January was a relatively slow month, when we tried to rest from all the holiday fun and get back in our home school routine. 

- the girls got a disco light for christmas, so we had lots of dance parties - thea will never experience the concept of personal space - elli likes to warm up by the fire when she wakes up and charlie likes to get "dressed" first thing... here they shared their little routines - sunday afternoon board games -

- grocery shopping with four babies... always an adventure - snack time - as part of our katy and the big snow unit study, we made our own city. as we covered cereal boxes with construction paper tonight, we talked about what buildings are important for a city to have (fire station, school, electric company, etc). so, then we started labeling the buildings, and elli asked, "mom, how do you spell chick-fil-a?" - catching up on holiday sleep -

- baby messy bun is my favorite - thea's favorite view - ballerina cara - ballerina elli -

- our most enthusiastic dancer was crushed when she didn't get to join her sisters - man vs wild with these curious ladies - kissable - just like her other sisters, thea adores her elli -

- snuggling with uncle ryan and aunt madeleine during the holidays - post christmas crash - one of my favorite things about homeschooling is getting to do art projects with the girls - face time with the cousins mostly means making silly faces at each other - 

- keeping busy - first night in her big girl bed! - my polka dot princess - we moved elli in with thea and charlie in with caroline this weekend; elli was so excited to arrange her bed - 

- sunday rest - little miss riding hood - if i didn't know better, i'd say she was up to something - "look mom, it's a pot-head" - 

- january essentials with a february twist - 'would you rather' - thea hasn't completely decided if she's going to be a thumb sucker, but if she does, i hope she chooses this thumb! - baptism day - 



December was truly delightful! The weather continued to be gorgeous right up until the holidays, and then we even got a little snow storm on Christmas! Our festivities were simpler than usual (we're blaming it on the newborn fog!), but I don't think the girls minded too much.

- how do you not stop what you're doing and stare at a sleeping newborn? - thea loved looking at the lights - bath time - these two are already best buds -

- elli drew this picture of our family and King Jesus at church - charlie loves playing 'rock, paper, scissors' - first trip to the zoo for thea - she was giving me the sweetest gummy smiles until i pulled out the camera. this is what i remember of this month: thea wrapped up in the moby while her big sisters played -

- playing outside - watching the light show at botanica - charlie carefully studied how elli was kneeling and copied her exactly - helping out with tummy time -

- sweetest smiles - thea's favorite way to get tummy time - caroline asked to borrow my phone to snap this picture - making cookies with my charlie... her big sisters got to do all these traditions just themselves, so when i have just her, i try to make the most of it! - 

- snuggle time - incredibly inaccurate nativity reenactments and the cutest bed-head ever! - eight weeks: full of smiles, especially for her big sisters, and really trying to talk. eats about every three hours and takes a mini nap between each feeding, sleeping six to eight hours at night! her nicknames are "ladybug," "pie-pants" (elli and caroline), and "oh-phea-uh-uh-uh" (charlie). she is the first person everyone asks for in the morning and the last person they kiss at night - practicing gift-giving and receiving in preparation for christmas... thea needs to work on her poker face! -

- the first snow! barely a flurry, but they didn't care - eggnog, ornaments and rockin' around the christmas tree - sweet mama to her "bay-bays" - i taught the girls to wrap presents this year, and they're officially hired -

- i love peeking in on rest time... cara is reading books to her baby pooh bear - baby snuggles - roasting beets for her "rainbow salad" on her birthday - measuring the table to make sure she gets the star exactly in the middle! - 

- i'm trying to get better about taking pictures of all four girls - #genschgirlies - i just happened to be taking a picture when thea surprised us with her first roll! - happy birthday, elinor! - 

- christmas eve eve - thea and her biggest fan - christmas pjs... i'm not sure how many years i'll be able to get them all to match - drunk on milk and cookies. ok, maybe just milk for her this year - 

- the christmas of star wars: between thanksgiving and christmas, we got our hands on the entire collection of star wars movies and then got to take elli and cara to see the new one in the theater! - we pretty much dominated breakoutkc - charlie and malachi - birthday buddies, elli and uncle adam - 

- snow! - these two weren't quite sure what to do - the big girls, however, knew exactly what to do! - the agony and the ecstasy -


Elli's Seventh Birthday

My first baby turned seven years old! We love the little woman she is becoming and feel blessed to have her lead her little sisters. She is helpful, patient and kind with them, and sets a beautiful example for them to look up to. 

This year we had a simple family party. She chose pizza and rainbow salad for dinner. We went together to shop for all the colors of salad toppings, and her sweet chatter and rationale for her choices was my favorite part of the day!

We love the cousin chaos! Never a dull or lonely moment in this crew!

 The "big cousins" spent the night and we made reindeer nose treats the next morning.

We are so proud of our darling girl! Happy birthday, Elinor Faye!


Spring Weekend with Family

This weekend we got to spend sweet time with family, the first time we've had all the cousins together! I'm always amazed that we can cram so much goodness into one weekend, and yet still feel pretty relaxed. Daniel and my dad left before dawn to do some turkey hunting, so our mornings were slow and sweet. The three older girls helped Mia make waffles, we took advantage of the gorgeous spring mornings to play and swing outside, and we colored to our hearts' content.

Thea is a huge fan of the swing, and Charlie loved being the big sister and getting to swing her! Charlie is the sweetest, proudest sister and takes such joy in making her sister smile. She was born to be a big sister! Thea will be six months in a few weeks, and it's simultaneously making my heart leap for joy and blink away tears. She is just the sweetest little punkin, and don't even get me started on the wrist rolls.

We managed to squeeze in a few pictures before chaos ensued, and I can't decide which picture is my favorite. Charlie got to be a big girl holding a baby!

My parents have a delightful backyard, beautiful in every season, but especially fun when the weather is nice. The dogwoods are fully in bloom, which make me nostalgic for my own childhood.

All the color and brightness of the evening light made for a magical evening. Perhaps the highlight was the simple joy of a shower of rosy "helicopters" from the maple trees.

On Sunday we met the hunters at my grandma's farm, where the girls got to see their Great-Grandma, watch Great-Uncle Keith plant the corn and climb all over the tractor, shoot guns (the big girls), and hunt for snail shells in the garden.

Great-Grandma taught Charlie how to make a wish on a dandelion.