Life in Northern Cal: Modeling Good Habits and Helping the Homeless

There are so many exciting things going on in our chilly little Northern Cal world, it’s hard to keep my head on straight!

Alan is in the middle of a mid-term schedule that has him pretty stressed. He actually has to go out of town later this week to test out a drone parachute that he designed. Woohoo!

Alan and I are so different. No one would ever, in a billion years, ask me to design ANYTHING. Thanks to this design project, Alan and I now share the love for Brittany’s, which is a delightful craft store, similar to Hobby Lobby!

John David’s language abilities are exploding. He still speaks in small phrases, but it’s just adorable to hear him talk. Meanwhile, he and Daniel have developed an obsession with baseball caps. Daniel wears his tee-ball team hat, which is blue, and JD wears a red Nats hat. They run around like this, feeling so important. Daniel even wears his to bed.

Daniel wears his full uniform at all times that he can get away with it. He’d love nothing more than to wear it to church, bed, and everything.  Alan is very excited to have a son that likes baseball as much as he does, and they go out in the yard and practice together. I just love to hear it.

Sometimes I start to think that our little family is getting over the hump of the exhausting baby/toddler phase. Then we experience a full family outing failure, and I am reminded that the hump is still a mountain to us.

The boys’ end of the year CC program was pretty much a total disaster for Alan and me. First, Caleb, while on stage in the large group opener, made faces. Meanwhile, JD kept crying out. Well, you can’t keep a crying toddler in an auditorium, so we kept taking turns walking out with him. Since we were up and down with JD, Daniel took that to mean that he could be up and down and up and down and up and down too, so we left Tuesday night feeling like we only have one kid that knows how to behave in public.

It was a humbling experience. Really, we live feeling pretty humble. Managing four kids: hard for us–others make it look easy. Homeschooling: hard for us–others think it’s big fun.

After Caleb left the stage from the opener, where he was making the faces, Alan whispered to me, “You might need to go say something to him.”

But Caleb was on the other side of the room, sitting with his class, and the show was well underway.

“Maybe Lindsay (Caleb’s tutor) will say something to him. Lindsay’s good that way.”

She did. We were safe. No more faces for the second performance. PHEW!!!

Once a children’s church worker told me this story about my children, “I heard someone talking, and I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was Joshua. He’s supposed to be the shy guy, right? So I called him over and made him sit by me. After a while, I told him he could go back to his seat, but he could not talk any more. He said, ‘Yes, sir,’ and he went back over there and never uttered another word. That’s really great! I mean, hey, a kid that listens to instruction!”

So no, our kids aren’t perfect. No one’s are, but I’m going to go on feeling good about them because they do listen to instruction (most of the time), and most importantly, they have precious hearts.

Daniel was eating his lunch the other day, and he asked, “Where’s JD?”

“Napping,” I said.

“Oh, Me see him sleeping on the monitor. He’s precious,” Daniel giggled.

Oh yes, he IS precious, and so was the little boy talking about him, with the sun butter on his cheek and the baseball uniform on, even though it wasn’t game day.




Caleb has always been a big defender of the underdog. Don’t even get me started on how much I ADORE the way he randomly heats me up cups of coffee and brings them to me throughout the day.

Recently Joshua has become a huge advocate of the poor and the homeless, especially the homeless. He wants to go around giving them all tents. He talks about it day and night, every day, which warms my heart, but it also challenges me.

These kids have a need to SEE us helping the poor. Yes, we do give money to causes and church, which help the poor, but the boys are wanting to SEE us do that. I’m not sure how to go about it. Does anyone have any specific suggestions? We’ll be happy to take ideas!

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”   Proverbs 19:7

We only have three weeks of school left, yall!  This is so exciting!! I can’t tell you how relieved I feel.

Next year’s curriculum!

Planning for next year is underway. This is paramount. Every weekend this year, I had to work on plans and organizing the next week’s school work because I was unable to prepare last summer, thanks to the move. THIS year, if I can get most of that done before the school year starts, I will have more free time DURING the school year. So maybe my house will be cleaner, but most importantly, I will have less stress!

Alan’s parents are arriving this week to help with the kids. This will give me some extra time to plan and Alan and I a little time together. We’re hoping to go to Yosemite National Park. We are hoping to do a lot of hiking,  and speaking of exercise….I got a blog opportunity that I’m excited about last week.

Coach Cox from this website: offered to be my personal trainer this month for free, and all I have to do is tell you all about his service.

I’ve mentioned before that I get offers for services and products like this, and I rarely take them on, but the idea of focusing on living more healthy sounded like something I need.

My goals: 1. Lose a little of this mum tum. (Yes, I do realize my gut is protruding.)

2. Have more energy.

3. Just take better care of myself in general because motherhood requires putting yourself on the back burner a lot, and I let it go a little far this year.

We are able to take care of others better when we first keep ourselves healthy. Plus, as they say, “More is caught than taught,” so our kids need to see us modeling good habits.

So my first challenge:  Drink 70 ounces of water/day! Justin figures up how much water you should drink based on your body weight, so that’s my number.

It’s only been two days, but I’m doing great. I told one of my friends here about the water thing. She said, “Is that hard for you?”

Um, yeah! Normally I drink like 20 ounces of water/day!

I’m also supposed to be eating more nutritionally and working out 3 times/week. I’ll let ya know how that goes this week. At least I’m drinking my water, so you know, yea me!!  🙂

Best thing about this whole online personal trainer thing: I get an app on my phone to track what I’m doing. He sends you exact work outs, complete with videos, tailored to your needs, and you can ask any questions you need to ask. So far, I think it’s AWESOME. I will let yall know more about this as I get further along in the program!

Speaking of trying to take better care of myself, guess what else I did?

Mother’s Day 2015

I CUT MY HAIR. This is really only a big deal to me. Most people I know didn’t even notice the change. It had been a YEAR since I got my hair cut, so this felt like a great, big deal. Alan was so tired of hearing me gripe about my hair, he finally made the appointment for me. Thanks, Alan.

Caleb, me, and my new hair. Next week: Perhaps I will make it to make-up.

Caleb, me, and my new hair. Next week: Perhaps I will make it to make-up.

I think Alan’s statement the day after my haircut sums up this whole year of adjusting to California, learning how to home school, taking care of 4 little boys, and just my general experience over the last year. He said, “It’s so good to see you back to yourself. That hair cut was really what you needed to get your confidence back.”

Boo-yah. April is back. 😉

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”         Psalm 20:7-8





  • You look amazing girl! I need to follow your lead and start taking some time for myself too. It’s been over 2 years since my last hair cut. (I know, I know.. awful lol!)

    Our children’s ministry team at church makes up ‘blessing bags’ for the homeless in our area for the children to hand out with their parents. (gallon-sized ziplocs with toiletries, snacks, socks, gloves, and a Bible or devotional) It’s something that Ayden really loves being a part of!
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  • Nonna

    That blessing bag idea sounds great! I think the boys would really be excited about that.

  • Nana

    You look great! Love your hair! Ditto on the blessing bag idea.

  • It’s so hard to remember to have ‘you’ time as a mom! I find it hard with two little ones so I can’t imagine how hard it is with 4, plus homeschooling on top! Hats off to you mama! I am sure your boys will really appreciate it when they are older 🙂 Super cute hair by the way!

    My kids are still young, only 2.5 and 9mo….but we have started taking part in what we hope will be a thanksgiving tradition. We get together on Thanksgiving morning with a whole bunch of neighbours and make ‘lunches’ and care packages for the homeless in the area and then go hand them out. My daughter thought it was great this year that she was ‘giving the men bananas’…I am hoping over the years she appreciates what it means and tries to mirror this in her own life.
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    • Thank you! I remember how challenging it is with the first two little ones, though. There are no mini-helpers around, so it’s all you.
      I love your Thanksgiving tradition. I know that will carry a lot of weight with your children!

  • Sweet, a personal trainer! That sounds awesome. I am afraid to know how much water I should be drinking, because I know I am drinking WAY less than I should be (scary). No wonder I probably feel all worn out all of the time. Your hair looks super cute and I wouldn’t worry about the makeup. You are pretty without it! I think it has been a solid month since I put on any myself…
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    • Well, first of all, thank you so much. Have you really not worn make-up for a month? Did you read the article about dressing up each day? I was like, “OH man, and here I am in my no make-up and jogging pants…..and yet I have not been jogging.. oh no I am that mom!!” 🙂 Tomorrow. I will dress better tomorrow.
      OH! And so glad to hear I’m not the only one that doesn’t remember to drink water!

  • KT

    Great post, April. 1) Your hair looks amazing. (Maybe it’s time to get mine cut. Yes, it’s been about a year!) 2)Don’t get discouraged, homeschooling is hard even for those of us who think it’s big fun, and it Does get easier as you go. 3)The Littles and I pick random churches and deliver boxes of canned goods to their doorsteps for them to distribute to the needy in their congregations. It’s a safe way to show action. 🙂
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    • Oooooh! I like that too b/c every church has members and visitors that need help! And thank you so much for the encouragement. I love getting kind words from veteran home schoolers!!

  • McMom

    Okay, first, Daniel looks like the world’s cutest rapper in those first two pictures – too funny. And does JD eat broccoli?! If so, way to go! We will have to arrange a time when Wesley can see that…

    Our church does a “blanket ministry” and collects and passes out blankets, I know in the winter (not sure about summer – our nights aren’t as chilly as yours). A large group goes out to distribute, so there’s some safety in numbers. It started out small, and now (over a decade later) provides well over a thousand blankets each year, plus hot meals every week. It was one lady’s vision that exploded. She and her husband are now working on writing a book, to tell their (the homeless peoples’) stories.

    Yay for increasing your H2O increase so much!!! Boo-yah 🙂

    • He did end up looking like a rapper. I think the bill of the hat is so large for them, it gets in their faces, so they wear it like that.
      All of the boys like broccoli. I steam it with garlic and butter. That goes a long way. Have you tried that?
      The blanket ministry sounds wonderful. I wish the stories of the GOOD things people do for each other were told more often! Wonderful idea.
      I’m having a hard time getting to 70 oz. I keep ending up at more like 60 ounces.
      aprilmomoffour recently posted…Life in Northern Cal: Modeling Good Habits and Helping the HomelessMy Profile

  • Our school ends next Friday.

    I try to drink more water too. I’m working on it!
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  • I can’t wait to hear about your Coach Cox experience! Taking time for you is essential and you’re right: more is caught than taught, so it’ll be great for the kids, too.

    Yosemite without the kids? Kind of sounds like sheer bliss!
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