16 Years Together


This week marked our 16th wedding anniversary. 

A lot has happened in 16 years. We have certainly grown through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, the sickness and the health, the joy and the sorrows, the numerous stages of family life and parenting. Our love has greater depth now, as we've experienced so many things together.

God has been faithful to us and we thank Him!

My Boy at 8 Months


This boy. 8 Months. It's true! 

In the last month, his first two teeth have popped out!

He's learned to sit up very well with no support.

And, drum roll... he is FINALLY sleeping at night! It's been a long 8 months for mama, as this boy has wanted to be by my side day and night. This included waking 5-8 times per night on a regular basis. BUT NO MORE! Now he is in his own bed, in his own room. He goes to bed around 7 pm and wakes around 6 am, waking twice during the night for a quick feeding. 

In public, the most common things I hear are... 
1) Is he always this happy? 
To which I respond, "Yes, IF he's with mama."
2) He looks so much older with his hair cut. 
3) He doesn't look like your other kids, but has his own look OR 4) He looks so much like your other kids! 
5) I love seeing those chubby rolls!

We love you, Little Man. 
Way to grow, grow, grow this month! 

Airport Fun


 A few weeks ago Daddy had to take a trip to San Francisco for business. This was the first time my younger kids had been to the airport, so it was very exciting for them. 

We were able to watch Daddy's plane take off and then land again 5 days later. For quite a few days afterwards, my 2-year-old daughter would assume that Daddy was up in the sky in an airplane any time that he was away from home. 

The airport adventures were fun for our kids and gave us a good excuse for a "field trip." But we were all so glad to have Daddy back home after his trip! 

Mother's Day 2016


An Ode to My Mother - a poem for Mother's Day 2016 

Roses are red and violets are blue 
I can't afford flowers to send to you 

But as far as moms go, you're among the best 
Standing far and away above all the rest 

Your days were once filled with diapers and tots
No sleep, no money, just stains and spots 

But your heart was full too of your children's love 
Hugs and kisses sent to you from God above

Now my days are filled as yours once were 
No time to rest, as I serve, serve, serve 

But today I remember your service true 
And wish a Happy Mother's Day to you!  

My Boys


My two boys. 
8 years apart in age. 
But raising my baby boy is like living in the twilight zone, raising my older boy all over again... in some ways. 
The two look so much alike to me. 
Here are a few pictures that show the similarities. 

These first two are shots of my current baby boy (well, current as of a few weeks ago, before his hair cut). These were 6 month portraits. Lots of chubby rolls. And dark hair.

And a picture of my older son when he was 6 months old. That dark hair. And those ears. This is probably my favorite baby picture of this child. 

So what do you think? Similar? 

As an aside... is there anything cuter than a baby in a bathtub portrait!!! 

Who Wore It Best?


Who Wore It Best? 

Here's my oldest daughter (now 12) back when she was almost 2 years old, wearing the most adorable blue polka-dot dress with matching hat. So adorable! 

Fast forward to my now 2-year-old daughter wearing the same outfit. Too cute for words! 

Loving the multiple benefits of saving clothes as hand-me-downs. My heart delights in seeing my littlest kids wearing the same things their big bro and big sis did a few years back. 

Daughter's Haircut: Before and After


My 12-year-old daughter got a haircut last week. A real haircut, at a salon, where you tip the stylist and everything. It was a first for her!  She is very pleased with it!

Before. Long strands. Tangled easily.

After. Shorter. Super cute. 

Homeschool Co-op Semester Ends


We were once again delighted to be able to participate in a homeschool co-op during the spring semester. Home Grown Hearts is a group of nearly 50 families (130ish kids) who get together one morning a week for 12 weeks to learn together. The kids enjoy snacks together, play gym games and take other social/educational classes. The moms help teach classes, work in the nursery and have at least one hour of small group prayer time. 

This semester my oldest daughter (12 years old) noticed that her classes were getting harder. She took Poetry, Canvas Painting, Bible, and Show & Tell (informal public speaking). She had to write a few papers for Bible class and write numerous poems for Poetry. These assignments challenged her. I was glad for these classes, though she was ready to throw in the towel and go back to easier ones! In this photo she is showing off her 4 canvas paintings. I'm proud of her!

My son (age 8) enjoyed his classes: Liberty Kids (revolutionary war history, videos and discussion), Gym, Character Traits and Godly Men. Here he is with a poster he helped create on Thomas Paine, one of the influential men of Revolutionary War times. And in front of the poster is a lapbook he created in the same class with facts on other characters from that time period. I'm proud of him! The Liberty Kids class has given him a good foundation for American History, which we jump into next school year.

The kids are challenged each semester to memorize a scripture passage. This year it was Psalm 91:9-16. Both my older two memorized it completely. I'm proud of them for hiding God's Word in their hearts. All of the kids who memorize the passage go up on stage to recite it for all those assembled at the end-of-semester program. 

And here's the entire group of all the children from our co-op. They encourage me and give me great hope for the future!

My semester was spent almost entirely in the nursery, with my two littlest people. I don't mind that at all. There are a handful of other moms serving in there, so we chat while changing diapers and rocking babies. And I enjoy spending the time with my own two in there too. Then for one hour I had my small group prayer time, which always provides a more intentional time of slowing down, sharing at a deeper level and carrying each others' burdens. 

I love our co-op. I love America, where we have the freedom to teach our children at home. I love seeing God's Word spoken and memorized and shared and lived out. 
I am most abundantly blessed!

Baby Boy Turns 7 Months


Days keep passing by and now baby boy is turning 7 months old! He had his first haircut this month. He looks older, more boyish. 

He is almost all smiles! I've heard more than a dozen times "He's such a happy baby! He is always smiling." I tell folks that he has them fooled :-)  He still loves his mama the most and doesn't want me out of his sight... or the smiles quickly turn to tears! 

One highlight of the past month is the introduction of baby food. I wouldn't say he enjoys the baby food yet, but he's tried green beans, peas, and avocado. He does like sitting in the high chair at the dinner table when we're all together.

This man is mobile, when in his walker. He sits up with a little assistance (a bumbo seat or propped against the side of the playpen). He much prefers being upright to laying on his back or stomach. 

Life is good! Happy 7 months, baby boy!

Four Children


All four children together. 

It's getting harder to get good pictures of all of them. 

But they are adorable in any pose... right?! 

Ag Days


 We enjoyed our local Ag Days last week. This is very kid-friendly way to introduce farm basics. 

We have gone many times before, but this was the first time our Little Miss (age 2) would remember it. She was able to touch goats, sheep, calves, horses and rabbits. And we were able to see ducks, geese, turkeys and more.

On the way out of the building, everyone is provided with a cookie and a carton of milk. Perfect for hungry little ones to end Ag Days on a good note! 

Happy Easter


Happy Easter from our clan to yours! 

Baby Boy Turns 6 Months Old


 Time flies when you're having fun... or when you're an infant! This little man turned 6 months old this week. 

Earlier this month, we had some cool weather. But after being cooped up indoors, we headed out for a walk. Here the little guy was all bundled up for his first walk this year. Since then we've had warmer spring weather and have been spending much more time outside. Yeah! 

Sleepy, sleepy. This little guy keeps me guessing. He has fallen into numerous sleep patterns only to have them not stick for more than couple days.  Now he's back to waking 2-3 hours each night to nurse. And he is not liking his own bed in his own room. He much prefers to be side-by-side with Mom. 

Sporting one of his favorite outfits (ok, ok, it's my favorite and I just assume he likes it as much as I do)

Receiving some cuddles from big brother and...

 sister jumped in the chair with them. 
They love their little bro and he loves them.

Happy Half Birthday, Mr. Man! 
We love you and are so thankful you're a part of our family! 

Kitchen Remodel


We've been busy lately with home improvement projects! The impetus was my mother-in-law's offer to pay for new linoleum in our kitchen. This led to a decision to also paint the walls and ceiling. We also opted to include our dining room with the new flooring. And then we decided to paint our old cabinets as well! Phew-wee! 

I say "we" but this is definitely my husband's project. I help a very small bit... mostly by trying to keep our kids occupied elsewhere! :-) 

Here are a couple photos. 

Here's a BEFORE shot of the dining room floor. It was hard wood but in very poor shape. It had stains that were too old and set to get out. 

while the floor man smoothed out the ridges 

as they tried to measure twice and cut once on the huge roll of flooring

so much brighter
It's a marbled pattern so it will hide dirt well.
It's so much lighter and brighter than what we're used to.

A few shots of the kitchen half of the space.

This was a few years back, when we first moved in
Some of the flowery wallpaper has remained, though we removed most of it

Here you can see the old flooring
It was brown, squares. Stained in numerous places and a few sections missing entirely. Beyond repair.

The floor man patching up the uneven floor.
You can see the flower wallpaper behind the fridge

With the roll of flooring half unrolled.

The flooring installed. The fridge is hanging out in the hallway for a few days while the flooring glue sets. 

My husband working on painting the area behind the fridge, after he removed the wallpaper.

Then we decided to paint the cabinets white while we had the paint out! So here are my cabinets laid bare, no doors! 

So a lot of lightening is going on! With the fresh paint on the walls, the cabinets going from wood finish to white and the flooring a much lighter shade... the rooms look bigger. 

We still plan to gut the kitchen at some point and do a complete remodel. There are some specific things that we'd change (more electric outlets; move fridge and oven so they aren't side by side). But we're not even close to being able to afford that type of project currently... and we've got a bathroom or two that are are higher remodeling priorities. So this is an intermediate step that is much less costly but also produces dramatic results! 

My main work space is getting an uplift and I'm loving that!

Thank you, thank you, thank you 
to my mother-in-law and my hubby!