Learning to Read

Sometime this summer, it clicked with Silas that letters have sounds and that those sounds make up words. He’s known the sounds of a few letters for a while, but now he’s trying to teach himself how to read by spelling words he sees around him. He’s even started using the alphabet fridge magnets to spell his own words (X-O-T-S spells Colts in Silas-ese).

Because Silas’s birthday is in November, he won’t enter kindergarten until the fall of 2016. At this rate, he may be reading sentences by then!

Here’s a video of me teaching Silas a few words at lunch last week. I’ve never taught a child how to read before, so I loved seeing the moment the sounds came together and formed a word in his brain. Teachers talk about that “light bulb” moment, and it was fun to see it in Silas. The video isn’t exciting, but I’m glad to capture the process of my first born learning to read.YouTube Preview Image

Posted in education, preschooler, reading, silas, video | 1 Comment

Breaking Ground

Six years ago Stephen and I moved out to Arizona to serve alongside Ryan and Jennifer Horkavy at Crossroad Baptist Church. Today marked an exciting milestone as we broke ground on our new church property!Sept2018

Last November CBC purchased five acres of land in Litchfield Park that included a 3,000 square foot house. Sept2001Sept2002Sept2003We still hold Sunday worship services at the Verrado Middle School, but plans have been drawn up to build a modest sanctuary on the lot adjacent to the house at 4609 N 189th Avenue. Please pray with us for the necessary funds to come in to complete the construction.Sept2005Sept2009

Today after our morning worship at the middle school, Pastor Ryan opened the ground breaking ceremony on the property. Sept2010Joining us for the day was Dan Spurr of Spurr Construction Corporation with whom CBC has contracted to build our sanctuary. Sept2011Sept2012After prayers, scripture reading, a short message, and reading of the congregational covenant, Pastor Ryan and the leadership council broke ground on our land!Sept2013Sept2006Sept2015Sept2016

Afterwards, we celebrated six baptisms at the church house’s swimming pool, and eight people joined our fellowship today. Sept2004This milestone day ended with a church dinner on the grounds. Sept2019God is good!Sept2017

Posted in church planting, crossroad baptist, faith | 1 Comment


She’s 3 months old! Sept1004We can’t get over how mellow our little sweet pea is. She smiles, giggles, and coos, but mostly she quietly observes and patiently endures lots of hugs and kisses. Sept1003Brynn is reaching out, touching, and even grasping toys now. She smiles at hanging toys, curtains, and ceiling fans and vents as if they’ve just shared a good joke. Brynn Kathryn has even learned how to help keep the paci in her mouth with her hand.Sept1001

Mommy has been snuggling her so much and has been so laid back with baby #3, that we’ve not done as much tummy time as we should. Today Brynn rolled over for the first time!

Here’s a video of chatting with Brynn: YouTube Preview Image

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Summer Season

As I consider this blog and how I write about our summers, I’m surprised that my tendency is to recap our summer activities in one post. It’s surprising since our lives aren’t bound by a school calendar. August5005Perhaps because everyone around me has an encapsulated time slot labeled “Summer,” I adopt that view. Or perhaps, with the intense heat, our routine changes enough that our “Very Hot Season” becomes a block of time in my mind.August5009

I’m guessing it’s a combination of both—there are different activities available due to the lack of school and the heat. Anyway, here’s my annual summer summary post.

Obviously the highlight of this summer was the birth of Brynn Kathryn on June 4th. August5016August6001June was a blur since we had family visiting for half the month! The other days were taken up with adjusting to life with 3 littles and adjusting to my postpartum body. We made sure that all three kids got in on the Father’s Day celebration for Stephen.August5001August5010

I’ve resumed walking with my friend Connie on a weekly basis. We usually walk at 5am on Tuesday mornings. Yes, it’s tough to pull myself out of bed, but I love it once I’m up! Brynn and I go together, so I carry her in the Moby wrap while Connie and I walk and talk. August5064

We celebrated the 4th of July with a picnic with our church family at the new church property. (Crossroad bought a house on 5 acres last fall.) After a cookout and games, we packed up for fireworks at the Goodyear Ballpark. It was crowded, but we managed to find a grassy spot to sit and watch fireworks. The firecrackers didn’t disturb Brynn at all, and the boys were fascinated by the “rockets.”August5022

Brynn met Stephen’s coworkers at lunch one day. The kids and I drove over to GreenLoop’s new offices to introduce our little sweetheart. (GreenLoop moved to a newer facility four miles from the old office, but Stephen’s commute is about the same.)August5024

We attended a couple library events that were both pretty popular. Wildlife World Zoo brought some animals to the White Tanks Library, and the event was so packed out that they had to offer an impromptu second showing! August5025At the Goodyear Library, the boys met one of our city police officers, and they made several police themed crafts.August5026

Silas went to Crossroad’s vacation Bible school, his second VBS of the summer. Morningside Baptist Church of Greenville, SC sent a large mission team to help us run our VBS. There were about 75 kids who came. I couldn’t help out much this year, but Cooper, Brynn, and I visited and even watched them shoot off some pop bottle rockets on Friday.August7001August7002

For Stephen’s birthday, I bought him a stack of three little bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes in Goodyear. Three cakes with four candles since our #1 man is now 34.August5041

As for filling some of the everyday moments, there were Lego & block creations, August5021August5058Ivory soap clouds made in the microwave and then colored and pressed into cookie cutter shapes, August5028backyard sprinkler days, swimming at the pool, August5032August5044playtime with Daddy, and cooking with Mommy.August5033August5034August5059August5060

We made homemade playdough, read some books,August5017August5039 tried out the library computers, made crafts, colored pictures, painted with brushes and with dot markers, August5042August5051August5063August5061and kissed Brynn incessantly. We just can’t help ourselves. August5035August5019August5007Lots of superheroes came to visit—almost every day. August5023August5036August5037And, of course, we can’t forget about all the TV time and the SNACKS!August5055August5008

The boys had their dentist appointments together. It was only Cooper’s second time to the dentist, and he actually let the hygienist clean his teeth this time.August5050

I’m hanging on to nap time for as long as I possibly can. The boys lay down after lunch each day. Cooper needs a daily nap, but Silas can get by with three or four naps a week. It’s a beautiful thing when all three babies are sleeping at the same time—it’s happened more than once!August5003August5040

Now that the boys are gaining some independence, we’ve started giving them a few chores. Both boys can clear their spot at dinner and put their dirty clothes in the hamper. I’ve begun teaching them to strip their beds for laundering and to set the table. Cooper has graced us with some elegant napkin settings. At this point, it’s more work for me to have them do chores, but that’s how learning starts.


These childhood days are ordinary—filled with golden moments, messy times, insightful questions, frazzled nerves, whispers of love, potty training, naps, newborn smiles, and cries for grace.August5006August5062

Posted in baby, church planting, community, crossroad baptist, employment, just life, preschooler, stephen, toddler | 2 Comments

Christopher Creek

It was a surprise—our family day trip. Stephen told us on Saturday that he had taken off work on Monday so we could travel north to escape the heat for the day. I love surprises! Exploring is one of our favorites, so we packed for swimming, for playing at the park, for picnicking, and for hiking. We were ready for whatever whimsical adventure the day held.August2001

The Beeline Highway took us up to Payson, AZ at the foot of the Mogollon Rim. The town was small, but we loved being outside. The boys rode their bikes at Green Valley Park and ran down the big grassy hill.August2003August2004 After our picnic at the park, we drove through town and decided to find Christopher Creek.August2002

As Silas hopped out of the car at the Christopher Creek campground, he said, “Where’s Coop? I’m already in the forest!” He was so excited and became quite the explorer as we hiked in the creek.August2009August2006

Cooper was timid at first and walked on the creek bank with Brynn and me. August2007But after a while, he took to the creek with Daddy and Silas and didn’t want to leave.August2008August2012 It began to thunder and sprinkle a little, so we headed back to town for supper at the Pizza Factory.

Making memories with my man and our babies.August2013

Posted in arizona attractions, stephen, vacation | 2 Comments


Our little girl turned two months old yesterday. Brynn has the sweetest (and quietest) personality. She has been giving lots of smiles and loves to stick her tongue out when she’s especially excited. Simple things like ceiling fans, the family room curtains, and dangling toys are call for the “tongue-in-and-out” move.IMG_20150804_152303599a

Brynn is flexible and up for almost anything—as long as it includes Mommy and milk. She’s even gotten up with me to go walking at 5am!

I’ve taken a few small trips to the grocery store with all three littles. For me, it’s been so much easier adjusting to three kids now that I’m practiced at the balancing act and now that Silas and Cooper are somewhat independent. It helps that the boys love Brynn to death and take care of her. Though, Coop might be tiring of it a bit. Just today he and I had this conversation:

Me: “I’m looking for Brynn’s paci. Do you know where it is?”
Cooper: “No, I okay with crying.”
Cooper (to Brynn): “I like your crying. Good job, Brynn!”

Yesterday was not only the 2 month mark for Brynn, but Stephen and I also celebrated our 9th anniversary. Stephen took me for my first taste of a sushi roll. (It was delicious!) IMG_20150804_181452815_HDRaI wore my “Brynn” earrings to celebrate this precious husband and the almost decade we’ve been married. Love you, my Treasure Boy!IMG_20150804_200616349a

Posted in baby, brynn, date nights, marriage, stephen | 1 Comment

Life on the Surface of the Sun

In case you hadn’t heard, this Arizona summer heat is a killer—literally. It’s very possible for babies to get 2nd degree burns from touching their car seat buckles when climbing into a hot car. Thankfully, that’s never happened to one of our crew, but those insulated car seats make for a very hot ride. At least for now, we’re taking Brynn’s seat into stores with us, but the boys’ seats are burning up! Add to that the inefficiency of our car’s AC unit, and we’ve got two sweaty boys in a matter of seconds.

Which is why I’m shocked that I just recently found out about this wonderful invention. How have I been an Arizona mom for 4 1/2 years and this has never come up in conversation?

Well, in order to do my part to spread the word, I’d like to introduce you to my new best friend. Moms, meet the Car Seat Cooler. July6002We purchased this one from Amazon, and it’s been wonderful!

The cooler has a special filling inside that freezes (they call it CoolTech, but I’m assuming it’s similar to a gel pack), so we keep it in the freezer—ready to go. We throw it into the car and once we get to our destination (usually an exotic location like Walmart), we open the car seat cooler and place it in Coop’s car seat since his gets the most sun. July6001Then after buying our gourmet food items (like Cheezits and toaster strudels), we return to the car and fold up the cooler. Cooper gets to sit in a chilled car seat instead of climbing into an inferno for the drive home. (And in case you’re worried about Silas, his seat isn’t usually in direct sunlight, and he has three AC vents directly in front of him.) The cooler stays frozen for hours, and we just stash it back in the freezer so it’s ready for our next adventure.July6003

I know there are fabric coolers you could make yourself and just tuck ice packs into its pockets, but this cooler is so convenient (and has the added bonus that I didn’t need to wrestle with my sewing machine in order to get it). Now I just need to find a seat cooler for my seat!

This has been a public service announcement.

Posted in car, just life, parenting, reviews, toddler | 4 Comments


The other day I received a package from my cousin, Laura. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever been given.July5002

Laura and I were pregnant at the same time and would text back and forth—commiserating over pregnancy woes and cheering each other on. I’m thankful for a cousin who prays for me. Laura’s little boy, Charlie Jr. was born in May, and he’s a cutie!

Inside the envelope was a pair of earrings from the Elisabeth Ashlie collection. Of course I immediately noticed that the company name matched the spelling of my name. (That never happens.) But when Laura’s letter explained that the earrings are called the “Brynn Earrings,” my heart melted.July5001It was like Laura was giving me a hug all the way from Maryland!

Posted in baby, brynn, elisabeth, family, pregnancy | 2 Comments

Baby Snuggles

For the third summer in a row my family was able to come visit us. But this time there was a newborn to cuddle. Little Brynn Kathryn got passed from aunt July4007to aunt July4008to grandparent July4015all week. She even sported some new clothes from her aunties. Newborns are their own kind of special.July4013July4016

Dad was leading a Vacation Bible School at a nearby church, and Silas attended most of the week. My sister Ruth Anna texted me pictures throughout the VBS, and it was cute to see what Silas was up to.July4001July4003July4002

Rebekah treated us to a night of pizza and organ music where the aunts had as much fun as the boys. I love seeing my family love my babies.July4014July4018

Our days together were busy, but we’re thankful they could come be with us and that Grandma could meet her little namesake.July4005July4021

Posted in baby, brynn, family | 1 Comment

…and a cherry on top

Darling Brynn Kathryn,

You are that cherry on top! You are the bite-sized little girl that is the sweet new addition to our family.July1007

Today you are one month old, and we are all head-over-heels in love with you. One of my favorite memories of your birth is Daddy dancing with you in the hospital room to the music of a love song.June3019

Just this week you smiled for the first time. It was your big brother Silas who made you smile first. Now you’re focusing on our faces, Little Blue Eyes. Your favorite thing to look at are the family room curtains; their crazy pattern keeps you entertained. Even when you’re fussy, you love your nursery. The aqua color and Grampy’s amazing fairyland mural must be so calming for you.July1002July1004

I love kissing your velvety skin and cuddling you as you sleep on my chest. You are a contented baby who loves to snuggle. That’s a good thing since we’ve had so much family visit already. Last week Grandma, Grandpa and your three adoring aunts held you all week.July1001

Grandma is the special lady you’re named for. Her name is Kathryn Renee, and Kathryn is a family name that goes back generations. Your great grandma was Hilda Catherine, and your great great grandma was Maggie Catherine. You have a legacy of grandmas that share your name. We pray that one day you will share their faith in Jesus.July1005

Brynn, you are tangible evidence of God’s grace to us. Mommy and Daddy aren’t deserving of the gift of parenthood. And yet God has given us not only two precious boys, but also the treasure of a beautiful daughter too!July2001

We love you, Brynn.



Posted in baby, brynn, thoughts | 3 Comments