Monday, May 23, 2016

The End of a Year

Another school year has come to an end, and I really feel the need to document this one.
Every year is special in its own way, but this year has been a turning point in many ways.

For starters, I wasn't ever sure we'd get this far.
It's true.
When we started our homeschool journey, I thought, maybe we'll homeschool through Elementary.
Maybe even Middle school.

But I hadn't ever thought as far as high school.
And that, my friends, is where we are with this one here:


Miss Sierra will be a Freshman next year. {Insert bug-eyed emoji}.
Let me just have a minute to compose myself, because, TRULY, I do not know where the time has gone.

Okay. I'm back.

So, here we are.  Turning point.
And I am delighted to say that we are going to continue on this crazy path.
Because we love it so so much.

Any time I've let doubt creep in, I am quickly reminded why we do this thing:

Because we love being with one another.
Because we get to choose our own curriculum.
Because the thought of my children spending more of their waking hours away from home than at home, when we really have so few years with them anyway, makes me want to cry.
Because I believe they are receiving a better education.
Because they have so much more TIME to really explore hobbies they are passionate about.
And that is just the tippy top of the iceberg.

These girls ~ I am so proud of them.


Last week we went in for testing, and they were AMAZING!
They exceeded my hopes a million times over ~
 the way they handled themselves,
by testing much higher than their grade levels in each category,
and by working so hard this year.

Yay, Girls!  We've done it!

We've had:

a year of studies;

a year of crafts;

a year of experiments;

a year of taking advantage of the sunshine when you see it!

A year of picnics by the creek;

a year of new beginnings;

a year of learning, and sharing;

a year of  LIVING
 Thank you, Lord, for this blessed gift!

Now, let Summer begin!!! 
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 I don't have much of a brain anymore.
Motherhood has fried it.
{And I do mean that in the sweetest way possible, because I really would not trade it for anything in the world}.

All this time I thought I'd blogged our recent trip to the beach, yet, no.
These photos have just been chillin' out in my folder waiting for a blog post of their very own.

So here goes.

Earlier this month we went to the beach.
Friends of ours joke with us that we oughta just buy ourselves a beach house since we travel there often enough.

And if we had a million dollars just sitting around, I think we'd do it!
We love it so.

We are super blessed by family friends who share their beach house with us at least once a year.

It is the cutest house.
In the most adorable neighborhood.
Just a couple blocks from the beach.

We settle right in, make ourselves comfy,

and set right to work playing games.
Especially if it's just us girly girls.
And it was, that first night.

The next day, Daddy joined us.
We had beautiful weather, so we walked around downtown, and grabbed some lunch.

Then, of course, it was off to the beach.

Jeremy and the girls dipped their toes in, then he motioned for me to come on over so that I could "get some photographs". Only, he took my camera while the girls took my hands and begged me to get in because "it's not very cold at all, Mama".

Yeah. Right.
My toes about froze off, but not before Jeremy grabbed a shot. Normally I don't hand off my camera.  But I'm grateful for the moments I do.  Otherwise, one day, my children will be looking through photo books, wondering if they *had* a mom.

So, then it got crazy. 
Girls plopped right down in the water {or . . . were shoved?}, and I skidaddled right out of there. Because, no. 
No to being a popsicle for the rest of the day.

Later that evening, Grandma and Grandpa joined us.
After a dinner of oysters and barbecued chicken, we hit the beach again.

We found some gorgeous shells, and Sis found the tiniest, most perfect sand dollar ever!

Tay . . .  found a stick.
She kept drawing a "trail" in the sand that she wanted me to follow, so I did.

On our way back up to the car, I had to follow every inch of that trail.
When I stopped for a second to snap a photo, she asked why, and I told her: because one day, many years from now, when you're all grown, we'll look back on this photo and remember our beach trip, the found stick, and all the trails you made Mama follow.  At that, she burst into tears, sobbing that she didn't want to grow up.  She wanted to stay with me forever.
And I'm pretty okay with that ;)

After a few hugs, she proceeded with the trails.

Then we stopped for a sunset pic:

And we got tired, so Daddy carried.

{Then we got back to the car, and found out that the car keys that had been in my sweatshirt pocket were no longer there.  They were somewhere on.the.beach. 
See above for reference to lack of brain.  Sigh.  Luckily they were found almost immediately, and back to the beach house we went}.

The next morning Jeremy had to go to work, so it was just us girls again.
Grandma and Grandpa hung around in the morning, and took us on a walk:

{This is in front of the condos we stay in every February with my parents}.

Then it was off to a very yummy breakfast.

We said our goodbyes, and enjoyed the beach the rest of the afternoon.

 And Tay pointed the way home ♥
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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mama's Day

 Words cannot describe how lucky I am to have these lovely ladies in my life:
Mother's Day 01  
 My own mom, and my mom-in-law.

And the sheer joy that I feel, being a mama myself . . .
Mother's Day 03  
 Sometimes I can't believe this is how I get to spend my days.
This is *EXACTLY* how I pictured it when I was a tiny girl, dreaming of the day I'd get to have babies of my own.

How blessed I am.

Happy Mother's Day to all you ladies living the dream ♥
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Thursday, April 28, 2016


I've come to the conclusion that no matter what time of year, it's busy.
I used to think there was a busy season, and a slower season, but ~ no.
I think there *was* a slower season . . . and that was when I had two children, and they were tiny.
But these days time seems to fly right out the window ~ full months zooming by.
I try, desperately, to hold on to the moments, but I can't.
So I embrace the busy.
It means we're healthy, happy, and moving forward.

For those who have been praying for my brother, THANK YOU!

He is doing well, Praise the Lord!

We got to spend some time with him a couple of weekends ago ~  visiting, and enjoying some great food.
 Kiddos got to play.

And we all got to soak up some gorgeous sunshine.

It was wonderful.


And these two . . .
A girl and her Gramps.
 They sure do have a great time together ♥
 ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

In other news, did I mention that we have a calf?
Yeah, that's kind of random.
On Makenna's birthday {back in February}, a day-old calf whose mama didn't want him, came to live with us.  And this little guy has completely stolen our hearts.

We cuddled him, built him a sanctuary, bottle fed twice daily . . .

And after more than two months, little man has been moved in with his big "sisters".

And he's doing just fine.

This was the look on all our faces when we found him eating hay with the big cows:

He's like, "Yeah, I got this"
 Sweet little guy. He's growin' like a weed.

I guess that's the theme here, isn't it?
Everyone's growing, changing, learning new things.

No babies reside here anymore.

{Excuse me while I go have a good cry}.

And life moves on.

We're back to overcast skies, and raindrops falling.
We're all ready for Summer vacation,
and a BREAK from homeschool.
Time to just BE with each other.
We're almost there.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Just a few more weeks, and a day of state testing, and we're DONE!
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Spring Sunshine

We've really had a very nice Spring.  Or, at least, nice by Oregon standards.
We can always count on an abundance of rain.

That's what keeps us so green {I have to repeat this to myself over and over again when I want to cry looking at all the drizzle}.

But I think all that rain also makes me more appreciative of the sun.
 Because when it shines, it is the most glorious thing!
 It just changes a mood, doesn't it??
 We're all happier when we get out into the fresh air,

and can run free!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sunny Days at Wooden Shoe

 In between the hospital trips, we got to get out and enjoy a little bit of this glorious
sunshine God has been blessing us with.

Our first priority was making it to Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for the annual Tulip Festival.
The girls hadn't been for a couple of years, so it was definitely time for a visit.
 I planned the outing carefully, choosing a Thursday morning {weekdays ~ us homeschoolers always plan our outings for weekdays so as not to run into the massive crowds}.

I knew it would be clear and sunny {not the greatest conditions for photographs, but beautiful weather to get out and enjoy the fields}.
 What I was *not* expecting was that everyone in Oregon would have the exact same idea!
There were, literally, thousands of people there.
You may not be able to tell from the photographs, but it was CROWDED.
 Take note:  Miss Taylor is *smiling*!!  That was one of the very few smiles we got that day. 
You'll see . . .
 The colors were gorgeous. It is such a beautiful sight to see!
 Oh! There it is. 
That was Miss Tay's face almost the entire day. 
Actually, that's Miss Tay's face most days.

It's rough being four.
 After a couple of hours I was ready to escape the crowds, but I was so glad we went.
What are your favorite places to visit?

And if you're dying for more tulip pics, here's some fun memories from years past:




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