I talked a bit about January and its business in the last post but I thought I’d put the few photos I took into a post, for memory’s sake.
Probably the last photo of someone on the bench. This was taken on a Sunday before church.
One of Rae’s Christmas presents from Daddy! Her favorite gift, for sure. Mando is safely tucked inside, ready to save the day.
Mae has been drawing roses and animals non-stop! She has drawn one or two large roses, but for the most part she keeps to teeny tiny roses. They’re the sweetest.
She is also still very into drawing characters from the Mandalorian show.
We read Dr. Doolittle as our first read aloud of the semester, and found out the movie was coming out just as we finished it. Totally by coincidence, but we just had to take them to see it! Thankfully the movie left the racist parts out. The book hit a rough patch somewhere around the middle. We tried to find the 1960s version, but couldn’t. It followed the book more, but the girls loved hearing familiar animal names and they discussed the differences and similarities all the way home from the theater.
We ended the month camping at the new house, but I will put a few photos from that in a separate post.
One day left in January and I am just now getting around to documenting December. I nearly let it go to the wayside but I know I would regret that.
December was a bit of a weird month. School was more random than I care for. Zack has been using my car, so we were (still are) stuck at home all the time. Time drug on and on. Our house was a disaster (still is) from remodeling and we had to put up and take down our decorations a few times. The holiday season was not as sparkly as it usually is. We also bought the girls gifts for the first time since we had no time to fulfill an ‘experiences.’ We did manage to slide our family gift in – which was to see Star Wars in the theater (for the fifth year in a row!).
We had a few run-ins with some snow, but nothing truly great yet, and none on Christmas day. It was, I believe, just enough for the likes of my girls.
The cats are inside nearly full time for the season! They are dog-level needy, but the girls are enjoying George snuggles daily.
We got the keys to the new house December 23rd!
We spent every available moment at the house over Zack’s winter break..and nearly every weekend in January. December had decent, usually warm weather (check out those tee shirts!) so the girls were able to spend their time in the new yard which comes with a treehouse and playground equipment – and space upon space to run!
Two days before Christmas, Grandma realized she was too busy to come to our house (two hours away), so we took our decorations down for the last time, loaded our things into the car, and we to her house two days early.
We also spent time getting Grandma’s house ready to sell.
She had just moved into this when Zack and I began dating, fifteen years ago!
My brother, Ben, and his family came for a visit (the initial reason we drove up to my mother-in-law’s). I have no photos of Ben or his wife or their son Carson, but plenty of the girls with Susie!
My parents were able to spend time with seven of their nine grand-kids!
We walked around parks and Downtown Saint Charles, played many games, and just over all enjoyed being together for about a week.
Before heading back to our little corner of the world, we took the girls and my mom to Ikea, just ’cause we like it.
The girls are still so good at pretending. I often let them act out a situation in each room display. They could spend hours in there. We even ate lunch there that day. Zack and I really like the 1970s thing they’ve got going on. All my favorite colors and styles done right and all in one place. Yes, please.
I don’t typically wish days away, but I was glad to see December go. There was so much to be overwhelmed by. January hasn’t been much different honestly (so much to do at home!!), but at least it flew right on by!
I think I took about three photos in January, so it will be interesting to find out what I recall mentally from the whirlwind of driving, fixing, packing, driving, teaching, cooking, driving, and the constant ‘doing.’ We have experienced seven years of living in a home as we remodel it, but somehow we haven’t felt the chaos of it until now.
BUT! The kitchen is clean and that is something…happy February!
OCTOBER! The month of birth and of my firstborn. The month fall shows up and we bring out all the warm clothes and hearty food. Most of the bugs are already hibernating and the birds fill our porch to fill up on seed. It begins the final and most holiday filled months of the year. I love this time of year!!
The hens have begun to molt which means fewer eggs for us (which is fine!!) Rae had been requesting boiled eggs and as a way of marking them, she has been doodling on them. Although, if the eggs are in the fridge, they’re boiled, so they don’t really need to be marked, but doodles make it fun.
We spent the morning of the first chilly day at the park. We brought breakfast as well as tea in a thermos, Rae’s pumpkin (’cause, autumn), a vase of flowers, and candles. We read Jill Barklem‘s Autumn Story (Brambly Hedge) and a chapter from Elska (Horse Diaries series). Afterward, they explored, collected nature and marched around and around the large firepit.
Mae turned NINE this month!
For her ‘birthday experience’ she chose to get her ears pierced. We celebrated on the last weekend of September since we would be in the city (near a Claires). She chose ‘diamond’ studs to match the earrings she always picks out for me to wear so that we could match. I mean.Could she be any sweeter?????
The girls each carved a pumpkin early on in the month. We listened to the old radio drama version of Frankenstein while they did so. We also thought of ideas for Mae’s actual 9th birthday – Family video game time, no formal school, bake something, etc.
On Mae’s actual birthday, she requested pumpkin cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a bonfire with s’mores before bed. The moon was so bright; when they were done the girls ran around the yard in the moonlight dancing around the shadows of tree limbs.
She ended up with marshmallow in her hair. She just asked that I cut it out – which took out quite a large chunk of hair. She was so happy to hear that she may need a full hair cut that we chopped it off right then and there. She is thrilled with it and hasn’t had a single tangle since.
Rae is still delivering one hundred drawings to me daily. She always writes some version of, “Mom, I love you,” on each one.
This is definitely one of my faves. The ghost on a string, I have shopping bags for some reason, the heart knee patches and the intricate zipper, that sweet striped shirt with sleeves that are juuust a bit too short (cold wrists foreverrrr), that cool bob I wish I could pull off, that thick swipe of eyeliner, and that freckled smiley next to my face. Mmmmboy.
The hens have become mega chill now that it is cold outside. I still don’t trust Miss Maybe around them so they are stuck in their coop always, but we managed to coax her inside so Mae could hold a lady for a bit. Anyone remember our old flock following her around the yard like a mama hen? I miss that.
As well as a side bit about our Viking lessons here.
The girls cooked and baked and cooked and baked. (My favorite was the Barmbrack they made for my birthday!) The colder weather certainly makes us enjoy so much daily time in the kitchen – except for the cleanup part. Although, Mae did flash a smile up there while putting away clean dishes. Maybe the entire process is wonderful?? Must be.
My aunt sent me a text of an incredible cake she thought my girls and I would dig. Boy, did they!
They, of course, wanted to make their own and quickly chose a turtle. I kept all of the icing-less scraps for myself. I think we will try something with coconut fur next!
Zack was away for two weekends with friends and had friends over one evening and a few drop by on other evenings. That man needs as many brakes with friends as he can get to balance out his constant jobs and side jobs and home renovations.
We sure missed him while he was canoeing, camping, and hiking with friends. I tried to make it extra fun for the girls while he was gone. We almost had a movie night and some sort of fun meal – in the photo above, we grabbed Chinese food and they were so excited to go into the restaurant since they had never seen the inside. It doesn’t take much to make them happy!
I turned 32 this month!
We don’t typically give each other gifts, but Zack got me every episode of my favorite show! I’ve been waiting for years to get it. Rae drew this for me one day (always drawing!!) and I adore it. I have every episode memorized but I still chuckle constantly.
Back when we could go a day without rain, the girls enjoyed raking leaves. Not to jump in, they just like raking. They laughed and laughed so much. I am so thankful they are friends.
Miss Maybe got some extra love and plenty of scraps this month. She also spent more and more time outside exploring that usual. Getting into trouble, no doubt.
Fridays are a bit more lax for us. On this particular day, we headed up to the library after our morning time and thought it was so incredibly pretty in town that we must stay a bit longer.
We grabbed some warm beverages and donuts from a gas station, found a spot back by the library to park, and walked.
We walked until we came to the gazeebo by the tracks so they could enjoy their treat and wouldn’t you know, a train drove by just for them.
We took the long way back to the car. We named our favorite houses and admired everyone’s decorations, tried not to trip on the sidewalks/tried to catch those who did trip, and talked about anything and everything.
The girls are still trying to enjoy that pioneer life as best they can.
Have you read Ox-Cart Man? That would be Mae’s ideal life. Rae likes dressing the part and the cooking. In the photo above, they were enjoying some tea (water) and reading some pioneer type books.
Mae is very into Halloween. She enjoys thinking up a costume, wearing said costume out of doors, collecting candy, being in and walking around town, carving pumpkins, observing everyone’s decorations, the fall trees being in full color, any and all fun food that comes with the holiday…she likes it all.
We didn’t really celebrate Halloween when I was a kid. The last Halloween I remember I was possibly five-years-old? I was a black cat. I can’t imagine my parents ever celebrating it as kids. So once I had a child who was so enthusiastic about it, I decided to run with it and figure it out as we go.
This year, we decided to carve an extra round of pumpkins on Halloween. They also danced to fun Halloween music (they really like Thriller this year), watched Hotel Transylvania and the making of the Thriller video, and read books we grabbed ahead of time from the library. I gave them the day to themselves – no school, no chores.
Our first stop this year was to our wonderful neighbors! We usually make them our last stop, but it was SO cold this year, we went there first before the sun began to go down. They are always happy to see the girls and they give them the best goodie bag of treats -like popcorn and hot chocolate, pencils, and a couple of pieces of candy.
Zack was able to go trick-or-treating with us for the first time in years! It was so nice to have a buddy and for him to see them, old enough to walk to the door without us and hear their joy about it all as we walked.
We went to more homes this year – possibly because I had a buddy who could warm me up. Everyone was genuinely happy to see the kids come up and get candy. It was so nice to see.
Their costumes were perfect since they could bundle up as much as they needed to and it wouldn’t mess up their ‘look.’
Their pumpkins greeted us when we came home!
Once we were home they sat down and began to sort their candy and immediately began discussing their costume ideas for next year while I made a late supper.
Today we are taking down the Halloween decorations, giving the house a once over with the broom, and starting a new book!
The best part has to be the amount of time we have spent with Zack. He has been so busy this past year. He is carving out more and more time for home and we are so thrilled.
I’m not sure if I have written about it here, but over the summer, Rae brought back her pixie cut. She is so so happy about her fresh hair I think it should be documented.
The girls have become so at home in the kitchen! This semester we are having them each cook full meals solo! Depending on the meal I will hover, but they are getting to know recipes and techniques so quickly.
Zack had to drive three hours south to pick up clay for work. We took the opportunity to take the girls to Springfield – where Mae was born. We haven’t been in two or three years.
I believe it was my favorite visit to the town. Maybe because our girls were old enough to enjoy it?
Some of our favorite places were no longer there but we still managed to feel overwhelmed with nostalgia!
The girls were able to spend time with other kids last weekend at a friend’s birthday party. They are still talking about it. I think I need to get some friends together on a regular basis.
The girls have a ‘required’ hour of daily independent reading. As a result, they are always reading. I especially adore when Mae shows up to read to me while I cook, clean, or drive to the grocery store.
Amelia usually comes up and asks me to stop whatever I am up to and go snuggle somewhere while she reads to me.
I am loving this season of mothering.
I wrote two posts about our schooling back here and here – but I believe the reading and cooking should be included! This is going to be such a monumental year where their (and my) growth is concerned, I can tell…
Zack’s summer could be wrapped up with one word – WORK. But he did have five days off at the beginning of July, which we spent in Alabama. He got back from North Carolina with two days to spare before he starts back for the fall semester. Woof.
The girls and I tried to stay busy while he is away. The day he left for Charlotte, we left home to stay with his momma. We spent ten days in the city, filling our time with The Magic House, Costco, the Science Center, The Muny, the pool, shopping, the Loop, playgrounds, and long walks and movie nights.
When we got back home, we spent the next three weeks, keeping up with the lawn and pets and housework. We did some more swimming, played games and completed a puzzle, read many books and watched many movies. We visited friends on the weekends (some back in the city) and tried to relax and enjoy our home. We stayed up until midnight most nights and enjoyed breakfast on the porch most mornings.
It has been such a nice time having my girls all to myself, but we missed Zack too much! He just got home! He is definitely taking the semester off from side jobs with the hope that we get some quality time with him this year!
June left us all feeling very content. The final month of spring remained, for the most part, cool and rainy. We skipped any formal schooling and just went where our days happened to take us. July has been far busier, so reviewing our June has been so refreshing.
Let’s see how you feel about it…
We had our somewhat-monthly family game night. We need to have another real soon!
Zack and I celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary with the girls swimming at the Shut-Ins and camping.
We actually got to see Zack for a few days here and there, between teaching summer school, side jobs, traveling to Saint Louis many weekends, and having company over, we really had to take advantage whenever he was home. Usually, that just called for a movie night, or a quick meal out, visiting a quiet part of the river and enjoy the solitude…together, or the ever boring grocery shopping.
OH! We also took the girls to our first Drive-In movie. They’re finally old enough to be fully alert that late at night. We got to see Toy Story 4 and the newest X-Men film. It was a perfect night for it. It was such a lovely family date night.
We had our niece and nephew over for a weekend. For the girls, it involved plenty of chicken chasing and they made about one hundred bath bombs.
June held onto the chilly weather and brought blackberries!
The girls spent hours upon hours building with Legos. Rae’s favorite project was a large scale Ninjago dragon.
Dolls and Barbies held most of their attention. I love watching them play so well together for hours upon hours.
We had a pizza picnic one afternoon at the park. They gave us pepperoni instead of cheese. Mae doesn’t eat meat…whomp whomp. But it was fun and we had fun conversations before they ran off and played.
We only made it to the pool once. I’m hoping we make it back a few more times before July ends.
We’re finding carrots in the most random places this year.
The last week of June brought the sun. We spent a little time outside. My favorite times were when it was not quite too hot and we could enjoy breakfast outside. We’d also read a book aloud – we began with Peter Pan and moved on to Little House in the Big Woods.
Miss Maybe donned a cone most of the month for sores on her leg and tail. She hated it. BUT! To cheer herself up, she dug herself a nice big pit under the porch and would often lay there for hours at a time. For the first time, she didn’t need us to accompany her outside!
Mae made a vegetarian wonton soup completely independently.
Of course, I watched her, but she didn’t need my help at all. Our 2019-2020 school year will involve many cooking lessons and I think both girls are ready for some harder recipes. It’s going to be a fun year!
Mae received a lovely letter from her overseas pen pal. She was SO SO happy!!
Her friend also sent along a treat – a fossil from Northern France.
I hope they can meet someday when they’re older.
Rae always goes through phases with favorite books. Right now, her favorites include an animal encyclopedia, Today by Julie Morstad, and the Pigeon/Elephant and Piggie books.
These photos were taken when we were taking our niece and nephew home. I sat in the back with Rae. We looked at books, but I spent most of the time resting my head in her lap while she stroked my hair in the hopes I would feel less car sick. She is such a sweetie!
The girls also developed a new love for Sumo wrestling, filled my phone with selfies, decided that they should be horseless cowless cowgirls, and gifted me even more gorgeous portraits of myself.
I hope your June was just as lovely – or better yet, even more lovely!
I went into May with no plan of any sort. I even tossed out any schooling notions I had written out. We still held lessons, but they were thought up on the day of, after breakfast and chores, and usually completed after the freedom of play.
One of the big highlights involves my sister! She invited us to Six Flags for Mother’s Day! It was still very cold out, but boy did those kiddos have fun together! They even braved the cold water and experienced their first flume ride of the year (or ever in the case of my girls) before heading home!
^ Flip-flops and a beanie ^
We still have coats, hats, and wool socks out, as it has only been hot for one week, and I just don’t trust that sweatshirts won’t be needed again.
The can’t-make-up-it’s- mind kind of weather is what we’re used to and it encouraged our spontaneous mindset and helped us get creative with our daily doin’s.
The girls had friends over (when their moms needed a sitter- win-win!). I’m still in awe of how well our girls play. I had zero imagination as a kid (I think my brothers mocked any original thought I had and I became a follower – which suits me). Their daddy, however, is as creative as they come. I’m desperately trying to guide the girls into listening and including behavior, so they grow up giving and getting the encouragement Zack was (and is!) always given (his family encourages me every single time I see them, too! – and my brothers are incredibly nice to me now, haha).
They truly are wonderful sisters to one another. I’m of course holding my breath for the day that changes. But, maybe it won’t?
Well, that thought got away from me. Let’s move on, yeah?
Cattails turned into fairy wands.
We took many many walks and trips to playgrounds.
My mothers Day gifts! Zack said Mae spend her sweet time reading every card until she found one with just the right words. Ahhh. Rae, no doubt, picked me out the pink hedgehog planter – with plant. Girl knows I love me some fresh foliage. (Also, Miss Maybe, always close beside me)
Mae’s finds ^. She’s very observant.
Tornado season has begun with a vengeance for some towns near us.
For us, so far, we’ve been able to enjoy some lovely storms and the vibrant sunsets and clear skies that follow.
The first hot day of the year happened on Zack’s first day of summer break! What are the odds? (It’s usually still too chilly to swim when the pools open) Miss Maybe, it turns out, is not a fan of the heat. Not her thing. Soon enough, fair-skinned-Rae might be parked inside next to her as Mae begs her to go out and play.
Critters! The girls are in Heaven!
I could do without the hornets, wasps, and mosquitos, but…
Rae presents me with an Avengers bandaid every time a mosquito bite presents itself! Woot! I don’t have the heart to tell her that it isn’t really a bandaid situation. – and I went through a box in three days. Ha! Dern pests.
We helped a friend out and watched her lovely kids for an hour a day for the last few weeks of school. Rocking a baby for an hour a day is so wonderful. She is such a happy girl. Their son calls me, “My Jade,” and is totally smitten with the girls (Rae in particular).
A post about watching G & A for a day is back here.
We took a small day trip to the Daniel Boone home today, as it was “Homeschool Day!” AND! Zack was able to go along with us! There will be another post later about our time there, but I will say, it was fun!
Zack begins a month of teaching summer school next week and our anniversary is on Sunday, so we are taking the girls for a fun couple days of swimming and camping this weekend to celebrate before life rushes us forward towards busier days.
I thought it was April. I feel as though I missed an entire month.
Zack turned thirty-one on March first and we celebrated with a trip to Chicago.
There are a couple of photo-only posts here and here. I was very tired from the trip, so I didn’t go into detail, but it was such a nice weekend away.
One of our hens has begun laying eggs! We’re not as attached to this batch of ladies, but we’re trying to fix that. They’re awfully sweet.
Also, that is a very large “first egg” – the shell was just large, but the contents were teeny tiny – as it should be.
Miss Maybe is still around and still begging for food she will never receive and eating cat food she’s not allowed to have.
Truly, though, she’s terrific.
…I just wish she’d stop watching me eat.
We spent nearly a week at Shari’s house (Zack’s mom). Zack spent that time painting her house while the rest of us had fun shopping, playing outside, and visiting Forest Park. The girls even got to visit my parents and Vovo.
We also spent Shari’s birthday with her, which involved breakfast at iHop – and later lunch with my parents! I think the girls enjoyed having all of their grandparents at one table.
While in Saint Louis, I bought Mae overalls. She has worn them every day since.
The final Netflix movie, before we canceled our account. No television / DVDs only for a while. (They are happy about this)
^ Notes left on my laptop. The best.
^ Notes left on my pillow. Also the best.
Twinners. The Pimki Pop Aunt Sarah got her for Christmas is still her most used toy. She keeps everything safe inside that thing – including Daddy’s Switch once when we had to leave it in the car…
Lady made me some eggs with a hotdog and two olives for breakfast. It was very salty but delicious.
I wrote a bit about our schooling here and here. It was a fun month!
We are finishing off the month with cleaning (the house as well as those overalls!) and more bedroom renovations. We may also go fishing with my sister’s family tomorrow!!
February, the calendar’s middle child. The month that is greeted with a sigh and is usually seen as a hurdle that needs to be conquered so we can all just move onto something a bit closer to spring and warmth.
From where we sat, though, this past month was so very nice.
Boy, she would be ohso happy if we just woke up each day and lied on the floor with her until it was time for bed.
The girls celebrated the first Tooth-Doctor Day of 2019! So far, they still enjoy going to the dentist and have no cavities – that could have something to do with the joy.
I wrote a bit about February’s weather back here. Very exciting.
Rae has required several naps and Mae fell asleep on the couch one afternoon. I think they’re going through growth spurts. The tights she is wearing in that photo are at least one size too small. (We bought them one month ago!) I purchased two new jeans for her at the beginning of the month, I hope they prove useful through the spring.
(Hooray for healthy, growing kids and four dollar tights!)
(This day feels like it occurred months ago.)
We were able to borrow the boys for a day here and there. We’ve missed them so much. As soon as they left, we began missing them again.
G instantly asked for popcorn that first morning and quickly began grabbing the stool, pulling the bag of kernels out of the pantry drawer and showed me where to get the pot. Ha! Quite the second breakfast…
Little A had grown SO MUCH in a month and a half! He grew six beautiful teeth, about 78 inches taller, and now has hair! Strawberry hair!
G is talking so well and so much. He’s at that stage where it seems he has nothing left to learn (aside from, like, mathematics). He can help with everything and does. He can hold conversations and soaks up information like a sponge.
We made progress on the girls’ bedrooms!! It will still be a couple of months until their rooms are complete, but it’s exciting!
Helpful lady filling up the furnace. She wore this dress most of February.
I started a painting that involves buffalo, and as a result, Mae has been drawing them as well. This one would like a pizza, please.
Two of our favorite people, Bob and Paula, took us out to lunch after church one day! I didn’t get a photo of our time together, but I did get a photo of the girls from inside the car in front of the restaurant…
I wrote a couple of school-related posts – here and here.
Waiting for their breakfast. Chop chop, Ma!
Zack and I took the girls to a small (free!) petting zoo – put on by the FFA students, who brought in their own animals!
^ Photo by Rae ^
We took the girls to the London Tea room again and to Lolli & Pops (schmancy) candy store.
Mae looks so big! or V looks so little. Either way, the difference surprised me.
We also visited the Hibbelers! for an afternoon/evening. Lynn made us some of the most incredible food (Seriously, so good!!) and the girls got four solid hours with their best friend, V.
Thanks, FEB. Like all middle children, you turned out to be a real joy. You brought an abundance of ice and snow as well as many of the birds out of hiding.
Also! OUR BOY TURNS 31 TOMORROW! He is enjoying his final day as a thirty-year-old at home with us, celebrating a wonderful (but hopefully the last) snow day!