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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace

Updated: 2018-03-20T11:44:30.565-04:00


We're Moving!!!


I had big plans for fanfare and fancy announcements.

Instead I'm simply saying it.  The fancy stuff can come later. :)

We're moving.  In fact, I've already done most of it and could say, we've moved!

Please update your bookmarks list with our new blog address:

I'm leaving feedburner too, so I'd love it if you'd venture over to sign up to receive our feeds there.  I don't want to lose you!!!

This has all been pretty sudden, and I've been working to get it all moved over without losing anything.  Sadly, I did lose a few of the more recent comments and I just don't know how to get them back.  If it's you, I'm sorry and I didn't do it on purpose!  If you are so inclined, you can re-comment, but that's up to you.  I'm not going to worry about it. :)

In the next couple weeks I'll be talking a bit about the move, reasons for it, and highlighting some new things on the blog. 

In the mean time, come on over and say hi! :)



A busy summer means that I didn't share the second two videos from Jeff and Becky Raymond

The good news is, you can still see all of them on their website

Today though, I want to share their final video.  They say it's their favorite.

Well... it's my favorite too.  The stories shared are simply God inspired!  I was actually crying while I watched.  And it's only 5 minutes and 23 seconds.  So I'm curious.  Is it because I'm emotional like that???  Or will you cry too?  Anyone have five and a half minutes to find out???

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What did you think???  Isn't our God amazing?

I'm so excited that I get to support this ministry! 

Where do we learn?


[For those of you new here, visiting from the Not Back to School Blog Hop, welcome!  I'm the mommy and learning assistant to four little ones, ages 5, 4, 2 and almost 5 months old.  I'm currently doing "school" with my oldest, Tornado... age 5. ]Before I get into the pictures, let me first give you the real answer.Everywhere!And I don't just mean outings (field trips), I mean everywhere!Driving in the car, walking through the grocery store, picking tomatoes in the garden.  Sometimes it's inspired by something that we see... sometimes by a question from one of the kids... sometimes because Daddy or I see an opportunity to teach something (character, civics, Bible).  Math fact questions get thrown out at "random", referencing literature happens all the time as we think of it. Everywhere!But that's not what this post is really about.  One day I may just have to devote a whole post to the "everywhere" concept, but today it's about the learning I plan for. It doesn't get too fancy.  We live in 5 rooms (including the bathroom... and the kitchen and living room aren't separated by a wall) over 720 square feet.  There is no dedicated school room.  There isn't even a dedicated shelf (you'll see that later).    Here you see Tornado working at our kitchen table and you may notice that the table isn't necessarily even "dedicated" to learning while we're there.  Exhibit A:  garlic chives on the table waiting to be dehydrated later today.  Usually Sweet Pea and Little Man join us at the table for at least some of the time playing with stickers, Tornado's math manipulatives, coloring or whatever else they've found to do.  Another place of learning.  Tornado loves to read.  He's reading Farmer Boy (one of the Little House books) aloud to us these days.  Picture books, chapter books, toddler books or my Bible.  He doesn't discriminate... and often he reads them right here.  Here is where our active "school" books live.  Among other things.  Our "circle" books are usually standing upright, but one of the kids put them away today.  And the bag from Lowes used to be somewhere else... until we needed it for something and it didn't get put away. On the left are my Polished Cornerstones and Plants Grown Up books from Doorposts.  I'll be working them in one of these days.  For Instructions in Righteousness is in there somewhere too.  I've been starting to use that one.  I've so excited to finally have them! Missing from pictures is our living room floor where we all sit for "circle" time in the morning after our chores are done and my computer where we watch a 3-5 minute video with each new math lesson (usually once a week) and sometimes Netflix videos on animals or the ocean, etc.  But usually those are reserved for when I'm sick.  This is where the children's books live.  Just above the toys.  You see the mess of toddler books on the floor by the cubicle where they should be. :)And this is where Tornado does a bunch of his daily quite reading.  Usually he's on the other side of the bed by the window where it's a little bit brighter, but he wanted to sit on his pillow this time.  Since it's a bunk bed and I didn't like him sitting so high so close to the edge, he moved for me. :)  Since they all share a room, each day during nap time, he sits quietly and reads all sorts of books while the little ones sleep.Tell me?  Do you have a space set aside for teaching your little ones?  Or does it kind of blend with life like mine? Joining in here:[...]

Lies, Failure and the Truth


Have you ever noticed that failure is a relative concept? 

Let me rephrase that...

Have you ever noticed that what makes each of us feel like a failure is a relative concept? 

Did you see the difference?

I mentioned that a lot of things make me feel like a failure.

Most recently?  Buying cereal.


Why does buying cereal make me feel like a failure?

Because I'm supposed to make it myself.  Making granola has been on my to do list for weeks (not counting our time away) and tonight at the store, when my husband turned down the cereal aisle, I inwardly hung my head again in failure.

"He is buying cereal again because I've failed... again."

"He's buying cereal because he doesn't think I'm capable of making granola.  And he's right!"

"I can't do anything right."

"I'm a terrible wife and mother."

"I've failed."

Yes, I really do go through all these thoughts.  And you know what?  They are all lies from the enemy.  Yet with each thought I inwardly hang my head lower and lower. 

But tonight, standing in the cereal aisle, Truth whispered its way into my heart.

Who are you failing? 

Who issued the decree that I should make all our family's cereal?  I did.  Yes, making all our own foods from scratch using healthy, natural ingredients is a goal.  It is healthier.  It is more economical.  But does that always make it better in general?  Does it make it holy?  NO!

What God cares about is my heart.  Your heart!

He knows that I didn't sleep much this week.  That I'm taking care of an extra little boy during the days.  That I struggle with organization.  That I'm trying to be more consistent with my children and less lazy in general.  He cares more that I stop and worship Him in a day than whether I remember to roll my oats.  It's true.  I did fail to make the granola.  And it's true that I probably could have if....

But I didn't.  And I can choose to listen to the enemy as he spits out lies to the tune of my failure, or I can ask God to forgive the laziness that may have been at the root and look to Him to show me His priorities.

Maybe I should have gotten to the granola this week.

Or maybe His plans for my week were not to spend my time making granola.  Maybe His plans for our shopping trip included My Beloved turning down the cereal aisle. 

Maybe, just maybe, He doesn't see me as a failure, but instead His work in progress.  His clay being molded.

Participating here:

Upcycled Petticoat


I've posted about this cute petticoat before... isn't it sweet?  I love the bright white eyelet!!

You'd never know that it's made out of an up-cycled, old, worn, crib sheet! 

 Unless you one day asked why it wasn't all white. 

 Which you probably wouldn't because of this cute white ribbon we put at the bottom as an accent.

We made two of them.  One longer for sticking out of long skirts and dresses.  One for the slightly shorter skirts and dresses that she almost can't wear anymore (it's for those skirts we made the petticoats... they add some length).

 And they'll add warmth in the winter too!

Oh, and we got two pair of these cute bloomers out of the sheets too!  With some to spare!!!  I love turning waste into something, not only practical, but pretty!!

Participating here:
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A New Challenge


Just have a minute this morning to say hi.


I stayed in bed too long this morning and things are already so far behind.  Instead of letting it fluster me, I'm choosing to just go with the flow.  If we're only barely getting started and it's lunch time already, so be it. :)

Kids are eating breakfast now (almost 9am).  Then we'll finish chores.  Then a circle time of sorts with all the kids.  Then Tornado's Disciplined Studies (math and handwriting.)

Somewhere in there the babies will have to eat.


For the past few weeks now I've had an extra baby with us Monday through Friday.  A little guy born just days after Belle.  I won't go so far as saying that it's like having twins.  I won't annoy all you mamas of twins that way.  I'm sure that in a way it's easier and in a way it's harder.  Just different. :)  And this is the way it will be until his sweet mama can return home, where she wants to be.

So far it's not too hard.  I imagine I'll be more tired when they are both crawling... and then walking. :)

Sugar addiction? Really?


Recently homemade banana cream pie... at My Beloved's request.Have I mentioned before that My Beloved doesn't like sugar?Oh, he loves all sorts of things made with sugar, especially all things pie... he just doesn't like sugar.  Thinks it's bad for us.  I, on the other hand, think it should be part of every food group.  Not it's own... part of each one.You understand.He is coming from a family history of diabetes and... research.  Turns out, sugar really is bad for us.I am coming from a family of left over cake for breakfast and no one judging when you eat your 10th s'more.  Some of you understand.Nearly six years ago when we began changing our diet to a more natural, more healthful one, we had to address sugar.  We stopped buying regular old "store sugar" (as they call it in the Little House books) and started buying the less processed more expensive sugar.  For a while it was only the very brown, strange tasting Rapadura sugar for us.  Then the slightly-more-processed-but-still-better-than- "store-sugar" entered our house in the form of evaporated cane juice crystals.  Way better.  Problem is, I really didn't change the amount of sugar we used... I just used better (more expensive) sugar.  Sure, I also worked raw honey in here and there, but mostly, it was just the "better" sugar.Turns out, it's still not all that good for you.  At least not in the quantities that make me happy.  And then there's the "occasional" restaurant dessert or chocolates just because that add back in all that bad processed sugar.  It adds up to a lot of sugar pretty quickly.  Not good for us at all.Not that I cared.Then the fall after Little Man was born, I detected a case of Mastitis coming on.  Nasty thing, mastitis, if you've never had it.  And once you get it, you need to get rid of it quick and antibiotics are the way to do that.  I didn't want to take the antibiotics, so I hit it hard as soon as I detected those signs.  Lots of fresh garlic and herbal tea and the like.  Then My Beloved reminded me, "You know," he said, "If you're going to all this work to fight the bacteria, you shouldn't be eating sugar.  Sugar only weakens your immune system." I wanted to fight that infection without antibiotics, but I wasn't sure I wanted to do it sans sugar.   Still, I grumbled a bit and then accepted the fact that he was right.  No sugar for me until this infection was gone.Ahem.That very weekend we went to a wedding for a couple in our church.  Sweet, simple, little wedding.  They did such a great job making it simple and beautiful.  I already knew I wouldn't be having cake.  Sigh.  Between the ceremony and reception, we were ushered into the courtyard for a short time while they readied the room.During that time I had to walk through the reception room for something and I saw dishes of chocolates on each of the tables.  My first impulse was to reach over and grab one on my way by.  And then the deep sadness when I realized I couldn't have any.As I walked down the hall toward the church office, I was upset.  So. Upset!Over chocolate.It was then that I realized, for the first time, that I had a problem.Sugar had become an idol.Over the next couple weeks I had little to no sugar.  And it became easier over time.  Then over the Christmas season I lost my resolve and my momentum.  And again I was eating more sugar than My Beloved wanted me to.  And even being sneaky about it.  It was aweful.A few weeks ago, this post was waiting in my inbox.  I read the title, "Freedom from Sugar Addiction", and promptly decided not to read it.  I knew it was going to hurt and I didn't have the time or attention to give it at that time.  I saved it for later.  Over the course of the next few days, before even rea[...]

Expectations and Failure


What is at the root of failure? 




It seems to me that what makes each of us feel like a failure is different. 

For one, it may be mountains of laundry left undone.  For another it may be picking up fast food for dinner... again.  Yet another may forget to iron her husband's shirts or miss a bill or fail to do crafts with her kids or gain weight instead of lose it.

See what I mean?  What causes each of us to feel like a failure is different.

A lot of different things make me feel like a failure.  Not having dinner ready, again, does it for me often.  Especially since I want so badly to stop eating out!  Stop wasting our money that way.  Make better food choices for my family than restaurant food.

And perhaps it's true... I have failed to do my responsibility.

But does that make me a failure?

I've heard it said(image) that failure can only come as the direct result of expectation.   Of course I expect myself to be able to do it all, I expect perfection... so I fail often. 

What does God expect of me?  God, who knows how all this will end.  If He knows how many times I'll fail before I see victory over an area of my life (and I believe He does), then is it possible that instead of seeing a failure, He sees a work in progress?  Instead of being disappointed, He's there to pick me up and encourage my heart to try again?  To pick you up and encourage your heart to try again?

I want to encourage you ladies.  He is here to pick us up.  To encourage us.  Stop beating yourselves up, look to Him, and press on?

 Next week:  Lies and Failure

Participating here:
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Home Educating: The New Plan


I've been reading about homeschooling since I learned I was pregnant that first time.  (Ok... longer than that really since I wrote a paper about it in college.)  I read books, I read blogs.  I read.  And read.  And read.Then I dream.  I put all those things I like together and I plan.  I'd picked our math curriculum before Tornado was 1, I'm sure of it!  Then I change my plan.  And change it again.  Then I actually try out what I have planned and change it some more.  Last summer I made two different plans for the whole year before finally changing it to a third... and then not really doing it either.I'm so glad I'm doing so much learning about what we don't want to do now, while I'm not even legally required to be "doing school".  I've learned a lot through the pre-school years about what sort of homeschooler I am and what sort of helps I may need to get things done (anyone want to clean my house?)  And I'll tell you something... I will surely make more changes, especially when Sweet Pea is officially ready to start up.So what am I doing now?  What is this "new plan" I keep talking about?Well, I mentioned that I don't care much about grade levels (I'll probably have a post about that one of these days to explain it in more detail), but I'll have to use them at some point when working with the districts.  For that reason I'd dubbed this last year "kindergarten".  But looking back at the year in February, I saw much left to do.  Still, my boy was reading at a second grade level or higher at the time... I didn't see another full year of kindergarten in us.  So instead, I decided to start over then (at the end of March) with what I'm calling K-1, to continue through this next school year.So what does that actually mean?  Nothing.  It makes no difference to us at all.  It's just a title.  Let me tell you what we are actually doing.The three "Rs"Arithmetic (math) is one of our three focuses.  We purchased curriculum and started it not long after Belle was born this past March.  We homeschool year around, so this makes it possible to miss days and even whole weeks when things are a bit crazy (think newborn, think Lyme Disease, think life).  We've completed 7 of the 30 lessons in the "alpha" (first grade) math book.  This past week we spent on review because of how little math we've done in the last couple months.  I don't know how long it will take us to work through the remaining 23 lessons, but if we average one a week with a couple weeks off here or there, we'll probably finish it by the end of January.  Let's say end of February for a more realistic view.  :)  Whenever it's done, we'll start the next book.  If we find a concept he's not ready for or that takes a while to get, we'll wait on it and pick back up when he's ready.Writing is another of our three focuses.  Each day that we do math, we usually do "handwriting" as well.  For now, we're working through a letter a day.  If I'd been disciplined, we'd be done with that by now.  Instead, we have 11 letters to go.  I'm not worried about it.  He's 5!  He already knows how to do most letters in a way that is legible.  We're just trying to learn this script and to make them look nice.  When we've finished with going through each letter (and numbers, we did that first so he could start his math book back in March), we'll start copy work of some kind to practice.  I'll have to share more on that later.  So far I haven't decided on any special plan other than to have him write something.Reading is the last of our three focuses, and it really encompasses almost everything else we'll cover in our "homeschool".  Tornado began reading about a year and a [...]

Vacation Part 2: Heading South


Dinosaur Exhibit at the Hands On Museum in Tennessee The conference really came to an end Wednesday night (Thursday morning was breakfast and check-out) and when Tornado returned to our room late Wednesday evening, we sensed that something wasn't quite right.Fever.102.7 kind of fever.The rock wall... sick Tornado in comfy clothes.Thursday morning it was still high.  We carted him to breakfast, but he didn't eat much.  We had a decision to make.  Go home for two days (north) to give him time to get bettter?  Or stick to the original plan (driving south).  We decided he'd get just as much sleep in the car and decided to proceed.  By 2 we'd eaten again, made a stop at the store and were on our way.The real vacation.Tornado slept all day.Finding "fossils"We planned to camp that night, somewhere along the way.  Lexington, VA is where we'd be stopping so we made some calls and found a place.  By the time we got there it was after nine and raining.  The "campground" was simply a few places to put a tent at a truck stop.We decided to check out the Howard Johnson just off the freeway.  When you figure in that we were going to spend $15 on the camp site anyway, and that breakfast would be free at the hotel, really we only spent an extra $15 or $20 on convenience.Playing the "Slap Organ"Worth it!Especially when Tornado started throwing up the next morning.The rest of us ate waffles in the lobby while Tornado slept (we took turns).  Again we had a decision to make... stick around at the hotel one more night or press on.  By check out time, it had been several hours since Tornado had been sick, so we decided to chance it.  With his hotel cup in hand (just in case), we loaded the car and were on our way again.  Little Man found the train table.By afternoon we were in Tennessee and Tornado had missed another meal (just in case).  He was hungry though, and starting to feel better.  Enough so that when we saw a sign off the highway for the Hands On Museum in Johnson City, we decided to stop and let the kids play.  They had so much fun!Hop Scotch outside the museum.  That night we did camp at a little place not far from where we'd be checking in the next day.  Tornado was the only one of us to sleep great all night through.Early next morning Sweet Pea was throwing up.  With a fever.We packed up once there was enough light to do so, with Sweet Pea sleeping in the car already.  As soon as we could, we headed down for the pancake breakfast they had there... all of us except Sweet Pea that is.  Poor thing!  She stayed in the car with her Howard Johnson cup right by where we ate.  Tornado could do it all on his own.We arrived at our cabin and got checked in around 1 that afternoon and the first order of business was settling Sweet Pea on the couch.I'd noticed through the morning that my "heavy chest" was turning into something.  That, and the lack of night time sleep, finally got me and I sat down to rest.So tired.My Beloved brought me some lunch and eventually the thermometer.And Little Man really couldn't do it at all... but he thought it was great being "big".103.8I was sick too.[...]

Anyone eat chicken yesterday???


My Beloved called from work yesterday afternoon to find out if I'd started dinner yet.  Ummm... no.  But I was gonna really soon!  Honest!

Turns out, he had plans to participate in Chick-fil-a's national appreciation day.  So off we went with our 4 littles to back the restaurant's president in his statement supporting family values and marriage as God designed it. 

After two and a half hours of waiting, we placed our order. 

The chicken was good (really good to our very hungry crew!), but the opportunity to support Chick-fil-a and to stand for God's design of marriage between a man and a woman was even better. 

Last we heard, our local restaurant had drawn the largest crowd known by Chick-fil-a president (the general manager had talked to him earlier in the evening).  What fun to be part of that!

How about you?  Anyone else participate in National Chick-fil-a appreciation day???

Note:  Please keep comments friendly.  I don't want debate here.  I reserve the right to omit any comments at my leisure.    

Vacation Part 1: Baltimore


The first part of our vacation was only sort of vacation-y.  For the kids and I, it was.  For My Beloved, it was work. 

Sunday through Thursday we were in a hotel in Maryland for a conference.  While My Beloved worked, Tornado got to participate in the children's program with the missionary kids and we all got to swim (all but My Beloved that is.)

There are no pictures of the week because I was pretty much on my own the whole time, but I'll note a few things:

First, everything takes longer!  That first day (Monday), we got up a little late (8?) because the night had been late setting up.  My Beloved went running out to finish getting things ready before conference attendees arrived, and the kids and I worked on getting ready to go have breakfast.  I'll spare you the details and just say this.  We finally made it to breakfast at 11.  Panara Bread was no longer making breakfast sandwiches.  As we were getting back to the hotel, we passed several people headed out to lunch. 

Just before 1, we were finally making out way to the swimming pool (after suiting up, lotioning up, an extra trip to the car for the swim diapers, and then nursing again because it had all taken so long) when My Beloved called to see what we were doing.  "You're just making it out to the pool?  You know, it's lunch time." 

"Yes, I know," I answered him.  "I just passed 3 sets of people leaving for lunch on my way back from breakfast." 

He laughed and I accepted the fact that everything takes longer when I'm on my own with 4 little ones.  Accepting that fact helped me to enjoy the week much more.  We just did what we could do and kept our own schedule. :)

Second... you'll all want to know how things went with the bathing suit I made Sweet Pea.  It went great.  I think the waist line for the little shorts was too low but overall, it was cute and functional... and modest!!! 

Third, I picked a crazy week to give up sugar.  (More on that later!)  Desserts, cookies and candy everywhere!  Sigh.

We're back!



We're back, and this was only one of our many beautiful surroundings! :) 

I look forward to sharing more with you this week!  For now, kids are demanding attention.



This sweet night gown is another thing my mom brought for Sweet Pea when she came.  

 "Why is it white?" Sweet Pea asked when she brought it out.

 "Because I wanted it to be white,"  Grammy answered.

"And you know I like pink???"  Sweet Pea added... sounding a little pathetic.

 Like a knife in the heart.

But isn't it cute?  I just love it! :)

Note to grandparents though... pink! :)

Winning My Man's Heart: The Biscuits and Gravy Edition


Another recipe I'd never tried... one of his favorites.

Now, in my defense... we don't usually eat sausage.  That makes it a little hard to do this recipe.  But when he brought lard home from our favorite farm a few weeks ago, biscuits went on the menu and he went out and bought some sausage. :)

Yum!  And easy!

One more piece of his heart forever in my hand. :)  I'm so glad.

Matching Dresses


When my mom arrived here from Oregon several weeks ago, she brought with her a pair of matching dresses she'd made for the girls.  This is especially fun since my girls are 4 years apart and there are never matching outfits in the stores.

Here's my little Belle in her dress.  Isn't it cute???  I just love the lace at the bottom.

And Sweet Pea's dress!  Love those flowers at the top.  She calls this her "overall dress."

I love how long and flow-y it is.  :)  And those cute toes poking out at the bottom.  Sigh.  Love it!

Teaching Littles to Sew


Over the last year or so I've been wanting to start teaching Sweet Pea handicraft skills.  Real, useful skills... beyond housekeeping, which is another post altogether.  I've searched and I've searched, but not much comes back.  There is plenty on teaching your kids to sew, but not so much in the preschool realm. Most things for the very young (she had just turned three when I started looking) list lacing cards or lacing beads or pasta on a string.  Nothing against them, but it's not what I was looking for.  I wanted something more... real.One I did find brought inspiration.  So I ran with it.I grabbed a piece of pink felt, left over from my mom's visit last year, and put it in a hoop.  It's easier for her to turn the whole project over, rather than poke up from underneath. As you can see, this first project was more about experience (and practicing not stitching around the hoop) than design.  But she was so pleased with it!!!Next, I drew a heart shape on the pink, drawing it on the front and back so she could flip it over to see where to sew also. Once she was done she decided to make it into a pillow.  I layered it with some pink cotton print, drew a line around the edge on the front and back and let her go.I decided to teach her a running stitch.  Maybe not the stitch I would use for the same project, but a good one to start on for her.  Not every stitch is on the line, and I do take some of them out for her to do again, but she's learning. And ultimately, it's about growing a love for sewing.  Something she can do that's like mommy.  I'll have to share the results when it's done.  But I love that it's a fine little beginner project for her... yet it's still real.  [...]

A little time away


Won't find me at home today.  Yesterday we packed up and headed south for the first stop of our  two week journey.

The office My Beloved works for holds a conference each July (the same conference from our love story) and he stays busy working it.  Last year they moved it down to Baltimore and blessed our family by including us.  It's not a whole lot of family time because My Beloved is working long hours, but it's worth it to me.  We aren't home alone over night (I don't like that so much), we get to share our meals with Daddy, we can visit him in his "little cave" where he works on missionary computers for hours on end, and... we get to play in the pool every day!

The next part of our journey is, as yet, unplanned.  We're headed down to North Carolina for a week long vacation at a sweet Christian retreat, but... we can't check in until Saturday.  And we'd hate to drive the hour plus back home Thursday afternoon just to turn around and do it again.  Not to mention, the overall drive to NC is a little more than 10 hours.  And that's not counting multiple potty stops and nursings.  Let's make that 15 hours, shall we? 

So, in lieu of that 15 hour chunk, we're going to make it a bit closer to 10 hours and make our way slowly down to our destination.  I just don't know exactly what that will look like yet.  Camping?  Only if it's in the mountains.  Otherwise it will be too hot.  Hotel?  That is a bit pricier.  Not sure... as of now (and I'm pre-writing this) this section is unplanned.  What I do know is that during this time we'll be stopping somewhere to do laundry. :)  And probably be picking up some groceries for the cooler!

And then, the entire second week we'll be vacationing with friends (they have 2 kids not much older than ours--their youngest is the same age as Tornado).  It's a bring your own food and linens sort of cabin retreat.  We've never been there, so I don't know what else to say. 

What I do know is that I will have limited, if any, access to a computer.  If anything I may just moderate a few comments.  I do have a handful of posts scheduled, but if it starts to look like a ghost town around here in the way of moderated comments, you'll know I'm having fun! :)

I hope you all have a great couple weeks!  See you on the other side!

Catching up on some Sewing


 Ok... so I mentioned that my mom was here.  I mentioned that we'd been sewing.  So here I am to report on a little of what is now finished... at least finished enough to wear. :)  This was my list of things to sew for Sweet Pea that never got done before the baby was born... and never since.  (Thanks mom for helping me catch up!)Isn't this dress sweet???  (Butterick 3762)I picked out the fabric and pattern last year, but then the sewing machine was broken... you understand.  I made a green dress from the same pattern last year.  This one's even cuter! Especially when my mom put these cute little flowers on the collar.   And the sleeves!Another of the projects on my to do list was a couple slips.  We needed a little something to lengthen shorter dresses, and to make a couple more see through fabrics a bit more opaque.  Not to mention they'll add warmth in the winter.  (McCall's 4505) And what little girl isn't adorable with a bit of eyelet peeking out from beneath her dress???Can I tell you a secret???  The slips aren't white.  Oh, the eyelet is... but not the slip.  We made them out of old (three cheers for upcycling!!!) crib sheets that were far from the original white.  Three babies far!  With my little Belle, we decided it was time for new ones.   Can you see that little bow at coming from above the eyelet trim???It's attached to a little white ribbon mom sewed around the whole thing about 1/8 above the white eyelet.  It makes the whole thing look deliberate.  Love that! Then there's the bloomers... love me some bloomers!  Aren't they sweet.  Also made from old crib sheets! (Also McCall's 4505) There's another longer pair for winter... but it's not quite finished.  Anyone guess what this was???  It's a bathing suit!  Isn't it cute??  Complete with ruffle around the neck... and little leggings.  I'm thrilled she likes it!The next test is going to be whether it works in the pool next week. :)No pattern for this one.  We kind of came up with our own pattern.  Do you sew for your kids???  I'd love to see!Participating here:[...]

Our Fourth of July


Time gets away from me when we have visitors in our home.  Then Grammy left and we started another adventure the very next day.  All that to say, here we are, 8 days later and you're only just seeing pics from our 4th. None of the headless people pics turned out great.  Sorry.  Suffice it to say that among the kids outfits you would have found red white and blue, though not necessarily all on each child.  Still, if I'd thought to take a group picture, it was all there. The day truly revolved around food.  That seems a pretty normal holiday ritual.  Even though, as it usually is, it was just us.  Still I found some fun ideas to make the day special for the kids.  In all the reading we've been doing lately, there has been plenty of talk about the American flag.  Plus, Tornado has been recognizing it himself lately anyway.  So I worked it in where I could.  Found this idea here via pinterest.  She made it for breakfast and put cream cheese under the jam.  I called it lunch and put our "Sunny Butter" (sunflower butter since our Tornado is allergic to peanuts) under the jam.  The kids loved it and Tornado was delighted that it was a flag! Cute cute cute.  Their excitement made my day! :) I found this idea online too, though, I'm not sure where.  Sorry.  I could have made one more column of hot dogs (we ate that many in the end since a friend stopped by to help My Beloved with last minute firework details), but I didn't have a tray to put it on. Kids loved it too! In my head I had a fun picnic or nicely laid table pictured.  In the end the fireworks took up all but the little corner I cleared for Little Man to eat.  The kids thought it was funny to eat on this little "table".  My Beloved ate on the living room floor surrounded by fireworks he was attaching fuse to, and our friend stood at the end of the table.  My mom and I floated around.  Overall, I think the memories of the chaos in those last hurried minutes is more fun. :) And to finish the evening we headed to church where My Beloved put on a 50 minute kid friendly firework fountain show.  In retrospect, there were too many fireworks.  We learn how to make it better every year. He did a great job with his helpers and everyone seemed to have a great time! :)I hope your 4th was fabulous![...]



A few weeks before Belle was born this past winter, My Beloved determined that it was almost time for Tornado (5) to start on a math and handwriting curriculum.  He needed something more.  Something official.  Something to keep me accountable to doing it.  Something to help us look back and see real progress.  I don't know that all our children will begin such a thing at this age, but I agreed with My Beloved.  Tornado was ready.  If only I could bring myself to do it.  Consistently.  In continuing with our completely rational and non-defensive discussion of this whole topic that day last February, I was able to share with him some ideas I had to fulfill his wishes.  As it turns out, I'd thought about it already.   I simply hadn't made any decisions on when to begin.I'd already done a bunch of research and had determined that, when it was time, I wanted to use Math-U-See for math.  I liked the look of the program, loved that it went all the way through high school math, and the price is reasonable.  I just didn't realize that it was time. I'd been thinking through handwriting too.  My big hang-up over starting was that I hadn't decided which manuscript to teach.  I didn't really *love* any of them.  Then I found BJU's Precursive New... downloadable!  I liked the look of their manuscript and their curriculum.  Perfect!When My Beloved brought this up, it's entirely possible that he meant for me to be thinking things through for the next "school year".  I'm really not sure.  I never asked.  Instead, (with his blessing) I started a new plan.I mentioned already that I wasn't as consistent with our 2011-2012 year as I'd hoped.  Various stages of pregnancy helped with that.  My own lack of discipline and organization were a part of it too. What I don't think I've ever mentioned is that I intended this past year to be an unofficial kindergarten year.  I don't care much about grade levels anyway, and I figured that, if need be, next year could be "real" kindergarten.  Tornado has always seemed ahead of the curve, and while I don't intend to push him into academics (I really like the delayed academics approach in general), I also want to follow his readiness cues.So I set to work figuring out a new plan.  I purchased the Math-U-See "Alpha" level curriculum and, having already spent the money on math, designed handwriting worksheets for each of the letters and numbers.  (With My Beloved's blessing of course!)  Next Week:  The plan[...]

The Second Best Love Story EVER ~ Part 6


Four years ago today, I started a series that I never finished.  Our love story... from four years before that.Well, 8 years ago today I met My Beloved... in honor of that, I thought I'd share another installment of that sweet story that still brings little butterflies, a bright smile and day after day of happiness.Haven't read it before?  Or need a refresher???  Start here with part 1._______________I was thrilled to see My Beloved that night at the evening session and even more excited when our group filed into a row and he was right beside me.  Being a through and through California girl, I slipped off my sandals during worship and slid them beneath my chair.  At one point I caught My Beloved reaching down to do something.  I thought he was going to hide them, but as it turns out, he simply wanted to switch them around so I'd have trouble putting them back on. I remember the room being crowded, with people close on both sides.  Months later, I heard it told from a friend of his who had been sitting behind us up in the bleachers with her [then] fiance.  She leaned over and whispered to him, "You couldn't fit a piece of paper between those two."  Apparently, as much as I was trying to hide my feelings for him, he'd been pretty open around the office.  We were sitting close... both of us... and all in the name of it being crowded.  Funny, though, how we weren't pressed up close to the people on the other side of us.  And funny how neither of us noticed anything funny about what was going on. After the session, a group of singles planned to play games in the lobby of the lady's dorm and My Beloved had been invited to join us.  I was sticking around to practice a song with a couple guys who'd volunteered to play for me, so I was going to meet them there when I was done. I knew My Beloved didn't know where he was going.  He lived locally and didn't know where the dorms were and was supposed to walk over with the others.  I noticed, while working on my song up front, that he was still talking in the back, and that the others were gone.  I smiled inside.  Now I was the only person who could help him.  He'd have to wait for me.  Little did I know he'd done that on purpose too. When I was finished, I stopped by and asked him if he knew where he was going.  Shockingly, he said no and I offered to take him over.  I remember thinking how fun it would be to do this walk across campus in the dark, with fireflies blinking all around.  When we got outside, it was raining.  Not a firefly to be seen.  Still we walked, just as slowly as possible, through the rain to the dorm.  I wished the campus was bigger so we could just keep walking. Upon arriving, we settled, him on one side of the table, and me on the other.  The only two remaining seats.  We played some board game involving passports and travel.  Appropriate for a group of missionaries.  When that game was through and all put away, I put it up and grabbed the next game... Cranium.  A team game.While I was across the room getting the game, another guy joined us... right in my chair, the only chair available at the moment.  That worked out great for me.  When I returned with the game, I grabbed a chair and pulled in a little spot made for me... by My Beloved.  When pairs were made, we were a team.I was paying special attention during those games, especially [...]

We've been busy


My mom left today.  It was a great couple of weeks.  Games every night.  Sewing every day.  And lots of playing with kids and doing my dishes (this was her schedule, not mine). 

I'm hoping to share some of the sewing we got done, but I don't have any pictures of it yet.  Just to wet your appetite (and to encourage me to finish it), I did take one picture this evening... just for you!

I need purple thread before I can finish it up and we can't get that until Tuesday, so you'll have to wait to see the rest. 

Anyone have ideas what it is???  (Mom, you can't play!)

Every Situation


Have you ever found yourself dreaming of your life a year or two in the future?

Your oldest will be older.  Your youngest will be older.  Hopefully that middle child will be out of these "terrible" days.

It's easy to find yourself daydreaming.  But as I found myself thinking just that today, I stopped.  Paul said that he had learned "the secret of being content in any and every situation."  Doesn't that "any and every situation" include these days of mine too? 

This young children stage is hard.  Lord let me learn to be content in every situation!

Happy Fourth!


This is what we'll be doing today.

My Beloved just loves fireworks.  Every year for Father's Day we go down to a Firework tent a friend of ours has and he picks up a new load.

All of them
Several years ago we decided to include another family (with a young son) to join us when he lit them off.  It was so much fun that we did it again the next year, but we invited a handful of families.

Last year, we needed a new place to do our "show", so we talked to our church.  At the last minute plans were made and an email was sent out (with 2 days notice) that we'd be doing fireworks that Friday night at the church if anyone wanted to join us.  The pastor loved it so much he said he wanted to do it more "officially" this year.

And so here we are.  My Beloved's been working on the perfect show with a whole bunch of ground fireworks.  Should be more than 30 minutes long with a huge finale.  Now we're just waiting to see if we'll need that rain date.

These last couple weeks the kids and I have been reading about the colonists, the Revolutionary War, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  With all that's going on in our country these days, sometimes it's hard to get excited about celebrating it.  This year I'm excited to be celebrating our beginnings... and praying for our future!

Happy Independence Day to you all!!