Three Things Thursday: Like Father, Like Son

*This post was originally written on October 23, only a few weeks after I began my “Three-Things-Thursday” posts. Only I forgot to hit “publish.” And then I didn’t sit down to write for 6 more weeks. Found this today, hitting publish now. Oops.


Turns out I am such a quitter. I’m just not made for the weekly writing of three things.

I have to be inspired.

I have to have a story.

I have to have 5 minutes to sit down without falling asleep.

By the way, just exactly when will that happen? Because I clearly remember my dad doing this when I was a kid. And now I’m… a lot older than that. And yet every time I visit him, Dad still falls asleep within minutes of sitting down. And he is 65. Was it always that way, Dad? Or did you have some years in between us kids sucking out all your energy and your old age sucking out all your energy where you could just sit without becoming comatose?

Just kidding. My dad is a very hard worker. It isn’t his old age that makes him conk out. I believe it is his very efficient use of time that allows him to do so in the rare moments where he actually sits. Seriously. He works super hard while he is up, and he instantly takes good advantage of those precious minutes when he sits.

Anyway, here it is Thursday, and I don’t have 3 specific things to share. But I would like to point out how much my son is like his father…

This is evidenced in the fact that he is ultra picky with his food. As is Matt. Only they are picky with the exact opposite foods. Jacob likes no meat. Matt likes almost nothing but meat. Meal-making is a dream in this house.

It is also evidenced in the fact that Jacob – and his dad – wake up chipper and ready to face the world, or at least talk to it. A lot. Without stopping. And their bodies move quickly. So very quickly for such early hours. Yesterday, Jacob got up, ran in to wake me up and say good morning. I sat up and said I just needed to go potty before I talked to him. In the 5 minutes it took me to stretch, stand, use the bathroom, find my cozy sweatshirt, and head to the coffee pot, Jacob had picked out his clothes, got dressed including shoes and socks, brushed his teeth, and made his bed. And he came running into the kitchen with a smile on his face. Before my coffee had finished brewing.

I am not like them. I am not awake when I am moving around in the morning. My body is up, but my brain has not yet connected to my mouth. Or other parts of me, I think. Which is why I somehow ended up with toothpaste in my eye this morning. Not even kidding. I can’t tell you how this happens. I can only tell you that it is possible. And that it stings. And that flushing it with water takes longer than you might think, because it first gets more foamy before it finally rinses out. Which I guess makes sense, but doesn’t help the pain any.

Thirdly, like his dad, Jacob is kind. He wouldn’t ever want to hurt my feelings. Which is why today, he thought of the kindest way possible to drop a not-so-subtle hint to me about something. He spent the morning at a friend’s house. This friend of mine happens to make delicious homemade bread, and Jacob had some for lunch. On the way home, he said to me, “Mom! You know what? You could not buy bread anymore! Maybe…. maybe you could have Mrs. Schouten teach you how to make bread, and then you wouldn’t have to buy it anymore!”

My four year old. Manipulating me with the idea of saving money. So he can get some fresh yummy bread out of the deal. Because apparently my store-bought bread isn’t good enough.

Which reminds me of the time his father did something very similar. When we were dating, I knew how much Matt loved chocolate cake. It is hands-down his favorite dessert and really goes beyond the normal “favorite food” kind of love. He not only loves the cake, but he often comments that “I know God doesn’t get things wrong, but that just feels like one thing He might have… Chocolate cake should be good for you. It just should. Feeling sick? Eat more chocolate cake. Aren’t sleeping well? It’s ’cause you haven’t been eating enough chocolate cake. Up your cake intake for improved health.”

So while I knew he loved it, I wasn’t sure what kind of chocolate cake he dreamed of. And in a moment of we’re-just-dating-and-I-am-trying-to-impress-insanity, I decided to make three from-scratch chocolate cakes for him to try. Yes, three. With three different from-scratch frostings. Clearly, I had no children to occupy my time. Nor did I have meals to dream up and make for various picky people. And obviously, I was still working on winning the guy over. Because that’s some seriously unnecessary overkill.

I invited my beau over for the cake testing and tried to guess which one would be his favorite. I don’t think I had ever made a cake from scratch before, and now I had done 3 in one day. You can imagine the toll this took on me and my kitchen. You can imagine the anticipation and excitement built up as I served this tall and handsome hunk not one, not two, but three slices of his obsessively favorite dessert. You can imagine the dramatic reaction I had already imagined, like him suddenly dropping to his knee and proposing before finishing the third piece.

Me: Anxious. Excited. Proud. “So? Which is your favorite cake? Which is your favorite frosting???”

Matt: Not showing much emotion. “Hmmm…. I don’t know….”

Me: Waiting impatiently. Feeling a bit disappointed he hasn’t shown signs of awe over my 3-cake accomplishment. But still hopeful that a ring might appear before the night is over. I mean, seriously. I made three from-scratch cakes. THREE. Still waiting for a response…

Matt: Between bites and with a forced excitement. “You know what would be really fun? Maybe someday you and my mom could get together and make chocolate cakes! Don’t you think? Wouldn’t that be fun?”

Me: Dumbfounded. Anger rising. Don’t even bother pulling out a ring now, Buddy, because I’ll probably just smash it into your cake. Into one of them. One of the three. There were THREE.

To be fair, this was many years ago, and my dear husband has grown much older and wiser since this comment. But unfortunately, he has not passed along this wisdom to our son. Who just today thought of the great idea of me hanging out with Mrs. Schouten to learn bread-baking.

The good news is, my son is like his dad. What a good man to look up to and emulate.

The bad news is, my son is like his dad. And that means my mornings are just going to be a bit noisier than my brain is ready for. And I might get hints dropped to improve my cooking and baking skills that are seriously lacking. (To be clear, this would only be from the ignorant but well-meaning 4-year-old. The 39-year-old has learned his lesson.)

Oh, and the other good news: My husband’s obsession over chocolate cake is any of the boxed variety. With frosting out of a can. Which means I will never ever again in my life make a made-from scratch-cake. Let’s be honest, the man is seriously lucky to get any cake after that comment.

(Turns out this wasn’t a Three-Things-Thursday failure after all: 3 ways my son is like his dad AND a story of 3 cakes.)

Three Things Thursday: End of Summer Edition

Welcome to the first edition of “Three Things Thursday.” I’m hoping it won’t also be the last, but there are no guarantees. We will have to see what next Thursday holds. (I’m sure you are waiting with bated breath. Just not bated for too long, as next Thursday is also the second day of school, and I will likely have no more words to use – nor the energy to use them – by the time I sit down at night.)

Our summer was chalk-full of wonderful memories. The kids and I made our Summer Bucket List mid-June, and we checked off almost everything. (We plan on checking off a few more things this weekend.) Annalise’s list items that likely won’t happen over the Labor Day weekend include: “go to disnewruld. go to idoneshu. nooyouc.” (Translation on the last 2: Indonesia, New York.)

What can I say? The girl dreams big.

And also? Her writing. It’s seriously too much, you guys. It has me in hysterics all the time. I may have to do a Three Things Thursday: Leesie’s Letters Edition. I die, I love it so much. I considered having her drop out of school just so I can see her write like this forever. But somehow, “hicing on man bacr” and “watr fat” just don’t seem quite as funny when you’re 16.

But back to the three things. The following pictures from summer are not some of the big things we did, but they are funny little memories that make me smile when I think of them. And come to think of it, each picture represents a story about a different member of my family. So maybe this should be called: Three Things Thursday: Uneventful Summer Events, Why My Family Members Keep Me Smiling. Although, that seems a bit long, so I’ll just stick with the original title.

1. photo(99)

What’s that you ask? That, folks, is gum on clothing. Things like this happen with kids. At least I assume it does. Although, it had actually never happened with my kids prior to this lovely mess. But the unique part about this picture is that the gum was not sat in or leaned against. No, this gum had some real talent. When it fell out of my child’s mouth, it didn’t land on her skirt as we sat in the car heading to Eugene, Oregon. This special gum fell up her skirt. Yes, up. Then it was immediately squished by the legs that were residing in said skirt. As we walked into the restaurant we pulled up to minutes later, my talented child with acrobatic gum climbed out and walked gingerly to the restroom where she discovered that her anti-gravity gum had multiplied, divided and conquered, sticking her skirt to her shorts, shorts to undies, and adhering all of it to her legs. I had to laugh, because of all the people in all the world in all of the history of ever, if I had to pick one girl this would happen to, it would be my girl. She is a beautiful mess, and it makes me smile. And also, she probably actually takes after her mother in this area. It is through no fault of her own that she falls into ginormous fire pits (thankfully, not with fires going) as though they suddenly arose out of the ground where there was once nothing. (This happened while we were having our “watr fat” – or water fight – in grandma’s back yard.) I have been known to walk directly into a ginormous planter pot that measured 3 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. I’m still not sure how it got moved into my path so quickly.


2. In August, we celebrated our girls’ 8-year-birthdays by bringing flowers to their spot. As we pulled up, Jacob grabbed the flowers and shouted, “I’ll carry these!” He hopped out of the car with enthusiasm and ran to a marker where he announced, “This looks like a good spot! I’ll leave them HERE!” It made me giggle, seeing him standing proudly on Tillie E. Cue’s headstone, ready to give her the flowers meant for his sisters. photo(100)His other sister, a bit annoyed with his ignorance, quickly informed me, “MOM! Jacob is standing on someone else’s GRADE!” These two. I love them to bits. photo(101)I am so thankful they are mine. And when we got home, they ran to the door and stood there like this, waiting for me to walk up. photo(102)How can that not make a mama smile?

3. Let’s see, who is left in my family? Oh yes, my dear husband. What a good Daddy and husband he is. He carries the kids to bed when they’re tired or already asleep, shares his last bite of a treat, and gets an armband at the fair so I don’t have to go on any rides and the kids don’t have to ride alone. photo(104)That is true sacrificial love, people. Unlike for our 13 year-old-selves, fair rides are not either of our favorite thing. But here he is, taking one for the team. And because the kids are just a little bit more grown up this year, we decided we’d head over to the big rides to start. It was not quite time for them to open, so we were first in line at the Yo-Yo. (If you’re not familiar with the Yo-Yo, picture a giant swing going around a circle. Like a carousel, only faster, higher, and you’re riding a swing instead of a horse. That’s it.)

The kids seemed a little apprehensive about the ride, and since it hadn’t opened for the day, they weren’t able to see how tame it really was. Matt, good dad that he is, offered to ride once so they could witness for themselves that it was not too scary or fast. They agreed. He climbed on, with just a few other kids riding far away from him. The swing was lifted into the air and began its circular path. Matt had passed us just twice when the kids looked at me and said, “Can we go on that maze over there?” I agreed, because it only took a few rotations for them to see what the ride was about. No use standing here for the last 45 seconds watching the swings follow the same path.

Only the ride didn’t last another 45 seconds. Maybe it was because there was no one in line waiting to get on. Or maybe the guy operating the ride thought it would be funny, since there was a big dude sitting up on the Yo-Yo all by his lonesome. But whatever the reason, that ride continued for another 8 minutes. EIGHT MINUTES OF GOING IN CIRCLES. The kids were done watching Matt after 15 seconds. He continued riding without them nearby for another 7 minutes and 45 seconds.

At one point, Matt considered taking off his shoe and hucking it at the (I’m sure very amused) carny.

At another point, a friend walked towards the ride and didn’t see me. As she looked up, I saw her say with confusion, “Isn’t that Holly’s husband up there?” Why yes. Yes, it is. My husband likes to be the first in line to go on carnival rides, he loves it so much. He goes all by himself, because they are THAT fun.

8 minutes later, when he finally got off the spinning wheel of death and the children had gone through the maze approximately 3,127 times, Annalise declared that she would like to go on the Yo-Yo after all. Phew. At least the long ride wasn’t in vain. Except Jacob had determined that it was actually too high for him. And then Annalise decided that, while it looked super fun, it would be too scary to go on alone.

And so that, ladies and gentlemen, is why my husband got back on the Yo-Yo after 8 minutes of nausea for yet another round of torment. Because if his little girl looked up at him and asked for a real live unicorn, he would probably buy a horse and adhere a giant party hat to its face. He is that dedicated. Or suckered. Take your pick.

Give and Take

I have had the honor of assisting Matt at several weddings he’s photographed. Sometimes, these weddings are out of town. All the time, I’m not needed for as long as he is. This results in me spending anywhere from 1-4 hours alone in semi-dressy attire in a city where I know no one and have no home to go to. Which results in a trip to a coffee shop. And since I’m not used to sitting in quiet all by my lonesome, this quiet alone time – although glorious – can only last so long.

Which is why I’ve taken up shopping. What else is a girl to do?

If you’ve known me most of my life, you know that I have always disliked – no, completely loathed – shopping. But in these times where I have a need to fill up a few spare hours, I’ve discovered that I don’t hate it. I just like it better by myself. No kids. No waiting. No going to stores I’m not interested in. I can go where I want and look for what I want. Another pair of earrings and a long necklace? Don’t mind if I do.

It’s worked out nicely so far.

On the wedding day, Matt and I have an early breakfast together. I take him to the location and drop him off. I shop for a bit – likely for clothes for myself. I know, right? All mothers out there are in a bit of shock after reading that last sentence. Because how many of us ever get the chance to do that, and then ACTUALLY DO IT? ALONE, no less???

(Two years ago, it took me 3 trips to the mall with my two little humans to find a single bra, then I bought 3 dozen of them just so as to never have to experience that again. Ever.)

(Ok, maybe not 3 dozen, because who could ever afford that many bras? They are ridiculously expensive. And the worst kind of purchase – for something you already have and never wanted in the first place. It’s like spending money on a car tune up. You don’t really want it, and it hurts paying the bill. Things may seem just fine as they are, but without it, you may find yourself hanging out in an awkward situation. Car tune-ups and bras: they are necessities for avoiding bigger problems.)

Then I hit a coffee shop before joining Matt at the wedding location, my purchases safely stowed away in the car. Like I said, it’s worked out nicely so far.

Except that lately, I don’t go to as many weddings. Which means I don’t have this alone time where I get to shop for the things I desire enough to purchase, but not enough to drag my kids into the store with me to do so.

And then, I discovered Amazon.

Oh, I already knew it existed and had used it some. I just didn’t take full advantage of it until lately.

Matt has shot 16 weddings so far this year. I only helped him at 3. Which means during the other 13, I’ve spent some of the time he’s been gone ordering things on Amazon. Because seriously, you just have to click a few buttons, and the stuff comes right to your door. I don’t have to even get my purse out. Or shower. Or put on one of those aforementioned necessities if I don’t feel like it.

I may have already redecorated our entire bedroom due to Amazon purchases that occurred while he was away working very hard. Did you know they will ship king size headboards FOR FREE?

I may have bought myself a kayak. And technically, this wasn’t an Amazon purchase. It was a Craigslist one. Still online, but I did end up having to get dressed and go out of the house, a whole 3 blocks away. Sometimes, life is hard.

I may have purchased gifts for the kids, some which they already received, some which I’m stashing away for birthdays and Christmas. See how ahead I am? This online shopping is really going to benefit us in the long run.

My shopping-while-Matt-is-at-a-wedding frenzy hasn’t gone unnoticed by him. After all, we share a bank account. And an Amazon account. And an email account.

Which means he gets email notifications on his phone of Amazon purchases while he is at the weddings.

Which is why – while at his last wedding – he received a text that said, “You’ll be getting an email confirmation about an Amazon order any minute. Unless I get it and delete it first. In which case, I just admitted my guilt for no reason.”

Followed by, “But I would like to say in my defense, they are gifts for my sisters.”

15 minutes later, I received his reply. “🙂 Love you.

And so my point is this…

Marriage is full of give and take. Sure, he’s doing a whole lot more of the giving in this scenario and I’m doing a whole lot more of the taking, but sometimes marriage can be hard like that.

And my point is also this…

You know you’ve married a good man when his only response to your purchasing frenzy is “Love you.” Although I can’t be certain he ever saw the previous texts, since he’s always so busy at weddings. And I did get to the Amazon email first and deleted it. So that “I love you” may have been just because he was in the middle of documenting a romantic union of two love-birds and suddenly missed me terribly. But I’m guessing not.

And I would also like to make this point…

Money can’t buy you happiness. But it can get you a pretty sweet king size headboard shipped right to your door and about anything else you can imagine with just a few clicks.

Except love. It can’t buy you that either. Good thing I don’t need it, though. ‘Cause I already got myself the best.

Priestman Home Stage

After a great – barring one minor ER trip – (who am I kidding? THAT was great, too) 4-day family stay-cation, Matt and I got another treat tonight… THE PRIESTMAN HOME STAGE. It was the perfect way to end a couple of snow days.

Matt set up the photo booth backdrop and the kids used it as a stage curtain. They took turns performing, and each introduced the following act for their sibling. Having been to a few High School plays themselves, they knew enough to turn off lights before removing stage props, such as stools. Super cute overload mixed with some serious hilarity and multiple knowing glances at the hubs. I love it when we can make eye-contact over the littles and just know.

Tonight’s performances particularly highlighted the kids’ different personalities…

HER Performances (all while holding a mic, of course):
1. Dramatic Reading of A Hippopotamus Ate the Teacher
2. Dramatic Reenactment/Singing of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” (from Frozen)
3. Dramatic (and beautiful) ballet performance
4. Dramatic Lip Sync/Singing of “Let it Go” (Also from Frozen)
5. Dramatic Leap Pad Demo of a Measuring/Cooking Game (Dramatic? Really?? Yes. It’s all in the facial expressions and vocal inflections.)
6. Passionate Singing performance of “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe*
(It was at this point that I BAWLED LIKE A BABY. Because there is nothing – nothing – that gets me more than my kids singing full-on TRUTH. IT IS MY FAVORITE IN ALL THE WORLD. I just sit there, weeping and stifling loud sobs, begging God that this will be buried deep in her heart forever, and thanking Him that she is so passionate about it right now. And of all her Dramatic-with-a-capital-D performances, this is the ONE that was NOT acting. I would’ve videoed it for you all, but I couldn’t FOR ALL OF THE TEARS.)

HIS Performances:
1. And I quote, “Rockin’ out” to “We Built This City” by Starship circa 1980s (Due to a little stage fright, this performance only continued when he could get his sister to share the stage with him. She – of course – was happy to oblige.)
2. Roaring (i.e. Like a lion. With a James P. Sullivan mask on)
3. Growling (i.e. Also like a lion. with a James P. Sullivan mask on)
4. Leap Pad Demo #1 (With sister sitting next to him on stage)
5. Leap Pad Demo #2
6. Guitar Solo (That lasted 15 seconds, because while he loves to talk, he does in fact get embarrassed while being the center of attention. Love him and his sensitivity.)
7. Bonus Performance after the show ended and he was no longer on “stage”: Dramatic Falling (He is all boy, after all.)

My heart is full. I love these people. Times one billion.
And now I am weepy again. Geeze louise.

*These lyrics. Sung Belted out with passion by my 6-year-old. May she remember this truth all her life.

Steady My Heart
Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy?
Why is pain a part of us?
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You’re here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You’ve got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way You plan

You are here
You’re real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

And I will run to You
And find refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
‘Cause of everything You are

You steady my heart (x2)

Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You’ve got me
Right inside the palm of Your hand

Lesson(s) Learned on a Snowy Day

This is the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the husband who swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside the finger* of the husband when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the husband at the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)

photo(92)(He looks so happy, doesn’t he?)


4 shots to the finger later…

This is the surgery – complete with neon green tourniquet – performed on the husband in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the finger that STILL harbors a thorn AFTER surgery was performed – complete with green tourniquet – on the husband in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the husband soaking his hand because of the finger that still harbors a thorn after surgery was performed – complete with green tourniquet – on his hand in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.)



This is the lesson learned by the husband soaking his thorny hand because of the finger that still harbors a thorn after surgery was performed – complete with green tourniquet – on his hand in the ER because of the thorn that stuck all the way through and broke off inside his finger* when he swatted snow off the bush in the backyard where the snow fell. (And fell and fell.):

Never judge a bush by its “cover.”


Other versions of this lesson:

A soft and fluffy exterior may hide a world of thorns.

Never swat at snow unless you know what is underneath.

Sometimes, beauty is only skin-deep.


Other lessons learned yesterday:

  • Never ever bring kids to the ER. Ever. (So thankful for friends who came to the rescue so we didn’t have to! WE LOVE YOU, friends!)
  • Winter gloves are great for keeping your hands warm, but they don’t do much to protect you from sharp objects.
  • When going to the ER with a thorn/stick broken off inside your finger, be prepared for the receptionist to say something like, “So. You’re here for a… splinter?”
  • Be grateful for the nurse who says, “Not a splinter. More like an impaled foreign object.” Yes. That sounds much better, thank you.
  • Just because something doesn’t show up in an x-ray doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
  • When you’ve been impaled by a foreign object, one that enters your finger on the palm side and is visible just under the surface on the top side, you might think it is best to cut into the top to pull it out. And you might be right. Or you might just create a crater in the top side, so now you have matching holes on both sides of your finger. And the impaled object still stuck inside.
  • Just because a scalpel can tap the impaled object so that you can actually hear the click, doesn’t mean that the surgeon will be able to retrieve said impaled object.
  • When you go the ER with an impalement and they do x-rays, give you Benadryl, 4 numbing shots in your finger, a tetanus shot, and perform minor surgery on your finger, yet they do not remove the impaled object, you still have to pay for the x-rays, Benadryl, 4 numbing shots in your finger, the tetanus shot, and the minor surgery. Bonus: You go home with a hand that hurts worse than when you went in.
  • Sometimes, in order to get a date night, you have to impale your finger. (JUST KIDDING RHONDA! And lots of others. We know you’re willing to babysit.) 🙂
  • You know you have a good relationship with your spouse when you spend 4 hours in the Emergency Room, laughing the whole time, leave with the same problem you had when you came, and are still laughing together by the time you drive home on snow and ice covered roads. I love you, my brave husband! (This is, by far, my favorite part of the “lessons.”)
  • Oh yes. And never ever bring kids to the ER. Ever!!

*Summary: A stick/thorn pierced his glove, entered his finger on the palm side, went all the way through to the opposite side, and stopped just underneath the outer layer of skin. We could see it. His finger turned red and hot and was painful to the touch, not to mention had some serious swelling. The broken thorn still stuck in his glove. The remaining chunk of thorn was inside his finger.

The end.