annesley’s big heart

May 2, 2019 by

I’ve been sick this week with fever, chills, and a deep, painful cough. It has been miserable. I haven’t been able to read to my family.

But my delightful little girl came into bed with me and said, “Mom, you can’t read to us, so I’m going to read to you.” She proceeded to read me a Billy and Blaze book because she loves horses and Loud Emily because she knows it is one of my favorite read-alouds and she said she’d been working on the voices.

Be still, my heart.

This is the power of family-read alouds. She couldn’t bear to let me go to sleep without a story.

I’m so grateful for my Annesley-girl and the joy she spreads far and wide.

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annesley’s big heart

May 2, 2019 by

I’ve been sick this week with fever, chills, and a deep, painful cough. It has been miserable. I haven’t been able to read to my family.

But my delightful little girl came into bed with me and said, “Mom, you can’t read to us, so I’m going to read to you.” She proceeded to read me a Billy and Blaze book because she loves horses and Loud Emily because she knows it is one of my favorite read-alouds and she said she’d been working on the voices.

Be still, my heart.

This is the power of family-read alouds. She couldn’t bear to let me go to sleep without a story.

I’m so grateful for my Annesley-girl and the joy she spreads far and wide.

read more

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end of may?????

May 31, 2016 by

What the cow? How can it be the end of May? How can it be six weeks since I have posted? Life is crazy, that’s how.

My post-cessation started at the same time baseball season began. We have never done organized sports for our kiddos. They just didn’t fit into our family culture of lots of time together, evenings spent snuggled up around a great family read-aloud, freedom to go where we want, when we want. We have never been willing to dedicate that much of our family time to a sport. Until now. I knew in my heart of hearts that Fisher needed to know that his desire to play on a baseball team was heard and important. He needed to know we were willing to make the sacrifices required. He needed to know dreams are worth having and sometimes come true. He needed the experience of having a coach. He needed to work hard and see his progress and be part of a team.

He needed it.

So we did it. (Thirty minutes before tryouts began, we decided to do it.)

And it has completely taken over our lives four nights a week for the last seven weeks.

I honestly don’t know how families function with this kind of schedule. It is impossible to eat together, have stories, conversation, and the magical kind of evenings that feed souls. Hats off to those who have figured it out. After nearly two months of this craziness, the only things I have figured out is how to have a well-stocked food supply with us at all times and the importance of blankets and chairs. I have no idea how to have dinner together, read together, or play games in the evenings with this kind of crazy.

Tonight was his last game of the regular season and his tournament starts on Thursday. It was amazing to see how much he has improved. Over the course of the season, he “graduated” from playing in the outfield half the game and sitting on the bench half the game to playing 3rd base the whole game. He went from striking out the first many times he was at bat to getting good hits consistently. He went from the shy boy on the outskirts to an integral part of the team. He loves his coach. His coach loves him. He gets along well with his teammates and they cheer him on. I am so proud of his courage to jump in and join a league of kids who have been playing for years. I am proud of him for sticking with it. I am proud of him for continuing to give it his best even when it was super hard. What a great kid!

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Since I last blogged, we had a fantabulous trip down to Hale Centre Theatre to see Peter and the Starcatchers. I organized the trip for eighty youth and adults and we had a blast experiencing the “big city” and seeing the amazing production.

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Love this picture of Kez and Sky

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Meeting Elder Rasband at City Creek!

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Two days later we celebrated Passover with our annual Seder with my Liberty Girls group, their mamas, and a few other friends.

And two very short days later brought another trip to Salt Lake City to see an orthopedic hand specialist at TOSH where a nifty splint was custom-molded for my hand/wrist.

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Then the last day of iFamily, the Math Alive Catapult Contest, Keziah’s Supreme Court Simulation and Oral Exams, and the end-of-year Showcase topped off that last week of April. Just a wee bit crazy when I consider how much we packed into one week.

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Next came my birthday. I looooove my birthday. This year the celebration was small and short with just a quick double date with Jessica and our husbands. I just wasn’t up to a putting much energy into it.

A couple of weeks later we started a remodel of our 1970 camper. It started out in my mind as small, but now I can see I was completely delusional that it could have even been small. The goal was to get rid of the useless appliances and replace them with useable storage space. We have put hundreds of hours into and we still have so many hours left…and no time left to do it in. Swim Camp is in just a few short days. The after-midnight hours (Richard can only work on it after work and after baseball, which is often not done until after 9:00 at night) are taking its toll on all of us, especially Richard and Keziah since they are the ones doing most of the work. Tami ripped out the stove, oven, sink, fridge, and ugly cabinetry holding them all. Several of my friends started us off with teaching me how to paint and doing most of the primer coat (thanks Liz, Jada, and Jennifer!). Our friend, Dallin, has also saved the day several times by coming over and putting in 10+ hour days (that kid has painted, laid the fake vinyl tile, soldered off the unneeded gas line, redirected the needed gas line, rewired the lights, patched holes, removed the water lines, repaired a gazillion broken things, and been a creative problem-solver we desperately needed). We are trying to do this on a $300 budget and while it might not look pretty at the end, it will be better than it was.

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We also had Homeschool Prom and a big two-day Holistic Health Conference in the middle of the month.

Smart girls wearing Converse instead of heels.

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Off-To-Neverland theme full of Peter and Pirates and Lost Boys.

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Love these girls so stinkin’ much! They had a big get-ready-for-prom-party at Liz’s and had a blast snacking, laughing, curling, and spraying.

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And I got a perm.

So I can do my hair with my one working hand.

Not because it is cute.

Although there are some days it actually turns out cute.

There are also gobs of the other days, the not-cute days.

On Mother’s Day we were able to FaceTime with our missionary! Glorious! She sang to us with her ukulele and filled us right up with the Spirit and heaps of love.

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Last week I went to Mexico to get more stem cell treatments. It was a rough trip with 31 injections, food poisoning, oodles of pain and misery, and a long, long drive home. I have spent the last two days in bed recovering and now finally today am back on my feet and starting the arduous process of laundry, packing, and shopping that has to happen before Swim Camp (not to mention finishing the camper remodel!).

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Sorry for the long dry spell. I will try to get on top of regular posting soon.

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chicks!

Mar 31, 2016 by

It has been awhile since we have had new chicks at our home. They are a lot of work and we haven’t had enough gumption to put in the work the past few years since Fisher’s chicks were all attacked by a fox the summer of 2013. I think losing those 20+ birds took the oomph right out of us. Last year we adopted a flock of adult hens and have been enjoying the brown eggs and rich yolks, but none of us wanted to take on chicks again.

Until today.

A friend sent out an email that they had too many chicks at her husband’s business and were giving them away for free. I asked Richard if he wanted chicks and to my great surprise he said “YES!”

Tonight has been a mad dash of getting things set up for the little fluff balls. After years of getting chicks every year, you would think we would be pros at the whole thing, but we are out of practice, and certainly didn’t know where all our chick supplies were. Richard, the ever handy one, saved us all with his chick skills and got their new home with heat, food, and water set up in no time.

Aren’t they adorable?

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And the joy a little chick brings? Oh my, it is magical how my children’s eyes have sparkled tonight. Don’t we all need a bit more magic in our lives?

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the lion, the witch, & the wardrobe

Feb 19, 2016 by

On February 7 we finished the second book in our Narnia read-aloud adventure! Quite the accomplishment since I had been ill since the 23rd of January and getting my voice to squawk out a whole chapter was quite a task. My children got used to me whispering all the voices because whispering is less likely to induce a coughing fit.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is such a beautiful story of the price that must be paid to atone for the sins of another. Aslan gives his life willingly to save Edmund’s and his sacrifice both redeems and heals Edmund’s soul, just as Christ’s atonement does for each of us. The four children learn courage by serving and loving others. They learn to sacrifice their own needs for the the greater good of the kingdom. They learn the transforming power of repentance and each get to offer and receive forgiveness to and from another. Such necessary lessons for my children (and me!) to experience both vicariously through characters in a beloved book and in their own very human relationships.

I remember one of my teachers reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to us in elementary school. I remember the cover was super weird and I thought it was some crazy science fiction book that held nothing interesting for me. I must have completely blanked it out because I walked away from those story times hating the book and having no interest in ever reading or hearing it again. Such sadness that I didn’t take the lessons of Narnia in and allow them to give me a solid trust in God and courage to fight for what is right. And so grateful that I was able to rediscover them as a mother and share them with my children again and again.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

This makes me laugh so hard because I can totally hear myself saying it. The professor does not solve the challenging situation for Peter and Susan, but he helps the sort it out so they see it in a new way. I hope that is what I do for my children.

“None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning–either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in it’s inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of Summer.”

The light of Aslan sparked something different in each of them. What does God spark in me? Right now, it is peace. Calm, loving, enveloping, hopeful peace. I remember a time when I was afraid of Him because I didn’t really know Him, but now the warmth wraps me up like a quilt right out of the dryer and the sunshine on my face. Poor Edmund, he didn’t know the love Aslan had for him.

“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”

Oh yes, I have cried those tears and the quietness at the end is just what a soul needs to process the hurricane of feelings that has just tumultuously swirled around for hours on end.

“All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think.”

God will redeem us, the demons will be driven out, the land will be made free again, but the price is great. The cost of liberty always is.

“Lucy looked and saw that Aslan had just breathed on the feet of the stone giant.

It’s all right!” shouted Aslan joyously. “Once The feet are put right, all the rest of him will follow.”

How true this is! As our feet are set upon the path of God, all the rest will follow.

“For Narnia and for Aslan!”

What are we fighting for? I want to always fight for good things…liberty, love, and learning.

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

Oh, how I love for that day when my Savior returns and sets the affairs of this world in order. We need Him. We long for Him. Oh, glorious day!

Reading aloud to my family is my favorite thing. During those magic moments of story, the mishaps and sorrows of the day are forgotten and connection takes their place. Right before bed, we are wrapped up in imagination, adventure, and courage, all great things to fall asleep with, me thinks.

Now it is February 19 and we are hoping to finish up The Horse and His Boy this weekend. We have six chapters left so we need to do lots of reading!

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the lion, the witch, & the wardrobe

Feb 19, 2016 by

On February 7 we finished the second book in our Narnia read-aloud adventure! Quite the accomplishment since I had been ill since the 23rd of January and getting my voice to squawk out a whole chapter was quite a task. My children got used to me whispering all the voices because whispering is less likely to induce a coughing fit.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is such a beautiful story of the price that must be paid to atone for the sins of another. Aslan gives his life willingly to save Edmund’s and his sacrifice both redeems and heals Edmund’s soul, just as Christ’s atonement does for each of us. The four children learn courage by serving and loving others. They learn to sacrifice their own needs for the the greater good of the kingdom. They learn the transforming power of repentance and each get to offer and receive forgiveness to and from another. Such necessary lessons for my children (and me!) to experience both vicariously through characters in a beloved book and in their own very human relationships.

I remember one of my teachers reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to us in elementary school. I remember the cover was super weird and I thought it was some crazy science fiction book that held nothing interesting for me. I must have completely blanked it out because I walked away from those story times hating the book and having no interest in ever reading or hearing it again. Such sadness that I didn’t take the lessons of Narnia in and allow them to give me a solid trust in God and courage to fight for what is right. And so grateful that I was able to rediscover them as a mother and share them with my children again and again.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

This makes me laugh so hard because I can totally hear myself saying it. The professor does not solve the challenging situation for Peter and Susan, but he helps the sort it out so they see it in a new way. I hope that is what I do for my children.

“None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning–either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in it’s inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of Summer.”

The light of Aslan sparked something different in each of them. What does God spark in me? Right now, it is peace. Calm, loving, enveloping, hopeful peace. I remember a time when I was afraid of Him because I didn’t really know Him, but now the warmth wraps me up like a quilt right out of the dryer and the sunshine on my face. Poor Edmund, he didn’t know the love Aslan had for him.

“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”

Oh yes, I have cried those tears and the quietness at the end is just what a soul needs to process the hurricane of feelings that has just tumultuously swirled around for hours on end.

“All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think.”

God will redeem us, the demons will be driven out, the land will be made free again, but the price is great. The cost of liberty always is.

“Lucy looked and saw that Aslan had just breathed on the feet of the stone giant.

It’s all right!” shouted Aslan joyously. “Once The feet are put right, all the rest of him will follow.”

How true this is! As our feet are set upon the path of God, all the rest will follow.

“For Narnia and for Aslan!”

What are we fighting for? I want to always fight for good things…liberty, love, and learning.

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

Oh, how I love for that day when my Savior returns and sets the affairs of this world in order. We need Him. We long for Him. Oh, glorious day!

Reading aloud to my family is my favorite thing. During those magic moments of story, the mishaps and sorrows of the day are forgotten and connection takes their place. Right before bed, we are wrapped up in imagination, adventure, and courage, all great things to fall asleep with, me thinks.

Now it is February 19 and we are hoping to finish up The Horse and His Boy this weekend. We have six chapters left so we need to do lots of reading!

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annes and the police station

Jan 27, 2016 by

Miss Annes is full of zest. Chock-full of curiosity, stories, creativity, enthusiasm, and is about as cute as can be. Everywhere we go people love her. Except for the few people she drives absolutely banana-cakes with her “muchness.”

Today was the first day of iFamily, our awesome homeschool group. She is in a Community Explorations class this semester where they go out to different businesses and community entities to learn about how they function and what they do to make our community great. Today was the Police Station. Annes gave a Texas-sized shout of “Hurrah” when she found out. Unbeknownst to me, she is a little over the top curious about all things police-y because of her current obsession with Adventures in Odyssey mysteries.

When she returned to iFamily I asked one of her mentors how it went and if Annesely was well-behaved. She gave me a huge laugh and said, “Annesley is the best part of my day, I love that girl! She is FULL of life!” Thrilled with that response, I asked her to tell me all about it.

She reported that on the way in to the Police Station, Annesley said, “Oh no! They won’t let me in! They have metal detectors and look at my boots!” Her mentor said she thought the little piece of metal on the end of her cowboy boots would be just fine. Annesley responded with, “Oh, are they not very sensitive?”

At some point the police officer must have been talking about roadblocks and Annesley asked if there was a robbery because why would you ever have a roadblock without a robbery?

The third comment was “Do you deal with a lot of counterfeiters?” The police officer said no, not a whole lot. Why?” Annesley said, “Well, I know all about making counterfeit money!” She actually has no idea how to make counterfeit money, but she has listened to her Adventures In Odyssey CDs about a counterfeiting ring about a hundred times since Christmas so she thinks she is pretty much an expert. However, I would hope she would be a so-called expert in catching the counterfeiters, not copying their trade.

I’m tickled she has such fun opportunities for learning and mentors that appreciate her enthusiasm for life. I just hope the good officers don’t set up some kind of sting operation to bust us for counterfeiting.

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the magician’s nephew

Jan 16, 2016 by

We started our reading of The Chronicles of Narnia on New Year’s Day and we finished last night after the children begged and pleaded for me to finish the last two chapters in one sitting. They couldn’t bear to wait another day to hear the ending of The Magician’s Nephew.

Ah. It is like breathing life into my soul to read Narnia to my children. Blythe was obsessed with Narnia from about age six to eight. Obsessed. We read it over and over and over and listened to the Focus on The Family Dramatized version for years. The story of Aslan, Lucy, Peter, Mr. Tumnus, Caspian, Shasta, the witch, Tirian, the ape, the dwarfs, and all the rest are part of our family culture. So it isn’t that the stories are new to Fisher and Annes. But in a way they are new. I have never read them to them. They have never been through the story beginning to end. They have never experienced it all unfolding before them. I guess I thought that because it is all around them because of Blythe’s great love for the story and the movies coming out several years ago that they didn’t need me to read it to them. That they knew it all.

But they don’t. There is so much they have missed because they were too little when Blythe was still listening to the stories all the time. They have grown up with the characters and basic story line, but they have missed the greater wisdom of this epic adventure that grows as they identify with a character, feel the hard choices, pain, and joy, and face their own character flaws and strengths as they consider what they would do in the same situation.

And so we read each night and the story unfolds before them and wraps up their imagination in the lovely world of right and wrong, courage, friendship, faith, sacrifice, and always, always Aslan calling to their souls.

I’m so glad God gave me the prompting back in November that this should be our next read aloud. It is proving to be a delightful journey.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I’m sure, and I’m very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys – and servants – and women – and even people in general, can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”

As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle’s face the moment before Polly had vanished, and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew’s grand words. “All it means is that he things he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants.”

Such wisdom young Digory is gaining! He knows that it is not just for a code of conduct to only apply to some people. He knows his uncle is behaving abominably and a little seed is planted in his heart to not do the same. In the end, his greatest joys come because he learns and obeys that lesson.

“In Charn [Jadis] had taken no notice of Polly (till the very end) because Digory was the one she wanted to make use of. Now that she had Uncle Andrew, she took no notice of Digory. I expect most witches are like that. They are not interested in things or people unless they can use them; they are terribly practical.”

How am I using people? I so want to love people, not use them.

“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”

Hmmmm.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

I have found this to be so true. I see in others parts of my own soul reflected back at me. Perspective is a crazy thing. It can be incredibly false and powerfully true. Praying to see as God sees has made a huge difference in my life.

“You know me better than you think, you know, and you shall know me better yet.”

All of us know God. Our souls yearn to be with our Father again. Knowing Him is my heart’s desire.

“Look for the valleys, the green places, and fly through them. There will always be a way through.”

Always. Always. Always He will provide a way through the hard, craggy mountains of life.

“But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

We become what we desire, but that doesn’t mean the end of the road will be what we want.

“But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!”

How do I make myself unable to hear His voice? What do I need to do today and each day to better hear Him.

“Things always work according to their nature.”

We live and multiply and work according to who we are. We can only pretend for so long, but the truth of who we are always comes out. At the root of everything, we are children of God and if we can let that truth grow within us, we will live as children of God.

“Child, that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Oh, the fruit is good, but they loath it ever after.”

Oh. Oh. Such wisdom. Takes my breath away to think about it.

“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.”

The glory and majesty of God’s power is beyond my comprehension. I want to be a better, truer, more kind, obedient, and daughter. Oh, heaven help me.

Tonight we will start The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. What a joy it is to share Narnia with my little ones!

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the magician’s nephew

Jan 16, 2016 by

We started our reading of The Chronicles of Narnia on New Year’s Day and we finished last night after the children begged and pleaded for me to finish the last two chapters in one sitting. They couldn’t bear to wait another day to hear the ending of The Magician’s Nephew.

Ah. It is like breathing life into my soul to read Narnia to my children. Blythe was obsessed with Narnia from about age six to eight. Obsessed. We read it over and over and over and listened to the Focus on The Family Dramatized version for years. The story of Aslan, Lucy, Peter, Mr. Tumnus, Caspian, Shasta, the witch, Tirian, the ape, the dwarfs, and all the rest are part of our family culture. So it isn’t that the stories are new to Fisher and Annes. But in a way they are new. I have never read them to them. They have never been through the story beginning to end. They have never experienced it all unfolding before them. I guess I thought that because it is all around them because of Blythe’s great love for the story and the movies coming out several years ago that they didn’t need me to read it to them. That they knew it all.

But they don’t. There is so much they have missed because they were too little when Blythe was still listening to the stories all the time. They have grown up with the characters and basic story line, but they have missed the greater wisdom of this epic adventure that grows as they identify with a character, feel the hard choices, pain, and joy, and face their own character flaws and strengths as they consider what they would do in the same situation.

And so we read each night and the story unfolds before them and wraps up their imagination in the lovely world of right and wrong, courage, friendship, faith, sacrifice, and always, always Aslan calling to their souls.

I’m so glad God gave me the prompting back in November that this should be our next read aloud. It is proving to be a delightful journey.

Favorite lines this time through:

“Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I’m sure, and I’m very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys – and servants – and women – and even people in general, can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”

As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle’s face the moment before Polly had vanished, and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew’s grand words. “All it means is that he things he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants.”

Such wisdom young Digory is gaining! He knows that it is not just for a code of conduct to only apply to some people. He knows his uncle is behaving abominably and a little seed is planted in his heart to not do the same. In the end, his greatest joys come because he learns and obeys that lesson.

“In Charn [Jadis] had taken no notice of Polly (till the very end) because Digory was the one she wanted to make use of. Now that she had Uncle Andrew, she took no notice of Digory. I expect most witches are like that. They are not interested in things or people unless they can use them; they are terribly practical.”

How am I using people? I so want to love people, not use them.

“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”

Hmmmm.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

I have found this to be so true. I see in others parts of my own soul reflected back at me. Perspective is a crazy thing. It can be incredibly false and powerfully true. Praying to see as God sees has made a huge difference in my life.

“You know me better than you think, you know, and you shall know me better yet.”

All of us know God. Our souls yearn to be with our Father again. Knowing Him is my heart’s desire.

“Look for the valleys, the green places, and fly through them. There will always be a way through.”

Always. Always. Always He will provide a way through the hard, craggy mountains of life.

“But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

We become what we desire, but that doesn’t mean the end of the road will be what we want.

“But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!”

How do I make myself unable to hear His voice? What do I need to do today and each day to better hear Him.

“Things always work according to their nature.”

We live and multiply and work according to who we are. We can only pretend for so long, but the truth of who we are always comes out. At the root of everything, we are children of God and if we can let that truth grow within us, we will live as children of God.

“Child, that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Oh, the fruit is good, but they loath it ever after.”

Oh. Oh. Such wisdom. Takes my breath away to think about it.

“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.”

The glory and majesty of God’s power is beyond my comprehension. I want to be a better, truer, more kind, obedient, and daughter. Oh, heaven help me.

Tonight we will start The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. What a joy it is to share Narnia with my little ones!

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easing back into life

Jan 6, 2016 by

Recovering from late nights, too much junk food, and lack of commitments.

New scripture study time. (In the morning at the butt-crack of dawn. Actually long before the butt-crack of dawn since it is pitch black outside when Richard gently kisses me and shakes me awake so I can pull on my fleece sweats and slippers and plod out to the family room.)

New schedules.

New goals.

Registration for iFamily was this week and I had to break some children’s hearts because I can’t take more than 16 students in my Math Alive class and nearly 30 applied. I hate breaking hearts.

Homeschool days on the ski/snowboarding slopes is here once again and for the first time since 2008, I am trying my darndest to make it happen for my kids. Long, frustrating story there about how hard I have been trying to magically find all the gear they need for as few pennies as possible and piles of tears that poured out of me when I couldn’t find what they needed at prices we could afford. My heart and their hearts were so set on going this week, but I just couldn’t make it happen. So I fell apart, telling myself all the lies. Something akin to “for crying out loud we live right next to the mountains and have an awesome homeschool program that allows kids to ski or board for hours and hours for $10 and you KNOW this, so what is wrong with you (me) that you didn’t plan ahead and get all this stuff in the summer when it was available or look in Utah or SOMETHING else, for the love. You (once again, me!) made a stupid choice to buy a snowboard when you don’t know anything about snowboards and now you are told it is broken and you can’t find boots and it is all completely pointless.” It was a rough night of tears and irrational thought. (But I am better now, no worries needed about my overall sanity.) And Keziah went since she has her own money and a friend was able to loan her all the gear she needed, so that was super fun, even though the other kiddos were disappointed.

Starting gym again on Friday and not ready to be up on my feet again. This new flare up of my knee injury is frustrating.

Plummeting progesterone levels which equals a weepy, emotions-all-over-the-place mama.

Play practices ramping up for Miss Keziah’s play which is at the end of the month. So, we don’t see her much.

Same girly getting her driver’s license (hopefully this week!) which is exciting and wonderful and will help out a ton, but leaves me with no vehicle whenever she takes the Subaru. (Our suburban runs just fine, but it is not driveable right now because the heater core broke on the way to Swim Camp back in June. Living up here in the frozen tundra prevents anyone with even a wee bit of sanity to drive a vehicle without a heater!)

Fisher finished his math program a few ago and we are trying to figure out where to go next with him. And my brain or spirit or something must be closed off to the heavens (or more likely just really, really tired) because I just don’t know what to do.

I am trying to put together the next semester of Liberty Girls and feeling little direction from on high…which leads to low motivation on my end.

I feel like hibernating right here in my house and savoring the long, winter days with books, warm quilts, hot chocolate, and lots of calm. I don’t want to actually deal with reality and answer the phone, pay bills, run errands, organize anything, or go anywhere. So I am doing that. AND doing a bit of the other because, you know, life.

Lots of changes, so we are easing into them and trying not to cause all-out rebellion (mostly my own rebellion where I throw in the towel and head for my imaginary cabin in the hills, haha!). Yesterday we started reading Stone Fox (love that book!) for the man club Fisher is a part of, Explorer Boys, and ever so slowly started back into our normal school days. I think we will start some geometry today with him and see how it goes.

All the books for 2016 for my colloquia group have been selected and I just might get them posted here, but no guarantees since at the moment my energy level is roughly equivalent to a sloths. Tomorrow night is our first discussion of the year, which means I’ll need to shower…and turn on my brain…but then I can enjoy hearing thoughts and ideas on a great book and it will be lovely.

So this week is going to be slow and calm and full of nurturing…I need the calm. There is plenty of time for the busy later.

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narnia

Jan 1, 2016 by

We started our next read-aloud for 2016 tonight. In the midst of grumpy kids who were tired from late nights, sugar-laden, and about to dddiiiiiieee from taking down the Christmas decorations, magic was created.

Back in November, God whispered to my heart that our next read-aloud was to be the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. At first, I thought, “Our children know these stories inside and out, I don’t think I should take the time to read them aloud to them. I need to use this precious time for something they haven’t been exposed to yet.” But the quiet whispering continued and I knew there was a good reason for it. My excitement at the prospect grew and all through the nights of December Christmas stories, I grew giddy inside at the thought of sharing the wonderment of Narnia with our children over the next many months.

So, tonight, with children annoying one another and complaining at each new task assigned to them in our Christmas clean-up, we started our adventure. Richard made everyone hot chocolate while we finished the last of the clean-up and we welcomed everyone to grab a mug and a blanket and sit down and listen.

Soon calmness prevailed and happiness won out over the grumps. The magic of read-aloud time to bring a family together never ceases to amaze me. I think the world could be changed dramatically if all families spent some time in the evenings enjoying a delicious book together.

At the end of the chapter, they begged, “Please read another! Please, please! Just one more!” I reminded them that just thirty minutes prior they had been saying, “We don’t want to read Narnia! We want to watch Return of the Jedi!” and they grinned and said, “Yes, but now we want you to read more!”

Cracks me up.

The power of story is real. Stories speak to the deepest parts of who we are. They inspire courage, build connection, and create a culture of shared identity. They are the best things I know of to bind a family together.

What are you reading with your family right now?

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narnia

Jan 1, 2016 by

We started our next read-aloud for 2016 tonight. In the midst of grumpy kids who were tired from late nights, sugar-laden, and about to dddiiiiiieee from taking down the Christmas decorations, magic was created.

Back in November, God whispered to my heart that our next read-aloud was to be the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. At first, I thought, “Our children know these stories inside and out, I don’t think I should take the time to read them aloud to them. I need to use this precious time for something they haven’t been exposed to yet.” But the quiet whispering continued and I knew there was a good reason for it. My excitement at the prospect grew and all through the nights of December Christmas stories, I grew giddy inside at the thought of sharing the wonderment of Narnia with our children over the next many months.

So, tonight, with children annoying one another and complaining at each new task assigned to them in our Christmas clean-up, we started our adventure. Richard made everyone hot chocolate while we finished the last of the clean-up and we welcomed everyone to grab a mug and a blanket and sit down and listen.

Soon calmness prevailed and happiness won out over the grumps. The magic of read-aloud time to bring a family together never ceases to amaze me. I think the world could be changed dramatically if all families spent some time in the evenings enjoying a delicious book together.

At the end of the chapter, they begged, “Please read another! Please, please! Just one more!” I reminded them that just thirty minutes prior they had been saying, “We don’t want to read Narnia! We want to watch Return of the Jedi!” and they grinned and said, “Yes, but now we want you to read more!”

Cracks me up.

The power of story is real. Stories speak to the deepest parts of who we are. They inspire courage, build connection, and create a culture of shared identity. They are the best things I know of to bind a family together.

What are you reading with your family right now?

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read to me

Dec 9, 2015 by

Me: I need to work on the computer for awhile, why don’t you listen to this audio-book from the library.

F: Mom, it’s SO MUCH better when you read the book.

Me: Really, better than a professional narrator?

F: YES. I want you to read all the books.

I can’t even tell you how much this warms my heart! My eleven-year-old boy still loves to snuggle up on the couch under a blanket and have me read to him for hours and hours – I hope it never ends.

Oh, how good it is to be so adored by your children. If only my face and voice could keep up with their insatiable desire to be read to!

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celebrating the family video

Oct 13, 2015 by

I saw this video yesterday and have to share it because I love it so much! I set a goal to memorize The Family: A Proclamation To The World this year in our homeschool and even had an awesome giant poster printed (thanks to Valena!) in the weeks right before Blythe left, but we haven’t started yet. I haven’t even hung the poster up! But today that is changing. Today we begin! This video gave me the nudge I needed to get back on track with this goal.

If you want to make your own giant 24 x 36 poster, here is the pdf file. The awesome Valena also made a matching poster for The Living Christ. You can download that pdf file here.

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squares and mazes, wahoo!

Oct 12, 2015 by

If you are anything like me, you pin things and then never do anything about them or flat out forget about them. Recipes, learning ideas, and home cutification ideas get pinned and forgotten on a fairly regular basis.

BUT, there is hope! I printed out two of my pins and introduced them to my children last Monday and they were both a huge hit! Then I took them to my Math ALIVE! class on Wednesday and my students gobbled them up and begged me to let them take the games home with them. So, now that I have tested them with nearly 20 children, I can say with absolute confidence that your children will love them as well…at least I am pretty darn sure they will! With the goal of creating more math lovers out in the world, I must share these winners!

The first is a spin-off of the dots/complete-the-squares game with multiplication problems added in. My dear boy did about 400 multiplication problems CHEERFULLY while we played the game. And his speed increased dramatically. The totally awesome Mathified Squares Game can be found here. My math students would have happily played it all hour if I would have let them. Instead, I taught them about Eratosthenes and blew their minds with how he measured the circumference of the earth within 200 miles of the measurement we have today.

We printed out lots of copies, grabbed a pair of dice, a cookie sheet, and two different colored pens, and dove right in. Now that I know my kids love it bunches and bunches, I might laminate them and use wipe-off markers, but I am a bit worried we would accidently erase some of our lines with our wrists as we move across the page. The same woman has several other different versions – addition, subtraction, factors, and more, but I am pretty sure those games need to be paid for. If she has a multiplication sheet for 12 sided dice, I will buy it, if not, I am going to make my own, so we can practice up to 12 x 12. (Fisher just told me he wants me to make one up to 20 x 20!)

The second is a large set of Skip-Counting Mazes. Annesley worked through about twenty of them in one sitting and pulled them back out today to do even more. Fisher discovered an error on one of the counting by 5 mazes, but even that error added to his learning as he triple checked all the numbers and possibilities before declaring with confidence that there was a mistake and the number 245 was missing.

Both of these activities are wonderful for cementing in those basic math skills we all need while not making it seem like the drill-n-kill approaches that so often shut little ones brains down.

We are on a math roll around here lately. Annesley finished her math book last week and started a new one today. She decided she wants to do 11 pages a day! And today she did it! I decided to introduce a new game to them today and it was a huge hit as well. Corners is from the RightStart Card Games Kit and is a fabulous game for working on multiples of 5 and addition. I wasn’t sure if Annes could handle it, but with a little bit of help once her score got into the 200s she did just fine.

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squares and mazes, wahoo!

Oct 12, 2015 by

If you are anything like me, you pin things and then never do anything about them or flat out forget about them. Recipes, learning ideas, and home cutification ideas get pinned and forgotten on a fairly regular basis.

BUT, there is hope! I printed out two of my pins and introduced them to my children last Monday and they were both a huge hit! Then I took them to my Math ALIVE! class on Wednesday and my students gobbled them up and begged me to let them take the games home with them. So, now that I have tested them with nearly 20 children, I can say with absolute confidence that your children will love them as well…at least I am pretty darn sure they will! With the goal of creating more math lovers out in the world, I must share these winners!

The first is a spin-off of the dots/complete-the-squares game with multiplication problems added in. My dear boy did about 400 multiplication problems CHEERFULLY while we played the game. And his speed increased dramatically. The totally awesome Mathified Squares Game can be found here. My math students would have happily played it all hour if I would have let them. Instead, I taught them about Eratosthenes and blew their minds with how he measured the circumference of the earth within 200 miles of the measurement we have today.

We printed out lots of copies, grabbed a pair of dice, a cookie sheet, and two different colored pens, and dove right in. Now that I know my kids love it bunches and bunches, I might laminate them and use wipe-off markers, but I am a bit worried we would accidently erase some of our lines with our wrists as we move across the page. The same woman has several other different versions – addition, subtraction, factors, and more, but I am pretty sure those games need to be paid for. If she has a multiplication sheet for 12 sided dice, I will buy it, if not, I am going to make my own, so we can practice up to 12 x 12. (Fisher just told me he wants me to make one up to 20 x 20!)

The second is a large set of Skip-Counting Mazes. Annesley worked through about twenty of them in one sitting and pulled them back out today to do even more. Fisher discovered an error on one of the counting by 5 mazes, but even that error added to his learning as he triple checked all the numbers and possibilities before declaring with confidence that there was a mistake and the number 245 was missing.

Both of these activities are wonderful for cementing in those basic math skills we all need while not making it seem like the drill-n-kill approaches that so often shut little ones brains down.

We are on a math roll around here lately. Annesley finished her math book last week and started a new one today. She decided she wants to do 11 pages a day! And today she did it! I decided to introduce a new game to them today and it was a huge hit as well. Corners is from the RightStart Card Games Kit and is a fabulous game for working on multiples of 5 and addition. I wasn’t sure if Annes could handle it, but with a little bit of help once her score got into the 200s she did just fine.

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liberty girls

Oct 3, 2015 by

liberty girls

I love mentoring Scholars. LOVE it. Youth that have their heads screwed on straight, have the tenacity and courage to do hard things, the desire to learn, and the ability to digest and discuss big ideas are my favorite students. So for the past five years I have spent my time (hundreds of hours!) teaching those youth. Reading stuff like The Communist Manifesto, Unbroken, Mere Christianity, The Hiding Place, Animal Farm, To Destroy You Is No Loss, Flag of Our Fathers, and Hiroshima and then discussing them with my students has brought me so much joy. It lights a fire in my soul to be part of a young person’s education, to help them understand the world in new ways and to see themselves with new eyes.

This spring, I knew I needed a break. After the car accident in January, I was barely making it through each day. Unable to use my mouth much, eating liquids nearly exclusively, and being in constant pain wore me out and not knowing how I would be doing this fall, I decided I needed to take a complete break from mentoring. But sometime in April, the quiet whisperings of the Spirit started entering my heart and prompted me to start a Liberty Girls group for Annesley. I don’t particularly enjoy teaching other people’s young children. Loving and teaching my own is one thing, but children who are not mine is a whole ‘nother story. So I kind of rejected the idea. But the promptings kept coming and I kept pondering. Finally in June I decided I really needed AND wanted to go on this adventure with my Annesley.

After lots more thinking and planning, we invited nine girls between the ages of seven and nine to join us, chose our theme for the semester, and selected the books we would read and discuss. Our theme is Finding Courage and we are reading books about girls who found their courage and learning about our ancestors who acted with courage in their lives. We are reading The Courage of Sarah Noble and Understood Betsy…such gems! We meet every other week and have a book discussion, Courage Presentation by one of the girls about one of her ancestors who showed courage, snack & outside play time, and an activity related to the book that is both prepared and taught by the Meeting Mother for that week (because being in charge of an activity is not my forte AT ALL!).

We are having so much fun! We have met together four times and I have fallen in love with my Liberty Girls. They are full of courage, kindness, faith, eagerness, and so much ZEST. They make me laugh and I have been amazed at the thoughts they share during our book discussions.

At our Kick-Off Party, the Meeting Mother taught the girls how to make their very own bags using tea towels, staples, and duck tape. The girls needed guidance, but they were totally able to do it on their own and now they have their very own super cute bags to carry their Liberty Girls books and snacks to each of our meetings. Then we went to a nearby Splash Park to have some wet summer fun and develop strong friendships within our group as they ran around and played games in the water.

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At our first official meeting, we had our first Courage Presentation, discussed the first half of The Courage of Sarah Noble, and then went on a hike just like Sarah did in our book. I wasn’t quite up to walking that day, so the girls pushed me in my wheelchair. I was amazed at the insights they shared on the book. The concept of “Keep up your courage” sunk deep into their souls and they shared lots of experiences where they needed to find courage and then keep it up. Sarah’s courage in leaving her mother and siblings to help her father by cooking for him while he built their new home inspired these girls to do hard things as well.

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At one point on our hike, one of the girls lost a flip-flop (not even her own flip-flop, another girl had let her borrow them) in a swampy, murky spot of water. It was disgusting! The girls searched and searched for about 15 minutes and could not find the sandal in the water. Then they prayed and asked for help and with courage plunged their sticks and hands in to the sludge one more time. And they found it! They came running back to me sitting in my wheelchair out on the trail shrieking, Miss Tracy, we kept up our courage, we kept up our courage! The water was so gross and we kept searching and didn’t give up! And then we prayed and then God helped us find it!” Oh my goodness, my heart filled up with JOY!

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the sandal swamp incident since I couldn’t get down there.

The girls found some turtles swimming in the water. You probably can’t see them, but there are about 5 turtles down there in front of them.

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Then we found ducks and geese and some kind college kids gave the girls some bird food. They had a blast feeding them and holding the little ones.

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As they were pushing me back to the car, we were walking on a road (a hardly ever traveled road!) and the girls were worried a car would hit me in my wheelchair, so they formed a barrier wall and marched in front of me protecting me. Cracked me up! And trust me, if I was actually concerned that a car would be traveling down that road, I wouldn’t have let them walk down the middle of it.

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Mentoring these young girls is so much fun. They are alive with curiosity, willingness to learn new things, and so much silliness. They love to play with our kittens, run around our yard in all sorts of imaginary worlds, and share all the excitements of their lives. It is a sacred honor to be part of their character development and to be gifted this opportunity to learn and grow with them.

I will try to get photos from our next two meetings posted soon!

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gearing up

May 3, 2015 by

Ready, set, GO!

It’s play week which means piles of FUN!

It also means meals on the run, late nights, little sleep, long days, concessions out the wazoo (I have been the concession manager for almost all of my children’s plays for the past six years), a messy house, loads of laughter, and everything in between.

Miss Keziah is Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and though I haven’t seen a single rehearsal yet, those who have tell me she pulls Puck off splendidly. Her costume, made by my dear Jennifer, is fabulous and her moss make-up is full of win.

In addition to all the play busyness, Blythe’s mission call should come this week, it is my birthday – WAHOO!, Fisher has a Space Derby for Scouts, and we have several family members coming into town to watch the play.

A wee bit of craziness is before us, so I better get some sleep tonight while I can.

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savoring

Apr 22, 2015 by

savoring

Blythe is playing the piano with passion and power, Keziah is throwing sticks to Charley in the yard, and I am reclining on my chaise savoring these moments. My girls are growing up so quickly and I feel these moments of pure joy are coming to an end. Somedays I honestly don’t know if I can bear it.

Have I written about Blythe’s mission? I don’t even know if I have mentioned it on here since I have been so full of whining health related news lately. Well, if I haven’t, I am hereby giving notice…my girlie is going on a mission to serve the Lord. Her application papers have been submitted and we are waiting to find out where she is called to serve. We were told we could know as early as next week, but I am guessing it will be the week after. We have been busy for the past several months getting all the paperwork filled out and necessary medical and dental appointments taken care of. Soon it will be time to assemble her wardrobe, purchase luggage, put herbs/oils/supplements/first aid supplies into a kit, and a gazillion other things I don’t even know about yet.

These are exciting days for our family and we are entering a new phase of life. As I contemplate our oldest leaving home, I find myself speaking more tenderly to all of my children and trying to draw them close to my heart.

Last week Blythe attended her last Homeschool Prom while it was Keziah’s first. This is a non-date formal where hundreds of youth from all over our area spend the night dancing and having a blast. It is a completely different experience than a high school prom and is a favorite event of both the homeschoolers and many of their public schooled friends who say the homeschool dances are the best dances they have ever attended.

These two sisters had so much fun together. I didn’t see them till they came home, super happy and beautiful, and my heart filled right up with joy.

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Keziah spent the day doing hair and makeup with a big group of friends.

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My guess is the house needed to be fumigated and sanitized from all the hairspray, makeup, and estrogen spewed out during the day!

I am so grateful for this time of my life where my girls are happy and healthy and doing good things. We work and work and work as young mothers to raise our children to be competent, capable, contributing members of our families, and then POOF they are and they move on to bless the world. This is what I want, absolutely, but I want to lengthen these days, to stretch them out so I can enjoy them longer.

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fatigued

Feb 10, 2015 by

Oh my heck, I am tired. So incredibly tired. I have been exhausted for days on end. Annesley and Richard could not wake me up for scriptures this morning. When I finally opened my eyes around 7:30, she said I looked like I was dead when she tried to wake me up. Richard tried to rouse me for some snuggle time and gave up after my dead fish appearance showed no signs of changing.

I finally pulled myself together long enough to take a bath and tried to soak the soreness out of my neck, back, and shoulders, but instead my heart rate shot up to 130 and I collapsed after I got out.

Now it is an hour later and I finally feel strong enough and alert enough to start learning time with my little ones. Just for kicks, I looked up symptoms of whiplash and to my surprise (but not shock, since I am living it) fatigue is one of the symptoms. I should say it is, my goodness, I don’t think I remember ever feeling so completely and totally exhausted before (though I’m sure I am forgetting all those new baby years when exhaustion is just par for the course).

Time to get a move on it, Trace, there are two little ones ready…today we start Paddle To The Sea!.

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our current books

Jan 15, 2015 by

We are spending lots of time snuggling and reading. There isn’t much else I can do right now, so it is a season of books. Annesley and I have started reading Little House in the Big Woods. I have my old, tattered, yellow set from my girlhood days. Then I have a complete other, still old, but not quite as tattered, blue set I picked up at a thrift store. We also have a few hardcover copies of the beautiful, artwork-on-the-front ones. But, when we decided to embark on this new adventure, I decided to pull out a big, beautiful, five-novels-in-one, gold-leafed edition I was saving for either Blythe or Keziah. She loves fancy things and fell in love with the gold pages and tinsy illustrations.

Little House Cover

Fisher likes to listen in and he is often found building some lego creation nearby while we read about Laura’s life with her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

Last week Blythe drove me to physical therapy and then to run a few errands. We were able to go to the library and with the help of the scooters, I was able to zip around all three floors of the library and get a pile of fun books to explore. We have a new author on our list of favorites – Andrea Beaty. She has written Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer which we already knew about and loved (and seriously, you should read them!), but when we got to her shelf at the library, we found another gem! Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau is a fun, rhyming story about a hat maker in France who designs fancy, exotic hats for all of her customers and is deeply lonely for a friend. Annes keeps asking us to read it over and over and even asked Miss Sheri to read it to her when she stopped by for a visit.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pure genius. It is Fibonacci’s famous rabbit problem – “How many rabbits will you have in one year if you start out with one?” – portrayed with hilarious illustrations, calendars, carrot recipes, and a glorious pop-up of hundreds of rabbits on the 12th month. Really, go get check it out and laugh yourselves silly as you and your children learn all about Fibonacci numbers.

Another new favorite is The Art Collector by Jan Wahl. It is about a little boy who loves art, but isn’t adept at making the art he sees in his mind come to life (yes, I identified with little Oscar!). So, he decides to collect art so he can look at the pieces he loves so much. His collection grows and he has a museum built to hold his collection and share it with others. Such a delightful story.

Fisher and Keziah have both listened to Little Britches this week and Fisher has been listening to The Lord of the Rings. Blythe is reading Pride and Prejudice again and I have been reading Call The Midwife and To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort. Richard just finished The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Our family read-aloud right now is still The Wingfeather Saga. We are on book four, The Warden and the Wolf-King, and have about 250 pages left. Our reading time at night is quite limited because of the big girls’ schedules and we are in the middle of play month for Blythe. She will be performing for the next 9 days and has had a heavy rehearsal schedule the past couple of weeks. That along with her work and symphony schedules puts her home late several nights a week. I think this will be the last read-aloud we do as a whole family because her schedule is too difficult for the rest of us to work around {tears}. On the nights she is home, I try to read to everyone for an hour so we can continue to make some progress. At the rate we are going it is going to be March before we finish! I am hoping for some long Sunday night reading sessions over the next few weeks so we can get to the exciting conclusion.

Kat really wants me to read Quiet so I can understand sensitive souls like her a bit better so that is on my goal list for the year. I think Annesley and I will keep reading the other Little House books for the next few months and I have a whole stack of books I need to be reading for my Worldviews and How To Talk classes. So my next 5 months of reading is pretty planned out and I haven’t even made my book list for the year for my colloquia group! What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for fabulous books for my monthly book discussion group?

In other news, my knee brace is here and working well. Finding pants that will fit over top of it is proving quite challenging so it looks like I will be wearing knee length yoga skirts for the next several months. I totally overdid it yesterday trying to shop for a pair of pants, so all the muscles in my leg are pretty unhappy today, but my knee feels super stable in the brace and I am thrilled to have it and to be done with the tape that has been holding me together for the past five weeks.

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our current books

Jan 15, 2015 by

We are spending lots of time snuggling and reading. There isn’t much else I can do right now, so it is a season of books. Annesley and I have started reading Little House in the Big Woods. I have my old, tattered, yellow set from my girlhood days. Then I have a complete other, still old, but not quite as tattered, blue set I picked up at a thrift store. We also have a few hardcover copies of the beautiful, artwork-on-the-front ones. But, when we decided to embark on this new adventure, I decided to pull out a big, beautiful, five-novels-in-one, gold-leafed edition I was saving for either Blythe or Keziah. She loves fancy things and fell in love with the gold pages and tinsy illustrations.

Little House Cover

Fisher likes to listen in and he is often found building some lego creation nearby while we read about Laura’s life with her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

Last week Blythe drove me to physical therapy and then to run a few errands. We were able to go to the library and with the help of the scooters, I was able to zip around all three floors of the library and get a pile of fun books to explore. We have a new author on our list of favorites – Andrea Beaty. She has written Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer which we already knew about and loved (and seriously, you should read them!), but when we got to her shelf at the library, we found another gem! Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau is a fun, rhyming story about a hat maker in France who designs fancy, exotic hats for all of her customers and is deeply lonely for a friend. Annes keeps asking us to read it over and over and even asked Miss Sheri to read it to her when she stopped by for a visit.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pure genius. It is Fibonacci’s famous rabbit problem – “How many rabbits will you have in one year if you start out with one?” – portrayed with hilarious illustrations, calendars, carrot recipes, and a glorious pop-up of hundreds of rabbits on the 12th month. Really, go get check it out and laugh yourselves silly as you and your children learn all about Fibonacci numbers.

Another new favorite is The Art Collector by Jan Wahl. It is about a little boy who loves art, but isn’t adept at making the art he sees in his mind come to life (yes, I identified with little Oscar!). So, he decides to collect art so he can look at the pieces he loves so much. His collection grows and he has a museum built to hold his collection and share it with others. Such a delightful story.

Fisher and Keziah have both listened to Little Britches this week and Fisher has been listening to The Lord of the Rings. Blythe is reading Pride and Prejudice again and I have been reading Call The Midwife and To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort. Richard just finished The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Our family read-aloud right now is still The Wingfeather Saga. We are on book four, The Warden and the Wolf-King, and have about 250 pages left. Our reading time at night is quite limited because of the big girls’ schedules and we are in the middle of play month for Blythe. She will be performing for the next 9 days and has had a heavy rehearsal schedule the past couple of weeks. That along with her work and symphony schedules puts her home late several nights a week. I think this will be the last read-aloud we do as a whole family because her schedule is too difficult for the rest of us to work around {tears}. On the nights she is home, I try to read to everyone for an hour so we can continue to make some progress. At the rate we are going it is going to be March before we finish! I am hoping for some long Sunday night reading sessions over the next few weeks so we can get to the exciting conclusion.

Kat really wants me to read Quiet so I can understand sensitive souls like her a bit better so that is on my goal list for the year. I think Annesley and I will keep reading the other Little House books for the next few months and I have a whole stack of books I need to be reading for my Worldviews and How To Talk classes. So my next 5 months of reading is pretty planned out and I haven’t even made my book list for the year for my colloquia group! What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for fabulous books for my monthly book discussion group?

In other news, my knee brace is here and working well. Finding pants that will fit over top of it is proving quite challenging so it looks like I will be wearing knee length yoga skirts for the next several months. I totally overdid it yesterday trying to shop for a pair of pants, so all the muscles in my leg are pretty unhappy today, but my knee feels super stable in the brace and I am thrilled to have it and to be done with the tape that has been holding me together for the past five weeks.

read more

Related Posts

our current books

Jan 15, 2015 by

We are spending lots of time snuggling and reading. There isn’t much else I can do right now, so it is a season of books. Annesley and I have started reading Little House in the Big Woods. I have my old, tattered, yellow set from my girlhood days. Then I have a complete other, still old, but not quite as tattered, blue set I picked up at a thrift store. We also have a few hardcover copies of the beautiful, artwork-on-the-front ones. But, when we decided to embark on this new adventure, I decided to pull out a big, beautiful, five-novels-in-one, gold-leafed edition I was saving for either Blythe or Keziah. She loves fancy things and fell in love with the gold pages and tinsy illustrations.

Little House Cover

Fisher likes to listen in and he is often found building some lego creation nearby while we read about Laura’s life with her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

Last week Blythe drove me to physical therapy and then to run a few errands. We were able to go to the library and with the help of the scooters, I was able to zip around all three floors of the library and get a pile of fun books to explore. We have a new author on our list of favorites – Andrea Beaty. She has written Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer which we already knew about and loved (and seriously, you should read them!), but when we got to her shelf at the library, we found another gem! Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau is a fun, rhyming story about a hat maker in France who designs fancy, exotic hats for all of her customers and is deeply lonely for a friend. Annes keeps asking us to read it over and over and even asked Miss Sheri to read it to her when she stopped by for a visit.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pure genius. It is Fibonacci’s famous rabbit problem – “How many rabbits will you have in one year if you start out with one?” – portrayed with hilarious illustrations, calendars, carrot recipes, and a glorious pop-up of hundreds of rabbits on the 12th month. Really, go get check it out and laugh yourselves silly as you and your children learn all about Fibonacci numbers.

Another new favorite is The Art Collector by Jan Wahl. It is about a little boy who loves art, but isn’t adept at making the art he sees in his mind come to life (yes, I identified with little Oscar!). So, he decides to collect art so he can look at the pieces he loves so much. His collection grows and he has a museum built to hold his collection and share it with others. Such a delightful story.

Fisher and Keziah have both listened to Little Britches this week and Fisher has been listening to The Lord of the Rings. Blythe is reading Pride and Prejudice again and I have been reading Call The Midwife and To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort. Richard just finished The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Our family read-aloud right now is still The Wingfeather Saga. We are on book four, The Warden and the Wolf-King, and have about 250 pages left. Our reading time at night is quite limited because of the big girls’ schedules and we are in the middle of play month for Blythe. She will be performing for the next 9 days and has had a heavy rehearsal schedule the past couple of weeks. That along with her work and symphony schedules puts her home late several nights a week. I think this will be the last read-aloud we do as a whole family because her schedule is too difficult for the rest of us to work around {tears}. On the nights she is home, I try to read to everyone for an hour so we can continue to make some progress. At the rate we are going it is going to be March before we finish! I am hoping for some long Sunday night reading sessions over the next few weeks so we can get to the exciting conclusion.

Kat really wants me to read Quiet so I can understand sensitive souls like her a bit better so that is on my goal list for the year. I think Annesley and I will keep reading the other Little House books for the next few months and I have a whole stack of books I need to be reading for my Worldviews and How To Talk classes. So my next 5 months of reading is pretty planned out and I haven’t even made my book list for the year for my colloquia group! What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for fabulous books for my monthly book discussion group?

In other news, my knee brace is here and working well. Finding pants that will fit over top of it is proving quite challenging so it looks like I will be wearing knee length yoga skirts for the next several months. I totally overdid it yesterday trying to shop for a pair of pants, so all the muscles in my leg are pretty unhappy today, but my knee feels super stable in the brace and I am thrilled to have it and to be done with the tape that has been holding me together for the past five weeks.

read more

Related Posts

our current books

Jan 15, 2015 by

We are spending lots of time snuggling and reading. There isn’t much else I can do right now, so it is a season of books. Annesley and I have started reading Little House in the Big Woods. I have my old, tattered, yellow set from my girlhood days. Then I have a complete other, still old, but not quite as tattered, blue set I picked up at a thrift store. We also have a few hardcover copies of the beautiful, artwork-on-the-front ones. But, when we decided to embark on this new adventure, I decided to pull out a big, beautiful, five-novels-in-one, gold-leafed edition I was saving for either Blythe or Keziah. She loves fancy things and fell in love with the gold pages and tinsy illustrations.

Little House Cover

Fisher likes to listen in and he is often found building some lego creation nearby while we read about Laura’s life with her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

Last week Blythe drove me to physical therapy and then to run a few errands. We were able to go to the library and with the help of the scooters, I was able to zip around all three floors of the library and get a pile of fun books to explore. We have a new author on our list of favorites – Andrea Beaty. She has written Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer which we already knew about and loved (and seriously, you should read them!), but when we got to her shelf at the library, we found another gem! Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau is a fun, rhyming story about a hat maker in France who designs fancy, exotic hats for all of her customers and is deeply lonely for a friend. Annes keeps asking us to read it over and over and even asked Miss Sheri to read it to her when she stopped by for a visit.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pure genius. It is Fibonacci’s famous rabbit problem – “How many rabbits will you have in one year if you start out with one?” – portrayed with hilarious illustrations, calendars, carrot recipes, and a glorious pop-up of hundreds of rabbits on the 12th month. Really, go get check it out and laugh yourselves silly as you and your children learn all about Fibonacci numbers.

Another new favorite is The Art Collector by Jan Wahl. It is about a little boy who loves art, but isn’t adept at making the art he sees in his mind come to life (yes, I identified with little Oscar!). So, he decides to collect art so he can look at the pieces he loves so much. His collection grows and he has a museum built to hold his collection and share it with others. Such a delightful story.

Fisher and Keziah have both listened to Little Britches this week and Fisher has been listening to The Lord of the Rings. Blythe is reading Pride and Prejudice again and I have been reading Call The Midwife and To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort. Richard just finished The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Our family read-aloud right now is still The Wingfeather Saga. We are on book four, The Warden and the Wolf-King, and have about 250 pages left. Our reading time at night is quite limited because of the big girls’ schedules and we are in the middle of play month for Blythe. She will be performing for the next 9 days and has had a heavy rehearsal schedule the past couple of weeks. That along with her work and symphony schedules puts her home late several nights a week. I think this will be the last read-aloud we do as a whole family because her schedule is too difficult for the rest of us to work around {tears}. On the nights she is home, I try to read to everyone for an hour so we can continue to make some progress. At the rate we are going it is going to be March before we finish! I am hoping for some long Sunday night reading sessions over the next few weeks so we can get to the exciting conclusion.

Kat really wants me to read Quiet so I can understand sensitive souls like her a bit better so that is on my goal list for the year. I think Annesley and I will keep reading the other Little House books for the next few months and I have a whole stack of books I need to be reading for my Worldviews and How To Talk classes. So my next 5 months of reading is pretty planned out and I haven’t even made my book list for the year for my colloquia group! What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for fabulous books for my monthly book discussion group?

In other news, my knee brace is here and working well. Finding pants that will fit over top of it is proving quite challenging so it looks like I will be wearing knee length yoga skirts for the next several months. I totally overdid it yesterday trying to shop for a pair of pants, so all the muscles in my leg are pretty unhappy today, but my knee feels super stable in the brace and I am thrilled to have it and to be done with the tape that has been holding me together for the past five weeks.

read more

Related Posts

our current books

Jan 15, 2015 by

We are spending lots of time snuggling and reading. There isn’t much else I can do right now, so it is a season of books. Annesley and I have started reading Little House in the Big Woods. I have my old, tattered, yellow set from my girlhood days. Then I have a complete other, still old, but not quite as tattered, blue set I picked up at a thrift store. We also have a few hardcover copies of the beautiful, artwork-on-the-front ones. But, when we decided to embark on this new adventure, I decided to pull out a big, beautiful, five-novels-in-one, gold-leafed edition I was saving for either Blythe or Keziah. She loves fancy things and fell in love with the gold pages and tinsy illustrations.

Little House Cover

Fisher likes to listen in and he is often found building some lego creation nearby while we read about Laura’s life with her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

Last week Blythe drove me to physical therapy and then to run a few errands. We were able to go to the library and with the help of the scooters, I was able to zip around all three floors of the library and get a pile of fun books to explore. We have a new author on our list of favorites – Andrea Beaty. She has written Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer which we already knew about and loved (and seriously, you should read them!), but when we got to her shelf at the library, we found another gem! Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau is a fun, rhyming story about a hat maker in France who designs fancy, exotic hats for all of her customers and is deeply lonely for a friend. Annes keeps asking us to read it over and over and even asked Miss Sheri to read it to her when she stopped by for a visit.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is pure genius. It is Fibonacci’s famous rabbit problem – “How many rabbits will you have in one year if you start out with one?” – portrayed with hilarious illustrations, calendars, carrot recipes, and a glorious pop-up of hundreds of rabbits on the 12th month. Really, go get check it out and laugh yourselves silly as you and your children learn all about Fibonacci numbers.

Another new favorite is The Art Collector by Jan Wahl. It is about a little boy who loves art, but isn’t adept at making the art he sees in his mind come to life (yes, I identified with little Oscar!). So, he decides to collect art so he can look at the pieces he loves so much. His collection grows and he has a museum built to hold his collection and share it with others. Such a delightful story.

Fisher and Keziah have both listened to Little Britches this week and Fisher has been listening to The Lord of the Rings. Blythe is reading Pride and Prejudice again and I have been reading Call The Midwife and To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort. Richard just finished The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Our family read-aloud right now is still The Wingfeather Saga. We are on book four, The Warden and the Wolf-King, and have about 250 pages left. Our reading time at night is quite limited because of the big girls’ schedules and we are in the middle of play month for Blythe. She will be performing for the next 9 days and has had a heavy rehearsal schedule the past couple of weeks. That along with her work and symphony schedules puts her home late several nights a week. I think this will be the last read-aloud we do as a whole family because her schedule is too difficult for the rest of us to work around {tears}. On the nights she is home, I try to read to everyone for an hour so we can continue to make some progress. At the rate we are going it is going to be March before we finish! I am hoping for some long Sunday night reading sessions over the next few weeks so we can get to the exciting conclusion.

Kat really wants me to read Quiet so I can understand sensitive souls like her a bit better so that is on my goal list for the year. I think Annesley and I will keep reading the other Little House books for the next few months and I have a whole stack of books I need to be reading for my Worldviews and How To Talk classes. So my next 5 months of reading is pretty planned out and I haven’t even made my book list for the year for my colloquia group! What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for fabulous books for my monthly book discussion group?

In other news, my knee brace is here and working well. Finding pants that will fit over top of it is proving quite challenging so it looks like I will be wearing knee length yoga skirts for the next several months. I totally overdid it yesterday trying to shop for a pair of pants, so all the muscles in my leg are pretty unhappy today, but my knee feels super stable in the brace and I am thrilled to have it and to be done with the tape that has been holding me together for the past five weeks.

read more

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delightful moments

Nov 18, 2014 by

After a lazy day of puttering around the house, getting letters sent out for next month’s baptisms for church, working on a big book order for the new Tuttle Twins book, and having learning time with the children dragged out over a long, extended afternoon, we had the surprise of a delightful evening.

Fisher, who is currently in an I-hate-doing-math stage, surprised us all by solving some tricky puzzle math problems and giggling while he did it! Then I read with Miss Annes our FIAR book of the week, Ferdinand, while we snuggled up together. Then I quizzed Keziah on all of her questions for her Sword of Freedom test coming up tomorrow and we laughed ourselves silly while naming all the battles, soldier numbers, acts of Congress, generals, landmarks, and all the other factoids she needs to have solidly placed in her brain by tomorrow. She keeps saying she is going to flunk her test and I, thinking she is an honest child, believed her. But she is not! Lands alive, that girl has this stuff down. She knew it up and down and inside out and would shout her answers with sass and absolute silliness. The answers she didn’t know inside out, she said such ridiculous things at the top of her lungs that I peed my pants a wee bit.

Oh, this girl. I love her. She reminds me so much of myself and what I would have been like if I hadn’t been living in my own childhood home of chaos.

We finished off the night with two chapters of the Wingfeather Saga…we are on the fourth and final book and I am so excited for the next few weeks of reading!

Some days as a homeschooling mama are long and hard and frustrating, but then there are moments like tonight that feed my soul and light my fire all over again.

Tonight was one of those moments.

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together on a quiet morn

Sep 22, 2014 by

Early morning scriptures.

Snuggling in bed with my little ones.

Reading about Harriet Tubman’s escape with Fisher.

Doing math with Annesley.

Stillness in my trees after a night of gentle raindrops hitting my roof.

Quiet.

Calm.

Learning.

Routine.

Gentle excitement in their eyes.

Just what I needed today.

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success

Sep 11, 2014 by

We are settling into our new routines and it doesn’t seem quite as painful to get up at 6:00 in the morning as it did two weeks ago. Learning time has been going really well this week and my “life is terrible” child has made some attitude adjustments. Now I just need to figure out how to get all my study time in for my Worldviews class, find some time for long soaking sessions in the tub, get a haircut, find some time to get ready each day (I certainly don’t want to get up any earlier just to get ready!) and we will be set. I also made two yummy meals this week, brown butter spaghetti and Kat’s Lentil Tacos. Super duper amazing for me.

This new routine is not a minor adjustment, it is a monumental shift in the operations of our home. It is going to take some time for all of us to be really good at getting up and being cheerful, but we are doing it and I want to shout from the rooftops how proud I am of us. Especially my Keziah. She has had huge adjustments in the past few weeks. She walks out the door for seminary at 6:25 which means she has to get up (all on her own, cause I am sure not waking up to wake her up!) at 5:30. By the time scripture reading happens at 6:00, she is dressed cute as a button, has her hair done, and is participating in scripture reading better than she has for the past several years. On top of all of that, she has pretty massive amounts of schoolwork, violin practice, and either cross-country practice or a meet every day. She spent the entire summer babysitting for a family in our town and now moved right into a busy fall schedule with even more being expected of her. I couldn’t be more proud of how well she has stepped up to the plate – she is being kinder, more cheerful, and getting her long list of to-dos done every day. Her sassiness is becoming a bit less caustic and a bit more humorous. Hallelujah! Her love language is gifts so I am going to start looking for some small presents to surprise her with on those days she knocks our socks off with awesomeness.

So give us some high fives when you see us, we are actually making progress.

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another monday has come and i am so not ready for it

Sep 8, 2014 by

Is it Monday already? Wowsers, last week kicked my hiney and I need another day of sleep before I am ready for Monday.

But here it is. And I am going to put on my can-do attitude and tackle it.

Here are some little updates…

iFAMILY went really, really well. I loved teaching both my classes AND my body held up well all day. At one point a fellow mother told me I was exuding health. HEALTH! Wowsers, I haven’t heard that in a long, long time.

Gym went really, really well. I was careful and pretty smart and didn’t get hurt. There are lots of adorable kiddos coming to spend Fridays with me and we are going to have a blast. But it did me in…I came home and slept the sleep of the dead until about midnight.

Homeschooling isn’t going so hot right now. I have a child who is balking at pretty much everything and I mean everything, not just schooling, and my patience is worn thin. This little person has been in an “everything is awful” stage for several months and I honestly don’t know how much more I can take. Yesterday Richard addressed this attitude issue with said child and I am hoping for improvement today. It is going to take some time to turn this around…and lots and lots of loving guidance from me.

Meals are improving. I actually cooked a delicious dinner one day last week. And I plan on cooking at least one delicious dinner this week, Tuesday is my goal. It might not sound like much, but it is a huge percentage increase in my cooking output.

Morning scripture study is working (at 6:00 a.m.!!!) at least in the sense that we are doing it and everyone is at least semi-conscious. The two little ones aren’t as conscious as I would like and they go back to sleep afterwards, but it is coming along. Our morning prayers together are the favorite part of my day. Everyone is more subdued and it feels like we are wrapped up in a blanket of peace before the big girls and Richard head out the door.

My body had a really hard time yesterday. I had early morning church meetings and a long day of church after that and I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t drink water and I didn’t eat enough and I didn’t get enough rest and I stood in the hallway for too long (my body does not like me to stand still, it drops my blood pressure and sends my heart into tachycardia). So I passed out. Again. In the middle of Relief Society and Richard had to come get me and haul my limp body out in a wheelchair. I hate it. I hate it ever so much. I don’t want to be unconscious. I don’t want to be a spectacle. I don’t want to cause fear or panic for other people when they see my body shaking and my face lose all its color. I don’t want to worry my children. I just want my body to be able to handle normal everyday activities like grocery shopping and attending church. I really want to be able to go hiking and ride my bike, but I am not asking it to do those things…just simple things like standing up for more than five minutes at a time and lifting groceries into my car.

Creating a new normal based on my body’s limited abilities to do what I want to do and my children’s needs at this time is the goal for this year and I am doing everything I can to stay focused on that and not get derailed by pictures in my head of what it could be like if I was the mom I used to be. We are still working on finding music teachers for this year, getting our schedules and routines a bit more solid, working out car sharing with Blythe, finishing the book decluttering/school room rearrangement project, and getting my study hours to be as productive as I need them to be, but we are making progress. We are only one week into this new routine and if I think about it with kindness in my heart, we have made a lot of progress. If I let my I-want-everything-to-be-perfect-right-now mind take over, I would slide into misery, but that mind was kicked to the curb a long time ago and I am not going to let it come back in and dampen our momentum.

It’s almost time to start our learning time, so I better run and get my morning protein smoothie into me so I don’t pass out like I did yesterday at church. Dysautonomia really stinks.

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yes we can, yes we can, yes we can

Sep 4, 2014 by

I love homeschooling. Absolutely love it. Believe in it. Preach it. Teach it. Live it.

But I don’t want to present only one side of the picture lest someone think homeschooling is all roses smelling of super cheerful children dying to learn every minute of the day. I have to be honest. And today that honesty is tiredness. Today has about done me in. We are almost done with our second week of early morning scripture study and day 3 of 6:15 scripture study. Man, it is early. Then today I added in the whole shebang, morning devotional, poem of the week, math, reading, history, phonics, Bible stories, puzzles, and don’t forget, the whole being in the same room with my children for hours at a time. Today it was just a bit much. I am ready for a nap and some ice cream and no noise of any kind for the next 12 hours. Of course, it doesn’t help that it is also the first day of my period and my back is aching something fierce.

The truth is the last two weeks have been very sleep deprived. Between late night outings, middle of the night Jessica rescues, two trips to Utah with middle of the night returns, many day long cleaning projects, and not being able to sleep well because of sore joints and muscles, I am tired. I need another month of rest before I dive into 15 hour days of teaching, loving, cooking, mentoring, cleaning, driving, and listening. I haven’t really been in full-time homeschooling mama mode for awhile due to my injuries and it is going to take some time for me to build up my homeschooling mama stamina again…like a Couch to 5K program, teehee. We have been easing into it with more reading and math time the past few weeks, adding in a little bit each day, but it still felt like a big jump in what was needed of me today.

Today is Keziah’s first cross-country meet of the year and it is an hour away. I decided around noon I just didn’t have it in me to drive clear out there, sit and watch for several hours, and drive back home. My cramps were too strong and my fatigue was too great. She said she didn’t mind in the slightest so I drove her to the bus, gave her a squeeze, and told her to run her heart out. It hurts my heart, but there is only so much energy I can muster in any 24 hour period and mine is already used up for today.

Tomorrow is another long day. It is the first day of my homeschool gymnastics classes and yes, I know I am crazy for even attempting it, and yes, my nearest and dearest (outside of Richard) have tried, endlessly mind you, to talk me out of it. I love teaching gym. It is part of who I am and I am not willing to say goodbye to that part of me. When I even think about it, the tears start pouring out of me. I figure if we have made it through gym the last 2 1/2 years with a very broken me, we can make it through this year with a much less broken me. I mean, let’s shout hallelujah, I have been brace, splint, walking boot, casting tape FREE since Sunday and I am still holding together and walking well. This is fabulous! It is time to build some muscles. Quite frankly, the thought excites and exhausts me all at the same time. Outside of the injuries, pain, expenses, and sheer frustration of a connective tissue disorder, the never-ending day-to-day burden is the tiredness. My body simply can’t do what it used to be able to do. At the end of each day it really feels like I have run a marathon – my muscles are exhausted from holding my joints in place, my nervous system is exhausted from sending thousands of messages about bones and ligaments and muscles being wonky, and it honestly feels like my brain is worn out by about noon of each day. Add in a few tachycardia events and my body is done.

So, let’s just say this first day of dedicated learning time was good, really good. And hard. And exhausting.

Hmmm, Annes is ready for me to read her some Mother Goose for her Humpty Dumpty’s Corner class at iFAMILY, so I better muster some strength and go snuggle up with her while we recite “Jack Be Nimble” a few more times. We can do this. We can do this. We can do this.

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potw: baby chick

Sep 4, 2014 by

As we move into the swing of things for our fall learning routine, I decided to start doing our Poem of the Week again with my little ones. I love the challenge of memory work and poems are such lovely ways to learn that I want to fill my children’s souls with hundreds of them. Some of them are silly, some of them are tender, some of them are full of character building thoughts. One of my children isn’t too keen on the idea of poetry, so we are going to be doing some animal ones for a bit to reel him back in to this fun tradition.

Baby Chick

by Aileen Fisher

Peck
peck
peck
on the warm brown egg.
OUT comes a neck.
OUT comes a leg.

How
does
a chick
who’s not been about,
discover the trick
of how to get out?

Pretty cute, eh? We found it in Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals, one of our favorite animal books.

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potw: baby chick

Sep 4, 2014 by

As we move into the swing of things for our fall learning routine, I decided to start doing our Poem of the Week again with my little ones. I love the challenge of memory work and poems are such lovely ways to learn that I want to fill my children’s souls with hundreds of them. Some of them are silly, some of them are tender, some of them are full of character building thoughts. One of my children isn’t too keen on the idea of poetry, so we are going to be doing some animal ones for a bit to reel him back in to this fun tradition.

Baby Chick

by Aileen Fisher

Peck
peck
peck
on the warm brown egg.
OUT comes a neck.
OUT comes a leg.

How
does
a chick
who’s not been about,
discover the trick
of how to get out?

Pretty cute, eh? We found it in Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals, one of our favorite animal books.

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first day

Sep 3, 2014 by

Today is the first day of iFAMILY. We have had morning scripture study in the dark at 6:15. Whoa. This is a big change. The last week or so has been full of changes: revamping our mornings to have morning scripture study and prayer (and MUCH less sleep), revamping our nights with MUCH earlier bedtimes, Blythe’s new job started on Monday, Richard started back on his school schedule on Tuesday AND he is at a new school this year, Keziah starting seminary this morning, and now iFAMILY starts today.

We also have been switching up things in our home. We have been needing to reorganize our books and learning area and for months I have been pouring over classified ads for a used 5 x 5 Expedit. They are not made anymore and most of the used ones for sale are either in terrible shape or exorbitantly priced due to the whole supply and demand thing, so we have been searching all summer for one in good shape AND reasonably priced. Friday I scored and found one in near perfect condition for only $100. Wahoo! So Richard and I spent all day Monday traveling to Utah to pick it up and get it home in one piece, which let me tell you is far easier said than done. Let’s just say it is no longer in near perfect condition.

Yesterday the three youngest and I moved bookshelves, hundreds of books, and reworked our learning area to fit our needs for this year. We gained about 150″ of shelf space with the Expedit, then gained a whole lot more when I removed all the board books from our shelves to put away for safekeeping until I have grandchildren who will need them. Then we gained even more space when I purged several large stacks of books we don’t need or use. Right now I have over 100″ of shelf space left to work with in the school room, 45″ in the sewing room, and 48″ on the kitchen bookshelf. Over the next several weeks I am going to figure out how to best use this new space to meet our needs.

We were also able to move Fisher’s (ugly as heck, but totally useful) building table back into the school room (it has been in his hallway, blocking much of the entrance to his room and not been very usable). He needs a space to build while I am reading and having a table makes it so much easier and contained than him taking over the whole floor each day.

Anyway, back to iFAMILY. I am excited to get back into the swing of things and our children are over the moon excited to dive into learning with their friends. I am excited to take my Worldviews students on a journey of hard work and deep thoughts. I am excited to share all my math games with a new group of young people. This year is going to be fun and rewarding and full of great things.

BUT I AM NOT READY FOR SUMMER TO END.

I am not. I need a few more weeks (months?) of sunshine and relaxed schedules and my sweetie. I need early morning sunrises and warm afternoons. I need to go camping a few more times and see my little ones reel in a fish. I need to have snuggle time with Richard in the morning.

But it is time to move into fall with its shorter days, crisper nights, and a pretty tight schedule for all of us. Hmmm, how to wrap my heart around these changes and move forward with gladness instead of clinging to the joy of summer?

Clinging or not, it is time to shower and get ready for this long-awaited day.

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summer reading

Jul 2, 2014 by

Fisher and Annes and I have spent the past month or so reading Hanne’s Quest, a delightful little story about a little hen who must go on an epic journey to save her owner’s farm.

book_hannesquest

We picked up this book at a used book store several years ago when I simply could not resist the lovely artwork.

41K5YHSCHEL

Mem Pockets, the owner of the farm, has a flock of speckled chickens who lay speckled eggs that she sells at the market every Friday. She loves her hens and treats them nearly like children. One day she gets a letter stating she owes back taxes on her farm and has thirty days to pay them or she will lose her land. She has very little income and no way to earn enough money in one month’s time. The hens talk together to hatch a plan and the oldest hen remembers an old legend about a special hen laying three golden eggs. Hanne, the smallest hen, decides she is the one for the undertaking and sets off on her journey to faraway places to fulfill the ancient legend.

My children were on the edge of their seats each day as they traveled with Hanne through frightening adventures and noble deeds. The chapters are just the right length for a read-aloud of one chapter a day.

We have been plodding along in our family read-aloud, The Red Keep, for months and while I quite like the book, it is moving too slow for some of our family members. I’m sure there will be plenty of excitement by the end, but right now we are still in the laying the groundwork part of the plot and it has been increasingly hard to make much progress. It is my August book discussion book, so I will keep reading it, but on Friday night we made a switch to a new book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

25424435

Oh my goodness, it is SO fun! The three introductions are hilarious and had us all laughing out loud. I have been reading the introductions to anyone who will listen to me for the past 5 days. When I heard about the Wingfeather Saga (the name of the series), I immediately went to the author’s page on Amazon. After reading his bio, I found his website, book blog, and awesome-sauce conglomeration of fellow authors, artists, and discussers of ideas, The Rabbit Room.

And to say I fell in love would be an understatement. When you read his bio, I think you will understand why.

Hey, folks. If you’re just discovering me or any of my work, it can be a little confusing because there are several facets to it. Here’s the rundown:

I write songs. I also record them to these cool things called CDs and put on concerts around the country. (And beyond! To my great delight, I get to play in Europe every year or so.)

I write books. Right now I’m three books into a fantasy series for young readers. It’s called the Wingfeather Saga. I just published book three (of four), in May of 2011. I also illustrated some of the pictures. (WingfeatherSaga.com)

I’m the proprietor of the Rabbit Room., a community of songwriters, authors, and artists interested in storytelling, faith, and fellowship. We have a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, which is as awesome as it sounds. (Hutchmoot.com)

I’m a proud member of the Square Peg Alliance, a happy band of singer/songwriters who write together, tour together, and eat together. (SquarePegAlliance.com)

I’ve been married for nineteen years to Jamie, and we have three sweet children: Aedan (15), Asher (14), and Skye (11). We live in a magical place we call the Warren, just south of Nashville.

The common thread in all this is my love for Christ and his Kingdom, my belief in the power of story and art, and my need for family and community. If I had to boil it all down, I’d say this: I want to use my gifts to tell the truth, and to tell it as beautifully as I can.

That ought to get you started. For a more in-depth look at what I do, visit Andrew-Peterson.com. Thanks!

Andrew Peterson’s approach to life, family, sharing his ideas, and making a difference in the world entered right into my heart. He is hilarious, generous, real, and is spending his life doing what he loves, an act of courage in this day and age of working jobs one hates.

The fourth and final book in the Windfeather Saga was released last week on his website and will be available for pre-order on Amazon with shipment on July 22.

Everyone is thoroughly enjoying this story, even my one child who is incredibly challenging to please with read-aloud time, so I declare it a solid winner. As soon as we have a spare $45, we will be buying all four books so we can delight in them again and again. Right now I have books 1-3 checked out from the library and local friends, DO NOT REQUEST THEM! Please, pretty, pretty please, let us keep them for a bit so we can get through them. We are reading as fast as we can. Promise.

read more

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summer reading

Jul 2, 2014 by

Fisher and Annes and I have spent the past month or so reading Hanne’s Quest, a delightful little story about a little hen who must go on an epic journey to save her owner’s farm.

book_hannesquest

We picked up this book at a used book store several years ago when I simply could not resist the lovely artwork.

41K5YHSCHEL

Mem Pockets, the owner of the farm, has a flock of speckled chickens who lay speckled eggs that she sells at the market every Friday. She loves her hens and treats them nearly like children. One day she gets a letter stating she owes back taxes on her farm and has thirty days to pay them or she will lose her land. She has very little income and no way to earn enough money in one month’s time. The hens talk together to hatch a plan and the oldest hen remembers an old legend about a special hen laying three golden eggs. Hanne, the smallest hen, decides she is the one for the undertaking and sets off on her journey to faraway places to fulfill the ancient legend.

My children were on the edge of their seats each day as they traveled with Hanne through frightening adventures and noble deeds. The chapters are just the right length for a read-aloud of one chapter a day.

We have been plodding along in our family read-aloud, The Red Keep, for months and while I quite like the book, it is moving too slow for some of our family members. I’m sure there will be plenty of excitement by the end, but right now we are still in the laying the groundwork part of the plot and it has been increasingly hard to make much progress. It is my August book discussion book, so I will keep reading it, but on Friday night we made a switch to a new book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

25424435

Oh my goodness, it is SO fun! The three introductions are hilarious and had us all laughing out loud. I have been reading the introductions to anyone who will listen to me for the past 5 days. When I heard about the Wingfeather Saga (the name of the series), I immediately went to the author’s page on Amazon. After reading his bio, I found his website, book blog, and awesome-sauce conglomeration of fellow authors, artists, and discussers of ideas, The Rabbit Room.

And to say I fell in love would be an understatement. When you read his bio, I think you will understand why.

Hey, folks. If you’re just discovering me or any of my work, it can be a little confusing because there are several facets to it. Here’s the rundown:

I write songs. I also record them to these cool things called CDs and put on concerts around the country. (And beyond! To my great delight, I get to play in Europe every year or so.)

I write books. Right now I’m three books into a fantasy series for young readers. It’s called the Wingfeather Saga. I just published book three (of four), in May of 2011. I also illustrated some of the pictures. (WingfeatherSaga.com)

I’m the proprietor of the Rabbit Room., a community of songwriters, authors, and artists interested in storytelling, faith, and fellowship. We have a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, which is as awesome as it sounds. (Hutchmoot.com)

I’m a proud member of the Square Peg Alliance, a happy band of singer/songwriters who write together, tour together, and eat together. (SquarePegAlliance.com)

I’ve been married for nineteen years to Jamie, and we have three sweet children: Aedan (15), Asher (14), and Skye (11). We live in a magical place we call the Warren, just south of Nashville.

The common thread in all this is my love for Christ and his Kingdom, my belief in the power of story and art, and my need for family and community. If I had to boil it all down, I’d say this: I want to use my gifts to tell the truth, and to tell it as beautifully as I can.

That ought to get you started. For a more in-depth look at what I do, visit Andrew-Peterson.com. Thanks!

Andrew Peterson’s approach to life, family, sharing his ideas, and making a difference in the world entered right into my heart. He is hilarious, generous, real, and is spending his life doing what he loves, an act of courage in this day and age of working jobs one hates.

The fourth and final book in the Windfeather Saga was released last week on his website and will be available for pre-order on Amazon with shipment on July 22.

Everyone is thoroughly enjoying this story, even my one child who is incredibly challenging to please with read-aloud time, so I declare it a solid winner. As soon as we have a spare $45, we will be buying all four books so we can delight in them again and again. Right now I have books 1-3 checked out from the library and local friends, DO NOT REQUEST THEM! Please, pretty, pretty please, let us keep them for a bit so we can get through them. We are reading as fast as we can. Promise.

read more

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math=life lessons

Apr 21, 2014 by

Our little man has what I lovingly call the “leave me alone and let me build things and find bugs and for heaven’s sake, don’t make me sit still and do workbooks syndrome.” He does love me to read to him and he will sit for hours while I do so. He also sits still whenever he is focused on something of his own choosing. Lately it has been learning to draw bugs, race cars, and space ships.

He is really good at math. His minds gets math. I love watching the wheels turn in his mind as he ponders something and figures it out. But he doesn’t really like doing math. He especially doesn’t like to be cheerful as he does it. I was about to pull out my hair with all his grumpiness and flat out refused to help him whenever he turned into a whiney mess of “I can’t do it, I hate math, why can’t I go outside?” Richard talked to him. I talked to him. But nothing really helped for more than a day at a time. I thought about it. I prayed about it. Then I put a plan into action.

About four weeks ago I made him a deal. I told him if he could cheerfully do math with me and get done with his current math book and the next math book by the end of April, I would buy him the remote control rat he had been dreaming about since last fall. He had me count up all the pages in both books and help him figure out a schedule of four pages a day, three days a week.

But then I went to California with my dad…and then my mom and sister came…and we got behind on his schedule. We had to revamp it to seven pages a day, four days a week. And he cheerfully worked hard and learned a gob of new information and increased his skills and wowed me with how smart his little mind is. Somedays he got through eight pages, sometimes nine, but usually seven tuckered him out.

This morning he woke up and came and snuggled in bed with me and asked “How many more pages do I have in my math book?” I said “I don’t know, let’s count them up.” Well, he had 28 more pages so I said “You are doing great buddy! You are going to make it to your goal, I am so proud of you!”

He thought about it for a few minutes and then asked ever so sweetly, “Mom, can we do all 28 pages today? I want to finish today.”

“Of course! I will help you out and put in the time if you are willing to put in the time.” And so we started.

Nearly five hours later we finished. He was exhausted, but quite pleased with himself. He almost gave up a few times, but he stuck it out and pushed himself to do hard things. When he finished the last page, he gave me a heartfelt look with his big blue eyes and red eyelashes and said “Mom, thank you for helping me.”

He immediately called his papa and told him the good news and asked him to go pick up the rat. We found out a few hours later that the rat was only available at Halloween time and had been gone from the store for months. The poor boy! He was so disappointed. I found one online and offered to get it for him and have it arrive sometime next week, but in the end he decided to get a little lego set he found on clearance at our local variety store with his papa tonight.

I don’t believe in bribing children. I DO believe in helping them learn better skills and behaviors by occasionally creating a plan with them that involves a tangible reward. Fisher didn’t have to do x and then he got y. He had to overcome his desire to complain about his math book for weeks on end, treat me respectfully, learn a lot of really tough stuff, and stick with it day after day. In my mind, that is totally worth $14.

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math=life lessons

Apr 21, 2014 by

Our little man has what I lovingly call the “leave me alone and let me build things and find bugs and for heaven’s sake, don’t make me sit still and do workbooks syndrome.” He does love me to read to him and he will sit for hours while I do so. He also sits still whenever he is focused on something of his own choosing. Lately it has been learning to draw bugs, race cars, and space ships.

He is really good at math. His minds gets math. I love watching the wheels turn in his mind as he ponders something and figures it out. But he doesn’t really like doing math. He especially doesn’t like to be cheerful as he does it. I was about to pull out my hair with all his grumpiness and flat out refused to help him whenever he turned into a whiney mess of “I can’t do it, I hate math, why can’t I go outside?” Richard talked to him. I talked to him. But nothing really helped for more than a day at a time. I thought about it. I prayed about it. Then I put a plan into action.

About four weeks ago I made him a deal. I told him if he could cheerfully do math with me and get done with his current math book and the next math book by the end of April, I would buy him the remote control rat he had been dreaming about since last fall. He had me count up all the pages in both books and help him figure out a schedule of four pages a day, three days a week.

But then I went to California with my dad…and then my mom and sister came…and we got behind on his schedule. We had to revamp it to seven pages a day, four days a week. And he cheerfully worked hard and learned a gob of new information and increased his skills and wowed me with how smart his little mind is. Somedays he got through eight pages, sometimes nine, but usually seven tuckered him out.

This morning he woke up and came and snuggled in bed with me and asked “How many more pages do I have in my math book?” I said “I don’t know, let’s count them up.” Well, he had 28 more pages so I said “You are doing great buddy! You are going to make it to your goal, I am so proud of you!”

He thought about it for a few minutes and then asked ever so sweetly, “Mom, can we do all 28 pages today? I want to finish today.”

“Of course! I will help you out and put in the time if you are willing to put in the time.” And so we started.

Nearly five hours later we finished. He was exhausted, but quite pleased with himself. He almost gave up a few times, but he stuck it out and pushed himself to do hard things. When he finished the last page, he gave me a heartfelt look with his big blue eyes and red eyelashes and said “Mom, thank you for helping me.”

He immediately called his papa and told him the good news and asked him to go pick up the rat. We found out a few hours later that the rat was only available at Halloween time and had been gone from the store for months. The poor boy! He was so disappointed. I found one online and offered to get it for him and have it arrive sometime next week, but in the end he decided to get a little lego set he found on clearance at our local variety store with his papa tonight.

I don’t believe in bribing children. I DO believe in helping them learn better skills and behaviors by occasionally creating a plan with them that involves a tangible reward. Fisher didn’t have to do x and then he got y. He had to overcome his desire to complain about his math book for weeks on end, treat me respectfully, learn a lot of really tough stuff, and stick with it day after day. In my mind, that is totally worth $14.

read more

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book bonanza: when mindy saved hanukkah

Mar 4, 2014 by

My biggest strength as a homeschooling mama (well, aside from my absolute determination) is my love of reading out loud to my children. They love, love, love me to read to them. I guess I have all sorts of voices and zest that make it fun. I don’t really try to read in voices, it is just how I read…full characterization all the time. Fisher and Annesley will sit for hours and have me read to them which is pretty fortunate since I have spent so much time in bed the last two years. Snuggling in bed with them and reading the afternoon away is a common activity. When my voice or energy level give out, we stop and pick up again the next day.

Tonight we read “When Mindy Saved Hanukkah” for the first time. I must have picked it up at used book sale at the library some time ago, but I have never looked at it until Annesley brought it in and begged me to read it to her. Oh my goodness, it is so darling! All of you Jewish lovers out there need to find this book and savor the delightful story with your little ones. It is about a family of teensy people…really teensy, like the Borrowers…who live in a Synagogue and do not have any candles for Hanukkah. They need to sneak out to the Synagogue to get a big candle to melt into little candles. When the dad goes out, a cat attacks him. So then the girl of the family decides she is the one who must go and with great courage she ventures out to find a candle in spite of the possibility of being eaten by the cat. It is so, so cute!

It looks like it is out of print, so check out your library and used book stores to see if you can find a copy.

p.s. Sheri you must borrow it!

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book bonanza: when mindy saved hanukkah

Mar 4, 2014 by

My biggest strength as a homeschooling mama (well, aside from my absolute determination) is my love of reading out loud to my children. They love, love, love me to read to them. I guess I have all sorts of voices and zest that make it fun. I don’t really try to read in voices, it is just how I read…full characterization all the time. Fisher and Annesley will sit for hours and have me read to them which is pretty fortunate since I have spent so much time in bed the last two years. Snuggling in bed with them and reading the afternoon away is a common activity. When my voice or energy level give out, we stop and pick up again the next day.

Tonight we read “When Mindy Saved Hanukkah” for the first time. I must have picked it up at used book sale at the library some time ago, but I have never looked at it until Annesley brought it in and begged me to read it to her. Oh my goodness, it is so darling! All of you Jewish lovers out there need to find this book and savor the delightful story with your little ones. It is about a family of teensy people…really teensy, like the Borrowers…who live in a Synagogue and do not have any candles for Hanukkah. They need to sneak out to the Synagogue to get a big candle to melt into little candles. When the dad goes out, a cat attacks him. So then the girl of the family decides she is the one who must go and with great courage she ventures out to find a candle in spite of the possibility of being eaten by the cat. It is so, so cute!

It looks like it is out of print, so check out your library and used book stores to see if you can find a copy.

p.s. Sheri you must borrow it!

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a reading adventure

Mar 4, 2014 by

Annesley and I are starting a new adventure together – learning to read! She has been playing with our moveable alphabet, writing her letters, and playing alphabet games like the Bob Books and the lovely Montessorium apps on the iPad for quite some time, but last week she decided she was ready to put in the time to learn to read. I decided to start out with the I See Sam app and see how she responded to it. I have dozens of reading curricula here in my house and different programs have worked with different children, so I thought we would just try it out and then adjust as necessary.

Well, she loved it! Each book starts out with a few sounds to master. Then the next page lists the new words that are in the book. Then the story with those very few words. By the end of the 17-20 page story, those words are pretty darn cemented in the child’s mind.

So, we started out with /I/, /s/, /S/, /long e/, /a/, and /m/. Her words were I, see, and Sam. The first time was pretty challenging for her to put those sounds together and she wanted to look at pictures and tell her own story. But then she made all her words with the movable alphabet and wrote them down and they started to make it into her mind.

Yesterday we opened up I See Sam and this time it clicked! She could put the sounds together and make sense of them. She read all of Book 1 to me. Then she read it to her grandma. Then she begged me to allow her to read Book 2. To my great surprise, she read the whole thing with a giant smile on her face, high fives after each page, and a big hug for me at the end.

We have used Jolly Phonics, Happy Phonics, Reading Without Tears, Learning to Read with the Book of Mormon, The Writing Road to Reading, Bob Books, Phonics Games, Explode the Code, and several others I can’t remember now and while I think they all have their merits, I really love the I See Sam app. I love how simple the books start out with just five sounds and three words. It builds success quickly for the child and focuses on mastery of just those few components before moving on. There are not any sounds in the words that you haven’t been taught. So many early reading programs expect sight words to be known right from the get go and that has always frustrated my children. Annesley’s favorite part is the microphone. You can hit the mic button and record yourself reading a page or the whole book. Last night after she completed reading Book 2 for her papa, she went back and recorded herself reading it and then giggled herself silly while listening to herself. Then she added in all sorts of emotion and shouting to bring the story to life and recorded it again. So fun!

Then we made Annesley’s Reading Book, a notebook with all the words she knows. We are putting one word on each page and then she can practice writing that word all over the rest of the page.

Today we will be writing her known words on index cards, hanging them up on the wall, and letting her throw a ball at the word I say. Along with our moveable alphabet, we are also making up a little activity box with magnetized Bananagram letters and a small cookie sheet.

I am convinced that helping a child learn to read can be magical. I am really hoping that with this fourth child of mine I can take all the lessons from the past three and put them to good use so it is magical. So far so good!

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