Monday, October 25, 2010

we're going to the zoo zoo zoo

(title comes from a raffi song i fondly recall from my childhood. for those of you who do not know, raffi is a somewhat creepy man with a full beard and guitar who sang rather catchy songs for kids. on a sidenote, raffi is also the reason brad crossed out the name rafferty from my baby boy name list during my pregnancy with ayla.)

that is right, yesterday, we headed to the zoo! after catching the early service at ridge during which my children behaved much like zoo animals, we came home for some brunch, then headed out to the john ball park zoo. while walking into the zoo, brad and i took note of our clothing and felt a little out of place. brad sported a lovely fall coat from a SLAUGHTER house, and baby ayla was looking pretty in her pink FAUX FUR jacket. peta loves us. not really. but that is just fine because we feel the same way about them.

we rode/ran through that zoo taking in all the animals with much curiosity and excitement. we saw the bears, monkeys, lions, and four other animals still outside in the fall season. then we ventured indoors to the stinky aquarium, creepy reptile room, and the fascinating froggy homes. of all the animals we observed, brad was my fave.

while spectating the lions, brad worked extremely hard to apply as much pressure on this strength measuring apparatus as he possibly could. for some reason, he felt it needed to be done in a very quick motion, like the the lion snapping shut its jaws and the resulting attempts were hilarious. alas, the lion's jaws still hold their place in being the strongest, brad was a close second tho! max was stronger than me at this, so that was embarrassing.

the boys' fave exhibit was the parrot. at the time, brad was carrying bear on his shoulders. the parrot would bob its head, or swing it from side to side and brad would promptly mimic the motions- much to the delight of the boys. both maxer and bear were convinced brad was making the bird move for their enjoyment and were so eager to accept this entertaining gift. the giggles were beyond precious. the public stopped to watch the adorable boys giggling with their daddy more than to look at the parrot. cuteness!

so thankful for that beautiful time together at that stinky zoo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

here comes the bride

in just about two short months, my little sis is getting married! i am super excited for her to enter into a marriage with her fiance austin because i know how incredible marriage can be. the love, the stability, the fun, and the joy of living with your bestest friend are my own marital experiences and ones that i prayerfully anticipate she will receive as well. with the date so quickly approaching, we took some time yesterday while she was home on break to take care of some wedding business: the boys' tuxes.

what an honor it is to have my sons a part of the blessed event. truly, so touching. and a little frightening as their obedience skills leave much to be desired. however, beans (my sis) is willing to take that risk for the presence of her nephews parading down the aisle in their cute little tuxes.

we loaded the veen with children, donuts, suckers, and juiceboxes and hit the open road for grandville where we located the mens warehouse. after explaining to the boys what was going to happen in there, getting dressed for beans' wedding, we entered the store and the boys ran to the few grody/dirty toys for our convenience. ayla utilized this moment of distance from the boys to begin her screech cry.

thankfully, the mens warehouse man was totally understanding. maxer was up first. oh was he brave, following directions so well: airplane, soldier, standing tall. then he donned the jacket, adorable. i melted with delight at the glance of my grown up son so handsome.

bear was up next. things did not go as smoothly. initially, he flung himself on the floor in a collapse of boy. next i attempted to put him on the table for his measure and he clung to me for dear life screaming "mommy, where are you?". he could not get closer to me if he tried unless he was under my skin. sweet, but embarrassing. we finally managed to get a jacket on him which he wore oh so well. mission accomplished, sort of.

since all children began a melt down, we departed fast and furiously to the veen. once veggie tales was plugged in, hooked ayla up to the goods, and doled out snacks, i was feeling good about my cute sons' presence in the upcoming nuptials. while megan took care of the finances (seriously, $ 110 to rent max's tux and 65 to purchase bears. ouch, thank you beans for your generosity with the gift cards!!), max took a potty break in the trees three feet away from the van. do not worry, i made sure he went quite far into the tree so no drivers by would see the precious little boy with his pants down :)

with this detail taken care of, we are one step closer to welcoming austin into the fam!! woo hoo

Friday, October 8, 2010


new babies are miracles manifested before our very eyes. ayla has filled our life with wonder and joy and faith renewed as we watch her grow and develop. god's design for family, and specifically motherhood, continues to amaze me. the whole nursing experience is just beyond me: so so strange, but so so beautiful at the same time. currently, nursing is the only down time i have during which i am not asleep. my appetite definetel exemplifies my need to continue eating for two. the other day i had a $5 footlong from subway at 4 and still consumed a very hefty portion of porkchop and potatoes at 7.

i do take a little pride in seeing my angel ayla go from this teeny tiny babe

to this slightly less tiny of a babe

relying on my milk as her sole source of nourishment. now that is progress. wild.

having a little daughter overwhelms me with gratitude. i love the pink (reminder: pink is my fave color followed closely by the color sparkle). however, the differences in raising my girl and my boys extend far beyond clothing and diaper changes.

most prominent in my own mind right now is the gift that god gave me to redeem mother/daughter relations in my life. with ayla i get the opportunity to have a healthy mother/daughter relationship full of all the blessings god intended for this unique bond that i did not get to experience fully with my own mother. though this lack of example certainly intimidates me, i am confident jesus will provide me the love and instinct necessary to fully enjoy this special gift of being a mommy to a daughter.

also, my prayers for baby ayla are distinctly different. for her i pray she finds an example in me of a proverbs 31 (ish) woman. i pray that she recognizes how she already completely captivates her daddy. i pray that she finds in my relationship with brad an example of marraige she will strive to find in her own life.

i also frequently pray for patience, but that is for me and involveds my feelings about all my children ;)

may i be your intstrument jesus in raising these cherished gifts of children.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

i'm lovin it

my husband rocks. seriously, he is my fave. i celebrate this fact, acknowledge this info,and hopefully let brad know this feeling even when he is oft absent from family life and present in the field instead. mondays are difficult days of adjustment after we just got to spend the whole day together. the boys frequently melt down and whine for daddy, especially when i am mean by making them take a nap, or clean up, or eat or something.

so, yesterday we were struggling through the day while knowing that the night would be long without brad. i attempted to break things up by taking the kids to timber town where all the other moms had really cute outfits on that fit well and matched appropriately. they also had super nice hair, styled, curled, and staying right where they wanted it. then there was me. my hair was wet and pulled back in a big snarl. my outfit consisted of a sweatshirt my darling sis gave me because it did not fit well. i mention this only because much of my day was consumed thinking of how i really should put forth more effort in my appearance so that brad continues to find me a hot mama. and this thought pattern made my day seem even longer.

kids played, kids napped, and kids woke up with some whines. i distributed snacks continually until suppertime arrived. and then, i fell in love all over again.

brad called to say he had 1/2 hour available for dinner, would i like to meet him at mcdonalds?

let me just say that mcdonalds has a special place in my heart. a place of love and adoration. it is a restaurant i could dine in three times a day every day without getting sick of it. i love the variety, i love the cute ads, i love the fries, i love big macs, i love that my boys usually eat something when we are there, and i love fountain coke. so my answer to brad's question was;

h to the yeah.

i threw all babies into the veen and careened to m40 where i saw the golden arches beckoning me like a beacon in the darkness. within the restaurant itself sat my man, who after working all day, has made ME dinner. i fell in love all over again over my big mac and the boys' nuggets. i literally giggled as i gazed into the eyes of my beloved (brad, not the big mac)

oh what a night.

Monday, October 4, 2010


welcome to the season full of beautiful colored leaves, delicious crisp apples, and yummy desserts of pumpkin and pecans. though fall brings cooler temps, we are choosing not to grieve over the loss of hot summer days spent entirely outside and the onset of nonstop illness (i have already had the flu once. boo), but celebrating the blessings of fall instead!

fieldwork: yes, it surely separates the fam as brad spends his days and nights in a tractor or combine, but nothing compares to the excitement in my boys as they run out to ride with their daddy. so precious.

the corn stove: brad purchased our pellet stove soon after we were married and we have enjoyed it ever since. the cozy temps and delightful smell just makes our family time in the living room even more comfy. we started it up for the first time yesterday and found evidence of the boys' play- a large hunk of crust wedged into the fan and a matchbox car shoved into the air vent. thankfully, brad removed both without irreversible damage.

kitty: no, the cat is not allowed inside. however, it hangs around outside the front door scavenging for food and the boys climb up on strategically arranged stools and talk to the kikiki from the window. this is hilarious and entertaining for me to witness as they attempt to scare the kitty away.

creativity: the children must get creative with their inside confinement. yesterday maxer gave himself a sharpie tattoo right on his forehead. lovely.

reading time: maxer and bear are more apt to snuggle with mom and read some stories if the option to go outside is not so available. we have been reading lots of bible stories this morning. in fact maxer believes he has a good command of the stories and is currently reading them to bear. "this man has an owie toe and god healed him. these kids are sad but god made them happy. this is a horsey that god made" oh boy, now he has integrated me and brad into the stories: "here is mommy with a tiger", a typical day for mom obviously.

thank you jesus for the change of seasons! let us enjoy the unique time of fall, looking for you in the beauty outside our homes and the love inside.