Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ramblings about justus

Justus is 3.

Justus is my baby. *sniff

He is mostly potty trained.

He insists on wearing his "superman undies" of which he only has one pair, so that is a challenge.

He likes to "nuggle wiff you"

His favorite breakfast is "eggys"...and really anything I put in front of him.

He adores his grandpa's.  Looks at pictures of them on my phone.  Talks about them.  He talks to Grandpa Harold on the phone and gets 4 wheeler rides from him and wants nothing to do with anyone else when Grandpa Harold is around.

He loves his big brother.  They play football...and wrestle...and play with monster trucks...and talk each other to sleep.

He likes going to play with his friends and doesn't have separation anxiety.

He has the highest cutest cheeky dimples.

He often asks to "watch baby einstein on your phone?"

He doesn't yet pedal his "motorcycle (3 wheeler)" but just scoots along rather quickly.

Hearing him say "gank you" and "God is wiff me" melts my heart.

He has tantrums.  He is stubborn.  He has a strong will.  He sometimes throws his spoon.

He sleeps with his "puppy" and sometimes his monster truck and fire truck (mom lets him, dad doesn't so it depends on who's putting him to bed).

He loves being in water.

He knows where my chocolate stash is at in my classroom at RiverTree (he calls it RibberTree)

He doesn't like his carseat and would rather have a "big boy carseat" and a "big boy buckle".

He is the best fourth child I could ever have asked for.

Thanks, God.  I am deeply grateful that I get to parent and love this dear one.

Friday, July 3, 2015

"I need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties, and lean experiences, for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace....O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul, let me not have to bemoan such leanness, but may I be well-fed and nourished in your house, that I may praise Your name."   Taken from my reading this morning.  I have nothing to add to that.  No words to describe how this personally relates to me.  It's just what I needed.  Thanks Spurgeon for these applicable and timely reminders.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

that vapor. this life.

Every single day goes by.  It goes by fast.  When I look at pictures on my computer, or on Facebook from years ago, or actual printed photos from eons ago, it feels like yesterday.  When I really look at my kids' hands, ears, feet, they seem larger than they did 24 hours earlier.  When I write 2015 on a check, I kinda freak out a little.  When my friend who sells special face care creams and cleaners asks me if I want to try some, I say yes because I've noticed strange marks on my skin in recent years.  When I get invited to friends 40th birthday parties, I am reminded about how we went also to their 30th birthday parties and yet it feels like it was yesterday.  How?  How does this happen?  One reason I like going "home" to visit my parents frequently is that it feels like time has frozen when I go there.  It doesn't seem like that long ago that I used to live there.  Many things feel and look the same.  The people, the land, the town.  I'm not an overly nostalgic person, but I am feeling nostalgic now as I think about it.  That familiarity of years long ago feels nice.  Hmm.  I like it.  Feeling frozen in time feels nice for a moment in the midst of 100mph.

So, I feel as if I am a once a year blogger now.  I don't like that because I like to write.  This past year has come and gone.  I'll be 37 soon.  Or is it 38?  I honestly don't even know right now.  I might actually have to do the math.  I used to think it odd when people forgot how old they were.  This year has been filled with a lot of "the same".  The seasons this year in Minnesota were normal and typical.  We have had the same amount of children living under our roof.  Steve has had the same job.  We have lived in the same house.  We attend the same church.  We have many of the same friends.  I get my haircut the exact same way every time.  We still don't have any pets.  Our children attend the same school.  We drive the same vehicles.  We tore out our hair this spring (as we do every spring) because getting grass to grow in our yard is like trying to... (insert your favorite analogy of something that is really difficult to do).  We worship the same Jesus that we've always worshipped.  Those are a few of the "same" things. 

A few things have been "different" this year.  We've had several houseguests for various amounts of time.  I got a new part time job outside of the home.  I got to travel to Colorado and to Texas for work without my family.  We made some new friends.   Justus started sleeping through the night better.  Jeneva started middle school. Jude started becoming obsessed with soccer.  Josie learned to ride a bike without training wheels.  Steve has become quite interested in the health and nutrition of our family and that has become his passion.  I started running again.  Not much. But a little, nonetheless.  Those are a few "new" things.

I want to read more.  I want to exercise more.  I want to take more risks.  I want to enjoy people and life more.  I want to live life joyfully and to the fullest.  I want to pray more.  So help me God!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

room switch

Well, the crib and changing table are gone.  The nursery is being transformed into a "tween" room.  The almost two year old is sleeping upstairs with the middle two for the first time tonight.  I think tonight might be rough.  Steve is putting them to bed upstairs and we're hoping Justus adjusts to that routine now.  Jeneva could not be more excited to have her own room.  She has been anticipating it for the past year.  She has been decorating and organizing all afternoon.  We're getting her new bedding for her birthday and hopefully a new dresser if I can find one that we like on CL.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

school's out

The kids had their last day of Kindergarten and 4th grade on Friday.  Field Day was tiring and totally wore them out!  Jude slept til 9:30 the next day.  I always get a little emotional and teary on the last day.  Bye teachers, thank you for educating my kiddos.  This year was an exceptional year too.  They both had fantastic teachers who really seemed to "get" both of my kids.  They were really intuitive and a good combination of strict and sweet.  When my kids are happy (most days anyway) to go to school, that makes me happy!

Summer isn't totally planned out yet, but some things on the calendar are swimming lessons, tennis lessons with lots of friends, a book club for Jeneva and summer camp as well, maybe soccer camp for Jude (who appears to have some skills!), possibly a family trip to Duluth in August, and a trip to Iowa to drop the kids off for a week so I can head to CO for training for a new job!  I was offered a Kindergarten position at RiverTree School.  I will be working 3 mornings a week.  I was not seeking out a job.  It kind of just happened. We definitely sense God's leading in this and see it as an indirect answer to several prayers.  We are excited about this new challenge. 

Justus has been sleeping better at night and he finally started walking at the ripe old age of 20 months!  Crazy kid.  He looks so crazy tall now that he is vertical all of the time! 

All for now.  I always blog before bed and then suddenly get lambasted with tiredness.  It just hit me!  G'night.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

*I forgot about this unfinished post, so it's dated, but I'll post it now anyway.

In September when Jude started Kindergarten, he took a stuffed animal with him for nap time at school.  He didn't take Pandy because he was too big to fit into his backpack.  He usually took his small bear which doesn't have a name.  Every day he would make sure the bear was in his backpack.  All of his classmates took their stuffed animals too.  Now it is April and he doesn't take something to snuggle with anymore.  He quit back in January.  This makes me feel just a little bit sad.  I knew that taking a stuffed animal to school would be short lived. It was endearing while it lasted.

I went to a "middle school" meeting last Thursday evening.  It was for the 4th graders and parents for the purpose of meeting the teachers and to learn about how middle school (5th-8th) works at Yinghua.  It exceeded my expectations.  I am thankful for the solid education and great community.  I am overwhelmed at how quickly she is growing up.

I am enjoying spending my days with Josie.  She loves playing with friends several times a week, she loves sitting on the couch reading book after book after book, and she loves doing "school work" at the table.  She is constantly asking me how to spell things (mostly peoples names) and can write all of the numbers and letters.  She is my little helper and tag-a-long.  She really likes to memorize things--books and her Bible verses for Sunday School.  She is self motivated and independent.  On the rare occasion that she asks me to pick out her clothes for her, I do because then she will at least be wearing something that matches.

Justus is 18 1/2 months and still crawls.  He crawls fast, but he won't walk.  He HAS walked.  He's taken 7 or so steps numerous times.  I'm pretty sure it's not a developmental thing.  He's just lazy.  Oh that boy.  I don't know what to do with him. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

late night ramblings

I am completely lost in a novel (What Alice Forgot) and it feels so good!  It's been quite some time since I've finished a book or really been engaged with it (book club failure last year).

The past two weeks have been tough.  Blame it on the weather.  Blame it on lack of time to myself.  It's all just my sin and my heart and it just needs to be dealt with.  I'm feeling relatively hopeful today.  A Praying Life by Paul Miller has been a refreshing read for me these past two weeks.  I'm slowly trudging through it and finding conviction and encouragement.  Thankful for that.

Steve has been working an insane amount of hours.  He signed up for 1 or 2 shifts of OT a week, which is manageable, but then on top of that he is being forced to stay extra shifts.  They are super low on staff and their new recruits are still in training, so it will be like this for a few more weeks. 

I stayed up until 9:30 tonight with Jude getting his class valentine's ready for Friday.  It was a moment I wanted to savor and bottle up forever.  My kindergartner was so excited about signing his name on all 25 of his valentine's and then writing each child's name from his class.  It led to stories and conversations about many of the kids in his class.  It was just sweet.  I loved it.  He's been very affectionate lately too.  Last night when we were doing family devos in the living room, he out of the blue started scratching my back.  Now if we could only get him to remember to hold open doors for girls!

Jeneva and Jude started their own "book club" with each other.  A super exciting book set called Conspiracy 365 came with my new Usborne consultant kit.  Jeneva decided to read it aloud to Jude.  They are both totally into it and starting book 2 already.  She reads it aloud in the van and even takes it on the bus with them to read to him.  Oh my word, I'm dying because I love that SO MUCH!

My biggest conviction in parenting right now is in modeling for my kids how to deal with disappointment.  I have NOT dealt with disappointment well lately.  I get super upset and frustrated when plans get thwarted or things don't go the way I expected them to. Praying for God to work in my heart and give me a spirit of contentment in all circumstances.

All for now.  Gonna read another chapter of my book before bed and then SLEEP.  Hopefully.  :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

my favorite people

It's been a pathetic week.  I have won a "lousy-mom/wife-of-the-week" award.  Most awards make a person feel GOOD.  This award, however, did not.  Well, in the midst of it all I was looking through some photos on the computer and this one just made me smile.  It gave me at least a bit of motivation to press onward this coming week!  These truly are my favorite people in the whole world.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

today kinda sucked

Today I am feeling super insecure about my parenting.  Am I too strict or not strict enough?  I think I argue with my kids more than I should.  Do I focus too much on relationship and not as much on obedience?  Why is Jeneva so emotional and why do I feel so irritated by it?  Am I ruining her?  Why is Jude such a whiner and so negative?  Why is Josie so darn cute (I won't say that she's been my "favorite" this week or anything).  Do I do too much for my kids rather than letting them figure it out on their own?  Probably.  Are all of my intentions going to backfire when they are older?  Am I doing it all wrong?  Am I doing enough to train them to have a good work ethic?  How am I helping Jeneva to manage herself?  Do I enable her instead?  Are my kids going to love Jesus or falter because of my example?  Why is Steve doing a better job of parenting than me?  Are we on the same page? Do I worry too much?  Not usually, but today I do.

Monday, January 27, 2014

our week and a brief family update

This week we had the opportunity to host a woman from China who came to Minnesota to visit a friend.  She was the Morse's tutor in China.  She was absolutely delightful.  She loved the kids so much and they thoroughly enjoyed her sweet disposition and joyful enjoyment of them.  We had a friend's 4 year old son staying with us during that same week, so it was a full, but fun house.  Her English was limited making it was difficult for us to communicate verbally, but Jeneva did amazing! She interpreted back and forth for us and then they would talk and talk and I of course had no idea what they were saying.  On Saturday night, Ellen (Jeneva's age and very distant cousin:) stayed over.  She also speaks nearly fluent Chinese, so the three of them could communicate just fine.  Love it that my kids can be exposed to hearing other languages spoken in our home on a regular basis--Chinese and Spanish as well.

Right before our guest (dai laoshi) came we had some plumbing issues.  Our main sewer line backed up.  It took three plumber visits to get it fixed because one of the pipes under ground busted.  She couldn't shower and we couldn't flush her first night here (she was gone during the day, so it wasn't too inconvenient for her).  She was so gracious and didn't seem to care one bit.  Then the next day our hot water heater started leaking in the basement onto the carpet.  We knew we needed to take care of it immediately, so Steve called the plumber and got some estimates.  We did not want to pay that kind of money considering we just forked over a whole chuck of cash for our plumbing issues, so he decided to attempt it on his own.  He called his friend, Charles, who he thought might know better what he was doing.  He was available to come over right away. They bought a water heater and installed it in just a few hours.  We were so relieved and grateful to God for helping us get through that situation without any major hangups and to Charles for his help and expertise.

It has been a crazy long winter so far.  It's only January, but we've had oodles of snow, which I love, but also oodles of COLD days.  School has been cancelled 5 days so far in January for extreme cold!  Today was one of those days.  Tomorrow our school just has a late start.  Tonight Josie's prayer request was for summer to come quickly. 

I feel weary.  I don't feel down or depressed, just worn out.  And the "worn out" isn't unbearable (at this point anyway).  It is just go.  Go time.  All of the time.  I love the routine of school.  The kids are having great years, so that helps a ton.  I am liking our church routine too.  Wednesday nights are a helpful break in the week and enjoyable family time--and the food has been incredible too!  I am looking forward to books that I plan to read this year (last year I bombed at reading much).  Novels for book club and also children's books since I joined the Usborne book company.  I'm letting go of my expectations to have a perfectly clean and organized house.  When I let it go, I can enjoy life more.  It's hard to let go, but I have to otherwise I'll go insane.  I'll go insane if it's messy all of the time too though, so it's just a matter of finding a healthy medium. 

I came to the computer to type up a to-do list and I ended up rambling a blog post.  Figured it's been awhile since I've updated. Once again I haven't posted any highlights of the kids birthdays--or any other major or miniscule event for that matter.  Maybe if I put my to-do list on here I'd be more likely to do what I need to do (procrastination is my middle name).  Okay.  I have two things I NEED to accomplish tomorrow.  I need to order labels with my name and website on for my Usborne books.  AND, I need to find out when I can turn in my CEU's to the school district for my teaching license.  So, that's on my "to accomplish" list for tomorrow besides laundry, cooking, driving kids to and from school, and grocery shopping.  Good night. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

how i love those kids of mine

My love for my kids is so deep.  It's so difficult to understand how God can love them and me infinitely more.  He does.  How is that possible?  How can I get so frustrated and annoyed with them that I want to send them all away for a time so that I can have some time to myself.  I know it's not wrong to have time to myself. When I am away from them for any period of time--an hour to run an errand, a couple of hours with friends, an overnight with my husband--I long to be with them again at the end of my time away. I am deeply thankful that I get to be with my children every day. There are days that I resent it and want something different.  Every decision I make is for their well being--what they will eat, who they will play with, how long I will be gone, how they will be educated, what we will do for fun, what our family times will consist of, how we will structure our time, what books we will read together, what activities will they be involved in. That to me is daunting.  Some days I can hardly make decisions.  I don't know what you can have for breakfast.  I can't think.  Figure it out yourself.  Some days I feel like that.  You ask me if you want a piece of gum and I don't know how to answer that.  It is so completely ridiculous.  Making decisions 24 hours a day concerning my children is wearing.  I am tired.  I want to go to sleep.  I want to go on vacation first.  Without them.  Then I can clear my head, make 1 million less decisions, and then miss them like crazy.  I am thankful that I can love and obsess over them as much as I do.  It is a good reminder that I am loved and obsessed over by my heavenly Father.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

100 again and again and again...

Imagine blowing your hair dryer at yourself all day long.  That pretty much sums up the weather here.  It has been in the upper 90's or 100 for the past 4 days or so.  I've lost count.  These old Minneapolis school buildings around here are un-airconditioned.  Day 1 of 4th grade down....days 2 and 3 CANCELLED!  Tomorrow was supposed to be Jude's first day of Kindergarten.  He gets to wait until after Labor Day now.  My tears can wait five more days now!

Tonight at dinner we told Jeneva TEN things that we love/appreciate about her.  Among me and Steve's more serious "character quality" and "evidences of grace" compliments was Jude saying "I like how you're so fashionable" and Josie saying "I just really like that you're having a birthday and that you can bike really fast."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

birthday and school

Time to dust off the ole' keyboard (again) and type.  Tomorrow Jeneva turns ten AND starts 4th grade.  She's been nervous and excited all day.  She just came up (kids are sleeping in basement where it's cooler) because she couldn't sleep.  We talked about school, nerves, excitement, sitting in the front row, being a "bigger" kid in school, language learning, her backpack, the "squares" she needs for math class and what they might be used for, putting her chocolate pudding in the freezer, and how hot it is outside (100 degrees again). It was an hours worth of conversation packed into ten minutes.  We prayed about tomorrow and the year.  She smiled, gave me a hug and told me I'm the best mom in the whole world.  Not true, but hey, I'll take it.  So, tomorrow morning she'll wake up to egg burritos (her favorite) and donuts (my favorite) that Steve will pick up and a small woman's 21 speed bike that we found on Craigslist. Dinner will be three of her favorites:  salmon, baked potatoes, and potstickers.  Happy Birthday, sweet TEN year old.  I LOVE being your mama!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

what jude's been up to

The training wheels came off a couple of weeks ago.  Thanks to his awesome coach: dad!

He is thoroughly enjoying his first year of t-ball. This Luxton Jr. Gopher is very excited to go to practice and games. I can't peel the smile off of his face when he runs the bases.  So cute.

Jude and Sam enjoying some mid-game conversation.  :)

When it's time to stuff and stamp envelopes for our China friends, Jude never gives up.  He's really good at folding and stuffing and putting the address labels on relatively straight.

what jeneva's been up to

Jeneva with her 3rd grade teacher.  Friday was the big Academic Performance day at school.  The kids always work so hard to prepare for this day!  Her English report was on Rosa Parks.  Then in their Chinese classroom, they performed their presentations that they had worked in small groups on.  Her group researched and presented on Ancient Rome.  It is fun to see her excited about and interested in history.  Just three weeks of school left before summer break!  I can hardly believe I have an almost 4th grader!

Photo compliments of Jude!  She stared violin lessons again after about a 9 month hiatus.  I think she has a renewed excitement for it.  She gets to be in Orchestra at school next year so she's getting refreshed for that.  Proud of her!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Random (not very high quality) Pics from my iPod

We Shall Have Spring Again!  Or so we said in January.

The two wee ones

Pretty girls at the Conservatory

Our Tuesday early morning coffee dates with Kari and Sam.  Here the kids are "shooting" people coming into Target. Nice.

Oh my word.  This is one of my favorite pictures!

Pic 1 of some of our small group kids...

Pic two....more of them!  At our monthly family dinner.


Painting fun with Megan!

All swaddled up.  My favorite.

Making coffee cake or something of that nature

Sportin' the pink bumbo!

Just a really cool pic I took at a bait shop when we were up north!

Sam and Jude doing what they do best.  Wrestle.

On the ice!

Fun at the Plymouth Field House on a cold winter day.

Third graders unite!  Up north at a cabin with friends in January.

Gramma and Justus!

Never lacking a pose :)

Why don't these goggles fit quite right?

She was sleeping.  For real!

Steve went to Michael's Craft Store and came home with critters to paint!

Helping Ua with his Pinewood Derby car!  He came in 2nd place for creativity!

The best part about this picture is what Josie is doing.....  Hilarious!

Jude K and Josie having a very serious conversation over goldfish.


Cool Lego City

This lego creation was supposed to be the sculpture gardens.  So cool!

Watching the Pinewood Derby race

Can't quite sit up on his own...

Me and Julia at French Meadow.  We look yellow.

Molly and Megs at French Meadow.  :)

This was what spring break looked like! Just like winter break did!

Jude and Seth.  Time for a sleepover!

Do you think they will sleep?

Free Ikea Lunch with Sam and Sophia

Listening to Your Story Hour for the 57th time while doing homework. 

Most all of the little kiddos from my MOMS table. 

Cousin Leanna came for a visit from Wisconsin

Enjoying some farm art

The kids were joking that this was Grandpa and Champ

Not sure what to say here.....

On a nature walk at Silverwood Park

Buddies gearing up for Kindergarten at the Roundup day.  With Sam and the school directors.

How did Justus get so big all of the sudden?

I love a sleeping baby

Long day!

I want to kiss him

Visiting new baby cousin Milo in the hospital!

Justus.  Looking exactly like Jude.