New House!!!

Life has been… insane lately, but I’m finally getting around to looking through, picking out, editing, and posting a few pictures that I’ve taken since we moved! This post is sponsored by forced take-it-easy time, thanks to having my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday (a portion of life’s latest insanity), and my kids being mercifully occupied this morning by Jed and Faith. ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the things we loved most about this house when we first looked at it, was it’s backyard. Nice outdoor space was/is really important to us, and this one came already fenced! (Though Sam and Levi did spend one evening patching various holes, making it more escape-proof, before we moved.) I also love how we’re just off one of Peoria’s main roads, yet surrounded by trees and quiet! I’m amazed at how quiet our neighborhood is!

Of course, being surrounded by trees, we have tons of leaves. Sam and Ryan have done a lot since this picture to manage them. Unfortunately, it’s now cold, so Ryan is far less eager to go outside.



She’s such an adorable, busy, little goofball.



Our living room is long and a bit narrow, so setting it up presented a challenge. I love how we’ve got it right now though. The couch is in the middle, sort of splitting it in half. We’ve left the area behind the couch fairly empty, with plenty of room for the kids to pull out the toys or to have a safer place to rough house.



Sam picked up a leaf sweeper soon after we moved. Ryan has declare it his. ๐Ÿ˜€



The kitchen, dining room, and living room creates a U shape, and I LOVE it! Everything is connected, so I can see/hear the kids while I’m working anywhere else! I also ADORE the gigantic windows in our living room and dining room; I love, love, love all the natural light!


The windows are also wonderful because I don’t mind letting Ryan go out to the back yard unaccompanied. I can easily keep an eye on him!


As can Gloriana, which she enjoys – though she would probably prefer to be out there with him. ๐Ÿ™‚


Moving out of our apartment was crazy, but I am so, so glad we did. I love our new house and neighborhood! One day we would still like to get out of town and on more land, but this place is so perfect for our life right now!



Park Pictures

Since my last post, we have looked at and come under contract on a house here in Peoria, and we are so excited! Of course, something could still happen to make the deal fall though, and we’re actually praying that it will if this isn’t a wise decision, but we’re hopeful and excited! Lord willing, we’ll be out of our apartment of 3.5yrs by the end of October! Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone who prayed. It’s been a stressful hunt, and we’re delighted to have found something we love so much. I can’t wait to share some pictures on here!

Having that burden lifted has helped me so much. I didn’t realize quite the strain it was putting on me. Being pregnant, I tended to blame that for every bad attitude, headache, and general exhaustion, and I know that’s still a lot of it, but the last couple days have been amazing. I certainly haven’t had the greatest of attitudes or anything, but when I get that exhausted, discouraged, unmotivated feeling, I think about being in my own home for Christmas. It makes me warm and fuzzy happy! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it prompts me to use the time I have better (hopefully). So today, when the kids wouldn’t let me nap without destroying things and each other, I decided we needed to get outside. (CANNOT WAIT until that means walking out the back door!!!!!!!!!!) We headed to one of my favorite nearby parks. I was hoping Gloriana would just putter around and let me sit and watch them. That didn’t happen, of course, with my little climber, but we had a good time, and I pulled out my camera again.











So, it’s been a while. Every time I’ve thought about posting lately, life sends another curve ball, so I’m a little hesitant to start today.

I hardly even remember where things were when I last posted; so much has happened. Gloriana is now over 1. Poor kid didn’t really have her birthday recognized much, but she is only one. She’s practically running now. She talks a little, signs please, and is starting to eat everything under the sun, thanks to me needing to wean her. Weaning has actually gone pretty well. There have been rough spots, and I’m still lost about what to do at night, but over all, she’s happier and easier to deal with. I’m shocked actually. Potty training is sorta kinda happening. It’s been months since I’ve had to clean a poop diaper, and it’s starting to be a combination of me and Sam being able to read her cues, and her actually coming to us looking worried. ๐Ÿ˜† She is a climber. Far more so that Ryan was. That has me simultaneously worried, proud, and thankful for her typically cautious behavior.

Ryan is Ryan. He’s helpful, loud, annoying, and wit’s-end-frustrating. He loves playing with Gloriana, which is generally wonderful. But we’re having to work on giving her personal space, and not just barging in and bowling her over. Also working on watching where he’s walking, not talking back, being polite and nice, and using common sense. None of that seems to be going very well lately, but I have to cling to the hope that progress will show up eventually. He is starting to learn the alphabet. I’m still trying to figure out how he’s going to learn best. We’ve been working on catechism, but sometimes he refuses to even try. So, with his letters, I decided not to push him. I’ve been printing out coloring pages focusing on a single letter, explaining what it is, and showing him how to draw it. He loves A, and points them out everywhere now. Today was our first day on B, and he just wanted to draw A’s. ๐Ÿ˜›

That’s a quick update on the kids. Pregnancy is going surprisingly well for me, though the normal first trimester exhaustion seems to have hit me more in the second trimester. Still, after a miscarriage scare about a month and a half ago, things are going very well. We had to go in for a second ultrasound a couple weeks ago, and we asked, despite it still being pretty early, if they could tell the gender. It was very obvious, which clearly means we’re having a boy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Surprisingly enough, I actually think we may already have a name picked out! We never have names picked out all the way until after they’re born, so this is quite the accomplishment, and we certainly won’t be sharing because it’s still far too subject to change. ๐Ÿ˜€

And that’s most of the news I have. We have put offers in on two properties (and looked at many more) so far, but they were both refused, so we’re back to desperately looking. Our evenings are spent pining for a back yard to let the kids play in, and not wanting to go anywhere to let the run. Lord willing, we’ll have a place in plenty of time to settle in before the baby comes. It’s getting scary close to when that won’t really be possible though. Prayers on that front would be most appreciated.

I could go into some of the thoughts that are occupying my mind lately: What does a Biblical role of firstborn son look like in our modern society? How do we train Ryan to whatever that is? How do we form community in modern society? I understand the agricultural one I moved away from more than the one I moved to, but I think that’s my issue – not the community’s. How do I learn to accept all that a community is supposed to be? Will my kids every know how to raise animals? Will I ever have a garden? If I do, will it actually produce anything? If it does, will I preserve the produce as well as I ought? How do we balance the priorities of marriage, family, church, and community? What should I fix for dinner tonight? Will I ever get around to cleaning the bathroom? ๐Ÿ™„ But I figured I’d just move on past all those, and get to a little peace and quiet in the form of vacation:

Below are really the only good pictures I got from our much-needed family vacation to Kentucky. We went to see the Ark Encounter, but none of the pictures came out. Sam, Gloriana, and I were sick the whole time, but we all still had a great time hanging out at the gorgeous house, swimming, playing games, and eating food! I need another vacation…




So, what’s new?

Before I get into the pictures, which is probably what most everyone coming here actually wants, I want to document a few other things, primarily for me to look back at in the future.

I continue my dumpster-diving adventures, and out of the 6 dressers (or acting dressers), 3 were rescued from our dumpster, one was free from a friend, and the other two were thrifted or consignment. However, possibly the nicest piece of furniture we own is one of the dressers we “rescued”! Sorry, I’m slightly proud of free storage. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve decided that I am so lazy, cheap, and introverted that I am gradually becoming more and more “crunchy”. I had started noticing that my teeth were getting very sensitive and was concerned by some darkish spots and a possible crack or cavity on one of my wisdom teeth. I’m not particularly surprised by this. Oral hygiene hasn’t always made it to the top of my to-do list since motherhood. So, this past week, I got worried about it enough that I decided to try oil-pulling again. I tried it a while back and could. not. stand it! But I read a tip to add essential oils to the coconut oil. I was actually able to swish it for 10+ minutes with a couple drops of thieves added to it! So, I’ve been doing that daily, and ordered and started using THIS remineralizing toothpaste, and I made up another batch of THIS mouthwash. I’ve not been at it too long, but I’m actually really loving the results so far! I’m currently trying to think of a good recipe for coconut oil that will include immune boosters, stay solid at room temperature (preferred so I can throw it in my bag when we leave to go places, but not 100% necessary), and be something Ryan (and eventually Gloriana) will believe to be a good treat. If you’ve got something that fits that bill, shoot it over to me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And now, on to the pictures!


This little miss is 9, coming up on 10 months, now, and I really just can’t believe it! She is experimenting with getting up on her knees and trying the stereotypical crawl, but her preferred method is still the army crawl. And she is getting fast!


I’ve actually started suspecting that she’s trying to talk too! Still no teeth, but she’s been extremely cranky (for her) lately, so we’re hopeful that they’ll pop through before too much longer, especially since she’s finally starting to take an interest in food.


This guy. Crazy and frustrating as ever, but we’re making progress, and I’m really looking forward to the weather being consistently warm enough to take him out to burn some of his excessive energy.



We were very happy to be outside last week!


They’re relationship is so fun (and scary) to watch. Now that Gloriana is definitely mobile, I think Ryan believes she can be his wrestling buddy. We’re continually working on his understanding of “gentle”. ๐Ÿ˜›


He is forever cracking us up these days! Some of his common Ryanisms:

  • My water in mine eyes
  • Feet nails
  • Mountain (amount, as in “is this ‘nough mountain?” )
  • Acident
  • My body not working! (When he’s having issues in the bathroom…)
  • “I want it be bootiful ou’side! Yeah, ih’s pretty! ih’s nice and bootiful out dere!” (When he’s trying to convince us to go for walks in the recently dreary outdoors)
  • And then the constant “Why?!” Oh yes, we’re solidly in the why stage… ๐Ÿ˜’


Catch Up, in Pictures

About a month ago, we spent a while working in the guest room and fully transformed it into Ryan’s room. He’s been in there pretty consistently ever since!

Also sometime around then, we had a big snow. Ryan was thrilled, and I was excited that I’d noted the location of his snow gear when we had cleaned up his room.

She’s almost 8 months in this picture. Now she’s just a couple days away from 9!

Yeah, Ryan enjoyed it. I’m not as convinced about Levi though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The smolder… I’m 99% confident he was asking about “de boys?”

A boy and his stick.

A drooly girl and her Baymax hat!

He was setting up his soldiers into two opposing lines.

8 months old exactly here.

I feel like this one really illustrates life with these two fairly well… ๐Ÿ˜›

โค Tired after a long day at the church building doing various things (smoking meat, cleaning, decorating, setting up) for Grace and Micah’s wedding the next day!

And she’s finally sitting up confidently on her own now. And army crawling all over the place!

And I’ll end with one from today. It’s been a busy month with far more going on than I’ve even alluded to here. Thankful for the approaching weekend, and some normalcy this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

More Kids

Some of these are edited duplicates of ones I’ve posted before, but I wanted to go on and include them here.



Lol! I love this one. Still not entirely happy with the edit, but it’s such a hilarious picture!


After editing this one, I will warn everyone not to stare into her eyes too long here; it starts to get almost creepy… When viewed briefly however, it’s definitely good for a laugh.



I’m sure I have way more pictures of this girlie than I do of Ryan, but how could I not?! She smiles, and it’s crazy ADORABLE!


Also, dat hair tho…



These two. Oh, my word.



That moment when his expression just says it all…


But hers just say “Do I smell bacon?!” (Disclaimer: No, the baby has not had bacon; we’re waiting for the teeth to appear – they seem to be fashionably late in this one – before introducing her to the finer things.)


“Bacon?! FOOD! Outside?… Squirrel!”



“They said I had to go potty again! I went last night! This is totally unreasonable…”


ย Oh, no, that’s not trouble waiting to happen at all!



That tongue…!


The Great Pontoon Boat Adventure of 2016

I’ve been trying to figure out how best to portray this story, and I’m still not sure I’m happy with it. However, I’ve decided I’ve got to write it out before life continues and I forget details of this epic day.

To set the story, the friends of Sam’s grandparents that live on St. George Island wanted to take us all over to Dog Island, and asked Mr. Evans to perform a burial at sea without much advance notice.

The day dawned beautifully. A little early for my vacationing preference, thanks to a cute, little missy who wanted to talk. But the sunrise was stunning. I posted a couple pictures of it in the last post. I was quite happy to be breathing in that fresh beach air, and excited to be going out on a boat! I had rather hoped we would get the opportunity to do that, and was thrilled when it worked out!

We spent the morning mostly as usual: Coffee, walk on the beach… Relaxing, and pretty much perfect. We gathered the gear we wanted to take, and headed out to the mainland to get to our boats. Finding the place was in and of itself something of an adventure, and, despite being only 15-20 minutes away, required its own bathroom stop. We eventually got there.

Now picture it. First of all, this is a relatively tourist-free part of Florida on the Gulf side. Because of that, everyone who lives there owns their boats, and no one really rents them. So, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, though I can’t really say what I was expecting. We pulled off a 2-lane in the opposite direction of the water into a more or less dirt alley that ran next to what I thought was a dusty/sandy, abandoned gas station in a worn shade of that pinkish color Florida seems to like so much. In front, there were a couple of pontoon boats on their trailers in various stages of disrepair. It seemedย pretty clear that neither were in working order, and probably hadn’t been in a while. Aside from our group’s vehicles, there was a car with Colorado plates and maybe another mostly out of my immediate field of observation. Across the street there was a large building and some sort of marina.

Several of our party went inside (the bathroom calls again!), and spoke with a very thickly-accented (Louisiana, maybe?), very tan, and well-fed man who seemed to be in charge. They heard him say something to the effect of “Only one of the boats will make it there and back,” called him on it, and he, of course, flatly denied saying that without offering a different explanation of what he HAD said. Needless to say, we were slightly on our guard.

To our relief (not the boats out front at least!), the man hopped in the Colorado car, took us down the street and over to the water. There were two pontoon boats waiting for us. Man-in-Charge and another guy, hereafter Sidekick, gave a couple of our group the run down on how to drive the boats. We split everyone between the boats, and we were off!

… Or so we thought.

The boat I was on, pulled away just fine, and was about to head out of the bay, when we noticed the other boat with the rest of our party was already shipwrecked. And again. And again. (Right about here, we found out later, Jacob more or less threw Victoria’s phone in the ocean. ;)) Ah, there. Now they’re on their way! Let’s go!



Everything seemed great. I was on the boat that was supposedly the better of the two. It wasn’t impressive, but I was ready to forgive the ripped cushions that fell into the compartments when you sat down in order to better have an excellent ride. Once we made it out of the no wake zone we could go fast, and get to the island!

Uh-huh. Right…

Our supposedly better, faster boat immediately started to bog, so we were constrained to a speed barely over no wake speed. The other boat, with the rest of our group, quickly passed us, nearly sideswiping us in the process.


Nevertheless, we were going to have a good time! So bring out the food!


That was funny. Ryan had a kid-sized life jacket on, but when he was sitting he almost couldn’t move. He kept trying to get his hand to his mouth, but would end up kind of tossing the pieces of fruit in because he couldn’t quite get there.

Despite it taking a good bit longer than we expected, our boat did eventually make it to the island, and we hiked over the squeaky sand to the other side (The power lines in the picture below show approximately the midpoint, so hiking is probably overstating a bit.), and set up for the afternoon. It was lovely.

At this point, a few of our party went back out on one of the boats for the burial at sea. ย The rest of us walked up and down the island and enjoyed to view. Then, suddenly, there was a low fly-over by a couple of military jets! That was cool, but unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures.



After aย little while, Sam noticed that it was taking them somewhat longer than expected to return. He walked over to the other side to check on things. I was laying on a blanket with Gloriana, enjoying the sun, drifting in and out of sleep, thinking Sam had Ryan. I was awakened by Ryan arguing rather loudly, and suddenly noticed he wasn’t with Sam. I didn’t know where Sam was. Eventually he and the rest of the party came back.

Turns out they had turned their boat off in order to do the service, and it wouldn’t start again when they were ready to return! So there they were, stranded out there, and all of us on the other side of the island with all of our phones left on the boats. Thankfully Sam noticed the time, and went investigating. He took the working boat out, and towed them back to the island.

We stayed there for a little while longer, but eventually it was time to head back.


And the story only gets better…

Because there was now only one working boat (Oh, look! Guy-in-Charge was right!), we had to decide what to do. We were in communication with the owners, and they said someone would be along shortly to retrieve the stranded boat, and bring back some of our party. Meanwhile, there were several of us who were cold, tired, hungry, and in need of a bathroom, so we hopped in the working boat, and marooned the rest of the group on the island.


Well, about half way back to the dock, we passed Sidekick in a fancier pontoon boat headed out to fetch the rest of our group. A little further along and our working boat died. Yep. Dead. So there we were, in the middle of this bay, on a rather sketchy pontoon boat, with the tide coming in. Bigger and bigger swells. It really wasn’t an ideal situation since we had Sam’s grandparents and a 5 month old. I wasn’t really too worried about anyone else, but I just wasn’t sure what to do about a baby should a swell come along that was actually strong enough to throw us out or tip us over.

We knew Sidekick would be along eventually, so we just rode it out as best we could. And then the presumed-dead boat with the rest of our group in it passed us! Thankfully quickly followed by Sidekick in the fancy boat. He and Sam swapped boats, and Sidekick tried to figure out what was wrong with our boat, eventually handing the wheel over to Jacob while he climbed around the engine. At one point he was heard to say something like, “That’s why it ain’t runnin’ right! You got a gas leak!” followed shortly by “Oh, and that plug’s on fire. Don’t worry. Just keep goin’; it’ll burn itself out.” Gas leak, fire. Fire, gas leak. I was not liking this picture. However, Jacob is thrilled to now be able to claim driving a flaming boat. His version of the story sounds something like THIS.


After a little while even Sidekick gave up, and decided towing was the only way our boat was getting back. But it was a pretty ride back in!




As we were almost to the dock, we noticed a Florida Coast Patrol (or something like that) truck up on a hill overlooking the bay.

Sure enough, he pulled up right as we docked. I, for one, was cold and tired from the somewhat stressful end of the trip, so I went and sat in the heated van while the remaining shenanigans occurred.

Sidekick was asked to locate certain safety equipment and registration papers, and questioned about a missing registration number that was supposed to be on the side of the fancy boat. Some of our party were asked to identify where and how to use certain required safety measures. Once they were unable to do that, we were all allowed to leave. And back to our comfy Sea Rose for some much needed relaxation!

It was quite a day. Thankfully everything ended just fine, and it really was a nice afternoon despite it all. However, I think next time, when it comes to renting boats, we’ll stick to the kayaks. ๐Ÿ™‚