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creativity to be envied

April 9, 2015

Katie & Michael, I hope you will do something great with your own big brains. I love this on so many levels! Awesome.

 

Happy Easter!!!!!

April 6, 2015

He’s risen!! Happy Easter! Let the celebrations continue all week!

This will be short as this day has been full and I think my pillow is calling my name.

It’s been a fantastic day filled with sunrise Mass, an egg hunt, Easter baskets, family, friends, feasting, a movie & board game, and quite here in the last few moments of my waking day. Simply beautiful!!

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It’s all about the EGGS

April 4, 2015

So it seems that with each year we seem to add just a bit more Easter egg jazz to our pre-Easter festivities. It’s a lot like the Christmas parties before Christmas, right?!

It all started with the Easter party in the preschool classroom. PRECIOUS! Clare loved the games and the little caterpillar craft also. I always love the opportunity to be in the classroom (I know I’m a bit spoiled with more than the average number of opportunities.) Her teacher is really fantastic and I really like the room mom! She’s a former teacher also and we’ve had some fun collaborating on a handful of projects over the year. These classroom parties are a first for us if you don’t count the ones I hosted as a classroom teacher many moons ago.

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Cold or not…this girl loves to play!

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Thursday was a very dreary and coldish afternoon egg hunt with our homeschool friends. Oh my was it the best one yet though. The eggs were numbered 1-12, a dozen for each person participating. You hunted 12 eggs and only one of each number. Ellie definitely didn’t get it, but sweet Clare was all excited to find the numbers she needed. Golly, I needed a better memory keeper on our team though as I was constantly recounting her eggs to determine which numbers she was still missing. FUN though! We have come to really love this group of families. We missed a few of our dear friends though who couldn’t make it and we were rushed to leave so I could get home to teach. Community is such a gift though! I’m so thankful to have rooted ourselves more in this life of schooling at home.

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One of Katie’s friends was able to make it and graciously agreed to help Elizabeth.

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Michael had a few friends there who are part of his weekly homeschool P.E. class. We didn’t realize they were part of the homeschool group until this event…their first!

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Clare was with me to help pick out the eggs for these upcoming hunts. She was so excited to have found PRINCESS eggs and then to have found them during the hunt.

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Happy hunting!

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Friday this little girl hosted the sweetest little Easter party!

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She lives just a few doors down from us and mom works the weekends. Friday was the perfect opportunity to celebrate a new-to-her holiday. It was great to meet a few more neighbors and of course let the little girls play! They had a great time!!

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The customary egg dying wrapped up our festivities until the real celebrations Sunday morning.

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Happy celebrations of faith and family!

Blessed Holy Triduum

April 2, 2015

A very blessed Triduum! I had the great privileged of starting lent attending a weekend women’s silent retreat. In God’s great goodness the message for my soul was simple – “Fight to find your prayer – not like it used to be but like it’s called to be now as a mom to littles and quickly growing bigs.” Hhhhhmmmmm. What does that mean? Well, it means committing to a weekly holy hour and doing it with Katie. We lost the fight last week and this week we moved what seemed to be mountains to get there, but golly God is so good! Plans changed again this morning and required another opportunity to fight for the promised hour of prayer. Papa graciously entertained Elizabeth, Clare & Michael which left a sleeping baby to accompany Katie & I.

Yep. Any betting momma knows to put money on the odds that said sleeping baby would quickly wake. Cha-ching! You’d be a winner as he did indeed wake upon walking through the chapel doors. Surely, the angels in adoration were the ones that had woke him. God has the most perfect plan all along.

My prayer materials weren’t found before leaving the house, a baby in arms meant no sitting anyway, so a walk around the chapel’s perimeter praying the Stations of the Cross was the perfect opportunity. Sadly, it’s been a very long time since I’ve prayed the stations without a printed meditation. I should seriously do it more often!

My mind was clearly still pondering a letter I’d read before even putting my feet to the floor this morning. It was in those moments that God began to center my day, unbeknownst to me of course. You can read this incredibly beautiful letter HERE.

Being a mom to many and three littles has it’s definite challenges. Every. Second. Of. Every. Day. It’s this very circus that has given me excuses to stray from my concentrated prayers these last months and years.

As I held our 6 month old and made my journey from one station to the next, a common theme emerged over and over…do I see this story, this example of love, through the lens of a spouse & mother or through the eyes of my children and what they see in me? Both. Both indeed.

Several stations really spoke to me, but this one had such a clear, stick-with-me message, that I had to share it here as so many of my friends are in the trenches with fighting for healthy marriages in a society that tries to ruin that at every turn, homeschooling our children, caring for very young children, and trying to foster community outside the house. All of them in themselves could be full-time jobs, but together it can quickly feel like insanity.

20150402_100845I was pondering how Jesus had fallen three times already and how the soldiers had been there as he struggled for strength and perseverance in this cross that was “forced” upon him. What was their reaction? Were they growing more cruel or was it possible their hearts were being touched and softening, even if just a little. Did any of the persecutors realize who was suffering under the weight of this cross? How is it then that I present myself in times of similar struggle? When the cross gets too hard to carry, when there is so much chaos and little voices making all sorts of noise around me, how do I respond? Do I grow in my anger and annoyance making the moments even more void of grace, or do I choose to soften my heart, my tone, my body language and present a different perspective? Surely a perspective of love would ease Christ’s cross and change the outcome of my own family’s course.

20150402_101958Jesus is stripped of his clothes. As I stepped up to this station there was a very lovely elderly woman’s voice who greeted us. I turned to see a delightful southern woman who was so happy to engage with a smiling, lovable Max. She was so sweet to not waste an extra second asking to hold him. Of course. I love the opportunity to give others the chance to hold a baby. There’s something very beautiful about such an opportunity. In this case, I was so delighted to have a few moments of prayer without balancing Max. Confident that the arms holding Max were indeed strong enough and willing to take him, I turned back to this station. Jesus was stripped of his clothes…the things of earth. I realized in this moment as my arms were empty that these days of babies and mothering young lives were fleeting. My time here in this stage was going to be over in the blink of an eye. Would I live it with grace and the gift of memories worth reliving or would I fall under the pressures of the devil…the little things that cut through our day and distract us from eternal pursuits. I walk into this Triduum with a renewed focus upon the details of my time with the kids.

20150402_101608One last time her arms were full as she held her son in death. She rested with him near her heart, surely his head tucked up under chin. (I love my babies there! They fit just so perfectly.) She rested! He opened the gates of eternal life and rested in eternity, his rightful home. There are so many moments that I need to rest with my children. I need to sit. I need to invite them to sit. I need to slow down! I step into this triduum I’ll look for the ways in which we are called to slow down.

Thank you Jesus for all things wrapped into these precious three days. Give me the grace not to waste any moment of grace you have to offer me, my family, this world! Have mercy upon us.

Thank you Katie Girl for sharing these moments of prayer with me! I love you…my not so little first born!

Happy 5th Birthday

March 28, 2015

What a great celebration for a fantastic nephew on the occasion of his birthday! We love you little big man!!

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Super duty solar powered hovercraft

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Finding Stuff

March 26, 2015

(My dad comes up with the best blog post titles.)

*****Spoiler alert. Skip this post if you plan to participate in this particular geocaching event.*******

Today we went on “bentures” as Clare says. Papa has taught all the kids that adventuring is fun and always unpredictable. Today, we spent the day searching for 4 of 5 geocaches in the metro Atlanta area. Awesome. I’m thankful for a few homeschool facebook groups that alerted me to the opportunity as these are temporary caches only available until March 28th.

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Oglethorp was our first stop, and definitely our trial run with the gps geocache app. Once Papa realized that it could track our steps and direction and actually calculate how many steps away and which clock direction we should turn, we were golden.

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How fun to find this first one! It was tucked in the window cranny of this really cool Admissions building.

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Each jar contained a little piece of information about its location, a paper to sign, a stamp and ink pad to record your find, and a little gift to take with you.

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This beautiful tree was on the corner of the admissions building as we headed back to our car. I so love springtime in the south! Year after year, I think I fall in love with spring just a little more. I never tire of the colors and new life! I love these beautiful tulip trees!

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Our second stop was 25 minutes away at Georgia State. Yep. There is a reason why we live in the suburbs, but this was a fun stop! We enjoyed a picnic lunch from our van’s trunk before making our way up the street and more formally onto the “campus”. What a unique urban experience!

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Parking was tricky downtown at the university. Thank God for the double stroller and the baby bjorn, and of course Papa’s help. The big kids provided a great set of extra hands and eyes as we traipsed through the very urban Georgia campus. I considered it culture that the kids don’t see everyday, and at the end of the day they were able to see vast differences between campus life on the three separate campuses.

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This is the plaza entrance for the second geocache find.

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How fun though that there was a special interest group with fun little goodies. Clare was quite happy to jump out of the stroller and join me to check out their giveaways. The college kids were so happy to hand her a bracelet, lollipop, and noise maker along with Georgia State tatoos both for herself and Elizabeth. Cute, right and definitely true to form for college life?!

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This security officer was aware of this cache’s location and answered yes/no questions as Katie & Michael asked for hints. He was so nice and had fun helping them I think. Michael spotted this one first!

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Sadly, it appeared that this jar had been “robbed” and was missing some vital things! Bummer!

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Fernbank was our next stop. I was sort of tired of the urban life and I knew what to expect in the environment of this museum as we’ve been there many times. It’s campus is so pretty and generally quiet, and the surrounding area has so much old southern character. It’s just really beautiful and Papa had never been to this area.

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Have I mentioned how much I love spring?

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This find was actually very difficult. There was an 8′ brick wall that was blocking their access to this cache. It appeared at first sight that the buildings up above the wall were private residences. However, in fact, they weren’t and the cache was expertly hidden on a brick wall above.

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This one was actually almost empty of it’s little goodies so we scrounged around in the car and found a few rainbow loom bracelets to leave for the next finders.

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Emory was our final stop, and Katie found this one. I stayed in the car with the three youngest and we were approaching rush hour so there was no time to dally.

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Dad and I make a great adventuring team. He can navigate & read maps well, and I can drive and follow gps directions well. What a beautiful day – fantastic weather, great adventures, joyful attitudes, surprisingly docile and pleasant little ones even late in the afternoon, and the beginning of new-to-us adventures. I think Papa might be hooked. I forsee more of these opportunities in our future as Nate loves them also.

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What a fun day. I love living in the city! I wish we had time to attend the science festival this weekend. It’s a huge bummer that we won’t make it. Thanks dad for creating memories with us today!

6 month bliss

March 25, 2015

It’s so hard for me to believe that our little man is already 6 months old. Our oldest said it best, “Why does time go so fast when you start to get older?” He really is changing so much!

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Always so very happy, he brings so much joy to everyone! We can’t go anywhere without someone commenting on how his face lights up with pure joy. It’s true. He’s this way almost all the time!

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His siblings adore him. He adores them. He notices everything. He reaches, and kicks, and squeals when you come close to him. He has a certain special love for his momma! It melts my heart! His joy does great things for my soul!

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Still so very little, only 10% in weight and 25% in height, he’s our little man…the first of our children!

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Max is so very, very strong. He’s already making crawling strides, rocking on his knees and lunging forward. I caught him pulling his upper body up and over the little cradle, so two days ago we switched out the beds so he couldn’t fall out. I never imagined I’d move him because he’d fall out. I always thought he’d move because he outgrew it. Nope, not this little man. He’s so strong, already jumping and bouncing in the doorway jumper and loves to climb your body while holding him. It’s so hard to imagine life without him. He’s truly a gift to all of us!!

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