Wednesday, November 6, 2013


4. I am grateful for family.  Not only my immediate family, which are sure to come up in future gratitude posts, but today/Monday I am grateful for my extended family and my ancestors that have gone before me.  I am also paticularly grateful for the technology that allows me to connect with them, be it the phone on which I can call my Ggrandma in Minnesota, facebook that keeps me connected with my cousins, or which helps me compile and learn more about my ancestors including stories and photos.

5.  It being the date it is, I am very grateful for my Mr. Sam, who's birthday it is.  I clearly remember that Sunday morning when I held that sweet boy for the first time and I'm grateful for every day that I get to share with my little boy (who's becoming not so little so quickly).  I am grateful for his kind, sensitive spirit, the laughter and silliness he brings into our home, the service he gives to me and his siblings, and his willing hugs and quirky smile that brighten my day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Can it be November Already?

I realize that Halloween is always the last day in October but some how this year the fact that November starts the day after just kind of snuck up on me.  I guess part of that could be that I have been sick most of this past week (poor Elsa and I both have a NASTY cough-- she is so pitiful it breaks my heart) and have spent a lot of time moping on the couch reading teen fiction.

Anyway, I'm reminded everyday of how much I am blessed and it being November and all I wanted to jump [back]on the whole gratitude bandwagon and "verbally" express what I am grateful for.  Remember when I used it do it all to time... way back in the day when this blog was young and well used?

So, since I'm behind the times (and honestly I will probably get behind again) here are my list for the past few days...

1. I am grateful for a loving husband who takes care of me when I am sick and even more grateful that he takes care of everyone else while I'm miserable on the couch.

2. Fall sunshine shinning through the trees!  I love a sunny fall day when the trees are on fire and it's raining leaves and the air is filled with the sound of my children happily rustling and crunching through the piles as they rake and jump over and over again.

3. "Falling Back" when I wake up feeling like I am ahead of the game instead of already falling behind and have extra time to spend with my family on a quiet Sunday morning (and time to actually write a blog post).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

From Link, R2D2 ("arr dee-toe" as Ben says), Joe, the cutest little owl and a crazy tree


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No obstacle to big...

Little Elsa has big ideas.   I'm going to have to make some adjustments.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

And Just Because

Here's my cute little hairy dog, Matilda aka Tilly. 

How does she see anything?  Especially the "hundreds" of squirrels that live outside our house that just HAVE to be barked at, ALL THE TIME!?!

Elsa is 10 Months

Okay, so I took these pictures this past week.  So technically she is more like 10.5+ months but that's how we are rolling right now.
A lot of progress has happened this month as far as mobility.  Elsa has become quite fast at the army crawl and pretty much goes wherever she wants-ish.  She is also pulling up on most anything which often gets her in interesting predicaments.  This week she discovered she could stand up in her crib.  I happened to be in the room and saw how very proud of herself she was so I ran and grabbed the camera to catch her cute expressions.  LOVE that girl!

Love this look of concentration.  She's been doing it more and more.  She also has been doing a big cheesy grin with her eyes squinted shut but it's just a flash of a smile and I haven't been able to really catch it yet.

Yay, something to teeth on.  She still only has her bottom two teeth.  I swore her top two were coming in a week or so ago, we had some crabby evenings, but they are taking their time and have yet to cut through.
Love the little fingers!
And dimpled knuckles

She is jabbering a lot more (when I can get her to keep that thumb out of her mouth) and I'm beginning to think she has "words" for Mom, Dad, Dog, More, and All Done.  It could be my imagination though :) we'll see.
Elsa loves her brothers.  Her face brightens whenever she sees them.  She also loves to read books and play with Ben's cars (a rare, supervised treat). 

Fall Stroll

It was a perfect day to be outside when we visited Charlottesville, Virginia.  After we found the chickens at Monroe's house we explored a little bit further in the fall sunshine.  I can claim to have the cutest little family!

 Elijah and Sam helping Ben over the cow grate.  Little Ben's feet were too small to walk over it by himself.
 Elsa loved her perch on daddy's shoulders, especially after being in the stroller a lot of the day.  She found out she could use daddy's ears as handles.

 We came across a cow while on our stroll. (you can kind of see him)
 Love Elsa's face.  She is such a Strong.
 And very please with herself.

I really am so blessed to have four beautiful, happy children and a wonderful, loving husband! 

Ash Lawn-Highland

After a filling and fun lunch at Michie Tavern where they serve a time period-esque southern buffet, we decided to go to the home of James Monroe: Ash Lawn-Highland.

This house is a stark contrast to Montpelier and Monticello.  They refer to the house as a "cabin castle" because of it's quaint outside but ornate, French decorated inside.  It was really quite charming. 

James Monroe, unlike Madison and Jefferson, did not die in debt.  He sold this home a few years before he died.  With that money and a grant he obtained from the government, Monroe was able to pay of his debts, most of which were incurred while he was in government office.   Because he died solvent about 80% of the items in the home are his, most of which are on loan from Monroe's decedents, as opposed to Madison and Jefferson whose belongs were all sold in order to pay for their debts after their deaths and have been scattered to the wind.  Interesting.

Attached to the side of the "Cabin Castle" is an old Victorian home.  At one point the owners decided to open the property to the public, moved their family into the top story of the Victorian and used the main floor as a gallery (much like it is today) and allowed visitors to tour the home.  Now that is dedication to sharing our history!
As you look from the Victorian you see this old brick path flanked by bushes that leads to a large statue of Monroe.  It was quite charming and the boys loved to run along it.

Yep, I was there.  Those are my toes.

This little lady was so well behaved throughout the house tours.  By the end of the trip the poor girl was dying to just get down and crawl around on the floor. She was such an adorable trooper that would melt down when strangers paid any attention to her (sorry waiters at all the restaurants).

 Beautiful old white oak tree behind the cabin-castle/to the side of the Victorian.  The tour guide said it was over 200 years old which means it was there when Monroe was!

I had to take a picture of this little guy.  It's a furry little caterpillar.   As we were driving down to Virginia we could see dozens of these working to cross the road.  They were also all over the place on the grounds of the houses.  The boys would always stop and watch them for a bit and wish them luck on their travels (we also saw many that hadn't made it)!

There were also some animals on the property.  We went for a little walk to find the chickens and the lone, sad peacock (his ladies having recently become victim to a coyote).  We walked a bit further and I got some cute pics of my adorable family.  I'll share those in the next post.


After an unnerving wake up call-- yep, the fire alarm went off minutes before my phone alarm was to go off.  Talk about a rude awakening and an adrenaline rush to start off your day, and a yummy breakfast of apple cinnamon waffles (yes, I recommend the hotel despite the wake up call), we were off to Charlottesville to see Monticello, Michie Tavern, and Ash Lawn-Highland. 

It was interesting to do the tours again for Montpelier and Monticello and have different guides.  You get a slightly different perspective.  I wouldn't be opposed to going again.

 The view from the top of the little mountain is stunning and the boys I get to hang out with are rather handsome too!
 View from Mulberry row down into the gardens and across the landscape.
 The back side of Monticello.
 Ben taking time to smell the flowers.  Sniff Sniff

And we discovered last time we were at here (and roasting from the heat) the Monticello Root Beer.  We had to get it again.  It was that memorable and quite tasty.  And Elijah and Sam were more than willing to model it.

Okay, Sam is playing it up.  That man is a total goof.  Hmm, wonder where he gets that... NOT!