Brock is just learning to play guitar. The rest of us just made our usual-self appearances. After watching this, you may understand why it is that I don't "Twitter". I really have nothing 'twitter-worthy' as my updates would always be something like: Emptying dishwasher or changing diapers or making dinner or folding clothes. Really truly. My real life may look fun and interesting on a blog, but in real life it's mostly boring and wild- all at the same time. =)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adorable aprons!

My very hip friend- who would totally blush because I'm introducing you to her in that way, is teaching an online apron class starting today. Martha is so great at mixing and matching things and her attention to detail is impeccable; this class will prove to be both educational AND fun! I have no doubt in Martha's ability to make an apron workshop a true delight. Did I mention how funky she is?! If you want to check out her class through SIStv, click here and I hope you have fun making cute aprons!
Also, speaking of SIStv, the second season of webisodes kicked off this week! You can watch the Season 2 premiere here. I think you will find it, not only entertaining, but there are also some fun craft ideas too. I hope to get bitten by the "make stuff" bug soon. I feel ready to take on a new project soon.
Have you made anything fun or interesting lately? If so, leave me a note or a link here in the comments. I'm always up for crafty, or food-related inspiration. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interacting.





My days seem to run together into a blur of unending clothes to wash and dry, toys to pick up, baths to give and meals to prepare and clean up after. Sometimes there are little bright spots, like a nap while Crew sleeps (he naps for 30-45 minutes, usually 3 or 4 times a day), or a tiny Tupperware teaparty with fresh baked banana bread with Ava, or Brock playing a new chord on his guitar, or the smile Bella gives after recently losing her two front teeth. There is a lot of 'usual, ordinary' stuff going on around here, which is both wonderful and exhausting at the same time. I'm still trying to figure out how things can be both. =)
I'm more and more amazed at how a newborn baby can take it's first breaths and need care non-stop around the clock and then less than six months later has a full-blown personality, likes and dislikes and wants to log into Webkinz using his own password! Crew has decided he wants to do what everybody else is doing around here. In the top two pictures you can see he has rolled over and moved away from the infant playgym and thinks he is playing on the laptop woth Ava. I'm sure that there are age recommendations from pediatricians as to how much screen time a baby should or shouldn't have. I'm sure Crew doesn't even fall on those charts yet, but try telling him that! He's been fussy for the first time in his short life starting this past weekend. I think he is starting some teething, but also I think he just wants to do more than he is able to do at this point in his development.
Wyndham seems to be noticing him more as he smiles and interacts with her with sounds. I wonder if she can sort of understand his babbling more than the rest of us can. For some reason, it just seems like they have a language all their own. It's cute to watch, and I'm already hoping Crew will pick up sign language easily so that he and Wyndham can grow their connection even more.
I'm ready for some sunshine and fresh air as this winter/cold/rainy weather drags on here in Michigan. We never take spring break vacations, as the golf course is usually just kicking off the season, so I am anxious as ever for a warm spring. I can tell my mood has suffered some the past few months, and it is topped off this month as we approach another one of Teagan's birthdays without her. It's always a bittersweet time of rembrance and celebration. I look forward to seeing some new life and bursts of growth on the trees and from the ground as a reminder that there is beauty all around and life goes on.
As much as I interact with my family, there's always a piece of me that never ceases to miss one more of us. Even if it meant more laundry, more books and toys and clothes to pick up, it wouldn't matter to me. Her hugs and kisses would be more than enough payment for the extra effort it would cost me. As busy as I am each day, I still miss interacting with her. And that makes me love the interactions with the rest of them that much more.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

She's beautiful and talented and...




You can enter to win a spot in her online sewing class by stopping over at her blog! My friend, Jo-Anne, has such a gift with fabric and beautiful trims and colorful patterns- not to mention her own charm. She scrapped all the pages you see posted here today (you can check out her whole gallery here) and she is so good at putting her heart and soul into the words and pictures. I just can't say enough good things about her and hope that one of you wins the spot in her class!
Even if you don't win the spot, you can take the class by clicking this link. I am certain you will not only learn some wonderful techniqes and make some unique projects, but you will have a great time too!
My biggest complaint with Jo-Anne is that she lives too far away. She's in Holland and I'm in America. The ocean is so vast, but thankfully we both have internet and so many similar interests and passions that sometimes it seems that the ocean isn't even there. That only proves how great a friend she truly is...love you Jo!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Future American Idol










The kids were dancing and singing to cd's with microphones the other morning. They love the music loud and Crew was loving every minute of it- much to my surprise. When they finished their playtime, I handed Crew a mic and grabbed my camera. As you can see, I overdo it with my picture-taking. It's something I'm not shy to admit. This time, though, I can honestly say I couldn't help myself.
He was just so cute and happy with that mic in his hands.
Tonight I'll be watching American Idol. Again.
I rarely watch tv. I am serious about that statement. I mean, besides Spongebob or other shows that my kids watch. But I am actually enjoying AI this season. I think it's the best one yet. What about you? Do you watch American Idol or take too many pictures too? I have a feeling I'm not alone. =)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Good stuff.






I'm still here. I've been managing the kids/home since Friday all by myself as Chip is in Chicago at the golf show. Five to one is good odds for some things, but can be a little tiring when you're talkin' five kids to one mom. Especially when they all think they need me for something all at the same time! Luckily I've been practicing patience, and as you can see from the kids in this picture taken just as they were heading to bed, they are all still happy, healthy and even bathed at the end of a long weekend. As you can also see, I didn't post a picture of me. I'm sure I look like I need a cat nap. Or some alone time. =)
I will tell you that I actually enjoy time with my kids. I know some people can't wait to head out the door and leave the kids to someone else's care, but I really feel fortunate that I can be home full time. Yes, I admit, it can be exhausting and I do skip my share of showers and putting on make-up, but the little sacrifices are so worth the rewards I get to experience. One of the little rewards for me today was from Bella at about 3 o'clock. She came up to me and handed me a folded up piece of paper. When I opened it up it read, "This is a secret: I love you forever and ever. Love Isabella".
How sweet is that?! It's little things like that when I feel so happy to be home and find that even though I do have to repeat myself over and over at times, or never get caught up with folding and putting away laundry, that help make my days. I sometimes go hours on end without adult conversation or days without leaving the house, but I find I don't even mind it all that much.
Another highlight of my weekend happened late Friday afternoon. The Fed-Ex man dropped off an unexpected package. Much to my surprise (and Ava's too, as you see her in the top photo) it was a box FULL of K&Company scrapbooking supplies. I am blown away by not only the amount/number of items, but their amazing quality and how fun the new product lines are! I owe a big thank you to Megan... I can't wait to create some fun things with all of this suprise "stuff". I think I may be offering some random give-aways once I make some things too. So keep and eye out for those.
You do know that I refer to myself from time to time as a "SAHM"...not "Stay At Home Mom" but rather "Stuck At Home Mom", right?! If I do have to be stuck at home (which I just mentioned how I'm okay with that too?!), I feel very lucky to have great kids and lots of craft projects to keep me busy as well. =) You can also find me at Facebook on occasion (send me a note that says blog reader or something to that effect if you want to add me...I'm Jody Ferlaak), in addition to that I am getting acquainted with Skype too. I love it! I'm wondering why everyone in the world that has a computer and web cam isn't doing this yet. It's so great! Or maybe I'm just easily entertained. Either way, I really like Skype.
Ava loves it too.
I have to mention the bike pictured in the post here- it's Wyndham's new bike that is specially fitted for her. We are all excited to see her put it to use as soon as the weather warms up here in Michigan. She always wants to do what other kids around here are doing, and so we are very grateful that she was able to get this custom bike after being approved for it by her physiatrist. I hope she has lots of confidence on it, and that it will be one more big milestone for her to be able to ride a bike- just like all the other kids. Wish her luck and you can be sure I'll post pictures of her on it, just as soon as we get our first photo op.
Finally, I want to share a quote I heard on the radio today. I think it is a good one to read and re-read and then challenge us in our daily living. It reads: "The way we live our lives is a measure of our contentment toward God."
Happy first day of March to all of you!