Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I’m dreaming of…

The other day the boys asked me what a “white” Christmas was. So I explained it meant SNOW. That everything was covered with beautiful, powdery melt-in-your-mouth, freezing cold, snow.

Even after my explanation they seemed confused.

But then I paused and looked around. We were sitting on our backyard porch in shorts and bare feet. We were eating a picnic lunch and reviewing our science lesson. We were warm and content in 69 degree weather… in the middle of December.

I guess it’s not a wonder that they didn’t understand.



What is up with this place called the South? And why don’t we have SNOW??!?!?!

Though I’ve only enjoyed a few truly white Christmases myself, I feel kind of bad for them. Most mornings Joshua peeks out the window and says, “Ahhhh!! No snow. It’s not Christmas.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Party Planning?

Have you ever planned a dinner event for 100+ people?

I haven’t. Or at least I hadn’t until this past week. My husband’s unit had their annual Christmas Party and as the Commander’s Wife and the FRG leader, it was left for me to plan.

It was a little daunting at first, especially knowing that the number of attendees could vary incredibly (94 Soldier’s in the unit, half are married, half have children) but if you know me, you know that I love this type of thing… even if it’s very time consuming for a homeschooling mother of three young children.

For the most part it went well, though I did have to buy a Venti Peppermint Mocha to get through the day. Oh well. It could have been worse (wink wink).


The biggest thing was that I had a strict budget to follow-- but the Lord provided again and again. We were able to line up a beautiful community center on base that allowed us to host our event for free. FREE. A perfect location, at the perfect price. Nice.

I had a number of gals (spouses to our dear Soldier’s) volunteer to help organize the games, food, and decorations. We met together, planned out the details, and delegated tasks. I was in charge of food/drinks (and of course responsible for all the detail work: logistics, advertising, coordinating, supplies, music, welcoming etc.). And the other two gals did games/entertainment and decorations.

I cooked up a storm and supplied the main course for the dinner—several delicious, crowd pleasing pasta dishes for the masses. The food was perfect for the occasion as it is the one thing that easily feeds large numbers and is appealing to most everyone.The Soldiers and their families brought appetizers and desserts so we had quite the spread.


I had carefully calculated the quantity of food penne, rigatoni and spaghetti, but in the end, we ran out of the main course. (Many single soldiers who hadn’t had a home cooked meal in years loaded their plates high before everyone had the chance to make it through the line—haha, can’t say I blame them). But truth be told, I was actually glad that all the pasta was consumed. We didn’t eat half the desserts and ended up having to take tons of sweets home. Another huge trial for me to bear (wink wink).

The night before the party, my decorator (who was also donating all the decorations) called  and said she couldn’t make it. Groan. I wish people could be more reliable. But somehow the Lord gave me peace of mind and instead of panicking, I rummaged through my closets and found everything I had left that was even remotely Christmassy and loaded it into a bags. Strings of lights, pieces of tinsel, and rolls and rolls of wrapping paper.


Some unexpected volunteers (and some wonderful soldiers tasked by my husband) showed up early and helped me work some magic. Instead of table clothes, we covered the tables with wrapping paper. Instead of poinsettia’s as center pieces, we laid out pinecones, red cranberries, and gold ribbon. We strung lights across the buffet table and hung tinsel on the walls. It wasn’t ideal, but in the end it looked beautiful. I wish I’d had time to take pictures!

The games didn’t go as I’d hoped either, as the gal who was in charge of games fizzled out. I’m still not sure what happened. She was there early to help and did a great job setting out the food, she totally skipped bringing/preparing for any of the games, (which was to be the main entertainment for the adults and kids). Whew!! So again I went scrambling. I figured out some quick games for the kids (making snowflakes with construction paper and scissors, tossing discs into a bin etc.). A gal at the party jumped in and made up her own Christmas Pictionary game for the adults, and the Soldier’s brought down a white board and dry erase markers from the unit to use for the game. It was a big hit.

Even with the glitches, overall, the party really went well. It was neat to see the Lord smooth out the rough spots. The big coffee pots were delivered late, but still the coffee was hot and ready when the time came. People put trash in Santa’s gift bag thinking it was a trash bag, but none of the toys were ruined (it was actually really funny). It took us an 2 hours to clean up after the party (even with a bunch of Soldier’s there to help), but we got all of our deposit back in the end.

We had a huge crowd and there was lots of laughter, the kids enjoyed Santa, and many people were able to meet and connect for the first time.

I think I’d do it again. It’s really so much like planning a small party, just with twice as many people and details to line up. The biggest thing I learned was to have reliable help. Haha. The second most important thing? Having a back up plan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Best Friends, and Theirs too

This year, we’ve been involved with a wonderful homeschool co-op group for 3-5 year olds. I’m actually the group’s fearless leader, though I often don’t feel qualified. The good news is that we make most decisions cooperatively and bear equal weight in teaching/running things. This semester we did Art, Speech, Science and Music.

I taught Music and loved it. The kids learned about basic music structure (notes, treble/bass clef, timing, pitch, rhythm, dynamics, keys, major/minor) during the first half of the semester. In the second half, they learned about the orchestra, classes of instruments, and how to train their ears to hear the different sounds. They also learned several songs and how to follow a conductors motions/rhythm.

My children learned a lot in the different classes. I wish I could give a full rundown of all that they did and took in, but time would escape. Perhaps needless to say, being part of this group has been such a delight, for both me and my boys.

On top of the teaching/learning, I get to see my best friends every week.


And my boys get to see their best friends every week. It works out so nicely.


Just recently, our co-op put on a Exhibition Night for the parents/church to demonstrate our learning. It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means, (and in fact, at several times during the rehearsal I thought I’d pull my hair out, 3-5 year olds have SO. MUCH. ENERGY), but in the end it made us all smile till our faces hurt. The kids really worked hard (though perhaps the teachers/parents worked harder??)

During the Exhibition Night, for Art class the children showed off their masterpieces by marching around choo choo train style holding their artwork over their heads for all to see. They also made a special table cloth with leaf prints for the Cookie Social after the performance.

For Speech Class they exhibited their vocal skills by introducing themselves and reciting a quotation by memory. Isaiah quoted Chris Thomas saying, “God does not put obstacles in our path so that we can remove them, but for us to depend on Him to remove them.” * A funny side note, as pictured above, Isaiah brought along his handmade microphone for the occasion, a wine cork with a push tack in the middle, hahahahahaha* While Joshua quoted Mahalia Jackson “Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them.” They both seemed to thrive under pressure, no stage fright or shyness from either of them!

For Science class, each child answered a science question in turn, dealing with everything from the five senses to mammals. Joshua answered, “Name one of the five senses? (Sight). Then Isaiah’s turn: Give one example of how can we tell if something is alive? He answered: Breathing & Movement (he gave two examples, haha, little show-off).

Between class demonstrations, the children gave musical performances, singing our school song, “The Lord is My Shepherd” with hand motions, The Steadfast Love of the Lord, and All Things Bright & Beautiful (with each child singing a short solo) directed by yours truly.

It was a fun night and has been such a fun semester. We’ll start up again in January, continuing on with Music and Science, and adding in History and Reading Comprehension/English/Grammar. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Unexpected

A quick little photo shoot with my older two boys started out nicely enough.

They were smiling (and sticking out their tongues). I was smiling (and modeling my new bangs).

Things were good.



When all of a sudden, the unexpected happened…


That’s right. I got kissed. And I got kissed big time.

And there wasn’t even any mistletoe.


December Photo Project, Day 13

Monday, December 12, 2011


Curling ribbon never gets old.


At least this spool doesn’t.

I bought it back in 2004 and it’d been my trusty, go-to spool of ribbon every since. It’s been with me my entire marriage, and has survived 7 moves, 3 children, and many many Christmases, anniversaries, and Mother’s Day’s. 

It’s been unrolled on numerous occasions, and rerolled just as many times. It’s been dropped. Spilled on. And left for dead.

But it’s still here. Somehow, it’s still here. Still full. And still just as beautiful.

Now that is some dependable ribbon!

Between the bows and the ribbon…I’m totally obsessed with gift toppers this year, huh? But it’s nice that the little things can mean so much.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Little Sweetheart


Lost in the thought…


But always ready to say, cheese.


I love this kid.

December Photo Project, Day 10

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I know.

I know, I know. I’m way behind on the December Photo Project.

And even worse, now I’m posting pictures of the beach?

I know.

Life has just been busier than all get out. And I’ve been wanting to share these pictures of our trip to Florida for weeks. Back in November we went down to Florida and reveled in the beauty of Daytona Beach and the warm sun. It may look like a typical Seattle day in the pictures, but really, it was 80 degrees out with a summer like breeze in the air.

In the middle of November.

I know.



Needless to say, we had a great time. The boys love the ocean as much as I do. And dislike kelp/seaweed as much as I do. Yuck.

But anyway, here’s my December Photo Project Day # 8.

I know.

I totally cheated.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011



Nap time.

Also known as housekeeping time.

Dinner prep time.

Sanity check time.

Present wrapping time.

You choose.


December Photo Project, Day 6

Monday, December 5, 2011

Like a Cherry on Top


My husband is doing something different this year. Something beautiful. Something wonderful. Something that shows he loves me… and that he wants to love me better all the time.

He knows I like gifts. And it being the holiday season, he hasn’t made me wait till the 25th to receive something special. That’s right. To date, I’ve received a little gift every day since Thanksgiving.

A bag of Lindt truffles. A Christmas CD (Michael Buble’). A package of bobby pins (that I’d been needing!!! LOVE how he picks up on all my hints).

And each gift?

It’s hand delivered with love and topped with a beautiful Christmas bow.

Truly, I’m just tickled to be spoiled with this amazing spoiling… but the bows? The brightly colored shiny bows? I love them. I love that he thought of them. That he bought the nice ones. That he wanted to go the extra mile (on top of the extra mile). Those bows, those beautiful glittering bows…they just make it that much more wonderful.

Like a cherry on top.

I am blessed. Oh how I love my man.


December Photo Project, Day 5

Friday, December 2, 2011

Back in the Groove

She emerges at last!

Yes. Here I am! Alive and well. Happy and breathing. It’s been such a busy month.

But I didn’t emerge from homeschool lessons, piano practice, and errand running galore in order to tell you about my busy schedule. The real reason I’m here??

The December Photo Project with View from the Prairie Box. I just couldn’t resist the challenge. Last year, I took it on and snapped some great (and some terrible) pictures every day for the entire month of December. Now, a year later, a year wiser, a year more adept and more camera savvy, I’m ready to take it on again.

I think I really need the accountability of joining a group and taking on the pictures. Otherwise we might be destined to another month of haphazard blogging and rare picture taking.

It must be the way my husband feels about running. He loves running and puts down some real mileage each week, but he always is looking for the next marathon. Sure he’s competitive and wants to race for racing’s sake, but he also appreciates having a goal, something to shoot for, something to keep him from the same old same old, and pushing on to longer and faster and harder runs.

And I totally get that. And totally feel the same way. Accountability can make such a difference.

So here I am. The first photo’s for December. Yes. I’m a day late. And yes, I actually took these pictures this past weekend. But OH WELL. It’s hard to get going again after barely picking up my camera the last month. You should be proud of me.

And amazed that I took these pictures with the self timer on my camera. Can you believe it? Sure, not quite perfect, but the lighting, the smiles, the pictures overall are pretty. darn. awesome.





Oh I just love our sweet little family. And love that I have a new picture to put on the wall without a whole lot of effort. Nice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bedtime kisses

I was thinking last night, as I tucked the boys in bed, that bedtime kisses are such a precious way to end the day.

Often as we get ready for bed, I feel rushed and hurried, trying to get teeth brushed, clothes in the laundry and the last toys picked up before bowing our heads to pray together and sing a bedtime song.  I often feel an overwhelming desire to “just get them in bed already!!”

But you know, there is something about bedtime kisses that just makes the world stop.  The hurry, the rush, the fatigue… it stops.

And for a moment or two, or ten, we slow down. We breathe deep. And we enjoy those tender snuggles and kisses from our three little boys.


Isaiah likes to give 5 kisses and 5 hugs and likes to count them out as he gives them. It always makes me smile when I imagine him catching his breath and gasping for air in between kisses in order to shout: “One!” “Two!” “Three!” etc. My cheeks are always damp at the end… but its an endearing kind of dampness, the kind that fills me with happiness as I take in his warm breath and soft skin.


Joshua likes to give 2 kisses and 2 hugs. And he likes to divide the kisses between cheeks. He often grows distraught if he forgets to give each cheek an equal amount, and says things like, “Mommy!! I wanted to do two kisses on this side AND two kisses on that side so that they have the same ma‘mount.” And so we begin the kissing count down again, making sure each side receives the proper portion. I love being kissed so devotedly.


Noah is in on the act as well. He doesn’t count or measure his kisses, he just gives loud, wet smacks, and says “Mmmmmmah” as he does it. It’s so sweet it gives me shivers. Noah also makes sure to offer a few bedtime smackers to his brothers. He stands at the foot of the bunk-bed with arms stretched high, waiting to be lifted up to kiss his big brother on the top bunk. It melts my heart.

These bedtime kisses bring my day to such a precious close. I always leave the room, (as Nick sits down to read to them from a “chapter book” --currently the Chronicles of Narnia), with a smile on my kiss stained face.

Oh these boys and their sweet little kisses! Oh, may the day never come when they are too big to kiss their mama.

Or… too big for their mama to kiss them.

Because, I admit, I’m not the only one whose cheeks are covered in love. Truly, I cannot resist their round little cheeks, chubby little toes, and soft little hands and I smother my boys at least as many kisses as I receive.

Oh boy, I love it. And I’ll kiss them till the day I die.

God is good.

Friday, October 28, 2011


It’s been an unusual week.

With some unexpected challenges and trials.


Problems we didn’t plan on encountering.


Heartaches we didn’t expect to feel.


But can I just still say that my husband is the most amazing man ever?

And that our great God is still my God?

Though the challenges have been there, He is still faithful and so are His promises.

“And we know that all things work together for good, to those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to his purpose.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Serious Business

Playing at the park is serious business…


But we managed to crack a few smiles…




It seems that so much of life is that way, being both serious and fun. Involving both work and pleasure, concentration and enjoyment. Isn’t it amazing that God gives us such diversity of feelings in the day to day?

I often think of God’s judgment on Adam and Eve back in the Garden of Eden. I marvel that although He told Adam  he would have to work by the sweat of his brow, among thorns and thistles—even still God did not take away the pleasure and satisfaction Adam would feel after accomplishing tasks or putting in a hard days work.

And with women too, though we were promised pain in childbirth, God, in his mercy, did not take away the pleasure and satisfaction of birthing children and raising them moment by moment.

I mean really, what a great and wonderful God!! Though we have all fallen short of His glory, He didn’t judge us as we deserved, He didn’t take away joy and beauty, enjoyment and fullness. And what’s more, He gave us His Son, to be our full and complete Ransom.

Today at the park, the boys worked hard to climb the slide, to master the ladders, or get across the bouncy bridge—but they were still able to enjoy the sweet satisfaction of accomplishing the task. And me too, though I rushed to pack picnic lunches while pan searing the pork loin for dinner and cleaning up school supplies, I still felt the joy of seeing my children’s smiling faces behind the lens.

What delight!!

Thank you, Lord, for your mercies, for they are new every morning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Soccer Mom

I didn’t mean for this post to be about me and my journey into soccer-momhood... but I couldn’t resist the title. Despite how everyone makes fun of soccer moms and minivans and bumper stickers and cheering like it’s the World Series… I think there is a part of me that hoped for this moment all my life.

And now, it’s official. My oldest son is on a Upward Soccer team this year (and I’m a soccer mom!!!!!!!!!!!! But back to my dear son…)

Isaiah is absolutely delighted to play soccer. He has always enjoyed kicking the ball around and is exceptionally fast. He’s also a very social kid, who loves playing with others.


When he’s playing soccer, I can’t chase that smile off his face. When he’s in uniform, he’s just beaming. Happy, carefree, and proud. You can tell he feels joy being part of a team and having this experience.

His soccer league is a Christian organization and they pray before each game, and have a short devotion during half time. Isaiah is very attentive to both the devotions and his coach, and sets a good example for his team mates. Way to go, Isaiah!



And even when it’s been pouring rain and windy; even when being on a team means attending practice and games at late and early hours… Isaiah never hesitates or complains about going to soccer.


He loves it. And I love it too. I’m so proud of my dear Isaiah.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trial Run

For the last month (30 full days, if anyone wants to count) my husband was away for extensive Army training. The month long separation was a great “trial run” for the 12 month deployment looming on the horizon. I say it was great, not because it was “great” per se---but because it really gave me a full taste of the reality to come. I got to experience the hardship of being alone; to feel the weight of being a single parent; and to bear the full responsibility of managing our home on my own.

Let me tell you, it really really scared me.

Although we survived just fine and the boys still got their teeth brushed (most nights) and beds made (most mornings)—it was hard. While the trial run drove me to Christ and His ability to fill me all in all, I also felt the ache for my husband. I knew the yearning Adam had in the Garden of Eden; that there was no one suitable for him until God made Eve. And I felt, in a new way, that it was “not good for man to be alone.” (Gen 2:18).

Though perhaps I can “successfully” manage our home on my own; though God gives me the strength and ability to stand up and take on whatever trial and challenge may come; though I may be competent to manage our finances, fix broken appliances (sort of!), mow the lawn, and discipline the boys; though I have all these skills, however imperfect, I know that doing them on my own goes against my creational purpose. I was not made to bear them on my own. As a wife, I was made for my husband. I was made to be part of him. To stand by him. To look to him.

And God made us, my husband and I, to bear life together. To work together. He made us to carry the load together. He made us to share in this responsibility together. Single parenting, single house running, single decision making is not the way He designed the family or married relationship to be. He designed us to do it together. And boy, when we do it together, there is perfect harmony and joy!! In more ways than one (haha!)

I know there are women out there, especially among Army wives, who shrug and say “It was only 30 days, no biggie” as though a short separation like this was of no consequence. And at first, when I was exposed to this super wife mentality, I felt embarrassed that I struggled with Nick’s absences. I felt like I wasn’t as good, or brave, or strong as I needed to be. And that if I was a better woman, I too could shrug and say, ‘No biggie. I can do this on my own.”

But I’ve learned now, that this is just a lie that Satan wants us to believe. It’s sin rearing it’s ugly head and saying, “You don’t need him.” “You can do it better without him.” “Doesn’t he always just make a mess? Create more laundry? Make life more challenging?”

Though many of those things may be true, and sacrificing “me” for the sake of “us” is extremely hard and often very painful—but let us not forget that God made us to be together. And, in fact, we should want to be together. God made us to help each other. To live as one and to show forth the unique and beautiful relationship of Christ to his Church. He made us that way. He made me to need and want my husband.

So while we managed through this trial run, I missed my husband terribly. And the upcoming deployment? It makes my heart ache. But that’s okay…

And in fact, that’s good. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to miss him. My heart is supposed to ache. I’m not supposed to get used to it, or sail through it. I’m supposed to desire my spouse.

After all, I was made for him.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The List

Mow lawn: Check.

Clean bathrooms: Check

Change sheets: Check

Cook special dinner: Check

Prepare perfect outfit: Check

Re-organize and clean garage: Check

Make sure his car still starts: Check

Create welcome-home signs: Check


That’s right, my Soldier is coming home! It won’t be long now till he’s in my arms again. I can’t wait. And neither can the boys; they insisted we find their “Merican” flags to wave when we see him.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll tell you it’s true: these long separations are always so hard, but the homecomings are always so sweet. Thank you, Lord, for joyful anticipation to carry us through the struggle of being apart.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deeper Still

My heart has been aching a lot this past week.

Though I have felt the weight of my own trials and miss my husband incredibly, my personal aches have only been part of it. This week I have seen, and heard, and felt, the aches of dear friends and loved ones. I have, in a way, just been an innocent bystander; yet truly, as a friend does for another, I have grieved with those who grieve. Wept with those who weep.

I have ached with those who ache.  

One friend is watching her father pass away. Another is struggling with the weight and sadness of infertility. A fellow Army wife is saying goodbye to her Soldier. Another is dealing with unfaithfulness and forgiveness in her marriage.

My heart aches. And at many times this past week, I have given way to tears. I have wept in prayer before the Lord; asking Him to give strength, to show mercy, to cradle my friends in the His loving embrace.

There are times in life when the trials feel too much, when the weight feels far too heavy to bear. Yet this week, I was also reminded, as my book club met to discuss “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, “there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

The words of Betsie Ten Boom rang hard and loud and clear. There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. These profound words spoken by one who knew what it was to suffer; who endured pain and heart ache unspeakable at the hand of the Nazi’s in German concentration camps. Yet she knew her Lord, and knew His strength.

There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.

These words have been a great comfort and I have clung to their wonderful truth, repeating them all week long. There is no heartache, that He cannot heal. There is no emptiness, that He cannot fill. There is no death, that He cannot make alive. There is no trial, through which He cannot sustain us.

Truly, there is no pit so deep, that He is not deeper still.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just a Barrel Full of Laughs

Life is just a barrel full of laughs around here. Mostly. The boys are as carefree as ever, and their cheerfulness and childishness keeps me young. I hope we never forget these golden days of summer and afternoon “swims” like this one!!



Yes, these golden days of summer, and these imaginative playful little boys of mine. Oh my, they keep me busy and they fill my soul with sunshine.

I’ve really needed that sunshine lately too. We’re well into Day #15 and I’m suffering a major case of the dreary weary’s. (if you haven’t heard of the dreary weary’s, you should check this fun children’s book out from the library. Fun book.) Anyway, I’m pushing past them as best I can, praying and trusting in God for help, but I’m feeling pretty wiped out.



It’s hard to know how to handle the wiped out feeling. Stay busy so I don’t sit around and mope. Or sit around and mope… and drink Starbucks. So far, it’s been the former. And truth be told, I haven’t really had a choice. The whole staying busy bit doesn’t take any effort. This whole week we’ve had non-stop all day scheduled events/happenings.

Part of me just wishes I could just sit around and mope. But I’ve discovered that even my attempts at downtime in this single parenting/house running household of mine are nigh impossible. I opted out of our weekly play date, (which is typically considered downtime itself—time at the park with friends, lunch out, happy kids etc) so that I could just stay home for once this week… and sit around… doing another hour of school time with the boys, mowing the lawn, changing furnace filters, cleaning the kitchen, and making FRG phone calls. You know, sitting around type stuff. Noah knows all about it, don’t you, Honey?


But in my failed attempts at relaxation and my overwhelming dreary weariness, I’ve found myself meditating on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I have felt lately that I’m outwardly wasting away, that my body is weak and tired (despite getting good sleep and exercise), and that my troubles are anything but “light and momentary.” But this verse helps put things so wisely into perspective. An eternal perspective. This life is HARD. There are tests and trials on every corner. Keeping up with all the busy-ness of life and trying to do it all for God’s glory. It’s not easy, Baby! Even if the smiles on my kids faces might tell you otherwise. It’s draining. It takes a lot out of you.



But… it’s temporary. It’s but for a moment. And it’s achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs the trials, the work, the trouble, the effort. That far outweighs them all. What a beautiful promise and hope to those who are weary.

It’s such an encouragement, I might just go find a big blue bucket full of water and jump in myself.


*If you don’t hear from me for a while, it means I’m stuck in the bucket. Please help.


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