My girls, especially my youngest, love to change clothes.  And often.  It borders on ridiculous.  I knew if I didn’t document it, no one would believe me.

So, take a look at Thursdays attire here at the circus. (I will mention that we never left the house today). 

The day started at 7:00am, didn’t have the camera ready then, but here she is at 8:30am.  (wearing the clothes she wore last night plus a coat)

IMG_6220 11 minutes later at 8:41am she is sporting her “bubble bathing suit” (so named b/c of the polka dots on the ruffles)


This lasted all of 18 minutes because by 8:59am she traded swim suits with her big sister


By 10:57 am, she added her winter boots, hat, and mittens.  She was determined to go outside, but didn’t make it past the door.  (hmmm… wonder why)


At 11:17am (20  minutes later) she discovered the too short Winnie the Pooh sailor dress from last summer that I keep trying to hide and she keeps discovering. 


Thankfully the scandalous dress didn’t last long as she changed into her lady bug pajamas at 11:42am.


15 minutes later at 11:57am she again had donned the hat and boots and was ready yielding a rather dangerous looking light saber.


She then changed into her leotard and accessorized with my high heel shoes at 12:33pm.

IMG_6256 She napped in her leotard (hence the 3 hour reprieve on outfit changes).  Upon waking up at 3:33 she decided to change back into her lady bug pajammies.

IMG_6262 By 5:20pm however she was back into her sisters bathing suit and they were having swim class on the living room floor (note her sister is wearing her brothers bathing suit…apparently all bathing suits are up for grabs here). 


At 5:40pm, I discovered her sporting her Dora and Boots undies, but decided it best not to post such a picture on the internet.

Since Daddy was coming home soon, I prompted her to put on some clothes.  Here she is helping with dinner at 6:10pm in an actual shirt and pants!!


But, Daddy didn’t get home in time to see his daughter in real clothes because by 6:38pm she was back in the “bubble bathing suit”


She ate in the bubble suit and kept it on until bedtime when she changed into her “footie pajamas” at 8:04pm


13 hours and 13 outfits changes…seriously, this kiddo has more costume changes than a Broadway star. And I promise, this is a normal day…including the multiple changes and the preference for swim suits and pajamas…

I love Christmas.  One of the things I love most is that it is celebrated for an entire month.  I love the time of preparation and the focus on Christ’s birth.

But without Easter, Christmas truly is meaningless.  As awesome as it is that God sent his only Son to earth, it is only the first part of the story.  His death on the cross for our sins and the fact that he rose from the dead 3 days later is what gives not just this story, but every life story purpose and meaning. 

And yet it seems Easter gets so little of our focus.  Sure there are Easter baskets and egg hunts, and egg dying and beautiful spring dresses (none of which have anything to do with the true meaning of Easter) but all of that takes place pretty much on Easter. 

I don’t see much preparation and focus for Easter like I do for Christmas.

This year I am going to try to be intentional and spend focused time as a family preparing our hearts for Easter.   I want to carve out some time each week to bring out focus on the cross and on His resurrection.  

So, I’ve done some planning.  I’ve pulled out the Easter board books from the overstuffed bookshelf in the kids room, and plan to set them out in the living room in a basket for the kids to look at and for us to read to them over the next month.  photo

I am planning one craft a week for the entire month of March that focuses on Easter.  My hope is to make things we can then use as decorations around the house.  I’m going to do a paper mosaic of the cross with the kids to hang on our wall the first week, “some stained glass” (tissue paper) window hangings for week two, and I am still hunting down an idea for week 3 (any suggestions?) For week 4, I bought these coloring books from (at $1.49 each, I got one for each kid) and we are going to work that week on coloring in the pictures and retelling the story.  And on the week of Easter we are going to make resurrection cookies.   I also bought this book which has some mazes, connect the dots, and other paper projects we can work on throughout the month.

I have a set of resurrection eggs, which I have used in the past, but not really.  I haven’t gone through them day by day with the kids like they are intended.  This year, I have it on the calendar.  We will start on March 24th and do one egg each day, thus retelling the Easter story for 12 days leading up to Easter. 

By Good Friday, I hope that our family will be prepared to truly worship and grieve our sins at the Good Friday service at our church that evening.  It is my favorite worship service of the year, as it is such a precious time of meditation and reflection of Christ’s death on the cross, but in such an intimate and personal way.  Saturday we will most likely have an Easter egg hunt with both sets of grandparents and dye eggs with them as well.  (It’s become a sort of tradition here to do that on Sat with the grands and it always a ton of fun).  In my opinion there is nothing wrong with Easter eggs, it’s just not what it is all about.  And Sunday, we will worship our Lord together as a family at our church as we celebrate His resurrection. 

It is my prayer that by making Easter a month long celebration, we can all more fully internalize the true meaning of not only Easter, but of our life.  We were created to bring glory to God and without comprehending the depth of our sin, the sacrifice of the cross, and Christ’s conquer of death as he rose from the dead, we can’t truly bring Him glory. 

My prayer for my family this Easter is taken from Ephesians 3:16-18.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Do you have any Easter traditions, crafts, ideas, you’d like to share?  Please share in the comments below.  I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate here at the circus and would LOVE to hear from you!

I know that many think Valentine’s day is just a day created by Hallmark.  Others think it’s a cheesy holiday for saps.   Say what you will, I’ll jump at a chance for a date night with my hubby.  And I don’t mind a sweet card and some cinnamon heart candy either.

But, after having kids, Scott and I found it rather difficult to go out for Valentine’s day.  Since we don’t hire babysitters, we typically rely on friends or grandparents for babysitting and you can’t ask another couple to babysit for you on Valentine’s Day.  So, for a few years we just did an in home date night after putting the little one (and then ones) to bed. 

But, then one year we got an idea that we both LOVED and a tradition was born. 

We decided to celebrate Valentine’s day on the 7th instead of the 14th.   This way, we weren’t asking anyone to skip out on their own Valentine’s plans.  And the best part is, it also frees us up to babysit for a friend so that they can go out on Valentine’s day.  We love it!

This year we babysat for our very dear friends.  Since we had 5 young ones at our house on Valentine’s night, we decided to throw them their own party.  We had heart shaped meatballs and spaghetti for dinner. 





Then we did a fun painting craft after dinner.  I asked the kids their favorite craft and they told me painting.  So, I found these wooden hearts at Michael’s for $1 each.  Throw in some acrylic paint and some old tee shirts and we were set for fun!




We topped the evening off with a heart shaped cake.  (check out the recipe here…it was so fun to make).  Mental note:  need 2 tubs of icing next time!



Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go out on the 7th due to one of our many snowstorms this month.  But, we do have plans to go out tonight and I am greatly looking forward to a nice evening out with my man!

Celebrating Valentine’s day, not on Valentine’s day so that we can babysit for our friends is a tradition that totally works for us.  Visit here or here for more fun picture posts!

When I came out to the kitchen to make breakfast this morning, I felt a cold draft.  I then noticed my son sitting in the sliding glass door. 


He told me he was listening to the birds in the backyard.  They were offering up a beautiful melody.  One thing I love about life with small children is that they help you to stop and take notice of the everyday miracles in the world around you.  How often do we just sit and listen to the birds? 

After awhile though, I was cold so I told him to put a coat on and sit outside to listen.  He made some toast and took his breakfast outside on this cold February morning to spend some more time with his beloved birds. 


As is often the case, it didn’t take long for his younger sisters to follow his lead. 

Check out their bird watching attire. 



On mornings like this, I love the flexibility of home schooling.  I love that we can just start our day a little later and let them follow their whims a bit.  We can’t let their whims direct our entire day, but it was a sweet start to our morning. 

Thought I’d share a glimpse of our dishwasher with you all.  Because it cracks me up.  Last week I called Scott at work to tell him the dishwasher was gushing water out the sides.  One thing I love about Scott, is that when something appears broken, he almost always finds a way to make it work.  Seriously, he is not afraid to tear anything apart and “macgyver” it.  Which has saved us tons of money over the years… He’s torn apart computers, the washing machine, the dishwasher, our oven, the toilet…

He has managed to baby our dishwasher for quite awhile now.  I have thought for sure it was a goner (and sometimes even secretly wished it was b/c I would love a new one with a timer) many times as it’s leaked water all over our kitchen.  But Scott would just grab a screw driver pull it out and find a way to make it work. 

This time the gasket was broken, which keeps the seal at the top closed, thus preventing water from gushing out the sides during the rinse cycle.  Scott went online to find the cost of a new gasket..$45.  Which is MUCH cheaper than a new dish washer and MUCH more pleasant than the thought of hand washing all of our dishes.  In the mean time, he went downstairs and found a C clamp to keep the door closed while I run it.  Unfortunately, the only C clamp he could find was this industrial sized one.  Seriously, talk about over kill for the job.  IMG_5849

It’s been over a week with this big guy on my dishwasher.  This is partly b/c our washing machine was also broken and I wasn’t sure how much we’d have to pay for one on craigslist.  Thankfully though, I found a free washing machine on craigslist, so we can order the gasket.   (a big yippee for craigslist) 

Until then I simply screw on the world’s largest C clamp when I want to run my dishwasher and give thanks for a husband who always finds a way to make things work.

We’ve  been recording the Olympics and then watching portions of it the following evening with our kids.  I have loved their enthusiasm for the events.  They wave their American flags and pound their fists in their air chanting, “Go USA, GO USA, GO USA!”  My son has had lots of questions about the countries and flags and which ones are our friends.  We’ve had many teachable moments to discuss hard work, practice, and never giving up.  And I couldn’t help myself, I teared up when Alexandre Bilodeau became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold on home soil and got chills when China’s Shen and Zhao won a gold after 18 years of skating together.   But my favorite Olympic moment thus far this year was watching my girls imitate the figure skaters.  


I’ve seen various posts every now and then linked up to I Heart faces weekly photo contests.  And I’ve thought about entering, but then never did.  When I heard the theme this week was “I Wanna Dance”  I knew I had to link up a picture from our impromptu New Years Eve dance party in our living room.  The hardest part for me, was picking which picture.  Hope I made the right choice.  


Click the button below to see more entries!

We knew this day was coming for awhile now.  In fact, it got pushed back at least twice.  But, sadly, the inevitable could not be avoided…after spending 10 weeks on the east coast, aunt Karen and baby Eli headed back to Texas this morning. 

We have had a blast having them close for so long.  It’s been so fun to “pretend” they were local and see them casually for dinners, or at church, or for an overnight every now and then.   We’ve truly lived it up during our time together.  We attended the parade of lights in downtown Annapolis, we took a road trip to visit our mutual blogging friend, Happy, (4 kids and 2 moms on a 5 hr road trip…that was a slew of memories in and of itself), we had a girls night out, Scott and Karen relived their children and played numerous games of Dr Mario on her Wii, had an impromptu dance party, and played in the snow.  She taught my son to play solitaire and she downloaded kid friendly apps to her smart phone for all of them to play.   She cut the girls hair and sewed me a chair cover and just lived life with us for the past few months.  She even shared some of her precious Skype time so the kids could talk to Uncle Jim in Iraq.  We had fun going to events together and fun just shopping at Target together.  It confirmed to me all the more what I have known for years.  Karen is more to me than just a sister in law.  She is one of my best friends and I think of her truly as a sister.   She is also one fantabulous aunt and I hope I can have the same kind of relationship that she has with my kids, with hers.   aunt karen collage Then of course there is Eli.  Eli is adored in our house.  And for very good reason.  He is such a cute, animated, happy, and content little baby.  And we can’t get enough of him!  When he enters the room there are always three very eager and attentive kids in his face, wanting to share toys, hugs, and love.  And he puts up with it so well.  They even made up a song for him during our 5 hr car ride.  “Eli, Eli, don’t you know your Eli.  Eli, Eli, God Loves you.”  I’m sure it will be hit single shortly.  It already is at the circus.

I have truly enjoyed watching him grow and change over the past few months and am so sad I will miss out on the subtle changes of his growing up, now that he is back home. 

kids with Eli collage Last night when I told the kids it was time to say good bye,
“like a long goodbye” to aunt Karen and Eli, no one wanted to.  My youngest in all of her 2 yr old logic decided that if she just didn’t say goodbye than they wouldn’t leave.  Sadly, that plan wasn’t all that sound and she finally gave them a sorrowful parting hug. 

Thank you Aunt Karen and Eli for sharing life with us over the past few months.  We have treasured our times together and are already eager for your return!  Why does Texas have to be so far apart from MD?

Thought you might enjoy a little simple math to recap the week here at the circus. 

Add together the following totals….

  • 2 major snowstorms
  • 33 inches of snow fallen
  • 1 official blizzard


  • 20 cups of hot chocolate drank
  • 2 types of cookies baked


  • 1 Daddy sized igloo built


  • 1 sledding hill


  • 0 power outages
  • 1 sleepover with our cousin


  • 1 awesome aunt snowed in with us


  • 1 batch of snow cream


  • countless icicles growing


=  Memories to last a lifetime!!


Took the kids for a walk to the park.  Nothing exceptional about that, except I realized when looking through pictures that exactly 2 years before I had done the same thing.

We were compelled to go because of the exceptional weather.

Funny how life repeats itself.

Only it doesn’t.

2 years ago, we didn’t wear jackets. 


no shoes


In fact, if you look close… some of us weren’t even wearing shoes.



This time, however, we were all able to walk on our own.  And we thought jackets were a good idea.


2 years ago I was a little more lax about letting them get near the water.

fun with a REALLY big stick

The difference between then and now is kind of funny.


Same date, same month, same state, same park…very different extremes. then now collage (Click to make me bigger)

If your from the midatlantic region (as most of my readers are, b/c I think most of my readers stalk me from facebook) then you have probably seen and read and heard all you want about snow this past week.  

Seriously, I have scrolled through and looked at gazillions of pictures of face book friends back decks overflowing with snow and seen kids waste high in it, which is kind of funny since I can look out my own windows and see the very same images. 

And if you aren’t from around here, then you may not have a clue what’s going on.  Because I’ll be honest… I don’t know what the weather in FL or Idaho or CA is doing right now. 

As I mentioned before, we’ve had a crazy winter.  2 MAJOR snowstorms in one winter… a true anomaly here with another blizzard warning issued for tomorrow.

For real?  Another 6-20 (depending on which site you go to) on top of the almost 2 feet I have sitting out in my yard!!!! image002 And I thought rather than share with you more pictures of my kids trudging through mounds and mounds of snow (as I am sure I will have for you tomorrow) I thought I’d come clean and share my real thoughts on this upcoming snowstorm.


Care to stroll with me down memory lane and track my attitude regarding this historic winter wonderland we’re experiencing? 

When the first storm came in December… I was all, “this is so magical, right before Christmas”  play the Christmas music, bake cookies, make cinnamon rolls, lament we don’t have a fireplace… I am LOVING LIFE!!!  This is great!  I love being snowed in with my family.  This is romantic and old fashioned and right out of a book.  Remember my posts and my pictures just oozing with holiday joy and exuberance?

2 months later, forecasters are saying we’re going to get hit with another storm.  This time on the day we had planned to have my daughter’s 4th birthday party.   Insert slight stress.  Do we postpone the party?  Is it really going to hit?  What do I do?  Why this weekend?  Why not last weekend or next weekend?  Ugh… what do I do?  Check accuweather….. 2 hrs later… check accuweather again… finally decide to post pone her party 1 week.   Second guess if we made the right call.  Check accuweather again… YUP, snow is coming… def made the right call.  My attitude then became, “Well, since we already cancelled and there is no turning back, this better be a good storm… I am ready to embrace it!”  Stock up on food, bake cookies… this is going to be fun!!!  Wait…. what if we lose power?  That is not fun… so I fill tubs with water for flushing toilets, make sure we have gallons of drinking water and a pot of water on the stove for cooking, make sure the dishes are all caught up and we have paper plates…. Scott tries to get our generator working.  Still about 80% excited with 20% fearful that we’ll lose power… losing power in my mind takes all the fun and joy out of a blizzard.

We don’t lose power.  Hooray!!  Go outside, take lots of pics…. talk to neighbors, drink lots of hot chocolate…. life is good.

Then Monday comes and Scott goes back to work and we go back to school.  (advantage/disadvantage of homeschooling…. depending on how you look at it)  There is still snow outside but honestly, it is now much less romantic.  With Scott at work, I have no desire to bundle up three kids and take them outside.  So, in my D- momness… we stay inside.  Because they didn’t ask, so I figured, eh why push them?  I know, I know… I am a bad mom.  But they were happy inside.  For some reason beyond my comprehension they have been wearing their bathing suits every day this week and pretending to swim in the living room.  Yesterday they were burying each other under pillows and rescuing one another and then doctoring each other up.  They played nicely for HOURS…. why would I interrupt that so we could get cold and wet, if I didn’t have to?    Really, why? Won’t the snow still be there tomorrow? 


Yup…. snow still here….. and guess what?  Now they are calling for anywhere between 6-12 and 10-20 more inches of snow between tonight and tomorrow. 

And now…now, I am much less excited. 

Because Scott still doesn’t think his work will be closed.  (times like these I wish he was a gov’t employee)  and now I am afraid again of losing power…something about high winds and blizzard like conditions…. and it’s not a weekend…. and well, we’ve had fun in the snow.  But, really, I enjoy snow the most from my kitchen window while baking chocolate chip cookies and sipping hot cocoa

There it is, the cold, harsh truth.

I am not a snow bunny.  Nor am I a super mom.

And while I have no desire to be a snow bunny, I do aspire to make wonderful memories with my family.

So……. even though I am much less excited about this forecast, and even though I am faking it a little, I am still going to do my best to embrace this next round of winter weather.   Aunt Karen and Eli have not gone back to Texas yet, so we invited them over tonight to get snowed in with us.  I am going to make home made pizza for dinner tonight and after nap time today we’re going out in the front yard to play for a bit in the snow.  I plan to have cinnamon rolls ready for breakfast tomorrow and I think we’re going to bake snowman/snowflake sugar cookies tomorrow (since we just had a batch of chocolate chip cookies this weekend and decorating sugar cookies is one of my kids favorite things to do).  Before I go to sleep tonight I will fill the tubs with water and make sure the dishes are clean.   I am sure we’ll take more pics tomorrow of the crazy amounts of snow in our yard and Scott will once again shovel out a spot for our cars in the driveway either before he goes to work or after he gets home.

But, I thought that before I post that next batch of winter fun pictures, I should come clean and tell you that while we are enjoying this winter wonderland…. there is still part of me that, well, isn’t as giddy as I once was.  And I strive to keep it real here folks.

Mary has created a carnival to help us record those funny and precious things our kids say, so we’ll remember them in years to come.  Some weeks I’ve got nothing…this week, however, my kids gave me a few gems I don’t want to forget. 


Last week my five year old and I were working on handwriting.  Handwriting is often a battlefield for us.  This particular day I knew he wasn’t giving it his all and I wasn’t seeing his best work.  I told him he needed to do his best and reminded him that his tutor would be looking at it the next time he goes his class.  His response, “What?  I thought this was just a scrimmage!”


I have a thing for those red hot candies at Valentine’s day.  Seriously, could eat em by the handful for hours.  And I was having a hard time waiting till nap time to sneak them so my kids caught me and thus, I had to share.   When my son had his first taste of a red hot he described it as tasting “like Michael’s smells at Christmas time!”   I just loved his description and his simile. 


And don’t forget my post on Friday when my 4 yr old told me she doesn’t believe there is a baby in my belly.  

I love my life at the circus and the endless source of smiles and laughs my children give to me.

 IMG_3203Most years when I put together our family scrapbooks, our “Fun in the Snow” spread looks something like this.  Notice the grass poking through the snow and the pathetic little snowball snowman my son built?

But, this winter has been crazy! We had a record breaking snowfall in December.  Then, last week we got a good 6 inches of snowfall (which in any normal MD winter, would have made us giddy with excitement).  And today we were blasted with another record breaking and historic snowfall.  IMG_5473 In a way I feel kind of sorry for our kids, because at this young age they are already seeing the most snow they will probably ever see at one time.  It’s all down here from here.  No worries, though, we’ve documented it well and are fully enjoying some fun in the snow.  I am so glad that this year I snagged some boots on sale on Black Friday.  I def got my money’s worth out of em!

blizzard 2010 (click me and I’ll get bigger)