Monday, February 10, 2014

Hero's Turn in the Spotlight

On December 8th, Hero performed in her third Holidays on Ice show.  It's so much fun to watch and help out with.  This year she skated in three group numbers and did a solo to Kari Jobe's rendition of O Holy Night!  It was gorgeous and she totally nailed her axel in the evening show (which was the one the whole family came to see).  It's so inspiring to watch your children do something completely amazing and I'm thankful for the resources to make that happen.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Holiday Recital

My generous mother-in-law allowed my violin studio to use her music academy facilities for my Christmas recital.  It went well and I love seeing all of my students, from brand new ones, to kids I've been teaching for more than eight years.  Allegra and Ian also participated.  Music is such a gift from the Lord and I'm grateful for my small abilities and for my great appreciation in the field.


Thanksgiving seems like forever ago, and indeed as Valentine's Day is fast approaching, it kind of was.  So, I thought, instead of focusing on the day in retrospect (it was a normal American Thanksgiving anyways - food and family), I thought I'd make a list of the ten things I was most thankful for in 2013.

1. My Savior - My list starts out with the easiest: I'm thankful that I have an all powerful God who has chosen me, despite my utter unworthiness
2. Reading through the Bible this year with James - We were supposed to have finished by the end of the year, reading the Bible from Genesis through to Revelation.  We aren't quite there yet, we have about 30 more days to "make up" still, where we fell behind schedule.  What a blessed experience this has been for us as a couple (we read out loud together) and for us as followers of the Way - we look forward to doing this annually and we've started on next year's schedule as well (we've chosen to do this year chronologically through the Bible)
3. My Husband - He's got such a huge load on his shoulders, and he handles it all without complaining and without looking back, and he's growing in faith every year
4. Hero, Allegra, Ian, and Colin - I'm thankful for my "bigger" kids.  It's amazing to watch them grow into their own people.  Sometimes it's a ride (that I might wish had an exit door from time to time LOL) but I know that the hard work put in now will pay off as we watch them move into the world independently and positively impact those around them
5. Cecily and Elinor - I'm so thankful that I still have "littles" around to lavish my love on, knowing just how fast the precious time flies.  I soak in every "Mama" and every snuggle I can get.  It's one of the benefits of having a large family, and I think of how I'd miss out if I had just my two oldest kids, two years apart, like most people do.  My biggish family certainly didn't grow out of my own planning - it is one of God's choicest blessings.
6. My Dad - I'm thankful for the opportunity to grow closer to my Dad, as he tries his best to be there for me and James, and the kids.  It's not the way any of us planned it, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mom is proud of both of us for where we've gotten (we can talk on the phone for a long time now - who would've thought?  we've probably talked more in the last two years than we'd talked for the previous fourteen, just because that was Mom and I's thing)
7. My Brothers - Maybe an oldest sister never quite thinks of her brothers as "grown ups", and I admit that it's hard, but the proof is in their lovely families and the fact that I enjoy spending time with them and wish that we were all much closer, geographically speaking
8. Our Trip to Hawaii - The trip changed every one of us who was there, permanently.  It brought a smorgasboard of emotions, but the single most important thing it did was remind us that we are a family, and that no one ever really leaves a family when they pass on - their legacy and memory lives on through generations.
9. Our Pets - We lost some beloved pets in 2013, and gained some too.  What a thoughtful, caring God to have made certain animals to be true companions alongside humans!  Thanks for the memories Princess, Tabatha, Bear, Ginger, and Bart, and we look forward to many more memories our little pet family of Rory, Cinammon, Augie, fishies, Essie, Elsa, and Stella.
10. Books - Lest I be too serious, this year was a big year for me to get back into reading.  I mean, I never really stopped reading, but I forgot a bit just how much a love to read.  I acquired a lot of new books for my library and have been absolutely devouring everything from serious academic texts, to faith-based books, to classics, to fluffy fiction.

Among a few other things, I contributed a dessert to Thanksgiving dinner - Neopolitan Cheesecake

Cecily and Colin burning off some Thanksgiving energy outside

Hello to Esther!

In November we welcomed a new member to our pet family - a kitten from the humane society that we named Esther (we call her Essie most of the time, unless we find her trying to get on the table, and then she hears her full name yelled at her).  She's a perfect fit for our family - spunky and vivacious, but very loving.  She's already grown very much in the two and a half months we've had her, and it's added such fun to our home.  We said goodbye to the last of our elderly cats (we lost the last three within four months), which was very difficult, but young, vibrant life has a way of reminding you that time marches on.

Cecily spends a lot of time toting Essie around

Elinor's more content to observe and occasionally pet

James is secretly a cat lover, I think

Essie hanging out with Hero's guinea pig, Cinammon

Her favorite place to lay is in front of the fireplace, when it's on

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Halloween is not my favorite holiday, just because I dread dealing with the sugar rush, but of course the children love it, so I try to humor them.  It was a gorgeous night, which was nice, so we walked the neighborhood for about two hours (the littlest one is S-L-O-W) and then drove over to Nana and Papa's house and stopped in for treats and hot cider.

My attempt at Halloween craftiness

They were pretty cute as far as spider cupcakes go, if I do say so myself

My little sunflower

Allegra as teacher Laura Ingalls

Ian as a ninja (when you procrastinate until a week before Halloween, costumes are pretty slim pickings)

All the kiddos that trick or treated (Hero stayed home and handed out candy) including Olympic gold medalist skater Cecily and power ninja (?) Colin

Hero did four of the six pumpkins, woohoo!  She was most proud of her Tardis pumpkin