And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sharing A First.....

These photos were taken at my parents' home where we were visiting the past couple of weeks. The beautiful young lady you see with Lauren is my niece Olivia who lives right next door to Grandma and Pap Pap.

We are able to spend alot of our time with Liv during our visits. She is such a huge help with all of my lovies. I've tried to convince my sister to share her with me and let me take her home for a while....but she just won't give her up!

Lauren and Olivia have a special kind of relationship. It is very sweet. Both are outnumbered by brothers and are the only girl in their family. Olivia has always loved doing the girlie things with Lauren....picking out her clothes, finding just the right hair pretty (a.k.a bow), and desiring to paint little finger nails. 

I love being able to share "firsts" with others. What is a first?  Well to me it when one of my lovies does something for the very very first time in their life. All of the firsts are special to matter how small it may seem to others.  This is one reason I have really come to embrace this world of blogging....I can share a first with my family and friends who are miles away.

There are the typical first word, first step, first tooth. For me I can't help but notice all of the firsts in the lives of my lovies all of the time. Just simple little moments that make me live through their eyes.  Yes I am sappy and sentimental....that is just who I am.  My hope chest is bursting with things from my past....things that I have kept that have meant something to me. I think this is one of the reasons that I love taking is helping me remember in years to come of a moment that may have otherwise been forgotten. I also journal quite a bit....a legacy I hope to pass on to my lovies.

They are so fascinated by the world around them. All of my lovies are little explorers which is wonderful, (but makes for a very busy mama.) I remember the first time Lauren held a flower...something so simple, but it was a beautiful moment that I will never forget. Watching her little chubby hand grasp the gold petals, never having felt the velvety softness before....then watching her eyes grow...she was so curious and amazed. I showed her how to smell it and stroked it on her cheek so she could feel how delicate it was.  I am not talking about remembering the exact date....but remembering the special moment.

Lauren had her nails painted for the first time in her was a blessing to share that first with Olivia.  No matter how fast my lovies grow...they will forever be experiencing firsts in their lives....and right now while I have them close I am really trying to enjoy these moments...special God-given moments that will always be precious in this mama's heart. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Back to Blogging.....

Well...we made it back to New Hampshire early this morning. Traveling through the night definitely has it's advantages....our lovies sleep most of the way. When we travel by day it takes a good 12 hrs...when we travel through the night we can make it in 10 1/2 hrs., as we only make quick stops for gas. However....driving through the night can make for a rough day for Jared and I.  Catching up on missed sleep is the tricky part (we usually just take turns  napping)... I am smiling because I just realized that I have been trying to catch up on missed sleep since I first became a mama.

So some of you may be curious as to what came about with our house situation. In my last post I said that we found a beautiful home for our family....and it really was beautiful. 
However, after a few days of the negotiation game Jared and I walked away.....yes...tis true. After the sellers third counter offer along with knowledge about an Interstate planned to be built a mere 2000 ft. from the neighborhood, we decided that this is not the house for our family.

We were very disappointed and discouraged initially, but after a few days Jared and I really are at peace with this decision. We are now very thankful that we did not enter into a possible unfortunate circumstance....I won't get into the details....but I will say that God completely answered our prayers for wisdom and discernment.  

We are so thankful for the brothers and sisters in Christ in Indiana who have been praying for us as well as taking the time to scope out the homes that we have been interested in....their advice has been invaluable. (Jared has already met with the pastors of the church we will be attending, and we have been in contact with some of the members of the congregation via email.....God is so good!) what? After wiping away my tears of disappointment, I feel confident that things will work out exactly how God wills...and that is so comforting....even if things may not be as   smooth and convenient as we would have liked. 

Jared is planning another trip out to look at another round of houses. And hopefully he'll find the one. And case you are wondering, I trust my hub that much. If there aren't any houses that suit our family, our Plan B is to rent for a short time.....not ideal, but it's our default. onto these photos! Noah comes running into the house this afternoon and says, "Mom....get your camera, you are not going to believe this!"  That always makes me nervous when he says that....but I was pleasantly surprised to see something marvelous. In the kids' play-gym was a nest cradling three delicate blue robin eggs. 

As an interesting side note....before we left for PA we were doing a unit study on birds of all things. I love it when God works out little details like this.  Noah actually has a great drawing of a robin he was working on during our study. 

We went over the rules with the kids to help keep the eggs safe and the mama bird happy. We will be checking in on these baby blues and hope to see some babies soon!

Oh and in case you were wondering, we had an awesome visit to PA and I have a ton of pictures to share with you. I will be posting daily for the next week. I have totally missed blogging, (I always slack when I am visiting family...guess because they have the real deal with them...who needs pictures of my lovies when you can kiss and hug them?)

Ok...I think I am done for now. Peace and blessings to you all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

If you were wondering......

It has been a little while since I have blogged....lots going on right now. 

We made it to PA early Wednesday morning last week....all of my lovies were so excited and smiling ear to ear when they saw Grandma and Pap took Luke only moments to warm up, (total mama's boy.)

After a couple of days to recoup from our drive from New England we set out for the Midwest early Friday morning and spent the weekend in Indiana....House Hunting! 
It was a great weekend and a wonderful first visit to the place that we are going to be calling "home" very very soon. 

We had lots of family that went with us to help with the house hunting process and also helping out with all of our kiddos. We are so blessed with such a supportive family!

And yes....we found a house! The offer is in....just waiting to hear back from the realtor , should be very soon.  Jared and I having been praying....wisdom and guidance have been high on our list. 

As of right now we are hanging out here in PA spending time with the fam and enjoying every moment. The kids are having an absolute blast....I love watching them with all of their cousins.

And if you were wondering what my youngest has been up to...check out the photo. This little man is walking everywhere....he is a full fledged Toddler......sigh.

I will kindly keep all of you who are interested updated on the outcome of our house situation. We found a place that we absolutely love and are hopeful that we will be able to raise our family there.....God willing.

Thank you so much for your prayers....we are feeling them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

On The Horizon....

Lots of changes are on the horizon for our family.....

We will be moving to the Midwest in just a few short months! Jared accepted a faculty position at IUB. This has been a tremendous blessing, especially in the midst of hard economic times. 

We are so thankful for God's continual provision, especially through the many moments of uncertainty in his career. I am beyond grateful for my husband....through it all, by God's grace, he has worked very hard over the years, all the while keeping his priorities straight. 

We are planning a trip back to PA this week and are overjoyed to see our family. The kids are so's all they can talk about lately. (Well, except for Luke of course....but he knows something is going on.)

After a couple of days in PA we will head to Indiana in hopes of finding a house. We have only 2 days to find "the one" and make an pressure or anything! It would be a beautiful blessing to our family if you would keep us in your prayers through this transition....thank you.

Packing has officially begun and I have to say...."so far, so good." I know there will come a time in the near future where life is going to get crazy so I am just trying to brace myself.

Although we are looking forward to the next chapter in our lives....the saying good bye to so many we love here is going to be gut wrenching...I'm still not ready to talk about that yet, but I know the moment will come when we will give our farewell embraces.

New England has been our home for the past 5 1/2 many memories. Noah was only 2 when we moved here, and Nate was just 3 mos. old! And of course Lauren and Luke were born here. 

Through all of the changes that are about to take place, we are clinging to God for wisdom and guidance. Starting our lives in a new area is exciting and scary all at the same time.  I am using my blog to keep all of you updated through our move....and then getting settled in our new home.

Peace and blessings to you all.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lauren Loves to Paint.....

Painting is a regular activity in our home. It won't be long before Luke joins his brothers and sister at the table for some colorful fun. Yes it can be messy....but sometimes fun is messy and that's ok. 

When they paint, I just let them do their staying in the lines, no boundaries to what colors go where...just freedom to enjoy what they're doing.

Lauren especially has really been enjoying creating her own pieces of art. 

It really is a joy to watch her "create". She tells me which colors she would like, (usually all of is always first.)

On this day, the two older boys were outside playing, Luke was napping, so it was just me and my girl. "So what do you want to do?" I asked her. "I want to paint...pwease Mommy." Well I couldn't say no to that voice and that I got the paints out. 

I like to sit and admire....I love watching her little fingers dip into the paint then glide across the paper. She says "Wook Mommy.....pretty." 

I have to admit that I am a total art hoarder. I have such a hard time pitching my lovies' art work. There is so much of it. They each have a folder with their name and age on it, and I just keep filling up the folders.....but with 4 lovies....that's alot of stuff.

So lately I have been parting with some of it and only keeping certain ones. When we move to our new house I can't wait to put their favorite art work into frames and onto our walls!

This is just one of the special little moments in my daily life as a mama....may not seem like a big deal to most people, but I really do cherish these times. 

God has truly blessed me with my lovies and I never want to take His beautiful blessings lightly. My heart is thankful for each little kiss, for every warm hug, for every time I hear the word mommy.....and everything in between. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Let me begin by explaining a few small details. We live in an old farmhouse, built in the early 1800's....a really beautiful area, and feel very blessed. I cannot complain about the amazing views that surround us. We really are going to miss this peace and serenity when we move in a couple of months.

However, having said that, along with the beauty in this area of New England, we have critters....many....many.....critters. 

Some small...some not so small. Here's a quick list....
Abundance of chipmunks and squirrels...ok, they're furry...kind of cute, fun to watch and they don't bother us much. Then there are the wild turkeys and the deer who we see on a regular basis...again, I can totally handle them...they do their own thing....neat to see. 

Let's go on....coyote are around, close by as we can hear them at night. I myself have never seen one....but the howl is enough thank you. And onto our biggest critter....the black bear, yes, we have our driveway actually a couple of weeks ago...a mama and her 3 cubs. Yea I get a little kids are outside all of the time....but we are careful....and they really are quite fascinating to watch.

Ok, onto the critter in this post. The snake.....let me just say that I have seen enough snakes here to last me a lifetime. Jared and Noah caught 17 milk snakes last was starting to become a hobby for them. Jared would come home from work and Noah would be waiting for him...."Come on Dad, there's a big one under that rock." They would drive them to the end of the lane and release them.

Yesterday, there was a garter snake just minding it's own business, slithering beside the infamous rock wall where most of the snake hunts take place. A friend of ours had stopped by to pick up some things, saw the snake and thought it would be a good idea to hold it......who knew? We catch snakes around here....we don't hold them.

Noah was slightly hesitant at first....but carefully took the snake and was proud of himself for being brave. 

He wanted to share this experience with his brothers and you can see by Nate's face, he was less than thrilled to have Noah holding a snake in front of him. Nate's response was, "All done."  And he continued down the driveway.

 Next, on to Lauren....she pretty much had the same response as Nate...she wasn't quite sure why her brother was holding a snake and why he felt the need to get that close to her with it.

Luke was the happiest of them all to see the snake....he was grinning ear to ear, and probably would have loved to have grabbed the snake if Noah would have let him. Ok, so Noah would have let him....but this Mama would not.

Nope...I am not going to miss the snakes one tiny bit!  

But I will have to admit that it was pretty cool to watch my son hold a snake.  As soon as he went into the house he ran for the phone and called his Daddy at work. The excitement in his voice made me smile to myself. 

The best thing of all is that he wanted to share his excitement with his Daddy.  These moments in our lovies' lives are precious. It means so much to them if we share in their excitement and really listen when they talk. They help us to see life through a different kind of lens...and I am so thankful to God for that! 

Just In Case...

If you happen to have the desire to see what Lauren looks like as she is yelling the word "NO!"......see below.

This is just in case you were wondering.  
I hope that I have helped to quench your curiosity. 

Sweet and Sassy....that's my girl.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Music to my ears......

One of my favorite sounds is hearing Noah playing his guitar.....especially when  accompanied by lyrics.  He has not had any formal lessons as of yet. His Daddy has showed him the basics.

Formal lessons will begin most likely in the Fall. Right now I just love how he enjoys strumming (open G)....he actually sounds really good, thankfully.  Jared smiles from ear to ear when Noah plays.....and he always says that maybe he'll grow up and be a worship leader....we'll see.

We encourage our lovies' passions. No one is ever too young to be passionate about something....but as parents we try to harness that passion into something edifying.

God blesses each of us with an array of different gifts and talents....and it is a blessing to be able to use those gifts and talents to honor and glorify God.

I learn so much from individuals who are passionate about's as if their love and enjoyment  for what ever it may be, rubs off on those around them. I am always searching for inspiration and encouragement, and I love how God weaves people into my life from whom I am able to glean pieces of wisdom.

 For me, I am passionate about being a homemaker....might seem like an odd thing to be passionate about....but, it's so true. Oh and photography...I'm addicted to taking pictures!

As for my Noah....for his age he is passionate about so many things, and I know as he matures he will tune in on something that will really make him thrive...and I am excited to see God do a mighty work in him.

Inspiration even comes from my 7 yr. has been so long since I have played my guitar....something I used to really enjoy doing....but since having my lovies, I haven't played very much. And every time I see him playing and enjoying his guitar, it makes me want to join in....and maybe some day soon I just might.

My View This Morning.....

This is a view I see everyday....multiple times a day.....making my heart smile....every time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


This is Lauren this morning...being a big girl...drinking from a glass.  She was so proud of was really cute.

I love the little sweet things in life....and she is definitely sweet....(and maybe a little bit sassy too!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reality with my beautiful boy......

Nate is such a unique soul.....there is no doubt about that. It really is a challenge to describe him exactly.....experiencing him is  the only way to really know him.  He has many extraordinary layers to himself.....and I have a feeling that the layers will continue to be revealed as he travels through life.

The other day when he was playing in the sand I couldn't help but notice how at peace he was....he was so content, really enjoying the moment. Simple....just playing in some sand....but beautiful all the same.

I cherish these peaceful moments for my son. You see, Nate is an emotionally charged person and sometimes in the heat of the moment he loses himself.....and as his mama it is difficult to watch him lose self control. His first response is to scream...sometimes uncontrollably. My first response is to pray for him.....and I try to hold back the tears....sometimes I can....but usually my eyes are wet.

Helpless is a feeling I often feel inside when Nate is having a trying moment...or perhaps a difficult day all together. I just want to pull him close into a tight hug and wait until the storm passes.....but sometimes he doesn't want me to hold him at that moment....and I'll be honest.....that's really hard for me. He often needs some space and some time to cool down.....I am still learning how to help him and what is best for him. 

His tears start to flow after the anger passes and he begins to weep.... almost as if the wall of anger that was raging in him was knocked down only to reveal a gentle core inside. He comes to me and crawls up on my lap and only then am I able to hold him rub his stroke his tell him he's ok now....and to tell him that I love him. 

Yes there have been some extremely gut wrenching moments....for all of us, but I am so very thankful that as Nate matures his loss of self control is not as frequent as it once was. We know this is by the grace of God....Jared and I continue to pray for him everyday....and always will. In the midst of Nate's lesson of perseverance, Jared and I are challenged to look at our own hearts....seeking forgiveness for the times when we could have been more patient....where we ourselves lacked self control.

Yes, Nate has autism, but I do not let that define who he is...there is just too much beauty to his character for one word to even begin to describe him as a person.

 I am sharing our life with all of you because I guess I feel like God has us all going through struggles at some point in time during the course of our lives....and I feel if I only share the blowing bubble and baking brownie pictures, that I am not being totally real....but I can assure you I am real. A mama with a real passion and deep love for her lovies...a mama who trips and falls along the way....who cries and worries when I shouldn't ....but who looks to God for the only strength that will carry me through this beautiful life....difficult moments and all.  

By reflecting on the past I am then able to rejoice in God by seeing how far He has brought us as a family....and how far Nathan has traveled on this road. 

His smile is contagious, his laughter is unparalleled, his hugs would cause the most stoic person to melt into a pile of mush. Oh how I love my son....I look forward to seeing the man that God intends for him to become.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Love You Mom......

In honor of my beautiful Mother....

Dear Mom,

                    Yes Mom, I am writing this on my blog for all to see. And please do not kill me for posting a picture of you...I tried to be discreet, and I think this is one of the sweetest photos I have of you. 

                  I miss you everyday. I know that I call you all of the's because I just like to hear your voice on the phone. I think about you all of the time....certain things remind me of you throughout the day.  

When I sit down to color with Lauren, I think of you, (I remember when you would color with me when I was little, now you do it with my kids.) 

 When my lovies are outside in their bare feet, I think of you, (because I know you would tell me that they are going to get sick.)

When I make homemade strawberry jam, I think of you, (because you have made this for as long as I can remember....thank you for teaching is now a staple in our home.)

When I hum to my lovies, I think of you, (because you always hum when you are holding a little one close....I always love it when you do that.)

When I smell fresh cut grass, I think of you, (because you are a mowing maniac.)

When I give my kids ice cream in the evening, I think of you, (because we always had ice cream growing up....and I still love it.)

When I worry about one of my lovies, I think of you, (because I know that even though I am all grown up and a mom still worry about me.)

When Jared can't find something and he blames me for moving it, I think of you, (because everybody blames you for moving their stuff....and you usually do. Jared has even called me "Joanne" when I have done this...I just smile proudly.)

When I hear my lovies outside laughing and playing, I think of you, (because I had the most wonderful childhood. You let me be a kid and I am so thankful that all of the memories of my childhood are good ones.....I do not take that for granted.)

When I am putting up Christmas decorations, I think of you, (because you put so much of yourself into decorating your home for the holidays.....and all of your grandkids love Grandma's lights. One of my favorite childhood memories is decorating our Christmas tree every let us put on all the homemade ones that we made at school and Sunday the toothpick frames with our photo in the middle.)

When my lovies use their afghans you made them, I think of you, (because these are such special treasures. You crocheted them with your own hands. As well as the quilts you made for my lovies.....these are so special.)

This list could go on. 

Mom, you truly mean so much to so many. All of your kids and grandkids would be lost without you. The love that you show to us all, through all of the many things you do, big and small, do not go unnoticed.  I so enjoy being around you....and I miss you. But I am very thankful for the times that we get to be together. 

You are a wonderful mother and grandma. God has blessed us all richly with your life. Thank you for loving us as much as you do. It is a privilege to be your daughter. You deeply inspire me to be a good mama to my lovies....thank you for setting an example for me to follow.  

Happy Mother's Day...I love you.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby Luke....

For those of you who know me know that I'm a total sap. And what I mean by that is I am a cryer...I admit it. I like to cry. It doesn't take much for the faucet to start flowing. 

Basically I cry for every emotion...that may seem strange to some...but that is just me. Whether I am overjoyed, saddened, excited, proud, upset, nervous....I cry.

It used to annoy me that I cry all of the time....but I have come to accept that I am just an emotional person, I am a cryer. I love life....and it's ok to cry when something moves me.

My sweet husband loves me with or without tears....bless his soul. (Don't forget he's had to deal with all the emotional stuff through all of my pregnancies....he's a keeper!)

Ok onto the my baby Luke is going to turn one next month....deep breath...and I am kind of having a hard time with this. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy each stage of childhood that my lovies go through, (as challenging as some of them are)....but he's my baby and he 
just. keeps. growing. 

I know that I have been blessed with each one of my lovies...and God knows I cherish them. Our quiver is full, (exact words from my hub), so once Lukey leaves babyville and enters toddlerville....that's it. 

I have embraced motherhood....this is my calling....being a wife to Jared  and a mother to our lovies. So I am trying to pull myself together and embrace the fact that my baby is going to be a year old soon and I will keep right on enjoying every single day.

This little guy has brought our family so much joy. Jared and I are always curious about what kind of personality each one of our lovies will have. It's usually around this age where they really become their own...and their personality blossoms.

 This post was a bit longer than what I had planned, but anywho, I'll make it longer by adding a sappy poem I wrote for my baby. It's about his babyness (I know that's not a word, but you know what I mean) I didn't write about all of the big boy stuff he does now...I'll do that on his 1st birthday post. 

Oh and Dad you might want to grab a tissue....(we all know where I inherited the sappiness you)

Baby Luke

Pondering and Praying
Watching you grow

To my sweet baby Luke
I thought you should know

Your breath on my face
Your hands in my hair

I cuddle you close
No feelings compare

Nucky in your mouth
Little bear held tight

Curious and wondering
Eyes so blue and bright

Kisses from your brothers
From Sissy a sweet embrace

Chubby Little fingers 
And a chubby little face

Taking in these moments
Before life passes by

Savoring our snuggle time
While trying not to cry

Holding on to my baby
But I know that it's time

Time for me to give thanks
To my God for this joy

For this baby He gave me
Who will soon be a big boy

I love you so deeply
My precious little son

This I thought you should know
before you turn one

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Morning Devotions.....

 I was trying not to invade my oldest son's privacy one morning by snapping shots while he was trying to have quiet time with God.

My heart was gushing while seeing my little boy read his Bible. As Noah is maturing, his personal devotion time has become more frequent, hopefully leading to a daily enjoyment of getting into God's Word on his own. 

 As parents we can have so many goals for our children. And while we (Jared and I ) travel on this journey as believers,  God is slowly opening our eyes to what is truly important in life.

Does our family think reading and studying the Word daily is important....absolutely

Do we live out God's Word perfectly......sadly no....we are a major work in progress.  God will complete His good work in us.....this He promises. 

Noah started off reading inside....but we can be a bit silly and perhaps a bit noisy if you will. So he escaped to the front porch to find peace....and it wasn't long before he was followed.

I don't think Noah can grasp or even realize the amazing example he is setting for his younger brothers and sister.  When they see big brother reading his Bible you better believe they run to get theirs.  

In case you were wondering,  each day is not a slice of peace pie where my kids sit around reading their Bibles all day.....I am smiling as I write this because some days it can be down right crazy. 

But I will tell you immeasurably flawed as Jared and I are, by God's grace we cling to Christ and hope in Him to do a good work in our lives and the lives of our children. 

Philippians 1:6 
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
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