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.


Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Berry Red


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!


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.


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!


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


My thrifted ice bucket sports a cheerful red!


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


Our handy dandy red rubber scraper.


My red hymnal, as mentioned by Mom.


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

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?


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!


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?


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!

Oh the drama!


We have this dog. He’s HUGE, hairy, nearly blind, stinky, gentle as can be, and quite wild and un-tamed. He sleeps on the top of a picnic table and covers the entire thing. He loves the kids dearly. He used to be a sheep dog, but now that all of our sheep have been butchered, he is just a big old backyard dog.

Since all of his sheeply comrades have one by one been stored in the freezer over the past fall, we think that the poor dog is a little worried about his fate – I mean, if you were a dog, wouldn’t you worry?

So yesterday we were working around the yard and Colonel saw his opportunity to shake loose the bonds of fencing that have kept him so, well, fenced in, and strike out on his own.

He has escaped once or twice before, and he generally comes back around when he realizes that he is hungry and that it is best for a near-sighted dog to have one’s food brought to him in a bowl, instead of having to hunt for dinner. In other words, we weren’t terribly worried. The girls, however went in to full on sack-cloth and ashes mode. Mourning, weeping, tearing out of hair… the whole nine yards.


I don’t think it was the fact that the dog went missing that was causing so much angst. No, it was more that there was an opportunity for drama.


Before we managed to recapture the humongous canine, Kinsley had worked herself into a full blown panic attack, complete with a terrible headache and chest pain and shortness of breath. So after Dan dragged 200 pounds of dog nearly a mile through the woods, up a ravine, and across the highway, loaded him into the back of the van, and unloaded him back into the backyard, we spent the rest of the evening plying Kinsley with Rescue Remedy
and aromatherapy to ease her back out of panic mode.

Sisters can sure manage to work themselves into the oddest frenzies.

now we are six

If I were being perfectly honest, I’d tell you how much I dreaded the age of six, and beyond.  I’d tell you that I thought it was a horridly pretentious and annoying age.
I was pretty much wrong.  Six is fantastic!  I had no idea how cute it was going to be… filled with so much earnest confusion, authentic creativity and honest expression.  Maybe I’m totally blind to the annoyingness, but I’m lovin’ it!

“But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.”

kinsley abigail

Can she really be nearly six years old?
When she was born, she was like a little fairy in real life… she just began taking in everything around her with those massive blue eyes, floating serenly in the water.
Now she’s all snaggle-toothed and loud.  She’s trying to ride her bike and manages to crash on the sidewalk nearly every single day.  She’s become her Mama’s big helper, and has continued to bring a twinkle to her Papa’s eye.
How can she really be turning six in just a few days?