47 In Life

I love waking up here…


This is what we see if we’re up early enough. It truly is a sight for tired eyes. Our time here has been wonderful. I love seeing my children experience cold temperatures, snow, and more importantly family!

Warning this may be a long post!

Our drive up was much better than it has been in the past, partly thanks to Justin’s kind parents who graciously loaned us their vehicle which is roomier than ours and equipped with a DVD player. Little Rover did better than he’s ever done!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time with family, especially those we only get to see twice a year… and those we see regularly too!


And the kids have enjoyed opening presents…

We’ve enjoyed going from one set of grandparents house to the next and leaving a giant mess behind…

Rover had a very yellow Christmas {thanks to DaddyBoy}…

I made Sloane a few “handmade” things…

We’ve spent lots of time with family at the old school house…

It’s been absolutely freezing cold {by our standards at least}. And almost every time I put JM in his jacket I sympathize with anyone who lives where they must regularly dress young children in warm jackets…


We took Rover to town yesterday, to my aunt Diana’s beauty shop to beautify his hair… you’ll see his thoughts on it.
Ok, be back soon…

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  • Mark Snyder
    December 29, 2009 at 11:10 am


    Olivia Kirtley shared with me your blog site so I could watch your adorable daughter recite Luke 2. Your pictures are amazing! Didn’t know you had such a great eye for the camera.

    Hope all is well. It looks like the Lord has blessed you greatly! (as He has us all!!).

    Take care and blessings to you in 2010!

    Mark (Snyder)

  • Donna
    December 29, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Looks like a wonderful time!!! Love the handmade onesie…too cute!!!

  • Cassity @ Remodelaholic
    December 29, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Oh, your parents home is like a wonderland! What a magical place to spend the holidays! I would love to have a school house… I guess I can just keep dreaming! Merry Christmas!

  • valerie
    December 29, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for sharing your pictures. They are wonderful. I love your blog and all the pictures/stories/experiences you share with us. Your posts always make me smile. You are an amazing person with absolutely positively beautiful family/friends. Happy New Year to you and all of your readers.

  • your cool friend Cheryl
    December 29, 2009 at 11:40 am

    You’re right…it IS too cold here in Chicago! Looks like you had fun anyway 🙂

  • alison g. (brazil)
    December 29, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Looks perfect! Pics are amazing!

  • Melissa
    December 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, Darby…what wonderful photos, and they truly tell the story of how much fun you’re having! My favorites: the one of you & the girls all bundled up and the one of your dad & JM with his eyes closed (or almost closed). They are all fabulous though! What a perfect Christmas…filled with family & lots of love!

  • Tara
    December 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I love the hedgehog onesie…did you do this free hand or was there a pattern you followed…please share your secret!

  • Christina
    December 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I love these posts! Gorgeous photos and seriously, everyone in your family is gorgeous! Looks like a dream Christmas. I especially love the photo of you & your girls. Oh, and the one of JM reminds me of putting my son’s hat and coat on every day. It’s cold here in Pa!
    I’m hoping to make these for my son’s first birthday party favors and thought you might enjoy the recipe too:
    Happy New Year!

  • Bryn
    December 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Your family is so blessed and beautiful!

  • Meghan Cresawn
    December 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    I just love your blog! I get inspired every time I read a new post. 🙂 Thanks for sharing! Your kids are adorable!

  • Kara
    December 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Rover in the jacket cracks me up! Trip {my 4 yr old Rover} was sitting next to me as I read this post and he said, “IIIIII didn’t know it snoooooowed in Illinois!” He fights me every single day because he wants to wear jackets and sweaters here in HOT and SUNNY Palm Beach, FL! He doesn’t even care if he “sweats to death”, which is what I tell him will happen if he wears those articles of clothing here!! I guess we can win for losing! ha ha

  • Lee-Anne Fenwick
    December 29, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Only have a second, but wanted to let you know how much I LOVE your blog.Inspiring, real, transparent and encouraging – all in one 🙂
    Glad you guys are having a blast….:)

  • beth
    December 29, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    what a fun Christmas! Wish I had seen a little snow like y’all did. FL just didn’t cooperate for me 🙂

  • Talysa
    December 29, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Oh Darby! They are all fabulous…but the pic of your litle girl standing on the porch facing the sunset it just phenomenal!

    So glad you are having a Merry Christmas!

  • Shannon Garcia
    December 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I loved looking at all your pics!! I can’t believe how big the kids are getting. Gabe hates wearing his hat and coat so I don’t know how we would make it living somewhere where it was cold more often, hopefully when we go to my parents for Christmas next yr he’ll be better about it (since they are in NY)! Glad to see your doing well!!

  • elizabeth
    December 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    What a wonderful place to spend the holidays! i love how your pictures tell a story. My favorite is of you and the girls bundled up.

  • melissa
    December 29, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    That looks like just the right kind of chaos! What a fun gathering

  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe
    December 29, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Awww! I love seeing all these great photos of your beautiful family- looks like you had a wonderful Christmas! I can’t believe how big Sloane has gotten already!

  • Debi
    December 29, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Loved the photos! What kind of camera were you using to take those? They are so crisp and clear! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • angela
    December 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I love the things you made for Sloane and I also LOVE the picture of your mom holding her granddaughters!!! Have a safe trip home….

  • Amanda
    December 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Wow! Who is the lady in the second picture? You look like her!

  • Kaela
    December 29, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Please, please oh please, share more on the old schoolhouse.

  • Sarah
    December 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    What beautiful pictures. You are really good at capturing the right moment.
    thanks for sharing.

  • Trisha
    December 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photos of your daughter overlooking the ‘winter beaten field’… It represents the beauty of the heartland and our great plains. You have no idea how nostalgic it makes me feel… Tell us the story behind the school house someday when you get time! Looks like a neat little place.

  • Kristina Kelsey Swanson
    December 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Darby I am friends with your cousin Erin. One of our friends gave me your blog site. I live only 5 miles from the school house.. I love the pictures you took they are beautiful. I see this scenery everyday and take it for granted you pictures help me to appreciate living in this area. I am glad your dad fixed up the old school house.

  • Katie
    December 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    How fun!!! Those are gorgeous shots and moments. Enjoy every second!

  • Shannon
    December 29, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I found your blog through another blog, through another blog, etc. Your pictures are FANTASTIC! They are so clear and focused and the lighting is almost always spot on! I love to look at them!

  • Emma
    December 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Oh Darby what a dreamy post. We’re in the sun and the heat here in Australia and I’d give anything to have some snow at Christmas time. Everyone looks so happy and full of the joy of Christmas – aside from the ‘Sweet Rover and the winter coat’ activity and the ‘Sweet Rover and the torturous hair do’!!

  • elizabeth
    December 29, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Darby, I had to come back for a second look and comment once again! i love the gifts you made for Sloane. Is that a porcupine? It is precious!

  • Joyce
    December 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Darby,

    Looks like everyone (2 and 4 legged)had a wonderful time. Safe travels home.

    BTW Congratulations! If you haven’t seen or heard your bathroom made the ” Most Popular Bathrooms for 2009″ at Apartment Therapy. Yahoo….

    Have a golden day!
    PS I’m one of your stalkers that rarely leaves a comment (from Erika’s blog). xo

  • Ashely
    December 29, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    As if you won’t get 1,000 comments…but, I just had to say “hello,” “Merry Christmas,” and “I love this post.” You are farther along than me, because we just got home, and I have MUCH work to get done as far as uploading the billions of pictures and stories. Love all the sunset pics (working on this ability), snow, the kids’ boots/clothes. You are certainly creative w/ the photo ops! Love it!!!

  • Pony Girl
    December 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Oh goodness, what delightful, memorable pictures of what looks like a fabulous holiday with family! The old schoolhouse is just a treasure! Had to chuckle at Rover’s hair-do pics…looks like he was lovin’ that- NOT! 🙂

  • bonnie
    December 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing Christmas Darby! I live in Chicago and know what you mean about stuffing little hands into mittens. Fortunately, when our boys were small, we lived in La Jolla, CA. Winters usually only required a sweater. Never mittens! But, I missed the “frozen tundra”. Endless ideal weather became boring for me and I longed for home. I hope you’ll share the schoolhouse story sometime. My mother’s family purchased the schoolhouse where she and her sixteen siblings attended school–NOTE: They were Southern Baptist not Catholic! The family uses it for reunions and gatherings. It is a wonderful place in Sandy Level, Virginia–about 40 miles from Roanoke. Best wishes to you in the new year!

  • Dianne
    December 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Oh Darby I just loved this visit. Your family looks so warm and welcoming and fun. I hope you have a wonderful New Year and a safe trip back home.

  • Ashley
    December 29, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    incredible scenery. a beautiful family. scrumptious food. warm jackets and cold noses. looks like a great time!

  • Maggie @ Living the Life of Riley
    December 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    This is such a cute post. Thank you for sharing all of your beautiful Christmas photos! I always love reading about the Rover. He reminds me of our 2 year old son. I just love the pictures of the girls notes on the chalkboard. I hope that your children always love each other enough to write it out like that.

  • Lindsay @ Not2Us
    December 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    A glass bottle!!! I saw that Erika is using glass bottles for Sloane, and I had to comment! In my (very) sleep deprived days when Burke was young, I once washed up a load of glass bottles, and their sparkly presence in the drying basket sparked my creative tendencies. I wrote a poem…about glass bottles. 😉


    Anyhow, I just had to share. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your holidays!

  • Hillary @ The Other Mama
    December 29, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Glad Sloane is joining the girl bunch! How cute! And JM in that green hat is adorable whether he hates it or not! And the porcupine onesie is SO CUTE, Darby! Love it!! Glad y’all are having a special, frosty Christmas!

  • Cody
    December 29, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Happened upon your blog from another’s and can’t stop reading your posts and admiring your beautiful pictures!!! You have such a great eye for photography! And your kids are beyond adorable. Thanks for sharing!

  • Amy
    December 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple months…I LOVE it! I live in North Dakota so it’s fun to see your family’s fun from the Midwest.

  • Anne
    December 29, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Love the sunrise and sunset pictures….almost makes you forget how cold it is! Glad you had a good time with your family!

  • Brandi
    December 30, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Aloha and Happy New Year Darby… I want you to know that your lovely photography draws me in and also propels me to want to invest in a better camera…I love the quality ..now I know it is your talent as well, but you inspire me to want to be better at blogging and sharing my moments with quality…and thanks for sharing

  • laura
    December 30, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Ohh Darby wonderfull picture…for one moment i was dreaming to be there with you…but I’m so far from you…..but we have had the snow…and my children was happy to go out and play…only i was really stupid to not take any picture..i will start to make like you and run with my camera on the neck…
    Kisses and hugs from Italy

  • Christy Stargel
    December 30, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Please adopt me into your family!!!! Happy New Year!

  • Kathryn
    December 30, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Darby- Again, your pictures of everyday life are so beautiful! Thank you for continuing to share with us! I look forward to seeing what you are up to. Looks like you all had a very blessed Christmas!
    Please- a tutorial on Sloane’s adorable porcupine! You know- in your “spare” time! 🙂

  • Mag
    December 30, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Darby- that picture of your dad kissing JM’s little nose may be the sweetest thing I have seen! It is always clear how much your parents adore their grandchildren, but that photo is particularly precious! Thanks, as always, for sharing with us!