It’s a….

The kids find out if they are having a brother or sister!

The newest addition

Our family and farm is always growing, but this time growth took on the form of a new species altogether! A long awaited dream materialized a few days before Christmas in the form of a 5 lb. ball of fur.

The pup was dubbed SUSE (a Linux distribution; i.e. a computer nerd thing). She’s a mix of German Shepherd, Border Collie and Bull Terrier.

Her main place of residence will be in the barn – hopefully to deter raccoons – but the weather was so cold the first week that she spent some time inside. Not only did this help with the initial bonding, but it provided a great energy outlet for cooped up kids.

She also made for a handy weight during my exercise sessions.

By the end of the cold weather, she was officially one of the pack.

As she grows and her behavior needs attention I hope to mentor my older kids in the art of training.

But for now, she enjoys her pack, following them around the yard, chasing leaves and obligingly tasting mud pie creations.

December family times

Our December was full of fun family times! Here are a few pictures:

Decorating for Christmas

Watching the parade.


Advent readings before bed.


An unexpected snow!!!


Snow ice cream!


Enjoying our fireplace.


Finishing the co-op semester with a play.


Dad’s work Christmas party –   A much anticipated and highly enjoyed trip to Santa’s Wonderland.


Home school choir performance.


Iris turned 4 on the 11th – we celebrated with a caroling party.


Garrison turned 1 on the 18th – this guy knew what to do with his cake :-)

We also completed our Christmas newsletter – click here to read it. In it I talked about several things that could be found on this blog. Since those links are in past posts, I’m putting the link on again for those interested.

Quoting Daniel 6:19-28:

Fiery Furnace cousin movie:

Marriage Testimony:


Merry Christmas!

October happenings


So October happens to be a special month for us – it holds the anniversary of starting our together life.


Brian is as devoted now as he was starting out – and maybe even more!

Of course, the season of October and big family of little kids brings many other happenings as well!


The bulk apple order came and went – this time bringing some pears. Skye and Brian sauce pears.


Flora, Amy and Eden slice and bag apples for the freezer. We also put up about 75 Qts. of applesauce.


With cooler weather (somewhat) the sandbox regained popularity and many hours of entertainment transpired. Garrison was delighted with this new play place since he had exhausted exploring the possibilities of the house.


We kept up a good pace for school. I have introduced assignment sheets this year and while it takes a little forethought and time each week, I’m loving how the kids are working on their own while I float around helping as needed. The kids can turn in a months worth of assignment sheets for a special family fun event.


Our first event was taking the oldest 4 to a new trampoline place in town. (this came to be because we had a groupon)IMG_8815

They loved bouncing around but I think the foam pit was their favorite.



We also enjoyed a trip to Henderson to see all the Cahill cousins. Went to the park for a bit in an effort to expend some of the exuberance before afternoon rest time.

We memorized a passage from Daniel over the summer, in preparation for studying the book in the fall. We had the opportunity to quote it for the other ladies in the Bible study group and took advantage of the occasion to record it and share.


And last but not least, Garrison was thrilled to find out that he now ranks as a “big brother.”

While the timing was a bit quicker than we planned, another cutie like this will be a welcome addition to 2018.

Well, that’s all for now – see you again next month!

Anniversary trip!

Our 11th anniversary is coming up this Saturday! In talking things over about six weeks ago we started looking into taking a trip of some sort.  As we began checking into options and childcare everything fell into place for us to go in mid September! A little early maybe, but when childcare for 7 children lines up, you go! I felt a little flattered that it took four couples to look after the kiddos I manage on my own every day :-). We are super grateful to those that made this trip possible and to our oldest children who ran the barn and garden on their own while we were gone.

We went to Petit Jean State park in AR – a place of many childhood memories for Brian.


We spent 3 nights in a cabin and enjoyed all the hiking it had to offer!

Bible study and hot tea with the sunrise – so peaceful!!

Seven Hollows trail – a four mile loop with a variety of scenery.

Unfortunately, these guys were part of the scenery – we saw five within an hour all next to or crossing the trail. Two made a warning noise as we walked past, giving us quite a jump! For a while we missed most of the scenery as we kept our eyes scanning the trail.

Stopped at the natural bridge for a snack and some exploring. Later things got hot and I got hungry and tired and wanted to head back. Brian wanted to take a linking trail to another part of the park – several more miles. After eating lunch I felt better and went on with the hope of swimming when we got to “Blue Hole.”

It turned out to be more of a “Green Lagoon” and we passed on swimming.


We found a better place a little further on and cooled off for a bit.

While there we found a butterfly gathering place like I had read about in science with the kids last year. It’s a place where all the males gather and wait for females. There were about 15 gathered here and it was so beautiful watching their wings open and close.

Later we enjoyed an evening of snacks and games. I even relented and played a game I always lose – just for old times sake.

Another day of hiking yielded more beauty and challenge. We blazed an old forgotten trail and explored rock formations and caves.

This tree must be a woodpecker hotel.

We cooled off in the new pool which was quite frigid! No matter how hot you were to start off, you could only stay in about 15 minutes. Invigorating!

The first evening we saw the sunset as we finished swimming and it was so peacefully captivating that we went back and watched each evening.

The last morning we hiked down to the falls.

We took a refreshing shower under the falls then drip dried as we slowly made our way back to the cabin, enjoying our last glimpses of the park.



We visited President Clinton’s birthplace on our way back. Stopping at a hotel for the night, we enjoyed the pool, some disc golf, and a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place – very tasty. We played more disc golf the next morning then picked up our children place by place and all arrived back at our house and normal life.

The time away was wonderful, like a breath of fresh air. We enjoyed focused time with just each other, doing the things we like to do. Here’s to another year with my other half!

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