Monday, June 25, 2012

Dear Baby

Dear Baby Stevie-
      Oh sweet baby of mine, today (June 25th) was your due date. My heart aches that I will not hold you this side of heaven. What a sweet thought to know that 5 months ago the first person you ever saw when you opened your eyes was the precious face of Jesus. There is no better place to be, wrapped in the arms of the one who created you. Thankfully, you will never face the pains of this earth, but unfortunately your family will never enjoy your laughter and smile. 

This month has been hard for me. I knew this day was approaching and I have had some tough days. I don't think I got to fully mourn your loss when we lost you because my health was so at risk. Now that I am healthy, I am more aware of our loss. Beautiful healthy babies are being born this week all around me. It is a reminder of what we will not experience with you on this earth.

Your daddy and sister referred to you as "Baby Stevie" while you were growing inside of me. That name has stuck and you will be forever Baby Stevie. I really believe in my heart that you are a girl, one day we will know.

I know you are playing in heaven and I believe one day I will see your smile, wrap my arms around you and smother you with kisses. I look forward to that day.

I love you-
Your mommy

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Almost 7 year prayer

In our first year of marriage, Steve and I bought our first home in Bradenton, FL. We soon left to help church plant in Orlando, then in 18 months gone from there to head to our current home for the last 4.5 years Olathe, KS.

Every since we moved to Orlando, we have rented the house. We tried selling it when we left, but we bought at the worst time and tried to sell at a terrible time. Our rent didn't allow extra money to have a management company to take care of it, so we managed the house from halfway across the country. It is an older home, that seemed to often need work. Needless to say, it was our "thorn in our side." 

June 4th, we finally sold the home, we closed on it and are so thankful for the lessons we have learned from owning this house. Steve wrote his thoughts on the house and since he is much better with words than I am, here is what he had to say:

Monday of last week (Juen 4th), Erin and I officially closed on our house in Bradenton.  It is hard to explain or describe the freedom we have with the absence of this financial burden.  We are grateful for the way so many people walked us through the past several years.  Here are some of the ways we received support: prayers, on location help, wise counsel, and encouragement.  As we close this chapter, I don’t want to miss out on reflecting on the lessons learned.  Here they are in no particular order:

-       Peace is worth more than a house
o   A few years ago I had regret for the number of hours and days I lost to worry and strategizing how we could get out of this house.  Since that “awakening,” it hasn’t been worry free, but I’ve learned to practice this principle from Psalms 55:22, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.”  It is a great trade, my worry for His peace!
-       God uses hard times to increase our dependence on Him
o   For years our prayer was “God get us out of this house situation.”  At some point, our prayer changed to “God, teach us from this house situation.”  I remember at one point realizing I was actually grateful for the house because God was using it to shape us to become more like Him and be more dependent on Him.  At times the house felt a little like a thorn in the flesh, but that is exactly what God has used to help us grow. 
-       Part of praying is learning to pray “through” and not simply praying “for”
o   I tend to be an “ADD” prayer.  There is no other time where I am more easily distracted than when I am praying.  With the house, we have learned a lesson in perseverance and persistence as we prayed through the same thing for over half a decade.  To be clear, even in those years there were times we didn’t pray consistently regarding the house, but eventually we would refocus and pick up where we left off.
-       Life is a marathon, not a sprint
o   Out of college, we had a lot of energy and even a lot of desire to listen to wise counsel.  What we didn’t have is perspective.  If we had perspective, not only would that have affected the decisions we made, it also would of changed the way we viewed our realities, after the decisions were made.  One of the things we appreciate most from our grandparents, parents and others is the opportunity to learn from their experience and “borrow” from their perspective bucket.  This may be obvious but a person can only gain experience, through experiences.  This experience has helped us have better perspective on life.
-       Maintain Integrity
o   From dealing with tenants to selling the house, there were plenty of opportunities to cut corners.  To be honest, at times, the “wrong options” appealed to me more than I wished they did but I am grateful we acted with integrity.  The peace of being able to look in the mirror and know we handled it in a God honoring way is worth the 6 years of laboring it through.  It is hard to go wrong doing the right thing because you keep God on your side!
-       Some things in life are gray
o   Hang with me, this is more than a “politically correct” statement.  Let me explain: when I sought Godly counsel before making a decision, the counsel was divided.   They were all Christ followers and yet their perspective on the “right” decision was split.  The lesson we learned is that sometimes I am quick to judge others in their situation thinking I “know” the right thing for them.  In certain cases, the scriptures are clear and the decision is obvious.  Other times, it seems like God whispers more than He shouts and the responsibility we have is to make the best decision with the information you know.  Some things in life are gray.
-       God is faithful
o   Bottom line: God is good, in the good times and bad times.   He is bigger than the economy and the joy and peace He offers is not affected by the circumstances we are in.  Even though we had the house in Florida hanging over our heads, God provide an unbelievable housing situation for us in Olathe.  He is able to open doors that we could not knock down if we tried all day, everyday!

We are doubly grateful.  Grateful it is behind us but as grateful for the lessons learned.

Facing forward!

Steve and Erin

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We have worked hard to train our kids to be good sleepers. Sister was pretty easy and a naturally better sleeper than her brother. He had a really rough start, but came around. We have been having some sleep issues with little man recently. He has decided that his new wake-up time is 5:45am (or somewhere near there, the last 2 mornings has been 5am). That doesn't work for us. I love getting up early, but not to hang with my children.

We have tried everything I can think of. I have read my go-to books on sleep (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Babywise). We have tried 1 nap instead of 2 (he still takes 2 naps in the day, so I thought maybe he was sleeping too much in the day) we have tried going to bed later and earlier (most books say if they wake up early they often need to go to bed earlier, kids are backwards from adults). We have covered his window to make sure the room stayed dark. He wakes up crying which means he is not fully rested. There have been about 3 days over the last 2 months that he does wake up around 7 and he wakes up talking and happy. I took him to the doctor to make sure nothing was wrong physically with him. He is so fussy all morning until nap too because he is so tired.

I kept waiting for the "stage" to pass. I have learned that often I get all worked up about something, and in a week it is gone. Well we have been going at this for over 2 months. We don't get him out of his crib until at least 6:30am (he often makes noises or cries on and off) as we don't want him used to getting up. So here we are with no answers and a little guy who thinks the party starts early.

Anyone have any ideas?

Sister is starting to figure things out. When she turned 3 it became her responsibility to make her own bed each day. She has a queen bed, so it is a big job for her. The last few weeks she has asked if she can either sleep on top of the covers or make a "campout" on the floor so she doesn't have to make her bed. That was good enough problem solving for me that we let her do it. So she has successfully figured out how to get out of her first real chore. Come winter, she will probably head back under the covers, as her bedroom is the coldest in the house.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lake time

Last weekend we spent some time at the lake. We truly feel so blessed to have this getaway. It really is so relaxing for us.

Sister caught a fish all by herself

Steve was gigging fish

Monday, June 18, 2012

18 month Buster

Little man turned 18 months this past weekend. The words I use to describe him the most right now is "little stinker." That is what he is. It is so fun to watch his personality come out. He usually loves the camera and attention. He really has one of the best "cheese" smiles I have seen on a little kid. For this photo session he wasn't in a smiling mood, so you get to see the other side and his faces of disgust (which are just as stinkin cute to me).

He is Mr Lover and tough guy all in the same minute. He loves to cuddle, kiss and hug. He sure loves his momma's arms. But he also loves playing rough with daddy. If Steve is anywhere near the floor, Buster will run over and tackle him with all his might. Steve will sometimes yell funny things or make loud noises for fun, and Buster has started raising his voice back to him, almost like I am Man, hear my roar. 

He is a finger sucker, I so don't look forward to what that is going to do to his teeth one day, can we say buck teeth :(

He loves wearing his "Ha." He wants it on all the time while we are outside. The boy could play with a ball all day long. He just loves throwing balls and running after them.  He is very coordinated and has a great arm for his age, he is very deliberate in his throwing.

He wants to be "outsi" (outside) all the time. He would eat every meal out there if I let him. He has had all his teeth (except 2 year molars) for a month.

We are now coming into the pictures of the other side of him.

He is a hitter, we are trying to teach him the appropriate things to hit. He has started having tantrums and I have to try and not laugh at them. When he gets mad he starts making these deep noises of disgust, then goes to another room, either hits the wall with his hand or head while yelling, then returns to our presence. I will take those tantrums any day over what Sister used to do at that age. 

He isn't a big talker. He makes a lot of noises, just not organized noises. He probably has 20 or so words that I can understand, but we are adding more every week. When we try to get him to say certain words (mimic us) he just looks at us like we are idiots. He says the words he wants (ball being his favorite) but points and grunts a lot. I laugh because he just made up a few sign language words in the past few months. Most kids are moving away from sign language to verbal words, not my little man, he is now ready to sign :)

He is unbelievably outgoing. Sister has been trained to be social, but she is more of an observer and is fine in the background. Buster likes center stage. He waves to everyone, has gone through the airport giving total strangers knucks (pouncing the fist) and really loves everyone. He also loves on everyone. He will give anyone a kiss. 

He loves his "sissy or dayday." They really do play very well together. He is starting to be able to play alongside her, even though she does get annoyed at his antics at times. He is an instigator. If he sees her playing with a toy, as soon as she puts it down for a second, he grabs it and runs away laughing, while looking over his shoulder at her. 

 He has captured his mother's heart. 

His sister thinks he is pretty cool too

Monday, June 11, 2012


Summer is in full swing. We have been having fun just hanging out. We have some travels this summer (lake trips, CO in July) so when we are home, we are laying low and relaxing.  Here are some pictures from the last few weeks.

We went to St. Louis to watch Uncle Benny's graduation

Notice our children's personalities, sister is just fine blending in and watching while buster is ready for the attention

We spent Memorial Day weekend at the lake house with the Southards clan. We are so thankful for the lake house and will spend as much time as possible there the next few months.

Some other summer pictures

Our first of many trips to our favorite sno cone stand in Gardner

Buster has discovered his love for corn-on-the cob.

This is what they are doing when they are too quiet
Both kiddos "cheesing" it

Buster has started saying "sissy" and Payton loves it. She is always trying to get him to say it. They are at such a fun stage right now. They play so well together and are both crack me up. I am really enjoying them and their personalities.

Payton trying out her photography skills