Thank you Jet Lag, for the 4am start to my day. What might have taken me months weeks to comb thru all got accomplished before the sun (and my children) even woke up.

We are home after an amazing 2 weeks in Zambia. As always, the Lord was faithful and our time was fruitful. More of the nitty grits (as they like to say over there) to come, but for this morning, just a few photo teasers of our time...

Nope, not Zambia. We made use of our 12 hour layover in London and did some exploring. Buckingham Palace was quite impressive, but I found this ice-cream truck considerably more endearing.



Victoria Falls




Saturday morning fun with the neighborhood Good News Club. 

Sindye Church









The village of Mwandi




In just two days Jeremiah and I, along with two other friends (Rick Via and Katie Hedrick) leave for Livingstone, Zambia. We had planned on traveling with Jeremiah's parents as well, but Jim decided to go and mess everything up and have a heart attack...and, well...now he is instead recovering in Florida. (Love you Jim!)

And while we are very sad not to be joined by them...we are very excited for this opportunity to partner with long term missionary friends Ken and Karen Buckner and Come Go With Us Ministry.



















Ken and Karen live in Livingstone, but their main ministry focus is in the surrounding countryside, or, in the bush, as they call it. We will be traveling several hours out of the city and camping out in a local village (insert gleeful excitement from Jeremiah and a what-was-I-thinking shake of my head from myself) for the majority of the trip.

This ain't Haiti, as I've been told to pack long sleeves and a jacket for the cold nights. Say what?!

And while most of the world is just now starting up their school schedules, Monarch Way Academy is on break thru September! We follow a year round schedule and just finished up our first 8 week block. The kiddo's will be partying at my mom's while we are gone.  Prayers appreciated for the Zooble as she's been fighting a really random virus this week and it makes this Momma's heart really anxious (just being real) to think of leaving her not feeling good.

Thank you for your prayers and friendship and support. Can't wait to update!




At first she wanted a cat party.
Then a horse party.
Then an owl party.
Then she cried because she couldn't decide.

And then I cried, because I really hate don't like doing birthday parties.
But, then I realized, she has never had a real party and really wanted a real party...and, well, she is my baby.

Therefore, I told her I was going to "surprise" her with a party and she only needed to get excited for all the fun she was going to have.

And, in true Zooble form, her face hides nothing and you will see that she really did have the time of her six year old life. And, if truth be told, I had the time of my 36 year old life watching her enjoy her day so much.

But next year, we will go to the Zoo.

All photo cred goes to Kelly Via, who graciously said yes when I forced placed the camera into her arms.
Pony necklaces. Thank you Pinterest for making party planning so much easier.



We went old school for the games. Who knew Pin-the-Tail was so fun?!



Chloe was the proud winner!



Next, the ol' un-wrap the present/hot potato game.










I mean, really...this is the BEST face!


I call her my multiple personality Care Bear...

One minute she is pure Sunshine Bear: smiles for miles, giggles, laughs, without a care in the world.
The next minute Grumpy Bear takes over...and let the storm clouds roll. 

Let em' roll.

She still LOVES anything animal but has branched out from her former dinosaur/snake/dragon/lizard realms to include animals in the "cuter" categories, including, but not limited to cats, puppies, owls, and horses. Red and yellow, black, and white...

She also loves to ride her bike, boss train the dog, and generally be outside.


She totally schooled me at hopscotch this particular evening.

This littlest of mine has big feelings and makes no attempts at hiding them or people pleasing for anyone. And while that makes for some...awkward moments of parenting, I know it is also the very strength that (directed the right way) will make her bold for Jesus. And he is going to have to pretty much take the wheel on this child, as she is way out of my league.

She obliged (sort of) to my request for a photo shoot on her birthday...

Sunshine bear.

Storm clouds are gathering.

Let em' roll.

Sunshine bear is back out to play...

And stay for a little while.

Dearest Zooble,

     I'm so glad you still let me call you that. You have grown up so much lately, that I can barely remember the squishy almond eyed baby you once were. You keep living up to your name and bring so much LIFE to our family. 

   I love how you request pancakes for breakfast every morning. I love how you still morph into animals when you play and lose yourself in your imagination. I love your toothy grin. I love your passion. 

   And, mostly, I love that I get to be your Mom. 

   You are my favorite six year old in the whole wide world. 

   Happy birthday sweet girl.

always,

your Momma
Let's just let the pictures do the talking, okay...

Nothing says Summer like creek crawling with friends, your dog, and Dad.

Silly faces, scary faces, and so-over-this faces.


Finishing touches finalized for our first day of Monarch Way Academy which went back into session in July.
My favorite spot at Smith Mountain Lake has become my kiddo's favorite spot =)
























Meeting our newest Via Cousin, baby Hadley.


Which led to an adorbs photo shoot of the sweet girl.

All three bigs went to sleepaway camp this year! 

The highlight of the month...after four long years we got to welcome cousin Chloe home!!!

Another welcome home...this time to my newest sister, sweet Jayla!
 I love this picture of her with my mom and brother, Jubal.





For Cow Appreciation Day posterity. And because I have three other years worth of us dressed as cows with Zoe frowning/crying in every.single.one.of.them. 
The finger in the photo is a new 2017 addition.

10 is a good year for this boy. I love his crazy antics.

I know we are only 7 days into August...and I already can't wait to to journal it.
It really has been the best Summer.
And it's not over yet...