Saturday, February 26, 2011

Construction has expanded...

in 2011's tent city. Fortunately, there is no cost increase in this expansion, but the construction workers have depleted our blanket supply.
The youngest, most inexperienced construction worker tried his hand at tent construction. Though it's not quite structurally sound, he was quite pleased with his first effort.
Construction is expected to be complete by the time Grandma and Grandpa Orton arrive for their sleepover tonight. They'll have a choice of where they'd like to sleep...tent city or our newly completed guest room. Hmmm...wonder what they'll choose? ;)

Family Fun

We've had so much fun these past couple of nights! On Thursday night, we went to Henry, Seth and Caroline's school open house. The kids were able to show us around their classrooms and share some of their school work with Dave and I. On top of that, the kids got glowing progress reports from their teachers, which put me on "Cloud 9" for the rest of the night. :)

Mrs. Zurko said that Caroline is a wonderfully creative story writer, and is a super strong reader! She has many sweet friends in her class, and always is cheerful and helpful.
Mrs. Galvan said that Seth always makes her laugh (as he is in this picture, showing off his lack of opposable thumbs), is growing by leaps and bounds in his math and reading skills, and apparently is the class's current "simile and metaphor star". :)
Mrs. Bateman said that Henry is well on his way to becoming ready for middle school! His organization, quality of work and class participation are all strong qualities in him right now, and that makes his mom and dad so proud!
I can't believe that our oldest will be going to middle school next year!
Then, Henry and Caroline spent some time yesterday morning constructing tents.
I thought it was so sweet of him to spend some time with his little sister like that. :)
And last night, we had a "family date night". We ate together at Chili's (and yes, I successfully "ate clean" there, which is no small feat for eating at Chili's),

where Evan and Caroline provided some dinner entertainment,

Untitled from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

and afterward went to see Tangled (rated 6 Nosek thumbs up) in the cheap theaters. Unfortunately, the money we saved on the tickets, we spent at the concession stand. Oh well. ;)
Tonight I'm taking my mom out for a girls' night, dinner with maybe a mani/pedi. Her birthday's in only a few more days! Can't wait, Mom!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Buddies, or...

Alternate title: Pictures that might have been cuter had my four-year old not broken my camera!

That's right. Mr. Evan, whom I still love dearly, decided that he needed to try his hand at taking pictures unsupervised by ME. I have about 400 (that might be a slight exaggeration) pictures of various (some unflattering) angles of Moxie, our ceiling, the floor, and a camera that has been dropped. Ugh.

So, pictures around here are now taken with Henry's camera or my cell phone. Evan and I went to play with my nephew, Robbie, while my sister, Karen, was at a meeting today. We had a fabulous time, and Evan and I both agreed that we can't wait to play with him again! :)

Playing trains...
Being happy together eating Happy meals...
Drooling over the Happy Meal toys...
Cousins in the playplace tubes...
Love :)...
How handsome are these boys?!
Putting lots of fingerprints on a playplace window...
Hanging out with Ronald...
I think that they kind of like him...
A self portrait of Robbie and Aunt Sarah...hmmm...need to work on this skill...
We love you, Robbie!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blue and Gold Banquet

Sunday was a big day for our boys. Both sets of grandparents and their family came to see Henry and Seth receive awards at the Blue and Gold Banquet.
We were all so proud of them! Seth has been in Cub Scouts for 3 years,
and Henry's been a cub scout for 5 years.
This was Henry's last year as a Cub Scout. He became an official Boy Scout at this banquet.

What an honor! Besides his Arrow of Light award, he also received an award from the American Legion!
Dave, Henry and Seth entered a cake in the cake decorating contest.

It's a beauty, huh?! The icing ran a little by the south pole, so they just labeled that spot as "Global Warming", lol.
So now I guess we have a Boy Scout and a Webelos! So proud of those Nosek boys! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Turning to my faith

The day after my aunt decided to enter hospice care, my sister, Lisa flew in from her home in Texas. I was so glad that she came when she did because she was able to spend some quality time with my aunt before she passed, and our family as well. She stayed at our house most of the time, and I was so thankful to have that time with her for many reasons, but the one that is foremost in my mind right now is that we were able to talk about our faith.

One conversation that we had was about how a few years ago, she felt that although she was going to church, she still felt a distance from God. She wasn't attending any Bible studies, wasn't really involved in her church, and wasn't reading the Bible. One of her neighbors, a sweet older woman, encouraged Lisa to come with her to a Bible study. Lisa did, and really that was the start of a strengthening of her relationship with God.

Lisa started describing to me how many times over the years how she felt that when she turned to God more, or leaned on him in crisis, it seemed that he would send her little signs to encourage her. One example that I clearly remember is when she was in a car accident with her kids a couple of years ago. She tried to stop her car and her brakes went out. She pressed them and NOTHING happened. Right in that moment, a Christian song that she loved flashed through her head, and she prayed, "God, only you can help us now..." They were in a very serious crash, and if they had not broken the axle of their car, they would not have slowed to a stop right before they entered the lanes for oncoming traffic. Fortunately she and her children made it through with very few injuries. That night, after an ambulance trip to the hospital where everyone was checked out, my sister opened her Bible and just so happened to turn right to the Psalm that contained the words to the song she thought of in the crash.

Here are the words:

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Can you imagine how comforting that would be to her? She just endured an crash where she and her children nearly lost their lives. God was telling her that He is watching over them night and day.

These thoughts really resonated with me. I go to church with my family. I consider myself a Christian and a good person. However, to be totally honest, I don't really read my Bible. I don't spend enough time talking to my children about our faith. I was not really growing closer to God, and in many ways my heart was hardened to the idea of doing just that. I have four children. I am a wife. We have a house to take care of. We have a dog. I am busy. How can I carve out more time to read the Bible more? How can I do more in my church? We already have so much going on with our kids' activities. I can't.

Then, this past week happened. I don't want to appear to be all dramatic, but God spoke to me like he did to my sister. There were so many times this week where I truly felt him. I knew that he was there with me, with my family and our friends.

The morning my aunt passed away, my sister and I were going to visit her again at the hospital. My mom had stayed the night with her, and when Lisa and I arrived, my mom told us that Aunt Shirley had not had a good night. Mom said that Aunt Shirley seemed to be in pain until about 1 AM, but the nurses were able to adjust her pain medication and she was able to sleep peacefully after that. After my mom filled us in, the phone rang. Lisa and I sat by my mom while she was talking on the phone. I looked over at my Aunt Shirley, and thought, "She doesn't look right."

I went over to her and noticed she wasn't breathing. We quickly got my mom off the phone, and I went to the nurse's station. On the way there, I saw that my aunt's best friend, Amy, had just arrived. She could tell that something was wrong, and went right to the room. The nurses came right away, checked my aunt, and confirmed that she had passed. (I was dumbfounded at the timing of it all. Amy, Lisa and I had all come to the hospital within five minutes of each other. My aunt passed away right after we got there.) We surrounded my aunt's bed, held each others' hands, and my sister, Lisa, led us in a beautiful prayer.

Obviously, it was an excruciatingly sad moment, but at the same time, it was an amazing blessing to be in the same room with someone that I love so much when they went to heaven. Afterward, my sister and I sat by my aunt's bedside where we talked about a Bible study my sister is in. A verse that they had just talked about was Luke 10:42... Do you remember this story? Jesus was visiting Martha and Mary. Martha was very busy preparing the meal for Jesus, trying to be the best hostess she could. Instead of helping Martha, Mary chose to sit by Jesus and visit with him. Martha was angry at Mary, and when she shared that with Jesus, his response was, "Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Lisa and I talked about how that applied to our lives. So many times we concern ourselves with how much we need to get accomplished, how much we need to clean our houses, all the things we need to do. God seems to be telling us in this story how all of that does not matter as much as our relationships, with him and with the people we love. We need to strengthen those relationships...nothing matters as much as that. Thinking of my aunt...that is how she lived her life. She was extremely close to God, and always, throughout her life, cared for those that she loved. She was always helping, always encouraging, always loving. That is why we told her so many times what an inspiring aunt, teacher, woman she was. She truly was, and still is a huge role model for us. It was a wonderful conversation, made even more special by the sacredness of the moment.

Fast forward to the my aunt's funeral yesterday. It was truly a beautiful service, a celebration of my aunt's new life, filled with hymns and verses that were her favorites and spoke of what she believed. Guess what the verse was that the pastor used in his sermon? Yes, it was the one that my sister and I had talked about right after my aunt passed, Luke 10:42.

Apparently, God wanted us to hear it again.

When we heard it, my sister and I just looked at each other. Wow. What is contained in that verse is a powerful lesson, and I want to learn from it.

Then, rewinding to when I was making the photo collages for my aunt's funeral, I kept playing a song that I have on my blog's playlists. It felt comforting to me while I was reflecting on the wonderful memories that I have of my aunt. It's called, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I love it. I had heard it on one of the blogs that I read, and right then and there put it on my playlist. It's actually the song that you heard when you opened my blog today. I love the melody, but truthfully had never paid close enough attention to the lyrics.

I think that God wanted me to pay attention.

At the funeral service, we sang this song. I felt His presence through these beautiful words...

Come, Thou Fount of ev'ry blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace:
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee; May I still Thy goodness prove.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand'ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter Bind my wand'ring heart to thee;
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.

Oh, that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in the blood-washed linen How I'll sing Thy wondrous grace!
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransom'd soul away;
Send Thine angels soon to carry Me to realms of endless day.

It is amazing to me that now that I am listening closer, He is speaking to me. I hope that I can continue to have an open heart and open ears to hear what He has to say. Now what? My sister and I have committed to each other that we will read and share with each other the first of the four Gospels, Matthew. And I am going to see if there is a moms' bible study at my church that I can join.

God, you've got my attention. I'm listening.

James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photo Therapy :)

My sister, Lisa, and I made a collage of pictures for my Aunt Shirley's many wonderful memories...

Untitled from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So proud...

...of this boy!! Henry is going to receive his Arrow of Light award tomorrow at the Blue and Gold Banquet, and will cross over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Henry and his dad made the arrow and plaque together. Tomorrow morning they are making a cake for the cake contest that is a part of the banquet. Being the mom, apparently I'm not supposed to help. Please say a prayer for my kitchen. ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Shirley Lehman was promoted to heaven at 10:25 this morning. She went peacefully, from her earthly family into her heavenly Father's waiting arms.

Thank you, God, for a life so beautifully lived.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts while sitting at my aunt's bedside...

--Life is short.
--I want to be the kind of Christian, the kind of aunt, the kind of friend, the kind of woman that my aunt was.
--This process, while exceedingly sad, is also unbelievably beautiful. She has been surrounded by love from family and friends around the clock through this whole process. The memories that have been shared, the powerful sincerity with which feelings have been expressed to my aunt and between family and friends, the outpouring of affection and emotion, all of this process is filled with beauty befitting my aunt. I am honored and grateful to be here.
--In the first conversation alone that I had with my aunt after she decided to enter hospice care, I felt like I couldn't find the words I wanted to say to her. I felt awkward, and worried that I might say the wrong thing. She was so graceful in saying to me, "Sarah, I know, what do you say at a time like this?" I am so grateful that I had the chance in the days afterward to become more comfortable, find the right words and time to say them. I am so grateful to have the chance to hold her hand, stroke her arm, give her sips of water and moisten her lips, change the washcloth on her head. I was able to feed her a popsicle, holding her hand and helping her to bring it to her mouth, and for some reason, thinking of helping her eat that popsicle is bringing fresh tears to my eyes. I am so grateful (sorry if I am overusing that phrase) to have the opportunity to care for her.
--I love her voice. It has been ever present in my life, from the day I was born. It is unique, and sweet, and it expresses such kindness and caring into her final days. I marvel at the way she has responded to nurses and doctors, always a sweet "Thank you" or "That's good" despite the amount of effort that it took to say it. I don't want to forget her voice.
--She was able to visit with most all of her family and friends, either in person or on the phone. She cheerfully greeted everyone, even if she had been in a deep sleep moments before. I held the phone to her ear when she spoke to her brother, my Uncle Gordon. Hearing her cheerfully say, "Hi, brother!" is something I will always remember.
--We take turns sitting by her bedside, so when we are not there, we are in the hallway outside her room where we have set up camp. Spending lengths of time with my family, and getting to know her friends better was such a blessing, and so very comforting.
--The social worker from hospice met with my mom, my sister, Aunt Shirley's best friend, and me yesterday. The guidance and comfort that she gave us was invaluable. One thing that she shared with us was her experience with patients as they near the very end. She said that many people have told her that their loved ones start talking to people, saying the names of people that have already passed away. It was her belief that when someone dies, they are transitioned from earth to heaven by their loved ones that have gone before them To think that my Aunt Shirley is being prepared for and escorted to heaven by her mom, dad and brother is such a comforting thought.
--Another thing that the social worker suggested for us to do is to always greet Aunt Shirley when we arrive for a visit, even if we are fearful of disturbing her from a sleep. It is comforting for to know that we are here, and sometimes, even if she can't respond, she might be listening. My mom and dad spent the night at the hospital with my aunt last night. Mornings are usually the time when my aunt is the most awake and talks the most. This morning she was mostly sleeping. A couple of times she tried to talk but couldn't. My parents told my sister, Lisa, and I this when we arrived at the hospital at noon today, so we didn't expect much when we walked in to greet Aunt Shirley and found her sleeping. We said, "Hi, Aunt Shirley. It's Lisa and Sarah. We've come to visit you." To our surprise, she opened her eyes, looked at us, and said "That's nice!" Such a sweet, unexpected blessing.
--Along those lines, we also say goodbye to her when we go. Last night before we left, my sister and I went in together again. We said, "Aunt Shirley, it's Lisa and Sarah. We are going to be going home for the night now. We just wanted to say that you are such an amazing aunt, and you are our role model, and we love you so much." She looked at us with a big smile, and said "I know you do. I love you too." Again, such a sweet blessing from her that I will treasure.
--I know that not everyone gets to say goodbye to their loved ones in this way. I know how fortunate we are, and I am so very grateful to be by her side tonight.
--I love you, Aunt Shirley

Our Sweet Valentines

On the way home from the hospital last night, my sister, Lisa, and I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some Valentine's treats for the kids.
Yummmm...donuts and eggs on that's a good breakfast!
Sweet Seth with his favorite candy, York Peppermint Patties.
And here's Caroline and Evan showing off their goodies.
And as if the Valentine excitement wasn't enough, Caroline was visited by the tooth fairy last night. Do you see anything missing in her smile?
Grandpa Nosek pulled it out for her yesterday when they were celebrating Great-Grandma's birthday at the lake. Happy birthday, Great-Grandma! Caroline informed me that Grandpa is now beating me in tooth pulling. He's pulled 3 of her teeth, and I've only pulled 2. I told her that I have dibs on the next one. :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Beautiful Tribute my Aunt Shirley, written by my sister, Lisa...
Just click here and here.

The past couple of days have been very difficult ones. However, they were also beautiful and love-filled, sentimental and sweet too.

Our family spent the Thursday night and day helping to support Aunt Shirley as she made tough decisions. She will probably be with us only a few more days, so Friday my dear Aunt Shirley decided to enter hospice care for her cancer. They are working to ensure that my aunt is comfortable and pain-free. Family and friends have been with her around the clock since then. My wonderful husband has watched the kids so that I can be at the hospital as much as possible.

This time with my aunt and my family has been so bittersweet. We've cried, we've laughed as we shared sweet memories together, and we've just enjoyed being together with my aunt. Despite the sad circumstances that brings us all together, I am thankful for this time.

I am so sad to say good-bye to my aunt. I wish that we could have more time. I don't want to let her go yet. However, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to have some one on one time with her, where I said what was in my heart.

She has lived such a beautiful, godly life, and I know that she is going on to a better place. And she'll feel so much better there.

But I will miss her terribly.

Evan's Preschool Valentine's Day Party

Yesterday, I spent the morning with my youngest son at his preschool's Valentine's Day party. So fun!

The kids made their own mailboxes for their Valentines...

They they delivered their Valentines to all of their friends. Connor assisted Evan. :)
The kids made their own Valentine "IPODS" made out of a Conversation heart box and Hershey's kisses.
They had yummy Valentine treats...mmmm. I am so proud that I didn't cheat on my diet today!

I loved their sweet Valentine song!

Untitled from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

Here they are in line, all ready to go play some Valentine games in the gym.

They played a game of matching numbers on hearts.

When we got home, Evan sorted through his Valentines, very pleased with all of his loot. :)
Then he told me, "I love you, Mommy. You came to my preschool today!"
What a sweet little Valentine boy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Aunt Shirley

My Aunt Shirley, who I love very much, is continuing to fight cancer. She has had a really tough time for the past few days. She is often in my thoughts and prayers but even more so tonight. I get updates from my mom and dad (Aunt Shirley's brother) who are always at her side, and I just am praying for my aunt's comfort and wellness to return. I know that she is fighting very hard, but it is a very hard fight.

Right now she is not having many visitors simply because she is uncomfortable and tired, and her immune system is very compromised. I wish I could visit her. I wish I could do something beyond sending flowers and making get-well cards with the kids. I know how much she appreciates these gestures of love, but I wish that somehow I could give her more.

She simply has always been an amazing aunt. When my siblings and I were children, she would have us stay with her for a week. She would spoil us and play with us. She would let us dress up in her old dresses. We went camping with her. She took us on vacation with her to a very special place for our family, Pentwater, Michigan. She was a teacher, and let us help her set up her third grade classroom. She was one of the reasons that I became a teacher myself. Guess what I taught? Third and fourth grade. :) She counseled me through my college years, encouraged me as a young teacher, and gave me all of her teaching materials when she retired. When I started dating Dave, she right away loved him, and when we married, always told me what a good choice I made. We got together at countless holiday celebrations, and she never missed one of our childrens' birthday parties. We would go out for special dates to lunch or dinner. She would never fail to tell me what a good mom I am, even when I doubt myself, and always tells her friends with pride how wonderful her great nieces and nephews are.

She is such a good person, and I can't stand to see cancer hurting her.

Will you please say a prayer for my aunt?

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I've been on my diet and working out for about 5 weeks now, and all has been going well except that I overdid the running a little bit. I now have runner's knee, and can't run on it again until it heals.

I was discouraged at first because I've been doing really well, feeling motivated and seeing results. I didn't want my knee to derail me from the progress I was making, and I didn't want to use it as an excuse not to work out. So for the past week I've been checking out local health clubs and using guest passes to swim laps. I've been enjoying a different kind of a workout, and although I've never done a lot of swimming, I do feel like I am improving.

Dave has been very supportive of me during this process of getting back into shape. He's watched the kids while I've been working out, and has not complained once about the different foods I'm bringing into the house. This morning he surprised me with an early Valentine's Day present...a year's pass to our local health club. I had contemplated just buying a pass monthly until my knee was better, but he thought that doing more swimming would help me with my back and knee because it is a low-impact exercise. What a thoughtful gift! So this morning Dave again watched the kids while I went to work out.

When I came back home, the kids led me to the back door to show me something. This is what I saw...

Awwww... Apparently he, Caroline and Evan made it together. They followed him in the tracks he made. The thought of it makes my heart go pitter-pat. ;) Wish I could have seen that!

I do believe that this was one of my favorite Valentines I've ever gotten.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lucky, lucky boy

Evan got to have playdates with two of his best buddies today. Ryan came over in the morning, and Connor came over after nap time. Evan was in a very happy place today. :)

Yes, if you were wondering, he did wear his Spiderman costume all day long. And Connor was pretty happy to don the Mr. Incredible costume. They played superheroes the whole time!

These two LOVE each other. When it was time to go, they gave each other the biggest hug and wouldn't let go...

The older kids thought it was so funny that they did the same thing! :))
Funny kids!

This dog... a big fan of snow. Can you tell? ;)

Untitled from Sarah Nosek on Vimeo.

Last Saturday, when we were at my in-laws' house, Dave and his brother, Mark, took the kids and Moxie on a little hike in the snow. When they came back, Moxie was COVERED from head to toe in snow that seemed to be fused to her fur. Her legs looked like she was wearing white moon boots! Her face looked like this...Honestly, I was surprised that she wasn't walking into walls because of all of the snow on her face blocking her vision. The only thing to do when she gets this covered is to use a blowdryer to melt all of the snow off of her. I think that my father-in-law thought that I was crazy.

Silly, silly dog. :)

Happiness is...

playing Playdough with a pal!

Evan LOVES his good buddy, Ryan, so when I told him that Ryan was coming over for a playdate this morning, saying that he was excited would be a major understatement. ;) He asked when he would be coming, and I started to say, "As soon as you get dressed..." I was going to continue with, "and we get the house cleaned up a little bit, and Mommy has to shower too." However, he was already running upstairs to get dressed. Hee-hee!

When Ryan finally came, after Evan asked me 42 times when he would get here, they played a little castle, superheroes, and then finally settled on playdough. They played at that for about an hour and a half! I loved how hard they were working at rolling out their playdough, and how they had to stand on their chairs to cut out their shapes.

They Evan got a little silly and made a hat out of Playdough. I'm glad Ryan gets his sense of humor! :)

Then these two cute little monkeys had lunch together.
I'm so glad these two are friends! :)