Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lil' Dude Turns Three!

I can't believe my little man is three! So much of the last year was a blur (I barely remember him turning two) and here he is, THREE!
He has grown so much over the last year. He is officially day and night time potty trained. He has a vocabulary that is out of this world. He is a ball of energy and he continues to keep us on our toes! He is so often a sweet, and loving little boy.  I am so thankful for Isaac!
We had a small celebration of just the 7 of us, but it was nice.

Eating his requested birthday dinner: Oatmeal!

Opening presents.

Serious business! (loving the tongue sticking out!)

Papa and Nana got him a Monster Truck!

He was so excited over the sword we got him. He had to go slay some dragons right away!

Even though he is such a big boy, he looks so tiny here to me! Make a wish birthday boy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Boys and their Buddies

One of my favorite parts of our ministry here at New Tribes Bible Institute is that it involves the whole family!
Isaac and Ezra really get to enjoy the students the most out of our five kiddos.  While the girls are at school, they boys are with me over at the Bible School.
Both boys have made some pretty great friendships here.  I wish I could get a picture with each of their friends, but I did want to share the ones I did have.

This is Bekah. Isaac and Bekah eat lunch together almost every day. He really loves her. Bekah came to the Bible school because she wants to serve as a missionary to lost tribal people.  She chose the Jackson location because it is closer to home than Wisconsin, so she can see her mom more often.

This is Leah. She blesses us with watching the boys from time to time when I have a staff meeting. Ezra loves to snuggle her ALL THE TIME. He has good taste. Leah has a sister who graduated here, and her brother attends now. She holds a very special place in my heart, and I feel as if she is one of my own daughters.

These two have a special bond. They share a name! Isaac loves shouting at Isaac from across the dining hall to have deep conversations about trucks and race cars. Isaac is from Jackson, and has known about New Tribes for a long time.  He is interested in missions, and knew this was a great place to come study the Word.

Will you take a moment and pray for these special friends of our sons?  I don't know where life will take them, but I know they each have a heart to serve the Lord, and I can't think of better role models for my children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The First Week in November Finds Us...

...enjoying unseasonably warm weather for starters! Yesterday was 79 degrees. We had many days this summer where it did not get that high!
Besides the warm weather, we are staying busy as usual. The kiddos keep growing like weeds, and learning new things every day. Here is what the fabulous five are up to this past month.
Emma broke her wrist on her last game of the soccer season. The crazy tough girl played the rest of the game! We obviously did not know she had broken her wrist, and I think once the shock wore off, she was VERY aware of the break.  She broke her scaphoid bone, which is not a fun one to break.  It is a pretty painful break that takes a long time to heal. It looks like she will be in a cast for twelve weeks! She had an MRI and we will hopefully know soon if she will need surgery.
Josie has been enjoying learning the flute this year.  She is also continuing to work on her art.  She was picked as artist of the week out of her whole school (700+ students), and we are very proud of her!
Adelaide has started violin lessons this year. This is something she has wanted to do since she was four, and this year, due to a few very generous grants, scholarships, and gifts, she can! It is so fun to see her excitement and determination.
Isaac is growing more each day. He will turn three this month! How can that be??? I signed him up for a mommy and me tumbling class for six weeks through the rec. center, and he is enjoying it. I mostly did it to have some good one on one time with him, but having a place to run and jump besides the living room is an added bonus!
Ezra decided he was going to surprise his mom and in the matter of about two weeks learned to pull himself up AND crawl! So proud of my super preemie.  Now if he would just sleep through the night...

Pretty big cast for breaking a bone that is only the size of a cashew!

My little artist and her self portrait.

I am so happy to see her joy in learning how to play.

Took this kid downtown to look at all the construction. He was in heaven.

Hey mom! I crawled out of my pants and pulled up! Now quit doing laundry and get me outta here!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ezra Henry is ONE!

I am beyond thrilled to write those words! My sweet baby is one, and he is healthy! Praise the Lord for He is good!
We celebrated Ezra's birthday by having a big party to thank everyone who helped us, prayed for us, and basically made it so we could survive this last year. While not everyone could come, we did have a good turn out of about 75!
I was so busy with the preparations of the whole thing I never got any pictures of how we decorated.  It was a superhero theme, as he is our super preemie!
The day of his party was a Sunday, the day before his birthday.  On his actual birthday I took the kids out of school and Josh and I didn't go to work.  We took a family day to celebrate life.  This time last year, I almost didn't make it, and we didn't know what the future held for little Ezra. So, we enjoyed the day with our family, my parents, and my sister and her kids at Spicer's orchard and the Howell nature center.  It was such a nice day.

My little guy on the day he was born!

Trying out a cupcake at his party. He didn't really eat anything, but sure got messy!

Happy birthday sweet Ezra!  Daddy and Mommy love you so much!

The first time I met him/held him was five days after his birth. Here he is one year after that day.

Friday, October 9, 2015

This Time Last Year

I have found myself saying that a lot these last few weeks.
Today marks the day one year ago that I was hospitalized.  I didn't know when I went to the fourth floor that October day that I was going to be there for nine days.  I didn't know that when I left I would no longer be pregnant.  I did not know that I would be leaving to go visit my baby 51 miles away.
This whole year has held a lot of unknowns, as lets face it, every year does.  That's okay though.
What DO I know?
I know God saw me through the most difficult year of my life.  I know that these trials changed me.  I know that even though it was not something I would have chose for myself, I can be thankful for them.
This week will be a lot of reflecting for me.  There will be lots of tears and laughter. We will celebrate.  Life is worth celebrating!

Snuggling momma's two boys. How can my tiny baby be almost one?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Teaching During Trials

This weekend was registration weekend here at New Tribes Bible Institute.  It is a time full of excitement and energy as new students arrive for the first time, and familiar faces of returning students fill the halls. I really love registration weekend.  This year was going to look different than previous years as Josh was now running the bookstore here at the Bible school.  I was excited to be helping him during this busy time. Unfortunately my day took a bit of a turn, and it quickly became clear that we were not going to be joining Josh over at the bookstore.
We attended a wedding that morning and dropped Josh off at the school. I was going to lay the boys down for some naps and then we would head over after they were rested. I was just going to get Isaac some milk first. I opened the refrigerator and was met with an overpowering waft of warm stench. 
The night before I had mentioned to Josh that the water from the fridge (filtered) was not as cool as it usually is. Josh was up pretty late (2:30am!) fixing the problem...or so we thought. It seems as though it was still broke. The entire refrigerator was not working!
I could tell from the smell that things were bad. I asked my family for advice of what I could save and what I had to toss. They sent me a list from foodsafety.gov and unfortunately, there was a lot of tossing involved!
As Emma and I started throwing out the food, I wondered to myself: Why couldn't this have happened when our fridge was bare? Why did to have to be this weekend? Why after I just went shopping? 
As I threw full containers of spoiled yogurt in the trash, on top of pounds of rotten ground turkey, on top of gallons of milk my tears started to flow. 
Emma asked me why I was crying. We could just go to the store again, right? 

I really hesitated using the word "trial" in my post title. Was this really a trial? I mean, hasn't the last year with Josie's accident and everything with myself and Ezra been the trial? 
Well, those sure were trials, but in that moment, this felt like one too. Now I am crying and my daughter is looking at me like I have lost my mind, and I am faced with the fact that yes, this IS a big deal for our family, but NOT for our God! Hasn't he shown is that time and time again?

"You know what, Emma? I don't know why I am crying. I think I am just worrying about how we are going to handle all this. Worried about the repair bill and worried about what we will eat the rest of this month, but that is silly. I know God will provide. Doesn't He ALWAYS provide?"
Emma agrees, and my tears stop. We start to play "what's the grossest thing in the fridge" and giggle over how stinky something is, or how moldy strawberries can get in a short period of time.
Oh, and you know what? God has blessed (and continues to) our socks off.  
The teaching part of the title? That wasn't me teaching Emma, it was God teaching me. Now if I would just be a quick learner...

What we could save. Yes that is a whole corner of ice cream toppings. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Loving My Full House

Life with five kiddos sure keeps me busy! They also keep me so happy! It is so fun to snuggle and cuddle my little guy, and watch as he learns new things every day, like what pears taste like. It is also exciting to see my oldest get more independent. She loves working in the kitchen, and has enjoyed working for others helping clean their homes, and a little babysitting. Then there is all the stages in-between! The potty training, and teeth pulling, and chapter book reading, and it is so fun! What a blessed woman I am, to be able to see all these things through the eyes of my children. 

Road trip to the Mathew Family Reunion.

My little baker. She is pretty much the cupcake queen!

She is always good for a laugh. Love my Jo Jo.

Addie and Ezra got to share a doctor appointment. Here ears are bothering her again. 

Isaac sure loves his animals. I think Duchess should hate this, but she always comes back for more.

My sweet miracle. He is getting SO BIG!!!