family

Since the passing of our beloved dog Maggie, there has been a void in our home.  I missed her immensely more than I ever anticipated.   And while no dog could ever replace her or what she meant to our family, we felt it time to once again hear the pitter patter of doggie feet in the circus home. 

But, we needed to wait until we were home from our grand adventure before welcoming a new pup to the family.  So, at about South Dakota, I started searching the internet hard for Corgi puppies in our area.  We wanted a pup as soon as possible after we got home.  The timing would be ideal as it would give us 2 months to fully focus on training her before school starts again.  I was growing discouraged as I wasn’t finding ANY Corgi puppies (even after extending the search far beyond our area).  The window of opportunity would be lost and our void would continue.

Then the crazy thing happened.  When we were driving to my parents, we were about 10 miles from their house on a small, sparsely populated country road we had no business being on (google maps is not always the most direct path if you know the area… but we followed it the whole trip… why stop now)  when I saw a sign small white sign in someone’s yard that read “Pembrooke Welsh Corgi Puppies” and listed a phone number.  It seemed far to weird and random to be true but we quickly turned around for a closer look.  You know how discouraged people in the desert see things they want to see even when they aren’t real?  It felt kinda like that… but this was real!  We got the number and began calling right away.  Unfortunately, it worked out that we could not establish contact until we were all the way home (5 hours away).  But when we did we learned she really did have puppies available and at the right age to be picked up!!  Praise God!

But of course now we had the problem of picking out, and picking up, a dog that we were 5 hours away from.

Picking one out turned out to be surprisingly easy and affirming. When I spoke with the breeder I asked if any of the puppies were particularly snuggly… liked to be held and sit on your lap.  “Oh, yes, I know just the one,” she said.  “Baby girl… we bottle fed her and she loves to snuggle on your lap and be held.”   I asked her for a picture and she sent me one with 4 puppies in it.  I had no idea which one was the one she described, but I found myself hoping it was the one with the cute white marking on her face.  The marking is not traditional corgi but I told Scott we were going to have a real problem if the one she described wasn’t the one with the cute white mark on her face.  “How will we decide because that one is SO CUTE?”

Turns out we didn’t have to decide as it was one in the same dog.  We were instantly sold and smitten and now just had to solve the dilemma of how to get this puppy which was 5 hours away.

Mom and Dad to the rescue.  My parents graciously picked up the puppy for us, foster cared her for a few days, and met us at a Wendy’s parking lot half way between their house and ours so we could bring her home. (THANKS MOM AND DAD!!)

Today we brought home the newest member of the Circus Family!

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She loves to snuggle on your lap and be held.  She’s mellow and easy going in the house… and playful outside. 

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In a word, she’s perfect.  And no, I am not at all biased.  We all agree.

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It has sort-of evolved such that we have always named our dogs after a location of significance to the circus family.  We tried to contrive a name that worked with our new street address / community but nothing really fit.  We were all ready to branch out into a new unrelated name as we drove away from the rendezvous point.  That’s when it hit me…

Meet Wendy.  The newest member to the circus crew.

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We celebrated my Dad’s 60th Birthday this week with a party at Hershey park.  Dad, Mom, their kids, and their 8 grandkids. 

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We had a blast riding the rides, but truly the best part was being together as a family and enjoying watching relationships grow. 

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When you’re the oldest cousin sometimes you have to do time in the kiddy rides.  He was quite the sport… and was rewarded with roller coaster time in the evening.

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My mom prepared tons of food for lunch and dinner.  We tailgated in the parking lot for lunch before we went into the park and again in the evening with cupcakes and party horns.

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My youngest niece is def a future thrill seeker.  She had her hands in the air before the ride even took off. IMG_0841

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Thanks Dad for sharing your special day with all of us… it was a fun day filled with sweet, sweet memories.

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I recall seeing something on Facebook before I went to bed about possible flash freezing or snow.  But, I didn’t give it much thought.

When I woke up I peeked behind the curtain to see if anything came of it and I gasped. 

It was that big white puffy snow that sticks to the branches of trees.  My most favorite kind of snowfall.  And I laid in bed and watched it fall snuggling with my hubby and kids. 

Hello February 1st. 

Photo: Hooray for my fav kind of white puffy snow sticking to branches!!!

The kids ate a quick breakfast and made a bee line for their snow gear.  Scott headed to work with promise of coming home for an early and long lunch and hopes of a sledding excursion. 

After an hour delay to our school day, I threw the kids winter clothes in the dryer, and we set out to tackle their least favorite and most time consuming subjects.  (with promise of sledding dangling in front of them)

Scott came home 2 hours later and the sun was already putting a dent in the snow, but not in our fun.IMG_9094

Going back up the hill was much harder than coming down.

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We were the only ones on the hill.  I think this partly due to the fact that public schools did not get out or get a delay and partly because it was equal parts mud and snow on the hill this afternoon.

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But, we were able to scout out some snow paths and a good time was had by all.

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WIPE OUT!

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We don’t often get out sledding and this was the first time I remember sledding in years… as in my entire adult life.  (last time we took them to the hill I was preggo with baby number 4)

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I had such a fun, fun time today.  It was a totally unexpected, beautiful treat and surprise and a wonderful way to end the week!

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Not sure which I like best about this snapshot, the smiles on the girls faces, my daughters hand in the peanut butter jar or my son sneaking yet another lick out of the bowl….

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My 5 year old

July 24, 2012

in family,growing up

She’s my free spirit.

My morning girl.

My glass half full child. 

She loves to create… always drawing, writing letters or pictures, doodling on any paper she can find. 

She’s very verbal.  When I put her in her room for quiet time, I often think someone has snuck in there with her b/c I hear her talking away—only to discover she’s talking to her self, or reciting things she heard on the radio or TV.

She loves music and will randomly break out in song and sing whatever thought pops into her head. 

She’s my peacemaker. 

She loves to dress up… loves skirts and dresses and color… lots of color.

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She loves to perform. 

She participates in gymnastics and soccer and whatever else she does because she enjoys it, wanting to do well, but I don’t see a competiveness about her.  She loves games- Old Maid and matching are two of her favorites.

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She is self confident.  I’ve heard her say “Well, I just don’t know how to read like so and so even though she is younger than me”  or “Well, I can’t ride my bike down the hill like you can” and she says it very matter of factly.  She is sure of who she is, she knows her limitations and they don’t bother her.  Conversely, when she sets her mind to something, she catches on rather quickly.  She just has to want to do it and she can ride with 2 wheels, stop sucking her fingers, learn to read… all of which she did rather quickly when she decided on her own she wanted to do them.  I guess she is self motivated.  Or works on her own schedule.

She def marches to the beat of her own drum.  IMG_2649

I see so much in her at 5 that I hope I can somehow foster and nurture so that it is there in a more mature form at 15.  I don’t want to squelch her creative spirit by telling her to color in the lines.  I love her self confidence and boldness.  I love that she isn’t afraid to be herself, even if it is different from those around her. 

I also love her dimple and her sweet sing songy voice… please tell me it won’t go away when she turns 5 b/c it is far to precious for her to grow out of it!

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I don’t homeschool because I hate the government.  Nor do I homeschool because I think the public school system is all evil.  Nor do I homeschool because I want my kids to be smarter than yours.  In fact, raising super smart kids isn’t even my main goal of education.

I homeschool because I want to spend the time with my kids.  That’s it, in a nut shell.

But, if I may be honest and come clean with you, it’s hard.   In my head I have this picture of me sitting round the table with my four children dutifully working on their studies… a quiet calm in the air.

yea… stop laughing….

And every once in a blue moon, such a solitary moment will occur and I’ll snap a picture because it makes me smile and I want to remember it forever.  (or on those days when I am crying in the living room amid piles of dirty dishes and laundry and children screaming that they hate spelling)  And sometimes I’ll post these pictures to face book because I am so overjoyed to finally have one of those moments… one of those moments that as I mom I thrive off of.  And some one will inadvertently get the wrong idea and assume that’s what school looks like every day at my house.

It’s not.  School at my house almost always looks like mom in her pjs with the two older working on their studies.   There’s almost always a fight over who gets to sit by the window.  My 4 year old stays at the table to color for a few minutes then she’s off singing at the top of her lungs or playing with her baby brother.  Meanwhile my son will complain that he can’t do math/spelling/history/whatever it is I want him to do, b/c he can’t concentrate.  I’ll send him to another room but that too will result in a excuse of some sort being made for why this task is too unreasonable.  Meanwhile my 5 year old will complain b/c she wanted to do math first, but I’d rather start with reading b/c she needs me for reading and I am free at the moment….

See, my homeschool room is full of sinners.  Me, being the chief one of them.  Some days we start late b/c I got distracted by face book.  I’m usually in my pjs b/c I hit snooze when my alarm when off and I didn’t shower yet.  This typically has me wishing today could have been the day that I rose a different person, a chipper morning person who got up before my family, took care of my self and was ready to begin the day on a great foot?  But no, that’s not me.

And I am teaching/raising a brood of sinners as well.  And sin is messy.    And it has to be addressed.  Selfishness, disrespect, meanness… it all must be addressed, discussed, confessed, given consequences for, forgiven… and this takes time.  Lots of time.  Time which could be spent round that table angelically working on those assignments.

And most days when I am in the midst of battling sin, I think of that clock ticking in the background and those assignments waiting for me… assignments which will get done but since it now took twice as long as necessary, the house work won’t get done before it’s time to head out for evening of activities.  This frustrates me b/c I hate having a messy house, I hate having to let it go for tomorrow when I know tomorrow won’t be any different.

And as I battle this sin… in myself and in my children, I am more and more aware of the fact that I can’t change myself nor can I change my kids.  I can’t change their hearts.  Only God can.  And so I plead with tears in my eyes as I sit on the hallway floor, begging God to please work in their hearts, please work through me.

It’s a daily battle.

And this spring, I found myself growing a little weary.  A little battle worn.  A little fearful that maybe things weren’t going to get better.  That I didn’t know what I was doing.  Sure we were learning our history time lines and phonics rules… but where was that heart change?

But, the past few weeks, I’ve seen some growth which fills this Momma’s heart with hope.  God is working in my kids hearts.  I see it.  I see a genuine desire to show love to each other.  Not all the time, not every day… they are still human in fact.  But I see God changing my child’s heart.  I see love where before I saw selfishness.  I see HIM at WORK!  And I praise Him.  Because I can think of nothing, not one thing more exciting than to see the Lord at work in the hearts of my children.

This morning I posted this picture on face book.  And I was kinda afraid to post it b/c I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea.  To think I was bragging or to think that I had these perfect kids who angelically sit at the table and help each other with their studies.  I posted it b/c when I saw this scene… when I saw a sister accepting help and correction from her brother… when I saw a brother lovingly helping, not being bossy or showing off that he was right, but gently correcting and encouraging…I saw God at work in their lives and I couldn’t help but smile and rejoice.    We had tears of frustration later over noisy sisters and people using their crayons… but in this moment I saw that all those heart to heart talks this past year, those tearful pleadings for God to soften hearts and mold us to be like him… I saw them being answered…and I couldn’t help but rejoice!

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