July 24th

Seems like a lifetime but it’s just 4 years!


Today is July 24th- a day that marked and changed my family. It was four years ago today that we were at a lake home on vacation with the Wilken family! Four years ago that after a bacon filled breakfast my dad took Lillian and Norah on a bike ride and sang them songs. Four years ago that after cleaning out a garage dad, two of my sisters and my niece decided to swim across the lake. It was four years ago that four of them went across but only three came back.

And like the scripture that my family has found comfort in on that day and the years passed

Exodus 2: 10 ” Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses,a for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.”

Dad was went from swimming to being lifted out of the water by the arms of Jesus!
Many things happen in four years and has in the life of our family. Between my sister and I we have birthed four beautiful babies. Their whole life time has been marked with the absences of their Grandpa Wilken.  I often wonder about what Grandpa would do with all these boys. About how Leeland and dad would have been dangerous buddies- with their love for food and conversation.

This year the grief is different- it feels more normal on this July 24th – instead of dreading the one year anniversary as I first did – this one I had to think ” it this the right day? It was on July 24th right?” I even went back and read old emails from people from the time that dad died. I liked to read what they were saying and the emotional tied to it. I like to remember because that day was important testimony of God’s faithfulness to our family.

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Although grief at day one and grief at four years look different , it is still grief. I still miss my dad, I still wish he was here for my kids as their grandpa, I still miss his questions, I still wish that mom had a helpmate to weather th day to day life, I long to see his smile or hear his voice.

Throughout today I will think about dad. I will show the kids some old videos. Part of my family will gather together and eat sweet corn together  for supper in memory of dad. We will do our yearly balloon release and we will remember dad! Today will still be partly normal but lived differently because we have all been marked and changed.

Other Dad post:



2014 & 2014



Lillian is all about …

I was going through drafts of blog posts the other day and found this one that was never published about Lillian from when she was three years old in May of 2012. thought that I would do a bit of comparison between what I wrote a couple of years ago and currently. Lillian thought it was pretty funny when I read it to her.


Dora– She has Dora socks, shoes, shirts, a purse & even underwear (tho they are not getting much use yet )

Eating-Her favorite food currently is: daddy’s bread, toasted ( which she calls crunched), little oranges, strawberries, popcorn, eggs, hot dogs, and anything at the Grandparents houses.

Writing-Lillian is a writer.  She loves little notebooks and writing with a pen.   She spends tons of time writing little notes to us and folding them in half to make them like a letter.


Moana-Lillian first watched this Disney movie when we were at the hospital when Amelia was born. She watched it with her cousins! Since then she has seen it 2 more times and loves it. After we watched it as a family and she preceded to ask us what our favorite song was , favorite character, funny moment, etc. then Norah got a moana lego set for her birthday and that has only spurred more Fun and fascination. Lillian says this movie was as good as Frozen.

Eating– Lillian likes fettuccine Alfredo, scones, tortillas with peanut butter and cinnamon sugar, pickles, egg salad, Colby cheese, salami and most any kind of dessert.

Audio books-Lillian spends countless hours listening to audio books in her room. We always said that when she learns to ready we will never see her again. Well since fluent self reading isn’t quite there she has turned into the biggest audio book reader. We currently check them out from the library, download from audible, listen on hoopla digital, and buy them when they complete a reading curriculum book.  Some of her favorite audio books are: Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Charlotte’s web, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle series.


This Weekend

This weekend was another lovely weekend of time spent at home!


We started with a fun homeschool field trip to a Stendland’s Dairy farm. Chris was able to join us and boy was he glad he did. We saw a farm fully functioning with only about 7 employees and a bunch of robots! Plus the kids got to bottle feed calfs what is better than that?


We introduced the creek at Mary Jo Arboretum to Chris.  We had been on Monday and it was so much fun. Kids played in the water, built mud sculptures and donut holes, and Leeland threw rocks. This was Amelia’s sort of fussy day so it also involved constantly soothing a child.  The creek was pretty busy that day in terms of events. We watched a family photo shoot, senior picture shoot and a wedding set up. We were almost those people across the bank – with a crying baby and swim suit clad kids- that were the backdrop to their wedding. We decided to leave when the guest started arriving 😉

Also after reading the Magnolia story about Chip and Joanna Gaines we have been watching lots of Fixer Upper. There has been lots of talk about taking out walls and changing rooms in our house. Most of it is future stuff but we did decided to tackle the fire place and paint the brass black. We also want to change out the mantle with something more rustic.

Saturday we did his and hers shopping. Chris and big kids went to Menards and Amelia and I went to Targetand the Dollar Tree.  I had two missions. Buy activities for our upcoming van trip (blog post yet to come) and buy decorations for two campers bunks for Royal Family Kids Camp. Successful trip!


Church and inside projects and lots of cute Amelia pictures. Can’t believe she is already 6 weeks old. She has developed some serious cheeks.


The joy of new friends

In the last few months I have been able to witness something beautiful and heartmelting, as a mom.  I have got to see my children play with children they have never met before and within a few hours they are great friends.

On one Saturday this  summer I got the opportunity to see one of my friends from high school and her four children.  Our families match in terms of having 2 girls, a boy and then another girl.   They spent the morning playing with the kids, jumping on mom’s trampoline, going with rides in the bob cat, playing tea party with American girl dolls,and  running around the farm.



Later that day we saw them again along with about 10 other kids at an outdoor wedding reception.  All the kids played so well with literally zero toys, no devises, and minimal meltdowns. It makes my mama heart happy. Happy to see kids play and entertain themselves, happy to watch them make me friends, happy that they can love and embrace others like they are family!

BONUS: when my kids were playing I got to catch up with a couple of church friends from high school. A rare and fun reunion.

Another day at a Mops play date the girls played with some new friends at a Mom’s house. They had a picnic together, made a craft, swung from a willow tree, and imagined together. Another friend made!

On the 4th of July we met up with a new family that is joining our church from Texas. We went to a parade with them, the girls learned rock- paper-scissors, we had lunch and again made great friends!

In the end these friends we may see yearly, frequently or maybe never again but I am proud of them for embracing others.



Norah turns S I X


Dear Norah,

Today is the day that you have been counting down to for quite some time. Yesterday you wanted to do everything fast: eat fast, go to bed quickly just so your birthday would come faster.  You are just so excited!

Norah you have grown up so much this past year! You went from saying sounds to reading books. You have grown taller and lost your first tooth.  You ask so many questions and want to know the answers.

God had given you such a spirit of generosity and compassion for others.  When a sibling is sad over not getting something you most likely will share what you have to make them feel better!


You love love love your baby sister Amelia. You love to hold her and give her kisses. You have even gotten up early so you can have time to hold her before your siblings get up. ( which is saying something because you like to sleep in.)

Your imagination is the best! You love to think of things to play. This summer you created a fort inbetween some pine trees that had entertained you and others for hours. You sing lots and can memorize song so fast.

You love to eat cherry tomatoes, watermelon, and anything bread like. Legos and American girl Dolls are are your favorite thing to play in the house, while you listen to audio books with your sister.

You are my super passionate, know-what-you-want-girl. God has blessed our family with you life and I am so thankful. We love you so much Norah Reagan!

Lots of Love,



Amelia’s Birth Story- Part 2

We left off our story at arriving to the birthing floor and after they checked me they quickly confirmed that my water had broke. (Read Part 1 here) I was admitted and we were on our way. The floor in general was a bit under staffed and 5 women all went into labor within an hour.  They started to call in their on call nurses and the floor became a pretty busy place in the middle of the night.

God’s blessing #4- My labor nurse named Candise.

My labor nurse drove in to work from about an hour away and did my exam at about 11. I told her my birth plan of going natural and she said that ,” you’ve got the right nurse for a natural birth.” After they check me and I was only dialated to two a two and my contractions were only about 15-20 minutes apart.  They did a fetal heart check and everything looked good.

We decided to start walking the hallways to get this labor going. I really felt pretty good at this point and we walked almost 2 miles on that unit.

We went back into our room at about 1:00. They checked me and I was slowly progressing and was at 3. They started me on a slow drip with some pictosin to help progress labor. Then I got to go and sit in the tub.

Since there was no rest for the weary this night , Chris took a brief nap on the couch. I was breathing through some stronger contractions. At around 3:00 am I was starting to get louder in my contractions and Candise came to check on me. I told her I needed to get out of the tub and was getting pretty uncomfortable.

We had told them that I go pretty fast and so they thought this was showtime. Bless their hearts! They had gotten everything ready and woke up the doctor checked me and I was only between a 5 and a 6.

Deflating…… everyone left…. and I thought, “wow I’m tired!!!” Now the room was empty again except for Candise , Chris and me.

Candise helped me get into different positions using: the excercise ball, this inflatable peanut ball, leaning up against the bed and sitting on the toilet. She was amazing and encouraging! At this point I was still able to breath through contractions and focus on my job at hand.

The hours between 3:00 and 5:00 were really a blur. I tried different positions and up until this point was doing this think all natural.  I think they checked me again sometime inbetween and thought I had another sac of water that was slowing down labor. I was still only dialated to a 7 or 8 at this point.  I was really exhausted and feeling the pain of labor. I had almost been up for 24 hours and I was done.  During these contractions I started to not be able to focus the pain and my body was locking up and tense.

I asked if I could have some drip IV and they also gave me a fast acting shot.  She asked me if I was feeling like pushing and I said no, but was feeling tons of pain. I was rolled over on my side and felt some relief fast. I was able to breath some though the contractions and not give up. This must have been shortly before 5:00 am. I remember looking up at the clock thinking , “!ive been up for 24 hours … I’m done… this baby is never coming. ”

I was pretty non coherent  at this point.  At this time Candise could tell I was close even though I couldn’t. She asked to check me and said th magical words, ” we are there!” And ” Marisa if you roll over on your back you are going to have this baby!” Everyone came back in th room ! The doctor checked me again and I was at a 10 at 5:15am. I pushed two time and Amelia was born st 5:16 am. Two pushes!!!

God’s blessing #5- The labor felt long but the pushing was short.

I was almost in shock by how fast she came out! They announced it was a girl, chris cut the cord and she was flopped on my chest.

She was beautiful and perfect ! She was 7 pounds 4 ounces and 20.5 inches long of pure JOY!

I was kind of in shock that she was so little, especially since everyone was so concerned about how big this baby was suppose to be.  She came out perfectly formed and so beautiful!

God’s Blessing #6: No stitches needed! Woot woot!

For any mama out there you know that this blessing is a game changer. You can push out a little person and still feel like a normal human. The placenta delivered about 5-7 minutes later. Then I got to nurse Amelia, close my eyes a bit and soak in the newness of this little life.

We called the Grandparents and our own kiddos. Then we were moved later that morning around 7 to the post pardum unit.  We had officially been awake for over 24 hours and I believe we got a chance to sleep before guest started to arrive.  Though we were tired we were anxious to introduce this little sweetie to friends and family.   Later that afternoon I was having a lot of blood clotting and we couldn’t figure out why.

God’s Blessing #7: Being in the hospital with staff that are amazing!!

My nurses and Doctors were amazing. They were so supportive and helpful and finally figured out around 6:00 that I had part of the placenta that was still attached in my uterus.  After that was extracted the bleeding stopped almost immediately as well as the clotting.  After that event I can say that it was smooth sailing.

I can fully and wholeheartedly say that the miracle of birth is something to behold.  I am thankful for the hand of God present before, during, and after Amelia’s birth.  AMEN


Amelia’s Birth Story- Part 1


I’ve tried to write down each of the kids birth story shortly after they are born. Reason being that mommy brain sets in, life marches on and God’s mercy in forgetting some of the pain does happen.

But for as much pain is involved in that delivery room something within me is sad when it is all over. Because those few precious minutes between being pregnant and having a newborn life put on your chest is  like witnessing a miracle. A miracle that only God could create and orchestrate.

If you are not one for birth stories I can tell you the short version: Mom made it and there was a beautiful baby born in the end. If you want to read the long version here is Amelia’s birth story just the way that God had planned

On Thursday June 1st, 2017 we had a pretty normal day. The previous day I went to my 38 week and 5 day check up and hadn’t really progressed that much and didn’t feel any closer.  On Thursday I went to my mops bible study in the morning. I left with lots of friends hoping they wouldn’t see me next week because I would be in the hospital or home with a baby.  We left did some errands and home for the remainder of the day.  When Chris got home from work that night  I told him I was a little nauseous but thought it was also just hunger. He agreed and made a yummy supper for us all. During supper he looked at me and said,” are we going to the hospital tonight? Are we doing this? ” my response was a total no. He then proceeded to fill up his glass of wine a bit more full.  After supper I left the table to go and sit in the rocking chair and suddenly

My water broke at 7 pm.

God blessing #1: Chris was home when I went into labor. 

My water has only really broke with Norah’s labor. It’s not a lot of water but enough to know that I didn’t just lose my bladder control but that something else is in motion here.Plans began to be put in motion.

God’s blessing #2: His perfect timing.

Grandma and Grandpa Maloney were called to come and stay at our house with the kids. Chris’ parents had just got back from the cabin and text that morning about being home and being able to watch the kids if we go to the hospital.

Chris’ adrenaline kids in and did all the random things outside he needed to finish, I finish packing my back and the kids were excited/ start to cry.

Grandma and Grandpa arrive and we start to settle down kids. Leeland is sad because he didn’t realize that he has to stay here instead of go to the hospital with us. Norah is sad too and Chris chats with her out in the porch about the baby.

God’s blessing # 3:  Putting our kids to bed before we leave.

Before Leeland was born and Amelia we got to put our kids to bed and have a normal goodnight. We prayed and calmed fears, gave hugs and kisses and said goodnight.

I started having small contractions maybe 15-20 minutes apart.  And we left for the hospital.  We arrived shortly after 10:00 pm.

We entered through the ER and were brought up to the labor and delivery floor. When we checked in they said they would do an exam to see if my water did break and if I would be staying here tonight. Chris’ response was , “She’s staying!” I don’t really do that thing were we go to the hospital and it’s a false alarm. When we go to the hospital we know that this baby is going to come!


Two Lost Teeth

Usually naptimes are pretty uneventful. I try to pass out in the chair with Amelia and the kids upstairs play quietly in their rooms.  

This nap time, however, ended with crying and much excitement. Lillian came with her loose tooth in her hand followed by crying Norah with her loose tooth in her hand. 

Lillian was twisting her very very loose tooth and it came out. Then Norah wanted to show Lillian how loose her tooth was and out hers came as well. 

This is Lillian’s 5th tooth lost and Norah’s first! I am guessing it will probably not be the first time in those girls lives that they experience something at the same time. Here is to sisters and all the moments that they share- good , bad, funny, and sometimes a little painful. 


Amelia {month 1}

Dear Amelia Joy,

Today you are one month old. I have said I don’t really know where June went this year . But then I just look down at you and know it was spent snuggling, caring and watching you grow. 

You are a summer baby. You have wore newborn onesies, bare feet and light blankets wherever you go. 

You have met so many friends and family! Your siblings still fight over who’s turn it is to hold you.  Everyone loves your name. People comment on your hair, and clear skin and how little you still are.

You have traveled to the berry patch, bible study, the spray park, play dates, church, Fairmont, the doctors and many more places in the van.  

You are my fourth baby and I have been enjoying this month so much.  


Your Mama

Funny Kid Quotes, leeland

Leelands running commentary

We missed Leeland while we were at the hospital about a month ago.We told him how quiet it was and that we missed all his words. We knew that he would have lots of things to say about the new baby after she was born. Here are a couple of ones that stuck out and I could remember!

  • After calling the kids from the hospital and telling them they had a baby sister Leeland cries and says, ” But I wanted a brother!”
  • After Grandma Wilken arrives in the hospital room Leeland rushes over to Grandma to tell her the news  of his new sister but forgets her name and says, ” Grandma, grandma…. it’s a ….it’s a … we have another one.”
  • After seeing her umbilical cord Leeland says, “What’s that thing sticking out of her tummy?”
  • While swinging he said, “Amelia is my favorite of all babies .”
  • After her umbilical cord falls off Leeland says, ” oh her plug is out.”
  • When his feet fell asleep the other day he said, ” mom I think my feet slept too long.”

Leeland you are so full of life and words. I have been telling people that since you didn’t get a brother you have now turned into two boys at once: double the energy, double the loudness, double the fun. Sort of like those old double mint gum commercials. But we love you  so much and all your words !