Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Christmas Photo Album ~ 2015 Advent

Our tradition of advent is one we borrowed a few years back from our friends, the Jensens.  For each of the four Sundays before Christmas we gather with friends and family to enjoy candle light, sweets, carols and Christmas stories, and a considerable amount of chaos and noise.  

This year we gathered at the Jensen's, Slaughter's and our own house.  It is all a blur to me now which Sunday was where, but as I look back at these sweet pictures I can feel the moments they hold.

Kathy has lovely nutcrackers, pyramids, smokers and advent candle holders from her ancestral home of Germany, that set the mood perfectly.

It is always a little more reverent at the Jensen's!

Such well behaved children... (Ha! Just wait!)

One Sunday Advent was at our house.  Unbelievably, just the night before, the studio had been transformed for my sale.  Once the sale items had been packed away, it was a blank slate with plenty of room for a super-duper long table...for nineteen of us in all!

I don't know where he got the energy, but Guy made it all look magical-warm and glowwy-like. I was probably rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere.  Post Sale Insanity (PSI)  I honestly don't remember!

  RyRy and Nanobot.  Best buddies.  We tease that they have been betrothed.
 I'm frankly in it for the dowry, myself.  

Every week for the four weeks of advent, Adam was the human trampoline.  Dogpile!!!!  He tolerated it very nicely and successfully protected all of his most significant bits.

Where you find Adam, there you can always find Andrew.  I have a soft spot in my heart for this kid.  Andrew (one of my doula-babies) is nearly entirely to blame for the baby-cravings that preceded Jonah-boy's entrance into the world.  

The kids planned a sweet little gift exchange.  They drew names and made each other gifts.  I didn't even know about it!

Andrew and J-boy

Boys and fire.  
(No smelly little boys were harmed in the making of this photo)

"The Spread".
Sugar coma, anyone?

Advent at Joanna's featured bells.  The kids have been playing them in Primary at church, and it blew me away to see how well they followed the music, sight unseen.

Like I said... two peas.


Two handsome dudes we love!  Nathaniel and Dan.

Love these little guys.

Though some of my traditions got a little lost in the shuffle this year, Advent is one that, thanks to our dear friends, we managed to keep!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


It's four days after Christmas and I feel like the upside-down Christmas tree that has already appeared in our neighbor's green waste barrel.  How did I get here?  To the week AFTER the holiday that blew by like a red and green tornado?

Adam's birthday, Thanksgiving, the sale, and a family crisis all hit in 4 days.  Our house has been upside-down ever since.  Guy and I did our Christmas shopping in two days the week of Christmas, and while we managed to have a quiet Christmas Eve with the kids, and Guy and I tried to let go our attachments to all that we had not been able to get done, I have been, let's call it... re-evaluating.

I didn't get my village up in the window this year; no alligator hunting under the little ceramic bridge for the kids this holiday.  I never got the crimson velvet ribbons onto the tree, and my half of our "sweetie ornaments", the ones Guy and I have made for each other and gifted each Christmas Eve are still in the box marked "Fragile", next to the outdoor lights that never saw the outside of  the tin popcorn can they live in 11 months out of the year.  I skipped creating handmade ornaments for the kids, recycled a half-finished ornament for Guy, and never got around to finishing the advent calendar, or putting The Little's names on their stockings.  Worst of all, perhaps, is that for the third year in a row I have not painted a Christmas card painting, created the card or written a family letter.

There are many times that we have to let go of things; projects, expectations, plans that don't fit or aren't realistic anymore. That can be a good thing when it makes life more simple, helps us to balance our lives, and brings what is most important into focus.  But pendulums can swing, as they tend to do, too far.  This time letting go of so many traditions and plans has been a negative for me.  I'm a bit bummed that I let go of too many things.

I have also let my posting go here for what seems like forever.  There have been really, really good reasons, and I have even considered the possibility that writing here had run its course.  But as I look back at our year as a family, I can't see as far back without this blog.  The events that I don't post about fade for me.  My memory has been so poor since Natalie's birth.  I don't know if it was all the stress or an actual change in my brain, but I do know that if my kids are to have a family history, I need to keep writing it, because I won't remember the stories to tell them.  And I'll admit that I do get a kick out of knowing that some of my dearest friends read it, which certainly makes sharing it a lot more fun (If you are one of my dearest friends, insert your cute name here ____________.)

Our poor, dry tree is dropping needles like Jonah drops toys on the floor, and won't make it to the new year.  It's bound to be trunk up in the trash by the First.  But I'm getting a jump on the New Year, with all it's goal setting and resolutions, starting with this post.  And I think that, just for kicks, I'll work on that advent calendar tonight.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fireworks in November (The second in a series of catching-up posts)

The Fourth of July has taken a new meaning to me.  Two years ago on the 4th was the first time I walked all by myself to the park after battling the blood clots and spending many months immobile.  It was long and slow, and on the return trip Guy had to get the car and pick me up.  But I had mostly done it.  I sent a text to Dr. F. that night announcing my accomplishment.  He told me it was the best birthday present he'd gotten that year.

The next year on the 4th I ran a 5K with the support of Kathy and Danielle.  I sent a picture to Dr. F. of us at the finish line.  He cheered from a distance.

This year was just a regular 4th.  I texted Dr. F., sharing my gratitude with him over my ability to have a regular anything.  I just wished him a happy birthday and told him thanks for keeping me alive.  He humbly deflected the credit, and in a way he is right.  It wasn't all him.  Besides the many others who cared for me, it was a loving God that decided to let me be here for another year.  I very much acknowledge his hand in all things in my life.

This may be Independence Day, 
but for me it is the day I celebrate
 that I am dependent on him.

Photo Bomb!

Two peas... always together.

The little kid's table.  We are running out of little kids!

Guy's yummy Thai pulled pork sandwiches with ginger mayo and Mexican corn.

Red, white and, um, well, kind'a purple, actually.

Now that's what I call blue.
When all else fails, use food coloring.  Lot's of it.

The kids and I made new shirts this year. 
 Ellie did her's solo, and with perfect precision.

Off to the fireworks! 

Next Up... Camping!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015


It is hard to believe how dependent I've become on my computer.  It has been out of commission for about 4 months, and I pretty much froze my life at that point on this blog, my etsy shop, email, and anything photo related.  It's been crippling!  My life has malfunctioned!

I finally got around to getting it fixed this week (it's a school computer, so there is a whole process that involves me having to figure out the whole process, which is what I blame 5/6ths of my procrastination on), and now that it's all better I find I have utterly forgotten how to use the darn thing!  You'd think it's like riding a bike, but trust me, if you don't ride a bike for, say, 20 years or so and then think you can just teach your son how to pop a wheelie like you did back in the old days, well, let's just say 3 cracked ribs, a tweaked shoulder and 4 months of physical therapy will tell you otherwise!

But I'm finding my way around.  I miss auto correct, though.  The phone does have it's perks.

So we missed a few things.  Like pretty much all of summer.  And though it is highly unlikely I will get caught up, no matter how fabulous my intentions, we are going to do some time travel, right now!  Starting with......

Vacation!!!!!  Back in, like, I don't know, June or something.  Main points: Dana Point in So Cal.  Guy's folks loaned us use of their time share.  Ahhhhhhhhhh....

Day 1
How many Hol-people (that's Holmans and Hol-womans) can you fit on a sofa?
Seven, when mom's done taking the picture.  #8, Ethan, didn't come on this trip with us.  It was our first family trip without the Hol-group.  He takes up a whole wing of the sofa anyway,
 so, still seven.

We got there on a Sunday, went to church, and then hung out together that day.  Just bonding, baby.

Day 2
Monday, Monday!
First day to play!  

Sometimes ya' gotta bring your own palm trees.

I swear, she's graceful without even trying to be.

"Look at my cute face and try not to smile back!  I dare ya'!"
You're smiling, aren't you?  I know.  Me too.

Yes, that is still red hair.  Mama loves it.  We had to dig deep in the gene pool to make that little dolly.

I found my bliss stacking rocks.

There was a weird ocean event that caused a bloom of the sea plants that feed these little guys, and they were washing up on the shore by the tens of thousands,  Natalie was NOT impressed.  At one point she found herself trapped in the middle of a circle of them and just bellowed!

The seagulls will be fat this winter!

Love rocks.  
No, not LOVE rocks.  Love ROCKS!

Little Miss Puny Pants

Shut up.  I like stacking rocks.  So sue me.  
(Just don't knock over my rocks).

Vacations allow for more moments like these.  

Day 3... Knott's Berry Farm
Nano was trying to act all aloof.  She didn't want Snoopy to get a big head (too late.).

The train!  The train!  (you're supposed to read that with the voice from that little guy from Fantasy Island.  Yes, I'm that old.)

Up, up and away!

Hitchhiker's Guide to Knott's Berry Farm.

The kids are doing their famous Popeye impressions (one eye shut).


Sometimes ya' just gotta show off your muscles for no apparent reason (actually, the reason is that sometimes the only way I can get him to look at the camera is if I ask him to show me his super powers).

Day... um...
 I don't know.  Does it really matter?
Yoga baby.  We call this Downward Dog and Puppy.

All tuckered out and chillin' with bro.

Maybe my favorite day on the trip.  Adam was so sweet to The Littles  (Yes, I panicked a little that they weren't wearing helmets, but Adam took it at a very slow coast).

Jonah was in heaven.

So, the best moment on the best day...  We rented this surrey and tootled around the beach till we realized there wasn't very far you could go that was paved.  But then we found a road that went by the wash, and it was on a hill.  Adam pushed from behind and we got to going really fast, like easily 4 or 5 miles an hour!  I know, not so fast, until you are all screaming through the tunnel at the bottom!  We laughed so hard, and the kids just kept begging "Again! Again!"  I think the seagulls in the wash were annoyed.

All together now... "aaaaaawwwww!"

Nappin' on da' mama.

Melts a mama's heart.

This little guy is so interesting.  He is very multi-dimensional.  He is rough and tumble, yet thoughtful and sweet.  All slugs-and-snails, but still a love bug.

Shell hunt.

"Vacation's almost over and I haven't written a thing in my journal!  Grrrr!!!!"
I know how you feel, son!

Yes, Jonah slept in the closet.  He loved it.  He called it his "vewy own woom!"

One last fake smile for the camera everyone!!!  Cheeeeeeeeese!

Our family goal for the past few months has been "Making Memories".  It's kind'a hard for me to hold on to my memories.  Not sure why.  But photos sure help me remember all the moments behind the scenes.  

Up next time on our Travel Back in Time...
4th of July!  (maybe by Christmas I'll get caught up to Halloween)