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.




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


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



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.


Tomatoes freshly picked from the neighbors’ house.

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


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.



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


Taking Mae to school in style.


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.


This girl makes everything fun!


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


Tooth number four came out without much of a fight.


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.


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!



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!


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.


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.


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.


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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.


…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. ^


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! 🙂



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…


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.)


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.



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


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!


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!


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.



Rain. That word could sum up our last few weeks, but I’ll try to expand a bit better.

Also, ^ that little lady is the sweetest!  ^

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Mae made us lunch this afternoon. While she was fixin’ it up, Rae and I went on a flower hunt make the table pretty. A storm was threatening all day, so we had an indoor picnic just in case.


We’ve been babysitting a couple boys every once in a while for some friends. The girls are such good helpers. Mae picked out some Legos at the store as a treat for helping me out so much. Boys are a lot tougher than girls, in my experience, so it was well deserved!


Our power went out last night, so, naturally – shadow puppets and bath-by-lantern!

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Before nap time we went for a stroll, made flower crowns, and picked daisies. Mae has always said her favorite flower is a daisy, but I think this was her first time actually seeing one.



We spent last weekend with Zack’s mom. A late night ice cream date, muffin baking (and batter eating!), a trip to Hobby Lobby, and spending Sunday morning at our old church – where Mae made a flower for her best friend –are just some of the fun things we were able to do.


The girls and I have been fighting some kind of sickness all week. Fevers, scratchy throats, runny noses, and Rae’s molars breaking through swollen gums.


We took the girls out to a bike trail so they could try out their hand me down bike and brand new roller skates. Rae gave up on the bike pretty quickly, so Mae didn’t get much practice in. She did have fun though and I’m sure we will be back a lot this summer!