Not only did I have a date night with Rad ALL to myself (where we went to one of my favorite little local places tucked away), but the next night, the boys went to a magic show for just kids and Mabry and I took Rad out on another date night. It was so sweet that it was just the three if us. Mabry kept asking for Rad to take her on a date. Which really meant she wanted him to take her to the gas station to get a fountain lemonade. Often times she is sleeping and the boys get a drink and she misses out. I think this far exceeded her expectations. She was giddy the whole time. We went to a new fun place for dinner and then to gelato. Mabry loves her daddy and loves to draw pictures of him. Her drawings always make me giggle. This just reminded me that it’s special to have moments with just one kid at a time.
So many random thoughts and full days that I can’t seem to bring them all together to get words on this page. So here are some random visuals and thoughts to see you through our weeks.
We have painted. Twice. In 9 weeks. Pathetic. Maybe you remember last year when painting was a weekly, sometimes daily thing. I miss it. And so do the kids. It’s good for the soul and creates a calm environment for our school days.
We haven’t picked up the paintbrush because we have been memorizing facts, and doing math, and writing, and lots and lots of school. It’s great, and challenging, and we are learning quite a lot. I’m still trying to figure out how to fit it all in a week. Mcree even made a Mayan calendar in his class. He was pretty proud of it.
And somehow, this dog got coerced into hanging out with her master if only he let her on the bed. I can see that look in her eyes that she knows that’s the only piece of furniture she is allowed on. Don’t push it Luna!
And while Gress is busy reading, I am giggling at all the squirrel antics around our house. This little tired one curled up with it’s head under it’s body on the window sill on a rainy day. They think we are their friends. The are constantly talking to us through the window in our school room. It’s a great distraction.
Oh, and you are wondering what Mabry is up to. Just playing with her babies CONSTANTLY. She often says, “When I am a mom and have a baby, I am doing to do this or that…” She plays well by herself but will be good at reminding me I am hurting her feelings by not playing with her while I am doing school with the boys. I have to remember to shepherd her heart well too. It’s so much easier to see a school task checked off than to play “house”. I am working on the balance!
Mabry and I do get a lot of sweet time together though. She’s extra fun to have all by herself!
Oh, and Mcree has always wanted a cat. So we have a visiting cat that we feed that was actually born on our property 10 years ago. She hasn’t really belonged to anyone but more been fed for all those years by a loving neighbor. She is slowly making her way closer and closer to our house. She used to be scared of us so for her to let us pet her is a huge accomplishment.
I love these 3 little people.
We loved having Nana here! She LOVES to be with the kids. There was a tea party complete with Nana’s costume jewelry, games played, hammock swinging, nail painting, lots of conversations, and great quality time. She adventured with us to the firehouse and the farmer’s market. We had a sweet time together! THANKS for coming to visit NANA!
Who needs bathing suits? When there’s a kayak and open water, how do you not just go for it? These kids had a blast after our nature outing. I met another mom who loves adventure as much as I do and we were both giddy over letting our boys frolic in the Moon River. And I got the chance to hang out with her (on her birthday) for hours on end. It was a gift to me for sure!
(These photos are all hers)
We are a part of a nature group that meets once a month to explore together in different environments. We took part in one of the gatherings over the summer and after hanging out with the moms for only a short time, I knew these people were my people. So now that school has resumed, we are back to meeting up once a month. We had 9 families meet up at a beautiful location that some of my friends manage. It has walking paths, marsh areas, open water, a pavilion, a playground, and lots of space to run wild and free. The hope was that we would explore, do a little nature journaling, make friends, and have fun. It far exceeded our expectations for all of that. In fact, it was so amazing that one mom and I stayed well into sunset.
(I can’t take credit for all of these photos as 2 other moms took some of the photos)
We found lots of sea squirts on the dock and the kids were quite amazed by them.
The faces she can make crack me up. She sometimes carries conversation on with us (but she is really talking to herself) and then she will make this confused kind of judgmental look as if she wants us to respond or hear the statement she is making. HA! And see all those babies behind her, for the last hour she carried them around, kissed their heads, laid out blankets for them to sleep on and was a great little mommy. She always makes me smile.
Me: “I’m sorry….were you reading a book to me? Can you start over, I wasn’t paying attention.”
Somedays, the words or constant noise or reading at a snails pace makes me retreat to my happy place….wherever that is…and I forget that I am supposed to be paying attention. Please tell me I am not the only one.
I used to love distractions. In fact, I welcomed them. Where I currently find myself in this season of lots of school work, the distractions seem more troubling than inviting. When we get off track, it’s really hard to get the momentum going again. I try to remind myself that God ordained my days, and he placed these things in my way to slow me down or cause me to depend on him more.
Yesterday, we got derailed quite early. Due to the storm and all the marsh grasses being deposited on the streets after the cleanup, tons of crabs have been displaced. So much so, that they have lost their way into my backyard. When I found one this particular morning and showed the boys, they immediately wanted to go put it back in the water at 8:00am. Which led to bumping into one of our neighbors from around the corner who proceeded to tell us all about his dog and show us all her tricks. Funny thing is, every time I see this man, he goes through the same routine. And then we saw another neighbor (Mrs Barbara) who asked the kids to come over and pick out a book from her private Curious George collection. Not only that, but we got to meet her other newest Weiner dog and played with the new puppies for over an hour. I was only slightly twitching knowing how much school we had to get done. But you know what? These are relationships and God calls us to love our neighbors. He doesn’t care if we are really good in math, or if we can spell really well. He wants us to have hearts for his people. He wants us to love them like He does. That time is precious in his eyes.
We are learning about kindness this week and one of the things we are talking about is learning to ask people questions about themselves. It’s so easy to share what is going on in your own life but how often to we pause to just listen. It’s a skill to be practiced for sure!
As we were chugging along today, Gress noticed a praying mantis on the back porch. And our math came to a halt to study the amazing insect and do a little nature drawing. It was sweet and I need those little distractions to remember that learning is happening at every turn of our day. It may not look like me sitting down teaching a lesson, or a child reading a book, but rather taking time to pause in nature, or learning how to serve your sibling, or struggling to grasp the idea of perseverance when you want to give up. These are all good things. Sometimes painful and stretching, but good!
(Not to gloat or be prideful but I am going to put this here so I can remember on the hard days why we do what we do.) I got a text from Gress’ new teacher at his class the other day and this is what it said, “You have laid a great foundation of character and integrity for Gressett. So much more important. The rest will come (regarding the struggle with keeping up with the rigorous school work required). He was a gentleman yesterday in art according to my daughter…wanting “ladies to go first.” Great example and restored some hope in my daughter that not all boys are what she deals with. Please let him know. He is and will be a great example but may have to “stand alone” sometimes.”
I really needed that reminder that the work is taking root!
This kid…..he amazes me. Not only is he easy to teach, but he rarely complains about the workload he takes on. He had been counting down the days until we finished his reading curriculum (we started it mid last school year). He was also counting all the pages he had read ON HIS OWN! He is quite amazed at his abilities and we are so very proud of his perseverance to get to the end. He liked the books so much he would read ahead and then tell me what was going to happen before we even got to that lesson. Thanks Mcree for being a great student and making it enjoyable to be your teacher! On to the next level buddy! You got this!
(On a sidenote, teaching reading to the first child didn’t seem this easy. I can tell you I didn’t have this great curriculum and there were lots of tears the first go around. But ‘All About Reading’ made it so fun for both of us. WAY TO GO to this company for making learning fun!)