Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My little angels...

Grandma Margaret (updated)

Well, it's been entirely too long since I've blogged - even if it is the sole reader (Hi, Grandpa!) who has asked me to update! :)

There have been a few reasons for my lack of blogging this past month and a half. First, though, it's with sadness I report that my sweet grandmother Margaret passed away on November 21st. She had been dealing with Parkinsons disease among other ailments for as long as I can remember. She's always been strong, but I can celebrate now that she is with our loving Father and she is pain free and home.

My family has been joking (kind of ;-) ) that she is singing with the choir in heaven. She loved music and loved to sing. That's one of the things I loved about her. She passed on that love to her children and from there it traveled to her grandchildren, including myself. Matter of fact, some of my fondest memories of my grandma are of her asking to listen to me play piano, attending concerts when she could, and making me practice as a kid (which I didn't appreciate so much then, but sure do now!). My Aunt Donna (Grandma and Grandpa's oldest daughter) reminded me of that this week, that she was always so supportive and shared her love of music with her family. I so wish I could have heard her sing in her younger years.

Another of my favorite memories is from only a few years ago. Since graduating college I have helped my grandpa with his books for his business on and off through the years. I began when I was pregnant with Emerson and once I had her, Grandma welcomed me to bring her with me when I did my work with Grandpa. She would sit with Emerson in the living room and even though she couldn't hold her because of the Parkinsons, she would entertain her from the chair. Singing, smiling, and laughing with her. Grandma loved Emerson. She loved all her great grandchildren. I have tears in my eyes just writing about it. Does that tell you anything about her? :) She was pretty great. It was amazing (and I use that word sincerely) hearing of her life and all she had done, accomplished, and the people she touched while at her funeral. Her life is well celebrated. And matter of fact, at the funeral I also learned that when she was younger and working for the 1st Presbyterian church in Cheyenne, she organized and cataloged their music and the music library there continues to this day.

Here is a picture from 2005 of four generations of girls.

I'm so thankful for her life and who she was to me.

Her life is celebrated and she is missed!

**** Something I meant to mention and forgot: my grandma emigrated from Scotland when she was in her early 20's (any family correct me if I'm wrong on that number), which has instilled in all of us a great pride of our Scottish ancestry and has allowed my family to travel and see where my Grandma is from and meet her brothers and sisters.
I always loved her teaching me funny little words that she used while in Scotland and I still sing a Scottish folk song to my kids that she sang to hers.
She had a great sense of humor and something I learned recently (and was surprised to find out!) was that she loved to watch pro golf!

Anyway, thanks for reading a few of my favorite things about her. She was pretty wonderful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slumber Party and Rock 'n' Roll Braeden

My big girl Emerson is now 5!! To celebrate her big birthday, I allowed her to have her first sleepover with her favorite friends. It was a success! We had pizza (along with carrots and fruit to make it a little more healthy! :) ), then had yummy funfetti cupcakes with chocolate frosting, opened presents, then the girls got in their pj's and sleeping bags to watch the new Barbie and the Three Musketeers movie. Afterward we painted everyone's nails (they got to choose finger or toes!). Then it was time for bed. I anticipated the giggling and whispering and there was some, but they were quiet and asleep by 9 and then up bright and early at 6! I made them pancakes for breakfast and then they were off to their own homes! I must say it was so, so, so much fun! If they all are like that I'll be willing to do that more often! It was fun for me to see Emerson so excited for her slumber party and so giggly with excitment the entire night. Great first experience. Oh, and Braeden did want to join in the festivities, but when I told him he couldn't also sleep in the living room, he was really quite hurt, but I offered him a bowl of his own popcorn to take to bed and that seemed to make it all better!

I'm going to attach some pictures from the fun party and then I have a funny video of Braeden rockin' it on our bed (On a side note, he's doing great, for the most part, with the pottying! Ignore the stripped bed in the movie due to a pee accident. That's beside the point! :))
Sorry, too, for Landen crying in the background. He was mad, and not hurt, which is why I kept the video rolling! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October News and Looking Forward

To say there has been excitement these past few weeks would be an understatement!

First, very briefly, we received some pretty heavy news last week from our elders at our church. The elders met with Jon two Fridays ago to tell him the budget for Emmaus Road (where Jon has served as youth pastor the past 3 years and interim-ed for a year before that) was suffering some shortfalls and after praying and agonizing, they had made the decision to cut the stipends that we have been receiving starting in January. That news brought to us a lot of emotion because that would hinder Jon's ability to continue serving with the youth that he's loved and poured his love for Christ into, as well as seriously impact our own finances. Why would that hinder Jon's ability to serve with the youth, you may ask? Well, if you know us, we are a single income family. Because of this cut, Jon or I or both of us will have to pursue another source(s) of income to make up for the shortfall which won't leave much time to continue serving in that capacity.
After a week of grieving over these facts, we've recommitted to serving Emmaus well during Jon's last few months of being on staff and have begun praying for God to close our time on staff with Emmaus in the presence of His love and grace as we begin to look forward.
We have received so much love and support from our family at Emmaus, too, and it has brought about a lot of peace and has reminded me of God's faithfulness and promise to always provide for us. (Matthew 6:28-34)

On a lighter note, we are preparing for Emerson's 5th, that's right, 5th! birthday this week. We had a party planned this past Saturday for all our family, but silly me took the older two kids to my parents house (over the hill in Cheytown) on Friday night. My parents were going to bring them back in time for the party on Saturday, but I didn't check the forecast, which included several inches of snow and fog. Whoops! So Emerson and Braeden both were snowed in and didn't make it back for the party. Well, the rest of the family wouldn't have made it either, I suppose, since they were also traveling from Cheyenne! Ha! Oh, well. Emerson still has her sleepover - her very first sleepover- to look forward to this weekend and I know we'll plan a party sometime very soon so she doesn't get gyped of that special "I'm turning 5!" attention she deserves from the family.

And as the winter season begins (wait, isn't it only early October? Oh yeah, I live in Laramie!) we've already had ourselves a few good snows, but unfortunately our family has been faithfully passing around the latest bug and I have not one good picture of my kids playing in the snow (and as much as I like to say "Ugh!" to this early snow, I always have a little bit of an excited and awakened feeling when I wake up in the morning to a fresh blanket of snow).

So here are some recent ones of us "sicklies" in the house instead:

Braeden and Emerson in their blankie tent in the living room:

Emerson wasn't feeling well this day:

This would be Crayola green marker all over his face:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Please think of her...

A while ago I posted about a beautiful little five year old girl named Kate (please see my previous post here). I've continued to follow her journey through this battle with brain cancer. This little girl is fighting for her life. Last week they had a woman fly in to photograph her and her family. This woman touched the McRae family (Kate's family) in a special way because she is a cancer survivor herself, so they asked her to capture some very special moments with their family. Lidia, the photographer, posted some of the pictures in a video as well as some still shots on her blog here.

I watched it this morning and I literally couldn't hold in my tears. I cried for this family. I absolutely cannot imagine the horror of finding your sweet baby girl has a tumor in her brain that has a better chance to leave you without your daughter than not. And this family keeps sharing her story as to bring more glory to Jesus. I can only shake my head as it leaves me without words.

So if you think of her, please pray for Kate and her family right now. They must be facing the most difficult thing most anybody could ever face - the evil of this cancer trying to take away this precious life. And praise God for how he is using it to share His name.

You can read more of her story at

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I have to admit...

I really do have the cutest kids in the world!

Big Birthday Boy Braeden

My big boy just turned three! It's hard to believe that it's possible that he can be three already. I know every parent says that, but I really do know what they mean. It's all flown by so fast! His special day was just that, though, pretty special. His birthday also turned out to be his first day of preschool, so he got to be the special kid that brought cupcakes for snack and after preschool he got to choose where we ate for lunch (of course, it was nowhere other than Burger King!) He took a good nap and then we had dinner and afterward another cupcake, filled with three candles to blow out and we sang to him. I think he was a little tickled to have us sing to him. Anyway, it was a fun day. Then we also had an actual party for him this past Saturday (the week was really all about him!) where our closest friends and family came to enjoy his special day. He sure does have so many people who love him, and rightfully so. He certainly has my heart! I sure do love that boy!

Here are some pictures of his actual birthday and then his party. And the last is from his birthday from last year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A whole new face...

This is a little bit of a long story, but please bear with me. The past few days have been pretty consumed with thoughts of the doctors appointment I recently went to this past Thursday to the orthodontist. Why am I seeing an orthodontist since I have had braces TWO times already, you might ask? Well, since high school I have had problems and pain with my Temporomandibular joint, the joint that connects the mandible (jaw) to your skull, also known as TMJ.

I have been treated once already for TMJ when I was 19 and I wore a splint in my mouth as well as my second set of braces, which helped in the short term. It really never did completely get rid of my headaches, pain, and locking of my jaw, though. Most recently, I've been experience longer lasting, more intense headaches, more locking, and shooting pain under my teeth. All this to say, this is what brought us to the orthodontist.

After taking indentations of my teeth, several pictures, and a full, 360 degree scan (MRI?) of my skull, I was looking at pictures of my sinuses, teeth, and airway on a humungous (Jon might call beautiful) TV screen. And to make a long story short, my problem is a skeletal problem. It also turns out my joints are about flat from wear (which they should not be), my airway is extremely small, I have pollups in my sinuses, and I have what looks like degenerative bone disease. This doctor teaches doctors around the world about things of the jaw and teeth and he says this is one of the more severe cases he's ever seen which is not something I was really prepared to hear.

He then proceeded to tell me that most people have one optimum option along with a Plan B to treat their symptoms/ailments, but being so severe, I really only have one option. This part was disheartening to hear.

My only option to get it right this time (after braces in highschool and treatment a few years later for the TMJ) is to wear a splint on my lower teeth and braces on my top for 3-6 months while also going through physical therapy, which includes weekly visits. Two things: this doctor is in Ft. Collins and what I will do with my kiddos during this time, I don't know.

After this, I need to have surgery. My impression was that this surgery is very serious and in his professional opinion, it needs to be done by someone who specializes in this very specific surgery. He informed me that the only doctor he would trust is one in Santa Barbara, CA (also, he knows of on in Chile, but we probably wouldn't go to that one!).

Needless to say this is VERY expensive. Thankfully, we do have good insurance, but what we believe at this point will not be covered is very stressful for us and our finances. I also have to figure out what I'll do with my kids while I drive to Ft. Collins for appointments and physical therapy.

Another quirky concern is that my facial structure will change drastically because of all the treatment. The doctor was able to show me what he projected my face to look like after he corrects things and it really will be different me. I'm really struggling with how I feel about this part, as well. I'm sure you can understand why. I'm not looking forward to explaining to people that I didn't have plastic surgery or going through the story of why I look so different. Let alone my kids, who will have a mommy who is looking different, although I guess they get to see me through the transformation, but I digress...

Jon and I have prayed and discussed this a lot the last few days. All in all, though, it sounds like this is something I have to do (or face a broken jaw and much more pain later). I am considering taking frequent pictures so I can see (and maybe encourage myself with tangible progress) how things are changing and be able to show how and why my features had to change so much to both my kids and others.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this! Needless to say it's overwhelming and a little disheartening. I covet all the prayers I can get!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Kelly Babies

Can you tell who is who? I think we've pretty much made it known that we are done having babies. But as I look through these old baby pictures, it makes me wonder if we'll be able to stick to that decision, especially once Landen begins to grow out of the baby stage (don't tell Jon I just said that!). Anyway, for me, it is fun looking and comparing the pictures of all my babies around the same age. Why don't they just stay little forever? :)
The first three are of the kids right now, but all of the rest of the pictures were taken of my kids when they were between 5 and 7 months old. Oh, they grow so fast!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Braeden's First Big Digger

The first big "digger." Every kid has one. Emerson had one when she was one and a half and now Braeden has had his turn. The kids stayed at Grandma and Grandpa's last night and my parents brought them home this afternoon. When I got home, I saw this :

I guess he was at a full run out front of my parents' and turned the corner on the sidewalk and took a faceplant. According to my dad he didn't have time to even put his hands in front of him to lessen the impact. You can see the bruise and a little scrape on his nose, but what isn't so clear is how big the bruise actually is (down to his eyebrows) and how big of a knot is protruding from his sweet forehead. Poor baby. Hopefully no one will think I abuse this poor kid!

For fun, or at least an awww, here is a picture of Emerson's first big digger when she fell off the step on the porch of the Archer's house a few years back in 2006 - Note the similar bruise on her forhead and the skinned lip! Thank goodness our kids are so resilient!

Updated : Ok, I was reminded that this was not Braeden's first digger, but a major one, anyway. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just had to share the happiness...

This is a video my sister showed me today and it is possibly one of the coolest things I've ever seen. They seriously have some awesome friends and what a fun day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bedtime things...

So, I think one of my most favorite things in the world are the talks that occur when I'm putting my kids to bed at night. Every night before bed we have a ritual of singing songs and praying together before hugs and kisses goodnight. Lately, for fun, I've been asking them, "Who loves you?" and it's been fun naming all the people we know that love them and then finishing with who loves them the absolute most - God! (Dad, if you read this, the first person Braeden ALWAYS names is you!)

Since we've been mentioning how much God loves them, I've come to think that Emerson has been exploring in her own mind how big God is and His love for us. I think this because she's begun to "number" our love. She tells me that she loves me 102, to which I respond, I love you 500, and she says, I love you 525, and it goes on. When she numbers God, though, it's this great made up number like one-thousand, three hundred and four, one hundred, twenty-two, three! Or something like that. Isn't that awesome? I'm glad that, for how little she is, she gets that God's love for her is huge!

Another thing I love is singing with my babies. Both of my kids have their favorite songs and I hope I remember the moments of hearing their little voices sing with us at night. Some of their favorites are Oh Holy Night, Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee, She'll be Coming Round the Mountain, I Love You Lord, and my favorite, Emerson's made up song of the day (most of the time it's a song we already know that she's replaced the words to and it's usually about love).

And last, their prayers. They both like to pray and when they do, it's always in their own unique way. Now, when Braeden prays, we usually have absolutely no idea what he's saying. He whispers the whole time and when he's done, he gives a big AMEN! I love it, especially because he usually makes it really long. So long sometimes, that we have to encourage the AMEN part a little early. Emerson, on the other hand is short and sweet and almost always consists of asking for us to have a fun day and praying for great-grandpa, granny, great-grandma, and grandmommie.

These are the things I hope stick with me forever. And until they get too old, I will always keep doing our everyday "bedtime things."

Friday, July 10, 2009


The other day on twitter, I was clicking through someone who knew someone else who knew someone else and saw a tweet that caught my eye about a little five year old girl named Kate. After following the link on twitter, I learned that her family was getting ready to go to a waterpark on June 29th and noticed a tremor in her hand and took her to the doctor. After a CT scan, the doctors pulled her parents aside to break the news that she has a malignant tumor on her brain and they needed to operate right away. Since then, I've been following their story on their CaringBridge site (click on CaringBridge to be taken to their site) and maybe because my daughter is so close in age, it made my heart ache . My heart broke just imagining if it were Jon and I in this situation and fighting for the life of our sweet little girl.

After reading a little more, I realized that their friend, Brian Wurzell (who is a worship pastor at a huge church in Chandler, AZ), began tweeting and created a youtube video about Kate and began a humungous wave of followers. Word of this little girl has spread so far and wide that people across the world as well as all of the Women of Faith speakers, several Christian artists, and even Dr. Phil is twittering and posting their video on their blogs and sites.

And then after another short time of following a link and finding another and another, I found a song that was written by Audrey Assad specifically for Kate (whom I love the sound of her voice and I plan on finding more of her stuff). She said God had laid the lyrics on her heart one night and shortly after He gave her the melody. It brought tears to my eyes. I tried to embed the song on my page, but I couldn't. Instead, you can follow this link to listen to the song. . It's just beautiful.

God is surely using this little girl's life to bring about His glory. I will continue to pray for this sweet little girl and follow their journey. You can, too, at .

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The funniest word you ever heard! Grrrr!

Pizza Pizza! Usually the slogan for Little Ceasars pizza, but the other night it was the funniest word ever! At least to Landen (see video below!)

And then check out Landen's newest trick. If you growl at him, give him a second and he'll growl at you back. Probably one of the cutest things Jon and I have ever seen!

As for the rest of us, we're doing well! We've been enjoying swimming, running through our neighbors sprinkler on our bikes and we just returned from Sheridan for the 4th where my Grandpa Gorman lives with his big puppy, Max (not really a puppy, but that's what the kids call him). We were able to catch up with an uncle and cousins, too. It was really wonderful to see my grandpa light up with the kids. He is 96 years old now!

Hope you all had a good 4th as well and enjoyed your time with family and friends. We sure did!

(P.S. Sorry the pictures and videos are so random, I can't figure out how to correct that and put them in order!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home Improvement

One great thing about owning your own house is making it your own. We've been slowly adding and changing things in our house since we bought it eight months ago. One of the big things I would have changed about our home is having more sunlight in our kitchen. Our solution: a Solar Tube! Jon, our friend Tod, and my dad have all been slaving away last night and today and TaDa!!

Home ownership is fun still at this point. And it's made a real handy-man out of Jon (good job, Sweetheart!).

Now that this one is in, I think I want to do a few more (up for it, Sweetie?!).

Monday, June 08, 2009

Kelly Family Pictures

Yesterday Jon's family got together to take our first ever full family pictures! Other than an antsy Braeden, who did not want to sit still (and had also got up that morning at 3:30!!), I thought they turned out pretty well! After our pictures, we made our way down to Ft. Collins to see Jon's dad whom we haven't seen in about a year. It was a good, and long, day!


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