Thursday, November 16, 2017


Before we leave November I need to post this collection of photos of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, also known as Alec and Logan, ages 2.  My friend Martha (Mr. Beaver's mom) made these beaver costumes out of thrifted sweaters and attached those leather tails for the most perfect costumes I've ever seen. I made them little ears, and with a little black paint on their nose, they were transformed. 

The cutest part about this was that both Logan and Alec were very excited about being Mr. and Mrs. Beaver together, and anytime I asked Logan what she was going to be for Narnia in the weeks leading up to the event, she would say, "Mrs. Beaver! And Alec is Mr. Beaver" And then she would also say that her stuffed cheetah, which she carries around everywhere, was also going to be a beaver (...which he was... I ended up making cheetah a tiny little beaver costume). 

These two were so adorable and it filled my heart with joy watching them plod around - I had to share! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


....Finally! I've been meaning to do this one for a while...

Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman

I’m reading this one because of work...and I have to say, I like that this new job has its employees go through books together. This is apparently one they read last year that influenced a lot of strategies they have implemented for assessing the health and growth of the company. It’s actually really helpful and I’m learning a lot about what it takes to make a good company, i.e. vision, core values, right people, scorecard and measurables, issues list, documenting core processes, meeting pulse, "rocks", etc. 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This is the first book in yet another dystopian three-part series about a time in the future where humans have moved to live on the planet Mars and live in a hierarchy, each level with different characteristics and a designation of a colors. This reminded me a lot of Hunger Games, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but with a male lead, a little more gore and also has the additional elements of Greek mythology.  It's long (over 400 pages) but was quite a fun read. And yes...they are making a movie out of the series.

Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman

I am still reading this one, and it’s so good. I’m taking my time through it because there is so much to glean from Neil postman‘s commentary on society back when he wrote this book in the 1980's, and at that point he was just talking about the popular rise of television as the main medium by which we get our information....His argument is that particular medium can only sustain a particular level of ideas, and the ramifications of this is stark and sobering. It's wild reading this with the perspective of being entrenched in the world of the internet and smart phones. All the things that he talks about is even more relevant now and I'm underlining furiously as I go. 

Reading People by Anne Bogel

I learned about this book because I listen to and Anne's podcast called, "What Should I Read Next." I love the podcast because every episode is her talking to a guest about books - their favorites, their least favorites, their reading styles, and then she recommends them some books based on their reading profile. It's so fun and I've gotten lots of great book recommendations from the podcast. Along with books, she is apparently also an avid personality-test enthusiast, and she wrote this book to highlight the different personality tests and constructs that have been most helpful for her. I already knew about most of the ones that she discusses in this book but it was nice to have the summaries of them in one clearly written and concise book. It's definitely a great conversation starter!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


This past weekend was one for the books! Ken and I promised each other to not schedule anything for the weekend (well, except church and our picnic lunch afterwards), so that we can spend every moment at home getting things done around the house. It was long overdue and it felt so good. I can’t remember the last time that we cleared her schedule is like this to prioritize our home, and it was a great reminder that we need to schedule not just cleaning days, but downtime for our family.  I’m trying to get in the habit of being proactive about this, which for now means saving one weekend day for nothing else except to be at home and with each other. One day doesn’t seem like a lot, but even that has been hard to get in.

We had made a spring to do list earlier this year, and there was so much on there that we hadn’t been able to do because of the busy summer, and then start of a new school for Sloane, and a new job for me. Besides closing the pool, which was also long overdue, our bushes and hedges were totally out of control. We spent a good portion of Saturday trimming the hedges, and picking up all the branches and leaves. Here are some other things we got done: filled water bags to put around the pool, trimmed bushes, cleaned and bagged up the clippings (for ginormous trash bags full), vacuumed the whole house, organized and cleaned the mudroom, organized food pantry, organized linen closet, sorted and organized the attic, put away summer clothes and re-organized winter clothes, cleaned garage, organized utility room, cleared out bar room, painted bar room.  We still have more to do but we made such good headway!

As we went to bed on Sunday night, Ken and I remarked that it was a great feeling to tackle so much of our to do list, but how the best result if it was that it no longer felt like we were in survival mode because we had gotten a handle on some of the basic needs of our home. That is a big theme for us this upcoming year: priorities. Ken and I have had a lot of discussion lately about what it means to prioritize our time and resources. Especially as the girls get older, I want us to be very conscientious and intentional about how we live and what things we live for, so we don’t wake up one day and wonder what happened to our life. 

The photos above are from our weekend and church on Sunday morning, and below are a couple of photos that are indicative of our fall days: Sloane, always ready for roasting marshmallows over the fire pit with her stick handy, and family walks that we tried to get in after work...when it didn’t get dark before we got home. You guys, it’s happening: it’s dark and it’s cold and I am bracing myself for the next few months. Battle strategies, coming up!

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Here are some photos of Narnia! I sort of wish I could post every photo of each family so that you could see all the amazing costumes, but that's almost 30 families and I think that would be overkill, so I've just posted most of the candids here. I wasn't able to take photos of all the activity stations, but we set up: a beaver dam with tiny furniture (pictured in my last post here), an archery station, scavenger hunt, dancing lawn (musical chairs), building Cair Paravel (boxes of various sizes spray painted to look like blocks to build a castle), freeze tag, and the Dawn Treader (pictured below) for free play. 

Isn't that door amazing? Greta or one of her siblings happened to have these doors that worked perfectly with this trellis to create the wardrobe.  We were actually planning on hanging fur coats on the top and sides of the trellis to really make it look like a wardrobe, but we nixed that idea with all the rain that day. 

Ah, the rain! A few days before the event, we saw that the forecast was calling for 100% rain and thunderstorms. It was tragic, I might have lost some sleep, and we all deliberated on rescheduling. But after much thought, we decided to go ahead with it and prayed heartily that we would be spared. It ended up raining the night before, and then started raining a few hours before the event started - so everything was damp and muddy - but almost everyone showed up anyways, and then the rain held out for the majority of the time! There were many things that we weren't able to do because of the rain, and we had to put tarps over everything, and the huge table for Aslan's feast that was supposed to be out on the lawn had to be moved to the front porch. We also didn't get to do the epic last battle that we had planned (sharks and minnows with good characters and evil characters) or the campfire because it started pouring towards the very end of the event, but it didn't seem to matter all that much! The mist and rain just added to the mood of Narnia and everyone - especially the kids - were just so happy to be together in Narnia. 

Reepicheep and Aslan 

The planning crew

Nyads and dryads!

This cake (made by Mignon) was amazing. 

I spy a little beaver in search for food. 

Queen of Underland

Every time I saw Ian - I mean, Mr. Tumnus- I would burst out in a fit of giggles. My favorite costume though I think has to be Steve, who came as Turkish delight. 

The White Witch and Green Witch 

Yes that is a whole pig that was cooked by the amazing David Jimenez, with the aid of the also amazing Nic Clinch. It was the best pig I've ever had.

I made this the week of the party - a half and hour here and there in the evenings after the girls went down... while I watched the Lady Gaga documentary and Portlandia. Can you tell the blue outline is painter’s tape? 

Here the kids are shouting, "For Narnia! For Aslan!" 

The whole group! Minus a few..
It was really magical when everyone was gathered together like this!

Looking back: Last year was Wonderland and the year before that, we went to Neverland!