Hey everyone!  It's time for some changes around here, don't ya think?  This blog has seen many changes...from a card blog to a family blog.  From a young married girl to a mom of three precious children.  From a plot of 6 acres of land to a house with an addition, gardens, a greenhouse, and animals.  A little place to record the bits and pieces of our life.

I mostly blog for myself.  I love recording what we're up to and having a space for photos and thoughts that we can keep coming back to.  I'm thankful for a way to stay in touch with friends and family too!

Well, I plan on continuing to do just that, but I'm moving over to a new blog.  I'm changing things up just a little with a new format.  I'll leave this blog up, but I won't be posting here anymore.  If you'd care to join me, please hop on over to down our county road.

See you soon!



The tomatoes are still coming in.  We figure we've gathered over 100 lbs from the greenhouse so far.  We've been loving lots of fresh tomato sauce, tomato soup, caprese salad, BLT's and salsa.  Lots of salsa.  We've canned 30 pints so far, with plenty left over from each batch for eating on the spot.

We still have lots of almost-ripe tomatoes hanging on and numerous green ones.  We're holding out for the first frost to hit the greenhouse and then it will be time for green tomato pie! 


a day out

One of our recent days out before the weather starts getting colder. We all love being outside.  Mason and Emma listened to the different squirrels and birds chirping and chatting as they wandered around.  They explored favorite paths and made new ones. 

 Emma comparing her hand to the bear print we found in the mud.  They thought this was pretty cool.
Playing in what's left of the creek.

We are hoping to get out again to enjoy all the fall colors before the snow flies.


4 months

Bringing in 4 months with this sweet little guy! Today also brought along his first cold.  Even with watery eyes, a runny nose, and more drool than my shoulder can hold, he was still full of smiles.  And snuggles.  Trying to be his cheerful self, but just not quite pulling it off. 

 Caleb, you've had a busy  month.  You still seem so small, but after visiting my best friend's newborn, you suddenly are so not a newborn anymore.  A little perspective changes everything.  You are growing by leaps and bounds.  You still fit perfectly in daddy's arms though.  You love to snuggle on my shoulder, but when anyone else holds you, you prefer to be looking out at everything. And you sure are taking it all in with your blueish gray eyes.
 You love to hang out on the floor on one of your blankets.  You are starting to roll over.  Mason was the first one to witness your new moves.  He was so excited and couldn't wait to tell Emma and daddy when they got home.

Mason and Emma still love to hold you and ask several times a day.  They also like when I put your bouncy chair in their room.  They include you in their play and it's hilarious to listen in.  You are usually either little baby bear or the little brother.  They cook for you and take you on trips.

When you cry they look out for you. 

Once I returned from feeding the chickens and Mason exclaimed, "there you are mom...I've been bouncing this chair (bouncy seat) forever (maybe 4 minutes) and every time I stop he just keeps crying.  I'm worn out."

And of course when Emma is around and you start crying, you will soon be covered with every blanket in sight, be surrounded by every stuffed animal and she will try singing about 2 centimeters from your face.  Her motto: more is better and try to be louder!
 Some things to remember about 4 months:

~you have found your toes and love to grab them
~you also love to grab Emma's hair
~you drool like crazy
~you take great naps
~your sleep patterns at night could improve though...you have added a couple extra feedings, growth spurt maybe?
~you love to go for walks in the stroller, but prefer to keep moving and fuss a little when Mason and Emma start exploring their surroundings
~you've started grabbing your toys and moving them around
~you have the best belly laugh and love to be tickled
~you love baths
~you're a happy little guy!
We love you so much, Caleb!



The elk have been roaming through at dawn and dusk.  The kids love studying them.  On our afternoon walks they've been noticing all the tracks in the mud and scat left around. Is it weird that it's the highlight of their walk?  That and watching red-tailed hawks soaring in circles. 

Mason and his best buddy (and soon to be neighbor!!) Jacob have been using toilet paper rolls as elk bugles.  They always hear the elk calling back too. *wink* 


canning 101

We've been canning up a storm lately.  The best part is that it's a whole family event.  The kids love helping.   Everything from washing the fruit, using the magnetic lid lifter to give me the lids and rings, to eating all the fruit peels that are left over.  But the really great part is that they've been playing "canning" almost every day.  I love listening in to their creative play.  A few things I've learned from them:

~always use a saw to cut your watermelon and tomatoes
~monster meat can be canned
~so can T-Rex meat, but it must hang in the freezer first to chill
~slices of bread can be used if you run out of lids
~a tea bag can also be used to wash the rims of your jars (bowls)
~all jars must be left in the oven overnight to rest
~sometimes you can "fast can" (Mason's technique) and other times you have to work really slow (Emma girl)
~when canning berries you must dress up as Steggy (a stegosaurus: Mason) and Little Bear (Emma) to first pick the berries to fill your purse
~use your flashlight to heat up the jars before putting them on the stove

 We still have a lot left on our list of items to be canned: cabbage from the garden to be turned into sauerkraut, beets to pickle, tomatoes and peppers from the greenhouse to make more salsa, a few more boxes of apples, and pepperoni from our local deli.  Can't wait to see what the kids come up with next!



Our family lost a great man.  My Papa Bob passed away peacefully in his sleep after leading an amazing life.  Growing up, Papa was really the only grandparent I knew.  My Nana passed away when I was two and my dad's parents lived in Tennessee.  All my memories are wrapped up in this one man.  

 I remember as a young girl finding out that he played football for Nebraska when in college.  I was in such awe--I didn't know anyone that played for a college football team (until I met my husband).  I think my love for football started with Papa.  He was always watching the game with a bag of peanuts and Hershey kisses nearby.  My mom would tell me of growing up and going to watch the high school football games under the lights every Friday as a family.  Sounds like the perfect way to start the weekend to me. 

 The house were we spent the most time was in an old neighborhood.  All of my childhood memories (mostly of holidays) are nestled in this house.  All 7 of us cousins probably driving the parents crazy, just being kids.  I remember when he put his house on the market and my sister and I visited for the last time.  We went about the yard taking pictures of all our favorite spots to somehow keep them closer.  The metal clothes lines where we always climbed.  His beautiful gardens full of vegetables and flowers.  His peach tree.   The gate that I tried to climb from the front yard to the back yard where I sliced open my tummy and still have the scar to prove it.  The row of pine trees out front where we would hide when cars drove by.  The brick flower beds and outdoor grill where he made the best and biggest hamburgers served beside a bowl of his potato salad. 

Something about that neighborhood and the stories my mom and aunt and uncle told of growing up make me smile about how "it used to be."  Everyone knew everyone.  All us grandkids could walk across everyone's front yards down to Helen's house (our favorite neighbor) to play her player piano, sneak bubble gum flavored soda, and ring the bells hanging by her door.  I remember roller skating down the old, cracked sidewalks, under the huge trees thinking about my mom going down those same sidewalks as a little girl.  She always told us how Papa would come on the front porch and whistle when it was time to come in.  I think of that often watching my kids run around our property, playing with the neighbors, begging to play just a little longer when we call them in. 

That house had a certain smell.  You probably know what I mean, how old houses smell.  It comforted us as soon as we walked in.  Papa's eyes would always light up when we arrived (playing "how many more turns?" in the car on the way) and fill with tears when we said good-bye.  Our last morning there on every trip was coffee and dunkin donuts. 

There were always the Thanksgiving and Christmas smells too.  The turkey roaster was brought out to the front porch, the tangle of the orange extension cord making it's way around all our "beds" on the living room floor where us cousins would lay and talk until we fell asleep.  Papa and Uncle Steve would tip toe over us before the sun rose to go goose hunting. 

At Christmas time he always hung those huge Christmas lights around the front window.  And his tree always had tinsel...each piece carefully placed on.  It was the fanciest tree I ever saw.  Then we would all get dressed up and go downtown to the midnight church service.  We always felt so special getting to stay up late.  I can still hear the organ and see the candlelight.  I remember one service in particular when they asked the grandparents to stand up and be recognized.  The pride covered his face as he looked down the pew at all his grandchildren. 
 As our family grew and cousins got married, and babies were born, he continued to tell us how proud he was of us.  I remember how he welcomed Ryan into the family always shaking his hand and Ryan calling him "sir" and he would always say "thank you for the sir!"  He was always interested in how are garden was doing and asking about our tomatoes and offering advice.  I think his eyes almost twinkled as we told of our struggles and we would go look at his perfect, huge, red tomatoes bending over the vines.  Another of his prides and joys.

I also remember the look on his face when he came to the hospital to visit Mason.  He could never remember his name, but latched on to his middle name of Robert and always called him Little Bob.  Papa gave him his first football. 
Family was so important to him.  He came to every graduation, wedding, and birthday that was possible.  He would sit around telling stories (one of his favorite things to do...often the same one over and over) of serving our country, playing football, his kids growing up, the tire shop and going hunting.  We never tired of hearing them.  Even as his mind started to go, we would all just sit and listen.  I remember my last visit with him this summer.  My sister, my cousin Jeri and I sat with him outside his nursing home on a beautiful summer day.  I don't think I've laughed so much in a long time.  He talked about the squirrels, our wedding rings, football, the staff poisoning his food, and many other random things.  He didn't make a bit of sense, but he seemed so happy.   
I can't imagine the ultimate joy he's experiencing now, at home with his Savior and free from the pain and confusion he must have felt as his mind slipped away.  Reunited with his earthly bride and looking into the face of Christ.  I look around at the generations of people in my family that he cherished so much and can't help but be in awe at the legacy he left behind.  So many unique faces with special gifts and talents that all carry a part of Papa.  We love you!


3 months

 This sweet little boy is 3 months old today!
 Caleb, you are such a good baby.  You are full of smiles and are generally happy.  You do great when we're out and about, but love to chill at home too.  You are full of grins when Mason and Emma play with you.  You actually laughed out loud at Emma just the other day.  But, you also enjoy when it's just you and all is quiet. 

I love how mellow you are.  You really only fuss when you're tired or need a diaper change.  Mason and Emma love to hold you and you put up with a lot.  I know you'll be running around after them before we know it.  For now, though, it's great to just scoop you up and enjoy your cuddles.  I'm perfecting my do-everything-with-one-hand moves.  

 Fun facts about you at 3 months:

~you love to be outside
~you often grab your blanket and hold it close to your face
~you don't use a pacifier, but sometimes find your fist
~you smile and your whole face lights up
~you follow people's faces and voices
~you take one long nap a day and a couple shorter ones
~you usually wake up at 3:00 and 6:00, but sometimes at midnight too
~you have been known to sleep all the way to 5:30 though
~you enjoy being on your tummy and kick your legs until you've rotated in a full circle

I feel so blessed to be home on maternity leave with you and your brother and sister.  Watching you all interact together is such a joy.

We love you Caleb!


in the garden

Well, the garden has been struggling this year.  The same afternoon that we took these pictures we got not one, but two, hailstorms.  Just when it's starting to bounce back another one rolls through.  Makes us love the greenhouse even more!  We're still crossing our fingers for some veggies when it's all said and done.


Corn standing tall.  It's been damaged the least.

Our meat birds....growing bigger and bigger.
Carrots in the front and peas in the back.  The peas are loving the cooler nights after the afternoon thunder storms.
Cabbage in the front, beans in the back. Potatoes in the way back.
Beets in the front (shredded leaves), more beans in the back. Sunflowers in the way back.
Mason took a picture of the sunflowers he planted. They're getting very tall, but the leaves have taken a few more hits. 

Cute kids in the middle of everything!


2 months

Happy 2 Months Caleb!  

You are growing like crazy.  You change so much every day and we are still captivated by you! 
You are such a happy baby.  You are starting to smile when we talk to you.  You are pretty content to be on the floor, in your bouncy chair, or in the arms of one of us.  Mason and Emma ask to hold you all day long and you generally allow them to without too much of a fuss. 

 What's happening at two months:

~you are a great traveler and usually fall asleep in the car
~you are so easy to put to bed (usually between 7:00 and 8:00)
~you enjoy bathtime
~you don't really have a nap schedule yet...just sleeping whenever it suits you
~when you are awake, you are very alert and happy
~you hardly fuss
~you can't make it through a church service yet without having to nurse
~you like when Mason and Emma talk and sing to you (Emma sings to you a lot in the car, mostly songs she makes up on the spot)
~you just moved out of the cradle into the crib

We love you so much sweet boy!



We took a little day trip to Cottonwood Lake with Lacy and Karly.  Mason couldn't wait to try out his "canoe suit" (aka life jacket!)We did lots of fishing and canoeing until the rain came in the afternoon. 
Mason went out with daddy and Lacy.   He loved every second of it.

 Emma, Karly, Caleb and I hung out on the shore digging and fishing. 

 Then it was Emma's turn to go out with daddy and Karly.  She had a blast. 

Gotta love a day at the lake!



Don't get me wrong...we love the moments when you're awake and alert.  And they're becoming more frequent, which is a ton of fun.  But we still enjoy all your sleepiness too.  

 It's amazing what this sweet boy can sleep through. 

 A rough and tumble brother and sister constantly playing/dancing/singing around him.
Thunderstorms, complete with hail pounding around.
The bloodhound howling at various animals and birds.
You just keep sleeping and we'll keep adoring your peacefulness.