wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.


Kids chores: our new chore board.

I have been trying to figure out a chore system that would work for our family, especially for our three kids, ages 7.5, 6 and 4.5. 

One that is easy to use, easy to understand, easy to make, but is effective when it comes to actually getting chores done. 

After lots and lots of Pinterest searching and pinning, I found one system that I loved and thought would work well for us. I found it here.

Well, that was about a year ago.....

Today, after much procrastinating, it is finally done! Hooray! 

I started this project off by coming up with a list of chores for the kids. 

Jake and I decided that while chores are to be done because everyone in the family needs to help out around the house, there will also be some extra chores added to give the kids a chance to earn some money. 

(The money they earn will be divided into their 3 jars: Save, Spend and Church)

So, I came up with my list: "Family responsibility" chores and the chores that the kids will earn money for. 

There are lots of family responsibility chores, and for now, just a few money chores. We decided to start off giving the kids each $1 per week if they complete all of their paid chores. 

After I took this picture, I added a $ sign on the clips that are money chores: bathroom, mopping, dusting and trash. 

Each kid gets their own colors: Lily's pins are green, Jonah's are blue and Kate's are pink. These are their chores that never change: put dirty laundry in the basket and clean laundry in drawers, clean up bedrooms, and clean up the backyard at the end of the day. 

The pins that are not colored will rotate each day. So, one day, Jonah will have to take out the trash and bring the bins back up to the house on trash day, Lily will have the chore of cleaning the playroom, or Kate will have to set the table. The next day, the chores rotate. 

I will be adding some seasonal chore clips as well, such as raking leaves and shoveling snow.

My favorite chore that I came up with is the one labeled "Dinner". I came up with the idea that each week, when I am making the weekly shopping list, I will ask each kid what they would like for dinner that week. Each kid gets to pick dinner for one day that week (with some gentle guidance, of course!). Then during the week, when a kid gets the "dinner" chore, they get to help make the dinner they chose. They will help prep dinner, cook dinner and clean up dinner. I think it will be really fun and the kids are most excited about this "chore"! 

Once I finally had my list of chores, I got my supplies ready to make the actual board. 

Jake cut this thin board down to the size I wanted. 

Then I primed it, so it would be ready for the chalkboard paint.

After 2 coats of chalkboard paint, it was ready!

I added this cute string to hang it from. I didn't have a hot glue gun, so I just used super glue to attach it. Hopefully it holds! 

I used chalk to divide the board into three sections, one for each child. 

Then I added some of the pins that I painted and wrote the chores on. 

The pins start out on the top, then once the chore is completed, the kids can move the clip to the bottom. That way, they can easily see what they have finished and what is left to do. 

I am using a little drawstring bag to store the extra chore pins.

I am thrilled it is finally finished. And the kids are equally excited to begin their chores! 

This was very simple to make and didn't require many supplies or tools, but I think that it will be very effective. 


Update and more big changes coming our way.

This has been a long, unintended break from blogging. 

Part of me misses it. Part of me doesn't. 

We have been busy loving summer and being together. 

It has been a summer of firsts. Our first camping trip. Our first time canoeing. Jonah's first time riding a two-wheeler. Our first time seeing a moose together. And an eagle. The first wedding all three kids were in together. 

We have had an awesome summer so far. Fun camping trips, canoeing, tons of swimming, gardening, bike riding, gymnastics. Lots of fun. But since we got back from our last camping trip, things with the kids have been hard. But, despite the past two weeks being a bit rough, with kids bugging each other and fighting and tattling, every night, when the kids are fast asleep, I go in each of their rooms and look at them. I kiss them. I snuggle them. I smell them. And every single night, I feel like my heart is going to burst with love. No matter how hard the day was, or how great the day was, every night I am reminded that these kids are such a blessing. And my love for them grows every single day. 

I could not imagine my life without them and I will always fight for them. I can not understand how/why some parents do not fight for their children. I will always fight for mine. 

God forgives. He fights for us. He never gives up on us. Even though we deserve nothing, He gives us everything. He loves us and cares for us and listens to us. He is kind and gentle. 
I know I can not even come close to being the type of parent He is, but I pray that I can be more like Him everyday. 

The next 6 months are going to bring a lot of change to this house.
-One big thing that I can not share yet.
-Another thing is the possibility of our family growing. Possibly going from a family of 5 to a family of 6 maybe 7 (!!!) 
-Another thing is deciding about homeschooling. Kate will be "home schooled" for her last year of preschool this coming year (I put homeschooling in quotes because it's just preschool and we will not be using a curriculum with her but rather doing lots of play based learning this next year), and depending on the one thing I can't yet share with you, we will be deciding if we will be homeschooling all 3 beginning the following year.
- And of course, more construction on the house. 

Lots of big things happening soon. 
Please pray with us- for the kids in DCF and for clarity as we move along in the process, that God will make it clear to us the kid(s), if any, He would like to join our family. 
Also for clarity about homeschooling. We are not decided one way or the other, but are seriously discussing switching to homeschooling.
And for patience, lots of it :) 


Life of a firefighter.

About 2 weeks ago there was a fatal fire in Boston. 2 firefighters died in the fire. 

It is never easy to hear about firefighters dying, especially now that Jake is a full time firefighter. But something about this fire hit us all hard. Really hard. 

Maybe it was the fact that one of the firefighters had 3 young kids, just like us. Maybe because the other firefighter was young, like Jake, and seemed to be exactly like someone he would be great friends with. Maybe because Jake listened to the radio transmission as it was all happening and he heard the mayday calls. Some of it was because of all of that. 

But a lot of it was because this fire showed me that even if you are the best firefighter in the world, there are still things about fire that are uncontrollable. 

Even though Jake takes class after class and knows everything about firefighting and fire and the science of fire and all of that. Even though he is serious about his training and staying fit and healthy. Even though he has all of the right gear and is careful and safe at what he does. Even though he does all of those things, there are still things he can't plan for or prevent. 

That is what I am most afraid of. 

After this fire happened, Jake said to me " I need to know that if I get in a situation like that, I need to know that you and the kids will be okay." 

I was stunned. That is the hardest question I have ever been asked.

I knew that there were risks about being a firefighter, but they never seemed quite so real as they did after that Boston fire. 

How can I tell my husband that my kids and I will be okay if he died in a fire? 

Yes, we would continue to breathe and survive, but I don't think we would ever fully be okay. 

I am not afraid of death. 

But I am afraid of experiencing that kind of unbearable heartache and pain of losing the person I love most in the world. 

I know that God would take care of us and eventually life would go on. Not as normal, but as a new "normal".  

But the thought of something happening to Jake in a fire (or anytime) brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart ache.

 The things that happened in this Boston fire made me realize that as much as you can learn and train and practice, there are still things that can not be controlled. 

It can be a scary life to live.

But despite that, Jake absolutely loves being a firefighter. And we are so proud of him. First responders are real life heroes and we are so thankful for them! 

Please continue to pray for the families and friends of the lost firefighters, and also for the firefighting community. When something happens to one of their brothers, it hits all of them hard. 


Daddy is the best. 


Tonight, I lost it.

Tonight, I lost it.

All patience and reason went flying out the window.

I yelled at my kids. Screamed a bit. 

Then cried. 

It was a combination of little things building all day and was set off by a less than perfect bedtime. Far from perfect. 

Whenever Daddy isn't home to join in our bedtime routine, the kids seem to think rules don't apply. 

I guess tonight was one Daddy-less bedtime too many because I couldn't take it another moment. 

And instead of doing whatever I could to calm myself down, I gave in to that fury and let it out. I guess it feels good to get it out for about 1.5 seconds, and then it's just pure misery for all involved. 

I felt awful. The kids felt awful. 

This used to happen often, when they were much smaller. Well, I wouldn't say "often", but more than it does now. Thankfully, now, I have much more control of myself and my emotions. 

But every once in a while I blow it. Like tonight. 

I was upset and felt so guilty. 

But then, I went into each kids bed, snuggled up to them, and apologized. 

"Lily, I'm sorry I yelled at you. I shouldn't have done that. I was feeling very upset and sad and my bucket was empty. That's why I yelled. But I should not have yelled at you or Jonah or Kate. I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" 

They all said "Yes Mommy, I love you. I'm sorry too." Well, all except for Kate, who was already asleep, but I am sure that's what she would have said too. 

I love how quickly kids forgive. They don't even think twice about forgiving you when you make a mistake. 

I am so thankful for that. 

And I am thankful that tomorrow is a new day.

 Despite a lousy bedtime, my kids went to sleep hearing me say "I love you" and I am still singing His song when the evening comes. 

      10,000 REASONS (BLESS THE LORD) -Matt redman

The sun comes up; it's a new day dawning

It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I worship Your holy name

You're rich in love and You're slow to anger

Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I worship Your holy name


An embarrassing moment. {and why I am thankful for it}

We were waiting to turn left into the Market Basket shopping center. 

If you live on the North Shore,  you know exactly what I am talking about. 

The Danvers Market Basket: one example of hell on earth. 
Always horribly crowded (like you wait in line for 40 minutes just to pay for your groceries!) and the traffic turning into the shopping center is always backed up. 

So, we were waiting, along with 15+ other cars, in the left turning lane. 

Red light. Jake leans over to give me a kiss. 



Yep, while Jake was giving me a kiss in the car, he let up on the clutch just enough for us to roll backwards and hit the car waiting behind us. Hard enough for the woman to get out and make sure her bumper was okay and hard enough for me to get embarrassed, knowing she saw us kissing and then roll into her car. 

The damage to forever remind us of this moment? 2 marks on our bumper where it hit her license plate. 

Now, we were not making out or anything like that. It was just a sweet simple kiss. 

Yes, it was an embarrassing moment for sure, but you know what? I love that we have been married for 8 years and we are still just as affectionate as we were when we were dating. 

And I love that our kids see us being affectionate. 

We hug and kiss and hold hands. We flirt and goof off. We give each other massages or head/back rubs. We say "I love you". All the time. And our kids see all of this. And I think it's great. 

I love that there is still so much love between us and that we are showing our kids what it is like to be in a loving marriage. I am so thankful for the relationship that Jake and I have and that our house is really just overflowing with the love we all have for each other. 

I am so blessed to be in a marriage where, after 8+ years, my husband still wants to sneak in a kiss while we are waiting at a red light. 

I can't wait for the next 60+ years.

He is just the best.


Exciting life and house changes!

We have lots of exciting things going on in our house these days. 

Jake has been busy with his new job as a full time firefighter in Wenham, which he is loving. He has also decided to go back to school full time to get his fire science associates degree. He should graduate in May 2015! Then after that, if he wants to continue, he might be transferring to another local college to get a second bachelors degree in fire administration. Taking these classes will open a lot of doors for him in the future, like someday becoming a chief! Please pray for Jake and for me and the kids as we take this on for at least the next 1.5 years. 

We are also drawing up plans and getting quotes to put an addition on our house! Jake and I have done lots of talking and going back and forth about how we would like to expand out house. Since we bought our house almost 3 years ago, we have said that someday we will put a second story on. But after really looking at what our needs are, we realized that we don't need more bedroom space, we need more practical living space.

So, we are planning on adding a big family room onto the side of the house. This will give us the living space we need, so we don't feel so cramped all the time. Once we have that room built (which will have high ceilings, another wood stove, and lots of windows), we are thinking we will turn our current living room into the dining room. If you have ever been to our house, you know that our "dining room", if you can even call it that, is tiny. It hardly fits just our family! So, we would turn the current living room into our dining room and give us lots more space and the ability to get a much bigger table so we actually have places for guests and family to sit. Hooray!

Jake is also planning on converting our screened in porch, that is on the back of the house, into a real mudroom. He wants to finish it off and turn it into a real part of the house. I am thrilled about this since we have hardly any room to store the massive amounts of shoes, coats, snow gear, summer gear...you get the idea. It will be amazing to have plenty of space to take off shoes and coats without standing in the middle of the kitchen making my floors muddy.

We are also planning on taking down the weird little wall that separates the front door and the dining room, plus taking out the front closet. We won't need it with Jake building a mudroom plus it will open up the current living room so much! That little wall doesn't really serve a useful purpose anyway, so I am excited to take a sledge hammer and knock that thing down!

Our other house plans involve us all switching bedrooms. Jake and I would move our bedroom downstairs to one of the rooms he built. The girls would move into our room and Jonah would move into the girls room, giving everyone a bit more space. Then that would open up Jonah's room to have as an extra bedroom, and then we can hopefully continue to pursue adoption, which is still heavily on our hearts! Jake and I are so excited that this could actually become a reality!

So many exciting changes coming in the near future!

The kids are loving the game of Sorry lately.


Little boys and pretend guns.

We have never allowed guns in our house. We don't talk about guns. We don't pretend play with guns.

Or any weapons, really. 

We don't have video games. My kids don't play games on the computer/ipad/ipod (aside from school stuff). 

But once Jonah started kindergarten, he was ALL about guns and violence. All the time. 

(NOT actual pretend guns, but he uses his fingers as a gun)

I'm not going to lie. It freaked me out. I hated seeing my sweet little guy pretending to shoot things and act so violent. 

Jake and I fought it. We were constantly telling him NO guns, NO violence. 

But it wasn't working. It helped a little, but it was still happening all the time. 

Finally I realized that I was going about the situation all wrong. 

All wrong, I tell you!

I realized that I had to really sit down and talk with him about guns.

I needed to teach him the history of guns and why they came about in the first place.

I needed to tell him the correct uses for guns.

I needed to tell him when it was okay to use guns and when it wasn't okay.

I needed to let go of my fear that all of this pretend gun play would somehow turn my little boy into a dangerous adult. 

I needed to realize that guns do serve a purpose in this world, and it's not all bad. 

So, I talked with him. 

Instead of telling him no, I told him yes. 

Instead of banning guns all together because it scared me or because I was afraid of my boy turning into a violent person, I taught him the correct way to use them and will allow him to use them for pretend play as long as he uses them correctly. 

And since we have talked about guns, we actually have not had any issues! 

I still do not like pretend gun play, because I really just hate guns. But if he wants to pretend to go hunting and shoots a deer, then that's okay. If he wants to pretend he is a police officer and shoots an imaginary robber, then that's okay. Those are real uses for guns. But his pretend gun play will not go much beyond that. 

So far, finding a way to say yes, has given Jonah a bit of freedom to do something that he wants to do, but in the right way. And it has helped more than I thought it would. 

catching snow flakes on your tongue is serious business!