I LOVE Days Like These

I'm just full of pictures today! We took the kids out right after breakfast this morning to enjoy this wonderful weather right from the very start. Yes, they're still in their pj's...don't judge! :)

Hayden in her swing for the first time...loved it!
Maurah loved the swing too....giggles galore from her!
Cole finally got to play with the water table friends gave the girls for their birthday. He's been asking, "Is it sumner yet?" So, today, he got a taste of what summer will be like and he loved it!
We are dressed for the day now! Hayden lovin' on Mr. Penguin.
Her uh-oh pose!
What a big girl!
Maurah and her serious pose.
Now we're a bit too excited!
Miss Maurah, very proud of herself for climbing into her carseat all on her own. These girls are the sweetest, funniest girls I think, and of course I'm not biased.

Jake and I were able to just sit outside and play with the kids while enjoying each others' company. Mornings like these could happen every day and I wouldn't get sick of them!
We are having a rest time now, awaiting the arrival of Grandpa and Grandma who will stay with us this weekend while Jake is on a Men's Retreat with church. I can't wait to go back out with the kids and enjoy the rest of this glorious day!

Remember that crazy weekend we had?

I meant to post a bit about our weekend last week. Because I'm sure I've forgotten most details already, here's a picture story with a few of the highlights.Since we were going to be downtown for the day, we thought we'd take the kids to the zoo for a quick run through. Thought we were creative and could get the free parking since we were so early both for the season and the time of day....Wrong! It was packed! But we had a great time seeing leopards......and lions......a funny little girl who kept poking her head around the stroller to see us......and another little girl who wasn't that amused with it all, but still looked so cute.The BEST part though, was meeting up with friends. Here we are at Moody - Stacie, Katie and myself. Oh, how I miss these girls! I think we just LOOK like we belong together! :)


...do our neighbors decide to work on their house with very loud drills and saws right when the girls have finally fallen asleep?

...do I have a book highly recommended to me called "Mastering Motherhood" setting on my nightstand, unread because motherhood is completely taking over my life and mastering me instead?

...does Cole ONLY spill chocolate milk when he's got his nicest outfit on?

...does the process of organizing only create a larger mess?

...does my hair flip out when I straighten it and is flat as a pancake when I curl it?

...does Cole use the toilet very well, yet still insist on wearing a diaper?

...does my 3 year-old take a 3 hour nap and my 1 year-olds only sleep for an hour (even when my neighbors aren't creating all that racket!)

Just some thoughts I've come to lately. Are they irony or lessons to be learned? I think I'll stay tuned....

P.S. - I'm totally not complaining....these are things that really boggle my mind! I know, I know, I need a hobby...

Update #2

Colleen and her family arrived at U of M to find out that the liver was too big for her. So, no go! They are all back at home now, waiting to hear on the availability of more organs. She has been assured that she is #1 on the list as a recipient, so the wait should not be long. Please pray for the family of the man whose organ was too large, as they are in grieving at this time.

Update on Colleen

Colleen is having the surgery sometime this afternoon. They got the call around 7:30 this morning that organs were available for her. The entire family is on their way to U of M. Please continue to keep them in your prayers through this rollercoaster of a day. Every single prayer is so greatly appreciated.

Ok, so I do have one thing...

I forgot that I wanted to mention something very important before I sign off for a bit. My best friend's mom (Colleen) is on the transplant list at U of M to have a double transplant of liver and kidneys. It's been just over a year ago now that Colleen's colon up and died randomly one day and she has been battling liver and kidney failure, plus a whole slew of other infections since last spring. Her life has hung on the line many times, but the Lord has decided so far that it is not her time to go Home.

The odds of her surviving the surgery are 50/50....not exactly the odds we were hoping for. However, as Anne (my best friend) said, she's beaten the odds every time thus far. 99% of patients in the world who are septic, as Colleen has been, don't make it. She is in the 1% in the world of patients who have. In just a few weeks, she went from 82 pounds to 112. Really, it's amazing that she's at the point she is, finally being well enough to be placed on the transplant list. She is one of the top five recipients waiting for organs, and the transplant could happen as early as tomorrow, if organs that match become available.

Could you please keep Colleen and her family in your prayers? She is an amazing believer who has given so much for people her entire life. I can't imagine my life without her, as she truly has been another mom for me. Specifically, here are some requests:

1) That Colleen and Roger and the rest of the family would have a peace as the impending surgery approaches. It's pretty scary knowing the day that someone could be leaving you forever, so nerves and anxiety are running pretty high.
2) That Colleen's body would make it through the surgery itself and also that her body would not reject the organs
3) Prayers for the donor's family would be appreciated too, seeing how they had to lose someone in order to give life to someone else

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). I love that God wants us to come to Him. He wants us to invite Him into our lives, our pain and our fears.

James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and He will come near to you." I pray that the Moerdyk family will feel the presence of God as He wraps His masterful arms around them during this time. Thank you for any prayers lifted up. I love that, as a community of believers, we can draw together, miles apart, and be united in the communion of saints. There is nothing more beautiful.

I will be sure to post updates as they become available.

Home? What home?

We are gearing up for some very busy days ahead. Here's just a rundown of our calendar the next few days:

Church pictures in 2 hours.....yes, I should be getting everyone ready!
Tomorrow we are meeting dear friends downtown for an early lunch, attending volleyball games played by a couple of our students and then heading to church for a fundraising dinner and meeting.
Saturday Jake's parents are heading our way on their trip home from Alabama...this won't really make us busy, but it's still something to look forward to!
Sunday we have church from 9-1, then a leader's meeting at our place (I'm hoping I don't have to prepare food for this one!) and then Jake and I are attending a Shane & Shane concert which I am SO excited about! They are performing with Matt Maher (sp?) who God has blessed enormously at leading worship. We have a babysitter and all.....like I said, SO EXCITED!!

All of this to say, you will most likely not be hearing from me for the next while, at least until I recover. However, this has to guarantee some good posts for next week, dontcha' think? Have a wonderful weekend yourselves, my friends!

I Am....

The Secret Life of Bees. Lots of language to move through, but a story hasn't sucked me in like this in a very long time. I am in LOVE with this book!!

Dum Dum suckers - Root Beer and Cream Soda to be exact. They're a great treat when I'm having a craving I can't fulfill!

feeling so much better than I have been and being able to enjoy my kids and even the daily tasks around the house. It's amazing what a little bit of energy can do!

the Gospel of John for a study I'm leading with some students and how not to be a wallflower - our young mom's study at church by Angela Thomas. Both are great catalysts to growth!

about how to be a better mom, having more patience and taking the time to TEACH not just INSTRUCT. There is a difference, especially in the eyes of a 3 year-old!

about my kids who are so darn cute and learning more and more things every day. I love how Cole is growing in his knowledge of Jesus and also his convictions of right and wrong already. He's corrected me so many times on not saying "hate" and has also told Jake and I that we need to speak nicely to each other when we're in....well....a "heated discussion." I'm thankful for our little "voice of conviction".

warmer weather - even when it's raining. If I see snow before next October.....

a way-too-expensive-but-way-better camera. I NEED it! No, really, I do. I'm still convincing Jake of this, but I'm starting to save my pennies and hoping he'll come around by the time I've got the cha-ching!

my mind is so scattered lately the farthest I can plan ahead is our menu for the week!

how blessed I really am. It sounds sort of boring, but God is working in our family in so many wonderful w
ays that I can't even describe. We're in a great place right now and it's nice to be able to say that!

So.......your turn!

Addendum to the Former....

Just in case ya'll were wondering, my due date is November 1st. I've had so many people ask me before I knew and was going to write it in the earlier post, but it got lost in all my excitement. Funny what a competent cervix can do to a girl, huh?

Easter Pics

Good News!

I received wonderful news at my doctor appointment yesterday. I first went to have an ultrasound to see where the baby is measuring and whether or not my cervix is doing what it should be. (Recap: The reason I went into early labor with the twins is because my cervix was considered incompetent, measuring way smaller than it should, allowing them to push their way right out.)

First, we watched the little peanut on the screen, and it was hilarious to see how active a 4 cm baby can be! Yes - 4 cm. That's all it is measuring right now! And I could not believe that, at 4 cm, this little guy has fingers and toes already. All of its body parts are in place, they're just developing more and more with each day. The funniest part is that the baby basically has its own trampoline in there as it bounced up and down on its head, kicking its little legs in the air. The tech (who remembered me from the twins) and I had a nice little reunion, enjoying the kicks and turns of this new little bean. It was so nice because this is the tech who performed the ultrasound the day Hayden kept kicking Maurah in the head until Maurah finally swung herself around and kicked back. So, I definitely have a special place in my heart for this particular radiologist. :)

Next we did the trans-vag (a favorite for every woman, I'm sure) to get a cervical evaluation. She kept saying that she couldn't get a very good picture which worried me because I thought this might be a sign that things weren't as they need to be. However, when I spoke with my RN in the doctor's office, she told me that my cervix is measuring at 5.75. The doctor wants anything 4 or higher, so I'm quite a bit above that! (With the twins, I measured 3 or less from the very beginning). I don't have to go back until 4 weeks from now - which is a miracle in itself in high risk pregnancies, as I'm there almost every other week - and they'll do another ultrasound and cervical evaluation. If my cervix is still measuring well, I don't have to have a cerclage put in (the surgery I had to hold my cervix shut) and my chances of having to be on bedrest plummet. Praise God! I had nerves up to my throat the entire drive to the hospital and God is answering every prayer that I've laid at His feet for this baby. One thing I learned from the situation with the girls is that you can never pray enough for your kids.....and this baby is definitely benefiting from that!

Here's a big thank you to everyone who has been praying for us too. Really, my biggest fear has been that I couldn't carry another baby well and that my body is just totally depleted. At this point, however, it looks like we went through what we did because there were two last time. All I can muster to say is thanks be to God!

Disclaimer: To those of you who are offended by me calling the baby "it", I realize that this baby is not an "it" or a "thing". But writing he/she, him/her, etc. gets really hard after a while. So until we know the sex of this baby, please forgive me. :)

Easter Woes and Joys

I've got the nostalgia bug today.

Let me start by saying that most Sundays are difficult in our family. The kids are thrown way off of their schedules because of us having to attend both church services and we usually find ourselves rushing out the door with exactly 20 minutes to be to church. Those twenty minutes in the van ride are usually spent making sure the girls aren't ripping out their barrettes or losing their socks and shoes, remembering as we pass a Starbucks that I haven't had a lick of breakfast, wondering if we have our Bibles and reassuring Cole this whole time that he will have a wonderful time at church seeing all of his friends and learning about the Lord.

Once we are parked, it's a race to replace the missing socks, shoes and barrettes, grab everyone's different bags and sippys, and attempt to walk in heels (for me, not Jake, of course!) across our parking lot, looking graceful with our own huge lot. Another race ensues as we greet church family while trying to maneuver them at the same time and placing our kids in their appropriate rooms for the morning. Once they are settled, we make a dash for the youth room to do our morning study with the teens.

This Easter Sunday really was no different. Except....it was Easter. From what I remember growing up, Easter Sunday wasn't a sprint out the door for my family. I remember having time to find my Easter basket, which Dad so sneakily hid, and to get to go through my new treats. I remember getting all dressed up and having pictures taken with my sister and Mom and then one again with my sister and Dad. We drove a half hour or a little more to church where we would always sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today as the choir processed and then spent the rest of the afternoon having an Easter dinner at Grandpa and Grandma's, where aunts, uncles and cousins would usually join us. We had rousing Easter egg hunts and we got a whole other set of family pictures there, showing off our Easter dresses (well, I was showing off, Heather was more putting up with it!).

So, this morning, as we were again running late getting out the door and thinking about setting up for pie sales we've had the students fundraising, it hit me that we hadn't gotten a family picture and that we had no where to go once out of church, except back to our home. (And, in my cynicism, I knew we weren't going to sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today! What can I say? I'm a sucker for tradition!). In the midst of families who were preparing for their afternoon feasts, all dressed up in their Easter garb, I received comments like, "You're lucky you get to go home and just relax." Funny, isn't it? How all I really wanted was to have the exact opposite? So, in my usual fashion before God gets a hold of me, I sat in my self-pity that I didn't get the roast in on time for us to have an Easter dinner and that I was going home to an empty house save for the five of us who are here every day. Easter wasn't going to be special.

And then I kept hearing, It's not about them. It's about Me. If you can't be joyous in My resurrection without other people, then you're not thankful for Me. I'd love to tell you that at this second my attitude turned right around, but, sadly, it didn't. However, it has caused me to be thinking all day. Easter is special because of Christ and the victory He had over death. It isn't about a ham dinner, family visits or even the special clothes we wear on this particular Sunday. Those things aren't bad, but do we miss the purpose of this celebration in all of our plans?

Jake and I have decided that we'd like to try and make an attempt to be able to celebrate Easter with family in the coming years and somehow try to bridge the three-hour gap on this holiday. I have to admit, I'm already excited about that. But today I'm praying that I will not lose sight of what Easter really means; how Christ is enough for me and how He longs to celebrate His resurrection with us, even if we're in our jammies and our Easter feast is PB & J.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia! All that matters is that He is rejoicing with us. That makes Easter special.

Invisible Children Meets American Idol

Check out this post from the Invisible Children blog. He's got my vote too!

Jake and I are hoping to attend the Rescue in downtown Chicago in a couple of weeks. Check out the website for full details. This is such a huge issue that needs attention, so I'm going to try and get word out as much as I can too. I know evil is rampant in this world, but I have to say that I've never seen it in one person as much as Joseph Koney. Unfortunately, as much as I love my country, it seems that we're not interested in stepping in since they don't have anything to offer back to us. I hate to have that attitude, but Congress is aware of this genocide and is not doing much. We need to pray that the efforts that are given will be enough to end the war and get these kids out of this cruel reality.

Mumble Jumble

I am tired. So, So Very, TIRED. Why is it that you forget what your body goes through being pregnant, even when it was only a year ago that I was in this position?

Unfortunately, I don't have the privilege of sleeping whenever I want to. Oh, sometimes I miss the days of being pregnant with Cole! How easy that was! And yet, I foolishly took that for granted as I think all first-time moms do. All of that said, forgive me if this post is scattered all over the place.

In other news, Cole has decided that this baby is a boy (yay for us!) and that his name is AJ Leto (both of his cousins' names). When asked what he'd name it if it's a girl, he decided on "Leto Lady". Has a nice ring to it, dontcha think?

Cole is into really deep thoughts now that he's 3. Not sure if it's just him or if it really is his age, but it's fun to watch him work through life issues. We've been going over the real meaning of Easter and he can tell you how Jesus died on the cross, they put Him in the tomb and after 3 days He "rose to Heaven!" (shouted very emphatically) and that He's still living and is coming back to see us! Then, he runs around and shouts, "Hooray! Hooray! He's coming back to see us!" Isn't childlike faith one of the sweetest things you've ever seen?

Then, while sitting outside of a Quizno's the other day, no conversation going on, I hear from the back of the van, "Mom, do we belong here?" To which, I dumbly said, "Like, in front of the restaurant?" "Well, just here. Do we belong here?" So then we carried on a conversation about how God made us to live on this earth until He calls us to be with Him in Heaven. Isn't that interesting? I am loving this part of his little mind and how he is treasuring knowledge about God and all that He has created. It's really such a privilege to get to talk with him about these sorts of things. I hope conversations like these never fade away.



I have been trying and trying to get a personalized look to my blog instead of the standard formats that blogspot offers. And now, you are seeing, my very own created header! Seriously, I've spent hours trying to do this and I finally figured it out a bit.


So, tell me - do ya like the new look?

Disclaimer: As you can tell, I like to change our look a lot, so don't be surprised if it's totally different in a few weeks, especially now that I have an idea of what I'm doing! I can in no way commit to one color. But hopefully this one will stick around for a while.

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...