Of August

August, the month when we imagine everything will be hot and sticky.
Not so this year, the windows have been open most of the month.

August, the month when moms of all shapes and sizes flip flop back and forth in their brains on any given day, at any given moment.
They go from, “I can.not believe school is starting soon. I don’t want the schedule. I will miss my children!” All the while secretly thinking, “And who will help me work?”
Or at any other given moment, you might find them scrawling notes to the teacher saying, “Thank you thank you thank you for rescuing this child from my hands!!”

August is when you squeeze in one last day of swimming, one last trip to the park and think of all the things you were going to do but didn’t get done.

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August is when all the moms of toddlers think,
“It will be years before my kids are old enough for school.”
(insert loud buzzing noise here)Β 
Wrong. It will be tomorrow.

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In the photo above, Bryce is holding his ears because I believe in reading a book the way a book should be read. With all the noise and enthusiasm that is portrayed in a book.Β  He did not care for Bear’s loudness in the library!

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August is when you chop and dice everything in your garden, throw it in the pot and call it good. Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, plus a whole lot more from the store!
It’s so pretty I actually wish I liked it.

August is for so many cherry tomatoes that in a fit of rage, you actually rip the plant out and toss it, much to your children’s horror. Hey, there are three more plants too many!

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August is for peaches. Combine angel food cake, a pudding mixture, a peach mixture and you have an amazing combo. Much better than the previous photo.

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August is for squeezing one last vacation in before school starts.

In the name of keeping all things honest and upright here,
no my children do not always appreciate having their photo taken.
Especially the little one.

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When August is as cool and cool can be, you sit by the fire and catch up.

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And when August pulls off a stunning solar eclipse, you tell the kids they will not miss this, they will go outside and take turns watching. And lo and behold, it turns out to be a whole lot more interesting than they thought it might be.
Or maybe it was just cool to use the welding helmet.

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And of course, the number one thing August is known for, school!
All three were ready to go back whether they admit it or not. One may have been slightly more excited than the others and one was very sad to be left behind.
But she and I, we are really doing great.
That thing called silence is just ringing in my ears!

Miss You Tris

August brings back memories,
the last time I saw Tris,
the last time I waved goodbye
and watched him walk away.
If only I had known…

Quote of the day:
“Did you know my Bible said Jesus undied himself?”

And for that, I am very grateful.

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My Ohio Family

Growing up in southern Indiana meant traveling to Amish Country Ohio to see my mom’s family. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and of course Grandma and Grandpa Yoder. Growing up in Indiana also meant weekend visitors in the form of all those mentioned. Whether we were in Indiana or Ohio, when we were together we had a fine time that was not soon forgotten.

I have good memories of going to Ohio for weekends. There were always get-togethers in someone’s backyard, a cabin or a park. After much good food, the old(er) ones would sit and talk while the young ones played old gray wolf or kick the can. Cousins were the best playmates and after we had worn ourselves out we would lie in the grass and catch fireflies after dark.

As we got older, married, and moved around, our times together grew less. We got together on occasions, but it was never long enough. Talk kept circling about having an actual reunion, but it just never happened.

And then Tristan died.

Our cousins came through the line at his viewing and said, “We knew him, but we hadn’t seen him much the last few years, we feel like we really didn’t know him well anymore.” I hated that they missed that part of his life after spending so much time together growing up. They missed the years of him with his wife and kids and knowing his big heart and laughing conversations.

So, when I heard talk about getting together for a weekend, I was happy.
And a good weekend it was.

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There was a host of conversations, catching up on life, renewing friendships, amazement at children grown up and new babies to meet.
Lots of memories were discussed and laughed over. Early morning wake up calls with Aunt Irene, sleeping in Grandma’s basement, cookie baking days, visiting Grandpa in the nursing home and much more. We listened to the Aunts and Uncles recall memories from when they were young and all that happened back in their days. The conversations were rich and full of life.

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We have spread around from here to there across the globe so there were immediate families reuniting and much catching up to do. There were only a few missing and miss them we did.

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The children had a blast. Train rides, bounce houses and games galore, they were never lacking for something to do.

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Dave’s children went all out with the games. There was something for everyone and much, much laughter from everyone watching.

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There were two teams and one person from each team competed against each other to see who completed each task the fastest.

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The kids and big kids rolled and bounced around in these things for hours.
I heard tell that it made for some very sore muscles the next few days.

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In between all the activities, there was a constant display of food. If there is one thing I missed from the Yoder gene pool, it would be the love of all things chocolate. Madison made chocolate cupcakes filled with chocolate mousse and frosted with chocolate ganache. They were well received.

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Family, the ones you grow up with, share laughter and sorrow, heart and soul, and a bond of memories. No matter where you live or how long it’s been, when you gather again, the bond is still there.

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Version 3

On Saturday night we scrolled through a huge assortment of photos my cousin Melody put together. It spanned the time from Grandpa at CPS to the youngest of the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

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It was a great weekend, but we missed Tristan fiercely. He would have loved it, the conversations, the games, reuniting with family and just being a part of it all. He would have been the first one up in the morning and the last one to bed at night, I am sure. I missed him all weekend.

If you have family, gather them together and spend time with each other.
They are a blessings many do not have.

Summertime Goodness

It’s a cool summery morning. Plenty of birds chirping a song to go with my coffee back in these woods. I sat on the porch for awhile and then opened all the doors to the house. My children don’t appreciate that and crawl under blankets as if it were wintertime.

I love summertime. I like a cool morning but I also like a nice warm day. I know, if I worked outside for 8 hours I might change my mind, but being at home means the option of AC on those nice warm days so I still want them.
I’m also waiting for a summer that is not crazy busy. Maybe one that lasts for at least 6 months and has about 2 days a week with nothing to do but stick my feet in the pool. How long do you think I’ll need to keep waiting?

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This is some of the finest food ever.
Sweet and simple! Summertime at it’s best!

~~~
We went camping once. I’m good with that but my children think otherwise.
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It felt like a 10-day camping trip but actually only covered parts of 5 days. It was full of relaxing, good conversations, floating down the river, campfires at night, some rain, and of course cookies and hot chocolate early in the morning as you can see!

I was expecting to go home with Mt Rushmore of laundry but it wasn’t too bad. It probably helped that Dakota wore his swimming trunks all day long and then would carefully lay them out at night so he could put them on again the next morning.

The perfect s’more consists of a chocolate covered shortbread cookie, peanut butter, and a marshmallow. Try it if you haven’t ever.

~~~
No sooner than camping was over, my sister and her family came to visit and we had aΒ busy weekend with them. Cooking, eating, beaching, bubbles, taking care of kids, settling fightings, talking, cooking, eating and having a good time.

Let’s just say after this trip….
kids & the beach
Yes! Pretty much sums it up! πŸ™‚

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When I was a kid we spent hours riding around on something, bikes, dirt-bikes, 3-wheelers or whatever had wheels… our kids are starting out right.

~~~

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If you know of anyone who likes to play ball, my girls would probably even pay to have you drop them off to play with this kid!

~~~
We pretended to be a tourist the other day.

Now they want goats!

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And then on Sunday, we were at the neighbor’s for lunch and after a trip outside they decided they want goats AND sheep! Their Mother is not cooperating so very well! Running to the neighbor’s for a visit sounds like a good deal to her!

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After not getting her way in the game little one says,
“I wish we had never buyed this game!”

~~~

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So, tell me what else is on your to-do list for this summer?

~~~

This morning I read,
“So be careful how you live…
make the most of every opportunity.”
Make today count.

May Craziness

Things are a bit wild right now with too much happening, as my neighbor likes to say, it is unbelievable. I would like to think it will slow to the speed of Herbert the Snail once June hits, but alas, one look at the calendar tells me it is not so.

We started school two weeks late last fall so it pushed us to the end of May this Spring. Tomorrow. Tomorrow it ends. I am so ready for this but sometimes I fear for my sanity. I told my tribe they have a few days to relax and then their Taskmaster Mother is going to emerge and the work will begin. For some reason, they didn’t seem too worried. We’ll see.

~~~

I still find time to snap a few photos here and there, mainly with my phone these days, so, a picture post it is. It’s been a work in progress over the last few weeks.

May 2017 (1)

As in years past, the animal loving teacher of the 1st and 2nd grade helped her students hatch a batch of chicks. Of course, these babies were the talk of the town and they just loved to play with them. All too soon there was a note saying the chicks need homes.

Well, remembering previous experiences around this farm woods, this Mother was a mean one and did not allow her son to bring his precious little chick along home. The chick was sold to the highest bidder, or rather they drew lots for his feathers, and I think Matt was the lucky winner. Or maybe it was Heidi. I can’t remember.

If you are wondering about previous experiences, go here and here for the Duck stories.

May 2017 (2)

We had a fundraiser breakfast at school one Saturday.
The sheer amount of sweets could have put someone into a sugar coma.
But they were so gooooood.Β All you Trim Healthy Mamas just close your eyes.

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The same day was a beautiful wedding!
These old doors! love!

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Mother’s Day happened and we had visitors from the south so lunch together was in order. These little girls were fascinated with little Miss rolly-pollie because our baby selection is rather slim in the fam.

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~~~

May 2017 (5)

One day I got a text asking if I was home for the day… a few hours later lunch was dropped off for us.Β  A friend just wanted to let me know she had not forgotten my loss of Tris. It was a beautiful gesture and warmed my heart in ways she has no idea!
Thank you!

Do something for someone today to let them know you care.
Call. Text. Send a card.

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We stop right on the road for a good picture sometimes!

May 2017 (8)

This hair. every morning.
On Instagram I wrote:
When I hear ladies say they wish their hair had more volume, I’m assuming this is what they mean. 1980 called and wants its hair back.”

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We spent a day watching track and field at the school. I did none of the running/jumping activities but felt I could be sore just for watching them.

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Last night the kids performed a mid-century play and did a fabulous job!

The last time there was a school play a comment was overheard around here.
“I wonder if anyone has ever done a play about Adam and Eve?”
Minimal effort needed for the costumes with this idea.Β  πŸ˜€

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When you stand in front of the paint chips too long she says,
“Mom, just paint the whole house pink!”

Now I am going to get back to kicking rolling my paint can around the kitchen in an effort to mix the paint. At some point, I actually need to apply the paint but for now mixing it well sounds like a good idea.

Life ’round Here

Beautiful, bright and shiny,
that sunshine I see.
The warm air, or what we call warm,
feels marvelous.
Has Spring come to stay?
I sure hope this sunshine burns up some germs
we have floating around here.

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The other day Kennedy and Dakota were on the floor playing
and she started with a coughing spasm.
He backed up a bit and said,
“PLEASE! Get her out of my space!”

That’s how we all feel about these illnesses.

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D was to the Dr yesterday so I hope we’re all on the mend.

~~~

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When the Mother tries to do a bit of cleaning
they all swoop in and make a house out of everything.
Why yes, I flip my chairs over every week.
You mean you don’t? πŸ˜›
ha. please don’t stop in unannounced.

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When you leave for 20 minutes and come home
and find the need to google,
“How do you get dry erase marker off carpet”
Maybe this is why I needed to flip over furniture.

~~~

Madison is on a baking spree.
She comes home from school and says,
“I am going to bake and bake and bake today!”
I say “Fine!”

Most of the things have something to do with chocolate.
I think she’s getting her chocolate fix now
because her Mother rarely bakes anything chocolate.

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{Her Chocolate Crinkle cookies}

Last night she made a Texas Sheet cake.
All went well and after supper she made the frosting.
She called me over and said,
“This stuff is so runny it probably won’t even stay on the cake!”
Sure enough, it was fairly dripping off the spoon.
I asked a whole lot of questions,
yes, everything was in,
yes, she followed the recipe,
yes, she did everything right
(given that there were no directions beside the ingredients.)
Finally she started reading the recipe,
listing all the amounts she had put in.
Butter =Β  3 and 1/2 STICKS
Her Mother yelled, “WHAAAAAT?”
She shrugged, “But that’s what the recipe says!”

Now this Mother had made that recipe lots of times
and she knew good and well it had always turned out before
and she had NEVER used that much butter in the frosting.
She whipped that card out of the daughter’s hand
and prepared to read it correctly.
Lo and behold, sure enough it said,
1 and 3/4 c butter.

I groaned.
In all the times I made the recipe,
I never noticed that little c that I had mistakenly written down.
I always knew it meant 1 1/2 sticks.
Well, score 1 for her, she was obviously following directions.

On to the next problem.
We were almost out of powered sugar
and we had already borrowed all of the neighbor’s cocoa powder,
so we weren’t gonna go asking again.
I dumped half the soupy frosting in a bowl
and added the rest of the powered sugar to the other half
and all was well!
They ate up the cake with lots of frosting.

~~~~

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When you take them to Home Depot and you think
pushing one of those huge dumb carts will help entertain.
Wrong.

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He loves to play Memory and will play with anyone that is willing.
She is willing because she is always the winner,
showing no mercy at any point in the game!
I guess he is a glutton for punishment
because he’ll always play another game with her.

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Those lazy Sat mornings when they all watch You Tube videos
and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Those are good times to watch.

~~~

On my last post about comparing,
I was also thinking about the flip side.
Do I degrade people in comparison to myself?
Do I judge them?
Do I think less of them than myself?
Sadly, sometimes, yes.
Why?

This quote by C.S. Lewis says a lot:

β€œPride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”

This Week

My eyes are only half open as I prop my head on my hand.
The coffee steam curls up toward my nose,
but my hand is too tired to lift the cup.
One would be inclined to think I had worked an entire day
or milked a barn full of cows since 4am, by my appearance.
But no, such is not the case.
The case would be one unwise Mama and
one little girl whose sleep schedules do not mesh.
You see, the Mama likes to stay up late into the night
and the little girl loves to get up early in the morning.
No matter, absolutely no matter,
what time the Mama puts the little girl to bed,
she gets up before the sunshine every morning.
This Mama did not know that little girls
need less sleep than their Mothers.
One would think the Mama would have learned her lesson
in the short 2 years of this little girl’s life,
but nooo, it seems that has not happened.
{yawn}

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(Reagan’s creation)
((Madison corrected me and said it was her, not Reagan)) πŸ™‚

~~~

This week was hard, for various reasons.
One being, Eric was gone all week.
My heart goes out to young widows.
At least I knew Eric was coming home,
the week was manageable because of that.
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The kids and I ate foods that are not his favorite all week.


This may not fall into that category but we happily ate it anyway.
We needed something to do in the middle of the day. πŸ™‚

I pretty much stayed inside the entire week
except to get a few groceries on a sub zero day.
Becky was a dear and kept the 2 littles
so I didn’t have to drag them around.
That meant I was alone.
Alone.
That word deserves an entire line just for itself.
Alone.
The meaning of it is:
A very rare moment in the life a of Mom.
Emphasis on RARE.

When I did venture out one other day, it was for an aggravating reason.

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Thank you Mr Snow Plow for forcing me to inhale a bit
of freezing, cold, fresh air into my lungs.
Please, don’t feel obligated next time,
I’m doing fine inside.

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This white fluff that insists on being part of our lives…
I’ll refrain from putting my thoughts into words,
but I was nigh near frozen in just a few minutes.

~~~

One day I went to bat with the creators of webs.
They were completely taking over corners I keep skipping
when I clean around here.
How is it that these little guys are so much faster at putting
webs up than I am at taking them down?
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Anyone with the urge to paint, come right over.
This entire place needs a coat and I lack the desire.

~~~
Madison is baking, as we speak.
I will not disturb her.
She has 3 others nipping at her heals,
wanting to lick.

10 min after she put her cookies out,
we found the little one happily eating them.
At least 3 gone.

Just bit ago I heard Madison say to herself,
“Resist it Madison, just resist and don’t lick the spoon!”
Such is the life of the cook.

~~~

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This was my motto for the week.
And that is why I stay up late.

Christmas Vacation

Defined as:
Not long enough.
Well spent.
Busy. Fun
Memories.
Family.
Lots of good times.
Coffee. Good food.

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We spent a few days at Grandma’s house.
There is just nothing like being there!
Food all the time. Relaxing. Drinking coffee.
Someone is always stopping in.
The cousins come to play every day.
And we are just all royally spoiled.

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Mr Nick and his Mama.
You could say he is giving her a run for her Mama money right now.
Hopefully there are better days to come for both of them.

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Grandma loves to buy and give gifts, so these kiddos were quite blessed this year. We decided they have to take turns opening gifts and make this last longer than 2.5 seconds it did last year. We started with the youngest and worked our way up. It was quite a long wait till we got through 12 of them.

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Sometimes there were so many kids around you couldn’t even see the little person opening the gift. πŸ™‚

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Kennedy just stopped as soon as the first one was opened and started enjoying it. The guys next in line let her know she has to keep moving.

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It was general chaos all around for awhile but we enjoyed every minute of it.

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The girls had these dolls so Grandma spent lots and lots of time sewing some clothes for them. They were quite happy!

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If someone gets a basketball hoop for Christmas,
we use it right in the middle of the living room!
The love only goes one way with the 2 in the bottom picture.

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The overall boys, Max, Nick and Tys.
When the Dad has something, the boys want to be just like him.

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Max had been longing for a pair of overalls, just like his Dad’s, for a long time.
I had Nick’s name for Christmas and got him this little pair.
Max looked at them for awhile and says, “How big are they?” πŸ™‚
Unknown to him, his mom had some wrapped up for him to open on Christmas morning and he was a happy little guy when he came to show us!

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Little boys love Grandma’s house. There is a never ending supply of hot chocolate, although you could call his chocolate milk it’s so cold. There are cookies of all kinds, candy and all kinds of good things to eat.

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There was also lots of this happening.
Guess we’ll just chalk it up to vacation mode
(although it happens a lot at Grandma’s)

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On Saturday morning Grandma made sugar donuts.
I think my kids will switch to calling them “Grandma donuts.”
Take canned biscuits, cut a hole, deep fry, and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Grandma makes them for her grandkids all the time.
My guys say, “Mom, this wouldn’t be too hard to make at home would it?”
I just smile and shrug and think
it’s a good thing to be left for Grandma’s house.

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There was lots of sweet baby squeezing.

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Mr Grant loveloveloves little Libby!

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These 2 are so funny.
She says, “Byyyyyce! No!” Byyyyyce, come!”
Since we’re home she picks up her toy phone and talks to “Byce!”

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Lots of quality time spent with each other
and sipping some bubbly too.

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Kennedy thought this was the grandest thing but as you can see,
Libby was less then thrilled with her ride.
And the toy corner, I wonder how many times it was cleaned up!

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Sunday evening the kids acted out the Christmas story for us.
An angel appears to Mary to tell her she is going to have a baby!

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Mary goes to see Joseph.
She said, “Joseph, I am going to have a baby!”
He said, “Yeah, right!”
Mary wheeled around and replied,
“Well, you just wait and see!”

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Joseph leads his donkey into Bethlehem with Mary on board.

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Joseph inquires with the Inn Keepers, searching for a room.
He finally found a stable, parks his donkey and settles Mary in.

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Angels sing of this baby’s birth and shepherds come to visit and hold the Him!

blog 1-3-14 (35)The little cast of our sweet play!
We are privileged to be able to teach our children this story
and in return have them teach us.

The next morning we headed home to have Christmas
with the other side of the family… now sadly that is almost over too
and we’ll be back to school before we know it.

~~~

There was one activity on Saturday afternoon that didn’t make this post but that’s because it deserves a post of it own. Look for it next week.