10 Pictures: A Decade

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Not to knock all of the year end reviews that are going on right now, or let's be honest, that I assume are being posted, not that I've been able to read them yet, but I think I've been more introspective this year than ever in my life and would rather do something a little different.

So, let's do a quick high level look at the past 10 years by way of pictures.

2000 - I was 16 years old. Oh, the things I would tell this girl if given the opportunity!

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2001 - Yup, 17 at my soccer banquet. Glad to say that these two girls are still great friends!
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2002 - At 18, my freshman year of college. My teammates and greatest friends at the soccer house, where three of us would live the next year.
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2003 - At 19, my sophomore year of college. Probably my lowest point, coincidentally cordinating with my blondest hair (not shown here).
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2004 - At 20, my junior year, just before meeting Tony!

2005 - At 21, just 2 weeks before Tony proposed!

2006 - At 22, the year I graduated, got married, attended 13 weddings and loved my friends and family more than I ever thought possible (sensory and memory overload!).

2007 - At 23, just settling into the marriage routine. We bought a house, experienced job and friend uncertainty, welcomed Lucy and developed our lines of communication.
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2008 - At 24, I was pregnant and more stressed out than I've ever been before. I was able to purchase my camera this year as well, well the last week anyways lol. We went to Chicago, ran a 1/2 marathon, built a 1000+ board fence with friends over two months and suffered a job cut, all of which strengthened our faith!
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2009 - At 25, we had a child, I became a mother, Tony a father. I found running and soccer again, and established my love affair with my camera. New friends were made, other friendships dissolved or morphed. We have again encountered challenges, but are certain that we stand on the rock.
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I know I'm not alone in those anxiously waiting to usher in the new year and decade. It seems very ripe with opportunity and we're on the cusp of a blogging baby boom!

Love you all!

Wedded Wednesday

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,
anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.

A little over two years ago, I was here.

Based on the testimony I shared here, it's safe to say that I've had lower points in my life. But that girl two years ago? She had little faith, except for words - those were plentiful. She also had little respect for her husband - not that he didn't deserve it.

As it is with any major change, the change I desired didn't happen over night. I'm not even sure what it was, but I know it involved crying out to God. And He listened.

With the new year approaching are you in need of change or looking back from a course direct?

What a blessed holiday!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My whole entire family has been effected by the economy is some shape or form, so it was very refreshing on every extension to feel the realignment of festivities to truly reflect the meaning of the celebration. There wasn't as much hubbub about gifts. But there was more laughter, more games, more teasing and less fretting about what was spent.

First thing Thursday morning Tony, Isaac and I started the day with our little family's Christmas. We had yummy peppermint stick coffee and watched as Isaac tore open his first present.

We went with the Beginner's Bible.

As you can see in the background, Tony can't be trusted in the toy store and splurged on a Cat truck walker. Isaac is a big fan!


We enjoyed a Christmas Eve brunch with my Mom and Stepdad to celebrate my Mom's birthday. Of course we were late due to the hour it took Tony to shovel us out of the initial wave of snow (we got smacked with 10-14 inches over the 3 days).


It was okay though, as my Mom's eggbake needed some additional time to cook. :)

We then watched Up and then headed back home to get ready for Christmas at my Dad's. We got Isaac all spiffed up!

He was super psyched to hang out with his uncle Levi.

Loved cuddling with his Momma.

But was most excited about opening more presents!

Christmas day was spent with my Mom's family and dinner with my Mom, Stepdad, Daniel and Levi. Unfortunately no pictures, which I truly believe was due to my living in the moment. I haven't laughed so hard in a long while and enjoyed being with my family Friday evening. Daniel really seems to be doing well and is back in school!

This used to be my signature shot, but I seem to be a little rusty!

I've been too busy taking pictures of this little bugger.

Grandpa made Isaac and Wyatt similar toy chests! Isaac seems a little curious, while Wyatt's made up his mind; he doesn't like it!

Especially once he figured out this: nom, nom, nom:

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This, the spirit of Christmas, that forever and ever endures.

May it leave its richest blessing in the hearts of you and yours.

Much Love,
Tony, Leah and Isaac


Friday, December 18, 2009

- That tooth that I pondered? Yup, broke through Tuesday night. Yay for Isaac, although concern has grown for the original happy meal . . .

- Yesterday, it was 5 years ago that Tony sent me the initial email that began our romance. Love the cheese.

- Work still sucks.

- Tony's job still sucks.

- Just an FYI for my remembrance, we did decide to put up our Christmas tree even though Isaac would love nothing more than to entrench himself in it's branches.

- Isaac's got a pretty solid rash going on lately. It started on his chin, but is kind of radiating out and we're not sure what to make of it. ETA: it's worse than what we assumed would be the result of a teething rash. My Mom says she's never seen one so severe.

- I came home last night to Tony in the middle of preparing his newly created specialty. We had breadcrumb crusted baked chicken, poppyseed salad, alfredo shells and biscuits. It was amazing and exactly what I needed. To say the least . . . It's been a tough week.

Here's my ray of sunshine though, thanks G.

Wedded Wednesday

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,
anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.

Tony and I went to go look at tile last night. We bought extremely, extremely cheapo stuff for our downstairs bathroom, so we didn't really know what we were looking at for the upstairs.

Oh no my dear friends, don't worry, it's not that I neglected to showcase our bathroom renovation in all of it's glory. There have been no updates because the bathroom is still not complete, although it is sheetrocked and mudded, with all new water lines and electricity. It's been torn out since February {with a promise of three weeks until completion}, but really I'm not getting caught up in the details. BWHAHAHAHA. Sorry that was funny. I think I'll hold it over Tony that he's forced me to go to the bathroom down two flights of stairs not only while enduring the last 3 months of pregnancy, but in addition to trekking our newborn {now almost 8 month old son}. Although, I really don't say much about it anymore, in all seriousness. It's just a fact of life. Bathroom's downstairs.

Back to the story, we went to The Tile Store and fell in love pretty quickly with a neutral tile with natural slate accent. We had no clue what we were in for, so allowed the sales rep to write us up a quote . . . at $950 . . . for a 5x7 bathroom. That's expensive! Tony and I were ready to head out the door when I noticed "the look" between the manager and the sales rep we were working with. All of the sudden we were offered 25% off and questioned on our budget. Since we didn't have one, but knew what we couldn't pay, we said that we'd think about it while shopping at Northwestern bookstore, just a few shops down. We thought the tile place would close before the bookstore, where we were going to use our 25% off coupon and check out a Bible for Isaac {thank you for your recommendations!} . . . but quickly found out that the bookstore closed before The Tile Place. Anywho, this meant that we didn't have any place but the truck to mull over our decision.

As we sat and talked, we prayed about it and I felt confident that if we could get 30% we could swing it. We're paying off a loan in a payment or two and they offered us a 0% interest card for 6 months, so we'll essentially be extending the payment for 5 more months.

And this is where the Wedded Wednesday comes into play, I chickened out and grabbed a few groceries while Tony went back in to negotiate.

I can not handle bartering. I hate the uncomfortable squishy questioning, both sides not knowing how hard they can push.

Tony texted me at the grocery store, 30+% secured. :) We got $950 travertine for both floor and shower surround, with a tile accent for $650 - $200 {Christmas money from my Mom, she is the queen of identifying a need and giving us money before the birthday or Christmas lol} and we're looking at $450.

What does your hubs excel at that you can not handle?

An Elephant?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm so behind right now, I can't even tell what I'm behind. But if I were to make it out, I believe my google reader would look like an elephant. It's sitting at 288 right now.

Work just won't slow down. We're looking at disenrollment in less than two weeks.

Isaac wouldn't sleep, which make me a very tired Momma.

His rosy cheeks and rash just won't clear up, we're thinking a tooth might pop in the near future.

Both my Mom and Tony are trying to bribe me into doing a Christmas card. My Mom is offering to pay and Tony is offering to address them!

My brain hurts and I feel like a hypochondriac assuming it's a tumor.

Tony and I are almost set for presents, $20 limit on each other and we've decided in concept that we're going to get Isaac a Bible, but we haven't decided which one yet . . .

Are you guys keeping your heads above water?

You know what's prettier than a picture?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Giving. And an easy way to give, that involves plenty of eye candy, is popping over to Gina's photo blog and leaving a comment!

For every comment she will donate a nonperishable canned good. Please participate! It ends today!


Wedded Wednesday

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,
anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.

There is no secret to marriage.
Be All In.

Q&A: My faith and some insight to this crazy chic

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

To go back to the wonderful post in which I was blessed with ample writing material, I was asked these lovely questions:

  • Megan said: When and how did you accept Christ as your Savior?
  • Fah said: If I remember right you went to a church based (can't think of the word I want) school and then switched to a regular public school in middle or high school. What affect if any did that have on you and your faith?
  • Amy said: You seem like a very faith driven person. Have you always been involved in church, church activities etc or is that something you've found and been brought to since marriage? What would you suggest to someone who is looking to get back into the 'church scene'?

I think that I can address all of the above questions pretty well in my testimony and then take it a little bit further. Now, before I turn a lot of you off by thinking I'm going to get all churchy up in here, please know that this will essentially be the story of me. My faith is inseparable from my growth as a person, so you'll get both.

My Mom grew up Lutheran, while my Dad's family was the quintessential Christmas/Easter church going type. Somehow though, I was raised in a non-denominational Christian home. I can clearly remember my Mom crying as I asked her how I would go about accept Jesus into my heart. She was just getting me out of my bath, enveloping me in a towel, repeatedly saying "Mommy loves you, loves you, loves you. Loves you, loves you, loves you," as she rocked me back and forth to dry per our ritual. Just as I now say to Isaac. While I can't proclaim to remember the rationale of my 5 year old self, I can bet $5 it happened then and there because I did, and still do, relate Jesus to love.

A child's faith is extremely pure, as the world is pretty simple. Cause and effect. Right and wrong. Good deed, bad deed. My parent's divorce shaped my prayer life and my sense of self worth for awhile. Oh how many times I prayed for their arguing to stop. I would kneel over the bright orange and brown 70's flowered ottoman, my hand's clenched, certain that if I just prayed a little harder . . . As the divorce was finalized, my Mom had my brother and me see a counselor, for I was certain it was my fault.

For some time after the divorce and my Mom's remarriage, most of my memories of church and faith are of trying new churches with my Mom and Stepdad. I do recall forcing my Dad to drive me to church on Sunday mornings of his visitation weekends, only to have him return and pick me up after the service. I continued on with the youth group at the church my parent's had attended as a family, although neither of them would ever return. I was adamant to attend, because my friend's were there, since the private school I attended was based in the same church.

Northside Christian School, I believe, may prove to be one of the most shaping decisions of my life. My Mom worked three jobs in order for my brother and I to attend, and that we did from Kindergarten to 8th grade. I never felt as though the education was lacking or for that matter better than my friends that attended public school. However, we were without a doubt sheltered. The things that we heard from the neighborhood kids would usually shock us, sometimes purposely so. Our faith was not questioned though, it was not ridiculed. In fact, it was encouraged to question it yourself, in an environment where answers could be provided and ultimately growth accomplished.

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There was chapel on Friday, but honestly, I can't remember now if there was a "Religion" class. How odd is that? I truly can't remember, although I do know that Bible verses were memorized and world history definitely elaborated world religions.

Upon 7th grade there was the option to do missions, either in Minnesota or Mexico. Funds were raised through Delicious Drama {play and dessert}, candy bars sales and the like. I was able to go 4 times, 7th through 10th grade.

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9th grade?

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I used to be quite fluent in Spanish . . . that's another story for a different day.

When the jump finally did have to be made from small private school to large high school . . . I jumped, full out. I wanted to play soccer with my friends at the public high school and I was ready, so I thought, for some worldliness. There was still youth group and Youth Alive conferences in the fall and spring, in addition to the long summer camp.

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I largely remained unscathed in high school. I was able to tilt my head and laugh questioningly at the off jokes. It literally took a month for me to realize the boy sitting next to me in my first class , first quarter freshman year was making fun of me by nipping out everytime he asked me: "Are you cold?" I avoided the "bad kids," stuck close to those with the good grades and continued to push myself academically and athletically. There were boyfriends and make-out sessions with doors wide open, as we both listened for the first footfall which would obviously result in a mad scramble to appear studious. But honestly, I was a good kid. Our high school was large enough that our "group" of friends could have been considered: The popular, non partying, good grades, jockish group. I made it to Homecoming Court {can I write this without sounding stuck up, even 8 years later?}

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And then, I decided to go to school 3 hours away from home, including leaving my boyfriend behind to do the long distance thing. I wanted to know what it felt like to be unsheltered. Make mistakes. Almost intentionally hurt myself. It didn't happen right away. I still abstained from alcohol until the end of my freshman year. I was the permanent designated driver. I carted friends and teammates all about town. I never turned down an invitation to go out, I just turned down too many drinks to count. I think it was fear of the unknown. I had never given into peer pressure before, so why would I then. I went to church once, but I didn't know the people I recognized from school . . . and I never went back. By the end of my freshman year I'd already begun to alienate myself from almost everything that had previously identified me. My faith was present, but more in the "I'm a good person" type, not a faith of action or in word. The clincher - I broke up with my boyfriend, for virtually no good reason.

It's a decision that I still regret to this day. Not because he was my first love, that we spoke about marriage or that he was genuinely a good guy, but because if we had just lasted another year I would have saved myself the worst pain of my life. He remained as my only checking point. He was the only one who could keep me reined in, a reminder of who I was, who I was straying away from. Just another year . . . and we would have known we were not intended for each other, but I would have been another year more mature. Oh this decision that broke the camel's back.

And so the end of my freshman year, sophomore year and half way through my junior year were lost.

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I never did anything terrible in terms of the world. Nothing that my college friend's thought was terrible, or for that matter even bad, but the end of my sophomore year? I still clearly remember sitting on the floor in front of my mirror and sobbing. I could not recognize myself. There was no resemblance of the person I knew reflecting back. Nothing. My image was shattered, values scattered. If my sole intention was to hurt myself, I'd more than accomplished it, as I'd also strained my relationship with my Mom.

I was still reeling when I updated my profile on the dating site with my email address. I was still thoroughly confused with myself when Tony first contacted me. I was still making poor decisions up until the day we went on our first date. But God healed me, through Tony. God allowed the man that was to be my husband to take my pain, swallow it whole and tell me to my face that not only did God forgive and love me, but that he did too.

Take a second and re-read that if you will. I'm almost crying to the point that I was that day in hearing those words. What a man my husband is. What an absolute man of God.

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I can't say it was that second that I began to live my faith instead of desecrate it, but the change was put in motion. Tony showed me again, who I was, who I could be as a faithful woman. One who's joy is to be a delight of the Lord's.

I walked down the aisle to Tony, accompanied by a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. It may have gone unnoticed by our guests, but it was the absolute perfect selection to Tony and I. We are together, only by God's amazing grace.

I don't feel hypocritical now and I think that that is my only answer to Amy's question regarding joining a church again. People are not perfect, that is why we need Jesus. Christian's do not think they are perfect and they should be soundly aware of their humanity. Go, be yourself, with an open mind, hopefully you will find like minded people who will see you through your reconciliation.

Hockey Skates

Monday, December 7, 2009

Everyone keeps asking us if Isaac has skates yet, reluctantly Tony has said no. There just aren't any small enough yet, {thankfully!} but back before Isaac was Isaac, when he was still deemed Baby Bless my Mom bought us these guys from Etsy.

I really should have taken these pictures before the mobility!

Doing his eyebrow thing again!

The blades aren't quite stable enough to be stood upon lol.

Little chubbers.

Isaac's thoughts on being in hockey skates. :)

Put me in coach, put me in!

MiracleGro Faith

Friday, December 4, 2009

I've always been the one pegged as religious. A label which I do my best to dispel. Religion to me is not action, it is not faith, it is not a determining factor in my life.

My faith. That is something which defines me. My relationship with Jesus Christ. Sometimes it hurts when others fail to recognize this, instead deferring to the category in which I fit: Christian. It means that I'm not allowing God's love to move through me.

As any Christian though will tell you, your strength can waver. Usually when this occurs it cultures more dependence on God, resulting in an even stronger faith. I can say without a doubt that of all the predicaments I've put myself into, all of the moments of hesitancy, situations in which a favorable outcome were questionable, my faith has never been tested more than as a mother.

I wrote a bit about it here. Every time I leave Isaac or Tony, I say goodbye as if it were the last time I'm going to see them. Every time I put Isaac in the back seat to drive off I wait for him to smile to me, as if it may be the last time I am blessed to see his smile. This is not an exaggeration. Every time.

My faith is now a source of stress sometimes, as I ride the fine line of knowing we are secure in God's love and knowing that that faith does not guarantee a right to life on earth. My praying more than another mother does not bend God's ear and make Him think, "That Leah, she should be allowed to live a long life, seeing her family grow to love on their own family." It doesn't work like that and I finally have come to the realization God and I, we need to have a lot more conversations.

And I better get talking and ready to listen, especially in light of news we received today. My cousin Kristi's daughter Sarah is in the hospital now. You may remember my writing about Abbi early this summer. I wasn't a mother when Abbi first started to exhibit symptoms, I wasn't the person I am now. I was able to distance myself. Now, with Sarah? Now I know the position Kristi is in. Now, I question God. Now is when I realize I need some MiracleGro for my faith, because without my dependence on Him, we will surely not sanely survive.

7 Months

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Goodness sake, it feels like I just wrote the 6 month post! Everything just seems to be happening around me, without much action on my part recently. I'm sorry for the lack of posts, I've even got a plethora of writing material thanks to you guys!

On with the monthly update!
Credit Gina G with the pic.

It seems so odd to say it, even though it's a thought that still baffles me, but I'm amazed by how much Isaac looks like himself as a newborn. Does anyone make sense of this other than me lol?

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Isaac is nothing short of amazing. I just can't get over how much he is just a part of everything. I don't remember how I lived before him. Honestly.

In the month from 6 to 7 months we observed quite a few milestones.

The first being Isaac's delve into solid foods.

Additionally, Isaac has became quite the mover and shaker. I think that this post wasn't far off . . . Tony and I are in for it! About a week or so into the month Isaac took off with crawling. No more messing around with the army crawl.

On top of that, the day he turned 7 months, Thanksgiving, Tony and I watched Isaac as he latched onto our headboard and pulled himself up!

He is now upping the pulling himself up thing, by walking around the coffee table or couch. In addition to this if you hold his hands he will now "walk" forward. YIKES!

He still hasn't been in for his 6 month shots. I really need to get on that.

We also, may or may not have heard him say his first word: Hockey.
He was just sitting on the floor playing with his Minnesota Gophers hockey stick and puck and suddenly, rapid fire said Hockey like four times. It was so clear that both Tony and I stopped what we were doing and looked at each other incredulously. I said, "Did you hear what I just heard?" Tony just started laughing! It hasn't happened since, so undoubtedly it was just a fluke, but it was still funny!

We're starting to wave his arm "buh bye" and make sure to say "buy bye" when leaving the room. Both my Mom and I think he's catching on!

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