Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ode to Costco

Oh, Costco, how I love thee... and hate thee.

I love you for your wide selection of cozy Carter's footy pajamas for the cheapest price in town. I adore how you sell the Carter's 3-piece outfits for less than $10 when I need an inexpensive baby gift.

I hate you for your Photo services. I despise the picture quality of my Christmas card this year, after we actually spent good money to get our pictures done by a professional. I had high hopes for our card this year and you dashed them. Never again.

I love you for your samples, they are aplenty. I love how you allow me to taste an unfamiliar food to see if I would like to buy it one day, you are so smart.

I hate you for your parking lot and for your long lines. You seem to attract the most unfriendly, impatient people in Temecula. There are never enough spaces during the holidays and I hate how I can only turn right out of the main thorough-fare. The lines zig-zag maddeningly and always make me squeeze next to the previously mentioned unfriendlies.

I love you for your book selection. Where else can I find such a vast array of interesting books for such affordable prices? I love how you offer hard bound and paperback. I love that I can buy a fun Elmo book in the same place I can get another Kristen Hannah novel.

I hate you for your online calendar making experience. It is the pits and I'm rebelling this year because of you. My poor parents will not be getting an adorable personalized calendar and I will blame you for breaking this tradition. I just can't handle the buffering and the schizophrenic behavior of your website. It's taking me over the edge.

I love you for your hot dogs.

I hate you for tempting me with the Diet Coke you sell that I don't drink anymore.

I love your large carts, but I hate how heavy they are.

I love picking up a new hoodie, but I hate how you don't put my groceries in bags.

So, Costco, as it turns out I do love you. But you are walking a fine line, my friend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One year

Today it has been one year since this little girl had her trach removed. One year since we heard her little voice for the first time. One year ago God healed Reagan.

He is good.

This year has been one filled with joy and celebration, marveling at every word from her mouth. It has also been a year of turmoil and wrestling with God in my heart. I could not walk away from all that had happened and not feel in my spirit, Where did THAT come from? I wish I could say that I unconditionally trusted what God had done was good and that we all were better for it, but I have to say it has taken some time. I am much further down the path than one year ago today, but God and I are still working it out together and I am learning to see this from His point of view. I know in my core that I will never abandon Him, but I have never been hurt this way either. It is unsettling to feel upset with God. I am learning that it is my pride that feels offended, mad that this had to happen.

All of this to say that I am still growing and changing and working it out. Which is I'm sure just what God wanted all along. No matter how I feel about why it had to happen, I will forever say that God is good because He chose to heal Reagan and give her a normal life. I do not understand it all, but I am sure that He showed mercy and love to our family on that November 9th last year.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin patch 2011

We headed back to Peltzer's pumpkin patch this year, another year older.

It is just so wild to see my children turning into real people. They can actually sit and smile for a picture. I still think this is miraculous. Man, those toddler years scarred me.

They are so attached to each other, best friends even. It has been humbling to observe their relationship and know that what they share together is much longer lasting than what Nate and I cultivate with them.

I have to say that I am really excited about the holidays this year. I am very thankful to be on the other side of the baby years and to look forward to all the fun stuff we can do together as a family now. My kids are amazing and we have good times together, so now that they are older I am feeling adventurous about all we can do. We only have a few short years and teenage-hood will be upon us, so I'm just going to enjoy life in this moment.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Lately I am frazzled....

1. Brennen's 6th birthday is one week from today and I am planning an Angry Birds party for him at our house. Since this is not a theme that I can just pick up at Party City, I am having to do endless research on the internet and Pinterest to find stuff I can make to decorate with. Fun and not fun at the same time.

2. Nate just returned last night from a 10 day business trip. I was just about sure that I didn't want to do this anymore when he came home. It is so exhausting to be the only one to deal with the kids and all their "stuff" everyday. Glad he is home.

3. Parent conferences were today. I have been stressing about how Liv is doing in school and we have been fighting a lot over homework lately, so I was sort of nervous about the conference, but her teacher says she is doing fine. So hard to know the right balance of pushing your kids to do their best without making them feel like they have to be perfect or they are not good enough. Right now Olivia is feeling like she is not good enough and it hurts.

4. Awanas is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it is one of the most important things we have the kids do. It is valuable for them to learn more about God and His Word and for them to memorize Scripture. On the other hand, it is a battle to get the kids to practice their verses throughout the week and not the day of. They are just not interested and it makes me upset that they aren't "hiding it in their heart", but only saying it to pass. I know His Word doesn't come back void and every little bit helps, but I wish they were eager to learn it.

5. I have SO MANY birthdays to think about and gifts to buy. October is like a mini-Christmas holiday in our family, there are that many birthdays. Want to get really fun gifts for kids and really thoughtful gifts for the adults and I am just thinking too hard! I have limited funds and want to get THE BEST gift possible for the money and it's a lot sometimes.

6. We are getting new carpet downstairs and I am so thrilled. I was really looking forward to having it by Brennen's party, but that might not happen. First bummer. Then the lady told me that at least we will have time to work on our baseboards. Huh? Now I have to worry about fitting that in? Sheesh.

7. Doing a really intense bible study and it is getting under my skin. Thinking about it a lot and evaluating my thoughts regularly. Good and tiring too.

8. I will be 34 soon. Sigh.

9. My kids will be 6 and 9 soon. Sigh.

10. I really have nothing to complain about because God has blessed me beyond measure with a loving husband, healthy kids, and everything we need. Tomorrow is a brand new day.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Havasu 2011, Hall style

One of the most fun trips we went on this summer was to Lake Havasu with all of the Halls, my side of the family.  We rented out a beautiful, huge house from a friend and just had the best time together.
One of the best parts about the trip was that I got to see these faces every single day:

Reagan, 1 year

Avery, 3 years

We celebrated three summer birthdays while we were all together, so we had one princess party for a Miss Avery Grace who turned 3...

A 4th of July party for Uncle Johnny's birthday...

And a Hawaiian Luau party for Nate...

I can hardly begin to say how much we laughed, talked, played, and just had a great time together.  I love my family and am so glad we are all close to one another.  
Here are a few more priceless shots:

Beach House Fun

It's been a while, I know.  I get so overwhelmed with how many fun things we do and I want to post them all, but it's just too much to keep up with.  Does that sound obnoxious?

Well, I'm going to try to do better with the summer events.  I mean, you CAN'T miss out on this adorable face:

Nolan, 4 years
Or this one for that matter:
McKenna, 2 years

We went to Oceanside to stay at a beach house with Scott and Lindsey this summer, while Kinzie was here from Indiana.  It was right on the water, so amazing.  My kids had a lot of fun playing with their cousins and I had a lot of fun loving on them.

Olivia loved having Cousin Kinzie here for three weeks and they were inseparable.  We also had Cousin Eliana visiting from Texas, so it was a real family affair!

Brennen and Nolan are best buds

It was so nice to just wake up each morning, eat a lazy breakfast, get the bathing suits on, and head out to the beach!  No packing lunches, no packing up the car!  I really loved it and most of all loved spending 24/7 with my bestie and her family.  Let's do it again next year!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Camping trip

I know... I know. I hate camping. And yes, I pretty much still do, but we decided it was time to do it for the kids. I have to say that for the amount of preparation and packing it took to go for two nights, I still don't think it is worth it, BUT the kids had a really good time and will probably remember our time together positively. At least I hope they do.

We went to Green Valley Falls in the Cuyamaca Mountains and jumped off rocks into freezing cold mountain water.

Nate tried jumping first and gave the go ahead for Olivia. She was brave and jumped too, but Bubby was still not ready for such extreme adventures.
Brennen is 5 and just so cute. He is pretty serious most of the time, but outgrowing his grumpiness. He adores playing with his Sissy and has learned to swim so the summer has been a blast for him. I was glad for him to be away from all forms of technology for a bit. He is a techie like his mama.
Olivia is 8 and still full of spunk, but growing up in lots of ways. She is incredibly caring and just the best cousin anyone could have. She will try anything risky, but isn't too crazy. She liked camping the best out of all of us, always ready for an adventure.

This was home for the three days and the kids just loved going to bed in the tent. Brennen was obsessed with his flashlight and Olivia loved all the zippers in the tent. The flies were ridiculously obnoxious but we survived and I'm happy we went.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011

This was a great day.
It was a meaningful day.
For us, it was the last of preschool days in our home. Brennen completed his year at Hope Children's Center and is now an official kindergartener. He is pretty sad about it, seeing as how all of the kids won't be going to his neighborhood school. He says he will miss playing with Rylan and the playground and Ms. Vikey. I am sad that he is feeling such strong emotions about it, but I have tried to stay positive about all that is ahead of him.
As I walked out of the school today, I welled up with tears thinking that it was the last time I would be coming to this place. No more babies to drop off there on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I guess it choked me up to see my two kids stopping to stare at the playground "one last time" and they were just so sober. Like they knew that they were getting older and time is just one thing you can't do anything about.
But I suddenly felt a great thankfulness and relief that saying goodbye to the school did not mean saying goodbye to Brennen. I felt his small hand in mine and thought, I am so blessed that I get to take him home and keep him. Other people and places will come and go in our lives, but as long as God allows me to have them, the kids will remain constant. Some days that feels overwhelming, but today it felt comforting to know that he wasn't going anywhere.

The other meaningful thing about today is that my Reagan turned one year old.
Can it really be true?
We celebrated all day, with WaterPallooza in the backyard this morning and dinner at Mom and Dad's tonight. I could just eat her she is so adorable and when she smiles, your insides light up. I could not have known how much her life would change mine or how important and special she would be to me. The day she was born was exciting and wonderful, but I did not know what was to come and how brokenness was around the corner. I did not know that my heart would bleed over her and how traumatized I would be for what they would have to do. I didn't realize how my relationship with God would pass through dark waters for the very first time.
How could I have known?
How could I have known that Reagan's life would touch so many and that growth would actually develop out of the pain? In those sad months, when my soul cried out to God for healing, I did not know that He planned to. That He wanted to, that He would say YES to my plea. I never expected that this day of June would always be momentous because it is the day we celebrate new life, a healed life, a joyous life.
It's the day we celebrate Reagan Joy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Extreme Room Makeover

Olivia's room is finally done!! I posted some of my ideas a while ago and I just wanted to show you how it all turned out... I couldn't have done it without my girl, Heather G, who made the banner and the drapes. Aren't they amazing?

Target clock

Close up of banner

Comforter from Target

I just love it.

Spray painted lamp

Book corner, painted a chair from a flea market

The drapes when closed

Got this F (for Fretz!) at a flea market and painted it

Olivia's beloved Mimi on canvas

Got this print on etsy

Made this magnet board of all her special peeps

The overall effect... do you love it?

Olivia Rose, Age 8

Tomorrow is the last day of second grade for my eight year old.

I wouldn't really say that the time has flown, because I do still recall the many agonizing afternoons doing homework with a resistant student. Her backyard called and she couldn't muster up the stamina to focus on schoolwork one second more.

You see, my long-legged daughter likes to play. Hard.

Her passion in life is free play and being sweaty and dirty. She likes to bike ride, scooter ride, plasma-car ride, she does it all. She is drawn like a magnet to the rubber ball she plays handball with every single day. She climbs the tree in the front yard, bounces flamboyantly on the trampoline, and has a mean hopscotch.

Naturally, the over-achiever in me has struggled somewhat with this free-spirited quality in my offspring. When I was her age I was addicted to books and learning and fresh, clean paper. Dorky, yes. But it's just what I knew to be true for me, so I think I expected it in her.

God is growing me up while growing up my daughter. I am coming to see that deep down, the mother in me just wants her to be herself. I am protective for her to find out who she is and what her passions are, even if they are different from mine. It would be so easy for me to impose my own ideas and expectations on her, which would lead to her feeling less than herself. How could I want that?

I sense that I am on the verge of my girl child turning into a real person who can be known. I am excited for what lies ahead, and anxious as well. I want to know her and be known by her. I want her to develop into a confident, passionate, joyful woman who loves God with all her heart. I want her to accomplish all of the good and wonderful things He has planned for only her.

But first, on this eve of the last day of second grade.... I want her to be a girl swinging from a tree.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter 2011

Here is a shot of us on Easter at my mom's house. Aren't the kids so large? How can I possibly have children that old? Sometimes I feel like I should still be the mom of a baby and toddler because it has just all gone so fast. Other times I feel so far down the path, no where in the vicinity of babyhood. That stage seems distant and I worry that I can hardly remember my kid's faces as babies. Is that bad? Thank God for photos and videos!

Easter was a happy occasion and fun was had by all. There was an egg hunt (indoors, since it rained that morning), a cross craft, and TONS of delicious brunch food. I like knowing that our kids understand why we celebrate certain holidays, it all feels so much more meaningful. But they sure do love a pink plastic egg filled with money!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Random thoughts

1. The blogosphere is really big. There are a lot of different people out there. And some that are just like you, only far away. I'm digging it.

2. We leave for Newport Beach tomorrow. We are only going for one night, but at least we are getting a change of scenery! The kids are so excited and I am glad they will get some of our undivided attention.

3. Olivia asked me last night if I miss having my mommy tuck me into bed. I said, Well, it's been a long time and I don't really think about it very much anymore. She said, I hope I never forget how it feels! Sigh. How can one child cause so much distress and so much adoration within my soul?

4. Brennen scored the first goal of his first soccer game of the season today. He was pretty proud.

5. I'm reading a new fiction novel this week and it is set in Scotland. That means that all of my inner thoughts lately are with a Scottish accent. Is that weird?

6. I had a deep discussion with my sister in law about my flaws. About how I have a hard time admitting them and how I have a hard time identifying them in the moment. Like, she will ask, What are some of your flaws? And I look like an arrogant brat, but I really have to think hard about it, NOT because I don't think I have any, but because I want to give her a really good one, you know? Not just, Oh, I yell at my kids sometimes (which I do) or I could be more loving with my husband (which I could). But something really good...
Like, I am no different from a heroine addict.
Serious. This is what we talked about.
Ask me sometime about that parallel.

7. While I have you here, I'm going to ask you to pray for Reagan's second vocal cord to move. I am forever grateful that the first one is functioning, but I want more. I want the second one to not be paralyzed, I want her to fully breathe easily, and I want her whole voice.
K? Thanks a bunch.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Your Typical Pastor's Wife

This is my friend, Ann. Ann is a special person to me because she has been my partner for three years during one of the most adventurous times of my life.

And I do mean adventurous.

I have not known Ann very long, we don't really go way back at all. And yet it is hard for me to believe this because we have been through so much together. God planned for us to be friends and for us to serve a greater purpose together than apart. He created MomSpace through us and I cannot be the same because of it.

Our partnership is drawing to a close in the next couple of months and I am rejoicing for the next stage in my life, and yet nostalgic for all that will not be anymore. The multitude of phone calls, the millions of emails, the food delegation, the agonizing decisions, the detailed planning, the unbridled laughter, and the pure joy to serve others and see it make a difference in their lives. It will all be over.

Where does this leave my friend Ann and I?

Well, as far as I am concerned, she is a part of my heart. She is a part of my story, one that my Father is still telling. I know she will continue to be a main character, an essential sister no matter what the future holds for us both. We have a few things up our sleeves and I am thankful for the chance to continue to work alongside this passionate, godly, incredibly talented woman.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fretzes Got Talent?

Brennen is watching a show right now and it is telling the kids that everyone has a talent. Brennen informed me that his talent is skateboarding and scooter riding.

I agreed with him.

Then he asked me, "Mama, what is your talent?


He then said, "Oh, wait! You don't have a talent, do you?"
I said, "Yes, sir, I most certainly do, thankyouverymuch!"

So then he waited for my answer.

And do you know that I cannot think of a THING???
I am not artistic, I am not creative. I do not have mad sports skillz. I am not a good cook, and I am lame at doing my own hair. I cannot sing nor play an instrument.

I honestly could not think of an answer for him. The lame-o thing I finally told him is that I take good care of babies. (I only thought of that cause I have Reagan today.) I thought about saying that I am good at organizing, but I didn't want him to think he has a TOTALLY LAME mom.

I am going to have to think about this concept some more.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I have a sickness...

My house haunts me. I don't feel restful in this place very often. I usually feel overwhelmed and my mind races with all the things that could be cleaned or organized.
If I am watching TV in the living room, I notice how dusty it is. And how dusty the shelves are. And that the couches could be vacuumed from all of the crumbs my kids leave behind.
If I am taking a shower, I dream about tearing out the whole thing and putting in nice travertine and a new non-moldy tub with new shower doors without mildew on them.
If I am cooking in the kitchen, I avoid looking at the stove top that needs new burner covers, I notice my cluttered and messy pantry shelves, and the tile floor screams at me to wash it.


Why do I never feel like it is enough? Why am I never happy with my house?

It just never, never ends. I have a hard time putting my heart and soul into a cleaning day, only to have it last for a day and a half. Right?
There has to be a happy medium. I know I have to let stuff go, and BELIEVE ME, I have since having kids, but I want to feel restful in a clean space because it makes me good.

Ugh. I better go, the list is calling me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Olivia's Makeover

I've recently decided to redo Olivia's bedroom and I am obsessed with searching the internet for ideas. I settled on a turquoise and red and white color scheme and there are so many great ideas out there. Here are a few I love:

Birdie book pages clustered above her desk

A red yarn O with her name on it to hang in the middle of her mirror

I'm gonna look for some cute coordinating paper for hooks

Definitely going to make these in red and turquoise over her bed

The Amazing Heather G. is going to help me by making one of these for me

Isn't this fun? Do you like the ideas? Let me know if you find any other red and turquiose pics!