Thursday, May 31, 2012


I love to blog. I have been so bad at it lately though!  I want to do better, but can't make any promises until after our big move in a few weeks!  Life is crazy and stressful and hectic and wonderful and also not wonderful.  I have hardly taken pictures lately aside from the families I have photographed for the business.  I like to have pictures with my posts.  I may have to get over that and just make time to type instead!

I would venture to say that things in my life are getting better.  I am noticing the beauty in what we are going through much more than I was a short few weeks ago.  We have a long way to go in this family of ours...lots to work through with our kids.  I get stressed, I have a fear of being judged by friends and family for decisions that I am making so I stress about it.  I feel like I am constantly explaining myself and my reasons for doing things.  I need to just get over it.
We have incredible support from so many friends and family.  We have people who actually want to spend time with our chaos filled family and who love us despite the fact that we don't have it all together at the moment!  That is a beautiful thing to have such wonderful support.  Truly, this season has been difficult.  We knew it would be, but we had no idea that we would feel so loved by so many.  And then I feel like I am the worst friend ever.  I am constantly having my friends call and offer to take a child for an hour or two while I go run errands or who listen to me vent about countless things or who text me to say hello and see how we're doing only to not get a response from me (Leslie, I am talking about must think I am just awful!).  I want to respond instantly to these emails and texts from you all who haven't heard back from me, but I swear I put the phone down to deal with something and then something else comes up and then something else and then before I know it, it's midnight and I can't text back!  It's a vicious cycle.  I haven't mastered being a mommy to 3 yet and sometimes I wonder if I ever will!  I do love it most of the time though.  I really do...moreso in the last couple of weeks as I feel like I've settled into the role a bit more.

I love all of you and appreciate all of you and pray that you know that I do even though I have been terrible at expressing it lately.  Somehow you all are still there for's amazing and humbling.

I still have some pretty crappy days, I am going to be completely honest about that.  However, I am noticing a lot more beauty around me then I was a few weeks ago.  I am stopping and soaking in the good moments, the calm moments, because these days they are often fleeting!  Frequently they are interrupted with a scream or crash or cry or the wiff of a poopy diaper. ;)  No matter what, I love being a mommy to these boys, all 3 of them.  However, it takes a village...and I must say that our village is full of beautiful friends and family who keep us afloat.  Really, if it weren't for you all, we couldn't do this.

As I was unloading all 3 boys from the car today when we got home, I even pulled my camera out and stopped in the chaos of grabbing bags and children to snap the 2 pictures above of our lillies out behind our house.  I can't say I would have done that a few weeks ago...I can't even say I would have noticed their beauty a few weeks ago.  And that my friends is progress!

Our quirky one...

I love Tate's quirkiness.  He is so darn funny to me!
He got this sticker from Von Maur today and in true Tate fashion, he stuck it right on his forehead and left it there until it fell out a couple of hours later.  He didn't even do it as a joke, that's just where he wanted it.  I love that about him.
And I am sorry, but this child is just simply gorgeous in my eyes...

And I was taking his picture and he started doing his fake smile.  I said, "don't do your fake smile, just look normal."  This is what he did...

I want to reach right into this computer screen and kiss his face right this second!


While the 2 little ones napped today, Tate and I had some much needed 1 on 1 time out back blowing bubbles...
He had quite the set up for us when I arrived outside to play.

I love the sticker placement...he is just too much.

He has been struggling a bit lately.  Maybe it's the lack of preschool which kept him pretty scheduled in addition to the realization that these 2 brothers of his aren't going anywhere.  Not sure, but it's been rough lately with this one.  We definitely need to take advantage of the 1 on 1 time when we can get it.
I love him so much.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Swimming Lessons...

I signed Tate and our 3 yr old up for swimming lessons at the YMCA along with Ava and Chloe.  They'll all be in the same class.  God help their teachers!  Seriously.  I am so glad it's a class that the parents aren't included in!  We get to drop them off and work out while they have lessons!  SWEET!  We were hoping that the Zumba class would be at the same time as their such luck.  Oh well, Lora and I will at least get an evening a week to work out in addition to the Zumba we hope to participate in each week. :)

Hopefully we'll have 4 little swimmers between the 2 of us by the completion of summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

keeping busy

***Thanks for all of your help on your favorite diaper rash creams from my previous post!  You guys rock.***

I had a better day yesterday.  Funny though, I prayed the longest, hardest, deepest prayer after posting on my blog that last post.  I prayed for strength and help and GRACE and for everything I could think of!  What happened that night?  Our baby was WIDE AWAKE from 11:30pm-4:30am and Tate was awake from midnight-4am and then our 3 year old promptly awoke when the other 2 finally went to sleep around 5am.  I had slept for about 45 minutes at this point.  To top it all off, Sean was working the night shift so I had to deal with all of that on my own.  Strange answer to prayer.  I survived and then tried to analyze why that was handed to me at what felt like one of my lowest parenting points yet.  To show me I AM strong?  To show me that I don't deserve to have it easy here on this earth?  I will never know in this life.  However, I made it and then had an ok day the next day.  And I will take OK as of late. :)

I am finding that I MUST keep myself busy.  Going places, doing things, whatever keeps me busy.  For some reason, it helps me feel better.  Weird, I know.  I should just want to do nothing for days on end, to have a break.  I guess that's not how things work.  So I plan to have a BUSY summer!  A few vacations are in the works, moving, remodeling a house, having parties, swimming lessons, photo sessions, whatever keeps me busy.  So if you ask me to do something and I have a spare moment, the answer will likely be, "yes".  Sean may be annoyed by all of this, but he's dealing with my brand of crazy right now. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How's this for a Negative Nancy post?

It's been a rough week.  Our 3 year old is testing us to the max.  I am disappointed in myself.  That's all I have to say about that.

I haven't packed a thing in this house.  We are closing in 3 weeks.

My house is a mess and the laundry is out of control.  I can't keep up.

I forgot to send Tate's birthmom her Mother's Day card and pictures and JUST realized today.  I feel awful.

Tate has been struggling.  Not sure exactly why.  Maybe the testing that's been going on from our 3 year old.  Or monkey see monkey do...I don't know.  All I know is that he has not been behaving well at all.  It's frustrating to deal with.  He's angry and acting like a baby these days, crying at the drop of a hat.

I haven't lost any weight in a few weeks and haven't been running regularly like I wanted to be.  I need to go to the Y, do Zumba, SOMETHING.  Maybe that would help my mood.

We are having a party in a couple of weeks (June 2nd) and I didn't get the invites sent out until almost 2 weeks later than I wanted to.  I am fearful that no one will show up.  Or maybe I'm just being negative.

We messed up on our 2009 taxes and got a letter in the mail that we had to pay back just over $300 that we were paid that we shouldn't have been paid.  Awesome.

When looking back on our taxes, we realized that we possibly made that same mess up for our 2010 and 2011 taxes as that's something we have to look forward to.  Double awesome.

Our baby has a nasty diaper bloody and terrible.  He's had it for days and we can't seem to rid him of it.  He screams when we wipe his bum.  It breaks my heart.

And that's what I've got tonight.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Update on the new house...

So we picked out a hot tub we were going to buy for the new house a couple of weeks ago.  It was a used one that the place we were purhasing it from was going to refurbish before selling it.  We told them we wanted it.  We were excited.  We have been advised that our little one would benefit from some water therapy and we knew this would be perfect for us to use for that.  We didn't feel the need for anything fancy and hot tubs are expensive so this would be a perfect fit for our first one!  Inexpensive and basic.  Well, there were some issues with it at the same time that we were having some issues with the fridge we had picked out to purchase.  To make a long story short, we have decided to wait on the hot tub (probably not priority at this time!) until this fall or winter which is when we will use it more anyway and instead spent more than we were planning on the fridge.  However, I am super excited about our fridge! :)  So now, we've purchased our fridge and dishwasher, we have our oven and microwave picked out, we've got our paint colors picked out, our furniture picked out and now we need to pick out our carpet!  We will be looking at that today!  All we need is the house now! :)

Can't wait to see it all come together and to have a much bigger space to call home!  I will definitely be taking lots of before and after pictures.  The big moving day will be June 23rd!  That day can't come soon enough!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tate Graduated!

Here's Tate at preschool roundup. He looks like a BABY to me here!!!
Here are Tate and Ava at roundup.  They both look so little!

And here they are on their 1st of of preschool!  LOVE this picture!

And then yesterday, in the blink of an eye, they became kindergarteners!

The graduation was cute.  They sang, did a little program and played.

They got graduation certificates and a special gift from their teachers...

We LOVED their teachers.
Tate with Mrs. Christiansen...

Tate with Mrs. Hoogheem...

We loved Redeemer Preschool...I personally would highly recommend it.
I think Tate would too!

Congratulations my sweet boy, can't believe you will be in Kindergarten next fall!
Love our little graduate so much!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I know I've said it before, but I am going to say it again...I have the best mom in the world.  I put her through hell while I was a teen...oh my, I wasn't much fun for she and my dad I don't think.  It's amazing how things change.  She is one of my best friends, we talk every day (aside from a rare occassion) even if it's just for a minute.  I tell her (almost) everything! :)  I still learn from her all the time and she always takes the time to teach me, give me motherly advice and be completely honest with me.  Even when I think I am right about something, she will tell me if I am being silly or if I need to look at it from another point of view.  Sometimes I don't always like to hear what advice she gives, but she tells me anyway because she's my mom and that's what moms should do.  I don't know what I'd do without my mom being just a phonecall or short drive away.  We laugh together (a lot), cry together, talk over one another, vent to each other, we shop REALLY WELL together, share jewelry and clothes and tease each other.  I can always count on my mom...always.

I love you, Mom!
Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Because of him...

...I have gotten to celebrate Mother's Day for the last 6 years.
All I ever wanted in my life for sure was to be a mother...and Mother's Day is truly one of my FAVORITE days of the year!
I love my boys and wish I could share their beautiful faces with all of you!
Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there.
What a precious gift from God it is to have the priveledge and honor to raise these children.
Feeling overwhelmed with the blessings God has given me!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Slippin' and a Slidin'...

The boys were in heaven...well, the older 2 at least. :)
Tate has been begging for the Slip n Slide to be removed from storage since about day 3 that it was in storage.  He loves that thing!

We weren't sure about this one as he is beyond deathly afraid of baths and water being poured on his head.  Not the typical fear of a 3 year old who just cries a bit until the water being dumped on their head has dried up...oh no, like screaming bloody murder, clawing me to get out of the tub scared.  It's unreal...never seen anything like it.

However, he LOVED the Slip n Slide.  Weird.  I'll take it though! :)

Such a fun evening outside we had!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

my rambling thoughts tonight... mind is on overdrive tonight.  I am feeling so much that I can't even attach an emotion to it. 

We FINALLY found out today that we are in fact closing on our house on the latest possible day...June 15th.  So frustrating, yet also so exciting to have a date nailed down finally.

Today was a good day in regard to our kids.  They were well behaved and it was a very low stress day.  These days are few and far between.  It's been hard, friends...really hard.  We knew this transition from a family of 3 to a family of 5 (two children of which require extensive care) would be straining.  Living out what we believed it would be like has been much more difficult than we could have known.  We will make it through and I fully believe we will come out on the other end stronger, but please tell me when we will be coming out on the other end!  So we are truly going day by day, hour by hour, sometimes even minute by minute.  I have disappointed myself countless times in the last few months with my short fuse or my over reactions to my children.  There is no excuse...although I am constantly making excuses.  "I am tired", "I am emotionally drained", "there aren't enough hours in the day", "I don't have enough hands", "I just need time to myself", etc. etc.  I need to stop with the excuses.  We can do this...we can.  We will.  We DO want to, FULLY.  It's just hard.  It's hard to not have people who are going through the exact same thing as you that fully understand.  It's hard to feel alone and feel mad at yourself for not doing better. So that's all I have to say about that...

Tate will have his last week of preschool next week.  Why am I so emotional about this?!  I mean, in a week, I will have a kindergartener!!!  That's just too much for me to soak in right now.  Tate's my baby.  Period.

I have been thinking about my friends as of late.  Over my life I have had lots of close friends.  Some of us have parted ways and some of our friendships have grown stronger or just changed into something different than they were in the beginning.  However, this is one area in my life where I feel fully satisfied.  I have a small group of unbelievable friends that I can go to for anything.  Whether they live near or far, whether we talk daily or monthly or even only a few times a year, I have the most unbelievable and supportive friendships.  I feel like I have been faultering at being a good friend as of late.  I can't stand that feeling.  It's so interesting how friendship you can have so many different friends who you can go to and feel comfortable telling anything to, your deepest feelings.  They may all even give the same words of wisdom to you or all be equally supportive, but somehow each friendship is so very different.  Each friendship fills a place in your heart that is meant for that friend to fill and each friendship is equally as important as the next, yet so completely different.  Strange how that works.  I am blessed by these friendships though, blessed that I have so many women I can go to at anytime.  So blessed that I can count on each of them to be there for me and hopefully they know I would always be there for them as well.  So blessed that these friendships are like family, that with several of them, our husbands and children love spending time together as well, that we can hang out all night long, vacation together, share babysitters or all go out to dinner together.  I love that too. :)

And then there's the blessing of our super supportive families.  We have made some major life changes lately (as you know!) and though many of our family members think we are a bit nuts (which I think we are too!), they have been so helpful and supportive and wonderful.  I could write a book about how blessed we are with our families, so I won't even bore you with all of that.

I guess with all of the difficulties we're having and stress we are feeling at this season of our lives, I am just in awe of how wonderful these friends and family have been.  All of YOU have kept us afloat by either listening to me vent, helping me focus on other things, making me laugh, helping watch our children, offering up meals and prayers and clothing and toys your children don't use anymore and so much more.  You all do this for us and I am feeling like I have been unable to repay you or am caught up so much in the chaos of my life that I have not done a sufficient job of showing our appreciation.  So thank you.  Although saying "thank you" seems so insignificant in comparison to how important you all have been to us.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

6 weeks ago...

...Sophia Grace DeCook was born. What does that mean for me?!?! 6 week photos!

And here she is!

To see some more, check out DeCook's Blog HERE.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

We joined the Y today... say that Tate is excited would be the understatement of the century.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

A trip to the fountain...

One of our favorite after dinner spots to visit in the summertime is the fountain at Vander Veer Park. Fortunately, we live only a few short blocks away, so it's an easy jaunt to go over there. It's a really cool fountain that lights up in rainbow colors at night. People come out of the woodwork to go hang out by the fountain on summer evenings and nights. We took the kids there tonight and it was the little ones' 1st trip there! They both thought it was amazing and loved being there. Our time was unfortunately cut short when Sean got called into work. :( Boo. He was scheduled, but they called him before his shift to put him on call because there wasn't enough patients in his unit for them to need him. I was hoping he wouldn't get called in. Oh well! It was fun while it lasted...and really, we were there for probably about 20 minutes. Here are a few pictures...

The baby just stared at the fountain the entire time.  He was completely relaxed.  He must have enjoyed the sound.  So sweet...

We look forward to many more trips there this summer!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Chloe's 3rd birthday party...

Chloe Anne had her 3rd birthday party yesterday! A great time was had by all. I can't believe it's been 3 years since she was born! Crazy! Here are some of my favorite pics from the day...

And I love these of 6 week old Sophia!

To see more pics from the party, go to The DeCooks' blog HERE.