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Category — Fun Life

A Half-Dozen. . .

. . .fun facts about Kellen:

1. His first name is Irish and means “mighty warrior.” His middle name, Joseph, is after his great-grandfather and means “God will increase.”

2. He loves pirate stories and pirate movies, and he collects Playmobil and LEGO pirates.

3. Despite having multiple food allergies, he loves to eat! Favorite foods include banana-chocolate-chip muffins, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, turkey sandwiches, strawberries, and coconut-milk ice cream.

4. This year, he earned the highest Cub Scout/Webelos honor, the Arrow of Light, before crossing over into Boy Scouts.

5. Kellen has played the piano for two years. To hear his performances at one recital, click on the audio players under his photo at right under “Songs of the Day.”

6. He turns 11 today! Happy birthday, not-s0-little Little!

July 9, 2011   No Comments

Easter Dress-up

Last year, Kennah and I made super fancy matching Easter dresses for her and her baby doll, Mary (click here to take a look back). We wanted to continue the tradition this year, but we didn’t have time to make anything elaborate. So we were amazed and grateful when a neat opportunity came along for us to not only carry on our tradition, but also to participate in an upcoming project at our place of worship, Grace Community Church in Tempe, Arizona. Two weeks from now, Grace will host an event called Dress a Girl Around the World. Kennah and I will gather with a whole bunch of other girls both big and small to sew dresses for an organization called Hope 4 Women International, which delivers handmade dresses to impoverished girls in almost 40 countries worldwide. Our goal is to make 200 “pillowcase dresses” (so called because they can be made with a pillowcase and just a few other supplies) in just two hours! After exploring the organization’s website (click here to view it), Kennah and I were inspired to make some of these simple dresses for her and Mary to wear on Easter (we didn’t use actual pillowcases, but selected our own fabric and sewed it into pillowcase shapes before making the dresses), as well as a matching one for an unknown girl whom we’ve been calling “our friend around the world.” Maybe someday we’ll find out the name of the girl who receives the twin to Kennah’s dress, but even if we don’t, we’ll know that another little girl somewhere, as Kennah puts it, “has at least one dress, and we match.” 🙂

April 24, 2011   2 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2011   4 Comments

Canine Playtime

Our dog, Sweetie, is enjoying her first playdate ever, as we are hosting Daisy, our friends’ Portuguese Water Dog for a two-night sleepover. This high-energy pair has played hard all day, and we’re pretty sure they’ll sleep just as hard tonight. 🙂 Though they look nothing alike, their personalities seem as well matched as their identical collars and pink heart-shaped tags.

December 27, 2010   No Comments

The Season’s Greetings

Merry Christmas! For many, many reasons, we did not send cards out to friends and family this year. But we absolutely LOVED all of the cards we received anyway—so much that we covered the inside of our front door with them! (Look closely, and you might see yours somewhere in our collection!) Well, almost covered anyway. (See the space at the bottom? There’s a little room left if yours didn’t make it into the mail yet.) 🙂

I didn’t have a lot of time for blogging this holiday season, but as a throwback to my Christmas carol countdown of last year, I thought I’d share one of my new favorites this year—God Bless Us Everyone, sung by Andrea Bocelli from his My Christmas CD:

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I hope you find it meaningful, too!

December 24, 2010   No Comments

A Half-Dozen …

… fun facts about Kennah:

1. Her first name is the Irish feminine form of “Kenneth,” which means “handsome.” Her middle name is Maire—a playful spelling variation (also Irish) on the name Mary, which features prominently in her ancestry.

2. She loves Cinderella (the movie—and the many books we’ve found based on the traditional tale).

3. The above image—which I call “Sleeping Beauty” (I know, wrong princess)—is one of my favorite photos I have ever taken of her. Here, she is 3 1/2 years old and totally sacked out (in all of her finery, mind you) just before her cousin’s San Diego wedding.

4. Her personality can best be summed up by the slogan on a Tinkerbell T-shirt given to her by another cousin: “Sassy but Sweet.” (Which, by the way, is essential to her survival in a house full of brothers.)

5. Her favorite color is pink—or, more precisely, Pinkalicious, as in the book by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. To hear her “read” (a k a “recite from memory”) the book, click the audio button below:

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6. She is 5 years old today! Happy birthday, Pretty Princess!

November 12, 2010   4 Comments

A Half-Dozen …

… fun facts about Keillor:

1. His first name was borrowed from the last name of author and radio host Garrison Keillor, of Lake Wobegon Days and A Prairie Home Companion fame. (It’s pronounced KEE-ler.) His middle name, Steven, is of Greek origin and means “crown.”

2. He loves Cars (the movie) and cars (toys with wheels).

3. In the above image (taken earlier this year), he’s wearing a much-loved and much photographed outfit first captured on film when his dad wore it in 1969, and then worn for special photos by his brothers Kellen (in 2001) and Kerrick (in 2004). This photo is also a reminiscence about something more than the outfit: his hair. Today, Keillor is bald, thanks to a head-lice scare at our house last week that made Shawn panic, whip out the clippers and shave all the boys’ heads—including his own. (Kennah and I escaped the same fate by opting to endure vinegar and tea-tree oil treatments.) In addition to being bald, Keillor is a little banged up, having fallen in the backyard and bumped his head right after his haircut. He acquired a sizable goose egg, which, combined with his lack of hair, has rendered him cute in a way that only a mother could love.

4. He memorized his first poem this year (“Love That Dog,” by Walter Dean Myers—click the first audio button below to hear him recite it) and can belt out the ABCs with the best of the preschool set (click the second audio button below to hear his latest rendition):

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5. His favorite color is yellow, which matches his sunny disposition. Oh, he can frown, but it’s easily turned upside down. 🙂

6. He’s 3 years old today! Happy birthday, littlest Little!

November 9, 2010   4 Comments

Costumed Cuties—Halloween 2010

Kellen as a Union soldier—complete with a Dad-made musket.

Kerrick (a k a Mysterioso the magician).

Kennah (the cutest Raggedy Ann ever in a costume I made 12 years ago for her cousin).

Keillor as a super-cute superhero.

November 1, 2010   3 Comments


In celebration of my second son’s eighth birthday today, I’m posting an acrostic that reveals a bit of his personality and what I love most about him. 🙂

Kidder (loves jokes)
Ebullient (overflowing with enthusiasm)
Rascal (mischievous)
Reveler (life of the party)
Ingenious (see the 3D stars he made from magnets—without instructions!)
Comrade (friendly and loyal)
Keeper (I can’t imagine life without him!)

August 27, 2010   2 Comments

Bye-Bye, Babyhood

Sometime during the past month and a half—don’t ask me exactly when—we reached a milestone around our house: Our diapering days  officially ended. Now you might think that when Keillor—age 2 1/2 and the youngest of our four children—made the transition to wearing “undies” (his word) around the clock,  it would be a big deal. Such a momentous occasion, you might say, is certainly worthy of a paragraph or two in the journal I started for him before he was born—or at least a one-liner in his baby book. And you’d be right. (Note to self: FIND Keillor’s journal and baby book and write something—anything—in them.) Did I mention he’s our fourth child? Best intentions aside, I definitely suffer from that syndrome you hear about—you know, the one in which the mom painstakingly documents every detail of her first-born baby’s life and then slacks off just a little more with each subsequent child until the last one is lucky if his birthday makes it onto the calendar each year. (Another note to self: HIDE all other siblings’ journals and baby books.) 🙂

The thing is, life’s been a little busy lately, and it really does seem like the whole thing happened rather suddenly—literally overnight, in fact. The truth is that we probably kept Keillor swaddled and Velcroed in his little bumGenius-brand cloth diapers a bit longer than we  needed to. So when he fell asleep late one night recently with nothing but his favorite Lightning McQueen briefs on under his jammies and woke up completely dry the next morning, I had one of those forehead-slapping, “duh” moment as I realized he’d actually been waking up with a dry diaper every morning for a few weeks. And that’s when I surprised myself by getting a little sentimental about—of all things—the diapers.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been looking forward to this time for about five years. That’s how long I’ve been laundering a load of cloth diapers every two to three days. With both our pocketbook and the planet in mind, I made the decision to use cloth diapers when our third child—Kennah, now 4 1/2—was born. And after using the same set of diapers on both Kennah and Keillor, I like to think that all of my effort did save a couple thousand dollars (for us) and a little landfill space (for the Earth). At the very least, I’m crossing my fingers that we’re kind of close to even-steven in both regards after using disposable diapers on our first two babies. 🙂

So why the wistfulness? I’m sure it has something to do with what the diapers symbolize: babyhood. Or, more precisely, that that fleeting period of time is, in fact, over for our family. (Don’t tell Kennah. As our only girl, she hasn’t completely given up on the idea of getting a sister someday.) Sure, it took some work to wash the diapers and hang them up to dry on our backyard clothesline every other day. But after I had a system down, it was actually kind of satisfying to look out the kitchen window and watch those pretty pastel colors pinned up and swaying in the breeze. Or to see them—on the rare occasions when I managed to fold them and put them away—stacked neatly in their cubby beneath the changing table.

In addition to the nostalgia for what is no longer, my misgivings might also be a little bit about the uncharted territory that lies ahead. As I let go of the diapers, what other—maybe more demanding—parenting challenge will take their place? (We are, after all, entering the tween years on the other end of the childhood spectrum.) If you already know, don’t tell me. I’m sure I’ll discover it sooner or later. And chances are, whenever I happen to realize that the next milestone has passed, I’ll want to write about it in someone’s journal or baby book—if I can find them. 🙂

I’m sharing this post in the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop, hosted by four bloggers, including my friend Wardeh Harmon at www.gnowfglins.com. Click here to see what everyone’s sharing today.

August 18, 2010   1 Comment