Beauty, Joy, and JD Sings in Latin


“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”  –Lady Bird Johnson

Spring is one of those things you can’t help but notice. That’s the way it is with beauty. It is inspirational. When beauty surrounds you, you can’t help but feel better.


I took this photo on my walk the other day.

It’s funny how on my sick days I often feel too miserable to want to do chores, but I’m rarely feeling bad enough to not want to go out for a walk in the sunshine. It’s positively healing, isn’t it?


Even paths that lead to nowhere look best in spring.

I think that when you are surrounded by small, needy preschool darlings, (And they are darling. They can’t help that they are needy), you need to frequently step away for at least 20 minutes to regain perspective. It’s a battery re-charge that is REQUIRED to go on providing love to others. My favorite place to re-charge is a walk.

Nature is so obvious with its beauty. The Lord’s handiwork surpasses anything man can make. I’ve never been as inspired by concrete as I am by a good cliff or a stately tree. And yet, also, I love what man does with a green space. I’m always inspired by gardens of order and symmetry. Wild nature or well tended gardens, I love it all.

Do you know what else is obviously beautiful? Small children.  I’ve been mommy-ing for 10 years. I’ve rarely been truly depressed in that time because these little devils keep me so busy and challenged and yet so darn happy!

I can remember only one phase of feeling depressed, and it was during my second pregnancy. But we had just moved. Alan had to work long hours, and it was just a bad combination of hormones + circumstances. Plus, I was pregnant, so even though my depression was caused by hormones, I couldn’t take anything for it because I was pregnant.

Thankfully, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and with the pregnancy hormones gone, I was actually happier postpartum than I had felt in years. (I do realize it’s usually the opposite that’s true. I am grateful it didn’t hang on.)

These children bring us so much joy.



Dan, exercising his brain, also beautiful.


learning to blow bubbles under water


Little minds at work. Work, minds, work.


JD and his locked up latch board. He was quite proud of his accomplishments on this board. Don’t you love it when they are excited to accomplish things?



I passed this cat on my walk. I’ve always thought cats were prettier than dogs. Sorry, dog people. I will always be #teamcat.



Confession: When feeling sick, I sometimes unashamedly let them watch too much t.v. Also, I love Peppa Pig.



The day I took this photo I thought my living room was so messy. Now I’m looking at it and thinking we were doing pretty good for four kids. Don’t you think?? I should chill.

P.S. How cute are my new Clarks loafers? And they are oh-so-cozy!!


JD, the ultimate Classical Conversations toddler, playing his tin whistle

I feel like JD is the quintessential Classical Conversations little bro toddler. We have to keep up our CC memory work next year because we’ve come too far to let it go. Next year, the big boys will be going to a Christian school. Daniel will be going to a neighborhood kindergarten, and JD will be home with me, but I still hope to keep up the CC memory work.

Let me tell you what JD walks around the house singing lately:

“us, us, ui, um, uuuuuu”

Yep, those are Latin noun endings, I forget which declension that is, but still, I think it’s hilarious that my two-year-old is walking around singing Latin.


I’m taken with these trees. Lovely in the day time, haunting in the evening.



my little ball player, tracing his w’s

I hope you are all having a great week. Alan and Caleb just got home from baseball practice. It’s Alan’s final stretch in completing his thesis, but you know Alan, that didn’t stop him from signing up to coach both Daniel and Caleb’s baseball teams. He’s also still teaching TNT boys at AWANA on Wednesday nights at church. He could probably use prayers even more than I can!

But we aren’t fooling ourselves. We know that we’re living a beautiful life here in California. And today we are counting our blessings, and thanking you all for always being so supportive.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King.”     Psalm 98:4-6



because this old picture just never gets old to me *hehehe*

Okay, one more quote, because this one is just too good to not leave you with:

“Imagine a world without beauty and dare to say that the beauty is vanity.”  –

Beauty isn’t vanity, is it? It serves a purpose, and beauty is no less of a gift than any other.




So let’s just talk about the two-year-old and other updates


my chubby little cherubs



Soccer season is officially over. We have a couple of weeks of peace and quiet. (Sort of. We do still have four children.) Then basketball season starts. Caleb and Joshua will be playing on the same team this year, with Alan as their coach!

Daniel is now enrolled in a pre-school! Just half day, and he doesn’t start until January, but  I’m excited for him. He’s going to love it.


JD is becoming quite the blabber mouth. It used to be that Dan followed me around all day and talked my ear off. Then the cold and the rain came. JD does not enjoy the cold or the rain, so he stays inside now. He’s like a leg appendage half the time, and he has plenty to tell us. There is no word that he cannot say. There is no feeling that he cannot express. There is no need or want that he does not feel compelled to share with me.

“Gert? Gert? I want gert.” That’s right. JD correctly uses pronouns. Hurray!

“JD, please get out of the fridge, and yes, you may have a yogurt, but get out of the refrigerator.”

“Poon. Poon. I get it. I get a poon,” as he fishes around the drawer, which is so high compared to him, that he can only peek into it with one eye, as his hand searches for a spoon.

“Got it!” He runs to the table.

“Nakin. Nakin.”

“There’s a napkin right in front of you. See?”


He says ‘oh’ all the time, and it’s adorable. He tells people hello, and it’s adorable. He says pretty much anything and it’s adorable. That’s the beauty of being two.

“Done! Cars. Cars. Cars. Cars book. Read me. Read me this Cars book,” as he shoves his laptop-sized book in your face.

I try to at least read to him once per day. The others all got so much more of my time. I want to squeeze this poor little home-school toddler. If his brothers were at school, he’d get so much more of my time.

There are so many pros and cons to the home schooling. JD may not get as much one-on-one, but he adores running around with his big brothers, which he gets to do so much more of this way. He’s much better at entertaining himself than he probably would be if he were my sole focus. He made a Duplo tower today, all by himself, that was as tall as he is.

Oh, and the boy has sweet manners. I never have to ask him to say ‘thank you,’ he does it naturally. He also says, “No, thank you,” when he doesn’t want something.


I’m off to bed. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. My old lady hip is angry with me. If it doesn’t improve, I will be tempted to cave and get a steroid injection. I keep reminding myself of the long term disadvantages to that, though, so I’d rather not.

I did receive the rheumatologist referral in the mail this week, so maybe I will soon be getting more answers. God knows. God knows what is causing my pain, and he knows what I need.

This home-school experiment has forced me to lean on the Lord more than I ever have, and  I’m learning so much. I would that everyone would have the opportunity to be given more than they can handle! Haha! That’s what it has taken for me to learn how to trust God more.

Okay. I will really go to bed now. Bring on the weekend!



Just the Funny Paper, Please

Just the funny paper

Case of the Missing Lightning McQueens: Solved!

JD is obsessed with three things: dirt, Lightning McQueen, and Mom. After all, he’s two.

He inherited at least one Lightning McQueen car from his big bros, but he has also been given several as gifts. He got at least one for Christmas, he got three or more for his birthday, plus he got one when Nonna visited. All total, I’m thinking there should be a pile of 10 Lightning McQueens somewhere in this house, yet we can never find ANY of them.

The other day, JD was under the dining room table, when he suddenly began shouting, “McQueen! McQueen! McQueen! Lightning McQueen!”

Alan was home alone with JD. I have no idea where the rest of us were. Alan crawled under the table with Dirt Boy, and sure enough there was the cache! FOUR Lightning McQueens and several race cars were all hiding in a panel under the table. You could just see one on the end poking out, and the rest were still in the panel. Alan had to slowly work them out from this wooden tunnel that we did not even know existed under our table.

It was the event of the week. Caleb and Daniel arrived home and pounced on the opportunity that I have been promising them but have yet to deliver them.

Daniel snatched one up, “Write my name on this one! Write my name on here!”

JD was in bed, so the collection was left undefended.

You see, JD is a HOG of Lightning McQueens and race cars. No one else gets to touch one if he’s around. I dutifully wrote Daniel’s name on one and Caleb’s name on another.

Our boys take the whole name-stamped-ownership thing as gospel truth, an unbreakable definition of ownership. Even JD understands the importance of it.

Unfortunately, I wrote Daniel’s name on a rusted one, so he keeps trying to trade JD, only to be met with, “NO! This yours (points to Daniel’s name). This mine!” as he points to his own name on the shiny new one.

There can never be enough Lightning McQueens.


A couple of weeks ago, Nonna texted me a question that went something like this, “Can you post your favorite pics of the boys? I’m working on a Christmas project.”

I texted her back, “Christmas!? It’s only August!”

“Get with the program, girl! Christmas is only 11 weeks away!” she sent back.

So I sent her this picture, because this is how I feel about Christmas shopping, airplane tickets, and suitcases:


Oh, Christmas….

I have my reasons….

Thank you, Merry Christmas, Excuse Me, I’m Sorry…..On the return trip it took a month to get all of our suitcases back…

Our Nightmare Before Christmas….You would cry too if it happened to you.

Melancholy Christmas Cards and Dental Nightmares

I need to remind myself of this one: Best Christmas Ever



 JD ate three bowls of cereal this morning, and when he was finished he took both of his spoons and ran to the kitchen. He opened the spoon drawer, tossed in the two dirty spoons, and proudly proclaimed, “Did it!” Then he dashed to the living room.

A super-mom probably would have taken that opportunity to show JD how to put his spoons in the sink. Actually, Super-Mom would have only allowed him the one spoon in the first place…

I, on the other hand, busted out laughing and rushed to find Alan to tell him the story. Oh, but first I made a note on the wipe-off board to put it on my blog.

Then I finally fished the offending spoons out myself.


Roll Tide, y’all!

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