Friday, December 27, 2013

Our Memorial Day

7:00am  Sammy and Ben head outside to "find some bwirds."

7:45  Sammy and Ben are on the front porch racing caterpillars.
         Sammy: "Go, Sam! Go!"

8:00 Livvy, Sammy, and Ben have loaded the butterfly carrier with grass for their two caterpillars. Now they are swinging.  Jon is standing on a stool in the kitchen playing with a rubber band and learning that when you hold it in one hand, pull and let go with the other, that it snap back and hurts.

8:20 Breakfast - Cream of Wheat

8:45 Tom mows yard.  Children play in dirt.

9:15 Tom starts tilling the garden

10:00 Jon curls up in my chair, grabs my Bible and says, "Non-Non wead Bible."

12:15 The big kids are trying to build a cover for their fort - blankets and rugs are required.  Sammy comes in saying he needs some cloth to make a flag.  I oblige.

During this whole time with Jon mostly by my side I made homemade pop-tarts (I'm not sure I'll make them again.  It seems like a lot of work for a little reward), cinnamon swirl bread (2 loaves - 1 to take to Phoenix and one for the freezer), pizza dough (also to take to Phoenix to share with my mom's international women), and prepared the pork ribs for the night's dinner - cutting off the membrane, making the rub, and applying the rub (this is my first attempt at pork ribs, hopefully it's good).

1:00pm We all sit down for a light lunch of tea sandwiches, pickled eggs (my first attempt - I got the thumbs up from the honey), pickles, and an assortment of veggies with dip. Everybody dug in.

~~~Unfortunately I never finished this post.  It was fun to read what the kids were doing that day this past summer so I thought I'd share.  Maybe next Memorial Day I'll record the whole day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Daniel Noah

Yesterday was Livvy's 9th birthday.  Can you believe it?  Nine years?!?  It seems unreal that we have a nine year old.  It has gone by so fast - the days may seem long but the years fly by.

I will save Livvy's birthday party details for a later post.  Right now I need to write about the birth of our 6th baby, 5th son, before time passes like that of Livvy's nine years with only random memories and pictures to show for it.  Seriously, there are so many things that I wish I could remember - it seems like I remember less and less of each kid.  Sadness.

In the wee hours of October 13th, just 17 minutes past midnight, our little Daniel Noah was born.  He was 7lbs 14oz and was 19 1/2 inches long (exactly the same as Ben).   Daniel because it's a good name that can have various nicknames  like Dan, Danny, Danner, etc. (it's kind of a trend in our family).  And Noah after his big brother whom I hope he meets in heaven someday.

Timing of everything was such a big stresser this time around.  But, as usual, God's timing is perfect!  Labor started around 5pm while on a hay ride at the FHE Fall Festival.  I had taken castor oil earlier in the day to try to get things going - I was four days over due and I was done waiting.  It's stressful to have everybody waiting on you to do something that you can't start, and to have the timing perfect for laboring and birthing in a quiet, empty house.  Some think it's great to be surrounded by everybody and their neighbor when giving birth - not me!  
When the contractions began, I knew that these were the contractions that I had been waiting for.  They were much different, not painful yet, just different, than the contractions that had come and gone the week before when I had tried to get labor going then.  I thought the week before would've been perfect for baby to come...guess not.

After saying goodbye to the kids at the festival (my parents took them to spend the night at our friend's house who were out of town - talk about perfect timing!!) Tom and I headed home and readied the birthing pool.  This was our second home birth but first in a birthing pool.  I was excited to experience birthing in the water, but also nervous that the timing of everything wouldn't permit us to fill it up in time.  

Thankfully we had plenty of time to get the pool nice and warm for me to get in and labor in.  My midwives got to the house around 7pm and then I think I got in the pool around 8:30pm or so.  I stayed in the pool the entire time, except to get out once to pee - I got back in quickly noticing that the water helped relieve so much of the pain.  At 12:16am I had the urge to push.  I pushed once and out he came.  

The next morning my mom and dad brought the kids home to meet their newest little brother.

We are absolutely in love with this new little one.  Danner (I think that's what I'm calling him) is such a good baby!  The kids love to pass him around, give him his binkie, and/or hold him while doing school - there's no better way to make school fun than to have your littlest brother on your lap.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Anniversary and Sightings of the King

October 19th is usually a very special day around here.  We typically don't do a whole lot to celebrate our anniversary (minus last year when my honey went all out with a surprise vacation to San Diego) but we try to do something just the two of us to celebrate.

This year was slightly different.  We were in the process of reconciling/recovering from a fight, a tiff, a "discussion" gone awry.  The morning started off with apologies, etc but after a mostly sleepless night on my part (nursing a baby on top of feeling less than the typical happy oneness), the honey off to work by 7 am or so, I was not too thrilled with the prospects of the day ahead.

I decided I would take the kids to a local nursery that was having a fall festival to move the day along.  Even though the weather was slightly chilly and the idea of nursing our week old babe on the run wasn't appealing, I just really wanted to get out of the house and do something, anything to redeem the day.  My friend Amanda was taking her kiddos to the festival as well and offered to help manage mine. It seemed like a great plan for the day.

Around 11 am (about a half an hour late to meet Amanda) after feeding the baby and buckling him into his car seat for the second time (the first time I buckled him he had a blow out that required a whole outfit change) we finally all got loaded up in the van - I was so not loving the day so far!

I put the key in the ignition guessed it, nothing!  The van was dead!  Ugh!  Could the day get any worse?  Well...

I wasn't going to let a dead battery keep me home, NO WAY!  I put the van in neutral, pushed it into the driveway, hopped into my uncle's Trailblazer (we're babysitting it until my uncle comes back from hiking) and pulled it in front of Tom's bay of the driveway.  I got the cables all hooked up on both vehicles and, guess what?  Yep.  Uncle Tom's Trailblazer decided it didn't want to turn on anymore either.  WHAT THE HECK!?!

I was really trying to keep it together.  I didn't say any bad words.  I didn't even cry.  I silently stewed, feeling very neglected by God.  "Why God?  Why can't I redeem this day?  Why are You so obviously standing in my way?"  I did, however, make some slightly jaded comments expressing my frustration and displeasure, but also my surrender.  Something like, "Well, kids.  Obviously God doesn't want us to go have fun today. I guess we have to stay home and find something else to do."

I briefly contemplated unhooking our blue truck from the trailer and driving it around to jump the van, but I was pretty sure it would end up with a dead battery as well.  And, I couldn't get the Trailblazer into neutral so that I could push it out of the way to get the truck close enough to the van anyway.  So I gave up.

During this time, I texted Tom to let him in on how crappy (pardon me) the day was turning out.  He texted back that his wasn't much better.  We texted back and forth, and finally talked on the phone.  Commiserating on how bad the day was going somehow broke down that last little wall the stood between us.  It felt good.  Go figure.

Because I had my heart set on getting out of the house, and the baby was in already in his car seat, I decided to settle for a walk using our new stroller.  I was trying to let go and accept what God had planned for our day.

There was a yard sale at the end of our street so we decided to stop, meet a new neighbor, and see if they had any treasures worth running home for a wallet or two.  On one side of the driveway was a blanket with some classic children's readers and piano books.

Let me interject that I had been wanting a new piano instructional series called Alfred's Basic Piano Library for quite some time.  I found several of the books on but was still struggling with the idea of paying X amount of dollars for more stuff, even though I thought the kids needed it.

Now it just so happens that lying there on that blanket in the driveway were four of the piano books.  I picked them up and began to say that I needed to run home to grab some money when Livvy pointed out the sign also lying on the blanket that said "Free Books".  I asked the woman manning the yard sale if all of the books were really free.  She said yes and that she was just trying to get rid of stuff.

I grabbed the piano books, some of the children's readers, a bag of Cuisenaire Rods (that she said were also free), said "thank you" several times, and continued on our walk.

We have to take a break from that story for a moment, we'll come back to it.

In an excellent book that we're reading with the kids called Kingdom Tales there's a chapter called Sighting Day.  To save on time and screen space, I'm not going to go into the story, except to say that all should read it - it's an absolutely wonderful analogy of the christian life.

Back to Sighting Day: it's the day that the kids of Great Park look for the king.  It's a "huge game of  seek-the-king."  But, you see, the king doesn't look like a king.  He dresses up, disguises himself as a beggar, a woodcutter, a gardener - someone ordinary.  You have to believe he is there to see him, to recognize him. 

I have often wanted to play the game with my kids - "Can you find the King today?"  I imagined that as we went about our daily chores and activities, we could be looking for the evidence of the king.  What a boost of faith to actually see the King.
Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:29

Now back to the original story.

As we continued on our walk, I kept playing the day's events over and over in my head.  Here we were, stuck at home, on a walk, and not at the fall festival that I was desperate to go to (which Amanda called to inform me that it wasn't worth going to - her kids said that it was boring).  We weren't able to go to the boring fall festival because two of the three vehicles at our house were dead.  The vehicles were dead because... Because God wanted us to stay home, so we could go on a walk, and get some free piano books that I had been wanting?  Does God really orchestrate events, frustrating events like dead batteries, to bless us with free piano books?

I believe He does.  Believing is seeing.

 "I saw the king!"

Someday I should write about how God used three flat tires to make October 19th such a special day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Just A Little Bit of Now

I think I've been slow to blog these last several months, maybe more, because I keep waiting for inspiration.  Well, I give up.  Inspiration isn't happening - the brain is elsewhere occupied.  It will soon be freed from it's current state of growing a baby, but then it will be sleep-deprived and still unable to put forth creative juices.
So I might as well just take a couple of minutes and write down some of the current happenings around here before there are too many of them to remember.

First of all Ben turned 5 in July!  My little Bubba Ben, 5.  Wow!  

He wanted a super-hero party so I did my best to accommodate.  He and his friends had fun running around in their super-hero capes and participating in various training exercises: shooting arrows at balloons, throwing water-balloon bombs off high buildings (chicken coop roof), rescuing kidnapped animals from the tree, and apprehending two masked criminals who were up to no good.

One of his most favorite birthday presents was from Grammie and Pop-Pop in OH.  He loves his Daniel Boone outfit.

The next big event: Sammy's 7th birthday.  On his actual birthday he had a special breakfast, and got to open gifts from family after Daddy got home that night.

Sammy really loves Legos these days, so of course he wanted a Lego party.  Easy enough - a blueberry (his request) Ninjago cake, a couple of fun Lego games: picking up Legos with only a straw and building a race car and competing with others on a ramp in the garage.  They all had a lots of fun!

Our garden this year has been somewhat successful.   We got tons of sugar snap peas - we're still munching on them!  Lots of wonderful different colored carrots.  Heads and heads of romaine and butter-leaf lettuce - we were giving it away!  For the second year in a row our potato crop all but failed.  We were able to enjoy a few of the world's smallest potatoes I've ever seen.  At first it looked like we were going to get a nice crop of corn, but we were forced to pick them early because of a freeze last week.  Unfortunately most were not ripe or sweet enough.  We'll try again next year.

School has been lots of fun this year so far.  We're using My Father's World: Creation to the Greeks.  We started in Gen 1:1 and have moved forward through history, Biblical and secular. We've spent a lot of time studying Egypt and the pyramids.  Today we read about Abram's attempt to fulfill God's covenant by sleeping with Hagar, and the ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley - I am learning SO much! 
Did you know that the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia had indoor plumbing and a more advanced sewer system than some modern day cities today?  Or that wealthy homes in the cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa of the Indus Valley had forced air heating and hot showers?  Crazy, I know!  We were taught that ancient civilization, although intelligent enough to erect pyramids and move very large objects that we still can't figure out how, were below us, primitive, etc.  Also note worthy - the Indians of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa wrote an epic that details a global flood with only a man and his three sons surviving (so do many many other world-wide cultures, by the way).

Our version of the Fertile Nile Valley.  Our Nile only split into two rivers as it heads towards the Mediterranean Sea, but the kids didn't mind.
An Egyptian farm using the flooding Nile river to water the crops.
A very tasty stepped pyramid.

Art with Mrs Finney.

Now we're waiting for baby boy to make his appearance.  This is the hardest part - waiting.  It'd be REALLY nice if he'd come this Saturday evening, Sunday anytime, or Monday early morning - Tom's job doesn't have the flexibility that his previous ones have had.  We're going to try some things these next couple of days to see if we can't encourage him to vacate his current premises, but...we shall just wait and see.  My actual due date isn't until the 8th so I'm not late, yet.

That's all for now.  The next time I write something it should be the telling of a little baby boy's birth and how God blessed our family once again.  Until then...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


This is a reminder.  A reminder to myself mostly.  But maybe, just maybe, somebody else might need the reminder too.

These. These four children of mine. Are. In fact. Blessings.  
Remember.  Blessings.  God said so Himself.  I have seen and felt it for myself.  But, there are those days.  Days probably isn't correct. Honestly it's probably more like hours or, to be more fair, just moments when I don't feel so blessed and they certainly don't look or act very blessing-like (and since we're being completely honest, I'm sure I'm not blessing material either).

I need to forget the Legos scattered from one end of the game room to the other.  Forget the dirty clothes that are once again in piles on the floor.  Forget the ever increasing volume at the table.  Give up the desire for a clean floor (for more than the hours while they're in their beds sound asleep) or house.  Remind myself for the 100th time that one day the training to stop the whining and sibling bickering will one day pay off - just not today.

The house would be too quiet.  Too clean.  Too boring without them.

What would I do without them?  I would have plenty of time to myself, for sure.  But to what end.  A selfish fulfilling of my time.

I know that to be challenged in all these desires of mine is one of God's way of working on all my rough edges, my ungodliness.  To be truly like Him, we must be empty of ourselves.  Die to self, live for Him.

I know I'm more sensitive to all the annoying and intrusive things that these four little blessings do right now because I'm tired - big and tired with another little blessing.  Sometimes I question God's wisdom in handing us these blessings, but...  He really does know best.  I just need to remember that in those moments.

I don't want these kids to think that they are annoying burdens that I would rather not have around.  For sure I want them to see that they, like mommy, have areas in their lives that they are in desperate need of the forgiveness from their Savior.  But He is powerful to overcome and change us to be more like Him.  The gospel lived out in our home.  That's good stuff.

I want them to see themselves, like I should see myself, as gifts from God; put right here for His glory, working out our salvation.  They are joys in our lives.  Blessings from above.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Great Thoughts From Others Worth Sharing

There are many thoughts floating around in this brain of mine.  Most flit away before I'm ever able to really make any lasting remarks about them.  But recently I've come upon three great thoughts, motivational thoughts that, because they are written down by others, can not and will not flit away and so therefore can be shared.

The first is from the Bible - what better place to find great, motivational, thought-provoking thoughts, right?  The second is from Michael Pearl regarding how he views his role as a parent. And the third is from the principal of a Christian high school in Ashland, OH.

#1  In a world where Christians don't want to offend, apologetics is discouraged, and Christians take, leave or change Scriptures to suit their own desires, somebody should be standing for Truth!  Maybe it's me.

2 Timothy 4:2-5

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

#2  Michael Pearl has a way of really getting to the point - the heart of things.  Many times I feel his writing has a harsh tone to it.  That he needs a little more gracious or gentle feel to his words.  This article, however, says it very well.

Of Utmost Concern
By Michael Pearl
I think most of you feel as I do about many common issues. My most important personal concern is my children. 
Even before I was married, my occupation, financial security, ministry, personal fulfillment, all took third place to concerns for my future children. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Likewise, what does it profit a father if he gains the whole world and loses the souls of his children? 
What can be called success if your children turn out to be part of the world’s problem rather than its cure?  
What satisfaction can there be in the comforts of  material success if your children grow up needing counsel rather than being sought after to give counsel? If your children lie awake at night suffering from guilt and anxiety, being gnawed upon by the demons of intemperance and self-indulgence, how can you enjoy your food or your pillow? 
The success of a tree and a man is measured by the fruit that is borne. The fruit of a man or woman is their children; everything else is falling leaves. 
If the sun rises and sets and I never cast a bigger shadow, what of it, if my children are growing and flourishing in God’s family? 
Let me die poor; let me die early; let me be ravaged by disease; just let my children rise up and call me blessed. Let me not measure my giving by the dollars I spend on them or the educational opportunities that my station in life affords them, but rather, by the hours I spend with them in fellowship. 
May they graduate from my tutorship to become disciples of the Man from Nazareth. May they learn good and evil from the pinnacle of obedience rather than from the pit of despair. May they have the wisdom to choose the precious, and the courage to reject the trite and the vain things in life. May they always labor for the meat that endures. 
May they be lovers of God, coworkers with the Holy Spirit, and a friend to the Lord Jesus. And when their trail ends, may it end at the throne of God, laying crowns at the Savior’s feet.

#3  Here is an excerpt from the Ashland Times Gazette that Tom's parents sent to us.  It's a statement from the principal of Veritas Classical Christian Acadmey in Ashland, OH regarding their take on the Common Core Curriculum.

Teaching Children To Think About Jesus First 
Rich Policz - Veritas Classical Christian Academy

"Is it or is it not the case that every human being exists for the joy of eternal fellowship with God and must face the possibility of missing that mark, forfeiting that prize?  If that is the case, it ought to be part of the core curriculum in every school." - Lesslie Newbigin, from his book, "Foolishness to the Greeks" 
....Our decision to not get on board with Common Core is not out of disdain for the state or a healthy bucking of authority.  No, the fundamental problem with Common Core is Jesus has no part of it.  We teach our students that what they think about Jesus is the most important question they can consider.  For us, Christianity is not a condiment to be sprinkled or spread over the important stuff of education.  Christ ought to be the center of every subject, every lunch, every field trip and every breath. 
....Electric and vibrant, [students] will believe the Bible is true; so much so that the world will be changed.  We will teach them that by standing on the rock of Christ, though the entire world shifts in the stormy seas of relativism, where they stand is unmoving, unyielding and unbending.  Our students will go forth as beacons and heralds of the Gospel, for there is no greater weapon than a keen mind, guided by providence... Our common core is Christ, and we aim to hold that ground."

I pray that God will give me wisdom, love and more wisdom and love as I navigate this world and teach my children to do the same.  That in the end will be standing together with Him, surrounded by those He allowed us to minister to and with.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Boy, Oh Boy!

Well, in case you haven't heard yet, we found out at the beginning of June that we're expecting another boy!  At first I was disappointed.  Even though I had refused to let myself look at any of that pink stuff hanging in the aisles of Walmart, Target and Kohls, I had hopes of being able to do so.  But God in His wisdom has chosen to give us our 5th boy, 4th, prayerfully, to raise.

I had fully accepted our new little one was a boy, but I hadn't fully embraced with enthusiasm what the next 18+ years of our life would look like until going to the homeschooling convention a couple of weeks ago.  I totally got and get that boys are a ball of energy and passion and willfulness (at least ours are), but I didn't understand the importance of all of that inner boyness until I heard Jessica Hulcy give her opening talk.

Jessica Hulcy is the author of the Konos curriculum and the mother of four boys.  Her talk was entitled, Stay the Course - Stand Your Ground.  She started by giving examples throughout history that people, specifically men, Stood Firm, Exposed Evil, and Taught the Truth (SET).  Their actions had dramatic effects on life as we know it, even though we have long since forgotten them and what they did.  She encouraged us as we're raising our children to teach them to "discern false rhetoric and stand for the truth" and "raise a generation of leaders to be an example to those around them."

These ideas are important whether raising girls or boys.  But boys are unique in that they will be men, if raised correctly.  Men have been granted by God to lead, to be the head of their family.  Jessica said, " raise boys is raising the head of a household."  That hit home with me.  We're not raising our boys just to be men, but heads of their household, leaders of their wives and children.  Their influence on the generations to come has the potential to be huge!

Pressure on!  But in a good way.  I feel energized and empowered as I look ahead to raising these boys.  Even though I have my doubts about my/our abilities, God is the one who has entrusted us with these lives.  They all are His children and through His power we can mold all of those messy aspects of boyness and create men of courage, honor, persistence, and fortitude who will stand firm on their belief in God, expose the evil in the world around them, and teach the truth to their children.

Now I just need to live in God's strength as I daily love on and train Sammy, Ben, and Jon (and the littlest one that we look forward to meeting in October) - it certainly can get rough sometimes.  Pray for us.

And just so that Livvy is not forgotten in all of this, for she surely is not.  She is the perfect big sister to all of her brothers.  We are doing our best to raise her to be a godly woman and all that that entails - which will just have to be written about at another time.  This post was specifically to share my heart for my boys...but I'll at least share a picture of our one and only, so far, daughter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CA Adventure

Months and months ago, actually near the beginning of this school year when we chose to study Apologia's Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (which, by the way, has been an amazing curriculum which we all love!), I wanted to incorporate a Sea World field trip/vacation.  What better time to encourage the honey to take the family to Sea World?  The Finneys, the family we do science with, along with many other things, also agreed to make the trip.

Fast forward eight months or so and the trip had evolved into an extended family vacation that included going to Legoland as well as Sea World; along with a day before and between to hang out at the beach.  Now before you think that we must be rolling in the dough to take our family of six (though Jon really doesn't figure into the equation because he is only two and is given free admission) to two amusement parks let me tell you how well God worked everything out for us:

When originally planning this trip I checked out to see if Sea World offered homeschooler discounts.  They, along with many other parks, museums, etc. have Homeschooling Days with discounted admissions.  Instead of the normal $78 per adult and $70 per child admission, the first Wednesdays of every month homeschoolers are charged only $40 per person with a minimum of 10 people - which was easy: the Finney's five paying person plus our five paying persons made us the perfect size!

As time drew near, somebody mentioned Legoland and the possibility that they also had a homeschooling day.  I checked it out and lo and behold, Legoland has their Homeschooling Days every Monday during the school year for only $21 per person (10 person minimum) instead of the $78 adult and $68 adult fares!

The timing was perfect!!  We decided to arrive in CA on Sunday and hang out at the beach; Monday we would go to Legoland, Tuesday would see another beach day, Wednesday would go to Sea World, and Thursday we would drive home.  We would go to the two parks to have fun, solidify the science that we've been studying all year, for only $61 per person (which is still expensive, but cheaper than going to just one park on a non-homeschooling day)!!!  Super sweet if I do say so myself!

Sunday morning, led by my dad's Garmin GPS, we headed off from Phoenix to our rented cottage in downtown Carlsbad, CA. Although the Garmin led us off the beaten path, we made the best if it by enjoying a stop at Shield's Date Garden to consume a family favorite.

Late in the afternoon we arrived at our little 1950's, two bedroom, 600 - 800 sq ft cottage, 1-1/2 blocks from the beach that we'd seen advertised online at a discounted rate (which we felt blessed to get).  The place was perfect - newly remodeled, clean, etc. with one problem: the bunk beds shown in the online picture, which we thought was a must for putting four kids into one bedroom, were absent.

We called up Michael, the owner/property manager (not sure which) and very cordially explained to him our dilemma.  He said, "No problem", he'd bring over a pad for Livvy to sleep on the floor for the night, but the next day (our Legoland day) he would move all of our stuff for us into a place he thought "we'd be much more comfortable" - a 3,000 sq ft condo just two houses down!  Talk about blessing our socks off (though I'm not quite sure what that really means, aren't socks a good thing?)!!  Anyway, this was not just a 3,000 sq ft condo, this was a no-expenses-spared-upgraded-with-everything kinda condo.  I stood in front of the super nice LG front-loader washing machine (I know, lots of people have these now-a-days, but we don't) for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to do a load of laundry - I finally did figure it out which was a good thing because we ended up needing to do at least one load a day.

Anyway, we had a fantastic time hanging out with the Finneys seeing Legoland, La Jolla Cove and Sea World.  The places were fun in and of themselves, but being there with good friends just made it that much more of a sweeter time.

Here are some highlights:

Let's race!
Amanda and Hannah


Miss Natalie, all tuckered out.

Ben and Nathan
Sammy and Isaac searching for crabs, sea snails and lobsters.

Sitting in the Soak Zone.

And, yes, though the dads might have been a little reluctant, we were the homeschool families that dressed all in the same color - it made it so much nicer to find our kids and for them to find us.