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.

 photo IMG_5694_zpsafb7c079.jpg

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!)

 photo IMG_5696_zpsfa41bb6e.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_5697_zpsa383c133.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_5699_zpsb5989f54.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_5704_zpse0a4b1fa.jpg

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.

Advertisements

Nature Study – The Oppossum

 photo IMG_5618_zps1d1b75bd.jpg

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

 photo IMG_5638_zps134015fa.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_5636_zps86bdfd42.jpg

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!

 photo IMG_5635_zps93068cc8.jpg

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

 photo IMG_5622_zps8bce552a.jpg

 photo 000_zpsc108dd25.png

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

 photo IMG_5631_zps953da1b1.jpg

She is quite the expressive reader!

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

 photo IMG_5611_zpsc4a8b656.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_5613_zpsca9dc01a.jpg

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

IMG_5597_zpsd5829bd2 photo IMG_5597_zpsd5829bd2.jpg

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

Happy Colors!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

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.

Thoughts at a concert

Last night we attended a Christmas concert performed by the 399th Army Band from Fort Leonard Wood.  It was very good, and the kids danced the entire hour away.

Halfway through, one of the sergeants invited the audience to join her in a moment of silence to honor those who had lost loved ones that morning. Afterward she commented that music connects people of every creed, race and religion, and how if we focus on the beautiful, it can prevent the ugly things in our world.

I was struck with sadness at how utterly hollow those words must seem to those who had lost their loved one to any kind of senseless violence.

The sergeant then began to sing beautifully one of my favorite songs “What a Wonderful World,” and the song struck me as almost ludicrous to follow up the moment of silence designed to commemorate such carnage as some families had suffered.

Maybe I really over thought the entire thing, but as I listened to the words: I see trees of green…….. red roses too… I began to think of how all the ugliness of this world must make a heart hunger for what is not ugly, what is Light, and Beauty and What is Utterly Good. As Ann Voskamp penned in her book 1000 Gifts:

That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him.” 

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white…  And I thought, maybe this song is more fitting than I first thought, especially to those of us who have a Hope.  God has given us so much beauty, and yes, it is a wonderful world, because He is a wonderful Creator God.

We are here, in this undeniably imperfect and hard world, but we can choose to see the beauty with the ugly through a lens of true thanksgiving and remember that God is with us and for us. He weeps with us, treasures our tears, and He is good.

“…the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”
― Ann Voskamp

The sergeant may speak of an overly simplistic view of life, perhaps because she failed to acknowledge God where we most need to see His face, but as a Christian, I was thankful for Louis Armstrong’s reminder, intentional or no, of the beauty that abounds here, and how much we do have for which to be  thankful and joyful.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Phillipians 4:8

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Striped

Photobucket

We love these bright little cups which were a gift from a very dear friend, and which started us off on a quest to collect similar bright colors for the kitchen of our new house.

That kind of counts as striped, right?

Photobucket

A housewarming gift from another friend… these knives are incredibly awesome, and if you are looking for a set of good knives, I highly recommend them.

The early morning light made for some harsh shadows in the kitchen window, but you see the stripe effect, right?

Photobucket

I love my vintage lamps. I pressured mom into buying these and when she realized that they didn’t fit her decor she passed them on to me.

Oh, so devious.

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Berry Red

Photobucket

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!

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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!

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

My thrifted ice bucket sports a cheerful red!

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

Our handy dandy red rubber scraper.

Photobucket

My red hymnal, as mentioned by Mom.

Photobucket

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

A Very Awesome Christmas Package…

…arrived in the mail from a friend who moved to some distant, cold and strange place this last fall.

Photobucket

It is completely adorable and has been one of the most sought after books in the house, of late.

Photobucket

Trux has pronounced all the recipes to be “Yummy!” and I have to agree with him.

Photobucket

Black coffee canes? Count me in!

Photobucket

The girls have been pulling out all their tea stuff, and pouring over all the vintage fashion tips, like:

Photobucket

Tying the vintage headscarf

Photobucket

and how to apply false eyelashes. Thankfully they haven’t tried that one, yet.

Photobucket

Baked grapefruit? What a great idea! I see a new Christmas morning tradition in the making!

Thank you Rowena… you’re awesome!

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Ice Cold

I have NOT really been looking forward to being thankful for anything cold as ice. Cold is not really my thing. In fact, this first gift of cold comes to you courtesy of Dan. I was snuggled up with a fuzzy-sleeper-clad baby under three blankets and a down comforter.

Winter Morning Beauty

Photobucket
photo credit – Astro Bob

This morning it was cold. This I can personally attest to. Apparently it was under 20* when Dan headed out to work. But the sky was clear and according to Dan the crescent moon was gorgeous and there were three planets all in a row.

I am sure if getting up early in the frigid cold is your kind of thing, you would have loved it. I am thankful that my husband gets up and goes to work to provide for the family who is all snuggly and warm in bed.

Photobucket

When we did get out of bed this morning, the children and I enjoyed the sight of thousands of tiny diamonds sparkling on everything. A picture really can’t do it justice!

Sonic Ice

Photobucket

A good friend of mine told us about Sonic Ice, which has been a life saver for teething babies, children with sore throats, and lazy mamas who don’t make ice in trays OR unload children from a van to buy ice from a service station. We just pull through the drive through, ask for a bag of ice, fork over a buck-seventy and that’s all there is to it. Handy-dandy.

Cool Touch Kleenex

Photobucket

I accidentally grabbed a box of these Kleenex the last time I made an emergency kleenex run, and boy, were they a treat for the nose!

This post ended up being quite commercial in the end!