LATELY: NOVEMBER 2020

Miss Maybe fell even more in love with her mama.

Rae turned EIGHT!!! I have not written her letter yet, as we have been out of town every weekend during the month (including her birthday morning), and I just can’t find a quiet time to clear my head. Hopefully I don’t put it off too long. She certainly deserves a quality acknowledgment of just how much her existence means to us.

Rae has been talking about the movie, Soul, for a year now, and it comes out Christmas day! I have really enjoyed her drawings over the past few months.

Normally they don’t wear masks at the park, but – for once, there were other folks there – many many other folks there. She just looked so big to me at this moment…

As I mentioned, we spent much time at our old house, including Zack’s six day holiday break at the end of November. That week was the most quality time we’ve had with Zack in probably two years. It was much needed so we could both make big headway on the house and spend time, just the four of us, without anything else to do. It was lovely.

SCHOOL : NOVEMBER 2020

We spent the month learning our second verse of the year, Colossians 3:12.

Part of our history involved the aboriginals of Australia and New Zealand, so we elaborated the lessons with art, documentaries, comparing their colonization to ours, and listening to the Australia movie soundtrack as well as aboriginal music.

The girls both spent time working on paper mache projects – Rae a giraffe that holds treats or other items she wants and Mae made a black bear mask.

While, the girls get lessons very unlike the lessons I had in public school – in regards to the Thanksgiving holiday, and we don’t really see it as something to celebrate…and we are deliberate about practicing thankfulness all year – they did decide to make a thankful pie (They don’t even like pumpkin pie, ha). They started out writing in cursive, but slowly began writing in print.

Mae kept up her hot glue gun practice and made herself a layers of the earth disc.

More pumpkin pie, made out of Play dough.

Amelia also made a layers our the Earth model – out of Play dough. I didn’t get a photo of the inside.

Penelope found the sketchbook I keep in my purse and has been filling it up with gems,

Enthralled with the day’s lessons.

Helping Mum out when my voice gets tired. She usually reads the devotions.

“Morning time” in the sunroom, involves a lot of reading and “keeping busy” (or relaxing) when I am doing the reading.

We finished up our government lessons (for now) by watching and charting the election, and watching speeches one the winning votes came in.

They spent an hour at the library and followed it up with some more reading at the store. They still have 30 minutes to an hour of daily reading time set aside, usually once afternoon school is done, or just before bed. They still both enjoy comic novels and chapter books for their independent reading, while I read them short stories and at least one group novel. November’s book was Narnia’s The Silver Chair. (Narnia foreverrrrrr!)

Mae is still finishing up her portrait. I, and they, still prefer watercolor and gauche paint. We’re working to get less annoyed with acrylic – which is Zack’s go-to.

She did, however, enjoy, making a Christmas tree craft out of scrap wood from one of Daddy’s projects, hot glue, tiny pinecones (gifted from our beloved Mrs. Brenda), and acrylic paint.

There was, of course, much much more, but we have moved onto our very full December, so I’ll leave it here. I hope everyone was able to enjoy a long weekend (or some version of it).

LATELY: OCTOBER 2020

October, as always, was just the best…at least as far as the three of us are concerned.

Nearly daily walks with my girls – and check out that arm hold. Being in close contact to Mama is still a must with them (Miss Maybe included) and I am forever grateful.

A black cat and pumpkins. How could I not…

Leaving my side to hunt the birds that live in the vines.

I hope the birds stick around through the winter. I love the abundance of chirping going on around our deck.

They didn’t make a pile to jump in (they did in our old yard when we visited), but they made plenty of fun out of our supply, and made a few piles for the fun of raking.

We took the girls to a pumpkin patch early in the month and I think we may just make that patch our ‘usual’ spot. They had a a lot of fun. I am also grateful that during the corona virus era, my girls have a few cousins that are our ‘regulars’, so they still get some interation with other kids, however few and far between those visits may be.

Daddy also stuck around to go with us, before heading away for the weekend. We sure do love that guy.

New Barbie and a new trick! Her sister would probably climb to the top, but my mama’s heart appreciates Rae’s gingerly approach to adventure.

The girls camped outside (on Mars) on a very cold night! They brought ‘space food’, Barbies, and of course – not enough blankets. This photo is from the morning after, and they didn’t regret a thing.

Mama and Mae.

Mae turned TEN!

As her gift from Zack and I, she chose to take her best friend-cousin out for tea and shopping, which we did the weekend before her actual birthday…and of course, M’s mama, Anna came along, too!

The morning of her birthday, we went to a park. So glad it was a lovely day for her!

Waiting for her cupcakes to come out of the oven. (before the park)

Rae got her a Uma Barbie (from The Descendants) and the grandma’s spoiled her good. In the second photo, she is wearing an outfit, knee-high toe socks, and a new scooter she received from the grandmas. My dad also came over for supper (spaghetti) and stuck around for the fireworks that Daddy surprised her with.

We tried to decorate here and there for the holiday, but we weren’t feeling it so much. Last year was the best and maybe I just felt it was hard to beat?

Zack finished our cabinets at the other house!

The girls and I spent a weekend there with him accomplishing tasks and we had a lot of fun. We mostly cleaned (deep cleaned) and made sure he was eating actual meals when the time came, while also taking breaks to watch a movie or read. It was nice.

Rae’s drawing. I really like her.

I turned 33 and we celebrated with Chipotle and a walk around Ikea. I also had a day-of celebration here at home with Shari and PapaDeedee, full of food and presents!

The girls and I went to the courthouse to vote early and they got their very own “I voted” stickers.

The girls went back and forth with their Halloween plans this year. They decided on dressing up and watching a movie. Saturday morning, however, they decided to go to a trunk-or-treat at Grandma’s church. They had a lot of fun and were able to come home in time to watch a movie while they sorted their treats.

November is starting out warm and lovely, and Miss Rae is turning eight in a few days! Hooray!

SCHOOLING OCTOBER 2020

Happy November? It’s too soon to tell, but let’s assume it is. Last month’s schooling revolved, mostly, around the election, our country’s history (including various perspectives of various peoples), and our country’s government.

Near the end, we watched Schoolhouse Rock videos and they were able to take the four-minute videos and stretch them, as we filled many gaps, into twenty-minute conversations.

Rae has begun reading and mapping the story of Seabird, via Beautiful Feet Books.

Mae’s/Rae’s

To go along with our lessons on the tundra, the girls each chose to illustrate and learn about moose. I love their illustrations so much!

One of their biographies was on Hayao Miyazaki, one of our favorite animators. As they drew and wrote, they watched a part of a documentary on him that was filmed over ten years (!).

I love that Rae gave him a very funky shirt.

We didn’t have many days where we could/wanted to learn outside, but there were a few and they were lovely.

^Not mad, just being silly.

Math with Rae has been fun this month! We have begun subtraction (of both single and double digits). Turns out visuals is her favorite method. So, we collected her sister’s lovely rocks and some small shells and have been soaring through the lessons.

Reading reading reading. Thankfully, it is still one of their top past times.

I still read aloud to them upwards of ten passages and chapters throughout the day, but my throat gets worn easily and I am more grateful than ever that they are both so drawn to their own reading time.

We have upped our Bible lesson reading and pulled our novel reading back to several short stories (aloud) each day instead. But we will begin novels again in November.

They found the role of eyeball stickers and have had so much fun with them. Anything becomes instantly funny once it wears eyeball stickers.

The girls chose what they would like their president to be like.

Mae chose kind, vegan, a female, fair, smart, and helpful.
Rae chose an artist, nice, a female, and playful.

Zack began making the buildings that represent the three branches of government. They only had time for this one (but will make the others at some point). He took time to help them learn more in-depth, how to use the hot glue gun and an Exacto knife.

In case you’re wondering, this is a flat design with two triangle props on each end in the back.

We are trying to find more ways to incorperate him in our schooling. I hate to involve him in art (no, he is not their art teacher!), but he knows cardboard sculpture like no one else, and certainly better than me.

One of our artist studies was on Robert Delaunay and the girls did their own circle art.

We also studied a bit about Hannah Höch and incorporated her cut and paste method to an ‘about me’ assignment in their devotional.

Next month, we may go back to literal thinking artists, because that is what my brain prefers, but they seemed to have a lot of fun creating their own versions of these, so I may just have to continue to stretch my preferences.

They have also begun learning acrylic painting on canvas. This is Rae’s pick-your-own-theme painting and they each began painting a self-portrait. Shadowing is where they hit a wall, put down the brush and walk away until another day. I will show the final products on another post.

We are spending this day cleaning, regrouping, discussing what we want out of this month, and of course – playing outside in the chilly air!

BITS OF SCHOOL FROM SEPTEMBER

We have converted our upstairs school space into a living room/sunroom. It suits our morning routine needs (somewhere comfy to sit that won’t disturb -or be disturbed by- anyone else in the house), and it provided somewhere to put our couch from the other house!

This change has made for longer morning conversations, and provided a nice comfy atmosphere to begin the day.

We have been going to a library once a week, and while we will probably never bond with any of the librarians as we did in our last town, the girls are cheered up by the amount of new material avaliable to us!

Above, are two of their favorites from this past month. They continually brought them up for weeks after reading them. Hiawatha and the Peace Maker is about forgiveness, and Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is a delightful story based on a Yiddish song. It made us want to revisit this favorite the girls wore out years ago.

We continued our tea time two to three times a week, sometimes baking the treats, sometimes buying, if they were unique enough.

Once, they opted out of a midday tea and decided a breakfast of cider and fresh muffins was best for the day! Cold mornings are our favorite!

Nearly every day, our read-aloud time made its way outside, under the trees with the hammock. We would usually take on a bit from a chapter book (Our favorite of the month being George Muller’s biography), as well as three library short stories and our Bible lessons if the morning had been chaotic or slow going.

Davey boy joined us more occasions than Mae could handle, haha. Rae was mighty happy though.

We also took care of a few Tomato Hornworms (which grow into Five-Spotted Hawk Moths). It was so nice to watch them grow and really cool to watch them eat!

We’re picking back up Chess, hopefully we won’t get distracted again and we will begin to master it over the next few months. In this photo, Rey and Kylo were playing very incorrectly.

A still life Rae did of some of her favorite things.

We are trying out two new devotionals. I have the hardest time choosing devotionals for the girls. So many of them address public school problems and ‘a busy life’ that my girls cannot relate to. Maybe there is a homeschool directed devotional?? We are enjoying the science devotional, and have only had to skip a couple (because they are unrelatable), pages in the Fearless Faith. I pre-read so many devotionals in the store, and this one had the least irrelevant topics. We have decided, if we come to a page we don’t like (which is rare), we will discuss something on our minds. So far so good.

Rae is still into Pokémon (more into how they are drawn than anything else). She hasn’t even seen the show, but she knows the characters very well and draws them over and over.

Autumn poetry copy work and paintings. (Mae’s then Rae’s)

A few times a week, Rae will work on a nature drawing, either from an image in a book, or from something tangible we have at home or that she finds outside. “We” are working on her watercolor technique and she does not like it.

Mae tried to bake something once a week in September, and with the holidays beginning any moment now, we are starting to plan some fun treats to make for once tea time a week, or a dessert to accompany supper.

Well, it is about time for me to begin writing October’s school post, ha, so I think I will leave this where it is at. Hope you are all having an incredible month!

DOUBLE DIGITS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAE!!

In honor of this wonderful occasion, here are some things about you I am so very grateful for…

First, you love to listen to stories people tell of long ago…or what they had for lunch, as long as it is in great detail, and you are not afraid to ask for clarity on what something means if you don’t quite understand it.

You are a lover of games and have the competitive spirit and snarky trash talk to accompany any game you play.

Right now, your favorite way to learn would be to snuggle up somewhere, be it the couch, hammock, etc., think, ask, and discuss for hours and hours about anything and everything.

You still appreciate a job, whether it be an independent one or helping someone. Now that Daddy has Grandpa around to help, you haven’t been helping him so much, and well, I do household things (which you do help with, but it’s not your passion). This year, I’m going to try and step up my carpentry game so you don’t lose this desire to be of use.

My lovely girl, you have not only an undying but ever-increasing love for your ‘Mum.” Several times a day, you run to me, give me a bear hug and say, “You’re mine! …forever…” and boy, that is my all-time favorite moment. I stop, soak up the few moments, let it fill my heart and lift my spirits.

You are so keenly aware of how I am feeling (good, bad, sad, tired, hopeful), and you join me where I am and simply want to be with me. All versions of me.

In the past few months, you have been insisting on snuggling “MAX 3!” times a night before you go to bed. Mind you, the snuggles don’t begin until nine-thirty p.m. and we have read bedtime stories long before this. I am going to be more intentional about this too, and maybe snuggle and watch something together in bed.

You adore your sister, and though you both disagree a lot on what should be played next and who is not sharing with who, you play for hours upon hours together. Lately, it has been Legos, Barbie, dolls, or chatting in the hammock.

You never turn down an opportunity to be outside! I hope this is still true as you grow older (Okay, I hope everything I’ve said stays true as you get older. Maybe not the bickering with your sister part…). You adore any and all weather and atmospheres. Another one of your favorite requests would be a drive down country roads, even if you do see more corn than cows here.

You are very into the Descendants, pioneer lifestyles, Animal Crossing, books about people and their lives, and baking (something else I need to get better about!).

I could go on and on (and you would lovingly yell, “Well then do it! Go on and on!”), but I need to see your face and whip up a decent birthday breakfast. Thank you for being such an incredible hooman gail. I love you so very much Miss Mae. SO. VERY. MUCH.

LATELY: : SEPTEMBER 2020

There have been many time hurdles between me and this blog in the past couple of months! For one thing, September felt about three days long…but as always, looking back as I write these posts, I find it was actually a long and full month.

Mae’s birthday is coming up, and that is as a good a deadline as any to get my act together and document what has happened before it gets lost, because they have been a lovely two months!

Since beginning our fall semester, we have made it to a park twice a week. sometimes more. We sometimes look up a new-to-us park, but for the most part, we have found our handful of favorites and return to them when we need a break and some fresh air.

At one of those parks, is a river, and while we won’t be walking through the water this fall, we enjoyed it while the weather was warm. We chose a spot far from the popular one and always had the place to ourselves. It was truly peaceful.

Maybe is still a shadow to me, somehow she has increased to affection for me in the last month. Someday I’m going to miss her under my feet, so I have begun smiling at her closeness. I think she noticed and begun smiling more herself. But with that came crying anytime I leave the house.

We got to visit Aunt Teresa in our former town. They got to play with their cousins (the ones they always see up here) and doted on a few fresh kittens.

As well as our trips to the park, we have been spending plenty of time out in our yard. We have held a handful of movie nights on the lawn, I stumbled upon a lovely scene of the girls reading to Daddy under the patio lights, and we have been spending an hour of our daily reading under the trees (more on that in the school post).

We introduced daily(ish) family evening walks after supper! It involves our family of four and Zack’s mom and the cool crisp air is delightful…even if it is too cold for my liking sometimes. I really should find our coats. I didn’t think we would need them so soon.

George has been back indoors for most of his days, and even slept inside last night and kept to his usual indoor naps during the day. When we have our schooling downstairs and if the doors are open, he lingers and lies about just outside on the patio. So glad he still loves his people.

Mae made a pillow out of fresh-cut grass and it was incredibly comfortable – and cold! We composted it all before heading inside for the night.

Meg has been joining us more on a daily basis. Sometimes, Mae brings along her doll as well, but Rae really involves her girl. It is so sweet to watch. I’m sure she will make an appearance in the school post as well.

Rae also bought a new Barbie in September, who also gets involved in our goings on. I’m so glad the girl’ imaginations are only getting strong as they age. They played Lego for hours given the chance, and otherwise chose to play with Barbies.

In case you missed it, my brother came for a visit, and I finally put up photos of our August back here.

JOSEPH’S VISIT

My older brother came to visit at the beginning of September. We hadn’t seen them since his oldest, now six years old, turned one. We have seen Joe twice in that time, but it was so nice to see his lovely wife again, and get to know the boys!

Mae and Solomon were inseparable and surprisingly similar human beings.

He loves nature and everything it involves, just as my girls do. They couldn’t have been happier to discover this.

The way he looks at his mom. ugh. so sweet.

They baked a shortcake from one of Solomon’s favorite books about Little Red Hen, Cook-A-Doodle-Doo.

Quinn loves his momma. Well, I mean kids love their mommas, but Quinn was feeling not so great (teething and such), so he spent most of his time alone with Megahn. And, well, she’s just an incredibly cool, patient momma!

We took them to our favorite lake spot. There was no shade in sight, but it was a great day. We caught many tiny toads, Joe taught them how to start a camp fire with just a magnifying glass, and we got to visit with some horses how detoured from their trail-ride to get a drink.

Our nephew, Leo turned to while Joe was here, so we had a little party at our house to celebrate.

The made it back to Washington safe and sound!

Hopefully, we’ll see them again some time next year.

PARKS PARKS PARKS

These were all taken back in August (the last one by Rae), but our habit of visit various parks several times a week is still ongoing, well into September.

We plan on adding a weekly bike ride and painting sessions into the mix as the weather begins to cool.