The summer bucket list continues

Summer is glorious. For me it’s not about long days, fancy vacations, or a long-list of must-do activities with your kids. It’s just about watching them when they don’t know you are, looking in their eyes more attentively as they explain their ideas to you, saying yes when they ask to build a fort, and having a few minutes to post about it while they’re on the front porch eating pretzels and drinking water.

Not sure why I call this a bucket list? I’m recording the small, unexpected happy moments of summer – as they happen. You can read more here.

4. Completely unplanned, we took a bicycle-pulled “carriage” from our parking lot to a baseball game. The girls faces were priceless!

5. Painting. There’s been a lot of this going on. The messy table that doesn’t have to be cleaned up at night, the intent faces while working, and the excitement to show Daddy their “masterpieces” all make this mama’s heart happy.

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6. Holding Mckayla on my lap, rocking her and talking with her for no reason at all. One word for ya, margin.

7. This morning Sophia and I stayed long after breakfast to do the puzzles and games on the back of the cereal box.

8. Searching for Fourth of July breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas on Pinterest. (also with Sophia) We actually picked a few easy ones and bought the stuff, too. And made an extra trip to Walmart for skewers, cupcake liners and special plates and napkins. These things don’t happen during the school year.

9. Watch the little girls hold up five fingers as they oh-so-excitedly tell us that our tomato plant now has four tomatoes. = )

10. Get soaking wet from a sudden rain in the middle of an afternoon Bible club. Hear the child who was scared of the rain say, instead of complaining – “I’m thankful our car has a top on it!” once we were all in the car.

11. Sit on the front porch with Paul listening to the crickets after the girls had gone to bed.

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How’s your summer going? Believe it or not, this is a kind of crazy, hectic summer for us. Writing these things down helps me to find the joy and the space in the little moments instead of being overwhelmed by all that is going on. Let me know if you try it!

The lovely transition from baby food to solids

My sweet little Zoe finally has a few teeth! Okay, one official one and one so close I’m sure it’s already useful. = )

For several months she has been eating cheerios, crackers, and scrambled eggs, as well as gnawing on big chunks of apples or vegetables. Her main source of food though was baby food (which I decided to go back to good, old store bought baby food with her and we both loved that just fine).

Now we’re working on that lovely transition where solids will become her main source of nutrition.

Cheerios in milk, blueberries, banana chunks... and coffee and water to keep mama going.
Cheerios in milk, blueberries, banana chunks… and coffee and water to keep mama going.

Baby food, solids, teaching kids to feed themselves and use utensils – these are all my very least favorite stages of parenting.

So in the spirit of trying to be thoughtful and proactive regarding this transition I’m going to write down carefully everything I feed her for a week. Or try.

It’s posted on the refrigerator to help me remember. = )

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Why am I doing this?

I find it tricky to know if you’ve fed them enough. A baby food container is easy to measure. You had your fruit, your vegetable, you’re done. Usually in less than ten minutes.

But when it’s some cheerios, some blueberries, some cooked carrots, etc., I sort of lose track. And there’s the fact that it takes approximately four times as long. Or at least it did when I measured it out for breakfast and lunch today. One reason for the length of time is that I’m still actually feeding it to her. I’ve found there to be a huge benefit to your baby opening their mouth when you present something on a spoon or a fork, so I’m sticking to that method as another way to make sure she gets enough. When I put things on her tray she picks them up to eat, but doesn’t always stay interested long enough for a proper portion.

Hopefully all this will make sure she stays nice and chubby through this ten-eighteen month period that has always proved a little difficult for me.

So far, so good. Not even too bad on the neatness end.

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But spaghetti’s for dinner. = )

Summer bucket list

Today is our first official summer weekday – school is over!

I’ve decided to keep track of all the special things we get to do – things that seem elusive in the pace of homeschooling life.

So this is really a bucket list in reverse. Cherishing those sweet, small, unexpected moments as they come.

Yesterday started my inspiration.

1. Worked on a puzzle with Hope. Everyone else was either napping or otherwise occupied – it was wonderful!

2. Played Candyland with Mckayla and Sophia. Two whole games! How long has it been since we’ve done that?

This morning.

3. Watching Mckayla “read” Mayweigh for Ducklings to Zoe. (also known as Make Way for Ducklings to the non-three years olds of the world.) Zoe was more interested in the cereal Gracie was pouring, but it was incredibly sweet nonetheless.

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15 things I love about my mom

Many of you don’t know my mom, and likely never will. She’s a quiet lady – one that I think many don’t know too well. But I was thinking last night about all the reasons I love her – so in no particular order I’m going to list some thoughts about why I love her so much.

1. I love the way my mom tries so hard (and in so many ways!) to make her hair straight, even though it has incredible and adorable natural curl. All without ever taking herself too seriously.

2. I love the way her face lights up when she sees her grandchildren.

3. I love the way my mom makes lists and keeps herself organized with oodles of post-its and notebooks.

4. I love that my mom can answer any tax question known to man or will find out for you within hours of your asking. I also love that she will get her feathers up -in a sweet, quiet way- if she doesn’t think how it all ended up for you is quite fair.

5. I love that my mom put up with a goat, dog, birds, cats, owls and who knows what other kind of pets while we were growing up so we could enjoy them.

6. I love that what I remember of my mom from my kid years is not someone who hated housework and just wanted a break from us kids, but a woman who cheerfully fulfilled her responsibilities and genuinely wanted to be with us in whatever we were doing.

7. I love that my mom loved hearing my sister and I play the piano and told us that quite often. My girls are taking piano now and #1, Mom, you were an amazing woman, and #2, I know that the influence of your positive attitude helps me to appreciate the “music” they make for the treasure that it is.

8. I love that my mom loved our teenage years.

9. I love my mom for being the best “driver’s ed” teacher ever. EVER!

10. I love that my mom was a college cheerleader; even though many don’t see that side of her anymore she still has that same fun and spunk with those she’s closest to.

11. I love when my mom tells me about a new outfit or “look” she likes and how she’s trying it out.

12. I love that my mom is so cold-natured that she wears boots about 10 months out of the year, despite living in Florida. This may be a slight exaggeration, give or take two weeks. = )

13. I love that my mom was never too anxious for us to be in bed that she wouldn’t take time to pray with us.

14. I love that my mom was so honest with me about how hard labor is before I gave birth for the first time.

15. I love my mom for being an encourager. She is the one that no matter what I tell her about what’s going on in life, she thinks it’s great. “Mom, we’re about xyz days behind in homeschooling.” “You are doing so great! I don’t know how you do it.” “Mom, we bought a house.” “That’s the best thing you could have ever done.” “Mom, look at these pillow covers I made.” “Oh, they’re beautiful!” “Mom, we’re having another baby.” “Oh, that’s so exciting!” “Mom, it’s been a rough day of potty training and no one is taking naps like they’re supposed to.” “It’s okay, it will get better!” I love telling her about what’s going on and I love that the reaction will always be something positive and encouraging. I want to be that person for my girls when they’re grown.

"Grammie" in her happy place.
“Grammie” in her happy place.

Mom, I love you. This list feels so insufficient for all the love you’ve shown to us, and for all the things that I love about you. You are a gift from God to my life; chosen to be the one that would bring me to the point of being a wife myself and then graciously letting me go into the new life that God had made for me. I’m so thankful for your love and your friendship. Miss you! 

The greatest lemonade stand ever – phase 1

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Oh my goodness, how I love our Hopey. Her eyes twinkle when she talks about anything to do with this lemonade stand.

The first lemonade stand has come and went. It was fantastic.

I woke up Hope at 6:22am, which is approximately a very long time before she normally wakes up. By the time I was out of the shower and ready, she had woken up all her sisters (except Zoe, thank you!) and everyone was ready to go.

the greatest lemonade stand ever

We open the door… and it’s raining. I think I may have stomped an internal foot or something. It can’t rain on the greatest lemonade stand ever. They had worked so hard! Hours and hours of making signs, baking, decorating cups with washi tape… we had to move forward.

Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )
Sophia and Mckayla had to wash their hands A LOT while we were baking cookies. = )

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We took everything out to the front porch and by the time we got it out the rain had lightened enough for us to move on out to the driveway. It was so exciting to be actually setting up!

Customers came right away; thankfully it was a steady stream not a rush. We quickly realized that the cookies were the most popular item – though honestly, who wants lemonade on a drizzly Saturday morning before eight o’clock? The lemonade became more popular as the morning went on.

The girls were so proud to tell people that one teenager liked the cookies so much he came back for seconds. = )

the greatest lemonade stand ever

Sophia was invaluable for advertising. Every car that drove by was greeted with a rather loud and cheery, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” As soon as anyone would get out of the car at the neighbors yard sale she would yell again, “Lemonade and cookies! Lemonade and cookies!” Soon the other girls chimed in.

How long will they keep that up? I wondered. They’re going to be completely hoarse tomorrow!

They kept it up for several hours. It worked like a charm. = ) And no voices were lost in the process.

Gracie and Mckayla didn’t even need to pass out free samples. Business was great regardless. They stayed busy sampling for themselves. = )

At the end of the day, Hope made several dollars more than what she put into it. Also, the only supplies we will have to replace are the cookie mixes.

Bottom line – phase two should be almost all profit.

Speaking of phase two, I’ve emailed our local Chamber of Commerce for suggestions or guidelines on choosing locations for a lemonade stand. They haven’t responded and Hope is less than impressed.

I know this because as Paul and I were eating out on a date this week, he got a text from the family who was -so sweetly!- watching the girls. The text read, “Hope doesn’t think my son would want to be a part of the Chamber of Commerce.” We laughed to ourselves and figured the lemonade stand must have come up in conversation.

When we picked the girls up our friend explained that they were telling the girls about their sons and what they’re studying in college. When they mentioned that one was studying business Hope blurted out, “I’m sure he does NOT want to be in the Chamber of Commerce.” She hadn’t given an explanation so we told how them that she was a little peeved that these people (who are supposed to help businesses!) had not helped her out with her lemonade stand yet.

And that is where we stand. We are working on a location and date for the next lemonade stand.

Stay tuned! = )

(Oh, and there’s already a pre-order for cookies!)

the greatest lemonade stand ever

For family and friends – lately

Hello dear everybody! I thought I would share a few pictures I’ve taken recently. Sorry it’s been so long!

Big sis reads to littlest sis
Big sis reads to littlest sis
Reading on mom's bed. Hale Navy color in my bedroom - I love it!
Reading on mom’s bed. Hale Navy color in my bedroom – I love it!
Cutie pie
Cutie pie
Proud little kindergartener
Proud little kindergartener
Pigtails and favorite purple dress
Pigtails and favorite purple dress
Can't stay inside on such a nice day
Can’t stay inside on such a nice day
Crawling
Crawling

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Got it!
Got it!
Spring wreath!
Spring wreath!
Sisters
Sisters
More about this on Monday!
More about this on Monday!

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See ya next time!

 

Tuesdays, Tuesdays

I have to ask: does anyone find it easy to be distracted on Tuesday?

via Getty Images
via Getty Images

For your sake, I hope not; for my sake, I hope so because that would make me feel better.

Monday you’re coming off the refreshment of Sunday, or possibly in recovery mode from Sunday. (for me it’s usually a combination of both) It’s easy to focus, to make a list, to engage the children…

…and then Tuesday comes and it’s just not there anymore. I make excuses, I get distracted, I don’t accomplish very much and then I feel horrible.

It was just a few weeks ago that I noticed this pattern and began wondering if it happens to anyone else.

So please, share your thoughts! Have you noticed certain days of the week that are more of a struggle than others? Certain times of the day? Have you developed any strategies to combat this?

Right now I’m simply in the recognition phase. So I try to think on Monday night what I can do to be more ready and try to be more aware of the temptation to lose focus throughout the day.

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to leave this time management hiccup for the next inevitable one. = )

Btw, I wrote this last week and true to form Monday was great! I’m setting this to post tomorrow (Tuesday) and hoping for the best. = )