Thursday, December 22, 2011


I really am working on a kajillion blog posts, I promise. It's just that I never have time to finish them! Which bums me out a little, because I really do enjoy blogging thoughts and pictures. But I've hit my limit on daily allotted time, and when there are only so many hours in the day, there's only so much you can do; some things inevitably get put on the back-burner.

Up and coming are posts about Michael's birthday, Bennett's birthday, C's birthday (one of our girls), and my mom's birthday. Michael's was Nov.12th, but the other three have all been in December. Whew! I also need to do a blog post about all of our Christmas activities, including having two of the other cottages over to play games and hang out, and several of the Christmas parties we have been to.

Random things that have happened in the past month: there is a wonderful lady who owns her own cleaning business, and she now comes out once every couple of months to deep clean our home. Fabulous.....Bennett and Jasper have both managed to avoid the doctor so far, up until yesterday, when I took J in for an ear infection. Awesomeness....We are feeling the love and generosity of family and friends this holiday season - it's amazing....I miss my friends. I see a handful of my die-hard friends fairly regularly through church and play dates, but my circle has gotten significantly smaller. That is to be expected with what we are doing here, and Michael and I have made great friends with two of the other house parent couples here, which is so helpful, but I'm missing my friends that I'm just not getting to see hardly at all anymore. There's no real remedy for this, because of the whole "there are only so many hours in a day" thing again, but there it is....Getting Christmas ready for seven kids is nothing short of insanity. Tonight I'm pulling a late-nighter to watch movies and wrap presents. Tomorrow my beautiful, wonderful mother is coming over to help me finish up....We'll do our cottage Christmas on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, since all of our girls will be at their bio homes over the holidays....I am still on a learning curve that never seems to end; I can practically feel my brain synapses tingling :)....I love being here. I love what we are doing. I love watching these girls change and begin to trust before my very eyes. I journal back and forth with a couple of them, and it's amazing what they've been through and how resilient they are....Our boys are doing so well here - they love everything about it. The only exception to this being Bennett telling us the other day that he's still a teeny-tiny bit frustrated that he's not the oldest anymore :)....One example of my learning curve is how much new music I've been introduced to. Most of the girls LOVE listening to music and love having me listen to the stuff they like (all appropriate, of course - they love complaining about how strict we are, and I love nodding and smiling at them while changing nothing :) ). There are some fantastic songs out there that I'd never heard before, and some great artists I've been introduced to. Thanks to iTunes gift cards we've received at our Christmas parties, our iTunes account has exploded. Also awesome....I have found that I actually LOVE hosting now that I have a home that is appropriate in size and equipment to do so. I used to dislike it with a passion, but now it brings me joy. I love having groups, other kids, family, etc. over to play, eat, and hang out. What a blessing to use our home this way. We had all of my extended family over for Thanksgiving Day, and for Christmas, Michael's parents will be here, and then my mom's side of the family will be here on Christmas Day, as well as my parents and brother. Love it....My husband is full of awesome. He is my perfect de-stressor, and is so thoughtful and considerate of what I need at the moment. He keeps me sane :)....I've also gotten back in touch with being a little more of a girly girl again, a by product of now having five teenage daughters, rather than being surrounded by testosterone at all times. One of my girls bought me some perfume the other day when we were at the mall, and I'm enjoying wearing it. We do each other's hair, paint each other's nails, watch girly movies together, etc. Funny enough, that also makes my times playing trains, racing cars, and climbing jungle gyms that much sweeter with my boys....

and I think that's more than enough for now, folks. Still plugging away at the birthday posts, and of course, after that comes the monstrosity that is the Christmas post. Makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

Hope you're all enjoying the holiday season!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I'm having a hard time posting these days because it is hard to describe what goes on in our home from day to day, and what I am experiencing in all aspects of life.

Michael and I are working on tweaking my schedule and figuring out how to minimize my stress levels right now. We go on relief week next week, where all of the girls stay at another cottage for a full week, and that will be helpful in getting some much-needed rest, I think. Usually we are supposed to receive a full week like this every fifth week, but they had to hire a new set of foster parents before that could happen. There is a great couple here now, and the rotation has begun, praise the Lord.

I feel like a chicken with my head cut off almost all of the time, and it is rare that I actually finish a to-do list, which drives me bonkers, but can't really be helped. Having six kids (seven, starting tomorrow - we're getting another new girl) changes things in so many ways, and having four to five of them being yours only temporarily really throws some interesting elements in the mix.

We are working hard to provide a stable, structured, healthy environment for these girls. We have been here for three months now, and those three months have included a lot of tweaking, praying, changing and re-changing things to figure out what works best, a lot of relationship building, a lot of REALLY fun times, and also a lot of time being sick (I've been sick three times since we've been here - once a month on average, and I think it's mostly because I'm worn down and not getting enough sleep) and some time crying out to God for wisdom, and sometimes just crying.

The first month was a honeymoon period, that's for sure. It's just downright hard now, to be honest. But God has called us here, and we know He wants us to make a difference in these girls' lives while we have them. So we will let Him be our strength and give all we've got while we are here.

Bennett and Jasper are still thriving and love it here, which again, is a tremendous blessing that there are no words of thanks to express. They love everything about being here, and are getting to experience so many more things than we would have been able to provide for them otherwise. That's a wonderful feeling. We're pretty sure Bennett will go to the school where Michael teaches starting next year, and we feel wonderful about this. He and his daddy will get to spend a lot of wonderful quality time together on the drive there and back every day.

Homeschooling is still going great. Bennett is reading basic C-V-C words, and is reading very basic readers with help, although the perfectionist in him still gets frustrated when he can't master everything immediately (welcome to my world, pal :) ). Jasper loves school time and always wants to be involved doing his own activities as well.

Recent events have included Michael turning the big 3-0, Halloween festivities, going to the State Fair with Mimi, getting to meet one of the MVP Rangers along with his family, where we decorated sugar cookies and got free Rangers hats, going to the movies, the girls and I having a fabulous movie marathon, roasting more marshmallows in our fire pit, having other cottages over for Game Night and Hide-n-Seek in the dark, and hosting Thanksgiving for my entire family at our house (25 people).

Coming up is Bennett's birthday on Tuesday (he's turning FIVE...gulp), and the kajillion Christmas parties we will be attending (around 3-4 each weekend until Christmas). I'm taking the girls Christmas shopping for their friends tomorrow after school.

Whoo-wee, it's a crazy, busy life here, but we wouldn't have it any other way and don't wish to be anywhere but here, right where God wants us. I'll try to sneak in a picture post of the outdated events I haven't posted about yet (like Michael's big birthday, the fair, etc.).

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Leah Minogue Photography came out and took family pictures for us. She did an AMAZING job. Here are a few of my favorites!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Last week one of our girls left for reasons that break my heart. Today a new girl was added to our house. Emotions are mixed and high - it's an interesting, crazy thing, taking away and adding to a family. This girl is sweet and talented and comes along with a heartbreaking story, pretty much like all the rest. I am thankful she is here with us. I'm glad I get to be her mom, no matter how short or long that time may last. I have not ceased to be amazed by the way God has filled in the gaps we may have been missing in order to do this job. He is so good and so adequate when I am nothing close to either.

I love working here. These children who would not have a home (or at least not one that wasn't abusive or frightening or awfully unstable) if not for this place. God has blessed us to have called
our family here.

Bennett was so excited when he heard we were getting a new girl. He must have asked me a hundred different questions about her before she came this afternoon. And when she got here, I introduced them to each other. There were smiles and high-fives all around. Now she is unpacking in her room - the few precious belongings she owns - and I am sure she is wondering what will happen to her now as she starts a new school, attends a new church, learns new schedules and rules, and tries to fit into a new family. It blows my mind.

I am glad she has come to a good, safe, godly place, even though she may not know it yet. She will know it soon, and my prayer is that she will grow and flourish, even as my prayer for the girl who had to leave is that God will be with her and give her what she needs, and that she takes with her whatever small lessons she learned while she was here.

On a lighter note, we are hosting Thanksgiving Day for my entire extended family (my mom's side and my dad's side) this year, so in the midst of everything, I am slowly gathering table ideas from Pinterest, picking up candles and pinecones, acorns and weathered wood, and other bits and pieces of Thanksgiving goodness, and putting together a menu for what on earth to make (luckily it's a potluck-type affair - I may cook for eight now, but eight to thirty is WAY too big and stressful of a jump for me!).

Anybody have fabulous Thanksgiving plans this year? Who's hosting? What's on the menu and what's the plan for decor?

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Things I've learned so far about mothering teenage girls:

1. It is always better to listen and gather information before speaking or acting.
2. Teen girls want to know that a) you care about them, and b) that what they care about matters c) they are respected d) they have a voice.
3. They can eat as much as teen boys when you make their favorites :).
4. When I keep calm, they keep calm.
5. They make life SO. MUCH. FUN.
6. They're boy crazy. I pray and try to direct the boy craziness toward boys who are worthy of it, and who would make good husbands someday.
7. They still like to have milk and cookies when they get home from school :).
8. The roller coaster ride of emotions you've heard comes with raising teen girls? Oh, yes. Every word is true. But the high ups make the low downs completely worth it.
9. They not only need boundaries. They want them (even if they act like the opposite is true).
10. They need their daddies. Big time.
11. They like to talk. A lot.
12. The hormones, growth changes, life changes, etc. of toddlers and teenagers are not that different.
13. If they see you doing something, they are ten times more likely to do it themselves (i.e. exercise, reading your bible, going to church regularly, cleaning up, etc. This also includes negative habits/behaviors).
14. Life is hard for them. It's a rough stage of life.
15. They give excellent fashion and make-up advice.
16. They're oh-so-much fun to giggle and be silly with :).
17. Self-esteem building - also huge.
18. They will play games during conflict if you do, and sometimes they will play games during conflict even if you don't. Either way, I choose not to be a game player, because it gets us nowhere.
19. They respect honesty and kindness and can sense when you do or don't live by those codes.
20. They're not too old to do little kid stuff, like roasting marshmallows, going trick-or-treating, dressing up like adult-sized hot dogs and penguins, getting lots of hugs, watching Disney movies, getting surprise treats or notes, taking goofy pictures, doing art projects, etc.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I feel like we're living in the midst of our own three ring circus these days, so it was fitting for us to go see an actual one a couple of weeks ago :). I hadn't been in years, and Michael had never been. This was also Bennett and Jasper's first time, as well as one of our girls.

We saw a lot of neato stuff, like tigers jumping through hoops, dudes on the flying trapeze, clowns, an elephant parade, etc. It was also fun that my mom got to come with us and hang out with the girls for a while that night. Here are some pictures of our fun evening!


Amidst the madness, I have also been homeschooling Bennett this year. We just finished up a unit on Creation and also on dinosaurs, and next week we're going to continue learning about Abraham, and start on a Fall theme (my favorite!).

I posted on the curriculum I chose a couple of months back, and so far everything works well. I'll be completely honest and say we haven't touched the spanish curriculum yet, and the arts and crafts leave a little to be desired, but we're all on a gigantic learning curve, and we're having fun, which is important.

Here are some pictures of our year so far:

Sunday, October 16, 2011


All of you here know by now that I like to keep it real and be honest. So here it is.

Today was hard. I mean hard with a Capital H. I wasn't expecting it, I wasn't looking for it, it didn't start out that way, but that's the way it was, all the same.

It was emotionally grueling and difficult, and it was painful today. This was my first day here to feel things so strongly, to cry for a long time, to experience the difficulty of what we are doing.

But it was also a good, humble reminder of how much I need God to do this job. I need the Lord - His wisdom, His strength, His peace, His love - continuously, daily. I am dependent on Him to give me the words to say to all of my kids, to mold them to be more like Jesus, to discern when to speak and when to listen.

For the most part, this job of being a mom to so many is wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling. But today it was just tough and tiring. I know I'll have many more days like this to come, but I also know there is nowhere else I'd rather be, and nothing else I'd rather be doing, and no one else I'd rather be doing it with. There is comfort and peace in that knowledge.

So I'll go to bed, get some good rest, and get up tomorrow ready with a smile and a prayer for the day and for all of my kids on my lips, because this is where God wants us, and this is where I want to be. Even on the hard days.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Our first month here was amazing. We are blessed. Here are some pictures that cover some of the things we've been up to.

After one week of living here, they had a work day where hundreds of volunteers came to help clean up our campus and make it beautiful and sparkling. I was especially thankful since there was a lot of cleaning and organizing to do on the inside of our home!

There was a crew working in the front and back yards as well, adding mulch, planting new plants, pulling weeds, etc. The yard initially needed a LOT of work, so this was really helpful as well.

This is about half of our front yard. Now that the weather is cooler, we are out here almost everyday. The boys LOVE having a huge yard. They love their new rooms, their new home, their new sisters. We play hard pretty much every day. I love seeing them love it here.

Our second week of having the girls, the teen boys cottage pranked us by ringing our doorbell and running. We retaliated by sending fliers with ridiculous/scary photos like the ones below, shining flashlights in the windows when it got dark, and depositing a large plastic Santa Clause in their front yard. We also ordered pizza, then emptied the boxes and stuck a note inside. The delivery guy was kind and fun enough to deliver it to them :). To top it all off, the last night of the prank war, we all hauled our lawn chairs across campus to their back yard and serenaded them with our fabulous rendition of "Kumbaya." When they heard us, they came out back and found us camped out, singing and looking at the stars. So fun!

Don't have pictures of it, but some of our activities this week included clothes shopping for the girls, playing Hide and Seek in the dark, finishing up decorating the house, going horseback riding, playing Just Dance on the Wii, playing board games, playing sand volleyball, opening our house to the public for our annual Open House, having family meetings every week, going on family library trips, homeschooling Bennett (for three weeks now - have some things to tweak, but so far so good), painting, having movie marathons, going to Saturday night church and then eating out as a family each week, going to the girls' high school Open House and meeting two of their teachers each (I got some strange looks, that's for sure :) ). Our kids definitely keep us busy and active!

And an update on me: I am learning to fill out paperwork quickly and efficiently. I am learning to cook very large meals that include several sides. I am learning how to listen to teenage girls, because that's what they want more than anything - to know you care and that they have a listening ear. I am learning to pick my battles wisely and let the rest go. I am learning how to balance. I am learning how to hold on to what is truly important and necessary, and let go of the rest when I run out of time. I am learning to be a mother to girls who have been searching for one their whole lives. I am learning how to make a new house a home. I am learning how to homeschool and do everything else I have on my plate all at the same time (slowly). I am learning to give my boys extra hugs and kisses, to hold onto them a little longer, to look them in the eye when I am speaking to them, or when they are telling me something. I am learning that consistency and dependability are just as important to teenagers as they are to toddlers :). I am learning that reading my bible every morning takes me so much farther and grants me more wisdom for the day than anything else ever could. I am learning how to drive a 15-passenger van quite well, if I do say so myself :). I am learning how to ask for help and how to accept it. I am learning how to stay connected to my husband and keep our relationship healthy and whole in the midst of all of the craziness that comes with having six kids. I am learning how very much I love having a big family and doing what we are doing.

We are blessed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


That's the song I feel like singing every time I look out a window or pull into the place we live now. There are trees and rolling meadowy-type stuff, and 5-6 different playgrounds for the boys to play on. There are horses and cows and goats. There are a couple of ponds and woods with trails to explore. It's amazing. I never knew how much I wanted to live in wide open spaces (key the Dixie Chicks song) until we got here. Now I don't know how I'll ever go back!

We L-O-V-E it here, if you can't tell. And what I mentioned above really isn't the biggest draw. It's the kids. Our four girls are amazing, courageous young women, and we are so blessed to be a family with them now. I have lost track of how many times God has clearly, obviously shown up and sewn our now-large family together. Three of the girls call me mom, and I have had deep, really wonderful conversations with all of them. They are funny, silly, smart, talented girls, and I love being their mama.

Some of the high points of our two weeks with them so far: a mini prank war with the teen boys cottage, which consisted of us depositing a large, headless Santa Claus in their front yard, and on another night, carrying lawn chairs to their backyard to serenade them with our personal rendition of "Kumbaya." (They started it by ringing our doorbell and running last week). Another high point: our family meetings - we have them once a week, and we share about our week, talk about anything that needs to be addressed, and talk about what we're thankful for and what we're stressed about. I provide a yummy dessert - everyone is a fan. We have also sat out on our back deck in our rocking porch chairs all together a couple of different times in the cooler night air and just chatted. One time, one of the guys who works here rode past in a golf cart and said, "If you guys here a gun shot, that's just me shooting at skunks." HA! Dinner is also pretty awesome - we talk and laugh and fellowship, and afterwards we turn on some music, crank it up, and the entire family does chores for about 30 minutes. This past Sunday me and the girls laid around and watched movies (we go to church on Saturday night) in the afternoon while the boys took naps, and that was so restful and fun. A final warm fuzzy for me is watching our boys and our girls interact. They really do love each other already. They play together, and the girls are SO helpful - buckling and unbuckling the boys from the van, chasing them around, taking them outside, building train tracks together, watching them in stores, etc. Like I said, warm fuzzies :).

Every night Michael and I go to our room to talk and catch up about the day, and pretty much every night we talk about how blessed we are to be here, and how amazing this is. God's hand of blessing is on this place. We are privileged to be a part of the work here.

I'm writing about all of the wonderful things. Of course there are hard things, too. There are more emotions to handle, more wisdom to plead for so that God can give me the right words to say, almost NO free time (I think this will get better once we are really, truly settled in and we're no longer doing so many first time things that come with moving in and joining a family together), lots of paperwork, more errands to run, kids to pick up from school (carpooling has been a HUGE help), new schedules, having to be more intentional to spend time with B and J, and knowing that even then, there is only so much of me to go around (I pray for God to give them all that they need, and for Him to fill in the gaps that I may miss while doing this - I know He will), etc. So yes, there are hard things, frustrating things, sad things, etc., but they just don't begin to compare to the beauty of being right where God wants us to be.

Our Open House is this weekend from 9:00am - 2:00pm. Feel free to stop by - the campus and all of the houses are open to whoever, and Spring Creek is catering lunch for everyone! Thank you all for your prayers and love for us! I'll keep updating as much as I am able!

Monday, September 5, 2011


We have had so many wonderful people come out to help us make our new house feel like a home, and it really does, in only a few short days.

On move in day, we had seven guys and four ladies come out to help pack, unpack, organize, clean, store, and move things around. Amazing. It all went SO quickly because we had so much help. Most of the people are friends or neighbors of ours from our class at church, but three of them were a family I used to baby sit for back when I was in middle school! Crazy and so wonderful the way things come full circle. The same family came back out to the house today to mow our lawn, weed eat, edge our grass, sweep up, and empty out some plant pots to get ready for fall. This was a HUGE blessing because our lawn now consists of about an acre of land, and will probably take Michael 2-3 hours to do each time. It was pretty overgrown, so it took three people that long to do it this time. We are SO thankful for all of these people who have been the hands and feet of Jesus to us this weekend - so generous with their time and energy.

Being here is amazing. I can't describe it. Michael and I were talking about it today, and the best comparison I can make is when you go shoe shopping and you try on a dozen different pairs of uncomfortable shoes that pinch and rub and don't fit right, then you finally find the pair that hug and cradle your foot just right, that look fabulous, and feel fabulous, and belong to you the moment you try them on. That's how being here is. We are exactly where we are supposed to be.

Our boys and the girls get along SO well, and Bennett misses them and talks about them when they are gone. Even Jasper talks about them, and lights up when he sees them. I have bonded really well with the girls so far, and am excited about what is to come.

We go on walks in the evenings. We're on a working ranch with horses, pigs, goats and cows, and there are 5-6 different playgrounds spread throughout the campus. This makes for an amazing daily adventure for our boys. We are already in love with where we are, and our hearts are overflowing.

I look back at where I was just two months ago, and how I was feeling, and I am amazed at how faithful the Lord is, and how He brings us out of dry seasons and renews our spirits just when we need Him to. His timing really is perfect, and in the meantime, His grace really is sufficient.

When I get a minute to breathe, I'll post some pictures of our new place.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Man, oh man, we only have FIVE DAYS before moving out to our new house at the children's home we will be living at. This past week has consisted of TONS of phone calls, appointments, meetings, visits, etc., to get things more squared away. And of course, a LOT of packing.

This is Michael and I's first time to move in seven years, and we're living our first and only home, so it's bittersweet. This is also our first time to move with kiddos, which creates an ENTIRELY different dynamic. I'll go ahead and admit that our boys have been watching a LOT more TV for the past week and will continue to do so this week as we're getting ready for the move and just trying to get everything checked off of our lists.

Our house is going on the market in two weeks - by then we should have all of the updates we wanted to do, completed. That will be a big relief, and of course an even bigger relief once it sells.

Michael and I begin training this week and will spend two full days getting stuffed with information about the children's home regulations, as well as regulations of the state, basic FAQs, and CPR training. It will be nice to have that info and the rules under my belt - I'm a rule follower, so I actually like knowing what's expected of me :).

Michael gave me a budget to set up our new home, and yesterday me and my mom went shopping for my birthday to pick up a few things, among them being some FABULOUS fabric for pillows that she (I would say both of us, but I'd be lying) is going to make for our formal living room and the living room the girls mostly hang out in, which I refer to as "The Cave" because they always have the lights turned off in there (I picked up a GORGEOUS lamp from Hobby Lobby last week to help with this :) ). I also scouted out some curtains from World Market that I'm going back to buy at the end of this week when they're shipped in. I've posted a picture of them below because they are just. that. awesome. They're for our kitchen/dining area.
I'm having fun thinking of new ways to create a homey environment for all eight of us, and it's so much fun to have a fresh start and blank page as far as decorating goes, but I have to admit that sometimes that's not enough to distract me from what is ahead.

The truth is, I'm nervous and excited and scared all at the same time, and depending on the time of day and what I'm in the middle of, these emotions take turns presenting themselves. I'm swept up in all kinds of thoughts and feelings about this change, and am realizing more and more what a HUGE life change this really is.

*Whew. Deep Breath.*

The comfort and solace I have when I start to feel a little bit crazy for taking all of this on is solely and completely in the knowledge that when God calls, God equips. I believe this with all my heart. When I rely and trust in Him, He will give me the strength, the endurance, the wisdom, the ability to do this. This is where God wants us, and knowing where He wants us and what He wants us to do is something our family has been waiting on for over a year. It is so sweet, so good when you can see God's plan stretching out in front of you.

Something else that is so sweet and precious about this move is how excited Bennett is about everything. He loves his new "sisters," he loves our new house, he is excited about the playgrounds, his new room, the backyard, etc. etc. He calls this his "Big Adventure" and we have a count down chart hanging on the refrigerator that he asks me to mark off every morning when he wakes up. He counts the days and pumps his fists and hollers out the number left until "OUR BIG ADVENTURE!!" This is from God, without a doubt, because he is my emotional, sensitive child, and I was more concerned about him in all of this than anyone else. And as it turns out, he's great with it. Thank you, Lord! (Jasper is excited and really likes the girls, too, but is more easy-going and is too young to really understand it all until it happens).

I turn twenty-nine tomorrow, and I can't think of any better birthday present than to be entrusted with the hearts of God's children, and to have the opportunity to embark on the brand new "Big Adventure" we have been praying for. :)

And just so you know, I probably won't get caught up on my other blog topics I was supposed to post about - there are just too many new things going on right now, and there's too much to cover with all that's happening, but I'll keep updating.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This summer we...

**learned how to swim
(need to get a picture of it!!)

Bennett took swimming lessons from Poppy (my dad) all summer, and he's doing AWESOME! He can swim the ENTIRE length of the pool (from the deep end to the shallow end) with his head underwater, coming up for air when he needs it. He can jump off the side in the deep end and swim to the other side, and then pull himself out. He can float on his back. He can dive underwater and pick up cars from the bottom (at the shallow end). THANKS, Poppy!! You're the best swim teacher EVER!

**began wearing our hand-sewn spiderman-ish glove to prevent finger sucking (more on that in a future post, put it was created by Nanna. She's a genius, I tell you!)

**went to the water park twice a week
This was our last week and me and my mom bit the bullet and got the boys their Dippin' Dots ice cream (which we think is disgusting and ridiculously priced, but the boys love and have looked forward to all summer).

**learned to play (and made up) a LOT of new games
In this game, they're playing "Baby" and they go to sleep (usually in Jasper's crib), and then wake up crying. I tickle them and pounce on them until they go back to sleep - not that it makes any sense, but they love it. Other favorites of the summer were Alligator Snap and Leap Frog, both played on our couch cushions on the living room floor. Fun times.

Bennett's new thing, playing board games. We've taught him how to play Cootie, Connect Four, Go Fish, Chutes and Ladders, Trouble, and Yahtzee Jr., and I must say that my little man has learned REALLY well how to be a good sport! I'm so proud of him. When he loses, he says, aw, well, that's okay. I'm glad we played. And when he wins (after a lot of hooting and fist pumping), he turns to the loser and says, That's okay. You played good! So cute.

**had Nanna over for a visit, which was wonderful, as always!

**visited the pet store for the first time ever (don't ask me how we managed to avoid that for so long - the boys LOVED it. Bennett even got it in his head for a while that he was going to save up his money for a mouse, but decided to use it for candy instead, which made my heart very glad :) )

**went to birthday parties and play dates with friends.

**watched some Saturday morning cartoons

**visited Great Grandpa and Granny (and ate M&Ms, of course)

**went to the eye doctor, where Jasper passed all of the tests for his vision and eye muscles! Praise God!
(he was EXHAUSTED after the appointment and fell asleep on the way home, which NEVER happens)

We had a great summer packed with all kinds of fun. The boys are at such a terrific age for going out and about, exploring and trying new things! :)