The Post in which I Whine Unabashedly in hopes that I'll Feel Better Afterwards

I started feeling it coming on Monday.  Like so many persistent door-to-door sales people, it kept knocking deep down in my chest all day long.  Monday night it had broken down the door, and Ava had succumbed also. By Tuesday, Ava and I were officially down with the flu, and by Wednesday so was Alec.

In a neatly staggered line of dominoes, four of the five of us got it,  one by one, until by Thursday EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE WAS SICK...except Marvin. Who happened to be taking the week off for our family's Christmas break. 

We missed out on:

~a trip to IKEA I was supposed to take with one of my girlfriends

~a guys-only trip to the shooting range for Marvin

~our movie date with the boys to see the new Narnia film

~trips to the grocery store for food for Christmas dinner

~attending Christmas Eve church

~our annual big fondue dinner on Christmas Eve with my in-laws and the kids cousins

~my favorite part of Christmas; staying up late Christmas Eve wrapping presents with Marvin

~Christmas dinner with my parents and brother

Christmas morning was less than nice. The kids took turns being cranky, and I still had that After the Flu Paralyzed Feeling. The picture at the top says it all. Fortunately (we thought) the boys had each gotten a large Lego set, and so would have something to keep themselves occupied. Unfortunately, Alec was still so tired from being sick that he broke down into tears many times before the sets were finished.

Marvin basically spent his entire week of vacation taking temperatures, dosing out elderberry syrup and vitamin C, wiping snotty noses, cooking, doing laundry, mediating quarrels, cleaning up vomit and diarrhea, and, well, I think we get the idea. He basically spent his break being me. While I spent the week being sick.

Honestly, I can't think of anything nice that happened last week. I can almost always think of something good in any situation, but this one is really challenging. It basically sucked. On many levels. And now it's all over, Marvin is back at work, and I'm left with toppling piles of Christmas all over the house. And I still don't feel good. And Benji still doesn't feel good. And I'm in a bad mood...

if you read to the end of this post, thanks for listening to me whine...
don't feel like you have to make me feel better about it...
I just wanted to vent.




in the middle of the hustle
everything stops

tissues pile up
the teapot whistles

family plans canceled
thermometer begs for time off

momma's heart aches to take care of the little ones
but her body aches too much to get out of bed

daddy works hard to fill in
gets rewarded with sweet hugs
hopefully not nasty germs

wakeful nights
3 feverish bodies
one trip to the laundromat with a soiled comforter

living life's hard moments with grace and gentleness
we appreciate what we have


wait patiently to come out the other side


Wordless Wednesday


La Vie En Rose...

...life through rose colored glasses...

with cake

and cookies


and presents

we celebrated

the fourth year

of this little girl's life...

 there was pinkness

there were giggles
 caused by him

there was an elegant tea, served little-girl (and boy) style

 there was singing

and grouchy brothers

wrapping paper to tear

gifts to love

 thank-you's to say

surprises galore
and memories to be made

it was perfect!


Looking In

Since last year I've felt a bit out of place. My best friend moved, we changed churches, another close friend started school full time, we began homeschooling, I was pregnant with friends and lost my baby while theirs survived...a few among many other socially-uprooting changes.

Change is fine (and strangely, sometimes fun) for me, and up till today, I thought I was handling it in stride. Until I was asked to participate in an "extracurricular" activity at our new church. I said yes, hoping that since two of the other two ladies involved were also home educators with kids similar ages to mine, it would be a good opportunity to get to know more moms like me.

The morning started with me getting there 30 minutes after everyone else due to a potty accident. Normally that wouldn't have bothered me but for some reason, the fact that everyone already had a job and I didn't made me feel awkward. I pushed negative feelings aside and jumped in anyways.

We were decorating the church for Christmas, and as the morning went on, the church looked brighter and my spirits grew dimmer. It seemed like everyone was involved in a conversation I wasn't. I kept trying but eventually gave up and resigned myself to making wreath bows in silence.

It was early afternoon by the time we finished and by then I had the odd sensation of someone viewing zoo animals behind glass. You're there with them but not part of their world.

The kids were hungry because it was way after lunch and no one seemed to care. I was frantically trying to put the last of 6 wreaths on the wall when Ava knocked some stuff off a table.  As I bent to pick it up, she leaped onto my back and hung on like a monkey. Thrown completely off balance, I fell backward, pinning her under me on the carpet. She cried, and I felt like crying too!

Finally it was over and we hurried to the car. The other two women happen to be neighbors, and as I buckled Ava in, I heard snippets of their conversation. The way people talk when their lives are blended.  It made my heart ache. It felt a little sad to be left out of their lunch plans, but more than that, it was a painful reminder of what I no longer have.

As I drove home, I was overcome by the feelings of desolation welling up in my heart. As my mind searched frantically for a memory of a place that I do fit in, my heart reminded me, one by one, that none of those places exist any longer. I felt completely uprooted, an orphan at a family reunion, a weed in a field of blooms.

Not long ago, I had taken my feelings of loneliness to Jesus, and in the days following my lament He had literally brought to my door many of my friends! I think maybe 4 or more in a couple of days! It was very apparent what He was trying to show me, as I daily reminded myself that He is always near and that I'm never truly alone.

Falling off of that horse into the dirt of what happened to me today was hard. Really hard. I've slowly come to realize that I'm the one preventing close connections. Seemingly forever scarred by the painful changes of the past year, my heart is unwilling to be shared in such a way again. It has had all the breaking it can take.

It will take some major courage to be vulnerable again, to be willing to risk loss, disappointment and heartbreak. Jesus is the only perfect friend, the only one that won't move away, won't leave us out of lunch plans, won't forget our birthdays, and won't gossip behind our backs and will love us unconditionally.

I hold it true, whate'er befall; 
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
 ~Alfred Lord Tennyson


what SHOULD be happening!? (part 3)

The reality is this:
what really happens in my head/on a good day and what REALLY happens on an "off"day 
are both OK...
and should be happening...
and here's why:

I think as moms or, more specifically, homeschooling moms, we tend to be so hard on ourselves. Heaping up the guilt if the day goes down the toilet, inwardly berating ourselves because we failed once again to live up to our nearly impossible standards

I tend to hold up a perfect, shiny ideal to reach for every day, only to cripple myself as I make the leap. God calls us to only hold HIM up as our goalpost and He guarantees that if we reach, He'll catch us.  Striving for anything but that is actually a form of idolatry and we are certain to miss the mark.

This is not to say that we shouldn't set earthly, human-type goals and schedules for ourselves also. The Creator loves order; we see it evident in the regular cycles of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the tides and weather, and in the very precise relationship all living things have to one another. The ultimate scheduler, He created our earth, the sun, moon and solar system, and all living beings in an order, some on each day.

We don't read in the Bible that whales and monkeys and the stars were created on the fifth day and then at the end of the day He threw in some fruit trees and water because He realized the whales needed a habitat and the monkeys needed something to eat!!! There was a distinct purpose and order to it all.

Conversely, there should be a distinct purpose and order to our days as well. As parents, we are called to teach our children matters of the heart as well as matters of the home. Children thrive in an environment saturated with routine, order and peacefulness. Living with purpose, with a goal in sight, is the only way to accomplish this.

As a mother of three, and a home educator, my need for order is intense.
Thus, my need for the stability that only the Savior can bring is paramount.
Want to know how I accomplish this balance between heart and home?

As anyone with children knows, routines and needs are always shifting. When I sense a shift coming (ie: potty training, starting a new level of education, change in Daddy's work schedule, character issues arising, dropping a nap, etc.) I begin to go through those transition days in prayer. Each bumpy moment is an opportunity for Jesus to show me what needs to be done instead.

After a week or two of prayer time, reflection, note-taking, and conversation with my husband, I prayerfully create a new goal, a new schedule, that better suits our new needs.  It usually takes me about a week to get everyone in the groove of the new routine; it's not usually far from the old one, just a few tweaks.

The day I mentioned first (part 1) does actually happen more often than not, with the exception of the kids remembering on their own to dress and bring down their laundry! It surprises me every time! I would think by now they would remember that we typically go about our day fully clothed...perhaps a teaching trip to the grocery in their pajamas is in order...

Anyway, the point to all this is this:

If you are a parent, do not let life just "happen" to you on a daily basis. Let your days be characterized by purposeful living, meaningful actions, and a Christ-centered schedule or routine. There is freedom in boundaries; knowing that your day is already planned frees your mind to concentrate on other more precious things.

When you do need a break, recognize the need and deliberately announce your intentions. There is nothing worse for a momma's psyche than to sneak around the whole day avoiding the fact that you need a rest and are not able to keep your routines in place. Learn to recognize the difference between laziness and apathy (and boot those two nasty sisters out the door the minute they arrive!) and a genuine need for a rest.

It's OK to take a conscious break, to just sit and let things happen around you. God rested after He worked for 6 days, under the most amazing schedule we've ever seen! Intentional rest is good, laziness is not.

As I type this to share with you all, I am sitting on the couch. It's 9:45 am, I'm still in my sweaty workout clothes, freezing with bare arms. The kids gulped smoothies and then ran outside to play in the snow. We're not taking a break today, just deviating from the schedule a bit.

I'm a bit sleepy from a midnight trip up the stairs to change a bed and pajamas on a little girl who coughed so hard she vomited! I don't want to keep going today, cozy blankets and a movie sound great...BUT...I can keep going, so I will, just a bit more slowly!

for help with scheduling, Christian parenting, or purposeful living, visit these great websites:
disclaimer: these are just a few of the resources I personally use, I am in no way affiliated with them or their websites


what REALLY happens! (part 2)

So...as promised...here's what REALLY happens...( but really and truly not all the time!!!)

I forget to bring my phone to bed and it goes off in the kitchen, reminding Marvin to come and try to wake me up.

About 30 minutes later I slowly sit up and turn on my bedside lamp.
About 10 minutes later I stand up and stare resentfully at the warm bed.

After pulling an unwashed pair of workout pants out of the dirty bin, I crawl around on the floor for a while trying to find my other shoe.

Finally dressed, I grunt at my perky husband, toss wet clothes from the day before in the dryer, and decide that the toilet really isn't that dirty since I wiped it down the day before.

By this time, it's after 7...I head out to the kitchen and stare at the sink, wishing I had stayed up just a little later the night before and cleaned up just a little bit better.

I stand absentmindedly in the kitchen until Marvin leaves for work, and then go turn on the TV...yes, to work out!

As soon I find my profile and start the first exercise, all three pajama-clad kids appear at once, in various stages of grouchiness or starvation.

I send the boys right back up the stairs to dress and bring down their laundry while I get Ava some "Foodie". While she eats and the boys argue about who is unloading the dishwasher, I zone out with my shoulder presses and lunges.

After 67 interruptions to my workout, I abandon the thought of any personal hygiene sessions and fix breakfast.

The morning progresses downhill swiftly from there, with me remaining in my sweaty sports bra and the school work finishing up around 1(but only because I decided to skip a subject or two!).

In the afternoon, we make a nightmarish trip to the grocery store, or just stay in the house and text Marvin the grocery list for him to pick up on the way home.

At about 6:00 I finally realize what time it is, pull myself away from frantic vacuuming and laundry folding, and crazily wonder how fast I can thaw a whole chicken, and whether or not the family can wait till 8:00 to eat dinner.

After we eat dinner at about 7:30, everyone leaves the kitchen to play with Daddy while I try and keep myself from falling asleep in the dishwasher.

When the kids are in bed (around 9:30) Marvin and I have a race to see who can get in bed the fastest.

He always wins because I have to get back up and get my phone...


WHAT really happens? (part1)

This is what happens here in my head...or on a good day...

I remember to bring my cell phone to bed and it wakes me up at 6am with chimes. I only push the "snooze" button once or twice.

I hop out of bed, make it up, and put on my workout clothes

After greeting my always-awake-early husband, I start a load of laundry and do a quick "swish and swipe" in the bathroom

I then head out to the kitchen, take my pills with a glass of water, and turn on the TV...what?? Yes, turn on the TV...to exercise!

After a 30 minute workout with my EA Sports Active virtual trainer, I kiss my hubby 'bye and head up to the shower

Since I got up early enough, the kids are still asleep while I shower, fix my hair and face, and dress.

By the time they are up, I am in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

They come down dressed, and leave their dirty laundry by the washing machine, and Alec and Benji unload the dishwasher while I finish making food and get Ava settled at the table.

The morning progresses nicely from there, with my reading a Bible passage to the kids while they finish eating, and school work finishing up around 1:00.

In the afternoon, we do housework together, and continue chore training for each child, run errands, visit with friends, go to the library or the grocery store, and other necessities.

At about 5:00 I start fixing a meal off of my meal list that I planned the week before. We eat around  6:30 when Marvin gets home.

After dinner everyone helps clear the table and do the dishes and we spend the rest of the evening working on projects, reading, checking school work, or playing until bedtime.

After the kids are in bed (between 8 and 9) Marvin and I spend time cozy on the couch watching a sitcom or just talking until we go to bed around 10...

yeah. right.

I'll tell you tomorrow what REALLY happens...


{four} oh my!

you were born {four} years ago today

two weeks before your due date

we didn't want your birthday to compete with Christmas

we wanted it as separate, as special as possible

right now you {love}...



your toy kitchen


Fancy Nancy

princess stuff

lip gloss

coloring books and markers, NOT crayons

your girlie friends

your toy horse, Fancy

Aunt Karen's real horse, Fancy

right now you love to {play}...

with your stuffed animals

farm with your Fisher Price barn and animals

make "oatmeal" for your dollies like Daddy does for you


a funny game with Benji and Alec called "Princess Power"

 dress up with Benji as your stylist

right now you love to {eat}...





still not sure about sandwiches

brown rice

oatmeal with blueberries



and just about anything else I serve you

right now you are {learning}...

how to read

how to write

how to color in the lines

how to sit still for a book with chapters and pictures

how to set the table

how to wash dishes and wash the sink
how to share and use your words when you're frustrated

how to memorize the Bible

will be learning to play the violin

right now {we love} your...


curly hair

still chubby feet

huggies and kisses each night

sense of humor

eagerness to help

desire to learn

sweet mix of tomboy and princess

...you asked Jesus to live in your heart about a month ago...
even though you are young, you knew exactly what it meant...

we love you just the way you are...
don't grow too fast precious daughter....


not Posh

I get a precious few chances each year to dress up and go out in public with my man. I love to be fancy, but how practical are heels and pearls at the grocery? Every year at Christmas, we attend at least one, sometimes two, definitely-not-casual parties for Marvin's job, and sometimes, if I've been REALLY good, Santa brings me tickets for a fancy theater event.

Last night, I was looking over our calendar and asked Marvin if he knew when the parties were this year. As he casually told me that there were no parties this time, only dinners out after hours with the staff, my visions of a new dress dissolved in a cloud of disappointment.

Determined to squeeze at least one outing out of the season, I asked if he had looked at tickets for the ballet. We took Ava last year to see a matinee performance of The Nutcracker and she was completely enamored, behaving better than some of the adults around us! Oh yes, he informed me, Ava and I talked about that last night. She said how much she loved it, and was excited when I told her we'd go next year.

New dress, come to mama! I thought...and then...oh wait, he said next year. WHY???

I think I was yelling a bit as I complained to him about the disappointment his new boss was to me, cheating me out of my "Fancy Nancy" moment, and berating him for not thinking of ballet tickets for this year.

We dropped the conversation for the evening, in favor of paperwork and bedtime, but I'm bringing it up again, dang it! I want my new dress and uncomfortable shoes and sparkly earrings and chilly arms and smokey eyeshadow! Not fair that I should be deprived of my one evening of no stretch pants and pill-y cardigans...I'm just sayin'...


{WARNING!} dead animal and a Bible lesson ahead!

Yep, that's a (purposefully) dead deer. 
Yep, that's my kids and my husband. 
I hope no one is offended. 
This is part of our life, and is a great teaching opportunity for everyone in the family.

Marvin hunts on my aunt's land every fall and this year was blessed with a nice buck after only 30 minutes of waiting! He called me right away and at 8:00 am I put the kids in the car and drove 50 minutes for a wonderful Bible, Science, and life skills lesson.

We have just finished talking about how before The Fall, Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden, there was no death. That means that everyone and everything ate only plants! Yes, lions (and people) were vegetarians!
After the disobedience, God sacrificed an animal, shedding blood for the first time, to clothe Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3:21) After this, God listed the consequences for Adam and Eve, among which are pain, hard work, and death. (Genesis 3:14-19)

As we inspected the deer, I reminded the kids of this, and that since we now live in a fallen world, there is death. I also reminded them that God send His son, Jesus, to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so that we can have eternal life, to take away the curse of death.

Along with a Bible lesson, the kids got to witness the most excellent biology class ever, taught by their dad! They saw what happens when an animal dies, they saw lungs and intestines, they saw the heart and saw how hard and firm it was and learned why.

Their papa was there, and he talked with them about how thin and small the deers legs are and how it seems like they shouldn't be able to carry the weight of the body and head and how perfectly God designed each animal.

We also discussed what a deer eats, and how important it is that, if you're choosing to eat meat, your meat has eaten what God has naturally provided for it, not feed from a bag with artificial "mystery" ingredients.  I reminded them, too, that we believe it's wrong to kill just for the sake of killing and sport, and that if you are going to kill, you should only do it respectfully and for food and sustenance.

Then, while Ava and I played with my aunt's animals (puppies, horse and donkey! who needs a trip to the zoo?) the boys learned how to field dress a deer and how much work it is, and how heavy it is to drag to the truck. They also learned about coyotes and why it's important to leave the insides of the deer far away from the house!

That was our Saturday last week...Bible, Science, Biology, Physics, life skills, nutrition, and family bonding time...all wrapped up in one last minute trip to the country! This is just one of the many reasons we continue to enjoy teaching our children at home.


{three} short weeks




still amazes me...

still makes me laugh...

still fits on my lap...

 is still little...

 and is still my baby...


 in three short weeks

she's turning 



I know, I know...

...I haven't been here in nearly two weeks. 
And the last thing I left was a picture of my trashed kitchen floor. 
Nice, right?
Well, my horse raced away with the cart and I needed to go catch the reins again...so to speak.

So here's what you've missed:

We started *ahem* working on another baby (clearly in the forefront of my mind right now!) Not sure if this is the kind of activity I should be talking about on my blog, but I"m really excited and thought you all might like to be excited with me!

My birthday is on Sunday. I will be 35. 
I always said (rather stubbornly) my womb was closed at that age.  
I guess God has other plans!

Ava will be turning 4 in a mere 3 weeks. 
Ouch! I did a cute photo shoot of her today all decked out ala "Fancy Nancy"
(for those of you with girls this age, you'll know exactly what I"m talking about!)

Alec is big...really big. He asked me the other day if I had shrunk!

We've pretty much finished that upstairs room, now no longer called the "junk room". 
I have one more wall I need to embellish and a couple details elsewhere to take care of, but I needed to take a break for a minute and let life resume normal routine first.
I know you're all dying to see pictures...soon...very soon!

I cleaned out the boy's closet and re-organized their whole room last weekend. 
Under Benji's bed I found 5 nearly full tissue boxes...and other remarkable items. 
They love their "new" room and are refusing to play in there because they don't want to mess it up! Ugh!

I got asked (again) to be the church photographer for an upcoming baby dedication. 
I love taking pictures. I do not love editing them. 
It's just so time consuming when there are a couple hundred to go through! 
If they keep asking me, I may start charging...is that wrong? It is church, after all...I should be donating my time, right? Hmmm...

I'm starting to get the urge to do a fun sewing project. I love making Ava summer dresses, but shy away from it in the winter because of the sleeve issue...sleeves are H.A.R.D. to finish on the edges unless you have a serger...I don't. I think I just really need to buckle down and finish the quilt I started last fall! Ha!

I love Christmas and Thanksgiving. 
I really, really, really hate being cold. I probably shouldn't be living in the midwest!

I really hope my best friend gets to come home soon.

It will be a long, sad winter if she doesn't.

Marvin and Alec are at a hockey game right now. 
The tickets were for Marvin's birthday from his family with the intent that we'd go on a date and they'd babysit. 
See how well the plan worked? 
I"m now the babysitter for two of my children while Marvin takes my other child out to dinner and the game! No, really, it's OK. Alec has been begging to go to one for quite some time and was the perfect opportunity.

I'm getting really sick of Sponge Bob. In French, it's Bob L'eponge.

Mr. Popper's Penguins is just as entertaining now as when I read it as a child.

We're getting ready to study a bit of ancient African history and I'm super excited. Africa has always fascinated me, and I hit the jackpot at the library. We'll be spending the whole week reading on the couch and making an African recipe.

I am, once again, in love with the FlyLady. She has given me wings to run and catch that fast horse that ran away with my cart and this week went so much better.
If you are at all struggling to balance housekeeping, meal planning, errands, etc. with the rest of your life, do yourself a favor and follow her advice! 
Your family and stress hormones will thank you for it!


When we got home this afternoon...

we saw this all over the kitchen floor
...thank you to our bored doggie!

thank goodness for this

and this

to help me clean it up!

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