"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Saturday, January 31, 2015

LHS Snowball 2015

It was a long, hard week.

Though I have written little about it, Sierra continues to struggle with shoulder issues.  She hurts much of the time.  She has a very limited ability to lift her right arm higher than shoulder level.  After months of PT, we decided it was time to see a surgeon.

Living in America, we expect answers, plans, results.  This week we really didn't get any.

Without going in to a bunch of details, the surgeon basically told us "It sucks to be you."  He recommends continuing with strengthening exercises indefinitely.  Surgery, he feels, would be unsuccessful.

This news was devastating for my girl.  She longed for a plan.  A timeline.  An end in sight.  She did not receive that.  She may never cheer again.  And she may.  We really do not know.

Not knowing. . . STINKS!

It just does.

While we know that many people live with much worse, we grieve this.  We threw a pity party, cried a bunch of tears, and asked a lot of "why's."

We don't have answers.  We remain sad and confused.  We also trust that in all things God has a plan.  It is a plan for our good and for His glory.  We may not understand, but we choose to trust all the same.

That is hard at 40. 

At 15, it is nearly impossible - but my Berra-girl is doing her best.  I am so very proud of my beautiful, courageous, and wise daughter.

After a whole lot of sad this week, we were very excited to have something fun today.  And what is more fun than dressing like a princess?

 Today was take 2 in formal wear for Sierra-girl.

Take 2 is almost always better than Take 1.  

 Krissy came home to help with hair and make-up again.
I love this photo of Mataya taking it all in.

When Sierra was fully dresses and sparkly, Mataya looked at her was awe and glee and proclaimed, "WOW!"  
 Final touches!

Last formal Sierra was barely ready in time.  This time she was ready a bit early so we had time to play a bit!

 This dress did not photograph the best in my dark house. (I think I need a photography class.  Night lighting in this home is a constant struggle in photos.)  It is a soft mint color that is beautiful with Sierra's eyes.
 Hunter (her date) had a hockey game this evening.  In fact, Sierra was so chill about this dance (in addition to having the whole day to prep) that we went to the first period of the game before coming home to finish her hair and make-up! He showered and got ready at the rink before racing up north to gulp down a bit of pizza, smile for a couple of pictures, and whisk away our girl.  She was so excited to get his "I'm on my way" text.
 She will not love this picture because her hands are not perfectly posed.  I, however, love it because it is so her.  She gives me this grin all the time.

She will always, always have him wrapped around her little finger.
 She makes my heart happy!

She also makes me look old and short. . . both new adjectives for me... ha!

Game over which means dancing begins.

After a long and difficult week a Saturday filled with simple beauty was a blessing.

And at this dance, there was no dress malfunction.  She came home glowing and giggling, just as a 15 year old princess should.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

10 Months Old

(She bear crawls on the hard floor when she doesn't have pants on.)

At 10 months, Mataya is. . .

on the move!  She learned to crawl Christmas Eve.  Since then she has mastered it and added standing and stair climbing to her skill set.  She is not cruising around furniture much though.

jabbering!  Mataya loves to talk.  Her favorite words include: WOW! Momma, Da, Rah (Sierra), puppup, HI, no no no,  uh oh, ball, bath, yum, bakbakbak (like a chicken), tickle tickle.  She also loves to clap, wave hi and bye, shake her finger no, play so big, peek-a-boo, and "get you, get you!"

eating all table food.  She hates baby food - even the fun stuff like puffs.

napping twice a day.

sleeping all night. She no longer gets a bottle overnight night, but she does wake looking for her paci sometimes.  She likes her sound machine on "waves" and to sleep on her side snuggling her tiny blanket.

waking up grumpy.  UGH!  She takes a bit of time after she wakes to be her sweet sociable self.

outgrowing her 12 month clothes.

teething ALL the time!  She has 8 teeth, four of which she has grown since Christmas.

silly and sweet and funny.  She has mastered the fake giggle and fake cough.  She likes to charm us all with her smiles and chatter.  She has also learned to throw a fit when she does not get what she wants.  She is very mild mannered for the most part, so I love seeing her assert herself. . . most of the time.

a singer in the making.  Mataya loves music.  She "sings" along all the time.  Especially in church.

the light of my days.  I adore the time Mataya and I spend together each day.  I love tickle breaks.  Rocking with a bottle.  Playing get you get you.  Reading books.  Companionship while running errands.  

As her first birthday looms closer, I remind myself daily that I have vowed to celebrate each milestone.  I will not mourn her first birthday.  I WILL NOT MOURN HER FIRST BIRTHDAY!  I WILL NOT!!!!!  (It is hard though.)

Mataya Hope-y Girl, you may never understand just how much I have enjoyed your baby days.  They have been some of the sweetest, most precious moments of my life.  Slowing down.  Celebrating simple.  Singing.  Rocking.  Dancing.  Playing.  Snuggling.  Oh sweet baby, I have treasured these moments.  I am so very thankful that God sent us you.  You are a gift, precious one.  I am so thankful for YOU.

Friday, January 16, 2015

CHS Formal 2015

 This morning I ironed her very first formal dress with teary eyes.

On one hand, I was SO excited for her day.
On the other, I just wanted her to be little again and playing dress-up.

As I hung her dress in the window, I had visions of all the dresses I will hang there.  Formals, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and some day. . . her wedding dress.  (Insert tears here.)

I thought a lot today about how fleeting time is.  How easy it is to hold on tight.  How very hard it is to let go.  I argued with God a bit that I was not ready to let another one go, even the tiniest inch.

And then my tall son texted me.

One of his coaches had been badly injured over the holidays.  The boys, on their own (AKA with no mommas urging or organizing), chose to buy gift cards to restaurants for this coach because they know he enjoys eating out.  They collected about $300 in gift cards from their small team and delivered them to the shocked coach.  Jamison's text explained the delivery, "Today we gave coach somewhere around $300 in money and gift cards.  He started crying and said that he is going to get healthy so he can coach us in track even if they don't give him a job."

I am so thankful for the precise timing of this text. I am so proud of the man my son is becoming.  I rejoice in the fact that he knows how to love big, encourage sincerely, and give generously.  His text reminded me that there are many exciting things to look forward to as my kids grow.  

I love that God used these boys to not only encourage the coach today but also my tired mommy heart.

By the time I picked up Sierra from school, I was ready to celebrate (rather than mourn) another milestone in her life. 
 Sierra curled her hair, and then Krissy styled it.
 Krissy also did Sierra's eye make-up.

 (snapchat break)
 It was beyond wonderful to have Krissy here today.  She is really great with hair and make-up (which I am not!).  She was also so calm and encouraging to Sierra, who may or may not have been quite nervous.
 Nail credits and photo credits go to Brenna!

Sisters came in handy today!
 Hunter was incredibly patient!  Incredibly!  When Sierra is nervous, she talks a mile a minute.  I teased him that he may need earplugs.  He thought it was hilarious when I quietly brought him a pair.  Sierra is a good enough sport that she thought it was (sort of) funny, too.  

And now I am waiting for the princess to return from the Ball.

Yet another first.

As Sierra would say, "Jesus take the wheel."

(PS - Sierra did not have the night of her dreams.  Her dress broke.  "Luckily" the FACs teacher helped her hold it together with binderclips and paperclips.  It was not exactly the look she was going for.  She walked in the back door and mournfully yelled, "Mom!  MOM! MOOOOOM!  My dress broke!"  I could tell that if I expressed my sadness for her she would burst into tears, which was NOT what she wanted to do in front of Hunter.  So I made a joke about how Cinderella lost a slipper. . . and gave her a hug.  Hunter left, and we ate cake.  Thick slices of chocolate cake.  Comfort food anyone?  HA!  She will never forget her first formal, that is for sure!)

Monday, January 12, 2015


It has been very cold.  Very, very cold.  Our kids go outside for recess until it is -10*.  Joshua has not been outside for recess since 2014.  (His poor teacher!!!)

Since I HATE the cold, Mataya and I have been hibernating.  Our skin only touched the cold air one time last week!  For real!  I did drive the kids from place to place a couple of times, but onlyonce did I leave the warmth of my garage/car/home.

I have NEVER loved cold weather more!

I am so very thankful for this extended time at home.  It has healed my heart, soul, and mind in so many ways.

Additionally, I have finally been able to do things that matter on the weekend.

Saturday, I woke up early with Mataya.  When she took her morning nap, I went back to bed and slept until 11:30.  Then I showered and took Brenna and Sierra out for appetizers where we had a special Bible study time.  (The girls and I have been spending time each Saturday reading through James.  I am loving it.  So are they.)  When we got home, Chad and I went on a quick date.  We spent the evening watching football snuggled up on the couch.

I commented to Chad that I had not gotten anything that didn't matter done that day - and we celebrated the fact that it would create no anxiety for me or our kids in the week to come.

When I was working both jobs, it was imperative that I spent weekends doing things that did not matter.  I use the term "things that don't matter" in reference to things that will only be undone very quickly and have little or no relational significance.  Things like laundry, vacuuming, dusting, meal preparation all MUST be done.  They are important, and yet they aren't.

For the past several years I was living a life with out margin.  Spending a Saturday invested in relationships rather than tasks was a recipe for disaster.  What a sad way to live.

I am so very thankful that we are living a much more balanced lifestyle once again.

And that laundry and cleaning. . . don't worry.  Mataya and I tackled it today.  Hibernation is good for that!  In the past week we have cleaned out the pantry and storage room.  We have washed the "hard" stuff like rugs and shower curtains.  We have put away all the Christmas stuff.  We have completed many year end tasks for the company.  We have paid a ton of bills and reconciled multiple accounts. We have been very productive girls,  AND we have had time to play, cuddle, nap, and read books.

2015 is off to such a marvelous start.  Relationships come before tasks which matches my core beliefs.  I am very thankful for the changes we have made to allow me to be me.

Very, Very, Very thankful.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sierra's First Ride

We have a very happy 15-year-old!

Of all our kids, Sierra has been the most excited to drive.  She truly loves driving and does a very good job.  While she does not get her license until March, she has been dreaming about her first car.

Originally Chad and I had planned for her to drive Krissy's bug for a few years.  Sierra was not thrilled.  She has had MANY hand-me-downs growing up, and she really wanted her own first car.  

Plan B was for Sierra to get Jamison's jeep.  She liked that idea better than the bug idea.  In fact she was almost excited about it, and then Chad and I changed our minds again!

In an unprecedented move, we handed Jamison's jeep down to Krissy.  At first Sierra was totally bummed.

And then when her Dad promised that she could help choose her car, she became very excited.

Very excited!

BUT - she kept falling in love with vehicles that we did not feel good about for one reason on another.  One was too spendy.  Another was too expensive to insure.  Yet another did not seem safe enough to us.

Last week when she and I were driving she pointed to a little SUV and said, "I love that!  I would like something like that."

I think I was happier than she was because it was exactly like what Chad and I hoped to get her.  At last we were all on the same page.

She was over the moon when she texted her dad with her her idea and he responded with "Lets go shopping."

There is NOTHING Chad likes to shop more than a new (or new to us) vehicle.  Within 48 hours he had found a screaming deal on a little SUV.  It was not quite the make and model of Sierra's dream - but she agreed to go look at it.

Let's just say it was love at first sight.  LOL!

Her daddy worked the deal the next day, and I do not think Sierra has stopped smiling since he picked her up from school in it on Monday.

I have to admit she looks pretty cute in it!

I also have to admit I might cry the day she gets her license.  I LOVE the one on one time I have when I am shuttling Sierra place to place.  I will miss her like crazy when she becomes her own chauffeur.  Mataya, on the other hand, will be thrilled!  Less time buckled into her car seat will make baby girl happier than ever.

I still have 2 months, and I plan to enjoy every second!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Eve

This is New Year's Eve at 40!


I made a whole pot of coffee and drank it Ethiopian style - with LOTS of sugar in the raw - at about 8 PM.  I drank it all, minus the one cup I gave Chad.

Mataya and I watched the neighbors fireworks out our big windows at 8:10.

She was asleep by 8:20.

Joshua climbed into the box he and Mataya had been playing in all day at about 8:40 and fell asleep in the middle of the family room.

I served snacks to Brenna and her friends and got them settled with movies and such in the loft.  I then alternated between laughing at them and shushing them the rest of the night.

I served snacks and a glass of wine to Chad and myself at about 11.

I snuggled up on the couch with my husband, read a book and sipped my wine until midnight.

I congratulated myself for staying awake until midnight, kissed my man, and promptly fell asleep on the couch!

It was the perfect way to start 2015 in my book.

Happy New Year!