09 October 2012

Anniversary Month!

In honor of our dear friend Cathi Stegall, Tim and I have decided to celebrate our anniversary ALL.MONTH.LONG!!

After all, it isn't every year that you celebrate A DECADE of marriage!! Which also happens to mean that we have known each other for 18 years and have been together for 16 years...sometimes the statistics just make me feel old.

We escaped this past weekend to beautiful Ashtabula, Ohio--Ohio's wine country and home of the covered bridges. An entire weekend with no children and no meal preparations! It was everything we had hoped it would be and more!

Our actual anniversary is on Friday, October 12th. Can't wait to officially celebrate this 10 years and so look forward to the next 10!

Fierce Momma Pride

As soon as we decided to send Mason to Heritage Study Center, we began to hear the murmuring of how BIG of a jump it was from Kindergarten to First.Grade.at.Heritage (said as one word). It made my palms sweat, it made me want to do school with Mason all.summer.long (almost!), it made me second guess my kindergarten curriculum (should have picked something more demanding), it made me want to un-enroll him from Heritage--it kind of made me crazy.

A mere 7 days before Heritage started, I received this pile of books and the first week's lesson plan. I went through it that first night at 9:30p (that was my first mistake) and started drafting the withdrawal letter in my mind. It just seemed too hard! Too much! Too everything!
I figured I could blame it on the pencils. I didn't want my son to go to school with a bunch of pencil snobs, after all! Heritage "strongly recommends" Ticonderoga pencils. 24 of them to be exact...which comes out to be about one shiny new Ticonderoga pencil for every week or so of school. How can they be that good if they need to be replaced so often?? I can't quite figure out why they are the World's Best Pencils...but they sure are the World's Most Expensive pencils. :)
I talked myself down off of the withdrawal ledge after a night of sleep. I pushed down my anxious thoughts and prayed and prayed and prayed. I was a nervous wreck the night before the first day of school. And, when a friend asked me to text her a picture of Mason's first day, I sent her this:
Mason, on the other hand, was calm, composed and excited! And quite handsome in his uniform, I might add :)
I survived. He loved it. And then we got to work. The first several weeks were quite the adjustment for us both. At one point, Mason summed it up perfectly: "Mommy, I want to go back to Kindergarten!" I did, too. But we pressed on and on and on. And, as we pressed on, we both got faster and more confident with the curriculum and I started to see that wonderful thing called PROGRESS! 
Thankfully, my mom is helping with Levi and Ava two mornings a week so Mason and I can have focus time. I am not sure I could do this without her help! And Levi & Ava have loved extra time with Gram--making play dough, going on hikes, baking, and all sorts of fun adventures.

And, although they call it HOME-schooling, Mason and I have found some fabulous places to go to do school! The Hudson library has a fabulous study room, lots of natural light, and a beautiful patio for lunch outside (which is only a 5 minute walk from my dad's office)
And Parkside Church has a beautiful commons area with bistro tables and couches, giant windows, fresh coffee and $1.00 muffins -- Now this is homeschooling in style!

So proud of my firstborn. He has showed such determination and perseverance this first month of school. Mrs. King remarked at the Parent Open House that, in the first 3 weeks of school, he had come farther than any student she has had....and he has! He is continuing to gain confidence in his abilities, momentum in his reading, and joy in the process!

I know there will be many hard days ahead, but this sure has been a good lesson for me in staying the course!

26 September 2012


I had the incredible gift of traveling out to California (BY MYSELF!!!) for 4 days to attend my brother Matt's wedding. Everything was quite lovely and, although I missed my babies, it was fabulous to have a little alone time. Tim did an amazing job of holding down the fort with the kiddos--he seriously makes it look easy!
2 of my 4 days away were spent traveling....12 1/2 hours on the way there on Friday and a whopping 16 1/2 hours on the way home on Monday....but I had a good book and free wi-fi at the airport so that made it a bit more bearable.
A view from the bus window--a 3 hour bus ride through LA traffic (YIKES!) to Bakersfield. We went through a national forest that was a bunch of shrubs and ventured up and down mountains into the desert valley of Bakersfield. The bus station was in a not.so.nice part of town and my dad may have taken a wrong turn or two (who needs to use the GPS?), leaving me stranded for a little too long. I thought I was going to be disappeared.
Needless to say, I was happy to see this face!
I was whisked away to my very own hotel room (THANK YOU MOM & DAD!!) and got ready for the rehearsal in a record 20 minutes!
Matt looked pretty laid back and happy when I arrived! His house is beautiful and the rehearsal was easy peasy.


We sent this picture to my kiddos, showing them Uncle Matt's pool....they had been pretty jealous that I was going to a house with a pool so we thought we would have a little fun with them :)
All of the wedding details were lovely. Matt & Michelle were married poolside in their backyard. There were about 30 people there and it was a really great group. I wish I had taken more pictures! The celebration dinner was at a place called Momma Tosca's--Matt said it was the best.italian.food.ever and Momma Tosca and Luigi did not disappoint!

08 September 2012

just because...

I cannot bear to look at that sweet one year old face anymore so, alas, I must update the blog. That one year old has grown into quite the independent, demanding, sweet, and wonderful 22 month old right.before.our.very.eyes. Our Ava-girl has become just that: a girl. Still lacking in the hair department, but have I mentioned that she is officially WEANED and sleeps through.the.night?? Now that is a BIG deal in these parts!

And those big brothers. Well, they have skyrocketed since last November into {dare I say it out loud} real live BIG boys.

See for yourselves.

This was Christmas 2011. A mere 9 months ago:

And this is a picture taken this week on Mason's first day of First Grade:

I know, right??

Crazy. And yes they are crazy!


I hope to update more often as we venture into First Grade. So join us in this new adventure!

22 November 2011

happy birthday, ava-girl!

We cannot believe this sweet girl is now the big O-N-E!
We had a lovely time celebrating Ava. It was so fun buying pink napkins and plates and making pink frosting. I made her a giant pink cupcake cake and another pink cake with white sprinkles and a beautiful pink pendant made by my friend Tonia {who is not pink, but who most certainly has a rosy disposition}.
Ava LOVED her birthday balloons and wore a cute little pink shirt with the number 1 on it and her favorite pair of jeans. She bounced around from grandparent to grandparent to aunt to aunt and was just the happiest little birthday girl on the planet.

Ava, you are a JOY and a GIFT and we just LOVE you so much! We can't wait for this next year with you -- it is so fun watching you grow and learn and laugh and play! It is hard to believe that you were this sleepy newborn just one year ago....

13 November 2011



Before you revoke my teaching license and put Mason on the school bus, allow me to explain:

Kindergarten has been going great. I am thoroughly enjoying teaching and learning alongside our boys. And they are learning and learning and learning and soaking in so much information and truths. It is amazing to watch them unlock door after door in their little brains. I swear I can sometimes SEE the sparks ignite as they put sounds together and make words. I can HEAR their pride as their pencils form real live letters. And I FEEL their joy as their scissors and crayons create I am so thankful to be there for this.


But, let's face it, it isn't all sparks and songs and excitement. There are hard days. And last week had more of those hard days then I thought I could hande. Sickness and busyness and clutter snuck in and began to steal the joy right outta my new role. And this is fertile ground for doubt. Should I have just sent him to kindergarten? Is he learning anything? How can I balance this life as a homeschool mom?

And then I found it: the letter T. There are no words to describe the PEACE that washed over me upon this discovery. You see, I had looked and looked for this letter T on and off for probably a month at the beginning of the school year. I knew I had put it in a good spot. I could visualize it. But I could not put my hands on this letter card. I couldn't let it go. You know how that feels don't you? The soundtrack in my head kept repeating: "You're a mess!" "You can't do anything right!" "Who are you kidding that you'll be able to manage homeschooling!" etc. etc. etc.

And there it was. In the bookshelf where I had looked at least a dozen times. It was noon. I was still in my pjs trying to grab one more thing to wrap up our school day. Frazzled. Frustrated. Close to tears. And then RRRRRRRRRRR----UUUUUUUUU----SSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH: Peace.

Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and mercy. Thank you for knowing me so well that you knew exactly when I needed to encounter this encouragment. You knew how a simple piece of cardboard would soothe my soul.

So, yes, T is for ENCOURAGEMENT [and it really will be when we get to end consonant sounds].

03 November 2011

Going Rogue

I had a better post, but blogspot messed up....so this is a test post with picture for your enjoyment: