Kindergarten Homeschool


As of this year, we are officially homeschooling The Wingman!  We did some loose homeschooling last year, but now we are in it for real!

I must admit it was pretty overwhelming trying to decide what style of homeschool we felt was most beneficial and what would work the best with my teaching style and the Wingman’s learning style.  Plus, pretty much all the curriculum web sites say basically the same thing.  They all have the same stated goals and ideals.  So how were we to pick??

The Pilot and I sat down one day and outlined our ideal curriculum if such a thing were to exist.  Taking into consideration core subjects, things we wanted the Wingman to learn, and areas that we felt were gaps in our own homeschool education, we made a list of what we wanted.  Armed with that, I went back to the sites to see which options was the closest to what we would like.

Lo and behold, I found a curriculum that was exactly what we were looking for.  I couldn’t believe it!  I thought that our list was idealistic and we would have to prioritize our goals, but we ended up with one that checked all our boxes!  We ended up going with Timberdoodle.

I was still a bit nervous because it was such a big investment financially.  But so far, we are all pretty pleased with it!  The Wingman has been having so much fun and he will frequently ask to do school.  I love that it is a perfect mix of challenging things, review areas, and hands-on activities.  It includes all the main subjects we wanted him to learn.  I am so happy we ended up finding it!

We started the first day of school with our celebratory tradition of going to get donuts.  Then we took his first day of school pictures and filled out his first day of Kindergarten interview from Positively Splendid.

Every morning we start with our version of circle time, or morning time.

  • We start by doing our daily calendar using this Melissa and Doug Wall Calendar.
  • Next we do a section in our daily devotional.
  • Using songs, we review our address and next will be learning our phone numbers.
  • This next part is the Wingman’s favorite.  We are working on memorizing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy.  We do about a verse per week.  When that one is done, we’ll pick another hymn to learn.
  • I purchased this Character bundle online.  We focus on one character/social trait a week.
  • Another favorite part for the Wingman….read aloud time.  I read aloud going through various chapter books.  I have been surprised and pleased how much he looks forward to the next section each day!
  • We end our time with prayer.

After that, we move into the actual curriculum.  Each day we do the core subjects…reading, spelling, and math.  Then the other subjects are broken up on different days.  The Wingman’s favorites are science and his hands-on gears set.  We also do history, auditory skills, geography, rhymes, emotions, and other hands on activities.

Obviously, we are only a short way into the school year.  But so far it has been great!  Overall we are thrilled with Timberdoodle.  The few things that I don’t love or that haven’t been working, we just tweak as necessary.

I would love to hear about your kids’ school year and how it is going!  Are you doing homeschool or public school?  What is your child’s favorite subjects?

2018 – The Year of Growth


Here we are, a month into the year, and I am finally sitting down to write this post that has been sitting in my drafts for, well, about a month.


The past few years have been incredibly difficult.  I used to always have a word of the year.  A goal word.  Usually that word chose me.  I would just be sitting there, contemplating the year, and a single word would clearly pop into my mind.  Not these past few years.  Unless the word was just “survive.”

So I was a little surprised this year when I sat down to contemplate the year.  First of all, I purchased a Bloom daily planner and I love it.  There are spots for yearly and monthly goals.  They also included a vision board of sorts for the year.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I decided to at least give it a try.  It took a while, to be honest, of just sitting and thinking and wondering about the year.

But finally a few goals came to mind.  A few words inspired me.  I sat in those words until one word seemed to sum them all up.  Nothing super specific.  It’s actually pretty vague.  But it sums it up well.


This year I want to grow.  I want to take steps forward.  I don’t want to just survive anymore.

I ended up creating a “vision board” in which I included all the words that were swirling in my mind.  This is my vision for 2018…

…Give grace

For a few more specific goals, I knew I wanted to grow in my family relationships, specifically toward my husband and kids.  I also knew I wanted to continue to work toward having a clean, peaceful, organized home.

And as I get closer to another big change coming up in our family, I know I will need to really hold on to a lot of the above words.

I am 27 weeks pregnant with our 5th baby.  While we are very excited, the trauma of what we have been through with our last three children has greatly affected my husband, living son, and me.  I knew I needed to grow this year.  Grow in grief, grow in healing, grow in release, grow in moving forward fearlessly, having courage, etc.

2018 is going to be a huge year of growth.  I am scared, apprehensive, hopeful, and ready.



Our Little Aviator


March 23.

Today was my EDD with our 4th baby, our little Aviator.

I had had a good amount of morning sickness.  It was not as intense as it was with the Wingman, but it lasted a few weeks longer.  At 11 weeks, I felt little taps.  I thought I must be imagining it since it was so early, but the taps only got stronger and more frequent.  It was definitely baby!  I bet the Aviator had quite the feisty personality with how much he moved around! 🙂

It was a Wednesday.  Wednesday, October 5th.  I was a day shy of 16 weeks.  It was the last day I felt him move and the last day of his life.  It was about 10 am.  I only know that because I was at a Dr appointment.  The lady had just asked if this was my first baby and I was once again confronted with the painful decision….do I mask my pain and the truth and say, “It’s my second” or do I tell the truth and what my heart wants to say and risk making the situation uncomfortable by saying, “My 4th, but two are with Jesus.”  Answering her was painful, but just a moment later, I felt three firm taps from baby.  It was as if he knew Mommy needed some reassurance right then.

That was the last sign of life.

We didn’t know the gender, but almost the entire pregnancy, the Wingman was convinced it was a boy.  He even picked a name.  A random name that he made up.

When our child was born, we learned that he was indeed a boy.  Our son.

Maybe someday I will share more of my pregnancy or his birth story.

Today is a strange day.  I want to just sit and cry, but the tears won’t come.

I was able to drop the Wingman off at a friend’s house today.  I just wanted a day where I didn’t have to pretend everything was ok, I didn’t have to wear a mask, I didn’t have to be strong for anyone else.

People ask how I am doing.  I still don’t know how to answer that question.  The pain is different now.  The grief is different.  But will I ever be “okay” again?  No, not in the sense of ever returning to “normal,” or how I was before.  I am changed.  I am different.

I have wrestled with so many theological questions.  Some of them I know exactly what is true.  Some of them I have no idea.  But I have had to hold onto the fact that, no matter what those answers are, God is good.  God is loving.  God does care.  Even though the world around me moves on, God sees.  And He cares.

Instead of having a huge belly and packing a bag for the birth center, I am sorting bills and scheduling Dr appointments.  Instead of welcoming home a newborn, I will be having surgery to hopefully fix (one of) my problems so that hopefully we will not have another loss.

Instead of preparing the Wingman to have a new baby in the home, I hear him say, “You, me and Daddy are sad about our baby.  But when I get to heaven, I will be so happy to see him and I will give him a big hug!”  He brings up his brother to his friends.  I hear him say in conversation, “Our baby died.”  His little mind is processing it as best as he can.  I answer all that he says, not wanting to keep him locked in grief, but not wanting to dismiss his valid 3 year old grief.  He lost his brother.  He has mentioned several times how sad he is that he didn’t get to say good-bye and he has talked about wanting to teach him how to play games when he gets to heaven.  He lost his brother.  He is such a good big brother, and it hurts so much that his first experiences as a big brother have to be this painful and confusing for him.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

Our youngest son, along with his two older siblings, are in heaven right now.  And their souls know very well how wonderful are His works.  They are dancing and praising and worshiping.  Right at this very moment, their joy is unspeakable.  They know no tears and no pain.  They are loved and cherished by the King of Kings.

My pain sometimes feels unbearable.  But I am reminded that Jesus conquered death.  It is for this reason, for this awful repercussion of living in a fallen world, it is for the death of my children, it is for sin, that Jesus died.  He is the Victor.  Someday all will be put right.

Long Time No Write


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 months since I last posted.  I have gone back and forth as to whether I would ever resurrect this blog or not.  But as soon as I was notified that my domain was about to expire I knew that I wasn’t ready to stop blogging.

I make no promises to get back to any sort of blogging schedule.  I would rather keep this space for posting when I feel like I need or want to.

A brief recap of the last 8 months….

….The Wingman celebrated his third birthday.  Crazy, I know!

….The Pilot was gone for a while with his job and I worked on quite a few projects while he was gone.  Hopefully I can blog a bit about some of them!

…In June I became pregnant with our fourth child.  At 16 weeks, his heart stopped beating.  I went to the hospital, labored for 9 hours, and gave birth to another precious son.  It has taken a lot of time to process it all and I know I’m far from being done.  But I am sure some posts about his life and late miscarriage will show up here sometime.

…It has been an absolutely horrible few months.  There is no other way to describe it.  But I am holding onto hope.  “Sometimes holding tight [to Truth] feels more like hanging on, but don’t give up.  Don’t believe the lie that you should let go.  God holds you.  Hold tight to Him.”  (She Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, page 170)

To close this post, I want to share this song.  It has been like my anthem over the past year.  When I first heard it, I was at a Tenth Avenue North concert and the song hadn’t even been recorded.  That tour was the first time they sang it for people.  I sat there with tears pouring down my face, not knowing how the song would grow even more important to me.  I hope that it is a blessing and encouragement to you as well.


How My Miscarriages Speak to the Pro-Life Movement


I am pro-life.

Pro-Life Miscarriage


For the sake of simplicity for this post, that means that I am 100% for the lives of the unborn and I do not believe that abortion is an ok alternative.

I believe that life begins at conception.  And no one should have the power to take that life.  Calculatingly stopping the life of another human being = killing them.

Harsh words, I know.  I wish there was some way to sugar coat it.  I don’t like to think about it.  But if the unborn is a human life….there is no way around the fact that abortion kills that life.

I will not focus much on abortion right now because that is not the purpose of this post.  But it is important to state my beliefs on that before I continue.

What is the unborn?  That is the crux of the abortion question.  If it is nothing but a blob of cells, abortion shouldn’t matter.  But if it is a life, it changes the whole question.

What is the unborn?  As a pro-life person I believe it is always, 100% of the time, a human being, just like you and me.  So I write this post to my fellow pro-lifers.

If we get so caught up in the abortion debate….if it hurts our hearts and breaks us up to see pictures and videos of babies being aborted….if we grieve every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade….if we volunteer and pray and work to try to save the lives of the unborn…..

….we value that life.

What is the unborn in the case of a miscarriage?

The answer should be obvious and I know that most pro-lifers would agree.  It is a baby.

But why is it that a miscarriage, especially an early miscarriage, is not treated as such?

I want to scream out the window, “My babies died!!!”

My BABIES died.

My babies DIED.

Instead, I am expected to quietly move on.  No one mentions it.  My children are forgotten by all but me and my husband and perhaps a select few others.  We are told to just try again in a few cycles.  We are told that it is time to move on.  We are told to just be thankful we already have one child. It is counter-cultural when I choose to post about it on Facebook six months later.  Christians say that we need to just trust God….to put on a grateful smile and move on.

People don’t know what to do with it.  They don’t know what to say.  And trust me I know that it is hard to know what to say to a grieving person.  I get that.  But in silence, we are denying the lives of the unborn.

I am a part of several miscarriage support groups.  And all. the. time. there are posts of women feeling so alone, so isolated.  Posts where women tell stories of absolutely heart-breaking things that others have said to them.  Cruel things against their babies and their pregnancies.  Posts where women cry and wonder why they aren’t allowed to talk about their children.

We have to suck it up.  We have to be strong.  We have to carry our pain and grief all alone.

What is the unborn?

The unborn are babies. Human beings with souls, made in the image of God.  Worthy of dignity, worthy of respect, worthy of love, worthy to be known.

So no I am not over my grief.  It has changed over the past 6 months.  But it is still there.  It is still deep.  My arms still physically ache sometimes because they never got to hold or caress my beloved children.  The physical pain in my heart is indescribable.

I’m not strong.  I am a mother who is broken.  A mother who has had to say good-bye to two of her children.  That is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  I am a mother who has to wake up each day, knowing that I “should” have three children with me to take care of, but instead I only have one.

I am thankful, unbelievably thankful, for our son.  But he doesn’t replace my other children.  Future children will not replace the two children that we have lost.  Having one child already doesn’t magically take the pain away from having two other children die.

Grief is the evidence of great love.  My children were and are loved so much.  I will never forget them.  I will never stop grieving.  I will not apologize for thinking of them or for talking about them.  They were real.  They were mine.

I rejoice that they are in the presence of Perfect Love right now.  As much as it pains me to know that I cannot hold them or tell them how much their mommy loves them, I know that God is loving them in my absence and loving them so much better and more fully than I ever could.  I trust God because I know that He is grieved by this effect of the curse and He is walking beside me in the midst of my deepest pain.

And I absolutely cannot wait for the reunion when I get to heaven.  To finally be able to see the faces of my precious babies, to hold them close, to tell them how much I love them and how absolutely wonderful they are.

Because they are my children.  They weren’t just the unborn.  They weren’t just pregnancies.  They are my children.


Coming Down from the Mountaintop

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Have you ever had what they call a mountain-top experience?  Sometimes it’s a single event, sometimes it is a long period of time, but it is something that is so encouraging, so motivating, so life-giving, that it makes you soar and propels you forward.

I had a mountain-top experience last week.  A good friend of mine came out to visit and together we went to a Tenth Avenue North concert, also featuring Hawk Nelson and I Am They.

tenth avenue north

Oh my goodness.

I can’t even begin to describe how absolutely amazing it was.

Talk about life-giving!

Tenth Avenue North is by far my favorite Christian group.  Their lyrics are so full of the character of God, but they delve into real life.  Some of their songs are full of pain and heartache.  They show how terribly hard life can be, and how we can throw ourselves on Him in the darkest of times.

They talk about grace and freedom in Christ.  They praise Him for how He sets His people free and creates new life.

Music can be so powerful.  And that night at that concert, the music and the musician’s heart for the Lord, so strongly encouraged me.  To live like I’ve been set free.  To live in freedom.  To live in boldness.  To live as if all the earth is holy ground.  To raise my hands to the Lord because even in the midst of utter darkness, He is good and He is true.

After leaving the concert, the lyrics were running through my head for a good 48 hours.  And I have definitely continued to listen to the albums since then.

How do you come down from a mountaintop experience?

I long for that kind of experience every day.  It would be incredible to have that boldness and joy every second of every day.

Sometimes I think that is why God gives us those experiences.  Sometimes life just absolutely sucks and concerts, or conferences, or a talk with a friend, or victories over sin, can be such a breath of fresh air.

When that “feeling” wears off, I pray that the messages will stay with me.  That I will remember the truths I have heard that night.  That I will remember the humility and love that I saw modeled in their words and actions.

I am so thankful that we were able to attend the concert.  But I pray that it will not be just one great night, or one great week.  I pray that I will live as a child of God who is redeemed and safe in His presence moment by moment.

Several months ago, I blogged about The Struggle, one of my absolute favorite songs by Tenth Avenue North.  I am pretty sure that there will be some more of their music featured on my blog here soon. 😉

Have you ever had an incredible spiritual experience?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


15 Things That Make Me Happy


Recently I have been trying to find ways to reduce stress and focus on the positives.  There are so many things that are so simple but bring so much happiness.

It is incredible how the things that go into your mind affect your attitude, your mood, and even your health.

So in thinking about things that make me happy, I decided to compile a list of those top 15 things.  Drum roll please….

what makes me happy

#1 – Llamas

llama happy

Seriously, look at that face.  And the cute way they
chew all sideways and stuff.  I want a pet llama.
Not even joking.

#2 – Camels

camel happy

Along that same line, I like camels.  They make me happy.

#3 – Eyeliner

makeup happy

I couldn’t find a good picture of just eyeliner…but here you go.
I don’t wear makeup often, but when I do, the eyeliner is
my favorite part.  Then mascara.  They both make
me happy.

#4 – Dogs

dog happy

Yeah, I had to put another animal.  Dogs
are by far my favorite animal.  I had the best
black lab ever before we were married and I
still miss that guy.

#4 – The laughter of children.

child laughing

Seriously, there is nothing better than hearing
the giggles of a child.  Personally I think the Wingman
has just about the cutest laugh ever, but
I might be a little bit biased.

#5 – Talking with a friend



Whether it’s a phone call, text, or Skype, I love a good
conversation with a friend.

#6 – A French manicure

french manicure happy

I don’t go to the salon often, but I love me
a good French manicure.  And if there are extra fun
designs, that’s a bonus.

#7 – Cuddling with my husband

cuddling happy

I love cuddling with The Pilot.  It’s one of my favorites.

#8 – Well-written things

book words happy

That moment when you’re reading along and
you have to pause for a bit to take in the wondrous
way the author crafted a sentence.  That makes me happy.

#9 – Batman

batman happy

Batman.  Need I say more?

#10 – Heels/wedges

shoes happy

I love a nice comfortable pair of heels and wedges.
It makes me so happy to put on a pair
and dress up a bit!

#11 – Typewriters

typewriter happy

Someday I will own a wonderful vintage
typewriter.  I hope.

#12 – That sense of accomplishment when you complete something

life happy

#13 – HuHot

I don’t have a picture for this one, but HuHot
is an amaaazing Mongolian grill.

#14 – Amazon


I love shopping on Amazon!!  There are so many
great things on my wish list.  Mostly books,
but lots of other fun things too.

#15 – Laughing


I don’t laugh nearly as much as I used to.  Which makes
those moments when I do all the more amazing.  I
love the freeing feeling of laughter.  The instant
stress reducer.  That feeling of bonding with someone
over a humorous moment.

So there you have it.  15 things that make me happy.  What are some of the things that make make you happy?


For Better, For Worse


Weddings are kind of weird things for me right now.

I currently have a few recently married friends and engaged friends.  I look at them and see the love filling their eyes.  With joy and hope infusing everything about them.  With an entire future spread out before them.

For Better for worse

2015 was a weird year for me.  It was a really great year, as I came to see and understand new depths of the hope, grace, and freedom in Christ.  And it was also an extremely horrible year as we had to say good-bye to two of our children.

Sometimes when I see the newly-in-love couples, my heart wants to scream at them, “You don’t know what’s coming!”

Financial difficulties.
Death of loved ones.
Dreams ending.
Health problems.

There are host of things that most couples will go through at one point or another in their years together.

I think back to our own wedding day.  When we were so happy and the joy of the years of our future spread out before us.  We had no idea what was in store for us.

I don’t intend that to be a bad thing or a condescending, “Just wait until you get to where I am.”  Because…

That joy is a beautiful thing.  And after the hardships we have been through, culminating most recently in our two miscarriages, I have seen even more what it means to grow in our love for each other for better or for worse.

Worse will come.  Worse has come.

But in a way, that worse is also the better.  It is the worse that draws us closer to each other, that brings us to the better.  It makes me love my husband in a deeper way that I cannot even begin to describe.   The worse and the better are intertwined.

Yes, sometimes my recent pain and grief have me wondering what couples will experience down the road.  I want to warn them, but I don’t know what I would say.  I guess I do know what I would say.  Cling to that for better and for worse.  It will test you like you cannot imagine, but it has the capacity to draw you together like you cannot imagine as well.

So, pledge that for better and for worse.  Look with joy and wonder-filled love at your amazing wonderful person you are going to spend your life with.  Because that is the person who will be there with you on your worse days.  The person you will be there for on their own worse days.

Love your love.  It is amazing right now and it will continue to be amazing.



Blessed by a Stranger


Have you ever had a moment of discouragement when you suddenly realized….God sees and He cares?

blessed by a stranger

A few weeks ago I was having one of those days.  You know the one.  The one in which you haven’t gotten much sleep the past few nights.  You’re sick.  Your child is sick.  Your child is cranky.  You’re cranky.

One of those days.

After a failed nap attempt, I decided that I had had it.  I loaded the Wingman up in the car to go pick up fast food.  Yes, that happened.  Not even ashamed.  Fast food may not be good for you, but sometimes it can be very good for you.

We rolled up to the In-N-Out drive-thru.  (If you have never experienced the goodness that is In-N-Out, get in your car and drive to the nearest state that has one.  You will not be disappointed.)  The Wingman started crying because he wanted to get out of the car.  I looked like a hot mess with my frazzled hair and sleep-deprived eyes.

I ordered our food and then waited to pay.  As I get closer, the girl at the window gives me a big smile and then hands food to the person in the car in front of me.

Finally it was my turn.  I handed her my card as she repeated my order back to me.  And then she said, “Your order has actually already been paid for.”

I sat there stunned for a minute.  I said “thank you” to her because I had to thank somebody.  And then I drove to the second window.  It was there that I almost started to cry.

I struggle with God’s sovereignty. I admit it.  Did God divinely appoint me to go to In-N-Out that day and just happen to get in line behind this black truck?  Did God send that truck there at precisely that time?  Or did He “merely” allow it to happen?  Or did it just happen?

Honestly I don’t know.  But I know that whatever the answer is, God is good.  Whatever the answer is, God saw that and He knew that it would happen.  He knew how much I needed encouragement that day.  And in that moment I could feel God’s love toward me.  God loved me through a stranger that day.  His eye is on the sparrow.  And His eye was on me in that In-N-Out parking lot.

So on that day I was blessed by a stranger.  And I am so thankful for what happened.

Have you felt God’s love through another person?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


A Year of Heartbreak


2015 was in honesty a terrible year.  Probably the worst year of my life.  Or at least a different kind of terrible than any other terrible.  This year was on a whole different level.

On Christmas Eve, we visited a church where the pastor gave a great sermon.  He talked about how a long time ago people would bring evergreen trees into their homes during the winter as a reminder that spring was coming.  Eventually the Christians adopted that tradition as a reminder of the promise of new life and resurrection in Jesus.  It was a reminder of hope.  Of life.

That was so incredibly beautiful to me.

As I think about the year 2016, I feel a variety of things.  Numbness.  Hesitation.  Wondering if it will be filled with even more heartbreak.  But I also feel hope.  It’s a brand new start in a way.  I am a completely different person than I was before.  The past couple years have defined me, and the past few months have even more so.

There is hope.  There is goodness.  No matter the heartache of this year, there is hope.  There is hope because Jesus came into the world.  Because He died on a cross and rose again.  There is hope because God is good and He is always at work for His good purposes.

There is hope.  There is beauty.

As we close out this incredibly difficult year, I look forward to hope.  With hope.

hope in 2016