shocking. I’m actually writing.

“tap tap tap. hello? is this thing on?”

<blows dust off the mic>

<clears throat>

warning: tumble of thoughts with no real connection ahead.

today is a grey, blustery morning. the sort that is made better by a steaming mug of coffee with cream and sugar and a pumpkin muffin. mornings like this inspire me to write…and since there’s really nowhere urgent to go or anything pressing to do besides clean the house, i shall write.

last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I thought of how easy it should be to write down thoughts from the day – just spend five minutes before my evening routine to crank out some words. I miss the way I used to blog/write/process life and I think I would benefit from getting back in the habit of pounding out my thoughts.

Kyle is off at the Desiring God conference today, and we have an extra kiddo around – a sweet little red-headed girl for foster respite. She’s seven, and her flaming curls are how Jack remembers her. “When is that curly, red-haired girl coming again?” he asked me repeatedly. It’s nice to give her mama a break. I know how glad I am for a break from my little people. 🙂

I hoped to take the kids to the apple orchard yesterday or today, but the weather isn’t exactly cooperating. Perhaps we’ll go anyhow, rain be damned. 🙂 We can at least eat caramel apples in the van and pet the goats in the barn, I suppose.

Have I mentioned I LOVE this time of year? September and October are seriously two of my favorite months. May and June might be the others. 🙂 Oh and sliver of December. But truly, what’s not to love about this season, especially here in my home state? The chilly mornings give way to warm, sunny afternoons with fresh breezes. The leaves change from green to shades of riotous red, orange, rust, yellow and auburn. Apples are in season! Pumpkin permeates my baking and cooking and drinking. Kyle and I celebrate our anniversary. Taylor’s birthday rolls around. (Ack! She’ll be two in less than a week – how?!)

Yes, Anne Shirley and I agree on many things, this being one:

Jack started one-morning-a-week preschool earlier this month. He’s loving it. I like his teacher a lot and he seems to be enjoying the class, but the thing that seems to have made the most impression so far is that some kids in his class are Badly Behaved. Each week when I pick him up and ask what he did, he replies with some variation of “I obeyed my teacher.” 🙂 And while I’m very glad that he IS well behaved, I hope he doesn’t gain some superiority complex from the experience.

Like I mentioned, Taylor will be two next week. TWO. I’m having fun planning her little birthday party. Birthday parties are my favorite. 🙂 I hope she’ll enjoy the day. She’s a delight and a joy – spunky and sweet.

and with that, I’m going to scoot and get the kiddos ready for our little apple orchard excursion, damp though it may be. If I’m good, I’ll be back with more soon. 🙂

taylor lately

From my baby girl:

  • hork! = fork
  • airpape! = airplane (always said with much enthusiasm)
  • blankek = blanket
  • no, pease = no way, no thank you, i don’t want it. (unfortunately a favorite phrase at the moment)
  • happy, happy, happy and more happy = please sing to me: “You are My Sunshine” and other songs.
  • shoooo = shoe. This girl loves her shoes. 🙂
  • go, go, go = what I hear from the backseat when I slow down for traffic or stop at a stop sign or traffic light. My girl likes to be on the move!
  • She wants to do whatever Jack does and be wherever Jack is. She really missed him this past weekend when he was fishing with Kyle. It was sweet to see.

trying to ride her brother’s bike

mothers day 2013



My kids and husband made my Mother’s Day so sweet yesterday.

It began with Kyle instructing me to stay in bed while he got up with the kids. I gladly complied and read all kinds of things in the quiet while he, Jack and Taylor made happy surprises. About an hour later, they burst into my room with cries of “Happy Muver’s Day!” and kisses and hugs aplenty.

Kyle had helped them make a card for me, and Kyle also wrote me a sweet note. Jack and Taylor gave me a gift card for Starbucks, and Kyle found a beautiful and unique magazine for me and gave me a subscription. It’s really unique and lovely – I can’t wait to delve into the pages.


For breakfast, the kids and Kyle made puffy dutch pancake and yogurt/berry parfaits, which we all heartily enjoyed. Then it was time to get ready for church – baths and showers and hair combed and clothes on and teeth brushed. And coleslaw made to take to the in-laws later in the day.

Church was so pleasant and good. Wonderful worship and a great sermon. After church, we ate lunch at Culver’s – they were giving mom’s a free sundae, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 🙂 The kids devoured their cheeseburgers and an older couple complimented us on the kids and our “sweet family”. Hooray for manners in public! haha.

We made the trek down to Farmington to spend the rest of the day with Kyle’s family. (My mom and I had celebrated together on Friday because she and my dad were gone for the weekend.) It’s so fun when his whole family is able to be together and it had been MONTHS since we all were able to be there, so it was extra special.

The dinner of kebabs on the grill was a big hit and Jack loved playing golf outside with his dad, Grandpa Rick and Uncle Daniel (who, for some reason, was called simply Uncle by Jack all day, haha). Taylor couldn’t get enough of the swing and trampoline – we all are so glad to be outside whenever the weather is nice, which is far more often now, thank goodness.

As we drove home, I thought about the day, my sweet kids who have made me a mom, the wonderful mothers who have gone before and shaped my mothering, the amazing women who are on this journey of motherhood with me now, the women I know that long to be mothers, and the kind of mom I want to be for my kids in the future. Lots of thoughts. Lots of joy. Lots of grace needed.

A very happy mother’s day indeed.

out of the mouth of jack 4.0

You know your kid is a Minnesotan when you’re outside on one of the first 40 degree days of the season and he exclaims, “Mom! It’s so warm, it’s like the desert!” (In his defense – there was no wind, LOL.)

“Oh no! this is TERRIBLE!” (I think he got that from Daniel Tiger, but I’m not sure…and I can’t remember what it was in reference to.)

Jack was putting on his jammies and got his head stuck in the shirt. When he got out, he said “goodness snakes!”

The other day I took him to the library for a special preschool reading time because Curious George (stuffed costumed person version) was there. They read two CR books and then the kids could get their picture taken with George. In the car on the way home Jackson totally made my day by saying, “Mom, it made me really happy to take a picture with Curious George, because I really yike him.”


out of the mouth of jack 3.0

at Christmastime – “Oh look – there’s Santa Claw!”

in December, he surprised me by writing his name without help for the first time. J-A-C-K, Jack! he says. 🙂

“Can you buy me a mean shirt so I can get a present?” = i need an ugly sweater so I can win the Ugly Sweater contest at Grandpa and Grandma’s on Christmas day. 🙂 (It took me quite awhile to decipher this one!)

When Nate and Karla flew home for Christmas, we were all going to eat at Famous Dave’s after picking them up from the airport. Jack and I had a conversation in the car that went something like this:
Jack: Mom, are we going to Farmer Dave’s?
Me: Huh?
Jack: You know – DAVID CROWDER?!!! (with a duh! tone of voice)
Me: wow. I have no idea what you’re talking about!
Jack: We can eat meat and stuff dere (there)…wif Unca Nate and Aunt Karya?
Me: OH!!!! Famous Dave’s?
Jack: yeah. there!
Me: I love it. Farmer Dave, David Crowder and Famous Dave’s. (Farmer Dave is from a kid’s book he likes to read – The Big Red Tractor by Francis Chan.)

Recent new word: wondering.

A few weeks ago, we were attending some adoption training. Jackson asked if we would be “bringing home his choco-yet bruver”. I wish it were that easy!

If Kyle or I leave for any length of time, he tells us “I will miss you!” Like even when I’m going to the grocery store for milk. We have no attachment issues, clearly. 😛 🙂

“Taylor – you crack me up! I yuve you.”

He has to kiss and hug and wish Taylor “nigh-night” when she goes to bed.

Upon waking up one morning, I was greeted by a hug, a smile and “Mama? You are my sunshine.”

Daniel Tiger is helping make some good habits more solid – washing hands after using the bathroom, calming himself down when he starts to get upset and remembering that grown-ups will come back.

Overheard: “Then Daddy will get in his car, and drive real fast to help a boy or a girl if they are in danger or afraid. Then if there is a lion (yi-on) there, Daddy will boom it dead, so they don’t have to be afraid. Daddy helps people.”

On Sunday, Kyle was commissioned as an elder at our church. The way our church does it, an elder is a functional “pastor” – caring for the flock and occasionally preaching/teaching. We were trying to explain this to Jack, and I guess he thought it meant Kyle wouldn’t be a cop anymore because he said: “YAY! Daddy doesn’t have to go to work!” haha – not quite!

I will remember to you = I will remind you. Or…I forgot to remember you = I forgot to remind you.

Favorite things at 3.5 years of age:

  • PBS Kids – Daniel Tiger and Super Why 
  • Painting
  • Cars and trucks
  • “Booming” (shooting) things, complete with spit-laced sound effects
  • Hard-boiled eggs, sans yolks
  • Taking his “buddies” and blanky to bed.
  • Mom.
  • singing praise songs at the top of his lungs – Glory to God, God’s Not Dead and Ho-whoa-whoa (Holy by David Crowder) are some of his favorites
  • Montgomery Gentry’s song “Gone” – also known as the “bang! bang!” song.

I sure love being this boy’s mama.

2012 Year in Review

The Year that Was – 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? fostered kids that aren’t mine. Considered and moved forward with adoption. Filled out more paperwork than I’ve ever had to before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made goals again, not resolutions and accomplished about 50% of them. What I didn’t reach: memorizing Ephesians, training for/doing triathlons (couldn’t figure out how to make time!), throw a cool party for Kyle and I for our 30th birthdays, keep track of birthdays and send real cards like I used to do so well and making time to blog.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! Several friends. 🙂

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit? Some year I hope i can put countries in here and not just states. I went to Nevada in January with Taylor to see our friends Rob and Rosanna and meet their new little man, Maxwell! Kyle and I went to GA (again with Taylor) in September for the Together for Adoption conference and then I went to WA (with Tayl0r) to visit my brother, friends from WBC and Heidi, who had just had her newest little guy, Jack (yep!), two weeks prior. Taylor was quite the traveler this year! And a good travel buddy too.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? another child at home with us.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My birthday – ’cause I turned THIRTY!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? starting the mountain of paperwork necessary for adopting.

9. What was your biggest failure? not sticking with exercise at ALL this year. Seriously did a horrible job of staying in shape. I’m in probably the worst shape ever, not counting being immediately post-partum.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? the usual basic colds/sore throats/stomach flus, and mild sleep deprivation. 

11. What was the best thing you bought? Gosh – I’m not sure! Plane tickets? Shoes?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My parents. They helped us so much this year while they lived with us. So unselfish and kind.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? those who took the lives of innocents. heart-breaking and appalling.

14. Where did most of your money go? housing, food, church/missions and gasoline. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Adoption! Adding to our family through adoption.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? To The Ends of the Earth by Caleb.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? happier. glad to not be two months post-partum this Christmas. 🙂

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? exercising, reading, writing and praying.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? sitting on my butt, whining, frivolity, and judging.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We’ll have our own little gift opening and breakfast as a family, followed by brunch at Kyle’s parent’s home, followed by Christmas dinner at my parent’s home. That is, if we not all still horizontal with the Plague of Christmas 2012. 😦 Everyone but me is down for the count today with coughs, fevers and body aches. :sob:

21. How will you spend New Years? I’m not sure – Kyle is working, so it will probably be me, some champagne and the ball dropping on TV.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Parenthood, Southland and The Office.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? no.

24. What was the best book you read? Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, hands down. Super amazing.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? JJ Heller.

26. What did you want and got? a new grill! a trip to WA to see friends and family. a promotion for my amazing husband. a closer walk with Jesus.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Really liked the Avengers! Lincoln was also fabulous. We didn’t see many movies in the theatre this year..

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? turned the big 3-0! We had a fun party at our house, complete with a delicious spread of appetizers, grilled chicken on my new grill and a cake from Wuollet’s, my favorite.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? spending more time at the feet of my Savior.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? much improved! I loved participating in the Dean St. Society Style Challenges several months in the year. Hilary’s style prompts were just what I needed to get out of my style shell and try some new things.

31. What kept you sane? my husband, my parents, coffee, and support from awesome girlfriends.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I am seriously drawing a blank here. Real people in my real life are far more interesting and inspiring.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? the election didn’t stir me, but it happened.

34. Who did you miss? my best friends that live far away. and my Grandma Alice.

35. Who was the best new person you met? she’s not a new friend, but until this month, I’d never met my dear katy~* in person. She was just as wonderful as I imagined and already can’t wait for the next (much longer, I hope) visit.

36. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2012:
~I operate better on 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but can manage without totally losing my mind on 6, interrupted.
~She Reads Truth is great! Their reading plans made it possible for me to get back into the regular and life-giving habit of Bible reading.
~It’s okay that my kids are my life right now, that I look like a mom, and that there isn’t as much time for “me”.  This too shall pass – the days are long, but the years are short.
~Balancing a marriage, two kids, a household and side jobs is almost more than I can handle, but there is grace. So much grace.
~I feel amazing and am incredibly slim when I don’t eat sugar, most dairy and refined carbs. Remember this, Johanna of 2013!

out of the mouth of jack 2.0

on Saturday we put up our Christmas tree and Jackson put the star on top. We asked him, “what does the star on the Christmas tree represent?” He look a bit puzzled and then said, “Mitt Raw-men-ee?” (Say, WHAT?) I have no idea. I tried to follow his mind track and got nowhere. We corrected this little misunderstanding, of course.

lately in the motherhood

The kids are in a fun stage that usually leaves me laughing during the day and exhausted by the time they go to bed. I’m quite certain I’m biased as can be, but they sure seem like clever, adorable, sweet and sassy little people that I’m so glad belong to us.


  • started saying “peas” while signing “please” in the last 2 weeks.
  • will say “bah-bye” and kind of wave/open/close her hand when people leave.
  • cuddles her baby doll in her little rocking chair and says “bay-bee, bay-bee”.
  • discovered a love for climbing. On the furniture short enough for her, up and down the steps, over toys, etc.  (wonk-wonk. :-/)
  • all of the sudden loves books and has stopped pulling forbidden books off the shelf in favor of her own board books.
  • is very much enamored with the very small ride-on, motorized Jeep toy. She figured out how to push the button to make it go and wants to be on it all the time if we’re playing outside.
  • bawls her eyes out if she sees her daddy leave without her.
  • finally has more hair coming in! And I think, praise be, that Kyle’s genes are coming through for me! Her hair definitely has a reddish cast to it and some curls are appearing. I’ve always wanted curly, red haired kids. And since Kyle had red curls from infancy to his late teens, when it started getting darker (and started disappearing altogether), I figured marrying him was a good bet for that. 🙂


  • “what you got-for?” = What did you forget? Anytime he means to say forgot or forget, he says “got for”. I love it.
  • At a stoplight, we observed a man next to us who had a very long (like ZZ Top long) beard. Jack’s sincere comment? “That’s a vewy nice beard.”
  • After a bath, he was cleaning his ears out with a q-tip and declared, “I’m getting the boogers out.”
  • “Mom, I’m finding for my toy gun.” Finding for = looking for. 🙂 We’re working on that one.
  • He really likes the soccer gold (goal) Uncle Nate and Aunt Kar-yah (Karla) gave him for his birthday this summer.
  • Kyle got a cut on his hand and Jack asked if he was “blooding”.
  • When he sneezes he announces, “OH! I gah-bwess-you’d.” Is that similar to turning Google into a verb? I think so. 🙂
  • “Last night” is his measure of time for anything we did in the past. A few weeks ago we took a harbor cruise of Lake Superior in Duluth. About a week later Jackson said, “Mom! We went on that boat yast night…and we went around the barber. Yet’s do that again!”
  • loves “Blues Clues”, “Dinosaur Train” and “Mr. Rogers” these days.

We’ve reached a stage where Jackson is more aware of things and pays pretty close attention to things that are said/overheard and simple explanations are not enough anymore for this big boy.  The other day on the NPR were talking about the girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head, Malala. I hear his little voice pipe up, “MOM! THEY SHOT A GIRL?!!” I’m thinking: “Great. Now I get to explain the Taliban and their oppression of women to a 3 year old.” Needless to say, we’ve been a little more vigilant about what he hears/sees now.

Or another example – last week we had an appointment with an adoption agency to talk about their programs and interview their director. Enter “explain adoption to Jackson”. 🙂 He got it pretty well I think. Later that day I was looking at adoption programs for various countries online and Jack saw the pictures of kids and said, “So, which kid we gonna adopt?” I hope we can help him understand this crazy process for his little brain. He seems cool with the idea of having a chocolate colored brother, so that’s a bonus!

And of course, a recent picture. 🙂 That’s all the news that’s fit to print!