With temperatures in the nineties this weekend and heat indexes in the hundreds, I’d swear we were celebrating the 4th of July this weekend rather than Memorial Day.  We seemed to have gone from winter to summer, with very little spring in between.    Wasn’t it just a few short weeks ago we were bundled up at baseball practice in our coats and hats?  IMG_1387

The kids don’t seem to mind a bit.  This weekend was so refreshing.  We went for a walk/bike ride, we went to the park, we took a little hike, we had a cook out with friends, we went swimming and this morning at 9:30 am the kids were already in their suits and running through the sprinkler! 


And while some couldn’t get enough of the cool sprays of water,




Others of us are a bit more hesitant when comes to being sprayed in the face…


Popsicles have been promised for this afternoon after quiet time.  What are some of your kids favorite summer time activities?

IMG_1193There were moments, many moments, this year when I doubted.  I wondered if I was giving him what he needed, if  he was on par with where the public school was.  I wondered what I was thinking, was it worth the battles, and the mess around my house.   Days when I shoved school work aside as I put dinner on the table before quickly rushing out the door for practice.   Truthfully, the hardest thing for me is the mess… is letting the mess go so we can concentrate on school work. 

But, then there are nights like last night.  Nights where we stop and we look back over the year as a whole and I realize how far we’ve grown, how much he’s learned and I realize that it was the right choice for us, for this year.  The sacrifices were worth it. 

At the beginning of the year, he could read.  He could read words on a page, but he wasn’t a reader.  Now he reads books.  I love peeking in on him after I’ve kissed him goodnight and see him snuggled in his bed with his Bible.

The thing he was most excited about learning this year was “script.”  I loved that he called it that too.  He couldn’t wait to write in script.  And I must say, I am quite proud of his cursive.IMG_1292

IMG_1223We learned parts of speech and how to label them in a sentence, as well as how to carry the one in triple digit addition.  We learned all about the state we live in and important landmarks and people in our country.   And this spring he finally mastered tying his shoes!

I am so thankful, so very thankful, for the tutorial he’s enrolled in.  I am IMG_1235thankful for the community and accountability it provides.  It’s provided the best of both worlds for us as we homeschool and it, like home schooling this year, has been worth the sacrifices required.

IMG_1276Summer’s here and the school year is done.  I am thankful for the extra time I had with my son this year, by choosing home school.  I am proud of the young man he is growing up to be.  And I am marveling, truly marveling, at how quickly the time is passing. Here I sit with my second grader.

I am just gonna come out and say it… ya know those cutesie little stick people families you see on the back of minivans these days?

I want one.

But, I struggle with this for many reasons.

1. I am a tad embarrassed.  Like maybe those little stick people families are too cutesie and my friends will laugh and roll their eyes when they see me pull into the parking lot.

2.  I don’t think I deserve one.  Those cute lil stick people families seem like they belong on the back of a minivan that is clean and organized.  It seems like moms of stick families drive vans free of trash and toys littering the floor.  They’re the moms who arrive to practice on time, with water bottles and a nice big blanket for the family to sit on and watch practice.  Doesn’t seem like they belong to the moms who show up with children wearing mixed matches shoes, who forgot their water bottles and who bring their light sabers to battle while they wait for their sibling to practice.   

3.  Lastly, let’s just say I got over my stick people issues, how in the world do I choose?  

I’ve spent a fair amount of time this week browsing the good ol’ world wide web looking for stick people to represent the circus fam.  And let me tell you, it ain’t easy.   How in the world do you find one person to adequately caricaturize your family member?  Honestly, mine and baby number 4 are the easiest… there are a plethora of “mom juggling” stick people to pretty much Family Stickers, Family Car Stickers, Family Decals, Family Car Decalssum up myself.  And thankfully with the one year old, I pretty much have to choose between baby holding bottle, baby with pacifier and baby crawling or walking.  But how do I pick Scott’s?  Do I go with working man?  Doesn’t that seem like maybe he is a work-a-holic?  He likes to barbeque, but does that really sum up his whole persona?  Not really…And while he does enjoy drinking a beer every now and again, I highly doubt that is the symbol he wants gracing the back of the van. family window sticker If only they had a guy on a sailboat… I have searched and searched for this to no avail.  If he did karate, I could find that, but sailing, no such luck.    And what about the kids?  My son likes baseball, is a cub scout, enjoys playing army and legos and Star Wars… how does one pick one activity, one symbol to describe him?   And the girls??  They both love soccer and gymnastics… can I find a gymnast kicking a soccer ball?  No….

What are your thoughts on the stick people gracing the backs of minivans in front of you on the road?  Do you have one?  How did you pick?  What do you think I should pick for us?  Or do you think I should leave well enough alone and not bother with the stick people on the back of the circus mobile?

As I put together my post yesterday, I greatly enjoyed looking back at pictures of the kids at the strawberry patch over the years.  I was struck by so many similarities and differences.

Babies sneaking berries…

sneaking strawberriesIMG_1177

Walking through the rows…


Sisters working side by side….


Showing off the fruits of her labor…


And perhaps the most striking… (what happened to my little boy?)


Here’s to many more fun memories!

When my son was 3, I took him strawberry picking for the first time. It was a special Mommy/Son date prior to the birth of our third child.IMG_1690 The next year, we returned, but this time it was a family affair.strawberries 046strawberries 049

2009 brought us back to the same farm, this time with friends.


And 2010 found me once again at the fields pregnant, with many small children in tow.IMG_8079

This year we found ourselves returning to the farm for a somewhat spontaneous trip.  I knew I wanted to go this spring.  (it has, after all, become a tradition).  But with rain forecasted and a busy week planned, I wasn’t sure when.  We woke to cloudy skies, but no rain and so I hurried the circus crew out the door before they even finished breakfast!  We were home with our pickings before 10 am!!!


What about you?  What are some of your family traditions?

This weekend the family went on a Cub Scout camp out from Friday- Saturday evening.  The kids have been begging to go camping again, and this over nighter was the perfect little get away for us.  As an added convenience it was at a State Park not far from our house, so it was quite easy to pop home if you needed something and made it no big deal when we got a late start on Friday night.


The first thing we did on Saturday morning was take the kids fishing… the girls have been eager to try out the rods their big brother game them for Christmas.  While we didn’t catch anything and we really didn’t stay at it all that long, we did have a good time breaking out the rods for the first time this season.  IMG_0847

The boy scouts set up skill stations for the cub scouts to rotate through.  I was really impressed with the leadership and maturity of the boy scouts.  We also got to take a nature hike with the park ranger.  I was truly grateful that they let the whole family participate…an aspect of the cub scouts that I have been most grateful for this past year.  IMG_0912

This lil man took two a nice long nap in my arms during the nature walk.IMG_0878

There was also time to just run around and play.  The kids (and the dads)enjoyed kick ball, dodge ball, capture the flag, and badminton.   We topped the perfect day off with some Smores and an amusing game of “Chubby Bunny.”IMG_0933

I have really enjoyed being a part of the Scouts program this year and am excited about the friendships we have developed through out participation this year.  It really is a great organization. 

Before having kids, I used to go to my local Hallmark store and browse the selection of cards.  It seemed there was always SOMEONE who could benefit from a little Hallmark cheer.  I love cards.  LOVE them… and prior to having kids I was pretty good about buying and sending them.

Somehow though bringing 2, then 3, now 4 active kids into a card store lost its appeal… something about them reaching out of their strollers and pulling card after card onto the floor while I was trying to find that perfect card made it loose its charm. 

Gone are the days I peruse the card store for fun. 

Now I seem to avoid it at all costs. 

Yesterday as my children eagerly accosted me with their cards, I had an epiphany.  Mothers have been saying it for years, but ya know as a kid, you never fully believe them. 

Hallmark no longer has the market on the very best cards. 

Nothing, and I mean, N-O-T-H-I-N-G holds a candle to a hand written card from your child. 

The love just oozes off of the crayon filled pages.  And the presentation?  Presentation really is everything… As they eagerly scrambled onto my bed each of the pushing their pictures and cards closer to my face and telling me in their excited voices all about the pictures they drew, I knew I couldn’t feel more loved and cherished.   I could tell with their enthusiasm how hard they worked to make a picture for me.  I knew that their cards more wore than scribbles on a page… they poured themselves into those pieces of art.

From my 3 yr old:


From my 5 yr old:


From my 7 yr old:


And while my almost 1 year old didn’t give me a card, he did crawl across my bed and onto my lap with a huge smile on his face.  So, I felt the love.

Breakfast in bed and dinner out were both very nice, but my favorite part of the day was when my kids bounded into my room and smothered me with their handwritten pictures.  They truly cared to give me the very best…a piece of themselves.

I am sure Scott and the kids have something planned for me on Sunday… or at the very least, I am sure by Sunday morning they will have something planned for me on Mother’s Day.  They never fail to make me feel cherished.

But the truth is, as I ponder this Mother’s Day, I can’t help but give thanks for the many gifts they’ve already given me… those precious moments each and every day, which I long to bottle up and savor forever…

The sound of his giggle when you kiss his neck….

The smile on her face and song in her voice from the minute she wakes up in the morning…

The way she walks into the living room and instantly flips into a handstand or flips over the back of the couch…

The manner in which he can turn everything, EVERY-SINGLE-THING into something Star Wars related…

her total and complete love for her big brother… I do believe she’d follow him to the end of the earth and back…


her cartoon character like voice…

the look of pure joy and glee on his face when you go to feed him…

watching him walk around the back yard defending the galaxy with his light sabers and toy guns…

her block creations…


the weight of him in my arms as he drifts softly to sleep…oh I thank God that my last baby is a snuggler… what a gift that is!

watching him read the Special Bible story to his sisters at night…


her thumbs up through the window of the gym when she nails her pullover…

the look of pure glee on her face as she dribbles the ball down the field and scores a goal…IMG_9969

the way each of them looks at night asleep in their beds… I never knew how immensely moving it is to watch your child sleep… it melts your heart.


This Mother’s Day I am overwhelmed… truly over whelmed with gratitude for the four amazing gifts God has given me and the true joy and privilege it is to be their Momma!

IMG_0427 (2)

This spring I have 3 kids in sports.  On 3 different teams.  This in addition to the girls both taking gymnastics twice a week  and Cub Scouts.

We are busy, busy, busy with games and practices most every night… some nights we’re even double booked.

Many people look at my schedule and call me crazy.    Why do you do this to yourself?

The answer is, honestly, two fold. 

1.  We love it. 

2.  Believe it or not, it actually makes my life easier

IMG_0811If I had to drag my kids kicking and screaming to practice, I wouldn’t do it.  It wouldn’t be worth it.  But they love it.   My third child wore cleats and shin guards last year to every one of her brother and sisters games and practices and all she did was sit on the sidelines.  She was so eager to be out there that she dressed like them and practiced on her own off the field.   


And truth be told, I love it too.  I am that crazy mom with her hands in the air screaming at the top of her lungs as they dribble down the field or race to first base.   I just love watching them play! 

I admit it is often a challenge to shuffle four kids out the door at dinner time each day.  Cleats? Water bottles?  Uniform?  Cup?  I am constantly running through the check list as we make our way to the taxi minivan.


On a normal night, my husband gets home from work around 6-6:30.  I don’t know what it is about the hours between 4-6, but some sort of odd transformation occurs in my kids during that time of day.  It’s as if they have used up all ability to play nicely together.  They turn needy and whiny and have very short leashes.  I don’t know what it is about their  Momma during that time of day, but she typically turns inpatient and needy and whiny during that time of day.

Being away from home during the “bewitching hours” makes our day run more smoothly.    Because we are gone during dinner, I am forced to prep dinner earlier in the day.  This saves me from trying to make dinner with a baby on my hip and world war III being fought in the living room.   

The kids are out of the house, some what separated, and even have different people to play with.  I have a chance to take a break and sit and chat with other adults.   We come home, dinner is ready or mostly ready, we eat and the day is almost over. 

Now, I am not going to lie… the occasional rainy day cancellation of practice is often met with a sigh of relief from me.  I don’t mind the occasional lazy afternoon at home.  But, in general, staying busy, oddly keeps us sane.    I think the fact that we home school and we are home together all day is a huge reason why this both works for us and perhaps is more welcomed to us.  If my kids were gone all day at school and I was having to cram dinner, practice, homework, and family time all into the 4 short hours between homecoming and bed, I would be a lot more bitter about our extra curricular activities.   


I’ve really enjoyed getting to know other parents in the community during our years of playing baseball and soccer here.   IMG_0813The kids have all made friends on their teams and now we are at the point where we’ve played long enough that they typically know someone on their team from previous years.   Those whose turn it isn’t for practice are learning valuable “playground skills.”    All this on top of all the valuable lessons they get by playing on a team and learning new skills… not to mention the exercise. 

Some call me crazy, but truth be told, it just works for us.