Friday, December 30, 2011

time with family

Lots of sweet family time these last weeks. So thankful for them.

Gram and Papa got the kiddos a sand table for Christmas and they love it!

Anna loves the piano and Andrew is so sweet to play with her!

Aunt Lauren spent Christmas with us and Madeline had a blast playing with her-lots of Little Women and Anne of Green Gables!

Gram & Papa are heading out for a cruise and will be up close and personal with penguins! So Papa spent some time reading up on penguins and sharing the info with Madeline & Simeon. They were very interested!

Aunt Lizzie has been in town for a wonderful long visit! We love seeing her and the kids love getting to go on one-on-one adventures with her. She also plays lots of Little Women & Anne!

Cousin fun...although pics are pretty difficult to pull off. It is comical to attempt though!

Best one we could manage!

Kelsey & Lauren-love these gals!

Matt, Becca, & Hudson came up for a quick Christmas visit. Hudson just turned 1 and it was so fun watching all the kiddos run around and play. Love love love my family!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

a post for my friend

We had a blast with your sweet kiddos yesterday. Everyday is one day closer! Soon ya'll will be playing and singing and reading and laughing and all the other wonderful things you guys love. God's Sovereign plan covers each of you-big yeas for that! Love and miss you and can't wait to see your three wonderful faces.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

Saturday, December 17, 2011


We are enjoying lots of Christmas merriment around here. Tree decorating, A Potter's House Christmas party, lights on the square, cookie making, Christmas music singing and dancing, sweet friends homecoming with their little boy, Hudson's birthday party, family advent, and more merriment is still to come! Big yea for quality family time, yummy foods, and celebrating in remembrance the birth of Christ. Joy and thankfulness abounding.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

thanks abounding and a fun tradition

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!" Psalm 126:3

November is drawing to a close, and I'd hope to have had more thankfulness-ing going on in my bloggyland but...anywho. We have this fun little tradition over Thanksgiving and I am very very thankful for it!

Nine years ago (pre-marriage), we began what has become one of my favorite traditions. We celebrate Thanksgiving with our besties on the Wednesday before. We absolutely l.o.v.e this time together, look forward to it for weeks, plan our menu very specifically and deliciously, and enjoy every moment. Each year we write down things we are thankful for, things we hope for in the next year, and favorite memories from the year. Then we seal them up and save them to read and enjoy the next year. We also write letters to each other and get the joy of reading those each year, too. It is truly truly one of my favorite times of the year! Since adding little babes to our lives we have turned our little one day party into quite the event. One of our crews packs up and we all pile into the others house for as long as we can all make possible. This year we stayed at our house and the Schwo's came over on Tuesday and we stayed all together until Saturday. We eat a lot, play games, talk, laugh, take long walks, and anything else wonderful we can squish in. Our kiddos love each other and play great together. It is so fun to watch them interact and we spent one night going around with them sharing things they are thankful for. It was a sweet time to share together.

I am so very thankful for our great friends...our history together, our fun and funny memories, the ability to cry, pray, and rejoice together...the blessing they are to our family is immeasurable.

I wish I could share a lovely pic of the four of us, or 9 of us, but that would require using our camera with the timer and having all people awake and cheery at the same time. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

snuggle bugs

Look at my 3 precious babies! They make me so happy & I am so thankful for them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


A few weeks ago Andrew took the ENTIRE week off and spent the whole time staying home and vacationing. It was such a blast! This is our second year to "staycation" and we plan to keep this tradition going. With three kids 4 and under there aren't a lot of places you could convince me would be a fun and relaxing vaca. Except the beach of course :) but that wasn't in the plan this year. This year we had great weather, ate lots of yummy food, watched movies at night, went to Terra Studios, Devil's Den, Boingo Bounce, and more. The kids love it and it is so nice to just enjoy calm time together. Here are some highlight pics.

Friday, November 4, 2011


There are moments and happenings in our lives when we know we need something more. Something we can't explain. Something our hearts break in longing for. I know it is the grace of God I seek. I know it is the unfathomable love of Jesus that alone lifts me from where I fall in all my broken nothingness to the glorious riches of abundant life in Him. I really really want to know Jesus as my Loving Gracious Savior.

Lord, teach me the meaning of your Word.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

rocky start but I HEART november

I think November just may be my favorite month of the year. I love fall. I love the color of the leaves. I love the cool crispy air. It all makes me so happy. And Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I love an entire month of focusing on thankfulness. Let me just say one thing I don't love so far about this started with a stomach bug. Hit me hard for 24 hours. Big yucks. But, on a thankful note, I am so incredibly thankful for my wonderful hubby, mama-in-law, and friends who came to my aid, kept my kids, prayed for me, checked on me, and so on and so on.

Anyway, here are a few things I am looking forward to this month:
1. Watching colorful leaves fly around my yard and then raking them only to jump in them with the kids.
2. Wearing jeans, boots, sweaters, and scarves.
3. Yummy yummy soups and breads.
4. Talking to my kiddos about what we have to be thankful for and Who we have to thank.
5. Eating turkey dinner leftovers over and over again.
6. Spending quality time with good friends and fam.
7. Chocolate Chip Pie. Yum.
8. Snuggling up on the couch with my hubby, me wearing his oversized sweatshirts, and enjoying evenings talking, watching movies, reading Scripture, and dreaming of what God has for our family.
9. Houseshoes.
10. Lastly, and this one is for my sis in law, I look forward to lots and lots of general merriment!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

my madeline is 4

Four years ago I had no idea. No idea how much love and goodness was about to enter my life. Four years ago I became a Mama. And now, tomorrow, my firstborn turns 4. Sweet Madeline, you are a true joy and light in our lives. You are passionate, tender hearted, faithful. You love quality time and to snuggle up with Daddy & Mama. You ask the best questions. You care for the hurts of others. You play the best pretend. You sing and dance and giggle. You remember everything with impressive accuracy. You are genuine. You take care of your brother and sister. You are so full of creative energy. Being your Mama is a privilege and blessing beyond description. I love you like crazy cakes my sweet little girl. Happy 4th birthday Madeline Grace Brill!

Friday, October 21, 2011

picture lovin'

If I could add a skill to my life skill list it would be photography. I have a nice camera and I love taking pictures but I only know about 3 things about how to use it. But I have dreams of one day being very camera smart and taking lovely fun photos. Until then I must rely on my precious baby faces to make the pictures look so great. And that isn't too hard.

Monday, October 17, 2011

and now he is 3

Our little boy turned three a few weeks ago. He was so excited about his birthday. Whenever asked about it, he would say, 'do you want some cake at my birthday party?' What a sweetie. This little fella makes me melt over and over again. He makes crazy faces, laughs like there's no tomorrow, cries big fat crocodile tears when things are hard, shares his toys with Madeline, tickles Anna, tackles Andrew, and has the most determined heart. So determined in fact that when he decided he needed his training wheels off his bike he learned to ride by himself within 3 days. Did I say he's only 3? He has a very stick to it attitude, gives big hugs, and we are so incredibly thankful for him. Happy 3rd birthday to our sweet Simeon Andrew Tekalegn Brill!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

behind but still here

Well over the last week or so my computer kept telling me I had 'malware'. Whatever that means. Apparently it was coming from a link I had to my friend Amelia's blog so I removed it. Sad. Sorry Amelia. Hopefully we can get you back as soon as someone explains to me what might need to be done. Anyway, we are in the middle of a W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L family stay-cation. Meaning, a vacation in which we stay home. 5 whole work days with no work. Much happiness going on in our home. More on staycation later but for now, here are some pics of my funny funny kiddos.

what are you guys doing?

being silly?

I will get you!

Monday, September 26, 2011

birthdays, laughter, tears, prayer, and bravery

I sat Sunday night surrounded by so much goodness. Eight lovely ladies squished together in on cozy couches, ate yummy food, and shared life with each other. We all really needed that night. Good, Christ-focused conversations were free flowing. It always is an encouragement but I was especially blessed and in awe of God's goodness to me through this group of women I get to call my friends. We got together to celebrate birthdays but did so much more. And I cherish cherish the quality of time, the easy depth of discussion over Christ, marriage, parenting, failures, struggles, and joys. These women are brave and honest and vulnerable and willing. And that is hard. And it means so much. What a blessing to cry together over pain and hardship, to get down on our knees before our Jesus and seek His will, His grace, and His mercy, to pass babies around and laugh at their sweet faces and loud noises, to know that we know that we know that we each love each other, pray for each other, and desire to be more like Christ with and for each other. I am so very thankful for my community. Thank you Heather, Jenny Beth, Jayme, Ginny, Amelia, Sarah, Bek, Brooke, and Sarah. You are much loved and appreciated.

Monday, September 19, 2011

thank you Jesus

On Saturday we had tickets to the Razorback game. We had made a plan for me and Madeline to have a special date and go together. If you were around here then you know it r.a.i.n.e.d all day long. Actually, poured. Like crazy. So sadly I was assuming we would not be trekking out to the game. Right before Madeline went down for her nap she asked me, when is God going to stop the rain so we can go to the football game? I told her I wasn't sure. She told me excitedly, I know what we need to do! We need to pray and ask Jesus to make it stop so we can go. So we did. And He did. And we went. It was such a sweet sweet prayer from my little girl. Full of hope, joy, and total belief that once she prayed, it would for sure happen. Because she believes fully in her God who answers prayers. I love moments with my children where I see more of Jesus because of who they are. He is very good to keep showing me more of Him through them. On the way home we stopped at Bliss for some delicious strawberry cupcakes and gave thanks to Jesus for answering our prayers and letting us go to the game.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

happies, Barack & Abe

In May, my sweet mama-in-law & I braved a long road trip to OH to visit fam. My academically minded father-in-law gave the kiddos some educational treats for along the way. For each state we drove through he printed a state map and pictures of any presidents who came from that state. So, as I'm sure you all know, driving through IL we had pictures of 2 presidents. Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. Well somehow in the process Simeon got a bit confused and kept calling the picture of Barack Obama by the name Lincoln Abraham and the picture of Abraham Lincoln by the name Barack Obama. It was funny. And he was very adamant. A few days ago my academically minded husbanded was sharing world news with the family from the paper. On the cover was a picture of Barack Obama. When Simeon saw it he shouted, "Look! It's Lincoln Abraham!" We laughed and attempted to correct him. He said to me, "No mama. It's actually Lincoln Abraham not Barack Obama." I figure, who cares? He's cute and can get away with things like that. About 15 minutes later he was following me to my closet and right next to it is a trashcan with pictures of the presidents on it. And who does he immediately spot? A black and white photo of Abe Lincoln. He grabs the trash can and shouts excitedly, "HERE is Barack Obama mama!" Then he ran off with the trash can to tell Andrew. Yeah, we know...he's incredibly cute.

Also, amidst this whole conversation Andrew asked Madeline if she knew who was in the picture and she said, yes, it's Broccoli Obama. Feeling pretty good about our parenting right now.

blemish is beauty

Some good friends of ours are doing great work with their foundation, 99 Balloons. Right now they are launching an 8 week blog series entitled, Blemish is Beauty, focused on the plight of special needs children internationally. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

life in pictures

Our life in pictures over the last few weeks...trying to get a little me in the memories. :)

One day I fixed my hair up a bit and Madeline wanted her hair curled as well. She had about 8 tiny ringlets in her very fine hair. It was super precious. She wanted to take a pic and this is what she came up with for us. Love this girl.

Every week we go to the library and scurry ourselves around there and toss several books into a bag and scurry ourselves out. It must be quite the sight for those around me. But I can't help but brag that my kiddos are generally very good. I'm sure the don't mind Anna pulling every book off of a few of the low shelves in the kids area. Or Madeline shoving our library card into every card reader looking thing at the self check out desks. Oh well. Anyway. We usually pack ourselves onto a couch during Anna's second nap enjoy some good reading. This is us right after what we call, library time.

And lastly, Andrew's parents gave us tickets to the first Hog game and Simeon got to go! He was very excited. Called the Hogs. Played tackle. Sang the fight song. Like I said, very excited. Until that is the first firework went off after the first (of many) touchdowns. Let's just say he's not a big fan of loud noises and they left a bit early. :)