Monday, December 3, 2012

November thankful catch up

Some of these might not make sense but I'm looking at my iCal and trying to re-create the month of November so I can get my thankfuls in!! And this is in no order whatsoever...just looking at things that were on my calendar for that particular day.

Got #1 & #2 done so moving on...
#3 Thankful for the work that Bethany Christian Services is doing for families...birth families, adoptive families and babies. For their innovative "snowflakes" program (embryo adoption). Praying God continues to bless this organization!

#4 Thankful for our church home at Hope Johnston-Grimes. Thankful (most of the time! :) ) for the kids I get to teach on Sunday mornings. Thankful their parents bring them to church and praying we are planting seeds.

#5 Thankful, thankful, thankful for the small group that God has led us to be a part of. It is the most authentic and genuine group I've ever been a part of and every single person there has such a unique journey that blesses me.

#6 Thankful for the preschool that Tate attends. Thankful they love my little guy and that he is comfortable enough to show his awesome little self there!

#7 Thankful for every unique gift that God has given my children. I'm even thankful for their challenges and quirks as I feel deeply that God will use every trait He's given them.  Here's a sample:
I'm thankful for Max who is deeply loving and an amazingly thoughtful boy. I'm thankful for Charlie and his absolute JOY and love of life. I'm thankful for Zoe's servant heart and how much she loves to have a "job" and will quickly and gladly say "yes" when I ask for her help. I'm thankful for Tate's sweet spirit and how much he wants to keep Mia happy. I'm thankful for Mia's smile and her awesome expressions and her excitement when her Daddy and siblings come home!

#8 I'm thankful for quiet peaceful days. They don't happen very often.

#9 I'm thankful for a job that I love, that I'm blessed with such great co-workers/friends and that we get to meet such unique patients and help them in their journey to parenthood. I'm thankful that even on the hard days, I usually feel like I've reassured, listened, or provided some meaningful care every day I'm there. I'm also thankful for the flexibility I have and that my main "job" is my family.

#10 I'm thankful for the grandparents my children have. Today the kids went with their grandparents to see "Stomp" at the Civic Center and then for treats afterward. I'm so thankful that my kids get to do not only these big fun special things with their grandparents, but also that they live close enough to come to school concerts, birthday parties, and Sunday lunch.

#11 OK...shallow, shallow, shallow...I am thankful for the show "Friends" and how I can be laying in bed at 10 pm and Buck is sound asleep and my giggles from watching "Friends" wake him up. :) I'm thankful for my dear friend Melissa in California who understands my love of this show and how I can text her at any time of day with a line from the show and she'll text me back with a different line from the same show. She's a little bit Monica and I'm a little bit Phoebe and we're like peas and carrots. :)

Whew...this is awesome but a little much for my tired brain! I WILL get through November though. I will. Because I am very very thankful for the life I have been given!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Always something...

As much FUN and LAUGHTER and JOY that 5ish children bring, there is truly always something going on with it a health issue, a skin issue, or a friend issue or a school issue. I find myself at those very rare moments when there isn't "something" going on to not even let myself dwell on it too long because I know something else is coming. Not in a gloom-and-doom-glass-half-empty kind of way but more of a "rest up because the next thing is right around the corner" kind of way. :) Here is a snapshot of our "somethings" from the past couple months.

We had the dreaded L.I.C.E. I don't even like to say it out loud. It was disgusting and somehow Buck managed to be out of town during the 25 loads of laundry (conservative estimate) and overall de-lousing of the entire house. This was also in the middle of our scary time with baby Pete so at least there was a distraction for me. One blessing was that Zoe had recently had her hair relaxed so I could get the lice comb through her hair...can't imagine the torture that we both would have endured if her hair had been curly. This was our first experience with the L.I.C.E. and I hope we NEVER experience it again. Thankfully, that's been a few months ago now and we hopefully have it well behind us!

We still battle ringworm around here. I finally feel like I have a better understanding about how it keeps creeping around, since we have no pets and don't have other high-exposure reasons that we might get it. Turns out that it is a fun and stubborn little fungus that likely lives quite happily on one of our children's skin and when that child gets dry skin and scratches (ALL THE TIME), that little fungus just spreads. This one has hit Tate & Zoe the hardest.

Another fun one...impetigo. Let's see...that's Max, Tate, and Charlie.

Scalp psoriasis...that would be Charlie.

Molluscum...that would be Tate.

Poor Tate...he looks like he's been through a battle. And he's still gets the occasional cradle cap (yep, at age 4!) so his scalp flakes sometimes. Seriously, poor buddy. His smile makes up for it!! Oh and he had a yucky ear that ended in having one of his ear tubes removed. I hope we're done with the ear junk for a while!

Mia has been blessedly healthy but we recently realized through starting to give her cow's milk that she's likely lactose intolerant. Hopefully it's something she'll grow out of but for now, formula and Lactaid is on the menu (along with noodles, noodles, and more noodles. Girl can't get enough of them!). She also has a scary-looking but totally benign umbilical hernia and cute little strawberry hemangioma on the side of her face.

As for Mom and Dad...we're getting old. Buck has a bum back (herniated disc) that he's been battling since early in the summer. A few epidural shots have helped tremendously but being patient and slowing down have been so hard for him! Trusting that it will heal in time. As for me, I'm still knocked up. :)  My only whine is that I am BIG and pretty pooped by the end of the day. Truly cannot complain when there's a healthy baby growing and moving!

In all of this, I truly count my blessings and I would take a few minor skin issues and ear infections over what so many other families have to deal with. Watching my sweet niece Morgan battle and beat leukemia truly puts everything in perspective. She is such a trooper and is going to be starting her long-term maintenance therapy in just a couple of weeks (mostly oral meds...woo hoo!) Thankful for my (mostly) healthy children and all the blessings that come with them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catch up

Going through some pictures on the camera and found these gems from October. We went to a new orchard/pumpkin patch this year and absolutely loved it. We went at the right time too, so it wasn't busy at all and we got to do all the fun things we wanted to in a short amount of time! 

Corn Pool!! Super fun, but Mia had no clue what to do with the weird-feeling corn. She observed.

Hayrack ride at sunset. It was beautiful!


We ended the night with some apple cider donuts. They were totally worth the long wait! We will be heading back to Center Grove again next year.

On a very very different note, this is a public service announcement on behalf of pregnant women everywhere. I am a relatively blunt and honest person and I very much appreciate that trait in others as well. HOWEVER, my personality apparently changes when I'm pregnant and I don't want to hear ANYTHING from ANYONE about how I look other than to say "you look cute." That's it. Not "wow, you've really popped" or "you're carrying high" or "you're carrying low" or "you're carrying way out front" or "HOW far along are you? you're really big/small/round for that many weeks". Thanks to my friend Tressa for meeting me for coffee and saying "you look great." Perfect. :)  Don't care if it's true or not...a pregnant woman deserves a break in that area! OK, PSA is done.

Have a lovely weekend my friends!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More thankful

Where to even start with being thankful for my husband? Man, did I hit the jackpot or what.  This guy is hardworking, loving, considerate and does everything in his power to make my life easier. Seriously. He actually thinks I'm funny (I'm not). He thinks I'm cute (I'm not). He thinks I'm a good cook (well...I might be ok accepting that compliment!) :). He truly makes me a better person. Thankful this guy danced into my life almost 19 years ago!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November thankful

I love reading all my friends' "thankful" posts on Facebook so thought I would give it a shot here:
I'm a few days behind but I'll try to catch up.

Day 1: I am overwhelmingly thankful for a God who loves me unconditionally. He created me, chose me, redeemed me, adopted me and His grace is mysterious but a much-needed constant in my life. I look to the verse on our blog a lot..."from the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another." One of our favorite songs these days is "Your Love"--"your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me." We went through a very dark time at the beginning of this pregnancy with Pete and I was in near-constant communication with God for about 10 days. And looking back on those 10 days, I felt protected, loved, and held...a feeling that is hard to describe. And while it's not a place I wanted to be, I'm grateful to have been there and be on the other side. That is a thankful story for another day. :) So, I'm thankful for my Lord and Savior, thankful that He is who He is and that I'm His.

Friday, November 2, 2012

This and that...

Anyone else ready for election season to be over?? While I am most grateful to live in a country with a hard-fought-for democratic process, I definitely think there should be time-limits on political ads (like you can only have ads on TV for 2 weeks before the election...that sound good?), and I have never been more thankful for Caller ID!

We have been calling the baby "Pete" for no good reason. No, that's not what we're going to name him (although I do like that name!), but he needed a name until he's born. :)  It's pretty sweet to hear each of the kids say "bye, Pete!" on their way out the door in the morning and Tate likes to say "Hey, Petey-Pete!" and pat my ever-growing belly. Baby Pete is starting to make his presence known by kicking lots at night right before it's time for me to fall asleep. I'm past the halfway point in this pregnancy and hoping that the second half of it goes faster than the first half! I'm sure with 2 birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter break in there, time will fly!

One of the funniest things I've ever heard out of Zoe's mouth: as Mia was throwing a little 1-year-old tantrum (pretty cute, actually), Zoe said "Oh my goodness...the DRAMA!" with a big eye roll. My mouth just dropped open and I said "Pot, meet Kettle!" I'm pretty sure Zoe invented drama. :)

I have had some great, meaningful conversations with some awesome people lately, especially related to adoption. It's so exciting to see how God continues to move and stir people's hearts to build their family through adoption. I just get so passionate about it and know that while adoption is not for everyone, I LOVE to hear stories of people who say "I never in a million years thought we would be seriously considering this." God can work life-changing miracles where you least expect it. So if you think your husband would NEVER be open to adoption...or you don't have the money...or it's not the right time...or it would be too hard...God loves to surprise His people.

We have had such a fun fall with visits to the pumpkin patch/apple orchard and to come.

Tate's 4th birthday and Mia's 1st birthday are fast-approaching and I'm excited to celebrate my littles! I just asked Buck tonight if we should go to Chuck E Cheese again for Tate's birthday and he said "whatever he wants!" Love my easygoing husband! My guess is we will be returning to this vortex of birthday "fun" again soon. :)

Sorry for a post with no pictures--those are not very fun, but I'm doing my best to update a little more frequently. Happy weekend, friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

More updates

Trust me, I do this as much for myself as I do for anyone else who may be reading my little blog! The days and weeks seem to fly by and all of a sudden, it's almost Halloween! What?! On to the kids...

Miss Zoe has had a great start to 1st grade. After debating, deciding, debating some more and then changing our minds AGAIN about changing schools for the kids, we are thrilled that we stayed put for this year. We are blessed to have two excellent options for school (one public, one private) we kept the kids in public school for the time being. All three kids have truly amazing teachers this year...perfect fits for each of them. Zoe needs lots of direction (or re-direction as the case may be), while being very bright and needing to be challenged. Both her kindergarten and first grade teachers "get" her and I'm so thankful to have these great influences in her little life! Beyond school, Zoe is a rock star soccer player as well as a ballerina. She's a super fun kid to be around, that's for sure!

Oh and did I mention she loves to cook? Lucky me...I never have to crack an egg or stir a thing when Zoe's around!

Tate is my little buddy and pretty much constant companion. He has started asking for Starbucks dates (how can I say no to that?!) and is up for pretty much any adventure we can find. I love having 2 mornings to just hang out with Mia while Tate's at school but we both LOVE picking him up from school. He's a really happy-go-lucky kid but can show his stubborn side and makes his little voice heard when he needs to. He's been talking about his "birday" for WEEKS now even though it's still 4 weeks away! There is a list a mile long of things he wants--among the wants are cowboy boots, anything from Power Rangers, and Cars toys. I feel like I have tons more pics of Tate and Mia because I'm with them all day! So enjoy...

Isn't that funny...same place, same pose, different days. He loves saying "I'm the king of the mountain!" when we visit this play place.

And oh, Miss Mia. Our little Bell (we have called her Bell since Tate dubbed her LuluBell when she was born...the ways nicknames get started!). She is a girl on the MOVE! Crazy girl started walking at 9 months and trust me, I was helping her sit down. Funny how with your first child, you want them to meet all their milestones so quickly and get worried when they're not walking at 12 months (at least I did!) but with your fifth you're saying "slow down, sister!" Not only because you know how fast these months go, but also because a walker is a LOT more work than a non-walker. :) Another fun thing about Mia is that she is into everything. Special loves are crawling on top of the open dishwasher door, pulling ALL the sippy cups and tupperware out of the bottom drawers in the kitchen, and having radar for anytime someone forgot to close the baby gate up the stairs. :) Love my curious girl!! She is a hoot. I kid you not, she loves Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and can seriously bust a move! And one of the sweetest things ever is the precious moments (well...mostly precious) between Tate and Mia. He is an awesome big brother and she adores him. I love when he says "It's ok, sweet girl." Melt my heart, these two!

"Helping" Mia walk

Just hangin out in the car.


Last but not monkeys! Have a happy week, friends.

Laura Joy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where to begin?

Where do I begin to catch up on the last month? It's been a fast, busy, fun ride! Of course most of you likely know our most exciting news...Olsen Baby Six is on the way (yes, the old-fashioned way as we call it around here). Yes, we were most certainly surprised by this news even though yes, we DO know how that happens. :) And for those who have or have not had the courage to ask (because you know you want to), YES WE ARE DONE. Hard to hear myself say those words but this "old" mama needs some sleep someday! I told Buck we will probably never have an empty house...with our oldest and youngest being 10.5 years apart...but that's fine with us! And we are beyond thrilled to learn we are having another precious baby boy. This little guy has tipped the scales toward testosterone in our house but I LOVE raising boys and am so thankful for how God has built our family exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Thumbs up and smiles for this sweet boy!!

We have wrapped up football season...Max's first in tackle football. For being one of the biggest kids on his team, he's a gentle spirit and not sure he loves the tackling thing. Bless his heart. He sure looks like a tough guy!

Get him with his cleats and helmet on and I kid you not, my 10-year-old is pretty much looking me straight in the eye! I have high hopes that he will make it to 11 before he passes me up in height! His feet are already well beyond my puny size 7's. Love this sweet guy.

And Charlie had a great first season of flag football! The artist of our family (drawing, drumming, writing song lyrics and stories are among his many talents!) he surprised me by wanting to play football. He is a speedy guy and loved grabbing flags and "Tebow-ing" when his team had a big play. He also started Cub Scouts this year which has been a great addition for him!

Seriously...could you resist buying popcorn from this kid??

Well...that's all I have time for as Miss Mia is telling me she's ready to get up from her morning nap. It's been a busy Monday morning already and we're looking forward to a quieter week without football practices! Updates on the other monkeys coming soon. We'll enjoy the downtime before basketball season. Have a great week, friends!

Laura Joy

Monday, September 10, 2012

This and that!

Let's is in full swing as are football (both flag and tackle), soccer, dance, piano, drums, and Sunday school. But here are just a few bits and pieces from life these days.

Max got braces! The silver (pun intended) lining to getting them at age 10 is that by the time most of his friends are getting them, he should be can hope...

This little Miss got her hair relaxed (by a professional this time) and we could NOT be happier with the results. There have been no more tears from de-tangling every single day, she can put her own hair up in ponytails and my oh my...can you see her confidence oozing out. Not that she was lacking before. :) But as much as I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to do it, I am SO glad we did.

Our tiny dancer!

Buck and his friend Joel took the "big boys" to the lake for Labor Day weekend. They had an awesome "man weekend" and are thinking it will be an annual event. A huge thank you as always to GM & GD (my grandparents) for being such generous hosts!

Someone is awfully close to walking! She's a wild one...but we are loving every crazy minute with our 9-month-old Mia. She seems to change daily. Poor thing has 4 (!) teeth coming in at once, stands, squats and stands herself back up, says "Dada" and "uh-oh", waves bye-bye and gives Mama the sweetest kisses. :) Yep, we're in love!

Oh and last but not least, I can't wait for fall TV to start. Actually just "The Good Wife". In the meantime I've been watching every single "Friends" rerun. If you haven't done that recently, you definitely should. I read a quote that said "there is nothing that a good laugh and a nap can't cure." Not entirely true, but it certainly can't hurt. Love to you all!

Laura Joy

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to school!!

Here we go...

After a WONDERFUL summer, we headed back to school last Thursday. Here is a serious picture of my first grader, second grader and fourth grader!

And a goofy one!

And a cute one!! Love these monkeys. Miss Mia was hanging out in the stroller and was NOT in the mood for a photo shoot. :) We are excited to be back in a routine and ready for a fun year at school!

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Work adventure!

I am always up for a new adventure. I got a call this spring from one of my preceptors in midwifery school saying her practice was desperate for some help on the weekends. One of the best times for me to work is weekends because Buck is home, while I get to hang out with my monkeys all week. So from now until the end of the year I will be traveling a couple of hours to fill in on the weekends. I'm so excited to tiptoe back into the midwifery world, deliver some babies and work with one of my favorite midwives on the planet. The fact that it is a temporary gig is appealing, so it's not forever (because goodness knows with 5 little ones I can't commit to a darn thing!), and the experience is well worth it. My first weekend is the second weekend in August and I can't wait. A new adventure!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Has it been a month?

A month since I blogged last?? That means we are a month closer to school starting. Oh me oh my...that breaks my heart! We have had such an amazing summer. With the crazy high temperatures, we have honestly spent the last FOUR nights at the pool. What else is there to do? Tate is a total water baby and Mia splash, splash, splashes. Max, Charlie and Zoe are all diving fools...with Charlie knocking my socks off by doing FLIPS off the diving board??!! That's what happens when you buy a trampoline. The trampoline has felt a little lonely lately because of the sweltering temps but believe me, it is still by far one of the best purchases we've made!

We also had a ball at Family Camp in Okoboji. One of the best experiences we've had as a family and we are already signed up to return next year! Woo hoo!!

Someone turned 8 years old:

My goodness how we love our Charlie-man. Every year on his birthday, I think about how he flew into our world after being at the hospital for a grand total of 40 minutes. He was the SWEETEST baby, the most adorable toddler and now is the most tender-hearted, fun, joyful soul with a heart of gold. We are so proud of our sweet boy and love the young man God is creating him to be. We can't wait to see what God has in store for him in the year to come!

We got some amazing family photos taken by a high school friend of Buck's. Here is a glimpse of my favorite. I look at this and am overwhelmed with gratitude for these 5 blessings that God chose for me and Buck. Love each of them more than words. 

I'll try to do a little better job of blogging more frequently than once a month, but make no promises! :) Oh, and my BFF from high school started a new blog about her sweet family. Check out her chocolate chip cookie recipe! Love you, SSS!

Happy happy summer, friends.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Photo dump!

Where to even begin?? I looked back at my pictures and can hardly believe how fast summer is going. We've been busy, busy but love every minute of it. School got out in mid-May and we've been trying to fill days with a good mix of fun and relaxing. Here comes the photo dump...

Someone turned 6 months old and we had our final post placement visit with Super Social Worker Cheryl. We love her to pieces and are so thankful for her. Mia loves her too!

(Mia was ready to be home. This is such a rare sight from our sweet baby...broke our hearts.)

First trip to the Lake!! It was perfect. Mia loved her first boat ride and the kids got on the water--tubing, wake boarding, swimming, kayaking and of!! Buck & the kids caught enough for an amazing fish fry. Yum!!! We wrapped up the weekend celebrating our anniversary with pizza in bed. :)

Swimming lessons! I love our teachers and the kids always amaze me with their hard work. Tate did great for his first year of lessons!

While Zoe went to Living History Farms camp, the boys & I enjoyed a day with friends around the farms. So fun!

A little spa time! Buck spoiled the boys at Sports Clips. :) Z & I had some hair time while I took out twists and got her beautiful afro back. Pretty girl!!

Phew....more to come!! Happy summer, friends.

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