Summer break and more

Well since I seem to be writing quarterly, let me catch you up.

Here are the highlights:

  • Drew and Penny had very successful soccer seasons, which are now finished.
  • Jon had a great first season of rugby and looks forward to next spring, where Drew will be joining him in the sport. Jon’s team made it to semi-state which is a huge accomplishment after only having been a team for a few years. The boys did great and we all learned the difference from a Scrum to a Hooker to a Sir. I feel very civilized.
  • Our school year ended. We had to say good bye to all of our amazing teachers and tuck another fantastic year in the books. ALL of my kiddos were very blessed to have had a great school year.
  • My school year ended and I had to say good bye to my littles at school. It’s tough seeing those little sweet faces each day and then one day not so much. Each and every one of those little nuggets touched my heart and I will never forget them. I especially love when I run into them outside of school, it’s such a treat! I can’t wait to see them all as big first graders next year.
  • Ryan continues to be incredibly busy, I have started my role as his operations and office manager, trying to get a better handle on running the business, while he is out making the business. We have grown and it is now two full time jobs. I am enjoying this transition and we’ll see where it leads us.
  • At the end of May I had the good fortune of taking a trip to Ohio with my dear friend Kim and we attended the Springfield Flea Market. While it was a bit of an antique bust, we had a blast and it was MUCH needed girl time and time away. Plus we had too many laughs to recall and you know it’s a good time when your face hurts from smiling.
  • I received some pretty disappointing news the end of April, it appears that I was enrolled in the wrong program at Ball State and none, I repeat, none of my classes are going to get me any closer to teaching. I was devastated. I am currently in discussions with the Provost, the University Dean and the Teachers College to figure out how this happened and make sure this happens to no one else. Not sure what I’ll do, but I’m happy to report I ended my second semester with another 4.0! Unfortunately the program I thought I was enrolled in no longer exists, yet it is still advertised on the website. At this moment I am just taking this summer to clear my head, take a break from the insane pace of schooling and just enjoying my kids and helping Ryan with our family business. I don’t know what the fall will bring and if I’ll be returning to the Creek as an IA, right now I’m just taking it one day at a time.
  • This summer Ryan celebrates his 40th and we celebrate our 15th. I’m still trying to figure out what I can do special for Ryan for his big day and we’re trying to plan something fun and short for us since we are just off the heals of Disney.
  • For those who may be curious, it has been a year since Miss M was with us. All of the proper documents and time spans have occurred and she will be fully adopted into her new family sometime this summer. We have heard she is doing well and we are always grateful to God for that news. The amazing family she has become a part of is currently in the process of adopting another sibling set of three, which will bring their family up to 12 children! God bless them for being the hands and feet of God and having the heart and home that is a haven for these children. It is still a difficult loss for us and we think about all of it each day. We are healing and I am grateful for that each and every day.
  • We are sad to report that our sweet girl Marcy is showing a steady decline in health. Poor girl has neuropathy in her hind legs and is slowing down more and more. We’ve already prepared the kids that this will probably be her last few months with us.
  • At the end of the summer we’ll be hosting a young man from Italy for about a month. He’s 13, his dad is one of the coordinators of the Sister Cities program between Noblesville and Cittidela. He and his dad coordinated for him to stay and we’re the lucky family. We’re excited to have him and hopefully we learn as much from him as he does from us. Plus it’d be great to visit HIM in Italy in the future.

So that’s that in a nutshell. Sorry for the absence, but better late than never, right?



My Rugby Boy

Our annual pink hair for summer

We got the opportunity to hang out with friends and the kids were especially excited to finally meet Mr. John Green in person.

The Antique Geeks

Erni - June 14, 2015 - 2:16 pm

Thanks for posting – glad that everyone is doing so well and as usual, you all are busy learning and playing. Rugby…pretty cool sport. Love Penny’s summer hair! Love to all of you! Have a wonderful summer.

Happiest Place on Earth

So for months I had been planning our surprise Spring Break trip. All the kids knew was we were going to Florida. We do it often so they didn’t question things. When Ryan and I discussed this trip I wanted it to be THE BIG ONE. I wanted to do everything and anything we could and make it a magical time. We surprised the kids the night before with their magic bands. They were shocked. It was perfect!

We flew out, arrived and acclimated. We started our first day off with Breakfast with Mickey and the rest, well you’ll see. For the record we’ve drunk the kool-aid. We loved Disney. I knew we’d like it, I knew we’d have fun. But we LOVED it. EVERY SINGLE BIT. We cried when we left. We didn’t want to leave. We want to go back. So much for our one trip, eh? The kids were thrilled. The week was every bit of what I had hoped, dreamed, planned and schemed. It was perfect. The weather was perfect. It was exactly what we needed.

After four days at Disney we headed over to Universal. It was fun, but we were losing steam and it wasn’t Disney. Harry Potter’s Hogwarts and Diagon Alley were awesome and well worth it. There were some fun rides and shows in the other areas, but we’d go early each day, finish up by lunch and then lounge by the pool to enjoy the last few days of our vacation. It was actually a perfect way to end our trip. I could go on and on, but here are some pictures to share our experience.

Here’s some of my absolute favs:

Drew makes THE BEST rollercoster faces!

Another gem!

Yes, she’d do pageants if I’d let her.

Meeting Elsa and Anna we awesome – it’s amazing how these gals perfectly play the princesses, down to the way they stand.

Wish we had met the real Phineas and Ferb, these guys will have to do.

Harry Potter at Universal is just as amazing as you would imagine. It’s like walking not the set of the movie. Just incredible!

They even laughed together – only Disney can do this magic.

One of my absolute favorites of the three of them – it’s not a perfect photograph by quality standards, but I couldn’t love those smiles more.

The Gringott’s dragon was awesome – when he breathed fire, you felt it all through Diagon Alley.

Until we meet again, Mickey!


Betsy King - April 28, 2015 - 8:32 pm

I LOVED watching your posts and have been waiting for this blog post! I’m SOOOOO glad you guys went! Yes, yes, yes, it’s so great! Disney is just MAGIC! Did you cry when you saw Elsa? Or the BB Boutique? (Ok, I might just need to adjust my meds…) I got teary eyed when we did the Pirate’s League. It’s just so damn magical!!!!

Much love to you guys!!!

Next up….a DISNEY CRUISE. I’m not shitting you, your family is freaking PERFECT for one of those things!!! And it’s just as magical…. 😉

Betsy King - April 28, 2015 - 8:33 pm

PS So you are saying there were no meltdowns? I’m in awe of you! I always have a meltdown at least once at Disney, embarrassingly. ugh. I’m the most immature person in our family, I think.

Erni Slater - May 10, 2015 - 5:02 pm

You all look wonderful – the trip was a great idea. We haven’t been to Disney World in soon long, I’m jealous! Thanks for sharing the pics; glad you all had such a wonderful time.

A plague amongst us…

I realize it’s been a significant amount of time and this blog has all but died. So much going on, so much to say. Apparently it only takes a virus to to take down our whole house for us to slow down. and think. and realize. There has been much that has happened, another anniversary of mom’s passing, Penny turned 8, Jon turned 13. There has been much snow, cold and ice. We are counting the days until spring. If for nothing else to consistently keep the windows open so we can flood our home with fresh air.

There is that phrase it takes a village to raise a child. There are days where I feel alone, I think in some ways we all do. The only one wrestling with certain issues, problems or thoughts. In those moments I often retreat into my mind and think what life would be like if we picked up, moved to some smallish town far, far away. The idea of starting over can be refreshing, if not overwhelming. Eventually I’m brought back to the present and realize I am not alone. I am not an island. That I love where I live.

Last week it began with a cough and a fever, which spread to other coughs and fevers and ultimately into me being the sickest I have ever been. I really can’t remember a time I was this sick, this long. This house did it’s best to function. Ryan gave it a really good go, until he toppled. We are slowly, ever so slowly recovering. What this undesirable time has showed me though is that I have an amazing village. Sunday a mystery dinner showed up, another friend picked up groceries. Friends have been carting my children to and fro to their extra curricular activities. More meals, dessert, magazines, treats and messages. It has made our time to heal so much easier. I am so utterly blessed. Our family is so utterly blessed. For my children to see the kindness and love coming from those around us, well it is an education on God’s love first and foremost. It’s the kind of love I want to live for each of my friends every. single. day.

Now that I am slowly on the mend and my mind can think of something other than the sheer uncomfortable nature of my situation, I have allowed myself to wander to the coming months. The spring, the summer, the time with my family when we can all talk without coughing. I look forward to our surprise spring break planned, I look forward to unearthing my garden and planting too many vegetables, I look forward to my hammock, fishing with the kids and camping. Mostly I look forward, because I’m tired of looking back.

I have all sorts of catch up posts to do – odes to both my birthday babies. Especially Jon, since he’s made the transition to teenager without much fanfare. They know they are loved, regardless of whether there is a blog post or not.

So in closing, thank you to those who have made this week easier. I love you, you are the very best villagers a girl could ask for!


Marina - March 19, 2015 - 2:58 pm

Spring is coming sister, hold on tight, it is coming. And so many rooting for you and your village. (hug).

Jennifer Dronet - March 23, 2015 - 10:28 pm

So sorry to hear you have all been sick! I gave up Facebook for Lent and miss seeing what’s going on with your family! Hope everyone is on the mend and will be enjoying your spring break!!! Much love from Kokomo!!!


Our church is beginning a series called Better. Much like this part of the year, a new sermon series is always hopeful, so much to learn and prayerfully hearing God’s voice along the way. Today’s sermon was about letting go of good to grab a hold of the better. We work so hard on achieving the good life that we sometimes lose focus on what could quiet possible be better. Better than what we can imagine. Now I will say that I often find myself doodling and losing myself in church, many because no one is saying, “Mom” over and over for my attention. Today I felt fully present and I felt an overwhelming urge to write the following words, which I felt were fitting after my fresh start post yesterday.

Better is simplicity – seeking simplicity and attempting to uncomplicate your life to truly feel the peace of the Lord. Simplicity allows for God’s voice to ring clearly in our

Wishing you warmth on this cold, snowy night and for something better for all of us!


Jennifer - January 5, 2015 - 4:51 pm

So glad to “catch up” with your family virtually! You are such a creative and busy soul! Much love to you and the Pages! 🙂

Welcoming 2015

2015 came in quiet and easy. We have a tendency to prefer quiet nights in for our New Year’s celebration. We go out to dinner, come home, make a fire, play games and watch the ball drop, toasting what’s to come. This year wasn’t much different.

It’s been a restful break, no traveling, but I will admit our weeks have flown by with having Christmas and New Year’s right in the middle of both weeks. It doesn’t look like we’ll have that third week of cancelled school, like we did last year, much to my family’s chagrin. The season can’t decide what it wants to do, Mother Nature is a fickle, fickle gal.

We’ve of course made goals for our upcoming year, getting back to eating healthier, spending more quality time together when the time allows, focusing on being more organized and efficient with our time so that happens more often than not.

Part of the new year is a new look, name and domain for the blog. For seven years I’ve been writing and doing art as Penny Pickles. It’s been a wonderful run. What started as a emotional release while caring for my mother, ended up being a very fun journey with lots of opportunities to spread my creative wings and create some wonderful relationships. It isn’t to say that I won’t pick up a brush again, but for the first time in seven years I turned down work this Christmas just because I needed a break. School, work, family, business – it’s taken all of me and while it pained me to say I couldn’t, I knew better than to say yes.

So I am finding my way and trying to get my creativity out in other ways like minimizing and simplifying our lives and our home. We’d love to one day have our own property and as many of you know I have a secret obsession with owning chickens and goats, something I’ve wanted since I was a little girl. I love our current Page Ranch, but what I wouldn’t give to have an actual Ranch where I could care for my critters and allow them to give back to me for that care in the form of sustenance. One day perhaps.

I thought it fitting as we are embarking on so many new chapters in our family’s life to have a fresh start, something different. Penny Pickles will no longer be the domain for my blog, but it will get redirected to this site, Page Ranch. I’m keeping Penny Pickles, because you never know what the future may bring. So we begin 2015 with a new semester at school for both the kids and I (work and graduate studies), new exciting projects for Page Construction and a new blog to document it all as I can.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year with much optimism and hope.


Janna Lynas - January 4, 2015 - 9:22 am

Loved reading this – such a great family! We’ll dream of chickens and goats together sister:) One day…