Wednesday, July 23, 2014


  We make a brief and glorious trip to this spot to fill the boat up with gas and get ice cream just about once a summer. I thought these pictures of Eden's first trip to Kelly's deserved their own post.

Summer can be an okay season

Despite the sports-driven routine, despite the small structure we have put in place for our day, despite spending the months just prior to summer longing for a break from our school life, I often find myself restless and sometimes even a bit purposeless during the summer months. Summer has just never been a favorite time for me for various reasons.

Today I'll post pictures of things we've done recently that I have truly loved to remind myself of summer goodness.

James continues to take deep long naps in the afternoon, if I let him. On this day, he asked for Duplo legos to play with and I obliged. I would rather that he spend a little time playing alone in the afternoon during his Quiet Time than take a fullfledged nap. I checked on him ten minutes after I had shut the door and this is how I found him, with the cord of the fan in hand. Where we live, fans and summer go together.

Canning season happens during the summer. It has to because of the sun. I made raspberry jam a few weeks ago.

Earlier this summer, I made strawberry jam. Lots and lots of it. I think we've decided that we might go through a pint jar of jam once every 1-2 weeks. I'm set on making enough this year. We ran out in February this year! 

Daniel is so very into baseball right now. Today, he sat and listened to the Mariners lose on the radio while texting his Grandad as they rejoiced and moaned together over the ups and downs of the game. I love that he has time to do that during the summer.

Free kids' lunches at Ikea. That's right! 

And, of course, summer for us means a little vacation.

And, summer means we get to celebrate our anniversary, just the two of us. Maybe we should celebrate our anniversary quarterly during every season?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Favorite Things

It's summer.
We are busy with swimming lessons and baseball but there is a beautiful lull surrounding it all.

Our school year was a rough one with one child's first middle school year on one end of the seesaw and a sweet newborn on the other end, and five children in between. Come to think of it, this year was also Josiah's first year in our co-op's K-1st grade class, Mercy's first year in the 2nd-3rd class and Michael's first year in the 4th-5th class, so adjustments and growing up for everyone in the school department.

To celebrate and document the peace that accompanies our morning trips to the pool and our evening dinners out at baseball practice, I am posting some pictures of what I've found on the camera between now and January. The arrival of the sweet newborn and our holidays seem like they need a post or two of their own but before too much more life happens, I better get on with it. What I really mean is that I have time to do this now, so I'm going to do it.

Mercy turned 8 in January. Grandad and Grammy finished the dollhouse kit that my dad and I began when I was a little girl. I don't know who was more excited; my parents had such great fun giving this gift and Mercy loved receiving something special made by them. Around this time of year, Mercy began to truly read independently. I am so happy for her to finally be able to love reading too. She has begun to read Little House books and American Girl books. She reads to all her younger siblings and she enjoys it. She has joined Daniel and Michael in their long afternoons lolling on the couch with a book. What a gift!

Also, in January, Reuben fell from atop James' bunk and broke his arm. See that little arm up there? It doesn't look broken, does it? When he fell at bedtime one Sunday night, we thought he'd hit his head, not his little arm. It wasn't clear until morning that it was really his arm that was injured.

Thankfully, it was an uncomplicated break and it healed quickly and well. Reuben wore two different casts; a larger red one that went up past his elbow and later a smaller Seahawks colored one that only covered his wrist. I think he only wore the casts for 3-4 weeks.

 We had a couple glorious days of snow play. Our new home is quite close to a park with great sledding hills. Prior to living in our new home, we lived in a valley, flat and joyless for those who love to sled when it snows. I grew up skiing and snow play is something I cherish when we have a rare snowfall. Here are Daniel, Reuben and the first snowman we built. Everyone ran out in their jammies at bedtime to play in the much hoped for snow that had just begun to fall. And we spent a bunch of time at the park making enormous snowballs, sledding, colliding with cement walls while sledding, snowboarding on top of sleds, making jumps. Except for Michael's collision with the squash court wall, it was wonderful.

Slate kitchen floors don't mix well with anything. Our kids do the dishes. A few years ago I invested in nice plain white Corelle dishes because they are practically unbreakable. Except if you have slate flooring in your kitchen. This is a common and unfortunate scene depicting the loss of 3-5 bowls, depending on who you ask.

A sleepy looking Reuben holds his tiny sister. This boy loves this little girl.

Reuben also loves playing music, this time with a sword as a guitar. He is serenading James' bath.

Little Pinky is growing! I think she is 2 months in this picture. Bob says he thinks she has been the easiest baby of all of them. She is very content, sweet, and sleeps and eats very well.

Dress up play continues to be a favorite. Robin Hood/Link and his friend (Purple Zebra? with Invisible Friend in tow) routinely come up stairs in full regalia. I love it so much that if I go to a garage sale, weapon toys and dress up stuff are some of the first things I look for.

Hi Bright Eyes! Eden is about three months in this picture.

Eden is wearing some of my favorite tiny clothes: a little set of onesies and leggings with kitties on the tops and ruffles behind her on the bottoms. I squished her into them until she couldn't fit anymore.

Here is Daniel on Josiah's birthday lunch to the park outing during which Reuben's apple fell all the way down the Big Hill and James, determined to help, retrieved it. 

Happy Birthday Josiah! Now he is SIX. I think he is opening a card from Mercy here. I know I have said it before here but Mercy really does birthdays the best of all. Josiah and Mercy probably have the closest friendship among our kids right now. Lots of make believe fun happens with the two of them.

Reuben's funny pouty smile is evolving into something different. His lower lip doesn't stick out quite so much. He still loves sink baths when he can get 'em.

Eden's newborn hair was pretty fair but the baby hair that is now growing is much more golden blonde than her siblings. And this how she looks most of the time. 0.0

Easter. This was the best picture of them all. Daniel is 11, Michael is 9, Mercy is 8, Josiah is 6, James is 4 and Reuben is almost 3. Eden is 4 months.

Mercy helps in so many ways. She has made lunch, at my request, and has taken it upon herself to put smilie faces on the sandwiches with cranberries and also in the orange on her plate.

We studied the Ancients this year which of course includes Ancient Rome. On this particular afternoon, a long day at our homeschool co-op ends with a battle in our springy backyard. Mercy and Michael were longbowmen, I think? The little boys were all attacking Daniel who has the big red shield.

A job change and a move brought us some new close-by family members this year and these two have become such good buddies. What a treat! They are both enjoying a snack of Hannibal's elephants at co-op during the unit I taught this year.

And, Reuben did finally turn 3 in May after months of asking things like, "When my birthday is?" "My birthday is next?" "My birthday is in MAY."  Here he is, dressed as SuperWhy. Shortly after the close of the school year, I made good on my promise to him that I would let him potty train once he was three. I had kind of, well, really dreaded doing so all year. I thought it would take all summer. But he figured it all out really quick! We took Froggy Potty with us every where we went for a few weeks; baseball practice, the park to meet our friends, church. And Reuben used Froggy Potty in the back of the van. Then, I had a brainwave. I thought, we are going to enjoy Froggy Potty but his time is going to be brief so that Reuben doesn't get too attached to only going in Froggy Potty. (This kind of thing has happened before to some other children I know.) So now, Reuben goes successfully in all kinds of potties and Froggy Potty is back on his shelf in the garage. Isn't it important that I record that information here?

At our co-op End of the Year Program: Michael was a Tap Root, Josiah was dressed as Howard Carter and the rest of us were just so extremely glad that the school year had come to an end. And honestly, this year was the first year I have ever felt such a relief and a joy to say goodbye to the school routine. I will need it desperately again before it's truly time but for now, the summer, filled with a different kind of busy, full day is here!