Tuesday, May 16, 2017


It was a nasty, rainy Saturday that held the Spring Concert.
Many accidents on the highway as we traveled, but it was all sunshine inside.
The girls sang in their respective choirs and the boys had artwork exhibited in the art show.

Concert Choir
sang "Cantate Domino"

Primary Choir sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You."

Some of the artwork by Boogie

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and MJ

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I had hoped that the kids learning piano would have a chance to play, but as it was the program was two and a half hours long, so it is just as well that they did not.
Apparently the private lesson students do not play for performances?  
Missy will be playing a piece in the talent show this week by her choice.

Nice work, kids.
Now to wrap up our co-op year!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2017


2017 Spring Softball.

Friday, May 12, 2017


We are finally starting to wind down our co-op year.
We did two co-ops for the 2016-2017 school year.
You would think after all the craziness, I would have learned my lesson, right?

Here we are already looking forward to the 2017-2018 co-op year and I signed up for both again.
Not only did I sign up for both--I signed up for FULL DAYS at BOTH!
Not only did I sign up for full days, but I am teaching three classes and helping out in seven over the two days!!  Oops!  I need to edit that.  Since starting this post, I have taken on another class. 

This in addition to teaching at and taking care of our home, teaching Sunday School, trekking to 4-H club meetings and practices, sports, being on the playing rotation for church, Pioneer Girls and more.

I think I might have a problem over-committing myself.

It is for this reason that I really try to keep our days at home free of other influences.  They are too far and in between.  It is such a relief not to have to set the alarms in the morning and just let the day go as it will.  I think this is just a season for us, I won't be able to keep up with this kind of schedule (at least I hope I don't!).  I want the kids to find their niche and then we can focus on that particular area rather than having such a wide-spread concentration.  If our pregnancy had been able to progress, I would definitely not have taken on so much responsibility and probably not two co-ops, at least definitely not two full days.  Again, a season.  I'm also trying to keep our summer pretty open and not schedule much, key word here being "trying." It is amazing how much STUFF just clutters our lives.

This is my motivation.
If they lose interest in any of the above, I don't have a problem modifying our schedule.

Here is to raising happy, healthy, well-rounded, kind productive people.
And to learning to say "No" when the situation requires.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Time heals all wounds.  Isn't that how the saying goes?
Time does not in fact heal all wounds, time makes them a bit more bearable 
and scabs them over so they aren't raw.
Scabs aren't pretty and often leave scars.
Scars tell a story, don't they.

Since a bit of time has passed, I thought I would share some more of our story and thoughts.
When we experienced our first loss, it came totally out of nowhere. 
I had no reason to expect something wrong after 6 healthy pregnancies and deliveries.
When we became pregnant again, it was a whole different ball game.

Pregnancy after a loss is so different.
We were excited of course, but subdued, thinking of what had happened previously. And scared to be honest.
In fact, we barely even talked about it--the baby, the pregnancy, any of it.
Every ache or pain had me questioning and wondering if everything was okay.
We hoped and prayed for all to be well, but it was not God's will that we have a baby at that time.
I can't describe what I felt when I saw the first bit of blood after this eighth pregnancy.
It was like shattering into a million pieces.
I hadn't thought that we would be put through the agony of a loss again. 
Bleeding in early pregnancy is fairly common, but I just knew.
We were almost 12 weeks along.
Almost the 2nd trimester. 
There is no magic number when a pregnancy is "safe," but in general, humanly speaking--we were just about to the "safe zone,"  We had been getting ready to tell people.  We hadn't even told the kids yet--they didn't know until I was already in the midst of the loss.  

We did not opt to get any testing done following the losses.
There is nothing that can be done to prevent a loss such as we have had and many times the testing comes back inconclusive.  In addition, if there were some genetic abnormality--we would never terminate a pregnancy anyway.  Again, we have faith that it is all planned out for us by the Author and Finisher and we will trust in His plan and purpose for us.  

I don't know what the future has in store for us, whether our family is complete or whether we are to add to it.  At this point, we are open to whatever God's will is for us.  His plan is by far better than ours anyway.  I do think though that if we are blessed with another child that instead of waiting to announce--we would ask for prayer right away. ~James 5:16~

I think it is sad how the majority of people reject the gifts that God gives--purposefully.
The Bible says that children are a GIFT!
 Even "Christian" families are rejecting these gifts.
I pray that we would NOT be so selfish and ungrateful.
My views concerning family planning and birth control have morphed slightly over the years.
I'm not sure that I'm ready to open that can of worms though or if anyone would even care to discuss it, maybe I'll put it on the back-burner to revisit at another time.

After our losses, it was kind of eye-opening how many women that I know had actually experienced it and had never shared with anyone.  I understand that--it is very personal and most times people don't know how to react.  I just very recently had an acquaintance reach out after her first loss and I'm glad she did.  I think it is important to talk about these things and there is that immediate connection in experiencing the same grief.  If we can offer just a little bit of comfort to those grieving, than it hasn't been for nothing.  This goes for miscarriage, infertility, stillbirth, special needs babies and the list goes on--no one will know or understand unless we share and make ourselves vulnerable.

The other thing I'd like to touch on briefly, many of the healthcare professionals offered counseling as a source of comfort but also closure. While we declined, I think that is important.  More important in my mind and experience was having a rock-solid foundation on Christ alone, a supporting spouse, and a confidante who knows you and can relate to your life.  Make connections with people, you never know who YOU may be able to minister to and vice versa.  It was also mentioned about having some sort of service for our babies, if that is what you need--do it.  Personally, we did not feel the need.  We have the hope that as covenant children, we will meet them one day again.  In a sense, we can almost be envious that they do not need to know the heartache and sin of this life.  As much as we'd like them in our arms, aren't the arms of our Heavenly Father so much better?!  We did not name our babies either, many people do.   This does not make them any less real or loved to us.

Our first loss would have been a little over 2 months old now.
Our second would still have about 4 months left in the womb.
Those dates and lives will be forever be a part of us.
I hope that our living children also remember, understand and be sensitive to these things.

In many ways, 2015-today have been the worst years of my life, to date.
Yet, as much as I do wish a lot of the things had not happened, I am so very grateful for the stretching and growth all of the events have caused.  In spite of, or maybe even BECAUSE of the hard times, I can truly say we are so very, very blessed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Waaay back in March, I attended and actually helped set up a workshop for homeschool moms called,
"Remember the Calling:  Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool Journey."
A local homeschool mom, Karen DeBeus of SimplylivingforHim.com came and spoke an encouraging word to us.

It was a nice night with a really small crowd ;)

I didn't take many pictures, but I did take a few notes that I shared with some people that were unable to attend.  I'm just going to copy them as I sent them.

SimplylivingforHim.com is Karen DeBeus' website.  She also has a podcast and other resources.  Biblebasedhomeschooling.com is another site.

So some of the main points:  
Who is in charge of your homeschool?  It is ALL about the Lord.  
We serve a Super Lord so we don't have to be supermoms

We can get bogged down with the day to day things and even give up on our school year (thinking that next year will be THE year it all gets done)--but finish well.  Live in this moment because the next is not guaranteed.

Do you have JOY in your homeschool?  Look back to see why you started homeschooling.  What is our purpose?
With your children write a mission statement.  Have clear goals for yourself and your children--and they may have nothing to do with academics, but rather about pointing your children to Jesus and having them be kind and productive members of society.  Everyone learns at different rates so also don't fall into the comparison trap.  You can be your own worst enemy.  Let go of the pinterest/facebook/supermom expectations.  She also talked a lot about simplifying.  It is not necessarily having and doing less STUFF (though that is certainly part of it) it is having MORE JESUS!  Homeschooling is not between you and your neighbor or you and your parents etc.  It is only between you and God.  

Matt. 6:33
If we seek Him first (in our homeschool) *He will equip us
                                                          * He knows what our children need
                                                          * He will work no matter the style or curriculum we use
                                                          * If we seek Him first, we will be doing things "right"

Here are some verses to encourage: Psalm 126:3, Isaiah 58:11, Hebrews 3:16, Proverbs 16:9

What legacy are we leaving for our children and how do we want to be known? Is our identity in being a homeschool mom or is it in Jesus?  What will our children remember us as?  Mom loved and pointed us to the Lord (and that is WHY she did everything) or Mom did every craft and whatnot..The first should be our goal.

Before talking to your friends or consulting the catalogs or reviews, be in PRAYER over choosing curriculum!  How many of us do that??

Be in God's Word--it should be first thing you see and absorb everyday and it will give you strength.

There was so much more in the presentation, but that is a little sampling.  Hope you are all well!

As I said, it was a very encouraging night.
I hope we get another opportunity to have a time like this sometime in the near future!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


It was wet, rainy and chilly this past Saturday.
The softball game was cancelled, but we trekked on out to the shooting competition anyway.

Mike took the two competitors out early to get there on time and I headed up later (about an hour away) with everyone else.

Again, the kids were all divided up into teams--there were 4-H shooting sports members from all over there, Morris, Hunterdon, Warren, etc. counties.  4 people from various clubs to a team.  Then they each had to make the rounds to the different stations--air rifle 1, air rifle 2, shotgun, 3-d archery, archery games, and quiz bowl.  

Quiz bowl for MJ

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Sporting the ear protection

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Archery games for Bean

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Mike helped out with Bean's team, 
which is why there are more pictures with her in it.

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Air rifle 2 (I think)
I have to say, Bean had never shot an air rifle before..no practice..zilch.
She. Did, Amazing!

She needed some help pumping the rifle, but her aim was right on.
For this station, they shot at balloons, then ping pong balls and then lollipops.
Maybe she's found her nitch?!

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We did not have any ear protection, so we couldn't go any closer,
 but this is MJ shooting shotgun for the first time.
He did hit a clay bird on one of his shots! 
Not bad for a first!

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MJ's turn at air rifle

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After all was said and done, we all gathered to go over who placed where.
Bean's team took 3rd in air rifle 2!!!

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MJ's team took 1st in air rifle 1!!

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Super Excellent Job, Kiddos!!

Monday, May 8, 2017


Our Friday co-op held a dance showcase this past week for all the dance classes.
The girls were so excited.  Mike didn't tell them that he was leaving work early to come watch, so that was an extra surprise!

Waiting for face paint!
In their group, some had tears and some had hearts.
The overall theme of the performances was hunger and the classes were asking for donations to help out local food pantries.

They were happy dancers

Waiting for the music

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They danced to a song called "Overcomer" by Mandisa

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Each girl got an 8 count solo that they could make up themselves.

Then each of the girls got a carnation.  
It was a nice touch.

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Great job, girls!

Friday, May 5, 2017


Our first 4-H archery competition for the year!
Bean's first ever competition.

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We actually had to divide and conquer because Missy had a softball game as well.
Dad took MJ and Bean and I took the rest to the softball game and met up with them after the game was over.  Welcome to our weekends for the next month!

Ever wonder what an archery competition looks like?
Well here is the scene.  A big open field.
The clubs pretty much all sit together with tents and chairs and then all the different stations are on the outskirts.  This particular shoot had just three different ranges.  The 3-d range was in the woods.  It was really windy, that is why there are weights hanging from the tent.  One club was not so brilliant and apparently their tent blew away and broke.

MJ at one of the ranges.
They are pretty strict on rules and such.  
Where to stand, when you can go get your equipment, when you can begin shooting etc.
It works well.

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It was actually a really nice day to be out.
They did not do awards or anything that day, but we got the scores a few days later.
It still looks like mumbo jumbo--but from what I can make out, MJ did really well in his age group.  Again, it was Bean's first competition and she hadn't had much practice--so I think that we will only see improvement on her end.

Next weekend, next competition!

Thursday, May 4, 2017


The end of April through to June this year is jam packed.
We had no free weekends to do a birthday party, sooooooo...
Missy's birthday was on a Tuesday but her first softball game of the season was on Monday.
We invited the regulars to join us for the game and then we would all go for ice cream to celebrate.
It was a win-win situation.  Thankfully, though there was a little threat of rain and a little sprinkle, the weather held out and it wasn't FREEZING like it had been two years earlier when we did the same thing.

Unfortunately, I had to go home with a sick one, but I insisted on some pictures being sent to me.

She is still in the ponytail level and they don't keep score, but I heard she had some good hits!

Some presents:

A couple of the options at the dairy:

And some of the gang enjoying their ice cream!

Overall, I'd say it was a successful birthday party.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Missy turned 8 this year!

Her birthday was on a Tuesday and it was pretty busy.  The day before one of the little ones had woken up with stomach issues--coming out of both ends.  Unfortunately, we had to be in Long Valley by 8:45am--no rescheduling or cancelling of our plans.  So, we gathered up extra clothes, mats to put on the seat, a bucket to catch any vomit and a bunch of plastic bags and wipes.  We got there with no incidents, but it was a LONG 3 hour wait while we had to stay there!  Then, later that night we had the last Pioneer Girls meeting for the season!   We couldn't miss it.  On birthdays the birthday person gets to choose the menu for the day, so since Daddy wasn't home we decided to wait until after the meeting so we could all eat together.  It was a long wait there too!

Morning picture

It just so happened that the theme for the year at Pioneer Girls had to do with cupcakes--what better way to end then, than with a little cupcake party!  The girls all sang happy birthday as well!

We got home and finally had some dinner!
Birthday spread.  Quite a menu for an 8 year old!  Crab legs and shrimp with some sides.

Finally, she got to open presents!!

We hope you had a wonderful birthday!!