I’ve got my list.

Homeschool Prep.  Coffee.  Repeat.

If you need me, I will be in this chair all day.  The good news?  I’m excited!  Monday, First Day of School, bring it on…



From this picture, it is really hard to tell how tall this sunflower is.  How tall is the person taking the picture?  Was the zoom used?  How tall are those trees behind it?

Now step back a minute…

It’s still hard to tell, but now it is more apparent that that is a very tall sunflower.  My guess is it’s about 11-12 feet.

She’s beautiful, isn’t she?  But, her grandeur is unclear from these pictures.  It takes stepping back and seeing her in person.  Sometimes we just need a different perspective.

Now, check out the photo below.

It looks like a lush variety of herbs and lettuces… which is true.  But, from the perspective of one picture, you may get the wrong impression.  It would seem that perhaps my garden is lush and thriving.  Sadly, this herb bed is the only spot thriving — all my other plants have been thrashed by rats.

So, I finally pulled out my gardening gloves and got to work.  I pulled out the beautiful tomato plant and gave it to the chickens in hopes that at least they will enjoy it, because I have given up hoping any tomatoes will ever make it without the rats stealing them.  And, I planted some spearmint seeds hoping to deter them.  I also planted some pumpkin seeds.  I am quite certain I am far too late to get any pumpkins for Halloween… but perhaps Thanksgiving?

My perspective right now:  I am thankful to see flowers and green, even if I wasn’t able to enjoy many fruits or veggies.  I am learning to step back… to change my view… to ask God for His perspective.

Monday a new school year begins.  I am finally excited, yet I was feeling slightly anxious because it feels like such a race!  Then I read this quote this week:  “We are not racing to a finish line, we are choosing a pace that brings life.”  Wow.  It struck me as so profound and I have been pondering it while planning the year.  A new perspective changes everything.

Saying Yes

I have said “yes” far too much this week.  Yes, we can go out to lunch.  Yes, you can have more screen time.  Yes, you can watch a movie.

Sometimes it’s just easier.  Sometimes I don’t have it in me to get down the play dough toys or hop in the pool with the kids.  (Of course, I did both those things and more this week.)  But, I also said yes to unhealthy choices WAY more often than I usually do.

Perhaps it’s because school is around the corner.  Perhaps it’s a treat since they’re stuck at home while the sisters are away at camp.  Perhaps it’s a chance for me to get some work done while they are happily distracted.  Yes, I think it must be the latter…

Hopefully, they will fondly remember the week  that I said yes.  Hopefully, they will not turn into screen time whiners and fuss when next week I actually say “no” and make them “play outside!”  Honestly, I may have my work cut out for me.  For now, I need to sign off and go get something done while they’re enjoying (yet another) movie!

Horse Camp

Desert… for as far as we could see.  Specifically, the Mohave Desert.  Yup.  Not exactly what you think of when you think of dropping your kids off at camp for the first time.  And then… we got there…

Yes, it was hot… but the cabins were air conditioned, there was plenty of shade, and this place was amazing.  It must have been the Holy Spirit’s presence, because there was such a peace and excitement!  I could tell the kids were going to have a blast.  Riding horses every day, tons of games, activities  and crafts, campfires, cool counselors, Bible teachings, and this: a 50 foot waterslide into the lake!

It’s only been about 36 hours since I said goodbye, yet I am missing them like crazy.  The dynamics over here are certainly different and I plan to blog more about that in another post.  I know this is so good for them.  I know they are having a wonderful time.  I know I can’t wait until Saturday to hug their little necks and kiss their dirty heads!

Snippets of Summer

That time the two of them actually got along for ten minutes and had a drawing date… (or was it 5 minutes?)

Slime making.  ALL.  SUMMER.  LONG. for the girl in the flamingo shirt!

Cool dudes chilling on my bed… because, after all, Mom loves making her bed 20 times a day!  (In all honesty, I don’t mind so much because we really do have a lot of fun games that they will remember their whole lives right there on my bed!)

Forts make everything more fun.

This girl making “lids” for all of our water jars in our favorite colors.  Guess whose she is making now?

Where is my Natalie?  Probably in the pool, drawing, or writing her story.  Having big kids is so different!

And those are some of the every day memories of summer 2018…

(A.K.A.  All the random pictures I took and just found sitting in my photos!)

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Homemade cards, flowers from the garden, blueberry pancakes for breakfast, church, dim sum, a simple pizza dinner, cakes from the local Asian bakery, games and hugs from grandkids.  It was a simple day celebrating, but we are glad she was in town to celebrate with us!

Happy birthday, Grandma!

Her Country.

She’s the first one to be able to do her own hair bun… the first to do the splits, and the first to do a cartwheel… the only one who can whistle, and the only one who can blow a bubble!

I could write a post like this on each one of my kids.  They each have their own unique, special, God-given abilities and talents that the others don’t possess.  I love how different they are… and how similar, too!  It is such a gift to study each of my kids.

Recently, I got around to playing “The Flag Page” game with each of my kids.  Basically, the game has kids sort cards into 3 piles according to “Always me,” “Sometimes me,” and “Never me.”  From there, each kid narrows the cards down some more, and then is given one of 4 “Countries” that represent them.  It is almost like a personality test, but with a book that goes with it to explain the goods and bads of each country.

I bought the game with this kid in mind, and it has given me much insight into her thought process.  I am so grateful for how it has improved my understanding of her, and I am thoughtfully re-reading each country to learn more about each of my kids.  Wouldn’t you know they all landed in different places?

It was expensive.. yes… but in the words of my husband, “It’s cheaper than counseling.”  Not to mention, it is a bonding experience and helps them learn about themselves, too. If you’re interested, you can buy it here.

Ready… Set… Jump!

The heat this summer has been brutal!  We lost one chicken to heat stroke, and our poor avocado tree burned up.  (Some of the branches and all the beautiful avocados literally turned black and shriveled up!)  Temps soared as high as 116!

And yet… I am still loving all the friends, pool time, afternoon iced coffee, morning jogs before it’s too hot, lack of a schedule, trips to the beach, and more friends…

This week I have begun the planning stages for school starting.  I know in a few weeks I will be needing more of a schedule and routine.  My heart will skip a beat when I walk into the stores and see back to school supplies and fall decor; it always does!  And, when I actually get to the fun part of planning… you know, the creative stuff and the field trips… then I may be a bit more excited.  Right now it’s the brutal organization that is killing me.

So… for now I will enjoy all the swimming dates and ice cream sandwich eating days in between some organization and planning that will help my school year go a lot smoother!  Ready… Set… Jump!