Category Archives: Marriage & Family

Sammy’s Superheroes Returns!

Did you know October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month? It’s true! There are multiple other groups advocating for awareness this month, too, like breast cancer and dwarfism. We’re focusing primarily on Down syndrome, of course, in celebration of our sweet Samuel. To spread awareness this week, I’m sharing a few photos from our very recent trip to St Paul for the annual Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk put on by the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota. In years past, the walk has also been held in Duluth, but this year it was not, so we happily made the trek down to join thousands of others to celebrate the awesomeness of Down syndrome. It was fun to see friends from the Twin Cities area and participate in such a huge event. There were over 8,000 people!


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Miss Ella’s First Day



On Tuesday this week, our big girl made the journey by bus for her first day as a kindergartener. I was thankful to have Pete by my side as she walked up those bus steps like she had done it a hundred times before. What was I expecting? A hesitant, questioning glance back over her shoulder as she climbed slowly up the steps? Not Ella. The girl who approaches new experiences with more confidence than her mama possesses on any given day. The girl who makes friends at every turn and who proudly introduces every member of the family to anyone who has an ear to listen. She was more than ready for this next big adventure. She marched right up those bus stairs and into the world of formal education.

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Ice Cream, Coloring & Cuddles

In two weeks – yes TWO – Miss Ella will be starting kindergarten. We’re mostly excited about that in our house. I think it’s safe to say that Ella is completely excited while I, like so many parents, am a little more hesitant. It has always felt like we have all the time in the world before this milestone, and now it’s a mere 14 days away. It’s not that we’re jumping into something brand new. Ella started Montesorri school two years ago, just after turning three. That year she went every morning from 8:30-11:30. Last year we extended her stay to include lunch. When she starts kindergarten at the Montessori school, she will be in school from 9-3 every day. Of course the most exciting part is that she will be riding the bus. I’m so glad she gets the opportunity to ride. It may be the only time she can, since it’s hard to know what school will look like on visits back from Kenya after we move.
Before school begins, we wanted to make one more trip to visit Grandma & Grandpa in Wisconsin. The kids were rock stars on the five-hour drive. Big sister told me Sam was scared after we passed a semi so she wanted to hold is hand. I just adore her protective heart.
Once we arrived, there was plenty of time for long chats and cuddles for these two.
And walks around the lake with Grandma. (Thank you, Kristin, for the photo!)
And yummy treats, because such things are inevitable at Grandma’s house.
We love when Auntie Kristin visits, too!
We all go to the park…
And get into all kinds of mischief.
And we definitely get in a healthy amount of coloring.
We had a wonderful visit! Thank you, Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie Kristin for watching the kids so this mama could rest and for always sending us home feeling completely loved.



Living in Community

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I don’t know as a mom. It’s not that I necessarily feel terrible about it. I’m just recognizing the fact that there is a countless list of things I would love to know about being a wife and mom that I just don’t. I feel there are secrets to motherhood that I haven’t been told, and I really, really want to find out what they are.

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Do you ever wish we could live in a big community of families just to give us the opportunity to watch how women with more experience do things? Some cultures do this incredibly well. However, I feel like we so often end up living fairly isolated lives on a daily basis, making it almost impossible to know what the same tasks look like for others in similar situations. Yes, we can have play dates and coffee dates and be a part of moms groups and Bible studies and life groups, but how much do we get to dig into the dirt of real life in those settings? I would love to be a fly on the wall in a few different households of women I admire. I would take notes on how the house is kept in neat but livable fashion, how the mamas interact with the children, how much time they put into creative activities, what they do for family meals, how they make time for their own projects and goals, and how they love on their husbands in the midst of the constant pull of young children. I know there are books and blogs and YouTube videos about all of the above, but it’s not the same when we are living in our ‘for real’ settings.

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The one time in my life that I feel I got to experience such community was when we were living at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya last year. There were at least five families living in immediate proximity to us. We would all open our doors in the mid-morning and let the kids run out into the grass, eventually hopping on bikes and scooters or running around as superheroes. It was during that time, when the parents would sit and chat while the kids played, that I soaked in a lot about how different parents do life. I didn’t get many weeks with the families, but I got a tiny taste of a really amazing way to do life. I would love to have that experience here in the States! I don’t know what I need to do to make that happen, but believe me, I’m asking God about it and discussing it with friends. That’s the tricky part, though. I feel like my friends are awesome (because you are!), but I really want to learn from more experienced women who have already been through this phase of life I’m walking through right now. I want to steep in their experiences and knowledge. Why should we feel like we have to reinvent the wheel when so many parents have already lived similar lives before us?

Friends, I would just love your thoughts on this. Do you have these same feelings? Do you have mentors who have taught you how this can be done? Do you feel like you have this kind of community already? I am truly longing for this kind of life. Are you?


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