Nov 29, 2010

December is upon us!

In planning for this years festivities it is always a good idea to look back at last year. I am trying not to add anything new but would like to maintain the rituals and traditions that we have done in the past. It is also a great time to reminisce about all the fun we had and think about ways to decrease stress for this year.

I am looking forward to it all!!!

Nov 11, 2010

The First Snow

The first Snow of the fall!!

Today I have an enormous amount of gratitude and appreciation.
The fall was a transition time for us. I was absorbed in the duties of Landis' preschool co-op and Teilee's school, while helping my children through the change of no longer homeschooling. The kids have had to adjust to not having daddy around as well. We are still insanely busy, life is just like that, but we are getting the hang of experienced moments of joy through the chaos.

The fall held out for us until this week and today is our first day of snow. I am so grateful that we were given the opportunity to wait until we had time to prepare our house, yard, children, etc.... for winter. We were able to finish the yard/garden/chicken work on Monday, gather and sort and buy what was needed for the kids winter gear on Tuesday, Wednesday gave us time to prepare the house inside, and then today...........we have snow!!!!

The kids woke me up today excitedly whispering, "Mommy, wake up wake up there's snow!" They were gallivanting through the house looking out every window and giggling with excitement. Oh.....I could have just stayed in bed the whole day listening to their joy!

The first snow means sledding, snow sculptures, shoveling, hot cocoa, and our yearly tradition on the first snow of the season is to make snow ice cream. We substitute the sugar with agave nectar or honey.

Winter weather is here and we are relishing in this moment of joy.

Oct 20, 2010

Bartels Farm

For the last five years we have depended on the Bartels farm for our seasonal fix and fall pumpkin needs. We have gone when it has been hot, cold, rainy, and snowy. Every year it gets a little bigger and better and we always enjoy the best that a true farm has to offer. The pumpkins are actually in the field, still attached to prickly vines and often hidden by the other crops like milo and corn!! One year they had planted swan necked gourds in with the pumpkins and we had an all out treasure hunt to find the coveted squash. There is always much to do like the petting zoo and pumpkin launching. This was a great opportunity for us to unwind as a family from our busy lives. I took so many many great pictures but just wanted to share a few.

This year the petting zoo included Nick and Teilee (from the Emu's perspective).

Landis picked a pumpkin with a face already on it. The fields are large and we have found that if you take a wagon ride first you can spot the best locations for the best pumpkins.

I like mine a little leafy.

The farm is outside of town and the views are phenomenal.

Our lives have well.....continued to be pretty crazy. With a parent in school and working full time it has definitely changed our lives. And with me running our home business, working part time, fulfilling all kids school commitments, managing the home, and doing it alone almost every day of the week it will just continue to be challenging. I miss having friends, getting to plan and do things, and alone time (it has been about 2 months since I have had that) but I am finding a lot of joy in getting to experience my children and their new journeys in school. I don't believe that things will stop being crazy-busy for me for quite some time, but I have to say that I am finding the pleasure in the midst of the craze. I am learning to spot those moments of gratitude in between illnesses and schedules. I believe that there are some very specific things that we have to overcome as a family before life gets easier however, when it does we will be prepared to accept the gift because we have been practicing.

Nick captured this photo of me and I love it. It does not present an image, it is simply me. Quiet, thinking, tired, smiling. Oh.....and in a field of pumpkins.

Jun 20, 2010


Overwhelmed. I am always (always) working while mothering or mothering while working. I am managing the best I can but am feeling resentful that I can't do either/or. I would love to just homeschool and mother, or just work. Homeschooling, at home parent, part time secretary job, starting a business, creating two websites.....managing a financial creativity........ managing.........creating.......working.....sigh. It would be lovely to vent, to try and write words that could touch on the immensity of my stress.
I deserve a vacation. A real vacation.

Instead.......I offer this.

I call it 'peace'. Though I can't jump on (fear of breaking the rope) I can exhilarate in her experience. When you are catching air, when you are swingin' the world vanishes and the experience is all that matters. Breathe.

May 12, 2010

No parents allowed

Teilee declared that her (and Landis') room was off limits to Mommy and Daddy. her rebellion to our household chaos resulting in organizational tendencies? Notice the completely made beds, no toys on the floor, the PJs laid out on the bed. She is putting away all of their laundry, vacuuming herself, dusting, picking up, and putting away all on her own!! I couldn't be prouder that she took this on herself. She has said that she will allow us to come in to patch the wall and paint when the time comes. Her design will be centered around the seasons and she has left instructions as to which wall is Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. On one wall she would like to see a mural with the sky, a tree, and the underground roots, with worms in the dirt. You keep cleaning and maintaining your room Teilee, I will paint you a work of art!!

Snow White and Rose Red


Yup Snow

May 11, 2010

Oh what a May

Once again it is snowing outside. My garden is suffering and I am thinking about switching entirely to a greenhouse next year. Although, each year I lament that we shall have to wait until next fall for snow and then mother nature surprises us with her final attempts at a winter storm. It is a surprise gift of beauty experiencing the white, stark, greyness of winter and the brilliant, blooming colors of spring at the same time. Picture taking is optimum and I am hoping to capture some beauties tomorrow. Here are some beauties from the first week of May.

Kite day at the park, hundreds of kites in the air and Teilee flying the airplane (you can barely see it in the center but it is there). Go Teilee go!

Landis flying his homemade kite. During the peak wind of the morning hundreds of kites were flown in the same area. And yes there were tangles, and downed kites resulting, but everyone shared a good laugh and each lent a hand to send the kite aloft.

Beltane is a beautiful festival we missed most of it but arrived during the maypole portion. With Landis asleep in the car, Nick brought Teilee down for the kids weaving of the ribbons. Then upon switching, I was able to participate in my first adult may pole weaving. What a beautiful and intimate tradition especially as the ribbons become shorter and shorter leaving you little space to weave in and out. After the weaving of the ribbon, Teilee and I joined in the ritual of jumping over the fire. A symbolic new beginning emerging from the flames (just make sure your pants are hiked up and you jump high enough). Teilee soared. (Teilee is in the green pants with the gray jacket.) The adult May Pole

What better creature to spy near our festival grounds than a curious fox.

Already we have been hiking and enjoying our sunny days. Nick and the kids went out for a hike and we repeated the venture on Mother's Day. Poor Landis was ill and insisted he needed to be carried (not in the hiking backpack) by Mommy the whole way down. Wishing I had brought my sling we found Plan B using my jacket as a makeshift sling and we successfully made it down the mountain.
Landis slept for most of the day and in the evening his fever broke and he was much better.

The chicks are getting so big! We moved them out into the coop with the big girls. We will separate them until the chicks are big enough to fend off any hen pecking.

The kids bring the chicks and the chickens into the yard as often as possible. They keep to their separate spaces, but we are hoping that eventually they will commingle.

Toothless.....I mean Teilee has popped out her front tooth. Proudly she shows her space and her tooth and she is now the proud president of her Loose Tooth Club. Anyone between the ages of 4 and 30 may join. Although I am hoping to successfully stay out of this club. ;) Of course we had to run to the library for resources. There we found a book about what children around the world do with their lost teeth. There is much throwing of teeth onto roofs or feeding of teeth to female dogs. La Raton is a main character in the business, changing only in language. Apparently small rodents are overwhelmingly popular in the process of losing a tooth. Move over tooth fairy!!

We enjoy every contact we have with our lovely neighbor Sally. She was witness to the losing of the tooth as we were witnessing her brand new yellow kitchen. (Talk about an inspiration!) Smile for the camera Landis, close enough!

On a quick note (okay, nothing is every quick with me), we are pursuing some exciting business opportunities. Nick and I were gifted some guidance, by some wonderful friends, and some free tickets to a convention in Denver last week. Sans kids we wearily went and returned ever rejuvenated in our confidence to achieve a goal. Updates coming soon!

Apr 16, 2010

Spring has Sprung

It is Spring!! Okay I know it has been spring for a while but we are truly feeling the affects of the season now. Bike rides, gardening, hikes, backyard play, animal watching, and so much more fun to be had. The kids and daddy ventured out onto this platform over the lake offering them a birds eye view of the ducks, frog eggs, and red winged blackbirds.
Our chickens tend to attract mice with all of their left over scraps and we caught one and allowed the kiddos to examine it thoroughly. Of course from behind the safety of glass. Mice, bike rides, dinner in the backyard, and new chicks (pictures to come) all more fabulous signs of spring.

In home school we are still on the topic of spring and this week one of our stories was How Robin Saved Spring by Debbie Ouellet
In the story Sister Spring is finally awoken by Robin and she begins to spread spring all over. Our own 'Sister Spring' has been leaving signs all over the backyard that spring is here. Some, like our blooming crocus spiral, are natural and are only pointed out by 'Sister Spring' and some are simple representations of the green that will soon be on the trees.

'Sister Spring' has been almost living in her seasonal dress (despite it being Landis' size). She has also taken to sitting often in one tree in the back yard, even fashioning a pulley of sorts to bring aloft her books.

Daddy thought it was time to provide an easier sitting location and of course brother spring needed his own perch too.

Every year I become overjoyed to be back in the garden and every year we have a slow start for some reason or another. This year some illness slowed us down but we also have been busy making the garden a more permanent space complete with enclosed beds. We had a little money to spend on wood for a few beds. Our local building supply thrift store always helps to stretch our dollars. Then when we ran out of wood we looked around the yard to piece to together the remaining beds and structures. I always have big plans and a small wallet. I think it brings out the creative side of me and I can not wait to show you the completed garden with fence and plants when we are done. I am proud of my vine structure and can not wait to see my zucchini growing vertically. In the picture the smaller fence leaning up against our yard fence will be transplanted around the garden and of course we are going to have to build more. All the building has meant that we will most likely buy starts instead of planting seeds but next year our soil will be in, our beds made and ready to go for earlier planting. I do have one cold frame (just a window placed over the box) that is helping my kale and spinach grow.

We were able to borrow our neighbors truck and our other neighbors wheelbarrow to gather some new dirt to help fill out our beds. What is amazing is how much the kids love to do the work. I have such fond memories of gardening as a child and I hope my children will have the same. Following the rototiller to gather worms, picking fresh strawberries, canning green beans, shoveling, digging, planting, watering, sweeping, gathering, and then finally playing in the mud.

Of course Teilee, ever the spring fairy is muddin' it up in style. What could be better!! I can not wait to see the fruits.....nay, the vegetables of our labors.

Apr 4, 2010


For egg dying this year we used beets, blueberries, tumeric, and spinach for the dyes. I never have good luck with spinach. The green eggs are from the blueberries, white is from the spinach (it has a tint of green), orange is from the turmeric, and the pink eggs are from the beets. We left the shredded pieces of beets in the jar and they speckled our eggs nicely. We tried a few color combination with less success than last year, but still a lot of fun!!
Our recipe: Take the food and smash, peel, scrape, mush into the jar. Add 2 Tbl of vinegar and boiling water until the jar is full. Let the jar cool. (You can strain the ingredient out or not) Now add the boiled egg and let sit for several hours (overnight if you can).

Last year we had blue, green, pink, yellow, orange, and purple. Unfortunately I don't remember and I didn't write down what I used. I will figure it out, hopefully in time for next year!

The equinox/Easter bunny or Ostara/Eostre paid us a visit today! The children and adults were gifted a bounty of food, toys, and games. Our celebration is such a mishmash of different traditions, and I love it! I have always been in love with spirituality and a deep connection to every ritual. Every year I expand on our traditions and now it has become necessary to keep a journal just for our family rituals and celebrations.

This year some rascally critters nearly spoiled the fun. We thought that the Easter bunny/Ostara hid the eggs around 1:00 am and between then and 6:30 am they were all gone. No eggshells, no pieces, but a few really well hidden eggs were still there. I wondered if raccoons were to blame. I told that rabbit to wait until the morning!! ;) We took the kids out, all primed and ready for the hunt and headed back in with mom and dad flustered. We decided with the kiddos that the bunny/Ostara must have been aware of some bad weather coming and wanted to wait until after nap time. It snowed a few hours later proving our theory true. The 5 min. of snow quickly turned into bright sunshine and heat. This must have given the bunny time to fix up a solution, or rather soak a solution out. After an early afternoon bike ride to our local coffee shop we came home to a hunt!!

The real fun occurs after the first hunt in all the subsequent egg hide and seek. Teilee is a pretty sharp egg hider and Landis is an observant egg finder. Hopefully next year Ostara will ensure a less dramatic egg hunt. May I suggest inside?! :)

Mar 26, 2010

The thinkings of a mind trapped inside

I decided today to add up the number of days I felt well in the last month. Unfortunately the number is small enough to add up on one hand. Seriously four days is not enough to feel well in an entire month. Another rough winter for me. Time sucking FB has taught me another lesson though. I post on FB when I am ill, not ever time, but many times. Recently someone messaged me their concerns. Very sweetly they wondered if I had a mold issue in the house, or what else might be going on. My norm is often a little shocking to others. My neighbor and friend once saw me hobble out to the mail box (usually I am better composed before entering into public) and she was on me about what was wrong. I reminded her that this is normal for me and she wondered again what I could do about it. I guess it is a hard concept that sometimes you just have to accept and try to work around issues. Trust me though, I have tried. I fought it with everything I had until the fight had me in a nasty physical state. Everyone has something. My largest problem tends to be my health. New goal: Stop posting when you are ill on FB and remember that it is not just your close friends and family who read your updates. Also, that people do get tired of hearing how much you are sick.

Today I thought I was better. I did more than I have done in the last week in a few hours and then hit the wall. Dang. Of course when the illness is done with my body I will still be left dealing with the symptoms of my ((gulp)) Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism (sub-clinical). Labels, labels, labels. I hate using them. I don't ever use those two words. Holistically, and through alternative medicine, I can explain more of what is going on in my body than those words could. They don't explain everything anyways (like my malfunctioning sinus cavities). Day by day I am able to speak what I am feeling. Whether it be the fatigue, a sluggish mobility or pain, I would rather deal with each issue than umbrella these under one diagnosis.

Today I am still ill, and the weather is changing causing quite a bit of fatigue and pain. (Even my fingers hurt.) I have been unable to think away the pain and fatigue and now what do I do? What do I do when I can't mentally overcome what my body feels (aka: ignore it).

Here is what I do: 1)I imagine what it would feel like in my body to have none of these issues. If I rarely got ill, if I never had pain or fatigue. Nick is always joking that I would probably rule the world if I didn't have any health issues! Imagine not having to work past it, imagine going a month (heck a few days would be great) without a sinus infection or an illness. 2) Rather than feeling sad for what I can't have, I now choose to focus on what I have achieved. Look what I get done WITH all my problems. It is really remarkable (yes I am boasting.:)) Look what I have done with my limitations! Blew them out of the water! (Don't gag, just a little positive self-talk.) 3) Remind myself that tomorrow may be better and that I am healthier now than I ever have been. 4) Embrace the pain, acknowledge it, it means you are alive! Tune into it and really feel it. Pain is another part of life that I GET to experience. 5) Remember all those who experience worse and all those who don't get to experience it at all. 6) Bring back the gratitude. I am truly blessed, lucky, and fortunate in life.

This is what I get to work through almost every day and every day is different. Sometimes my relationships suffer (intimate and casual alike) because I can't always be there even though I want to be. And because it is really hard to understand something that you can't see, can't feel, and don't hear about. I am lucky because this has made me so grateful for the things I have. Being able to have children, to be married, to garden, run, bike, etc.. I have to acknowledge that much of the burden of my ailments falls to my husband. I do have days where I just physically can't overcome and he picks up the slack. He does my chores, takes care of the kids, works, does his chores, and carries this family through my bad days. And that is my number 7), the last thing that I think about to keep me from given in: My support!

Mar 21, 2010

Mar 16, 2010

Sample Curriculum

Simple Sample. I created this fill in the blank format to help me organize our weekly curriculum. Lately our rhythms (daily, weekly, dinner, schooling, etc...) have been plummeted into a bit of disorder. Lots of sickness, trips, and Nick's new job have added an element of change. While we are working through the change, the kids love that they have still been able to have a beautiful, rich, soulful, and relaxed homeschool experience.

Here's how I plan our weeks. Usually I try to plan a month to several months at a time. This allows me to fit in every theme that is important to me. I sit with all of my resource books, my master homeschool calendar (which has every birthday, holiday, and special days), my idea planner (with ideas for each season), and the computer.
First I discover if anything special is happening in the week. For example, last week we had St. Patty's Day, the Spring Equinox, and a planned trip to Kansas. This is a powerful time of year, an awakening of sorts. I may need to put together a festival to acknowledge the change.
Next, I see which letter we are working on. Teilee asked me recently to start at the beginning of the alphabet again.
Then I find an appropriate story. Hopefully the story will incorporate the season, the letter, and any other theme happening that week. Stories often come from I also find other picture books that fit the week.
Next come the songs. Having done this for over a year I have some songs, books, stories, and themes already determined. The kids love when they hear a familiar tune, it is something that they can really sink their singing teeth into.
Lastly come any enrichment activities. From crafting to painting to gardening these activities are designed to help encourage a real connection to the lesson.
I strive to link everything together. My goal is for my children to have a deep meaningful connection to their world and its workings. Everything that we do with homeschooling has a purpose and is intentional.
This is a brief overview and it has taken me two years and much support, research, and practice to be able to pull this off. This is for two weeks. Usually it is in a fun, colorful, cheery chart, but it won't format to my blog. (I am seriously bummed that it won't show!!!) Oh well....that's what our imaginations are for!!

SAMPLE: Month March
Week 1
Theme: Letter A & B, Signs of Spring, What’s Brewing Underground
Stories: Bean & Plants, Kate and the Beanstalk, A place to Grow, The Surprise Garden, The Root Children
Songs: Seeds are Stirring,
Supplies/ To Do: Dinosaur Room ABC Banner, Plant Bean Seeds, Apple Necklaces

Letter Walk-A, Slice Apples draw the inside and transform to A
Tues. Apple Necklaces
Wed. Letter Walk B, draw bean seed, soak overnight
Thurs. Draw Bean seed, dissect bean, Plant remaining bean seeds
Friday Nature Walk Day
Sat. Sun.

Week 2
Theme: Spring is Coming, St. Patty’s Day
Stories: Persephone and Demeter
Songs: Spring Songs
Supplies/Activities: Wheat Grass, egg, painting spring scenes

Mon. Wheat Grass, Letter C
Tues. Giant Park, Sally Afternoon
Wed. St. Patty’s Day, Morning networking meeting (playgroup), Letter D walk
Thurs. Spring scenes
Friday Trip to KS
Sat. Equinox

See....wasn't that as beautiful as you imagined it?:)

Mar 14, 2010

Kansas Trip

We had a wild trip! We are back from our two week trip to Kansas. While Daddy started a new job and worked on his big car audio job we had to split town. I had no idea when Nick would be sleeping let alone making time for us and I figured it would be easier for the kids and I to take a long road trip instead. Grandma Lee and Papa have a wonderful home that they were willing to share, awesome meals (all GF) to eat, and a beautiful land to explore. Grandpa Don and Mary live nearby to visit, and we got to see Great Aunt DeeDee. Of course the highlight for Teilee and Landis is always getting to see their cousins! (Thanks to Aunt Kati and Uncle Joe for making them available to us!;)) I love being in Kansas, my mind is less muddled there. I could attribute that to avoiding all other responsibilities except for childcare (no taxes, no finances, no grocery shopping, no organizing, etc...). However, I decided to chalk it up to the clean air, helping hands, beautiful country, down to earth people, and great family!

Feb 23, 2010

Previous Posts

I was reminiscing and found a couple of posts that I just had to post a second time.
I have not been feeling as creative these days, but it is still in there! Enjoy a few oldies!

Dec. 21st, 2007

I used to always be a chronic night owl, now I am a fall asleep standing up kinda gal. Today I found myself wiping furiously at the apparent mascara rings under my eyes. Being frustratingly unsuccessful I realized that I had not worn mascara and those were indeed the dark non-sleeping circles that I have earned as a mother. These bruise colored crescents, that no amount of makeup can 'freshen up', scream "Tired Mom Here!". Although, they are not out of place on this tousled uncut hair, unbrushed teeth, unwashed clothes of a person that I am. They only add to the ensemble that declares my latest station in life. Once discovered though I only admire them with a perverse since of accomplishment. Like my stretchmarks, and my stretching breasts, I have earned these. My progress as a woman can be traced across my body like counting the rings of a tree. My still protruding belly indicating the rude way in which my son was taken from my being. My uneven breasts a symbol of my dedication to the nutrition of my offspring. These are my battle scars, my road map, my mark of motherhood of which I am proud to declare. In all its beauty this is me now.

Katelin reminded me of this one- I had completely forgotten, which is one reason why I have a remember!

October 12, 2007

Rubber Ducky

Little rubber ducky on the bathtub floor,

have you made permanent residence on the drain?

Nestled near the metal hair trap

it works hard to grasp every stray strand that could pass,

A veritable fortress collecting stray objects, resting near your yellow squeak,

How is it that you are now a daily friend of my shower?

How odd to consider that you are not a stranger to my day,

you are the comfort that smiles at me from the sudsy water remains of my wash,

The instant reminder of my station in life,

with fondness I gently set you upright to float on the small puddle of water,

I guess the drain can not prevent you from having your lake,

As I could never remove you, my fond friend, from the company of my feet.

Little yellow rubber ducky on the bathtub drain.

Feb 15, 2010

The Age of Innocence

Just had to share this little tidbit that happened recently. We don't watch a lot of TV although lately with all the illness we have had we have let our standards slip. We don't watch the news, we try to never allow the kids to see commercials, and we monitor what they do watch closely. One of the reasons I absolutely HATE commercials is because of the blatant sexism and racism exhibited. Rarely do commercials show interracial families, rarely are toys presented as gender neutral despite their themes or colors.

Teilee has recently started listening to The Magic Tree House series on CD's that we checked out from the library. I love this! It is a media that has her entranced without all the nasty effects of TV. The basic premise is that this brother and sister have a magic tree house that transports them back in time. They go on missions to learn, find clues, and recover ancient objects. Seems pretty innocent and safe, so I left the room while she was listening. Teilee came crying to me in the other room that she didn't want to listen to the story anymore. One of the chapters in one of the books dealt with, by Teilee's description, Roman times. Upon probing she explained that back in Roman times girls couldn't do everything that boys could. She was horrified that the little girl in the story had to dress up as a male soldier so she could go with her brother and do everything he did. Teilee was in tears! She had yet to experience that kind of blatant sexism.

I know that we often become complacent in the sexism that we see, hear, and experience. How far we have come, and yet how far we have yet to go.

Also heard from the mouth of my 6 year old. "If I were a bear (brown bear), I would have been mated by now." Try holding it together when you hear that!!!

Jan 11, 2010

Creative Blue and Christmas

I am thinking Creative Blue as my new blog title. I am gonna chew on it a bit before transitioning.

Now on to Christmas!
For several years now we have had a Flying Spaghetti Monster as our tree topper. A simple Mop head (colored with coffee) and some painted styrofoam balls form the figure. We love this, it is original, it is symbolic, and it is a lot of fun.

Twas the night before Christmas and all through then house,
not a creature was stiring, not even our lazy, non-mouse easting cat.......

The stocking were hung by the chimney with care...........

My wonderful friend Kara made these for us. When we had Landis she had to pull a rabbit out of her hat and make another! Every year I get so sentimental when we hang these, remembering all of our traditions we had with her and her family. The extra stocking happens to be for the cats.
This year we were talking to Teilee and Landis in November about what they would want Santa to bring them this year. Teilee asked if the Solstice Fairies could come instead of Santa. This was not an option that I had presented and I had to instantly cover my reaction. Was this okay? I love the tradition of Santa, the spirit of the holidays. Does it matter if the spirit is represented by the Solstice fairies instead. I think Teilee thought the Halloween fairy had brought her such a fabulous gift (a dinosaur) that the Solstice fairies would do the same. And Santa? Apparently you never know what he will bring! Okay I said, so be it! We told the moon (that's how you tell the fairies) and we sent a letter to Santa to communicate with the fairies so they would know that they were in charge of the gift giving this year.
Of course Solstice Fairies enjoy cookies, but really really small cookies and a bowl of milk with acorn caps as scoops.
The fairies left Teilee and Landis a note.

Our tree complete with gifts, and the FSM on top.
This was the year of abundance. We were so amazingly fortunate to be able to buy some of the gifts. We still made gifts, but we were able to make what we wanted and not rely on what we could make with what we had. The stress relief was amazing, the joy was pure. This is our abundance. Not to much, not extravagant, just right.

Daddy slept well..... (of course)

The kids waited until mid morning to open gifts. Here they are donning hats made by Ani (which she gave to us back in October) and the scarves that I knitted to coordinate. My gift to them. Yup, I knitted!!! When I lamented to Teilee a few days before x-mas that, "if only you had a scarf to match that hat", she replied, "but I don't like things that match, I like mismatched things." I almost let out a burst of laughter, knowing my daughter, that is exactly what I had made her. I call it a patchwork, scrappy scarf, she just calls it perfect!

The kids wanted to make Daddy Superman underwear and a superman shirt. I was not going to spend a ton load of money searching for that, so I bought some iron on printable paper. Found some images, fixed them, drew them, printed them off, and then ironed them onto some underwear. Then I thought, "Why not let the kids draw something personal?" Landis drew figures of him and Daddy and since they were so small I made a lot of them and ironed them all over one gray pair. Then Teilee drew a brachiasaurus and that went onto a matching shirt. Daddy first open the superman get up and the extra shirts and underwear, then he got to the kids gifts. I have NEVER seen Nick cry over a gift. The kids were so happy to see how excited Daddy was.
Then the kids got to Daddy's gift for them.
A new dryer with a ironing board on the side (of course they didn't know what an ironing board was). It will turn, it was turning (it broke Christmas eve as we were bringing it inside). Daddy can and will fix it.

One gift the kids got this year was a ride on horse. Teilee has enjoyed dressing it in all my old homecoming dresses, and all of their dress up. Landis is too short to ride on it, but he is absolutely in love with their new pony.

That Night Teilee fell asleep reading the book GrandmaLee and Papa gave her. The coolest ever dinosaur pop-up book!

This year of all years we were counting our blessings. In years past we have had holidays of extreme abundance of things and haven't understood the need for or been able to find an abundance of spirit. The last few years we have been working on our gratitude, and spiritual journey, primarily because we had so little of the green stuff. This year we had a balance and it was beautiful. We are not quite able to do everything (I still missed giving gifts to our extended families and friends), but this huge weight was lifted from our shoulders this winter and we were able to have the holiday season that was fulfilling, peaceful, easy, and lovely!

My new umberella!