Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, June 26, 2015


Every now and then, I like to keep track of an average, ordinary day so that I can look back on it and remember all the details. Yesterday was that day. My Dad had the boys up at our cabin in Maine until yesterday afternoon- the mornings sure were quiet! And maybe a little bit more peaceful . ;)  But I miss everyone when they're not here. Anyhoo. I think it's so much fun to get a glimpse into other Moms' lives,so I hope you enjoy this look at mine. Have a super weekend!

It's not very light out at 4:28 am, which is when I started the laundry and changed some bed sheets. This is Ethan's room downstairs...good thing Diego has his heat lamp on! ha ha

Working on a baby shower gift, which I meant to make earlier in the week and just forgot.

I looked over and saw this guy. My faithful sewing companion.  ;)

Such a love bug!

By now the sun was shining brightly and I headed outside to water some things.

I'm really excited about these little garden beds beside our garage. I asked the boys to bring me back some bamboo shoots from their trip to Maine so I can make some arbor/teepee stands to support the sweet peas and beans.

First load of laundry done and hanging out to dry.

As I walked past this area in our yard, I remembered that I'd been planning on pulling out some of those ferns. I love them, but boy do they get invasive! So I yanked some out...much better!

They're growing! I made the cardinal mistake of not labeling my stuff, and now I really can't tell what's what. Oops. I'm also having a hard time telling weeds from actual plants, so...double oops.

Sunshine woke up and got to her job right away.

In between watering and dead-heading, she got distracted by some of the petunia flowers that hadn't shriveled up and was having a grand old time "painting" the deck rails with them in the little puddles of morning dew.

Isabelle wanted to help make our lunch for our girls trip to the beach. Packing for two is way different than packing for my usual army of boys!

And we're off!

But we didn't get very far. Construction, heavy traffic, not fun. I let her watch a movie so she couldn't have cared less.

I wish I'd written the year...oh well.

My pretty girl. She was thrilled to have me all to herself. She had a whole itinerary of things for us to do, and it was no joke. She's an extreme task manager. Wonder where she gets that from...

I forgot our beach umbrella so we improvised. How MacGyveriffic of us.

Wild and free!

Once home, I got all the deets from my boys about their trip. Then I finished sewing and packaged this up. Everything about this had me itching for babies. Just bring me all the babies.

Cooking salmon and steaming carrots while finishing up the gift...

 If you can't tell, she did not find out the gender- I think this turned out so cute.

Just a pretty closeup.

Then this cornbread was ready to come out of the oven, which was fortunate, since I had just one egg in the fridge, and virtually nothing else... (During this time I was also getting ready for the shower and having a major sobbing fest little meltdown over my hair. This is seriously the worst cut I've ever had- it does absolutely nothing for my hair's texture and just works against me on all fronts. So frustrating! I felt so yucky and unattractive, I was seriously considering not going at all. It's hard being a girl sometimes.) Time for supper!

 Our dinner guest. Jealous, aren't you?

He was extremely active and didn't understand that I wanted to get a good photo of him. Silly snake. Even if he makes you a bit squeamish, aren't his colors so pretty?

I brought Isabelle to the baby shower and she had so much fun with two of her friends from church. It was such a nice evening. (I thought posting pictures from someone else's home was kind of strange...and it is a beautiful home!)

I ended the night by putting in some of the boys' incredibly foul-smelling laundry, chatting with my man, and reading a little before hitting the hay. It was a really fun, productive day. I forget how much I get accomplished in the early morning hours when I'm not fooling around on the computer- it might be time for more mornings like those! And now, after a before-7am trip to the grocery store in the pouring rain, and then a french toast and eggs breakfast, I'm about to bring Isabelle to a friend's house. Have a great Friday!

Oh, I just posted a little preview of my current handmade favorites for Isabelle over on my sewing blog. I also promised some upcoming tutorials and tips, so be sure to check back for those!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Today marks the 7-year anniversary of our family packing up and moving to Guatemala so that we would never have to be separated from our Isabelle ever again. Though the process was anything but easy, the passage of time, as well as our happy ending, have dulled all that I was feeling back then. The wait was the most agonizing, inhumane thing to endure. Then there were the times we almost lost her. Governments shut down. Courts arbitrarily moved cases through while others, like ours, stood painfully still. Embassy problems, lying attorneys, inconsistent processes, little boys with second degree chemical burns, littlest boy so sick he couldn't eat or drink for five days straight, 2+ month long separations from husband and sons- so many hurdles to combat and try to push through.

And we did.

Do you know that there are some families still waiting on their children from Guatemala? Not just a handful. Hundreds. This grieves my soul. And like so many other places around the world, these children have never experienced the safety and security of family.  Government, greed, and policy have forever changed the landscape of international adoption. That doesn't mean we should give up; it means that we will have to work and fight harder.

My husband and I proceed with a certain amount of caution when discussing the personal details of adoption with others, especially online, because we feel it is our job to protect our daughter and the story of her life. She is our child. Period. We will not portray her as some type of missions or ministry project- because she is a human being, not a project- so there is a fine line between advocating for adoption and orphans, and knowing what and how to share.  

I suppose what I so desperately want people to understand is that the statistics we've grown accustomed to seeing and reading about are actual human beings. Those numbers- over 150 million... 150 MILLION - represent human beings. People who feel and yearn and dream, who are hungry in every way imaginable. Children who have faced the most horrific, gruesome conditions, who ache for someone to love and for someone to love them. So it is with those things in mind that I will share our daughter's beautiful face here. She was once a statistic, but when you put a name and a face on a statistic, I don't think you can look away quite so easily.

I hope you can't.

Looking at her, no one would question whether she matters. Of course she has value. So often lately, my mind wanders when I have her in my arms, holding on tightly, my cheek resting against her silky hair: Where would she be if she weren't here with us? Would she still matter? The answer is a loud, resolute YES! But her life would be very different.

If you're not an adoptive parent, can you imagine looking at one of your children and wondering how she or he would be surviving from day to day? If they'd survive at all? These thoughts grieve my soul. 

Every child should know the love and security of family. Nobody is a perfect parent. You don't have to be perfect in order to provide a loving home.

Adopting a baby, toddler or older child will impact your family in tremendous ways. There will be challenges- there always are. But there will be such love.

Adoption has become so costly. I know. It's a huge burden, seemingly impossible. There are risks. There are doubts. There are even moments of sheer panic. Please don't let the fears keep you from pursuing adoption. It's perfectly normal to be excited about adopting one day and then the next, to be worried and wonder if you're doing the right thing. Everything in life comes with risk, and sometimes our emotions get the best of us. For me, personally, I struggle with selfishness when I let myself get swept away by the latest home improvement trends or the things I think I need in order to feel fulfilled. When I shift my focus onto more meaningful things, I get inspired by reading about missionary families or talking with other people who are adopting. When I surround myself with materialistic pursuits and goals, then I feel very materialistic and I struggle with the thought of disrupting our current, comfortable life, of spending all that money, etc... I think this is all very normal. It becomes a matter of what matters most.

People should always matter most.

I'm sharing some articles from Show Hope, an organization created by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife. You can keep up to date on orphan care and other adoption issues by visiting 
There is also lots of information about affording adoption on the site.

Simply click on the links below to read more:

If you don't feel called to adopt a child, there are other ways you can minister to children in need.

Don't hesitate to ask me anything about adoption at 3sonsplus1(at)gmail(dot)com. I would love to be an encouragement to you or offer help in any way I can.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

If you'd like to read some other popular posts about adoption, click on the links below:

Monday, June 22, 2015


School just finished up last week and we celebrated with our tradition of ice cream sundaes for supper  (supper then becomes the dessert) and a movie. This weekend was quite full, with Father's Day outings and such- we're blessed to have such wonderful Dads in our family, and my husband is one of the most caring, thoughtful and involved fathers ever.

I stumbled upon this photo from one of our sundae dinners from what feels like a lifetime ago and just have to include it. Where have the years gone? I'm really thankful that I began blogging all those years ago to have a record of our life, something to help me remember how we spent our days. They haven't all been sunshine and roses, but I have tried to be an intentional Mom and I hope that when my children are all grown, they'll look back on our time together with fondness and joy.

And now it's summertime! I love summer, I really do. There is a freedom and fun factor prevalent during the summer that just doesn't seem to exist during the other parts of the year. But I think it also tends to get romanticized a bit. Multiple late-night activities/bedtimes reek havoc on little personalities. As the heat wears on, moods shift and temperaments darken, and then we're in full-on cranky-pants mode. Boredom sets in and -well, I know you know. It wears a poor Mama out.

Here are some of the fun things that we've done together. I hope you find something you'll want to try with your own family. Enjoy...

This is one of our absolute favorite things to do! So much fun!

 Such a fun way to stay cool and get some exercise!

You can also make individual frozen treasure cups for each child. 

Anything involving water or ice in the summer always feels so good. One other very low-key, fun activity we did when the kids were smaller was to "paint" water all around our house's foundation with big paintbrushes. We painted designs, wrote out our names...anything! It was lots of fun watching the water evaporate, and then we'd just do it all over again.

And never underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned squirt gun fight (or water balloons, but then you're left with itty bits of balloon plastic all over the yard)!

Outside Story Time
 I used to set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes to read, and then we'd all have a popsicle or some other summer treat. This is a lot of fun. Now there's no need for timers- they read for a long time!

Backyard Cornstarch Goo (& other random fun things)

You can Google recipes for Goo- it's water and cornstarch in varying amounts. This is a perfect messy activity for the backyard.

Create your own Word Searches or Crossword Puzzles

 Older kids can choose a theme for their puzzles and come up with a list of words based on that theme. You can either make photocopies for everyone or simply switch papers.

Painting Rocks
 Search around your yard for interesting rocks, or go for a walk in search of some. Washing them off in sudsy water first was almost as fun as painting them!

Make Tea-Stained Scripture Pictures
 Help your younger children copy a verse onto plain white paper and encourage your older ones to try writing theirs "fancy." Lay the papers in the tea solution for a half hour or so; remove and let dry in the sun. *Optional: carefully burn the edges of the dried paper with a lighter or match for an old-time scroll look.
Frame them and put them up on the walls in your home- my kids love seeing their work proudly displayed.

Pick Flowers to Press & Make a Card
 Lay another paper towel on top and cover with some heavy books for about a week. Use tweezers to pick up petals, dip in glue- or dot the card with glue- and carefully place petals.

Have a Picnic by the Sea
I love spending the day at the lake or beach, but sometimes you just need a break from all-day outings. A picnic is a great way to break up a loooong day, whether at the ocean or anywhere!

These are just a few of the fun things we enjoy doing during the summer- be sure to check back for more ideas, or follow along so you don't miss anything!

Here's a quick link to two of my favorite summertime snacks. Enjoy!

sharing with:
Sugar Bee Crafts
Tip Junkie 
DIY by Design

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Today is the day before the last day of school. I know many of you are already out for summer, but here, excitement, nerves, and eagerness are in full swing, ha! This represents a BIG change for us, and now, it's nearly upon us. Yay. But yikes!

Isabelle begged to take ballet class for years (while she was in gymnastics), and in January, her little tutu dreams came true. For the first month, she was not a fan. I practically had to force her to go to practice each week. I don't think she realized how much work it would be, and she likes to do things well, right away, so this really bothered her. Plus, this was much more challenging than the toddler ballet and tap classes she used to take, so she was doubly frustrated. But she stuck with it and we couldn't be more proud. She loved the excitement of the big recital, and she did a fabulous job.

Of course we had to get a few pictures beforehand...

Isabelle wanted her Isabelle there to see her dance. Insert big, happy smile here. Her Daddy held that doll for over three hours. Three hours, people. That's a looooong time.

I'll get over my vanity by including this gem. I didn't realize that Bill was getting his ready for an "ussie" nor that my mother in law had already started snapping photos with my phone...sometimes you do just have to laugh.

 Awkward attempt #1  =)

And this cute one from my this!

Real men wear pink. I don't know what they were thinking when they decided on pink shirts for a group of teenaged boys. No worries, that boy looks good in anything. They won their first play off game easily but couldn't catch up for the next one. Lots of bad calls and illegal plays, but then that probably makes me sound like a sore loser. I think I kind of am a sore loser. It ended with 4-3. Love watching my boys play soccer!

On one particularly hot and sticky afternoon, we pretended it was summer already.  =) That water was so, SO cold- my feet were purple when when I took them out!

This sums up how we feel about the school year ending. Sheer delight.
My hairy sidekick. You know, it's great having a dog. Except when it isn't. I can't even think of any other way to describe it.

Jonah and I spent the afternoon around town, just him and me. Such a great time. I don't know how we ended up at Taco Bell AND McDonald's for Frappes. Fun random fact: I love (LOVE) caramel frappes, but I cannot drink more than one sip every twenty or so seconds because I get a debilitating head/sinus/nostril/eye...thing... and I can't even keep my right eye open to drive! Crazy, right? It's always the right eye and sinus area. Good thing I live with kind, sensitive people who wouldn't dream of turning this into the biggest running joke ever. Good thing.  ;)

Success Night at school. I wish I could say that I love this school, but I do not. Even a little bit. I adore Isabelle's teachers, though.

I shared this on instagram last night- new valances! They literally took under thirty minutes to make! It's the lining that makes it such a cinch. I had tan drapes in there that worked in our last family room, but not in this one. I hadn't planned on making anything because I'm busy sewing for the shop, but sometimes...sometimes you just gotta do it. Now I can't believe I put it off for such a long time when they sewed up so fast, and they look really pretty. I sewed up some new pillows for the couch (pillows- the bane of my existence) and I don't hate them. I may even like them. ha ha Why can't I ever get couch pillows right? Even when I buy them, I don't like them within an hour of seeing them on the couch. I may even be inspired now to tackle some projects I've been putting off, mainly getting up more photos/pictures on the walls.

Okay, I'd better be off but I just thought of one more thing. I'm shaking things up a bit with this year's Summer Fun List. Typically I make a huge list with a bunch of things we want to do and then cross the items off...this year I've made individual lists for each child. I asked them to start thinking about some special things they'd want to do a few weeks back, so they'll get to write down their top five things. I think this will be a fun alternative and I'm really looking forward to it. (I tried my hardest to download the document, but I just couldn't embed it...maybe I'll try Google docs- is that what people use? I don't even know!)

Here are a couple of posts about our fun lists:

ps: here's a fun tutorial for a Little Girl's Ruffled's super easy!!!

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