December 4


Today we headed up to Omaha to the Lauritzen Gardens to see the Holiday Poinsettia Show. The gardens are pretty amazing any time of year, but they were extra magical today. And as if it wouldn’t have been fun enough to stroll the beautiful gardens today, we ran into some of our very favorite friends and got to spend the afternoon with them. Poinsettias! Lights! Trains! Fish! Bananas! Friends! It doesn’t get much better.


December 3

first snow

First snow photography good news and bad news: the bad news is that, no, Simon was not overcome by the magic of the first snowfall, and he did not spontaneously try to catch snowflakes on his tongue. The good news is that he will still humor his mom and pretend to be overcome by the magic of the first snowfall and try to catch snowflakes on his tongue.

December 2


Project Help is absolutely one of my favorite things I get to do. I have been sad to miss several of the projects this fall, but I’m so glad I got to participate today: this project felt like a jackpot. We scraped (and steamed) several layers of wallpaper down to the plaster. It surely was a tedious and dirty job, but oh so very gratifying. A morning sipping mint tea, chatting with friends, searching for that illusive long strip that comes off easily, making a little progress, yes, that was a morning well spent.

December 1


It’s that time of year again that the long-neglected blog gets a fresh pic every single day. Oh how we all love the December Photo Project!

Lately all the kids, but Clara especially, have been asking Jason and me to tell them funny stories about themselves when they were babies (or littler kids than they are now). Some days it’s easier than others, but when I’m distracted or especially tired, I can only remember the same handful of stories they’ve already heard. However, I’m also finding the more we comply with their requests, the more I do remember (I’ve heard this about writing a memoir–that once you start writing it down, memories come back).

I like to imagine that a few years (or months or days) from now, today’s walk will be one of the stories I’ll tell Clara about herself. I’ll remember how she rode ahead to the next mailbox or tree and came back when I called. And how she said, “Race ya!” when she knew I wasn’t ready and then giggled like a maniac as she left me in the dust. How she asked me to lift her up into the tree and then laughed when I laid down on the ground to get a picture. And especially how she told me to kiss her neck until she told me to stop but that I actually ran out of kisses before she ran out of giggles.

Clara’s First Ballet Recital


Clara measures her weeks by Thursdays. Is it Thursday? How many days until Thursday? Okay, so Tuesday, Wednesday, then Thursday? Thursdays are when she has dance class with Joie. We are so thankful for our beloved friend who has built a joyful and loving community, thankful that she pours her giant heart and considerable talents into teaching our kids to love dancing, thankful for the friendships that have been formed, the discipline and skills that have been learned, and the fun that has been had.

Last week the students put on such a creative and sweet recital, The Runaway Bunny: A Ballet from Studio 139. I realize that some of these pictures are less than perfectly sharp: that’s okay, I’m just going to go ahead and claim partial/total blindness from the stunning cuteness. Seriously. Good grief, too much. And, although the shards brought me to my knees, my favorite part was still the reverence. Traditionally, the reverence is the last ballet exercise of the class and is directed toward the teacher to pay respect; at Studio 139, the reverence is directed toward God to honor him.

December 24


We awoke to a winter wonderland this morning. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of a white Christmas. What a treat!

The kids had an absolute blast playing in the snow–jumping, making snow angels (not Clara’s favorite), catching snowflakes (Simon and Ian both posed for the camera, but Clara did it on her own without being prompted–so delightful), causing avalanches off the trees, and chasing each other around with snowballs too light and fluffy to stick together. And then when they had worn themselves all out, Jason had hot chocolate ready to go.

December 23


Usually we do new jammies, a ride to look at the Christmas lights, and a special meal of tempura on Christmas Eve, but this year we opted for a saner option and did those three things on Christmas Eve Eve (don’t worry, we have plenty of traditions to carry us through tomorrow as well). After about three hundred pictures of the kids in their matching jams, Simon took over directing the shoot. “Pretend like it’s Christmas morning” was his idea for this shot.

December 22

December 22

Car fulla kids ready for Winter Break!

December 21

December 21

Then he got an idea! An awful idea! Simon got a wonderful, awful idea!

December 20


Making Grandma Johnson’s ginger cookies.