Category Archives: The Fam

All in a day’s work.

The night has snuffed out the last of the light. The snow is falling, we are all in preparation for bed. Jammies on. Teeth brushed. But there is one ingredient missing. Do you know what it is? What’s that? A story? Well, yes, a story. It just so happens I know one.

Here’s one to as you snuggle up on this cold January night.

“Once upon a time there were  three men, all working towards building the same structure. A back breaking job, chipping rock to form the wall that would surround a new building. It was hot. The progress was slow. And so they worked, day by day.

A stranger happens by, noticing the pile of rubble and wondered to the first worker, “What are you doing?” The worker, agitated by the interruption, doesn’t even look up from his labor. He responds gruffly with, “What does it look like I’m doing, I’m breaking rocks!”

The wandering stranger moves on down the sidewalk a bit and asks the second worker, “What are you doing?” The second worker responds, leaning heavily on his hammer,  in a tired worn voice, “I’m chipping stone for this stupid fence.”

The stranger goes a bit further and sees the third worker, busy stacking the rock, and asks him, “What are you doing?” The worker looks up, wipes the sweat from his brow, smiles, and with a sweeping gesture toward the location of the new building says, “I’m building a cathedral, and it will be magnificent!”

Three laborers. All doing the same job. All received the same pay. Each with a different view of his work.

I have to admit that my view isn’t so positive most of the time. A lot of the time I’m just face down in the sticky ceramic tile. Or the stained berber carpeting. Or the piles of smelly laundry.

In the midst of all the cooking, cleaning, teaching, and mothering, I can feel very much like the first laborer. I can be bitter and indifferent. I feel the slow progress of my daily work. Sometimes being a wife and mother can feel like such a thankless job. I never seem to accomplish anything, and the work is seemingly endless. It taunts me daily. I tell myself, “No one really appreciates me.”

Sometimes I find myself in the work boots of the second contractor. Tired and worn. Stretched to what I feel is my limit. Empty of self. I inwardly sigh at the constant requests of my children. The expectations of my husband. I tire at the pull of the requirments and responsibilites. And secretly I wonder, “Will what I do here make any difference?”

But, oh….

Oh God, I want to be like the third worker. I want to see the bigger picture. To see my daily life as you see it. To see the importance of my service. To have abundant joy and take pride in what I’m called to do. I want to see that the work that I’m doing here is much bigger than even I can imagine.

That I have in my power, the ability to change this environment from tedious to tremendous. For you and your purposes. Teach me how to make doing dishes a holy service. Cleaning laundry as a worship. Making my house a place of imperfect magnificence.

Today, they are mess makers. Snack sneakers. Dish dirtiers. Fight pickers. Clingy cryers. Fussin Nellies. Eye rollers. Grumblers. May God help me to see past that. When I inwardly sigh at my days and I stop to I wipe my brow, remind me to choose to smile, look at my girls and say, “I am building a cathedral. One day I will stand and see four magnificent God serving women.”

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The Tattooed Lady

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I don’t know if you all realize this or not, but… I love Kraynaks. I go every year, twice a year. A holy pilgrimage, if you will, once at Easter to see the Bunny Land and once at Christmas to see Electric Christmas.

But horror of all horrors, we missed Electric Christmas. One delay led to another and the next thing you knew it was over.

Procrastination is never a good idea.

In an effort to avoid missing the upcoming Electric Holiday display, I loaded the kids in the van and we headed out, on Valentines day. For future reference, Valentine’s Day is a good day to celebrate Easter. No lines. At all. It was slow paced and dare I say? Relaxing.

The kids and I had a great time. And their joy was further compounded when my Dad gave them each 5 dollars to spend on whatever the wished.

At this point you may wonder what that story has to do with that picture up there. (Some of you may not be wondering, because you know me. And my pathalogical need to over explain things. Bear with me. Thank you.)

Well, Reese at the tender age of two is quite the bargin shopper. She bought a little wind up fuzzy white bunny that hops across the floor, a little blue basket to carry it in, and white chocolate bunny sucker, and a page of 100 Go! Diego! Go! tattoos. (I know! That’s a lot for five bucks, huh? My kinda woman.)

Anyhoo…these tattoos are the sole reason for this post. Late last night Reese applied a copious amount of tattoos to her little naked body.

One on each cheek. One on the back of each hand. One on the top of each foot, eighteen on her right leg, five on her left leg.

Then she moved on to others in her family, sharing a mix of her old love: Diego and her new love: tattoos. She tattoed each of my hands as well, and my forehead. She got Alina while she was in bed, one on each of her hands, then one on her leg after she fell asleep. Keni and Reegie also have thier fair share of skin art, and I think it’s would be a true thing to say that Chuck is the only construction worker who has a Diego Tat this morning on his arm.

So as the Neff’s go out into the world today we push the envelope fashion wise. Making a statement. Of our love for Reese and her love for Diego (and tattoos.)

We are nothing if not a trendsetting family.

Catching Up.

A massive tower built by Reggie. A proud moment. (Moments after this picture was taken it toppled.)

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Keni’s big accomplishment this holiday? She fell and kissed the cement. In return the cement took most of her two front teeth.

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Me after eating 8 days of Christmas goodies. Side note: Reese took this picture. Another Side note: My manicure?  Press on nails.

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Our tree.Which I love. It is so pretty. The girls decorated the whole thing themselves. I will be hiring out my little elves next year. Make your reservations now.

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Rock Stars.

Reggie looking beautiful for her Christmas Program.

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And Alina ready for her band concert.

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Howdy Hollydays Pardner.

Our Lil Tumbleweed in her Christmas Program: “Christmas at the OK Corral”.

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The whole posse.

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Side note: Reese had a severe ear infection that night. We went straight to the school from the doctors office. She is such a tough cookie. And Keni had broke her two front teeth the day before her program. (Hence the metal mouth and huge sore on her lip.) My children, they are an adventure.

Simple Pleasures.

For Christmas Keni got a Barbie Jet. (Her joy is unending.) And Reggie and Reese got the box. (And a splendid box it was.)

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Hope your Christmas was full of lots of ‘chillaxin’. (My new trendy word courtesy of the side ofBarbie’s Jet box.)

Turkey Day.

Pictured here you will find the turkeys.

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Keepin It Real.

I was weeding the front beds and happened to have my camera when I caught site of this.

Here comes Reggie. What is she carrying in her frisbee so ceremoniously? Something of great value, no doubt. But what could be prized so highly by my offspring?


Ah… here’s the answer. It’s dirt. Look at the awe on my youngest child’s face. “Oooooo…..Dort……” She whispers. The respect for dirt is learned early here at our house. It’s obvious she is enamored with the display of filth her big sister has laid before her. Hmmm… what will she do?

Oh, I know. Let’s get close to the dirt. Let’s lay in it. Let’s roll in it. Let’s become one with the dirt.

Every 2 year old should know such pride. “Yook! Dort!” As she points to her dress.

Ah, her joy knows no bounds.

“I yuv my big sistor!”

Summer Nights.

4 Days into July.

8 Barefoot Kids.

1 Blanket.

8 Corndogs.

2 Gyros.

1 Bucket of fries.

6 Skeeter Bites.

1 Can of Bug Repellent.

3 Trips to the Game Booth.

4 Missing Teeth of a Fair Worker.

8 Prizes.

1 Trip to Port-a-jon.

45 Minutes of Fireworks.

5 Miles of Backed Up Traffic.

And this is my favorite holiday.

What I Love About Summer.

#3. Rope Swings. (Picture taken by Mackenzie.)