Thursday, December 19

slowing down and keeping things in perspective

I am 33 weeks along and getting very excited about meeting our little girl. Things have been busy and my energy is starting to disappear, like gone after 6:00 p.m.

I can sense the holiday stress/frenzy on the road, I see it in people’s eyes and I can feel it just starting here in my home. It’s a shame that consumerism is the focus of this time of year robbing people of their money, peace and sanity. I know it is a choice.

We all make choices how to celebrate this time of year and my husband and I have chosen to keep it simple and give our boys three to four affordable things on Christmas day and that’s it. It is what they have always known and experienced so they don’t expect more. We also intentionally have them focus on family, neighbors and Christ's birth throughout the month of December so they begin to think outward during this time of year and not merely focus on themselves.

I wrote about this in a post a while back but it is a great reminder for me as Christmas is right around the corner.

Post 1: encouraging little ones to think of others

Post 2: slowing down and keeping things in perspective

Hopefully it will encourage you too!

Wednesday, November 27

30 weeks

I’ve reached the thirty week mark in my pregnancy. Sleep at night is starting to get patchy: an hour here and an hour there, a full night of sleep is long gone. I know it is expected and also preparing me for those night time feedings which are right around the corner. We are narrowing down a name and I am finding it a lot harder to pick a name for a girl than it was for a boy. We have, give or take, ten more weeks so we still have a little time.

I am getting apprehensive about several things:
~ My last three deliveries were pretty easy and uneventful. What if this one isn’t?
~ Will I have everything I need?
~ How will I juggle home schooling with a baby and sleep deprivation?
~ How will my middle son adjust to the extra “noise and activity” that comes with a baby?
~ I know from experience that it takes a long time after having a baby to start to feel like your self again. How long will it take me this time?
~ Am I ready to mother a daughter? I only know boys.

I know this is normal to be apprehensive as the delivery draws closer so I am trying to keep things in perspective by focusing on the following…

~ Every delivery is different and special. The things that are out of my control are just that, so I have to let go and let God!
~ Realistically, babies just need diapers, a blanket and their mama’s milk.
~ I did start home school early and have gone strong so far. I plan on not teaching for a month after the baby comes, ease patiently and slowly back into a routine and if I have to…I will teach into the summer.
~ All in all, the noise and activity will stretch my middle son in a good way.
~ Experience tells me that day will come, though I don’t know when the magic day will be when I feel like my old self again, it will come.
~ As far as raising a daughter, I will take it one day at a time.

I find it extremely helpful to combat worrisome thoughts with strong, realistic statements. It eases the mind, and hence the body relaxes, and hence the rest of the household is relaxed.

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and I hope you can find the good even if life gets tough. If I look hard enough I can always find something to be thankful about.

I love this story here! There are people who find ways to give back to others, even strangers!

I am off to make my delicious dessert, I mean, side dish…………Carrot Soufflé!!!!!!!

Enjoy the family or friends that God has given you,

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

my three boys and our little girl on the way

Saturday, October 26

summer lists

Every June I have the boys make a list of things they would like to do over the summer. The list usually includes having cousins sleep over, play dates with friends, family activities, camping, day trips and things to make. We hang it in the fridge and check off as many items as we can. It is fun to look back and see the fun things we accomplished just by writing them down.

One thing new this year, was picking a design for a t-shirt. We bought shirts in their size for three dollars each at a craft store and after they finalized their design we bought some fabric paint. I prewashed and then ironed the shirts before painting them. And I also put cardboard inside the shirt so the paint wouldn’t get on the back side. My middle guy wanted Clyde, the orange ghost from Pac-Man. And my youngest wanted the Indiana Jones hat and whip on his shirt. I hand painted the shirts and the boys were thrilled with how they turned out! Here are the results.

Oh, and I started my first quilt! I am so excited! I’ll post pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 9

twenty-three weeks and counting

I can’t believe I am already twenty-three weeks pregnant, starting the sixth month, passed the halfway mark! I told a friend the other day that it’s seems too short of a time period to make a human being; nine quick months, that’s it! Not that I want to be pregnant any longer than I need to be but, wow, time is flying by.

Thankfully, things are going smoothly! I am getting bigger each day, feeling the baby kick and I am officially wearing maternity clothes now. All three of the boys are very excited. This pregnancy has produced a lot of questions from my two younger ones. “Can the baby taste what you are eating?” “How does the baby breath?” “Wear does the baby’s pee go?” It’s quite entertaining!

So my husband and I went for the sonogram at eighteen weeks and found out what we are having!!!!

Yes, we can’t believe it!

After three boys it will be quite a shock to have pink in our house!!! We are thrilled and all three boys wanted a sister so we are all so, so excited!!!

All three of my previous pregnancies I craved something and this time is no different. Cranberries!! I can’t seem to get enough of them. Cranberry juice, cranberry cereal, dried cranberries in my salads, etc. There is something crazy about cranberries this time…at least it is healthy.

So the last time I was pregnant was seven years ago and I realized I had forgotten a lot. Here are some of the things I forgot:

~ Taking three naps a day in the first trimester is needed most days
~ Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks good to eat when you are nauseous
~ Drinking lots of water makes you get up in the middle of the night to use the little girls room
~ Not drinking lots of water makes you get up in the middle of the night to get something to drink because you’re parched
~ When you are pregnant you start to notice pregnant woman everywhere
~ I am hungry means = I need to eat something in the next five seconds
~ In the second trimester, food never tasted soooo good
~ There comes a time when you can’t cross your legs like a lady while sitting upright…there simply isn’t any room
~ That awesome feeling when you start to feel your baby moving inside you
~ Maternity clothes are so expensive
~ How generous people are in giving away their baby items…Yay!!!!
~ Sleeping positions get limited and less and less comfortable
~ My sense of smell is out of this world, I feel like I have a super power or something
~ Oh, those crazy, whacky, pregnancy dreams

Some nesting has kicked in and I am thinking about making a quilt for the baby. I have never made one before but I think it will be a fun and creative challenge. Here are a couple quilts that are inspiring me at the moment!

this darling, happy, sunshine quilt

cute, tiny, detailed quilt

vintage sheet quilt

Well see, I’ll keep you posted!

Monday, September 30

sweet music

His little girl, Adelaide, thought she was hearing fireworks and couldn't sleep. So he thought singing a song together would distract her!  Too Cute!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 8

Saturday, August 31

Smith Mountain Lake

Towards the end of July, we went to Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia to visit our oldest son who moved close to the area. Friends of his graciously let us use their lake house for the week: a long, glorious, relaxing week! It was fun to vacation as a family and bond again. With our oldest moving away, it has been hard on the younger boys who miss him a lot. As for me, each month seems to get a bit easier. Skype helps a lot! I don’t think a mom ever stops missing her son but we realize moving out is good and healthy for them and creates maturity.

The ride down was absolutely gorgeous!

Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park
 The mountains were so beautiful and everything was so green and lush.

My photos don’t do justice to the beauty.

Some fun things we did around Smith Mountain Lake…

We swam,



and watched the sun set.

On the lake, they have an ‘ice cream boat’ rather then an ice cream truck.

It had the same music and sold the same items as the truck. We were very surprised and amused! The boys have never had ice cream from a truck but it was too good to pass on ‘ice cream delivered to us on a lake.’ The man just comes close to the inlets and if you wave your hand he will drive over to you, tie his boat to your dock and give you the goodies.

Down the road there is an area where you can feed hundreds of carp pieces of bread or popcorn.

Our youngest was determined to catch one with his bare hands.

He came pretty close. A local told us that there was another area, farther down the road, where you could buy a cup of peanut butter, put it on your toes, stick your toes in the water and the carp will suck the peanut butter off your toes!   We passed on that.   We went fishing on the little pier. We all caught tiny fish and then released them. My middle son caught his very first fish!

 My youngest was very brave and learned how to put a worm on a hook.


Since we were there for a whole week, we played the game Risk!

Risk is about a two or three day game in our house so it was perfect to play together in the evening over The Best Ice Cream Ever: locally made at The Homestead Creamery!! YUM!!!

We saw hummingbirds, a blue heron, hawks, a bazillion butterflies, chipmunks, fish, groundhogs and deer!

The cool thing is that the movie, “What About Bob?” was filmed in the area and on and around the lake! We checked out some spots where the movie scenes were shot. We may or may not have visited Dr. Marvin’s home.

We had a wonderful visit with our oldest son! He loves his new job and has made some fantastic friends! He is a little homesick at times but we try to make up with phones calls and photos to keep him up to date!

Example: this afternoon my youngest waited to pull his tooth out so he could do it over Skype with his big brother! Cute and gross at the same time! It is hard at times to be far away from such a great guy but I know this is where God wants my son to be and that gives me the deepest peace.

And next week I will be announcing some big news!

Come back and check it out!

Thursday, August 8

introverts and motherhood

I just read this article about introverts and motherhood (via the Aquila Report) and thought I would share it. I wouldn’t say that I am a true introvert but I absolutely volley between needing to get out and be around people and then needing some (or a lot of) alone time to recuperate: maybe a bit more of the later. It was very encouraging to me to read that there are other mothers out there who struggle with the same issues but that there are ways to accept who you are and work with your strengths and weaknesses.

If you can relate to this struggle, I hope that this article encourages you.

Sunday, August 4


This summer has been filled with more in-the-moment-connections with family and friends and less about documenting and blogging. It feels good.

I love sharing pictures and blogging about our adventures but I also love being relaxed around the kids and my husband. It has been good to take a break.

My friend, Martha, just shared this video and I just had to share it with you. It made me think about where joy comes from and if I am a living example of that joy!


Tuesday, June 25

time & jelly beans

This summer has been busy
 and very sweet so far!

Check out this video made with jelly beans!

I hope you are making
 the most of your jelly beans!!! 

Thursday, May 30

little things

Summer break is just around the corner we can actually feel it!  We had our first really hot day so the boys were outside a lot cooling off in our blow up pool.  It’s just big enough for them at this age and they don’t really care as long as they get wet.

 My boys at home are nine (but, oh, so close to ten) and seven. They are growing up, but I like that they will stop their world to race over and show me the tiniest, green inchworm, because they know I care. And I take the time to show my interest in their discovery because they grow up too soon.

These days, there are many things
 that tug at a mother’s attention.
I try to choose wisely. 
Most days, I get it right,
 the other days, I can’t get back.
I can simply learn from them. 

Don’t forget to pay attention to the little things
 because those little things
 may really be the big things.

Saturday, May 4

pumpkin bread, introverts and kindness

New neighbors are moving on our street this week. So I decided to make some pumpkin bread and bring it over to them as a welcome gift. As I pulled out a can of pureed pumpkin, my middle son anxiously asked me what I was going to make. I told him I was going to make pumpkin bread and the recipe makes ‘three’ loaves. Before I could tell him who the loaves were for, he excitedly said, “Oh, we can give one to the new neighbors!”

I was taken back a bit by his response as that is not his usual inclination: being neighborly with the neighbors. In fact, he is guarded toward our friendly neighbors and their intrusion on ‘his alone time’ or ‘our family time.’ Granted, we had a rough year a while ago where we had a parade of people knocking on our door at all hours of the day. All lovely people, just a little too much. And at that point in time, I was still floundering at trying to create healthy boundaries and hadn’t quite learned how to say, “Sorry, we are busy right now!”  We all got worn out.

He is still scarred.

All in all, he is a sensitive introvert who needs more alone time then the rest of us. Since then, I have learned how to create boundaries and how to respect his need for space.

God made us all different.

So, I was very surprised at his response and yet very pleased.

I praised him for his thoughtfulness and told him that was exactly what I was planning to do: make pumpkin bread for the neighbors. As he skipped away, I was trying to connect the dots of how he came up with that idea on his own. Then I remembered, about three years ago, when a new couple moved on our street, I bought an apple pie from a local bakery and the boys and I walked over and brought the new neighbors the pie. He remembered that.

We also have memorized Galatians 5:22-23,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

This verse comes up in our daily conversations as we go over behavior we are working on.

I believe those two things helped lay the groundwork for his response today.

I was again reminded of the simple truth; Our children are watching us and they remember how we treat people.

I am not a perfect neighbor or parent but, I try to do the best I can with the skills I have at this time. I also know that actions speak louder than words and living out our values in front of our kids has a far greater impact on them then we realize.

Keep going strong, mammas!

It’s not an easy job, but it is SO worth it!

Here is the recipe, it's so delicious! (I cut out some of the sugar) Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3

little stamp collector

 We have a little stamp collector in our house now.

My middle son has just started showing an interest in stamps.  He is learning a little history and geography along the way. I really don't know the first thing about stamp collecting, so this should be a fun learning experience for the both of us!

When we visited my oldest son last month, we went to a cool flea market where he purchased a bag full of old stamps for my little stamp collector. There were stamps from all around the world. My middle son was so happy.
His collection of eight stamps really grew!

Thankfully, my father-in-law collects stamps and he was gracious enough to come over and look at his little collection. He even gave him a tin box full of stamps! 
My son was thrilled to have someone else show an interest in his growing collection and to have a jump start on this new project! 

He has now purchased a book for his stamps and is in the process of organizing them.

Check out this great link if your kids are interested in collecting stamps too!


Thursday, February 14

love never fails

I read the passage below to my boys today.
I’ll be honest, when I opened the Bible to read,
my middle son disappointedly said, “Ohh.”
I told him I understood and that I felt that way
when I was a child sometimes too;
I was a Pastor’s kid ya' know.

But I also told him that this is his only floatation device
that will work when the storms come, he smiled,
and baby, they will come.
I said I know he didn’t fully understand what I was saying
but one day, when he was older, he would.

The world offers a beautiful buffet of wonderful and
customized distractions all conveniently within our reach.
But like sugar, they give us that quick, temporary high
and then the crash follows leaving us craving for something more.

It is my job to prepare my children to focus on the positive
and reach for the right tools during the hard times
they will inevitably encounter.
I want awesome things that will last in their survival kit.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13

Thanks Mom and Dad
& Grandma and Grandpa
for giving me some pretty awesome
tools in my survival kit.

Wednesday, February 13

hearts and more hearts

I hung up our melted-crayon, wax-paper
 hearts this week. Martha Stewart has an easy
 step-by-step guide if you are interested
 in making them.

They do add that extra color
that is desperately lacking in the month of February.

I also cut out some little, paper hearts
 and put happy words on them.
Later on, when we went to a park,
which the boys lovingly call, “The Dinosaur Park,”
I taped a couple of the hearts around the playground.

My boys asked if it was alright to do that.
I told them it was O.K.
Plus it wasn’t permanent and when
we come back another day I would take the tape off.
Those hearts made me smile.
And thinking of some tired mother
or lonely child reading them
makes me smile even bigger!
Have a great day!

Saturday, February 9

happy birthday

My husband is taking me and the boys
 out to my favorite restaurant tonight for my birthday, Sushi Hana!
 I wanted my sons to love sushi as much
 as I do and they do!
 I can not wait!
 My favorite is a roll called “I Like That Roll!”
 It looks like a mini-volcano because it has
 crab meat piled high on top.

~ ~ ~

 Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
 (Dr. Betty Edwards)
How People Change (Lane/Tripp)

 Inge’s Playlist on iTunes
 includes ~  Coldplay, Feist, Nora Jones, She & Him, Todd Agnew and Shania Twain

 The sun coming out today, my family,
 sweet cards and Facebook posts from friends

 a huge, pink, flower ring, a retro Superman tee-shirt and jeans

 a present for my niece’s birthday tomorrow

 to pass on things I haven’t used in years


 setting up my middle son’s room
 in my oldest son’s empty room

& decorating for Valentine’s Day

If you are ever in the Baltimore area,
 check out where my sister and I ate last night!

Tuesday, February 5

treadmill 101

Turn off the treadmill before leaping off like a Superhero to save your child from imminent danger.

I was on a treadmill at the gym two weeks ago. My husband was walking next to me and the boys were playing on a jungle gym where we could see them. I like exercising with my husband because it feels like a date and his dance moves on the treadmill crack me up. I had done all the weight machines and was three minutes into my warm up on the treadmill when my youngest decides to pull a Houdini move and go through a tiny slot in a step about eight feet from the ground. My mother instincts again flew into high gear and I knew this wasn’t going to end well! Sure enough, he got stuck with his arms twisted above his head and he couldn’t get back up or down; he was just dangling there…stuck! Like any Super-Hero-Mom, I instantly turned to leap off the treadmill to rescue him. Except I didn't turn the machine off!!! I ended up taking the biggest tumble of my life!!! I twisted and fell very hard on my shin and when I tried to get back up, I fell again and the treadmill proceeded to sheer off the skin on my left knee.

I heard people around me gasp and ask if I was alright but I just bounced back up and raced over to save my son. I lifted him up so he could maneuver his arms around and come through the slot and set him gently down on the ground. As soon as he was safe, I felt this intense pain in my knee and leg that took my breath away. I hobbled over to a bench and asked my son, “What were you doing?” trying my best to sound like Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother!  Another wave of pain overtook me and I told my middle son to tell dad that we needed “to go now as I fought back tears. I lifted up my yoga pants and saw my knee was bloody. Somehow, I managed to hobble out of the gym without making eye contact with anyone…then into to the car and then into the house.
my knee; you really don't want to see my shin

As soon as I got home, I elevated my leg and started icing the growing egg on my shin. I knew it was bad by the size of the swelling. I didn’t think I broke my bone but it didn’t look good. I couldn’t walk that night and could barely sleep. The next couple of days I stayed off my leg as much as possible and kept icing and elevating it. After a week my shin was still very swollen and still in pain so I went to my doctors where she wanted x-rays taken Stat! The next day I had to see an orthopedic doctor and I was more than relieved that all was O.K. there were no fractures and that the swelling and severe bruising would subside. Of course, he added - to stay off the treadmill for a while. Nice!

I’m kind of hesitant to go back to the gym as I am sure people will recognize me as “that girl who fell hard.” And of course, I had to fall in January when the gym is packed with people striving hard to keep up their New Year’s Resolutions! In time, I will go back, as soon as the pain subsides and the swelling goes away.

As I grow older, I am more confident in who I am and who I am becoming and care less about others' perceptions of me, and they are only perceptions.

I leave you with this quote that has really encouraged me when I have felt like giving up!

 Press On
 Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.

Talent will not;

Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not;

Unrewarded genius is almost legendary;

Education will not;

The world is full of educated derelicts.

Perseverance and Determination alone are omnipotent.

- US President Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, February 3

happy ice decorations

The weather has been very cold and as grey and gloomy as Eeyore. So I made some happy, colored, ice decorations to hang on the tree out back and they turned out pretty cute!

I filled five silicone, heart baking cups with water and put a couple drops of red food coloring in them and set them outside to freeze. It was colder than the ‘Hundred Years of Winter’ in Narnia so they froze pretty quickly. Next, I put cold water in a cake pan and set it out side for about an hour to chill. When I brought the cake pan back inside, I popped the red hearts out of the baking cups and put them in the cake pan and then set a small glass in the top where the ribbon would go. I put the whole pan back outside. Again, it froze pretty quickly. When it was completely frozen, I brought the pan back in for a couple minutes and the heat in the house loosened the ice and it slid right out. The glass somehow tilted and a little water froze underneath. I just filled the glass with hot water twisted the glass out and then chipped the ice away to finish the hole for the ribbon.
I really liked how it turned out!

The heart one was easy too. I just took a Jello mold, filled it with water and put a couple drops of red food coloring. I set it outside and stuck the middle of a pink, satin ribbon down in the water and it froze with that little bit of ribbon inside. I then popped it out and tied it up on a branch where the boys and I could see it.
It’s something small but it adds a bit of color to my day!

Wednesday, January 23

letting go

My oldest son moved out of the house last week.
It hasn’t been easy for me.

 He moved out for a year and a half when he was around nineteen and then later asked to move back in so he could save money and focus on college. He is twenty-three, mature and he is more than ready to be independent. He has traveled to Germany, Belize and around the United States and is fully capable of taking care of himself.

It is the location that is difficult for me.
 He is four and a half hours away.
 For a mom who has a close relationship with her son, this is hard. And for two little boys (7 and 9) that look up to their big brother it’s going to be a big adjustment.

He is so kind and encouraging, very pleasant to be around and is so helpful around the house we really miss him.

I have always known that children are a gift from God, on loan to us to train up.
The rearing and training can be hard especially during the toddler and the teen years but the letting go, though it comes in stages, is very difficult.

Things that are helping me keep things in perspective:

Knowing that God is in control

Consistent scripture reading and prayer

Refocusing my thoughts when they turn inward and selfish

When I mentioned how far he was moving to another mother, she excitedly exclaimed that four and a half hours isn’t far at all. Her oldest moved to Oklahoma!

He is not in another country in harms way fighting terrorist, he is working with church

We set up Skype and we love it! At least we can all see his smiling face when we talk

He has a great group of people around him helping him get acclimated to the area and with his new job

We can meet half way and hang out with him for the day

He really is only a phone call away

He moved to a beautiful area and we can’t wait to visit him, his friends and the area

We were so blessed to have him move back in to our house and have some more time with him. It was especially good for him to be able to bond with his little brothers. They now have a great relationship to build on


We “Skyped” tonight again and he is doing great! He really likes the people he is working with and has met some fantastic friends and is starting to get to know the area!

Letting go is hard but inevitable.

It is an important transition for both mom and child.

Each day is getting a little easier. I am so proud of him!

I must say I am very excited to see where God leads him over the next year.