We didn’t see the boys as often as we normally do, so when we did we tried to have a bit more fun. We let G cook and bake and help around the house more (hand washing dishes is a new favorite for him). He’s still a champ at putting his dishes in the sink, loading and unloading the washer and dryer, and mopping the floor after I sweep. He does everything with joy and is such a bright and happy kid.

A is hitting milestones right and left (more on a few of those below). He slept a bunch and has begun to really master handholding and identifying objects -people, the dog, toys, and ignoring other things – such as he no longer tries to eat the table.

A baby wearing a snowsuit, blowing raspberries, agh! I love that kid.

G met his newest ladies. He is SO! SO! gentle with them despite the excitement that bursts through when he sees them.

A started sitting up for minutes at a time! He also started eating baby rice with the cutest little spoon you ever did see. He really likes it and really wants to help out with the spoon holding – which is not actually all that helpful.

Here is G at one of the many doctor appointments he was dragged to. I’m kidding, he actually enjoys going anywhere and everywhere.  Here he is playing the pretend you’re sleeping game – and what a lovely game that is…

…and here he is playing Look what I shoved behind the fridge!… I don’t like this game nearly as much as the last one, but he sure is proud.

This is the I’m a dog now and I’m going to follow you around smelling the back of your knee for the next eight minutes game.

Also, not a favorite, but it’s better than the last.

…and here he is looking all pretty waiting for his momma outside of the school after one of those doctor appointments.

Mae, guarding her baby while I am taking a photo of them and making him a bottle.

Typically, the second A gets attention, G bombards us with a series of “Look me!” chants or he jumps in front of the camera to photobomb a photo that was intended to be of A. But every once in a blue moon, he sits down to chat with him for a few seconds (his normal attention limit for all things) and every once in a blue-er moon I have the camera in my hand.

We can all just imagine him telling his little brother all about his favorite things in life and that he is filling his head with compliments about how mature his scoot technique has become. That day will come in a year or two, I’m sure. For now, it’s nice just to imagine such a day.

Classic photobomb pose. ^ Tummy, feet up, and hands under his chin.

We also brought the swings back! (We switch out the swings for each boy – G uses our green Ikea swing)

G loves joining in with the girls when they do their daily stretches. Somethings they wait to work on until he is gone – but yesterday, they worked on their handstands and had him join in (They used the wall so that he knew where he shouldn’t stand. He got kicked a lot less). He learned in one day! It took many tries, but he was able to show his mom a perfect stand when she came to pick him up!

Welp. That’s it! Shortest “boys post” to date! You’re welcome, everyone who isn’t their mother.


My parents came to visit the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We spent most of the day outside in some way, beginning with a walk at our favorite park.

The girls played Pooh Sticks, tried their confidence on the jungle-gym, and Zack even managed to sneak a not-selfie of me.

See! ^ That’s me. Worth the wait, wasn’t it? You’re welcome…

Thanks for visiting on the most perfect day, Mom and Dad. I’m sure you planned it that way. (As if you could plan anything around the weather here…)


This month’s schooling was more unstructured than usual due to snow days, travel, and an abundance of doctor appointments (everyone is fine!).

When we did “have school” (I need a better term for this.) we took our time. We read more, asked more questions, wrote more intentionally, and diligently finished up projects to make way for a fresh start in December.

The rest of this month will be spent just reading, practicing piano and dance / gymnastics biz – while I prep for December.

So, before I move on into the December mindset, let’s see what they’ve been up to. Or rather, what they did that I bothered to photograph. Ha.

This was the big kahuna – or big Koi. (Isn’t Rae’s Sumo wrestler the greatest?)

We’ve been using Little Passports for some guiding where geography / culture studies are concerned. This month they sent us JAPAN.

We have yet to have the girls make, or even just try, sushi. We do, however, have sushi fixin’s in the house, so we’ll get to that this week.

They learned some common phrases (No, they won’t recite for an audience other than Momma, sorry.), as well as how to count from one to ten. They discovered Sumo wrestling, bullet trains, and origami (or “origarmi” as they say. Thanks, BBC.).

They already knew plenty about Japan, so I really focused on things that they might not know. They ate with chopsticks even more than usual…as if Mae needed an excuse…

We also studied (again) the history of the nation, stopping just short of World War II – that will be its own study.

The girls made toilet paper roll Koi fish. Mae really got into this craft!

Zack joined in on the Model Magic portion of craft time. We love this stuff! We (it was all a group effort) made a sushi roll and a Mount Fuji, and they are adorable.

This month for school, we studied the Mayflower (and ships in general) and life of settlers, once again. We will study this every year, getting more in-depth as we go.

We read portions of The Story of the World, Vol. 3 as well as Our America, Grade 2 for our Thanksgiving lessons – using trusted history sites when needed.

For their biographies, they studied William Bradford and Squanto.

Our first assignment for the month was a paper on Katherine Ferguson (as their colonial era person to get away from middle-aged white males). She was incredible, you should look her up!

We spent one afternoon talking about surrealism and the girls drew their own silly animals.

Mae drew a horse bird (not a pegasus).

The girls also wrapped up the Holy Spirit portion of their Trinity project. It will not be like the Japan project but will involve simple paintings and plenty (plenty!) of discussion.

This has been so much fun for all of us.

I think “Son” will be next, as the Christmas season is nigh and we will conclude that study just after the Easter holiday.

*We, of course, continue our usual English lessons, but that just flows so smoothly into our routine. While it is still my favorite subject to teach, I may not continue to mention it. At least until Mae begins writing her own stories, ’cause it will be adorable and I’m totally going to want to share that goodness!


It began snowing here last week while Mae was at dance class. The excitement for the damp, not too pretty snow was comical. As it snowed off and on throughout the weekend the excitement never dwindled. Jump on through to Monday and we woke to a full-blown snow day!!

Zack and the boys’ mom had to work on Monday (but students had off) and thankfully those in charge gave them a half day! The boys got picked up before lunch but G got to play with the girls out in the snow with the girls before he left.

Zack had time to chop some wood while the girls continued to play. We ended the afternoon with a couple of inches of snow and It’s a Wonderful Life – Zack’s favorite!


Starting with the girls’ fifth birthdays we exchanged the idea of gifts for an “experience.” (We also do this for Christmas) They get to choose what they want to do – this year they chose to celebrate together with a fancy supper and a movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

While we don’t have parties anymore, Grandma Shari always likes to have a day with them. The celebrations began two days before Mae’s eighth birthday by way of a sleepover with Grandma!

The following day was filled with our tradition of a new outfit for each of them, a new American Girl (Our Generation Girls) from Grandma and lunch at the new pizza place in town.

(Mae renamed her doll, formerly Peggy, Penny. Rae renamed her’s, formerly Holiday Haven, Holly)

The girls each received a card filled with cash monies in the mail from their Grandma Penny!

With a bit of her money, Mae bought herself her first robot! Daddy helped build it. It’s powered by salt water and boy does that thing fly!

Mae received a phone call on her birthday from Grandpa. Rae got a call from Grandma Penny, who was treated to some caroling!

Rae bought Mae a genuine wooden boomerang and Mae bought Rae a Harry Potter and Hedwig Lego set.

(If we actually called our girls “Mae” and “Rae,” things would get confusing quick around here!!)

For the main event, we brought along Grandma Shari and our cousins – who we just cannot get enough of! All of them are quick to go along with whatever plans we think up and always have just as much fun as we do. It’s so nice to have that kind of friend (mother-in-law included!)

The Nutcracker was delightful! The dance number during the credits had us laughing so so hard! (Rae’s laugh was the best part of the day for me!) It wasn’t intended to be funny, so maybe it won’t be so funny the second time around? I hope it is…

The girls dressed their best – of course. Rae also brought along her American Girl doll but left her in the car. However, Holly was also dressed her best.

For the meal portion of the date, we went to the Fountain on Locust downtown. It is such a charming place! Everyone, aside from myself, got ice cream. I don’t like sweets, but man oh man their ice cream is the greatest. I ordered white chicken chili and it was equally as delicious (according to the non-sweet eater…). It came with homemade cornbread – the greatest cornbread I’ve ever had. I’m hoping we make it back there soon.

On Rae’s actual birthday, the girls baked a cake and cut out some circle slices for individual cakes. We set aside some un-frosted slices for G to enjoy. Mae made some shrinky-dink toppers as a surprise to Rae and by the time they were ready to eat them, they looked pretty good!

I am so thankful for the girls that made me a mom and another beautiful year with both of them!


My sweet Rae,

I spent the better part of my afternoons this week reading past letters I’ve written to you. What joy you bring to our days. It’s been great to see which traits have stuck with you (your infectious head-thrown-back belly laugh) and which traits you’ve sadly grown out of (back pats).

I am in awe of the beautiful qualities that make you our Amelia.

Now! Let us see what your sixth trip around the sun entailed!

You are still shy yet very outspoken when the occasion calls for it.

You, like me, want to be completely surrounded by people who are leaving you well enough alone. Thanks for exempting me from such boundaries and allowing me to share your bubble for snuggles anytime I want.

I love the way you speak. My favorite “Raeism” has to be how you refer to today as, “This day.” and tomorrow as, “The next day after this day.”

Penelope is still your favorite human.

You love the idea of going to Daddy’s classroom but do not actually like being in Daddy’s classroom.

You are entering your seventh year with a consistent love of naps and you still fall asleep during most car rides. It’s the cutest.

You’ve finally caved and decided to move on from your coveted pixie cut and are now aiming for “Mommy’s hair.” I miss the pixie.

You drew me a picture, possibly, every day this past year. Often, several a day. You fold them up and put them in an envelope with a sticker across the seal, and place it / them on my pillow.

I may require that this tradition continues well into your adulthood.

I kid…

But, please, don’t grow out of this phase too fast okay?

You used to be fanatical about things, such as Star Wars and our beloved, Sarah and Duck. Nowadays, you like many things a decent amount – such as! – dinosaurs, comic books, dancing, painting (You would paint all day if I’d let you. Someday, I hope I let you.).

In your sixth year, I do believe your affection for accessories grew to new heights. Maybe it’s the new hair? You adore headbands, clips, braids, earrings (clip-ons), bracelets and of course, watches.

You lost three teeth this year! You were so worried well before you even felt the ‘tweensiest’ wiggle and by the time the third tooth was loose enough, you pulled it yourself. whatagirl.

Happiest of birthdays, Rae. We love you immensely.


October is my favorite month. It may have started because it is the month I was born, but as I have aged, the reason has shifted and I now I love it for all of the celebrations it holds and, now that I live up north where fall exists, I am allowed to feel cool air and view the changing leaves making October, officially my favorite.

This month it seemed to go by so fast I couldn’t soak it all in and enjoy all it had to offer. I know I will enjoy looking back on our days as I scroll through this blog in ten years or so, but right now I thoroughly appreciate that it is helping me notice just how full our days, months, and years are.

Every month goes by faster than the next and I am usually left feeling as though we didn’t accomplish anything of worth. Slowly building each post and finding I have more and more to add shows me a different story.

So, let’s get on with the final bit of this month’s story…

We began our month celebrating both of the girls’ birthdays with Zack’s mom  (Rae’s birthday is in November – We will celebrate even more!) – a post all about our many celebrations will be posted at some point in November.

Orange and red and yellow are creeping up here and there. Not cold full-time yet though, so we have yet to start up the fireplace or furnace. Please be cold, November…

Bailey has a new favorite nap spot. In the window box right smack dab in the path of the sun. My kind of lady.

Rae hiding in the bathroom to get away from G. ^ He loves her so much.

^ Those toes! ^

I wrote about our month with the boys back here.

We spent a day in the city as a family – which used to be a common occurrence but sadly isn’t anymore. Autumn is our favorite time and we’re trying to make the most of it. We went to the London Tea Room, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and Ikea – Three of our favorites!

We’ve got a new member of the family. She’s incredible.

Lady lost her third tooth! She wrote the tiniest note to the tooth fairy and set it on my pillow, not hers. She wanted to pretend the tooth fairy was real, but then nixed that idea when she realized she would only get a little bit of money versus a treat (her own pint of dairy-free ice cream). I still kept the note. I love it so much.

Side spiel : The girls decided they would like to pretend Santa is real for the second year in a row. We’ll see how that goes. Their letters to Santa seem to be in a hieroglyphic code which Momma may not be able to decipher…

So much time ( so. much. time. ) was spent in the car. This seems to be our new normal. It’s okay, though. I like our car and it has heat!

Mae started therapy for her feet (she’s fine), so we have spent a couple days a week at the doctor. We still have four or five weeks left to go. Thankfully the kids are all so patient while we wait for her!

For school this month we have been using the fly by the seat of our pants method.

We began a large-scale project on the food chain – producers & consumers. The girls have designed their own food web, complete with labels and a map key. (and not featured on the web – scavengers and decomposers)

We received our second Little Passports country. JAPAN!

Brazil and Japan are the first two?? Those are the countries my parents were born and raised in. It is a smidge creepy that those are the two the folks at Little Passports chose, but also great for us. We have pulled out quite a bit of the Japanese items we own to help us along in our research.

In the first week, they practiced origami, wrote their own haikus (and used fancy ink pens to do so), studied maps and books on their own time, and begun memorizing certain Japanese words and 1-10 (Mae already knew those). Oh, and of course eating Ramen (with ham and boiled eggs) with chopsticks…okay, eating everything with chopsticks…

We plan on making sushi – or at the very least, we will take them somewhere to try it – and watching all of Miyazaki’s movies for the hundredth time. As if we need an excuse.

Now, next month we may not know the country so well, but I think that may make it a bit more interesting (for me). We have studied several countries over the years, but Little Passports has a good way of helping us along and makes it interesting and helps us get creative.

Rae and her animals. Bailey has been really generous with her snuggles on the cold days. On the warm days, Rae hunts frogs.

I turned 31. This is all the proof I have of that day. Mae on day three of wearing that sweater, Rae holding a frog. Mae being a stinker, me paying her back with classic rib-tickles. I’m so glad I get to be their mom and hang out with them full time.

We visited with a turtle for a bit.

A love of tire swings bloomed in Miss Mae. I still don’t trust our trees enough to put one up in our own yard…

More cute notes. The one on the left I received at 10 P.M. one night from a girl who couldn’t sleep. The other one, I found while cleaning out my Bible. (I put it back in my Bible.)

Cute girl being cute.

Here are some more photos of Mae in her favorite sweater – just in case you hadn’t seen enough of it yet…

Mae had costume day at Dance the week before Halloween and we followed it up with a Halloween party at our cousin, Anna’s house!

For their final performance, they went as a normal witch and an eagle (she couldn’t find part of her Dorothy costume.).


…the second attack was not so well received… That is one proud eagle, though.

It was cold and rainy and just how Halloween should be. We went door to door with G and his family as well as up to the school. Zack had a booth at the school’s Trunk or Treat. The Art Club trunk was incredible (not surprised!). He’s brilliant.

NOW! on to more color, colder days by the fire, more birthday celebrations, and a long holiday weekend spent with our favorite man!

We’re ready for you, November!