Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring has sprung!

It's all fun and games until they realize they have to get hosed down before a warm bath! �� Still, I think that squishy mud might just be worth it! 
In other news, so much fun having my mom a few hours away. Loved spending the weekend with you, mama! Jen

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Little snippets.

(Just realized this didn't publish from about a month ago, so posting it now:)
97 year old GG: " You're such a good girl, honey. I bet your parents don't even have to get after you."
Amelia: " No, I'm just really good around old people." 
Then they both cracked up, and Joel captured the moment and it's one I my favorite pictures ever. ❤️

Another one I love from this weekend in Houston, is of my Papa and Ollie. They have a soft spot for each other, and as dad pointed out to me, are the youngest and oldest on my side of our family. Love you, Papa!
That's all for now. We are home safe, and are snuggled in bed early on this freezing cold night! I just finished reading this gem of a library book (if you like this homesteading/ farm dreaming sort of genre I recommend it), 
and am going to fish around for another book and jump back under the covers (and yes, our house has a very efficient heater, but Joel doesn't believe in turning it up❄️⛄️). 
Jen

Little gymnast and a visit from Mammy.

My mama is here for the weekend (hurray!), and came to watch Jubilee's gymnastics class today. She took some cute pictures (it's a "mommy and me" class, so I'm with her) that I'm happy to have for memory sake. 
Those of you who know Jubilee know that she's a little spitfire, and she had never done any sort of class so I wasn't sure how she would do taking directions from a coach,etc. Turns out she loves it and does just fine with instruction, especially when we go to class on Saturday mornings when the gym is quiet. It's been fun to do something with just the two of us also! I know I'm the mama, but I think she's the cutest little gymnast that ever was:) 
This afternoon these two crafty girls worked on a fun project together- a little fairy doll kit mom picked up today at Hobby Lobby. 
I love that her grandmas (and sweet neighbors and friends) encourage and assist in her artsy crafty love! 
All for now, Jen

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sometimes homeschool "successes" are hard to identify, especially if you aren't using a box curriculum or tests, etcetera. So, I really want to be faithful to record afternoons like yesterday, to encourage myself (and any of you in the journey) as I look back.
Our read aloud right now is Understood Betsy. Oh my goodness, we are loving it! It's one of those stories that just sinks into you- the best kind. Even Jubilee, who listens as I rock her to sleep for her nap, follows along and recalls things from the story. Also, yesterday we stopped on our way home from the zoo for a spontaneous viewing of Cinderella (so good!), and when we started reading Understood Betsy later that afternoon and read about a little boy whose mother had died and stepfather didn't care for him well at all, Jubilee said, " That's just like Cinderella, except her daddy died!" Wow, yep! 
Anyway, in that chapter Betsy and her friends decide to sew the little boy some clothes (with the help of her Aunt). At first the friends are so excited about how thankful the poor little boy would be to them, how he would remember them forever and ever because of their kindness. A gentle question from Betsy's Aunt about whether the girls were giving in order to receive praise or to care for the boy, prompted them to give the clothing in secret. 
So, after we read I rested with jubilee while the twins went to have rest time. When I got up, I saw a sweet Saint Patrick's day card had been made and slipped under the door. I picked it up and saw that it said, "To: Mama From:     "
What a cute and thoughtful extension of the book (and we have been studying saint Patrick this week). Then Amelia rushed in to show me a little outfit she had hand sewn for her doll. Oh my goodness, my heart just soared! 
This. This literature based, gentle learning  life is what I hope for. So many days I feel like we stumble along, and then a yesterday afternoon comes along to remind me to trust in this rhythm of learning we have chosen. Given time and space, kids will take what is given to them and they will create extensions in their life- we don't have to hand it to them or force it. Ahhhh, it made me take a deep breath of thankfulness and relief. 
That's all for today:) 
Jen


Sunday, February 08, 2015

To be back...

To be back in Texas for weekends like this weekend is such a gift. There is so much to catch up on since last I wrote here, but that has been keeping me away and so I'm just going to start in. This weekend we celebrated Joel's and my mamas birthdays in Wimberley. To be back and get to be a part of these celebrations and to see the cousins having such a blast and to taste my sister in laws amazing carrot ginger soup again and smell my moms patchouli incense burning and see her surrounded by her grandkids...it's a gift you guys. There have been hard and painful days during this transition, of course, but overall we are feeling lots of gratitude.



More soon! Jen
P.S. Thanks fam for some of these wonderful pics!:)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Small conversations...great love.

Joel had the honor of speaking at a TEDx  event here yesterday! He spoke about helping to restore dignity in the lives of homeless people in our city. He worked on the speech a tremendous amount, wanting to share his heart and the things he had learned in an honest and authentic way, and he did a fantastic job. It was such a gift to get to be there and see his speech, as well as many other thought provoking talks from other speakers. 
But, I tell you what. I think my favorite moment of the day came after the speech was long over, and the cameras were no longer rolling.
 We were at the "afterglow" party and Joel was having a conversation with a lady who had asked him to tell her a bit more about the clinic he works for. She was quite a character, and at one point told what she thought was a funny story about her workplace, in which the punch line had to do with how bad a homeless guy smelled. Yeah, people do the darnedest things! Telling a story about how bad a homeless guy smelled to a guy who had just given a talk about restoring dignity to homeless people! Watching Joel respond to this "funny" story, though, just warmed my heart deeply. Because he didn't try and shame her, or act like her story was ridiculous. He chuckled, but didn't leave it at that. He said, " yeah, it's an issue for sure, although not as prevalent as I once thought. And, surprisingly it's more common in the spring and fall because the weather is sometimes cool, but not cold and they don't want to leave their coats and things laying around to get stolen and so they wear them, even though it's not cold enough to warrant it. So, the smell is worse than in winter when coats are needed or summer when they don't have to keep them around. That's one reason. There are others. If the smell is overwhelming we just step out for a moment and put these little strips of Vicks under our nose and then it's fine." And the lady was like," oh my gosh, I'd never thought about that." And, just like that, a little education was passed along. A little bit more humanizing, and less stereotyping. It was at that moment that I stood in awe, and was my most proud. 
We don't all get a chance to give a big, important speech about what we are passionate about. But we DO all have opportunities all the time in "little" conversations to convey our big ideas. Our heart will come across in the conversations when no one else is looking, or voting, or cheering. It's those unscripted moments that we can choose to speak up in ways that speak life and dignity about those who aren't there to speak for themselves- whether it be our friends, patients, spouses, children, parents, etc....or we could choose to chuckle and move on. 
So, that was my favorite moment. I hope Joel's talk reaches lots of people and opens some hearts. I have no doubt it will. But, even if he totally messed it up, after hearing that conversation I was reminded that he...no, we all, have chances every day to live our passion out, and that was a great encouragement to me. 
So, congratulations to my Joel. What an amazing opportunity that was and you took it and put your all into it. We are all relieved that it's over and that we all get all little more time together, but I know you'll keep spreading the message of restoring dignity. You'll do it in the way you treat your patients, and the way you speak about them. It's not just your beard and hair that make the folks you care for call you "street Jesus". I'm sure they see His love in your eyes, and that's the greatest love there is, after all. 
Jen


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Happy 4th of July from our little firecrackers!


Jen

Summer Adventures: Park City!

A super kind friend is letting us use her Park City condo for a little staycation! The kids are ecstatic because there is a pool just steps away, and we are not great pool parents (meaning we'd rather be in the mountains, so that's where we go for free time), so it's a real treat for the kids! 
Gosh, I'm always amazed when people do such generous things like offer their condo to a friend with 4 kids for the weekend! Anyway, we sure are enjoying this special summer treat (with the expected "four kids in a teeny condo"moments thrown in there:)! Jen


Summer Adventures: Tracy Aviary.

Don't you just love birds?! They are Amazing. We haven't frequented the aviary here, but it is so great! Today we got to watch a bird weaving a nest with its beak... I could have watched it for an hour! After the aviary we hung out at the little rivers in Liberty park, then ate lunch while the kids rolled down the big hill. So many memories in that park over the years! 
Look at that sky! Beautiful day. Jen

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Adventures: Logan Canyon

This weekend we went up Logan canyon to camp. My gosh it's beautiful! From the backyard grapevines to the mountains and valleys, I love the green that summer brings!! 
Joel and the big kids went up Friday night and camped with the Cox family and the little two and I went up for the day on Saturday. I'm so glad we decided to do it that way! When Ollie is two-ish I think family camping will be much more doable. But constantly having to make sure he isn't toddling toward the fire pit, etc. just isn't fun at all. Anyway, it worked out great for all, and it was fun for me to have a little time with Jubes and Ollie. 
Oh, and happy Father's Day to Joel- the amazing adventurer that is passing on his love of life and nature to our little ones! And to my dad, who so lovingly gave me a childhood where I felt safe, unconditionally loved, and believed in. 
Happy summer adventuring to you! 
Jenny