A List Maker's Life: May 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

To Be Known

When asked if we would find out if the baby was a boy or a girl my answer has always been,

"Either would fit perfectly in our family.  I just want healthy."

More than just a pat answer we truly believed it. 

We did, however, discuss that we would find out baby #4's gender at our 20 week appointment.  With that decision I brainstormed this little plan to have the tech write it down for us and seal it in an envelope.  Perhaps we would have a fun blue and pink party with just our immediate family or a big group of friends for the reveal.

The tech did just that.  Wrote it done and tucked it away for us to celebrate later.

That was then.

After we stumbled out of the office an hour later, after having met with our doctor, we knew that our baby wasn't healthy.  We really didn't know what to say, what to do, how to react, or where to go.  Kevin headed north on US31 and we just drove.  And drove.  Our secret envelope unopened, but not forgotten.

Somewhere before we hit Grand Haven it hit me, "Kevin, I need to know now.  If it's true that we will only have a few months to love this little one I need to know now.  Our baby needs a name."

Kevin, trying to make things right in any way he humanly knows how started to dig out the envelope and pull to the side of the road.

"No, it needs to be special.  I can't find out on the highway.  I guess I'm not ready."

Driving further down the road our dear, confused little people in the backseat were getting antsy and thirsty.  We pulled off at the gas station to buy water and gummy worms to appease.  Again he handed me the envelope.  I considered it briefly, while holding it up to the light, but couldn't stand the thought of our story being "we learned who you were while sitting at the gas station."

As it turned out I suggested that we just pick Gavin up early from school and head home to find out together.  On the way to school we brainstormed how we would explain our news to our very intuitive five year old.  And that's when we decided that we would start with a celebration. 

Moments after pulling Gavin out of class, and sharing big hugs, he was the one to open our secret envelope - right there in the school parking lot.  To shout out in his new found reading voice, "It says 'It's a BOY'."

A baby boy who our family already loves with all of our hearts. 

We are so glad to know him and we would love for you to know him too.  So, at this point I say (and please excuse me) "screw the rules"  this baby boy deserves a name.  A special name.  A name that means something about all that he is and all that he is teaching us.  He needs a name that we can specifically and confidently pray. 

And it looks like we have some work to do.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

No Matter What

It seems every song I hear on the radio in the last few days is speaking to me in a new way.  So many carry messages of encouragement and truth, but this one in particular is to be my new theme song.

I’m running back to your promises one more time, Lord that’s all I can hold on to, I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises you. Before a heartache can ever touch my life, it has to go through Your hands, and even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why,

No matter what, I’m gonna love You, no matter what I’m gonna need You, I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not, I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.

When I’m stuck and there’s nothing else by myself, I’m just sitting in silence, there’s no way I can make it without Your help, I wont even try it. I know You have Your reasons for everything, so I will keep believing, whatever I might be feeling, God you are my hope, and you will be my strength,

Anything I don’t have You can give it to me, but it’s ok if You don’t, I’m not here for those things, the touch of Your love is enough on its own, no matter what I still love You and I’m gonna need You

No matter what I’m gonna love you, no matter what I’m gonna need you, I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not , I’ll trust You, no matter what, no matter what. I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain, but if not, I’ll trust you, no matter what no matter what no matter no matter what

Kerrie Roberts

The album is not available until fall, but the audio is at KerrieRoberts.com  if you'd like to hear it.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Real Power

For Easter Kevin bought me a beautiful card.
                 Real power isn't always where we think it is.
The card went on to say,
                 It is not in armies, sports arenas, or the latest high-tech wonder.

Might I also add, it is not in my ability to control my world, my circumstances, my family, and my emotions.

Today I am starting to recognize real power.
Although we hurt, although we are taking one minute at a time, although we have so much more to find out when we see the specialist next week we are discovering power.

Power in reaching out to others.
Power in asking for prayer.
Power in sharing our stories with each other.
Power in friendship. 
Power in the body of Christ.
Power in our Great Physician.
Power in letting myself fall in my weakness.

                the power of His love

Thank you all so very much for speaking words of truth, support, and love into my life today.  Through your hugs, comments, phone messages, tweets, flowers, and conversation in my living room.  For those of you I haven't been ready or able to respond to yet today, thank you.  I appreciate you all and will continue to rely on each of you in unique ways in the highs and lows of the weeks to come.

With much love,

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beautifully Made

This weekend at Gleek Retreat my sweet friends chose the saying "beautifully made" as a surprise to be painted on my chest.  Although I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I rarely feel beautiful.  Yet, for those 3 hours it was tattooed for all to see I had to live it.  To own it.
That night as I drifted off to sleep and the paint rubbed away with my tossing and turning I thought about how remarkable our bodies are put together.  How miraculous it is that I've been given the vessel to develop and carry a little life. 

That is amazing beauty.

This morning we had the long awaited privilege of seeing our baby on the ultrasound screen.  We oohed and ahhed as pictures of little arms, hands, eyes, and more danced on the screen.  Despite the reluctant knot somewhere deep inside we excitedly made predictions about this baby's gender based on features and obvious similiarities to our other children.

After our 40 minute window to our newest love, the curtain closed for awhile with the promise of a follow up view.  We headed down the hall to see our doctor.

"I don't have good news for you...neural tube...spine...brain...high risk specialist..."options." 

I listened carefully, only processing half of what I was hearing, as I started to shake.

Today marks a new jouney of faith for us.  Kevin and I long for your prayers as we wait for more explanation, as we search for answers to painful questions, as we learn to own this...

Our baby is very sick, but he is still beautifully made in our eyes and in God's.  
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Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sister Style

I haven't always really embraced the delights of dressing a little girl.  In fact, for her first few years my mom was the one who indulged Anne Hope by picking out sweet, girly outfits.  But, boy has she learned to LOVE a great outfit.  

Anne Hope has quite a sense of style and puts together some fun ensembles.  She always has her eye out for new clothes and accessories too.  We can't even stop at Target without a trip down the shoe aisle. 
{Katie made dress, turned shirt}

Just wait until I introduce her to the shopping pleasure that is these delightful hand sewn outfits which I bought at an in home open house last night.  

Laura designs and sews for Pixie Dust and my friend Candice makes all kinds of amazing hair accessories to match the current season's selection. I can't wait to see these outfitson Anne Hope, but we're waiting for a fun occassion to give them to her. 

{Pixie Dust Designers & Bow-tiful Girls}

Then there's this little guy. 

He doesn't get what all the fuss is about the dresses and bows.  All he needs is a fun hat and a great pair of shoes! 
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Monday, May 17, 2010


After my amazingly relaxing day yesterday, which was capped off by an evening visit to see my mom and Gram, I was totally re-energized to take on the dirt in our home today!

During my past pregnancies I have been extra cautious about the chemicals I use to clean, specifically our floors and the bathroom.  Often Kevin offered to take over the final shine responsibilities to keep me out of the fumes.  Although he is still willing to help, it isn't realistic to have him doing it all for nine months.  Therefore, I was on a search to find healthier natural cleaning products to use.  I've tried a few different things, but was excited when EcoStore offered me two trial products.

EcoStore representatives explain they are all about keeping toxic products away from children and using plant based non-toxic products instead.  EcoStore, which is the extension of a 20 year old New Zealand company, makes plant based, non-toxic Household Cleaning, Baby and Personal Care Products.

Specifically, I used the Cream Cleanser (retail price $7.50) to clean my sinks, tub, and counters.  The cleanser smells of its' Lemon Verbena oil.  It is not gritty like some scrub on cleansers.  The packaged says that it is gentle enough for glass stovetops, although I haven't tried it on ours yet.
I was also glad to find that EcoStore products are available in our local grocer, Meijer, where I also purchased the spray cleaner that was recommended for all purpose use.  I used this citrus scented spray specifically for our floors.

Although, they didn't make it into the bathtub tonight, we also enjoy cleaning our children with the Baby Body Wash.  The mild formula lathers up nicely on little bodies and in the kids hair, yet it doesn't seem to dry out their skin.  It has a fresh scent, however my personal opinion is that it is a better "good morning wake up" scent than a "sleepy time night bath" scent.

As you know, I'm all about making the most of every moment, so I was glad to see that the EcoStore products work for us and my time spent cleaning left us with a clean house....

...until tomorrow morning's cereal spills;)
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Disclosure:  EcoStore provided me with the Baby Body Wash and Cream Cleanser for review.  I have offered my honest opinion on their effectiveness.  I purchased the Spray Cleaner myself because I was interested in giving it a try as well.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Never Mind the Calendar

Happy Mother's Day! 
That's right, I am declaring today as my perfect Mother's Day 2010. 

It is spectacularly sunny here in our corner of West Michigan.  Today is the first in 14 days that Kevin is home with us instead of working at his day job.  However, he seems to be on a roll and has been wonderfully helpful working at home.  After folding 5 loads of laundry  Kevin decided to take the kids grocery shopping.  Never mind they talked him in to adding a 3 gallon pail of chocolate swirl ice cream and cinnamon "gramma" crackers to the list, my only chore was putting things away once they returned home.  The kids enjoyed playing outside and blowing bubbles while we made dinner on the grill and now everyone is quietly napping. 

So far, today has been a completely enjoyable day for this momma.  I hope this finds you enjoying a sunny Sunday as well!
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Friday, May 14, 2010


Anyone who has visited our house more than once will tell you that I like to rearrange rooms, frames, and furniture crazy often.  I love the way a switcheroo can make the same ole' things look new again. This week I realized that it has been almost a year since my blog has seen a rearrangement.  That is far too long for my taste, although I still really like the colors and graphics Tara put together for me.  So, in the next few days instead of a total blog makeover I will be working on a little graphic and column shuffling.  I should have the links and buttons running smoothly by Monday for sure.  Thanks for your patience!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Be In Such a Hurry

“How can a society that exists on instant potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young” ~Paul Sweeney

I am the first to admit that I prefer a boxed brownie mix to making them from scratch and Walgreens can't upload and print my digital pictures fast enough - even if it is instant.  However, if you ask most people who know me they would describe me as a patient person.

Lately, it has been driving me bonkers to hear the kids shouting, “Mom. Mom. Mom!” They hardly give me a chance to respond between their breaths. Their impatient pleas often drown out my response leaving them to say, “What? What did you say? Mom!” And the mom-ing starts again.

Patient much? These interchanges leave me feeling otherwise. If I am modeling patience wouldn’t these little people learn to exercise some of their own? This left me wondering how to teach the kids patience. How might I need to make some adjustments in the example I am setting?

After a few day of quiet reflection, it hit me as we were rushing out to school today.
“Gavin did you put away your cereal bowl?”
“Why aren’t your pants on yet?”
“It’s time to go and you still don’t know where your shoes are.”
“We are going to be late. Head to the car now. I’ll zip your coat when we get there.”

Yikes! Although I may be overly patient with messes, the lack of a plan, difficult people, and silly behaviors, when it comes to keeping our daily routines I must sound pretty impatient to the six little ears who are listening.  In my efforts to make the most of every moment, I might be trying to squeeze too much into the time we have.

We will always have schedules to adhere too, unfortunately that will not change. But, the way I direct, encourage, and teach the kids to keep their pace when its necessary needs to change.  I need to be more patient.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~Ralph Waldo Emersonpost signature

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lessons from the Littlest

These sweet little people have already taught me so many things. 
{Gavin 2004}
"Momma, TRUST more.  Learn to let others in and let God worry about being in control."

{Anne Hope 2006}
"Mommy, UNDERSTAND.  Be more sensitive.  Not everyone stuffs their feelings inside and it's okay."

{Gibson 2008}
"Mom, LAUGH more.  Life is fun.  Enjoy!"

{Baby 2010}
"Mama, APPRECIATE the small miracles.  Slow down to watch, feel, hope and dream." 

My dear babies, each in their own way, have taught me what it means to be a mother.  With certainty I anticipate many more lessons in the years to come.

Happy Mother's Day,
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Train Up a Child

...in the way to lay bark mulch,
and when he is old
he too will have a fantastaic landscape!
Big excitement this week when the delivery truck dropped off an excessive amount of mulch for our little yard (8 yards??)!  The kids always enjoy helping Kevin with this annual spring project.  This year they got really creative with their delivery methods, instead of pushing their wheel barrows they harnessed themselves to snow sleds.
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

That's What Spring Is Made Of

lilac blossoms
lily of the valley stems
new bark mulch 
and fresh cut grass
the perfect spring combination.

I'm keeping my windows wide open tonight just to enjoy the smell!
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Name Game

Thankfully, some of you have offered to help us with the research phase of our quest for the perfect baby name.  I figured I must share some of our criteria so you don't throw out your favorite names in vain.  I do tend to overthink things, yet believe that choosing our baby's name is a very important responsibility.  While I'd like to stick with my little plan here I am also willing to look beyond this list if there is a name out there that just feels right!

For now, here's what we are thinking...
~ A two syllable first name
~For a boy name, we prefer it end in the letter N
~We almost exclusively consider girl names that end with N or the long E sound
~We prefer to find a girl name that begins with an A (the short A sound), K (or C with a K sound), L, or E
~I'd love to find another great G (with a hard G sound) name for a little boy, but not a G name that would likely be shortened to Gray. We also like Ks, Ls, Es, and Cs for boys.
~No names that start with J or end with M
~No A names for a boy or G names for a girl
~Our favorite names tend to have Scottish, Irish, or English origins
~Must be either a strong boy name or obvious feminine name, not unisex.
~A name with meaning matters.

So, that's it.  No problem right?  There has to be a perfect name waiting for our baby!
Ready, set, brainstorm.
Oh, and...
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Monday, May 3, 2010


Today I took the two littles with me to get groceries and realized for the first time that our growing family has outgrown one grocery cart.  Perhaps I need to hire a grocery assistant to push the second cart or, more likely, I need to plan on multiple trips each week.  It seems we were filled to the brim with our weekly supply of milk, bread, and cereal before I had a chance to move on to the lunch and dinner ingredient list. I even filled the rack under the cart that I've hardly taken note of before.  I can only imagine the stock we will need as our boys grow.

Anne Hope was thrilled to see that sweet corn was finally in season in the produce aisle and asked all day when she could finally eat the "corn on the knob."

While we were waiting for dinner we tried a new treat recipe inspired by Gavin's writing.  He wrote in his journal at school that his favorite thing to do with mom was make waffles.  Who knew?  So, today we had an impromptu date with the waffle maker.  Instead of breakfast yummies we made chocolate waffle cookies.  They smelled wonderful and brought smiles to three little faces here.

I'm still not completely up for that chocolate-y goodness, but that is okay.  This baby is teaching me a great lesson about reigning in my sweet tooth that I hope I will remember in the months to come.  Speaking of this sweet baby, the kids were thrilled to be invited into the exam room last week to listen to their new baby brother or sister's "heart beep."  My heart swells as the sound comes across the scope too, but this time more than ever as Anne Hope leaned in to Gavin and whispered, "Do you hear that?  That is OUR baby!" 

For the record, Gavin is certain "our baby" will be another brother and Anne Hope is hoping for a sister because she already has one baby boy.   Time will tell;)  In the meantime, Kevin and I desperately need a date night with The Great Baby Name* book.
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*I don't know that there is any such book by that name, but any book will do as we mull over possibilities for the perfect name for our newest addition.  We will happily welcome your suggestions, although we seem to have quite a list of criteria for our preferred name.  In fact, that might just be a list-y post of its own.