Friday, November 5, 2010

My Vocation as a Mom

Don has written a new blog post at Love God Not Stuff. His topic is "Vocation," meaning the work that God gives us to do in our everyday lives. I love how Don reminds us in his post (and reminds me here at home) that to faithfully serve in whatever role God has put us is actually God working through us. God uses us in our roles (moms, dads, teachers, doctors, siblings, etc.) to serve others and show His love to them. When I make dinner for my family, I am faithfully serving God. When I do laundry, grocery shop, clean up, read to the kids, wrestle with and tickle them on the floor, listen to Hannah talk about her day while I help her with her homework, give baths, teach the kiddos about God and His infinite love for them, I am serving God in the role He has defined for my life right now. These things take a LOT of time and energy. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am not doing more outside the home - like volunteering at church or with the PTA. But the concept of vocation reminds me that God does not expect me to neglect my family so that I can serve elsewhere. My primary earthly responsibility is to them. They deserve my best - because I am doing God's work by serving them!

So read Don's post and let him know what you think. Have you ever heard of vocation in this way before? How does it affect how you go about your daily life? Vocation looks different in each person's life. How does it look in yours?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Love God, Not Stuff

Love God, Not Stuff

That's the name of Don's new blog. His first post goes back to the job he had when we got married. That's the job he got fired from right before we had Hannah. Many of you know our story, but not many have heard it directly from Don himself. Check it out to read it in his own words. 

Here's his plan from here on in:

At least twice a month, I plan to post things here which I pray will encourage Christians like you and me to Love God, Not Stuff. Generally speaking, the posts will take the form of looking at a thought or an idea or a thing in our American culture and examining it from a Christian perspective. We’ll meet the culture where it’s at, as Jesus did, but we won’t leave it there. We might look at a TV show. Or a song. Maybe even a sermon. A piece of financial advice. A New York Times bestselling book. A news story. Or a website. An advertisement. Stuff.

Check it out. You're sure to learn something new, or at the very least - he'll get you thinking.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

July and August

Here's a new photo album with pictures from July and August so far. I included the captions so you can see what we've been up to. Enjoy!

July & August, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day of First Grade

We are here in Turlock, settling in as best we can. We were out of town off and on during July when we were also trying to unpack and get the house settled. Then Don started work at Good Shepherd on July 26. We got used to that routine and now are starting another. Today is Hannah's first day of first grade. She is soooo incredibly excited. She's such a social girl and it's been hard on her not having friends to play with on a regular basis. (We were spoiled in seminary!) The smile on her face was so big when we dropped her off that another parent even commented on it. I can't wait to pick her up at 3:15 and hear all about her day.

After dropping her off, Bethie, Noah and I walked to the park to play. Noah had a blast walking and crawling all over the play structure and then flinging himself head first down the slides. I have to be pretty diligent while he's playing, but it's fun to follow him around on all the toys to see what he'll do next. We should be at the grocery store right now, but as I was eating a quick breakfast and getting things ready, Mr. Noah fell asleep on the living room floor. (He's transitioning from two naps a day to one and some days he just can't make it until after lunch to crash.) So I'll let him sleep for a bit longer before waking him for the grocery store. I want to just let him sleep but we have absolutely no milk and very little fruit in the house. Poor guy - he's not going to want to wake up just to sit in the car and a grocery cart!

More updates soon with pictures from Hannah's first day of school!

P.S. The blog needs a new name! Any ideas??????

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Pictures!

Here is a new web album with pictures from Noah's first birthday, our last days in St. Louis, our trip out west, and just a few here in Turlock. Enjoy!

June, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

We're Here!

We now live in Turlock, CA!!! (Any ideas on a new name for the blog????)

We've been in our rental house for a week now and it's starting to feel like our home. Our TV and internet got set up today, so it's exciting to be able to see what everyone's up to on Facebook and to finally do a new blog post. In lieu of a long post, here are a few pictures:

 Here are the kids in the garage on move-in day, followed by one at the Downtown Turlock Independence Day Parade, followed by a series of Noah helping his Daddy install some new door stops.

I know there's tons more to tell about our move, the new house, and our transition, but it's a little overwhelming. I'll try to get things posted little by little and share pictures soon. God's blessings and thank you for all your prayers!

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Pictures and Family Life

I just got done uploading 300+ pictures from my camera to the computer. I then uploaded many (not all!) of them to Picasa so you can see. Here are the links:
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
I've posted the March album before, but I added a few pictures at the end, in case anyone's interested. :-)

We are busy busy busy! Don finished school on May 20 and since then has finished a couple small assignments he's supposed to complete for vicarage. He has had a few meetings with professors about topics of mutual interest and sat in on a brainstorming panel for Lutheran Hour Ministries for some new curriculum they're developing.  We are searching searching searching the interwebs for a house to rent in Turlock. My mom, my nana, and my brother's girlfriend Shay are all up there today looking at a couple for us. We just keep praying that God will lead us to the right house in the right neighborhood in the right school district for Hannah. We look forward to meeting those God will put us in contact with, through our congregation, our neighborhood and Hannah's school. We have reserved our moving truck and are planning to load it up on Monday, June 21. We'll leave St. Louis and head to Mt. Rushmore, through Colorado, down to Las Vegas (visiting the Lied Discovery Children's Museum), and into Bakersfield. We'll spend a night or two there with my mom and then meet the truck to unload in Turlock on June 30(ish). There is a lot to pack and a lot of details to plan between now and then, but we're getting excited. At the same time, we're dreading saying goodbye to the Seminary and our wonderful friends. You can see from the pictures how much fun we have around here!

We would appreciate prayers for a safe and smooth move (especially for the kiddos) and that God would lead us to the right house and school. You can pray for Don and the people of Good Shepherd for a smooth and joyous transition. As always, let us know how we can pray for you. We are looking forward to seeing our California friends soon!

God's blessings,
Don, Stacye, Hannah, Bethie, & Noah

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Call Day website is up!

Call Day is less than a week away! We are so excited to learn where Don and all his classmates will be placed. Go to this website to learn everything about Call Day, including the ability to watch the service live. Click on "Watch Streaming Video" to test it. Remember that Don's service (the vicarage service) begins at 3:00 Central Time and the Call service (the fourth year guys getting their first real pastoral assignment) begins at 7:00 Central Time. Let us know if you have any questions or problems. It's almost here!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Making Memories That Matter

This is from an email I received from MOPS International. I needed to share it with all of you and I definitely need to remember it as I go through a busy season of life with my family.

Making Memories that Matter
By Katherine Craddock

Spring is finally here! With this fresh new season comes a flood of memories of the spring before. But as hard as I try, I can’t recall the laundry I folded, the dishes I washed, or even the beloved flowers I spent hours planting last spring.

I remember yelling at my kids for interrupting my email writing, my Facebook time and the season finales of a dozen reality shows that have since slipped from my mind. Those deadlines and projects were so important at the time, but now, like those flowers I planted, they’ve faded away, never to return.

Thankfully, though, I do remember some things that seemed boring and non-urgent. Like the dandelion crown I placed on my daughter’s head and the night we cuddled on a blanket in the backyard and stared at the clouds until the stars came out. And bubbles. Popsicles. Galloping around the yard like a pony. Tackling my boys and playing baseball with them. Slow moments, all of them. Non-urgent moments without deadlines.

There is not one material thing, one worldly accomplishment, even one friendship that I now value more than those precious, fleeting moments with my little girl who’s now in Kindergarten and my boys. For this season of your life, I challenge you: make memories that last. Savor the small. Treasure your time with your babies in your heart, and tear yourself away from the unimportant. You will never, ever regret it.

God, help me slow down once a day to make a memory my whole family will cherish.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Praise God for this beautiful Easter day and for the gift of His Son. We are so incredibly blessed beyond anything we deserve. Thank You Jesus, for loving me enough to die on the cross for everything I've ever done wrong.

Besides celebrating Easter today, we celebrated Bethie's 3rd birthday today! I can't believe we've had the blessing of Bethie in our lives for three whole years. She is such a sweet, kooky, crazy kid.

We spent 3 1/2 hours with friends and neighbors having an Easter picnic while the kids ran around playing (and getting sunburns). When we finally got upstairs the phone rang and it was Don's mom. She said, "Can I use your bathroom?" I tried to figure out what she was talking about and finally realized that she had driven up to surprise us and celebrate Bethie's birthday - how fun! So we have had lots to celebrate today and we hope you have too. Take a minute and thank Jesus for His love for you. God's blessings and Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 2010

Here's a new photo album, consisting mostly of pictures from our trip to California last month. We had a wonderful time. We spent tons of time with family and friends. We celebrated my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary with all of the family on my mom's side. The 24 of us had never all been in the same room together and that day will be a cherished memory. We met my brother's girlfriend Shay and she is a doll. She spent lots of time with us and you could tell she really enjoyed spending time with the kids too. We got to see friends from MOPS and WarmLine - two organizations that were a big part of my life the last three years I was in Bakersfield. Don's brother Dave come up from Pasadena and spent a day with us. We went over to the coast so the kids could spend time on the beach and we could eat lunch at Splash Cafe - my favorite clam chowder ever! Of course, we at lunch at Luigi's - another favorite. Good friends from church hosted a group of us for coffee, wine, and dessert one night so we could see many people all at the same time. We got to see the new construction at our home church, St. John's. They're in the process of building a new sanctuary and chapel - very exciting!

We returned to St. Louis, spent a few days getting the house and our little sleepers back in order, then Don began his final quarter. We're two weeks in and he says that he is enjoying this one the most so far - he truly likes all of his classes. It's going to be a busy one - lots of tests, papers, and assignments due, but it's the last one! He'll be done with classes May 20!

Call Day is April 27. We'll finally find out where Don will be placed for vicarage. Keep us and the whole call process in your prayers please. We'll post our news here and on Facebook as soon as we can.

Hannah is nearing the end of kindergarten and doing great - reading at a first grade level and recently wrote her numbers up to 1,000. Bethie turns 3 on Easter Sunday and is mostly day-time potty-trained. Noah is almost 10 months old and crawls everywhere. He recently learned how to briefly balance on his knees and can also return to sitting from a crawling position. He isn't saying any words or signing yet, but hopefully soon.

That's about it for now. Don's at a meeting for concluding students and I have to get kiddos ready for bed, so I better do that. Peace and blessings to all of you. Keep in touch!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting Organized

I'm not a very organized person. My organizational system usually consists of piles of paper all over the place and a basket to shove it all in when it gets to be too much. I have a hard time throwing things away. I keep almost all my magazines - though I do tear out and recycle all the ads so the magazines take up less space! I enjoy cooking and have tons of recipes - torn out of magazines, free cards that come in the mail, printed off the internet, given to me by family members, etc. I have a recipe book with slots to fill with 3x5 or 4x6 cards and I use it a lot. It's special to me so I only put recipes in it that I love and make regularly. But I almost never recopy a recipe onto a card so that it will fit in the book.

All of this means that my cookbook shelf was being overrun with dozens (hundreds?) of torn-out, unorganized recipes of all different genres, sizes, paper types, as well as about a dozen different magazines I had saved. It's been like this the whole time we've lived here. I've wasted a ton of time looking through the stack trying to find a particular recipe, usually without much luck.

One day recently, inspiration struck. I decided to take a plastic file-folder box I wasn't using and create file folders for categories of recipes. I knew I wanted to file them mostly by food type (chicken, beef, pork, veggies, pasta, etc. I even have one for "Cooking Info," which is filled with how-to articles, ingredient substitution lists, and things of that nature). So I made the folders and finally went through that giant stack of recipes. I filed each one in the right folder and came up with this:

I've been so excited because this system is totally working for me! Because I created it, I was able to make categories that make sense to me and fit the way I cook. The folders are large so they hold any recipe, regardless of its size. If I know I want to cook chicken I just pull out the folder and page through it. If I have some broccoli that needs to be cooked I look for a recipe under "Vegetables." And since I'm someone who likes to alter recipes and combine two or three to suit my purposes, this system works great for that too. I can quickly see several similar recipes that might complement one another. I've completely organized that ginormous pile of recipes and have recycled at least a dozen magazines since starting this system. I love it and wanted to share it in case anyone out there might want to try something similar. (I have a goal of going through and recycling most of the other dozens of magazines I have stashed in various places throughout the house before we move this summer. Think I can do it?)

The other thing I'm excited about lately (though it's not quite at the same caliber as the recipes) is I came up with a way for us to keep track of leftovers and things we have in the fridge so hopefully we'll waste less food. I printed up a blank calendar page and posted it on the fridge. Any time I put leftovers in there or half a can of peaches or whatever, I write it on the calendar. And when we've finished something we're supposed to cross it off the calendar. This way I can quickly see what I have, how long it's been in there and what I need to either toss or eat soon. Here are pictures:

Like I said, this one isn't nearly as exciting as the recipes (for me), but it works for us and has already helped us make use of food we would have thrown away.

Thanks for reading and sticking with me as I celebrate this small victory. I wanted to share my excitement and maybe help someone else out along the way. Blessings!

Eventful Day

Hannah was off of school today and we were getting ready for a Valentine's Day party a friend and I hosted for some of the sem kids and their families. Hannah was looking for a balloon I wanted to take with us. She came out of the playroom holding her hand out and with a panicky voice said, "Mom, I got a paper cut." The end of her finger had a little smear of blood on it so I grabbed her hand and walked her into the bathroom. Now to back up, several times in the past she has gotten herself into quite a state when she sees her own blood. Her face loses all color and she starts crying that she's going to throw up. Of course she was doing that today so I sat her down on the potty chair/stool in the bathroom, blotted her finger and got a band-aid on it. She began crying and saying she was going to be sick, she needed the trash can, she didn't feel good, etc. I got the trash can out and she about fell into it. I realized her eyes were closed and she was falling off the stool. I eased her onto the ground, called for Don and began brushing her hair out of her face. She opened her eyes a few seconds later...she wasn't out for long, but she definitely fainted. From a paper cut.

So once she was feeling better, it was time to head out in the snow for the Valentine's party. We had about 34 kids and 14 moms/grandparents/caregivers. It was fun and exhausting. You know how adults always ask about kids, "Where do they get their energy?" They suck it directly from us!

I was watching Noah while we were at the party. He's 8 1/2 months old and he can roll pretty much anywhere he wants to go - the girls did too. He can pivot around in a circle and push himself backwards on his tummy, but he can't propel himself forward. He's been getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth since before Christmas - about two months! Well, at the party I saw him up on his knees and he picked his hands up a couple times, like he was going to crawl but then flopped back down onto his tummy. Later this afternoon he was sitting up and I was feeding him pieces of graham cracker. He saw the rest of the cracker on the plate, lunged for it and began crawling! So far the only things worth crawling for are food and balls, but I bet within a couple days he'll be crawling absolutely everywhere. It's a fun transition (and much earlier than either of the girls) and it'll be interesting to see what else he gets into. I'm sure we'll need to do even more childproofing.

To add to the eventful day, my friend Mendy (who did all the work planning the fun party for the kids) had one too. Her son got his first bloody nose at the party and she set a potholder on top of her stove on fire this afternoon. Never a dull moment around here!

I've uploaded some new pictures. Here's the link to one of the albums:
February 2010

They don't have captions yet - hopefully soon! There are new albums for December, January, and February. You can see that we've been having fun at Hannah's school parties, at the Magic House, visiting Grammies in Tennessee, and playing in the snow. Noah's been having fun playing and learning how to eat (food, paper, chalk, etc.).

Keep Don in prayer this week. He's working on a paper (up over 15 pages now), has another paper due Thursday, and three final exams Thursday and Friday. He's been up late several nights in a row, which doesn't agree with him but there's no end in sight (at least until we arrive in CA). Keep us in prayer for safe travel and we'll see many of you soon!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Say What?

Hannah & Bethie were running back and forth across the living room in their underwear.
B: We're bein' the 'Credibles!
H: Yeah, I'm Bob.
Me: Who's Bethie?
H: She's Alaska.
Me: What?
H: You know, Bob marries Alaska.
Me: You mean, Elasti-girl?

Friday, February 5, 2010

A sample of my life

Bethie, running across the house toward the bathroom: "My flip-flop is wet!"

Me, while laying on the couch trying to muster the energy to start getting three kids ready for bed: "Why is your flip-flop wet?"

Bethie, hollering from the bathroom: "Cause I peed on it." (Long pause) "The other one's not wet."

Monday, January 25, 2010

More of Hannah's writing

I may have mentioned before that Hannah is reading at a first grade level, so we're very proud of her for that. She loves art, people, and being outdoors. In fact, lately she's been saying that she wants to be an explorer and an artist when she grows up. She'll go exploring and then come home and make art out of the things she finds in nature. She loves writing too. I find pages and pages covered with random things she's written: words, sentences, equations, things Bethie said that she copied down, cards she's made for people, copies of our family's weekly Bible memory verse, etc. Here's one of the latest scraps of paper I found:

"o.k. everey bute everey bute setid yes ok the frst theyn that we are gunu do is seyn a son ok the son is ckold baonsey boll on the flor it is a rimeyn son"

Do you need a translation? Here it is (for the record, I figured out all of it except "ckold" on my own): "OK everybody. Everybody seated? Yes, OK. The first thing that we are going to do is sing a song. OK the song is called Bouncy Ball on the Floor. It is a rhyming song."

We don't correct every little spelling error, but I did have a talk with her about the "ng" sound. The next thing she wrote had several correct "ng"s in it. (In fact, another paper had the word "loveng" (loving) so she got it really quickly!) That's our girl!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

California here we come!

We're coming to CA! In just under a month we'll be flying out for a visit (from 2/20-3/2). We're so excited and have begun making plans to see as many of our friends and church family as we can. I set up an online calendar ( so Don, my mom and I can all see what the plans are and add things so we (hopefully) don't double-book. It's going to be a busy busy week and we can't wait to see everyone.

Secondly, on cozi I had a chance to enter to win a year's worth of free groceries. Even if you don't want to enter, simply clicking on this link gets me an extra entry in the contest, so if you don't mind, please click!

Blessings to you and we'll see lots of you next month!