Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Confusion...

So a few years back we were trying to explain to Ezra that Christmas is actually about Jesus' birthday and NOT about Santa Claus (still working on that by the way), and Ezra decided that we can't really celebrate Jesus' birthday unless we have a birthday cake. Solid reasoning right? So, since that time, it has been a family tradition to have birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve.

This year I was making the cake with Ki and he said, "Mom, that cake is for Jesus right?" I said it was, and he said, "and Jesus lives in my heart, right?" I said yes. Ki got this terrible look on his face and went quiet. When I asked him what was wrong he started crying and said, "Mom, I don't want you to cut me open and feed Jesus his cake. That would really hurt!!!"

My children are HILARIOUS...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow Days

I'm just wondering at what point in my life will the words, "Snow Day!" not thrill me? As a child, those were some of the most amazing words in the English language. The one time they cancelled school in college, my friends and I embarked on a "great adventure" (very fun!). As a fifth grade teacher my love for the words grew to a level I cannot even begin to express in words... For the past few years I babysat for friends who teach, so the "snow day call" meant I could sleep 'til my boys woke up and have a day alone with them. This year it just means Ezra's home and fun should be had by all. I LOVE SNOW DAYS! Today was #3 and we convinced daddy to take a long lunch, so sledding and hot cocoa were had by all (even Grandma Gascho joined the sledding fun since she didn't have to teach today)! And although it means we'll have school longer into the summer, I hope there's many more to come. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ezra's First Snow Day EVER!

This was Ezra's first snow day! November 25th, 2008! So, since it was so close to Thanksgiving... what were we to do?!? We don't believe in making "snowmen" so, a turkey it was. :)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Malaki is now THREE!

Well, my little one is THREE YEARS OLD TODAY! How is that possible?!? Ki is becoming such a little man. He is developing his own, very distinct, personality and I love that I am home to experience every minute of it!

It has been a hard 2 months for him since Ezra left for all day kindergarten, but he is beginning to come into his own, and I am learning so much more about him now that it's just the two of us. Strange how different he is when he's playing off Ezra's personality verses just spending time with me. His language skills are gaining with leaps and bounds these days, and he's starting to become quite the storyteller. He is determined to be a "wock stah" (rock star) when he grows up, and with his love of music, I wouldn't be surprised if he accomplishes that goal. :)

For his birthday he wanted a "Little Einsteins" party, so I made a very lame attempt at making him a "rocket" birthday cake. The frosting gave me A LOT of trouble, but other than that, I think it turned out fine. Ki loved it, and as soon as I get a chance, I'll add some pics to this post.

For now, you can check out the video Cody made to celebrate the past year of Ki's life:

I thank God everyday for the blessing of having Ki in my life. The adoption process was a pain in the rear, but the result has been priceless. What a treasure I have in my little man!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

So I've been reading a LOT lately. Not really sure why, but there's been this gnawing need to know more... like something waiting at the gates, dying to be let in, a hunger or thirst of some sort. I read Margaret Feinberg's "Organic God" and "The Sacred Echo." I read, "The Shack" (I could, and probably will write an entire blog about that one... LOVED IT!) and "Soul Cravings" by Erwin Raphael McManus. But this morning I started, "Wild Goose Chase" by Mark Batterson. I'm only 2 chapters in and I am almost shaking with excitement, fear, and revelation. I hesistate to write any of this, because what if I don't feel this way tomorrow? But most of me knows that I have felt this way for years and today was the first time I even entertained the idea that it might be something that requires my action.

Since about 6 months into our move here to Fairview I started having this ache for all the abandoned housing in our town. Then I learned that our county has the highest percentages in Michigan for unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. How do you live in Northern Michigan without a home (especially in the winter)? Most of our homeless are classified as "hidden homeless" because they bounce from home to home, living with friends and family, or in cars, etc. Our schools can attest to the impacts that has, as so many children are in and out of schools as they bounce from one part of the county to another.

So the ache, combined with the knowledge, and I started wondering, "How do we connect all these homeless families with all these empty houses?" The truth is, any housing that might be affordable, is not very liveable. We have lots of cabins for sale around here, but few are insulated for winter use. Many old homes available, but they are in need of new windows and roofs, and floor coverings and fresh paint, etc. So a family who could barely afford the mortgage will inherit a home they cannot afford to make liveable for their family. What can be done?

Habitat for Humanity is up and active in our area, and they have done a great job of building a house or two a year. Still, on some level I think it's wasteful to build something brand new when there are so many homes sitting around, and so many families in need.

I desperately desire to buy up these houses, one by one, and renovate them... making them decent, clean, updated homes, that children can be raised in and parents can takes some pride in. Nothing fancy, but homes of good quality, updated in ways that will make them more energy efficient and built to last. I want owners to put down roots in our community- for their sakes, their kids' sakes, and for our community's sake. By fixing the run down properties, everyone's home values will increase, and that is good for the town as a whole. By giving people deeper roots in our community, local businesses and schools will benefit. I want to do this, and then sell the remodelled homes for the amount I paid for them originally, OR LESS.

... and there's the rub. We can't even afford to replace our own less than functional stove (or do a million other needed renovations), let alone buy and renovate homes (at a loss of income) for others. And yet... it would seem that God is telling me that He has given me this nagging passion for a reason. I have no idea what step to take next, but I know I'm going to have to take it. Will you pray with me?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Northwoods Playhouse

So Ezra and Ki have been wanting a fort (or "deer blind" as Ezra calls it) for some time now. I think Cody, Grandpa, and Uncle Dustin may have spoiled them just a bit! Yup, that's an 8 x 8 foot cabin on stilts... with a deck... and real windows... with screens... There will eventually be a swingset coming off the left side and a sandbox underneath, but for now, the boys are in heaven!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Feeling Like a Michigan Winter

Ever feel like you are winter? Let me expound on that thought... We all look forward to spring... we want it to be here, we crave the end of the cabin fever... BUT...

Spring takes yuckiness in order to be successful. In order to have May flowers, we need April showers (or snow). In order to see grass again, we have to have the muddy mess that follows the snow's thaw. Before we see buds on all the trees, we see all the wet, heavy, brown oak leaves matted to the ground (since they waited until snowfall to finally drop, and could not be raked until now).

In my spirit, in my home, in my deepest desires I'm craving spring... newness, freshness, cleanliness, etc. But, the reality is, I don't want to wash all the windows, weed the flower beds, sort through the closests, gut the garage, wash window treatments, start walking, shovel up a winter's worth of dog doo in the yard (yuck!), buy shorts AGAIN, etc. I know that I want to be on the other side of all that, but I don't want to go through it. So... I deem myself a Michigan winter... just not ready to let go and embrace spring... :)

Soon, I promise!!! :)


My parents came to town this weekend and my mom and I had a conversation yesterday about money. I just re-read my "pity-party" post and it was almost comical in light of what was said...

We were discussing the various things in our homes that needed to be updated, and time frames for getting them done, etc. and I told her about a decision Cody and I made last June that has impacted our financial choices since. When it comes to money we spend on ourselves (not that there's a lot) we decided it was more important to spend our time and resources on experiences than on things. That our children would be better people for it, our family would be stronger for it, and God might be more glorified by it. Then I decide to do a kitchen and completely forgot about it... seriously...

What do you think about this plan? In looking back at my childhood, my mind doesn't immediately go to the suck tight, ankle zipper, stone-washed, pair of Guess jeans my mom and dad spent my entire Christmas wad on in 6th grade. I remember camping trips, Cedar Point, mission trips to Mexico, volunteering at the Gospel mission, making forts with dad, etc.

Experiences, not things. As a child I wanted "things" and my parents did their best to provide them for me... but that's not what made me who I am. The "things" are not my touchstone when I relive my past... So what if we're intentional about experiences... what then?

Who needs a new kitchen, right?!?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


It seems utterly impossible, but my little boy is FIVE YEARS OLD! Seriously, how did that happen?!? When asked about his turning 5 the other day he responded, "yeah, and that's a mystery because my mom is much too young to have a 5 year old!" How can I not adore him?!? :)

My little man is a passionate, expressive, tender, ingenuitive, snuggly, brilliant, creative, goofy little guy who amazes us at every corner. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom... I promise! Each day brings with it new amazement that God has chosen to bless us with his presence in our lives. When I think back to the 4 1/2 months on bedrest and all the fear of miscarriage, I shutter to think how different our lives would be if things had gone the other way. I thank God for shielding us from that pain, and I praise Him for the wonder that is Ezra!

I'll add b-day pics to this as soon as I have some...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Poor Me!

Ever throw your own pity party? I like to think I'm not that kind of person, that I have more perspective than that, that I know how well off I am... the truth is, I'm not, I don't, and I rarely ever am.
It sucks to admit that, but it's true.
For instance, this December we had some extra money from various Christmas gifts, and I sarcastically said to Cody, "well, I'd love to spend this, but I know as soon as I do we'll have some crazy need arise and I'll kick myself for not saving it." I say that because it has happened the last 6 or 7 times we've had any extra cash. So, after sitting on it a month, I came up with some plans to fix up our kitchen (something I've wanted to do since we moved in 4 years ago). I added a little of my daycare cash to the mix and all of the sudden- dreams were born. Most of you know how much I love to renovate, so this was really exciting stuff! We were moving beyond painting a room, to things involving countertops and creating a pass through in the wall and adding an additional cabinet for storage and workspace. I spent many weekends trolling the aisles of Home Depot and Lowe's sniffing out good deals and ideal color schemes (not a small feat when you live an hour away from such places), not to mention countless hours surfing the net for coupons and other savings. Everything was in place, it was actually going to happen... and then...
The water went brown. We got it fixed, but it looks like we'll need a new well this summer...
We got our taxes done. A miscalculation for last year (not our fault) and now we owe around $500 by April.
Cody messed up his knee again, surgery may be looming...
Cody's car broke down.
Then the van broke down.

I'm so ready for a pity party, and I'm trying hard not to indulge my inner four year old. I know better. I know it's only money and that my kitchen is fine how it is. I know I need a cheaper hobby! :) I know that God is our ulitmate source for security, not an increasing bank account. I know I can't take any of it with me, and that I should be thankful for a healthy and whole family. I know there are so many in this world (even many of my friends) who are in much more difficult situations, monetarily, relationally, spiritually, etc. I know all this, and yet I sit here and pout... BUT I REALLY WANTED A NEW KITCHEN!!!

Pray for Cody's sanity... he's a saint when I'm a brat! tee! hee!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2008 is Here!

Hey friends, it's been a while, I know. Welcome 2008! Not much new is happening in our lives at the moment, but we are looking forward to whatever is lurking around the corner this new year.

We have officially started the process of licensure for foster care and/or adoption with the State of Michigan. We're not sure where this will take us, but the prospect of completing our family is intoxicating to me! I'm never good about uncertainty, so there is a large piece of me that wants closure on "who we are" as a family. To know, that from this point forward, we are a family of 5, or 6, or 7. Does that make sense? That once a certain child has outgrown a set of clothing, they can be given away instead of stored. To be able to sell the high chairs and bouncy seats and baby swings, etc. To plan a family vacation and not be concerned about how many to plan for, or whether or not someone will have just joined us and need to be acclimating to our home. More than that, I have this sinking feeling that lives in the pit of my stomach, wondering if my future children are out there somewhere, and if so, what are they dealing with right now? I pray daily that God will guard their hearts and their minds while they live in potentially harmful situations... this only heightens my desire to "bring them home." So, we pray and we wait...

I am reading "Velvet Elvis" right now by Rob Bell. I know, I'm kind of behind the eight ball on that one, but if you are too, I STRONGLY recommend checking it out. It is doing a great job of inspiring me to dig deeper in my thought processes. It's not fiction, so its not usually my style, but it is good and I keep reading.

May your New Year be blessed, and may God stretch you in ways that are surprising and appreciated! Expect Miracles!!!