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!

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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! 🙂

BITS OF LIFE LATELY

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Occasionally Mae skips naps, but over the weekend we decided to stop them all together. She is, for once in her life cranky at some point during the day. I’m not thrilled about this, but she is sleeping a teensy bit better a night. We’ll see how it goes…

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Rae: “I swimming!” giggle giggle giggle.

We have a fisher price nativity, and this year the girls have added some characters to the scene.

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“Look, Olaf is praying for God!” giggle giggle giggle.

(She gets “to” and “for” mixed up a lot when she talks.)

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A few of the other guests include iron man (red and silver), several ponies and horses, Linus, Elsa, Anna, a dinosaur, and some hotwheels.

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Zack built the girls a tree fort a few weeks ago, and it is still holding strong!

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We took the girls to a Penelope’s restaurant a couple weeks ago when my mom (also a Penelope) came to visit.

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Mae was in the Christmas play at church. She was Townsperson Number One (The finest of the characters!). She did SO GOOD! Way braver than I ever was!

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The girls have become even closer friends over the past month. I’m not sure what is causing their bond to grow so suddenly, but I am adoring watching them together even more than before (something I didn’t know was possible). They are always together, always talking about the cutest things, and constantly hugging and enjoying each others company. Of course Mae plays the roll of Mama Bear, and she does a fabulous job, so I’m not interfering.

LIFE LATELY : iPHONE EDITION

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We have been busy the last couple of weeks, and at the same time – exreeeeemely lazy.

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We have practically move onto the Meremac, and our house hygiene is suffering because of it, but our souls and lightly browned skin are lovin’ it!

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We have also taken several  trips to Jefferson City in the last two weeks. Mostly for the beautiful drive, but also because they have a McAllister’s, Target, and sporting goods store all on the same road. Ha!

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The rest of our time has been filled with sleeping in, followed by naps, playing card games, and snuggling on the couch. We occasionally get up to cook and do dishes, but its been rare.

Zach starts back at work tomorrow, so we have been stretching the summer vibe to its limits. Tonight the girls and I are going to see Beauty & the Beast at the Muny, shopping tomorrow, and going to a birthday party Saturday. We plan to squeeze in one more camping trip (without kids!!!!) in the next week or two. I am trying desperately to hold off on going gungho with autumn decorations and candles at least until Mae starts back at school closer to September.