Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Will you come for us?

Gram & Kate Aug. 2008/as a young lady in 1938

Dear Grandma,

As we gathered around your bedside on Friday night I felt the most calm yet joyful reverence I ever remember feeling.  There must have been a glorious reunion in the room that was beyond our sight.  It was a privilege to be there.  Grandma, will you come for us when it is our turn to go?  

Did you hear Danny that night when he asked you to watch over us and our little girls?  They love you.  Sophie has mentioned you in every prayer since you left.  Ellie found the dress you were making for her doll.  She wants to finish it for you.  I have been going through the pictures I have of your life, and I found a series with you and Kate playing in your guest bedroom...I am going to frame it for her room.  

After you left that night we were all still there- Papa, Michel, Jimmy, Paul, Amanda, Randy, Sharon, Jason, Danny and I- already your home seemed empty.  All of your earthly possessions were there in front of us, yet we could feel that your presence was missing.  All of a sudden the things of this world seem a lot less important and we are reminded that our love and memories are our real treasures.

Thank you Grandma for all that you have taught us.
We hold you in our hearts always.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas bells are ringing...

I promised a friend nearly a month ago that I would post my Christmas music favorites!  I finished my list.  I tried to create the list on itunes but couldn't figure it out.  If what I tried works I will post it bellow.  Some of these are favorites because my girls love them so much (Santa Baby).  They all make us happy and we have been listening to Christmas music almost exclusivly since Thanksgiving!  We love it!

Jingle Bells  
Barbra Streisand A Christmas Album
Must Be Santa  Bob Dylan Christmas In the Heart
Adeste Fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful) Liberian Children's Choir, Luciano Pavarotti & Trisha Yearwood Pavarotti & Friends: For the Children of Liberia
Christmas Song  Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds  A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 3
Christmas Day Dido  A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 5
We Three Kings of Orient Are/O Little Town of Bethlehem Ella Fitzgerald Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem Emmylou Harris Light of the Stable
Winter Wonderland  Eurythmics A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1
Were You There On that Christmas Night? Hue & Hum - Hue & Hum Christmas
Someday At Christmas Jack Johnson This Warm December: Brushfire Holiday's, Vol. 1
God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen  Jars of Clay Christmas Songs 
Sleep Well Little Children/What a Wonderful World  Kristin Chenoweth  A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas
Angels We Have Heard On High The Lower Lights Come Let Us Adore Him
Santa Baby  Macy Gray Sounds Of The Season: The NBC R & B Holiday Collection
It Snowed   Meaghan Smith iTunes Holiday Sampler
The Christmas Song  Mindy Gledhill Winter Moon
Children Go Where I Send Thee Natalie Merchant A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 3
My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)  Regina Spektor Gift Wrapped - 20 Songs That Keep On Giving!
A Cradle In Bethlehem Sara  Groves O Holy Night
O Little Town of Bethlehem Sarah McLachlan Wintersong
There Is a Star That Shines Tonight  Sheryl Crow Home for Christmas
Silent Night Stevie Nicks A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1
I Saw Three Ships Sting A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 3
The Friendly Beasts   Sufjan Stevens  Songs for Christmas
O Holy Night Tracy Chapman  A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 3

Another two favorite albums:

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite
Charlie Brown Christmas (just bought it this year...delightful!)

My favorite Christmas video:

This song makes us happy so I thought I would see if there is a video-
Must Be Santa (see above):

I would love to see Barbra Streisand singing Jingle Bells but I couldn't find it.
We LOVE that version!
She is amazing!

What songs am I missing??
What are your favorites??


our Christmas card this year- most of the elements from three paper peonies

Christmas is in full swing!
We have Annie home!
The girls are finished with school for the year!!!!!!!
We are wrapping presents today and just excited to be home together.

We wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


  photos taken November 2011

Courage is the word that came to mind when I first met Nikki and Callahan.  They are fighting a battle against childhood neurological diseases.  They have been fighting this battle since they learned of Eliza's diagnosis of MLD.  The organizations that they have founded in Eliza's honor are: Eliza's Wish and TeamGive.

This year they have displayed courage in fighting for Callahan's recovery.  He broke his neck during a relay bike race 6 months ago.  Read more here.  As I read Nikki's posts just after the accident, I was again amazed by her, "If I have learned one thing in the past four years it is whether we have a smile or a frown on our face our situation is still the same. Sometimes my attitude is the only thing I have control over. I am a strong believer that we are given challenges to refine us and help us become more charitable and compassionate people. There are always things to be learned. Callahan has mentioned time and time again that he now knows what Eliza goes through each day. She knows what it is like to be trapped in a body that does not do what her brain would like it to do. She knows the frustrations of not being able to itch her nose when she wants to or manipulate objects in her hands. My father-in-law and I were just discussing tonight how maybe this is a very big part of what we are supposed to learn. Callahan has been out raising awareness for neurological diseases for teamgive and now he can empathize with these individuals on a whole new level. Reality continues to sink in and I am understanding more and more what a difficult road this is going to be for us but I hope that we can look back later and see that we grew and hopefully became better people because of it."   

When we had a few opportunities to spend time with them at the beginning of Callahan's recovery he talked about the miracles.  The miracles of people in the right place at the right time...bringing equipment (neck brace) to the race and not knowing why...and answers to prayer.  They were focusing on the blessings and not the hardship.  He is doing amazingly well and has come so far.  Their determination and and optimism have been so inspiring to all who know them.  They wouldn't say this about themselves...but they are truly heros.  Nikki made this video- Callahan's road to recovery:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Grandparent Party

We are so blessed to live so close to so many of our relatives.  My girls have all of their grandparents within 45 miles...and even a great-grandmother (one great-grandma lives in a different state).  We see them often.  Usually it is in large groups with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles around.  The kids tend to run off and play and don't sit and visit as much as they do in small groups.  So we invited all of our local grandparents to a Christmas dinner party at our house.

We served:
roast beef
mashed potatoes
homemade rolls 
(the first time I can ever remember making them!)
a green salad
(with pomegranate, pistachios, grapefruit, and shredded carrots and a lemon dressing)

carrot cake for dessert

It was a busy afternoon...but worth every minute to have them with us at our table.  It felt good to serve them just a little bit.  They have done and continue to do so much for us.  After dinner we performed the Christmas songs we have been learning and asked them to sing a long with us.

Sophie-  Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Kate-   Jingle Bells
Ellie-  Oh Come All Ye Faithful
me...with Kate accompanying-  Sleep Well Little Children
group-  Away In A Manger

After the music we gave them each a gift.  The grandfather's received the Lower Lights Christmas CD.  The grandmother's received books that reminded us of them.  Great-grandma received a dvd- My Fair Lady (she is a fair lady).  My sweet friend also made Christmas holly pins for each of the grandmothers.

It was such a sweet evening for us.  We asked each of them as we visited what their favorite Christmas memory was--

Nana Miller-  She said that as a young girl, she worried herself sick every Christmas about whether she would not receive what she hoped for Christmas morning.  One year in particular...she felt ill from worry on Christmas Eve.  She woke up that next morning with all that she hoped for...and a special doll with a beautiful coral dress handmade my her mother.

Papa Miller-  "besides turkey & stuffing?"

Great-grandma-  She remembered last Christmas.  She had beautiful quilts made for each of us...grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She loved seeing them in her living room rolling up and cozy each in their own quilt.

Grandma Sally-  She remembered receiving a beautiful doll from her sister, who was quite a bit older than her, with beautiful outfits for the doll.  She also remembered an ice skating outfit.  It had a beautiful full skirt with pom-poms along the bottom.  She remembers ice skating with cousins on the lake that Christmas.

Grandpa Davis- He remembered the year that he and his brother received skis.  He was so surprised.  He remembers finding a hill and skiing that day.  He loved skiing and eventually worked on ski patrol at what is now Sundance.

After the party was over I asked the girls what their favorite part of the day was.
Ellie- playing our songs and watching them open their presents
Kate- Carrot cake
(her first time trying it!)
Sophie-receiving Christmas treat bags filled with tiny toys and stickers from Grandma Sally

We are so grateful for these special people in our lives.  We hope they will come every year to celebrate this beautiful holiday with us.  My plan was to take their pictures with the girls in front of the Christmas tree.  When the house was quiet and our guests had returned to their houses...and I looked at the lights of the tree I realized that I didn't take one picture.  I was enjoying the evening so much, I completely forgot.  I will do better next year...and leave my camera out...and ask Danny...actually the girls (they always remember) to remind me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

time and eternity

There are two time pieces draped on the bouquet.  Early in their engagement Sharon decided to give Jason a pocket watch as her wedding gift to him.  It was a beautiful time piece with a thoughtful inscription.  The night before their wedding, as she was saying "goodnight" he handed her a box.  She opened it to find a beautiful vintage necklace that is a sort of mini pocket watch.  She smiled and asked him to stay right there.  She ran to her car and gave him his gift.  The pocket watch.  Not only did they give each other the same gift...they also chose the same font.  They are meant to be together.

j + s
for time and all eternity

Monday, December 5, 2011

something bigger than us....

Last night Kate played in her first concert.  She has only been playing cello for a few months, since May. The concert was an evening of cooperation and team work.  Each level of ability played their part.  Kate participated in Jingle Bells, Wintertime in Russia, Allegro, Twinklebell Canon in D (Pachelbel), and Clock Tower Bells.  In Jingle Bells she played the melody---but in the other pieces  she played a repetitive harmony, or a surprise strum, and in one just a loud stomp of her foot.  As I sat and enjoyed the beautiful sounds I was so grateful that she could have this experience and be a part of something that is bigger than she is.   SO GRATEFUL.

I believe it is true...we are so influenced by what is around us.  Our perspective of what is possible is altered by what we see others around us doing.  As Kate participated last night...her eyes were alert and continually watching.  She was mesmerized by the other performers.  She watched their expressions, their hands, and their music.  She was taking it all in.  I think we both could have stayed all night.  I wanted her to soak in the influence of so many who have worked so hard and who are striving for their best.

We have the same influence from our friends and neighbors.  What amazing examples we had around us this weekend.  Our little city experienced a big storm this week.  The winds were strong on Thursday.  Many houses and trees suffered great damage.  We were fortunate to have only lost some wreaths and window well coverings.  Trees and fences were most effected in our immediate neighborhood.  As we sat in church (Stake Conference) on Sunday morning we were excused a half an hour early and asked to go out and help our neighbors.  They announced that another storm was predicted to come in with snow and wind.  We needed to get all of the loose debris up and covered or taken to the land fill before the storm came in.  Danny got dressed and headed out with his chain saw.  They gathered at the houses that needed the most help.  Neighbors were helping neighbors all over the city---hauling, cutting, gathering, cleaning, and providing hot chocolate.  It was amazing.  As I think about my neighbors and watch their good works and the service they give to the community...I take it all in and feel inspired.  Again, I am left feeling grateful to be a small part of something bigger than us---and by our association with these neighbors we are better people for it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

our advent

I read the Happiness Project last month and I loved something she brought to my attention.  Enjoy the process...enjoy the preparation and anticipation of events---they are often more fun than the event itself. Isn't that true!!!  The days leading up to Christmas are so much more exciting for me than the actual day.  The traditions we have bring so much joy in the holiday!

I decided to combine two traditions into one...and I can hardly contain my excitement.  We have had numerous advent calendars- the chocolate window advent, a felt Santa with numbered pockets, last year we tried this (so cute...right!?).  I wanted something new this year.  Nothing has seemed like the perfect fit.  I scoured Pintrest: see here.  I loved so much of what I saw but I couldn't decide on anything.

Then I thought about our Christmas book basket.  Many years ago, when Ellie was a baby, my friend Liza came up with beautiful baskets we would line for Christmas books.  We were going to make them at a Relief Society activity.  If that wasn't great enough she wrote a poem to go with them.  

Come children, come folks, come grandparents, too,

And hear of a tradition that I'll share with you.
Each year when the snow first begins to fall-
Up from the basement this basket you'll haul.

Grab some hot cocoa and cookies with sprinkles,
By the light of the fire or Christmas tree twinkles,
Snuggle up with the family, babe on mom's lap
And share a Christmas story before your long winter's nap.

There are stories of reindeer and noses that glow
Of a grinch watching Whoville celebrate down below.
There's a train and a boy who hears Santa's bells
And of course, there is Scrooge with his tale to tell.

But the best Christmas story is saved for the last 
And we think of it often when the holidays are past.
Tell the story of the Christ child and the first Christmas Eve,
Of the Babe in the manger who taught us to believe.
by Liza Richards

We have had a Christmas Book "basket" since then.  I still have the tag she printed with the poem tied to my basket.  (I gave the lined baskets away as gifts and I have kept this metal "basket" and have been too lazy to line it.)  I love bringing it up from the basement each Christmas.  I love that our books are tucked away all year and the girls have a pile of books that feel new and intriguing for the holidays---even though many of them I have had since they have been born.    I decided to choose 25 of our favorite Christmas books to wrap and number.  (The rest are hiding under my bed.)  We will open a new one each night to count down for Christmas!    The girls are SO excited to see what is behind the simple brown paper.  (Sophie woke up asking about it this morning.)  Some of them will have activities with them too.  Here is my book list for this year...shhhh, don't tell the girls:

this is my very favorite Christmas book--I LOVE the way it turns my thoughts toward the true reason for Christmas
plan what they will give each other this night
7.  Sally's Christmas Miracle (Peanuts)
We will try to watch the movie that week
bring out their stocking bells
secretly deliver a box of oranges to someone's front steps
this isn't the one I have but I wish I did- love the illustrations
why do so many of our books have mice in them?
this isn't a Christmas story...but it is beautiful.  my girls have never read it.  they are going to make their own paper crowns this night.
22.  The First Night
make cookies this night and deliver it to neighbors

What are your favorite Christmas books?  What is your favorite advent calendar!?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

changing seasons

left- my boot/ right- her hand

It was so warm today!  Our house seems so quiet after our wonderful weekend of house guests, a wedding and Thanksgiving.  I missed having so many people to talk to.  I had a few deliveries to make around the neighborhood so I asked Sophie if she wanted to join me for a walk.  She grabbed a scooter and we headed out the door.  It was nice to say hello to neighbors, even though brief, and breathe in the fresh air.  There were colorful leaves everywhere we turned.  I appreciated so much the last bits of fall hanging around.  I know the seasons will be changing quickly.  As Sophie sped up in front of me on her scooter I thought of this season I have with her.  We spend time each day on reading...practicing, I always have company to run errands and to shop.  When I had three little girls with me 24/7 I couldn't wait for the day to do all of those things on my own.  Now that I have two in school fulltime I realize how fast each season passes me by.  I will really miss it- just like I miss these colorful leaves in the winter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

feels like home

if you knew how lonely my life has been
and how long I've been so alone
and if you knew how i wanted someone to come along
and change my life the way you've done
if feels like home to me
it feels like i'm all the way back where i come from
it feels like home to me
...all the way back where i belong

Feels Like Home

They have embraced her into their family.
She is a perfect fit.
We are so happy for her...
and grateful to have a new brother in law and niece.
Our girls are thrilled to have a new cousin!


Thursday, November 24, 2011


I know this sounds like an exaggeration...but we haven't had Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house on Thanksgiving day for at least 15 years.  We broke that bad tradition and headed to Mom and Dad's on Thursday!  The weather was reasonably warm.  The kids were excited...other than the dread my girl's were feeling at the thought of eating turkey.  (wimps...heeeheee)  I love my mom's cornbread dressing!  I love my dad's overall enthusiasm for the Thanksgiving feast.  My girls arranged a huge vegetable platter to look like a turkey.  They were pretty pleased and I was grateful for the help.  After our meal we headed to the movie theater to see Hugo.  Have you seen it!?!?!?!  Wasn't it BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  Isn't the story sweet!?!?  We LOVED it!!!!!

We are grateful for our warm homes, plentiful food, a land of liberty, falling leaves, and most of all~ each other.  xo

Monday, November 21, 2011

a thankful weekend

it was the perfect amount of time with friends and time with family
the perfect balance of time out and time at home~

bake cookies with a house full of little girls
dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday
watch falling snow
a piano recital-
(beautiful performances Ellie, Abi, Sam & Bailey!!!!)
hung wreaths and garland on front windows and door
(i LOVE the fresh cedar garland and fresh wreaths at Costco!!!!!)
practice our Christmas songs 
lots of play-dates
i started this book
a football game
(phew...that was a close one!)
put the kids to bed and watched The Nun's Story by Audrey Hepburn
choir practice
pictures for Christmas cards-my fav. out-takes above
(i LOVE Christmas cards...making and sending them...but mostly receiving them throughout the season...
it's one of my favorite parts of the holidays.)
a movie with all of us piled on our bed- Pollyanna (perfect for Thanksgiving week)!)
(i cried...kind of a lot)
making dinner together
hot chocolate with whipped cream

I am thankful for weekends...especially this one.

For your listening pleasure:
Ellie playing March Militaire

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the art of happiness

A few months ago I was sitting with a friend at book club.  We both attend with our daughters.  Part of the activities of the evening were to practice sketching.  We had read The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  The book is filled with gorgeous pencil illustrations.  Our hosts handed each of us sketch pads and pencils and invited us to take a page from the book and sketch.  I thought it would be fun...but I really liked it.  Joyce was sitting next to me and we were having so much fun!  She suggested we take an art class.  I would love to do that....but I already take guitar lessons...I can't have more lessons than my children.  :)

A few weeks ago Joyce called.  She found a class.  She was excited.  I was too.  I knew she would be fun to learn with.  I could find out if I could paint or draw.  It would be a new creative outlet outside of photography.  But I was undecided.  Do I have time for another hobby or interest?  Would I be any good? Should I be spending the money?  Is it selfish???  I remained undecided.

Yesterday as I was reading the The Happiness Project a particular idea caught my attention.  As part of a year long happiness project she focused one of her months on "being serious about play."  She struggled even knowing what was genuinely fun for her.  As I read her goals I struggled to know what I myself thought was fun---outside of what "should be fun" or what my friends do for fun.  Her friend posed this question to her, "What did you like to do when you were a child? What you enjoyed as a ten-year-old is probably something you'd enjoy now."  

What was fun for you when you were ten?  Do you remember?  Are you still doing it?

The three things that stood out in my mind (outside of imaginative play like school, house, etc...) exploring the neighborhood (wherever it was at the time), art and writing.  I wrote a lot in blank books, mostly fiction.  I loved to draw.  I am not sure why I stopped doing any of those things.  Maybe I thought they were less legitimate than other things I could spend my time doing.  My mind immediately traveled back to the evening Ellie and I spent sketching in our friend's back yard, moms and daughters.  I really enjoyed it.  I thought of the class Joyce mentioned.  I called today.

images:  left found here/ right my image taken 01.01.11

Monday, November 14, 2011

B conscious of your treasures.

Last Friday morning Danny and I woke to footsteps coming toward our room.  It was Sophie.  As she climbed into our bed she told us that it was too dark in her room and she wanted company.  It was 5:00 a.m. so we cuddled up with her between us and tried to get a bit more sleep.  Very quickly I could hear her breathing slow and I knew she was in dreamland.  I closed my eyes and was just at the brink of sleep when I heard her call out, "Yes Mom."  She spoke/yelled as if she was down the hall from me in such a cheerful tone it brought a smile to my face.  Danny glanced over to me and mouthed the words "so cute" and we tried again to fall asleep.  I lay there with my thoughts.  The sound of her cheerful voice yelling "yes mom" left me thinking.  My three girls, they really do listen.  The trust that they give me to lead and to guide them is great.  They are following me.  They follow those things that I intentionally teach them.  But I am afraid, what is even more influential is my example.  They watch my actions and soak in all they see (the good yes...but also the bad).  I lay there wanting to be the mother that they deserve.  Some of the first words I read that morning were these:

"Have a grateful heart~ be conscious of your treasures"

Yes.  Being conscious of the treasures that are found in family, 
that certainly is a step in the right direction.

Thank you Sharon and Jason for helping take these pictures and sharing your swing xoxo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

fair little ladies

My fair little ladies.
We loved our night on the town.
We love the movie...
and I was really excited to see the play.
Sophie even planned her outfit.

Ellie and Sophie chose to see My Fair Lady.
Kate wants to see Annie---so she had a date night with dad.

Thanks Nana, Dede and Chase for going with us!
We LOVED it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

did you do a "once-over"

Last night we gathered on the couch for family home evening.  I read the girls one of my favorite scriptures.  Danny and I like it so much...it was the first scripture we had framed in our home just after we were married.

"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"  D&C 88:119

We talked a little bit about what that teaches us about God (organize, prepare, prayer, faith, learning, order, etc...)  Then we pulled up a picture on Danny's laptop after googling the word "hoarding."  I asked the girls how it would feel being in the room they were looking at.  Respectfully...I asked them to share what they might be able to do or say to change that situation.  They were full of great advice.

Next I complimented Ellie.  She moved to her own room at the end of the summer.  She has done a WONDERFUL job of keeping it orderly and organized.  I have been really surprised and happy at the effort she has put forth in caring for her things.  I commended her.  She was beaming.  I asked her to share her organizational secrets with us.  She was happy to do it.

Although Ellie has kept her room clean...none of them, including Ellie, have been very good at keeping common areas; like bathrooms, family rooms, the kitchen and the playroom tidy.  They leave their backpacks and shoes on the floor when they get home from school.  Their music is left out after practice.  Clothes are often left on the bathroom floor.  And the playroom---oh my word!

SO we set up a plan!  A once-over!  Before you leave a room...give it a once-over.  (I know this is basic...right?  Why have I not been teaching this all along?)   In the morning before you leave your room...glance over your shoulder...
is my bed made?
is anything on the floor?
out of place?

Before you climb in bed...a once-over...
Before you get out a new toy...or leave the playroom...or leave the dinner table...or leave the bathroom....a once-over....

I am not the worst cleaner...and I am surely not the best.  (Do you see that playroom mess?)
My biggest problem- I spend more energy worrying about keeping the house clean...than actually cleaning it!  We have been straightening each room before we leave it the last two days....and it has been WONDERFUL!  I think the girls like the new phrase and feel like it is a more manageable task than "go clean your room."  Last night after scriptures and reading...we did a quick "once-over" in the family room and it took two minutes MAX!  Woohoo!  It will require some friendly reminding and diligence on my part to secure this as a good habit...I think we are up for the challenge!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

happy birthday Sophie

Dear Sophie,

You turned FIVE YEARS OLD today!  I can hardly believe it!!!!  On Monday you commented as we ate lunch together at the counter, like we do most days--  "isn't this nice just you and me Mom..."  With a big smile I agreed.  It is so nice.  I can hardly believe that you aren't a toddler anymore...that you will start school next year.  You are older than Ellie was when I had you.  You have taught me to smile all day, have fun (even if we are doing chores), and to love life (even if it is snowing...you remind me "at least we can make a snowman").  You work hard...and you say the sweetest prayers.

Just in case you forget....for your birthday you got to sleep in!  You had a quick bite for breakfast (Halloween candy) and then took a long bath.  We got ready.  You picked your outfit.  We did a little shopping.  Went to lunch, your choice, Chipotle.  Your ordered a bean burrito yourself (I did lift you up to the counter) with black beans, white rice, cheese and sour cream.  We picked up cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy (raspberry lemonade for you and Chase, peanut butter chocolate for Kate, grasshopper for Ellie, sweet potato for dad, and salted caramel with chocolate for me.)  Then we met Chase and brought him home to play.  We took everybody for frozen yogurt in your honor and rented movies at the video store.  You came home and played and played.  After your dinner of bean burritos/celery sticks/carrots (your choice again) we sang Happy Birthday and ate the cupcakes!  You loved the gifts you opened~ a horse for your American Girl doll from Dad and I, Sleeping Beauty with her bed and fairies from Kate and Ellie & Pet Shop treasures from Chase.

Not only did you thank all of us for your new treasures...you remembered them in your prayers too <3 

We love you forever...happy birthday!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween in Wonderland

Unseasonably warm...
I was insisting on sweaters...but I was a bit overdressed for the temperature!
We haven't been big "trick o' treaters" in the recent years past...
and I loved it!

The girls had the day off of school so we took it easy at home...
getting things like music practice and reading done...with extra time.
It was so nice.
The girls played...first in the playroom and then in the backyard.
The day really was beautiful.
I changed sheets, washed and folded laundry, organized the playroom, read with Ellie, played guitar...

We headed over to a friend's home for dinner and to gather our kids for the evening's adventures.
Her white bean chili was AMAZING!!!!!
The kids were dressed up...excited and LOVED knocking at each door!
Sophie tripped (that long hoop skirt made it tough to keep up with big sisters) after the 6th door and she was DONE!  She wanted nothing more to do with the candy adventure.  I went home with her.  After a bath we snuggled on the couch and read this and this, with an occassional interruption at the door.  She loved handing out candy.

Ellie and Kate continued with our friends through a spooky lane, a few more doors for trick or treating and then a neighborhood spook ally.  Our friend JR was trying to encourage part of the group who were afraid to go through the first time.  He offered a dollar if they would do it.  Kate and Ellie quickly responded, "WE WILL!"  So off they went!  With buckets full of candy and a dollar bill each---"Alice" and the "Madhatter" came home with huge smiles on their faces.  What a wonderful day!

I wish I could have stayed out later with my camera.  There is something magical about a Lensbaby and nighttime light.  It added and eeriness to the pictures that I love.  I wish it would have given me a little less blur on their faces when I took their costume pictures.  At one of the houses...they had a blue light and everything white glowed a radiant blue.  The crescent moon was eerie over the housetops too.