Before and Afters. Remodel 2020

The pictures are at the end!!!

I wanted to move my microwave off the counter.

Drew wanted to fix the falling down parts of the fence.

So we made a list of what we wanted in a back and forth manner. The list included:

  • new back door for the deck
  • move the microwave
  • fix dry rot
  • fence/gate repairs
  • trees
  • remove the half wall
  • cabinet reconfiguration (for the microwave)…and by the end of it…the fridge!
  • hardwood floors (the whole first floor? just the kitchen and family room?)
  • get a gas range (at the end I was getting greedy)

Since we made that list in April, we have crossed everything off except dry rot (no fun in that and besides- it’s hidden behind the fern), and getting a gas range! We have remodeled our whole first-floor flooring (minus the entry brick and power room tile.) We moved all the way out of our first floor and back in with lots of cleaning out and reorganizing.

We’d like to thank our hardworking and talented contractors: Laverne Shlabach (door), Marcus English (fencing), Brandon (trees), Todd and Daniel with Benchmark Flooring (floors), and H&S Cabinets (cabinets).

We’d like to thank our design and idea team: Nancy Henke (get rid of the peninsula), Laura Bruce (put the microwave here), Natalie Sears (wainscot inspiration and many a design question facetime assistance), John Sears (switch the fridge and cabinets)

We’d like to thank our expert in residence– he does it all folks- from tile demo to detailed trim…James Bruce. We are also grateful to the Bruces for the food and coffee on those days we couldn’t use our kitchen.

We’d like to thank our kids for taking out all those screws under the tile, moving things up and downstairs, sharing your birthday and your dance recital special days with project messes, having lots of design desires but yielding when necessary, helping (I love help) and having fun even with the disruption.

I’d like to thank Drew for saying yes and working hard after working hard at work. For carrying the load of family and tax season and projects with strength and willingness even when it was a crazy change I had just decided on while you were away…

Alas, it’s not done yet but darn close. We need paint. I’m so happy. It’s lovely and feels like it hosts more completely how we like to live here.


The half-wall behind the table…with spindles. Note the carpet in the family room.

The microwave, the peninsula countertop behind the table.

The fridge in the corner of the kitchen, a tight hallway to the dining room.


We had demo-ed the tile, removed the half-wall and the H&S crew was cutting the countertop and moving the cabinets.

Silly me. I cut my hand on the bottom of the couch on hardwood floor move the furniture day. I got a tetanus shot and some glue.

The white oak material drop day!

Two days to lay the planks

While the wood is not yet installed in this section, we move the cabinet block to the hallway and the fridge to the middle of the kitchen. James and Drew tackle the challenge themselves and trim it 3 weeks later.

We pick a stain- provincial, natural, fruitwood, or rustic grey. We choose fruitwood. So many kid opinions.

The fridge lived in the hallway and the rest of the furniture went to the garage or upstairs. Eli’s bday and most of our meals happened on the deck.


New island. Fridge in the middle. Microwave in the far cabinets. Furniture back in!!! We love it!!!

We decided to do the living room too. Yahoo.

COVID 19- The Journey Continues

We broke quarantine and staying home in June. We went to Colorado and stayed in the homes of our family. We had an amazing 90th birthday family picnic at a park for my gorgeous Grammy.

In July I went to a Young Life small department essential meeting. I flew Southwest. It was thrilling. I was grateful for the chance to work together, have hard conversations, and be in the beauty of Colorado Springs. I was back in Colorado 10 days later when tax season finally ended and we did our first ever Osborne-Original-6 plus-families (we were 18 people, 4 kids 2 and under!) vacation in Keystone. Cousins, wildflowers, hikes, bike/skate/scooter adventures, and sweet family time were a few highlights.

Back at home in June and July, we got the great gift of a virtual swim season with the Coves. We practiced and swam with safety protocols in our home pool and competed against other teams with times computed and compared online.

On the way home from swim practice, Oaks has to go up one big hill. Really big. Being new-ish to biking and short-ish as a human, the hill is taxing.

To get up the hill, I tell Oaks, “Just do one pedal. Then another pedal. Then another pedal. You can always do one more pedal. Don’t worry about the top of the hill, just the next pedal.”

He’s seven and has strong emotions so sometimes he’d give up saying, “I’m not getting anywhere! That doesn’t work.”

By the end of the month, however, he would face the hill with a new resolve. The one pedal at a time method moved him slowly but deliberately up to the top.

As COVID continues, so do the questions, the uncertainty, the pain, the charged emotions, the division, the community, and the blessings.

They just announced a delayed start to the school year and a hybrid schedule for middle schoolers. With the start of school now still a month away (Sept 8th), these new plans might change again.

To think about when it’s all over or when things can be “normal” again is to yearn for the top of the hill from the bottom. Instead, I’ll just do one pedal. Be patient. Stay balanced and hold on.


Other notable summer moments: 

  • Oodles of work on our kitchen (see another blog post)
  • Colorado family here in KC for Drew’s birthday and the 4th of July
  • Black Lives Matter and Do Better Young Life
  • Andi’s first Diane’s School of Dance Recital happened July 10-11th. Cousins Lena, June and Henley were great fans, as well as her brothers, GG and Laura. It was a great uplift and Andi was confident and awesome on stage.
  •  Eli’s 14th birthday!
  •  Lots of Wyldlife fun in June with a field day and a yard games hang out night.
  • New friends with similar interests- Sam Oetting and scooters, Schieber’s and Andi’s new penny board, June, Henley and, Oaks play, fight and love almost daily.
  • Our garden, flowers, and grass are growing with gusto!
  • Did I mention the home projects?!

Grammy and her offspring…the legacy of grace and beauty we inherit is a gift.

Maama with 7 of her 9 grandkids at Evergreen Lake.

One of Eli’s presents and a dream come true- a scooter session at Woodward Copper.

Oakley’s first ride on a chair lift. We had a great hike down all together.

Andi danced two jazz dances and one hip hop dance. We loved watching you on that big stage Sister Soo.


All the Osborne’s during our mountain top experience family vacay

Also in July- our 16th wedding anniversary. We returned to the engagement spot at Chicago Creek on our way home from Keystone.


Covid-19- Stay Home KC Week 9 and 10

May 18- May 31st.

I don’t have much time or soul to write more than list. The days are full and the blessing innumerable. On the other hand, there is some fatigue and sadness that simmers and sometimes bubbles over.

In the past two weeks…

  • We hosted a field day on the Terrace with distance and sanitizing and a gorgeous May day.
  • We recorded some virtual content for our church’s elementary kids. With the team, “Flipping out” we recorded trampoline flips, laptop flips,  book page flips and some recitation of Philippians 2. Drew and I taught about Jesus’ ascension and the Spirit’s presence.
  • We finished school. The last day was, Friday May

    Eli wanted to try some jumps and mountain bike trails so Drew took the kids to Stocksdale.

    22nd. The laptops went back to school and we picked up locker content. Thank you, school personnel, for packing up carefully and making sure there was closure through online award ceremonies, team Zoom chats, and a classroom goodbye.

    Choose your own treat for the last day of school! One for mom and dad too. goodbye. 

  • We celebrated a lot of family  the last week of May: Aria, Wilson, James, Kimberley, Gayle and Steve, and finally Crosby’s big #1! Binny and Bonnie too. To “mail it in” is no longer a cop-out but a great privilege in celebrating. We got to drive by and drop off love for some and did enjoy a BBQ feast on the deck for James, complete with an amazing Task Master competition. Thank you Laura.
  • Our kids got to sleepover with Geeg and Pops so Drew and I basked in the quiet and enjoyed the heck out of each other and some Indian food.
  • The uncertainty and disruption of the pandemic took a backseat to the destructive and devastating effects of racism and division. The creation groans and fractures. God’s presence surely fills the deepest despair, but not until the mourning, grief, and anger is felt and heard. We are filled up with sorrow and hold onto hope and want to do something.
  • On the last day of May, we went to an outdoor wedding for a YL kid from Park Hill 2008 and a gym friend from 2019. It felt good to celebrate and show up but the questions of what’s socially appropriate or responsible are ever so muddled.
  • Today was the first day of swim practice and our summer “schedule”.

    Bonnie and I took our boys to the path for blades, bikes, and scoots!

    Camper finally got a haircut

Signing off with my third day of pesky heartburn (see bullet 5 above, the Indian food?), the sun shining brightly, and half of our neighbors tree in our backyard (see bullet number 6 above…fractures and fallout and what do we do now..)

Peace. Please peace.




COVID-19, Stay Home KC Weeks 7 & 8

April hours (of staying home) bring May flowers (of messy growth and brightness).

Week 7: May 4-10th

Prayers answers, precious arrival, pure joy…on May 4th Ada Drew joined our family. We were so happy Zach and Christine could safely partner together to bring their daughter (Surprise! It’s a girl!) super cute and healthily into the world.

While watching the Young Life State of the Mission address on Friday May 8th with my three kids, I couldn’t help but weep. The scope of hope around the world as people believe, without assurance of an end date and in the midst of hardship, felt so profound. Young Life is a tiny piece of ministry with worldwide reach and seeing and hearing hope in different places and languages moved me. So did sitting in the sadness of loss with seniors who have missed milestone moments and vulnerable kids losing even more when so much support is cut off.

We got to enjoy a special surprise gift of meeting Ada outside, in masks, on Friday night. Then we were even more blessed to connect with family on Mother’s Day at HQ.

The questions of precaution, wisdom, protection, boundaries, priorities, and permission continue to befuddle us. So much unknown, unproven. We didn’t embrace each other but we did embrace proximity and oh my, we got to hold that baby!


Week 8: May 11-17th 

Work, Weariness, and Wonder

Work. Work. Work.

Mom and Dad had tons to do (ADS2, Staff conferences, Training Department meetings, reopening contingency plans, tax preparation, firm functioning) and little ability to help each other. Hours and hours of needing to focus, prepare, present, and lead left our kids to motivate and learn on their own. Only 10 days of school left means every effort matters and each assignment will have an effect on what grades come out of this crazy semester.

Work on our house?! We started gathering bids and asking for help with ideas for a new deck door, new flooring, less walls and fixed fence posts.


Heard around the house:

  • “I’d really like something to look forward to…even if it’s what we are having for dinner…Yay! Spaghetti!”
  • “We can do a sleepover with our cousins who’ve been careful right?”  “Okay.”    “Actually no.”    “Well, if….”  “No.”
  • “I’m sad.”… “You’re annoying.” …”I’m frustrated.” …”I’m over it.”
  • “I’m lonely.” …”Leave me alone.” …”I really, really, really need to be alone.”
  • “I’m counting down the days til we don’t have to do this anymore.” 


  • Those baby geese huddled together at the big pond.
  • That train track James and the girls built that Oaks got to enjoy too.
  • The smell of spring flowers. And my beautiful bouquet from my kids for Mother’s Day.
  • The notes we get in the mail.
  • Eli learned a standing backflip! And built three grind rails.
  • The promises of God made real in the lives of people staying strong. Way to go single moms we love.
  • That first workout back at the gym. CFN opened with precautions Friday May 15th. Yay. Ouch!
  • All the creative and generative work of people in my house (Andi makes soap, Eli makes movies and mods scooters, Oaks builds LEGO and draws Mechs) and all over the neighborhood, KC, and the world.
  • Wondering what God is revealing in us and our usual agenda being upended. Thanks Pastor Tim for ideas about apocalypse (a revealing of what’s hidden) and discernment (seeing God revealed through Jesus in our life’s pain or problems).

While work, weariness, and wonder, filled these past two weeks, we weren’t without watching. After hours outside and getting all the work done, we, all together or in some groups, enjoyed:

  • YouTube skate park trick videos
  • Church online, Youth Group online, Boy Scouts online, Wyldlife Online, YL senior club online
  • The Greatest Showman
  • Late Night 
  • Little Women (1994 version)
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Five Feet Apart
  • Shawshank Redemption 
  • Clone Wars
  • Nailed It.
  • Task Master
  • SGN
  • Frozen 2- because Drew still hasn’t seen it.


Eli’s custom-built scooter, riding a custom-built scooter!

Visiting Binny’s backyard on Mother’s Day. They came, they climbed, they flipped in the grass and recited Philippians 2.

A “fireside chat” discussing gospel presentation with Area Directors over Zoom

Ada and Andi

Cousins getting a little closer again…safely, smiley, simply.

Mother’s Day Code Names game


COVID-19, Stay Home KC Week 6

Week 6 of being home brought us the chance for a creative, surprising, and super special quarantine birthday for our super sweet Andi. Andi turned 12 and we had a really meaningful, memorable day to mark her moment.

April 29th, 2020

8:30am- Andi was not surprised to see PopTarts on the You Are Special Today plate at her seat. She WAS surprised to see the massive sign set up in the yard!

12pm- Lunch on the deck with homemade rolls dropped off by GG and Chick-Fil-A nugget catering brought home by Dad. We had Bruces on their half and Osborne’s on the other and blew the candles out inside. Wind!- a guarantee on Andi’s bday.

After an enjoyable afternoon of school work, new presents (cute clothes, diamond painting kit, soap making kit), and Fortnite…

4pm- We had a surprise drive-by birthday parade. So many signs. So many sweet people who honked and even played Happy Birthday on guitar, in their mini van, (#James), and drove from midtown (#Jacob’s Well leaders who love Andi), and 2 pregnant people! There were beautiful chocolate-covered strawberries and sweet distanced time with great people.

6:30pm- Swedish pancakes with Nutella!

7:00pm- Andi’s Candies Bar- the brothers got to fill 2 bags!

7:30pm- Virtual Escape Game-ish puzzle.

And all the way through, Andi was invested in the people, grateful for the surprises, enjoyable as a birthday girl, and a completely personable and intentionally grateful girl.


In other news of last week, Oaks has a whole aisle of Lego boxes to peruse in his room and is finding ways to build, create, and play for hours and hours each day. And we’re talking Jane Goodall, tree types, plane shapes, and handwriting of course.

Eli did a week without film. He loves tricks and loves sharing them with the world. They are amazingly cool looking and showcase skills like air-awareness, a tight tuck, and complete obsession with scooters. He has lots of fun footage or not with his flips, spins, jumps, rides and scoots.

We did a 12 mile bike ride at Smithville Lake on Tuesday. We are listening to A Wrinkle in Time with a mix of interest. We watched Little Women from 1994 and Hook. We watched Late Night andAnt Man and the Wasp(without the kids) We watched a new remake of The Pilgrims Progress and loved our afternoon of old AFV.

Digging deep into the tedium and the discouragement at times. Other times, loving the invitation to enjoy the difference of these days for all the joy, privilege, and blessing they bring.

COVID-19, Stay Home KC, Week 5

This is almost a week late. Time does fly even if it’s only within a few walls or a neighborhood block or two. Of course virtual meetings and gatherings take us through the screen and into different states or countries. How special to celebrate Andi’s 12th birthday and her second cousin’s 35th on a zoom on Sunday since they share the April 29th birthdate! Did we mention this special second cousin lives in England?!

Week 5 made me think… (no quotes from experts or cheeky comments…no time for research or extra reading- just real life)

  1. My kids can throw a wicked fit when they don’t want to do something. And if they are being more teenager-ery, they just say, “I refuse” or silently walk-away. Ugh.
  2. My kids can get over said fits and rise to extremely challenging challenges.

I asked them to give up candy, desserts, and sweets for the 10 days before Andi’s birthday. They did so without so much as a question about whether cinnamon graham crackers counted. (They don’t.)

I asked them to memorize Philippians 2:5-11 one verse at a time and they are doing it well and helping each other learn. Oaks asked me one night what it means to “cling” to something. As in, “Jesus, though he was God, did not demand or “cling” to his rights as God.” I cling-ed to Oaks for a minute and kissed him goodnight.

I asked my kids to run sprints, copy sentences in neat handwriting, write in a journal weekly, and send notes to people on each Monday morning.

In all the ways we’ve had to mix our emotions of frustration, disappointment, sadness, joy, gratitude, overwhelm, and fatigue together, we’ve said a lot of “Yes”s to each other and grown in our capacity for challenge.

We have what we need.

I’m proud of these small people.

Oaks set up an epic battle scene and acted out scenes for us. There is LEGO everywhere…I mean it, everywhere.

We went to well kid visits. It’s verified, they are “big kids” as in almost 3 inches taller than a year ago.

Andi made homemade french fries. So yummy. Thanks Andi!

A Koala hug! Eli keeps winning Wyldlife zoom challenges like this one.

Camper “helps” haul rock for a garden border. We planted 3 kinds of tomatoes, 1 sweet pepper, 1 hot pepper. Here’s to growing!


COVID-19, Stay Home KC Week 4

We’ve had our puppy Camper for almost 3 years! We look forward to celebrating his big #3 on June 4th. This week however, when I saw Camper all cuddled up in his brown bed, laid out flat in the sunshine on the family room carpet, and seriously sprawled out in the grass, it hit me that he has it pretty good. Then I thought, “Wait a second, so do I…”

How My Quarantine is like Camper’s Everyday

-I feel like laying down and sleeping more than usual

– I get really excited to see the same “people” (it’s just Drew) come back into the house each day.

– We eat more of the same foods over and over and do indeed hover over the empty bowls wondering when it’s time to eat again.

– We bark at, er I mean, back away from people at the front door.

-I don’t go for car rides, or drives.

– Home is where I do all my activities all day. Plus the backyard.

– I really have taken to walks. Longer and longer routes around the neighborhood are highlights of entertainment and socializing.

-I seek out the sunshine on cold mornings and move my body to soak some up in whatever room has it.

Because Camper is the most Christ-like character in our house most days, there is an invitation for me to learn to be even more like him. I think I could stand to rest more, say less, never bark at my own family, and listen with my head at a tilt and love in my eyes.

In other news, the kids were relentless this week. 

  1. Eli was relentless with energy to talk about, ride on, watch videos of, and tinker with scooters. 
  2. Andi was relentless with reading! She consumed nine books. When we couldn’t find her, she was reading. 
  3. Oakley was relentless with attention for building and playing with Lego. He built a brand new Iron Man set he bought and played literally everywhere in our house- even the bathtub.

Camper was not relentless- read above. He’s mostly just flexible and sleepy.

Finally, we watched more Task Master episodes and created our own family tasks at home. We celebrated more April birthdays for some really special people (Granddad, Maama, and Kiley) and Zoomed through work and Wyldlife.

Easter Us.

Calls and such with Maama. We love you!




COVID-19, Stay Home KC, Week 3

Last week was the hardest so far and held some of the sweetest moments we’ve had yet.

In difficulty, I realized I had to cut off the socially distant social calendar I was still keeping for my kids and myself. We were being intentional but not careful enough. Kids and neighbor friends were getting closer and closer despite the best intentions and moments of mask making. I couldn’t help but help when I saw people who needed help. I wanted to give a safe version of our usual egg hunt and do a socially distant happy hour outside on a beautiful day.

After a hard conversation, an informative article from a well-known pediatrician, a reckoning of limits and desires, and a knockdown drag-out with Drew, we made major changes to our habits and those of our children.

Stay home.

No playdates.

Some schedule adjustments for work.

My underlying emotion, deep inside, and pointing to a reality that needs a healthy outlet, is anger. Mid-week I was mad. Why? Disorientation and grief and feeling so stuck.  And all the while, we were journeying with Jesus towards the cross and resurrection. Oh and we were also cooking with veggie stock and fixin’ to fix the mailbox.

Because my major ways of operating are to lead, act, direct, assist, help and push through, mostly for others, not myself or my own people, I live with gut intuition and “never” rely on statistical projections and blanket directives. This is an unprecedented time for all. Why was I just catching up on how much impact it needed to have on me?

And then they canceled school for the rest of the year.

Yes, I’ve been wrecked by how hard this is for the underprivileged and burdens the already vulnerable. I’m grateful and praying for the hard-working health care workers and truck drivers. I’ve been praying for families with pain, financial hardship, and precious pregnant people. I lamented the racial injustice of the disease around Kansas City and elsewhere and disagreed with churches who decided to forgo the governor’s restriction (and scripture see: Matthew 22:21 Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:1 “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities”).

We have suffered very little by the great disruption. And yet the reckoning.

Being often angry, quick to apologize and graciously forgiving, as a way of life in our family, we moved on with a new direction. Then I got this EnneaThought email that helped too.

Cutting off people, activities, and regular rhythms, eliminating most of the ways I was working in my job to lead and relate, means I am cutting off a lot of my default and essential ways of being.

Less action, no space for practical intuition. Barely any room to be constructive for others. The eradication of ego is a painful place.

I knew I could grow even in the freedom of reading here why it was so hard. Like weeping Mary who meets Jesus in the garden and thinks he’s the gardener (John 20), I  was finally wandering around, wondering what is next and how to return from disorientation, pace through grief, and restore right-relationship.

All week I read great devotional thoughts and listened to a helpful podcast on media trauma and sanity for moms. Those snippets are below for the non-skimmers and mostly for my reflective, time capturing benefit.

For fun, and because we are beyond blessed and living a Spirit-filled life in light of the resurrection, we:

  • Attended a dance party hosted by Oakley, DJed by Drew (“Everyone go get your costumes!”)
  • Watched Onward, more  Task Master and the rest of Top Chef All-Stars 2010 
  • Finished our puzzle
  • Projected through the mailbox replacement with joy (Thank you DJ Drew)
  • Gave the affirmation game a twist and told everyone one by one around our dinner table, 1- What we liked about you today, and 2. What we like about you always.
  • Did an artistic and relevant nightly reading and prayer for Holy Week. (Thank you Marisa Avramovich)
  • Dyed eggs and did a hunt with June and Henley at a distance
  • Made multiple putt-putt courses in our garage.
  • And most magically, we had an 87-degree day and put the sprinkler underneath the trampoline. The exclamations of joy, laughter, fun, and let’s keep doing this will ring in my head for weeks.

With the weather swinging almost as wide as my emotions, we made it to Easter Sunday. Once again, the tension between celebration and loss was palpable. We made food and shared it. Receiving delicious and memory infused dishes in return. We napped (not the Easter usual) and played together.

There continue to be candles lit and flowers alive on our table, and with that, and the Love around and inside me, I KNOW we will make it.

But seriously, how do we live out Jesus’ words, “To whom much has been given, much is expected?” Luke 12:48?

Pictures and more reading below.

PE Stations on the deck- pogo, hula, soccer kick, and Skip It

Putt-Putt inside helped on the windy and rainy days later in the week

Saturday night hail and driving rain!

So much warmth. So much fun.


“Along with our anxieties and hurts, we also bring our disappointments to God. If anxieties focus on what might happen, and hurts focus on what has happened, disappointments focus on what has not happened. Again, as the saying goes, revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing, so simply acknowledging or naming our disappointment to God is an important move. This is especially important because many of us, if we don’t bring our disappointment to God, will blame our disappointment on God, thus alienating ourselves from our best hope of comfort and strength. . . . ” Brian McLaren


It is true that your life is not about you; rather, “your life is hidden with Christ in God. He is your life, and when he is revealed, you will be revealed in all your glory with him” (Colossians 3:4).  The True Self does not cling or grasp. It has already achieved its purpose by being more than by any specific doing of this or that. Finally, we have become a human being instead of a human doing.

And yet even in our pursuit of the True Self, we must be careful not to reject the parts of ourselves that are not there yet. The most courageous thing we will ever do is probably to accept that we are who we are. All the truly transformed people I have ever met are characterized by what I would call radical humility. They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are simply an instrument.

So we can pray the simple Christian prayer of “Lord, have mercy.” From our place of humility, God can work through us to help our loved ones, neighbors and the most vulnerable. As Francis of Assisi said to us right before he died in 1226, “I have done what was mine to do. Now you must do what is yours to do.” [1]

– Richard Rohr reflection excerpts from 4-8-2020.

Media trauma: a significant traumatic event experienced through media. 

-Traumatic events are more traumatic to people watching them from their devices than for the people in the actual event.

-The difference is the connection between brain and body- in the actual moment our body is on alert and is usually in a community of people (ie: Boston Marathon). When we watch something on our phone, we sit still and absorb it in our body without movement or energy from our built-in body responses or the assistance of community with others. 

– The COVID-19 pandemic is for our kids’ (aged 3-18) September 11th. The impact of this trauma will put a stamp on their brains and bodies (memories and effects) that need care and attention. If kids are neglected during this time, the damage could last decades.

-Mom’s have to teach, and work and parent right now. We cannot do three at once. The work one can come last.

  • A few notes from Rumors of Grace with Bob Hutchins and guest Jenny Black. 



COVID-19, Stay Home KC, Week 2

Week 2 at home is in the books.

We got a little creative and projecty in week 2.

  • Andi and parents painted her room a lovely shade of pinky-white
  • Eli bought 16 different parts and built his own scooter 
  • We borrowed some toys built an awesome Play-Mobil neighborhood
  • Oaks unbuilt and rebuilt a huge Lego Mech
  • We played 4-square in the street for recess
  • Eli made a sign for Bobby’s bday and did a drive-by parade party
  • We did a Wyldlife Egg drop off at doors of kids we are glad to know and reach out towards
  • And we dug and hauled and planted because….
    • If you give your yard a trampoline in November, you might still be working on install in April….The kids dug dirt to avoid bottoming out on the low side. Then we moved the dirt around the yard and realized we could fill stump holes and plant grass seed. And if you plant seed, you’ll realize it’s now time to replant the hostas we dug up from the garden now covered by the trampoline. And if you’re out there watering hostas and new grass seed, your kids are going to invite you to jump on the trampoline you bought in November. And if your kids invite you to jump with them, you say yes at least once a week, cherishing the time they want to spend with you.

And then because we were channeling Top Chef, 

Or because we were channeling Little House on the Prarie, 

  • We started messing around with a sourdough starter and making crumpets and biscuits (a project every 12 hours!) 
  • and we made veggie stock (slowly boiled old veggie scraps for over 12 hours!),
  • and we made black beans from dried black beans (they soaked for 12 hours and then did some low boiling for 3!)

At one point I dissolved into giggles on the kitchen floor…we were in pretty deep. The smells! The dishes! The partnering with Drew 🙂  Oh, and we should probably also make dinner.

Alas, we were amazed and grateful for the gifts we were given.

Those hostas are from Castaway, Binny and Bill Pearce, and Angie our neighbor.

The sourdough is from James and Laura who have been very faithful to being on call all weekend for questions.

We were given grace to connect with others and play games over Zoom Friday night for Nat’s birthday and Saturday with friends. Our kids watched Hook and Oaks’ enjoyment was evident on his sweet smiling face.

Now it’s Holy Week and the weather will get into the 80s mid-week.

Perhaps with fewer projects, we will let prayers and play direct us to deeper connections with Christ. What an odd Easter.

We will seek perspective and community following Jesus on the journey through victorious welcome, to paradigm-shifting dinner, into agonizing garden wrestling, humiliating subjection unto death, bewildering waiting and wondering, and finally, reality-altering resurrection.


COVID-19, Stay Home KC Week 1

We have been back from Colorado for a whole week of school at home. The Park Hill School district had spring break March 16-20th so we went to Colorado to carefully connect with family. It was over the top wonderful to see Grammy and Granddad, Tamara, Bill and Molly, Maama and the quints, and most especially, to stay with and wake up to Remi and Crosby Sears at John and Natalie’s classy and comfy home. We went to skate parks and climbed Matthews Winters Red Rocks trail. We went to pick up Thai food and grabbed 7-11 with napkins over the pulls of the Slurpee machine. Otherwise, we were inside homes and walking on sidewalks. Lord have mercy on all the interactions and hugs we shared. Still unknown if we are infected or not. So far so good.

Back at home, we have had a smooth week of adjusting to sheltering in place. Mayor Quinton Lucas instated “Stay Home KC” for March 24-April 24th for the city. Park Hill schools have been amazing at providing a myriad of educational modules, interfaces, personalities, check-ins, and quality education for my kids in 1st, 6th, and 7th grade.

Eli and Andi have spent the week on their computers in multiple classes on a normal schedule of red and white days. Their teachers have done amazingly well to move classroom lectures and lessons to virtual environments. Eli and Andi work diligently and independently for almost four uninterrupted hours. They are handling the social isolation well. I thank our two years of homeschool for the mental and emotional pathways already paved to handle these changes.

Oakley is enjoying his best life with hours to play imaginatively each day. He plays Lego spread through two bedrooms (his and mine) and two floors of the house. Around 11am, he comes to start his school day with a teacher check-in questionnaire, math, reading and science work and then does Ipad reading and handwriting worksheets.

A tension: Usually I dislike and want to minimize technology. Now I’m grateful my kids are into their screens for 6 hours a day. Screens are how we connect!?! Not what separates us. AND YET a screen instead of a teacher and friends in class..ick. Not the same. Especially for Oaks.

I get to work in my regular home office with extra coworkers. So far it’s scattered and getting on phone calls and zoom meetings are more interrupted but life is pretty normal for me.

Drew is working to lead, make decisions and push along a tax season now extended until August. He’s busy in all the normal ways and then some.

Andi did her Monday night dance online thanks to the professional and personal creative work of teachers at Diane’s School of Dance.

We are very encouraged and uplifted by our church’s virtual gatherings. The words of prayers and songs pierce hearts in ways we don’t usually feel. Even our kids have had youth group on zoom and a video lesson for Oaks came Monday as well.

It’s hard to believe this will last four weeks, maybe more.

  • Drew instituted family hot seat around the dinner table- great questions asked by all, sweet sharing time for sure.
  • Drew encourages us to facetime to connect with family each evening. Erica got all the Osborne’s on MarcoPolo for video sharing sweetness all week.
  • We are beyond grateful to have our new (got it in November) trampoline for frequent breaks. Sweet space for alone time, tricks, parent and kid play, and plenty of sibling sweetness and battles.
  • We worry about small businesses and want to help by ordering food from our local restaurant kitchens.

We are sad to have fun and ministry canceled- skiing in Colorado, Heather and Toby’s visit from England, YL MSLI, YL Family Camp, family dinner with the Bruces, Crossfit classes, Scouts, Oakley’s soccer season, Eli’s track season, Eli’s session at the Copper Mountain Woodward Trick Barn, getting our teeth cleaned, sports (real and fantasy), and being with our friends.

The bottom line- we have profound privilege and comfort. These past three weeks of COVID-19 have also been weeks of loss and grief for my friends. I can’t believe how the pain of losing a family member for three of my friends (cancer, stillborn baby, and suicide) adds to the uncertainity, disruption, sadness, and loss.

It feels like the theme of the week overall is great gratitude for how little we are affected. We are very blessed. We are happy with the change of pace, less to do at night, more time for each other, and lots of sleeping in. At the same time, we miss our individual activities, we wish we could do the work we find meaningful, and we like our morning bus rides with friends.

Like Paul says, “I’ve learned to be content in times of plenty (pre-COVID-19) and in want (now)”… We are learning and are sometimes closer to content than others.

How long are we thinking this contentment refining process might be?…

Our family at “church”

We miss you Crossfit Northland! Making the best of it in our basement

Oakley reads on Raz Kids

Eli and Andi- smiling and working hard

Spring Break! We had sunshine, snow and even a horse to pet within walking distance.