Baby Girl is 8 Months Old


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


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!

Grandma Visits


My mom visited us recently. She comes down from Wisconsin once or twice a year for a weekend visit. 

She always brings us fresh, squeaky cheese curds. Mmmm. 

And she lavishes love on us while she's visiting. She snuggles and cuddles with the kids. And she takes us out to eat as a family, which is a rare treat for us. 

Grandma plays a few board games with the kids. Here they are playing Clue, a family favorite.

She was a good sport to play with my kids outside. 

Here is Grandma with my three kids. 

We love you, Grandma! Thanks for the visit!

Birthday Girl


My oldest daughter turned 11 this week! 

It's such a delight to get to experience life with this girl every day. She brings joy to our lives, for sure! 

This girl keeps shooting up, taller and taller. She will probably pass me up in the next 12 months. She's learning and growing. Little by little, she's inching out of her comfort zone and trying new things.

I can see her maturing. She's becoming more and more helpful around the house - in the kitchen, with the younger children, etc. She's less into little-kid-toys and more into decorating her room with cool things. Her favorite birthday gift this year was a lava lamp. She actually got 2 - one red, one blue - and loves them!

We love you so much, Bright Eyes!
Happy Birthday!



A few days ago my brother Todd and his family were passing through Indiana while on vacation. They stopped by to visit for a few hours. We had a nice time, chatting and eating together. 

Here is my sister-in-law Becky and niece Isabelle playing with my little girl. 

Fun times with family! 



The zoo.

I'm thankful that we have a zoo nearby. Once or twice a year we head that way and enjoy a few hours at the zoo. 

Recently we went to the zoo, along with my friend Leah and her 3 kids. With 6 kids between us now (and another on the way -  Leah is expecting her 4th), the zoo is more of an adventure than it used to be!

This was my baby girl's first time at the zoo. She's too young to really get it. I think it was just like a long stroller ride for her.

The highlight of the zoo is always the zoo train ride, which is brief but fun. In second place, though, would be the river otter exhibit. With an under-water viewing area, it's entertaining to watch the otters dive and play underwater.

Already looking forward to our 2015 trip to the zoo with 7 little ones in tow! Wowzers! 

Seven Month Baby


Baby girl turned 7 months old this week. 

7 months already... ay, ay, ay!

She still isn't a great sleeper. She goes to bed between 8 and 10 pm and sleeps until 8 or 9 am. But she's still up at least twice each night. During the day she takes either 1 or 2 naps, totally 2-3 hours. 

She rolls all the time now, getting across the room fairly quickly. No crawling yet, but it'll be happening soon, I suspect. 

She jabbers a lot, saying "da da da da." 

She eats some baby food at supper time each day. So far she's liking green beans and mango and pears. 

Happy 7 months, baby girl!

Daddy's Birthday


Daddy has a birthday today! The big 39!

The kids and I made a poster with 39 things we love about Dad. Creating that list got us thinking about all the different things there are to love - that he takes out the trash, that he goes on bike rides with us, he takes us on vacations, he reads to us, etc. 

Along with the banner, we gave him a new coffee mug filled with chocolate goodies and a birthday balloon! 

We love our Daddy! 

Happy birthday to you!

Dress Like a Cow


It's that time of year again - "Dress Like a Cow, Get Free Chicken" day at our local Chick-fil-a restaurant.

This was the first time for this little miss, who didn't really need the free food anyway. But she did look adorable in the hat, don't you think?!

The other kids and myself, well, we've enjoyed dressing up like cows for years...

In fact, I keep most of these cow outfits in a special place in the closet so it's easy to pull them out each July. 
The silly things we do for free food! 

6-month portraits


My baby girl is growing up. 

She's nearly 19 pounds now, at just over 6 months. 

She's started some solid foods, but isn't a big fan yet. 

She rolls over like a pro. 
She gives smiles to everyone - hasn't met a stranger yet. 

She is finally settling into a normal daytime nap routine, though her night time sleep is still sporadic. 

I love her chunky rolls. 

I love her toothless grins. 

I love her!

Homeschool: 6th Grade Box Day


As homeschoolers, we celebrate "Box Day." This is the day when our box of books and supplies for the next school year arrives at our home. 

Loving books as we do, it's seriously better than Christmas!

I allowed my 6-year-old son to open the box, though it was mostly items for my 10-year-old daughter's next school year. 

Here she is with ALL of the loot - over 60 items. Opening up the box, the comments repeated over and over are "Ooooh, look at this one" and "This one looks like a good one" and "Can I read this one now?" 

I left the room for a few minutes after we opened the box, and when I returned, sure enough, my daughter's nose was in one of the books that look most intriguing. 

Who can wait to start school with this many wonderful resources at hand? We'll be starting up as soon as I can read through my introductory notes for the Instructor's Guide. 

Thank you, Sonlight, for being a wonderful curriculum provider that excites both teacher and student!

6 month old baby


My baby girl has turned 6 months old! 

My 10-year-old likes to call those chunky legs "yams." There's no doubt this little one is packing on the pounds. She's over 18 pounds now and wonderfully healthy.

Growing Up


My kids are growing up, as all kids do. 

I took these pictures recently so we'll remember what they wanted to be when they grow up.

And we'll see how that plays out in 20 years. :-)

Father's Day


Happy Father's Day to the daddy in our home! 
What a great dad he is - not only providing for us, but loving on us all in such wonderful ways. 

He reads lots of great books to our son at night, but also throws the football around with him when he asks. 

He is helping our 10-year-old see herself as beautiful as he speaks God's truth into her life. 

And our 6-month old girly loves any time she gets to snuggle with him (or grab at his glasses or drool on him).

How I thank God for my kids' daddy! 

Reading Missionary Stories


I mentioned before that we have been reading some missionary biographies for our homeschool studies recently. Specifically, we've read about David Livingstone and Mary Slessor who both worked in Africa.

Reading missionary biographies was new to us, but we have really enjoyed it. We've since picked up another book about Amy Carmichael to continue reading about missionaries just for fun. These books opened up some wonderful dialog about missionary concerns. For example, we talked through the difficulties related to being married and raising a family on the mission field (a major issue for David Livingstone's adventurous and pioneering spirit). Mary Slessor (and Amy Carmichael) had to wrestle with English versus native dress, realizing that their traditional clothing could be a hindrance to the gospel. My daughter also asked about whether other religions have missionaries, which led to a great discussion of the Christian faith, the love and mercy and kindness of Jehovah God and how that contrasts with the gods of other religions. 

So again I thank Sonlight, our homeschool curriculum provider, who include wonderful stories like these to raise awareness of missions and missionary concerns, as we learn about history and geography along the way. 

Why We Love our Literature-Based Homeschool Curriculum


We homeschool. My 10-year-old daughter is just wrapping up 5th grade. We use a curriculum called Sonlight, which is heavy on reading good literature. 

Recently I was reminded of just why we love our Sonlight curriculum so much. 

We were in the middle of a study on Africa. We had read through two missionary biographies, both published by YWAM - David Livingstone and Mary Slessor. 

Both of these stories were fascinating. We learned about the climate and terrain in Africa, about wild animals there, and about the tense relationships between many indigenous African tribes.

Sonlight then had us read a book called A Long Walk to Water.

What a great (and TRUE) story this is! We learned about what is going on in modern-day Sudan and the introduction of wells to small villages in order to provide clean drinking water. After reading the book, my daughter wanted to learn more about the organization mentioned in the book. We checked out the website for Water for Sudan. Unprompted, my daughter wanted to send in a donation of her chore money to help provide more wells in Sudan. For a girl that struggles to show compassion, this was a huge change. 

Thank you, Sonlight!