Monday, September 19, 2011

Back to School 2011

It  has already been 2 weeks since the first day of school.   It took me a week to get Ben’s picture, I finally remembered to take my camera to school and the battery was dead, ugh.  So a few weeks late here are the official pics.


Ben was determined to make his pirate face for his picture.  The strip on his desk is his beloved schedule or “list”.  His favorite part of school is Art, Music, and the stations in his classroom.  He loves the sensory station.  I absolutely love his teacher! 

DSC03907Ben was not cooperating and had no interest in getting his picture taken.  I love Jacob’s face.  He really wasn’t as sad as he looks.DSC03908DSC03909DSC03910DSC03911

  • Hannah – 7th grade.  She was so nervous!  She started changing classes every hour but quickly got the hang of it.  She started an Art class at Southwest Michigan Artist Association and “loves, loves, loves” it! She is still playing flute in the band. (with some um, encouragement from mom)
  • Rachel – 6th grade  Rachel is playing volleyball and continues to play the clarinet in the band. 
  • Joe 4th grade – He is very excited to be in the big building with the girls.  Taking a little longer for him to accept that summer is over. 
  • Jacob – Kindergarten  He is excited to be in a new school but really would rather hang out at home in his Mario costume.

This year has been a big adjustment for me.  I currently have 4 houses (adding 1 more in October) that I’m cleaning and I started all 4 the first week of school.  We went from our nice relaxing summer break to school, carpool lines, volleyball practice, football practice, youth group, 4H and me working. The first week I just wanted to hop in my bed and pull the covers over my head!  I am so thankful for the cleaning jobs that I have so that I can be part time.  I can’t imagine keeping up with everything and working full time.  I’ve had to be a lot more purposeful with meal planning, shopping trips and I’m currently looking for a personal assistant to help me keep everyone’s schedules straight. Ha!  Actually I started putting everyone’s activities in my ipod and setting an alarm to remind me of them.  That’s about as close as I’m going to get to a P.A..  Smile 

On the days I don’t clean it has been nice to have a few hours to get something done, uninterrupted.  As nice as it is though, I miss my kids and I’m sad that the years are going by so fast. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our new additions!

We have two new additions to our family.  Oreo and Butterfinger!  Rachel and Joe recently adopted bunnies.  They both have been begging for a pet and bunnies seemed to be something we could handle.  They are also going to join 4-H so that they learn more about taking care of animals and show them at the Kalamazoo County Fair. 






Rachel got a Holland Lop and Joe bought a Polish.  They are both so excited and have been taking such good care of them.  Although they are as cute as can be they will be living in the garage.Smile

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family Camp 2011


This year we decided to do something different for our family vacation and go to Life Action Camp for Family Camp.  A friend insisted we try it and I’m so glad she talked us into it.  The week started out pretty rough.  Ben had a really hard time adjusting to a new place with new rules.  He wanted to be everywhere he wasn’t supposed to be and nowhere he was allowed to.  It was SO hot and we didn’t have air in our borrowed pop-up camper. The boys didn’t want to go their groups so Matt and I could sit in ours.  By Tuesday I was ready to pack up and go home.  Then Tuesday night the worship leader, Jimmy, sat down next to me after dinner.  I really did NOT want to talk to him, I could barely force myself to smile.  He asked how we were doing, he knew our story and begged me to let the staff help us, encourage us and pray for us.  I went to bed that night begging God to change my attitude and to let us enjoy our time at camp. By Wednesday evening we had finally found our groove, and I my new attitude.  We were all having fun, it was still work for Matt and I, but is it ever really a vacation with five children? By Thursday I could smile at others without it being forced.  By Friday I was sad that we only had one more day. I’m so thankful that God used Jimmy to grab a hold of my heart and change it so I didn’t miss out on what he had for planned for me this week.  Here are the highlights from our week,

  • I didn’t have to cook one meal or wash one dish for 5 whole days!
  • Our family helper, Andrew, was amazing with the kids.  He was patient, reminded them to obey and had such a servant’s heart for our family. “Just tell me what to do” over and over again.
  • Carpetball!
  • The Blob! See photo below.  This was wonderful practice for Ben to wait his turn and work on patience. Andrew worked and worked with him.
  • Date night for Matt and I.  Dinner and then a canoe ride around the lake, talking with NO interruptions. Priceless!
  • Rachel memorized 8 verses to help her team earn more points.
  • Hannah met some wonderful friends and loved her Ignite group.
  • Joe and Rachel’s theme at Base Camp: Obedience is doing what I’m told, when I’m told to with the right heart attitude.  (worth every penny right there!)
  • Matt attended the Men’s prayer breakfast
  • Feeling God working in our marriage and family
  • When we asked the kids if they felt like God had spoken to them during the week Rachel said “Yes! He said we’re supposed to come back next year!”
  • They are all wanting, begging, PLEADING to go back! 


Carpetball was a big hit for all the kids.  Jacob loved it!  One night they held a tournament.  Rachel was the last girl to get beat and lost with only 4 boys ahead of her. 


We all had fun on the Blob.  By the end of the week Joe had figured out how big the person behind him had to be for him to get the maximum about of height.  He was awesome.  Ben loved it but preferred to slide off independently.  DSC03812DSC03822Yes, even Jacob jumped off the platform onto the blob.  He got so mad once when he accidently slid off and couldn’t get “blobbed” by Joe. 



The kids fell in love with Andrew.  All of the staff at Life Action are there voluntarily.  They do not get paid.  They are each individual missionaries who raise their own support to serve God by serving families.  It is such an amazing ministry.  God was glorified in every part of the camp from the kitchen staff, family helpers and worship team.  We were just in awe that these people would give up so much to serve others.

This is just a small glimpse into our week at Family Camp.  There were many memories made but most importantly we came home feeling refreshed and strengthened as a family.  Our hearts refocused back on the One whom we live for. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Awesome Man


Over the last few months Joe has been obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes.  He now has seven books, six he bought with his own money.  I love to sit outside his room when he’s reading them because he giggles and giggles as he reads them.  One day he came into the kitchen looking like this…


  He calls himself Awesome Man.  In the comic strip Calvin calls himself Stupendous Man.  He took a batman cape that we had and cut the ears off and then came up with an outfit that matches Calvin’s.     I think he is definitely  AWESOME. :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Long Time No Post :(

So I had to go to my blog to see how long it’s actually been since I posted something. March.  Really? Could 2.5 months really go by that fast?  Obviously, YES!  So here is a very quick recap.


  • Girls Basketball Ends. Two weeks later Soccer starts.
  • Rachel falls on the playground and gets a concussion.Her soccer season was over before it started. 
  • Matt and I went to Detroit for a Redwings Game and overnight without kids! 


  • Spring Break!  Trip to Tennessee to visit Julie and girls.  Went to Nashville Zoo and enjoyed 80 degree weather in April!
  • Boys spent 3 days with Grandma and Grandpa Nicola.  Swam in Papa’s “pool” (hot tub) and went on many nature walks.
  • Easter


  • Hannah took the YMCA babysitter course so she is officially ready to start babysitting!
  • Band concert, Solo and Ensemble and Music Concert for school.  Rachel performed a solo and did a great job, Hannah was in an ensemble.  They both received 1’s for their performances.
  • Matt’s brother, Francis, got married.  Matt was a groomsman.  It was a wonderful weekend with lots of playtime with cousins and of course a TON of food.

The biggest change in May was that Ben went back to school.  We had been  trying to make a decision about what to do for school this fall.  While homeschooling had many advantages there were some areas where we were both struggling.  We decided to enroll him this spring so that he would have placement for the fall.  He is going 1/2 days (reduced schedule) and is doing really well.  He has some stubborn difficult moments but they are able to get him back on task.  The best part is watching him interact with the kids on the playground.  The girls adore him, and follow him everywhere.  Can’t really blame them. Smile For a few minutes out there on the playground he looks like a typical kid playing with everyone else. *sniff sniff* What’s great about this age is that the kids won’t leave him alone.  Especially the girls.  So it forces him out of his own world and into the “real” world. 

So that in a nutshell catches me up to June.  The kids are in their last week of school, the pool is up and I’m busy trying to get things planned for summer. I’m hoping to be a little more consistent with my blog posts over the summer. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The last month has been pretty blah as far as school goes.  Ben has been very uncooperative and I have honestly been very unmotivated.  We did things but it really was the bare minimum.  So, for the next few weeks we’re working on ocean life.  This is something that interests Ben and I have some pretty cool projects planned.  I’m hoping this pushes us past our funk and we can finish the school year enjoying ourselves. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Fever

It officially hit this month.  The kids (especially Ben and Jacob) are getting restless and mom is getting very anxious to send them outside! 


Joseph brought the hockey sticks inside and set up the net at one end of the basement and pretty soon all three boys were playing.  Ben went out to the garage and found some skates. I was really surprised at how well he did on them.  It took about 45 minutes to agree on who got which stick but after that this kept them busy for almost 2 hours! 



Hannah and Rachel kept busy playing Basketball.  This was the first time for both of them.  The season was only 6 weeks so it was perfect to get them from Christmas to Spring.  Rachel starts soccer this week. 


Jacob has been sick for a few weeks.  He spent a lot of time cuddling with “my Hannah”. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

A is for Astronaut, V is for Valentine

Yay,  we had two weeks of uninterrupted school time!  This post will cover two weeks since I’m trying to get caught up from all the sick days and snow days.  We started a Solar System unit study.  I found some cute activities on another blog and we made them into a Space Lapbook. 

DSC03009With the nicer weather, Ben was able to go out and draw with the sidewalk chalk.  I “caught” him drawing the solar system.  He named the planets for me and numbered them in order!DSC03010

Here is Saturn, he was so proud of himself, and so was I. I thanked God immediately for the reassurance that it’s all sinking in!


A Verse – A calm answer turns away wrath.  We really worked on the application of this verse.  We talked about kind words vs. harsh words.  Yes, mom always needs a reminder lesson in this area too. 


We needed a new computer so the old one went in the school room.  This has been wonderful to use with them.  Both for educational games and for rewards for getting our school work done.  We’ve been able to pick out new games from the library each week.

Ben’s Space Lapbook



Our Valentines themed week was really fun.  I found a ton of stuff off the internet to use.  Jacob really enjoyed this week and was really cooperative. 

This week…

  • Jacob worked on the letter V, number 8 and color Red.
  • Our verse was “We should love one another” 
  • We finished our books about the solar system. 
  • The boys were very excited because I let them        watch Baby Galileo, which is a Baby Einstein video about the planets. 
  • I made a Valentine Sensory Bin
  • Painted coffee filter hearts.  Ben painted his black which was appropriate given his mood that day. :{
  • We made GF/CF cupcakes for our Valentine dinner. 

We had a really good week and I felt a renewed spirit for school.  After the Cold of 2011 I was feeling defeated and overwhelmed.  I am very thankful for the past two weeks and am feeling motivated to keep on plowing through. 

The Great Cold/Blizzard of 2011

I’m about 2 weeks behind in everything, I mean my posts.  The first week of February we experienced not just the Blizzard of 2011 but the Cold of 2011.  It started with Hannah and very quickly passed through all five kids.  Hannah missed 8 days of school, luckily two of those were snow days.  The other kids missed 2-3 days.  At one point all five were lined up on the couch snuggled under blankets watching movies all day long. We went through 4 bottles of Ibuprofen, 5 boxes of kleenex and more loads of laundry than I could count.  Needless to say, if I wasn’t ready for spring before then I certainly am now! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

L is for Ladybug

This was my first week having both boys at home in the mornings.  Jacob started in the PreK class at school so he is now going in the afternoons.  So I’m now working with both boys.  It is more fun with two but much more challenging.  Ben is  more interested in Jacobs’ work than his own and Jacob can’t still for more than 2 seconds.  I think they enjoy having each other but I need to be more creative in how to work with both boys without pulling my hair out. 




I taught them the song “This little light of mine” (to go along with our L theme) 


DSC02930 DSC02931






We worked on

  • Life stages of a lady bug
  • Information about insects.  They were so NOT interested in what I had to tell them about insects.  I did get them to sit and listen to some books. 
  • Ben’s still working on addition facts, telling time and special sounds
  • Jacob focused on the number 1, letter L and color yellow

The highlight of the week was a play date with their cousin Isaac.  They played with trains and then spent over two hours playing “Beach Day”.  They  found the swimsuits, and beach towels, then took turns jumping into the “water”.  It was great to see how well they played together and used their imaginations. DSC02925