Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A new school year

The adventure of school is underway. Kindergarten for Gwennan; preschool for Afton. Their enthusiasm is more than I ever hoped for. Gwennan is eager to practice. My fears for getting the school year kicked off well are assuaged. 

Paper doll from the book study

Practicing numbers on the sidewalk

Nature study

 This post could be a montage and make us look like a super-schooling family. That would not be a fair depiction. We started school a month ago. Do not be intimidated - I feel accomplished if I plan one interesting event a week.

Here’s what we’ve done:

Homemade worksheets.

Printed off worksheets.

More homemade worksheets.

Because school is work. The year started out rote and routine. Page after page of copy work and math skills, reviewing the alphabet and numbers, correcting mistakes in letter formation, introducing diphthongs and silent e. Setting a foundation for the three R’s.

Our first year homeschooling, we started the year hatching butterflies from cocoons. It was a perfect unit study, tying in the letter B with hands-on science and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Charlotte Mason couldn’t have done any better. After that first week, our expectation for school was sky high. I couldn’t keep up with the energy or excitement. The year faded into monotony that soon felt like failure after the hype of the first week. That’s why we started out with the difficult daily grind. The new school year momentum carried us through building the practice of school. Now that we’re in a good habit, we’ve introduced the fun stuff.

1. Nature study
We took a day at the park to examine different leaves, count lobes, identify veins, take rubbings. By sorting pinecones, sweet gum balls, and acorns, we explored odd and even sets. Our fearless kindergartener led us on a Milne-esque “expotition.”

2. Book study - Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I’ve anticipated sharing this book with Gwennan since the doctor told me she was a girl. Reading the Ingalls’ story as a family is one of my favorite childhood memories. Every afternoon, we cuddle up after lunch and dive into a new chapter, only to have them beg to hear two. The new favorite game at our house: lock Abby (cast as Jack) in the room, huddle in the bed, and squeal over the wolves outside the “cabin.” So far, it’s been everything I hoped for. 

Funny side story: We were practicing predictions during the Christmas chapter. I asked the girls how many presents they thought Mary and Laura would receive: lots and lots or just a couple. Gwennan voted just a couple. When I asked why, she reasoned that they lived way out in the big woods without other people, so there wasn’t a Target.

3. Missionary social studies
Each week (starting yesterday), we learn the story of a missionary, where they came from, where they traveled to, who they helped, and most importantly, why they helped. We investigate the culture they moved to, including food from that region (as Tim pointed out, I never pass up an opportunity for curry or any other unusual fare).
Amy Carmichael was our first subject. A single woman who became a mother to thousands of abused children. Such an amazing testimony. Her story is told briefly here. Elisabeth Elliot (who will be a subject later in the year) might be her greatest champion and wrote a beautiful article about her mission and writing here.

I can’t believe how this year has started. Where I feared stubborn refusal from students and blustering impatience from teacher, school has been none of those things. If I expected things to go so poorly, why did I ever agree to homeschool? My own experience. I remember neglecting my work, hiding skipped homework, fighting with my mom. some. More I recall amazing field trips, extra time on more interesting subjects, weekly trips to the library, hours reading what I loved, extra time with my mom and sisters, extra time playing, moving school outside on days too lovely to stay inside. Flexibility and time. What I want for my kids too. And so far, exactly what we have.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Westward, HO!

"Where did you go," you might be wondering. A lot of nowhere, a lot of busy beeing around the house. But not all nowhere. A few very big somewheres starting with California.

We have lovely friends in California, stationed there through the Air Force. When they began making plans to see each other, they invited us along. With the Ellis clan, we boasted 9 children {the oldest was 5 yo} and 6 excited, tired parents for a week of hiking, playing, biking, and touristing:
Wandering down the Monterrey Wharf in borrowed clothes

Beautiful girls searching for sea lions and otters

Sunset on the bay

What?! An Ellis family photo - only because we were reminded to take one

The redwoods at Big Sur

The best part - these wonderful ladies

Bubba on the beach
I might have taught this warrior girl to shoot at seagulls. She shot one!

Expectant faces watch for the wave to fall at the Monterrey Aquarium

Ecstasy with every wave

Our trip to California was one of the most rejuvenating experiences of my life, right up there with our honeymoon. We got away from daily pressures without any true agenda other than to spend time with people we love.

The trip out was a comedy of airline errors to be certain: cancelled flights, long delays with restless children in overcrowded airports with no gluten free food, lost bags, stomach virus (appropriately discharged on the airline kiosk). 24 hours round trip. If so many people didn’t experience the same thing every time they flew, I might think we were special. I haven’t sworn off flying, but I’m not jumping to get on another plane either.

But once we were there, seeing Emily and Keith and Mollie and Jeff and all their sweet little ones that I love like nieces and nephews... What a blessing! Even now, I can close my eyes and find myself standing in that open white kitchen with the windows and door flung wide to allow the cool breeze to flow through the house, taking my tension and frustrations with it. The yard with its rusty sand and spiny plants, all harboring their precious water against the long dry season. The living room couch covered with bare legs and open picture books and plastic dinosaurs.

The trip to Big Sur, driving along the sharp coast with breakers spraying above the rocks, the wind whipping hair and clothes. Red woods towering impossibly tall overhead, imposing and sheltering. Kids circling around us like a pack, excited, whining, bounding, all looking for lunch and bugs and the one perfect stick or rock or pinecone. All crouched down at the water’s edge, staring into the stream life below them. All filing over the fallen log bridge, holding momma’s hand and shuffling tiny tennis shoes to jump proudly at the end and stand tall while momma heads back across to help the next one in line. 

The hike with my besties. Getting to be free, strong mommas, skipping up the trail without the added weight of a child or two wrapped on and dragging against our hands. That conversation started the long, tearful talk over delicious food two nights later. The talk where we bore our souls and our fears and our frustrations with two of the only people alive that could hear all those deep ugly things we hate admitting to ourselves. They are those friends. Who know how angry I get, how messy my house is, how much I love and struggle with my husband, my God, my position, my life. And they are those friends who don’t let me wallow in the struggle, but pray for me, encourage me, and point me back to the will of God. Any plane ticket, any long day of flying, any hauling sick children across country was worth that conversation.

Afton thanks God for our trip to California and the plane ride and all of our friends every day still. What a blessing!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


In apology for my prolonged silence, I want to offer a simple present, a gift created by my 4 year old to convey the deepest of devotion. The most recent trend in our family texting. The word gift.

It goes something like this:

You are more beautiful than a herd of angry trolls.

You are the princess of God's holy robbers.

You are brighter than the eyes of ten thousands of giants.

You are stronger than enough baboons to fill a Costco.

Gwennan is serious as can be when delivering her love messages. She inhales in delight when she receives a word gift. She particularly loves word gift texts to and from her aunties who only surpass her mind-blowing comparisons.

My daughter is recognizing the power in her words. They are a tool to build people up as much as a box in bright paper can. And her choice in word gifts is as wonderful and random as the selections she makes at the dollar store {Daddy received TNMT mini frisbees and a whoopee cushion for his birthday; I can only imagine what's coming to me this weekend}.

I'd like to give you, my dear friends, a word gift of my own:

You are more lovely than the gilded edge of a garage sale picture frame.

I hope you spread the word gift love and have an awesome day!


P.S. #wordgift comments are always welcome here!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mustache cake

This glorious day that The Lord gave. It started rough but took a turn for the much better.

The unpacking you might expect...
The momma-ing you might expect...
Does anyone else get a tad protective of their Lego building projects? I was none to happy when an errant stroller went crashing through the carefully crafted bedroom. 

Trying to make headway with the mountain of laundry
when the forecast looks like this...
I'm not psychotically protective of the ozone layer. We don't have a dryer. We own one. We don't have an outlet (and maybe not even the breaker box) to power such a machine.

And finally the piece de resistance, Tim's birthday cake, 
I'm a week late. What can I say? I only found the cake plate last night.

This was the first year I proposed a grown up birthday cake for Tim. By grown up cake, I don't mean over 21; I mean the kind of cake that children declare yummy but not a birthday cake. No sprinkles, no frosting,  not 9" round. Only a grown up would request such a cake.

At least that's how my girls reacted.

G: We need to put Frozen characters on it!

M: For daddy?? (The poor man has endured that movie enough without it bedecking his cake)

G: Well, we don't have to put Hans on there.

M: This is for Daddy. Can we think of something more boy?

G: Then turtles! (TMNT, that is)

I'm not sure who shouted "mustache," (it sounds like Afton). It seemed like a more doable suggestion; thus the cake was baked and decorated. And my delightful day will come to a delicious end.

In case you are interested, the cake is based on a wonderful grown up lemon pound cake from Smitten Kitchen.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Progress report

All of you waiting on house news have been very patient. Thank you! (Or you follow me on Instagram and already know).

As you might imagine, we are living in madness. Amazing church framily members stepped up to get us scraped, plastered, painted, and moved in less than two weeks. I'm still puzzling out this timeline, and how everything happened so quickly. It's a blur!

The main living spaces are set up (please don't even walk upstairs to the spare bedrooms. Yikes!). For the paragraph's form, I feel like I should now list all the other accomplishments, but that's it. The main living spaces are set up. Everything else is in a state of partial doneness or complete denial.

Truly, I'm nervous to post pics, because everything is still a disaster. We don't have doors on cabinets or toy storage set up or even all the clean clothes put away. I tried to take pictures, and was a bit horrified. But it will come together. Eventually. At least one room at a time. Because about the time I finish setting up shop, I'll start into something else and mess it all up again. Such is life with a projectee.

Fortunately, the girls are finding plenty of ways to entertain themselves...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Semi-annual Ellis Backyard Mud Run

Inhales sharply, "Ooooh, I look just like Christopher Robin!" Indicates her overall shorts and rainboots. "Now I can pash in puddles!" And she's gone, out the door and into glorious mud...

The last hour feels like a special gift from God. Not just in the category of "every breath is a gift," but a sweet blessing to a stressed family.

A sweet, filthy, muddy blessing.

The semi-annual Ellis Backyard Mud Run is in full swing...

Our backyard floods every spring creating a small system of lakes. If our grass is going to suffocate anyway, we might as well enjoy it.
 She tells me, "It floats!" No sooner are the words out of her mouth then...

Here's what really kills me - the first mud run, they looked like this...

Where is the boy? He should be enjoying the muddy fun as a rite of boyhood. Unfortunately, Carrick is recovering from a double ear infection. He will just have to wait for another steady rain to join the fun.

Friday, March 28, 2014


So... This is our hallway in preparation for the big move.

But... The big move is on hold. The bank is not so sure of our housing choice.

Therefore... If you are of the praying persuasion, we could use prayer as we decide whether to pursue this house further or find a new one. Either way, we are living on hold for the next few weeks in a house full or boxes. You can also pray for our sanity as the rain returns, and we lose our outdoor time.

I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

All Things

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
This afternoon I am breaking from packaging tape and cardboard. I took a break yesterday too. But that was a different type of break. Yesterday I was on a mini strike, a passive housewife tantrum because the home buying process jumped off the pleasant track it was on. We were closing tomorrow. Now we are not. Hopefully we will close some time in the next two weeks, but even that is in jeopardy. Yesterday I expressed my frustration by unpacking a few boxes and cleaning the house we are still living in {most pathetic protest ever!!}

Today is different. My head held a fury storm all day which was raging strong this morning, threatening to blow my day to pieces as I vented my irritation to a few loving listening ears. Out of daily ritual {lest I claim extraordinary wisdom}, I sat down to my Bible only to find my mind so tumultuous that it would not adhere to the task at hand.

From a heart desperate for quiet, I cry:

Lord, our compounded trials are not under your radar any more than Carrick crying through my "quiet" time again. I want to give obvious, public glory to you in this situation. Then I don't mind the difficulty. Your glory is worth it. Especially your glory declared!
{Aha moment} That's what Paul means, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." I can be content in all these things: in fixed cars that immediately break again. In the other car that joins the fun and breaks too. In homeowners that don't want to sell. In challenging lender requirements. In our rental house full of boxes. In the fixer upper that won't be fixed up as soon as we thought. In the house falling through. I can be brought low, I can abound, and in all things I can be content in Christ.

Blogging is the cheap literal answer to my prayer. There must be more. A personal manifestation of holding onto the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul," Jesus Christ.

Might be it starts with an end to the mental tantrum and a return of my sense of humor and patience with my family. Might be I turn my thoughts to praying for my friends {multiple} struggling with babies in life-threatening conditions. Might be I use my words to find reasons to thank rather than supplicate our great God. HOnestly, I'm not sure what this contentment looks like {I haven't practiced it often}, but I am certain of the source.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I'm watching things grow

In honor of the great green day, I’m making corned beef, just like my grandmother used to cook for our family. The nostalgic smells have me thinking about legacy and what a blessing my grandparents, especially my grandmothers are in my life. Not just childhood memories, the things they’ve passed on to me, practical and spiritual, that I see everyday. Regular Bible study. Scripture memory. Love for and loyalty to their families, especially their husbands. The universally appropriate advice, “take a minute away to read a book - you’ll feel better.” I am blessed, my children are blessed by their lives.

I see this blessing in Gwennan right now. Her four-year-old brain is processing the complexity of God in ways that astound and encourage me.

Just last night while we were praying, she says, “Dad, I mean God,” then her head pops up. “Oh, I have two dads! You, Daddy, and God is my dad.” Bows her head again, “God-dad...”

My heart is still smiling at that recognition. Especially on the heels of this conversation...

The house is quiet while the two little ones sleep. Gwennan is up from her nap early helping me in the kitchen. “Mother, when does God stop looking at people?” 

I’m caught off guard for a moment, “Are you talking about our prayer, ‘the Lord turn his face toward you?’” 

“Yes. When does God stop looking at people?” 

We embark on a long discussion about common grace (in 4 yo terms) and heaven and hell and who goes where, when they go, how we know we are children of God. She receives it all with her deeply thoughtful expression and sums it up, “Because I have a new heart, God never stops looking at me.”

She understands better than I do somedays.

I think to quiz her and ask, “What is the place God’s children go when their bodies die?” 


“Good. And what is the place people go when they don’t love God?”


“Nope. That’s the neighborhood we’re moving to.”

“Oh... hell.”

As I’m sure it was for my grandmothers and mother before me, the greatest blessing in my life is watching my little ones turn their faces to the God who always looks at them. Seeing the truth we daily repeat take root and grow. Witnessing the people you love best in the world learn to love the One you love best. Grace upon grace.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our family identity

I caught her again Saturday, still clutching the hastily eaten tube of toothpaste. This is the third tube this weekend. My discipline arsenal is exhausted. She’s bought more toothpaste with her own carefully saved aquarium money. She sat in time out until she fell asleep. Frustration sags my frame.

“Why are you doing this?” Two concerned parents sit down with the wayward three year old.

“Because I sneaky. I your midnight ninja.”

That silly nickname I made up one morning after she crawled into our bed in the middle of the night without waking us. How could I guess that she would own my joke as her identity.

“You are not sneaky,” her daddy replies. “You are our Sweet Afton. You are a good girl.”

Talking and more talking ensues. Talk with her about who she is. Our girl. Our sweet, big hugging, hard loving, good girl.

More talk with each other about how we present identity to our kids. We are in an uphill battle to build their frame of reference, how they see themselves and the world around them. Our task is to give them a Biblical frame in the face of a society with a fundamentally different understanding.

In society, what you do determines who you are. You bank, therefore you are a banker. You blog, therefore you are a blogger. We wear these activities like so many name badges, creating an identity. 

In God’s kingdom, who you are determines what you do. You are an adopted child of God, a new creation, an heir to Christ’s eternal glory. Therefore you worship the Lord; you love the church; you serve other people; you spread good news. All your activities, even quilting, cooking, mowing flow from a predetermined identity: Christian.

In society, my girl is an untrustworthy sneak. I want to treat her as such, taking away the privilege of privacy from her day, insisting that my all-watching eye be on her every move until she proves that she is other than what I think her to be. Which is why God gave her two parents. Daddy, who is not operating out of desperation to correct behavior, sees God’s way.

“You are our good girl, so we will treat you like a good girl.”

What?!” My heart screams. “And let her disobey again? If this backfires, what will she get into next?!”

The conundrum of the Christian’s relationship to God. God doesn’t treat his children as screwed up messes unworthy of trust. He doesn’t hold back His hand of blessing. We are new people as He has promised, as He has identified. Thus He treats us as His good children, knowing that in doing so, He is further subjecting Himself to injury through our disobedience.

More than that, we will label God as weak and passive because He stays His discipline. He stores His wrath for another day to show His goodness now, and we mock that He is impotent. Still “the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Exodus 34:6

Gracious. Merciful. Slow to anger. Abounding in steadfast love. He shows these things because He is these things. They are His identity.
But you have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5
We are not who we were. We do not think according to the established pattern. Because we have the mind of Christ. Now. in the flesh. not just a promise for another day.

As parents, we make every opportunity to speak identity over our children. You are good. You are helpful. You are important. You are ours. Disobedience works against who you are. It does not define you.
Christian, you are God’s much loved child. You are sealed with his Holy Spirit. You have a new mind with Godly desires. You have a heart that longs to worship the one true God. Your sin acts in direct opposition to who you are. Your weaknesses do not define you. They cannot. Your identity is set in the cross of Christ.
Therefore, act like who you are! Throw off sin as counter to your nature. In the words of the immortal Mufasa, “Remember who you are!” Or as Paul would say, “You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

As always the proof is in the pudding... 

The tube of toothpaste remains untouched since our good girl heard her true identity...

And we guard the silly monikers we create to mask our frustration with our children...

And we are defining our family according to truth...

Because we are our beloved Savior’s, and He is ours.

P.S. If you are struggling with your definition of self in Christ, I humbly suggest reading 1 Corinthians. You are not the first person to need your identity laid out. The entire Corinthian church and every church thereafter needed this encouraging, convicting letter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Changes ahead

A good news update: I am not drowning in baby poo and toddler tears. We are all doing well. I didn't leave off blogging to wallow, as I so often have.

Last month, we used up all our data... looking at houses! Then looking at pinterest for ideas to spruce up the lovely 1940's cape cod that we're slated to buy on March 28. That's right folks, we are under contract to become bought in residents of Hampton Roads.

A lot of prayer predated this move. We hunted houses 3 years ago. After six months of hunting, Tim's credit score disappeared. You can be punished for paying off student loans and refusing credit card applications. We no longer qualified for a mortgage, so the search ended. We settled more comfortably into our lovely rental house where we've happily brought two babies home from the hospital and spread out quite a few Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.

Tim's brought up home ownership before, practically offering a paper bag to me when he opened Zillow. The last time we bought our forever home and painted it just right, we moved while the perfect paint was still fresh, held on to that vacant house from another state for almost a year, and watched our investment drop to zilch. Part of me trusts God for the timing of that move and the ensuing stress. Another less trusting part never wants to put myself in that position again. Hence the stomach churning stress over house hunting.

But this time didn't go that way at all. Pre-approval was a cinch. We found the home on the second day of searching. Of the other houses distracting us, one sold, another with no explanation was taken off the market. So here we are. A house that fits our wants and needs in a neighborhood we love at a price we can afford. Thank you Lord for easy, obvious provision.

I should stop typing now. Tell you all that I'll post when I can and show lots of pictures of the slow renovation.

That wouldn't be right. I can't leave this post with the idea that God is working when it's smooth sailing but not at harder times.We prayed before we bought the other house. We sought wise council. All the things we are doing now.

And while we were in that first house, we used the extra space to house people and extend hospitality. While in that house, we followed the Lord's confusing instructions to walk away from a career I loved and trust him to provide through one career. While in that house, we followed the Lord's obvious calling to leave family, friends, the mountains and a mortgage to shepherd a subdued middle school group. God was all over that house.

So He must have been all over the months and months it sat loosing value while we learned to trust the Lord's provision above the number in our savings account. That year was full of wild, unexpected turns. For instance, right before Afton was born, a tree fell on that dream house. The difference in the insurance payoff and the good friends discount tree removal was the cost of our OB bill. God wasn't only working through the amazing good events. Through that trial my covert mistrust in the church was replaced with absolute confidence in God's work through our adopted family.

I can't wait to be a bought in member of the peninsula because I am already an all in member of our Northside church family. I, no, we love, love, love the people of our church. We can't imagine serving anywhere else. It only makes sense to buy into the community and plant deeper roots.

As a bonus, we get a sweet house in need of just enough elbow grease to justify creative projects.

Please be in prayer for this process, especially our daily lives. We are all operating with a short fuse thanks to the chaos of packing. Closing is scheduled for March 28. All of you who like to offer babysitting days, pick a date in April. I'll be burning the candle at both houses trying to scrub and paint one and pack the other. I'm sure our kids will want a break from the VOC's and mess.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

He leads me

We have an Angry Bird. I won't rat my child out on cyberspace. Suffice to say, God has blessed us with one child in particular who rages. When we're in a storm {like today}, the tantrums link from one to the next like chain smoking. The ember from one fire still hot enough to ignite the next.

Early this morning, I pray over a defiant head, Bless with joy and peace. Protect from anger and temptation to sin. Lead to righteousness. Eyes up, I don't want righteousness. I want to be angry! A new prayer forms, Spirit, grant a new heart that seeks you. My momma heart is heavy.

The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20.

Our verse of this storm.

What I didn't prepare my heart for... my own anger. By lunch, I was nearly in tears of rage. Baby is teething. Both girls are acting out in their irritation from the incessant crying. Now lunch is burning, and Gwennan is trying to ask me questions about mythological PBS dinosours over the exhaust fan, stand mixer, and screaming baby. That's when the egg was hurled at the sink wall as my rage bubble finally burst.

Fast forward through one more hour of fussing and fits and disobedience. Naps arrive, and graciously, they all sleep. at the same time. this hasn't happened in quite a while.

Open my Bible, Please Lord, some sanity restored! I see today's scheduled reading and immediately look for an escape route.

Woe to you whitewashed tombs, full of uncleanness, who appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy, Matthew 23:27, 28

Graves hidden under life - grass, flowers - no marker to alert people to avoid this contaminating spot.

Part of me, the still raging part, wants to accuse, I thought you promised not to break a bruised reed? What am I today if not bruised??

Except He isn't breaking me, not today. Honest, bare moment: Did I lose my temper? Yes. Did I scream that rage at my kids? Yes. Did I try to make them feel guilty for causing my sinful rage? That one stings, and yes.

My children are being led to the throne by a hypocrite. Or are they? Yes, I am a hyprocrite, preaching righteousness and exercising wrath. But I'm not leading them to the throne. The Holy Spirit holds their little hands and guides them.

I breathe deep. That's why all those wonderful, godly parents reply, I didn't do anything, when I press them about how they raised wonderful, godly children. Even a few years of parenting is teaching me that all parents are hypocrites, myself the chief. Those wiser parents are exactly right to say, God did all the important work.

Thank you, Father. You give grace when I show none. You give peace when I sow strife. You set our feet on paths of righteousness. Your burden is light on me because it is all on you, and You are strong enough to bear up. I trust my family to you!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Wonderland

The last two weeks have been snow and vacation. Finally built that snowman Gwenny's been planning for months. Traveled to Knoxville for Christmas in February. We've been so busy playing that I haven't collected my thoughts in weeks. But the house is coming together. Most of the stuff is put away. Time to move back to organized, creative school, thought out meals, daily workouts, and chronology.

At my parent's home, my sisters and I sorted through decades of photos. My grandmothers back in the day - so beautiful in their pearls and victory rolls. Our childhood - the field trips and the wind suits and the hours and hours on horseback. Memory after memory sparked and relived around the kitchen table, three sisters awww-ing and hugging and beaming. My family is blessed with a beautiful history together. A cause for celebration.

To keep the party going, let me share some of the crew's favorite moments this winter.

From the Farm:
Standing by the banks of the much swollen creek
My beautiful niece
Playing Pooh Sticks

In honor of the flaky forecast, our last snow day:

First taste of snow cream - shocking and amazing
She finally built her snowman! That hair was all her idea.
This winter is full of good memories for our kids to reflect on later.

That being said, bring on the warm weather!


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