JULY 2019 SUMMED UP

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!

LATELY : : JUNE 2019 PART ONE

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.

Pity smile.

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!

THE MAGIC HOUSE

My mother-in-law and I took the girls to the Saint Louis Magic House, which has nothing to do with “magic” apart from ‘the magic of a child’s imagination’.

It was incredible!

The science room was our favorite. I definitely took note of many things for our own schoolroom!

Some other favorites were the art room, which had easels set up for still life drawing and others for painting, several craft sections, as well as a large shelf full of jars containing just about anything I child could use to create (and they were color coded). It was a dream of a room.

…and the “future room”: The coolest part was a station that allowed the girls to decorate a home, plane, truck, or bus, and then scan it and then it would be dropped into this scene shown above! Rae chose a house (which the UFO is dropping into the scene) and Mae chose a bus, which drove around. The other screen showed what the airplanes could see as they flew around. SO CREATIVE!

Mae is 145 Lego blocks tall! Rae is 135 blocks tall, and I am 180 blocks tall.

I’m sure that information will come in handy someday.

They have a three-story Jack and the Beanstalk climbing tower. Mae went, but it was too cramped for Rae, who takes after her momma when it comes to tight spaces.

Next time we go, we will spend most, if not all, of our time at the brilliant village they’ve created. There is the most detailed play-market complete with veterinary clinic, pediatric office, library, pizza parlor, construction site, fishing pond, tree house, bank, ice cream cart, electric company, and mailboxes full of letters so you can be a postman!

Upstairs, they had an entire Chinese village set up! Complete with restaurant, house, panda conservation center, calligraphy station, and probably more, but at this point, I was tired – ha.

But, the best best part? Well, that’s up next…

Mae’s wish.

I’ve had blood issues for over a decade now. Mae wished (and prays often) that I could have more / better blood so that I can feel better.

I can’t imagine a better heart for my child. She is such an incredible human.

Outside there were more play areas and a large gazebo where we ate a picnic lunch somewhere between all of that fun.

All that in three hours! Next time we’ll try and pace ourselves, haha.

Thanks for the suggestion, Jenny!!

DANIEL BOONE HOME

Our state is full of places that hold “homeschool days” and places that give cheaper tickets/better seats to homeschool kids. I’ve always wanted to live a million other places, (not that anything is wrong with our state, it’s just in my nature to want to be anywhere but where I am), but I have yet to find a place better suited for the way we homeschool than here.

The Daniel Boone home was having a homeschoolers-only day last week! We planned this a month in advance so that Zack could make sure he was able to go with us. So, the four of us took the drive and made a day out of it (and it didn’t rain!).

The first thing we did when we arrived, was a garden scavenger hunt/nature drawing. Zack joined in, too!

Afterward, they got to color their sketches and we got to guess the names of unique vegetables (we did pretty good!).

Zack was enthralled with this old kiln. It stood next to a potter’s house (an actual house no one used, of course).

Our favorite part was the woodshop! The three guys presenting in the shop were all funny and very informative. We could’ve spent an afternoon hanging out there.

The church was so beautifully restored. Zack could’ve spent a good deal of time exploring the little details – even the clock was incredible!

The church station involved music. The group before us played a different song, and we could tell the lady took time to make her lesson historical and interesting. We all learned what a limberjack is and the girls got to ‘play’ one along with the song. She sang a rhyme from the late 1700s while playing the dulcimer. She was such a happy and fun lady.

The girls got to make Indian cakes (old fashioned donuts, basically) and learn about open hearth cooking and watch their food being fried in front of them, in a really old cabin! The ladies at this station were a lot of fun, also – and so patient with the kids!

Mae’s face! Zack’s face!

The girls put honey and cinnamon sugar on their Indian cakes. Most kids stayed and ate their donut at the table, but a new group of kids had just walked over, so we took ours to the house that was paired with the cabin. It was breezy and quiet and just about the loveliest snack time there ever was.

Next stop for us (it was a go where you want when you want situation) was the Inn. They had a display of rifles from the era, a lesson on different guns and their purposes back then, and a demonstration (just powder, no bullet) of the loading and firing of the rifle which I’m sure Zack remembers the name of, but I don’t, sorry. It was loud!

The man said they also bring out the canon sometimes! That would’ve been cool, too.

Rae was hot, so the girls ate their lunch on the porch and then we took a tour of the two-room Inn. Also very interesting! Particularly, the beds/bedroom. The dining area (one of the two rooms) was cool, too, but Rae wanted to go sit down again, so I left with her. I hear Mae liked it.

At the General Store, we learned about the traveling of the wooden shoe from Holland to France and then to the states. The original steel-toed boot. (The Dutch brought them over too, they just pretty well stayed in and around Pennsylvania).

We also learned about currency in those days. He lived in the time when the treasury was being established but it would be a while until it spread out this far west, anyway. He supplied paper money from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and other areas in various amounts- which led to a talk about bartering versus trading.

The girls got to learn about grinding up corn and wheat to make flour and they each got a turn grinding up corn for cornmeal and learned where grits come from!

I didn’t take any photos of the candle dipping station, ’cause it was packed with tons of kids, but the girls each got to dip their own candles (which we’ll either keep for memories or use this fall)!

After that, we were pretty exhausted, but we walked next door to the final place, Daniel Boone’s home (He only lived in Missouri the last twenty years of his life – which I learned from Google, not the tour). We couldn’t miss seeing the big ol’ house.

This girl was also tops at her engaging storytelling and questioning skills!

We bailed at the kitchen tour. We let the girls spend some of their money at the gift shop before taking the long drive home.

– There was also a dressmaking station where they learned about wool, making yarn from it, and they got to make a craft. It was crowded, so we skipped it. Mae was bummed, but maybe we’ll go there first next year.

LATELY : : MAY 2019

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.

MEMORIAL WEEKEND

We spent the long weekend up with Zack’s family. The girls had just learned how to ride bikes and wanted to try riding on a smooth surface – ha. They did an incredible job! Mae never wanted to get off the bike and Rae, well, she enjoyed it but preferred playing Barbies with her cousin, Lauren, inside.

Mae and I fit in a few Mom-daughter rides around the neighborhood and even rode up to a Walgreens with her and Sadie. We stopped by that pond up there every time and watched/chased ducks and the girls skipped rocks.

Zack, Logan and I went out together to watch a movie one of the nights. He’s so great. He reminds me so much of Zack! We all know you can’t have too many Zacks.

The two of them were able to spend a lot of time with one another, driving around (Logan gets his permit soon!), playing video games, and whatever else they do.

We all made it our to Uncle Rich’s famous get together!

Despite feeling like a zombie at this point in the trip, I was such a fun time. Zack and I spent most of the afternoon hanging out with the kids. We took them to two of the playgrounds behind their house, as well as on a long walk, and to toss many a frisbee on the baseball field.

I got so much quality time with Sadie bug which was such a treat! I even got to hold Morty several times. He’s such a stud.

We also played Marbles in the driveway, made Frosted lemonades, took Maybe out for walks, discovered a bunny’s den, got to see baby raccoons, saw old friends at church, and managed to make a mini-date out of purchasing some floor for the girls’ new rooms (yay!).

DEAR MAE AND RAE

Girlies,

First of all, thank you for reading up on your childhood. I hope you have been finding some value, and occasional humor, in the words of my younger self.

NOW. This is important. So focus.

I need you to go outside (or to the rock collection you hopefully have within arms reach.) Grab a couple of pebbles. Maybe a twig, leaf, or pinecone as well.

Got ’em?

Now. Go next door to my house (hahaha). Shove your findings into my jacket pockets, tennis shoe, and/or purse. I am SURE TO BE in need of such a surprise reminder of the days I am living today.

Thank you! I love you. Bye.