IMG_5024The kids and I had a unique opportunity this morning to feed some orphaned baby piglets.  The Momma Pig died at childbirth and the farmers were looking for extra hands to give bottles to the piglets.  I literally leaped at the opportunity.  And I am so glad that I did!  What a delightful way to spend our morning!





Even my youngest had fun with the piglets…IMG_5019

We drove a little over an hour to get there and the feeding didn’t last long, so we extended our stay a bit by sampling some of the creamery’s delicious ice cream.  The family was super kind to allow us to purchase ice cream before they were opened.  Ice Cream at 10am?!  Sure thing! 

My youngest daughter turns 4 this week. I often joke that she was born trying to keep up with her sister and brother.  It’s true though.  She is always ahead of where she should be b/c she has never wanted to be left behind.  As such, whenever her birthday rolls around I don’t have that typical, “How can it have been 4 yrs already?”  feeling, more often we’re like, “Really, your just now 4… seems like you’ve been 4 for awhile now.” 

One thing is true… she’s growing up too fast for my liking.  I have one more year left before she goes to school… and since we homeschool, going to school is thankfully only 2 days a week at the tutorial, but even still it marks a new stage of life.  Ruth Likes Her Dress

I want to be intentional with this last year… with our 2 mornings a week of time together when she is the big kid setting the pace for the household.  I learned so much about my older daughter when her brother went off to school.  I got to see new traits come out and her relationship with her sister truly blossomed.  I am eager to see the changes that develop when the dynamics change again this year. 


And I want to savor her sweet voice… I think that is what I will miss most when she grows up… the sweet sing songy voice and the cute way she mispronounces things…


I am excited to celebrate my sweet 4 year old this weekend….tomorrow we’re having a few of her close friends over to pamper them like princesses and next week Scott and I are taking her on a birthday date for dinner and a visit to Build a Bear.  I can’t wait to spend that special time with just us and her! 

Growing up, part of me wished for a sister… one to share a room with, share clothes and secrets with…. maybe if I’d have had one, I would know better how to braid my girls hair…  I had a great brother, and I would never have traded him for a sister, yet part of me at times felt like I was missing out a little…

When I married Scott I instantly gained in my sister-in-law the sister I had always wanted.  And she is all that and more.  And to sweeten the deal even more, Karen and I share a birthday.  We joke that it’s perfect because it makes it so much easier for him to remember my birthday (that would work IF he could remember his sisters birthday).

I truly couldn’t love Karen more if she was my blood.  I’ve known Karen for more than half my life… in HS I was her secret sister in lacrosse.  While Scott and I were dating in college, she let me crash in her dorm room (often even sharing her top bunk) so I could come and visit Scott at Grove City.  We’ve run races together, shared a mouth guard (gross I know), she’s cut my hair, told me not to wear that jacket with that dress, she was my maid of honor in our wedding…

She became that shopping partner I needed and is great for the clothing consults… (even cross country).  I appreciate her humor and her realness.  I respect her faith and her strength.  She is an awesome Army wife.  She’s a great mom, so laid back and easy going.  And she is one, fantabulous aunt.  (I love listening to my girls play with their baby dolls b/c one is always the mom and the other is always the Aunt Karen).   I appreciate how important family is to Karen and all the effort she makes to be an active and real part of our family’s lives, despite the distance she has always lived from us.  It means more to me than she could ever know.  

Last week we visited Karen and Jim on our way to and from Fl and during quiet/nap time, the two of us got to escape for a little Starbucks date (One of my favorite things to do with Karen).  It was like a pre-birthday gift to ourselves.  Smile   I love that we share a birthday… kinda seals the whole sisterhood thing, ya know?   So, happy birthday Karen… my friend, my sister, and my birthday buddy!  I love you bunches!!!

While our world wind trip to and from Florida went off really without a hitch, the 48 hrs since pulling into our driveway have been anything but smooth sailing.

Allow me to complain… 

We got home at 9pm on Sunday night… we unloaded what we had to, put the kids to bed and sat on the couch. 

Monday morning was back to reality… Scott had to be at work at 8, and the oldest two had to be at church at 8:45 for VBS.  I was so, so tempted to keep them home… and just spend the day in our pjs catching up on laundry and unpacking.  

Part of me wishes I had done just that.  But, I took them to church (late of course) then went to pick up our dog from my friends house.  My friend graciously offered to watch the youngest 2 while I went to Aldi to pick up a few things.  I was so excited, going to run a quick errand and then visit with a friend before picking the kids up from church. 

I don’t shop at Aldi very often.  I think all of my friends do, but me.  Truth is, it’s out of the way, and not convenient so I don’t go.   But, since I was in the area and kid less, I figured I’d check it out.   Well, I forgot all about the fact you need a quarter to get your cart… couldn’t find a quarter anywhere in my van… if only you could pay for your cart with cheerios, then I’d be set…no problem, this won’t get me down, the kids aren’t with me, I’ll just grab what I can and make more than one trip… yes, that’s right, my bright idea was to make 4 different trips through Aldi carrying everything.  Perhaps I should be thankful that after trip one, when the cashier rang me up, I learned the other Aldi rule… they only take cash or debit cards.  And of course I couldn’t remember my pin number to save my life. 

I left Aldi’s empty handed. 

Had a great visit with my friend and then back to church for the kids… it is hot and humid… got the kids and finally got them all buckled (which is not an easy feat with the current car seat configuration that we used for our long car ride)… more than ready to get home, eat, shower and on with the day… only the car won’t start. 

Try, try, try some more… same stinkin result.

The kids and the dog and I waited in the church parking lot for Scott to come and rescue us.   He is finally able to get it to go and he drives the kids home, while I follow in his car.  He then takes the car to the mechanic.   I was tired… frustrated… and so ready for a break. 

When my son prayed that evening, he prayed that tomorrow would be a better day with less fighting. 

As I talked to my dear friend on the phone, I shared the misery of my day and how bad I felt for taking it out on the kids. 

She responded, “I didn’t think you yelled at your kids ever.”

For real?  How is it that my best friend thinks I never yell at my kids?  I have tried to make it my aim in life to be transparent/the real deal.  Seems I have failed at this big time.  So, blogging friends… yes, my kids are a victim of my imperfection and I do yell at my kids.  No, I am not proud of it.  I like to think I don’t do it all the time, but truthfully, I do it more than I’d like to admit. 

Day 2:  A friend graciously offers to take my kids to VBS for me since I am without a van.  I invite her and her younger 2 to visit after she drops them off.   This is a new friend whom I just met this spring.  I appreciate her a lot.  Unfortunately, I think every time we have gotten together my house is either messy or my kids are misbehaving. 

Today, she got to witness both.

Humbling to say the least.

This afternoon we head to gymnastics (hooray for having the van back). While my oldest has her class, I take the younger three for Aldi Attempt 2 (this time I came armed with my quarter and my pin number).  I left with food and a screaming baby.  After a quick stop at a friends for a little “thinking of you treat” I leave sooner than planned b/c the baby is still screaming (we’re not in Florida anymore)…back to gymnastics, hoping to catch the last 15 minutes and visit with my friend in the waiting room, only to head back to the car b/c my kids are misbehaving… insert more humble pie and a big ol dose of frustration. 

I went home a different route than normal b/c I wanted to pick up sweet corn from the farm stand.

The stand was closed. 

And then as my kids are whining about the dinner I had packed for them, the baby is crying again… I suddenly notice the car is making a weird noise AND it seems low on my side… download

Long story short (yea… this post seems anything but short), after a few failed attempts, I finally reach Scott, he comes with a cold coke and 2 bags of mini Oreos… he teaches my son how to change a tired and we’re finally home. 

I know I should be so thankful we didn’t break down on our trip.  Instead I broke down at church.  A safe and comfortable place to get stranded.

I know I should be so thankful I didn’t get my flat on the side of 95 in the middle of the night. 

And on one hand I am, truly thankful.

But, to be honest, on the other hand, I am fed up with this week and can’t believe it’s only Tuesday.  

Re-entry has been rough, Wednesday, please be nice to me, kay?

Most people think that perfect beach weather is a bright sunny day, but we discovered unexpected joy in a trip to the Florida beach on an overcast evening following an afternoon rain storm.


Shuttle launch in the morning, nap in the afternoon, beach in the evening, and free Chick-Fil-A right before bed… it was a perfect day in Florida… totally worth the 32 hours of driving it took to get there and back.

~clicking on picture will make it bigger~

Ever since I was a kid and saw the movie Space Camp, I’ve wanted to see a shuttle launch.  Last spring when Scott told me that NASA was cancelling their shuttle launch program and their were only 3 left, I began scheming a way to get there and see one.

We planned our entire vacation around the November launch.  And while our trip to Florida last November, was one of our best family vacations ever, we didn’t get to see a launch.

Two shuttle launches came and went and I kept wanting to find a way to go.  But, work was too busy, weekends were booked and well, Florida vacations are expensive.  We just couldn’t make it work.  Finally a week before the last ever shuttle launch, we began talking seriously about a 4 day FL driving excursion.  32 hours down and back with a 2 minute show in the middle.  Can we make that work?  Should we bring the kids?  We tossed back and forth about what to do.

Finally Tuesday night at 9pm, we sat down with an actual pro/con list and decided to go AND to bring the kids. 

This left us with about 24 hours to pack and prepare.

We got to Titusville Florida at 3:30am on Friday.  We were blessed with an amazing parking spot.  Scott got us set up while the kids and I rested in the van.   A little after 4am we left the van and that was the last rest my daughters got.  It was “squatting” time at Space view park. 


This is the site that greeted us across the Indian River.  It was so cool to see it lit up at night.  “I see the space shuttle” my youngest daughter exclaimed with glee!”


Then we set out to wait 7 hrs hoping the launch would go off.  The weather IMG_4148forecast wasn’t good and we were due to get rained on as we waited.  Praise God the rain never came but even at 8am, they were only giving a 30% chance of favorable weather for lift off.   We waited, napped, colored, snacked, snuggled, and waited some more.   I was greatly encouraged by the face book comments I kept getting on my phone with people telling me they were praying those clouds away and hoping for a lift off. 

By 11am, excitement was mounding.  People were getting on their feet, we were making sure we had visual.  Someone brought a radio and broadcasted the countdown.  “Please, oh please, let it go off,” Scott and I kept pleading inside.  We were hoping against hope that it would go off because 1. we really wanted to see it and 2.  we couldn’t imagine the thought of pulling another all nighter with the kids right after this one.  They really were amazing but every kids has a limit (and so do parents).

The countdown began….. from one minute down…. Scott and I looked at each other, “This is it… it’s going to happen…. we were bouncing with excitement” and then they hit 31 seconds and hold.   “NO, please NO!” 

problem quickly resolved (hooray for those NASA engineers) and they were counting down to countdown….

Finally we hit that blessed 10 second mark and then 3…2…1…. we saw the fire under the shuttle and screams of joy rang out at the park.


It was incredible!! 


Truly, incredible… tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched it lift off.


Earlier in the day I had told the kids what an awesome, historical moment this would be.  “This will be in history books some day and you will get to tell your kids and your grandkids that you saw the last shuttle launch.” 


After it blasted off into the clouds and the sound made its way across the river, my son looked over at me and said, “Mom, I will definitely remember this.”

So will I, my son, so will I. 

It’s been a good week at the circus.  Nothing incredibly note worthy, but fun times all around… thought I’d share a few pictures from our week.  I love summer… seriously love it.  Love the long daylight hours… love the freedom… even love the hot summer sun. 







How about you?  What are some of your highlights from the week?

It seems it might be time to do a “keepin it real” post of the circus life. 

Because blogging is a funny thing… I typically write my blog posts during nap/quiet time… when the kids are all off in separate rooms sleeping or playing quietly alone… and well, that sweet time of day allows a mom to gather herself… grab a bit to eat, relish in the quiet and it sets a very different tone than if I was writing in the morning while 4 kids are pulling on my legs asking for food or complaining.  And rarely do I think to grab the camera when my living room is covered in dirty clothes and toys and my sink is overflowing with dishes… those most often are not the memories I seek to savor for later.  And so, those most often aren’t the moments I blog about.    But, then as a result,  when I sit down to blog, I tend to write more of the gushy stuff.  Which I do want to record and remember in years to come (or even next week when the kids are hitting each other and screaming b/c we have 2 swings on our swing set but 3 “swingers”).  But, I also don’t want to just record those moments…

So, here are a few typical real moments at the circus…

I think the morning “rush hour” is one of the most stressful times at the circus abode… Scott is rushing to get out the door, I am trying to help him so he isn’t late, the kids are hungry, they want their vitamins, they want their chocolate milk or OJ, and their tv show…and Momma just wants her coffee and a  few minutes to check Facebook and e-mail.  So I am packing a lunch, making Ovaltine, pouring cereal, making toast, making coffee and all usually while having to pee.  Harsh words are often uttered.   And I feel bad.  And I know that if I just got up 30 min earlier it would be different.  But typically, in my head I think “I should get up an hour earlier and run and do my Bible study and then have a cup of coffee in quiet while reading the computer and then be ready to greet my kids with a smile and breakfast on the table”… but then I don’t feel like getting up an hour earlier to run or read my Bible and so instead of even getting up even 15 min earlier to pee and make my coffee… instead I sleep until I hear Scott in the shower (or ummm getting out of the shower)  and then I drag myself out of bed with children clamoring on me saying, “Mom, I want…” and me thinking, “Tomorrow I’m getting up before the kids…”

Most mornings my sink looks like this. 


I know it would be easier if I did them the night before and started the day with a clean kitchen, but 2 nights a week I feed the kids early and Scott and I eat after they are in bed.  I just don’t feel like doing dishes after 9.  We typically eat our dinner, enjoy some quiet conversation (though often interrupted by kids needing something) and then sit down to watch TV.  I don’t feel like first cleaning up the kitchen before watching TV.  I’m tired and ready for the day to be done. 

And there ya have it, a little dose of reality or a helpin of humble pie served to you this 4th of July weekend.  And now I need to finish packing the van before quiet time is over!!