words i am pondering today



Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.--Desmond Tutu


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Planning some fun for 2018

Starting with a new purchase:

Apparently we really are tiny home people. 


A nice interior update to the 80s vintage of the trailer.  Just needs some fresh paint and a few minor things and this baby is ready for adventure.








Look! 4 bunks, each with its own window! This was probably what sold me on this particular trailer--each kid gets his or her own bed, which will probably be a blessing for the long adventure we are currently dreaming up.






Yes, that is extra sleeping space up above the dinette. This trailer can sleep 8 people! We will mostly use that for extra storage while on the road, but this means we could also take a set of grandparents or a couple of friends along for bit of fun. 








These are all the seller's original photos--but I will update with my own photos after we make a few improvements!  

So that's it for now--just wanted to share a bit of excitement as it unfolds. : )



Monday, July 17, 2017

New blog header

How's that for a blog post title that immediately piques your interest? ; )

I've been thinking about this blog a lot lately. This one and Minnie Zephie's Steampunk Treasure Trunk--that blog clearly not currently living up to it's awesome name. I've mentioned already several times why I don't blog much these days--so skip this part, it's just for my own thought process:

--my writing and thinking time ends up going towards the high school lit classes I develop and teach

--the things in my head for the past several years are too big or too private to write about here. I even started a hand-written journal last year to process some of it--and that is woefully neglected too. ; )

--blogging used to invigorate me, but now when I think about it I just feel tired & overwhelmed. It feels like one more area of my life that I'm "failing" in.

--facebook has taken the place of the funny quips and things I would sometimes post here.

--since I think only my mom and my dear Susan ever read it anymore (hi Mom! hi Susan!) it doesn't seem worth the effort. A phone call is better for catching up and actually building relationship than my blog navel-gazing.

--and on that last note--why bother? why would I think anyone is interested in my "deep thoughts"?

OK. Time for speaking some Truth:

--it's ok that I am not taking the time to blog. It may just be that the season has passed. That's not only ok, but good. The space in my life for blogging is now being used by other, way better things.

--I do still have thoughts that are better processed in writing, so I will probably always want to write in some fashion. But writing is a tool for me, but an end goal. I need to remember that, so I am ok with the process being what it is, however it is, and not worrying about what it looks like.

--I'm not failing at blogging. I'm just putting blogging in an appropriate ranking in my life's priorities. So I'll call that a success. ; )

--I do know my loved ones enjoy seeing pics of the kids, and maybe there are some that I would not share with the entire family on facebook. This could be a good place to supplement those phone calls!

--very few people are interested in my "deep thoughts." That's ok, and back to the point above--need to remind myself that that's not the point. It is the processing of ideas that is the point.

--And once upon a time I felt like I was sharing life with some of you, long-distance. Facebook is not currently doing that for me; it is great to know what people are up to, if their kids are sick, what dramatic weather is happening in their area, who's having a birthday and what kind of cake they had. etc.  But it's not the same as hearing the thoughts and feelings of other people, and getting invited into their worlds, that I used to get from being in ongoing relationships with other bloggers. So maybe when I share here anyone still reading won't think I'm full of myself, but will see it as a longing for sharing live with you.

And speaking of that last, anyone who is getting these posts to your inbox but doesn't want to--unsubscribe!  You have my full permission!

So, all that boring stuff said: new blog header!

It's not actually my choice. Apparently that adorable bird and notepaper image was from the web and not a photo; photobucket, which was hosting the image, decided I had to start paying for the privilege. Um, no. I'm just sad that I lost that sweet image--it spoke to my heart!  And looked so good with this backdrop.

I tried to hunt it down with a few google image searches, but to no avail. Instead, bizarrely I  found the image I am using now. Instantly riveting. I have a fondness for urban decay photography--it is so fascinating to look at such images and image the lives of the buildings before they fell into ruin, and the lives they live now. I love visual texture, and such buildings always have such awesome contrasts of worn paint, crumbling stone, nature encroaching, and eerie lighting through long-broken windows.

My brain wants to live there.

And, practically speaking, I knew the color palette of that image would be great with my own blog's colors--if the subject a bit of ironic melancholy in contrast to the cheerful print.

Of course with that new image I had to let go of the tagline: "facing each day with humor, humility, and hopefully a whole lotta love."

I tried instead "welcome to my world." But I can't figure out how to make the font fit the image, so decided just to let the image stand on it's own.

Seriously, though, the image fits my mental space. I only wish I could have fit the whole thing in:


If you double-click on it you will hopefully be able to see the whole thing in its glory. I not only love the balance of the composition in the full image, but I also love the juxtaposition of the light and peaceful left side of the image and the dark and brooding right. That's my mind all, right. ; )

We won't make any metaphors about the doorway inviting the viewer into a great big ol' black nothingness.

Here's to a few minutes of fixing something broken (even if it's just my blog header).

I just might update the images of the kids next. . . : )

Happy Monday, wherever you are and whatever you are doing!

 

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Best of 2016: Tilly

It's been a looooooong time since I blogged. I'm so rusty at it, but I want to try today because a) I would like to share some things with you, and b) I'm concerned that if I don't, Blogger will sell this off to some foreigner who will take it over just for the few followers and turn it into an ad site. This is way too personal for me--even now--so I shudder at the thought!  (And it also makes me wonder if I should preserve the stuff I've blogged somehow. . . but that's fodder for another day.)

I want to look back on 2016 and share some of the best parts of it. Partly just for fun, and partly because I want to remind myself of the good stuff. And there was good stuff.

So here's the first Good Thing: Tilly.


I'm using mostly the photos that the seller used in his listing, so it does not look quite like this now (it's nestled against a fence under our redwoods at the side of the front yard, and has different decor) but his photos were good and I'm lazy. Besides, it's fun to show you the photos that first caught my eye!

She is a 1951 Boles Aero. The outside is aluminum, which we could polish to a high shine like those fancy Airstreams--but we're leaving her dull. Both DH and I like the look, and also it makes her blend into her surroundings better; if we polish her up she might look like something worth stealing.

 The view from the front door (click on any photos to embiggen)

I came up with the idea of getting a trailer this past summer. I realized it would solve several problems we have, mainly the need for a space for guests and the need for quiet home office space for DH, who is now working from home 3 days a week minimum on the average week, and who was spending hours sitting out with his laptop in the car. (I booted him out there. It was just crazy making to have him home and working in the living room and then we all had to drop what we were doing and go into the bedroom and pretend we didn't exist whenever he had a phone meeting. I just asked him to do it when he had meetings but he would end up staying out there all day sometimes, and that's just not a good solution.)

The dinette at the front. the table folds down and the cushions lay flat to make a bed. It's pretty comfortable--I've slept on it for one night! There's lots of storage underneath and behind that far back cushion. 

So I started looking around the web at what might be available, first locally and then branching out to other states when I realized how few camper trailers would meet all our desires & needs. I wanted vintage because I wanted an interior of real materials that I could clean and might hopefully be healthier to be around than outgassing plastics. And of course because I wanted to actually like it.  I am not such a snob that I didn't consider something less cool, and spent several hours looking at and considering more modern options. But even though there was an abundance of late 60's, 70's and 80's trailers, they were all so depressing. I realized there was no point in even considering a trailer that I would not actually want to be inside--and there were no trailers of those vintages that I could envision myself in that didn't involve "Jack and Diane" playing the background and me developing a drinking problem and wanting to grab a rifle and go shoot something. Possibly myself.


The adorable kitchen. 

So that vintage choice narrowed down the field considerably, since most older campers are either way out of our price range or are in need of complete restoration. So that was another determination--we had to get a camper that was usable as is. It was fine for it to need some work, but it needed to meet our basic needs immediately with very little cost or effort. But yet it had to be imperfect and in need of repair or we could never afford it!


With surprising amount of storage!


I also had a specific layout in mind. I wanted a "real" bed, not a fold-down sofa, and I wanted it to be in the back of the trailer so there was a distinction between living and sleeping spaces. This was because I was envisioning a few years when we might have a college girl who needs a more independent but cheap space to live in.




Not only does this trailer have a little bedroom in the back--with another door for emergency egress, even--but it has a sliding wooden door so it can be closed off from the kitchen.




Ideally I wanted the trailer to have a tiny water closet--just a toilet, although a shower would be an awesome bonus.



A functional toilet/bedside table combo was not quite what I had in mind. 



But a closet that can easily be build out to fit around a toilet? Yes. And in the meantime there's plenty of room for a camping toilet (in fact DH's parents left theirs after they visited and it's in that closet as I type). 

For it to be a full livable space for a young person it would also need plenty of good storage space, and I was particular that it needed one full-length closet for hanging things. This trailer has two, so which means decent clothing storage even with one closet converted to a toilet room.




Of course to get the separate sleeping space the trailer was not going to be the teeny-tiny kind--but we also needed it to fit between two redwood trees at the side of our yard.  That made another restraint on my looking--it could not be longer than approximately 22 ft, but shorter would be better. This one is 18 ft.



With all these specific desires and needs in mind I looked and looked. I found two possible trailers. . . in Michigan. Another cute affordable restoration. . . in Florida.  (If a trailer was perfect enough we would have traveled to get it--but closer would clearly be better.) I tried to buy here in California but didn't win the bid. . . . By the time I found this one, I had looked enough to know that it was a real contender.  And it was only 2 1/2 hours away from us! There were two other trailers we considered (one was so awesome--it had a toilet already and a working vintage pot-bellied stove! So sweet.) but had to knock out of the running for various practical considerations.  So it ended up being this trailer . . . . or I'd have to wait a few months and start the search all over again, which I was not about to do (It took me several weekends of obsessive looking--because when you find a good one it is likely to be snatched up quickly, so you have to be thorough but fast). When I called to inquire about this one from the owner, he said there was someone else interested who was going to tell him yes or no after the weekend. I said we would be there first, cash in hand. So DH and I got up early and drove up to Sacramento first thing Monday morning to look at it, ready to purchase on the spot.


(I had to take a picture for posterity, because we went to the bank and cashed in all the bonds my grandmother Evah had given me for important life events--birthdays, graduations, marriage, etc.--to pay for part of the trailer. I've been saving them all these years, and they are finally all completely mature. And I finally had something worth using them for.)

We had such a specific list of things we needed/wanted, and I still can't believe we got them all, in a trailer that was a "fixer upper" enough to be affordable but in good enough condition to be usable immediately. This trailer only has minor issues, mainly that the heater, fridge and stove all need maintenance, so they don't currently work. That is so not a big deal. I don't even need those things right now, and the seller was confident that they would be easily restored, and even updated from propane to electric. The other issues with the trailer are just that almost everything is original (he made new cushions for the dinette and his wife made the new curtains) and so looks worn and needs a tlc. The linoleum in particular has two damaged places--easily covered with those floor rugs and putting in new flooring is not a big deal when we want to do something about it. There's likely asbestos and lead in a few places, but if we leave those places alone it's fine for now.  There's some hardware missing on the back window that needs to be replaced so it shuts properly. There's that whole toilet "improvement" someone made that will have to be dealt with. And we need to get new keys made for the doors. And of course we would want to get a new mattress. But that's it. Those are the "totally fine for now" flaws that put this trailer within our price range.

In person the trailer was just like it looked in all these pics, and talking to the owner we felt really confident in the purchase. He's a hobbyist, and car guy, and so when we realized there was a problem with the door handles not locking from the inside he just got his tools and fiddled with the handles for an hour until he got them working!  The more we hung around and chatted, the more we liked him and his wife--and the more we realized we were buying the trailer from the best possible source. Because they are literally the people who wrote the book on vintage campers:



They also are the editors of the Vintage Camper Trailers magazine!  The more we chatted the more we realized they are not only experts in the field, but are also a Christian homeschool family! Needless to say, the whole transaction was extremely positive and felt like it was meant to be.

We brought the trailer home, somehow wedged it between those two redwood trees, and immediately started using it:

DH working and helping Merry with math. It's darker with the back curtains closed, but we're not crazy about the view of the neighbor's plastic fence.  

And it has wonderfully met all our needs. DH moved his home office into it within the week.  We bought a nice mattress for that back bed and when my parents came to visit us we gave them our bed (since it comes with a working bathroom!) inside the house and DH and I slept out in the trailer every night, quite comfortably.  When my in-laws came this fall they stayed in it--warm and cozy, even if the rain is a bit loud on the roof. It's a great space for me to go and make phone calls of my own, or even to have the occasional quiet napping or reading space for a needed break.  And the kids sometimes go out to the trailer to play or do schoolwork or practice music--or make a whole world for their Barbies.

But the trailer has been even more of a blessing that I had ever imagined.

For example, another practical need that I had was storage space for Costco and stocking up during sales. I realized the trailer would perfectly meet that need! So now the kitchen cupboards and drawers hold pasta and crackers and food stuffs, while the large cupboards on the fridge wall hold paper goods. I even use the fridge and oven for storage if I need it!

Other blessings that have come from the space is the ability to retreat into it when DH and I need to have a private conversation.  We've really needed to have a lot of those kinds of discussions this past year, and somehow the trailer feels like a sanctuary. A safe space. I'm sure everyone else takes for granted the ability for parents to close a door and have a conversation away from child ears but we haven't had that for the past 12 years, and it was very much needed.

We've learned it is also perfect for one-on-one discussions with the girls--I've already had so many meaningful talks with them when things have been rough. So much bonding made possible because of that "away" space.

And then this holiday season I discovered another, wonderful blessing: a space for me to have just for doing Christmas things!  In previous years I had bins under the house that I would stash packages and presents in as I gathered them--but it's no fun standing in a dirt crawlspace opening and sorting. Then I would have to wait until Home Christmas Eve when the kids were in bed before I could get any of it out and wrap presents, stuff stockings, etc. Which meant it has always been a super late night--which of course you all can identify with. But I've never even had a kid-free place to wrap presents in. This year the mysterious bubble envelopes from Ebay and brown boxes from Amazon were starting to pile up unobtrusively in the living room (awaiting me to go find them a storage bin under the house) when the lightbulb came on in my head: I could stash the things in the empty (well, except for camping toilet) trailer closets!  So that's what I did. And when I got enough things amassed I used the bed as my space to sit and open packages and organize. I had light, a comfy seat, and even had a heater turned on!  And the best part was when the box of Fannie May candies arrived and I decided one of the boxes of Mint Meltaways was for Santa. You can see it in the pic, the low white box on the back of the toilet/bedside table. That really turned the space into my private Christmas retreat. The only other thing I needed was music--and yet, the hours of quiet were music to my tired mommy ears too.


Not the best pic, being at night at from my cell phone, but this is where I spent many a happy hour this past month.

(You can see the vintage quilt I have on the bed too!  That was another little piece of happiness, because two summers ago, when I was looking at vintage quilts on Ebay, I saw this one and for some reason decided I was going to bid on it. I have no idea why. I see so many gorgeous things and don't feel the need to own them. I didn't need it. It's adorably retro but not really the style or colors of our house. So after I bought it I immediately chided myself--why did I waste the money? It also smelled vaguely like mothballs--I forgot to ask the seller about such odor. Sigh. So I tucked it away in storage and decided not to worry about it for now. Until we got the trailer this past summer, and I realized the quilt's odd size is exactly right for the custom trailer bed!  And the retro style is perfect for the vintage of the trailer!  And the colors are so cute in that space!  And the trailer has lots of healthy air exchange built in so the quilt is getting to be used but air out at the same time!  So one more little thing about the trailer situation that makes me happy. It was almost like purchasing that quilt was foreshadowing for our purchasing the trailer. : )


So this past month the kitchen became the place to wrap presents (and store cookies to keep them cool when I didn't have freezer space!  Sure, it gets nice and toasty in there when we have the space heater on, but otherwise food stays cold).

And on Home Christmas Eve, the dinette became the place to store empty boxes and things that were wrapped and ready to go. (It got more organized as the night went on ; )

So the trailer--which I dubbed Tilly when we were pulling her behind our car Lettie on the way home after her purchase--has been such a blessing to us this year in so many ways.  Overall, I can't believe we got such a cute and functional trailer for the price we did. It was expensive still, but as my dad put it, it was the cheapest home addition we could have made!

And one of the most special things about it--while it was my idea, DH got behind it and supported me in it. It became something we did together in a year when we were really struggling to live in partnership because of all the family dysfunction we're finally seeing and trying to learn to deal with in healthier ways. This was something we did together, being proactive about our home needs, our family needs, our relational needs. It was totally worth it, and one of the best things that happened in this past year.

Thanks for letting me share it with you!



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Italian Quinoa Bowl

This is the other recipe I came up with that is SO SO SO good. Please do try it sometime and let me know what you think. : )

I just cook quinoa in my rice cooker, using the prescribed liquid ration of 1:2. (That's quinoa to water)  I like it best when I use chicken broth for cooking the quinoa, but water is also fine. 

Then in my dutch oven on the stovetop, I saute 1-2 onions (depending upon how big they are) in oil, and then add thickly sliced & quartered zucchini and yellow squash and fresh green beans. I've sometimes added cauliflower too.  Pour in a little chicken broth and let the veggies cook until just done.  Turn off the heat and add lots of fresh chopped tomato, LOTS of fresh torn basil, and at least 2-3 big cloves of garlic, pressed right into the pot.  Yes, that much raw garlic. Trust me.  Stir it all up. Add pepper and sea salt and serve over the quinoa!

Again, it is really easy and it is SO good. Mmmmmm. I could eat it all day. Wait--sometimes I do. ; )

And it's SUPER healthy for you! 

(You can also top it with feta or fresh shredded parmesan. Mmmmm. But the original recipe is vegetarian (easily vegan if use veggie broth), grain and gluten free, and full of anti-oxidants!  And did I mention filling and comforting?)

Super Good (for you) Cabbage Salad

So, one thing I didn't mention yet is that I've been in a healthy crisis for the past couple of months--since Labor Day weekend. I don't want to go into the story now, but the bottom line is that I developed really severe heart palpitations after I eat (among other symptoms, which all seem to be related to insulin, or the adrenal system. . .?  I spent weeks researching and trying to figure out what it could be and decided to start with an elimination diet for candida (which does lead to many of the symptoms I've been having, and which I've suspected I have had for a few years--but not enough to actually stop me from eating sugar ; ). The diet is severe: no grains, no starchy veggies, no beans, no dairy other than plain yogurt and raw butter (both of which I already eat and enjoy), no fruit, no sugar, no processed foods or preserved meats, no tea or chocolate.

Yeah. You're probably thinking what I was thinking.

But I felt so horrible and at least once a day my heart felt like I was having a heart attack and my head felt like I was having a stroke--and when you feel so horrible, you just don't even want to eat anything anymore.

But I also decided to ease into the diet--partly because it would be easier and partly because I wanted to avoid die-off syndrome in my gut (when bad gut bacteria, starved of their normal diet, have a mass die-off and as your body expels all the dead bacteria you end up with symptoms like having the bad stomach flu.) So I figured I'd slowly reduce the colonies of bad bacteria while purposefully introducing plenty of good bacteria back into my gut through probiotics. I'm not going crazy--the probiotics I'm ingesting are through the whole organic yogurt with live cultures, and through these really tasty bottled drinks called KeVita--expensive, but they contain 4 live cultures, are super low in sugar (1g)  and one way I can feel like I am "treating" myself through this process.  Besides, one bottle typically lasts me for 3 servings.

Anyway, since I've been "cheating" on the diet a little, that means I've been eating a little grain, a little fruit. And yes, I've even tried the ocassional cup of black tea with milk. ; )  I even found some dark chocolate with stevia instead of sugar--no sugar added! the label pronounced. But my heart still races afterwards, so clearly I still should not imbibe. But I sometimes sneak a few very small squares. ; )

A typical day's diet might look like this:
Breakfast = bowl organic whole plain yogurt (good) with small serving blueberries (cheating, but super healthy cheat--very low in sugar and very high in antioxidants and vitamins), sprinkled with ground flax seed, hemp seed, chia seed, and cinnamon (all excellent for me).

Lunch = bowl of cabbage salad (very good for me)

Lunch #2 = roasted chicken wing with grilled asparagus (both from a local deli--I sometimes pick up food and that's another way I "treat" myself while on this strict diet)

Dinner = Homemade guacamole with raw garlic, tomato, apple cider vinegar (super good for me)--but with a few organic gluten-free multi-grain tortilla chips (bad for me--but c'mon!) with 1/3 a bottle of KeVita.

See? Not so bad. But the problem is that I've been so busy lately, or not feeling good, and I haven't known what to make for my family that meets my requirements, so I just end up cooking for them and then scrounging for myself, which as you can see is not easy. But when I do get the energy and inspiration to cook, I've come up with a few recipes that were SO AMAZINGLY GOOD that I would make them anyway!  So here's one of them, which is so good and easy that I wanted to share with you.


Super Good (for you) Cabbage Salad

Both red and green cabbage, chopped finely.
Very small amount of red onion, minced (to do taste--a little goes a long way)
Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients above--and sorry, I don't have amounts, since I always just cook by feel. : )  Just look up a recipe for vinegar & oil dressing if you want to know proportions. But be careful--the ACV can pack a punch. If you accidentally get too much, just add more oil. But this will not be a juicy salad)

Sprinkle with a generous helping and then mix in:
Hemp seed
Chia seed
Sunflower seeds (sprouted if you can get them)

Then just sprinkle with a little salt & pepper and make sure all is mixed!  This salad is so easy, and is very yummy--very subtle flavor. Goes really well with roasted chicken and grilled asparagus. ; ) But most of all, it is super healthy and good for you!


I'll share my other favorite recipes in a different post.

Oh, and after eating this way for about 2 months now, I think I have ruled out candida. I might still have it, but I don't think it is making my heart go crazy. There is something else going on, and I wonder if it is connected to all the low-blood-sugar issues I've had for 10 years!  I actually have a doctor's appointment on Monday (the DO I wanted to see had a 4 week wait) and so I'm hoping then I can start the journey to figuring out what is wrong with me. But until then, this diet has really helped my symptoms quiet somewhat, even though they still happen--just not to the degree they did before. (Like I rarely have any head pressure now and some other symptoms went away). So I will keep it up!  And keep trying to make it even healthier. I mean, when I end up eating a few chips with my guac several times a week, that's no longer a cheat--that's a diet.  So thanks for letting me share the recipes I come up with--it might help inspire me to invent more!





Sunday, November 15, 2015

Baptism Sunday

Sunny first expressed interest in being baptized this summer, and so when our church announced they were having a Baptism Sunday (happens several times a year), she was eager.  She made a heart commitment to Jesus a couple years back, when she was at the summer houseboat camp with her church youth group, but I never urged her to make it public--I feel strongly that kids should not be coached on taking such faith steps. It should come from them, not from the parents. Then a few weeks back Merry told me she wanted to be baptized too.  Apparently she very recently made her own heart commitment, and wanted to join her sister, who was thrilled. (And that made me happy, that these sisters could share such a moment and neither wanted the spotlight for themselves, you know?)

As a side note--we have been going to the 9 am service as a family (the two older kids join DH and I in the worship gathering while the two younger go to Sunday School), and then taking the two older kids back for youth group/Sunday school in the evening.  I have always wanted my kids to grow up being in the church service. . . but without the support of my husband, and being sleep deprived for so many years with babies and young children. . . it just never happened. But one thing to come out of  the past couple of emotionally and spiritually hard years is a new determination to not let life keep sliding on by--to be much more intentional about how I live and the choices I make. So when our church announced a 10 week long series on Discipleship I knew this was the time--and it was so perfect because I had just started reading the words of Jesus with the kids in our morning Bible time. And lo and behold, I love going to the early service, and I never wish I could have slept in, and I love having Sunny and Merry in the service, and DH has been supportive, and that has been one of the best parts of this whole Fall. I really think the series was part of Merry's heart choice too. With church first thing in the morning and again in the early evening we don't have much time for other things--and that's working out perfectly fine too. There's just enough time for some relaxing without totally wasting the day, or just enough time for a family bike ride or something like that. And my dear Becky often very sweetly helps carpool the girls to their youth group so we have not had to schlep over to Santa Cruz every time. It's all been great.

So this morning was the baptism. Last week pastor Dan texted Doug to ask if he wanted to be in the tank baptizing the girls, and he said yes. The girls were happy about that too. And I thought it was thoughtful that last night Doug asked me if I wanted to be part of it too. I was content to be the photographer on the front row, sitting next to Happy and Smiley.

Mom and Rebecca have already seen these photos because I shared them on facebook for my MIL (who had really wanted to be there for the baptism, and had asked if they couldn't wait until the next time the church did them so she & FIL could be there. . . which was sweet,  but I was also glad the girls said no they wanted to do it now. Let's all be so confident in not allowing other people to dictate how we express our love for God! : ). But I made the photo album on facebook only for family members (starting to be more private about the photos I share there), so I'm sharing here because I wanted whoever of you are still coming by to get to see them too. : )
Sunny making her statement of faith, led by her daddy.



Before the baptism, after they had already all climbed into the tub. The guys both had terrible expressions so I cropped them out--but I liked the girls' peeking out past the strong shoulders of DH and Dan while Dan was making introductions. Let's imagine it's a spiritual metaphor. : )


Sunny making her statement of faith, led by her daddy. 







Merry's turn to declare her faith, led by her daddy. 







New creations, damp and modeling the little gold crosses I gave them as a celebratory present afterwards. 


Dan and my dear Becky's girls celebrating with them. 

As my two girls came dripping out of the tub, Miss C and Miss K came rushing over with their towels (they had been sitting on a pew to the side, awaiting the moment) and there was a general hubbub of teen girl activity while the church body applauded the two new additions to the fold. : )  It totally made me laugh--it was like a handmaiden procession out the side door, full of fuss and excitement, because apparently the two sodden sisters could not dry off and change on their own, so C and K and Happy went out with them.



My girls are turning into young ladies, and I'm looking forward to seeing the women they become. I am praying they are women who seek after God with all their hearts and all their minds and all their strength. : )




Halloween 2015

Never too late for photos, right?

We upgraded our computer to the latest Windows OS and then realized that our camera was no longer supported. So until the company comes out with a software patch, Doug has to get the camera to upload to his laptop, and then from there to our computer. Clearly not something I can just sit down and do at my convenience.

But their costumes this year were really fun, so I think still worth sharing. Hey, I made it before Thanksgiving!

The literary theme this year: Alice in Wonderland

Alice

The Queen of Hearts (teen ballet version)


The Caterpillar

The Mad Hatter


A flower and the White Rabbit


FIL was visiting and even came with a knight costume--so they pretended he was one of the royal guards

This was the first year we actually bought one or two items for their costumes, but most of it was still scrounged from our closets and our friends' dance costume collection. Our friend (the White Rabbit) also is a clever costumer--I have a feeling that's what she is going to do someday for a living. She made the Queen of Hearts crown last year, and the skirt this year. She also made The Mad Hatter's hat and bowtie. We purchased the goggles and the pendant the Mad Hatter is wearing--she was originally not thrilled with the idea of being this character until I suggested a female Steampunk version. Then she was excited, and I was so pleased with the end result--the clothing items she is wearing are mostly all mine, things I regularly wear! (you can't see her boots and tights, also mine--and she borrowed the shirt from her daddy). We cobble together pretty well around here!

There were some really pretty details to their costumes that the camera doesn't really show.  Like Alice's key necklace, and the "drink me" labeled bottle in her basket. Or the functioning gears on the Mad Hatter's pendant (it's like a pocket watch).

Or the nice makeup job our friends did on the Mad Hatter.  The Caterpillar had character-flavored face paint too. 

Or the sweet heart hairdo on the Queen of Hearts. 

The dramatic night scene