Thursday, November 16, 2017


My Grannie was 95 years old when she passed away on Saturday evening.  I am so thankful for those last few drives I made up to Kentucky to see her.  The one on Halloween to show her the kids' Halloween costumes--she was tired and weak, but she got to see all the kids and give them one last hug.  The one last Thursday, when we saw my mom for her birthday, and then went to the hospital to peek in on her for a bit.  I think it prepared the children for what was to come.  The one on Saturday morning after hearing the night before had not gone well.  I was able to sit with her and hold her hand much of the day, with aunts and uncles and cousins around.  The hands that have been bent with arthritis for as long as I can remember.  The ones who that sewed draperies and doll clothes.  That cooked dinners and fried apple pies.  That rocked babies and wrote everything in pencil.

Grannie was a welcoming lady.  She invited everyone to call her Grannie.  Everyone was welcome in her home.  She loved to sit and chat.  And she loved to make your favorite things to eat.  How she remembered them all, I'm not sure.

She was an encourager.  If you were going to move, she'd tell you that you would do great things.  If you were going to home school, she'd tell you about a great family that had done a wonderful job, and she knew you would too.  If you loved a book, she'd try to read it.  Every child was a delight, every visit welcome, everyone a friend.

Her life had not been easy.  Her mother was ill and passed on the care of the home to her at an early age.  She and Granddaddy raised their family as share croppers until the oldest children were already grown or nearly.  Six children.  Six mouths to feed, six people to train up, six.  Her husband and two of her children left this world ahead of her.

She worked hard: caring for other people's children and sewing.  After Sunday dinners, my father and my uncles would put up her work board over the dining room table on saw horses.  There she would measure and cut the fabric to make the draperies she was so known for.  She had sewing machines in the closest bedroom and would do her hand stitching in the living room.  The number of children who made their way through her house, must be quite the number--young families still in school needing a place close to campus, grandchildren, great grandchildren, even great-great grandchildren.

She taught me how to sew gathers on gingham, using the squares for spacing.  She showed me how to cook without a recipe--on four burners, two ovens, and two microwaves for re-heating, all going at once (at least until a breaker tripped) to get that dinner on the table.  How to laugh when the smoke detector went off because something got left a bit too long (usually the brown and serve rolls).  It was at her house that I learned about Anne of Green Gables and watched Little House on the Prairie.  She was full of laughter and stories.

I will miss my Grannie, but I'm glad she's free.  Ninety-five years is a long time, and I am glad for each of those years.  I'm grateful for a Bible with little slips of paper tucked between pages, for all those cousins that came from her six babies, and for sweet memories (and sweet tea).


Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Funny

Ellie: "He bless you'd!" (when someone sneezed)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gabriella is 10

Our second daughter is quieter,

More contemplative,

But with a great sense of humor.  She makes us smile with her wit and kindness.

She has a fire that is fearsome to behold

She is bright, gifted with a quick memory

She is sweet and motherly.  She is our Gabby.

I love you, Gabriella Georgia-Marie,

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Funny

At bedtime:

Ellie: But when we get to heaven, how will I get my clothes?!

Me: God will give you beautiful, white clothes.

Ellie: Can I have princesses on mine?

Me: Um, I don't think so.

Next morning:

Ellie: God will give me a beautiful white dress and pink, sparkly high heels!

Me: ...

Thursday, September 28, 2017


I'd say life has been busy, but honestly, I guess that it's just been life!

We started a flooring project in mid-to-late July.  We had termite damage to our floor in the dining room, which meant we had to replace the floor in the dining room and library (as they are basically one room divided only by columns.  We intended to also take out the carpet in the living room, as no matter what we did we could not get the stains that were here when we moved in out.  We'd left it with little children, not wanting to have stains on a new carpet.  As we were putting in new snap together flooring, we just extended it on in to the living room--just might be too gentle a word though!  Is anything every 'just?'  We also had a dishwasher leak that made a kitchen floor change a pressing concern too.

Step one was to get the old wood floor out of the kitchen.  It came up easily where the leak had caused it to loosen, but the people who laid the floor used a large amount of adhesive to put the floor down--it was snap together and shouldn't have required glue...

 What we expected to take a couple of hours took more than a day, using steam to loosed the adhesive and a scrapper to clear the floor.  Even after that, walking across the sub-floor had me stepping out of my shoes!

My dad came down and helped Justin with the concrete board, tiling, and grouting of the kitchen.

The floors are lovely, and not at all sticky!

Next up, was the wood floor.  As the wood floors were mostly sound, we cut out the termite damaged corner of the dining room, as we did not wish to repeat the difficult, sticky mess of the kitchen through out the other two rooms, a closet and two corridors.  Once the damaged section was removed, we put in oriental strand board to bring the floor to level--and applying leveling compound to make a smooth surface. Evidently that wasn't interesting enough for me to take a picture of!

Here is what the wood floor we pulled up looked like with the damage.  We were so grateful that there was not even the tiniest bit of damage to the sub-floor.  They only wanted the engineered hardwood.

All the baseboards and quarter round had to be removed.

I packed up all the china in the dining room and the books in our library so that the furniture was easier to move around, and then we began to lay the snap together in over existing floors.
First third of the front rooms

When we got to the living room, we pulled up the carpet and repeated the adding of oriental strand board/leveling compound at the joint to bring the floor to level.  It took much longer than the tile, as Justin didn't take off work those days--the school year started, Ellie got pneumonia (again), Justin put up rack in what is not the girls' closet, but all told, the last of the floor went in last week--just under 2 months later.

Our new living room arrangement

The boxes we stored things in have been passed on to another family.  There are a few pieces of baseboard to go back in, but we have replaced the floor through the entirety of the downstairs, except for the half bath.  We do plan to tile that eventually too, but not yet!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Katie Turns Twelve

 Our Katie is twelve today.

She is full of energy, constantly in motion.

She is determined.

She is always looking for a new project, a new way to help.  She enjoys leading and little children flock to her.  She volunteers her time to serve our church's children.

She loves deeply. And makes friends with everyone she has a chance to.

She loves to write and to create.

Happy Birthday to our Katie!


Monday, September 25, 2017

Ellie Turns Four

Our Little Ellie is four today!

She has a contagious laugh and a quick wit.

She is an encourager, often telling us that we are doing a good job, even about the simplest things.  And she loves to tell us all that we are her favorite.

She learns people's names.  At that age, none of the others could tell us their Sunday School friends names, but she lists them off.

She loves Minnie Mouse, Elsa, and Beauty and the Beast.  She still calls the beast 'Narble' when he transforms because she thought that was his name when we said he was 'normal.'  I think I may always call him Narble.

She writes 'E' for her name and can fill in the 'lli' in the middle with a little reminder.  She likes to color and 'do school.'  She sings our Latin and geography songs with us and loves to listen to the books we read aloud.

She still has the little ringlets in her hair, like Kate did at that age.

We see bit of her that are like different parts of the other children: her chattiness, her careful care of her dollies, and mixed with some rough and tumble, from having her primary playmate being a boy, almost four years older than she.

We love you, Elliana.  You are a joy!


P.S. Here are some pictures from the party Katie planned.  I made the cake, but the rest was set up by Kate with some help from Gabby and Nate:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Funny

Ellie: Mama, you're so nice, and fun to play with, and as cute as...[thinking] a tea pot!

Katie: Oh no!  That's not nice!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Funny

From this summer:

Katie: We're in Paris. [Kentucky]

Nate: Where's the Eiffel Tower?

Ellie:  We'll just keep looking!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


We're not the kind of people that would have gone chasing an eclipse, but as it came right to us, we had the joy of seeing it in person.  The older kids, especially Kate, were very excited.

We bought our glasses more than a month in advance (checked them against NASA's list when we heard there were ones that weren't safe) and built a pin hole camera.

As the day wore on we had clouds pass in front of the sun fairly regularly and we thought we might miss the show.

I'd done a little research, so we knew that a tree, with all it's leaves and branches could act as multiple pin hole cameras.  You can see the crescent shapes here (with Ellie, of course)

Even with most of the sun covered, you couldn't tell a difference in the light (This was taken over my head--it took a lot of tries to get, not wanting to look directly at it!),

and wouldn't have noticed it without the special glasses (This one was taken with the glasses over the lens).  The little crescent is all that is exposed of the sun.

Here is a view with the pin hole camera, the previous three were all taken within a minute of one another.

A few minutes before the totality the light was odd--somewhat like dusk, but the shadows were all wrong, as the sun was high in the sky.  The kids were standing right next to a tree when a bat took off.

Then, suddenly it was dark.  We could hear a collective gasp from the neighbors, especially from the group at the house behind us where they must have been having a party.

 We could see the corona around the moon--my camera was overwhelmed by that little ring of light and I didn't get a good picture of it at all.  After our eyes adjusted we could see stars and planets.  As quickly as it came, we could see the light begin pouring out again, and it was over.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
                                    -Psalm 19:1


Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Funny

As I was reviewing the ACTS model of prayer that Nate studied in Trail Life this year:

then Christmas!

Happy Friday,


Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Funnies

Gabby, on dropping an egg: "Despite my best efforts, an egg was broken."

Ellie, after bumping her knee, "I have to hop like a flamingo!"

Nate, while eating s'more dip, "This is like nachos for marshmallows and graham crackers!"

Happy Friday,

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Last week I took Gabby for an orthodontic evaluation, as recommended by her dentist the week before.  We've done this in the past.  No big deal.  She looked, said we'd need to plan for braces some day and sent us on our way.  This past week was different--she needed braces ASAP.  So there is that, scheduled for later this week.  And Katie is getting spacers in preparation for braces.

Justin 'took off' (he's a professor, so no students right now as summer session hasn't begun, but he still works most days) so we could go to the zoo.  Over lunch we discussed a rearrangement of bedrooms that we had talked about before, but we decided to do it right now, while he was home.  We got about a third of the way through the rearrangement before we had to get dinner together and head out the door for a class we were taking at the church.

When we got home, we had an Ellie that wasn't sure about the new plan (which she was very excited about by the light of day), and a hissing sound that I kept hearing in the kitchen.  I finally decided the sound was coming from the dishwasher.  A few minutes of investigation led us to find that there is definitely a leak.  We shut off the water to the dishwasher and started the process of drying it all out.  We'll have to assess further once the sub-floor is dry.

So it's been an expensive, discombobulated week here!  It's all small stuff in the scheme of things, and we are grateful for that, but it is a lot of little stuff at the moment!


Monday, May 15, 2017

Troop Time

The big girls finished their AHG troop year recently and Nate's Trail Life troop will be finishing very soon.

Katie and Gabby were both awarded their Presidential Service Award (for the second time).  Kate moved up in age levels and in trying to make the ordering easier (all the girls' awards were ordered at once in March, but her new year didn't start until April), she didn't get to count quite a full year of hours, so she stayed at bronze, with over 50 hours of service last year.  Gabby earned silver, being in a younger age group, also with over 50 hours of service.

This year also was Kate's turn to be up for a level award.  She was able to earn her Lewis and Clark award before she moved up to the Pioneer level (7th & 8th grade).

I'm taking on a new role in the AHG troop at the end of the month.  I will pass off the bank bag and take on the position of coordinator.  I've done bits of that job as our out going coordinator had a family crisis that took her away for portions of the fall, but soon it will be mine and our vice coordinator's in full.  It is a big job.  There are currently over 40 girls, 10 unit leaders, and 5 other board members to make the troop run!

Nate has been plugging away at earning leaves to turn into branch pins for his uniform--Trail Life is set up in a different way for earning recognition than the badge program at the younger levels, though the older boys do earn 'patches,' but instead of sewing them on shirts, vest, or sashes; they are driven into a large walking stick, called a standard.

We've done some camping.  The older two girls and I went to a Camporee in April,

and Justin took Nate to a Trail Life Rendezvous recently too.

 The older girls tagged along to find service opportunities, and were able to be sure everyone got the water they needed.

Our troop took home the top prize, for winning the most events, our family was the only one who stayed late enough to receive the awards, so they came to our house for a stop before heading back to the troop.
Ellie and I stayed home for the Trail Life camp out, where we cleaned, shopped, went to the zoo, and worked on her 'project,' as she likes to call the wind chime she painted.

That's life around here these days!