Camp Happy!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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!

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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!

What do you think?

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the daily life

Last year, something happened that seemed to flip a switch in my brain. I’m not sure precisely what it was, but what I think it might have been was, my cynical or rather, extra logical husband had a rapture dream and the very next morning the fires started – which you know, was just one of the most surreal, eerie events I’ve ever experienced. Remember the crazy dark sky in the middle of the day – it was nuts! Anyways, something about the collision of all these events last year – the pandemic, the unrest, the weird natural disasters all over the world – something about him having that dream was the exclamation point my head needed to wake up! It’s the strangest thing, but now I get SO EXCITED talking about all things end times related and how they could possibly fit into the events surrounding us. Greg’s horrified that I’ve actually turned into my mother! ;) We often discuss why bother even looking or telling others about all the signs since “no one knows the day or hour,” but my logic is, God’s heart is that no man may perish and if we do see things that are pointing to His potential soon return, why aren’t Christians sounding the alarm and being even more vocal about the need to repent and turn to Him? What is the worst thing that can happen? People wake up, look at their selfish miserable lives and realize their need for a Savior from all this? I suppose the scare is that discussing it at all will lead to false hope if nothing happens and ultimately lead more people astray but the beauty of Jesus is not only that one day He will return and set all things right, but that He is the key to the life we were meant to live now – regardless of the state of the world. A life lived for Him and for others, free from fear and from the poison of our self obsessed culture! I’ve been greedily reading my Bible lately, having this unquenchable thirst of just wanting to know everything about Him, and what I see over and over besides His undeniable goodness, is LOOK UP! LOOK UP! when you see these things happening, LOOK UP! I never saw just how much His return was mentioned all throughout the Bible. It’s amazing! Thousands of years ago, Paul was begging people to look up, to live rightly and to seek Him so why does it seem like the church has swung the opposite way? They are so afraid of naming dates so they avoid the topic altogether so much so that most of the people I talk to – including Christians! – don’t even know what could be coming! They’re so concerned with offending anyone, it seems like people don’t even know what sin is or that they need to turn from it! The fact is, no matter what happens in the days ahead, no one is guaranteed another day. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. If you haven’t accepted the gift of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice taking your place on the cross, you will not be saved – it’s as simple as that but the acknowledgment of your need for a Savior and the acceptance of what He did for you is necessary. Being a good person is not enough. I’ve been reading The Cross of Christ by John Stott and if you’ve been around me lately, you know how much I’ve been enjoying it even though I’m only halfway through cause oi it’s a lot of theology talk – but it’s been such an excellent book in helping me understand the importance of His work on the cross – why it had to happen, why God is still a good and loving Father despite the seemingly cruel aspect of it, why it’s not enough to just be a good person etc. It’s an excellent book – I highly recommend it. Anyways, it sure does seem like things are heating up and perhaps it’s just another day in a fallen world and all will go back to normal, but my hunch is that it won’t. We shall see! Regardless, I would implore you to look into it for yourself. I am convinced there is enough evidence to indicate the Bible is the true, inspired Word of God, and if I am correct in that statement, which is something I am willing to bet my life on, it says He will return one day to judge the earth and rule it perfectly. Please, please, do your research. It is not something to take lightly. Seek and you will find! And I pray that you will be blown away by His greatness and goodness in all things and by how much He adores you and wants you to be with Him forever. Whenever he comes to get His bride, may He find her pure and without fault, eagerly anticipating His glorious return!

Also, happy birthday Israel! :)

A few from yesterday

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Noah Phillip

I know this is hardly exciting for anyone but me, but we finally got to dedicate our little guy to the Lord yesterday! I’ve been waiting for two years for this to happen and I can’t even either believe it finally did! Naturally, we acted as awkward as possible on stage, complete with half the family mysteriously missing behind Greg, me thinking it was a good idea to take the baby mid-prayer, and even a good trip ending, but HEY! the important part is remembering these kids He has entrusted us to raise, are first and foremost His, and goodness what a weight that takes off my worrying shoulders and what a confidence it gives us to go forward boldly and raise them to know Him and love His people well. So thankful for the support of our friends and family and church family – really couldn’t do any of this without you so thank you, truly, from the bottom of our hearts. We love you! A few pics from our celebratory day :)

Luke kept asking, “but where am I!?” ….

^^THERE you are, Peter! But then Abbie… ;)

^^We were all there – You just gotta piece these all together ;)

^^My personal favorite – the single dad dedication. Dear man :) but where did we goooooo

Because, flowers <3

Favorite moment in life lately was when I told my family I was making beet soup for the party cause it was Valentines day and the color was so pretty! and all I heard was *cricket* *cricket* matched with wide eyes of confusion ;) I thought it was quite tasty in a gardeney sort of way

Oh little Noah, you bring so much joy to our family. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am God gifted you to us. May He use you greatly in His kingdom to bring rest and comfort – the meaning of your name! – to those who come along your path. May you always know how fiercely you are loved by Him and may you learn, at a young age, what a joy it is to walk hand in hand with our Savior. His path is not always easy but it is so worth it. We love you so much. Happy Dedication Day!

My Story

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the daily life

This week in our Bible study we are supposed to share our story with someone which, considering the masks and lockdowns and screaming children that seem to always be accompanying me, has proven quite difficult. So I thought I’d share it on here.

I’ve always struggled with telling it because I don’t feel like there is much to it – simple version: I grew up Christian, the end. But the truth is, I consider myself mightily blessed to have grasped how amazing God is from a very young age. He has always been very real and very personal to me and I am so thankful for that experience that I know saved me from a lot of potential self inflicted heartache. I have seen Him do such miraculous things in my life – from sorting out the minute details of my college madness, to throwing our entire wedding with a 25cent wedding fund, to saving my parents marriage when I was convinced all was lost, to getting us our dream house at the perfect time in an impossible market – I have seen Him show up time and time again and be a God of loving, personal details, doing what He does best – creating the most amazing things out of absolutely nothing.

I don’t have some crazy compelling conversion story, it’s true, but I have a whole notebook of ways I’ve seen Him working and providing and carrying us through impossible situations. With all my questions that arise about Christianity and faith and doubts about this or that, nothing can convince me that He isn’t real and that He isn’t good because I’ve seen things that only He can do. His presence in my life has given me the strength to look forward into the darkest circumstances and see hope. Nothing is too big for Him. What freedom that brings amidst chaos. But despite growing up Christian, I never saw Him personally working in my life till I stopped to look for it. And the Bible describes the Kingdom of Heaven as such – something you have to search for… that once you find, changes everything.

So my challenge for you is this: READ THE BIBLE. It’s been around a real long time and has stirred up a whole lot of controversy… it says a lot of crazy things that if they are true, you might wanna pay attention to. Study it, challenge it, research things that make absolutely no sense the first time around. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you when you read it, because He is the same God through the whole thing, working toward the same purpose of restoring what is broken and offering a way back to perfection, essentially, if you choose to accept it. It’s just the greatest love story ever told. So read it!! And then talk to Him – pray specifically for things and see how He answers. Sometimes He says no… and He is good. Sometimes He says wait… and He is good. And sometimes He says YES YES YES which is what we all really want ;) But trusting that He loves us so dang much and knows the best for us, allows us to see whichever answer He gives as the most precious gift, albeit difficult at times.

He is so good and has done all the hard work so that we can live the most fulfilling life free from guilt and shame and walk in the freedom that is forgiveness. If you seek Him, He promises you will find Him. Anyways, that’s my lil condensed story. If you ever have any questions about faith or the Bible or anything, Greg and I love wrestling through all the confusing stuff and would love love love to talk to you about it. I still have so many questions and I’ve been a Christian for almost 30 years! So let’s talk!

So, speaking of blessings, my friend sent me these the other day which just bring my heart so much joy. That man right there I prayed for since I was maybe 4 or 5? Those kids, I begged God for, for years and years. That house, I would sit in my car on my lunch break and do the math over and over just to reveal again and again I would never be able to own a house in California. Like I said, nothing is too big for Him. And now we are in the season of leaning hard on Him once more as we try to navigate the impossible world of wills and parenting struggles and heartache and daily tears as I feel like such a failure the majority of the time. But these are such a reminder to me that He is faithful and He is good and I am just so thankful for the mess that He turns into beauty :)

A Covid Summer

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the daily life

Shall we take a stroll through the weirdness that this spring and summer have been? What have you been up to? We’ve missed you so much!

Mostly all of our spring was spent sunbathing naked and watching this bird. Or hotel of birds.

My goodness those guys were busy. They went in and out in and out all day it seemed! And I STILL never got a good picture. Oh but how I love spring :)

Just before covid hit, I was cooking up some delicious steaks and lovingly basting them with the butter, and just so happened to accidentally, oh so barely, graze the side of the cast iron pan leading to the most insignificant, minuscule burn on my hand, but the most outrageously giant, spoon shaped spaz burn on my face. It literally felt like my face was melting off… I kept waking up all night cause puss was running into my eye. HA! I’m such a dork. It seems like things like this keep happening. I stepped on a rake the other day, yes like a cartoon, and now have the most giant painful bruise on my cheek… I got shingles all over my stomach with a scar that just does not want to go away. GOODBYE YOUTH! Hello loneliness and harrowing sorrows. :D Anyways, so thankful it didn’t take out my eye too so let’s just remember it as the blessing it was :)

This became a new reality :)

And as soon as we got the stay home orders, we got a little stir crazy with the string and started to dream up a new yard like everyone else in the world.

There were lots of picnics…

And creepin in on my kids sleeping cause HOW CAN YOU NOT!?

Abbie and I even made it into US Magazine. Just LOOK how happy that beverage makes you.

We figured out how to entertain Noah and all our neighbors for hours at a time.

This is my favorite scene in the whole wide world. If I remember correctly, they were all on top of each other moments before, clawing and screaming and somehow turned that into this so let’s remember THIS. It’s the best 30 second moment to look over at :)

And for a more accurate representation of everyday life… found this on my camera from one of the kids and I sort of adore it :) all the dishes and me always overwhelmed and breaking down and the sweetest of all husbands trying his best to figure out how to handle his hormone filled wife :)

Didn’t even want to celebrate mother’s day this year cause I’m the absolute worst, but I DID think it would be funny to hold all the kids one last time. My back was not happy with that decision, turns out :D when did I get so old and when did my kids get so heavy!?

Is anyone else like me? I could have the messiest house but if I make one pretty corner, I’ll be happy. Now if you want to reverse that jovial mood, go ahead and put your takeout bag right there in front of it. Does no one else see the sacredness of this sanity spot?? I have my ways. :)

This is a 100% photoshopped picture but I love those kids and their sweet little faces so let’s pretend like it was completely naturally obtained.

So covid’s been hard.

Like really hard.

On all of my furniture. Some of us over here have been going through yet another “decorating” phase. Not one piece of furniture has been left unscathed. Hence,

this picture on repeat :) So, nothings white anymore, carpets, sofas, chairs, dressers, walls, you name it. We have marks and lipstick and pens and all sorts of fun coloring situations that literally happen when I leave the room for A SECOND. I have officially lost my mind and now we are just living with it. So come on over and join the coloring party. We have pens at the door for your convenience. But seriously, how do you make it stop??

But then I look outside and see the light coming through my bleeding hearts and everything is calm again, because the door is shut and you can no longer hear their screams… and I remember the purpose of life is not to have a perfect house or even a clean house! To make a home that is welcoming and loving and allows us to love on others amongst all the marks and stains – that’s so much more important and needed than any perfect white couch or :'( lovely :'( leather :'( barstools ;) so we hide the pens and forgive again and again …and again.

WE FINALLY GOT OUR TRAMPOLINE IN THE GROUND!!!!!!! Three dangerous years later :D

We planted a garden!

I’ve been occupying myself with projects that nobody notices – can you see the two different whites?? Ok well, I do… and now it doesn’t bug me anymore so there.

I’ve been replacing furniture that nobody notices. Do you remember our black chairs? Well, now they are brown. Again, I’m more happy so there’s that ;)

There have been science experiments…

And smore nights…

And more science experiments…

And toilet paper treasure hunts!

And pretending like we get to go to a pool!

And this scene over and over again <3

And drawings…

And Passover celebrations!

And trays of goodies brought to me whilst already relaxing! Can we just take a moment to appreciate the bugles and rosemary sprig!? I’m tellin ya… that Greg Nettles is really good :)

There has been a lot of bread experimentation and I am oh so happy to report that after MANY different recipes and trials, I have FINALLY found a bread I love. HALLELUJAH! I didn’t have many goals during this pandemic but that was one of them – to be able to make a bread I’m satisfied with :):)

We’ve been soaking up the last bits of our wild yard

But were so excited to not sprain an ankle every time you walked out there so this was an exciting day when things started getting smoothed out.

Our garden started springing up which was equally as exciting! Have you ever planted things from seed? It’s such a magical experience cause it really looks like nothing will happen AND THEN AND THEN!!!!

My snowball bush finally FINALLY after 5 years decided to bloom!

Some small piles of dirt were delivered!

And our yard was finally put in place! It was only after I took this picture that I saw it. I accidentally created the most phallic yard of all time. So HEY, there’s that too.

I took that as an OK to run out and get some plants. I think I told Greg I was getting 8. I guess I got a little carried away.

Hehe but anyways, there were naps…

And Noah just could not get into his precious little head that there was a flour shortage in the world.

There was more nudity.

And plant floodings and budding gardeners…

Let’s just pause here for a second cause MY ROSE FINALLY SHOWED OFF and she was so pretty.

Bentley officially went down in history as the BEST DOG!

Like seriously, the best.

And Sabrina won worst cat. I’ve literally been watching my delphiniums get sucked into the ground by those blasted gophers and there she is lazilly stretched out RIGHT NEXT TO THE CRUNCHING AND SUCKING of the plants! WORST kitty. But I did find a dead gopher next to that spot the next morning so maybe she’s good… one can’t really tell with her.

He’s such a ham <3

These boys and their little relationship. It’s the best.

Our yard finally went from this

To this! And our ankles rejoiced!

There were lots of popsicle breaks…

And days where I finally got to see my sister!!

Greg built me some compost bins!!!

We aren’t happy at all that he’s home all the time now :)

We became carrot farmers

And had the most glorious beach days

Greg kept making the most delicious basil gimlets from our garden! I feel like the homegrown basil obviously made all the difference ;) obviously.

We got our money’s worth out of our doggy pool.

^^Typical brother

And yet, he only has love for him <3

There were church distractions

And attempted sleeves

There was a chair that is not pictured but that is now infamous in our household. Is this another chair situation? he says. The story is, our house is very white. Too white. When we moved in we did not have much money and it was old and dirty and smelled so I bought a lot of the same white paint and went to town trying to freshen everything up. And it has stayed that way. And I always think, it’s too white. But I hate painting and I really do love the airiness of it… so I keep trying to think of ways to warm it up. Hence the “character chair” we shall call it. I thought, if we have a cool old chair, it will solve all our problems for the time being. So I found it. And it’s beautiful. And it’s from France from the 1800s and has cigarette burns all over it and is all things lovely… but while we were waiting for it to arrive, I started to look around. Our new pretty chair will feel so out of place in our stark white house! So I began to look for other things I can warm up… like this railing that was started in July and has yet to be finished. Cause my gosh that’s a long and messy project! And then the railing didn’t feel quite right so well then there was plastering to be done and then and then and then :D the chair.

And don’t you just love that scaffolding?? :) Makes me feel better about how I do things. So yes, Greg keeps cursing the chair that was promised to be “like putting on an old pair of loafers” and is the most uncomfortable thing you’ve ever sat in. Ha! But she’s so pretty… AND if you picture yourself in a corset in the 1800s, it would definitely seem mighty comfortable ;)

I sure love seeing their little relationships :)

Our yard went nuts this summer! It was glorious! There were so many buzzing bees and butterflies and hummingbirds all swirling around you! Ahhhh it was so magical! So magical that I hardly took any pictures :[ you couldn’t capture it though so you might as well enjoy it :)

Noah has been going through the stage of the open mouth :)

Lukie learned to swim! That kid is fearless.

Boys learned how to make farting sounds. Just kidding. Boys come out of the womb knowing that.

We got to go on a camping trip!!!

Obviously everyone stayed perfectly clean.

^^You know he was saying “Hai” in his very Noah way

This boy and his kisses for his dog <3 DEAR GOODNESS!!!

The world is her stage :)

Oh yes… it happens even on camping trips…

But what with the face…

Noah’s mouth :D

I did love setting our table. I felt so prairie. It felt so right :D

Bentley was obviously happiest of us all. He went nuts the first day. We all noticed he was moving a little slower by the second :) dear doggy.

This one had the best time dropping stones in the water for h o u r s! Seriously shocked he wasn’t burnt to a crisp!

Naps on towels…

Naps on Papi…

Naps on boats..

Papi took Lukie fishing again :):)

I think the fishing was more fun than the eating for him ;)

And then we came back the day the fires started. The skies turned red…

Just kidding that’s just a sunset. But my goodness the sky has been weird lately! Really eerie…

Luke split his head open and got his first stitches… bravest boy!

Abbie started kindergarten!!!

Mom and dad got evacuated which was really so much fun for us – probably not so much for them… We spent the time having hymn sing nights and watching foreign films about water going away!

Naturally, our well collapsed the next week and we had no water. Ha! Oh what a whirlwind :) But the good news is, there were some enormous trucks in our yard that the boys couldn’t get enough of…
We got three apples and two pears off our fruit trees haha…

I find pictures like this on my phone, and all my kids are still alive…

We are still busy making friends from train sets…

And forts from whatever else we can find!

Truth is, we are all just hanging in there. So thankful for His grace and provisions every single day. I’ve been so blown away by how personal our God is and how He provides for us so specifically. And what a cool place to be in – with all the craziness happening around us, we can either only go up from here or things are gunna get a whole lot worse and we have the most amazing hope that He will be returning soon! Either way, look up! Good things are coming :)

Luke turns four!

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Luke Blane

Here we are, back with another birthday, complete with sadly decorated cake and all, as we do around here :) Sure love this boy and the flavor he brings to our family. Some pics from his day!

^^This is about as crafty as I get. Be oh so inspired.

^^I think boys have their sword fight brain engaged and ready for action at all times

^^A stance girls hardly ever assume

^^I don’t know if this whole party was for Luke or Greg… while wrapping the presents, someone *may* have shown more enthusiasm over each new piece of armor than the actual receiver… later the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made an appearance… not pictured – a delighted father beaming in the corner ;) we don’t project our childhoods on our kids at all…

^^he’s been asking for a real bike (with pedals!) for ages… naturally he had no interest when he actually received such a thing.. KIDS. Also, what’s with the bike shortage in the world right now!? AHHHHHH!!!!


^^finally got him to just *try* it AND HE RODE IT IMMEDIATELY what the heck.

So corona’s fun, eh? Poor Luke was stuck in a car for 10 hours when we drove up to Oregon on his 2nd birthday and now nothing’s open on this here his 4th. Luckily we got to go to Gummy and Papi’s pool for the day where I took zero pictures to document the preciousness. LUKE CAN SWIM! WHEN DID ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN!?! We haven’t been able to go with them because clearly the disease is just spreading through the parents of non resident pool goers but they let me in this time so I could see ALL THE GOODNESS! So very proud. All this good led to more good and a miracle happened.

^^this. They always beg to sleep in the same bed but it’s never happened because no sleeping ever gets done BUT LOOKIT. Birthday miracle.

^^Lookit those heart eyes for his Papi!!!

^^When your neighbors toys are way more fun

^^can you tell I made abbie take her brother home on her horse? he was thrilled, obviously

^^Did I mention parenting is hard and I did not want to throw a party? And then this man stepped in a threw the WHOLE THING!? Complete with drinks, appetizers, AND dessert!? He’s amazing.

^^homemade refried beans and rice and killer quesadillas with the most delicious chicken and mushrooms and all the fixens. umm yumm. Luke originally asked for PB&J’s so we were all excited when he changed it to a Mexican theme :) or at least I was.

^^if you let him shoot a rocket in the house one time, he will ask to do it all day, every day, forevermore. I have found. We also now have a few rockets on the roof.

^^again, I now know exactly what to do for Greg’s party this year.

^^these things always work out swimmingly in my head. I did picture very intricate and convincing designs on each and every cupcake. I officially salute all cake decorators and am now strongly reconsidering the homemade cakes from here on out ;)

Happy birthday, sweet boy! We sure love the heck out of you!