Life in Lape Haven

Category - Family

Tried It Tuesday: My Favorite FREE App for Kids

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

Each night in Lape Haven finds my husband and me guiding our little boys through their bedtime routine. Some nights it’s sweet and easy, and some nights it’s a struggle because “I DID brush my teeth” and “I want you to hold me” or “I’m too tired.” (That’s the boys, not Brad and me…usually)

However, no matter how delightful or frustrating the getting-ready-for-bed goes, we always finish the night with Bible reading. We generally have a bedtime story before our Bible time, but we have found that when the boys are not behaving during the getting-ready time, losing their bedtime book can be a rather effective punishment. However, we never take away Bible time.

Since our guys are little, we have various kids’ Bibles and books that we pick from for our nighttime reading, but our absolute favorite way to study the Bible with the boys is doing “Bible Guy” on Mommy’s phone or Daddy’s tablet.

The actual name for the app is The Bible App for Kids, but around here it is affectionately known as “Bible Guy” because when we first started using it, Josiah was just starting to talk. One day he wanted to play on my phone and kept asking for “guy.” It took a second, but I finally realized that he was referencing the icon for The Bible App for Kids, which is a cute cartoon Jesus. I asked him, “Do you want to play the Bible?”

His reply, “Bible guy.”

And there you have it.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

The Bible App for Kids is from YouVersion (makers of The Bible App, which is a great regular Bible app to have on your phone or tablet), produced in  partnership with OneHope, and is a FREE app of interactive Bible stories, with new stories added regularly. Each story is age-appropriately told without sacrificing the truth of the Word and features narration, touch-activated animations, questions throughout the stories, and special activities and challenges to help children enjoy and remember them.

One of the things I love is that fact that they don’t just tell your cookie-cutter “for kids” Bible stories. While they do include Creation, Noah’s Ark, David & Goliath, Daniel & the Lion’s Den, and Jesus’s birth and death, they cover the whole Bible. Some of the Old Testament stories include Adam & Eve’s first sin, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, the plagues in Egypt and Passover, Samson’s disobedience, Elijah’s challenge on Mt. Carmel (my Elijah LOVES that story), and Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. From the New Testament, they have stories about Jesus’s baptism (which sparked the conversation with Elijah that led to his baptism this year); Jesus being tempted in the desert; several of the parables that Jesus told; miracles that He did (including delivering the demoniac); His death, resurrection, and ascension; the coming of the Holy Spirit, Paul’s conversion and travels; and a glimpse into Revelations about Heaven. There is even a story that ties the whole Bible together, showing children God’s plan of salvation for them. And, as I said, they are updating and adding new stories frequently.

The characters and animation are adorable, and my kids love to see what part of the pictures “does something.” The creators of this app clearly love children and have a great imagination and a good sense of humor. My boys are engaged in each story, which means they will remember the truths they are learning. While their site says the app is for children 2-8 years old, my littlest guy loved it when he was even younger, and so do my hubby and I (and we’re slightly older).

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

This app is also available in many different languages, which I think is awesome. This means that children around the world are learning God’s Word through this app. In fact, one of our missions for the children at our church’s Vacation Bible School this year was raising money to help get this app translated into yet another language. (If you’d like to support OneHope, you can check out their ministry here.)

I should mention that there are NO in-app purchases, and it is not easy for your child to accidentally download something else. Just to rate the app, I had to hold down on the “Rate This App” button for 3 seconds before it would open up an outside link. As a mom who has found random apps on her phone from my child clicking on a button while he’s playing, I appreciate the child-proofing they’ve done with the app while still making it easy for my kids to navigate through it.

The only issue we’ve had with the app is that it used to crash at random times. However, they seemed to have fixed that issue lately, as they’ve brought out updates and new stories.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Favorite Free App for Kids - The Bible App for Kids

The Bible App for Kids is easily our favorite FREE app for kids, but I would pay for it in a heartbeat. When something as simple as a phone app can get your child excited about the Bible, spark important conversations about their relationship with God, and help them see His love for the whole world, I’d say it’s worth it.

*Logos and The Bible App for Kids pictures are copyrighted by OneHope and YouVersion. *

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4 Reasons Why Bedtime Is Our Best Family Time

Our “Vision Verse” for Our Kids

How God Can Use Your Faithfulness in Motherhood

Trusting  God Through Kindergarten

Tried It Tuesday: Our Experience with

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with

When I was pregnant with my second child, part of my “nesting” involved preparing Elijah to no longer be the only child and planning for ways to make that transition easier for him and for us. Knowing that I would be occupied with his little brother quite a bit in the first few months (nursing, changing, rocking, repeat), I was on the lookout for an activity that he could do somewhat independently, that would keep him quiet(ish), and that would be educational, if possible.

I had seen numerous commercials for on the preschool channel we watched, and one day I decided to see how much it was and if might be a good idea for Elijah.

When I pulled it up on my computer, I was almost overwhelmed by all that the program offered, but in a good way. I started to sign up, but then decide that maybe I should talk to my hubby first about committing us to a subscription of about $8 a month (billed yearly), even though it did include having two children on one subscription. However, since I’d already entered my email, after I closed out the sign up, I got either a pop-up or an email that gave offered me a “special” rate to join, which brought the price down to about $5 a month. I knew we could do that, so I signed Elijah up, and the two of us began exploring the site. (Since this was a couple of years ago, I’m not sure they still do that, but it’s worth a try!)

From the get-go, he loved it, and I loved it. The program, which is for ages 2-6, starts off with very basic “Toddler Time,” where children learn shapes, colors, letters, and numbers by completing lessons along a curriculum-driven learning “path.” Each lesson is made up of four to six activities (as they graduate up to higher levels, lessons can have more), including coloring pages, games, songs, puzzles, and stories. As the child learns, you can adjust the difficulty levels of the each activity, so even though they might repeat a puzzle as they progress from Toddler Time to Pre-K and Kindergarten lessons, they are still learning new things.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with

There are plenty of incentives for your child to keep moving along and completing lessons. For each activity completed, they earn virtual tickets to spend in the “stores,” where they can buy outfits for their avatar, items to decorate their “rooms,” or they can even buy and care for numerous virtual pets. At the end of each lesson, they win a “prize,” and at the completion of an entire section – they graduate with a printable certificate and a bigger prize. In our house, we celebrate a graduation with a special treat, too.

Not only can the child follow the specified curriculum in their “classroom,” they can also explore a zoo and a farm, where they learn all about different animals; complete individual basic activities to really focus on a certain area; and watch tons of music videos at the theater. My boys LOVE the videos, which all teach something, including letters, colors, numbers, and seasons. Each child also has a fish tank and a hamster that they can visit and design the tank/cage for. (Elijah and Josiah love rearranging the hamster tubes).

Each time they move through a set of lessons, they are also able to learn about different environments in the world, including the animals and plants that live there, so they are getting some basic science added to their reading, math, art, and music. Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with

When your child first starts, you definitely need to help them in some ways, but the program is designed so that they will easily be able to move through it independently eventually. One of the first lessons when you set up an account is on how to use a computer mouse, and Elijah picked that up really quickly. Of course, you can also access the site through tablets and smart phones, so touch-screen is also an option. And we all know how quickly little guys can learn technology!

The only downside to them being able to move around so easily in the program is that they can leave a lesson without finishing it, click in to exploring the zoo instead of finishing a story in their lesson plan or deciding it’s time to play with the hamsters rather than color the letter P. They won’t move forward in their lesson without completing the activities, though. This mean that most of the time I need to be right beside them, Josiah especially, or at least nearby (doing dishes with him at the kitchen table), so I can monitor what they are working on. Plus that way I also can encourage them or talk them through something if they get stuck.

In our house, the rule is for Elijah to complete two sets of lessons before he can go “off-roading.” For Josiah, it’s at least one whole lesson. (Josiah started even younger than Elijah because he kept watching Elijah use it. Since you can have two children on one subscription, I just added him in when he was old enough, and he started at the beginning, just like Elijah had). We try to have them do ABCMouse (or “B-Mouse” as Josiah calls it) a few times a week at least, and most times, we don’t even have to remind them. They ASK to “play” ABCMouse, sometimes even fighting over who gets to. While I could do without the fighting, I’m thrilled that my boys are so excited to learn. Tried It Tuesday - Our Experience with

I’m also very certain that these lessons helped Elijah be more than ready for kindergarten. For example, he knew 22 of the 35 site words for his class the first time he saw the list! He just rattled them off, running right down the page. While I have worked with him a little outside of ABCMouse (not really on words, though), and we read together every day, I was surprised. I know that working in this program, or “playing” it, helped prepare him.

So after at least two years of “trying” with our boys, I can easily say that, for us, it is a keeper.

How about you? Any experience with this online program?

Giving Him “Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan”

Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan, Life in Lape Haven. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort or time for us as moms when our children want to help us throughout our day, but the memories, bonding, and time together are so worth it for them and for us as parents.

When Elijah started kindergarten and was at school for six hours or so every day, Josiah was getting something that he hadn’t really gotten to experience much in his life: hours with Mommy all to himself. He ate it up. And even though I missed Elijah, I also loved having time with my other little guy, too.

This post was first written during that precious time a few years ago when it was just Mommy and Josiah at home during the day. Here is a little look back:

Life in Lape Haven: Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan - Making memories in the every day

Finding himself without his constant playmate, Josiah has become my little shadow. He will play by himself off and on, but for the most part, he wants to be with Mommy. Generally that means “you play with me, Mommy?” and we do a puzzle or two, color, read books, or play cars, “duck ‘n goose,” or “ring a Rosie” until Mommy HAS to get something done. At that point, he’s either content to be alone, or he’s ready to be my “big helper boy.”

Josiah has discovered a love for vacuuming with me. He wants to be holding the handle the whole time which makes the process take FOREVER, but he’s also learned how helpful it is for him to move the chairs out of my way or pick up his toys really quickly. The other day I got smart and finally pulled out our older vacuum, the one where we can only use it with the attachments. He vacuumed with that thing while I used the good one, and I was able to move a lot quicker while he helped out!

Life in Lape Haven: Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan - Making memories in the every day

The other task he loves is unloading and loading the dishwasher. He gets super excited when he can stack the plates or the bowls. He is so proud of being “strong” enough to lift them (with Mommy’s very close supervision). He really thrives on being a part.

That’s why earlier this week, he insisted on being my “big helper boy” as I made homemade applesauce. At first I was leaning toward, “Go color” and “Where are your Legos?” or anything that would keep him occupied long enough for me to peel and chop up a large bucketful of dropped apples from my grandparents. I’d had them for a few days, just sitting on the counter, and I knew I had to use them, or I wouldn’t at all.

However, as soon as I was all set up, ready with my paring knife, cutting board, and rinsed apples, there he was, dragging a kitchen chair across the room to the counter. Realizing that having him nearby would be easier than having to keep stepping away from my task to check on him, I relented and let him stand beside me. He even had to have his apron since Mommy had hers.

Life in Lape Haven: Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan - Making memories in the every day

Before long he was “oohing” and “ewwing” as I trimmed off the bad parts of the apples as I peeled them, and he was utterly fascinated with the couple of worms we found still residing in an apple or two. However, with each enthralled study of the apples, he leaned more and more on my arm, getting closer and closer to the knife in my hands.

So I brought out the big guns – my phone. With the offer of playing a puzzle on Mommy’s phone, while still standing on the chair beside me, he was with me but safer, and I could move a little faster. While I peeled, he slid digital puzzle pieces together to form random animals.

That’s when he started his conversation about the zoo. He knows we have a zoo trip planned in the next couple of weeks, so every animal he completed, he talked about seeing it at the zoo.

“When I go to dee zoo, I see dee lion. I don’t like dee lion. Do you like dee lion?”

So I would answer, “Yes, I like the lions.”

“I don’t. Them scare me.”

And this was our conversation for several animals. He likes to ask the “Do you like? I like/don’t like” questions with explanations for why he likes or doesn’t like something. Generally, he didn’t like animals that he might think “should” be scary.

Suddenly, I hear him say, “When I go to dee zoo, I see dee din-saur.”

Hmmm…“Well, no. We won’t see any dinosaurs. They aren’t at the zoo. There aren’t any dinosaurs anymore. They’re all gone.”

“They gone? They go ‘way.”

Not knowing any other way to say it, I just went for it, “Well, they all died.”

Josiah is really good at being dejected. He’s perfected his show of disappointment with a very adorable, heartfelt, “Awwww,” complete with his head down. Learning that dinosaurs were dead elicited that response and a frown.

Then he was back at his game. “When I go to dee zoo, I see the bird.”(Ostrich). Then he grinned at me with such delight, “They not die!”

I smiled and affirmed, “Nope. They didn’t die.”

“Nope. They not die,” he echoed happily.

Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan, Life in Lape Haven. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort or time for us as moms when our children want to help us throughout our day, but the memories, bonding, and time together are so worth it for them and for us as parents.

In that moment, I wanted to freeze time and just keep him right there with me, little and sweet and innocent. What a funny moment that I might have missed by sending him to play in the other room!

Smiling, I finished cleaning the apples and prepared to start the chopping. When I moved the cutting board and apples closer to the stove, to be near to the pan, Josiah was on it, moving his chair to right in front of the stove.

Again, I hesitated, but he was being so good and wanting to help, so I decided to let him put the chopped apple pieces into the waiting stock pot (since the stove wasn’t on). Being left-handed, I could put him to my right, chop up the apples, then slide them over to the right side, “his” side, of the cutting board, so he could grab them.

Life in Lape Haven: Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan - Making memories in the every day

Josiah had so much fun picking up the pieces, one at a time mostly, and dropping them carefully into the pan. He didn’t try to eat them or play around. He was very intent on helping Mommy. At first, we counted them as he put them in, up to 20, a couple times, then we worked in silence for a while.

As I diced up another apple, I heard him say softly and so very sweetly, “Thank you for giving me apple pieces to put in dee pan, Mommy.”

I stopped cutting and asked him what he had said, to make sure I’d heard correctly.

He repeated it, “Thank you for giving me apple pieces to put in dee pan.”

With a full heart, I told him he was welcome, then leaned over for a kiss. He grinned all over himself, and I was caught again with the thought that I almost sent him away. I almost missed this.

Life in Lape Haven: Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan - Making memories in the every day

And he was so appreciative that Mommy was letting him help. He was grateful for the “apple pieces to put in dee pan” just so he could be with me.

I hope I never forget his sweet voice or delighted grin, those chubby fingers plucking up chunks of apples and tossing them joyfully into a big stockpot. I never want to miss an opportunity to let him be with me (within reason), help me (when he feasibly can), talk to me (so we can bond over dead dinosaurs and not-dead ostriches).

On my own, I might have finished my task much quicker, moved onto my next to-do item, and he would have been good playing with his toys alone. However, the time I could have saved would have cost me precious memories. Him, too. Together we now have another moment to store away and cherish, filling up our love banks just like those little apple chunks filled the pan.

It turned out to be really tasty applesauce. It might have been done sooner had I done it alone, but I can guarantee you that it wouldn’t have been nearly as delicious without those little hands that helped. I may never have applesauce again without remembering that day.

I pray it always reminds me to make sure he has apple pieces to put in the pan.

Life in Lape Haven: Giving Him Apple Pieces to Put in the Pan - Making memories in the every day

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Embracing the Moments of “Mommy Sadness” (Elijah’s First Day of Kindergarten)

Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children

The Last  Time He Called Me, “Mommy”

The Tale of a Tooth & Noticing the Big Things in our Kids’ Lives

Tried It Tuesday: My Social Book

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

When Elijah was first born, I wanted to document everything: the first visitors at the hospital, his first night at home, his first smile, his baby quirks (he laughed in his sleep all the time as a newborn) – everything about him. (I’m a documenter: If I can’t photograph it, I video, journal, or post it.)

I filled in all those cute little blanks in his cute little baby book about all the cute little things he did while he was cute and little, at least whenever I had the energy or time to do it. As he became more mobile and slept less, my time to find the right blanks to fill out in his baby book and the energy to do it were being spent keeping up with his cute, little self, and his baby book fell by the wayside. To make up for that, I started jotting down notes occasionally in a notebook about what he was doing, accomplishing, and learning, but even that was hard to maintain, especially when I became pregnant with his little brother.

And poor Josiah! His baby book is sadly lacking a lot of information. In my defense, I have a lot of the usual baby details scribbled out in a notebook about him, by month, but I’ve never transferred it to the organized pages of his baby book. Of course, as he got mobile and napped less during the day, we had two active boys to corral during the day and two restless boys who could wake us throughout the night. I found myself praying that my memory would just be excellent when my boys later asked me about their toddler and preschool years because the only documenting I’d been doing was posting their funny comments or silly pictures to Facebook.

I remember telling my husband that I wished I could just print off my Facebook wall because everything was there.

Then one day I saw that a company had decided to do just that. According to the ad along my Facebook newsfeed, My Social Book could capture all my postings and turn them into a book. What a brilliant idea!

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

I looked into it and was disappointed to see that, in order to get everything I’d shared since Elijah was born in 2010, it was going to make a paperback book 500 pages long, cost me almost that many dollars (Okay, not quite that much, but it was about $150 before shipping), and not cover more than four years. If I wanted more of Josiah’s life, I’d have to get a second book. There was no way I could afford that anytime soon.

Then back in June, I saw another ad for them, only this time it was a deal for 60% off their regular price and free shipping. So I talked to Brad, and we decided it would be worth a try for $40.

I clicked over to their site, added my information, linked to my Facebook, selected the date range for the book, decided what type of posts to include or exclude, and picked a color and picture for the paperback cover (they offer hardback & matte cover books, but they are more expensive). Before too long, I was looking at a sample proof of my book (It doesn’t show the whole book since they are big – mine is 494 pages). I decided to go from January 2008 through February 2012 (as far as I could) because that included my pregnancy with Elijah, his birth, and those first 18 months with him.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.


It took a good two weeks from the time I ordered it to the time I received it in the mail, but I knew it would take a while as it was coming from overseas (I’m not sure where they print, but the company website says that their offices are in Belgium, Israel, and Hong Kong).

However, once I opened it up, I was very glad that we decided to take a chance and order the book. Everything is presented chronologically, with not only status posts, but pictures, comments, likes, and even links for the videos you’ve shared, separated by month. For the videos, you scan the QR code (that square bar code thing) with your smart phone, and it will pull up the YouTube or Facebook link for you to enjoy all over again. (Of course, should those videos ever get deleted from online, you’d be out of luck.)

The print quality is pretty good, with bright colors and legible fonts. (For pictures, the quality does depend on what you uploaded originally.) When I was first looking into getting a book, I read another purchaser’s comment on the layouts that pointed out the numerous blank spaces and pages throughout the book. While my book does have those same spaces and blank pages, it doesn’t seem to detract from it. I think that just comes from having an automated layout program pulling whatever you’ve shared and making it fit.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.

My favorite thing about having the book is getting to go back, easily, through all the Facebook posts and pictures, and read about how we announced our first baby, see what we shared as he was growing in those first few months, and remember all the funny things he did when he was just a little guy.

Our boys absolutely love going through the book. Since I’ve posted a LOT of pictures, they have plenty to look at and ask questions about. Elijah even asks us to read it to them at bedtime sometimes.

Now all I have to do it wait for another discount or coupon code to order the following years with my second pregnancy, Josiah’s birth, and everything they’ve gotten into since then.

That is the big down side to the books. They are pricey. However, if you share a lot on Facebook (or Instagram) and want to keep a physical copy of it all, and if you can catch a sale like we did (and are planning to in the future), they are definitely worth it.

*Not an affiliate story. Just wanted to share our experience.*

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - My Social Book. My experience with the online printing company that makes your Facebook posts into a keepsake book.




Better than a Fairy Tale

Life in Lape Haven: Better than a Fairy Tale - Mom on the rock

Once upon a time, a 13-year-old girl walked into the high school band room after a football game, searching for her older brother. Little did she know that that night would change her life, for that night she would meet a friend of her brother’s, a guy who was immediately taken with her and would one day be her husband.

At first meeting, however, he did not appear to her to be Prince Charming. She actually considered him more of a frog than a prince, and over the next year or so, that’s how it remained. However, at some point, she softened toward the skinny, shy guy, and they began dating.

By the time she was 16, they both knew that God had brought them together. In fact, at a revival meeting, the pastor called them forward and joined their hands, confirming what they had both already felt. Their lives had intersected, and now their paths would merge into one.

Life in Lape Haven: Better than a Fairy Tale - Cindy and Jerry on his graduation day

However, all was not well in their kingdom. While this girl loved her prince, she loved her God more and served Him wholeheartedly as she had done since childhood. She began to sense that her prince, while truly loving God, was placing her in the position that could only be filled by the Most High.

With an aching heart, she let him go and broke up with him, so that he might solidify his relationship with God. She knew that she could not trust him with her heart until his was completely God’s.

After a few months of separation, the Holy Spirit brought them back together, stronger and more founded in Him. And yet, their troubles were not over.

Being young as they were, not all were supportive of their plans to marry once the girl graduated high school. Her father was among them. This was probably due in part to the fact that her prince had proclaimed arrogantly that once they married, he intended to be a missionary in Africa and take his bride with him. Thankfully, that was NOT God’s plan for them.

Despite hardships and heartache, the girl planned her wedding, made her dress and veil, and decorated the church, and God guided them to their wedding day, where the two became one.

Now while most fairy tales would end here, quite prettily tied up with a sparkly bow and declare, “And they all lived happily ever after,” this was not the end of the story for the girl and her prince, but rather the barely-beginning.

The beginning was important, though, because the next few years, and the years after that, and the years following those, would all require the same confidence and trust in God’s plan, the same determination to keep Him as the center of their relationship, the same willingness to be honest with and accountable to each other.

Life In Lape Haven: Better than a Fairy Tale - A love story in reality that has brought my parents to their 40th anniversary. Wedding picture

That barely-beginning belonged to my parents, Jerry and Cindy, who are now celebrating 43 years of marriage. Forty-three years that have included better and worse, richer and poorer, and sickness and health, but also always included having, holding, loving, and cherishing. During those forty years, they have lived in five different states (and various cities within those states); worked many jobs; served in ministry in some way pretty much constantly, often ministering together (My father has been in music ministry, a youth minister, a home group leader, an elder, and a pastor, with my mother right there beside him all the way); and raised four children, adored 12 grandchildren (9 grandsons, 1 granddaughter, and 2 granddaughters by marriage), and welcomed one great-granddaughter.

Some might look at their lives and say it has been nowhere near a fairy tale, and they would be right.

Fairy tales aren’t reality. What fairy tale do you know that actually goes beyond the wild, exciting, romantic first year of meeting (and that’s being generous…most fairy tale princesses are married within a few months or even days of meeting their prince) and the big, beautiful, perfect wedding? Do any ever show the actual marriage??? No. Because while married life is wonderful, lovely, and blissful, it is also about self-sacrifice, commitment, hard work, giving, and forgiving. (My mother says, “Without forgiveness, we would not have made it 43 years.”)

And yet, what is truly more beautiful? A story that ends with the couple riding off in a grand carriage, accompanied by rice-throwing mice and ribbon-draping songbirds, but never shows them triumphing through struggle, growing together, or giving more of him/herself daily for their spouse?

Or one that tells it all? Where the couple honeymoons in a fishing cabin with no running water (true story – my mom is a saint!), where they share years of laughter and tears, arguing and making-up, where they experience the joy and frustration of raising a family, and where every day, they rely on God through it all and He comes through every time.

I’ll take the “tell it all” version any day because it’s real. It’s life. And it’s the story I’ve read in my parents throughout all of their “happily ever after.”

Life in Lape Haven: Better than a Fairy Tale - Jerry and Cindy in 2014.


Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad! Thank you for living a beautiful example of all God created marriage to be. I love you both!

(Updated August 2018.)

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What I Learned About my Wife’s Life as a Stay-At-Home Mom


Embracing the Moments of “Mommy Sadness”

Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness

He held my hand tightly as we walked into the school. Neither of us knew where anything was or where we were supposed to be, but we were on this adventure together: Kindergarten Open House.

How was it that my little guy was big enough to be preparing for kindergarten? (I still remember clearly when I was in kindergarten!) Sitting beside him at a table in his soon-to-be cafeteria while we waited for the parent meeting to start, I felt my heart squeeze tightly, as though it were trying desperately to hold on to this moment, this second in time.

He still seems so little.

Then he nestled closer to me, laying his head against my arm, making my heart tighten further. I blinked back tears when he smiled sweetly up at me.

I thought about what my sister-in-law had said when I asked my friends and family for advice in facing these weeks of transition, “Remember to try to enjoy the moment in your mommy sadness, too.”

Looking at Elijah’s excited little face, seeing the hints of nervousness in his eyes, in his fidgeting, in the solid grip he had on my arm, and the complete trust overwhelming it all, knowing that Mommy was right there with him, I knew I was in that very moment, the double-edged sword of parenthood.

What other experience in life is as bittersweet as watching this precious child, whom you love more than anything, grow, become independent, and flourish as their own person?

There is so much joy and pride in seeing their discoveries, accomplishments, and individual triumphs, mixed with the heartbreaking awareness of how quickly time is passing and how briefly we get to hold so closely these most beautiful gifts of God.

It’s so hard to stand there, slowly letting go, watching them step out from your constant protection and comfort (even knowing that God is with them), and seeing them face potential disappointment or hurt in a fallen world.Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness - First day of Kindergarten

While we often say, “This, too, shall pass,” as encouragement on those long, draining days of temper tantrums, potty training, and our every request being questioned, it’s these moments of “mommy sadness” that remind us that those giggly morning snuggles, that tiny hand clinging to yours, the wide-eyed fascination in simply studying a nighttime sky also fall into the category of “This, too, shall pass.”

So there I sat, my wiggly kindergartener anxious to meet his teacher, see his classroom, find his desk, and meet some other children. He was ready for this next chapter, eager to embrace it.

I knew he wouldn’t understand my “mommy sadness.”

None of us do when we’re the kindergartener (I love you, Mom!).

But as the mommy, I held it close, not to wallow in my own pity party, but to revel in the beauty of such an opportunity to love so soul-wrenchingly deeply.

What a gorgeous glimmer of God, dropped right into our hearts!Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness - Mommy and Elijah on the First day of Kindergarten

The “mommy sadness” is a result of loving my child. And I’m choosing to embrace it. I could tuck it away, brush it off, or distract myself. With two busy boys, a house to clean, dinner to make, and a new book on my Kindle, I have plenty of ways to ignore my heart. – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

However, I’d rather it challenge and encourage me to cherish each and every minute with my boys, to be present and attentive to truly hear what their little voices are saying, to be quicker to drop housework or outside distractions to play with them, and to love them even more soul-wrenchingly deeply.

Embracing that “mommy sadness” allows me to enjoy the moments more fully because it shows me the true value in that moment.

Today, he held my hand tightly as we walked up to the school. He knew where everything was and exactly where he was supposed to be, and we were ready to embrace this adventure together: Kindergarten.

Life in Lape Haven: Embracing the Moments of Mom Sadness - Heading in to school

Update: If you’d like to know how our adventure in Kindergarten was, check out my look back on the year: Trusting God Through Kindergarten.

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