Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am up early before the dawn and it is quiet. Moments like these allow me to clear my head. Silence and a good cup of coffee work together to cause thoughts to swirl around. Sometimes those thoughts are put down on paper, but most often they are lost the moment the first little patter of feet hit the ground running. But on Thanksgiving morning not much else to ponder about but gratitude...

This year has brought about some tough changes for our family. We have grown and stretched like never before, but you know what? Change can either make or break someone and I believe it has made us. Our new rhythm of life here in our home has settled on us and while we work hard to create a stronger home, it seems to be working for us. Late nights, early mornings, things to be done on an ever growing to do list but I wouldn't trade them for the world. 

My thankful heart overflows for these people...

People complain about getting older but you know? I think it gives you such wisdom from having lived a bit more. Things I know now compared to what I thought I knew then, well, let's just say I didn't know much then!!

What I do know now, is that relationships are everything. And these people who share the four walls with me know me intricately. Before I was married I thought, who could I live with for the rest of my life?? Well, God has blessed me beyond measure because I couldn't think of spending them with anyone else...

It takes a lot of work... Just look at this guy, he goes a mile a minute. But this guy will become a man someday. One who marries a woman and raises their own children. What I do now will have a ripple effect on families to come. A shocking truth that reminds me daily to pour my very best in my children and family.

How convicting it is that we are in charge to teach them how to love, and love others. 

So we go about our days, living out life, pouring into relationships. What I have found this year that relationships can be tricky. Risky as well. Balancing real vs safe. Sometimes more often than not, I blow it but sometimes it settles and true friendships begin. Even through the tough times, our kids can see that life isn't easy and we all need to work things out. But then I become surprised when things do work out and a gift of a true relationship blossoms. Win win...

So we go about our time here and work things out. All for our family to see. A process of learning, growing, living. I am thankful for my family, my safe haven. The ones who love me even though sometimes I am hard to love.

Thankful for the burdens we all bear together. Some more real than others!

One thing I am reminded about often, is how quickly these moments fly by. That girl on my back? She used to fit in the crook of my arm not too long ago. I easily carried her weight on my hip as we both went on about our day. Today, I can barely pick her up for a moment. She still loves to be held, cuddled, snuggled... But for how long? The seasons are changing quickly.... How I must live in the moment...

These quiet moments don't come around here often. I know this one is about to end soon but today, I choose to be thankful for it all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 106:1
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Loving some cool rainy days!

I have found that routine does us well... While I might feel out of the loop or less socialized, I know that the kids thrive in structure and in turn, I become more content, calm and satisfied. The kids get along better, play  more games with eachother and life is just good. Rich. 

Today while the kids worked on writing, they wrote one word then ate a "nugget" fruit snack. Made it fun and they could focus more on their writing. 

Jake even sat in his little house, (he is a dog in his bed) and ate his own snack too.

Luke worked hard as well. No dropping his pencil today!

I love it when all things work out. Most days they don't and we are juggling a huge collection of heavy balls that we most always struggle to keep them up in the air. Social commitments, school commitments, personal stuff and just plain life. Kids going each way, sometimes with an attitude but today was good. Attitudes were  seldom seen and peace prevailed. 

But this little guy still gets into his share of mischief...

And what makes the day better? Food cooking on the stove. I love it when it is cold outside but you know in a few hours warm beef stroganoff will bring everyone to the table for food and laughter. Throw in some hot bread and you have a winner.

Wait, I lied. What makes the day better is having a fun cooking assistant to aid in the dinner prep!

Two hours later of slow cooking, smell producing warmth will make this day perfect.

Today I am thankful. Thankful that I serve a God who has led me down this path of being a mom to these wonderful three gifts. Thankful that even through the mundane, I find joy in all of it. The craziness, the juggling, the pain is all part of the deal. Makes the good and necessary all that much more poignant. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daily Goings On!

Let me tell you that homeschooling is a piece of cake compared to occupying a little one while you are homeschooling said older children. So this week, my mission was to have great ideas for the little one to do while the bigun's were working. Enter homemade KoolAid Playdoh. Recipe here.
Can I say hours of playtime?? Hours... 

We broke out all of the playdoh gear. Cutters, rollers, you name it. They had so much fun and what was the best was the playdoh smelled amazing!

And who says the youngest can't join in on learning fun... Well, he tries to jump on the laptop when nobody is looking. He told me he is looking for an E-Trade gig.

Got a little excited the other day and ripped our L off. Thankful it still works but I have a feeling it won't be for long.

Ok. In all seriousness, my kids really do school! Here is Luke cheesing it up while he was working on his math. 

And Kylie diligently working.

This is how Luke spends most of his time... picking up his pencil from off the floor. I hear this is common with boys!
Blocks have been another lifesaver during school time. Here Jake played for a good 30 minutes with his front end loader and a mess of blocks. Yes, he made sound effects but they were pretty quiet!

Recess dance party! It gets a little crazy around here.

We are learning about WWII this week by reading All the Secret's of the World. It is a great Five in a Row unit study which we love! Anyway, today I gave the kids ration cards like they had during the war. They are able to have a certain amount of snacks, special drinks, tv time and other fun things. Once their "ration" is over for the day, that is it! Tonight they spent their game time ration. My mom got us this game called Sleeping Queens that the kids can't get enough of. So enjoy this little peek into our crazy life! 

Make sure you pause the music player at the bottom. Both of these video's are the same. I just can't get the extra one off! Ack! So pick one that suits you the best!

Happy week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Road Trip Vacay!

It's been silent around here for awhile... But so you know, just because it is quiet here, doesn't mean that life has been at a standstill. Actually we are living full tilt and loving it. Funny thing last monday I asked Jon to put up the laptop lest I be tempted to hide in denial at all the work that needed to be done around my house. He said no, he wasn't going to hide it, just not tell me where he put it! Ok... that works. whatever. So last night I was looking for some paper that dropped around the table that usually holds the laptop and lo and behold right on the floor was the laptop. Whew! Glad I didn't see that all week! From the look of the house, it sure appears that I have been on the computer but really I have been productive. Always hard getting back in the saddle after vacation...

Wait. did I say vacation?

We loaded up the van and headed south. Let me tell you that these kids were so excited for the stop to stretch their legs. These jumps are fo' real. Poor Jake didn't know what he was getting himself into when he joined up with this crazy crew!

You know when you are on vacation, part of your brain shuts off. Pictures you snap mentally in your head as things to remember click continually. You are in the moment and all other things fade away - like actually taking pictures! Next time I have got to make a mental note to take a picture of everything so this will be a random collection of some of our time in Florida. Sigh...

This trip we were so thankful to be able to spend time with family and friends. A perfect collection of people that mean a lot to us. First stop in Orlando was the T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney. Back in the day we used to go to Downtown Disney a lot as our cheap date. We would look around, try on all the hats, free chocolate at Ghiradelli,  dig for fossils at T-Rex then take a boat ride to one of the Disney resort playgrounds. A perfect day with no money spent. Sweet. So this night was a bit sweeter as we actually were able to eat there! 

Jake loved all of the sights and sounds. Because of that, I got to eat all of my dinner without any needs from him. Yay! Kylie though wasn't too sure and she was a bit more reserved from all of the dino's. 

But when this came around, she perked up! My girl loves some chocolate!

After dinner we introduced Jake to the fossil pit. Yep, it was a hit!

Finally had to pry all of the kids out of there and head out to more exciting adventures. 

Poor Kylie can't catch a break from being scared!

Poppi (Jon's dad) will pretty much do anything for his grandkids so Luke conned him into a ride. 

Kylie scored too and they both knew it!

Of course we had to stop off and try on some hats. They got some new ones in!

This pic was from the next day (yes, we went back!) but I had to fit in in. He loves his Tinker Toys!

Now here are where the holes come in with my picture taking... Somewhere in the vast memory of my mind now are a dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We were able to hang out with some wonderful animals and the kids LOVED being able to see them so close. We now know that Jake is able to say Turtle (even though it was a tortoise) and some other animal names and communicate in a loud screeching noise to other toddlers from across a big restaurant. Yeah, that wasn't pretty...

But this was!

We headed over to the West coast and spent some time with dear friends at a great little island. If you are ever on the Gulf, head on over to Honeymoon Island. You won't be disappointed!

Clear shallow water perfect for little kids to venture into and blue sky with puffy clouds that only Florida can deliver, and friends. Did I say perfect?

A first of toes in the Gulf.

Kids being crazy in their own little pool. 

Well, if you can read that, it says that the kids are way out there! It was great because it was super shallow and clear. 

Do I have a picture of the adults? Um... that would be a negative. Can't believe that I didn't get one at all! Arg!

So we left our little beach getaway and headed back to our condo. Our condo had a few pools and this great splash pad. Some of the pools were heated but the majority of swimmers were probably from Canada where 75 seemed downright balmy. Us, not so much. The splash pad was a hit though!

Later on in the week, the kids got brave and alternated between the hot tub and pool. 

What is the common factor in both of the above pictures? Um, that would be a little brother trying to torment his sister. (jumping in her picture and bunny ears) While the annoying little brother comes out every so often, Kylie remains cool and calm for the most part. Thankful they enjoy eachother!

Our week soon came to a close and we had to head north. My mom's house is a perfect stop off point from our travels so we enjoyed some time with her! Bye Florida!

One of our favorite traditions at "Gambi's" house is taking a golf cart ride. We head out and venture all over her island as there are many fun things to see. No Mom, Luke didn't drive! Haha!

Crazy kid trying to climb a tree!

The marina has a great little beach full of shells that the kids enjoy looking through. 

Egrets nesting.

When we asked the kids what was their favorite thing about our vacation week, they both said "having Daddy with us all week." I happen to agree with them!

One picture I can remove from my memory is the amount of laundry and to-do's that we have going on at home. Day to day joys that will never end! 

These are the pictures of my day to day that I want to remember for ever... Happy weekend!