We Got a Framing Day!

My mom invited the kids and I over for the day so Brady could focus on framing our basement all day without any big interruptions or nap times to work around. We have been anticipating a day or two like this for a while now, and it felt so good!

Brady was home while I took Dekker to school this morning, and he had everyone dressed and ready to go when I arrived back. I took the kids to my moms and Brady got to work! He and a guy from work had started framing the interior walls a long time ago, and they had made pretty good headway, but there was a good chunk left to finish. But he got to it, and I didn’t hear from him until he came by my moms and we all had lunch together.

As for my mom and I, it was kind of a weird day, if I’m being honest. We both felt a bit off. A bit out to lunch. Foggy. But we just didn’t push it, and kept things pretty low key as the morning rolled on. Lunch helped a little, and then the two little boys went to bed and Laela asked for a show on.

Brady headed back to work and my mom and I continued our visit. I made a couple of phone calls that kind of set me off into a flurry of annoyance, and it was hard for me to come back from them :/ But, I tried, and I was feeling a bit better when I went to pick Dekker up from school. He, however, wasn’t feeling 100% either.

The poor kid lost his voice! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard his lost voice voice, but it is SO cute and high and raspy and I love it. But even that, I’m not sure what to make of. He has a gross, wet cough that I’m pretty sure indicates that all of the crud building up in there is finally coming out. I don’t think he’s really “sick” anymore. But I feel like he’s going to be kind of miserable having no voice at school! Yet, tomorrow is Halloween, and he’s so psyched to dress up and watch the Charlie Brown pumpkin movie, and do all the fun things! Ugh. Decisions are hard.

I’m chilly and ready for bed. But first, a bath. As always. Seriously, any of you that don’t have a soak every single day, you really should. It feels amazing.

Church Without the Kids

A crazy thing happened today. I went to church alone, without Brady or the kids!! I’ll explain.

I had made a prior commitment to talk to a few people about some music stuff before the service began. With Solly still being a bit of a mess and no one feeling 100%, it didn’t make sense for them to come. Because I was already going to be there, it made logical sense that I’d stay and for the first time in a long time, actually take in the service!

It was incredibly refreshing to sit and listen to the service. Don’t get me wrong. I love when the kids come. Its so important for them to be in our church community, to learn, to absorb, and to make friends there! But let’s be real. They’re pretty distracting! Today was a whole new vibe, and it felt like a bit of a treat. I had my mom on one side of me, and a really good friend on the other side. It felt wonderful to be able to lean back and listen without shushing anyone, whispering anyone through an argument, pulling out or putting away a water bottle, etc. It was just me, and I liked it 🙂

My parents joined us for lunch, and we had a super lovely afternoon spent eating waffles, catching up on each others lives, and talking about the future. There’s never a shortage!

We couldn’t convince our guests to stay, so they’ve headed home, and we’re anticipating a very quiet evening of snacky supper and maybe some music. We’ve made a super cute kid-friendly playlist on YouTube of fun songs that the kids love to dance along to, so we occasionally “do” that in the evening. Mostly on days when everyone is wiped out but we don’t want to bite the bullet and turn on a show for them to zone out to. Music is move fun anyway.

Other than that, I have a few ideas brewing for future blog posts, so I may spend a chunk of the evening making some jot notes and planning out a few posts. I wish I was a “big” enough blogger to need to schedule and plan all my posts out in advance, but I don’t think I have enough to talk about 😂 Maybe one day!

Laela’s Name

I asked the kids what I should blog about today. I couldn’t squeeze an idea out of Dekker, being that he is FAR too practical, and wouldn’t ask me to write about something that he didn’t feel was important or relevant in the moment. Laela piped up from the dining room, however, with “I know!” I asked what she thought I should write about.

Write about me!
I write about you lots. What should I write about you?
About my letters!
What letters?
What letters do you mean, Laela?
The letters in my name!!

So. Todays post is about Laela’s name!

Accoring to the internet, Laela (Layla, if we’re being real here) means “born at night,” which is both boring and also accurate. In my books, it means “best little girl to have ever walked the earth,” but Google and I don’t have to agree on everything. I fell in love with Laela’s name years ago when I first watched the movie, Big Daddy. She was the pretty girl in the park, and her name was SO sing-songy. I hung onto it on my secret list of baby names all through my adolescence, and was SO relieved when my husband loved the name too.

When I was pregnant with Laela, we went on a road trip as a family, and as we drove, we talked baby names. We’ve named a couple of our kids on road trips, actually. I couldn’t tell you why, but its just a fun space to make those plans for us 🙂 We were working on a middle name for Laela, and I threw one out that sparked BIG in Brady’s heart. He LOVED it, maybe even more than the first name we had settled on. I also LOVED the name. It was beautiful and feminine and would’ve gone great with our family’s style. Brady was SOLD, and I love him to death, so we decided to entertain that name as a first name. By the end of that road trip, Laela wasn’t Laela anymore. Her name had officially changed.

Guys, I tried. I called her by name when we talked about her. We thought of nicknames for her. I genuinely loved the name! Except it never ever came naturally. I always had to think about it. I always forgot what name we had decided on. Constantly. I gave it a solid month, if I remember correctly. But it just wasn’t happening.

I finally decided to conduct an experiment. A very simple but telling experiment.

I asked Brady what we named the baby.

“Lae… uh…” and then he said the name we had picked. I was relieved. We both knew in that moment that it just wasn’t her name. Neither of us ever got it first try. It just wasn’t coming naturally. I told Brady that I think the baby’s name is Laela, and he agreed.

That is how our Miss Laela got her name. The spelling is different than the usual spelling (Layla) just because we thought it was pretty and a little big different. Not too weird, but distinct. Like how Dekker could’ve been spelled “Decker.” We like things to be a tad on the odd side 😉 If you know us, you know this.

For the record, I would tell you the name, because I know I’m doing that evasive thing, and I hate when people do that. Its not on purpose! We just still like the name a lot, and it will remain on our list.

I hope you enjoyed the history of naming my girly!! I LOVE her name. Not a single regret!

Does Anyone Remember “The Rocket Summer?”

I LOVED the band “The Rocket Summer” in high school! And by saying “the band,” I mean Bryce Avery, the only guy in his band. At the time, anyway. Remember “Brat Pack?” That felt almost anthemy as a kid. I haven’t kept up with everything he’s put out in the last 10+ years, but I have a little, and I still love it. He has such a bizarre style that I wouldn’t always choose first, but its a really fun change of pace when I’m getting tired of my other music. And its uplifting, which is a big one these days.

One of the songs off of his album “Of Men and Angels” has been meaning a lot to me in the last couple of months. Its called “Roses,” and it has SUCH an encouraging, hopeful, vibe. While, as far as I know, he doesn’t claim to be a Christian or produce Christian music, this song just oozes hopefulness in Christ to me. I had a couple of little weeps to this song as I drove to the city to buy groceries while my crew kept their sickness close to home. I thought the lyrics were worth the share.


Can you see the air change?
Can you see when a heart breaks?
I know that both do happen
But all I want is faith

‘Cause I can feel this
And so much so I believe it
But still there is a struggle
And all I want is faith

And I believe I’ll move the mountains
I think
Or maybe I’ll drown in the sea

Keep holding on
All I got is holding onto these roses
The thorns will keep on digging
But my soul believes, please

So here I breathe in oxygen I cannot see
The oxygen that keeps me alive and when we
Oh, yes I do perceive

Just like the birds find
Provision and sanctuary
You do this even more so for me
But all I want is faith

And I believe I’ll move the mountains
I think
Or maybe I’ll drown in the sea

Keep holding on
All I got is holding on these roses
The thorns will keep on digging
But my soul believes

Places, seasons, millions of pieces
Together and all alone
Needing, repeating, living and bleeding
Lost in the cohesion

Stagnant or will I run?
Give up or will I run
Into arms that are open?

Get rid of all the fear
I know that you are here

Keep holding on
All I got is holding on these roses
The thorns will keep on digging
But my soul believes, I see

And it’s reminding me
That the thorns you wear
Is love that we must share


I bolded my favorite parts, because I just can’t resist. I believe I’ll move the mountains! I think…. or maybe I’ll drown in the sea… I feel this exact way ALL THE TIME! My confidence slips hard, and I quickly go from believing that God is going to use these awful things for beauty, and that He’ll move mountains, to wanting to pick the easy way out, and crumble, and give up. I know which answer is right, but I definitely don’t always (or ever) feel strong enough.

Thank goodness, my strength is built in God, and God only.

If you’re interested, here is a link to the song I’m talking about 🙂 No pressure to listen to it, but he has SO much passion in him, and so do I.

Preschool this Morning

I took Dekker to school this morning before getting ready for preschool this morning. It was my day to go and help with the group, which I actually quite enjoy. I like to see Laela in action, though I feel like she participates less when I’m there. I think thats somewhat common, though. I LOVE that she’s always so happy to have me stay 💜 It warms my heart, as I know it may not last forever.

The kids played a lot, sang lots of songs, and did a Halloween craft. Then a snack, and a game in the gym to run off some of that energy!! Laela and another little girl have become friends, and paired themselves off for the game.

I came home to my sick husband, doing jobs around the house and hanging with the little boys, all the while choking up his insides. He has a ridiculous cold, and I do not mean the “man cold.” Brady is not a “man cold” kind of guy. He’s a “push through it, there’s too much to do” kind of guy, and then a “I’m going to bed before 9:00pm” kind of guy after that. But I appreciate him SO MUCH! At one point this morning, he was sitting with Solly, who kept whipping back and smacking Brady in the face with his head. Brady’s poor aching self was approaching annoyed, but you’d never have known.

Hmmm. I wonder where that baby got his charming nature from… 🤔

The little boys are now down for naps, and Brady had to duck out for some unexpected warranty work this afternoon. I have a few hampers of laundry to fold and some Magic School Bus to watch with Laela.


That Two Year Old, Tho…

So, Rowan is two, and today he’s reeeaaally showing it, to put it gently. This morning feels heavy and there is just SO much screaming! I. Hate. Screaming. Playing and screeching in excitement is one thing. Solly finding a toy in the ottoman that hasn’t surfaced in forever is not a reason to throw yourself on the ground and scream like a tortured animal. I. Hate. Screaming.

While Ro is enjoying a very thorough scream in his room for a couple of minutes, I’m trying to AirDrop a few videos onto the laptop, but the weather blows (literally) so the service sucks, and nothing is “finding” anything else, so I’m about to give up.

I think today is just a tv day. There is definitely a time and a place for a good old tv day, and we don’t take them too terribly often. But my gut is saying today may not improve a whole heck of a lot, so let’s just rest our minds and bodies.

For ONE positive note, I’ll share some of the kids have nicknamed each other this morning 🙂 Laela was calling Dekker “man” before school, and calling Ro “Wowan, my friend.” Ro is calling Laela “Anna” and they are playing Frozen in between tantrums. Its cute while it lasts.

Dekker also made a point to kiss each and every sibling before he left for school. Even the one he had to crawl under a car seat to reach!

Trust me. I know how great they are. I know how good I have it. Its just a really, really hard morning. Tomorrow WILL be better <3

Ro and Solly

Ro and Solly get bro time every day that Laela goes to preschool, and its been an interesting adjustment. Solly can get into Rowan’s stuff, and Ro isn’t always such a big fan. Our first day like that made me a bit nervous for the months to come. I didn’t want every single preschool day to be like that! But its slowly gotten better as they’ve both aged a little and gotten used to their brohood. Its certainly not perfect, but I don’t expect it to be. I’m happy to work with what I’ve got.

My mom came by to give me a hand this morning so I didn’t have to take the entire group on both drop offs, which was SO helpful, being that it was Laela’s picture day and I wanted to take a bit more time with her, trying to get her hair looking reasonable. She rocks a pretty solid bedhead most days 😉 But she was SO excited for picture day, “just like Dekker.” I let her choose her outfit, and she kept showing me all of the different smiles she was going to do. Over the last week, we’ve got a good variety. I’m curious which one will come out on top.

I dropped her off and headed back to hang with the little boys. Solly slept in and was feeling SO much better, which has been a long time coming. He’s had a fever since Friday, poor dude.

Not todaaaaay!

Rowan was feeling ultra snuggly today, and was a tad on the whiny side, so maybe he wasn’t feeling 100%, but he was 100% SWEET!! My gosh, these little boys just get me!

The last picture I can’t resist posting is not well executed AT ALL, but these moments are few and far between, and SO hard to catch on camera.

Ro reached out and wanted to hug Solly. Solly didn’t appreciate the gravity of the moment, and kept on trucking, but I saw the love 😍 Yay Rowan!!! Way to hug the little guy who perpetually jumps and slams his head into your chin every time you go near him!! Love is risky, my boy!

Solly and Laela on the Couch

If you’ve been around us in person, or picked up on it from my blog over the years, our kids are not early walkers/movers. Our earliest walker was Laela at 13 months and our latest is now a tie between Dekker and Solly. Solly can absolutely walk a couple of steps from one thing to another, but he reeeally doesn’t care to. So, he crawls, and thats fine for now.

Today, he FINALLY got onto the couch for the first time! He’s only just started trying to recently but he made it his mission this morning, and he finally got it! Yay Solly!!! 🎉🎉🎉

He was met by his biggest supporter. Miss Laela. She was so excited, and then instantly disappointed, as it seemed like he was going to try to climb right back off, but rather he made his way over to her and sat on her lap. Or really, just on her in general.

As you can see, she was THRILLED.

Their cuddle quickly turned into a wrestling match. She just wanted to hug him and hold him, and he was less and less inclined to cooperate. It was so funny to watch, and of course, to photograph.

He’d try to climb over her, but she’d just squeal “Aaaawwww, Solly!!” and grab him.

She finally figured out he wanted a little bit of space, and gave it to him, and everything got a bit more civilized.

One last hug, haha!

After she finally released him, he left the couch, and she went on to the next activity. But Solly went up and down from the couch over and over again. He loves his new found independence. He could get on the kids chairs and the lower stuff, but the big couches are a whole new world!

The two ended up back on the couch together, but you can see Solly is feeling pretty triumphant.

Really, though, everybody won in this case. It was SUCH a cute morning! Solly then fell asleep halfway through lunch and is out cold. He’s still sick, and evenings are LONG, but I’m SO happy he had such an exciting morning.

How Did the Kids Do at Church Today?

Let’s briefly talk about how the kids did before church!

They were SO cute! Hahaha! I was upstairs putting on a bit of makeup when they ALL joined me and hung out while I finished up. I loved it. I love having time to pamper myself, all on my own, but I love when they all join me just as much! Despite Solly working pretty hard to break my glass candle, they were low maintenance, and just chatted with me and with each other, and brushed their faces with fluffy brushes.

Once we got to church, we got everyone out of their coats and to our bench with only two minutes to spare before we were supposed to be up front, leading music with Carrie. 😬 Couldn’t have cut it a whole lot closer than that! But we made it!

The three of us lead a short three-song set, and poor Solly cried the whole entire time. The poor kid has been feeling fevered and cruddy in general for the past two days, and it really showed when he couldn’t be with Brady or I anymore. ❤️ Its a pretty lovely problem to have, really. After a short greeting and a few announcements, we went up and did one more song, and then we were finished for the morning music. We put Solly down in a little playpen in a back room, where he promptly fell asleep, and joined the service. Dekker and Laela went downstairs for childrens church, and it became 4:1, with us and my parents just having Ro on our hands! Last time the big ones went down to childrens church, Ro was SO sad he couldn’t go, too. Unfortunately, he’s not even close to the age that he’d even hypothetically be allowed to sneak down and join in. I was anticipating that this time, as well, but he was so snuggly and beautiful and wonderful. He started with my mom…

ventured over to Brady’s lap, and then made his way over to me after a while. Instead of sitting him on my lap, facing forward, he happily slumped on my shoulder and lay still. I rocked him, and listened to the service. He’d occasionally pop up and face me. He’d show me how he’d turned the little offering enveloped into puppets, and we’d pinch each others noses a couple of times before he’d slump back down and snuggle on me. It. Was. Awesome.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged us and showed us love this morning! Its SO good to be back at church, but its still really hard to get there. Lots of good reasons, all justified, but even so, we’re trying to make church more of a priority, and your love is appreciated and returned.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends!!

Brunch and Makeup

We had Brady’s friend from work and his wife over for a waffle brunch this morning. We’ve been meaning to have them over for such a long time, but as many of you can relate to, I’m sure, it was just one of those things that kept not happening! But it finally got done today, and it was a really lovely visit. I’m sad we waited quite so long to have them over, but better late than never! We chatted very comfortably for a few hours, while our kids raced around the house like the crazy sugared up people they were. It was both cute and loud.

They left in the early afternoon, and I headed upstairs to prep for the next part of the day, which was a makeup job! All of my brushes were freshly washed and it was pretty much ready, except for me looking the part, which I did not. So I threw on a quick basic face and put my hair up so I’d at least look like I knew something about makeup. Luckily, I’ve done her makeup before and I never have to be too phony for her 😉

Her makeup turned out pretty beautifully, if I do say so myself. All bronzy and pretty and ready for a night out! When I went to clean up the aftermath, I got a little bit distracted and ended up playing in some makeup myself, haha! I posted a picture on Instagram the other day of my HUGE stack of eye shadows that needed reorganizing, and in there was a palette I had never had the chance to open!! I got it for my birthday, and then five days later, I had gone to the lake, with no time to try it in between. And then very shortly after arriving home from the lake, we found out we had lost Jamin. And in all reality, since losing him, I’ve lost some drive. I don’t feel especially creative, and haven’t put much effort into the fun side of makeup beyond basics. Today reopened that door, and I REALLY enjoyed it! I did a fun, vampy eye look with Urban Decay’s Naked Heat palette, with copper, some rosy tones, and a deep deep purple 😍 It was SO fun, and felt good to be creative again! I hope I get some more chances to play in makeup again soon.

When I came back down from “cleaning up my makeup,” Brady was bathing the kids. Dekker has started to want his own bath, so the other three pile in together. Solly was bawling. He’s not been feeling well today, and was over the bath before it even really started. But when it was all over, there was no reprieve. I went and snagged him out of the bathroom to snuggle him on the recliner, and he cried almost none stop for about an hour. Poor poor dude. He’s doing better now, as the kids are having a super early supper. It was necessary. It will be an early bedtime today!

Our evening plans changed, so we’ve got nothing on the books for tonight! Surprise! But that’ll be great. We woke up super early this morning, and I think we’ll be early to bed tonight. And early up tomorrow, to get to worship practice at church. But I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be good to get there again, and I know the big kids are looking forward to it, too. Assuming Solly is feeling better in the morning 😳 Pleeeaaase!

Sleep well, friends!