This winter has been long, cold, and dreary. We haven't done anything much of any account, but have some fun pictures to share. We are all looking forward to seeing green grass and warmer temperatures soon! Ella turned two in January, and she is growing in leaps and bounds. She wants to be in the thick of everything. Here she is helping with laundry:

Ella in a basket

She is also quite the dancer. She can keep a perfect beat.

Ella dancing

Kid movie soundtracks are her favorites.

Ella dancing again

Sadly one of Corbin's pet rats, Spot got pneumonia. The vet and Corbin tried many different medicines and therapies, but sadly Spottie lost the battle. Here is the last photo of all three rats.

the rats

Thankfully the rest of our pets are healthy. Caleb's dog Birdzie turned one at the end of December, so she is officially no longer a puppy. Here she is with Caleb.

Caleb and his dog

Lizzy is still our lick-o-matic. Her favorite place to be when not sitting on someone's lap is in her kennel.


Homeschooling is going well. With Anna in Kindergarten this year Ella has had to make her own fun. She enjoys playing in the girls' room:

Ella with stuffed animals

and loves it when it's paper day, when she can dive into the freshly bagged papers!

Ella laying in newspapers

Nora is delighted that Nit-Wit is here to stay. He has adjusted to life at our house very well. Here's Nora with Luigi and Nit-Wit:

Nora and the cats

Cookie is definitely the princess cat of the house. She makes sure she gets the sunniest spot in the house each day.

Cookie the cat

She tolerates Nit-Wit enough to let him groom her from time to time.

Nit-Wit and Cookie

Nit-Wit is such a fun cat. He can open cupboards, loves playing with Birdzie, and still acts like a kitten, batting at everything that moves. Here he is sun bathing:


The girls were invited over to a friends house for an all girl party. They had a blast. Here's Anna showing off a craft project she made:

Anna with a snowman magnet

Nora helped Ella make a funny framed picture.

Nora and Ella

They also all played Twister Dance, where they have to copy the on screen dance instructor. Even Ella tried it out!

the girls playing twister

In this photo Rosa is all worn out, but look at Nora go!

more Twister dancing

Ella absolutely adores her big brother Alex. Anything he thinks is cool she does too. So when she saw a Wall-e toy at a trift store, she had to have it. Here she is watching a movie with her new buddy, Wall-e.

Ella and Wall-e

We enjoyed watching a small group of crows over the winter. We would occasionally feed them table scraps. One crow ingeniously hid them in a hole he made in the kids sledding hill. Maybe that wasn't so smart, though, because sometimes Birdzie sniffed it down and enjoyed a free meal.

the crow

With Spot gone, we spoiled the other two rats a bit more than usual. Here is Isaiah curled up in the sleeve of a bathrobe, nibbling treats.

Isaiah in the sleeve

I have really stepped up making home-made treats instead of store bought, much to the kids delight. Ella especially loves to help, and she only gets paid in chocolate chips!

Birdzie's coat really grew out, and with her nice warm coat came a great love of the snow. She loves digging, rolling, and prancing around in the white powder.

With lots of snow and temperatures finally warm enough to tolerate being outside for a bit the kids ventured out to build snow creatures and the sledding hill. Here's Anna with her snow Stitch (of Lilo and Stitch fame):

Anna with her creation

Nora made a snow dragon.

Nora with her creation

Corbin enjoyed the sled hill.

Corbin sledding

Here's Nora having a try:

Nora sledding

Ella just loved watching it all.


Caleb made his comic character, Jay, again this year.

Caleb and Jay

Rosa made another cute little snow buddy.

Rosa and her snowman

Caleb took a picture of a fern that was totally enveloped in ice. It is a good visual for how this winter has felt!

a fern in ice

Remember Princess Cookie the cat? Here she is with another one of her subjects, Luigi.

Cookie and Luigi

Luigi is a one man cat, though. He just adores Nora. Here he is all snuggled up.


And here is a playful shot of Cookie:


I won an I-pod touch from Golden Plump Chicken (if you are curious, ask me about it; the whole story is hilarious) and decided the best place for it to be used was out in service. Ella quickly figured out how to use it quite well, and loves taking pictures with it. Here is one of many, many self-portraits of her:


and an interesting shot of Rosa with some windmills in the background:

For our nineteenth anniversary this April we spent a day with most of the kids (Alex chose to forgo the adventure) visiting the Como Zoo and Conservatory and then shopping at some thrift stores in the area. We all had a lot of fun. Nora loved all the big cats. They were all very active and playful.

Nora and a Puma

Anna loved the zebras.

Anna and a Zebra

I thought the saltwater aquarium was pretty cool.

a seahorse

Caleb loved the tropics trail with all the free-flying birds, of course. We even saw a snail on a leaf there.

a snail

Lee, who is allergic to birds now, patiently waited for us while we enjoyed the tropics.

Lee waiting

The Conservatory was wonderfully fragrant with spring flowers everywhere.

the flowers

I tried to get a nice shot of the gang, but they weren't thrilled about that!

The kids looking forlorn

The girls' favorite part of the Conservatory is the Koi fish. Here they are watching the fish swim around.

the girls watching fish

It was supposed to rain, but it held off long enough for us to enjoy a picnic lunch.

the gang eating

With all the rain, most of the snow soon melted, much to our joy. About the only family member sad about it is Birdzie, who sadly clings to the sledding hill's snow.

Birdzie on the hill

Thus concludes our long and rather boring winter. We look forward to a spring full of fun and warmth!

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