The still shots

This was the best part about the whole morning. On their own initiative, Annika and Olivia set themselves up in a sled for a run down the hill. For once their personalities are switched - Annika is the speed junky in the sled. They were going so fast I almost missed them as they flew by me.
The Landing
The negotiations on who would get to ride in front on the next run down. Annika won. Stay tuned for live footage.

S'more snow

I had to tackle her to get her in the snow - she was just standing there eating a fist full of it.
Then she got into pulling the sled. That, apparently, is more fun that riding the sled down the hill?
Like I said, he wasn't too happy about it.

Bundled up!

Well, at least now I have good reason for the 12 layers on the kids. (Mike was undressing them over the weekend while we were in Chicago "commenting" on the number of layers I put on them. It was 9 degrees!) Anyway, we have about 6 inches of snow outside and so we bundled up and went sledding. We tried to take this in front of the window so you could see how much snow was out there - but the sun reflecting off the snow made it too bright.
Olivia took to sledding much better than last year. Last year I think her toes froze and thus she was a bit distracted from the fun. Still this year she was more interested in standing there eating the snow, but we got a few good runs in.
Joseph wasn't too happy about it, but he went down the hill a handful of times. Finally, on the last ride he said, "funny" when we got to the bottom.

Christmas Cousins

I'm still weeding through some of our pictures from Christmas. I love these of the kids with their cousin, Madeleine. Madeleine was making a pot holder with her new Christmas gift (that I still wish I had one of) - watch the interest and involvement grow, then change. I think she started out over there by herself, then Olivia just wanted to take a look.
She's moves onto the table to get a better look (more likely so she could get her hands in it).
Then Joseph wants in on the action. Madeleine was so patient.
Then Olivia finds the box of chocolates. Check out Madeleine's eyes. Pot holder? What pot holder? Who has the chocolate?!

Aren't they lovely?

Why do we like pictures of scenes like these? Because they are lovely. The kids are so cute. Playing so well together. Eating such well balanced meals. Listening with such attentiveness and appreciation for all we do as their mothers. We also like them because there is no audio. But I was just wondering what it would be like if we took pictures of the kids arguing over toys. Whining about a denied request. Refusing to eat their food. Or say, cutting their sibling's hair in the dark when they are supposed to be sleeping. Wouldn't it be weird if our scrapbooks or blogs were full of those pictures? Maybe I am just weird. I was just wondering. I'm not going to change my photo taking. There are plenty of daily displays of original sin, no need to document them in photo. We'll keeping taking pictures of the victories - when the ugly effects of the fall are pushed back by sharing generously, eating well, and listening attentively.
Thanks, Veerman. It was lovely.

12 years and counting

Who would have imagined this shot 12 years ago? Well, I might have imagined it, but not with my kid's finger up her nose. Thanks, you guys, for such a great time together.

The Farm in the City

These are our friends, the Lieuwens. That is Liske reading to Anneke and Olivia. She is quite the dramatic reader...I'm not kidding, accents and everything. The Lieuwens have chickens. They used to have goats too, but they ate them. They live inside the city limits in Atlanta. While we were there I overheard part of a phone conversation that I have never heard and probably will never hear again: Rinda: "I just pulled a bag out of the freezer that says 'shank, shoulder, and neck.' Is it goat or pig?" I don't think Tim knew - so they just cooked it and waited to tell until they could taste it. We love the Lieuwens. Their lives are very rich and they love the Lord and his people very much.
Olivia helping Liske with her chores.
I took this picture so you could see the large, yellow paddle sculpture in the background. If I remember the story right, Tim was at some art museum or art show in Europe and saw something like this. When he found out how much it cost, he said in true Lieuwen fashion, "I could make that." So he took a bunch of pictures and he did (I hope I am not getting anyone in trouble here.) Actually, he made three of them - the other two are out on the trail on their property...along with the enormous tractor tires, walking beams made out of trees, huge half pipe slide, and gigantic boulders. It's not tacky...though my descriptions make it sound like it. You would pay money to take your children here.

Sleesa Scissorhands

Here you go, Sleesa. Sorry for the blog absence. Our life has been crazy since the holidays. The end of the semester is always difficult, but then we had company and lots of traveling. Then the funeral back in Atlanta. And we just got back last night from a weekend trip to Chicago. We visited a couple of church plants (looking for where we might head after seminary) and had some time with some of Mike's family. The weekend was cold by weather standards, but warm with fellowship (nice cheese, but I am serious).
These were the holiday haircuts for the kids. I've trimmed them a few times, but it is typically better (and safer) when my sister-in-law, Lisa does them. Plus, she has the cool capes. Just so you know, Lisa, Joseph has had another haircut since this - by Olivia "Truvy" McBride. We couldn't believe it. She has never been a precocious child. We had put her and Joseph down in the same room at Mike's uncle's - there were the typical noises of shenanigans, but Joseph was in the pack-n-play and well, Olivia really never gets into much. Something triggered my motherly instincts and so I went in to check on them - and found Olivia standing on a pillow, leaning over the side of the pack-n-play with my haircutting scissors in her hand! And Joseph was just smiling away, combing his hair with Mike's brush! There were little locks of his sweet reddish hair all in the bed. It really wasn't that big of a deal - his hair has been so slow come in and was longer on the top anyway - which is where she thought he needed the trim. I was more freaked about by the fact that Olivia is a bit of a klutz and I had horrible visions of her tripping and...well, no need to visualize. They were all fine and Joseph has that trendy mussed up hair look.

Art Museum

I don't know why we have not done this more often - especially since it is free. I was reminded of the art museum through another local friend's blog - and since it is 2 degrees here lately, we went. I tried not to be discouraged when Olivia asked, after only being there ten minutes, when we were going home.
Deep, meaningful, arty conversation...I think she saw the bananas in the painting and asked what we were having for lunch.


These are some pictures from our trip to Atlanta last weekend. Though we were sad for the reason we were there, it was such a sweet time with family. My Aunt Gena (my great aunt actually), raised my dad and my aunt Joanie after their parents died when they were really young. She never married. She worked hard and loved hard and served hard. It was certainly a celebration of life as much as a mourning over the loss of her. It seemed not really appropriate to be taking pictures at a funeral, though I wanted to get some of the kids and their cousins. So, most of these were taken at the Chick-fil-A that we hit after the graveside service. Joe Joe and his Grandpa Tony are up front here. You recognize Olivia. Behind her is my cute, pregnant cousins Emily. Trey (my other cousin, Katie's husband) is the one scarfing the milkshake. Emily's husband, Kevin, is behind Trey.
Here is Katie and Trey (with one of his more intelligent looks I think). Again, Kevin present but not clearly seen.
After the visitation. It was so great to have a houseful (and funeral home full) of kids.
Here is another woman (like my Tootsie)who doesn't look her age, but isn't she a schnazzy dresser - check out that sporty vest - and of course jewelry. Any good southern woman has on her jewelry. Just don't ask her how old she is...or ask my mom what happens when you wasn't pretty. (By the way, this is my uncle Alex's mother, Grandmother Flewellyn.)

Christmas continues

Just before we left for my Aunt's funeral, the kids received another Christmas package. Jeff and Pam, I tried to take pictures so you would feel like you were here.

Thanks for spreading around the Longhorn Love. Joseph digs the van too.


This is my Tootsie. She neither looks, nor acts her age. We miss you, Toots.

I will be bleaching it

Olivia has all but dropped her nap. It is a sad transition - she doesn't seem old enough to not be napping. Actually, she isn't old enough and can barely (emotionally) make it through the day without a nap, but you can't pin her down and tape her eyes closed so here we are. Occassionally I will lay down with her in my bed and after many reminders to lay down and be quiet, she will eventually fall asleep. That is where she is now.

Today as we lay there snuggled close together, because with the temperature as it is here that is the only logical place to be, Olivia was tracing my lips with her finger. Honestly I had almost fallen asleep myself. She whispers, "Mama, I want one of those." I thought to myself how sweet it was that my daughter wants lips just like mine. Then her tracing finger widened over my upper lip and circled around. "Is that a beard, Mama?" she asked. My cozy lingering on sleep was unkindly disturbed. No, it is NOT a beard! It is a mustache if you must know and it is not polite to point it out, especially on women! Especially on your mother! Your uncle Jeremy tortured me for years over this thing. "You know you're a redneck when you decide to grow a mustache because it looks so good on your sister." Not funny.

Don't bother to look for it...because I will be bleaching it.

Gone again

Sorry to pause the updates again. My aunt in Atlanta passed away yesterday and we are heading down there in the morning. Some friends are staying at our house. (I put that in case there are any wierdos reading this blog...some friends and two very large, mean dogs will be in our home.)

Jeff and Pam we got the fun Christmas gifts and we have some cute pictures we'll post soon. Olivia's cowgirl hat goes great with the stick pony she got from my parents. :) Thanks, we'll call from the road.

Phoning her peeps

Last night, as Mike was having nightly prayer with the kids, I thought we all had our hands clasped and our eyes closed in nice reverent fashion. We didn't. Mike says 'Amen,' and I open my eyes to the sound of the flip of Olivia's cell phone and "Yea, we are going night night. Okay. Uh huh. Bye." Slap, flip closed. Amen


We interupt this holiday update for a brief fashion showing. This is the latest in jogging/dog walking attire for the 6'4" male who doesn't own winter jogging pants and can't find long underwear as long as his legs. Solution: pull your socks up to meet the bottom of your long underwear.


Images of Christmas

Disclaimer: We have a lot to catch up on here and I will not likely be able to do it all in one sitting. It takes a little more concentration than I will be able to maintain for a long enough period to post these in order but hopefully you will get the gist of it all.
And here is the difference between the boy and the girl - he carries his horse like a baseball bat; she takes her baby for a ride.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care and Lou Lou and Lu snuggled in the chair - while Mimi cursed her cell phone because the directions were written too small and she couldn't access her voicemail. The warm memories of Christmas.

This is better. Take Mimi's phone away from her and give her Hosmakaka - that's snugglier and less frustrating.


I recently picked all the junk food out of Olivia's stash of pretend food that she received for Christmas and put it in a Ziplock back and put it in a dresser drawer in the guest bedroom. I asked Mike if he thought I was wierd. He said, "I don't think it's's just consistent with your personality." Hmmm...
She doesn't even recognize McDonalds. She has been alive in the United States of America for three solid years and doesn't even recognize the golden arches. She recognizes the St. Louis "Archie Archie" (she mixes newly learned songs into daily dialogue sometimes), but does not recognize those golden arches. Wouldn't you hide the fake french fries? It saves us money. It saves her future congestive heart failure. It saves me from enduring a body odor smell in my car for a week after running through the drive through. Maybe I am wierd. I am not as obsessive as I sound. There is usually enough chocolate in this house to sink the "Arky Arky." Chocolate was one of Olivia's first words...she still wakes up asking for it some mornings...with a kind of sing songy voice, about three extra syllables, and a strange, trance like look on her face.

Anyway, we are back from Christmas travels. I was about to post pictures, but my camera battery died. Mike has updated some Israel pics on his blog if you want to check it out. Hopefully I'll get some up here in the next couple of days. Just wanted everyone to know we were safe back home - enjoyed all the visits.