Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Gobble gobble!
So I'm averaging about 1 blog post every two months or so.  Ya...I know pretty lame.  How am I ever going to catch everyone up?  Truth is, I really can't so I will start with the most recent event - Thanksgiving.
The day before Thanksgiving both Brian and I had to work so we got a pretty late start on our drive to MI.  We left the house a little after 6:30 and headed off to Lansing!  Claire entertained herself for a solid 30 minutes before getting too fussy then just kinda faded off to sleep without much trouble.  Answered prayer!  The trip was roughly four hours even though we came across some lake effect snow near St. Joseph.  We arrived at Grandma and Papa's around Midnight. 
Like usual we spent some time catching up, but before long we were all headed to bed to rest up before a big day of eating.
Claire decided that 6am was a great time to get up at Grandma's.  We went downstairs and played with all of grandma's fun toys and occupied ourselves until the rest of the family emerged from their beds. Grandma and Papa headed off to Mass and seemed to return before I knew it!  Soon after a few cousins showed up and the house was buzzing with activity.  The kids were playing, and the women were mapping out their strategy for Thanksgiving night shopping.  We discovered that all the deals we were interested in were happening that night! For the 1st Black Friday that I've been in MI -we did NOT get up at the freakin' crack of dawn.  I'm selfishly hoping this whole Thanksgiving night shopping thing continues!
Before long we were on our way to Mandy's where we ate until our tummies were well past content.  Turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, green bean casserole - YUM!  Oh and did I mention lobster bisque?!  Ya, Mandy does it up right when she hosts a party.  We ate like kings.
Photo op while I waited in line at Target!
Right around the time I wanted to doze off to sleep - the troops were preparing for the shopping trip.  Target at 6:30 (they opened at 8pm) and Kohls right after. 
Note to self.  In 2 years when you are ready to do this again - pack hand warmers and bring a hot chocolate to drink while waiting in line - oh and bring warmer shoes - fake Toms just won't work well!!!
As time ticked by the Target workers would come and go - handing out maps of the store and made sure to draw attention that we could easily save 5% on every purchase with our Red cards - if we didn't have a Red card they were ready and waiting to sign us up.
Overall - we were in and out of Target in 30 minutes!  Kohls too a little while longer - then some really committed shoppers went to the mall after that - I did not.  It was extremely productive!  I have 1 more gift to buy for Christmas and I'm done!
Friday Papa made us all Walleye from the fishing trip during the Spring - YUM!  Claire is a fish stick snob - will not eat them out of the box, but couldn't get enough of  Papa's fish!
The ride back was smooth - no complaints here!  What a wonderful way to celebrate the Holiday!

Next order of business - wrapping gifts!!
Papa reading a book to the kiddos

Nate getting the swirly he asked for!

Claire spent a lot of time on Papa's lap this trip!

Kid's table!

What a great family!

Move your feet - lose your seat...or is that really the rule?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Too long.

I haven't written in an incredibly long time.  It's actually been so long that I don't even know where to start.  I think I might just start where we are.  So, where are we? Be prepared...I'm feeling incredibly scattered right now and the following thoughts are going to show it!

We are still in our townhome.  We have been trying to sell it since July and so far we've had no luck.  The feeling is bittersweet because on one hand I want to get out of this house, but on the other I don't know exactly where we'd go at this point?  Brian has done SO much to this place and I really would love to share it on this blog, however that's just not going to happen right now. HA.

Let's see - what else?  This past weekend we had our good friends Stef and Dan and their little boy, Jake, in town.  It was just like old times!  We laughed, joked, and ate together.  I miss them so much.  I know it was incredibly stressful and crazy for them to move away, but I can't help but hope their time away is super brief and they're back before we even know it. 

We are on a new budget.  It has been incredibly difficult to watch our spending after a summer of spending.  I have become acquainted with Aldi - that's a whole new topic in and of itself.  I do most my shopping at Wal-mart and plan my meals for the week every Sunday.  We've done well the last 2 months and I'm looking forward to making more of an effort to save and plan ahead.  Somewhere along the line this year, we stopped thinking ahead and started living in the NOW!  Not wise. We are getting this corrected.

You know, I'm learning a lot.  These past couple months have been hard.  They have been hard financially, emotionally, professionally, honestly in just about every way I can think of and express.  As I get into the habit of writing again I will share with you some new things in my life and some things Brian and I have walked through together.

I must say that during this time God has been extremely close and I also consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the friends and family that I do. 

With that - I think I will call it a day.  I'll leave you with a couple pictures - my little sunshine is growing!!

 She just loves her bear!
 Visiting her friend Jasper - she discovered the biggest bear ever!
 NEW girly carseat! Yes - it is THAT PINK in real life!
NEW puffy vest!! She loves it!

Friday, July 12, 2013


I love vacation. Who doesn't, right? I was especially looking forward to this vacation because I get to spend time with my awesome family who I very seldom see...and miss dearly. What made the trip even more special was that Brian's parents were coming with us!

Our week started in Denver where we visited Garden of the gods and the New Belgium Brewery. The trip has been full of driving!! This has proven difficult with a 1 year old. Poor Claire has fallen subject to a diaper rash of the absolute worst kind. It's the hardest thing in the world to clean her after a dirty diaper because she just cries and cries because it hurts so much. Thankfully after a day of staying on top of Lotramine, A and D cream, and corn starch....I think we might have it to a manageable level. What a day!

Although we have had ups and downs, we are having a good time and are excited to continue our adventures in Chadron. We got here in the early evening after a grueling 6.5 to 7 hours on the road. Brian did such an awesome job getting us to Nebraska despite his exhaustion. During the last hour of our jour eh I honestly thought I couldn't entertain Claire for even 1 more minute...I just wanted to be out of the vehicle! Claire's cries and whines truly reflected how I felt!

When we pulled up to my grandmas house my heart swelled inside and the awfulness of the journey seemed to melt away as I said hello and hugged all my family members. Seeing my grandma was, as always, priceless. I love that we made it. It hasn't been a perfect trip so far, but we will make some good memories and hopefully grow closer as a family.

Tomorrow is the parade, buffalo burgers, and homemade ice cream!

At the pool with grandma Barb
A little hesitant at first


Friday, May 24, 2013

Bad week, good reminder.

I recently came across a blog post that made me stop and think.  I'm usually a "glass half full" kind of person, but sometimes (like this week) it feels like my cup is no where near half empty.  Nothing epic has happend and everyone's health is's just been a series of little things and overall exhaustion that has brought out the worst in me this week.

I don't often (if ever) post links to other blogs...mainly because I don't read them that often.  In this instance...I'm going to.  I don't follow this blog and don't intend on regularly checking it, but it certainly helped me get in the right frame of mind today.  So, thank you to those who are praying for me.  God is listening.  He's with me.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

100th Post!

I really have wanted to post more than I am, but honestly I'm also proud that I have kept this up for as long as I have.  I do love posting blogs and sometimes wish that I had more of a focus...but overall this blog works for me and my personality.  It's random, friendly, and it keeps you updated on the things going on with us...even though some posts are a full month apart!

We've decided to put our house up on the market!  We are SO excited.  I might be more excited than Brian because I probably have a lot less actual work to do than he does.  I must say that I am so impressed over and over by the work he does. I know his favorite part is the planning stage of things (followed closely by demolition), but he really does a great job on the things he does.  As time goes on I'm more and more comfortable with projects he dreams about on our NEXT house!  Haha.  Before even thinking about our next house we do need to get this one ready and we're guessing it will take a month...(so likely 2).  I will keep you posted!

In other news, Claire turned 11 months this week!  She just gets bigger and bigger!  I love it. I'm really anxious for her to walk.  Mostly because it will get us a lot closer to ending physical therapy.  I think she still has a couple more weeks to go, but she is so ready to get moving on her feet!  Love it!

I love that the weather is turning a corner, even though it's cold this weekend.  I love that the sun is still shining.  It's a beautiful looking Mother's Day and my amazing husband made me breakfast after church today.  We initially swung by Wildberries and it was a TWO hour wait!  I really hope we get to go there some day!

Ok, well I hear the hubbs going to town on the room upstairs so I'm gonna go help clear that room out!  He's laying floor tomorrow!

Pictures to follow...having trouble with uploading right now...
If you want updates every now and then - check this site out

Sunday, April 14, 2013

9 and 10 months!

9 months old!
I'm ridiculously behind on my monthly photos!  Claire is growing and developing by leaps and bounds.  I feel like she went from barely able to sit up on her own to crawling overnight.

Ok maybe not THAT fast, but it does seem I discover she's learned something new nearly every week.  She is now very good at crawling and she pulls herself up on just about everything.  If she were taller she would definitely be climbing up on the couch all by herself.  She very interested in the world out there.  When she encounters something new she gets very quiet and almost studies it.  (this includes tasting it if possible)

She is 10 months old and wearing almost all 12 month clothing.  She has finally grown some hair, so hopefully won't be called a little boy anymore!  She's been fighting ear infections and a cold here and there, but overall I feel like we are nearing (hopefully) a "well" time.  I'm so thankful that her nose hasn't run in almost a week!

We did have to let her cry last night though.  How heartbreaking to hear your baby cry and not go and pick her up and snuggle her!  Brian and I concluded that in order to get her back on her sleep schedule (and not waking up every few hours at night) we needed to let her try and calm herself down.  Longest 30 minutes EVER! (ok maybe when I was in labor w/out pain meds at a point was actually the longest 30 minutes ever, but you know what I'm saying)  Brian and I laid in bed...just listening to her whine, cry, scream, and fuss.  Then...after 20 minute...silence.  Once Brian declared victory - and we were settling started up again!!!  10 more minutes of the same.  Little stinker!  She did finally calm down and sleep until 3am, then 4am... then we got up at 7am.  The point is - we didn't get up and pick her up.  Hopefully this helps her get back on track!  We will see tonight.

Ok - well I will leave you with some fun pics!

look what I made at daycare! (with some help)

mom and her ridiculous ideas for an easter photo...

Claire's "easter basket"
Claire's Easter Sunday outfit

10 months old!
wearing Dad's "favorite outfit" when he was Claire's age/  We had fun dressing her up in it and calling her "sport" haha

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cleanse him

Before we join in prayer for our husbands I just feel like I need to say something.  Some of these prayers get pretty specific and I want to point out that I am following the template of "the power of a praying wife" book, so perhaps the book prays for a sin, unconfessed sin etc...  I just want to state that I don't want that to negatively reflect on Brian.  I think it's important to pray against sin in our husbands' lives, but since I'm praying "publicly" I don't want people to think I have something specific about Brian in mind and I'm writing it here for the world to see.

Ok - glad I got that off my chest.

Let's pray, " Lord I pray that You would convict my husband of any error in his life. Let there be "nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.  Cleanse him from any secret sins and teach him to be a person who is quick to confess when he is wrong (Ps 19:12). Help him to recognize his mistakes. Give him eyes to see Your truth and ears to hear your voice. Bring him to full repentance before you. If there is suffering to be done, let it be the suffering of a remorseful heart and not because the crushing hand of the enemy has found an opening into his life through unconfessed sin. Lord, I know that humility must come before honor (Pr. 15:33). Take away all pride that would cause him to deny his faults and work into his sould a humility of hear so that he will receive the honor You have for him."

In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bless his work

How fitting that the next prayer in the list is a prayer for my husband's work!  We've been praying a lot for my work and for me to be successful, looks like I need to share the love!  As some of you know, Brian broke his arm roughly 5 weeks ago.  God was SO gracious in providing him a boss that still allowed him to go to work and do "whatever he could."  I many bosses do you know that will pay you for sitting around. (well, will pay you KNOWING you are just sitting around)  I'm just so thankful that he didn't have to take 6 weeks away from work without pay!

"Lord, I pray that You would bless the work of Brian's hands.  May his labor bring not only favor, success, and prosperity, but great fulfillment as well.  If the work he is doing is not in line with your perfect will for his life, reveal it to him.  Show him what he should do differently and guide him down the right path.  Give him strength, faith, and a vision for the future so he can rise above any propensity for laziness.  May he never run from work out of fear, selfishness, or a desire to avoid responsibility.  On the other hand, help him to see that he doesn't have to work himself to death for man's approval, or grasp for gain beyond what is a gift from You.  Give him the ability to enjoy his success without striving more.  Help him to excel, but free him from the pressure to do so.  I pray that you will be Lord over his work, and may he bring you into every aspect of it.  Give him enough confidence in the gifts you've placed in him to be able to seek, find, and do good work.  Open up doors of opportunity for him that no man can close.  Develope his skills so that they grow more valuable with each passing year.  Show me what I can do to encourage him.  I pray ther his work will be established, secure, successful, satisfying, and financially rewarding.  May he not be "lagging in dilligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." (Romans 121:11) Let him be like a tree planted by the stream of Your living water, which brings forth fruit in due season. May he never wither under pressure, but grow strong and prosper (Ps 1:3)."

In Jesus name, Amen

Monday, March 11, 2013


I have enjoyed sharing the last two prayers with you.  I will share another one today, but before I do I feel like I should update you on the family.

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity...mostly stressful activity.  A week ago started with Claire going to physical therapy and crying the whole way through - then a trip to the doctor where we found out she still had her ear infection and it got much worse.  We picked up some new meds...then she was off to the helmet doctor.  THREE doctor visits in one day makes for a crazy day.  I'm sure at this point Brian wishes he could actually have a day off!!  Wednesday Claire was having an extremely hard time breathing and we ended up renting a nebulizer to help her get through it.  She did well with the treatments and only cried when I would give her the treatment!  The daycare went on and on about how well she did during them!  Go figure - the "fighting mom" attitude is starting quite early in my opinion!

Brian's parents sensed we had a very stressful week and they took action and drove out for the weekend.  Saturday evening they pushed us out the door for a date night.  We decided to really live it up and go to diPescara in Northbrook.  We had a wonderful time of just us.  Truth be told - it really was needed.  It was just a great time to connect and not feel rushed or guilty.

Brian's arm is healing well.  Two more weeks and he will get his cast off.  We are all excited about that.  (yes even Claire...she may not know she's excited, but I assure you - she is)

Well, that about catches you up.  I am continuing to pray for Brian on a regular basis. Maybe not every day, but definitely making an effort to do this more and more regularly.

Happy Monday.

..."God, I proclaim you Lord over my life.  Help me to seek you first every day and set my priorities in perfect order.  Reveal to me how to properlly put my husband before children, work, family, friends, activities, and interests.  Show me what I can do right now to demonstrate to him that he has this position in my heart.  Mend the times I have cause him to doubt that.  Tell me how to prioritize everything so that whatever steals life away, or has no lasting purpose, will not occupy my time.  I pray for my husband's priorities to be in perfect order as well.  Be Lord and ruler over his heart.  Help him to choose a simplicity of life that will allow him to have time alone with you, Lord, a place to be quiet in your presense every day.  Speak to him about making your Word, prayer, and praise a priority.  Enable him to place me and our children in greater prominence in his heart than career, friends, and activities.  I pray he will seek you first and submit his all to you, for when he does I know the other pieces of his life will fit together perfectly."

In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 2 of of my "something new"

Perhaps my prayers for Brian will be offered up on a Monday through Friday schedule.  It's much easier for me to put it in my weekly schedule than it is for me to find time to steal away during the weekend. 
Since it is Monday morning I don't have much time to share, but wanted to post another prayer.  I appreciate those who are encouraging me during this time and I'm so honored that you'd read through this prayer - and perhaps offer up the words towards your spouse.

"Lord, I commit our finances to You.  Be in charge of them and use them for your purposes.  May we both be good stewards of all that you have blessed us with and walk in total agreement as to how it is to be dispersed.  I pray that we will learn to live free of burdensome debt.  Where we have not been wise, bring restoration and give us guidance.  Show me how I can help increase our finances and not descresse them unwisely.  Help us to remember that all we have belongs to you, and to be grateful for it.  I pray that Brian will find it easy to give to you and to others as you have instructed us in your Word.  Give him wisdon to handle money wisely.  Help him to make good decision as to how he spends.  Show him how to plan for the future.  I pray that he will find perfect balance between spending needlessly and being miserly.  May he always be paid well for the work he does and may his money not be stolen, lost, devoured, destroyed or wasted.  Multiply it so that what he makes will go a long way.  I pray that he hwill not be anxious about finances, but will seek your kingdom first, knowing that as he does, we will have all we need."

In Jesus' name,

Thanks for sharing this moment with me.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The start of something new

Usually people start something new in the NEW YEAR!  However I have thought long and hard about what I want to do differently this year.  Of course I want to make more memories as a family, make healthier choices, and grow closer to the Lord, but specifically...what do I want to do? 

I've decided specifcially I'd like to pray for my husband more.  This won't be terribly difficult because unfortunately it does not happen often now.  This should not be!  I want 2013 to be a year where we grow closer and begin to "train up our child" with good examples of how a husband and wife come together. 

Prayer has always been something I do throughout the day, but never really stopped and focused in on praying, you know?  I will start small at first and build from that point.  Every once in a while I will share a prayer on my blog.  I'd like to do that today because I really like this prayer.  A close friend gave me these little notecards with prayers from the book, "Power of a Praying Wife." 

I have a feeling I will be sharing a lot of them with you.  I encourage you to take a minute or two and lift up the same prayer for your husband (or wife for that matter). 

"Lord, I pray that You would protect our marriage from anythign that would harm or destroy it.  Shield it from our own selfishness and neglect, from the evil plans and desire of others, and from unhealthy or dangerous situations.  May there be no thoughts of divorce or infidelity in our hearts and none in our future.  Set us free from past hurts , memories, and ties from previous relationships and unrealistic expemctations of one another.  I pray that there be no jealousy in either of us, or the low self-estemm that precedes that.  Let nothing come into our hearts and habits that would threaten the marriage in any way, especially influences like alcohol, durgs, gambling, pornography, luch, or obsessions.  Unite us in a bond of friendship, commitment, generosity, and understanding.  Eliminate our immaturity, hostility or feeling of inadequacy.  Help us to make time for one another alon, to nurture and renew the marriage and remind ourselves of the reasons we were married in the first place.  I pray that Brian will be so commited to You, Lord, that his commitment to me will not waiver, no matter what storms may come.  I pray that our love for each other will grow stronger every day, so that we will never leave a legacy of divorce to our children. "

All of this I agree Jesus' name. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

8 Months!

 YAY!!!  Claire is 8 months old this weekend! I tell ya, she just gets more fun the older she gets! I love it.  We had a lovely weekend while Dad was out snowboarding.  We definitely missed him, but we also had a good time while he was gone.  We took some time to take her 8 month-old pics - which I did NOT realize she had her size 6 month jeans on!  OOPS!  I thought her little gut stuck out a bit much!  lol
Oh well - she's still adorable.  She's quite the little model - with putting her hands behind her head and doing a pouty-face. 

Here's my big girl standing up with just a little help!  I just can't believe that in no time at all she will be able to push that thing all by herself.  Right now she just stands there and doesn't move her feet at all.  She sure has fun standing - she absolutely loves it!  The toy she has in the picture is one that plays cool jazzie versions of kiddo songs.  We also have another great one with a barnyard theme.  She is just too fun to watch as she goes through her day discovering new things.  She's super close to crawling - it's not even funny!  Below you will see a series of a few pics.  I thought for sure this was it!  But once she got into the crawling position she gave up and flattened out.  It will not be long!!!  Get those gates up on the stairs!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  Ha - ya I know a little late!  Oops!  I have kept thinking, "Boy - I really need to do a new blog post."  Then...well...then life happens.

Rather than go into a ton of details and such I think I will briefly share what's going on right now in the Shoebox household.

Brian is getting ready to go on a snowboarding trip.  He's super excited and can't wait for the upcoming trip.  I hope he has a tremendous time because things aren't looking good for him going out any other time for the rest of the winter season.

On that note - Claire has started physical therapy.  She has been diagnosed with toticollis.  It sounds more daunting than what it is.  If you want to learn more click here. I've done some google-image searches and have found that Claire's case is extremely mild compared to some other babies out there! WOW!  Therapy is on Mondays and will likely be mid-afternoon and thereby ruining any opportunity for Brian to get out to the "slopes."  (one of many sacrifices he's made for our little monster)

Her 1st appointment was yesterday and she did SO well!  The therapist moved her around, stretched her, rolled her etc...and she really didn't even fuss.  She was soooo good! (no surprise here haha)  I hope the subsequent appointments are the same.

I'm starting a new job!  YAY!  I will be working at TransTech in Itasca.  This will end my days of commuting to the city.  I really did want to make it work.  There's just something so cool about working in the city.  The only NOT cool thing is when the people who live in the city look down at you and think you're lame because you're from "the burbs."  In their minds you have no interesting stories, your weekends suck, and you lead an underwhelming life.  Oh well - they will see the light someday.

We have decided to stay in our townhome for a couple more years.  This decision results in a couple things. 1) we will need to be more budget focused so we can save $$ for a big down payment for a single family home later on 2) more updating our home.  I have a couple close friends who blog about home renovation...I might be joining the cause! 3) we don't have to move/put up the house for sale soon YAY! WIN!

Ok - I believe that's all for now.  I will leave you with a few fun pics of my favorite baby ever.

My big girl is standing!
She loves her vanity set!

Look how tall she sits!
Lol - sleeping + holding foot

I'm 7 months!