Sunday, November 30, 2008

Abraham and I were at Walmart this weekend and got a free picture with Santa Claus!
He actually sat on Santa's lap without freaking out! Go figure!

Chloe's Surgery - Take 2!

**This is the email that my sister sent out tonight in regards to the second try at Chloe's surgery. She says it better than I!!

November 30, 2008
Hi Everyone!
I'm writing again to ask for that powerful prayer support that y'all have lended to our family time and time again! You cannot imagine how much it means to us, every email and phone call and note...the last time we asked you to pray for Chloe. Well, here we are again with a second shot at surgery ahead of us tomorrow, Dec 1st. This time is different from the last date, I truly feel the arms of the Father holding us and carrying us. That old panic and worry feeling that my Mama's heart gets when it comes to Chloe has not come so far...must be those awesome prayers!! Chloe too, seems to be at peace as well tonite. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for loving our family and for bringing us before God's throne of amazing grace.

Chloe's surgery is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. The Dr. told us that it should be about an hour long surgery. We've also heard that she may not have to spend the night in the hospital after all, which is fab news!! We'll see how she is doing I guess after surgery. Prayerfully, her pain will be minimal and she will be out of recovery quickly! Joel and I are both off this whole week to be home with our girl and I am so grateful for that. My parents are here for us as always, so supportive and helpful!

Oh yes, one more SUPER COOL thing happened today at church, during communion...Chloe asked Jesus to come into her life and give her a new heart! Those angels up in heaven are dancing a jig with US over the NEW BIRTH of our sweet daughter! With tears in my eyes and a full heart, I just had to share that...

I hope to update y'all as soon as I can, prayerfully tomorrow night from HOME! :)
Til then, thank you so much and we love you guys!!
With love and thankful hearts,
Joel, Kari, Alex and Chloe

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories 2008

Abraham and I started our day with pancakes for breakfast. We watched the Macy's Day Parade.. okay, so I watched it, Abraham played around it!

Then to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner.
Mom and Dad with George (the name of our turkey every year!)

Kari makes the BEST mashed potatoes... follows my 97 year old great aunt's recipe, with her own twist! YUMMY! :)

KK tried to snatch Abraham's brownie and he just about freaked out! Don't mess with the boy's chocolate!!

I promised Alex that I'd bring home some of my Science experiment stuff from school for us to do together. He LOVED turning powder to gel and to Instant Snow! Actually, ALL the kids loved watching the reactions! Great fun! I learned with them. :)

I have much to be thankful for!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Like many of you, if I were to begin to make a list of all that I'm thankful for my list would be miles long. But just for kicks, here are a few things that I'm thankful for:

1. God - for His love and patience with me

2. Michael - the love of my life. I'm so blessed to be married to my best friend!

3. Abraham - my sweet and healthy boy, who is the light of my life.

4. Moses - only here for 1 month, he blessed my life more than imaginable.

5. My family - without them I wouldn't be the woman I am today.

6. My friends - those that laugh and cry with me, those who know ME yet love ME anyhow!

7. My job - steady and my way to make a difference in the lives of kids.

8. My home - with working heat and water, with clothes in my closet, and food on the table.

9. The difficult times - because it's during those times that I learn about myself and about the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father. They are growing experiences that I wouldn't do without.

10. (on the lighter side) Target - my absolutely favorite store in the world!

11. Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Lattes :)

I truly believe that Thanksgiving should be a state of the heart, not just one day of the year. It isn't always easy to remember to be thankful, even in the difficult times. But having a thankful heart puts things into perspective.

What are you thankful for today... and every day?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weekend with Gramie and Grandpa

Michael's dad and step-mom came up for a visit this past weekend. It had been a while since they came up to our place so it was really nice to have them on our "turf". We took them to Havre de Grace, a favorite of theirs. We had lunch at Mc Gregors and then attempted to walk on the Promanade... but since it was only 40 degrees out, it didn't last very long before we were ice cubes! We visited Landis Valley Museum outside of Lancaster on Sunday. It is a replica of a German settlement from the olden days. It was really informative and pretty cool to go through the houses but again SUPER cold!

We had a really nice time with Tony and Willie. Abraham loved having them here and playing with them. Thanks guys for taking the time to come see us! We love you!

Marina at Havre de Grace

Checking out the boats with Daddy

Playing with Grandpa

Smarty pants!! :)

Abraham with Gramie and Grandpa

Loving on Gramie

Me and my little man

Abraham found the water bottle that I use to iron and got great fun out of squirting himself in the head as well as chasing Daddy around the apartment, squirting him as well.
After a little while, I got in to the fun.
Again... simple things amuse simple minds.

I'll get you Daddy!!

Look out Momma!


Abraham is starting early to learn how to the sack race for school. By the time he gets to school, he'll be pro at it!! This simple pillowcase gave him nearly an hour of fun.. running up and down the hallway. Then he curled himself in the bottom of it and told me to carry him. Of course I obliged! He got great fun out of being slung around the apartment in the pillowcase... and the pillowcase held up!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Surgery Postponed

** This is the email that my sister sent out today about them postponing Chloe's surgery. It is totally a God thing and we trust that HE knows what is best for HIS kids.

November 17, 2008

Dear ones,
Thank you so much for your outpouring of love, prayers and support following my last email. This morning the Surgeon called and talked with me about Chloe's cough/cold. She really feels that we would be risking Chloe's health and recovery to push for the surgery today. The hospital is apparently full of people sick with RSV and with Chloe already fighting something, we both feel that it would not be wise to put her in unnecessary danger for a greater illness in addition to recovery from the surgery itself.

So, whew...I must admit it is a strange sense of relief and disappointment. We had everything lined up with both work places, school, etc, however I am glad that today I can just be at home with my sickie and my husband and not face her surgery today. Truly God's timing is perfect and we believe that He simply has her home today and we trust that He has a perfect reason for that. I am so glad that we trust in a God who is the blessed controller of all things and wants what is absolutely the best for us and especially our precious Chloe.

Tentatively, the surgery has been postponed for December 1st. The surgeon only operates on Mondays and that will give Chloe 2 weeks to recover! Another update will be sent out to let you know the specifics when we know. We soo appreciate your prayers in the meantime for her leg, that it will not cause her any more pain or discomfort. And this surgery date still leaves enough time for her to get back on her feet before Christmas!! :)

Thanks so much again...
With much love,
Joel, Kari, Alex and Chloe

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prayers for Chloe

(photo of Chloe by Kate)

Nothing is harder in life than to watch your own child be in pain and know that there is little you can do about it. Unfortunately, my sister and I both know this feeling first hand... I with my sweet Moses and Kari with Chloe's accident.

But God has been so merciful to us both and has show HIMSELF to be strong in the midst of our heartache and sorrow. It is by "faith that we are able to believe the solid unchangeable truth that God is faithful and loving and good ~ despite what my eyes may see and what my heart may feel" (as my sister so eloquently put it!)

And yet again, on Monday, Kari will have to rest on this truth about our Father. Chloe is scheduled to have surgery on her leg to remove a bone spur that has been causing her much discomfort. I would ask that you be in prayer for Kari, Joel, Chloe and Alex as they walk through this time.

Lord willing, Chloe will be home on Tuesday and will have a minimum of 2 weeks recovery without being able to use her prosthetic leg.

I have no doubt that this little ray of sunshine I call Chloe-girl will bounce back with no difficulty. She is my hero -- you never hear her complain about anything (except when Alex is bothering her or Abraham has taken her toys!)

Thank you for joining me in prayer!

Christmas Goodies

I just L.O.V.E Christmas! It's my favorite time of year. And here is yet another reason why I love Christmas. Check out all the goodies by using the link in my sidebar!
We would love to win THIS from Sears to help with Christmas shopping.
And boy, would my tired and dry skin really appreciate THIS too!
Finally, I think that Abraham would really like THIS movie.. it looks really cute!
Go on over and check out the giveways!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cardboard Stories

So I was on a blog by Christian recording artist Natalie Grant (sent there my my sister) and stumbled on to a website by this church, College Park Church, in Indiana. This little video is SO worth checking out.
It made me cry as I watched it. So simple, yet so powerful. Something very stirring about it. Normal, everyday people with everyday problems. I watched and was reminded that God, my Father, is in the business of freeing people and giving them HIS life. This was just a reminder to me that HE restores, forgives, heals, and delivers.
There is just something about these cardboard signs. Everyone that you meet has a story that has shaped them into the person they are. My story is one of loss but such sweet peace and hope.
What would be on your cardboard? What is YOUR story??
check it out here

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Movie Theater Experience

We took Abraham to his first movie theater experience today. One of his new favorite movies at home is Madagascar so we thought it would be cool to take him to Madagascar 2. He was SO excited and kept saying he wanted to go to the movie store!!
The movie was only a little over 1 1/2 hours long -- he did good for about an hour and then got figity. But seriously for a barely 3 yr old??
The funniest thing was that he wasn't heavy enough to hold the seat down himself and got stuck in the seat with it partially closed... nope, no picture of that! We had to hold the seat down for him as he sat in it.
It's not something we'd do all the time but it was a nice treat for us all!
PS. Michael and I really enjoyed ourselves too - there were some pretty funny parts! :)
I get to see Madagascar 2!! Yahoo!!

"Save me some popcorn guys!"
(said while we were eating the popcorn and he thought it would be all gone!)

All cozy with HIS popcorn :)
Momma and her little man

NYC Trip -- from my sister's perspective

There are more great pictures of our girls weekend in NYC on my sister's blog. She has an amazing camera and a great eye for details. Check them out here and here and here and here and here and finally here!! Yes that is SIX different posts with her pictures... Trust me.. it's worth checking them out! (the pic at the top of this post is hers!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008


If you know anything about me, you know that family is the most important thing to me. The love that I have for each one of my family members... the Ragans, Ulmers and Mc Andrews... is inexplicable. So when something touches one of us, it touches all of us. When Moses went home, we all hurt. When my grandmother and Michael's grandmother passed away, we all hurt. And when my sweet niece, Chloe, was hurt in an accident, we all hurt.

We support each other physically, emotionally and spiritually during these times. These times have made us stronger and it really makes you realize what is the most important in life.

In the middle of the pain, suffering, confusion and anger - our Loving Heavenly Father has met us where we were and has given us the grace and peace that we needed to make it through. I think back on our lives in 2005 and I can see vividly the hand of God working in our lives. And I know that my sister and brother in law can see the hand of God working when Chloe was hurt.

You have to go and read the post that my sister, Kari, just put on her blog. It truly speaks to the graciousness of our Father and the way that He alone can comfort our hearts.

Would you also be praying with me for Chloe? She has developed a bone spur on the end of her stump and is going to require surgery to remove it. The surgery is scheduled for November 17, 2008. She will not be able to wear her prosthetic leg for up to 3 weeks and she will be out of school for that time as well. Please be praying for her quick recovery as well as the hearts and minds of my sister, Kari and brother in law Joel. This won't be an easy time for them and I know that they'd covet your prayers.

Thanks so much!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Miracles DO happen with God!

Interested in reading about a God-breathed, God-inspired miracle?? Check out MckMomma's website and read about her miracle baby Stellan. Doctors told her and her husband that Stellan wouldn't make it past birth, that he had a fatal disease.
God, in the amazing way that He does, healed this sweet little boy completely in the womb!
This family's story is one that you HAVE to read... be prepared with a box of Kleenex!! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Check this out!

My sister-in-laws have their own blog and they posted this totally cute video of Abraham with Emily, from this past weekend. You have to check it out!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The end of the Birthday Weekend

We spent Sunday together as a family and being quiet. We took a ride up to Darlington to visit Moses. Abraham insisted on taking his special balloon with Mc Queen on it for Moses. He let it go as soon as he got out of the car and called out for Moses to catch it. He is a sweet, sensitive boy. I often wonder if he feels something missing inside.
Michael and I reflected on our time with Moses, saying that it seemed we had him for longer than 1 month. There were so many different emotions crammed into that month, I think that is why it felt so long. We again recounted our blessing of being able to hold him and have that time with him before handing him back to the Father.
It always hurts my heart to think about that time and the intensity of emotions that I felt as a mom about my child. Inside I long for it to have been different. I wish that we would be able to celebrate birthdays for 2 boys, not just one. I often feel that it wasn't fair we had to give him back after trying to hard to have him.
I am able to say these things now and understand that it is okay to have those feelings and to voice them. God understands my emotions. He gave them to me -- He didn't create me to be a robot. And I think that it is okay to be mad at God for those circumstances. My emotions and feelings don't negate the fact that God is GOOD ALL THE TIME. My anger doesn't change WHO HE IS. I can be mad -- and then move on, knowing that it's okay. I cling to the truths about WHO HE IS... He is good, He is loving, He has my best interest at heart, He knows and sees it all...
And that truth is what sees me through to the next day.. and the next day... and the next day...

My favorite tree in the Darlington Cemetary. It is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.

More gorgeous trees... the camera doesn't do it justice.

This was one of the reasons we chose Darlington... it is out in the middle of no-where and it is gorgeous at any time of year, but especially fall.

We took a ride down to the Conowingo Dam after visiting Moses. Again GORGEOUS in the fall with all the colors.

Abraham called this his "clubhouse" -- it was under the stairs.

Throwing rocks is so much fun!

Playing with Daddy

We are truly blessed -- Abraham has brought so much joy and life to our home. We don't know what we would do without him!!

How many adults does it take...

to put together a toy for a 3 year old??
Answer: 5 adults and 2 hours

Birthday Gifts

The boy got a plethora of gifts... we'll be making a trip to Mimi's attic to put away some of the "old toys" to make room for the new!

Great Legos

We got him a play airport -- which he played with nearly all day on Sunday. We got it right this year!

My sister found this shirt at Target (the best store in the whole world!) It's perfect for him.
My Aunt Rocks!

Home Depot play tools -- he's always getting a REAL screwdriver to "work".

He got 2 different Geo Trax sets and absolutely LOVES them!

Nicholas picked out a great fire engine for Abraham with noises and working parts. He loves it!

Taking a break from playing -- Aunt Beth, Aunt Emily, Sadie, Chloe, Abraham and
Aunt Elizabeth

He spent a good amount of time wearing himself out on the playground!
A little friend Bethany came with a clown wig and Abraham thought he'd be funny and put it on to see what he looked like...

Then Momma got in the fun too.. I swear, if this end up in the school yearbook, I will die!! :)