Thursday, May 18, 2017

life lately: a natural flair, a free aquarium, + marvelous sleep

This could easily be a picture of me after April: :)

Sleep- just let me sleep anywhere! :) I had several weeks from April- May of being so busy and having to be up at 4:30-5:30 while not sleeping well, and so for the last week or two I've been making up for lost sleep to recover. :D Naps work wonders for my mind and body at this stage in the game!

This baby girl is growing like a weed! Or maybe more like our lilies we planted a couple of months ago:

We were excited to finish up CC for the year. Our last project was for the children to dress up as our Facts of History person. Noah chose Ivan the Great of Russia and Isabella chose Queen Isabella of Castille:

They had to give their presentations in front of all the children and most of their parents. :) These two have a natural flair for acting- they LOVED it and really got into playing their parts:

One of the things the children do for fun in their free time is to create their own "movies" with complete scenes, editing, and credits. It's adorable and we are always surprised by their creativity!! :)

I think these two will be joining the family cast soon:

They're crazy. :)

Since our school break began, we had the chance to visit Bass Pro Shops (a.k.a. the free aquarium):

And we've been spending so much time outside on the porch. (Daddy does all the nail clipping around here, for the last 13.5 years :D)

We also picked up some fabric for the baby's quilt:

And explored our local greenhouse:

We've had a much-needed couple of weeks of sweet rest and recovery. :)

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Oh my goodness.

April 2017 may have posed the biggest life challenge we've had since we were racing to move out of our house almost three years ago. :) 

In the last 27 days, we decluttered the entire house, held a huge garage sale, went to two midwife appointments, hosted a birthday dinner, had lots of friends over every week, finished Classical Conversations and a few huge assignments with the kids, made food for school events, went to the CC end-of-year celebration, attended an Easter family get-together, sold our truck (we're down to one car now!), and then as usual, I taught my bootcamp and kickboxing classes and subbed a few more. I was thankful to see a happy goal accomplished I'd been working on, and then there were bigger life things happening in the midst of that.

I'm finally taking a deep breath now that it's all almost over! :) I don't want to be that busy again any time soon. :D hahaha!

For the garage sale, I had the kids bring every.single.toy and item they owned downstairs. We went through EVERYTHING and cleaned out and organized what we kept. They made a train from the back door to the den:

The Lord helped me so and gave me strength to do what I needed to do, because I have no idea how we went through the entire house/cabinets/drawers/storage bins and cleaned out everything in about two days while regular life was still happening.

The week after we had the garage sale, we did the same thing with almost every clothing item we owned. Every single drawer was emptied and brought downstairs. We sold our three stand-alone dressers so we downsized and donated a large portion of our clothing as we don't intend to replace them:

I have three bins left to go through of baby items, but we finally let go of the up to 13-year-old baby clothes we had in storage. :) (And yes, we still hope to have more children ;)

Each child still has two drawers in our closet system, and we have our master hang-up closet and three drawers for each adult. Even with the major purge, I'm amazed by how many clothes we still have left!

One weekend we celebrated my dad's birthday:

The kids made their own presents (without my help or knowledge, ha!), and Isabella cross-stitched this paperweight while Noah hand-copied the papers he wrote in Essentials and the poems he wrote into a book for him. :)

Then we had the most lovely Easter morning with sweet friends. My mom sent all the kids a special outfit for the day. They were so thrilled to get a package in the mail. :)

Looking back, we have had a refining month and really, a refining year. God is moving our hearts in a way that is completely changing our lives. 

For the last few years, I feel like the Lord has been pulling on me, drawing me away. Over and over, I feel more and more of a need to keep my head down and focus... to be quiet, get away from the noise, to cover my ears to the world's opinions. I've lost the desire to do many things I used to love doing, and lost interest in the things that used to make me happy. I don't have many words to say anymore.

I'm not really the same person I used to be. And it's a good thing, I'm sure.

It's crazy how when you walk away from the fleshly things you love, how the truth becomes so much more clear. Sin blinds us so. Our hearts deceive us in every way. The natural things that feel so right and good to you are actually killing you. And you can't even tell because you are addicted to them, and you're living under their spell. Leaving them behind will give you withdrawal pains for a while, but once you're free from them you see how they were only full of death and destruction.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that true joy is only found in giving up our entire will, our entire lives to the Father. 

The problem we have is that we think we are, when we're really not at all. 

Abraham could have "believed" Isaac belonged to God, but doing God's will looked like putting him on the altar and raising his knife. 

Moving obedience. 


God wants everything. Every single thing.

Though my hands are shaking, and my knees feel weak... I want to give it all to Him. 

And I trust that He will supply the strength I need to relinquish all of it.

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33

Monday, April 10, 2017

baby #7: pregnancy update 27+ weeks

I feel so behind on sharing this update, but a week isn't so late, right? ;) With two ultrasounds and a super early positive test, I'm pretty sure my due date is ahead of my actual "date" but I'm happy to keep that padding when it comes time to be two weeks late. :)

Feeling: I'm feeling really wonderful! I had a midwife appointment today and this little lady is growing right on schedule. 

Craving: I'm in LOVE with cucumbers and tomatoes, veggies, and fruits, and when hunger strikes I eat a Oikos yogurt. Coming home from Sam's and filling the refrigerator drawers is always a treat:

Maternity clothes: I pulled a couple of shirts out of my stash and I've been enjoying the length of those.

Looking forward to: Summer and the end of a few weekly commitments! Kind of, anyway. I know the weeks will slow down in May and June, and even more so when we have less happening. But I'm excited to have some time to get a few things done before the baby comes.

Something wonderful that happened: I bought a perfect watermelon! I think the first ones of the season are the best of the entire year. I ate two huge servings in one day and I couldn't exercise that night because I was so hugely bloated. I couldn't bring myself to eat any more after that, but I really enjoyed those first two bowls. ;)

Aches or pains: My hips have started separating, and I feel it the most in the hours after I do lunges or lunge jumps. Other than the occasional rib soreness from sitting, I have been feeling great. I can tell my round ligament is stretching too!

Belly: Varies dramatically during the day and week! Sometimes it's smaller and feels high and tight, and sometimes it's super low and round! Maybe it was because of her position, or what I had eaten, but one day last week I came in after break (that day after eating my first huge bowl of watermelon for breakfast!) and my belly was a hilarious-looking huge ball! I asked Rob if it looked funny and suddenly very round to him too, and apparently it was because he drew back in surprise and pulled out his camera to document it! ha!

Exercise: Still working out and teaching like usual- rebounding after weeks of sickness made me feel like I have lots of energy again! :) Pushups, situps, and planks are leaving my range of ability now with a uterus protruding. ;) It's disturbing more than painful and I'm trying to lessen any diastasis recti by not pushing it, especially if it feels weird. 

Morning sickness: It showed up again in the last couple weeks, and I was gagging on my toothbrush all over again. :( Must have been a growth spurt? It disappeared thankfully! :)

All in all, I'm so thankful and delighted to have made it to the 3rd trimester! :) It's fun to think that it is already April and she's due in June! 

I love looking back at my old posts to see how similar this pregnancy is- here's my 27th week update for Ivy (#6):

And 26 and 28 weeks with Zane (#5):

Monday, March 27, 2017

what I'm planning this week: tasks, books, meals, and more

After a couple of weeks of not being well, I'm finally feeling 100% and much more motivated to tackle a to-do list again. :) It seems so strange that writing down a list of goals helps me get them done, but the list definitely helps and I'm always happy I made myself do it after it's done. :D

here are this week's goals and menus:

// do //
pray alone daily
exercise 6x 
sweep and mop all of upstairs
order maternity belt
declutter 3 kitchen drawers
hang curtains in dining room
hang large mirror upstairs
change baby bed sheet
plan out month of April in detail
work on upstairs threshold trim
order 2 light fixtures
get propane tank refilled
clean downstairs for guests

// read //
1-2 hours of George Mueller's autobiography
Bible daily: 1 Peter, Psalms, Isaiah

// learn //
listen to two sermon sessions from The Shepherd's Conference 2017 + one podcast

// be // 
patient and perseverant 
I have probably listed "patient" here recently, but I’m needing more and more patience as I’ve been tired lately. :) We have a couple of big school projects, outings, and events involving work happening in the next month and I need to just keep moving forward, doing the next thing. :) I need the Lord to help me do the right thing so that I can continue with a steadfast, faithful spirit. And while the Lord's working that miracle, I'm going to be praying for a sweet attitude on top of all that... :P

Thankfully, I've got Paul encouraging me in the Spirit 2000 years ago:

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

last week's stove prep: sautéed cauli rice, corn, beef, polenta (not pictured), + tea

// dinners this week //
beef + bean burritos with rice, watermelon
spaghetti and meat sauce with salad
baked potatoes with beans + jalapeno cornbread
barbecue grilled chicken sandwiches + fries
scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and oatmeal
dinner out

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

life lately: spring break, shopping, and sunshine

Oh, March... :) You are ridiculously lovely in Texas:

This growing baby girl has certainly been enjoying all the fresh air lately: ;)

And the children have been too. I think they spent six hours one day collecting snails, tadpoles, and frogs:

And then, with the growing bump (and the growing children) grocery shopping weekly is a must these days:

We really only needed fresh produce, but anytime I can get out of Sam's for less than $200 it's a good day: ;)

The main items I really went for were these gigantic cucumbers. It's been such a weird craving this pregnancy! I can't get enough of them:

Unfortunately for me, no amount of cucumber could keep away the horrid weeklong cold/flu that was going around. Zane and Noah had it, and they so generously gave it to me a week later. ;)

Life can't stop when mama is sick and still has stuff to do, but much to the delight of the children, we were forced to take a spring break after all. :)

Later in the week I finally made a special stop to find some hydration:

And by last weekend I was feeling much more like myself. We took a hike with my dad:

Enjoyed more sunshine and fresh air:

And then we snuck away on a quick date to grab a bite and this delicious Sacher torte at La Madeleine:

Ahhh. So far everything I've tried there has been delicious! I have yet to be even slightly disappointed with their food. :) mmm.

This week, it's been back to school again as we finish up our last 6 weeks of Classical Conversations. We aren't far from the end now. It's going to be summer before we know it! :)
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