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!

Pregnancy Update: Week 24


Pregnancy Update: 24 Weeks Along

So Baby Inkling is about as long as a ruler and probably weighs over 1 pound now. 

My husband and I have been getting serious about discussing baby names this week. For us, this will take numerous discussions before we settle on names - a boy name and a girl name. We have pretty strict criteria, so our lists are usually short and we go back and forth on what he likes versus what I like. 

We asked for our older children's input on names. My 7-year-old son likes Spartaramus for a boy and Lucy for a girl. I told him we'll take those into consideration. :-)

Naming is such a fun part of parenting!

Vacation 2015


Last week our family was able to take a vacation out East. We started in Indiana and went through Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. 

Our first stop was at a hotel in Ohio. Our kids insisted that each hotel we stayed at HAD to have a pool. Here was the first one. 

That first evening, we visited friends in Ohio who served us supper. The kids enjoyed playing together in the big backyard.

My littlest girl isn't the last bit shy. She took to everyone we saw on vacation, which was mainly people she'd never seen before. No problem for her. She served up smiles and laughter nonstop. 

She liked playing in this trash can. Yup, a trash can. Crazy kid! 

 Next stop was a hotel in West Virginia - just a halfway point on the way to our next destination in Virginia. Again, the hotel had a pool. (This was very memorable for us, as my hubby took his cell phone INTO the pool by accident. Thankfully, it still worked afterwards. Phew!)

Here are the kids by a scenic overlook in West Virginia. This was the first time any of us had seen the Appalachian Mountains. My hubby agreed that it was beautiful, though he didn't especially like driving through the mountains.


Our destination in Virginia was near Colonial Williamsburg, which we visited with our friends from the area.

These friends have 8 children, ages 11 on down. 6 boys and 2 girls. Here is me, my hubby and our littlest along with Nick, Senja, and their next-to-youngest Katie.

Their Katie took a liking to our "baby" and was being a great "big sister" - handing her cups and toys and giving hugs.

Here are my two girls with their two girls. 
Very similar in age.

Here is my boy with 5 of their 6 boys. 
It was a challenge to keep up with this crew!

Our final stop was to visit friends in Delaware, who took us to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. These friends have 4 girls (and a baby on the way), so it was the opposite of the previous stop with all the boys.

This is what I saw on most of this trip: my oldest daughter in the front with a camera/phone, helping navigate; my son in the backseat playing or sleeping; my youngest daughter next to me, being entertained with whatever toys I gave her.

Almost 2000 miles of driving split between 8 days. 
Great conversations and visits with friends. 
Beautiful scenery as we saw so much of God's creation and the variety we enjoy in America. 
A great vacation with lots of memories made.