Friday, October 14, 2011

The wedding

Sophia was in our friends wedding this past weekend. It was her fourth appearance as a flower girl so is well seasoned. :-) We joke about renting her out with our photography services.

We were doing the photos at this wedding so I was a little nervous how that would all work, helping her and managing to take pictures in a wedding where the time line was super crunched. I was so pleased with how the day went though. The wedding was for our pastors Son and he married a beautiful young lady from our church. So basically our whole church family was there. Sophia sat with a family we love, the Delahunts. I packed a little purse full of snacks, a pen and a piece of paper in case she became restless during the service. She did wonderful and they didn't have to bring out the purse at all! She hung out with her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Metraus during the Appetizer hour while we took the pictures. (The Bride and Groom didn't see each other until she walked down the aisle, so most pictures had to be taken between the ceremony and dinner)

Here are a few pictures from the day so far, will add more later, we have too many other projects to finish up this week before we can dive into the 2,000 we snapped that day. :-)

Liam is 2!

Our handsome little Liam turned two yesterday. TWO!! Can you believe it? I sure can't.

This boy is messy. He only know two volumes- whispering or SHOUTING! He is messier than I could have ever imagined and minutes after a bath he is already stinky. He laughs when he toots and has been known to give Wonder Woman a dip in the toilet. He is desperate to be like his big sister and will do anything she does. When given a Cars birthday balloon he told me to "Pop it Mama. I dont yike it. Take it, TAKE IT Mama! I want kitty bawoon!" Sophie had a Hello kitty themed birthday this year and he just wanted to be like her. (He has warmed up to his cars balloon- good thing since my parents brought him one too!)

He is also tender hearted, he trys hard to please us and will run to confess his sins immediately. When corrected he immediately melts, sinks into us and asks for forgiveness. I pray that his heart will stay soft every day. Every night at bedtime he yells for "BIG HUGS!" he just about takes your neck off and will whisper awwwww in your ear as he hugs you. It is so sweet. He teaches me patience. He understands jokes and loves to tell them.

Happy Birthday Liam, we love you!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Life is so crazy. I say I am going to update our family blog all
the time. Never do!

So here is a quick drive by while I wait for my next assignment today. (Im back to the school district)

-Sophies 4th birthday is Thursday. What?!?! How did t

his happen?! We are hitting Como on Thursday and then the cabin and then doing a small friends gathering at a local pool later in September.

-Liam is almost two. This week he initiated two monumental changes on his own. 1. Pooping in the potty (for which is he SO proud of himself, he thinks he is the coolest dude ever) 2. Got rid of his nuk. Just stopped asking for it. I honestly think he just forgot. Sweet and bittersweet all at the same time, my baby is growing up!

-I worked all summer at Deaf blind services MN, my normal job at ANU and did the photography thing with Kevbo. It was CRAZY

-We did get several trips up to the
cabin. Including one two week trip around the 4th.

-Liam hates the church nursery. Anyone have any advice? I think he will just need to get over this with time. Sigh.

-Busy busy with the photography business. Check out our most recent pictures at

-We are having a fall mini special- check it out, theres only a few spots left!

-I am done at DBSM for the most part and am back to the school district in morning kindergarten with one of our DB students.

-Kevin is doing daycare for my friend who is a teacher. He will tell you he is just like any other stay at home Mom, with a side daycare and photography business. :-)

-Kids moved the bunk beds. Love it.

-We need to order Sophias curriculum for this year and get going. She is anxious to resume school activities.

-We are thrilled to be starting back Sunday school in a few weeks with our parenting and marriage young family class.

-We went to the fair once and are dying to go again. If only there were more time and money trees....:-)

-Sophia went to VBS and loved it!

-We hope you all are well, if we have disconnected this summer, we deeply apologize. We still read everyones blogs when able and we think of you and pray for you all often.

Heres a ton of photos to finish it up
(some are cell phone pics, forgive us!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where I've been

I have disappeared off of the blogging grid for a month or more now.

Its been a VERY busy month! :-) We decided to try and dive into full time photography after lots of prayer when Kevin lost his job in March. Its been quite the adventure! Kevin has been snapping and editing and I have been in search of props, poses and clients! :-) We are having a lot of fun. Its so nice to see your husband doing something he loves and is gifted at.

I have also been working my 40 hour a week intervenor job, picked up some home work with some of my old students, and continuing to teach the kiddos and be their Mommy. We have still be doing projects and crafts, I just don't have the energy or time to document and post about that at the moment. :-)

We are thrilled to have some sunny warm weather again. Went to the park and had a picnic with the kiddos today.

Here are a few photos Kev has taken this past month. Check out our facebook if you are interested in more info about us:: or (our not very developed blog) or email us @ if you want to set up a session! :-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


16 lawn bags full of leaves. 8 large trash bags of our clothes dropped off at Families Helping Each Other. Two kids full of fresh air. One Four hour napper. One fridge totally cleaned and wiped down. One new pair of little girl shoes. Four growing feet. One interview complete. Two applications filled out. Loaded with grace. Wednesday.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seeing Stars

"Two Men looked out through prison bars; one saw mud and the other saw stars."

Lord, help me to see the stars.

Monday, March 28, 2011

1,000 Gifts

29. For friends who borrow books, thanks Becky for "Calm my Anxious Heart"

30. For unemployment coming through. His provision never fails.

31. For our Gather Around the Table group from Church and a great time of fellowship last night.

32. For playlands

33. For time with Daddy who "can't go to work anymore. Why won't they let you come to work Daddy?" We are making the most of his time off.

34. For my parents and unexpected gifts in groceries. Generosity and hospitality gifts abounding.

35. For sweet Gabby and Gods hand in her birth. Praying for her to start eating on her own. Praising God for her life.

36. For my in-laws loving on our kids while we were away last night. We love you Grandpa "Keef" and Grandma Pat.

37. For fresh fruit season approaching.

38. For my childrens health. Blessed.

Our past few weeks

I've been a little MIA here recently. Seems all of us have been sick the past three weeks or so! Started with the kids and I getting a cold, then it lead to Kevin getting sick and then Liam ending up with a sinus and ear infection. Poor guy. Topping it off was a strange fever that's been coming and going for Miss Sophia the past three days. Today was the first day that everyone has been healthy and its been great! :-)

Little Liam just broke my heart being so sick. He is normally the most snugly and smiley guy you could ever meet. But being sick he was either sleeping, crying, or throwing himself on the ground in fits of frustration. It was hard to know how to comfort him. It was also hard for me to know at the end if he was still sick or stuck in the pattern of fit throwing. But thankfully it is over and he is back to being my funny little man.

Some of his favorite phrases right now are:
-"UH-HUH, I DO!!!" This is no matter what you ask "Liam, should we go outside?" "UH HUH I DO!!!" "Liam are you hungry?" "UH HUH!! I DOOOO!" "Liam, do you want to play with trains?" "UH HUH, I DO!!"

-"I'll do it" Anytime you ask anyone else for something he jumps in yelling "Ill do it!!" Too cute!

-"Yah, OKAY!" He walks around repeating over and over "yah, Okay! Yah, Okay!"

-"We'll see, maybe!"

He is just repeating any phrase he hears. It makes us giggle. I post too many Sophia pics and stories and so I included the picture of our sweet Man this morning. Ready for Spring and the Twins to start! Go Twins!!

Flourless chocolate cake

I've made this cake a few times now and been really impressed. I made an almond chocolate ganache (Chocolate, pure almond extract, cream, and butter) to put on top and then added strawberries. It was great! This recipe would be fabulous with fresh raspberries or a homemade raspberry sauce over-top. Its incredibly rich and dense so I'd recommend that you would cut your slices very thin! Enjoy!! :-)

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

(I found the recipe here)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Yes I deactivated my facebook a week and a half ago. Yes, I have been meaning to type something up as to why. For now, I'll just say that Im a workin' on time management, self control, and priorities. Spending time with people in real life, investing myself into my kids, husband, home, and others, devotion times longer than 15 minutes, slaying the laundry monster ect. Will I come back? Maybe, someday. But, its kinda nice. Find me here, at my phone number, and email if you need me. Will try to add more photos here too as requested. Love to yall!

Work that matters

Sometimes I fall into a trap. Its a trap that I set up for myself by looking at parenting blogs or peeking into others lives. I see that their grass appears greener and I try my hardest to keep up. Did you see the curtains she made herself?! Look at how organized their school room is! Their kids sound so brilliant and obedient. I scrub the floors a bit harder, try and make extravagant meals by 5:30 every night, and try to micromanage my childrens behaviors, especially in front of others. Sure, my kids are asking me for the 100th time to play a game or snuggle on the couch but kids, I am busy cleaning for you! I will be right there, reallly, I will. In the end I just feel like I can't keep up and have failed.

In the end, no one will notice (or care) how often my floor has been scrubbed. My family will not starve if we don't eat until 6. But the time I invest in training those little lives means everything. That is my job. I may have to sacrifice my free time. Put down the book. This stage doesn't last forever and I need to make the most of every minute I am given as Sophia and Liams Mama. When I am investing the time in eternity, I feel like a parenting failure much, much less of the time. Because, its worth it. Is it easy? No. Is it pretty? Sometimes not. But, it is required.

Here is an excerpt from "Loving the Little Years" that really spoke to me.

" Dry erase boards and chore charts are all well and good, but it does not change the fact that what you have on your hands is children, not an organizational problem. When Scripture says to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, it is not talking about finding the most effective way to organize them. This is a very easy trap to fall in, because the more children you have the more difficult it is to keep them clean and clothed and fed. Just the basics of life are a full time job. It is also easy for parents to fall into this sort of lifestyle because cleaning and sorting makes you look and maybe even feel like you have your act together,even if you seriously don't. What you are doing is finding a way to contain your children, control them, and keep their sin from making you look bad. But you are not actually dealing with anything....
The more children you have, the more you need to be pastorally minded. Look to each of their souls and their needs. If you are focused on upkeep of the house and the schedule, as long as your child is not interrupting that, you don't worry about it. If you are being a parent who is pastorally minded you will stop whatever it is that you are doing to go see how your daughter is doing up in her bedroom.Be a pastor to your children. Study them, Seek them out. Sacrifice the thing you were doing to work through minor emotional issues. This is why you may have known families who seemed to have it all together. Everyone to his own bunk. Dinner from the crockpot at 6:00pm on the dot. Family worship in the living room. Children quietly doing dishes afterward. Then as the children hit their teen years, you start to see that alongside of all that organization was some serious neglect and hurt. It is possible to organize your children right out of the church. So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice. Sacrifice your peace for their fun. Your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs. Your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had. Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done. They are the only part of your work that really matters."

Monday, March 14, 2011

1,000 gifts

19. For my sweet husband who took care of me all weekend when I was so miserable and sick. Breakfast in bed, entertaining littles, sending me to sleep and read, cleaning. I am so blessed.

20. For a daughter whose favorite game is "I love you more than __________" and cracks me up with what she comes up with and melts my heart. ( I love you more than 15 glasses of lemonade!! I love you more than 20 ipods!! I love you more than butterflies!! I love you more than inside playplaces Mama!! Sometimes under her breath she will say "Thats a lotta love!)

21. For sickness to remind me that I need work on my patience with the kids and my husband.

22. For above 50 degrees being in the forecast, dare I say SPRING is coming?!

23. For kids who desire to dress themselves. Ahem. So what if the clothes are on inside out and backwards. And that plaids are with polka dots. And that one superhero boot is on with normal clothes. Gotta keep things interesting! :-)

24. For kindles so I can wish to read a book and within 1 minute be reading wise words from wise women (Loving the little years, Moms- read it!!)

25. For a co-worker who kindly took my shift tonight since I am still not well.

26. For playdates in the immediate future and laughter amoung kiddos and Mama friends alike.

27. For his word and an increased desire to read it. Its amazing that once you that you really lose the problem of not wanting to do it, or not finding time.

28. For my sweet Man who just learned his first song. Caught him singing "Jesus loves me" yesterday. Got teary. Yes sir, he sure does.

holy experience

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


marker on the carpet. messy pigtails. hot chocolate slurping. dog whining. snow falling. george in the background. coffee hot. son snuggling. heater chugging. books piled. animals scattered. etch a sketch scribblin. tent hiding.washing machine whirrlin. yawns all around. grace abounding. wednesday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keeping Toddlers/Preschoolers busy

This winter seems like it has lasted 5 years. We are all anxious to get to a park. And soon! Here in MN however, we have more snow coming down this week. Yippee.

Thought I would compile a list of fun things to do for anyone else going stir crazy and for myself on those days when my brain isnt fully engaged and all i can think to do is press play on a movie. again. The ideas come from things I did as a kid, my time working in an ECFE classroom, ideas from fellow Moms, and things we have tried from blogland.

If you have any ideas to add, please comment! I love to hear what other Mamas are littles are doing.

1. Blow bubbles and have a dance party

2. Play dress up

3. Give the baby dolls a bath in a small tub (with a table cloth underneath or in the bathroom)

4. Paint with trucks, trains and cars (picture soon to come)

5. Paint with noodles

6. Dip rubber ducks in paint and create a masterpiece.

7. Hide and go seek

8. Fort building

9. Cook- even the littlest chef at our house likes to mix and play with kitchen utensils.

10. Paint with those kitchen utensils- think potato masher dipped in paint

11. Use whipped cream or shaving cream as a sensory activity

12. Window crayons and markers

13. Read

14. Grab an old spaghetti sauce jar, fill with water, food coloring and fun objects (buttons, bouncy balls, glitter ect.)

15. Use your old egg cartons to make caterpillars, ants, and birds!

16. Make puppets out of socks, your old toilet paper tubes, or brown lunch sacks.

17. Use duck tape to create letter fun

18. Use duck tape to create balance beam lines. Have the kids walk sideways, backwards, or hop down the line!

19. Have a picnic in the living room

20. Pile up some pillows and blankets, pull out the popcorn popper and some snacks and have a movie afternoon.

21. Dye some rice or pasta fun colors. Use a TBSP of white vinegar and then add a few drops of food coloring. Shake up in a gallon sized zip lock-super fun for the kids- and then let dry in the sun or on a paper towel. Use for various art projects.

22. Blow up an air mattress and let the kids be jumpin monkeys

23. Gather some snow in a pail and fill your sink. Give the kids stools and scoops of all kinds and let um at it.

24. Make some hearts or cards with directions on them. Laminate them and put them in a circle. Play some music and have them walk the circle. Like musical chairs, when the music stops, they freeze. Whatever they land on- they must do! (Hop on 1 foot, sing their abc's, do the crab-walk, count to 10, ect)

25. Make marshmallow sculptures. Mini Marshmallow and toothpicks are all they need. See if there are any marshmallows left uneaten, they are irresistible to little ones.

26. Bathtub swimming party! Swim suits, bubbles, and lots of bath toys needed. Food coloring is one of our favorite things for baths. I remember swimming in colorful baths as a kid and my kids ask for colored baths pretty much daily too. (Doesn't dye the skin or the tub, just the water. :-))

27. Make compassion kits- gather some large Ziploc baggies and some supplies (travel toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes, socks, hand sanitizer, local fast food gift cards, travel wipes, hats, mittens, little bibles, ect) Have your kids help you put them together and take the opportunity to teach them about serving and have compassion for others. Put them in your car and next time you pull up to someone with a sign- pass them out. (Great idea for a group activity, have each Mom and her children bring all of one item and put your resources together)

28. Practicing sorting- colors, shapes, sizes, ect.

29. Lace. Make your own lacing cards or pick up some Melissa and Doug lacing cards.

30. Games! Some of our favorites include; Hi Ho Cherry-O, Kids Charades, Candyland, Dora and Shrek Memory, and Kids Boggle

31.Make gloop. Mix cornstarch and water. It gets all goopy when they aren't touching it but turns into a putty like substance once they are playing with it. Fun, fun, fun!

32. Pick up a tunnel on the cheap at Ikea and let them crawl through and create their own playland.

33. Kids tents- often on super sale at Target and Walmart. We read in there, it becomes their house, a castle, the possibilities are endless.

34. Puzzles

35. Let the kids "do the dishes" Put out a water table or a large Tupperware bucket and have the kids wash their play dishes and toys. Give washcloths and if you want add antibacterial soap. Fun for the kids and gets those poor neglected slobbered on toys a much needed cleaning!

36. Stuffing activities. Use a empty clear coffee creamer and some craft sticks. Littler ones especially enjoy putting them in and pulling them out. Use a Parmesan cheese container and have kids put pipe cleaners or uncooked spaghetti into the holes.

37. Letter hunt- cut out the clear section on the front of your pasta boxes and glue it to a craft stick. Get really invested and act the part as you hunt for letters. (could be searching for things of a certain color as well)

38. Simon Says

39. Follow the Leader


41. Collect scarves and pull them out for fancy dancing.

42. Lego and block building contests

43. Color on the walls- cover your walls with butcher paper and let them at it!

44. Putting away the silverwear. One of Sophias favorite things to do. Helps her to sort and helps me! :-)

45. Washing windows- another one of Sophias most requested house tasks.

46. Sponge play- you can paint with sponges or transfer water from one bowl to another.

47. Listening games. Have the kids close their eyes and guess which sounds you are making. Jingle keys, coins, silverware. Tap on a glass, click your tongue, tap on the window. Whistle, roll a car on the table or open a door.

48. Pillllllllow Fight!

49. Magnetic activities- use your colored rice or pasta and hide things that are magnetic and some that are not. Use a magnetic wand and have the kids fish out what is magnetic and sort.

50. Tea Parties with all the stuffed animals. Get fancy. Make finger foods, and drink lemonade out of tiny cups (or hot chocolate)

Monday, March 7, 2011

1,000 gifts

13. For provision from God, even when it comes packaged in a way that I would could have never imagined myself.

14. For a sweet girl who asks so many questions that even when I feel my head may explode, cause me to question the important things as well.

15. For my dear friend Michelle and yummy painters mochas from Black Sheep Cafe. Accountability.

16. For our pastor, Steve Lonetti, and his faithfulness to the word and our congregation.

17. For the new class we are a part of and how it causes us to question and reevaluate and ultimately gets us back into the word as we strive to honor God in our marriage and glorify him through what should be a picture of Christ and the church.

18. For fat falling snowflakes that cause me to think of how he washes us white as snow. Undeserved.

10 Points of Joyful Parenting

In case you haven't been to any of Ann Voskamps blogs, I thought I'd encourage you to check them out! Whoa, huge encouragment. Thoughtful, incredibly well written, word saturated, realistic blogs.

Heres an excerpt from her book that was so helpful to me.

A parenting manifesto of Joy

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals -- because children's hearts feed on touch. I'll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible --- the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

Copyright 2010, Ann Voskamp @

Classic Cocktail Party

Our lovely new friends Johanna and Kyle invited us over for a classic cocktail party at their home last week. Everyone dressed in retro digs and the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served. Think pigs in a blanket, cream cheese stuffed celery, chips with french onion dip, rainbow jello mold, and a bundt cake! :-) Its a pretty new group of friends and we really enjoyed getting to know each of them! Johanna surely has the gift of hospitality! My photos are taking forever to load, be back to upload them shortly! :-)


Our church recently started a young families married and parenting class. It was our third Sunday and we are really enjoying the teaching and fellowship! Great discussions, growing together, accountability, and laughter- what else could you ask for in friendships? This past Friday night our fearless leaders, Doug and Bonnie, had us over for a game night and it was a blast! Everyone got sitters, brought some yummy food and lots of laughter. Thankful for them all. Heres some photos of our evening.