Adoption Day

photos by my father-in-law, Doug

Early yesterday morning we met our family at the courthouse. Everyone was talking about the weather–it was perfect. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had the final hearing for the adoption of their son, Jesse. He has been with them for over a year, he’s already family. But yesterday was an important day. A day to legalize that he belongs to them.

As the judge declared him part of the family, he also legalized his new name. The name given to him by his mother and father.

Jesse will never remember the judge, or the courtroom, or even his old name. He will grow up with traditions and customs that are his own, that he will someday pass down to his own children.

However, he will grow up knowing that one day, someone stood before a judge and asked for him, wanted him, took responsibility for him, and called him their own.

It’s a beautiful Gospel.


Charlotte’s Web Party

Jeremiah’s kindergarten class finished listening to Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White this week, and to celebrate I helped organize a simple party. I was able to snap a few pictures of the activities while running around helping!

We divided the class into four groups and had them rotate through different stations in the room.

First, was Zuckerman’s Farm, where Charlotte hung on her web. The kids dug through the “dumpster” trash, like Templeton, and had to find words that describe Wilbur.


Then they each had to write the word out with white pipe cleaners and place it on the web to make it look like Charlotte wrote it!

These are some of the words they found…

The next station was the Somerset County Fair! The kids played a few carnival games and won prizes.

The prizes were small plastic pigs, rings with scenes from the book, “ticket” candy, and crazy straws.

For the next station, I brought our farm animals, small blocks, and a carnival Lego set. They got to build their own scenes from the story on the floor.

The last station was set up for coloring. We printed coloring pages and provided crayons… a few little girls asked if they could stay at this station!

For snack they had popcorn and pig cake pops!

The kids really enjoyed the party, and after sitting quietly all semester through the whole book… they deserved it!

Two things I simply forgot to do… I wanted to bring buttermilk for them to taste, and E.B. White has written a letter to children that I wanted to read to them. Oh well, I’ll have a kindergartener next year!

Wormy apples

I love to surprise the kids with a fun snack on days they are on-campus all day. Sam also happened to be reading one of my favorite books this week- How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. He had apple-related activities at home and at school, including making apple sauce, baking an apple pie and counting seeds. We also had fun finding the little red house with no doors and no windows. And he loved this snack!

Wormy Apple!

I just made a hole for the worm with a pointy knife, but here’s a better way!

The Princess and The Pea Play Set

Antonella and I put together a little play set as a thank you gift for some friends. For inspiration, we looked at this one and this one!

The Princess and the pea and a tiny set of markers to draw her face, dress, crown, and color the pea… green.

The stack of mattresses! I think it would’ve been fun to make seven more of these to add to the set, but this is all we had time for. Hopefully enough for our little friends to stack and act out the story from their imaginations! I folded a long rectangle in half and sewed the long edges. I stuffed each mattress with two layers of thick fleece, and sewed the top.

The bag with a pocket for the princess and the pea!

All set up for a miserable night’s sleep!

A couple more things…

I answered some of your questions about the beds at the bottom of the post… Scroll down to read more information about the bolts, heights, safety and more.

The paint color is Creek Bend by Behr. My husband picked it out and I was really not convinced. It wasn’t until the beds were hung that I fell in love with it!

The ladder, seen unfinished here, was built by my dad for our library… and we cut it down to fit both the beds! He’s happy for it to get more use!

Please let me know if you build the beds–I would love to see pictures!

Date Night Every Night

My husband and I are both blessed to have parents who not only love each other, they love to be together. They choose to be together. They truly enjoy life together. We are aware that is rare and we have been blessed in our own marriage by their example.

So when I say that we haven’t been on a date in a long time, don’t feel bad for us or fear for our marriage. My husband prioritizes his time in such a way that every evening, we spend together. In many ways we don’t need to go anywhere to go on a date. Every evening we talk, hang out, laugh, catch up on our day’s events. We drink our tea and play Scrabble. It seems so normal to us that when one of us has something to do in the evening, it kinda throws us.

But that does not negate the fact that it is not only fun to go out, we need to go out to get a break from the routine of life. Last Saturday night our amazing babysitter came over and we got to go have a night on the town. We are always tempted to stay in our own neck of the woods but the truth is that there’s not a whole lot to do around here, so we headed into the big city.

We had dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse and dessert here. Amazing place! Neil laughed so hard at one point that he snorted coffee up his nose which made me laugh really hard. Then we tried to act urban and cool.

We went to see Macbeth at St. Thomas, and really enjoyed it. At intermission, we realized that we had to get home in order for our babysitter to make curfew, so we left. We’ll catch the second half next season.. on our next date!


Three Boys, One Room

It took a while, but we finally got the boys’ room done! I was inspired once again by Ana White. When the time came for August to switch to a big boy bed, we decided to put all three boys in the same room. We looked for some time for bunk beds, triple beds, and all different combination of beds to accommodate all three of them in a small space, and we really didn’t find anything that we liked and could afford. So, although what we hoped to be a weekend project took a little longer, we are happy with the results!

We used the plans for the hanging daybed and modified them just a bit. The beds are hanging from the walls with thick rope from metal hooks and also bolted into the wall.

This is Sam’s bed. I cannot remember for the life of me where I found the rock poster, but I ordered it online when we first moved into this house about three years ago. (Kideko!) The bed is about four feet off the ground and has a nice space underneath that I plan on adding to in the future…

The bed linens are from Ikea, including this embroidered map of the world pillow. Neil rigged these outdoor lights to work as battery-powered LED lights that you turn on with a button. I will have to do another post altogether on his amazing work of genius.

August sleeps on the bottom and Jeremiah sleeps on top.

Jeremiah has a ladder and a rope that he can climb to get in bed.

Jeremiah takes art as his elective at school and I framed one of the stamp prints that he made.

The corner under Jeremiah’s bed- table from Ikea, vintage lamp from a garage sale, with some books and a few toys. We store all of our toys in the playroom, although they do get hauled all over the house, it makes it easier to clean up and keep things organized. The boys have book time every day on their beds, so they keep whatever books they want in these baskets.

This is the artwork by August’s bed. A vintage print of the Dumbo book cover, and a piece depicting an Argentinian poem that I grew up with.

And, yes, they have bed rails… The older boys sleep with these and August with this. I was nervous the first few nights about them getting down to go to the bathroom, but we haven’t had any problems!

Even though Neil and I both enjoy projects and have fun building and decorating, it doesn’t compare to the joy of putting the boys to bed at night in the same room… Their voices singing and praying together, their whispers long after the lights go out… and the not-so-whispered demands from the youngest to the oldest for “more song!”

Update: Thanks for your kind comments! To answer some of your questions… The beds are secured into the wall with five inch lag bolts drilled through the frame of the bed and into each of the wall studs. The ropes hang from big eye hooks that are drilled into the wall and into the top of the bed frame. This is a picture of  the underside, you can get a better idea how the beds are drilled into the wall. The beds that are stacked are approximately 2 feet off the ground and 6 feet off the ground. We measured to the bottom of the frame, but I am not certain that they turned out exact, we kinda eyeballed it. The beds are heavy! The stool is from Ikea, spray painted with something like this.  Even though we put much effort into making sure the beds are secure, we have given the boys strict guidelines as far as safety is concerned. They are not allowed to jump on the beds, jump from one bed to the other, and Jeremiah is not even allowed to sit at the end of his bed, just in case. My husband and I have both climbed up on the beds and they haven’t budged, so they are sturdy, but we do not want them loosening up over time. I will post the wall color tomorrow! More info here

Check out the Room Tour on Ohdeedoh and a complete list of resources at Apartment Therapy Marketplace!

Daddy Date

Neil has been taking Antonella on dates since she was about two years old. They usually go out to eat and then to Starbucks to play games and talk. Although sometimes the dates are a bit more elaborate, including a roller coaster ride or a little shopping, there is one thing that every date includes- a question. The same question, actually, every time they go out together.

How’s your heart?

This tradition opens the door to the conversations that shape our daughter’s heart. She knows it’s coming, she knows that a simple “fine” will not suffice. She knows what matters to her daddy, and she knows what has eternal value.

What she may not know now, however, is that her daddy is a very tough act to follow.


As I have mentioned before, seldom do I get the chance to sit at the sewing machine for extended periods of time. Most of the things that I make these days are quick, easy, and fun. And most of them are gifts for people. Antonella loves to help me, and a couple of nights ago we made a headband for her friend’s birthday… She had the idea, picked the fabrics, and sewed it together. I helped with the flower.

The headband has an elastic at the bottom and is really simple. She was so excited and wanted to keep making them. I sent her to bed because it was late, but I did stay up long enough to make myself a simple little flower!

These are the days

We are half way through the first semester. I have been teaching the first grade class at our school, unexpectedly, so my days have not been what I had planned. However, I am so thankful for the days we are at home… Thankful because even though we have a couple of crazy days every week, the rest are filled with what I hope the following pictures capture- very normal homeschool days.

The easiest way for me to capture these moments throughout our days is with my phone, so the following images are a collection of photographs taken without a plan, or a flash, or a zoom… just with my phone.

The kids have been hard at work…

Antonella sits at the table to do most of her work.

Jeremiah and Sam sit in old school desks (thanks, Nina!) for some of their activities.

We take lots of trips to the library.


Some field trips…

And recess every day!

Antonella works on her project

while Jeremiah tuckers out. So much thinking and learning and studying in kindergarten… enough to wear one out!

Sam sorts and works on fine motor skills…

And August takes advantage of the grey areas in our dress code policy.