The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

What's Something You Never Believed Until You Experienced It Yourself? July 5, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — michellehuegel @ 6:02 pm
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Until I held my first child in my arms, I didn’t truly believe in the depth of absolute, unconditional love that comes with parenthood. I didn’t comprehend the depth of love God has for me as His child. I didn’t understand the phrase “just wait till you have kids of your own!”

Then they handed me my firstborn, my son. Maybe it wasn’t even that moment. But at some point in the next few hazy, painful, exhilarating weeks I experienced the closest thing to God’s unconditional love that we can experience here on earth – the love of a mother for her child.

Now I’m the one saying “just wait till you have kids” – because no words can describe the feeling. It permeates every aspect of life and colors every interaction with your child.

What is something you never believed in, or that didn’t seem possible or “real” to you, until you experienced it personally?


Whatever happened to December?? December 17, 2009

Filed under: Journaling,Life in General,Photos — michellehuegel @ 10:37 pm
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If you’ve been avidly following my December journaling adventures (hah!), you may have noticed that they suddenly ceased. Well, there’s a reason for that. But I’m not telling. I will, however, provide you with the missing Day 5. 🙂

Dec. 5th

Practicing for the church Christmas musical today helped restore a little of my elusive Christmas spirit. Although “practice” may not be the right word for Josh, Cai, and I did: entered the stage when told, sat on a bench, and accepted gifts from the four wise men and women (didn’t know there were four, huh? Guess you’ll have to come see Bertrand Bible Church’s Christmas play on December 13 to hear the story!). Then we exited stage right. I think. No, it was our left, so stage left. Right? Good thing I’m not an actor, that always confused me. Cai had a blast crawling up and down the stage risers when he wasn’t sitting (not) quietly on my lap, and I think the whole musical will turn out great. Tim Blake always does an awesome job of writing and directing!

After practice and a quick emergency stop at Wal-mart to find a shirt to wear for family pictures later, I checked out Brandywine High school’s Christmas bazaar. Actually they called it a holiday bazaar, but that’s a personal pet peeve of mine. Although I didn’t find any Christmas gifts, I did connect with a couple area writers who are forming a Niles-area writer’s club! What perfect timing! God truly works in mysterious ways—I’m so glad I followed His prompting to go scope out the bazaar!

Due to my serendipitous meeting, we barely squeaked into our appointment at Picture People, which was absolutely swamped. Everybody and their mother-in-law came for family Christmas pictures today! Cai didn’t cooperate all that well—he either raced away the minute we posed him or wailed. I’m very impressed with our photographer, who still managed to capture some adorable shots. She has a very quick trigger finger.

And speaking of mothers-in-law, we met up with her and my sister-in-law after the photo shoot, and she helped with the monumental task of choosing just a couple of pictures from all the amazing ones. I dread that part. I just want them all! We had a great visit with them and Josh’s grandma that evening. Cai sure enjoyed all the attention! I wonder if he’s getting spoiled. When he doesn’t get his way, he screams and growls. Which, of course, everyone finds hilarious and laughs at him, which doesn’t really reinforce the “no.” Oh well. We’ve got time. Did I mention it’s his first Christmas? Nothing better for Christmas spirit than watching a child experience Christmas lights, trees, ornaments, Santa, Christmas cookies, and presents for the first time! I’m loving it!


December Dealings Day 11 December 11, 2009

Filed under: Journaling,Life in General — michellehuegel @ 8:45 pm
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Dec. 11th

After a very rough night with Cai and fighting with Josh to help out a little (he’s a different person at 2 a.m.), I decided that mommy needed a break. Fridays are Josh’s day off so I nursed Cai a little before noon and left him, sending up a little prayer that everyone and everything would be in one piece when I returned. I spent the afternoon at my mom’s working on the Christmas calendars. Picked up some ink at Wal-Mart and had my dad get the matte photo paper at Best Buy (evidently that’s too specialized for Wal-Mart to carry??). Mom and I even managed to slip in the Top Chef season finale!! It was remarkably peaceful. I went back to get Cai around 5, and amazingly, he had been fed, changed, put down for a nap, and seemed no worse for wear. The house, on the other hand… well, houses can be cleaned. It appeared that Josh had tried to build a play-yard of sorts to contain from all the available items in the living room.

Tonight I might stay with Cai at my parents, it’s so freezing cold and icky outside. I hate packing everything up and going home then trying to settle Cai down again to sleep. We’ll see. I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished today – got the first mini calendar all printed. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll cut out the pages and assemble it. I dread the final step—adding physical embellishments—because it requires me to dive into the deep dark hole of my parents’ basement to find the supplies. Pray for my safe return…


December Drama Days 6 and 7 December 7, 2009

Regurgitated directly from my brain for your reading … uh … pleasure. I hope.

Dec. 6th

After church and an amazing lunch at my mom’s (we’re all enjoying the fruits of her being home instead of working all day!), we spent the day with Josh’s family. I always enjoy that time, because they take over Cai and let me chill out with my computer or TV or whatever! “Nana” insists on feeding, changing, playing with, and cuddling him—which gives me a much-needed break! I wish they could see him more often, but once a week or every other week is the most we can afford to get down to Mishawaka. Gas is expensive. L

I spent most the afternoon shopping for and poring over Christmas calendar gift ideas. Everyone seemed to like them last year, but I don’t want to do the same exact thing (digital-scrap 4×6 size pages, insert into photo flip books, paper-scrap-decorate front cover). So I FINALLY settled on some cute CD and mini (smaller than 4×6) calendar templates. I had no clue how many options were out there! Wish I had time to design my own from scrap, but unfortunately using templates and choosing my own paper/embellies is as good as it’s gonna get this year. I mean, with a new baby, something’s gotta go, right? I still haven’t decided on a Christmas card. Too many options. I really don’t do well with an overabundance of choices. Entrepreneurs have oversaturated the market (any market) with waaaay too many options. Hazardous for decision-challenged shoppers like me!

Dec. 7th

Can it possibly be one whole week into December?! Where did the days go?? Oh yeah, I have a documented record of where they went, so no funny business possible. Today I furthered my Christmas spirit by playing Cat Country 99.9 (all-Christmas music all the time in December!) while madly cleaning. Finally eked out a place for stockings on the wall behind our midget tree. My immediate family never did the stocking thing, but my Lewis grandparents always hung a stocking for each grandchild, and it’s a family tradition to get a picture of all the kids in front of the “stocking wall” every Christmas. Over the years, there has been some discussion of changing walls, since we really don’t fit anymore. One line of grandkids has become about three rows! There’s now 12 “full-blooded” grandkids, but usually there’s extra every year—foreign exchange students, foster kids of my aunt’s, step-grandkids, boyfriends, etc. All that to say, I’ve always loved opening my stocking, stuffed full of fun and useful little goodies, candy, gum, and so on. So the Huegel household is going to open stockings this year :). A new tradition we’re going to start is writing letters to each other to stick in the stockings, which will hopefully become a sweet keepsake. Or that’s the plan. Maybe it’ll be really lame. But every great tradition must start sometime, right?

On a more depressing note, Cai fussed through most the day. I’m fairly impressed with how much I got done despite his rough day. Spent two hours trying to get him down for a nap, and still ended up letting him cry himself to sleep. Same story for bedtime. As I write this, it’s 10:27, and he just finally quit crying in his crib within the last few minutes. I put him to bed for the first time before 8pm.  We had been doing much better, so I suspect he’s not feeling well. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. It’s easier to feel sorry and “motherly” for him instead of irritated that way. Any mothers out there who’ve done the same thing? Maybe I’m just weird or something. Wait, I already knew that…

So anyone else out there making Christmas gifts? What are you making? Cookies, handmade cards, photo books, calendars, scarves, potholders? I need more ideas! 🙂


December, Day Four December 4, 2009

Filed under: Journaling,Life in General — michellehuegel @ 11:36 pm
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I’m not feeling very “merry and bright” today. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in December before. Journaling today helped to work through some of my feelings, but it’ll be a long time before the Phaeon-sized hole in my heart begins to heal. Read on for the whole story…

Dec 4th

December’s really not looking up. Today I made about 10 phone calls trying to clear up a tax matter, which was depressing enough (apparently sheds on leased land are taxed, which was news to me). Then my husband gets home from the store and delivers the news that my dog Phaeon died. He was hit by a car. The worst part is my little brother watched it happen, tried to get the lady’s attention—the jerk never even slowed down—and then he had to carry Phaeon back to the house. I am thankful that it appeared to be an instant death with no suffering.

But all day we’ve been (or at least I have been) dealing with the question, why now, God? Why him? Yes, Phaeon was annoying at times, and dealing with his allergies was expensive and frustrating. But we loved him! I’ll miss his warm body tucked in the chair with me, fighting a constant battle because he insisted on putting his head on my keyboard. I’ll miss the way he came running whenever someone ran the icemaker in the fridge, and how he loved to lay on the back of the chair like a cat and stare out the window. He loved me through living on my own and moving back home, through several boyfriends and finally finding the right guy, and he helped to welcome my son into the world. He never minded when Cai would pull his fur or poke little fingers in his ears.

Phaeon’s left a little hole in Christmas for us this year. He and Cadbury were in our Christmas card photo last year—he’s family. We buried him behind the pool at my parents’ house where we can visit him and know he’s nearby. It’s been a rough day. Most of my Christmas spirit blew away like so much dry snow when I petted my dog for the last time.

Have you ever lost a pet? This is the first time I’ve buried a dearly loved pet, and I never imagined it would be so hard. They are truly a part of the family, right?


Road Trips and Camping and Baby, Oh My! June 24, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — michellehuegel @ 5:07 pm
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It’s official, I’m crazy. Cart-me-off-to-the-psych-ward crazy, according to my friends with children. Tomorrow we leave for an 8-hour roadtrip (not counting restroom breaks, nursing stops, and emergency i-gotta-pee-NOW stops, so more like 11 hours), and by “we” I mean me, my husband, my 13-year-old brother, and my 5-month-old son. The Motley Crew Travels to Iowa, Volume I.

What’s the destination? Not a comfy hotel in some nice metropolitan city with museums, zoos, and indoor pools. No, we’re camping. In a tent. On a lake in the middle of Nowhere, Iowa. Did I mention the tent part? Sadly, I’ve been told that tents do not come with built-in AC. Or built-in bathrooms. But I bought a 12-inch oscillating fan from Wal-mart, which I’m confident will protect the four of us from the 95-degree heat and humidity in a small nylon-enclosed space. (Stop laughing, it’s rude. Let me keep my delusions as long as possible, please.)

But before we can embark on this thrilling voyage of bonding, discovery, and excitement, I have to pack. I hope you noticed the pronoun usage in that sentence, starting with “we” and ending with “I”. Because I’m pretty sure my husband believes that a magic genie lives in the suitcase and coughs up shirts, underwear, swim trunks, and deodorant on demand. Although really, what else can I expect from a man who still swears that he has no idea which side of the closet is mine or what drawer to put whose pants in (there’s only one for each of us, and it’s been the same drawer for the entire time we’ve been married), so he can’t possibly put the clothes away. I am 100% serious. Apparently finding clothes to wear and putting them away are two entirely separate and completely unrelated skills.

Rant over. Back to the packing, which I’ve been working on for the last two days and still have not finished. I never dreamed how much stuff babies require for a 4-day trip. And I’m paranoid about forgetting something crucial, like my cell phone charger or diapers. I have a list (actually multiple lists) on my phone, which I refer to obsessively every 5 minutes because my brain is about as reliable as our older-than-me van with 200,000 miles on it. I’ve gathered almost everything into our living room, so if Josh wants to watch TV tonight he’ll have to perch on top of the pool floaty, towels, diapers, paper plates, and various clothing items. The main issue now is fitting everything into our Pontiac Sunfire (with freshly repaired AC – YAY!!), while leaving 10-inch-wide spots for our behinds. I hope Tim (my brother) is okay with holding a cooler on his lap…

Wonder why I’m attempting this? My mom’s side of the family has a big family-reunion shindig every year and this is the 5th anniversary with t-shirts and everything, so we’re the Michigan family branch ambassadors. Doesn’t really answer the question of why we couldn’t reunite at a nice Marriott hotel in Florida in, like, February instead of a blazing-hot Iowa campground in June, but that’s my family for ya.

So there’s the when, where, why, and how of our weekend excursion. Pray that we all return in one piece, don’t leave the baby or my brother, and remember everything important. I’ll try to update while we’re there, or maybe even in the car if I get bored.

I truly hope to talk to you all again, but if I disappear permanently, call the Iowa National Guard and tell them I’m lost in a cow pasture somewhere on Highway 80…