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Nate the Eight!

Nate the Eight!

Somehow my sweet little baby…

Waldek Wedding Pictures 097

…raced through the toddler years…


…headed off to school…


…and turned into this big handsome fellow!


We celebrated Nathan’s birthday yesterday (and a little last week, and a little next week, in our usual family tradition!)  For dinner he requested a salad bar–all his favorite ingredients that each guest could mix together in their own way.  Nathan’s list included artichoke hearts, mixed olives, pepperoni, salami, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, red and yellow peppers, and carrots.  He also picked out Chile Limon chips and baked Parmesan potatoes.  Nice menu, buddy!


Dessert was a chocolate train cake, a great use of the cupcake train pan from my favorite goodie-box provider.  It was fun for each guest to pick their own car.


We also used the cake pan to make a Jello train.  (The Jello corporation is happy–it took 3 boxes of Jello!)

Of course the festivities have also included kind gifts from lots of people–even a sweet sister picked something out!


There have also been fun cards and treats in the mail.  We like our festivities stretched out around here, and so far that has been working just fine.


I am so grateful for this book-loving, train-loving, scooter-loving, mom’s-cooking-loving, family-loving, Bible-loving boy that was designed by God to fit just right in our family.  Happy birthday, son!

A New Look

A New Look

When you realize that your kitchen counter looks like this…


…it is time to take some action.  After months of deliberation, advice, decision making, saving, and waiting, we finally got a call that our new kitchen counters were in.  Than went to work immediately!


Out came the old counters, off came the old tile, and in came a big trash can and the Shop Vac.


After a hard day’s work (more for Than than for the rest of us), we were down to this…


Bright and early the next morning, I did what any woman with a choice would do–went out to visit friends while Than stayed home with both kids and worked!  Not very fair, I admit, but oh-so-nice while Than and our kitchen contractor (a man I would highly recommend, by the way, if you need any work done) banged and hauled and fitted and tiled.  I did come home after a few hours to feed and entertain the kids while the work continued.  (Turns out an old sink is a new toy–amazing, right?!)


Much to my amazement, by 9:00 that evening I could put everything back in its place in my gorgeous new kitchen!!!  It is much better in person, and I’ve already had dinner guests twice, so please come by and have a look.  In case you can’t, here are a few before-and-after photos.

A VERY old (and unusually messy) before shot, from long before we painted…




And now…


Old sink…



New sink (stainless steel, much bigger, and with a seamless edge)…



And one more overall shot from before…



And after…


My sister’s long-distance design advice was invaluable, and I am also thankful for the extra job that helped pay the bills, our contractor who did excellent fast work, and my husband who labored long and hard to make this happen.  I LOVE IT!!!


Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden

Inspired by a gift to Katya from my grandmother, we finally got around to making our own fairy garden.  (And yes, I know that fairies aren’t real and so do my kids, it is just the perfect name for a tiny little created world!)  I’ve wanted to do this project for a while and it was fun to get to it.  We started with a big rolling planter, also from my grandmother now that I think of it!


After putting in some fresh soil, we added some plants from the nursery, transplanted others from around the yard, stuck in a few decorations from last year’s gnome dish garden (thanks, mom) and made sand paths.  Once the kids got over arguing about who would do what, we had a good time imagining together.


Katya’s inside fairies came out for a visit, as did a few other tiny toys.



The kids have played with it several times since we started.  Katya likes to collect roly poly bugs and set them loose to wander around.  Both kids decorate it occasionally with nature finds from the yard–a few snail shells, a ladybug shell, some bright pink flower petals.  We will add different things throughout the summer and see what grows.  Hopefully I will get Than to take some better photos of it later on.  For now, these will have to do.  Why are tiny things so much fun?

Katya’s View of Mommy

Katya’s View of Mommy

As an additional Mother’s Day gift, Katya carefully selected these things and wrapped them up in a coloring page…


She carefully taped up the package using her special decorated tape.  I love looking at the contents and wondering what that says about what she thinks I like and need.  Money, “makeup,” craft supplies–she’s got a pretty good idea, I’d say!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

Thanks to everyone who made my Mother’s Day a very happy one!  I don’t have photographs of all the kind ways I was loved and remembered, but since this post is, after all, about Mother’s Day I decided to focus on the things I did with the people who made me a mother!!


During naptime, Katya collected all sorts of objects from her room and proceeded to hide them in our room.  She excitedly begged for me to then find all my “presents.”  Quite a collection, don’t you think?


Among other things, my husband gave me this beautiful silver spoon that I had been admiring on Etsy for quite some time.  I love it!!


Feeling a bit like Mary Poppins, I looked out the window while preparing our celebratory dinner to find one big and two little chalk artists (a.k.a. screevers) hard at work decorating the patio.  It made a great atmosphere for our patio dinner, and gave me the luxury of cooking uninterrupted all by myself, another welcome gift.

Nathan also presented me with an illustrated book of poetry that he made at school, and a handmade card.

I won’t pretend that I absolutely love every minute of every day, but I certainly love being a mother!

Easter Hunting

Easter Hunting

My sweet Easter kids…


…had lots of fun looking for things over Easter week.  An egg hunt with cousins at Gran B and Poppy’s house (inside because of snow)


backyard eggs (minus the one the squirrel destroyed),


even finding treasures while wearing an Easter dress and rain boots!


My favorite Easter hunt was the one Than did inside, using clues inside the eggs that led the kids to find the new What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver DVD.  (If you haven’t heard of Buck Denver yet, better click on that link to get up to speed!)


Katya’s Birthday

Katya’s Birthday


Has it already been two weeks since Katya’s birthday?!!!  How did that happen?

Here’s a glimpse into how we celebrated with our five year old…


Lots of fun packages arrived in the mail, so the fun was spread out over several days.  Yippee!!




A few things from Mommy and Daddy too.



Of course, Nathan was more than happy to help try out all sorts of new birthday treasures…DSCN6710


Katya got “stickered”–a fun tradition in her Wednesday night Pioneer Girls club.  When it is near a girl’s birthday, the whole class gathers around and covers her with stickers!DSCN6711
The birthday banner with the birthday girl, all dressed up for her birthday outing.



In the car, ready for our trip to Boulder.  Nathan had the day off and at Katya’s request we headed to the Celestial Seasonings tea factory, since Katya was finally old enough to go on the tour.  DSCN6717


With the Sleepytime Bear at Celestial Seasonings…DSCN6718

After our tour, we went to the Leaning Tree Western Art Museum.  (A side note, Nathan enjoyed wearing his factory tour hairnet most of the day and Katya used hers as a purse.)DSCN6721


Following the birthday meal (Katya requested potato pizza and sausage green pepper pizza with salad, ranch dressing, croutons, and Italian sodas) came the birthday cake–a princess like last year, this time with strawberry cake made from real strawberries and decorated with raspberry flowers and a blueberry hem.DSCN6732


Happy birthday, dear girl!

My Valentines

My Valentines


This charming pair is enough to make any Valentine’s Day memorable all on its own, but when you stir in a hearty dose of their romantic father the holiday suddenly rises to a new level!  I was treated to a new set of Tupperware, hidden all around the house, each one holding a little treat for me.  I figured that was a great celebration and was planning a nice dinner for our family.  Imagine my surprise when instead my children disappeared while I wasn’t looking and Than took me out instead to a very fancy Valentine’s dinner at The Manor House.  Slowly falling snow, lights sparkling at our hilltop destination, even a bouquet of flowers from my mother-in-law and “our song” playing during dinner.  I am a fortunate woman indeed.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

The out-of-town guests have gone home, the children are finally healthy after being sick off and on for nearly a month, the presents are given and opened and put away, and I am back in front of the computer trying to catch up with it all!

The bad news is I haven’t posted for 2 weeks.  The good news is that means we were busy with all sorts of things, most of them lots of fun!

The Christmas Pageant at church (Katya was a bell-toting little angel, Nathan was a “We Three Kings”-singing Narrator #9, and Than was the overseer, producer and coordinator of all technical effects).



The Baylor family outing to Santa’s Workshop, a fun kid’s amusement park outside of Colorado Springs.  Katya wasn’t feeling very good and it was a little chilly at times, but everyone managed to have lots of fun together anyway.


The Christmas Play-In at our house, where my students come to enjoy playing Christmas music and sampling cookies.

Lots of thoughtfully chosen gifts for adults and kids alike–here are my parents and brother helping out with some new Legos.


Gingerbread house creation–lots of work for mom and grandma, lots of fun for the kids!


Such a treat to have my mom and dad and brother staying with us over Christmas.


Christmas morning, stockings followed by steel-cut oatmeal with all the trimmings, then gifts and a big family dinner (thanks to those who brought such yummy food–I didn’t have to do much!!)


A perfectly chosen gift–Aunt Kaye does it again!!


Happy kids, loving all the time with family, the new toys to play with, and the more relaxed pace of Christmas break with no school or piano lessons.


There are so many other good memories that couldn’t be photographed, but this at least gives a snapshot of our Christmas season.  God is good!!