Friday, December 06, 2013

Annual Tree Extravaganza

Well last weekend marked the Annual Tree Cutting tradition with some dear family friends.  Chris' family and this family have been going on this adventure for over 20 years.  
The day resembles something close to this...
9am - meet up over hot coffee and pastries
10am - hit the road
10:45am - arrive at tree farm
...wait to get on bus/trolley out to field
...take an unusually long time picking out tree - you really just can't rush these things you know...perfect trees aren't found in 10 minutes.
...ride back to main house and see Santa and Mrs. Claus
...pack up and head home

I had a precious moment with Shayden this year while we were getting ready to leave our house in the morning.  He wanted to see if we could stop by the store and get Santa a present on our way.  When I asked him what he was thinking of getting, he replied "a notebook and pen", ok why buddy do you think he needs that..."because I don't think he can remember what I ask for, he never seems to bring me what I tell him."  I then had to go into some detailed explanations as to how these things work sometimes and all the while I was silently applauding him for his problem solving skills.  It was a classic parenting moment I won't soon forget.

Ready to go and anxious to get their hands on a saw

Aw...I just love that little face

The boys brought their measuring tape

Have to make sure its gonna fit

Shayden's request a dirt bike - Quinton's request a candy cane
What a difference 2 yrs makes

Notice Mrs. Claus trying to bribe her with the candy cane...yeah, not gonna work

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ravine Romp

We had a fun little excursion this past weekend and a walk down memory lane for Chris.  There is a ravine near his childhood home where he would play and he has been talking about taking the kids to go stomping in the little creek and search for salamanders and such.  Well we decided to do it this past weekend and boy did we have an adventure.

For one the little creek was a major creek as we had a lot of rain fall recently - which meant we were still definitely doing it (you know once you go to all the work to get 3 little ones ready for something like this you don't back down unless you absolutely have to) but we needed to be a bit more strategic in our path.  We managed to wind down the sides of the ravine for a ways and then forged across at a passable spot - thanks to Uncle Scott who pretty much carried Shayden, Quinton and then assisted Sutton and me.  

The kids had a blast and it was a great memory.  I had a slew of awesome pictures except when I uploaded them I realized I had the setting wrong and the majority were blurry and just plain stunk.  Total Bummer!

Here is what did turn out...

Take note how wet Uncle Scott is...he was awesome!  Here he had just helped the boys cross and is dumping water out of there boots.

We can't wait to go back and do it again.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sutton Update

After glancing at our blog today I realized I haven't posted much on our little lady and how much she is growing and changing right now.

Accomplishments at the moment...10 months

Pulling up on everything and everyone.
Can stand for a few seconds without help but she doesn't know it yet.
Pointing and Screaming at things she wants, baby sign language used when she feels like it.
Saying "Da Da", "Ma Ma", "Teddy" and "Deer".
8 teeth are now present and accounted for.
Sleeping through the night = 12 hours.
Napping like a champ.
Hair is growing, although more in the back than the top.
Can climb a flight of stairs unassisted, coming down is an act of death defying proportions.
She has a deep love of "teddy" and "panda" and will squeal with delight upon seeing them.
Oh, and we are madly in love...she has her hold on us all.

A few pics from this month

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Pitch The Tent

Last weekend marked our Annual Sibling Camping Trip and it was a huge success.  The boys were in outdoor heaven with swimming, boating, BB gun shooting, s'more making and everything else wonderful that comes with the great outdoors.  And Sutton enjoyed making her first appearance on the camping trip by sunning, sleeping in my arms and eating dinner by the fire.

We had awesome weather, which was a relief since it was supposed to storm pretty much the entire time, however the mosquitoes were out with a vengeance.  We all were eaten alive while laden with repellent   In fact I am still waking up in the middle of the night itching and the boys looked like they had chicken pox for 3 days.  But, hey that's what comes with camping!

Chris chose to enjoy one more year of the baby stage and lovingly escorted Sutton home for the night - what a sweet husband I have!  They met us at Bob Evan's the next morning for our traditional after camping meal of pancakes and hot chocolate.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

Sutton's 1st boat ride, she really did enjoy it!

Shayden, Quinton and I tubing with Uncle Luke, Claire and June.

S'more Face.

The Hard Core Campers (you know the ones who stay overnight).

Headlamps ROCK.

On one final note, remember 2 years ago when I did this and really had wished I packed a bottle of wine so I could have slept better - well update on that front.  This year I did partake in wine and it didn't help a lick with the sleeping....just thought you should know.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Family Vaca 2013

Well its a little late but we have been here is our blog post on Family Vaca this year.  Once again, it did not disappoint.  We had an AWESOME time on Lake Michigan with a house filled to the brim = 35 people to be exact!

We had heard how wonderful Lake Michigan was and we are inundated with media advertising for "Pure Michigan" but to be truly honest I never thought I would be so impressed with our surroundings.  The small towns along the lake are awesome, the beach is beautiful and has the most perfect sand for little ones, and the water is unbelievably clear while also being calm and fully enjoyable.  No rough waves, no non-swimmable days, etc. that you might find on the coasts.  It hit me one day when I was wading 15 feet from the beach with Sutton on my hip, tossing a frisbee to Chris in the water and watching Shayden and Quinton playing between us - this has never been possible in the ocean = We Have Found The Perfect Spot!!!

Our week was filled with large meals, precious moments with our nieces  nephews and children and picture perfect evenings under Pure Michigan sunsets.  Here are few pictorial highlights from the trip.

Checking out the Marina and a local coffee spot.

Chris (his scruff) and Sutton enjoying the water.

Look Mom, a dead fish.

Lakeside Lunches.

The Cousins - 18 and counting.

And what's vaca without a swimsuit shot...the Fam.

And now, for the highlight activity night, The Harlem Shake.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quinton is 3

Our little man has turned 3.  I am in a bit of denial on this one, just looking at that cute little face I can almost convince myself it didn't happen and that he is still 2.  But then he so efficiently reminds me, "Mom, I'm 3 now, I'm a big boy".  Oh yes, that's right buddy, and you are the sweetest little 3 year old ever!

We celebrated twice for this occasion as we were on family vacation with my family just before the big day and then with Chris' on his actual birthday.  

Quinton, we love you so much and are so proud of the boy you are becoming.  While you are stubborn and hard headed you also have the sweetest most sensitive little heart.  You are the cuddler of the family and I love that you always choose me each night to snuggle with (no offense Daddy).  You have changed so much over the last year!  Your vocabulary is awesome and you are amazing me all the time with what you pick up.  I can't wait to see what this year holds.
All our love,
Mommy and Daddy

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mix, Pour, Find a Cure

This past weekend was National lemonade days for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.  In 2000 a little girl named Alex was diagnosed with Cancer and she and her brothers held their first Lemonade stand to raise money for kids with Cancer.  As of this year they, along with thousands of other kids around the country, have donated over 60 million to Cancer research and the care of children and their families struggling with Cancer.

We were introduced to Alex through a book her parents wrote after her passing to help other children understand her story.  A few weeks ago Shayden and I were reading it and I started to talk to him about how we could get involved, what he could do to make an impact and help other children.  It took about .1 seconds for him to decide we were DEFINITELY doing a lemonade stand and how could we get started!

So this past weekend we held our first lemonade stand along with 1,350 other stands across the nation.  And let me tell you, it was a total success.  My heart was literally bursting with joy to watch my little ones so eager to serve everyone that came.  Shayden and Quinton were a great team dumping ice and filling up cups.  While Quinton and Sutton were forced to take afternoon naps, Shayden stood strong by the stand the entire time and didn't allow a single cup to be served by anyone but him or Quinton.  He was gracious, kind and fully was awesome!

Our goal was to raise $100, a small but mighty amount.  We were blown away by all our family, friends and neighbors who generously gave and have brought our total to over $500.  Shayden was thrilled and wanted to know if we could drive it to a hospital right away!  

Thank you to everyone who shared in this event with us.  Not only did you give to a great cause but you instilled community, faith and the heart of service into my children and I am forever grateful.  

Mixing up our lemonade

Our first customer - stopped on his 8 mile run

Team Testa

One very proud little boy

To learn more visit

Monday, May 20, 2013

7 Years

Chris and I have been married for 7 years....YEAH!
I don't know why but this anniversary didn't jump out and excite me.  We have had such a great year and have had so many highlights and awesome times together that I didn't need just one day to be excited about our last year together...does that make any sense?  I'm not even sure it does, but in my head it rings true.

I have an awesome husband, he is truly amazing.  And every year our love, marriage, family and life just keeps growing and getting better.  Is it all roses and romantic dates - um NO...absolutely not, trust me we have our moments/days just like everyone else.  But what is true and what is always the case with us, in the end none of that matters.  In the end of each day we have each other and we both now that no matter WHAT (literally) it will be that way until the good Lord decides otherwise.
That's a pretty amazing feeling and one that I don't take for granted.

So yes, today is our Anniversary, but in reality its just another Monday of being in the best marriage ever and to the greatest guy I could have.

Love you Chris...and sorry I forgot a card this year.  :)


Monday, April 22, 2013


The month of April in review's been busy, and that about wraps it up.  Okay, okay that's why I have this force me to take a moment and recap.  Where to start?

The whole fam got to visit Daddy at work...YEAH!  After over a year at Paychex we finally had a real work lunch with Daddy and visited his office.  The kids had a tour of his space, met some of his office buddies and explored his cubicle.  The boys were in love and cannot wait to go back.

We had landscaping work done by Uncle Kathan.  Which meant machines, "workermen" and plenty of fresh air.  It was sad to see the large Ash tree cut down but a remarkable process to watch.  The tree climber said it was one of the largest he has cut and it definitely gave him a workout.  The 4 foot long chainsaw blade could not make it through the trunk - incredible.  I counted 108 rings in the trunk and am pretty confident I missed a few.

 Also this month Sutton accomplished rolling over from her back to her belly...yeah!  Seems like no big deal right, but this is HUGE people.  Now when she wakes in the middle of the night on her back she no longer has to scream until I run upstairs and flip her...she can just roll right on back to sleep.  Ahhhh sweet success.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Chris

Today is my husband's 31st birthday...well technically, in a few hours.  But for the moment I have some time to sit and write so I will grab it and go.

Chris is right now out with all my brothers, his brother and a buddy for some good old guy time.   He didn't know about this outing this evening until 5 minutes before he was picked up at our door, but that's what makes birthdays fun.  Others making you feel special and letting you know how much they care for you.

Tomorrow morning he will be greeted by his 3 kiddos and his favorite coffee cake for breakfast - and they CANNOT wait to eat cake for breakfast, I'm pretty sure they think they won the lottery.  And hopefully as he goes through his work day others might hear its a special day and wish him well.

For me, well its kind of an emotional birthday celebration.  Something about this year that has caused me to fall that much more deeply in love with this man.  Something that makes me want to beg God to allow us to always continue this way, as man and wife, best friends, parents and partners in crime.  And I know on earth we will, but we aren't promised tomorrow and so...tomorrow I will do everything I can to convey my love and thanks for being married to and sharing my life with God's greatest for me....Chris.

I love you babe!  Happy Birthday.

(our engagement)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Hair up There

I almost hesitated in writing this post, but then husband doesn't read my blog, so here I go.
The post title really is fitting, because for months now I have heard almost nothing else in regards to personal physique than the issue of Chris' "receding hairline".  As much as this is a stimulating topic, its not one that occupies too much of my time or thought space and so I was baffled that he was REALLY reacting to the possibility that he may or may not be losing a few precious hairs.
At first I poo pooed the topic, "what, your kidding me right, your not losing your hair"...then it was, "are we still talking about this" forward a few days..."CHRIS, REALLY your freaking out about nothing...and you do realize that Stress can cause you to lose hair". 
All that to say, fast forward a couple months and I then stated, "Um, I guess I do think its receding a bit"....ugh, sorry babe!
So needless to say without him really knowing it and what proved to be perfect timing, I captured a quick shot of he and Sutton - who both seem to be losing hair.
Go ahead and get a good laugh, life's funniest moments are right in front of us...
and yes babe, its just hair.
(Oh, and I'm pretty sure mine is thinning out like the worst lawn in the neighborhood)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Play Time

It is so much fun watching all three kids start to interact together...granted Sutton is just watching and being entertained, but Shayden and Quinton are happy to be on her main stage.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Full of Joy

I am full of Joy...
for so many reasons but lately just in the peace and contentment God has given me.  I don't know if the birth of Sutton has caused me to turn a corner I didn't see, but she has in fact changed us and caused me to reflect in all these moments at home and taking a step back to care for now 3 little ones.
I feel so much joy.  God is good each and every day and if I just stop to take Him in I so quickly realize all He does for me and my little family.
We are loved by a large and wonderful extended family and friends.
We have been blessed with a home to live in, food on our table and little ones to fill our days. 
We are in a country where, although frustrating at times, we are allowed and encouraged to love our Lord each and every day in the way we so choose.
We look forward to our future, not dreading the next day or wondering how we can provide for our babies. 
In so many words...I have it good, very good.