Thursday, June 7, 2018


Summer officially begins!

Here are the plans we have in place for the boys this summer.  Hopefully we are going to do a better job from last summer: more structure and a few more breaks for me.

1. Summer school for both boys in the 
mornings for the month of June.
2. Daycare for Ben M-W-F mornings and for 
Jonah T-TH mornings during July/August
3. Horse Therapy lessons every Tues afternoon
4. VBS at the end of June
5. Swimming lessons for July/August
6. Schoolwork hopefully 15-20 min a day 
with each boy....
7. FUN, FUN, and MORE FUN!!!!!


Stephen graduated high school on Sun, June 3rd.  Congratulations to him for that accomplishment!

Here is our family photo when Abigail graduated high school in 2016, and then our family photo from Stephen's big day.  Ben arrived the month after Abigail's graduation so he isn't in that 1st family photo.  Oh how our life has changed!

One of the bigger changes for us this summer is Abigail is will not be home for the summer.  We are super proud and excited for her because she got an internship at one of the large biomedical companies in the Twin Cities.  This is a great opportunity for her, but it means we lose out on having her around this summer.  

It also means our big family vacation this summer will be to Minnesota!

Here is the video of Stephen's valedictorian speech


It was two days of fun, anxiousness, some sadness, and then some great happiness.

Stephen finished 7th in the 1 mile after an amazing push at the end that almost got him to podium in 6th place.  Stephen felt tremendously disappointed with that result Friday night, and he had the feeling that he hadn't left everything on the track after that race.

So Saturday he raced his heart out!  He ended up in 3rd place for the 2 mile, breaking his PR by 13 seconds!

We are so proud of him putting it all on the line and risking it by going out fast and furious on his very last race ever for his high school career.  That took great courage, and we are so happy you raced away your disappointment from Friday.  It was so sad to see you disappointed so we wanted you to end on a good note not a sad one which you did!

Stephen's 3200 meter- from the stands

Stephen's 3200 meter- close up view

Stephen's 1600 meter- close up view

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Stephen qualified for state in the 1 mile and 2 mile events.  We are very proud and excited for him to have this opportunity.  We are very proud of all his hard work this track season as well as the past 4 years of high school cross country and track.

As much as we would love the fairy tale ending of winning at state, we realize that just being able to run at state is a privilege and honor.  We hope to just enjoy ourselves and the experience, regardless of the outcome.

Here are some photos from last week's sectional which qualified him for state:

Monday, May 21, 2018


Stephen will be graduating from high school on 6-3!  So many emotions, happy and sad, as I think about and prepare for that event. 

Here are some thoughts I shared with him about my hopes and dreams for his future:

For me when I think about wanting you to have the wind on your back, my first thought is I hope you have much happiness and success in your life.  However, perhaps more importantly, I hope that all that your dad and I have taught you over the years will stick with you, pushing your forward in your endeavors.  I hope that we have given you a good foundation that you can build your hopes and dreams upon. 

Proverbs 1:8-9
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.


Stephen I hope that you will always keep Christ as the center and main focus of your life.  I hope that in all you do, you do it for the glory of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:2:…Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I hope you continue with the many wonderful friendships you have formed over the years here in Cedar Grove.  I hope that you make good friends and have great fun when you are at Carleton College.   But most of all, I hope you always have at least one or two good Christian friends in your life.  These friends will encourage you, guide you, and keep you accountable in your relationship to the Lord.  I also hope this is true of your future wife someday- that she will share in your love of Jesus and that the two of you can build your marriage upon that firm foundation. 
Ecclesiastes 4:9:Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
I love you so much Stephen.  You have brought me so much joy and happiness.  I am so proud to be your mother and to call you my son.  I am so excited for your future even though I will be so sad to say good bye to you this fall.  I will miss you greatly.  Please remember we are only a phone call (or text) away.  Please don't forget about us. 


One of my favorite photos of 
Stephen and his little brothers!

Two of my favorites of Stephen and I
(Look! He's giving me a hug and kiss!)

Sunday, May 13, 2018


During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I got an amazing summer job.  Part of the amazement of it was that the summer before, I worked in a factory that made Christmas bows.  The hours were 5 am to 3 pm, and the work was very monotonous.  This new job was exciting, way more interesting, and didn't require me to get up at 4 am!  It was in downtown Milwaukee which was even more fun.  I loved it!

The next summer I could have had that Milwaukee job again, but I was given the opportunity to have an internship with our County which was in my area of study at school.  I chose the internship even though I knew how much I would miss the job in Milwaukee.

That summer was really hard for me.  Even though the internship was an incredible learning experience, and I worked with very nice people, I really missed the job in Milwaukee and often felt like I had made the wrong choice.  
Those feelings really didn't make sense, but I still struggled with them.  

I am not trying to minimize Ben's experience of coming to live with us as being as trivial and simple as my feeling bad over a summer job, but it is only thing I have to compare to it.  

Sometimes I think Ben struggles with me as his choice of a mom.  I think he often feels like he is missing out on someone better.  It is very obvious when our oldest daughter Abigail comes home, that he prefers her over me.  He calls her mama when she is around, and he often distances himself from me and becomes weirdly defiant when she is home or just after she leaves again.  

It isn't that Ben doesn't like me, but all I can think is he struggles with the "what ifs" of if there is someone better he could he have ended up with as a mom.

He's only six, I know.  But he stills has feelings and emotions.  He had a whole life in that orphanage for 6 years before he came to us.  He had an assortment of caregivers.  If he didn't like one, that shift would end, and maybe one he liked better would take over.  I, on the other hand, am around 24/7...

He had a very special caregiver that I am sure he has memories of and probably misses her.  All of sudden she was just gone from his life.  Think how that had to hurt him?  From the short video we have of her interacting with him, I am nothing like that "special mama".  I don't look like her, I don't sound like her, and I am not as animated or exciting as her.  

I often think Ben's life with us has got to be better than his life in the orphanage.  But even though the orphanage wasn't ideal, that was his reality for 6 years.  That was his normal and his routine.  Anything you give up after six years is going to leave a void and need a huge amount of adjustment time to get use to not having.  

And remember, we knew Ben's life was about to change to an even worse reality of the mental institution where he was due to be transferred at 5-6 years old.  We know the Lord rescued Ben from that horrible situation which would have been the rest of his life, but Ben doesn't know that. Ben doesn't know what he was spared so he can't really even have the element of gratefulness in how he responds to me.  Because he doesn't know or understand what could have been....

Why am I sharing this?  Because this weekend Ben had some odd and weird defiant behavior especially towards me.  Happy Mother's Day, right?  :)

It isn't that big of deal because Ben and I have actually had a very nice stretch the past few weeks.  I know with Ben there are ups and then downs so perhaps now we are entering a down stage.  I am learning to ride it out.  But these thoughts just came to me as I was thinking about the thoughts and feelings that this little guy must be feeling.  And I couldn't help but wonder if Ben is often plagued with if there is something better behind the other doors of life?

Our three older children, Lydia in particular, made me a beautiful dinner for Mother's Day.  So sweet!  And the little boys gave me beautiful art projects they made at school for me.  It was a fun and precious day because I also got to celebrate and spend time with my wonderful mom!  So many blessings Lord!