blessings 2014

We were supposed to be in Casper for Thanksgiving this year.

(Mom and Dad Koop were in CA with Nicole and John).

So, for the first time in I don’t know how long, a holiday with my Mom and Ken, Lindsay and Jordan and the kids, etc.

But the roads were awful and at 6pm the night before, we decided (with Mom’s blessing) to stay home and not risk the black ice (everywhere).

How sad. Ugh. The SUV was packed. Everything ready.

There is no accounting for the weather so you have to just go with it, I guess.

And text a lot with your mom and sister.


So Ry found a fresh turkey that we wouldn’t have to worry about thawing (impossible that short of notice), and I ran to the grocery to buy everything we needed for Thanksgiving dinner.

We stayed home and cooked. Nana and Papa came – bringing her yummy stuffing and pies.

Called  my mom at the last minute (like I do each and every year) asking about gravy techniques.

And we gathered. Nana lead us in grace around the table.

We drank wine and ate too much.  Laughed a lot. Hung out.


Then, at the last possible minute – I’m talking the last minute … Rylan suggested a family picture.

We had maybe 10 minutes before the sun went down.

I ran outside to gather the kids (playing in the snow) while Rylan drove his Rover into the backyard.

Everyone wearing what they had on or what they could throw on the fastest, and we mobilized, which wasn’t easy for Nana who took a nasty fall a few days prior.

I’ve had a vision in my head of a shoot that involves the kids in the back of the SUV with their noses smooshed to the window.

Bright scarves and hats.

A Christmas tree on top of the Rover.

Didn’t have time to dress the kids or help them into the truck without making a mess before the sun went down.

Not a single picture where we are all looking and smiling. This is the closest we have.

We have yet to get a Christmas card worthy picture but it isn’t for lack of trying.

Thank you Nana and Papa for once again trying your hardest to get all four kids to look your way.

(Now  you know why I get paid to do this. haha)

The quest continues for the perfect picture but not the perfect family.


This was our 4th together with the older kids, and our first, of course, with Fuss Pot.

Thankful for every busy, chaotic, happy, loud, crazy moment.

This is what it’s all about.

Hope you and yours had all you needed to feel the exact same way.







chalk boards for sale


Lindsay & Jordan are building amazing chalkboards. Any size. With a quote or not. Thin and thick frames.

This one is 3′x4′ and is $100.

A 2′x3′ is $70.

I am going to Casper for Thanksgiving, so if you want to order one or a bunch, I can bring them back for you!

Email Lindsay at linz.kalinowski ( – breaking it up so she doesn’t get spammed by computers that comb text for that purpose.

Or email me and I can forward orders to her.

So fun. Such a perfect gift (one for you one for them!)


the ins and outs of the every day … play a bigger part in who you are … than you’d ever dared to say





bebe j + 6 months


Avery Allen.

You love baths. Splash and then look at me to make sure I’m watching what a big boy you are.

You don’t sleep at night. You get lonely and just want me to hold you.

So I do. And then you sleep like a baby and I sleep like a Mom who has a baby.

You love to eat the combo of blueberry and apples. Protest loudly if I don’t keep it coming fast enough.

You will ride in the car happily for hours on end without protest. Best little buddy to run around with.

You sit up well. You also fall hard when I least expect it. Still spot you.

Everything goes in your mouth.

You commit to kisses with your mouth wide open.

You smell like lavender soap or tangerine/vanilla soap depending on the day.

(A baby has never smelled so good.)

You love your pacifier.

You can stop anyone in their tracks with your stare.

Long lashes.

Had your 6 month appointment today and you weigh exactly 16 pounds (14th percentile) and are 27″ long (67th percentile).

You knead the side of my back when you nurse and I’m always surprised that I don’t have bruises or scratches because your nails are always sharp, no matter how often we clip them.

You laugh when we play, “mommy is going to GET  YOU… and then tickle your sides, behind  your knees, under your arms …” You then wait for it again. And again.

I love you. Plain and simple and pure and true.

Love every little thing about you.

Love you.

Love. You.




the very last day of Fall