Black friday fun.

No not that kind – the kind where you stand in line in the freezing cold for a good deal or two. (Although my sister and I DO have that kind of crazy fun every Black Friday!) I mean, the kind where my girls and I get the Christmas tree stuff out and put it all up to surprise daddy before he gets home from work!

And we did it!

After my all-nighter in the cold (which was super disappointing this year because there really wasn’t anything that was THAT great of a deal so all of that and I’m still mostly empty-handed in the shopping department!), Kealey Grace rallied the other girls to let me sleep in a little bit, brought up all the heavy and large bins full of tree stuff, and in true “mini-Ben” fashion, had the tree parts all laid out according to color (how our tree is set up).

20131129_224632000_iOS It was so fun to crank the Christmas music up loud, sing at the top of our lungs, put the tree together, smother it in lights and ornaments, and sit with our hot chocolate and admire our handiwork three hours later! It is a weird and new thing to have actual HELPERS at this time instead of trying to corral small bodies and take 39 diaper/feeding breaks. Times like this it hits me that I don’t have BABIES anymore, I have big grown up girls! When did this happen? When did I stop having to shop in the baby part of Target for clothes and instead try to find all matching outfits in the little girls area? When did they stop liking matching outfits? (Ok they haven’t. Or at least I refuse to believe this one yet!)

It is hitting me this year, this Christmas season, that our lives are changing. We are entering new territory – as parents, as kids, as a family. On the one hand I embrace it – I mean – I didn’t have to bring all those boxes up by myself, right? Holla!!! On the other, I’m not ready for this! i don’t have a baby to rock to sleep while patting it’s little diapered tushy, I don’t have a bunch of plastic toys created in China that someone HAS to have this year, I don’t have babies I have big girls! (Basically this post and it’s sentiments will probably be on steady repeat for the next fifteen years…)

So for now, we are soaking up every minute of this holiday season. Putting up the tree, trying to find the perfect wreath for the front door (this is seriously stressing me out, but i’ll put that in another post), trying to clear out some of my usual clutter so I can make it look more “christmasy” in the few areas of this house that I can actually decorate. Our elf “Snowflake” has begun to make her seasonal appearances, to observe on the behaviors of four certain little girls and report her findings back to Santa. We listen to Christmas music in the car, and we are anxiously awaiting the first REAL snowfall of the season to make it seem more Christmasy. Plans with our awesome extended family are starting to be made and it is most definitely beginning to look (or at least feel) a lot like Christmas around here!  I love this. The anticipation of this entire season – never knowing exactly how it will turn out or what magic will happen when you least expect it.

And that’s what I want to focus on this coming month  – the magic of Christmas, of the season, of the reason for the season, of just being together. I hope you’ll come along with us on this journey.  I want to post more pictures of the “stuff” of what this season means to me and our family.  (Again, i’m pretty sure I say this every year and it fizzles out by December 8th or so, but we will see. i’ve done better with this NaBloPoMo than I have in years past so…there’s always hope???)

So that’s our fun for today. Lots of togetherness. Admiring my beautiful baby girls who are not babies anymore. Making memories, laughing together, singing loud for all to hear and spreading Christmas cheer.  And now I have to go type up a few posts to backdate so – have fun on the old post scavenger hunt!

And then head on over to the Terra Talking FB page and tell me what your family does on Black Friday/the day 20131127_154338000_iOS after Thanksgiving/Nov 29 if you don’t live in the USA. Because it will be fun and stuff. Plus i like hearing from you!
hope you all had a beautiful wonderful holiday with your family and friends, celebrating and giving thanks however your family does!
Thanks for checking in here on our crazy family!

peace out party people.


the weather outside is frightful.

Not sure that THIS is what Ol’ Deano was singing about – the tornadoes, strong winds, flash flooding, hail, and thunderstorms – but oh well. Frightful weather is frightful weather, right?
IMG_2868 The good news is that our immediate area was safe from the worst of the storms, we only had an hour or so of scary winds and nonstop thunder with pouring rain. We have some friends, including some with children who rely on medical equipment that runs off of electrical power, who will be without power for days and who are not even sure when or how they will be able to leave their neighborhoods. My heart aches for them, as well as the cities that endured such devastation in today’s storms. While the threat of some storms is near our area quite often, today’s storm had a much different “feel” to it, and Ben and I were both spurred into action to prepare things for Kendall’s medical needs, as well as the food/warmth needs of our other girls, down in the basement. While we have spent more than a few hours in the basement when there’s a threat of bad weather, it has been a very long time since we’ve made any real “emergency” preparations. I guess today just had a more urgent feel to it. We actually got up in the middle of church once our phones started alarming nonstop with the EMS and the tornado sirens outside were also going off.
Anyways – we are ok.

I know so many are not, and our prayers are with them and their families at this time.

Besides the actual frightful weather,  the title reminds me that it is Christmas season! I am getting so excited! christmas music, red cups at starbucks, christmas lights and decorations – the wonderful beautiful anticipation of all that Christmas holds! I’m hoping we can get decorations out and put up soon! It feels like this season has the ability to just FLY by, more so than usual even, probably because of how soon after Thanksgiving Christmas will come this year. Whatever the reason – I want to soak it all up. All the craziness and all the good times and all the memories – I just want to BE in these moments.

We have a busy week coming up – I will be speaking at a women’s bible study on tuesday morning (not a whole lot, just a few minutes in correlation with our special spaces friends bringing awareness to their amazing gifts to families like ours. Wednesday we will be seeing our dearly beloved Dr. A to get a good plan for kendall’s respiratory care this winter (and just to check in with him like we need to do every once in a while!) The girls have their first performance of the dance season on Saturday so they have extra rehearsals this week also. But these are the weeks that are FUN!!! the weeks that once i’ve survived them I feel an actual sense of accomplishment!

sorry this one is kind of just general minutiae – maybe one of the backdated blog posts i have to get will be more exciting. I will also have pictures tomorrow of Kendall’s “Wish Granting” party tonight, where Ariel came from Under the Sea to tell her that her wish to go swimming with her down at Walt Disney World had been granted! She was so excited she could hardly sit still – and once all the activity was over, and we were on our way up to bed, she says “mommy – i just so diz-osted. but dat was so much fun.”

i’m getting pretty “diz-osted” myself. So i’ll see you crazy kids on the flip side.


Merry ChristmaNewDisentines


It’s been a grip of time since I’ve updated so why not cram a few weeks/holiday updates into one, shall we?

IMG_5163 (Hence the title: Christmas, New Years, Disney and because it’s going to take me a few days to get this one written, we may as well throw Valentine’s in there too!)

I will not be able to do Christmas justice this far after the fact.

It was a good Christmas. (I’m saying that in my best “wind in his hair” accent. Except it’s not from Dances with Wolves, its the old Indian dude Staab from Legends of the Fall. This is why i shouldn’t blog after a bowl of Cherry Berry. Only my husband will understand what i am saying and he will do his little smirk which is about as much emotion as he shows, even though he does think I am hilarious. most of the time.)


where was I?

Christmas. Good. See, I knew ahead of time that their big gift was going to be our family trip to Disney, so it made me very reluctant to get a lot of “real” (wrappable) presents. (Well, that plus a distinct lack of fundage to buy tons of presents. Splitting hairs.) BUT – I wanted to get them stuff FOR the trip as part of their gifts, except that their Christmas wish lists didn’t include “new underwear” and “car trip boredom busters”. It’s not a super huge deal, but I wanted them to get at least one of their Santa list gifts, even though I knew that a trip to Disney (and a whole extra week off school) was plenty gift in and of itself. We were extremely blessed by an agency that we work with for Kendall’s nursing as well as some amazingly generous friends who both helped ensure that some of the financial burden of providing a good Christmas was relieved. Ben has done an amazing job of utilizing some of his travel points to provide the hotel room for our two nights at Disney, a flight for Kendall and I, and we have been saving our pennies up to pay for the gas for the rest of the family to drive down to Florida. Christmas would not have been as Christmasy if it were not for our Christmas angels. Thank you is so inadequate – to all of you who have helped our family out on our journey over the past couple years. You all know who you are. I would fall short if i even tried to begin listing you out by name. I pray that God blesses all of you in the way you have blessed us. Anyways – Christmas rocked.

We were all so excited that we got to share Christmas with “sissy Christine” – a beautiful young lady that Ben and I first met when we lived in Washington and worked at our church in the Awana program. It is hard to believe that she has been like a daughter to us for almost 12 years now! And now she’s a momma herself! She and Baby Sophia came to spend a few weeks with us, and we had so much fun getting ready for the holidays with her! She is getting ready to leave and it is making me sad! It has been an adjustment having a 4 month old baby in the house again – but oh so fun! We are going to miss them so much!

And then Kendall had to go and get stuck in the hospital on December 30 (she had spiked a lowish gradeIMG_5191 fever that i would have likely let go, except we leave for disney in a week and i couldn’t risk that she would pull the stunt she pulled last time she had a lowish fever and needed an ambulance ride within a few hours!) So we trekked up to milwaukee, had a nice little 24 hour long visit (they wanted it to be much longer, but a. i needed to get home to pack and be with my family, and b. you DO NOT want to start the year out by owing your entire out of pocket copay in the first few days!) She’s getting tanked up on IV antibiotics and IV antifungals so we can hopefully “optimize her health” for her quality of life on the trip. In english, this means that we are treating a UTI that we normally would choose to not treat so that her typical UTI symptoms including bad pain, increased spasms, lethargy and nausea will be held at bay so she can enjoy next week’s magic to the fullest of her abilities!

So now we pack and prepare and hope we have everything we need for Atkinson General Hospital to hit the road!

A little bit about our plans:

Ben and the big three girls will all leave early Saturday morning to start driving to Florida. They will have most of Kendall’s medical equipment/supplies, all of our luggage, etc. Then on Sunday morning, Kendall and I will head to the airport to hopefully navigate the TSA nightmare with all of her fluids/pumps/medications that we will need for the day. Trying to pare this down to the bare minimum while making responsible decisions about any “emergencies” that may or may not arise has been a challenge. I think we have the letters of medical necessity/medical care plans/other paperwork all set, her emergency supplies, her daily supplies, her crayons/playdoh/minnie doll/glass slippers…

Ben will stop in Atlanta on Saturday night (because he likes to make it a direct straight 24 hour drive but his dad told him he BETTER stop and take two days to drive down or he would not be buying Disney tickets! Thank you Poppa Bob!!) and then meeting Kendall and I at the Orlando airport to pick us up on sunday afternoon. We will be staying at an off-site Hilton property that “has a view” of Disney’s Magic Kingdom on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights – going to the park on Monday and Tuesday. We debated about which parks to try to hit – but in the end decided that for our first trip, and not knowing how Kendall will do with the “overload” of it all, that we would probably get the most bang for our buck by hitting Magic Kingdom for  both days. I mean, Pirates is there, and that’s really all that matters, right? 😉

Just kidding. I honestly don’t even think the girls know there are actual RIDES there besides the teacups (because they see those in the disney commercials). I think they will all get enough enjoyment out of the activities at MK, and for Kendall, she just really really really wants to meet the Princesses. And Minnie. And Mickey. And Goofy. And Daisy. And….And…And… The parades with the characters will hopefully satisfy the “meeting everybody” requirement. I know they are going to love the trip no matter WHAt happens or who we meet or what rides we manage to make it on. They have no expectations so they will be easy to meet/exceed. It will be magical and awesome and I feel like I want to take nonstop videos and pictures to try to capture the absolute wonderment of it all in their eyes. i hope to be able to do it justice in the retelling.  I’ll likely be putting most of it on the Terra Talking FB page and tweeting a lot of little moments. (My tweeter is up on the side on the left if you aren’t on twitter regularly.)

On Wednesday morning we will be driving a few hours south back down to Ft. Myers to spend a couple days with Ben’s family enjoying the pool and beaches, and then Kendall and I fly back home on Friday, with the rest of the family following behind in the car. It was a rather impromptu trip, but will be oh so welcomed! The girls are very happy to be missing a whole extra week of school, and I am so glad that it is for a GOOD reason! They deserve the magic of this trip just as much as Kendall does for all she endures and has fought through the past couple months especially.

So now to finish the last minute packing, making sure all the stuff to fly with kendall’s stuff is in order, putting batteries in cameras, gathering up crayons and markers for the car trip. In the words of a character from my favorite book/movie (the Shawshank Redemption) “I find I’m so excited I can hardly hold a thought in my head. I hope the Pacific Ocean is as blue as it has been in my dreams  (that Disney is as magical as it is in my dreams). I hope…. I hope.”

Thank you to everyone who is or has been a part of us being able to mobilize and move out, getting TO Disney, helping with suggestions or advice on how to fully take advantage of our two days, EVERYTHING. Thank you Thank you Thank you to so many people.

I better get off of here for now and go actually finish packing or it will never get done!

I’m sure I’ll blog one more time at least before we go. So much I want to say and not enough time to sit and type it all out!

Have a super sparkly day everybody!



Essay Tea-You-Are D.A.Y. {night}

Random Update of Randomness shall now commence.

Life has been busy around here. Busier than usual even.IMG_5085

Our house is full.

A friend who is like a daughter to us is here visiting from Tacoma with her 4 month old beautiful baby girl.

Poor Ben. A house full of 7 women. He thought it was bad when it was only the 5 of us!

The girls are LOVING having their own little living baby doll to play with/feed/swing/hold/take pictures of! I am loving the extra help with dinner/cleaning/projects!

We are wrapping up final Christmas preparations – last minute shopping, we got the teacher gifts all finished up and wrapped, making (more) cookies, watching our favorite Christmas movies football games. Ok I wanted to watch Christmas movies but I don’t control the remote in this house. Maybe tonite I’ll get to watch my movies! (Because we all know i’m actually finishing this on Sunday in spite of my best intentions to blog yesterday on Saturday. Or the day before that. or the week before that!)

It seems semi-surreal to me, that Christmas is only a few days away yet here we sit going about our Sunday afternoon routine – sitting in jammies, reading, playing computer games, watching more football…Shouldn’t we be like, i dunno, making merry or something? Don’t get me wrong, we WILL do all that stuff, the stuff that makes Christmas merry. Like singing christmas carols in church, driving around looking at lights, drinking hot cocoa while we watch feel good Holiday movies, wrapping gifts. But is that what it HAS to be? Christmas really is about the feeling in your heart – of giving, and loving, and spreading joy and warmth to others around you out of the goodness of your heart. And if I ask myself if we’ve done THAT stuff, then yes. Christmas is here.

christmas2011-13 I hope that my current lack of Christmas cheer is only because I have a leaky eye and a stuffy nose and every time I turn around the littles have created another mess I have to clean up. I hope that tonight as we are all getting into Christmas finery to head to church that i get “that feeling” back. I know I will as I sit and wrap gifts tomorrow night as is my usual Christmas Eve tradition – drinking loads of coffee, watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”, wrapping gifts that I should have thought about wrapping weeks prior…And as I put the gifts under the tree, and imagine the excited squeals of delight as my babies view their loot from Santa, then it all hits me. All the good stuff. I’m not being very coherent today. It’s my stupid eye.

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow morning. I hope it does. Nothing says Christmas spirit to me like a good old-fashioned snow storm, right??? (and i don’t wanna hear from all you haters who hate snow. Let me have my moment please!!!) CHRISTMAS = SNOW. Welcome to my world. This is how it is.

I think i’m almost done boring you to death with this bunch of random rambles…

I hope you are all having wonderful Christmas Eve-Eve’s. i hope your hearts are filled with love and whatever semblance of Christmas Spirit that makes you feel whole and fulfilled.

I’ll be back to bore you some more later!


Love and hugs –




Also – don’t forget to enter the holiday photo contest at BabbaCo! It’s super easy – and since it helps me earn a few pennies to rub together in my pocket, i’d be super appreciative if you could help spread the word and have your friends go to THIS LINK and enter also!

And a huge thank you to everyone who already has clicked, signed up for the newsletter, and entered a silly photo in the holiday contest! I really really really hope one of my awesome readers is the one who wins!

Merry Christmas!

I am so tired.

We made it here – to this point where the gifts are wrapped, the note from Santa has been written, the glass of milk has been drank and appropriate amounts of cookie crumbs are still scattered on the plate – and all my babies are snuggled in their beds with visions of ….whatever their crazy dreams consist of, dancing in their heads.

i have sobbed my way through the last part of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (and Ben even watched it WITH me this year – for a nice change!)

And now i am sitting here hoping I got it right for them this year. It was just such a hard year with all the different ages. Kaylen and Kendall will have a virtual plastic baby world set up and ready to go now and I know their little eyes will light up with the magic of it all. But what about my big girls – who are getting WAYYYY too big and too old too fast, but who themselves are still little girls? I want to keep them all young forever. Somewhere between talking back and fully potty trained would be nice.  But it made it hard to find the perfect gifts for them. The gifts that will keep them my little girls, while acknowledging their growing and changing tastes and individual preferences.

And I am glad that we are home. together. as a mostly healthy family.

and my heart is heavy for those who are not at home, but who are instead laying in the hospital. As well as rejoicing for those who have, however narrowly, avoided being in the hospital, but are making large sacrifices in sleep and comfort anyways in order to remain at home with their medically challenging child.

And mostly – I am just so very thankful that 2000 years ago, on this nite, a young girl, probably scared out of her mind, and her husband, who probably thought he was losing his, welcomed their baby into this world. And that because of Him, and through Him, we can all have a chance to celebrate Christmas every day, day after day, in Heaven and for eternity. Emmanuel – God is with us. Thank you for coming, baby Jesus.

And Happy Birthday.



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