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Trips Are Not Always As They Appear on Facebook…


So if I shared you the following pictures on my Facebook page, you might think, “Wow. What a fun camping trip. Look at those boys always getting along. That’s just lovely.”

what-to-do-camping-family camping-with-boys-camper  lake-hueston-woods-state-park-ohio hueston-woods-state-park-fishing

And that’s how it was {MOST} of the time.  There were hotdogs around the fire, fun games of ladder ball, fishing, and playing in the sand. But what didn’t I take pictures of?

My meltdown after not sleeping, feeling dirty, tired of peeing with scary bugs and used feminine products, and just wanting my own bed. 

The boys having a rough night staying in the camper for bedtime and not being able to comply. 

A most likely rash decision to pack up when we were frustrated with camping at 10:30 at night in the dark. 

Boys both crying and cheering that we were going home.

A broken wheel well that we didn’t realize until we went to move the camper.

Brad pulling off the tire in the middle of the camp sight driveway at 11:30, and all of us praying in the van that he would be able to fix it.

Rolling in at 1:30 in the morning and crawling into our beds exhausted and wondering if we’re really cut out for camping. 


Oh Friends, vacations, trips, and lives are not always as it appears on your Facebook feed for any of us. Trust me, you didn’t want to see pictures of the bathhouse on your screens. We often don’t see the mess and the meltdowns, only the highlights. Let’s not forget that there’s a behind the scenes that we arenotl intimately involved in day in and day out. We all struggle, we forget, we clean up messes, we fall down, we get hurt, we mess up – and then we get up and do it all over again. Hopefully at the end of the day the good outweighs the bad and we wake up with amnesia of yesterday’s imperfections.

The problem lies when we start comparing our low-light reels to everyone else’s highlight reels. 

Let’s embrace the goodness of this life we’ve been given and how 4tunate we truly are today.  Let’s be good with our highlights and be able to chuckle at some of unphotoshopped moments. There are gifts to be found even in the not so picturesque moments – don’t let comparison steal the joys of what you’ve been entrusted. 

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The Next American Ninja Warrior: Spider Jump

The boys were recently introduced to American Ninja Warrior, and of course were instantly hooked. It’s right up their alley with their climbing,  jumping, and anything daring obsessions. I’m telling you, these boys do the monkey bars until their hands blister {badly} and then go right back again.

Their favorite part of watching the show is reenacting the challenges either creatively inside or at the backyard play set. {Knock on wood, no ER visits yet!} In fact a lot of the time, they can’t get through an entire episode, because they can’t wait to try out a new challenge. And yes, I remind them daily that their mom is exceptionally kind for letting them climb on the stair banisters and jump off couches. It’s worth the trade of them getting out boy energy and keeping my sanity over having nice {breakable} things in our home. Our home is lived in and loved on, and that’s how we’ll take it for now.


Recently Brooks tried scaling the door frame again and realized he could make it all the way to the ceiling. Challenge accepted. I’m pleased to announce that the “Spider Jump” has been completed by all four future contestants.I don’t even hold my breath anymore when they jump from the top of “Level 2″ doorway, because I’m becoming a seasoned Boy Mom. They even wipe off their footprints from the well, like true Ninja Gentlemen.


And now you have a better understanding why my weekly groceries disappear out of plain sight. Protein donations now accepted. Drop them by and try out the Spider Jump.


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Prioritizing the Priorities


What’s that sound?  Listen – do you hear it?  {QUIET} 

It’s a rare sound around these parts, but this week the boys are spending time with Brad’s parents at Bible school (Bless You, Grandparents and VBS volunteers!), and we are getting a nice dose of quiet.

We’re taking this time to work uninterrupted, catch up on a few house things, purge some toys (shhhhhhh!!), eat some grown-up food, and REST, but we also wanted to have some time to chat about how we can make our home run even better.

I have been super inspired by Crystal Paine’s book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. And it’s challenged us to re-evaluate our priorities.

How can we manage our time better?  What things are taking our energy?  What isn’t getting done?  Where are we failing miserably? What are we getting right? 

Yesterday, wrote out all of the things on our plates and our weekly commitments by category.  I had a page, Brad had a page, and then we had a together page.

It was so nice to see everything in written form, listed out, and organized.  Was it a tad overwhelming to see it all and wonder how to make it all work?  Sure, but much better seen than thrown together without a plan.

I don’t want to look back on our lives and just see BUSY. 


I want our lives to be intentional, meaningful, and with purpose. 

After we listed and categorized our commitments, we took a good look at what we could possibly cut out, what was being neglected, and committing time specifically to each task.

Next we set goals we need to accomplish from our re-prioritizing.


  • Schedule a monthly date night.  (We know this is something that’s not only good for our sanity, it’s needed for our marriage, but we’ve neglected it in the busyness lately.)
  • Exercise 3x a week. (We have to plan to exercise or it’s not going to happen.)
  • Have a quiet time daily and hold each other accountable. 
  • Meal plan and grocery shop on Wednesdays. (I find myself stressed out most when our fridge is bare and I don’t have a plan for dinner.) 
  • Set a time each week to pay bills, budget and go over finances.


I cannot tell you how great it feels to prioritize the priorities again, and reevaluate how we are running our home. I think it will make a huge impact on our productivity, self-discipline, and peacefulness in our home.

Now back to some housework catch up and maybe even a couple of chapters of my book before the munchkins return!

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