The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28
May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33
God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)
We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!
For Luke's preschool class this past year, Luke, at least once a month or so, took the snack for his class. I actually strived to be somewhat creative with the snacks (TOTALLY unlike me to be super creative in parenting)....Anyways, most of the time, I managed to come up with a snack that began with the letter of the week. For "W" week, I located a snack called "White Treasure Cereal Snack Mix." I found it online; however, I personally didn't find it on Pinterest (though it may be there)....It's quite tasty. In other words, Marc & I are quite fond of it, and Marc has made several hints for me to make it again (I've made it about 4 times now). I wouldn't call it a real "summer-y" treat. But, it's good nonetheless; so good, in fact, I'm sharing it here on my blog. Here are the ingredients you need....
6 Cups Crispix Cereal, 3 Cups Cheerios, 2 Cups pretzels, 1 lb. M&M's chocolate candy, 1 lb. vanilla almond bark....(NOTE: The recipe also calls for 2 Cups dry roasted peanuts -- I left them out)....After gathering ingredients, one must be all "2013" and set up the iPad in the kitchen (for the recipe) -- Ha!
Next, dump all of the ingredients, EXCEPT the almond bark, into a large bowl....
Then, lay out a large sheet of waxed paper on your countertop or table....
Now, you're ready for the stove....Break up the almond bark into a pan, and slowly melt. Stir FREQUENTLY to avoid scorching.
When melted, pour almond bark over other ingredients in large bowl.
Immediately stir almond bark -- coating cereal, candy, and pretzels. The snack will become "white" -- PERFECT for a "W" week preschool snack!
After stirring, lay it out evenly on waxed paper.
After an hour or two of "drying" or "setting up," break it up and store it in an air-tight container. ENJOY (with your Stouffer's lasagna that you make for dinner -- in the background in the last pic)....
BEWARE! It's addicting!
Our Memorial Day Weekend was not SUPER busy, but we didn't simply sit around either....Friday evening, we were home as a family. I didn't take any pics that evening. Saturday morning, the plumbing on one side of our house went bad (clogged up). The bathtub Kate & I use clogged, and the two toilets on that side of the house weren't working properly. FORTUNATELY, we had no major mess or smell, AND it was something that could wait until after the weekend. SO, we all used one bathroom for the weekend -- definitely something called #firstworldproblem. Saturday evening, Marc & I had a date night -- YAY! Our favorite sitter, J, came over and stayed with the kiddos. Kate let it be known in an obvious way that she didn't want us to leave. However, 2 minutes after we left, I texted the sitter. Kate was fine -- go figure! Can we just say "drama?" Sunday morning, we went to church. Luke went to Sunday School, and Kate went to the nursery. Later that afternoon, our friend, Debby, posted some pics on her Facebook page. The caption said something like, "When the babies in the nursery got fussy, we took them all out for a walk." I LOVED the pics....I hope Debby doesn't mind me posting them. I put a red arrow going to Kate. I'm guessing she might have been one of the fussy babies....BUT, a walk is the BEST idea. Kate loves strollers and walks! I LOVE our church's nursery. Debby used to be the director. Our friend, Lori, is now the director. Both of these ladies have done (and is currently doing) an AWESOME job with the little babies/toddlers. I LOVE the fact Marc & I can go to church and not have to worry about our baby. I LOVE the fact that the nursery workers do everything possible to soothe fussing babies before calling parents. This stroller walk is a GREAT example.
Sunday evening, most of our small group (3 couples were unable to make it) and their respective kiddos came over for a BBQ. I took zero pics that evening :( Monday morning, Marc & Luke put up their flags. I LOVED seeing them do this together. I LOVE Luke's little flag that he likes to put up.
Marc & Luke did some yard work. Kate & I took a walk. Kate was SO happy on this walk (remember what I just said about Kate and strollers).....I JUST had to stop and take a couple of pics of her on this walk....Notice her "Memorial Day" gear.
Last night, we went to my parents' house for a supper/BBQ. My brother and sister-in-law were there as well -- with their 4 girls. I didn't take pics of the evening, but I took a couple of pics of our kiddos on the way home....(Luke's is a bit blurry)....
WARNING! Long post AHEAD! Spending time outdoors is something I took for granted -- until last summer. Last year, at this time, I was about two weeks away from giving birth to Kate -- a month before her actual due date. BUT, I didn't know she would be born so early at that time. I was on restricted activity (for my pregnancy-induced hypertension) with an active 3 1/2 year-old boy. I was emotionally and mentally MISERABLE. I think I can say with almost 100% certainty that I was miserable for other people to be around (mainly my poor spouse). Luke & I were cooped up BIG TIME! Then, Kate was born a month early. We did our best to keep her away from other people -- especially for that first month of her life. We were really having to be very intentional about feeding her. I was recovering from a C-Section. Marc worked a TON of hours the first two months (or so) after her birth. I was tired from being up at night with a newborn. SO, I honestly do "feel" like last summer was a complete bust for Luke and me. To be perfectly logical, one bum summer out of my entire life (and Luke's) is really no big deal, but at the time (and for the entire last year), I have felt like Luke and I seriously missed out. SO, I'm determined that this summer will be much better. Luke just finished up his last day of preschool the other day, but already (before it gets too hot), I'm doing my best to get outside for some activity each and every day -- with both of our kiddos. So, we'll start this post with yesterday....After Kate's morning nap, I loaded up Luke's bike. We went to a nearby neighborhood to have Luke practice bike-riding on the street. (We live on an AWESOME street with very little traffic, but once you leave our street, it's not the best area for a 4 1/2 year-old boy to learn how to safely ride on a street). Let's just say that I'm glad we did this practicing, and we WILL be out more this summer -- doing this very thing some more. Luke is a distracted boy (probably normal at his age)....he frequently forgot to pay attention to where he was going or the fact that cars do drive on streets.
Luke rode for more than a mile while I pushed Kate in the stroller. Kate did AWESOME as well -- watching her big brother. After the "practice bike ride in the street," I let Luke play at the park while Kate did her normal swinging. I also had packed a picnic lunch for all 3 of us to eat at the park.
I put on Instagram and Facebook that there's something pretty neat about watching kids' smile when they swing. Yesterday, our two kiddos demonstrated that joy!
After eating our lunch, we discovered a bird's nest under the park shelter. I climbed up to look and discovered two baby birds. I was careful to not make the mother think I was intruding (I actually didn't even see the Mama Bird). BUT, it was certainly fun to show Luke (and will be fun to show Kate someday)....
This past week, we've had some absolutely PHENOMENAL and GORGEOUS evenings. It's been great to spend time outside as a family. You might recall that we have our first ever "Friesen Family Garden" going on in our backyard. Last night, Marc & Luke did some watering. You'll notice in these following pics that Marc is most definitely helping Luke. We had a little bit of an incident last week with Luke, again, not paying attention. He ended up spraying Marc, Kate, and me. Oh -- the lessons to learn throughout life....
As far as how our garden is going -- well, we're honestly not sure. The tomato plants have definitely grown. Sweet corn has popped up out of the ground. Unfortunately, nothing else has. So, we're not sure if most of this garden will fail or if we simply need to allow more time (even though more should have popped out of the ground by now). We'll see -- it's our first garden.
Then, today, once again after Kate's nap, we went on a bit of a nature walk. First, Luke ALWAYS has to check out all of the maps on the "trail." If you know my dad, you know Luke gets this map fascination from him. Marc reminded me tonight that "map people" can get good jobs!
There were some very pretty daisies along the path. I pretty much forced Luke to look at them (which he did do willingly, by the way). I really enjoy daisies because "they're just the friendliest flower." (Name that movie)....
And, on this particular "hill," Luke thoroughly enjoys running up and down. And today, he, once again, insisted I take a pic of him running...
Luke really wanted to take a pic of Kate and me....I think he actually did a GREAT job....
AND, he also insisted on a pic of him and his sister....He LOVES her so!
And, to end our "nature walk," Luke just happily posed for me....I LOVE it when he does that....
After our walk, we went on yet another picnic. Luke enjoys picnics, and Kate seems to as well -- Yay! We had a little bit of time left to briefly play at the park before we really needed to get home for Kate's nap....
Despite the sheer joy of bringing a child into this world, last summer was H.A.R.D. While I'm grateful for Kate and her safe arrival into this world, I certainly don't want to repeat some of the anguish of last summer. BUT, I did learn something -- to not take the summer, the outdoors, and the ability to do "things" outside for granted. Before having kids, but after adulthood, I honestly didn't like summers. They weren't any different than the rest of the year in that I still had to work -- only I had to deal with the extreme heat in Kansas. BUT, summers with kids are fun! I'm very grateful my husband and I made the decision and the sacrifice to have me stay home with the kiddos. I'd sure be missing out on a lot with them right now!
This past weekend, the midwest was hit with quite a few severe thunderstorms -- which also involved a few tornadoes in the area. Our little town was hit with a thunderstorm or two, but nothing was too severe. BUT, last night (Sunday), a storm moved into our town. It was a bit windy, but I was in the kitchen doing something (obviously, I don't remember what). All of a sudden, I heard a little thud, and Marc loudly said, "Oh." I looked at our sliding door, and I noticed a few branches near the door. I thought to myself, "O.K., we'll pick them up." Then, Marc said, "No, look at that."
Yep, a MAJOR branch had broken off of a large tree next to our house and fallen on the main electric line running into our house. Oopppsss.....We both looked at each other -- kind of wondering what to do next. I called Westar Energy (our electric company). I enjoy electricity, and I'm grateful for Westar. But, admittedly, I'm not a fan of their automated reporting system. But, after some brief discussions with Marc, I left a message where I thought was best appropriate. Marc also reported it online. Then, we decided to call our neighbor across the street for some advice. Fortunately, he was home and was able to quickly come over and look. He made a few suggestions and then headed home. As he was doing so, we suddenly noticed the electricity guys on our street -- ALREADY QUICKLY responding to our call. Oh my -- I was an excited woman! The two guys came back and looked....In this pic, they are behind the branches on our deck.
The extremely NICE guys safely removed the branches off of the electric wire and double-checked the wire. Amazingly, we never lost power in the ordeal. They then told us we'd need to call professional tree trimmers to safely take care of the rest of the branches. The FUNNY thing is that just this weekend, Marc was seriously thinking he needed to call a professional tree trimmer to work on this tree. We don't want it taken down, but it needs some trimming. Marc has been concerned that a few branches were dangerously close to Kate's window. He was concerned about a storm causing a branch to go through her window. The branches that ultimately fell this weekend were NOT the branches he was concerned about -- Ha! Tonight, I took this pic of our deck -- another view of the lovely branches. We're thankful that nothing was seriously damaged, and we're certainly thankful nobody was hurt.
Wichita, about 25 miles to the south of us, definitely had more storm damage than us. A tornado was on the south side of Wichita. Several sections of the city had significant hail damage -- YUCK! In fact, an apartment complex I lived in for a couple of years in my single days had around 150 windows damaged from hail. Fortunately, I'm not living there anymore :) Today, the weather here was BEAUTIFUL. The humidity was down. The temperature was just right. This morning, we spent time at a park with friends for a play date. This evening, Marc mowed the lawn (with Luke outside). It had grown quite a bit over the weekend thanks to the wonderful rain. Apparently, Luke's mower needed fixed tonight.
Kate spent time in her beloved swing as Luke explained every part of his lawnmower to me -- Ha!
Then, I decided I'd get the wagon out to see how Kate did. Kate did FABULOUS! She sat in it without tumbling over. She seemed to like it. Luke wore his "e-phones" in case somebody was out mowing (this is according to Luke)....
So, I walked them around the neighborhood for a bit....Kate did great! Luke did great too until the very end when I stopped to talk to a neighbor. He repeatedly interrupted me as I was talking (something we've really been working on)....SO now, he has to pay a consequence -- Sigh....
I texted a friend this evening saying I kind of felt guilty about so very much enjoying our weather this evening. You see, Moore, OK, is only about 2 1/2 to 3 hours south of us. You've probably seen in the news by now (if you haven't, turn on the news) that this city was hit by a LARGE tornado this afternoon. As of right now, 51 have already been reported dead. The tornado hit two elementary schools. I grew up in a town which was devastated by a tornado in 1991 -- the end of my freshman year in high school. My family did not lose our home, but we knew quite a few families who did. I remember that evening vividly. I completely empathize with those in the area of Moore, OK. Tornadoes really are devastating and definitely shouldn't be used for entertainment purposes (which I see all too often each and every time storms come). BUT, tornadoes remind me of one thing -- God's power and sovereignty. Recently, a friend of mine's father commented on a post of mine (on Facebook). I don't really remember exactly how he worded it (and I'm not going to try and find it). Basically, he said, "Griping about the weather is griping about God's sovereignty." (Again -- something to that extent). For some reason, that hit me hard. I realize how much I do gripe and have griped about the weather. I realized how many complaints I read from others' posts on Facebook about the weather. Marc & I really talked about that comment and have realized just how much that is true. So, though we haven't perfected it yet, we've really tried to stop complaining too much about the weather. This past weekend, when it was SO humid and obviously going to storm (knew it by how it felt), I strived to simply be grateful for the moisture which we so badly needed. I don't know what God's purpose was in allowing the tornado to hit such a populated area in the middle of the day (referring back to today's Moore, OK, tornado). It truly is a sad event. But, it also clearly states in the Bible, that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). So, I know, without a doubt, God will make something good out of this tragedy. In the meantime, I will pray for those in Moore, OK. I will cry a compassionate cry when I see the devastation on the TV (Romans 12:15). Hopefully, I will find a reputable charity to give money to for Moore, OK. In the process, I will still praise God -- simply for who He is and His sovereignty. And, I will continue to do my best to NOT complain about the weather!
This morning, Kate had a doctor's appointment in Wichita. It was with a specialist we have routinely seen since she was around 3 months old. I won't go into detail on this blog about what the specialist is for, BUT if you ask me in person or e-mail me, I will answer the question. But, don't worry. It's nothing serious or life-threatening -- just something she will live with all of her life. The appointment was actually 2 days ago. Kate was to have a sonogram first thing, and then, we were to go to her doctor's appointment. Marc was able to work it out so that he could work from home and stay with Luke in the morning while I took Kate to the sonogram and subsequent appointment. Without boring you with the details, there was a little glitch in the scheduling....the sonogram was done. Then, we had to go back to today for the appointment. SO, Luke was with Kate and me. I knew he'd probably get a bit bored; therefore, his behavior would probably go downhill rather quickly. SO, I bribed him with a visit to a park close to the hospital (and specialist's office)....he's been to this park before, both with Marc as well as my mom. He thinks it's the greatest. I really believe he likes it because it's not his "normal" parks here in town. Well, Luke did awesome with Kate and me, and he earned his trip to the park. So, despite Kate being REALLY exhausted after her appointment, we walked to the park. (And, before I go any further, I'll offer up a warning...I have a really awesome talent of getting my finger in the pics....AND, for some reason, I really exuded that talent today)....First, this park has a Merry-Go-Round -- you know, something that's hard to come by anymore. Despite Luke's non-risky personality, he likes the Merry-Go-Round, as long as it doesn't go too fast.
Then, there are some fun things to climb on and pretend...Luke pretends he's driving a boat. (And, there's my finger)....Yay!
And, despite Luke's non-risky personality, he does like slides of ALL kinds....You might notice Luke doesn't have shoes on. Unfortunately, it was a "sand" park (not a favorite of mine). Usually, Luke whines and complains about the "feeling" of sand in his shoes or on his bare feet. But today, he actually took his shoes off and ran around in the sand bare-footed -- a HUGE and monumental occasion for our boy!
Luke was having a great time, but poor Kate was SO tired. She was WELL past her morning nap time. PLUS, she had been poked and prodded, weighed and measured, and even had her blood pressure taken. I put her in a baby swing (which the park did have -- YAY)! She, of course, was happy there.
I soon looked over, and she had fallen fast asleep in the swing....I sent this pic to my friend, Robin, and she noticed that Kate didn't even have the energy to put her fingers into her mouth. Nope....Kate didn't....SO very sad.
I gently pushed her, and she kept sleeping. At this point, Luke was swinging as well, obviously awake!
It was soon time to go. I gently pulled Kate out of the swing, and I put her gently into her stroller and fastened her seat belt. She IMMEDIATELY went right back to sleep.
Luke and I, with Kate in the stroller, walked the several blocks back to the hospital parking garage where our car was parked. Then, Luke hit the JACKPOT! In the garage was a SKID STEER -- Luke's dream. So, of course, we stood there and looked at it for awhile, and Kate kept sleeping in the stroller. Many cars drove by during this time. I'm certain if any of the drivers were parents of boys, they completely understood why we were seemingly just standing there.
We got to the car, and Kate woke up -- happy as can be for the drive home. This afternoon, she took a semi-decent nap. This evening, I went out walking with just Kate. She was asleep before completing the first mile (it usually takes her a bit more than a mile to fall asleep)....I know -- it's SO very lady-like to have your belly showing.
She did wake up half way through my walk -- happy! SO, I was privileged enough to once again catch a pic of her with her fingers in her mouth -- held on by her opposite hand! (Sorry if you are tired of me posting pics of this -- I, as her mother, find it quite cute....again, I want to remember it as long as I'm on this earth)....
And now -- I'm tired! Thanks for reading!