Category Archives: General

September Happenings

September flew by for us.  With two of our children celebrating birthdays this month, John starting a new consultant job and school in full swing, it got a bit hectic!  We did enjoy a few moments though.

Grandpa got a new boat and we enjoyed a day out on the lake.  Don’t let Max’s smile fool you, sadly, he was terrified of the boat and spent the rest of his day wading near the shore.   Ethan and Maddie however, loved being pulled behind the boat and were sad to leave.

After the lake we threw a birthday party for Ethan and 19 of his friends!  They were all so well behaved. We didn’t take a single photo though…

Ethan and his bestie made the gold team in football! 

Ethan also went to his first homecoming game with his girlfriend, Nova.

Ethan Turns 14!

Our first born turned 14 this week.  It is truly crazy how time flies by.  I have been a wreck crying over the fact that he only has 4-5 summer vacations with us.

Ethan is a very talented child who we are so proud of.  He continues to make straight A’s, has made the football team, basketball team and all region choir so far this year.  He keeps us running all over town with all his happenings.  Most days we have to shut down something or other that he is cooking up with friends!  He has a big love for God and his friends and is working on his love for his siblings.  Ethan loves his hair and can still be found fixing his hair many times a day.  We know he will be a great man soon and we are cherishing the time we still have with him.

Early morning birthday breakfast

A visit from the grandparents and dinner at Kabuki

He asked for a big home party this year and big it was.  He had 19 kids show up for his party!  They seemed to have a good time.  We loaded up on junk food and pizza.  I was shocked that we had so much food left over.

What a sweet, handsome boy!

May you have a wonderful year Ethan and many more to come.  You are loved more than you know.  I know it is hard being the oldest child!

Our Summer Trip to San Marcos/Austin Texas

Our vacation this summer was small in comparison to our big Epic trip last summer.  It felt a bit like a let down staying in the mountainless Texas heat, but we really enjoyed our time with family and the chance to pause for a moment.

Our first stop was to Fort Worth to celebrate our grandma’s 86th birthday!  The kids enjoyed laser tag and bowling at The Main Event.

After a nice three day visit, we were off to San Marcos.  We were thrilled for the chance to stay with and see the kids’ Godparents, Tim and Lois.  They sure have a lovely, quiet home tucked away in the hill country.  It felt wonderful to sleep in and relax.  Everyone enjoyed watching the deer roam by the house and viewing the birds.  The chiggers were not nice to us though!

We enjoyed coming together at the end of the day to work together to get dinner on the table.  It was refreshing to eat whole food meals and to try new recipes. 

We chose to take a slow float tubing adventure and boy was it slow!  At the beginning, we were not moving at all (we had to use our hands as paddles to get going), but by the last half of the trip we were moving quickly and even hit some mini rapids.  At one point, Maddie was terrified when our tubes disconnected and we were drifting from each other.  The funny thing was: the water was moving so slowly that sometimes the wind pushed us backwards and the water was only a few feet deep.

Only a few miles away from the river spot was Canyon Lake.  What a beautiful place to visit.  It was fun to see Ethan playing like a little kid again with his siblings.  The kids had a hard time leaving.

We had so much fun at the lake, we went back the next day.

That evening we ventured to Austin.  Tim and Lois treated us to a fabulous dinner and then volunteered to drive our kids back home so that we could have a night out. While the kids were treated to s’mores, we were able to visit our friend Chris at his new whiskey distillery, Still Austin.  We enjoyed hanging out and taking a tour.  The Yard was a happening place with great energy!

Thanks to our hosts, we were able to relax much more than we anticipated on this trip.  It was lovely getting to see new sights and people we love.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s day was simply wonderful over here.  The kids all made me handmade cards and treated me to an oatmeal buffet for breakfast.  We went on a long bike ride and then played a few board games before heading off to evening church.  It’s crazy but there were zero fights between the kiddos.  That was a treat in itself!

The kids let me relax for an extra hour in the morning before they came in to give me hugs.
Max and Ethan made me a few cards.  Max’s of course were super cute and funny while Ethan’s card actually brought me to tears.  It was so very thoughtful.

While Maddie went with a more comical style.  Don’t worry I get her humor now.  You may be wondering where all the hairballs came from… Well, I had been saving them to give to the birds for their nest making, but then I read that hair is harmful to them.  So, that’s how Maddie acquired them!  Maddie is obsessed with giving all girls beards and mustaches, ha.

Then it was time for our bike ride.  Maddie convinced Max to try his bike without his training wheels and within 2 mins. he was off and riding.  He did fall a few times and cried a bit but got right back up and kept going!

Whew, this mother gig sure gets tiring but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

A Dog Party

Well, this happened, we threw our dog a first birthday party!  Man did we feel crazy and super epic this weekend.  Maddie is an extreme animal lover and has really taken to our new dogs.  She begged and begged to throw our dog Jack a party.  And party we did.

She came up with the invites, activities (pet talent show), party favors and even made the birthday cake.

The party guest arrive:

Talent show, treats, and cake time

I was pleasantly surprised that all the guests were well behaved and seemed to get along.  It was way more work for us adults though having to keep up with the dogs for an hour!  I thought it was so sweet that everyone brought Jack a present.  He got so many tasty snacks and new toys!

Thanks to everyone who came.  She is already planning the next one, but we have told her  his first birthday party was enough, ha!


Well, I am writing this post the last day of April.  Yes, four months late.  Christmas seemed to go by in a blur this year so we haven’t ever gotten around to writing about it.  The season seemed too fast paced for us and we didn’t seem to get into the holiday spirit as much as years past.  It could be the fact that our older children didn’t even get out of school until the 23rd leaving us rushing about until Christmas Eve.  That being said, we did enjoy our time together and all that Christmas brings.

As always we try not to overindulge the kiddos.  We went with the rule: something you need, something you want, something to read and something to wear.  They got a few extras too.

Here are a few pictures
Max was so happy to meet the “real Santa”.

We tried to make peppermint ornaments but they broke trying to get them out of the cookie cutters.  Pinterest fail!

We finally finished their tree house (though it did take us 359 days to complete, ha).  John worked so hard on it.

Um, well we may have indulged Max a bit with this present.  Grammy and Grandpa helped pitch in.  All he asked for was a giant monster truck.  We thought that was a simple request until we found out he was talking about a truck he could ride in, ha! 

Maddie likes to set up art challenges for us.  She had us design a gingerbread house and a Breakfast with Santa poster.  
We all love our new presents and games.  Boxes and Balls is our top choice. We enjoyed a day with Grammy after all the celebrations were over.  

Merry Christmas, or maybe I should say happy spring!  We are hoping this next year slows down a bit.




Thanksgiving Campout

Thanksgiving weekend was magical.  We spent actual Thanksgiving day half relaxing at home with games and the other half  visiting with  grandparents and cousins.
The next day we decided to go camping at our local state park.  Camping became a part of who we were this summer and it felt good to get back at it!  The kids enjoyed hiking for hours both days.  It sure was cold during the night though!  We each slept in multiple layers.
Max and Maddie even went mountain biking for a few miles.  It was Max’s first time to trail ride and boy was he a dare devil!

Sadly, most of the pictures we took can not be found.  I hope they did not get deleted…

Here are a few pics we still have from the weekend

The older kiddos and John hiked to a very high point.  Here is their view from up top. They had a blast!

We are certainly thankful for our health, family, and everything else life has to offer.


Outside Challenge

We have taken the no TV rule from October one step further for November and declared an “outside challenge”.  The rules are simple, as a family we have to get outside once a day together for a month… We have been hiking, playing soccer/basketball and even out to feed the ducks at a nearby park.
This Thanksgiving weekend we will go on our first camping adventure since our big trip!  It feels good getting outside, even if only for a little bit.  (John, Max and I are lucky enough to get at least 1 – 1.5 hours a day outside while we are at the school, and Ethan shoots hoops for hours before dark.  It is our girl who needs a push to get out and explore!)

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We enjoyed  a night walk outside of town to watch the super moon rise.  What an amazing sight.  Max and I ended with yoga and we all left howling at the moon!img_5754

We enjoyed playing at an empty park on a cold day.   img_5871 img_5869
I am such a kid at heart! img_5867 img_5859 img_5856

Early morning soccer game, before school.  img_5782

We have missed a few days where we were all together doing something outside.  However, it is super easy to pick back up the next day.  We have enjoyed this challenge so much that we are striving to continue this challenge as long as we can!

Enough is Enough!

We are well into the new school year and finally after 12 weeks things seem to be slowing down around here.  We all have  our daily routines established and for now things are rolling along smoothly.  We did hit a bump in September where it seemed us parents were just too tired to cope and it seemed the kids were given the opportunity to fall back to their old TV watching/ IPad days.  I declared, “Enough is enough” in October and away went it all for 30 days.  What an amazing break from the noise and distractions of our technology driven world.

It has been great getting back to what we do best, being a fun family!

We have been playing this balloon game for days.  The kids beg us to play any chance they get!  The rules are easy, keep the balloon in the air.  They have come up with many new rules to keep it challenging, including a doubles game.
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We enjoyed a Harry Potter Potions making night at the library.
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Maddie as Hermione Granger at character day at school.
Other random happenings at our house:
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And of course we had plenty of Halloween fun.
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Ethan is 13!

I can not believe our first born is now a teenager.  Watching him grow has been incredible.  And yes, I cry every year on their birthdays.  I stay up looking at baby pictures the night before and the tears are unstoppable.  This year was no exception.  My, where does the time go?

Ethan is really into sports, his appearance (mainly his hair) and his friends.  Most of the time he is off at a friend’s house until dark.  I miss him being home, but I know the job of a parent is to help your child become who they are and to fly away from the nest.  I just didn’t think it would happen so soon!   He is way cooler than John and I ever were in school.

A birthday tradition for our children is waking up to few treats and browsing through the baby books.  We don’t often buy sugary cereal so this was a real treat!
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My mom surprised Ethan with a basketball goal.  That is where he can now be found at all hours of the day shooting hoops either alone or with friends.  Poor kid is trying to teach me how to play!  It has been fun getting to spend more quality time with him doing something he loves.
Ethan is really into brand name everything, as I am sure most kids are at some point.  He grumbled when I bought one bag of store brand chips for his party.  So we decided to throw him a generic party!!  He found a bit of humor in it.
He had 9 other teens stay over.  They played football and basketball until way past dark and then watched scary movies into the wee hours of the morning.  We all had a great time.
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Oh, this sweet boy of ours.  He is trying to navigate the way into the next phase of his life.  Some days are good and others not so good.  He has found his inner back talking, grumbling self.  I sure miss him being my sweet little cuddle bug, but it has been fun watching him change into the man he is becoming.

Here is to many, many more birthdays and the best life has to offer.