birthday girls

My girls turned 8 today. I'm not entirely sure when this happened, but it did.  All 4 of my kids have graduated out of their booster seats. This feels strange to us. The girls are 8 and the boys are 9 and 10. No one in our home is 'little' anymore.

At bedtime tonight, Gracie mentioned that I was hugging her this morning right as she turned 8 [at 10:48]. "You hugged me between 7 and 8 years old, Mommy. That's a special memory for me," she said.

And when I tucked Lily in, she asked, "Why can't we ask God to start our day over?"  I couldn't agree more. It was a perfect day!

Phil made them special pancakes for breakfast. We did our schoolwork, then we headed to the American Girl Store for a little birthday tea party.

We ended the day with cake, presents, skype calls, face time and phone calls from many of you who love these girls, too, and helped to make their day so special!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girls!


november already?

A beautiful day on Lake Superior in Duluth, MN

All I can say is that we have dear family and friends. Many of you have chimed in recently to ask, "Where in the world have you been?"  I figured I had better update the blog. :)

The fall has disappeared before my very eyes. I still have lots of pictures to post from our summer vacation! Maybe I'll get to that someday, but for now, here's a quick recap of what we've been up to:


After our stop in D.C., we drove up to the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York to spend a few days on Keuka Lake with Phil's parents.

We stopped by Niagara Falls on the way home.


School, our weekly Friday homeschool group, AWANA and piano lessons began.


A trip to Iowa

A wonderful visit from 2 of my former second grade students (who just turned 20!)

A trip up to Duluth to see the North Shore, the Aerial Lift Bridge and the beautiful fall leaves. I must say, Duluth is now one of my favorite cities. It's up there with Seattle.

Both of my sisters flew out to visit from Alabama and California. We spent a few days exploring Minneapolis and spent the longest time walking around in the cold trying to locate the Mary Tyler Moore statue. Fun!

A surprise visit from friends from Oregon with lunch and a meet-up at the Mall of America

Phil's sister flew out from California to join our family on our road trip down to Kentucky to visit the Creation Museum. This place was amazing! Even more so--our kids were AWESOME, enduring 15 hour days in the car.

A fun day touring our State Capitol building and seeing the giant Lego display of the Capitol there in the lobby.

So that's what we've been up to! We look forward to celebrating a few birthdays this month. Half of us have November birthdays. The girls will turn 8 on the 18th (this I CANNOT believe!) and Phil will be 40 something on the 27th. :)