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Friday, November 30, 2012

Blessings of 10 years

 Our 10th Christmas Card since being "Mr.& Mrs" has arrived!
*(see Christmas card below in the previous post)
10 years ago, I mailed out our first Christmas card with our wedding photo *tapped" on the inside! HA! And 10 years later we now can create cards on the computers. Boxed cards are now considered a thing of the past. I love receiving Christmas Cards and have always loved seeing the changes within other families as well as ours.
I am amazed at the last 10 years and really grateful for all the blessings that the Lord has given us. 
In the last 10 years we have had;
  •  2 apartments in Upstate N.Y.
  • a big move to the South
  • 1 apartment in GA
  • our first home in GA ( 7 years ago!!!)
  • 4 cars total, (Dodge Neon, Toyota Corolla (just turned 10 years old and still going strong! It was our wedding gift to each other & had 6 miles on it when we got it, now it is way over 100K miles),Toyota Rav 4, which was traded in for our current Family Van.
  • a CPA license earned for Mike
  • 7 Years of teaching for Jenn (@ 2 private Schools)
  • employment the  first 5 years at PWC for Mike
  •  current employment @ GE for Mike
  • a dog for 8 years, Abbey, who we love and miss dearly
  • 2 boys; Parker & Kaden

And the list goes on...
And through it all, we have had many obstacles that at the time seemed unbearable! Yet those obstacles brought growth and got us where we are today by God's strength and grace. We are still growing, still messing up, still learning real love and loving each other in the "un-lovable" moments. Without our personal relationship with the Lord we would not be able to sit and reflect on true joy and all that we have been blessed with. We don't deserve anything. I am so thankful for being able to mess up and still be loved and understood by my Savior and Mike. I do not deserve him or our sweet little gifts, Parker & Kaden. But I am SO grateful the Lord chose for us to be blessed to have them in our "family" and be their parents.
 Hence why I chose "Cherished Blessings" Christmas card from Shutterfly this year. 

We are so excited for a fun year celebrating Christmas with them. 
 I can only think what the next 10 + years will bring? Only the Lord knows and our life is his to use.

Merry Christmas  from our home to yours!

Our 10th Christmas Card! (2012)

Cherished Blessings Religious Christmas Card
Browse Shutterfly's unique Christmas card designs.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Bye Summer! Hello Fall (almost over) Really??

It is far from summer and a much over due post! Oops. :(
As I sat down to look at the calendar of events for the week, I was shocked November 12. Only 1 week till Thanksgiving and 6 weeks till Christmas!
I had some awesome photos that were captured over the summer and never got around to uploading from my phone to the computer, and finally "THE BLOG"! (Sigh)
 Lesson learned!
Last month, our precious 5 year old was taking photos on my phone and somehow managed to hit a button that deleted my whole album of photos from my camera phone! (Just about 2 years worth of photos). :(
Thankfully, about 50% of the photos were uploaded to emails, F.B. or the blog. Still makes me sad that some of the first videos of the boys together were deleted. I could dwell on it forever. But I am thankful it was just photos lost. I was sick about it.:(
All that remains on my phone are downloaded photos over the summer that Mike texted me or I uploaded from other friends.
I do have a few from email that were captured at my sister's house on her chicken farm.
 I took the boys up for the 4th of July to visit my family in MI.
Let's just say it was a nightmare of issues to get there, and I was never so thrilled to arrive.
A rental car that failed, finally got another rental (3 hours later), a required hotel stay, and a ton of hours on the road with the boys! I won't do that again for a LONG time by myself. We are flying next time. They were troopers!!
 I don't regret one bit of the visit! I just wish we had not had so many issues getting there.
 The boys feeding the cows at my sister's farm! :)
We ended our summer with a trip up to NY to visit Mike's family.
 And I have allot of photos that I lost.  I love this one of our lunch date with Ne-Ne.
 The boys love being little "cow-boys" and seeing all their extended cousins and hanging out with Ne-Ne and Cowboy.

Adventure with both families was special  and it was a journey to say the least.  When we got back from NY Parker was about to turn 5 and ALL he wanted was a Chuck E Cheese Party! So we took him and his friends to celebrate. It was fabulous and not what I grew up with at all. The place has improved a ton.

Parker has been loving Kindergarten and  is attending Burnt Hickory's program. We are so grateful for another year of growth for him before he begins FULL day school. He played Fall Tee-Ball and has found his Niche.

 He can play and looks like he is following in his daddy's footsteps.

Kaden is a BIG boy who has not shed 1 tear since entering Mom's Morning Out.

I am grateful for the 8 hours a week of "alone" time to get much done and have a break.
The days are fleeting and we really have cherished the time with our boys.
 I am sad that we have a house of kids and no babies.
However, that being said, made it a little bit easier for Mike and me to escape and celebrate our 10th Anniversary!
It was a nice beginning to the fall for us and after 10 years (officially on June 29), we celebrated at the end of September at a phenomenal resort in Las.Vegas! We must do another trip before 20 years.

When we got home this was in out backyard!!! My dad used his skills and put this wonderful swing-set together for the boys. It was a super early Christmas present from us! Thanks Dad, for all your hard work.

Shortly after that return it was time for my annual Girls get -a-way with no kids.
This year we stayed close by, shopped, ate and slept.
 It was wonderful! Already looking forward to next year~ destination T.B.D! :)
And then it was time for Halloween. Our little Kaden was Parker's spider , since Parker is in a phase of Spiderman. But all have decided that next year Parker will probably still fit into his Spiderman costume and we need to find The Hulk for Kaden. He can turn it on and off with his fits and laughter. We will see ...:) 

Here is to a wonderful season of;pumpkin spice Chai tea, apple-cinnamon candles, crock-pot meals, a grand time with friends at pumpkin patches and preparing for the big Thanksgiving feast!

It was a rough start to the year, but the summer and fall have been a blast! Looking forward to ending our year on fingers crossed (a great end).
I am so thankful the Lord carried us through and we had friends around us to support us and help us out. As the holidays are upon us, I don't want to get stressed out and so overwhelmed. We are staying home this year!!
 It is bittersweet to be away from extended family, but nice to celebrate and be together with our boys. We are looking forward to just being home and enjoy all that we have been blessed with. It is so exciting to see the meaning of this time of year "click" with Parker. He is getting SO excited for Christmas and trying to help him understand the real Joy is not found in the "presents" but in the "Presence of Christ in our heart!"

What is your family tradition for Christmas gifts? Our boys get so much from Aunts & Uncles (11 gifts alone from immediate relatives on each side). So, for Christmas, we have really capped it at 3 gifts.We care more about giving to others.  
 I hate having junk laying around and wasting money on things they really don't need.
I am hoping that this blog will not be our last entry of the year??!
Anxious to hear how you do gifts for your family?
I am sure between now and Christmas I will have a good "Captain Kademan" story to tell.
So until then,
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Half Birthday,Kade"man"

Thursday, 6/28/12, Kaden, turned 2&1/2.
I realized it was his (half birthday)just as Mike &I were about to tuck him into bed.
When I was growing up we always got to celebrate our half birthdays:)
So,it is fun to have a special treat and recognize these little milestones in the boys lives.
I can't believe our baby boy really isn't a baby anymore. I love his big blue eyes. And Mike and I have weekly discussions of the curly hair. It is LONG and I really want to get a big trim. Daddy insists on mommy only doing "little" trims. It is a completely different texture of hair then Parker's and it is beautiful a little bit longer. However, I don't want to confuse others by his curls that he is girl.
Crazy to think,Parker, was a big brother by this age.I am sure Kaden,will make a great big brother SOME day. Not ready yet for number 3. Some days he is like having two kids! LOL
 But, we are holding on to our breath& keeping on our toes with his curiousity!
His latest laugh for all, but mess for "mommy" was getting into a brand new bottle of my hot pink nail polish.
He managed to dump it all over the corian marble,5pieces of tile,and covered his right side of his body!!!

(I just laughed,screamed and laughed some more. Then captured his "busted photo" and then very FAST, I dumped half of a bottle of remover on a washcloth with soap and water. I dreaded putting the remover on his face! But thank the Lord he sat very still and let me get it all off!) I do not want to repeat this episode again. And the polish was UP but he still got it!)
 We are still.trying to get it out of the floor....ugg!

He has filled our lives with SO much joy,and one word that explains him is "adventurous!"
Here are just a few photos that show him at his peak moments.:)

(Kaden playing in foam peanuts in mommy's class room the week of VBS-he made the most of the opportunity)
Giddy-Up, Cowboy Kaden! 
(At White Water waiting to get in).
You can see he is catching up to Parker in height! They are 28 months apart. However, 1 clothes size off and just 5 pounds apart!) 

We can't imagine our lives without him.
Happy half birthday,Kaden.
We all love you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"The gift of time" Our Pre-school Graduate

We blinked and now the preschool days have past! Parker Officially completed 4 year old pre-school, on May 18th! He had a wonderful year and we absolutely LOVED his teacher. Miss Sandy, was a perfect match for Parker and we saw HUGE growth throughout the year.
Hats off to a fabulous year for Parker, his teachers and Burnt Hickory!
So now the question we have been asked by MANY? What is Parker doing next year?
Parker qualifies for Kindergarten by just 10 days. However, this mommy's heart says- WHY rush?! He is a boy! When I was teaching, I had too many boys that had the summer birthdays and could have used another year for maturity. They are only little once, and time can help gain maturity, and I believe leadership.We have decided to WAIT one more year and we are buying Parker "the gift of time" and have entered him into the Half Day Kindergarten Program at  Burnt Hickory.The following year he will be able to do a full day Kindergarten Program wherever the Lord leads us to send him!
Academically,he IS ready for Kindergarten.Parker LOVES to sit and color, he knows all his letters, and numbers, and he will even sit for up to as long as 20 minutes doing drills of flash cards with his NeNe on SKYPE! (Most boys don't have that good of an attention span). He has it all. But I just feel like we need 1 more year.We see a competitive little boy,with lots of "Type A" traits and very determined to learn.
His heart is so passionate about God,  all God is and has done,and he is a charmer and loves to please others. It will be so special for him to have one more year of B.H. and get a great exposure to phonics,with some Biblical integration through out the curriculum! I/we are feeling very confident for buying him the "gift of time" and not rush him through school.
So proud of the Boy he is becoming and can't wait to see what God calls him to do one day! As they sang at his end of the year program "I AM A PROMISE" and Parker you are indeed a Promise and and a Possibiliy that you can be anything God wants you to be!

Congratulations Parker, on another great year.
We love you and are SO proud of you!

Here he is on the first day @B.H.

And here he is on the last!:(
 Proud mommy and can't believe he is almost 5!
Jenn :)

Sunday, May 06, 2012

April Adventures

April was packed w adventures! The highlight of our month was  a visit from NeNe &Cowboy(Papa),around Easter time.
Parker is attached to them the minute he gets to be with them.
Kaden took about 3days to warm up to them(typical 2nd born/mama's boy).(sigh).

The boys started swimming lessons while NeNe & Papa were here. They LOVED them. Kaden did a Mommy& Me class with me. I completely forgot that he needed "ear plugs" for his ears since post tube surgery in Feb. FYI;(He is DOING FABULOUS since his tubes!) It was the best thing we did for him. He is a completely different child, back to sleeping peacefully, takes 2-4 hour naps daily and we have not been to the Pediatrician  since March! I am SO grateful for his healing and comfort that has occurred! (So here is a photo of Kaden with NeNe and his bright neon orange ear plugs.) He is really great about letting me put them in too, and doesn't try to pry them out!
During our visit with NeNe&Papa we celebrated Easter Sunday,dinner @The Old Mill with them & our good friends (like family), The Hoeyes.Dinner buffet was great and we ended the day visiting with some good friends and celebrating their daughter's 2nd birthday!

The week was BUSY for Mike at work. A few late nights of work for Mike (past10pm)!It helped lighten my load just having Mom & Dad R. here! Parker got a new bike over Spring break and enjoyed a few strolls with NeNe.He is still gaining confidence riding it.

Kaden has continued to be a delightful 2year old,filling the daily roll of taking my hair brush or running with my phone or better yet,feeding himself on HIS schedule,his way!(10 AM cheerios all over the kitchen floor) or a fruit popsicle!I think it is time for locks on the fridge and pantry!!!
The "Aglow" book launching party was alot of fun.We had Flat Stanley visiting from OH,so we took him w us!

Parker got to meet some of the other red -headed kids in the book.
We are so excited he got to be a part of this special project and definitely proud of him and the special boy he is becoming!
Aglow Book is now being sold on Barnes & Noble and
 We are of course smitten to one sweet little red-head in the book and we have a copy in our home to share with you all.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I will never forget the moment I heard the nurse say,"I see red hair" as I was in the final stages of delivering our first little boy,Parker.
Honestly,I was just so wanting to see him and in denial that our little boy would have RED HAIR.
However,I wasn't in true denial.
My paternal grandma had red head & my two aunts were also red headed. So,I knew that the red hair was destined to come back in the family. Well, I inherited it. I married my college sweetheart who also has red-heads in his family. So, we were destined to have a red- head!
So,it is an honor to carry the gene and pass it on to our first born son, Parker.
Here we are 4years later and in love w our "red head"/Orange haired little boy.
Two years ago,Parker was invited to do a free photo shoot in an Atlanta with a very gifted photographer,Oana Hogrefe. She was seeking red-headed children to fulfill a book with their unique beauty.
We were so excited to participate.
We didn't even know if he would make it in the book.
Here is a photo from that shoot.
(Parker is 26 months old here)
He has grown up so much since we had the photo shoot.

Fast forward two years~  he made the cut!
The book just got published and is now available.
The book is called "Aglow"
That word "aglow"  is a beautiful definition of the beauty that lies behind each little red-head in this book.
God made them all with a distinct connection,their red hair.But, they are all so unique and different. Some have light red hair and blue eyes.Some have darker red hair and brown eyes.Some of these children,like Parker, have definite "red" hair and green eyes.We are excited to go to the publishing party and meet some other red heads that also took part for the book.
To this day,Parker has LOVED his "orange"hair.
Thankfully, he has not questioned why he is the only one in our family with "orange"hair.
Our prayer is that he continues to love his unique hair color,and understands how much God loves him and has great plans just for him(Phil.1:6).
Here is the website for the book and you can get a sneak at some of the other children in the book, and look for our little red-head!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Living life in the construction zone!

We have had a BUSY 4 weeks.

(Honestly, more like "Can't catch a break kind of 4 weeks!")
And we felt like this ALOT the past month.

We had some renovations done on the downstairs of our home. We had a new ceiling, lighting and flooring installed. The journey getting there was a challenge with two small kids. It is ever so challenging to live mainly on the upstairs of your home, when your children are way too curious about all the construction on the lower level~!STRESS!
I had to be creative with the cooking, amongst all the drywall floating around.
Only so much $ allowed for takeout. I for one love to cook! However, I do not love a messy house and cooking in one. It was alot of added stress to my life and trying to contain our busy two year old and keep him out of the big buckets for drywall, and the raftors=super stress!

(Caught in action "jumping"on the raftors during renovation time).
I don't recommend cleaning the drywall on your countertops nightly. It was a waste of my time to go into the kitchen and clean every night!
Needless to say that part of the construction took just about 11 days and dead smack into the end of the contruction we hit a HUGE curve ball.
As I blogged earlier-we had been waiting for Feb. 3 to come. We had sleepless nights and a miserable two year old. He had not been responding the last 3 antibiotics for ongoing ear infections. So, Feb finally arrived and it was the night before Kaden's surgery.
Day 8 of renovation was the night before Kaden's surgey.
I had to take Parker over to a friends to spend the night. We had to be at the hospital super early for Kaden's surgery.
Therefore, a sleepover was in the plans for Parker.
I got home 1 hour later to find our hot water heater exploding in the garage.YUP!
A flood of water came streaming down our driveway.  I was shocked! I opened up the garage storage room and it sounded like a shower was running in our garage. I just stood there starring and was completely NUMB. I was in complete, utter, shock!  It really felt like an out of body experience. I was not really seeing it. But I snapped back into reality ~and it was REAL!
Mike was still at work (wrapping up a corporate meeting);I call him in a complete panic and demand that he leave immediately.
I was not a sweet "Proverbs 31" wife at the moment.
I think my tone was calm, but I honestly have NO clue what I said?
I was still trying to unwind from all the construction inside, and preparing for Kaden's surgery in the AM. I was really not prepared for the Hot Water Heater explosion. I was actually saying "WHY!?The night before surgery!?" Really God!??? (A lot of laughter because tears had already overflowed the week before.) "We really can not take anything more."
I called our neighbors, the Hoeyes, and they came right down while Mike was in in route.
They figured out how to shut off the water and gas. Mike was home within 20 min and they investigated the outside meter and it appeared to be a leak going on underground as well.
We called the water company and of course, it was our fault! Not theirs. So the water was shut off!
No water before a 4:30 wakeup time....NOT fun! We had to be out the door by 5:30 for Kaden's surgery. I don't really think Mike nor I slept much that night.
All Mike was seeing was $$$$$ in his sleep and all I was seeing ?????!!!and thinking~ "OH NO,one more thing of chaos"
So, first thing in the morning we headed up to the hospital and got Kaden all prepped for his Tubes.
About 7:20AM they came and wheeled him off to surgery in a wagon.
 He LOVED it! (SMART distraction for a 2 year old!) No tears at all.

Once he was wheeled off, guess what we were doing?
We were on the phone calling plumbing companies.
Great distraction while your child is in surgery...just spend the time and call all the plumbing companies and see who can service you ASAP!
I was on the phone with the local plumbing company setting up a 9AM arrival and in walks the surgeon.
(WOW! That was a fast 13 minutes!.)
I quickly hang up and tell them I will call them back and we hear from the surgeon~
"Everything went great! I drained out his right ear! He was a trooper. No tears the whole time and everything was smooth sailing, he should be peacefully sleeping come today!"
He did fabulous and only cried for about 30 min following surgery.
He has been a different kid ever since!
We are so happy we went through with it for him. This construction was so worth it for him.
His little body had been exposed to so many antibiotics and could not snap those ear infections out of his system. The ears are draining and doing well.
Speaking of draining~As for that water damage that was going on the night before his surgery,it got it all fixed by 3PM.
A 6 hour job; a new underground pipe,a new valving system completely replaced and a new hot water heater!

 Emergency funds are a great thing to have when you own a home! :)
We finally were back on the uphill journey as the end of renovation was wrapping up and then Kaden picked up a virus following surgery. :( That kept us housebound.
Kaden finally recovered, was back to sleeping 3-4 hour naps daily and 13 hours of sleep uninterrupted at night.
And then the very next weekend, Parker's asthma flared up and he went into a really bad attack! So, we added the nebulizer back into his life, 3 days of Prednisone and finally got him back to well.

I had days that I felt like I could take anything! And I had my days where I felt like there was nothing left of me to conquer another "disaster" or "issue."
Many mornings-I would pray; "What is going to happen today? God, we are in this together and I am ready!"
Thankfully, both of the boys are on the mend and Mike and I stayed well!
We are coveting all the prayers of protection around us.
I know Satan really wanted to get in the middle of Mike and me.
However, I kept praying "Lord, help us come out shining like gold!" I don't want to look ugly!" I trust in your timing but I really don't like all that has happend in just 2 weeks!
I had my days that I really got down and discouraged and panicked alot about the list adding up financially.
However, God continued to remind us that he has never once let us down and his ways are greater then ours! (And he always provides!)
I kept coming back to Jeremiah 33:3,"Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things that thou knowest not!"
Isn't that the truth! Our home is his and our lives belong to him.
He is in charge yet we have plans! But he can wake you up and change plans in an instant.
The Lord was in the midst of it all! The night our water heater busted, I happened to have been out.(Many nights we are home and boys are in bed by 8PM) Good thing I had to be out, or we may have found out about the end of it's journey in a bad way.
Our water heater was withinin a few hours of a gas fire! (Quoted from the Plumber and Gas specialist who had already seen the copper burning away at the bottom of the water tank).
So, we could have had a gas fire occur. Our water heater was 17 years old. Most water tanks have a 10-13 year life span. EEEK!!! (Sadly,we have been homeowners for 7 years and just learned this.)
So make special note and go check your water heater. If your water heater is older then 13 years get it replaced and save some chaos and $$.
I don't want to go through it all again.
However, I am thankful for the lessons, new renovations and most of all happy to have our home AND Kaden all fixed!

 *Happy moment they were enjoying a cakepop from mommy on Valentines Day!:)
Until our next "piece" of excitement,
Blessings to all,
Jenn :)