The Macs » Blog

Well, somehow two whole months have almost slipped by and I haven’t made time to update this little space of mine. Those three adorable boys are keeping me on my toes and although they sure can wear me out, there is nothing I love more than chasing them around. There are so many things I could update you on but thinking about where to start is too much for my brain to handle right now. Ha! So, lets just start with this past weekend. Sunday was our annual trip out to the Flint Hills with Joel’s family. Per usual, it did not disappoint.

IMG_8413newOur first stop every year is at this sycamore tree for the cousin photo. Joel and his siblings took family photos here too! I always say this, but I need to get my hands on one of those photos to show you.

IMG_8430newEvery year we all look forward to Bammy’s (my mother-in-law’s) fried chicken. I mean, who makes fried chicken for a picnic lunch? I scored big when I married into this family!

IMG_8445newThe only bad part about having so much good food is you barely have time to inhale it before the kids are begging to head out into the water.

IMG_8461newThe rest of the day is spent playing in the creek with occasional snack breaks of course.

IMG_8452newThis is my oldest nephew, Henry. He is such a great kid and cracks me up all the time. By next year he will probably be taller than his sweet mama. I don’t know how that happened so fast.

IMG_8449newAnd these are the littlest three cousins. I’m sure I will blink and they will be outgrowing their mamas too.

IMG_8458newBut for now, they dig away and require constant supervision. You’d better believe I am going to soak it up as long as I can!

IMG_8503newJake was a big fan of the creek.

flinthills3

IMG_8489newThrowing rocks was his favorite.

IMG_8509newEverywhere I turned, the kids were on some kind of adventure…

IMG_8514newcatching crawdads…

IMG_8521newsneaking off to drink way to many cans of pop…

IMG_8528newand swimming.

IMG_8533new flinthillsThis kid. He is getting so funny. He has the best facial expressions and does not hide how he feels. I forgot how much I like this almost 2-year old stage.

IMG_8537new flinthills2Last years excitement was a snake in the water, this year Uncle Ben caught a big fish with the kids’ net. They were all very impressed with his skills.

IMG_8545new

Chatting with Bammy.

IMG_8481newHere are all the Mac cousins lined up…we were just missing sweet baby Lenore who is in China. This whole growing up with your cousins as your best friends thing is so foreign to me, but it is so wonderful. What a precious gift these kids have in each other. It was such a good day together.

IMG_8557newBye-Bye (said in his loudest voice)! See you next year, Flint Hills.

sharepinTweet
  • Marsha Kern - My cousins were my best friends growing up-my Mom came from a family of 9 and we all lived pretty close so it was wonderful, so happy for your kids!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melinda - I can’t believe how big Jake is! I remember seeing posts of one of your older boys wearing the cycle shirt when they were his age. It’s amazing how fast time goes!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Ashley - Oh this makes me so jealous! I love this! So “free range!” lol. I love that the boys all are just able to go off without parents hovering, letting them play, and get wet and get dirty! How lucky they all are to grow up together. I never had that, but am blessed that my boys get to grow up with my sister’s boys. Between us we have 6 boys, ages 9, 7, 6.5, 6, 3, and 3 🙂 It’s crazy, but wonderful!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Michelle L - I had to Google ‘crawdad’. It’s something I call a crayfish. I love the translations between American and Australian English. Beautiful pictures Jess. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Meggie - Love reading updates about your family! Such a fun tradition!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Toni :0) - What a beautiful family!! Such special memories you are making. How wonderful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Mary Ann - I look forward to your Flint Hills adventure every year. Those yearly memories mean so much to kids…and parents. It’s a beautiful thing. Your boys are so precious.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

Three weeks ago today I found myself once again painting rocks with the boys and preparing to take a little trip to the cemetery as a family to visit Cora’s stone. Our trips there are less frequent these days and as you probably can guess by the promptness of my blog post, life is full and busy and that is a good thing. That same day three weeks ago, the wind blew like crazy. If you are not familiar with Kansas weather, let me clue you in. It is windy here. But there are some days in Kansas that the wind is particularly horrible. My husband always says this kind of wind makes him angry. It just makes me want to relocate the farm…like to Hawaii. But seriously, on these days you stay inside if at all possible. If you must go outside you can hardly keep the door from flinging off its hinges or slamming shut on one of your sweet children. You feel like you might actually blow away, you can forget about having a good hair day, there is dust flying everywhere, and even in the safety of your home you can’t escape the howling sound coming from outside. I may be exaggerating slightly but out here in the country the wind can be intense.

February 8th was one of those days this year.

IMG_1856As I went about my day, feeling the gravity of what the date marked in my life and the little girl that I continue to miss more than I can even try to explain here, I couldn’t block out that howling sound seeping through my windows. Seven years ago I was living my happy, “blessed” life. Things were going just like I had planned for the most part. Life was really good and really safe. I felt like I had Christianity and life, for that matter, all figured out. And then out of nowhere I got shoved out my front door, the door slamming shut behind me before I even had a chance to catch my breath. Gone was my safe, comfortable life. Without any warning my life was turned upside down and I found myself in the middle of a wind storm. It knocked me flat on my face and I felt like even if I tried to get up, the grief, like the wind, was just going to knock me over again. Everything felt scary and unfamiliar. I was confused about what God was doing in my life. I wondered how He could allow my daughter to have cancer…how He could allow her to die. I wondered why He didn’t show up for me when I had seen Him show up for so many others. The questions and confusion were almost as intense as the storm itself.

image5I didn’t know any other way to anchor myself except to Jesus. My feelings were telling me that I would never experience joy again but I knew if there was any chance…any chance to get through the storm…it would be with Jesus. HE was my hope. I was still hurting and confused and I didn’t understand what He was doing, but I knew He held the answers. So right in the middle of that storm I brought my unable to stand, hair in my face, dust in my eyes, tears streaming down my cheeks, beat-up self to Him. I was a mess, you guys. But do you know what I found? I found that Jesus didn’t forget to show up for me, He had been there the whole time. He met me in the middle of that windy mess. He met me in my sorrow. He wasn’t caught off guard by my confusion or my questions. He was compassionate and comforting. He just kept drawing me in closer. I found as I continued to choose Jesus, soaking in His Word each day, He didn’t give me all the answers but He showed me more of Himself. And He was more than enough.

image4Slowly, He gave me the strength to stand again. With His hand in mine, we began walking back towards that house. The months went by and the winds seemed less severe. I never thought I would get out of that storm, but one day I realized that I was once again in the calm of my house. The battle scars were still there, the grief still resurfaced from time to time, and there was a hole from a precious little girl that would never fully go away. Things would never be the same. But do you know what the amazing thing is? Most days I’m okay with that. I know that the peace and confidence in His good and perfect plan is only because of Jesus. The pain is still so very real and there will always be a longing to have Cora in my arms, but I don’t want to go back to those days because through the intensity of that storm, He changed me.

IMG_1857So three weeks ago, as the wind howled, I was reminded of a storm. But more importantly, I was reminded of my faithful God who never left my side through it all. He is the only reason I am standing today. Those little painted rocks started out as something we could make together as we remembered Cora, but now they represent so much more. As the rock pile grows so does my confidence in His character. He is who He says He is. I’ve read about it in His Word and seen it proven over and over again in my own life.

image3The winds are going to blow. Even here in my small town the storms are raging in the lives of people all around me. Where will you find the stability and strength to navigate through the storms? Our lives can change in an instant, can’t they? But God never does. He is consistent with His character, trustworthy in His promises, and so very faithful. It is easy to get consumed by the chaos and confusion that the wind brings all around us. Let us fix our eyes on WHO He is and anchor ourselves in the firm hope we have in Jesus. Even the wind obeys Him.

Even the wind and the sea obey Him.

Mark 4:41

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40:1-3

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Hebrews 6:19

sharepinTweet
  • Lauren - Your faith is a beautiful testament and your words are powerful to my soul today.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Mary Ann - In our church, there is a song we sing that says: The winds and the waves obey His will; Peace Peace be Still. It is a beautiful reminder of all the Savior did for us and that we can always find hope and faith in His almighty hand. Maybe one day for you, the wind will be a gentle breeze and it will tickle the back of your neck and mess your hair a bit….but in that gentle breeze, perhaps the wind will be the whisper of your precious daughter. She loves you!! She is aware of you!! She will never be forgotten. I will pray for you that you will continue to find hope and trust in the Lord. We don’t know the reasons things happen the way they do but I continue to trust that it is part of the plan He has for us and that someday, we will all have our perfect day when we are together with all our loved ones again. Thank you for sharing the cute pics of your boys and their wonderful rocks.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • babykatesmom - What a beautiful reminder to read today, Jess thank you for sharing your heart. Your family is never out of my prayers. Thinking of you all as you celebrate Cora’s birthday soon. I don’t remember seeing that side of Cora’s stone before, so nice to see those pics of your boys visiting. Continued prayers from Florida.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Brittany Price - Loved this post so much! I love it because I know it to be true! I’m in the thick of grief right now after my world got forever changed with my husband passing away, leaving me a widow with three under three. Jesus is good, faithful and Hope. He is true through the pain & remains trustworthy as our sweet Savior. Thank you for proclaiming Jesus! So thankful a friend sent me this post.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kristin - Beautifully written and inspirational. Please write a book.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Marsha Hinkle - Hugs to you! Jesus is faithful….I have followed your story for 8 years. Your story had made me cling tighter to the truth – found in Jesus.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jayne - You have such a wonderful gift of sharing your heart in a very eloquent way. I started reading your blog when your precious Cora was just sick with the ear ache. What followed broke my heart for you and your husband and my tears flowed for a couple I did not know. I continue to read your blog and I so enjoy your heartfelt posts and your family pictures. Your faith is awesome and your love for family is outstanding. May Jesus continue to wrap you in his arms until you can hold your precious Cora in your arms again. Thank you for sharing with your readers.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jennifer Tucker - Beautifully written and so true. He is always faithful. Thank you for sharing with us.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • amber - Just beautiful. Your story & sweet Cora still bring tears to my eyes. As someone who found you at the beginning of this journey, I am truly in awe & inspired by the way the Lord has worked in you & used you since those early, dark days. It is so very, truly, bittersweet & radiates Jesus. Thank you for the way you humbly share the way the Lord is working in you with the world. It’s life giving!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Toni :0) - So very sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort during this tragic time.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Toni :0) - My comment was for Brittany above. I thought it would plug in under hers.

    Jess, it amazes me how long it’s been. I still pray often for your family. Cora is never far from my thoughts as I always think of her in our intentions at mass. Continued thoughts and prayers as her birthday approaches. Loved the timely scripture as we have suffered a sudden job loss (again) and my daughter who is a dancer injured her ankle and is now in a cast for three weeks. I know we can weather this storm just as we have in the past as long as I keep the faith. God bless you for sharing this.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather - Oh Jessica, this is so well said! We have a faithful faithful King! I’ll be praying for your hearts this week! Love you guys! HeatherReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Amie - Oh dear sweet Jess, thank you once again even seven years later putting everything that is precious in perspective for me! You are an amazing friend and mom! Thank you for reminding me even through the storms to have faith in Jesus! I love you dearly! Hugs and prayers always!❤️??ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • House Stuff | Small Town Nebraska - […] We also went to look at where my grandparents had their farm. I remember my grandma taking care of her chickens in this chicken house. It must be a sign that I need chickens.They augered their grain into the window at the top of this building. My 92 year old grandpa remembers tining the roof of that building with my cousin and noticed that some of the nails were starting to come out of it. Wish we could’ve jumped out and fixed it for him. Such a good reminder that our things will fall apart and we will fall apart. Let us hope in the God who doesn’t change, the One who even this fierce, spring, midwest wind obeys. […]ReplyCancel

  • Baby Bottle - Beautifully written and inspirational.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

12508794_1737565313141433_6044667307359686385_nThis precious boy is Nathaniel. Last May, at 15 months old, he lost his battle with leukemia. He left behind his sweet parents, Sean and Christina, and sister, Cecilia. Next week his family will be celebrating his second birthday and he won’t be there to blow out the candles. My heart just breaks for them…a million times over.

12541133_1737564879808143_7064317322070842556_nI’ve had the privilege of “meeting” Nathaniel’s mama on the phone. She lives locally, so we are hoping to meet in real life soon. Nathaniel was so loved and they are missing him like crazy. He was the most adorable little boy and he loved books and bubbles. In honor of Nathaniel’s birthday, his family is collecting books and bubbles to be distributed at local hospitals to bless other kids battling illness. One of the hospitals they will be taking these gifts to is Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. If you have been following me since the beginning, you know that Wesley is where Cora fought her battle with cancer. Wesley is close to my heart! They will also be delivering books to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.

Would you guys help me bless Nathaniel’s family and the kids at these hospitals? Would you consider sending a book or some bubbles to honor Nathaniel’s life? Nathaniel’s birthday is February 13th. They are planning on taking the books and bubbles to Wesley February 15th. Please have all gifts delivered to the address listed above by February 14th. I know that this doesn’t give us much time, but since Amazon Prime is our bff this is totally doable, right?! Amazon Prime for the win. They will also be delivering books to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City on February 27th. So if you can’t make the first deadline there is still time!

If you have any questions you can use the contact information listed above. You can also leave a comment here or email me and I will get the information to Christina. And if you can’t donate, would you consider praying for Christina and her family as they travel this hard road of grief?

Thanks so much for helping me love on this family! You guys are the best.

To read more about sweet Nathaniel you can visit his Facebook page here.

sharepinTweet
  • k&c's mom - Can I send a check to the address in Kechi, Kansas?

    Yes, I’ve been following you since Cora’s journey, and it helped me through some similar journeys in my own life. I’d love to help, but this would be the mort practical way for me to contribute right now…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Thank you so much!!! Yes, I am sure a check would be wonderful. Maybe just make a note that it is for the Bubbles & Books Drive. I know this will mean so much to them!!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Thank you so much!!! Yes, I am sure a check would be wonderful. Maybe just make a note that it is for the Bubbles & Books Drive. I know this will mean so much to them!!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Deborah Pruden - Jess,
    I sent a bunch of books in 2 different Amazon orders. They should arrive tomorrow. If there is a next time for books, I can get books through the Scholastic book orders with my teacher account at quite a discount, but it takes a couple of weeks. I’d be honored to help.
    Deborah Pruden aka @caittyquilts on IGReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Thanks so much Deborah! You are so generous and I know your gift meant so much to Nathaniel’s family.

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Thanks so much Deborah! You are so generous and I know your gift meant so much to Nathaniel’s family.ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Crystal - Hi Jess. I have followed you for years and your story and testimony has left an imprint on my life and has comforted me during the loss of our son. We actually just had our third daughter and we named her Cora. I have always thought it was beautiful and I first heard it from you. My husbands name is Jake so I’m partial to that name as well. 🙂 Through you I heard about Nathaniel and I just sent 4 dozen bubbles to the address listed. Jess, God is using you in big ways. Thank you for allowing Him to, I know I’m not the only one whose life you have touched.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Hi Crystal! Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your precious son. I would love to hear more about your son and your story. We will have to talk more! I am so thankful that God used this little blog to extend comfort to you…so amazing how God works like that! And I love that you named your daughter Cora. So sweet! Thank you for sending bubbles to Nathaniel’s family. I know this will mean so much to them. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Hi Crystal! Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your precious son. I would love to hear more about your son and your story. We will have to talk more! I am so thankful that God used this little blog to extend comfort to you…so amazing how God works like that! And I love that you named your daughter Cora. So sweet! Thank you for sending bubbles to Nathaniel’s family. I know this will mean so much to them. Thank you!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Sarah - Thank you for sharing – I sent copies my son’s favorite book “Brown Bear Brown Bear” for the collection.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Sarah-Thank you so much! I know this will mean a lot to Nathaniel’s family. Brown Bear Brown Bear is one of our favorites too!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Sarah-Thank you so much! I know this will mean a lot to Nathaniel’s family. Brown Bear Brown Bear is one of our favorites too!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

compassion-bloggers-ecuador-2016-spotlightHave you been following the Compassion Bloggers in Ecuador? I have admired the women on this trip for a long, long time but their words and photos have totally captivated me this week.

Compassion+Bloggers+Ecuador+2016-DayTwo-51Shannan’s Blog

I met Shannan at Hope Spoken a few years ago. I remember inhaling delicious In-N-Out burgers (I was pregnant and starving!) as I listened to Shannan share her story our first first night in Dallas. Her heart for the Lord and for people oozed out of her every word. If you read her blog, you know what I mean. She truly loves her neighbors well.

2.1.16CSP-02(pp_w744_h496)Ashley’s Blog

When I think of Ashley the word intentional comes to mind. Ashley is so intentional in everything she does…raising her kids, using her voice on her blog, advocating for adoption and foster care and so much more. She has the biggest heart and is just as sweet and intentional in real life as she is on her blog. I love what Ashley wrote today…

Sometimes in an effort to protect kids from pain, opportunities to see them soar are also taken away. I want my children to learn from an early age that the world is far bigger than the 5 mile radius we spend most of our days. I want to be the one to expose them to world – its joys, pains, cultures, people – in age appropriate ways.

Yes!

A+Step+Towards+Hope+{Compassion+Blogger+Trip+Ecuador+2016,+Day+2}Ruth’s Blog

I haven’t had the privilege of meeting Ruth in real life, but I have been following her blog and Instagram for awhile now. I mean, she is a mama to six boys…I feel like I have a LOT to learn from her! More than being a boy mom, Ruth’s dependency on God’s Word as she raises her boys has been such an encouragement and challenge to me as I raise my own boys. She is a wise woman.

I have known about Compassion for a long time. One of my dearest friends recently moved to Colorado so that her husband could take a job with Compassion. Joel and I have even casually talked about sponsoring a child several times, but just never have. I don’t know why we have waited!

We are quickly approaching Cora’s Heaven Day and Birthday. Each year we try to think of a way we can celebrate Cora’s life by investing in others. This week as I’ve read the beautiful yet heartbreaking stories of the people of Ecuador and seen the impact that Compassion has had on the lives of these precious sponsored children, my heart was stirred to sponsor a child this year for Cora’s birthday. Like Ashley said, I long for my boys to know that our world is far bigger than our farm in Kansas. Sponsoring a child through Compassion seems like the perfect way to celebrate my daughter’s life and begin to give my boys eyes that see outside our little white farmhouse. I am praying that God would use this small, small gift in big ways to impact two sweet boys across the globe. But more than that I am asking that He would change our hearts and give us a bigger vision of who He is and what He is doing around the world.

I can’t wait to get our packets and dive into this new adventure!

Go check out what Shannan, Ashley and Ruth are doing in Ecuador and consider sponsoring one of these precious children!

sharepinTweet
  • Mary K - Wow! Compassion is such a wonderful organization – awesome people! So glad that you’ve become a sponsor – you’ll have a major impact on the lives of two boys in Ecuador! I sponsor a little girl in the Dominican Republic. I hope that everyone who follows your amazing blog becomes a sponsor!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Mary – So fun to hear about all these people who are involved in the Compassion sponsorship program. We are excited to be a small part of this now!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Mary – So fun to hear about all these people who are involved in the Compassion sponsorship program. We are excited to be a small part of this now!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Amanda - I just wanted to share with you that because of THIS post, my husband and I sat down together and sponsored a little girl this morning. I have heard about Compassion before, and have even read similar blogs in the past … but recently, I just felt led. Your words and links definitely helped, so I wanted to thank you. Genesis in Ecuador now has a sponsor because you listened to Jesus and shared this post. God Bless, Jess! Thinking of you and your family as you near Cora’s anniversary.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Amanda- Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I am so excited for you and this new journey with Genesis. We can’t wait to invest more in the two little boys we sponsored as well. Thank you for praying for us!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Amanda- Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I am so excited for you and this new journey with Genesis. We can’t wait to invest more in the two little boys we sponsored as well. Thank you for praying for us!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Becky Fouts - Jess, It was the earthly loss of our beautiful, wonderful, smart and funny little 3 1/2 year old niece, many years ago, that prompted my husband and I to begin sponsoring our first Compassion child. It felt good to help a child still living on earth, in honor of our Megan. She loved Jesus, and would have loved that we did this. Years later, we sponsor 8 kids, and are so thankful to God for this opportunity!! You will be blessed, and you will continue to honor Cora, and glorify God!! I love reading about your sweet boys, please keep blogging!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Hi Becky! Thanks so much for sharing this. What a sweet thing to do in honor of your niece. That is so awesome that you sponsor eight kids now! Wow! What a blessing to each one of them to have you in their life. I am excited to start our journey with Compassion. And I will do my best with the blogging! 🙂

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Hi Becky! Thanks so much for sharing this. What a sweet thing to do in honor of your niece. That is so awesome that you sponsor eight kids now! Wow! What a blessing to each one of them to have you in their life. I am excited to start our journey with Compassion. And I will do my best with the blogging! 🙂ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

It is hard to know how to explain life lately around here. I feel like it has been awhile since we talked. Just like your days, my days have been a mixture of joy and sorrow, exhaustion and excitement. Days that are really hard and can’t come to an end quick enough and days I wish I could linger in a little longer. Like Friday, for instance. Seven years ago Friday, Joel and I were nervously waiting with Cora in a little room when our pediatrician walked in to give us the news that turned our world upside down. We had no idea….no idea….how our lives would forever be changed. Friday, I sat in that same office with Jake for his eighteen month well-child checkup. I was overwhelmed by the comparison of the gravity of that day in 2009 to the giggles that were coming from the healthy little boy I was carrying as we walked out of the office to continue on with our very normal day. As I was visiting with our pediatrician I mentioned to him that seven years ago we were in his office with Cora and how thankful I was to be sitting there at a well-child checkup instead. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and gave me and Jake the biggest hugs. First of all, we have the best pediatrician ever. He is so good at his job and has the kindest heart. It was such a gift to me, as we once again enter this season of hard anniversaries, to see in his eyes how much he cared about Cora and our family. God used him to extend comfort to us that very hard day seven years ago as he sent us off to the hospital with sweet Cora and he used him again on Friday to give me a big hug when I really needed one. Even seven years later, I sensed God’s nearness in the most unexpected ways.

So, Jake is eighteen months old. He still feels like the baby but then I see all these friends bringing home new little ones and I realize that he is pretty much a little boy now. I don’t know how that happened. He is the sweetest little cuddly thing and yet keeps me on my toes like never before.

IMG_1285Can you sense the orneriness?

IMG_1319We are working on raising our third little farmer. Jake loves playing cows. He always wants to sit in the middle of the pens and he just started making the most adorable “nom-nom” sound when he feeds them.

IMG_1073We are becoming very familiar with this adorable pouty face. He loves his brothers. So much. He thinks he can do anything they are doing. He is so determined to keep up which means lots of climbing on all the things…and lots of falling off all the things. Anytime I intervene, well, you can imagine his response!

Did I mention that we got a dog?! If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that we got the boys a dog for Christmas. I guess we didn’t think chasing an eighteen month around was enough of a workout so we decided to throw a puppy into the mix too. Ha!

gusMeet Gus.

He is a chocolate lab and we waver back and forth between deep love and “why did we get a puppy?!” with this little guy. He really is a good puppy most of the time. Unless he is going potty in the mudroom, accidentally knocking Tiny over in excitement, or using those sharp puppy teeth to bite a hole in Levi’s winter coat (yes, he did)…but we won’t talk about that.

IMG_0946I mean, it doesn’t get much cuter than this! An ornery baby and an ornery puppy. You will probably be seeing a lot more of Gus alongside the Mac boys in the days to come.

IMG_1117The rest of our days have been pretty normal…

Baking with lots of helping hands.

IMG_0947Too much time in front of the TV. We are so ready for summer!

IMG_1072Adventures with the Wild Kratt brothers.

IMG_1237Occassional moments of quiet and rest.

IMG_1022Helping dad whenever they can.

IMG_1158Celebrating birthdays.

IMG_1269Shopping with the boys when I am feeling brave.

IMG_1217And glorious days like this one. Days when we are all outside together and I have a moment to breathe in, look around and thank God for these most undeserved gifts…which right now mostly come in the shape of sweet, muddy little boys.

sharepinTweet
  • Meggie - Love this update! And I can relate to lots of it because my 3 boys are similar ages to your 3 boys. =) Always an adventure!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Meggie – For sure. Always an adventure!

    [Reply]

  • Tracy R - I have followed you and your beautiful family fore these past 7 years and have never commented, which I do regret. But please know not a day goes by where I don’t think of you or hope for goodness for you all. As a mom to 3 girls, I understand the daily business of life and It truly feels good to hear from you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Tracy – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for following along with us all these years! You are an encouragement to me!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Tracy – Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for following along with us all these years! You are an encouragement to me!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Toni :0) - Loved this update! Crazy to think I’ve been following for over seven years. Gone in a blink of an eye. Gus is ADORABLE! Congrats on your new furbaby.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Toni – Thanks so much for following along with us all these years!

    [Reply]

  • amber - I have been checking in & reading the stories about your sweet family since Cora was in the hospital. I just can’t believe how long it’s been, yet my mama’s aches for you knowing how very long it must feel for you on some days.
    But what a beautiful thing that has happened in your hearts & in your family. So grateful for this peek inside your heart, Jess, all these years. You are always a peaceful, gentle reminder that my hope lies in Jesus & all other things pale in comparison. Your family is beautiful & so fun!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Amber – Thank you so much for these encouraging words. God is so good and faithful and I am so thankful to look back over these last seven years and see so clearly that He has been working even through our pain. I love that.

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Amber – Thank you so much for these encouraging words. God is so good and faithful and I am so thankful to look back over these last seven years and see so clearly that He has been working even through our pain. I love that.ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Emily - Wow, it is hard to believe it’s been 7 years since I began following your blog and praying for your family.

    The little puppy is adorable and that last picture is just perfect.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Oh wow, Emily! Thanks so much for all your prayers. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Oh wow, Emily! Thanks so much for all your prayers. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Gin - Sweet sweet family.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Thank you Gin!

    [Reply]

  • andrea - So sweet! It’s always a joy to read your blog and see what you’re up too. Grateful to for the thumbs up well check, especially around a challenging date. Question about your bunk beds. 🙂 Where did you get them and how do you think they’ll stand up over time as the boys grow? Have been looking at some, but was never sure if they’d be as sturdy as wood (since we have boys too).ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Andrea – The bunk beds are from IKEA. We love them so far. They are very sturdy. The boys jump off them all the time and I feel like they will last a long time. We looked at a wooden set at IKEA as well, but they were definitely not as sturdy. Hope that helps!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Andrea – The bunk beds are from IKEA. We love them so far. They are very sturdy. The boys jump off them all the time and I feel like they will last a long time. We looked at a wooden set at IKEA as well, but they were definitely not as sturdy. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Ranee - Love this post…so much of the “normal”…the good and bad and hard and this is just such a nice reminder that my normal days are full of the same kids of things…and that God is in the midst of it all!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Ranee – Yes!

    [Reply]

  • Leah - Love the photo with a missing shoe.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Leah – He is always taking that one shoe off. It’s a miracle we haven’t lost it yet!

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Leah – He is always taking that one shoe off. It’s a miracle we haven’t lost it yet!ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) - I love the pictures! Especially the last one. Your new dog is adorable!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Thank you Stefanie!

    [Reply]

  • Mary Ann - I love your photos. Yes, we miss you when you don’t blog but I completely understand how busy you must be. Your doggy is cute. I love labs. What is the doggy’s name? I love the pic with you and your boys – of course Tiny has a shoe missing!! Baby Tiny is getting very big. Your boys are just so sweet. Those anniversaries are tough. I pray you will see God’s love and His kindness in many ways shapes and forms as you think of and honor your precious daughter, your beautiful Cora. Thinking of you today.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

    Jess Reply:

    Mary Ann – Thanks for loving the blog and my family. You are sweet. Our dog’s name is Gus. 🙂

    [Reply]

    • Jess - Mary Ann – Thanks for loving the blog and my family. You are sweet. Our dog’s name is Gus. 🙂ReplyCancel

      [Reply]

  • Baby Bottle - I love your photos.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]