Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Four Weeks...

At four weeks I caught this little one studying her fist...
and smiling...
but I couldn't catch the smile on camera.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Escape To Our Wild Place

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost
In this age of video games and battery powered toys,
we much prefer God's beautiful creation as the playground for our littles.
There's just something about getting lost in a wild place with your children.
Sunday afternoon...daddy stayed home with the two babies...and mommy got to take the littles out.
We took a walk to the spring and little creek that is behind our house.
What a refreshing time...
signs of spring...on a cool day...
We found a vine swing and the tree that Uncle Cory marked for the boys in October on a hunting trip one day.
and the real reason for the walk...for the boys anyway...catching crawfish...
we even got LouLou to hold a tiny one...but she threw it down...she claims it was biting her...
while the boys were searching for crawfish...I got to walk around with my girl...I'm hoping she'll love the quiet wild places as much as her mamma
She got to be quite excited when she would spot a patch of trillium.
and our little escape wasn't problem free...
this boy got really upset when mom suggested he let his crawfish go because we forgot to bring something to put them in...
he let it go and was brokenhearted...
he even declared he was never looking for crawfish again...
but he did...
 I called dad...and he looked up crawfish on the internet...let us know that they can breathe out of water...and we brought one home for the aquarium.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Boys=Joy

Here are a couple of pictures of what the boys have been doing...
daddy's tools...some scraps of wood...a little free time...and...lots of imagination

we have a fort for some army men
that little hand loves to set up his army men for battle after battle
and I love to listen to him narrate his battles:-)

and using daddy's tools...inspired this boy to want some of his own...
so he used some money he had earned...
to get some of his very own!
a new hammer and tape measure...for his tool belt
I love seeing him walk around wearing his tool belt looking for a loose board to fix:-)

The cashier wanted to know why he would want a hammer.
Well, because he's a little boy, right?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Camping Fun

While mommy and the girls were having some tea party fun, daddy and the boys were camping.

Here are some pictures of their trip.
life jackets...because daddy borrowed a fish in the creek...
proud fishermen
The boys got to see lots of wildlife.  When they got home we heard all about a beaver splashing in the water and the trees it had been chewing.  They cleaned the fish and a snake swam over and ate the skins.  There were lots of wild ducks.  I wish they had taken their nature notebooks to draw some of the wildlife, but instead I've been hearing lots of stories...narration practice right?:-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baking Day

I have been reading this book for fresh ideas and inspiration:

In the book she talks about assigning a specific day a name.  So today was Baking Day for us.  After our breakfast and morning clean-up routine we began our baking day.  The littles all had jobs to help with.

Bo cleared the breakfast table and washed the dishes.

Boo filled the bowl full of almonds to begin soaking, layered the vanilla cookies in the dish for a banana pudding pie, and washed the eggs.

LouLou and Little Bitty prepared the pans for baking bread by rubbing them with coconut oil.

Baby Girl was napping peacefully while mommy was rushing trying to get lots accomplished before she woke up.

Here's what we accomplished today...

3 loaves of spelt bread
2 loaves of sweet potato bread
1 banana pudding pie
sprouting seeds and almonds soaking
beef broth simmering
beans soaking

Monday, March 21, 2011

Her First Haircut...

I should have posted these last fall, but they got buried on the camera and I just ran across them the other day.
Here is Miss LouLou getting her first haircut.
She had just turned thee years old.

I asked her if she would like to get her haircut...she said, yes...but she did not smile the entire time.
In fact she had tears welling up in her eyes.
Her brother said she looked just like Mountie O'teal...from Christy
This sweet girl...doesn't like crowds...or strangers.
She's coming out of her shell now at three and a half.  Just yesterday at my brothers baby shower, she was helping them unwrap presents and playing around in a large crowd.  She is coming out of her shell nicely.
We only got a trim...
Lot's of hair left for braids and ponytails.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tea Party Fun

The afternoon was beautiful.
Just us girls...
So...we decide to have some tea party fun.
Our guest list...
Miss Rabbit
Mr.  Dog
Miss Kitty
The Menu...
Spring Salad
4 parts wild onions
3 part dandelion leaves
2 parts plantain leaves
1 part dandelion flower
Pouring the water into cups was very exciting for the girls.
They always want to pour water when having a tea party inside.
I usually say no...but today we were I said Yes!

Our Inspiration...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Buddy...

This sweet little boy turned 7 today!
He's still just as sweet...but just not so little any more...

Seven things I love about him...
1.  I love the way he always thinks of his daddy...things he can build.
2.  I love the way he plays with his little sisters.
3.  He is such a joy to teach...eager to learn...excited about what we are learning together.
4.  I love to watch him play with his army men...planning battles...and even dressing up as an army man.
5.  I love his deep spiritual insight...already hungry to know Christ
6.  He has a repentant heart...he usually heeds instruction very well
7.  I love the way he reads stories with great expression.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Little Kitchen Helper

The List...

So I have been trying to be much more aware of the gifts God bestows each day.  The little things I usually take for granted.  It was on my mind as I rocked our newest little one in the wee hours of the morning.   My eyes were heavy with sleep, but this little one was warm and wiggling in my arms.  These moments will be gone all to soon.  I wanted to hold her like that...stopping time to breathe her in and study each feature.  The features that are already changing day by day.

And it was at this time that I thought about my list...the one scratched on the back of an envelope...the one typed out on this computer...the one written in my mind.

sun streaming through the window after days of rain
shiny bathtub...cleaned by my love...waiting for me in the morning
Little Bitty...singing beside me in the bed...hayayuyah(hallelujah)
Little Bitty...always asking..."Where's nayna mama?"...her name for her new sister...always answering "Ohhh"... when I show her.
Baby girl sleeping peacefully after an hour of restlessness in the middle of the night

I thought that during Bible Time today I would share with my little ones about my list.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1Thess 5:16-18

Just maybe...they would be inspired to begin noticing gifts that God gives each of them.
I thought about little notebooks and pens and how I would have to help them write...
And then the thought that makes my blood run cold...
I swallow hard...
Tears begin to fall...
Would I make it onto their lists...
...a mommy who plays tea party with me
...a mommy who gently instructs
...a mommy that smiles
...a mommy that plays games and laughs
...a mommy who encourages

In order to make it onto the lists, I'm going to have to be more available... to them...yes, I am here,
but being here and saying Yes to the things that would make their lists will take some extra effort.

It may mean the dishes have to wait...
the clothes may not be folded just yet..
the floors may be strewn with teacups and legos and train tracks...

But I will be giving myself to them...
and if they want, they can write it on their list.

His never-ending gifts...

Do you want to start your own list?

Here's how 

Comment of the Day

They don't speak Alabama!-one of our boys said this to daddy about some German visitors we had over last night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Ground-Plan for Education...Narration

As we began our Year-1 in January, I could hardly wait to see how Bo would do with narration.  According to Ms. Mason, narration is the ground-plan for education.  It is the foundation on which our homeschool years will be built upon.  I suppose preparing the ground for the foundation begins as soon as a young child begins sharing episodes that have happened throughout the day.  When daddy arrives home, our little ones delight in sharing with him about their day.  From what they played outside to where they went with mommy episodes are shared with great animation and surprising detail.

Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child's mind, waiting to be discovered, and is not the process of disciplinary education...This amazing gift with which normal children are born is allowed to lie fallow in their education...Whereas here if we have eyes to see and grace to build, is the ground-plan of his education.  Home Education, pg 231

Once the ground has been prepared, Year 1 is the perfect time to lay the foundation.  A properly built foundation will take time and attention.  Beginning to narrate stories can be a difficult task.  Learning how to summarize important information can be confusing to a little one.  Our oldest, Bo thinks all information pertaining to battles in Our Island Story is important.  
The points to be born in mind are, that he is to have no book which is not a child's classic;and that, given the right book, it must not be diluted with talk or broken up with questions, but given to the boy in fit portions as wholesome meat for his mind, in the full trust that a child's mind is able to deal with its proper food.  Home Education pg. 232

We began narrating slowly.  Some days he would narrate sentence by sentence.  We are now in our seventh week of Year 1 and we are narrating paragraph by paragraph, or several sentences at this point.  A small paragraph seems to be the fit portion for Bo.   Occasionally he will still narrate the last half of the paragraph and forget to tell what happened in the first part.  When this happens I take a turn narrating, hoping to model the correct way.  Because narration is the key to a successful Charlotte Mason education, it is important to take it slowly and build the proper foundation.