Wednesday, August 17, 2016

some random pictures

So you can see our faces once a year. :P


  • We are very close to getting a permit for our addition, which means work can begin again and we'll be that much closer to moving back in!
  • Peter now says "all done" and "juice," and lets me know when he needs a new diaper.
  • I have only 3 more books to read before I complete my 30-book reading challenge for this year. (Yes, my eyes are very tired.)
  • I have been organizing a 26-player string ensemble offertory. We play next Sunday night and I can't wait! 
  • I am currently teaching 10 students. 
  • I have been staying up till 1 AM most nights (because I am a fool), so if you see posts on other forms of social media at ungodly hours of the day (or night), that's why. 
  • Chris, Peter, and I are counting the days till September when we get to go to Sanibel, FL with some of our fave in-laws. 
  • I've been getting to do all kinds of fun, random activities, which have been documented on my Instagram. (I'm waaaaay better with pictures on there than here.)
  • I've been very full of thoughts but haven't had the peace of mind to sit and translate them into a blog post, but maybe one of these days it'll happen. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

In the Desert - Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered;

"But I like it
"Because it is bitter,
"And because it is my heart."

Monday, March 7, 2016


The day after I posted the year in the review, my grandma died.
It was way harder for me than I thought.
It wasn't that I didn't expect it,
Or even that I didn't wish it for her.
But my mind was already sad,
And her heaven-going was the small breath
That pushed me over. Made me inhale slowly but sharply.

It was cold when we went to see her. Dark, too.
Her place was the same as I had left it last Tuesday.
Her clutter was still there, but less dusty.
Boxes of Christmas stuff sat patiently at her feet.
It didn't need to be sorted anymore.
"She won't need that where she's gone," I thought.
So many things she won't need there.

I was glad she had wrapped blankets around herself.
The night was cold, after all.
I know it's just a shell she left behind, but shells get cold too.
I felt warmer knowing she was warm.
We all crowded into her small place until it was so warm
We opened a window and let in the night.
The night air knew just what we needed.

Church was going on while we were there.
My throat ached, knowing my friends were probably praying
Just then for our aching hearts.
When one member of the body hurts, the others are there to help.
They provide the strength that is temporarily unavailable.
We were loved that night.
I suppose we all experienced heaven a little.

So I sat there and couldn't stop looking at her.
Oddly, it didn't bother me to be staring at death.
She had been in such pain that heaven was mercy.
(Oh to experience the joys of that place!)
Those eyes were transformed and were now beholding glory
As of yet unimagined by our doubting, timid hearts.
She was home.

They took her and I realized I couldn't sit there forever.
For a fleeting moment, I wished I hadn't been so close to her.
One less game of Yahtzee, perhaps, might've made
This parting easier. One less conversation or one less laugh
Might take four inches off the crack growing in my heart.
Why did she have to love me so hard?
Didn't she know how difficult it would make this night?

Those next few days were a kind of controlled chaos.
So much sorting. So many tears.
I found pictures and certificates and hospital bills and candy wrappers.
A life does not fit easily into so many boxes.
How to decide which items to display to represent a person?
Seventy-six years of poetry reduced to a single line.
Life is not fair, I know. Decisions must be made.

Funeral day.
I have the usual quandary of whether to wear bright colors in celebration,
Or to wear black because it's 'what you do.'
I wear black and white to compromise.
Peter is dressed in what makes him happy.
She would've wanted that, at the very least.
We are ready.

I play violin with my sister and I am a wreck inside.
"Just get to the end of the hymn, the service, the day," I think.
We know she is in heaven. We will see her again.
But the beauty of funerals is God lets us cry.
He bottles up our tears. He remembers them.
I hadn't wanted to cry in front of my friends, my family.
But I needed to, and I did, and I'm glad.

So many dear ones came.
They didn't just bring themselves; they brought stories and hugs, too.
We put candy in the casket, because death requires some silliness, no?
There was a lot of food, but I saw the love and time behind it all.
I felt closure and it felt good.
"She would've been very happy," I kept saying.
I was so thankful for the joy everyone brought with them.

I didn't want to be there when they put her in the ground.
Like I said, it was just a shell.
But she would've wanted me there, so I made myself go.
We trudged through thick snow in our church shoes and shivered from
More than just the cold.
Dad said some words and we nodded and cried, and it was time.
It was my turn to say something.

I walked up to the casket and almost tripped.
I couldn't see.
I stared at the pattern and wondered why I picked such a stupid color for the shell box.
"It didn't look this color in the book," I thought.
"Goodbye, Gram" was all that I managed to get out.
Sometimes, words are not as necessary as they are polite.
Thank God she knew this.

We went home and began the process of healing.
Wounds are individual, you know.
Each one heals differently, uniquely. On its own schedule.
For tiny moments, I'll feel like mine is gone.
But memories are ghosts and they are not afraid of daylight.
My ghosts are many.
I cannot wish them away.

I am not sad for her; I am sad for me.
Selfish, I know.
I was lonely before, and then she left and I am aching. Truly.
She was not just a grandmother but a friend.
(I believe that cliche to be appropriate.)
There is so much I will miss.
I will always long for just one more Tuesday at her house.

Gram, words were our chocolate. :)
Thanks for listening to everything I had to say.
It is because of you -- it is all because of you.
Two-Person Solitaire just got a whole lot more difficult to play.
Eva Cassidy is singing "Over the Rainbow" and we've stopped rolling dice
Because the beauty of it hit us at the same exact time.
We smile and keep playing.

I will work hard as I'm headed closer to you.
Peter will hear every story; see every picture.
Our family tree will continue to be filled in
Just like you wanted.
I will sing and play and read and love.
You always wanted another poem. Well, Gram,
This one's for you.

- with all my heart, Rachael

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 // a year of transition

Last year was a crazy one. It was super busy and full of traveling. On top of all that, we were learning how to get used to life with a new baby, and, more recently, living with my family while our addition is being built. Chris has worked very hard all year, and I am SO proud of him! He has been an amazing husband and father every. single. day. I am so thankful and blessed to call him mine. :) And Peter, as you already know, is our not-so-little bundle of joy! We have had such fun watching him grow and develop, from being able to roll over on his own, to saying his first words. :) 

We took a LOT of trips this year. In February we all drove down to SC for Chris's brother Todd's wedding. Peter looked sharp all dressed up in his first suit. :) The wedding was beautiful, and my new sister-in-law Anna is awesome!

In March we went on a big trip to the FL Keys with my family. Peter found the salty southern air very exhausting, but he liked it, nonetheless. Everyone thought he was the best dressed person on the trip. :P Chris and I enjoyed kayaking through the canals and seeing manatees. The funniest part of the trip was the fact that I had no way to bring Peter's usual bed, so we made a makeshift one out of my suitcase! (I know, it sounds terrible.) But he loved it and slept through the night most of the trip!

In May we drove to SD for Chris to help with some construction projects. I enjoyed visiting with my in-laws and getting to celebrate some of my nephews' birthdays. 

In August, I drove Peter, my best friend Meghan, and myself up to WI to visit our best friend, Laura, at her new home. It was SUCH a fun trip and I was so thankful Peter behaved during the 1.5-hr car ride. It was my first time driving out-of-state! We had a great time visiting with our newly-married pal of 20+  years. :) 

In September, we went on the most anticipated trip of all - Sanibel Island, FL! We rented the exact unit we had on our honeymoon, and we brought Peter along, so it was a super special time. We visited all our favorite restaurants and tried some new ones, and of course we gathered TONS of shells to bring home. Chris enjoyed fishing late at night. He caught several beautiful fish! We tried to have Peter sleep in his own room, but after one night of him getting lost in the bathroom trying to find us, we ended up grudgingly cosleeping multiple times. :P Here is my favorite picture from the trip.

Our last trip was in October. Chris's sister Aimee had a whirlwind courtship and engagement, and got married at the end of the month. We drove up to SD again for the last Marsceau wedding for a while. I enjoyed getting to know my sis-in-law Anna better, and it was cool to see Peter and his cousins play together. He didn't get the whole sharing thing (why would he?), but he loved having people more his size to play with. :) 

I was thrilled to be a bridesmaid for the first time this July! My aforementioned friend Laura married a great guy, and the event brought together many awesome young people for the bridal party, some of whom I had met before. Chris was an usher, and Peter kept the lobby company with Grandma. :P

Chris and I started assisting my parents in teaching Patch the Pirate Club at church on Wednesday nights. It's been hard to leave the PeeWee Patch kids, but it's a good growing experience working with a different curriculum and age group of kids. 

We made the big move into my family's house in November. Our addition is really coming along! I'll have to do a separate post with pics sometime, but basically it has doubled the size of our current house, and will add a master bedroom, master bathroom, laundry room, and new kitchen. I can't even tell you how thrilled I am about it! There isn't one specific thing I'm most excited about because EVERY single aspect of this project will be such a wonderful change from how it's been. I'll have a dishwasher now, and a washer and dryer (!), and Peter will have a nursery instead of sharing our room, and I won't be working with yucky steel kitchen cabinets, or a moldy fridge, and I'll have more than 3.5 ft of countertop, etc. etc. etc. Oh my goodness, I'm excited and humbled and thankful! We are in the process of choosing cabinet style, flooring, and backsplash for the kitchen right now. Chris took me to a cabinet showroom and a tile shop the other day, and it was fun to meander around discussing options. Honestly it's a bit overwhelming for me to choose what I want. Not used to that in a house at all. I like to work with what I'm given, so this is very different. I am the stereotypical girl, too, saying I want one thing and then choosing an entirely different thing altogether, so I'm already driving Chris mad, but it'll all happen eventually. ;) When it's done, I hope you all will come for dinner. That is one thing I am really forward to that I haven't been able to do much with my tiny house. 

In November we celebrated Peter's first birthday! Oh, it was so much fun to put together! I shopped for most of the party stuff online and found some good deals on cowboy decor. He loved all the excitement and especially his gifts. :) He did NOT like his cupcake, though. He got frosting on his hand first thing and then spent 5 minutes trying to get it off and crying concernedly. Barely even got to the cake. :P In November also my mom and I tried a cleanse out of The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by JJ Smith. I was super grouchy in the beginning because I thought I am NOT going through all this only to have it not change a thing. If I didn't see results, I was suing the world. Well, in 9 days I lost 10 lbs!!!! I was so excited! I remember at the beginning of the year saying, "If I could pay money to just magically lose weight, I would!" And the ingredients for this cleanse were pretty expensive since we went all-organic, but having just 3 smoothies a day just melted away the pounds. I know I'm unaware of the amount of sugar and carbs I put in on a daily basis, and this kind of opened my eyes to what can happen when you clean things up. Pretty cool!

Musically I jumped back into the swing of things after having Peter. I took on a couple more students and rejoined the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. I played a total of 7 concerts this year and sang in our church's Easter cantata. This year I have even more students so I'm looking forward to learning even more through teaching! 

And now, my favorite part. THE BOOKS. I died a little yesterday when I realized I ended the year 4 books short of my reading goal, but there's always next year, right? :P Here are the books I experienced in 2015:

A Lineage of Grace - Francine Rivers
Lose Your Mummy Tummy - Julie Tupler
Agenda 21: Into the Shadows - Glenn Beck
Not a Fan - Kyle Idleman
"Shouldn't You Be in School?" - Lemony Snicket
I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith
The Cases That Haunt Us - John Douglas
The Princess - Lori Wick
Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
Fly Away - Patricia MacLachlan
Relationships - Timothy Lane
The Swan House - Elizabeth Musser
The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander
The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge
An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir
A Little in Love - Susan Fletcher
The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse - JJ Smith
Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard
The Immortal Nicholas - Glenn Beck 

Wow, I love to read, guys. :P I love to watch movies more, but this year I want to eclipse my love of the screen by love of words on the page. ;) I am obsessed with Goodreads, so if you love to read and love social media, come visit me here

Well, that pretty much wraps it up. I'm typing this without glasses so I'm sorry for typos I'm missing right now. Thanks for still following me even though I am less than faithful with posting. Here's to an awesome 2016!