Daybook

Outside my window… the sun is shining and the weather is changing.  Our evenings and early mornings are becoming cooler and the day time highs are in the 80’s.  There is nothing better than opening the windows and enjoying the fresh air this time of year.

I am thinking… about all the things that need to be done.  It seems like I’m always so busy thinking about things that need doing that I forget to stop and just be present in the moment.  This past week was long for us at home and filled with many divergences from our usual routine and the list of things to be done each day was impressive.  It’s easy to just keep pushing through, to get one more thing done off that list, but by Thursday evening I saw the look on Alex’s face that said “I’ve had enough and I need a rest” and the pure joy on his face when I let him stay up a little late so we could snuggle in bed and read all about deadly creatures was worth all the things that didn’t get done the rest of that night.

I am remembering… a fun visit with the grandparents last month.  We ventured a bit out from Austin to the lovely little town of Fredericksburg to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War.  Alex came home interested in all things World World II.

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I am thankful… for the little things in life.  Being able to get up each morning and prepare for the day ahead.  Being able to cook up healthy, home cooked meals for my family.  Being able to work from home so I don’t have to travel in Austin traffic or spend time commuting.  Being able to educate my child in an environment where he can question, argue, learn and grow without being ridiculed, teased, or bullied.  Being able to pick up the slack, being organized enough to get it all done, and being able to see the joy in just being able.

In the kitchen… simple meals to make life easier.  I go back and forth so much these days on what types of foods to eat and what types of things to restrict in my diet to help with some of my food sensitivities.  It’s a very fine line to walk between balancing health and sanity when it comes to making to meals from scratch, staying within a budget, and not spending every moment in the kitchen.

I am looking forward to… cooler weather and the approaching holiday season.

From the schoolroom… Jamestown.  This week we are focused on the Virginia Company and the settlement of Jamestown.  We are also learning a bit about Leonardo da Vinci, world history, plenty of grammar, math and spelling. Last week we attended our first play, Charlotte’s Web, at the Zach Scott Theatre with our field trip group, Joyful Journeys.  A few weeks ago Alex experimented with some volcanic activity after painting some volcanoes from a science kit.

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I am still reading… my way through Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola and really enjoying the little bits of nature study wisdom woven into the story.

I am wearing… jeans and a light blue t-shirt.

One of my favorite quotes: “Learning is not attained by change, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” Abagail Adams

One of my favorite things… mismatched socks. 40 pairs of mismatched socks.

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A peak into my day… 

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Daybook

Outside my window… it’s dark and quiet.  I can hear the hum of the dehumidifier and a meow from Gracie every now and then.  It’s a peaceful, happy end to a long, busy day.

I am remembering… Alex walking into the kitchen last night with the “mark of the dragon” on his forehead, which he had drawn with a marker.  And if that wasn’t enough, because he is so immersed in How to Train Your Dragon right now, he added more marks to his chest and arms and proudly marched off declaring that now he looked like Hiccup.

I am thankful… for the voice of my sister on the other end of the line.  Some days it just idle chatter, other days it’s deep, meaningful discussions, but whether it’s a two minute “I just have to tell you real quick…” or an hour long “I don’t know what to do about this…” it always makes my heart feel happy to hear her voice and know she is just a phone call away.

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In the kitchen… strawberry vanilla jam. And tomorrow the start of our ginger bug for making homemade, fermented soda.

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I am looking forward to… seeing our animal friends at Pioneer Farms again.  After a break this summer a new spot opened up for us in the evenings.  We’ve really missed spending time with the donkeys, chickens, rabbits, horses and pig and walking the dusty trails that are reminiscent of a time long past.  It feels adventurous to step out of our modern life for a couple hours and getting a chance to immerse ourselves in the simple joys of farm life.

From the schoolroom… We finished up Christopher Columbus last week and have a week off before we return to study Jamestown for the next six weeks.

I am reading… Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola.  Stacie has been after me for a while to read it and although I am only a few chapters into it, it has definitely been a fun and delightful read so far, as promised. And, my hold at the library finally came through last night and I started The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.

I am wearing… my favorite comfy clothes in the world…black capris, a burgundy t-shirt, and my zip-up sweatshirt.  Yes, a sweatshirt.  In Texas.  In September.

One of my favorite things… crossing off my checklist.

A peak into my day… 

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Daybook

Outside my window… a whole flock of doves and a few small house finches snatching up the last little bits of bird seed for the evening.  August has been unusually mild this year and we’ve had more rain than in past years.  It’s nice to look out on a green lawn and wildflowers still blooming in Alex’s garden.

I am remembering… our past year volunteering at Pioneer Farms.

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I am thankful… for audio books. Alex always has at least five or six on loan from the library and he carries his Kindle with him faithfully wherever he goes so he can listen to stories while he plays.

In the kitchen… nothing.  We have been working our way through stuff sitting on the pantry shelves for a while now and we’re getting close to not having enough to make a decent tasting meal.  Time for meal planning and a grocery list!

From the garden… It wasn’t our best harvest this year, but it certainly wasn’t our worst.  We had quite a few butternut squash early in the season along with green beans galore.  But Alex’s one tomato plant was the star of this season.  It outgrew three tomato cages and ended up being cut back four times before it finally gave up growing more tomatoes!

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From the schoolroom… Second grade is finally underway and we have embarked upon a slightly different path this year.  I’m not sure how well I’m adjusting, but it seems to work well with Alex’s learning style.  He is really enjoying the focus on history this year but he still asks every day if we will be studying more about animals.

I am reading… Wizard’s First Rule, again.  I remember why I loved the Sword of Truth books the first time around.  I am also reading Serena for book club and wondering why I keep turning the pages, but I do.  And I am reading Fablehaven to see if it is something Alex would enjoy as he gets older.

I am looking forward… to camping as the weather cools down.  Our last experience left everyone a bit frustrated after attempting to take all three dogs, so we are going to try again minus the two small dogs and possibly minus the big one too!

One of my favorite things… bedtime reading with Alex.  We are almost done with Ember Falls.  As soon as the audio is available I can look forward to listening to it over and over and over again!

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Daybook

Outside my window: the sun is out and the weather is warming up quickly…signs of Spring are everywhere!

I am remembering: our trip to the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo this week with our friends Karen and Paul.  I’ve never seen a pig race before, but it was hilarious!  Alex’s favorite part of course was the petting zoo.

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I am thankful: that I can share a coffee with my Mom at our favorite local coffee shop Dazzle Coffee every once in a while on a day when I really need a break!

In the kitchen: homemade strawberry jam.  I finally canned my first batch of homemade jam – and it was so good I’m not sure I will ever buy store-bought again.  We’ve been living off Aunt Stacie’s jam for a while now…I decided it was finally time to try my own.

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From the garden: more sugar snap peas…they are literally overflowing in the garden.  They grew right through every freeze we had all winter long and when I went out to finally pull them today so we could start prepping for our spring garden, I realized they were still growing!

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From the Schoolroom: We spent some time the past couple of weeks studying and reading about Saint Patrick and the history of Saint Patrick’s Day.  Here are a few things Alex enjoyed most.

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One of my favorite things: Sunny, Texas days.  It took Alex less than 10 minutes to fall asleep tonight after playing outside all afternoon.  I think that’s a record!

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Daybook

Outside my window: it’s dark, but Alex still isn’t asleep.  Daylight Savings Time always throws off our routine.

I am remembering: the pure joy on Alex’s face when our guide at the Austin Aquarium Field Trip asked him if he wanted to hold a big red-tailed boa all by himself.  “Mommy, it was really heavy!” he told me afterwards.  That moment alone was worth the entire trip.  But it was so much fun to watch him constantly work his way to the front of the group so he could hear everything that was said.  For a talkative six-year old, he was surprisingly quiet during all the right moments.  He even raised his hand to ask a question (first time he has had to do that!).

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I am thankful: for bedtime.  My day is filled with so much activity and so many demands that I value the quiet time that comes with sleep more than I ever have before.

I am creating: organization out of the chaos.  When you live in the same place for ten years, it is easy to hide stuff away and before you know it, it seems to take on a life of its own!  I’m busy cleaning up and cleaning out.  I’ll do a little now, a little later and maybe one day it will all get done.

In the kitchen: Leftover Pioneer Woman’s Beef Pot Roast.  Simple, but good-for-what-ails-you food.

From the Schoolroom: Magic Tree House Leprechaun in Late Winter and the companion facts book as we get ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

One of my favorite things: Watching the boys work together on a project.  In this case, we stopped by Home Depot early on Saturday morning and it happened to be the first Saturday of the month – kid’s program day!

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Daybook

Outside my window: It’s overcast and dreary…again.  And cold weather is on its way later this week.  Cold as in icy, freezing rain and below 32 degrees temperatures.  In March.  In Texas.  This has been such a strange winter.

I am remembering: Alex’s sixth birthday and how much fun he had with his cousins at the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels.  We offered him a birthday party, but he declined and said he would prefer to see the snakes with Joseph, William and Andrew.  The excitement and joy on his face when they arrived was worth the trip and he went to bed that night tired (which almost never happens to him no matter how busy he is during the day) but so happy.

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I am thankful: for Motherhood and the forced growing pains that go along with it.  And for all the long nights and endless days of trying to figure it all out.  It isn’t easy.  But it is the ultimate definition of “worth it”.

I am creating: School plans for our next year.  I’m sorting through what we have used so far, what we like and don’t like, and what we want to try this next year.  It can be very overwhelming to realize how many options are actually available!

In the kitchen: a crazy mess with this Whole30 plan.  I feel like I’ve been living in the kitchen.  I’m in there from sun-up to sun-down with short journeys to the schoolroom to teach and the laundry room to fold laundry.  Beyond that, I have cut more vegetables, planned more meals, done more grocery shopping than I can ever remember doing before.  It has consumed my entire life lately.  One week into it, and I am officially dropping out.  I realized during this week that while this is supposed to make life better, it was creating more stress than I was ready to accept for changes in my diet.  While I applaud all those who attempt and those who complete a Whole30, it is not for me.  Back to our Paleo meals for us.

From the Schoolroom: Finally past the half-way point, and continuing along happily with our studies.  We have a field trip this Friday to the Austin Aquarium with our FISCHE group that Alex is super-excited about.

I am reading: Whispers Along the Rail by Judith Miller (because I can never pass up a good romance), and The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.

One of my favorite things: Reading with Alex.  He loves to read and devours just about any book he finds laying around, although given the choice, he most often will choose a book about snakes or reptiles to sit and read.  We’ve had a lot of fun reading Harry Potter, The Happy Hollisters, and Geronimo Stilton – Kingdom of Fantasy books so far this year during our school reading time.

I am reminiscing: about having one of these when I was a kid too.

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Daybook

Outside my window: It’s overcast and dreary…we’ve had so much rain lately.  I feel like I shouldn’t complain, but I would be happy for winter to move on and the Texas sun to shine again, even if it means hot weather.

I am remembering: What the early, early years with a little one are like, and while I am thankful for those moments and all the memories that go with them, I find so many joys in these days of school-aged adventures and boyhood marvels.

I am thankful: For a husband who cares more about keeping the peace than he does about what color I paint the walls.  Or what decorations I decide I like.  Or even if I might put up flowery curtains in the kitchen.  He just nods and says, “it looks nice, Dear.”

I am creating: Lesson plans for Lent.  Usually I have a million ideas of things I want to do when I sit down to work on lesson plans, but not this time.  I want something simple, but engaging for a six year old boy.  Time to do some wandering through the online world of Catholic homeschooling resources.

In the kitchen: Good, old-fashioned, homemade bone broth.  It’s so easy.  And once you make your own, you’ll never go back to store-bought again!

I am reading: It Starts with Food and getting ready to start the Whole30 Program later this month.  I’ve dabbled in Paleo for several years now and find the benefits to be well-worth the effort.  This time I’m ready to get rid of the sugar and break the comfort-food dependency.  I’m also finishing up The Hobbit for the third time.  I feel like it is one of those books you just can’t read too many times.

Around the house: I am done painting the kitchen. I. am. done.  It was a lot of work, but I love the change.  And change is good when you realize after years of moving you have finally been settled in one place for ten years.  Our house is ten years old!  Where has the time gone?

One of my favorite things: Watching nature with Alex.  And watching Alex watch nature.  And watching nature watch Alex.  You get the picture.

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Daybook

Outside my window…it’s still hot, even though September is here.  Every year I convince myself that September brings cooler weather, and every year I remember that I live in Texas, and cooler weather is still weeks away.
 
I am thinking…about school plans and how much we thrive on the structure that fills our days during the school year.
 
I am thankful…for a little boy who loves reading and learning and exploring and all the things that make the early years so memorable.
 
In the kitchen…pizza.  It’s easy.  It’s been a long day, and I still have a couple hours of work.  Pizza just sounds good tonight.
 
I am wearing…my Seattle Mariners shirt and my favorite pair of Eddie Bauer capris.  Comfort at it’s best!
 
I am creating…a Fall vegetable garden.  Hopefully it grows!
 
I am wondering…why Alex seems to have as much energy at dinner time as he has when he wakes up in the morning.
 
I am reading…Cesar’s Rules and Tell Your Time.
 
I am hoping…for rain.  The long, hot days of August have dried out everything and cracks are showing up everywhere!
 
I am looking forward to…Autumn.  I love everything about Autumn…the colors, the cooler weather, pumpkins and cinnamon…festivals and harvesting.  It just makes me happy and brings back so many childhood memories.
 
Around the house…games of chase and laughter of a little boy doing what he loves most.
 
I am pondering…motherhood.  Remembering what life was like before, and thinking about what life is like now.  I am forever amazed at just how much one little person can change.
 
One of my favorite things…listening to Alex talking with his cousins down in Corpus (via Skype) about everything and anything that interests them at that moment.  It fills the house with the sounds of little ones hard at work with their imaginations!
 
A few plans for the rest of the week: Making butter, painting the paper mache globe, and planting the garden.
 
A peek into my day…
 
 
 
 
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