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!

Catching up

Well, Summer has gone and school has begun again. While we spent more time at home over the summer, I turned my attention to projects around the house and just never got around to blogging. So here’s a little recap of the last few months.

May: Skye (2) and cousin Heidi (3) shared a birthday party!

We had a water party which included a chance to play in shaving cream!

We also had a cousin trip to the Waco zoo.

Family fun night after playing in the rain – popcorn, hot chocolate and Uno!!

June: Camp Grammy for the girls provided old fashioned fun along with some new homemaking skills!

Horseback riding at a cousin’s Indian birthday party.

Themed weeks of summer fun – this was art week.

Plenty of outdoor time for this little explorer!

July: Boys Camp Grammy – mountain men and wilderness survival! They look a tough group, don’t they?

Fireworks with cousins

Ivy’s swimming birthday party – she is 8 years old!

Searching for pennies in the water.

And that’s probably enough for one post.

In between each event picture is just the normal rhythm of daily life in a big family. Chores, mess, laughter, trampoline time, intricate imagination games, books, fights, potty training, organizing, boo-boos, hugs, meals, “daddy’s home,” clean-up, and bed time.

I love watching these little ones grow strong and confident as they learn life skills and rub the rough edges off each other. It is a weighty responsibility to parent these future men and women, but God pours out the wisdom I ask for which mightily helps as we navigate their training.  Praise to Him for special memories and the stamina needed for each day.

Until next time!

Green Thumbs


Brian and I love to garden. Something about the “excuse” to spend time outdoors in the lovely spring weather even while there are other projects and chores waiting to be done inside.


Like any good garden endeavor – all green thumbs start out as brown thumbs


Even if we are dubious about the produce.


It provides opportunity to teach the children about hard work – like when the trees were trimmed away from the power lines on our street and I asked if they would dump a load of mulch in our yard.


And another lesson in work ethic with a second load.


And yes, a third. The garden is now covered knee deep in mulch – no more weeding this year!


We discover amazing things – like this mother skink guarding her eggs.


We learn to rejoice in the small things – like our entire beet crop!


And big things – like the volunteer sunflower plant.


A garden gives us a chance to watch something that grows…


…faster than our kids! (same corn patch 10 days later).


Best of all, it tends to make vegetables a larger part of our diet by sheer desperation when we try to consume a large yield.



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