[school] ancient americas

This week for school we’re talking about ANCIENT American cultures. We’re zeroing in hard on the Nazcas for some art projects – about Nazca lines and pottery. We’ve watched videos and I have a National Geographic with some EXCELLENT photos. But. It gets kinda tricky. Even after studying this five or six different ways, I get the timeline confused.

One of the projects we did was to draw on white paper with white crayons. Then we used watercolors on the paper.

Annie got so mad about not being able to see the white-on-white that she completely quit participating… but she found a map and knew it was a world map so she was doing more learning practice than she thought she was. But. We went from an inset at the top corner to Australia for Chick-fil-A.


girl trip

Annie, Brennan, and I went with my mother, grandmother, aunt, and cousin to the beach for a few days. The point was to spend time together, and to see some of Granny’s family. The weather was not awesome for a super wonderful beach trip, BUT we did get to spend time in the sun, and the gulf was lovely, and overall I rate it a great time. The photos I’m posting are in reverse order… and I’m going to leave them that way.

iphone20140329_163 iphone20140329_161iphone20140328_153(somebody didn’t want to sit in a chair, so somebody was in the floor, ALL THE WAY IN THE FLOOR, watching a fish tank and chatting with people who came up the stairs. and I just let her be that way. because. the beach.)iphone20140327_138 (not asleep. not at all asleep. not hardly. but cuddling and playing and precious.)iphone20140327_130 iphone20140327_128 iphone20140327_118 (the balcony was HUGE, and brennan loved watching the big water. just from the safety of the 9th story, though. the actual big water was a no-go.)iphone20140327_116 iphone20140327_113(we didn’t want to wake the goose enough to actually dress her when we first got in the car – it was crazy o’clock – so she ended up in a tee, sweatshirt, and leggings. and at some point she spilled something all down her leggings, so by the time we got to the beach, she was without pants. fine. at least she was duck-facing for the camera, right?!?)


choosing love

The past twelve hours have flown by. My plans for the day were to put together the crib for Annie, finish school before lunch, and not have a bigger mess when Jonathan got home than when he left for work.

I got a shower this morning (woohoo!) and we ate breakfast and did school work. We read Tomie dePaola’s book about Saint Patrick. The big kids helped me put together the crib. We ate lunch. We played hard. Annie slobbered on me (she’s big on slobbering lately). We cleaned up the living room. We played some more.

We had a great day!

And then there was sibling battle – an extended version – and after Jonathan got home it continued, and somebody got lectured three times and put in the bedroom and then had to do copy work. About love.

Did it help?

Of course not. But another lecture (fight. it was a fight) and some alone time made somebody more receptive to the idea of making good choices. Choices that show other people that we love them.

turning points

I bought an out-of-print book from a third-party seller on Amazon, like, totally on one of those whims they make movies about. You know what I mean – they’re fodder for documentaries and comedies alike. I am hoping this leads to epic win documentary level, instead of comedy or epic fail documentary.

We’re making plans for some serious gardening this year. I’m making plans for some serious produce-related projects. These projects may be pushed into next year, not gonna pretend like I’m aiming for total annihilation of my stuff-to-try wish list THIS YEAR. But I do want to begin preparing – building knowledge and examining space and thinking about time necessary. And I want to plant food and flowers and make the space around our home as enjoyable as it can be.

almost alone on Valentine’s Day

As I write, it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s almost normal bedtime. I’ve been cleaning up the pile of stuff to clean up later… I decided it might as well be later. Annie is asleep on the couch (she’s got a pillow tucked next to her to keep her from rolling off!) and Jonathan is at my mother’s house with the kids.

MomMom needed a break.

It seems pretty weird now that I’m writing about it, but it’s been really nice. We’re about 6 hours in. I’ve played with Annie, fed her, snuggled with her while she slept, read some in my Bible, made notes about some projects I keep stalling on (uuuggghhh), and started working my way through the piles (multiple) of that stuff that needs a home but doesn’t really have one and just keeps being in the way no matter where it is, then isn’t easy to get to when you need it. I’ve got Pride and Prejudice (Hi Colin Firth!!) playing in the living room and a fresh iTunes playlist in the bedroom.

Dirty dishes are piled up on the counters. I hope I don’t trip over that bag of I-don’t-know-what when I need to go feed Annie in the middle of the night. I keep thinking about friends who are in the hospital (or who got to go home today, yay babyZeph!), and friends who are going through some heavy, heavy stuff, and how loving people – deliberately loving people the way they need to be loved – is so difficult but so amazingly rewarding.

I’m all over the place. It doesn’t seem quite like my house with Jonathan AND the big kids gone. I think as much time as I spend with Annie, we still haven’t really gotten to know each other yet. Well. Part of that’s because she’s expanding as fast as she’s growing. All of the kids are. Every day brings with it the possibility of so much growth, so much change. The bigs are pretty good at communicating what they want, and I’ve got a fairly solid handle on what they need that they don’t know how to ask for. Annie doesn’t know what she needs or wants, yet. Except food, a fresh diaper, a scenery adjustment… She’s so sweet.

Quinn is finally really reading. Um. No. He’s finally catching on to that thing where I’m not a total lunatic about letter sounds matching letters in books and in environmental print. It was a HUGE wall to break through, but we’ve done it. He’s done it. All I did was keep ambushing him with every tip I’ve ever heard. None of them worked. Or maybe, eventually, all of them worked.

He still says he can’t read.

But that’s because he’d rather play with his Legos.

Yesterday I let Aiden use a real knife to prep strawberries. He got tired of standing in front of the fridge with the door open biting into the strawberries… so he grabbed a table knife and eventually mashed one in half. I had no clue what he was doing – I was 10 feet away feeding Annie. Facing him. But apparently not with the program. He piped up “I DID IT!” and when I realized what he did, I decided to have a serious knife safety lesson. We especially practiced the part about not using knives without MomMom. AAANNNDDD the part about keeping your left-hand fingers out of the way. He wanted to cut something today and I told him he couldn’t, and he grabbed my chin and looked at me very seriously and said, slowly, “Yes, I can. I can be slow and steady and take it easy and don’t hurt me.” The answer was still a no. But I was glad he remembered some of the directions.

Earlier today, Brennan marched up to me, leaned against my legs, and ordered, “Wook UPT.” which I did, startled. She had to reach way up to wipe my face with a wet baby wipe (turns out she found them in the clean-it-up-later pile in my bedroom), then smirk-beamed at me, hopped down, and wandered away. I don’t know what happened to the wipe. But I wondered how many times a day I say, “Look up!” and then wipe her face. Doesn’t seem like often, from the pictures I take. ha!

I’ve been working on projects this week that I’m so excited to share, but I can’t yet. Teaser, for accountability. Since every time I mention wanting to write about something, I follow through. (Never. Almost never.)

Colin Firth just got shot down (his proposal was lousy, so it was well-deserved) and Annie said something. I don’t see her stretching, but if she made noise then it’s almost snack time. I guess I’ll go change discs and get ready to feed the pitiful creature.

I’ve set this to post Sunday because I know Jonathan will be home by then. Seems like solid internet safety.

those crazy kids

I took some “real camera” pictures of Brennan on her birthday. I didn’t like them. They didn’t say “Brennan” when I looked back through them. Today, however, the goose was stomping on the play table in a crazy outfit… the light was pretty good… we tried again.

And these I like much, much better.

I also got picures of the rest of the kids. Sorry for the photo overload, but when you have four kids, it’s hard to NOT have rather a lot.

She’s eating a Wint-o-Green Lifesaver.

And she picked out her outfit today. By telling me “Nope. Nope. [thoughtful pause] NO-EEE. Nope. *gasp* YES!” while we went through what seemed like every article of clothing she has. Which is silly. Because 2/3 of it is in the laundry. Dirty.

And, this is Annie’s sweater.

DespicableMe 2 game.

Lost tooth.

in the woods

We’ve been snotty and coughing and just generally gross for two weeks now. I say “we” – it’s hit all of us in different ways and at different times. But UGH. I’ve been really good about planning things to do that involve leaving our house, and they’ve all had to be postponed or flat-out cancelled because of this crud.

Saturday, when I realized it was 50 degrees, I made Quinn get dressed to go on a hike in the woods with me. We both felt pretty rotten, but I figured it was just warm enough that it would do us more good than harm to get some fresh air.

We got across the yard and Quinn saw Appy, and Quinn made him go with us.

Because I don’t count as a grown-up when there are woods involved.

Safety first, and all that.

But, yeah. Since Appy was with us, we went WAY back into the woods and saw Quinn’s hole and an almost-clear area that is awesome. I don’t know how long we were back there, but it was a while. Long enough that Jonathan got worried until he realized Appy was with us.




This is the fence that separates the woods from the neighbors’ land – where the cotton field is. It’s clear most of the way down the fence, so there’s a safe place to head if you lose your bearings. We’ve gone in the afternoon, so pretty much we just head toward the sun, et voilà.

iphone20140118_341-001It’s been nice to get out of the house, to feel well enough physically to push myself (there’s some ducking and twisting and climbing involved once you get past a certain point) without hurting myself.

I’ll have to post more about our woodland adventures… later… Right now the kids are too wild for me to stay on the computer any longer!

HELP MEEE withaproject

I’m pulling together a BIG collage of pictures of our family, and I want to put Bible verses and quotes and phrases on it. I don’t really even know what to say I’m trying to do or what I want, but I’m wondering if any of you have anything you think should be included. I have three options for how to do this; what I do will depend on what all I can come up with in the next couple of weeks.

My deadline for finalizing the project is February 15th; the large prints are 40% until then. If you have an idea – or if you want me to help work on something like this for YOUR family – let me know!

The prints on sale start at 16×16 (and get bigger) and I would charge about $20 (for 16×16; and increase accordingly for print cost). That’s for metallic photo print, with direct-to-you shipping and a $5 processing fee; additional copies would be exact print cost.

dreaming big for 2014: goal setting introduction

Three years ago, I attended a Making Things Happen intensive and it changed my life. At first the change wasn’t radical. And I’m almost embarrassed to be all like, “IT CHANGED MY LIFE!” because I haven’t experienced the KIND of life change that I thought would result. But that’s okay. My life changes have been better for my heart and my soul than the changes I thought I wanted when I signed up.

One of the changes I’ve experienced is that I’m determined to dream and to chase my dreams. My dreams and my hopes CAN be totally out of my control, and God CAN infuse me with what I need to make the ten, hundred, or million tinybaby-but-ACTIONABLE steps. I CAN make good things happen – in my heart, in my head, in my house, for my husband and my kids, for my family and friends, for our community, for the world.

God created me for a purpose,
and He will equip me
with what He wants me to have
to do what He wants me to do.

I believe that God will honor and bless my dreams and hopes, because I am working so hard to be sure that my dreams and my hopes honor Him. Some of them are pretty obvious and the goal-setting portion involves cultivating good habits and cutting out things that just don’t help anybody. But even implementing good habits requires a good plan!

My trouble comes in when I start trying to plan. I get overwhelmed pretty easily when I add projects to our normal day – unless I have a plan. But plans… until I learned how to break down tasks into actionable steps (tiny little pieces that can be accomplished within about 2 minutes), I would very quickly get bogged down, and my plans would fall apart, and so would I. (I still do, unless I break things down.) I also have trouble with starting projects I’m not really invested in – I’ll think something sounds good, and I’ll dive in, and I’ll be part of the way through the process and wonder why I’m even doing this thing.

Last year, I went through a goal-setting series that Lara Casey (who started MTH) posted on her blog. It truly helped me be honest about what I want and why I want it. This year, she’s doing the same thing, and updating the process as she goes through it herself – so it stays relevant. I’m doing Step One today. It’s the same as something I’ve already done for my set of PowerSheets, but I’m doing it again today anyway. Why? Because every time I wrap my brain around what works versus what doesn’t work, or what excites and encourages versus what’s toxic, or what I’m afraid of and what’s the worst that could happen, I COME AWAY KNOWING MORE ABOUT MYSELF. It gets easier to say “YES!” to God-honoring, purpose-fulfilling things that help me serve God and love other people.

As I started trying to blog my responses to Step One, I realized that it might be useful to post THIS, and not want to explain again with each post. In addition to the goal-setting step posts, I think I’ll do a 2013 recap based on the PowerSheets I’ve used this year, and another one that outlines some of the goals I end up with for my 2014 PowerSheets.