It’s one of those Mondays. You know the kind – they come after a busy week and they lead the way into another busy week. They bring with them heaps of laundry and dishes, and cranky children and messy bedrooms. They often do not accommodate school schedules, naps, or well rested mothers. They often do accommodate freak accidents like pudgy baby fingers stuck in heat vents, chalk drawings on the floors, and leaking washing machines.

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It’s the kind of Monday where I consider breaking my habit of procrastination by watching a marathon of Downton Abby (because really, I have been meaning to start that series!)

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I decide to wash the towels, since we are all out of clean ones and it’s quite possible that one of the parents in this house might get a shower in at some point today.

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There’s a load in the dryer that has probably been there since sometime early last week. That explains where all of our napkins have been! I heap it out onto a kitchen chair because there are no empty laundry baskets to be found and sit and stare at it while I consume my second cup of coffee this morning.

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Gillian gets right to work on the laundry. Oh, the energy of the twenty one month old! As I admire her cuteness, I remember my recently formed (even still forming) conviction to express my gratitude in all things. I begin to thank Him for pudgy baby hands and cheeks, Gillian’s frizzy baby ‘fro, clean laundry, the warmth of the kitchen, the heaps of dishes reminding me that my children have full bellies, the health of my children.

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I am blessed beyond measure. I am loved by a good God.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.


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We were peacefully doing our artist study this afternoon. At least as peacefully as we ever do anything around here. The artist for this term is Jacob van Ruisdael, and today the girls were imitating his style using the painting Two Watermills and an Open Sluice at Singraven (in case you want to know šŸ˜‰ ).

I had settled the two youngest with children’s watercolors and was using the time to organize our nature study for the week, and enjoy a cup of coffee.

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I really wasn’t paying attention to Gillian, who was keeping herself quite busy.

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It was a moment of weakness for which I paid dearly.

Joy Dare :: A Gift Hung, Held, Heard

A Gift Hung


My black and white crayon art was a birthday gift from my super talented brother Jacob. I asked if he could pull of an Ansel Adams feel, and he sure did! It’s one of my most favorite pieces of art.

A Gift Held


I had to include Gillian here, since she makes certain that she is the main thing I find myself holding. That’s okay though, she’s pretty cute!

A Gift Heard


When we snagged our bird-songs clock from a neighbors yard sale, I was thrilled that both the kids and I could learn some of the bird calls in such an easy way. Unfortunately, I neglected to make sure that it was accurate, and after several months of me calling the name of each bird at the top of the hour, Dan pointed out that the clock must be set wrong, and I realized that we had learned all the wrong songs to all the wrong birds. Oh well. We’ll get around to bird songs someday.

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Bright

I said I’d try to participate in the Joy Dare, but I never claimed that I would be on time, right?


Each morning I have been asking the kids to think about whatever the Joy Dare is, and share any ideas that they get. Yesterday Sophie thought about it for a few seconds, and then slammed her purse up and onto the table with a huge grin, sending crayons flying hither and yon. Her glittery purple purse was a birthday present from her Aunt Anna, Uncle Matt and all her girl cousins who understand so well what a girly-girl needs the most.

Later in the day, Kinsley came to me and said “You know how Sophie thinks we should be grateful for that purse? Well, I just don’t know if that’s really the kind of thing to be thankful for, since it’s only a purse…” Oh child, that is exactly the kind of thing to be thankful for!

It made me thrilled that we are doing this together as a family, and especially that we began this journey in the month of December. How wonderful it is to recognize and name our blessings!


Okay, I cheated. Two Brights for the price of one. We luf Gillian’s little bright pink squeaker shoes. They are so fun, and bright, and cheery and squeaky, and I always know where the Baby Girl is when she has ’em on. And she loves to wear them, which is somewhat new and exotic for Gilli. And the lights! There are so many bright Christmas lights everywhere that I couldn’t resist sneaking one picture in. Also another view of the cuteness that is Gillian, who happens to be a pretty bright little person herself. Okay, so it was three Brights for the price of one. Who’s counting anyway?


Isn’t that a beautiful bright blue aquarium? We love fish, and aquariums – they are just so peaceful. At Bass Pro Shop, we sat and watched the fish tank for the longest time, and found it so restful and soothing!

Happy Birthday, Gillian Adelaide!


Hers was such an easy birth, and she was such a lovely, peaceful infant.


She is the perfect addition to our little family, and is adored by her siblings.


She is no longer exactly peaceful. In fact, she is kind of a ring leader in all the mischief. She has all of us completely wrapped around her pudgy little finger. She is walking now, and has five little teeth, with the sixth one just starting to poke through. She lovesĀ avocados, scrambled eggs, and chalk. She is a terrible (or accomplished) climber, and is always in great danger. She loves to give kisses. She loves to dance to just about anything from our old record collection, and her favorite song is a Lawrence Welk song called Let’s Go Dance. She is a pro when it comes to bath time splashing. She still nurses about four times a night. She loves her siblings like crazy and calls them all in to her crib when she wakes. She loves to watch our fish, steal her brother’s sippy cups and fish in the toilet.


Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Gilli in the morning…

In the evening, she is bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to take on the world.


It’s a much different child in the morning!


Our morning Gilli has swollen puffy eyes, crazy hair, and a skeptical outlook on life. Come to think of it, she is ready to take on the world in the morning, too… it’s just in a more antagonistic manner!