SCHOOL, LATELY

I started schooling Mae when she was three. Rae was a year old, and took a lot of naps, so Mae and I had quite a bit of one on one time for school and play.

Fast forward four years and we’ve made it back to that glorious time together.

This time around, however, she can read and write. What a difference that makes.

She asks questions that stop me in my tracks. She’s always been an “old soul,” but now I am seeing a new version of what that means for her. She absorbs information, ideas, and theories so brilliantly. Constantly in awe of her. – Maybe this is normal for a nearly seven year old, but I don’t remember being seven, so I’ma ganna gush on m’lady like its a new thing. Thanks for indulging.

She is very interested in science. All things science. Anatomy (of humans, animals, and bugs), Astronomy, experiments (baking soda + vinegar type biz), studying nature, and weather. If she gets interested in time travel, Daddy will be tackling that nonsense.

On Rae’s school days, we pick a spot outside – a park, a river, a cemetery or a lake. We get formal school work done, and then fill the rest of our time by exploring.

If we’re at a park, we’ll hike, follow squirrels as quickly and as far as we can, or simply collect nuts, bugs, and leaves.

If we’re at a cemetery, we’ll spend our time reading the oldest headstones and making up an interesting life story or researching origins of surnames.

If we’re at a lake or river we’ll fish, and observe spider webs and tadpoles.

Climbing a tree is an option everywhere we go. We love ourselves a good, low branch.

We also hit up the library at least once a week. We usually read a chapter book a day (3 days a week), and it’s quickly become one of our favorite ways to spend time together. Ya’ll know I can’t pass up a chance to snuggle – especially if it’s with a fellow snuggle enthusiast.

This past week, we read Kylie Jean – Cooking Queen (The Kylie Jean books are her favorite right now), Spiderwick Chronicles – Book 1, and Princess Poesy and the Crazy Lazy Vacation. We finished that last one is 15 minutes, and I take my sweet time reading books! I need to find more of those Princess Posey books! Even Rae can sit through that.

 

MRS. MCGREGOR

So. If you’re keeping track this makes, two cats, one puppy, zero sheep, six hens, one outdoor NZ hare, and one giant indoor bunny.

We’ve had her only two days, and already she’s tied with my beloved, George, and our Rosie for my favorite animals of all time.

Its like watching a stuffed animal hop around!! Agh!

She’s trained to go back to her cage to do her business and snuggles. (Snuggling and not peeing on my floor are the reasons George and Rosie made the list too)

Bailey (George’s sister) is cool too, but she only snuggles with Mae. She’s at the top of her list right along side this beauty.

She has her favorite spots, but lies at our feet when we’re in the room with her.

She adores nose pets and neck rubs as much as we adore giving them.

She has free reign over the front of the house, and Buckey gets the back two rooms (which is all he had before Mrs. McGregor showed up).

She has one ear that flops and one ear that stands at attention.

As soon as we named her Mrs. McGregor, Penelope said, “She needs glasses and a nice hat!” Haha. I don’t like the idea of clothes on animals, but Mae is all about that life.

-and, yes, I noticed the cobwebs before I took the photos.

-and, no, I didn’t remove them after I took the photos.

APPLE PICKING 2017

My sister-in-law and I (and our moms) took our kids apple picking in Illinois over the weekend.

It’s probably best that I went with other folks. My girls and I could’ve easily spent an hour crawling around on the ground, looking for apple worms. Studying them. Studying the bumpiness / smoothness of various apples. Are the leaves different depending on the color apple the tree produces? Which type of apple attracts the most worms?

Don’t get me started on studying that camel and soaking up her existence!

That being said, my girls got so much out of their short time at the orchard, and got so much quality time with their cousins, and I had a great time with my sister-in-law, Jenny (The coolest lady, and best momma!).

Rae runs full-force towards animals. Never expected baby-Rae to go near animals, much less adore them the way she does.

^  The famous Gwandma Shari & Mae ^

Next time my girls will share a bag!! They each filled theirs up halfway, and we still came home with 50+ apples. They’re way better than the waxy grocery store apples. Bigger and so much sweeter.

Mae got so discouraged when she’d pull one off and more would fall to the ground, destined for a bruised, devastating future of neglect. Abandoned with no hope of serving a joyful purpose. Hopefully they will all decompose and become great trees. That’s what I told her, so its going to happen! Well-intentioned mommas only speak truth, right?

She loves carrying food in her dresses (and her aprons at home). Belle goals becoming fulfilled.

Reckless. The sweetest camel. Sadie was smitten.

Mae’s ultimate dream for the past four years has been to ride a horse (or pony). This was an unexpected experience, and one she is still talking about. Loved seeing her wear a smile that she couldn’t force away.

(This pony’s name was Shorty)

^ ^ ^ A dream she didn’t know she had. ^ ^ ^

The girls did a couple other activities, and snagged some fresh cider before we headed home and got ready for Sadie’s [NINETH!] birthday party.

RAE’S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

Rae started preschool yesterday! She didn’t go last year, because I didn’t think she was ready and quite frankly last school year was a hard year for me. I didn’t want to add one more thing to my life.

This year, however, she is giddy about time away from me and the idea of making friends (the only reason she even goes) is finally something she’s interested in.

She has had her bag packed for weeks now – with only the essentials, as you can see.

Mae and I had school on the bleachers by the baseball fields. We laughed SO MUCH! It was our best school day yet!

We enjoyed some cake she had made the night before. I don’t like cake, or icing, or strawberries – but I took one for her esteem.

^ So happy!! ^

Her turned up foot kills me!

She was so happy when I picked her up. I hope she grows out of her shell so much this year!

2017 ECLIPSE

We thought about laying out on our deck and watching it all go down, but opted for a fun day at the park.

(Someone was kind enough to give us glasses – thanks, Bob!)

Although we were “in the path,” We had the place pretty well to ourselves.

Zack’s entire school laid out on the football field. Such a cool experience for them!

Mae was very excited about the entire thing!

We brought Buckey along. He just napped the first two hours. Sweet boy.

It was SO humid. Rae wasn’t havin’ it. We hauled lunch and plenty of snacks, so she hung in there.

We also brought some travel-size workbooks along, did some phonics, addition, and cursive.

The girls made a friend at the playground when we arrived. A boy named Coby. He tagged along like he’d known them forever.

It was so cool watching it get dark (and the humidity went away!!!). The crickets got louder as the birds went silent.

^Taken just after the eclipse was over.

Rae said, “aaaand, cut!”

She’s so cool.

Pinhole shadows. So cool! (And, hand-holding!!!)

We walked Buckey around the spring and fed the trout. This part of the park has an anti-humidity bubble around it. We could’ve stayed all day.

I thought watching how the environment changed around us was the best part.

I’m sure we’ll drive over to Illinois to see the next one in 7 years!

NEBRASKA CORNFIELD

We couldn’t leave town without committing their first misdemeanor exploring a cornfield, now could we?

I discovered that corn fields smell divine, my girls are truly up for anything (makes for the best travel companions!), and I should always go with my gut when a photo opportunity strikes.

We went back to investigate the silos. Penelope thought they were too big as she got close to them, so we wandered through the corn again. Still cool the second time.

NEBRASKA : REUNION AFTER PARTY

Uncle Bill and Aunt Chloe. Two of the best!

Aunt Gwen has the three greatest dogs. Unbothered by the large crowd, or abundance of children wanting their attention.

Rae and her tea.

1 cup cold black tea
14 spoonfuls of sugar
1 hearty helping of cream

*Drink by the spoonful, not by the swig.

She made SO many cups, and continued to leave them places (everyone else’s cup holders…) half full and go make another.

Rae and her BFF, Uncle Larry.

Just look at her, slurping her tea, hanging on every word. Adorable.

My boy and his Momma were there!!!

That look!! “Mooooooom. Not in front of the cool kid. . .you can go now.”

Zack has the greatest cousins. Four teenagers, not one complaint or cell phone, and they devoted every moment to my children.

And, the cherry on top of the reunion sundae, H A M M O C K S !!!

Bambino.

I don’t know how they’re going to eat this guy. He’s so affectionate!

He’ll take all the head scratches you can muster, and lick your hand with the enthusiasm of a puppy on the brink of adoption.

‘My boy” was smitten. I must’ve spent close to an hour in this very spot with him. A record attention span for a one year old, I believe.

Thanks for hosting the reunion, Aunt Gwen! (and for driving all the way from Washington, Hewitt family!!) Hopefully we’ll see you all again real soon!

NEBRASKA : ARRIVAL

This past weekend, the girls and I drove up to Nebraska with my mother-in-law for a Rogers / Hewitt family reunion. (Zack was busy and couldn’t go)

HOTEL!!!

As I’m sure you can imagine, the girls we’re thrilled.

Before calling it a night, we spent some time with Aunt Gwen on her farm (same house her mom grew up in!).

At this moment ( photo above ) the girls dubbed Nebraska as the most magical place on earth.

Sorry, D World, you’re a close second. Fair?

The rams.

They’re flirts, and I totally fell for it. Head over heels.

We should get a couple, Zack.

Pretty please???

We ate s’mores as the sun set … and fists full of red vines – because, vacation.

Everyone even humored Mae by adding in bits to her ghost story. She was so happy that everyone joined in. Thanks, guys.

The sugar hangover. Worth it, I’m sure.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2017

While we technically started back a couple weeks ago, we’re keeping with tradition and taking our back to school photos on the day Daddy’s classes start back.

We spent this particular day cooking eggs and toast, tidying up, practicing our Bible verse, saying prayers, reading Dolphins at Daybreak – start to finish snuggled up on the couch, practicing piano and handwriting, and are now settling down with popcorn and Dolphin Tale as we wait for Daddy to return home.

Before bed Mae will practice reading and money comprehension with Daddy, and Rae will try and sit still for a couple storybooks with Momma.

CAMPING AT THE SHUT-INS

We spent last Sunday-Monday camping and swimming at the shut-ins! It was our first weekend, just the four of us. No side-jobs, no obligations, and perfect not-to-hot-or-rainy weather this ENTIRE SUMMER!! We ended July brilliantly.

Penelope came up with a game called “Poker Face.”

The goal is not to keep a straight face, like you’d assume.

You have to guess what the person is feeling, based on their face. Really, Zack and I just tried making her laugh, by guessing things like gassy, itchy, or sleepy. She was actually “happy.” So simple. We should’ve known.

Go Fish on repeat. Well, Go Fish as explained by a six year old, played with a four year old.

They made their own puddles, and found plenty of excuses to wash their feet by the spigot.

Daddy treated everyone to ice cream at the campground. He’s what you’d call a “Cool dad.”

Penelope’s bedtime story was about a ghost that sneaks into tents and unravels your cloth belongings. Then, the next day, you have to find sticks and other items in nature to sew them back up. Very spooky.

The very next morning, Amelia had a thread pulled on her sock. Without skipping a beat, Penelope said, “See, I told you he always comes.”

Zack and I just about died from laughter. Kids are awesome.

We had a visitor during the night. A very disappointed visitor. Should’ve stayed for ham and eggs…

We went swimming at the shut-ins (pools of water, waterfalls, hot tubs, etc. formed by rocks overtime. Its incredibly fun.).

The girls did awesome. No one got tired or hurt. We all had a blast. So grateful we have kids we absolutely love hanging out with.