What do you wear?

So let’s say you have five children, and I’m speaking hypothetically, of course, and you were heading off to the photography studio this week, and, again hypothetically, it’s been, oh, 9 years since you took a professional family photo …


Help me out here, beloved internets! On Wednesday we’re getting our picture taken. I am NOT ready! The boys all need hair cuts. I haven’t even begun to figure out what we’re going to wear and I think we’ve all gained at least 5 pounds over Thanksgiving (we’re overachievers that way).

A friend suggested I look at portraits online to get fresh ideas, so now, instead of sleeping, doing laundry, or unpacking from our Thanksgiving weekend, I’m obsessing over how to create the Perfect Family Look. There’s a lot of pressure, this being something we only do once a decade.

Decision to Make

Jeans or Khakis
White shirts or black
Bare feet or shoes
Everyone in pants or the girls in skirts
Boys in one color and girls in another
Parents in one color and kids in another

See how this can be all consuming. I had semi-decided on black tops for everyone, after all Tim has a black shirt and that seemed an easy place to start, then I looked online and saw all these fantastic pictures of families wearing white shirts with jeans. But is white really flattering in the winter when sun-kissed skin is a thing of the past? Of course, black is rather somber and, um, dark.

What about this picture where the men folk are wearing black tops with white pants and the women white shirts with black bottoms? Stylish and sophisticated or too zebra-y? The last thing I want is for people to open up their Christmas card and say, “Wow, Tim and Kathy look awfully zebra-ish this year.” I mean, can you think of anything worse?

I hate to be bothersome in the middle of the busy holiday season but I’m DESPERATE! What do you think? Any opinions? Any family portraits that you have seen or taken yourself and absolutely loved??? Don’t leave me uncoordinated, messy and without hope. I have shopping to do!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It has been delightful to have a full weekend in which to savor these times, fleeting though they may be. I only wish we had a houseful of cousins, aunts and uncles and far away friends to make the day truly complete.

Our internet connection is slow and sludgy out in the country and I’ve been having trouble loading my pictures. By the time I grab my email and read a few notes, the evening is half over and I’m exhausted. I’m beginning to suspect I’m not a real person without my high speed internet and the blog. Talk about spoiled.

Now that the weekend is almost over, I’ve finally managed to load some pictures and found time (amidst the relaxing and loafing) to post a blog. I’m eager to return to my computer and catch up on all the Thanksgiving news. My heart is full of thanksgiving for all the blessings God has bestowed upon our family. My prayers are with our friends and family who are struggling with difficult times and painful losses. My faith and hope are in the Lord.

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. (Isaiah 51:3)

Highlights of Our Duckabush Thanksgiving Weekend

1. A drama about the first American Thanksgiving starring the Duckabush Players:

Governor Bradford – Joshua (age 14)
Priscilla Alden – Rachel (age 11, 12 next month)
Sarah Alden (daughter of Priscilla) – Sarah (age 5)
Chief Massasoit – Daniel (age 10)
Squanto – David (age 6 1/2)

ready to perform

The actors are waiting in the wings for the play to begin.

what a performance!

Exhausted after their fourth performance, the Duckabush Players pose for a picture.

2. Two turkeys (every proper Thanksgiving has a “Show Turkey”), a ham and at least 10 side dishes.

Preparing to enjoy the feast

Gathering around the dinner table.

3. Pies, chocolate caramel brownies, and plenty of coffee.

4. Multiple rounds of Bang (aka Who Shot the Sheriff?)

5. Five kernels of popcorn on each plate – Pilgrims sparse meal

6. Working and walking out in the woods, vainly chasing the sun before it disappeared behind the ridge.


Sarah contemplates life in the great outdoors.


David is an excellent worker for Grandpa.


Joshua and Daniel help clear a trail.

7. Visits with friends – playing Scum, talking, passing kids around for sleepovers.

casey and teddi jo

Casey and Teddi Jo model their hat wear from a round of Scum.


Joshua – the Civil War/Bunny Scum player.

queen kathy

Ah, to be Queen for a Day, or even a hand or two.

8. Watching movies

And, of course, lots of leftovers, laughter, and love.

A Blessed Thanksgiving from our family!! Leave a note and share something fun you enjoyed over the weekend: a special tradition, a favorite Thanksgiving recipe, a great holiday movie or book.

Project 365 – Days 325-328

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WFMW – Laughter

WFMWOur family likes to laugh. I’d go so far as to say our family loves to laugh. We might even be addicted to laughter. It’s a sickness but we’re getting help. One source of help is a Christian comedian we recently discovered by the name of Tim Hawkins. He has several cds and dvds for sale on his website. We watched all the clips and then searched for more on youtube.com and godtube.com. He has some hysterical songs online including, Things Not to Say to Your Wife, Kid Rock and Parents are People.

Disclaimer – humor is a personal expression and people differ on what they find amusing, appropriate and relevant. Tim Hawkins material is relatively family friendly and from a Christian source, but it is humor and therefore might benefit from previewing.

Pop over to Rocks in My Dryer for other Works for Me Wednesday ideas.


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Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Smile

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A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)

I was getting in to the van one day a few months ago and I happened to catch a glimpse of my reflection in the car window. I was frowning. There was a little pinched frown in between my eyebrows.

Why was I frowning? The children were busy buckling themselves in their seats, we were off to an event of some sort, we weren’t terribly late, it wasn’t a Bad Hair Day, I had my faithful pink travel mug full of coffee; there was NO REASON for me to be frowning.

I began to sneak little peeks at myself, in mirrors and windows, throughout the week. I discovered that more often than not, my face arranged itself in a little frown. I was shocked. Is this the expression that greets my children and my husband on a daily basis? Is there some underlying trouble or concern in my life that would cause me to have a constant frown on my face? Am I doomed to be branded a sour puss (wrinkles and all)?

I decided right then and there that I was going to make a commitment to smiling. It’s the dumbest sounding thing, and I’m almost embarrassed to blog it, but it’s the truth. I made a decision to smile.

sarah and mama

You have to smile when you get hugs like this!

Whether I’m feeling cheerful or grumpy, I smile.
When I’m walking around doing errands, I smile.
I smile BEFORE someone smiles at me – I’m a proactive smiler.
I purposely compose my face into a smile throughout the day.

Of course, I forget. Of course I fuss at my children and frown and pout. Of course, I feel sad, angry or frustrated and don’t WANT to smile.

Life is stressful. Parenting is hard work that requires discipline and energy. Being a mother, especially a stay at home mom, often means performing menial chores over and over again, most of the time without thanks and certainly without pay. Squabbling, tattling children can exhaust even the most virtuous of Proverbs 31 women.

Smiling helps to tug my heart back to the right place of joy and thankfulness. Amazingly, my inward spirit almost always follows my outward expressions. Smiling at the children somehow helps to increase my patience with their antics and lower my frustration at their behavior. Smiling first and then speaking, results in a lowered tone of voice and a calmer disposition.

Smiling brings a balm of peace and sweetness that is powerful in the make-up of our family.

snuggly duo

A big hug after a YMCA workout.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Project 365 – Day 323
My internet connection went down last night while I was blogging. Sorry this is late.

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Small Group

Our Small Group/Bible Study/Fellowship Group/Home Group (what do you call them?) tries to meet once a week. We are currently in between studies. We had a fantastic time going through the Love and Respect dvd series and then we did a 5 week study by Ray Vander Laan. I’m not sure what we’re going to settle upon next.

This is how we spent tonight’s small group:

1) Snacks (always key) – fresh carrots, homemade chocolate chip cookies, hot cider, pretzels and Breton crackers.

2) Worship – Ray led us in an amazing time of singing and prayer. All of the children joined us (the family room was FULL of people) for the singing. What a blessing to have a skilled worship leader in our midst.

3) Memory Verses – the group is trying to add scripture memory work to our lives. Each week everyone is encouraged to memorize three verses. When we come together in group, there is time to recite the verses (and receive applause, of course). When the children in AWANA show up their parents, you know it’s time to start memorizing!

4) Thanksgiving Sharing – Ray ended our worship time with some discussion of Thanksgiving memories.

5) Scum – One couple left but the rest stayed to play cards. What fun!

It was a good night and I’ll leave you with one of my verses.

“He who loves discipline, loves knowledge but he who hates correction is STUPID.” Proverbs 12:1.

I think finding a verse with the word “stupid” in it is rather unique and should be immediately memorized.

Next week is Thanksgiving – look how the holidays gallop along. If you’re in a small group Bible study, I’d love to hear what all you’re studying. We take any and all ideas. Thanks!


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