Thursday, August 31, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Flashing Back

With everything going on around here, I got behind a bit on blogging. But I wanted to take the time to post some of these pictures from the time that Joshua and Jonah (and their parents) came by for a few days. Their dad (John) helped us build a shelf in the garage, and their mom (Becky) helped cooking! (We LOVE her pot roast.) Here are some other fun pictures of our six children together.

A quick side note: When Becky and I met there were zero children between us. We were both facing daunting infertility diagnosis. And today, six children glitter our halls. God is so creative. And so cool!

Jonah and Abigail who is getting more and more dramatic and ballerina-esque!

A few weeks ago, JB took our old sheep shelter and converted it to a clubhouse for the kids.

The kids came up with a new fun thing to do with Magnatiles -- covering their whole body!

They have so much fun building all kinds of different things with this awesome toy:

And of course, what fun would summer on the farm be without the Slip-n-Slide:

And some more fun with the Magnatiles:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kwik Stix

I have written quite a few Blog posts sharing about our family's love for Kwik Stix
You can click here to read the 
review I wrote on this amazing product. 
These are solid tempera paint sticks that you just uncap, twist, and paint! They dry in 90 seconds but the painting dries looking like paint. You don't add water. You don't need paint brushes. You just uncap and color!
Well they are now available at all 
And even better is that they are going to give away a pack of these awesome pens 
to one commenter on my blog.
Leave a comment and cross your fingers for a win!!! 
I will be drawing the name on September 1.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Review: Run With Me

Run with Me: The Story of a U.S. Olympic Champion is a quick and encouraging read for young athletes -- especially track athletes. I loved how she interspersed her deep and personal faith in Jesus Christ throughout the pages and shared so many details about how she trained to be a runner.
This book is not designed for adults. The age listed on the book is 8-12, but I think teenagers would also greatly benefit from its encouragement. It was very clean and appropriate, and I really think that kids ages 10-20 could really benefit from her words of encouragement, focus, and dedication. 
Sanya Richards-Ross has been a runner her whole life, and in the pages of this book she shares details of her life as a person and an athlete. Originally born in Jamaica, her family moved to the USA so she could train more intensely. 
Run with Me is Sanya’s story—her wins and her losses—chronicling her unique triumphs and trials with fame, family and faith. Written purposely for the 8-12 audience, this book will inspire kids to pursue their dreams at full speed.
Run With Me has a beautiful embossed cover. If you have a young athlete, this would be a great book for them!
I received a copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Friday Funnies (A day late)

Hannah: "What time is it?"
Me: "It is 2:00."
Hannah: "It is not 2:00. My friend Annabelle had a watch and it isn't 2:00."


Isaac: "Mom, Hannah stuck eclipse glasses in her bottom and said it was a tail."


Hannah: "Excuse me. I tooted. God made me do it."


Hannah: "Mom, do princesses wear boots?"
Me: "Yes."
Hannah: "But then they will have pointy things under their dresses."

We Bought a Farm: How we are doing after house flood

Life has a great way of putting things in perspective.

There is a GREAT FLOOD occurring in Texas right now due to a hurricane. 

We had our own smaller version of a flood. But we have a house. And everything is going to be F-I-N-E.

But I have had a lot of people asking us how we are doing so I wanted to take a moment and let you know how things are going here on the farm. Even though our flood is nothing compared to Houston, it still significant to us, and I have to make my way through processing that. If we were only allowed to grieve or be upset if we have it the worst, then only one person in the world could grieve. 

Firstly, the 4-5 days immediately after the flood, it was SO good for me to get away with the kids. JB was on nights and the fans to dry out the house were incredibly loud. 

Look, I grew up in a gym. I can handle noise really well. JB is constantly saying to me: "How do you deal with this noise?" Noise doesn't bug me.

But these fans were maddening.

By the time we got home, the fans were gone. How cool is our God to have this four day trip planned for us the exact four days those fans were going to occupy our home. 

But the house was a wreck. So much had been moved out of the way to pull up floors everywhere. I knew that it could take awhile for things to move forward with the house. We are currently waiting for the insurance company to tell us how much money they will give us for the damages. At that point, we will make a decision as to what we will do with renovations on our home. 

My strategy is always to make things work in the meantime. I can live with things not just right. But they have to be organized. So we took the time to get the house liveable. I cancelled a lot of our activities this past weekend. Isaac was sick and JB had hurt his back in addition to house stuff. So we just hunkered down here, and I worked to make things work for us. Here is our strategy illustrated in a few pictures.

The upstairs is basically uninhabitable. The girls room had already been gutted for us to renovate. And the boys room got completely soaked and the carpets had to be pulled up. In addition, the Jack-n-Jill bathroom which is pictured above had all of its tile ripped up. So we decided that we would not use the upstairs much at all. We opted to just sort of "oust" it from our living space for now.

This is a photo of the pass through upstairs. We've just decided not to use this in our life right now.

I have a minuscule laundry room (especially for the 9+ people who use it every week). But I decided to try to get most of the kids summer clothes and just turn the laundry room into their closet. This has really worked well. This way they don't need to go upstairs for clothes.

This is our living room. We made sure there were NO nails on the ground and then put rugs down. We do not typically wear shoes in our house (something we picked up in Minnesota and have never outgrown) so we really wanted to not have to wear shoes all of a sudden as it is not natural for us. This has allowed us to keep functioning as we are comfortable. In addition, we got the couches set up in a way that we could still use the room as a living room AND a sleeping room. Sidge is sleeping on the big couch. Abigail is sleeping on the small couch. Hannah is sleeping in her little bed in our room, and we've made a bed on the floor for Isaac each night.

I had to be able to find our school stuff. So I got the school room working again. This rug is covering where the floor is torn up and the big bookcase straight ahead is where we have our current school stuff -- so we can find what we need easily.

Rugs have allowed us to keep using our kitchen. It's a little challenging with the chipped up tile, but it is totally working.

Here's the truth. This "flood" will end up being a good thing for us. In the last few months, JB and I had talked at length. We both agreed that we had bought a farm that came with a house. We didn't love the house. But unlike people in suburbia who can just choose to move, we couldn't just move off of our farm. 

We had decided after much talk to stop talking bad about the things we didn't like and just learn to live here as it was. We both decided that fixing the house was not a priority to us. Mostly because I wanted JB to work less -- not more -- and fixing the house would cause him to have to work more to pay for the renovations.

But this flood will now allow us to do the renovations for a fraction of what it would have cost us. God has a way of turning EVERYTHING for good. This is overwhelming but incredibly exciting. 

In the meantime, I have been just trying to worship and love the Lord. Here is a favorite song that has really been ministering to me:

Veronica and the Ballet

Veronica is here! Oh how I LOVE this girl. She lived with us for almost a year in Turkey. We have known her since she was just a few years old. She is truly a member of our family. She is now living only about three hours from us so I hope we will get to see her a lot more!

Abigail had her tryout for their Ballet Company's big production in January so Veronica went with us and took some fun pictures! In addition, my friend Kristin also took some great pics!!! 

I just LOVE to see Abigail do ballet. 

We went to coffee shop between the parental meeting and the tryout so that is what those pics are from.

This is so Hannah

With the ballet director: Lori Ann Sparks

Some of the girls in her class!

Hannah with her hair and her shirt tied back!

This pose is SO my Abigail -- shy but wanting to partake.

Hannah eating marshmallows off the top of her snack.

I mean look at that face!