Monday, July 27, 2015

I'd Take Lima Beans, Cavities, and Kissing on TV.

Forget Alexander.  He has NOTHING on Levi, Ezra and me.  A couple months back we had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And boy was it a doozy.

I recapped it in my notes to later write out in a blog so that when I think I'm having a bad day in the future, I can refer back to this.  Maybe you can, too.  Or maybe you can just read it and laugh at me. Either/Or.

To set the scene for you, it's 10am in muggy Oklahoma and the boys and I were at the airport awaiting our flight back to Erie, PA.  Darin was in California and was making his own flights home that day, but the boys and I were on our own, and not feeling too hot.  A few days before our flight back home, the boys had a stomach bug, strawberry tongue (first time for that!), and strep.  Luckily, they were feeling well the morning we were set to leave, even though I woke up at 3am with stomach issues every 45 minutes after that.  Low on sleep and not feeling so great, I was bound and determined not to miss that flight back home.

So, Dad got me some medicine and to the airport we went.  We were set to be home by 4pm.  Perfect.

Forty-five minutes after arriving, scooting through security and grabbing a couple smoothies, the boys and I made our way to our gate just as they announced that Chicago airport was shut down - no flights in or out.  Guess where our connection was?  You guess it - Chicago.

Discouraged, we waited and prayed that things would get figured out soon and we wouldn't miss our connection to Erie.  About an hour later, things were fixed and we boarded our flight.  Back row.  Not a great place to be when you know you're going to be sprinting to catch your connection.

The flight didn't go so well.  Levi fills up 2 vomit bags and Ezra's looking queasy.  My stomach hurts.

The plane finally lands.

One minute before our connection is set to depart.

And Levi's at it again. Vomiting, that is.

We wait forever for everyone to get off of the plane (what TAKES people so long?!) and the kind people in the row in front of me heard my dilemma and let us get off before them.  When we set foot in the airport we literally start sprinting.  I have a giant bag, each boys hand, and I tell them to RUN.

Our gate is forever away. Naturally.

Ezra starts WAILING.  I tell him to run.  I can't pick him up and run at this point because I'm carrying a 10 lb. bag and juggling other things.  I grab his hand and sprint.  He screams.  Every single person we pass as we fly by looks in horror as if I'm kidnapping this child.  I've never in my life heard him scream like this.  I've also never had as many eyes on me as I did then.  I ignore it, grab him tighter and keep running.

Levi falls on the escalator and his leg is bleeding.  I'm about to vomit and my heart reached rates it's never seen. Ezra is squealing.

At this point Levi starts panicking.  Being ever the encourager that he is, he's screaming through his tears as his little legs carry him as fast as he can, "YOU'RE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD!!!!" Bless. His. Heart.  He keeps saying this over and over, trying to make ME feel better as he knows I'm in panic-stress-mode.  We keep sprinting, Ezra keeps wailing, Levi keeps encouraging.

We finally arrive at the gate and I'm about to have a heart attack.  I spot our plane outside, but the gate door is shut and there is not an employee to be found.  I screamed at the patrons sitting near my gate, "WHERE IS AN EMPLOYEE?? WHO IS WORKING AT THIS DESK?? WHERE IS SOMEONE???" Everyone stares at me like I'm a lunatic and one person shrugs his shoulders.  Thanks, guys.  At this point all I needed was for someone to open that forsaken gate door so that we could run down the hall and hop on the plane.  That's all it took.  For CRYING out LOUD someone OPEN THE DOOR!!!!!!

Just then a lady opens the door from the other side and calmly walks to the desk. That irritated me. "I'm here! Can I get on? That's my flight!"
"Are you the G----s?"
"I called for you, but you didn't come. Sorry."

 I pleaded to her to let me through those doors and on the plane and she very rudely told me no.  I was too late. "BUT THE PLANE! IT'S RIGHT THERE AND THE PLANE DOOR IS STILL OPEN!" No. Too late.  I wanted to rip that door open myself and fight my way inside that plane!

I was redirected to customer service to find a new flight as I stood at the window watching my plane slowly back out.

I stood there choking back tears.

Two little voices behind me quietly ask, "is this bad?" "Yeah, Mommy. Is this bad?"

Just then young man who witnessed our run/scream fiasco came up behind me, clearly out of breath himself, and said he was going to Erie too.  He walked with me over to customer service and made sure I went ahead of him and was just so sweet in trying to help this discouraged, over stressed mommy with two upset children get things figured out.  What a blessing he was!

Customer service line was 20 people deep.  At this point my stomach was killing me and I felt lightheaded.  I've never passed out before, but there's a first time for everything. I threw my bag down on the floor and sat on it with my head down.  Levi kept telling me I was the best mommy ever and Ezra got super quiet.  And pale.  An hour later, we had a new flight.  Set for SEVEN hours later.

Ezra gets diarrhea.

We run to the family bathroom, get him changed and cleaned up, and head to the airport Chili's for something to eat.  More to pass the time than eat because we all feel so crummy.  The boys sat quietly and I am basically laying in the booth. I choke down a few crackers, 2 bites of soup, and I'm done.

Ezra throws up all over the table.

I cleaned it up, paid, and left to go find a place to sit down.

Ezra gets diarrhea.  Bless the child's heart, he is sick as a dog.

We head back to the family bathroom to change him and I'm feeling sick.  There's a chair in there that pulls down from the wall and I take off my jacket and just sit there for a good 10 minutes with my head between my legs.  Then I get sick, and Levi starts scream praying.  "DEAR JESUS HELP MY MOMMY STOP THROWING UP! PLEASE HELP HER FEEL BETTER! PLEASE JESUS PLEASE!" He's never seen me sick before and didn't like it a bit.  We take our time to regroup, grab a $4 bottle of water, and go sit down.

Ezra gets diarrhea.

Off to the family bathroom - our new home away from home - and I realize my baby wipes are gone.  I had left them in there by accident during our last episode and someone stole them.  Heaven help us all.

Praise the LORD Ezra was still wearing pull-ups back then for travel, or else I don't know what we would have done.  It was LITERAL WATER pouring out of his little body, that poor baby.

We go find another seat.

As SOON as we sit down each and every time, one of us gets sick and we have to get up and run to the bathroom. The restrooms were down a long hallway, without any kind of seats near them, so it was a trek to even get there.  At one point we just parked it in that hall because it was inevitable we were going back to that bathroom. But for now, we were in regular seats away from the restroom.

Ezra says he needs to throw up so I take off running holding him out in my arms.  He throws up directly in front of the trashcan.  I was mere millimeters late.

Obviously we aren't going to sit there anymore since everyone was looking upon us in horror and disgust, so we took off to find a new campsite.

But not without another stop at the family bathroom.

And, leave it to me....when I opened the door to the FAMILY BATHROOM I discovered something so unspeakable, I won't even write about it.  Just trust me when I say I lost all faith in humanity that day.  Which led me straight to the toilet, throwing up my guts both in horror and sheer sickness.

Lord, come quickly.

We finally find a spot that we are able to sit at for longer than 5 minutes without any runs to a trashcan or a bathroom.  We are sitting across from a couple who witnessed our escapades earlier in the day, so they knew what we were all about.  Ezra starts coughing and they both look up at me like a deer in headlights.  A few seconds and whispers later, they moved.  Thanks for the help, kind souls.  Thanks a lot.

Ten minutes later, Ezra vomits in the trashcan.

We stop at a store for $10 dramamine.  It's the only thing I can think of that MIGHT help with nausea for myself at least and I was desperate.  It was all I could do to take care of my sick babies when I was so sick myself! I was kicking myself for packing our Phenergan in the suitcase and not in my carry on, but it was gel and I was afraid it'd get thrown away through TSA.  Hindsight is 20/20, yada yada yada.

At this point we had an hour and a half left until our plane left and I didn't know how I had survived it.  The three of us literally felt SO BAD that all I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position and cry.  Just cry. cry. cry.  But I had to get through it.  We were almost home. Be tough, Whitney! You've made it this far, you can do it!

Why must everyone in this forsaken airport eat McDonald's?  WHY? Nothing ever looked or smelled as repulsive as a Big Mac that day and it seemed like everyone there had one. Another whiff of Mickey D's and off to the bathroom we went.  For what would finally be the last time.

That last hour in the airport was the best hour yet.  No incidents and we didn't even have a single run to the bathroom.  We even had some fruit juice and a couple of crackers and kept them down.  All 3 of us! When our flight boarded, we cheered.

We were on a teeny tiny plane - two seats on one side and on on the other, and at the very front.  I sat the boys together and I was across from them.  Levi starts coughing and I leaned across the aisle holding the throw-up bag over his mouth and I heard a dozen gasps behind us. (So there ARE perks to being in the back of the plane!)  Our sweet stewardess brought me a giant trash bag for the duration of the flight and took pity on us, bringing the boys little wing pins.

They fell asleep 10 minutes later.

When we arrived in Erie, it was well past midnight and I could barely walk.  Ezra was asleep so I was carrying him and as soon as we hit baggage claim, he threw up everywhere.  I don't even know how he had anything left in him.  Bless the kind lady who came up and offered me her pack of wipes.  Where was she 5 hours earlier? :)  She was the only person of the entire day (aside from the Erie guy who also missed his flight) who offered us help and encouragement.

(PSA: If you see a Mommy in distress, please offer some sort of help. Anything is a blessing - even a pat on the shoulder and a word of encouragement! You can't imagine how much that helps! I think I would have been in much better shape that day had someone offered a kind word instead of stares.)

We trudged through the parking lot, threw our bags in the car, made the 5 minute drive home and prepared to crash.

But I wasn't done yet.

Levi's birthday was in the morning so I still had to decorate for his big day after they went to sleep.  It was 1am as I slung up Ninja Turtle banners, set up his table, icing-ed ninja faces on cookies, and positioned all his presents. Though zapped in every way, I couldn't help but smile as I imagined him waking up to it the next morning.  My sweet Levi deserved the very best birthday.  Darin arrived home as I was finishing up at 2 am.  I kissed him hello and we crawled into bed.

And I cried. And cried. And cried.

Crying never felt so good.  I couldn't stop.  I had been strong all day and it all came crashing down when I knew I was safe and had survived it.

Exhaustion has never filled my body like it had that day, and I just crashed physically and emotionally.  Darin kissed my head and stoked my hair until I feel asleep, and HOME had never felt more like a refuge as it did that night.

Even though this a day I wanted to forget, I know I never will.

I think I'll move to Australia.

Wait.  No.  Because we'd have to fly and I am DONE with airports!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

And .... That's a Wrap!

I had a pitiful year of blogging, didn't I? I was lucky if I got one post up per month, and I didn't nearly capture our adventures in writing like I had planned.  My instagram was booming with pictures and brief captions, but my blog took a definite back seat.  With parenting, homeschooling, wife-ing, and exploring every chance we got, I simply didn't have the time.  It's crazy how busy life gets.  And last year was a doozy!

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But, folks.  Our adventure up north is officially over and we are HOME!  Where we belong. :) The Lord was so good to us over the past year and sustained and grew us in ways we never thought possible.  His sovereign hand was evident in every single way and I would love to share it all with you when I get more time - maybe over a series of posts.  Friends, He is faithful!  He is big and He can do mighty things we could never imagine.  How grateful I am to have had this past year to experience Him in brand new ways!

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I told my husband that I think every family should completely uproot and move off for a year.  A year is nothing in the grand scheme, and it's completely doable!  It runs the gamut of every emotion - terrifying, exciting, stressful, fun, uncomfortable, satisfying, but the results of having done it are absolutely fantastic. Our little family chord and marriage bond are tighter than ever having been through this past year together.  Alone.  We poured so much into one another - time, energy, love, life.  There were times we had nothing but one another, and those moments bonded us together so sweetly.  I will forever cherish our time and experiences we had as we faced new things around every corner.


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And after having been gone, it makes being home that much sweeter.  I feel like I appreciate everything in a whole new light!  I knew that being home would feel great, but it feels even better than I was prepared for.  We are overwhelmed with peace for the first time in a long time ... and it feels amazing.

What a year! What an experience! What a journey! What a ride!

Another chapter is closed in this little book we are creating together.  When Darin and I started our lives together 10 years ago I never imagined a move up north being a part of our story, but I am so glad it was. And, the next chapter is only beginning .... !


(Thank you to those of you who covered us in prayer over the past year. I am forever grateful to you and for going to the throne on our behalf and for truly caring about my little family. XOXO!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


July 1, 2005 - Darin and I entered into covenant together. The big exciting world was at our fingertips! What would the next 10 years hold for us?

July 1, 2006 - We celebrated our FUN first year of marriage back at the resort we stayed at on our wedding night. I always think back on this year with such fondness. We had the best time figuring out this whole marriage thing - from staying up late playing old school Nintendo, to taking weekend trips to wherever we wanted to go! A great, joyous year. 

July 1, 2007 - With two years of marriage under our belts, we were moving into the home we just built and medical school was starting in a month!  Also, I had just accepted a job at the medical school. Things were exciting! 

July 1, 2008 - Year 3! We always said we wanted to be married for at least 3 years before starting a family. We took an amazing anniversary trip to the Pacific Northwest/British Columbia in hopes that it would be the last trip as a family of 2.

July 1, 2009 - Four year anniversary, with a precious 1 month old baby in tow! We were high on life, and soaring on love! Darin was half way through medical school and we decided I would stay home with Levi. So much change this year, but so very exciting!

July 1, 2010 - 5 years!! Just trucking along with life. Nothing huge happened, and that's what made it so nice. We were living and loving life as our sweet little family of three, and our quiet life was just ... peaceful. 

July 1, 2011 - Medical school graduation (!!!) happened a month before and while July 1st was our 6th year anniversary, it was also the start date of residency. Phew, that was a tough year. 1st year residency is a beast. BUT, a month later we had a super exciting announcement that kept me busy with all year!  

July 1, 2012 - 7 years married and now a family of FOUR!! We welcomed our second bundle of precious baby boy a few months earlier and life felt perfect. Residency eased up, and we finally got to see more of Darin! A great, normal year navigating the path of parenthood. 

July 1, 2013 - Eighth year with my guy and super excited that the end of this journey to become a doctor was almost over. Until .... we feel he's called to do a sports medicine fellowship. Cue fellowship hunting, interviewing, applying, and flying all over the U.S. trying to decide where God wanted us next. Crazy. Year. 

July 1, 2014 - We wake up, kiss each other and say, "happy 9th anniversary!", and then we each hop in a car and drive across the country toward our new home in Erie, Pennsylvania. Residency graduation was a few weeks prior, and we sold our beloved first home. This was definitely an anniversary to remember. Excited and terrified, this was the biggest change in our lives to date. But, we were together. That's all we needed. 

July 1, 2015 - Today. Ten years. What a year to remember! Our marriage blossomed to new levels this year as we leaned on one another through so much change. I can't express how grateful I am for having experienced it and through it all, seeing God's sovereign provision for us in each and every facet of our lives. Here we are again, preparing for another move across the country, and imminent change enveloping our lives. And yet again, I find myself holding Darin's hand and taking the leap of faith with perfect peace ... because I'm with him. There's no where else I'd rather be. 

What a ride the first 10 were. Can't wait for the next! ❤️

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Experiencing God.

We're going through a cold spell, so we were some of the only ones out on the peninsula today. We spent a couple hours at a park and then the boys wanted to go to the beach. I obliged, of course... it's my sanctuary here in Erie. 

I was overwhelmed with how beautiful the lake was today. The sun was shining down just perfectly, making it sparkle like millions of tiny diamonds. The waves were large and loud...just the way I prefer them. Aside from the crashing waves and the beautiful giggles of my little boys, there was silence. Perfect peace. 

Overcome with appreciation for God's creation, I sang out, "oh Lord our Lord how majestic is Your name in all the Earth!" I sang it as loud and as boisterous as I could. No one was around to hear, and the water all around me made for pretty incredible acoustics. 

Nearing the end of the song, as the boys searched for beach glass beside me, a massive eagle came soaring over us. The boys stopped playing and I stopped singing. We just stared upward, watching until we couldn't see it any longer. 

That may sound cool and all, but to me it was incredibly meaningful. The verse I have claimed since day 1 here in Erie and on our year long adventure into the unknown has been, Isaiah 40:31. "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

I've gone back to this verse more times than you could ever know, and today, I know that the majestic eagle soaring over the beautiful waves was just for me. Immanuel - God with us.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Exploring Rochester, NY.

I've been hit and miss with so many of our adventures up north, but I'm trying my best to document everything on more than just Instagram, so that I can remember the details on down the road.

Several weeks ago one of the local hockey teams made the playoffs and Husby was scheduled to cover it, so we all loaded up and went with him to Rochester, NY.  We had so much fun! I just can't get over how fun it is exploring this part of the country that we probably otherwise never would.


The first day that we got there Husby had to go to the arena super early, so the boys and I set out to explore.  We found lots of fun sights before heading back for the big game that night.

I took full advantage of having a field trip and history lesson for the boys, so our first stop was to Susan B. Anthony's house.


I just love how history comes alive up here where it all happened.  Amazing!  When we were finished there, Levi threw his head back on the back of his seat and said, "Phew! That was the longest history lesson of my LIFE." Haha! When I quizzed Ezra about what he had learned he said that Susan B. Anthony said bad words and had to go to the police.  Haha, oh these boys!

Next, we found this historic lighthouse and took many a picture next to it. :)


I tried giving Levi a history lesson here too, but he was a bit burnt out after the whole SBA expedition.

After the game we had a late dinner at a Rochester fave.  My my MY!!


We hit the streets early the next day to make the most of everything.  Husby and I love exploring the local food markets when we hit up a new city.  This one did not disappoint!


And neither did the cannoli.  :)


Husby and I have been on a cannoli tour the past several months, and we go to a new bakery each weekend testing out the cannoli. Yum!


We had a fun day exploring the city and just enjoying it at leisure, finding unique little spots and shops.

Some of my favorite times when I'm away with my family are the nights back at the hotel.  We all crash together, laugh and reminisce about our days, and we each tell our favorite part of the day.  Treasured moments!


The next day was for the boys.  We hit up the National Museum of Play and we all had such a blast!  So, so fun!  By far one of the best children's museums out there.


My favorite part was the Berenstein Bears section.  I've always LOVED the BB's!


It was a fantastic day.  Oh, and we ate brunch at this amazing old diner.  Picturesque!


We had such a fun weekend in upstate New York, exploring the sights and experiencing new things. Getting to do it all with my guy and our boys is absolutely priceless.


Saturday, April 4, 2015


My Dearest Littlest: My Ezra,



There is no joy like what you bring to my life, little boy.  And today, my heart is absolutely bursting from the seams because how can it be?  You are THREE!


From the moment I laid eyes on you, we had a special connection.  You are mommy's baby and you know your role well! ;)  We've been joint at the hip all of your life, and I wouldn't have it any way.  How I LOVE being your mommy.


I can not look at your precious little face and not smile.  I can't do it!  Your Daddy was walking down the stairs a few minutes ago as I was reviewing the pictures I took of you and he said, "what's so funny?", because I had a smile plastered to my face.  "Oh nothing, just looking at my baby!"


I remember getting a 4D ultrasound with you and every time we saw your face you were smiling.  In the womb!  What a treasure you are!  You bring our family constant laughs and I absolutely love that about you. You know you are funny, and your facial expressions that accompany your funny ways are just icing on the cake.  Such JOY your life is, Ezra. To know you, is to fall in love with you.  Day after day after day.


You are growing up right before my very eyes.  You are becoming more and more adventurous doing things on your own, but you still love the comfort of having your big brother by your side.  Levi is your favorite person and the connection you share is unlike anything I have ever seen.  I've always heard amazing things about brothers, but witnessing it leaves me speechless.  You two are best buddies, and so so loving toward one another.  The other day Levi was at Sparks and we went to Wegman's to get you two a treat.  I showed you your cookie when I got in the car and Levi's was still in the sack.  I asked if you wanted to have it and you said, "well, I will eat half of it and save the rest for Wevi." :)  I melted!  I pray every day that you and your brother nurture and grow this brotherhood for all of your days.  What a blessing!


You are so super smart!  You say things all the time that I had no idea you knew about, and on top of that, you are clever.  Very, very clever.  My phone is filled with hilarious "Ezzer-isms", and every day when your Daddy comes home I have at least 5 clever Ezra stories of the day.


You are kind, sweet, affectionate, and a gentle little boy.  You certainly have your ornery moments which leads to you sweetly apologizing, "I'm SO SO sorry! I NEED you, Mommy!" from behind the door of Time Out, but those times are coming fewer and farer between as you grow and mature.  You love to cuddle, sit in my lap, hold hands, and hug and kiss.  You often request me to give you "helicopter kisses" where I smother your little face in kisses and you laugh and laugh and laugh.  Oh, I love you.


You are my perfect eater, eating anything and everything I set in front of you.  You are obsessed with Mario.  You love Peppa Pig and Bo on the Go.  You love to be outside.  You love books.  You love cars and trucks and things with wheels.  You pray the sweetest prayers.  You love your Bible verses.  You can't sleep without your "soff bwankie".  Your favorite song is the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  You are innately strong.  You get embarrassed and your face turns red.  You are calm, sweet, and easy going, but at the same time, there is no talking you into anything you do not want to do (not obedience-wise, rather, choice wise).  You know who you are and nobody is going to change that.


Ezra Ray, there is no one in this world like you.  You are beautiful, charming, and precious in every way.  My life changed when you came into our world, and you made me a better mommy and a better person.  I love you with my whole heart, and I pray that you have an amazing year being three.  I thank God get to experience it with you.


Love you the morest and love you the mostest!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What Do You Do With All That Snow?

Why, you make snow ice cream, of course!

But first you have to get you a super cute Husby to go scoop it up. 




Here is the best recipe we have found for the winter treat.  It's seriously SO good.



8 cups Snow
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp vanilla (we use a bit more)

Mix all together, and enjoy!  You can add sprinkles, cocoa powder, crushed up cookies - whatever your little heart desires.  Or just eat it plain like I do.  It reminds me of that homemade ice cream that you spend hours churning.


Now, hopefully you get some more snow this year so you can try it out for yourself.  Yum!

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