and kids

and kids

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Cookie Grandma

The anticipation of a visit from Grandma and Grandpa J was exciting for young me - Every. Single. Time. Grandpa would have balloons and Grandma would have tupperware boxes full of cookies that she made. I don’t remember, sorry mom, if we had a lot of homemade cookies when I was young, but I do remember Grandma J’s. Even as the years went on and the cookies were not as good or plentiful, the child-like excitement was still present. My husband got to experience it and some of my older kids hold on to that memory.
Grandma J was a good grandma. You never doubted that she wanted to be with you. She was always fully engaged with whatever you were doing. We did crafts (how many communion cup wreaths and bulletin necklaces did I make with her?) together, we did puzzles, played the piano, colored, and I have many Easter egg coloring memories. She loved to talk and I loved to hear her stories, no matter how many times I had heard it before. I loved how she would tell a story that was somewhat embarrassing, or silly, and she would cover her whole face with her hand and silently laugh. I can see her doing that right now in my mind.
She taught me to cross-stitch and she tried to teach me to make clothes, but that was not something that ever caught on for me - and she never judged me for that. She taught me to cook. (Old legend has it I would stand on her stool in her Moscow, PA, kitchen and crack eggs for her at age two) She taught me to knit. She taught me many things, but one important thing she taught me was how to love my husband well.
When I got married, Jason and I spent our first Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa J’s. Eight weeks married. The main purpose of the trip was not Christmas, but the celebration of the J’s 50th wedding anniversary. What an honor to see that commitment - even Grandpa's commitment not to eat cake.
Fast forward at least a decade, I loved watching the example of Grandma and Grandpa J’s love for each other. They read the Bible together, they held hands, told each other’s stories, winked at each other (at least Grandpa J’s sparkly blue eyes did a lot of winking), rubbed each other’s back. The love and respect (even if it seemed gruff sometimes to an outsider) expressed between them was something to behold. Like a school-girl crush, I loved the way that Grandma J wore Grandpa’s wedding ring, even if it was way too big, after he passed away. Those two had such a passion for each other. A love that I pray Jason and I can imitate in decades to come.
When Grandpa J passed away, Grandma J was beyond crushed. I can't even imagine. She was hopeful to follow him quickly, but the Lord had other plans. Plans for her family to take care of her and honor her. And what an honor it has been.
I know I was only a small hand in Grandma J’s care, but I loved the times I was able to help. I understand her well-being was a bigger burden on others, but what an honor the Lord gave us to tend to her this past year. I loved my days I got to sit with her in the hospital while she had pneumonia. She felt horrible, she wanted to get home to Thrive, but she was kind, she was thankful I was there, and it was a joy to help her those days.
It was clear in the last few months that Grandma J wouldn’t make it much longer. She was clearly getting weaker, less social, and no stories were being told. Heather and I were discussing today, on our way to meet with the funeral home, how thankful we were she was able to join us for Easter. Dad went up and got her to make sure she could spend Easter with the great-grandkids, no matter how tired she was. It was our last family gathering with her. My last cup of hot tea shared with her. The last plate of cookies we set in front of her.
Our timing is not the Lord’s timing. And we can never plan as perfectly as God.
The Thrive staff was an incredible “other” family for Grandma J. They have truly missed her in her time of illness and weakness. Apparently, today, she got up. She got dressed. She went to Bible Study. She ate a great lunch. She stuck around and was social and hanging out with her friends. They were thrilled to have her back. Then she went to her room, took a nap, and awoke in the arms of her loving, faithful Lord. What a blessing, for all her friends at Thrive, to have one last day with her. What a blessing that her last hours were fun, rather than stuck in bed. What a blessing Thrive has been.
Mom and Dad headed out of town this morning, having no idea what the Lord had planned for the day ahead. When we got the call that she was in her last hours, JR (who could get there fastest) rushed up to see her, but he was only a few minutes late. As JR, Heather, and I left Thrive, following Grandma out, the residents of Thrive lined up at the door to pay their respects for their friend, Freda Belle. They all hugged us. They loved her so much. And she will be missed. Missed by so many.
As frustrating as this is, with mom and dad out of town, with me planning to take the kids up to see her on Friday, what a blessing to know she isn’t struggling to get enough oxygen tonight.
What a sweet reunion she and Grandpa J must be having.
I look forward to seeing them both one day. And maybe, just maybe, there will be a tupperware box of cookies waiting for me.
Most likely...the best cookies ever.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

Mollee treated me to a movie tonight - how awesome is that? We have both been excited about seeing "Beauty and the Beast" since it was announced. We watched the Disney a few times this month and we saw the CCS play earlier this month - which was amazing!

We enjoyed the movie and the "Girl Time".

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lego Batman

Spring Break treat was to take the kids to see the new Lego Batman movie. As it gets harder and harder to find a movie that ALL the kids will want to watch together, I cherish these times.
And, Tavis did this after the movie...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dieudone and Edimo

For Spring Break we had Dieudone and Edimo over for a few days. I picked them up Friday night and they stayed until I took them home Tuesday evening. Of course, we loved having them in the house. 

Dieudone seemed to jump right in to our chaos. Edimo didn't say much and was always "moving" - typically kicking a soccer ball in the front yard.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Day with the Isaacs

I had today off and was going to run some errands. Since Ruth has no car while Gary is at work, I decided to see if she and the girls wanted to go with me - last minute.

Of course, Target was on the list.
We ran a few other errands and ended up at Chik-fil-A for lunch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Coldest Soccer Game...

I think even hours later, I am still thawing out. This was the coldest game I have sat thru as a Soccer Mom. It was about 30 degrees, with a 20 degree wind chill, and it was very windy.

I had on leggings and jeans, and four or five top layers, but none of that helped against the wind. It was crazy.
The things we do for our kids...

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daegan turns 14

Daegan is now 14. He stands taller than me and his voice is suddenly deep.

Things this week have been a little crazy, but Daegan did get to open a gift in the van after school one day. When you ask for expensive things, you only get one gift - Xbox game.
We were able to celebrate with the Caines on Sunday and Daegan just wanted ice cream, something we don't get at home. :)

And Daniel and Heather and Libs stopped by one evening with a cookie cake and gift card (yep, teenagers are getting harder to buy for).

Friday, March 10, 2017

Soccer by Moonlight

Daegan and Capps had a game in Cleveland today. Last minute, they change the Varisty and JV games, so that the Varsity played first. It was very clear that they wanted to make sure the older guys got to play before it got dark.

No lights at this field - we tried to play by moonlight, but the game was called 20 minutes early because no one could see.
We weren't too disappointed about the early ending time because we were not prepared for the cold of the evening.

Flying Solo

This week at work has been long and crazy, but totally doable, if necessary. I appreciate those that I work with because they cover for me when I have a sick kid and have to work from home and I am happy to cover for them when they are gone.

My quote this week has been "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" Young has been in Romania for a few weeks on his yearly trip. Carol went on a last minute trip to Minnesota to see an ailing grandmother. And Susan came in for an hour Monday morning, in hopes not to leave me alone, but I sent her home and she later tested positive with the flu.

These are the days you really learn to appreciate your co-works. I am missing my support staff, but I have been very thankful for Emily to come in and help as she could. Having someone cover the phones and answer the front door is a huge help.

I survived.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Not enough cords

Sometimes when you have multiple siblings, multiple devices, and not enough cords, you have to take things into your own hands...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Soccer 2017

Tonight was the first game of the season for Daegan and Capps. I loved being #soccermom again.
 Yep, I forced this picture before they could complain.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Stormy Leggings

We cancelled church tonight because they were calling for terrible storms - strong winds, rain, hail, etc. We had to make a decision early for the sake of cooking a meal or not cooking a meal. Thankfully, the storm hit just north of us and just south of us.

In the meantime, I was wearing my leggings with lightening bolts, just to be "prepared".

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hearty Meals Needed

I have hit a stage in my mothering life that I thought we already sorta hit, but it got exponentially worse in the last few weeks.
My kids are good eaters - when they were little, they ate way more than Heather's kids. Over the last year, the growth spurts have been crazy and the appetites even bigger. Now, I have three boys starting soccer and two of those boys are weight lifting. And they are always hungry. Always.
Last week I scrambled two dozen eggs, cooked two pounds of bacon, served grits, cheese slices and apples and oranges. Still hungry...
Last night I made a double (2 - 13x9) portion of a popular casserole, corn, beans, peas, biscuits, cheese, and oranges. *sigh* Still hungry...
Found the older two boys eating an hour later. Ha.
I'm not complaining. I love feeding them. And I love seeing them become men. And I don't need anyone to tell me they don't need all that food - if you saw them, you'd know they are burning the calories faster than they are eating them.
I'm just gonna have to up my game on hearty meals.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Commit now all your griefs

After a fairly rough weekend (personally), this was the song we sang on today, love the words - and the title: COMMIT NOW ALL YOUR GRIEFS
Commit now all your griefs and ways into His hands;
to His sure truth and tender care, who earth and heav'n commands.
Who points the clouds their course, whom winds and seas obey,
He shall direct your wand'ring feet, He shall prepare your way.
Give to the winds your fears; hope, and be undismayed;
God hears your sighs and counts your tears, God shall lift up you head.
Through waves and clouds and storms he gently clears your way;
wait for His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day.
Still heavy is your heart? Still sink your spirits down?
Cast off the weight, let fear depart, and every care be gone.
He everywhere has sway, and all things serve His might;
His every act pure blessing is, His path unsullied light.
Far, far above your thought His counsel shall appear,
when fully He the work has wrought that caused your needless fear.
Leave to His sovereign will to choose and to command;
with wonder filled, you then shall own how wise, how strong His hand.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Youth Game Night

Since Jason and I are now working with the Youth Group, we "get to" attend all of the functions. I never saw myself as one to work with the youth, but I am enjoying it and, thankfully, my kiddos are happy to have me there.

Tonight we had a High School Youth Game Night - just a few hours to hang out in the Youth Suite and play games together. Everyone brought a snack to share! It was fun and definitely a big hit.

In our newly remodeled Youth Suite we got a 72 inch tv and a NES system - so fun!

 Always a game of pool going on.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Grandma J

Grandma J has been hospitalized twice in the last month. One for bronchitis and low oxygen levels that needed to be tended to and then the second time she had pneumonia, flu, and they found a stress fracture in her back.

It seems she has aged quickly in the past few months. It has been hard. Hard on Grandma J, but mostly hard on my mom.

Mollee was able to go one Sunday afternoon and hang out and help for awhile.
 And Tavis and I went and hung out between school and soccer one Friday.
I love my Grandma J - it is very hard to see her so pitiful and frail.

On a side note, she was mesmerized by this picture. She couldn't believe I just held the phone in front of our faces and "snapped" a picture onto the screen.


This week is Interim at school for the High School. Mollee signed up to work on painting murals that will be hung around campus. She has had a blast and Aubrey was in the group also, so it has been an incredible week for her.

Tavis wanted to go on the soccer trip to Florida, but that wasn't in the budget, so he and Josh signed up for Trailblazers. I was a little shocked this is what he signed up for, but he loved it. This group worked on clearing overgrown trails around town. They worked very hard all week and Tavis came home with a box full of cool glass bottles found along the trails.

This was a collage on the school's website...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The forecast called for bacon... we had bacon for dinner!
I love it when the hubs helps out in the kitchen.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Flu hits the Browns

After not feeling well on Friday, Tavis woke up Saturday with high fever. I took him to the Minute Clinic and he tested positive for flu. I really just wanted to know, to be prepared.

I was glad to know. By Monday, everyone else had fever. All five with the same time. It kinda worked out better for them to all be sick together and it not to be drawn out forever. I was able to work from home mostly and spray and disinfect hourly.

We could afford Tamiflu, but I hear it doesn't work great any way. With a little research, we went the homeopathic route and everyone took Elderberry syrup and Oscillococcinum, three times a day. Plus, Vitamin C with breakfast. And - no fever reducer. I understand and agree that the body gets a fever for a reason - to fight infection. Therefore, if you can withstand it, you need to let your body "heal itself". Mac's fever did get up to 104 a few times and I did give him tylenol - I'm not a monster. 

With this combo, everyone only had the high fever 2.5-3 days. Plus, Jason and I did not get flu - which seems pretty amazing.

This is pretty much what everyone did all week - watch tv and rest.
I went homeopathic for medicine, but this is what my Wal-mart run looked like - aka. not homeopathic.
And, a kind soul (brother-in-law) left this for me on the front porch:

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Hammock

Tavis got a hammock for Christmas. He loves it, but today I stole it for the afternoon.

Jason was working and I was napping (aka hiding from the kids) in the backyard.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


I, honestly, never know when it is cold in the house - yes, I have a problem. But, after multiple complaints this morning, I agreed to turn on the heat...briefly

Friday, February 3, 2017

Shooting Range Dates

I love to go shooting and I love to go on dates, so going to the range is fun for me.

Jason has been working many late nights and six day weeks, so I miss him. I am super busy with work and the kids and life is going by very quickly.

Today, we had a few hours where the kids were at school and we each had a few hours, we went to the range.
Of course, we tried to go to lunch too, but the school called us and we needed to come pick up a sick kid.

Back to reality.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Purse

I like order, but my purse is always one chaotic mess that is constantly overflowing with...whatever - meds, checkbook, banana, glasses, snacks, phone, keys, chapstick, veggie straws, extra contacts, nail polish, coupons, hair ties, etc.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Eye Troubles

I've got some eye troubles, that I won't get into all the details of here, but they are a little scary. I am trying not to dwell on them since the frustrating outcome could be in six months, two years, or ten years.
With my struggles, I've found it easier to focus on my computer at work with reading glasses that are just slightly strong. It forces my eyes to stay focused, not necessarily needed for seeing - if that makes any sense.

The prescription is so slight, they are a little harder to find. Typically reading glasses start at +1.25, but I only need +1.00. Found some today at Walmart for cheap, so I bought a purple pair, a blue pair, and a red pair. Why not?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mom Tip - Facebook Post

Speaking love languages, and benefitting from it. Taught Mollee (who is a little OCD and loves creating order and smoothness) to iron placemats, uniforms, and Daddy's shirts, something I never have time to do. I have Capps hanging out with me while I clean, he loves to be with me and is very helpful on small tasks. Daegan is in the backyard burning old bills and checks that need shredding -'s fire! And my two ADD boys - sent them out into the neighborhood to play because they are pretty sure sitting in school five days a week is torture and they need to "be free".

Productive Saturday!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Back to California

I am beyond sad to say that our new Senior Pastor has resigned and is taking his family back to California. It has been a shock and caused much sadness within the church body, but we all know the Lord has a plan.

They are leaving on Monday, but we were happy to go on one more double date Thursday night, go to a good-bye appetizer party with just a few friends on Friday, and then really say goodbye on Saturday when they stopped by to drop off some of our belongings.

The amount of tears that have been shed can't even been counted.
Working with Jesse has been a major blessing for me. I've learned a lot, he has made some stressful situations not so stressful, and he has made day-to-day office life actually fun. I've enjoyed my time with Lenny as well, along with the kids who have made good relationships with their boys.

Damn, I am gonna miss them.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Capps and Friends

Stole this from the school website. Capps and some of his buddies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Monday for the books (gross picture warning)

On Saturday, when we went ice skating, Daegan fell and insisted he hurt his hand badly. I believed him, but I wasn't willing to pay an ER visit for them to say it was sprained. So, we waited until Monday to go to the walk-in orthopedic clinic.

I love the doctor at the walk-in clinic, but they were so busy because it was Monday morning, they asked if we would see Dr. Arnold, a hand specialist. He just happens to also be someone I went to high school with.

We waited and waited and waited. "Working us in" was taking a long time. We got there at 8:15 and left at 11:30.
Daegan fractured the bone at the base of his thumb. Brace for three weeks just protect it so it doesn't break the rest of the way.
So, I got to work hours late and worked a little late to make up for it. As I was pulling in the driveway, I got a call from my sister (a few doors down) to say that Tavis had cut his finger while whittling a stick. She felt it needed an ER visit.

I drove down, picked him up, and we headed to the ER. It was bad. Extremely deep and dangerously close to some important tendons.
Well, we didn't avoid the ER, but we did avoid two ER bills. Tavis got to experience his first set of stitches from the best ER doctor at Children's.
 The boys we to school like this Tuesday morning, after a long holiday weekend.

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