"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Friday, July 27, 2012


After a scary pool incident at the beach house in May, 
I was determined to get Aaron signed up for his second round of swim lessons. 

Don't you love the ridiculous looking goggles? :)
He started off the lessons afraid to get his hair wet and go under water. 
He gripped on to his instructor and was very tentative. 

He was smitten with his swim instructor and always kept track of 
which life guard stand she was on when the pool was open after lessons. 
"There's my friend Miss Katie," he would shout. 

And even though he refused to jump in the first two days, he jumped
from the starting block to his teacher on day 7 all by himself. 
So proud of my little swimmer. Every day is a pool day now, right? 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Not so ODD.

As of this month, the boys have officially given up being ODD. 

Well, maybe they're still odd, but their ages are not. At the ages of 4, 6 and 8, I'm ready 
for an even year. :) Have I told you my theory that even years are smoother then odd ones? 
We'll just have to see if it holds true this year or if it's all psychological babble. 

Let's take a look at these three sweet boys and their individuality.

Luke: At the age of 8, you are shy and introverted with new people, but are comfortable and chatty with close friends and family. If someone outside your close circle asks you questions, you tend to clam up and stare blankly. And yet, with those you love you are confident and quick witted. You feel music through your body and can't help yourself from dancing, drumming, or singing in response to it. You can get lost in music and dance like crazy, forgetting that someone may be watching. You love to build with legos and create "scenes." Your imagination is limitless. You are very passionate and feel things deeply and can get caught in extremes. (sorry buddy, but I think I passed this along to you!) You are a perfectionist, which is a blessing and a challenge when it comes to school work. It can seem overwhelming to you to not understand your schoolwork perfectly the first time you see it. Fear of failure is high. You are a rule follower and quite upset when rules are not followed. You are very affectionate and not bashful about holding my hand or giving Daddy and I hugs and kisses. You love to eat vegetables and salads and while you like the idea of special treats you generally think they're too sweet. You are fiercely devoted to your brothers, but can also be fierce with them. You love to run and go to track club. You are discovering a joy for tennis and just generally like to be outside (no matter what the weather). You have a very sweet servant heart and understand the blessings of working hard. You've lost 8 teeth!
can you tell how much they were into this photo shoot?
Ethan: At the age of 6, you are my little monkey. You love to climb, wrestle and roll around. You are a very physical kid, knocking us down with your leaping hugs. You are generally shy with new adults and children. Up until your recent meeting with hornets, you were fearless. The multiple stings have brought out a bit more caution, but you are still my "extreme sports" guy. You love climbing at the climbing wall, but are not interested in organized sports. Crazy stunts on your bike make you excited. You've expressed an interest in gymnastics and swimming and this summer you are determined to learn how to dive off the diving board. Once you set your mind to something, you can do it and are not worried about failing. You just keep trying. Since the age of three, you have been a precise and detailed colorer. This year in art class, you continued to excel in other forms of art. You surprise many with your unbelievable focus for art, especially in light of how psychically active you are the rest of the time. You love to pretend play with playmobil toys with your brothers. You are definitely my meat and cheese boy, but you still enjoy your veggies. You love to dress up in costumes as long as you are in the privacy of your own home. This summer you've made great progress with your reading. You have a great love of animals (especially horses) and are so gentle with them. When you are sad, you love to have your "Doggie Dog" stuffed animal in your arms. In a school setting, you are quiet and respectful. You save your spunk for home or with those you are really comfortable. You've lost 1 tooth!

Aaron: At the age of 4, you are our little snuggler. You love to sneak into Mommy and Daddy's room in the night and snuggle up with Daddy. You still have a little baby fat and are so soft and squishy to hug. When you are nervous or shy, you hang open your mouth with a cute little expression. You love any kind of sport: football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, anything! You can throw a ball up in the air and whack it with a bat or racket easily. You are surprisingly good at dribbling an adult size basketball. Sports seem to be a part of who you are. You love the idea of doing school, but are not particularly interested in any type of worksheet or coloring. You love to pretend with little duplo men or lego men or playmobil men. You can keep yourself busy for long stretches pretending with your little men but can also hold your own pretending with your brothers. You love babies and have been known to ask when God is going to give us one, or two. You are taking your second swimming class this summer and making good progress. While you love playing with your brothers, you still love your time alone. You can be very silly and giggly. What a wonderful and contagious giggle you have! You are very ticklish. You are very social and eager to play with new friends and neighbors. 
No matter how hard being a Mommy is at times, I am so grateful for the privilege of 
taking care of our three boys. What a gift to watch them grow and mature!
The hardest, but best job I've ever had!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

It's official... I mailed my notice of intent to home school Luke and Ethan on Wednesday. Deep breath! Much prayer went into this decision and as I prayed, there were very clear answers to move forward with home schooling this year. And yet, I am still nervous! I am certain that since God is calling me (us) to home school, He will give me (us) the strength to do so. Oh Lord, give me the faith to believe that You will be with me, carrying my burdens and holding me up. Help me to trust in You and cast all my worries on You. 

It's tempting to pray for an easy year. Who doesn't want that? I'd love all our learning to be smooth sailing and for them to delight in every little thing I prepare for them because they're such geniuses. Wouldn't it be nice if I could blog about our perfect school days and my expert teaching! ha! Realistically though, considering our sin nature that's not likely. And if it did happen, I think I'd be a wee bit tempted to think it was because of how great I am. I might even be tempted to begin relying on my own strength and not God's.

This past year was hard. There was resistance to school work. There was shouting (from the boys and from me). There were angry words. There was repentance. There was forgiveness and there was much relying on God. There was a very clear sense of our need for Him. So, as much as I'd love things to be easy, isn't it better that it wasn't and I was at a place of relying more fully on Him? I cherish that affirmation from the spirit as I "accidentally" read scripture that was just what I needed. He made it so clear that He was with me and He will be again. (And I must add that we had MANY lovely school days mixed in with those hard ones - those were a gift from God!)

In four short weeks, we'll begin our 2012-2013 school year. I have a lot of work to do to get ready and somehow I don't even feel like I've rested all that much this summer. Somehow, I'll be ready. Ready for more multiplication, exploring countries and cultures, cursive, spelling, reading, grammar, phonics, science and art. And most importantly, ready to continue pointing these precious boys to the cross and their need for Jesus. (And praying that He will fill me with joy as I follow Him!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


We left the house on Monday morning at 7:45am to go blueberry picking. 
I've never seen the boys move so quickly to get out the door. 
We found a perfect shady spot to stand and pick. 
If felt surprisingly lovely out considering all the humidity. 
The blueberries were wet from the rain and so mouth watering!

 Oh to describe my little helpers... 
Aaron: Expert berry taster! Definitely should have weighed him at check out. 
 Ethan: Very cheerful and willing to pick as long as there were no bees or wasps in sight. 
His interest fluctuated based on the proximity of his buzzing friends.
 Luke: Hardcore berry picker and determined to fill his bucket to the brim. Such a hard little worker!
 So... 40 minutes later we had 11 pounds of blueberries and 4 happy family members. 
Definitely a favorite summer tradition! (Ahem... who picked those purple sour berries!?!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Out of the blue, this hymn is running through my head. 
We didn't sing it at church recently, so I'm not sure why I thought of it.
I think it's a little gift from the Spirit. 
Such rich words!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Monday, July 16, 2012


The boys enjoyed cow appreciation day at Chick Fil A on Friday. 
Although... two of the boys look a little bit more like dalmations then they look like cows. :)
 They were definitely NOT into me taking a picture, especially Ethan! ;)
Thank you Chick Fil A for their free kids meals. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beautiful Butterflies

We enjoyed the reprieve from the heat on Thursday with a trip to the botanical 
garden in town, just me and the boys. We had a leisurely and delightful time! 

There is a butterfly exhibit that was wonderful. I just wish Ethan was not so scared of all outside creatures. He was terrified of bumblebees, wasps, dragon flies and the butterflies. 
 Pretty understandable considering his experience being attacked by hornets, 
but so sad for him to be so scared. He spent most of the time holding tightly to my arm. 
But check it out, he did break away for a bit to climb a tree! This was huge!

It was so nice to not be in a rush and to have no agenda. 
We just explored and went down any path that they wanted. 

 There was a wonderful and very old mulberry tree that they allow kids to climb. 
Other bystanders were a little surprised that the boys climbed so high and that I let them. 
This is one area I just let them go. They are usually quite cautious and good climbers so 
I let them get it out of their system. 
Here is our self-portrait!

Friday, July 13, 2012


One of the treats of having my parents closer is that they can join us for birthday dinners. 
 Ethan specifically called and asked Poppy to match him by wearing a gray shirt. 
 It was a coincidence though that everyone else was wearing blue. 
Although, it's not all that shocking if you look in our closets. We have a LOT of blue. :)
I was the odd one out in coral. :) Luke was determined to sneak in 
the picture on this side of the table too. 
We were quite a silly bunch celebrating birthday's!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I have been called many names over the years, from childhood to adulthood. Some good and welcomed, many names have been crushing and crippling. It's so tempting to get stuck believing those negative things and then forget the TRUTH of how my Creator sees me. I have been created in His image. (Gen. 1:27) Confidence in who I am in Christ can change how I live! I'm needing to preach the truth to myself today. Maybe you need to hear it too?

Wonderfully Made:
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Psalm 45:11

"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." Ephesians 4:7

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Backyard Olympic Games

We celebrated our birthday boys with a little backyard olympic games on Monday. 
The boys were very eager to help me decorate. 
I would have loved to invite more friends and their kids, but we kept our numbers at ten and let the boys choose who they wanted to invite. It was just the right number of kids. A very sweet bunch!
 Getting ready to process for the opening ceremonies. 
 Birthday Olympians wearing their new olympic shirts. 
Super easy to make with a circular stamp and fabric paint.
The pledge and National Anthem.
 The torch relay race
 The standing long jump
We also had soccer relays, discus throw, shot put, and an obstacle course.
We were a sweaty and happy bunch!

 Homemade pizza, veggies and fruit! yum! So thankful that my mom could be here to 
assemble and bake the pizza for us while we were outside competing.
 I have to say... the cakes were a bit lame this year. 
And the funny thing is that the boys DON'T EVEN LIKE CAKE! 
 They just love the surprise of how I choose to decorate it. We sadly end up throwing most of it away. Anyone want some delicious homemade cake? Come on by...
Ethan's gold medal ... lame, I know. I was grasping for easy ideas.
This yellow food coloring is radioactive! He was excited though. :)

 After the obstacle course, the tunnel became the "Olympic Caterpillar." 
 Closing ceremonies and the awarding of gold medals

The kids had a blast, but phew... I'm tired. Whose idea was it to have two kids born a day apart?? 
Oh, that's right... it was a happy little accident all in God's plan. :)
I love these boys!
* Thank you to Carla for taking pictures for me while I led the games!


Just in time for Ethan's 6th birthday, his first tooth went missing. 
Happy Birthday to my spirited and sweet middle boy!

Monday, July 9, 2012


The difference between 3 years old...
and 4 years old!
Celebrating Aaron's 4th birthday today! Can't believe my baby is 4!!!

Heart Surgery

I'm a verbal processor. I need to talk or write to sort through what I'm feeling.  Processing internally is NOT a strength of mine. My thoughts get all muddled up in my "to do" list and I can't keep anything straight.

Enter the summer... somehow, we have been "off" from school since the end of May and instead of slipping into easy summer routines we have cranked up the pace many notches. I start the day in God's word and I am very protective of my time reading during room time, but somehow I can't seem to quiet myself enough to have a long conversation with the Lord. Or even find a length of time. And oh, how I'm craving that! He and I talk all day long in little snippets. Sometimes out loud in the heat of the moment, "Oh Lord give me patience. Help me to love this little boy!" But it's never long enough before I'm needed by someone or I fall asleep.

We have had a delightful summer in so many ways, and yet, it has become obvious to me that we need to do a little heart surgery around here. Arguing, complaining, whining, revenge, and selfishness are some of the hot topics we're dealing with. After attending the homeschool convention in June, I was super encouraged by what I re-learned from Ted Tripp about the importance of reaching the heart of my children. It struck me how important it is to intentionally teach the boys what God says about our heart instead of waiting for a moment of correction. And so we began creating a heart notebook that we have been working on three days a week.

I don't think it's an accident that as I sit in this place of feeling unsettled this summer (not finding the time to process with God all that I'm feeling), God is using every little thing to catch my attention. I started this heart notebook with the boys to address some of THEIR ungodly attitudes. 
However, as I study God's word and prepare these lessons for them 
it has been revealed to me that I NEED SOME HEART SURGERY TOO!

 We're moving pretty slowly. It took one whole morning to decorate 
and set up our notebooks. (Which they loved doing!)
 I love these boys so much and I want them to walk away from this house knowing 
the love of Jesus and knowing who they are as a child of God. In order to know that, 
they need to understand the brokenness that comes with being a sinner and the huge amount of grace given to them in Jesus' death on the cross. And the hope that comes with the resurrection!
 Most, if not all, of MY ungodly attitudes and behaviors (being quick to anger, love of self, pride, envy - to name a few) are rooted in me not fully living like I believe the gospel. Not fully living like I understand my identity in Christ. I know I won't live perfectly this side of heaven, but am I quick to repent or do I become nonchalant about the "little" sins?
 I don't thinks it's an accident that I am attending a summer women's Bible Study on "Our Identity in Christ and the Inheritance We Receive." It's all sinking in to me how much God loves me that He knows just what I need when I need it. Can you believe that? This omnipotent, almighty God cares about the little details of my life!?!?! He knows how much I need to repent of my sinful heart and so he uses my lessons with the boys to teach me that. He knows that I need to re-learn who I am as his daughter and so He presents me with an opportunity to learn about that with great women this summer. Truly humbling and amazing.
 As for our heart study, we're still in the beginning stages. Each day we read one verse from the Bible about the heart. We discuss it, the big boys write out the verse for handwriting practice (Ethan sometimes just fill in the blanks of some words), and then we illustrate it. 
Aaron has been mostly content to cut and paste and scribble. 

Sometime next week, we're going to move on to discussing 12 ungodly attitudes of the heart 
and the correlating Godly attitude. I'm hoping and praying that this heart notebook is reaching my wiggly little boys and giving them an understanding for how much God is concerned 
with their hearts. I know He is teaching me.  :)