A Peek Into the Last Few Weeks (+ my 8 goals for this week!)

It’s a weird thing to have both a senior and a newborn. To be heading into a year of lasts with one child and firsts with another child.

Yes, there’s some emotional whiplash involved… and yet, there’s also much perspective.

Time is passing every day — whether we want it to or not. Every day we get a choice to either savor it or squander it.

I’ll be honest: there are moments when I look at my senior & miss the carefree days when she was a tiny toddler. But then I see the woman she is becoming and I watch her stepping confidently into adulthood and I’m just deeply thankful for the gift I’ve had to be her mom these last 17+ years.

I don’t want to miss out on the gifts of here and now because I’m mourning what no longer is or the goodbyes & the change around the corner.

Mamas of littles, if there’s one thing the past 17+ years have taught me it’s that life is too short to spend it stressing over getting it all right. You are going to miss the mark and make mistakes. You’re going to need to go back often and ask your kids to forgive you.

Stop chasing the illusion of perfect and start embracing the beauty of the imperfect reality that is your life right now.

There are very few hills worth dying on. Enjoy your kids. Lower your standards for what clean and put together looks like. Laugh and play together. Look into their eyes.

Spend a lot more time caring about what your kids care about and a whole lot less time caring about what others think of you. You will disappoint some people, you won’t be a good enough mom for others. That’s okay. Your relationship with your kids matters a whole lot more than someone else’s opinion of you.

Say yes. Ask curious questions. Let your kids know how much you love them. Be goofy. Go all out with the inside jokes. Say “I love you!” as often as you can.

And if it doesn’t matter in 25 years, it’s probably okay to decide not to let it matter that much today (aka: there are very few things worth getting worked up over).

You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but you have today. Use it well. Soak it up.

It’s a cliche and a worn out phrase, but I’m learning anew how true it is: these years go by in the blink of an eye.

We got to spend lots of fun and special time with C (the sweet boy we fostered for 8 months back in 2020). We are so grateful to get to continue to have such a close relationship and bond with him (he’s 2 1/2 now and we get to babysit him at least one or two days every week while his mom works).

Silas started football (his first time to play tackle football) and is loving it. He also just moved to a new travel baseball team that is more rigorous but that he’s very excited about. They are only practicing twice a week right now which is perfect while he’s in the thick of football season.

I posted this picture on social media and shared this caption:

There are so many things that social media experts could say are “wrong” with this photo…

It’s not staged well — there are messes in the background, you can see our missing microwave (long story!), and there are lots of dirty dishes.

It’s not focused well — the phone camera was smudged so it’s blurry.

It’s not taken with a fancy camera. It’s not edited with expensive software. It doesn’t even have a filter or photo overlay!

And yet: I love it so much… because this is real life for me right now — trying to quickly get the dishes rinsed and kitchen cleaned up (because the newborn and other almost-toddler were both asleep!) while snuggling with a toddler who wanted to be held (ERGO to the rescue!).

It’s easy to compare ourselves to others — either on the internet or in real life — and feel like we don’t have anything to offer. Figuratively or literally, we might feel like:

Our house or life isn’t organized enough to open our doors to others.

We don’t have as well-crafted of a message than someone else so we should just stay silent.

We don’t have a nice camera or editing software. We don’t have our act fully together. Our kids aren’t perfectly behaved. We are scared we might face criticism…

Stop making excuses. Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop letting fear hold you back. Stop feeling like you aren’t (fill-in-the-blank) enough to step out, open up your heart and home, say yes, or share what you have to offer.

You never know how much someone else who is weary, or who doesn’t have their act altogether, or who feels a little (or a lot!) disorganized, or who has messes and brokenness in their life, too, needs exactly what you have to offer. And your seeming imperfections might be the perfect message or word of encouragement for them that very day.

Stop waiting for perfect. Share what you’ve got. Open up your home, even if it’s small or messy. Say yes, even when it scares you. Show up, even if you don’t feel like you have enough experience or qualifications.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.

The kids started back to school with overnight back to school camp at a camp in Kentucky. Their private school does this every year and it’s something they look forward to so much.

Micah is becoming super interactive and has the best facial expressions. He loves to talk and smile at us… and I even got a little laugh out of him the other day!

This was when I was driving to drop her off to leave for camp. I had to document our matching braids! 🙂

Kierstyn, Micah, and I went to visit our friends Kate and Gigi. Gigi was very excited about Micah!

Two little chefs. 🙂

We’ve been working with D on climbing right now and he’s been making a lot of progress! It’s been so fun to see so many light bulbs going off in his brain and all the steps forward he’s been making!

First day of school pictures! We have a Senior, a Junior, and a 7th grader this year… And I’m feeling all the feels as I watch my once little babes grow wings and fly.

My prayer for the first day of school (and every day!): “Lord, thank You for the gift I have to be mom to these three (and my other three littles!). Go before them today. May they look to You, seek You first, and always care more about what You think than what others think. Give me wisdom to guide them and love them well this year, but also strength and courage to stand back and release them to You. It’s not my job to fix them or be their Savior or Holy Spirit. Let me entrust that to You and just walk alongside them this year through whatever it holds. Help them to feel so loved by me and loved by You. Protect their hearts, surround them with wise people, and give them a desire to honor and glorify You with their lives. Let Your light shine through them to a dark and hurting world.”

A few weeks ago, we sat on her bed late at night after everyone else was asleep and she told me how she wants to spend her senior year investing in younger kids. How she doesn’t want to be selfish and waste this last year she has in high school. How she wants to go through every day looking for kids who need encouragement.

This is the girl she is. It’s not because of the way we raised her; it’s because of Jesus in her.

But I’ll be honest: Last year was a rough year for her. She walked through some hard and heavy stuff… stuff I haven’t talked about online because it’s not my story to share. But there were so many days when we felt so overwhelmed as parents.

It was a whole new level of heaviness and I cried out to Jesus again and again saying, “Lord, protect my child. Give her the strength and wisdom to walk this. Help me to know how to walk with her in this.”

I wanted to fix it for her. I wanted to rescue her from it. But I had to let go and release her to walk through it and learn from it and just be there as a sounding board and a safety net.

I look back and see God’s hand so powerfully moving — even on the dark and hard days. He was faithful and He used some really difficult things in her life to grow and shape her in ways that will forever impact her future.

Sometimes, the things we want to protect or rescue our kids from become the catalyst for the greatest growth in their lives.

We need Jesus each and every day as parents. I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding. For the light He gives for just the next step. And I’m so thankful I can entrust my kids to a faithful God Who loves them even more than I do.

Kathrynne, we are so proud of you. You are an amazing human with an incredible heart. We hope this year is filled with special moments and memories and also many opportunities for you to love and pour into others.

This picture is so beautiful to me. To watch Jesse and D intently watching Silas’ football game. It just melts my heart!

D had multiple dr’s appointments this month — like usual. One was with the craniofacial clinic and we’re thrilled to report that no surgeries are planned for at least the next six months since he’s doing well and everything looks great!

They did have to do this little procedure to remove ear wax since it was built up so much that they couldn’t even see his tubes!

Kathrynne and I (plus D!) went on a date to visit a friend of ours who just had a baby.

“I don’t know how you do it! I could never do what you do!”

I don’t quite know the best way to respond when people say this — usually in response to finding out we are foster parents or the fact that we have three littles two and under or that we have six kids or that we have a precious boy with special needs.

I’m not some super brave, super talented superwoman.

I’m just a girl who got called by God to do a thing that was bigger than herself.

A girl who still struggles — often! — with fear over the future and has to daily release those fears to Jesus.

A girl who needs Jesus each and every moment of each and every day.

A girl who is constantly going to God saying, “I can’t do this on my own. Please help me!”

A girl who gets to see God do great and mighty things on her behalf each day.

How do I do what I do? Only and wholly by the grace of God. Trust me, there is zero other explanation.

And I’m just gonna put this out here: if God called you to my life, you could do it, too — with His empowering and His enabling.

But He hasn’t called you to live my life… He’s called you to live *yours*. Don’t shirk back from His call — whatever it is! — because it might feel too big, too scary, too much. When God calls you to something bigger than yourself (and He will!), stepping into that place and saying yes means you get to rely upon Him like never before and you get to see Him do immeasurably more than what you could ever ask or think!

You don’t have to be super brave or super talented when you serve and lean on a supernatural Heavenly Father!

Jesse and I went on a date to a coffee shop the other night. We were planning to take Micah (he pretty much goes everywhere with me right now!) but Kierstyn wanted to tag along so she got to come with us. The coffee shop had a little play area so it was perfect. She got to play and we got to sip coffee (I had a decaf latte!) and talk at a table right next to the play area. I tried to get a selfie of all of us but this was the best I got!

This sweet girl has an ever-expanding vocabulary that keeps us all in stitches.

I never, ever thought I’d get to witness this sight again. God writes the most amazing stories! (Also, see that bandage on Jesse’s arm? He somehow got a staph infection and had to be on antibiotics for two weeks + clean it/cover it. We’re so grateful that no one else got it as we were told it was highly contagious! We caught it early on — thanks to a friend who saw the scab on his arm and told him he needed to get it checked out — and started treating it right away!)

I found these two working on re-organizing the preschool cupboard last week. 😉

The skies at football games have just been gorgeous recently!

After seeing Kierstyn in the cupboard (see the picture above), I think it inspired D to try doing it, too! I was in the bathroom doing my makeup and he just pulled everything out of the cupboard and then climbed right in!

C was riding the little tractor toy around and Kierstyn wanted to join him so she got in the walker and carried it around behind him!

All three two-year-olds looking out the window at the rain.

You know you have older sisters when this happened.

We were so happy that our good friend Isabel was in town for Labor Day! We may have stayed up way too late (at least for this old mama!) talking on Friday night, but it was so worth it!

My 8 Goals for This Week

Personal Goals

Reading Goals

Business/Blogging Goals

  • Go through my book all laid out and submit it back to my publisher.
  • Create one reel for instagram.