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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!

A Faithful Friend

A Faithful Friend

Buddy Bear turned eight while we were on vacation.  We celebrated his birthday when we got back.


He has been a faithful companion and is still greatly loved.  Happy Birthday, Buddy Bear!



Tuxedo (11)

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby

The annual Pinewood Derby again featured men, boys, track, cars, and me setting up an oatmeal bar (delish!!).


This year, however, there was a new category for creative car designs and Nathan jumped on board.  Meet “The Porcupine”…


He was entirely Nathan’s idea, weighing in at 15 ounces.  Nathan hoped the weight would help him be the fastest, and while he did have a way of keeping the other cars pushed out of his path, he didn’t end up getting any speed prizes.


The Porcupine did get an award for creativity, however, and his owner was very proud.  (The pink-dressed two-ponytail cheering section was pretty excited too:)

A Few Projects

A Few Projects

We snuck in a few more fun projects before school started.  Why does it make me feel good to do “projects” with my kids?  I guess it feels useful but fun, educational but creative, gives me some direction instead of the open-ended play that I struggle with.  Anyway, here is our marble circus…

Katya didn’t play with it super long, preferring to stockpile her marbles in her purse, but Nathan has enjoyed it several times.  I used a pattern from here (the website is in French but the photos are clear and the download is in English) and re-purposed a cardboard box, flipped upside down, to corral the marbles.  Fun!

We also made a paper city with printouts from here.  We’ve done this before, but the artist has drawn some new figures and our old paper city has long disappeared, so it was fun to do it again.  Katya and Nathan enjoyed playing together with the people and vehicles, a much more interactive and imaginative play than the last time we did it about a year ago.  Much has changed!

Finally, we enjoyed taking a few black-eyed-Susans to our neighbors, probably the best kind of project since it is focused on encouraging others rather than generating more toys to trip over!  I started out to cut a vase for our house, but the fistfuls of sunshine were so appealing I just kept cutting.  It was fun to share God’s bountiful beauty with those around us.

Taking Care of Goldie

Taking Care of Goldie

To celebrate the first day of school, both Katya and Nathan got a tiny little stuffed dog.

These critters have proved quite popular and they get hauled around everywhere!  On the second day of school Katya was in charge of babysitting Nathan’s Goldie, but on the third day of school it was my job.  He left her in my care along with lots of instructions for how to make sure she had a good day.  I did my best to follow them…

“Put her in your pocket so she can stay with you all day.”

“Make sure Godlie eats a snack right after Katya does.”

“If she barks at the back door, she wants to go out and play.”

“If she barks at the front door you have to take her for a walk.  She likes to go to the park.”

“She doesn’t take a nap, so let her help you work on the computer.”

“If you have any questions, ask Katya.”

“The most important thing is that she gives you a kiss.  If she doesn’t give you a kiss by the end of the day, I won’t let you watch her any more.  She only kisses you if she likes you.”

Do you think I did an OK job, Nathan?

Nathan’s Birthday

Nathan’s Birthday

Amid all the Beaver Creek and Suzuki vacation happenings, Nathan had a birthday!  His official birthday was the day we arrived home from our vacation, but of course the celebration can’t be just one day around here!

At the beginning of our week in the mountains, he received the gift of a new scooter from Gran B and Poppy so he could enjoy riding it around the bike paths up there.  He was very excited!

On his actual birthday, the final day of Suzuki Institute, he awoke to a little bag of birthday suprises and balloons hanging from the chandelier.  We tied a balloon to our backpack and all day long friends and teachers wished him well.  He was sung to by every class!  He chose Mexican for our dinner restaurant, and it was an excellent meal with some of the best fresh tortillas I’ve ever had.

When we arrived home that evening, the birthday card holder was waiting and there was garland hanging in the living room and kitchen, thanks to me sneaking back in the house and “forgetting something” just before we left.

Birthday boxes arrived in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa and from Bonzo and Pappy so there was something special to open each day for a while.  Train books, new reader books, Dr. Seuss’s Book About Me, and a Lite Brite (that both kids can work on at the same time)–very fun!

Tuesday we enjoyed Grandpa Train and Grandma Sweetie’s company, along with Poppy, for Nathan’s birthday dinner of choice–French toast, strawberries, tomatoes, and bacon.  He decided he’s not a big cake fan, so this year the candles went in homemade cherry raspberry ice cream (his flavor choice).  The Thomas the Tank Engine flags were a popular touch.

Grandpa Train and Grandma Sweetie brought over a huge new addition to his marble track set, which was a big hit (with Daddy as well as Nathan).  Of course we had to set it up right away, and it has undergone several permutations since then.

Of course there were plenty of other well wishes, cards, and kind remembrances from lots of people.  Thanks to everyone for remembering!!  All in all, I’d say it was a pretty happy birthday, wouldn’t you?!!



How can you accomplish anything important without a meeting?

This one involved Buddy Bear doing flips down the stairs and Katya’s dog flying through the air doing loop-de-loops.  Sounds productive to me!

Laundry Basket

Laundry Basket

Katya’s imagination continues to grow, and I sometimes just laugh as I listen to her play.  She loves her little treasures…

…small spaces and cozy houses…

…and snuggly blankies.  When you’ve got all that, what else do you need for a fabulous time?!!