Sunday, July 13, 2014

Glimpses of Summer

Picture, if you will, me jumping high up into the air, pumping my fists, and exclaiming, "It's summer!!!!"

I remember back in April talking to other homeschool moms, and telling them that I planned on doing "some school" this summer. You know, a little math, a little phonics, that kind of thing. I mean, afterall, what would we do all day?

But then one day it clicked with me. It's summer. We have been doing school since last September almost daily. This past winter I was so discouraged from being cooped up in the house, and doing the same things every. single. day. I realized I needed to take a little break, spend a little more time just being with my kiddos, and refocus. So that's exactly what we are doing.

We have been swimming, splash parking, going on hikes, and just spending lazy days at home playing outside and watching movies.


Here is Lily making some fireworks in a jar last week.


I've been able to spend a little more time reading these last few weeks, and I just finished this book. It is so, so, so good. If you're looking for an encouraging and truthful book, I highly recommend it(although, don't buy it yet because I'll be giving it away hopefully this week on the blog!)


And of course I've been reading a little about homeschooling too. I am almost finished with the Charlotte Mason Companion. I have heard a lot about Charlotte Mason over the years, and I've read bits and pieces of this book before, and I've always sort of aligned our school after Charlotte's teaching, but this is the first time I've ever read this book in its entirety. I can't believe it's taken me this long either, because it is fantastic! 

I also ordered the Spell to Write and Read program, after hearing so many great things about it. But to be honest I've only read a few pages so far. Here's hoping I'll get motivated soon! :)


I've so been enjoying watching the little man learn to walk and talk. He's such a happy little guy, and he's growing up way too fast!

How's everyone else's summer going? Do any of you other homeschoolers take summer off, or do you do school year round?

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Linked to the Modest Mom.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Max turned 3!!

Photo: He's very serious about turning 3 today . :)

Last Tuesday, our wild and sweet Max turned three! In some ways I can hardly believe he's already three, and in other ways I feel like I can't remember life without Max, and it's almost weird to me that he's "only" three years old.

We started the day with some birthday cake cinnamon rolls(which were in fact as ridiculously amazing as they sound) and then headed to the St. Louis Science Center to meet my mom and dad and explore the dinosaur exhibit(Max loves all things monster trucks, race cars, and dinosaurs.)


Almost as soon as we had parked the van we saw some huge displays of dinosaurs that the kids were allowed to play with.


They were so cute and excited. :) 

Some sweet friends had let us borrow their family pass, so we were able to check out the planetarium while we were there too. I wasn't sure how the kids would do there, but amazingly they loved it. Luke even fell asleep in my dad's arms(he has the magic touch when it comes to getting babies to fall asleep!) 

We headed home late in the afternoon so that Max and Luke could get a decent nap in before his birthday party started. We had about 15 kids under the age of six crammed into our 1000 square foot house that night. Thankfully they all did great, and no one seemed to mind the close quarters too much. :)


At least no one minded until I fed their kids this sugar laden, vanilla, oreo, and chocolate doughnut cake right before bed time.:)

Max turning three was a gentle reminder to slow down a little more and enjoy this season of life I'm in. Summers are sort of hard on my mama heart because three of my kids have birthdays, so summer especially reminds me to slow down and enjoy my kids. 

And I realize that this probably goes without saying, but I'm so thankful to God for blessing us with Max. When he was born he was our fourth baby in three years. To say that I was nervous when I had him would be a huge understatement. 

But when we brought him home from the hospital he was so...easy. I still remember the first night we brought him home how he just slept in the bassinet next to our bed, and Erik and I looked at each other like,"Well, I guess if he's sleeping we may as well sleep too."

While I'm not sure if laid back would be the word I'd use to describe Max anymore, he's definitely a delightful little boy. He's a ball of energy, and loves all things loud. He loves his sisters and brothers(even if he still only refers to Luke as "baby") and looks up to Jack a lot.

We pray everyday for Max to grow up into a man who loves Jesus with his whole heart. We are so thankful that God has entrusted this little guy to us.


Photo: Not the best picture but maxs face cracks me up like he can't believe we are crazy enough to be standing next to a dinosaur. Lily was standing behind us gazing up at the T. Rex and Anna didn't want to get anywhere near the dinosaurs.:(




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Met Michelle Duggar!!!!!

Warning: You're about to see how crazy I am.

Yesterday morning started out like this:


Yep, an exciting morning of grocery shopping at Aldi with the kiddos. I hadn't taken the time to put on any make up or take a shower that morning, so of course I ran into several people I knew at the store- one of whom wanted to take our picture(it was my best friend's sister, and she wanted to send it to her.) After seeing this picture, I think I kind of understand why we get so many stares and comments when we're out. :)

By the time we had finished shopping, I was pretty worn out and feeling less than awesome about myself and my parenting skills. I happened to notice that the friend who had taken our picture at the store had tagged me on Instagram. I almost put off looking at the notification, since I figured it was just this picture, but I went on ahead and checked it anyways, and to my disbelief one of my friends had posted that the Duggar's were at the St. Louis Zoo.

I was instantly trying to figure out if I could really justify a trip to the zoo that day. We were already planning on going later this week, and I had been planning on having a normal homeschool day. Besides, I had a car full of a weeks worth of groceries, parking is kind of a nightmare over there, I wouldn't have any help with the kids, and what were the chances that  I would actually see the Duggar's once we got there?

I tried to put the thought out of my mind, but by the time I made it home with the groceries I decided I had to take the chance. I quickly unloaded the food, had the kids change into cooler clothes, and changed my shirt because in my excitement I had accidentally spilled coffee all over the front of it. Ahem.

When I told the kids we were going to the zoo, and that we might get to meet the Duggars, I was met with great excitement(although Lily kept telling me that the Duggar's were just pretend. When I assured her that they were real she got very excited about the possibility of meeting the little girls.)

We made it to the zoo, parked approximately a million miles away, and started walking. And walking. And walking. But almost as soon as we entered, we saw Jim Bob and Jinger Duggar! I'm pretty sure I just gawked at them, but they did stop and talk to me. Jim Bob made some comment about me having a" nice looking little family."

A little further into the zoo, I saw a huge crowd of kids, and sure enough it was the Duggar clan. There was a small line of women waiting to talk to Michelle, so I just sort of stood there taking it all in. Jack, Anna, and Lily were all running around in the same group as the Duggar kids, it was a little surreal. :)

By far though, the best moment for me was getting to meet Michelle Duggar. She was so gracious, and even though she had just finished talking to several women in front of me(and no doubt had talked to many other strangers that day) she just acted like she had all the time in the world to talk.

Photo: This just happened!!!!

She gave me a signed picture, encouraged me to keep loving on my husband and babies, and to keep pointing their hearts to Jesus. 

Needless to say, it was a great day. :)

Linked to A Mama's Story , A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Modest Mom

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Testimony


I have been blogging in this space since Jack was two and Anna was one. I have shared my various opinions on things, cute stories about the kids, and other details about my life with you all for almost four years.

If you look at my profile, or my about me tab, you'll notice that I say that I'm a Christian, and hopefully you'll have been able to tell some of that from some of the things I post here.

But I realized I have never really shared, how or when I became a believer.

My conversion story really isn't all that "dramatic." At least not in the way some people's are. I never did drugs. I didn't have premarital sex. I loved my parents, and never went through a terribly rebellious stage(although, I was far from perfect!)

On the outside I was a "good kid."

Beyond being just a "good kid" I was also a preacher's kid, so I grew up in a wonderful Christian family.

But to be perfectly honest with you, the fact that I never did anything all that "bad" made me think I was actually pretty good. I didn't think I was bad. I didn't think my heart was full of sin. I thought I was pretty good. I wasn't perfect, but in my mind I can remember thinking that my sins weren't as bad as other peoples.

I remember very clearly thinking,"Of course God loves me, I'm a good person."

But I wasn't a good person.

A few months before I received Jesus(I was 18 at the time), I can recall becoming very aware of this fact. I can remember being so frustrated that I knew that I wasn't making wise decisions(mainly when it came to guys, but also with wanting to fit in and have fun.) I remember telling myself that I wouldn't repeat the mistakes I was making, but I always did.

One night, my best friend and I decided to go to a church in the next town over. We had randomly heard about a bonfire they were having, and thought it sounded like something fun and different to do. We really didn't know anyone who went to that church, but we thought we'd go and meet some new people.

I don't remember much about what was said that night, or what the youth pastor talked about, all I know is that my heart was changed after that night.

My struggles with wanting to please people and getting involved with wrong relationships didn't disappear, but it was different. The Lord had changed me, and suddenly I wanted to learn all I could about God, and strive to do what the Bible taught.

That night was over ten years ago. I still have my struggles, and I sin and make mistakes every day. I have learn every day to die to myself, and follow the Lord. But the Lord is so faithful to forgive. To redeem. He shows his love for us in so many ways. And He is a good, and Sovereign God.

To learn more about the gospel click here:






Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday


Yesterday morning I woke up early completely on my own, and could not fall back asleep.

This never happens. I can always go back to sleep.

But it was so nice because I was able to actually drink a cup of coffee, eat some breakfast, and spend a little extra time in the Word before the troops woke up asking for their food. It truly was a wonderful way to begin Easter Sunday.

This year we decided to try making Resurrection Rolls for breakfast. I wasn't completely confident they would actually turn out(I have a special talent for ruining even the simplest of projects), but I figured at the very least the kids would enjoy eating marshmallows for breakfast.

While we waited for the rolls to bake we acted out the Easter story.


Anna is pretending to be Mary mother of Jesus, Lily is Mary Magdalene, and Max is suppose to be the angel, but he wanted to anoint Jesus's body with ketchup, so I went with it. :) Oh, and even though they look sad, it's just because they're pretending to be crying because they think Jesus is dead. Don't I have such wonderful actors living in my house?


Finally it was time to eat the rolls, and much to my delight most of them turned out right. Plus the ones that didn't turn out still tasted good. :) Later I found out that Anna thought she had wrapped the marshmallows with cheese, not crescent rolls, and that the women were going to the tomb to anoint Jesus's body with sprite instead of spices.

Apparently I need to remember to explain and enunciate things better. ;)

After church and naps, we had an Easter egg hunt and then headed to the park for the rest of the evening since it was an incredibly beautiful day.


How was everyone else's Easter? 

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

What We've Been Up To



Sick, sick, and more sick. That's how I would describe the last month. It feels as if every Monday afternoon for the past few weeks, at least one of the kids is coming down with some sort of illness and then usually by Wednesday all of the kids have caught the sickness too. Poor Luke seems to be the one who gets the brunt of it, which has been really hard for me(him too, of course!) It's so sad seeing your babies sick, especially when they can't tell you what's wrong.



Thankfully we've been able to avoid antibiotics(my preference is to treat illness naturally, although I'm not against using medicine if the need arises) and hopefully soon everyone will feel better. In the meantime we've been enjoying a more relaxed routine, extra baby/toddler/big kid cuddles, and getting as much sunshine as possible.

Speaking of sunshine, it is finally starting to feel like spring here in Illinois! Last week we had a couple of beautiful days, and we took some "spring" days. I mentioned on my facebook page that we didn't take any snow days during the winter, so now we can take a few days off from school work and enjoy this beautiful weather. Last week we went to the SIUE gardens and spent most of the morning and early afternoon playing out there.



I also went to my first homeschool convention a few weeks ago, and oh. my. word. was that place amazing. So many books, so many vendors, so much curriculum to look at. Thankfully, I have a pretty good idea of what we are using for next year so I wasn't completely overwhelmed, but definitely would have been if that hadn't been the case. I also scored this book that I've been wanting to read for a long time.


Oh, and I was so excited to tell you all that I was recently asked to become a monthly contributor to the website Raising Homemakers. I actually posted over there last week if you'd like to go check it out!

How are the rest of you doing? Has anyone else read Large Family Logistics? 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

5 Awesome Things about Having Kids Close in Age


"What on earth are you going to do when they're all teenagers?!"

"How are you going to pay for college for that many kids?"

"Your poor older children. They never got to be the baby for very long."

These are just some randomly rude comments I've heard in the last few weeks alone, from strangers. I'm never quite sure how I'm suppose to respond to any of it, I mean, do they even expect me to give an answer? Quite honestly, a. It's none of their business. and b. my older children seem to be doing pretty well, so far. :)

As I've thought about some of these comments, I've been reminded yet again that while it's definitely not easy having so many little ones underfoot, it's also got some benefits.

1. They are each other's best friends. Sure they have their little arguments, and sharing issues, but they all love being together and playing together. Especially when I look at Lily(my four year old) and Anna(my five year old) I can't help but think how much fun it must be to always have your best friend around.

2. They are all on a similar schedule. Obviously Jack's daily routine is different from Luke and Max's, but they all still have an afternoon "quiet" time, and they all go to bed at the same time. The kids typically go to bed at 7:30, so we get to relax a little before heading to bed ourselves.

3. They have similar interests. For example, we can go to the park or the transportation museum, and everyone will genuinely have a good time. When we have family movie nights there really isn't any arguing over whether or not something is a "baby" show.

4. They are used to babies. The kids love babies, and there isn't usually too much jealousy when we bring a new one home(although it's not perfect.) But the children are already used to seeing Mommy and Daddy with other kids, so they don't generally get too worked up when they see us holding a new baby. Plus, they just think babies are cute and love playing with them.

5. It teaches you to relax. I always smile(well, sometimes I cringe) to myself when I think back to when I just had one child. I would stress out about every little thing and make myself sick with worry reading What to Expect in the First Year(Is he smiling enough? He's not clapping yet, what are we going to do?!) I had a strict bedtime routine and nap time routine for him, and heaven help the baby sitter who went even the slightest bit off of that schedule. That's not to say bedtime routines are bad, but really I don't think it matters if your child's grandma wants to rock the baby to sleep one night when you usually prefer to let your baby go to sleep on their own. Having multiple children, can certainly help you get a little more confident and relax.

Maybe I should print this list off and hand it out to the people at the grocery store who make these comments...;)


What else would you add to this list? 


If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!



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