I glanced out my back window on Saturday and saw this


Only,  I didn’t just see this precious moment in time, but simultaneously, my mind flashed back to several other similar moments over the past 5 years….

September 2009


August 2008

IMG_6556 (2)

And, April 2007


One can’t help but notice a few things when observing these father/child bonding moments in the back yard.

1.  Believe it or not Scott, we’ve been VERY successful in growing grass in our backyard these past 5 years!  Look at the dirt our son is mowing back in 2007!

2.  While the girls seem to prefer following close in step to Dad while mowing, both sons take a “I’ll take this section, you take that one Dad” approach to the lawn mowing duties. 

Love those sweet moments of repetition… passages of time that remind you that while so many things change, some things stay the same. 

Heard round the circus this past week…

From my 4 year old:

“Your right hand can’t know what your left hand is doing…unless your giving a hug, then it’s ok.”


Again from my 4 year old:

After pouring peroxide on her cut, she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Mom, that burns like Sprite!” (soooo hard not to laugh while she was obviously in pain)


When my almost 2 year old spilled milk all over the table, I said, “Thanks so much buddy.”  He looked up at me with a huge smile and said for the very first time, “Your welcome!”  (apparently sarcasm is lost on the under 2 crowd)


For the past four and half years, this has been her “go to” position for comfort. 

fingers in mouth

As a baby it was great… she totally self soothed… no pacifiers to chase down or beloved blankey to snuggle.  Just pop her index and middle fingers in her mouth backwards and start rubbing her ear (or twirling her hair) and she could instantly calm herself to sleep. 

We knew of course this would have it’s trade off.  We knew that the cost for an easy night sleep would pay its dues when it came time to break her of the habit.  Because unlike the pacifiers her older siblings used, you can’t exactly throw away her fingers when you want her to stop sucking them. 

And so, we put forth our best efforts to rally a campaign of no more finger sucking at age 3….


which then became age 4….


So, here we are, almost 2 months from her fifth birthday and she’s still sucking her fingers in the car, when she’s falling asleep, and when she’s snuggling on the couch….

Until this weekend….

At around 10pm Thursday night as we were driving to my SIL’s in Va, I hear here say to herself in the back of the van… “Look at me not putting my fingers in my mouth.  I AM NOT PUTTING MY FINGERS IN MY MOUTH”  We of course affirmed and praised this decision of hers. 

Next day, “Guess what?  I didn’t put my fingers in my mouth, the whole way to Aunt Karen and Uncle Jim’s or all last night or this morning in the van.” 

Every now and then, when she was tempted to put them in her mouth, she’d proclaim, “Here I am not putting my fingers in my mouth.”

This was the most telling to me, because I knew it meant she was making a conscious decision not to put them in her mouth.  For whatever reason she decided she wasn’t going to do it anymore. 

And we praised her for it and I promised to paint her nails when we got home on Saturday night if she kept them out of her mouth. 

Saturday night I painted her nails… 5 bright shades of fantastic with a top coat of glitter!!!

So, you can see all it took was 2 years of nagging her finally coming to the decision on her own to stop doing it and she broke the habit.  Cold Turkey!

I’m pretty sure this says something about her will and personality and the *fun* we’re going to have when the teen years arrive…

My son has loved baseball since he was 2.  A fan of his own right.  Loves it inside and out.  But, I thought last year the flame might die. 

Or be killed a slow and painful death.

It was a painful combination of not yet seeing a winning baseball game in his life and playing on a team which didn’t win a single game all season, topped off with having a coach that didn’t coach, just yelled in frustration at the discouraged players.   My poor guys face just got longer with each game. 

This season has been a complete turn around.  Not only did he see his first winning Orioles game (season opener none the less), but he got put on a team with a great coach.  One who knows how to instruct the kids on actual baseball skills and how to motivate them when they are behind and keep them motivated when they are ahead.  He’s positive and encouraging and has truly helped bring the fun back into the sport.  (and as an added bonus, the team is actually pretty good… as in I think they only lost 1 or 2 games so far this year)

One of my greatest joys is to watch my kids playing their hearts out, and having fun.  This season has been great for that. 


He’s scored some runs and had a few RBI’s…


He really gets the game now.  He knows where the play is going to be at. 


And you can see the ol’ love of the game in his eyes again… especially as he slides into base


often for no other reason than the joy of sliding in the dirt.

To make a great season even greater, his coach nominated him for the All Star team.  He got to have his name called on the loudspeaker and even got an All Star pin for playing in the game.  It was a memory we’ll cherish for a long time.  getting their pins

I gotta tell you… he’s made a fan out of me.  And it’s been a great season so far. 


Love this picture I snapped of my youngest trying to do a handstand like his sister!

We’ve had an exciting little addition to our homeschool room this spring… well technically, it is outside of our room, but it is best viewed looking out the window from our school table. 

It seems the nest that was used 2 years ago, has been revisited this spring.  Given the fate of our feathered friends 2 years ago, we were all a little nervous when we saw a Mommy robin sitting on the nest this spring.  IMG_3820

I am not sure how many eggs she started with, but we have been able to observe one baby bird grow up in that nest. 

Look at them snuggling!!


Here the Mom appears to have spotted me with the camera and is telling me to stay away from her baby!


I know this picture is kinda blurry, but you can see the little baby head sticking up to get its dinner…


Look how much the bird changed in just one weeks time!IMG_4165

I love his fuzzy little head.  The kids decided to name him Robin Hood… since he is a robin and all.  Look at him getting brave and standing on the edge of his nest.


Here he is looking like he’s ready to take flight.  IMG_4194

I love his expression here… stretching…


Even though he’s getting older, he still snuggles up with his Momma.



I LOVE these pictures of the two of them together…IMG_4212


Not quite able to leave the nest for his food yet, so Mom and Dad bring it to him.



These were taking on a Friday and we don’t go down to the school room much over the weekend… It appeared he left the nest that weekend and we thought our bird watching excitement was over for the spring.

But, then a week, maybe two later, we noticed the Momma bird sitting on the nest an awful lot again.  Confused, I asked Scott to take a peek inside when she was away.  And this is what he found!

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I don’t homeschool because I hate the government.  Nor do I homeschool because I think the public school system is all evil.  Nor do I homeschool because I want my kids to be smarter than yours.  In fact, raising super smart kids isn’t even my main goal of education.

I homeschool because I want to spend the time with my kids.  That’s it, in a nut shell.

But, if I may be honest and come clean with you, it’s hard.   In my head I have this picture of me sitting round the table with my four children dutifully working on their studies… a quiet calm in the air.

yea… stop laughing….

And every once in a blue moon, such a solitary moment will occur and I’ll snap a picture because it makes me smile and I want to remember it forever.  (or on those days when I am crying in the living room amid piles of dirty dishes and laundry and children screaming that they hate spelling)  And sometimes I’ll post these pictures to face book because I am so overjoyed to finally have one of those moments… one of those moments that as I mom I thrive off of.  And some one will inadvertently get the wrong idea and assume that’s what school looks like every day at my house.

It’s not.  School at my house almost always looks like mom in her pjs with the two older working on their studies.   There’s almost always a fight over who gets to sit by the window.  My 4 year old stays at the table to color for a few minutes then she’s off singing at the top of her lungs or playing with her baby brother.  Meanwhile my son will complain that he can’t do math/spelling/history/whatever it is I want him to do, b/c he can’t concentrate.  I’ll send him to another room but that too will result in a excuse of some sort being made for why this task is too unreasonable.  Meanwhile my 5 year old will complain b/c she wanted to do math first, but I’d rather start with reading b/c she needs me for reading and I am free at the moment….

See, my homeschool room is full of sinners.  Me, being the chief one of them.  Some days we start late b/c I got distracted by face book.  I’m usually in my pjs b/c I hit snooze when my alarm when off and I didn’t shower yet.  This typically has me wishing today could have been the day that I rose a different person, a chipper morning person who got up before my family, took care of my self and was ready to begin the day on a great foot?  But no, that's not me.

And I am teaching/raising a brood of sinners as well.  And sin is messy.    And it has to be addressed.  Selfishness, disrespect, meanness… it all must be addressed, discussed, confessed, given consequences for, forgiven… and this takes time.  Lots of time.  Time which could be spent round that table angelically working on those assignments.

And most days when I am in the midst of battling sin, I think of that clock ticking in the background and those assignments waiting for me… assignments which will get done but since it now took twice as long as necessary, the house work won’t get done before it’s time to head out for evening of activities.  This frustrates me b/c I hate having a messy house, I hate having to let it go for tomorrow when I know tomorrow won’t be any different.

And as I battle this sin… in myself and in my children, I am more and more aware of the fact that I can’t change myself nor can I change my kids.  I can’t change their hearts.  Only God can.  And so I plead with tears in my eyes as I sit on the hallway floor, begging God to please work in their hearts, please work through me.

It’s a daily battle.

And this spring, I found myself growing a little weary.  A little battle worn.  A little fearful that maybe things weren’t going to get better.  That I didn’t know what I was doing.  Sure we were learning our history time lines and phonics rules… but where was that heart change?

But, the past few weeks, I’ve seen some growth which fills this Momma’s heart with hope.  God is working in my kids hearts.  I see it.  I see a genuine desire to show love to each other.  Not all the time, not every day… they are still human in fact.  But I see God changing my child’s heart.  I see love where before I saw selfishness.  I see HIM at WORK!  And I praise Him.  Because I can think of nothing, not one thing more exciting than to see the Lord at work in the hearts of my children.

This morning I posted this picture on face book.  And I was kinda afraid to post it b/c I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea.  To think I was bragging or to think that I had these perfect kids who angelically sit at the table and help each other with their studies.  I posted it b/c when I saw this scene… when I saw a sister accepting help and correction from her brother… when I saw a brother lovingly helping, not being bossy or showing off that he was right, but gently correcting and encouraging…I saw God at work in their lives and I couldn’t help but smile and rejoice.    We had tears of frustration later over noisy sisters and people using their crayons… but in this moment I saw that all those heart to heart talks this past year, those tearful pleadings for God to soften hearts and mold us to be like him… I saw them being answered…and I couldn’t help but rejoice!