Monday, March 31, 2014

Love Note #1

Love Bean,

I hope your imagination never fades. We've had countless laughs hiding under blankets from lions and witches, pretended the car is a rocket ship, had art shows, and you've used pixie dust fly out of a cave you were trapped in (in the grocery store) and to fly out of a dust storm. Listening to you talk to your best friend ducky, will always make me laugh. It's so much fun to watch you take an ordinary object and turn it into something else, like when you use your bell as your stethoscope or line up the chairs to make a train, all the while shouting, "All Aboard."

As you grow up, not everyone will encourage your imagination and creativity. And it won't always come as freely as it does now. Don't let that keep you from dreaming up something big!
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

—Albert Einstein

I love you so.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rockabye Baby!

Both of our girls love music. Rosalie is bobbing away in her high chair as I type this. What are we listening to? Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Weezer.

Rockabye Baby! has lullaby renditions of everyone from Bob Marley to Metallica and Jay Z to The Beatles. Rockabye Baby! is a favorite around here for sure, I have a Spotify playlist dedicated to it. It's also a great way to expose your children to other instruments and sounds.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Learning Process

In the beginning of finding out Gatlyn's diagnoses I was really confused. I felt as though I should be upset, and I was. But every time I got sad about it I realized it was going to be okay. Gat will thrive, he is thriving. He defeats every obstacle that comes his way. I am seriously amazed at the little guy's strength.

There are some things I struggle with raising a son with special needs.

1. Discipline: Sometimes his size gets to me, the kid is tiny and he crawls most places at home. I am a fan of time out and stuff as I have said in many post before this one. But, it seems weird when you can't just say you need to go sit in time out. I have to physically pick him up and put him in there. And if I forget he is in timeout, he can't just get down like the girls used too! lol. You know you have done that too.

2. Eating: Gat gets all of his main calories through his tube (because of his short gut syndrome). This makes it tough when we sit down to eat. I am trying my best to better my kids eating habits. Top priority has been eliminating countless snacks. I have roughly 3 snack times that I like to stick too. But when Gat wants to eat by mouth I want to encourage that too. So this is definitely a battle I am going to continue to have.

3. Kids Like Him: What does that mean? Because Gat has a disability? Or he has special needs, just say "Kids with disabilities". Nobody has ever started a conversation about the girls with "Kids like them...". It something that bothers me. You can call him disabled but preferably Gat, Gatlyn or one of his many other names will do just fine;) If you want to talk about his disability, lets do it! I love to talk about it. Cerebral Palsy is not a swear word so don't be afraid of it. I am so happy I am not anymore. I talk about it casually and would love to inform (not that I am an expert) you. Side note: maybe other parents don't want to talk about it. . . I am not one of those!

3. Clean up: Once again because of Gat's size and physical capabilities I never even thought to have him clean up. So this has recently been a huge undertaking for us. We have made a lot of head way and he is getting a lot better about cleaning up willingly. Although I did have a half hour standoff over the soggy cheerios he threw all over the floor Monday. It consisted of a lot of crying, 3 timeout bouts and 1 spanking (yes I spank in some situations). BUT we got it done! He cleaned it all up. . . the last 2 pieces were the toughest;)

I really don't think Jess and I intentionally don't make Gat do things. We mostly do it because we know it will be easier. Because crawling with a handful of crayons is a tricky thing. But I get sneaky and scoot them a little closer to wherever the crayon bucket is. SHH...don't tell Gat;) There is nothing cuter than him so proud he did it on his own. He basically is his biggest cheerleader.

All in all folks you'll be happy to know we are not just dealing with the Cerebral Palsy, we are living with it. No way the Schrock's will let that slow them down.

Remember to order your Team Gatlyn shirts!!! It's coming up quickly:) Link to our team page. Remember half the sales of our shirts go toward our fundraising goal. So help us out!!

This is a picture of them with their cousin before we left for Chicago!

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


It's hard not to brag about our kids. I think it's just a natural talent that comes with having kids. Especially with social media it's hard to hold back when you can tell and show the story or picture one time for everyone and their mom to see.

I will admit (even though it may not seem like I do) I try to refrain from posting everyday or every minute. But that's like having a box of thin mints and saying you're only going to eat one...impossible. I could do it a lot more because my kid is that cool. There I go again.

It's just, some days you just have to share. You are just to PROUD of what they have done to keep it to yourself. Some days you are just to PROUD of the gorgeous human being you have created to keep it to yourself. And when you get the feeling of proudness, that's what calls for a #humblebrag. It's ok to brag as long as we are humble, right?!

So here is my #humblebrag.

When I say my girl can color, I mean my girl can color! I would say her Fisher Price Doodle Pro Classic is her favorite medium right now, but crayons are also a go to. Here's what I'm talkin' about... btw she is two....

Her jelly fish

Mommy, Matty, Ruthie & Crosby with a rainbow.

The sun.

I would like to thank Ruthie's 4 year old teachers at Shannie's. I should be paying you girls more because your making my child a rock star.

Share your #humblebrag 's with us anytime...we know the pain you're experiencing trying to hold that proud moment to yourself. We would love to see! :)


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Light Bulb Moment

Okay quick plug about March for Babies. It is approaching quickly so get your tshirts order in!! Inbox us to place your order.

I have been slacking in my devotional and overall just spiritual life. I think it is so easy for me to do that when things are going good. I decided I needed to read something to get that fire started again. And of course the 3rd thing I read just took me there. It was a light bulb moment. I want to share.

We have been really struggling with how to deal with the disrespect and tempers of our kids. Dont we all want well behaved and even tempered angels?

I opened up my Bible App and clicked on a few new devotionals, they were alright. But then I started where I left off with a Parenting one. It just all made so much sense and now I feel like everyone needs to know. If you already knew this or felt this way...let me have my moment;)

There’s a common problem in many homes today. Disrespect. Refusing to consider each other’s opinions, interrupting when someone’s talking, never apologizing for a mistake. Sounds like I’m talking about children, doesn’t it? But, parents, I’m actually referring to the way you behave. 

Maybe you’ve seen it – a parent spewing anger or yelling careless words to control a child. You may have even done it yourself. It’s an easy trap to fall into. After all, such methods do create compliance – at least for that moment. But does it really make sense for a parent to demand respect by acting disrespectfully themselves? 

Disrespect is an attack on a child’s self-worth. Parents who scream, belittle, interrupt, and lecture endlessly will erode the connection between them and their child. And without connection, parents face a never-ending struggle. As author Josh McDowell says, “Rules without relationship equals rebellion.” Over the long run, disrespect from a parent will lead to less compliance from a child, not more. 

Another important consideration is what a parent’s behavior models. As you’ve probably already noticed, kids don’t need help learning how to be disrespectful. It’s part of the fallen nature at work within all of us. But that’s why it’s even more crucial for parents to keep themselves under control. It models for the child how to resolve conflict with another person while treating them with respect. 

Listen, I understand how tough it is to raise kids these days. But parenting with respect not only shows a child how deeply we value them, but the need to respect others as well. Today, ask God to help you model a life worth imitating. 
For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, at

I hope this maybe helped some one else too. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stretching Your Grocery Budet

I've learned a thing or two about smart grocery shopping over the last year or so. While I shop on a $50 per week budget, these tips can be applied to a grocery budget of any amount.

Tip For Stretching Your Grocery Budget—at the grocery store and at home
Shop The Sale Ad
This is my #1 money saving habit. According to my mPerks, I've saved $466.27 since January 1st. Over half of that ($264.18) has come from store specials.
Know Your Store's Reward System
I shop exclusively at Meijer, and while I don't think they always off the best coupons (they are often the same as what you can clip from the Sunday paper), their Rewards are pretty cool, and I love that I can pretty quickly earn $10 toward my next shopping trip.  This is one tip that could really help those of you with bigger grocery budgets—the more you spend the faster your rewards build up.
Don't Be Swayed & Know When You're Getting A Good Deal
I used to be easily swayed by a "good deal" or a "good coupon." But I've learned to resist the urge to get a good deal for the sake of a good deal. Along the same lines, you need to be aware of when you're not actually getting a good deal. For example, Meijer often puts Bush Beans on their 10 for $10, it seems like a good deal, except that Meijer brand beans are usually 89 cents and go on sale (sometimes in conjunction with a 10 for $10 sale) for 79 cents.
Look For Reduced Produce and Meat
Meijer marks day old pre-cut produce down 40%, often times I can get watermelon, pineapple or bell peppers cheaper that way. Once in awhile I can find the same thing in the chicken and pork coolers. I've never gotten anything that's rotten. An added bonus is that by specifically looking for the mark downs, you're helping to stop food waste.
Speaking of food waste—STOP DOING IT!
Be aware of what's in your fridge and about to go bad. It'll save you money, and it saves the planet.  I'm talking about those soft potatoes that are starting to sprout (they make great potato soup) or the peppers that are starting to wrinkle. Within the last couple months I've started to become more aware of food waste happening at places like the grocery store. I've started taking action in little ways, like buying single bananas (which don't sell well) instead of bunches.

Eat Leftovers
Tim usually takes our leftovers in his lunch. It helps stop food waste and it makes packing lunches a lot easier.

Know You're Meal Stretchers
Potatoes, rice and beans are awesome ingredients for making cheap meals that will fill you up. I love black beans and find them to be the easiest to add to a variety of dishes. You can even add them to salads.
Smaller Portions
Smaller portions mean more leftovers, which equals lunch, which equal one less meal to "pay for." But I guess, what I'm also talking about here is stuff like instead of baking the whole loaf of store bought garlic bread, cut it in half and save the rest for another night. Those types of tricks save you money and keep you from eating an entire loaf of garlic bread in one sitting. Tim and I aren't the only ones who do that...right?

Food Co-Ops and Other Nontraditional Sources
Thanks to a presentation at our local MOPS, I started getting some of my grocery items from the Woodland Food Co-Op. If you're in our area, you should totally check it out. I was able to get some items in bulk that were eating up my weekly budget. Another thing we do that makes my $50 a week budget doable is in the fall, together with my parents and sisters, we purchase a quarter beef. This means for the entire year, I wouldn't have to purchase meat. Now that we own our home, I'd love to plant a garden and can even more stuff than I did last year.

Break The Rules Once In Awhile
Like any list of rules, it's good to break them now and again. I break budget by a few dollars when Stella is especially good and I let her pick out a "special treat." And the other day, I went totally crazy (like $50 over budget!) because I hadn't planned and was generally annoyed at my self-imposed limit. It felt good to buy a few things that I deny myself almost ever week—frozen pizza, ice cream—and I'm pretty sure Stella got everything she asked for that day—fruit snacks, Teddy Grahms, ice cream.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Something Old
I'm sticking with is making most of Angry Bean's baby food myself. It's not something I do because I think it makes me a better mom, or because I think jarred food is horrible. We use jarred food too. I just happen to enjoy making it and I have the time to do it.

So far she really enjoys bananas, avocado mixed with banana, peas mixed with applesauce (I buy huge jars of "adult" natural applesauce), sweet potatoes, and parsnips mixed with pears. I have both with Angry Bean and Love Bean that mixing their veggies with fruit makes eating veggies no fight at all. I've actually read somewhere (can't remember where exactly, but more than likely on The Feeding Doctor blog) that kids' bitter taste buds aren't fully developed so it's totally normal/ it's science that kids have a hard time eating veggies.

We've blogged about homemade baby food before. You can read those posts here, here, and here.

Something New
We're using cloth diapers with Angry Bean. I'm not a cloth diaper guru, by any means. I actually really dislike using them. She seems to wet through them constantly. Maybe I just need to change her sooner? It happens so often though that I do not use them when we go out in public or at night. I hate messing with blow outs and diapers leaks in public bathrooms.

So why am I using them? To save money! I am on a journey to live a more frugal lifestyle. And since I could get the cloth diapers for free from Alexis (she used them for Roo), it saved me even more money because i didn't have the upfront cost of buying the diapers. It was just too good of a money saving option to pass up.

And as I was checking out an old post by Alexis about cloth diapering, I see a reader gave her a tip for making re-useable wipes. I'm planning on giving those a try too.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Fun

Bet ya'll thought we forgot about you. Don't worry we didn't. Jamie moved and is currently without internet, and yes she hates it. We have been battling some sickness and lots of appointments. And Al moved too! So its been a little cray cray up in here.

But if you didn't know it's March! Which means a few things. Spring is supposed to be on the way. Jo is going to be turning 6! (sad face, they grow up so quick) AND March for babies is right around the corner.

March for Babies is a 5k walk/run to raise money for March of Dimes. I personally have been touched my the March of Dimes family support in the NICU. They also raise lots of money for research and different things to help preemies. And if you don't remember this kid below was born at 28 weeks(which is extreme preemie status). So you can see it's a big deal to us.

ALSO...we are the ambassador family for the Grand Rapids, MI March for Babies walk. Which is also a big deal because all of the local March for Babies stuff has Gatlyn's story on it. I also get to share the day of the walk with everyone there! I am so excited about the opportunity.


I shared via Instagram a poster that will be around at March for Babies events. I had a request to read it so I will post it up here!

Sorry this is a screenshot from my phone. I am not really tech savvy so this is as good as it gets folks.

If you want to walk please sign up through the same link to donate. We would love to have you. If you want to walk but not raise money we are down for that too!! We want a lot of gold shirts on April 26th! Let's represent that small town community. 

If you have cash/check donations you can still track them online. Just go to your walker page and click TRACK DONATIONS. You are all awesome!

ONE FINAL THING...PROMISE. If you want a tshirt please let us know! We are putting the order in April 1st. THANKS!!!