Tuesday, December 29, 2009

" My job is to allow their feet to walk the paths of wonder..."

"... to see that they form relations to various things, so that when that habit is formed, they will carry an appreciation for nature with them throughout their lives." * Quote from Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola.

Sitting in my mama's cozy cabin watching the babes sleep on a makeshift bed made from two couches pushed together, covered with many blankets and books and dolls and trucks. I feel so thankful as I look at them sleeping. Thankful to be spending so much time with my family, thankful to be in this warm room rocking away while the rain drizzles down outside. Thankful that the babes have been sleeping so well in all of these new places. Thankful for the new library of rich and enlightening books I got for Christmas...books are such treasures to me. They inspire and inform and encourage and entertain and uplift...oh do I love them. At the moment I am reading one called, "Pocketful of Pinecones" about studying nature with your children. It is written as a fictional story of a mother who is homeschooling her children in the 1930's using the principals of Charlotte Mason. So, the book is meant to be a practical picture of what Nature Study and Mason's other ideals look like in day to day life, but is also a sweet story about a family. So far, I'm loving it. It isn't a great work of literature or anything (I'm sorry if the author happens upon this someday), but it is giving me some great ideas to remember for our future studies.

I guess I'll close for now. The warm fire is making me in a rambling mood and I could just go on forever. I'll just say that we have had several wonderful Christmas celebrations and I have just loved spending time at the Hunt's,at Anna's, at Shanyn and Tim's, at my grandparents, at JM and Tara's, at Bub and Robins, and at my mamas. Such unique and special experiences at each home we get to spend time in!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Echo D, our baby bee....

is not much of a baby anymore! My cutest niece ever turned two yesterday and we got to be at her magical Alice in Wonderland tea party! It was so much fun and, of course, so creatively prepared by her mama. I love you Echo and am so happy to be your Auntie:)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He really, really loves them...

His daddy's old toy trucks that is:) Shari has a basket full of Joel's little metal trucks from when he was young and Sam is just in truck heaven.

He eats with them and sleeps with them and plays with them all day long. It is really just so adorable and so sweet to know that Joelie loved them just the same when he was Sam's age.

All for now, Jen

She really, really loves him...

Her cousin "baby Isaac" that is:)
Sammy loves him too and is introducing him to the wonderful world of trucks,but he just isn't quite as demostrative about his love. Oh Amelia, she is an affectionate one! We are having a great time here in Texas so far. I would like to see some sunshine, but the babes had a good ol' time splashing in big puddles today with their grandpa Jim so I guess I won't complain:) Hope you all are well and enjoying this holiday season wherever you are! Jen

Monday, December 14, 2009

Swirling colors...

As the snow is piled up outside, we chose to have a art filled morning inside! We were equipped with new paint from IKEA and an art cabinet that I finally pulled together last night in order to have supplies ready and waiting for use. Oh how this cabinet makes me excited for future homeschooling days:) I just love organized learning supplies! Anyway, they had a fabulous time swirling paint and telling each other, "Oh, good job." I overheard that they were painting planes, rainbows, rockets, and cats.

They were very messy afterwards and so I plopped them in a bubble bath and started folding some laundry (yes, we fly out tomorrow for Texas and yes I should be packing that laundry and yes I am procrastinating:). I went over to the tub to scrub them and Sam said, "Get out of the bafroom!" What?! Um, what?! I knew the day was coming when they would want to play without mama getting in the way, but up till now they ALWAYS wanted me near them. To the point where I would complain about it and say that they were not very independent and wondered aloud if they would cling to me forevermore. Why do we always want what we don't have? We do we always want the next stage to come and then so often wish we could go back? They have been playing so much on their own the past couple of weeks. With their cars and blocks and animals and such. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Growing up before our eyes.

All for now. The next post will probably be from Texas (where it better be getting warmer for my arrival:), Jen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ready or not...

Winter is here. Winter is here and every year that we have lived in SLC, I get the same feeling. Dread. Dread of being indoors, of feeling cooped up with two energetic children who are happiest when outdoors. But, again, I have a choice to make. I can choose to worry and fret and dread and feel sad, OR I can appreciate the beauty and get creative about indoor activities and spend a little more time planning our days. I really do set the tone for our days, and the past week or so the tone has been pretty grumpy around here. Snow is sticking and we have been under the weather and, in the worst of times, there has been lots of whining, crying, growling, and picking on each other. But, there have been sweet times as well. I captured some of them and want to remember that there is always joy to be found, no matter the weather!

So, here are some of our best moments this past week:
Venturing out to a friend's house (though we pretty promptly turned around and came home when the whining/crying continued in their house:)

Made a big tent and played in and around it for a very long time.

Made gingerbread cookies--yum, yum:) We also made peppermint, red and green play-doh today!

Practiced skills like pouring their own milk:)

Read lots and lots of Christmas books and sang Christmas songs....precious times!

So, I know it isn't even officially winter yet, but it is for us and these are the memories and quality times I want to keep having together. I know there will be frustration and challenges and that I will be ready for sunshiney days for sure, but I don't want to miss out on the beauty. It's there to found every day, Jen

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sammy Settles in...

There has been lots of movie watching these past few days with everyone around here feeling yucky:( I walked in today to find that Sam had arranged this little set-up with the stools all by himself. He was a little close to the screen, but looked so comfy with his legs crossed and snacks and water set up, I just left him there!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Glimpses of our days...

Here are some video clips of the past month. November was really so mild and beautiful...ahhhh. I did leave in Sammy starting to melt down to confirm for you that it isn't all sunshine and granola over here all the time:) Anyway, enjoy!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Who made it?"

This is the question Amelia asked as she tried on a new hat I bought today. "Ummm, looks like someone in Peru made it", I answered while thinking what a surprising question that was. Then I smiled as I thought about it and realized that so many things that are special to her were hand-made by people in our family. Their barn and several chairs and trucks and other toys were made by their Grandpa Jim, Grandma Shari embroidered a special pillow case for Amelia and shirt for Sam, she cuddles with a blanket made by her Mammy, her Auntie Tara has made them all kinds of goodness...the list goes on (but does not include their mama--boo!). Anyway, it makes me happy to think that in her mind, "things" are made by people she knows and loves. It's something I hope to keep as a reality as much as possible. Not only with "stuff", but with food as well. Because really, it's a question we should all ask, isn't it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For these three blessings...

and many others, I am truly, daily thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Jen

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shhhhhh, don't tell Sammy...

but he is getting a train set from his great granny and papa for Christmas! Do you think he's gonna love it?

I can't get enough of that little voice saying, "Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mama said there'd be days like this...

It started with Sammy figuring out how to peel a banana, and peeling about eight of them and smushing them into carpet, hiding them, eating parts of them and leaving other parts elsewhere...all before mama and daddy even woke up!

Then nap time. Let me back up and say we are trying something new at nap and bedtime. No more rocking:( It was taking hours, Sammy started waiting until Amelia fell asleep and then wanting to be rocked but would not fall asleep...uggg. It was frustrating us all, and yet was so sweet at times and I already miss it:( So, I went Supernanny on Amelia last night and took her back to her bed about 50 times before she finally fell asleep around 11:30pm snuggled up next to Sam.

So, nap time today. At the end of two hours in their room, I thought they were so quiet they must have finally fallen asleep. Nope. They were playing with poop. I won't go into details, but it was not for the faint of heart. When I saw the crime scene I burst into tears. It was a bit melodramatic, but what can I say, I was really tired. I shoo them downstairs while I start cleaning their room.

They are really quiet for a while. I get scared. I go downstairs to find them COVERED in chocolate milk powder. It is all over the kitchen floor, cabinet, and themselves. Chocolate is smeared all over their faces. I laugh, because they do look really cute and guilty and what else can I do? Then I see Amelia's feet. They have poop all over them:( I took her upstairs and stripped her down and she immediatley peed on my sweater (that I had ripped off b/c my body heat went way up when I saw poop all over their room).

We get out of the house. We drive to the airport to watch the planes. We laugh and talk and start to feel better. We come home and I write this cathartic post while they stick sticky notes all over the fridge and color pumpkins with markers.

I look forward to an early bedtime so that I can work on a talk about hospitality I am supposed to give on Friday. Our house smells like cat food (?!) and poop and really doesn't feel like an inspiring place to think about hospitality, but beyond the smell there is laughter and there is forgiveness (on their end and mine) and there is hope for better days, and I think that is what home is all about.

Thanks for being a listening ear on this craaaazy day:) Jen

Though this picture is obviously "old", I feel exactly like this right now:)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moments of wonder...

The other day it was snowing pretty heavily when Amelia came downstairs from her nap. She excitedly exclaimed about the snow and snuggled up next to me on the couch to watch it. I started singing a song and she asked me to sing a different song, "bout snow". All I could think of was "White Christmas" and so I started singing it. I looked over at her a minute later and she was looking up at me with the cutest expression of wonder I have ever seen. Her eyebrows were arched, her eyes were wide and she was trying not to show the smile waiting to burst forth. It was a look that said, " Why have I never heard this incredible song before?!" Even now, thinking back I get tears in my eyes. It was just so sweet and so magical, and it is those moments that make all of the mundane, frustrating, tedious moments (and there are many) of mothering fade away.

All for now,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Becoming a home...

Little by little, our new house is becoming our home. Ryhthems are being established, play spaces created, new friends made, old friends joining in. I still feel like there is a long way to go before it feels like our "nest", but I am trying to relax and create as I have the time, energy, and inspiration. Here are some pictures of a (unfinished) space I created during nap time...I think they approved:)

By the way, the dollhouse was supposed to be our Christmas present for Amelia, but it was found this morning (Merry Christmas in November, sweet girl!). I happened upon it at a children's consignment shop on Saturday and almost died. It is made by the same company (Elves and Angels) that created one of the barns Grandpa Jim based his design off of to make the babes' barn. The dollhouse was a fraction of the price that the company sells it for and came with tons of furniture. I felt like I had found a secret treasure. If they don't spend lots of time playing with it, I will.

We also opened up the dress-up suitcase yesterday. Amelia insisted on wearing her heels all day today:)

In fact, she wore them this morning as we walked to McDonalds to get "ice cream" (fruit and yogurt parfaits). While we were ordering Amelia said, "Melia would like live here." " Melia have fun live here." Hee hee. I couldn't believe it. It doesn't even have a playground and she doesn't know what Happy Meal toys are and so I don't know what she thinks would be so much fun about it:) She got several smiles as she click clacked around in her fancy heels!

One of the things I am working on is trying to create little times of individual nurturing for them. Sam's is walking to the train tracks every day and sitting next to each other talking about the trains. (Amelia is there, but not really into it:) She is quite the baker and I have been trying to bake with her when she wakes up from naps as Sam always sleeps longer.

So, slowly, slowly we settle in. There are good days and challenging ones, just like in every home I guess, but as we feel settled I feel our good days becoming more frequent and for that I am very, very thankful.

All for now,

Sunday, November 08, 2009

He said, She said.

Sam: Look Mena, there's a plane.
Amelia: Where the plane?
S: I don't know plane is.
A: Where?
S: I don't know plane is Mena.
A: Where?
S: I don't know Mena. (This sequence times ten at least--finally they moved on:)
A: Where Becky? (We drove by friend's house and they weren't there)
S: I don't know Becky is, Mena. At gardens.
A: No, not at gardens.
S. In Texas.
A: No, not in Texas.
S: There a building.
A: That's true. There's a storm plane (?)
S: That's right Mena. There's a storm plane.
A: Where's God?
S: I don't know Mena. We're goin down, down, down (we were driving down a hill)
A: That's true Sambo.

Joel and I sat as quiet as little mice in the front seat just dying with how adorable their little conversation was and not wanting it to end. Their little voices, hearing them figure out how to construct sentences, their affirmations to each other....so precious.

Other funny conversations:
At breakfast:
Sam: This is old (granola).
Amelia: No, not old, just crunchy!
Sam: No, not crunchy. It's old.
Amelia: That's crazy!

In the car on the way to the "Forrest" (park w/ woods):
Sam: Sambo wants to go to the forrest. Sambo wants to go to the forrest. Sambo wants to go to the forrest. Sambo wants to go ....
Amelia: Alright, Alright!!

That's all I can think of for now. Just had to record these while they were fresh on my mind! Jen

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A mama's thoughts as her children play...

I walked in their room the other night before story time and prayers to find Sammy, once again, heaping blankets and toys and dolls on top of Amelia while she quietly accepted his offerings. I can tell it is his way of saying that he loves her...giving her every good thing in the room--even his favorite blankets. As I sat in the rocker and watched them, it brought to my mind so many things. When Amelia would snub one of his gifts or snuggles, I thought of how heartbreaking it will be to see him snubbed in the future by girls or friends who he gives his heart to. I thought of Amelia and how she will probably get used to having an adoring brother who heaps praise on her (I know there will also be valleys where affection is not so apparent...we have them daily:) and how she will expect the winner of her affections to follow suit. I thought of Sammy's big, giving, sensitive heart and asked God to give Joel and I wisdom on how to guard and encourage that in him and yet also help him to be assertive when he needs to be (ahem, when Amelia falls to the floor in rejection b/c she wants something of his and he gives in immediately) . So many thoughts and hopes and prayers for these little ones are lifted up as I watch them play, as I rock them to sleep, as I cry tears of frustration when the days are long and my patience has faded. Grow us up Lord, together. Give us grace and wisdom each day.

All for now,

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween/Harvest Day 2009

For us it looked like a long afternoon walk with their daddy, then home to dress up as a beagle and a lion and wait for kids to come so we could give them treats! We did walk over to our next door neighbors to let them say "Trick or Treat please!" (that is what came out of Sammy's mouth--so cute!) . Seriously, they ate two pieces of candy from that house, a bag of fruit snacks from our loot and they were still wired! Ugggg, still not a big fan of Halloween, but they did look pretty cute:)

All for now, Jen

Sunday, November 01, 2009

"They must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens."

*Quote by Charlotte Mason

If you have read about Charlotte Mason and her philosophy, you know she is not advocating neglecting your kids, or even ignoring them. No, she advocates for giving them the freedom to explore, to observe, to learn, without a parent or teacher constantly butting in with our knowledge, our questions, etc. It's hard sometimes to be near them, but to be quiet. Dads seem to be more eqipped at this:) In fact, these pictures were taken by Joel on the babes afternoon walk. I asked him to take the camera with him to get some pictures of the new neighborhood (to share with you, of course:). He took the best photos, I can't wait to share them bit by bit. This one reminded me that though I fret sometimes that we can no longer reasonably walk to parks with ponds and geese and beautiful scenery, the babes find beauty to observe everywhere. They will stay like this on the sidewalk forever watching a little bug pass by, if I give them the time and space and freedom and don't try to rush them along to see what I think is a better view right up the way. That, I think, is a good lesson for us all:)