A Common Thread

Some things you choose. And things some you don’t.

You can’t choose the family you’re born into. And of course you can’t choose the physical traits that make people notice who you “take after.” The color of your eyes, the shape of your nose, and even the sound of your voice are traits that are passed down from one generation to the next.

Generations woven together by common threads.

A Common Thread - The Joyful Journey

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2011 Stormy Lake Vacation Collage

Me & Dad • Lovely Sunset • On the beach • Look Mom, I’m SKIING!

Aren’t they cute? • We ♥ G’ma & G’pa • Perfect mirror image • Sibling ♥

I ♥ the driver • Another evening cruise • Strange children • Looking for food

Yes, another sunset • Inside activities • Five loons • Oh Captain, My Captain♥

A quiet moment • Still looking for food • Cousins & tubing fun • Last sunset

Weddings, Gardens, and Independence Day…

Last weekend, all four of my children were in the wedding of a dear friend.  The girls have been been friends with Emily…more like sisters, really…for more than 20 years.  They’ve share both the blessings and the hardships of growing up “in ministry.”  It’s created a bond that is unbreakable.  It was a wonderful weekend with laughter, tears, and lots of makeup and hairspray!!

Summer has finally arrived in Northern Illinois and our garden is finally looking like a garden!  In fact, we’ve even eaten some peas!  Now, if only the tomatoes would ripen.

And finally, I was asked to write an Independence Day guest post over at The Homeschool Village!  You can hop over HERE.  Happy Independence Day!

Wordless Wednesday: My Best Guys!

Stormy Lake on Memorial Day, 2011, with my two favorite guys!

(Memorize Mondays was postponed for the week due to the holiday and the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere!!  We’ll return next Monday to post and memorize the next portion of Romans 5!)

A Sunday Afternoon at Cantigny

This is one of our very favorite places in the world to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

Where else can you stroll through formal gardens, tour a turn-of-the-century mansion, climb on a 1941 M5Stuart Tank, take a walk on a prairie, play frisbee or have a picnic in the park, visit an amazing US Army First Division museum, and stop for lunch or a cup of coffee and an ice cream cone?

All for the cost of a $5 parking pass?

Here are some picture from our visit last weekend…

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Three months later….

Remember this?

Same spot.  Just three months later.

Summer arrived in full force yesterday. I wasn’t thrilled with the 90 degree temperatures, but Jimmy and his friend were!

90 degrees + a sprinkler = FUN!

It’s True…My family is NUTS!

It’s that time of year again.

Well, actually, we’re a little bit crazy ALL the time, but it gets noticeably worse at this time of year.

It’s nothing new. It’s a generational thing. My father-in-law passed it on to my hubby. My daughters inherited the disease from their dad. They came down with it years ago. There is no cure.

And they’ve done their best to infect their sweet baby brother.

The symptoms intensify in the spring. Last year’s outbreak was the worst. It lasted for months. But mercifully, it came to an end on June 10, 2010.

This year’s outbreak of insanity in our home may be shorter lived. Our Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the team they were last year. Last year, they ended their season by hoisting the Stanley Cup. This year they eeked into the playoffs with an 8th place finish. Last year our expectations were through the roof. This year….not so much. The 2011 playoffs didn’t start well for the Blackhawks. After three losses to the Vancouver Canucks, it looked like the season was about to come to a sad end. But then the Hawks won. And then they won again, and then 2 nights ago, they won again. In overtime. To force a Game 7. To say we reacted strongly is a bit of an understatement.

One of my daughters thought it might be fun to record us watching the overtime period. Just in case. The following video provides visible (and very loud) evidence of the insanity that resides here during hockey season.

Enjoy. And please, for your own sake, turn your volume down.

So, our season might end ended tonight. But even if it does, we’ll always have Game 6.

(And you should all be really happy we didn’t record our reaction to the short-handed goal that sent Game 7 into overtime!)

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

The Homeschool Chick
In my life this week…

In a word…winter.

The Blizzard of 2011.  It had lots of names.




Whatever you want to call it—we survived it.  In fact, we enjoyed it.

In our homeschool this week…

Homeschool took another hit this week.  Last week and the week before it was colds and flu.  This week, company from out of town, and of course, the blizzard kept us from our normal school week schedule.  We still managed to complete most of our work in most of our subjects, though.  Notice how I make myself feel better with that little word “most”?

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We didn’t go as many places or see as many people this week.  We were “snowed-in” for two days.  Not snowed inside…just snowed at home.  Though we didn’t go anywhere, we got to spend time with some of the best people around.  Laughing.  Shoveling together.  Helping each other.

When our next-door neighbor sustained a nasty snow-blower injury, the rest of the neighborhood jumped into action.  One neighbor helped them get to the ER, despite the fact that our street was still covered with 20″ of snow.  Two more helped me and my husband finish clearing their driveway and un-burying their mailbox.   My daughters watched their three children and helped me make them dinner.   I have really great neighbors.  Sometimes it takes a blizzard to make you slow down for long enough to notice.

My favorite thing this week…
Being snowed in for 2 days with my five favorite people in the whole world.

What’s working/not working for us…
The thing that’s the hardest right now is trying to find the balance between work, homeschool and home-making.  I love working from home.  It gives me so much flexibility.  But it’s hard.  The balance is hard to find.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

Can I really make it another 12 years?  Sometimes I’m not so sure.

A photo to share…

Interested in joining this weekly meme? Join the fun HERE!

Sisters are the BEST!

I’m linking up this week at The Homeschool Village!!  I’ve had a nasty cold/flu, so doing school from the prone position on my couch is the biggest accomplishment of my week! However, I think this post presents a pretty clear picture of my LIFE’S greatest accomplishment!  Thanks for stopping by!

This past Monday, as I sat and watched my 23-year old daughter teach my 7-year old son’s co-op spelling class, I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic.  It took me back.

When I discovered (VERY unexpectedly) that I was pregnant just before my 40th birthday, the girls were 16, 14, and 12.  It wasn’t that I was wasn’t excited…I was.  On one level, it would be impossible for me NOT to be excited about having another baby.  It was just that after raising three daughters into their teenage years, I was starting to imagine life without the constant “hands-on” demands of parenting young children.  And the knowledge of the loss of the freedom that had been so nearly within my grasp kept me awake more than a few nights back in April of 2003.

If only I had known then what I now know.

I would have known that the indescribable love that I felt at the birth of each of my precious daughters, would be magnified 10-fold at the sight of that same indescribable love displayed in their eyes at their first glimpse of their newborn brother.

I would have known that bearing some of the burden of caring for a baby would help to build character (and wonderful mothering skills) into my girls.

I would have known that it’s wonderful never to have to call around looking for a babysitter.

I would have known that nothing makes me laugh harder than watching the silly antics of three teenage girls with their toddler brother.

I would have known that NOTHING could ever bring more joy to my heart than the love between my daughters and their little brother.

And I would have known that sisters can fill a little boy’s life with way more love and laughter than he could ever dream of!