Thursday, September 29, 2011

we not only survived, we have thrived!

a very wise many by the name of  bill adams prayed that our wedding day would be the worst day of our marriage. now before you take offense, hear this; the heart of his message was that he desired that our wedding day would only be the beginning of our love journey. a spring board for a deeper, richer, relationship with one another. he really didn't want it to be a bad day, rather that we would look back on that day and see how we were merely babies in our marriage. i am SO thankful for those wise words. and now here we stand, TEN YEARS later, and ONLY by the grace of God can i attest to the fact that our wedding day has been the worst day of our marriage. we really were babies in age and in our relationship with each other. getting married so young provided an opportunity for us to grow into ourselves together, or grow into ourselves apart. 20 is young. most people are very different at 20 than they are at 30 ( i can attest, i will be 30 on monday :). the same could be said for us. (random note: katie is only 12 years away from 20, and i kind of puke in my mouth a little thinking about her getting married in 12 years.) i am so glad that we purposefully chose to grow together personally, and in our marriage. not everyday has been as smooth, beautiful, romantic, sweet, and as fun as our wedding day, but our marriage did not stall after we said, "i do!"

and now i will give unsolicited advise as to how i think we have not only survived our ten years of marriage, but have THRIVED through the minutes, hours, days, months and years together!

1. utter dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ to fill us with all that we are lacking, and to stay committed and faithful to each other. i could really stop here. but i'll put some feet on it for you.

2. our time together is valuable.  there is a tendency to stop doing things together when the honeymoon phase stops. we get into our routines... girl's night, guys' night, his hobbies, her hobbies, etc.. while these things aren't bad, if the time apart becomes more important then investing in your time together it can begin to wedge the two apart.  also, when kids enter the picture there is a tendency to stop doing things together. before we had katie, we were foot loose and fancy free. we wanted to be together all the time. run errands together, grocery shop together, get coffee, go to the movies, etc.. that's A LOT harder to do when children enter the picture. it's easier to send one person. fight the urge and GO TOGETHER.

3. our kids joined the family, they did not become our family.  you, my readers know how crazy in love we are with our kids... but it is a well known fact in this house that they are subordinate in the chain of importance. we believe this does not alter their confidence in whom they are in our home, rather it builds confidence in to them. a healthy marriage is the best gift a mom and a dad can give their children.

4. continue to pursue one another and educate yourself about your spouse. i am not married to the same man that i married ten years ago. lots of things about him have changed (thanks to my persuasive means, no doubt ;) totally kidding. if i had not continued to engage my husband, learn about him, watch him, ask non-surface type questions, i would not know him today for who he is. i would have missed out on the incredible person he has continued to become over the past 10 years. i think that's why people say, "i don't love him/her anymore!"  they lost each other through all the activities, mundane routines, and distractions this world has to offer.

5. wake up everyday fighting for your marriage! their are spiritual forces of evil that LOOOONNNGG to destroy the sanctity of your marriage. the break down of marriages and families has a long lasting impact on every aspect of this world we live in. the majority of movies, tv shows, books, or any entertainment outlets love to glorify dysfunctional, broken and hurting marriages, addictions, and infidelity. but often times they leave out the domino effect of the overwhelming pain and sorrow that accompany these situations. do not be fooled. protect your heart. protect your spouse's heart from the numbing sensation these powers have on our marriages.

i could write endless blogs about the love of my husband. about how he continually lays down his life for me and our family. how he has positioned me on a pedestal that ensures i compete with no one else and nothing else on this earth. i know that i am everything to him, and in that knowledge lies the most mysterious, romatical, and unending magnetic draw that i have to him. i have been thinking for WEEKS on how to say it best, because words mean everything to me.. and if i had to sum it up in a phrase it would be this, "mark has spent the last ten years beautifying my heart, my soul, my intentions, my motivations, and my very being! he makes me more beautiful!!!"

and the fact that he is mine, makes it all the more stunning...

ten years ago i was a young bride who had no idea where the journey of marriage would leave me. i just knew that i couldn't be without him. today, the love of my husband still makes me feel like the young bride i was on our wedding day. i have seen and tasted where marriage could take me, and without a single doubt in my mind i know i don't want to be without him!

it feels like home to me,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fighting the Madness...

mark's wearing off on me.. i spent five minutes doing calculations regarding this post. LOL!

I have spent the last 3 hours buried up stairs in my children's rooms and closets.  i have officially touched every item of summer clothing and replaced it by touching every article of fall clothing. it's a lot of touching. then i moved on to toys. i am half way through touching every toy in our house. ( i needed a lunch break, my blood sugar was dipping and i was feeling the urge to throw all of the toys in a box and label it trash, coming over me!) i kept thinking, "how can we have so many toys? where did all of this come from?" that's what brought me to my calculations. i figure that each child has received on average, 20 gifts a year between their birthday and christmas. those estimates do not include, valentine's day, easter, and "just because"..  we come to a grand total of 400 opportunities to receive clothing, books, and toys. we are SO appreciative of the MANY gifts people have given to our children. there are many that i refuse to pitch b/c they came from "such and such!" but when you think about 400 items being collected over the last 8 years, it can mean a ridiculous amount of things to sort through.

every 2 to 3 months i touch every toy in the house. determine how loved or unloved it is, and then i determine its destiny.

you have to be in a mood to do this kind of sorting.. kind of a cranky mood. heartless, and not sentimental. determined to find order and sanity amongst the dolls, trucks, pretty princess outfits, match box cars, endless bouncy balls, random tiny pieces to random tiny toys, puzzles, potato heads, bats, gloves, soccer balls, cleats, ballet outfits, dress up clothes, and the insane amount of stuffed animals  (if you are about to buy a baby or child a gift, will you PLEASE do them a favor and NOT buy them a stuffed animal? the mother of small children around the world will collectively thank you! :)!!

today is that day! (this should clue you in to my mood if you are paying attention)

if i don't do not purge regularly the madness will take over my house and you will never find me or my family. there will be an "out of control" kind of feeling that will taint everything i do.

the kids are getting bigger. we have no intention of returning to the infant years. and we are thrilled and at peace with that decision. therefore, i just filled my first box of infant toys EVER, to pass on to the most beloved, still in utero, baby Johnson :) a huge weight has been lifted.

i am not obsessed with cleanliness, order, and perfection. but i am motivated to find sanity, functionality (is that a word?), and rhythm,  so that i can focus of the PEOPLE who are far more important than any THING!!

so here is to fighting the madness.
happy purging!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


there is MUCH anticipation revolving around the next two weeks in our home:

30th birthday party celebrations. 1980's style. TOTALLY RAD!

Best friends from VA coming to visit. I just start crying when I think about it.

Ten year anniversary get-away. A HUGE accomplishment by our Holy God to keep us together this long ;)

More get-away adventures with cousin Krystle. Sure to be a total blast.

Katie's school play! We are cranking out the lines.

And just the crisp fall air seeping into our windows giving us an extra bounce in our steps.

We have lots of smiles to offer around here... and why shouldn't we?!

due to the high volume of F.U.N. about to take place the blog might get lost in between the mix of it all. i'll try to get to it as much as possible!

until then.... SMILE!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dr. (Squared) Mom

who needs a diploma, a pining ceremony, or a hooding ceremony?

i've decided that after starting my bachelors degree (in motherhood) sometime in late november of 2002. i have spent enough time in the clinic, done my fair share of rotations, i have done enough research and documentation, and by golly i sure have had ample time in the field... (twenty four hours a day for nine years straight with minimal vacation and sick leave). i should by all means be DOCTOR MOM! actually, i should have TWO doctorates. therefore, i should be dr. (squared) mom.... i can't figure out how to put the 2 beside the doctor :(

that is why i am allowed to have an educated opinion about breast vs bottle, back vs. belly, scheduled vs. non-scheduled, vaccination vs non-vaccination, clothe vs throw-a-way, obedience vs disobedience, time out vs spanking, thumb vs paci, homemade vs canned, sesame street vs barney.... etc..etc..

and just like doctors learn from their mistakes... so does this dr. mom!

and just like doctors need continuing education... so does this, dr. mom!

and just like doctors are valued and revered in their field of expertise... this doctor believes that mothers should be revered and valued in their areas of expertise.

i am NOT sitting at home eating bon-bons and watching soaps. i am molding and refining the character and values of human minds and souls. humans that someday your son or daughter might marry, or humans whom might take care of you in hospital, or be your president, or teach your child dance, or be your lawyer, or collect your taxes, or protect you and this country in war.... WHAT I DO IS VALUABLE!! i will not be deterred from my calling my the lure of money, or the false hope of financial security, or the beckoning of status, or trying to satisfy the insatiable calling of making a name for myself, or the lie that someone else can do it better than me.


I AM DR. (Squared) MOM..

And I am proud of it!!

~ dr. mom

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Living in the Storm: A lunch date with Grams.

as per our new usual kansas routine we get to spend one day a week with my mom so that my dad can work, run errands, have meetings, etc.. anywho, it has become a really special day in our house. we clear our calendar, find some yummy lunch, and pick our favorite "chick flick" to watch together when the kiddos sleep (today we are watching 'sleepless in seattle!). it's a good day for me. it forces me to STOP, sit, and visit with my sweet mama. sometimes when the chick flick is playing mom snoozes, and well... i blog ;)

today, anderson had a lunch date with grams. the big girls were to busy to stop and eat. not anderson, he LOVES to eat, especially with his grams.

during their lunch date anderson drove grammy to his job.. when asked what his job was he said he flew on planes and drove a school bus. sounds like a combination of his dad's job and his poppo's job. ;)

all in all, it was a fabulous date. for sure there will be more to come.

we don't try and predicate the future around here. it's not our future to predict, but i do know that someday these picture will be hanging in anderson's dorm room (even if i have to place them there myself :). and i pray that he has countless stories to tell about his lunch dates with his grams. their crazy adventures together as they drove to work, ate peppers together, dropped their spaghetti all over the place, and giggled all about it.

memories are worth creating, terminal illness or not. it is worth slowing down and being intentional about being together. i know that i am tucking away all these moments in my memory bank!!

hope you have a special lunch date today too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

guest blogger...

thank you mr.chambers

"The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness.  If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics.  God's life in us expresses itself as God's life, not as human life trying to be godly.  The secret of a Christian is that supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God.  When we come in contact with things that create buzz, we find to our amazement that we have power to keep wonderfully poised in the center of it all."

Monday, September 19, 2011


sometimes i want to do the funky chicken..

what's that you say?

sometimes i FEEL like a funky chicken, or a surfer dude.

sometimes, i just want to boo-ga-lu!

it's been a boo-go-lu kind a week. just nod your head, pump you arms, and march your legs, and hopefully you'll get to the end.

it's monday again.

we were VERY privileged to watch two of our friends get married over the weekend. it was a very special day!! a day looonnnnng in the making. ;) we laughed, we danced (some of us sillier than others), we cried, we ate, and we danced some more!

mark and i had two special dates with us:

they were so cute watching their very own Poppo marry this couple. and boy howdy, my dad knows how to do a wedding. he's the best. and he had a very cute date himself, with a sassy new do.

it's monday again.

time to find some type of routine in a life that i feel like i am borrowing from my old self. so odd. so boo-ga-lu like.

in other news, two weeks from today all my birthday wishes will come true. dave and chris are coming to visit the promised land. i get all choked up and misty eyed just envisioning them here in our house, and cow tipping in the corn fields. it will be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

what's that you say? i said oo-ah-ah-ah-oo-ah-ah-ah-oo-ah-ah-ah-oo!
one more time now!

Monday, September 12, 2011

participating in public school: HE DID WHAT?

four weeks ago today katie started public school. it is ONLY fair that i blog about this story. by now, most of you have read the heart breaking series about the play ground episode. if i cataloged every story i would have to start a new blog dedicated to just school stories... i am not doing that. so, here are some things that we are experiencing, learning, and growing through.

first of all, i would have never considered sending katie to public school if i was not confident in the relationship that she had with me and mark. in the littlejohn house nothing is off limits. no question is turned away, no topic is not thoroughly explored (age appropriate answers OF COURSE--well, except when Mark answers in engineering terms), every feeling is validated then a teaching moment typical ensues. we TALK with our children, not AT them. this has been practiced as long as we were crowned "parents!" we talk in front of our kids about a wide range of things. the kids have heard us disagree, and then heard us work through our disagreements. it's NEVER perfect. but, like i mentioned before, it's real life. with this foundation we sent katie off knowing that when and IF things needed to be talked about, she would come to us. and b/c she is a first born, she has come to us with EVERY detail. of course, i have eaten it up :)

example number one:
katie was slapped on the rear end by a boy in her class. i went ballistic. this young man was not trying to be sexual, he was trying to cattle katie's rear end out of the walking path. katie was humiliated, OF COURSE. we headed straight for the principal's office. the principal and the teacher were amazing. their steps to resolution were effective and professional. our worries were taken seriously ( it didn't hurt that mark was armed with an oozy... TOTALLY KIDDING!) of course my initial reaction was, "i am pulling her out tomorrow!" this is awful. this is sexual assault and i won't have it. i won't have some boy touching her rear!" and while i had every "right" to pull her out, i knew through prayer and counsel that wasn't the answer. katie, mark, and i had hours on conversation about this situation. it involved talking about how our bodies are a gift from God, they are to be treated with respect, and when a boy or a girl touches us like that it is unacceptable on every level. we apologized for the way she felt embarrassed by his actions. we prayed for him, that he would quickly learn that this behavior is unacceptable and that he would NEVER make another girl feel like that. we prayed for katie, for her heart, for boldness to return to school and not feel ashamed. at one point she said that she didn't want to get this young man in trouble. which lead to a conversation about how this young man got himself into trouble, she is not getting him in trouble. we talked about personal responsibility for our actions, and repeated things that have been an on-going conversation in our home since katie was 3. about who is allowed to touch her, where they are allowed to touch her, and why. like i said, nothing is off limits.

a few days later she received an apology letter from this little boy. she promptly wrote him back, "dear boy (no name to protect his identity from fellow gun carriers),
thank you for your apology. i forgive you. would you like to be friends now?"  katie.

*sigh* again, my daughter is practicing concepts far beyond her ability to fully grasp; forgiveness.

is this HOW i wanted katie to continue to flush out ongoing forgiveness in her life? um, not really. was i ready for this in my own heart? um, not really. i kept thinking, "this would have never happened if i would have sent katie to a private school or kept her at home." i carried guilt about this experience in my heart. but then memories of my own schooling came  back. once upon a time boys were popping our bra straps and all hell broke loose in mrs. hoffman's office. :) that was oddly comforting. i survived those inappropriate advances, and i know that katie will survive this also. it's already forgotten if you ask her about it...

but all the while when thinking, "this wouldn't have happened here or there!" the real truth is, is that we would have never had these hours worth of conversation with our daughter about these really important and special things if this DIDN'T happen to her. we wouldn't of had these growing moments in our own hearts had this not happened. i wouldn't had been given the chance to see my husband so decisive and direct about the care of his daughter to the principal.. which reaffirmed in my mind ALL over again why he is the best dad ever. and made for some lovely after hours moments :)!!

this is ONE situation that we have already grown leaps and bounds by. one situation, that has already deepened our daughters trust in us in real life situations. she already knows that with us ALL things are safe. that we can help her solve some math problems but we can also solve life problems.

this is only the beginning of the things that God is doing in our life through public school. i can't wait to tell you about the robber, the gangs, and the dirty words tomorrow :)

until then,

Happy Birthday, Mark Adam!

Happy Birthday, to the most amazing man I know! 

To the most diligent and self-sacrificing husband. 

To a father who pursues relationship with his children continually.

To a man who desires integrity. 

A man who relies wholeheartedly on His God.

Every day that we share is a gift that I am OVERWHELMED to unravel with you.
I love you MarkAdam,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ten years ago...

Ten years ago today we were still in shock from losing Joshua. Mark had flown back to Chicago on September, 10th. Mark and I both received from phone calls from friends and family who, rightly so, were freaked out. While Mark did not fly that day he had flown those routes numerous times, and had flown with many whom lost their lives that day. Today, we specifically honor all the men and women who were apart of those crews. We also honor those who accomplished the impossible and landed all the planes over the US in record time. They did so with precision and courage. We honor those who have returned to keeping the planes over the US and this world FLYING! Our life course made yet another dramatic turn that day in the month of September, 2001.

We will never forget!

Friday, September 9, 2011

i'm gonna miss this...

it goes without saying that there are days when the daily grind of multiplying laundry, endless meals and dishes, poop filled toilets, fermented juice cups, sticky scrambled egg floors, gets TOTALLY exhausting. sometimes i find myself day dreaming about the day when the house will actually... i don't know STAY CLEAN. when my perfectly folded laundry will not spend days and weeks in baskets.  when i am laboring in the kitchen for hours on a delicious, unique, recipe.. wine in hand, news in the background, and mark just moments away from walking through the door and the two of us sharing an uninterrupted meal together.... ah, bliss.

but who am i kidding? i am light years away from such nonsense.

in the meantime, i KNOW that i am going to ache someday when i...

no longer find animals in my fruit and veggie basket-

when i no longer find froggy rain boots in my shower-

and when i no longer find footballs in the fridge-

i am determined to not wish my days and years away with my growing, stretching, just plan ole' nasty, messy, and busy children  :)

so laundry, meals, dishes, toilets, cups, and eggs you enjoy your current status..

i am off to the park with my kids!

happy weekend,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

sometimes you've gotta go backwards....

 sometimes you've gotta to backwards to find some pictures that remind you of sweet, cherishable moments. that make you smile (and in my case cry)... and remember. 

enjoy some happy moments!!