FIELD TRIP : : LINCOLN MUSEUM

We got our first field trip of 2018 taken care of last week!

The girls spent quite a bit of time last fall learning about Abraham Lincoln. A subject they requested. We finally had some time to breathe and decided to fill that breath with a treck to Illinois.

My friend from high school, Ven, and her boys joined us. So grateful for the company and conversation!!

This girl, agh! She soaked every bit up. She was so happy to be in this place.

Zack and I brought her here when she was a year and a half old, or so. She obviously didn’t remember a thing, but it was so nice from my perspective seeing her observe everything this time around. Grasping the importance of his accomplishments.

With the exception of the logs she sat on, Rae looked at everything with her eyes not her hands! Such a hard task for a five-year-old.

^ Just look at her!! Inspecting every inch.

KILLS. ME.

Rae strolled through at a brisk pace…until she got here. She stared at Abe for a good long while, as I stared at her for a good long while.

Above: an outhouse with THREE toilets. All at different heights! You know you’ve made it when…

We toured Lincoln’s home. It’s just down the road from the museum -and its free! His tomb is free also but it was raining and getting cold, so we skipped that.

His home still has some original things in it. Doors, a toilet, wallpaper in one of the rooms, and the banister. Oh, that beautiful banister.

Now, between Lincoln’s stories of loss and achievement, the slaves’ own stories and watching my girls experiencing it all, I got tear boulders lodged in my ducts quite a few times throughout the day – BUT none quite so large as the ones brought about by that generically crafted banister.

As we neared the portion of the home tour where it was time to head on upstairs, the guide mentioned that the banister was original to the home.

“It’s as close to shaking the hand of Abe Lincoln himself as you can get!” 

I could see Mae hold her breath. Her smile grew and her gaze made it over to mine. I knew what she was thinking. Boulders began to form.

As we rounded the corner into the foyer, her eyes grew. I made sure to walk behind her. She slowly raised her hand, making sure to never take her eyes off the banister. She slowly walked up the staircase. I knew she was imagining Abraham Lincoln walking up those very steps holding onto that very banister. She was in heaven. As a result, I was too.

Before heading to my mother-in-law’s for the night. We braved the great ice storm of 2018 (apparently it’s not too early in the year to proclaim such a thing), and enjoyed a “fancy meal” at McAllister’s together. Just me and my ‘gails’.

As we waited for our fancy food to arrive, we received several texts and calls from people making sure we were still alive. We were. As we made the five-minute journey to Shari’s we saw no ice and had the roads all to ourselves. Not a bad way to end the day!

– Mae (on the left) is holding her face like that for the photo. I held the phone up for a ridiculous length of time to see how long she’d hold it. She didn’t budge. Definitely, her Daddy’s girl…

DEAR RAE

The other day I took you with me to the store. Just us.

As we passed the trough of flower bouquets you asked, “Can I buy you some flowers, Mommy?”

I quickly said, no. Thinking that that would be a waste of money.

You shyly responded with an, “Okay.”

When we got home I felt a pit in my stomach. I realized that I ignored you and your desire to do something nice for me. You don’t understand money. You were thinking of someone other than yourself. I don’t want to make you feel bad for anything, much less, thoughts of kindness.

The next day we went back for those flowers. The big bouquet. You were so happy. It has been so nice to walk by them each day and be reminded of you.

I love you, Rae.

 

DEAR MAE

You tried desperately to explain the concepts of today tomorrow and yesterday to your sister this morning. It went something like this,

“Tomorrow is the day after today.”

“Is tomorrow this night?”

“No. Today is right now and tomorrow is the day after this one.”

“What? Do I get to go to preschool today or not?”

Then, Momma snapped the photo above.

I sympathize, dear. I’m still trying to get just one of you to understand the timings of breakfast, lunch, and supper… (Spoiler alert, they are not interchangeable.)

LATELY : : DECEMBER 2017

December came quick!! Quicker every year.

We began the month learning about the original Saint Nicholas. I always thought he was Italian. Nope. Sort of? Greek under Roman rule, is basically Italian, right? Stretching it much? Who cares. He was awesome. Someone truly living to be like the Lord.

Some other school work here.

Zack baked Gingerbread for the first time ever. The girls ate it most mornings with an orange as their breakfast, until it was gone.

Mae baked cookies for our neighbours and some friends from church.

Zack and I nearly cried looking at these photos of Mae, imagining the day she is that tall without a stool. Hopefully, when that day comes, she’ll still be sporting elbow patches.

We baked a record amount of bread – to go with our record amount of soups and stews and so many gingerbread cookies. We used this recipe and had to throw away a softball size of dough, as we just could not handle any more cookies.

The girls picked out some great library books this month – It’s a Wonderful Life for Kids! (It’s about George’s son) and the illustrated 134 page The Nutcracker were two of our favourites. Mae also read four horse related chapter books (She’s really into the Horse Diaries series). She’s determined to read every horse book the library has! We also began the Chronicles of Narnia series on audio discs.

Mae also attended her first knitting / crocheting club…night? at the library. Thankfully one of the ladies kept talking, making her feel comfortable. I tried walking around to look at books not written for children. I came home with a stack of children’s literature…

The girls always do more yoga this time of year. They had a Christmas episode this time around! They’ve used Cosmic Kids Yoga the past three or four years now. We haven’t branched out to “normal yoga” ’cause they still really enjoy it. (and, no, I don’t do yoga. I’d likely fall asleep on the floor)

We attended a baby shower for my best friend’s daughter. It was SO much fun!

It was also so great to see that family again – just a bonus we were able to celebrate Mr. Julian!! We’re all dying to meet that kid!

Stopping for gas on our way home at 11 P.M. She stayed awake the entire way home. We talked and blared Zootopia to make sure I didn’t fall asleep.

Rae woke up the next morning, vomiting. (Notice the Disney World “just in case” bucket…) Mae got to go to church, and thanks to some incredibly awesome folks at church, I didn’t have to!

Chores in nightgowns developed into a thing.

Mae looks forward to any type of hard work and does an incredible job at anything we request of her. Like, cleaning out the hens’ boxes and filling them with fresh chips, or her favourite job – helping load the furnace, which involves a trip down into the ‘spooky’ cellar.

Rae…well, Rae is good at avoiding. In the photo above, Rae is “helping” me burn trash as her chore. No job is too small to neglect!

We steadied our Christmas…business? We watched Princess Bride and called it a Christmas movie (Right in there with Hugo, Harry Potter, LOTR, Jeremiah Johnson, and Star Wars), held off starting up the furnace so we could wear sweaters indoors, and only read one holiday book a day.

The girls had their first sleepover!

We took a field trip to The Compassion Experience. You can read about that here.

Rae got a haircut. It was getting kind of shaggy.

She had a good month at preschool. She was particularly excited to head out the door each morning and beamed when she saw me waiting for her after class. The girls talk and talk and talk all the way home. Rae shows Mae the work she was able to bring home. They discuss snack time and what her friend Fletcher has been up to.

It was too cold to take a decent photo of her for “green day” (show-and-tell), so we snapped one in the car. There’s a green dress under that coat. She was extra happy because green is Mommy’s favourite color. Sweet girl.

Ninja-Mae seems 2 feet taller than Normy-Mae. She’d make a good burglar or shadow next Halloween…

(Last photo was taken my a lady at church.)

Instead of a pageant, our church let the kids show off the talents the Lord has given them. They chose to sing, and boy oh boy did they sing their hearts out (to Jingle Bells – ha!) But, Rae joined in and stayed committed. Just look at that grin. Agh! We made sure to sit front and center!

The girls got to visit Santa. They still insist on believing in him this year, knowing full well he is not real. They want to imagine. Can’t complain about that.

Last year Mae decided days before Christmas that she wanted to pretend and believe in Santa. Okay. She baked cookies and set out carrots alongside them. We played along. First thing Christmas morning she ran to the plate, gasped, and said (with a smile and wide eyes), “Which one of you ate them?!”

This year, my mother-in-law and I scrambled at nine or ten o’clock to rewrap gifts she brought. Mae was really (really) excited to see what Santa would bring her. She even mentioned Christmas morning, “Last year Santa only stuck around to eat the cookies, but this year he brought gifts!” Next year we’re going to let them be Santa.

I also finished sewing up Mae’s horse that was chewed up by a dog back in October. Didn’t even have time to wash it, but she overlooked the dog smell and was very happy to have her back.

We joined in on a field trip with fellow homeschoolers.

We all learned a lot about amphibians. I’m sure the girls and I will go frog / salamander hunting plenty this spring!

We were able to spend the entire month outside! It got COLD beginning the first day of winter, but we still managed to haul our bums out for a few minutes each day.

Wrote a post about one of our trips back here.

We ate nearly every meal by candlelight.

We took Rae to see The Last Jedi as her Christmas gift. ^ Her reaction to hearing she was going to see it in 3D – only because we missed the first regular showing and didn’t want to wait for the next one. It’s quite the treck to the theater.

Never fails, some really nice folks dress up and posed for photos with the kids. Rae was shy this time around, but Mae would have hung out there all afternoon. I have no idea who that lady is supposed to be, but she was awfully sweet and that beefed up trooper by Boba really dug her socks, so they’re basically BFFs now.

We also took Rae and “Sweepio” out for supper later. (She says, “C! 3! P! O!” now but I’m nestalgic for the Sweepio days)

She crashed hard when we got home.

Zack enjoyed his last couple days before winter break. We were very glad to have him around (ALL DAY LONG!) for a couple weeks!!

We attending PawPawDeeDee’s Christmas party (Zack’s side of the family) on Christmas Eve Eve, which also happens to be my parent’s anniversary…

…my dad ended up in the hospital on his anniversary. Boo. It did mean we were able to visit with him though! (Also in the hospital over Christmas was Zack’s grandpa and Zack’s best friend’s dad. Not a good weekend for dads.)

My younger brother was visiting from Alabama and we got to see him a few times over the break, which wasn’t planned either. My dad officially went home the day after Christmas and is hopefully feeling much better.

It snowed just in time for Christmas!

I didn’t take many photos this Christmas, but it was my all-time favourite holiday season.

Mae had her Christmas recital! That’s back here.

We’re ending the year with a slumber party for the girls here at the house. Happy New year!

DECEMBER PAINTINGS

Typically I include our homeschool work in my monthly round-up, but December became pretty full, so this is a separate post for a few of their paintings I particularly liked. The rest of their work is filed away. They typically do a verse painting a day, and we did quite a few on people involved with Christmas.

Mae’s St. Nicholas is the title photo and Rae’s is the one just above. Mae wrote facts on the back of hers. Rae wandered off somewhere. I believe hers has a word and a half completed. Her painting is pretty sweet though. Really diggin’ the square noses all of her portraits have lately.

Mae wants to write in cursive. She is getting pretty good! Usually, an easy tell as to whos work is whos. Mary is so happy!

Rae’s Jesus is sending off a John the Baptist vibe. Love it.

Mae got fancy with her illustrations.

Check out that thatch roof, ya’ll! Not how it would’ve been, I’m sure, but she’s shading!

“ENVENTURING”

Anytime they’re outside Mae calls it adventuring, or “enventuring.” Today we went enventuring.

The girls discovered it was warm again today (When will it get cold??). They packed their backpacks with notebooks, snacks, water bottles, and tupperware for “collecting nature,” then ran up to me and shouted, “Can we go to the park!?” Who could say no…

We lasted at the table just long enough to unpack everything they brought, ooh and ahh at the view, and eat one apple and one orange. Then, Momma got cold so we had to move along into the woods. My favorite part.

Ugh. That smile says it all, doesn’t it? She is at her best out of doors.

Really, who isn’t?

Rae yelled, “Poison Ivy!” at each green thing we passed. It’s not that warm here…

She also stole some moss from the State Park. Oops. It was a gift for me since moss is my favorite (and we didn’t get caught!), so, I’m gonna let it slide.

We didn’t’ find any antlers, cool rocks, bugs, or mushrooms, but as you can see, they didn’t seem to care.

Notice Rae’s backpack bum? We laughed pretty hard about that throughout our hike.

Contraband.

Hope its warm tomorrow so we can do this all over again. AND! since I’m apparently a whimp, I’ll bring a bigger coat so they can stay longer without having to hear Momma gripe.

THE COMPASSION EXPERIENCE

Zack and I have sponsored the same boy for 12 years now, through Compassion. I can’t say enough good things about them. Honestly, I can’t think of a bad thing to say.

Compassion has sent an “experience” around the country and thankfully ended up five minutes from my mother-in-law’s house (a couple hours from our home). I decided to take the girls there to give them a look into the lives of far less fortunate kids from around the world.

We often have discussions about what it is like for others in the world and how great we have it here in the states (even our poor and homeless), but this took it to a new level for them, which was the intention.

So, you wear headphones that are connected to an iPhone. There are narrations which guide you through each story – one room equals one part of their life’s story. They have a kids version with fewer sound effects and a toned down bit for gory situations. I’m glad we opted for that with the girls.

We learned about a girl (now a woman) from the Philippines, and a boy (now a man) from Kenya. The girls and I both agreed that the story of the girl, Kiwi, will stick with us.

The rooms were set up as authentically as possible (I think they did a great job!).

Of course, we didn’t experience the smells that come with poverty, floods, etc. or feel the deep fear children experience in these situations. We didn’t have rain pouring down on us through the sags of tarp roofs or holes in the tin roof. We didn’t feel the pit of starvation or feel hopeless about what our night or our tomorrow will be.

We did get to have deep meaningful, enlightening conversions on our long drive home, we do have fresh daily outlooks of the blessing we’ve been given each day, and we will remember those less fortunate in our prayers. It’s easy to get focused on only what is close to home when we pray. We don’t need a name or a face to pray for someone across the globe…or those in our own town we’ve never met who are living in crippling conditions.

So glad we didn’t back out, save the gas and spare ourselves the long hours on the road.

CHRISTMAS RECITAL 2017

Mae had her third ever recital this past Monday night. She has expressed a dream of being on stage from the time she was two. She has never once been nervous before a show. So grateful it has not only become a reality but that she is pretty dadgum terrific.

She makes our dirty ol’ porch look mighty classy, don’t she? Untied laces and all.

Seriously. These two. This will surely be, forever, one of my favorite photos.

We made our traditional trip to the neighbors to show off the incredible costume.

Of course, Rae was being a crumbum.

For all of Mae’s recitals, Rae has been a not so nice human being. A real so-and-so. Supportive right up until the moment she realizes she’ll have to sit still (and, God forbid, remain quiet!) for the next 45 minutes.

Thankfully, it didn’t bring Mae’s spirits down!

Another tradition – post-recital meal at Lee’s! She doesn’t like chicken (or any kind of meat), but she does like hot apples and honey on a warm roll!

So excited to see what she has for us next spring!!

DEAR MAE & RAE : CHRISTMAS EDITION

This month has been the greatest!! You are both now fully able (and willing) to enjoy all that comes with the Christmas season.

For your birthday’s this year, you both wanted to spend any money you received on each other. For Christmas, it seems you have plenty of thoughts on what you’d like for yourselves. However, you both did great choosing the perfect items to gift each other. So grateful I get to live right smack dab in the middle of your relationship. The nosy, opinionated third wheel.

You are both able to bake cookies from scratch. Mae even knows how to set the oven correctly. Rae, at this point, you don’t get to mix cookie dough – sorry, Babe. You tend to stick your hands in at every stage…even the slimy ones. BUT! you can help once the dough is fully mixed!

You each jump at the chance to take charge of our daily advent lesson. Thankfully taking turns between two isn’t so bad. Four sentences in and Rae has made her way to the piano and is playing Mary had a Little Lamb above Momma’s words. Never fails. Sitting still for minutes at a time is hard.

You both take full advantage of having so many occasions to ‘get fancy.’ Dresses, tights, skirts, clicky shoes, broaches (yes, you both totally adored broaches), nail polish, hair spray, cheek sparkles, ear muffs, and peacoats – BRING IT!

I have tried to mix up our Christmas music as much as possible – without wandering into current pop renditions – and so far, ya’ll aren’t even a “tweensy” bit sick of the merriment.  I need a break now and again – so thanks for smiling through the detours.

The two of you sang a duet at church for the Festival of Talents. A talent show where kids could show off the gifts the Lord has given them. Ya’ll sang Jingle Bells. The entire thing. It was so good! No one paused to remember words, cried, ran off stage or even developed rosy nervous cheeks like Momma surely would’ve. While you both have so many talents, I’m glad you chose this one. It got you, Rae, out of your comfort zone (singing out loud on stage in front of several people!) and allowed the two of you to grow and work together for the Lord.

We have gifts under the tree (yours for each other), and the stockings are full. Thanks for not peeking!

Right now, I’ve got to slap some lipstick on your face, Mae, as we’re nearly out the door for your Christmas Recital!

LATELY : : NOVEMBER 2017

We began the month of November celebrating this lady’s birth. She’s FIVE now!

You can read about that here and here.

We have spent months car shopping while desperately clinging to the hopes our lemon would get its act together and somehow last us another year. We had it for seven years and drove it one billion miles. We can’t really complain…

After looking at various vans, trucks, and SUVs, we decided on this beauty. Basically a spaceship. My mother-in-law said it needed a name, so we went with Norrin Radd.

The girls spent hours digging holes and raking leaves in the yard. The leaves just blew back from whence they came, but the holes will stick around making sure to trip us when we least expect it.

We took a trip to “The Diamond Store,” to pick up some chalkboard paint and continue our hunt for 12″ duct pipe things. I dunno. We’re going to order those online, but we did get some paint and a video that makes me chuckle.

The chalk wall completed, above. It took a day of sanding, three days of priming, and about five coats of chalkboard paint.

We followed up Lowes with a trip to Taco Bell. Normally, that wouldn’t grant a spot here (maybe it would?) but the girls were such turkeys, I want to remember it.

We spent nearly every day learning about Separatists (Pilgrims).

Their timeline, hymns they enjoyed, work they would’ve done every day, what schooling was like, life in Holland, as well as what Native American lives were like before settlers and just after settlers arrived.

We read stories of all of the above in their American history book, in a colonial times book, and listened to Stories of the Pilgrims while we did paintings, crochet practice, and a bit in the car. It was very good as an audiobook!

The girls prepared Johnny cakes as a snack one day, made construction paper hornbooks, and dried apples to hang and use this winter. We also attempted making rag dolls, but just couldn’t find the time.

We read Thanksgiving related chapter books – Nate the Great Talks Turkey and some Felicity books. while Mae crocheted and Rae drew photos or just snuggled.

The girls take art and singing lessons at the high school once a week. Zack teaches them the art (obviously?), and they made these choose-a-face pictures. I didn’t take photos of theirs (but we kept them), so here ^^ is Zack’s example.

The girls and I joined in on art club’s Thanksgiving party. We enjoyed good food, painting, video games, and a visit to Aunt Teresa (who had a table tennis match going on with her own students. Imagine that. I bet she whooped ’em all! Suckers.).

Rae also cashed in on her free birthday smoothie from the student cafe while we were there.

Mae took a fall, chipping her left front tooth in the process.

That first photo was taken moments before. Poor sweet girl.

While we did Bible studies, we only did a painting on the story of Babel. Simply because Mae really wanted to.

We only had time for one poem painting this month. It was about a windy November. Perfect for our November.

Mae also learned about a couple “lady scientists.” (We used this book)

Science is her “favorite thing everrrr!” so we focused a bit more on it, despite being busy enough with other subjects.

Buckey Boy!

Rae taped everything in sight. I got her rolls of tape for her birthday since she likes tape so much. I’m regretting it, but she is so happy and rarely stops creating with it.

Mae practiced on her new piano nearly every day she was home.

Despite my best efforts, Christmas made its way into our lives.

That lovely stomach flu showed up. Zack and I missed it, but there’s still time.

Zack and I spent a weekend in St. Louis at a Missouri Youth Fellowship event with our church. SO GOOD!

Can you find Zack and Rae??? AGH!

The girls spent that weekend down the road a bit at Grandma Shari’s house. They were able to catch the tail end of the final sermon and ride home with us on the bus.

Buckey spent that weekend with our cousin Marsha. He rode home with his bum in the back and head in my lap. It’s nice to be missed.

As Rae is getting more independent, it seems I’m getting frequent one on one time with this ham.

Zack’s Thanksgiving board made me very happy.

Rae and I took a trip to the mall – not as dreadful as I expected! We seemed to have the whole place to ourselves. She had birthday money to spend and found so many things she wanted to buy for her sister.

Sadie, Mae, and I took Buckey to the dog park. He just hung out with his momma and not the twenty other dogs. I can totally relate, B.

Afterwards, we took him to PetSmart to let him pick out a bone. He did visit with the dogs at the store. Most of them looked like cats, though. He’s used to cats.

I posted our Thanksgiving day back here.

Video games at 10 pm by the fire. Hooray for long weekends!

It has been warm. I wore a tank top, sandals, and shorts the day I typed this sentence. Stupid. Get cold or at least rainy already! Just kidding…?

My girls are loving the heat while wanting snow at the same time. Not totally out of the question here in the Ozarks, but I’m not holding my breath.

These fellas. Never far away.

We started our (probably too in-depth) lessons on Christmas. Here they’re writing and illustration Isaiah 11:1.

Still haven’t painted the trim ^ ^. We’ll get it done in the next year or two…

Mae has one more rehearsal next week – and THEN! – the recital. So glad my child has confidence in front of a crowd.

We’re ready for December, and hopefully, the cold weather that comes with it!