Baby Boy at Age 1

8/8/2018


This little boy is about 13 months old. 


In this picture, he looks like he's dreaming of a far off place.


He was all smiles for his 1-year photoshoot. He had a fun time playing with the props and crawling all around the studio.



We took a few shots of him with older sister, which all turned out wonderful. 


My oldest with my youngest.


Such sweethearts!

Happy 15th Birthday!

8/3/2018



This girl is turning 15!!


She is a delight to our family. She helps. She learns quickly. She loves to read and learn new things. She is witty and talkative. She is growing in grace and kindness. 


Happy birthday, dearest daughter! 

Motherhood

7/31/2018

"Mama said there'd be days like this. 
There'll be days like this, my mama said." 

Jesus said something similar. "In this world you will have trouble, but I leave you my peace." And "Each day has enough trouble of its own." 

Indeed. It's been one of those days for me. 


My little guy is just over a year old. He has now learned how to climb up into the recliners in the living room. So no surprise to us that he has now taken a fall over the arm of the recliner and hit his head on a nearby end table. Ouch! Big gash on forehead. Thankfully it's healing nicely and he was all smiles for me to take a picture of his bonked head.

And my 10-year-old boy is sick. He's had a cough for a few days. It's getting nastier, barkier. And now he's thrown up a few times, not from flu or fever but from intense coughing spasms. So there's puke to clean up. 


Enter my 4-year-old daughter who appears in the kitchen with tears and pleas for help. She has a toy car stuck in her hair! Big sister tried and was unable to get it out. Mom to the rescue! Thankfully we removed it without the use of scissors, though a large clump of hair came out stuck on that one wheel! Ouch! 

And I have a 2-year-old in the typical 2-year-old stage of life. Screams of "No!" and "Mine!" echo throughout the house.

This is real motherhood. 
In the trenches. 
Day in, day out. 
Daily life as we do life together as a family. 
It's messy.
It's loud. 
It's trying and exasperating. 

BUT GOD... 

I love that phrase in the Bible. 
Times are tough, BUT GOD steps in and everything changes.

My day started very early, as my hubby and I woke up earlier than we wanted to in order to spend a few minutes of the quiet in prayer and Bible study. We committed our day to the Lord and our work to His ways. We prayed for ourselves, our children, our friends. 

And so I am thankful that not only did Jesus give us a heads up that we'd have days like this - 
"In this world you will have trouble" - 
but the rest of the verse is just as true -
 "But I give you my peace." 
We can have peace in the midst of chaos. 
We can say that it is well with our soul even when all around us gives way.

Thank you, Jesus, that You are with me in my mothering. 
Thank you, Jesus, for giving us a deep peace that abides even when troubles surround us.
Thank you, Jesus, for meeting with us early in the morning and tuning our hearts so that we can keep our focus when obstacles come to throw us off course.
Thank you, Jesus, for leading us in ways of compassion and grace and tender mercy as we attempt to parent these children the way you parent us. 

God is good, all the time! 
Even on days like this!
Especially on days like this!

Family Camp

7/27/2018 


Last week our entire family attended camp together. Having so many little ones, we didn't especially like the idea of traveling far on a big vacation. So instead we chose Life Action Camp, which is just across the state line from where we live.







This camp has a great beach and waterfront area. Many hours were spent swimming and playing in the sand together.



There is also a playground right by the beach, to give the kids another option for play.


There is a spiritual component to the camp. It's for Christians and it's meant to encourage believers in their faith as they return to their normal lives bolder and empowered to engage the culture. This year's theme was Faith Frontier - so many activities reinforced the Wild West theme.



There was an Oregon Trail game to play one afternoon and some neat chalk paintings on display.



This little guy did really well, considering how topsy turvy his life was this week! He was almost always smiling despite the different bed, different food, different surroundings.


One of the best part of the week was Maddy! 
Maddy volunteers at Life Action Camp as a Family Assistant. She was assigned to help our family in almost any way we needed - an extra hand helping with food at mealtimes, extra eyes watching the kids at the beach, helping pull wagons and haul gear (or kids) around the camp. After we put the little kids to bed, Maddy hung out with us and played games (as she was doing here with my oldest daughter). She's a new friend of the family!




There's a crafthouse at camp called The Art Box. Here the boys made marshmallow shooters together, while the rest of us did painting/coloring projects. This was a nice afternoon break from outside activities.



Each family attending camp was given a free 30-minute time slot for boating. Fun times together!



This guy, our 2-year-old, struggled the most. He is naturally anxious and insecure, so the change of surroundings really threw him for a loop. He didn't sleep enough or sleep soundly so by midweek he was struggling to just make it through the day.



Our family stayed in a 1-room cabin. It had a queen bed for us parents and two sets of triple bunks for kids. 3 of our kids used the bunks, while we used the other bunks for storage of our suitcases and gear. We set up 2 playpens for our littlest boys to sleep in. We aimed for a quiet time each afternoon so naps could still happen, though it was rough. We didn't have a bathroom in our cabin, but the bathhouse was just a few feet away from our cabin so it was super convenient.


A lot of time was spent walking around camp. It was a good distance to the lodge for meals and to the waterfront, not to mention up and down some big hills. We were thankful for our jogging stroller for our littlest guy and for our wagon that helped haul the other 2 little ones. We put many miles on those wheels over the course of this week!


Yeah for Family Camp! The kids give it a hearty two thumbs up and are asking us to reserve our spot for summer 2019!

Daughter's Camp

7/26/2018 


Earlier this month my oldest daughter spent a few days at a camp in Michigan with the youth group from our church. Here's a shot of the entire group - quite a big crowd - before they left the church building for camp. 


Here's a few of the kids at camp. They were not allowed to have their cell phones or other gadgets while they were there. That meant no updates or pictures from her during the week. This was harder on me than I was expecting!


 Here is my girl with her cabin group. She came out of her shell a bit and met new friends. And she enjoyed herself so much that she didn't miss us back at home at all! :-) 

Son's Camp

 7/25/2018 

My oldest son attended Farm Camp a few weeks ago. This is a day camp that is located less than 10 minutes from our house. This was my son's 3rd year of attending and he just LOVES it. 


In this picture, he is in the driver's seat, surrounded by new friends he made at camp. He is super social and makes friends easily. Because he has attended this camp previously, he knows some of the kids already. Although he sees them for only this one week each year, he considers them good friends. 

This camp takes a relaxed approach, just letting the kids enjoy the farm at their own pace. They can help care for animals or climb trees or take a hike or swim in the pond. It's the best week of the year for my outdoorsy boy!

Happy Birthday, Babe!

7/16/2018


Happy 43rd birthday to my husband!

I served him up a breakfast sandwich with a candle in it, with a side of bacon. Happy birthday! 

This year, like so many before, has had its ups and downs. 
And through it all, we have grown.
We've grown as parents. 
We've grown as disciples of Jesus Christ. 
We're grown closer together as friends and prayer partners.
We've grown in patience and understanding. 
We've grown in trust and faith in God.
It's been good. 

Happy birthday to you, my dear! 
I thank God for you and look forward to life with you as adventure awaits us!

God at Work in Provision

7/13/2018


God is at work. He's always at work, whether we see it or not. Here's a story of how we've seen God at work through provision in the last few days.  

We have had trouble with our family van for a month or so. It's been unreliable and it was our only way to travel anywhere together as a family. My Mr-Fix-It husband had worked on some minor repairs but the CHECK ENGINE light kept coming back on. We were stressed and anxious about the situation and unsure of what we should do to fix it and how to cover the expense of the fix. We were praying together daily about the situation and putting our trust in our Lord, but we were unsure of how things were going to work out.


Last week, out of the blue, we received an anonymous gift of $500 in the mail!  It was like an encouragement note from God to remind us that He still sees and still cares and is still providing for our needs. He is Jehovah Jireh - our God who provides. He has promised to supply all our needs, according to His riches... and He proved Himself faithful once again!


We were able to take our van to the repair shop. The first mom-and-pop shop worked on it and billed us $115.36. However, the CHECK ENGINE light remained on and we took the van to a second repair shop that fixed the issue and charged us $385.45. That's right! The two bills totaled $500 and some change. 

You can't make this up! 
God provided $500. 
The needed repairs were $500. 

We have a working van again! 

Thank you, God, for another reminder of Your bigness! 
Psalm 50 mentions God as the One who "owns the cattle on a thousand hills." He can move on someone's heart to send $500 anonymous to someone else. He can work in the timing to make it arrive at the right moment, to be used in a specific way and to be an encouragement to a spirit in despair. He can know in advance how much is needed to cover a bill for repairs not even done yet. He can. He does. He is still living and moving and working all things out!

Thank you also to that person or family that was sensitive enough to hear God's direction and to respond in obedience. We have been the anonymous givers in the past but never have been the receivers of such a generous gift. It is humbling. It is beautiful. It is faith-building. Thank you!

To God be the glory for great things He has done!

Nature

7/9/2018


Just because nature is amazing! And it's like a big finger pointing us upward to God - to notice His incredible power and majesty and creativity. I love coming upon scenes like this one and being able to share the moment with my children.

Puzzling

7/5/2018


For the last week we've been working on a puzzle. 


My husband, myself, and our two oldest kids have helped piece it together. Also my 4-year-old helped at the start in pulling out the edge pieces.


This is a 1,000 piece puzzle of a Charles Wysocki picture. So intricate and detailed. Good work, team! 


Red, White and Blue

7/4/2018


Happy 4th of July!


All our crew in red, white and blue!



Our annual neighborhood parade is our favorite event of the year!


Grandma R with our littlest man. Great smiles!

Cherishing our freedoms today!