The Gift of Friendship and Less is More!

 This past weekend we were so blessed to have dear friends from Chicago visit us! I have said so many times that we met the most amazing people while we were there who were like family to us in a season where we didn’t have any close by.

This couple is an example of that!!

This is Ben and Emily. Emily and I are always saying, “My Ben” or “Your Ben” to keep them straight:) And that adorable sturdy 2 year old is “Baby” Caleb, whom I had the honor of babysitting all of last year! How is he not a baby anymore??? And now he has a baby brother! “Wa-wa,” as Caleb affectionately calls him. Otherwise known as Joshua:)

We have missed them so much this past year and it just felt like home spending time with them this weekend. We talked and laughed and teased each other. Got in baby snuggles, ate Der Dutchman, watched baby goats play, played games, oooh, and enjoyed deep dish pizza personally delivered all the way from Chicago!!

What a gift and treasure is a friendship like this. When they left, we were all teary and Eliana went inside and burst into tears. She cried and cried for at least 10 minutes and we all just sat, Ben and I doling out hugs and feeling the sadness ourselves of saying goodbye to people we hold so dear in our hearts.  Ugh, we hate goodbyes! We love you, Lovaasens!!

It was kind of hard to jump back into busy life again today after the weekend but we had no choice! Back to school and work and busyness. I took 2 full van loads of stuff over to my mom’s today for our upcoming garage sale! You wouldn’t believe all of the things that I have been able to sort through and get rid of!

So, I “cheated” and skipped ahead in my May Minimalist Game. Yeah, yeah, I know. I couldn’t stop myself and got too excited once I got on a roll. Ready for the current tally? (Drum roll, please!!)

So far, I have gotten rid of 378 things!! That’s almost completely through 27 days in May!! Once I got going, it was actually really easy to keep going. I have tossed, recycled, donated and added to my sell pile furiously over the past 2 weeks. We were to the point of barely being able to get through the basement at all until I took some of it out today. I am SO ridiculously excited to have the garage sale. Call me a nerd!

I am already feeling the effects of less clutter and an easier maintenance. I am excited to show you some final pics, once we get rid of some pieces of furniture this weekend and repurpose some others. I am looking forward to my “home makeover:)” Less is More!!

Most of all, I feel such a peace about letting go of things that I have been hanging on tightly to and being able to share this journey with my family and get them to start contemplating all of this. I have had some really good conversations with Ben and the kids at various times over this simplifying process. I truly see it as a gift!

Happy Monday!

Friends, Sickies and Fun!

We have had such a mix of weather here! First lots of snow and then some “warmer” temperatures that turned our beautiful snow to gray mush. Then rain and now a little snow again! As long as we get a little white on the ground for Christmas, I’ll be happy:)

I figured out a solution to taking Eliana and Baby C to school:) I’m not sure if it will work for the super cold days but they look awfully cute in there!!

Yesterday morning, we were invited to Baby C’s house to have Christmas breakfast with our good friends. It was such a great way to start out our day! We have been so blessed by their friendship and hope it will be a lifelong one!

After we hung out for awhile, we decided to drive over to the cute little zoo nearby since it was free! We found this handsome devil there. Okay, maybe “handsome” is a bit too strong of a word….Poor guy. Those teeth!

“And I have to live with him!”

It was such a nice little zoo with petting zoo animals, a fox, deer, racoons, bobcats and more. By the time we left, they flipped on the zoo lights. It was such a great day!

This poor little lady was absolutely exhausted. She begged all the way home to try on her new moby wrap for Baby Anna. How CUTE is that?? Baby C’s mommy made that for Eliana. She was actually thrilled to pieces to have it on until I left the room to get my phone and take a picture and then she melted down and begged to go to bed! (better picture of this coming soon!)

She was sound asleep by 4:45, even refusing to eat dinner. She cried out a few times through the night which was strange but it all makes sense now because she woke up and started throwing up around 5am and didn’t stop for almost 5 hours:( Poor little lady!!

That is a very hard sickness for a three year old to have. She absolutely hated throwing up and kept telling me she “was better” and had “no more frow ups” even while she was throwing up. She slept off and on this morning and was just miserable. And then all of the sudden at 10am, she sat up and said she felt better (for real this time!), smiled and got down and started walking around! She has held down a little sprite/gatorade mix (our specialty cocktail for times such as these) for about an hour and a half now and is watching Dora!

Now to pray the rest of us don’t get this because we’re supposed to be traveling tomorrow!!

Now for some fun news!

Ben is traveling here for an interview next month. Any guesses where it is??


Busy Things!

It has been a really busy and emotionally draining few days for a few reasons, hence the lack of blogging!

Our neighbor came to us last minute both Thursday and Friday to watch their son, who is Samuel’s age, because they didn’t realize school was ending and had no one to watch him! So, he spent two days with us. Thursday the boys had a great day and kept each other entertained the whole day! It’s rare that we can have one friend over who will play well with both boys simultaneously and separately but he did and it was awesome.

On Friday we did a lot of outside playing and went to the park but after lunch our little friend went downhill with a bad headache. I felt so bad for him, especially being a headache sufferer myself. He doesn’t know us all that well and you could tell he felt bad but was shy about really telling me what was going on. He ended up taking a long nap on the couch with a cool cloth over his eyes. When he woke up, I practically shoved water down his throat, for fear that he was a bit dehydrated from playing out in the humid sun. Finally, I got permission from his dad to give him Tylenol and he perked up about a half an hour before his dad came to pick him up.

Then we hopped in the car the minute he left to go to a goodbye party for our friends. It was really hard. I’ve been teary on and off all weekend when I think about them and not seeing them anytime soon. It’s really hard to say goodbye.

On Saturday we went to the annual local Pet Parade, which is just like it sounds. A parade plus lots of dogs and a few horses! The kiddos had a great time and we were glad the rain held off! Eliana just loved watching all the dogs. I think her favorite was the dog dyed a hideous pink color and my favorite was the ginormous Great Dane that attracted quite a bit of attention! The kiddos got a few pieces of candy (we were towards the end of the parade so they must’ve been running out!), a t-shirt, toothbrushes and a ball. They just love little things like that:)

The rest of the weekend we’ve been pretty much stuck inside, as it’s been raining and chilly.

We are gearing up for our first full week of summer and this week looks to be a busy one! And honestly, I’m really thankful for that because I’d rather have fun things to do or people to go see than just hanging around dealing with the revolving door and the ill-mannered neighborhood kids!

First up, grocery shopping with all three monkeys. Yea……

Friday Fun

I have been avoiding doing some summer planning but this morning I got down to work! I wrote down over 40 fun simple activities on little pieces of paper and put them in a plastic jar so throughout the summer, the boys can reach in and pull out a paper and we’ll have something fun to do!

The activities were compiled of ideas my friend and I came up with last summer plus some lists I have been sent home with from my MOPS groups and the school. There are all sorts of ideas like, “Paint rocks for a rock garden” or “Strap sponges to their feet to clean the floor” to “Think of something nice to do for someone today” or “find a new library.” I was actually feeling pretty hopeful about the summer after doing it! There are some fun things in there I think the boys will really like and the best part is, most of it is free or requires very little in the way of supplies! It will be fun to share them as we do them this summer:)

I also went online and did some research for free museum days and free events we can attend throughout the summer. There are lots of things you can do for very little money! Thankfully:)

Then, Eliana and I were blessed with the company of a good friend and her new little baby for the rest of the day! I don’t get very much quality time with friends and so I always feel like I talk their ears off when I do get time. All I know is that I was very blessed and encouraged by my friend’s words, listening ear and sweet spirit. I am very blessed to know such wonderful people!

Plus, I got to hold her wee little man during one of his afternoon naps which was awfully wonderful! How I miss the soft little noises and funny little faces little ones make! I am hoping to talk them into some babysitting soon so I can get my baby fix:)

The kiddos and I finished up a busy day with a rousing round of Candy Land while eating our Friday night pizza. It was Eliana’s first time playing! No clue whatsoever what was going on but she was pretty tickled over the whole thing!

Now I am going to enjoy one of those delicious little desserts I shared with you the other night…..Happy Friday!

Labor Day Weekend

 Due to an uninvited internet interruption, I was not able to update you on our wonderful weekend but now I’m back! We were blessed to have some good, former-Chicagoan friends come stay with us this weekend!

We will forever be thankful for our married couple’s housegroup we were a part of a few years ago because we met some of the best people we know. Our friends who came to visit have a little girl that is about a month older than Eliana. I totally fell in love with A! She has a belly laugh that will make you smile everytime and is just darling!

We packed up our crew and headed to our favorite zoo on Saturday, hoping to beat the rain. It’s really fun to take Eliana now that she’s into animals and tries to say their names. She was crazy about the camels:)

“Mama, camel! Camel, Mama!”

Ben and I, who unashamedly enjoy the zoo as much as our children, were enthralled with the lion! He and his mate, Iris, are usually sound asleep every single time we come. But we just happened to catch them between naps and he was quite a sight!

Enjoying the views:)

On Sunday we all had the chance to hear another former housegroup friend preach at her church back in our old stomping grounds! Not only that but we all enjoyed a fun pizza lunch catching up and enjoying time with each other. I got the chance to sit right between these two doll babies and they kept my attention!

It was fun to see Eliana with someone her own age, since that doesn’t happen too often.

After a round of naps, kids and adults alike, we headed to the park to blow off some kiddo steam. Always hoping for good sleep!!

Eliana just adores playground and loves to climb and slide to her hearts content. I find it hilarious to watch a toddler throw themselves down slides all by themselves:)

The boys rode their scooters to the park and after they got tired of riding around, they had fun playing in the train and just being boys:)

The train engineer!

2 little girlies enjoying the slide.

Some swing time.

A sweet moment:) Forget the stroller; walking with Daddy is way better!

We really enjoyed our time with our friends; watching the kiddos play, talking, laughing and catching up. So thankful for such wonderful people in our lives!

More pics tomorrow.

Long Weekend

We’ve had a pretty nice long weekend over here. Of course, I know I will be confused about what day it is for the rest of the week now!

Late as it is, we just got the boys bathed and in bed….after their very first swimming lesson! I’ve been wanting them to take swimming lessons for a long time but we’ve never been able to find a good place and it’s usually very pricey.

Add to that, Samuel hasn’t been able to tolerate water on his head until this year and you can see why we’ve waited!  But now we live by the Y and they offer affordable swim classes. Samuel was very nervous before they left, much like before his first t-ball practice last summer.

But they both came home beaming and couldn’t wait to tell me all that they learned! Samuel wishes that they could have classes every day instead of once a week:)

(Eliana trying on her baby “Danny’s” shoes:)

Today we also had some friends over to play! We miss a lot of our friends from H.P. and don’t get to see them very often but were blessed with a good, long visit today. The boys were highly entertained with their long-lost friends and I got a little friend time, which is invaluable to me these days. A good day!

And yesterday our very good friends Mr J. and Ms D. came over to watch football/basketball and we munched on pizza and had a great time. Spending time with loved ones makes me wish a thousand times that we had a better community around us. I miss having close friends nearby. I miss living near family.


(A fun, inexpensive project of mine this weekend! I bought a cheap $4-5 cork board and decorated it with ribbon to hang school calendars and papers that are overtaking my fridge:) Easy, fun, and useful!)
And I forgot to write about Friday when Ben went to read to Samuel’s class. Zakkai really wanted to go with him to sit in his big brother’s class and see what it’s like to be a big 1st grader. They happily marched out with book in tow, ready to surprise Samuel.
And boy, was he surprised!! Ben said his face just lit up when he saw his Daddy and brother standing in the doorway, ready to be the Mystery Reader. The class was ready, sitting on the rug and Samuel got to go sit right next to Ben while he read.
Ben said he could tell S was SO proud to have his Daddy reading to his friends and was really into the book, making surprised faces and funny faces to show that he was enjoying and perhaps, to show off for his friends a little bit:)
Ben came home beaming and I could tell that it did his heart good to know that such a simple, yet wonderful act made our sweet son feel so special.
I hope Samuel remembers that day for a long time to come!