{Family Walk}
First day of the new year and we took a walk at the beach. We had a fantastic time until we got back to discover that our driver's window had been smashed and phone stolen. However, we talked with the kids about how we were still safe and cared for and we prayed for the person that did it. The contrast between the not great place someone would be in to do that, and the blessing that we walk in felt pretty clear to me. It's going to be a good year.


Sometimes she is all messy nine year old...hair pulled back into bunchy pony tails, wearing her Alaska sweatshirt every day unless I hide it, and trying to get away with summer clothes in the winter. Then other times I catch a glimpse of the young woman she's becoming and she takes my breath away.


I love his little Flintstone feet flipped over the side of the couch.


Decorating the furniture was warned against darkly by their older sister but they did not heed her wisdom.

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{Girl time}
Ruby and I spent some time together getting her hair cut and then having a coffee/steamer and a chat. We talked about role models, how her heart was doing and I asked her if there was anyone she wanted to spend more time with. "Yes. You and daddy." I love this girl.

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{Monkey and Lover}
Last night we were doing family devotions and I asked everyone to use a couple words to describe themselves. Tymen said, "Lover." Ben and I smiled at each other because he is very tender and sweet and loving....which he needs to be because sometimes he's a complete monkey.

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{More Fun}
Auntie Meghan makes everything a little more fun. She also steps in with the sweetest heart and attitude. This week, she jumped right in and started stripping a yucky bed when someone got sick and she also smiled and got the dustpan when I was ready to take a bite out of someone who broke the glass in our light fixture. Jasper said, "That Auntie Meghan, she always smiles."

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It's been grey and soggy the last two days, exactly how you'd picture a Washington winter. We've been getting cozy. Warm cider and cookies for snack and we're having ham and cheese crepes for dinner.

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He's a happy, smiling, kissing, joking, giggling three year old.

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For the weekend of Ben's 40th, his family secretly flew in from Colorado and New York. It was the first time that they had all been together in almost three years and Ben was truly surprised. We had such a fun weekend together and all the effort of everyone to get here was so worth it!


{Shopping for Dinner}
Everyone got an item to shop for and a budget at Pike Street Market. Wine, cheeses, bread, meats, salad, veggies, sauces were all collected for a fantastic raclette meal when we got home. The kids even got a $5 food budget each. Tymen spent his dollars on mini donuts which he shared.


It feels like with everyone across the country, it's rare but oh-so-fun to get Ben's family together. We did lots and lots of talking and laughing together. It warmed my heart to see them enjoy each other so much!


Theo stepped in to help daddy blow out the candles since he obviously could be too old to do it himself .


Theo and Tymen play hard (and sometimes scrap) all morning long. When it's time for Tymen to leave for kindergarten, they kiss and bear hug and wave like they are parting for months.


Thirteen months apart felt like a whole lot of work when they were little but it sure is fun to see how close they are now.


{Wild Thing}
Inside, though, he's a real softy.


{Sit Wif Ya}
He often trots over, starts backing up onto my lap, smiles and says, "I sit wif ya?" I always say, "Yes." Then I savour his chubby arm around my neck and kisses on my cheek. He likes to see pictures of himself too.


It was gorgeous and sunny almost all day and the kids spent about four hours playing outside. Here we were just after sunset when we were going for a family walk and Ruby was showing us how she could hop down the numbers.


Except for the Olympics, we are not generally sports people. However, we did tune in for the playoff game yesterday. I think it was every bit as fun to watch and hear from the fans as it was to watch the game as Seattle heads to the Super Bowl. (We'll certainly be watching on Feb. 2).


{Road Warriors}
They weren't having fun at all…


"Tymen my brudder." At the park this morning as the sun broke through the fog. I love these crazies.


From his perch in timeout, I hear the call, "Me have a happy face now!"


{Fwoggy Boots}
The pleasure that she takes in him mirrors my own. She loves to mess with him and I see the affection he lathers on her as he chases her around. When he does something cute or funny or quirky that makes us laugh, she often catches my eye so we can enjoy him together.


I got to spend the afternoon with a special girl. For her 17th birthday, my sister's high school best friend's daughter (there's a connection!), was brought down by her mum from Vancouver for a special tutorial on how to use her new d-slr. I loved teaching her for a few hours and we ended it with a Valentine photo shoot with Ruby who had come home from school. It was such a sweet time...and we ate donuts which made it just about perfect.


{His Girl}
I was just talking with a friend this afternoon about how amazing it is to see our girls (and boys) so loved by their dads.


{Family Devotions}
Sunday is our favorite day of the week. After church we usually play outside, go for a walk or bikeride, and then sneak in a nap. At night we have dinner with some kind of special dessert, watch a movie together and do family devotions. This little object lesson had the kids adding chocolate money to a bowl as we talked about all the blessings that God has given us. It was funny and sweet and made me happy to see our kids learning how to count their blessings.


Croup went to a deep chest cold and we'd find him laying face down around the house, saying, "Me sick! Me SO sick! Cuddle wif me." The humidifier was a life saver at night too.

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At times raising boys has me baffled. I am so glad that they have Ben as a role model. He is a really good dad. He chases and tosses them around and then also is really tender when they need it too.


{Best Kind of Mail}
I was so happy to find our 2013 Hamilton Family albums delivered. There were some crazy sales going on at Shutterfly so I was hurrying to take advantage of them! I do about an hour each month and make about eight pages of our yearly album. I also save money each month for the big buy at the end of the year. I got 5 copies of this 12 by 12 hardcover album which is about 100...See More


His nickname. Those big brown eyes melt me, especially when he is grinning and raising his eyebrows.


Making this world safer for us all. (A dress up box is one of the most used toys in our house).


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