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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

To our Ollie, on your 2nd birthday!

Dear Oliver (Ollie, Ollie bear, boo bear, pumpkin bug, etc:),
      Our baby is turning 2 and that is just really bittersweet. A baby no more, really, you are as "go get em toddler" as they come! You pedal trikes like it's nothing, kick a soccer ball like you've watched hundreds of games (because you have:), shout in delight over "BIG TRUCKS" and helicopters, and tractors, etc. Oh yes, full of life, the loudest and most talkative of our bunch (at your age), and the only one to go through a major hitting and throwing stage (which is on the decline, thank The Lord). 
Even though you are full of gusto, you love to "rock a minute" and "look a book" and "nuggle"...and boy are those sweet times. You are seriously adored by each and every person in our family, Oliver, and are sure to be the definition of the baby in a family for a long time to come! :) 
Your favorites at 2:
Favorite foods: "bluederries", bananas, watermelon, oranges, "mogurt", waffles, scrambled eggs, macaroni and like most things really, but fruit is by far your favorite.
Favorite books: The very busy spider, Richard Scarry books (Grandpa was caught hiding them under a pillow because you want to look at them VERY frequently! Haha), Big Red Barn, Very hungry Catepillar....lots of vehicle books from the library.
Favorite shows: "Lala Bear", "Wild Katts", and "Chugga Chugga (Thomas)". 
Favorite toys: Balls, play doh, your tractor and big trucks, trikes, the neighbors sandbox and firetrucks. 
That about sums it up, you cute little thing. You make us all smile and laugh every day, and I truly can't imagine our family without you!!

We had a fun day celebrating you today. We went to a little goat dairy farm this morning that we had visited before and had such a great time, and then had a little celebration with cupcakes and neighbor friends tonight. All you had was a short car nap today, so you were pretty over the whole thing after cupcakes. Friends went home and things quieted down, and you totally rallied when Mammy face timed and we gave you the huge dump truck she had sent for you. "It's a BIG TRUCK MAMMY! BIG TRUCK! Looka that truck!" You loved it, to say the least, and it was a perfect way to end your big day!
All my love,

(will download more pics soon:) 

Thursday, May 07, 2015


I can still remember so clearly sitting in the theater when I was 12, totally enraptured with the movie on the screen. Newsies. That was the first of many, many, many, many times my friend Kristi and I watched that beloved musical. We had every line memorized, sang each song with gusto, had crushes on our favorite characters. Together with Annie, it was the soundtrack of my youth. 
So, you can imagine my delight when Sam and Amelia caught the Newsies fever while visiting our best buds in SLC! The movie soundtrack was quickly purchased and we are frequently belting out tunes in the car and house. Then I looked and found that the Broadway musical was coming to Dallas and snatched up some nosebleed tickets for the twins' birthday gift! 
This past weekend was the day and Shari and I took the kids and all SO enjoyed it!! What fun!! Sam was in full Newsies costume, and folks thought that was as darn cute as we did:) My kids are Newsies "super fans". Oh yeah!
All for now, Jen

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Life together.

Homeschooling presents the challenge and joy of the kids having an enormous amount of time together as siblings. It presents the challenges of kids needing space from each other and having a hard time getting it, of a mama juggling school age needs and preschool age and below needs simultaneously, nearly all of the time. It is, without a doubt, challenging. However, there is a joy side to it that just can't be ignored and is, in fact, one of my very favorite aspects of the homeschool life. 

As I write this, Sam has created a space in his room for he and Amelia and Jubilee to use during rest time today. He has books and bean bags in one area for reading, a "craft section" with a box of craft supplies in another section, and a basket of stuffed animals waiting to be played with in another "section". All on his own he did this and then went to the girls room and invited them to come and they giggled with delight. I mean, thrill my heart! 

All of this time together and margins in our days means that the relationships between them that are naturally easy, become even closer. And the relationships that do not come easy (there is one dynamic so far that has been hard from the get go) have the time to work things out, find ways that make the interaction smoother, learn to have more grace with each other. Each true kindness that I see from that big brother to his little sister (and they are happening more and more) warms my heart in a big way. It's progress of the very best kind. 

So, as I sit here listening to the quiet buzz in Sam's room, my heart is one of thankfulness. This road is not always easy or harmonious, but watching these relationships grow and deepen is a real privilege, and one I pray for wisdom and patience as I help them navigate what it means to live life together. 

All for now, Jen

Saturday, April 18, 2015

To our Amelia, on your 8th birthday!

Dear Amelia (Mena, Moozer, Mimi, Yaya),

Happy Birthday, you sweet thing! Living life with you is such a joy, and at *8* these are the things that make you so...YOU!

* You love and are energized by PEOPLE! When they wrote the description of extrovert, I think they were looking at a picture of you:) Per usual, you have quickly made friends here and relish in the new and exciting experiences that come with moving. Your love runs wide, Amelia Hunt. 

* You are into cartwheels, dragons and all things mythical, drawing, crafting ( hand sewing with help, but otherwise creating things out of boxes, yarn, etc.), reading picture books to Jubilee (Bill Peet and Dr. Suess are current favorites), and riding your bike! You still love to play stuffed animals with Sam, mostly sock monkeys, and to play outside with dinos, swinging, finding bugs, etc.

* You are so open, loving, affectionate, honest, brave, messy and fun. I love your spirit and look so forward to watching where your creativity and love of life and people takes you! 

We love you Amelia, more than words can say!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

To our Sammy, on your 8th birthday.

Dear Sam (Sammy Sam, Sambo, Sammers, Bub, Bubs),

 Happy Birthday sweet boy. Eight years old... I just can't believe it! But then, you do seem very *8* lately.  Hopefully when you are older and reading this it will help you remember what you were like at this super fun age...

 * You have always loved, and still very much do, all things nature. Just today you said, "Mom, we're having so much fun outside. And if we're having fun outside, that means I'm a happy kid!" You are loving our big yard to explore in and all of the turtles, caterpillars, June bugs, rolly pollies, squirrels, birds, and even an opossum you have gotten to see here! 

* You are a reading machine! Your current favorites are the Who Is/ Who Was series, the I Survived series, Hardy Boys, Beverly Cleary books, and non fiction books about nature, history, animals, or people. The library is a favorite spot. 

* You love sports! Currently your top love is cross country, then soccer, then basketball. We love to watch you play, Sam, soooo much. You give 100 % every practice and meet/game and it makes us so very proud! 

* You are so loyal, kind, and thoughtful... loving so deeply those who you let in. I feel so lucky to be your confidant these days...I will always treasure hearing you say, "Mom, can you come talk for a few minutes?" Oh yes, yes I can sweet boy. If I could capture your trust and desire to "tell all" to mama, oh I would!! 

I think this is going to be such a fabulous year, Sam. I can't wait to live it along side of you!! 
All my love,

Oh, and P.S. You LOVE Newsies right now. And, I mean, come on! How cute are you in your new Newsies outfit? We are going to see the Broadway Newsies show in a few weeks--yippie!