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Flamenco Fun!

Flamenco Fun!

While on our Santa Fe museum tour, we enjoyed dressing up at a flamenco exhibit…


The inspiration resulted  in grandma’s gift of flamenco skirts for Katya and I, and a visit to the thrift store yielded just the right hat and shirt for Nathan.  Unfortunately, a bad fall on the playground gave Katya a sprained ankle that put quite a crimp in her flamenco dancing aspirations for a few weeks.  We almost didn’t go to our annual church Family Fun Night, but Katya was a trooper and we ended up enjoying FFN in style.  (Our valiant Sheriff was busy running the event, so he and his impressive western sideburns didn’t make it into the photo).


As a fun side note, we also received the gift of some face-painting pencils.  Katya enlisted Than’s artistry to come up with this fun design!


Even a reluctant Nathan was persuaded to try out a mustache for a little while.


Happy Halloween–come on over for cotton candy and flamenco fun!


Christmas in a Box

Christmas in a Box

What is more full of Christmas anticipation than a box?

Maybe a standard brown one, waiting on your doorstep when you get home…


Maybe a battered one held together with colorful duck tape, brought to your door by the hard-working UPS man…


Maybe a beautifully decorated one that you hate to open since looking at it is a gift in itself…


Maybe one that has been sitting under the tree for weeks, prompting all sorts of imagination about what might be inside…

Whatever kind of box, we thank all of you who have sent one our way!  Hopefully you have had a few boxes come your way as well.


Someone Snuck in a Birthday

Someone Snuck in a Birthday

Now that the day is long past, I’ll get around to sharing a few pictures from Than’s birthday.  When we were first dating he was very secretive about when the actual day was, so by sharing this post more than a month away I will protect his crucial secret!

Because the actual was on a Friday, Than and I were able to spend the whole day together while the kids were at school.  We started with breakfast at our favorite spot where we made a list of Than’s favorite places.  The rest of the day involved trying to visit (and photograph) as many of those places as we could!  Can you guess where we went?







We certainly didn’t make it everywhere, but it was a great way to enjoy being together.  Besides, we can work on getting through the rest of the list anytime before his next birthday!

The kids contributed this fun birthday banner, and we enjoyed dinner out with Than’s parents as well.

I am so grateful to be celebrating with this wonderful man who has been God’s gift to me for many years.  He is a hard man to get a picture of, but a very easy man to love.  We celebrate his integrity, his spontaneous fun ideas, his deep care for many, and his deep love for the God who motivates him.  Happy Birthday!




Has this boy really been in our lives for a whole decade?  How did the time go by so fast?  Nathan celebrated his 10th birthday in the middle of VBS last week.

As he has for the last few years, Nathan requested a salad bar as his dinner of choice.  This year we went with an Italian theme, featuring fresh mozzarella cubes, sliced pepperoni, and crisp fried salami along with lots of veggie choices and homemade rosemary foccacia.  We had rocky road sundaes for dessert, so we used an extra piece of bread to hold up the birthday candles!



Board games were definitely the theme of the birthday, with Super Mario Chess, Clue, Monopoly Empire, Rockin’ Math, and Rubix Cube making grand appearances.


There were also plenty of other kindly chosen gifts and cards arriving in person or via the mailman.  Thanks, everyone!  A special treat was having Grandma as well as Gran B and Poppy as birthday dinner guests.


Plenty of change has happened since Nathan came in 2005, and I am confident that the next decade will see even more change.  We are forging on to the new adventures ahead!

Past Birthday Posts…

Nathan Turns 3

Nathan Turns 4

Nathan Turns 5

Nathan Turns 7

Nathan Turns 8 (this one has a baby pic with it, so it is my favorite!)

Nathan Turns 9

Seven (for a Month!)

Seven (for a Month!)

Not only is Katya seven now, she has been for a whole month!  Here is my report about seven-year-olds, based on an extensive survey with a sample size of one…

Seven-year-olds are excited about thoughtfully chosen presents from family, near and far.


Seven-year-olds want a family trip to the zoo, especially when their birthdays coincide with a day off from school.


Seven-year-olds ride carousels and get their brothers to come along.


Seven-year-olds are delighted with boxes that come in the mail–the gifts are great, and the box is still fun too.


Seven-year-olds appreciate special outings like girl-grandmother shopping and lunch.


Seven-year-olds are gleefully surprised when their dads and brothers fill their rooms with 84 balloons.  (Sometimes they are also afraid when lots of those balloons pop loudly and without warning, but they are also grateful for dads who step in and make it fun again.)


Seven-year-olds might request a raspberry Napoleon instead of birthday cake, to go along with their dinner meal of homemade pizza.


Seven-year-olds like coloring on the table, blowing out candles, and being the center of attention.


Seven-year-olds are creative, full of energy, and a marvelous part of any family.  Seven-year-olds are dearly loved!


If you know a seven-year-old, be grateful.  I sure am!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!


Because Halloween was on a Friday this year, we decided to do something special.  Than rented a cotton candy machine and we set up shop in the garage, making and handing out over 50 bags of cotton candy.


The kids had been looking forward to this treat for days and they especially had fun taking bags around to our neighbors in a little bit of reverse Trick-or-Treating.


(In case you are wondering, Katya’s costume is supposed to be a Dalmation dog and Nathan is an easel with a chalkboard on one side and a whiteboard on the other.)

We ate our traditional Halloween chili out in the garage, carved pumpkins out there in between guests, and generally had a great evening talking with people and being together as a family.  Some of the parents were almost as excited about cotton candy as their kids were, and I think it will be a family memory that will last a long time for us.


Oh, Happy Day!

Oh, Happy Day!


Look at what I found in my front window last week!  A pile of bright green presents, with a card to match, all for me!  Wow.

And that’s not all, either.  There were cards in the mail, a gift stuck in the door, boxes from, gift cards to some of my favorite places, and even a vase of lavender roses.  Thanks to so many of you for making my birthday special.

On my actual birthday, I was well celebrated indeed.  We spent the day together as a family.  We enjoyed breakfast from the Taste of Denmark bakery, visited the butterfly display at the Chatfield Arboretum, took a leisurely drive through the foothills, ate my favorite sub from Jimmy John’s, played mini golf at Colorado Journey, created some art with my new birthday crayons and markers, relished the steak at Texas Roadhouse, and finished off the day with phone calls and a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream.  Add in presents throughout the day, and a trip to a castle for tea on the following afternoon, and you have pretty much a perfect birthday!

Oh, and let’s not forget the biggest birthday card ever–check it out!!


Here are some favorite details from my super-huge birthday card mural.




Thanks, everyone, for making me feel loved!

Nine Years Old

Nine Years Old

Nathan is 9!  How did that happen?!!


Since his birthday fell during the middle of Vacation Bible School, we enjoyed our usual family tradition of spreading out the celebration.  Thanks to various boxes from various relatives and various times, he enjoyed several days of feeling special 🙂


Popular gifts this year?  The complete set of The Chronicles of Narnia books, an expanded snap-circuits electricity kit, a kids cookbook, and a 3D maze game, just to name a few.


The birthday menu?  Salad bar with tons of veggies, special items including salami, artichoke hearts, mangoes, peas, and pineapple, and homemade chocolate pecan fudge ice cream for dessert.

I can’t believe we are halfway to voting age with this book-loving, screen-loving, family-loving, Jesus-loving boy of ours.  We are so thankful for him!

Katya Celebrates

Katya Celebrates

Here’s a peek at how Katya celebrated her birthday week…


…trying out her new loft bed.  She was scared at first to be up so high, but it has quickly become a favorite place.  She also likes the new storage/play area underneath.  (Nathan got one for his birthday too, but since IKEA furniture can be a challenge to put together, we decided we’d better give it to him now since we would forget by June all of the assembly lessons we learned!!)


…practicing the piano in two of her new princess crowns.


…opening plenty of fun toys and treasures from loving family.


…practicing her budding reading skills.


…enjoying boxes and cards that arrived in the mail.


…modelling new birthday clothes and accessories.  She changed clothes 3 or 4 times in one day!


…testing out a new bike.  Daddy still runs with her–she can ride pretty well, but still hasn’t quite mastered the art of starting and stopping.


…eating homemade pizza, berries, and red peppers for supper followed by singing and cake.  She asked for chocolate cake with strawberry filling and frosting.  The frosting was especially good–made with real strawberries!  (Here’s the link to the recipe I used.)


I just love birthdays, and I think she enjoyed hers too!

Catching Up-One More Christmas

Catching Up-One More Christmas

One more Christmas post, full of photos from our Christmas… and one more Christmas… and maybe one more…  We enjoy spreading out the presents and the people over several days, and this year was no exception.  


Christmas Eve anticipation…


The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care, but Than DID have the main room of the basement completed in time for us to enjoy opening gifts down there on Christmas morning!


Katya picked out Nathan’s present, just what he asked for–smart girl.



Katya enjoyed testing out a lovely new box of dress up clothes.  She even ended up wearing several layers of glamorous outfits to our lunch with Than’s grandparents!  The seniors who live in their complex were quite impressed.



Nathan got a new grown-up bike for Christmas.  I guess it is good we didn’t have a white Christmas so he could test it out right away.



He was also a big fan of his Bey Blades, super spinning tops that whirl around and try to knock each other over.  He taught Aunt Lynne how to use them.


Making gingerbread houses consumed much of the evening on the actual Christmas Day–fun for all involved!  Aunt Ann, Aunt Lynne, Gran B, Daddy, and Katya were the main architects with Nathan providing sugar sampling support, Mommy in charge of material procurement, and Poppy heading up the encouragement section.



We enjoyed more Baylor festivities on New Year’s Day, with the cousins playing in full force.  Love it!


My favorite part was watching the kids dancing and singing all over the living room to music from the electric keyboard.  Hilarious!!


As always, there are plenty of wonderful Christmas season moments that escaped the camera.  My dad’s visit, Christmas Eve at church, so many thoughtful gifts, our family game night, the consumption of the gingerbread constructions, and many more that aren’t in my head at the moment.  I am grateful for all these good memories, and for the time to celebrate with joy and enthusiasm even amid the construction in the basement, the ever-busy nature of church work, and the reality that there always seems to be just one more thing to do.  Happy Christmas to all!