Bears, Barnwood, and Boats

Our little family had a week packed full of adventure!


Yes- therapies, doctor’s appointments, and chaos all took place this week but there are no noteworthy updates there. Malachi’s seizures are still changing significantly and have started to last 2-4 minutes each. Because of this change we are watching him closely, as seizure changes can indicate a shunt malfunction. He had a few at school this week so I am making sure to stay within a close driving distance so I can be there quickly in case of emergency.

Here is a video of silly Malachi playing with a whoopie cushion; at the end you get a glimpse of some of his sign language as he signs with his right arm for “more”:

Levi is still doing amazingly well with no new issues or changes. He is growing like a champ and looking so healthy. The biggest change we have noticed this week is his long legs.


He really enjoyed watching Malachi at his horseback therapy this week.



So instead I will fill this entry with some stories from our week.

Let’s start out with the most recent one: we had a visit from a bear! On the weekends we each pick a kid for the night. Jake inevitably picks Malachi as he is the predictable one, waking up at 3:30 each morning for a few hours. Levi is the wildcard and you never know what the night will hold with him. Jake and Malachi ended up in the guest bedroom and Levi and I settled into the master.

We have sound machines in every room, but over the white noise I could hear something loud. I thought maybe it was my imagination so I got up to turn off the sound machine and drifted back off to sleep. Throughout the next several hours I kept getting jolted awake by new noises but I was just so tired I didn’t really care enough to investigate.

This morning we reconvened back into the living room and I told Jake that either there was a serial killer living in our basement or there was an animal outside all night. He went to check the basement and I went to check the porch where I discovered muddy bear prints all over. It had gone after our trash, wheeling the can successfully about 50 feet from the house before it tipped onto its side, which would have been hilarious to witness! He then tried to open the can by clawing and biting it but was unsuccessful. He went back up to the house, flipped open the lid to the second can and strategically took all four trash bags inside. Literally took them- they were nowhere to be found this morning. No sign of trash anywhere!

In this picture you can see the round paw prints on the concrete.





After church it only took us a half a second to find his path into the woods- he must have been an extremely big bear and mashed all the vegetation in his 3 foot wide path. Jake went back there a ways and found one of the bags but didn’t want to venture too much further in search of the others for fear the bear was still close by.

We live in a rural area that doesn’t have trash pick up so each weekend Jake has to haul it to the local dump. Yesterday he didn’t get the chance to so his plan was to take it on Monday. Oops.

Malachi thought is was absolutely hilarious when I told him that a bear snuck off with all of his poopy diapers.

The boys also had a play date yesterday with the kids of one of our friends from college! There is a wonderful handicap accessible park a short drive from us and Malachi loved playing on it with daddy. He still hates the sun with a passion but this playground has built in sun shades over it so it wasn’t so bad.



Levi is getting more curious and is starting to see that being held means he gets to see more things. This week he has wanted to be carried all around the house, exploring as he goes. And while he is still definitely a momma’s boy, he is starting to tolerate his crazy dad a bit more.


But we aren’t too fond of brother’s swing:


On Monday Malachi had a pretty large seizure at school so I went ahead and picked him up early to evaluate if he should go to his horse therapy session. When Tuesday rolled around I decided it was best to keep both boys with me all day, as we were signed up to help chaperone Jake’s field trip to the river. And what an adventure that turned out to be!

For the end of the year project in his Algebra 2 classes, Jake had the students work in groups of 4 and design a boat. They had to use mathematical principles to determine the buoyancy force and see how large it would need to be to hold the weight of two people from the group. There was lots of math involved in the project but I won’t bore you with all that info.

The final step was that they had to actually build the boat using cardboard and duct tape…and then float it down the river. Yes, you heard that right! There were lots of rules, one of which was that they could only put duct tape on the seams where two pieces of cardboard came together. We were all cautiously expecting the project to be a bust and none of the boats to float but we were shocked when 7 of the 11 floated at least 100 yards, some going as far as 1,600 yards! We had so much fun watching the students trial their creations.


The day was a huge success and Jake plans to do this project for each of his Algebra 2 classes in the future. We dubbed it “The Redneck Regatta”.

After the Redneck Regatta we went for a quick stop at the local Mennonite community to buy some fresh bread and fruit.

After spending so many months in the hospital, my soul has been absolutely refreshed getting to spend these last few months back in our community. There is so much beauty and simplicity in our life, and I love every aspect of it. Bears and all haha.

Just to recap, Jake and I moved into our new Malachi inspired accessible home in October. And then Levi came in November! I had not even had the chance to unpack all of our boxes and get settled into the new house before I disappeared to Cincinnati for 4.5 months.

My original plan was to work on unpacking and tackling miscellaneous projects during those first few weeks after Levi’s “typical” birth. When that didn’t pan out like expected I was so disappointed. Now that we are home and finding routines I have been able to carve out some time to complete some of those projects.

This one has been in my mind for quite some time, and yesterday we finally finished it.


It turned out beautifully and way more massive than the picture in my mind. It is 9 feet from the top board to the bottom board and over 10 feet wide! But I absolutely love it for so many reasons.


I posted a photo of it on Facebook today with these words:

When Jake and I were given the opportunity to build a house we spent a lot of time in prayer over our decisions. One thing we both felt strongly about was saturating it with scripture- we want the presence of God to surround our family, and having His words visible refocuses (and sometimes convicts) us each day. We chose a scripture for every room and buried it in the foundation beneath each one, and when the house was finished we decorated the walls with God’s word.

But THIS VERSE is one we rely on each and every day of our lives. There is a lot of ugly in our lives. A lot of sadness, a lot of disappointment, a lot of suffering. But there is also SO much beauty. And by the grace of God, that beauty seems to always outshine the bad when we choose to focus on it.

Boasting can be a slippery slope, so it is one we try hard to avoid. But we will never stop telling you about the praiseworthy and excellent things God continues to do in our family. To Him be the glory.

Our mind is a battlefield and the devil knows how to navigate it well. The Bible tells us to carry the “sword of the spirit” which is the word of God. These are more than just words- they bring strength, courage, and confidence as we fight our battles.

My prayer is that both of my boys grow up hearing and seeing such life giving words and start to hide them in their hearts. What you hide in your heart will impact your thoughts more than you ever realize.

Looking for a good place to start? Check out Philippians 4 where this verse came from! 



Yes, it is obnoxiously large but that is exactly the daily reminder I need to focus on the good parts of our life. I hope that this verse takes on a meaning that is unique to you and your situation this week. That is one of the things I love about scripture…the same words can bring so much hope and encouragement to so many different situations.

So nothing too earth shattering in this blog update, but I see that as such a blessing!

One final side note- our porch plan has been working out well for rainy days. We tried it out for the first time this week during a crazy rain storm and it worked perfectly at keeping the boys dry. It is so much fun to see our design visions come to life!

Thank you for checking in on our sweet boys. We are trying to enjoy these slower days, as June holds lots of traveling for medical appointments. Please continue to pray for a complete healing for both boys, and particularly that God restores Malachi’s brain and his seizure come to a halt entirely.

Much love,



4 thoughts on “Bears, Barnwood, and Boats

  1. The 🚣 unit was so cool! I’m sure his students will never forget that! So glad to see Levi progressing so well and will be praying for Malachi’s seizures. Have a blessed week.


  2. Praying in particular to an end of Malachi ‘s seizures. ❤ Just as Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, I’m praying that He stills the storms in Malachi ‘s brain !❤


  3. AS always my heart is filled happy thoughts after your update. I love your inspirational wall. Thank you, Jake and boys for blessing my soul. Your words during the last months have strengthened me. I find myself reflecting on the verses almost daily. Prayerfully,


  4. I love the weekly updates!! I laugh, cry and meditate all from one entry. Your inspirational wall is fantastic and I love that it’s so big! Sometimes, we need big reminders of God’s promises. I’m so grateful for a relatively quiet week; a blessing to be sure. I will pray about Malachi’s seizures and for continued strength to meet each day as it comes. Sending you all much love! Steph ❤


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