It’s hard to believe that my youngest will be school age next year.  Seriously, how did that happen?  Sometimes when we drop the big kids off at their tutorial on “school at the building days”  he will pause outside the Kindergarten room and tell me, “That’s where I go next year Momma and then you will be all alone and so sad.” 

And my heart kinda breaks a little. 

Because he is right.  I will be so sad.  I will miss my little buddy at Trader Joes who pushes the cart and makes a dash for the coffee.  I’ll miss him packing up his book bag with sooo many books so he too can carry it around like the big kids, even though I am most often stuck lugging it around. 

Scott encouraged me to make sure I am cherishing these days… not just getting stuff done that I need to, but really taking advantage of this time with him.

Which I know I am guilty of not doing. 

So I brainstormed a few things I want to make sure we do together this year and one was visiting Santa.  Because I realized I had never taken him to see Santa.   Usually our Santa visit occurred at the family Christmas party at Scott’s work, but we haven’t been for 3 years to that party due to a gymnastics meet falling on the same morning.  And so we haven’t been to see Santa for 3 years. 

I asked my 4 year old if he’d like to visit Santa.  “Oh boy,” he exclaimed, “I thought Santa was just for pretend… I had no idea we could see him in real life.”  He was so excited…. and I had to chuckle and wonder what I am doing to my poor child. 

photo 1

He thought we were going to the North Pole and wondered if Santa would open the door for us and let us in.  I went on to explain how it works when you visit Santa… you wait in line and then go up and sit on his lap and he will probably ask you what you want for Christmas.

“Oh no, Mom, that is a problem.” 

“I don’t know what I want for Christmas.”

I told him that was ok, he could just tell Santa he didn’t know.

So, we went… he got a bit shy when his turn came and I realized while we were there that his asthma was bothering him and he was getting a cold.  But, I went up with him and sat with him till he warmed up to Santa a little.  Then they talked and hugged and I snapped a picture.

Afterwards he told me that Santa did ask what he wanted and he said he didn’t know.  Santa told him that he would bring him some surprises then.  Then my four year old said, “Mom, I guess Santa will have to use his phone to figure out how to find our house, right?” 

hahaha… Santa using google maps to find our house.  Made me chuckle. 

It’s hard to balance time these days… I try to take full advantage of the two days the kids are at the building, to work out, run errands, catch up on housework, and often my little guy comes along side me… and I enjoy having him along side me.  But, I also need to make sure I am intentional about making some precious memories during these days.  Because he is growing up faster than I’d like to admit.



A Relaxing Christmas

December 29, 2013

in Christmas,family

It has been a very relaxing Christmas vacation at the circus house.  My sister in law and her family came in to town the evening of the 23rd.  We had too much fun making cupcakes for the kids for baby Jesus’ bday party on Christmas night.  She is an awesome trooper.  She happily obliged my request to roll out 19 baby Jesus figurines out of marshmallow fondant at 10:00pm.  Seriously, worlds best sister in law.   IMG_9448

Christmas Eve was low key.  We did a gingerbread house with the kiddos.  Which was a mess.  I think it remained standing for all of 2 hours before it collapsed on itself.  But, we had fun and that was the idea. 

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Scott and I took our nephews to the playground for a little while so we could have some time alone with them.  Then the girls went with my sister in law to Nana’s to do a little cooking, while I grabbed a shower and tidied up the house.


Then it was church in evening and Scott and I started wrapping Christmas presents at 9pm on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day we lived in our PJs.  My parents, Scott’s parents and Scott’s sister and her family came for the day.  We opened presents in the morning.  And then spent the day in our pjs hanging out and playing.  In the evening we enjoyed lasagna for dinner and Jesus’ birthday cupcakes for dessert.

 christmas collage 2

My brother and his kids were supposed to come for dinner and to spend the night, but the kids got sick and weren’t up to traveling.  I missed them immensely

Since Christmas, the low key easy going status quo has continued.  I can’t believe Scott only has 3 days left of vacation and the kids and I only have a week.  I am loving the break. 



I know it isn’t very seasonal to have 66 degree weather the night of winter solstice.  But I gotta confess I didn’t mind it one bit as that was the evening I’d been planning to take the kids to see the lights at Brookside Gardens.  I had never been but heard someone talking about them once.  Unlike other light displays, this one you park and get out and walk.  Which could be a hard sell for 4 kids on a cold winter night.  But, this Saturday the weather was perfect.  (and clearly we weren’t the only ones who thought so as we had to sit an hour in line at the parking lot before we could get in). 

Seriously, my three year old walked around all night in short sleeves with NO JACKET… In DECEMBER. 


The lights were impressive.  It was really enjoyable to walk around the gardens and enjoy the displays. IMG_9315IMG_9318IMG_9356

The bull frog which actually croaked was amongst our favorites.


The lightning storm and rainbow were pretty cool too.


Two of the kids decided to demonstrate their bravery and stick their hands in the lion’s mouth.  (I think this is my favorite shot of the night).IMG_9433

In the end I found it worth the drive and wait to spend a relaxing evening with the family walking around a garden of lights. 


But, now I say, bring on some snow!


Dear Children of Mine,

10 years from now when you are wondering what in the world to get Mom for Christmas, I have an idea for you.  So write it down and stick it away and remember it when your 19, 17, 16, and 13. 

All I want for Christmas, is you.  It’s true… nothing wrapped under the tree could possible come close to time spent with you.  So, if you really want to make my day, ask me if we can make sugar cookies together.

Like we did back in 2013. 

You can invite your roomate from college, that boy from church you think is kinda cute, your bff… the more the merrier… just promise me you’ll lick the icing and giggle over the snow men that turned out looking more like moustaches.  And then, AFTER your friends all leave, I’ll pull out these pictures from back in the day and we can laugh and giggle over the flour ALL over your shirt and pants and those goofy 3D glasses the you decided to wear while icing the cookies.  I’ll tell you that even then I knew you’d be the comedian of our family. 

I promise, it would mean more to me than you’ll ever know.  So I’ll tuck these pictures away for us to smile and laugh at then.

Love Always, Mom






A traditional Christmas card will not be arriving in your mailbox this year from the circus fam,  instead I give to you this greeting from me  to you. 

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to say in this card.  What image I want to share with you from my family to yours.  We’ve had a lot of great moments this year.  Many of them I’ve shared on here so I can look back and remember them in the years to come.   But, as I ponder this year about what image I want to capture our family this Christmas it isn’t the one of us all enjoying a National Park or the one of the kids all smiling in front of our tree before we chopped it down. 

No, this Christmas I want to share with you my mess.

minivan mess

Because, despite what those holiday movies and songs say over and over… Christmas isn’t about feeling good or just believing… it’s not about wishing or mistle toe or presents under the tree.  Don’t get me wrong I love me some mistle toe and presents and lights and cookies.  I enjoy it all.

But, Christmas is about Emmanuel.  Which means God with Us.  Christmas is about God sending His one and Only Son, Jesus to earth as a baby.  For one reason.  To Die.  For me.  Christmas is about Jesus making it possible for us to be with God.  Because we can’t be with God on our own.  On our own we are a Mess. 

On my own, I am a mess.


Literally and figuratively. 

Despite my best intentions, I don’t keep the van clean.  My sink doesn’t look like this every now and then it looks like this more often than not.  I say I am going to get up early and work out and read my Bible and tidy up the house before the kids come down.  But, I don’t.

I don’t have it all together. 

I am a mess.  And I need Jesus.

I need him to meet me in my mess.  I need him to forgive me when I snap at my kids for not picking up their stuff.  When I yell at them for fighting.  When I snap at my husband because his to do list for the evening doesn’t look like mine.  I need Jesus to meet me where I am.  And He does.  He reminds me what is important.  He reminds me that my worth isn’t found in clean clothes and a tidy sink.  He reminds me that I do not have to be perfect to have his love.  I don’t have to have it all together because He does. 

Jesus came because we messed up.  He came because we do not have it all together.  He came because He loves us.  He loves us in our mess.  And He loves us so much, so very, very much that He was willing to die in our place, so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. 

He was born a King in the lowliest of places.  In a messy stable.  Jesus, King of Kings, Lord of Lords was born in a dirty, smelly barn.  Because Jesus meets us in our mess.   He didn’t chose to come in a palace, He chose to come in a dirty stall.  And I am so glad.  I am so glad He continues to come and meet me in my mess.  I am so glad that I don’t have to have it all together. 

This Christmas, I want to remind you that we are all messy.  Despite what you may see on facebook or on tv.  Despite whatever image you have in your head, we are all a mess.  Not one of us has it together.  But, thanks to Jesus, we can be made clean.  Thanks to Jesus we don’t have to stay messy forever. 

Merry Christmas dear friend, from my mess.



We are on break here at the circus.  And I couldn’t be more excited about it.  I have been looking forward to this week for ages.  The week before Christmas.  All I want to do is enjoy the kiddos and catch up on some house work.  And bake.  And do some shopping.  And maybe see some friends.  (ha, ha… can you tell I am an introvert?  read over that list, when I proof read this and re read it, it made me laugh)…

Well yesterday was rough.  We had a fun filled family weekend that left us all tired.  Mom was tired.  The kids were tired.  I let them watch too much tv and play too many video games which left us all grumpy.  I attempted a craft but it was way harder than I thought and ended up more frustrating than fun for all of us.  Except the 3 year old.  He loved it, which truthfully provided some sense of accomplishment to this tired and frustrated Momma.

But, today is a new day.  And even though I am still in my pjs at 2:30… and that bread dough I started 3 hours ago is still sitting half done on the counter waiting for me to grind more flour, I feel like more has been accomplished and we are all happier.  We started the day with words searches instead of tv. I got a few loads of laundry washed and FINALLY washed those dishes that have been piling up in my sink since Saturday.  (Yes, you read that correctly, SATURDAY)  It felt good to get to the bottom of that pile.  Toilets were scrubbed, kitty litter emptied and mirrors washed, thanks to the kiddos.

They still played video games, and are playing again now, but we also painted some wooden trees.  These were a HUGE hit.  They loved these and it made my heart smile.  I don’t do art enough with them.  In the scramble to accomplish nouns, verbs, division, times tables, Latin, history timelines… well art often gets pushed to the back burner.  I know it’s wrong.  I struggle with art guilt all quarter long.  But today we had no jingles to sing, no worksheets to do, and so we painted.


and we smiled


And I loved it.  Loved every minute of it. 

I LOVED every layer of color on my 3 year olds tree.





I can’t wait till they dry and I can set them up on my fire place mantle.  I love how different each one is and I love how I can see their personalities shine through in each one. 

Oh, art… I must find a way to squeeze you with the flashcards and timelines, because you are so, so good for the soul.