Monday, March 31, 2014


Surgery is tomorrow. 
Praying so hard for this sweet family... 

family party.

Lawson got 6 of the 8 "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books. He checks them out all the time from the library and reads them over and over. So I arranged to have everyone get him one. This one is his favorite... from Sophie. 

A cd he's really been wanting... but he was really confused by Grandma's wrapping. =)

Cheating at basketball, trying to beat Uncle Casey...

So blessed to have family nearby to celebrate with us. =)
(Some day we'll get you here for a party, Aunt Heather and Uncle Brian!)

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Happy birthday to my favorite red-headed, basketball loving, technology crazy, farm loving, 9 year old! 

You're a good little farm boy. It just suits you out here. I love to see you out taking care of Abe.

This wasn't your most awesome birthday. Having consequences on your birthday isn't any fun. Giving out consequences on someone's birthday isn't any fun, either.

But having a good attitude and showing respect is important... even when it's your birthday.

You're a good kid... a smart kid... an ornery kid... and a funny kid. There are some character traits your daddy and I are working hard to instill in you... knowing that we've only got about 9 more years of you living in our house. I have no doubt you'll get them, though. We love you too much to not help you become the man God wants you to become.

Occasional bad attitude or not... you're still my favorite little man.
Always have and always will be.

Friday, March 28, 2014

made my day.

I may have used the word "craptastic" to describe my day yesterday. 
It wasn't awesome. 
So you can imagine how much it made me smile when a sweet little first grader gave me this note this morning... 
(Just ignore the messy desk...)

Moments like this make me love my job. =) 

Monday, March 24, 2014


As if the first day back at school after Spring Break wasn't crazy enough... 
this is what happened when I sent the kids to recess at 11:00 am... 

Is it *ever* going to be spring?!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

{building a house} answers.

Still finishing up some answering some questions from January... 

* House reflection -- how are you settling in? What do you like the most? 
* For sure a post about the building process... what you are so glad you did, what you wish you knew or had done differently! 

Just a warning... this post will probably be pretty long and pretty random. I have lots of thoughts in my head and I'm not sure how organized they'll all be. =) 

Building a house was definitely a dream come true for us. Corey had talked about building/living at his grandpa's farm someday pretty much our entire marriage. I wasn't crazy about the thought of farm life for most of our marriage, but a brand new house was appealing. =) So we had both been dreaming for years.
{We're still dreaming about grass and landscaping...} 

We knew several things that we wanted... 
* 4 bedrooms (we wanted each kiddo to be able to have their own)
* a dining room (we have an antique Hoosier cabinet and big table that have been in the family for years.) 
* an open kitchen/living room
* a big front porch
* a BIG mudroom! 
* an extra room for a craft room (this was really just my wish, not Corey's) 
* a breakfast nook with a bench window seat (again... just me!) 
* the stairs in the middle of the house with a turn/landing halfway
* everything important on the main floor so that someday when Corey and I are old, we won't have to worry about going up and down stairs. 

I had been looking at house plans and pinning them on Pinterest for quite awhile. None were just quite perfect. We weren't sure if we wanted a two story, or just a one story house. I was completely opposed to a ranch style house. Nothing against ranch style houses... it's just not my dream house. And since we are planning to retire here, we knew we were only going to do this once. 

I pinned this house a few years ago and said that it was the closest thing I had found to my "dream house!" 

We knew we wanted/needed a basement. This is Kansas, after all. Gotta have someplace safe when those tornados come rolling through. We weren't sure that it made sense to do a two story house, though, when we were going to be pouring a full basement. We realized that we were more interested in the *look* of a two story house than the actual two stories. 

So this is the plan we started with: 

We made some changes... moved the garage to the back of the house... made the mudroom bigger (we actually did that a couple times... so glad we did!) and we pretty much just left the basement design to the architect. We told him we wanted 3 bedrooms, a jack and jill bathroom, a family room, utility room (for the furnace, water heater, a/c unit, etc.) and then a storage room/storm shelter. (We ended up making that room bigger, too. Again... so glad!) I don't think we made any changes to the basement floor plan. None that I remember, anyway. 

I know that building a house can be really stressful for some people. Some couples talk about it being so hard on their marriage. We didn't really have that experience. Yes, there were LOTS of decisions. So many decisions. But really, the only one that stressed us out was wood flooring. We knew we wanted most of the main floor to be wood floor, and we knew the look we wanted. We just had trouble making our vision match our budget. =) 

Several people that we worked with throughout this whole process commented on how "easy" we were. I joked one time that normally it wouldn't be a good thing to be called easy... but when it was coming from our builder and the plumber, I took it as a compliment. =) Really, we just trusted that the people that we were working with knew a whole lot more about building houses than we did. We listened to their opinions, took their advice and even let them make decisions for us sometimes. (The plumber kind of redesigned the floor plan in the bathroom... explained why he thought it would work better and we said, "Sure!" And... he was right! The electricians walked around with us and pointed out all the places they thought we would want outlets, light switches, light fixtures and we said, "Sure!")

Corey and I compromised pretty well, too, I think. There weren't that many things that one of us was dead set on and the other wasn't. The things that were really important to one of us, weren't that important to the other one. A white kitchen was the one thing I wasn't going to give on. It was too important to me. So Corey agreed. 

The fireplace and mantle were important to him, so I let him make all the decisions there.

I wanted white trim and Corey wanted stained trim, so we compromised there. All the interior trim is white, but the doors and most of the windows are stained. We kept the windows in the kitchen and mudroom area white, but the rest are all stained. I love how it turned out. 

Honestly, every single time we went shopping for house things (appliances, wood floor, tile, carpet, lights) or met with someone where decisions were involved... I intentionally wore my amy {heart} corey necklace... 

Just as a reminder that we were in this together... this was our dream.
{This was on our 15th anniversary... buying appliances.}

I had a Farmhouse 3-ring binder that I took with us everywhere. I had divider tabs with pocket folders for each main room or area (Kitchen, Mudroom, Bath, Doors/Windows, Bedrooms, Flooring). Each tab had notebook paper behind it where I wrote notes about anything and everything. Receipts, business cards, prices, sketches, anything that we wanted to be about to go back and look at... all in one place. It definitely helped keep us organized. 

I also had blank calendar pages in it to write down what was happening at the house. Those are fun to go back and look at. Kind of crazy when you think that they started digging the basement on April 1st and we moved in on August 10th. Less than 5 months. Crazy. 

Ok... this post has gotten long and I still have a lot to say to answer those questions. 
{And there are only 3 minutes left in the Shocker/Kentucky basketball game! Since we only get 2 TV channels, I'm watching it online and switching back and forth between Blogger and ESPN.}

I'll be back with the "things we're so glad we did" and "things we wish we had done differently" on another day. 

{Go Shox!!}

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

please, please pray.

If you've been reading here for awhile, you might remember my sweet friend, Danielle...

She's my organizery twin. She understands the importance of a good list... a good notebook... a fun and colorful planner... all those important things that we listy people like. =) 

She's sweet and kind and gorgeous and thoughtful. She was one of the few people who knew I was interviewing for a job back here in the spring of 2012. Despite her busy schedule and her own classroom and kids, she managed to drop off a sweet gift at my school that day. Daisies... in a mason jar... with the adorable daisy stamped metal lid... and a sweet chalkboard label. Along with a sweet, encouraging note and best wishes. So thoughtful. She has the whitest teeth and the prettiest smile. I just adore her. 

We were never lucky enough to teach in the same building, but she was pretty much the only reason I looked forward to some of those district meetings. We never got to spend enough time together. 
We could talk about almost anything and we laughed at how similar we are. 

I asked for prayers for Danielle and her sweet family 3 years ago when her daughter, Britton, was getting ready to have surgery on her cleft palate. Her surgery ended up going beautifully and Danielle appreciated all your prayers so much. Britton is now an adorable little 4 year old. Seriously. Look how sweet she is... 

And... she now has a super cute 2 year old brother, named Cole. (Can you see those *blue* eyes?!)

I honestly can't remember the last time I actually saw Danielle's face, or heard her voice... but she's one of those friends that no matter how long it's been since we've talked... we can still pick up where we left off. 
An occasional email and random texts have kept us connected since we moved away 20 months ago. 
But I wasn't prepared for her latest email... 

This gorgeous young girl (she just turned 32 a few days ago) was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. 

They don't know the name of the cancer at this point, but they do know that it is aggressive. It has spread to surrounding tissue and possibly the lymph nodes in her left arm. Danielle is scheduled for a double mastectomy on April 1 and will begin chemo shortly after that. 

Her attitude is nothing short of amazing. But I wouldn't expect any less. 
I have made peace with having this cancer. I know and believe with all my heart God is carrying me through this journey.  I just desire to know the plan of attack.  Once I know exactly where the cancer is and what the treatment plan is, I feel like I am fully prepared to travel this journey full steam ahead.  :)

Will you pray for this gorgeous family? For Matt and Danielle and Britton and Cole? 

For Matt... as he tries to be strong for his wife and kids. Tries to keep working and focus on his job, while his mind must be thinking of 1,000 other things. While he helps coach a high school basketball team in the state tournament. While so much of him must want to be able to "fix" this and make it better and he tries to surrender this over to God and let Him be the one to make it better. 

For Danielle... as she tries to continue to be the wife and mom she wants to be, while dealing with the stress and shock and feeling completely overwhelmed by everything that has happened in the last few weeks. While she tries to keep life as normal as possible for her two kids, despite the fact that her world has been turned upside-down. While she worries about her little first graders, and her classroom, and teaching (because I know she will be. It's just what teachers do.) While she learns to accept help and support from the many, many people that are offering, even though she doesn't like asking for help. 

For Britton and Cole... that they would make life easy on their momma and be able to be flexible and adjust to all the changes that are going to be happening in their little lives. That they would give their momma sweet smiles and hugs and be the encouragement she needs to keep fighting this fight. 

For all their close friends and family... that they would know how to support Danielle during this time. Know when to step in and help and know when to walk away and give them space. To know that their prayers and encouraging words are so important right now. 

{Danielle's family with her parents-in-law, brother-in-law and his family}

I am still in a state of shock and disbelief about this whole diagnosis.
It's somewhat fitting that her surgery is scheduled for April 1st. Part of me still thinks this is some awful joke or mistake.
Danielle can't have cancer. She's too young. Too healthy. Too full of life.
But somehow, cancer doesn't think people are too young. Or too healthy. Or too full of life.
Cancer just comes and does what cancer does.
And it sucks.

But we know that there is something stronger than cancer. Something more powerful.
We know this and we believe it with all our hearts.

Will you join me in praying?
Praying for strength and healing and understanding?

You are in my thoughts and prayers so often, Danielle. I only wish I could do more.
Draw from the strength of others and rest in His Hands right now.
Love you, friend!

"So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you;  
I will uphold you with my righteous hand." 
Isaiah 41:10

There is a page set up for Danielle by a friend where they will post updates, you can leave wishes, etc. 
I'm not sure if you can view it unless you are registered, but just in case: click here.

Thank you so much for all the prayers! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

1 more day.

1 more day until Spring Break. 
I think we're all ready... 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

first grade.

These little people make me smile. 

They also make me take ibuprofen and feel like I am talking to myself sometimes. (We're all ready for Spring Break!)

Making 100 pancakes for 100's Day! (To go along with the book, "The Wolf's Chicken Stew.")

100's Day collections...

3rd, 4th and 5th grade don't really celebrate 100's day like we do in K-1-2, so they come check out all our collections.

Celebrating Kansas Day! (I still find it interesting that no other state celebrates their "birthday" like we do...)

Making bread...

Their sunflowers make me happy every year...

We've had way too much indoor recess this winter. Wii Just Dance through Youtube has saved us several days...

We've also done some Cosmic Yoga Adventures! (Thanks so much for the idea, Laurie!) =)

Building towers at the end of our science unit on solids...

Valentine's Day...

They love to work with partners during math...

Oddly enough, our combination Pajama Day (school-wide for Dr. Seuss week) and Stuffed Animal Day (a reward they earned), was one of our calmest days last week...

(They were singing our "Twinkle Friends" song with their stuffed animals. Those animals danced quite a bit that day.) =)

These little people do make me crazy some days.
But they make me smile more often than they make me crazy.
I'll probably smile a little more, though, after getting through next week.
It's almost Spring Break! =)