The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28
May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33
God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)
We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!
I had some "credit" I needed to use up at our local Carter's store. So, last week, Luke, Kate, and I took a trip there. Luke picked out this shirt...
He chose it because it looked "like a work shirt that Daddy would wear." (Remember -- Luke likes to do everything his Daddy does)....The next day, Luke wore it. That day, after Kate's morning nap, I suggested we all go on a nature walk (this is something I started doing last summer on a somewhat regular basis). Luke asked if we could bring his friend, Lily. I texted her mom...it was fine. So, we picked Lily up, and we were off! I took them to the northern part of a trail here in town. I gave them each a bag to collect leaves, sticks, etc....They were OFF!
Neither of them would really pose for me. SO, you're mainly going to see their backs. But, that's O.K. They're pics of the two kids -- pics showing exactly what they were doing on this walk.
For those of you who are familiar with this trail, don't worry! They didn't pick up any leaves, sticks, rocks, etc. that belonged to anybody (since I know this trail is practically in the backyard of some folks). Luke & Lily both did a good job of obeying that rule.
Luke was collecting "things" to build a hotel. Lily was collecting "things" to build a house. I'm directly quoting these two kids, by the way!
Looking over the bridge, they BOTH had to ponder what would happen if they were to jump off (don't worry -- it's not that far down)...When I mentioned that the fire department might have to come help them out (should they have jumped), they both decided to move on....
This next pic, while it was happening, really showed me just how much of a non-risk-taker Luke is (careful first born). Lily was much more of the risk taker (second born child) as far as climbing on the rocks. But, I appreciated the fact that she wasn't dangerous. In other words, I didn't have to worry about having to rescue her.
The tag-a-long child, Kate, spent time in the stroller -- watching the big kids.
And, because she simply had to be content in the stroller, I even let her have a treat in the form of some juice. Kate has most definitely become our "grouchier, less-contented" child; HOWEVER, if we're outside and/or she has her older brother to watch, she's all GOOD! Kate's also a HUGE fan of being in any stroller or wagon!
After our nature walk, we made the obligatory bathroom stop at our house. Then, I stopped to pick them up lunch. We then went to a park. We had lunch at the park, and Luke & Lily had a brief time to play before it was time to head home. There's something so freeing as an adult to watch kids on the swings....Their smiles are wonderful to watch!
Within the last week or two, a local friend (whom I ran into at Wal-Mart) asked me about how I was doing Kate's party. I responded with something like, "I bought some cute cupcake napkins/cups/plates at Target. I'm going to make cupcakes, and just family is coming over...that's all." My friend said something about seeing some cute party ideas on Pinterest. I stopped her quickly and said, "Oh No -- I don't do Pinterest." (NOW -- let me give a little caveat. I have absolutely NOTHING against Pinterest. In fact, some of my close friends are on Pinterest. It's just not me. I have enough things filling up my time already). I went on to tell my friend that Kate's party would be the "Un-Pinterest" Party or something like that. She laughed and said I should do a blog post on Kate's "Un-Pinterest" Party. So, here it is....AND, this post will NOT let you down. It is the most "Un-Pinterest" party ever!
To be completely and totally honest, I actually didn't want to have a birthday party for Kate. I most certainly did NOT want to ignore her birthday, but I merely wanted to celebrate her life and first birthday with our little family. Then, I thought, we could have our respective parents (Luke's and Kate's grandparents) over at different times to keep gatherings small. Why? It's simple....though Kate frequently appears very happy and smiles quite a bit (which would be true), she is NOT the happiest AT ALL when a bunch of people are over at our house making a fuss over her. She turns into a complete and total Mama's Girl, and she cries if others even remotely try to get close to her. I knew that, if we had a party, she'd probably cry, and ultimately, I'd end up with her in her room while she's playing happily because nobody else is around. Please don't ask me why she has this little quirk in her personality. It's the way God made her, and we love her regardless. BUT, Marc & I ultimately decided to have a party. That picture above this paragragh -- well, that's ultimately the morning of her party. Luke had spent the night with my parents the night before and was not home. She did NOT like the fact that her older brother was gone. She clearly missed him. She cried throughout supper the night before when Luke was gone. She looked in his bedroom that morning -- to find him. SO, in that pic, though there's a little smile, that's how we started our day -- not in the best of moods. Luke came home with my parents for the party....though Kate smiled at Luke and was clearly glad to see him, the party didn't go well. Marc & I took turns spending time with her in her room. At one point in time in her room, I almost broke down and cried. Fortunately, I was able to hold it together enough and not cry. She cried when I put a cupcake on her highchair tray to eat. She took ZERO bites of that cupcake. When it was time to open her presents, she stayed attached to me. SO, Luke and Cousin Maddie opened the gifts.
SO, because I had a sweet, but unhappy, girl on my hip for most of the party (discount the times Marc was in her room and the time Marc took her outside to swing to keep her happy), I took ZERO pics of the few decorations I even did have. I have a whopping ZERO pics of our family guests. I didn't even get any pics of Kate crying -- you know, so I can repeatedly show her someday and constantly remind her of her first birthday party -- Ha! So, are you seeing a trend? This party truly turned out to be the "Un-Pinterest" party. Ha! Fortunately, toward the end of the gift-opening, Kate did get a little bit happy -- if Marc or I were around.
Honestly, the complete HIGHLIGHT of the party (for me) was when Luke snapped this pic of Kate and me. Luke did such a good job....
NOW, before you assume I am being completely negative -- I realize this is her first birthday party. I realize she's not the first one year-old baby to cry at her party. I realize the whole thing bothered me more than anybody else in this entire world. In all reality, very little with Kate's life has gone as planned as witnessed by her birth a year ago. It's one of those situations, however, that I just wanted to go somewhat smoother. I wanted Kate to rejoice in being ONE as much as I rejoice in her birthday and in her life! I wanted to enjoy the party. Hmmmm.....I'm noticing a trend of "I." Yep -- I seemed to have made it into a lot of "I." Ooppsss.....SO, I will continue to be grateful for Kate's life. I will continue to meditate on an important Bible verse....Jeremiah 29:11 (you know, the verse about God knowing the plans for our lives instead of US). My mom reminded me that this is only her first birthday. "2" will be better! FORTUNATELY, today (Monday), Marc took a belated day off for Kate's birthday -- so we could spend the day with just our little family. Though it was HOT, we did have a good day. I walked with the two kiddos to the park for a play date with friends. Kate was so PRECIOUS when we arrived at the park....
Right before we left for the park, Marc had left to go on a run. He ended his run at the park, and Luke LOVED playing at the park with Marc. Then, Marc walked home with us. We had a nice lunch together after returning home...We all took much-needed naps this afternoon after being at the park in the heat. Then, we went to our local sprinkler park after naps....it was our first time there this year.
Kate -- we do love you, and I do know that your party will not be the last time you will baffle me. This is only the beginning! Happy First Birthday Kate!
It has always amazed me how much a baby changes from birth to his or her first birthday. Our kids are not exceptions. SO, today, we celebrated Kate's birthday (actually, her party is Saturday). Here's her change....
As most of you know, Kate was born a month early. We definitely had to be intentional with her feeding, sleeping, etc. at the beginning, but now, you'd obviously never know her birth story.
As with all siblings, Kate has some differences from her older brother. She's MUCH more flexible with her schedule than he was/is. BUT, I would say she's louder. She's an EVEN more of a "Mama's Girl" than Luke was a "Mama's Boy." (Imagine that)....Luke's a people pleaser. I'm thinking Kate won't be as much (we'll see on that one). She's NOWHERE near walking. But, she's making progress. I thought she might be ahead of her brother, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. (For some reasons, both of our kids like to be delayed on gross motor development). The ONE THING I have really figured out very recently about Kate is that she's a "doer." She doesn't stay happy in one environment or with one toy very long. She does FABULOUS when we're out and about and doing things whereas Luke would prefer being at home. She easily gets crabby when we're stuck in one place for too long. Hmmmmmm.....is this something she inherited from her dear mother? On a completely loving and positive note, Kate gives us GREAT smiles -- especially at her dad. Kate has the most beautiful blue eyes. She's finally grown some hair for some bows; however, she likes to pull them out approximately 10 seconds after I put them in her hair. As her mother, I still admit I like to dress her in pink (again, not something I thought I'd want to do). As her mother, I get ANNOYED when people refer to her as a boy (sadly, it happens frequently despite the girly clothes). I've stopped being super nice about it. I've learned to directly say (in the most graceful way I can), "She's a girl." (And, I've quit worrying about offending somebody when I correct them). I'm slightly worried she's going to be stubborn (really -- I know that can be a positive trait -- it just will be difficult to parent). I say this because of something so simple as a sippy cup....
She FINALLY, just this week, decided that it's O.K. to use a sippy cup AND take a drink herself. I've purchased at least 5 sippy cups since she was 6 months old for her to learn. A few weeks ago, I was seriously wondering if she'd do it (knowing she doesn't have any existing sucking problems). Stubbornness, I'm relatively certain, took over on this one -- for the last six months. Now, she does pretty well....just needs to perfect it.
Kate loves her older brother and is easily amused by him. Luke can do some "goofy" things sometimes that quite frankly, we don't find that funny (even as his parents). BUT, Kate laughs nearly all of the time at Luke's "goofy" things. So, who are we to discourage him?
You local readers know I take walks with our kiddos nearly everyday in our double jogging stroller. Kate & Luke do well, and they seem to like riding together (though Kate is starting to intentionally annoy him sometimes)....Luke often falls asleep. Kate has this week as well. Vacation Bible School has been going on this week at church....it's worn them both out.
Marc, Luke, and I LOVE this girl. Happy 1st Birthday Kate!
For Luke's preschool class this past year, Luke, at least once a month or so, took the snack for his class. I actually strived to be somewhat creative with the snacks (TOTALLY unlike me to be super creative in parenting)....Anyways, most of the time, I managed to come up with a snack that began with the letter of the week. For "W" week, I located a snack called "White Treasure Cereal Snack Mix." I found it online; however, I personally didn't find it on Pinterest (though it may be there)....It's quite tasty. In other words, Marc & I are quite fond of it, and Marc has made several hints for me to make it again (I've made it about 4 times now). I wouldn't call it a real "summer-y" treat. But, it's good nonetheless; so good, in fact, I'm sharing it here on my blog. Here are the ingredients you need....
6 Cups Crispix Cereal, 3 Cups Cheerios, 2 Cups pretzels, 1 lb. M&M's chocolate candy, 1 lb. vanilla almond bark....(NOTE: The recipe also calls for 2 Cups dry roasted peanuts -- I left them out)....After gathering ingredients, one must be all "2013" and set up the iPad in the kitchen (for the recipe) -- Ha!
Next, dump all of the ingredients, EXCEPT the almond bark, into a large bowl....
Then, lay out a large sheet of waxed paper on your countertop or table....
Now, you're ready for the stove....Break up the almond bark into a pan, and slowly melt. Stir FREQUENTLY to avoid scorching.
When melted, pour almond bark over other ingredients in large bowl.
Immediately stir almond bark -- coating cereal, candy, and pretzels. The snack will become "white" -- PERFECT for a "W" week preschool snack!
After stirring, lay it out evenly on waxed paper.
After an hour or two of "drying" or "setting up," break it up and store it in an air-tight container. ENJOY (with your Stouffer's lasagna that you make for dinner -- in the background in the last pic)....
BEWARE! It's addicting!
Our Memorial Day Weekend was not SUPER busy, but we didn't simply sit around either....Friday evening, we were home as a family. I didn't take any pics that evening. Saturday morning, the plumbing on one side of our house went bad (clogged up). The bathtub Kate & I use clogged, and the two toilets on that side of the house weren't working properly. FORTUNATELY, we had no major mess or smell, AND it was something that could wait until after the weekend. SO, we all used one bathroom for the weekend -- definitely something called #firstworldproblem. Saturday evening, Marc & I had a date night -- YAY! Our favorite sitter, J, came over and stayed with the kiddos. Kate let it be known in an obvious way that she didn't want us to leave. However, 2 minutes after we left, I texted the sitter. Kate was fine -- go figure! Can we just say "drama?" Sunday morning, we went to church. Luke went to Sunday School, and Kate went to the nursery. Later that afternoon, our friend, Debby, posted some pics on her Facebook page. The caption said something like, "When the babies in the nursery got fussy, we took them all out for a walk." I LOVED the pics....I hope Debby doesn't mind me posting them. I put a red arrow going to Kate. I'm guessing she might have been one of the fussy babies....BUT, a walk is the BEST idea. Kate loves strollers and walks! I LOVE our church's nursery. Debby used to be the director. Our friend, Lori, is now the director. Both of these ladies have done (and is currently doing) an AWESOME job with the little babies/toddlers. I LOVE the fact Marc & I can go to church and not have to worry about our baby. I LOVE the fact that the nursery workers do everything possible to soothe fussing babies before calling parents. This stroller walk is a GREAT example.
Sunday evening, most of our small group (3 couples were unable to make it) and their respective kiddos came over for a BBQ. I took zero pics that evening :( Monday morning, Marc & Luke put up their flags. I LOVED seeing them do this together. I LOVE Luke's little flag that he likes to put up.
Marc & Luke did some yard work. Kate & I took a walk. Kate was SO happy on this walk (remember what I just said about Kate and strollers).....I JUST had to stop and take a couple of pics of her on this walk....Notice her "Memorial Day" gear.
Last night, we went to my parents' house for a supper/BBQ. My brother and sister-in-law were there as well -- with their 4 girls. I didn't take pics of the evening, but I took a couple of pics of our kiddos on the way home....(Luke's is a bit blurry)....