This is my last week of freedom, as I know it. Between now and Aug. 8, I have to finish planning our year of school, and plan for our annual beach house vacation.

Planning for the beach vacation is a full-time job in itself. Being as obsessed with lists as I am, this year I have decided to make a master list that I will just print out and change as needed. I'm hoping that will make things go more smoothly for everyone.

I'm also planning on putting the boys totally in charge of packing all their stuff like I did last year. I do have to check their clothes before we leave, though...they have a tendancy to pick "spy outfits" which consist of black or navy blue athletic shorts and black or navy blue t-shirts! Not exactly what I'd like to take pictures of them in at the beach!!

As far as planning school goes, I'm excited to finish up, but a little nervous too. Fortunately I have many good friends who have been home schooling for many years and will be more than happy to hold my hand if I need it! I just have to score some "alone time" in the office and then I'll be fine...

The week we get back, I plan on starting school. I know that sounds crazy, but I just want to sort of "dip our toes in the water", so to speak. I'm planning on the week not going well and I'd like to get the rough bumpy spots out of the way before we really need to get down to business. After I get in my grove, I'm sure I'll delay the start of school as long as I can next year!! I love me some summer time laziness!



Monday I opened the revolving door again! Two friends here for Alec, one here for Benji, lunch made for six kids. Ava played in her new pool twice, despite the un-seasonably cool weather. She didn't mind her blue lips or chattering teeth! Dinner was leftovers, and we took another bike ride.

Tuesday Yet again more people in my house!  My sister in law and her two kids came.  We spent a leisurely morning and afternoon watching the kids play outside in the sand box and baby pool.  My nephew ended up staying to spend the night. We had a great time, but by about 5:00 I realized that I hadn't lifted a finger and Mt. Washmore was toppling and the kitchen floor looked horrendous from all the sand and water tracked on it all day.  I remembered with a jolt that I was hosting our women's Bible study the next day, and had a mild panic attack that caused Marvin to frantically start loading the dishwasher.

Wednesday My nephew did make it all night here (it was his first official sleep over any where) and my friend Sarah needed a place for her kids to go for an hour before Bible study, so while 7 children lounged on my couches, I exercised, showered, and tried to feed most of them breakfast.  The house was still terrifically messy at 9:30 am when all the ladies arrived, but I put on a brave face and played the gracious hostess anyways.  I think probably I might have been a little tired after that because as I'm typing this, I really can't remember what happened the rest of the day!

Thursday Alec had a playdate scheduled with a friend for the early afternoon. I got out of bed thinking that we'd all stay home today with no guests.  Looking forward to a day of solitude and quiet, I went up to get Ava out of her bed. I was greeted with two squabbling boys and a petulant toddler who wanted anything but the pair of underwear I was trying to put her windmilling legs through.  I decided right then and there to give up for the day.  I ignored the boys, fed Ava, and plopped her on our bed in front of several episodes of Dora while I read a book in my nightgown.  The whole day pretty much consisted of too much TV, not enough clothing, and the wrong kind of food.

Friday Off to the zoo with my MIL, SIL, her MIL, and all the kids.  The weather was beautiful, the kids were happy (for the most part) and we really enjoyed a new show involving animals rescued from shelters.  We stayed longer than I would have liked, and didn't get home till after 3:00.  I usually only have a one-hour tolerance for things like that! We had a much needed quiet time when we got home and then went off to homegroup in the evening.  I didn't see Marvin all day until 9:00 when we got back; he was at a work event in the evening.

Saturday Marvin had to work, we all slept in because of the late night and long day before.  We were ultra lazy again, and I kinda had a moment of feeling totally overwhelmed and inadequate.  When Marvin got home from work, he took the kids to a very large vintage car show in town, and I showered and did some housework while they were gone.  We went to Sat. evening church, and put the kids to bed right away when we got home.  I worked for a while on some meeUps and then went to bed.

Happy Sunday, everyone!!  So far today, I've loaded and started the dishwasher, fed everyone once, and we've been to the local flea market...


the little things...

My good friend Beth invited us over a couple weeks ago for an afternoon of fun in the sun. I always feel so welcome at her house; she is attentive to the little things that are important.

She had lugged out their huge, never used wading pool and filled it earlier so it wouldn't be freezing. They put a sprinkler under the trampoline so that the boys would also have a place to get wet and have fun.

Her daughter, Evie (at the top with Ava) generously gave Ava an old bike that she had outgrown, along with some princess accessories.

We stayed for hours, enjoying the each other's company, sunshine, and the kid's laughter. Thanks, Beth!


Ninja Benja

You're awesome, Benji!! This kid has recently earned a new nickname, "B-quad" due to his ability to rapidly inhale an entire box of black berries in about 60 seconds. (Black berries and his other nickname, "Boo Bear" are the 4 B's)

He's also been making dozens of treasure maps, covering sheets of paper with intricate drawings and requesting them to be rolled up and secured with a rubber band. I asked him what the one today had on it and he cheerfully told me that it was "ghosts and monsters and party decorations"!



We love our local Italian Ice shop!
We took the kids here last week to celebrate a great baseball season for Alec.
The summer is going by way too fast!!


WeekEnd (finally!)

I keep forgetting to do this post...

Let's see...on Monday I pandered to my boys need to be constantly around friends in some capacity. Alec went to someone's house, and Benji had someone over here. That is literally all we did, and it took the whole day!! You know how that goes...

Tuesday we went to what we call the "Sand Park" with Nana for a picnic. It's a park about halfway between our house and Nana's (my mom) that has not only a very cool playground (or "pway-glound", as Ava calls it!) but also a huge sand pit with diggers, and a water fountain. It's totally wicked! We were super tired from being in the sun all afternoon when we got home so we all kinda laid around till Daddy came home from work

Wednesday we stayed home. Ahhhh! We've been having a revolving door here for the past several weeks and I felt an intense need to shut it for a while. Nothing spectacular went on except that the boys did their chores without complaining, and we all sat down and watched The Music Man. Ava loved the pretty dresses and dancing. The boys insisted that they hated it, but they sat very still and watched the whole thing. Even the girly parts. After dinner we went on an hour long bike ride.

Thursday I took the kids to our local Splash Pad. We headed out early to beat the heat and crowded-ness. Nana met us there, and everything was rosy. Oh, wait, except for my three kids who stood glued to my side whining about the wind, their empty bellies, and how they had no one to play with!!!

I was just a tad annoyed (heavy sarcasm here, people) at the ungrateful attitudes. On the way home, I told Alec that he and Benji needed to make a list of what they wanted to do for the remainder of the summer that didn't include anything electronic or indoors and that's what we'd do. And I apologized for making them go somewhere that was so miserable!!!

 Later we went to the park to try and teach Benji how to ride his bike. Ava met a beautiful little girl on the slide named Sage. What a cool name! Benji's bike lessons were a failure...guess he's not ready yet.

Friday Late start to the day...Watched three kids for a friend until after lunch, fixed lunch for said friend and some of the six kids.  Procrastinated for the whole day until 5:00 and then finally went to the grocery store. 

The problem with that was that we were supposed to be at some friends house for dinner at 6:30!  But, super mom that I am (LOL!) I made it in and out of the grocery and back home in 40 min !  We were late to dinner, but we had fun.

Saturday Boys had soccer in the morning.  On the way home we stopped at our farmer's market in the middle of town.  Later, Marvin had to drive to another town to get a part for our refrigerator, so he took the boys with him, and Ava and I went shopping!

It was actually fun; for the first time she wasn't throwing a tantrum or running away from me.  She watched me try on clothes and then wanted to select and try on some clothes of her own.  It was so cute to see her sorting throught the racks and picking stuff out.

That night, I went to a concert with some friends, girls night out.  Fun, but we didn't get home till after midnight!

Sunday Super tired from the concert, slept in and didn't make it to church.  Went to our local flea market and scored an amazing deal on a Honda lawnmower, and some incredibly awesome jewlery for myself and play jewlery for Ava.  Pictures coming later!

After lunch we watched Hotel For Dogs together (very cute and totally appropriate and family friendly).  Then my parents and brother came over to celebrate my mom's birthday.  After dinner, we walked to a yard sale a few houses down, and *gasp* bought the boys a guniea pig!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah.  Our dog wants to eat it.  More about that coming, I'm sure.


At the fountain in the middle of town


Handmade pt.5

Ever heard of a feed sack? Once upon a time, when times were rough, someone thought it would be a good idea to sell livestock feed in colorful cotton bags. That way, when the feed was eaten, the farmer's wives could make pretty things with the sack. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?

I am the very fortunate recipient of some of my Grandmother's mother's feed sacks. My mom found some left in my Grandmother's house when she died, and having no use for them herself, passed them on to me, her eternally creative daughter!!

I love this pink print; it's a white plaid with navy blue Scottie dogs. When I made it for Ava, she said, "Mommy! It's goor-gush!" (gorgeous) Such a big word for such a tiny voice! And such a darling one-of-a-kind dress for my precious, one-of-a-kind daughter!

Oh, and the flower on her dress and in her hair is one of the hairflowers I've been making with tutorials on You Tube!  Fun, and way cheaper than buying them online.

Yesterday I saw...

A farmer's field at sparkling at dusk, as fireflies danced across the surface

My children experiencing jazz with their whole bodies, dancing crazily to the sounds of an outdoor band

My husband in a whole new light as he spent a large part of the morning doing something he hated because he loves me

My son grow 5 inches taller when he shouldered the new responsibilities I gave him in the kitchen with an air of childish maturity

A bit of hilarity as my daughter stripped naked, pooped in our backyard, and matter-of-factly rinsed her bottom in the sprinkler before we could blink an eye


Glass houses

~This is for my four closest friends~


My friends have built a house for me
They have given me strong walls and a roof and a floor
They have given me doors and windows that open to the most beautiful views,
and a mailbox that is never filled with junk
They have decorated my house with priceless treasures
They have surrounded my house with a top of the line security system


You are my walls, roof and floor
You keep me safe, grounded, and sheltered
You are the guardian of my innermost thoughts
I am free to be completely at home and myself when I'm in the rooms of our friendship
You made my spaces transparent, there is nothing unseen;
In that there is beauty and tranquility


You are my decorator,
You have filled my house with priceless treasures
You have given me the gift of eyes that see the beauty of the world like mine do
and share in my desire to create
loveliness, order, and health in all rooms
of my life
Like an orchid in a greenhouse, I thrive here


You are my doors and windows,
You have made my coming and going simple and meaningful
The doors you give me open easily and wide
and provide boundless opportunities
The windows you give me show me a sharper vision of my place here
You fill my mailbox with words of wisdom and clarity


You are my security system,
You keep me hemmed in with prayer and petition to Him who is omnipresent
You are a force to be reckoned with, you battle for me in an unseen arena
You are my watch against the thieves of reality and peace
You give me quiet strength to resist the unwanted.


The house my friends built is strong, but made of glass. In the context of true, intimate friendship, nothing is hidden, all is revealed. Trust is given transparently; the beauty of this house is exquisite
Thank you girls, for surrounding me with condition-less love and acceptance. Thank you for your listening ears, your strong shoulders, your indulgent smiles. My life is all the richer.


{Oh, and ladies, don't be catty- your names are in no particular order! *grin*}

Budding artist

Ava's all serious business now that she knows how to draw a "shark"


Things they say...

Benji: Ava's got a puppy, Ava's got a puppy, Ava's got a puppy...

Ava: NO!

Me: Ava, Benji just likes the puppy on your shirt

Ava: NO he doesn't, I like it by myself!


Benji: (whispering in my ear) Mom! I gotta tell you somethin'! When you bite banana bread it's really quiet and smooth!



Road Trip (very short, not like yours Brittany!!)

Saturday we went to my aunt and uncle's farm about an hour east of us for a cook-out, fishing, horse-visiting, and just bein' lazy. On long-ish car trips, I always put my feet on the dashboard. It drives Marvin bananas. Especially is I have bare feet and leave toe-prints on the windshield!

Ava couldn't wait to try it out...

Alec was reading as usual (that kid's a total bookworm!)

Benji was daydreaming...

Stuck behind this for a while, going waaaay too slow!

Finally there, and the boys are in heaven!

Ava's checkin' out her bait. "Look mommy!", she says, "the worm-y worms are fighting!" Ewwww!

Finally getting to try out the Princess Pole! She caught a bunch of algae...

Don't know about you, but I've never seen an albino catfish...creeeeepy! My dad accidentally dropped it and it slapped Ava in the face with it's tail! From then on she wouldn't come near Papa when he caught one and kept shouting, "Don't slap me, Papa!"

Proud boys and Papa (oh, and a very large fish!)

Time to feed Fancy a biscuit...we tried again to convince the kids that they could sit on Fancy's back and have a ride, but they'd have no part of that idea!

My mom trying to get the kids to look and smile...heck, it's easier just to take pictures of the backs of their heads and call it "being artistic"!!

Uh, yeah...(show this one to Ozzie, Britt!)

Wish I had a pony!


Not cute!

How Ava and her cousin, Elle, entertained themselves afterwards while we waited until TEN O'CLOCK for the fireworks, which we watched in the rain!!!
Happy Independence Day!


Happy Fourth of July!

~tomorrow we'll be using this princess fishing pole, but probably not for fishing!
see ya on the farm...


On Saturday, we went to my cousin's wedding...

{my view from the second row}


 {too many pictures of Ava in the dress I made for her}

 {beautiful flowers}

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