Monday, December 31, 2012


Me thinks it might be red.....

Saturday, December 29, 2012


My little helper- always loves to make her laugh.

Lansing came for a visit

Pictures of all four together? No problem!

 We celebrated 13 years!

Just a picture I like of these two that I love

 More basketball for this kid.
Tessa as a flower girl. She loved that wagon.

It is hard to believe another year is almost gone. This one went by in a blink!

Happy 2012, my friends!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Barely qualifies

So, I realize the pictures of Great Wolf barely qualifies as a post.

But I wanted to throw them on the old blog in case I ever actually getting around to printing it.

I am usually the one behind the camera, snapping away photos of my kids.

That feels comfortable to me. 90% of the time, my hair isn't done, I have not had time to do my makeup, or I am wearing sweats, or....the list is never ending.

After reading this post, I decided to get in the pictures...bathing suit and all.

My kids someday won't see what I see- they will see their mom, who took a weekend to spend time riding slides, jumping in the fountains, and having a water fight with the spray guns.

They will remember I cherished and celebrated each birthday, just as my parents always have for me.

Happy 8th Birthday, K. What a fun way to celebrate!

Great Wolf Lodge



Great Wolf Lodge, 2012

Tons and tons of fun!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Where does one begin when it has been so long?
This could go down as the most random post ever, but here goes....

I blogged about it a few months ago, and here it is- Tessa's Treats.

In the last year, Josh and I both felt God telling us to be faithful and help others in the way we were helped.

We asked Rachael to find out what the NICU needed, and collectively came up with this treat station.

I remember so many times, I would be at Tessa's bedside for hours and hours at a time. And wouldn't you know it, that was the day I forgot my wallet or we had a negative balance in our checking account.

So I wouldn't eat.

This went on for a few weeks until we put a call out for help on facebook and Tessa's blog. The reaction was overwhelming and very humbling. Snacks and goodies and gift cards came pouring in, each one so helpful and very much appreciated.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the kind of community support we had.

We are hoping that God's love can be felt through something as simple as providing a snack and reading Tessa's story.

Our biggest problem right now is keeping it stocked.

There are 70-90 babies there at any given time, and so this goes FAST.

If you are out and about, and would want to pick up an extra box of granola bars, chips, cookies, snacks, etc......we would love your help to keep Tessa's Treats full of goodies for parents going through a truly rough time.

Shifting gears a bit....

My aerobics teacher used to always tell me that the hardest part of working out is putting on your shoes.

This past spring, after the Diemer run, I officially and publicly declared my retirement.

A week went by, and something strange happened....I was craving running.
So, I started back up again with all intentions of pulling a Michael Jordan and popping in and out of retirement.
We will see what happens through the winter, but so far, so good.

These two have a love/hate relationship. She pesters and pesters him. Just when you think she is going to crawl right by, into her hands goes a huge chunk of  his hair.

Kayden, on the other hand, is still completely in love with Tessa.
and vice versa.

The second he gets home from school, she is reaching out for him to carry her around and giggling and babbling. So fun to watch.

This was my favorite thing we did this past summer.

I bought a groupon for the Double RR Ranch, not to be confused with the Double JJ Ranch.

Sprawling grounds laid ahead of us as we set out on the trails. Bryce opted for his own horse, and I figured we would walk a little circle trail and be finished with the ride.

Thank goodness I had him wear a helmet.

The horses would randomly shoot off on a different trail, forcing the guide to abandon the other 7 of us while he chased after wayward horse.

Just as my kids got the hang of riding, we came to a river.

Full of rocks, that the horses don't really love going on.

And it was belly deep on the horse.

Oh, and Kayden's horse decided that under NO circumstance was he going more than ankle deep in said river.

We finally crossed the river after much coaxing, and the guide turned around and said, "Okay, now it is time to trot".

Watching my kids trot, and the giggles it evoked, was something I never want to forget.

The beauty of crossing the river, the landscape, the "advanced" trail riding--it really was fantastic.

As a bonus, I got to see Josh fall squarely on top of our 5 foot 2 guide as he dismounted.

I nearly peed my pants.

This little girl is doing fantastic! We went to her developmental check and she is right on track, if maybe a wee bit tiny for her age. She is 18 pounds of pure spunk and a very good baby. She is easy going and loves to be out and about.

This was taken just the other day at the Birds. We had a fun day of hunting for apples, playing pumpkin shuffleboard, and just hanging out. 6 kids smiling? A rare feat :-)

Double the trouble! Tessa loves her cousin!

First day of Second grade 

First day of Preschool (four year old)

This is a little bit older---taken on my dad's birthday in August. I just love this picture, though! In case I ever get around to doing a blog book, I want this in it:-) 

Our family picture. I can still see my mom running back and forth with her arms waving to get us all to smile.

The things she does for us, huh?

Our days are full, but we are blessed!

God is good.

Monday, August 13, 2012

13 month Development Check

Today was developmental clinic.

Seven different medical professionals checking Tessa out.

It is a three hour appointment, with very few breaks in between specialists.

They are a well oiled machine, I tell ya.

She is 17 lbs and 6 ounces, 27.5 inches long.

When they handed me the sheet with Tessa's information on it, I almost thought they had her age incorrect.

How can she be 13 months already?!

And how do we have a baby that measures in the .28% for height? :-)

Everything is on track. She is measuring more like a nine month old than a ten month old....but honestly, I am thrilled.

We have it good.

Praising God for her life, and how "normal" she is!

Saturday, August 04, 2012


I love Summer, and this year has not disappointed.

We have had a great one.

Honestly, it has been darn near perfect- my favorite summer to date!

Something has been nagging me a bit, though.

A suggestion placed on the back burner last year that has repeatedly come to my mind.

When Tessa spent last summer in the NICU, I barely ate. I was sick of paying for cafeteria food, (although Josh might disagree) one can only eat Smashburger so many times in a week, and I never had my act together to bring food in from home. I loved holding her all day, so I would gladly let mealtime pass in lieu of more cuddle time.

Josh and I were discussing service projects at the end of the school year. Our old nurses said they have been trying to implement a free lunch/snack station in the NICU family room, but no one has taken on the project.

Over and over, I think about how different this summer is and how I would love to help out other families. To say we were loved on is an understatement.

The biggest thing I am worried about is my own follow through. I am really excited and on the ball in the beginning, but seem to fade as time marches on and the newness wears off.

Not really a whole lot of cohesiveness to this blog post, huh?:-)

Josh reminded me yesterday that we have two weeks from Monday before he goes back, so I guess my mind is gearing up to actually do something productive!

I hope summer is also treating you well. Before I know it, these hot days of horseback riding, cottage visiting, swimming, and relaxation will be only a distant memory.

For now, at the Bird house, we are savoring every last bit of this awesome summer!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Maxine's words ring in my ear almost every time I finish a seam.

"The outside of your garment should be as beautiful as the inside of your garment."

Maxine is an elderly woman that works at Fields. We gab about all sorts of things while I am waiting for my fabric to be cut.

Her grandchildren, my kids, latest projects....and we always, always talk about the inside of clothing.

Well, I do not subscribe to Maxine's philosophy. I am a pretty messy seamstress at heart. I much prefer to slap something together than take the time to finish my seams properly.

If I can make it work with seventeen extra basting stitches....that is what I am going to do.

A little while ago, I came across this adorable dress.

Which costs $120.

No, I did not impulse purchase it:-)

I asked my friend, Natalie, if she knew who made this fabric. Nat's knowledge of fabric is extensive; she is always making the cutest stuff for her girls.

This is the end product, altered a little bit because I decided I wanted a sleeve:

The best part is that I took my time and serged all my inner seams (thanks, mom, for watching the kids so I could get a few solid hours sewing!).

Maxine would be so proud! :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One year ago

I pressed the pillow, wet with tears, over my head as I tried to muffle the sounds of new life entering the world.

I prayed and prayed that I would get to hear Tessa do the same.

I am ever thankful for this day.

This life.

My God, who loves her even more than I do.

Happy First Birthday, our Tessa girl.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Time flies...

when life is fun.

I recently came across a blog where they did an iphoto dump day, so I copied;-)

From baseballto feeding cows to face masks (a joke picture I sent to my dad about germs and Tessa flying in an airplane for the first time) has been a great Spring!

Clearly, everyone loves Kayden.

Mother's Day at preschool.

his favorite thing-talked about it for a week!

Grandma and the girls.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Smells like roses

A while back, I wrote a post on the Soundtrack of My Life, and how certain songs can instantly take me back.

Following is Part Two.

Josh often teases me because I have a very strong sense of smell. Even the slightest off-putting odor will drive me crazy. Cigar smoke, onions, rubber burning, and musky floral perfume top my list of most annoying.

Originally Titled, Smells of My Life....a particular smell can instantly transport me to a certain event, albeit fond or insignificant.

In no particular order:

Sawdust. My dad spent much of his free time assembling model airplanes during my youth. Replaced lately by playing XBOX with his 'over 50' friends, his days of cutting plywood and molding it into shape have long passed. I rarely smell this anymore; but if I do, I fondly remember watching TV in my basement and the deep sense of security that came in knowing my dad was right around the corner.

Window Clings. Freshly peeled off the sheet, I can vividly recall the strange smell of window clings. You know the kind that you peel off and place on your windows to depict a certain holiday theme? My mom rotates clings through the holidays, and I am sure it is much of the reason I love seasonal decorating. Every holiday was celebrated and made exciting. I can't wait to pull down the Halloween box and put brightly colored window clings on our back slider. I am pretty sure they are thought of as the "poor man's decoration", but just the sight of them as I pass by a window makes me happy.

Exclamation perfume. Conjures up middle school insecurities. Longing for true friends, self confidence, identity, and (as my mom would tease) a little color in my wardrobe. Naively, I thought that if I wore black from head to toe it would make me less noticeable.

My wedding chest. The first Christmas Josh and I were dating, a good friend of ours sent me a huge trunk. Lined with beautiful vintage paper, the silver antique finish became the perfect spot for storing the thick letters passed through the mail during our year-long long distance courtship. She had tucked pink rose potpourri inside before I started loading it with memories. Anytime I open that box, I immediately recall anxiously awaiting a letter in the mail, sitting on the ground next to my parents computer and waiting for the dial up to load the newest e-mail. The Santa Monica Pier, where we took our first official picture together, the stickers Josh sent me from a photo booth at the mall, and the Anne Geddes cardboard decorative box full of Hershey's kisses when I had a rough week.

Wet paper towels in a public restroom. Not any old paper towel, but the brown kind that are no longer used (probably aren't environmentally friendly:-) When I was 5 years old, I really wanted to be a Freedom High School cheerleader. That is a legitimate job, right? I longed to grab the ginormous Burgundy and white pom poms and prance next to the older girls in their twirly skirts and matching sweaters. Often, if I made myself known on the sideline, an invitation would follow to briefly cheer next to them. During halftime, all cheerleaders (and said pom poms) would congregate in the locker room to add more makeup and gossip about boys. A mix of must, sweat, and mostly wet brown paper towels, that locker room represented my childhood dream and looking up to the older girls.

There is a certain detangler that I have used for the past few years. Much cheaper than the "It's a 10" leave in conditioner they always try to sell me at the salon. I gravitated because it actually worked, and costed far less money. Last summer in the hospital, the one and only time I would stand up during the day was to take a 10 minute shower. My hair was always in knots because I was forever laying on it. It also took a long time to dry, so the smell of that detangler was always on my pillow. As I use it daily, it reminds me of hospital bedrest, fear, angst, and ultimately the answer we had been praying for.

So many more come to mind- the smell of soap in the NICU, vanilla candles burning in our house in Redlands, gasoline over water and spending summers at the cottage on Hess Lake.

How about you? Am I the only one that has this strange connection with smells? What are your triggers?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy, Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day.

It was a happy day, indeed.

With deep gratitude for the miracle performed and ALL of God's faithfulness to our family, we baptized Tessa on May 13th. Surrounded by friends and family, it ranked up there as one of my favorite days.

Not sure anything could top the day she was born, but this came close;-)

Thanks to all who celebrated with us!