On Your 12th Birthday

A dozen years since that day in the hospital when our worlds changed forever.

These two tiny, precious babes came and made their ways straight to our hearts. Who ever could’ve believed the fragile, beautiful, terrifying, heart-molding, glorious days to come?

Oh, Alyssa Marie and Elliana Grace, how can it be that you are twelve already!?

baby girls

12th birthday

birthday girls

Half a dozen years ago you were the tenderhearted girls who peeked big, round, smiling eyes in at this mama who lay sick in bed pregnant with the littlest of your baby sisters.

Six years before that you were the babes in the NICU with all the wires and cords and preemie diapers that were still too big.

Six years from now you’ll be adults all ready to live out your dreams.

And I can barely breathe thinking of how fast the time is going.

But what I want you to know today – today – is that you are so very loved.

I’ve loved you from the moment you were wrapped in my womb; I’ve loved you something fierce and strong and beautiful for all our yesterdays; and that love will continue for all of our tomorrows.

But I don’t want you to miss how much I adore you today.

baby Alyssa

Alyssa's 12th birthday

baby Elliana

Elliana's 12th birthday

Alyssa, with your compassionate, helpful, caring personality, and the way you laugh, the way you bring joy, the way you show glimpses of God to those around you.

And Elliana, with your quiet, thoughtful, kind heart, and the way you serve, the way you work hard, and the way you surprise us with beauty from within.

And, yeah, some moments are hard. Emotions reign, words slash, and we’re all still learning how to live together through these awkward, scary, amazing days. But I love, love, love that today you are the girls that have grown to be my friends. You are the young ladies who stay up late watching Fixer Upper with me, the beauties that share my favorite coffee-ish drink, the precious ones that giggle with me over the quirkiness of the little ones and the daddy that we get to do life with, and the dear souls that lead me to the throne of God.

birthday girls and mama

Oh, I am so honored to be your mom. And I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than here – by your side as you grow and learn and love and change.

God is working something lovely.

It’s breathtaking.

birthday

Happy 12th Birthday Alyssa and Elliana!
You are so very loved!

Slow Down (School Pictures 2016-2017)

Slow down.

Just for a little.

I want to just sit here and breathe in all the moments that God has orchestrated for His glory.

Today –

Today I will marvel at the beauty and the mess, the first steps and the closed chapters, the tears and the joys – each one strung together by His mighty hand.

For I know it won’t be long before I look back on these new, different, magical days in wonder of all He has done.

“School” Pictures 2016-2017

 school picture 2016-2017
(Elliana, Annabella, Alyssa, Ariya, Kayla, Isaiah)

Alyssa Marie
Alyssa 6th grade

 Alyssa - 6th grade
Alyssa is 11 (for a few more days) and in Sixth Grade. She has such a beautiful, loving heart. She’s a leader, a hard worker, and an incredible friend. And she has a heartfelt way of etching words out on paper. I am in awe of the ways this first-born of mine loves God. Our days are so much sweeter with her in them.

Elliana Grace
Elliana - 6th grade

 Elliana 6th grade
Elliana is 11 and in Sixth Grade. Oh, how I love this girl. There’s such beauty in the ways she loves on others and cares for little ones. She is bright and kind, and she humbles me with her dedication and love of Bible reading. I will forever be grateful for the captivating ways her life surprises and brings joy to mine.

Kayla Ann
Kayla 5th grade

 Kayla - 5th Grade
Kayla is 10 and in Fifth Grade. She is breathtaking. Her blue eyes glisten as her smile and compassion light up the room. She has a big heart – for animals, for people, for drawing and creating and cartwheeling and having fun. But it’s her sweet love for Jesus that is most dazzling. Oh, how I love this girl that keeps bringing joy to my days.

Isaiah Gabriel
Isaiah 3rd grade

Isaiah - 3rd grade 
Isaiah is 8 and in Third Grade. He continues to be my handsome hero that loves all things boyish, yet always has time to stop and give his mom a hug. Such passion and life and energy are brought to my days through this boy. I don’t know what I’d do without him, but I’m so thankful for the mighty work God has done in both our hearts through him.

Annabella Love
Annabella 1st grade

Annabella - 1st grade 
Annabella is 7 and in First Grade. She’s such a precious girl that melts my heart every time with her big beautiful eyes and her gentle strength. She captures the beauty around her and is always ready for some fun – especially if it involves gymnastics or horses. And her sweet voice singing to Jesus? It’s the most precious sound I hear everyday.

And last, but not least… Ariya Faith
Ariya kindergarten

 Ariya - kindergarten
Ariya is 5 and in Kindergarten. She loves to be a part of the action. Just thinking about this precious girl makes me smile. There is so much life and joy wrapped up in this little one. I find myself stopping more often to treasure these days of five-year-old-ness and to stand in awe at how God made this kindergartener of mine so spunky and beautiful, bright, brave, and kind.

I am so blessed by these precious children that God has placed in our family. None of us are perfect. We have days that are tiring and long and hard – days where I feel like giving up as a Mommy and teacher to these wandering hearts. No, we’re not perfect. We’re truly a handful of sinners, striving to live and love and learn together for the glory of God. But, I will hold onto each and every one of these moments, before they too – are gone.

kids 2016-2017

silly kids 2016-2017

Just for fun… :)

Back to School(2010)

our class of 2011-2012(2011)

Our Kids 2012(2012)

School picture 2013(2013)

 back to school picture 2014
(2014)

 favorite school picture 2015
(2015)

 school pictures - kids 2016-2017
(2016)

Oh, my heart – I love these kids!

Our 6th Grade Curriculum (The Thinking Tree) – and what we think so far

6th-grade-curriculum.jpg

More than a month of intentional heart-growing, mind-stretching learning – and I can’t help but smile and breathe it all in. It’s been amazing to wake up to this – the crazy beautiful that comes from teaching my half a dozen kids at home. A few short months ago I agonized over the amount of […]

{Continue reading…}

A Sneak Peek to our School Year

first-day-fun.jpg

Today was our first day of school for the year. We’ve got kindergarten, first, third, fifth, and sixth grades going on at out home. It’s the first time all of our children are in school. I find it this incredibly beautiful mixture of happy-sad. Oh, I am so grateful for a God who goes before […]

{Continue reading…}

Now She’s 7 Years Old

Annabella-birthday-girl.jpg

She’s the girl that sparks sweet joy in our hearts. She’s the girl that teaches us more about love. She’s the girl that sings glorious songs every day. She’s the girl that shows us how to be brave. And I’m in awe of the ways that her beauty and her strength, her uniqueness and her […]

{Continue reading…}

life with this man – harder and much more beautiful than I ever could’ve dreamed

love-this-man.jpg

Words etched out a year ago, but still so, so true today… The blanket spread out over the tall grass and there we sat searching for words to express what we were feeling. And I could’ve sworn that my beating heart was about to come thundering right out of my chest – for somehow we […]

{Continue reading…}

Today My Baby Turned 5

birthday-girl.jpg

Today I woke to your sweet giggles from the other room. And I smiled big at your excitement bursting. But it took just about all my strength to sing that birthday song to you this morning without letting the tears spill out. For somehow a half a decade’s worth of days have gone by, and […]

{Continue reading…}

He keeps stealing my heart

14yearsinlove.jpg

So this guy – it’s been 14 years – and he just keeps stealing my heart every day. Our life together has been a joy. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband, friend, or father to my kids. Gabe, you make my heart skip a beat still, and I love walking this life with […]

{Continue reading…}

The Day She Turned 10

beautiful-birthday-girl.jpg

I don’t know how in this crazy world a decade’s worth of days has gone by. Just yesterday I crawled right into that crib with you as your tears mixed with mine. And I prayed something fierce that you would sleep and that no one would see me curled up in those bars around this […]

{Continue reading…}

the words every mother needs to hear

The Words Every Mother Needs to Hear

For all of you mamas with precious little (and not-quite-so-little-anymore) ones that have filled your womb, your home, or your heart – your labor of love and prayers and kingdom work matters! “To the best mommy ever.” Words written in bright crayon after the morning of frustration and doors slamming and yelling over muddy footprints […]

{Continue reading…}