Visit to Michigan - Stop 3

Continuing the birthday celebrations...

Our third and final stop on what is now lovingly known as the birthday tour was at my parents' house.  The kids didn't sleep one bit from Grandma's to my parents', so I wasn't sure how they would do the rest of the evening.  Apparently, if you have a yard to play in, you can make it through anything!  The kids LOVED being outside again.
 They went for wagon rides,
 played "tag" with Grandpa,
 went down the slide,
showed off some sweet tricks,
 and just enjoyed some good, old-fashioned running around.
Oh, we also checked out our shadows!  Okay, so I was the only one who cared, but do you see how long my legs are?  For once, this shorty can say she sported some long, lean legs - and I wasn't wearing heels!  Ha!  Honestly, with all of this fun, we need to get ourselves a yard!

Next on the to-do list was to open Cole's birthday gifts from my parents since they wouldn't see him on his actual party day.  Being the controlling nut that I am, I wanted to be sure that his gifts didn't interfere with the girls' gifts - because I guarantee they would develop a complex from their second birthday being shared by their brother and the therapy bills would leave Jake and I homeless.

I'm sure of it.
Maurah dressed up for the occasion.
The birthday boy opening a fun new game - and really, it is really fun!  I'm glad to be getting out of the baby games with him and playing real games like Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land and now Cariboo Island!  I might lose every time I play with him but that's another story for another day.
This is the "Mom's making me pose and I don't really know how to" picture.  :)
Hayden's turn for the shades - this girl is too cool!

Visit To Michigan - Stop 2

The second stop on our Tour de Michigan was to Grandma Janet's house!  You can read more about Grandma Janet here.

Lately, we've taken to calling her Grandma "Jamet".  Cole started this trend and now we all love to refer to her this way.  I have to tell you that I was a bit nervous about taking all of the kids to Grandma's apartment all by myself but the visit went beautifully!

Grandma made special lunches for the kids of pb &j's with M&M's on top, Goldfish crackers and cheese cubes.  Then, we left the dining room and retreated to her apartment for some more spoiling of strawberry ice cream.  Yummy!  It was so nice to have someone two generations older than I to remember what kids like for lunch and to remember what it is like to be with kids all by my lonesome.  I get so frustrated when people just expect things from you and don't take into account how much work it is to tote my four beauties around!  Okay -  I'm off of that soapbox now!

I was surprised and so grateful for how much the kids remember Grandma's apartment.  Cole basically walked in as if he owned the place and the girls warmed up really quickly too!  Cole said before we walked in, "I'm glad we're at Grandma's.  She's fun!"  He makes me smile.

Here are the kiddos with Grandma:

And before we left, Hayden climbed up to steal some more snuggles from Grandma.  Pardon the finger in her nose - I told you she was comfortable!  Ha!

Visit to Michigan - Stop 1, Part 2

We celebrated the girls' birthday with the Manne clan while at their house.  With a Chocolate Texas Sheetcake and presents in hand, we got our party on!
The girls knew as soon as we started singing that this party was for them.  They loved it!  I was so proud too, because they actually blew out their candles!  We've been working on blowing and spitting in this house - but that's another story.
Opening their first gift together....
Fleece blankets from Grandma Tammy!  It was so funny too because they picked the ones that she had designated for them in her head.  Maurah went right for the darker stripes and Hayden for the brighter trees and polka dots!  I love how their personalities shine through even in their tastes for blankets!
This year the girls got lots of "girlie" things.  It was so fun to see them open their own purses, tea sets and cake decorators.  Our house is turning from "baby" to "big kid" really fast!
I love this picture of Hayden in a cascade of tissue paper and that it's clear enough to see the freckle on her nose!
Hayden went straight for the M&M's in her purse....
...while Maurah went straight for the phone.  Once again, if you know their personalities, you know this fits them perfectly!

We had a great time at the Mannes' but had even more partying to do!  Stay tuned for those posts tomorrow!

Michigan Visit - Stop 1

***WARNING - More pics on these next few posts than any blog should have!***

We are home!  We had such a wonderful time in Michigan and got to see so much of our family....actually, we got to see everyone in our family with only the exception of our brother-in-law!  And how sad that we missed him by only one day?

Our first stop was to Jake's parents - you know, the other Mannes!  

The weather was WONDERFUL and we spent much of our time outside.  Here are Leto and Cole riding the tractor with Grandpa Dave.

Leto taking over!
We played many rounds of Duck, Duck, Goose, only for Cole and Leto to pick each other every time.
Seriously.  Every.single.time.  I guess those smiles were worth it.
I love this picture of Leto in deep thought as to what he should draw.
And to work he goes!
Maurah was LOVING Ring-Around-the-Rosie.  (Anybody else have trouble singing that without thinking about the plague?  I'm finding more and more children's songs to be really demented!  Really - just sing "It's Raining, It's Pouring" and you'll see what I mean!)
Lexi and Hayden watching a movie with their beddy buddies.  Both have such sweet cheeks!

Favorite stories of the trip:  **Hayden said "Poo-pah" for Grandpa and kept asking where "Poo-pah" was.  It cracked me up!  She has already learned how to say "Grandpa" where it sounds much more like it, but I won't forget "Poo-pah" any time soon!  Ha!

**Maurah absolutely refused to go to bed one night.  She plays this game with Jake's dad where she's terrified of him and won't go near him.  Still, she would NOT go to bed without saying goodnight to "Bumpa".  Finally, "Bumpa" came to the stairs and said goodnight to her and she went to bed without so much as a fuss.  Now we know her secret that she's just playing hard to get!  

**It's a joy to see Cole and Leto playing so nicely together.  Granted, it doesn't happen all of the time and there are many instances that we need to interfere, but the boys did so well considering their ages especially!  I was so proud of both of them asking each other what they wanted to play, if they could play together, or if they wanted to play alone.  I look at them and can so quickly go back to the first year of their lives where they spent so much time together.  They have such a special bond that I hope never fades.


If you don't hear from me for a few days, it's because we're taking our first trip to Michigan today!  We will be gone for exactly one week.

You can bet that when we return, there will be LOTS of pictures and LOTS of stories.  How could there not be with the kids getting to see both sets of grandparents, both sets of cousins, aunts and uncles, a great-grandma and the twins' birthday dinner in there!  Woo Hoo!  This is going to be fun.  Let's all just say a prayer for a smooth drive.....

Have a wonderful week!


There are a lot of projects going on in our home at the moment.  Between repainting the living room, bathroom and dining room, we are gearing up for two weddings, three birthdays, celebrating Easter and two trips to Michigan.  Basically, March is packed!

There is one change that is very near and dear to my heart.  At the end of this month, I will no longer be a volunteer leader in our youth group.  This has been such a difficult decision for me but one that I think will change the course of our family for the better.  I have been pouring over this decision for the last year or so, going back and forth on what I should do.  To be honest, every time the thought came in my head that I should back out, I got a huge sense of fear.  Outside of our home, my whole world revolves around the youth group.

My friends are other youth leaders.
Who will I be friends with now? 
I know nothing other than teaching teens and walking through life with them.
My relationships with teens are precious - where will I see the fruit of my labor in an almost immediate sense?
What will Jake and I have in common other than the kids?
Will I be jealous of the time he spends away, feeling left behind?
Will I be completely out of the loop?
What will become of our marriage?

I have stayed awake many nights thinking of such things.  Without making this too long of a post, I realized that I needed to back out when I took Cole to AWANA at church the other night.  Through watching other kids interact with their moms, I saw things that we don't have.  Again, it would be an entire book (as if it isn't already!) if I tried to explain what I saw.  Really, I'm not sure I can explain what I saw.  But it was something that is missing between my kids and me.

I really feel this is due to the fact that we are constantly on the move.  Every day, Cole asks, "Where are we going today?  Who's coming today?"  These might not be annoying questions to you, but they are to me - most likely because we are always going somewhere or having someone come over.  

Don't get me wrong - I love that my kids love the church and that they enjoy being there so much.  I love that they are comfortable with having many different people in our home.  These are things I hope they love their whole lives.  But when they look back on their childhood, I want them to have a sense of home.  I want them to - much like our blog title - celebrate the ordinary of everyday and be able to love home, even if other people aren't always here.  I want to sit and build puzzles with them, play outside and make dinner without having a pending outing looming in the back of my head.  I want to get bored at home.

This is the first time I have felt a peace about stepping out of ministry in the church.  Providentially, Jake has a peace too.  We both struggled with the idea.  However, we both feel it is in the best interest of our kids.  I can no longer put my ministry with the youth kids over the ministry of being a wife and a mother.  My kids have to come first.  By stepping away, I will have one more night at home with our kids, won't have the weekend events or the missions trips to find babysitters for.  Jake has given me the awesome privilege of coming on trips of interest to me when I want, which I am so thankful for.  This is one of the great perks of being the youth pastor's wife!  

I won't be stepping away from outside ministries altogether - I will be doing a Bible study with a couple of girls and will be actively involved in our Sunday morning study at our church beginning this fall.  Between those opportunities and the fact that Jake plans dates for us every month, I know that we will still be partners in crime in every area of our lives.  I'm excited to be more of a behind the scenes person, opening our home to students and leaders and loving them through prayer.  This will be a new season of life for us, but one I'm looking forward to seeing God work in.

That's the story of, that's the glory of MUD!

Once upon a time there was a little boy.

This little boy had a dream.

He dreamed that one day his mom would let him run and splash in big, muddy puddles.  (That's what all the other moms who pay lots of money for laundry soap cool moms do).

 The mom gave in.  This boy's dream came true.

And he was so shocked, he didn't know what to do.

 His mom told him to jump in the big puddle.

That, of course, was why we were wearing winter boots in 50 degree weather.

The little boy was unsure.  Really, Mom?  Is this okay?  Yes!

Okay, but this puddle was way bigger than any he had ever dreamed of.  How would he know if it was safe?  His mom told him it was but for some reason, he didn't believe her and began questioning her knowledge of mud puddles.

So he tested for himself.

And tested some more.

Honestly, the testing went on for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Then - - - - - - 


The little boy had never had so much fun in all his life.
The End.

Things I'm Loving Lately

Chubby fingers on a sleeping baby

Springtime flowers to freshen the house - and the fact that I haven't killed them off yet!

A certain little boy sitting in his sisters' chair like an old man in his underwear

Little toes kicking under the table at breakfast

Matching springtime dresses and bows

Aren't you ready for spring?  We are!  I've had our windows opened for a couple of days now and it's been so nice to air out the house and get our winter stink off!  Hope you're having a marvelous Monday!

Change? No, thank you!

So, remember my previous post?  The one with the pictures of the girls sleeping so soundly?  Well - that must have been a huge fluke.  The last few nights, we've put the girls to bed and, a few hours later, Hayden gets up and throws huge tantrums.  At least, they seem like tantrums.  She receives no comfort from Jake or me and just screams and screams.  Not a sad crying scream either.  We've had no idea if she's been in pain or if she's had a night terror or what.  Jake researched night terrors and this seems like her, except hers lasts all night - it isn't one isolated incident.  Truly, the night before last, poor Jake got only two hours of sleep.  I think I got more than that but not by much, especially with feeding Laina in there.

Last night, we finally asked the girls if they wanted to sleep with me in our bed.  It was crazy - once we were in there, Hayden relaxed and started her routine of rolling herself to sleep (this I'm hoping to capture on camera once - it's hilarious how they fall asleep).  We lost a lot of sleep again last night and are now trying to figure out what to do - what exactly is best for everyone?  Obviously, one of us is not a fan of change, six of us are grumpy bears, and two of those bears should not be drinking as much coffee as we are - I'm thinking we're going to need an intervention after this!

I'm supposed to be at a friend's bridal shower today and it's just not happening.  We have to figure this out.  Do we just cram the girls in their room and have no walking room in there?  Do we keep Laina in our room (although, she's still going to have to move out eventually)?  Do we keep the girls upstairs and work through the transition (somehow) with Hayden?  Isn't this post keeping you right on the edge of your seat?  I thought so.  I'll be done now.

You'll just have to hang on and wait in anticipation.  I'm tricky like that.

We Have Entered a New Phase...

Big girl stuff.  Last night the twins slept in their big girl beds for the first time!
 We realized that there was no way that we could make two beds and a crib work in the room the girls have been sleeping in.  So.....the gluttons for punishment that we are, we switched rooms with the girls last night.  I was nervous they wouldn't do well but they quickly proved me wrong.
 They went right to sleep and stayed there all night!
Don't they look all snuggly and sweet?

I love how we can put the beds so low to the ground just in case of fall-outs.  I remember falling out of bed when I was little and was not a fan.  :)

So, here we are, with our not-yet-two-year-olds in twin (insert clever pun) beds already.  It's weird to think that we'll probably have these beds and this bedding until they move out of our house.....


Well, now my eyes are all wet and I can't see the screen.

I'll post pics as we get our rooms situated.  Many changes happening here!  Stay tuned!

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...