Monday, June 15, 2015

Swim lessons, nature camp, and lollipops...oh my!

Summer has arrived...our first summer back in Texas in many years! I have to say that it's been pretty fantastic so far. And yes, I know it isn't even technically summer yet and the temperature will steadily rise and rise until it is unbelievably hot, but let's stay positive here, shall we?:) The kids have all been in swimming lessons at the Y and that has been great. The big two are becoming stronger and stronger swimmers, and the little two are fearless (it's kind of alarming, but not surprising). Anyway, thankful for a Y pool super close to us out here in the country. 

 In the afternoons after lunch and rest, out comes the slip and slide for more water fun, usually with neighbor friends joining in:) 

The big kids also spent a day at Nature Camp at the nature center we frequent. Joel and I were talking yesterday, and we agreed that we have never been disappointed by a program or class we have attended there (and we are usually there for a class or activity about once a week). You guys, this is huge for our fam! The twins are little naturalists and as their "learning guide", having this place where they can go and learn and grow in what they are passionate about is such a gift. So, no, we don't have the beauty and outdoor culture of Utah anymore, and we miss that a ton, but finding ways to grow and remain excited about the natural world has been much easier than anticipated. They can't wait for this week's camp!



...and here they are watching a caterpillar...to their delight, they frequently find caterpillars, frogs, turtles, beetles, etc. in our yard, And yes, I know snakes are here too, and I'm not happy about that. Ack! 



And lastly, we gathered eggs and picked tomatoes and played with dogs while our neighbors were out of town, and for payment they gave the kids enormous lollipops from Disney. Amelia's dream come true!! haha But even an enormous lollipop can't make everyone happy. Oh Ollie, this picture:) 


That's all for now folks. We are getting ready for vacation ourselves--to Colorado, yippie!! To the mountains we go! Jen

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Sixteen years later...

Joel and I got married at Washington on the Brazos state park, SIXTEEN YEARS AGO! It's seriously hard for me to wrap my mind around that. Anyway, what a beautiful (hot!) May day that was...and what a beautiful May day it was to bring our children back to visit all these years later. The little ones were hot and fussy by the end, but that's about right. Life, and marriage, and family is so beautiful and broken all at the same time. But, oh how I'm thankful for the radical grace and for the gifts God has given us over these years.   








And I'm thankful to be back in Texas for this season, to be able to share with our children these things that have meant so much in our lives. Jen



Friday, June 05, 2015

A celebration...

Even though we'll still be working on some things throughout the summer (and boy, suddenly summer weather is HERE), today we finished up our 2nd grade year! Yippie! Though the transition of moving took up a lot of brain space, time, and energy, I still feel like our year studying "Saints and Fables" was overall a good homeschool year and definitely worthy of celebration! 
So, we got together with some friends and had a picnic in our neighbor's wonderful backyard (we are caring for their animals while they are out of town). Balloons and ice cream transform a picnic into a full blown celebration in my book:) 







Twins. Their closeness can make breaking into their world tricky as a teacher, but I wouldn't trade it. I'm mostly their "learning facilitator" anyway, doing the best I can to find resources to feed their passions. More on that later...right now we are gearing up for family movie night! Let the celebration continue! Jen



Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Weekend adventures...

Our trips down to Houston and Austin to see family always have a spirit of adventure about them. A little road trip, a little sight seeing, a lot of family! 

Memorial day weekend we went down to celebrate Isaac's 6th birthday! Oh my goodness do these kiddos love their cousins, and I LOVE that we are getting to be a part of things like birthday parties and such for them! It was a baking party where they decorated aprons, wore bakers hats and decorated cookie cakes--so much fun! There were crazy storms over the weekend too--one night we thought a tornado was on it's way and the kids went around gathering things we should keep near us. Isaac wisely said we should have a Bible near and Sam gathered us and read some scripture about worry, fear and anxiety. I mean, sweetest things! I can't believe I have no photos from the whole weekend--boo. 

The big kids stayed with the Hunts for a few more days and had a blast swimming with Gpa Jim and then going to Galveston! It was fun for me to get a few days with just the little two. 
I met the Hunts halfway to get the kiddos and we met at a wonderful place I had been wanting to visit! It's a Christian homesteading community where you can visit and learn about rural life, traditional homesteading skills and crafts, and eat at their delicious cafe. This time I had my camera ready:) 


















Amelia was so excited to find some needle felting supplies and she really was ready to join the community! "Oh mom, it's just so beautiful here! It's so waldorfy. I just want to watch the women weave and do that pottery! Can we stay?!" Oh Amelia, I just love that creative, capable hands girl. 
Such fun to find this little treasure. That's all for now! Jen

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wildflowers win my heart...

It's been such a rainy, muddy, stormy Spring here in Texas and we have all kind of loved it! The wildflowers are just so wonderful. Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, the roses in our front yard, the fields of  yellow on my drive home (bastard cabbage, that's what the naturalist called it at the nature center. Sadly it's invasive and no good, but I can't help but love it)...they just went crazy and now the Firewheels and Black Eyed Susans...wild flowers truly do win my heart. The kids have loved the mud and the turtles and caterpillars, frogs, crayfish, worms, fireflies....they even saw a rat snake the other day and once he knew it wsan't venomous, Sam caught it. Oh my. The mosquitos are swarming now though, and we don't love that at all. Ugh. Anyway, here's to Spring and all its green and rainy wonderfulness (on the other hand, prayers for those who have lost much in the Texas floods this past week, including my little brother whose cabin was flooded. So very thankful he is safe.)

















All for now! Jen