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! 

First Snow


We had the first real snow of the season this weekend. 
My almost-3-year-old couldn't wait to build a snowman. 

What a simple way to make memories with a child! 
Thanks, Daddy, for helping her build this one!

Happy Birthday, My Boy!


This oldest boy of mine has just turned nine!
What a handsome young man he is! 

He likes Legos so he was excited about this Lego idea book, which he received as a gift.

And walkie-talkies. He loves these walkie talkies! 

Grandma K sent some gifts from Wisconsin, which he opened while we skyped with her. Neat technology!

He opened some gifts at Thanksgiving time at Grandma R's house. One was a solar robot, which took hours to assemble, but was fun once it was done.

He wanted an ice cream cake, even for his December birthday. Brrrr... and mmmmm!

A Poem on the Home


I recently read this poem and was challenging by the questions it posed to me as a mother with young children in my home. What are they learning from my example? What kind of home am I building? 


By Nancy Campbell

“Every wise woman builds her home, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”
(Proverbs 14:1)

Are you building up your marriage and home,
or destroying them with your words and actions?
What kind of a home are you building?
An angry home or an anointed home?
A boring home or a bountiful home?
A cynical home or a celebrating home?
A depressing home or a delightful home?
An empty home or an encouraging home?
A fretful home or a flourishing home?
A grumbling home or a gladsome home?
A harassed home or a happy home?
An impoverished home or an interesting home?
A jaded home or a jubilant home?
A kill-joy home or a kind-hearted home?
A legalistic home or a loving home?
A mournful home or a merry home?
A negative home or a nurturing home?
An oppressive home or an overcoming home?
A prayer-less home or a prayer-filled home?
A quarreling home or a queenly home?
A rebellious home or a restful home?
A sour home or a sweet home?
A troublesome home or a tender home?
An unstable home or a united home?
A vexed home or virtuous home?
A worrisome home or a wonderful home?
An exhausting home or an exhilarating home?
Is your home yielded to the Sovereign Lord?
Are you zealously guarding your home?



My littlest man is walking! 
He is just under 14 months and has just taken off walking on his own. He's so proud of himself, smiling and squealing with delight as he takes those tentative steps. 
We're proud of you, Mr. Man! 



This little man is enjoying fall. 

He points to the window to go outside. 
He will sit in the grass and leaves, scooting himself around and squealing with delight. 

We've had some beautiful weather the last few weeks, extending summer all through the month of October and into November!

Happy fall!

A Praying Mantis


My oldest daughter is not (nowadays) afraid of bugs... unlike my younger children. 

We recently found a praying mantis on the siding of our house. 
She went up to it and let it crawl onto her finger. 

And for the next hour, she watched this bug, played with it, stalked it around the yard, let it walk around on her clothes, etc. Did you know that praying mantises can fly? This one stayed pretty low to the ground, but it did fly a bit. 

The younger siblings were around, enjoying this nature lesson. 
Up close and personal with a praying mantis. Cool!  

Motherhood - poem


There is something awesome, special and incredibly blessed of God in carrying a child, in sustaining and nurturing life. This poem speaks to the spiritual side of the great calling of motherhood.

Motherhood - a poem by Christianna Maas

My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote
to the great rebuttal of every murder, every abortion
and every genocide. I sustain humanity. 
Deep inside of me, light grows.
I am death's opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today.
I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among
the ranks of those set on earth's destruction.
Today a vibration that calls angels to attention 
echoed throughout time.
Our laughter threatened hell today.

I dined with the greats of God's army.
I made their meals and tie their shoes.
Today I walked with greatness 
and when they were tired, I carried them.
I have poured myself out for their cares today.

It is finally quiet but life stirs inside of me
Gaining strength, the pulse of life sends a constant 
reminder to both good and evil that I have yielded 
myself to heaven and now carry its dream.
No angel has ever had such a privilege nor any man.
I am humbled by the honor. I am great with destiny.

I birth freedom fighters.
In the great war, I am a leader of the underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops, 
surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, 
invisible yet tangible and the anointing to alter history.
Our footsteps marking land for conquest
We move undetected through the common places.

Today I was the barrier between evil and innocence.
I was the gatekeeper, watching over the hope of 
mankind and no intruder trespassed.
There is not an hour of the day or night 
when I turn from my post. 
The fierceness of my love is unmatched on earth.

And because I smiled instead of frowned
The world will know the power of grace
Hope has feet and it will run to the corners of the earth
Because I stood up against destruction.

I am a woman. 
I am a mother.
I am the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth.
Heaven stands in honor of my mission.
No one can carry my call.
I am the daughter of Eve.
Eve has been redeemed.
I am the opposition of death.
I am a woman.



We had a garden this year. We tried square foot gardening. We had green beans, sugar snap peas and a few tomato and pepper plants. We then ripped everything out and planted some fall crops of green beans and lettuce. Those are producing right now, giving us some yummy veggies to keep for ourselves and to share with others. 

Thankful Thursday


Thankful Thursday

A day to be thankful for the little things... like purple leaves.

Until the last few years, I have always hated fall and the month of October (if you're curious, you can read more here). God has "redeemed" them for me now,though. I am learning to not just endure them but to cherish them for their own special beauty. 

I love the color purple. So I thank God this week for purple leaves. It's true! I have found hundreds of purple leaves this week while walking in my neighborhood. A red maple tree's leaves are just turning red. The back side of the leaves a beautiful shade of light purple. 

I take these purple leaf sightings to be messengers from God. "I created fall. Fall has its own beauty, just as each season does. Just look deeper and you'll find it." 

Found it, God! Thank you for purple leaves!



October is a month set aside for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. 

That statement seems so sanitary and carries no emotion... unless it has reason to resonate more deeply. It does with me. I've lost three babies to miscarriage. And those years were the hardest I've ever struggled through. 

There are many dimensions that make it difficult. One of them is the unexpected nature of miscarriage. When one becomes pregnant, it is assumed that one is "going to have a baby." That is, that the baby will grow for 9 months and then be born, happy and healthy. Miscarriage seems to catch everyone off-guard. 

In our situation, we had struggled with infertility prior to our miscarriages. So we were so very thankful to become pregnant - it was like reaching a mountain peak. When the first miscarriage happened, it made the valley below that much deeper. 

I've written many other posts about our experiences with infertility and miscarriage (click on the link on the right side bar to read more). At this point, I just want to encourage you to be sensitive to those who have experienced infant loss. Many suffer in silence. Many stifle the tears and push down the pain. Having a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen can open the door to healing. 

I am comforted in knowing that God, our Father, welcomes little children. He loves them. His Word says "Do not hinder them (the children, from coming to Him) for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 

He knows them. He knows their names. 
He holds them in His hand. We will see them soon enough and get to spend eternity with them, forever. Knowing how much I love my earthly children, I can hardly wait! 

Chalkboard Paint Update


We did a small bit of painting in our kitchen, using chalkboard paint. 

We are in the process of repainting our kitchen cabinets. They are wood grain. We are painting them white. 

But this particular section of our peninsula is a perfect place for the kids to be creative with a chalkboard.So we took the plunge and did it. They love it! 

Bonus, the paint was on sale at ALDI (of all places) so it was cheap. And my older two helped with the painting, which they enjoyed as well. Win-win!

Sweet Girl


My little girl. She's almost 3.

She's got a very tender heart. 
She loves to sing praise songs to the Lord. 
Her eyes get big and fill with compassion when she sees someone in pain.

Recently we were on a walk. 
She found a dead dandelion. 
She insisted that we pick "the flower."
She insisted that we take it inside.
She insisted that we put it in a vase. 
She insisted that we fill the vase with water.
She insisted that we set it out for all to see. 

I love her! 

Homeschool Field Trip: Fall Farm Fun


A farm in the fall makes for a fun field trip! 

We paid a visit a nearby farm for a homeschool field trip. Dad had the day off so he was able to join in the fun.

There were many hands-on activities to try out, like this water pump. There was also a petting zoo.

The highlight for everyone was the corn box. 

Even the older kids played around in the corn and then buried Dad in it.

Our littlest guy loved playing in the corn too and DID NOT try to eat it. Yeah!

There is a jumping pillow - like a huge trampoline - for the kids to enjoy.

There was a "cow train" that our family filled all the way up! What a bumpy ride that was!

There were peddle cars on dirt tracks.

There were multiple corn mazes. Here was a musical-themed one.

I'm thankful for fall fun as a family!