Friday, September 30, 2011


  1. early morning goodbye kisses from Jim
  2. plaid-clad little boys drinking chocolate milk in my bed
  3. well wishes filling up my Facebook page
  4. traditional "happy birthday" sounds coming across the Verizon waves from Las Vegas
  5. skinny machiatto creamer in my coffee
  6. Erin learning how to blow her nose
  7. free Firehouse sub sandwich for lunch
  8. 60 degrees and sunny
  9. open windows
  10. frosted pumpkin candles lit on the bannister
  11. shiny new dangly earrings
  12. another 2 pounds gone
  13. anticipation of a day of antiquing with my sweet Tiffany
  14. Chris Tomlin on the radio
  15. mini pumpkins
  16. sweet e-cards from my daddy
  17. sharing good news with family
  18. a full night of sleep
  19. building a beautiful life with a guy I love
  20. flyaway blonde curls on my baby
  21. three-year-old determination to make bubbles in the potty "just like Daddy"
  22. naked chicken fajita burrito from Qdoba
  23. BOGO Yankee Candle coupons
  24. my favorite magenta sweater and too-loose jeans
  25. Erin's crooked gait
  26. Seth quoting "God made me wonderfully, totally beautiful"
  27. anticipation of Lake homecoming and good times at Fricker's
  28. mums and gourds for my porch
  29. finding my sunglasses
  30. quilted pillow shams
  31. another year to enjoy the life I've been so blessed with
Happy 31st birthday to me.  A list of 31 things I'm thankful for today doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the abundance of my riches.  I hope each of you reading this is blessed even a fraction of what I am.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Each time Jim and I have been blessed with a pregnancy we were neither trying for nor expecting, we've had to say goodbye to that baby (or, 3 years ago, those babies, plural) too soon.

Please, God, let this time be different.

We weren't expecting you.  We weren't planning on you....yet.  But we are already so in love with you, bebe quatro.  How 'bout you stick around for the long haul?

Saturday, September 24, 2011



Is more than saying "sorry."

Anybody recognize what movie that is from? ;)


Forgiveness is a topic that has been heavy on my heart the last few weeks.  Recently, someone hurt me, and my family.  And I've very much struggled with feelings of anger and hurt and resentment and more anger.  And a little more anger.

And then, last week, at our MOPS meeting, we listened to a fellow mom share about the freedom she's found in forgiving the one person who hurt her more than anyone ever had.

And while I'd love to say that her "talk" was revolutionary for me, and that I had an epiphany that just lifted the fog of hurt, but it didn't.  What it did do was allow me to focus on how this situation that I'm currently in must look to my Father.

When Seth is hurt by a friend -- when someone is mean to him, or unkind, or unfriendly -- and he is heartsick and sad, I say to him: "Buddy, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry it happened, and I'm sorry you're hurt. I hate that you are sad.  But we need to love our friends even when they are unkind. We need to forgive them, even if they are not sorry.  I love you, and I'm sorry that you are sad, but I'm here.  I love you.  And it is going to all be okay."

And I mean it, don't I?  I mean all those things that I say to my child to comfort him.  And this past week, I took some comfort in the thought that my Heavenly Father looks down, and sees my tears, and my restless tossings in bed at night, and knows my heartache, and says to me, "Monica, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry it happened, and I'm sorry you're hurt.  I hate that you are sad.  But we need to love....we need to forgive, even without an "I'm sorry."  I love you, but I'm here. I love you, and it's all going to be okay."

I don't know when I'm going to "feel" better.  I don't know when certain songs on the radio, or running into certain people, or seeing the thermostat reach a certain temperature, will stop triggering memories that take me back to that "point of impact."

But in the meantime, my God -- and my sweet husband, for that matter -- is whispering, "I love you.  I'm sorry you're hurt.  I love you.  I'm here.  It's going to be okay."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vacation: Thursday

Sadly enough, Thursday unexpectedly became our last day of vacation. =(  I woke up very sick Thursday morning, and it all went downhill from there.  Downhill as in I spent the morning on the phone with my colorectal surgeon in Tennessee.  Good times, people.  Good times.

However, the rest of our clan had a great day.

Jim and Sara took Seth and birthday-boy Zeke horseback riding while Doug took Micah and Tabitha hiking (Erin, thank you, Jesus, took a long nap for me!).

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After a morning of “natural” fun, it was time for aquatic fun, and everybody headed to the nearby state park and the awesome pools there.

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You’d think the kiddos would have been tired after all of that, but…well, we forgot to order a side of “perfect world environment” when we booked our cabin. ;)  Thankfully, the kiddos were pretty good when they got home, and we were able to get packed up and cleaned up in record time.

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Finally, after dinner, it was time for birthday Jell-O and s’mores.
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Baths to wash off the marshmallow, comfy jammies to ride home in, and goodbye hugs at the car door to send us on our way, and the joint adventure that was the first annual G/B vacation drew to a close.

I’m not sure that we’ll try for the sequel immediately in 2012, but we are looking forward to our next family vacation with our besties.  The boys want to try the beach next time….only time will tell!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation: Wednesday

Oh, Wednesday.  What an education you gave us.

Not that we shouldn’t already have known not to try to mini-golf during naptime when it is 101 degrees.  (Don’t let their smiles deceive you; we were miserable.)

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Fading fast….I think she was on the ground by the second hole.
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Giving up.  Sara and I retreated into the AC’ed indoors with the girls while the boys trudged on.  (We were very grateful that the proprietor refunded Sara, Tabitha, and my fares.)

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Clever planning…there was a dairy barn (as in ice cream, not as in cows) right next to the course, so off we went for milkshakes and sundaes.

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Home again, home again, time to cool off!  Yea for Slip-n-Slides!

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We finally made the kids come indoors to cool off, bribing them with Despicable Me and balloons.

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So proud of Jim – he only got on the computer once all week!  A real vacation!  Who would have thought!

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After-dinner fun.  Sidewalk chalk on the deck, and an epic (if not unfair?) water balloon fight.

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Then some hot tub fun as the sun went down…..finally.
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And the most perfect fire.  Ever.  All set to roast campfire bananas.  Which, according to Doug are “good.”  (He added an adjective before good, but this is a G-rated blog. ;) ha!)

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We were supposed to go to a local ranch for a hayride that night, but they ended up cancelling, and I think our improvised family fun night was just as great.