Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blank Space

Our 4th of July weekend couldn't have been any more perfect.  

And we didn't do one single thing.  A weekend on the calendar with nothing but blank space is a treasure, especially after a long baseball season that has filled up every weekend since about March.  
It left time for diving board jumping.  I sat on the chair and watched the boys laugh and giggle as they jumped.  These days are so sweet and I love it when I can slow down enough to enjoy it.

We walked down a couple of blocks to our neighborhood's parade.  It was perfect and small and they threw some candy out so the kids were happy.

The boys took turns mowing the lawn.  We did nothing Friday, except grill some hamburgers, make homemade ice cream and hop in the car when it got late and saw some fireworks from the highway.  It gave me time to organize the pantry and take care of all the piles in the house that have accumulated over the last months.  

Chris took the boys ALL day on Saturday to do various errands (museum and horse races… basically, he's super dad!) so I could get some things done around the house.  I purged the school room and did some home school planning.

We had a lazy Sunday morning too.  We had french toast, Nutella, whipped cream and strawberries before we hopped in the car for church.  

A weekend full of blank space.  It was lovely in every way.

Monday, July 7, 2014

He can't possibly be 11.

Every July, his birthday creeps up on me.  I think it's because June only has 30 days (30 days hath September…).  His birthday is July 1st, but he was supposed to be born in the middle of June, but he insisted coming at his very own pace.  I was induced a full two weeks late and out came Asher, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of him.  He couldn't have looked any more different than his brother Graham.  They still hardly look like brothers… so different in looks and personality.  

We are so blessed to have Asher in our family.  He's that kid that everyone likes to be around.  Or at least I do.  He's content to do what you like to do, but also has interests of his own.  The Rangers have disappointed him this year, so every morning he tells me how long their losing streak has been and who else is on the injured list.  He also asks me what kind of homemade ice cream we might make that night.  And he also might tell me that it's Wednesday and today is the last day to get grapes for 99 cents at Sprouts.  He then might meander into the piano room and try to play by ear some song he heard on the radio.  He has many interests, this kid.  I love that I get to spend my days with him and his brothers, watching these little boys become young men.  Soon (these years are passing so quickly) they will be grown men ready to make a life of their own, and I can't imagine it without a tear in my eye.  But I know when it happens, I will embrace that too.  

Back to his birthday.

Asher is easy to celebrate because he tells you what he wants to do.  His tastes are simple and he finds joy in the little things.  

Like free smoothies...
A good way to start his birthday on the way to swim team. 

Daddy showed up to be with him.  Everyone says Asher is a spitting image of his dad, lucky guy.  

Opening up a fun box from Grandma and Grandpa.

Asher requested a salad bar and wild rice soup for his birthday dinner.  I said he could invite four families over to celebrate (even four families ended up being 29 people!).  It was fun to watch him decide who to pick… his little mind going back and forth.   I was a little worried not everyone would enjoy the salad bar, but surprisingly the kids loved it.  I think they liked choosing their own toppings.  And I made homemade ranch, which is essential to any salad bar with lots of people under the age of 12 going through it.   

I aways love my kitchen filled with dear friends.  It's my happy place :)

We've been watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network so Asher knew he wanted this cake.  It has chocolate, Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream, so you can't really go wrong.  It's worth making.  It was delicious for adults and kids.  I made two of them and just had a little bit left over.  

These images of Asher while we are singing to him are my favorite because he makes these expressions a lot.  I'm glad to have them captured.  

Happy birthday, sweet Asher.  We love you more than you know.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wrapping Up Another Year

Life is full of surprises.  At age 22, I never would have dreamed that at the age of (almost) 40 I would still be spending my days at home schooling my kids.  That would not have sounded appealing to me.  But that was before I was a mother, and before I had five boys.  Now I love each and every minute that we get to have together.  Well, maybe not every moment, but most moments.  Childhood is fleeting.  It's there and gone in a moment, and for right now, home schooling fits for our family.  I love that we are all together most of the time.  We enjoy our cozy days at home learning together.

We did it.  We finished another year of school at home.  This year was a good one, but it wasn't easy.  We worked hard.  Let's face it, I worked hard.  From the moment I get up, there are little people needing me pretty much until the moment I go to bed.  But we are learning together about how this "homeschooling older kids thing" needs to go.  Graham and Asher had to step it up a bit this year and become more independent.  This was also our first year of Classical Conversations and they had to jump into a program that is probably best done from the time you are younger.  We had lots of talks about working hard and about WHY school is important (because it certainly isn't always fun for my boys).

On to some pictures...
These pictures were from their research papers.  Graham was William Wallace.  He read his paper is full accent and loved every minute of it.  Getting up in front of people is his thing.  

Asher was John Calvin.  Luckily, we have a couple people in our lives who went to Calvin College who could lend him a "costume."  He did a great job too, but was probably more happy when it was over.

The older girls are so sweet to my little boys.  And Nathan is quite smitten with them.

He even got a lesson from Robin Hood ;)

And the whole 4-6th grade class.  It was a great year.  

But now we've moved on to summer.  And summer is just the best, isn't it?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saying Good-bye

My parents spent a couple of months living with us this winter.  They are becoming snow birds, leaving the cold, wintery frozen tundra of Minnesota and spending those harsh, winter months with us.  It's a wonderful time for all of us.  My parents get to experience a bit of our chaos.  My kids get the individual attention that they don't always have.  I am able to retreat to run an errand or hit Starbucks by myself more than I often than I normally do.  

But all fun must come to an end and it's hard to say good-bye.  
As you can tell, Samuel already very unhappy in this picture.

A comforting hand from an older brother… I love this picture.

I think it's good that they're so sad.  It's good to be missed.  I remember being so exited when my grandparents would come and visit.  And being so very sad when they left.  

Thanks for blessing us this winter, Mom and Dad!  Come back again soon :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ten Things

Well, it's been quite awhile since I've written on this blog.  There's much to say and it makes me overwhelmed to think about writing it all down.  And then I don't feel like blogging because I feel like I need to catch up on the last couple of months.  So I won't.

I'll just write about a few things that are happening right now.

1.  Nathan has been sleeping in our room lately, not every night, but he's been falling asleep faster away from his brothers.  He's a chatty little guy, so he goes to sleep better when he doesn't have anyone to talk with.  Then we move him to the couch when we go to bed.  We find him like this is the morning.  And every morning my heart melts.  Every morning I also think about how I might freeze time and sit and watch him sleep in all his cuteness forever.

2.  Speaking of our room, Chris did a DIY project for me this month!!!  He painted the legs gold on this table and now we have the raddest (and cheapest) desk in our room right now.  I love it.  Now I need chairs.  And I need to figure out what to put on the wall above the desk.  This is Chris's little office space so I guess I'll give him some say in the matter ;)

3.  Graham is my reader.  We have that in common.  When I was his age, I was reading everything I could get my hands on.  We bought The Hobbit a couple of years ago expecting him to dive into it, but it never caught his fancy.  Then he saw some clips of the movie at Costco last week.  He wanted to see the movie and I told him he has the read the book first.  A few days later and he's all done… now he's ready to start the next book.  I love it when my motivation schemes work, because most of the time, they don't!

4.  Texas has had the most lovely spring.  It hasn't been "Texas hot" until this last week.  That is perfect because the pool opens next week.  Swim team already started this week.  I'm ready to spend long afternoons at the pool and long weekends at baseball tournaments.

5.  Instagram:  I did something wonderful at the end of March.  I stopped following a bunch of people.  I was following a whole crew of people that I didn't really know and who I think have really beautiful lives, or take really beautiful pictures, or have beautiful talents.  But for whatever reason, it was all making me feel bad.  There was nothing wrong with anyone I was following, but it was leading to icky things in my heart.  It was freeing to let that go.  

6.  For the first time EVER, I'm planning for the school year in the fall more than a week in advance.  I love organization and it feels good to have the time to figure out what it is that we want to do next year.  

7.  I've been having the biggest urge to take the boys someplace pretty and amazing.  Why do all the really cool National Parks have to be so far apart?  And so far away from Texas?  I've always had a National Park fascination, but have only been to a couple of them.  I want to go and explore!!

8.  Graham will enter 7th grade in the fall.  There's only six more years with him in our home.  I'm not sure how that happened but it did.

9.  Asher and Samuel.  It's baseball season for them and Ranger's season for all of Texas.  I just love their love for it.  I love watching them play.  It pains me when they play at the same time because I don't want to miss a thing.

[Asher scoring a Ranger's game.]

[Samuel pitching]

10.  Joseph is seven and is the sweetest child in the entire planet.  I just can't get enough of him.  I want to freeze him too.  He's so good that sometimes I forget about him.  He's easy-going, almost never makes a fuss, and rarely has a strong opinion.  Sweet boy… he's growing up too fast.

I hope this finds you enjoying a lovely weekend with your family.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


You may get tired of these Lately posts, but I somehow feel like I need to record these sweet little moments somewhere.  
We had the stomach virus this winter.  It was bad.  First the throwing up, and then laying around for days without eating.  But there's always the Duggars to keep you company!

We also watched all of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea.  The boys liked it more than they thought I would. 

These sweet little baseball players making a flower shop. 

Next was Nathan.  His brother felt so bad for him that he bought him new toys at Target.  Gifts are this boys love language.  We have a strict, "You stay in the bathroom until you are done throwing up" rule in our house.  We make it real comfortable for them though.

In the meantime, the rest of us did a lot hanging out, playing cards, finishing puzzles, and such.

Next was Graham.  

And then Nathan had a relapse.  Poor baby.

Asher somehow got a free frap at Starbucks.  We both LOVE free stuff so this was very exciting for us.

I was doing dishes and turned my head to find this.  Just another day as a boy mom.

These three have been playing together since they were five.  

He still does this during most tournaments.  All day… playing with toys in the dirt.

And he still brings me flowers anytime he finds some.

I think I may see him like this, even when he's a grown man.

He wanted to do a Bible Study with him.  And I'm glad to have someone in the family who appreciates nice handwriting and fun pens.

These three are good buds

I love lingering after dinner.

And peaceful slumber.

I originally bought this t-shirt for Graham.  And now it fits him. 

Lots of time hanging out at various baseball fields.  One pretending to fish.  One throwing the ball up in the air.

Blue, blue skies.  And a cute, cute boy.

Ready for our staycation.

We love Hurley House sparkle sandwich cookies.

Doesn't he look like Schroeder?  The Snoopy character :)

My favorite ten-year old.

And my favorite five-year old.

He would sit and play cards for hours.  He calls solitaire "solitary."

Special time at the park with just him.

Our sweet Classical Conversations Essentials class.

Fun running in the woods.

Kite flying in the country.

See what I mean?  He loves dirt.

My mom with them at the park.  She's so fun.

And just one more for good measure :)