LATELY : : JUNE 2018

The bits I’ve chosen to leave out of this post, involve children playing within every inch of our land and home. Their imaginations were allowed to stretch and their sisterly bond grew even stronger. While at home, our lives have been intentionally quiet. Plenty of caring for animals, tending to the yard, and household chores which never seem to end.

All of that being said, it was such a great month. Very much an ideal first month of summer.

The first weekend in June was spent at my mother-in-law’s awaiting Zack’s return home. My niece was there for the first couple days. The girls couldn’t have been happier. We skipped a trip into St. Louis since it was unbearably hot and settled for walking around the mall.

We went and saw an amazing production of The Little Mermaid at a local school (by mostly homeschooled kids) – Zack has known the family of this girl in the last photo his entire life (Her grandpa made our porch swing). They’re such a talented, joyful family!

And boy, the hand holding amongst cousins just really sealed all that fun together! Never gets old.

Well, that Sunday morning Zack woke me up at 5:00. He surprised me an entire day early! Sneaky little buggar.

He began summer school the following day and really enjoyed the entire four weeks of it.

We got back into the going-for-a-drive game. We’ve got the best roads for a Sunday drive. It’s always nicer when Zack gets to go with us.

Mae helped with our VBS duties, by way of modeling, and modeled some lighting for me when I happened to have my DSLR out.

That is also the only photo I have of our week of VBS. Good gracious was that a full week! My favorite VBS to date!

Zack and I took the girls to see Solo for our 11th anniversary and then took them to see the Incredibles 2. (They didn’t wear the same outfit for both movies. Ha!)

Buck turned ONE! Here is a little flashback to when he joined our family:

Little puppers.

Rae had a few appointments regarding her broken arm and ended up getting her hard cast off two weeks early. It wasn’t fully healed, but nearly there. She will, in the end, spend up to an extra two weeks to a month in a splint and sling.

Uncle Seth signed your armpit.

She sure is going to miss this little gem of a signature.

We got ‘fancy’ sourdough rolls and Snapples (“Pop-tops”) to celebrate.

To top off such a monumental first day of summer – Rae also lost her first tooth! Her second loose tooth showed up the next day. These girls of mine don’t waste any time chucking their baby teeth.

The girls and I took Buckey and spent a couple days with my parents.

Then, my mom spent two days with the girls and I.

Zack sent a text from work – “Send me a picture of the girls, I miss them.”

The second photo, well, Rae’s pointed foot and proper hand pose sent my mind way back to her three-year-old self.

Mae started swimming lessons. That is her favorite part about June!

After Rae began, once again, livin’ life cast-free, she was able to join in and float around the shallow end. When Bravery Rae Rogers wasn’t bobbing about, she practiced dunking various portions of her face beneath the surface.

The girls have put their mitts on so many toads this month, but this one (above, can you see it?) they saved from being chopped into bits by the mower. I made sure it was off and waved them over. I had, at that point, already run over at least five. Mae fixed up this luxury hotel for it. It enjoyed the pool, the sandy beach, and the shade of the tree several times over in the three hours or so that it spent there.

George is still less-than-fond of Katie. But still very fond of me. My boy.

AND, check out those sweatpants ’round my ankles! One Friday I mowed the lawn in sweatpants and a sweatshirt! We had a week or two of autumn weather and thunderstorms. That beautiful relief was swiftly followed by blazing heat and humidity we could barely breathe in. But everyone was happy to have somewhat of a break from summer heat…except Mae, who really wanted to swim all day every day.

We even managed to finally spend an evening with friends! Good food, several rounds of Shulbach, and two full episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It was pretty terrific.

School for Mae has been, basically, a ton of reading following a pre-breakfast Bible lesson. Every once in a while – usually in the car – the girls would write in their workbooks, which is something they also enjoy, but that has been their decision.

Occasionally we would listen to an audiobook. I highly recommend The Wild Robot for all elementary ages. We loved it! For nearly the entire book, the girls played with legos, drew pictures, or crocheted.

We listened to another audiobook, but we didn’t like it. So much so, we barely finished two chapters and I can’t even recall the title of it. But, that is literally the only book – ever! – my girls didn’t care to sit through.

Next on our list for audio books are A Wrinkle in Time and Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle. As for books read with Momma’s voice, next month we are reading On the Banks of Plum Creek, The biography of David Livingstone (I’ve already read this and it’s incredible!), Twice Freed, and Whatever After – Sink or Swim. I’m sure we’ll squeeze a horse book in there somewhere, too.

BEING SPONTANEOUS WITH GRANDMA

The girls and I went up to visit my mom for a couple days. We were giving Buckey a trial run as he’ll be staying with my parents while we’re on vacation later this summer.

Well, I left my computer charger behind when we left. The moment I told my mom, she said, “Well, I think I need to take a road trip!” And, wouldn’t you know, she jumped in her car and drove down to spend a couple days at our house!

I’ll write more about her first day with us in the monthly round-up, but today, I’m going to write about her final day with us!

This may not require a backstory, but here it is – Growing up, my mom would often grab one of us out of school early and take us shopping or out to eat. She was always hauling the four of us all around town. She even snuck me away for a weekend in the mountains when I was the only kid not away with friends! Her genes are where I get my tendency to act on a whim and where I get my habit of looking for fun everywhere I can. 

Today we were able to have her along for one of our make-it-up-as-we-go days!

We started the day with tea on the porch admiring a thunderstorm that would, in the end, bring cool wind and no actual rain.

The four of us decided to run up to the river real quick to play in the sand and let the girls collect shells. Mind you, I was still in the sweatpants I slept in the night before. I’m not entirely sure I brushed my hair before heading out the door – but, somewhere along the way, my mom mentioned the town, “Potosi.” Well, that town is only an hour and a half from the river we were at! So, naturally, we drove that hour and a half to Potosi.

We visited a couple of antique stores in Potosi, ate lunch, and the girls enjoyed some ice cream just before we decided to go home. On our way out of town, a lady mentioned that Elephant Rocks was only 20 minutes down the road. My mom had never been to Elephant Rocks – so, you know…

My mom still had to drive two hours home after the two hours back to our house but insisted we didn’t rush. The weather threatened storms all day, which meant the day was breezy and cool. Perfect.

My mom has made it home safe and we’re hoping our next spontaneous day isn’t too far away.

BIRTHDAY BOY

Buckey,

Hmm, where to start…

You and I have an arranged marriage of sorts. Our relationship was forced by your father, whose heart knows no limits when it comes to abandoned animals. I know over time I’ll grow to love you and someday you’ll be too old, fat, and arthritic to cause any mischief. So, until that day, I’m going to love you by way of sweet talk, let you snuggle up on my lap, let you eat all the ice cubes your heart desires, and accept I don’t really need the many items you will chew up over the coming years. Just, please, leave my shoes alone. I really hate shoe shopping.

Happy first birthday, Buck!

Love,

Yer Ma.

LATELY : : MAY 2018

May has been so good to us!

While the first half went way too fast for Zack -and I’m sure every teacher – it crept by for me. Zack spent the final two weeks at his sister’s in my hometown, Charlotte, NC. I wasn’t looking forward to single-parenting for even a mere two weeks.

Despite my deep dread of it, the last half of May seemed like quite the vacation. No work on the house needed to be done for two full weeks, there was nowhere we had to be, plenty of sun in the forecast and innumerable places to enjoy it in. Gold. Just my girls and I and nothing but fun…or so we thought.

We filled the first two weeks running here and there with the little prince, catching bubbles as they frantically tossed in the wind, scribbled countless drawings in chalk, spent an entire day at church doing crafts and observing a very lost turtle, and – his favorite pastime – sat on the porch shouting at log trucks as they flew past the house. His mom is at home for the summer, so I’m not sure how much we’ll see of him. Certainly is weird without him around!

Mae killed it at her spring recital. Every photo I took ended up blurry, so this was a last-ditch effort and clearly, she’s over it. Zack missed it, so I really wanted to send him something from that night.

Just managed to fit all of us into a selfie on Mother’s Day.

The girls have a new cat. Just what we need. Her name is Katie. (Named by Mae)

We pulled our small pool out of hiding. Most days the girls played for hours in there! They also spent time at their friend’s pool.

My mom came to visit for a few days. She brought bamboo sticks with her. The girls totally love them.

She came over again on Memorial Day and brought Grandpa and cousins!

Our lawn mower stopped working just before Zack left for his sister’s in North Carolina. While he was away, I borrowed our neighbor’s mower and they watched our girls while I trimmed our lawn. (We have the best neighbors!!)

I found a picture in Zack’s classroom that Rae had left behind at some point. It’s me taking a nap. ha! She really captured my bedhead, scrawny hands, and love of green and blue – and so sweetly didn’t draw me as a mouth breather.

The hens are handling the summer heat well. They don’t even cower to the shade of the coop. They spend all day out in their yard space.

Buck begs for my breakfast. Everyday. He has learned to settle for sweet talk.

He’s also spent plenty of time outside. He even let my mom use him a footrest for a hot minute.

Mae’s legs have grown too much this month!

I don’t know why I’m always surprised at the sight of my kids growing. Why is it so weird??

One of my first big outings with the girls after Zack left was to the London Tea Room and Tower Grove Park, in St. Louis. I wrote about that back here.

We took breakfast to the lake and enjoyed it under a shade tree. Usually, something we save for the fall months, but even in the heat, it was such a great way to start the day.

Later that night, we experienced the great ER visit of 2k18.

I was really wishing Zack was with us then so Mae could’ve stayed home to sleep. At about 1:00, I realized Rae wished he was there for comfort and snuggles. We miss him so much.

He was enjoying time with his favorite sister and, more importantly?, Zoey, who is in love with him.

OH! Also! Boy got his hairs cut!

We have plans to spend the first days of June with Zack’s mom. Time with Shari is always a great idea.

Happy June!

THE HUMERUS IS NOT SO HUMOROUS

Welp. All of Rae’s busted lips, cuts, scrapes, sprained wrist and other countless injuries over the past five years have prepared her for this moment.

She done broke her arm. Well, fractured it.

Saturday night, the girls were having the pillow fight of a lifetime. One thing led to another and she fell onto the floor.

That’s it.

Not the most riveting tale of how a bone was broken, but it suits her.

She broke it at seven o’clock, nearly time for her to get jammied up and brush her teeth.

I didn’t think it was broken. How could it be? She fell, what, two feet? But, an hour later I noticed her arm was completely swollen and very warm.

I decided to ignore the late hour and head for the emergency room.

We would spend a total of five hours there. The girls were so patient. Not a single complaint between the two of them. No one asked for food or muttered so much as an, “I’m tired.” They really were incredible.

By the time 2 A.M. rolled around, we were all beyond slap-happy, starving, and dreaming of sleeping in our own beds until noon (Rae nearly did!). They dismissed us and Rae got to wear a temporary cast home.

We had to wait to see the orthopedic surgeon (she did not need surgery) until after the holiday weekend. They got us in right away. Lady was pretty stoked about her new, hopefully pink, cast!

She inherited my award-winning posture. Proud momma over here.

She wished she would get a silly doctor, and she did! The silly doctor was so impressed with how well she did.

Because of the fracture’s location, we have to take extra care of her delicate, beautiful wittle arm. They rigged up this strap situation since her previous sling was rubbing against her neck in a not-so-nice way.

She’s ready for signatures!! She even wants to sign it herself, ha!

LONDON TEA ROOM

Yesterday, before leaving the city, I took the girl our for a post-breakfast treat at the London Tea Room! We followed up our treat by taking Buckey for a walk through a neighboring park.

The Tea Room was so great. I can’t recommend it enough. We just went for a cafe’ experience, but I’d like to bring the girls back for a proper tea time – probably with some of their friends.

We shared a black breakfast tea (next time I’m sure we’ll be more adventurous). Rae chose a slice of blueberry lemon cake, Mae chose a coconut macaroon (the English kind not the French sandwich type) with a plain croissant, and I chose a spinach ricotta croissant. The food was all so incredible!!

The workers were all so wonderful as well.

The park was only a block walk from the Tea Room. It was beautifully landscaped. I believe this will become a regular destination for us on special occasions! On this particular day, the weather was overcast, breezy and occasionally rainy, which made us wish Zack was with us. He’ll have to join us here someday, too!

MOTHER’S DAY 2018

This year I actually celebrated Mother’s Day! Highly unusual. I’ve mentioned before on here that celebrating is not something that comes naturally to me, but it does for my oldest child, and boy was she excited!

We started our day at church. I was promised I wouldn’t have to go up to the stage…I did. So, next year it’s back to at-home sermons, but it was short, sweet, and the girls were in a video! Very sweet,

After church, Zack took me plant shopping and after five years in this house, we finally did a bit of landscaping! Mae even dug up a weed and potted it for me. I don’t have the heart to tell her it’s a weed. It’s green and that’s all I need! Can’t have too much green in my life.

Zack and I are ending the day folding two weeks worth of laundry as we watch a movie!

It was a such a lovely day!!

LATELY : : APRIL 2018

Two weeks left of work for Zack! We are ready for summer, let me tell ya!

April was pretty much non-stop for us (seems to be the 2018 theme for the Rogers family). We’re going to try and slow things down a bit over the next couple months and -for the most part- let our summer vacation be a vacation. But, before I get ahead of myself, here a bit about our month of April…

We began April with Easter, like most.

The day was sunny then rainy then sleet came and it ended with snow and thunder – surely, nature’s unappreciated April fools joke.

We enjoyed a fire in the fireplace for the first time this year (We’ve been solely using the furnace). Napped away most of the afternoon and cleaned the house before heading to bed. Not too celebratory, but we did rest on our day of rest for a change!

Mae found ways of avoiding the little kids. She didn’t appreciate being discovered.

Rae had picture day at preschool!

Their photos are always not-so-good (says the woman who fills entire blog posts with blurry photos…), so I always just buy one photo for photo’s sake – I am completely satisfied with this photograph we took on the way to the car!

Little man tended to his ladybirds with undying enthusiasm.

The sun shone many many times this month!

Zack has been getting back into tennis. We were able to hang out with him for an afternoon full of tennis and a walk!

The kids dug SO MANY holes and “trenches.”

We also ate some snacks under the trees. With that, we’ve gathered somewhere around twenty ticks. Not so nice.

I count diggin’ holes as part of learning, but I wrote a bit about our hardcopy-schooling this month back here.

I attended two weekends away with the youth group, and Zack was there for one of them!

We spent quite a bit of time sitting in the car. Maybe it’s not out of the ordinary, I just documented it more this month? I dunno. They sure are patient.

Mae is getting eager for her spring recital that is coming up next month! I will never tire of seeing her perform. She can’t help but float and flutter about every minute of every day. I’m so grateful she’s able to dance at this point in her life.

I’ve heard that in her two years at this studio, she has barely said five words. I believe this because, well, she is my daughter – but I can’t believe that very same statement because at home, a l l.  s h e.  d o e s.  is talk! – and it typically involves gabbing about the art of dance.

Lookin’ pretty whilst spreading dirt on the newly swept porch.

Little man turned two!

All four of us got to spend an afternoon with one of our FAVORITE cousins, and her husband (who is one of Zack’s best childhood friends). They moved back from Seattle about a month or so ago. Two months? Maybe.

Anyway, they’re so great, we’re spending next weekend with them as well!

Buck is just as thrilled about their move as we are. He now has a fellow dog to play with. (Note: Their dog is less thrilled.)

I began teaching the girls how to play Battleship.

Mae used her board to imagine battles, shouting the play by play at the top of her lungs with great enthusiasm and gave quite an impressive performance. Rae simply placed pegs here and there until her board was nearly full.

They did have fun, though. That’s something.

We had one day that I would consider actually warm. Boy was that terrific!

We polished off the month with picture day for Mae at dance class! I also tackled our lawn and it is freshly mowed for the first time in 2018. Hopefully, the ticks will stay a little farther away from now on! Stinkers.

Alright, next comes May. Please be warm. Please be warm. Please be warm.

OUR HOMESCHOOL IN APRIL

While we have always stemmed fresh lessons from planned lessons, this semester I didn’t want to plan out anything. My goal was to focus on developing Mae into a proficient reader (and she is now!) and build her writing skills  (grammar, handwriting, and becoming comfortable in writing longer selections of text.)

Well, Mae mastered those things so we picked back up our method of more structured lessons every day.

After they drag themselves out of bed, they cook their own breakfast (with my help if they need it). When they’re done eating, we have Bible discussion time followed by yoga before we head into the structured learning of lesson after lesson.

We listen to music or audio books and talk about all manner of funny things while they work. I guess the big difference in the structure is I plan out everything the night before and have it ready. I use to plan half of it and we’d pick up more lessons as we went.

The girls do Zumba with a snack (if we work until lunch, then that’s fine, but sometimes G needs a bit more attention around this time.) Then, we continue lessons- typically tie up loose ends just in time for Zack to arrive home.

We began this new science-based devotional. So far, it’s tops.

It’s a one-a-day scenario but often the girls ask for ‘just one more and we end up discussing several.

We started our new geography…curriculum? through Beautiful Feet Books.

We will continue to do other forms of geography, but my girls love maps and this allows us to chart the path of the stories as well as study parts of it separately.

For the first three chapters of the first book, Paddle to the Sea, we studied Canada geese as well as ballasts and rudders. They also made clay canoes.

^ Making a dam.

The second steps in the story led to lessons on beavers and pond life.

George (our cat) caught a Chipping Sparrow.

He didn’t kill it, but its leg was injured and it was bleeding. Mae wanted to set it somewhere peaceful to die so George couldn’t do any more damage. The girls have been taught not to touch birds, but I made an exception. We hid it among some flowers where George would never think to look.

– Of course, this led to the research of Chipping Sparrows and a deeper discussion into how we could become more intentional ‘birders.’ We love (and own) this book and found the tips we discussed in there.

Below are some of the girls’ work –

^ Rae’s. The way she draws, ughhh. Can’t get enough of that girl.

Mae’s is the one just above. I drew most of this bird. She drew a great bird and wrote her facts so well but one hundred percent messed up her bird while painting it. There were tears. So many tears. So I drew her another bird and gave her a refresher course on how to use watercolor (They paint several images a week and only ever uses watercolor – she was just rushing). She painted the wings and tail and she felt so much better about this one.

G is learning too! He learns at his own home, so some of these are piggybacking off what his own parents are teaching him.

He’s learning basic words, utensil use, ABCs, numbers (1-5) – right now he’s stuck on 1, 2, 3- GO! so really I guess we’re working on the number four. Ha!

He’s also learning by coloring as well as learning some animal names, and how to properly use a shovel (the girls are teaching him this particular skill). He has mastered cleaning chicken coops, standing still on a skateboard, how to sweep and mop the floors – his favorite chore! – and how to unfold clean laundry – my least favorite of his chores! But, it allows me to put it all away for another time, which just so happens to be my favorite chore!

We’ve also taken a couple trips to explore the outdoors. Mostly the park, but our trip to the river was the most fun.

One of their verses. Rae drew her “best friend, Fletcher” on hers. So sweet.

Mae finished her big project on castles / English royalty (previously mentioned in last month’s post.) I really like her Queen Elizabeth II and “peasant” is my all-time favorite.

Mae is OFFICIALLY reading chapter books aloud to me! She’s reading second-grade chapter books. I’m sure she could figure out harder books, but I don’t want to rush it. We’re really enjoying this new addition to our school day. She reads while sitting on the counter next to me as I cook, while we drive to dance class and the grocery store, and sometimes quietly to herself under her favorite oak tree – which has been a dream of hers for years.

Rae kind of took a break this month. Not completely but, aside from painting a few things and listening to stories and such, she hasn’t had to do any work outside of the preschool she attends. The break seems to have done her some good.

We’ll continue to ‘do school’ throughout the summer, like always. I’m really looking forward to going on a few field trips and having lessons outside – if it ever warms up!

QUICK! TO THE RIVER!

Where we live, experiencing all four seasons in one day is not out of the question, and happens at least once a season. Four seasons in one week is a given during the fall and spring months. We experienced such a day earlier this week.

Just as we were picking Rae up from preschool at lunchtime, the temperature rose to 70°F and the sun came bursting out of the clouds. Knowing it wouldn’t last for long, we drove right on past our house and straight to the river.

The girls dug their toes in the sand and ran back and forth through the creek and the river it connects to. G reacted as if he was experiencing everything for the first time (and maybe he was), which was just such a delight to watch. He spent most of the hour we were there grabbing fist-fulls of pebbles and chucking them harshly towards puddles.

All too soon, thunderclouds rolled overhead and the wind picked up. Within two hours it was below freezing and we had a fire brewing in the fireplace. We’ll happily take what we can get.