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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August 24-30

 The music and arts camp finale at church--many people joked that with four of our kids up there we provided a good portion of the participants (we do what we can). ;o)
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 He so looks like one of our babies (crazy, I know!). ;o)
Look at that round little face and those big eyes!! I could just eat him up (not literally of course). ;o)
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 The sad fact about the month of August. 
After the most awesome run of good health out in Arapahoe (only twice in the nearly three years was Owen on antibiotics, and nobody else got sick) sickness has taken a hold of us quite fiercely.  SEVEN prescriptions were filled this month, and two of them were for two kids who had strep TWICE!  And now we are done with the antibiotics and it seems like colds have gripped a lot of the kids. Not cool. :o(
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 Sweeties.
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 Emmett convinced Owen to play Settlers of Catan with him.  It might be a bit out of Owen's league, but sometimes Emmett gets desperate for somebody to play with so he convinces Owen.  (Emmett ADORES this game and the last two times we have played it has actually come in 2nd . . . to Josh of course). ;o)
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 SO much rain!!! I don't have a final count, but inches and inches and inches!
The boys were out for a stroll with the umbrella.
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Galadriel had 6 kittens a few weeks back.  I found her sitting in the grass staring out at the road this night, her babies all snuggled up in the window well.  I get it. Sometimes mamas just need a bit of peace and quiet. ;o)

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 17-23

 A happy three months to my little August guy!
Three months finds him weighing in the vicinity of 12 lbs, super happy and squealy, *almost* giggling and *almost* officially ticklish. He is reaching for things and trying to grab and get them in his mouth (particularly blankets) and he is a very good sleeper, often sleeping until around 5:00 in the morning.  It is funny to think how a year ago, unbeknownst to us, God was getting ready to start assembling this little guy.  And how one year later we cannot imagine life without this sweet little soul.  What an absolute joy he is!
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 Family movie nights . . . we have been working our way through all of the Star Wars this month.  August finds it thrilling . . . 
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 Chilling.
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 Evening light on wild sunflowers.
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 The same evening light (because I forgot a picture for this day) on two bare-chested pajama clad boys out back swinging.  Confession: due to the lack of swing set in our yard over the last five or six years NONE of my boys knew how to pump a swing.*gasp*  We did visit parks, but they didn't ever really care to work at this skill.  But now they all can do it with flourish and finesse.  Something I have been thinking a lot about lately--whether your child is on the early end or the late end of acquiring a skill it all does even out eventually (and yet sometimes we worry, force something, or generally wring our hands over development or lack thereof). I think mostly us moms just need to chill. ;o)
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The grandparents arrived to help us celebrate Jackson's birthday (a day early).  He requested an Italian buffet and so I crafted three homemade pizzas (pepperoni, "supreme," and bbq chicken).  His birthday "cake" was a double chocolate creme pie.  Love how this boy loves a good meal! ;o)
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This was Jackson's birthday gift from all his grandparents.  He started it immediately, after opening it Friday evening.  We forced him to bed and then he awoke the next morning and finished it up.  It is actually a "knock-off" Lego brand, but Jackson said it went together great.  Happy birthday to him. ;o)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Happy 9th Jackson!!!

For the third time I have a nine year old in the house and the realization that I am "half done" hits me.  Back in the beginning, in the days of emptied out pantry ingredients, drawn on walls, and general mayhem the days were oh-so-long.  But now this ride is going crazy fast and I only wish I could slow time just a bit.
While "sweet" isn't exactly an adjective I would use to describe you I have enjoyed getting to see you interact with your baby brother these last few months.  How you ask to hold him and carry him around and are generally fascinated with how adorable August is.  Because let's face it, when a mom is raising a whole bunch of rough and tumble boys, sometimes she wonders . . . am I raising barbarians? ;o) But when I see you with August or see you with a kitty I see the kindness and the gentleness and it does my heart good.
You are a solid and diligent student.  You love a good schedule and check-off list.  You are a stickler for those details and the other morning you asked at 6:47 a.m. "Is it okay if I start school now?" Because you see, school starts at 8:00 and you wanted to make sure it was okay to get going early. And I may have laughed this big huge laugh because back when the days were long and you were shoving potatoes down air vents and pulling off all of the laptop keys I didn't know there would come a day you would be excited to start your work.  That one day you would relish getting your work done, would work ahead, and then tell me it's too easy and you need something harder. Who knew?  I had worried so much about you in the beginning.  I am so thankful I didn't push you. So thankful I let you have an extra year, and so thankful we had a home setting to get you going in.  You have flourished and you love learning.
You adore baseball. You love Legos. The cello makes you happy. You are fascinated by storm systems and tornadoes. Maps are fun to read and you can't wait for the next traveling adventure.  You love the garden near as much as me.  Nothing you do you do for an audience, but do it because you genuinely love it.  In fact, you would prefer to never have an audience and never draw attention to yourself--a solid introvert if I ever saw one.  I love how intense you get with the things you love.  I am excited to see the man you will grow up to be.
Happiest birthday Jackson Macrae!  
As always, Daddy and I wish, more than anything else you will grow to be a young man who loves the Lord--that you will be a humble leader with a servant heart.  We love you oh so much!! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back-to-School

~Marissa~
wants to be a writer
~Isabella~
wants to get married and have a whole bunch of kids . . . back-up plan a nurse or doctor
~Jackson~
wants to be a baseball player or storm chaser/meteorologist
~Emmett~
wants to be a Lego inventor and design Lego kits
~Owen~
wants to be a Wal-mart worker
(I kid you not, that is what he told me . . . apparently he is a big Wal-mart fan?) ;o)
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We had our first day back on August 11 and completed our first week without too many tears or gnashing of teeth.  To be quite frank, I was kind of dreading this start-up, wondering over and over how I would do it.  I haven't put August on a schedule, we just kind of fit him into our life (i.e. he cries I feed him . . . ).  I really didn't know how that was going to work while trying to keep everyone busy and on task.  But an amazing thing happened last week--he decided to nap from about 8:00-11:00 a.m.! I KNOW. Totally God's graciousness there!  While he hasn't done quite as awesome this week, he is still being quite obliging to the fact I am busy, and I am so thankful. Our schedule goes something like this:

6:00-7:00~we are waking up. My goal is to be up at 6:00 every day.  Josh has a morning bus route and needs to be leaving the house by 6:15.  If I want to see him, that is my chance. ;o) (But alas, I missed him this morning . . .) I have been trying to get back into my tea/Bible/prayer routine, and it truly works best for me in the early morning in a quiet house.
7:00-8:00~kids are mostly responsible for their own breakfasts (we keep it simple with cereals/oatmeal or they can make an "egg mcmuffin") and getting themselves ready for the day.
8:00-9:00~time I spend with Emmett and Owen and nobody is supposed to bother us.  I am working on a new Phonics curriculum with both of them.  Mainly I got it for Emmett who has been having some struggles, but I am throwing Owen into the mix to see if maybe he can catch on as well.  So far I LOVE it (Logic of English, Foundations A, in case anyone is interested).  Superbly boy friendly! The older three are supposed to work independently during this time--practice instrument, read, and any workbook stuff (saving questions for me for later).
9:00-11:00~what I call MORNING BLOCK. This is where we do history (M,T,W) and science (TH, F), and any math lessons, or explanations of other lessons that couldn't be done on their own during 8-9.  Emmett and Jackson are doing Mystery of History, "Creation to Resurrection" and studying ancient history.  Marissa and Isabella are doing Mystery of History, "Wars of Independence to Modern Times." For science we have a set of seven books from the Wonders of Creation series, the first one we are doing is meteorology.
11:00-12:00~lunch break . . . we eat, clean up, hopefully get supper prepped, reboot some laundry, etc.
12:00-2:00~AFTERNOON BLOCK . . . this is where we finish up whatever didn't get finished in the morning.  Mostly, that has been Latin for the girls.  Um yeah, Marissa requested Latin this year . . . it is kind of kicking my rear . . . But she loves it.  Isabella tolerates it. It is kind of hard . . . I may do something different for Isabella, as she genuinely has enjoyed vocabulary in the past--this might kill that love. ;o)
And then we have the afternoon to try to tend to the falling apart house . . .
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I am keeping my days and life as simple as I can this year.  If somebody were to stop by on a surprise visit they really would not be impressed with my homemaking abilities, but I can assure you it is NOT because I am sitting around playing games on my phone all day . . . ;o)  It is a "keep my head above the water" kind of year.  We have found a wonderful teacher in Columbus for violin for Marissa (I am REALLY excited about her!). We don't have an official day of the week assigned yet, but we had a first "trial lesson" last week. Isabella is quitting violin.  She loves the piano, so I am going to start giving her lessons on that. Jackson's cello teacher will be in Lincoln (when we journey in on Wednesday night for Awana).  And that will be enough activities for the school year! As soon as we have our whole schedule laid out I need to sit down with my rotating menus/grocery lists for this new season of life. That will be a bit of an undertaking, but it is always so worth it to not have to think "what am I making for supper tonight?"  Once that occurs I will have all of our routines ready for the fall--I can't wait to feel on top of things again!! Routine is good. (Amen). ;o)


Monday, August 18, 2014

August 10-16

 Sunday afternoon Isabella had a Target gift card burning a hole in her pocket, so I took her to Target.
She bought a Lego kit (she likes Legos nearly as much as the boys because she enjoys making stop-motion Lego movies).  The boys looked on with palpable envy while she assembled the new kit. ;o)
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 Back to school! For the first time in my eight (8!?!) years of official homeschooling I actually have a little room to devote to our scholarly endeavors--how fun!
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 Working on our letters the fun sensory-filled way--drawing in shaving cream. ;o)
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 Realizing one couch with not be sufficient for very long.
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 Weaponry 101
(the class that will happen during down-time if you have at least one boy in your home)
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 Next door neighbors.
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A simple bouquet of sunflowers, zinnia, and dill-going-to-seed. I kind of think it beats a stuffy expensive arrangement any day. ;o)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 3-9

(No Sunday pictures, I spent the weekend miserable, five days of yucky sore throat, aches, fever/chills . . . not exactly in a picture taking mood!) ;o)
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 Here is our latest batch of kittens.  We started out with five but one (the pretty white one!) mysteriously disappeared and now we have four.  Tabby moved them under the swing set--a perfect place for little boys to snuggle them.
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 My August-boy and me. 
This little guy (and our move) quite efficiently turned my life/routines/schedules into utter mayhem.  People keep asking me how I am settling in and I laugh (with perhaps the crazed gleam of a maniac glowering in my eyes . . .). It has been hard.  One would think that 6th time around adding a new little person would be second nature. And while yes, there is something oh-so-familiar about the weight of a little one in my arms, I KNOW babies, I still feel like there are about 17 people in my family.  Do I adore him? Oh my, YES!  Is my house complete and utter chaos? YES!!  But I know it is a season and it can be survived. And we ARE surviving.  Food and clean clothes people, those are my goals. ;o)
Yay sunflowers!!! Yes, I post a sunflower pic every summer, but don't they just make you happy?
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 And yay green beans! My second picking and they are soooo good!
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 My favorite little swallowtail butterflies have been swarming the zinnias.  Almost every time I glace out a window I see one fluttering by.  I think I like them so much because they are my wedding colors . . .
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His little face has rounded out and his eyes sparkle with brilliant blue.  He loves company and having conversations--all smiling, cooing, and squeals.  Josh and I have started to be reminded of a little Rissy-baby we had oh-so-long-ago.  How fun is that?

July 27-August 2

 I got a kick out of watching Emmett's attempts at diving--not the best of forms but he kept at it!
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 Just when I thought I had August pegged as being Emmett's mini-me he starts to change on me. He (surprise!) looks a lot like himself. ;o)
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 Owen still insists upon holding and snuggling his little brother.  Here they are watching Mary Poppins together.
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 I finally got my first zucchini out of the garden and promptly made 3 dozen zucchini muffins and this yummy casserole, which quite frankly is mostly cheese with a onions and a hint of zucchini, but a treat none-the-less.
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 And the sunflowers get ready to open! Everything is about a month behind because I didn't get things in until mid-June, but growing well in spite of my neglect.
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I didn't manage a picture on August 1st, but I did have this view from my garden to show you. This is looking out over the bluffs.  We can see the Columbus water tower, a good 10 miles away.  It is fun to watch the storms move through.  We hardly had storms, or even clouds in Arapahoe.  We have enjoyed the big puffy clouds and lovely rains in this new spot.
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And on this morning we sent our Jackson-boy off to his first summer camp experience.  He loved it, but the funniest comment my very scheduled boy made, "They made me stay up until 11:00!  Two nights!! And one night they made me stay up 'til midnight!!!" He was shocked (and tired). ;o) He is definitely an early bird like his mama.