Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, September 5, 2014

Snapshots of Our Week

First things first, this project is nearly complete!!!!!!! Can I get a yee-haw, or woo-hoo, or insert other excited-sounding sentiment here!?! This powder room turned out so, so pretty, and we saved on everything from the vanity to the flooring to the mirror, so that makes it feel even nicer! I can't wait to share the AFTER pictures with you. Soon, I promise.  =)

Doesn't everyone have an after-the-first-day-of-school tradition of getting ice cream shakes and heading to the lake? Right, just as I thought. (ps- the heat wave is still here, and we are melting more now than we did all summer kidding!)

Okay, just had to toss this one in. Kills me. Hard at work, which, apparently, is an extremely messy endeavor.  ;)

This was one of our favorite activities this week. Any guesses? And don't let the snorkel throw you, we were heading to a trail by the river afterward.

We were reading about Noah's Ark in one of our new Bible history books and we (I) decided to have these guys measure out the length and width of the ark somewhere. Their materials were: yarn, scissors, tape measure, duct tape and imagination. The length reached our neighbor's house at the end of the street, and the width was over three times the length of our house! I thought it best to leave the 45 foot height out of the project for safety's sake, ha ha.

Enjoying a midday schooling break.

This view made me smile the other night. That rock wall garden in the background has hundreds of hours of blood, sweat and tears invested into it. Totally worth it, right??

And lastly, my baby went and turned into a full-fledged second grader. Mean girl. She is loving her class and her new teacher! Here she is modeling a skirt I made her- I posted more of her outfits on the Rose and Ruffle blog here if you want to take a look.

Tomorrow is my husband's and my 17th anniversary. 17 years! How did we get so old?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Goals, Good Books and Making Plans

I'm like so many others who view September as the month of beginnings, much more so than January. The year has always begun for me as soon as school gets back in session, and it's permanently ingrained in my teacher's mind/heart. So...Happy New Year? =) Every so often I like to record some goals and plans, kind of "write out loud." This is one of those kinds of posts, so either A. sorry! or B. you're welcome! (Because I like to read about other Mama's goals/thoughts, too.)

For a long time I was guilty of reading only homeschool-related things, and without any balance in that area, it began to consume me. That's never a good thing. My poor mind (and planner's heart) needed a break! I forced myself to pick some "non-essential" books off the library shelves, and wouldn't you know, the first several were pretty awful, and then the next few were okay, but still not even worth mentioning. I guess I lost my touch about finding a good book, ha! Then I found these two:

1. My Time in France
It's Julia Child's story of her life with her husband Paul, and their time in Europe, pretty much what the movie based its info on. I loved it! She was quite witty and had such a zest for life, and it was also very much a love story- she and Paul adored one another, and I found it really inspiring for the kind of marriage I want to have. One warning: some people (my mother) were put off by the details - and there are LOTS of details! - about all the food, but I just loved it. Now I want/need to watch the movie again.

2. Trim Healthy Mamas
I have a feeling I'm one of the only women who had not heard of this book until fairly recently, and while some people may not think of it as leisure reading, I have found it really fun to read. It has also been a great source of information about nutrition from a Biblical perspective - I admit that I have never fully explored this topic in the Bible, and it is so interesting! On a recent grocery shopping trip, the clerk (who was a middle-aged man, and whose wife happens to be expecting their fifth child...I chat a lot with people, ha) asked me if I was following the advice from this particular book, based on what had just passed on the conveyor belt. That made me feel pretty good because I haven't actually begun to purchase anything differently from what I always have, just lots of veggies and fruit, lean meats and not so much in terms of breads and pastas.

I'll admit that I have read more than a dozen books about hormones, thyroids and the like in recent months because I'm on a mission to get to the bottom of some of my issues, but that wouldn't count for "fun reading" so... Oh, and I did really like The Hormone Cure by Sara...oops, can't remember, but the book is great!

My biggest goal by far is to get back in the habit of devotions/reading my Bible. I don't know why I go through seasons like this where I simply don't feel like doing it. My guess is that I need better materials, and I haven't made as big an effort in finding them, which of course is just an excuse. I want us to also do more in the name of Christ. We will continue to make brown bag lunches to hand out to the homeless, and I've got some other ideas swirling around that I'd like to plan out and see through, but there are many opportunities to reach out. I want my children to love to help others, and I have to admit that I have had a grumbling spirit recently. If there's something in it for me, great; otherwise, never mind... that has to change!

My second goal is school-related. I want to bring the boys to all of the neat historical sites/places in our area, such as Boston and Lexington, and make plans to visit at least two other farther-away places sometime this fall.

My third goal relates to organization. Any busy Mom needs to be organized, but now that school happens inside my house, I find that I need to step it up. I need everything to go to...a place, someplace, and not the kitchen table! I've had some successes on this mission, but I still have a ways to go to work the kinks out. I think I've also become lazy with things like laundry and my ever-present little piles of stuff, and it kind of wears me down. A cluttered home = a cluttered mind. That won't do. I want to wake up energized and ready for a new day, not sucked back into yesterday because I haven't finished taking care of things that should already be done.

What to do? I'm going to find some new Bible study materials. I wish our church did more studies because I'd love to join up, but they don't seem to (which has been a big, not-so-great surprise since joining). I'm also going to do a little research into some trips and actually put them on the calendar. That's the hardest part for me! What if the weather isn't good, the kids get sick, I get sick? Of course there are also soccer and gymnastics schedules to tackle. But, trips don't happen if they don't get planned, and I need to get better at this. Lastly, I have already added some storage to our main work area - the dining room - and need to find a good system for folders and papers and such.

Of course since I'm dying to put out some fall decor and light up my pumpkin spice candle, we've had temps into the 90s here all week. Maybe that's the perfect pause button moment I need to get things in order and then be perfectly ready for Fall when the cooler weather does come. A good sweat is good for the soul, you know.  =)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Trip to the Stone Zoo

I can't believe we're at Week Two already! Isabelle adores her teacher, and there are so many interesting things I'm doing with the boys right now, I truly do wake up excited about what each day has in store for us.

A few weeks ago, when Ethan was playing soccer with the Big Boys at a local college, we revisited the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA. It's really small, but the people there are extremely knowledgeable and you can tell how much they love all of "their" animals. That makes such a difference to me. It was threatening rain, which made me a little nervous- just because it makes walking around outside with a camera not so much fun- but we risked it and it worked out just fine. Whew! It was also special to me because I remember the first time we went there about five years ago- one of our very first outings as a family of six! Seems like it was just last week and a whole lifetime ago all at the same time.

Look how tiny they are!!

I remember it all like it was just yesterday!

It's so funny those things we remember, but I specifically remember that these were the very last set of matching outfits that my boys wore. I had purchased a nice trio of polo shirts from Gymboree for them for that fall, but they went and grew, and then the sizes weren't right. And by that point, they weren't really interested in matching anymore. Well, they may not have matched, but they stayed coordinated, let me tell you.  ;)

They were so sweet to do this for me...
5 years later

Okay, so Jonah and Caleb are on opposite sides. No worries!
This photo is probably more telling of how they really felt about this. ha ha

They had a hard time dragging me away from the big cats.
I love me some big cats.

This little cutie kept coming over to my little cutie, trying to get her attention. It was so funny!

We liked the bird husband was asked to be a volunteer, and one of the birds retrieved a soda can from him to go toss in the recycle box. HA

These guys are so majestic and powerful looking as they soar overhead. Up close, I think they're just kind of creepy.

Like a mad scientist or something. Well, I wouldn't want to get in his way.

You gotta have the ol' flamingo pic. Apparently my children know how this works, and I do not. You really have to stick your face in there!

More kitties.

Oh, this cat kept ogling me. She liked me. A lot.  =)

This handsome fella was completely bored with his admirers. Or simply making fun of them by sticking out his tongue every few minutes.

 This guy came over to say hello.

Look how much bigger they all are! Not fair! Where did my babies go?!?!?

Aaaaaaand, back to the big cats. There were two in here, and they kept pouncing on each other, and then one would rub all over this log. And of course the other would have to come and rub all over it to replace the scent. Back and forth they went- it was so cute! They are absolutely gorgeous in person! Breaks my heart to think of all these beautiful animals being killed for their coats. Just say no to fur!!!

Okay, the morning is marching on and I've got a healthy breakfast to make...I've also got my hands on a new health/nutrition book which has been making me feel great, so I'll share about that soon. Have a great day!!

If you want to see what I'm up to on a more regular basis, you can find me on instagram HERE.  =)
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