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!

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!

LATELY : : OCTOBER

October, oh how we love thee. This was a fun month!

I’ve posted fifty-eight photos and two videos to sum up a thirty-one day month (and that was skimming the surface, ha!). If you decide to stick around for such a commitment, go ahead and gather whatever supplies you deem necessary and get comfy.

We ended September and began October with Seth and Jenny.

The girls have received frequent computer time over the past month. They only use these during their free time, and never instead of school work, but they certainly learn a lot through these. ABC Mouse is their favorite.

Soon, Mae will start typing practice, but I’m certainly in no rush for her to get comfortable around a computer.

Mae would eat every meal by candlelight if I’d agree to it. On rainy days, I agree to it.

Mae turned seven!

When Zack and I were dating (and newly married), he would set up scavenger hunts for me on my birthdays. I believe his mom also did one for me back in high school.

Our girls don’t usually get any gifts from us. This year, however, all of Mae’s desired activities didn’t pan out, so she received gifts by way of a scavenger hunt through the house.

She also had macaroons instead of cake and sparkling grape juice in fancy glasses.

Mae also received calls that involved songs and long conversations, from Grandma Shari, Grandpa Kevin, and Uncle Joe. I took these photos as they were talking to Uncle Joe. Their faces were just too good. Rae even joined in on this call. They miss their Uncle Joe!!

Rae has spent more hours than not “doing art.” Above are some badges she made with paper bag clippings, glue, and markers. All her idea and her doing.

Art has become her favorite (only) way she spends her free time.

Not bad for a girl who “Doesn’t even like crafts.”

We started the fireplace back up. Not the furnace yet, but we’re ready for it! Well, my heart is ready, my husband is not. Zack wants to reroute ducts to be more efficient with how the heat is used throughout the house. That man. Always schemin’.

Speaking of schemin’, Zack started more projects. This is going to be a fun one!!

The girls collected leaves on our frequent walks.

The camera on my phone was broken for most of the month (and last month!) so we took a lot more photos with me in them. Zack is very happy about this.

This also means I used the Nikon more. The Nikon is happy about this as well, I’m sure.

– and I guess I also wore Zack’s Cornerstone shirt a lot?

Mae purchased a bow and arrow with some of her birthday money (from Grandma). She has practiced every day. On rainy days she practices in the living room. She’ll be a master archer in no time.

Rae became less crabby about copy work. (Soley for practicing her writing skills, not for knowledge of what she’s writing)

My aunt & uncle came from Georgia for a visit!

While visiting my dad and Uncle Kenan (Aunt Kim’s brothers), she (and of course Rae’s BFF, Uncle Larry!) took the time to drive 2 hours to see us!!

Friends from Alabama also came for a visit!

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Buckey boy got neutered and had his dewclaws removed.

So far, he still loves us.

The girls carved a pumpkin. Seasonal obligations.

Mae has big plans for her own pumpkin patch next year. We’re planting ALL the seeds! “Go big.”

Mae has developed an interest in hymns.

Daddy is more than happy to sing them all to her at a moments notice. He sings them on his own at random, so I guess its no surprise she likes them. I’m just happy about this.

^ That look!! What a babe. Can you spot Buckey?

We took Zack to one of our favorite spots for breakfast one day. We’ve been missing him this year. He has been much busier than he used to be. All good things and all time away from us is spent helping others. It sure is nice when we get uninterrupted time with our man, even if it is just for half an hour (and on the way to more of his responsibilities – ha!).

I turned 30, for whatever that’s worth.

Amelia proudly ate raw broccoli on my birthday…just thought that floret should be acknowledged.

My favorite part had to be this child saying, “I love you, Birthday Girl,” followed by a kiss on my arm (because she’s short), every chance she got.

Coming in at second place, is the time spent helping Mae bake me a pineapple upside down cake. I don’t like pineapple upside down cake. I actually don’t like any cake. I DO like her smile and the joy she feels when she puts time and hard work into caring for others.

My mother-in-law sent me a list of 30 things she adores about her Jadey-girl. You may know about the lists and letters I write occasionally. Man, was it nice to be on the receiving end.

While we were planning on officially celebrating my birthday the following weekend, Zack had an entire afternoon to just spend with us, so we took advantage of the situation, and took the girls out on the town.

It was cold and rainy, so we stuck with indoor biz. We started our night by checking out the new Starbucks in a neighboring town. (everything we do is in a neighboring town.) I hate coffee, but Zack loves coffee, especially if there is something new and weird he can try. Wouldn’t you know, there was something new and weird for him to try!

We also walked around Khols. We never go to Khols and often forget it even exists.

They had superhero sheets and so many toys at eye level throughout the store. My girls were very pleased with this place.

We then went to Walmart (yay?) and let the girls finally play Zelda on the big screen.

We ended our lazy evening with Taco Bell at 9 p.m. NINE P.M!

Mae wore this coat all evening and rarely takes it off – even at home – because she fancy.

We set up a new schoolroom situation. (Did you just laugh out loud, Shari? I can’t help myself.)

Mae decided to grow three years overnight at some point.

Also ^ she’s super into writing stories about horses. We have notebooks full of them.

She’s also still very much into being a dweeb. God bless her.

Speaking of dweebs…

Rae manages to function perfectly with my harsh prescription strapped to her face. Should I be worried?

(She’s holding an acorn ^)

It’s wood haulin’ / choppin’ / burnin’ season! Our favorite!!

Zack was able to get some work done for his grandpa during his fall break, so we spent the final weekend at Zack’s mom’s house.

The girls and I brought along some workbooks to do while everyone was at work and enjoyed some school outside (before it became freezing cold.)

The girls and I also took several walks while everyone was at work. We brought Buckey along, but he’s getting too big!!

Buckey boy was able to enjoy some time with Zack’s grandparents while Zack put up a backsplash. So glad it didn’t take him long to get calm and lounge about. He seemed to appreciate time away from his kennel.

Vovo (my grandma) and Grandpa moved up from Alabama this weekend as well! They brought their piano and couch for us, so we brought B along for a ride in the truck. He also rode home in the truck later that night, leaving me to drive home in the van alone. Not my favorite thing to do…

We’ve been making constant use of that piano and sofa. Thanks, Vovo.

This is also the reasoning for the new schoolroom area up above.

^ Mae now has the largest earmuffs to accompany that coat of hers.

Halloween. Mae adores it. I think the excitement involved in getting out of the house with the entire town at night + dressing up has a lot to do with it. She’s not that into candy. BUT! So much candy was collected.

Daddy painted faces all night. Guess which girls got to go first…

We came home after making the rounds, enjoyed some hot chocolate and watched Vamperina on Youtube. Solid night and I am oh so glad it’s over!

Our days are filling up quickly but we’re hoping November will leave us feeling less like this ^.

Happy November, errbody.

 

LATELY : : SEPTEMBER

I’m not sure why, but every month this year has been packed with work and travel and friends and a new seasons obligations. Sadly, not much lounging in our underwear Sunday best watching cartoons went on in the past nine months. It’s been great. Just different.

Every single day in October is equally as packed, if not more so.

I’ve decided to do a monthly round-up of goings on. Over-looked photos and photographs from early posts will be used. I want to remember it all. In this month’s case, half are blurry phone photos, as I didn’t use the Nikon much and the camera on my phone is busted (didn’t stop me from using it, as you’ll see).

* THIS IS A  L O N G  POST, YA’LL!

We hungout with Nutmeg for the first time. She actually fell asleep on Rae’s shoulder for a bit.

Rae checkin’ her specks before heading down the road to “Cousin’s Day” at Aunt Teresa’s.

Random photos taken to brighten Aunt Sarah’s day.

We’ve been floating around town on Tuesdays and Thursdays during our two hours without Rae. I’ve enjoyed being home more (which I did not expect!), but maybe because it was so hot for most of this month.

We started learning about kings (of all places, backgrounds, and timelines) – but have taken a break for a bit, since Mae requested a new topic. She was loving this, so we’ll come back to it.

Mae wrote a poem on the fly. Not unusual for her, but check out that rhyming!

We’ve begun learning about Abraham Lincoln (per Mae’s request), and boy is she enjoying it!

She wants to learn about the man who “cancelled slavery.” (as she puts it)

This project will get its own post once we’re done and have visited the Lincoln Museum in IL. Fieldtrip!!

Zack and I went on trip with the youth into the city. My mom watched the girls for us, and our wonderful cousin Marsha watched Buckey boy for us.

Zack and I got to take a few rides on the motorcycle, together. We also went to his class so I could learn how to throw on the wheel. My first project (above) turned out perfectly. I still can’t believe it.

We actually had more time on the porch in August, but we did have a few chilly mornings and tried to take advantage of it.

We filled that precious, fleeting time just reading books. Short stories and chapter books.

^ Worse than normal phone-bad quality, due to my cracked lens but still worth posting.

On our last visit to my mother-in-law’s house, the girls traded skills and taught each other dance specifics and gymnastic stretches.

The girls walked across the street in their beloved leotards so they could ‘perform’ for Pawpaw and Deedee (Zack’s grandparents). They were impressed, I’m sure.

Buckey had a check-up at the vet. Never far from his BFF or the open box of treats set down on his level.

We got a new bunbun. We’re still completely smitten with her. I hope she lives forever and ever and ever and…

We went apple picking with my sister-in-law, Jenny.

Mae started her second year of dance! None of those are of her in dance class, but check out the fresh pre-class, no frizz hair! -and my girls always sitting soclose to one another.

Reading chapter books on the top bunk became a thing. On this night, we read Spiderwick Chronicles (book one), in one sitting…and then took [too many] photos of silly faces. (The front lens works on my camera. Who doesn’t love selfies, right?? Ugh.)

Rae fell asleep on the way home (one of our many trips to St. Louis this month), and Mae took advantage of Momma’s 42 percent battery life and her sister’s phenomenal deep sleep abilities.

Rae managed to get cuter. I thought she reached the highest level a human can reach. That last photo did me in.

Mae also managed to get more hip, and here I am, covered in her dust. (Not that I’ve ever been hip. Obvious, since I’ve used the word hip three times now.) I stand just like she’s standing, but I look like a dweeb with scoliosis and she looks like a tween model.

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.

 

OUR WEEK SO FAR

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Rae chillin’ by the pool, during our small group session Sunday night.

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I got to see two of my siblings, “The Twins,” this past week!

My sister and I at our cousin Andy’s wedding.

I feel quite tall until I get around my relatives. You’ll notice my sister crouching down as if posing with a child. (Mind you, I’m 5′ 10″). Nevertheless, I’m glad they’re all far far away now! Ha!

Continue reading OUR WEEK SO FAR

LIFE LATELY

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Freshly emptied bottle, left over pancake, pots plastered with caramel glue, a plant set upon the counter safe from troublesome kittens, and bread laid on the bread box – not in it, wall left untiled, open entryway trim / cat scratching post, and zero intentions to fix even one of these situations.

Alright, I washed the bottle out. It doesn’t need to smell any worse than its original state. The rest, however, stayed until bedtime.

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Tomatoes freshly picked from the neighbors’ house.

One of those apples has a bite taken out of it…

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Vocabulary work by the television.

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Project #29. Half done.

We currently have quite a few home projects halted and only half complete. Maybe we’ll get a bit more along this weekend? Maybe.

PLAYING CATCH UP / LIFE LATELY

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The weather is right in that sweet spot of blazing and freezing, so we’ve been outside a lot more lately.

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Taking Mae to school in style.

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Spending the 50 minutes Mae is at school wandering the nursery with Rae. She took home a plant (I think its a small tree) with white flowers, and chose a red plant for Mae.

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This girl makes everything fun!

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Mae learned a new craft a couple weeks ago. Rae tore it apart within the hour.

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Tooth number four came out without much of a fight.

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We have two new additions, George and Bailey (named by Zack, of course). Brother and sister kittens from our favorite neighbors.

And Rae got a hair cut. You can kind of see it in this photo.

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Grandma came for Labor Day weekend, and spent at least an hour cutting out paper dolls for Mae. – Among many many many more wonderful things…

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…like filling our fridge! Grandma buys the fun food we always say no to. We now have so many options we have to sit while we make our decisions. Its a good feeling.

We’re also tearing up our porch, leveling it and installing fresh planks.

Mae starts dance this week!!!

Aaaand, Zack’s best friend is getting married this weekend!

BACK HOME

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We were away from home for three weeks. Three weeks! While it was a blast, it is so nice to be home!

We came home to beans and lettuce in our garden boxes, zero bugs in our house (which has never happened!), a nonexistent food supply, grass nearly up to my knees, and our own bed. Halleluiah! We quickly remedied the food and grass issues, and slept good in our own beds.

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The girls have been enjoying breakfast on the porch, having a yard to roam freely in, and all of their own toys nearby. They spend most of their days imagining and playing together.

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They even put a show on for me the first morning we woke up at home! I have a video they’re sure to be proud of when they get older. Ha. They’re so cute.

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We’ve repotted neglected plants, watched wildlife do its thing (we even have new baby birds on the porch! They’re so loud!), eaten almost every meal outside, taken a couple trips to the river, and Zack took Mae to the dentist. She brought home a yellow toothbrush with a mermaid on it. Score!

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We set up a restaurant on the deck. They are still loving it, days later. I’m sure it will be a favorite for the rest of the summer.

Mae has been getting creative with her outfits, and one day decided “exercise” was going to be the look of the day. Funny how she came up with such a thing, since we don’t wear this when we exercise, nor does anyone in their yoga / Zumba videos…

Rae found my glasses and could not stop giggling. She’s so sweet. She walked a pretty straight line in them, which makes me wonder about the status of her vision. Hmmm… Zack and I wear the same (strong) prescription, so their time is sure to come.

Rae and I went to the river to collect some sand for our succulents, and the four of us went back the next day just to enjoy it. The sun wasn’t out, and the water was freezing so we didn’t swim, but we had the whole place to ourselves, which has never happened at this part of the river before.

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We also found a few of these little guys hopping around while at the river.

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We spent some time at the football field and let the girls run and run and run.

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Aaaaand, to top it all off, this girl lost her THIRD tooth! The top two middle teeth are loose and sure to be coming out soon. Guess we better stock up on applesauce, pudding, and ice cream!

We have no plans of going anywhere this summer, unless it involves camping! We have plenty of projects to wrap up over here – including quite a bit of exterior painting, as you can see in that first photo of the window trim.

THE LEFT OVER BITS

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Zack and I had fevers all weekend and Zack’s continued until Tuesday, aaaaand we let the girls run wild with a new found independence. Needless to say, our home looked like the last half hour of Jumanji come Tuesday morning.

UH.

…on to the good stuff…

Like this little hood rat and her fancy new mod hair cut. And maybe how she feels decked to the nines in this three-sizes-to-big maxi gown, yet poses in such a manner to imply that I forced all that glamour upon her.

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Ah, Missouri.

[This spiel, might need to include the entire country, but since I don’t watch news, I’ll stick to what I know.]

Snow. Rain. Temperatures just warm enough to wear either shorts OR a t-shirt. Snow. Rain. Rain. Rain. Snow. Sweat inducing heat. Snow.

People complain a lot about such things, as if one type of weather is better than the other, but I for one and glad for some variety. Maybe its because I don’t take the time to store away seasonal clothes, and I can dress for any of the four seasons (ALL of which we have experienced in the past two weeks!) at a moments notice. (OK. OKAAAAAY. I wear the same two pairs of jeans and t-shirts all year round, despite my closet telling a very different story.)

All that to say – we’ve had snow three times in the past so many weeks, and its just enough for Penelope to get her fix. Phew. I made that harder than it needed to be.

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Saturday (before we started feeling crummy), we took the girls to the zoo to enjoy the 80 degree weather. You’ll notice I married a ginger, so read as far into that word “enjoy” as you feel appropriate.

The girls borrowed my phone on the way to St. Louis, and took the most adorable photos of each other.

After the zoo, we stopped by Zack’s Target equivalent, Blick. – and he walked out with NOTHING. Maybe Target was too strong of a comparison?

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^ Their garage. ^

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Anna was having one of those days.

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We spent all three warm days outside last week.

I managed to clean out the chicken’s room, and the garage, and had a day left over to just BE. The chickens also spent everyday outside, and boy were they happy!

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Usually we save CHiPs for summer viewing, but the girls have been requesting it in our down time.

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Today the girls started learning about snow (Freezing, melting, evaporating, and condensing.) We still have a couple days to go with it, but our snowman has melted and is now working on evaporating. They also enjoyed eating some snow. After this photo was taken we added fresh blueberry juice to it. A very natural snow cone! 🙂