Tuesday, March 26, 2013

it's spring . . .

. . . or NOT!!!!
Ok, seriously, did the calendar not just say "First Day of Spring" recently?  Evidently, Ohio did not get the memo.  THIS is what we awoke to this morning.  The kids had a snow day, for goodness' sake!
Well, whatcha gonna do but put on the snow clothes, look adorable, & head outside!
Note that Kemeri is nowhere to be seen in these pictures.  That's because she is not impressed by snow & "freezin'".
Happy Spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

1 year, 3 years

It's hard to believe that one year ago, Kade & I were in China meeting Kemeri Abigail for the very first time.  It was March 19th in China, but in the U.S., it was still her 2nd birthday, which I loved. :o)

So today, we celebrate.  We celebrate a full year of knowing this spunky, sweet girl.  Not only that, we celebrate that this is her birthday, the first one spent at home.

It's her turn to hear everyone singing "Happy Birthday!" to her.

It's her turn to have cupcakes with sprinkles & spit blow out the candles (with a little help from sisters after a few failed attempts).

It's her turn to open special presents.

It's her turn to be the proud "sharer" of those special presents with her brothers & sisters.

I do believe the gift is all ours today as we get the honor of celebrating Miss Kemeri Abigail.

Happy Birthday, Kemeri Abigail!!!
Your family loves you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

not twenty anymore

I can remember being a little person & thinking I just couldn't wait to be 20.  Twenty seemed, I don't know, perfect somehow.  Magical...glamorous...grown up.  I even remember telling my mom that I wanted to be 20.  I was pretty much obsessed with it.

Reality:  My early twenties were filled with a couple moments of joy, but mostly a lot of heartbreak, disillusionment, broken promises, & turmoil.  I seem to remember even wishing to be a kid again so that Mommy & Daddy could make it better.  It was definitely a tough season.

Yesterday, I turned 44 years old.  Funny...I don't remember ever dreaming about being 44 or looking forward to 44 or even thinking of 44 as a good thing. 


Yeah, buddy...I will take now over then any day!  I guess that's what happens when you give up the steering wheel to the right One.  *I* had all kinds of plans.  They didn't go well.

*HE* has plans, too.  And my life has been blessed.  Magical?  Magical moments.  Glamorous? Umm, no.  Grown up?  I'm a work in progress.  Once I gave up *my* plans, He has shown me the gift of this moment, this day, this week, this month, this year.  There are definitely times I catch myself looking ahead, but then I stop.  He's got this.  So I pray, & I hope, & then I trust.

Yesterday was an awesome day.  The sun was shining (& in Ohio, that is a good thing!).  I got up & did my long run (7.07 miles...thank you very much...I wasn't doing THAT when I was 20!) & then spent the day watching my life.  Sounds weird, right?  Seriously, the kids were all playing (even the big ones got cuckoo over playing cornhole for the first time in months) in the front yard.  Joe was hanging out with them & then fired up the grill for dinner.  It was simple.  It was awesome.  I'm 44 years old, married to my best friend, I have 9 beautiful children, life is loud & busy & even messy sometimes....

I'm living the dream I never could have dreamt.  Thank you God for not allowing my life to stay where I had it but for using those years to mold me, teach me, & grow me for what You had in store as well as help me to learn to depend on You when the challenges come, knowing that You work for good in all things.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

proud & thankful

Kam's basketball team came up short in the district final game yesterday, but we are so proud that these girls ended this season (& Kam's high school basketball career) with a District Runner-Up trophy.  Guess what?  It's been 34 years since a team from this program made it this far.  Hard to believe that when Kam entered as a freshman, they went 1 and 40-something during their first two seasons.  Over the last couple of days, this scripture has come to mind:
 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4
As a parent, my hope has always been that whatever my children are involved in, that those experiences would serve to help develop their character outside of the experiences they have at home.  I am thankful for these last 4 years, even the ones that were beyond tough.  She & her coaches stuck it out, & I truly believe she is a better person for it.  Not only that, it has been fun to see her develop as a basketball player & leader.
Here is a picture of Kam & one of her best friends, Kenzie (they were the co-captains this year) being presented with the District Runner-Up trophy by our athletic director.  Kameryn said that he even got choked up as he praised them for how far they had come & the mark they have made on the program.
Lots of red, puffy eyes in this picture, but it's still a proud moment to be remembered.
This one...it makes my heart swell.  No explanation necessary.
Kameryn Jo, it's been an honor & privilege to get to be your biggest fans.  We are so proud of you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

all good things must come to an end . . .

Kam's basketball team won their district semi-final last night & are headed to the district finals tomorrow afternoon!!!  WOO-HOOOOOOO!!!!
So proud of these girls!  When Kam was a freshman, the program was, umm, lacking?  Not exactly sure how to describe the first two seasons when we won 1 game.  UNO. ONE.  And that one was during Kam's sophomore season.  The team was so young, the numbers were down (they still are...they are dressing a few freshman for tourney), but the girls that have stuck with it have never given up!
Kam is one of three seniors (one of two that have played all 4 years).  They were so fired up for last night's game that they ended up winning by almost 30 points!  It was awesome b/c their goal was to get the freshman off the bench for the end of the game, & they did it (Did I mention that they are awesome girls??)!  One of Kam's highlights that she mentioned during senior night is that she loves that she has so many memories with her teammates on & off the basketball court.
Here's a pic of our Arrows after last night's win (Kam is in the grey sweatshirt with white strings in the front row):
Oh, how I would love to see them keep upsetting the apple cart!  Their post season is turning into a David & Goliath story, or Cinderella, if you prefer. :o)  They are now 1 of 32 teams left standing in Division I.  I would love it if you'd pray a blessing over our girls with me...That tomorrow would bring continued heart, unity, endurance, focus, strength & confidence so that at the end of the day, they can say they played their BEST game!  And hopefully, their best game will keep them playing for another day b/c ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN . . . GO ARROWS!!!
Syd, Kaelee, Kam, & Kade