Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Livvy's 9th Birthday

It's a little late.  Well, just a couple of months late.  But, hey, I'm finally getting it down and I do have many valid excuses.

Our little Livvy-girl.  Not so little Livvy-girl.  I know people say it all the time, but really...how is it that nine years have flown by?  When I look around at others' baby girls or first babies, I know that they have no idea how quickly it really goes by.  I certainly didn't.

Anyway, onto the details:

Livvy, being the silly, goofy girl that she is wanted a snake party.  I'm not quite sure why.  I asked her and never truly got a good answer.  She has seen multiple times the snake cake that I made her for her 3rd birthday and must have thought that a repeat was in order.

I, on the other hand, had a grander scheme in mind.  She wanted a snake party.  I'd give her a snake party with a twist.  

The girl loves mysteries.  She's read all of the A to Z Mysteries, lots of the Nancy Drew mysteries, and almost all of the Mandie books.  Solving and creating mysteries is something that she seeks out, even if it's unknown footprints in the back yard.

I decided to make her party, The Case of the Disappearing Snake Party.

The morning of her party (Sunday morning) she helped me decorate the kitchen with streamers and paper curly snakes taped to the ceiling.  We got out all the bowls, cups and snacks and lined them up on the island.  Then we went to church.

Unbeknownst to her, on Saturday night Tom and I went over to our neighbors garage and decorated it in the same fashion that was done in our kitchen.  We had also placed hidden clues throughout the house that Livvy and her friends would have to solve in order to find the subsequent clue, and then finally having to put them all together to spell out party's new location.


Upon leaving the house for church that morning, one of us ran back in to "get something" and tore down all the decorations, bagged up all of the snacks, and left them on the island for our neighbor to grab and run over to the real party.  It was all so fun to plan and scheme.

When we got home from church, Livvy and her friends headed from the garage into the kitchen. Livvy was shocked that there was no evidence of a party anywhere.  Except, laying in the middle of the empty island was a note, the first clue.

The girls had fun sorting and solving all of the clues and finally making it over to our sweet neighbors' garage (thank you Jane and Carolyn!).  It was a memorable party for a very sweet, fun-loving, not-so-little little girl.







Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Christmas Letter

A Peaceful Morning

The fire in the wood-burning stove is crackling when I walk down the stairs with the baby.  The starter of the fire got up early and is already gone, on his way to work.  I lay the baby on his blanket on the floor, make a cup of coffee, grab my Bible, and take my seat near the fire.  Phoebe is already curled up on the rug in front of the fire, acting more like a dog than the great hunting cat that she is.

The kids start making their way downstairs one by one to warm up – it’s usually pretty chilly upstairs after a long cold night.  There’s none of the usual push from me this morning; we’re taking a break for Christmas.  Most likely we’ll get back to it come the second week in January.

“Can I sit on your lap?” one little boy asks as he climbs into my lap to snuggle and suck his thumb.  Another little boy plops himself next to the baby to talk and snuggle him.  The oldest of the boys grabs a puzzle book, pencil and lies down next to the twinkling, ornament-crowded Christmas tree.  Finally the only other girl in the house makes her way downstairs, picks up a book and curls up on a couch.  All is quiet.  It’s a sweet, sweet time.

Pretty soon the quiet will be broken by the chattering of together-play, the bickering of sinful little souls, and the bustle of morning chores.  But for right now, right now there is peace.







I had decided not to write a Christmas letter this year, but once we started receiving letters from friends and family I changed my mind.  I really like reading about everybody’s years – the good, hard and funny.  I guess I’m caving to the peer pressureJ.

Daniel Noah is the newest member of our family, born October 13, 2013 at 12:17am, weighed 7lbs 14oz and was 21” long.  He was our second birth at home and first water birth – it was such a wonderful experience!! Danny (Danner to someJ) is such a sweet smiley baby who is adored by his big sister and brothers – truly a joy!  Most of our kiddos start out this way, and then…

Jon is 2-1/2 years old and very articulate!  We lovingly call him Lil’ Napoleon as he is a little short for his age but makes up for it in attitude.  He’s a very fun little boy who loves to keep everything and everyone in line.  One of his favorite things in life is sharing a morning cup of coffee with Mommy.

Ben is 5-1/2 years old and extremely creative.  Give the kid some tape, toothpicks, cardboard and markers and he’ll turn himself into a snarling-toothed tiger or make a sled to fly down the stairs.  After a lesson in patience for mommy, he’s recognizing his letters and numbers.  Although I don’t require his full attention when I’m teaching Bible/history/geography to the two oldest kids, he’s always listening and surprises us with what he picks up just by being in the room.

Sammy is 7 years old and is one of the best workers in the house.  Even though there are seasons when he’ll protest a job or activity, he’s  usually my go-to-guy for getting things done around the house with a “What can I do for you, Mom?” or a “No, problem, Mom.”  He loves Legos and has recently discovered that he can read A to Z Mysteries and The Magic Tree House books all by himself!  Quite an accomplishment for the kid who said he hated reading.

Livvy just turned 9 years old and is second mommy to Jon and Danny.  She’ll change diapers and get one or both dressed for me without hesitation.  She can usually be found entertaining the troops or curled up somewhere with a book.  Recently she’s enjoyed reading most of the Mandie books, the Duggars: 20 and Counting and A Love That Multiplies (she’s reminded me of some good tips on potty training and chores), Caddie Woodlawn, several of the Anne of… series, Charolotte’s Web, and the Penderwicks, just to name a few.

Tom has been working at Winslow Campus of Care (about an hour drive from our home here in Flagstaff) for a little over a year now.  He is the Rehab Coordinator as well as PT Assistant.  Although he has enjoyed the job and learned a lot, we’re praying that he can find a similar job here in Flagstaff (imagine all the schooling he can help with in those two extra hours a day!!)  We’re praying for contentment in God’s best for our lives specifically in this area. In his spare time, after he’s played with the kiddos and/or finished a random house projects, he loves researching just about anything: crazy science stuff on youtube, how to be self-sufficient, and, of course, theology.

Jenn (that’s me, of course) – I spend most of my time teaching and training the troops, preparing meals, and trying to keep the house from looking like we live in tornado alley.  This is our 6th or so year of homeschooling and although I have moments when I feel completely inadequate and ready to pull my hair out – I believe it truly is the best and most important thing that I can do for and with my kids.  I wouldn’t trade this time for anything!  To fulfill any creative urges that I may have I like to make bread and yogurt, blog, take pictures, and sew.

We hope and pray that all is well with you and your family!  May you feel and know God’s peace and presence in any and all circumstances that He allows in your lives.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (just a little late)!

Love,
    The Cutlips