Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Joy 21: Dixie

Most of my joys have been a struggle to come up with lately. Not because I am not truly blessed--because I am--but because the heat clouds my joys!!

But today, I grabbed this picture of Dixie and her daughter for her, and I realized that not only is it a joy that I can share moments with others who aren't as obsessed with their camera as I am, but also to have this lady "in my life." Dixie is always the first to boost me when I feel like I can't do it, and to fuss at me when I get to serious about life and myself. She's good like that.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bible School, Day 1

 Joy 19: 11 Little Souls To Teach About Jesus

I only has 11 of my 14 registered show up for day 1, but they are all excited and full of energy and ready to learn what we are planning to teach them. Here's hoping for an amazing week!

Joy 20: Decently (not hot) Weather

Praise be to God!!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Joy 18: Vintage Baby Clothes!

Huge Goodwill score last week! Three super sweet outfits. I can't wait to put them all on him!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bible School

Joy 17: Creativity

So many people are always in awe of my "creativity" and I explain it like this: it is in fact a blessing, but it can also be a curse. My mind is always going thinking about all sorts of things and how to do them and make them better, so you can only imagine how fast the hamster is running for Bible School time.

Today I will find joy in my creative gift that He bestowed upon me, the gift  that my VBS room is not used for Sunday School and the gift that I have a key to the church. I shall find joy in the fact that I wanted to spend 10+ hours making Bible School week the best I can for my 14 kids!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Best Friends & Summer Traditions

Joy 16: Watching These Boys Grow

Bryce and Thomas found each other when they were 3, and now at age 8 they are the best of friends and love doing just about anything together.  Bryce invited Thomas to do Bible School with him 5 years ago, and it has become quite the tradition.  These boys have a great week at Bryce's church each year and love getting that extra time together.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tobias Best Friend George

I've got my best friend George and my favorite food--life is good!


Joy 14: Bananas

Ok, they aren't my joy as I do not like bananas, but this boy--they are equivalent to ice cream for other kids. He can't get enough bananas, but mama limits him to 2 a day.   One, because he would in fact eat them all day, and two, because they help certain things move along quickly!

Joy 15: Watching Gracie Bloom

I was in shock last year when my shy Gracie raised her hand in the Bible School meeting when they were asking for a volunteer to do the puppet for the week.  My Gracie, in front of an entire church of kids talking?!! Even hidden, that is a HUGE step for her!  Of course since then she continues to amaze us by spreading her wings and she started going to youth group, she joined the youth band regularly performing at youth meetings and now she is even excited to play a duo at 2 church services this summer on her violin!  These are massively huge strides for our painfully shy girl--and we are super proud!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tobias' Loves

Joy 13: When Tobias Loves, He Loves Hard

George is his first real loved "lovie," but now whenever he needs George, he also wants"baby" (Baby Oliver). These three are quite the trio these days.  When Tobias decides to love you, he loves you with all of your heart, whether you are stuffed or not!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bryce Kind Of Day

Joy 10: A clean bill of health

Tobias got just one shot today at his 18 month check up. He weighed and measured in the 90's (percentiles) and he is a big healthy boy!  He got nothing but gold stars, and of course he flashed that grin and melted a lot of nurses hearts.

Joy 11: Library fun & friends

Our library is so fun. Of course we love story times (and Mrs. Carolyn), but they are always filling summer with fun programs to help get us mamas out of the house and give the kids a little something different to do. Today was a kick off for summer reading for our elementary school and another local elementary school and they hosted and invited the kids school librarians. They had games and snacks and the kids loved a chance to see Mrs. Banton outside of school!

Joy 12: Bible School with Bryce

It's no secret that Bryce is Thomas' best-est friend. This marks the 5th summer that Thomas has attended Bible School at Bryce's church with him. Especially after the 2nd year without being in class with his best friend, this week with his buddy is just the ticket. (Grace and I are hoping we can get our boys in the same class this coming 3rd grade year!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Thrift Shopping

Joy 8: Finding classmates at the beginning of summer vacation

Thomas was so excited to find friend Bridget at the Goodwill today. We actually had stuff to drop off and donate, but they had it roped off. No sense in wasting a trip to Goodwill.

Joy 9: A love of Goodwill being passed down

I love that my kids are understanding the joy of finding use in things that are new to them, along with understanding that thrifting is a good way to make the most out of their money and our families money.  Each of the kids actually have their own allowance cards. Now, as you know, I don't believe in paying kids to help around the house and to do chores--and we don't. The money the earn is for extra things like mowing the lawn and Gracie gets money for babysitting the little boy that used to be our neighbor.  Plus, when Grandpa insists on giving them money on a visit, that goes on there too.

Watching my kids use their own money to make their purchases made me feel no only joy, but pride. They are learning the value of a dollar and what is worth spending their hard earned money on/

In case you are curious, here's what they were so excited to buy.

Thomas got 2 games: a Simon "Swipe" (shown) and a Bop It

Gracie got a outfit that she could wear that made her look Harry Potter-ish.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day 2017

Joy 6: A Daddy who loves his kids

Poor daddy woke up sick this morning, so he had to miss church, and I took the kids solo. Instead of helping her daddy run the audio at the 11am service, Gracie helped me as I taught Sunday School, so I got the morning with 2 of my 3 kids. Tobias hung out with Mrs. Verna in the nursery.

Happy Father's Day!

Joy 7: Sharing my sewing skills with my daughter

Gracie has read the entire Harry Potter series this school year, and actually, I think she just started this calendar year. Well, she loved them and has been entranced in the tale.  So much so that she wanted to make a cape (?) for her doll. Something about houses and wizards and such. She actually found the how to instructions online and cut out her pattern herself. Mama's job was just to sew it and make it work. She seemed super happy with the end result and was thrilled that I had the perfect ribbon to make a tie to go with it. It's the small things that bring people such joy. 

Babies & Stuff

Topics of discussion on this evenings 25 minute car ride to Wegmans:

*Gracie hopes her Aunt & Uncle have a boy. It takes all of 5 seconds to realize she is in fact hoping that no future grandchildren usurp her throne as the only granddaughter!

*Garren can not understand why women are so territorial over baby names. I'm sorry but you DO NOT take the name (or middle name) of a friend's or inner circle relatives child. That's grounds for 'fightin' words, resolution of said friendship, or not always so silent bitterness.

*Thomas thinks that being the middle child means he is "king."Apparently he is in the "center" I.e. center of attention or center ring. We have chosen not to burst his bubble. Time and society will do that for him.

What a twisted little family we have!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bye Bye Curls

Joy 4: Parenting One Child (Briefly)

Garren and I left our big kids asleep this morning and spent until past noon doing errands and enjoying being one-child parents again, even if it was briefly.  We sat down and ate breakfast at Chick Fil A, we rode in the car without being interrupted, we could actually hear the radio, we could actually talk to each other and enjoy each other's company!

Joy 5: Hair Grows Back

I finally caved.  It was either get his haircut, or daddy was going to bring out the clippers.  I don't have pictures of the first 5 minutes of screaming, but I got a few after he gave up and got cookies.  He does look like a handsome little man despite the loss of his ringlets.

Thomas said when we brought him home "He looks just like me!"  That exactly what his father said when the cutting was done.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer Vacation, Day 1

As most people who know me can attest--I get cranky when it gets hot. In fact, summer is my least favorite season. In fact, I loathe it (I won't let my kids  say h-a-t-e, so, I am trying to set a good example). And, this all makes me, as a stay at home mom, look super bad! I love my kids, and now I have all day with them. I actually do miss them during the school year.  Between the heat and the lack of scheduling and the pressure of entertaining them and the demands of family wanting us to travel, and the heat and the humidity, and sunburn and bug bites, and later bedtimes, and the heat--well, it is a long 3 months.

Now, since 2017 may go down as my "lost" year because I have struggled and failed to take and make time for blogging--I figured this summer would be a good time to regain a command over my bow 12 year project of daily or several times weekly keeping this online journal of my kids and our life.

Jo is gone all summer, and she has only been gone for 2 weeks now, and I already miss her like crazy. She is not just my friend, she is my "center." She can always add a perspective to what seems like chaos in my life, or she will listen while I rattle on about life good, bad and ugly, and sometimes she just gives me a hug and makes my day all the better.

Now, I have no choice but to survive my hot summer without her, so I figured "what would Jo Do?" Well, she would do like she always does for me: find joy.

So, welcome to my attempt at finding Joy in the Summer.

Joy 1: New Opportunities

Gracie registered and got at tour at Chickahomney Middle School--her new school starting in 8th grade this fall. She went in nervous, and came out ready for school to start! Lets just say that it appears it will be a WHOLE different experience for both her and I! 

Joy 2: Long Lasting Friendships

I sent the above picture to Grace, and I said this: 
Thank you. Thank you for enrolling your son at Kitty's Kids 5 years ago. Thank you for play dates and invites and shared celebrations. Thank you for helping to make my child smile this big.

Joy 3: Survival

This child. A gift from God....who I now know has a sense of humor.
Oh the laughs He must have at my expense from his golden throne in Heaven.
18 months of joy and tears and catching near falls and curious steps, curls and giggles, tantrums and no sleep.
Despite it all--I love him to the moon and back.

Tobias Is 18 Months

This child. A gift from God....who I now know has a sense of humor. Oh the laughs He must have at my expense from his golden throne in Heaven.

18 months of joy and tears and catching near falls and curious steps, curls and giggles, tantrums and no sleep.

Despite it all--I love him to the moon and back.