Thursday, September 29, 2016

Colonial Williamsburg

Our trip to Williamsburg was quite fascinating, as I had planned our history curriculum to coincide with this trip.  Additionally, Blossom1 and Blossom2's 4-H sewing projects also followed our Colonial theme.

Blossom1's dress got Best in Show and Blossom2's took second in our county fair.  Considering the amount of work they put into their dresses and the amount of supervision, I put in, we were pretty pleased.  Of course, then Mama had to promise the Littles that she'd make their dresses... in her "free" time.  It's always hard squeezing stuff in, but I'll admit that it was nice to sew for the girlies again.  The last thing I'd sewn was several preventive measures to keep Blossom4's shorts from falling off her tiny waist!  That's hardly an interesting or challenging project! 
Above, Blossom2 and Blossom3 are mesmerized by a woman in full Colonial riding habit.  She was an elegant lady.  By the end of the day, the Blossoms had learned to drop a curtsy to ladies and gents who passed, earning the same greetings in return, much to their delight!

Their dresses were a huge hit.  I could tell they felt like little Colonial ladies and many of the kind folks all over Williamsburg commented on them, which added a super special element to our day there. 
Throughout our day, we caught the Fife and Drum Corp three times.  Each time, the girlies were enchanted.  They were quick to point out that there were actually girls in the Fife and Drum Corps, which probably didn't happen back then.  I think they forgave the interpretive liberty though.

Additionally, the military demonstration, complete with a resounding cannon brought rave reviews from our girlie Colonial critics.

I think my nephew may have cried and shouted something like, "HOT!" repeatedly.  He was doing the best he could with his almost 2 year old vocabulary to warn us of the impending danger.  For the record, his uncles in their youth cried when faced with re-enactors.

Other highlights of the day included the palace gardens, which supplied a pleasing backdrop for a photo shoot of the girlies in their dresses.  We toured the Peyton Randolph house and the marble fireplace which is pictured in my previous post of Williamsburg displayed that Randolph was the wealthiest man in Williamsburg, barring the governor. 

The Milliner's shop was a grand slam stop for our Blossoms.  The young lady posing as the milliner, or more accurately, the mantua maker, talked knowledgably about garments, fashion and sewing methods.  It was truly fascinating.  If the millinery hadn't suddenly filled up, I'm betting we'd have stayed in there for hours. 

The man in the Magazine (weapons and ammunition storage facility, not reading publication) was well versed in his field as well. Speaking of which, each costumed interpreter we encountered knew their stuff, making the experience amazing. 
We'd packed a picnic lunch and found a spot along the main road in the shade to enjoy our repast.  The Rugged Mountain Man led us near a street-side musician who who's harp music was a Heavenly additional to our little picnic. 

If I had to make a recommendation, it's nice to stroll through Williamsburg, which you can do for free.  The architecture is truly beautiful.  However, there's not much to actually experience unless you get a ticket.  Homeschool days are extremely discounted and are two weeks in the spring and two weeks in the fall. Their web site has more info on that.  I only wish we'd purchased a multi-day pass, as there was so much we didn't see.  We took the time to savor what we did see, making it more memorable and less like Mama and Daddy cracking the touring whip. 

We wrapped up the evening watching the US Navy band concert on the main lawn with countless other civilians erupting in cheers at the strains of Yankee Doodle.  The little trudging feet were weary and slow, but the grins and memories made up for it. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Emulate Your Kids

Our Blossoms have some beautiful qualities.  There's a good work going on inside of me as I remind myself of them.

That's what I've been doing this weekend.  In much the same way that I count my blessings,
I've been listing off the girlies' good qualities to no one in particular except myself. 

Moms see everything, especially all the character flaws,
all the mama copycat (bad) habits 
and all the nature of Adam comin' out. 
Being with your kids 24/7 lets you see it all. 

I'm not complaining. 
One of the reasons I love homeschooling is that I am with the girlies 24/7,
but that's another post for another day. 

I just don't want to let the negative things drown out the good. 

I want to be more like our girls. 

They smile (a lot). 

They are delighted with life. 

They dream. 

They are real. 

They think God is big.

They ask good questions.

They are game.

They are blessings. 
And I am humbled to strive to be more like our daughters.
All pics from our Colonial Williamsburg trip

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Ocean

For some time, we've had a hankerin' to take the girlies to see the ocean.  We haven't put much priority on this desire, since little girlies think sand and water is sand and water... meaning our favorite local state parks hold as much appeal and enjoyment as the real beach, with considerably less driving time, less $$$$ and less people.

However, on our recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg, we thought we'd throw in an ocean visit, as if our itinerary of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown in two and a half days wasn't enough.
They're old enough to truly appreciate experiencing the "Sea," as Blossom3 called it. 
True to form, my husband has a knack for finding just the right spot.  He motioned us to take our picnic lunch onto an empty pier, complete with picnic tables; one I hadn't spied. 
No one else was around.  It felt as if we were alone on a private peninsula.  The location and good fellowship of that picnic was the highlight of the afternoon. 

The Blossoms savored every ship, every breeze, every wave, every sea gull and every grain of sand, glorying in each detail in a way that only children can.  Shouts of delight, grins of happiness and bursts of enthusiasm punctuated the hours we spent on the beach. 

Blossom1 and Blossom2 were considerably braver in the ocean water than my sister and I were as kids.  I appreciated the time reflecting on the sand with Blossom4, my nephew and my sister.  The dads pulled wave duty further out from shore.  I feel calm wash over me as I peruse these pictures.  I'm so glad we finally did the ocean thing. 
I'm hoping to share more on our Virginia adventure in the days to come.  Until then, keep the faith, friends!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I must admit, I totally love the freedom that homeschooling facilitates!

We were "table-schooling" outside in the invigorating autumn air.  Utilizing my old-is-now-new spacious and sturdy table from my husband's grandmother assured there was space for everyone.  I adore it with its fresh coat of paint.  We were ecstatic to spend time observing two pairs of bluebirds flitting between the clothesline and swingset, all while we did math.  It was a top-knotch kinda day!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Heavy Burden of Early

It's been a while since I've talked about the importance of quiet time with God.  I've found that very few people offer a balanced approach to quiet time when you have "littles."  Any time I'd read about time in the Word and time talking to the Lord, I always walked away feeling like someone dumped a heavy burden on me.  "Get up early, they'd say."  That was always the answer to more quiet time with God.  Just get up earlier. 

If you have littles, you know.  Littles get up during the night, many times for many reasons.  And, the earlier mama gets up, the earlier the Littles get up, because they have innate Mommy radar.  Mamas with Littles are usually teetering on the brink of exhaustion, despite their best efforts to get sleep and take care of themselves.  Whenever we had littler Littles, the Rugged Mountain Man told me to sleep.  So, an average day started at 7:00-7:30am.  It was a good decision.  Then, I'd often linger at the breakfast table and have my quiet time there or in the kitchen.  Sometimes I'd take my time in the afternoon at nap time.  Sometimes, I plunked down in my chair in the living room right in the middle of the day.  I learned to adapt quickly to our season, or I'd enter dry times in my walk with God.  My spirit had to be fed or I did not grow.  I learned not to wait til I couldn't hear God's voice anymore and I was running on empty.  I had to be creative to have my quiet time.  I spent a lot of time training the girlies to play quietly when Mommy was having quiet time.  But it was worth it. 

Fast forward to now, Blossom4 is three years old and there is a distinct change in the season for me.  I can have my time with God (usually) when I want to have my time with God.  Now, for the most part, they sleep when I get up early.  It's been sweet to have times of solitude again, where I can actually hear God's voice without powering through the whining and the messy diapers or juggling a nursing infant, a Kindle in my hand and handing a sippy cup to another little one.  I look back over the past 11 years and God was always faithful to feed me.  Always.  He ministered to me.  He spoke to me.  He'd give me a verse and it would be the word that got me through the whole week.  It would be the nugget that gave me vision for what I was doing.  His faithful feeding through those years reminds me of that verse about God gently leading those with young.  (Isaiah 40:11) 

To all the mamas that are still in the Littles season, don't fall under that heavy burden of "Thou shalt get up earlier to have time God."  Rise at a decent time to meet your day and make your time with God a high priority, even if you're nursing in your favorite chair at the same time.  Keep adapting.  Keep trying.  Keep teaching your little ones.  Don't let yourself run on empty.  God WILL speak to you.  He will.  Just keep making yourself available to Him.

Friday, September 16, 2016

You Just Gotta Realize

I adore waterfalls!  I love the serenity of sitting beside waterfalls.  I admire the power of waterfalls.  I am in awe of the grandeur of waterfalls.  I guess you could say I think waterfalls are fun. 

 Children assume fun means easy.  However, in order to get to waterfalls, you usually have to hike.  And hiking is work.  Usually hiking is hard work.  But, to get to the more enjoyable part, the fun part, you gotta work. 

I don't try to make every single moment of school fun for my children.  (I'd be exhausted!)  I'm teaching them now that anything worthwhile takes work.  To get to the waterfall, you gotta hike.  To master concepts, you have to do the steady plodding that causes you to progress through your education. 

In life, I cannot abandon my pursuits or my duties, because they are no longer fun, nor interesting.  An adult will have hopefully already learned the self control to persevere when something is no longer fun and interesting.  Self control is formed in the character training of youth.  Self control grows every day as a child learns to take the next step, do the next page, tackle the next problem, when they simply don't feel like it. 

If I mothered or managed this house only when I felt like it, only when I thought it was fun, I'd probably work, mother, and manage only 25% of the time.  I LOVE being a stay at home wife and mother who homeschools.  It is my dream and I'm so thankful that I can live my dream every day.  I am not deceived into thinking it is fun every single minute. 

This is not Heaven.  When Adam and Eve sinned, toil and labor became a part of everyday life.  Now, work is... well... WORK. 

Did you ever think about how before the Fall of man, tending the Garden of Eden wasn't really work?  In Heaven, it will be like that again.  The sorrow or hard part of work will be gone.  Let us never be confused by Heaven and Earth's differences.  I love living my dream, but there is still real, oftentimes, unenjoyable, work involved.

I look forward to the waterfalls of life, but to get there, I gotta hike. 




May the girlies never shy away from working toward something worthwhile,
because they have to work for it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Pack N Play Problem

The little heat wave we had recently was affecting our rabbits.  Rabbits don't do well in the heat.  They actually like the cold better.  The girlies had to relocate some rabbits to the garage, which is much cooler.  We were trying to avoid heatstroke.  It's a good learning experience, recognizing the signs of heatstroke and knowing what to do about it. 

Sebastian is a Tan, which is a friendly, mischievous and active rabbit breed.  He's also a Blossom favorite.  When we ran out of cages, they "needed" to bring him in the house.  I proposed that we put him in the pack n play, so that some school work would get done.  Otherwise, he was exploring the house, with four Blossoms gleefully in tow. 

I guess Sebastian felt that exploring was much more desirable than the white and navy netted walls. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Real Micro Farm

Insert Pinocchio's voice.

"We're a real micro farm!"

The feed rep stopped by the other day and dropped off goodies for the girlies, because we/they bought so much feed.

We must be legit. 

Besides, now when Mama makes them wear the orange shirts, they've got cool country girl shirts to wear now. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

When You Can't Help Life's Pace

This summer has followed a pace that the Rugged Mountain Man and I don't usually march to. 
Fast.  Swift.  Busy.  Crammed. 
As he mentioned a few times, "I'm starting to feel chased."  I agreed.  We planned for what we knew and many variables kicked in.  In the process, I felt like I didn't even have time for character training.  I felt like that was pushed by the wayside in our efforts to just take care of the next task or get to the next thing.  That's the reason we despise that pace.  It minimizes the quality parenting that we highly value.  But sometimes, you can't help the pace.  We gritted our teeth, hunkered down and tried to make it through all the extenuating circumstances the best we could.  A friend reminded me that our children are watching us walk through times like those.  They are walking with us through the crazy times and that IS character training.  I needed that word.  The girlies learned about holding the Master's hand, just as we did.  They learned about faith, about trusting, about relying heavily on grace, about clinging to the Lord's strength when you're just plain exhausted. 
Now we're slowly inching back toward the way of life that lends itself to character training.  I don't mean to be vague with "character training;" I'm referring to my following through on the commands I give them.  I'm talking about helping children learn to obey immediately.  I'm referring to children learning to obey without whining.  I'm talking about taking the time to get to the heart of the matter when they're bickering or disobeying.  "Just quit it and get in the truck" isn't my preferred method of parenting.  So, now that things are slowly slowing down, I was slightly encouraged.  Blossom4 seeks far and wide for adventure.  In the process, a whole lotta messes are made and my job is not to clean up those messes.  I think we've made a little bit of progress.  I say, "Blossom4, clean this up before you go outside to play."  And she does.  I was so busy in the last two months, that I'd unknowingly tell her ten times and then, in frustration end up doing it myself.  Thank God.  Yes, thank God.  I want to be faithful in my part of Godly parenting - that persevering follow-through that so closely resembles steady plodding. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day

Yesterday was Blossom2's 9th birthday.  We celebrated by eating every meal outside on the new porch.  The Blossoms were delighted with this turn of events.  Of course, the cinnamon dough balls, apple dumplings and shrimp spaghetti may have had something to do with it.  The important thing is that Blossom2 was a happy camper!

Of course, yesterday was also Labor Day.  I feel that Labor Day is quite appropriately named.  Inevitably, we use the day for a work day around here.  My day alternated between a teacher in service day and assist the Rugged Mountain Man kind of day.  He was putting the finishing touches on the roof over the back deck.  While I don't have the muscle needed for the big stuff, I can be the extra hand he needs.  I am beyond pleased with how this project is coming along.  He has put so much time and grit into it.  That man has persevered through awful heat, nasty sunburn and huge boulders. 

I admire the dogged determination he's shown in this project.  I made him happy and threw together some pico de gallo, which is basically raw salsa.  It's a summer time favorite for the Rugged Mountain Man and me. 
Good thing the tomato harvest is coming in.  More pico and more spaghetti sauce!  Yum.
Here's hoping you all had a great holiday!




Saturday, September 3, 2016

Catching Up

Hello friends,

It's been quiet around here lately, in more ways than one.  My computer is finally fixed, so let's hope my online presence will resume.  I've missed sharing more regularly with you.  The Blossoms have been visiting their Grammie and Pappy for a few days.  They are set to return any minute.  I'm typing furiously in an attempt to pop in and say hello to all of you before they need my attention. 

I did use the quiet to tackle reorganizing the schoolroom.  I feel so much better now.  I spent hours rooting out paper and junk.  The results are gloriously calming.  Admittedly, I snapped this shot before the girlies re-entered the house.  I'll share with you how things look after they return.  I discovered that I have quite the mason jar habit.  I counted those in service in the schoolroom alone, only to detect a "minor" obsession.  There are TWENTY mason jars serving in here!  Good thing I have good friends that help out with my addiction fetish. 
See that jumble on the dining room table?  It's the last Colonial ball gown in progress.  Our Colonial Williamsburg trip is only a few short weeks away.  Blossom4's dress is the last to be done.  She'll be tickled to see the makings of a bodice laying out when she gets home.  Little by little gets the job done around here.
Thanks to the recommendation of some friends, I took some mama time this week too. 
I can officially cross kayaking off my life list of things to try at least once.  My friend, Janice, was an excellent teacher.  The creek was calm and the scenery lush and tranquil.  The three of us mamas had a refreshing time of fellowship.  I felt revitalized!  I came home smitten with kayaking too.   Prior to returning home, I snagged Janelle and dropped in on a favorite local ice cream joint.  Yes, I was that lady with the shamefully large hot fudge brownie sundae that all the people in line were oohing and aahing over.  I just grinned and dove in.  When you have mama time, you must make the most of it.  Chocolate and fresh air and true fellowship.  It doesn't get much better than that. 
Have a restful Labor Day!