Jackson is Five!



What day is today, Jackson?: My birthday!

How old are you? Five.

Who made you? God did.

Where do you live? in North Branch

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?  Go play at the playground.

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Go to the store.

What is your favorite thing to do with Taylor? Play babies.

Who is your best friend? Reegan.

What is your favorite book? Trusty the Train

What character in a book do you like best? Thomas the Train

What is your favorite Bible Story? David and Goliath

What is your favorite thing to build? Towers

What is your favorite food to eat? Apples

What is your favorite thing to play? Hide and seek

Where do you love to visit? North Carolina

What song do you like to sing the most? Glory to God

If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? Spiderman

What is your favorite animal? Horses

If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? I would buy a toy house for Reegan.

What would you like to be when you grow up? A police officer.

What do you enjoy doing outside? Playing football.

What holiday do you love celebrating? Fourth of July

What is your favorite work to do at school? Painting

What is your favorite restaurant? McDonalds

What is your favorite special treat? Popsicles

What do you love most about being a big brother? Taking care of Taylor and my brother

What do you want to do today on your birthday? Play mini-golf and eat at the Drive-In!

What was your favorite thing about being four? Going to the beach

What are you most excited about in turning five?! Playing with my friends.

two years with taylor


at two years old, Taylor:

  • weighs 28 lbs. (70th percentile)
  • is 2 ft. 11 inches tall (80th percentile)
  • has almost all her teeth – those two year molars are still coming through…sigh.
  • runs and jumps and loves to walk or ride her plasma car.
  • talks up one wall and down the other – her vocabulary and communication skills surprise me every day.
  • is a total fashionista. She frequently tells me exactly what she’d like to wear and loves shoes and tutus. 🙂
  • still loves her Pooh lovey and her “blankek” (blanket).
  • adores her daddy, her “Namas” (Grandmas) and Granpa and Papa.
  • thinks Jack hung the moon, except when he is touching her stuff.
  • enjoys “Boos Coos” (Blues Clues) and Georgie (Curious George) and Dannel Tider (Daniel Tiger) for TVand
  • her favorite songs to sing are “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “You are my Sunshine”.
  • loves Sandra Boynton books, especially “The Belly Button Book” and “Pajama Time”.
  • loves to play “Ring Around the Rosie”
  • points out “trators” and “big trucks” when we’re on the road.
  • we still call her Tay or Tay-Tay for nicknames.

Taylor is my sunshine. 🙂 She makes me smile and at the same time, boggles my mind with her smart little self and so much personality. I feel like I know less about parenting her than I did about Jack, because his personality is more similar to mine and her’s is not. Where he likes to follow the rules, she would like them not to exist. 🙂 But oh I love her. She is a treasure.

I can’t wait to see what her response to her baby brother or sister will be and if she’ll love being a little mommy. She likes babies a LOT, so i think that will be in our favor.

She recently started singing along when we have family worship time – its so precious to hear her little voice singing “Bwess the Yord” and other sweet words of praise to our Jesus.

Jesus, Taylor is your girl. I pray for her to know you and love you. Please help Kyle and I parent her well. May she know your love because of our love for her. May she know your heart is for her. Amen.

Happy 2nd birthday, Tay-tay! We love you.

it’s my birthday

Today I’m 31 years old. somehow it feels a little anti-climactic after last years big 3-0. 🙂  But this year I’ve been given a really sweet gift from my Heavenly Father: a deep joy.

Today my kids are barking like seals, my husband worked last night and usually I don’t love sharing “my” day. (Yeah, selfish, much?)

But also today, my kids are in hilariously happy moods in spite of their colds, my husband has a great job that he loves, the weather is absolutely perfect, we had a fabulous time celebrating both Father’s Day and my birthday yesterday with my parents and brother Nate and sis Karla, and well – I’m alive! SO MUCH to celebrate!

So this deep, abiding joy is blessing me beyond measure. I’m really grateful for the love showed to me by God, my family, and my friends over this past year. I feel like I’ve grown in so many ways, with more adventures of grace ahead, God willing.

It’s been a great 31st year. A decade ago, I imagined a life something like this, but it’s so much better in living color. Thanks, God.


Now I’m going to go eat some more birthday cake. 🙂

one year with taylor charlotte

a year ago today I met my daughter for the first time. Now an entire year has passed – I cannot imagine our lives without her cheerful heart and brilliant smile. Taylor joined our family on her due date, bursting on to the scene at 11:56am. Since she was a whole pound and an ounce lighter than her bruiser of a brother was at birth, I felt like I had a “tiny” newborn. 🙂

she quickly found her place in our hearts and home. Jack became a big brother (and he’s pretty good at it!) and we became parents of two. This year passed with remarkable speed and here we are with a busy, ambulatory, beautiful and curious big girl named Taylor Charlotte. I love her with all of my heart and never would have imagined the extent of the multiplied joy she adds to my life.

she’s the second born. the next one. 🙂 so of course, we compared her first year to her brother’s, since its easy to think that a baby is a baby. But oh no. She is her own person for sure and for certain. An individual, cut from the same DNA, but sewn together by a Master Designer off a pattern all her own. 🙂 I love her. Her smile is electric – she just lights up a room and my heart when I see her grin. Her excitement for life and her tenacious spirit will serve her well as life goes on.  Her obvious passion and enthusiasm will be assets, I hope – she’s a pretty determined little lady. I look forward to getting to know her better and better as she grows – first into a little girl, then a young woman.

this year of being a mother of two has been a challenge for me. Not so much of me to spare between two people that need much from me. 🙂 More tiredness. More moments of thinking I’m not cut out for this. But more grace. Always more grace. And cups of coffee. And naptime, oh blessed naptime. He who has called me (to motherhood) is faithful.

at one year old, Taylor:

  • weighs 22 lbs.
  • is 30 inches long
  • has seven teeth
  • has been walking for over a month
  • doesn’t crawl anymore
  • still likes to wake at night 😦
  • loves her Pooh blankie and her paci
  • adores her daddy and has a BIG smile just for him
  • lights up when she sees me
  • thinks Jack hung the moon, except when he knocks her down
  • can almost navigate the stairs properly – loves to climb, but is a little unsteady going down
  • eats lots of table food, but still loves to nurse
  • is nicknamed Tay or Tay-Tay

Yes, our Taylor girl has brought lots of joy into our lives. So much joy.

Taylor Charlotte, we pray that you would KNOW the love of Christ and be His beloved. Your daddy and I thank God for your life and ask Him to grant you the beauty of salvation, the wonder of His love and the exceeding greatness of His power at work in your life. Keep living life at full tilt, Taylor girl. Don’t let anyone stop you from running hard after God and in the direction of the dreams He gives you. We will love you and support you all the way, sweet girl. Love you forever. Happy First Birthday, Tay-tay!

jackson is three.

three years ago, at 2:52am on July 17, we welcomed Jackson Keith into our lives and our world was forever changed. Meeting him for the first time was amazing. Getting to know him and helping to shape his little life these three years has been a privilege, a challenge, and a gift.

To my son, at three:

Dear Jackson,

Today, three years ago, you burst onto the scene. The nurses told me I was a rock star for the two hours of pushing it took to get you out of your cozy home and into this crazy world. Your dad kissed me so sweetly, in triumph and appreciation, as the doctor weighed you – I knew he thought you were amazing already. These three years have been just plain great. Hard at times, sleep deprived a lot of the time, but full of those incredible moments that take away your breath. The ones that make me want to forever remember them. To tuck them into my heart and keep them always. Thank goodness for cameras and iPods and video footage of your life – because I feel like its passing in a blur and I can only remember what you did yesterday. 🙂

Your tender heart and praise filled mouth make me so very happy. My day is riddled with choruses of “the sun comes up, its a new day gawning, its time to sing Your gongs again…bwess the Yord, oh my soul, ohhhh my sowl…” and “how He YOVES US, OH HOW He YOVES US” and I couldn’t love it more. The incessant question of “why” could very well be stricked from your vocabulary, but I know it comes with the territory of a three year old. I’d rather have your inquisitive self than any number of quiet hours to think uninterrupted thoughts. 🙂

Your delight for life and your grateful heart are really incredible. You aren’t without selfishness of course, but you often thank us for taking you places and doing things with you without being reminded or prompted. Most recently, you thanked me for your birthday party (which I loved throwing for you!) and for getting you lollipops.

You love to play sports. Baseball, golf, soccer…you do it all with gusto and intensity. Intense would be a good adjective for you at this age, little man. You feel, speak, play, interact, and just do life intensely. You love music. It’s super fun to see you get out your pretend guitar and “play” with the music on the “way-dio”. Current favorite songs? Tractor, Tractor by Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame and Dynamite by Taio Cruz. You like books. You will sit for quite a while and look at books, and of course you love being read to. Some of your favorites right now are “Halfway Herbert” by Francis Chan and anything by Richard Scarry.

The biggest change in your life so far happened in October when you became a big brother to Taylor! And what a great one you are too. You love her so much (sometimes a little TOO much, poor girl) and she thinks you hung the moon. Her face lights up like a Christmas tree when you walk in the room. Your cheerful, “Good MOWNING, Tayer!” is the sweetest thing. I hope you’ll always be good friends. Even when you’re 16 and 14, and 28 and 26. And 87 and 85. 🙂

Jack, your dad and I pray that the Lord would be the blazing center of your joy, intensity and passion. That you would TASTE and SEE that He is so, so, so Good. And that His love and grace would shape you into a boy and a man that follows Him no matter what.

I thank God for your life and how it is shaping my own. I thank Him that YOU are my son. Your dad and I love you so much. Happy Birthday, Jack-boy!

Your Mommy

30 of my favorite things::THREE-OH

today I turn the big 3-0. what? how in the world did I get here? I’m pretty sure I was 23 yesterday. Or the day before.

and now I’ve got a husband, a house, a dog, two kids and a mini-van. {typical American. :rollseyes:}

today and yesterday I’ve been thinking of and singing this song over and over in my head – Sara Groves’ “His Always Been Faithful”. This decade of my life has seen me change the most, I reckon. From a 20 year old single girl working at ITC to a married, mother of two who writes on the side. Through it all – the constant has been my Jesus. Always there, always mine, always faithful.

And here I am. 30. With probably at LEAST another 30 years, probably 50, stretching out in front of me like a long train track dissolving into the far distance. Good memories to spur me onward in my journey. The best is yet to come!

On this day, I thought it would be fun to list a few things I love these days. So, in no particular order of importance…a few of my favorite things.

  1. my husband. He remains one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. 
  2. my children. i cannot believe the blessing of my kids. i love them more than I ever thought possible. 
  3. coffee. dark roast. with cream and sugar or vanilla syrup. or a vanilla latte.
  4. sunshine on my shoulders. 
  5. mountains. I need a mountain fix so badly. 
  6. rainy days. with a good book. 
  7. dark chocolate. 
  8. cupcakes.
  9. coffee dates with my girlfriends. 
  10. sleeping babies on my chest.
  11. the smell of a freshly bathed baby. 
  12. long walks with my love, after dark. 
  13. Lake Superior. (and Duluth.)
  14. traveling. 
  15. my dearest friends and the way they keep me grounded. 
  16. getting real mail. 
  17. sunsets over Port Susan Bay of the Puget Sound. 
  18. Psalm 16
  19. sleeping with the windows open on a cool summer night. 
  20. the book “The Bronze Bow” by Elizabeth George Speare.
  21. cinnamon rolls. 
  22. fresh flowers on my kitchen table. 
  23. a long chat with an old friend. 
  24. Starbucks. 
  25. Target. 
  26. pesto on angel hair pasta. 
  27. “Shawshank Redemption” (movie). 
  28. people who are real. 
  29. pretty paper and stationary and printed things. 
  30. pedicures. 

Today was truly a gift of a day, full of little surprises and big ones, kindnesses and many sweet greetings. I love Facebook for the reason I hear from so many corners of my life on my birthday. Though it is nice to get “real cards” in the mail, its so fun to hear from friends far and wide, even if its a sentence on my timeline. 🙂 Thanks for making my life and this birthday a beautiful one. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for this next decade of my wonderful, blessing-kissed life.

two years

I’m not really sure where the time has gone, Jack boy. Just two years ago you made your grand entrance into this crazy world, but it seems like much more time has passed than 730 days. In our first family picture, your sweet face is barely visible above the bundle of blankets you were wrapped in. Your dad and I were so very happy to meet you.

And now, your big blonde haired, blue eyed, two year old self takes up much more space between me and your daddy. The past year has been full of fun, challenges and more than a few laughs as you daily entertain us. In the past several weeks, you have started talking in full on sentences and we crack up constantly at the way you pronounce words and count to ten so very earnestly.

You truly are a delight, Jackson. Sometimes after I put you to bed when the day has been long, I honestly miss your sweet face and hearing you tell me “Ninon’s ball, guck.” (Translation: Nikon’s ball is yuck.) But only for a minute. I’m learning how blissful silence can be after having mini-conversations with a mini-you all day.

Things you like/love at two years old:

  • helping me in the kitchen. You pull up a chair and are honestly a good helper. You are also good at tasting whatever we’re making many times. 🙂
  • basketball! You call it BEE-ball. You also enjoy balls of any sport – soccer, football, golf, baseball. Balls rule in your little world.
  • counting. For a while you counted only up to 7, but in the past week or two you’ve master 8, 9 and 10. You count very intentionally and love to count down and jump off of things around the house.
  • planes! Every time an airplane passes within earshot or in your line of sight, you nearly scream “OH! PAIN!” and point and get very excited. It’s cute.
  • blueberries. You pronounce it “boo-bies”. ahem.
  • family devotions. You have started to sing along with your dad and I when we worship and usually sit quietly while we read the Bible out loud. One of my favorite parts of the day is singing to you before bed and your sweet voice chiming in with “harmony”.
  • playing outside. In your pool, in the yard, on your bike, on your little jeep truck, at the park, on a walk – no matter what, you’d rather be “ousside, mom!” Sometimes you think you could just go out the front door and hang out by yourself. um, no. 🙂
Yes, my happy, spunky little man, you make my world a happier, more exciting place. Your daddy and I love you very much. Happy Birthday, Jackson boy!


a week ago I had a wonderful birthday! We trekked down to the great City of Lakes, Minneapolis, for a fun-filled day with family and friends. And ice cream. And coffee. 🙂 I submit it doesn’t get much better than that!

The fun began with brunch at a cute and vintage neighborhood cafe’ near Lake Nokomis. I felt as if we had stepped back into time to 1962 as we sat at our booth and enjoyed really tasty corned beef hash, etc. I had a particularly fantastic hair day…a nice little birthday present from God. LOL.

From there, we dropped Jack off at his wonderful Grandma Meri’s house and took off to Lake Calhoun for a little paddle boating cruise around the chain of lakes, going all the way to Cedar Lake, back through Lake of the Isle to Lake Calhoun. The only one we didn’t hit up was Lake Harriet. I spent my very early elementary years living near there, so it was fun to revisit my ol’ stomping grounds. Dad used to toss me in his hand-crafted bike trailer and bike around all three lakes and back to our home on Penn Ave. when I was a wee little lassie, sometimes stopping to get me a chocolate chip cookie at Great Harvest bakery.

Rob and Rosanna, who also had my birthday “off” (its so nice when friends have random middle o’ the week days off and can join us for adventures) came along to paddle and chat and enjoy Sebastian Joe’s ice cream and a Great Harvest cookie with us after our lake excursion. We’re trying to do as much as we can with R&R before they (sniff) leave us for adventures in NV and CA later this year. They have been constant friends over the past five years and it is going to be just rotten-hard to see them move. So! We’re living it up this summer while we can. 🙂

Later in the evening, a wonderful collection of friends and family came over to my parent’s house to celebrate with snacks and cupcakes. I was blessed by their presence and many coffee/food related gifts! (What can I say, my friends know me WELL!) Kyle truly made me feel like a princess on my special day. I love that man.

And here I am, one week into my thirtieth year of life. So far, so good! I know there are challenges, blessings, trials and beauty ahead on this journey, and while sometimes I wonder what God has in store…I know He will be faithful as He has been up until today. All I have need of, His hand will provide…He’s always been faithful to me. With that promise, I know this year will be incredible and I look forward to each day He gives me to live!