Beautiful Birthday Weekend

Another year has come and gone for me. I’m big into goal-setting and planning so milestones like birthdays always cause me to pause and reflect. I think I almost reached my goal of getting 30 children sponsored this year through World Vision. (If you didn’t get a chance to sign up for sponsorship there is still time! Sign up today! You won’t regret it.)

Overall though, I feel like this past year involved a lot of stretching. We had no idea cancer would be part of this year’s story or that a move was around the corner or that our wait time would extend even longer. Still, God knew, and he walked us through each of those things, growing and stretching our faith.  All in all, I am so thankful for another year of life. I feel immensely fortunate for my family, friends, and faith. Life really is just a vapor, gone so fast. I’m trying my best to enjoy these moments I have and to live in a way that honors God.

“Yet you do not knowwhat your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4:14

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’” Ephesians 5:1

This past weekend was an example of just really trying to count God’s gifts in my life and it started with the best gift of all; a newborn nephew! This cute little boy was born to my brother and his wife. We love them dearly and know they will be great parents.


Then we headed up north where my first-born planned a birthday party for me, complete with food, decorations, gifts, and games. She knows me well and bought me a Starbucks gift card. I love her!



We enjoyed all the cabin has to offer including, fishing, sunset cruises, tubing, trampoline time, kayaks, bonfires, bike ride, and lots of card games.







A good time was had by all, but we came home EXHAUSTED! Then this week was VBS, so we are still trying to catch up on rest. Some of us are better at that then others ;)


A week with Grandparents

We had the privilege of having James’ parents visit us for a week. We don’t get to see them as often as we’d like, so a week long visit was nice.

The kids loved every bit of the gifts, games, and extra hugs.


Grandma helped MissE sew a doll from scratch. MissE was so proud of her work. She is contemplating going into business selling her handmade dolls.


We visited FMSC. One of the shipments of food was headed to Honduras, which always makes us happy.



We celebrated the 4th with a Twins vs Yankees game, a parade, and fireworks over our house.



We wrapped up the visit with a trip to James’ favorite Latin restaurant.


A fun time was had by all and it ended too soon. We miss them already! The good news is we already have our next visit scheduled (Stay tuned for that!!)

Just what the Doctor ordered

It has been a long winter. And I mean long. I’d like to think I handled it well, but near the end it wasn’t so pretty.

I have been itching to get away, but our spring calendar was booked and it was making me claustrophobic. However, this past weekend was mostly free and I pulled the Mother’s day card and convinced my family to go up North. It was well worth it and exactly what we needed.

We got to the cabin in time to watch the sun set over the still iced lake. This is my happy place.


The next morning we had pancakes and card games in PJs. MissE has become a skilled card player, which makes us both so proud. Card playing is how my family communicates, so I’m glad she is learning the language. Junior was our Monopoly Deal banker.


By Saturday afternoon the ice was off the lake and the water was a beautiful blue.


In the afternoon we made a trip to the candy store. Frog gummy’s for Junior and turtle fudge for the adults.


For dinner we visited the famous local Mexican restaurant.  YUM!


Sunday morning the lake was like glass and clear as can be.

IMG_1745We celebrated Mother’s day with a bonfire and s’mores.


I enjoyed my coffee in my new tumbler, the exact one I wanted. My husband knows me well! Too bad the gift came a few days late, after I managed to spill an entire cup on our computer keyboard while answering student emails. That wasn’t my favorite morning. This one was, though.



It can’t be a weekend at the lake without BEAN BAGS! Junior kept saying, “I love this place!”





We bought my mom some pretty flowers for her to enjoy when she makes the trip down.


All in all, the weekend was exactly what we needed. We left refreshed and recharged and enjoyed each moment as a family.

Thankful Thursday: A little girl’s dream come true

I have wanted to take MissE to the American Girl Bistro for some time, but each time I picked a date something came up.

My sister called on Monday to say she was going with her girl and meeting our aunt there, but we already had plans and couldn’t make it.

As it turns out, the weather has been unpleasant here and our plans got cancelled. So, with a few minutes notice I loaded up the kids and took off for the mall.

Even Junior got his own lunch buddy doll, which he thought was really fun.


The girls had a fun time reading ‘discussion questions’ back and forth.



Then there was some shopping.

‘”Aunt Margaret, look how pretty this dress is! Isn’t it pretty? Wouldn’t my doll look beautiful in this dress!”




There were some happy little girls that day.


Junior was not neglected as the mall also has a Lego store.



Junior was rewarded for enduring all the pink.


Thanks to Aunt Margaret for making little girls’ dreams come true! We had a fun time!



He is risen! What better way to celebrate than enjoying life with family!

We went down to my sister’s for Easter. We had a lovely time. The weather was pleasant and we enjoyed the first roasted marshmallows of the season. Nothing tastes as sweet as fresh air!



Once the kids were in bed, we got to the fun job of stuffing eggs.


The next morning we enjoyed THE best church brunch. My sister’s church meets in a coffee shop/cafe and the food was amazing! Coffee shop church appeals to me.


The family.


You can’t go wrong with a shirt dress and leggings. Love you, M!

photo(2)Our precious little family.


Later we enjoyed a good meal, some egg hunting, and an intense game of floor hockey. Even beautiful Katie played.


My dad is a rockstar 69 year old. He can run circles around us all.

photo(4)It was fun to play volleyball with my junior Olympic volleyball nieces.


And now us old people are hobbling around, stiff and sore, while the kids overdose on sweets.

Hope you had a good Easter. He is risen, indeed!

Christmas Recap

We made the long trek up north to my parents’ house, not their cabin which caused Junior some confusion. When we got there he asked where the lake was and the swing set. Thankfully he was soon appeased by grandma’s retro little people collection.

DSC_0960Seriously, that castle goes way back and it is still as cool as ever.

We had a really great time with family including this lovely couple.

ryan and katie

There were a lot of games played.



I really love my sis in law, Katie. She is the best. She even humored us and played several hands of smear, a true test of family.



We had pizza at Steve and Darla’s, lunch with Janelle, and lefse and sleigh rides at my cousin, Jana’s.

sleigh ride

Christmas Eve there was a lot of excitement about gifts.


Myself included. I found an iphone in my stocking. My very first i-product. I now have an i-tunes account. I feel so cool.



Later, Junior played us some tunes.


It was a very merry Christmas. We stayed warm and cozy next to the fireplace, despite the consistent -15 degree temps. We laughed and played games and devoured my mom’s three apple pies.

kissing for ChristmasNothing says Christmas like a little smooch under the tree.


There was only one minor mishap involving my dear girl, my dad, and the snowmobile.

Saturday morning MissE was up and anxious to get outside (despite the below zero temps). Grandpa was the only one kind enough to go outside with her. He drove her around on the snowmobile for awhile and then stopped for a sledding break. After a few runs down the hill they hopped back on the snowmobile. MissE was in front with her hands on the steering wheel (and the ignition, unbeknownst to my dad). When he started it up, she took off, sending him flying off the back.

We all were watching from the kitchen window when it happened. At first I was concerned for my dad and the fall he took, but I quickly realized that MissE was continuing to hold down the gas and heading straight for the trees.


She did release the gas just before hitting a tree.

I grabbed a pair of boots and ran out to check on them both, still in my PJs.

The first thing MissE said to me was, “the tree dropped snow on me.”

Yes, that is what happens when you hit a tree filled with snow.

crash pic 1crash pic 2

I am very grateful to God that MissE was fine (and my dad, too). She could have been seriously hurt. Later James’ mom told us she had felt a sudden urge to pray for MissE that morning.

The snowmobile, unfortunately, was not as lucky. Sorry, dad!

Family Fun

We have been holiday ‘baking’ around the house. Last Sunday we were practically snowed in so I decided why not embrace the mess and make cut out cookies. I was only able to locate the star cookie cutter, but less is more in my opinion.

DSC_0875Frosting cookies is serious business

This was our first storm without paid snow removal service. Good thing we have MissE. She works for free, although occasionally stops to take a sledding break.


On Wednesday we built the annual gingerbread houses. I tried my best not to take offense when MissE said, “I wish Finley were here, he is the best gingerbread house maker.” (he was her assistant for last year’s house making festivities).

DSC_0911 DSC_0927 DSC_0924This activity is really just an excuse to eat candy. A side benefit is that it makes our home smell yummy for as long as the houses stand.