Four Christmases

1. Christmas Day, at my sister’s

Christmas is not complete without a sword fight
Or several…

If you read it, they will come…

Aviana 5, Cadrian 17 months, Cora 6, Titus 3, Brielle 3, Ella 4, Eli 14 months

And then the fun for me pretty much came to a skidding halt…

2. Christmas night, home
I’m not above giving my children used Christmas gifts…I got this fabulous train for $15
And this wonderfully twirly dress for $5

My husband, on the other hand, got me a new lens, so I could take pictures
like this
from all the way across the room

3. Day after Christmas, our house

My brother, who drove up from St. Louis just to be here for 36 hours

Magnetic paper dolls
Laughter: by my cousin Amelia, my nieces and daughters

It’s hard enough to take a picture of seven small children without technical difficulty too! Perhaps it would help if I knew what I was doing.

4. Today, Grandma Joyce’s
When do we eat?
Cadrian cracks up Grandma with his cute lil self

A little cooperation would go a long way…

Not bad for a self timer picture

Me and my beautiful SIL Connie

Please follow and like us:

Trip Updates

Sunday: At El Morro in Old San Juan

Monday: I’m in my swimsuit (well, half of it anyway) at an internet cafe in St Thomas overlooking the cerulean blue seas of the Caribbean.

Kevin and I got thwarted in our original plan for the day (rent scooters to cruise around the island on our own), but we managed to have a good time anyway. We took a ferry to a smaller island of St. John.

We went to a beach that was really small, narrow and secluded. Beautiful water, soft sand–practically like walking on flour. There were a few other people there, and the seas were breaking kind of rough. I actually saw a fish and I admit, I shrieked a little.

We’ve met some nice people from all over the world–there are people on the boat who are from India, Australia, Holland, UK, Trinidad, you name it. We’ve met several people from MN, but no one else from IA yet.

The food is phenomenal and we have our first formal night tonight. SO exciting!

I’m surprised how many other passengers are blasΓ© about everything. I was making good jokes last night at our muster station where we had to practice putting our life jackets on in the unlikely event of an emergency and where we heard the word muster at least eleventeen times, and the people next to us were all… “EH.”

Why did the ketchup not want to put on his life jacket?
He didn’t want to be mustered!

See, good joke huh?!

Miss my little darlings, and I still haven’t been able to sleep in, but at least I can have coffee out on the balcony of our room! Super fab!

LOVE YOU! Besos to all–J&K

from my mom:
Dear Mama,

A: We’ve been having lots of fun playing with the fairy and ballerina books you gave us. right now, I am playing dress up and Brielle was playing with her fairy book.

B: I want you to write a joke. Why did the B help the A? Because he wanted to do the ketchup dance!

G: “I wanna finish my fairy book now…” Oh, that was B, not me! XXXOOO

Tuesday: Wait a minute! You’re in half your swimsuit at an internet cafe?! Which half?! Do I even want to know? Sheesh, girl, I know you’re on vacation, but come on!

Sounds like you are having an awesome time and I can’t wait to see you and see pictures when we come up after Christmas! I assume your folks are surviving! Continue to enjoy yourself and each other! Love, Aunt Barb

Wednesday: At least SOMEONE caught the swimsuit reference! Just so you know, I had taken off my wet bottoms and put on pants before we caught the taxi back to the pier.

Now we’re in Antigua. In a back room above a book store. On a keyboard whose space bar doesn’t seem tobe effective. With 20 minutes before we have to be back on the boat. Where it costs $.75/minute for the internet! We rented littleboats this morning and went to an uninhabited island. Pretty cool. Driving a boat in the ocean is notvery easy!

We’ve seen some great shows and had great date nights. We go to a nice dinner, go to a show (last night was a hypnotist, who did the shoe phone schtick, so I bet it was the same one you and Dad saw. I got a medal because by the audience applause meter, I was the ‘best’ hypnotizee. Kevin says this is the equivalent of the Knobby Knees contest he won a trophy for on his first cruise; but not quite as prestigious. )

We’ve seen a comedian, played some game shows and gone dancing.

Yesterday we went to a beach & got the Best of Tortola tour.
I can’tbelieve how much I miss my babies. There are some people w/ small children on board (crazy people!) and I tear up a little every time Isee one Cadrian’s age especially.

Hope you are all getting along without us πŸ™‚ love,J &K

Wednesday: (from my mom)We had Life cereal for breakfast. “I wonder what Mamma & Dada are having for breakfast on their cruise?” Then we had second breakfasts with Opa. Now it is 9:30 and everyone is hungry again!

We have coffee and croissants delivered to our room and then after we get dressed we go to the most fabulous breakfast buffet in all the world. Yesterday I tried venison & quail. At breakfast. Today at lunch I tried grilled peppers and potato,celery, & octopus salad. Thumbs up on that one–thumbs down on the grilled peppers.

Grandma tried octopus once and from her description, i was never willing to try it! Cory likes calamari, too, & aren’t they baby octopi? Maybe I should believe my kids!

I read your messages to the children. Aviana says, “I wonder what Mama will look like when she gets home?” Do you think she thinks you’ll have grown 8 arms?

Mr. Trouble disappears SO FAST!!! He makes a HUGE mess in seconds!!!

Really? I guess I hadn’t noticed. Heh heh heh!

Brielle calls out from Quiet Time: Do you want to see my outfit? I’m so cute!

I miss her laugh!

Zipline in St. Lucia


Hello my loved ones. Now we are in Barbados. It’s the best island yet! Our scuba outing got cancelled at the last minute, but we substituted for a pirate party/shipwreck snorkel/turtle encounter. VERY cool. The shipwrecks are old unseaworthy ships they sunk intentionally. I got to actually touch one of the sea turtles & see on eat a fish–amazing. I felt a little like Steve Erwin, but without the cool accent. Our pirates were amazingly friendly, no one had to walk the plank, but we did have to go down the waterslide!
Now it’s formal night and we only have 15 minutes to catch the bus. Although if we miss it, we would not be sad, Barbados is beautiful and we want to retire here. We’ll miss you though. We are down to $2 cash! Send money πŸ™‚

We’ve made friends from MN-Maria & I are twins separated at birth I think. We’re all going to play The Newlywed game tonight! Maybe we’ll actually win once, since we were not stars at Jeopardy & Movie Tunes Trivia.

We love you!!

A twin in MN??? Huh! News to me!!! Hope you did well at the newlywed game, since you’ve been married for what, 6 years now??? Um…try seven, Mom.


Sadness galore. We had to get off the ship. Apparently, Princess Cruises frowns upon people stowing away in the life raft barrels. Huh. Go figure.

Now we are wandering around Old San Juan. We found a hole in the wall guest house for only $53, right in the heart of Old San Juan.

Me and Enrique, who owns the hole-in-the-wall

In our wanderings we ran into our friends from the ship and had lunch in the street cafe with them. Seems like a small world when that happens.

We came in last in the Newlywed Game–but that was ok because they asked embarrassing PG13 questions, which I was not expecting.

Yesterday we were at sea all day, I just relaxed with a book and hung out in the shade.
Kevin played water volleyball in 7+ foot of water. He’s such a champ. He burned off every calorie he ate all week, which is quite the accomplishment.

It was hard leaving our home for seven days, but I am ready to have my babies in my arms and go back to two pairs of socks. I’m prepared though–I bought a shawl knitted by the neatest lady! She teaches refugees to knit so they can sell their work and support their families. It’s a wonderful project she’s got going on.

Bye bye flip flops!

Lots of love, J & K

Please follow and like us:

Playing “Little House”

We played Little House in the Big Woods twice this week.

Wednesday was unintentional. We had a blizzard and were looking forward to snuggling up and maybe baking when the power went out for the day. We lit candles and cooked on the grill and warmed up by the propane stove instead. We played with fire a bit to show how dangerous candles could be. It was fun, but it did get to be a LONG day. Cold too. Thankfully, the power came back on by the time it was time make supper.

Today (the day before our trip) I finally made time to make Molasses Candy with Aviana. She knew just what to do, having listened to the books so many times, but I double checked on line.

In a fresh pan of snow, drizzle 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup molasses that you have boiled to the hard-ball stage.

Make all manner of curliques and squiggles.

Taste thoughtfully.
It was NOT good.
Not good at all.
It was fun though!
Please follow and like us:

Snow Day

This smattering of snow is just a warm-up (hee, hee) for the big storm they’re predicting for tomorrow night. When you’re a kid though, you’re thrilled with any bit of snow!
The girls, too excited to even get dressed, dashed out in their pajamas, and baby brother was not far behind. He just didn’t know what he was in for.

We had oatmeal and hot cocoa for a snack, followed by some snorkeling in the Caribbean.
Because that only makes sense.

Please follow and like us:

Daybook 7 Dec 09

To see more daybooks or join in, click on the above picture.

Outside my window… Heap big snow–and more to come tomorrow night

I am thinking… about how fun being around my husband is now. Oh I’ve missed him so.
I am thankful for… HARVEST BEING OVER!!!
I am wearing… LLBean slippers, black pants, gold sparkly JCrew sweater (via Goodwill) over a Gap sweater (also via a 2nd hand store) and a gold/silver/black scarf knotted not at all artfully πŸ™‚

I am remembering…things I need to add to my list

I am going…to a cookie party, the chiro, getting an underarm wax, tanning–Is the library even worth mentioning by now? Surely you know I’m going to the library. Target. Definitely Target.

I am reading… excited to start What in the world is going on?

I am hoping… we were really helpful to our pre-marital couple we mentored. Now that it’s over.

On my mind… my five page packing list. Obsessive much?

From the learning rooms… Christmas. I don’t remember exactly. We are way ahead of our curriculum in some areas, and right on par in others.

Noticing that…it doesn’t take much to throw my kids completely out of control–last night we went out for pizza to celebrate the end of harvest and even though we were home by bedtime, they were whingy and tantrumy and difficult.

It carried over to today as well–Brielle’s Sunday school teacher even said, “She did not have one of her best days” and that translates she was not good there. We had to pull over for a parking lot spanking for Aviana; a rarity.

Once we were safely home, we did have a delightful day.

Pondering these words…Giving is the secret of a healthy life…whatever [one] has of encouragement and sympathy and understanding. ~John D Rockefeller

From the kitchen… Making cookies, bread, comfort food, warm food, trying to plan ahead for the week and a half we’ll be gone…

Around the house… Putting up the Christmas village, the Christmas Candle Pyramid–(ours is sort of like this one)

One of my favorite things… creativity

From my picture journal…

Brielle vacuuming the bathroom

Vacuuming her brother

The brother asking for more lip sucking. You should have HEARD his chortles!
Please follow and like us:


As of today, we are almost done with harvest. Only 36 rows of corn to do, which may take an hour and a half. What a relief! This has been the most stressful harvest in all my years as a farm wife. All seven of them!

We still have a wagon full of corn broken down in the field waiting on a part, but at least that corn is off the cob.

It snowed today.

I had a severe, sudden migraine today. Got adjusted, took meds, cried all my mascara off (some of it ended up on my forehead!) and I don’t know how I made it home. Praise God for my MIL and SIL who took care of the kids so I could rest this afternoon.

I moved the monitor up several inches today and am amazed at the difference it makes!

I learned about cooking ahead, planning ahead, and general saving time in the kitchen at MOMS group today.

I was totally blessed by a friend who offered to wrap my Christmas presents for me today.

Today we turned on the corn stove for the first time.

Cadrian had a nearly hour long fit today that started when I told him he couldn’t nurse. I’m sure a few minutes into it, he forgot why he was screaming, but a tantrum at ear splitting decibels combined with a migraine that would make kitten footfalls echo like falling Sequoias was NOT good.

It was gone, thankfully, by this evening so I could go to a Christmas party. My medicine has high dosages of caffeine in it, and since I have drastically cut my intake in the last month, I can’t sleep and now today is actually tomorrow.

Please follow and like us: