Happy New Year

I hope that you do not mind our lack of gusto recently.  Few blog posts, no Christmas card or greeting, and updates few and far between.  I'll at least make an attempt to say "Happy New Year!"

This is what we've been up to for the last week or so...
Friends from Maryland!
Girl's night out 
Potteiger Family Christmas
Henry Family Christmas
And we have a surprise too....
(well, if you really know us, I guess it's not much of a surprise)

Bebe Numero Cuatro
Due in early/mid June.
(Christian is obviously happy.  The girls are too...really...you just can't tell in this picture).

(and just a heads up, we aren't planning on finding out the gender.  ...cuz I know you'll ask!).  We're old school like that.  And the fact that we are having so many munchkins.  And we're not even 30 yet.  For now I'm happy raising my children and supporting my hubby, and yes, we know we're crazy.  :)

But we're happy.

And we're hoping you can find happiness with your own family and be revived in your walk with Christ this new year....2012!!!



Running Man

Simon has a story to share.  Sorry for my own lack of blogging since we've moved in September, things have been... well, changing.  Keep reading to get a better understanding.  --Rachel

Let me tell you a story. A story of running and being found. I was the one running, and I have now been found.

My story starts over 10 years ago, when I was merely a high school student enjoying life. I had the honor and privilege of growing up in a fine, Christian home. My parents sent me to a Christian school and provided the needed encouragement to get involved in church and other ministries. It was around 16 years old when I first felt my call to ministry. I never experienced a "Damascus Road" type of call, but through consistent prayer and petition of God I felt this was the direction He was leading me. I then began to experience what some would call the “firstfruits” of ministry. During my late high school and early college years I was greatly involved in ministry at my church and worked the entire summer at a Christian youth camp. It was these experiences that pushed me to study Christian ministry and youth ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University.

The summer after my freshman year of college was when I had my first significant leadership role in ministry. I was the Activities Director at the camp I had been working at for years, and was one of five on the leadership team that led the rest of the staff. This opportunity at ministerial leadership was a great experience that only reaffirmed my passion and calling into ministry.

The following summer I did an internship at a church in South-central Pennsylvania. This internship was good to show me more of the inner-workings of the every day life of a church. It was a great learning experience, and I learned and saw what it meant to actually lead a church. I was again reaffirmed that my calling was to become a full-time pastor.

Fast forward. In the following year my girlfriend and I, who went to high school together and were now at Indiana Wesleyan University together, prayed and talked about our future and decided that it was time to get married even though we were still in college. As any married person knows, with marriage comes a barrage of responsibility. I only had 1 semester left of classes, but my young wife had at least 3 semesters left if not more. God greatly blessed us and provided a full-time job for me at the university in the admissions office.

Over the next four years many things transpired in our lives. I loved my work, spreading the name of Indiana Wesleyan University. I saw this as my area of ministry because of the great impact attending IWU had on my personal spiritual journey. I saw it as my current calling to help prospective students understand how God could work in their lives through attending IWU. During these years even more amazing things happened on the family side of life. The Lord blessed my wife and I first with a son, and then just under 2 years later with the gift of twin girls. At four years of marriage my life was drastically different than the day we said “I do,” and I began to feel a yearning I didn't know what do about.

I took this yearning as a sign that I was supposed to do something different, something bigger than working at the university. Over the previous four years I had slowly started to think less and less about my calling, and thought more and more about “providing” for my family. I never really had a desire to be super-rich, but I wanted to be in a place where my family was (very) comfortable financially. Several other factors contributed to my thoughts, but in the end I decided that I was going to look “corporately.” Not corporate as in a large group of people, but corporate as in “I need to work for a big company so I can make better money.” Don't get me wrong, I realized that I could be a light for Christ wherever I ended up working. I believe this is completely possible, but in retrospect, I think I used it more as a rationalization. I don't think God was necessarily calling me towards the corporate missionary lifestyle.

In October of 2010 this prompted me to move my family 500+ miles back to Maryland (where my parents live) to start as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments. I worked very hard over the next 10 months to make this job work. I studied and got the needed licenses, I prospected clients, I made calls, and I was doing well. But something seemed missing and out of place. In July of 2011 I got to the point where I was sure that I was not supposed to be an Advisor with Edward Jones. But my wife and I had no clue where God was leading us. I continued to work hard, but began to look at other areas for possible jobs.

In almost an instant I received a lead from my in-laws who were now living in Mishawaka, Indiana that led to a job. I took a position at Korhorn Financial Group as a Client Services Specialist and was put on the track to become a Certified Financial Planner. The acceptance of this position called for the need to move my family another 500+ miles back to Indiana less than one year after we had moved away.

It started happening a few weeks after I started working for Korhorn Financial. I started hearing a whisper. It wasn't a literal whisper in my ear, but more of a yearning or pulling on my heart. I began to have feelings that I had not felt for many years. This yearning grew and grew until late one night it hit me, I had forsaken my calling. I had turned my back on what God had called me to do with my life. I came to the startling realization that I would much rather provide for my wife and kids an abundance of love, joy, and peace than an abundance of possessions or wants. It took me over 5 years, but I finally realized that God had never stopped calling me into full-time ministry. I had simply turned and started walking and sometimes running in the other direction.

A week after coming to this realization and talking it through thoroughly with my wife, I decided to tell the folks at Korhorn Fianancial that, although I was willing to continue working for now, I would not be there long-term and that God had called me into ministry. While they were very supportive about my call, they decided that they wanted to get somebody into my position who would be there long-term. This decision brought about the reality that I would only be working there another week. My last day at Korhorn was November 3rd.

While Rachel and I were both surprised at this sudden change in thinking, we both felt confident that telling the company the change in our perspective was the right and ethical thing to do. In the following days I came to the realization that I was a young father of 3 without a job! God certainly works in strange and mysterious ways. Because of our sudden move to Indiana, we had moved in with Rachel's parents until we could find a place of our own. In short, there has been no other time in our adult lives where it was more feasible for me to lose my full-time job. God has richly blessed us with an amazing family, and we are very thankful to Mom and Dad Potteiger for their blessings of love and a roof over our heads!

In 1 week (answer to prayer!) I was able to find a part-time job working at Panera Bread while we do our best to discern God's direction for our lives. I have been working there for several weeks now, and I truly enjoy it. This is my first job where I leave work and I don't really have to think about it until I go back. This aspect is actually quite relaxing.

I don't know what the future holds for my family. I don't know when, if, or how long it will take me to find a full-time position as a pastor. But I do know that God has called me into full-time ministry. I do know that I will not turn my back this time, and I will open my heart to wherever He leads. I'm more excited and scared about the future than I have ever been in my adult life. It is this excitement that encourages me to write this today. Thank you for your time and for listening. We simply ask that you walk beside us and help us pray through this time of transition and discovery. May the Lord bless you and hold you close.

---Simon C. Henry


Tears of a Father

Ron Swanson once said, “I have cried twice in my life. Once when I was seven and I was hit by a school bus. And then again when I heard that Li'l Sebastian had passed.”

In film as in life, no matter how many times we tell our sons that crying is ok, the message still finds it's way to their psyche that crying is a sign of weakness. And showing weakness is entrenched deeper within that psyche as an occurrence that is irreversible. When did it become a symbol of manhood to deny the release of tears?

Recently Rachel and I had the chance to go and see the new Sherwood Pictures film Courageous. In going to see this movie I did not expect their to be Oscar worthy acting or Hollywood explosions, but I did expect a very positive and Christian based message. I will say that I definitely got what I expected, but that is not the only nugget I took away from the theater that night. I came to a moving realization as I sat next to my wife and an older man whom I had never met, in that dark theater. If you have seen the movie you will remember the scenes I am going to reference. If you have not seen it, sorry if I spoil parts of it for you.

My moving realization occurred about halfway through the movie and it was prompted by the stranger sitting to my right. During a very emotional scene when the family is dealing with the aftermath of losing a 9 year old girl in a car accident this realization occurred. During this highly emotional scene I could not hold back my tears. I was crying, but it was a controlled, tears slowly rolling down my face type of cry. This was not a part of my realization. The realization came to me as this stranger to my right, who was probably in his early 60's, sat next to me and was practically sobbing. It seemed as if he was doing everything possible to refrain himself from bellowing out an all out wail. This semi-wail began to subside and over a few minutes began to slowly fade into a gentle whimper. As I sat next to this stranger it came to me what type of cry I was hearing and what tears I was seeing. These were the cries and tears of a father. A father of many years with many hours and days invested into the lives of his children and probably grandchildren. My moving realization is that there is no mistaking the cry of a father.

I have vividly seen this cry in several firsthand situations. The most moving experience in which I have encountered the cry of a father came a few weeks ago from my own father. In this occurrence I saw not only the cry of a father, but the cry of a grandfather. As those reading this probably already know, my family and had been living close to my family for the past year. In the middle of August I took a job that would move my family over 500 miles away. My parents knew that we were following the direction we thought God was leading, but that doesn't take away the hurt that still encompasses your grandchildren moving away.

Very few times in my life have I seen my dad cry. I have never viewed him as unemotional or distant, there have simply not been many instances in our lives together where he has felt the need. He has been a great example to me through the years, and I highly respect and admire the way he has conducted himself as a father and grandfather.

On the morning we were leaving to move back to Indiana was the time in my life where I have truly seen the cry of a father in the eyes of my father. As we were gathering up everything to make the drive, I could see that he was getting emotional. I expected this from my mom, but was somewhat taken back when I saw the tears rolling down my dad's cheeks. He kept it pretty controlled until he picked up my son to say goodbye. Christian gave him a hug and kiss, and at that point I wasn't sure if my dad was going to let go. The tears broke out in strong streams and my dad did his best to control the shaking that his body wanted to release. In reaction to this display of emotion, I started to tear up myself. But I made sure to quickly distract myself as I saw that Christian was getting a little scared and confused by the situation. On the drive to Indiana that day Christian asked me on several different occasions, “Why was Pappy crying.” This gave me the opportunity, honor, and privilege to tell him that Pappy was crying because he loved him so much and was going to miss him.

I want to take this time to say 2 things to my dad: 1. I'm sorry that I had to make you go through that. I'm sorry that you had a glimpse of living close to all of your grandchildren and then we took that away. 2. Thank you for showing me your care and love. Thank you for loving my children as much as I do. Thank you for desiring to be a lasting influence on their lives. I know they love you deeply, and I am so thankful they get to call YOU Pappy!**

Learning to be a father:
Over the past 3+ years of my personal journey into fatherhood I have slowly realized that as I watch movies, read books, and hear stories my own propensity to dispense tears has become much more relaxed. It no longer takes a story of an extreme, emotional journey of a boy achieving his dream of becoming a professional baseball player to bring tears to my eyes. It simply takes one short scene, paragraph, or moment of a father losing a child for the tears to roll. Here are some clips or scenes that would not allow me to hold back the tears:

(In Field of Dreams Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a man who never had closure with his father. He builds a baseball field in his corn field that magically allows past players to appear and play baseball again. Through these events, Ray finally gets to play catch with his dad. This one gets me every time!)

(In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith is playing Chris Gardner. He's a father that is doing everything he can to provide for his son and give him a better life than he ever had as a child. In this particular scene, they have no place to sleep and must spend the night in a subway bathroom.)

Our Father in Heaven:
As I have slowly started to understand these emotions that come from being a father and this cry that can only come from a father, it has helped me understand so much better the love that our heavenly Father has for His children. But it doesn't only help me understand His love, it also helps me understand His pain. How many young parents think to themselves, “I am so sorry for what I put my parents through. If I had known that they felt for me what I now feel for my children, I would have never taken their advice for granted. I would have better understood that they were looking out for me because they loved me so much.” How many times has God looked down at the children He loves and let out the cry of a father? How many times has He yearned for us to crawl back to Him, yet had to let us go and make our own mistakes as every parent must one day endure? How many times has He seen young fathers failing to provide the love and leadership that their children need? How many times has He wanted to hold us close and tell us it will be alright, but we turn and run the other direction towards our own indiscretions? 

At this point in life, there is nothing that makes me more emotional than seeing the ineptitude of so many fathers today. With that said to borrow some of the words of the movie Courageous

"Where are you men of courage?"  Where are you when you should be playing with your sons and drawing pictures with your daughters? Why are you failing in the most important role you will every play? Why are you not leading your families and showing them the example God has created you to show?

May we as fathers have soft hearts. May we be strong and courageous when needed, and may we be calm and tender when called upon. May we be an example of love and discipline to our children and lead our families as God has designed. As we go through the trials and tribulations of raising children, may we never forget the love that our heavenly Father feels for us. May we never to be too worn or calloused to allow our children to see one of the most touching displays of emotion that God has created, the cry of a father.

**It should be noted that my mom is an outstanding grandmother! I'm not referencing her emotions at this time because this article is titled “Tears of a father.” If it was “Tears of a parent” it would be a different story. Mom, thanks for being a great mom/mammaw! I'm sure sometime in the near future I will write something about mothers. 


Welcome Malachi

I have one sister.
She had her first baby.
His name is Malachi.
He was born on his due date, October 28th.

Oh he looks like his mother    :)
Welcome to the world, little man.


Seasonal Decorating

I'm feeling rather blunt today, and wordy.

It seems that the more blogs I read (and there are an endless amount available, and increasing daily), the more perplexed I get about seasonal decorating.  Posts usually written by stay-at-home moms who talk about how busy and crazy their lives are, how they do such-and-such to get it all done, and oh yeah, here is a picture of my mantel...in every season, AND Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, July 4th, Columbus Day (really?), Autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  Are they really too busy?  I'm being a little extreme (just a little), and I do realize that these women are scouring them homes looking for ideas of what to write their next blog post about.

Side Note:
I'm also dying to know where all these crafty ladies store all the items they are constantly making.  Do they have 2nd homes where they put it all?  Take Centsational Girl, for example.  I am in awe of her decorating style, she has some mad skills!  But take a look at this (gorgeous) room:
Isn't it amazing!?  But look closer, I think the only things that aren't Christmas decorations are the furniture, table, rug, mirror, and obviously the fireplace (she probably also reuses the glass vases on the mantel for other seasons).  All that other stuff: where's it go the other 11 months of the year?  Then multiply that times the other seasonal decor she switches out in this same spot.  I'm sure she has a system, like I said, she has mad skills.

End side note.

Before I go too far, I should define "seasonal decorating" in my terms.  Seasonal decorating would include changes to decor in and out of your home at nearly every opportunity.  This would include porch redo's, any blow-up yard ornaments, new paper garlands strewn around the home each month, etc.  This would not include bringing flowers from outside and putting them in a vase on your table during spring, setting pumpkins or gourds on your front porch in the fall, using pink napkins on Valentine's Day, etc.  Neither list is exhaustive by any means, but the blog world also does not need to see every little seasonal change either.  

Now, my only exception to seasonal decorating that I like and will do is Christmas, within limits.  Things can be tacky.  Very tacky...
I'm a fan of simple and timeless Christmas decor.  Things from nature.  White lights.

Moving on.

This has led me to the conclusion that I am generally not a fan of seasonal decorating.  Why?
1- It costs money.  You buy things to decorate your house, then you need to buy bins to store them in.  In our situation in life (and maybe yours), we are looking for ways to save every last penny and apply it to loans, retirement, kid's college, and vacation.  If you are in a similar stage of life, consider cutting back on your seasonal decorating.  
2- It takes up space...visually and when you store them.  If you remember a while back I shared the blog Becoming Minimalist with you.  From my own experience of moving several times and having to get rid of accumulated possessions, I'm a huge fan of clearing out the spaces in our lives, seen and unseen.  
3-  Your tastes change from one year to the next, and something you spent money on last year may not be your style this year.  You'll either throw it back in your storage closet (taking up more space), or donate it.
4- Does it really affect your overall happiness?  In trying to think of why people decorate at every season, the only 2 reasons I can come up with are that 1). it may make them happier when they see them, and 2). it allows them to have a creative outlet.  For all the crafters out there, it gives us things to make to get our "crafties" out, right?  I can understand the 2nd reason and I do think it is valid, although I don't know if it refers to the majority of people out there.
I truly believe your (and my) crafting abilities can be applied to items and areas in our lives that will serve more function.  I'm huge on function.  But that's another post.  

Now recently, my biggest peeve is Halloween.  Aaaghh.  I don't know who decided that putting cob webs, ghosts, spiders, freaky things, etc. etc. was tasteful.  I found one quirky article about decorating for Halloween.  I thought something they said was interesting and gave some insight into where these sort of decorations originated,
"It’s really hard to overdo Halloween – one could argue that the more decorations you have, the more protection from evil spirits or tricksters – on All Hallows Eve."
Article and Source
Not to mention, when you have a young child, you are constantly trying to avert their eyes from the scary images while driving down the street or going to Walmart or Lowe's (Christian is now afraid of the "tool store where the scary men are").

I would be happy with the following:
This entire post has ideas for fall decorating that are right up my alley.
(and where can I get GREEN pumpkins??!)
Maybe I've said too much.  I definitely don't mean to offend anyone, and many seasonal decorating ideas are very pretty, just not my thing I guess.  And I suppose some people may enjoy being full-on tacky!  So if you have the time, money, and space,  by all means, decorate away!  And who knows, maybe I'm just in a phase.  (If I change my mind, I'll let you know).  But if you feel like the pressure of changing your decor every month (or more!) is wearing on you, it's okay to let it go... one at a time even, and free up some time and money.  

I don't even know what is happening here!  Source
I'm curious to know some of your thoughts.  :)
Happy Decorating!


"Guest" Post: Irrational Fear

My sweet husband wanted to write a post to share some of his recent spiritual thoughts.  
(lest we forget he did get a degree in Christian Ministries)

The other day, Rachel and I took her parents and our kids out for dinner to Red Robin. To most of you, Red Robin is famous for great sandwiches and “bottomless” fries. It used to be famous for that to me as well, but not anymore. Today Red Robin is famous to me because it withdrew a manifestation of irrational fear out of my 3 year old son, Christian.

To be fair, the little guy has gone through a lot in the past year and a half. A year and a half ago he was an only child, now he’s 1 of 3. A year ago he was living in Marion, Indiana. Since then he moved 500 miles to Maryland to live for about 11 months, and then moved another 500 miles back to Indiana just a few short weeks ago. In the midst of all this change, he has met new people, made new friends, and now has to start over and make even more new friends.  To say the least, he has been going through many changes that can greatly affect the psyche of a young, impressionable boy such as himself.

The Incident”
While sitting in our oversized booth, some Red Robin associates were preparing the area adjacent to us for a birthday party abounding with cupcakes and helium-filled balloons. While these associates were organizing the area, a balloon became loose and proceeded to “pop” as it hit a warm light in the ceiling. As with any balloon popping, it was initially a little startling. Christian was somewhat concerned that the balloon had popped and asked me, "But why did it pop?”
Mistake #1, I told Christian what happened. Now this wouldn’t seem like a mistake to most, and it didn’t seem like one to me….at the time. Cue the irrational fear: as the meal progressed balloons continued to randomly get loose and float to the ceiling. The moment a balloon hit the ceiling, Christian would let out a shriek. I'm not talking about a little "I'm scared mommy please hold me" type of cry. This was an uncontrollable "there's no way you can comfort me right now" type of cry. It was a scream.  There’s no other way to put it, he had rapidly become extremely fearful of balloons popping on the ceiling. No matter how much I tried to reason with this 3 year old and take him outside for moments of calm away from the deathly balloons, the fear was not subsiding. His brilliant mother finally decided to make him switch sides of the booth where any balloons were barely visible. I probably should have just let her handle it from the start.
In the ensuing days, I began to notice that Christian, and all children I presume, tend to have many irrational fears that can come and go as quickly as beautiful weather in Northwest Indiana. Some days he might be afraid of the lamp at the top of the stairs. Some days his sisters, Selah and Jadah, might be scared to death of their Pappy Henry with his shirt off. (This has happened on multiple occasions.) Some days Christian might be bashful to sing at Awana’s, while other days he will belt it out at the top of his lungs. Whatever the fears may be, they are usually somewhat fleeting and many times totally irrational.

Further introspection brought to light an interesting point. As Christians, we tend to give in to irrational fears much like my son did that night at Red Robin. We hang Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 in our homes, but do we ever stop and realize the meanings of those verses in our lives? If we truly believe that “God has plans to prosper and not harm us” and we can “do all things through Christ that strengthens us,” then why do we still have fear?
Why are we scared when we lose a job or don't like a job? Why are we scared when our house won't sell and we desperately need to sell it? Why are we scared when we don't know God's plan for our entire lives at this moment in time? Why are we scared when our children, younger and older ones, make mistakes? Why are we scared about anything, that when it comes down to it, is outside of our control?
I'll tell you why, it's because we're human! All of these “adult” fears make perfect sense and should be concerns. But time and again I have seen people lose sleep and practically create panic attacks over issues they really have no control over. As the old adage goes, “You have to let go and let God.” I know this is MUCH easier said than done. But imagine what life would be like if you could simply let go of all of your fears and doubts and trust completely that God has things under control! There are a vast number of references in the Bible of God promising to take care of us. Not even a sparrow falls without Him knowing. He knows the number of hairs on your head, don't you think He knows your fears and doubts? And better than all of that, He knows your hopes and dreams.

With that said, may you go with God. May you not worry and not fear the troubles of this world. May you walk with confidence and assurance through the scary streets of your personal memoir. May you see the balloons of life floating toward the hot lights in the ceiling and say. “I know you might pop, but I'm not going to be scared anymore.” May you always know that God does have a plan for you and you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.


Ruffled Lampshade

Time to start sharing the details of the family room I showed you a few weeks (months?) ago.  Let's start with the fabric ruffled lampshade that I saw first on Crafty Texas Girl (via Centsational Girl), this is hers:

I had some major lampshade issues in this room.  I was planning on using a little yellow lamp from Goodwill, but no shade seemed to look right.
Yikes.  It's like a bad day in the dressing room.
I ended up choosing the top left shade for the ruffle project because I thought that once I added the ruffle, it would be the right proportions to the lamp.
I started by tracing my lampshade to create a template, then used the template to cut my fabric to cover the white shade.  I really really like the fabric, and wanted to use it even though I figured it wouldn't let much (or any) light through it.

Once I got to the bottom, I didn't like the way you could see the seam of the ruffle, so I glued it to itself to make a cleaner look...
I ended up doing that to the top and bottom to keep the ruffles together.  I put it on my lamp, and still didn't like the way it looked.  I decided it must be the lamp base, so I used a different lamp I had and liked it 100% better.  I don't have a great "after" picture (just like I didn't have "after" pictures of the whole room), but you can get the idea from these pictures...

Ruffle Shmuffle, fun project!  And since the edges of the ruffles are unfinished, I occasionally have to give it haircuts to remove the extra threads, but hey, who doesn't need a little haircut every now and then?  Give this one a try!--- it adds a nice feminine touch to a room without being girly.  I wonder how it would look to use all sorts of different fabric ruffles, varying colors and patterns?  Could be very cool! Again, you can get the full directions here.

Hope you're enjoying this Indian Summer as much as I have been.  Have a great night!


Fabric-Backed Bookshelf

Happy October! Let's start out with a nice crafty project...something fun (and overdue!).

Remember back when I make the children's nook at my parent's house?  I applied fabric to the back of the bookshelf.  It was pretty simple, you could totally do it.

1- buy some spray adhesive at Lowes.

2- measure the size of each panel on the bookshelf.  Even if they look the same, each one may be slightly different, so you have to measure each one.  Or if you are doing a bookshelf that has adjustable shelves, you can just take them all out and line the entire back (do consider the thickness of your fabric, you want to make sure the shelf will still fit in with the fabric behind it).
3- cut your fabric.
4- after laying your bookshelf on it's back, spray the back of your fabric.

5- carefully line up the fabric and apply it to the panel, smoothing it with your hands (starting at the middle and pressing outwards).
*It might not be perfect, and I'm no perfectionist.  My fabric edges were raw and uneven, but that's not the important part.  Most of it will be covered up with books and knick-knacks anyway.

6- Stand it up and put it to use!

Let me know if you decide to give it a try, I'd love to see how it turns out!


Dear Selah & Jadah

You're my girls.

There isn't much point in writing two separate notes to each of you, you practically do everything together.  I think I've passed a turning point: I now like having twins, genuinely!  I can't decide if I like it enough to want another set, but I am definitely seeing the benefits of raising two babies who do everything at the same time.

Oh where do I begin?
We've just moved to Indiana, the place of your birth, so you're hoosiers at heart.  Just like your brother, I loved seeing your excitement grow every time we saw your Pappy and Mammaw Henry.  It was very special to live close to them for that part of your lives, even though you won't remember it.  And now you get the chance to grow in relationship with Pappaw and Grandma Potteiger, and I can already see your faces light up when they walk in the room.  You did great on the drive to Indiana (it was just me and you two for the long drive).  You took turns taking naps, looked at books and ate snacks that I tried handing back to you while driving.  It was swell.
I love to watch you two play together (especially when your brother isn't around to bug you)(but sometimes he's really sweet and I like to watch that too).  You both love to look at books, especially the kind with flaps to lift.

You are sweet, and stubborn.  You give us these looks where your face is down, but your eyes are looking up at us, and you just stare.  You have gorgeous blue eyes and dark eyelashes, and since your hair is longer, you always wear a clip to hold your bangs back.  You are more content to play on your own, and you don't seem to cuddle as much as your sister (although you do love a nice long hug).  You still have the mole on your right arm that is our final backup in case we ever forget which girl you are.

Both of you still have your leg chubs...
Dirty puddle bottom and leg chubs

My little flirty daredevil, you may someday be my first child to break a bone.  You like to try dangerous things.  As far as the flirty part, you also have a "look."  You act shy and turn your body away, but you look back with your face and flutter your eyelashes.  You still have your dimple, and you laugh easily.  When meeting new people, you warm up to them pretty quickly.  You pooped in the bathtub this morning.  I think you will be funny and can't wait for you to start talking.
...where I find Jadah at the park
I love you both dearly, and you love each other dearly.  Every night before bed we sing a song, pray, and then I tell you to give each other hugs, kisses, and say "nite nite."  You both love it, and it is funny to watch the different variations of hugs you come up with.

Glad I have both of you, can't imagine one of you without the other!
I love you,


Dear Christian

You're my boy.

You are growing fast, and life has changed so much recently.

You were in your first wedding!  The rehearsal was rough and you were extremely embarrassed.  But on the day of the wedding, you were excited and pulled through (although I couldn't actually see you walking down the aisle, and I heard reports that you were holding the pillow in front of your face!?).  You were the cutest boy ever.  (I made your bow-tie!  It was fun.  And for the readers, I followed the tutorial here).

You were fun to watch during this process of moving.  You were very excited to "go live at Grandma's house in Indiana."  I was sad at the same time.  It had been wonderful seeing you grow in relationship with Pappy and Mammaw Henry over the last year, as well as learning what cousins are, of whom you are extremely possessive ("my cousins").  I know you probably won't remember ever living in Maryland, Indiana is going to be your home state.
The morning we moved, daddy promised to give you a new basketball game if you were good for the drive.  We decided to let you ride in the moving truck with dad, you were sooo excited.  All during breakfast you were talking about "riding in the big truck because we're moving to Indiana to live at grandma's house, and if I'm good, I get my new basketball game."  Pappy Henry gave you one of his special toy motorcycles that had been sitting on his windowsill (where you always went to find them), a very special little gift.  Dad said you played with it a lot during the drive to Indiana.  Seeing you up there in the great big truck made me smile every time I caught a glimpse (and I'm so mad I forgot to take a picture!).  Watching kids' movies kept you occupied most of the drive, and yes, you got your new basketball game.

You have now been promoted to a queen size bed, all to yourself.  You sleep right in the middle with your little doggy "Fruff Fruff."

At grandma's house there is a coloring book of Disney princesses, leftover from your aunt Ericka and myself, the little mermaid is on the cover.  As we sat at the table, you were just looking at her, and you asked "Where is her bottom?  How does she go to the bathroom?"  How is it that in all my years, I have never pondered how the little mermaid empties her bladder, and you're only 3 and you think of these things?

You've known what a fire hydrant is for a while, but I tried to explain it further to you on a walk yesterday.  After my explanation, you were telling me your version, and I realized you think that fire comes out of the fire hydrant.   I guess the term water hydrant would seem more appropriate.  Makes much more sense.

You have also started Awana's, a weekly event where you go to play organized games and learn Bible verses.  You were quite excited to go to "hawana's" and get your special vest.  You did a great job on the first night, and the verses you will be learning are way simpler than the ones you already know (I know you know them, even though you act like you don't most of the time).

Your current favorite songs include Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho, Jesus Loves Me (of course, it's  a classic),  Zaccheus Was a Wee Little Man, and Only A Boy Named David (David and Goliath is your favorite story, you are quite taken with giants).

I wanted to note these few things, because they make me smile, and I want to remember them again later.  But don't get a big head: you have your fair share of whiney attitudes and disobedience, I keep doing my part and praying for God to work in your heart.

For the record, you are 3 years old, you are 3 feet all, and you weigh 30 pounds.

Love you so much.




We're getting pretty good at it, you know.

This time around involved getting rid of a lot more stuff, some of which we had just moved less than a year ago.  I realized I like getting rid of things.  I like it a LOT.  Some of you inquired about the items, thanks for looking and buying!

I have been a negligent parent/blogger recently, and seem to forget my camera all the time.  In one aspect, its nice to not have to carry it around, but then the day is done and I don't have anything to show for it.  The following pictures are taken with my cell phone (which doesn't take great pictures), as my meager attempt to share what in the world has been happening.

Our last weekend home included a wedding which Simon and Christian were in.  We were simultaneously attending a family weekend at a local campground.

Christian as the "official" ring bearer, he did super!
I couldn't think of a better way to spend our last weekend in Maryland, surrounded by family and friends, watching our kids make memories with cousins, and sending well-wishes to our newlywed friends, Pete and Sara.  It was a whirlwind of a weekend, and Monday morning came charging through the door: time to load up!

This was my view for the 10 hour drive.
The move went as well as it could have.  Everything fit in the truck (much thanks to Dad Henry and Isaac), the house got cleaned, the last night at Simon's parents was restful, the drive was long but surprisingly peaceful, unloading was quick thanks to the help of my parent's church friends, and the kids have loved every moment of living at their grandparent's house.

Alas, we are settled into my parents cozy basement and the kids have their rooms upstairs.  I think it will work just fine.  I get to use a lovely little kitchen (which isn't even quite finished yet, will be great when it is!).  Simon is enjoying his new job.  Over the next few months we will start looking for a home to buy.  And life goes on.  Thanks to each of you who said a prayer for us in this transition, we feel loved and supported by so many, we don't deserve it, but we are thankful.



Small Bathroom Towel Rod Idea

Today I am thrilled to have my sister writing a post while I am busy moving my family. Ericka keeps her own family blog called "Life in General and Specific" where she waxes eloquently about life's happenings.  I even learned something from this post....never knew where my sister's fear of someone hiding in the shower came from!   (Also, forgive the strange formatting with the pictures, the new blogger layout is throwing some curve balls...won't let me move them!).  Enjoy!


Recently, Rachel, her children, and our mother came out to visit my husband and myself (after much begging on my part). And the whole visit was wonderful (minus me being exhausted from pregnancy hormones and overwhelmed that my house may soon be just as active, loud, and busy as my sister's)! In the last few seconds before they left back to  Indiana, Rachel snapped the following pictures of my bathroom and asked me where this stroke of genius came from. She wanted to share with you, her readers. So, here goes.

We currently have three shower rods hanging in our bathroom. While I probably would have never gone out to purchase three shower rods for one shower, we recently moved from an apartment that had two showers to a house with only one. Our new rental also came with a shower rod. This left me with three shower rods. Overkill, I thought. But I also had a problem- our new bathroom had only one towel rack, and it was tiny. There had to be a solution somewhere here. The pictures are rather self explanatory. I wanted to use  one of my extra shower rods as a towel rack. But if you hang it outside the curtain, it's ugly in the bathroom. And if you hang it inside the shower curtain, the towels will get wet. Aha! I had TWO extra shower rods. Which meant I could hang the shower liner on one rack, the towels on the next (in the middle), and the pretty shower curtain on the very outside. Close the pretty shower curtain and the extra towel rack disappears! I find it rather difficult to explain clearly and succinctly, so I'm hoping the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," to be true. 

To be honest, we rarely close the outside shower curtain. (But that is mostly from my childhood fear that someone is behind the shower curtain- likely due to seeing a clip from the movie Psycho in an IMAX theater when I was on an elementary field trip...). However, if you don't have scars from old thriller movies, have limited towel space and don't want to install a new rod, and like to keep a tidy looking bathroom, this a perfect solution. Either way, writing this post and sharing my childhood fears with you has indeed being fun and freeing. Also, I totally would have folded my towels more nicely if I had known my sister was going to take pictures and post it for all you avid readers. My bad. 

Good luck!


Family Room Reveal

The kids are napping.  I am wandering around the house wondering what to pack next.  I think I'll write a blog post instead.  Yes, that sounds nice.

I'm finally going to show you what happened in our  family room.  I painted it way back in April, and was trying to get it done all summer.  There was still one more fun idea I wanted to do, but it will have to wait for the next house.  When we moved in the room looked like this...

Yes, a lovely basket of apple border....oh wait, make that TWO layers of different apple borders on top of each other.  But I finally got them off...

And then I started doing something like this...

And then you pour some paint and this happens...
And you thank the Lord OUT LOUD that you remembered to put down plastic drop cloth.  Yikes.

All in all, it turned out something like this...

I now realize I don't even have pictures of the entire room because I never took my "final" pictures.  These snippets will have to do, as the room is now entirely packed away.  You can see more pictures of the tv wall in this post about the family art.

So there isn't anything too special about this room, but a few little things to share with you in the near future, such as the ruffle lampshade, refinished dresser, and how to steam drapes.  I moved that little rocking chair to the other side of the room beside the tv (the kids kept rocking it INTO the dresser....a big "no-no" after I just finished painting it).  We also installed a ceiling fan, because Simon would apparently burn up during the summer without some moving air to keep him cool.  He's so hot (oh yes!).

The best part about this room is when these 3 (apparently I can't count, maybe I think of the girls as one unit?) 4 people are in it with me...


Newborn Sleeper from Tshirt

Thanks to This Mama Makes Stuff, who shared a great tutorial and pattern here on making a newborn sleeper from a large t-shirt!  I used up one naptime to make one for our friends who just had their first baby boy, and who also happen to be IWU grads.  I was pretty happy with it, and if you are an IWU grad and you have a baby, you'll probably get one in the mail too.

Yes, I know this picture is sideways, but I don't feel like taking the time to change it.  You get the general idea.

"Never Too Young"
Congrats to Jon, Amy, and Carter!


Indiana, again?

In attempt to help you use your imagination, I'm not putting any pictures on this post.  Words.  Just words.  Take that, blogosphere.

Wow, it's hard to believe that almost a year ago, I wrote this post about moving to Maryland.  I'm not gonna lie, parts of this year seemed to take forever (like the winter), but as a whole, it has gone by so fast.  I haven't written much about Simon's job in a while because frankly, it wasn't turning out the way we had imagined.  What we hoped would be a perfect fit just wasn't fitting.  And as time went on, going to work became harder and harder for Simon.  
The issues at hand involved the desire to work in an office setting with other people (as opposed to being alone all day except when with clients).  If you know Simon, you know he loves to have a good time during the down time, laughing with people and brightening the day.  He would also benefit from a set schedule rather than a loosy goosy flex schedule. 
After talking with his regional leaders, he was pointed in the direction of looking at the Edward Jones headquarters for a new position.  When the job he really wanted fell through (for no apparent reason), we were left with no ideas and were willing to move anywhere.  
This is where the story gets crazy.  See, my parents go to a financial planning company that they rave about and when they're feeling brave, they joke about Simon working there.  When I shared our dead-end job search with them, my mom asked if she could suggest their financial company.  Simon went ahead and submitted his resume (on a Friday), and the same day got an email to set up a skype interview on Monday.
I'll spare you the gritty details, but lets sum it up to say that by Friday of the same week, Simon accepted a position with a financial company in South Bend, Indiana!

The company is privately owned, and although they don't advertise themselves as a Christian company, everyone who works there is a believer and faith is integrated into everything they do.  They work in an office together and do a lot of things as a team rather than as individuals.  I think it will be a perfect fit for Simon.  
He'll be continuing to get more licensing and move into more of an advisor role over time.

We know that this job wouldn't have been possible without first moving here and doing what we did and what Simon went through.  It's really a God thing.  God had been preparing us for several months, and we both felt like a move was coming soon.  We would not have guessed it involved going back to Indiana, but we have to admit, we're thrilled about it!  Another thing: when I was at my parents a few weeks ago, my mom was telling me that they have felt like there was a reason they needed to get their basement finished... like someone was going to need to live there.  She thought it might be a college or exchange student, or maybe my sister and her husband after he finishes chiropractic school.  Never in a hundred years would she (or I) have thought it would be us.  (If you haven't picked up on it by now, yes, we are going to live in my parent's basement to start).  

Simon starts in one week.  ONE...as in, August 22nd.  I'll be here in Maryland packing and enjoying our last days in Maryland bliss.  We'll be moving around the 2nd weekend in September.  This entire situation has been surrounded by prayer, and with the timing of this job and how quickly it came about, we trust that God has prepared a place for us.  
The downside to moving will be leaving Simon's family.  I have really enjoyed getting to know them better (as I had never lived around them since we had been married)... now I feel like they're truly my family too, and leaving comes with sadness.  And we'll KEEP making that 8 hour drive!

Indiana, here we come!

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