A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Julia Mabel

Motherhood didn’t come naturally to me. But because it seemed like it came naturally to so many other moms around me, I was crushed when I found it to be hard and overwhelming. I’ve never once had someone tell me “You’re such a natural at mothering.” Nope. Not me. I work every day against my own selfish desires to parent and love my children. The work is hard, but the work is good.


Lunch time

However, when we started exploring homeschooling, I figured that teaching at least would come naturally. I naturally like learning and exploring. I naturally like teaching my children new ideas. I naturally like the concept of home learning.

But three weeks into our school year and I’m realizing I am going to have to work at homeschooling, just as much as I work at parenting.

And the learning curve is steep.

I’m figuring out how to mother and teach. I’m figuring out when Julia focuses best and when I’m most patient. I’m figuring out what this new role looks like for our family.


P.E. at Zilker


So, homeschooling doesn’t come as naturally as I hoped. But, I’m willing to fight for it. I’m willing to put in the time and energy it takes to learn how to teach my children. Just like I have fought for learning to parent over the past {nearly} six years.

And for me, fighting for something makes me value it even more than if it were to come “naturally”. So here’s to a cause worth fighting for!

As of today, all three kids are out of the house for 5+ hours. 

photo (3)


*The heavens parted and angels sing*

Julia has on-campus school M/W. Hannah and Joseph’s preschool (aka Mother’s Day Out) started today, which also meets M/W. That leaves me kid-free from 9-2. Can I just tell ya, I haven’t been kid-free on this kind of basis since having kids? I’m just a little giddy

In fact, as of this morning, I’ve already worked out, my house is clean, and I drank my coffee in silence. Silence. Ahhh….

Now, I’m sure I’ll hear all those “You’ll miss these days. Just you wait…”

Yes. I will miss these days. I will miss the days when my babies are little. I will miss the days when Julia is convinced that I know everything, when Hannah thinks I am the most beautiful woman, and Joseph chooses me over anyone else.

Yes, I will miss these days.

But, honestly, having a reprieve twice a week helps keep this mama sane. We decided to have a classical education approach with Julia (and later with Hannah and Joe Joe) just so I/we could spend more time with them. So, as much as I know I will miss these days of having littles, I am really enjoying having some down time.

Besides, we all know come 2 o’clock, I’ll be itching to see my bambinos. I’m a softy like that.



(I can neither confirm nor deny that her sass is genetic)

Last week Julia started her first day at Kindergarten.

Talk about a big year. I’m proud of myself since I did NOT cry. Tear up? Form a lump in my throat? Have to turn away so as to not cry? Yes. Yes. And yes. But, I did NOT cry. *pats self on back*

We have the amazing opportunity to send Julia to Veritas Academy, which is a university model school. Veritas teaches a classical education based on a Biblical worldview, while using a university model that prepares children for college. After researching Veritas {read, stalking} since 2011, I’m super excited to finally be a part of the community.

And perhaps the best part of Veritas? There is a high level of parent involvement.

How is that? you ask.

Through calling on parents to be co-teachers alongside the primary teacher. In other words, Julia attends classes on campus twice a week, then I homeschool her the other days.

We follow a curriculum and syllabus set up by the school/teacher. Every week we receive the weekly lesson plans to be used by both the primary teacher and the co-teachers (co-teachers typically being the child’s mom). It lays out what the primary teacher will teach in class while on campus and then what co-teachers are to teach while children are at home. The campus days/home days alternate, so at the kindergarten level Julia is home every other day (ex :: on campus M/W, at home T/Th/F).

Many of you may know, that since before having children it has been on Jonathan and my heart to play a very active role in our children’s education. For many years, we assumed that would manifest in doing full-time homeschool. But over the past 3 years, we have felt the Lord calling us to a scenario more like Veritas. And while we are only in our second week {and while homeschool yesterday was ridiculously attitude challenging}, I am already so grateful for the community that we are forming.


Julia, Kate, Lily

Julia has formed some sweet, sweet friendships already. She went to mother’s day out last year with several of her Veritas classmates from this year. In fact, two of her best friends, Kate and Lily, are in the same classroom as Julia.

There are a total of five girls {out of 12 kids} in Julia’s class. It’s precious to see how quickly friendships have been formed in such a short amount of time. Let’s just say, I imagine there being lots of special memories made by these girls.


I’m sure that there will be plenty of bumps along the way. Let’s be real, I’m probably not the best teacher {and I’m not always praised for my abundance of patience – just keeping it honest}. But, I am so grateful that God has allowed me to have the chance to stay so connected to Julia during her early years of education. Because, while I may not be the best teacher, it is my true heart’s desire to be Julia’s life teacher. And I am so glad that God is allowing me to be just that.

(photo credit to Mollie Burpo of Bloom Photography)

Julia loves dinosaurs. Like, love-love. Almost daily, she tells us that she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. She can tell you all about what dinosaurs eat, why certain ones have pointy scales, or why flying dinosaurs aren’t really dinosaurs. And don’t ever, ever, ever mispronounce herbivore. She’ll never let you live it down. {Also, five year olds that are too smart for their own good are indeed too smart for my own good too.}



Before ever having children, I vowed to myself that I would encourage them in whatever interest they had. So when Julia started getting into dinosaurs, we started reading dinosaur books and watching dinosaur shows. As her interest has grown, my effort to encourage her has grown. Yesterday we went to a Dinosaur Park, just outside of Austin.


To say Julia was thrilled may be an understatement. She was ecstatic. She was elated. She was… you get the point. She identified most of the dinosaurs before I even told her what they were. And when I told her I never knew stegosauruses were herbivores {pronounced correctly this time}, she looked at me like I had lost all my marbles. Who doesn’t know that stegosauruses are herbivores? I mean, really, I’m slacking in my paleontological studies.
Julia and I spent part of yesterday afternoon researching paleontological societies here in Austin. We found a couple that do fossil digs once or twice a year for kids. But, the jackpot was coming across the Texas Nature Science Center at UT. It’s free and open to the public, which means – we have this week’s field trip planned out!
Julia is only five and I don’t actually expect her to maintain an interest in dinosaurs, but I’m sticking to my vow and walking down this path of interest with her for however long she wants. And come tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year, when dinosaurs are no longer her thing, I’ll go with her down the next path. And it will be just as fun.
In the mean time, here’s to raising a paleontologist!

Amy at Finer Things is doing one of my favorite link ups – birth stories in honor of Labor Day {ha! get it? labor day}.

I love birth stories. Just hearing about babies being born brings a smile to my face all day. I have a dream of becoming a doula and having the priviledge of helping other mamas during their labor and delivery.

So in the spirit of Labor Day, here are my three birth stories ::

Julia Mabel – Born November 2007. My first labor and ironically my shortest…

Hannah Michelle – Born June 2009. My biggest baby, who now has the biggest personality.

Joseph Judea – Born November 2011. My sweet boy and ironically my longest and scariest labor.

Each labor and delivery has been a different but wonderful experience. I find it hilarious that my labors have actually gotten longer rather than shorter each time. I’ve even joked that I don’t want another baby because I’m not up for a 20+ hour labor. Ha! Well, there is a little truth behind that statement…

Be sure to check out Amy’s link up and read other great labor stories.

Whew. Maybe I should don the moniker “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.

But moving on, let’s talk about what’s been going on around these parts. Last week, the kids and I decided to go park hunting. What’s park hunting you ask? Well, that’s when you drive around town looking for the best park.

The idea was more fun than the execution. Before we even left our neighborhood, the girls lamented that they were starving. We pushed through with snacks and the promise of fun. The first park we found proved promising. But the 100* weather and rumbling stomachs started to get the better of us. We abandoned ship and went in search of food.

There was much rejoicing when we chose Homeslice Pizza. A favorite of mine, this was the girls’ first experience. They were amazed at being given a slice of pizza that was the size of their heads.

The trip to Homeslice proved to be a thousand times better than any park scene. Which further proves that my children take after me and enjoy good food to just about anything. And if that food is pizza? Even better.

While eating lunch, we spotted this ::

Oh you know, just some people walking their horses through Austin. Just another reason I think Austin is the coolest. Also? That restaurant in the background {Guero’s} has some pretty rockin’ good Mexican food. Just random information if you ever find yourself on South Congress.

We washed our pizza down with a sweetberry and Michael Jackson cupcake from Hey Cupcake!, winning me the Mom of the Year award.

All three kids passed out on our way home, transferred smoothly from the van to their beds, and we all took naps. Yeah, it was a good day.

The girls finished the school year on Wednesday. Thursday our family took a trip to Amarillo this past weekend {more to come on our trip later this week}. It was a great way to kick start our summer and has me looking forward to our summer plans. Here’s a sneak peak at the fun we had ::

We had our second trip ever to the ER last night. This time it was for Julia.

After complaining for an entire day about a headache, Julia began vomiting and running a low grade fever. It was concerning, the headache part especially, but we decided to put her to bed early. When she woke up around 9 vomiting, we made the decision to take her to the ER.

{resting yesterday afternoon}

The ER doctor said that she has a bacterial infection and prescribed antibiotics. We weren’t given an real explanation as to why she’s had a headache, but thankfully as of this morning she said it doesn’t hurt.

Last night, after Jonathan and Julia left for the hospital I sent out a text to some friends to pray for her. My friend, Leah, sent me this text back ::

“No one ever told me how very hard it is to be a momma and love your kids.” Amen. As a mama, having your kids face any hardship – especially sickness – is way heartbreaking and scary. And it really is hard to walk through that with confidence that God is in control. But He is. Even when we don’t see it or understand it, He is.

I’m grateful that our two {and hopefully no more} ER trips have ended without true concern. I’m grateful for a daughter who doesn’t have any major health issues {nor do the other kids}. And I’m grateful for a God whose love is even deeper for Julia than my own.

My family is my Friday {and every other day} Joy.

The last two weeks have been one long blur. Jonathan’s been prepping for South by Southwest {SXSW} and the launch for HP Cloud. That has translated into long nights and working all weekend. We are now half way through Spring Break week and I am throughly confused as to what day it actually is {yesterday felt like a Friday, though it was Tuesday}.

Monday Night at the Belmont, show hosted by HP Cloud

At FrogDesign Party

Even with the crazy schedule lately, this is the first Spring Break {post-college} that has actually felt like Spring Break. It probably helps that the girls are usually in school, so to be home all week feels like a vacation/break in some way. Thanks to beautiful weather, we’ve been outdoors a lot and spending ample amounts of time with friends.

Hannah diving right in at Barton Springs

Julia was a little more timid of the cold water

Today we are making a trip to the Austin Zoo and Sanctuary with some friends. I made the mistake of telling Julia last week that we were planning to go, and she hasn’t stopped asking me about it since. Note to self : Don’t tell your kids a week before an event takes place… Lesson learned.

Hopefully by this weekend, Jonathan’s work will have slowed down enough for him to be home and we can enjoy the last few days of break together as a family.

How is your Spring Break? Do you have the week off? 

With Joseph’s birth, it became so crystal clear to me just how big Julia has gotten. In the last year, she learned to swim, write her name, spell simple words, started school and countless other “firsts”. Daily I am reminded of how big she has gotten, how much of a help she is to our family.

And it makes me sad.

Makes me sad to see my baby girl turning into a big girl. Sad to have the last four years fly by and the fear of the next 14 years going even faster.

When I took this picture last week, one thing caught my eye above all else. Julia has chubby fingers. While so much of her body has become slender, her fingers still hold the resemblance of babyhood, the chunky goodness of days gone by.

Those chubby fingers gave my mama heart a smile. It helped me realize that my sweet Julia will grow older, but she will still be my baby. While she has chubby fingers, and even when her finger holds a wedding band, she will be my baby. Always.

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