Meet Maisey

comment 1
Maisey Mae

Meet Maisey – the healing pup we didn’t know we needed. We had planned on getting another dog in the fall, after our hearts had healed a bit and our summer trips were over, but had heard breeders had long wait lists that you needed to get on asap. So, in my search for breeders, I stumbled upon one that had a fresh litter born April 1… Bentley’s parting day… which just seemed the sweetest way to make the saddest day happy again! My parents had mentioned they didn’t mind watching a puppy this summer and allofasudden I found myself emailing them and asking if they had any left because it just seemed so perfect! Until I got home that night and realized those sweet puppies were only 2 weeks old and needed to be with their momma for another 6 weeks and we’d be leaving my parents with a puppy that had only been with us for 2 weeks by the time we could go get her. Anyways, I guess with puppies now on the mind, I somehow stumbled upon this sweet family with 12 week old puppies and then found myself asking if I could come get one, well, that day… What? I don’t know. What? WHO KNOWS what goes on in my head. Mom keeps saying she was sent from God and I’m starting to believe her cause I think I blanked out a little bit there! Ugh that Bentley dog left the most giant hole. We hated coming home to an empty house… everything seemed deafeningly quiet… all the things that drove me crazy about him now felt like huge holes of hurt that I now missed so much – he wasn’t there anymore to obnoxiously lick all the dishes when I put them in the dishwasher… when the door blew open, as it does so often, I didn’t have to run around asking if anyone has seen the dog or if he’s run away again… I no longer had to step over a giant animal when getting out of bed… I no longer had to brace visitors for the tremendous amount of loving coming their way as he scampered around the corner to meet them. Everything made me miss him. And yet, as I was driving the long drive to pick up this sweet girl, wondering what the heck I was doing, I could feel my sad little heart filling right on up with joy all over again. It’s been such fun seeing the kids get to experience a puppy for the first time. I was so happy bringing her home and yet while the kids played, I still found myself wandering over to Belly dog’s little brick and having a good cry :) cause he was a really good dog and it still hurts sometimes. It’s been a perplexing week of emotions :) Yet, I was just sitting out in the sun and this little girl wanders over and lays down by my feet and I thought how each day my heart feels a little more at peace. She’s starting to fit right into our little family. She’s so mellow and sweet and certainly has her puppy moments but she’s brought us so much joy and laughter and healing and I am thankful. So dear little Maisey Mae, we sure weren’t expecting you but welcome to our crazy family. We sure love you <3

To our Bentley Bear

comments 3
that dog Bentley
(Photo by Kent Avenue Photography)

To my Bentley Bear 7.24.13 – 4.1.23

It’s hard to put into words what this guy meant to us. He really gave all he had without receiving a whole lot in return. You might say he over generoused on the loving bit, often surprising people with how happy he was to see them. He endured many a toddler pull or tug, jump or climb. He was their makeshift seat. He was my morning buddy. We called him Butler Bentley cause he was always at the window watching you pull away, and there to greet you when you returned. He had the best, biggest bark. He loved when everyone was together and even more when everyone was together outside. He loved the sun. He loved the beach. He loved to run. He was a majestic runner. He was a goof. He used to prance around on the driveway, flinging his wubba up into the air and pouncing on it. We called it his buffalo dance. He loved to be in the middle of a hug. His excitement got him called the worst dog many a time, but as John Grogan says, there’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner. Despite all his neglect and the crazy that surrounded him, if you waited around long enough, you knew he was the best dog. He might carry your shoe around and leave it in the middle of the yard but he would never chew it. He was just one of those guys that was there. Always there. Offering his quiet presence in love. And I sure miss it. I hope he’s running to his heart’s content, leash-less and with no more pain. We sure loved you, Belly. Thank you for being the best dog to this crazy, distracted family <3 We miss you terribly

Mom wanted a video so here ya go ;) ps – first shot, just sleeping… he was notorious for stubbornly lying in or in front of doors :)

All of last year in a mere one million photos ;)

comments 2
family days / the daily life

Well, now that we are solidly into 2023, let’s remember the entirety (HA) of last year, shall we? Cause apparently I didn’t document any of it. I was trying to remember what we did… we didn’t really travel anywhere special or do anything of significance… just lots of ordinary days, spinning on by! I still like to remember such things :) Maybe one of my favorite things I did last year was taking the time to try to document my garden. I worked SO hard on it… I love gardening. Literally could do it all the time but UGH there were definite moments of just… one… more… hole….. such. hard. dirt. Must. go. on. Don’t. want. to. Sooooo many plants. So much digging. So many gophers undoing it all. So much discouragement. Lots of tears. Lots of tired. Lots of sunburns and sweat and all the things. So to go out in the morning with a cup of coffee and watch the sun make its way through the yard, or go out in the evening after a long day of school and mental exhaustion… even when everything looked a mess or I wanted to cry seeing one more delphinium get sucked into the ground, I found there was always something pretty to find and appreciate, like a hug to my soul from the Creator of all the lovely things. There were so many birds and bees and all things magical and I came to just cherish the slowing down process that is so needed in this crazy, busy world. So here are a few snippets from this year that I treasure, because it’s winter and I cut everything back hard, and naturally believe I’ve killed it all, and the weeds are in full force and I’m back to being discouraged and exhausted and and and ;) BUT! lest we not forget, seasons are not forever and SPRING IS COMING!!! And we can just try again next year ;)

Got back into bread making, thanks to Aunt Sarah coming to the rescue, once again! I shall try my very hardest not to kill yet another batch of starter :D

Noah went on his first roller coaster ;)

There were little hikes with cousins

And playdates with the sweetest of friends

We finished our first year of two in school!

There was much to celebrate because in reality, more days than I care to admit, looked like this :/

Last year was a hard year of growth in all of us. I saw yet again, my utter depravity and desperate need for a Savior. There were many moments of asking my kids’ forgiveness cause EWW all this gross stuff keeps bubbling up! I saw vicious spiritual attacks on my kids where I had to just stop everything and pray over them because what the heck is going on. I saw God work so powerfully in their little lives. I saw my daughter come to a greater understanding of what Christ did for her. She broke down crying one day because she would never be good enough to get to heaven. What a JOY it was to share the BEST NEWS!!! That NO ONE is good enough. That ALL have sinned and fallen short (Rom 3:23). That while we were still ENEMIES(!) Christ died for us (Rom 5:10). To save us! To make a way for us! The only way! That if we confess with our mouths that He is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved!! (Rom 10:9) What a hope we have in Jesus! Yes, homeschooling can be hard. It’s become very clear to me I am not patient. At all. I have lots of projects that are on my mind and distracting me most days. I am a huge work in progress and full of flaws but boy am I thankful for His extreme patience with me. These conversations I get to have with them, the verses we’ve been learning that are now embedded in MY heart, the battle I get to fight on behalf of my kids… it’s been the biggest blessing. It’s been a really good, really healing year for each of us and I am thankful.

I’ve been feeling really convicted about screen time so catching them actually using their imaginations every now and then just makes my heart sing. Fishing, they are.

There were lots of pool days!

And fun, fancy shopping days!

And stumbling upon the sweetest little man, humming softly to himself, in his own little world, while his train chugs steadily around him :)

There were miracle days where little RC planes got blown away to never never land, and we prayed we would find it, and it just so happens the one other man at the park, went home at the same time and saw it on his neighbors roof and was able to get it back for one very-excited-trying-hardest-to-be-brave-and-not-cry-boy! That one still amazes me in the happiest way :)

There were painting days

And celebratory days of favorite peoples

There were ballet recitals!

And the celebrating of the best of dads!

There were freezing cold beach days!

And super hot backyard water balloon fight days!

The kids loved it when I made them start school mid summer ;)

There were berries to be eaten!

And backyard camping trips with cousins!

We found if you want to put Noah to sleep, paint his face :D

It’s just the best when the husbands make the foods :D

There was the one trip we went on down to San Diego where we stayed in hotels with the COOLEST bedsheets. Or so the kids said ;)

Well, actually that was our Santa Barbara pit stop. I just love it there. How can you not!? You could hear our family making our way down the lovely tree lined sidewalks from miles away but I didn’t care. It was warm and magical and glorious and I feltttt like people loved our loud, twirling presence ;)

THEN we got to San Diego and went to the Safari Park which filled my whole heart up for good. It’s still ever so full.

Yes, there was at least one child lying on the ground wailing about not being able to go on. Yes, this was his face immediately following the picking up of said humans. Yes he knows exactly what he is doing.

This place was such a dream! Maybe it was my expectations – I thought all the animals would be so far away and tiny, but they were all SO close and SO happy and that lion SO looked like it wanted to eat me. It locked eyes and I questioned the thickness of the glass. And then we got to stay in little tents and eat s’mores and wake up to the trumpeting of the happiest baby elephants!! Oh it was all so good and I’m so glad we went!

We got to be just a tiny little net away from a happy little cheetah and promptly got a shuttle escort from the park so as to not be a further liability. (Someone kept falling down and bleeding all over the place ;) ) Our kids inherited our grace and walking skills..

We were then off to our next hotel where the kids quickly adjusted to their new lives of relaxation, waiters and pool side dining. WHAT ARE WE DOING!?

We made a day trip out to one of Greg’s favorite youtube mens to eat tacos that resembled barf. But they were actually very good. Thanks, Sam.

I just love exploring with this little family of mine. Next was Luke’s birthday! I also love when I get to benefit from other people’s birthdays with yummy breakfasts and pretty views. He had to blow out his candle in the conference room on account of the windy wind ;)


These were definitely my favorite part. THEY WERE SO AMAZING! Some people have cooler jobs than other people.

And then we were back home to more dates and more concerts

And more concerts

And more dates

And more concerts

There were more boardwalk days!

And lunches with these crazies!

There were boat rides!

And hurried haircuts!

And so much celery

There was lots of staring at this precious little face <3

And more ballet

I just love her

There were nights out

And days in

And drumming debuts

And birthday parties galore!

There was my dream family band moment

There were pumpkin patches, and attempts at caramel apples, and much hanging out on the porch, pretending the railings were horses for hours :)

There were FINALLY visits from Auntie Jen and Grandma Lory

There was pretending not to know the strange children lying on the floor in public…

There were pony rides and hay mazes and patio sits

There were towers. So many towers.

There were delicious birthday dinners and surprise sewing machines!

There were dresses to be sewn!

For Halloween costumes of course!

That face painting…. puts him right to sleep. Bless <3

We attempted Wizard of Oz but ended up with Dorothy, Tinman, Cowardly Lion, and a cowboy.

There were buses to board

And trampolines to be jumped

Luke got to move up to the big kid karate where the children are HUGE

There was more bowling

And then there was Thanksgiving which is positively my favorite <3

And here she is from this angle..

And from this angle..

And with Papi :)

And with all the mens

And here she is smiling

And here’s another child

And here she is delicately opening her mouth

And preciously swallowing ;)

And this is my favorite moment of the whole holiday season. Everyone happy and fed, Christmas music to come, just moments away! Glowy candles… Christmas spirit in the air! It’s my happy place.

And here she is with her actual parents ;) I love my kids too.

And then came Christmas!!

We did get our tree on the rainiest day of the year. There was mud. Someone did go splat. There was more wailing and a hurried departure.

But Greg let me finally put it in the front room and ALL THE WORLD REJOICED

Luke lost both front teeth in the appropriate season.

Took the kids to their first real concert way past their bedtime and it was a success!

Then there was the Nutcracker which I’m still recovering from. Must. Sacrifice. For. Children. But whyyyy so many rehearsals. It’s Christmassss!!!

She did awesome though! First Grande! performance and remembered all her moves and didn’t run off stage crying as I might have feared. So proud of her :)

The other thing that took over the Christmas season was… the roooooom. I just saw Christmas approaching and my heart was so sad to think of my children waking up in ^^that^^ on Christmas morning. It was just so gross. I figured, it’s now or never. Greg told me to just not get in over my head. I decided I probably shouldn’t tell him about the mural… or the stripes… or the painting of all furniture… or the shades and bedding I needed to make. My sweet little brain. I haven’t been able to finish a single painting in over a year, but by jove! I will be able to paint mural in a week. There was a bit of anxiety… a lot of late nights… and a few tears… but we are calling it done despite all the things I need to fix ;) and it makes me happy. And I like being up there again, so all is well.

Noah got drums for his birthday! It’s been fun ;)

And then we headed up to the snow for the snowiest adventure!

Abbie had a most lovely princess tea party birthday complete with the finest servers in town!

And thank the LORD I am almosttttt through our busy season! It’s been a busy one! And there you have one million photos of random bits of our year ;) ugh, sorry! Mostly I’m just so thankful for the ordinary wonderful bits of life. I love ordinary. I’ve grown to adore being around my kids when for a while there, well most moms of young children know there comes the DON’T TOUCH ME time of life, but they are growing into the most wonderful little people that I just love hanging out with :) And this guy..

I feel so incredibly blessed to have the JOY of doing life alongside him. He’s always been the one that made me smile biggest and laugh the hardest and that hasn’t changed all these ten years of married life later! He’s still my favorite. So thanks for following along with our silly little life. We sure love you!


comments 2
family days / the daily life

And by lately, I mean a few hundred pictures from the last year or so ;) And this is without taking many pictures these days! But I’m already forgetting so very many things so here’s my attempt to sort through the highlights.

We miss these wonderful people so very much… they were off to their next adventure in England (like a year ago, ha!) so obviously fish and chips and pictures of the queen were in order to send them off properly.

I remember this being an especially good night cause it was the night I :’) found :’) out :’) I :’) was :’) going :’) to :’) be :’) an :’) auntie :””’)

There was Florida, where we had the best time visiting friends and family and getting eaten by one million bugs. IT’S SO TROPICAL! I loved it! Minus the bugs.

Abbie was cracking me up with her costume Gummy Lory gave her :) It quickly became a favorite that didn’t come off!

Did you know Auntie Jen is an incredible pool player?? Teaching all her tricks to the boys :)

Wasn’t planning on it but Disneyworld was calling :) so glad it worked out cause I had the best time with all those people there.

Luke went on space mountain!!!! Still so incredibly proud of that crazy brave boy.

So very fun and SO VERY magical. Darn them.

There were lunches by the sea

And baths for all

Mostly we just had the best time relaxing and visiting some of our favorite people. We miss you so!

We got really into chess. I can’t keep up with Greg anymore so I’m reduced to playing with a five year old. It’s sorta the best :)

I threw on the ugliest outfit to run outside but moments later was joined by the sweetest little twin. It’s my favorite thing… she sneaks away and reemerges with shockingly similar clothes that never cease to make me smile. I love her to bits.

SOMEHOW we ended up here again. WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!

I’m starting to crave fancy food. Dear me.

Clearly, we fit right in with society.

But you only turn 40 once so… happy birthday, you old man. We love you!!!

There was a very foggy day… obviously, memorable ;)

When all your trees start to lean on their own :'( THOSE DANG GOPHERS! This was the year they went to town on every single one of my trees… literally EVERY ONE I’ve ever planted had their root systems STOLEN from them! but but but! I dug what was left of them up, put them all in gopher baskets and so far, this spring, they all put out a few leaves to tell me they are trying! The rollercoaster your heart goes through with such hobbies! Goodness!

There were Thanksgiving hikes with the cutest of pregnant ladies :)

AND THEN!!!! AND THEN!!!! It was Christmastime!!!!

Noah turned three! BUT HOW!?!

Obviously the Hulk was there. I love that he loves the Hulk because he is him. Sweetest boy until he’s not, and then hide everything you don’t want destroyed! One time, he went over and pulled a plant out of the ground! He’s scary. But we love him. From a distance. ;)

Don’t you just love little kid friends <3

Abbie turned SEVEN!!! She’s still six in my mind though… for some reason… can’t…. process… such… high… numbers…

I think these were from the day Noah was officially potty trained :’) I had a quick cry using up the last diaper and haven’t missed it since! GOD BLESS TOILETS and kids that know how to use them!

I just think she’s the cutest thing <3

We celebrated NINE years together!

Bentley remained in his rightful place. Whenever Greg would give me a hug when he would get home from work (back when he went to work ;) ) Belly would wiggle his way right between the both of us each and every time. So glad nothing has changed :)

How can he expect me not to act like a child when I am spoiled in such a manner?

Cause again, I just think she’s the cutest! Tutu at 2:22 on 2/22/22 :)

Remembering sunny days and baby teeth and homeschool sessions that don’t end in everyone crying :)

And then there was Valentine’s day

Noah’s face <3

Love was in the air for all! We had the brilliant idea of trying to recreate the Julia Child’s Valentines party from Julie & Julia… I cooked for nine hours straight only to have everything cook down so small you got a sold three bites. Maybe that’s how the french stay so slim? It was cold. I was hungry. Definitely woke up in the middle of the night and cried cause ugh it just took so long and was so bad! And I was so hungry! But the company was great and I’d do it again in a heartbeat :)

There’s been lots of trying to convince the kids that their backyard is great. Go play.

Yes I make them play in ties and coats. Just kidding. Abbie lives for dressing her brothers ;)

Abbie finally got her dolly. I love her so much.

There was St. Patricks Day and a party that I took zero pictures of!

There were beach days in spring and ice cream and tea parties!

There was passover!

And finally, there was Easter. I have been wanting to host Easter for NINE YEARS! Carrying around this Easter menu I ripped out of a Williams Sonoma catalog many moons ago. But we’ve always been moving or under construction or SOMETHING so I was so happy we got to finally do it – and that the weather felt like cooperating! It was so lovely!

Taywhad brought the CUTEST appetizers!

There were melting baskets!

And Gummy’s that didn’t care because newborn snuggles <3

LOOKIT SHE!!!! She is perfection.

It was my first event bouquet that I gathered entirely from my yard. It’s always been my goal. I’ve never been so proud. JUST LOOKIT IT IT’S SO PRETTY!!!! DID I MENTION I WAS PROUD even if it is a little melted from the sun :D

We attempted to take a totally normal picture.

Concluding that it can’t be done!

Well, IIIII had a marvelous time! Is there anything better than good company and good food? I can’t think of anything. Aaaand with that, I am officially caught up ;) Thanks for coming along on our boring but happy journey! We love you guys!

A sweet little shower for the sweetest of little girls to be

comments 2
family days

Hello! It’s me! Way behind as always! Still have the majority of 2021 to sort through but we got to celebrate my wonderful sister and her soon to be arriving daughter yesterday and I just didn’t want to forget it so here you go! Let’s see if I can end every sentence with an exclamation point!

Being that her name is Eden, my oh so original thought was to have a gardeny-paradisey feeling party with loads of flowers, birds, perhaps some bunnies hopping around… would a couple of storks be too much? Buuuuut, it was the middle of winter …and I didn’t know what to do about the inevitable poop. Luckily, her middle name is Renee, meaning reborn! SO I thought WHO CARES there are no flowers in the stores right now… what is a better picture of rebirth than sticks and new life poking through! Luckily mom managed to find the most lovely flowers and I think it turned out rather pretty ifIdosaysomyself in a crazy jungley sort of way.

If that’s not the prettiest cake you ever did see. THANK YOU CINDY!!!!

Have you ever seen a more adorable pregnant lady? Also, is it too much to ask everyone that enters my house to have this sort of reaction?? ;)

Whew! We did it! And a HUGE shout out to all my aunties who have thrown so many stunning showers! You guys amaze me. And to everyone who helped and served and baked and let us borrow all the things. We have such a wonderful support system and I know you all made Taywhad feel so very loved. Thank you thank you thank you thankyouuuuu!!!!

And purely for Taylor cause she said she wanted it written down but I was really hoping not to relive this… ugh I’m serious… when mom asked me to do the devotional with her, I had such hope that good advice would just flow to me… not so. I’ve been sick in bed this last week and instead of watching shows or reading books, I just sat there. Staring straight ahead wondering what the heck to say. We have had a doozy of a couple weeks leading up to this and parenting has not… been easy. We shall say :) so, probably wasn’t the best person to offer any advice but for Taywhad and all the people in the back who couldn’t hear my squeaky laryngitis voice, here’s what I came up with ;)


I remember reading, I think I had just had Luke… an article called walk slowly, momma… it was about how children tie the feet of their mothers. 

She talked about Jacob and how he wrestled with God and from then on, his name was changed to Israel, meaning God prevails, and he walked with a limp. 

By His glorious design, I’m convinced the hidden gift of motherhood is to get us to lean hard on Him. I want to read you a short excerpt from that article cause I love it so much. She says: 

[ Lean, Momma. Lean on Him at the hospital when confusion clamors, and it’s not going how you envisioned. Lean on Him when that baby is up all hours of the night. Lean on Him when your toddler has peed on the floor for the fifth time in one day. Lean on Him when your little one is screaming because he’s shoved a Tic-Tac up his nose. Lean on Him when you discover things like rashes or ticks or high fevers. Lean.

You might feel tied up, but you are wrapped up in the abundance of God’s Grace.

And that place of spills and kisses? It’s Holy ground.

If I could say one thing to the young momma behind me: Your feet are tied up for a reason.

Walk slowly. ]

But to be honest, parenting is hard. The hardest thing is seeing sin in your kids – when you see them lie straight to your face, or are blatantly defiant, or hurt each other repeatedly… it breaks your heart. 

But even harder is seeing sin in yourself. Sin you may not even know was there! I can’t imagine screaming at anyone before having kids! I didn’t GET mad! To see fear in your precious child’s eyes because you, the adult, were acting irrationally… it’s heartbreaking. Almost too much to handle sometimes. 

But the hope is that you’re never left there. Parenting teaches me over and over again that I am in desperate need of a Savior and that He is strong enough to save me. You get a front row seat to his redeeming grace, again and again and again. 

We were never meant to do this without Him. So lean on Him, momma, and NEVER ever underestimate the power of prayer. Ephesians 1:19 says “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for US who believe in him. This is the SAME mighty power that raised Christ from the dead” THAT is the power you have fighting for your family. The SAME power that raised Christ from the dead! Lean on Him. 

My prayer for little Eden is from the verse I put on the little seed packets. God had just given the Israelites the Ten Commandments and despite being terrified, they were eager to listen and obey. God says to them “oh that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands!” If that is not the heart of every parent. Oh if you would always be obedient and stay on the right path! I pray that from a young age, she will fear God, be obedient to Him and remember that no matter what, God will prevail! 

I sure can’t wait to meet you, sweet little Eden!!!

Camp Happy!

comment 1
terrific trips

Just takin the days as they come now :) We couldn’t go up to our regular camping spot on account of it being the ever so lovely fire season so we took a trip to Gummy and Papi’s backyard instead. I was super enthusiastic about it. But really, mom named it Camp Happy and it certainly turned into such. We had the best time!

Just LOOK how happy my husband is to be setting up our tent on grass and not dirt! Honestly, it was rather wondrous! Our tent stayed clean, Greg and I didn’t fight over the appropriate level of dirty the kids are allowed to be in such situations, it was warm and beautiful and really who can complain about this outcome?

Mom made the yummiest sandwiches wrapped all cute-like in their little wax bags and strings. How can anyone stay pessimistic with such thoughtful touches :)

NOT TO MENTION BELLY!!! He didn’t have to be tied up the whole time and MY was he happy. He just loves when everyone is outside and together. And I just love when he’s happy :)

He’s a fruit dog. We rarely have any persimmons left cause he always jumps up to eat them. The other day I saw him grab a branch from our loquat tree and shake it to get those down… needless to say, he was mighty pleased to find that mom and dad had a lovely apple tree to help himself to, branches and all.

There were hikes!

And babies that kept missing their naps :)

There was even DANGER!

Dad taught Luke how to spit off bridges ;)

Abbie being Abbie ;)

Their were lovely dining experiences!

And games!

And stories around the campfire!

There was adventuring!

My little heart got its fill of otter love and pretty birds and glorious nature!

Then we forgot about nature and filled a whole trashcan with our lunch cartons.

And our kids played find the fry under the cup games all perfect-like at the table! And were so amused by the wooden seagulls!

Just try to find Noah amongst the little mens…

And there were more hikes and games to be played and foods to be had. It was all so lovely.

And then it was back home for baths and dinner with our little characters. Thanks, sweet hometown for being so lovely. And thanks mom, for committing to the camping trip and making it all so fun! We had the best best time with you guys!

School has begun!

comment 1
the daily life


We are all VERY excited, clearly, to be starting school again. We have a FIRST grader!!! A KINDERGARTENER!!! And HEY we’ll call him a preschooler AKA participating in the art of distraction ;) Goodness as intimidating as it is to homeschool, I can’t adequately express what an honor it is to get to teach them. The conversations I get to be a part of just melt my heart. We have our Voice of the Martyrs calendar up to remind us to pray for the persecuted church, and ahhhh something about a little voice praying so earnestly for the pastors in Tajikistan is overwhelmingly precious. Hearing their memory verses take root in their hearts is so special …Lukie telling me he doesn’t have to be afraid because the Lord is with him :’) it’s just really really good and 100% worth all the hard. So, super excited about this year. Last year was a good warm up and I feel much more prepared for how to prioritize and get out of my own head. So, here goes nothin!

Reading has been fun to teach (and I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible) but it’s been so encouraging that over the summer she hasn’t forgotten everything she learned last year since I never did get all those practice books I was planning on getting :D ahhhh it’s just so cool to see them learn and figure things out and LUKE! I thought he would be really tough in school but he has been rising to the occasion, super eager to learn, seems to get the math concepts and phonics so well and ughhh he’s just blowing me away. I definitely sound like I’m bragging and truly, I am so proud of them, but this is just coming from a place of complete former terror and now relief ha! We’ve been having a lot of fun :)

As sad as it is to be leaving the baby stage, it is really so cool to see them grow up and become more capable – like being able to fold their own clothes! and play an instrument! and bake without getting flour absolutely everywhere! I’ll just say it again, it is such an honor to be these guys mother. They have already taught me so much more than I ever could teach them :)

Happy school year!

Our boy turned FIVE!

comment 1
Luke Blane


Happy birthday to our boy! We had the best time celebrating him – complete with the most exciting day, for the kids, and the most exhausting day, for the adults. Started with our normal family breakfast of sweets and presents..

So glad he thought his dino party was, in his words, “awesome,” cause that theme kept changing right up to the night before… sound like anyone you know, mom? ;)

We missed you, Gummy Rory! (as pictured here in phone form) :)

Abbie wanted to buy him something all herself and chose this dear little pirate outfit (that really just looks like a strange magician) but we got home and were wrapping it and I noticed 1-3 years… he still wore it through his whole party, being the sweet brother he is :):)

And then we were off to clean up for the next party of so very many children! It was so so good to see them all playing together and so happy. I always feel bad my very social kids got such an unsocial mom haha ahhhh c’est la vie.

Oh the sugar. We were paying for it today but what else are birthdays for, right? Plus, look. Veggies.

Seriously, the cutest, all working together to excavate <3 AND THEN it was off to the Boardwalk where Lukie became the bravest of all the boys and rode the Pirate Ship for the first time. MY GOODNESS I was proud of him and his beaming little face of joy.

And then it was off to dinner with more sweets and then back home for more sweets. So basically we set them up for complete success ;)

The cakes, guys. I feel like I’m on a roll over here with the so bad they are almost good cake situations. One day I will watch a video or something but for now I’m enjoying the almost-falling-over,-had-to-prop-with-a-million-supports cake complete with sprinkle waterfall and cellophane volcano! Ha! I do amuse myself. Anything to make that boy smile. Cause it’s the best. Luke Blane, you are one of the most infuriating children I know… and one of the absolute sweetest. You ALWAYS take me by surprise with your giant heart – like how you wanted to give away all your birthday money because you wanted to give it back to the Lord :’) mygoodness… I may have not explained the “giving” concept correctly but your willingness just melts me. I know He will use your strong spirit for His good and I pray He will continue to become so very real to you on this fifth year of your life. Thank you for pushing me to be a better momma and for always forgiving me when I fail so miserably. Happy birthday, my boy. We love you more than I can say!

The most dreamy bed and bath I could possibly ask for

Leave a comment


Here are a few snippets from when the Lord blew our socks off once again. I’m just blown away by how good He is to help us floundering people out and how He seems to care about the silliest details in our lives. Our renovation projects seem to follow the same pattern. We always have a hard time finding a contractor that is available… then we seem to run into one that has a small slot to do our project… and then our projects take over and make their lives absolutely miserable ;) I’M SO SORRY TO EVERYONE THAT HAS EVER WORKED WITH US! Renovations are hard and expensive and mentally exhausting but oh how lovely they are when they are done. I’ve been so thankful our house was functioning when we moved in – in this case, the ants and the mold and the doors that didn’t close were not ideal but living with all that for six years makes this new space so unbelievably dreamy and I’m so thankful that somehow He continues to provide and care for us through it all. So here are some pics of our little space that has become our haven :) 



Honestly, I can not describe the continued giddiness that accompanies waking up here… it’s really such a dream. Clearly first world problems over here, but I h a t e d our other bedroom – like even more than our nasty bathroom. Oh how I hated it. It’s kind of the reason we ended up doing this renovation in the first place… I may have refused to sleep in it altogether :] I’m not spoiled at all. But this. This is just so very lovely. It’s just crazy how everything worked out! Every. little. thing! I’m telling you, it’s just crazy how He helps us! Crazy, I say.


So there ya go! Our little slice of cozy in our mad mad house ;)

A little trip!

comment 1
terrific trips

Hey, look! I took pictures! I really hate lugging around my big camera but I can’t tell you how much I miss looking at pictures of our adventures, even if I’m the only one who ever looks at them… it’s truly my only memory bank so without it I have no idea what we’ve been doing all this time. Oh wait, I know. Another longest renovation of all time situation. BUT HEY we have the most lovely new bathroom and bedroom with way less ants and no more mold! I’ll show you soon but for now, here are some pictures from the most lovely little getaway back to Laguna!

Obviously full of nudity

And lots and lots of pool time

And feasting

And the most snuggly babies

And lots and lots of pouting :)


Abbie got her first pina colada and also turned 12, apparently.

There was time at the beach

And escaping from waves

And losing your pants because you refused to wear a bathing suit and the water did its siren call and you remembered it was wet

There was more feasting

And sunsets

And Abbie’s face :D

And lots of running

And just an overall good time of such excessive spoiling. Thank you so much to my favorite of all my husbands for always blowing my socks off with your generous spirit. You are beyond incredible in so many ways and I just love doing life with you. Until next time, pretty Laguna!