We homeschool year round, so there is no definitive “back to school,” but Sara Eaton documented my crazy tribe as they are right now, and I am adoring these images!
This year, we have a:
Our preschoolers will be going to a Christian program 3x/week in addition to doing school with mom & dad. The “big kids” are supplementing with a tutor in addition to school with mom & dad. We have found the most amazing nanny/tutor combo to help school days go more smoothly. She is getting her masters at ORU and she is as passionate about the Lord, natural wellness, adoption, etc., as we are. She’s been a huge blessing to us and we just love her! Thursdays are Family Field Trip Day and we are also incorporating piano lessons in with their extracurricular stuff (our big kids do soccer, baseball, and gymnastics). I am really excited about our changes this year!
Cheers to a fruitful 2016-2017 school year to you & yours!
[PS. We love homeschool for how it allows us to travel freely, how it allows us to be together as a family, and a whole host of other reasons. If anyone ever wants to chat about homeschool, I am by no means an expert, but it’s a topic I’m passionate about & I would love to chat!]
Owner at Madison Vining Photography
Latest posts by Madison Vining (see all)
Every once in awhile we haul the crew down to the Tulsa Discovery Lab. It never disappoints!
Yesterday we climbed through the tape tunnel, which was made using 10 miles of tape. Then we built bridges strong enough to support our weight! We also made pulley structures, built dams that held back a flow of water, manipulated light and sound, and made some new friends.
After a few hours, we hit up the Dilly Diner in the Blue Dome District (which was fun and delicious, as always), then headed home where 3 out of 4 sleeping children transferred from car seats to beds successfully. Mamas, you know what a win that is!
Locals: I highly recommend the Discovery Lab for your toddlers up to even middle school aged children, if you haven’t been.
I hope you all are having an amazing week!
[Photos in this post taken with my iPhone 6+]
Next month, Harbor will be two. Then for two months we will have two two year olds.
They’re 10 months apart in age, but they wear the same size clothes and are about the same height, so everywhere we go we get asked if they’re twins.
“Irish twins,” we say (because that’s the term for two babies born within 12 months).
It’s easy to forget that they have no shared biological blood because they truly are just so… synced. But once in a blue moon when I do think about it, it brings me to my knees in gratitude for the way God works things together. When I think about God knowing, before the earth was ever created, that these two would be brother and sister (and practically twins), it makes me feel so incredibly loved. That God would do things like this for each of us; that He would move mountains to give us brothers and sisters and adopt us all into His family. That He would move heaven and earth to make a way. It’s such a picture of His mercy, of His lavish outpouring of adoration over us.
And the fact that I am allowed to play even the tiniest part in these two’s testimony, well it makes it almost unbearably sweet.
Noley’s favorite things right now: masks, tractors, showing everyone his big boy “panties,” carrying around Kitty No Name, climbing things, breaking things, asking us to sing him songs (“wanna thing a thong?”), jumping into the pool, roaming the house at odd hours of the night and humming to himself (it’s as creepy as it sounds), following his big brother, sleeping on the top bunk, putting on his rain boots (“bootsth”).
Harbor’s favorite things right now: changing clothes all day long (“put dis off me?”), hiding behind the clothes in our closet, doing everything her big brother and sister do, pooping in the playhouse, having her way 😉 , stripping naked (including a couple times at church… so scandalous), carrying around Kitty No Name, seeing pictures of our friends on Facebook.
These two. Double the noise, double the mess, double the fun.
“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” – Psalm 126:3
So maybe I’ll just update y’all every 6 months 😉
In the last 6 months, some or all of us have:
-Officially closed on our 80 acres!
-Spent lots of time there jumping hay bales, hiking, and riding 4wheelers
-Finalized our house plans
-Achieved the rank of Royal Crown Diamond with Young Living, which is the highest rank in the company
-Seen Cinderella live at the PAC
-Learned to read (Story)
-Spoken at & attended the Multiply conference in Atlanta (me & Ty)
-Taken a road trip to Texas
-Taken 2 more trips to the beach (and passed up a free trip to the Four Seasons in Hawaii that Young Living gifted us)
-Welcomed a teenage daughter, Nadiya, into our home! The babies call her “Nonni,” so we all do too.
-Fallen head over heels in love with her and went through some tough stuff as we did our best to show her the meaning of “forever”
-Paddle boarded in the ocean
-Seen a 5 foot alligator in the exact spot in the lake we had paddle boarded in the day before.
-Moved into a new house because we needed more space!
-Gone indoor skydiving
-Taken 4 trips to the mountains (2 Ty, 1 Cade & Ty, 1 everyone)
-Attended Young Living’s convention, rented a big ole house in the mountains, and hosted a whole bunch of Happy Oilers for a night we’ll never forget
-Ridden horseys at our friends’ ranch in Wyoming
-Rescued a little gray kitty who still has no name
-Learned to speak a pinch of Ukrainian
-Done a lot of trampoline jumping and popsicle eating and couch snuggling
-Served in Uganda, Africa (Ty)
-Gone to church camp (Nadiya & Cade)
-Accepted Christ!!! (Nadiya & Cade)
-Gotten baptized! (Nadiya)
-Gone to the pool a LOT
-Realized one day that our trampoline flew over the fence in a storm
-Struggled through highs and lows of working with United States immigration for Nadiya’s student visa and, we hoped, her eventual green card and official adoption into our family
-Struggled through seeing more and more brokenness revealed to us, and a lot of praying out loud through tears and turning to the Lord for peace and wisdom
-Tearfully having to put our Nonni on a plane to Ukraine and praying that the Lord will work all things together for her good and make a way for her to glorify Him with her life — there or here (our hope, of course, is here)
-Walked through grief. Each of us in our own way.
-Continued to walk through grief, amidst having full peace that God’s ways are greater than our ways, and that a mighty work has been started in Nonni
-Praised God through the storm
-Leaned on our friends
-Gotten our first swing set for the backyard
-Got potty trained (Nolan only… Harbor is a lost cause)
-Broke darn near every HOA rule and paddle boarded in our neighborhood pond
-Cried a lot, smiled a lot, rejoiced a lot, cried a lot again, listened to a lot of good music, spent a lot of time outside
Even though our hearts hurt, we can see the Lord’s overwhelming goodness to us in the last six months. We are so thankful to be on any road (including tough ones) that shape us to be more like Him!
Isaiah 55:8 ‘”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.’
Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”
We are thankful for a God who’s ways are perfect!
It’s been 6 months since I last blogged. Woops!
Here’s a peek at those beach pictures I said I would be posting.
A little update on our crazy crew: we’re still alive! 🙂
I mentioned in a previous post that we signed up as Young Living distributors 18 months ago. Since then, the Lord has done some really big things. We’ve been on 11 trips this year, all thanks to YL. Tyler is still home with us full time. I’ve stepped back from photography. I am able to do it because I love it again, and not to make a living, and that’s been a blessing for the time being. Who knows what the future will hold, but for now I am loving this time with my babies and am right where I need to be.
We also bought 80 acres of land and are designing our new home… hoping to break ground this spring! It is on top of an incredible hill and it takes my breath away every time I stand there and envision the adventures we will have. We plan to have chickens, ducks, goats, a pig (don’t tell Ty), and maybe alpacas. After a few months of searching and having our hearts broken a couple times over losing two properties we felt were “perfect,” God stepped in and presented something so much better that is truly perfect for us. We are excited to open our home to foster children and have space for missionary housing when the project is complete! Seriously y’all, the Lord is so faithful.
And more good news! Since Young Living has transformed our lives to the point that we are making more in a month than Ty used to make in a YEAR (what?! Lord, you are so crazy), we’ve also been able to fulfill our dream of funding adoptions for other families. As I’ve shared, this has been on our hearts for a couple years now and to see it all come to fruition is so life-giving. We are overjoyed! And we are now dreaming new and even bigger dreams about how we can bless others and be good stewards of all that the Lord has placed in our hands.
Another incredible part of our journey with YL has been watching others on our team who have signed up under us see the same kind of success. Watching families walk free of debt, be able to fund adoptions, travel the world, and give generously, has created a ripple effect that we did not see coming. We stand in awe and are so grateful! Doing this life with our fellow #happyoilers is the most fulfilling thing we could imagine.
With all that’s been going on, I haven’t done a great job of documenting my little ones in recent months. But this week I hauled them out to the tree farm and snapped a few images, and I am so glad I did. I’ve missed shooting them!
My friend Blair met us out there and was so kind as to take all the ones of the 6 of us together. Bless you and your patience, Blair! 🙂
Homeboy does not like his thunder stolen.
The kiddos are now ages:
Cade – almost 7
Story – 4
Nolan – 2
Harbor – 1
They are so much fun, even when the big two are fighting and the little two are destroying everything 😉
Harbor’s adoption is officially final! She is a Vining forever & ever.
She wanted a smartie for every smile. Sit, smile, get up, get paid. Work it, girl.
I hope you guys are enjoying the wonder of this holiday season. It’s so nice to “catch up with you” 🙂
To follow day-to-day happenings, be sure to hit up instagram. I’m still quite active there, and will hopefully be more active here too.
For questions about Young Living, please contact me at email@example.com. We are so happy to help others get plugged in with improved wellness, renewed purpose, and financial abundance. We’d love to talk to you!
Owner at Madison Vining Photography
Latest posts by Madison Vining (see all)