Ruby’s Story

Miss Ruby Lynn,

You are the sweetest baby and after only 5 days your family is already head-over-heels in love with you. Before too many more days go by and the vividness of your birth is fogged up by sleepless nights I want to share with you just how special your story really is.

Your story didn’t start 9 months ago, at least not really. We had been waiting for you to join our family for much longer than that, three years to be exact. Mommy and Daddy knew we wanted a sibling for your brother but after four of our babies had to go meet Jesus we just weren’t sure how that was going to happen. The only thing we were confident of was that God had a plan for our family and it was going to be even better than we could imagine. So here we were…waiting…

It was the beginning of December and we were starting to wonder whether God wanted us to start thinking about a different way for our family to grow. Maybe one that didn’t involved a baby in Mommy’s tummy. I decided (silly of me to think I could make this decision) that we would start looking at adoption in January because I was tired of waiting. Again, God decided that we really didn’t know best because guess what? You were already growing in my tummy. When Mommy found out I just went to Daddy and cried and cried. Why the tears? I was scared and confused and hopeful and thankful, lots of different emotions! We held our breaths for those first twelve weeks as we watched you grow on the ultrasound machine…your little heart flickering so strongly on the screen. I held my breath a lot longer than that but God was teaching me something through this as well…to trust in him because he knew what he was doing. 

After those first twelve weeks we became more confident that you would keep growing in Mommy’s tummy so we started seeing our wonderful midwife, Kate. She knew just how special you were because she had helped us when some of our other babies had to go to heaven and she rejoiced with us that you were so healthy and strong! I was so excited for every visit with Kate because it meant that I could hear your heart beating in my tummy and talk about all the ways that we were going to get our lives ready for your arrival. I could also share with Kate things I was nervous about because, well, I really really wanted to meet you and I sometimes couldn’t believe that I was actually going to!

We were getting nearer and nearer to your birthday and Mommy was starting to get a little impatient and uncomfortable. Your brother and I did our best to stay busy during the summer months but I was certain that your due date couldn’t come fast enough. We went to parks, played with friends, had special outings. all in hopes that my mind would stay off your impending arrival and some sort of patience would wash over me. You can ask your Daddy and big brother some day…I wasn’t very fun to be around those last couple weeks!

Well of course the day of your arrival did eventually come. And of course it was the day that I least expected because that is how life works. There had been a few nights during the week where I thought for sure you were trying to break free by punching your way out (at least that’s what it felt like!). But every morning I would wake up and you had calmed down, content to stay in my tummy for another day. And so I would find ways to keep myself busy for yet another day. Then Saturday came. I told Daddy that we simply had to go do something because I was going crazy so we decided to go the the farmer’s market to do some shopping and spend the morning together as a family. It was the perfect morning, we bought lots of yummy fruits and vegetables and then spent lunchtime at a park so your brother and Daddy could run around and play. I spent most of my time sitting on a bench and watching.

After our busy morning we were all ready for a nap so that’s exactly what we did. I woke up feeling refreshed but also really uncomfortable, you were so low in my tummy! I got to work making supper and we invited Nana to eat with us because Papa was at a dinner meeting. After enjoying some yummy stew for supper I started feeling a contraction every once in awhile. I would have to stop for a minute and breathe through them but then I could go back to cleaning up the kitchen and tidying up a bit. We said good-bye to Nana and your Daddy and brother went downstairs to watch the Vikings game. 

Around 7:30 I started wondering if maybe you were going to be joining our family sometime soon because contractions were happening even quicker. I had Daddy start timing them and they were about ten minutes apart…probably a good time to call midwife Kate to let her know what was happening. I called Kate, Nana, and our friend Jenny because she was going to help Mommy and Daddy out while you were being born. It was probably 8:30 by the time I let everyone know what was happening and even though my tummy was getting nice and tight with each contraction I still managed help get your brother ready for bed. We were in the middle of reading a book (Berenstain Bears, I think) and all of a sudden I knew everyone needed to come to our house soon! I was planning on calling everyone around 9:30 to let them know how I was doing but at 8:45 I knew they needed to start arriving sooner than that. 


Daddy was already busy getting the birth tub ready when Nana arrived to help out with your big brother. This way Mommy could concentrate on helping you arrive into the world…something that was going to happen really soon! Midwife Kate, her assistant Kelly, and Jenny all came to our house within the next hour. They were so wonderful because they all came in knowing exactly what they needed to do so that Daddy could just concentrate on helping Mommy stay relaxed and calm with each contraction. 


The tub was filled and ready so Kate asked if I would like to get in. I was so uncomfortable at this point and I gladly said yes. The water felt wonderful and I was getting nice back massages from Jenny and hugs from Daddy with every contraction. Your Daddy was so helpful, giving me lots of encouragement. I sure needed it because this was a lot of work! All of a sudden I knew I needed to push because you were coming! Pop!, my water broke and guess what? Six minutes later you were born! Whoa, talk about a fast entrance into the world. The umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck and your leg so once Kate got you all untangled I pulled you up and held you close. And then I cried and cried (or maybe sobbed and sobbed). You were here! After three long years I was holding my dear, sweet Ruby Lynn. stephanie2

Just a little side note though. I didn’t actually know you were Ruby Lynn quite yet. We had promised your big brother that he could see if you were going to be a boy our a girl so I waited to see if he wanted to let us know. He was sitting in his room with Nana because Mommy had been making such loud noises and he didn’t want to be anywhere near that. Once you were born she carried him out but he was still too unsure of everything so he went back into his room.



That’s when I decided I would take a peek and was so thrilled to see that you were a girl. I couldn’t believe it. Our family had a little girl! God knew exactly what he was doing when he put you in Mommy’s tummy. We felt his grace pour over us that night, it was an overwhelming feeling. You are our precious gem, Miss Ruby, and we thank God every day that you are with us.    scale   

My Little Superhero

I was already excited for Christmas but finishing one of Dieter’s gifts brought my excitement to a whole new level. I don’t think I need to talk about the need for every three-year-old to have a superhero cape. It’s part of their wiring to want to save the world, fight the bad guys and save their mommy. My little guy will be well-equipped to carry out all his superhero duties.



Here are the links to the patterns for everything:
mask, and the template

Chilly Mornings

Usually breakfasts are fairly boring and monotonous at our house. Today I switched it up a bit.

Nearly every morning I have a blender breakfast. Smoothies are Jeremiah and my weekday breakfasts because I can make them the night before and they are a great way to start the day out with a good dose of fruits and vegetables. But there are so many things you can use a blender for so I went through the cookbook that came with my blender and picked a couple things out for breakfast this morning (that wasn’t a smoothie). I made some juice by blending two parts grapes to one part strawberries. I also made a five-grain hot cereal and cooked some of that this morning. So good and just what we needed on a chilly morning.

5-Grain Cereal
-1 cup oat groats
-1/2 cup millet
-1/2 cup whole flaxseed
-1/2 cup brown rice
-1/2 cup cornmeal

Add ingredients in order listed and blend for 10-12 seconds on speed 4 (if you have a Blendtec).

To prepare add one cup water for every 1/3 cup serving. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a summer until the cereal is thickened. Sweeten with honey and add milk if you want.

I like that this cereal is more nutrient rich than plain old oatmeal and it’s gluten-free!


24 Days of Christmas

Yay it’s that time again! Last year we did this for the first time and it was very successful. Even though Dieter was only two I think he still grasped some of the activities and he even remembers visiting Santa! So without further ado here is our list for Christmas this year with links to some of the activities (in no particular order). I hope you enjoy making the season special and are reminded why we celebrate. Taking time each day to savor Christmas is also a great way to pass down traditions to the littlest ones in your family.

24 Days of Christmas
1. Thread pompoms to make fake snow
2. Bags of kisses for neighbors…Merry Kissmas!
3. Go to the movie theater (it will be Dieter’s first time).
4. Ice skating
5. Swimming at Shoreview Community Center
6. Watch Charlie Brown Christmas next to the tree, this was a highlight from last year.
7. Read If You Gave a Mouse a Cookie and bake a batch of cookies.
8. Sledding at Knox Hill.
9. Make a food shelf donation at the local middle school.
10. Visit a nursing home.
11. Read the book Night Tree and make a garland for the birds.
12. Make salt-dough hand ornaments.
13. Holiday celebration at the Anoka County Fairground.
14. Morning in Bethlehem at Constance Free Church on December 7th.
15. Make Christmas card for a soldier, make sure you do this by December 6th!
16. Leave a gift for the mailman. Last year he even gave us a thank you note written on one of our pieces of mail!
17. Decorate the Christmas tree.
18. Watch The SnowmanThis has been a tradition since I was little.
19. Go to our church Christmas concert.
20. Make an ice wreath.
21. Make red and green play dough for friends…scented with peppermint of course!
22. Open one present early.
23. Make “Winter Tea” and read a Christmas story while you sip it.
And because I learned to have back-ups last year here are a few extra:
25. Buy a new Christmas outfit.
26. Build a snowman.
27. Make cards for family members.
Make sure to take lots of pictures! Here’s some from last year…

Heart Patches

Because sometimes you just need to spruce up your pants with some hearts. And also to cover the holes in your favorite jeans that were caused by too much crawling on the ground with your three-year-old.



What I used:
Steam-a-Seam to attach patch to pants
Red denim
Embroidery thread

Cauliflower Crust Calzone

Per the request of a cousin of mine (actually my mom’s cousin’s wife but really a cousin is a cousin) I’m sharing a scrumptious recipe I made for supper tonight. It’s not my recipe so I’ll just post the link but I have to say he gives the best instructions on making a proper cauliflower crust. I’ve made them before and they turn out kind of soggy and not especially appetizing. This crust was crispy and held up well even with a lot of filling stuffed in it.

Here’s the recipe.


Into our calzones I put:
Mozzarella cheese
Spaghetti sauce with ground beef (leftover from spaghetti the night before)
Sauteed mushrooms
Sauteed kale

And as you can tell I stuffed ours so full I couldn’t close them but it didn’t really matter…they were delicious!

On the menu for tomorrow…Thai Coconut Soup.

Honey Apple Syrup

Our apple tree was loaded down this year! I peeled and froze a whole bunch of them but didn’t know what to do with the peels and cores. Until I came across a recipe to make honey apple syrup. Super easy and yummy! We use it to sweeten yogurt and top pancakes. I’m sure you could find all sorts of uses for it.

Honey Apple Syrup
-4 cups apple peels
-4 cups honey
-4 cups water

Bring all the ingredients to a boil and let cook for about 5 minutes. Let cool for about an hour then strain the peels out with a mesh wire strainer. I canned the syrup so that’s why the quantities are so large but you can do this with any amount. Just make sure everything is a 1:1:1 ratio.



A Very Special Party

I love hosting parties at our house but the size doesn’t really lend itself to having them very often. We’ve never had Dieter’s birthday parties at our for that very reason, with family alone we would pack our house out. But this time I decided to go for it, especially because we just did a bunch of landscaping and Dieter got a nice big swingset earlier this summer. The weather was absolutely beautiful the day of the party and I’m hoping everyone has just as much fun as we did.

Dieter wanted a train birthday party so I did my best to deliver. Sorry for the horrible quality pictures, the sun was great for the party but not for taking pictures! IMG_1559
This gluten-free cake ended up being delicious!
All aboard!
Happy birthday Dieter! These signs were tedious but pretty easy. The “all aboard” and “choo choo” banners are going into the playroom, I can’t bear to throw them away.



3 Years Already??

My goodness, I can’t believe that Dieter is turning three today! He is such a wonderful boy and has been such a blessing. God certainly knew what he was doing when he placed him in our family. Dieter is funny and energetic.  Never stops moving and loves everything that involves wheels or balls.  His imagination amazes me and he can turn just about anything into whatever he needs for that moment, whether it be a fishing pole, a sword, or a car (out of a cracker, usually). He is inquisitive and soaks up the world around him, remembering details that slip past me. Just ask him what year the Twins were established (1961). The thing that warms my heart, though, is his love for God and desire to learn more about him.

IMG_1433 IMG_1435

Dieter, we love you so very much and are so thankful that we can be your parents!


Here are some questions I asked Dieter today.  We’ll do it every year and see how it changes…

What is your name? I’m Dieter

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite TV show: Thomas

Favorite food: Oatmeal

Favorite restaurant: Chik-a-fe (Chick-fil-a)

Favorite animal: Bear

Favorite song: Jesus Loves Little Children

Favorite book: Thomas book

Favorite place to go: To chik-a-fe

Favorite drink: Apple juice

What do you want to be when you grow up? Work on power lines

I took a video of it too but we only got about halfway through…I’ll post it on Facebook.


Why My Son Has THE BEST Grandparents

And why I have the coolest parents…


Nana and Papa weren’t using their garden space anymore and it had a tarp over it to keep the weeds out.  Little did we know that they were keeping the weeds away so that they could create this AWESOME dirt pit/construction site/little boys dreamland. The only problem is trying to tear him away to come home.