Saturday, December 3, 2016


There is no way I can keep up with - well, anything - right now, and this is one of the reasons why:

We knew we would move here at some point, and although it's a bit of a whirlwind, we know this is the right time and God has opened many doors to make it a smooth transition. Well, as smooth as it can be when you're a family of 6 moving 700+ miles at Christmastime, and when there are other serious (extended family health) issues that helped us make this decision but also necessarily complicate things. 

As much as I always longed to be back in NC, we really have made a life in Chicagoland with amazing friends, a Biblical and loving church, homeschooling resources, and all the little things that make up a life (great pediatrician, knowing where the nearest Target is (very important), weekly play dates, etc, etc.)

And yet, while we grieve losses, we are very excited to come home and to be here to help and encourage family and to experience a relatively warm winter (halleleujah) and to not. move. ever. again.

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 in NC - we had the best time visiting with both of my brothers and their (collective) 3 kids and my parents! We stayed at Jason's parents' house and had ample time with them as well!

Highlights: staying up way past bedtimes with (mostly) happy children; lots of kids movies, yummy food, wine, laughter; a double date to a spin class for me and Jason and Jon and Meghan; kids decorating cookies with Aunt Sejal. Mostly. just being all together as we had not been since Jef's wedding (and since then, 3 babies have been born!)

Thanks for the pics, Pops!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grace Pointe Country Fair

Our wonderful church had our 2nd annual Country Fair a couple of weeks ago! The kids had a blast. There were games and prizes, a cookie decorating contest, a photo setup, and a bounce house - what more could you need?

We tried to go with a farm-type theme (hence the baby bandana bib!)

Paige is very opinionated about clothing - no farm theme for her! But she loved all the activities :)

Sweet blessings! 

CC Operation Christmas Child

Our CC group put together Operation Christmas Child boxes as a service project last week. The kids each had a partner, and they wrote a note to the child who will receive the box, decorated a bookmark and a Christmas craft for the box, and "shopped" for items for their child (from items the moms had already purchased.)

Meredith and her partner Clare:

Russell and his partner Aidan:

All the kids with their boxes:

We have always loved doing this service project; even more so this year, as part of school and with friends :)

Grace Notes Choir

Meredith is singing with a choir this year at our good friends' church. She/we have loved it! 

The choir director has an amazing story (and is extremely qualified) - she has an education background and a PhD in something musical - but besides that, she lost her hearing for months and miraculously regained some of it.

There are 20ish children K-2nd grade in this choir. They practice 1 night a week. Their first "public" sing was on Sunday, when they sang as a part of 2 worship services at the church. They did an excellent job!

Sunday, November 13, 2016


We've had a lot going on this month so...I kinda forgot to blog.

Anyway - Halloween!

This year, we had Everest from Paw Patrol, a flamingo, a rainbow unicorn, and a Jedi!

This sweet flamingo! I didn't need to buy her a costume, obviously (with 2 older sisters) - but how could I not?

Paw Patrol is Paige's favorite - especially the Pup Pup Boogie!

Meredith knew 1 year ago that she wanted to be a rainbow unicorn. Never waivered.

Russell is big into Star Wars currently. He and Jason decided on some Jedi poses for pictures - apparently it was serious business for them!

The Saturday before Halloween, we took the kids to a place called Safety Town to trick-or-treat. It's a miniature town set up, with kid-sized buildings and streets. After a half-hour wait (!), they had a lesson in trick-or-treat safety:

and then went trick-or-treating! It was a beautiful, mild day!

And on Halloween, we trick-or-treated with a big group of neighbors - so fun! We also had a pizza dinner at our friends' house.

It was a fun Halloween! Bring on the rest of the holidays - best time of year! :)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Keller's Farmstand!

We love going to the pumpkin patch every year!

Last weekend, we went back to the same farm we visited last year. (Unfortunately, our neighbors were working and couldn't come with us.) It was a nice, sunny day and we had a great time!

We took some pumpkin patch pictures right away, even though the lighting wasn't right for it :(

Our second stop was to get the hot and fresh apple cider donuts, and pumpkin spice donuts. Soooo yummy.

We opted to skip the corn maze this year since it was a bit tricky and long for the kids last year. So we went straight to the tractors, slides, etc.

There was a little barn to the right of the tractor area with goats and horses and calves. The kids especially enjoyed watching the smart little goat trying to open the gate to the pen - although, maybe she wasn't that smart, because it was the pen next to hers :)

(Pen-opening goat below):

Then we took the hay ride. I wasn't sure how Daphne would do to be still for that long, but she really loved it (like the rest of the farm!)

Lastly, I had to get a picture of our smallest pumpkin with this cute sign:

We had a great trip to the farm again! Love this time of year :)

I have to include this picture of Russell - he did a great job carving this pumpkin the day after we went to the farm. This picture just epitomizes fall for me - his outfit, the pumpkin.  Love this kid!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

This Week with CC

We are really enjoying Classical Conversations! The kids are learning so much.

Paige is not technically in CC (the age for classes is 4+), but she even knows our history work and some of our science and math. Her stalling-bedtime question for me tonight was, "Did Charlemagne wear a white shirt?" (To be fair, she also asked me if superheros wear underwear :) I love that funny girl!)

Daphne, of course, is not in CC either, but it is HILARIOUS to watch her as she tries to copy the hand motions for our timeline song!

Normally we have a nursery worker during CC, but she was sick this week, so I taught in the nursery for an hour (along with the 8th grade nursery helper, Mia.) I got some cute pictures of the kids!

I'm the CC field trip coordinator for the year (a job I chose out of several volunteer job options). So I planned a field trip to the Wheaton College Children's Concert, a free concert put on by the college's symphony orchestra and concert choir. It was really good and the kids really enjoyed it! Four other families from our group joined us.

We are so blessed by this group of families and the classical education model!

Last Cali Pics

This is a lot of posting about California! It was hard to narrow down the photos!

Janet and Ben took us to Yogurtland, their favorite frozen yogurt place:

If you ever find yourself in California, please visit 85C Bakery. There are several locations. Get the iced sea salt coffee and the taro bread. And send me some - I'm having serious withdrawals! Janet and I went there 3 times.

Russell and Rachel enjoyed the pastries one day while the other kids slept:

 A Random snacktime:

Janet and I - I love this sweet friend!

And flying home:

Goodness, what a fabulous trip! We will have to go back. Not sure when, but it will happen!