Wednesday, January 30, 2013

House Tour Part 1

Finally, a little house tour. These are all BEFORE pictures and not what my house looks like right now.. except some rooms :) Actually, these are straight from the MLS and what the public saw of our house before we bought it. All the furniture and wall hangings are the previous owner's stuff. Not my taste, but everything was pretty neutral. So enough with my are the photos!



 Eat-in kitchen 

 Family Room 

Dining Room  

Half Bath 

Formal Living Room 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I feel accomplished today. 

On a whim, I finally hung my first picture in our house tonight. I have been waiting to hang photos til the walls were painted, but I'm not sure why I didn't hang this one sooner. It is starting to look a bit more like home with just the one picture hung. I can't wait to do more little things like this to make this house our home and reflect our style. I know, it's the little things that can make you feel accomplished.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Warrior Dash

So I've mentioned that I have been a little behind on this blog.... ok, alot behind. I just came across these pictures the other day and realized that I never posted about it. These are from September. Eek!

Todd and I ran the Warrior Dash in September together. It was a 5k and an obstacle course - nothing too crazy - but was enough for me! I talked about training for it here and the reasons for doing it.

Todd did the Tough Mudder in May and let me tell you - that looked brutal! This seemed like a breeze for him - especially because he stayed with me. I was the epitome of slow. I never walked but my running could have looked like a brisk walk. I got a cold that week and that messed up my training and then made running a bit more of a challenge. But I was determined to run. It was fun... after I finished. :) Not while running! The obstacle challenges were fun and some were pretty easy, like jumping over fire and lots of crawling in mud. That part was fun I guess!

So what did I learn about this?

1. That I could do what I set my mind to doing, even though I was ridiculously slow.
2. I was able to do a 5k, which I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime.
3. If you don't continue to run as a workout you lose your endurance... like super fast.
4. I hate running. At least I gave it a try. I think I will stick with the Zumba.

Ask me how many times I have ran since that day? Yup, a big fat 0.

So here are some pictures from that day!

the hubs and I before the race

our cheering section - my mom, Brecken, and my Aunt Darla 

getting crazy before the race with my crazy hair and brother

climbing a mud pile

favorite picture :) waving at my mom!

our group - our friends Amanda & Mike, the hubs and I, and my brother Skye
all dirty

Amanda & I 

muddy feet

my favorite little warrior


pretty proud of this medal

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Breck's 15-month photos

I'm behind and meant to post these pictures ages ago.... and now three months later in the dead of winter, I will post Breck's 15-month photo shoot. I shot these in my hometown when I was visiting my parents. The weather was so nice that day and I got lots of fun shots of the crazy toddler.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Proverbs 31 Woman

The last few days have been hard with losing my grandmother. It's always harder to be around family, because that is when you are reminded about the missing person. The whole situation seems surreal as well, like this is all just a really bad dream. It was a gorgeous, sunny January day yesterday, as we celebrated the life of grandma and had her burial. The service was lovely and really honored her and her memory. She will be greatly missed.

Last night when I was doing my devotions, I was reading Proverbs 31. I love this passage, because it is a woman that I strive to become. When I was reading it, I couldn't help but think of grandma and how much her life sounded like this passage. Anyone that knew her, could tell you that she was truly a Proverbs 31 woman.

Proverbs 31:10-31

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
My mom always described my grandma as a "gem." She was just she a sweet, caring woman.

Her husband trusts her without reserve,     and never has reason to regret it.

You could always tell that my grandpa adored her.

Never spiteful, she treats him generously    all her life long.

She was always taking care of him when he was ill later in life, and always made him the food that he loved.

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,    and enjoys knitting and sewing.

She loved sewing and would sew herself dresses, as well as clothes for my mom, aunt and grandpa. She taught me how to sew and would always help me with all the projects I dreamed up.

She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places    and brings back exotic surprises.

Whenever my grandparents went on a trip, they brought little treasures for us grandkids. They always were thinking about us.

She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast    for her family and organizing her day.

Grandma did all the cooking, and she was an AMAZING cook. She always made her own bread and was known for her pies.

She looks over a field and buys it,    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.

She loved flowers and had beautiful gardens. Strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb were grown in her garden as well.

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.

Her hands were always busy with cooking, baking, gardening, canning, keeping a home, playing the piano, sewing or giving amazing back rubs. Her hands were never idle.

She senses the worth of her work,    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

She never sat still, even when she came to my parent's house, she was always ironing or doing something to help my mom out.

She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,    diligent in homemaking.

She was creative, coming up with outfits and many sewing projects. I remember she had a room that was solely devoted to sewing with boxes of fabric and thread. I loved spending time there, because it 
meant we were making something together.

She’s quick to assist anyone in need,    reaches out to help the poor.

She loved to share her baked goods with other and in her later years, she would spend time wrapping shoeboxes for the the Operation Christmas Child shoe box project.

She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

She made clothes for all her family and even would clothe my dolls.     

She makes her own clothing,    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.

Grandma always dressed beautifully. I only saw her in pants when she was gardening, otherwise she was in a dress or skirt and always accessorized with a pretty pin. 

Her husband is greatly respected    when he deliberates with the city fathers.

 My grandfather was well-known in their small community with his feed business. Everyone had great things to say about him as well.  

She designs gowns and sells them,    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.

She sewed her sister's wedding dress.

Her clothes are well-made and elegant,    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.

She had the most warm and beautiful smile.   

When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,    and she always says it kindly.

  She was always so kind, but did have a bit of spunk to her.

She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,    and keeps them all busy and productive.

Whenever us grandkids were at our house, she always found new things to do with us or keep us busy with things such as helping her with dishes, picking strawberries with her or helping her bake.

Her children respect and bless her;    her husband joins in with words of praise:

She was so loved by my family and will be very missed.
 “Many women have done wonderful things,    but you’ve outclassed them all!”

Everyone had great things to say about her, especially about her fabulous pies. 

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.    The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

 Grandma was a beautiful woman. I love looking at all the pictures of her when she was young; some of her photos look like she was a movie star. But Grandma didn't have just outer beauty, she had inner beauty as well.

Give her everything she deserves!    Festoon her life with praises!

It was so apparent the woman she was because everyone had a kind thing to say about her this past week. She left a legacy and made so many precious memories with us. Grandma made such a impact in my life and really invested time in me. I was truly blessed to call her my grandma. My brother said a famous quote at the funeral that was so fitting to remember - 

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


My sweet grandma when to be with Jesus Monday morning. Although I am very sad, I could not be more happy for her. She is with her Savior and finally, after twelve years, reunited with my grandpa. It like totally boggles my mind when I think about it and makes me tear up for joy for her. I may write on and on in this post, but blogging is like therapy... but free.

at my wedding, 4 1/2 years ago

Grandma Eltjes was on a slow decline since Thanksgiving. She had been in and out of the hospital three times and the ER four times since then with different health problems She became very weak from moving between the hospital, her assisted living apartment, and the nursing home, and not eating enough. She was on hospice the last week of her life in the comfort of her assisted living apartment.

I went to visit her this weekend. I knew that I may not have her for much longer, and I wanted to spend time with her at least one more time. Brecken and I went to see her on Friday, three different times. She wasn't her usual perky self, but she was alert and would respond and talk, and lit up when she saw Brecken. By Saturday, when I went to visit her, she was barely responding and in a deep sleep. Right before I was going to make the drive home and visit her one last time, they started calling the family that afternoon.

There were a few moments that night that we thought she was going. Moments of lots of tears, holding her soft hands, lots of family and singing her favorite hymns. One moment we thought she was moments from Heaven, my mom told her she could go be with Jesus. She whispered back, "I'm not going yet." Many times we told her we loved her, and she would whisper those words back. There were so many touching moments that warmed my heart that night, despite it being one of the hardest things to watch.

Death has always scared me and I always dreaded being around it. Those moments of being with her as  the end was imminent, were some very cherished moments - ones I will never forget. I didn't feel like running away... I craved to be there, to support my family and hold her hand.

Grandma leaned over to my brother later that night and said, "I'm gonna go now." Although she didn't pass until Monday morning, she never talked to us again after that. She was just in a deep sleep with help from the pain medications. Sunday her breathing had slowed, and again there were times we thought it was her time. The whole 36 hours I was there, was an emotional roller coaster of thinking you are losing her that moment, tears streaming down your face, and the next minute you are gut-busting laughing at a prank on your cousin, just to take your mind off the solemnness of the situation. She went peacefully on Monday morning with my mom and aunt by her side in the comfort of her own home.

one of my favorite pictures, Grandma and I making bread

She was a fantastic grandmother in every way, shape and form.  I remember all the times of picking strawberries, baking, and sewing together, her bedtime stories and her amazing scratchy back rubs. During my college years, I would stop by her house on the way out of town, and she would make me dinner, probably one of my top three meals from her: macaroni and bologna with potatoes and milk gravy, burgers and homemade fries from her little fryer, or french toast with sugar water. She would give me a loaf of freshly baked bread (always the best!), a pie for me and my roommates, and a folded up $20 that I always tried to return. These were always fun little moments of just me and her - so special and so precious to me now.

happily holding her first great-grandchild for the very first time

Grandma was known for her delicious pies, especially raspberry and for her talent at music. Although she never learned a single note, she could play the piano beautifully, as well as the organ and accordion. I loved it as a child when she got that accordion out of the closet and played for me. She was an excellent cook, seamstress, and gardener with the most beautiful garden.

Grandma helped celebrate Brecken's first birthday

Grandma was the most giving person, always helping when she came over to my parent's house. She could not just sit, but always had to be doing something. She loved Jesus, and had a personal relationship with him. She had such a sweet demeanor but was such a strong woman.  All the nurses at the assisted living facility she lived at, loved her and you could tell they genuinely cared for her. They signed a poster we put up in her room to have all her visitors sign and many of her nurses said that they looked forward to seeing her every day. She was just that kind of person you couldn't help but love.

my last picture with her at Christmas

As I was with her in her last days, I couldn't help but notice the incredible legacy that she was leaving. Probably my brightest moment since she passed was when Brecken saw a picture of grandma and he went up to the picture and said, "Mama, Mama." Although he won't always remember her, even he knew who she was. Her whole family (minus my two siblings out-of-state) were there, around her bed, singing, holding her hand and telling her how much we loved her. Someday when it is my time to go, this is how I would want to go. Being ushered into the presence of Jesus, with my family by my side. She lived such a great, long life and she truly left a mark and a legacy. I could not be more blessed to call her my grandma.

my favorite brown-eyed beauties - Great- Grandma & Brecken

A verse I kept thinking about during this weekend was this, and I thought it was a very fitting verse for her:

             "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7  (NIV)

 a kiss from Grandma on my wedding day