Why I’ve been MIA… It’s a baby.

Hey there, remember me? I used to write in this space with frequency. Then we moved to Texas and health issues cropped up, leading to a year of rest… Little did I know that this time of rest was preparing us for a year of big ch-ch-changes!

I’m having a baby!!! I don’t know about you, but when I’m pregnant, the baby pretty much takes over my brain. And that is my explanation for why I haven’t been very active here. This baby is due to arrive next June. Are you confused yet? This little baby of mine was conceived last December, which means I’m already 11 months into this “pregnancy.”

As you can see, this is a very different kind of baby. While we wouldn’t mind adding another cuddly little person to our family, that door seems to be shut. This baby that I am growing right now is a book baby.

Don’t I look excited, nervous, and maybe already a little bit sleep deprived? I’m signing my contract which means that I get to officially tell you all.

I’m working on a book about raising boys. It’s about the grand call and adventure of raising knights-in-training and what it means to raise chivalrous boys in a 21st century world!

I had no idea how much work it would take to write a book. It was my major focus this summer and why I turned down a few speaking engagements to do it. As much as I love to get out and encourage other families in person, I knew that this would take every extra bit of time outside of being wife and mom.

The Back Story

So this book baby… I guess you could say that it all started in May of 2015 when a reporter from the New York Times contacted me. She was writing an article on teaching manners and wanted to interview me about a post I had written years earlier on our chivalry challenge. I’ve done my share of media interviews, so I didn’t really think much about it.

Afterwards, when I didn’t hear back from the reporter, the interview faded from memory until December when she contacted me again. It was going to go live soon. A friend of mine had just had a really bad experience with a news interview and suddenly I was nervous. It’s been nearly 18 years since our last bad experience with a reporter. We still cringe when we think about it.

The day before we left for Arizona for the holidays, the reporter emailed me to inform me the article was live online that day and would come out in print the following day in the Times. When I hopped online to read the article, I noticed the hyperlink to my blog and frantically set about to freshen up that old blog post so people coming over could find it. I flung it out there the following morning before grabbing my keys and setting off on our 15 hour drive to AZ.

Like any blogger, I enjoyed my 15 minutes of “fame” as traffic exploded for a few days and then forgot about it as we enjoyed time with family and friends until a few days later when I received a strange email in my inbox.

Long story, short – an editor from Penguin Random House reached out to me about writing a book. After prayer, my family and I decided to make the leap, as my mind swirled with the possibilities and the vision for the book really took root! So it has been a crazy year over here. I found a wonderful agent, wrote my first book proposal, finished up our homeschool “year” and speaking commitments before settling down this summer to write in the margins of life.

It was a summer and early fall of 5am writing sessions at places as glamorous as my grocery store and McDonald’s because they were far less distracting than coffee shops with the loud music or home where I am always needed! Weekends were spent sequestered away in the library. We made a secret trip to AZ this summer so my kids could play with cousins while I hid away and thought and wrote and wrote and thought all day every day.

I’m so excited to share everything that is tucked away in this book. It is full of so many things that I am passionate about – the power of play and the imagination and the importance of good books. It is a book about embracing all that makes boys so incredible and about inspiring and equipping them to own who they will become. It’s coming next summer!

For now, I’m in a bit of a breather period for a couple of weeks and we are enjoying having weekends back as a family! I am not getting up as early and we are enjoying the rhythm of learning and living! Long walks, zoo trips, spelling lessons, grading copious amounts of math, and a return to more read-aloud time is the norm once again.  I’ll also be back in this space, writing once again.

Until then…

dsc_1326-2 dsc_1354

Our Secret to Surviving Long Road Trips


Anyone have some long road trips planned for this summer? We don’t, but that’s only because we clocked about 60 hours in the car at the end of last year…  Surviving with your sanity intact is imperative.  Being ready and willing to do it again is the cherry on top.

I want to share our biggest secret to surviving long road trips and doing so screen-free!

A few years ago I wrote a post about Creative Travel Ideas for Young Kids. When my kids were little, I took as much care with preparing for a road trip as a general would planning an invasion. For our really BIG trips (6 hours to California) I loved to do an hour-by-hour countdown with special activities to pull out along the way.  And when we would fly, I’d break my little to no screen-time rule to let them watch a movie.  I figured that being stuck in a metal box in the sky was NOT the place to be for a melt-down or restless child, so we’d sedate them with a movie which was a special treat for our screen-deprived children. I broke that tradition a few years ago when we flew over the same weekend, that I had agreed to participate in a national “Screen-Free” week. I lived to blog about it later.   But even with the movie my kids would watch on our trips across the country, I was still careful to pack special toys or books to occupy them during the remainder of the flight.

Everything has eased up since then. Now that the kids are older, I throw a few things in a tub for the car, being sure to pack some special items to occupy the 4-year-old and we set off.  Only now we live in Texas where you can drive A.L.L. D.A.Y. and still be in Texas.  Anything under 6 hours is now considered a quick road trip because it takes 15 hours to get to see my family and 9 hours to drive and visit my hubby’s family.

While the kids are older and better able to sit still, we’ve honed in on the BEST way to pass time in the car…  Audio books and audio dramas!

Our absolute favorites, hands-down, are the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio. Have you heard of them? Listened to them? If not, you seriously need to check them out!  This is the newest venture from the former producers of Adventures in Odyssey! The boys received their first one for Christmas 2 years ago.  They fell in love with In Freedom’s Cause, which takes us into the life of William Wallace. He was an amazing man of faith and conviction – a true hero that I love introducing to my boys.

Last fall, I shared about how sick I had been and how we fell in love with In Lee in Virginia which was the perfect companion to our study of the Civil War. We loved them so much that I packed a portable CD player in our aging minivan on our road-trip that we took around Thanksgiving because our CD player in the car was broken. You would not believe how quiet a car full of kids could possibly be as they strained to hear the story from my portable CD player. Thankfully, we had a new-to-us minivan for our 15-hour drive to Arizona. Yes, 15 hours of me with 4 kids as we departed for Arizona for a couple of weeks before Rich joined us at Christmas.  Yes, that was the time we drove ALL DAY and were still in Texas…

We survived, thanks to hours of these audio adventures!

In recent weeks, as we’ve simply been driving around town, we’ve been listening to one of their newest adventures, The Dragon and the Raven. After listening to it one weekend, my middle guy surprised me with this little impromptu note on Monday morning…


He’s especially excited to now jump into the book that inspired the story that I just happened to have on our bookshelf and was hoping he’d read this summer! #win

Let’s Give Them Access to Real Heroes

The more I look around at what the world has to offer our boys by way of entertainment, the more I’m sold on reading great books to them, exposing them to these kind of heroes via audio dramas. Boys need heroes.  Girls do too, but in an age where boys tend to be adrift without a sense of purpose, I’ve found that filling our boys minds with the stories of brave men who have gone before, performed heroic deeds, made a difference in this world is so very important. These accounts inspire my boys to want to make a difference too. They inspire them to apply themselves to the work of learning and growing up so that they too can make a difference in their culture, in the world they will be thrust into.  And with how things are going, we are in desperate need of modern-day heroes, people who have firm convictions, people who are willing to live selflessly to serve others, to serve a greater good and to draw people to the truth and the One who is Truth.  And I love to watch the role that these audio dramas play in this unfolding of their going from boys – to – men.

DSC_0882 (2)

So if you are looking for a way to make the hours in the car just speed by, if you are looking to inspire your kids with some amazing real-life heroes, and you want something they will want to listen to over and over again, then check these out. I’m sure they will become favorites in your home and car, just as they have in ours!

If you would like to order the series now click here.

With this special package you will get:

  • All four audio dramas (The Dragon and the Raven, With Lee in Virginia, In Freedom’s Cause, Under Drake’s Flag –there are 2 copies of each audio drama so that you can give one to a friend!)
  • Study Guide and Discussion Starter Sets for each audio drama
  • Award-winning soundtracks from each audio drama
  • Poster Art from each audio drama
  • Four limited edition Henty Collector Coins
  • ALL of this for only 79.95 !!!

Here are the details:

Recommended Ages: 6+ (some intense action and war scenes, complete with sound effects)

The Dragon and the Raven
Historical Setting: Alfred the Great, 800’s AD, England
Lessons: Mercy, Courage, Faith,
Duration: 2 hours

In Freedom’s Cause
Historical Setting: William Wallace, 1290’s-1305 AD, Scotland
Lessons: Persistence, Courage, Humility, need for God’s guidance
Duration: 2 hours

Under Drake’s Flag 
Historical Setting: Sir Francis Drake, 1500’s, England
Lessons: Courage, Conviction, Character, Faith
Duration: 2 hours

With Lee in Virginia 
Historical Setting: Robert E. Lee, Civil War – 1860’s, United States
Lessons: Loyalty, Freedom, Human Dignity, Honesty, Faith
Duration: 2 hours

{Disclaimer: While we have listened to and loved these audio’s for a few years now, I was sent The Dragon and the Raven for free and compensated for my time invested in putting this post together. All opinions are solely my own. Please see my disclosure for more information.}

What our kids need to know about FAILURE!


No one likes failure, but I think some of us may struggle with it more than others. I have one child in particular who loathes failure. He is often paralyzed by merely the thought of it; so much so that he can't seem to get started. Now this isn't … [Continue reading]

My favorite way to vacation with kids…


"Wahoo! This is the coolest place ever, mom!" Jubilant shouts could be heard as we pulled through the trees into an opening that enclosed our hideaway for the next couple of days.  We were hear to unplug, to unwind, and to reconnect as a family. … [Continue reading]

Introducing Children to the Wonder of Prenatal Development


Mommy, mommy!  Look at my blood. My breath caught in my throat as I heard my daughter screaming this while running in from the backyard. Normally tears accompany blood, but this girl of mine is tough, real tough. I exhaled, as a quick look … [Continue reading]

Easter Finery: Iconic or Idolatrous?


When I was a young teenager my mother would not let me wear a black party dress.  She told me that it was “too mature” for me.  She said it sent the “wrong message” to the young men.  And yet a century earlier a young girl dressed in black sent the … [Continue reading]

Giving away my favorite preschool resources


“Mommy, can you do something with me?” It’s a common refrain that I’m hearing these days.  Instead of simply making sure my youngest doesn’t get into trouble, we’ve transitioned quite fully into the phase where she is wanting to do “real school” and … [Continue reading]

How to Get the Most Out of Your Read-Aloud Time


So you want to read aloud to your kids more...  You understand how important that can be... Where, oh where do you start with growing those precious times of reading aloud to your kids? Here are 6 ways to cultivate your read-aloud times! 1. Keep … [Continue reading]

Why play is so powerful: Easter edition


Reading and playtime.  They are two powerful forces that shape our minds and tug at our hearts. Read great books to your kids and you ignite the imagination. Encourage play and you take that imagination to a whole new level that cements learning into … [Continue reading]

Why It’s So Vitally Important to Read-Aloud to our Kids!

Read-Aloud - FB

Reading aloud is an honored tradition.  Reading together is such a special and intimate activity that we get to do with our children. But with so many things competing for a family's attention these days it is easy to put it on the back … [Continue reading]