It’s…A…!!!!

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GIRL!!!!

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I’m sooo happy…

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As are they! Especially the twins!

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And him. 🙂 

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So grateful to Father God!

Birthday Get-Away

“I don’t really know what to get you for your birthday this year…” (My amazing husband, Craig, speaking.)

“Hmmm. I don’t really know what I want/need either…” (His wife speaking.)

She soon came up with a fun idea! Overnight get-away before the new baby arrives!! 

And so we did.

We used points to secure a gorgeous, corner suite at Le Meridian Dallas, the Stoneleigh. 

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We had aspirations of doing some adventurous exploring in the great city of Dallas. 🙂

Instead, we settled on a coffee shop on Friday afternoon…

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But there we sat, in the middle of the room, on yellow couches. And after sipping our drinks, decided we were tired and not in the mood to be a centerpiece. So we found our hotel and checked in! It was so gorgeous in there. So we relaxed. Honestly, somehow, I need to find a way to be in a constant state of relaxation and peace, even though I have a hundred kids! It took me a bit to decompress and really start resting. 🙂 

For dinner, we decided we were in the mood for Mexican fine dining. 🙂 We knocked that one out of the park! It was a lovely restaurant, great prices, and delicious! Definitely a cut above the usual Mexican fare of Cleburne. 🙂 I enjoyed grilled quail with a side of sauteed vegetables, and fried plantain. It was amazing. We added a side of papusas. Cuz we had to! Sadly, they missed the mark. We know what the real deal is like. 🙂 Ah. That was fun. 

Craig and I like to do the same things. That’s kinda’ cool. 🙂 We are sort of…foodies…without money. 🙂 Which is actually fun! Cuz then you need to work to find the cool food you can eat. 

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For breakfast the next morning, we found The Yolk. Amazing food. Fun atmosphere. 

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And then we said…let’s find another coffee shop! We both had reading/meditating we wanted to do. And talking. 🙂 So we struck out. This coffee shop…honestly, was a dream. It was not full. Not loud. It had pleasant, modern, cool decor. Great drinks. And all these corners of comfy seats! 

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We spent quite some time there. It was awesome. 

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Then we went back to chill in the cool areas of the hotel. And ordered Chili Lime Sweet Potato Fries. I cannot begin to describe how delicious they were. And I cannot wait to make something similar! I am going to toss sweet potato pieces in chili powder and olive oil. Roast in the oven. When it comes out, squeeze fresh lime over the fries. Add chili powder to ranch dip. Eat a lot. Mmmmm….

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Then we went home. 🙂 I missed my kids. But it was so good for us and wonderful in many ways. 

Peace. 

This and That

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We have had a lot of rain this year!

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Welding.

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Restoring a roof!

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Painting the benches that Craig made! We also painted the table top, and added a hard, clear coating. 

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They turned out…beyond fantastic!!

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Norma came to visit for a day! She was flying through Dallas, and picked a long layover. 🙂 This was more than worth driving Dallas traffic to the airport! 🙂 

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So blessed! Thank you for coming. 🙂

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Time for some serious cheesecake. 🙂

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Playing with a glove balloon. 🙂 

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Time for Enzo’s first, hard core haircut! (He had a little trim before.) 🙂

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Wait. What did you do to me?

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Just hiding. Cuz there’s a possibility I shouldn’t have this…

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I had fun sewing up some summer maternity maxi dresses! 

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Took the kids on a “date’. Bomani really longs to go on dates. Cuz dad and mom do it. And they are happy when they come home. 🙂 (I guess that’s why!) He didn’t think this was a date though, because it wasn’t dark outside…

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Yeah. The plague of biting ants…in the house…

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Like mom. 🙂

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From our tiny garden! 

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It’s a fantastic size. Maybe not quite as large in life as it appears here. 🙂 

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Our garden. First year to be truly successful in about every way. I am replanting the cucumbers…because they are bitter! I can only use about half of each cucumber. I learned that I need to plant a non-bitter variety here in TX. 

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One of the pepper plants has reached the top of the tomato cage. 🙂 

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My herb bed. As you can see, the basil took over! I need to make some pesto one of these days. The dill is struggling. Probably too rich of an earth mixture for it…

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Lavender

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I planted a few echinacea plants this year. I’d like to get a good patch established. 

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Lemongrass. 🙂 It survived the winter and has only continued to grow! Come have some creamy chai!

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Never cease to be blessed by these trees/bushes in Texas. They flower at the hottest time of the year. Lovely.

And there is the random picture update for the week!

Twin Birthdays!

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Lots of fun on July 11! Grandpas were here. And we went to the Imagination Station!

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First we stopped for lunch. The workers brought the twins a birthday surprise and sang for them!

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The enormous sandbox with super soft sand is always a hit…

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Craig and Bomani playing soccer. 🙂 

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🙂 🙂 

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Melt me…

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Enzo tends to get slightly…freaked out by this large animal in the veterinary room!

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There was a little boy about his size!

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They looove this room!

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And then…the building room. So fun!

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There are holes in the studs for the kids to fit pipes into. Really cool. 

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Peeeek…a boo!

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Craig helped them build a couch.

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Music room!

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And then we went home for the party!

I decided to make a layer cake…first in my life, I believe. 🙂 I used the black bean fudge layer cake recipe in the Nourish cookbook. It was fun!

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The filling and frosting was whipping cream and cream cheese. I made it pink using jello granules. Sweetened with jello and stevia. No sugar in the cake. It was (mostly) healthy and fun!

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Not perfect, but what matters was that they loved it. 🙂 

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We got them each a doll, a small brush, and some hair bands, etc. So fun to have girlies…

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Enzo had fun with Grandma. 

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And Grandpa too! It was a most lovely day. 

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Cheers!

In Transition

..and I’m not talking about a stage of labor. 🙂 

Every now and again I think with a twinge of sadness at how seldom I post on my blog! Just so you know…it’s on my mind. But it isn’t what I need to focus on right now. So…there ya have it. I do have a fun post about the twins’ birthday coming up! And!!! Tomorrow Craig and I are taking off for an overnight getaway in Dallas for my birthday!!! Just the two of us!!!! So I might post pics of some cool Dallas adventures. We are leaving soon after lunch, returning Saturday afternoon, so we’ll have some time to explore the city!

Transition.

We really need your prayers right now. But not…let’s see…not really, “normal” prayers. 🙂 Okay, that sounded weird!

We are in an incredibly exciting, but enormously challenging and…in many ways, confusing or blurry, time of our life. Not really in a big, bad way. Just…we need so, so much wisdom, work of God in our hearts and souls, and…I don’t even know what all we need. God does though!

Mostly, in simple, earthly terms, this has to do with our business. But in the business thing, God is taking us into a totally different…everything. 

And I really doubt I’m making a lot of sense here. 🙂 

Read this post…if you want to know more how to pray for us. This describes it exactly.

How To Keep From Sabotaging Your Own Transition

 

I’m excited. I don’t know what all God is doing, but I am excited. And sort of wandering about, really wanting to learn and know what God wants in me, for the future, in His Kingdom, for us, and just knowing that…He has the Body of Christ here for so many reasons. And one is to lift each other up in prayer and support and love. So that’s why I’m…posting. 

<3

Blue Skies

Saturday. 

Quiet.

Peace.

Restful.

Sunshine.

I’m feeling rather calm and happy. 🙂 After a morning of cooking wildly and doing this and that, I took a shower and a nap, wherein I caught up from last night where Enzo decided to be awake and yell. And now I have that after-work, after-shower, after-nap feeling… 🙂

But seriously. To wake up in the morning, lie there in bed, and start getting inspired about what I want to cook that day?!!

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That’s miraculous and fantastic and generally awesome. 🙂 I won’t forget another first trimester very quickly. And my deepest sympathies to you dear friends out there who are in the thick of it. You know who you are. 🙂

Today marked the beginning of a three-day weekend. What fun! Craig and I are going to try to leave the business behind us for a couple days, and take a break. But really…it’s hard! Why? Because we are having so much fun. 🙂 I looked at Craig the other day and said, “We are living on the edge.” And he agreed. When I told his mom that on the phone the other day, she reminded me that both Craig and I like living on the edge. 🙂 True! So it goes to make sense that we are enjoying life right now…

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Seriously. Why would someone not want Craig to restore their roof?! Our last clients were thrilled. They said it made what felt like up to 20 degrees of difference in the temperature inside their building. 🙂 

Our roofing business is at a place right now that is exciting. Jump-off-a-cliff kind of exciting. Craig is in his element. He is doing what he loves. Looking into the future and developing this thing. I love that he takes me with him. He comes home, tells me everything, explains things to me, and asks for my thoughts. He took me with him last Saturday for a meeting at the Midlothian Coffee Bar with our website/web everything developer. That was so cool. Like a business date. 🙂 

Maybe the biggest thing is what God is telling us and doing in us with this business. He is blessing us in it. He wants Craig in the business world for a reason. Some of the things He has shown us came as a surprise to us. For years I thought we were headed back to overseas missions. Craig loved it. I love it. Why not? And we very well may be someday. But what He is saying now…is different. Another work He has for us. And He’s got some work to do in us right now. Some of that is hard. But oh…so good. 

In other news…we’re mostly just…doing life here! It’s really hot out these days, so the kids are mostly indoors. The two swimming pools are a life saver. Otherwise, they really do go crazy. I need to gather my strength and take them out and about more often. But it’s a huge job! So I don’t. We just hang out at home. 🙂 

One really fun outing was the day my friend, Mary, and I took the kids to The Imagination Station. This appears to be an old school building of some sort. And it has been turned into heaven for kids. 🙂 There are five different rooms. The first room we stopped in had an enormous, walled in sandbox, with high quality sand that had been donated to them. My kids could have played in there for hours. 🙂 

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But there were so many other fun rooms to explore as well!

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These two are just too adorable…

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Beautiful Hazel. 

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My favorite picture of the day. 🙂 

And Mary and I had a great time catching up, while drinking our coffee and chai. 🙂 

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Thankfully we were not sold to the circus… 🙂

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One really fun part of owning your own business is the flexibility. That can also be the least fun part! But the other day, I found out that there was almond butter at Town Talk, the grocery outlet in Fort Worth, for $2.99 per jar. In store it runs from $10.00 to $12.00! Craig was home working in the office, so we packed up the kids and made a family run to Town Talk. I hauled off with two cases of almond butter. 🙂 As well as other lovely foods! We stopped at Sweet Frog on the way home!

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I’m sure I posted a picture, before, of the lovely, low, long, solid wood table I found for $10 at a yard sale! It is beyond awesome for the kids! I had three, cheap, wood, kids chairs for the big three. They love this table! But they are hard on chairs. One fell apart. The others’ days are numbered, but do seem to be more sturdy. After shopping for a while, I gave up on finding the perfect, wood chairs. Instead, I considered making two, wood benches. They I scrapped that idea. I’m pregnant, with a hundred kids. When and how would I make benches? 

So Craig said he would do it. 🙂 He is awesome that way. And so many other ways. 

He is working on them down at the Red Barn, which we are renting for our roofing supplies. It’s about a minute from home, dirty, old, and terribly fun for the kids. Last Saturday we spent some time there. 🙂 Enzo had a blast. 

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He loved standing by these weeds, allowing them to wave in his face. 🙂 He is the funniest baby I have ever known. I laugh at him regularly, and love him dearly…

So this morning, Craig took the big three to the red barn. Enzo watched them put on their crocs, and went up to Craig, begging to go along! So I took him to the other porch and hid while they left. But it didn’t work. He knew they had gone, and was very, very unhappy!

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I finally decided to take him for a while. He was quite excited when I told him, “shall we go to dad?!” And when I had a few things to do first, he howled until we went out the door. 🙂 

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Although he looks disgruntled on this picture, 🙂 he was so happy to be there! He toddled around, following the kids as they biked on the abundant concrete. 

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Isn’t that bench awesome?! Craig hits it out of the park again! 

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Take note of his dirty, little legs. 🙂

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I took him home then, and stuck him in the tub. He was happy and satisfied. He adores his dad. One of his first words…”da da!” 

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I “made” these dresses out of t-shirts and other pieces of skirts that other people gave me. Was rather happy with them! I did some more work on Hazel’s then, and got her some blue ribbon too. 🙂 

Last Sunday I was asking God how I can help to make Craig successful. And Proverbs 31 came to my mind, so I studied it out a bit. She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands. Okay. So, I will now stop grumbling every time I need to sew! I will work willingly with wool and flax. 🙂 And right now I am in the thick of sewing up 4 summer, maternity, maxi dresses. My maternity wear with Enzo’s pregnancy was warm and wintry! 

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Our garden is producing many cucumbers! Yesterday I made a gallon of refrigerator pickles…with help, of course!

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Daisy’s idea of a delicious snack.

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A friend dropped off some corn! The twins ate some before I cooked it. They said it was delicious… 🙂

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Enzo thought it was awesome!

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Time to clean out their drawers! I didn’t really expect them to dump them out on the floor though…

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We have had such a lovely, stretch of good health! We are so grateful. The only issue (besides my allergies), is that Bomani and Hazel are still having repercussions from the hand, foot, and mouth disease of a month or more ago. Their fingernails are falling off! And it’s painful, as they can bleed if they get jarred. Hazel has a hard time going to sleep, because she can’t suck her thumb right now. 🙂 

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In the hot part of summer, these Texas trees burst into flowers. This picture doesn’t even begin to do justice. It was brilliant, and I could lie in bed, and look at it out of our window. 

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This boy. 🙂 He is so full of character. The other day he came to the door of the office, and made some noises that said, “I want something!” So I came out. He turned and toddled into the kitchen, climbed up on the step-stool, and indicated the butter. He loves butter. He eats if off a spoon…

So I fed him some butter. 🙂

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Baking is so fun again! And cooking is coming. 🙂 I am finding that my passion is to make delicious, delectable food that is healthy. Desserts have always been my love, so it translates into healthy desserts…my hobby. 🙂 But one does not survive on desserts alone, so…

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I almost repented for not planting zucchini this year, until people started nearly begging to give me zucchini! Here I stuffed it with ground beef and cheese.

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Salmon from Town Talk!

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Quesadillas two ways. 🙂 (Zucchini for mom and dad…)

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Chicken stir fry comin’ up!

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It was lovely.

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I had no idea this fudge cake would be so delicious without cocoa! I wanted a milder cake we could eat before bed. Cocoa can keep me awake! 

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This was one reason I wanted almond butter! We are trying to watch our carbs again…and this cake is so yummy, while being high on protein and low on carbs! I use mostly stevia instead of honey, sometimes adding a bit of honey for flavor. 

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Every Sunday I get this craving for a delicious, slightly naughty dessert! So one Sunday I concocted some sort of cream cheese mixture, and covered it with chocolate. 🙂 

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And then…there’s the breakfast issue. 🙁 🙂 For so long, I got up every morning and fried up either french toast, or pancakes. And finally, I said, no more. I’m not frying pancakes for 30 minutes as soon as I’m awake. Done. 

So I made up a batch of the THM pancakes, only I use whole eggs and add butter. And I baked it in a cake pan with either blueberries or raspberries. Bomani and Enzo love it! The twins hate it. Sigh deeply. 

So I made an enormous batch of granola. High in nuts, but oats in it as well. Almond butter. Butter. Maple syrup. Stevia. Etc. I killed it. I mean, it’s a little high in coconut, but honestly, the most amazing, crunchy, delectable granola I have ever made. I feel naughty every morning as I savor my bowl of granola. I mean, shouldn’t breakfast be a little…hard to eat? 🙂 

And of course. Sigh. I have no way to make it again. Because I measured nothing. Not one ingredient. Why do I do this to myself? 

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And so I look to my Father…so grateful to be cooking and baking again. I watch my tummy bump growing…and am so grateful for the new life. Our new baby. I love the middle trimester!

And life goes on. 

Father God…You are blue skies. Our hope is in You. 

This is an Update!

Ahh. I have so many things to tell you lovely readers and friends. So many pictures to show you! So this afternoon, when I really should be baking something healthyish…and working on CLM Commercial Roofing banking…I am going to sit down on the couch, with my ice water, tissues, and hundred kids surrounding me…and I’m going to update! 🙂

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Over the years of our married life, we have tried numerous cool ways of gardening. Some years we had one or two plants that went crazy! But mostly, we never achieved our dreams of abundance. This year, Craig built a fantastic, raised bed, and surprised me with a little herb bed as well! He put in a custom mix of compost, purlite, and one other ingredient, the name of which is eluding me. Then we planted!

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He was very unimpressed that he had to stay in his stroller while others were digging in the dirt! We have chiggers on our property, and I would rather keep the kids off the grass, than deal with the terrible itch of having them lined with bites. 

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By the time we built our garden, we were about a month late. This means that the plants at the nursery were…sub-par. 🙂 But we decided to buy them and let God work a miracle of life! 

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Finally, I gave up on holding the squirming, yelling baby, and popped him into the dirt. 🙂 

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And then…there was the weekend that John and Crystal came to visit us! It was a lovely, long weekend. And even though I was still dealing with nausea, I was determined not to pass the time languishing in the house. 🙂 And so on Saturday, we went to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens! It was a blast. 

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My life. <3

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On the boardwalk, there is this cool device where you talk in one end, and down the path, someone can listen at the next station! The kids thought it was awesome. 🙂 

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Seeing double… 🙂 🙂 (I’m secretly thinking of how fun it would be to have another set of twins…)

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Every time Craig and I went to the Botanical Gardens on dates, I would think of how much the kids would love it! And they did.

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There are times when I am utterly charmed. 🙂 Love these kids…

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This was pretty close to heaven for them…to have some of their favorite people come visit…

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My favorite person. 🙂 

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Getting tired!

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After that, we dined at a Japanese Ramen Noodle Restaurant!

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All in all, it was a most delightful weekend. 

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And then life goes on. I’m not sure how to adequately describe the last three months. Because really, it’s been about that long since I have updated. 

Maybe the best way to put it into mere, human words would be…that this has been an incredibly difficult, and incredibly amazing slot in our lives…all at once. 

Because while extraordinarily hard things happened, we also found God in ways we never have before. And before you start thinking that wow…we are amazing…it wasn’t so much because of us. It was a combination of incredible people God placed into our lives–right when He knew it was time. And these people have spoken life, truth, and showed us how powerful God is. And we are not the same…

So I find myself…filled with…sort of awe. And gratefulness. So much gratefulness. And a lot of excitement. A lot. 🙂 

I know. I’m being terribly ambiguous. Or vague…may be a better word. But these are things I can’t talk about. Unless you come to my house. Then I’ll make tea. We will sit down. And we will share with each other the great things God has done…

In the meantime, the kids kept growing, learning…and being kids. 🙂 

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We had an enormous amount of rain this year! Many people found themselves with more water then they knew what to do with. We are blessed to live on a hill. 

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This little guy loves to climb! Which means he gets into things. In the space of one day…he made several piles of food for himself. 🙂 

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Must have been hungry! Honestly, he eats more than I knew a baby could eat! He’ll polish off a whole avocado, and want something else. A banana is nothing to him. 🙂 Or maybe I just forgot how much a one-year-old can put away!

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Daisy begs to help me in the kitchen. Begs. 🙂 

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Daisy also loves working with legos. She will carefully follow instructions and create amazing things. 🙂 

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Honestly, I sit and just watch Enzo play with the big blocks. It’s so fun. 🙂 

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Here Craig built a cage for our tomatoes. 

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Love.

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My herb bed!

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In May, Craig went to an IGo reunion in Indiana. He was gone for four, full days. I thought it was forever. 🙂 

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My friend, Leslie gave my a large amount of nice, polka dot cotton fabric. So I added it to some dresses I found on Primary.com. The twins were happy! Now…to somehow create a maternity dress that doesn’t look like a polka dot elephant in the end…

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Craig continues to build the roofing business. We are excited and grateful to God!

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Bomani is growing up! He loves to help me with things, and especially loves to hang out with dad. He also loves writing notes and hiding them in my room. This one in particular nearly melted me into a puddle of tears…

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And I will wrap up with a picture of Craig and I on our anniversary date. It was beyond my wildest dreams…the most beautiful, blessed evening… I cannot thank Father God enough for all He has given us. <3

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Peace.

<3

Blessed.

Eight years ago today…

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Every year…I realize more deeply, how incredibly God has blessed me. I am not going to brag on Craig here. 🙂 (It would take pages and pages…and possibly crash the blog. 🙂 ) I am going to thank God. Bless God. And just look at Him with my heart full…of gratefulness and love. 

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Eight years and a hundred kids later… 🙂 🙂 🙂 

And tonight he has a surprise date planned! He found a babysitter and everything. Eeek!

Peace. 🙂

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…
Let me walk upon the water
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander…
And my faith will become stronger
In the Presence of my Saviour…

I’m grateful for prayer these days. Thank you. I’m looking forward to days ahead when I can start writing and posting pictures again. 🙂 

<3 Rachel

School

Hi!

So, this fall, we are starting the big three kids into a homeschool program. 

I’m researching the options…and though maybe some of you have reviews and research you’d like to share! 

We will be going with homeschool online or CDs. With having a baby, I am quite sure this is the best option! 

We are looking at Abeka…Jubilee Academy, etc…trying to find the best value for the $. 🙂

Thank you!

Rachel

P.S. They are at about K5 level. Getting close to ready for 1st grade, depending on the school.