LATELY : : DECEMBER 2018

As each new month begins, I think ‘this is flying by and we’ve barely done a thing!’ Then as I fill in these posts of mine throughout the month I realize we’re doing plenty and each month is filled with so much goodness.

I wrote about our final three weeks with our cousins back here.

Mae began December by spending a couple hours getting letters together for all of her penpals – including an e-mail to Grandma! She is getting pretty good at typing and knowing where the keys are.

She also received letters from most of her penpals!

Mae has been my number one helper. (Rae is mega helpful too, Mae is just constantly on the lookout for ways to help us all.)

I mentioned in the post about the boys that we didn’t do much in the way of structured learning this month. Mae did, however, do a report and portrait on George Bush Sr. and the girls began their study of France (via Little Passports) by making a couple sculptures of monuments. More will be made by the time they are done studying the country at the end of January, ’cause Model Magic is fun!

Dweebs.

^ We were gone so often. One afternoon as I got ready to leave with the girls, Maybe darted out the door and jumped into the van. She was sick of being home alone.

It took so much effort to get her out of the van and into the house! I felt awful. She would’ve been sad sitting alone in the car for so long though.

I took her out with me the next day to pick up the girls from play practice to make up for this giant jab to her heart.

We love you, Maybe!

She did so great on our trip to Charlotte. I believe she was just so happy to be with us. She slept the entire time in the car and never once complained.

We spent a good amount of our time in Zack’s classroom, helping (trying to help) him with the insane abundance of projects he had to complete before the winter break.

On one of Mae’s dance nights, we went grocery shopping and Rae picked Mae out some flowers. I couldn’t say no. She was so happy to give and Mae was so surprised. I love these girls so much it literally hurts sometimes.

We will be spending the final evening of the year at Six Flags with my sister and her family, freezing our bums off, riding rides, and enjoying fireworks!!

Our plans for the first day of 2019 involve cleaning the house (yay?), preparing plans for school on the second, and hopefully a cold weather hike with the girls!

LATELY: : NOVEMBER 2018

Normally November seems like a long month to me, but this year it flew by. I need to go back and see how many months I’ve said that this year…maybe it’s just what getting older feels like.

We stayed very busy – only stopping to slow down when forced,  like on snow days and the holiday weekend.

Busy or not, this month was wonderful!

We began the month celebrating our girls turning six and eight!

Rae turned six this month – there’s a post back here and Mae’s post back here.

We spent plenty of time at doctor appointments, for therapy and regular check-ups. So glad that mad-rush is over!

We had several days of snow – and three snow days / no school for Zack. It was pretty friggin fantastic.

Lady beat me at many a game over the month of November.

Rae wore some fantastic costumes this month. That Santa makes us laugh every time she sneaks up on us wearing it.

We watched It’s a Wonderful Life no less than five times.

Mae’s letter to Santa, a.k.a. “S”

(Notice the P.S.)

Have you seen the Pixar film, Inside Out? Well, Rae made the girl that serves them broccoli pizza out of model magic clay while we worked on their Japan project.

The eight weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (Ha! ..but, I’m not exaggerating…) had been so hectic and we had barely been all together in one place just being. So, we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving this year – and it was perfect.

The girls fill out a thankful journal most mornings as part of our school routine. We read through the entries from this semester as soon as we woke up to get us in a thankful mindset.

For lunch, we had a large meal – which lasted us a week in leftovers. We played all of the Hobbit / LOTR films and watched them as we went about our business, occasionally stopping to snuggle on the couch and watch our favorite scenes.

We also played games, read books, and the girls played outside.

Friday evening (The day after Thanksgiving) our friends, Dennis and Heather came over for supper and games (We saw the new Fantastic Beasts with them the weekend before!). They’re so great!!

The following day, my parents came for a visit. I wrote about our walk with them here.

“Hey, Mom.”

I just put a post up about the boys this month, two days ago, but ya know I can’t help myself. So here are some more photos of them. ‘Cause I like em.

We’ve got big plans to visit one of my all-time favorite people, Ruhi, over Christmas break (I haven’t seen her in fifteen years!) and we will spend Christmas day with the famous, Aunt Sarah!

Before all of that, we’re having our traditional Christmas slumber party weekend with Grandma Shari a week (and a half?) early, so that we don’t miss out on that great time with her.

I don’t like to rush Christmas, but this year, I can’t help but be a little impatient.

But tonight we’re ending the month with homemade sushi. I’m interested to see the result of this experiment…

Happy December, ya’ll.

LATELY : : OCTOBER 2018

October is my favorite month. It may have started because it is the month I was born, but as I have aged, the reason has shifted and I now I love it for all of the celebrations it holds and, now that I live up north where fall exists, I am allowed to feel cool air and view the changing leaves making October, officially my favorite.

This month it seemed to go by so fast I couldn’t soak it all in and enjoy all it had to offer. I know I will enjoy looking back on our days as I scroll through this blog in ten years or so, but right now I thoroughly appreciate that it is helping me notice just how full our days, months, and years are.

Every month goes by faster than the next and I am usually left feeling as though we didn’t accomplish anything of worth. Slowly building each post and finding I have more and more to add shows me a different story.

So, let’s get on with the final bit of this month’s story…

We began our month celebrating both of the girls’ birthdays with Zack’s mom  (Rae’s birthday is in November – We will celebrate even more!) – a post all about our many celebrations will be posted at some point in November.

Orange and red and yellow are creeping up here and there. Not cold full-time yet though, so we have yet to start up the fireplace or furnace. Please be cold, November…

Bailey has a new favorite nap spot. In the window box right smack dab in the path of the sun. My kind of lady.

Rae hiding in the bathroom to get away from G. ^ He loves her so much.

^ Those toes! ^

I wrote about our month with the boys back here.

We spent a day in the city as a family – which used to be a common occurrence but sadly isn’t anymore. Autumn is our favorite time and we’re trying to make the most of it. We went to the London Tea Room, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and Ikea – Three of our favorites!

We’ve got a new member of the family. She’s incredible.

Lady lost her third tooth! She wrote the tiniest note to the tooth fairy and set it on my pillow, not hers. She wanted to pretend the tooth fairy was real, but then nixed that idea when she realized she would only get a little bit of money versus a treat (her own pint of dairy-free ice cream). I still kept the note. I love it so much.

Side spiel : The girls decided they would like to pretend Santa is real for the second year in a row. We’ll see how that goes. Their letters to Santa seem to be in a hieroglyphic code which Momma may not be able to decipher…

So much time ( so. much. time. ) was spent in the car. This seems to be our new normal. It’s okay, though. I like our car and it has heat!

Mae started therapy for her feet (she’s fine), so we have spent a couple days a week at the doctor. We still have four or five weeks left to go. Thankfully the kids are all so patient while we wait for her!

For school this month we have been using the fly by the seat of our pants method.

We began a large-scale project on the food chain – producers & consumers. The girls have designed their own food web, complete with labels and a map key. (and not featured on the web – scavengers and decomposers)

We received our second Little Passports country. JAPAN!

Brazil and Japan are the first two?? Those are the countries my parents were born and raised in. It is a smidge creepy that those are the two the folks at Little Passports chose, but also great for us. We have pulled out quite a bit of the Japanese items we own to help us along in our research.

In the first week, they practiced origami, wrote their own haikus (and used fancy ink pens to do so), studied maps and books on their own time, and begun memorizing certain Japanese words and 1-10 (Mae already knew those). Oh, and of course eating Ramen (with ham and boiled eggs) with chopsticks…okay, eating everything with chopsticks…

We plan on making sushi – or at the very least, we will take them somewhere to try it – and watching all of Miyazaki’s movies for the hundredth time. As if we need an excuse.

Now, next month we may not know the country so well, but I think that may make it a bit more interesting (for me). We have studied several countries over the years, but Little Passports has a good way of helping us along and makes it interesting and helps us get creative.

Rae and her animals. Bailey has been really generous with her snuggles on the cold days. On the warm days, Rae hunts frogs.

I turned 31. This is all the proof I have of that day. Mae on day three of wearing that sweater, Rae holding a frog. Mae being a stinker, me paying her back with classic rib-tickles. I’m so glad I get to be their mom and hang out with them full time.

We visited with a turtle for a bit.

A love of tire swings bloomed in Miss Mae. I still don’t trust our trees enough to put one up in our own yard…

More cute notes. The one on the left I received at 10 P.M. one night from a girl who couldn’t sleep. The other one, I found while cleaning out my Bible. (I put it back in my Bible.)

Cute girl being cute.

Here are some more photos of Mae in her favorite sweater – just in case you hadn’t seen enough of it yet…

Mae had costume day at Dance the week before Halloween and we followed it up with a Halloween party at our cousin, Anna’s house!

For their final performance, they went as a normal witch and an eagle (she couldn’t find part of her Dorothy costume.).

ATTACK!

…the second attack was not so well received… That is one proud eagle, though.

It was cold and rainy and just how Halloween should be. We went door to door with G and his family as well as up to the school. Zack had a booth at the school’s Trunk or Treat. The Art Club trunk was incredible (not surprised!). He’s brilliant.

NOW! on to more color, colder days by the fire, more birthday celebrations, and a long holiday weekend spent with our favorite man!

We’re ready for you, November!

 

 

LATELY : : SEPTEMBER 2018

September flew by!

I’m very glad I decided to post more frequently throughout the month, as I used to. It feels strange to have such a short monthly round-up post!

^ My buddy on dance nights ^

Wrote a post about dance and gymnastics back here.

There haven’t been enough cold days for me to get into the spirit of autumn, but boy am I tryin’! We’ve got a few good steady playlists for fall playing on the regular, “Hobbit cookies” (above) and other such treats are making the rounds and we’ve gone simple with the decorations so far with just some candles, two pumpkins the girls bought for themselves (we’ll use them for our first from-scratch pie), and some dried oranges to hang by the kitchen window. In October, we’ll go full force with the decorating…if it has become permanently cold by then. Please oh please oh please.

Where we have been successful with the fall mindset is with our movie watching! Fall is our favorite season for movies – followed closely by Christmastime – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Our annual favorite is Fly Away Home. This year added Rudy to our line-up – Zack and I hadn’t seen it since we were kids – we ate this ham and bean soup with homemade bread for the occasion. Oh boy. So good. Some other favorites are You’ve Got Mail, Wallace and Gromit and the Warerabbit, E.T., Harry Potter series, and The Hobbit trilogy – which pairs nicely with those “Hobbit cookies” and more soup.

I had poison ivy and a cold for the first half of the month. I finally caved after a week and a half of torture and went to the doctor for some good stuff (for the poison ivy). The girls were such troopers. I’m not surprised, just happy about it.

Katie has officially grown on us. By that I mean, we have officially grown on her.

She particularly adores G. She actually curled up on his lap and purred loudly as she fell asleep. I didn’t think she was that type of cat!

We only took one trip to the river in September. It was the perfect night for it!

^ Mae’s Black Panther.

We went to the St. Louis Scottish Games.

After more than a month, we finally made it over to our neighbor’s house! It’s weird to go so long without a visit. She has brought us vegetables and other goodies over to us, but taking time to sit and chat about life with them is so nice! All of the kids adore her and she, them. What a blessing good neighbors can be.

There is also our school round-up, here. Our month with the boys, here.

 

LATELY : : AUGUST 2018

August was filled with several heart-breaks, finished projects, and new responsibilities for the upcoming fall semester.

The heart-breaks came in the form of unexpected deaths. One of an old friend, one was a student of Zack’s, and one was our sweet boy, Buckey. I began writing this post at the beginning of the month, stretching it further as things happened. I decided to leave my simple insignificant thoughts about Buck as they were. It’s still so weird that he is not around.

All that being said – this post is a weird one for me. The beginning of the month is very different from the ending.

Zack began the month with meetings and a sense of comfort blended with the unknown that comes with a new year and new students and now has an entire month of school out of the way.

The girls and I started the month by helping Zack unpack the fresh art supplies for him and the other art teacher. That always feels good and gets him eager to start teaching again. I noticed him swooning over the painting and paper supplies Terrill received. He sure is going to miss teaching drawing and painting this year.

*Also! This is his seventh year teaching!

Bucky Boy. He takes up the entire couch but still thinks he’s a lap dog…

See. Insignificant thought now very significant.

Our neighbors gave us blackberry bushes two years ago and they are finally bearing substantial fruit! Sure, the birds get most of it, but that’s okay because we enjoy having birds in abundance.

We took many a trip to the hardware store for paint and wood and wood and paint. We have finally painted the majority of the walls! …in the front of the house. Honestly, I barely noticed the drywall, but I really enjoy how bright the front of the house is now.

We attended the memorial for our friend, Sarah, who passed away. I left my phone in the car but managed to snap this photo just as we were getting out. I just wanted something to reference that night. As sad as it was, it was such a good night full of long-overdue reunions.

As I mentioned, our boy, Buckey died. I found him as I went to take him ‘potty’ and thought he was sleeping. Thankfully he didn’t get hit by a car. That is the typical fate for a dog around here. Zack and Rae dug his grave by Mae’s favorite reading tree and we buried him with his favorite things. He was a year and two months old.

G got himself a fresh baby brother, A, over the summer. Their mom went back to work with Zack, so we started watching our favorite little fellas again!

I wrote a post for them back here. Also – they are my cousins. That’s very confusing for many people. While I claim them to the dowting cashier at the grocery store, I did not birth, foster, or adopt these kiddos. I just hang out with them when public school is in session.

She has been the number one helper with the hens this month!

I added a post about our schooling this month, here. I accidentally left out this gem of a photo. It’s always exciting to finish an assignment! No victory too small in this house!

Mae wrote that “Pen” and shouted, “Look, Mom! It’s in computer mode!” Clever girl.

^ Those feet!!! ^ (and Buckey!)

The girls each grew twelve feet this summer. I’m so grateful they are healthy and growing like weeds but it’s so gradual that when I finally get around to observing a change, it’s always such a shock. I’m sure that is the case only when they are your own children, so, let’s move on-

As the warm weather is going farther away, the cats are hanging around the house more and being extra snuggly. Bailey fell asleep like that…right on her neck. She lied there until the cat’s nap was over. One of her happiest moments, I’m sure.

Rae drew a lot. It’s not unusual for her to draw, she just drew / colored every spare moment she had this month. E V E R Y spare moment. Most of her drawings were portraits of me. Her absolute favorite person. (I’m writing the story – I can tell it any way I want)

The girls had a regular dentist check-up. So far so good! I can’t help but hold my breath in the assumption that one of them is going to inherit my garbage teeth. I really hope they don’t.

One of our favorite cousins, KaLyn, married her best friend! (She is G and A’s aunt.) It was such a great evening. Their vows – written in secret – synced up perfectly, his seemed to be a response to hers. and they danced to Flight of the Conchords. Perfect.

Zack and I also learned, “Real men place their left hand atop their right.” 

Look how manly they appear. Scores more manly than the did moments before with their arms dangling about willy-nilly.

Thanks, Logan.

At about 10:30 that night, Mae fell on the dance floor (the ground) and busted her nose. She’s fine and got snuggles and selfies in abundance back at Grandma’s house until about midnight.

The girls have really enjoyed getting back into the habit of slow evenings filled with their “handicrafts.” So far their favorite ways to spend time doing things while listening to a book or unintrusive music has been practicing their stitches and building with Legos. It’s so so nice.

I thought once school started back up, the girls would get less time with their friends, but so far, that’s not the case!

Mae even had her first sleepover without her sister. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. In the end, Rae really seemed to need time with just Daddy and I. Just one night though. She missed Mae somethin’ fierce.

We took a couple trips into the city this month…they were all trips to Ikea – shocker – but this time we actually bought things. Ha. We picked out new furniture. We didn’t have enough seating for all four of us to sit down at the same time. (The smaller couch is now back in the girls’ room.)

Our friends, Daniel and Heather, had their fourth baby this month. He has had some issues. We took a short trip up to visit him (and Heather) in St. Louis. I didn’t take a photo of their sweet boy, Joshua, but I took a few within the hospital’s rooftop garden…and of Mae being adorable on the way home. That kaleidoscope was so cool. the wind blowing the leaves made it exceptional.

The girls started gymnastics! They also seem to favor the same two leotards…cuties.

As Zack was finally mowing the lawn the other day – the first time since June! – I snuck the girls away and explored the river down the road. The water was warm, yet the air felt like fall. We had the place to ourselves (another mom showed up with her daughter and they swam, just as we were leaving). We saw one crawdad and one minnow. No tadpoles, but plenty of rocks and leaves!

Once the mosquitoes get gone, we’ll be back. Zack and I prefer the river in the fall (Him on account of the sun, me on account of the mosquitoes). Maybe he’ll be able to join us next time.

AND – I know I shouldn’t rush the seasons, I should enjoy the moment. But. Rae is still getting ticks, our air conditioning went out over a month ago, and we’ve had just enough cool and rainy days this month to get me in the mood for fall. I’m over you, summer. Please be colder, September!

LATELY : : JULY 2018

July has been a weird one. I feel as though we crammed three months worth of living into one. Thankfully it was all good. Not as many little moments to look back on but plenty of big, hearty chunks of time.

The first three days were spent cleaning and packing for our trip to the beach. Once all of that was complete, we drove up to St. Louis to wait for our journey to begin.

We spent the fourth watching a few fireworks. We don’t really celebrate the fourth in any way, so it was nice to at least make some sort of note of the holiday.

On the sixth, we began our trip to Florida!

We made a stop in Montgomery to spend the night, visit my younger brother, and meet his girlfriend – who is the sweetest lady  –  and her awesome kiddos.

The following morning, we made a short stop in Dothan to say hello to friends.

We drove down back roads to the coast. The drive was so pretty. We had rain on the way there and thankfully no rain while we were actually at the beach!

Between stopping for lunch, the car accidents we passed by, and the six storms we encountered, the drive to St. Louis took an extra five hours. Ha! It was still, somehow, a fun time for all of us.

Buckey spent the fourth to the fifteenth at my mom’s house. That’s a lot of spoilin’!

The moment we got home, I left to be a camp counselor. Such a fun week!

We ran some errands in St. Louis when I got back and made some detours to kayak shop. We didn’t get one, but the girls had fun testing out every display. We’re ready for some fall camping!

Finally made it out onto the river! Our first time this year! Can you believe it? Hopefully, we’ll get many chances to float this fall.

Sadie came down to stay with us for a few days. The girls had movie nights, fashion shows, chased cats and held the hens. Before we took her home, we took them for an afternoon in the city.

I attend a monthly book club with Zack’s cousins and my sister-in-law. It’s so nice to talk to other women, even if its only for an hour a month. I’ll take what I can get!

Zack and I also squeezed in time to see Mission Impossible – Fallout and eat at a restaurant sans kids.

A while back I promised Mae we’d take her to a global foods market to try and find a “green coconut.” We haven’t been there in a couple years, so it was time to follow through, and wouldn’t you know, we found one! We also scored on food from Japan, France, Ireland, Russia, Brasil, and Holland. Most of it was stuff we already know we enjoy. Next time we’ll branch out more.

We start our school year tomorrow and I am so so excited!! Zack still has one more week before he goes back to work. I’m sure it’ll be a busy one!

LATELY : : JUNE 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little puppers.

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

Uncle Seth signed your armpit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LATELY : : MAY 2018

May has been so good to us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mae’s legs have grown too much this month!

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH! Also! Boy got his hairs cut!

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

Happy June!

LATELY : : APRIL 2018

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

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

We began April with Easter, like most.

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

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

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

Rae had picture day at preschool!

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

Little man tended to his ladybirds with undying enthusiasm.

The sun shone many many times this month!

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

The kids dug SO MANY holes and “trenches.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little man turned two!

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

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

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

I began teaching the girls how to play Battleship.

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

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

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

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

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

LATELY : : MARCH 2018

March, the month of my husband’s birth – and his Momma’s! That in itself is enough to celebrate, but considering we didn’t celebrate either birth, I’ll try and stretch this a bit further…

The girls and I spent the first day of March with my longtime friend and meeting that gorgeous fellow above, Julian. We managed to make it home just in time to see Zack, on his THIRTIETH! birthday, moments before he went to bed. He worked the entire day. The school always schedule fall sign-up night on his birthday and every year we heave a heavy sigh of disappointment.

We are able to watch our cousin once again, and we are having such a great time with him! I’m sure he is glad to have girls fussing over him all day.

The prince in a prime napping position.

^ Can you spot the baby bum? How ’bout Mae’s foot?

Last month Zack and I started to completely reconfigure the layout of our house. We still have a slew of small cosmetic things to do to the front area here, but we’re thrilled with the amount of space we have to move around. The wall that creates a hallway has become the kids’ favorite part of this whole deal. They just run around and around and around.

I thought maybe school would be difficult with a baby in the mix, but so far he just joins in, plays alone or with the dog, and we wait until he is asleep to tackle the bigger lessons and projects. We also continue lessons / reading in the evenings occasionally.

Buckey will not let Rae do yoga. She’s all for not doing it, no force needed, Buck.

After a late night of grocery shopping, in a town pretty far away, we enjoyed time at one of our favorite restaurants.

They still share a drink, and usually a meal. (Zack and I share a drink everywhere we go, too.) As you’ll notice in that last photo, they never seem to want a drink until their sister grabs the cup. Oi

Mae had a cold for two weeks – and then some. Day one of it, she mentions, “I want to just rest for a minute.” Thirty seconds later she was snoring to high heaven, covered in drool and sweat, well on her way to a three-hour nap.

Watching a movie, waiting for school to get out so they can go into Daddy’s classroom.

I could watch them all day long (and night) as they do the most mundane things. Ugh, They’re so great. Seriously, I could stare at her watching television for the entire 90-minute feature and not become bored. I hated when I would notice my mom staring at me. Still, to this day I dislike people looking at me – even Zack! (and he stares at me a lot) But I’m going to stare at them and even be in awe of the pre-teen eye rolls that will surely roll in my direction.

On days when the weather was nice, the hens got plenty of attention. G can’t seem to get enough of them. He now looks forward to collecting the eggs and feeding them scraps through the wire each afternoon before his nap.

(Also! Check out that green grass!!!)

A fair-skinned girl and her black-furred dog, both avoiding the sun’s rays.

The wagon has racked up some miles this month! Mae insists on being the one to lug the baby around. No complaints here.

Also, Rae up there, on a mission to collect as many bird feathers as possible. So far, they’ve all been dirty old chicken feathers. Shes so proud. She tucks them under the wiper blades on our vehicles as a treat for Zack and I to ohh and ahh over later.

^ Collecting more feathers ^

Mae is determined to become skilled at climbing trees. The only problem is, this is our only climbing tree. So many trees in our yard, and only ONE worth climbing.

We read most of our books outside this month!

We began with Leprechaun in Late Winter, which we read last year in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. We read it in one sitting under these trees. Those Magic Tree House books are a quick read!

Followed that book with John Steinbeck’s, The Red Pony.

We read The Littles – the first in the series. It was another short chapter book, Mae was able to read this at a swift pace.

She also read Frog and Toad Are Friends this month.

(She reads non-chapter books every week, but that would make for an even longer list.)

We tackled a couple audiobooks – Little House on the Prairie (Really enjoyed this version!) over the course of a week in the car and The Hobbit in one day while cleaning the house.

Mae began a big project on Royals, Knights, and castles. Basically, castle life, but it has also come to include the middle ages. We began all of the above books this month. We’ll continue this through April as well (maybe longer?). Its been a lot of fun!

Rae went to town with some Sir Knight flannel graph business while we read those books aloud. Using it all at once seemed the best way to go.

The girls studied some composers again this month. Here are some Beethoven and George Bush Sr. Hector Berlioz paintings.

We also studied France for a hot minute. We’ll make a flag for France, too…when we get around to it. We are planning a French-themed meal (cliche items only!) for a supper one night soon.

Last year, in preparation for St. Pat’s we studied Ireland, the holiday, and everything related to the two for three months. This year, Penelope wore green. That’s it. We celebrated the following Monday with food and a movie. More of that back here.

While at a restaurant Mae crawled under the table and sat this next to me. I’m still baffled as to how she managed to sneak a card in and write this without me noticing. Her bun is  r e a l high and my hair is accurately thin. Her cards make me so happy!!

One of the girls’ best friends, Violet, turned three! We celebrated at a bowling alley – it was their first time bowling and they had so much fun!

Bathroom silliness…

The girls were in a play? skit? program? for Palm Sunday. This is all the proof I have of that.

Just a pretty girl I want to remember…

The girls and I snuck away for a couple days during spring break, since Zack had to work – on his spring break, mind you. We spent an afternoon exploring the Science Center. On our way to my mother-in-law’s, we spontaneously stopped in to watch A Wrinkle in Time! It felt so good to do something fun and unplanned with my girls.

Zack’s mom took off the following day so she could spend it with us. We stole my niece (who wasn’t on spring break) away for the tail end of our outings!

In celebration of Good Friday, Zack read them the story of the last supper and we enjoyed fish with ‘Jesus bread,’ and grape juice – per Mae’s request.

We’ll finish up the month with the rest of the crucifixion and resurrection scripture readings and garage cleaning. – Happy Easter!