Wednesday, August 24, 2011


oh my, what craziness a year can bring...both laughter and hard times...and jillian, you have been right at the center of it all. we've gone through two hospital stays, a couple ER visits, and a LOT of laughter, snuggles, spunk, and fearlessness. jillian, you are a gift...a treasure...our little adventurer. you are always right there, keeping up with your sisters....and sometimes blowing right past them. you climb, you swim, you run, you live your little two year old life to the fullest. and while you surely love and try to keep up with your big sisters, you are totally loving your baby brother...every morning i get you out of bed, and the very first thing you do is say, "uke" (luke) and run toward his room. i can't wait to see how the two of you grow in friendship in the coming years.

jillian, you are bursting out of your "shell"...although, to be honest, you've never had a've always been pretty sweet and spunky...but the words are coming, and with them, the massive dose of personality. you love to dance to music...sneak into markers and pens (and anything else you know isn't yours--hehe!) grapes (i mean, really, kiddo, you could eat grapes all day...and you like any and every other fruit equally...and beans and olives...odd, but true). your little bobbling ponytail head...your gorgeous, big blue eyes...your infectious smile and giggle...your wiggling, waddling, jiggly are too incredibly sweet. we love you. we cannot wait to see you grow and learn and become the woman God has created you to be.

"hey y'all! where's the cake?!" alternately titled, "yep, i'm FULL of personality!"

there it is...happy birthday to me!

she seriously started out by eating ONE sprinkle at a time...too funny

then she moved on to the fork (love the birthday girl's shirt from grandma and grandpa)

...and finally...after the sprinkle by sprinkle and fork approach, she went for the "pick it up and jam it in" method :)


present time

weebles! (and, yes, mommy did score these as an amazing deal...and we now have a weeble empire in our living room!)

and yes...i DID wrap the houses in trash bags...what can i say, i'm resourceful ;)...or maybe better said, i completely ran out of time and didn't want to drag all four kiddos with me to the store for gift bags or wrapping paper :)


the big girls had just as much fun playing with jilly's presents

first luke watched from the saucer

...but eventually he got in on the action...oh this picture makes me smile, all four of my babies...together..."playing"...and can you see my hand and iPod on the right...we were FaceTiming with grandmommy and poppy, letting them get in on the action.

it was low-key, but oh what a sweet little birthday celebration we enjoyed tonight...


scenes from a saturday

my little artists

pitas...all rolled out and ready to pop in the oven

puffed up and ready...these puppies are seriously tasty.

we had freshly baked pitas, grilled "gyro" steak (steak in a mediterranean marinade), feta, tomatoes, homemade tzatziki sauce, and olives...yum!

daddy manning the grill...actually waiting for the coals to heat...see the swimsuits drying on the picnic table...we also enjoyed a fun family swim, and the girls are getting so brave. elizabeth is popping all the way under the water and practicing her swimming skills more and more!

and for dessert we made's the dough rolled out and cut up

we don't use it much, but sometimes the occasion calls for the fryer :)

here they all their puffed up powdered sugary glory...seriously, these were so tasty....from scratch definitely beats box/bag mix any day...i think we'll be making a tradition of beignets....maybe even some beignet mornings where we invite friends over! :)


and ending the day with a freshly bathed, snuggly luke is always fun!


big sisters and their thomas pj wearing baby brother...kate is beyond excited about luke's jammies.

elias, caleb, elizabeth, aiden, and kate at the YMCA playland

my favorite is sweet jilly just chillin' on the other side

checkin' out the animals at the zoo...
elizabeth, kate, caleb, aiden, elias, and jilly (luke and anna are hiding)

watching the dolphin show

jilly and her buddy the worm bike...sweet girlie tries so hard to keep up with her sisters...just truckin' along on her wormie

the tater-sack from daddy

emmett and jilly playing trains :)

luke giving his friend rilla the "hey baby" suave look :)

while luke and rilla posed for pics the girls were merrily playing with rilla's sister maureen (one of jilly's bestest buddies)

the best kind of buddies...sisters. they are totally on a coloring kick lately...i don't even know how many coloring books and boxes of crayons we've gone through in the past couple weeks


and the daddy and son buddy-ness. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

never say never

i have never actually applied for a teaching job.

crazy, considering i taught at two different schools before becoming a mama.

when i left teaching to stay at home i prayed and considered, and i chose not to renew my teaching license. i was never planning to enter the teaching realm least not as a licensed teacher.

{sidenote: at the point i was also 150% sure i would NEVER be one of those people who homeschooled...NEVER!--HA! for those who don't know, school started this past wednesday in our town...elizabeth didn't go...alas, it is official, i am one of "those"!}

when we enrolled the girls at the "academy/co-op" they were involved in last year, they asked me about teaching.

i said no...pretty much immediately.

they asked again over that summer.

i prayed about it. the answer was no. i just wanted to stay a preschool mommy.

they asked AGAIN last spring. right around the time luke was born.

the answer was "smack me in the face" clear immediately even before i spent much time praying. i said no. ;)

do you get the idea?

luke is almost 6 months old now. jillian is almost 2. we are as busy and involved as ever. i've already committed to leading the discussion group leaders at our MOPS group. i'm planning our weeks and routine and schedule...thinking about my mondays with just the little two at home.

and then i get the e-mail....the, "i can't believe we are pestering you about this again...feel free to say no right away, but..." e-mail.

that same teaching position...the literature/composition one...the one i said no to last's open. the teacher they hired prepared the syllabus, did the legwork, is heartbroken, but she can't do it.

am i interested in the position?

i didn't immediately laugh. my gut didn't say no.

i showed the e-mail to my husband, who was sitting next to me.

he didn't say no.

i started to sweat a little...and then get a bit giddy and excited...and then plummet into a pile of nerves.

i said i would consider and pray about it.

i prayed.

mike prayed.

i sought wise counsel.

my gut said yes.

my husband said yes.

wise counsel said yes.

the Lord said yes.

and i said yes.

people...never say never.

**to is just mondays...two hours of actual classroom time...just under 40 students....7th and 8th graders, a classical program, meaning we use the progymnastia writing style (COMPLETELY new to me! eek!). we are studying the "moderns"...some fabulous literature, "the hiding place", "the hobbit", "treasure island", "anne of green gables" to name a few. they provide nursery for my younger two (and libs and kate are in "school" there at that time) all day so i can also prep, plan, and grade. and people, pray for me...i am thrilled but SO nervous and overwhelmed right now. SO much to do--and we start in less than a month!


sweet is it that you are already nearing 6 months!? seriously.

you are so silly.

i am holding you close--savoring these moments...savoring the feeling of your head pressed against my cheek as you sleep during sunday morning church service, savoring the chance to pat your little diapered bottom as you close your eyes to sleep...

you make my heart melt when you gaze into your mama's eyes...that second just before you burst into your massive toothy grin.

luke, buddy, you were an amazing surprise...a blessed gift. and, buddy, i can already tell, you are going to be ALL BOY (and a heartbreaker too!)

through my lens


whee! i can do it like the big girls!

where did my baby go!?

yum! the chocolate on her fingers made her a bit upset though...mommy showed the silly girl how to lick it off. :)

since i wouldn't let him eat the bread we were mixing luke decided to eat the recipe instead ;) bread recipe has some serious drool marks.


it is kater-gator is four. wow! we shared in a sweet, quiet celebration...friday i took the "almost" birthday girl (it was the day before) out for a date...lunch at the pizza hut buffet, a haircut, and a garage sale (at her request--and, where she picked out a "spiderman" t-shirt for herself...oh how delighted that made her). we had such a sweet, sweet time....what a blessing to be able to spend a long chunk of one on one time with my girl. and, i must admit, i am LOVING her new SO fits her personality...spunky and fun. AND, bonus for me, she no longer screams bloody murder when i try to brush it or do something with is, literally, wash and go!

unfortunately siblings were sick...which meant nothing big as a family, but we did enjoy some time riding bikes, playing play-doh on the back porch, and partaking in the birthday girl's dinner request...grapes, strawberries, popcorn chicken nuggets, and macaroni and cheese ("not your homemade kind, mommy, the good stuff from the box"...i might have been crushed...if she wasn't!)...and strawberry pretzel dessert in lieu of cake. YUM! :) (note that the birthday girl is wearing pjs for dinner and cake...that is SO appropriate...i think kate would LIVE in jammies...especially her long, fuzzy tinkerbell ones...even if it was 90+ degrees out!) are a blessing to us. you remain completely spunky and funny. you have grown so much this maturity, in size, in knowledge. you love to spend time writing your name, coloring endless pictures, loving on luke, trying to get jilly to play by your rules ;), imagining with elizabeth. you never cease to amaze me. as lively and spunky as you are at home you can become completely shy in a crowd. at sunday school you LOVE to be right next to the teacher (and you always are especially pleased if the teacher is miss tillie or miss tammi)...but it has been a blast watching you come into your own and discover your very own friends. (but what a blessing that you and elizabeth can also share so many friends!).

kate, you are intense in all that you do...the way you laugh...the way you cry. you are intense in your are intense in your distraction. dear, sweet girl, i pray that God would use that intensity for His glory...that He would call your heart to Him...that you would walk closely and intensely with Him all of the days of your life. i cannot wait to see what He has in store for you!