I’ve let the blog go, once again, and now I’m playing catch up just before we begin our Christmas shtuff.

So, first things first, Penelope became a Christian last Sunday (December 4th, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. -TMI?) snuggled up on the couch with Zack and I, just after our morning devotional.

She is actually the same age Zack was when he became a Christian, and he too was at home with his momma.

She made her first (all of our first) pineapple upside down cake to celebrate the glorious occasion!

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A day of homeschooling back before Thanksgiving, documented with the intension of it being its own post. Some days are more full than others – this happened to be a full morning.

The girls did some holiday themed vocabulary, building (they could build all day) while I prepared a lesson, a lesson on music notes (via Khan Academy, which we use A LOT for all sorts of topics), an unfiltered lecture on the “why” of Thanksgiving and a painting to go along with it.

By the looks of that first photo, we also did some crocheting, ABC practice for Rae, and 10 minute math for Mae.


We spent Thanksgiving afternoon at Zack’s Aunt Teresa’s house (she’s in the back there, smooching on Gage). It was certainly an evening well spent!

We usually visit my family in Alabama of head up to my mother-in-law’s in St. Louis. It was nice to just drive up the road this year! Zack didn’t even bother brushing his hair! Ha! HE FANCY.


Observing their shadows.

Mae is  o b s e s s e d with how long her legs are.

Just wait little one. Someday skirts will fit you like a belt, and finding pants to cover your ankles will be impossible.

Her stilts are also covered in very blonde (nearly invisible) peach fuzz, which is so v. v. appealing. She thinks she is  m o m e n t s  away from the days of shaving her legs. She’ll have blonde hair foreva and never have to shave her legs (poor poor child), but will anyway, because its cool?

She thinks growing old is awesome, and I’m not about to spoil it for her.

Anyone still chasing that rabbit? No? Alright, lets move on…

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Usually, if I haven’t been out of the house by the time the sun begins to set we make a point to enjoy some fresh air – even if that just means a stroll to burn some trash or swing on the porch.

A few weeks ago, the girls and I drove up to the river for a few minutes just to stretch our legs. Mae found a leaf larger than my face immediately, so of course we had to photograph it from every angle.

There were deer grazing just to Mae’s left there, unbothered by us. I love where we live! Didn’t think you’d ever hear me complement Missouri, Zack? Me either, but there is it. Our town is superb.


^ One of many phone dump collages to come ^

Playing Uno by candlelight / Washing dishes / Selfie with Mr. G / Rae passed out after hours of shopping / People toes / Rae asked me to take her photo. She intentionally didn’t smile – why can’t my resting face be this attractive??/ Watching Daddy chop a truck full of wood / An bowl of brownie batter abandoned on the couch / Zack building a stand for the water tank, to make more room in the cellar for wood next to the furnace. (AND The Hobbit!!)


Rae, “making her bed.” Life is hard / Frost!!! / The girls insist on staring at the album covers on Spotify – even when it’s the entire Moana soundtrack and the image never changes / On our way to eat lunch we didn’t have to cook (rare!!). Pocahontas and Darth Vader tagged along / Mae waiting for everyone to get on their shoes. Once again, “Why can’t my resting face be this attractive??”

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^ Mae telling me how wonderful God’s creation is ^

A week or two ago we drove to a trail for a walk. Mae packed a picnic for everyone, and helped me push the stroller!


Mae had a tumbling camp last Sunday (same day she became a Christian). All four of us went. It was cold, damp, and windy. A forecast I’ve become very fond of (worry not, I still love blazing hot sunshine) / Rae sporting a fresh haircut, drawing an ice cream cone (Ice cream cones and whales are her favorite things to draw lately) / Our largest nest discovery to date. The girls played with it for days / A gorgeous sky. Mae often asks me to photograph the sky. My girl appreciates a good sky.

We’re giving the girls experiences instead of wrapped gifts this year. I’ll post about those as they happen – can you guess what Rae’s is??



Ah, Rae.

Where do I start?

The beginning, I guess.

When you were just an infant, your Great-grandma Dee made a remark – “She’s a party waiting to happen!” – that sentence sums you up to this very day.

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You adore your sister more than anything. You care about her opinion above others’ and often call her “My best fwiend” in place of her real name. You still miss her the moment she leaves the room, but find it hard to share your snacks with her.

We’ve been preparing you mentally for the day when you must give up the beloved blankets (3 of them!!) you sleep with each night. Tonight is that night and though you seem calm about it now, I’m pretty sure a fit of rage and despair will occur moments after the lights go out.

You’re beginning to learn about fairness. Although, I guess its more like you’re finally acknowledging words are indeed coming out of our mouths when the topic of fairness arises. You’ll get there. Hopefully.

Your sense of humor is building quite nicely. While Penelope inherited Daddy’s effortless sense of humor, you’ve inherited mine. Subtle and sneaky.

Both your laugh and your smile are infectious. Your laughs come straight from your belly, just like your Daddy, and your grin stretches from ear to ear. Its the best.

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Your main topic to discuss in your fourth year has been Star Wars.

Your favorite characters are Stormtroopers (Your most talked about character), Darth Vader, Chewbacca, C3PO, and of course, Luke Skywalker.

Your favorite movie is Episode V, and you even wanted to be “Luke in the black outfit” for Halloween, but I couldn’t find one. Though you definitely belong on the dark side (Your favorite song is, after all, the Imperial March), I’m glad you managed to crush on the good hearted hero.

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Your fifth year is going to be incredible. It’ll be the greatest party yet!




You are such an expressive talker. Whether you’re discussing dry toast, the greatest roller coaster experience, the process of sliding a boot onto your foot, or retelling a story you just heard regarding fried pickles.

These photos were taken the other day as we were on our umpteenth hour of the Stranger Danger talk.

You had been going on and on with questions and setting up various scenarios, what I just grabbed the camera, slyly hovered it over my face and began taking shot after shot. These are milliseconds apart from one another. My face hurt from smiling. Something I didn’t know could happen while discussing such a topic.

You’re so brave and intelligent, sweet Mae.





Rae chillin’ by the pool, during our small group session Sunday night.


I got to see two of my siblings, “The Twins,” this past week!

My sister and I at our cousin Andy’s wedding.

I feel quite tall until I get around my relatives. You’ll notice my sister crouching down as if posing with a child. (Mind you, I’m 5′ 10″). Nevertheless, I’m glad they’re all far far away now! Ha!

Continue reading OUR WEEK SO FAR



Freshly emptied bottle, left over pancake, pots plastered with caramel glue, a plant set upon the counter safe from troublesome kittens, and bread laid on the bread box – not in it, wall left untiled, open entryway trim / cat scratching post, and zero intentions to fix even one of these situations.

Alright, I washed the bottle out. It doesn’t need to smell any worse than its original state. The rest, however, stayed until bedtime.


Tomatoes freshly picked from the neighbors’ house.

One of those apples has a bite taken out of it…


Vocabulary work by the television.

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Project #29. Half done.

We currently have quite a few home projects halted and only half complete. Maybe we’ll get a bit more along this weekend? Maybe.


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Dear Rae,

Unaware that I was making caramel apples in the kitchen, you asked if you could have an apple. I said not right now, ’cause I’m sneaky, so you refused to give he a smile. Actually, getting you to look up at all was quite a chore.

Please be this stubborn when boys ask you out on dates. Until then, continue to master “the silent treatment.”


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(Naturally, we had to include a nature walk!)

This year Rae is starting kindergarten ‘curriculum’ just as Mae did at her age, and Mae is doing 1st and 2nd, depending on the subject.

We’re to the point with Mae of reading a chapter book a day! I’m having to pace myself. We have a read a book, buy a book system so the cost can add up quick. Its worth the money, obviously, or we wouldn’t have the reward system. We’ve just started the Magic Tree House series. I love her attention to detail, and the questions she comes up with as we read. (We’ve read some Ivy and Bean books, Kylie Jean – which she loves – and we started with classics when she was three)

Rae is incredible with numbers. Really, anything to do with math.
She d r e a d s writing, but picked it up quick and completes her work in 5 minutes no matter how much a give her. I think she just doesn’t see the point in yet, so it bores her. I’ve started to only do writing with Rae once a week, and math with Mae once a week.

Mae still finds maps, American history, the Bible, and world cultures interesting.
Rae enjoys learning about the Bible, world cultures, animals / /nature.

We’re almost 2 months into this school year, and so far it’s a great one!



The weather is right in that sweet spot of blazing and freezing, so we’ve been outside a lot more lately.


Taking Mae to school in style.


Spending the 50 minutes Mae is at school wandering the nursery with Rae. She took home a plant (I think its a small tree) with white flowers, and chose a red plant for Mae.


This girl makes everything fun!


Mae learned a new craft a couple weeks ago. Rae tore it apart within the hour.


Tooth number four came out without much of a fight.


We have two new additions, George and Bailey (named by Zack, of course). Brother and sister kittens from our favorite neighbors.

And Rae got a hair cut. You can kind of see it in this photo.


Grandma came for Labor Day weekend, and spent at least an hour cutting out paper dolls for Mae. – Among many many many more wonderful things…

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…like filling our fridge! Grandma buys the fun food we always say no to. We now have so many options we have to sit while we make our decisions. Its a good feeling.

We’re also tearing up our porch, leveling it and installing fresh planks.

Mae starts dance this week!!!

Aaaand, Zack’s best friend is getting married this weekend!



Documenting the girls’ lives is so important to me – like top 5 favorite things. I’ve noticed my posts have become few and far between over the last year, which led to the decision to get back into photography in full force. I’d hate for me to miss out on really experiencing moments when I could just grab the camera, hunker down and focus on the the girls. Their joy, their mischief, their quiet consentration.

(Sure, I could sit down without the camera, but that would be neglecting my passion for photography, and I notice details better through the lens – like Rae’s one leftover pigtail in the photo above).


We usually only bring out syrup and butter for waffles when company is over (fruit, Nutella, and peanut butter are our go-tos, since sugar makes Mae sick). If you can’t tell, Mae thoroughly enjoys syrup. Rae? Well, she’s just dipping her fingers in it and licking it off. Her waffles were left untouched, and she asked for eggs…


^ Rae sitting down, flipping through a book that isn’t Star Wars related, and not a single page ripped?? Its in my book.

Lets hope I don’t fall off the wagon again!