Monday, February 19, 2024

What the kiddos are up to

Isaac is WAY into Newsies and is loving it! So excited for him. He continues to take piano, guitar, theatre and voice. He is excited about having his own room as well. Isaac is very involved with his Youth Group and really likes it. He's on leadership and the worship team there. He will be 16 in May and able to drive!

Sidge still plays piano. We have told him he does not need to perform anymore if he doesn't want to. (He doesn't want to.) So he's taking lessons, but we aren't making him do the recitals. He said he'll push through and try to do it until he graduates. He's a little bummed right now that the BIG hunting trip he and John were hoping to do in 2025, has now been pushed to the summer of 2026. We are working on finishing the boys' news room, and Sidge is excited about having his own space -- he has plans for new fish tanks with that. His LOVE is all things biology and nature ALL THE TIME. 

Abigail is still very into ballet. But I'm watching her love to doodle and color with pretty pens when she takes notes for classes. She doesn't love school. (But I am not sure if there is a kid who does?) But, she has found a book series SHE LOVES which is so exciting. It's called the FAIRY TALE ROMANCE SERIES.  Abigail is attending youth now as well and enjoying it. She has made some good friends that she enjoys spending time with!

(The picture above is of Abigail wit her good friends Johnna Beth and Ella (and little sister Ezri.)

Hannah is also very into ballet. She absolutely LOVED her role on stage and it was very hard to say "good bye" to Newton :( She really, really, REALLY loves homeschooling with her Kotysnki family and does NOT want to stay home with us and do her schoolwork. She just finished reading the Gregor the Overlander series (which I read and thoroughly enjoyed many years ago.) It gives me flashbacks to little Sidge when he finished Gregor the first time. He was SO sad when it was over. He was probably about eight-years-old, and I remember him crying saying, "Why couldn't she have written more books? Why does it have to end?"

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Game night with the Kot’s!

We do life with this family but rarely spend TIME with them outside of running to and fro. John was working, but we still found time for a game night! We included the two significant others: Micah (who goes with Ana) and Maryah (who goes with the Gabe.) I am just so happy that I have this family living ten minutes from me!

Thursday, February 08, 2024

A Typical Wednesday


Wednesdays are a day here that usually feel very "ordinary." The kids have youth group in the evening (Abigail and the boys). But otherwise, we are home. 

But yesterday, the ordinary got a little bit bigger. Gramps and Grama are out of town and JB was working. Little Hannah (the "Pomegranate" -- as we affectionately call her so she doesn't get confused with Aunt Hannah) needed to get to the Kotynski's house for school. She schools there four days a week with Aunt Hannah and her best friend Genevieve and other cousin, Eoin. Sidge also needed to get to the gas station on the corner by our house. (It's actually 3.7 miles exactly from our house.) 

So I drove Sidge to the corner by the gas station at 9am. He was meeting the Waddell family. They were going to let him "tag along" to the aquarium in Pigeon Forge. Sidge's high school Marine Biology class was dissecting a shark. This is the second animal they have dissected with Ripley's Aquarium. I'm so thankful for such an incredible class like this one is with Ms. Aliceson Bales. 

After dropping Sidge, I took Hannah to the gas station and then headed home. I spent the next few hours doing a combo of farm work / house work / school work. I needed to take some sheep paddock down. There are always jobs around the house. And I was working to get ahead for the two classes I am teaching at the co-op each Monday. Our family is going to be going on a BIG vacation, and I want to make sure I don't leave anything "untied" before I go.

By 4:00p, it was time to return to the gas station to pick up Sidge -- who had a great time. Aunt Hannah returned the Pomegranate to me. I got everyone some quick dinner, and then I was off to Youth Group. I dropped the boys off at 5:30p and then went over to the house of my friends': Daniel and Rachel. Their youngest two do not go to youth, and if I sat at the house, Daniel and Meredith could work Youth Group without having to make them tag along.

By the time I got home, it was 9:30p. John was home from work and with the girls, and I was off to bed. 

And then .... it was Thursday. 

The days are like that here. They aren't very BIG really. Lots of tiny, little things. I am so enjoying the sun being out after a very gray winter!

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Litter #4

Raven is in heat! Thinking we could expect puppies end of April/May. She’s such a sweetie pie girl!

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

The Hunter

Before anyone freaks out, it is squirrel season. And yes we eat anything we hunt. Well, he does. 

Sunday, February 04, 2024


I've been struggling a bit again with anxiety. I really, really hate mental issues. I think I'd rather be physically sick any day over mentally. But then again, being physically sick also really stinks. I have learned so much about anxiety and what it actually is. It is actually ADRENALINE that fires at the wrong time. When adrenaline fires at the RIGHT TIME (before a big game you have to play for example), you know what it is and your brain makes sense of it. But when that anxiety fires in just a regular old day, you don't know what it is. And your brain attempts to find a "cause" for that misfire. My brain tells me people are upset at me. That I've let someone down. Things that can roll off my back normally, do not. 

It really makes me look around. When I sat in church this morning, I couldn't help but looking around thinking: "Who else is struggling today? Who else is hurting right now? Who else is barely hanging on?"

I know this isn't nearly as bad as it could be. I have felt worse. A lot worse. But right now, I just wish I could get the veil to completely lift. 

If you are struggling today, you are NOT alone. You are NOT the only one. I am so glad to be in this life. I would not want to not be here. But this life IS hard. Watching people you love age. Watching people you love, leave. Navigating relationships and community.

Saturday, February 03, 2024

How do so many ...

 ... days go by since I posted last?

It's so interesting to me that I feel I had more time for this type of thing when the kids were younger. The amount of activities that we are doing seem to take me away from home way more than I ever imagined.

I've decided that no one should give advice on parenting until they have teenagers. I don't mean that completely of course. People need advice. And I gave lots of sleep advice when my kids were little. But parenting teenagers is quite a different ballgame. 

I was a high school teacher and a coach so I think I knew this intuitively, but I don't know if I really felt it until recently. Children move from these adorable little babies to these chunky little toddlers and suddenly, they are preparing to launch into the real world? They don't want you. But they need you. Or do they? 

John's schedule means we can go days without really "being" with him and then we can get him in a big ol' helping. I wish we had him home every evening. And yet, that's not what our life is. 

I'm understanding how quickly this parenthood thing will be over. My boys will only have three more years before they could actually launch into the world! How crazy is that? 

So much emotion and learning and loving and FEAR.