Spring into summer

July 10th, 2017

Daniel and Laura birthday-gifted Jane a set of window boxes for her room–Laura funded them, and Daniel built and installed them. Jane planted one with edibles, such as miniature cherry tomato and pepper plants and herbs, one with shade plants, and this one with succulents.  We’re making tentative plans to plant a small vegetable garden next year and put Jane in charge.  She’d be happiest with a small farm, tending plants and animals, but we haven’t been able to manage a garden since before Katie came home in 2011.




Verity has a newfound love of playing games and helping with chores.  Here she is cheering for herself after folding and sorting her own clean laundry, shirts, pants, and pajamas.




She loves to wipe down everything within her reach in the kitchen with a Norwex kitchen cloth.  She does a pretty good job, too, with reminders to stay on track and be thorough.




She doesn’t have the propensity for negative self-talk that many of us struggle with.  Haha!  Here she is cheering for herself again!




Wow, seems like yesterday I took the next two photos.  We started our new school year a week ago, and I am again passionately loving BiblioPlan history which I do every afternoon with the four boys (and Josie, until she goes back to school)!  Right now, any day I get to teach history to the children is a very good day!




Ironic that a few feet away from that blackboard, these two guys were hard at work catching up on their English!  They need a good bit of help and supervision with it, so they come join me wherever I am working.


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Because my skin has become extremely sensitive to chemicals in our environment, I began making some of my own personal care products.  A good friend of mine was opening a brick-and-mortar gift shop in a nearby town and asked me to make my solid lotion bars to sell in her shop, Pebbles and Lace.  I use organic ingredients and pure essential oils.  They have become one of her three top-selling items. So, can you believe it?  For a few hours a month, I’m an artisan with a microscopically-small home business!  Creating lovely things is therapeutic, and I’m enjoying it immensely.




With the help of the four boys, I finally conquered the new basement.  Not the prettiest room, but are we ever grateful for the indoor play space!  I still have long-term (very long-term!) plans to paint the concrete walls and hang fabric to cover the rock walls.


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In May, I was able to go to Longwood Gardens for a day with my very dear friend Jennifer.   The beauty and peace of that day soaked into us and rested and renewed our souls!  I guarantee you that neither one of us would have beamed so peacefully for the photo at the beginning of that particular day!  This was taken right before we left the gardens.




On this evening, I just had these five children at home.  They are treasures to my heart.




Sweet little people.  But don’t tell Stephen I said that.  Haha!




This is Katie, proud of herself for being a big helper and handing me only *one* item at a time.  Go, Katie!





Girls’ Night was haircuts and the best burgers in town!  Those are fried green tomatoes on Josie’s burger and it was served with spicy bam-bam sauce on the side.  Her choice and she loved it!




Speaking of beauty, this corner feeds my soul by its presence in my room, although I’ve only managed to have a friend for tea twice this year so far!




The children crammed so much fun adventure into the few weeks between family vacation and Laura beginning her full time job.  I miss her like I would miss my right arm if it left me; we’ve cleared the calendar as much as humanly possible and are finding our balance in our new normal.  The children loved introducing Josie to one of their favorite spots, Sam Lewis State Park, and Josie did a fabulous job with her first experience at rock-climbing!








Verity has the birthday thing mastered now, at the great age of seven years old!





Here she is trying to be patient until it’s time to open her birthday presents!  (Every time she opened one, she looked it over, laid it aside and said, “Next one!”  Ha!)  These seven years of Verity have been one of the very best gifts God has ever given our family!  We’ve enrolled her in first grade in our local school this year and are excited to see her begin this new adventure!  We finally feel like she’s READY.




On this day, I found out less than forty-five minutes before leaving the house for an extended appointment with one of the boys that our helper wouldn’t be available to babysit, so I took all nine youngest children with me.  Now, that’s nothing for some of you power mamas out there, but with many older children here I’d never had to do that before.  The children did a super job!  I was so proud of them, especially considering I’d had no time to feed them beforehand and the appointment went well past lunchtime!  It was a gorgeous day, so we stopped for food afterward and went to our favorite park and had a blast!  Josie said, “See, Mama, it turned out to be a fun adventure!”  (That doesn’t mean I want to make a habit of it, for sure!)

For some reason, all nine children congregated on this one piece of play equipment this time.










Of course, being us, we had to throw a bit more excitement in there.  Sure enough, after getting all nine children loaded up, I found the van battery had died, so we unloaded and fit in some more fun while we waited for Joe to come to the rescue!  (And how about pizza for supper tonight, dear?)  Neat thing was that while we were waiting, a woman and her two children stopped by the park, and she recognized me from this blog.  She’s a missionary and adoptive mom in Eastern Europe who’s home on furlough and just stopped in at the park half an hour before we finally left for home.




A thunderstorm arises just as we finally get all the children into their swim suits?  Let them play in the rain instead of the pool!

And that’s how we roll around here.  We quit waiting for perfect a long time ago and just get as much fun as we can out of where we are right now.  Hope this post brought a smile to your face wherever you are right now!



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5 Responses to “Spring into summer”

  1. Lisa G. in CT says:

    LOVE hearing updates from you! I continue to pray for your sweet family, and hope things are well. This definitely put a smile on my face!

  2. KMT says:

    Hehe, my daughter has a little toe just like your Katie!

  3. D. says:

    Love seeing the smiles !

  4. Anna K. says:

    “We quit waiting for perfect a long time ago and just get as much fun as we can out of where we are right now.” WOW!! I need to hear this, today! I am really struggling with all the unanswered prayers for my family, particularly for our adult children who are struggling financially and have not found that job/ministry that fills their lives with meaning and purpose or that special person who will be their soulmate & life partner. I’m hurting for all my broken dreams, as well as theirs. I feel such a lack of motivation to pour myself into those remaining in the home. I’m disillusioned, like what is the point? I home school our youngest, who is almost 12 and has DS, and I do really enjoy the challenge of finding ways to teach him that work with his visual, hands-on learning style. I love seeing him make progress, even though it is often much slower than I wish it to be. But, lately, he has gotten into a bad habit of trying to avoid me as much as possible and avoid doing school work as much as he possibly can and groaning and moaning when I ask him to do anything. I am weary of all the effort it takes to motivate him. My home desperately needs decluttering and cleaning, but I don’t even want to start on that. I think I am a discouraged perfectionist. If things can’t be the way that I think they should be, then I want to just let them all go to pot! Please pray for me that God will renew my vision and enable me to rest in HIM, without shutting down. Pray that He would show me what He wants me to do moment by moment, even if it is to do unglamorous, mundane, household tasks that I despise doing and give me the courage and motivation to do those things and TRUST HIM with the things that I cannot make happen or that I cannot change. And pray that I will find ways to make as much fun as I can for those who still live at home, in a way that make each one feel totally accepted where they are right now. And to do the same for those who do not still live at home when they come home for short visits. It so happens that they are ALL coming home this very weekend, and I want it to be a relaxed and enjoyable time for all, not a stressful, difficult time. But I know that, on my own, I can’t make that happen. Only GOD and teamwork can accomplish it!

  5. Susanna says:

    Hello dear Anna,

    My heart goes out to you, as you have such a sweet spirit showing through your words, and I have been where you are so many times in my own life. That perfectionism and idealism dies SO hard, doesn’t it? Loves to pop back up in its disguise of disillusionment and even cynicism. I am always having glorious visions of what I’d love to do with each child and always attaining only a tiny fraction of those visions. Part of the limitations that remind us that we’re not God. :) We’re in this together, sister. I would love to pray for you. Pray for me, too?

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