"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Sunday, December 31, 2017


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017"

Jaden: You have spent your Christmas break playing racing games on the iPad, playing Battlefront II on the PS4... and shooting hoops on your new electronic Shaq double basketball hoop, equipped with electronic scoreboard and all. It's been a nice slow pace for us... something I think we all needed after a ca-razy year!

Brandon: You have spent your Christmas break building countless Lego sets (including this 1,300 piece Millennium Falcon build that you spent an entire day putting together - all. by. yourself.), sporting awesome bed head on a daily basis, hardly leaving your pajamas... and falling in love with The Cosby Show on Amazon TV. We've also fit in a lot of cuddles, some board games, and some bubble baths. It's been wonderful.

And - that's a wrap on another year of weekly portraits. I'm going to do my darnedest to keep up with this venture in 2018. It's pretty incredible to look back on the past 52 weeks and see how far we have come and how much has changed in our lives. What. a. year.

Our first portrait pictures of 2017...

Ready for ya '18!

Thursday, December 28, 2017


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017"

Jaden: My favorite memory of you from Christmas was how well behaved you were on Christmas Eve. You helped shovel the whole driveway when we got a bit more snow than expected, and you were helpful and patient the entire day while Mommy prepared all the food by herself when Daddy ended up having to go into work for half of the day. You seemed older and grown up this day... but then reminded us all you are still a rambunctious nine year old boy when it came time to open all the presents on Christmas day. ;)

Brandon: My favorite Christmas memory of you from this year was watching you so genuinely and happily sing along to the worship music at the Christmas Eve service. You love that service because you love holding your lit candle at the end, and you wait so patiently through that hour until you get rewarded for your good behavior. :) That glow of candlelight on your adorable little face will always be one of my favorite moments of Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas with Santa... and Hick :)

Though we were a little disappointed there was no snow this year for our adventure out to Hick's Place one Saturday afternoon this December, we still managed to spend a good three hours with some friends, some animals, Santa and Mrs. Claus... and Hick himself! The sun was shining, and though it was definitely chilly, we enjoyed warming our hands around the fire - and around cups of steaming apple cider. While the boys bounced back and forth between laser tag with their friends - and the baby calves that they just couldn't get enough - the adults sat around the fire and caught up on life - and shared Christmas gift ideas. ;)

Before it was all said and done, I think Jaden and Brandon had both devoured about three mini cupcakes and four big Christmas cookies a piece, we adventured on one crazy and somewhat scary tractor hay ride with Mr. Hick (at Brandon's insistence of course) -- and Santa received a very modest wish list from the boys as they sat upon his lap. As we waited in line to speak to the big guy himself, I asked the boys what all they were going to ask for and each of them decided they only wanted to name two things. They didn't want to appear greedy. :)

Our day -- in pictures. I love this little tradition!

Monday, December 18, 2017


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017"

Jaden: Posing with your team trophy after another undefeated tournament this weekend. You boys haven't had a break from practice since August, but now you get a couple of weeks off, and I'm looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing over the next couple of weeks!

Brandon: You are just sweet with that guitar of yours, and it's a dream hearing you play Christmas music beside the tree. The other morning you Googled guitar music all on your own before I even crawled out of bed in the morning and had taught yourself how to play "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." :)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This is 33

If things have seemed a little quiet around this blog lately, you're not mistaken. I have been quieter and less motivated to share over the past month. There are a number of reasons for that really, but one big one is that I'm just plain tuckered out!

Today I turn 33. It has been quite the year for our family. We have seen God move mountains and answer prayers for us in big ways and small ways - but mostly in big ways! It's been overwhelming at times, and as we reach the home stretch of 2017 and look ahead to what could be an even bigger 2018, I can't help but just get a little weepy over it all. And in truth, though I seem to be a pretty open book most times, when I start feeling this emotional and sentimental, my more natural instinct is to shut down, put up walls and retreat into myself. I can assure you that we are feeling so incredibly blessed - for reasons shared and reasons that I haven't been able to share yet - but I am also just pretty darn tired - physically and emotionally. I feel like we've been running one long marathon through 2017, and though I am fully aware that in our current circumstances and season of life, nothing will be slowing down any time soon, I do feel - in a weird way - much more settled than I have in years. We found our home this year - our place. And though we are putting in work to make it our home, I am so looking forward to a 2018 that doesn't include For Sale signs, bank loans and uprooting our lives to somewhere brand new. We dealt with the uncertainly of all of that off and on for the past few years, and it feels good to have that in the rear view mirror.

But there is still so much change happening - changes that will be shared in time - but as my mom said to me on the phone several weeks ago when I was overwhelmed by it all: "Nicole, you guys did so many things right for so long, you paid your dues, you waited your turn, you endured some hard years, and now you're being rewarded for it." I'm not sure we're being "rewarded" but I do believe that God has taught us more than ever to value His timing and His plan - and that the true reward is really in trusting Him with all of it. Even through the hard years. Even through the years that seem to ask more questions than give answers.

So today I turn 33, and though many claim to gain a lot of wisdom from one year to the next, I feel like in truth - the wisdom that is gained for me is more so just a deeper trust in Him to get us through whatever comes our way. He has been good to me this year. He has worn me out and stretched my belief in Him and urged me to take one day at a time more than any other years past.

I'm looking forward to the year ahead. To continued home improvements and vacation savings and fires in the backyard all summer long and watching our boys continue to grow their new friendships and a whole lot more that will be revealed in time.

I'm off for now on a whirlwind 48 hour trip to California for work and then returning home to a two-week long holiday vacation where my only plans are rest and rejuvenation. And when I come back... I hope to share more about what 2018 looks like for us. Stay tuned... ;)