Passion Project

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The awesome school that two of our nieces attend has the students in our elder niece’s grade create and implement a “Passion Project.” Our niece is an animal-adorer, and she’s done many fantastic things to support and learn about animal adoption and welfare of the years, so it was understandable that her Passion Project would center on animal welfare.

The local animal adoption agency that we’ve worked with: Proverbs 12:10, has been the grateful recipient of her work. Once a week for the last several months she’s been fostering a puppy. This gives foster families a break, or if they need a puppy sitter while they go on vacation, or if there’s a week before the new furever family can take the puppy, the puppy still has a loving, warm place to learn how to live with a family.

We’ve been thrilled to have her bring over the various puppies so we can meet them too, and this week we got to puppy sit all morning.

Brawley has the paws of a St. Bernard, and the funny puppy run to go with it. It was such a treat to have a dog in the house. And a puppy, much like a baby, needs lots of play, then sleeps for hours.

Not all of us were thrilled with our visitor.


It was a gorgeous, sunny day; perfect for a walk and bounce.

So exhausted.

Noses taste delicious!

With these silky soft ears to stroke, and some hearty laughter at those paws, our need to adopt a dog of our own was assuaged for a few more months.

Dreaming of squirrels…

Nine Hundred Ten Posts

It’s a little lame to post my 910th post as a post about posting my 910th post.

I’m doing it anyway.

I love this family journal of a blog. I’m grateful for the memories stored here and the joy it brings us when we read back over these memories.

Thanks to those of you who read it and write to me to tell me when something has surprised, inspired, or given you a surge of love. I’m grateful for that.

As your bonus for reading this non-post of a post, I asked google to search my photos to find photos that showed “love,” and here’s a partial display of the fascinating assortment it selected.

An art project Buds and Monkey made for me over a decade ago.

Thanks for reading.

What A Saturday.

Before our Saturday workout, Buds and I headed to the library to see what was planned for our local favorite playground. Red Caboose Park has hosted many hours of fun for us over the years, and there are plans shaping up to completely renovate the park.

After that, the weekend really began with a workout, as it generally does.

Uncle Z and I get a great deal of juvenile enjoyment in teasing “Coach Buds” as he lays out the workouts for us.

It was cold in the garage as Coach wrote the WOD on the board.

Coach lifting big.

After the workout we always have coffee and conversation with Uncle Z and any cousins that have come with him. It’s such a delightful way to begin the weekend.

On this rainy Saturday our afternoon included a reception and play from Room In The Inn to thank the folks who have volunteered over the year.

Waiting for the play to begin.

Notice the two male trolls in the pictures above.

“I just want to get one quick family picture,” I said.

“Okay,” they said.

Interestingly the play and reception were also held at a United Methodist Church, as was the shelter on Friday night. This was a huge church downtown with a theater on the 4th floor of one of the buildings on their campus.

Stand was a moving, sometimes difficult play to watch. I’m very glad we went for a variety of reasons.

The car ride home lead to interesting discussion about what sacrifices individuals need to make, and if, as in the play, you agree to support someone emotionally, financially, in whatever way, recognizing the gravity in that commitment.

The play also led to Buds, Monkey, and me having an emotional, heartfelt conversation about how we are making the world a better place and the deeply private fears and anxieties or guilt each person carries within themselves. Tears and love can heal so many aches.

Though, as the play showed us, not nearly all the pain for some people.

We wrapped up the evening with reading together and kitty snuggles:

Waffles gets wiggles.

That MoonStar face.

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow

We cobbled together a couple weeks of ice and snow down here in the south. Buds worked from home for many of the days, cousins got to spend a snow day with us, and sledding, snow angels, and snowy bounces on the trampoline all happened.

It’s so rare to get snow down here, we’re always delighted when it happens. And we’re grateful that our schedules generally allow us the option of staying hunkered in at home, warm, dry, safe, and fed. I don’t take this privilege lightly.

Cousin angels.

Fleecey face masks made by Grandma Vermont many years ago still getting grateful usage.

The trampoline created an ice heart.

Tastes delicious.

Big, puffy flakes.

Four-legged family members impressed too.

Looking out in awe.

He had to wander around to find a quiet place to work sometimes.

What a lovely white skirt.

Of course, Buds did have to bond with Waffles to pass the time after many, many days at home.

We’re back up to 50-60 degree days now, but we loved the snowy winter while it lasted.

Warming By The Fire

We’ve been enjoying sitting by a cozy fire.

Nothing beats a crackling fire.

As you can probably tell, that’s a computer monitor, not an actual roaring fire. But it has been interesting to have the crackling fire playing.

The children laughed with me when I told them I was laying a rug out in front of the fire since it hadn’t gotten fully dry in the dryer. When MoonStar laid down in front of the fire, it also made us laugh.

But the power of your brain to create feelings has also amazed us. Several of us, including cousins, have commented on the feeling of warmth when you walk by the monitor. It’s a little unnerving.

You too may enjoy a warm crackling fire. In fact, you may enjoy the exact same fire as us:

Merry Christmas 2017

Editor’s note: This post was published, but then disappeared, so I’m reposting it. Nothing new here.

What a delightfully relaxing end of the year.

Christmas Eve brought the annual concert at our church with candlelight and Bell Choir. Buds and I were ringers for another year, and for the second year in a row we had at least one song that went splendidly and one song that made us grateful that bells sound pretty, even when rung haphazardly at random.

Practice before the concert began.

In a very unusual move for me, I purchased a new dress for the occasion. It was a huge hit and brought back many vintage memories for my fellow female congregants. (Ahhh, crinoline.)

Ding, dong, ding dong.

Unusual shot of Buds wearing a shirt. That’s how cold it was.

After church we went to Buddie’s brother’s house for a delicious fish feast.

Then home via the back route to enjoy the beautiful holiday lights in the cold darkness.

A favorite tradition is one begun by my dad when I was a child; we open one present on Christmas Eve.

He got a shirt.

Christmas morning was such a delight. I baked to my heart’s content; we opened presents; played games; watched a movie. It was the perfect mix of together and alone for us.

The children had worked together to get each other presents. The kids and I gave Buds a “you can boss us through a family workout” gift certificate. Our white envelope for the children this year was that we had given a substantial amount of money to a beloved friend who was financially strapped. Best gift of all was that Buds was home with us the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Happiness all around.

Snuggles for Christmas.

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Someday we’ll get a happy Family Photo.

Streak Breaker

Note: Post contains video. Read at for best results.

I broke a long streak of many months with at least one post when I didn’t post anything in April. Living life and not writing about it.

Buds and Monkey are still working on moving the blog over to a private server. I’m a little mentally stalled by that since I know it will mean changes to how things work and look.

Many things going on with the our crew. We’ve had trips to Vermont, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, and soon to Ohio. We’ve had birthdays and Girl Scouts, and love, laughter, and tears.

And I was the target for musket shots at a Civil War Homeschool event because I teased the Lieutenant.

Please note that Yessa shoots at me with much less alacrity than many of the other children.

A few random photos with explanatory posts to follow eventually.

A few long drives.

Beautiful day for being out and about.

All getting so big.

So tall.

Saturday workouts.

Beloved nieces come in all heights.

The new game store space.

Monkey’s smile/look intrigues me in the above picture. She’s an enigma.

These “smiles.”

That’s better.

Saying Good-bye to Massadoah

In an unusual twist for the last few new family selections, the partnership found a partner family to replace us quite quickly. Despite the rational knowledge that this was the best decision for the partnership and our family, it was still with an underlying feeling of sadness that we realized our time as Massadoahans had come to an end.

So many fantastic memories with so many dear ones.



















Thanks for the memories, Massadoah.

Yessa’s double digits!

The youngest is now 10!

With the fierceness and drive that is part of her personality, Yessa let us know early on that she was okay with having her actual birthday at Grandma’s house to help with the move, but she wanted to have a celebration at home, AND she wanted a celebration on her birthday.

Since her parents still feel the guilt of celebrating her birthday with an eleven-hour train ride last year, her requests seemed fair.

Happy Birthday to me...grimace.

Happy Birthday to me…grimace.

For her pre-birthday at home, Yessa wanted Cousin M to stay overnight, and to go to the pottery place to paint up some pottery together.





Buds got a coffee while they were there.

Buds got a coffee while they were there.

Grandma and Grandpa Vermont were in town to help celebrate birthdays, so Yessa got lots of help putting together her birthday cake. And since we always also make a cake for her Birthday Twin, Cousin O, the extra help was hugely appreciated.

Nonni reading up on the recipes.

Nonni reading up on the recipes.





We had a delicious party celebrating both of them.



At Grandma Iowa’s house, we got so much of the packing and sorting complete that we were able to take off the day before the movers arrived to head to the indoor waterpark about an hour away. It was just Yessa, The Buster, and me, and we had the whole place to ourselves!




A few presents to open, sushi for dinner, and a “cake” made out of her favorite cheese. It turned out to be a delightful day, despite missing Dad.






Happy Birthday, Dearest Youngest. You make our life magically vibrant.

Halloween 2016

The children are growing and changing and aging, so I’m never sure what each new holiday will bring. I love our time at Halloween carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating, and I love that they are at an age where they know what they want and can do pretty much anything on their own.

I wasn’t sure what they’d want to do this year, but it was one of my favorite Halloweens ever!

As always, it began with the slaughtering of innocent gourds.

We love this part.


Having children of an age where we all get our own knives…priceless!

















Then on Halloween we all headed out together, stopping at every house in our neighborhood with a light on. It was a beautiful night, warm and bright. We talked and laughed and sang. And met even more neighbors.

I loved, loved, loved it.


I guess walking all over Venice for hours was worth it!


The costumes were a little varied this year. And the children got warm, so as the night wore on, they peeled off layers and masks the longer we walked. I looked like a walking coat rack by the end of the night.

Then back home for the great candy sorting extravaganza.

Jeremy and Teresa had put in their candy preferences when they visited earlier in the week, so the children carefully set aside the candy for them, then began their trading.

Jeremy's favorite.

Jeremy’s favorite.

Teresa's preference.

Teresa’s preference.





Ms. Glenda, my walking buddie, gave out slinkies, silly putty, glow sticks and colored pencils, all of which were thrilling for all of us.


After treat bargaining, the night was still young’ish so we watched a Halloween classic you might recognize.



A great time had by all despite no sightings of The Great Pumpkin.

Happy Halloween.