Wednesday, April 30, 2014


It is true. In the season of young children from nursing babes to the pre-teen years... days are long, years are so very short.

My little ones at the moment...
Savannah is ever so ready to be a toddler. She crawls around keeping up with the big boys, giggling away at whoever will give her face time, and sleeps hard after a full days worth of baby being. Even falls asleep sitting up, poor fourth child!

Carson wakes up ready to ride the day away. He's either pedaling away or carrying a chicken around... or having a tantrum. True story.  He's our little love bug when he's in the right mood and our little monster when he's not. Carson, he has molded me like no other child of mine thus far!

Austin has decided to grow his hair out and won't let me touch it, so the above picture is a great snap-shot of his stylin locks these days. I love that he is comfortable in his own skin and dresses how he wants to, wears whatever makes him happy, and has a quirky style all of his own. Last week for church he came up wearing a flannel with a tie clipped on. It was awesome. He had a rough winter and his demeanor is ever so much better now that he can be outside again. He will explore anywhere, snoop around in everything, and find a treasure everywhere he goes!

Jaxon is all about the friends. And sports. And the friends. We have seen much more of him lately with a side-kick or two by his side. We love having the kids around here and it's fun to see Jax develop some rooted friendships with some great peers. He found his first soccer team to be a part of this spring, ran his first full 5K, and is heading to basketball camp this summer. Both friends and sports will be involved in all of the above. And his wings grow a little bigger...

These days, these kids, these moments... live in today, because tomorrow always comes way too soon. And I've heard these are the best years of our lives!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pete Nelson is proud.

It's no secret my boys are climbers. I think it's a boy thing, but of all my boys, Austin is our biggest climber. If you are scared of heights...hold your breath for these pics. He gets really, really, really high!

I love that our property has some beautifully matured trees on it. For so many reasons I love this, but one of my biggest reasons is simply that my kids have space to climb and be in them.

Something magical happens when you are in a tree. The air feels perfect and the breeze on the face seems to kiss you. There are no distractions and for a young child (or big one for that matter) the world all sits in the journey of the climb to the top. Trees are a child's perfect playground.

So when I looked outside I shouldn't have been shocked to find Austin in one. He is our climber. He loves trees. He loves exploring.

What did shock me was the height that he had climbed to. To say my heart dropped into my toes is an understatement. But it's not the first time with these boys that they've caused this reaction. So these days we spend a little more time pulling our hearts from the ground and cheering the kids on as they enjoy recess on their very own jungle-gym in the backyard. They'd make Pete Nelson real proud! :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

3 boys & a dress

For ten years I have laid out khaki pants, collared shirts, and brown shoes for Easter Sunday. Until this year...when I laid out 3 sets of the said above outfits...and one very girly dress. 
 I felt it in the core of me when I found out I was pregnant...
 After a long year with a heavy heart...
 And uncertain days...
 One moment started to point me in a different direction.
 If you didn't believe in grace before Easter...
 ...then you should know my story...
...and you'd understand why this little soul wearing a dress is just another day glimpse of His amazing grace.

What a very sweet first Easter for Savannah Grace.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kick Start your Holy week

In the hand full of holidays we celebrate around here, Easter and Holy week are easily my favorite. No twinkling distractions, no pressure to gift beyond our means, no weeks worth of preparing... just simple, heart filling and slow paced days leading up to a celebration of the best gift we will ever receive. Eternal life...all looked upon and praised on Resurrection Sunday.

There is so much to be passed on in our homes. Traditions, I believe, sit high on the priority list. However, truth always sits at the top. To tie in truth with traditions, making holidays, and any other family habits we do that point to His word worth the efforts, energy, and any endeavors that need to happen to complete such a task. This is an ultimate win/win in my book.

If you've never done anything...not a darn thing for Holy Week...don't be scared off to start now. It's never too late. Let me repeat's never too late to start traditions that point to His Truth.  If you have been living with me here on this blog for many years, you maybe remember some of my firsts attempts at starting Holy week traditions. If not, just find an oldie here! There are so many creative ways to bring His word, His lessons, and His love into this week. In the days of Pinterest and Google, ideas are anything but lacking!

We do a few different things around here and in the beginning it felt a bit awkward. I was making stuff up as I went and trying things out as a new Mama. After a few years under my belt and some trial and error ideas, some of them started to show some promise for being keepers and thus started the beginning of our yearly Easter traditions. Even after some good years, there is always room for some growth as the family grows and some new dynamics to our traditions need to happen. Just look back to last year when I just recently added our Grace Garden to our Holy Week of celebrating and learning. Like I's never too late!

My biggest goal is to have my heart and my children's heart prepped for the heavy, life-changing truth that Jesus died for us. I want to know His heart through His story... I want to push aside what tends to fog my vision for His way of living and see His face on Resurrection Sunday. I want my kids to know they are loved, they are saved, they are forever created with a purpose, and live with that Truth.

To know His story, we must read it. We must talk about it. We must repeat it. We must hear it. We must write it and create it in our lives. 

As a former teacher, naturally I used the Truth as my content and a reading lesson as my experience. I think kids learn through experience and I kind of just made this up as I looked at what stage my kids were at and worked from there. We simply use the two words "Holy Week", 8 letters, 8 days from Sunday to Sunday of this week. Each day we read a different part of Luke. Depending on where my kids are at that year, we use that acronym to learn the story of Jesus death. This year Jaxon reads the verses and the boys together find the main idea. Jaxon writes one sentence, Austin sounds out the letter for that day and circles any of his sight words in that sentence.  The memory verse for the week simply points to the King who comes in the name of the Lord...our destination on Sunday when we read about His rising. 

I use my own Bible for the readings, which Jaxon is using this year to read out loud. I follow up with the kids Bible for my younger ones...pointing out pictures and a word or two that 'sticks" with them for that lesson. I typed up verses in the Bible I wanted to use a few years ago that made the story of Jesus flow well for kids to understand. Luke seems to be a good book to use for my kids. 
After each reading, there is usually some sort of activity or experience for the day to help "hold onto" what we've learned... we've done everything from build crosses with blocks, color donkeys, carry logs out in the woods up a hill, wash each other's feet, and so on.

The point is less about doing something Pinterest worthy. Rather, the main purpose is to teach ourselves and our kids the story of Jesus. How our stories and our lives are connected and the story of life through Him.

I could give you all the details of how we do our Holy Week activities here. But, what my kids need right now and what your kids need are different. They all need truth. And only you, as their own unique Mama or Papa, can share that in a way that they will learn it. I use reading and nature to teach my kids. Maybe you are an artist and you will paint a picture of truth each day... Maybe you are a construction worker and you will build a vision of truth for your kids... Maybe you are a gardener and you will plant the story of Jesus this year with your young ones... Maybe you are a musician and you will sing His truth... however you are made, whatever feels natural and right to you, wherever you feel confident to share what you know with His story...use that. Share that. Give that to your children this Holy Week. And's never too late to start.

Do you have a fun way you connect Easter and Holy week with your children? I'd love to hear them here...just comment below!

Monday, April 7, 2014

here to stay?

Dare I say it? Can we celebrate? Spring just might be here to stay...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

it's April, no joke!

We're in the final stretch. Winters are loooonnng in Iowa. But the calendar flipped to April today and we're excited for some of these south winds to stick around, feel the sunshine on our faces, and breathe in some fresh air! No joke, spring is almost here to stay!