My Boy


My son. He's 7. 
He keeps us on our toes 
and keeps life from being anywhere close to boring. 

When we got a good soaking rain recently, lowpoints in our backyard filled with water. Here he was playing in the mud puddle - making a rock bridge, jumping, splashing, pretending to be an army soldier and then pretending to be working in rice paddies. What an imagination!

He loved playing our 1980s version of Mousetrap. So fun! 

Yes, that is Spiderman you're seeing. And he's wearing a coonskin cap and sandals. And riding a bike. 
The cutest superhero around!

He has always loved to help in the yard and/or work with tools. When the men of our church were spending a few hours helping a widow with yard work, he was able to tag along. He's not smiling in this picture, but he was being a serious helper!

You're an important part of our family. 
We love you, buddy!

Homeschooling Encouragement: Such a Blessed Life


A beautiful choice for our family. 
A wonderful freedom in our country.

I recently saw something on Facebook that reminded me what a blessed life I lead. Not an easy life, but a blessed one indeed.

Blessed to be at home with my children, watching them change and grow and learn and explore. 

Blessed to be at home with my children, reading about adventures set in other times and places, as we learn together. Blessed to be the one who is shaping their worldview, helping them think through issues, helping uncover their hidden talents and abilities.

Blessed to be at home, preparing meals for my family to enjoy together as we talk, listen, and laugh together around the table. 

Blessed to hear "Mom, look at this!" all day long as my children try new things, discover something new in a book, or create something new out of their wild imaginations. 

Blessed to be able to include my children in the daily rhythm of life - shopping, skyping with Grandma, daytime visits to those needing encouragement, along with laundry folding and meal preparing and house cleaning. 

Blessed to be able to take walks around the neighborhood at any time of day, to watch road construction happen outside our window, to call for recess any time it's needed.

Blessed to be able to sleep in or get up early or take a nap. It's my choice, my privilege, my schedule. Wow!

Blessed to learn more about who I am while my kids learn who they are. 

Blessed to know that in good times and in bad, our family will be together. Our traditions and routines are the glue that holds us together through it all. 

I am a home educator and parent. 
Some think I am brave. I just think I am being true to my convictions and loving my family the best I can. 

I am blessed. Seriously blessed.

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks


Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks Along

I have been tossing and turning at night now, as it's getting harder to be comfortable while laying down. 

Baby Inkling continues to move a lot. I love that aspect of pregnancy... a little human being moving around inside. 

My husband and I continue to talk through name possibilities, going back and forth on a few. 

Just 2 more months until due date arrives. We can't wait to be surprised at your arrival, Baby Inkling!

Happy Birthday to my Man


My main squeeze just had a birthday. 

He didn't want any extra attention or parties. But the kids and I did join him at work for a picnic birthday lunch.

I am beyond thankful for this man. He isn't perfect (neither is his wife) but he puts in 100% every day. He works hard at work. He works hard at being present and available at home. He undoubtedly loves me and his heart is for our family. I truly couldn't ask for a better man to walk through life with. 

And he makes amazing homemade pizza to boot! :-)

What a blessed life we live! 
Happy Birthday, Babe!

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks


Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks Along

30 weeks out of 40 = 3/4 of the way there

I look huge. 
I am receiving regular comments about looking huge. 
I have very little muscle tone due to multiple pregnancies and one of those being an 11+ pound baby. 
It's ok, folks. My docs are on it. Baby is fine. I'm fine. And my due date has not changed. 

I continue to "nest" and do a little bit of cleaning and preparing each day. 

My 7-year-old son now enjoys feeling the baby move. So that has become a special time, with some baby education mixed in. 

We love you, Inkling! 

Toddler Girl at 18 Months

This little girl is 18 months old.

Here's her most recent portrait.

My 7-year-old son took these snapshots, which turned out great. She was in her 4th-of-July outfit.

Boxes are always so much fun to play in.

This is just such a cute picture with the cheesy grin.

She looks so tall and grown up on the stairs in this picture.

She has gotten 4 new teeth this month - her canines. This has made for a few difficult days, which happened to include her 18-month doctor check up and her 18-month portrait picture-taking session.  

She is always trying new things - walking (not crawling) up the stairs, eating new foods, venturing further in our yard to discover new territory, becoming a little more independent in the church nursery. Her vocabulary is always growing too, as she says new words daily. 

We love watching you grow and discover, Little Miss! 
You remain a joy and delight to our family!

Pregnancy Update: 29 Weeks


Pregnancy Update: 29 Weeks Along

I had a second ultrasound this week, which confirmed that Baby Inkling is healthy and growing just fine. I have a particular antibody in my system that can result in a heart issue in about 20% of babies, so this ultrasound simply confirmed that Inkling's heart is functioning as it should. The ultrasound also put Inkling's current weight at 3 and 1/2 pounds, which is excellent. 

I have begun setting aside a few items for the hospital bag and baby's diaper bag. This week I hope to inventory my diaper supply to see how many more I should stock up on before Inkling's arrival. I felt more prepared in this department last time around, but I do still have time to find some decent diaper deals and stockpile some. 

My midwife appointments are every two weeks now, so I'll have another appointment this coming week. 

I love seeing you grow strong and healthy, Inkling! 

Pregnancy Update: 28 Weeks


Pregnancy Update: 28 Weeks Along

This week's theme is ITCHING! It is very common for the stretching belly skin to be itchy. I've got an additional rash on my forearms and in a few other places that are making me VERY ITCHY all over! My midwives aren't concerned at this point and assume it's just a reaction to a change in soap, detergent, etc. I'm not sure what would cause it and it's lasted almost 3 weeks now. So I try to exercise major self control and use anti-itch lotions and oils to bring some relief. 

Baby Inkling, you are worth all of the itching and discomfort that I may experience. I love you so much and am thankful to be able to experience the privilege of pregnancy, such a unique and incredible season of a woman's life! 

Trip to Wisconsin


A few weeks ago we took a weekend trip to visit my extended family in Wisconsin.

Here's a festive picture of my clan. 

My mom usually throws a summer party when we come to visit. This year it was a luau theme, so you'll see lots of leis and hawaiian decor. There were also 3 family members turning 40 this year, so there were "over the hill" decorations as well.

Look at these wonderfully dressed up kids!

We had one beautiful sunny day to enjoy outdoor and water fun. 

My oldest daughter on Grandma's playset. 

This is my son and his cousin Trinity, who is very close to his age. They played very well together.

Here's my toddler girl checking out the pool.

The older two kids wanted to see just how big a round hay bale is. Too big to push over, they discovered. And big enough to sit on and see a distance. A beautiful Wisconsin scene.

Pregnancy Update: 27 Weeks


Pregnancy Update: 27 Weeks Along

I'm into the final trimester now. I feel big, though not yet do I feel terribly uncomfortable. 

This pregnancy is different for me, in that my youngest is only 18 months. I still lift her up and carry her places, including up and down stairs at home. She points to my belly and says "baby" but I know she doesn't understand. She sees me rub lotion on my belly and lifts her shirt for me to rub some on her belly too. 

Goals for the next few weeks include stockpiling small-size diapers; sorting through newborn clothes for both boys and girls to have some of each ready to go; watching what I eat as this is the stage at which my babies grow big if I don't. 

All of our traveling for the summer is now done, as we've taken our big family vacation out east and a smaller trip to Wisconsin to visit family. My focus now turns to nesting at home. 

We love you, Baby Inkling, and are all very excited as we anticipate your arrival!

Homeschool: Box Day Again


Another school year is over. We actually just ended this week, which is much later than most public school students or homeschool students. We put in over 190 school days (only 180 are required) but we were itching to finish our curriculum and good books we weren't finished with yet.

But now our focus shifts, as our curriculum for next year has arrived. Box Day is the big day when the boxes arrive from Sonlight. 

My youngest thought the boxes were great for climbing, sitting and laying on. 

But the rest of us were full of anticipation, eager to see all of the new materials and books for next year. 

My 7-year-old son will be using Sonlight officially for the first time, a 2nd grade level called Core B+C, which will provide a broad overview of world history in one year. Here he is with all of his new books and some math linking cubes. 

My 11-year-old daughter (turning 12 soon) will be using a 7th grade level curriculum called Core H, which is year 2 of 2 in a study of world history. She's been using Sonlight for the last 5 years and it's worked very well for us. We really enjoy all of the great books we read together.

Here are the kids with a poster/picture that Sonlight sent as a freebie with our order. Norman Rockwell's "Land of Enchantment" showing two children entering a wonderful land of imagination as they read.

We generally school year-round, which means that we will take a small bit of time off now between "school years" but will then start back up again yet this summer. Having a baby due in September means that we will take a forced break at that time, so I hope to be quite a few weeks into our school year before that. 

This will be my first year teaching 2 "cores" to the kids, which will be challenging. Add to that our toddler and coming baby and I am really not sure how the year will turn out. But I'm ok with that. If we end up taking longer to complete everything, that's ok. I'm also utilizing my oldest daughter's help in teaching her brother, so that will take a small bit off my plate (she's going to be his Science teacher this year; she's so excited about it and is already getting into the teacher's manual to understand the lesson plans, etc). She's also a big help with our toddler and I expect that will continue or increase as we add the new baby. 

So life has some coming challenges. Homeschooling is a challenge. But one of the things I love about it is that we face the challenges together as a family. We'll face it together. We'll come out stronger on the other side. We'll learn through it all and life will go on. 

I am so thankful for the freedom to homeschool. 
I am so thankful for a husband who supports and encourages my efforts in homeschooling. And I am so thankful for the wonderful hours I get to spend with my children, who are a delight and treasure to me. 

Pregnancy Update: Week 26


Pregnancy Update: 26 Weeks Along

Here we are, already at the end of the second trimester. Just one more to go!

Baby Inkling continues to move a lot. He or she is about the size of a head of lettuce and weighs around 2 pounds. 

This week's theme: insomnia. I've been up for anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours during the night lately. I usually try to stay in bed, try to fall back asleep. But once my mind starts thinking, it's hard to turn it off again. 

Third trimester, here we come!

Pregnancy Update: 25 Weeks


Pregnancy Update: 25 Weeks Along

This week's theme - swelling. We've had temps in the 80s all week. I've started to notice my fingers swelling. And while shopping for shoes over the weekend, I realized my feet are the biggest they've ever been (a size 9). So there is some swelling going on. 

I have a routine OB visit next week, which will include a glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes. 

I feel Baby Inkling moving throughout the day. I love this part of pregnancy -- to have a little human being growing inside is just simply incredible!

PS: Me with my adorable photobomber

Toddler Girl at 17 Months


My toddler girl is 17 months old. This month has brought some new discoveries and new challenges. 

She has just now given up her morning nap, transitioning from 2 naps a day to just 1 in the early afternoon. I miss that morning nap already, as it gave me a more productive hour of the day to spend with the other kids. Oh well... she enjoyed playing some math rods while I was working with her older brother. She stayed occupied, putting these in and then out of her little cup for about 15 minutes.

One day she stuck a piece of apple on her foot. 
This was simply hilarious to her. Of course, no one can resist a child's laughter, so then we all were rolling. 

One day she climbed up onto a chair at the big table. We allowed her to eat breakfast there. She thought she was pretty hot stuff!

She loved eating sweet corn on the cob, raw! 

This girl loves boxes (what kid doesn't, right?). She will climb into any box, big or small. She will stuff toys into any box. Definitely a simple but fun toy.

While on vacation, she wore a swimsuit for the first time and enjoyed swimming in a pool. 

One challenge from this month: taking away the beloved pacifier. We allowed it while on vacation but it "went bye bye" afterwards. She had a super rough first week without it, but by the second week had adjusted. She now loves on her two favorite stuffed animals at bedtime instead of the "paci." 

Her vocabulary continues to grow, as she is now putting words together (like "mama shoe" or "meat please"). She has become more adventurous, climbing higher on furniture than ever before, daring to venture further into the yard when we're outside, etc. 

18 months, here we come! 

We love you, Little Miss!

My Oldest Girl


My oldest daughter is nearing 12 years old. 
She is growing into a responsible young lady. 

She still enjoys reading. In this picture, she was reading a book outside while walking around the yard. Her reading load is fairly heavy for school this year so she doesn't have a lot of free time for leisure reading. Recently she started listening to Anne of Green Gables as an audiobook. She's enjoying that. 

Recently she told me that she wanted to do more baking. So she make a two-layered cake and frosted it. A week later, she did so again. Note to self: get her more involved in the kitchen and call it Home Ec.

I can see a lot of growth in her from the last 18 months, since having a baby in the house again. She doesn't change diapers, but she helps in almost every other way with our toddler girl. Every afternoon, I try to nap when the little one does. If I'm still sleeping when she wakes up, big sister will get her up and entertain her until I wake up. I love that! 

This girl still knows how to have fun, though. She still enjoys dressing up on occasion and will be silly and goofy when playing with her younger siblings.

Love you, Bright Eyes, and enjoy watching you grow up!