Sunday, December 9

These are the guys.

Spent a week with these guys.  Yep, that's the guys.  Pops with the glasses and Gram with the very long face.  Ha  ha ha ha.  Artwork by PJ.
Though I'm sure all the time we spent with the Grandparents playing and reading and watching Christmas movies will be the true memories the kids hold forever, this day trip to the Aquarium was certainly the most adventurous, er, exciting!
Thanks for and to the family!

Wednesday, November 28


Mainly I'm putting these photos up here so I can look at them myself.  

You probably know, but I REALLY LOVE CHRISTMAS.  Can't probably explain it all in a little blog post, but it is truly the reason for the season which creates extra goodwill in my heart especially during this time of year.

As our family sets to travel a bit in the next month, I thought that while it is so fun to be off and running, here and there, and even out and about, there is a reason to join back again soon.



Thursday, November 22

Saturday, November 10

in her own world

Lena is doing so much growing all ways.  She's making progress daily with her education and on a constant path to maturity in many emotional and personal areas.  I've been meaning to write pages and pages on the way she's doing so great.  But for now, I only have the time to say "Wow"!  What an awesome privilege to be her Mom and have a front row seat for a fun ride!!

Thursday, November 8

Playing the Games!


The kids and I spent an hour hanging out at camp before lunch recently.  While the kids played, I drug everything out of the game cabinet and went to reorganize.  It's my gift, really...organization.  It's a DNA thing...the need to dump out something and put it back. (tongue in cheek...)

When the kids tired of their games, they came over and helped me stack stuff back in and throw away garbage.

I'm sure it lasted, like, 24 hours before it was a jumble again.  It is a well loved and oft used place at camp to hang out.  Not just for camp kids, but guests as well!
 It's good, though, to pass on these obsessive compulsive, I mean, awesome abilities to the next generation!!!


Saturday, October 27

Imagination Station

It tickles my funny bone no end to watch this kid play by himself. 
Is it tether ball or a maypole?

Friday, October 26



Someday life will be all WORDS and no KID PICTURES, but for now, you have to be grateful for what you get!

This photo was a few weeks ago.  It reflected a really great week for Lena & PJ adventuring outside.  They were playing so great together!  It takes an exact combination of PJ's willingness to follow and Lena's gentle leading.  This week...well, it was a rainy week, I think they had less room to spread out!

He is lucky to have her as a big sister, though, because she is a sister with BIG ideas!!!  And she can now graciously laugh when she tells a joke or story and he repeats or requests the same thing as her.  I say quietly so only she can hear "Here comes Monkey Do" (as in, monkey see monkey do)!

Two monkeys in these pictures, anyway!


Tuesday, October 16

books r us

So many books, so little time!
Jackson and I have been busting through our stash of chapter books for the year.  I read from one of them to him each night.  He reads a bit from several each day (then usually insists that I MUST read this is SO good!)  Because he is studying the Eastern Hemisphere this year, they are focused on Asian people groups thus far.
This is not to say that he's given up Garfield completely...just focusing more efforts on enjoyable and valuable reading rather than just reading for the sake of enjoyment!
Jackson was recently heard saying to a friend "The author of that one is on the New York Time's bestseller list." 
This from the same kid who recently declared "We're having a revolution...The Thompson kids are revolting!" (Clearly, he was not thinking of ALL the definitions for the word.)

Thursday, October 11


We're best when we're being silly and playing together. 

The best of the best is when we're laughing at the kids or at an inside joke in front of the kids. 

It turns the tables, and the small ones get very quiet as if there is too much silliness for dinner!

Saturday, October 6

touch o' the green

We've been back to one of our "new" favorite hiking trails.  It was one of those days you had to wear your sunglasses because the grass and hills were so green!  Good thing the boys were wearing red and not their favorite football gear!

*This was a month ago!  It's such a funny photo, though, it's worth a share!  I should have a matching picture of what those background trees look like now!  Time to take more pictures, I

Tuesday, October 2

lil' squirt

My favorite Little Squirt.  I can not convince him to QUIT growing!!

Tonight at bed, he was trying to convince me he can still have piggy back rides when he is 15...FIFTEEN!

Monday, October 1

red hot black

I'm thankful for the preservation of summer and for those who graciously shared their bounty.  We'll be enjoying some tasty smoothies and shakes during these colder days!!

For now, I continue to take in the last of the tomatoes and potatoes.  Say that three times fast. 

I made a really simple pasta sauce tonight.  Fried onion and garlic in olive oil.  Added boiled down fresh tomato juice, salt and garlic.  I would have eaten it as such, but the family needs sugar to to tone down the tart.

I'm pretty sure I'm one of those gardeners who actually pays $64 for each tomato brought in from the home garden.  By the time you add up all the labor and costs, you could more easily buy it at Walmart (or around here, the Amish auction).  But for me?  The time spent outside is priceless!  Take that Walmart!


Wednesday, September 26

Beginner's Luck

Are we too cool for school?  Eh, let's go mini golfing.

No, really, though.  School has gotten off to such an amazing start this year!  I'd say we always enjoy the "back to school in the fall" phase, but this year we just hit our groove so easily.

Our pre-set curriculum has helped in that regard.  Also, because we started slowly back to work in August, we have been able to add one thing on more each week until we hit the full pull of academics.

I have had some tired kids at the end of the days, too.  After a rigorous school schedule and then just enjoying the mostly warm days, they are done by nightfall!

As always, I feel like now, no matter what curve balls we might encounter through the year, having a good start keeps us feeling positive and confident to make it through to the end!  But we're not even looking toward the end of this year, we're having too much fun in the now!


Thursday, September 20

Not Living Water

Do not drink the water!!!

This week I've spent some time tearing down the garden.  I've taken down the cuke and zuke vines, as well as the beans.  I dug up my first potatoes yesterday.  It's the first time I've ever grown them and it has been a really cool thing to dig up and find little treasures.  I feel Irish or something...relying heavily on the potato harvest this winter!

PJ was helping, well, sort of!

Sunday, September 16

red sauce

You know it's September when...
you're processing tomatoes in your sleep!

But, the season is nearly done!


Thursday, September 13

in the stream

One of the last hot ones of 2012.  Fun while it lasted, though maybe it DID last a bit too long!

Saturday, September 8

The Land of Plenty

Today was one of those amazing days where everything is done on the list with time to spare.

It started out early with Lena and I out to help a friend cut grapes.  Two hours, a few donuts, and no bee stings later we high tailed it home to meet the boys home from flag football.  Lunch, chores, house clean (except that elusive mopping) then off to "the project list" aka "the pl". 

Paul did a few fix it jobs, weed whipped and washed the outside of the windows.  Amazing!

My pl included: assembling chili for tomorrow's Pakcer game, making crockpot applesauce (AGAIN!!!), canning tomato sauce (AGAIN!!!) and working on a few chicken coop projects.  The apples came to us cheap, but delicious, and the tomatoes free, so it feels almost a sin to let one drop go to waste.  As for the coop, the chickens are still sleeping on the floor and not on the roost bar, so I put a 2 x 2 in rather than tree limbs.  Maybe they don't like the "natural" look I was going for.  And now that we have one layer... who is also LAYING eggs on the floor and not in the lovely boxes, I set about making those seem more safe ?!?  I DID stop short of hanging curtains, though.

As a family we trekked down the road to help some friends with a small barn they were putting up (Paul), pick garden produce (me, and Jack when he wasn't eating raspberries) and hold kittens (PJ & Lena). 

As I had so much applesauce in the house, and though I have a freezer FULL of beef, we swung by the IGA on the way home to grab some pork chops.  Something about pork chops and applesauce (imbedded in my brain from the Brady Bunch) I couldn't stop drooling!  So looked up a quick recipe and an hour later we had an amazing dinner.   Pork chops, farmer's market carrot, potatoes, onions, and homemade applesauce.  Apple cider to drink and apple crisp for dessert GAH!!!  I know, even I drive myself crazy with over exhausting one food group, but it was all so tasty!

We played a quick football game outside before a quick rain cloud drove us in.  Baths and books for all the wee ones and a quiet living room by 8pm!  Not bad! 

Paul and I were just talking about how this is such a great season of life.  Soon, we know, all too soon, the kids will be up after we are trashing the kitchen and being loud (ha ha, two cardinal sins for me...especially at night).  So for this season, I choose to thank God for his abundance of love and grace and provision for our family. 

Good luck and good night!!!

Wednesday, August 29

Four and Counting

PJ turned 4!!!  I'm trying to keep a good boy down, though, by telling him he's still the baby.  I can't hold on much longer!!!

Quit growing, already, kid!!!

Sunday, August 26

Find the Gnome

Here we are on a recent hiking trip, trying again, to "find the gnome".  I think this year's gnome has a red shirt on and is an ornery 10 years old!


Monday, August 20

good kid

This isn't a great eyes and blurry, but this is a face my Dad makes most of the time. 

You can see him smiling.  I know what he is thinking "Good Kid". 

Later he'll say to me, "Jenny, that girl is just so funny"!!!

Saturday, August 18

hard to come by

This new friend of a year ago moved in the last month. It was bittersweet for me, because these two got on so well. Both girls, but more likely to be found hanging upside down in a tree than playing princess dolls.


But, she's a "FOC" or Friend of Camp, so her family intends that they'll be back every summer for as much as possible! And we plan to hold them to it, or help them get up here as best we can!

Good bye summer!  Goodbye for now, friend!

Tuesday, August 14

your love is amazing

Jack woke up this morning speaking of a "great dream".  His dream was that one afternoon he walked into our local library and they had EVERY single book that he was looking for on the shelf.

Funny kid.

So tonight before bed we did his weekly scour of the online book catalog and reserved far more books than really necessary.

Did you know there are still Garfield comic books in print?  We reserved the 36th book.

I love how your own kid's quirks secretly make you smile.

PS.  Jack wondered aloud if in this book Jon would marry Liz....what do you think?

Friday, August 10

this crafts

Today I am taking you down, craft closet!!  Prepare to be organized!!

Wednesday, August 8


One last day of swimming, for a while now?  It's quite cool outside this morning, but yesterday we took advantage of the heat and headed for the pool.  Are the dog days of summer are upon us?

Wednesday, August 1

where it's at

This park is where all of the action takes place for the 18 and younger set (or the young at heart).  The kids love it any day, but especially on a summer day when it is filled with friends.

I did try the big slide...ONE TIME, and that was enough for me!

Monday, July 30

First Timer

Several weeks before I set out to direct Little Squirts, I got nervous. I wasn’t in full blown sweats, but I was having these passing “what if” thoughts. What if no kids came, what if too many kids came, what if none of the kids listen to us!

I think compounding all of this, was part of the reason I volunteered to direct this camp from the very beginning. I knew it would be the fastest way to get to know this camp in a different role than that of “camp wife”. I was expecting a bit of a trial by fire, and I felt my anxiety level rise with that thought even though I was willingly jumping in!

I felt, even at the time, that the Lord was asking me to step up my prayer time regarding the two nights LWBC would run camp for the K-3 grade crowd. So I prayed more. I spent more time in prayer for the kids who were coming. I prayed for their families sending them. I prayed for the staff I’d be volunteering with and working alongside. I prayed the programs we would be running for the campers would glorify our Lord above all else.

The theme this year at LWBC was “In His Image” and I truly felt honored to have discussions with kids which illustrated how we are all made unique and special in the image of our great God. There are no accidents amongst mankind. No person is worthless. We are all loved and valuable to the creator.

As the kids arrived, registered, and parents left, I started to relax. We had 40 kids for this first ever camp for the younger set here at Living Waters. And they were all really amazing kids! I loved talking with them, and hanging out with the kids, and sharing all that we had planned for their “first time” as overnight campers.

The full time and summer staff I worked alongside were incredible. The energy that people who love camp have is really inspiring! We kept the kids moving during a stretch of very hot days from early in the morning until late enough at night. Then the cabins had some homesickness to deal with each night after lights out. The dorm leaders rose above all the circumstantial issues, though, and were able to have great friendship building and spiritually minded discussions with the campers.

By the end of the two nights, I came away with such a feeling of privilege. I was honored that these families would allow us to care for their kids for several days. I was truly humbled to be able to serve at Living Waters. This is a place our family has really grown to love and we feel deeply tied to the ministry that happens in our valley. I also felt privileged for the impact of those in ministry who had a hand in training me up over the years to be able to say “Yes” to the opportunity of volunteering to direct at camp. I feel so grateful to think back to the pastors, youth pastors, summer camp directors and family members who have mentored me in deepening my faith and using my relationship with Jesus Christ to love on other people.

I’m still riding a “high” from my involvement in summer camp this year. I don't know what role I'll play in future ministry at Living Waters, but I  am thankful that God was able to use and teach me as a first time camp director.

Thursday, July 26

what can you say

We near 16 years of marriage this August!  I have known this guy in so many different ways over the last 20+ years.  This photo shows the role in which he shines the most....father. 

Thanks, Paul, for taking us to the 'crik the other day! ... and for all the other adventures we never would have gone on if not for you!  Hopefully they all end up as amazing (and with only a minority of us crying to go home!)

Monday, July 23

Peepin' Toms

I took this photo while hiking at our living history museum.  Do you think Ma Ingalls minded these two aliens from the future checking out her home?

Sunday, July 1

true love

The kids came home the other day shouting "Mom, Mom, we've got a suprise for you."  I pulled off my apron and came running.  I knew where they had been....they'd been to the dump with their Dad.

Out here, we don't pay to have our garbage taken away...NO!  We get a hitch on our vehicle, then wait for a friend to bless us with a trailer.  Finally, we outfit that trailer to haul our garbage for FREE (well, after all the other hauling accessories are accumlated).

I zoomed down the stairs and followed the kids around the corner outside.

They'd found me a matching duck!!!  The one on the left is an old one I've had for a while.  It used to be my Mom's.  The guy on the right is the newest member of the family.  They both need a bit of superglue at the bottom, which strangely, helps him to fit in right away!

Anyway, this is one cute animal which the dog won't eat or shake (I think?).   It's funny you can see Scoutie stalking something in the distance!

Next time you're heading this way, stop by and say hello to Juliet & her Romeo!

Monday, June 25

in our nest

It's been a year and a few days since we've moved, now.  Nearly everything has changed and yet, so little.

We're still the same 5 people trying to love each other as hard as we can, while trying to like each other as much as possible!

I knew from the beginning, when Paul and I started seeking God for our next step together that this would be the case.  I kept thinking, as long as I have these four other people in my life, I don't care what we do or where we are!  And it is so true.  When you really boil all the other stuff down, you just want to be in this life with these people. 

It won't always be that way, I know.  Paul and I likely won't be the parents that follow our kids off to college and career (I'm 85% sure about this, by the way).  But as long as my little chicks are in their nests, I'm as content as can be.  I'll enjoy it for the short lived season that it is, and thank God for these blessings while I may.

Saturday, June 16

The boy is back in town.

We've got Jack back from his full week at camp.  He had an amazing week.  He chatted my ear off for a good hour about all the different games his counselors and cabin mates played.  He loved the Olympic games and thought he did pretty well at Nukum on the volleyball courts.  He told me of his interview with one of his counselors where he really talked with him in depth about being sure of your salvation and truly walking with the Lord.  Cool.

The worst part of his week was when his pants ripped at the horse farm! 

I'm sure he spent most of his canteen money on ice cream and ring pops (of which I found several wrappers in the laundry)!

I missed him a lot this week, especially starting around mid week.  After the newness of having only two kids wore off, we missed his presence.  

I think he's glad to be home. 

We're just chillin', now, and though I've already smacked his leg a dozen times as he sits next to me (for biting his nails, grrr) it feels so good to have all my chicks within reach again. 

Friday, June 15


Syttende Mai

The Norweigan Heritage Days are serious business around here in South Western Wisconsin (think Summerfest, but without the music). 

Everyone seems to turn a bit "Swedish" if you know what I mean!

Our family walked/rode in the parade on behalf of Living Waters.
It was really fun and very strange to be on the side of the candy throwing population!