A Handmade Christmas

Not our entire Christmas was handmade, but much of it was. There are a few more goodies I haven't photographed yet that I'll share later on. For now, here's some handmade goodies that you may want to make too:

A wool tic-tac-toe Game

This was a cinch to make. I had a bunch of scrap wool from various projects that I used to make the boys a reusable tic-tac-toe board. They are crazy about it. i think a knitted one would be fun too, although I have no knitting ability. The great thing about the wool is that I was able to leave the edges raw which was faster and gave it the rustic/woodsy feel I was going for.

A Portrait

K Studio does some amazing art. I have had the site saved in my favorites folder for quite a while now and have contemplated ordering something for our family. Since Mike and I had a "no spend" policy for Christmas this year, I attempted to make him a portrait of us using a freezer paper drawn design painted on linen stretched over a frame. He loved it and it was so much fun to make.


These doughnuts aren't entirely handmade, although we often make them that way. Canaan got this wonderful little doughnut maker from my parents and it makes the most fabulous little cake doughnuts, which he has been spoiling us with almost every morning. I actually prefer these to the hot oil dipped ones we usually make. Sprinkled with a little cinnamon, these gems are a danger to any diet. Beware!

These are the boots...you know...THE boots. The winter boots that I have longed for and Mike bought me, only to return after we heard the news of his layoff. On Christmas morning, after gifts were opened, Canaan disappeared and then re-appeared with an enormous box for me. I kind of knew they were the boots. I figured Mike hadn't returned them at all or had re-bought them. I reluctantly opened the box and began preparing my "you know I love these but we have to return them" speech. They were indeed the dream boots.
I slid my feet into their sheepskin lined fluffiness and looked at Mike for an explanation of why he hadn't returned them.
He began to share with me how these boots were in fact not from him, but came as a surprise from a group of my blog readers. An enormous blessing spearheaded by this precious blogger. Immediately the sting of tears came to my eyes...then the flood of humbled and thankful tears poured. It is overwhelming.
I am a giver. I love to give and to find out what others needs are so I can help meet them. As a giver, it is so very hard to receive. I have one friend who literally will take my hands, turn them upward, and say "Megan, receive" when she offers to help and I turn her down.
These boots are so much more than a luxury gift. They are a true representation of the generosity, love and support that mama's give to one another. It is both humbling and incredible to be on the receiving end...and I am pretty sure these boots won't come off until the first 80 degree day of summer.

A Good Read

I am so thankful for blogland and the support and encouragement we can give one another through our online connection. Since Mike's layoff this week, the outpouring of love and support has been humbling and simply amazing. When I am tempted to let fear take over and steal my joy I am reminded that we as a family are ridiculously blessed with health, love, creativity and happiness and in time, money and work will come once again.

In more upbeat news...I am reading a fantastic book right now. "Fannie's Last Supper" by Chris Kimball (of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated) is the perfect holiday read and I can't wait for those moments during the day to curl up under a quilt and read a few pages. The book chronicles Chris' journey re-creating a 12 course Victorian meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 cookbook.
Not only is this book a great read for a foodie, but the historical detail about life in the late 1800's is so captivating. And its not everyday you can find a recipe for mock turtle soup detailing instructions like these:
"Split calf's head in half, remove the brains (reserve for the Crispy Brain Balls recipe) and eyes (discard), cut out the tounge, and clean well, including the nostrils. Cut the head into pieces, sok for one hour in a 30-quart stock pot in slightly salted water."

To take your mind off Crispy Brain Balls, I'll turn your attention to the homemade peppermint marshmallows from The Marshmallows Company that we hand dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with peppermint candy canes. Utterly spectacular, delicious and great gifts for the neighbors.

Without Work

Mike received a call last night that he will be laid off at the end of December. Ummm...didn't really see that one coming. He was in Presidents Club and in the top 3%in the nation for his company. But with the economy (blah, blah, blah) they are completely eliminating his region of employees.
To escape reality Mike and I have done something we've never before done as a married couple...work on a puzzle. A big 1000 piece puzzle that is challenging enough to take our minds off the issues at hand and let us just absorb the shock of the news. I am suprised at how gratifying and calming this puzzle thing is. Very therapudic, in fact.
Anyhow, we're less than two weeks out from Christmas. I am pretty bummed that this level of stress has now come into to our festive, joyous time of year. Yes, we are maintaining a good outlook and we are confident that in the end everything will work out, but in the midst of a mini crisis like a one income family losing its' income...its scary.
So while talking it through last night on the couch Mike and I looked at each other and said, "so I guess we should return the gifts we got for each other this year." The boys gifts will stay put under the tree, but I will be returning Mike's new watch (we went ahead and showed each other what we were going to give) and he will be returning the *sob, sob, whimper, whimper*, winter boots I have been wanting for 3 years now and he finally bought me.
~A little pity party is ok, right?~
We have certainly been through tough financial times before. The year Canaan was born we made only $13,000 as missionaries. After Ezra was born we had just returned from missions work and had so little money we couldn't afford to pay the gas bill to heat our water. But we are both resiliant, very ingenuitive, have great work ethic and high spirits. Most of all we have a deep faith in God and know that He has great plans for our lives. Its just kinda hard for us to see the forest for the trees in times like these.
This verse has been in my mind all day:
Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

I love the version from the Message Bible:
"Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds."

So for now, its back to the puzzle.

The 3 "P's" ~ Popcorn, Puzzles and Pregnancy

Its a snowy day here at the Smith Homestead. A snow day..in fact. The only way we can make it through days like these is with a schedule. I really hate to schedule my days, especially snow days, but Canaan just can't seem to function without them. He is a creature of habit and loves a plan. So that's what we did at 9am this morning. We made a plan. 9:30-10:30~play with blocks, Lego's, etc... (building time) 10:30-11am~puzzle time....and so it goes.

The puzzle time seems to be a big hit today. Both Canaan and Ezra have graduated to a new difficulty level which has been exciting and challenging.

Popcorn. Well since it is snowy and this mama hasn't been to the grocery store in a while, there are many bowls of popcorn to be eaten. Add in some homemade applesauce I canned this fall, some chicken noodle soup to be made a little later on and some surprise banana splits for this evening ~ I think we're set.

No, I am not pregnant. But my friend did start a new magazine recently. She sent me a copy and I am just blown away! I am so proud of her...on so many levels. She has overcome alot in recent years. A child with debilitating seizures, a near divorce and a change in life's path...its been a rough ride but she has emerged more full of life, beautiful and resilient than ever. You can check it out online here
Just further confirmation of what I already know...us mama's really are capable of anything and fulfilling our dreams.

Keeping It Together

About this time every year the walls start closing in at the Smith Homestead. The clutter of the season (Christmas and wintertime alike) get to be a bit much. Instead of cleaning continually, as I usually do, I have just let much of it go this week. By no means is it cathartic but it is what it is. Mittens and scarves are mingled with toys and games which are mingled in with fabric and writing drafts which is also mingled in with marshmallow ingredients and Christmas cookies.
About this time of year I also wish for a pina colada on the beach somewhere and a 6000 square foot house to get lost in for a while.
Not too much to ask for on my Christmas list, right?

A complete list of items on the table...and yes, those are deer antlers sprouting out of our antique typewriter.
4 stretcher bars for a Christmas gift project in progress
1 Pirate Ship
2 candles, a coat, water, a watch, 2 stretched canvas' ready to gift, Mod Podge, a printer, a business plan, 2 advent calendars, a 1994 Kentucky State Fair cookbook, a list of marshmallow orders to fill, a grocery list, a carved wooden toy chair from this years Ohio State Fair, twine and a VHS of Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
Now to get this cleaned up for dinner...

The Beginnings of Christmas

The flurry of marshmallow activity combined with a little one that has learned to crawl in recent weeks has made for a slow going of holiday decor over here at the Smith Homestead. We decided to forgo the traditional tree because Othniel is in that exact stage of life to pull every decoration off of it every day. Instead Mike chopped down a little spruce tree in his family's hollow this weekend and it has a nice place on the side table. This also meant forgoing many of our traditional ornaments that were too heavy for the little spruce's limbs. Lots of lightweight pine cones, little linen handmade ornaments and handmade mini yarn pom poms this year...I love it.

I am slowly accumulating my Christmas village. I scour the thrift stores after the holidays and never spend more than $3 on any given house. Some may find these little houses cheesy, but I adore them.

And I am wanting ever so much an enormous (takes up the entire mantle) nativity set that I saw at the vintage store here in town. The $100 price tag is a bit out of my price range, so we'll happily make do with this one I found last year...once again, at a thrift store.
How is the holiday decorating coming at your homestead?

Hello Marshmallows

Its that time of year again. Busy season for The Marshmallows Company. Canaan, who started this little enterprise at age 5 is now nearly 8 and the company is growing by the year. We're already a bit behind schedule with orders but catching up on it all and happy to see all of the orders rolling in.

Slowly he is taking on more tasks that are associated with his business. Yesterday he spent some time emailing back his customers. Here was one of the emails he sent. I love the P.S. at the end.

"Dear (so and so),
This is Canaan. I have peppermint and vanilla. I can just bring them to school. I'll have them ready before Christmas break. Thank you for thinking of me. P.s. i'm really typing this.
Sincerely, Canaan"

This whole business thing has been so fun and so educational. Lessons about giving back financially (tithing), realizing that he actually has to work for money, how to budget, buying supplies, paying his employees (i.e. Ezra), setting goals and achieving them, disappointment when orders don't come in as often as he'd like, learning to interact with customers and speak well with adults, and the list could go on and on.

So from now until Christmas we will be knee deep in marshmallows...yum.

(If you want to get your hands on some of these uber-delicious marshmallows, just click the icon in the right hand sidebar).

I Said In My Heart..."I Love My Life"

Last night I started feeling well enough (from this week of yucky flu like symptoms) to clean the house. Really, it was so dirty it should have been condemned by the health department...ok that's an exaggeration but for someone like me who likes a tidy home, it was leaning toward uber-gross.
Anyhow, while making my way through piles of dishes I looked onto the ledge of the sink and just had to smile. Immediately I said in my heart, "I love my life". I have these moments often. Sometimes when I am walking in from outside and look through the big picture window to see Mike and the boys cuddled on the couch, I say in my heart, "I love my life". When the boys find 2 of Otto's wet diapers and begin smacking each other and sword fighting with them (as happened just yesterday)...even then I say in my heart, "I love my life". So last night, while doing the dishes, I looked up on the ledge and saw Otto's rubber ducky, Canaan's toothbrush (that needed disinfecting because Ezra decided to taunt him by brushing the toilet lid), the pencil from homework (who knows how that landed there), the water bottle from basketball practice, and a baby's mesh teething bag...I once again said in my heart, "I love my life". Because really, truly I do.

Shop The Holiday Sale

I don't usually talk much about my company, Itty Smitty, on here. I prefer to keep it more about our family happenings.
But since it is the time of year for gift giving, I thought I'd give everyone the heads up that Itty Smitty is having its annual 20% off holiday sale through the end of November. Everything is custom made so its a perfect opportunity to customize a gift for your friends, family and maybe even yourself!

Use the promo code HOLIDAY at checkout.

Souffle and Stew

I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible sore throat. I hate those nights. Every swallow hurts and there just isn't any relief...or sleep.
I woke up Sunday morning tired, grouchy and achey. A bit of relaxed sewing in the morning didn't help so I headed in for a long (nearly 2 hour), hot bath. Some relief, finally.
All day I was craving beef stew. Really, I just wanted the carrots out of the stew. But the process of stew making is still necessary to get those amazingly sweet carrots.

And then while reading the French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook I just had to have the Hot Cocoa Souffle along with the stewed carrots.
Since our chef was off today (ha ha) and once I had it in my head to make these two things, there was nothing left to do but get in the kitchen and cook. I took a nap while the meat simmered and although making both the stew and souffle took much longer than my normal superwoman speed, I did have dinner on the table before 8pm.
The stew recipe I make is similar to this one.

And you can find the souffle recipe here.

One Of Those Kinda Weeks

Knee deep in holiday fabric for Christmas orders.

A tutorial I wrote for International Quilt Festival this month.

Making some yummy praline sauce.

Comforting a teething (and recent crawling) baby.

On a side note: I stumbled across this website and am in love with all of the gift giving ideas. I bet you will be too...

A Few More

Some photos of our afternoon at Granny's. A half hour from the closest store, a winding drive deep into the head of the holler. It's so...quiet.

Down in the Mountains

Nothing beats a gorgeous fall weekend at Roscoe's and Nan's deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. I just had to capture in photos how much Otto is growing up. I can't believe he can sit up and play with his brothers now. In the matter of a week he learned to sit up on his own, lay back down on his own and crawl. Let the baby proofing begin, once again.

Mike and I also made it over to my favorite little shop tucked away on a mountain road. Its filled with so many goodies. I really just want to back up a U-haul truck to the door and unload her entire shop to bring home with me.
But instead, I contained myself and brought home just a few vintage buttons, some glass pulls and some antique lace.

Dreams For The Future

I have written much about goals and dreams on this blog. I am a big visionary and love to pursue things that I have passion and interest in. Many things have come along recently have challenged me and have caused me to re-evaluate how I pursue my dreams and goals and how much emphasis I put on them in my life.
First it began while listening to a dear friend of ours, Peter, talk about dreams for our lives. He shared that when we are children we dream of things that seem to be out of this world. We dream of being a princess at Disney or of being an astronaut. But as we grow up we realize those are not realistic dreams. Now into our 30’s and 40’s many of us are just in the mode of staying afloat in life. Keeping a job, paying off debt, caring for the kids, etc…As we go along and the pressures of life come, we water down the dreams for our lives. We start losing site of dreams and visions for our life and begin to think, “if I can just get to the end, “thank God”!
I agree with this. I do see a watering down of dreams as the pressures of life come on. I especially see this in the life of my husband who doesn’t have the luxury of staying at home with the kids each day as I do and surrounding himself in a creative think box all day long. He works at a job that isn’t his dream job (but a nice job nonetheless) to provide for us. I feel sad that he isn’t able to pursue his dreams more. They are definitely watered down and lessened by the realities of putting food on the table and providing for the family. He and I have had many late night discussions about how we can make his dreams and hopes for his future still come to fruition.
A different perspective came when I was listening to a radio interview with Phil Vischer, creator of the cartoon Veggie Tales, who lost everything due to bankruptcy. The interview was fascinating as he talked about the dreams he had for the company and watching as he lost it all. This is what he said (in a nutshell) of having and pursuing dreams.
“We worship dreams in our culture. We ‘dream the impossible dream’. We grow up learning that ‘When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true’. Dreaming is so wired into our culture that we haven’t realized that dreams have become our religious experience. When we back up and say “I’m not going to call that my dream but instead I’m going to call it a good idea”, suddenly it loses its power of me. The minute I take an idea and make it a dream, I am holding onto it to tightly. We sew these things so tightly into our skin that when we lose them, it hurts.”
This was such a fascinating concept for me. I am certainly a product of the culture and have claimed and reached for many dreams in my life. They have indeed become sewn into my skin that it doesn’t necessarily hurt when they don’t happen (although they do occasionally), but instead I feel like I let myself down and not living up to the expectations I have by not accomplishing them. The pressure I put on myself to accomplish my “dreams” is enormous and this is what I have been wrestling through lately. I have begun writing down all of these dreams, visions, ideas and hopes I have for my life (i.e. career, personal, family). I am spending serious time praying and thinking through the list and slowly beginning to let myself off the hook. Not that I won’t pursue those things that should still be pursued but I am taking this list as a list of “good ideas” rather than “life goals” which takes an immense amount of pressure off and gives me the freedom to enjoy life as it comes….my how I can take life so seriously!
With all of that said, this weekend is going to be a weekend of late night talks for the hubby and I. With this long list of mine, one of his and a mutual "dream" list, we are in for some great discussions about how to reconcile these lists, take all of these great ideas and shape the future to make those that are suppose to happen, happen. We have no crystal ball and obviously can't foresee what twists and turns will happen in the future but we can choose to move toward the direction we believe our lives should go and pursue those ideas we believe and have passion for. I want to hold to them loosely though so if they do fall through, we aren't crushed and despaired but instead ready to pursue the next in line.

Weekend Cookies

Last night was a perfect fall night. And a perfect night to have a group of 20 plus friends over for an after dinner backyard potluck under the big yellow tree (that is losing leaves way too fast for my liking).
A bonfire, lentil soup, chicken and dumplings, spinach salad with figs and goat cheese, homemade salsa, cookies, wine and great friends. It was certainly a perfect fall night.

I'll leave you with this recipe from my homegirl Ina Garten over at Barefoot Contessa for ginger cookies. They made my house smell like a Coloniel Williamsburg gift shop (you know, the mix of spices that is just oh-so-dreamy?) They were super easy to make and really a great recipe to get the kids involved in.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Oh how we love our yellow tree in the fall! It literally makes our house glow a beautifully golden hue. Of course, fall is much too short lived for my liking...the leaves are already falling by the hundreds each day.

I don't think I have shared yet on here that our chickens were killed by raccoons a few weeks back. There are still a few feathers around the yard which is a sad reminder of their absence. We haven't decided if we'll get new chicks in the spring again or not. The raccoons are really prevalent here in Lexington.

This is what has happened over the course of a few weeks as the front bathroom in our home is was demolished and everything was heaved out the bathroom window into the backyard...nice one, honey. The reconstruction has begun (new tiled shower, new floors, new walls, etc...) so hopefully the yard will get cleaned up before the first snow fall.

Liking Veggies

Vegetables are a hard one for me. I would consider us very healthy eaters. Hardly any pre-packaged foods, soda or juices, and lots of healthy things stocked in the cupboards. And although we do have veggies each day, I can't say we branch out much beyond the basics; broccoli, carrots, peas, corn, lettuce, and peppers.
As a young child, I spent my days at daycare while my mom worked. Some of my earliest memories are spending time in the kitchen with the daycare cook helping and watching. I also remember telling that sweet cook that I was allergic to spinach and couldn't eat it or I would get verrry sick. I don't think she believed me, but she never made me eat that gross canned stuff~ thank God.
Growing up in the 80's, in the height of convenience food, meant loads of canned vegetables and TV dinners. Farmers markets, if they were around, didn't make an appearance in our suburb either.
Last week I was reading one of my favorite blogs and Molly was swooning over bok choy. Oh how I wish I could soon over things like bok choy! I may occasionally swoon over steamed broccoli, but never bok choy.
We've been organizing our books recently and I came across a book I had forgotten about. This book goes along with the popular book Prescription for Nutritional Healing and is reminding me once again, how important vegetables are in our diets. They are so vital to our health! Obviously, I knew this, but its great to be reminded of their power and effectiveness.

So I am working in more vegetables throughout the day. To start sneaking them in (I have to sneak them in on myself), I juiced some beets, carrots and kale (gagged on the smell of kale juice), mixed it all together and froze the concoction into ice cube trays. Now each morning I take one of the potent juice ice cubes and add it to my smoothie. See! I am such a healthy eater! Beets and kale right off the bat.
Adding shredded red cabbage to our salads and extra veggies is also not so bad.

The best of all was the carrot bread made this weekend that has been declared Canaan's favorite. He has even asked for this to be his birthday "cake". Little did he know, it wasn't pumpkin bread (like he thought), but carrot bread made with whole wheat flour, no sugar, but with lots of carrots and even some beets.

(All that was left when I woke up this morning)

Canaan's Favorite Carrot Bread

• ½ cup agave nectar
• 1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
• 3/4 cup canola oil
• 2 cups king Arthur whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 eggs
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 cup grated carrots (as finely grated as you can get)
• ½ cup applesauce
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 Degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
1. In a large bowl, beat together the nectar, apple juice and oil. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the bowl while stirring occasionally. Beat the eggs together, and gradually stir into the batter until everything is combined. Mix in carrots, vanilla and applesauce until well combined. (if the batter is a little thick, you can thin it with a bit of water or juice) Pour batter into prepared pan.
2.Bake on middle rack for 60 minutes, or until it tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Why Did We Think This Would Be Fun?

The Biltmore Estate

Walking through the Gardens at The Biltmore was beautiful.

Downtown Asheville ~ lots of locally owned shops and cafes.

Canaan catching up on some Laura Ingals Wilder reading at Izzy's coffee.

Pictures can be deceiving...
I thought we were headed out on vacation this past weekend but I was wrong. Really we were going on a ‘hell’ cation, as it is now referred to (by me) when I talk to Mike about our uber-stressful weekend away.
It had all the makings of splendor. A quick four hour drive to Asheville, North Carolina to enjoy the changing leaves at the Biltmore estate, eating at local hotspots, and taking in the beauty of the weekend…it was certainly lining up to be something to remember.

Something to remember it was. Now if I could only forget. Forget the bickering that ensued in the backseat from minute one until we made it home three days later. Forget that the sweet 7 month old declared his independence from his car seat, high chair, stroller, backpack carrier and our arms by screaming, crying and squirming at every meal and every activity. Forget that we, as parents, butted heads more times than I can count about the bickering children and screaming baby. Oh…I could go on…and on…

There were some glimmers of hope though. The Biltmore truly was amazing, as was the Inn at Biltmore where we stayed. The Arboretum was gorgeous and serene (as serene as it can be with a 7 year old and 4 year old clamoring to “lead the way” at every turn). The trees were just beginning to turn and the mums were in full bloom.
There was a bit of encouragement too from a table filled with sweet grandmothers dining near us at Tupelo Honey Café. They must have sensed the stress we were all filling as Otto cried throughout the entire meal, keeping Mike away through most of it trying to quiet him. Despite my attempt to make the best of a bad situation, the toll it was taking must have shown. They rallied around us, giving words of encouragement which brought some tears of relief and thankfulness on my part.
I know we all have these times…parenting certainly is exhausting. Thankfully, I am even beginning to chuckle at the whole experience although at this point in time, I am still firmly swearing off any further trips (I am sure this will change with time too.)

Hiking through the Arboretum. Amazing. The visitors center even provides free backpacks for kids, filled with all sorts of fun things like butterfly nets, bug catchers, maps, a journal and pen and bunches of other things we never made use of.

Now that I have written this post, I am thinking that it may not have been as bad as I had orginally thought. This is the beauty of the human mind, right?

Snacks & Stuff

My new favorite snack; Whole Grain Wasa crackers, Nutella and sliced banana. Yummo...seriously.

In other news; we have pulled out the fall clothes and are happily wearing them every day, thanks to fantastically beautiful fall weather. (ignore the dark circles resting under our eyes...Otto has decided middle of the night is a perfect time to play).

Ezra has been sporting a new look lately. His glasses (fake and fashionable from Urban Outfitters) "help" him see to find soccer balls, read book, and well...you get the point.