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We spent last weekend with Zack’s mom. A late night ice cream date, muffin baking (and batter eating!), a trip to Hobby Lobby, and spending Sunday morning at our old church – where Mae made a flower for her best friend –are just some of the fun things we were able to do.

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The girls and I have been fighting some kind of sickness all week. Fevers, scratchy throats, runny noses, and Rae’s molars breaking through swollen gums.

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We took the girls out to a bike trail so they could try out their hand me down bike and brand new roller skates. Rae gave up on the bike pretty quickly, so Mae didn’t get much practice in. She did have fun though and I’m sure we will be back a lot this summer!

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Mother hen watching over her flock. She is officially a big girl. She talks all  the time, and knows the words for everything. She is officially potty trained (she wears night-time pull-ups, but they’re usually dry)! Finally!

Mae is teaching Rae different tasks, such as shredding cheese, hand washing dishes, her ABCs, sweeping, getting dressed independently, and how to make the perfect splash in the bathtub. I just stay out of the way and watch from the corner of the room (with a HUGE grin on my face). Now, if only I could remember to turn on the video camera…

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It has been warm (in the 60s!) lately, which means more time outside and more belly rubs for Rosie. Its all she wants all day long.

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We moved the chicks into the coop with the older hens. We had to divide the coop with wire, so the chicks didn’t get pecked. We’re desperately hoping the weather stays warm, so we can construct the large coop for the hens.

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The girls have requested oatmeal every morning since October.

Blueberry and brown sugar.

Strawberries & cream (Daddy’s coffee creamer).

Honey, cinnamon banana.

Cinnamon peaches.

Cinnamon baked (steamed) apples.

Brown sugar & white raisins.

Maple syrup & peanut butter.

All with flax seed mixed in. They help me make it each morning (sometimes we have eggs, grits, or pancakes). They enjoy making their own food, and I try to let them help with all meals as much as possible. If I am in a bad mood, I have them color or play instead, so that cooking remains fun for them.

I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures lately. Hopefully I can change that soon. 🙂

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We’ve been busy around here lately. The good kind of busy. Productive I guess is a better word. Mae has been practicing her sewing skills, and is does really well with it! She is so patient with any task we throw at her.

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One of our chickens, Tree, died last week. An hour later, we took a trip to get 15 more. Ha! Zack is such a good papa to our hens. His dad always wanted chickens, and I think the fascination may be in their genes.

Anyway,  on our way to get chicks, we stopped into a Lion’s Choice for some lunch, and they were having a special on their “Bountiful Baked Potato,” and Mae thought I should spread the word.

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We make so much homemade pizza, that we don’t see it as a ‘task’ to whip up some dough. I’m so grateful, for not only a husband who loves to cook, but who is good at it!! Homemade pizza is so good!

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Miss Rae got a hair cut over the weekend, and it is so cute on her! She is just as excited about it as Zack and I are! Mae insists that she too should get a pixie cut, and I am continually changing the subject. She adores short hair, but I think she should at least try it long once in her life.

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We ( I ) have added geography to Mae’s ‘curriculum.’ Her first destination, is China. We’ll be spending at least a week, on each place we study. Our first day of it went well, but I definitely noticed I could’ve prepared a bit more before diving in!

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Rae has been sleeping more than usual lately, due to teething & growing. It has giving me some good, long one on one time with Mae. We read library books, extend our school time, and play games. I look forward to it and try to get in at least a little bit of time with her each day.

The rest of our week is scheduled and full, which hasn’t happened in a long time! I keep thinking I am forgetting to do something.

My parents are coming for the weekend to watch the girls while Zack and I go out. Not on a date but still out,  and the fact that out night out fell on Valentines didn’t occur to us until yesterday. We’re getting lame when it comes to dating! Ah well, at least we’re still the coolest people each other knows, right?!

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^  Rosie  ^

We did not officially get a new dog, but this precious lady has been hanging out on our porch for four days. She has no collar, and sleeps on a hay bale most of the day. Mae has named her Rosie and has become very attached, so I hope she sticks around. If she is still here after Christmas I think we’ll bring her in for the winter.

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We are in major spring winter cleaning mode. I am aiming for a ‘fresh’ home in time for the new year.

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Mae recently received a large case of black olives from someone who took note of how much she enjoys them. Just like her mama, she can easily eat a can a day. She took this photo one day while she ate / played with some.

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She is getting so good at writing, knowing and understanding letters and numbers (even simple addition!). I can tell her a letter and she knows how to right it (unless it is a ‘V’- too simular to a ‘U’). She wants to write every word.  I love her interest in learning so much!!!!

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Painting, baking, and Christmas books have filled the moments between cleaning. Thankfully it has been gloomy and cold outside (I will never say that  again!) so I haven’t been bothered by having to stay indoors for over a week.

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Zack’s grandparents gave the girls Elf on the Shelf, and we have had to much fun with it. Since we aren’t telling the girls that Santa is anything but imaginary, the girls know that we hide him (sometimes more than once a day), and Mae even hides it for Zack every now and then.

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^  because I am not in enough pictures…and they had messy faces 🙂

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Mae had her first dentist appointment!! Rae sat next to her the entire time, and they both thoroughly enjoyed their first visit!

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^ ^ ^  The cherry on top of a full week! Zack and I received this catalog in the mail yesterday and we have already circled a bunch of food we want to try next spring! I miss how much labor intensive work we get done every spring. Lazy-bum mode is not my favorite, which is probably why our home gets changed around so much during the winter…okay, okay, *why our house gets changed around so much all year long. 😉

We have company coming this weekend, a Christmas program at church this Sunday, and next week is Zack’s last week until Christmas break!!

OH, NOVEMBER

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With the cold weather taking over and the daylight saying goodnight before supper each day, Zack and I are diving head first into hibernation mode. The girls on the other hand are sleeping less. I’m trying to convince them that sleep is good, but for the first time, their just not interested.

We’re coping with baking a heavy breakfast most mornings (2-3 hours earlier than we had been!), reading books by the fire until Mommy officially wakes up, yoga to warm up before activities (painting, television, games, and schoolwork), and keeping the girls in footy pajamas unless we leave the house – its so cold!!

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Rae and I have been cleaning the house and playing educational games on the iPad together.

Oh, and squeezing in some driving lessons!

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The weather has kept the high in the 30s. Burr. I am increasingly grateful for the fall scenery in town. Thanks for sticking around beautiful leaves!

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aaaand,  we experienced the first snow of the season! It is very pretty, but way too cold for my liking.

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With the weather getting in the teens at night (and a cat-hungry German Shepard hanging out in our yard all day), we have brought Black beauty inside. He is loving it!!

Mae and Zack have caught a bug. I believe they are all better now, I am praying Rae and I don’t get it next! It was hard enough to watch one baby throw up,  🙁

November has been full of sickness for the Rogers’ house. Surely we’ve caught enough things that we can start to get well…right?

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This photo was the last photo taken on Saturday. The last photo of the week, and it was taken at the request of the lady in it. It makes me so happy. She requested that it be black and white, and edited it herself. I told her the steps and she was so proud (as am I!).

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This fire has been such a blessing tucked into our tiring week, begging us to stop, snuggle, and make time to truly rest.

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My sick baby in warm jammies taking care of her sick babies. I know she is now an official two year old, but lets just sick with calling her baby for, oh I don’t know, the next 98 years? That sounds about right to me.

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The doctor’s office. 3 days in a row. Never want to go back again. Ever.

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We hung our white board back up, and restocked our marker supply. The girls’ drawing skills have improved drastically in a few days! Ok, well, Mae’s skills. Rae’s creativity has been expressed better, even better than with crayons and blank paper.

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I needed new art to add to our collection. I enjoy watching them do their magic. Figure out what colors they want to use next. ‘Should I clean off my brush now? No, it needs more pink first.’ Mae stuck with purple, red, and green for her two paintings. Rae went all in and used every color on her palette. All or nothing approach.

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We rearranged our house a bit. Not much better than a rocking chair by a fire on a cold cold day.  /  This is what a newly healthy four year old looks like!!  /  This is what a recovering sick baby looks like.  /  New painting hung in the kitchen, courtesy of Miss Rae.

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We had a small celebration for Rae with Zack’s family. My nephew shot a gun for the first time, and hit all the targets! Rae got to spend her day with three grandparents. We ate soup, homemade bread, cookies and fruit. We kept a fire going and spent most of the day talking by it. We played a few games with the kids, and Mae spent the whole time with Sadie. She was very sad to see her cousin go.

I am desperately praying this week will be better than the last. I feel an ear infection coming on and haven’t had a full nights sleep in at least a week. October was wonderful, I’m hoping November follows in it’s footsteps.

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It has been weeks since I did a round up of the “in-between” bits of our daily lives. I am finally getting back into the groove of taking pictures. I got into a funk for about a month, and it’s finally feeling fun again.

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^  a wall in our dining room  ^

^ Those six little pumpkins, a cider scented candle, and a wreath on the door is a “fallsy” as our house is going to get this year. The yard makes up for my lack of oomph  though. I think every tree is getting in on the autumn rainbow action this year!

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^ ^  Its been a while, so I thought I’d show a bit of our home.

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At this point, half of the bathroom (the shower part) in now grouted. I’m hoping we can polish off the rest tonight, and get everything installed in time for A’s party in two weeks. In my mind that sounds totally doable, but it has taken a year and a half to get to this point, so I’m trying not to set myself a deadline.

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Two weekends ago we took a trip to visit our best friends from college. Four years, and four daughters later, and we still felt right at home with them.

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Zack pulled the poncho out of storage and we’ve all been taking turns enjoying it. Well, not Rae. She won’t go anywhere near it. Weirdo.

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Mae has been getting some computer time after school work while Rae and the boy I babysit squeeze in 3-4 hour naps. The girls are so adorable  playing Mae’s piano. (She won’t let me call it a keyboard), and their singing skills have improved since she received it!

This week is full of babysitting, preschool, shopping, fall parties, bathroom construction, and trick-or-treating. I feel like this will be our last year trick or treating. We’ve gone to support Zack’s involvement in the community / schools (and because its what people do on October 31st), but this year I will be going solo, and since I don’t like Halloween and never have, I can’t justify going next year. They have costumes and are eager to go Friday, but next year I may not even bring it up. * Also, this article is very convicting.

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What a busy couple of weeks (make that a busy month) we’ve had. Non-stop. Party preparation, party, new babysitting job, allergies, preschool, bathroom construction, regular to-do’s and Zack working 6 days a week. It’s been rough.

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We had 5 spills before Mae’s party started. 🙂

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^  Coaster skates!  ^

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We had our first fire of the season at Mae’s party!

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Of course, it was a “Frozen” themed party. 🙂

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While Mae has been at preschool, Rae and I have had lazy drawing time / reading several books to fill an hour. Windows open, candles lit, soft music playing. It has been our only down time. It’s been wonderful.

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Those moves. Moves accompanied by loud singing. Songs she makes up as she goes. I’ll never tire of it.

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Since I have begun babysitting three days a week, Mae has not been homeschooled. I regret it each day it is pushed aside. Yesterday I pushed everything else aside and spent quality time teaching my precious, eager four year old. I felt full.

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Black Beauty found a new favorite begging spot. Sorry, buddy, you still can’t come in.

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My helper. That face. I honestly cannot get enough of it.

Constant rainy days have been fitting of our moods. Not that we are gloomy, we are in a nesting-hibernate-read for hours-live in our pajamas-make up songs and sing them as loud as we can mood. I’m not ready for the sun to get in the way of such greatness. Long-johns, wool socks, hoodies, and the brightest lipstick we can find. Cider candles. Crock pot meals daily. No excuse to skip a chance to have a dance party in the bathroom while our freshly lacquered nails dry. Magic.

We are going to see our college besties this weekend for my birthday!! I am going to enjoy every second I have left of year 26.

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I can’t believe it is already Friday! I could’ve sworn yesterday when I dropped Mae off at school, that it was Tuesday. By all means, “Hooray!” –it’s just, if I didn’t take photos every day I wouldn’t have a clue what went into the past five days! I’ll take that as a sign of a great week.

Looking over photos, we’ve been busy!

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Sunday, we made Chili, took it to the park and followed supper up with a bike ride. It was cold, and I didn’t wear proper clothes, but it was a very enjoyable evening! We even saw five deer, practically with in grabbing distance, or at least petting distance!

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Zack has been filling his free time (when he gets some!) with bathroom and truck fixin’.

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Zack sent me this photo yesterday. His students made sculptures of what they assumed his family was like. 🙂 The bearded children crack me up! If my girls have to have facial hair, I sure am glad it’s orange! I guess we also have a giant cat, a tiny bear, and I am a very small person with brown eyes? Nailed it.

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Two weeks of preschool under her sparkly pink belt of experience!

Tuesday she spent the entire car ride home telling me every detail of the story of Joseph! (even the jealous brothers and the big hole Joseph was thrown into!)

“Caring” is a big lesson they learn about daily. The other night Mae wanted to play dolls with Zack and I. We said, “Okay, what should we do?” She responded, “Lets pretend they are caring for each other!”

My heart of course melted into a big puddle of mush. After mopping it up, we pretended our dolls were very caring and kind.

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I set up a reading area for the girls using our old crib mattress, and Zack bumped it up a notch by renovating it into a fort. The girls and I added homey touches, like a welcome mat and a “door.” It’s definitely the coolest place in the house and the ultimate nap destination!

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Mae skipped her nap on Thursday and helped me clean. We burned fall scented candles, and listened to soft music. It was lovely.

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Chores without pants. Well, I wore pants…

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Thursday, when I picked up Zack from school, we went out and got some warm cookies and hot chocolate to take to the park. The temperature hadn’t made it past 60o all day, so we bundled up! It was awesome!

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Somehow I don’t believe this is “gourmet.” It was mighty good hot chocolate though.

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We took our time, fed the fish, sat on a bench and savored our treats, and Zack and the girls skipped back to the car.

Happy surprise Friday! Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

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After Zack being busy all summer and the girls and I sitting around like a bump on a log, it has been nice to be involved in a busy week!

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Zack began painting a wall for the church youth area a few days ago. The girls and I decided to tag along –cabin fever!

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Penelope and I made cobbler the other day. Zack was kind enough to take photos, and Penelope was kind enough to wash the dishes with her tongue. 🙂

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^  This moment!!!  ^

I snuck past them, while they were having a conversation, and I am so glad I did. They didn’t even notice I was there. After I took the photo I sat there, in the dark bathroom, and soaked it all in. 

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Cookin’ Playdoh and watching Toy Story 2 – because Jesse is silly. 🙂

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Sheriff Ploppy bustin’ a move at the supper table. Woop woop!

Tonight we have open house at Penelope’s preschool! I am so nervous, Penelope is so excited. If she is nervous on the first day of preschool, I may just swoop her up and sprint right on out’a there!!! Knowing I will homeschool is the only thing that will make our hour and a half a part okay. 

(Hooray for another thing to keep us busy! – but not too busy 🙂  )