Back To Reality

After a week off school, the kids and I are back to real life today.

That meant getting up to an alarm clock and getting Ethan to school and then coming home and working on our homeschool work.

Isaac has been coughing. He also hurt himself on our ride home from Bristol and his injury has been bothering him. Poor kid. He was playing with a toy in the van (one that we told him he shouldn’t be using in the van) and it bounced and hit him in the eye.

There was much wailing. He has a bruise, but that’s as serious as the injury is, hopefully. He’s been doing a lot of squinting. I’m hoping that heals quickly and his cough goes away.

He’s been struggling quite a bit with anxiety lately. We could use prayer for peace for him and wisdom for the rest of us to not reinforce the second-guessing and double-checking that seems relentless right now.

Our Christmas decorations are all set up and we’re enjoying them. Although, from the looks of this pictures, we have a lot more lights on the bottom of the tree, than we do on the top!

Oh well. We can rock the scruffy, imperfect look pretty well 🙂

Thanksgiving 2017

We made our first trip to East Tennessee last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with Nathan’s parents and Kylene and Justin.

East TN is beautiful! The drive was much prettier during the daytime than in the dark!

On Thursday afternoon, we hiked before our Thanksgiving meal.


Looks like Audrey needed a break! Isaac was the one who really struggled though. He was tired and a bit cranky, but he pulled through and we made it to the top and back down with no issues.

To backtrack a bit, we arrived on Wednesday evening kind of late. We settled the kids in at Nana and Bumpa’s rental house and then Nathan and I and Kylene and Justin went over to the other house. That was our guest house for the weekend 🙂

Thursday morning everyone came over to the house we were at and we hung out, chatted, ate a lot, left to go hiking and then came back for our big meal.

The big fun thing that evening was that we got to drive through the Bristol Motor Speedway to see the huge Christmas lights display. They had lights set up outside and inside. We actually drove on the race track.

On Friday morning, we helped move some boxes from one house to the next and took a quick tour of downtown Bristol before we headed back home.

We had a fun time. I just wish I had thought to get a photo of the group.

September Update

I’m close to caught up! How about a recap of our September?

We started September with a bang when the pest company found termites on our property. No activity on the house, but they were closer to the house than I would like and we could see some of their handywork on stray paper bags and other things. So, I gave them all our money to put out a bunch of bait traps around the perimeter of the house. Being an adult is expensive! 🙂


Isaac started STEM scouts. Now he gets to look awesome and adorable in a lab coat and do fun science stuff every week. It’s his thing and it’s fun for him to has his own thing. He also had his speech classes start again. He goes and does this every Friday afternoon.

Ethan got braces! Did I mention that? Only 29 more months to go until he is done!I’ve invested in special threading floss so he can get it in around the braces and I also bought those little brushes to fit in all the little grooves. We also got a special flouride prescription. It’s a whole big ordeal to do tooth care now. It will be worth it, though!

Our church had an on-site women’s retreat the last weekend of the month. It was a fun concept. Friday night was a social/game night. Then we went home to sleep in our own beds and came back on Saturday morning for breakfast and to listen to a couple different speakers. I met some people and I came away feeling really encouraged and grateful.

Nathan is a part of men’s group that is meeting on Tuesday nights online. He doesn’t even have to leave the house. It’s led by our pastor and Nathan is really enjoying it.

Audrey turned 11! I almost forgot to mention that. To celebrate her birthday, Audrey and a friend of hers and I went together and took a trail ride. I have to be honest and say that I was nervous on that big horse, but it went fine and Audrey loved it! I also made a bunch of cookies for Audrey to bring to hand out to all her classmates at tutorial. She had a great birthday.


August Update

August was jam-packed with starting up our regular school schedule.

Ethan started going to school that is not in our house and that really changed up the entire feel of how we start our day. I realize now how spoiled I have been. I guess people get used to whatever their “normal” is. For our family, “normal” is having all the kids at home with me. “Normal” is being able to have everyone get up at 7:00 and not really have to worry about getting dressed that quickly or prepared to leave the house because most days we  don’t have anything to be at in the morning.

Tutorial started up again also. We drop off Ethan at 7:45 and then we head to the church where our tutorial meets. We check in and have a short devotional and announcement time for everyone and then we are all off to our classes. Audrey has PE, Drama, Science, Writing, and Civics. Isaac has Inventors and Explorers, Lego Story Starters, PE, Math games, and Science. I have 2 hours of 1st grade Galloping and Globe and 2 hours of 2nd grade Cantering the Country. We finish up at 2:00 and then we waste a little time before we need to pick up Ethan at 3:00. Thursdays are the day when I come home, sit down and then don’t get up again 🙂

At the end of the month, Ethan got braces! He looks like a teenager now. He was very resistant to the idea and I was feeling guilty about how much he was dreading it, but he has adjusted well. We’ll be back on Nov 1 to get them adjusted. I guess we’ll see then, how well Ethan is taking care of his teeth! The dentist said this will be about a 30 month process. I did the math on that and realized that if each of the kids has 30 months in braces and they all start at the same time, we’ll be in braces at this house for quite a while!

Ethan had an eclipse party at school. They all had the special glasses and they had several practice sessions to make sure they were safe 🙂 I was still a little nervous about having the kids stare at the sun for a long time. At home, Audrey, Isaac, and I used boxes that Nathan cut a pin hole into and face away from the sun and look at the reflection. We learned that there is a huge difference between our area of 98% totality and the areas just north of us that 100% totality. Still, very cool to experience!

The other big update is that we decided to make the move to attend a church that is in our community. We’re enjoying being able to be at church with people in our city. It still feels a little awkward to be new, but time will fix that!

2 Months Of Catching Up

I think I left off with Ethan heading off to school and promises of photos. I’m going to attempt to catch up on the last two months.

It’s going to take more than one blog post though 🙂

Ethan is doing really well at his new school! We had our back to school night meeting for the parents and I got to meet Ethan’s teachers. One of them I already knew and that went a long way to reassure me about this school year.

Here’s our first day of school photo. It’s not great because something is not working right with the photo editor I have installed here. I’ll have to figure that out later.



Ethan wasn’t super excited about this change. He didn’t like the idea of needing to get up and be out the door early in the morning. (Relatively early– ha! We’re used to slow mornings at home) He also wanted to be done with school stuff earlier in the day than the kids who go “off to school”. Two months into the year, when I ask Ethan if he had to choose home school or this school, he says he can’t decide. That’s good progress.

I couldn’t be more pleased with how it has gone. Academically and socially he is doing really well. He’s learning things, he gets along really well with his classmates and his teachers are enjoying having him. In two weeks, the first quarter will be finished.

On a personal note, I have a 7th grader? One of Ethan’s classmates is almost 6 feet tall. This growing up thing is getting real!

(Stay tuned. . . next post will cover family updates from August)

Farewell, Summer Break

This past week, we have been easing into school. Ethan hasn’t had to do any school work because his school doesn’t start until Thursday this week. Audrey and Isaac worked on Math & Language Arts/Reading.

I think we’ll do “Back To School” photos on Thursday when the kids start tutorial and Ethan has his first day. You’ll get to see Ethan all fancy in his school uniform 🙂 Audrey has a new haircut. She had 3 inches cut off the other day. It’s still to her shoulders, but it’s more manageable.

I kind of want to rewind and have one more week of vacation. We had a summer that was packed full of fun things, but it was exhausting. I need a week of nothing!


Here’s what we did this summer:

Trip to MN for Henning Reunion.

Ethan went to Milligan College for a Bible Bowl tournament.


Visit from Jean and Ralph.

Ethan went to CIY trip.

Kids Trip to Georgia.

Nathan and I drove to GA for the weekend to hang with Justin and Kylene and bring the kids home.

Isaac went to Horton Haven Camp.

Audrey went to horse camp.

Trip to Illinois for Fritz reunion.

I’m making notes about how to make next summer be more restful and streamlined. We’ll see how that goes!





Horse Camp Wrap-up

It was, in fact, the hottest week of the year. We’ve had heat indexes of 100-106. I’m going to try to keep that in mind for next year’s schedule! 🙂

I tagged along with Audrey for a while instead of dropping off Audrey and leaving right away on Friday. I wanted to capture some photos of her riding. I was lucky enough that their schedule started off with them spending time on the horses.

First of all, Audrey got to help groom Hamilton.





I am sad that I had to use my phone camera. It wasn’t cooperating well, but the other one wasn’t charged when it was time to go 🙁 At least I got some photos, even though they aren’t perfect.

After leading Hamilton out to the arena, Audrey joined her horse that she rode for the week. That horse is named Bella. Audrey can tell you all about Bella. Audrey could probably tell you all about most of the horses there 🙂 I took some photos of Audrey and Bella as they were getting ready to go for a trail ride.



And then she rode off to the trail.



It was a great week!

Horse camp

It’s Audrey’s favorite time of the year!


Just like last year, I seem to have chosen the hottest week of the year for this. It’s been in the 90’s and with the heat index it has felt like it’s over 100 outside in the sun. So hot!


All of last week, Audrey kept telling us how many days there were until horse camp. I worried that there was no way this could live up to her expectations. She loves horses more than anything! Thankfully, she has not been disappointed. It’s been a lot of fun even though it’s been hotter than blazes outside.



I look at that sweet face and see so much joy! It sure is fun to see her enjoy this so much.

Day Camp For Isaac

Friday was a day of driving to Georgia (by way of South Carolina because we went to Kylene and Justin’s old house first. Oops).

Saturday was a day at the ocean that included getting to see dolphins!!!!

Sunday we drove home.

And now it’s Day Camp week for Isaac. He does all the fun camp stuff during the day and then comes home at night 🙂


I tried to get him to give me a decent smile. This is very difficult with Isaac 🙂 He’s the most handsome, adorable child, but his eyes are never looking at the camera when he smiles. He points his smile toward me and his eyes are busy looking around at other things. So, I asked for a silly photo.

We’ve split the camp driving duties with some friends. My friend does the drop off in the morning and I pick them up in the afternoon. I like that part because I get to hear all the stories! Yesterday’s fun included time in the pool. Isaac told me he passed the swim test by swimming across the deep end! Way to go, Isaac! I’m not completely surprised because this is the child who doesn’t want a life jacket in the ocean because he wants to swim through the waves and not float on top of them! (Don’t worry, he was supervised and safe)

It’s fun to see Isaac try out new things!