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A Day I've Been Praying For

There are many prayers I pray for on behalf of my kids. One of the prayers I have always had since the day my kids were born is that they would ask Jesus into their heart someday. My prayer though as never stopped there, I pray that they will love Jesus will everything in them, that they will have a personal relationship with Him, that they will follow Him with reckless abandon, and that they will let God's light shine through them to others.
Part of my prayers were answered when Allie and Rachel gave their lives to Christ. Allie made that decision at Awana and Rachel at Springhill Day Camp last year. Those 2 days were great days. We rejoiced with Jesus as He welcomed them into the family! Allie then decided that she was ready to be baptized, to show the world that she was in love with her Savior.
After a few months of reading through a baptism book, attending a class and praying with her we decided that this was the year. We invited our family and friends and we rejoiced again as she publicly proclaimed her love for Jesus at Granger Community Church's 2010 Baptism.
A day that I've been praying for.
A day that will mark me forever.
A day where I am once again reminded she belongs to Jesus and for that I am eternally grateful!



As I was uploading back-to-school pictures tonight to Facebook and thinking about the fact that my youngest child is in Kindergarten, I decided to go back and look at what Allie and Rachel looked like when they started Kindergarten. All I can say is unbelievable!!! I cannot believe my girls have gotten so big. There is a part of me that misses their innocence at 5, but there is another part of me that loves the preteen stage that they are in. It just reminds me to treasure every day, because before I know it I will be posting pictures of them leaving for college.

Allie's first day of Kindergarten
Allie's first day of 4th grade!
Rachel's first day of Kindergarten!
Rachel's first day of 3rd grade!
I am the mom I am today because of these girls, they help make me a better person everyday. I am so proud of the young women they have become, but it sure makes me realize that time flies!


Camp songs!

Allie and Rachel went to Springhill Camp in MI this summer for 5 days. They had a blast and asked to go back as soon as we picked them up. This was Allie's 2nd year at camp and one of my favorite things from her first year were the camp songs she came home singing. Last summer we sang camp songs for about 2 straight months and I loved every minute of it.
So needless to say, I was excited to hear what songs they would be singing this year. They came home with a few new ones and as expected our whole family has learned them and will just randomly break out in song. One of my favorite songs from this year, was the cheer that Allie and Abby's (Allie's BFF) tepee came up with. They stayed in one of about 5 tepees and the name of their tepee was Ojibway (it took me about 2 days to figure out how to say it right). Supposedly the Ojibway girls came up this cheer. The cheer really has nothing to do with camp, but I still think it is my favorite camp song so far.
Introducing Allie and Abby and their Ojibway cheer!


Happy 8th Birthday Rachel!!

I can't believe you are 8! Where have those 8 years gone Rach? I can literally remember the night you were born like it was yesterday! As I think back on the last 8 year years, one thing that stands out to me is that you were "you" from the very beginning. Your dad and I never had to guess how you were feeling as a little one, because your facial expressions always gave it away, and that is still true today. Your attitude is one of the things that I love the most about you! You are always making us laugh with your random comments and looks and I hope that never changes.
This past year you have grown so much. You just finished your 2nd grade year. Your teacher was Mrs. Seufert and you will have her again in 3rd grade. You loved her and grew so much academically this year. You also made some new friends this year and loved hanging out with Grace and Izzy in school. You still continue to be one of those kids that is friends with everyone and likes to hang out with different people. You played soccer and basketball this past year and liked them both. You are also still doing piano lessons (not always your favorite thing, but a must in my book) and participating in Girl Scouts. You continue to love to swim and be at Papa's lake. We tried to get you up on ski's last year and will try again this year. Some of your favorite things are catching insects of any type (right now you have a bunch of caterpillar's in a bug catcher sitting in the garage), playing with your friends, taking bike rides, climbing trees, playing American Girl dolls with your sister, reading to your brother, playing on the computer and watching movies together as a family. You LOVE to be together as a family and for that I am so grateful.
Rachel, I don't even have the right words to tell you how much I love you! You are constantly bringing a smile to my face and everyone else that knows you. Your love and enthusiasm for life shows in all that you do. Don't ever let anyone take away the joy you have for life sweetie, always keep that fun loving, go with the flow attitude. I know that God is going to do great things with your life and I am so glad that he is giving me a front row seat. My prayer for you sweet girl is that you always live life to it's fullest, that you never back down from what you know is right and that you follow hard after God with all that you do. No matter where life takes you or what decisions you make along the way, know that your dad and I will always be praying for you and will always be your number 1 fans! I am so glad I get to be your mom!
I love you with all my heart!
Love, Mom


Ryan Marques, J.D.

We have a lawyer in our family!
Let me introduce you to my brother, Ryan. He graduated with his law degree last Saturday and is set to take the bar in August and he has a job lined up already. Assuming he passes the bar (which I know he will) he starts his job at a law firm in downtown Indianapolis this fall.
I couldn't be prouder!
If you would have told me 25 years ago that he would be a lawyer, I would have laughed. This was the kid who couldn't sit still to save his life. I am pretty sure he could have been diagnosed with ADHD. This was the kid who drove me and my friends crazy (don't believe me...really...just ask them). He had no idea what personal space meant. This was the kid who I remember having to hang upside down so he would spit out whatever he was choking on. This was the kid that schoolwork didn't always come easy to. I can remember my mom and I working with him for hours on what a "quarter till" and "quarter after" meant.
Many things changed as he got older. He took all that energy and became a soccer star in HS and College. He became a great student, graduating from Butler with a double major and speaking Spanish fluently. He worked for a couple of years in community development and then decided to become a lawyer, working in immigration so that he could give a voice to those who don't have one.
I couldn't be prouder.
My brother and I are 9 years apart and there were many times in my life that I felt like a second mother to him. When we were younger that feeling was more of an annoyance. As time has passed it has turned into a feeling of joy and pride. 5 years ago that title of "second mother" came full circle when our mother passed away. The feelings we experienced during that time can't be put into words, but we went through it together and came out on the other side even closer.
So as I stood at Ryan's graduation last weekend it was a bittersweet moment. I was so proud of him and his accomplishments, but I was so sad that our mom was not there to celebrate with us. She would have been so proud of him! I told Ryan I wished she had been there with us. It was a moment we shared and I will never forget it.
We have a lawyer in the family and this sister - aka second mother - couldn't be prouder!!!


The Negotiation

I don't know about you, but when I read the title of this post I think it sounds like the title of a movie. A movie where Mel Gibson is negotiating some sort of deal with the "bad guys", a movie where it all is great in the beginning, it gets tense in the middle and in the end everyone ends up happy. I am one of those people that loves movies with "happy endings" and I think the reason for that is I want life to go smoothly and happily. I want everyone (especially those I love) to get along and love each other well and make good decisions, but I know that is not living in reality. I know when push comes to shove that alot of times we lie and deceive and make bad choices. Instead of doing what we know is right, we do what we think will keep us out of trouble. Learning to do the "right thing" is something that happens over time and at times is taught to us. Now that I am a parent I have the privilege of navigating those "teaching moments" so that my kids grow up to know right from wrong and so that they understand just how much God loves them.
Last Friday was a normal Friday morning. I got up with the kids to get them ready for school and as I was making breakfast I noticed that child Z (named has been changed to protect the innocent) was playing with a stuffed animal I had never seen before. When I questioned child Z about it said child responded that they had gotten it with one of their Christmas gifts. I knew that this was not the case, so I tried again. "Where did you get that stuffed animal?" Child Z then said that a friend had given it said child. That would have been all fine and dandy except that Child X spoke up and explained that this friend had never seen it either. So at this point I know for a fact that Child Z is lying to me, so I do the whole motherly thing where my voice and facial expressions change (as to show that I now mean business) and I continue to question said child. "Really where did you get it?".....Child Z says nothing...."Where did you get it?"....again nothing and said child is just staring at me..."This is your last chance, where did you get it?"....the stare continues. I would love to tell you that I remained calm and collected, but that is not the case. Every time I asked the question I got more and more frustrated, my voice got a little higher and I got a little more serious. Child Z continued to look at me until I finally told said child that if they didn't start talking I would no longer be volunteering in this child's room at school. At that point the tears started flowing and Child Z fessed up, "I took it from my room at church". I questioned Child Z a few times about why said child would do such a thing and then told said child that there would be 2 consequences. One for stealing and the other one for lying. I was very disappointed that said child had chosen to steal, but I have to be honest I was ticked that said child lied about it. I can't tell you how many conversations have been had in this house about how we never lie, no matter how hard it is to tell the truth.

Fast forward about 9 hours, time delay due to Child Z being in school and conversations about what the consequences should be between Daryl and I. Child Z is then told that the consequence for stealing is that a letter of apology will be written to the person who the stuffed animal belongs to along with finding the owner and returning it, Child Z will also need to tell the teachers in the room at church what said child did and face whatever consequences where given to said child by them. I then told Child Z that the consequence for lying was that said child would not be participating in family night (which means this child lost out on having dessert and watching a movie with the rest of us). At that point the tears started to flow and before I knew it the sobs came. I finished talking with Child Z and then left said child alone to calm down and I went back to my normal routine. About 30 minutes after that I walk into the kitchen to find what you see in the picture above sitting on my counter. Child Z was trying to negotiate with me, said child was trying to give me all the money I wanted so that said child could be a part of family night. The funny part about this is that it didn't really surprise me, Child Z tends to do things like this. Child Z is what we call our negotiator, I swear someday said child could have a career in this. As cute and innovative as I thought this way I stood my ground and told the Negotiator I didn't want the money and the consequence still stood.

Now I would love to tell you that I didn't want to give in to Child Z's negotiation, that it didn't kill me to listen to said child sob upstairs while the rest of us watched a movie. Even Child Z's siblings begged me to let said child come downstairs, it just wasn't the same without this child. I stood my ground though, it was important that Child Z learned that lying will not be tolerated in this house and that you should always tell the truth no matter how hard it is. It was one of those teaching moments where it was imperative that Child Z understood that there are consequences to our actions, but that no matter what said child's actions are that my love for said child will never change. I tell my children all the time that they can't do anything to change my love for them. I truly believe that I never really "knew" God till I had children. God may not agree with the decisions we make and at times there are consequences to face but it doesn't change His love for us and for that I am grateful!


Goodbye 2009. Welcome 2010!

I know this is a little late, but hey what is a girl to do. I hope you all had a great 2009 and that 2010 is off to a great start for you.
Thought I would give you a year in review for your family, since I am not great at keeping up on this here blog :)

TAMMY- Three kids, a job and a half, a house, a husband and that should pretty much tell you what my year was like....busy! It was a crazy busy year trying to keep up with all of those things, but to tell you the truth I wouldn't have it any other way. I am not a "stay at home" kind of person, I love to be out experiencing life. I am still employed with AWS as a Therapy Coordinator. I am so grateful to have this job and the flexibility that it gives me. I love the people that I work for and with. I still travel to Indy once a month for work and in December of 2009 I traveled to Fort Wayne to attend a Management Training for 2 days. I am pretty sure this is the first time I have stayed in a hotel room by myself since I have been married. It was a little strange at first, but I got used to it :) In May I traveled to Florida with 2 of my best friends for a little R&R. We literally spent 3 days laying at the beach all day. It was SO relaxing and fun that we are looking to do it again this year. 2009 was also the year that I started volunteering with Son City kids and it has been fantastic! I continue to be a lia sophia advisor and love it. I truly enjoy meeting new people and having access to all that jewelry! The best part of my year was celebrating my 10th Anniversary with Daryl in Chicago and watching my kids grow and mature. I love being a wife and mom most of all!

ALLISON- Finishing off 2nd grade and starting 3rd grade is what Allison spent most of her time doing last year. In the Spring of 2009 Allison played MSA Soccer and loved it. She then moved on with that same team and is now playing what you might call travel soccer with Michiana Echo. She has great coaches and a great team. It was fun watching her soccer skills develop this year. Allison also learned how to water ski this summer at Papa's lake. It took a few different tries, but she finally popped right out of that water and was she ever excited!!! She also went to summer camp for the first time with her BFF, Abby. They went to Springhill and then our family went camping, for the first time, with the Callender family. The highlights of 2009 for Allison would be: swimming, playing with friends, reading, ice skating, volunteering for Son City Kids, Miley Cyrus concert, student council representative, learning piano and getting a DSi. I saw so much growth in Allison last year, in more ways then one, and it is exciting and frightful all at the same time.

TYLER- I think he spent 2009 growing and eating. I swear that is all that boy does. I am pretty sure he asks to eat about 20 times a day :) In the Spring Ty played on his first soccer team. It was an interesting start to say the least but by the end of the season he was scoring goals and getting aggressive. Ty went on his first camping trip this summer and had a blast with his friends. He continues to love school and is in Pre-K right now and cannot wait to go to Kindergarten in 2010. Ty's biggest accomplishment this year would be learning to ride a 2 wheel bike, he was so proud of himself! The highlights for Ty for 2009 would be: learning to swim on his own, doing front flips off the diving board, playing on the wii, xbox and computer, playing with his buddies Jake and Carter, learning to ice skate and roller skate and learning to write his first and last name. Our little boy has done so much growing, physically and socially in the last year, but he continues to be full of hugs and kisses all the time.

RACHEL- 2009 for Rach, was a year of getting more and more independent. She makes friends like no one I have ever seen before. I will turn around and she will be talking to someone she has never met before. She has lots of friends at school and is what I call my social butterfly. Rach played soccer in the spring and fall this year. She is still more interested in talking and making friends with the girls on her team than she is in scoring goals, but she still had fun. Rach went to Springhill day camp in the summer and had a blast, she wants to go to the overnight camp this year. Highlights for Rach for 2009 would be: getting to ride her bike around the neighborhood with her sister, playing with friends, her roller skating b-day party, swimming, finishing 1st grade and entering 2nd grade, getting a solo in the school play, learning piano, trying to water ski, tubing and having fun at Papa's lake and getting her first American girl doll! Rachel has matured so much in the last year and even though she is super independent she loves nothing
more than cuddling on the couch and that is something I will be holding on to for as long as I can!

DARYL- Work, freelance jobs, Scuba, painting, 3 kids and a wife are words that sum up 2009 for Daryl. He continues to be employed at GCC as Web Director and couldn't ask for a better job. The great thing about it is he not only loves what he does and who he gets to work with but he is also doing what he is passionate about. One of the things Daryl loves to do is design web sites. He worked on about 5-6 freelance web jobs this year where he got to do what he loves. Daryl's 2nd love, after Tammy of course, is Scuba diving. Daryl and his friends went on a trip in May where they traveled to Key Largo, FL and dove for 3-4 days. Things were a little bumpy (literally boat rocking all over the place) at the beginning but he had a great time and is ready for another trip out of the country to dive (hence the freelance jobs :)). A good portion of one of Daryl's weeks of vacation was spent painting Allison's room. He did a great job as always and she loves it! Daryl also had the opportunity in 2009 to get to pick Ty up from school one day a week and spend the rest of the day with him and get the girls off the bus. I am so glad our kids have had the opportunity to spend time like that with their dad! It will mark them, of that I am sure!

OUR FAMILY- We had the chance this year to take a couple of family trips. Over Spring Break we spent a few days in Chicago at a indoor water park with friends. We then did something we had never done before as a family and went camping this summer. It was quite the experience. It rained the whole time and was cold, but we got to spend the whole week with each other and with our best friends. Then in August we took a trip to Indy with friends and went to the zoo and an indoor water park. The trips we took as a family were fun, but I think the thing our entire family looks forward to the most is Saturday nights. We spend almost every Saturday night at Granger Community Church, www.gccwired.com, worshipping with our best friends and then we all hang out together till all hours of the night (or early morning). We absolutely love doing life with these guys and feel so lucky to have a group of friends who make us better Christ followers, who are for our marriage no matter how hard it gets and who loves our kids almost as much as we do.

2009 was a great year, full of fun and memories and we can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for each of us and for you!

Here's to a great 2010, where we love each other well!


No More Training Wheels for Us!

Tyler Learns to Ride His Bike from Daryl McMullen on Vimeo.

I cannot believe this day has come. He is only 5 and just decided that he was done with training wheels and ready to ride his bike. I helped him about 3 times in the last few weeks and then he got on his bike today and just took off. He can even get himself started without help! I am becoming more and more aware of just how fast he is growing up, but I must admit I am really happy that we are totally done with training wheels. Let the long family bike rides begin...well once we get Daryl a bike :)


Happy 9th Birthday Allison

The last year in single digits, I cannot believe it. You were our first and there were days that I thought you would never grow up. There were days that I thought you would never be independent. There were days I thought the fits would never stop. There were days that I thought I can't take crying anymore. Those days, those thoughts are now gone. Now I think how is it that she barely needs me anymore, how is it that she wants to go play with her friends all the time, how is it that the last 9 years have gone by this fast. You went from being my tiny little baby girl who needed me for everything, to a beautiful young girl who is starting the pulling away process. I just hope that I am ready to let go!
You are in 3rd grade this year and have Susan Lestinsky as your teacher again. You had her last year too and you absolutely love her! I worked with her before you were born and am so glad that she is your teacher. She has been great for you in many ways, she stretches you academically and has also helped you become your own person. Last year you went from being Allison to Allie, because Susan gave you the option of what you wanted to be called and you chose Allie. We had always called you Allison, but you are now Allie in almost every situation. You still love school, though you also love being home in the summer with no schedule. Some of your favorite subjects right now are art, music and science. We have also found this past year that you love reading mysteries, you are spending about an hour everyday reading right now. You are a great student and you strive for perfection in school work. As much as this is a great thing it is also a hard thing at times too. You get upset if you miss more than a few problems on a page. The tears flow and the frustration comes. I have tried in every way I know how to help you through this. You know that you aren't perfect and that no one expects you to be, but there is still that part of you that is not okay with anything less than perfection. One of reasons you love to be at school is because of your friends. All of your best friends are in your class right now, Abby C., Rebecca M., Hailey S. and a few others. You are one of those kids who has a few really good friends and that is who you spend your time with.
You have been involved in a lot of different things this past year. In the Spring you played MSA soccer and got on a great team. You have now moved with this team and are playing soccer for the Echo Academy. This experience has been great for you in that you knew none of the girls on your team and have now become friends with all of them. It has also taken you up to the next level in soccer. As always you rise to the occasion and have done great, even though you still get so nervous before your games. You also started piano lessons in January this year. You have sort of a love/hate relationship with piano. Once you know a song and can play it well you love it, but when you are learning something new and difficult you hate it. You also did ice skating, swimming lessons and girl scouts this year. This summer you went to Springhill Camp for the first time and are begging to go back. You spent 5 nights away from us, but you had your BFF, Abby, with you so all was good. You also learned how to water ski this summer. It took us quite a few tries, but you were determined and finally got up. You still dream of being a rock star or singer and you still hope to be like Miley Cyrus (we are actually going to see her in concert in November). You and I also started the talk this year about body changes and low and behold this summer I started noticing some of those changes in you, I sure hope I am ready for this :) As I look back over this past year I realize that you are no longer a little girl, you are now a beautiful young lady.
This year you have become more independent than ever, I am already starting to feel like our relationship is changing and I don't like it (but I know it is necessary). You have your own thoughts and opinions and once you have your mind made up about things you don't budge, but you also don't like to disappoint or hurt others. You are still very sensitive about things and can be in tears because someone talked to you in a certain tone or looked at you in the wrong way. You also need and want things to be fair, it frustrates you to no end when things aren't fair (we have tried to tell you that life isn't fair, but you don't want to believe us). As much as you love to be with friends and other people (I think you would be at a sleep over every night of the week if I let you) you also love to have our family together. You love and look forward to our family nights and don't like it when our family isn't all home at night. You also love to spend time with your Papa, he holds a special place in your heart. One of the things I love the most about you Allie is how big your heart is and how well you love others.
I know that when God created you that he had a plan and purpose for your life sweetheart and I cannot wait to see what it all entails. God has given you a heart that loves well and deeply and because of this I can totally see you in some sort of helping profession someday. All I know Allie is that no matter what you do or where life takes you that your dad and I will always be your biggest fans. We will always love you no matter what, I tell you all the time now and it is true, there is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. My prayer for you sweetie is that you love God with all you have. That you trust in Him and follow Him no matter what. Always remember that He will never leave you or forsake you and that He loves you more than you know. You have asked Jesus into your heart and you love to hear stories about Him, I pray that never changes. I am so lucky that God has allowed me to be your mom. I love you Allison Lynn more than you know, I cannot imagine my life without you!

All my love,