Sunday, February 5, 2017

Four









John Michael turned four this week and we celebrated with ice cream and presents on his actual birthday followed by a party on Sunday.  And by "party" I mean we invited over two friends and their siblings plus nearby cousins and served sandwiches and cake and had no games or activities or party favors and then I had to leave abruptly to go look at rental houses that we're interested in.  So all in all, it was pretty successful.

John received some excellent presents including a tool box to hold all of his special treasures which currently include smallish Rescue Bots, Paw Patrol figures and Hot Wheels cars (not Matchbox, they have to have a Hot Wheels logo on them or they're no good, apparently).  He also bought himself a doctor's kit recently with his own money and asked me specifically if he could have a doctor's coat to go with it for his birthday.  When he got the asked for doctor's coat however, he was very upset because it was "too big" for him.  I tried to explain to him that doctor's coats are supposed to be long, all doctor's coats are that long, the definition of a doctor's coat is a long white coat, all to no avail.

I think I might have to hem it.  

He also requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing which turned out to be not nearly as disappointing as our disaster of a present.    

I could go on about how I can't believe he's already four and how fast time flies by but I won't.
I can't though.  And it really does.

Monday, January 30, 2017

On Being a Mommy Tiger










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Someone loves their baby brother a little too hard.  Someone also occasionally turns into a tiger and licks their baby brother clean.  A little tiger mother's job is never done.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

On Making Our Escape




















When your town loses its mind, it just makes sense to make a run for it.  In our case, we ran back home to North Carolina where the weather is warm, the atmosphere's calm, and the only people marching are the ones on base.

We visited our families, hit our favorite aquarium, toured a battleship, and spent a glorious day at the beach.

In January.  

And perhaps most importantly, we discovered that humidity and salt water do wonders for Margaret's curls.  I had been afraid that she was losing them, but no--it was just the central heating.  She clearly belongs in the South.  I think we all do really.



Sunday, January 8, 2017

On the Twelve Days of Christmas























We had a very busy Christmas season here.  Unfortunately, Chris had to take off the week before Christmas instead of the week after which kerfuffled my plans, but, I recovered :)

We made gingerbread houses with cousins, took an epic walk to Old Town on my birthday, spread out the gift opening to keep the excitement going, played board games, waged war against an awful cold, read lots of books, drank copious amounts of cocoa, ate the gingerbread houses, managed one play/devour-Christmas-cookies-date, and generally just lazed around.

It was pretty glorious.

Not the cold part--we're still battling that with very limited success, but everything else.  Glorious.

Now the tree is gone, the decorations are safely packed away until next year, the floor is vacuumed, and we're ready to get serious about this new year.  This week marks the beginning of both piano and swim lessons and a return to Cub Scouts and co-op so our pace is about to pick up considerably.

Wish us luck.

I'm going to need it to convince a couple of my children that knowing how to swim is an important life skill and also that it behooves them to just cooperate with said lessons because if they fail them one more time, mommy might lost her mind.  And nobody wants that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What I Read in 2016



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You'll have to forgive me once again for the lack of adorable children, but I do love a good book list post and this is my blog after all.  This year, once again, my desire to read came up against my desire to craft and I'm afraid it was the books that suffered.  Margaret got an excellent dollhouse though and baby Christopher got his baby quilt so I suppose the lost reading time was worth it.

Probably.

As I'm looking over this list I can see that a large chunk of the books I read fall into either the parenting or homeschooling category--which I suppose makes sense since that's what I spend the majority of my days contemplating.  Little Men and Eight Cousins were both full of inspiration on raising a gaggle of boys, and Life Among the Savages brought humor to parenting situations that might make you cry without it.  Leonard Sax's The Collapse of Parenting was my favorite, non-fiction parenting book.  But then, I love all his books.  This one leaves you feeling more confident in your parenting abilities--in a everyone's making this harder than it needs to be, you've got this kind of way.
 
The Awakening of Miss Prim offers a lot of inspiration in the home-education/self-education department.  I would have liked the end to be tied up in a prettier bow, but that's just me--judge if you must.  Also, in the non-fiction category, Mere Motherhood is just as good as everyone has been saying it is and would be great for any homeschooling or formerly homeschooling mom to read. I especially enjoyed the section towards the end where she talks about the amount of knowledge she and her friends had accumulated over their years of homeschooling:
"Josef Pieper tells us that leisure is the basis of culture.  Most moms would laugh at the idea of leisure, but that is essentially the gift homeschooling gave us--the leisure to learn.  Homeschooling moms are what remains of the leisured classes in these hurried, frantic days.  We are the Irish monks of our time, carefully preserving old library books (and even reading them)...While we were busy thinking of our small families, we just might have been preserving something much larger." (163)
One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the chance it gives me to learn all sorts of things I never had the chance to before.  One of the last books I read this past year was West With The Night.  It's something I would never have picked up or even known about before, but one of the older forms in our co-op was reading it for their geography lessons on Africa and I thought it sounded interesting.  It's an autobiography of Beryl Markham who was raised by her father on a British East African farm, became a race horse trainer and then a pilot, and then eventually the first person to fly West across the Atlantic--which she accomplished by herself without even a radio.  If I wasn't homeschooling I'm pretty sure I never would have picked this up and now I've learned more about Africa than I ever did in my previous thirty-some years and I will certainly make sure that Margaret reads it as well.

But maybe not quite yet ;)

If I had to choose, I think my absolute favorite book from this past year would be The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It has nothing to do with homeschooling or parenting, but it is a book about books, and World War II, and romance.  What isn't there to love?  I had originally borrowed it from the library but when I spotted a hardback copy at a used book sale I snapped it up.  It was that good.  It needed to come home with me and live in my library forever.

Well, here's the full list and I hope you enjoy it.  And happy reading in 2017!  





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  1. St. Francis of Assisi, by G.K. Chesterton
  2. Appointment with Death: A Hercule Poirot Mystery , by Agatha Christie
  3. The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie
  4. America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams, by Steve and Annette Economides
  5. At Bertram's Hotel, by Agatha Christie
  6. The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, by Agatha Christie
  7. Boys Adrift:  The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men, by Dr. Leonard Sax
  8. Born to Buy:The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, by Juliet Schor
  9. Happy are You Poor:  The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom, by Thomas DuBay
  10. My Antonia, by Willa Cather
  11. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by JK Rowling (reread) 
  12. Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery (reread)
  13. The Hidden Art of Homemaking, by Edith Schaeffer
  14. Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott
  15. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
  16. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson
  17. The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown
  18. The Awakening of Miss Prim, by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
  19. The Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterton
  20. Siblings Without Rivalry, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  21. Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford
  22. Life Among the Savages, by Shirley Jackson
  23. The Valley of Fear, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  24. Eight Cousins, by Louisa May Alcott
  25. The Collapse of Parenting:  How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups, by Leonard Sax, Md. Ph.D.
  26. West With The Night, by Beryl Markham
  27. Mere Motherhood, by Cindy Rollins
  28. The Light Princess, by George Macdonald
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