Friday, December 27, 2013


So, unfortunately,  max seems to always havee the stomach flu right around his birthday. so sad to watch the big boy feel so miserable on such a special day, but this time of year just brings the pukes to our house! Brad arrived home from hunting on Sunday morn and max began throwing up that night, so thankful for the parental support. poor Maxwell took 3 days to bounce back, so his birthday festivities were postponed a day.

True to my disorganized and distracted form, I had yet to purchase the birthday boys gift. so, I took all 3 adorables to meijer and covertly purchased a real bow and arrow set, some long underwear and some boxers for the 7 year old along w/ some groceries.  Honestly,  maybe it was the illness,  but max was totally surprised and happy with his gifts when I presented them wrapped later that evening.
bear tried super hard to be excited for his bro, but really wanted it to be his birthday. In  fact, when max stayed home from school againon wednesday,  wes says, "Well, i guess his birthday is canceled"

We waited untilmax man was feeling much improved to celebrate out on the town, but his teacher made special arrangements to call during class on maxers actual birthday.  His whole class got on speaker and sang happy birthday.  The smile that appeared on Maxwell's face was so precious.  I cried.

The following day brought healing,  so we partied hard in celebration. Max chose bowling for his birthday activity,  and all were completely entertained.

selfie of the proud parents

the boys were super sweet at helping ayla get her bowl on.

brad schooled the boys in the finer points of scoring in the 3 figures ;)

i brought my own ball, baby 

we finishhed the night off with some Wendy's and felt the oldest had been properly recognized and honored.

Maxwell,  you are such an awesome son. You made me a mama, and I am forever grateful.  You have matured so much this year, and have maintained your thoughtful and sweet nature. you have recently begun experiencing release time at sandyview which involves taking students by bus to a local church where they a re presented with some cool and applicable bible teaching.  Some kids in your class have chosen notto participate, , and even spoken things aloud against king Jesus. max, you made us so proud by bringing the conversation to our attention so we could address how badly that little boy's life needs god and how you can share  the lord with him. what a privilege it is to raise u.

Lord jesus, equip our oldest with courage and strength to live a life filled with christ so he will emulate jesus' love to the world. Protect Maxwell from harm and bless him profusely this year. Grant him the hope and joy that comes only from knowing you.

Friday, December 20, 2013

deer camp

While Bradley ventured into the wilderness in a valiant attempt to feed his hungry family,  the adorables and I had some adventures of our own. I am the first to admit that my favorite times are the times when the whole fam is together.  Doesn't matter the activity,  if ita a day trip to cabelas or a dinner at 'donalds, I just adore our time as 5. So deer camp typically comes with a tiny bit of crabby as brad goes off with nary a responsibility and I am the sole parent for days on end. I absolutely rely on my husband,  so when he takes some well deserved time away, I miss him beyond words. like, I miss being together,  but I also miss his comic relief,  bedtime assistance,  consistent and real perspective,  his support,  and his pep talks.

Brad, the kind hearted, and observant dude that he is, recognizes my neediness and sacrifice and really expressed his desire for the rest of the fam to have some fun too. And we totally did. I truly cherished the fun time, me and my brood.  Keeping the expectations for my productivity low, I solely focused on savoring my cutes.

The first night, we picked Maxwell up at school and went directly to chuck e cheeses.  anticipation was extremely high for this event. We were gifted some chuck e cheeses gift cards months ago and saved them expressly for such a time as this. As we arrived wed afternoon,  the place was ours for a good hour, then some birthday parties began and things got crazy. So we cashed in our tickets for some candy, tattoos, itty bitty frogs, and jewelry. max got to choose the dinner location: arbys.

As we were so super close to gap outlet,  and it had literally been years since my last visit,  I loaded the veen and away we went to shop. Once my arms were laden with possibilities,  max asked to use the restroom. Well, the only potty is outdoors , down a long and lonely hallway far far away. So I ditched the cuteness in my hands and drove the babes, who by now all had to poop, back to arbys where we took over that bathroom.  Awesome.

Thursday we planned to spend some of the birthday money gifted to the children from their great grandparents.  This mission of fun required a stop at family farm and ranch where the boys found some very great semi trucks. Ayla settled on a black horse, but begged a stop at target for princess luna, a pony blue can actually color. Who am I to deny my cupcake a trip to target for a color pony?! so we spent some time there as well. And bear chose McDonald's for dinner. Again with the poopapalooza, but this time we were still at the restaurant. bonus.

The bad news, each darling chose different times to feel the need. I quickly snuck off with bear to the potty while max manned the table and sister. I returned to find some random chatting with Aylaroo about princess luna. Goodbye creeper and lesson learned for the mama.

Throughout the week, I had been working with meggles in an attempt to procure a hotel room for the kids and I at a reasonable cost. I knew we would just so enjoy the little getaway, but was unwilling to pay the full $100 plus asking price for an area room. Well, auntie beans came through via a coworker from fettig past. When I picked the boys up from school Friday we were packed and I made the announcement.  Actually the little girl made the announcement by screaming surprise to max the moment we saw him line up.  he was surprised,  but not by the activity,  just the yelling.

We eagerly checked in and got comfy in our amazing room which included a fireplace!

Soon we were changed and swimming.  Well, I was entertained poolside by the most presh swimmers ever. Both times we swam,  we were the onlies there. Such a fun vacation!

Mama chose russ' for supper and by the time we were back at the hotel, all were exhausted.

 I snuggled the little lovies all into bed, turned on the fireplace,  and was sleeping before my own head hit the pillow. Which was marvelous because I think we were the first in the hotel to awaken and head down to the breakfast buffet.  It was nutritious and delicious.  While the adorables focused on cereal and donuts,  baby and I indulged in a beautifully made belgian waffle complete with strawberries and whip. Yum. During the baking process,  ayla jo poured out her milk into her cereal and the table and the floor. I was blissfully unaware until another guest informed me of cupcakes spill. Well. Thanks.

We went back to the luxurious room to change into our suits and the spent some more time in the water.

Hot tubbin
monster trucks poolside

Ayla gave her pony swimming lessons

somehow the gear  enhances his adorableness

super nice to enjoy some down time as the kids are so independent and capable swimmers

baby blue would throw her pony into the pool and her brothers would rescue it for her. Cute

Eventually other people came to swim and my kids seemed a bit offended the public would use their pool.  we packed it up and 38 loads to the van later were on our way home.

Saturday evening, I called in the reinforcements and wrangled the babes to prepare  for church.
clearly the three were desperate for some male attention. Thankfully uncle auatin was up tothechallenge.

 We were blessed by the service,  and the community of other hunters widows and kids galore. So thankful for auntie beans and uncle Austin,  for drinks were spilled, and children were overtired and unruly.

As soon as we arrived home, I tucked the darlings in and we all slept well knowing daddy was coming home tomorrow.  Oh, how we missed him! So thankful for our amazing daddy and fabulous husband to lead our home. Welcome home babe!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

birthday boys

Celebrating two of my fave boys the same time of year  that we savor gratefulness seems absolutely fitting. first up to be recognized as birthday boy is Bradley.  he almost shared his special day with his first born son. Maxwell was due on brads birthday, though he did not make his appearance until a week , later. Not something I enjoy recalling when 8 months ppreggers with baby number 4.  regardless,  this is about brad, the 36 year old birthday boy.

Unfortunately for the fam, brad typically departs for deer camp on his big day. therefore we must party the night before,  which is like a fiesta and packing frenzy all rolled into one. this year, brad took care of his own bday present, a new gun. truth be told, i really planned to purchase one as a surprise, but was concerned about the legality of buying someone else a firearm.  thus being his own birthday shopper was beneficial for everyone. the adorables and i desired for brad to have something to open, so when he mentioned that imitation vanilla extract is trending as the best deer attractant, we knew what we had to do.

After dropping off the oldest off at school,  the youngers and I started on a quest to find some cheap imitation vanilla without alcohol,  and a gun sling. Brad totally specifically requested each of his birthday gifts,  but I am totally okay with not  having the burden of choosing a creative and beautiful gift symbolizing all the adoration I feel for my man. Babe knows I so desperately love him, so feel free to hand over the gift list and I will do everything in my power to make those birthday dreams come true. Unfortunately,  brads tiny list resulted in a full morn.

Because obviously target's imitation vanilla has alcohol, and aldi only has pure vanilla extract. Meijer provided the perfect vanilla, and some mt dew to wrap, and a gun sling for the new gun, and some musical cards. That's pretty much all a man needs for for an amazing birthday.

The adorables had a lot of fun assisting in the wrapping of the presents, though there was a bit of a fight over who got to give brad what. No one was as excited as Bradley regarding the vanilla.  Somehow we managed to make it until 4pm, daddy's arrival time at home,  without destroying the gifts or one another.  Brad poked his head in the door, and we bombarded him with happy birthday's and ayla whispered,  we got you a sling shot! Well, we are not good at secrets around here. She was referring to the gun sling and brad was officially aware of all his gifts other than the musical cards which, lets face it, cost as much as a real present anyway.

We quickly feasted on birthday omelets. (what do u expect from a poultry farmer?) Then commenced the gifts. The $75 I spent on singing cards was totally worth it. Brad, I am absolutely joking about the price. but it still would have been worth it, because as soon as they were opened, a dance party ensued.

Brad was the lead dancer,  and it was awesome. 

That reminds me, brad left the next morning for deer camp and visited a casino while away. That night, a company of male strippers  was also at the casino. I had concerns that brad would be drafted as the newest recruit of the thunder from down under 

I think these pics speak for themselves....

So brad. Happy birthday hhusband mine! I am so absolutely thankful for you babe. Your committment to me and your ever  growing fam is so beautiful. You are unwavering in your love for us, whether we are taking turns with a puke parade or celebrating birthdays, or pregnant to the pointof perpetual crabby. may you beblesed this year as you continue to blessmeand yoursoon to be4 adorable babeies. I am so honored to be by your side another year.

So, every year, around bradsbirthday, we remeber the  crazy night of his 30th surprise birthday party when A randome woman came to the door in the middle of the night with hertwo kids. Lady was drunk or high on something, and her kids were terrified Nd freezing. She told us she was running away from jeremiah, someman she had fought with ending in herbroken hand and her midnight escape. Ladg had no idea where she wasand asked us in a profane slew of words and stories to please bring her to south haven. I insisted we call the police, at which point shebolted from our home, dragging her frightenedkids along. Theytook off  through thefie, ds and the police came to find her and attempt helping her.

Well, we had heard that she was discovered and brought to a safe hluse in benton harbor, but nothing more beyomd that. Howeever, this year, brad attneded an event fewturing jason hanson and whatever organizationw he is partned with dedicated to helping families. While brad  listened to people's testimonies, a woman stood up to give hers. brad immediately got goosebumps as shebegan to describe some similar occurneces to our visitor 6 years ago. Though brad never got the opportunity to speak xirectly with rhis lady, we believe she was the one at our door. What a beautiful gift from the lord to get to hear her story of redemption!