Unconditional Love

While the Bible never mentions the word “trinity” the concept is in there and with it we learn about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They each share attributes, but also have different roles. We are taught about God the Father’s love for us in that He loved us so much, that he sent God the Son to be the once and for all sacrifice that was needed to cleanse each of us from our sins. If we trust in Jesus as our savior, we are no longer held liable for our debts (sins) and are now seen as righteous (sinless). The Father loves us. He loves me.



The Bible draws analogies for God the Father and our earthly fathers. In Matthew 7 Jesus reminds us that we as parents (fathers) know how to give bread instead of rocks to our children, and asks how much more would a holy, perfect Father in heaven know how to give good things. And so our relationship with our earthly father becomes an analogy for our relationship with our Heavenly Father. If we feel loved by our earthly father than we should have some type of understanding of the love our Heavenly Father has for us.

That might be easy for those of us with good earthly fathers. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world. A world where kids don’t have fathers or they have abusive/neglectful fathers and so this analogy can be difficult for some people.

However, there are three people who have taught me more about God’s unconditional love for me than my earthly father has (and I’ve got an amazing earthly father). Those three people are my children.

Children love their parents unconditionally. I can really mess up. I sometimes get really angry at my kids and yell at them and say things that may be true, but in an unkind way. I’m being sanctified in this area. However, when I do mess up, I ask my kids for forgiveness and they instantly forgive me, and not only is their forgiveness immediate, our relationship is instantly repaired. They truly have forgiven and forgotten. They don’t keep a record of wrongs. And I’m not alone in this. Even children of abusive and neglectful parents love their parents!

Now, I understand that these children will continue to grow up and at some point in time it becomes harder to forgive quickly and forget easily but for now they do. And right now they are teaching me about my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love.

My children don’t care if I’m slightly overweight, out of style, and wear no makeup, they love me and think I’m beautiful. They are happy when I’m happy and show compassion and comfort me when I’m sad. They love spending time with me and would love for me to give them even more attention than I do. But even when we just don’t get a whole lot of time together, they still love me. And like I said earlier they are so quick to forgive me, even when I have a hard time forgiving myself.

All of those qualities are true of my Heavenly Father. He doesn’t care about my size, my fashion sense, or how much makeup I wear. He loves me and thinks I’m beautiful. He wants me to have an ultimate happiness and has compassion and comforts me when I’m hurting. He loves spending time with me and wants to spend even more time with me. And he’s so quick – so quick – to forgive and to see Christ in me.

So if you’re having a hard time feeling God’s love, think about your young children. Think about how they love you. How their eyes light up when they see you and how they long to spend time with you! Even if you don’t have a tangible “feeling” of God’s love, know that He does.



The Gap

No, I’m not talking about the store nor am I giving tips on how to get a thigh gap… I’m the LAST person you should ask about that! Rather I am speaking of the gap in age between my 22016565916_1263a2f476_o children. I have a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old and an 1-year old. So you see, there’s a big, 6 year gap between daughter #1 and daughter #2. It wasn’t my choice for there to be such a large gap, but as most Christians know… God ways are not our ways.

This is what I’ve learned from that gap:

  1. I enjoy the gap immensely! I always wanted my children close in age. My brothers are 3 1/2 and 8 1/2 years older than me and growing up I always wished that we were closer in age. Naturally, I then desired that for my children. However, God knew I needed a break. When Hannah, my youngest, came to us the older kids were in school. This gave me a lot of one-on-one time with my baby. I was able to enjoy her and the baby stage of life without also struggling with a major life trauma. That first year of babyhood with little Hannah was more than I could have ever asked for.
  2. It gets easier! (At least in a sense.) Don’t get me wrong, there are still some major challenges as the kids get older and some that aren’t as easy to deal with. Discipline and scratched knees at age 3 is pretty straight forward, but when you’re dealing with an older child lying regularly or being treated poorly by others in the neighborhood, your heart breaks and you often find yourself at a loss on how to handle the situation. But, the constant demands of having small children goes away. And those constant demands are HARD!!! My house got to a point where it stayed pretty dang clean (and quiet) and I have to admit…  I liked having a clean house!
  3. You forget how hard those toddlers are! So #2 is nothing new. Every mom of young children has heard, “It gets easier!” I’m not sure how helpful it is to hear that, even if it’s true, because little ones take a lot out of you. Here’s something that most moms don’t realize. They forget just how hard it was! Last year, having a baby, was easy peasy (she was an easy baby.) But man! Having a one-year-old is non-stop work! She is all over the house and can navigate the stairs well! She gets into everything: I’m folding laundry while she’s taking clothes out of drawers. I’m sweeping the floor while she’s taking all the books off the shelf. I’m cleaning the toilet while she’s unrolling a roll of toilet paper down the hall. I get tired just thinking about it! Would I trade my toddler for a clean house? NOT EVER! But, see, I just thought I had finally gotten a hold on this whole mother thing. Ha! In reality, my older kids were just at school for large portion of the day!
  4. I no longer regret the passage of time. I know how fast time flies, from experience, so I am more willing to stop what I’m doing and read a book, stack blocks, or give raspberries now than I was with my older two. At the same time, I also know just how many awesome childhood experiences are coming up. While I miss my snuggly baby times, I LOVE my babbling toddler times, but also look forward to the conversations I will have when she’s 7. This also helps me to slow down and better engage with my older kids. I enjoy who they are at 7 and 9, they have really neat individual personalities.
    See how cute they were?!

    And when I see their baby/toddler pictures, I smile and love that little person. But I’m glad that John is no longer 1, I’m glad he’s reading novels, writing Star Wars songs, loving science and asking questions about the Bible. I love that Lydia is a social butterfly, who loves crafts, friends, and playing outside. This is good and it is right.

Sometimes I call Hannah my “dangly baby” because the first two are so close together and then there’s the 6 year gap. And while I didn’t plan to have a “dangly baby” I’m glad I do, and I highly recommend it! 😉 I can’t imagine life any other way. I’m so glad that God blessed me with Hannah and if having Hannah means having a 6 year gap, I’d do it over again in a heartbeat!

Quotes from our Ohio Adoption Trip

If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall of one of our family vacations then you will definitely enjoy reading all of the quotes below!

“Are we there yet?” -Lydia
“Are we getting closer?” -Lydia
“I don’t want to sit in the van any more.” -Lydia
All of the above quotes were said within the first 3 hours of a 25 hour drive!

Lydia: “I’ll do the bottle but not the diapers!
John: “I’ll do the diapers!”
Lydia: “John, they’re disgusting!!!”
UPDATE: Lydia has made bottles AND changed diapers, while John has made bottles but has no interest in changing diapers!

“It smells like someone pooped their pants!” -Lydia

John: “Does anyone know what a storm chaser is?”
Me: “Someone who chases storms.”
John: “Nope!”

Aaron: “No fun allowed!” (being funny)
Lydia cries.

“Why aren’t we flying?” -Lydia, 50 minutes into day 2

“Mama, are we almost somewhere yet?” -Lydia

“Mom is it almost night time?” -Lydia
I believe this is in response to my earlier comment: “We will be driving ALL. DAY. LONG.

John: “Dad, how sure are they that it’s a girl?”
Aaron: “About 98% sure”
John: “So you’re saying there’s a chance [that it’s a boy].”

“Why are there so many trees?” -Lydia, in barren WY, we counted 5 trees.

Aaron: “Look at that pretty grass out there!”
Lydia: “Where?! Where?!”
Aaron: “On the left.”
Lydia: “Is this my left?I don’t see it.”
Aaron: “It’s the pretty green stuff.”
Lydia: “Daddy, you said giraffe!!!!”
Aaron: “No, I said ‘green grass.'”
Lydia: “You said, ‘gir-affe’!”

“Daddy bonked into the wall.” -Lydia

“The first excuse is good. The second excuse… is good too.” -John

Lydia: “Mommy, did we bring any band aids on this trip?”
Me: “No, I forgot.”
Lydia: “Can we go home and get them?” (We were in Iowa.)

“I miss my home sweet home.” -Lydia (day 3)

“I wish we flied.” -Lydia, 5 minutes into our third day driving.

“You should kiss on the lips until you die.” -Lydia

“It smells like a barn in the car!” -Lydia

John: “If you stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon and fell off the edge would you die?”
Me: “Yes.”
John: “Why? It’s only a mile deep!”
(Discussion about depths and dangerous heights to fall from.)
John: “What about if you had a parachute?”
Aaron: “Then you probably would live.”
Lydia: *Gasp* “You could parachute into lava!”
John: “There no lava, just a river!”

Two hours into the third day John finally asks the long awaited question:
“Are we in Ohio yet?”

“Are we still in the place where mommy was borned?” -Lydia, I was born in Illinois.

“Yes! It’s raining! I’m so glad I brought my umbrella!” -Lydia

“What? It’s manly” -John, after tucking a napkin into his shirt.

John tried to get from the vending machine last night but it got stuck. This morning he tried again and got two Twislers. His response, “It’s a miracle!”

“Can we go to Barnies and Nobles? It’s my favorite book store.” -John

First thing both the kids asked when they saw Hannah, “Where are her eyebrows?!”

John: “When was the baby born?”
Omi: “Oh about 10-15 minutes ago.”
John: “I bet she’s just crawling around everywhere!”

“Your baby is so beautiful. Mine was the ugliest in the world, he was a ‘bless your heart’ baby.” -Becki, the hospital housekeeper.

“Hope [Hannah’s] not nocturnal!” -John

“What does the giraffe do? It doesn’t have a ‘try me’ button.” -John

“She might be wondering, ‘Who’s Hannah Pie?'” -Lydia, speaking of Hannah.

“I guess your mom is always right, sometimes.” -John (speaking of Omi)

Old Ohio friend, Josh: “What state do you live in?”
Lydia: “America.”

“Oh look she’s awake! Just like a human!” -John

Papa: “Did you get enough to eat today?”
John: “Not really, I just had breakfast, lunch and a little bit of dinner.”

“My name is Jude, J-U-D-E, it sounds like a D on the end but it’s an E. That’s messed up.” -Jude, a random kid at Apex talking to Lydia.

John and Lydia leave Omi and Papa’s hotel room where it’s quiet.
Me: “Why are you going to the other room?”
John: “We want peace.”
Me: “From the adults?!”
Lydia: “Yes!”

“The 80’s like when my great-great-great-grandma lived?” -John

“She has a poopy diaper, haha, that’s a good one Omi. Mom isn’t that a good one?!” -John

As we’re leaving Uncle Phil and Aunt Laura’s, Lydia cries, “I’m gonna miss that dog!!!”

“Dag nab it! Dag yes it!” -John

“Hold down your horses, mommy!” -Lydia

Me: “We only have 1560 more miles to go.”
John: “Well, that will cheer us up!”

“My band aid gave me more bug bites!” -Lydia

“I have to go potty very, very, badly. So, can we stop somewhere in this state?” -Lydia

“Ow! Ow! Ow! That sound hurts my feet!” -Lydia, as the van drives over the rumble strip during road construction.

“My knees are sitting here doing nothing!” -Lydia

“There were three hotels in one crunch.” -John

“My brain is hot!” -Lydia

“Seriously?! That fox crossed the road without looking both ways?! He is not smart!” -John

“I think I have car fever!” -Lydia

“It must be hard to be a cow in Kansas.” -Nana

While searching for “amber waves of grain”
Nana: “What’s that?”
Me: “Dead grass!”
Nana: “No, I think it’s amber waves of grain that has been harvested.

*We had three carnivorous flies from Kansas travel with us all the way to Utah.*

Lydia: “Have we really been good?!”
Me: “Yes.”
Lydia: “Thank the Lord!!!”

Me: “These are the plain states. You know like the prairie and the plains.
John: “You mean planes fly all around here?”

“You know, back in the 80’s when most people lived in the prairies, kids stayed in the church with their parents the whole time!” -John

Nana accidently turned off the car DVD so John was trying to help her turn it back on.
“Press ‘power,’ nana. You see the P-O-W-E-R Letters? It’s that one.”

“I wonder how they get Italian food to taste so much like American food.” -John

“Well of course I can’t sleep! Tomorrow I get to see daddy!… and my new home! … and my new bed!… and tomorrow is my brother’s 8 year old brithday!…” -Lydia

“John, now that you are 8 years old, I’m going to stop making fun of you.” -Lydia

Five minutes after getting into Utah:
“Are we home yet? Are we in the right Utah?” -Lydia

“I don’t like the word pacifier because of the word ‘fire.’ I want it to be called paci or binky.” -Lydia

Our trip to Ohio was amazing. We had a lot of fun. It was great to see old friends and introduce our kids to some new ones! It was wonderful to meet Hannah’s birth family. They’re a great family and I wish we lived closer. We’re so happy to be home and start our new normal. We are praising God daily for our little Hannah Pie!

Learning to Ride a Bike

Through our *almost* EIGHT years of parenting we’ve learned some things. Things like:

– It’s important to make gentle transitions when you change baby formula or your baby will projectile vomit onto the man across the aisle on an airplane.

– When buying a portable DVD player for children under the age of 20 you should always, ALWAYS buy them from Walmart with the 1-year warranty. This is because if when it breaks, you call the company they send you a gift card to buy a new DVD player (which of course only costs as much as a new warranty.)

-When something breaks, always get a quote. In other words don’t wait 3 years to fix a bathroom shower because you think it’ll be thousands of dollars only to find out it will be less than $100.

These are just a few things. The most recent learning experience is: when your children are learning to ride a bike, the size of the bike matters. Now, this may sound like common sense… but, well, we learned the hard way.

Two years ago someone gave John a bike. We were so excited because we had been planning on buying one anyway. John riding bikeThe bike was bigger then what we were planning on buying, but that’s ok. It also didn’t come with training wheels, so we started teaching John to ride a bike. One full summer of trying, a school year of forgetting, and another summer of relearning John finally learned to ride his bike. I remember his joyous, triumphant proclamation, “I’m doing it! I’m doing it! I’m really doing it!” Now riding a bike is old news for John. He’s a pro.

Lydia just turned six. For her birthday we bought her a bike. A princess bike complete with a bell and pink, sparkling streamers from the handlebars. This one had training wheels. Man! She loved her bike! She rode it everywhere (and nowhere!) Then one day she asked if we could take off her training wheels. All I could think of was our experience with John and how it took almost 2 summers. She would no longer be able to independently ride her bike. I was bummed. I put it off and told her she’d have to ask daddy. Then last Wednesday, daddy agreed to take off the training wheels. We loaded up our bikes, headed to the park and he was going to give her her first lesson in riding a bike.

Lydia ride bikeI stayed to take a picture of the beginning of the lesson. Aaron started off running and shortly after I took the picture I hear Lydia yelling, “Two hands, daddy! Use TWO hands!” (Daddy was only using one.) I smiled and took off for a lap around the park with John and his friend. This lap is approximately 0.6 miles. On a bike, even with two boys, 0.6 miles does not take that long. When we returned we found Lydia and Aaron. He yells, “Watch this!” So he started running with Lydia. I then hear Lydia scream, “No hands, daddy! PLEASE NO hands!” (Daddy was using one hand) I couldn’t believe it! In less than 10 minutes my daughter was riding a two wheel bike all by herself. And she was CONFIDENT!

This is when we realized… John’s bike was just too big for him when we had originally tried to teach him to ride. Poor kiddo. We’ve learned our lesson and hopefully anyone who reads this can learn from our mistakes!

Lydia Turns Six

Lydia turns six today. My kindergarten beauty. Lydia has been in 1/2 day PM Kindergarten this year and has been amazing! Her teacher, Mrs. Henrie tells me that she is an ideal student! She has learned to read, write cursive, and add. She loves school and we love having the mornings to read books and play games.

Chinese Dolls

When we moved into our townhouse this past August she quickly became friends with the neighborhood girls her age and befriended the ones who moved in after us. Outside of our front window is the playground and so she spends hours upon hours outside playing with her neighborhood friends, Allie (who has moved away), McKenzie, Olivia, and Isabella. Olivia and Lydia both have school in the afternoon, so most mornings one of them is knocking on the other’s door before 9:00 in the morning.

Lydia also started ballet this year and is a beautiful little dancer. Where is usually carefree and silly during ballet she is composed and poised. She loves performing in her recitals, mostly because she gets to wear makeup. In fact after her winter recital she has begged me on multiple occasions to wear mascara (and when I do put it on her, her already big eyes look like they belong on a Disney princess!)

Lydia loves Frozen, fairies, Adventures in Odyssey, unicorns (pronounced lunacorn), pink and purple. She loves to play outside, ride her new bike, and go swimming. She loves people. She always wants to be around others and hates being alone. She still loves animals and when people in the neighborhood come by the park while walking their dogs, she always asks to pet them.

She is my sweet little girl. I love her hugs, snuggles, and kisses, her toothless grin and silly laughter. I am so blessed to be her mom.

Oh! And one last thing I almost forgot. She has her own saying, “Ok Salt Lake!”


Two Birthday Gift Stories: 

1. Olivia knocks on the door one morning. Lydia opens the door and Olivia says, “It’s only FOUR days until your birthday. But we’re not getting you a bike, but we’re going to get you an slushie maker.” I’m sitting on the couch, laughing and yet half-horrified that Lydia would have asked Olivia’s mom for a bike. Later that day, I was talking to Olivia’s mom I told her the story and she said, “Well, Isabella’s mom came over and asked ‘Are you giving Lydia a bike for her birthday? What am I supposed to get her then, you’re setting the bar kind of high!'” and then added, “Oh, she only told Lydia we were getting an slushie maker because that’s what she wants.” Well, a few days later, Olivia’s mom is out of town for work and dad’s in charge of buying the birthday present. So when Lydia opened a Slurpee maker, all I could do was laugh!


2. My mom bought an Elsa (Frozen) dress up for Lydia from Target. However, there’s a hoop in the skirt and so my mom couldn’t fit it in the box with the other presents. So, she took it back to Target and sent a gift card so that we could buy it here. The next day, Lydia and I left the house early and went to Target, they didn’t have an Elsa dress up. I told Lydia that it’d be ok because I could just order it from Target.com. So, we got home and I immediately got online. Well, the Elsa dress up is not available on Target.com and not a single Target in all of Utah has it in stock. So I look up Amazon.com and they have one and I put it in my cart when I notice it’s back ordered so it will not arrive until June. Before I buy it I call Lydia downstairs and explain that it will take a while to get the dress-up, she’s disappointed but she understands. I click the “Buy now” button and am told that the item is no longer available, yes, in a matter of 5-10 minutes all of the back-ordered dress ups were bought. I get back onto Target.com and find that there is an Elsa dress up at a Target relatively close to my mom. I immediately texted and asked her to buy the dress and I’d explain later. Thankfully she did and now we just have to figure out how to send it without messing up the hoop in the skirt too much!


The following is a conversation I had over the weekend with 5-year-old Lydia.

Lydia: Mommy I have two boyfriends, but Kenzie has three.

Me: Two boyfriends? What are their names?

Lydia: Axton (who’s riding his bike outside the window) and Braden. No! Not Braden she says with disgust.

Me: Is Braden from school?

Lydia: Yes.

Me: Well what is the other boy’s name?

Lydia: I forget.

Me: What does it mean to have a boyfriend? Is it just a boy who is a friend?

Lydia: Oh no. It means you chase them and if you catch them they have to stay with you.

Me: Trying to hold back the laughter. But what does it mean to be a boyfriend?

Lydia: In a sighing/dreamy kind of way. Love.

Me: I see.

Lydia: Yeah. But Kenzie has three boyfriends, I only have two, I need another boyfriend.

Me: Well you don’t have to do things the same way that Kenzie does. You could have just one boyfriend.

Lydia: No. I need three.

Here’s the scary thing. As we drove out of our neighborhood today Lydia starts to giggle – like full-fledged, 13-year-old, talking-about-boys, giggle. She rolls down her window and shouts, “Hi Axton!” In a very flirtatious way.

I think we could be in trouble.

John Turns Seven

My little baby boy is now SEVEN. Every year my children keep getting older and I just can’t ever believe how old they are. I no longer have babies and toddlers, but I am an elementary school mom.

John will be starting 2nd grade in the fall and is a typical 7-year-old boy. He LOVES Star Wars and everything that is associated with it. He loves playing Xbox, but mostly Star Wars Legos games! 🙂 He loves to ride his bike and go to the park to play on the playground. Our next door neighbor, Frank, is seven as well and knocks on our door everyday to play with John and Lydia. They run outside, jump on the trampoline and get in the little pool Aaron bought at the beginning of summer.

John is Seven!

John is also learning to swim. He’s become much more confident in the water and is now happy to put his head under the water when he has his goggles on. In fact, sometimes he’ll just go into the small pool and just sit there putting his head in the water over and over again.

This past year, John had Miss Sebra for his first grade teacher and Mrs. Eniss as his instructor. While he had a little bit of a rough year at school he still enjoyed playing with Frank at home and seeing his friend Roman at AWANA. His best friend is still Tyler, whenever Adrienne and I can get the boys together they play so well together.

This year John also played basketball for the winter and spring seasons. He improved A LOT from that very first game, but once Star Wars Legos was introduced he lost some interest. 😦 We’re still encouraging him to practice his basketball and will probably start again for the fall season.

John is also still a happy little boy who is very smart and catches onto things quickly. He asks wonderful questions about the Bible and about God. He’s also started to try and understand what it means to be Mormon or an atheist. He’s a good kid and we LOVE being his mommy and daddy. We enjoy his enthusiasm for life and learning and knowledge.

Oh! And last thing. John also lost about 5 teeth this year. He now has the little boy gap-big-toothed smile that’s very common for his age, but is as cute as ever.