Do not be deceived by this angelic face… Josie is an extremely happy little girl. She will say hello to anyone anywhere and holds out her arms as if she is just starving for any old soul to pay her some attention. Our little secret is that everyone thinks they are Josie’s best friend by the way she anxiously runs to them with arms open wide. I must admit it is quite adorable. She says lots of words and is very expressive. She has perfected “Mine!” and “Why?” Two of the current favorites. But…when all is quiet, where do you think the little angel is? Sitting on her brothers’ desk drawing all over herself with markers. Or hiding inside the cabinet where all the snacks are kept, gnawing on an uncooked jumbo pasta shell. Or sneaking into the bathroom to take a dip in the toilet. But today my lovely little miss decided to take it to the next level. I went to take a shower and went over my usual checklist. Back bathroom door…closed. Boys’ bedroom door…closed. Snacks…safely out of reach. Josie… innocently playing with her blocks on the floor. My shower was cut short by a banging on the bathroom door and a very concerned Judah yelling, “Josie is standing on the counter and she is trying to grab Freddy (the fish) out of his bowl!” Yes, she has mastered climbing up onto our high stools onto the counter. This has opened up a whole new world to this very curious one. Jill's baby shower 003 photo by Charlie

Horses and Optimism Now that we have hit February and have celebrated several holidays since Christmas, I have decided it best to forgo the whole posting of Christmas pictures. I gotta just keep on going or I might never catch up. Yes, these two months have been full of going back to school, starting up all the kids’ various activities, getting back into the routine and then having yet another break from school. The countdown has begun for the beloved cousins to arrive in March. The boys are beside themselves with excitement. And I must say that I am beginning to jump right in on the excitement. Oh the joy of 7 noisy little ones running free…building forts…performing…eating and more eating. I love to laugh and I don’t think I ever have as much as I do with my four children. Constant entertainment, I tell you. I am most recently amused by Judah’s eternal optimism as we like to call it. He can manage to turn any unfortunate situation into a happy one. He is always a “look on the bright side” kind of a guy. Here are some examples:   Jen – Judah, you just got a check for not picking up your clothes (a check is a bad thing) Judah – Oh! Well that’s okay because at least I only have two checks now!   Jen – Judah, you need to listen to what I am saying when I ask you to do something. Remember to obey. Judah – I will, but even if I have to get spanked, it’s okay because I haven’t had any spankings in a long time.   And my favorite is the other night as Andy and I are explaining to the kids why they can’t put all their weight on the bathroom cabinet doors and rip them out of the cabinet (a hard lesson learned for Charlie). We are giving them the old “money doesn’t grow on trees” lecture and talking about how we have to take care of our house because we worked very hard to build it and we wouldn’t want to destroy it because then where would we live? (Nice touch, Andy). Charlie and Coleman are both nodding their heads and at least making us feel heard. Judah was listening alright with not the least bit of worry. “Well that’s okay if our whole house fell apart because we could just go live outside in our tree house!” Our “tree house” which is just two really big trees that they like to climb. Always a silver lining for Judah! Biggest news in our house is that Judah had his dreams come true and got to ride a real live horse (he is a cowboy you know). I have never seen him so happy. Many, many thanks to Angie, Emma, Lily and Amy for making Judah’s dreams come true! Horses 034 Starting off on a small pony Horses 056 Moving up to a bigger pony Horses 067 Josie goes for a ride as well Horses 073 And now for the full size! Horses 058 Charlie takes the pony for a spin Horses 005 Such a great day Horses 003 Horses 049 The mud was definitely another highlight of the day Horses 071 An action shot because Judah was actually trotting! So Judah is saving up his money for a horse now. I told him a horse costs thousands of dollars and I’m not sure he will be able to save enough money. “Yes I can Mama, I already have $9 saved so far!”

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