It’s been one of those days… please tell me you know the ones…took the circus crew to the pediatrician’s for my 3 yr old’s check up.  One would have thought by the amount of shrieking that took place in the hall that we were attempting to tie her down and give her 30 shots, when really we just wanted her to take her sandals off and stand on the scale.  From that humbling spectacle we were off to the grocery store.  I am sure your wondering why today of all days I decided to take the whole crew with me for a major stock up.  And the truth is, b/c I was desperate.    We’ve depleted the supplies… even those ones in the back of the cupboard that stay there month after month… and we have no free evenings in sight for me to divide and conquer, so forward we marched, baby strapped to me in the moby wrap, 3 yr old crying in the top seat of the cart and the other two jumping beans bouncing around the aisles talking a mile a minute at the top of their lungs.   Oh what fun!

Finally we emerged with a full cart to unload, load, unload, and put away… and as I did this, taking a break to nurse the baby, and then make lunch for the other 3, I was feeling my patience wearing thin.   I was tired.  My back hurt.  My ears were ringing.  I still have food to put away, laundry to put away, toys to pick up, phone calls to make, dinner to prep… you know the list… I sent an SOS (really just a whiny e-mail) to my husband while sticking a can of coke in the freezer to cool off for later. 

The baby started to cry in his swing and my son suggested that maybe he needed his diaper changed.  Good thought since it had been quite awhile since I’d done that.  I went to pick him up and as I bent down he stopped crying.

My son said, “Why are you always the magic trick?”

I told him I used to be his magic trick too.  As I walked down the hall to the nursery pondering the impact a mother can have on her kids and on how small a window of  time we have to make that impact. 

It was then that my son called out from the table, “Ya know mom, when your holding a small person, really your holding a big person, because you have no idea the plans God has for that life.”

Wowzers!  Talk about a zinger!  And yet so very true.  I have no idea the plans God has for their lives.  But they are big.  And what a humbling privilege it is to be their momma.


As they each rest in separate rooms for their quiet time and I soak in the quiet while sipping on my coke and nibbling on lunch, I am so thankful for the perspective God gave me today out of the mouth of my 6 yr old.




Sometimes you never know the impact a simple baby shower gift can have.  Before my oldest was born, my third grade students threw me a “surprise” baby shower.  And one of my students gave me a little lamb banky baby that has a head on one end and the tail on the other.  precious lamb

My son ended up latching on to it and sometime before his sister came along he called the lil lamb, his baby.  Baby went with him everywhere… I can even recall driving back to church to get it so he could take his nap one fateful afternoon when we left it behind.

We proceeded to get “babies” for each of our children.  Some kids are more attached to their baby than others, but all of them sleep with them pretty much every night.  Scott made up stories for the kids starring their babies… Our first born has Sir Lamb a lot.  Then we’ve got Snoop Doggy Doggy.

puppy love-holding hands

And beary bear.


The three had many adventures on their intergalactic star ship cruiser before retiring and moving into the circus house to serve as protectors of the circus children.

We recently presented our newest circus member with a baby of his own.   His identity has yet to be revealed as Daddy still needs to debrief with the other three babies and learn his secret identity.  Perhaps it’ll be revealed on our next long car trip.  


But, he’s gotten quite attached to it already.  I find him stroking the edges and curling up with it in his crib as he falls asleep. 


If only I could give such a baby gift that would have such lasting and sentimental value to a family.  I am certain that girl has no idea how much her little lamb blanket grew to mean to my family.

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Tonight the kids and I were enjoying a walk at the Naval Academy when we spotted a statue of their mascot, the goat, which prompted a rather comical discussion.

We talked about how the goats are the navy mascot, to which my 3 yr old responded, “But mom, goats aren’t scary.”   I then said that the Army is afraid of them b/c when they play each other in sports (not war) then they are against each other and don’t want to lose to them.  We then discussed the Army donkeys and how they are afraid of the Navy goats to which my three year old again responded, “But mom, donkeys aren’t scary.”

My 6 yr old then said, “Now, skunks would be scary.  If I saw a skunk I’d be real scared and need lots of tomato juice!”

“Yes,” my four year old responded, “and snakes… Snakes are scary too!”

There you have it folks, the circus family has spoken.   To the high ranking officials at West Point and the Naval Academy.  The circus family proposes you change your mascots from the goat and donkey to something a little more frightening…

snakes and skunks

Looking forward to the next Army/Navy gathering in December.  Should be really interesting!

I clearly remember the first baseball game I attended with Scott.  A coworker had given him the tickets and since we had no plans, we thought, “Sure, why not?” 

As we drove into Baltimore and hit traffic, Scott was in disbelief, “Could this be game traffic?”  He asked.  “I had no idea this many people liked baseball.”

Yea… clearly, we aren’t big baseball enthusiasts.

But, thanks to my oldest son, my children are.  So, we try to get to at least one game a season.

Last week we took the circus crew to Camden Yards.  And, truly, it was one of my favorite nights of the summer.  IMG_2096

Sometimes, you try and do nice things for your kids and it ends in whining and fighting, tears, and Mom and Dad wondering “Why in the world did we bother?”  

Thankfully, this wasn’t one of those nights.

The kids were singing a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” the entire way from the parking lot to the ticket office.  I couldn’t help but smile at their enthusiasm.  They were even greeted with a round of applause from the ticket booth. 

IMG_2130 We got great seats, but I was mesmerized by my children.  I cracked  open a gazillion peanut shells and taught my kids when to scream, “Charge!”  I loved the way my son, would randomly scream out “Let’s Go O’s!”  And the way my 3 yr old would jump up and down and dance to the music.   We watched the game and giggled at the vendors and the way they yelled, “Hot Dooog” with their “Balmore” accents.  And even though the O’s didn’t pull through with a win, I left feeling like a winner.

Our littlest slugger enjoying his first time at the ball park.


IMG_2224 This weekend we were able to coordinate our schedules and have the opportunity to get together with my brother and his family for some play time.  


What gathering would be complete without a light saber battle?


I loved getting to watch my nephew and nieces play and to observe my brother playing with my children.  There is something quite special, and indescribable about watching your children play with your sibling.  It truly warmed my heart. It was a blessed evening indeed and one I am truly grateful for.  


Thanks guys!  I look forward to doing it again!




The youngest circus member is thriving!  At 2 and a half months he’s weighing around 15lbs.  (my biggest baby yet).  So far he is really easy going and super snuggly.  A perfect combo for my youngest cast member.   We’re on some what of a flexible schedule/routine, which is a huge praise, as we’re starting school next week with the older crew members! 

One of my favorite things about parenting, is watching my children interact with each other (when they aren’t fighting that is).  It’s fascinating to me to see the differences in their bonds and relationships.  One relationship which I have observed recently growing is that between my two girls.   



With only 17 mths, and a few inches and pounds between them, they are in so many ways peers.  They share much in common, and yet are so very different.  It’s been my prayer since the beginning that as they grow, their bond of friendship grows only stronger. 


A loyal sister is worth a thousand friends. 

~Marian Eigerman

They’ve tried piers, ponds, worms, and lures.  For three summers now he’s patiently pursued it.  Casting and waiting.  Enjoying the view and the time together. 

Each time, I’d ask if he had a good time.  Each time he’d enthusiastically respond, “Yes!”  Then I’d ask if he got a keeper and each time he’d respond in the negative. 

He’s caught a fish a few times, but not the illustrious keeper he sought after.   However, it didn’t dampen his resolve or his love of fishing.

And finally, the waiting paid off.


He got his keeper!!


They cleaned it up and fried it right there on Nana and Pop’s boat. IMG_1914 IMG_1917 IMG_1920

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When things didn’t work out for us to go camping this weekend as planned, we promised the kids a night of “camping-like” fun at home.   Scott came home from work a little early and we cooked up hot dogs and baked beans (a fav here at the circus).

Then we spent the evening fishing on the river.


(more details on the fishing to come later this week)

Camping wouldn’t be complete without Smore’s so we roasted some mallows over the gas stove. 


Then we came home and let the kids camp out downstairs in a tent in the toy room.


Sometimes things don’t go as first planned, but many memories can still be made, if you think outside the box a little.

Alternate Title:  How Your Army Looks When You Have 2 Younger Sisters


I couldn’t help but smile when I looked out the window and saw this scene…makes me laugh when looking at it on the computer as well.  Quite a motley crew we have defending the fortress… the leader in his camo’s with his walking stick (or staff as he refers to it), his trusty sidekicks following in their fairy wings, and Uncle Jim covering from behind with the ever elusive fluorescent double barrel shot gun. 

Bad Guys Beware!!

It’s that time again… the mailers, the prerecorded phone calls, and those signs covering any square inch of grass on the side of the road.

That’s right…election time in Maryland. 

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems people have hit the signs hard and a bit early this year. 

Typically I pay little to no attention to them.  Sure I notice them in passing, but I barely read them and I don’t plan to make my vote in November based on the yellow sign I saw on the side of the road.

My son however is a different story.

Every-Single-Time we’re out driving he’s calling my attention to them.

“What’s that one say,Mom?”  He’s running for Senate.  (insert long discussion on senators here and the difference between state and federal government)

“What about that red one Mom, what’s he for”  “Fiscal responsibility”  (inset medium length discussion on what fiscal is and what it means to be responsible with our money)

He doesn’t stop with just one sign.  At a single traffic light, I am reading and explaining all 15 signs polluting the corner.

“Which one is going to take care of bad guys?” he wanted to know.   Apparently my son cares more about national defense than fiscal responsibility. 

He then wanted to know which one I was going to vote for and who I will vote for president in 2 yrs.  I was able to explain that I make my decision to vote based on what the candidate stands for, what issues they care about, not the catchy slogan on their sign, or even their political party.  So, since I don’t know who will be running for President in 2 yrs, I don’t know  yet who I will vote for.  And I need to do more homework before this election to figure out my vote for November. 

Thankfully, I’ve got a little accountability in the back seat to make sure I stay up on my politics.  Perhaps those signs are worthwhile after all.

fun with tummy time 6 years ago I watched my lil man proudly hold his head high during tummy time.   I was so excited b/c he had recently learned to roll over.  He was growing up so fast and I was thrilled with all he was learning and doing. 

I had no idea that in just 6 short years he’d be at Cup Scout camp with Daddy learning a whole slew of new things.  IMG_0035



I was so excited for my son and my husband yesterday as they got to spend the day together at camp.


It’s been so fun to watch their bond grow over the past 6 years.snuggling with Daddy

The kids had scattered to the backyard to play while I cleared off the dinner dishes.  As I wiped down the dining room table, I couldn’t help but  smirk as I looked out over a see of crumbs and wood that is faded in parts due to many a knocked over glass of milk or water.  There is an ever present layer of grime that those of you with kids know exactly what I am talking about… something like syrup meets peanut butter meets oatmeal and it just cakes into those nooks and crannies around the edge of the table, giving it that “lived in” feel.   There are marks on the table where my kids didn’t stay in the lines (or on the paper for that matter) when coloring with their supposedly washable markers and a few splatterings of paint here and there from art projects.

I remember when Scott first brought it through the doors of our apartment.  After months of eating on a tiny card table, we were beyond excited about having a real dining room table.  He carried it in piece by piece and assembled it that night.

We had gotten into the habit of not putting the drinking pitcher onto the table, because our card table hadn’t been big enough for it.    We were careful, meticulous about keeping it clean, not wanting it to get water marks or anything on it. I vividly remember thinking, “One day my kids will do their homework on this table.”

I had no idea that memories we’d make around that table.   My kids have practiced writing their letters on this table and drawn many a picture sitting here.  Scott and I have sat side by side working out the budget here.  We’ve entertained family and friends for numerous meals and parties… Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays…we’ve rolled out Christmas cookies, built gingerbread houses, dyed Easter eggs and carved pumpkins on this table.   Scott’s had the guys from work over to play poker at this table.  We’ve built forts underneath it.  And if you look close you can see naw marks from when our puppies teethed on its legs.

It’s easy to look at the table and see nothing but the grime and stains and wear and tear.  But for some reason, that night when I looked at it, all I could do was smile at the love and memories we’ve shared round this table.  And I pray to God for many, many more blessed memories as a family sitting round this table.

IMG_1588 My recently turned three year old has been cracking me up lately with some of the things she says (when she’s not throwing a temper tantrum or disobeying that is…it’s not easy being 3…or the mother of one who is)

Last week when I put her down for her nap she told me she didn’t want to sleep.  I told her that was fine, but she needed to lay down on her bed.  To which she replied, “Mom, that never works… every time I do I always end up falling asleep!”  (she was right, b/c sure enough she ended up falling asleep then too)

A few days later we were at my in-laws for a family dinner.  She returned to the table after going potty and I asked if she washed her hands.  “Yes,” she replied.  Knowing my daughter, I pressed further and asked if she was sure.

Yes, Mommy, I am sure… I washed them before I went potty!” (and back upstairs she went to wash them again)

What funny things have come out of your children’s mouth’s lately? 

And if your looking for more funny anecdotes, check out Mary’s carnival, Tiny Talk Tuesday.

I have many fond childhood memories of working on crafts with my Mema.  She’d come to visit and bring her puffy paints and we’d make tee shirts and sweat shirts.  Once she even attempted to teach me to crochet… but after a few hours and only a few loops, I opted to let her continue making me anything I wanted crocheted. 

Now I am grown, with kids of my own, and I must confess, my craft skills don’t look a whole lot different than when I was a kid.  But, I can usually follow simple directions.  

Unfortunately, we live 5 hrs from Mema and we don’t get to see her as often as we would like.   But, my Mema is clever and she came up with a way to engage her great grandchildren from a distance. 

I called my mom one afternoon and was surprised to find my Mema and my Aunt were over for a “crafternoon”.  They were out on the back deck, each working on cutting out supplies to prep for kits which Mema then mailed to her great grandchildren (of which she has 22).

About a week later I received a package in the mail.  In it was this detailed instruction sheet (complete with arrows and pictures to explain the steps)  for each of my children to make their own fish mobile. 


The package also came with 4 ziploc bags each filled with all of the necessary components for each child to complete his/her mobile.  The foam pieces were already cut… literally all I had to do was help the kids glue them together. IMG_1117 It’s a good thing too, b/c it turns out that helping each child glue their fish, and hold my (then one month old) baby and take pictures and answer the phone… proved to be almost more than this circus momma could juggle. (Yes, it has taken me an entire month to get this post up) IMG_1118 

The kids had a fabulous time doing their “Gma craft” and I can’t tell you how much it blessed my heart to see them so eagerly working on these projects from Gma, much like I did many years ago with her.  While she wasn’t able to be here to witness it in person, I did my best to capture the moments on film San Disk card so she could witness it from a far.


My Mema is one clever lady.  Not only can she whip up cute and creative crafts, but she even found a way to pass on her craftiness to her great grandchildren and allow them to share an activity with her from a distance. IMG_1114

Thanks Mema… for giving me all the supplies necessary for a fun afternoon with my kiddos, and for sharing your love of crafts with me and my children!


A year ago today my SIL was due to have her first born, my sweet nephew Eli, who the circus children affectionately call “baby Ewi”.   I can’t believe he turns one next week!!    He’s in town this week eagerly awaiting the arrival of his daddy from Iraq for his R&R.

I am so thankful that I have a SIL who is willing to travel, b/c even though they live in El Paso, we’ve gotten to see them 4 times this past year!  (more than that really as one of those times was an extended 2 month visit to the area). 

It is my heart’s desire that my kids will have close friendships with their cousins and many fond memories of playing together growing up.  (with a few humorous photo sessions thrown in there as well)

IMG_1674 After capturing such a delightful group shot of the 5 of them, we decided to throw Pop in there too since it was his birthday celebration that we were gathered for… clearly the later photo session didn’t go as well as the former… but it def made for more laughs when looking through the pictures!!