Friday, March 30, 2007

List of things to do on Spring Break:

  • Celebrate an anniversary
  • Spend time with the kids
  • Spend time with family
  • Visit a museum in Chicago
  • Take lots of walks
  • Play, play, play!
  • Catch up on scrapbooking
  • Catch up on laundry
  • Don't feel bad that you're not in Jamaica or Florida
  • Enjoy just being with the people you love
  • Feel good that you accomplished everything on the list!

Hope your spring break has been as enjoyable as ours!

Friday, March 23, 2007

We'll Build a Household of Faith...

Those are the lyrics to a song that was sung at our wedding seven years ago, and we are still singing it. "We will be a family in a house that will be a home, and with faith we'll build it strong. We'll build a household of faith, that together we can make, and when the strong winds blow it won't fall down. As love in Him will grow, then the whole world will know, we are a Household of Faith."
My sweet husband and I are celebrating seven years of marriage on Monday. In honor of our anniversary, I thought I'd share our "story." I love telling it and some of you (unless you tire of reading long-winded blogs!) might enjoy hearing it.

I was 18 when Jerry and I met for the first time. We were both music majors. I was a freshman, he was a senior...and a big man on campus. He was president of the University Choir at the school and was helping all incoming freshman and transfer students at choir auditions. I was very nervous, focused, and stressed. He says he thought I was cute and had a great smile (he just asked me to add that). Shortly thereafter, the president of the university died suddenly, and Jerry's choir sang at the memorial service. It was the first time I had ever hear them sing, and they were amazing. Afterwards, at the reception, I saw him across the crowded room (really, I did), and I made a beeline for him in my polka dot dress, where I fumbled all over myself to tell him how beautiful the choir sounded and how impressed I was. He was so handsome and he made my heart flitter flutter. I'm serious, don't laugh. He truly did. After making small talk, he invited me over to his house where he and his housemates were having a party/movie night. The only problem was...I had a date. So I did what every sensible girl would do...I brought my date with me! My date decided shortly after arriving that Jerry's party was lame and that we should go. I left begrudgingly to go to a wild beer party on campus, and after about five minutes I ditched him to go back to my future husband. Let's just say it was love at first sight. We were inseparable.

Jump ahead to the end of that year. Jerry graduated, I still had three years of school to finish. We were separated by distance, which is never easy, but we did our best to continue seeing each other. It was hard on the relationship, and we both tried to move on...never successfully. Even while dating other people, the two of us were always the standard by which we judged everyone else. One thing always remained...we were devoted to one another, in friendship and in love.

After many years of being on again, off again, I finally came to my senses and realized that if I didn't marry this man soon, he'd be permanently off the market and some other lucky woman would snatch him up. In fact, he was in a serious relationship at the time, but when she left town, he invited me to a show that he was doing. Mind you, I had recommitted my life to Christ, and I was living a different life than when he first met me. I knew God's plan was for me to have a man in my life that loved Him, and I was committed to waiting for whoever that was...but I always knew it was Jerry. The Lord was already at work in his life, and eight years later, the Lord made it clear that our time had come. The night of his show, Jerry sang a song that I knew was meant for me, and afterwards, I poured my heart out to him. I told him how I felt and we were back together...just like that!

One month later we were engaged, and one year later we were married in a beautiful ceremony at our church. One year later we were pregnant with our first-born, and seven years later we are the proud parents of two adorable boys.

I can honestly say that I am just as crazy about my man as I was the day I first met him. God knew how much I needed him, and I never cease thanking God every day for bringing him into my life fifteen years ago. As I look back on those early years, despite the fact that I travelled down some roads that I'm not particularly proud of, I wouldn't change a single thing. Every path led me to where I am Jerry's arms.

We recently sang together for an event at our church. We love doing duets, but this one in particular really meant a great deal to us, because it truly encompasses our story. It's a song entitled, Bless the Broken Road.
Happy Anniversary, Honey. Here's to many, many more!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

While he was sleeping....

Welcome to my word-filled Wednesday. I had to share the fact that I had the most productive day. It helped that my feeling-a-tad-bit-better pre-toddler took a good nap while Cody was at school. As soon as he was quiet, I retreated to the basement where I proceeded to sort through everything...from baby stuff to artsy craftsy stuff to Christmas stuff. And I just posted twenty items on this awesome site and have seven of them claimed already. Ah, it feels good to get rid of stuff. I mean seriously, I have this really great leather backpack down there (that seriously weighs ten pounds without anything in it) but I haven't used it in at least ten years. Why do I continue to haul the thing with me whenever we move? And as for all those magazines...have I really cut out recipes, ideas, money-saving tips and that oh-so-adorable cookie creation I swore I'd make from all those family friendly magazines? NO. So offered they were to the lucky person(s) who claims them. And my basement just got that much cleaner. It was therapeutic. In the process of all of this, I pulled out my scrapbooking stuff, dug out pictures of Caden and intend on using next week's spring break to scrap his first year. I did it for Cody, I want to do it for Caden. I think THAT will be therapeutic too. Okay, truth be told, I don't want Caden asking me in twenty years, "Where's MY book?" That's a question I'd prefer not to answer.

****Updated to add: Of the twenty items I posted, only six remain. Yippee! Freecycle, ya'll. It's the greatest thing. And your "junk" becomes someone else's treasure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A case of the Springtime Sickies

I packed up the car, grabbed my keys and the last of my things and went to give kisses and hugs to all before I left for the retreat. When I leaned down to kiss Cody's forehead, he felt warm, so I grabbed the thermometer to get a reading. Fever. He was coughing, his nose was running, and he seemed really tired. Even though I knew he was in more than capable hands (daddy's of course), I hated to leave. It is what every mother dreads...having a sick little one and not being able to be there.

It was hard to enjoy the retreat completely, knowing that he was under the weather, but everytime I checked in, Jerry assured (and reassured) me that everything was fine. I tried to relax, take time for myself and not allow my worries to overtake me! The worship went well, the speaker was phenomenal, and the time away was good. But oh, how I missed my guys.

As soon as I was able, I got in the van, drove home, and was greeted by a running, hugging, feeling-much-better five-year old. It was nice to be back home....where I belong. It's interesting, really. As a mom, I really looked forward to the time off, but then when I had it, all I wanted to do was get back home so I could be with my children!

And now today I have a sick little one-year old who needs lots of mommy time. His symptoms are the same as big brother's, so we're giving it a couple days to see whether or not he needs an antibiotic. He's very cranky, irritable, and restless. I think I got about two hours of sleep last night...and now I'm the one who's irritable!

While he naps, I am thankful for the quiet of this moment and hope he can get some much needed rest. With that, I'll sign off and wish you all a happy, spring-filled Tuesday.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Today is my sister Kari's birthday. I am a little late getting this on the blog, but wanted to make sure the day didn't go by without a little "shout out" to the best big sister a girl could have. The best description of her...she is truly an angel on earth to so many who know and love her. I love you, Keewee!
(An little explanation about the picture: Every year our family exchanges white elephant gifts at Christmas, and this was our contribution. She was the LUCKY recipient!)

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Time for Quiet

I am headed up to Wisconsin this afternoon for our ladies retreat, which I am very much looking forward to. I have the privilege of leading worship for this event and I am leaving the boys behind...this is my first time ever leaving the baby. I am so thankful for a husband who is more than willing (and fully capable) of taking care of them. I will really miss all three of my boys, and it's hard to leave, but I know that this will be a wonderful time of refreshment and relaxation for this tired mama. I am bringing my bible, my journal, a good book, and a heart ready to worship and be taught.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
~Matthew 11:28

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The time appears to be at hand....

I knew at some point, it would happen. It couldn't last forever. After all, we made it a full year. I guess I just didn't think it would happen this soon. Caden has started to wean. It started with a skipped feeding here, a half-hearted feeding there. Then, all of a sudden, we are down to about two a day. I didn't even really see it coming because it happened pretty naturally.

The thing is, we don't know if this is our last baby. We're pretty sure it is, but there's still a little uncertainty with me that just doesn't seem to let go. We're not really sure what that means, but we have always said that God has planned our family and His plans have always been good ones. But if Caden is our last baby, then this is my last nursing baby. And I'm sad.


Several of you have asked about little Joshua who was diagnosed with Stage 3 Wilm's Tumor in February. I have not posted about him recently because I didn't have much information. I am happy to report that Joshua's mom just sent me a link to his own website which can be found here. There, you can read his story and keep current with updates on his health. You can also sign his guestbook, which I encourage you to do if you have been following his story/praying for him. This is a precious family who would covet your prayers and good wishes for their little boy.

On behalf of the Vercouteren family, thank you so much for your interest and for your prayers. It has been incredible to witness this family's faith and trust in a sovereign God who holds their little boy in the palm of His hand. You will be encouraged as you read their story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

The Birthday Boy had so much fun!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Prized Possessions....

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:20-21
I felt I would be remiss if I didn't share what was on my heart today. As I thought about what I value here on earth, of course my thoughts immediately went to my husband, my children, my family and friends, and my relationship with Christ. Where would I be without all these things, most especially Him? This past year we've learned a great deal about contentment. We've also seen the Lord's faithfulness time and time again as He's shown us He is able to provide ALL we need ALL the time. We've learned the difference between NEED versus WANT and we've tried to be diligent in teaching our children the difference! We've had opportunities to give of our time and resources and every time, we've learned that it is indeed more blessed to give than it is to receive.
All of that being said, Steph is hosting a photo tag, and I am going to play along. The verse above really hit me today as I thought about this, and I wanted to share it with all of you. And now...for my "treasures."

This is my bible, given to me as a gift over ten years ago. It is worn, torn, highlighted and written in. I can't bear to think of buying a new bible. I love this one! It has been with me through college, marriage, two babies, and all the ups and downs in between.

This is a picture from our wedding of our hands and rings. My ring is being repaired, as I have recently lost a stone, but I do treasure both of our rings and hope to pass them down someday.

When my grandfather passed away in May of last year, we were given these captain's chairs and table that were in his living room. I chose these because they held memories of us sitting in them while talking to Poppop, or listening to the adults talk as they sat in them. The living room was truly a gathering place. We didn't watch TV in there (there wasn't one)...we sang, played cards, laughed, played with the dogs, listened to music, and talked. And oh, did we talk! We spent Christmases there, sitting in those chairs, expectant and excited to open our gifts while we watched the fireplace burn. These chairs hold such special memories, and I am honored to have these and the table in my home.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my treasures. I've enjoyed seeing yours!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Caden!

Dear Caden,

I can't believe it's been one year since you made your arrival official. I remember my pregnancy with you like it was yesterday. There were some moments that were a little scary. First, at 9 1/2 weeks, I had bleeding and cramping. At 11 weeks, I was diagnosed with a perigestational bleed, said to heal itself. At 20 weeks I was labeled "high risk" because there was a threat of pre-term labor, and bed rest was prescribed by the good doctor. After a couple emergency visits to the hospital and four ultrasounds later, everything ended up being fine, and you made it to 38 weeks.

The week prior to you being born, you were busy getting yourself into a position that would make it nearly impossible for the doctors to get you out, but we couldn't have known that until your time to arrive was upon us.

I thought it would be fun to share the day you were born through the eyes of your Auntie Kari. She journaled the entire day for me, and her insight is priceless. (Thank you, Auntie Kari and Nanna for being there to suppport me and being my memory!) Here are some excerpts:

Happi started having regular contractions around 1 a.m. which was preceded by a weird "screwdriver" sensation in her pelvis. Nanna was called at 3:30. She called Kari and they started out at 4 a.m.

6:44: The doctor is called and he says "come on in!"

8:17: The doctor has just broken the water. Happi is between 2-3 cm and 50% effaced.

8:59: Happi has been walking the halls to help labor progress. At one point she hears a woman screaming next door and innocently asks, "What's wrong with that woman?"

11:35: We're having fun with nurse Becky discussing nursing and the options of storing breastmilk for future use...including cooking for the family. Jerry has come up with some new dishes to try: Lactatoes, Lac & Cheese, and opening up a LacDonald's!

11:50: Happi s 4 cm, 80% effaced.

1:15 p.m.: Becky hooks Happi back up to the monitor and the contractions are coming quickly and with more intensity. Blood sugar is low and she is awaiting a popsicle from Becky. After trying it, she decides to just eat sugar packets and drink water instead.

2:11: Becky checks Happi and she is still 4 cm., Happi is getting very discouraged with the lack of progress.

3:36: Dr. has been in. He says she is 4 cm, 80% change. Options are discussed, and Hap agrees to start a low dose of pitocin. An IV is started (it took several people to get one in). Hap is so discouraged, and getting more and more emotional. "Happi, this will fade in your memories...thankfully! Soon you will have that little baby in your arms and I know the day will come soon when you watch your two boys together. You'll watch Cody sing to his little brother, share a special toy, or read a book to him. Your pain and discouragement will be long forgotten as you look at both your sons, praise your heavenly Father for them and think to yourself, 'what did I ever do before my little boys came into my life?' You call me when you have that moment, Sissy! I will know EXACTLY what you mean!"

5:56: The pit is working. Contractions are closer together and gaining more intensity. Doc comes back in to check. Happi puts her finger in his face and says, 'Do NOT even tell me I am 4-5 cm or I will hurt you something fierce!!!' The check shows 5 cm and 90% effacement. Her feet and legs are tingling, she is in pain, and Happi is NOT happy.

6:09: An epidural is ordered (much to Hap's dismay). Dr. feels that the intensity of the contractions may be preventing her from relaxing her pelvis. He also advises that by agreeing to an epidural, she will be able to save her strength for pushing. Happi reluctantly agrees.

6:36: Happi is now begging for the anesthesiologist to arrive and administer the epidural.

7:12: The epidural has done its job. She is at 7 cm. YAY! Becky begins to prep the room and feels you will have a baby by 8 p.m.

7:33: Dr. Dan comes into check. He puts a monitor on the baby. You are still at 7 cm but feeling tons of pressure. Baby's heart rate has some dips, so Dr. Dan wants to monitor him closely.

7:55: The nurse for the night shift has just come in and she keeps changing your position based on the baby's heart rate. You are feeling so much pressure and really want to push.

8:08: Dr. Dan comes in- you are now 8-9 cm! He asks for a little push. A new nurse enters the room, gowned up and ready to go. You're so close Hap! Baby's heart rate is dipping again. You are given oxygen. Dr. Dan is watching things closely. You are 100% effaced.

8:13: Dr. Dan tells us the baby is sunny side up. He's hoping that he will turn as you begin to push.

8:20: You REALLY want to push. Dr. Dan is trying to manually rotate the baby and it is 8:25 now.

8:34: Dr. Dan announces it's time to get the bed ready. Neonatology is called as well as the anesthesiologist.

8:36: He's HERE! 7 lbs., 5 oz. and he looks just like Cody! (a little side note: When Caden arrived, he was blue, but he began breathing pretty quickly after he emerged...but this is why neo and the anesthesiologist were called. It was very scary because of his heart rate dropping and the fact that he was in a position that made it almost impossible for me to push him out.)

8:53: Nanna asks Dr. Dan how close we were to a c-section and he reveals we were about a half inch away from the OR. (I am so incredibly thankful that I was able to avoid a section. Any other doctor would have wheeled me into the operating room given all the problems. But after 19 hours of gruelling labor, I think the good doctor knew I would go into hysteria if presented with a c-section. He was watching things very closely, and I trusted that he knew what he was doing. My mom and sister might disagree, however!!!)

Caden, my labor with you was not at all what I expected, nor was it in my "birth plan." But praise be to God, you arrived safe and sound, despite all the bumps and bruises you endured along the way. I'm so thankful for the gift of your life. Thank you for teaching me so much this past year. I can't wait to continue to watch you grow into the man God has called you to be.

For a sweet message from your here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Two words....


She rocks. And, I was just looking here and discovered she's a Believer. Now there's a girl after my own heart...not only can she sing, but she loves Jesus!

If you want my professional opinion, she is the next American Idol. If not, some lucky soul will snatch her up and make her a star anyway.
And if you don't believe me, just watch this:
Anyway, I LOVE that girl!
Updated to add: I do not, for the life of me, know why America kept Sanjaya but let Sabrina go. It is beyond me. Like Simon said...maybe people had their televisions turned down and got hypnotized by Sanjaya's hair. It's beyond me. Seriously, people...for the love of all things talented...VOTE HIM OFF!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

The Dirty Baby
The Budding ConductorAnd the Sudsy Baby

...Just another day in the life of the Berger family!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The moral of the story...

A wise man listens to counsel. A couple of weeks ago we were contacted by a lender to refinance our home. A refinance would greatly help us right now, and we were excited at the prospect of saving ourselves a chunk of money each month. We are somewhat ignorant about financial matters, so the deal we were presented with looked pretty good to us.

Turns out it's not.

After consulting a couple financial advisors from our church, I knew immediately this "deal" was not really a deal. We have now changed brokers and know that, this time, we're in good hands.

The moral of the story...always seek good, solid, Christian counsel when making a major decision. In this particular case, it saved us thousands of dollars.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Belly Fun

Steph is hosting a prego belly photo tag over at Adventures in Babywearing. Unfortunately, I don't have a working scanner, so the only picture I had on the digital is this one (not my favorite). My hair was so short (I cut my hair before I had both my babies, don't ask me why???), but you get the idea. I think I was about five months pregnant at this point, and I love the picture because of Cody showing off his belly too. I am enjoying all of your pictures (such cute mommies you are!). Thank you for sharing!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

This is my DNA!

This is so cool. I found it at Steph's site. It's easy to do and fun to see how others compare! Now go...get yours!

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Ultimate Blogging Party!

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a blogging party, and I hope you'll join in on the fun. Since you've stopped by, allow me to introduce myself.

I am a stay-at-home, work-at-home wife and mother. I have two little boys, 5 years and almost one (see the following post). I teach private voice and piano lessons to students of all ages. I am married to my college sweetheart (a full-time elementary school music teacher). We are church-going, worship-singing, life-loving people. Here we are...hubby and I.

I blog about anything and everything. I hope that those who visit my blog will be encouraged. I enjoy blogging because it is a way for me to express myself, to journal about life with my family and my walk with the Lord, and to remember the milestones along the way.

Before you go, here are my pride and joy, my handsome little men.

Please let me know you were here by leaving a comment and letting me know where I can visit you! I am so happy you stopped by to say hello. I can't wait to meet you!

Where has the time gone?

For those of you that read my blog, you know this is a recurring theme. I really don't know where the time has gone. For starters, my little baby boy turns a year old one week from today. The first six months I was in survival mode and these last six I've been in awe of how much he has changed, grown, and developed. He's SO cute, I simply can't stand it.

This week, I took my five year-old to pre-register for Kindergarten. Those of you that know me well were aware of the fact that I have spent this entire school year in prayer and in hot pursuit of knowledge regarding his education. I read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling, spoke to many people and attended meetings, researched private Christian schools in the area, and sought out friends who have their kids in the public schools.

The Lord was faithful as we walked through these decisions together, and we earnestly sought His wisdom and prayed for an answer. The answer came in an unexpected way, but it became clear nonetheless, that we were to give Cody the opportunity to grow in the public school. We live in an award-winning district, and we have heard nothing but great things about our schools. After meeting the teachers, touring the building, and allowing Cody some time to explore, I felt a sense of peace about the decision.

I could go on and on about how we came to this, but the main reason for my post today is to share the realization that time truly is of the essence. I would not trade the last five years for the world. As hard as it is to think of my little boy going to school next year, I know that the Lord goes with him and that He will continue to grow and thrive as he has done in preschool these past two years. I pray that the foundational values that we have worked hard to instill in him will reap dividends as he continues to become the boy and man God has called him to be.

But the question still remains...where has the time gone??

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is my wonderful hubby's birthday. I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a sweet man of a husband, but God gave him to me anyway...and I'm forever grateful. And here's the top 20 reasons why:

1. He loves Jesus.
2. He's kind, generous, and forgiving.
3. He lives out the verse "Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7)."
4. He helps with the laundry, dishes, and the kids.
5. He changes the litterbox and handles the garbage EVERY week.
6. He loves me and our little ones unconditionally.
7. He loves being home with his wife and kids.
8. He's devoted, trustworthy, and committed.
9. He can live with me.
10. Did I mention, he can live with ME??
11. He actually enjoys watching Oprah and Dr. Phil. (Sorry, honey, the women out there will really appreciate this.)
12. He likes it when I pick out his clothes, but doesn't expect me to iron them.
13. He's a caring and devoted friend.
14. He's incredibly talented (you should hear him sing!).
15. He can make me laugh harder than anyone I know.
16. He has many personas that "show up" when you least expect them (we love you, "Joe!" You're our favorite.)
17. He watches "American Idol" with me and does a great job imitating the judges.
18. He loves to roughhouse with the boys, watch cartoons, and do "kid" stuff.
19. He has helped me learn to like cheese (but not tomatoes).
20. He makes my world a happier place just by him being in it.

Happy Birthday, Honey! I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful day (despite the fact that you're spending it at school all day for conferences). You're the GREATEST!