Friday, January 28, 2011

snow days

sledding with katie 2
daddy, again!
we love snow days
four on a sled
we love that our neighborhood is full of big hills and great friends
snowy walk 2
we love an excuse to have popcorn and cocoa for lunch
snow day lunch
...and today we did it all over again!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

monday bits and pieces

more of the same
1. It's cold. Really, really cold. Cold is only fun when it comes with snow.
2. Since we're stuck indoors, we do a lot of coloring at the table (or on it if your name starts with Kate). The kids are still making me play that cat song on repeat and we decided this hilarious performance is even better than the last (thanks, GG, for sharing it!)
katie toes
3. The other day, my neighbor showed up with a car load of vegetables to share with the whole street. Free vegetables -tons of them. Thanks, USO free farmers market and cool neighbor.
5. I wonder who our neighbors will be in four months.
6. Shawn and I have watched two seasons of 'Eureka' on netflix. Area 51 meets Mayberry. We have three seasons to go and then maybe I'll pick up a book again. Oh yeah, now I remember why we don't have cable...
7. We like to just watch Kate. The kid is hilarious.
kate at play
her front row seat
8. And now I hear her whimpering crying screaming in her room. So ends nap time. Sigh.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

it's good to be an auntie

I have a sweet little niece in Texas named...

for Rori
I've been making her something snuggly...finished
and now I get to send it with lots of...
with Love

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Since a praying life is interconnected with every part of our lives, learning to pray is almost identical to maturing over a lifetime. What does it feel like to grow up?
It is a thousand feelings on a thousand different days.
That is what learning to pray feels like.
ice beads2
So don't hunt for a feeling in prayer. Deep in our psyches we want an experience with God or an experience in prayer. Once we make that our quest, we lose God.
You don't experience God; you get to know Him.
~Paul Miller, A Praying Life

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

a dancing dress

dancing dress1
Shawn's mom wore this sweet little dress in a portrait taken when she was about Kenna's age. I was worried that it wouldn't fit as I pulled it over her head but it buttoned up just right around her skinny little frame. It is definitely too short to wear alone but she didn't mind as that only seemed to increase it's twirlyness. She found some pink tights to warm her toes and began twirling and posing and batting her eyelashes for my camera...oh this one has discovered her own cuteness for sure. I decided to forgo the idea of a still portrait in the dress as I watched her dancing in her own happy world.
dancing dress2
And since we've been talking books -Kenna was spinning to the music of Vivaldi, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky and others thanks to one of our new favorites, Can You Hear It? The book comes with a cd and pairs beautiful works of fine art with equally beautiful pieces of classical music. We listen for the moments when the fairies cast their spells in The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and for the gunshots in Billy the Kid. Our favorite by far is the Comic Duet for Two Cats by Gioachino Rossini. We play it over and over and the kids belt out their own opera meows -even Kate gets in on that one with two year-old gusto. They love it so much we found a performance of it to watch HERE. Check it out!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

winter still

fun dough
It has been cold, so cold, and I'm having trouble coming up with creative ways to keep the kids occupied indoors. They ride bikes and scooters in the basement and play with fun dough in the kitchen. We build forts with blankets and space ships with legos, watch movies, draw pictures, make stuffed animals talk to each other and scatter pieces of board games everywhere in between. And still, we find ourselves with entirely too many hours to fill.
back on the shelf
One thing I do love about these slow winter days, is the extra time to spend with books. Everyone grabs a favorite and we cuddle up under blankets to read. All the books we read over the holidays have been tucked neatly back into bookshelves and new piles are growing around the house. Kate loves just-her-size Beatrix Potter tales but her absolute favorite is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (she brings it to us exclaiming, "Reaky Book!? Reaky Book!? Chicka! Chicka!"). Kenna chooses animal stories with plenty of pictures or the oddly shaped Disney Princess board book that I can't stand (but I would never turn down a little girl and her fairy tales). Tristan has been reading Farmer Boy with his dad but whenever he can, he gets me to read The Story of the World. Even though he has listened to the audio versions of these history books dozens of times over and often blurts out names or phrases before I get to them, they remain his top choice. He's becoming a really good reader himself but doesn't know it yet or simply doesn't care and would listen to the dictionary if I chose to read that out loud to him.
When the kids are happily occupied with their movies and messes, I fill the time with my own ever-growing pile of books. I have a bad habit lately of starting one after another until it seems I'll never be able to finish any of them (with the exception of the Hunger Games trilogy that I shamelessly devoured in three days). Today I've been engrossed in Decision Points by George Bush (so interesting and laugh-out-loud funny). Our weekly Bible study group is starting a Tim Keller series so I decided to pick up his books that have been on my list for a while, starting with Prodigal God. And since I keep hearing so many great things about it, Paul Miller's, A Praying Life, is in the stack as well. Oh and I was so excited to finally order Ann Voskamp's new book. Read her words here and you'll see why.
What are you reading? And when you're not, how do you fill cold winter days with wiggly kids? We'd love some ideas!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

wishful thinking

kate on a swing
The snow is teasing us today. It keeps coming down in heavy bursts only to stop just as suddenly. We were hoping for more of the sticky, ground covering kind we got Saturday but so far -no such luck.
"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."
-John Ruskin

Monday, January 10, 2011

snow on a park bench

snow on a park bench
These two pictures got me thinking about creating diptychs. There's a pretty good description and some examples here. Inspiration and a challenge for this Monday morning...stay tuned.
snow on a park bench 2

Saturday, January 8, 2011

52 weeks

The snow came down in huge cotton ball flakes this morning. Tristan said it looked like it was snowing bread. He was dressed to play before I even made it to the metro section or a second cup of coffee but I'm glad we all followed his lead and got outside. It was a fun couple of toe-numbing hours.
home ~ winter 2011
While we were outside, I took a few pictures with the 50mm lens I am determined use more of. I want to improve my skills with the lens, but I have to admit, part of the motivation comes from the fact that it is SO much lighter than the 18-200 I usually lug around.
I decided to join in the MCP Project 52 this year. I look at my photos and see a lot of the same shots, same angles, same subjects, same PSE actions and I think I'm boring myself. The project guidelines are fairly broad, the suggested themes optional, and the purpose just what I need -get out of the rut.
You can join the group HERE or follow my set HERE.
So here's to 52 weeks of photos! I don't even know where we'll be living this time next winter so it's sure to be an interesting year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

kenna is four

There's a reason you always hear parents repeating those words, "they grow up so fast". It's because they do.
They grow up so fast.
kenna in the zinnias
From tiny baby, to beautiful toddler, to well, still tiny and still beautiful little girl.
My little girl is four.
And this princess has a style all her own.
I guess I have to let her grow up. But I hope she never changes.

Happy birthday, Kenna Marie. Every day I love you. ~m  Jan 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 begins

missing our boat
In years past, we have always spent a day at the beach on or around New Year's day (at least, we did whenever Shawn wasn't in the sand on another distant continent). It kind of became a tradition for us in North Carolina. Since moving here, we've been busy and enjoying Virginia so much that I haven't really thought a lot about the beach or that old boat sitting alone in the New River -until now.  The dead of winter seems like an odd time to miss surf and sails I know, but this always was my favorite time of year to be at the shore.
the Chesapeak
This year, we found ourselves on New Year's day with nothing to do, a need to get out of the house and this nagging feeling that the ocean was calling.
We decided to go find us some boats and water.
Having never been to Annapolis, it seemed like a good place to start.
We walked around town, enjoying the store windows and sailboats still decked out in holiday lights, the views of a cold Chesapeake Bay and the fresh air in our lungs (although our warm, nearly 50 degree day did feel a lot colder in those waterfront winds).
the fudge shop window
After taking in the sights and history and thoroughly missing our sail boat, we warmed up over hot cocoa and coffee and a quiet drive home to start this new year.
Happy 2011, my friends.
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