Ten years (and a new blog name!)


We celebrated Braedan’s ten-year birthday last weekend!  He was asking for a new pet…rabbit, hamster, guinea pig…anything!  In fact, he and the twins are practically begging on a daily basis for bunnies since their cousins just down the street from us have three of them. I’m holding out strong on this one…I really don’t think we need bunnies or any other furry creatures that require cleaning, feeding, etc.

We ended up giving him a metal detector instead, and I don’t think he was too disappointed. He’s had a lot of fun with it so far! We learned pretty quickly that it requires a lot of patience and a little hard work (digging holes). I  also realized quickly that we will probably have lots of little holes scattered around the yard…

He’s found some coins, a couple different shell casings (planning to use this website to identify them), some rusty nails and a few other unidentifiable objects. Even though it’s going to take a long time to cover our own 4 acres, I think we’ll soon begin looking for some new places to hunt for treasure.

I finally changed the name of the blog. “everydayLittleway” is inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux. I read her autobiography The Story of a Soul earlier this year, and continue to be inspired and affirmed by her little way

“Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.”

                                                                                                                                         St. Therese

Garden beginnings



What started as a simple request to clear a path to the berries, has become the start of my future garden!  Although we have thousands of wild berries growing throughout our property, most of them have been difficult to get to (until now!) Stinging nettles and other wild and unruly plants had entangled themselves in the bramble bushes, making berry collecting a dangerous operation. But who could let all those lovely berries go unpicked? It’s one of our favorite summertime pleasures!

I hadn’t really decided where the future garden should go, but Chris knew it was on my mind. I may have mentioned it a couple (dozen) times. Once he started clearing the way to the berries it all just happened so quickly (he started on the lawn mower but ended up on the bobcat!)- and where the garden should go is now one less thing I need to decide. And it really is the perfect place. Never mind the problem of irrigation, or of how we will keep the wild critters from eating the garden before we can – we’ll figure that out somehow. For now, I’m just going to dream big and get my hands on some good gardening books. We have all summer to prepare for next season, when I hope we will be ready to put the first seedlings in the ground. Oh – the possibilities! I promise to update as I go (because I’m sure everyone is as excited about this garden as I am – right?)

Oh- and not to be forgotten, we carved out the beginning of the prayer garden I’ve been daydreaming about, too! I have big plans…

Future prayer garden:



Summer goodness and a Happy 14

DSC_0268DSC_0264DSC_0271DSC_0276DSC_0285DSC_0283We’ve spent the last few days soaking up this hot summer weather, as I’m sure many of you have. I don’t always like the heat, but lately I’ve been enjoying it immensely. I just love summer – being able to send the kids outdoors with ease and knowing they’ll (for the most part) stay happily busy for a good, long while.

We celebrated Hunter turning fourteen years old yesterday. We are so, so proud of him. What a gift he is to our family. My heart is so full it feels like it could burst, and there are only so many words and I never feel like any of them really do it justice. They don’t. If you’re a mom (or dad), you know.

We unpacked some really big boxes a few days ago. Of course, they promptly became a fort, which kept the kids occupied most of the afternoon. I mentioned something about adding windows for a breeze. The girls got excited at the idea. Knowing they might need a little help, Hunter quickly grabbed the scissors and spent the next half hour or so cutting out windows.

Did I mention how blessed we are by him?  I can’t wait to see what the next fourteen years bring.

Two years


With the exception of the first birthday, I’ve grown to appreciate a small and simple birthday celebration (some day you will thank me, kids! ) After years of trying to do it big and get everything “perfect” (read: stressful), I have realized the kids don’t really miss all of that (and neither do I).

And so it was for Gianna’s second birthday. I spent a little time in search of a good push toy for her, but all she ever wanted as we hopped from one store to the next was a ball. I thought I had found something perfect, only to watch her push right past it heading straight for the $2.99 ball bin. Trying to convince a two year old that she should choose the toy mommy thinks is fancier and more fun is a foolish move and will not yield the desired outcome. Wisely, I gave that up after 4 seconds and decided a pink rubber ball was perfect. She loves it.

We ended the day with cake, and I never want to forget the joy in little Gigi’s eyes as we lit her candles and sang the happy birthday song. Precious. You are a treasure, Gianna, and loved more than words can ever tell.

teaching what {really} matters



I have always sensed that homeschooling my children has been more of a learning experience for me than it has been for them.  Recently that reality became clear to me once again.  I have a child who struggles with math. I’ve been working diligently, day by day, sometimes hours at a time to help him understand.  We’ve made progress, no doubt, but with many bumps along the way.  This particular afternoon I sat down to correct his latest work and was disheartened to find numerous errors – many of which are things we’ve come back to over and over again.  I was alone in the kitchen, the kids having since gone out to explore and play on what was a truly beautiful afternoon. Baby was asleep – the house quiet. Tears began to well up in my eyes as words of doubt and fear crept into my thoughts.  I’m failing him. He’s never going to get this. What’s wrong with him…with me?

I sat in the quiet for a while, sort of blankly staring out the window. I imagined this child outside as he was, hiking through the woods, exploring and imagining…doing what he loves most. I could hear the sounds of the kids’ carefree voices in the distance. I resisted the urge to call him inside.

As I stepped away from the table and the stack of books that lay before me, I began to feel God’s grace wash over my heart. I felt Him speaking gently but clearly…This is not his gift. Focus on his gifts.

Immediately a sense of peace and joy began to dissolve my discouragement, and beauty and love took its place. This child is beautifully and wonderfully created,  I was reminded. My thoughts turned to his many shining gifts, and my love for him wiped away any disappointment I had felt. Perhaps I had been expecting what was never meant to be. Math may never be his thing. It’s okay! Math isn’t everything. For some, it may mean very little at all in life. Maybe there really isn’t anything broken here.

I didn’t ask for it in that moment, and I definitely didn’t deserve it, and yet I was offered grace once again. Thank you, Jesus.

The responsibility of educating my children on my own can feel like a heavy burden at times. I have to remind myself frequently of the reasons I chose this path – reasons that seem to get muddled up and fuzzy in the reality of the long and difficult days we sometimes have.  At times, my own faults and insecurities have led me to unfairly lay that burden on their shoulders as well.  It’s not fair of me to hold my children up to the expectations I have created out of my own experiences and desire to appease those nagging fears.  Teaching isn’t about forcing knowledge upon someone – I’m convinced it is all about discovering the truth and beauty that exists all around us- and in us.  What we are really doing here is forming souls. This child of mine, he works pretty hard at math. Who am I to expect more of him than he may be able to give? It’s there, in that realization, that I need to let go of my own expectations (which are sometimes the product of my own need for self-assurance), and beg Jesus to lead me. Beg Him not to let my own imperfections and brokenness break my children along the way.

I want to help them discover their strengths. I want to celebrate their interests. I want us to enjoy our time together. I want them to have happy memories of homeschooling. I am aware of how fleeting these moments are…the reality of it sometimes takes my breath away.

I realize that math isn’t going to go away, and I’m not giving up. We will keep working, and together we will move along.  Thankfully, through my own growth on this journey of homeschooling – which is all possible through God’s grace alone – my perspective has shifted. Priorities have been rearranged, in which excelling at mathematics (especially with the risk of great cost to ones peace and view of their self-worth) does not rank above knowing and loving the soul that God has placed in my care.  In His mercy, God has reminded me that good math scores don’t necessarily mean success (or bad ones failure), and that real learning happens as we discover our true selves, those traits and natural desires that He has woven into us and which direct us always back to Him. My job (my privilege) is to walk with my children, leading them on a path of love, support, and discovery. A journey that will, God-willing, help them to uncover their God-given strengths and talents, and ultimately the purpose God has for their lives.




Hunter was less than thrilled when we asked him to pose for a family picture in front of lots of people after Easter Mass. We made it quick, but a certain toddler wasn't in the mood to stand still.

Hunter was less than thrilled when we asked him to pose for a family picture in front of lots of people after Easter Mass. We made it quick, but a certain toddler wasn’t in the mood to stand still.


We celebrated Landon’s 12th birthday and the twins 7th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Somehow I didn’t take a single picture of Landon on his birthday. Well, I can tell you that he received the dirt bike he wanted (only after he and Hunter agreed that they would share the gift for both of their birthdays) and he was very happy about it (Hunter, too!) In fact, electric bikes were the theme of our spring birthdays this year.  Maya and Alexa are riding in style on their new electric scooters now, too.

We celebrated Easter at my parents house with the whole family (my three sisters and their families…18 kids total. Crazy and fun! Gianna discovered chocolate and is quite fond of it. She may look most like her dad, but she does have a few of her mamas traits, I guess!

I had an unexpected few hours all to myself (almost) tonight. I dropped the kids off to golf and Chris wanted to keep the twins to practice with them.  They’ve been anxious to start golfing and tonight was the perfect spring night for it.  I headed home with Gianna, not exactly sure what to do with this unplanned gift of time. The house was quiet.  I decided to get a work out in. This time I really had no excuses! Afterwards, Gigi and I went outside to walk the trails around our house, and I remembered to grab my camera. I was looking for the little signs of new life that Spring brings with it, and they were everywhere. I’m so thankful for the changing seasons – and the gift of being able to stop and enjoy them.

I guess I didn’t know how much I would appreciate the time…and especially the quiet.


Good Things


Just a few short weeks ago, this winter felt like it would never end. The boys spent a lot of time snowboarding ( 2 – 3 times a week usually) and I never did get to go along. Chris usually took them, or they went with their good friends (who happen to have three boys nearly the same ages as ours!). The twins and Gigi and I had some quiet(er) time together which was really nice. The boys activities have a way of taking center stage sometimes as they get older and busier. I loved having our “girl” time.  Well anyway, it’s definitely the boys’ favorite thing about winter, and I sure am glad that they spent that time together. I kept telling myself maybe nex time I’ll go with- but as it goes, next time didn’t come and practically overnight the snow is gone and we’re moving into summer. Golf shoes have already been brought out, dusted off, and it’s determined that feet grow much too quickly around here!

I asked the boys to let me take some photos of them a couple of days ago as they waited to head off on their last snowboarding day this season. I’m so happy they were willing. I always intend to take pictures but don’t get to it much lately (a running theme in my life…) I know how fast they grow up, and someday soon this moment will seem to have been a very long time ago.

Gianna loves the snow! She often walked around the house saying “noman?” (snowman) hoping we would take her outside. All the kids loved bringing her out. She loved sledding, too, and we all knew what she wanted to do when she would point outside and say “wheeeee?” I just love toddler language, and especially how it can become like a secret code that only those closest can decipher.