Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas moments (photo overload)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Expressions of a reader...

so absorbed in his book he doesn't even notice mom taking pictures....

until he does :)

Just a glimpse of Life on the Gravelly Road.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 memories

We've returned from an enjoyable few days celebrating Thanksgiving with family. 

There was a number of family members there to celebrate with yummy food, desserts (with kids taking orders), catching up, silly games and many memories.  We even spent a morning getting a head start on Christmas baking.

And then we had a festive meal of bbq pork, pumpkin pie and lefse at home just the five us.  Back home on the gravelly road.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Thankful November

We've had a busy November it seems and I have barely had a chance to blog.  And while I didn't post "Thankful Thursdays" this year, we still counted our thanks as a family.

As is our family tradition, all month we created a paper chain of what we were thankful for, watching it grow longer each day as we counted our blessings. 

This year the process reminded me of something I often overlook.  Well really my precious kiddos taught me something.  Previous years, I would set out the jar of paper slips at the supper table, encouraging us to linger at the table and record our thanks to be added to the chain. 

This year the jar didn't get put away when we cleared the table.  It lived on the table all month.  Doesn't sound like a big deal but this is what happened. 

I watched my kids pause, stop, and write out a thankful item all through out the day.  At breakfast, after school, during play time, before supper, during homework, etc.  One afternoon when a friend came over to play after school, I heard them explain what the jar of slips were for and the friend wrote a thankful slip too.  Their child-hearts lived out giving thanks continually, not out of obligation or tradition but out of a thankful heart.  And I followed their lead.

Giving thanks all throughout the day as we live life on the gravelly road.

Monday, November 6, 2017

First Snowfall memories

We were surprised by a bit of snow Friday afternoon that lasted into Saturday.  A few inches and warmer temps led to great snow for playing in.  Snowmen, snowball fights, attempts at sledding, and lots of giggles filled the backyard.

And while I was glad it melted quickly, as many first snowfalls do, the snow filled our day with fun memories here on the Gravelly Road.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017

Happy Halloween from a Lego Ninjago Ninja, a snow-girl, and Chewbacca.  We went to a local Halloween party the weekend before with pumpkin carving and cookie decorating.  Then the kids enjoyed trick-or-treating at the downtown businesses on Halloween.

Just a little Halloween fun from Life on the Gravelly Road.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall Camping 2017 (photo overload)

We spent the kids' long fall break camping, one last time.  It was our only fall camping trip this year and reminded us of all the things we love about fall camping: cooler temps, beautiful fall colors, and earlier sunsets that mean campfire fun can start earlier (with more reasonable bedtimes).

Because the campground was near where hubby and I grew up, it also meant the kids got to see both sets of grandparents and 2 sets of great grandparents.  We even got to visit with my in-laws at a local apple orchard which was a lot of fall fun as well (apples, bouncy houses, and hay bales).

Plus lots of hiking, games, yummy campfire food, and fall memories.  And now we are back home on the gravelly road, back into the school routine.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Zoo in the Fall

We enjoyed another day at the zoo, this time with my sister coming as well.  A beautiful fall day spent outside exploring and playing.  The kids really enjoyed the new kangaroo exhibit, plus all the play areas that are always a favorite.  We even made it to the bird show this time and ended our day going out to eat on our way home.

Loving our family fun and memories near our gravelly road.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Morning Jam and Favorite Songs

We are immersed into our fall school schedule and so many routines have fallen back into place from last spring.  One of my favs is that the kiddos "DJ" our ride to school each morning.  We have just about the right amount of time for them each to pick a song off my ipad for us to listen to during our drive.  Singing loudly or silly or thinking about some favorite lyrics are a great way to start our day.

These three songs have been common picks lately.  I'm always amazed how many of the lyrics they know even though one of them has been in rotation only for a few weeks.  What great words to hide in their hearts.  (And before you think its all serious heartfelt family worship time, many mornings the boys try to sing all the lyrics with the same beginning letter, making the first song something like "Wullet Wroof").

So here's sneak peek into our morning drive from our gravelly road to school.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

First Day of School 2017

Today is the first day of another school year for our three kiddos -- 3rd grade, 1st grade and kindergarten.  All three in elementary school this year!

Breakfast of oatmeal was requested by all three (it was a chilly morning).  And of course first day pics were taken.  Magically even though there was a bit more on our list this morning for a first day, we were all in the car earlier than I expected.  No "hurry up" calls up the stairs necessary for today -- likely the only time all year I suspect. 

Ike starts third grade today. While he wished summer break was longer (more time for minecraft and legos), he was full of smiles today and looks forward to seeing his friends- especially since his best friend is in his class.  I'm excited to see how God uses this year and third grade comes with more responsibility and big challenges.

Zman is starting first grade today.  He was so excited - especially since his teacher gave him "get ready confetti" to put under his pillow last night.  He has a number of friends in his class and is really excited about his teacher this year.  He was so sweet to offer to walk his sister into school and to her hallway.  What a great brother!

Peaches in kindergarten this year!  She was excited and a little nervous about her first day today.  She is looking forward to seeing her friends in her class and having more special things happen during the day -- music, spanish, art, gym and lunch.  She even gets to ride the bus home on her first day.  She is so ready for kindergarten and I'm excited to see how God uses this big year for her.

I can't wait to hear all about their first days when they return home to the gravelly road.

Dear Lord -

I ask for an extra special blessing on the school year adventure ahead of each of our three children.  Each adventure is unique and will be used for your purposes in their life, though all three start a new phase today.

Guide their teachers as they give instruction, encouragement, and build the tone of their classrooms. Grant them your wisdom for those moments when a child's tears or frustrated words are coming from a deeper hard place than just a tough morning.  May their classrooms be places of learning and inclusion, a safe place to try, fail and try again.

Watch over our three as they start and strengthen friendships, face challenges, try new things, handle squabbles with classmates, and discover more about the world and this thing we call education.  Guide their words and actions so that they are kind and compassionate to those around them.  Surround them with friends that bring out their best so that they can build each other up.  Help them to be part of the good and amazing things you are doing in their school.  

Thank you again and again for allowing me to be the mom of these precious kiddos.  I am so honored and challenged daily.  They each are growing and changing so fast it often takes my breath away.  Continue to grow them into the people you called them to be and help me to help them see how you are working in their lives.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

And then there were ducks...

Currently their names are Quackers, Betsy, Beaker, Tina and Tiny.  They are shy (scared of our chickens even though they are much bigger).  The ducks travel together all over the yard, almost wing to wing, unless they are splashing in the kiddie pool we got for them.  Hilarious to watch.

Just our newest residents of our gravelly road...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Five Minute Friday: PLACE

I'm late to write again but I'm getting two prompts in a row done so that is something. So here's another Five Minute Fridays (after another long hiatus) encouraging bloggers to write on a prompt unedited for five minutes.

This week's prompt: PLACE


We returned from a weekend away at a place that is quickly becoming a family favorite.

Camp House.

A family camp up north.  One of the first responses the kids came up with when we made our summer bucket list.

A place where we disconnect from life's distractions and instead focus on family, faith and the beauty of God's Creation.

A place of sung meal time prayers (with actions), a few days of family adventures, and visiting beautiful state parks.

A place of agate and blueberry hunts, relaxing and exploring the lake, and evenings of campfire worship.

A place full of memories and slowing down and experiencing the largeness and closeness of God's family with existing friends and new friends.

A place that we have come to treasure.

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