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Friday, May 30, 2008

Delicious Date Night

Last Saturday began our amazing Memorial Day weekend. Jake surprised me and wrote on my calender, "Date 5-8" with a little heart. Needless to say I was looking forward to it all day long!!My Mom came over to stay with the boys, (THANKS MOM!!) I had gotten dressed separately from Jake, he hadn't seen my new dress so when he came downstairs wearing a shirt that matched my dress perfectly we both just laughed! It's been too long since we had some time w/ just the two of us. I am seeing more and more that if you don't make the romance happen, it won't happen on it's own. Last week I told him my love tank was so low I was sputtering on the side of the road!! My sister said "at least you're not hitchhiking!" HA! NEVER! I think he got the hint! So, off we go to a great little place in Lancaster city called "Madre's"....Spanish creole food and OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD-DELICIOUS!! It was so authentic! When Jake called to make the reservations the man didn't speak English at all so the guy just hung up on Jake....he called back a bit later and this time a lady answered that spoke English. Jake said he knew we were in for some good food!! Our menus were hilarious! Two pieces of plywood HINGED TOGETHER!! I was laughing so hard, it was great!! Industrious to say the least!
Jake ordered snapper....head and all!! After they brought it out he kindly asked them to "please cut the head off!" Now that's not a statement you make everyday!! I had the. most. amazing. chicken. i. have. ever. eaten. It was grilled, "Spanish style" with creole sauce and fried onions on top! We had sweet fried plantains, fresh strawberry daiquiris and time, endless time to sit together and just enjoy the company of the one we love.
We were the only people in the restaurant for most of the evening, (which I might add is quite a shame because this place is AMAZING!!) Although the man who waited on us spoke no English, he was indeed fluent in the language of love. At one point he came and lit our candle, turned the salsa music off and put on some slower music and dimmed the lights. We laughed and gave him two thumbs up! It was a sweet gesture. I had such a great time with Jake....he certainly is my favorite person to be with and I love him more all the time.

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round.
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."
~Franklin P. Jones

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

By Faith

we dedicated Luke to our Great God. On Mother's Day we had a small dedication service for Luke at our church. A lot of our families were there to witness this moment in time and that meant so much to Jake & I. Our pastor shared briefly about the beauty of dedicating your children to God. We played a song called, "Bless my son." I read a small passage from a book called, "powerful prayers for your baby" by Heather H. Kopp. It's a really neat book that has different prayers to help you pray for your baby from the womb to the toddler years and everything in between!! It's been helpful for me because sometimes I feel like I have so many things I want to pray, but I struggle to find the words to express my heart.
"Today we pray in advance that Luke would grow up to have great faith in You.
By faith, may he be like Abraham and follow You wherever You lead.
By faith, may Luke grow up to be like the ancients of the Bible, choosing to follow You to the point of suffering and disgrace rather then chasing the easier way of the world.
You say the righteous live by faith, and it is by faith that we come before You. We humbly ask that You'll turn Luke's weaknesses into strengths and that one day You'll welcome him into Your kingdom and commend him for his faith."

Then Jake's Mom and my parents came up to lay hands on Luke and speak a blessing over him. It was a sacred moment in time.

"May he have the faith of Abraham,
may he have the boldness of Paul.
May he have a heart like David, always seeking God.

May he have the wisdom of Solomon,
may he have the patience of Job.
May he be a leader like Joshua, always full of hope.

May he have the courage of Daniel,
May he have the love of John,
May he know Your voice like Samuel, and always obey God."

Nancy Gordon and Martin J. Nystrom

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mother's Day, (a few weeks late!!)

Jake is so sweet to celebrate Mother's Day w/ several yearly traditions. He always buys me a huge, beautiful flower arrangement "from us boys" and this year was no filled our living room with a beautiful fragrance.

Then on Sunday Morning he made me an amazing breakfast in bed as pictured below: After I snapped this picture I had the boys climb up in bed with me to take a picture, (also a yearly tradition... Mommy and her children with her breakfast in bed). Well, before the picture could be captured a certain little someone, (Luke) threw up EVERYWHERE!! I'm thinking "NO WAY!! You have GOT to be kidding me", Jake salvaged what he could and put it down on the couch for me to enjoy. But, as any Mother reading this can attest to, I wasn't about to enjoy this breakfast knowing the mess that was in my bed! So, three loads later, the bed was ready to put back together. Jake stayed home from church w/ Luke so Tyler and I went alone. It ended up being a really special time for just the two of us. We had lunch at my sisters home w/ my parents and then Tyler and I "hit the town" together. I took him to the Choo-Choo barn, (Lancaster County in miniature with lots of trains going fascinating).
Then off to the Thomas store, (a dream come true for any Thomas lover). Then we went out for ice cream at my favorite joint in town....they had balloons any Mother could pop and get a discount, I popped mine and it was for a FREE ice cream cone (whoo-hoo)!

So, even though "My day" didn't turn out how I thought it would, I didn't really mind. It was so great to have one on one time with my sweet Tyler. And I don't mind when my children are sick because I know how wonderful it is to have a Mother's love when you don't feel well. To this day, when I am sick I still just want my Mom! I am so grateful to be called Mommy, it is a privilege and an honor to raise these two sons I have been given. Thank you Jake for making me feel so valued, not just on Mother's Day either....every day. You bless me and I love you.

"Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes
by dozens and hundreds.
Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows,
brothers, and sisters, aunts and cousins,
but only one mother in the whole world."
~Kate Douglas Wiggin

Friday, May 23, 2008

Steven talks about his Cinderella

Maria Sue Chapman, adopted and youngest daughter to Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed Wednesday night in a tragic accident in the family driveway on Wednesday evening. She was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital but for only reasons God can explain she went home to Him... not to Franklin as we all so desperately wanted.

Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many. Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago. These words are unthinkable to type. And yet we trust in a God who was not surprised by this and because of Jesus I am certain through faith in Him we will see Maria again.

~Jim Houser (Manager)

This is the music video for Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Cinderella" followed by an interview with him about how the song came to Mother heart grieves.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today is my dear friends 29th birthday! This song is dedicated to YOU girl!!! Get ready for a PARTY next year girl!! Shar and I grew up together since we were little girls. We would be together in school all day and then beg our Mom's to let us play longer at each other's houses. She was my best friend in every season: During the Winter months we would wait to hear our individual schools canceled, I would bum a ride to her house, we would build giant snowmen, play "king of the mountain" with her brother Shawn and his cool friends, drink hot chocolate and lay awake at night just giggling in the dark!!

When Spring would roll around we would confide our deep, true, unending boy-crush of the month!! We would see each other at parties and connect our friends with one another, we would count down the minutes until summer.

And then glorious Summertime would come and we would barely leave each others side....I use to love to go to her house because she had this mini-motorcycle, (which I'm fairly sure I've seen her Dad riding within the last year!). We would drive that little speed demon all across the corn fields. We would swim in their "giant pool", all 4 above ground feet of it and "make waves." And who could forget our weeks at Black Rock Retreat, always "requesting our cabin partner" every year. OH, those days were so sweet....and long.....and filled with joy.

Then, Autumn would come and we would play our never ending duet on the piano....."heart and soul, we stay together like a heart and soul...." After a hard day of play we would put on a fashion show using all her Mom's stuff, (bless your heart Vern for letting us INVADE your closet like that!!). We would make up dances, (oh, wait, we STILL do that one!!!)

Oh, my dear friend, I CHERISH YOU FOR LIFE! Come what may: distance, time, children, grief, kindness, memories, secrets, laughter.....YOU will always be part of my heart and soul. I love you Sharalee!! You bring JOY to my life and to the lives of so many. You have lived a life so full, more full then many TWICE your age. You are truly a content woman, happy in this moment and yet looking ahead with excitement for what is yet to be. You provide a safe refuge for Ben, a hiding place of sorts and your three children are BLESSED to call you "Mama." And I am blessed to call you FRIEND, my forever friend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!
"A friend may well be reckoned
the masterpiece of nature."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Photo shoot for local newspaper

COME ON!!! Can you even handle the fun we are having?? Here are the stage names of the folks in the photo: (Top row: Rachel Lynde, Gilbert Blythe, Marilla Cuthbert, Anne Shirley, Matthew Cuthbert, Diana Barry. Bottom row R-L: Prissy Andrews, Moody Macphersan, Carl Sloane, Jane Andrews).

Luke's 1st Birthday Bash!

We celebrated Luke's 1st birthday last month. What a great day! It wasn't as sunny as we would have wished, but the sun was shining inside with all 30 of us!! At one time I counted the number of people in our small kitchen alone....21!! As in twenty-one PEOPLE! It was a hoot! The night before the party my niece Sami came over and she, Tyler and I made some really neat cupcake cones.

You just use cake mix and instead of putting it in a pan, you place it in ice cream cones and bake it! It's so neat! And FUN to decorate too. As you can see, we had some fun! Thanks Sami~~you're special to me!

Gettin' creative!

The finished product! I placed two cake plates on top of each other and arranged the cones all around.
It was a colorful party, with lots of candy and rainbow fishes....Luke's "cake" was made from four little brownies, each one had a letter of his name, it turned out pretty neat. (and those are candles in the shape of crayons!)

Luke loved his special treat.
He wasn't so sure at first,
but as time went on he and the cone
got to know each other very well!
Some of our friends gathering down at the gazebo.
Here's a taste of our kitchen gathering! 10 people in this shot! Luke was a bit overwhelmed!
Here he is opening the gift from Grandpa & Grandma Beiler and Grammie Stoltzfus....

an adorable little red wooden barn w/ LOTS of animals! So sweet!

Trying to get a picture w/ Luke and his Grandparents.....not working! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE THOMAS! WE LOVE YOU!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

These are days

Well, it's back to reality! WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND!! These ladies sure know how to have a good time! We all get along so well and just enjoy each others company. I can't say we did much, but I think that's the point....just eat and do a bunch of nothing....and then eat again!
We all went to the beach the one day, took walks, lounged around, picked some seashells and talked about life.My little message in the sand to my boys!
Taking it all in...
Rachel w/ the best baby in the world! Simon! He did so well, barely a peep the entire time, I'm sure he was just totally entertained by all the cackling chickens around him! It's hilarious when we talk.....sometimes there are 6 of us talking at the same time and WE ALL KNOW/HEAR WHAT THE OTHER PERSON IS SAYING! It's quite a sight to behold!
The breakfast turned into the best seat in the house, we would end up spending hours after breakfast, just talking and sharing, remembering, (a lot of us went to high school together), and of course LAUGHING!! comfy couch + cozy blanket + friend = JOY
my ladies! have I mentioned that we laughed ALOT!!
and yes, the night came and the CrAzInEsS started, well, actually, it didn't "start", it just INCREASED TO EPIC PROPORTIONS!!! GOOD TIMES!! When you leave 20 children behind SOMETHING is bound to get crazy!

"These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,You’ll know it’s true
That you – you are blessed and lucky
It’s true – that you are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you
These are days you’ll remember
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break!!"
~10,000 Maniacs~

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Heading out

I'm heading out to Bethany Beach, DE with some of my favorite girls~~~it can't come fast enough! This is our second year going and this time we leave behind 17 children!! Needless to say we will be sleeping in, drinking HOT coffee, feeding ONLY ourselves, taking long showers, reading until we fall asleep, taking long naps, watching an entire movie, (or 3), lounging on the beach, enjoying long dinners and laughing our butts off!!!
Be back Sunday!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Into the woods

Last month my dear cousin invited some lovely ladies to her home for lunch. Let me just begin by saying that when I know lunch at her house is coming, I basically don't eat for like two days so I can just eat and eat and eat all the delicious food she makes! She is amazing! They live in a stunningly beautiful home in the middle of the woods....paradise for the kiddos.

" Hey guys, wait for me" says Luke!
Into the woods they go...
The big wild O! (too stinkin' cute)
Sweet Soleil....(French for sunshine!!)
Tina and sweet Mia...well, they're both sweet....and cute too!

Dining el fresco
too much cuteness to handle, (as I've heard her Daddy bites her
because he can't handle the cuteness, I can't blame him! still trying not to be jealous....she got this beautiful piece at a local auction for um.....$7!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Give me a break!
The lovely table and more lovely hostess with the mostess!
DESSERT!!! (did you ever know that stressed spelled backwards is "desserts"!! Need I say more!!??)
some fun to end the day with....
My sweethearts! Love them more everyday!
"Not what we have But what we enjoy,
constitutes our abundance."
~John Petit-Senn~