Our Family


The more our family grows, the harder it becomes to take (good) family pictures. So here is the best of our recent family shots... probably the last good picture of our family before baby arrives!

Little Man's Surprise


 A few days ago I walked into the kitchen to this...

My little man had climbed right up onto the kitchen table and was walking around, laughing.

Big sister thought this looked like fun too! 
"I wanna dance on the table too, mama!" 

I shouldn't have been too surprised, I guess. A few days prior he had started climbing up on chairs. 

So, onto the kitchen table... a logical next step. 

Keeping up with you keeps us on our toes, Mr. Man!

18 Month Boy


This boy. Already 18 months old.

He's a bundle of energy and fun. He climbs on anything and everything (making the kitchen chairs, table, piano, etc. all hazards for him). 

He eats well. He uses a fork and spoon, as best as he can. He likes most of my healthy foods, with broccoli and cheese and eggs near the top of his list.

He's been sleeping like a champ for many months - 12 solid hours of sleep at night plus a good 2-hour daytime nap. He goes to sleep easily, cuddling with his favorite blanket.

He's a squirmy worm during diaper changes.  

He speaks dozens of words. He's at that stage where he daily surprises us with his expanding vocabulary. 

We love you, little man!

My Boy and His Blanket


My youngest boy regularly reminds me of the Peanuts character of Linus, always with his blanket nearby. 

That is my boy! 
His blanket is blue with yellow ducks on it. Grandma R gave him this blanket when he was born and he rarely lets it out of his sight! 

If the blanket is nearby, he is content. When in tears, the blanket helps comfort him. It goes with him for naps and bed each night. It goes with him to the church nursery and to our Wednesday morning co-op nursery. 
How he loves his blanket! 

Piano Playing


I've played since about 3rd grade. 
I'm nothing great, but I do enjoy playing piano.
I still like to sit down daily and play for a few minutes.
I mostly play hymns, but have a few other modern favorites. 

Now my oldest children are taking some free online piano lessons. It's fun to hear them play. My oldest can play quite a few Christmas songs that she memorized during the Christmas season. After years of hearing my parents tell me how much they enjoy hearing me play, it's fun now to get to enjoy listening to my children play music.

Music... one of God's most delightful gifts!

Rubik's Cube


A few weeks ago my oldest daughter took to trying to solve the Rubik's Cube (with the help of a guide book). 

She did it! And now has memorized the steps to solving it. She can do it in under 5 minutes. Smart kid! 



It's a new phase for my oldest daughter - she got braces on today!



Beautiful, before and after and everywhere in between! 

PS: My life is full of many different phases, making it hard to keep it all straight in my mind. One teenager, now in braces. One 9-year-old boy, full of energy and needing direction. One preschool girl finally getting serious about potty training. One toddler boy, learning how to climb on furniture and getting daily bumps and bruises from the process. And one baby in-utero, growing, kicking. My life is full - of phases, of changes, of growth. And it is good!

Pregnancy Update - Week 20


Pregnancy Update - 20 Weeks 

20 weeks means half-way! 
20 weeks means an ultrasound is scheduled soon. 
We will not be finding out the baby's gender. 
We like surprises!

I pulled out the maternity clothes in the last 2 weeks. I had someone I see regularly tell me THIS WEEK that she didn't know I was expecting, she was so surprised. She had no idea! So I guess I've been hiding my belly well! 

20 weeks pregnant means we have 20 more weeks to...

...get our 3-year-old completely potty trained! 
...make some freezer meals for those crazy first weeks.
...finish up this school year of homeschooling.
...get the newborn clothes out of storage, washed up.
...choose a name!

We love you, little Bumble! 

Pregnancy - 15 Week Update


I'm pregnant! 15 Weeks Along!

I've made it past the weeks of nausea and queasiness. 
I've made it past some of the tiredness and fatigue. 

I am feeling more energetic. 
My baby bump is showing. 

We're all very excited about Baby Bumble, due in July!

Christmas in Wisconsin

We are back home after spending some time in Wisconsin with my side of the family. 

My mom's Christmas party is always fun. We were especially thankful this year that all of my brothers were there. I didn't take very many pictures, but here are a few snapshots.

Here's my little elf with her cousin Traeson. 

My niece Christa was practicing a Christmas tune on her ukulele, which the younger kids all found mesmerizing. 

After opening gifts, my son played Foosball.

And my daughter played Playdough with her cousin Trinity.

The adults sat around watching Bob Ross DVDs (a gift received by one of my brothers). This brought back memories, as we used to watch Bob Ross on PBS in my childhood. We even created some Bob Ross BINGO cards and played that while watching. Fun times... 

well, fun times for most of us. Aunt Becky found it a bit boring and dozed off. 

Here's a back rub train! Grandma, my 3-year-old and my 13-year-old daughters.

My oldest son climbed up on Aunt Melanie's lap on a few occasions. He's outgrown the cuddling phase, so this surprised me!

My 3-year-old all dressed up for Christmas.

Here's my little boy eating. He's happy.

Here's my oldest son with some of his Christmas gifts. He loved the Lego RV set and the Hot Wheels race track. 

My mom gave us a lesson in lefse making (an old family tradition). Yummy!

My kids traveled well, all things considered. 
Here's a shot of my littlest man riding happily in his car seat. We had very nice weather for the road trip, with no ice or snow to contend with.

A very nice time was had by all! 

Family Christmas


 We enjoyed our family Christmas. 
With the little ones, we didn't even try to get a family picture. But we had fun anyway! 

My husband with one of his gifts. 

My older two kids with their unopened gifts. 

My youngest daughter sat on my lap to open her gifts. While the rest of us stayed in our jammies all day, she was donning a beautiful short-sleeved dress and non-matching Christmas bow in her hair. :-) For her, this was the year that she wanted to help open all the gifts, whether they were hers or not.

Me with one of my gifts - a scarf hanger.

This was the year that my little boy had more fun with boxes and wrapping paper than with actual gifts and toys. He enjoyed stacking up wrapped gifts, then knocking them down. He liked climbing inside big boxes. Who needs toys?! 

We enjoyed a relaxing day at home together. We read the Bible's Christmas story. We opened gifts. We played games together. We relaxed. It was a great family day! 

A Daddy's Heart


I'm so thankful for this Daddy to my children. 
He has a tender heart for them. He loves to come home to his family at the end of a work day. And the children love to welcome him home too. 
We love you! 

Happy Birthday, Big Girl!


My littlest girl turned 3 this week. She is such a sweetie. 

Here are some of her birthday portraits. 

It took her a while to warm up to the photographer, but once she did her smiles were abundant and genuine!

She received this princess tent from Grandma K in Wisconsin. 

She opened the gift with Grandma watching via Skype.

Little brother had as much fun in the tent as she did!

We enjoyed ice cream cake to end this special birthday. She kept saying "Mama, am I three now?" She has been waiting FOREVER for her birthday to come. It's so hard for her - with the rest of our family's birthdays start in July and all of them come before hers. She waits and waits. And asks "When will it be MY birthday?" And finally it came! 

Happy birthday, Rosebud! 
We are so glad you're part of our family!

Baby Announcement


Hear ye! Hear ye! 

I sent my kids on a fun scavenger hunt the other night. 
They were all over the house finding clues in a toilet paper tube, in the dishwasher, in the freezer, and finally in the currently-unused baby cradle. 

The surprise ending... we are expecting a baby next July! 

Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father. 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

Homeschool Co-op


We participated in another semester of our homeschool co-op, Home Grown Hearts. The fall semester just wrapped up, with a big program. 

Here's a picture of all of the kids who participated - around 150 of them. They all go on stage to recite the Scripture passage we worked on memorizing this semester: Psalm 34:1-10.

My 3rd grade son took an Oregon Trail class this semester. Here he is with a few of his class projects.

And my 8th grade daughter took a canvas painting class (again). Here are some of her paintings from this semester. It's fun to decorate our walls at home with her beautiful paintings. 

This is my toddler girl in the nursery at co-op. She will move up to a Preschool class in the spring, since she turns 3 next week.

My littlest boy was with me pretty much all the time this semester. He really struggled when I left him in the nursery. So we were together in the nursery for some of the time. He went with me to a Sr High Book Study for one hour (heard all about Fahrenheit 451 and Edgar Allen Poe) and was also with me most of the time for my prayer/snack hour.  So it was a rougher semester for me, with him at my side all morning long. It was harder for me to connect with my prayer group and to devote the necessary thought to the Book Study class.  

Overall, though, I am so thankful for our co-op group. 
We enjoy the social outlet and the educational aspects. 
We all enjoy some of the bigger group activities that we would miss out on otherwise, as homeschooling can be so isolating. Thank you, God, for our co-op!