With each new school year comes the need to raise funds for our school.  I know each school is the same because I have sweet little faces at my door both at home and work offering me the chance to purchase cookie dough, magazines, sponsor a jog-a-thon, etc.  I totally understand the need to support education, athletics, technology, and the arts.  But…I literally HATE sending my kids door to door to sell cookie dough.  I don’t want the cookie dough.  I don’t need to eat it and I don’t need to store it.  My friends’ kids are all also selling cookie dough.  And, it’s become a joke that we should each just cut our schools a check rather than go through the hassle of some of the fundraisers.  You know what I mean.  I’m sure many of you have the same thing.

This year our school has decided to try something new.  They’ve set up an online platform for fundraising.  We are asking for sponsorships from people to fund the school.  But, we are also going to end our fundraising drive with a awesome event where our kids will pack 10,000 meals for other local students who are less fortunate and are not always sure they will have food available for three meals a day.  So, while we are raising funds for our school we’re also giving our kids an opportunity to serve in the local community and meet a very real need.  It’s exciting.  It’s cool to see our kids serving other kids their age who have a real need that our kids can help fill.  If you are interested at all in Christian education, helping young people who need a meal, or just in helping my family in particular – please check our our family’s page for the fundraising here.  We would love your support.  If you can’t give financially we would love your prayers for this fundraising drive as well as for the event at the end where we pack 10,000 meals. And, it’d be really great if you could pray for the kids who will receive the meals.  Thanks, friends.

F.E.A.S.T. “Funding Education And Serving Together

Here are some photos from our kickoff dinner last night.  It was an amazing time.

feast1 feast2


Ending Summer with a bang

We’re back from our whirlwind vacation.


We hit very little traffic on our way (glorious) and arrived in just over the 3 hours google told us the trip would take. It probably would have been exact, but I’m a terrible traveler & always have to stop. My husband has a bladder of steal & never needs to pull over. Needless to say, he is generally displeased with the kids and my inability to ‘just hold it’.

We arrived at the amazing home we were staying in, unloaded the car, & immediately went swimming. The weather was 30 degrees cooler than we’re used to & the pool was heated. It felt perfect!



Then, we went for a picnic. There was a lovely redwood area with a park. We got to relax, eat, and enjoy wandering around.




We went back & the boys played basketball while the girls swam. The house had an amazing basketball court & hoop. My boys were impressed!



We finished the night with dinner, more swimming & Mama had some margaritas. 😊


The rest of the weekend we hung out with various friends, laid by the pool, ate more than we should, played cards, and just relaxed!



We did take a quick trip to the beach. It was a little too cool for most of us to get in, but we still had fun.

This was the first vacation that we have been on where I didn’t try to fill every waking moment with something to do. I am a doer. I want to be doing something all the time. Something about doing things calms & relaxes me. My daughter is the same. She loves a good plan just like her mom. But, my husband and sons are not doers. They like to pause & just be. This trip was the first we had time to just be. It turned out wonderful. And, truth be told I feel pretty relaxed from just hanging out too.



Now, all three kids leave for a few days with my mother in law. They arrive back in time to go to my company picnic. Then, two days later Cora & I have a trip to the neurologist we are doing our best to make into a girlie trip. Our exchange student arrives soon after that. I’m so very thankful we got to spend just a few days relaxing before we end this summer with a bang!







My sister is a genius photographer.  You can see tons of her work here.  Her name is Betsey Walton.

Right now two of her photos are in a contest for the cover of Enjoy Magazine.

Please vote for her photos.  The one with the cute little boy and his cardboard rocket ship has the most votes so probably voting for that one is best.  You can vote here!!

Thanks friends!!

Another Back to School

When summer starts it seems like we have so wonderfully long until school starts again. Then, as the days and weeks slip by the new school year gets closer and closer until finally we’re in the spot we’re in now – the night before the first day of the school year.

No matter how much my kids complain or how many times my kids say they don’t want to go to school – the night before the first day is always exciting and frenzied. Tonight was no different.

Two days ago my youngest son informed me he didn’t care about what he would wear to the first day of school because that wasn’t until Thursday (two days is a long time when you’re 11). Today, at 9:30pm he informed me he was completely ready, but he needed jelly because we are out. Apparently, telling me that when we were actually in town didn’t seem necessary.

My daughter has spent the entire summer planning and re-planning her wardrobe. She’s done fashion show after fashion show as she tried to make new outfits with different pieces. This fashionista will probably be the death of me. Tonight she said “Mom, I need to start being beautiful all the time so the next time you get paid we need to go get a makeover, okay?” Uh, hello – you’re 11 not 16.

For my oldest, this is old hat. But, there is still that flutter of excitement and the picking out the clothes, shoes, things for the locker. He wants mechanical pencils only and tabs in his binders.

For me – I think “How did my children get to be so grown up? Why did we sign up for a 7am class? Why do the kids count how many food items they have in their lunches? Will the socks they need to wear show or can I get away with mismatched socks?” and so much more.

There are so many things I want for this school year – and the least of them is academic success for my children:

  • I want them to grow in Christ daily.  More than anything I want to see the Word of God in my children’s lives.  I want them to have complete faith and to witness to others with their actions each day.
  • I want them to be a true friend.  I want them to be the person who sits with the new kid.  I want them to forget about who is wearing what and just hang out with someone who might need someone right now.  I want that to be sincere and not because their mom told them to.  And, I want it to happen without me needing to say it.
  • I want them to experience all aspects of school.  School isn’t only academics.  People can learn at home on their own and be the smartest person in the world.  There’s a lot more to the school experience.  I don’t want them to just play sports, but also be in band.  I want them to play different sports each year just to see if they like them.  I want them to remember that ‘hanging out’ on the grass to be cool isn’t as fun as taking pictures for yearbook or volunteering for charity projects.
  • I want them to stand up for themselves.  I hate to see the struggle between letting someone ‘cool’ be unkind to them because they are afraid saying something will make them even less cool.  I want them to understand they are strong and they can be cool all on your own.  People will buy into it if you believe it.  Not to mention, most of the people who thought they were cool when I was in high school, have learned that life doesn’t care if they are cool.  Life cares a lot more about kindness and hard work.
  • I want them to remember SCHOOL IS FUN.  I want them to enjoy their days at school.  At the risk of sounding old – there are people in other countries who don’t have a chance to get an education.  I want them to enjoy the learning, enjoy studying how the body works and what cells do, enjoy learning how to write poetry and build bulletin boards.  Enjoy this life you’ve been blessed with!

Excuse me

The first time my dad gave me a chore to do I can remember standing with my hands on my hips and saying “No.”  He said “what?”  And, I repeated my defiant response for him.  Many spankings later I still have difficulty with being bossed around.  However, now I’m a mom and there are many things I need to teach my kids before they are expected to take care of themselves, their homes and their families.  And, during these lessons many excuses are offered.  I’ve compiled a list of my favorites:

1.)  I’m tired.
Yes, I’m sure you’re tired.  All that x-box playing, tv watching and zero responsibility has certainly drained your energy reserves.  Most children go to bed before their parents, get up after their parents, and spend their days with multiple breaks figured in so they are not overwhelmed or overworked.

2.) It’s hot. (used in yard work situations though not limited to that scenario)
Best quote heard following this complaint is “My shoes are burning”.
An offer to be excused to play will result immediately in running, jumping, and playing out in the sun for hours on end.  Offers of water are taken with heavy footsteps and long faces because this only delays the work and dragging out the getting water may be like a mini vacation.  There is the hope that a large portion of the chore will be completed before the water is obtained and people realize the kid is still missing.
3.) I have to go to the bathroom.
It doesn’t matter if the child has recently been to the restroom an immediate need to relieve ones self materializes when a chore is suggested or given.  If given the opportunity a child will sit in the restroom until other siblings complete the task.
4.) I got distracted.
This does not require anything specific or even special.  The child (or children) can be distracted by sunshine, dust, sibling, toys, tv, video games (even just the thought of video games tends to distract one of my children).  The desire to avoid the work makes everything interesting.
5.) It’s not fair.
Ah, yes.  Life is fair unless you’re a kid.  Right, right.  The assumption that each child should have the exact same chores at the exact same time is interesting.  Most kids realize (at least after school years begin) that they are not going to have a fair life.  It’s impossible.  However, it’s still offered as a reason to not begin or complete a chore.
6.) I don’t feel good.
This excuse is generally localized to the stomach or headache.  These ailments are hard to confirm and easy to fake.  I have gotten to the point where I tell my kids that these are not things that keep us home from school, work, or anything else.  If we are vomiting or have a fever – it’s a different story.
7.) I should get paid.
At first one might feel guilt about not paying an allowance or giving a child money for each chore completed.  We managed to get over this by tallying up the cost of having said child live in our home, eat our food, and participate in family entertainment as well as activities that each child will do on their own.  As you can imagine – that cost is pretty l
8.) I don’t have time.
The response to this is similar to the “I’m tired” response.  As a kid there are school hours set aside, but other than that there is very few things vying for their time and energy.  They generally don’t plan out meals, pay bills, or much of anything but school and homework.  As they get older sports and music start taking up time, but even still there is little in the way of responsibility.
9.) I don’t want to.
If only this excuse worked.  I’d like to offer it up at work if it did.  Life isn’t about doing what we want all the time.  Sometimes, it’s about learning to do what we need to do and learning to be happy about it.
10.) I forgot
This one comes in as the children get older.   They are left to do their chores without parental supervision.  It’s amazing what they can forget and how quickly.
I’m pretty sure I’ll hear more excellent excuses as I continue to parent.  There are obvious variations on the excuses above – feel free to share any that you have heard.