Friday, October 30, 2009


I have yet to introduce our new pet on the blog.

Meet Walle...

He's named after one of our kids' favorite Disney movies...

He's a great cat. Trust me, he must be great because that's coming from a family of dog-lovers, not cat people.

Walle is a stray kitten that found his way to Jason's parent's farm and into our kids' hearts. They just fell in love with this kitten, so we ended up taking him home.

Did I mention they {heart} this cat?!? They really do. They're always carrying him around, putting him in boxes or in wagons, or if you are Chloe, putting him in the dryer.

And Walle doesn't seem to mind one bit.

Actually, he kind of seems to like tight spaces.

Like, the inside of our wall for instance.

Yes, that's right, you read that correctly...the inside of our wall.

Last week I was sitting at the computer when I heard a 'meeeooooowwww' and something slide down the inside of the wall I was sitting by. I looked at Jason, he looked at me, and we both said, "Walle!"

The cat had gotten into the house through a little hole that is not yet sealed up where our fireplace piping goes outside. And since we've gutted out the main level of the house as part of our extensive home renovation project, Walle somehow got into the floor from upstairs and slid down between the studs of the basement wall.

Could you get any more ironic than having your cat, named Walle, get stuck in your Wall? Seriously!

After a lot of meowing from the cat and a lot of wondering how we're going to get this cat out of the wall, Walle was thankfully able to climb up the inside of the wall and into the basement ceiling. The other option was that we were going to have to cut a hole in the wall to get him out, and that would have brought Walle down on the popularity ratings around the Sanders household for sure!

After Walle got up the wall to the basement ceiling, Jason was able to take out one of the canned lights and pull the cat out through the light opening in the ceiling, like this...{excuse the poor photo quality. I didn't make the poor cat stay trapped in the ceiling so that I could grab my flash.}

What? Haven't you ever pulled your cat out of your wall before?

Hmmm. You mean that's not normal?

Well, neither is our life.

Cuz' really, are you that surprised that this happened to us?

I thought not.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Aunt Fern

This past Sunday, October 18, our Aunt Fern passed away.

I'll call her 'our' Aunt Fern because she was just that, an aunt to everyone. Aunt Fern didn't have any children of her own. But she spoiled all of her nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews, just like a good aunt should.

She was 95 years old and it was her time. Aunt Fern had been bound and determined to live her life out at home and had done so up until a little over a month ago when sickness had weakened her to the point where she could no longer stay at home and had to spend some time in a nursing home facility. Her time at the nursing home was considered to be temporary, a place where she would stay until she was strong enough to return
to her home. Well, she has returned home now, her eternal home with Jesus.

Just as Gabe had some wise thoughts to share when Great Grandpa Verle passed away, he again had some wise thoughts about Aunt Fern.

When we told Gabe about Aunt Fern's passing, he first said, "That's sad, cause we're going to miss her."

And we will miss her. Her playful chuckle, just like a kid who had never grown up. Her giving spirit, always desiring to bring happiness to others. Her timeless sense of humor...oh the stories we can tell about Aunt Fern.

But despite the sadness that lingers as we miss our aunt, there is a joy that we can have in knowing that she is now with our Father in heaven, free of any limits that exist from old age.

"She can see now," Gabe explained to us, as he talked about Aunt Fern in heaven. "She couldn't see very well before, but now she can see everything."

Aunt Fern had lost vision in one eye several years back following complications from surgery to remove a cataract. The loss of vision had left her unable to drive, and had been quite hard for her spirit as a bit of her freedom had been lost. But now, as Gabe talked about, she has all freedom in heaven, free of the limits our bodies experience here on earth.

"And she can eat all the candy she wants now," Gabe continued.

If there's one thing everyone knew about Aunt Fern, it was that she loved candy. And chocolate. I remember when I first met Aunt Fern shortly after Jason and I started dated, we quickly discovered our shared love of chocolate. I can remember her saying, "You're a girl after my own heart." And anytime we visited, she had her chocolates and candies lined up on the table, just waiting for us to share with her.

And then there were her jelly beans.

She would carry jelly beans in her pockets and pull them out by the handfuls to share with our kids, often leaving a trail of fallen candies on the floor behind her. There was no worry in losing Aunt Fern, just follow the jelly bean trail.

"I bet she's eating all the jelly beans in heaven," Gabe said, remembering those candies he shared with his great aunt.

We'll miss you Aunt Fern! And please, leave some jelly beans up there for us!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two and a Half

Chloe is two and a half years old...thirty months...six months short of turning three.

But any way you put it, it seems that Chloe is growing up way too fast!

Maybe it's because I have so many kids, and I'm so busy, that everything seems to fly by. Or maybe it's like 'they' always say, 'Time flies when you're having fun.'

Regardless of the reason, time is flying!

I just pray that I can enjoy every minute and cherish every moment, because the kids just won't stay little forever no matter how much I want them to. Even thinking about my children growing up too fast makes me tear up...I'm really hopelessly
way too sensitive!

Moving on before I start to cry...

I took some photos of Chloe recently, and she looks like such a little lady instead of my little baby! Oh how I love my happy little girl! What a blessing and a joy she is in our lives!

I was wanting a dreamy, not too smiley, 'girl in a field' kind of feel. I think it was accomplished. These photos are definitely some of my new favorites!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


They're little.

They're plentiful.

They fly.

And they're invading our home by the hundreds...

Maybe thousands!

How they're getting in is a mystery to us, but they're making their way in somehow.

(And by the way, does anybody know the name of these ladybug-like creatures? We just call them 'beetle bugs' around our house. Or if you're Chloe, 'biders,' her way of saying 'spiders.')

Sunday, October 18, 2009


If you've been following this blog long, then you know that our home is undergoing an Extreme Makeover that involves everything from gutting our entire main level and building on additions, to taking off our old roof and putting a whole new roof on. And, if you've been following this blog long, you also know that we're doing most of the work ourselves. Let me share an equation with you that pretty much sums up our situation...

Lots of renovation + doing the work ourselves = slow progress.

I'll admit, part of the reason there is so much renovation is that we are picky. Extremely picky to be exact. I have grand ideas of how I want our home to look, down to every last detail. In fact, I have an entire binder full of home photos and pictures from magazines of what I like about different houses. I am definitely opinionated when it comes to the look of our home.

And then there's Jason who sees the big picture, and I mean BIG picture (he kept adding on square footage to our home when we were having the plans drawn up, things like a bump out for our master bedroom sitting area and a screened-in deck.)

Basically, God has blessed us both with a vision for the end product, even in the midst of a chaotic mess. But having not been blessed with an income to match our vision, we're forced to save money by being our own general contractor and doing most of the labor ourselves too.

Yes, we're both to 'blame' for the work ahead of us. But we also both know that if we put in the time and effort now, we'll have a home that is our dream home and we won't regret not going for it. Jason and I both appreciate character and charm in a house, and just couldn't envision living in a cookie cutter home free of those little details that make a house special and unique.

That being said, the exterior of our house incorporates many, many windows, two different types and colors of siding, and stone...lots of stone. Jason and our dads put all the windows in themselves. We hired someone to do the siding because we knew it would take Jason forever to do it. But the stone, like the windows, is a project we thought we could do ourselves.

Well, yesterday is the day we actually began putting stone on the house, after preparing the house for stone for the last few weekends. And let me tell you, the application is pretty easy, but man is it ever time consuming! And being the perfectionist that I am, I have to make sure that it all looks like I envisioned which takes a little more time than just grabbing any random color or shape of stone and slapping it on the wall. (Yes, it's suppose to be a random pattern. But it takes a lot of work to get the right random pattern!)

We are happy with the progress we made on Saturday, and absolutely love how it looks so far.

I thought I'd give you a sneak peak...

We know that Chloe likes the stone. I had them laid out on the ground ready to apply to the house and she kept saying, "Oooh, really pretty rocks mom," in her excited Chloe voice.

Hopefully soon we'll have all the stone completed and will be one step closer to a finished exterior. And you can expect many, many photos when that day comes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chloe and the Croup

One out of every four children will be effected by sickness during the cold and flu season. That statistic doesn't make our household odds very good, now does it. With four kids, it seems one of them is always sick this time of year.

And right now, that kid is Chloe.

It came on so suddenly! She has been battling a runny nose for a few weeks now. But all of a sudden Chloe woke up last night with a terrible barking cough and fever. I gave her a drink, tucked her back into bed and it wasn't 20 minutes before she was again coming out of her room to tell me, 'It hurts really, really bad mom,' as she gripped her chest. This happened several times. As I laid down beside my little girl, I could hear her wheezing as she breathed. It scared me a bit, I have to admit.

I took her into the doctor first thing this morning only to find out that Chloe has the croup. By this point she sounded terrible and had all but lost her voice. She was feeling so badly that they gave her a shot of steroids in the thigh.

Now Chloe can be a bit dramatic. Well, actually, a lot dramatic. It was hard to hold a straight face as she limped down the hall of the doctor's office holding her leg and telling anyone that would listen, "my leg hurt really, really bad. My leg hurt hard!'


Needless to say, she's not feeling good today, but is thankfully resting now.

Oh how I wish it were me that were sick instead of her. I hate to see my children suffering, and would always wish to take their place if I could. Which brings my mind back to my Heavenly Father. Funny how the simplest of thoughts can bring us right back to Him. He loves us just as we love our children, only more. Hard to imagine, isn't it! How could anyone love us more than I love my own children...I love them to the ends of the earth. But because He is free of sin and He is perfect, He is able to love with a perfect love that can only come from Him. Now that is truly awesome. And He showed us that perfect love by sending His son to take our place on the cross. Talk about self sacrificial, agape love!

Today I pray that my Heavenly Father, who loves Chloe, his child, so much, will quickly bring her back to the place she was at as she walked in this field...

...happy, healthy and carefree.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chloe at the Pumpkin Farm

As most of you know, my in-laws have a pumpkin farm. Every year people from all around come to the pumpkin farm to pick out their fresh produce, see the various animals and simply take in all that life on the farm has to offer in the fall.

And people take photos, lots and lots of photos of their kiddos with the pumpkins and various displays. One of those people, of course, being me. I know, big surprise!

So how is it that I took an entire series of photos of Chloe at the farm and managed to hardly get any fall themed background in the pictures? I guess because her larger than life personality demanded a bunch of 'closeups.' And I mean a big bunch!

Check out this girl. Everything is always so exciting to her, as if she's experiencing it for the first time. I love her enthusiasm for life, and pray the Lord will take hold of that enthusiasm and use it for His glory as she grows!

I have so many pictures because she was just being so goofy! Chloe just makes me laugh...

I do plan to have another photo shoot with all the kiddos before fall comes to an end. We ran out of sunlight tonight after these photos and our fun picking pumpkins in the field. So stay tuned...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Swimming in the Rain

What's a vacation without a little swimming, right? Well, make that a lot of swimming for us. Our kids love to swim! And since it's raining today, we've spent a lot of time in the pool.

Here's some photos of my little swimmers.

Gabe & Cooper taking a second (literally) to pose for mom...

Chloe with her arm bands. She thinks she has to wear this all the time, both in and out of the water...

We got a quick group pic before it starting pouring. See the clouds rolling in! But that didn't stop our fun, cause there's an indoor pool too :)

And on a side note, Jason took a photo of Gavin and I today. Gavin has already learned how to pose! We're thinking maybe this little guy will look more like mom instead of being a clone of dad. What do you think, do you see a resemblance?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Branson or Bust

We are officially on vacation!

It's been a whole year since our last vacation to Myrtle Beach. It's actually quite rare for us to have a whole year in between vacations. We usually try to take at least two vacations every year to get away and spend time together as a family. But with this past year being filled with pregnancy and the sickness that goes along with it, not to mention all the house renovations and church youth center renovations, we've had no time to sneak away, not even for a night. Needless to say, we are quite thankful to get away from it all.

Although one thing I cannot seem to get away from, of course, is blogging :)

We had a pretty good eight hour drive here, considering. (Keep reading for the considering part.) It was eight hours of actual driving, but if you factor in all the stops a family with four small children has to make, it took us more like ten hours to get here. Two extra hours was actually quite good considering what we had to deal with - poor little Chloe got sick on the way.

A few nights ago, Gabe was up sick all night long vomiting. We had hoped no one else would catch whatever bug he had, but unfortunately it 'bit' Chloe today.

I could spare you the details, but really it was quite amazing so I just have to tell you about it. I won't get too graphic, but if you don't want to hear it (or shall I say read it,) go ahead and skip the next paragraph.

Now, for those of you who aren't squeamish, here's how it went. Chloe would be singing a song and start a coughing/gagging fit. She would then throw up all over herself and her car seat. The smell of puke is still stuck in my nose after being trapped with it for the whole day in the car. Really, how well can you clean a car seat up with wet wipes, which was all I had to work with. And then there was the puke-soaked clothes that I had no where else to put but in the car. But I digress - back to Chloe. After throwing up, she would go right back to singing. Seriously, it was the strangest thing. Chloe would be singing away..."Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder" *VOMIT* "what you are." Jason and I were both amazed that it didn't phase her one bit.

It just goes to show that Chloe just doesn't stop for anything, even vomit!

I wanted to share a few photos from right after I changed her clothes at a gas station. Notice how happy she is, not really the vision of a sick girl...

Then she proceeded to play in the car, finding the mirror on the visor and talking to herself in it. The conversation went like this, "Hi! I'm Chloe! How are you? I'm on vacation!" *Notice all the exclamation points. They're an accurate portrayal of both her excitement and her volume :)

I know she's a happy girl, but really, one does have permission to be a little somber when they're sick. I guess this doesn't apply to Chloe!

Hopefully all that is behind us and we can look forward to a sick-free week of fun. But you can rest assured, I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brothers & Friends

After Sunday School today, the kids were showing me their papers. There was the standard colorings about the Bible story they read and a couple craft projects they had created. But one paper, one of Cooper's papers, stood out today.
It was this...

It says, 'Gabe. You're a special friend! Love, Cooper.' And on it is a picture of Gabe and Cooper playing catch with the football.

This simple Sunday School artwork may seem just that, simple. But it brought me to tears. Knowing how much Cooper looks up to Gabe, admires his big brother and truly loves him brings my heart joy. Knowing that Cooper could have written anyone's name on that paper, but thinks of his brother as a friend first and foremost brings satisfaction that we've raised them to be friends to one another. And seeing Gabe's face light up when he read his name on that paper was the icing on the cake.

My desire has always been for my children to be friends, the kind of lifelong friends that will always be there for one another. That's what this Sunday School paper means to me. It's a product of a friendship between brothers that will bond them for life, long after their parents are gone. And I pray it's a friendship that will always point them back to Christ, our ultimate friend.