Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's a magical age

Oh how I love my little Clare Bear.


She loves all things girly. Princesses, dress up, baby dolls, jewelry, make

2 1/2 years old and she already talks my ear off. Her happy chatter makes my day though.


Tonight at bedtime she said, "Sing me a song, Momma," as she wrapped her sweet little arms around my neck. "A song about kitties."

So I did. :)


Can I just bottle these days up and make them last forever????

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Back

I started running again a few weeks ago. Granted I'm not running that far yet, or for very long, but I have really missed it. The chance to pound out miles...all the while pounding out my problems too. I do most of my thinking and praying while I'm running, maybe just because it is the one time during the day when I'm not in survival mode or needed at once by every kid in the room, I don't know. But as soon as I get on that treadmill and the endorphins start flowing, I find myself overwhelmed with thankfulness for this blessed little life I lead.

Even though the past year has literally been the hardest thing I have ever done.

There has been shock over a new pregnancy, months of severe morning sickness, extreme mommy guilt over missing out on so much because of it...and then now that he's here, it has been even harder, to be honest. So much to juggle. So many little needs - emotional, behavioral, spiritual needs. I have 4 children now, and they are all so important to me! It breaks my heart to turn a child away to wait while I try to soothe a screaming baby.

{But Jonas doesn't scream much anymore, thankfully. When he was about 8 weeks old I figured out that he was sensitive to dairy, so I've been eating diary free for the last month. Good news is, he is happy and content most of the time now...and I have lost 5 lbs in the process. :) Turns out a lot of what I like to eat falls into the dairy category. }

The last couple of weeks have been so much better - still hard at times, but there have been glimpses of the sweet gift of having a family of 6 too. And that God is good all the time.

It's been awhile since I listed His gifts, so tonight I'm thankful for -

97. Laughter around the table

98. Our nightly talks with the boys

99. The special bond we see forming between certain look-alike siblings

100. Help from family

101. Dairy-free chocolate

102. Daily reports home from a precious teacher who loves our son

103. The conviction that came after much prayer and discipline

104. A 5 year old's excitement over salvation!

105. That both my boys professed to come to know Him this month

106. Grief over sin

107. A husband who doesn't lose heart

108. Restored fellowship with sons, and the closeness that it brings

109. Basketball season

110. Obvious fruit in little people's lives

111. Sharing morning devotions with my oldest

112. Renewed passion for motherhood

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10:30 pm - can I turn out the lights now?

Today was a good day. It really was, especially when I look back on it and realize how much I accomplished, 3 weeks post partum. And yet I cried real tears twice, over things that shouldn't have been a big deal on their own. Once was just a little while ago, after our very long day of running around all over the place {Tuesdays are just nuts around here}. Clare spilled the remains of her watermelon slush on the carpet, and I just couldn't help it. The craziness of the day caught up with me and for a few seconds I allowed myself to think, I am not sure I can do this!

There's been errands to run, park play dates, lunches to pack, poopy explosion diapers {and not just from the newborn}, a broken garage door, 2 trips to the school, a very short nap {for me and the girl}, a 2 year old who very obviously needs lots of training, dinner, soccer practice, then kids club at church, and a wailing baby in the car wherever we went {I'm thinking he's not a big fan of the car seat - poor him!}.

In between I've run 2 loads of laundry, talked to the neighbor, nursed the babe 3 times in the car, worked on the kids club verse with the boys, run home for cleats and shin guards, turn around and come back again for the soccer ball. After kids club, I came home to nurse the babe again and tidy up for Dave's Bible study. He just got home a few minutes ago - had to meet a contractor after hours. Life doesn't slow down for him when we have a baby - for some reason, it actually seems to get all the more busy. ;)

So yeah, my life feels a little nutty right now. :)

Oh, but when he half-smiles in his sleep..


...the precious gift of another little life to be trained for God makes me grateful, for even the *hard* days.


I love how Jonas burrows down under one arm or the blanket when he sleeps. Makes him look like he's hiding from us. Maybe he is... I'd hide if I were him. ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shirtless little boys and other after school stuff

If I were choosing an after school hobby for my boys, I'd never pick skate boarding. Isn't it a little dangerous??? I can't believe we've survived this summer without any broken bones, to be honest.

But they love it. And thanks to Shawna, we now own a ramp for cool tricks and stuff. ;)


Simon isn't quite as daring as Ethan yet, but he is getting it. And he wins points for best tan.


More tricks. Just now realized he's wearing flip flops. What the heck?!




My cutie patootie.


Meanwhile Jonas and Mom enjoy some quality time on the porch.



Ethan and Simon keep asking when they can teach him to skateboard. ;)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

And now we're officially that BIG family


Our little man has arrived. Jonas Grove was born 2 Wednesdays ago, and we are loving him to pieces.


For the most part, I would call him a very easy baby. Not overly fussy - if at all - and loves to sleep. Tolerant of the many kisses he is given every day from adoring siblings {and mama}.

When he's sleeping, he makes the same squeaking noise that Ethan used to make when he was a newborn. :)


He was our smallest baby - 7 lbs, 1 oz, and 20 inches long - but with feet as big as these, he'll likely catch up and fit in with the rest of our brood. :)


A fussy moment - funny how it doesn't bother me as much, fourth time around.


Jonas was tongue-tied at birth, just like Ethan and Clare. We were so thankful for a pediatric hospitalist trained to do frenectomies, so he didn't have to wait a week to see the oral surgeon {and consequently have trouble nursing in the meantime. Now he is a pro!}.


We are continually praising God for our sweet boy and for His loving care over us throughout this whole pregnancy and delivery. It has been a crazy year - difficult for all of us - but we would say he is worth it. Love him so much!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Estes trip, part 2

The second half of our week in Estes we stayed down around town - we rented boats, picnicked, biked, shopped, took naps, did lots of reading, went swimming, ate lots of homemade ice cream from shops downtown and took walks around our cabin. There was some excitement when a chipmunk got into the house one evening, especially since my dad had just broken his glasses and was wandering around blindly in the living room with a big stick. :)

I think our boys' favorite day was when we packed a lunch and headed to the park to play...some neighbor boys joined them, the nerf guns came out, and all of a sudden there was a major nerf war going on. All the boys against Dave and Nate. And then the sprinkler system came on... it was boy heaven. ;)

The day we spent at Lake Estes was beautiful. We rented a pontoon boat and a fishing boat for a little while and went a few times around the lake.





Camp fires and s'mores also make little boys happy. :)








And playing cars outdoors. It doesn't take much, really. :)

I was so very thankful for the gift of this vacation. It was a chance to escape the heat {which, for this pregnant momma, was simply amazing}, but the family time was so precious too. I love that our kids are old enough to really do things with now. They all love being active, and it makes me excited for the future and how much fun we are going to have together. Even Clare was such a trooper on our hikes - she is one strong girl!

I don't have any pictures of Michael on this trip or Aaron Quinlisk, but they were there with us Sunday through Tuesday. My kids adore their uncle and view him as a big playmate - thankfully he's a good sport. :) Aaron too.

We're home now and the temps in Kansas have been soaring. Well above 100 every day. Makes Colorado seem all the more dreamy right now. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wish I was back there...

We just got back from a wonderful week in Estes Park, Colorado - the whole Renes family stayed in a cabin together {except for Matt and Erica, who are in the midst of camp season right now}. It was wonderful weather, 70's during the day and 50's at night - which was such a relief from this heat wave that is hitting the midwest right now.

Today in Topeka the heat index was 111. Um yeah.


Just being in the cooler weather brought my activity level way up - I didn't think there was any chance I'd want to hike this trip {I'm 34 weeks now}, but I did and actually enjoyed it.



Ruth and I were a bit of a spectacle on the trails though - big pregnant bellies and lots of little kids running between us - made for lots of comments. :)


Tuesday was the beginning of Rooftop Rodeo, and there was a parade downtown to kick things off. Lots of pretty girls on horses mostly, and some firetrucks and farm equipment. Good ol' small town parade. The kids loved it {although Austin wasn't too sure when we first got there - hence the face ;) }.


Just down the hill from our cabin was Fun City - go carts, mini golf, bumper boats, etc... the kids begged to go any time there was a lull in activity. Pretty much every day. ;)








One of several elk we had venture right up to the cabin.








Night sky in Estes. More pictures to come!