Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

So many things to be thankful for this year, but looking forward to what God has planned for 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Christmas

We spent Christmas at the hospital this year with our new family member. It was such a fun time, and of course memorable! We brought our Christmas dinner there and even got a few games of euchre in. My brother and his wife look great! They were running on a couple hours of sleep in the past 48 hours before Lynlee was born. What troopers.

Pretty in pink!

We did spend the morning at home so we could see Ari for a while. He was not allowed at the hospital so we gave him his gifts in the morning before we headed to see his cousin.

It was a lot of fun watching him open his gifts. I wasn't sure if he would know what to do, but since he already has an art for tearing papers up, this was a blast for him. (And no, we did not get him diapers for Christmas -we just used the boxes.)

As soon as he saw this box, he instantly crawled on top of it. He didn't want to get down so he could open it up the rest of the way. Thanks everyone for the fun toys, Ari has already enjoyed them all!

Oh yeah, we can't forget about Annie. She also enjoyed her present!

Friday, December 25, 2009

I'm an aunt!

Merry Christmas to me! Ok, so Merry Christmas to my brother and sister-in-law too. Lynlee Grace finally made her debut. Only one day late she came on Christmas Eve at 12:47 pm. We all guessed she would be small, but boy were we wrong! Weighing in at 8 lb and 8.6 oz, and a full head of wavy, black hair, she had us all surprised.

No pictures yet, but we have had a wonderful Christmas spending it in the hospital and celebrating the joy and awe of two births this year.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Forgiven by Sanctus Real is a new favorite for me.

"I dont have to carry the weight of who I've been because I'm forgiven..."

This song has really resonated with me as of recent. I was listening to KLove and there was a listener who called in to request a song that made an impression on her the day she came to know the Lord, two years ago today. I don't know my anniversary to the day, because I was pretty young. But I still find it amazing how my life has changed the last few years because I recommitted. And now, because I have been forgiven (over and over)...I don't have to carry the weight of who I've been before that (or even now sometimes). There is no other way to describe those days, the days where I was living a double life, one foot in and one foot out, except for blind. I cannot express how much my eyes have been opened and how much I want to share that openness with others.

I have been forgiven because of who He was.

I have been forgiven because of who He is.

I have been forgiven because of what He always will be.

I have been forgiven because He died.

I have been forgiven because He rose.

and I have been forgiven because He was sent to be our Savior.

Christmas is more meaningful these days. Now that I'm not so blind. Our Savior was born for a purpose. For me. And for you. And because he did that for us, we should bring glory to Him in all we do.

I Cor. 10:31 says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Monday, December 21, 2009

My thoughts on Christmas...if you dare

So I made a comment on a post how we are the "no gifts on Christmas-type". Well, I feel the need to explain a little bit since I had some inquiries about it. I don't want to come across as a scrooge, because that is definitely not the case. Even though it's stinkin' cold out, we really enjoy all the festivities that come with the season. We are very much Christmas people seeing that we started putting decorations out before Thanksgiving, and AJ risked his life putting lights on the outside of our house too! However, we love Christmas because Christmas is such a great reminder how we should rejoice in the birth of our Savior. I don't want that overlooked at all. Our culture gets so caught up in Santa and the hustle and bustle of buying gifts for everyone that it just seems so out-of-hand. AJ and I aren't anti-gifts on Christmas...we just want to tone it down. We don't find it necessary to buy gifts for Christmas, just because our culture has been trained that way. And we definitely don't find it necessary to go in to debt or spend money we don't have just because people expect us to buy them something. Fortunately, we have family who respect that. If we have a need, we budget for it and get it. If we have a want, we budget for it and sometimes get it. I know that doesn't sound exciting at all. But if we decide we want to buy something special for each other or want to surprise each other with something, then we do it. But not on Christmas. Don't you think that makes it even more special? A completely, unexpected surprise - that required a whole lot more thought than reading from a Christmas wish list.

But don't get me wrong - we still buy gifts for others. It has been different each year though how we do it. This year both sides of our family agreed to draw names and only buy for one person. I actually really like this idea because we could put a limit on how much to spend, and you don't have to stress out on what/who to buy for. This satisfies the people who really enjoy opening something on Christmas and the bank account.

And as for Ari - I'm sure we'll do gifts when he is old enough to know what's going on. But for now, I will leave the gift giving up to others this Christmas.

I'm sure you regret reading this and wish you hadn't wasted your I will stop with the ramblings and spare you my thoughts on santa. :)

And if I don't get to post again this week, have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I don't know what it is about boys

They love to work on cars!

And occasionally find a good hiding spot.

Monday, December 14, 2009

He drives like his daddy

Haha - ok, he really doesn't. AJ is a great driver! But we do have a new driver in the house. This gift was a "blessing" from my mom. Since we are the 'no gifts on Christmas-type', my mom feels the need to give "blessings" randomly throughout the year. This one in particular Ari had tried out for fun at ToysRUs around his birthday. It was the only time we thought we should go and see if we could find something worth buying. We left empty-handed. After seeing a toy on the shelf selling for $36.99 that my grandparents found for $.99 just reassured me again how much I despise buying brand new things. (Especially for children who outgrow things fairly quickly.) So...we passed on the awesome battery-powered ATV for 12-36 mos.

Being the awesome mom/grandma that she mom went and fought the crowd at the awful toy store on black Friday. (Mind you, she really dislikes shopping but manages to go out every year on the worst/best shopping day of the year!) The toy was 60% off and only had one in stock. She managed to get in and out of the store in 30 minutes because all the other toy-buyers were standing in line for something much more useless, I mean...probably electronics and video games that their kids can become addicted to and never play outside and enjoy the natural things in life that God has provided us with. I know - enough of my opinion. On to the video...

Oh yeah, and as much as we appreciate this blessing, it will be going back to grandma's. As you can see, we don't have much room for something like this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas festivities

Since we got back in town from Thanksgiving, we have been on a dead run. We had something scheduled every night last week and even over the weekend. Thursday night was the most fun though. AJ's company had its annual Christmas party at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. This is always a special event because it was our first date we ever went on...five years ago. It's amazing how fast time flies, but it's even more amazing how much we've changed since then. Oh the things God's taught us...

But back to my story. I find this completely random because my friend Heidi had a similar experience at her husbands Christmas party. There was no tie contest, but we did earn a lot of tickets to put in for door prizes. Only employees can win, and they can only win once. Well, there were 40 prizes we could have entered in for, but we decided to narrow it down to four to better our chances of winning. It had been a few years since AJ won something so we were pretty confident when we had a lot of tickets. Our first choice was a camera, because we had lost ours months ago and never found it. (Pretty inconvenient because it was Ari's birthday and I never got a picture of him on his actual birthday.) Anyway, and our second choice was a $100 gift card to Fogo de Chau, a brazilian steakhouse. Well, the camera drawing was first and we did not win that. Which was surprising because we had half of the tickets in that one. But we did win the other one, even though we only put 4-5 tickets in there. We did not get the opportunity to trade prizes with anyone (any takers, Heidi? :)), but I figured it was best this way. I know we would go buy a camera when necessary, but we would not dish out the moolah for an expensive restaurant. (As AJ says, we are on the Dave Ramsey diet.)

Saturday was also a whole lot of fun. It was our annual Cookie Day! This is a tradition my aunt started with all the cousins on my mom's side of the family a long long long long time ago. Well, for as long as I can remember. We pretty much bake cookies all day long until we can't possibly make any more. favorite is the 7 layer cookies.

a dancing fool

He just can't help himself, whether someone is whistling or he hears a good beat.

This was my best attempt so far to catch his moves on video - all the others have been too dark. I do plan to get a better one though because he can really get into it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a little baby nut

As if he didn't already like the sound of his voice! Now he sticks his head in everything to see if it projects his voice. He especially likes the bathroom because it echos, and when he turns the tub water on he feels the need to try and be louder than it. I should video that too...

As you can see, he is a nut. And he is our little baby nut.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

a boy and his dog

Just so you know...

this is a daily occurrence. I think this is how they communicate!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Every year AJ's family gets together for Thanksgiving at Pokagon State Park, which is just a few miles from Angola. We didn't go last year since we just had Ari, so this was his first trip. There are so many things to do, but what we like about it the most is that it is all focused around doing things as a family. We are very blessed to have family close to us, on both sides, that are loving and supportive.

Here are a few highlights from this past week.

Actual Thanksgiving meal...yum!

Laying upside down on the bed

Passing time during the long drive up there

Another meal, but this was at a restaurant called the Blue Gate. We visited Shipshewana, which is known for the Amish/Mennonite community there. This little town has cute little shops to go in and the best chicken and noodle dinner.

This was probably the first time Ari didn't smile...we were out shopping during his regular nap time. Sorry!

And this was a friend he made. This chef stands at the entrance to a cafe in the hotel we were at. We had to pass him every time we left to go somewhere and Ari would just point and stare.

We went for a hike on the last day and finally got to take Ari. It had been too cold before, so I'm glad it warmed up a little bit.

The other times we weren't out and about seeing things, we were playing games. I love to play games and think it is a great way to spend time with people. We were also able to go on the tobogan ride. I hear there are only three open in the U.S. so we are fortunate to enjoy it every year. Our high speed for the 1/4 mile run was 37 mph. I'd say that's pretty fast!

I hope everyone was able to enjoy Thanksgiving this year, considering all the sickness that has been going around. We are very thankful for our health and that no one in our family has been affected by anything worse than a bad cold. We will continue to count our blessings!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a boy and his chair

A new favorite of Ari's...

and of course, ready for some football
Who knew a chair could serve multiple purposes?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Long, long ago

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She was chubby. And bald. At least for the first year and a half of life.

She was very shy for many years. Mom always thought she lost her when out shopping because she was so quiet. She carried around a doll named "Big Baby". Well, because the doll was as big as her, a big baby.

She was home schooled until 2nd grade, then went to private school until 5th grade. She quit cheerleading after 5th grade and played volleyball in middle school.

to be continued...

Friday, November 6, 2009

good ol' times

Ari had his check up on Tuesday. He is not as big as I originally thought. He weighed in at 20.5 lbs in the 20th percentile. His height was 29 1/2 inches in the 50th percentile. Dr K said he is going to be a very average person. I had to laugh to myself knowing that even though he might look average on the outside, Ari's personality is far from average. Sometimes I try to imagine what he will be like when he is older based on how he is now - smiley, loves to laugh even if it is a fake one, loves to entertain people, ham, has to be the loudest, wants to be heard and seen by all. And not to mention having strange parents such as us - who like to make him dress up and take pictures - he has no chance of being average. Sorry Ari.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Eating fudge for the first time. MMMMMMM

Eating at the Daily Grind...they just happen to have the best coffee drinks around. And we just happened to be there on a chilly day. Hmm...coincidence?

His own little cake to eat.

The cake he really wanted instead.

"Phew- this is tiring!"

His little man chair he got from his aunt and uncle. Now he can be a true football watcher.

Monday, November 2, 2009

a laugh to love

It has literally taken me a year to finally post a video...but I did it! We went to Brown County and Nashville this weekend to enjoy the last of the leaves. Lots more pictures to come but I didn't think this should wait. Mommy and daddy were acting like complete fools - but it was totally worth it to hear that laugh.

Ok, so I was the only fool. Hopefully you can quickly erase the sounds of what seemed to be a dinasaur. Ha ha Ooohhhh the things we do for entertainment...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A year in the making...

Oh what to say about your baby turning one...there are so many emotions! My heart has been heavy lately knowing that this day was coming - not for our sakes but for others, knowing there are so many parents who will not get to celebrate a birthday, a holiday, or another memory with their lost child. I have been reminded several times this past year how we can not take any moment for grant it. I say this now because somehow I feel guilt for being able to celebrate such a time with Ari. For all the Cari's out there -please know the memories of your child will not be forgotten. As I silently grieve for your losses, I will also be reminded to celebrate life, and most importantly give the glory to God. A song just came on by Building 429 called "End of Me". The lyrics ring true for this..."He is, He was, and always will be..." No matter what happens in this life, God is always the same loving, righteous God. No. Matter. What.

So here's to a celebration of life.

before his arrival - 11 days late

right after his arrival - born at 1:08am at 7 15.8 lbs (I say 8 lbs!)

1 month
- so cuddly you could just squeeze him

2 months
- already smiley

3 months
- already a stinker

4 months
- already wanting everyone's attention

5 months - already busting out of his seat and ready to go

6 months - squealing at the top of his lungs

7 months
- eating his dinner in a bowl

8 months
- making his way around Florida and the pool

9 months
- ready for sports and sporting a mohawk

10 months
- ready for his first car

11 months
- climbing and standing on everything

12 months
- ready to turn 1

Happy birthday baby boy! You have such the personality: Very loud and want to be heard. An infectious laugh. Contagious smile. And a warm heart. You fill our hearts with joy. We love you more than you could ever know.