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!

Friends Visit


My good friend Kate has lived in California for the last 8 years. That's quite a distance from northern Indiana, so visits have been few and far between. 

But now her family is moving to Delaware. Yes, from one coast to another. While traveling across the country, they paid us a visit. What a joy to spend a few short hours with her and her family. 

In the above picture is Kate with her 9-month old Jenee and me with my almost 6-month old girl. Precious times sharing life together as our families grow.

A Boy and His Girl


 My son is 6 years old. He really wanted our recent baby to be a boy, but she's a girl. He's not too disappointed, though. He loves his little sister. 

He is super sweet to watch interact with her - bringing her toys, getting her to laugh, entertaining her with his antics. 

She just loves it and smiles so easily at him. It'll be neat to watch their relationship develop over time. 

Water Gun Fun


My boy. He's 6. He loves playing outside and he loves playing with water.

He's been asking Grandma K in Wisconsin to send him a squirt gun that he recalls seeing at her house during past visits. This week he was delighted to receive one such gun in a package from Grandma.

He quickly went outside to test it. I snuck out with another squirt gun and started a fight with him. I'm a sneaky mom like that. We had fun and I know I was speaking his love language :-)

14 Years Ago...


14 years ago I married my best friend.

Of course nobody knows on their wedding day what lies ahead of them. Nobody can foresee the good or the bad that will come their way. 

Our journey has led us from Chicagoland to Indiana. From one apartment to another apartment, then to our first home and now to our second home. 

We've welcomed 3 earthly children along the way and grieved 3 who went straight to eternity. 

We've had numerous jobs along the way and earned 3 college degrees since our wedding day. 

Like everyone, we've had our share of ups and downs, joys and sorrows. In just the past year, we've endured job losses but also the birth of our baby girl. Ups and downs. Life is just full of them.

Through it all, though, there isn't anyone else I'd rather be walking through this life with than you, my love. 
Thank you for choosing me. 
Thank you for loving me and being a wonderful husband and father. I am blessed to be your wife. 

Here's to growing old together!



What a delight to see our spring flowers in bloom around the yard!

We have lots of yellow daffodils that have been blooming for nearly 2 weeks already. 

We also have red and purple tulips out. So gorgeous.

My favorites, though, are these hyacinths. Such a sweet smelling flower - I love to have some inside in a vase. We have some white, pink, ivory, and blue hyacinths. Love seeing them out my kitchen window this time of year. 

 After such a long winter, these flowers are more welcome than ever as a hopeful sign of what is to come! 

Drooling Girl


My baby girl is 4 and 1/2 months old. 
She's been rather drooly lately... teeth? We'll see!

Homeschooling - Spring 2014 Update


Homeschooling this year has been quite a challenge. 

My 10-year-old daughter is in 5th grade. 
My 6-year-old son is in Kindergarten.

Our 5th grade curriculum has been Sonlight, which we love for its strong emphasis on great literature. I am thankful that my daughter is old enough to work independently, as she's been expected to do so much more this year. This year's focus has been on the Eastern Hemisphere - it hasn't been our favorite focus of the ones we've studied this far, but we have learned new things through it.

We have just used a hodge-podge of workbooks with my son for Kindergarten. I am working through "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" with him. He's nearing the end and is catching on well now. Teaching a child to read is an incredibly gratifying feeling! Once they know how to read, the entire world is open to them. 

We took a maternity break when our baby girl was born in December. We kept up on some of our basic reading together, but that was about all. Over the months, though, we've added more back in and are doing full-on school again these days. We will probably finish in June - later than we normally finish, but still acceptable considering the kind of year we've had. 

We participated in our wonderful local homeschool co-op again this year - Home Grown Hearts. We love this group so much! About 50 other local families, about 150-200 children. I hung out in the nursery most of the time and connected with other moms in this same stage of life. My 5th grader enjoyed classes like Lego Challenge, Women of the Bible, Flying Creatures (from Apologia Science) and Orienteering (similar to map-reading, scavenger hunting). My Kindergartener enjoyed these classes: Under the Sea, Tree Study, Schoolyard Games, and Drawing. Our co-op has a strong focus on worship and prayer and scripture memory. We enjoy it immensely and I'm glad we didn't take the semester off (as I'd considered, due to new baby). It was a joy to be a part of another semester with our friends. 

My husband was able to take the kids on a few fieldtrips this spring. They headed to a nearby county park for a lesson on maple tree tapping for syrup. He took my eldest to the local historical museum for a 3-hour discussion on the Civil War. And they have a field trip planned to visit Fair Oaks Farm next month. 

So it hasn't been a typical school year for us, but it has still been a good one. We're growing. We're learning. We're reading great books that challenge our thinking and teach us about people of other times and places. 

I am so thankful for the flexibility to homeschool. Through life's changes, through new babies, through all seasons of life, we are learning and growing together. I love that! 

Up Close and Personal


 It's been a long time since I've had time to write. 
Life is just speeding along. 

Recently I realized just how many changes our family has gone through in the last 6 months. Pregnancy, childbirth and life with a newborn. My husband's unexpected layoff and then start of a new job. I quit my job working part-time as our church secretary (too much to juggle on top of life with baby). Financial pressures related to the job changes, insurance changes, reduced hours, etc.

Looking at that list makes me wonder how I am still sane (or am I?) 

I always say that having a baby reduces life to its very basics - trying to shower once a day, trying to eat regular meals, trying to sleep. That's what I call a good day, as a mother to a newborn! 

I did struggle with post-partum depression again this time around. Not a surprise, as I've battled this with each pregnancy, including my miscarriages. Thankfully, it was short-lived this time around and I am glad to be off any medications for the depression. 

On top of the other stresses of life, or maybe it's because of them, I know God is growing me. I can see changes in my life, for which I'm super thankful. I have become more patient. I have more joy and praise is more at home on my lips. Since I have a 10-year-old, a 6-year-old and now a baby, I can clearly see how I have parenting each child differently. I am a better parent each chance I get :-) We're always learning and growing, aren't we? 

I am learning to trust God more, especially when I can't see the outcome. In a number of situations in my life currently, there is stress and unknowns. I am thankful that I don't have to know how these situations will turn out. I don't have to have answers. I can trust God. I can have faith that He is at work in others' lives just as He is at work in mine. He will bring about ultimate good. 

So there's a more personal update to answer those who wonder how I am doing. 

I choose joy. I choose life. I choose peace. I choose thankfulness and praise to the Lord my God!

Baby is 4 Months Old


Four months have passed already. Baby girl is smiling and laughing. She's sleeping well at night now, waking just once around 2 am. She loves to be near Daddy and to watch whatever the older children are doing. 

She loves her exersaucer and can manipulate some of its toys with her hands. 

At her 4-month well-child visit she weighed 14 pounds 7 ounces - a gain of over 2 pounds in one month's time. Yeah! 

She is generally a happy baby. She loves mama the best but is starting to enjoy spending time with others too. What a delight to have a baby in the house again!