Welcome to Flannelgraphs!
Flannelgraphs is a multifaceted website dedicated primarily to blogging. We love hearing your stories and are excited for you to join us in ours, and that’s where Flannelgraphs (the name) comes from. Flannelgraphs are synonymous with flannel boards, flannelgrams, felt boards; these delightful canvases are a medium for storytelling and play. You will find both here.
We each have a story to tell filled with pains, joys, and everything in between. This began as a place for us to tell our story, but we’ve come to realize that our ultimate goal is to encourage and inspire you in yours.
This is a space for you to be safe to feel and grow and become. We want you to find healing and hope, restoration and renewed vigor for life. And we want to have fun while we’re about this good business. No matter what life throws at you, we firmly believe there’s always an option to overcome and thrive.
Things you can expect to find here are musings about babies (both those lost and those presently napping or busy making beautiful messes) and family, current house projects we’re working on (we dabble in house flipping and engage in all sorts of DIY malarkey), and spiritual edification and challenges. Camping will be frequently mentioned, as will a dramatic shift toward living with less. We’re unconventional minimalists. We desire to worship our God rather than our things, and minimizing our stuff helps us to worry less about it and more about Him and His kingdom, but you won’t see blank walls and no extra “stuff”. More on that on the blog.
Ethan and Caitlin Schwanke
(Schwanke like donkey, we like to say) The adults in the story
We’ve been married since August 10, 2013 and each day gets better.
Firstborn son; strong-willed, sweet, smart, incredible toddler
This boy brings us so much joy. We love watching him grow and very much enjoy talking about him and his wild, little boy antics. Ergo, you’ll see him around quite a bit if you stick with us here.
Precious daughter; smiley, light-filled soul of a baby; personality becoming apparent, but yet to be determined
This girl is our darling. We love each minute we get to spend with her and can’t wait to see the little person she grows into. Miss Ona Mae is sure to make an appearance or three around these parts as well.
Children of Promise
Theodore (Theo) is our second son who was born prematurely at 22 weeks—his early arrival resulted in a stillbirth and a massive hemorrhage in our hearts and lives. We miss him every day.
Soon after we lost Theo, we had a miscarriage at seven weeks. We don’t yet fully understand the reasons why God allowed this pain, but we do know that our lives are incredibly rich and we’re closer as a family and as a couple than ever before. Here’s our story about losing Theo, and we share more journal-esque posts about our losses here, here, and here. Caitlin also did a creative writing post on the lessons of death here.
We have an amazing family and support system: our parents, siblings, and friends support and encourage us regularly. They are an amazing group of people and we’re lucky to have them alongside us in our adventure.
We love to laugh, have fun, and make light of life. Family walks, camping trips, morning hangs in bed, and working together are what makes us tick. We rely fully on Jesus and heavily on java with a plethora of chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sprinkled in. Adventure is what we’re after, and simplicity is how we’re chasing it. Join us!