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Did you survive the May-cember madness? May really is such a packed month (and our family doesn’t even have end-of-school-year festivities to navigate!), but a fun one too. Our May was packed with all the good things. Here’s a look at our highlights.


My reading this month contained several accidental pairings. There were two books from Charleston’s favorite author, Stuart Gibbs (Charleston has already devoured the series that begins with this book, and I was happy to then introduce him to this clever start of another Gibbs series). And there were two books from J. K. Rowling: I adored The Ichabog (yet another book that Charleston pressed into my hands), and together we finally finished book five of the Harry Potter series (which we began way back in January!); it’s my least favorite of the series, but still a fun read-aloud.

Beyond Middle Grade, there were two books about parents and their adult children (this and this, both just mediocre reads) and two books with multiple POV on the same story (though beyond the similar structures, this historical sliding doors novel and this Japanese thriller could not be more different!). In Nonfiction, I read two books—this and this—that push back on some popular parenting trends. I’ll be sharing full reviews of each of these titles in a Quick Lit post next Monday.


A few podcasts that inspired and informed this month.


Focus on the Family—My Rescue From Human Trafficking to New Life in Christ

Eastside Christian Church Message—Mother’s Day 2024 with Alayna Towne (Have tissues ready for this one, it’s a toughie.)


The Alisa Childers Podcast—#244 Should Christians Practice Gentle Parenting?, with Abbie Halberstadt

Focus on the Family—Where Do Babies Come From?

The Matt Walsh Show—The Realities of Love, Marriage & Divorce | Matt Walsh Interviews James J. Sexton


The Unspeakable with Meghan Daum—The “Right Kind” of Black Person: Erec Smith on prescriptive racism.

ReFocus with Jim Daly—Persuading Others to Choose Life in a Post-Roe World

Wear We Are—Episode 109: Sports betting and marijuana legalization


Happier with Gretchen Ruben—More Happier: Sweep the Deck! A “Clear the Decks” Episode of Quick Tasks for Summer Prep



+ “I started wearing hats when my fear of bad guys started. Because the brim of a hat is pretty strong so it’s a good defense system. At the time it seemed like a good idea.”

+ “What’s with the statue for veterans? Isn’t a veteran something to do with animals?”

+ “How can you can pumpkin? I don’t think they make a jar that big.”


+ “God has a lot of jobs, right? Because he’s really important.”

+ “I have an idea! Instead of a summer reading program we should have a summer playing program! We check off things for how much we play!”

+ “Sully, if you stop crying I’ll give you a surprise. The surprise is that I’ll be nice to you.” Sully (through tears): “That’s not a very good surprise.”

+ “All the gas station bathrooms are smelly but this one’s not. That’s kind of cool!”

+ When we got home from vacation, Kali ran to her room and threw open her closet door to pull out her princess crowns: “Oh, I missed you so much!”


+ When Kali started to get scared over seeing the vacuum: “Kali, it’s okay! We’re four-and-a-half now, we don’t get scared of the vacuum anymore!”

+ “I am older because I came out first. Probably because I wanted to come out more than Kali because I wanted Mama more.”

+ After Sully correctly used the word “uploading” in context. Charleston: “Wow, Sully, I’m impressed you knew how to use that word.” Sully: “Yeah, it means dying.”

+ As I was walking ahead of him: “Wait for me! How could you even forget me if I’m related to you?”

+ Me: “Sully, can you please get the door for Kali and me?” Sully: “Yep, I can, sure thing ladies.”

+ “Mom, did you know some people actually LIVE in California?”


We wrapped up our school year the first week of May (Charleston charged through his final lessons to finish a week earlier than planned). I can’t believe that I’ve graduated a third grader, and I’m proud of all that Charleston learned this year: writing in cursive, diagramming sentences, writing summaries, long division, adding and subtracting fractions, algebra, complex Bible study skills, and so much more. Together (along with the twins) we studied ancient and Biblical history, learned about the weather and sea life, and read through fifteen novels (in addition to the countless books Charleston read on his own). For their part, the twins have made good progress on their penmanship skills and letter recognition. Homeschooling is challenging but rewarding and I’m so glad to have another successful year under our belts. We will continue to do some light work through the summer (by the end of the summer Charleston will have memorized the books of the Bible in order, as well as the names and capitals of all 50 states), and I’m already eagerly making our plans for 4th grade and pre-K in the fall!

We’ve been painting Kali’s finger nails at home for a while, but lately she’s been asking for a professional manicure at the nail salon, so we made it part of our last mommy/daughter date. She talked about it for DAYS beforehand and she was so excited that she could hardly sleep the night before our date. She was so mature and poised through the whole experience and loved picking out a color and being pampered by her manicurist. While we were at the salon, we talked with an older gentleman who was waiting for a pedicure. He mentioned that he has one daughter and five sons, and that his daughter is his princess—to which Kali leaned over and whispered to me that she, too, is a princess and that I am the queen. That’s my girl! These fun girly dates are my favorite and a sweet reminder of how blessed I am to have a beautiful, precious daughter.

Luke and the kids made my Mother’s Day weekend SO special. On that Saturday they let me sleep in while Luke took the kids to breakfast, and he watched them most of the day while I cooked and cleaned in preparation for our guests on Sunday. Mother’s Day morning, Charleston presented me with a “Mother’s Day checklist” on a plate (in lieu of breakfast in bed since we had church and he knew I didn’t have time to eat); I love that he shares my love for a good list! While I got ready, Luke snuck out to buy me a beautiful bouquet of flowers; I didn’t even realize he’d been gone! We were all able to attend church together (a rarity since Luke is usually serving with the production team during service), and when we came home the kids gave me the sweetest homemade cards. Luke also made a very thoughtful card and gifted me a beautiful necklace with the kids’ names engraved on charms (and a bonus charm to be engraved once Baby #4 is named). That afternoon we hosted Luke’s side of the family for lunch; I enjoy cooking so it was fun for me to host. When they left we were able to FaceTime my mom for a bit. In all, a lovely Mother’s Day that had me so thankful for the moms in my life and and incredibly grateful for the beautiful souls that made ME a mom.

We attended Charleston’s Court of Honor (end-of-year awards) for Trail Life and it was a joy to celebrate our boy and his hard work this year. Trail Life was a new endeavor for both Charleston and Luke this school year and it has become a big part of our lives, with weekly meetings and monthly campouts and several additional activities. They’ve made friends and learned a lot and we are grateful to be a part of this “scouts alternative” that glorifies the Lord and is focused on discipling young men. Our troop saw tremendous growth this year, resulting in a two-hour-long ceremony. The twins were good sports sitting through the awards (at least they got cake at the end!) and we enjoyed cheering on Charleston as he received a few badges (including the Walking Worthy Award for extensive Biblical study, memorization, and discipleship) and saw Luke recognized as one of the many dads who make Trail Life a possibility for our boys. It was the first of many: assuming Baby Boy also participates in Trail Life through high school, we have a good nineteen years to go with the organization!

We took our annual trip to California! The first day was a lot of driving, 16 hours on the road. The kids were awesome in the car and we managed to make minimal stops (shocking given my pint-sized bladder these days). We were rewarded by a lovely evening in Payson, Arizona. We discovered the beautiful Kohl’s Ranch Lodge on last year’s trip and have eagerly anticipated returning all year long. It’s such a lovely spot and we stayed in the nicest little cabin with full amenities and a separate bedroom for the kids. We got in early enough to explore the grounds of the resort, which feature a pool, volleyball and basketball courts, hiking trails, and more. The kids had fun running along the creek and finding pine cones and we appreciated the chance to stretch our legs after sitting for far too long.

Part One of our time in California was at Forest Home Family Camp, an annual tradition with my parents and brother. I’ve been going to various camps at Forest Home since I was 11, and it remains one of my favorite places. Despite a stomach bug (Luke) and pregnancy discomfort (me), we had a great weekend. We hiked, did some crafts, played mini golf and air hockey and various other games, picnicked at the lake, enjoyed delicious food that I didn’t have to cook, attending fantastic Biblical teaching, worshipped the Lord, and spent time as a family. Our whole group was staying in one large house again this year (as opposed to three separate cabins) and it was a great setup.

At camp, the kids had tons of fun with the other kiddos at kids’ sessions in the morning, and with the babysitters that came to our house to watch them in the evenings (what a luxury!). Some highlights this year were Charleston’s bear spotting one evening, the bobcat hanging out just outside our house, winning a Homie (free cup that comes with $1 soda and Icee refills all weekend) for traveling the farthest to get to camp, the kids collecting a record number of wooden nickels (tokens for a raffle) hidden around the camp, and seeing the kids perform some worship songs on stage on the last day.

Part Two of our California time was spent at my parents’ place in Huntington Beach. Our adventures included swimming in my parents’ community pool, visiting the AMAZING Cerritos library (it has a full T-Rex skeleton, massive aquarium, and gorgeous grounds), and a fun day at a Newport park located right next to a Mother’s Beach where the kids had a blast exploring the playground and splashing around in the water.

During our trip we got to eat at our two favorite California spots (Flame Broiler and Wahoo’s) and were able to visit Luke’s Grandma Leos and his Grandpa Jernejcic. This was our first time in California since my grandmother passed away, and it was sad not to get to see her this trip, but I’m glad the kids still have two surviving great grandparents and that we could spend some quality time with them both.

We got home from our trip late Saturday night, and it’s good to be back home. We had a few scary moments on the road, including some unusual brake issues, a thunder storm in which we saw lightening strike a power line right next to our car (the explosion was unlike anything I’ve ever seen!), and a near-miss with a deer dashing across the road (we were feet shy of missing it, sadly the truck in the opposing lane of traffic was not so lucky . . . the sound of car hitting animal was truly traumatizing). We had yet another near-accident just miles from home when a mama duck and her ducklings passed right in front of our car. Praise the Lord for protecting us despite so many near misses!



Joyful Discipleship “As difficult as motherhood can be, I refuse to become a martyr to my own decisions and circumstances. My children are not burdens, and being their full-time mom and teacher is an absolute blessing. Even in the hardest of days, I can see God at work.”

Well-Watered and Right-Side-Up (May Verse—Isaiah 58:11) “We are living in a culture that has lost sight of which way is up. We fly with confidence, not knowing or simply not caring that our moral compasses have gone haywire and are driving us into the ground. We care too much for things that do not matter, and we turn our backs on the things that matter most.

What I Learned This Spring About Birthdays, Pregnancy, Expectations, and Small Conveniences “Reflecting periodically on what I’m learning draws me back to my core values and reminds me that my mind, soul, and spirit have not remained stagnant. Eleven years has not brought notoriety or financial success, but if lessons were dollars I could count myself a very rich woman indeed.


Quick Lit + May 2024

Bookish Considerations: What Are Your Wishes for the Book Fairy?


28 Things Our Family’s Summer Bucket List


“God’s will is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be lived into. It is a mystery whose contours emerge as we journey on.” ~ Wendy M. Wright

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” —Cardinal Meymillod

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” ~ Winston Churchill

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~ John Lubbock

How was your May? I’d love to hear about your highlights, lowlights, and everything in between.

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