Playtime at Grandma and Grandpa’s

My dad fully embraced his role as Grandpa during our Christmas visit to West Virginia. Jan6057From the minute we arrived, Dad had an entire playtime schedule planned for the kids. He pulled out classic wooden toys from his childhood and was giddy with excitement as he shared them with Silas, Cooper, and Brynn. It was a memory-in-the-making to watch my dad’s joy at playing with the kids.Jan6008Jan6066

He even threw caution to the wind and rode down the hill in the little red wagon, letting out whoops and hollers. Too bad I missed out on taking a video of his ride!Jan6023Jan6065

Cooper and Brynn especially loved pulling the wooden yellow horse. Jan6006Silas couldn’t wait to see what idea Grandpa would pull from his hat next. He played with the matchstick fort Dad made as a boy, wore some of my dad’s historical hats and uniforms, and played “ship” in the family room with Grandma.Jan6016Jan6017Jan6041

There were tickle fights with the aunts, wagon rides, croquet races in the backyard, and stories on Grandpa’s lap. Jan6018Jan6014Jan6059The kids didn’t quite know what to make of Dad’s puppet voices he used for all the different story characters.Jan7004Jan6046

One night, we showed the boys Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson movie. It was adorable to watch the intensity on Silas’s face during the pirate battle.Jan6019Jan6067

We spread out the Christmas celebrations by eating the big turkey dinner on Friday, Jan6013Jan6015opening Christmas presents on Saturday,Jan6025Jan6026Jan7002Jan7003 Jan6033and then attending church and visiting with Uncle Tim on Sunday. It was great to introduce Brynn to her Great Uncle Tim on Christmas Day.Jan6036Jan6037

Later in the visit we walked through the old railroad tunnel,Jan6004Jan6007 ate a family dinner at the Chinese buffet, and enjoyed several tea parties courtesy of my sister Rebekah. Jan6032Our dear adopted grandparents, the Bells came for a visit too.Jan6044Jan6050

Spending several days at home led to some good conversations, bonding time with the aunts and grandma and grandpa for the kids, and—as you can see—lots of games. So glad we could be home for Christmas.Jan6055Jan6010Jan6060Jan6054

On our return drive to Indiana, we managed to squeeze in one more reunion with Uncle Paul and Aunt Elissa. They met us for lunch south of Pittsburgh, and we introduced our three munchkins to them for the first time. Stephen and I hadn’t seen them in over a decade when they came to our wedding ten years ago!Jan7001

This trip made it more evident just how far away we are in Portland. Our first flight from Indy to Denver was long, and I was relieved that our second flight would be shorter. It wasn’t! Denver was simply the halfway point—we’re really far west out here!Jan6011Jan6034Jan6049

I also saw more concretely the effects of living so far from family since it had been years since our last visit East. The kids grow up and pass so many milestones that we don’t get to share with our families. I was thankful for this blog. At least there’s a small connection, a chance for family to watch these little people develop and get to know them a bit before visiting.Jan6002Jan6056

Blogs are great, but in-person visits are the best!

Posted in brynn, cooper, family, friends, holidays, imagination, silas, travel, west virginia | 1 Comment

Eastern Shore Reunion

After five years since my last visit to the farm, a lot has changed. Now, all of my cousins are married with two kids each, and life with littles is busy (to put it mildly). My aunt and uncle have the most fully equipped grandparent pad. From their very own playground out back to a decked-out playroom upstairs, there’s no lack of things to keep grandbabies occupied. Aunt Debby even has a fully stocked diaper changing station in her den, and wow! She’s fast at changing those diapers while buzzing around cooking and taking care of everyone to boot.Jan5002

Although we had only a couple days in Maryland, Aunt Debby hosted two big family dinners so we could hang out and catch up. Aunt Sue and Uncle Brett even came over from Delaware one night. Jan5012It was so much fun to see our kids get to know their gang of second cousins. Nine kids ages six and under are an active group.Jan5006Jan5010

Silas desperately wanted to teach the older girls how to play checkers, but ended up playing Uncle Matthew instead. Jan5015Brynn would have given high-fives to Uncle Chuck all night if she had the chance. Jan5007On the other hand, I couldn’t get enough snuggles with Gemma—look at those chubby cheeks!Jan5004

I was disappointed, at first, that my cousin Laura and I didn’t get a lot of time together since she wasn’t feeling well the first day we were in town. Thankfully, the next night, she texted to see if I was up for a late night chat after our kids went to bed. I didn’t think we’d be talking until the wee hours of the morning (think, 2am!), but we had so much to say. We’re kind of blog pen pals (if that’s even a thing). But even with keeping up via our blogs, there’s so much we don’t share online—things close to our hearts that are best shared in person. That talk was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Love you, Laura!Jan5011

Another special event was taking my kids to meet Aunt Eunice who is 93 years old and still spunky.Jan5003 Okay, so she’s technically my first cousin twice removed, since she and my mom-mom were first cousins. But “aunt” is just easier to say. (I get some nerdy satisfaction out of knowing the technical descriptions for my relatives.) Aunt Debby took us over to visit Aunt Eunice where we sang Christmas carols for her and gave hugs all around. She is such a treasure!Jan5014

Our visit to the eastern shore of Maryland was worth all the miles and long hours in the car. Aunt Debby and Uncle Calvin are unwavering in their faithfulness to God through good times and bad. They model Christ-likeness in their love and forbearance. It was wonderful to spend a few days with them and the whole gang.

Posted in family, holidays, travel | 1 Comment

My Happy Place

This is the farm on the eastern shore of Maryland where my mom grew up. Jan3003In my mind, it will always be “Pop-pop’s Farm,” although my Pop-pop has been gone for over six years.

I have many happy memories of this place. Jan3004

I remember the feel of the patches of velvety grass in the back yard. My sisters and I would lay on the grass in the summer after picking blueberries from Pop-pop’s fenced patch. That grass seemed to be a magical variety that grew only in Pop-pop’s back yard.

Holiday mornings at Pop-pop’s were usually begun with the sounds of my parents watching I Love Lucy re-runs in the den below the back bedroom. Those TV episodes would goad me out of bed.

I remember the smell of Pop-pop’s cooking blueberry pancakes and scrapple for our breakfasts.

The taste of scrapple, blueberry pancakes, and crab cakes—for me—are tied to this farm.

The sight of the stately black and white farm house, with the quintessential red barns clustered just beyond, are enough to make my heart swell again with the sense of belonging, of roots, of family.Jan3013Jan3014

Happy childhood memories…

playing in the sand of Pop-pop’s long lane, getting lost in the cornfield with my cousin Laura, eating peas fresh from their pods in the field, creating make-believe houses at the base of the giant tree by the somewhat mysterious little white house, climbing the fruit trees, playing in the backyard which prompted Pop-pop to pull his camera out of his shirt pocket to snap pictures of us cousins, Pop-pop passing around his yearly box of Whitman’s sampler chocolates for us all to eat, tramping down to the red shed with the white door so we could look in the antique pink or yellow freezers for an ice cream treat

...endear this farm and its people to my heart.

I’m thankful I could share the farm and my extended family with my children this Christmas. Jan3015After visiting the Moodys, we drove twelve hours in the car Jan4002Jan4003all the way to Preston, Maryland where my Uncle Calvin and my cousin Matthew work the family farm. Jan3001They gave us a tour of one of their chicken houses. Jan3005Jan3007(Talk about sensory memories—the chicken house smell is enough to make your nose hairs stand on end!) This house alone has 20,000 chicks while there are usually about 56,000 chicks on the farm at a time.Jan3009YouTube Preview Image

The boys rode with Matthew and his little Maybelle in one of Uncle Calvin’s giant tractors. Jan3010Jan3016Silas was so thrilled when Matthew let him drive that he grabbed the wheel and started turning for all he was worth!YouTube Preview Image

I loved being able to see the old farmhouse and barns again, and we even drove over to take a look at Matthew’s new farm that is home to a Sears catalog kit barn and kit house. Jan3011Jan4001Wearing the Mountaire hats from Uncle Calvin, the boys were enamored with the idea that they were farmers for the day.Jan3002Jan3012

My view of the farm is overly romanticized, but it holds a magical place in my heart, and everybody needs a place like that to hold on to.

Posted in elisabeth, family, holidays, thoughts, travel | 1 Comment

Small Town. Big Hearts.

I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this post, that we hadn’t been back to Indiana at Christmastime since we moved away to Arizona!Jan1001

Since my friend’s wedding was near my in-laws, it worked out beautifully that the kids could get some quality time with grandparents, aunts, and uncles while Stephen and I attended Rebekah’s wedding.Jan1011Jan1013Jan1017Jan1004

Even better, our kids (and I) got to meet their first cousin for the first time. Jan1002Jan1003Brooklyn was born just two days before Brynn, so it was fun to have the two little girls together and to meet this little person who made me an aunt. She was on-the-go, so getting a picture with Brooklyn was no small feat!Jan1005

We saw the new kitchen Dad recently built for mom. He did an incredible job, and showered Mom with love by adding a dishwasher, garbage disposal, breakfast bar, and hand-made cabinets. It felt like an entirely new house!Jan2001

Stephanie and Jason graciously let us stay at their place. It was an arctic weekend with extremely cold temps and freezing rain, but we managed to make it to church and then out to eat as a family.Jan1006 I loved that we had a Sunday afternoon reminiscent of our times in Anderson—hanging out with the family and watching the Colts game. Jan1008Of course, the activity level increased quite a bit with the four grandkids playing and needing to be entertained.Jan1009Jan1007

We had just a few short days with the family before we took off for Maryland and West Virginia, but we circled back to Indiana at the end of the trip and got to visit with Amy and Cameron who were in town from South Carolina.Jan1015Jan1014

So many Moodys, and still, we didn’t get to see them all. Looking forward to our first Moody Family Reunion this spring!Jan1010

Posted in family, holidays, indiana, travel | 1 Comment

My Best Friend’s Wedding

That’s a title I wasn’t sure I’d get to write. But God is faithful, and God is good beyond measure. My best friend, Rebekah, married her Richard on December 17th. And they are lovely together.


the happy couple


Dr. Pringle prays over his daughter’s wedding rehearsal


rehearsal dinner

Rebekah is my dearest friend, and she and I met in college over a decade ago now.Dec4008

There are many beautiful qualities I could highlight about my friend, but the one that has been most impressed on my heart is Rebekah’s intentionality in rejoicing with those who rejoice—even when the happiness she’s celebrating in another’s life is the very happiness she’s longing for in her own life.


bridal brunch


the soon-to-be Mrs. Yamada

Ten years ago, Rebekah was a bridesmaid in my wedding (and I’m thankful I got to return the favor). She helped me see what a treasure Stephen is.


2016: her wedding-2005: my engagement-same Christmas tree-same dear friend

Though hoping for marriage herself, Rebekah always chose joy as she celebrated not only my marriage, but the marriages of her friends and family around her. She did this in big sacrificial ways like flying to AZ to watch my kids so Stephen and I could have an overnight date. And she celebrated my marriage in small ways like addressing letters to “Mrs. Stephen Moody” when she could have just written “Elisabeth.”Dec4004Dec4003

When babies came my way, Rebekah adopted my kids as her own niece and nephews. As anyone can see, “Aunt Bekah” is one of the proudest titles Rebekah wears!


all nine of Rebekah’s nieces and nephews were part of the celebration

Rebekah’s friendship has grown my faith as we’ve memorized Scripture, read books together, and laughed, cried, and prayed over the phone. We’ve weathered some tough and happy times together, and Rebekah consistently pointed me to Christ—sometimes she even carried me to Christ when I didn’t have the strength to walk myself.Dec4013

For years, I’ve been praying that God would bless Rebekah with a husband who would love her like Christ loves the church. And this year God answered those prayers in Richard. Dec4010


her big brother officiated the wedding


her colors were forest green, blush pink, white and cranberry


I love this shot of Rebekah’s niece watching adoringly


with ten bridesmaids, the powder room was a happening place

Richard, you’ve been long waited for, long prayed for, and long hoped for. God is good and gracious to bring you and Rebekah together. I pray your covenant of marriage mirrors the union of Christ and His bride, as you live out your vows to each other.


introducing Dr. & Mrs. Richard Yamada

Congratulations, Richard and Rebekah!


Posted in elisabeth, friends, indiana, marriage | 1 Comment

Our First Christmas in Oregon

dec3012Any day feels like Christmas when you treat it like Christmas! We celebrated our family Christmas in Oregon on December 10th since we were planning a two week trip back east.dec3003dec3004

We invited our new-found friends, Steve and Debbie over for breakfast and opening presents. I’m loving sharing Christmas with friends!dec3005

Because of the early Christmas date here at home, we did an abbreviated version of the Jesse Tree this year, reading only about half of the scriptures tracing the line of Christ.dec3002 “Christmas morning” we hung the final ornament with Bethlehem’s star and sang our hymn for this year, Once in Royal David’s City. We didn’t have time to teach the kids the third stanza, but these words are my favorite:

Jesus is our childhood’s pattern,
Day by day like us He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew:
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

How precious that Christ was once a little child like my babies. He is intimately acquainted with the particular cares, weaknesses, joys, and fancies of children because He once was a child. God with us. Emmanuel.

Stephen read the Christmas story from Luke 2, and then he read Isaiah 53 to remind us of the point of Christ’s coming. The story begins at the manger, leads through the cross, and ends with a crown.

Next came the presents. It’s always a bit magical to watch the kids open their gifts. There’s something in the chaos and the childish gasps of joy that elevate the day. dec3007dec3008dec3009dec3011

We served Celia’s French Sandwich for breakfast (which may develop into a yearly tradition for us). dec3010Another tradition we have is watching Elf. This year Stephen convinced Cooper to try eating his pasta “Buddy style” with chocolate syrup, cool whip, and sprinkles. Coop loved it!dec3001

The rest of the day was spent enjoying our kids as they enjoyed their presents. Both Silas and Cooper wanted to put puzzles together with Mommy. dec3013dec3015dec3014

I’d say our Oregon Christmas didn’t officially wrap up until we finally watched It’s a Wonderful Life after our big trip. The kids had never seen it before, and Silas couldn’t stop talking about it. So fun to share our tradition with them!dec3017dec3016

Posted in entertaining, faith, friends, holidays, oregon | Tagged | 2 Comments

Snow for Christmas

Snow is unusual here in Portland. There’s typically about one day of snow a year here, so this week has been incredible!dec2001adec2019dec2017dec2018dec2020adec2021

Monday morning, I was taking Coop to the doctor when it started snowing big, beautiful flakes. We started cheering right there in the car! Once we got back home, the roads were covered in heavy slush. I bundled the kids in their winter gear (we had some winter stuff mostly thanks to gifts from friends), and Brynn and Cooper got to play a bit in the snow. dec2002adec2003The slush was gone in just a couple hours, but Silas came home breathless with excitement that he had gotten to eat snow at school. He just kept saying, “I’ve never lived in the snow before!”

Wednesday night, we got a message from the school district that school for Thursday had been cancelled. Not a flake fell from the sky until about late morning on Thursday, but since the city isn’t accustomed to snow, school was cancelled merely based on the forecast. dec2004
dec2006We did get about an inch of accumulation, and we all went out to enjoy it. Cooper tried his hand at making snow angels for the first time ever. dec2008dec2009aSilas really wanted to do a snowball fight, but we ended up building a tiny snowman. dec2011The neighbor kids came out, and both Silas and Cooper got to sled down our driveway.dec2012

dec2013dec2014Last night, my man Stephen built our first fire in the fireplace. dec2015I’ve been looking forward to this, and it was perfect! So warm and cozy on a snowy night. We even took a family trek outside to see the smoke from our chimney. Having a fireplace is something I specifically prayed our house here in Oregon would have. It’s happy to hang our stockings from an actual mantel.dec2016dec2023Merry Christmas!

Posted in decor, holidays, house, just life, oregon | 1 Comment

4 Year Old Boy

dec1015Oh, those chubby cheeks get me every time! I could just kiss Cooper’s little face every time I walk past him.dec1004

We threw him a family party to celebrate his 4th birthday last Sunday.dec1008 dec1006Stephen and I were excited to give him his treasure map, spyglass, and pirate sword and hat. Cooper has been loving the show, Jake the Pirate, and he and Silas have been really interested in maps too. It was fun to pick out Cooper’s presents.dec1009

He and I made his Ironman cake together, and thankfully, Cooper is very forgiving. I thought it would be easy to make my own red frosting with food coloring, but not so. dec1002After using almost the entire bottle of red food coloring, the frosting was still only a deep pink. I ran into another snafu when none of the nearby grocery stores had an Ironman figure I could stick on top of the cake. Instead, I used a leftover tube of red decorating frosting to freehand my own version of Ironman’s mask. It’s a sad rendition, but Cooper Andrew still liked it.dec1003

Brynn and Cooper were both under the weather, so I stayed home with the two littles while Stephen and Silas went to church. I was sad to miss, but it was sweet to play Sorry! with Cooper and to make Ironman pizza together for lunch.dec1011dec1012

This little big guy is taller on his 4th birthday than Silas was on his 5th. He is a Moody man 100%.dec1010dec1016

Posted in birthday, cooper, preschooler | 1 Comment

Around Here

Between two birthdays and Thanksgiving all in the same month, Novembers are busy with celebrations around here. Because we’ve settled into life here in Oregon, our family calendar was a lot fuller this past month.nov3003nov3014

I volunteered in Silas’s classroom twice and hope to do it more. His teacher’s love for her students and love for teaching are evident. We are incredibly thankful that Silas is able to attend this school with this exact teacher!nov3004

Part of the reason I was able to volunteer is that I met another mom, whose child also attends Bethany, and she and I are swapping babysitting for each other. Just meeting her was a gift from God.nov3010nov3017


One day in the school gym at pick-up time, this soon-to-be friend mistook me for someone else and asked if I was the new mom at her Moms In Prayer meeting. I told her no, but that I wanted to join. Moms In Prayer is an international organization that facilitates prayer meetings for believing moms whose children attend public schools. We meet twice a month and pray scripture for our children, their classmates, teachers and administration. The group found me! I’m thankful for a God Who sees me right where I am and sovereignly directs even the details of my life.nov3013

In the ladies’ Bible study at our new church, Hinson Baptist, I’m being equipped to better study God’s Word. As we’ve walked through the book of Ruth I’ve learned how to observe what’s actually in the text itself, place it in it’s historical context, look for the markers that point forward to Christ and God’s redemptive plan, and apply the truths to my life.nov3008nov3009

Our family has also joined a small group from our church. We meet once a week with families who live west of the Willamette River as a way to share life and faith together.

Mid-November, Stephen took a four day business trip to Arizona where he was able to connect with our friends and former church. nov3012Solo parenting is a tough assignment, but my shift was made easier when some friends took us to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).nov4005 I packed a lunch for the kids, and we made an entire day of it! nov4004nov4001nov4002I had not heard Silas really even say the word “science” before, but he just kept asking if he could “do more science.” We spent the day experimenting, building, playing and exploring.nov4003

Our neighbors invited us to their house for Thanksgiving dinner this year.nov3002 In our decade of marriage, Stephen and I had never had dinner at a neighbor’s house before, so it was extra special to be invited. I pitched in and made a couple side dishes as well as a sugar cream pie, pear cranberry pie, and a marionberry pie (an Oregon specialty made with marionberries bred right here in the Willamette Valley).nov5002nov5003

The Friday after Thanksgiving we toured the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum about an hour away. Evergreen is home to Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose, the aircraft with the widest wingspan. nov5005nov5008We saw the airplanes and spacecraft, but the best part was watching the fighter pilot documentary in the IMAX theater. Or, more specifically, the best part was watching Stephen watch the boys watch the fighter pilot film. Stephen’s eyes were bursting with love and boyhood joy as he shared his love for planes with his little boys. At one point both Silas and Cooper were on the edges of their seats, and Cooper gave a running commentary of how “awesome” he thought the movie was.nov5006nov5004nov5007So, there’s a peek into some of what it’s been like around here.


Posted in community, employment, faith, food, friends, grade school, hinson, holidays, imagination, just life, oregon, stephen | 1 Comment

Silas’s Sixth

Happy birthday, my Silas Clark!nov2008

This year Silas and I decorated his cake together. It was a team effort. nov2003Silas picked out the cake flavor and the frosting colors. Since he wanted a Transformer cake, I bought Optimus Prime and Megatron figures from the grocery bakery to stand atop the cake. While I won’t win any awards for my cake decorating skills, my little guy liked it, and that’s what counts!nov2014

Several days before the actual birthday, Stephen took Silas to toy store up the road to pick up a volcano-making and erupting kit. This kid has been intrigued by lava and volcanoes for a while, and now that we live near several volcanic mountains, his interest has grown into more of a scientific understanding of them. The kit was a great father/son activity.nov2001nov2002

On the birthday eve, I hung streamers at the foot of our stairs, and Stephen and I filled balloons which greeted Silas in his bedroom the next morning. Silas began his birthday with cards from far away family, and then took one of his favorite stories in to school for his teacher to read to the class.nov2005nov2006

After school, he was excited to show me his star sticker and the Go Fish game he picked from the birthday bucket at school. We marked his height on our growth ruler, and Silas is now 3 ft 8 in—up two inches from last year.nov2007

The big six year old got his very own game of Checkers. He was introduced to Checkers a few weeks ago, and since we didn’t own the game, he made his own checkerboard out of Lego, and we taught him to play. nov2013nov2010nov2009It was fun to see him open his presents, and Cooper and Brynn had a blast since they got some presents from our friends in Arizona.nov2011nov2012

Silas blew out his candles, and we devoured the birthday cake to finish off the night. We are thrilled at the young man Silas is becoming. We see concrete evidence of God’s working in his heart. nov2015nov2016nov2017Watching him grow is a delight.

Posted in birthday, family, grade school, silas | 3 Comments