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Monday, September 15, 2014

September 7-13

 What August thinks of big sister Marissa.
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 A pumpkin in a predicament. ;o)

 What Josh declared the most awesome peach pie ever.  I used this recipe (I did not however poach my peaches, but just peeled them all) and the crust was so delightfully flaky . . . I am horrible at "food photography" but this pie still a bit warm . . . it was delightful. ;o)
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We have sooooo many apples!  I am hoping to make some homemade applesauce . . . I am not really looking forward to the peeling process.  And then I looked at attachments for my mixer, to avoid peeling (and realized that I could buy jars and jars of applesauce for that price).  So . . . we'll see if any applesauce making happens.  I might just go buy a whole bunch of peelers and set the kids to work. ;o)

 One year ago this day was my shocking positively pregnant test.
So very, very much has changed in our family over the last year.
But August?
He was the best surprise ever.
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 Another Thursday picture for you because I forgot a Friday one.
Our cat Sebastian likes to disappear for long lengths of time doing--I can only assume--things that tomcats like to do. *ahem* But he came back this day and the kids were so excited and they knew their daddy would be excited (Josh loves this cat!).  They waited in the driveway holding Sebastian, and when Josh got home they ambushed him.  Everybody loved him up real good in hopes of deterring him from leaving on an "adventure" again.
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I am gearing up for some apple cider donut making.  My recipe calls for boiled cider, and so I have always boiled cider down a bit (maybe for half an hour?) but still find the flavor lacking.  I noticed King Arthur Flour sells a jar of boiled cider (for like $11 plus $6 shipping)--I'm sure it is wonderful, but I can't justify that price. So I googled how to make my own.  This is what happens when you let a half gallon of apple cider simmer on your stove for a few hours.  You get this thick syrup of intense appley goodness (although, as you can see, not very much of it!!).  I am hoping it will do the trick!

Monday, September 8, 2014

August 31-September 6

Pretty evening sky.
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 The Labor Day s'mores tradition lives on!  We had our Shelby friends the Curry's over (although, before Shelby, Tiffany and I were Crete friends who have known each other since 7th grade--so fun to have done life 7th-12th grade together in one small town and pick up in our 30's in a new small town!). ;o)
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  How precious is that??
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 Daddy and the boys after the completion of our first crazy Wednesday.  (Violin in Columbus, violin shopping and cello lesson in Lincoln).  Thankfully we have now moved violin to Monday, so Wednesday will just have cello/orchestra/Awana . . . And cello was going to be a 6:00 in the evening, but now it is at 3:00, so that will be much better timing for me. FINALLY!! We have a fall schedule completely figured out!!
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 Marissa showing off her very first big purchase--a full-sized violin! We are all so thankful for all the days she was able to detassel this past summer, because upon meeting the new violin teacher she said the words "It's time!" We are pretty delighted with this girl and her diligence and she is quite proud of herself for being able to buy it with her own money. (Now to start saving for the $69,000 one we saw hanging up on the wall . . . HA!!). 
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 A friend gave me her old Johnny-Jump-Up and I think August is enjoying the change of scenery.  He seems quite pleased with himself when he gets a bit of air under those feet. ;o)
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And I caught this sweet scene in my living room before bed Saturday night.  Babies.  They just bring out the best in all of us.

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)