Monday, February 28, 2022

An incredibly important reminder

I think this often. I really, truly believe it. School is SO not the most important thing we do with our children. So why does it dominate so much of their existence? They may simply just BE who God made them to BE. Lest we never forget ...


My Hannah

I'm not sure why I am getting so desirous to hang onto every moment ... but I am. And these two pictures so present my Hannah. So beautiful -- inside and out. But also, such a piece of work. I am so incredibly happy to have had this one embryo join our family. What would be without her closure to our family?

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Small Miracles

It's become harder and harder to update my Blog. 

As my kids get older, they don't want me to share as much. So many stories and things I want to share get tucked away.

The Blog has become my journal so I worry that so much of my life won't be remembered.

Erin and her family are in Virginia shutting up their life there. They are in TLF (military acronym for "Temporary Lodging Facility"). It reminded me of my Germany TLF. When we lived in Turkey from 2012-2014, I went into what they thought might be "early labor" and the boys, me, and Veronica (family friend helping me) were shipped off to Germany for about 3-4 months. 

So I went searching for the video, and I found this. If you watch carefully, you'll see my very pregnant self.

I write all this to say, I still want to try and included glimpses of our life, shared with permission (or at least knowing that I won't get lectured for sharing it.) I have told all the kids they can ask me at any point to change a post I wrote from "public" to "private" and I will remove it.

Today, John had off work. We went to the 9:00 service at church. I sat next to Ms. Kay whose husband had died a week ago. She hugged me and hugged me and hugged me, and after service she told me the story from start to finish. Here I am living my life, and Ms. Kay's husband isn't here with her anymore. 

Afterwards we came home. I did some work to prepare for school tomorrow. Monday is homeschool co-op, and I am teaching a language arts class which requires effort on my part. In addition, Monday is the start of my own kids and a school week. So I had to get some stuff done.

After that, I played a game of Wingspan with both Sidge and Abigail. John, the boys, and me (Gabe too) caught three rams and loaded them up to take to the processor tomorrow morning.

And the boys and I cleaned their room! Oh what an accomplishment that was. (I also figured out how to put it to music which was super fun!)

I am becoming more and more aware of how fleeting these moments are. How few years are left before they won't care at all about half of the things in their room ... I'm truly trying to enjoy each moment.

I did learn a lesson. Do not put your boys in charge of putting away the Christmas decorations in the attic. The entrance to the attic is in their room so I thought this was acceptable. Teenage boys have no concept of keeping at attic clean. Holy cow was that stuff a mess.

I fixed it.

And we fixed their room.

Tomorrow, the camper will go to the camper "shop." This feels like the end of an era. The Dunhams will return for just a few more days at the beginning of March before moving to California. Erin has truly become such a dear friend. Losing her is really hitting me hard.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Story of the World (Modern Times)

Chapter 5 “After the Civil War”

Friday Funnies


Some funny conversations I overheard among my children:

Abigail: "Sidge, how many periods do you have?"

Sidge: "What?"

Abigail: "Like, in co-op? How many different periods do you have?"

Sidge: "Oh, I thought you were talking about periods at the end of a sentence."

* * * * *

Today, on the way home from co-op, I had Genevieve and Eoin and Ana with us in the car. The kids were doing the: "Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye" chant, and I told them I didn't like that one. I encouraged them to come up with new rhymes. Here were two we came up with:

Cross my turtle / Hope to hurdle / Stick a needle in my girdle 

But then one of them came up with one that had them stick their needle in pee. Genevieve remarked: "That wouldn't even hurt. It doesn't hurt to stick needle into your pee."

Monday, February 21, 2022

Puppies and teenagers

Isaac doesn't like pictures. Avoids the camera. And reserves his smiles for when he truly means (or you crack a joke right before you take the picture.) He isn't really a farm kid. Okay, he is NOT a farm kid. He has no desire for it. But he really enjoys the puppies. And he likes earning money. So for those reasons, the farm is a good place for him. He tells me to not expect him to live rural as he grows older. His heart wants the city ... but we will see. I have five more years to talk him into staying with me forever. 

Yesterday before bed, I started looking through some old pictures that popped up on my Facebook timeline. Like this one:

And I started crying. The tears just started running down my face. What an incredible gift I have been given. To think I'd have no children. To now have four. Why can't I appreciate each moment? Why do I get overwhelmed? What an incredible joy to get to be the Mama to these four humans. 

I am humbled ...

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Hard Days

There has been a lot of sadness/loss/frustration in our house during the last few days.

My migraines/female issues have not been getting better. That's hard all the way around. 

Secondly, we had another dog fight here at the house. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the Bostons vs. Arabelle is not going well. This time, Zoey was trying to save the Bostons and got caught in the cross fires. She is okay, but it was NOT at all something I ever want to have happen again.

Speaking of the Dunhams, they have pulled out of our house for two weeks back in Virginia. They will tie up all the loose ends, get their house officially packed out, and then return here for five days before life takes them to California.

Despite the fact that our dogs do not get along, the Dunhams being here has been something I am not sure I will ever be able to adequately put into words. Erin and I, as different as we are, have become absolute bosom friends. From the first time we met "officially" back in 2014 (I had been at their wedding a decade prior but never really knew her), we have hit it off. Something just clicked for us.

These seven months sharing our lives and homes together has been something I will always treasure ... always be thankful for ... never forget. Zach and Zoey are truly two of my most favoritest children ever. Zoey is SO incredibly smart. So well-read. She reminds me so much, in so many ways, of my Sidge -- and she looks up to him. Sidge is, no doubt, one of her very favoritest people. And Zach? Oh my gosh is that kid funny! What a card. A piece of work.

So there was the dog fight which led to a bite. There is the Dunhams leaving. There is Grampa and Grama leaving town for a week. 

And then today I got word of a death in our extended family. My brother's wife, Adrienne, had an Uncle that passed away during the last few days. This touches us all deeply because he is the father of their fourth/adopted son, Maddox. Both of Maddox's parents have passed away now. We are so incredibly happy that he has Keith and AD and three siblings to live his life with. But what an incredibly hard time for the Broyles family. Please keep them in your prayers.

In addition, John just returned from work, and he had a very difficult loss at work today. Sometimes you lose a patient that is just really difficult. And today was one of those days. John was thankful that he handled things the way he did. But it is still hard when someone dies "before their time."

Lots to be thinking about as I go to bed this evening ...

Isaac the car collector

His life of everything Hot Wheels started young! Oh the sweetness of this little boy …. from the time he was little and we bought him his first little pack of 9 cars, he could spend HOURS (literally!) just moving them around, lining them up, and playing with them. He truly was the easiest most content little boy ever. Today he as an actual collector. I love him. He is such a sweetie. Then and now.

With Two Hands

Another book I am currently reading the kiddos from the SONLIGHT curriculum. This book is not written the best, but it is incredibly interesting and inspiring! Feel free to read along with us.

Chapter 8

Love Languages

This week, I had each of the kids take the LOVE LANGUAGES quiz. I don't want to provide personal information from my children, but I will say that my four children and husband all grouped into THREE categories. They were:

Quality time

Receiving gifts

Physical Touch

However, the Mama of the family fit into two completely separate categories that no one else placed in the top three:

Acts of Service

Words of Affirmation

This actually makes me feel a bit more "understood." Lately, I have simply been feeling misunderstood/unappreciated/taken advantage of.

I feel like I am doing things around the house, with the kids, farm, etc. all the time with no one really caring. I suppose this is how most mothers of teenagers feel?

But seeing that this may have more to do with how my family show love vs. how I show love really seems to tell me something.

My desire to do animal chores is very low

19 degrees is a COLD day here in TN. It's nothing like Minnesota, but still ... when you wake up and see the temperature at this degree ... tough stuff.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

I find it hard to believe ...

 ... how quickly the week gets away from me.

I also find that more and more, it's hard for me to know what to write on my Blog.

For so long, my life was infertility. Then adoption. Then young children.

Now my children are growing, and I am finding I have to be more careful with what I share. So sometimes I don't share anything at all.

So, I must write about me. 

And I honestly like writing about my kids more. 

We went to the Greenbrier in West Virginia. My journey getting ready for this event with my friend Erin was something I really wanted to record. 

But lately, life just feels ... hard.

I have been battling migraines for what feels like 20+ years. I remember getting my first migraine when I was about 19-20 years old. I was helping my roommate Kristi get ready for what classes we would take at Western Kentucky University. Back then, nothing was on computer. We had a newspaper print out guide for our classes. We'd scour and piece together the best schedule, and then, at our assigned time, we'd call in on a phone and hope to get through quick enough to get the classes we wanted. 8:00am classes were easy to get. As the day got later, it would get harder to get your choice of classes.

In the middle of trying to read the brochure, I found I could not read the brochure. Lights were blinding me. It was my first migraine.

The next 25 years have continued a series of these headaches/migraines. Sometimes they are bad. Sometimes not so bad. But lately I have been struggling with these things on a nearly daily basis. I have gone to a neurologist and am trying some things. 

But in the midst of that, I am dealing with some hormonal issues as well. The combination has left me a bit battered and exhausted ...

And now, my husband and sons want to use the computer to watch a show. 

And so this story will be continued another time.

Stay tuned for more.


If I don't get distracted again.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The adventures of Wendi and the Greenbrier

This picture will require a very lengthy story … and soon I will write it. About a girl who agreed to go away for the weekend with her husband —to celebrate a friend’s birthday— and the realization one week before the event that she was going to The Greenbriar in West Virginia. Said girl had no idea there were places that had dress codes. Same said girl literally had ZERO items in her farm-clothes closet that fit the dress code. So her dear friend Erin Aubrey launched a mission to get her clothes. She even bought her very first purse. 

Stay tuned for … the rest of the story.

Monday, February 07, 2022

More puppy cuteness :)

The Gray family stopped by to see the puppies (and pick up Lexa, who has become a good friend to Abigail.) They have five kids, and we really just love this family! Check out how adorable some of these pictures are of Maryah (oldest), Nichole (the mom), and little Mabrey. And the videos at the end .... oh my goodness :)


Number the Stars

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5 

Friday, February 04, 2022

Lotsa good news

So there has been A LOT going on in our house. 

Firstly, the night after our big ballet weekend, we came home and discovered our puppy Raven was in labor. The next morning, we had to go to our first week of homeschool co-op for the semester. Raven had a vet appt. to get an x-ray and see how many puppies she had inside of her. We obviously had to cancel that. We opted to leave Abigail home with Daddy, and while we were gone, Raven birthed this puppy pictured below. (Here is a video of her having this first puppy, that we are calling APRIL.)

Hours went by and there were no more puppies. We opted to take Raven to the vet. The vet did an x-ray and discovered there was one more pup hiding in there. They gave Raven some medicine and this little gal popped out. (And here is a video of that birth here.)

In addition to that news, our Elijah Luke "Sidge" turned 13 on the same day the puppies were born. This kid. I really need to devote a whole 'nother post to this amazingly compassionate, caring, truthful, diligent, intelligent young man. He is truly such a joy to be the Mama for!

A few days after that? Even MORE good news. Mr. Craig (aka "Erin's husband" or "Zach and Zoey's Daddy") returned "home" from his deployment to Quatar! It had been seven long months, and everyone is SOOO excited to have him back safely. This does mean, however, that there time on the farm is drawing to an end. In early March they will not their new base in California. Man, I can't even think about that. Here's a picture of Mr. Craig with the puppies. (He really likes them!)

Honestly, there is so much more to tell about our life lately, and it just doesn't seem like there is enough time to tell it. But I'll be back with more soon!

Kildee House

I am reading this book to my 1st thru 4th graders. If you'd like to read with us, feel free to join in!

Chapter 6

Chapter 5

Chapter 4

Chapter 3 (Part 2)

Chapter 3 (Part 1)

Chapter 2

Chapter 1 

Banner in the Sky

I am reading the following book to my middle schoolers (7th-9th grade). If you'd like to read along with us, join us on my reading journey!

Chapter 13


Chapter 5 (Part 1)

Chapter 5 (Part 2)

Chapter 4

Chapter 3

Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Farm bird #122

Farm Bird #122
Bald Eagle 

This is the 122nd unique species of bird we’ve identified on our farm here in Greene County, East Tennessee.

My 13-year-old son has been birding with his camera quite a bit lately, so when I saw him running up to the house, I figured he’d seen something special. 

A much overdue farm first. Not real common (not a true rarity either), but we’ve been here for 7 years, and this is our first one on the farm. 

(This is my son’s photo… he said, “it’s not my best photo, but I wanted you to see it before it flew away!”)

Tuesday, February 01, 2022


Today, a link popped up on my Facebook memories. I love getting these. We are nearing a decade of memories now that I am getting to reminisce about.

Some of the memories are hard. It was six years ago at this time that our Scrubs got sick. It's hard to reread about that pain of losing him. But it's also important to realize how much time has passed and that life does move on.

Another memory that popped up was a flashback to a post I wrote. You can read it here: Chocolate milk and M&Ms. I wrote this post in February of 2014. Seven years ago. How does time possibly go by that fast? How do children grow up before your eyes? 

I also realized that as my kids get older, my ability to share these intimate moments has decreased. This is because my children are older. They are wiser. They don't want their life shared with strangers. And I get that. It's one thing to share about a life with a toddler. It's a whole 'nother ballgame to share your life with teenagers. 

This morning I had a conversation with one of my teenagers. (As of yesterday, when Sidge turned 13, I have two teenagers so now, truly, it is not positive as to who this is.)

Teenager: “Oh, did someone buy more lunch meat?”
Me: “Yes. I did.”
Teenager: “Cool!”
Me: “Can you say thank you?”
Teenager: “I did. I said ‘cool.’ That’s the same thing.”
Me: “No. it’s not.”
I want to try to still record these moments in my life. These special times. These fleeting memories. They are going by SO quickly. People warn you of this. They tell you how fast parenthood goes. To enjoy every second because the seconds speed by. 
But honestly, it wasn't until the last year that I felt like I left childhood behind and entered into a new era. The days of being physically exhausted are long past. Now it is just incredible emotional exhaustion. Every statement I make is followed up by a series of negotiations/discussions/addendums. Nothing is simple.
Nothing was simple when they were little either. But the difficulties were small. Unimportant. 
I now have two teenagers. And I don't want them to grow up!