Who we are NOW…

I feel like I need to update everyone on photos and information about us! I looked back and it had been two years…eek. Sorry. So here are the new photos. Thanks to Jada Houk who took all the photos published here. She is not only a wonderful photographer but a wonderful person! She makes the boys feel so calm and like they are doing a great job modeling.They always have such fun with her. Thanks, Jada!

Without further ado…

Here is The Engineer: He is now 11 and will enter middle school…um, yes, Mom, he has arrived!

Engineer 2015

Next is Farmer, Jr. He still wants to be a farmer like Dad! He is now 9.

Farmer, Jr

The Cowboy is just now 8 and may be moving toward Farmer, Jr Jr ūüôā and away from being a Cowboy. Though he was dressed up and playing cowboys just today…so you never know.

The Cowboy 2015

Finally, Our Dancer is 3 and still dancing and singing up a storm!

The Dancer 2015

We sure love our boys and we are enjoying our time with them!¬†More to come soon on what we have been doing lately. ūüôā

Love your boys and enjoy the end of the summer!

Simplifying with JOY


As the new year starts and we take on 2015 with eagerness, I am thinking about what I am reading and what I am planning for the coming year. Living on a farm in the Midwest, we have cold and snow. We have time to think and plan this time of year. I also make the time to read. I seem to gravitate toward books that pertain to what I want to accomplish. (Okay, sometimes I read just for pleasure…) Right now I am reading

So, what do I want to gain from all this insightful reading? I hope to reduce the STUFF in our home. I would like to rid us of things we do not USE or LOVE.What a concept! Looking around my desk right now, I have items ON MY DESK that I might use, might read, might refer to, might want. You get the picture. I often don’t use, read, refer to or even want the items in the future. Why keep them? Somewhere deep inside I have a strong feeling of warning, that I am guessing came from the generation which lived through the Great Depression: We have to keep THIS because we don’t know if we will be able to get something like it in the future, OR¬†the parts for THIS could be used for something else in the future! Eek! This is a terrible concept to live under because it makes us so owned by our stuff. I am cleaning, organizing, moving, storing, reorganizing…on and on. I doubt that the Lord appreciates things or the time I spend “messing” with them. I want to free myself and my home of these items that we will never miss.

Let me be honest here, though. As I was reading through minimalist websites and looking at pictures on Pinterest, I had some realizations.

1. I am NEVER going to have a house that looks like those pictures.

2. I do not want my HOME to look like those pictures. We have a home and not just a house. Many of those pictures appear stark, sterile, and sadly “un-homely.” I want my boys to have a comfortable home and a warm home full of color, fun, crafting, learning, and love. I do not want bare rooms, but I do want less of what we do not really need or want. I desire to have organized and orderly rooms. Everyone thinks more clearly and is more creative here in clutter-free spaces. Since we home school, we also need the order for us to be able to learn and study.

Going back to having a home full of color, fun, crafting, learning, and love connects to Ms. DeFeo’s book. I am always looking for ways to add virtues to our home, but mostly, I want to hear more laughter, feel more joy. ¬†Lately, I have been smiling more at my boys. ¬†It caught one son by such surprise that he actually looked behind himself to see where I was looking. ¬†Another day, another son asked “What?” when I smiled at him. ¬†This is a sad realization for my Momma heart: they do not see me smile at them enough. ¬†So, I have been smiling more and making things a little more fun. I am implementing little ideas from the book, too. I hope to get some joke books at the library and add in more giggles (even some guffaws) to our home. Adding in the fun is so important, but I think I get so stuck on doing life and getting all the boxes checked off my list that I forget to LIVE life. I added joy to our Bible time before school, looking up verses & talking about ways to inject more JOY into our daily lives. I only have a few years (though some days it feels more like centuries!) to be with my boys: loving, living, laughing, and sharing joy. So very soon they will move on and more out, and this Mom does not want to look back on these precious years with regret!

January starts the month of focusing on JOY for us, just like the Courtney DeFeo’s book suggests, and this month we will begin to reduce items in our house. ¬†A couple of days ago, I went through my closet and removed ten items (Yes 10! Ten things just taking up space that were not really my color or no longer my style.) I want to keep doing this purging. We are going through toy boxes next week. If we don’t use it or love it, it needs a new home.

I have no misconceptions that either of these goals are obtainable in only one month, but these are long overdue and we have to start somewhere.  I will try to update you from time to time.

How about you? Do you have plans for the new year? I would love to hear about what you are working on this year.

Remember, no matter what you are doing to Love Your Boys!


My Day Off from the Boys: What I did while the boys were out

My Day Off from the Boys: What I did while the boys were outtrainThe other day my husband, The Farmer, took The Engineer, Farmer, Jr. and The Cowboy to a train show a couple of hours from our home. ¬†They left before The Dancer and I got up and were gone most of the day. ¬†A whole day without big boys to do whatever I wanted to do was here. ¬†I could do whatever I pleased and have no one to ask me for things (The Dancer does not talk much really). ¬†When The Dancer took a nap, I would be completely FREE to do whatever I wanted for myself and no one else. ¬†I had the crazy feeling, “This is what it would be like if they went to school each day and I was just alone with The Dancer all day, by myself, with no other boys, just me and The Dancer, except during nap when it would just be me, alone. ¬†I could go potty with no audience.at.all. This is going to be GREAT!” ¬†(Yes, I know that I think in run-on sentences but don’t we all, really?)

So, what did I do…let’s see, what did I DO…what DID I do? This is where you are thinking, “She sat on the couch in her pjs and did nothing all day long!” ¬†Actually, I decided I was going to take all the Christmas decorations down with no extra help and put them back into their bins. This is what NEEDED to be completed, so I bit the bullet and got started.

So, this day “off” I

  • brought down the bins from the attic with “non-Christmas items” and unpacked them
  • chased The Dancer away from these items; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • took down and started to pack the Christmas items back into said bins; thought about the boys & prayed for them
  • chased The Dancer away from Christmas items; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • gave The Dancer a snack; thought about the big boys again, missed them, & prayed for them again
  • packed more stuff in the bins
  • cleaned and put up non-Christmas items; called The Farmer to ask about the boys
  • stopped for a tea break and read a chapter of my book while The Dancer played cars at my feet
  • danced with The Dancer to music on the radio; prayed for The Dancer and his someday wife; missed my big boys
  • organized The Dancer’s clothes as he was moving up a size;¬†answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • packed up The Dancer’s clothes that were too small to pass on to a family member
  • thought about the boys again and yes, prayed for them again and for The Farmer that he was doing okay with them

On and on went my day, but while I got many items checked off my list,¬†what I really did on my free day was miss my boys. ¬† It isn’t that I am not a whole person without my boys. ¬†It is more about the fact that I enjoy them. ¬†I want to be around them. ¬†Don’t get me wrong: there is fighting and arguing and melt-downs, and then there are problems with the boys too (he he). ¬†Seriously, though, I want to be near them to train, teach, lead, and help them to grow into the men God wants them to be.

It was a good wake-up call for me as we are heading back into the second half of our home educating year and the winter blahs are upon us. ¬†I do love my boys and I want to be with them. ¬†Of course, outside time for them is a must (without me) to run off their “boy energy” as The Cowboy would say.

I wrote this post for myself, as much as for you, the parents of boys, to remind us that this is such a short, short time before our boys are moving on to jobs and life away from our homes.  ENJOY the time.

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is just that: Enjoy my Family. ¬†I am often so very busy that I am checking off lists and making new ones. ¬†I forget sometimes that I am doing everything for my family. ¬†I do love them and I need to focus on enjoying the time with them. ¬†We are never promised tomorrow with them. ¬†Even when tomorrow comes, though, and it is followed by the tomorrow after that, soon next year and the next will be here. ¬†Time truly is fleeting and time with our boys is short. ¬†So this year, I am going to enjoy the boys!

Hope you can find a way to enjoy yours this day and tomorrow, too!

Enjoy the boys.