It’s a Drag-Your-Tail Day.

But.

I have managed to pull myself off the couch, get the laundry started, empty the dishwasher, and do another search online for the perfect, white change table for my nursery. :)

And I’m eating an organic grapefruit. This is one of two cravings I’ve had to enjoy this pregnancy. The other one?

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Raspberries.

:)

I panic if I run out of frozen raspberries.

The other reason I’m eating grapefruit right now? The kids are playing outside.

:)

Have you ever cut those 100 triangles out for three kids? It takes forever. I’m just barely that unselfish. So I hide when I eat my grapefruit.

:)

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They are so darling when they get up from their naps and sit there all cozily. I love having cuddly kids!

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So, last week I got inspired. And grilled between 7 and 8 lbs of burgers, portobello mushrooms, and veggie kebabs. I froze one bag of grilled burgers for the future, and the rest we ate throughout the week. Craig helped me finish grilling…as it was a rather massive job for one such as I.

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On Friday, Grandpas came!!

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They were regularly mobbed by three kids.

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And when Grandpas are here, I don’t get to cuddle Daisy. Cuz she always goes to Grandma. :)

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Bomani has been begging me for another football cake like I made for his birthday. So I told him I’ll make him one when Grandpas come.

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We had a party!

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No one’s birthday, but why not? :)

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We weren’t following the weather and totally blasted ourselves nearly out of the house the one day. This heater is no joke!

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Sometimes dad gets mobbed too. :)

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Roasting 100% meat, hot dogs. Yum.

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From the comfort of your living room…

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Generally, I very much dislike pictures like this. It’s the heffalump thing…

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I love getting lunch at HEB. Delectable, hot chicken thighs, four for $5. We ate them all. The kids each ate an entire piece. And fresh strawberries for dessert! The chicken is now my go-to for grocery shopping day. :)

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They were making farting noises and laughing hilariously… Dear me. :)

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Raquel had her sweet, baby boy! (When I saw the pictures, I told Craig that we started a month late…) This is what I made for her baby gift.

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The nursery. :) So, I’m sure I’ve mentioned how thrilled and delighted and excited I am to have a real nursery for the first time in my life! Here is the first piece of furniture for my nursery! Okay, so after I thought it through, I decided I don’t need a crib. Not now anyway. Because Craig is going to make a little, co-sleeping crib to attach to the side of our bed. But then, this crib showed up at Lil-D’s down the street, and as it is exactly what I wanted, I went down and got it. :) I’m rather happy. I need to clean the mattress yet. But it looks lovely in my nursery.

Next on the list is to sew some nursing gowns! Do I sound excited? Because I’m not. I am not needing sewing to do right now. But when you can’t find what you want online for less than $80 per gown, you send off for fabric you like, and sew them yourself. Suck it up. Just do it.

:)

I’m also going to make covers for the body pillows for our couch. Because I could get microsuade fabric with my other fabric order for much less than buying covers. It’s a hazard of actually knowing how to sew. And even if you don’t enjoy it…there it is…

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Bending and pulling piles of laundry off the floor is not a walk in the park these days. So I recruit. :)

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I think she’s rather darling. :)

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In other news…

We had about 80 degree weather this week. Amazing! I told Craig I think I like winter in Texas. :)

We have a new niece/cousin! Floyd and Dorcas have a lovely daughter, Kyra Jubilee. Born on Sunday. She is so beautiful…

Have you bought from Zulily before? They have some fantastic prices for high quality, high dollar items. The way they do this, with the little that I understand, after you order, and the “event” ends, they order in bulk from their suppliers. Also, no returns.

So…I found the drapes for our living room, on Zulily! In fact, I didn’t find what I wanted anywhere else. Even after searching Amazon for days. :) So I said, six 84″ panels for $112 including shipping…in high quality with good reviews? Yes. If they are not what we want, we’ll resell them. I ordered them on January 8th. For two weeks, I heard nothing. Then I got an email! They shipped! They are shipping directly from the supplier. And the supplier must not believe in very good tracking info. Because a week later, it still simply says “shipping label has been created”. And today my curtain rods arrived. Fantastic deal off Amazon. No fast shipping. But they came! I know Zulily is not a scam. But I’m ready for my drapes! On the other hand…I’ve waited more than a year to cover my bare, living room windows. So what is one more month?

:)

Baby is growing well. He is in perfect position for birth. I am healthy as a horse. I have five weeks to go…more or less. This is when each week begins to feel like an eternity! I’m not dying to have him out…I still have nesting to do…gowns to sew…tiny sleepers to wash. A nursery to set up. A baby shower to delight in! (Btw, I did have a baby shower for Bomani in Thailand…I had forgotten!)

But I am getting ready in other ways. Just want him out. My back is really having issues. After the twin pregnancy, I could easily feel the diastasis recti–a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area. When this is separated, the muscles in the front are not helping your back to support things. And the bigger you get, the more difficult it can be for your back. And for you. I am now seeing my chiropractor weekly. She is amazing, specially skilled in maternity. It has made a huge difference for me this pregnancy! And will make a big difference in labor and delivery as well. But in the meantime…I’m croaking. This baby is sticking straight out. None of my others carried like this little guy. I have virtually never had rib pain or trouble breathing this pregnancy. He has never been that high!

And so…a day like today, when I get up and look at my piles of laundry, I groan. Because it feels like he’s going to tumble out every time I bend to pick up some clothes. And by the end of laundry day, my back is screaming.

Now, having complained thoroughly! I’m excited! Because tonight is date night!!! I better get this laundry done so I can lay my baby down and rest and be refreshed and as beautiful as possible. Cuz i’m going with my favorite guy…

Peace.

 

Heaven.

Just missin’ my mom today. Remembering.

Her friend, Tamseela, just died. I would love to peek in on their meeting in heaven…

Tamseela was a  bride, from Pakistan, moving into Dad and Mom’s area in VA. Dad’s had just moved back to the US from Kenya. I don’t know which moved to the US first, or even if it was in the same year. I only remember Mom telling me about her friend…how she would go to her house for tea. How very much she enjoyed the friendship. Even though Tamseela was more in my generation. They loved each other a lot. The foreign cultures met and worked.

Then Mom got cancer. I remember the funeral. How Tamseela cried. How comforting it was to me to know she had been Mom’s friend.

Just thinkin’ about Heaven today…

Life As We Know It.

Life is Happy.

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I made a plaque for my nursery out of reclaimed wood. Fun!!

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Yes. I ate every crumb. Or an alternative breakfast for me is four eggs. :)

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I invested in an exercise ball. Time to prepare for this birth!!

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We are taking a ten week, required, Birth Boot Camp class. It’s awesome!

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I love making my Saturday pizza. :)

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We.Got.A.Sofa!!!! After a year and a half or so without any couches, we bit the bullet! I had been searching craigslist faithfully every day for a black set. But I finally gave up, went for a light colored set, and we are very happy! You can configure it any way you like. We are officially getting rid of our other two pieces of…furniture. :) Got our money’s worth out of those two chairs.

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Ready for church. That is how fat I am right now. In the mornings. In the evenings, fatter. :)

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We’re having so much fun cuddling together on the new sofa!

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Our ten puppies are becoming rather charming.

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Life is being good. With the occasional bad day. Don’t ask about those. Just soak in the good…

Peace.

brother

Bomani is so happy to be getting a brother. I feel this warmth in my heart every time he talks about it. :)

The other evening, baby was kicking rather heartily! Bomani was with me, so I put his hand on my abdomen. He was beyond delighted. And when “brother” wouldn’t kick, he would punch him gently, trying to get more kicks out of him! I could tell that really connected with Bomani. This is real. This is a real baby. A real brother.

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So grateful for my boys…

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Peace.

 

Pictures!!!!

We have a camera! It is absolutely awesome. I wish I could take a picture of it…maybe in a mirror? :) It is just fantastic…not only to have a camera that works well, but this one is really, really sweet. :)

Okay, so having said that…here are some pics!

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Yes. We now own a mini van. Toyota Sienna. I love driving it! It is a nice vehicle! But when I look at it…something in me quakes. To us, there is no beauty to behold… :)

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Ahhh…yes. We do have a masonry heater… :) And it’s keeping us so cozy these days…

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My stomach nearly reaching the steering wheel before my feet hit the pedals…

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Family Nutrition had Izzies on clearance. A four pack for $1.35 or something like that. Woe!

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So fun to take pictures of food again. :)

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I organized and updated my spice drawer! I am thrilled with it. Those are 1 cup jars. They fit perfectly in my drawer. And are actually big enough that I don’t need to keep refilling my spice containers! I use a ton of spices and herbs. This.Is.Awesome. :)

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So I found this online, and decided to try it! I painted the lids with chalkboard paint. Then I was going to write on it with chalk. Unfortunately, after all the work to get the right paint, chalk didn’t work! It just rubbed the paint off the shiny surface of the lids. So I got out my handy, white paint pen, and used it. It worked fantastically! And now I have chalkboard paint to do fun things with. :)

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To kick off the nesting, I’ve now begun making enormous amounts of something once a week. 6 pounds of ground beef every week into one dish. Then I freeze part of it. The rest of it we eat that week. Today it was Green Masala.

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Baby is…I’m not sure what he’s doing. But I need to go rest. :) Lata!

Life

I dreamed about Anja last night. Very alive. So fun to be with her again.

Heaven is coming…

Our God is Greater.

Last night we had our first of ten evenings of Birth Boot Camp. It was fantastic, and promises a lot. I’m really excited!

It also brought many, many memories back to my consciousness. We are the only couple in the class who are not first time parents. I remember feeling how they feel. Unsure. But hopeful. Excited. And being an everlasting optimist, I had no reason to think my first birth experience would not be beautiful. My pregnancy was happy and good. We were all ready…

What came next is seared in my memory as everything.but.beautiful.

Foreign country. Sort of okay, but not that great hospital. Little Thai nurses who came very frequently to put cold hands on my abdomen to see if my labor was commencing. It wasn’t. The American nurse coming through and encouraging me to agree to Pitocain. Because I trusted her, I agreed.

100% back labor. Pitocain induced labor. Nothing like it this side of hell. Sorry–just being honest.

In a haze of losing my mind, begging the doctor just to get him out.

Vacuum suction. My little, Thai doctor’s foot braced against the wall behind me, and a nurse pushing down on my uterus with all her strength.

Tearing and cutting beyond anything you could ask or imagine.

Shaking uncontrollably.

A long recovery.

family

I know that I will never forget it. But it has been in…the depths of history for the most part. Until we watched a video last night of vacuum suction. I couldn’t watch it all. Too real.

Being a hopeless optimist, I was sure my next birth experience would be good!

Twins. Okay…so…now I wasn’t so sure. But there they were, and nothing to do but go ahead. :)

In a sudden twist of fate, we came to the US. Now I had options. I chose a midwife…a fantastic midwife. Who would even deliver my second twin breech. I was 5 days shy of the 36 week point, when a midwife can deliver twins. And I went into labor.

That’s when you need to trust. Blindly trust God.

This was a fast labor. Nothing like the first. I even felt normal contractions for the first time in my life. Unfortunately, the back labor came as well. The hospital staff seemed slow and a bit unconcerned. Until the urge to push came…for the first time in my life. And there is nothing like it. Then they moved. Fast. The doctor on call happened to be one who did not deliver second twin breech. I agreed to an epidural in case of c-section. My midwife and I still held out hope that Hazel would turn after Daisy was out. I pushed Daisy out…the single beautiful birth experience I have had. Hazel refused to turn. Her heart rate dropped. The excellent doctor had her out in less than a minute.

And I had my c-section.

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By now I had it all. Pitocain. Vacuum suction. Epidural. C-section. Back labor.

Everything that…last night…in our class, we all knew we did not want.

I know that a lot of ladies have horror stories. That is a sad saga of how births have gone in the US. I know I’m one of many.

That doesn’t change what I’m looking at right now. I’m looking at the past…

I’m listening to my Birth Boot Camp teacher.

“We can trust our Heavenly Father that He is in control and loves us! I believe God has led you on this path of wellness and to to a place where your birth will be a very redeeming experience!!!”

To quote her.

A redeeming experience.

And I lift my hands to God. Tears running down my cheeks, as my kids wonder what’s going on…

and this song comes over my sound system…

Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You…
None like You…

Our God is greater,
Our God is stronger,
God You are higher than any other…
Our God is Healer,
Awesome in power our God…

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against…

What could stand against?

This song is my theme…my heart for the next two months. As I prepare my nursery and as I prepare my heart. I don’t know what will happen. I am afraid. I am hopeful. Life has hacked away at the optimism…leaving raw faith. And fear with it. I want to allow God to change all of this, into what He desires for my heart.

Thank you, friends…for your prayers for me and my child.

Terribly Pregnant.

I told a friend just now that I am Terribly Pregnant.

Because I’m entering that…era. Where you stick out so far you forever bump things. You don’t have any clue what your toes look like. You can’t do anything comfortably at the kitchen counter anymore. Washing your hair is a project you dread every week. You look very funny in a coat. (They don’t make coats for pregnant women beyond the 6th month. At least not this kind of pregnant.) By “this kind” I mean…I stick straight out. At least a foot or two. I have constant braxton hicks, beyond any of my other pregnancies. At least my other “normal” one. Okay, they are mostly in the evenings, every evening, but sometimes they start in the afternoons. On the days when I work too hard. But I have to work. We need clean clothes. We need food. And I need my house clean at least once a week, or I go into the depths. So this morning I did laundry, made granola, and vacuumed my house. As well as put my plum room back together. By lunch time I was in agony. I couldn’t even get lunch for the kids. So they ate raw granola and bananas. And they asked for soup. What mother of you…

My back has been bad this pregnancy. I need to be quite careful. Sleep with my feet stacked. Never pick something up and twist with it. (Something beyond ten pounds.) Rest every hour or so. I shouldn’t vacuum. But I do. I shouldn’t haul baskets of laundry. Laundry days are huge as mountains to me. Not kidding.

So now that I have unloaded all my complaints…

I’m quite healthy otherwise. How could I not be? I take a hundred capsules of something or other, per day. And I have never been an easy pill taker. I get all my bottles out of the cupboard in the morning. And as I take them, I put them back in. It’s such a joy to see no more there waiting for me. And then I get up the next morning…

I would post a pic of my pill bottles. Okay, only about half a dozen in reality, but it may as well be a hundred…

And I would post a pic of how fat I am.

But our new camera is not yet arrived. :) Can’t wait to have a working camera again!

I should go on Plexus, so that I would only need to drink a pink drink. But I don’t think that would solve my varicose veins, which have improved beyond anything I dreamed of, by taking Venistat. And I’m not sure it would do what my Lower Bowel herbs do. (Enough information.) And I don’t know if it would do what four capsules of cal/mag does. Which is supposed to be helping my braxton hicks. Not to mention those incredibly painful cramps you get when you stretch in the morning…

I need to go make soup. And toothpaste. And fold laundry. And then tonight is our first Birth Boot Camp class.

But while I’m on the Terribly Pregnant subject…

:)

We are praying and thinking and trying to figure out a good way to get some help after baby arrives. He is due March 4th, but I’ll be super surprised if we make it that far. :)

Craig’s mom will probably be here right after his debut. I don’t know exactly how long she will be able so stay, but possibly as long as the middle of March sometime. Possibly not that long. :) We will be very happy with every day she is able to be here!

So my question is…any ideas? Any young lady out there who would like a Texas adventure? (She tries to make it sound really fun…) In reality, I may only need a couple days a week after mom leaves. But more wouldn’t hurt. And we’ll be happy to talk about compensation…

So now I will take my Terribly Pregnant self into the kitchen.

:)

I can’t wait to be able to cook the way I love to cook again!

And clean the way I don’t enjoy but still want to clean…

I’m not complaining.

Okay. Maybe I am.

:)

Peace.

Pursuit of My Heart

In a sweeping generalization, we ladies long to be pursued.

It’s that simple.

In every good story, an amazing woman is relentlessly pursued by an amazing man. It thrills our souls. It’s the way God made us. And I delight in it.

But then, that other side, that darker side…as always, makes it’s way into the world. And the most beautiful stage: a woman’s heart, being pursued by a good man…becomes something else.

And I’m not sure what. It’s what I’m personally thinking through…praying through…wondering…and bit by bit, starting to understand.

What about? We ladies who simply do not have a good man pursuing our heart? And what about we ladies who have had a good man pursue our heart? But now he has us…and he forgets, five days out of seven, that we are dying to have him continue the process? And what about we ladies…who have a good man pursuing our heart, loving us well, but there is still something inside that is not okay? Not filled? Not…able to be loved?

I have a fantastic man. I’m not one to blow it all over the internet :) but it’s true. His relationship with me is extremely important to him. He treasures it and keeps it in the front of his heart. I am…completely loved. I really am.

But over the years, every now and then I have been very disturbed by waking up in the morning, just having dreamed that there was some man pursuing my heart. And I feel like I need to apologize to my husband for my dream! But I didn’t mean to dream it! Has that ever happened to you? Disturbing. My heart is for my husband alone. And I do not like dreaming trash at night.

I think sometimes I have opened a door to the enemy, when I have read books or watched movies that had junk in them. Romance stuff that simply was not…necessary or good. And I also do not have any dibs on understanding nighttime dreams. I do think sometimes it’s a strange way that we process life. And I know that for years, I dreamed my mom was still alive. In fact, I dreamed about her again recently, very much alive. I loved it. :)

I also believe dealing with and cleaning “past junk” out of my soul is helpful in every way…

But back to the subject at hand…I have honestly wondered, why this hole in our hearts as women…constantly longing and loving to: simply put~ be pursued?

And it starts to feel like a negative thing. Something we must overcome. I was single until I was 27. That’s a decent amount of time to wonder if a really good man will ever desire your heart badly enough to do the work for it.

The other morning I woke up…thinking…wondering.

And in the quietness, God said,

“I pursue your heart. That’s Me. It’s what I do.”

“You’re reading about it!”

And I just lay there amazed. Because yes….I am reading through the chronological Bible, and loving it. And the picture I have been getting of God is amazing. But I never really connected the dots.

Now I see it. He relentlessly pursued the people of Israel. He jealously guarded their love for Him. And when they looked at other gods, He was devastated. Incensed. Broken in heart.

Huge, endless books in the Bible are completely full of His anger, His pain, His utter brokenness over their refusing to respond to His pursuit and His love and their spurning of His romance. His passion for their hearts.

I was awed.

And I firmly believe that God is pursuing me beyond anything I have ever glimpsed or dreamed of.

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Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland…

Only, we live in Texas. So we have everything but the snow. :)

I know, I know! I have not posted for a long time! But that is my privilege. :) And we were traveling…

But what a delightful several weeks it has been!

For starters, WE ARE USING OUR MASONRY HEATER!!!!!! And it’s awesome. The heat is absolutely lovely…radiating gently outward. It almost feels like you’re sitting in the sun…that gentle, sort of warm feeling. It’s cold these days. We are firing it three times a day! We were running our exhaust fan to circulate air through the house, but after we got back from our trip, we caught a whiff of possible…dead mouse? And so we have not tried that since we’re home. :) We supplement with those electric oil heaters in the bedrooms and sometimes dining area.

AND! Only a dream for so long…I now have my very own, sturdy, big clothes drying rack for the winter! Thank you, Floyd and Dorcas! It is awesome!

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I baked a cake in the masonry oven yesterday. :) It only gives about 300 degrees, so you can’t do pizza, etc. But the cake worked!!

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As for our trip to the far north, (Kansas), I took two pictures. Why? Because our camera was on it’s last leg. It has, now, officially croaked. So here is a picture of our trip for you.

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We had terribly much fun. :) Saturday, Sunday, and Monday we Kuepfers hung out at Shane and Dorcas’ house. It was so so awesome to be together again! We had not seen half of them since Tim and Gina’s wedding in June. We ate lots of good food, the men played games, while the women sat and talked and were pregnant. (Okay, only two of us were pregnant…) :)

Tuesday and Wednesday were my “in-between” family days, wherein I was planning to meet and hang out with my dear friends whom I had also not seen since June. Instead, I decided to get the stomach virus that had been around before we came. And so I was very sick on Tuesday, eating little more than nothing. Wednesday I had to eat. When I’m pregnant, my body gives me about one day of not eating, then it does everything in it’s power to make sure I eat. So I ate, with great effort. Thursday, I was finally much better, but weak and recovering. I was quite sad. I got to see only a few of my best friends. But that was just how life was, and so we accept it and go on…

Friday and Saturday were the big Miller party days. How fun!!! Food, games, singing, gifts, chatting…just hangin’ out. It was so good. Our kids, of course, thought this entire week was next to heaven. :) They love their cousin Tristan, and their Kuepfer grandparents. And then to live at Miller grandparents’ house…it was pure delight.

But all good things must end, so Sunday we headed back south. Traveling actually went really well for me. Being 30 weeks pregnant, I was a bit unsure. :) The hardest part was actually every evening…I get braxton hicks so badly that sometimes I just needed to go lie down in bed, which is a pity when there is a party going on. My midwife now has me on CalMag and drinking water. :) Yes…I admit, I was not drinking nearly enough. In the winter time, I just forget! And then being away from home, I just did badly at it. And it does make a difference. So I’m looking forward to less extreme tightness in the evenings. My back also suffered from the week. But today I went to see my chiropractor, and seriously, she is amazing. She is especially knowledgeable for pregnancy and birth sorts of things, and I have benefited greatly already from her. It’s amazing when you walk out of there, and you can, not only sit without pain, but walk without pain!

A high of 33 tomorrow? And ice pellets? And with my boy begging for snow? I betta’ get on my knees…

(Yes, I know that was random and off the subject…)

So I’ve hit the ground running since we’re back. Getting the house back together and clean…then yesterday I took Bomani to the doc. His hearing has been decreasing. The P.A. found nothing wrong, so referred us to Cooks in Ft. Worth for a hearing test, etc. I am slightly concerned about him. But I’m also so tired of needing to talk so loudly to him! Then I get confused about which kid I need to talk loudly to, and find myself feeling like I’m yelling half the time…

Then today I had a chiro appointment in Burleson and then back to the birth center for a prenatal! Baby is doing so well. Kicking up a storm. Growing. 31 weeks. That is getting close to 40! I still have a lot of nesting to do! :) I have never had a nursery. We were tucked in a little village for my first baby. Second and third, we were tucked into a tiny barn house. This time…I will have a nursery!!! I still have no baby furniture, except for a glider rocker that needs new hardware. :) So I better get busy… :)

This is a bit random too, but today on my way home from Burleson, I stopped at the Goodwill there. Just to look, you know… :) And I found twin coats, 4T, in lovely condition. Gettin’ ready for next winter! That is not the first time I found twin girl things there. I just know there is someone around here I need to meet. :) That Goodwill never ceases to bless me.

I wish I could take pics of all our lovely gifts from Christmas. But I can’t. So you’ll need to imagine them. I sneaked that pic of my dryer rack in just before the camera sighed and said, “no more”. My sister-in-law Gina made me a gorgeous diaper bag! My husband got me elegant, black, leather gloves. Our kids got awesome things like a fireman’s suit, a t-ball T, and a little kitchen with lots of dishes and things that used to be Anja’s. Seriously, those gifts are so fantastic. They have been having so much fun playing…

Our little Xb was so full on the way home that when we stopped for groceries before arriving, Craig piled them around and on top of my feet. :)

Speaking of Xb…yes. We will need to upgrade. Only to us, it feels like a downgrade. We have loved that car! It has been perfectly dependable. No big problems. Rides so well. Compact, yet so roomy inside. We have loved it. But there is just no legal way to stick another car seat in there…

And so we are going to buy a mini van. Unless a large ship comes in and we can get a Ford Flex. Or better yet, one of those new VW mini vans…

Craig says we are getting so…”un-unique”. Or something like that. We used to live in a strange, tiny barn/house with a cool, strange car. Now we are living in a normal, brick house and about to settle into a mini van. :) I reminded him that we have a masonry heater…

I am going to stop rambling and sit down by the masonry warmth and drink a fat mug of creamy pumpkin pie tea.

Love to all!

Blessed 2015 to you!