Wednesday, January 25, 2023


 This morning, I found myself driving 45 minutes away
to a particular FedEx store in Durham to pick up six Asian Forest scorpions
(that grow up to 6 inches) and a Vinegaroon scorpion that Gigs bought.
Since they are live creatures, they need to be picked up right when 
they arrive at the location, and since I had nothing better to do (NOT),
I picked them up along with several other customers in line who were
picking up their creatures like; jumping spiders, an
orchid praying mantis, and a tarantula.

Later, Ollie and I drove to Walgreens for the 
THIRD time to get his Visa passports photos for his mission.
Then we went to pick up Lottie and then Gigs from school.
It's been pouring rain all day (I LOVE IT), and we came home, made a fire, 
lit the candles, and then I started dinner.  
Gigs showed me his new friends, which are super creepy, especially the 
Vinegaroon scorpion.  Gigs named her
Leia because her pinchers look like rolled-up buns on her head, similar
to Princess Leia from Star Wars.
While driving or cooking, ironing, or what-have-you, I've been listening
 to a book called Bittersweet by Susan Cain,
 World That Can't Stop Talking-one of my favorite books!!!!!!!).
I'm learning more about myself and why I like sad movies, books, and music.
There IS A REASON, and I feel so validated!
It also may confirm why I like gloomy days like today.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Go back to sleep!

 This morning, I dropped Lottie off at school and saw that
Not to mention that at Stillestead, my daffodils and tulips 
are popping up in the front yard.
I am NOT ready for spring yet!!
I haven't had enough cold days and stormy gray weather; 
we have yet to have ONE snowfall.  It just can't spring yet!  
Please go back to sleep for at least two more months!!

Monday, January 23, 2023

First Day on the job.

 Over Christmas break, Gigs applied for and got a job, 
and it went like this:
Gigs: "Mom, I got a job yesterday."
Me: "Wait, what?  Where?" 
Gigs: "Taco Bell slash Kentucky Fried Chicken." 
Me: "What?"
Gigs: "Yes, I start in January 
and need to drop off my social security card."
Me: "Well, which one will you work at, KFC or Taco Bell?"
Gigs: "I don't know, wherever they need me."

So today was the first day at his new job.
I picked him up from school, and we drove across
 the street to Taco Bell/KFC.
But first, he changed the clothes that I had brought for him
(black pants and shoes per the dress code).
Turns out, the pants I bought and brought
 him in the car were too small, and luckily
Ollie was in the car with us and HAD ON BLACK PANTS
but was very, VERY hesitant to give them up.
"You'll make them smell really bad." I think his words were followed by,
"you owe me big time." 
Then both boys stripped down to their undies in the
 back seat of the car and exchanged black pants.
After dinner, Ollie, Lottie, Christian, and I jumped in the car
and drove to see Gigs.  We went to the drive-through hoping
he'd serve us, but apparently, the "system" was down, and they couldn't
serve us.  The manager told us to return in 20 minutes, and it
would be up and running.  The funny thing was, they closed in 10 minutes.
Hmmm...well played, manager.
Then Gigs walked out the door to take the trash out, perfect timing.
We'll try another night again, besides there isn't much we like at
Taco Bell.  In fact, I don't even know the last time I went there.

They only had a size XL in his uniform shirt. 
 He was literally drowning in it!  
I am super proud of Gigs for initiating this job, 
we'll see how long it lasts.

His snake, Candace, needs a frozen mouse every week, so he needs a job
to keep up with her feeding habits, and needs money 
to feed his other critter children.

Go, Gigs!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve 2022

 What an eventful Christmas Eve!!
Christian, Ollie, Claire, and I took a morning Barre class, 
then grabbed breakfast next door. 
North Carolina is in an unprecedented cold spell.
Temperatures are FREEZING, with power outages and frozen pipes.
We've been lucky and haven't been too affected.
 Lottie and I made Christmas cookies together...well, about 15 minutes in,
she dipped, and I finished them alone.
Not really alone since both girls were journalling and drawing
and doing whatever.  We decided to grab pizza for a late lunch and then
went on a fun ride looking at Christmas lights around town.

We came home, and I got to work wrapping presents and organizing
Santa's haul for the following day.
When it was dark, I wrapped up their Christmas PJs
and made a charcuterie board to graze on for the rest of the evening.

We opened up PJs (Jordan shirts- representing NC!),
then read Luke 2.  Of course...this is what it's all about!

We discussed the Son of God and His purpose and mission on earth.
I cried thinking about Ollie leaving and Jane
 celebrating Christmas in Portugal.
Good happy tears (and, yes, sad, too).
Christian and I stayed up late (but not as late as previous Christmas Eves),
wrapping presents while watching Christmas movies.

The shepherds reverently approached the stable to worship the King of kings. 
How will we worship Him this season? Endlessly shopping? 
Hustling about and adorning our homes? Will that be our tribute to our Savior? 
Or will we bring peace to troubled hearts, good will to those in
 need of higher purpose, glory to God in our willingness to do His bidding?
 – Ronald A. Rasband 

Friday, December 23, 2022

All is Calm all is bright at Stillestead

 Tonight Christian and I took Angus for a walk out back n the fields
to see the cows and be alone together. 
 I love Christmas break for many reasons, 
but sometimes, I just need a few minutes of alone time.
We stopped in the middle of the field to have our prayer
together.  We have SO much to thank God for, including
this quiet, peaceful time together,
our cozy house, and the beautiful Hygge lights that bring us joy.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Three More Sleeps 'Til Christmas

I left the house this morning, and it was evening when I returned.
I ran last-minute Christmas errands and went to the
 grocery store for our holiday grocery haul.
I came home to four eager children who helped me carry all 
the packages, sacks, and groceries inside.
It rained the whole day, and while it wasn't super cold, it was cozy
and hygge-ish.  My favorite!
Later in the evening, Christian went on a mysterious trip somewhere
and came home with a mysterious Tupperware hidden under a blanket.
Inside was Gigs's Ball Python, a gift he didn't even know he would get!
Our friend and fellow snake lover had him living 
at his house for the last few weeks.
We kept him (or her?) under our TV.
I can't believe I did that.
Then Gigs and Lottie put on a little shadow-puppet show before bed.

Oh, and I've had this song from 
The Muppet's Christmas Carol in my brain all day:
(Even though I know it's three more sleeps until Christmas).

There's magic in the air this evening
Magic in the air
The world is at her best, you know
When people love and care
The promise of excitement
Is one the night will keep
After all, there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas
The world has gotta smile today
The world has gotta glow
There's no such thing as strangers
When a stranger says, "Hello"
And everyone is family
We're havin' so much fun
After all there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas
'Tis the season to be jolly and joyous
With a burst of pleasure we feel it all right
It's a season when the Saints can employ us
To spread the news about peace and to keep love alive
There's somethin' in the wind today that's good for everyone
Yes, faith is our hearts today, we're shinin' like the sun
And everyone can feel it, the feelin's runnin' deep
After all there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas
After all there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

In The Bleak Midwinter

Last night I walked down the cold driveway to the mailbox to get 
the mail (and hoping for Christmas cards!!).
On my way back, I took these beautiful photos of the luminaries lighting
my way home.  
Then I sang my favorite Christmas song to myself:
"In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen
Snow on snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long, long ago
Angels and Arc Angels
May have traveled there
Cherubim and Seraphim
Thronged the air
But only his Mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshiped the beloved
With a kiss
What can I give him?
Poor as I am
If I were a shepherd
I would give a lamb
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
But what I can I give him
Give him my heart
Give him my heart."
Also, I made these fantastic snowflakes
I'm keeping these babies up throughout January!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Where will we be?

This afternoon Christian, Ollie, and I drove to Durham 
to get some important documents apostilled for his mission in February.  
It was POURING rain.  When it rains in North Carolina, it RAINS!  
When we came home later, I made dinner while everyone was upstairs-
except for Gigs, who stayed downstairs to talk to me and show me
funny things on his phone.
I have to keep reminding myself that these days are so precious,
and every second literally counts.
I am so unsure about what next Christmas will look like;
where will Claire be?
Jane will still be in Portugal and
Ollie will be in Brazil
and the rest of us will be home missing the gang!

Monday, December 19, 2022

Luminaries to Stillestead

The driveway journey to Stillestead is long... 1,500 feet, to be exact.
When touring the property last summer, I immediately 
envisioned our luminaries lighting the driveway at Christmastime.
(I have one of those brains).
Today we finally got around to getting them set up.
Christian rigged up the power source, which, as it turns out, was quite the 
process since we had to order special extension cords to extend from 
the power source outside to the driveway.
 I set up the luminaries, and Lottie put fresh lightbulbs in each light.
And the boys, well, the boys,
 ran around having an airsoft gunfight in full armor.
Welcome, Christmas break!!
I only have enough luminaries to light 3/4ths of the driveway,
 so I'll buy two more sets each year.  
Hopefully, by 2025 the whole driveway will be lit. 

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