Friday, April 30, 2010

When the Trains Stop Running

See that train on the bridge? That's the eastbound PATCO train leaving Center City this morning, heading into Jersey. There was another train just like it stuck on the opposite side taking commuters into work one final day before the weekend. I was running a little late this morning, intentionally so since I'm working later this evening and then meeting Trey in the city for a hot dinner date. Had I not been running late, there is a very strong chance I would have been one of those commuters stranded on the bridge. Stranded, you ask? Yes, power went out all along the PATCO line, and when Trey dropped me off at the Lindenwold station this morning, a small crowd of people busied on their cell phones, stood in front of the gates. "What's going on?" I asked an attendant, and she explained the situation. Trey drove me into work instead, but we hit a snarl of traffic as we approached the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I could see two helicopters hovering motionless alongside the bridge. "What's going on?" I mused, "Must be an accident." Then I thought a little harder. "I bet there are trains stuck on the bridge and they're evacuating passengers onto buses or something," I speculated to Trey. I was partially right. They had blocked the lanes closest to the trains, but as we drove past, we could see the captive passengers still sitting in the cars, a swarm of officials standing ineffectually on the bridge. At this point they had been there for at least an hour. I was so grateful that my morning had not involved the claustrophobic experience of sitting in an airless, fluorescent lit car suspended over the Delaware River or in the dark tunnels under the city's streets. It was definitely a "that could be me" moment. Thankfully, power was restored some time after 10am. You can read the report here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Answers

A few answers to your questions.

Kate asked: "So what does your matron of honor dress look like? And what are your favorite sites to 'lurk' on? And when are you going to finally unsubscribe from the Asda and Tesco emails? :)"

Well, Kate, thanks for asking about the matron of honor dress. Here it is except mine will be sapphire blue. The color scheme for the wedding is peacock colors. To answer your other questions, I pretty much lurk on the sites listed in my right-hand column, "Blogs I Follow" and "Friends' Blogs". However, I have also been known to visit some celebrity blog sites, which shall remain nameless, and then shudder and leave. I am a big-time blog reader and a rather infrequent commenter, so I can't condemn my readers for doing the same. You know, people who live in glass houses and all. And finally, when will I unsubscribe to my Asda and Tesco emails? I have no immediate plans to do so, which I guess only confirms that I did, indeed, leave a little piece of my heart back in Scotland. Just not strong enough to do it yet.

Kate, by the way, is a dear friend from back in Aberdeen, who will be returning to the US this year as her husband is just finishing up his PhD, which means she truly understands the insanity -- at least of doing it one time around. Check out her blog, The Granite City. If you haven't already noticed, she's under "Friends' Blogs". Her kids are super cute and her son Callum (love the Scottish name) is just 1 day older than Evie.

Oh, wait, I almost missed it. She also asked in a follow-up comment: "So, are you going to have a fourth child? Also, do you have any helpful musings for those of us 'in the trenches' with two little ones and pondering a third? Was it as hard of a transition from two to three as it was to go from one to two? (I'm not pregnant by the way, just wondering how I would ever make it with three kids (when I can barely make it some days with the two I have!) if we add a third someday.)"

You know, it's funny you should ask because another friend of mine back in Aberdeen asked the same question except she is currently pregnant with her third. My answer for advice was that Trey should be dispensing it, not me. "You're married to a very capable husband...that's how you do it," he laughed when he heard this question. (Let another man praise you, Trey.) But in all fairness, he is the one in the trenches. I admire his unflagging patience and his never-tiring penchant for silly play. My very wise sister-in-law, who had children in both her early twenties and later thirties, once told me that the difference between having children when you're young is that you have energy but when you get older you have patience. If I found a magic lamp that would be my first wish -- never-ending patience, the kind that God has for us. In the meantime, I wait -- not so patiently -- for the sanctification process in my own life, which will hopefully bring about greater forbearance with my offspring. Incidentally, I did write an email to another friend not that long ago about how we approach discipline in our family, and I think I may share it here on the blog. It applies whether you have one or multiple and you may find some ideas helpful as you contemplate your own approach. My advice is that if you're feeling overwhelmed and wondering whether you should have more children now, probably you should wait until you feel a little more confident. More children is not easier than less as self-evident as that may seem.

Which brings us to the Holloways. We have not decided yet whether we are having any more children. Of course, God may have other plans. In the meantime, we are just trying to keep our heads above water with three ages 5, 3, and 1. Days are filled to the brim with activity from the moment their little eyes pop open, their feet hit the floor, and their mouths begin a ceaseless flow of chatter. They are dear, sweet little ones with curious minds and a wellspring of energy, which most days leaves me completely spent by the end. I have a real soft spot for infants though, and I do think we produce awfully cute little ones. The way we've left it for now is that we will revisit the conversation when Evie is about 4 or 5. Never thought I'd say that. I always thought I'd have all my kids by the age of 30 and be one of those hot, young moms with a kid in high school. Nope, reality is quite different from the naive planning borne of inexperience. I admire people who seem undaunted by gaggles of children. Me? I find it exhausting. I want to do it right. I want my children to be well looked after, loved, and understood. I don't ever want them to feel shoved aside or ignored, which for us right now means holding off.

Tamara is a dear friend of mine that I met online through a mom's message board. She is an outstanding mom with 5 children, the last two who are an adorable set of twin girls. She is very smart, a great writer, a thoughtful Christian, and has recently started her own blog, Tamara Out Loud, in which she shares the most vulnerable and real parts of her life, bringing her faith to bear on all of it. She is a theologian at heart. Oh, and she's very funny. I highly recommend her blog and had a good laugh at her question: "How do you feel about Christians who use inappropriate language? ;)

My 6-word bio: Exactly where I want to be."

Well, Mari, as someone who has been known to drop a few French words from time to time, much to the chagrin of my gentile husband, I guess it depends on what you mean. As is always the case, God is looking at the heart. Are you speaking in love with gentleness? I believe there are situations that call for strong language. I am a word smith at heart and feel very strongly about the import of our language. So if your speech, cursing or otherwise, is used to wound another, that would seem to step outside the bounds of, "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." (Proverbs 16.24) But then again phrases like "pissed off" and "suck" offend some Christians. They're what an old schoolmate of mine would have called a minced oath. Screw it. You'll never please everybody, Mari.

Hi, Joy! A pleasure to meet you. I don't know Joy personally, but her question was: "Tell me about you and Scotland.. and how your transition to move back to America was...

six words about me? hmmm.... Jesus, wife, mommy, student, friend, traveler....

and my blog is http://pricelessgifts.wordpress.com

does this exempt me from being a lurker? Because I totally wasn't going to comment until you said that... :)"

Well, Joy, this blog entry has already gotten rather long. Forgive me if I refer you to my re-entry post, "The Realities of Re-entry" for some of the details of what it is like to move home after living abroad. The decision to go to Scotland was a life-changing one, one that brought my marriage to its knees. Over a period of months I committed the idea to much prayer, seeking the counsel of those I trusted. In the end, God changed my heart from a resounding NO to an expectant YES. Little did I know that moving to Scotland would change my life still further. The woman who stepped off the airplane at the Aberdeen Dyce Airport and clutched the side of the cab as we wound along narrow streets ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD is not the same woman who stood at that same airport two years later and shed big fat tears of sorrow at leaving her new home away from home. I met people I will never forget, people who ministered to and with me at a time in our lives where we were vulnerable, foreign, and needy. I met some of the kindest, dearest Christians I have ever known, and as I think of them now my heart aches because I still miss that beautiful, ancient, soggy city and her lovely people so much. Like I said, I left a piece of me when I left Aberdeen.

Whew that got really long. Thank you for your interesting questions, and if you're still reading at this point, you definitely deserve a gold star.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We Have a Winner

The winner of the waffle iron giveaway is Lindsay M! Thank you to all who entered and made me truly hungry with your delicious topping ideas. I now have some new ones I'll definitely have to try.

Next up...answers to your questions.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fort Holloway

Why is baby girl so happy? I'll tell you why. Today our new lawn mower arrived, and as it happened, it was packaged in a large, refrigerator-style box. Trey, the ever resourceful man that he is, knew that nothing else could be done with such a box other than make a fort out of it. What a cool dad.

He painstakingly cut a door.

Through which all three Holloway children could crawl.

Rather cozy, no?

And numerous windows strategically positioned for defending the fort with wiffle bats serving as rifles. It is a fort after all.

Genevie loved it.


So did Davis, simultaneously enjoying a brownie bite, a designation he took rather literally, shoving the entire thing into his mouth at once.

Addison was likewise pleased although he was also pretty stoked that "we now have our own lawn mower!" We bought a cordless, electric one, which I'm really excited to try out. It's supposed to be both environmentally and neighbor friendly since it runs on battery power and is super quiet. I'll review it for you after we give it a whirl.

What's better in kid world than a mouth full of brownie bites and a box fort? Nothing. That's what. Nothing.


Hello, My Name Is

Hello, my name is Becky and my six word memoir is Uni. Married. Kids. Scotland. Writing. Waiting.

With all the traffic from the latest contests, I thought it would be appropriate to reintroduce myself and turn the forum over to you.

Ask me anything, and I will do my very best to answer your questions. Maybe you've known me a long time and want to know if we'll have a 4th child. Maybe you just stumbled upon this blog because of the waffle iron giveaway and are wondering what my deal is with Scotland. Maybe you're curious about the whole stay-at-home-dad thing or want to know what my matron of honor dress looks like for my sister's wedding in July.

I know many people read and never comment. These people are known as lurkers. I can't be too harsh though because I am actually the queen of lurkers, which you would know if you chose to ask me that question. But in a spirit of magnanimity, every person who asks a question to which I actually have some sort of answer will receive a mention and a link back plug on this blog, assuming you have a blog too which you want to promote. Include your six word memoir to help people know a little bit about you. This whole blogging thing is all about interconnectedness.

Ask away!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LOVE...and a Spill

The answer to my post, A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, is a side view of the Love statue in Love Park, which is just one block from my building. Unbelievably, four readers got the answer right, so I randomly selected and Jen M. is the winner! Congratulations, Jen! I am truly impressed with your resourceful thinking and thoroughly effective Googling. Almost everyone who got the answer right has actually never seen the statue in person, which even further amazes me. It seemed an appropriate image since 1,000 words would probably bore you to death, and it indeed embodies the spirit of our city -- although I think we need to work on this one a little more.

The fountain in the park was just turned on. If it weren't such a full geyser, you would be able to look down the Ben Franklin Parkway and see the Philadelphia Museum of Art and those famous Rocky steps.

Tuesday we had a fire drill in our building. I stepped out 10 minutes early to avoid all the ruckus and walked over to Love Park to enjoy my book on my iPhone in the glory of a beautiful spring day. As I crossed JFK Blvd. -- a busy thoroughfare that runs past City Hall -- my 3" heel caught in a divot in the asphalt and I landed in the middle of the street on all fours. My iPhone, which I had been clutching in my right hand, landed face down and took the full force of bracing my fall, miraculously avoiding any real damage due to the protective sleeve and rubber lip encasing it. Best $30 I ever spent. Completely saved my phone.

So there I am sprawled out in a dress and high heels in the middle of JFK with cars trying to turn and pedestrians everywhere. To say I felt foolish would be a gross understatement. Despite my stinging knee, I scrambled to my feel lickity-split. Two police officers were crossing the street going in the opposite direction and asked me if I was OK. No one even had time to help me -- that's how fast I got up. I felt like a complete idiot. "I'm OK, thanks," I muttered and limped to the corner. I slightly pulled up my dress skirt above my knee and could see one of those nasty scrapes that I used to get as a kid when I'd wipe out on my bike, blood staining the inner hem of my skirt. Another man stopped and asked if I was OK. Geez, I didn't know so many people saw. Well, it was 10am in the middle of Center City.

And so now, in addition to the subject of my 1,000 post contest, I will forever remember the Love statue as the observer of my ridiculous fall in the middle of JFK.


A clear shot down the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Beautiful tulips blooming in the park.

Oh, and in case you were wondering the waffle iron contest is still going on!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why We Aren't Home Schooling

This post comes with a warning. It is very hard for me to write. Given who I know a lot of my readers are, I fear your misunderstanding and judgment. I also fear giving offense and hurting people I care about, but in the wake of my post about registering Addison for Kindergarten, I have been approached by more than one reader asking me why we have chosen not to home school.

It’s a fair question. After all, I was home schooled from 3rd-12th grade. Many of my home schooled friends, who themselves now have children, are choosing to educate their children at home, and in the circles in which I travel, it is definitely normative. This, therefore, is my attempt to explain Trey’s and my decision to send Addison to public school. I believe I offer a unique perspective as someone who experienced home schooling firsthand, was very involved in home schooling activities, and is intimately acquainted with many of the different philosophies and approaches to it. I am fully aware of the benefits and the drawbacks to this educational choice, and in light of my experience, observations, and understanding brought to bear upon our particular life circumstances, I know we are making the right decision.

I know many will disagree, but in the end, every family has to make the choice that is best for them. What is good and will work for one family is not necessarily so for another. My words are not meant to condemn anyone – simply to help you understand what we believe is best for us right now. Let me state again, if you have chosen to educate your children at home, I believe with my whole heart that you are doing what is truly best for your family and I encourage you in your efforts.

With that being said, this is us, here and now:

I want the role of mother, not school teacher

One of the challenges I have observed with many home schooling parents is an obscuring of the line between parent and teacher. Have you ever wondered why when you leave your children with a babysitter, expecting them to put up the usual huge fuss at bedtime, they behave beautifully? Children get into patterns of relating to their parents and this can interfere with the ability to learn academically. The child parent relationship is a very complex one, which includes, but is not limited to, nurturing, discipline, and teaching. I have seen firsthand, many home schooled children struggle academically because their parents were either ill-equipped, lacked objectivity, or had fallen into patterns of relating that hindered academic growth. I want to focus 100% of my time on being a loving and nurturing mother, and I don’t believe it is healthy for my relationships with our children to divide that time into the more structured aspects of academic disciplines. I want to be a mom, not a school teacher.

I want my son to start learning how to respect authority figures other than his parents

Our whole lives are filled with different authority figures that we must obey. It starts with our parents and then progresses on to school teachers, coaches, bosses, church leaders, etc. Getting back to the idea of roles, I want Addison to realize that he must respect and honor others in authority over him besides just Mom and Dad. This can be a life-long struggle for some. I have seen many overly-sheltered home schooled children, blatantly disrespect the authority of other instructors, say in a co-op context, because they were only used to answering to their mother. I can hear your objection: “But this happens in school too. Suzy Q always complains to her mom when she doesn’t like her grade.” True. This happens in the real world too, but my observation is that it is exacerbated by only ever having one main authority figure that you work under.

I want my son to learn to work as a team player

This has been a particular struggle for Addison and does not necessarily apply to every child. Addison tends to hone in on the attention of whichever adult is around and wants lots of one-on-one time. I would expect nothing less. His primary love language is quality time. The downside of this, however, is that when the group is ready to transition to another activity (say in Sunday School), Addison may not want to and will remove himself rather than cooperate. This is unacceptable. He needs to learn to be flexible and work as a team player even when he doesn’t feel like it. I believe this is something that being in school will help him work through.

The real and important need for a break, especially given the ages of our other children.

The reality is that fruitful and effective parenting requires breaks. This is not selfish. Just as business workers need days off and breaks throughout the day in order to stay fresh and productive, so parents do too. I have seen too many burnt out moms with a gaggle of stair-step children who look as though they are at their wits’ end but feel they must do more in order to be a good parent. I often get the impression that they think they are only godly parents when the day is packed with fun activities and projects. They don’t leave their children with babysitters or child minders. They would never dream of putting their children in daycare. And year by year, as they continue to add children to their family, they become more and more burnt out. This has a real and lasting impact on the children, especially the younger children, who tend to get the leftovers. It is critical to have help and breaks. I am keenly aware of the rigors of daily life for Trey right now. It is unrelenting, as many of you who are in similar circumstances can attest. His day is an unending progression of meals, discipline, clean-up, discipline, diaper changes, discipline, laundry, discipline – you get the idea. Of course, the day is also punctuated with many sweet and precious moments, but juggling multiple small children is not a task for the faint of heart. It is the hardest job in the world and adding to the workload at this point seems unwise and unkind.

What does it mean to fulfill your duty to provide a distinctively Christian education?

So this is where things get a little sticky. I fully embrace the philosophy that parents are primarily responsible for ensuring that their children receive a Christian education. I believe the heart of that duty can be found in Deuteronomy 11.18-19, "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” In other words, every minute you spend with your children involves Christian education. Which means if you send your children to a secular school, part of that education is equipping them to understand, interpret, and interact with what they learn from people who do not follow Christ. The reality is that much of life is spent with unbelievers, and we need to learn from the earliest age how to model Christian living before those who do not hold the same beliefs as we do, how to be lights in this dark world. I believe this training should begin early, not once you graduate high school and head off to university, or in the case of some, after you finish Christian college and head out into the secular workforce. How will you ever learn to be salt and light if you have always lived in a protected, fairly isolated Christian bubble? I was fortunate. This was not a big problem for me. However, I have seen this painful struggle for many of my fellow home schooled friends, many of whom were ill-equipped and unprepared, despite their distinctively Christian upbringing, to face the wiles of the world. In some ways it seems the more sheltered you are, the harder it is, and I have seen many sadly fall away.

I am aware of the objections that many will raise at this point. Children are too young to be “missionaries” in school. They need to be learning their academic subjects from the standpoint of the Bible, not fighting the battles of the world at the same time. The state has no business providing education. Their role is to protect from enemies without and maintain order within. The list goes on. While I appreciate the standpoint that these objections come from and believe I do understand the material content of these arguments, I respectfully disagree. To quickly answer, I believe we are never too young to be witnesses to the grace of God in our lives and that part of Christian living is learning to stand up for what you believe, whatever your age. As far as the state’s role, this gets at one’s political philosophy and would better be discussed in another context. If you have specific questions about my personal feelings on this, feel free to email me and I am glad to share them.

OK, I feel better but nervous about posting this. Please be kind in your comments. As I have sought to be respectful to those with differing opinions, so I would appreciate the same. I do not have all the answers. I am definitely going to make mistakes. And I truly appreciate your love and support along the way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And While We're Doing Contests

First contest is still going. Keep your guesses coming, but in the meantime, let's do another, shall we?

In the mood for free stuff? In the mood for waffles? Just like commenting on blog posts? You're in the right place. You can win this splendiferous Cuisinart waffle iron with almost no trouble at all.

To enter, simply leave a comment here on the blog and tell me what your favorite waffle topping is. But it gets better. If you also link back to this contest on your own blog or Tweet about it or link to it in your Facebook status, each link will count as an additional entry for you. More chances to win! Just show me the links in your comment and you will be entered that many times.

My favorite waffle topping? Keepin' it simple and real. Nothing better than butter and pure maple syrup.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this seemed an appropriate image for my 1,000th blog post. Guess correctly what this is a picture of, and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize. I will be truly impressed if anyone gets it right, but on the off-chance that more than one person does, I will randomly select a single winner to receive...

drumroll please...

a hand-knit item of your choosing made by yours truly. I know! Pretty swell, huh? There are a few caveats. I must approve the item in question, and it must be of a smallish nature with no firm deadline. Translation, I'm not knitting any man-size sweaters and I can't get it to you in the next 10 days. However, if you have a baby on the way or a little one already crawling around, I will gladly knit said child an article of clothing. If you want a tea cozy for your teapot or a decorative item for your holiday shelf (think Easter bunny or Christmas elf), I will gladly knit that. You can even be selfish and ask me to knit you a hat or some mittens. Those are small enough that I'm willing to do them. We will collaborate. I will send you ideas. We'll come up with a general timeframe. In the end, you will receive your prize. Pretty good deal.

Happy guessing and thank you for being part of my blogging family!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teasers Come in Threes

I have lots of interesting things planned for the blog over the next couple of posts. First, I have a giveaway brewing. The kind folks at CSN, whose more than 200 online stores featuring everything from cribs to luggage, will award one lucky Holloway Clan reader this awesome Cuisinart waffle iron -- or awful iron -- as waffles are known in our house. Stay tuned for the details of the contest, but I can tell you this. The more you link back to the contest, the more chances you have to win.

Second, I have had more than one reader approach me with questions about our decision to put Addison into school. They have wondered why we chose this path instead of opting to home school. This is a topic that must be handled with care since people's emotions regarding it can run deep. I have started a post about our decision and will have it up soon.

Thirdly, my very next post will be number 1,000. I know! Can you believe it? I have something very special planned for it, something which just might include another giveaway.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One More Baby Step

Yesterday I registered Addison for Kindergarten. Yes, Kindergarten.

What happened? Didn't I just have him like 6 months ago? That sweet little boy with the amazing blue eyes has blossomed into a tall, strapping young man with a keen interest in birds and a vocabulary that only comes from hanging out with a double PhD all day.

Unlike many parents, I don't feel sadness or fear or worry as I contemplate this next step. I know he will love school and thrive there. Mostly I just feel amazement at his growth and maturity. I remember crying big fat tears during the terrible twos, feeling helpless, like a complete parental failure. He struggled with tantrums and moodiness and downright disobedience. All the hard work seemed for nothing. But here we stand, a few years later. I look back and I can actually see progress. It is almost imperceptible in the moment and can often be obscured by the new bad behavior of siblings (we are in the throes of that rough patch with Davis right now), but it's real and measurable now. It spurs me on in this parenting marathon, knowing that the consistent, loving discipline that in the moment seems utterly fruitless, actually does make a difference.

Addison is by no means a perfect child, but for that matter, he has imperfect parents. I make mistakes all the time and have to come and ask my children to forgive me for my impatience and unkind words. But looking forward to this new life milestone has given me fresh hope that we are truly making progress, that the final chapter hasn't been written yet, that so much lies ahead. His future is full of promise and potential. He, like all of us, just gets there baby steps at a time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dark Fields

As I'm walking along 16th St. on my way to work this morning a huge, white 18-wheeler with the Paramount logo emblazoned on the side turns the corner. I can't help but notice it and then wonder if a movie is filming nearby. So when I get into the office I check trusty Google. Lo and behold a movie IS filming literally around the corner at 15th and Walnut at a restaurant called Butcher & Singer. A real movie called Dark Fields with real big stars like Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro. Yesterday, they were in another nearby location apparently changing Philly street signs to recreate NYC streets. I cringe because no Philadelphian wants the city to be dressed up as the faux New York. Oh well, I'm sure it's cheaper to film in Philly and turns out Bradley Cooper is a native.

So on my return trip I walked along 15th to see if I might spy a famous Bradley or Robert.

No such luck although it was fascinating to see how they had built enclosures around the restaurant's windows and draped them in black cloth to get the lighting just right on the interior. And I spotted this door in the back of one of the production trucks. Looked like something they were going to set up somewhere. Who knows. Maybe I'll spot the door somewhere in the actual movie, and then I can say, "Hey, I saw that door in real life!"

The large black structure behind the canopy covers the entrance to the restaurant so no peeping fans can see in. And that is a look-a-like white truck that started all my investigations. All very exciting for an otherwise ordinary Tuesday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter

We had planned to kick-off our Easter festivities by joining in our town's Easter egg hunt. Not to be harsh, but it was possibly the lamest non-event I've ever attended. In true Holloway fashion we crashed in about 5 minutes late, and the hunt was completely over. Every egg found. Every piece of candy claimed. Not to mention you were also supposed to bring your own basket, a little tidbit that the town website neglected to mention. Good thing we didn't really play it up with the kids. Instead, we spotted the Easter bunny and acted like the whole thing was geared around seeing him.

Evie was none too impressed with the Easter bunny, and I have to agree. It was one of the weirdest costumes I'd ever seen. Is it just me or is that head piece way too small?

Davis was the first Holloway child to get over his hesitation and touch the Easter bunny. No surprise there.

Weird, but also funny that Davis is pulling his fur.

So we went home to have our own egg hunt. The boys helped me stuff the eggs with candy, a task which they took very seriously. Then Trey and Uncle Nate hid the eggs around our backyard.

Davis was delighted to find the eggs.

It did get a little competitive at points.


Addison was pretty pleased with his success.

Easter morning this is what greeted each child.


Delighted to see a new Wallace and Gromit DVD.


These are the happy faces of two boys who just discovered a bucketful of Easter loot.

Let's add Sarge to the Cars collection. That makes 9,437 total vehicles in their collection.

This is what baby girl looks like when she first wakes up.

The first time I saw this photo, I was stunned. It is rare to really see yourself in another human being. This angle, this pose I see it. I see myself in Evie.

She was pretty happy with her loot too.

Evie after church decked out in her Easter finery sans the cute matching sandals I bought with the outfit. Stinker wouldn't leave them on.

OK, I can't be mad at someone this cute.

Or with such big, sweet eyes.

Davis concentrating hard on something.

Addison with his baby blues.

A pretty decent family photo.

The three wee ones.

Each posing in their own way. Addison the ham.

Davis always touching someone, his love language.

And Evie being her sweet, plucky self.