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!


One way that you can tell you’re aging is how you view weekends.

Once a child goes to school they realize that weekends hold significance. Growing up it meant sleeping in, Saturday morning cartoons, swimming, playing and just the joy of NOT going to school.

Around the time you enter middle school it becomes a time for hopefully hanging out with friends and if you’re lucky, a sleepover!

When you hit high school you hope and pray that you have a date on Friday or Saturday night and if you don’t have a date you at least hope and pray that you won’t be the loser sitting at home. You’d at least like to be hanging out with friends, or people slightly cooler, or attending a party.

You go away to college and well, I wasn’t a big partier, so for me it wasn’t about the parties. However, I still needed a break from studying and time to have fun with friends and once again hope and pray for a date. Eventually the dates come or the boyfriend comes along and you hang out with him. One on one or in a group, it’s a time to hang out together.

Then you get married and you start working. Weekends become nothing more than time for rest and relaxation. Going out to eat on a Friday night?! Are you crazy?! Restaurants are too crowded and noisy. I’d rather be in my pj’s then deal with those annoying teenagers on dates or hanging out in groups!

Then kids come along, and you become a stay-at-home mom. Your days have no beginnings and no ends. The only significance that comes with weekends is that your husband is home all day, but you’re in such a haze of lack of sleep and keeping your toddler out of, well, EVERYTHING that you don’t even notice when the weekend begins and when it ends.

Then you go back to work, but now you have kids. So weekends are about relaxing, but they’re also about basketball games, family time, birthday parties, and oh yeah, those friends that you’ve been wanting to hang out with. Yes, friends still do exist. (But sometimes you hope the plans get canceled because-man! that was a long work week and you’d rather just get in your pj’s.)

Then because of the wisdom of your husband and other circumstances, you need to quit your job. You’re a stay-at-home mom again, but the kids are now in school. The house is actually PEACEFUL for 2-3 hours a day. You can hear yourself think, get cleaning done, or read a book without interruption. Do you know what happens to weekends then? They become MORE busy then the work week. They are actually somewhat stressful because the house is noisy and full of people. The kids keep messing up what you’ve tried to clean and you have to run around to basketball, birthday parties and other things. And oh yeah, those friends you have… they still exist! At least now you want to hang out because you know that you can where your pj’s most of Monday, if you so wish, so that you can recover from your weekend.

I’m sure as I enter into my next stages of life the meaning of my weekends will change again and again. However, now I will always understand that how you see your weekends says a lot about what stage of life you’re in!

Anniversary Trip – San Francisco

Hotel Cartwright

BART strike

Comfortable Shoes



The Apple Store


Gallery Cafe

Cable Car Museum

Lombard St.

The Blue Mermaid’s chowder

WW2 Submarine


Jehovah’s Witnesses

Walk along a pier

Bayside Breakfast with Anna

Yummy Mexican food

Awesome cab ride

Wizard of Oz

Reality SF

Walk to Pier 2

Ferry Ride



Bus Ride

Scary walk to the hotel

We’ve MOVED!!!

Our new townhouse!

Last week Aaron and I moved to be closer to the kids’ school and church. With Lydia’s kindergarten schedule and me teaching full-time we knew we wanted to live closer to the school. So here we are! We’ll be renting a townhouse for at least a year as we decide where we would like to end up more permanently. However, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our new place!

The first day consisted of

Swimming in the pool!

* Touch- up paint  and Cleaning  – at the old place
* Our last family jump on the trampoline
* Playing in the sprinkler
* Lunch at Chili’s
* Trip to the grocery store
* Ringing the doorbell
* Trip to the bike shop
* Riding bikes
* Playing with the garage door
* Playing on the play ground
* Xbox
* Swimming in the new pool
* A little work-work
* Dinner of PB&Js
* Unpacking the kitchen
* A visit from friends
and finally
* A visit from the missionaries.

Scooter ride to McDonald’s!

It was quite the busy day and life has settled down since that time, but we’re still adjusting. We’ve been to the pool almost ever day this week and the kids are getting more and more comfortable in the water!  We’ve invested in some scooters, one per each family member and we scoot our way to the pool and the gym. On Friday we even took a scooter ride to McDonald’s for some ice cream and cookies. The kids have had a great time and have started meeting friends. We hope it’ll be a great year in our townhouse, and I have a sneaky suspicion that we might be here longer! 🙂

Christmas 2012

I’m letting Aaron write this post via Facebook!

Merry Christmas, family and friends!

Of all his presents, John Caleb was most ecstatic about his black chalkboard piggy bank. He erupted with, “IT’S A MIRACLE!” Later he read the specs on the rocket he got from Uncle Phillip. “IT’LL FLY TO OUTER SPACE!” He has been playing with various Avengers toys — masks, costumes, shield, and dart guns.

No Christmas outfits or pj’s, but glad I at least got happy smiles this year! 🙂

Lydia got her princesses! ALL OF THEM. Very happy. But not visibly happy: she was miserably sick this morning. But hours later, she is back to near-normal. And she is listening over and over to her storybook from Omi and Papa (thanks, Jeree). And dressing up in her princess costumes! And playing her puzzles. And wearing her Belle-princess T-shirt.

Facetime + Skype with my parents and in-laws. Loved it.

We all went out in the snow and John went facedown in the snow for a few minutes. On purpose.

I’m excited to take my Keurig single-serve coffeemaker to work tomorrow

Stacia and I are happy. Enjoying the day. Stuck at home. I turned down the suggestion that we go sledding. I’d rather be stuck at home with the kids today. Good times. 🙂 She got me way better gifts than I got her though. Time to watch another Christmas movie tonight with another one of her special meals.

I prayed that God would give us our third child before Christmas. Perhaps he or she was conceived last night somewhere in the country?

Right now we are sipping hot cocoa with small marshmallows. Time to play Avengers on the XBOX.

My wife is scary, scary, scary good at Just Dance 4. I’d post a picture but she threatened me with death.