Category Archives: 2015

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

This season of Christmas was truly beautiful.  With John being around more, it made the season seem even more magical than before.  We were able to spend so much quality time together as a family and that is really the best gift ever.

Here are a few pictures to give you a glimpse of our celebration:
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As I post this post (4-24-2016, oops!), Maddie is about to become a Keeper of  Magic.   She has asked me at least 15 times this weekend and has very good evidence that Santa is not “real.”  It pains me to tell a second grader the truth, but she is just too darn bright and persistent.  I feel it would cause more harm than good to continue the game at this point. It is sad to think about this season of her little life shifting on.  Her sweet letters written with care will cease and her anticipation of certain events will as well.  I hope she will be able to keep the magic alive for Max a little while longer.  And if not, that may be just as well.  John and I go back and forth every year on the idea of giving up the secrets in hopes to simplify our holidays and bring them back to a truer meaning.  christmas 2015 035 christmas 2015 041 christmas 2015 046 christmas 2015 047 christmas 2015 055 christmas 2015 068 christmas 2015 084 christmas 2015 091
Ethan was an acolyte this year in our 10:30 pm service.  It was a beautiful service but it sure made for a late night.  Max and Maddie slept through the entire service!IMG_1197 IMG_1199

Winter Solstice

Our family doesn’t usually celebrate winter solstice due to the busyness of the season.  This year we wanted to take part in our earth’s celebration.  We researched and adapted a ritual of our own.

We started the night with a candlelit dinner.  Each child took turns lighting their own candle to remind us to retain our light during the dark days of winter.  Our peaceful moment was interrupted briefly with our kids struggling to light their candle.  We took a five minute break, recollected ourselves and the rest of the evening was beautiful.

Each of us listed our intentions for the new year and wrote down some of the negative things that happened during the year.  Then, we placed our paper into our fire pit and reflected in silence.  This was a lovely celebration for us.  It felt so good to have a night of pause before the rush of Christmas.

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Let us all remember to keep our light shining bright even in the darkest of times.

Pre-Christmas Happenings

Here are few glimpses into our family’s holiday season.  This year, like every year, we made a paper chain to count down the days until Christmas.  Each chain link has an activity to do.  We add a mixture of fun family things along with service to our community.  We were very fortunate to be able to do all of these activities as a family on the correct day.  Last year, we both worked late hours and most of the activities didn’t happen.

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Maddie is 8!

It is hard to believe that our middle child just turned eight.  She is so mature beyond her years that she seems much older.  From the day she took her first breath, she has been spunky, strong-willed and such a brilliant, creative little one.  She continues to be that way to this day.  Her ideas are so grand and endless.  She never ceases to amaze us.
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We wish the best for her and pray that she can achieve all of her dreams, no matter how eccentric they may seem.  Maddie is such a good sister and daughter.  Oh, how we love her.

Crystal Paper Snowflakes

During our homeschool co op last week, we made crystal snowflakes.  My Mom found this idea and we enjoyed the process so much during class I wanted to do this again as a family project.  The results are lovely and the whole process is easy and only takes about three hours.

What you Need:
Coffee filters to cut snowflake designs out of.
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A Styrofoam or glass plate with a lip big enough to hold liquid.
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A glass jar, 2 cups boiling water and 6 tablespoons Borax – dissolve mixture.  Be very careful when pouring this out, the jar gets very hot.
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Pour equal amounts over each snowflake.  The above measurements made 5 snowflakes.
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Your crystals will begin to form within an hour.  Allow to cool for at least 2 hours. Then pour off the water and peel off your beautiful snowflake!
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Outside Is Best

In the month of November,  we were able to squeeze in two campouts and a day trip to mountain bike.  One camping trip was in our backyard and the  other  was at Palo Duro Canyon.  Both were equally fun filled with lots of reading, games, exploring, hiking and of course s’mores.

We love having a fire pit in our backyard on cold nights.
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While there are no pictures to show,  Maddie  went mountain biking for the first time.  She did amazing and never fell!  We went again on our camping trip and she went much faster.   John and Ethan enjoyed taking a more challenging trail and had a great time together.
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We also enjoyed a park sponsored night hike and a Mom led art session.
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We all feel better when we are outside exploring.  I love the calmness that seems to happen within minutes of being outside.  Being in nature is where we all belong.  As the days get colder we  will have to remember to get outside even if only for a moment!  It is so easy to stay inside where it is cozy.
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Until next time…

Thanksgiving 2015

Our family feels incredibly blessed.  We have so much to be thankful for.  We have two cars, a house, plenty of food to eat (six meals a day if we chose to), we own a successful business and our health.  We are especially thankful that our family has the amazing chance to be together everyday.  It has been such a wonderful journey having John join me at our preschool.  The ample family time we get is priceless.

Here are photos from all of our fall happenings and Thanksgiving celebrations
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Wishing you all a year filled with many blessings.

Our Sweet Gigi


Our sweet Gigi left this earth nine days short of her 101st birthday.  I am so thankful we were able to spend two hours with her on the day she died.  We had a great time planning her party that day.  She was looking forward to having pumpkin pie, ice cream and her favorite food ever, kapusta.  I wasn’t so sure about making this dish, but I looked at John and said, “At her age, if she wants kapusta, she is getting kapusta!”
She was such a bright spirit!  She always lit up when we walked in the room.  She had so many funny sayings too.  Here are just a few: “Oh, la boga”, “Hot diggity dog”, “I’m gonna womp your woodle” (even though she was never spanked us), and “Oh, bobo”.  She also never let us say goodbye, she would say “Not goodbye just good day!”
She was always calling John, Harold and Max, Pumpernickel.

As a young women,  she was a roller skating waitress for A&W.  She had one daughter, Betty, who she raised on their farm while also owning a grocery store with her love, Jocko.  Her life must have been filled with amazing adventures.  To spend your childhood outside climbing apple trees away from the rush of modern times sounds dreamy.  It is a life we would like for our own babies.

This photo was taken November 2nd on the afternoon of her passing.  Her breathing started getting more labored but sadly, none of us really knew it was going to be her last day.  We are glad that she had such a happy final day.  She has been ready to see her mama in heaven and often prayed for their reunion for quite a while now.  Her other prayer to live long enough to see all her babies grown came true!  What a blessing for her. gigi100bday (2)

This was taken last year at her 100th birthday party.  It was such a lovely party and most of the  family was able to attend.  There were a lot of little ones around! It is hard to believe that just one sweet lady with only one child herself was the beginning of close to 33 individuals! gigi100bday (1)

Gigi and Pumpernickel enjoying time outside together.  gigiwithmax
We all miss her already.  I will miss the days playing Rummy with her, hearing all the tales about her life and visiting with her.  She is definitely in good hands now and no doubt dancing with her mama.  We love you Gigi.



All year we have been dreaming of Halloween for the chance to dress up as a family and hand out fruit to people who are truly in need.  Last year we found out that people were going crazy for the oranges that we were handing out (instead of candy) and were shocked to find that some of these people had little to eat for that day.  We vowed to hand out more fruit this year.  While we thought that we had bought enough this year (about 250 oranges and apples), we were mistaken about the amount that was needed.

Since our family had just finished reading the Harry Potter book series with the kids, we thought it would be great for all of us to dress up as characters from the books.  Sadly, the kids had their own ideas about how they wanted to dress.  Sara and I dressed as Harry Potter and Hermione.

Max designed and colored the sword of Gryffindor.  But, we all helped create the Hogwart’s castle for our trunk.midnovember 004midnovember 009

Max was so helpful and caring when passing out fruit to the kids.  He would say, “Apple or Orange?  Red apple or green apple?.” midnovember 015 midnovember 018 midnovember 033midnovember 035

Next year, we will save even more money to buy plenty of fruit to hand out.


Pumpkin Carving

You may not think that carving pumpkins seems like much… However, we realized that last year we never even got around to carving them with the kids when we were in The Fog.   We all enjoyed this activity together.  We think the kids pumpkins turned out pretty cool.

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John and I couldn’t stop looking at each other knowing how far we have come since last year.  We love every moment (well, mostly, ha) spent with our family!