Weekends are for making memories.  Slow mornings, second cups of coffee, extra snuggling, knitting, adventures and spontaneity, gathering with church family to worship, taking long naps, then throwing everything in the car and driving up into the mountains for an impromptu cookout and campfire with friends.  Watching children running through the long grass,  because kids need wide open spaces, and turns out, so do I.  Sharing a burger with the littlest, eating french fries cooked right in the fire.  Watching the sunset bathe the landscape in rose gold, fade to gray, then seeing the stars come out.  Pointing out Venus, Mars, and the milky way to the children.  These are the things weekends are made of (sometimes) and I hope you have a good one!



As you can tell, I’m not a very enthusiastic mom about halloween. 🙂  I wish I was more creative in this regard, with hilarious family-themed costumes, something witty or smart, but it’s just not my strong point.  I mean, I spent the whole day yesterday with my shirt inside out and didn’t even realize it until evening.  This is where I’m at, people.  Barely able to manage my own grooming.  (I sure admire all of you witty, smart, creative fellow-moms, though!)  Maybe next year?  I just didn’t care that much this year to pull something together, especially being that we don’t plan to trick-or-treat with phoebe anyway.  Thankfully, the kids didn’t really care either.  She did want to dress up, so I told the kids they could dress however they wanted and we would at least go for a walk around our neighborhood when daddy got home.  Philippa was not having it at all, though she wore the kitty headband for a few minutes before chucking it.  Noah really wanted to be Batman this year, as opposed to last year when he was terrified of his costume.  I had previously bought some special candy/chocolate that the kids can have, and so I told them each to bring their little treat bag on our walk and I filled it as we went.  We just enjoyed a quiet evening and a beautiful walk, and came home to warm pork chili stew + fresh cheddar biscuits.  I think we are the only family in the neighborhood with young kids, and we didn’t go knock on any doors, but one neighbor saw us and ran to grab some treats for the kids.  Another drove by in her car to “catch” us and gave candy to the kids.  Super sweet.  As we walked up our driveway, our young-married-couple neighbors were just getting home, and so we chatted with them a bit and they gave the kids candy, too.  So I guess we did trick-or-treat after all.  It was the most chill and supremely simple halloween to date.  We hope you had a happy one, too!


leaves like a quilt


Can it really be the last day of October?  I don’t want to see it go.  I have barely posted this month, besides my faithful yarn along posts, which is probably more interesting to me than to most of my readers.  Dear reader, I’m sorry!

My little corner of the world has been spinning rather wildly, and this month has been busy.  The first two weeks of it, my older brother was in town with his son, and I tried to squeeze in as much time with them as I could.  The kids and I have been outside as much as we can be.  They’ve started this new rhythm since the weather has cooled and the mosquitoes have died down, running to play outside as soon as they are done breakfast until Phoebe and I start school.  They are out most of the rest of the day if we are home.  Phoebe and Noah and I have been reading Island of the Blue Dolphins for our chapter book, which has inspired much of their play.  Coincidentally, someone gave us a tee-pee also, so Phoebe has been busy playing that she is Karana gathering abalones and watching out for the Aleuts.

I just can’t get enough of the color and the beauty of this season.  During a walk one day to our neighborhood park, Phoebe exclaimed: “the leaves are like a quilt!”  I’m so thankful for the perspective of a child!  School has been going so well with Phoebe, I really love doing it.  It is taking up a decent amount of my time and energy, thus my lack of blogging this month.   We really love Phoebe’s co-op as well, the community we are all finding there, and I’m always amazed at how much she is learning and retaining.  She has started a bit of music theory and learning to play a tin whistle, which she loves.  Brandon and I are beginning to talk about Christimas/birthday gifts for them, as their birthdays are quickly approaching.  I’m knitting each of them a sweater, which I really think I will feasibly have done in time.  We’ve talked about giving each of them a musical instrument as well for their birthdays.  Noah is dying for a drum, Phoebe has wanted a violin for some time.  But we are still undecided.

We continue to hope for more improvement in Phoebe’s health, her diet, her growth, her eating habits.  This month has been hard for me in that department.  I realize my frailty, my weariness, my weakness.  The pastor at our church yesterday was speaking about running the race (of faith) with endurance, and that part of what gives us strength for the race is the hope of Heaven.  I was thinking about how my heart hurts and gets weary over this journey with Phoebe, and realized yes, this is part of it.  This is not something that seems to be resolving easily with her, or quickly, and we wear out.  We long for an end in sight, something we can fix our eyes on and run toward.  Yet this is more ambiguous, uncertain.  Our medical team is beginning to recommend more testing.  She will go to Brenner  Children’s Hospital in Wake Forest next month to see a pediatric specialist in Celiacs.  I’m hopeful that we will have more help from there, steps we can take, things we can try, something.

We can’t trick-or-treat and don’t want to deal with having to rifle through the kids candy and pull out what isn’t gluten-free.  I’ve just planned some simple and fun activities for us here at home, and found candy and chocolate that the kids can have from a local health store.  We carved our pumpkin over the weekend and maybe will let the kids dress up and just walk around our quiet, mostly-old-folks neighborhood.

Anyway, so thats a bit of what our October was like, the best month of the year, and why I have been pretty absent in the blogosphere.  I want to not miss these days, these moments.  I want to capture it all, to write it down, to hang onto the glory of these days, each falling like golden leaves, slipping to the ground.  Now, behind us, underfoot, all stretched out like a mosaic, like a quilt.

jonathon + laura’s wedding

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A few weeks ago one of my cousins got married, and it was such a lovely reception in the backyard of his childhood home.  The pictures I snapped from the day were sort of random, I realized later (i.e.: no pictures of bride + groom, no pictures of brandon + I, either.  No pictures of the ceremony.)  Maybe that had something to do with how insane it was to keep up with our two kiddos running wild and nurse/feed the baby, as well as try to snag some dinner (and cake!).  Yep.. this season of parenting is awesome, and we love it, but it is busy.  My dad grilled meat for the reception, so that’s him there in the chef’s hat, slaving away over the grill.  🙂  And the kids LIVED to climb up in that treehouse in the yard, lower and raise the basket, yelling commands at any passersby to put something in their basket, which they would promptly pull up.  We were super thankful + delighted that they had gluten-free cake, as it was the first gathering our little Phoebe has been to where she realized there would be yummy treats she couldn’t have.  We had prepped her ahead of time that there would probably be cake and she wouldn’t be able to have it, but that I had packed some gluten-free Oreos for her.  She was a bit glum, cake-lover that she is.  When we brought her piece to her, she ran with it back to the cake table and double-checked with the servers that this cake was “free gluten” and she could have it.  Then she sat by the tree and devoured it.  Sometimes its the little things like this that mean a lot when you’re navigating a transition!  Anyway, we were super happy to celebrate my cousin + his new bride, and wish them a lifetime of celebration!

Also, on the way home, we drove by this old house where I spent my early growing up years a few streets over from my Aunt + Uncles house.  I sort of creepily snapped a photo from the car as we drove by.  Lots of special memories wrapped up in this place.. the time I called 911 because my sister wouldn’t let my Molly (American girl) doll play with her Samantha.  The time I swallowed a ring in the night while playing a “guess where i’m hiding it” game with my sister when we were supposed to be sleeping.  (Guess it wasn’t a bright idea to hide it in my mouth and try to talk.)  Lots of tree-climbing.  The little play house my dad built for us in the backyard.  Swinging on the swingset + singing my heart out.  Playing with my BFF Wynne a block or so away.  The old lady who lived behind Wynnes house, who we would randomly drop in to visit (unannounced).  She had a lot of birds and fed us stale cookies. Riding the bus home and walking down to the house.  The crazy rotting squirrel carcass we found in the front yard that was our first intro to maggots.  Riding bikes up and down our long street with no shirt on the whole way, like my older brother, but having a vague feeling that maybe a girl shouldn’t be doing that?  The best place for trick-or-treating.   The neighbor boys laughing at our early bedtime.  I guess it’s weird what you remember about a place.  Anyway, it was sweet to show it to the kids and to see it again.


family + summer happenings

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It’s raining here in these blue mountains and we are all fighting head colds for the past week or so.  Momma’s finally been taken down with it and ain’t nobody got time for that.  So we are taking it easy the past couple of days, thankful that rainy days make us want to lay low anyway.  Listening to quiet melodies, snuggling + movie watching.  Right now the kids are outside getting thoroughly wet + muddy, the baby is sleeping.  I’m taking this opportunity to catch up on sharing some photos from the last month.  My sister + her family from British Columbia were in town earlier in June, as well as my youngest brother + his girlfriend from Charlottesville, so we had a lot of days just being together.  It’s funny how when you’re growing up together, you get so annoyed with each other and can’t wait to get out on your own.  Then you grow older and wise up and realize these people are some of your very favorite people, some who understand you best, some of your closest friends.  These memories together are treasures.  So.. prepare to be bombarded with photos as I catch up.

These, from one of our regular picnicking spots up near Mount Pisgah on the parkway.  My dad’s family has years of pictures from their own family gatherings there when my dad + his siblings were growing up, then my parents spent many of their dating + early marriage years picnicking there.  They spent many summer weekends hauling all five of us kids up there as we were growing up, so I suppose a lot of moments have been shared in that little cove of trees.


So, life has been a little busy lately.


We are all sorts of tired over here, back in the midst of the beautiful crazy that a newborn brings.  The holiday season is upon us, and two of my favorite little people have birthdays coming up the week of Christmas, too.  It’s the best (and busiest) time of year!

We’ve been doing lots and lots of this lately:

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This time around, I know how quickly that little newborn will morph into a toddler.  How soon her little baby fuzz will fall off and these sleepy days will become wakeful (and more rest-less).  I’m being more intentional this time around to just spend time holding and savoring this little one while she’s this little.

A few days after our littlest was born, Thanksgiving was upon us.  Though we really probably shouldn’t have been out with her yet, we couldn’t resist the Thanksgiving feast with our sweet family nearby.  (I told Brandon later, I truly don’t know anyone who cooks as well as my parents do.  We often are treated to dinner at their house, and it is hands down better than any restaurant I’ve ever been to!)

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One of our favorite Christmas traditions is finding a little local Christmas tree farm and chopping down our own tree (see last year’s endeavor here).  Since I was just days out of the hospital, we didn’t feel like we could risk traipsing around with a newborn in December looking for a tree so we went to our favorite nursery nearby to pick it out.  It was still fun!  It is what you make it, right? 🙂

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(the kids decorated their own tiny tree for their room)

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It gets more and more fun every year to celebrate the Christmas season, building memories and our own little traditions and seeing these little ones come alive to the wonder of the season.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

I’d love to hear your favorite traditions and memories surrounding Christmas!  Hope your holiday season is full with all the fun things that draw families together and make for a warm home, and full of what draws our hearts to Christ and to remember the beauty of His incarnation.

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