Audra, age 3 1/2

Audra: "Remember one day when I was at the park, and Check gave me his doggie and a kitty?"

me: "Check?" (thinking she meant Chuck or Chet or some other such name)

Audra, louder, and slowly: "CHECK."

me: "Okaaaay..."

Audra:  "His name was not Check but he was wearing a checkered shirt."

 * * *

Alrighty then.  :)

I love this girl.  And I totally remember that boy at the park who shared his animals and I think it's hilarious that since she doesn't know his name she's decided to call him Check.   
{Oh, thank you, God,  for children.  They're so delightful!}


This post encouraged me today.

(Maybe it will you, too?)

Blessings to you and yours,

Thoughts on a Saturday

I'm in the bathroom supervising as the little girls take a bath.  I had the great idea to fill up some water balloons and let them have them in the tub.  Thankfully they don't know about *throwing* water balloons, so they just squished them back and forth and they thought it was great fun, until the balloons popped, one by one, after about 5 minutes.  But they were good sports and picked up their rubber duckies and resumed bath-time play. 

Saturdays are room-clean-up days, and the older three are busily cleaning their rooms.  I plan to go help the boys as soon as the girls are out of the tub.  (Adelia has her quiet times in the boys' room, and most of the mess is due to her, so I feel sorry for them.)

* * *

[later]  Okay, the boys' room is now cleaned and vacuumed.  Ella dutifully (and quickly) tidies up the girls' room each Saturday and I am grateful for her willingness to clean up not just her mess, but the girls' messes, too.

We had a late breakfast this morning- because Ella slept until 10 (!).  Breakfast burritos--- with eggs, sausage, onions, sweet potatoes and monterey jack cheese.  YUM.  Also some little satsuma oranges on the side, which are a staple in our home these days.  (Those and pomegranates.  I cannot get enough of pomegranates this time of year.  I had one for the first time a few years ago and cannot believe I lived so many years without tasting them!

After breakfast we drove out to Mark's route to bring him an eggnog latte.  (I happily got myself an iced vanilla latte, too!)  This is Mark's last day of work before he gets time off for Christmas-- all next week and through Christmas Day!-- so that's cause for a mini-celebration, right?  He's been working so hard and so many long hours and I'm so happy for him that he gets so much time off.

* * *

I keep thinking of all the families suffering in Connecticut, and I am praying for them-- that God would comfort them in this time of grief and that they would draw near to Him through this tragedy.  I think of those dear children and the staff at the school who worked so hard to protect the children in their care.  I think of those in law enforcement and others who came to the scene to help and I am thankful for those who serve in this way.  I think, too- of the young man who did this, and how broken he must have been to commit this act.  I think of how many others in our own communities are hopeless and alone.  May God open our eyes to those around us so that we can reach them with the hope of Christ.

{And- a completely unrelated photo to this post, but I took this picture from my perch on the bed last week: a little knitting project for Christmas.  I'm doing a lot of knitting these days and loving it.}

Now... how are YOU doing?

Blessings to you on your day...

Transracial adoption

I remember it well.  It was two summers ago, and we were at the park.  My kids were playing- running around the play equipment, climbing and sliding and hollering.   There were other kids playing, too, and two of them I noticed in particular.  They were two little girls with beautiful black skin- darker than Adelia's-- and curls all woven into braids and colorful beads.  Their mama sidled up to me and asked me if Adelia was adopted from Ethiopia.  No, she was adopted through the foster care system here in the states.  Her daughters were also adopted, she said- and so we chatted about that and then- the ever-popular topic of conversation with adoptive mothers of black girls with curls: HAIR.

She shared that her girls didn't like their curly black hair, that they were teased at school for their hair being different, and that they wished they had swingy, swishy hair.  I looked at my Adelia-girl, all sassy with her braids and beads and thought: "Thank goodness she doesn't go to school and get teased about her hair.  How awful."  I told the mom that so far we had avoided that.  Adelia happened to love her hair and thought she was pretty smart with all the clickiness of her beads snapping together as she moved. 


I intentionally and frequently tell Adelia how much I love her hair and skin; that God gave them to her and how blessed she is to have such pretty tiny black curls and beautiful black skin.  She shrugs it off in her "Oh, stop" sort of way (she'd roll her eyes if she knew about that yet) but I keep at it.  I know she's listening and I hope she's taking it all in and that she will grow up feeling secure in her skin and see beauty in herself because she is created in the image of God.  I'm praying so, too. 

I see it in her, though, as she grows- the desire to have hair like mine.  I suppose it's natural.  She wants to use the same hairbrush we do but she has braids or twists in and you can't really brush those with a hairbrush.  She wants her hair in pigtails, like Audra's- but they don't really look the same, her pigtails. 

Today that four-year-old girl stepped out of the bathtub and I wrapped a towel around her and got out the oil to put on her.  She wanted to sit in my lap first. So I pulled her wet self into my lap and hugged her and then after a minute, began putting oil on her legs.  I said something about how beautiful her skin is and she harrumphed and had a grumpy look on her face.  So I asked her, "Don't you like your black skin?"  [And.  Maybe I shouldn't have put those words out there so plainly.  But it was written on her face and that's kind of how I roll- to call it out and talk it through.]  She said no, she wanted "grey" skin, like me, and then pointed to my arm which was stretched out in front of her.

I pulled her around to face me, then, and asked her: "Who made you?"  She said right away: "God."
"Right.  And He made you beautiful.  He chose to give you black skin like this because it's so beautiful.  He thinks it looks *good* on you.  He does all things good."  And I rubbed oil on that precious black skin.  It makes me want to clap and celebrate this creative God who made all colors and all shapes and sizes and all types of hair, whether it's frizzy or straight or wavy; He makes us all unique and wonderful.  Can you imagine how boring it would be if we were all the same?  Sheesh.  Let's celebrate our differences already-- it makes life so much more interesting! 

For Adelia it's simply about wanting to be the same as us.  (Or- when I told Mark the story later, he said "That's just Adelia being obstinate."  Maybe so.)  But I know that she sees her daddy and mommy and sisters with white skin and that's what she wants to have, too.  Since that's impossible, I'm trusting that God will help us navigate these conversations as they crop up throughout the years.  I know that God placed her here in our family- with white parents- for a reason.  I'm trusting that even when I feel inadequate and uncertain about how to handle these issues, He is faithful and He will guide us.

I told Mark just last night that I often forget that some of our kids are adopted.  We went to get donuts the other morning, just me and the kids, and I noticed a couple doing a double-take as we walked through the door.  It took me a minute to figure out just why they were staring at us.  Then I remembered Isaias' dark brown skin and Adelia's black skin and realized that the couple was trying to figure our family out.  I truly forget that we're a transracial family.  They're just my kids and I love them and I don't even notice the differences that others immediately see.

I've gotten all off track, here.  I was just going to say that things have changed since that conversation I had in the park with that other mom.  Adelia doesn't go to school and she's never (to my knowledge) been teased about her hair-- in fact, she's praised for it-- but she has those feelings just the same.   Somehow I feel like I should record these types of conversations.  I want to learn from them and I want to listen to her and be thoughtful and prayerful of where she's at.

That's all.  Mark wants the computer now and my knitting project is calling my name.

Love to you all,


There have been some nativity productions going on around our house, lately- with Ella in charge.  (I've overheard Ella giving out directions and I can tell that she just wishes they would all just do what she says, and when she says it, please.  I can relate.  I have to remind her to just relax and enjoy it, which is what I remind myself every day.)

In another scene, with Adelia as a donkey and Isaias, in the background, as a shepherd.

Also, Ella turned 11!  I made a note on the dry erase board with spaces for people to fill in adjectives about Ella.  All finished, it read: "We love you, beautiful, sweet, caring, cute, thoughtful, kind, loving, helpful, funny, smart, caring, responsible, hard-working, prayerful, gentle, nice, not bad (those 'n's' were Isaac's), generous, and cheerful Ella Kate!"  She is all those things and more. 

For her birthday dinner, she requested Caesar Salad, sweet potatoes, and homemade bread.  And for dessert:  ice cream pie. 

This morning I asked the kids what they'd like to do over our winter break.  Their responses were: 

-go for a walk
-Costco (that would be Adelia, wanting to go there)
-make Christmas cards
-make thank you cards (Ella, for her birthday gifts)

I think we can manage that.  Aren't they easy to please?  (Well, Isaac did mention an amusement park, but he was kidding.  ;))  We plan to tuck in all sorts of other fun (click here for two of our traditions) so it should be a great month. 

Blessings to you and yours,

Our thrift store venture

I mentioned in my last post that we scored at the thrift store last week.  We found some more books to add to our ever-growing library.

Some of our favorite biographies for the kids are the Landmark books, and this is what we found on our last trip to Goodwill:

That's eleven Landmark books from L to R!  (Also pictured: two biographies for younger readers)

Each book was only 79¢.

Here's a close up of those other biographies.
...and a two-page spread of the book on Washington

Some of the Landmark covers.

As we perused the shelves that night, there was a dear elderly woman who sought us out and began talking with us.  She visited first with the kids, then turned and talked to me for awhile, then made like she was going to be on her way but then turned around and told us another story or asked the kids another question.  Miss Sarah- as she introduced herself- was probably in her late seventies or early eighties, with gray-white curls and vibrant eyes tucked behind her smudged glasses.  I was at the end of the aisle with Mark when she first started conversing with the kids, and when I walked over she asked me, "Do you know which of your children is the most social?"  (Yes!  I do.)  But she knew, too, from her little chat.  (Adelia.)  Miss Sarah told me she had asked our kids which of them was the most responsible, and they had all pointed to Ella.  (Smart kids.)  I noticed Adelia showing Miss Sarah a book she'd found, announcing that she didn't like skeletons, and Miss Sarah declared, "Well I don't much like them, either!"

She told us about being the youngest of eleven children and spoke of her childhood with such fondness.  She'd lost her father when she was just six years old in a railroad accident, and her mother raised all eleven children on her own.  She described her mother as feisty and God-fearing and spoke of her with such warmth and love.  I bet we spent more than half an hour listening to Miss Sarah's stories in the aisles of Goodwill.  I couldn't help but think that she was lonely- and then later she confided in me that she was.  She said she gets so lonely, and at her age- she has no shame and will just talk to anyone and everyone for the pure joy of conversation.   What a sweet lady.  I'm kicking myself now for not getting her last name.  I would love to send her a card in the mail or pictures drawn by the kids- or even make a trip out to visit her.  (I'll just trust that if we're meant to do that, God will connect us again. :)

After awhile I had to slip off to another store with the girls, so I said goodbye and left Mark with the boys.  (Mark told me later that she chatted with him the entire time we were gone-- so at least for another twenty minutes!)  When I came back, Mark was getting ready to check out and I saw Miss Sarah waving me over to her cart.  I thought she must need help with something so I walked over and she promptly handed me two ten-dollar bills and asked, "Will you please let me purchase those books for your sweet family tonight?  I would just love to do that.

So the books that I thought were just 79¢ apiece were actually... free, compliments of sweet Miss Sarah. 


Hello bloggy friends,

It is my desire to post more frequently than I do, but-- goodness!  Life with the kids is just so full... and sweet... and I don't want to miss a minute of it.

We are doing great.  Ella is nearing her eleventh birthday and I just love that girl to pieces.  What a delight she is!  Isaac just turned nine, is currently reading the Redwall series and chatting all about it when he's not reading.  Isaias is as active as always- loving outside time and doing great in school this year-- I'm so proud of his growth from last year to this year.  Adelia simply does not stop.  Ever.  Moving or talking or shrieking.  She's a hoot.  Audra is chatty and never far from her dollhouse and rarely without a baby in her arms.  Mark is working a TON right now- lots of long hours in the cold and dark these days and we are so thankful for his hard work to provide for our family.  I am... knitting and making meals for our family and others and schooling our kids and trying to keep up on the laundry and the housework and forgetting to plan meals and loving Jesus and just truly thankful for it all.

We are winding down to our Christmas break.  Just two more days of school and we have the whole month of December off!  (Hooray!) 

{ The nativity set on the right is one we purchased when we were in Guatemala, adopting Isaias.  Oh, and the cute bunting? That's from Sara's super-cute Etsy shop. }

{ Our mantel.  Hooray for the wreath~ thank you, Jobes! }

{ I love the concentration of ornaments all in one section when the kids are decorating.  Cuteness. }

{ We seem to be missing someone.  I bet Audra decided to take baby Jesus to her room. }

{ Remember this idea?  I have been looking forward to implementing this ever since I read this post.  I wrapped up all of our Christmas books and we'll start opening one per day, beginning December 1st right up until Christmas Day.  Except for that I'm short 4 books.  But that's okay.  It just means I'll get to sneak in a trip to the used bookstore sometime in the next week or so and slip in 4 new books, which will be fun.}
Speaking of books, we've read some great ones this year and I want to put together another list.  Soon.  We also SCORED at the thrift store recently in the book department and I can't wait to take a picture of our goods and post that.

I hope you are all well!

Blessings to you and yours,

Four years ago...

[Yesterday marked the 4-year anniversary of Adelia's adoption being finalized.  The following is a post from the archives.]

But first, Adelia today:

This girl adds so much exuberance and joy (and noise!) to our family.  We are so thankful for His gift of her to us!


A few things are happening on the adoption front.

For the adoption of this dear girl:

[Who is just so cute I can barely stand it. And who, several times a day, has me thanking God for the wonderful privilege of getting to be her mama. She is pure delight.]

So. Where was I? Oh, yes. Things are happening.

Following our last update, things were quiet for a bit. Then- about a month and a half ago- we received a stack of adoption finalization papers that we weren't quite sure how to fill out. [We aren't familiar with the legal lingo, the fees, etc.] At the same time we were puzzling over our paperwork, our agency was going through some issues (our caseworker left; they were short-staffed), so we weren't able to progress.

Two weeks ago we met with a [new] caseworker who walked us through some of the questions we had regarding the adoption paperwork. We are now in the filling-out-the-paperwork process. We have a checklist of things to do: Mark and I need to get updated medical approval from our doctor, Adelia's pediatrician needs to fill out some forms, we need to give information detailing our current financial status, I have to fax some background clearances to our caseworker. Thankfully, our fingerprints are still good so we don't have to jump through that hoop again. We have hired a lawyer and are proceeding with all of these details. We've been told that the adoption could be finalized as early as November. November.

Last week we received Adelia's state file- officially called a "disclosure"; which is a record of all that the state knows about Adelia. I read about her history (most of which we know, obviously), as well as her birthmother's history (some of which we did not know).

Within that file are all the court documents, too, surrounding her case. I skimmed the file in its entirety, and there was one document that stopped me cold, that brought the tears in earnest. It was the document, dated a couple of months back, whereupon the court terminated the birthmother's rights. In that document, it says:
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that said child is hereby declared to be a dependent child [of the state]... and under the permanent jurisdiction of the court, and that [birthmother] no longer retains parental rights and all rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties and obligations, including any rights to custody, control, visitation or support existing between [birthmom] and the child are severed and terminated, and [birthmother] shall have no standing to appear at any further legal proceedings concerning the child...

I am crying again as I type that out.

It is just so final.

So permanent.

So- over for this struggling mother who birthed this beautiful girl. As much as I yearn for Adelia to belong to us, my heart grieves over the fact that Adelia's birthmother will never know the joy of having this beautiful girl belong to her.

She will never know this precious girl. She doesn't get to see how she beats her little legs and grasps her chubby fingers into fists, a wide smile on her face, when mama bends to pick her up in the early mornings, all for the sheer joy of seeing that face so dear and familiar to her. How she scrunches up her little nose and grins. The way she listens so attentively during worship, or when music is playing, and hums along her own soft song. The way she leans her head in, wraps her brown little arms around mama's neck, and snuggles close with a good morning or a good night hug. The way she delights when her toes are kissed. She hasn't seen her beautiful black head of curls or felt the softness of her skin. She won't get to see her take her first steps or say her first words. She won't know her likes and dislikes, the characteristics God has given her, the woman she will become.

All these joys of motherhood, they could have been hers, but she has missed them all.

It shouldn't be so.

And yet- it is so.

And because it is so, the final line in that court document applies to us: ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that [the state] has the authority to place said child for adoption...

We get to be that adoptive family.

And my heart is near-to-bursting at that news, but the joy of it is mingled with a deep sadness for all Adelia's birthmother has lost.


Isaac,  age 9loves:
the Bible
the woods
climbing trees
unique shirts
mommy's cooking
the color green
pirate booty 
his pogo stick
getting tickled
his sisters
riding his bike
triscuit crackers


{Happy Birthday, budders!} 

Gratitude: Monday, October 22

this.  beautiful to me.  and grateful to my God who created it all.

2426 | quilting (and that even though I have no idea what I'm doing with this log-cabin piecing, I love it.)
Again: Inspiration here.
2507 | a day off for Mark (and his Columbus Day creativity for the kids for breakfast)
2513 | for Audra, who apparently thinks hiking means running.  The whole way.  We could barely keep up with her.
2520 | For the garter snake that Adelia spotted, Isaac wasn't afraid of, and everyone else was wary of.
2561 | Mark, who loves well
[also, as a side note: I always feel so proud of myself if I can somehow manage to get a candid shot with everyone in it.  Success!]
2594 | apple-picking with mom and the kids: a new tradition!

 for these six. {even the grumpy one!}

other snippets from my list>>

2406 | removing rocks from the pockets of Audra's dress before I put it into the washing machine today

2411 | our cozy home

2428 | library with the kids today

2443 | that God and His laws are trustworthy (Ps. 111)

2463 | pumpkin pancakes with whipped cream

2466 | holding Ella when she got hurt today

2477 | Audra's arms tight around my neck at 4 am when I took her potty, with a whispered, groggy, "I love you, mama."

2479 | Isaias' improved reading skills

2487 | the sound of Ella practicing piano

2491 | that God's word stands forever (Isaiah 40) What else stands forever?!  Nothing!

2499 | He does not grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28) 

2410 | for the picnic lunch we had at the base of the mountain

2412 | for a falling-over- (onto Isaac) -asleep Adelia in the van on the way home.  We were all laughing so hard.

2535 | that He has swept away my offenses like a cloud, my sins like morning mist. (Isaiah 44:22)

2559 | for a warm mug of anything to wrap my hands around on a cold morning

2564 | Chex Mix

2570 | crisp Autumn weather

2571 | cozy socks

2574 | impromptu baseball game in the yard on a Sunday afternoon

2578 | Ella, standing at the sink, washing Fiestaware

2579 | Isaias, offering to pray for me so often while I was sick

2583 | MadelineTosh yarn

2599 | sleeping next to Mark every single night

2602 | Audra, napping next to me in bed


Musings on our weekly school schedule

A friend asked me recently if I was as prepared for school this year as I was last year

Um, no.

Absolutely not.  ~smile~

We're into our our 7th week of school and I'm still tweaking our weekly schedule.  (See how everything is in pencil?  Yeah.  I'll get out the Sharpies when I'm ready to make it permanent.)

You can click on the photo if you want to see it more clearly.

Being as planned as I was last year made me a little crazy.  Mainly because we were usually running ahead of my meticulously-planned-check-the-little-boxes schedule and so each day I was looking at things on the schedule that we weren't actually DOING on that day and arghh! that frustrated me.

I just feel more relaxed about our schedule this year.  Or maybe the relaxed-thing comes with the fact that I've done this for a handful of years, now.  Or maybe it's a reaction to being overly planned last year.  Who knows?  All I know is that this year I'm probably the LEAST planned of any other year.

For example, I have Picture Study written down for Mondays.  But we haven't even done Picture Study once, because I still haven't selected an artist to study.   (And shh!  So far the kids haven't mentioned it!)  (Recommendations welcome.  We've done Rembrandt, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Carl Larsson,  Norman Rockwell, and maybe a few others but those are the ones I remember right now.)  While I'm on the topic of Picture Study, have you seen these Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason?  They're great!  I used one of those last year, for Rembrandt.   I know.  Why don't I just order up another one of those for this year, you ask.  I just don't want to study the other artists they offer quite yet.  :)

So... total tangent, there.  Back to Picture Study on our schedule:  We'll get to it.  I'm sure inspiration will hit soonish. 

I'm also still trying to figure out when it works best to do Dictation and Written Narration with Ella, so I keep moving it to different days and trying it on for size, so to speak.

What do I love this year, so far?  Sitting down and learning Latin with the kids.  It's just as new to me as it is to them, and I love that!  I've also been practicing cursive right along with Ella and Isaac and that's one of my favorite things.  I always love reading aloud and we're doing lots of that.  [I'm currently reading Opal Wheeler's Frederic Chopin biography- the one on the left in the picture below.  If I haven't mentioned lately how much we enjoy Opal Wheeler's composer biographies, there you have it.]  The kids color while we read and afterward, while they're finishing up their coloring, I pull up some Chopin from Pandora and we call that Composer Study.

We're also doing Training Hearts Teaching Minds each morning and I'm really enjoying that so far.  We're reading through the Proverbs together out loud- Ella and Isaac and I take turns (and very soon Isaias should be ready to tackle it with us: he is reading so.much.better!!!)

All that to say that we're having a great school year even though it's not all fully planned out and I'm really quite content being so relaxed about it all. 

{In the kitchen}

Freshly baked bread.  My grandma's white bread recipe.  (I have long wanted the recipe but always forgot to ask her for it.  She emailed it to me sometime last year, so now I'm making good use of it.) I think of her each time I bake it, and I get to read her instructions, which I love.  Things like:

8+ cups of flour (until the right consistency, I guess! :-))

Best way to eat it?  Toasted.  With butter.  And honey drizzled over the top.

I can't eat a slice without thinking of my grandma, in her kitchen-- kneading this bread, or waiting for it to rise with a little cloth over the bowl, or slicing it up and toasting it for us breakfast.  My sister and I always loved grandma's bread.  (And she always had it available, too.  I'll have to ask her how often she used to make it.  Or maybe she just made it whenever we were coming because she knew how much we loved it.)  Either way, now my kids love it, too- and I feel like I'm sharing a little piece of grandma with them every time we eat it.  Toasted, with butter and honey. 

I've just convinced myself to send grandma a card and tell her all of that. 

{In the kitchen}

 A lot of these:

Italian Prunes
We started with these, from my parents' tree.  Then we got some more from our neighbors and some more from my aunt.  Some of my kids like them fresh, but mostly we like to dry them and especially we like to make fruit leather.

I realized the other day that we've had our food dehydrator since we got married.  It was a gift from Mark's parents- either for a bridal shower or our wedding, I forget which.  Either way, it has been happily drying fruit for us for 15 years!

My mom always used to do this with our prunes while we were growing up, so that's how I learned you could make your own fruit leather.  It's so simple.  After washing and pitting the prunes, just puree them in the blender.  (You can use any fruit, I imagine.  We've done prunes, pears, apples, peaches- or a combination of those.  Currently we're doing just prunes since that's what we have right now.)  Then pour it out onto a tray (I rub it first with coconut oil so it will come off easily), smooth it out evenly, and dry for 8-10 hours (overnight!) and then peel it off in sections and wrap it up in saran wrap.

It is time-consuming~ doing it in batches (we only have 3 of the fruit leather trays, and one other tray for the dried prunes themselves).  But still: worth it.  Easy-peasy!  (Ella has taken over and is doing them now, and the other kids like helping, too.)  And ta-da!  Free, healthy snacks for the kids.


If you've not yet read this post, you must:

The story of Katie's adoption

Wow.  There are no words.  Just tears and awe at the way God works to deliver the orphans.

I love this, from the post:

Before this, God had made it clear that I was to pick up the pencil and write what He was doing. Now it seemed to us that He picked us up as though we were the pencils, and continued to tell the story using our lives.

Wednesday by the bay: Nature Study

{last week}

I thought this boat looked cool in the fog
All smiles!

Classic Isaac pose

Yes, Isaac.  That's very cool.  No, thank you.  I don't want to hold it.


What is this?  Anyone know?  (We took a picture so that we could ask daddy to identify it.)

Ella's quilt progress

I've been working on Ella's quilt, which just last night Mark affectionately dubbed Ella's Story Quilt. 

Aesthetically, this hasn't been my favorite quilt to make~ because it's a bit too scrappy (not quite matchy enough) for my taste.  But I keep reminding myself that Ella chose every piece and placement and that it has more meaning than any other quilt I've made, and I know that she loves it.  And that's what's important.

This is the first time I've tied a quilt, rather than machine-quilting the top.  (Jodi~  I kept thinking of our on our girls' retreat, with your cute quilt and you, there- cutely tying away!)  I used embroidery thread and I love how it turned out.  I might just do it this way every time.  It makes the quilt less stiff overall and more cozy, I think.

Stitching the binding is always my favorite part.  I love the cozy, quiet, sewing-by-hand that it requires.  I think I like it best because it can be mobile (I no longer have to be at my sewing machine) so I get to move to the couch and happily sew while Mark is reading aloud to the kids in the evenings.  [Current read-aloud: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.  And we all love it.]  Having the quilt laying across my lap while I do the finishing work gives me the opportunity to admire it-- not my sewing, by any means.  There are lots of little flaws I see where the pieces don't meet up just so!-- but the fabrics and the colors and how it all looks as it comes together in final form.  I think things like:  Oh!  That blue fabric for the edge that Ella chose looks so good right next to this particular piece of fabric!  And I secretly choose my favorite fabrics next to one another or the best set of four.  Kind of silly, I know-- but it is so satisfying to see it all come together as a finished piece. 

Here's a view of the back.  The fabric on the back is from a sheet Ella had on her bed back when she had a double but now she has a twin-sized again.  Ella loves it because the back is so much lighter than the front, so she feels like it's reversible and she has a Spring/Summer side and a Fall/Winter side.  (How cute is she?)

My go-to links for the binding, each time I'm making a quilt, are here:
How to attach the binding to the quilt
How to sew a blind stitch (video tutorial)