Pictures from Fall 2014



Here are a few pictures from our Fall. In addition to the big events from the last post, there have been field trips, school projects, a visit from my mom, another lovely birth I attended, and some travels for Josh…

Here’s Lilia on a hayride. (Incidentally, Simeon remembers this hayride and talks about it often): P1010650 P1010653

At the pumpkin patch with friends from Lilia’s class: P1010659 P1010663

Getting to feed the giraffe (at the pumpkin patch!): P1010667 P1010670 P1010671

Simeon loved feeding the giraffe carrots:


More sweet pictures from the field trip: P1010675 P1010678 P1010688

Lilia’s Kindergarten class!


Everybody loves Nana Lou Anna!

Pictures for a school project Jedidiah was doing. his class was making a community alphabet booking, and he had the letter “I.” We learned all about a community event called “It’s Thursday, Let’s Dance!” The kids took pictures where the dancing takes place. P1010697 P1010698 P1010699 P1010700 P1010701 P1010705

Lilia’s class at the Halloween party:



This guy won Harvest Bingo and got a stick-on mustache!


Lilia’s table:


I was in charge of snacks, and we made monster mouths with apple slices, sunflower seeds, sunbutter, and strawberry “tongues”…


The last days of Simeon in his fedora (we are on to winter hats, now):

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Kindergarten wears Lilia out some days…

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Lilia learned to do the monkey bars!

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Lilia in her beautiful coat from Memaw:

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Another piece of our Fall is that there has been a good deal of construction on our building. Our windows were replaced, and for the past 5 weeks our back porches and stairwells have been torn down and (nearly) rebuilt. During the construction on our unit, we took a short retreat to the community lakehouse in Wisconsin. On a cold day, we decided to do a tour of the Jelly Belly factory. As you probably know, food dye is not really our thing, but it was a fun, free activity. There was a train and jelly bean art and free samples – including the Harry Potter Every Flavor beans. We actually had a blast…2014-11-04 11.27.18 2014-11-04 11.40.13

We had a low-key Thanksgiving at home with just our little family. It was a quiet retreat after a busy Fall. We decided that we wanted to eat Chicago-style pizza one last time – a rare treat for us. In the end, we thought of several Thanksgiving side dishes we simply couldn’t do without. So, we basically had a Thanksgiving dinner with a pizza in place of the turkey. It was delicious.

2014-11-27 13.09.18Coming soon: Simeon’s turned two, and we had a sweet, train birthday celebration for him!



Summer 2014 Catch-up – Part 2 of 10

We had so many fun summer adventures in Evanston and Chicago! We went to the zoo twice, to the nature center (and butterfly room!), to a water park, to a nature center and local historical center, and to the beach (about once a week). We even took a family outing to Navy Pier to ride the famous Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Our weather was really mild all summer, so it was perfect for long days outdoors. Here are a few photos:

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Oh My.

Oh my. It’s been nearly two months since I’ve posted on here. Our hearts and minds have been swirling with anticipation and plans and hopes, as well as basking in the last weeks of summer. We had wonderful vacation time, summer school for me, a memorial for my amazing grandfather, house-hunting, kindergarten excitement, a broken bone, a birth, and much more. I am hopelessly behind. I don’t think I’ll ever find time to blog about it all.

BUT, how about this…what if I just see how much I can fit in with ONE post each day for the next TEN days? I’ll at least be able to give you the highlights that way!

For now, I leave you with a sweet picture of our littlest love. I am soaking up lots of precious time with this fun and happy one-year old!


Kid Quotes

One day, we were walking to the beach. Our 4-year-old neighbor Jacoah was with us, and he was riding his bicycle. At one point, he was having trouble getting up a hill, and I said (about his bicycle), “Do you wanna walk it?” Immediately, Simeon replied emphatically from his stroller: “I wanna walk it!”

One day recently, I complimented Lilia on how quickly she was dressed in the morning – she was even dressed before everyone else! She replied, rather snobbishly, “You guys should really start laying out your clothes.”

Lilia (to Josh who was looking at jeans at a thrift store): “Hmmm…I don’t think jeans are your type.” (as a side note, I’ve been following some of Carol Tuttle’s advice on “Dressing Your Type,” so I think this is where she came up with the term.)

Lilia and I were talking about all of the possibilities of what she could be when she grows up. She liked the idea of being a pilot or a horseback rider. She was open to any possibility – teacher, president, anything…Until I said “astronaut.” She laughed and said, “No way!!” She was very sure she did not want to be an astronaut. When I asked her why, she said, “Because astronauts go to outer space and that’s where Star Wars is!” She finds Star Wars super scary and doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.

From awhile back…Lilia and I were picking out hot dogs at the grocery store, and she said, “Ooh! I want the Rock-in-saw ones!” It took me quite a bit of effort to figure out what she meant. Finally, she pointed to the package and said, “See! Rock-in-saw!!” It was the Boar’s Head brand with an image of a boar’s head on the package. This reminded her of the Arkansas Razorbacks, but she had forgotten the pronunciation of Arkansas and was calling it “Rock-in-saw.” We liked the ring of the new word, and we use it often now.

And, here’s our funny girl posing at the beach recently…



A Quick Follow-Up

This was from a few days ago, but I still wanted to share…

Simeon was dry all night and woke up around 7:30 this morning saying, “Potty! Potty!” I rushed him to the potty, and he peed right away. Then, I tried to take him down, and he wanted to stay on the potty. He looked at me and said, “God?” in the sweetest little voice. Sometimes during the potty training process, I had plopped him on the potty and started singing, “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory.” I understood that he wanted me to sing the song to him again. I started singing, and he calmed a little and then pooped on the potty! We’re praising God this morning for bringing us through the potty training process once again!

It’s a Familiar Feeling


I have spent most of the past four days potty training our little Simeon. It’s been an intense few days. The process has required me to tune in completely, to cancel my other plans, to smile and speak encouraging words in frustrating moments, and to stay positive when I feel like quitting. And, at the end of it all, it has required as much as I can offer with no guarantee of results.

I have felt this feeling many times throughout my stint as a mother. When I felt it today, it seemed familiar. “What is that feeling?” I pondered….After considering for a moment, I knew: It’s the feeing of being out of control.

I felt it when I had labored for three days with our first and could not make birth happen of my own power. I felt it many times with our first actually…when I could not make him roll over or learn to crawl or use the potty or learn to read or draw or write – all things he lagged behind other kids on. I would read all about these things, support him, do the exercises and techniques with him; yet, I could not control him. He had to do these things in his own time. With my two older kids, eating solid foods was also this way. I did everything right – making baby food from scratch, introducing veggies before fruit, not introducing sugar until age 2. Still, they would not eat hardly anything. I could not make it happen.

The frustrating part was that I would feel really laid back for long time. I’d think, “Just keep doing the right things, and they’ll get it.” But then, as things went longer and longer and they fell into the range of uncommonly late, I started to stress out. I’d start to feel like the milestone would never happen. Really, that’s a bit of the feeling I had today.

In this “land of opportunity,” we often believe that if we try enough we can make just about anything happen. Parenting is a grand lesson in how impossible it is to control another person. Yes, I know, we can discipline them and train them up in good behavior and values, but there are some things we simply cannot touch. People are who they are  – whether by free will or genetics or whatever it is – you cannot make them develop by your exact plan.

The thing is, you really have to move beyond control to trust. It’s the only way. I have to learn to trust that my kids can figure this stuff out. It is my confidence in them – the knowledge that it isn’t up to me to make it happen for them – that makes all the difference. Really, it’s their job to figure out how to use the potty, how to relate socially, how to succeed in life. When I try to force it or do it for them, I’m really doing them a disservice. What they need more than anything is my belief in them to do it on their own, and my holding the line that keeps them from turning around and quitting.

That’s what I’ve been doing for the last few days – reminding Simeon that it’s time to use the potty & not offering any chance to go back to the ease of diapers. I’ve been a broken record of encouragement and empowering phrases. Still, there are moments when I think, “Can he really do this? Is he really ready? Maybe we should just quit. Maybe we should have waited.” But, I know he can do it. Babies his age do this every day all around the world, and they’ve done it for ages and ages. He can do this. And, I can believe in him. I can let go of control and trust him to figure it out.

And, the truth is, that’s kinds what we all want some one to do for us, right? We want to be trusted, not controlled. We want to be cheered on, believed in, and allowed to figure it out on our own (with support and helpful tips here and there, of course).

And, despite the fact that I’m exhausted and need a break, the little guy finally seems to be “getting it.” 🙂




Summertime is the best. Most days I feel like I live in a children’s book or a fairy tale. Days filled with trips to the library, the zoo, the museum. I get to join in with my kiddos playing in the sprinkler, building sand castles at the beach, reading books, eating apple slices, having picnics in the backyard, and picking mulberries. As great as it is, it’s pretty non-stop. There are few quiet moments, and solitude is only a dream. Still, I know these days will pass quickly, and I’d rather treasure them than focus on the hard moments. I am thankful for this sweet life that I have as a momma of three little ones.

This first picture of the kids was an attempt at our “morning ritual” – getting out of the house first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, Simeon wasn’t interested in having his picture taken. 🙂















Josh instituted a lovely summer tradition of having a family breakfast and devotional time. Also, Lilia and I have been juicing every morning (see picture of our juice ingredients below). It’s helped us to start the day off right, which has been a huge blessing.

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Also, the big kids are playing t-ball!

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Pictures from Winter 2014


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The winter is a time to hibernate a bit – to stay inside more, to eat warm & nourishing foods, and to get a little more sleep. Still, there’s been a lot of activity and growing going on during this long winter. Here’s an update through photographs…


Simeon loves to say “water,” and he says it pretty well. He also says “cup.”


Unfortunately, he does not really care about drinking much water. He prefers to pour it on the ground or all over himself.


He also likes to play in water in the form of taking baths and “helping” wash dishes.






Simeon is a bath beggar and wants in the tub anytime anyone else is in the bath.


Lilia declared an “apple day” in the middle of winter, and wore her apple shirt with red and green tights and red and green hair rubber bands. We also made homemade apple juice.

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Visiting a new toy store in the neighborhood…


The kids took a gymnastics class together this winter, where they learned floor, vault, balance beam, and rings.



Jedidiah actually got the report of “best cartwheel in the class,” and he was recommended to do a higher level class next term (if he decides he wants to take it again).


Our friends Allan & Jeanne came over for a Sabbath meal and story time.



The big kids have enjoyed “camping out” on the floor of the room on weekend nights a few times this winter.


Lilia is full of craft ideas, as always.


Jedidiah draws and draws and draws. He creates characters and stories and new Pokemons…

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Simeon does that thing where he scoots back and squats to try to sit on things. I love that phase! He tries to sit on little stools and chairs, but he also tries to sit on small toys!

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Simeon in his plastic bag “boots.” Thanks for the great idea, mom!

And, we continue to brave the cold and snow and get out in the great outdoors as much as possible. Yesterday, Lilia and I went “ice-skating” on the huge sheets of ice at the park. But, ice is melting and spring is in the air! Today is the official first day of spring.

More Kid Quotes

Jedidiah: “My mouth is so hot that sometimes I don’t even need to chew – the food just starts melting!”


Lilia (after I grounded her from cooking for a few days for using ingredients without asking): “But, Mom! How can I not cook?!! I am a cook.”


Lilia (when I asked her where her friend Chen Wu (who doesn’t speak much English yet) is from): “I don’t know, but I’ll ask him. I can speak his language.”


Lilia (to our friend Jeanne): “I’m too good of a cook.”


Me (while on the phone): “Lilia, I need you to be a little queiter. I’m on the phone.”

Lilia (holding her play phone): “Well, I’m on the phone, too!”


Simeon likes words that end in the sound “oo.” He calls Josh “Dadoo.” He says “hold oo” when he wants us to pick him up. This morning he called the potty, “Pah-too.” And, when Lilia was talking about her friend Chen Wu, he said, “Chen-oo.” Unfortunately, the big kids have followed suit with the “oo” trend, and they are now calling me “Mom-oo.”