Wednesday, April 29, 2009


As many of you know, we're moving in June. We're excited, of course--but right now we're in that part of moving that I don't think anyone enjoys. Packing. There's one question that figures prominently in my mind everytime I clear something (anything) off. How did we get this much stuff?

The new place

The last time we moved we were fresh out of college, and while we had a baby on the way, we hadn't really started collecting any of the items that go with having children. Four years later (wow, has it really been four years since moved into our house?) and we have two small kids. For all you parents out there, that should pretty much be enough said. For those of you who aren't--just wait. Kids are tiny, but they come with a whole load of stuff!

Plus, while the kids are excited and for the most part trying to be helpful, their idea of "packing" and mine are just not the same. Joshua wants his own box which he fills with his treasures and other random items. Which would be fine, except that he then moves it to another part of the house and dumps it out, only to start all over again. Lydia thinks that all the boxes are boats, or forts, or great stages for epic games of "peek-a-boo" and is quite upset if I try to use one of "her" boxes for it's proper purpose.

That being said, after a month of work and loads of boxes later, we are finally starting to see progress. So much of the packing I did at the beginning was of stuff that found its home 360 days a year in the back of a closet, or cupboard, etc. So, for a long time no matter how much I packed the amount of "stuff" in the house didn't seem to diminish--in fact it just looked messier because it was all pulled out and there were piles of boxes to boot. But, we're now packing items that usually take up space in the house and I'm wondering why we had all of it to begin with. I'm hoping to be able to weed it out and not put it all back into the new house. And, conveniently, since we're upsizing even if it all moved in it shouldn't feel so full. But, I'd definitely like to be able reduce unused/unneeded items to a minimum.

Finally, for all those of you following along with this blog for the long haul, an update on how all my snoopy-little-old-ladies-across-the-street are doing with the move. (I know at least a couple of you were secretly wondering...) Well, in short. They. Are. Hilarious. They think they're so sneaky and unobtrusive, but if they can see us they should realize we can probably see them! We got a storage unit last week to contain the boxes so they're not all sitting in our living room for the next month. The official reason is because this house goes on the market in a week or so. The unofficial reason is that mommy was going crazy with a stack of boxes eating my livingroom. Take your pick. Anyway, back to the ladies. So, as we've been making trips over to the storage unit, one woman has seriously sat next to her patio window and watched every trip. She thinks she's sneaky, since she moved the chair back behind the frame, but she leans so far forward to get a good view, it's quite obvious! I've seen several others checking us out too. So far, no one has crossed the street to point blank ask us what's going on, but I'm sure they have their own theories circling around. :)

So, that's us. Not the most exciting stuff, but pretty all-consuming in our world right now. I'll add pictures to the post when I get a chance, but I hear my little princess calling to get up, so I need to go for now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Heart Faces

Ok, this is my first entry at

I've been lurking for a couple of weeks now, but I decided to take the plunge. I love this picture of Lydia and me. This pictures was somewhat of an accident, I was holding the camera after taking a couple of pictures of the kids together and figured I'd turn it on us (always can use a new Facebook profile shot) and it worked. I love how startling our eyes are--especially hers! I'm not into pictures of myself, I'm definitely my own biggest critic. However, since having kids it's become important to me to document our moments together in hopes that it will trigger memories for me in the future. Childhood just goes so fast!

Today's the Day

Today is....

Did you guess it?

Ben and Jerry's Annual FREE CONE DAY!!! Ice cream lovers everywhere, head to your nearest B&J's ice cream and enjoy your favorite one. FREE cones only come one day a year! :)

Just a quick reminder from your friendly neighborhood ice-cream fan!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Have you seen this?

Ok, just a quick little post, because I know many of the readers of this blog love a great garage sale as much as I do! I just saw this linked to yesterday and it's pretty sweet. Check it out! I hereby announce garage sale season 2009 is officially open. :)
We made it to a couple yesterday, and while we didn't find anything earthshaking, it was fun to be outside in 70 degree sunshine hunting for a bargain!

And, since posts without pictures rob me of opportunities to share the current fun and faces of my little cuties (me, biased? no!) I'll go ahead and post a couple of shots that are largely unrelated to the post...well, except that there's a good chance that whatever they're wearing (or playing with) was one of last summers garage sale finds!

Pretending to sleep in our windowsill.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This post has been in the works for awhile. In fact, it is my best attempt to sum up thoughts that have been floating around in my head since shortly after I brought home that tiny, sweet bundle known as Joshua over three years ago now.

Motherhood is hard! Never have I taken a position that is so fulfilling and at the same time so completely all-consuming.

We had a speaker at my mommies group recently whose topic was "Identity." She was bright, funny, and most importantly real in speaking to the hearts of moms everywhere. How do we maintain an identity of our own when motherhood changes the way we look at everything, especially ourselves? And because we are so totally invested, we have never been so insecure and looking for re-assurance as we are as moms. We read books, parenting magazines, blogs, and constantly assess and interpret every comment and look wherever we go--hoping we measure up and are doing it "right." (This is true for me, I teared up and then almost made a rude retort to the lady behind me in line at Target today. She much less than kindly asked "do you mind keeping her from doing that?!" in response to Lydia's curious touching of her milk jug which she had of course loaded at the very front of her order--right in front of my ever-exploring, independent, and nap-needing little girl.

Did I mention she spoke straight to my heart? She managed to capture what has been floating around in my head all this time. We will always find someone doing better than we are, and someone we deem to be doing poorly than ourselves. It won't matter if the subject is appearance, attitude, or children's behavior, we are programmed to compare ourselves. And as she said, "as long as we focus our identity on those around us, we are aiming at a moving target...". The solution, of course, is to acknowledge that we are worthy solely because we are created and loved by God himself. When our focus is on Him we won't judge ourselves (or others) for good or bad based on the messages culture is constantly pushing at us.

It is simple, beautiful and yet overwhelmingly difficult. We are trained to listen to the voices around us and it seems impossible to shut them out. But I want to try. Partly for my sanity, for it all seems overwhelming when you're trying to be super-mom. Mostly though, I want to find peace and identity in being a chosen daughter of God for those I love. It all goes so fast, and I know that when I'm trying to be approved and accepted by those around me in order to identify myself as worthy it causes me to become short or harsh with my kids. I read this post today and I couldn't agree more.

Furthermore, I don't think misplaced identity and seeking acceptance are reserved for young moms. I think it is a struggle we all face each and every day, no matter what our gender, role, or life stage. Truly, as long as we are struggling to find worth for ourselves, I don't think we're very effective at reminding others of their great worth to God. And yet, we are all so hungry for affirmation, acceptance, and encouragement.

All that being said, I think this is a struggle that will rage on for me. I will need to remind myself and be reminded each day that my worth is found not in what I accomplish, or how well my kids behave, but in God's unconditional love for me. And on the days that it doesn't go so well, I'll need to remind myself that my worth hasn't changed. It's a challenge I want to take--anyone care to join me?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Before I was a mom...

For all you mama's out there--I got this via email and thought I would share + pictures. :) Enjoy!
Before I was a Mom,
author unknown
Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,

I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried myself.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby
just because I didn 't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling
of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment,
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom ...

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of life.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

From here, to there, and back.

Oh where, oh where have our last three weeks gone...?
This would sum up my life throughout March pretty well. We're halfway (or more) through the muddy season which makes the primary laundry person in the house thankful! Before we know it 60 degree days will be a regular occurance rather than the occasional treat.

Since my last post we've been surrounded by a bunch of family and it has been really nice. It's so out of the ordinary for us to have family in our daily lives at all that being in the presence of at least one of them for all of the past two weeks was definitely a treat, but it's nice to be back to just the four of us too.

James' brother Justin and his wife Laura were able to join us for an extended weekend and we enjoyed their visit a lot. I don't know that we've ever jam-packed a weekend so full since having kids, but the weather cooperated and the kiddos had so much they wanted to show Uncle Justin and Aunt Laura that we managed to watch a parade, visit the park (multiple times), go to the library, the firestation, out for ice cream and fit in our first visit to the zoo for the year all in just over 48 hours!

They headed home Tuesday morning and later that same afternoon my brother Matt arrived to spend the remainder of the week. We repeated park visits and exploring Madison, although the weather turned colder and didn't allow for the same outdoorsy types of activities the previous weekend had. We had a fun time and Matt should receive many extra uncle points for spending his spring break in a house with two toddlers and no guest bedroom. I'm sure the mornings were early for his liking, but he didn't complain and the kids absolutely loved having him here! :-)

The next week brought Matt's return to campus to finish his semester and James had a business trip to Chicago, so the kids and I headed to my parents house to enjoy some quality time with Marmee, Gramps, and Uncle Stephen. Again, we really enjoyed the time, and the kids kept the family members on their toes, especially given Lydia's love affair with all things related to Flit, my parents "tiitee!" They also found some rollers and were instantly transformed into stylists--in addition to their insisting rollers be put in their own hair they convinced my brother Stephen to model for them--what a good sport! We also celebrated an early "Easter" so the kids got their baskets and subsequently ate almost everthing edible while they were there, so at least we're spreading the treats out this year...:-D

Anyway, it's back to life as usual (mostly) here over the next few weeks. Now we await the permanent arrival of spring, and Easter of course. Joshua's already counting down the days and reminding me every time we see a display in the store or elsewhere--"Look, eggs, Mommy. Easter is coming soon!" Now I just have to figure out how to appropriately share with a three year old that Easter is about much, much more than eggs and the Easter bunny...I see several viewings of an Easter Carol in our near future.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Of Writers Block and Narcissism

Sorry for the long blogging hiatus folks. Partly it's been due to either having family in town or being out of town with family for over two weeks, but mostly I just haven't been in the mood to write. I want to post, but I don't feel I have the words to put it down the way I'd like to. So, I'll share with you all the lastest 20-questions-like list going around which this time (maybe always) appears to be quite self-focused in nature. Maybe you'll learn something new, maybe it will just trigger a release to my writers block. Either way, here goes. :)

Also, I thought it would be fun to include pictures from our early years together, or even from back in high school when we were mere acquaintences--but I realized that all of our photos prior to moving to Wisconsin are film photos and I don't have digital copies. Maybe, I'll get on scanning them sometime soon, but don't hold your breath...

20+ Questions, James and Liz Edition

What are your middle names? Wesley and Elaine
How long have you been together? Let's see, 6 years this summer, married for almost 5.
How long did you know each other before you started dating? A long time--we met during my freshman year in high school and started dating following my sophomore year of college--so 5 1/2 years???
Who asked who out? James asked me out, but we both knew there was interest there before that.
How old are each of you? We're both 26.
Whose siblings do/did you see the most? It's pretty even, we live a long ways from all of them, so none as often as we'd like. We probably see my youngest brother and his oldest brother the most, and my oldest and his youngest brother the least.
Do you have any children together? We have the two most beatiful children in the world (me biased?, no!) Joshua is 3 and Lydia is 14 months.
What about pets? Joshua has a red betta named Michael, does that count? He's also allergic to cats AND dogs, so probably won't have any in the near future either.
Did you go to the same school? High school no, college yes.
Are you from the same home town? Nope, I'm from Hastings and he's from Spring Arbor
Who is the smartest? That's a difficult question, the true answer is it's pretty even, it just depends on the subject for who has the edge.
Who is the most sensitive? In the traditional sense, me. He's very sensitive in other ways, especially when it comes to the kids and me, which is super sweet to watch.
Where do you eat out most as a couple? Eat Out? We don't do much of it, really. We like to try something new when we do, so nothing really becomes the go-to place.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? As a couple, or together? We backpacked in Europe with my brother when we just friends, so probably Bratislava, Slovakia or Oslo, Norway. As a couple that would have to be Florida or New Orleans or New Hampshire/Maine/Quebec (for our honeymoon). I'm not sure which is actually farthest and I'm trying to be less OCD, so I won't look it up either. :)
Who has more crazy exes? Him, but neither has that many and they're not that really the question doesn't apply.
Who has the worst temper? I think that would be me, at least it's much more easy to set me off. James doesn't really get upset in a traditional way.
Who does the cooking? I'm executive chef, but he makes a great sous chef!
Who is more social? Me, though neither of us is super-outgoing.
Who is the neat-freak? I wouldn't classify either of us as particular neat freaks. We both have areas that we like a lot of order and organization, but they're pretty different from each other's which has been good, more of it stays neat that way.
Who is the more stubborn? I probably show it more often and more clearly, but we're both pretty stubborn
Who hogs the bed? I hog the bed and he hogs the blankets.
Who wakes up earlier? We usually wake up about the same time, but I've been so lucky since James usually gets up with the kids and checks his work mail while I catch a few more zzzz's or at least rest time!
Where was your first date? Ummm...I'm not quite sure. We went to a movie together (just the two of us) while in Prague, so maybe that--but we didn't date for a few months after that. Cedar point, maybe?
Who has the bigger family? I have 3 brothers and he has 2, but his extended family is larger.
Do you get flowers often? Not often, but on occasion and usually "just because" so I'm happy with that. :)
How do you spend the holidays? Living at a distance from extended families we usually make it back for one or two major holidays and split the time between our families and many of the smaller holidays we spend as just the four of us or with local friends. We'll see how it goes as the kids get older.
Who is more jealous? That would be me, he's really patient and content and not at all prone to jealousy of any kind! If we're specifically talking relationally, neither of us is highly jealous, we don't really have any reason to be.
What is your song? We don't really have a song. We had "I will be Here" at our wedding, but nothing really comes to mind other than that.
How long did it take to get serious? That's a hard one. We'd known each other for over 5 years and been good friends for more than 2, so I think when we decided to date at all it was from a pretty serious starting point. To admit it to each other, probably about 4 months and we were engaged within two months of that!
Who does/did the laundry? I mostly do. He's always happy to help and good about moving loads or helping to put it away if he sees it though. :)
Who’s better with the computer? James, hands down. I'm married to a nerd, remember!
Who drives when you are together? James, unless there's a particular reason for me to be driving, or I pick him up, or he's really tired. He just likes to drive alot and I'm rather ambivalent about it.