Monday

It’s one of those Mondays. You know the kind – they come after a busy week and they lead the way into another busy week. They bring with them heaps of laundry and dishes, and cranky children and messy bedrooms. They often do not accommodate school schedules, naps, or well rested mothers. They often do accommodate freak accidents like pudgy baby fingers stuck in heat vents, chalk drawings on the floors, and leaking washing machines.

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It’s the kind of Monday where I consider breaking my habit of procrastination by watching a marathon of Downton Abby (because really, I have been meaning to start that series!)

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I decide to wash the towels, since we are all out of clean ones and it’s quite possible that one of the parents in this house might get a shower in at some point today.

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There’s a load in the dryer that has probably been there since sometime early last week. That explains where all of our napkins have been! I heap it out onto a kitchen chair because there are no empty laundry baskets to be found and sit and stare at it while I consume my second cup of coffee this morning.

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Gillian gets right to work on the laundry. Oh, the energy of the twenty one month old! As I admire her cuteness, I remember my recently formed (even still forming) conviction to express my gratitude in all things. I begin to thank Him for pudgy baby hands and cheeks, Gillian’s frizzy baby ‘fro, clean laundry, the warmth of the kitchen, the heaps of dishes reminding me that my children have full bellies, the health of my children.

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I am blessed beyond measure. I am loved by a good God.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Nature Study – The Oppossum

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Nature study is an area that consistently suffers in our schooling, even though I was determined not to let it slide.

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So when the Xplor magazine showed up and peaked Kinsley’s interest in opossums, I decided to roll with it, mostly to assuage the guilty feeling of failure.

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The Handbook of Nature Study didn’t have anything on the opossum (Did I miss it? Are they not blessed with these chicken eatin’ varmints across the pond??) so we turned to youtube. Where we basically got distracted by cute possum videos for 45 minutes. I suffer from shiny object syndrome.

(I actually kind of feel like that mama possum sometimes.)

We learned that baby opossums are about the size of a kidney bean when they are born and that an entire litter can fit in a teaspoon. The gestation period is only 13 days, and they nurse without stopping for two solid months. They are the only marsupials in the US. Fascinating!

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Then we sketched us some ‘possum (this is acceptable grammar when discussing a possum, I believe).

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Then Kinsley read to us from The Adventures of Unc’ Billy Possum.

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She is quite the expressive reader!

I am motivated to do better at nature study again. For now.

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We were peacefully doing our artist study this afternoon. At least as peacefully as we ever do anything around here. The artist for this term is Jacob van Ruisdael, and today the girls were imitating his style using the painting Two Watermills and an Open Sluice at Singraven (in case you want to know 😉 ).

I had settled the two youngest with children’s watercolors and was using the time to organize our nature study for the week, and enjoy a cup of coffee.

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I really wasn’t paying attention to Gillian, who was keeping herself quite busy.

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It was a moment of weakness for which I paid dearly.

Happy Colors!

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This last is gift from my sweet sister-in-law,  Amber. She and Jared even hung it up for me when I was gone one day.  It is the perfect thing for my kitchen, and we all really love it!

Last night Sophie was gazing contemplatively up at it and said “All of our aunts and uncles are such amazing artists!” So true, Sophie Lou.

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Berry Red

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I really don’t have much red around the house, but at Christmas time, there are always little pops of cheerful red to be found when you look hard enough!

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This is still one of my favorite pops of red around Christmas time. I have blogged about it before…

A gift from a dear friend [the same friend that sent me this!]. I think it was given to us on our first Christmas together, but it may have been our second. They’re all starting to blend now…

When I was due with Sophie around Christmas time two years ago, we kept her name to ourselves. We were actually going to name her Lucy Sophia, and had experienced a few negative reactions to the name Lucy, so we decided not to share the name until there was a tiny girl to go with it. My little sister, Hannah saw this ornament hanging on the tree, and was certain that she had learned the name of our baby girl!

As it turned out, Sophie’s name got changed while I was in labor to Sophie Lucia Marie, so all that secrecy was for naught.

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The Christmas tree skirt has been in my family since my first Christmas, and maybe even longer. I used to kind of wish I could have some fancy Anthropology tree skirt, but I am really glad that this is the one we still have and use. It’s really quite cozy!

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Another gift from a very good childhood friend who also moved way too far away. Geeze, what is it with these people?!

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My thrifted ice bucket sports a cheerful red!

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A lovely ornament, made by Hannah, and particularly loved and adored by Sophie, who simply can’t resist bling in any form.

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Our handy dandy red rubber scraper.

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My red hymnal, as mentioned by Mom.

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Really, once the kids and I got started looking for red things that we were thankful for, it was hard to stop!

Joy Dare :: A Gift Hung, Held, Heard

A Gift Hung

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My black and white crayon art was a birthday gift from my super talented brother Jacob. I asked if he could pull of an Ansel Adams feel, and he sure did! It’s one of my most favorite pieces of art.

A Gift Held

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I had to include Gillian here, since she makes certain that she is the main thing I find myself holding. That’s okay though, she’s pretty cute!

A Gift Heard

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When we snagged our bird-songs clock from a neighbors yard sale, I was thrilled that both the kids and I could learn some of the bird calls in such an easy way. Unfortunately, I neglected to make sure that it was accurate, and after several months of me calling the name of each bird at the top of the hour, Dan pointed out that the clock must be set wrong, and I realized that we had learned all the wrong songs to all the wrong birds. Oh well. We’ll get around to bird songs someday.

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Bright

I said I’d try to participate in the Joy Dare, but I never claimed that I would be on time, right?

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Each morning I have been asking the kids to think about whatever the Joy Dare is, and share any ideas that they get. Yesterday Sophie thought about it for a few seconds, and then slammed her purse up and onto the table with a huge grin, sending crayons flying hither and yon. Her glittery purple purse was a birthday present from her Aunt Anna, Uncle Matt and all her girl cousins who understand so well what a girly-girl needs the most.

Later in the day, Kinsley came to me and said “You know how Sophie thinks we should be grateful for that purse? Well, I just don’t know if that’s really the kind of thing to be thankful for, since it’s only a purse…” Oh child, that is exactly the kind of thing to be thankful for!

It made me thrilled that we are doing this together as a family, and especially that we began this journey in the month of December. How wonderful it is to recognize and name our blessings!

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Okay, I cheated. Two Brights for the price of one. We luf Gillian’s little bright pink squeaker shoes. They are so fun, and bright, and cheery and squeaky, and I always know where the Baby Girl is when she has ’em on. And she loves to wear them, which is somewhat new and exotic for Gilli. And the lights! There are so many bright Christmas lights everywhere that I couldn’t resist sneaking one picture in. Also another view of the cuteness that is Gillian, who happens to be a pretty bright little person herself. Okay, so it was three Brights for the price of one. Who’s counting anyway?

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Isn’t that a beautiful bright blue aquarium? We love fish, and aquariums – they are just so peaceful. At Bass Pro Shop, we sat and watched the fish tank for the longest time, and found it so restful and soothing!