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Julie Boto

What happens when you bring together one couple’s love for the outdoors, storytelling and God? An animated series that’ll pique any child’s interest. Julie Boto, 36, and her husband, Thomas, did just that with Owlegories. Once just an interactive storybook app, Owlegories, now sold at places like Amazon, turned into a full-fledged series, sharing stories about God through the eyes of a group of student owls as they embark on exciting adventures.
 
The Keller couple met at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 2005 while he was studying law and she was working in marketing and PR at the law school (Julie has an MBA in international business from Pepperdine University). They’ve been married for nine years. And though Thomas does have a business and corporate law practice, and Julie teaches international business online through Liberty University, the two have been largely focused on Owlegories, which also allows both of them to continue to work from home and take care of their children — Austin, 7, Everett, 5 ½, Gus, 2 ½, and Owen, 9 months.
 
What was the last thing you did before I called you?
Feed the baby a bottle
 
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I try to exercise first thing in the morning before the kids get up. Then I try to read my Bible and spend a little bit of alone time before the babies need me.
 
What time do you wake up?
I set my alarm for 5:30, but I usually get up at about 5:45.
 
What’s the last thing you do before going to bed?
Fall asleep on the couch with my computer
 
How did the idea of Owlegories come about?
We’ve always read to our kids at night. We just wanted to read them some fun stories, and our faith is really important to us. We wanted to incorporate whatever we did as a business [with] our faith as well.
 
What’s on your iPad/Kindle?
The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity by Sally Clarkson
 
If your life were a song, what would it be?
“All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow
 
If your life were a movie, what would it be?
A League of their Own. I really identify with sports movies. (Julie was quite the athlete growing up.)
 
Who Would Play You?
Gwyneth Paltrow
 
Three things in your purse besides your cell phone and wallet
Cheerios, a Lightning McQueen car and ChapStick
 
One word to describe having four boys in the house
Loud. It’s actually a lot of fun — they wrestle, they love sports. It’s so fun to see them play together. They’re best friends.
 
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
God’s word — it’s really what I rely on every day. I also cannot live without peanut butter and oatmeal on a daily basis.
 
Three words to describe yourself
Determined, optimistic, happy
 
Share your most recent proud-mom moment
Just this morning, Owen started to crawl. And our 2-year-old just gave up his pacifier last night, so we’re hitting all sorts of milestones here.
 
What was your last mom fail?
We thought it’d be fun to take the kids to a restaurant — all of them — with some friends of ours. In our minds, it would be this fun time. Uh-uh. It just got sort of crazy. We ended up being more frustrated than we should have gotten.
 
What’s a typical week like?
Austin, my oldest, is in a university-model school. He goes to school three days a week, and two days, we home-school. We have a pretty good schedule with the kids. On Wednesdays, I do Bible study fellowship, and on Fridays, we go to the park or the zoo or something more adventurous for the kids to get them out.  
 
How about weekends?
Since the weather’s been nicer, we’ve actually taken them fishing a couple of times. Thomas always does something active with the older boys, like ride bikes (and we’ll join him soon once the baby is a bit older). We go to church on Sundays.
 
How do you manage to keep everything balanced?
[Thomas and I] are both pretty organized and “Type A.” We share a calendar and we try to schedule out the whole week. We’ll sit down on Sunday and talk about what’s coming up, and then we’ll try to divide out some of the tasks that we have to do. The past year’s been a learning process for us. We certainly don’t have it mastered, but I think we communicate well.
 
What’s the one rule your children are never allowed to break?
Saying bad words
 
One of the greatest things about being a mom
Knowing how much I love them has taught me how much God loves me. Just seeing them be joyful and enjoy God’s creation is such a blessing to watch.
 
Favorite meal to cook at home                   
We love breakfast for dinner.
 
If you could invite anyone over for dinner who would it be?
Probably family. Thomas’ parents live about 10 minutes away from us and my parents live about 30 minutes away. The kids just love being around their grandparents.
 
Aside from family?
This might sound silly, but Candace Cameron. I admire her. I think it’d be fun to get to know her. 
 
Three things parents should not feel guilty about
-Having a messy house
-Making mistakes — because we can always apologize to our kids and learn from our mistakes and set an example for our kids.
-Other moms! Don’t compare because we all have different gifts and abilities. No mom/parent is perfect.
 
What do you wish you had more time for?
To be more active. Play basketball and spend more by myself exercising, reading, going to movies, the list goes on.
 
Favorite places to frequent
With the kids, we like going to local parks, the zoo and the rec center close to our house. When it’s just us, we like going to shows and having date night dinners.
 
The hardest part about being a mom
Expectations. I think I probably expect that I’m going to get it right all the time, then I get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. As moms, we’re not in control of everything, and I really try to remind myself that that’s the case and that sometimes I need to be more flexible.
 
Last gift you received
A dishwasher — a mom gets excited about a new dishwasher; it has a bottle cleaner section.
 
One superpower you wish you had
I wish I could be invisible.