A letter to my son on his third birthday

Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 5, 2013 in Life in the Stubborn house, Uncategorized

My sweet Busy Boy,

Yesterday we celebrated your third birthday. I am writing this letter the day after because I went to bed early on your birthday because I was really, really tired. It’s no surprise that your mommy was tired, because you fit your nickname well and are a very busy boy. You are so joyous an exuberant that I can get lost simply watching you play. I am so glad that God saw us fit to be your parents. I am so glad that He surprised us with you.

You had a rough start, baby boy. You were not cherished in the way that a little jewel like you should have been. You were disregarded and pushed aside. It is because of your rough start that you amaze me so much, because you are the most resilient, joyful little over-comer I have ever met. Your smiles and giggles light up any room, and you are often complimented on your sweet personality and charming ways. You love to give hugs and kisses, and are the first one to show care and friendship. You have so many endearing phrases and quirks, but one of my favorites is when you insist on kissing any perceived booboo, even if it means kissing mommy’s toes when she stubs them. You will go out of your way to make sure that people around you are safe and well. If someone sneezes you say “Bless you!” If they continue to sneeze, as I often do, you say “Be careful!” Or “Are you all right?” If your sister is crying, you get her her blankie, pat her head, and say “It’s okay, baby.” And I can always rely on you to bring me a tissue.

You love people, and you love to love them. You pay attention to what makes the people around you happy, and you go out of your way to do those things. A few months ago, your Tati Rachel had hurt her toe and had to wear her flip-flops when we went out. More than a month later, she was talking about her toe hurting again, and without any direction or fanfare, you went to where we keep our shoes and got her flip-flops and laid them at her feet. Not only was it an incredibly sweet gesture, but it showed us how incredibly socially intelligent you are. You pay attention to people, and that is an incredible gift that our Heavenly Father can cultivate and use to show others His love.

You love your family and enjoy naming everyone in pictures, and even blowing them kisses. You are especially close to your Tati Rachel, but your Uki, Daddy, and baby sister are close seconds. Mommy is always important too, but I’m pretty sure that you just assume that I’m there and don’t worry about me too much. You are very blessed to have lots of grandmas, aunties, uncles, and even a big brother who love you more than you will ever know.

You are a little guy, only measuring in the 15th percentile. Although you are growing steadily, your petite build means that I probably won’t have to buy you any new summer clothes this year. Speaking of clothes, you are quite the fashionable little guy. You love to dress well, and you especially love your hats. You literally turn heads every time we are out, and it would be an extreme rarity for me to not get stopped at least once on an outing for someone to inquire about your hat-wearing and how cute and handsome you look. You dress yourself well, but still need mommy’s help every now and then for things like stubborn snaps and buttons. You do not need my help, however, to find stickers. You are a sticker fanatic and seek them out whenever possible. A couple of weeks ago we were at Target looking at the clearance racks when I realized you were taking the clearance stickers off of the tags and putting them all over your face. Thankfully, the nice associate ladies were right there and found you some alternative stickers.

You are just starting to learn how to go on the potty, and your sticker obsession is a big help in that task. You love getting to pick out your Sponge Bob sticker after you successfully go on your little potty chair. Sometimes you will sit on your potty chair as often as possible, just so you can get a sticker. And in case you were wondering, yes, this little tidbit will show up at either a graduation celebration or your wedding. :)

Busy Boy, I never knew that parenting a little boy could be so much fun. I always suspected it could be this way, but we’ve been through so much heart ache this past year or two that I almost forgot to believe that life and parenting could be fun and joyous. It’s not always easy parenting you. You still struggle with your temper and accepting decisions, but you have learned that hurting yourself doesn’t help you get your way, and I am very glad for that. In fact, most days the most defiance we get out of you is a little whining and whimpering that are solved by the simple phrases “Do you need to take a break?” and “Are you a happy boy yet?”

This year I am excited to see you grow and learn in everything you do. Your speech has come such a long way, and I can’t wait to hear even more of what is in that incredible mind of yours. I am hoping that you will be able to play T-ball this summer, and I am really, REALLY hoping that you love it. I want to teach you how to swim, and I am really looking forward to watching you peddle your tricycle up and down the drive way. I know that God has such big things for you, and this is just the start of the adventure, but I am enjoying every moment of it. I can’t believe that you have already been with us for 10 months. Soon, our first year together will be done, and the memories will just keep building on themselves. I can’t even fathom most of my hopes and dreams for you, because every day that unfolds just blows my mind as to your potential and what you might have been put on this earth for. Of coarse, my one hope for you is that you will become the young man that you have been called to be, as passionate lover of Christ, and a lover of the people He loves. Beyond that, it will simply be a joy to watch you become who you were designed to be.

I love you so much, my Busy Boy, my son of my heart.

Love always,

Your Mommy

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And so go my days

Posted by Hannah Rae on Aug 1, 2012 in Life in the Stubborn house

Note: I started this post June 25, and was interrupted by a call from our worker asking us to take an emergency placement of two girls, thus the interruption of time. :) Also, things are even more intense and chaotic right now, but we are getting it figured out.

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to introduce you to Busy Boy as well as let you in to the complexity that is life in the Stubborn house right now, and I think what might be effective is to give you a daily breakdown. :)

7:00 AM – Bitty Babe wakes up. Depending on the kind of day it is, she is either cooing and playing in her crib, or screaming bloody murder. There is no in between. Also, depending on what kind of night it was, I am either well rested and ready to start the day, or am dragging my legs over the edge of the bed trying to explain to my screaming baby why it is taking me so long.

“Hold on, Honey!”

“I’m almost there, Baby Girl!”

“My eyes are having a little trouble opening, Darling. Be patient!”

God graciously made me a morning person, so as soon as my feet hit the floor and I start moving, I wake up very quickly and am ready to get things started. I pick up my precious baby girl and greet her with ‘good morning’s’ and lots and lots of kisses. I bring  her to the changing area on our living room floor and soak up the love as she coos and smiles at me as I change her butt. I then sit her down (‘cuz she can sit now!) with a couple of toys while I take care of some….ahem…personal business. :) Then it’s time to get her morning bottle made as well as dose up her morning med. Update: When I originally wrote this, Bitty was not crawling yet. This has since changed in a big way. There is no more sitting her on the floor while she contentedly plays with a toy, because she has figured out very quickly how to climb our sunken living room’s stairs to follow me where ever I go, so now she goes into the bathroom with me and plays with a roll of toilet paper. :)

Feeding Bitty is one of my favorite things. I love how she gazes up at my face and strokes my hair. She still needs to be swaddled to eat effectively most of the time, but she usually works her right arm out, and it goes straight to my hair and face. She has this thing about scratching too, so I really have to stay on top of her nails.

8:00 AM – Busy Boy wakes up. I usually know this because he either knocks on his door, which he can’t open yet, or he cries, which stops as soon as I open the door. He greets me with a smiley “Hi!” and gives me a hug around the legs. I melt. He carries his sippy cup of water and his blanket out with him, but he usually drops them somewhere between his bedroom and the living room. I always give him kisses as soon as I see him, and I ask him how he rested, which he usually replies to in his own lovely little language.

Busy Boy, at 29 months of age, has the language skills of an 15-18 month-old, but he makes up for his lack of words with his expressiveness in his own language. He wants to make himself known so much, and we are determined to give him the tools to do that, so the day he moved in I began using sign language with him. He picked it up so quickly those first couple of days that I was convinced that his guardians had been using sign with him, which I found out was not the case. He already knows more than 20 signs, learns new ones instantly, and signs 3 word sentences. He even makes up his own signs to make himself understood. For example, at lunch one day he pointed to the grilled cheese sandwich I had on the stove and he signed “hot cheese.” What I love about the use of sign language with speech-delayed kids is that it gives them a chance to build vocabulary and confidence as they learn to speak. More on that another time.

After Busy Boy gets up, I get his butt changed and then wait to see what kind of morning it will be. Sometimes Busy Boy is ready to go right away and immediately wants to go to his high chair and eat breakfast. Other mornings he needs some time to play before he realizes he is hungry.

8:15 AM – Breakfast. I have been enjoying breakfast time so much! This used to be a hard time of the morning for me before Busy Boy came. Most mornings I would spend the first hour sitting on the couch with the babe watching TLC’s morning lineup. Because of Bitty Babe’s high needs, it was just easier to not have any morning expectations. Now that Busy Boy is here, I don’t have a choice. I have to feed the child! I definitely think it helps that Bitty is old enough now that she is interested in playing with things, so she is not needing my constant attention and entertainment. Even though she’s not eating solid food yet, I’ve been putting her in her high chair with some of her favorite toys, or a graham cracker to gnaw on, so she can join us in the breakfast fun.

I know I haven’t been writing much about it recently, but I love to cook, and I’ve always thought that cold cereal was more of a snack food than a breakfast food, which leads me to the conclusion that I should make hot breakfast as often as possible. This is actually a very practical thing with two little ones because they eat in the kitchen, and I want to be with them, so cooking for them makes my time well spent. Lately I’ve been making Busy Boy blueberry pancakes and a simple cheese omelette. They are quick, nutritious dishes, and Busy Boy gobbles them up. While I’m making the hot items, I give him him his choice of fruit, which he uses his new found sign language skills to communicate. Busy Boy is a big eater, which is wonderful, because he will try just about anything, but he is also a slow eater, which means that breakfast takes up a good 45 minutes of our morning.

9:00 AM – New butt and play time. This is when I am really glad that Bitty is getting so independent and will play on her own, because this allows me time to get some morning chores done. During this time, Busy Boy is exploring. He is such a thinker. He loves finding out how objects might work together, especially in combinations I would never have thought of, like plastic stacking rings strung onto a wagon handle.

10:00 AM – Snack time for Busy Boy, nap time for Bitty. Yes, you read that right, Bitty is actually going down for regular morning naps! This started about a month ago, and I am loving it! Depending on how she’s feeling, she will sleep anywhere from 1-3 hours. It’s wonderful! Snack time is another time of the day that I am so thankful for my ASL background, because Busy Boy is able to let me know when he is hungry and exactly what he wants. It’s incredible. I seriously almost cried the day when instead of whining and grunting for his hat that he saw in his diaper bag, he signed “hat please.” Amazing.

10:30 AM – More play time. Since Bitty is usually asleep at this time, I try to take this time to spend some good one-on-one time with Busy Boy and work on more specific skills. It’s pretty obvious that Busy Boy was never really read to, as he has no idea what to do with a book, and cannot identify objects in pictures…like any. So this is something I am really trying to work with him on. It’s hard sometimes, because he is so active he doesn’t really want to sit still with me. Now, don’t get me wrong, he is a very cuddly kid, and loves to be rocked and snuggled, but right now reading seems like a waste of good play time to him. So I am trying to read AROUND him a lot, and catch him during his few quiet times. I’ve been collecting children’s books for years, so I am super excited to share these wonderful books with my kiddos. We’ll get there. Update: Since I wrote this, Busy Boy is now choosing to get books off the bookshelf and look at them independently! He has been pointing to pictures and telling me about them, such as pointing to a picture of Elmo taking a bath and signing and saying “bath time,” or “night nights” for Ernie in bed.

11:30 AM – Lunch. More good food. Enough said. :)

12:15 PM – Busy Boy goes down for his nap. The first few days were rough simply because we had no idea what kind of schedule he was on. Now that we know, and we know how routine oriented he is, nap time is a breeze. After I get him cleaned up from lunch, I change his butt and tell him it’s time for night nights. He grabs his bunny blanket and his sippy cup (with water) and heads to his room. He’s usually fussing as he walks, but it’s so fake it’s hilarious. He puts himself into bed, I give him a kiss, say good night, go out, and shut the door. DONE!

Time for Mama ( Äiti) to get busy! This is when I try to get caught up on dishes and laundry. If Bitty is awake, I work in our bedroom putting clothes away, which is my LEAST favorite chore. If Bitty is asleep, I work somewhere else in the house, maybe even getting some deeper sorting and organizing done. If Bitty is really sleeping, I might even lie down for a while, although she has this Äiti radar and has an annoying habit of waking up within minutes of me lying down.

3:00 PM – Busy Boy is up and ready for a new butt and a snack. He always wakes up in good spirits, so I am excited to see him when he wakes up from his nap. Then it’s play time, hopefully including some outside time, especially now that Bitty can sit in the grass and play as well. Our physical therapist blessed us with a playskool turtle sandbox, complete with sand, so Busy Boy has been thoroughly enjoying that along with the inexpensive water table I found earlier this summer. Bitty usually naps at this time too.

5:00 PM – More snack as I start dinner, ‘cuz we always end up eating late.

6:00 PM – Hubby gets home from work and helps with the littles as I try to finish dinner. I love, LOVE, love seeing Hubby in his amazing role as Isä. He and Busy Boy are bonding incredibly well. It helps that Busy Boy is such an easy going, funny, interesting kid of coarse, but he has taken to Hubby in a huge way.

7:00 PM – Dinner. It’s fun eating as a family again.

8:00 PM – Bath time. Busy Boy loves to sit and play in his little tub. He also likes it when Bitty Babe comes to join him. He enjoys helping to wash her and he likes to tickle her belly and her toes. After his bath I rub him down with coconut oil infused with lavender and eucalyptus oils. I started this when Bitty Babe had RSV this past winter, but it’s a great way to get more touch opportunities, as well as check for booboos, and nourish their skin. One of my favorite heart-warming moments included this little ritual. As I rub the oil into his skin, I sing Busy Boy a song, “This is the way we rub the oil, rub the oil, rub the oil, this is the way we rub the oil right before bed time.” One night, Busy Boy got his fingers into the jar and took out a little too much oil, so I asked him if he would rub it on my arm. As he lovingly rubbed the oil in, he sang the song to me in his beautiful little way. It was a great little reward from heaven. :)

8:15 PM – Bed time for Busy Boy! Just like nap time, Busy Boy gets his blankets and his sippy cup of water, gives Isä kisses, and heads to bed. After I close his curtains, I sit with him on the floor and rock him as I sing my favorite lullaby from Psalty to him. Then I pray over him, thanking God for putting this amazing child in my life.  I put him back into his bed, kiss him good night, tell him I love him and leave the room. He might fuss a little, but is usually out before I get to the living room.

8:30 PM – Chill time with Hubby. I might get some dinner clean-up done, but I usually do most of my dishes the next morning during breakfast. I need this time with my sweet husband. Plus, Bitty doesn’t go down until at least 9, and is extra needy in those evening hours.

11:30 PM – Night night! I take the dog out, brush my teeth, crawl between the sheets, read my Bible, turn my music on, and am out!

4:00 AM – Bitty usually wakes up declaring that she is starving to death, so I stumble out of bed, use the facilities as fast as possible, make her a bottle, and try not to fall asleep on my child as I give her the sustenance she so desperately desires. Then back to sleep for as long as possible.

Wow. Just writing all that really reminds me of how much life has changed since Jeremiah and Gabe were here. Gabe came to visit last weekend, and he commented multiple times how funny it was to see all the baby stuff around the house. He loves it though, and is so glad to have the opportunity to be big brother to Busy Boy and Bitty.

God is good. He restores. He renews.

More on that later.



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Christmas Traditions – Then

Posted by Hannah Rae on Dec 10, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house, Memories

I love the stories behind how traditions are formed.

Growing up we had a lot of Christmas traditions, and as a kid I took them as a given. It wasn’t until later that I found out the simple reasons that formed those traditions.

For example, we always open all of our presents on Christmas Eve, so obviously we weren’t a Santa Claus kind of family. It wasn’t that our parents didn’t allow us to believe in the magic of Santa, it just was not taught or emphasized. I asked my parents about this later and they said that they didn’t want to teach us that Santa was real, and then turn around and teach us that Jesus was real, because one really is, and really loves us, and really wants a relationship with us, and the other is a legend who has become a symbol of a lot of things, and some of those things are not worth teaching your children (i.e. commercialism, and being good to get stuff.)

Christ was the center of our household growing up, especially at Christmas. Being a pastor’s kid meant late night services Christmas Eve, but that didn’t stop us from having our own little Christmas pageant before we opened our gifts. We’d get all dressed up and act out the story as Mom read from Luke and Dad videotaped. When we were very young David and Sarah played Mary and Joseph, I was usually the angel of the Lord (fitting, right?) :) , and Rachel was baby Jesus. One of my favorite Christmas memories is a video we have of Rachel at about 16 months old in a laundry basket manger. She would just not stay in! So Sarah kept pushing her down and Rachel kept standing right back up, smiling up a storm. When Rachel was too old to be baby Jesus any more, her role was changed to a shepherd and a cabbage patch kid replaced her as the Holy child. :)

Christmas Eve dinner was fondue! I guess my parents got a few fondue pots as wedding presents or something, and it was a fun way to do dinner with four kids. We had a spread of all kinds of fruit to dip in chocolate, yummy bread to dip in hot cheese, and good ole’ red meat (venison or beef steak) to fry in oil. Yes, our parents apparently trusted us enough to allow us to fry our own meat, although I’m not sure when that started.

Anywho, another reason we opened our presents Christmas Eve, I found out later, is because we would always head to our Grandma’s place in Duluth very early Christmas morning. Our parents would pack us up in our PJ’s and load us into the maroon minivan while it was still hours from daybreak. That way, we would sleep most of the 8 hour drive and wake up just before we arrived. Smart people, my parents.

The experts say that smell is one of the most intense senses that trigger memories. I can attest to that because I can still distinctly remember how my grandma’s apartment building smelled. There was a gas fireplace in the lobby and the smell of Christmas-y potpourri from the holly wreaths and other decorations that residents hung on their doors. Grandma’s apartment had a very unique combination of scents as well, although the one that sticks out in my mind the most is the aroma of turkey loaf. You know, the Jennie-O frozen kind that cooks in its own gravy. Sometimes I cook that up just because I’m missing Grandma.

Both of my parent’s families lived in Duluth, so although we stayed with our dad’s mom (grandpa died before I was born), we spent time with our mom’s dad and his wife as well. Our maternal grandma died before I was born, but grandpa had remarried to a wonderful woman who totally accepted us as her grand kids. After opening presents at Grandma’s and hanging out with our uncles, aunts, and cousins, we would head out to Grandpa’s to do the same.

Grandpa was a very quiet, stoic man, but Grandma Marie was loud and boistorous. She had kids from her previous marriage, and they had kids, so we had a lot of step-cousins running around to play with. There would be a huge spread of snacky foods on the dining room table, and I remember loading up on broccoli and ham buns. Grandma Marie bought us the most interesting presents, most of which she bought on the home shopping network. One year I got a plastic doll that crawled. It broke the next day. My dad’s brother, Bill, said he could fix it because his brother, Richard, was a doctor. He couldn’t. :)

Anywho, after opening presents the cousins would head downstairs to the basement where there would be a roaring fire in the fireplace. Rachel and I were talking about the basement not to long ago and she asked me if I remembered the mugs that Grandpa had on a shelf on the wall. Oh yes, I do. They were a series of mugs that had a nak*d woman (was it a mermaid?) climbing out of the mugs. It’s just one of those really odd things that sticks out in our minds. Hehe. We also remember our cousin (Donny? Scott?) that would always roast his socks in the fireplace. Odd.

Those kinds of family memories make up a childhood and are something that I want to be able to share with my kids someday, and I hope that our boys have benefitted from the effort we put into making their Christmases special, and will remember them fondly.

Do you have any quirky traditions? I’d love to hear about them.

Leave me some comments, people! :) Over 300 of you are reading this blog daily, so now would be a great time to hear from you.

Merry Christmas Blessings!


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Christmas Traditions – Now

Posted by Hannah Rae on Dec 9, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house

I love Christmas.

It is truly my favorite time of year.

I’m one of those annoying people who plays Christmas music all year round. I figure you can’t be accused of playing it to early if you never stopped. :) Spotify has become my new best friend this Christmas because I have made my ultimate Christmas playlist with almost 800 songs. Baby E and I listen to it every morning as I’m feeding her breakfast. I’ve got everything from John Denver to Veggie Tales on there. It’s pretty sweet. :)

Anywho, since both boys are gone this year, and Baby E is too young to participate in a lot of activities, I’m missing a lot of our Christmas traditions this year.

One tradition that has stayed is that Rachel and I do the majority of the Christmas decorating. The past few years Hubby’s dad has gone out to the homestead and finds a tree that he thinks is impressive enough to be honored with the corner position in our living room. He scopes them out all year.

This year’s is a beauty.  Hubby and Dad put on the lights and then Rachel and I put on the ornaments the next day with a VHS tape of Muppet Christmas Carol playing on the TV. One of my favorite things about decorating the tree this year was pulling out all of the beautiful ornaments that I bought after Christmas last year. I wait until end of January when all the Christmas stuff is 75% off and then get the really fancy, hand-blown glass ornaments. Another reason I love getting them after Christmas is that I get to experience the fun of re-discovering my treasures all over again the next Christmas. I catch myself saying things like “Oh! That’s so cute!” or “Oh yeah! I remember getting that!” as I un-package my green and red bins….which I also got on clearance after Christmas. :)

One tradition I’m really missing this year is the nightly lighting of the Advent candles. We started this tradition the first Christmas the boys were with us as a way to introduce them to the wonder of the prophecies and fulfillment of Christ’s birth. We lit the candles every night after dinner and read scripture passages that corresponded. We quizzed the boys on the meaning of each candle as they took turns lighting and then blowing them out. It was a really special thing. I miss it.

Only God knows what our next year will bring, so I know that by this time next year Christmas will have a whole new layer of meaning and tradition. One of my favorite Christmas stories is “All is Well” by Frank E. Peretti. I listen to it year round and actually performed it at competitions in high school. At the close of the story Peretti describes how God is the great story teller of our lives and how He loved us so much that he wrote Himself into our story as a baby in a manger. He came into this earth under extremely adverse circumstances and experienced the rejection and chaos this life has to give. He chose to do that. For me.  So even though this year has had a lot of pain and hurt, I am choosing to hold onto joy. Joy that comes from deep inside because of what and whom we celebrate.

Merry Christmas Blessings!


***BTW, no one paid me anything for my opinions. They’re just things I like.***

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We made it! :)

Posted by Hannah Rae on Mar 14, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house

Dear Son,

Today you turned 18. We made it!  All those nights of crying over you, praying over you, and convincing you and ourselves that we would not give up have paid off. We made it! I am thankful to say that every day gets better.

Who knew that when I was only 8 years old, you were created in your mother’s womb, and one day you would be MY son?

God did.

Who knew that a summer teaching job would lead to the promised motherhood I had been hoping for? Who knew that what the world might see as a random meeting, a random conversation, an odd connection, God would use to make a family, and bring hope to a hopeless child?

God did.

I remember that conversation on that cloudy mountain. I remember your tears and your verbalized hopes and fears for the future. Who would take a chance on a 15 year-old boy who had already been deemed a lost case by the ones he called his parents for 13 years? Who would dare or risk to love a damaged adolescent when he would age out soon enough?

God would.

We would, because he brought you to us.

And you are becoming a man; growing every day in ways that neither you nor we expected; surprising us in the best ways.

Bumps are just bumps, and no longer Mount Everest.

Son, I appreciate you so much. You are a hard worker and such a big help to your mama. (And yes, I am freaking out that I am 26 and am experiencing the first pangs of empty nest syndrome!) You are cuddly when you need to be, and strong when it matters most. I feel safe with you around because I always know that you will step up if I need you.

What I want for you this year is to see you grow into the man that your heavenly Father has called you, created you, and named you to be. I am praying that God will reveal that vision that He has for you to you so clearly that every step you take is toward Him and what He has for you. I want to see you continue to be brave and allow God’s healing to flow in you. I want you to realize and BELIEVE what an amazing, resilient, and intelligent son I have.

My precious Yishai, I love you. I am so glad that God brought you into my life. I am so glad that you are my first born, and I am so blessed to be called your mama. You are truly my gift.


Love forever,

and ever,

Your Mama

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What I am learning through Dad’s clutter

Posted by Hannah Rae on Feb 24, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house

He’s been gone from here 3 months now. Almost 4.

I miss him like crazy. It still hits me in waves. Especially when I hear a song about heaven, or read an article about something science related, or go through a week like last week.

This week I worked up the courage and initiative to go through the boxes (and boxes) of pictures and paper treasures that he had been saving for decades.

I got through the pictures rather quickly, as we had gone through most of them as a family when we were together for his memorial in November. I organized them roughly according to decade and put them in photo boxes that I had purchased (on clearance) for just such an occasion. It was fun to look again at photos documenting my daddy’s early life, and life before me, and then our life together.

The sequencing was interesting to me.  To me, the eras were organized roughly as follows: before Dad; Dad as a baby/child/teen; Dad and Mom before kids; Dad and Mom with David and Sarah; Dad and Mom with David, Sarah, me, and Rachel; Dad with Laraine; Dad with David, Sarah, me, and Rachel; Dad with Dane, Amelia, and Justin; and then later, older Dad and Laraine with Amelia; and finally older Dad and Laraine with all of us and our kids.

The phases were just revealing to me.

Anywho, after I got through the pictures I started going through his paper treasures. The man saved a lot of things. I am in the process of sorting what was important to him, but wouldn’t matter much to the rest of us, and what is worth saving as a part of his memory and/or family history.

One thing is for sure. My dad took great pride in his children. He saved a lot of our school work and report cards. He saved lost teeth and hair cuttings. He saved a lot of our art, especially my brothers, and any notes or letters we wrote to him. We were also in the paper quite a bit as kids, and he saved all of those clippings.

Some of the other things he saved are pretty normal I suppose. He saved birth announcements, death announcements, wedding invitations, bulletins that contained important family events or announcements. He saved a lot of news clippings, some of which took some searching to figure out why they were significant, and if they still were.

Some of the most intriguing things that I found are letters to and from Dad. The topics are varying, but each reveals a little bit of who my dad was. Some are notes of encouragement to him from professors, fellow pastors, or board members. Some are rejection letters with best wishes. Some are his letters explaining a conflict or why he felt the Lord was leading him in a different direction. So interesting. Pieces of my dad I was never aware of.

Perhaps I will reflect on individual pieces more later. Some are quite stirring and I am still figuratively chewing on them.

For now, I am just grateful to be experiencing these pieces of my dad.

What pieces of history do you hold on to?



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Old Fashioned Food: Update

Posted by Hannah Rae on Feb 2, 2011 in Life in the Stubborn house

I am an old-timey kind of gal.

I’m married to one of the most gadgety men on earth, but we have been talking lately about how much simpler it would have been to live during the pioneer days. Notice, I said simpler, not easier.

Anywho, I’ve been really into this wonderful series by Lauraine Snelling about life in North Dakota in the late 1800′s – early 1900′s.  I LOVE IT! Everything about it! The life style, the culture, and the sense of community just fascinates me.

So, my step-mama gave me some books a few years back by Barbara Swell all about old-time cooking. I’ve been delving into them the past few days and am so excited to try some of the new, old recipes I’ve found. I’ve already made an amazing pie crust from this book, and Hubby can’t stop raving about it. Tonight or tomorrow I will be using the same crust to make chicken pot pie. I’m thinking of serving some sweet potato roles along with it.

What I love about the recipes is that they were designed to feed a family with good, fresh, seasonal ingredients. They are intended to be flexible to use whatever produce or meat is available. There is some prep time involved, but most of it is walk away type stuff, like letting dough rise.

Anywho, I will let you know as I try some of these goodies, so you might be  tempted to cook old-timey too! :)


I made chicken pot pie from scratch last night. My pie crust fell apart, but it was still delicious. I called it “patchwork pot pie.” :) I also made sweet potato buns. I LOVE sweet potatoes, but the recipe was vague in the timing, and I don’t think I let them cook long enough. They were a little doughy, but I can tell they would have been really good. :) A really good way to use up sweet potatoes.

Today I made oatmeal no-knead bread. I was looking through ANOTHER one of the cookbooks and found this recipe and realized I had everything I needed on hand, so I decided “Why not?” Plus, making bread from scratch gives a really good opportunity for a science lesson. Jeremiah finds yeast absolutely fascinating. Okay, so I kind of used the phrase “yeast farts” to describe the gas bubbles, but he was really into the whole process. :) The bread contained molasses, which I found really strong in the crust, but otherwise it was absolutley delightful. It will be really good toasted with tea tomorrow morning.



BTW, these are just books I’ve really enjoyed. I’m not receiving any compensation for my reviews.

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He’s official!!!

Posted by Hannah Rae on Jun 28, 2010 in Life in the Stubborn house

As of 1:30 PM this afternoon, June 28th 2010, Gabe is officially stubborn! YAY!!!

He was nervous. He ate an entire bowl (like, glad container bowl) of taco casserole, plus a bowl of green grapes, at 11:30. He eats when he’s nervous, and he hates that I know that he eats when he’s nervous.

Jeremiah was nervous. He was bummed because we still don’t have a date for his adoption day. He was a bit mopey, but over all held it together.

Gabe was so excited to have many people who love him and care about him show up for court today. Gabe’s worker was there, as well as our adoption worker, whom we have never met before, so that was great. Hubby’s mom, grandma, and sister were there. Many of our closest friends also made the trip, and thankfully one of them remembered a camera, otherwise we would have been picture-less. :)

The court hearing was short, as I knew it would be. Gabe was glad that he didn’t have to say much, just a lot of yes sir’s. The judge gave a nice speech that I’ve heard at many adoption proceedings about how this is his favorite part of the job. It was nice. We got a picture with the judge afterwords, and he said he would love a copy. That made me smile.

After court we all headed to a local restaurant for a very fun time of celebrating and laughing together. Gabe felt very loved. That’s because he is. :) Oh, and he ate A LOT!

After dropping Hubby off at work, we went for a little DQ for dessert. Yum!

Gabe requested our family’s favorite dish, affectionately named “Rufus”, for dinner. It was amazing, as usual. Great job, lovey!

So that was our day. And now we wait for Jeremiah’s. Soon, we hope.

Thank you to all who are along for the journey.



So now we wait for Jeremiah’s.

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First Christmas with the boys – Check!

Posted by Hannah Rae on Dec 26, 2009 in Life in the Stubborn house

I can’t believe our first Christmas with the boys is already over. It was a good one, though. We made plenty of good memories and had wonderful times with our wonderful family.

Here are a few highlights:

- Christmas Eve

  • We started the day with a delicious breakfast of biscuits, gravy, and cheesy scrambled eggs. Yummy! Our pastor’s wife passed on a bunch of her amazing recipes to me as a graduation present, and her “Mile High Biscuits” is one of our favorites. I’ll put the recipe at the bottom of this post.
  • After breakfast, we lit the Jesus Candle on our Advent candles and read our Christmas Eve passages. The boys have really loved this tradition, which we usually do after dinner, so we will have to figure out a way to keep it going. What I’ve loved about it is the set passages that are relatively short and come from all over scripture. I haven’t found many devotionals that break things down that well. Any ideas?
  • Next, the boys cleaned up the kitchen while the grown-ups finished making sure all presents were in order. The boys finished dishes in record time.
  • Finally is was present time. In my family, we always opened presents on Christmas Eve. I’m not sure how this tradition started, but I think it was more practical in nature than sentimental. My dad is a pastor, so we always had Christmas Eve service, than we opened our presents, and then left for Grandma’s very early Christmas morning.
  • My favorite present from my hubby was my very own camcorder! YAY! I shot so much video over the past few days it’s frightening. And don’t worry, I will make sure to share an allarming amount of it here. :)
  • The boys loved all their presents, and Jeremiah’s reactions were hilariously enthusiastic. We were worried about him being thankful, but that was definitely not an issue. Way to go, kid. :)
  • After opening presents, we headed off to Christmas Eve service at my husband’s childhood church. It was a beautiful traditional service. It made realize how much I need to teach my boys as far as church history is concerned. I think I may be hitting up some of my homeschooling friends for some ideas soon. Actually, the prize I recently won from Kimberly at Raising Olives will be very helpful in that endeavor.
  • After the beautiful service we headed over to Hubby Person’s dad’s house. We ate entirely too many goodies and then opened even more presents with Grandpa K, Aunt E, Uncle J, and Cousin T. It’s tradition that the youngest in the family passes out all the presents, which is all fine and good, but there were a few issues. First, Jeremiah is not very good with names. Second, Jeremiah is not a very good reader. Those two in combination led to nearly half an hour of hillarity. Kaleb’s dad was nearly falling off his chair laughing because Jeremiah could not get the concept that Grandpa was also Kurt etc… Miah started getting a little antsy toward the end, but held it together long enough to get to play with some of his new toys.

- Christmas Day

  • Ah, glorious sleep. Both boys were occupied enough with their new bioncles that Hubby Person and I were able to sleep in without a peep from either child.
  • Jeremiah didn’t like the fact that Mom caught him in a lie, so an hour long tantrum ensued. I knew it was coming. He had had such a good day the day before, he just couldn’t handle it any more. It ended well though, as Hubby Person had a good long conversation with him about how to handle his anxiety.
  • We headed over to Hubby’s mom’s for dinner. Yay, turkey! Yay, real pumpkin pie! We opened up even more presents. My MIL loved the basket I made her, which I still have to post about. The boys got some remote control cars and the spent a good two hours racing them around Grandma’s basement before heading out to sled. Hubby, Rachel, and I played my SIL’s new Wii with her for a couple of hours as well. Wow, it really is a work out.

The only real bummer about the past few days was that my daddy, step-mama, and lil’ sis got snowed in by the big blizzard and weren’t able to make the trip. It was heart breaking, but I am glad they didn’t risk their lives in the 40 MPH winds. They are going to try to make the trip on Wednesday to be here for the new year.

But we are blessed. Blessed beyond blessed beyond blessed. And it has nothing to do with material things, which we have been blessed with as well. How great is it that even though one set of grandparents couldn’t make it, the boys had two other sets of grandparents that loved on them and cherished them?

How great it is that we have a God who enjoys celebrations! Who enjoys us enjoying Him and all He’s given us.

Okay, that’s enough for now. :)



Oh, I almost forgot! Here’s the biscuit recipe.

Mama Char’s Mile High Biscuits

3 C. flour

2 TB Sugar

5 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

3/4 Cup shortening (I use the butter flavored Crisco sticks.)

1 C. milk

1 beaten egg

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Blend milk and egg together, then add to dry ingredients. Mix only enough to blend mixture. Place dough on well floured board and knead 5-15 times. The secret to light biscuits is to not over mix dough after liquid has been added. Cut into biscuits and place on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. *Hint* Don’t place biscuits too close together or they will not cook through properly.


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New adventures and old ones

Posted by Hannah Rae on Dec 15, 2009 in Life in the Stubborn house

I’m so sorry I’ve been away so long. As I said before, we were dealing with some stalking issues, but they seen to have calmed down for now, so I am hoping to resume blogging as usual, although I am going to have to be careful for a while about content until my husband puts some extra security precautions into place.

That said….

Things are…adventurous. :) Every day seems to bring something new that the Lord is teaching us as a family, and me individually.

This Christmas season has been exciting. We are doing and Advent devotional together as a family every night after dinner. I found a five candle candelabra at a garage sale last year and it has made the perfect Advent candle stand. The boys take turns lighting the candles each night and everyone in the family has a passage to read. Most of Jeremiah’s passages have been out of Isaiah, and he is getting better and better each time he reads. He loves to read out loud, and it’s so fun to see his confidence grow. The boys love learning more about the Lord and more about the history surrounding Christ’s birth. Gabe has been asking some very intuitive questions, and Jeremiah’s enthusiasm is incredibly contagious.

Both boys are handling the Christmas season and the trauma-versaries that come with them in their own ways. Gabe is, of coarse, very introspective and is dealing with some denial about what has happened around this time in the past. Hubby person and I just continue to reassure him that he is safe and that we are never EVER going to leave him.

Jeremiah is much more vocal about his stress and has been having marathon tantrums the past couple of weeks. Thankfully, when he actually FINALLY breaks down and cries, he is very open about what is really scaring him. The biggest things that he has expressed anxiety over is that he has never been in a family of his very own for Christmas before and he is not sure what to expect. He told me (yes, with his own mouth. YAY!) that it would be helpful if I could let me know ahead of time what is going to happen so he knows that Mom and Dad have things under control. Good to know, kid. He has also been having a lot of birth mom questions lately, which I am trying to handle with sensitivity and age-appropriate honesty. Wisdom on this would be helpful.

Jeremiah had his first Christmas concert tonight, which I will proudly post video of as soon as possible. He was amazing! I mean, he sang well, which is awesome, but the best part is that he participated completely. He sang loudly…on the song he remembered the words for…and when he was sitting down he was quietly paying attention and watching the other performers. I loved being there for my son’s first ever holiday concert. What a memory. Hubby person, unfortunately, had to be out of town this week, but Jeremiah knows that Daddy loves him and that he wanted to be there.

Finally, I am on the fertility adventure again. I had my yearly physical with my OBGYN today, and when she found out I haven’t had a cycle since…ummm…FEBRUARY….she was a little concerned. SO. She did an internal ultra sound and was shocked when she discovered that my uterine lining was only .34 cm thick. To put that in perspective, a typical woman’s uterine lining is 1.0 cm thick on day 14 of her cycle. Right before her period, it can be from 2.0 to 2.5 cm thick. Mine was .34. As if I just had a period…except my last one was 9 months ago. Yeah. SO. She has prescribed progesterone for 10 days to help my body get the signal that “Hey! Do something with the uterus!” After that, we are going to try clomid again, but at a higher dose this time, to try to get those darn ovaries to wake up. WAKE UP OVARIES!!!!

Okay, so those are the current adventures. God is good. He is taking care of us in crazy ways…including putting another infertile, adoptive, Christian mom in my path today in the Christian book store so I could unload for an hour after my appointment before coming home to the boys. If you think of us, pray for us, and if you need prayer, just let us know.



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