Reveling in the glory and beauty of everyday life... all the mess and chaos of raising five little girls!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Children

 Winter children grin during the first ski of the year.  This was Thanksgiving weekend... no snow at home, so we drove to the top of Togwotee Pass to find some.
.... learn to Nordic ski at age 2.  And she's fast!
....picnic in the snow. when they can't feel their fingers, and throw snow over their faces as magic fairy dust to help them hike faster. (At Taggart Lake trail last weekend.)
 Winter children are sad when snow goes down their mittens.
 ....borrow mom's hat when hers gets shrunk by the dryer.  :)
 Winter babies ride inside of mommy's borrowed coat. 
 ...and sleep through snow adventures with face out of the wind.
 Winter children dress up in Christmas dresses! skate on the barely frozen pond. 
 ....shovel snow with the edges of their skates.
 Winter babies wear pink hats. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just My Cup of Tea

I have always loved tea.  I'm not sure when I began drinking tea. Somewhere in my early teens, I started steeping dark leaves in boiling water, adding just the right amount of sugar and milk, and brewing up my own little cup of comfort.  My island of calm.  My moment of quiet serenity. I have had cups of tea before a flickering candle in a Bible school attic with friends.  Cups of tea late at night when exams loomed.   Cups taken in the gray light of dawn in a cozy chair by picture windows overlooking Lake Union in Seattle.  I have had tea in dainty porcelain, tea in sturdy pottery mugs, tea in paper to-go containers, tea in indestructible titanium cups while camping.   I have had tea while wearing a straw hat and talking in pretend British accents with my sisters.    I have sipped many, many cups of tea with an open Bible in front of me and a journal and pen in my hand.  There is just something about tea.  

Funny thing.  I still drink tea.  One cup a day right now (I don't want Hope getting more caffeine than that). First thing in the morning.  PG Tipps blend plopped in a mug, stirred with cream and sugar.   But there isn't really an island of calm these days.  No quiet serenity. No flickering candles or long, peaceful quiet times at dawn.  No dreaming grand dreams while the rich scent rises in wispy plumes and I breathe it deep.

Nope.  I gulp tea while cooking oatmeal.  While nursing a sweet baby.  While jumping up from the table to grab a towel because the milk spilled.  While doing dishes or sweeping the floor. Sometimes the tea gets cold before I can drink it (and did you know you can't reheat tea? It tastes awful.). 

I drink milky decaf from fancy tea cups with my girls, though.  I let them pour.   And when the table grows sticky with spilled sugar and their princess dresses are soaked with milk and my favorite teacup shatters on the floor....  I don't complain.  

Because... this... this chaos and clamor and mess.... this is just my cup of tea. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Ski

 We know October snows are short-lived, so made the most of it today - strapping on our nordic gear and skiing in the yard three times! Morning recess, afternoon, and after dinner.  :)  Raina did great her first time out on skis.  She was so excited. 

I was trying to capture the yellow leaves dancing in a gust of wind and skittering across the white ground.  Amazing contrast, and really beautiful! 

Friday, October 19, 2012


 Hope Julianna.  What a precious, sweet, amazing baby.  Okay, I know every baby is sweet, and precious and amazing.  But there is something so profoundly amazing about your OWN baby, isn't there? :)  Hope weighed 11 pounds, 9 ounces at her two month check-up, and was 24.25 inches.  She loves mama's massages with sweet-smelling baby cream, she loves to be swaddled and snuggled, she loves kisses and having you rub your nose against hers.  She coos and talks and makes these amazing enchanting, melt-your-heart expressions when you talk to her.  She is easy going, tolerant, and smile-y.  She sleeps between 7-9 hours at her longest stretch, and still naps about 5 times a day - usually about an hour each time, but sometimes longer.   I love waking up once at night to feed her - as long as it is only once! :) - and am not in a hurry to stretch her night sleep any longer.  Funny, how perspective changes the fourth time around. :)   I wanted to post some photos, but, as usual, don't have much time to turn swirling thoughts and insights into the long, wordy prose I want to post here! :)  Someday.  Really. 

 Still sleeps in the bassinet in our room. 


Camo and Blaze Orange

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Five Years

Monday, at Boppa's tree at the hospital.  Missing my daddy and continually grateful for who he was and his love for us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Just a few pics of my sweet almost two month old.  How we love this peanut! Life isn't always easy these days (sometimes I feel like I am drowning in all the messes and the chaos and I am trying to do it all one handed because my sweet Hope doesn't sleep laying down during the day very well, and there is school, and we have mice in our house, and the kids squabble and did I really make Hamburger Helper for dinner? :)) but we are blessed and there are constant miracles of baby smiles and giggles and coos and precious lisped prayers, and helping hands, and laughter and snuggling and dancing in a downpour in our driveway.Thousands of things to be thankful for.

Jenny Lake

 To celebrate my 32nd birthday last weekend, Erik and I took the kids for a walk at Jenny Lake.  We didn't make it very far - but far enough to enjoy some brilliant fall colors, some water splashing, and a picnic snack on a rocky beach.  It was our first adventure with Hope - the first time we had tucked a diaper into a backpack and ventured out into nature.  She did fantastic - sleeping cozily in the Moby wrap and wiggling on (get this) a tuft of long grass with bear scat nearby. :)  It really was beautiful.  I know we don't get the colors of the East Coast around here, but I love fall in Jackson, and it is at its peak right now - all dappled gold on the hillsides.  Praising God for a beautiful family and a beautiful day!

 Happy and fed in the cleft of a rock - out of the wind.

 Side note: she totally had a blowout.  Everywhere! Like a seasoned mom of four, I was totally unprepared and had packed only a diaper and wipes - no change of clothes.  We improvised a bit, and she is wearing very soiled pants, while her top half is naked underneath the fleece.  Oops.  Seriously. What kind of mom am I? My friend Dancy and I laugh about how carefree we are these days (she has four, too).  The diaper bag is no longer stocked with everything from Tylenol to toothbrushes.  We're lucky if we remember the diapers!

Monday, September 3, 2012

First Grade

It's Labor Day. Erik is working, and the girls and I are trying to prepare for an 18 hour car trip on Wednesday - driving to Washington for my brother's wedding.We are excited to celebrate, but apprehensive about the trip.:)  In the midst of baking and laundry and sorting, I am also trying to prepare a bit for starting our school year the day we return, and I wanted to share a little about our plans!

We are really excited about the curriculum we've chosen for this year.  It definitely stretched our budget a little, but I am thankful to have a year's worth of material at my fingertips, without the stress of weekly library trips or wondering whether a book will even be available!  After much debate, I finally settled on Sonlight as our "core" curriculum.  I have been reading a few books lately on homeschooling, one of which was Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Sally and Clay Clarkson.  I love this godly couple and their perspective on raising a family. They talk about discipleship and education through living books and real life....  no curriculum needed.  But, I don't think I am up to the task right now.  I need a framework.  I need a plan.  I need help. 

Sonlight's Cores are literature-rich curricula that encompass history, read-alouds, Bible and geography.  We are using Core B - which is an intro to World History.  I am so excited for all the snuggling with good books we get to do!

We are also using Sonlight for science - focusing on animals, astronomy and physics with Science B. Again - real books.  No text.  Weekly experiments with supplies included! Whew! :)

Our language arts is four-fold.

Spelling - All About Spelling Level 2.

Grammar - First Language Lessons

Writing - Writing With Ease

Reading - Here we are using our library.  I am having Elisa read aloud from books I choose (based off a couple of reading lists).  She reads on her own a lot, but reading out loud is so important, too.  Both girls will have silent reading after lunch while the littler ones nap.

Math - We are switching to Horizons for math.  More color and pizzazz than Math-U-See.   Elisa grew to despise math, and I want to generate a little excitement!

Spanish - our pastor's wife has a homeschooled daughter Elisa's age, and she is going to try to organize a Spanish class!  They lived in Mexico for eight years as missionaries. 

PE - swim class and Nordic ski team.

Sadie will continue with My Father's World Kindergarten through most of the year, adding other subjects as she is ready.  She's still pre-K, so we're not pushing it.

We are looking forward to a great year. More to come!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Month

Hope turned one month yesterday.  Hard to believe.  It goes so fast. How to slow it down? 

We are so blessed by this little peanut.  She is healthy and growing - a whopping ten pounds, now!  She is sweet-natured and tolerant, although when she wants to yell, boy, can she yell! :)  She has sweet awake times, but hasn't been napping as well in her cradle the last week or so.  I have a lot to figure out about how to gently meet the schedule needs of an infant while managing a busy household, as well.  Last night she slept 7 hours, from 6:30 - 1:30, so I was still up twice at night to feed her, but I was excited to see her ability to sleep a long stretch.  I am trying to cherish those midnight feedings with my little one - but I am admittedly a bit tired! 

I would love to sit down and sort through the sweet wonder of this little baby, and also the fresh challenges and occasional overwhelming-ness of it all, but I don't have time! :)  We are blessed and thankful and filled with joy!