Has it been a week since I posted something here? Seems like just a few days ago. This past week has been very full and it looks like October is going to stay fast paced till the end. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Last week I decided last minute to get the family dressed up for some quick family photos before we left for Grand Rapids for the weekend. Looking ahead at my calendar I knew it was now or never. Taking photos right before dusk with an amateur camera and an even more amateur photographer (me) meant that our results were not quite as glorious as what I had in mind, but they will have to do and at least I like our outfits!

Ah, love this little family of mine! It has been such a good year of learning and discovering. Of finding my voice once again and focusing on the things that I really care about instead of chasing down a lot of silly goals that lead to nowhere. I think it has taken me up to this year to truly embrace the kind of mother I am and at the same time to find my identity outside of motherhood. I think I've even stopped worrying about what the world says about parenting and am finding my acceptance only in Christ. I wish I had embraced this the day CJ was born. It would have saved me a lot of stress.

Coming to this point doesn't mean that now my children behave and my house is perfectly organized, but it does mean that my vision is no longer clouded when I make decisions for my family. My patience has grown because I'm not as hard on myself or my children. My love is deeper because I can focus on just loving instead of what I should be doing to love better. 

Now that I'm reveling in this spiritual freedom, I am anticipating this next year. I'm looking forward to if God brings any new life into our family. I am excited about our next homeschool semester. I am feeling relieved about not style blogging as often (or at all maybe), and I am humbled and honored that I have the opportunity to continue my law school education and finally finish what I started 13 years ago!

But this man. Of course I wouldn't be where I am today without him. Without his love, encouragement, and complete faith in me, I'm sure I would have made so many more mistakes and would always doubt myself. But he is my hero. He has pursued his dreams and has achieved so much even in just the time I've known him. When we first met and dreamed about our lives together, we didn't even dream that life could be this good. 

So here we are. A little family of five living in a small rural town by the river in Northwest Ohio. Chris is working for an amazing non-profit organization that ministers to incarcerated fathers and their families - teaching them how to be better fathers and partners so they can re-enter civilization with a good job and a strong family bond. On top of that, he serves once a week on our City Council. I get to stay at home with my children, working part-time from home for the same organization my husband works for doing some data entry work, while I homeschool my second grader. 

And this guy, he's my right hand man. He helps me around the house and with the girls. He wants to be an engineer when he grows up. To practice for a career in engineering, he draws or builds using Legos or K'nex during his free time. He's already proving to be good at math and science, which is important if he truly does go into the engineering field. While he has the voice of an angel and is already getting good at piano, he tells me frequently that he does not want to be a musician . . . just an engineer. I'm fine with that, but I hope he'll sing to me forever.

This girl. She's in that stage of needing extra love and attention because she feels like so much time is spent with CJ during school and so much attention is spent on Capri because she's the baby. She needs a lot of one on one time playing make-up, hair bows, puzzles and games. She knows how to express herself better than some adults and wants to be just like her big brother, whom she adores. I do some school with her and she attends a couple of hours two days a week at a local Christian preschool. She's making new friends and loves that she gets to be in school just like CJ.

My baby. Capri is a cuddler. She wants to be held, hugged, and kissed all the time. Most of the time I happily oblige her, because ... oh those eyes! She is momma's girl through and through and is mostly wary of her big sister but adoring of her big brother, who, next to momma, is sometimes the only person she'll allow to hold her. 

And that's us. This little family of mine has totally swept me off my feet and I love them more and more each year. 

Perhaps this post would have been more appropriate for New Year's or a maybe even a Christmas update, but posting these pictures and listening to the rain outside inspired me today. So there you have it.