Making Home

   I don't think people use the term "home maker" as a job description much anymore, it went out of style and has since become slightly archaic.    I don't usually use the title to describe myself either but I do see home, and being the maker of it as a high calling.   What is our home and what am I trying make?

Firstly, our home is a hub of never ending activity.  This comes naturally.  As a family of 6 people, with 4 children at home all day, it is bustling, bursting and brimming with conversations, questions, projects and creative mess.  Our house is far from a show home with formal sitting rooms and carefully selected decor.  Our home is lived in and it is lived in well.   There is not a room in the house that does not scream "children live here!", or a space that is not utilized to it's fullest potential.  Years ago, I took pride in neat perfection, carefully placed decorations that showcased my individuality and style....now I take pride in a sink full of dishes washed and 6 loads of clean laundry successfully put away.  

Home is a place of learning.  We have chosen to educate our kids in a family integrated , home based kind of way.  We have a non conveyor belt educational philosophy that ensures our home is a messy one.   My table is usually covered with notebooks, workbooks, a laptop and various crafting supplies.   My bookshelves are crammed packed full of various novels, biographies, children's books, and classic literature.  Our floor is covered with lego creations.  My kitchen is full of little people learning how to make a salad and crack eggs into a frying pan.  I have a model of the Nile Delta in my entry way growing grass as it is flooded each week.  Each one of us is learning, discovering, and growing... from the toddler to the grownups in the house.

Home is a sanctuary.  In a world that opposes, ridicules, and tears down, I want our home to be a place that encourages, edifies and builds up.  In a world that is filled with deception and  shallow flattery.  I desire home to be a place where truth is spoken,  hearts are opened and vulnerability isn't exploited.  Successes are celebrated by us all.  Even small victories like Cece using the potty is met with cheers, dancing and singing from her older siblings.  Disappointments and hurts are shared among us all as we learn to serve and comfort each other.  

Home is a place where a lot of mistakes are made and grace is given.  No one in our home is above the need for regular repentance and forgiveness, including the grown ups in the house.   Our kids hear us say "I'm sorry, will you forgive me"  as they are taught how by example what humility, grace, and forgiveness looks like.   

Home is a place that always has room at the table for one more.  Our doors are open.  Our hearts are open.   If God brings us another little blessing we will joyfully squeeze in another bed.  Our meals aren't fancy, our table is small, and our couch is second hand but we desire our home to be a place that embraces true hospitality.   A place we can share warmth and welcome with others.

Our home is the place where our legacy begins.  My treasure is not built in business, land, or bank accounts.   My inheritance will not be something I leave for my children someday, it will be my children.  I am investing in that legacy now.   The futures of our children, our grand children, our great grandchildren are built or devastated by our priorities now, in this short season of motherhood.  With each choice of selflessness, with each hard lesson learned, with each relationship nurtured, with each tender conversation, and reassuring hug I am building my inheritance.    While other women appear to leave me in the dust aiming for corporate careers, grande personal endeavors, applause and appreciation, I smile and wait, because those things are not my prize. I have set my eyes on something that will take time, so I will rock my babies.  I will teach my children. I will enjoy the people they are becoming.  Someday when the rest of those efforts are nothing but dust and rubble, my treasures will live on.   

Our home is a place where Jesus is celebrated and our mission begins.  Faith is not just something we tack onto a long to-do list.  It is not a compartment to fill, a balance to keep, or a list of rules to follow...it is our life.  We desire to live out the gospel both in word and in deed in front of our children, as we are transformed and regenerated.  In our home the Bible is opened.  It is studied, talked about, absorbed, and applied.  Prayers are uttered.  Gratitude is given.  Jesus is king. 

So, if you come to my home you might notice that the floor needs to be washed,  and there are baskets of laundry waiting to be conquered.  I might have to warn you to enter the bathroom at your own risk.
You will never want to look under our couch cushions, or inside the closet that all 4 of my children share.  You might even critique that the tv is on too much, and there is frozen pizza in the oven for dinner.  I may confess to you that I have nagging parental insecurity and fears.  You will see that we are so very far from perfect.     

At the end of the day, I'm not striving for a perfectly arranged house, with china tea cups carefully displayed on window sills.  I'm not building a mirage.  I'm building a home and a home is so much more than a place of residence. It may look messy, it usually appears random, it certainly won't be perfect, and sometimes what is planted takes years to grow but ...
it's home.

Every one of our homes will be as different in dynamics as the people who make up the home.  I should clarify that I am not saying mothers should never ever have a career, hobbies, or income or that the only reasonable way to educate kids is at home.   During this season of life we have chosen to focus on child raising as our priority and we have arranged our lifestyle around that.   As  children's needs, ages, and seasons change so will our dynamics.  I think the big idea is that as a mother my heart should be oriented home, and my priorities/ time should reflect the significance of how important that task of motherhood is.  If  my quantity of time, my energy, my passion, my focus is directed away from my family, then my children will be effected (this includes dads too).  My home will be made more by accident than by careful intention. 


I married the wrong person

I may as well get that right out in the open.

I did not marry my "soul mate", nor did I marry someone who completes me.   He doesn't make me happy.  He wasn't my ticket to a better life.  He didn't  make me want to be a better person, in reality, marriage tempted me to become a much worse person.

{August, 10 1996}

It didn't take long into my whirlwind engagement and marriage at the age of 19 years old to realize these things.    However, it took me at least a decade to figure out that "making me happy" wasn't  a part of my husband's job description or even a healthy way to look at marriage.   When two needy people run toward each other like human vacuums it doesn't create a self sacrificing, servant hearted, loving atmosphere...it creates life sucking chaos.

  Contrary to what popular romantic culture, and the Bachelor, would have us believe there is no perfect "soul mate" waiting to "complete" us.   In reality marriage is two kingdoms colliding, but there is a third Kingdom that enables us to become one...even if that oneness is still sometimes messy.

 I should probably break it to you now....you didn't marry the "right" person either. "The one" who will make your dreams come true doesn't exist. You most likely married someone with baggage, selfishness, unhealthy coping skills, and pride.   The most astonishing news of all might be that...your spouse married that wrong person too!   We ALL marry the "wrong" person because we are all wrong people.  Two sinners doing life together most certainly does NOT equal happily ever after without a whole lot of effort.   This doesn't mean being married to that person is wrong.  Just because marriage isn't always sunshine and roses, doesn't mean that God doesn't have a glorious purpose for your relationship.

  "I married the wrong person", "love shouldn't be work", and  "I deserve to be happy".  I've heard even Christians say these things as they walk away from a marriage.  If these lies are becoming a regular part of your thought life and you are tempted to give up hope... the good news is that a great marriage doesn't come without the bad times, it comes after them...when we are willing to do the tough stuff to get through it.  A good marriage comes from years of perseverance, sacrifice, and tenacity.   It is shaped in the fires of mistakes, disappointments, failures, repentance and humility. (Of course, if one person selfishly walks away there isn't much the other person can do but pick up the pieces.)

In all truth, I will only ever need one "soulmate".   There will only ever be one who fulfills me.   There is only one who can bring me true joy.  There is only one Savior and one God who will love me perfectly.  Out of that perfect love I have been given all I need to love my spouse.  Instead of bitterly focusing on what your spouse doesn't do, or who he isn't like, focus on Jesus ...what He did, who He is.

"Because Jesus has done everything for you, you can do everything for others without needing others to do anything for you. That's freedom!"  Tullian Tchivijian

We can't continue to view marriage as a 50/50 arrangement.  Both the husband and the wife will keep score differently and become frustrated when they don't see the other pulling their fair share.  Marriage has to be 100%.  We have to give 100% regardless of what our spouse does or doesn't do.  In time you might just love her into being  lovable, or respect him into being respectable.  

 When we expect things from our husband that can only come from God, we have turned him into our god, our functional savior.   He becomes our idol.   That which we idolize we will also come to demonize when they fail to rescue us, perfectly love us, or live up to all our expectations.   It won't take long before all we see are the failures. Our vision becomes colored by our own bitterness.  Sadly that's where most people lose hope, count their losses, and bail out.

I remember specific days, months and years that I assumed this would eventually be our tragic end.  I thought about it, expected it, and sometimes even prepared for it.   Although I didn't ever leave the marriage legally, I did bail out emotionally....and that's really not much better.  It was a lonely place to be.

By God's grace our story didn't end there.

There is hope for renewal.  There is hope for a beautiful, deep, soul nurturing friendship with our spouse.
Instead of saying "I deserve a new spouse" or  "I deserve to be happy".  We should start with the question  "How can I BE a new wife to my husband?"
"How can I BE a better friend?"
"How can I love him like Jesus loves me?" (even when you don't even like him all that much)
Start by praying that your own heart would be changed....then pray for him in an unselfish way.

After all, love isn't a feeling that we passively fall in and out of.....true love is a choice, it is an action.   True love isn't following our shallow little hearts it is purposefully leading our hearts.   True love isn't doing what feels "right", it's doing right even when we don't feel like it.

{15 years and more in love than ever}

What if we looked at marriage as a journey toward holiness rather than our recipe for happiness (If that recipe didn't work for us, we throw it out and try another).  As we learn to forgive, repent, and show grace we start to image Christ a little more.    As the years slowly start to chip away our own selfishness and pride we start to view our spouse a little more like Jesus does...and we start to actually see our own sin instead of just magnifying theirs.

Fifteen and a half years after those two starry eyed strangers walked down the isle together, I can honestly say we are more in love, we are better friends, and we actually like each other (most of the time).  We are no longer looking at each other through lenses filled with stars and rainbows, or lenses filled with bitterness and hurt....we are looking through lenses of grace and truth.

I adore my husband, not as my functional savior, but as my best friend.
When he's away, I eagerly anticipate his return.  I feel like a part of me is amputated
we have FUN together.
We laugh with each other.
We are honest with each other.
We enjoy each other's company.
We pray for and with each other.
We serve others together...and we serve each other.
He helps me want to be more like Jesus.

I thank God that my life is blessed by him.

He loves, leads and sacrificially serves his family in a way that reflects more and more how Christ loves, leads and sacrificially serves the Church.  

You can have a new marriage with the SAME spouse too!  It is possible through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at work in two selfish hearts.   We are living proof of that beautiful resurrection marriage.

Here are some resources that have recently been helpful in our quest to love each other better.  You have to start somewhere...and that usually starts with one person deciding that the marriage is worth fighting for.

A new book that we recently read together is called "Real Marriage, the truth about sex, friendship, and life together."  It was a very helpful, very vulnerable, very honest, ...and apparently (based on some reviews) even a little bit controversial  look at marriage.  I suppose it's "controversial" because it doesn't shy away from Biblical truth but at the same time it isn't filled with sugar coated churchy platitudes. It talks about real issues that affect real marriages in this generation, within the framework of God's design for marriage. It may not be written for the 80 year old organ player at your church, but in our hyper-sexualized, confused culture...it is very timely.

We liked it.   It's focus on marital friendship was refreshing.

My home church has also started a marriage series along the same themes.  Check it out...so far it's really good.  Seriously, put it on your ipod and listen to it.  You can find the first sermon here.http://gracesask.com/media/?sermon_id=70  . The first message is  "New marriage , same spouse".   If you look back a few weeks there are some really great sermons on things like forgiveness and bitterness that aren't part of the marriage series but are super good....and obviously apply to marriage as well.

Another book , that I haven't read yet but I hear is really good, is a book by
Tim Keller called "The meaning of Marriage"

Looks like it's the year of reclaiming our marriages!

Why settle for a lifeless marriage when God wants to transform our marriages into something that reflects both the beauty of the gospel and the oneness of the Trinity.


Flush and Wash

"Contrary to what we have typically heard (and been enslaved by), Christian growth is not becoming stronger and stronger, more and more competent. Christian growth and progress is marked by a growing realization of just how weak and incompetent we are and how strong and competent Jesus continues to be for us. Spiritual maturity is not marked by our growing, independent fitness. Rather, it’s marked by our growing dependence on Christ’s fitness for us. "   Tullian Tchividjian

I love this quote.  Thought I'd share it for all you moms, wives, and Christians out there who look at the task ahead and wonder what God was thinking when he picked you for it.  How on earth did God think I could raise this goofy brood.  

For all of you who still say silly quotes like "God doesn't give us more than we can handle"....phooey is what I say.  He does it all the time.   The only way we fail is when we assume we CAN handle it all on our own.  

For all of you moms who swear that if you have to tell someone to "flush and wash", "Stop picking your nose", or "pick up that towel" one more time you will have  stroke.  

For all the moms who take little vacations behind the locked door of the bathroom.   
This is good news!  We don't have to be super woman!   

So pull up your big girl panties,  roll up your sleeves, stop the whining....and just abide.   Trust.   Rest.

{This is for all the moms who will never get the hang of being woke up at 6am every morning}


Facing my Fears

There are few things in life that I'm really afraid of.  
I hold my life and those I love peacefully under God's sovereign care as we travel through life....
but there is something that makes my skin crawl and my chest fill with anxiety.
Creepy crawlies.

I'm not a bug lover and the kind I despise the most are teeny tiny and bite.

In the past, we have dealt with occasional flea bites in Baja but this time we experienced them in a much more intimate way.   I suspect part of the reason was that we weren't living on a  mission compound this time.  A couple years ago, the orphanage kids we were in day to day contact with were clean and parasite free. 

This time we rented a house in town.  Our home was surrounded by dogs, chickens and roosters.  Our arms and home was opened to children who have never seen a shower or a bathtub, children who washed their hands in our toilet and pooped in the yard.   

My slightly ocd, parasite phobic  little self was stretched.   

As people and children came and went from our home, as we walked down the dusty streets, little sand fleas would jump up and attach to our pant legs...usually unseen by us.  Once the nasty little critter found it's way into the house it feasted on our flesh.  Only Aili and I reacted to the bites.  One tiny flea can munch, unnoticed, on a child all night and the burning itch that results is intensely miserable.  At one point Aili had about 70 bites all over her body.  She was such a trooper though.  It was misery but she didn't complain about her living situation or plight.  Not even once did she beg to go home.   She continued to embrace this place and her friends here.  

We did try to use some precautions and wage war on them but in the end we just accepted it as cost of doing business.  

Another creepy crawly that I decided I had no choice but to call a truce with  is lice. 

Just the thought sends me into horror and panic mode.  My oldest daughter has a ridiculous amount of hair....it would take days to nit comb through all of it!  It's the stuff nightmares are made of.

By some miraculous hand of fortune we didn't become hosts to these little fellas but we did hang out with some beautiful heads full of them.  

I fully expected us all to get head lice at some point.  I even chopped my kids hair shorter to make it easier to treat when the situation arose.  My kids got tired of me scrutinizing their hair every evening.

One Sunday afternoon, while I snuggled on my couch with a stunningly beautiful little girl, I came face to face with the reality of my own sinful pride and fear.   Every one of my senses screamed at me to gently move this child off of my lap and out of my house.  Then I could sterilize my home and shut the gate.  I could light a few Christmas candles to mask the eye watering smell of stale urine and a little bottom that had not seen a bathtub in a long time...but instead I held her...ashamed of the disgust rising in my throat.

I looked down at her hair where white grains of rice clung in clusters to each strand contrasted against the black matted locks.  Her head pressed up against my shoulder, her hair sticky against my cheek.  A small grey creature crawled along the top of her head.  I inconspicuously picked it up between my thumb and finger, squished it and dropped it on the floor.   A moment later I felt something tickling my chest.  Not sure if it was just paranoia at that point I looked down to find another one crawling it's way up my neck.  It joined the fate of the other.  I held my girl a little closer.  

I was face to face with my fear. 
Seriously, these are things my nightmares are made of!
In that moment I heard a verse echo in my memory.
1 John 4:18 " There is no fear in love, But perfect love drives out fear..." The next couple verses also go on to say that if we claim to love God but we don't love our brother we're liars.   God's love has a long way to go in me if a few tiny bugs can separate me from a child who needs to be held. 

If she was mine, I would have bathed her and dressed her up all pretty but that day I couldn't.  She had come in her best dress, her hair put up in rubber bands, she was so proud.  She felt pretty. 
What I felt was ugly.  
I wanted to see her like Jesus does. I don't want to be afraid.  I prayed to the Holy Spirit to break me a little more.  

This little girl doesn't know a day without her head itching.  She probably never will. 
If loving her means that my head becomes a dinner party for little critters for a couple weeks...big deal.  

Jesus faced a lot more than fleas and lice to love me.  
He entered into the stench of the human race to welcome us into His home. 
That alone is what enables His love to flow through me.  On my own...I would have satisfied a "good deed" list with something less itchy.
Maybe that's what sparked the "What DID Jesus do?" question in my mind.  

It's hard to fear what we have chosen to love.



Most of you have seen that abbreviation for "What would Jesus Do?".  It was a bit of a craze among Christian marketers a while back.  I avoided it, not because I thought something was fundamentally wrong with the slogan, but because of my aversion to all things trite, neatly packaged and just plain lame.  It just never seemed to fit right.

For some reason the WWJD slogan popped into my brain the other day.  Once trapped in my head I started to ponder it in my overly analytical geeky way.  So this is the summary of my very obscure topic and random thought process.

Asking ourselves "What would Jesus do?" isn't so much wrong as it is painfully incomplete.  We may as well ask ourselves what would Gandhi do?  What would Mother Theresa do?  What would Oprah do?  Then we could pull ourselves up by the boot straps, give ourselves a good moral lecture,  try our darndest to  figure out what Jesus would hypothetically do in our situation and then attempt to copy it.

All it does is encourage us to be Jesus fans, not actual followers (or dorks wearing lame bracelets).   Jesus wasn't just a good example to follow for positive moral lessons, or sent to "improve our image of God" (as if God has a PR problem).....he was sent on a rescue mission.  God's law shows us how desperately far we are from him, the gospel shows us how far God is willing to go to reach us.   Jesus isn't a moral formula to decipher.

Perhaps a better question would be "What DID Jesus do?"  ....followed by "What does Jesus still do?"

When we are completely saturated with, overwhelmed under, and transformed by what Jesus DID... that changes what we do...or more accurately WHO we are.  Out of the transformation of who we are, what we do comes naturally....or as naturally as it ever can in this life.

We have been buried and resurrected with him, given the transforming power of the Holy Spirit,  and are being made new...through that same gospel by which we were saved.   We don't trade it in at the door for white knuckled hypothetical moral guessing.

The gospel isn't just something we believe in order to be saved.  It isn't a creed to hang our hats on.  It is something that lives in us, through us, and empowers us.  Continually.

So the next time I am temped to coddle life sucking resentment  and bitterness because someone sabotaged my hopes,  lied about me, slandered me, wounded someone I love, or treated me unjustly.......I will ask myself "What did Jesus do?"

There's nothing hypothetical in it.
He forgave me. In fact, while I was still vying for HIS throne, he left it to pursue me.  He loved me. He served me...not because I deserved anything less than to carry the weight of my own sin...but because of his incredible grace.  In that place of broken, eyes wide open, humility and gratitude...how can I not do the same with my enemies?

The next time I am tempted to live a life of passive complacency and people pleasing idolatry I will remind myself  "What did Jesus do?"  

He defeated death and our sin.   The battle is won.  It is finished.  He came for us!  How can I not proclaim that passionately?

The next time I am tempted to choose self preservation, comfort, and safety over sacrificial, radical love....you guessed it.. "What DID Jesus do?"

The God of the universe who commands the armies of angels... made himself an embryo whose sole purpose was to grow up, suffer, and die.  I could go on from there...but you get the point.

So instead of asking myself  "What would Jesus do?" in life's tricky, messy, sometimes wretched dilemmas, (most of us would mess it up, or just plain guess wrong anyhow).....I'm just going to keep preaching the gospel to myself.

The only worthwhile answer to WWJD question would be....rely completely upon the Holy Spirit, as he voluntarily submitted himself to the will of the Father, to the glory of God and the good of all mankind.  

Because of that truth, I can celebrate the perfect sufficiency of Christ,  rest in his grace, lean on his power, kneel before his forgiveness, submit to his will,  trusting that HE will make me new.    God is going to do what he delights in doing most in a heart that is continually surrendered to him.  Even if I don't wear the bracelet.


Homeward bound

This is just a quick summary of our 5 day journey from Baja home to Canada.  We left the our  little beach house in San Felipe (after spending 2 days in paradise) early on Jan. 2. 

I had my last breakfast on the patio and the kids loaded all their sea treasures into plastic bags.

We drove north toward the U.S border along the east coast of the Baja Penninsula.

We eventually found our way through Mexicali and into the U.S.  Free bit of advice: It's usually a good idea to get in the right line...

From Calexico we drove straight up through the east side of California, the Mohave desert.  We had driven across it before but never up through it length wise.  

There was a whole lot of nothing...nothing but fascinating desert scenery anyhow.

It was like it's own little world out there.  I felt like we were in the Pixar Cars movie and were headed down route 66 to places time had forgotten. 

We pointed out cotton fields to our kids.  Now they know where their clothes come from. 

Our car started making bad noises toward the end of the first day.   We had noticed some glichy things happening but figured we'd get them checked once we got home.   It became apparent that we would need to stop before Las Vegas and find a garage.   We tried to make it to Boulder City but after driving in the middle of the wilderness, in the dark, with our car sounding like it was about to fall apart under us, we stopped in Needles California.   Luckily, we found a decent motel in the little town and the next day we limped our way a few miles to Bullhead City Arizona.  

This garage was great.  Very helpful, good service and quite sympathetic to our plight of being homeless vagabonds without a car or cell phone.  We killed about 6 hours, with four children, in a few stores nearby but then found out that the part didn't arrive and it wouldn't be ready until the next morning.

As it turns out two of our wheels were close to coming right off!  Out came the credit card.

We used their phone to call a taxi and find a hotel.  Loaded our crew and luggage into a taxi and gave him the address of a hotel that had a "suite" (we are too many people for one room)

A couple hours of waiting, fighting, and entertaining kids in a hotel lobby later we had a room...actually two rooms. 

Where we stayed the rest of the day, and the night, and half of the next day.

What does a person do with 4 kids in a really cruddy hotel room, in the middle of nowhere, with no car and not so much as a fast food restaurant within walking distance?

(This kind of stress could lead to heavy drinking.)

Pizza delivery for supper, untoasted Poptarts from the gas station across the street for breakfast.  Good stuff.

We are not picky people when it comes to hotels or vacations spots....but this place had me irritated and it was stupid expensive.  Like no hotel we'd ever been to.  For more on our experience check out my trip advisory rating.  I've never left a rating before and certainly have never been ticked off enough to leave a bad one.  I wish we would have had the choice and ability to check the rating before we checked in.  Apparently we aren't the only ones that hated this place.   We maybe should have guessed something was amiss when we were the only ones staying there. 200 rooms and 2 cars in the parking lot.

we were on the road again.   We made it to Las Vegas and were relieved to be back on the highway....that is until I rolled down a window and it wouldn't go back up.  Wouldn't budge at all.  We tried again and again. 

That's when my sweet husband just about lost his mind.   Fortunately he didn't direct his frustration at me...the car door, however, should consider itself lucky it didn't get ripped off and left in the desert.  He couldn't get to it, so it seemed  we'd be looking for another garage and handing them our credit card again.  
I said a silent desperate prayer.  
The window went up.  Like nothing had even happened. 
Sigh of relief and a thankyou.  
No one touched the windows the rest of the trip.

Back on the open road, with  
kids entertaining themselves happily in the back.  
Two more nights of hotels,  1 episode of vomit (the day I forgot to give kids Dramamine for breakfast) , and a bunch of movies later, we were home.
Home sweet home...
or in our case "home, freeze my butt off ,home".
The windchill today was -46 degrees Celcius out here in the sticks.  
I miss my flip flops already.

It did feel heavenly to sleep in my own bed after 6 weeks of motels, and "junk for Jesus" donated missionary beds.  
Now to process this amazing journey...


Introducing my newest big kid

It's official now.  My baby has crossed the threshold into big kid-ness.  Next comes big bucky teeth, deodorant and acne...well maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.  Seriously though, they seem to grow up really fast after 5.  It makes my heart squeeze a little thinking that my last tummy baby is now a big kid.  For the record no one asked my permission to grow up around here.  (Although I do, on many occasions, implore this child to act like a "big boy").   
There are perks to older kids.  I'm hoping some of those start to materialize in this child.  

I love this boy! 
He's quirky, obsessive focused, silly, and smart.   

Our family detail guy.  He notices everything but still can't figure out how to smile for the camera.

Have you ever seen Big Bang theory?  Smile Sheldon.

Silas LOVES having a birthday.  He has been obsessing about it for exactly 364 days now.  
He's been counting down the number of nights for the past 2 weeks.  Every morning he wakes up and states "yesterday there was 4 nights left, but I just slept, so now there's only 3".

Happy Birthday Sy Fry.

I really out did myself this year on the cake eh?
Last year my resolution was to stop being flaky with my kids birthday cakes and parties.  I rocked the cakes last year.  Sponge Bob, Little Miss Sunshine, a campfire, and a poodle skirt doll.  This year I made no such resolution....in fact I feel the need to reset the bar nice and low.  How will they be thrilled with excellence if they don't experience mediocrity on occasion?  

I actually had slightly better plans for the cake for our "Batman" party but forgot to buy icing sugar (back to being flaky) and being that we live 30 miles from town and we got storm stuck at home this weekend....I was forced to be resourceful. 
Marshmallows it is.
This sugar fanatic thought it was great.

Hot dogs balanced out the nutritious meal.

We had 4 of his little friends over for a few hours to celebrate with us.  

He wanted to finish off the day doing "school work".  This guy is ready and eager to learn.  He constantly comes to me with questions about words.  
Mom are there two kinds of "free"?
Mom, are there three kinds of "two"?
"Mom, did you know that there are two kinds of "night"?

Happy 5th Birthday my sweet boy!!


Life School - Marine Biology 101

Now that we're back into our typical "school" year,  I thought I'd show you a glimpse of our nontraditional education by reminiscing through an afternoon at Percebu.  While we were at San Felipe for a couple days it was suggested by some locals that we take a 20 minute drive south to a beach.  

A middle of nowhere, off the grid, beach with a little settlement of houses (I suspect mostly built by retired American adventurers).

The fun part is, the tide goes out really far here revealing an incredible tide pool ecosystem.

The kids scavenged for shells, examining the various invertebrates washed up in the barnacle covered rocks.

We did have some fun with the vertebrates as well. 

It felt like we were the only humans for miles exploring our own little marine wonderland. 

We left our school books at home while we were in Mexico for 6 weeks.  Initially, I felt the usual home school mom guilt for neglecting our grammar and math, but now I know they learned more this month than they will the rest of the school year combined ...
and we just happened to make some amazing memories in the process. 

Percebu, we love you.