Tuesday, December 28, 2010

in the "wild"

On our way to Cabela's recently, we were having a conversation about how Minnesota isn't JUST the city that we live in. In fact MOST of the beautiful state of Minnesota is woods, lakes, farmland, elk, deer, bears, wildlife...

She said it would be fun to live among the wild creatures in a place that LOOKS like Cabela's.

So, how does she look? Is she in her element? Maybe a little camo would help. The scarf, by the way, was knitted by her! She's recently taken up finger knitting.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

december blizzard 2010

Snow falls.

A lot.


At five inches it's time to make a quick run to store for supplies.

Friday. Saturday. Sunday.

Warnings days in advance.

18 inches.

Can't get out.

Alleys aren't plowed.

Neighbors with snow blowers.


Crazy strong husband who shovels better than a snow blower.

Kind neighbors.

Can't get to work.

City buses aren't running.

Plows are pulled off the roads.

Everyone stuck at home social networking all of the drama.

Christmas movies to watch.

More shoveling to do.

More piles.

Ice dams building on roofs.


Monday and Tuesday school is canceled.

Spinning tires.



Puffy coats, snowpants, long johns, mittens, hats, scarves.

Kids love it.

Papa builds a massive snow fort.

Mama pulls kids on sled.

Hot chocolate.

More shoveling.


Be of good cheer! A white Christmas is definitely here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

a Haiku about the snow today

Today I taught Jeneva about a Haiku Poem (5-7-5 syllables). This is what I just found in her journal:

Sno is soopr colld.
I gust lic too plla in it.
Mama hats the cold.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

what's up?

* Josie is now ONE.
* Jude will be THREE on Monday.
* So many things (cooking, cleaning, parenting, consistency, washing dishes, money, grocery shopping, taking classes) I'm currently finding overwhelming.
* I'm looking into taking classes at a local college so my teaching license won't expire.
* Steve will be out of the Guard in one year.
* Josie loves avocados.
* Jude loves rice with soy sauce.
* Jeneva loves sugar.
* I feel like I'm tired all.of.the.time.
* I want to start running again, but I don't want to start running again.
* I love our new bracelet styles. Gearing up for the big BBC craft fair.
* At night time when I shut the lights out: "But I can't even see my hand in front of my face!" -Jude (every night)
* Josie is standing on her own, but not taking steps.
* The weather this fall was absolutely perfect.
* Our garage siding looks much better.
* Breakfast is my favorite time of the day with the kids.
* Laundry never ends! I'm glad I don't mind it. But about that dishwasher...
* I just made the kids run around the house outside in their pajamas and barefoot (it's 40 degrees and 9:00...they weren't falling asleep)
* I'm going to make Pumpkin Chili tomorrow.
* I'm looking forward to staying in Minnesota for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
* I'm trying to savor quality time with the kids. The days are long, but the years short.
* Looking forward to Steve NOT working overnights starting in January.
* Am thankful for my church. And especially the people.
* I feel like organizing things, but I need things to organize with.
* Jeneva needs winter clothes.
* Jeneva is a young lady. Some days I'm frustrated. Some days I'm so proud.
* Jude still can't say "elevator". He says "alligaris". Funny cuz he pronounces everything else so well!
* Jude calls Josie, "Jose". So cute.
* I hate grocery shopping. I love thrift store shopping.
* Tea with milk and honey. Love.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

first time bus ride

It's the simple things in life that are so exciting sometimes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

fishing and archery and sleeping in a cabin

Steve took Jeneva and Jude on a 24 hour camping trip to Bayfield last week. They met his dad and brother in the middle of their stay there. It was kind of a last minute, spontaneous adventure. The weather couldn't have been more perfect and the kids couldn't have been more excited! Jeneva got to miss a day of school and this mama was thrilled to have 24 hours with just Josie.

Jeneva had the opportunity to sharpen up her archery skills.

Fishing is always the activity of choice. Jude even got to reel in a big fish (northern? crappie? blue gill? I don't remember what kind it was. Can you tell how much of a fisherman I am?)

Three generations. Any resemblances?

Jude on the dock.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

if he wears it, they will comment.....

Does the title of this post remind you of a certain ridiculous movie? Iowa, however, is a great place and every time one of my children wears something "Hawkeye" in this Gopher state, someone else out there with eyes for black and gold will say "I'm from Iowa!" or give my child a high five and say "Go Hawks!" We don't really even follow college sports *gasp*, but the kids do feel some sense of ownership for Iowa and know it must be great because Grandma and Grandpa live there. As I was putting this sweatshirt on Jude the other day I asked him who lives in Iowa? (assuming he would say Grandma and Grandpa). You know what he said instead? "God does." I can almost see my folks weeping tears of joy right now. So, THIS is for all of you Iowa lovers out there!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

i'm serious. seriously!

A friend recently told us that our kids all have that "serious" look about them. When they're not smiling they've got the furrowed brow thing happening. This picture of Josie is evidence of that look. I realized it even more the other day when I was getting out of the van at Target and a lady was getting into her car next to me she said (about Jude and Jeneva) "What are you doing to those kids?! They look miserable!" I think she was implying that they weren't smiling at that moment and apparently they had that serious furrowed brow look. Really though, miserable? They weren't miserable. They were just riding in the van. Should I expect my kids to have smiles on their faces when they are riding in the van? Maybe I should. After all, vans ARE like super fun you know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

slumber party

jeneva looks like the big sister. josie looks like she's about 4. jude looks like he's about to sneeze. i think they had a good time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

and we haven't even started reading Nancy Drew yet...

At the dinner table today:

"So, mom, do you have any mysteries in your life that you need to solve?" --Jeneva

Friday, September 10, 2010

there's always an important matter that needs to be taken care of before it's naptime

me: "Jude, it's naptime. Let's go upstairs."

jude: "Just a minute mom, I need to go shoot the tiger first."

he takes out his play plastic shotgun, points it at the big stuffed tiger and says "boom!"

jude: "Okay, he's dead. Now I am ready for naptime."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

jeneva's birthday and the beginning of first grade

A few weeks ago, we entered a drawing at the library for State Fair tickets. We won them, so we went on Jeneva's birthday. We joined up with the Knight family. Ava and Jeneva are quite the pair! It was fun seeing them walk hand in hand through the fair and ride on the rides together. We got there early in the morning (love the park-n-ride system) and stayed until about 1:00. We didn't last too long. Steve was going on zero sleep and the crowds were starting to affect my mental state.

Jeneva's birthday celebration consisted of the State Fair in the morning and an un-official impromptu birthday party in the evening. We had invited Uncle Mike, Aunt Megan, and Uncle Matt over for a low key gathering involving cake in the evening. However, two neighbor friends showed up so we told them to stay. Also, the Malley's and the Carlson's called earlier in the day asking if they could stop by with a gift. We told them they might as well stay and enjoy some cake too. Hey, a birthday celebration that I didn't even plan.

I forgot to take a picture of the cake. Go figure. We made cupcakes in ice cream cones topped with pink frosting and sprinkles. Perhaps you can just imagine what it looked like.

Jeneva started first grade on Monday. It's going very well so far and she is enjoying it. Her teacher for this year was her assistant teacher last year. Lee Laoshi (pronounced "lousher") is her name. Laoshi means "teacher" in Chinese. Last year her teacher was Yang Laoshi and we adored her. We're praying for a good fit again this year for her. She has homework (math and Chinese language arts) every night....which was assigned on the first day of school. Hard core!

So, this is the start of a big year for Jeneva. First grade and age seven. It's hard to believe it was that many years ago we brought home our little pink bundle from the hospital.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you (in the year to come). May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you (every day!). May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace (always). Amen!"

Jeneva Rae, love you girlie!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SWEET! (corn)

no privacy around here!

If you leave the bathroom door open while you are taking a shower, this is exactly where little "nosy" ends up.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

jeneva all gussied up

She is going to be SEVEN years old this week and she starts first grade on Monday. She is growing up way too fast. *sniff*


Tonight at the dinner table:

Jeneva: "Just so you all know, I'm gonna be a vegetarian. I just don't like to eat animals that were, you know, running around and being alive and stuff. Except deer. I'll be a vegetarian that only eats deer meat."

Jude: "I LIKE to eat animals. I like giraffes......and dogs......."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

summer 2010. words, not pictures.

I'm in denial that it's mid-August already. Just yesterday it was the fourth of July. Right? And the day before that it was the last day of school. Surely.

All of those cliche's about time flying kind of annoy me, but they're way true.

Now summer isn't REALLY over. There's plenty (hopefully) of hot weather to come for swimming and watermelon (I've only taken a liking to watermelon in the past couple of years), but mid-August always reminds me of the beginning of the Cross Country season.....takes me back to my High School and College days. The beginning of the CC season means school is just around the corner and summer is gone.

I'm glad my CC days are over. Loved em then. But now, the desire to run and sweat and compete and be nervous just isn't there.

I'm not even teaching anymore, so really the seasons should sort of blend together and I shouldn't get this awful dread of it being the end of summer. But I do. Fall and school starting (for Jeneva) and everything is all good....I'm just going to miss all of those beautiful lakes and pools and night time walks in shorts and flip flops.

Okay, Tiffany, it's NOT over yet. Don't get all depressed about it already. Just enjoy what's left of it.

But for the sake of the memory.....I'll recap all our summer entailed. I suppose the kids will look back on this in 10 years and appreciate the recall.

**our cool off hot spots included: Lake Johanna, Cedar Lake, Bryant Lake, Wirth Lake, the Splash Pad, and the neighborhood kiddie pool.

**six weeks of tennis lessons at our neighborhood park for Jeneva. Every day for 6 weeks! That's a long time!

**our family vacation was a camping trip to the Baptist Grounds in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Much fun....MUCH work.

**a week long trip to Grandma and Grandpa's farm while Papa was gone for the Guard.

**we took a few *field trips* to local nature centers and went on lots of bike rides and played with friends.

**two different trips were taken to Iowa in June and July for funerals. My Grandma Stutzman died in June and then my cousin Jason unexpectedly died in a motorcycle crash in July. Both were very sad, but both were a hopeful reminder of the HOPE that we have in Jesus and the PROMISE of eternal life in HIM.

I love summer. It doesn't last long in Minnesota, so I better stop blogging and get out and enjoy it before it's gone...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the kids

what's happening?

Hollering at a squirrel?

Spying on the neighbors?
Quite likely.

Watching the garbage truck?
A weekly occurance.

Climbing on the furniture because sometimes mom allows it?

Monday, July 26, 2010

HCA friends

Teaching. I miss it. Glad though I'm not doing it at this phase of my life. Thankful for the super fantastic people I worked with. Here's a few of them at a gathering last week. Happy to still be in contact with many of them. If I ever enter the workforce again someday I would handpick all of these wonderful people in a heartbeat.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

fireworks are scary!

Fireworks didn't go so good tonight. Jude was a bit freaked out. He held his teddy bear and covered his eyes and screamed through it all. We left early. Jeneva ended up in tears too. Not because she was scared but because we were leaving. *sigh* She was a trooper though. She ended up saying "At least we got to see some of them. Poor Jude." She is a glass-is-half-full kind of girl.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

today's chuckles

She took her two very tight french braids out of her hair tonight while sitting in church. She has big hair anyway, let alone when they have been in french braids for 24 hours. She turned into a big puff ball.

While at a store today, he asked the cashier "how's your day going?" The boy's a charmer I tell ya!

Her new thing when she's going to bed is to stick her butt way up in the air. It's like she's doing Yoga (down dog) for babies. It's cute. You can hear her sucking on her nuk while she's doing it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

so i can remember and so my kids will know

I want to record some memories of her and I want to tell my kids these things too.

I was thankful I was able to attend Grandma Stutzman's funeral. I didn't realize the impact it would have on me upon going to it.

The service on Wednesday helped open my eyes to my rich heritage. I believe I have spent my entire life taking my upbringing for granted. I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but alas, it's probably healthy to admit such crises.

I had prayed in the new year asking God to open my eyes in the year to come of my blessings and feel more thankful. My ungratefulness and apathy and general "blah" in life was beginning to scare me. He helped to answer it on Wednesday. I went to Grandma's funeral, sad for the loss.....and came away feeling immensely grateful to MY GOD for placing me in just the right family with all just the right people and incredibly thankful for the legacy of her faith.

How was I specifically impacted?

My eyes were opened to the realness of heaven. She's there. Every sorrow and hurt and pain is gone. Forever. As my Grandma Roth said at the service "I miss her, but wouldn't wish her back." This is so true. Grandma longed for heaven for so long after many griefs and losses has finally gained it. I learned that through her sorrows, her Bible was well worn and her faith didn't waiver. That is a testimony and an example to me. I want to be like that.

My eyes were opened to the love of my family. I love all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins and though the miles are wide and the times together aren't as often as before, we have a good connection. I always feel the love after a gathering. Love and support in an extended family IS a gift.

My eyes were opened to some memories of her. I lived next to Grandma in my growing up years. My memories are fuzzy because of the time that has passed since then, but I nonetheless, have some very vivid ones from years ago. I remember running down the road to their house to show off my very first perm. Grandma just chuckled and Grandpa made a comment about me sticking my finger in a light socket. I also remember Grandma having a slumber party for me and Nicki and Jenessa. She made us cupcakes and gave us grief when we were pooped out by 9:00 and wanted to go to bed. A more recent memory is seeing her at Church carrying around 9 month old Jeneva. She was showing her off to all of her friends. Of course Jeneva was pretty big at 9 months and there was little tiny Grandma...

My eyes were opened to the foundation she laid for me in my faith. I never really talked to Grandma about faith or the Bible or Christianity, but as I think about it....wow. I am privileged enough to have been raised by parents who believe in JESUS. The foundation started with her and Grandpa. They passed it on to my dad who in turn passed it on to his kids. I want to thank her for that. I thank God for that. Of all the ways I could have been raised, I have a family that BELIEVES. Why can a person spend their whole life "knowing" that, but not be completely hit with the reality of it until....now?! I guess it's better to realize it later than not at all.

A hymn that I keep thinking of is "How Firm a Foundation." I don't know if she knew this song or not, but it's reminding me of my heritage right now as I write this:

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word
What more can He say than to you He hath said
to you who for refuge to Jesus hath fled?

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

Love you, Grandma. I'm happy you're with Jesus. As Jeneva said today: "I am glad she's in heaven, but I wish she could come back for just a little bit and tell us what Jesus looks like." I wish Jeneva would have been at the service, but we've been talking about her a lot these past couple of days and it's been good.

my favorite picture. happy grandma. happy jude.

all of the first cousins.

Friday, June 4, 2010

my six

These are the 2nd and 3rd graders (all six of them!) that I spent April and May with.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

now....about that apple

She won't be eating apples for awhile now. Steve pulled out her top tooth (her 3rd one) the other night. The following day she lost the neighboring top tooth at school. When I was young I would freak out about my teeth coming loose or getting pulled out. Not Jeneva. I love that about her, yet it baffles me. She said it was loose so she asked the lunch lady at school to pull it. Oh yes she did! The lunch lady used a napkin and pulled er right out. Jeneva then got the infamous little tooth-necklace-carrying-case to keep her beloved tooth in until night time when it went under her pillow. This time the tooth fairy did NOT forget. The tooth fairy is too embarrassed to admit how many times she failed to arrive when her FIRST tooth came out. Now Jeneva is much too practical to actually believe in the tooth fairy, but we still pretend anyway, and Ms. Fairy does her very best to show up at just the right time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

josie at 4 months

Megan took these back in February. Josie is still just as cute (at 7 months)!