Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Rich and my TOP TEN

Happy Birthday to my husband!!!

The Top Ten reasons I am thankful for Rich:

10. He is extremely cautious in all areas of life. Decisions, and plans for the future are weighed carefully. The safety of his family is always on his mind. In fact, if he errs - it is always on the side of caution.

9. He is a tightwad - he always has our future in mind - he does not like to part with money. He is all about saving.

8. He is generous. He is very likely to put what he wants on the back burner so that he can help someone in need.

7. He is loyal in all aspects of his life - home, family, friends, and work.

6. He is a great cook. He taught me how to cook without recipes!

5. He is a diverse person. He can fix anything that needs fixing, remodel a home, he is a philospher, an engineer, a VA Tech and Pittsburgh Steelers football fan, and a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey fan. And even better. . . he'd be the first one in line to take me to a performance of the Mozart Requiem should such an opportunity present itself.

4. He has many, many skills. He can and does fix anything that needs repairing. He is a computer wizard. So, I never have to worry about how I am going to get anything fixed around the house, nor do I ever have to worry about what to do about computer issues. We never have to call a repair man for anything!

3. He is incredibly responsible with our finances and is committed to providing not only for our present, but also our future. I have never spent a single second worrying about money since we've been married. He always takes care of everything for me. When he wants to buy something out of the ordinary, he spends several weeks talking it through with me, and even calling a friend with great knowledge in the area of finances(Tony) for advice and wisdom.

2. He models strong leadership for our children. He expects immediate obedience from our children and has challenged me continually to train our children to be obedient. He is consistent with them and that consistency never leaves them wondering what is expected of them.

1. He is my best friend. He is a take charge kind of a guy, he is a leader, and he doesn't hesitate to let me know how he wants things to be. However, he is just as interested in how I want things to be. We are in this life together and he always wants to know what I think. I am thankful that we are a team and get to spend our lives serving God together.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

100 Fun Facts - 26-50

26. We got a dog - a german shorthair pointer - we named her Katie. Rich is allergic to dogs, so Katie was a total gift to me. He chose the breed - I could care less what breed it was - I just wanted a dog. And just in case anyone wonders - she was his dog.

27. I became the choral director at Woodside High School. I taught 9th through 12th grade chorus. I had an unauditioned Girls Chorus and Men's Chorus, a select Women's Ensemble, a select mixed chamber chorus, and a select Jazz Choir.

28. I loved that job.

29. Rich quit Cox Communications when he was called to be pastor at a local Baptist Church in York County.

30. I took Katie to Petsmart twice a week - just for fun - what else in the world did I have to do?
31. Rich and I used to take vacations. We went on a road trip to New York State. We had an idea of where we were going and what we wanted to do, but left the itenerary wide open for surprises! We went to the fingerlakes, stayed in a bed and breakfast, and then decided on a whim to drive up to Toronto to see the Hockey Hall of Fame. On the way back, we stopped at Niagra Falls. Then at the last minute decided to drive home a different way and stopped in at Rich's grandparents house near Pittsburgh. It was one of our favorites memories.

32. We planned another vacation the summer of 2000. We planned a trip all around being able to take our dog. We found cabin in the mountains of NC where our dog was welcome. So, we spent a week in this cabin in the mountains - no television - just lots of quiet time - reading - sitting on the porch looking out at the view. We went on hiking trips, took Katie swimming at a mountain lake, went to an olympic site where they did the white water rafting. It was a fantastic vacation!

33. We lived about 10 minutes from my sister and her family. Her husband is a pastor too, so we were unable to go to church together. We were both so busy that we didn't get to see each other much. She was busy with her children and I was busy with my job and church.

34. We met Tony and Marsha Ingraldi at the church where Rich pastored. They have become like family to us. We try to spend time with them every chance we get - they live in Virginia.

35. Rich taught me how to cook. My mom would have taught me lots of things if she could have ever pulled me away from the piano - so, after we were married Rich helped me learn the art of cooking. He still enjoys giving me pointers.

36. I miss living in Virginia. Although I grew up military,and moved around quite a bit, Virginia has always felt like home.

37. We were married almost 5 years when our first child was born. We spent those entire first 5 years planning for me to stay at home when we had children. So, even though, our income dropped by almost half - we never had to change our lifestyle. We always lived as though we only had one income.

38. Rich is brilliant with finances. I never touch our finances. He does all the bank work. Thank you, Lord!

39. We live well below our means because we want to pay cash to buy a house. We plan on renting until we can buy a house without a loan.

40. Rich is one of the most diverse people I know - I am not diverse.

41. The tragedy of 9/11 came shortly after we found out that we were expecting our first child.

42. I thought that because no woman in my family had ever had morning sickness - I wouldn't have it either. I was wrong. And for me, it was all day sickness - and lasted for 16 weeks, and got worse with each pregnancy.

43. When we had our 20 week u/s, they told us that it was a 96% chance it was a girl. They were wrong. I knew they were wrong. My feeling was boy. It left me feeling very confused.

44. Martin Emery was born in 2002. He was named after my dad and Rich's paternal grandfather.

45. I was a completely inexperienced mom. I'd hardly even held a baby for more than a few minutes. I felt completely inadequate - and that I didn't even have any motherly instincts. I discovered that I just needed to figure it out myself, and stop listening to everyone else and their advice.

46. Rich's Mom and Dad came to Virginia and spent a week with us after Martin was born. Rich's dad cooked all of our meals that week. (amazing cook that he is!) We were lost when they left. We were afraid we would starve because I couldn't figure out how to cook a meal and also take care of a baby. (4 babies later - that now makes me laugh)

47. Martin had colic. He screamed 24/7. He only slept 40 minutes at a time. He did finally grow out of it by about 6 weeks old.

48. My parents moved to the town where we lived the same week that Martin was born. It was a blessing to have them so close to us!

49. We moved to NC almost a year after my parents moved to our town to be close to us. We had no idea it would work out that way. Thankfully, my sister and her family were and are still there within a mile of my parent's house.

50. I did not want to move to NC. I knew that it was the right move for Rich. I knew that he needed to get his PhD, and that this was the next logical step for our family. But I was not happy about leaving Virginia.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nap Update

I felt it necessary to share that the very day I posted my complaint about my non-napping girl - she took two really great naps. (1 hour 45 min in the morning and a little more than an hour in the afternoon) She also took a good nap this morning. She's out to prove me wrong!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I will not nap for more than 25 minutes ... okay, maybe 30 minutes

My daughter melts my heart. She loves her brothers. She thrives on all the attention they give to her. She is alot of fun. She mimics everything we do. She is in the beginning stages of sign language for a couple of words. She is trying to repeat things we say.
All that said - this girl will not take naps. Her wake up time is 5 AM every single morning. Her bedtime is 7 PM at night. 10 hours of sleep in a row - I am good with that. But please, dear daughter - TAKE YOUR NAPS!!! 20-30 minutes twice a day is all I get out of her. This makes for very long days, my dear friends. I do admit to you - my faithful 'blog readers - I do not love waking at 5 AM every morning. I do not even enjoy it. Okay - just so we can be real - it makes me downright grumpy. The grumpiness escalates when Little Miss Rosalie (a very tired Rosalie, I might add) sleeps for 20-30 minutes and is all done with her nap.
I keep telling her that she is missing out(by not sleeping), but she must think we are having a party without her. She just doesn't want to miss out on anything we happen to be doing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

100 Fun Facts - 1-25

1. Rich and I met in November of 1996. I was invited to sing at his church and he was running the sound system that night.

2. A dear friend of mine, who happened to be my 7th grade Sunday School teacher back in 1986 is the one who invited me to her church and the one who introduced me to Rich.

3. We both knew that very night that we would marry each other one day.

4. Since I had just graduated from college that same year with a degree in Music Education - and the movie Mr. Holland's Opus had just come out - I thought it would be perfect to have the last name Holland.

5. Rich proposed to me in January of 1997 - just 2 1/2 months after we met.

6. My mom and I went shopping for a wedding dress on the day that Rich proposed, and we found the dress and bought it.

7. I was teaching middle school chorus at the time of my engagement.(in Virginia Beach) My mom planned my wedding. She would ask me how I wanted things to be, and I would always reply, "I don't know, how is it supposed to be?" I was never the little girl who always dreamed about the wedding. My mom did a great job planning it - everything was perfect.

8. The one thing that I planned about my wedding that actually was important to me - the music! We had a string quartet, trumpet, organ, and piano. It was perfect!

9. I also wrote a song and sang it to Rich at our wedding as a surprise.

10. He was very surprised.

11. I didn't cry when I sang it.

12. Rich spoke at our wedding - he did a gospel presentation.

13. We married in July of 1997 - 6 months after the engagement - we went to Orlando for our honeymoon.

14. Rich was still an engineer officer in the army when we got married. He was also working on his MDiv at Southeastern. (commuting each week)

15. The first time we ever celebrated one of my birthdays together, we had already been married a couple of months.

16. I got a job teaching elementary music in Newport News and I started about a month after we married.

17. I learned very quickly that I did not like teaching elementary music. I preferred teaching chorus.

18. Rich and I bought a house 5 months after we got married.

19. We got a 1900 square foot house in a great neighborhood for $89,000. It was assessed for about $30,000 more than that. It was built in 1964 and still had the original wallpaper. We had alot of work to do on the house, but it was worth it. It was a beautiful house.

20. Rich renovated the house, and we we sold it 5 years later, we sold it for around $137,000. Pretty great profit margin for 5 years!

21. Rich gutted the kitchen of that house from the floors to the ceiling, did electric work, ran new water lines, put in a dishwasher, garbage disposal, new cabinets, new flooring completely updating the kitchen. It was beautiful when it was done. I was only able to enjoy it for less than a year before we moved. But it was good while it lasted! When we were selling our beautifully renovated house, Rich comforted me by saying, "don't worry, honey, you are taking the carpenter with you!"

22. Rich commuted to Wake Forest two days each week the first several years of our marriage to work on his MDiv.

23. I plugged away at the elementary music job, but didn't love it. The school system wouldn't transfer me within the system until I had been there for 3 years, so I quit. I was rehired by the same school system at as a high school choral director. I think it would have been easier if they had just transferred me.

24. Rich began doubting the whole MDiv process and stopped going to school for about a year. In that year away from Seminary, he got a job working for Cox Communications and was also hired to be the interim pastor at a local church.

25. The local church where he was interim wanted him to be their pastor. He accepted the call to be their pastor and went back to finish his MDiv at Southeastern. (commuting back and forth)

***look for 26-50 in another post***

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Simple Things

Rich brought home this water dispenser last week.

My life became easier because all 3 of my boys are now capable of getting water for themselves any time they need it. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but taking anything off of my very full plate is pretty huge for me!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Watching Martin Ice Skate

Rosalie bundled up at the ice skating rink

Jonathan and Aaron watching Martin ice skate

Here is a little video of Martin ice skating on week 3:

Martin is loving his ice skating lessons!! This week I took him along with the other three children. As you can see, he is still somewhat timid - but he is improving - and more importantly - he loves it! My friend Shannon is behind Martin in the video. She was helping him out today during the free skate time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Growing by leaps and bounds

Normal practice in our house for bedtime: I take Rosalie upstairs to put her to bed. The boys eat a small snack, brush teeth, go to the bathroom and Rich takes them upstairs to their beds, and they wait for me to come in and sing them songs, pray, and tuck them in for the night.

Martin knew that I had to go to the store tonight, so he said, "Mommy, I can put them to bed tonight, I know how to do it! I will sing them their songs and pray with them and tuck them in bed!"
So, I said, "okay, just let Daddy know you are going to put them to bed tonight."
As I was feeding and rocking Rosalie I heard Martin sitting on the stairs with his brothers. He sang each of them their song, and said a sweet prayer with them. Then he told them to keep their feet quiet as to not wake up the baby!

He tucked them each in their beds and gave them a kiss.
He is growing up and becoming a caring and responsible individual. It's happening before my very eyes. His brothers are blessed to have him as the older brother.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From My Aunt Linda to Aunt Juliann

Rosalie got this wooden ring stacking toy from my Aunt Linda.(my mother's sister) She loves playing with this toy. She mostly likes to dump all the rings off, but she does try to get them on sometimes! Thank you Aunt Linda for this fun toy!

This is Aunt Juliann.(my sister) She doesn't always smile this big. She was testing out the smile detecting feature on my camera.
It works.
My sister will be mad at me if she reads my blog today.
Oh well.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. My husband will not change diapers. He will help me with anything I ask of him except for diapers, and it doesn’t bother me at all. I never have to worry about finances, whether something needs fixing around the house, or what to do if I need eggs, milk, or butter. He can not and will not be measured by a stinky diaper.
2. I didn’t have to walk out of the church service with Rosalie yesterday. This was a very big deal. It was hard work to keep all of them in the church service, but Rosalie has definitely been the hardest. Martin was a close second. Aaron and Jonathan almost always fell asleep on me during the sermon, so it seemed so much more manageable in that respect. Rosalie, will not fall asleep on me, and she wants to talk to everyone all around her. While, I’d like to think that my ability to keep her quiet yesterday is a new trend that will continue. . . I am far too realistic to believe it. So, I’ll just say, I hope she does well next week - and leave it at that.
3. Jonathan has turned into an incredibly sweet little boy. I have walked through the fire with that child. He is strong willed, determined, and tough as he can be. I determined early on that he would not win. And he was a tough opponent - but he was no match for his daddy - I would say me, but I tend to be a pushover. Not long after he turned 3 - he became incredibly pleasant, joyful, and sweet. I am so thankful for his sweet smiles and constant, “I love yous”.
4. Aaron wants to be a restaurant worker when he grows up.
5. I am continually amazed at Martin’s tender heart and generosity toward his siblings.
6. I miss singing and playing the piano. Theoretically, I could still sing and play - I do, in fact, still have a piano, and I do still have a voice. I don't, however, have the time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

She Stands!!

She is not super confident yet. . . but it's coming along!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Hobby for Martin

My mom bought a set of legos while we were visiting in Virginia last fall. Martin sat and played with those things for hours upon hours. Since returning home, we got a couple sets of Pirate legos for him. He will sit down and play with those legos for hours. It takes him a long time to just build them. After he's done building he will sit and play with them for hours. It's been fun watching him enjoy the challenge and follow the instructions.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My red-cheeked gal

Rosalie came down with what seemed like a cold last Sunday afternoon. The fever set in by that evening. All the symptoms beside the fever seemed to be just a cold. After 4 days of a fever, I started to suspect that it was most likely not a cold. On day 5 of fever, I decided to upgrade my diagnosis to flu. She had a terribly miserable week. I even did something I rarely to never do - I gave her a dose of tylenol. Her fever did not seem high enough to bring down, in fact, I typically do not bring down fevers. Fever is the body's way of killing the virus, so I don't even try to bring a fever down unless it gets up to 105 degrees. Her fever never got that high. I gave her the tylenol because she was absolutely miserable. She had not cracked a smile all day long. We were nearing bedtime, and she had been crying for about 30 mintues straight. Within 30 minutes of giving her the tylenol, she was smiling and almost acting normal.

I was able to get a natural flu remedy on Day 5, and started giving it to her mid-day until bedtime. She finally woke up on Day 6 with no fever! She was still fussy, but so much better!

You may be able to see her bright red cheeks in the picture. Her little cheeks have been bright red all week. I thought for a while that maybe she had Fifth's Disease. However, with further investigation, I ruled that out. I put some A & D ointment on her cheeks last night before bedtime and her cheeks were much better. I am certain that all the wetness and mucus just chapped her cheeks a bit.

So, it was a tough week for Rosalie, but I am thankful that the rest of us didn't get what she had!! I *think* she had the flu - but that's really the best that I can do. It doesn't really make that much of a difference anyway.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Future Rock Star?? You Decide!

Aaron got a mic, a mic stand, and a guitar for his birthday. Future rock star. Ummmm, I'll let you decide!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sleeping on the couch

I have awoken many times in the past month to find Jonathan all curled up on the couch with his baby and night-night. I have no idea at what point in the night he comes down. Many times his cup of orange juice is sitting on the end table next to him. I suppose it's possible he gets up thinking that it's morning, goes to the refrigerator, grabs his OJ, and waits on the couch for everyone else to get up. . . and eventually falls back to sleep.
I had to snap the picture, though. (for both memories and because he was just so cute all snuggled up like that!)
I asked Jonathan this morning, "why were you sleeping on the couch?"
Jonathan said, "I wasn't sleeping on the couch, mommy, I was just hanging out with you."

Friday, January 8, 2010

2000-2009 - What a Decade!

2000 - Our baby was our dog, Katie. I was teaching at Woodside High School - High School Choral Director - (this was my first year at Woodside - and I had just taken the Select Mixed Chamber Choir Die Meistersingers to the White House to perform. Fun times! Rich was interim pastor at a church in Virginia, while also working on his MDiv at Southeastern Seminary.

2001 - Still teaching High School Chorus - still loving it - Took the choral department to Gatlinburg for competition and won the Grand Champion Trophy for highest overall scores of the competition. When I went to collect the trophy, (only the teacher was allowed to collect that particular trophy) the person in charge said, "honey, you need to get your teacher to come down and get this one." Rich became pastor of a church in Virginia, while still working on his MDiv.

2002 - Still teaching at Woodside High School and also preparing to be a mommy. Martin was born in May, thus ending my teaching career. (outside the home) Rich was pastoring our church and graduated with his MDiv at the end of this year.
2003 - Moved to NC for Rich to pursue the PhD program, Rich began working for Sears full time while also working on his PhD, had a devestating miscarriage at 12 weeks along, continued to be at home with my sweet Martin. Our dog, Katie, became "the dog", losing "baby" status when Martin came along. She only made it into pictures on accident. (she is an amazing dog that loved our children and was very gentle with them!!)

2004 - Rich continued to work very hard for the family at Sears, while plugging away at the PhD, Aaron was born in December!!

2005 - I adjusted to having 2 small children, began cloth diapering, learned how to sew so that I could make the cloth diapers, got really good at it, and started selling them. Rich still worked incredibly hard for our family - for which I was so thankful - it was hard not having him around much, though!

2006 - Rich still working full time for Sears, and on his PhD, he got hired to work for Garner TV and Appliance - great move for him - he had a much better work environment and was able to make more money. Started homeschooling Martin. Jonathan was born - he was healthy and happy - but the delivery ended in C-section with complications that led to a 6 week recovery that had to take place in Virginia with my mom and dad. Mom had to take care of me and our 3 children for 6 weeks. Rich had to stay in NC and still go to work. Tough times - but thankful for all the help during that hard time. We sadly, decided to find our sweet Katie a new home. We were unable to give her the attention that she needed. We found a wonderful home for her and still get to see pictures of her and hear how she is doing!

2007 - We moved to Campus Housing and loved it! I adjusted to being a mom to 3 boys. Rich still worked hard and finished up his Seminars and moved toward writing his dissertation. Continued homeschooling Martin.

2008 - Rich began to see the PhD as a never ending process unless we made drastic changes. He decided to quit his job and ONLY write his dissertation. Thankfully we had enough in savings to live on while he did this. A month and a half after he quit his job, we were very surprised to be expecting our 4th child. Still homeschooling. Rich finished dissertation and graduated in December!!!!
2009 - Our 4th child and daughter, Rosalie was born. Easy delivery and easy recovery. Rich worked from home teaching online courses through several Universities. We were so thankful that after many years of him being away from us most of the time. . . he was able to work from home and be with us all the time. What a huge blessing! Still homeschooling - Martin and Aaron.

What a busy decade we had! It was full of lots of change and lots of blessings!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ice Skating Lessons for Martin!

Balancing on the ice


Learning balance while trying to pick up a stuffed animal

Successful attempt - stuffed animal in hand

Martin's first day of ice skating was yesterday. The Ice Skating rink in our town offers special classes in the mornings specifically for homeschoolers.
He said that it was hard, but he really liked it. He wants to learn how to ice skate so he can play ice hockey one day! Oh, how his Daddy likes to hear that!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rosalie is 11 months old!!

I can hardly believe my baby girl is 11 months old!
Here are some facts about our sweet Rosalie:
In October, she was swimming in her 6-9 month clothing and by December she was busting out of them. Somewhere in there she had a huge growth spurt.
She started solids in November. She especially loves bananas, but will eat anything we feed her.
She sleeps all night most of the time.
She wakes up between 5 and 6 every morning. Yes, it's early, but she goes to bed at 7 PM. I can hardly complain about that!
She is very busy. I now understand why people dread a baby becoming mobile. I have always loved it when my babies start crawling. They become so much happier, since they are able to explore. I've been blessed up until this point, with babies who stop and move on when I say no. Rosalie is far more persistent, however. When we say no to Rosalie, it just causes her to work harder and faster at doing what she wants to do. There are times when saying no to her will even cause her to laugh at me. (I suppose she just doesn't think I mean business??)
Thankfully, I have 3 other protectors around to keep her safe! (And her brothers - all 3 of them - do keep her safe!)
1 more month until her first birthday!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A much needed nap

Sure, Rosalie probably needed this nap. But what this picture doesn't show you is the nap I was taking in the other room. After the stomach virus swept through the Holland home - I was completely wiped out. It was almost an entire week of no sleep for me. So, I put Jonathan down for his nap, Rosalie down for her nap and did something I rarely do. I took a nap! Rosalie, as usual, woke up after only 30 minutes. Rich got her and sang her back to sleep. The picture above is what I saw when I got up!
My sweet girl sleeping on Daddy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Eve Celebration

We decided to make the whole day a pajama party day. Even Rich and I stayed in our pajamas. We ate lots of foods we don't normally eat - starting with Hot dogs for lunch - on whole wheat buns. (buns that I did not make!!) We also played a family board game of Sorry - Rich won.
Rich helped the boys make special party hats.

We had an appetizer dinner. Hot pizza dip (thanks Marsha!), spinach dip, and meatballs in italian sauce. For dipping, we had celery, carrots, broccoli, potato chips, pretzel crisps, and white italian crusty bread.We ate our appetizer dinner on a big blanket spread out on the floor while watching Walt Disney's Swiss Family Robinson.
The boys had only one thing to say before they went to bed, "Can we have another party day tomorrow?"