Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 2015.

I love October.  I really do.  This picture of Jerry (yes, that's his nickname...) was snapped on the way to church this past Sunday.  Total sleepiness, morning sun, long sleeves and cozy.  Michigan lends itself to foggy mornings, beautiful fall colors on the trees, crisp cool air and I'm just gonna say it.  Donuts and Cider.

We made our way to our local pumpkin patch this year and our rule is:  if you can lift the pumpkin up and get it in the wagon, we can get it.  Our kids are older and stronger and I must say our pumpkin collection by the front door dons a couple very large pumpkins! And a few tiny ones.

I have to add this picture of Jerry Bear.  He's been sucking his bottom lip and jamming his fists into his mouth (a-la teething).  He often waits right here in the middle of our bed, happy as a clam.  I mean look at his hair?  How could he not feel awesome?

We are enjoying a fall break right now from Classical Conversations and have a couple of fun activities planned.  I so love the freedom homeschooling has given us as a family!  Happy October!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer and our 11th year of Homeschooling!

This summer has simply gone too quickly.  There was swimming, play dates, book clubs and babysitting, movies, golf and piano.  We don't typically go anywhere on vacation during the summer months, opting rather to stay around town and swim, golf and visit with family and friends.

Can you believe my little man is nearing 4 months!?!  His hair is coming in blonde, he laughs a LOT, and loves to be held.

ChiChi turned 3!  This nickname has stuck pretty heartily, although its often shortened to Cheech or even Sneech.  He love to ride the tractor with daddy, and "mower the lawn".

His favorite shows are Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies.  He says "I love you mom" unprompted. Its so precious to hear his voice forming all sorts of sentences and thoughts, ideas and even an occasional movie line!
We are embarking on our 3rd year of Classical Conversations!  Our oldest daughter will be in Challenge 1, our second daughter in Challenge A, then the boys are in a mix of Foundations and Foundations and Essentials.

The girls started early as the CC Challenge program is 30 weeks where the Foundations and Essentials is only 24.  So they had their own "First Day" photos.  You can see our other First Day Photos ---> 2011  2012 

Deanie is in High School!  and Dancy is in 7th grade.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

catching up.

I'd say I have quite a bit of catching up to do!  We have had baby!, a wonderful school year, birthdays, yard projects, home projects, holidays, and of course everyday life going on.

First and foremost, we are so so happy to announce the birth of our seventh child, our fifth boy!  He came into this world with a ton of dark hair, blue eyes and at home.  That's right.  We experienced our first home birth!  It was planned and went so well.

Here is our little man who is now nearing 2 months.

He is nursing like a champ.  But I would like to be honest and say that nursing is an endeavor.  Especially in the beginning.  My milk always comes in around day 3.  And with a vengeance.  There are ice packs involved.  Then for the next 2 weeks latching on hurts!  All I can say is 'stick with it' and 'use lanolin from day 1'.  I am now experiencing the joy of breastfeeding and all the bonding/money saving/wonderful things you read about in books.

One of my recent purchases has been THIS nursing cover.  It actually COVERS my sides and my back!  It is perfectly stretchy and lightweight and doubles as a carseat cover.  Hands down one of those items that I wish I had 7 babies ago.


So much to catch up on!  We continue to take it one day at a time around here and enjoy our moments and memories. :)


Monday, November 17, 2014

Favorite Toys 2014

i always find it so very helpful when others share their favorite tried and true toys and gift ideas.  i have done gift lists in the past on my blog so i thought i'd share some more in hopes that it will be helpful to someone else.

these are all toys that have been tried and true in our household!  real favorites :)

don't forget extra darts!

make sure to add a wiffle bat.

this is the exact hoop we have and keep it indoors.  the kids love to play year round.
you can see some of our own keva creations here. make sure you get a lot so the kids can share... this equals hours of fun!

lord of the rings.  also, the chronicles of narnia.  (these are excellent read alouds for older children as well!)

*these are affiliate links through amazon.  but you all know i only recommend my favorites!
happy shopping.

i'd love to hear your favorites in the comments!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Strawberry picking.

Can you believe I have never been strawberry picking? Yet another joy of michigan living is the abundant strawberry season... Yum!
This will definitely be a new tradition.
I see pies, jam, and dried strawberries in my near future!! Do you have a favorite strawberry recipe?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


cannonballs and dives.  daily.

i recently found this you tuber/doctor/fashion blogger.  

our family is doing the Bible Bee this summer!  lots of Bible memorization and a great study of the book of Jonah for all age levels.  The Jonah study is a Sword Study and I think any of the Sword Studies would be excellent for homeschooling.  Each child would have an independent workbook at their level for Bible.  Purchase here

it's been just over a year since i've been going to the gym, regularly, at 5:30am.  it took my body about 2 months to stop fighting the early wakeup call.  i have met some wonderful ladies that share that same crazy hour with me and keep me motivated.  i feel stronger and most importantly it helps my mental state of mind.  i've had maybe one or two episodes of feeling depressed and that is a HUGE improvement!  go for a walk and release those endorphins mommies! (and stay in the word)

i'm gearing up to teach the play camp, with my sister, at our local Classical Conversations practicum. we completed our first year of CC and i can not say it loud enough.... "we love CC!!". 

challenge A graduate.  during the course of the year, each student had to memorize every country and its capital and be able to draw it freehand.  sounds super impossible but CC does a great job of breaking it down and making it possible.  this is my oldest daughter on the day of final testing with all she knew for memory of the world.  not every country and capital was named but we are SO proud of all her hard work!
again, on our final day of testing.  each challenge A student had to present their final thesis.  my daughter's was:  "why did God create the world if He knew there would be sin?".

this is one awesome group of CC Challenge A kids!!  

texas cousins came to the mitten!  i haven't seen these girls in over 10 years.  that is way too long.  check out my cousin abby's blog.  

i have TWO new nephews!!  ahhhh..... love. love. love. (i have 2 more little nieces/nephew) on the way too!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the beginning of summer.

i decided to capture some 'posed' pictures because it seems as of late that i've only been taking action shots....  i don't want to miss the details in their sweet little faces as they grow so fast!

like hank's super toothless smile!

the kids would stay outside all day if i let them... and honestly some days are mostly all outside days! 

they love to:
- work on the trail (cut back branches, rake the path)
- ride bikes
- play driveway tennis
- swim
- check on the garden

so back to the 'action shots'...

this started with dancy determined to teach chichi "ring around the rosie".... well soon after a group effort was in place.... 

mission accomplished!

i usually find him here with a book. :)

and the way his thighs touch when he stands like this..... love love love.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

11 and 13.

we have recently celebrated our two oldest daughters as they turned 11 and 13.

the birthday box.  dancy has been completely on board with our de-cluttering and simplifying from the get go, so eliminating individual gifts and requesting money in cards was the way we went.

everyone dropped their cards or cards w/ money into the birthday box as they came in.  when it was time for gifts she unwrapped the birthday box and opened each card individually.

She ended up with almost enough money for an iPod.  after some seriously hard earned money from work around the house she had enough and has since purchased an iPod with her own money.

chichi blew out her candle for her :)

 this being her 11th birthday i "swept her away" to chicago for 1 night and 2 days!  Her older sister was "swept away" on her 11th birthday as well.
 this is a very special time for just the two of us...  we laugh, talk, share, listen and have FUN!
 i was able to snag 2 seats at the girl & the goat!  this is extremely rare and partly due to the fact that it was like -20 degrees outside... brrrrr......  the food. is. fabulous.  hands down amazing.
 yes, those are green beans.  salty, savory, eat the whole dish good green beans!
 because it was SOOOO cold, we had the city of chicago practically to ourselves.  the aquarium, the stores, the restaurants.
 since this was a very special weekend, daddy picked us up from the train station and took us out to dinner where he gave dancy a very special necklace.  a reminder of how much God loves her, how much we love her.
 drumroll please...... we have a teenager in the house!! and. i. LOVE. it!!  we celebrated with cousins, aunts and nana at an art institute, ate a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.

 these two sisters are best friends.  they're honest, funny, each unique and very helpful!  I pray that they will continue to be giving, confident, happy, God fearing, and feel loved.
 deanie received 13 gifts for her 13th birthday.  some of the 13 gifts were:
1.  crossbody purse
2.  shorts
3.  eyelash curler
4.  bb cream (a tinted moisturizer)
5.  lulu zippy
6.  sunglasses....

 for her "cake" we ordered cupcakes from a local cupcakery :)  she also has recently had braces put on her teeth .... and her smile is as big as ever.  i love that!!  i have loved all the stages and ages my children have gone through and i thought i might be 'sad' that deanie was growing up or getting older but i truly am so excited for her and really love spending time with her. :)
this is the oldest picture on my computer that i have of deanie (with my mom) 12 years ago!  

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