Saturday, September 22, 2018

7 Quick Takes -- Welcome Fall!

1) Tomatoes

Peter likes to play with tomatoes. He likes to eat them, too!

We didn't get the big garden as we wanted this year. But I did plant three tomato plants. And I had so little faith, I didn't even cage two of them. Well, thanks to all the rain this year we have tomatoes coming out of our ears. But thankfully many of us like them. Next year we might have to learn that canning thing. 😃

I have no idea what went wrong with this tomato.

2) New Vacuum

Since we are fully solar power here, being able to use things on battery power is very helpful. That way we can charge the batteries when we have excess power (in the afternoons when it is super sunny) and use that power during the low power times (evening and night). I splurged on this Ridgid cordless shop vac (since Gordie already has several Ridgid brand batteries for his power tools).This has been a game changer here. Granted the batteries don't run long -- vacuums take a lot of power! But thankfully we have several batteries and I mostly just vacuum a little chunk at a time.

3) Park fun

We remembered a lost loved one at the park a few weeks ago and had some silly fun while we were there.

4) Rebekah made her schedule.

This girl makes me smile. She is so much like her mom and so organized!

5) Rebekah made these awesome costumes.

For Star Wars day at Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Rebekah made these costumes for the tortoises. They are Millennium Tortoise and Darth Turtle.

6) Breaking in the stove.

We finally used our new range for it's inaugural marshmallow roasting. (A must for all gas stoves -- or even electric for that matter!) Everyone enjoyed the results.

7) Food.

Rebekah made this yummy breakfast for me!

Rebekah has told me she wants to eat Whole 30. She did a round with me a while back after complaining her stomach was hurting from all the candy and fast food she had been eating. She is not exactly sticking to all the rules, but eating protein and lots of veggies at every meal. And bonus, she often cooks for me, as well, as she knows I like to eat this way, but it is just too expensive and time consuming to feed a non-grain, non-dairy diet to all the kiddos.


I picked up a cheap carpet at Wal-mart (the one on the left -- the right carpet has been with us for years) and it is actually really cool. It has this neat texture to it. Everyone approves, as you can see in this picture that reveals what a great parent I am. 😀 -- Actually Miriam is doing a phonics game here, so there is that. But yep, it's screen time. Happens to all of us.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

7 Quick Takes -- Continued Life in Our New Home

1) Peter loves to be outside.

His first words often in the morning are, "I go outside?" And after I tell him yes, he happily clamors out the door.

2) I mowed a path.

Apparently we can mow some of our land, even though it is in CRP. So I have. We now have a bit of a walking trail. The kids ride it on bikes (some -- it's tough!) or I walk it. It's not amazing, as there is no shade, but it makes me happy. I hope to make it longer, all the way to the creek, but it is slow going with our elderly mower.

3) We started putting up a fence.

A friend gifted us with some left-over fence so we decided to put it to good use. Unfortunately it was not quite enough to cover the area we planned. We picked up a bit more to finish, but ran out of time. Still, it's looking good, I think.

4) The storage container/storm shelter is almost ready.

The storage container is now solidly anchored and Gordie has begun welding the door frame for the metal door (seen below, resting against the shipping container). Hopefully he can find some time to finish it up soon.

5) Our pallet porches were giving us splinters.

After some wear and tear, our pallet porches were turning a bit rough. And since we are a barefoot family most of the time, that was causing a problem. But I found some left-over primer and now we have bright, cheery white boards that no longer leave remnants in our poor tootsies.

6) We had a good time at the museum on Tuesday.

I'm not sure if it will amount to anything, but some people filmed my children enjoying various parts of the museum last Tuesday. It was loads of fun for the kids. Then Thea showed us her "friends." I had never seen a vinegaroon before and she even let us hold it!

The vinegaroon, held by Zipporah.

Rebekah is helping Peter hold a baby mouse.

7) In case you missed the announcement on Facebook, we are expecting another in late January 2019. Hooray! 😀

Here Comes the School Work!

Classes for Lawrence Virtual School Middle School students begin next week, so I guess that's when school technically "starts." But I received an e-mail on Wednesday of this week saying it was the first day of school! I promptly e-mailed Rebekah's teacher back, apologizing that Rebekah was volunteering at the museum all day, so she would not be online at all. Her teacher promptly replied that "nothing is happening today." -- Well, why call it the first day of school then?!?! Some things are silly.

Thursday and Friday Rebekah and Samuel had orientation stuff. Lots of presentations on different aspects of virtual school -- everything from how the online platforms work to what the classes would cover. Fortunately Rebekah is a veteran of two years to this, so she has it covered. Samuel was more interested in starting his coursework (which he did) than all the talk. But they both spent much time both days doing schooly things.

As for Jacob and Paul, other than Science, their books have yet to arrive. But they don't seem to mind at all. I told them if they finish their Science by Halloween I will buy them a new board game. -- I know, I'm a great teacher. 😁

Miriam's books are here. She is doing the traditional curriculum from K12 (Jacob ad Paul are doing an optional curriculum called iReady). Miriam's work will be more computer heavy. But I think it will fit her well. We've done a few things and she's enjoyed things thus far.

So without further ado, here's our traditional start of the school year photos.

Summer Birthdays

This happens every year. The end of summer rolls around and I've missed blogging about our summer birthdays, so here they are.

Zipporah - June - 4 yrs

* Zipporah is figuring things out. She loves to comment on EVERYTHING. I can almost see the wheels in her brain spinning.

* She has a sensitive side. She can be shy when we go places she has not been or meets new people. And she absolutely despises strange restrooms and automatic flush toilets.

* Zipporah is very "girly." She likes to wear skirts and dresses. She pays a lot of attention to clothing and shoes.

* She is probably one of my least picky eaters. She still asks for peppers, onions, and tomatoes from my plate (a taste her older siblings seem to have outgrown).

* Zipporah can be incredibly strong willed. And in a battle of stubbornness, you will not beat her. But she can also be kind and compassionate. I never quite know when she will switch from defiant to sweet, but it can happen.

* She loves to color and draw. Her writing skills (pencil grasp and such) are phenomenal.

Dear God, thank you for our spunky Zipporah. Please keep her heart on fire for your will to be done in all things. I ask this in Jesus' name. -Amen.

Rebekah - July - 13 yrs

* Rebekah likes to craft and sew. She is always up for making creative gifts from scratch.

She is a bookworm and reads books faster than some people breathe. Her favorite series right now is Ranger's Apprentice. And she'd like to travel to Australia and meet the author. But she better hurry, I believe he's in his 70's now!

Rebekah told she is interested in learning how to fix cars and write code (just like her daddy).

She loves to collect things, like shells or pretty rocks -- really almost anything. She is currently building a small shed to keep her "pretties" in.

Rebekah is dependable, loyal, and trustworthy. She always gets the job done. And she is an amazing blessing to our family. 

May God continue to bless you, dear Rebekah, as you grow into a young lady of wisdom and grace. -- Amen.

Jacob - August - 10 yrs

* Jacob is a gentle giant. He does not like conflict, though he does like to be playful. Unfortunately with his size, play often turns rough. But he has a heart of gold.

He is almost taller than his almost two year older brother (Samuel) and his feet have been bigger than Samuel's for a couple years now.

* Jacob also loves to read. He is content to sit with his books for hours. Which is most entertaining because back when he was learning to read, he told us he didn't want to learn. We told him he would love it once he knew how. He said, fine, he would learn, just to prove us wrong. He actually took back his words about proving us wrong and thanked us for teaching him to read! (Yes, we love to tell this story, you've probably heard it before.)

* He is smart, but not motivated. Mom often has to bribe, bargain, threaten, or take away toys/privileges to get him to complete his schoolwork in a timely manner.

* Jacob still has a thing for turtles. Not sure where that started, but they are an animal he loves, be it stuffed, real, or artwork. Turtles are his jam.

Dear God, thank you for Jacob and his gentle but immense presence in our lives. Please keep him ever close to your heart. -- Amen

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

7 Quick Takes -- Picture style

1) Samuel is growing up.

Samuel cut this giant pallet apart. Actually, there were two this size, I believe left-over from when we received the parts of the Versatube shed (ahem, "house") we now live in. These were monster pallets and incredibly solid. Samuel proudly chopped them into pieces that fit in the truck and helped me haul and load them up.

2) Brotherly Love

With the big kids (Rebekah and Samuel) gone to archery camp, Peter had to find other playmates. (Rebekah and Samuel often are his secondary care-givers when I'm busy. He even calls Rebekah, "Rebekah Mommy" sometimes. 😊) I was not expecting this partnership. But he and Jacob enjoyed the outdoors this evening.

3) Pallet Porch

As I've said before, we are hoping this little shed house is temporary and we are able to build something larger, at a different location on our land. So it's hard to make it home without going crazy right now. But in any case, we have been sorely in need of a deck over this dirt. It's been raining like crazy and muddy several days in a row. Well, thanks to Mommy and Samuel cutting and transporting service, we now have "pallet porches" at both doors. This way we can exit safely to the grass when it is muddy. And bonus, the kids love to play on them.

4) I have some of the best friends.

This could alternately be -- I look psycho in this picture. But in any case, I thank God for all these great Catholic mothers who are sharing this journey of life with me. I am so incredibly blessed.

5) Gordie said to buy chairs.

So we had some folding camp chairs in the garage. But when I was going through the garage with Gordie, deciding what to keep and what to toss, the chairs didn't make the keep list. So being the obedient wife, I disposed of them, the next day, actually -- all the way to the dump.

The day after that, Gordie asks me, "those chairs I told you to throw away. Did you really throw them away?" Haha. Well, guess who needed some seating while helping with a Cub Scout event that day? So being the good wife that I am, I went to buy more chairs. But you can't just buy any old chair. We had to test them out. (Yes, we have a "people of Wal-mart" side to us. 😊)

6) Toys

We don't have a lot of space for toys in our little house. So the ones we have accessible (not currently stored in tubs in the shipping container) have been chosen wisely. And as much as I dislike having toys out and about, it did make me happy to see this set-up today. I like that we have space here for the kids to spread out like this and make crazy games and creations.

And earlier, during "quiet time" Jacob and Paul had made up a game (with many of the pieces you see here) and they kept asking me when quiet time would be over so they could wake up Miriam to play it with them!

7) It's the little things.

The children wanted to make "nests" to play in. I love it when they play together.