Idol Fun...

Tara and I felt like little eighteen year old girls at the American Idols Live concert on Friday...it was so fun! We even had our "Blaker Girl" t-shirts and might have exhibited a few signs of a mini-crush:) Actually, the older woman in back of us really did think we were eighteen--Tara was so pumped! The woman was shocked when we told her we had five boys between the two of us!

Our quick trip was a wonderful diversion from the norm of running households and caring for children. We were able to escape to a world of little responsibilities, if even for 24 hours! *My husband asked me to edit this post to make everything clear--for the record, we were gone 29 hours:)* The concert really was better than either of us expected. For me, it was so exciting to see how these kids have gone from young singers to talented performers in just a matter of months--amazing! I love music...but even more, I love seeing people grow in their gift. I think it is a beautiful thing. Gosh, these guys were good. Really good. Some of the Idols that hadn't caught my eye in a big way on the show really stood out on the tour. I definitely want to go again next year because it makes the whole season feel complete.

I got to thinking about how silly it might seem that two adult women were so excited to go to an American Idol concert. Right after Parker was born, I seriously think I did nothing if it wasn't related to babies and raising children. I was consumed! It really didn't take me long to figure out that I needed to still do things that I like to do. I had become one of those annoying moms--oh no! So now, American Idol is something I get to do for fun after the kids are asleep. I get to check out for a couple hours a week and allow myself to be entertained by some (mostly) talented people. This past season, Tara and I reverted to eighteen year old girls every Tuesday and Wednesday night. I've found that this type of fun is so important for me. We're in the thick of raising children during their formative years--very serious business most of the time. God has entrusted us to bringing up little human beings and this is the most important and challenging job we will ever have. I've found that I am a better mom if I allow myself some time doing things like this...along with other things I enjoy, including writing on this blog. Of course, I also need to be responsible with my time...so I better get offline. It is all about balance!


speaking of music...

Thanks to my husband, I'm heading off today to go the the American Idols Live concert over on the other side of the state! I'm going with a good friend and we're leaving all FIVE BOYS with our husbands. It will be an overnight trip and I will be leaving Griffin (overnight) for the first time--thank goodness for stocked up milk in the freezer! I'm so excited to spend this time with my friend, Tara...and to see the concert! It should be an interesting experience since we'll both have NO responsibilities for 24 hours :)))

I'll share some pictures or something when I get back. Happy weekend everyone. Have fun boys...and don't get into to much trouble. Promise me...no ER trips!


theme songs...

I've been thinking so much about music lately. I think it may be because Amanda is doing a music series right now and I'm loving how she connects song lyrics to everyday life. It is so much fun!

I'm wondering, does everyone have theme songs for certain times of their life? Let me explain this...so when I was falling in love with my husband, I literally felt like I was in a movie because a soundtrack seemed like it was playing in my head all of the time. When I hear some of those songs, it brings me back to that time---and what could be better than that?!! And then certain songs bring me back to the time I was really, really longing to be a mama, but the timing wasn't right. I listened to this song all of the time because I dreamed of having my very own little boy sing it to me someday...isn't that funny? :) I have songs for absolutely everything. I'm sure everyone has songs that go with specific periods of time. Isn't it amazing how powerful it can be? What a gift...

So my husband sang me a beautiful, new song the other night. Oh, man...I love that! You see, Joel has an amazing, amazing voice. I am going to be really honest and say that it is what first attracted me to him and why I ended up stalking him! But yes, then I found that there was so much more underneath that beautiful voice. I recently told him that I am going to figure out a way to record him singing a song to me and put it on here....he didn't like that idea! I will at least post the lyrics of the new song at some point.

But the song that I love the most is the very first song he ever sang for me, Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. I promise you though, he sounds better than Mr. Clapton. The song is over in my playlist if you are interested. When I hear that song I remember the exact spot on the floor I was sitting in when he started playing and singing...I remember how I felt...I remember what I was wearing...and how he sang it perfectly. I could tell he was a tad nervous about looking me straight in the eye when he sang certain lyrics. Magical. But now when he sings it to me it is even better because the lyrics mean more...and I assure you he can look at me straight in the eyes when he sings it to me.

So that is my theme song for when I was falling in love with my husband. I have so many more....like songs that remind me of Young Life camp...road trips with my family...Christmas...first year of marriage. Many of them are on my playlist. So now I want to know, what are your theme songs? Everybody has them and I really want to know!
Wonderful Tonight
by Eric Clapton

It's late in the evening; she's wondering what clothes to wear.
She puts on her make-up and brushes her long blonde hair.
And then she asks me, "Do I look all right?"
And I say, "Yes, you look wonderful tonight."

We go to a party and everyone turns to see
This beautiful lady that's walking around with me.
And then she asks me, "Do you feel all right?"
And I say, "Yes, I feel wonderful tonight."

I feel wonderful because I see
The love light in your eyes.
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don't realize how much I love you.

It's time to go home now and I've got an aching head,
So I give her the car keys and she helps me to bed.
And then I tell her, as I turn out the light,
I say, "My darling, you were wonderful tonight.
Oh my darling, you were wonderful tonight."

I have to edit this to add a funny thing about this song...

So when Joel was playing this song out at the lake this year, I happened to be down at the tent getting something and could hear Joel starting. I literally started sprinting back up to the deck of the cabin. (That is MY SONG people!!!:)) The sprint, not a pretty picture in the first place, but then I pulled a muscle on my way up the stairs! Oh my! So this song has even more meaning now...


just so you know...

NEVER leave a two year old in his room for a nap with an entire tube of A&D Ointment laying near him. You may end up with ointment all over the room and the stuff slathered all over that lovely two year old. And your house might stink. Just so you know. Not like that sort of thing ever happens in this house--this mama is too smart and I have angels for children! I just wanted to give you a friendly tip.

Happy Wednesday:)


for those who love griffin...

This little picture right here is just extra for your enjoyment and actually wasn't necessary for this post. I just can't help myself. Here he is in all of his glory. I think he was asking me why he has a hat on when it is in the nineties. Hmmmm....good question.

Since one of the purposes of this blog is to keep loved ones updated, I'm posting a video of Griffin displaying his awesome giggle. But beware, you will also hear some fairly annoying baby-talk coming from yours truly. All I can say is that it was for a very good purpose...



Some weekends are full of chores and doing things we need to take care of around the house. For me, this was NOT one of those weekends....it was wonderful! Instead, I spent a lot of time with friends and family and feel genuinely recharged by these relationships...

*The boys and I took a drive on Saturday morning to go see my Grandma Marge. She lives about an hour an a half away, so I was able to just sit and talk with my dad during the drive. We don't get to do that very often so it was really fun! Nothing better than having a conversation with my dad without having to chase little boys around--love those car seats:)

*My grandma is almost 90 and no longer full of life. It was really good to see her because she loves seeing the boys and she has this very special affection for Parker...but it is also so hard to see someone in that state. I can't help but hope for a speedy trip home. However, it was really special to see her and we did see a little glitter in her eyes, a teeny bit of feisty behavior, and definitely her joy in seeing the boys. It was crazy seeing her and Griffin together--one so new and just starting out, and one so old...

*On our way back, we stopped for about a half an hour and spent some time with my Aunt Beth, Uncle Terry, my cousin and her children. We really don't spend that much time with them, but I really wish we did. I feel like my cousin and I are so similar in a lot of ways and could really hit it off if given the time. Funny how that happens.

*We spent Saturday afternoon with a dear friend who has recently returned home after a long time away. I can honestly say she is one of my very favorite people in the whole world. She's totally normal and so easy to talk to...but her heart is amazing and she sincerely loves people. She's got something special. After spending just a few hours with her, I again felt so honored to be her friend. I'm not going to say her name because she might feel embarrassed....I don't know. But I love her and I'm so glad she's home.

*After church on Sunday, we went out to my parent's house and spent the day with them. As always, so fun! We ate, talked, and played. We even went to the nearby Air Force base to see the airplanes and play on the playground. We had a great day!

*Phone calls, emails, even text messages from special friends from close by and far away. I love technology for this reason.

*And finally, late last night, my sister and I had a great, deep, sister to sister conversation over the phone. I've missed her and I am so glad we talked. Love you, Kels!

I love writing lists like these so I can look back at them later and look at the many amazing relationships God has blessed us with. I really do feel recharged and so thankful.

*I must add that I was able to enjoy this weekend like this because my wonderful husband spent the bulk of it working in our yard, making it look beautiful. He really is so amazing and he works so hard. Thank you, Joely.*


Meet "Pinky"

I have a new phone number and wanted to make sure all of my friends know that I've switched. I've contacted some, but I wanted to make sure that all of you who have my old number switch to the new one...and I'm lucky I have this great place to post these very interesting things:) And OF COURSE, I'm not going to post the number here...think I'm crazy or something? Just email me and I'll get it to you. Thanks!

Oh, and this is my new phone, "Pinky". Like her? Want to know something sort of funny? I have never in my life text messaged! Doesn't that make me sound so 90's or something? And now I have this new phone and I'm able to...but I haven't because I haven't even got around to learning how it works! Oh my!

Happy weekend...


brothers and more...

We're happy to be spending time at home with no big trips in the near future. Something about going away and coming home again makes me value the simplicity of the ins and outs of life as a family. Just some everyday happenings around our home...

Turns out that camping didn't agree with Griffin so much. I felt like he was just not himself while we were on vacation. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I guess a mother knows. He came down with a fever during our trip and I found a rash all over his body the day after we came home. I debated about going to the pediatrician because I took him in last week for acid reflux...and I don't want to lose legitimacy at the pediatrician's office...ha! Thankfully, Joel took him in yesterday and he has a common childhood virus called Roseola and a bit of thrush. Poor little boy. However, we found that he has gained a half pound in the week and a half he has been on Zantac. I think he is on the mend in all areas and hope to have my really happy boy back very soon!

Yes, I realize that my five month old looks bigger than my two year old! Part of it is
angle and part of it is the fact that one likes to skip meals and the other would never
miss one. Crazy kids:)

I've decided I really like the age of two years, three months and two days! Parker and I are on the same page this week and we are both really enjoying it. Yesterday I took him on a "date"--actually an errand run to Costco and Babies R Us. He thought he was so special! I let him have two sprite/lemonades from Costco's food court and he was on cloud nine. Seriously...he enjoyed those drinks so much that he shared them later with his diaper, pants, and maybe even the car seat! Guess a little boy should not have two big drinks within a half an hour:) It doesn't take much to keep my little Parker happy. We chatted and sang during the car ride and I wondered why I ever thought it was hard to take him to the store. So fun!
We've started the process of transitioning Griffin from our room to the crib in Parker's bedroom. Parker heard us talking about it beforehand and was so excited to have Griffin sleep with him. I really expected to find Parker in the crib with him this morning! It was kind of a bittersweet feeling. I love that my boys will share a room and am excited to see their relationship grow in a new way, however, I am a bit sad not to have my Griffin right next to us. We now have one little wall separating us and even that seems too far sometimes! But Griffin is getting too big for his Pack n Play bassinet and I think it is time for him to sleep in a more comfortable spot. He loves it because his beloved musical mobile is in his crib...he is so in love with that thing! Griffin and Parker slept great...but I, on the otherhand, jumped up at every sound. And it didn't help that we had thunder and lightening last night!

And some more on Parker and Griffin's relationship...it is so fun to watch all of this happening. Parker is now at the age that he is really into playing with Griffin, not just smothering him or using him as some sort of tool. And Griffin, of course, idolizes Parker. They are starting to take baths together and both think it is the coolest thing.


Happy Camper

Some might call me high needs, up-tight, control freak, prissy. I can't function without a shower in the morning. I eat the same exact things for breakfast and lunch...every day. I drink filtered water and good coffee. I hate rodents and filthiness. I'm afraid of many animals, especially bats at night. I bathe my babies everyday because I like them to smell good. I really, really like the microwave and refrigerator...convenience at my fingertips. I don't like to be too cold...or too hot. I LOVE a clean bathroom. Oh, and so many more. You get the picture...

So why in the heck do I like camping? If I have all of these lovely things at home, why do I spend days and days packing up and preparing to go sleep outdoors for four nights? Camping is such a weird thing. And, of all people, I should not like it...but I LOVE CAMPING! For some odd reason, when I'm out camping it doesn't matter much if my feet are black with dirt or I drink sludge in place of coffee. I actually like cooking on a gas stove and if I close my eyes in the campground shower, I'm even okay in there! Something about choosing to live an altered life for a few days makes many of the things I'm usually concerned about acceptable and actually enjoyable. Hmmm....makes me think a little about how my attitude and choices affect how I experience life in so many other areas. Anyway, I love so many things about camping, but mostly I love that we choose to slow down and enjoy the simplicity of life together. I think that is what is so special about the experience--strip away convenience and you get a more organic environment for developing relationships with family and friends.

We recently spent four nights camping with our good friends from our old home, Phil and Aleah (and their four giggling monkeys). It doesn't seem possible that it has been an entire year since we've seen them. I think that is when you know you have good friends...when you can pick up right where you left off. No awkwardness, no formalities. Just easy and fun. And it was relaxing...as relaxing as it can get with six young children! Thanks Phil and Aleah--we look forward to many more years with you on our annual camping trip!

Oh, and thank you also for the extra pictures of the trip...filled in my gaps in my slide show!


Five Months...

Griffin's five month birthday was on the seventh. For some reason, telling people that he is five months seems like a big deal--he's no longer a newborn whatsoever. People no longer make the "brand-new" type of comments. This is fine by me. I don't mind being done with the newborn stage because I love older babies. However, to say that these past five months have gone fast would be a huge understatement. It isn't even like time has gone fast...it is like time hasn't even been an element, or even a consideration since Griffin's been home. It makes me panic just a tad bit because I know that things will start flying by even faster now...and I'd really like to camp out at this age.

We're really, really enjoying Griffin right now. His personality is coming out full force and we're actually a bit surprised! He's still sweet, lovable, easy, and loves to snuggle, but now he has something new: spirit! "Spirit" might be a mama's loving way of describing a strong-will...which tends to run in the family;) Almost all of the time he is our sweet, seemingly passive little boy, but then that spirit comes out and WHAM, hits us over the head! He likes to do things by himself and if he doesn't get his way, he sure lets us know with his newly found voice or his fast-maturing muscles! He's been practicing rolling over from back to front and when he isn't successful, he gets MAD and real tears come streaming down his face. He tends to practice this move when he is getting his diaper changed and we then have to wrestle. So far, I'm still winning, but it won't be long.

He's eating solid foods now, which he LOVES! And boy, does this guy eat! Favorites right now include squash and bananas. If I let him, he'll eat the entire banana...at FIVE months! Griffin would do anything to be able to hold his bottle himself, but I'm not letting him yet and we have to have "talks" about the issue during every feeding.

Griffin still has me wrapped around his little finger, of course! He loves to play by himself, but I've been trying to carry him around more in my sling. I also sometimes lay down with him for the first few minutes of his morning nap--the one nap he gets to sleep on our bed. I love these special times with my little boy. I think Joel might think I'm a bit silly for warming up all of his bottles because Parker took them cold right out of the fridge. But I guess I'm becoming more sensitive...or something.

Griffin still hangs out with me while Daddy and Parker rough house after Joel gets home from work, but I guarantee you that it won't be long till he joins them. We often sit and watch them and Griffin just about jumps out of my lap with excitement. He is simply amazed by the two of them. I'm hoping that I stay interesting for a bit longer...I love having my little guy with me!

Happy five month birthday to my littlest man! Don't grow up too fast...


ready or not...

Look what Parker decided to put on this morning! He is really into taking on and off his clothes and I guess he got a bit confused today --we don't have water near us and his feet definitely aren't the size of his Daddy's!

Or maybe, just maybe... he's just brilliant and he's getting ready for our next trip. Yep, we're heading off on another summer trip this weekend, this time camping with our friends. I'm not sure I really thought about the fact that I'd be unpacking from our lake trip and packing for our camping trip at the same time. We had so much fun last year and I think this time it is going to be even better! Looks like Parker is all set to go...can't wait!


Loosening my grip...

This morning I was losing my grip once again. I overslept and as a result, didn't have time to prepare myself for the morning with the boys. All I wanted to do was unload the dishwasher, dry my hair & have a moment of quiet with my coffee and the book of Romans. I didn't get to the dishwasher until about an hour ago and my hair dried without my help. I felt tense and irritated because I wasn't the one in control--my children were. The morning was typical with diapers (3 dirty ones before 7 am, I might add), baths, crying, whining, breakfast...you know the drill. I could feel that my attitude was terrible and I stopped myself and wondered what I was so worked up about. My body literally felt rigid simply because I had chosen to grip tightly onto the control I really wanted. Silly and all too common for me...

Thankfully (and just in time) I was able to gulp down my coffee and read Romans 12 while standing up in the kitchen! Good thing. I've been reading through Romans in The Message because I wanted a fresh perspective. I've been loving it so much. I love the way Eugene Peterson makes scripture seem to dance...and he graduated from my alma matre, which is pretty cool! Reading through Romans has got me thinking about what it really looks like to follow Christ in the everyday. I think we have it wrong so often. The following passage brought me back to what I really desire and reminded me to take a step back and offer my everything as an offering before God. Everything...even dishes, but especially my attitude in the everyday, because these are the moments that add up.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12:1-3


vacation withdrawl...

We're back home from our wonderful week at the lake with our family! I'm officially coming off of my sugar high from eating way too many cookies. Right when I walked in the door I started frantically looking for my chocolate and quickly realized that I'm not on vacation anymore! If I ate like that all of the time....oh my:) And I don't even want to know how many Dorrito's Parker ate over the course of the week. We shall see what they do to his digestive system very soon! Seriously though, it was such a nice week with family. We were able to relax a bit while our family graciously watched our boys so often! Sometimes it was a bit crazy with all 25+ of us there, but it really was a fantastic year. Oh, and it was HOT! Nothing like a good swim in chilly water to fix that!


I'm not here...

Because we're here...

Probably doing some of this...

and maybe some of that...

and yes, that too...

And laughing, swimming, singing, and eating too much with those we love!

But maybe this year's pictures will include some of Mama and Griffin too:)

See you all soon!

Fruit of the Spirit...

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Recently my blog was recognized for containing posts that exemplify fruits of the spirit. I can't tell you how humbled I felt when I received the email. God's timing is so funny. The email came yesterday and let me tell you...I wasn't feeling so "fruity". Thank you to the person who nominated me! As Amanda would say, someone was obviously thinking about how to give more life.

I was actually really shocked because I sometimes can't see the fruit. The funny thing is that if you're looking for a blog with lots of spiritual wisdom and great teaching about God's word, I'm not your girl. I read and love blogs like that, but I have found that isn't who I am. I've actually tried to blog like this before and it never works out...sometimes I delete the posts and sometimes blogger does it for me:) But this is what I do...I try to share life experiences--MY real life experiences. And some weeks, this might mean a bunch of pictures of my boys or accounts of our some of our family happenings or maybe even a rant about a naughty little boy. I also try to share about struggles and joys I'm experiencing. I like to share about these things as they are happening, when I can document some authentic feelings. I try to do this instead of sharing about a lesson learned after the fact, when I could doctor it all up to be a pretty little package. Make sense? Because my life isn't a pretty little package; I'm a work in progress and I hope that this comes out loud and clear!

Thank you! I have been so blessed...

Now check out some of the other blogs connected with the link!

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