Thursday, November 10, 2016

fall family photo shoot

christianna williams did our family photos this fall!  she was in my God's Girls class at vanguard when she was avery and ashton's age.  so fun to watch kids grown into amazing people.

we went up into palmer park a few weeks ago and had a gorgeous evening.




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

when you just need to exhale

several years ago a close friend spoke of her 40th birthday with such tender strength.  she said she felt more alive, more confident and more comfortable in her own skin then when she turned 30.  

this fall i believe i am getting a glimpse of the sweetness that getting older provides. i was a frantic young mother, desperately wanting to get ALL of it right.  the naps, the schedule, the food.  this same passion driven anxiety followed me into homeschooling.  doubts would creep in and i would slap a new schedule over them or rework a system to silence my fears. and as i enter this year i can feel it all just settling down a bit inside of me.  i can't tell you how thankful i am for this undercurrent of peace. i am recognizing and trusting that God's strength will be made perfect in my weakness.  i show up for my days, i don't have to control them.  

the beginning of this year has very much been an exhale for me.  i didn't realize i was holding my breath for so long. 

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my parents have a time share in vail the 3rd week of october every year and they invite us to join them for part of their week.  it just so happened that sarah mackenzie was speaking at a small homeschooling retreat about 20 minutes from where we were staying.  i've been listening to sarah's read aloud revival podcasts for close to 2 years now, devoured her book and have been changed and inspired by the way she calls us all to expect God to show up in our homeschools.  
her voice and most recently julie bogart's (i might have to write more about her...she is changing my life! if you are homeschooling you MUST go to her youtube page and watch every single video.) have had a profound impact on me. 

this was the setting of this intimate retreat.  i had to snap this for the girls. 

i put on my brave pants and gave her a giant hug and told her how thankful i was for her work.  we chatted for awhile about her podcasts and i shared with her a very powerful moment we had in our homeschool group when i read an essay from her book about peter walking on water and then we listened to "you called me out upon the water, the great unknown, where feet may fail...."

such an honor to meet her. 
my brother and his wife, rocio were up in vail with us!  we had a lovely time! so beautiful up there.
my growing up babies!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

and when i dream

in my dreams they have dirt under their finger nails and wind in their hair.



they have long afternoons of losing track of time in pretend play, a book or a game.



my dreams show petting pigs, riding horses and taking bites of apples freshly picked.





in my dreams we make containers for their education. containers called memories and made of popsicle sticks and glue guns.  memories are such capable companions.  they hold so very much.







Tuesday, September 6, 2016

when avery turned 9

making her carrot cake.


party time!






the big nine year old sleepover!  i told the kids they could each have one at 9 years old.  ian says "mom, how about we get to have a sleepover party every 9 years."  that works too, buddy. 
it actually went pretty well considering. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

peanuts and crackerjacks

several years ago nancy (dave's mom) got the kids a couple of psalty cds. you know about psalty, right?  anyway, one of the cds is a baseball theme and ian loves it. there is a whole song about signing up for baseball and so i would get asked frequently, starting when he was around 3, when he could sign up for baseball.

a couple of springs ago, when ian was 4, we went to a sky sox baseball game.  at the end of the game the announcer told the kids that they could go get sox the fox's autograph up by the concessions.  i tried to keep up with ian as he zipped up the bleachers to be one of the first kids in line.  sox grabbed his little ticket stub and quickly scribbled his name in sharpie.  ian turned around beaming, ran up to me and said "mom, i'm signed up for baseball!!" adorable.

he had to wait almost a full year after that sky sox game before we signed him up for his first season of little league.  when i got the first message from his coach telling us who he was and when practices would be,  i put my phone on speaker and called ian over so he could listen to the message.  and, this is not a joke, my little 5 year old cried real tears of JOY, he buried his little face in my neck and said "thank you, mommy" over and over while he wiped tears away.  good grief, what a special moment.

on our way to his first game.


he got the game ball at his first game. 

his team got to participate in a skills clinic that colorado springs little league offered.  


and they also were able to play a ball game in the sky sox stadium because they were one of the top fundraising teams. that was a pretty incredible night.





ian was the first one of the game up to bat.  he gets a nice crack at the ball, but the little pitcher caught it!






ian with his fans after he played at the stadium.



then his little team was able to participate in junior sky sox.  at an official sky sox game ian went out on the field and stood by the 2nd baseman during the national anthem.  after the anthem the second baseman signed a ball and handed it to ian. one of the cutest things i have ever seen.  he kept looking up at this giant guy trying to stand like him and hold his arms like him.  adorable. 

i didn't get great pictures of this, but it was awesome. 



and if all of that wasn't enough to complete ian's first magical little season of baseball, he and his cousin, toby, also got to do a clinic at the sky sox stadium with some of the players leading them in the drills.






i love my little baseball player.  i seriously cannot wait until the spring season. we had such a great time watching this little man play baseball. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

at the beginning of school

more from their first day at rmca homeschool program.


we left ian sitting on this bean bag chair, clutching books, but looking around at all of his little classmates. turns out he LOVES it there.  so thankful.


ashton is in the same class as her twin cousins, chloe and toby!


and avery's just an old pro here.  4th grade's big stuff.


then the following monday we had our first day of houle school.  i'm telling you the beginning of the school year seems to get sweeter each year. i have learned to plan less and less and then even less and our days this week have really had a nice rhythm to them, one that feels manageable and relaxed to me. i suppose it also helps that both the girls are fairly independent and there are no more preschoolers in this house. :(




it's become tradition for me to wrap all of our school supplies up to be opened on our first day.



here's avery looking through her equine science program from winter promise.  i seriously had the best time putting this together for her.  it is thorough and extremely well done.  avery is completely capable of looking at her winter promise guide and completing the assignments each week using winter promise's horse notebook along with several library books.
https://winterpromise.com/science/equine-science-for-3rd-7th-grade/


at the very beginning of summer, when it had just barely turned warm, the kids asked "mommy, when the ice cream truck comes down our street can we get something??" to which i replied, "only once....we can do it just once."

well, we didn't see an ice cream truck in june, we didn't see one in july, but after our very first day of homeschool the ice cream truck FINALLY made an appearance on our street.  it was SO fun to shout "go, stop him!" while i grabbed my wallet.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

kindergarten tears

we had such a great morning. the kids were all so very excited. i had woken early to journal and process all the feels on this monumental day for our family. and then when ian put his little lunch box up on the shelf, a flood of emotions hit me hard. i tried to hold it together but i just couldn't. i was the classic kindergarten momma, his teacher came and hugged me and told me she would take care of him. so sweet.

the day they all went to school



Monday, August 8, 2016

butterfly pavilion

we had a great time at the butterfly pavilion up in denver.  we called ashton the butterfly whisperer because they all just kept landing on her.  



holly signed us up for a little class there!
EVERYONE held rosie!  even all of us moms!  great memory.



excited about more adventures this year with our little wild explorers club.