Sunday Best

11/24/2014


My three little ones in their Sunday best. 


And one of my oldest daughter, looking so grown-up and beautiful! She's been requesting that I braid her damp hair before bed, after she's showered. This way her hair has some body and wave to it in the morning. She's starting to care a little bit more about her appearance, hair and clothes. Inching her way closer to adulthood...

Love, love, love being a mom to these children!

Homeschool Co-op

11/21/2014


Once again, we are at the end of our homeschool co-op fall semester. I think this was our 5th semester participating in Home Grown Hearts. In the above picture, most of the 125 children who participate in our co-op are on the stage reciting this semester's memory verses (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

What a blessing this group has been in our lives! My kids enjoy the friendships with other homeschooled kids, as well as learning through the great classes they offer. 


This semester, my 11-year-old daughter took Sewing, 3-Dimensional Crafts, Gym and Sign Language. In the above picture, she is showing off the 4 projects she sewed this semester: a pin cushion, a pillow, a bag, and a hat. 


And here she is showing off some of her 3-D crafts - paper mache, juggling balls, and more. What creative and fun ideas (right up her alley and WAY more than I can come up with and execute)! This is one of the many benefits of a co-op: my children can learn from others who excel in areas where I don't (like sewing or crafting). 

My 6-year-old son took Gym, A Trip Around the World (topic was cultures), Dr. Seuss and Music. 

While they were busy in their classes, I was helping in the nursery, along with my baby girl. For one hour, I also led a prayer group this semester, which is basically a small group with 3 other moms. We spent time praying for one another, for our children, for our nation. We saw one mom share about a battle with depression and anxiety. She was encouraged and admonished by the others in the group. She humbly received the council as from the Lord and then took numerous steps of obedience for His will. Within weeks, her health concerns were gone and her relationship with her husband was beautifully restored. Praise God!

There is something so amazing about living life with others who share your core believes and values, and then to see the Body of Christ truly functioning as a body... how blessed we are to be a part of it all! 

Baby Girl is 11 Months Old

11/14/2014 


Baby girl has reached another milestone - turning 11 months old!

At 11 months she: crawls very efficiently, belly off the ground now; loves to walk with her walker (slowly and tentatively still); eats mostly table food and doesn't like baby food from jars any more; speaks Mama, Dada, and Book as well as lots of other jabber and jibberish. 

What a delight this girl is! Looking forward to celebrating her first birthday next month.

A Dog Party

11/7/2014 

This week marked a first for us - we attended our first dog party. Our neighbor Liz threw a party for her dog Lola. 


This party was quite the event, complete with party hats (for all people and dogs in attendance), a party dress for Lola, cookies to decorate with dog bone sprinkles, dogs showing off their tricks, games (such as rolling a ball into the doghouse), and the opening of gifts given to Lola. Liz also provided food and snacks, for both human attendees and canines.


My kids have a special relationship with Liz and her dog Lola. Because we homeschool and are home during the daytime, Liz will often invite my kids to go on a walk with her and Lola during the day. As long as they have been diligent with their daily tasks, they are permitted to go with her and enjoy the time outside. 


Liz has also provided my oldest daughter with her first "real" money-making job. You see, Liz is a recent college grad who works in the nursing field at a local hospital. When she works during the day, she will ask my daughter to take care of Lola's meals. My girl has taken this responsibility very seriously and loves Lola. 

My baby girl loves Lola too. She gets very excited when she sees dogs, but especially Lola. She stands at our front window, bobbing up and down whenever neighbors walk by with their dogs.


So, thank you, Liz, for a fun party and for giving my kids a chance to be dog-caretakers vicariously :-)

Blanket Forts

10/30/2014



My kids LOVE to build blanket houses, blanket forts, blanket RVs. This one has been up for a few days at our house, which provides a perfect place for the kids to play and sneak off to and even read (they have a battery-powered lantern in there). They make use of nearly every blanket or bed-sheet they can find, as well as the couch, piano bench, large card table and kid-sized card table. 


Even baby sister likes to play this way... for about one minute before she gets too scared to be inside there!


Fun times and memories in the making!

Adopted Grandparents

10/29/2014 



Last weekend we had Greg and Ruth over. 
They are very distant relatives, but we treat them like adopted grandparents. They have no children of their own, so they gladly love on ours! 

We had a "chili cookoff" of sorts. They brought their favorite chili and we prepared ours, so everyone could taste both. We also had cornbread and hot dogs (for those non-chili fans) and a delicious pumpkin roll for dessert. 


Dad and Greg talked family genealogy, which is how we discovered our relationship to Greg and Ruth a few years back. Then Greg was overtaken by the two older children who played with his hair. Oh my... pigtails and all! I won't embarrass him by posting pictures here! :-)


Then, Greg was subjected to reading Dr. Seuss books which left his tongue feeling like rubber, I'm sure. Some of those books are just full of hilarious tongue-twisters!


Ruth played a few games with the older kids and then rocked our baby girl.


Family... what a cool idea! 

Homeschooling: Why I Love our Library

10/22/2014 



We are not a family who gets sick very often. However, we've been sick lately. I've been battling a cough and cold for about 3 weeks. My kids have caught it in the last few days too, causing us to take a few "sick days" off of school. 

My husband, who is a librarian at our local public library, reminded me that our library now has "hoopla." Hoopla is a digital library where you can check out music, videos and audiobooks. It's just like checking out a DVD or CD from the library except that you can do it from home. All you need is a library card and the internet.

So my kids recently have enjoyed watching some kid videos like Curious George and Veggietales while they've been sick on the couch. 

Easy. Free. And we didn't have to leave the house. Perfect!

Thank you, hoopla and our local library, for making my life a little bit easier as I nurse my kids back to health!

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

10/17/2014 



Today marks 2 years since my third miscarriage. October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. So for those reasons, today I'm remembering my three "other" children - those in heaven already. 

Grant David. Hope. Isaac. 

I can say that I am healing. 
Two years ago I was a mess and at a difficult place with God. I could not understand His purposes in the miscarriages and suffering I was going through. One year ago I was nearing my due date with a healthy pregnancy. And this year I am keeping up with my busy 10-month old daughter, who doesn't afford me a lot of time to sit, think or reflect. 

But I am at a better place emotionally. Although October is always a dark, dreary month to me, I have been able to see more bright spots this year. I have been able to enjoy some of the beauty.  My focus is shifting. 

And I am at a better place with my Lord. I have stopped asking why. I will never know why. Yet time and perspective allow me to see at least a glimpse of good that has come from my suffering and pain. And having a baby in our home has helped bring healing too. 

So I am remembering my other three. 
I am still sad. I still miss them. 
I still long to see them and hold them. 
But I am also smiling at my baby girl's antics, 
and my 6-year-old son as he almost swallowed a tooth that fell out, and at my beautiful 11-year-old daughter as she roller-skates in the driveway to soak in the last sunshiny warmth of these fall days.

God is good, all the time, because that is His nature. 
He can be nothing else. 
So when He appears to be something else, it is my perspective that is flawed, not His nature. 

1 Corinthians 13 - Now we know in part, but when perfection comes, then we will know fully. 

Until that day, when I can hug and kiss and smile at them as we walk together on those streets of gold, I remember and look forward to the day of truly meeting my other three children.

Baby Girl - 10 Months

10/9/2014


In just a few more days this little darling will be 10 months old! 

She is quite mobile now, crawling everywhere. Her crawl is mostly an army crawl, though, with a few occasional belly-off-the-floor moves. She pulls up on furniture but is still unsteady on her feet. No first steps have happened yet, but we're watching for them.

She's been in her own crib in her own room now for a few weeks. That is going great! She is often sleeping through the night without waking at all. Every few nights she gets up once just to keep me on my toes! I find that my body has adjusted to not needing as much sleep as I used to (say, a year or more ago) so I've been spending an hour reading before bed each night. What a luxury! 

She got her first two teeth recently. She enjoys baby food but especially likes to gum up cheerios and soft cooked veggies like broccoli and green beans. 

She says "mama" and seems to know what she's saying. Same with "dada."  She says words that may be names for brother and sister, but we're not sure. She waves good-bye. She loves to clap and patty-cake. 

This girl LOVES dogs. She goes crazy when she sees dogs in our neighborhood and after they've passed by, she cries. We're sticking to our guns, though, and NOT getting a dog any time soon. She'll have to be content with seeing all of the dozens of dogs that live in our neighborhood as they are out and about.

We love you, Little Miss, and are loving these precious days with you!

Baby Girl Gets Teeth

9/25/2014


This baby girl got some teeth this week! 
The first one popped out on Monday 
and its twin showed up today.


You probably can't see the teeth in the pictures, 
but you can see her happy smile clearly! 

Love this little lady! 

The Classics

9/19/2014

Classic Literature. Sounds like a college English class. But I've been reading through some classics lately and have been challenged by the process. 

My husband found a great 14-volume set of condensed classic books for free. Who can pass up free!?! Not us! So we incorporated these onto our bookshelves and I began to work my way through them. Although they are "condensed" each story is still 100-300 pages in length, which still gives the feel of reading the classics.

So far I've read...
Treasure Island 
David Copperfield 
The Call of the Wild
Madame Curie 
The Scarlet Pimpernel 
The Good Earth 
Robin Hood 
The Story of Helen Keller
My Friend Flicka
Horatio Hornblower
Alone
Jane Eyre
Abe Lincoln Grows Up 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Great Cases of Sherlock Holmes

I still have another 40 or so titles to get through. I find it takes me about 1-2 weeks per title, so it'll be a while before I finish the entire set. But what a treasure these are! So many of these are well-known classic titles, but have you actually read them? I recognize titles but have only read a handful of them, and even those were in high school English class. 

My favorites thus far were the Sherlock Holmes cases (which were fascinating, what incredible observation skills Holmes has) and the Scarlet Pimpernel (which reminded me of the 1990s movie True Lies - where a wife is unsuspecting that her husband is leading a double-life performing dangerous government-related missions). Both of those were stories that I'd gladly read again and again.

Least favorites would include The Hunchback of Notre Dame  and The Good Earth (both of which seemed to lack a point or moral or lesson in any way).

Robin Hood surprised me since it was similar at the core to the Disney version I remember from my childhood but many details were different from that version or the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Kevin-Costner movie I remember. Treasure Island was a good read, though somewhat bloody in battle scenes, which makes it a good "boy" book (note to self for my son's future reading material).

Alone (which tells the story of Richard Byrd who spent 5 months all alone manning a weather station in the Antarctic) and Madame Curie (the story of Pierre and Marie Curie's discovery of Radium) were both inspirational stories of real life heroics in the scientific field.

So here's to the classics... and actually reading them! 

Inside and Outside

9/18/2014


My baby girl.

9 months inside the womb 
and now 9 months outside the womb 

For her 9 months inside the womb, she was restless and moved and kicked a lot. During her 9 months outside the womb, she continued to be restless and generally hasn't slept well and kicked a lot. 

For her 9 months inside the womb, she was fed by my body. During her 9 months outside the womb, she continued to be fed almost entirely by my body. I thank God for the opportunity to nurse her, as I was unable to do so with my other children. 

For her 9 months inside the womb, Mama was her favorite person. During her 9 months outside the womb, Mama remains her favorite person. However, Daddy and brother and sister are all in the running now! 

How we love this little girl! 
How easily she has come to be a natural 
irreplaceable part of our family! 
How uniquely and beautifully 
each family member has embraced her. 

We continue to thank the Lord for this happy and healthy baby girl. What a blessing!

Baby Girl

9/11/2014

A few recent pictures of our baby girl, nearing 9 months old.


Time with big sister


Sniffing a flower from our garden


Sitting with mama



With Grandma K in Wisconsin


Baby girl enjoying some outdoor swing time

Growing, growing, growing up. 
Loving, loving, loving it!

First Loose Tooth

9/9/2014



My son recently lost his very first tooth. 


See! 

Growing up... 

A Boy and a Baby

9/8/2014


My son, who is now 6 years old, is a typical boy. He's into trucks and balls and swords and wrestling. And yet, when he is around his baby sister, his tender side emerges, quite by surprise. 


He loves to hold his little sister. He *tries* to carry her around. He likes to give her toys to play with. 


He likes to put bowls on her head and laugh at her. :-)

They are both such a breath of fresh air for our family!

Trip to Wisconsin

9/5/2014

We recently took a trip to Wisconsin to visit my side of the family. We try to make it up once in the summer and then again at Christmastime. So Labor Day was our weekend to head up this year. 



My mom had a luau party while we were there. Well, really it was just an excuse to get everyone together while we were visiting. I appreciate that she does this when we visit so we can easily see all of my brothers and their families.


So here is my baby girl with her festive flowers.


We had a great time together, as we always do. Mom had set up a swimming pool in the yard for the kids to enjoy. Here's my son and cousin Trinity having a blast in the pool. 

Thanks, Mom, for hosting a great party for all of us! 

Beach Day

8/29/2014



On one hot summer day last week we headed to the beach with our friends. 


We make this trek once annually, which honestly is about as much beach as this mama can handle!


I have my 3 kids - ages 11, 6 and 8-months. My friend Leah goes with us with her 3 kids - ages 8, 6 and 3. Leah is also pregnant with her 4th. So our hands are full when we make this trip, though we are thankful for our older children who help to keep an eye on the younger ones. 

Two things set this beach day apart from the rest. One, we remembered to take our sled which helped greatly in transporting our towels, snacks, etc. over the sand. Two thumbs up - must remember this for next year! Second, this was the year of the biting flies. For whatever reason, these pesky biting flies would not leave us alone! They stayed near the ground, not coming higher than a foot off the ground. So our legs looked good to them and they bit, bit and bit all they wanted! The kids were in constant motion which kept the flies at bay, but for Leah and myself we had to wrap our legs tightly with towels to keep the biting flies away. Ugh! 

Another summer bucket list item crossed off! 

Baby Girl is 8 Months Old

8/18/2014 

I knew it would happen, but it still seems to shock me - my baby girl is growing and just won't stop! 

She's 8 months old now. 
She weighs 20 pounds plus a few ounces. 


She eats a jar of baby food at lunchtime. 
She eats another jar at suppertime. 

She still is not the best sleeper, though she has fallen into a more regular pattern of daytime naps. Nighttime is still a struggle, as she is up many times a night. She does consistently go to bed around 7 pm and wake for the day at 7 am, which is a blessing. 

Happy 8-months, baby girl! 


Birthday Celebrations

8/8/2014

We recently had a birthday bash to celebrate my daughter turning 11, as well as my birthday (which is 2 days after hers) and my husband's birthday (which was 3 weeks ago). 

We have such a fun time! 



 My hubby grilled out shish-kabobs. Yummo! We also enjoyed watermelon, custard eggs, pasta salad, homemade pickles from our garden, root beer floats. 

Some folks hung out outside. 
The weather was great to be outside.


A view of folks chatting inside the house.


Here's my daughter with her 11 candles and cake.


My silly husband and myself as we listened to the birthday song and prepared to blow out our candles. Yes, he decided to smoke his candle :-)


Here's my littlest daughter being entertained by Great Uncle (a.k.a. Gruncle) Greg. 


Here's my daughter opening up a gift. She received 2 lava lamps, which were on her wish list. 

They have provided hours of entertainment since she opened them. 


My son had to get a good grin in for the camera. 
He's such a sweetie! 

On my actual birthday, my niece Racquel was over to spend some time with us. She and my now 11-year-old daughter decorated a cake and cupcakes. They also cleaned up after themselves in the kitchen, which was a great birthday gift to me! :-)

Fun times with family, celebrating life. 
Thank you God for these precious times together!