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May 24

At this time last year, I was in the hospital waiting for Baby Luke's arrival. I'm pretty sure it was this point in the afternoon that I had already been in labor for a good 10 hours when the boiler at the hospital broke and heat started pouring into my room (and most of the hospital). The thermostat in my room went up to 80 degrees and the indicator bar was way past that. It was hot. I literally wanted to go give birth in the parking lot just to get out of that room (as long as they could bring my meds, haha!). And occasionally I'd waddle down to the "snack room" to open up the ice chest and get some cool air. But that's another story for probably, well... never. 

It's Luke's first birthday today and in classic third child fashion, we don't have a gift and I only just this morning ran out to get him a cupcake to smash. I'll take his picture later for evidence of the day and next week we will have a little party with family. We love our little guy and he's already been serenaded several times with "Happy Birthday to Luke". 

I have a few, very few, quiet minutes right now so here's big picture update of our sweet boys. 

Luke follows the twins everywhere, including to their bedroom when they're sent in for timeout. And they're so sweet to let him tag-along. Right now they love pretending to be the Ninja Turtles. They don't watch the show but Don has told them the stories and they've gotten the little action figures from McDonalds, which is all they need. Jacob is Michelangelo, Josiah is Rafael, Luke is Donatello, Don is Leonardo, and I'm April O'Neil. And Luke really is part of the story in their minds. Sometimes they'll hand him a big sock and say, "Here's your bow staff, Donatello". 

This was a cool rainy day that I let the twins bundle up a little to jump in puddles and Luke watched them the entire time, while pounding on the door (his way of pleading to get out and join them). 

I probably took this to show Don what the house sometimes looks like when he's gone. It makes him all the more impressed and me feeling all the more accomplished when it's slightly picked up when he gets home. These are actually their "quiet boxes" meant to be played with quietly in their beds or in their room. I just don't even know what happened. 

And these next pictures... what can I say? Luke's into everything. 

See how he outsmarted me and got through my blockade? 

Fun at the Morton Arboretum with Aunt Sissy and their cousin, Noella. 

Cruisin' in the backyard. If you only knew how slow this thing goes, but to them, it might as well be a convertible. 

Fun with their friend on a sunny spring day. 

Living their dream riding and driving a tractor at Papa's farm in Michigan. 

He loves to play baseball and he already hits the ball really well when we pitch to him. And this tough guy face, I can't handle it. 


Buying flowers at Home Depot. Nearly every time I'm out, someone comments that I really have my hands full, and I *almost* always respond, "Yes, full of good things!" (got that from a book- can't take credit at all, but it's a great response because it shows how we value our children, it's a reminder for myself, and it tells the little listening ears that they are loved!)

They decided to make a trench on the side of the house. Then fill it with water. (Good thing we don't care too much about the yard!).

My handsome guys. 

These little shorts, shoes, and his bare arms. Love him. 

Sucking on a graham cracker while the twins play soccer. 

"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with JOY!" Psalm 126:3


Gift Well Guide

Mother's Day is just around the corner and I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Noonday goodies for a Gift Well Guide! Each of these items are handmade and help to provide jobs, education, clothing, and shelter for women and children around the world. In addition to giving your mother something beautiful or picking out something beautiful for yourself, you're joining a movement that is creating opportunities for people around the world! 

I really love "all the pretty things" at Noonday, but I love the mission even more! And it's been super fun to see my family, friends, and neighbors catch the vision as well!

This first necklace is the Pambil and is probably my all-time favorite (right now at least!). It's handmade with love in Equador by an artisan group that is working to provide job opportunities for women escaping the sex-trafficking industry. The beads on this necklace are very soft and have a variety of texture and color. It can be layered with other necklaces, worn long, or doubled. 

This is the Minted Necklace- handmade with love in Uganda. It's a gorgeous mint color, super lightweight and can be worn as a long single layer necklace or doubled. Love, love this one! Plus, it's only $28- how can you beat that?!

This is the Bethe Rope Necklace, handmade with love in Ethiopia from upcycled artillery. This is another major favorite and a total best seller every season. It can be worn approximately 100 ways (?!)- seriously though, it can be doubled, tripled, knotted, wrapped as a bracelet, or used as an extender for another necklace. 

Favorite earrings right now are the Cow Horn Hoops (top) and Taj Earrings (bottom- get them before they are gone!). They go with everything and are super pretty. Cow Horn Hoops are made in Uganda and the Taj Earrings are handmade with love in India. 

Pictured here is one of my favorite bracelet combos: the Underground Cuff and the Metric Cuff. Both handmade with love in India. Somehow this combo goes with everything! And if you order any bracelets between April 6-12, you'll get 20% off! That's a great deal. Plus, the Metric is only $20 and the Underground $28. 

This is another nice combo: Metric Cuff paired with the Meera Bracelet. The Meera is great for spring/summer and has really pretty fuchsia and mint beads mixed in with gold.

This is the Tangled Beads bracelet, handmade with love in Ethiopia. It is made from up cycled artillery and has two gold strands and two silver strands. Looks great with everything and can totally be dressed up or down. 

Hands-down, all time favorite bracelet is the Very Versatile, also made in Ethiopia. It's a show stopper and goes with everything. This one is more pricey, but is sure to be a favorite for many years. 

Love this Pacifica Scarf! It's super soft and a perfect texture for spring and summer, but I can see myself wearing this into the fall for sure! It's handmade with love in Guatemala and is a nice chambray blue with a blush color stripe pattern. 

This is the Astrida Beach Bag, handmade with love in Rwanda. This comes in three different patterns. It's bold, lightweight, and holds a ton of stuff. I'm planning to use this as a beach bag and also as a library bag since we get to the library more often than the beach. It's $28 and is a great deal for a quality, handmade bag.  

To shop any of these goodies or to read more about Noonday, visit:

And if you have any questions, send me an email!


Giving Freely

Have loved this book, Fit To Burst, by Rachel Jankovic for awhile now and probably read through it 2-3 times in the first week I got it. For some reason, I picked it up again this past week and was challenged by the idea of giving more freely... imitating Christ and expecting nothing in return. Free forgiveness, free meal-making and house-cleaning, and a million other ways that a woman can bless her husband and children. Here is an excerpt, with a link at the bottom to read the entire article. 
In Christian circles there is constant talk about free salvation. It is free, thank God. But it is only free to usGod paid a great price for it. Jesus paid with His blood. It is free to us because someone else paid a great deal. And this is why we do not work out our salvation by never doing anything that might be hard or difficult to us. We imitate Christ, and we make sacrifices for others. We do things that are hard, that cost us much, because we want our gifts to be free to others. 
It is so easy for us as mothers to look at the work we do on behalf of our families and resent that it is free to them. Look at those kids, thinking that the clean clothes just appear magically. Look at these people, not valuing the cost of my work. Look at this ungrateful family who just takes the food and eats it. Like it was free! But it is very important that we see the damage that this kind of thinking brings with it. 
When we want the cost to be shared by all, we are not imitating Christ. When we imitate Christ, we want to give what costs us much, and we want to give it freely. Of course we have short-term vision, and often we feel like when we freely give, we need to see right away that it is being used responsibly. We worry that our free sacrifice will make our children greedy takers. 
We want to know, within the next fifteen minutes, that everyone saw what we sacrificed, acknowledged it gratefully, thanked us profusely, reflected on it quietly, and came up with a way to repay us. But God thinks in much, much bigger story lines. 
So imitate Christ in your giving. Do it daily, do it in as many little ways as you possibly can. Find a way to imitate Him in the folding of the laundry, in the stocking of the fridge, in the picking up of other people’s socks. And then decide consciously that you are giving this meal, this clean room, this cheerful Christmas — that you are giving it all freely. And much later, maybe thirty years later, you would like to see your children turn a profit on it. You would like to see your kids taking what they were freely given and turning it into still more free giving. This is because God’s story is never little. He works in generations, in lifetimes, and He wants us to do the same.



A Big Picture Update

A random collection of some of my favorite pictures over the last several months. I love these boys. They are a gift. 


Sweet Boys

Sometimes I just want to freeze them... I want to capture their little snuggles and little voices and remember this stage forever. 

Like the fact that they often sing, "And Can It Be" while we're shopping in any given store. We were at the grocery store the other day and I was checking out and Don was heading out to the car with them and I could hear them singing while they walked out the door. And then last night at Target, they found a reflection of themselves and began swaying back and forth watching themselves as they sang "And Can It Be" for all to hear. 

Or that when they go to Sunday school and the teachers ask what they'd like to sing, they opt for "Tis So Sweet" instead of the traditional "Jesus Loves Me" that most 3 year olds are requesting. 

Or that they can use their cars to explain what substitutionary atonement is... "What if this car is Jesus and this car is Jacob and God takes Jacob's sins and puts them on Jesus- that's called 'substitutionary'"- the way they pronounce this is adorable. 

Or that they often say things like, "What if God and Jesus picked up that big tree" or "that big house"- or anything they perceive as impossible. 

Or the other day when we were praying for Don at lunch because he had a big meeting and Jacob asked if I could also pray for Spiderman to be able to swing on his rope better (Jacob was in his spiderman costume, of course). Then Josiah, dressed as Wolverine, asked if I could also pray for Wolverine's claws to get "very much longer".

Or a few days ago, when I told Josiah that I love it when he wears his football shirt, and he responded so sincerely, "And I love when you wear your jammies."

There's so much more that I just want to bottle up and save forever. Thankfully, Josiah reminds me almost daily that even when he gets to be a man, he'll still be my baby (I've trained him well!).

And Luke... he's just our little doll baby. He's scooting all over the place, but unfortunately he's going backwards and often gets himself in the most precarious situations. 

And in case you're wondering, we're still anxiously waiting on baby girl from Ethiopia. Can''t wait to see her sweet face and add her to our family!