Monday, September 21, 2015


We thought we'd go ahead and add "homeschooling" 
to that little sidebar list of how we're a little weird.

Homeschooling is the best choice-
for our family-
right now.

We've only been doing it for about 5 minutes,
(just over a month)
but so far, we love it!

Here's what our days kind of look like:

That's our little dining room/school area. We don't spend a ton of time there, though.

Sensory science with a blacklight,


practicing Hebrew with Daddy,

and more science.

Sorting, counting, and weighing bears,

and an impromptu playdate with a friend- making trophies.

Writing and mailing letters,

 picking veggies from a very generous friend's garden...

then making pickles.

Even more science.
(It's my favorite.)

We read Madeline and then talked about symmetry and the Eiffel tower...
then built her own.

Making her own lunch: roast beef, olives, strawberries, cheese, honey mustard.
She LOVED it and named it "Alice's famous sandwich".

LOTS of reading,

and sometimes even naps.

We also still go to the gym. 
Sometimes she goes in with the kids (crafts, games, outside play, etc.), 
sometimes we sit in the cafe and read together.
Sometimes I just need an hour of not talking. :)

My greatest goal for Alice this year is that she loves learning.
I want her to be passionate about discovering things.
I want her to always be curious about the world and know how to find out more.
I want her to learn by doing, experiencing, tasting, touching, hearing...

I love when she excitedly asks, "Mom, can we do some school now?"
(We typically do most of our one-on-one activities while the babies nap.)

She shocked me the other day when she picked up a book and started READING it!
We're going through the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons",
but we're only around 1/4 through it. 
She's excited about reading! I so, so, so want that to stick.
I'm trying really hard for it to stick; 
to keep reading fun and not a job, chore, or subject to be taught.

So, that's what we're up to most days.
It's a good fit for us. :)

Simple Homeschool has been my favorite online resource so far.
If you have other favorites, send them my way!


Dear Alice,
In a blink of an eye, 
you became a Kindergartner!

(She's enrolled in a 1 day/wk school program for homeschoolers.)

Here are some things about you at almost 5 1/2 years old:

You would wear pajamas or a costume 100% of the time, if you were allowed to do so.

You absolutely adore your little sisters.
You are helpful, patient, generous, and (almost always) kind to them.

You have insight about foster care, and our role in it, that often catches me off guard.

You love Jesus.

You are an auditory learner.
(Ex: You learned 8 Awana verses last week just by listening to the CD in the car.)

You love reading and writing.
(You are significantly less passionate about math.)

You could spend hours making art projects and building with magna-tiles.

You are very sensitive.
You can be easily hurt by friends' words and actions.
(We're working on that...and believe being sensitive is a good thing. :) )

I'm pretty sure Daddy is your favorite. 
That's okay.
He really is awesome and I hope and pray your future husband is just like him!

We absolutely adore you, sweet girl!
We love watching you grow up, but wish we could put it in slow-motion for awhile.

Love, Mama

Dear Clementine,

Oh, sweet Clementine.
You are a blessing to our little family.

You crack us up with your many expressions.

You impress us with your language.
(Things like, "More milk please, Mama?" and "No, Alice! It's mine!")

You make us proud with when you stand up for yourself
and when you get hurt, but try again.

You make us smile when you sing "Let it go",
the ABC's, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and "Ring around the Rosie". 

You frustrate me when you refuse to try new foods and barely eat any dinner.
(Though I act like it doesn't bother me.)

You melt our hearts when you give Alice big hugs when she's sad and
check on the baby when she cries.
You are a comforter.

You love to play outside.
Your favorite color is purple.
You sleep with a little bunny lovey...same one since you were born.
You love your pacifiers, but can only have them in the crib and in the car.
(And that will change soon. You've been forewarned.) 
You love playing in the childcare at the gym.
You are my sidekick...almost always right by me.
You say, "Tutu? Tutu?", every morning when it's time to get dressed.
You pooped on the potty last week. 
(I know it won't happen again for a very long time. I was just shocked you asked!)
You laid on the floor and pretended to be a snake in the middle of Home Depot:
Daddy and I laughed so hard as we remembered this and this.
(Your big sister doing the exact same thing!)

We thank Jesus for the gift we received in you!

Love, Mama


We believe Jack is over 12 years old now. 
(According to the Humane Society)
Old man.
His face is going gray,
but is still as spry as ever.

Notes from Alice

Alice was invited to go swimming with Nana.
It was her first time going without me or Ben and I was totally nervous about it.
Alice picked up on my apprehension and wrote me this note:
"I will be okay, Mom. I love you."
It's hanging in our school area now for the constant reminder. :)

"I'm sorry for waking up. Love, Alice"
This one probably needs explaining. :)
She woke up at 2am...and then woke Clementine...and they partied.
Not cool, Alice, but thanks for the funny note.

"You're the best mom in the whole world. Alice"
Awe! Thanks, Alice

Other Summery things:

I love when Alice reads to her.

Alice worked on my birthday gifts for weeks!
It was so sweet.
Her face lit up as I opened each one. :)

Horseback riding:

She also made one of those "mug cakes" all by herself.
(It was not delicious.)

Clementine rocking the swim cap:

We used to make these little bubble forts at the preschool.
The kids LOVED it!

She even fell asleep in it one day!
I'm sure there are awesome tutorials online.
In short: plastic sheeting folded and taped up on the open ends.
A slit cut for the fan. A slit for the door.
Easy peasy.


We celebrated 7 years this past June.
Every single year is better than the last.
I love our marriage.
I love that man!
I'm the luckiest.

Swim Lesson Graduate!

Earlier this summer,
Alice completed swim lessons!
She can now join "stroke school", if we choose.
I'm so proud of her!
Our goal of swim lessons was simply 
"teach her how to survive if she falls in the water".
She can swim all the way across the pool and back,
dive for objects, 
jump in, back float, swim to the side,
and do several different strokes. 
We celebrated with a Push-Pop.
I loved explaining to her how to get the ice cream out. :)

Visit adventures

Typically, when our little one has visits with her mom,
we run errands, like Costco and Trader Joes.
However, this summer,
I've been trying to take the girls on more little adventures.

Manitou Penny Arcade:

Rock Ledge Ranch: