fifteen months old...

jaelyn turned fifteen months on january 6. so she is actually closer to sixteen months. but since we had her fifteen month check up a few weeks ago. i wanted to share an update about her sweet little self! i have included a few pictures, i have been really bad about not taking pictures this month. that will have to change!

her well check went great!! she continues to be so healthy!! no problems or complaints, although she didn't like getting her shots this time at all. she did that silent scream and cry, mouth wide open that just breaks your heart - yes, that one. but i was able to easily distract her and it didn't last too long.

here are her stats...
weight 19 lbs 4 oz 0-5%
height 31 inches 75%

she is a little peanut, weighing barely anything, only nineteen pounds! her growth chart continues to go up each time so our doctor has no worries! she is just tiny... and tall!!! jaelyn's carseat is still rear facing because of her being under twenty pounds! and in this picture above she is wearing a little buzz lightyear costume that belongs to one of jesiah's build a bear pets! ha!!

jaelyn is a busy bee! she is all over the place and into everything. i can barely get her to be still enough for a picture. so that is her above taking off down the hallway!!! i see a lot of that these days! ha!!!

although when she feels like it she will pose and say cheese!!

she loves to eat and is usually a pretty good eater. she loves bananas!! calls them "nanas"

jaelyn is a great talker. she says close to 40 words already and is learning a new one each day. she learned this over the weekend...


isn't her voice so stinking sweet!!!???

jaelyn is such a happy baby girl! even though she is more like a toddler, i am still calling her my baby and will for awhile!!! she continues to bring so much love and joy to our family. i am so thankful for her sweet little self!! i can't believe she will be sixteem months in a few days!


snow day saturday...

i know it has been awhile since i have posted, its not like me to go over a week without saying something. it always feels awkward to post again after some time of silence! kind of like those awkward silences in uncomfortable converstaions.
but like i said in the previous post, i have had a hard time getting my thoughts
into a post. so i took a little break and i am back today, with not much to say, but i have a picture!!!so here goes...

we woke up to a little bit of snow covering the ground this morning.
not as much as expected, but enough for the kids to go out and play in it.
after bundling them up, they headed out, played a little bit
and then made their way down to my parents for some hot cocoa!
jamil and i really don't like the cold weather and we chose to watch them from the window!

jamil headed off to church tonight but i am going to stay in where it is warm
and off the roads, they aren't so great in our area.
i made some soup, so we will have that with some grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and maybe some yummy chocolate chip cookies for dessert!
i don't like to miss church and love going to our saturday night worship experience but the thought of getting all the kids bundled up and heading out own my own just seems like a lot.
plus even though i am from up north, i don't like driving in the mess!

i hope that you are all enjoying your snow day saturday or whatever it is like where you live!
happy weekend!!

it's good to be back!



sometimes i feel like i just have nothing.

nothing to share.

my hands are so full, so is my heart.
my mind constantly races
and can't wait to cross the finish line called, "bedtime"

lists, projects, spills, meals, homework, laundry....it goes on and on

barely a quiet minute to stop, collect my thoughts and reflect.
let alone share.
but i have so much to say.

when i haven't a minute to spare, time to stop or hands to type, my mind,
my heart is racing with things to share like there is a whole world who wants to hear.

as soon as i sit down to pull out those thoughts that were racing through my mind
just hours ago are gone.
just as quickly as my babies have turned to toddler, preschoolers and school age kids.

but my heart is overflowing with so much joy and it wants to share all that i am learning about being
a follower of Christ.
a wife.
a mom.
a friend.
a sister.
a daughter.
a servant.

so, when the time comes why do i feel like i have nothing.
nothing to share.

dear Lord, please give me the words to share all the things that are on my heart. let them be heard, if only to help just one other. Lord, use me so that i can be your son's hands and feet. let me be one of the many lights that shine for your glory. it's in your name that i pray. amen.



i have dedicated this past week to organizing our home, i have rarely left the house and have just dug in and focused on my to-do lists. i have been kinda held captive by my own will. i have gotten a lot done and it feels good, but i have a lot more to do. i have realized my job as a wife and mom is never done. there is always something that has to be done! but, it has been great to get a good jump on it. but not leaving the house is a different story. i have spent many days in my pj's or some comfy clothes. there is just something about getting everyone ready and out of the house that takes so much time and really cuts into my day. scheduling the perfect time to get out of the house between jaelyn's nap schedule and meals and being home fore the school bus, it is tricky. so staying close to home has given me a great start to getting my house in order. i plan to continue making it my main focus this month, but next week, we will be leaving the house a little more!

hopefully once i can get my house squared away, my blogging will be a little bit better too! i haven't spent much time online this week and i miss it, but boy if i even get on the computer for a little while, that turns into an hour or more very quickly! so if my posts are far and few between or lacking in content, know that i am busy getting my house in shape!

if any of you know of any good blogs/websites that offer useful suggestions for organizing and decorating please leave me a comment with those suggestions!


bookmark in my bible...

dear Lord,
it's such a hectic day,
with little time to stop and pray,
for life's been anything but calm
since you called me to be a mom -
running errands,
matching socks,
building dreams with wooden blocks,
finding shoes
and other stuff that children lose,
fitting lids on bottled bugs,
wiping tears
and giving hugs,
a stack of last week's mail to read -
so where's the quiet time i need?
yet, when i steal a moment, Lord,
just at the sink or ironing board,
to ask the blessings of Your grace,
i see then, in my my small one's face,
that you have blessed me all the while-
and i stop to kiss that precious smile.


**this sweet little prayer is written out on a bookmark that i have in my bible. as i have been reading the new testament every day this week as part of new thru 30 with my church, i have looked at it a few times. i did not write this poem, it was printed out and given to the moms in my mops group at the end of our first {or second} year. that specifid group is no longer gathering, but i was the coordinator for two of the four years it did meet. i have fond memories of the group, made some wonderful friendships, and witnessed God do some amazing things. this book mark not only has a fitting poem but is a little souvenir of a sweet time in my life, not only attending mops but being a part of the founding group and seeing it grow! mops is a wonderful ministry used to build and equip mothers of preschoolers**


cloth diapering revisited...

it's something i like to talk about.
a lot.
almost as much as birth stories, pregnancy and little bundles of joy.
almost but not quite.
...and i have had several people ask me about our cloth diapering experience as of late,
so i thought i would give a little update.

we have been using cloth diapers (bum genius 3.0 and happy heiny's) for about nine months.

we have fifteen diapers and that has been a great number of diapers for us. i think we started with twelve and added three. i had planned to work my way to 18, but never did.

we started this adventure when jaelyn was six months old. i have really really liked doing it.

when we started, i was nervous that i wouldn't stick to it. but after the initial investment, i couldn't turn back. i never even thought about it. really i didn't. ok well maybe on that one day when i had no clean diapers in the house and was afraid to put jaelyn in a disposable.

jaelyn's awful diaper rash that started this whole thing, completely healed and never came back. oh except one day when i did put on a pampers diaper and her bottom broke out within two hours of wearing it. i was bummed!

over the last two months or so, we did started using disposable diapers (huggies) at night because her diapers were leaking and waking her up. i did get the leaking under control by stripping the diapers (soaking in cold water and dawn dish detergent) and adjusting the fit and number of inserts. but i have continued to use the disposables at night. i have also started using them when we go out, because i can fit several more disposable diapers in my diaper bag than cloth. and also, if she were to have a number 2 out in public or for our sweet nursery volunteers - oh. my.

i must say cloth diapering and solid food number twos are not the greatest thing. that is pretty messy. but that would be the only negative. the extra laundry hasn't even really bothered me. i am at the point now where i am never caught up on laundry so what is a few extra loads in a week. this is my washing routine; i wash every two or three days now. i use country save detergent and have loved it! i bought a box when i started and am just now ready to buy another box. i start by doing a cold rinse, then i wash in hot with 1/4 of a scoop of detergent and rinse in cold. if they diapers need a little extra "cleaning, stain or scent removal" i will add a 1/4 scoop of oxy clean - works wonders! and then i do a final cold rinse. i do dry them in the dryer. if it is a nice day i will hang them out to dry. we haven't had too many nice days though ~ frozen cloth diapers wouldn't be fun!

so, that's where we are with our cloth diapers. still doing it and still loving it! and jaelyn is doing great with it too! i plan to continue until it is time to potty train her.

you can revisit my first few posts on cloth diapering here, here and here,

oh and if i didn't answer a question you had in mind, leave a comment and i will be glad to give you the best answer i can!


2009 turned out just fine...

on new years day, i sat down to reflect and in my journal write out some highlights of 2009, i realized that the last time i wrote in my journal was exactly one year prior, when i wrote down my highlights of 2008. i read over them, and wow, 2008 was a great year for us. and that brought me to reflecting on 2009.

we started the year with the prase "God will blow our mind in 2009" it was a good year and God provided in a way that we could never imagine, and He did blow our mind. but when it came to making this "list", i just couldn't come up with nearly as many highlights as i did in 2008. i kind of got bummed because as i attempted to make a list in any kind of comparison to the prior year, i just couldn't. but i still couldn't overlook that 2009 was full of a lot of learning opportunities. there was a lot of growth for me but not a lot of highlights that i can put into a list. i have come to accept that each year looks different and God does different things in different ways.

so i will not attempt to make a list of highlights for 2009. i will just give a year in review in a few sentences.

in 2009, we adjusted to being a family of SIX! wow, i can not believe that we have six people in our "little" family! God has blessed us with four beautiful & healthy children. i thoroughly enjoyed every single day that led up to my sweet baby girl turning one. i seriously could not imagine my life and our family without jaelyn.

in 2009, we were honored to have seen God moving in a mighty way in our church. not for one day have we taken for granted the fact that God brought us to elevation for a reason and we are honored to have a front row seat and be very involved as leaders. we have witnessed life change and growth. we continue to be amazed at how God works through our pastor.

in 2009, we learned a lot about our family, our faith, our finances, our relationships and our purpose! it was a year of seeking and God has given us so much! He has provided for us in ways we couldn't even dream of. and just when we thought we came up with a big plan, His plan was even bigger! He has been so good to us and we haven't taken it for granted.

so there you have it a reflection on the past year and on to looking ahead to what God will show us in 2010! He made it great in 2008, blew our minds in 2009 and taking us further than we have ever been in 2010!


new year, new week, new thru 30...

as we begin this second full week of a new year, i am hoping that it is a little less uneventful than the last week! with all the bad news and events from last week, i got thrown off track and a lot of things really fell behind. so i will attempt to catch up this week in so many areas of my everyday life!

in the midst of the disappointment and loss over the last two weeks, there are a lot of exciting things going on too! one thing that i am super excited about is the new series we are doing at church. as a church, we are reading the new testament in thirty days. the sermon series is called "new thru 30". there are a lot of other churches that have joined in on this with us. i just love that our church shares the resources they create. they have made the reading plan available on the website, so why don't you join in and take the challenge too, you can go here for the reading plan. you can also go here and here to read more about this series! i can not wait to see what God shows me through His word!

let me know if you plan to join in on the fun!


a big milestone...

in early december, jaelyn took a few steps to me a few different times and then just like that she decided she didn't want to walk. every time i would encourage her to walk, she would just sit down and not even try. oh well i knew she would do it when she was ready! that is one thing you learn about your child especially after having four of them and they are all different and learn things in their own time!

on the day after christmas, we had moved the coffee table and some furniture out of the way so the kids could play the wii. and just like that she started letting go of the couch and walking toys and took a few steps. then jamil and i had her walk to each of us a few times. and then before we knew it by that afternoon she was completely walking with no assistance all over the living room.

(i took this video a few days after she started walking, we didn't tell my parents or grandparents and when they came over she "surprised" them! oh and please ignore my obnoxious voice - wow!)

this is what i call a new kind of busy! wowzers, this sweet baby girl is keeping me on my toes. she is as busy as ever and into everything. this is honestly one time i am so thankful to have a one story home! i don't have to worry about her being around stairs. i do have to make sure that all of the doors to the bedrooms, bathrooms and the laundry room are closed. that in itself keeps me busy, because the bigger kids are in and out and forget to shut them!

(this video i took when we went to discovery place last week, she was walking everywhere with my phone in her hand! ha! just like mommy!)

so there you have it, my sweet jaelyn is officially a toddler! i am so thankful for her and for how healthy and how active she is! i don't take running after her for granted at all. i am blessed to be so tired at night!! she turned 15 months a few days ago, and i am telling you the last 15 months although hectic and with a lot of adjustment, have been so full of joy because of her!

oh and a huge milestone for me...these are the first hom videos i have posted on my blog! i figured it out! wooo hooo! my new flip camcorder made it way easy!!! i love that thing!


fresh start...

update: i published this post and then saw a powerful scripture of hope and love on a friend's twitter that i just had to include in this post!

i really do have so much to say and planned to publish a few posts this week, but as you can tell that never happened. i think the whole getting back into the routine, reflecting on 2009, setting goals for 2010, getting my house back in order and just "doing life"took a lot more time than i had planned.

when a new year begins i have this "fresh start" mentality. i plan all of these projects and things to organize and then by the end of the first full week my house is messier than when i started, well it is kind of like that this week. so i am spending less time writing and more time fixing up the mess i have created so i can get really organized! this week i have been working on everyone's clothing; their closets & drawers. i have been taking out stuff that isn't fitting or appropriate for the season, which is quite cold this week! i have made a huge dent in that project and almost done. now, i just have to figure out what to do with all of the bins full of clothes!

the idea of a "fresh start", also applies to my personal life. i think and reflect on the past year, and then i think about the new year and about the personal goals i would like to accomplish. so i have spent time reflecting on my life and what God is showing me. we have also set some goals for our family and our home this year! i am sure some of that will eventually make it into another post.

amongst all of this "fresh start" stuff, we have had a pretty rough week with some not so "fresh" stuff. it started when my sister moved back to pittsburgh last week, i was so sad to see her go, she has been living her almost two years, but she headed back there for a fresh start for herself. so i have been missing having here with us. i am happy for her but sad for me. then, jamil's aunt who is also our neighbor passed away on wednesday. after beating breast cancer, they found out she had stage 4 liver cancer a few weeks ago and she wasn't strong enough for chemo. her body had enough. so she went to be with the Lord. and the night before she passed away, jamil's grandmother (also his aunt's mother) had a stroke and went into the hospital. at first they thought it was a mild stroke and she would come home the next day. but last night we found out it was a full stroke and she has a completely blocked artery. things don't look so great for her. she is 92 years old and there is not much they can do for her at this point. we know God has a plan and if it is for her to go home to Him, then that is what is best.

so far the first week of the new year hasn't been the best one. i hope to return to blogging next week and be able to share some much lighter happier stuff. but for now this is the life we are living a little hectic, full of grief and lots of uncertainty. i am hoping that next week will be more like a do over kind of week and a true "fresh start".

have a great weekend and i hope that this first full week of 2010 has been a true fresh start for you!!

"But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me
& through each night I sing His songs,
praying to God who gives me life." psalm 42:8


five hundred (plus one)...

happy, happy five hundred posts to me and my little blog!!

to celebrate the occasion, i am going to post a few little facts and some thoughts i have on my blog and on blogging...

a few quick facts...

...i have posted five hundred posts (plus one) on my blog as of this past weekend. blog posts 500 & 501 were posts closing out 2009 with christmas pictures. what fabulous timing. i could not have planned that better myself. oh and i didn't, that was completely unplanned. but oh how fun!!

...i do have 50 (yes i typed 50 "5-0") posts in draft form that i need to polish and post. they are full of random ideas that i have started but never completed. i will have to work on those, i am sure that they will not all make it to published form, but what a good start for a new year of blogging!!

...i started my blog in june 2007. i officially wrote and published my first post on blogger on june 28, 2007. in may 2007, i actually started keeping a blog on my space, (remember when that was "cool"?) i wrote a few posts there and liked it so much i started my very own blog! a few months ago, i went back to my space and copied and pasted those blog posts and created posts here, they are still in my draft box. i will have to publish those soon!

...when i first started blogging, my blog was called "my j crew" which is our family nickname. last year i changed it to its current title "more than we can imagine". also, i have changed my background and layouts more times than i can keep up with!

...i love reading blogs too! i have 75 blogs that i follow/subscribe to on google reader. i have some blogs listed on my side bars. i am continually adding new ones to my reader and they don't always make it to the side bar. if you don't see yours there and would like me to read yours, leave me a comment and let me know! i would love to come and visit your blog. that is how i have found a lot of the blogs that i read, by bloggers who leave me comments! i have met lots of people through the bloggy world. i think it is so much fun meeting and learning about other women and how they are living out their lives as wives, moms and daughters of Christ.

...i decided to start a blog for a few reasons. i actually think i have a post in a draft form that expresses the reasons why i blog, but until i get that posted... i enjoy writing. i enjoy sharing what i have learned in hopes that it will help my reader in whatever way. i love showing off pictures of my kiddos and tell stories about my family and everyday life. i use my blog as a way to "scrapbook & journal". i also do some creative writing. i truly enjoy sharing God's word. i seek to praise Him in all that i write. i also love to share how He is at work in and around me. i can't imagine not having a relationship with Him, i don't know how i would survive each and every day without Him. especially when it comes to mothering my children. i know that God is using and will continue to use my blog to bless another woman. i see my blog as a ministry and am constantly seeking how He would use me through my blog.

so that was a little bit about my blog...

ok, here is where you come in, i need your help... please do me a favor if you have never left me a comment, but read my blog, please leave me one. i'd love to know you were here! and if you have left a comment before, feel free to leave me another one. i love reading your comments. i also love to leave comments and do so regularly!

one thing that i am all about is being transparent and real, and i do that the best way i can, but i am wondering, is there something i haven't shared on my blog that you would like to know about leave me a comment and ask me, i will try my best to answer it!!

thank you so much for reading my blog! i do hope that you will come back again!


christmas eve & christmas day...

here are a few pictures from christmas eve and then christmas day...

i found myself ready to move on beyond the christmas posts this morning and ready to focus on the new year and what lies ahead.
we did thoroughly enjoy our time together as a family during the christmas vacation. we did a lot of just relaxing and being together!

i think the pictures will tell the story themselves, no writing necessary...

our first christmas celebration...

like most families, we celebrate christmas over several days and with several different gatherings. so i am going to break apart our christmas celebrations into several different posts.

a few days before christmas, we get together with my parents and sister. my parents travel to maryland to spend christmas eve and christmas day with my granparents.
so we do christmas a little early!

after eating a big dinner, (raviolis and meatballs this year - yummy!) the kids get to open their presents from my parents and my sister.
this year my parents had the kids go on a treasure hunt, following clues, until they got to their big present...

a wii!

super excited and surprised to get a wii!!

it was so much fun to watch them find their big present from my parents.

just as fun was to watch jaelyn with her presents

at first she wasn't so sure about unwrapping them

with a little help from her siblings

she got the hang of it!
here she is with her little ride on pony!! so cute!

and like most babies....
she equally enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and empty boxes

here she is playing with the box to our new flip camcorder - my big surprise!

my sister gave the kids some great gifts too...

up next...christmas eve & christmas morning!!!


happy happy new year!!!

He made it great in 2008

He blew our minds in 2009

and now we are looking forward to

Him taking us further than we have ever been in 2010!!!

its going to be an amazing year

here is to God's faithfulness and many blessings in this new decade...

happy happy new year to you!

**we have had a fabulous christmas and new year, i look forward to sharing it all with you soon, i am enjoying a few last days of a blogging break and i will be back early next week!!**