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!  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

simple changes.

The Lord has certainly been displaying His mighty hand in my life.  Well, the truth is He ALWAYS has been, I've just been too selfishly consumed in my own thoughts, time, and words to really hear Him.

What it comes down to is this.  My life is not meant to live here on earth in the selfish, unaware way that I've been living it.  Others may say, "Sara, you are NOT selfish!  You're so nice" etc. etc.

That's nice to hear.......  in my own prideful ears.

Life is too short.  I want to spend more time on eternal investments.  My husband, my children, my family, other PEOPLE.

This book has encouraged me.
10 trips to the thrift store, unloading my suburban, has left me with less of a burden on the homefront (i.e. cleaning, organizing, picking up) and given me more time with my husband, children and others.
I'm not even close to done either.  We're going beyond 40 bags in 40 days type decluttering.  Less truly is More.

This book has convicted me.  Marriage is hard?  amen.  My husband's sole purpose is not to meet my unsaid expectations to continually meet my every need?  amen.  Marriage is a Sanctification process that means I must stop being so self centered?  AMEN!!!  Friends,  marriage is a life long, enduring, grueling, glorious, amazing, hard, commitment that, in the end, should be purposed to glorify God, not ourselves.

I believe that everyone's journey to draw closer to God LOOKS different.  For me, right now, I am being convicted to simplify and serve.  Simplify the blog, my home, Facebook, clothes, everything really.  Serve my husband, my family, others, anyone.  People matter.  All people.  Regarding serving people, or putting others in front of yourself, however you want to word it;  I have learned that doing this just to make my self feel better is, again, just a form of pride and self centeredness.

Serving others to glorify God takes away any expectation of a "thank you" or reciprocation or feeling like I should pat myself on the back.  To simply serve to bring God glory is so so basic.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


hank and chichi playing with the manger scene.  i love how often the kids play with this each year.  


i really treasure the relationships my children have with each other.  over the years i have seen them grow closer together because we are home together all day.  i am so glad the big kids are around to see their younger siblings grow up.....

we have most of our "to do" stuff for Christmas finished and I am so looking forward to these last few days of a bit more peace and quietness.  continuing to prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior's birth.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

finding joy in the deepest of sorrows.....

countless times i have started this post in my head just to close my eyes and walk away from the computer.  some things in life are just too hard.  writing about the sudden and tragic death of my sweet 3 1/2 year old nephew is one of those things.  not just "one of"  but "THE" hardest ever in my life thus far.

he went safely into the arms of Jesus on Monday, September 16 after a valiant fight for his little life following a near drowning.

pleading to God, praying without ceasing, crying, and groaning all ensued throughout the time i found out about his accident to the time he went to be with Jesus.  such deep deep sorrow.

yet we have hope.  i am going to share a video and some of the many Bible passages that we shared among friends and family.  there is the greatest joy (knowing that ry is with Jesus) mixed with the very deepest of sorrow (that he is actually gone from this earth).  it is the joy that makes others wonder, "how can you move forward?" "how can you have happy laughing moments anymore?" 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

God IS good.  He is the creator of all life and if we have no hope then life is meaningless.  end of discussion.  BUT.....when there IS hope, NOTHING is meaningless..... please watch the following video:

and the story behind the song:

we are closing in almost 2 months since he went to be with Jesus forever.  Life is different.  It just is and it always will be.

I'm not very eloquent with words yet I have so many I want to pour out.

Psalm 91 is a chapter that I prayed fervently during the days ry was in the hospital.  It is a prayer of protection and hope.

Super smiley.  So very tender.  His ears and his voice.  Gentle with babies.  Silly little giggle.

" I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." ~Alfred Lord Tennyson~

loss is hard.  this is hard.  we were never promised that we would never endure hardship.  oh Lord, my God, when I pray to You, I believe and know that You are the giver of life.  You created Ry and perfectly placed him with his dad and mom and siblings.  I am so thankful for his life, that I loved him.   So very thankful for each of my children, all my nieces and nephews and family.  God, you are my refuge and my fortress, my God in who I trust.

ry man, i'm so very thankful for the certainty we have in knowing you are with Jesus.  smiling and being loved on in such a tremendous way.  i love you.

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