Check out the Latest Articles:
Large Family Life


We arrived home at midnight, and in our caffeine-fueled state, Russ and I stayed up until 1:00 am unloading the van. This morning came a little too early for me, but I was eager to sit down and write some deep reflections on the things I learned while we were away. Before I began, I did my Bible study and began wading through emails and messages.

Nothing prepared me for the seemingly routine voicemail from the school district announcing that the start of the school year is likely to be delayed one to two weeks due to uncompleted construction projects at various schools.


It’s Monday morning and I’m in the gray place of transition – from Whidbey Island to home, vacation to reality, and summer to school. My mind is full of lists: chore charts, lesson plans, schedules, goals for each child, dinner menus, house plans, and any number of other things.

Are you with me? Are you transitioning out of summer and back into school? I feel some panic rising, and I’m doing my best to hold on to peace. We have three more days here and it would be easy to completely waste them. I need to stay in the moment and enjoy the relaxed pace we’re living.


Hi friends! I’m still on a break from regular blogging, but have to say I miss writing and I miss all of you. Since it’s early in the morning and everyone is sleeping, I’m making a quick visit to my blog.

Last week we had all of our big kids here together and it was very special; I don’t take these times for granted. We went for an amazing hike at Ebey’s Landing, with the trail running along the edge of a bluff high above the beach.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

We made it to Whidbey Island late Thursday night  and waited until Friday morning to unload the van. It was packed with bikes, food, sports equipment, camping gear, bags of books, K’nex, and everything we need for the next few weeks. Yesterday we made our (hopefully) only trip off the island to do a very big Costco run, and now I feel ready to relax.

Isaiah is picking Hannah up at the airport this morning; they’ll have plenty of time to catch up as they wait in the long ferry line. Sunshine is joining us fresh from horse camp. Samuel arrives tonight and the other big kids will arrive a few days later.

You won’t hear from me this week, and then only a little bit for the rest of our time here.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

This morning we are loading up the car and heading to Whidbey Island – my favorite place on earth. I have a lifetime of memories there from walking the beach as a little girl, to watching my own children grow up there. It’s amazing to me that one place has seen so much of my family’s life.

Here is the song Isaiah sang for Noah and Katie at their wedding reception; I know I’m his mom, but it really is beautiful. I shared it on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page, but I know that not all of you follow me there. If you like the song, please share it – and be sure to “Like” my FB page too!

Have a wonderful day, friends.



giving thanks #1441 – 1460

iced coffee 

my book group

new books chosen for the year (I’ll share this week)

Isaiah home for a surprise visit

sunshine and mimi

Two of my brown-eyed girls.

My brain is running all over the place this morning, so I’m just going to let it go and you can come along with me if you like.

I haven’t been praying enough and I know it. Russ and I went for an early morning walk today and while we did, we prayed for our kids. It’s pretty cumbersome to pray out loud while walking, so we would say one child’s name, and pray silently for a bit, then we would say another, and on down the line. I’m inclined to make things too complicated; this was simple and effective. When do you pray for your kids? Do you keep it simple, have a method, do different days of the week (for big families)?


Our summer got off to a wild start with the graduation extravaganza in May,  followed by Noah and Katie’s wedding on June 14th. My reply mantra to all requests was, “…after the wedding.” The wedding was followed by nearly a week of recovery and reorganizing (and a stomach bug), then we headed out for a few days to celebrate our anniversary.

Today our “normal” summer break begins. It’s time for me to get my bearings and organize the next several weeks so the summer doesn’t slip away and I find myself in late August wondering why I didn’t get anything done.

isaiahandR1997Last week we celebrated our 30th anniversary on Monday, Russ’ birthday on Friday, Noah and Katie’s wedding on Saturday, and Father’s Day on Sunday. Whew! It was a big week. Yesterday was so full with family and friends coming and going from our house, washing mountains of dishes, returning rentals, and general clean up, that the kids didn’t even give Russ his gifts. We’ll do that tonight.

Annarose posted this lovely tribute on Facebook. 


giving thanks #1381 – 1400

Noah and Katie Qualls

bridesmaids and sisters squeezed in a bedroom upstairs doing hair and make up

groomsmen up for an early breakfast

friends giving their day to help us prepare

Katie, absolutely stunning

bridesmaids, all beautiful