Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring, Scarves and Secret Sisters

I'm resting up these days after being on the road for more than I was not on the road over the past weekend.  I recounted some bright spots with you the other day and there is one more I wanted to share.

I returned from Wisconsin to find a pretty gift bag waiting for me on the schoolroom table.  It was a gift from my secret sister at church.  She's been blessing me with encouraging words, prayer, Dr. Pepper, which came in handy on our Wisconsin trip, and, this time, SCARVES.

Be still, my beating heart.  

I love scarves, especially these springy ones.


In an effort to share something a little light-hearted with you today, I put the girlies to bed last night and designed some fun spring outfits, starring my new scarves.  The first outfit is, predictably, constructed of basics, staples and thrifted finds, but hey, what's wrong with that?!

Springy Teal Scarf

Springy Teal Scarf by lachicdominique featuring turquoise home decor

Scarf: Gift!  Thank you, secret sister!
Vest: Thrift Store find
Shirt: Old Navy, snagged for five bucks!
Jeans: Hmmmmm, I think I bought them new with a gift card. 
Earrings: The girlies made me something like these.  Mama benefits from their creativity!
Shoes: Gift!  Thank you, dear mother-in-law for keeping me stylin' in these Keds.
Bag: Thrift Store find
Scarf on Bag: Old as the hills
Nail Wraps & Polish: Thanks to my friend, Elizabeth, my nails are actually sporting this 
Jamberry "Jamicure."  So boho, so chic!

The second outfit highlights a color I don't wear often.  In fact, I wear it so rarely that I once threw on some pink shorts for a family bike ride and it resulted in a chuckle!  My husband kept seeing the pink in his peripheral vision and repeatedly thought a stranger needed to pass him on the trail.  He shook his head each time he discovered it was only me!  Pink or not ~ this outfit is a terrific transitional outfit!


Spring Means Pink!

Spring Means Pink! by lachicdominique featuring buckle sandals

Grey Denim Jacket: Garage sale find
Pink tee: Old Navy, only five bucks!
Scarf: Thank you again, secret sister!
Jeans: I think I bought them new with a gift card. 
Earrings: Purchased similar earrings from Kohl's with a gift card.
Purse: Gift
Scarf on Purse: Nabbed from Grandma's estate
Sandals: Thrift Store find!
Jamberry products: Purely hypothetical, but oh, so springy!

Maybe you'll feel inspired to shop your closet and pull together something fresh today.  It only takes a minute or two to keep on being well put together!

Happy spring, friends!

Dominique

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bright Spots

I returned yesterday afternoon from a whirlwind trip to Wisconsin.  My aunt passed away unexpectedly early last week and Blossom4 and I traveled there for the funeral.  She had been the secretary at the local Catholic school for 29 years.  She was an icon in her community, a person known for her laugh, kind words and going the extra mile.

Periodically today, I walked through my house, thinking of my cousins and my uncle, wondering how they are faring today, praying that as they ponder why, the Lord will comfort.  I don't pretend to have all the answers, but in my own time of grief and sadness, I've taken some time to list bright spots in a weekend of sadness and sorrow.

I'm truly grateful for family I enjoy traveling with.  I rode to WI with my sister, brother-in-law and two nephews.  I returned with my parents.  Both trips were thoroughly enjoyable, characterized by hours of good conversations, laughter and quality time.  On the trip out there, I was stationed between Blossom4 and my little nephew.  While I'm super grateful to my brother-in-law for driving the entire time, straight through, I thought that I got the good end of the deal.  I got to play with the little ones for hours!  I'm not being cheesy when I say how nice it is to be able to just play with the Littles.  Usually, laundry is calling to me, dishes are leering at me and my to-do list is taunting me.  Not so on a road trip!  We sang silly songs, much to my sister's chagrin, read books, played and giggled. Being with children is a blessing!  And, I even snagged a few snuggle sessions with my teeny-tiny, but chubby cheeked baby nephew.  Divine!!!  Somewhere in there, I guess all that playing and lending a hand with the Littles helped things to go a little smoother, so it blessed me that I could be a blessing to my sister's little family.

I'll also mention that it was really special to have some one-on-one time with Blossom4 all weekend long.  Sure, we were shuttled from event to event and she had to be quiet and be still a lot, but we squeezed in all manner of secret smiles, snuggly kisses and whispered conversations.  I treasure that.

It was really nice to catch up with my extended family this past weekend.  Handing out hugs, a word of sympathy or a hand on their shoulders, we might not have said a whole lot that seemed really deep, but I like what my dad said.

"Sometimes the best way to be a witness, is to just be there."  

It's basic and it's simple, but it says a lot.  I'm so thankful that I could at least be there.

I'm grateful I got to stay with my grandma at her house.  This made the trip easier and less expensive, but added another special element to it.  I'm already treasuring that time we had together this weekend.  We were laughing because she said, "Boy, the girls sure love to dress Western!"  When I agreed, we chuckled together because we know they get it honestly, she does and I do too!

Another surprise blessing was the "quiet room" at the church where services were held.  It was a glassed in room with a speaker, stocked with toys and books.  I could've kissed the person that installed it in the church there!  This meant that I didn't have to sweat Blossom4 and my nephews being perfectly quiet and still.  We certainly didn't have a repeat of Blossom4's antics at my other grandma's funeral last year, where she reprogrammed my Kindle, set an alarm and overrode my Do Not Disturb settings, during the quietest part of the funeral!  The quiet room was a huge relief.  After Blossom4 being cooped up for basically a day and a half from travelling and funeral stuff, I was pretty sure we were gonna get through the funeral on faith... and a lot of bribery with gum.  (Laugh here; don't judge.  I was sporting a heavy bag of entertainment activities, two Kindles and loads of snacks.  Ain't nothin' can prepare you for keeping a 3 yr old quiet and/or still for a DAY and a HALF!)

Sitting through the funeral and chatting with the folks around me, I was reminded that your everyday life, your ordinary holiness, touches others in a million small ways every day.  They took a show of hands for everyone who had ever gotten a band-aid from "Mrs. T."  My jaw dropped.  We tend to discount those things, to label them insignificant and inferior, but they are small services to the Master.  I felt challenged to be "Jesus" in countless tiny things every day, that some day I will see the results in Eternity.  My aunt's life spoke this lesson to me.  The ripple effect of what she did as a wife, mom and insignificant looking part of the school was a beautiful tribute to how everyday life can be big.  That's what I'm trying to remember when I'm feeling sad about her being gone.

Another small bright spot were the stops at Starbucks.  I rarely get to indulge in that little luxury so when the opportunities arose to down my favorite Chai Tea Lattes, I savored them!  And Starbucks is like God; it doesn't change.  It's the same, no matter what part of the country you're in.  There is something a teeny bit comforting about that.

My little family (hounds included) was happy to see me too.  I hugged and looked them in the eyes and relished looking into their eyes.  This life is a vapor; I'm reminded that it's temporary.  Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.  Those truths resound as true as ever, calling my heart closer to them.

I'm glad God made a way for me to make the trip to WI, but I'm so glad to be back in the Hollow.

I'll be praying for my cousins and uncle in the days ahead.  Thanks for letting me share the bright spots,
Dominique

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Another Why?

It is normal for a teacher to encourage their students to be prepared for the material they will encounter on a test.  I do the same with the Blossoms.  We learn the concepts, practice them and then study to be ready for the test.



I've recently begun to wonder why we don't prepare for trials in a similar fashion?



"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

1 Peter 1:6-7
NASB, my emphasis added



What if we were ready for trials?  What if in the midst of them we reminded ourselves that our faith is being tested?



Isn't it easier to pass a test if you know the material that is being covered?



I know it's hard wrestling with why we go through hard things here on Earth.  Those thoughts and conversations with God can be heart-wrenching.  

Why, why, why?



I believe that our Father, in His kindness has shown a little part of why we walk through these valleys, this suffering with Christ.  I have found that it seems a little easier to get up to face a day of trials, when I realize that my faith is being tested.  



Will I be found faithful?  Will I keep enduring in the hard times? 



It is a hard realization, but a true one, that our fidelity to Him 
is not tested on those mountain top days.  Our faith isn't tested in the green pastures of life.



Times of duress squeeze the sponge and expose what's inside.



Knowing our faith is being tested can help us know what to do ---

Keep believing.  Hold on tighter.  Fall to our knees again.  Cry out once more.



Are you feeling condemnation that you weren't prepared for this testing trial?  Throw off despair! 



These are encouraging words for you. This trial is to prove and test your faith.  Now we know that.  Now when we feel the doubts, when the despair is creeping stealthily in on the darkest days, we can realize that this isn't punishment.  We can reach out to the Father again.  



Remember, He is always faithful.  

May our faith be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Around Here Lately

No, this is not me venturing through the girlies' rooms at night, although, Blossom4 did execute a creepy glowing flashlight feat recently.  She stashed her flashlight under my bed and crept out of the room.  I turned off the lights and headed out, only to notice an unsettling glow emanating from under my bed. What??????



I retrieved the flashlight, shaking my head all the while at her antics.  Anyway, this is actually a pic of a Crazy 8s Math Club at our local homeschool co-op.  It's hands-on math and it's been really terrific at getting the kids moving and involved in math.  

I'm big on reminding the girlies often that math is for real life.  Like when Blossom1 was using some fancy fraction work when she was baking the other day... or when Blossom2 was estimating to help me know which packing tape was the better deal...  It's hard to slog through the repetition that leads to math mastery if you don't know why you're trying to master it or what you'll use it for.  

I mentioned the other day, we are also enjoying Crazy 8s daily fun math problem.  Today's was about an octopus who filmed the researcher instead of vice versa!  Fun table talk, ya'll!  Even Blossom4 can't wait for her part of the problem!


I'm putting my crafty creative cells to work lately with overseeing the construction of a castle set for a play our co-op kids are putting on.  

It's been a great experience thus far, lots of work, but still great.  I love for things to be just right, if I'm putting my name on them.  However, this is a class.  Ahem.  Meaning the kids are learning something.  

Actually, it means Dominique is learning something.  

How to let it go.  

How to better instruct.  

How to bring out the best in them.

Really, how good am I at "stippling" (a sponging technique) if I haven't learned enough about it in order to effectively instruct students in stippling?!  


I coached.  I encouraged.  I helped.  I pointed.  I demonstrated.  

And I fought hard inside myself to resist the urge to "fix it."  

And I'm so pleased with how everybody is doing thus far.  It's beautiful!!!!

Apparently I really needed this class.  

It reminds me of parenting.  It's not about me doing this for them.  It's me modeling, teaching, coaching, demonstrating, working with them on how to live life for Jesus on their own.  

Ya'll know we got dumped with snow this week.  The Rugged Mountain Man got to be home a little more than usual, which is fine by us.  (insert girlies - and maybe Mommy too - jumping up and down)  We got to enjoy Mancala games, shoveling, fort-building, hot tea, family time and rest.  


I even pampered myself and used the fine china with my new tea strainer.  I love that little contraption!  

Blossom2 and Blossom3 are really getting good at Mancala.  They've caught on to the strategy of the game and have left me in the dust.  I was beaten soundly several times.  Oh well...
#humbling  #momdefeat  #orisitmomvictory #mathisfun

Well, friends, I hope you're using your days well lately.  They seem to slip by.  Every day I feel like I'm fighting the battle to do the meaningful and eternal, instead of the urgent.  I'm gonna keep fightin' the fight.  I hope you will too.

Hugs and blessings!

Dominique





Friday, March 10, 2017

Why Trials?

Most of us would rather not talk about trials and tribulations, but when I went through the grief and struggles of a miscarriage about five years ago, I discovered that everyone is going through something.



I've found that trodding through trials tends to make us more gracious, more empathetic, more understanding and more loving.  It can make the Body of Christ a more beautiful thing because we get it; we understand.  We've been there.  The sad thing is that trials can also obliterate us.  We can allow ourselves to turn mean, cynical and bitter after a trial.

And why is it that trials rarely seem to come one at a time?  They stack.  They crowd.  They pile on!


The kind of trials that are not the results of evildoing, meddling or sins like murder or theft are a part of suffering with Christ.  (Consequences or results of bad or sinful decisions are not the trials I am chatting about today.)


These true trials are a part of living life as a Christian 
in a fallen world.  


When we find ourselves in these hard times, we tend to wrestle with that dreaded question, "Why?"  


Why am I in this?

Why isn't God doing anything?



Why aren't my prayers being answered?

Why do I have to go through this?

Why?


Reflecting on the book of Psalms, the psalmist asked some really tough questions, causing me to believe that it isn't wrong to ask God a tough question, provided it's asked with a respectful attitude.


He is still God, after all.

As Christians, it's good for us to go to the Word for some of the reasons we go through trials.


Romans 5:3 sheds some light on that question,
"...we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that our tribulation brings about perseverance..."
NASB


James 1:2-3 agrees,
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance..."  
NASB


Exulting or glorying in our trials is a tall order, as is considering a trial a joy.  In my trials, I read these verses and knew I couldn't do either of those things.  I went to the Rugged Mountain Man and said, "I can't do that yet.  I don't even know if I *want* to rejoice in these trials."  He comforted me and encouraged me not to give up, not to despair.


I eventually came to realize that that rejoicing is a work of the Spirit.


No one truly in the throes of a heart-wrenching, back-breaking trial rejoices,
in and of themselves.


But God can work that joy and glorying.  It's a spiritual thing, brought about by the Spirit.


Opening your eyes each morning to find yourself still in the midst of the hardest times of your life, is like hearing tragic news for the first time, over and over again.  The mornings are the worst times in grief or trials.


BUT, we can remind ourselves that we have a response to our question why?  We have an "in" on the lesson.


"Today I'm in this trial, so I learn to persevere."


We can tell ourselves, "I'm getting up right now, so I can endure,
so I can put one foot in front of the other today."


We could be thinking, "This trial doesn't have a point.  I don't feel like there is a lesson,
other than torture here."


But there is.


"Today, I am going to endure in His strength.  Today, I'm going to just keep going, by God's grace."


We'll get to the point of rejoicing over a trial.  It may be somewhere down the road that we can look back and "feel" a little happiness about what we learned in that trial.  It's okay that we don't right now.  It is a work of the Spirit, not a feeling of our flesh.  For now, we can see that there is a point to trials.  We see it by faith.


It's to endure.  


Dominique

All pics from our hike on a mine camp trail, in which there was a series of seven switchbacks on an old railroad grade.  
We all found it to be quite fascinating, as we imagined the manpower it took to build it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Day in the Life 2017 (with an 11-, 9-, 7- and 3- yr old )

Hello there!

I've been enjoying peeks into other families' daily lives over on simplehomeschool.net.  I thought I'd invite you in for the day to see our family's "daily-daily" routine with four girls on this happy little micro farm.

Usually around 6:00 am I roll out of bed and tiptoe out to the kitchen.  These days I think I get more sleep than when I had infants and toddlers, but sometimes I wonder why I'm still tired.  I work out some mornings, but lately the elliptical has been empty more mornings than not.  My husband, the Rugged Mountain Man, is almost done with his morning prep.  I start his coffee and whip up something for his breakfast.  We chat a little, enjoying a few uninterrupted sentences.  He heads out and I plop down in my favorite chair with a pretty fountain pen, leather journal and my Kindle to have my quiet time.  "Not a day without a line... or some gratitude" is my motto.


At 6:30 am, my two older Blossoms' alarm clock goes off.  Blossom1 is 11 yrs old and Blossom2 is 9yrs old.  They also tiptoe out, grab their Kindles, a cozy blanket and get comfy on the couch to read their Bibles too.  They'll write a little in their journals later.  Our individual morning quiet times have looked different over the years, sometimes happening at the kitchen table, later, we'd all snuggle in my bed in the morning and now we congregate the living room.  I try to go with what's working until it quits working for us.


Around 7:00 am, the little Blossoms come out.  Blossom3, who is seven, grabs her Kindle so she and Blossom4, our 3 yr old, can listen to the Bible for a little bit.  The YouVersion app really gets a workout around here.  I put my Kindle and journal away and begin preparing breakfast.  We eat together, with a complaint or two, that it's eggs... again.  #microfarmcomplaints  When I'm finished, I grab the Bible story book and read a chapter or two, usually punctuated by Blossom4's, "READ MORE, READ MORE!" comments.  I'm convinced that reading aloud regularly with your kids has great benefits, including an appreciation for hearing God's Word and His stories.  We pray and get started on morning prep and chores, inside and out.



It's 7:45ish and the bigger Blossoms head outside to feed animals.  It takes them about half hour or forty five minutes, depending on the weather, how many rabbit stories they make up while they're out there and how much animal cuddling is going on.  They are keeping tabs on a rabbit doe they bred, so they report that there's no baby bunnies... yet.

Meanwhile, Blossom3 and Blossom4 are doing inside chores.  Blossom3 feeds the dogs, bird, cat and woolly bear caterpillars.  Blossom4, and actually all the girlies work through their chore cards, a system that I read about in Managers of their Homes/Managers of their Chores by Steve and Teri Maxwell years ago.  It continues to work well for us.  When they have their chores memorized, they don't have to use the cards, but I do find it helpful to periodically go back when people start "forgetting" all they're supposed to do in the morning.  That, and Blossom4 prefers to "wander" and "giggle" instead of bring out the hampers and make her bed and such.

In this time, I get my shower and make myself presentable.  Don't laugh, but I did a style challenge in February.  It was a great way to not grab the same hoodie and pair of jeans every morning.  Since I believe that people won't respect you if you don't respect yourself, this was a fun little inspiration by one of my favorite bloggers.

This is also the time of the morning that I pull something out of the freezer for supper and try to do one of my chores that's on my daily rotation.  I take time to write out the meals for the day on the little fridge white board.  I got tired of answering numerous and repeated questions on what we were having for each meal, so our little fridge whiteboard took care of that.


By 8:30 am, the bigger Blossoms are back in.  They finish up a few inside chores.  Then, we convene in the schoolroom and get started on school.  I assign a few things for Blossom4 to play with.  Blossom1 and Blossom2 pull out their independent work and get busy.  They are encouraged to do their math first, when they're fresh.  Otherwise, they can choose their work order.  Our best days of school are the days I remember to keep email minimized or the computer closed during school time.



It sure helps me to stay focused on the most important thing, 
being available and present with our children's education.  

I work with Blossom3 first.  We go over everything she needs my help on, making sure she understands instructions and doing her reading lesson together.  After we go over things, the work goes in her independent work drawer and she gets started on anything in that drawer.  Then, I cycle through each of the older two, though my work with them is much more minimal than it used to be, mainly focusing on challenging areas.

Once I've cycled through everyone, we stop and do history together.  Our change to Homeschool In the Woods' Time Travelers' units this year has been perfect.  We LOVE doing history together.  When you have your 3 yr old asking intelligent questions about the British and General Washington and your 7 yr old answering accurately, you know you're doing something good.  Again, their enjoyment of read-aloud time factors in too.  I finish reading a lesson aloud and they pester for more, so I usually oblige.  We finish the hands-on history lesson that accompanies it and then they all return to working on what's in their independent work drawer.

As you can see, our schoolroom system is set up much like an office.  They have a drawer, similar to an inbox, with all of their work.  There's a drawer for the assisted work.  And, there's an inbox for each child on my desk where they turn in completed work.  At any given time, I can glance and see who has what done, what's left for them to do on their own and what's left for them to do with me.

I simply don't have time or the mental capacity to have to be searching for what's left to be done.


A fun and loud sounding alarm goes off!  It's 10:00 am and time for snack.  I got the timer idea from another blogger because when everyone is working well, I was just letting snack time slide.  However, then Blossom4 would be whining for snacks for the next two hours and the older girls couldn't concentrate when they were hungry.  Now we stop what we're doing and they get a 15 minute break to eat snack, read or play.  When "happy alarm" goes off at 10:15 am, it's "back at it!"


As the older girlies settle back in, I pull my chair to Blossom4's desk.  She's only 3 yrs old, but she adores her time with mama.  We do some workbooks, flashcards, activities and/or name-writing.  She wants to learn, so I'm happy to comply!  We do some work together, but I purposely do part of a workbook page with her, give her verbal instructions and create a "pile" of a few things to do on her own at her desk.  She feels important AND I'm training her in "our system" already.  #sneakymom  She finishes up her "work" and goes on to the activities I've laid out for her.

She has a little more freedom than when she was confined to the blanket during school time in previous years.  It sounds limiting, but it's really just rotating activities with a set boundary area.  Now, I mostly just rotate her activities in the dining room to keep her from climbing on her sisters' shoulders or under their desks.  After I check in with the other girlies to see how they're doing with their schoolwork, this is when I plop down on the floor with Blossom4 for doing a few puzzles or reading a story or two.  I've found a direct correlation between her behavior and how much time I spend with her.  Quality time does her good... and it keeps her from setting her snack on fire or other such things that she's been known to do around here.


By 12:15, everybody is "starving," so we break for lunch.  We tidy up the schoolroom and then, the girls help prepare lunch by making sandwiches or chopping veggies.  We chat and enjoy our meals together, but the best part comes afterward!

When I'm finished, I grab our current read-aloud, a cozy blanket and head to my favorite chair.  I read to them while they finish eating and clean up the kitchen.  We've recently finished the entire collection of the writings of Beatrix Potter, the Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, several Trixie Belden books and In Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson.  I haven't always read to the girls at lunch time.  When they were younger, I'd read whenever I thought of it or when they requested it, but now, gathering together at mealtimes is ideal.  It should be noted that this seems to have replaced our afternoon tea time that was working for us a while ago.  For now, we're sticking with lunch time read aloud, until it's time to tweak again.  Either way, the point is quality time with my girlies.


Eventually I declare that it's naptime (normally around 1:00ish.)  One of the older girls goes out to let the chickens out and put the ducks in the garden.  We're using them as natural rototillers right now.

The three older girlies get another 15 minute break to play or read, if they haven't finished all of their schoolwork yet.  Blossom3 takes that break in her bedroom, along with a longer rest time, in which she finishes any schoolwork she has left, in her chair or while lounging in her bed.  #homeschoolperks  Blossom4 picks a few books and heads to my room for her nap.  With a hug and a kiss, she looks at books til she falls asleep.  I grab my Kindle and put up my feet on the couch for a half hour or so... or however long I have to sit there to make sure Blossom4 is truly sleeping and not investigating what treasures abide under my bed.  I call out a stern, "Go to sleep!!!"

She eventually does and I get up to send a few emails and be present in the schoolroom while Blossom1 and Blossom2 finish up.  Their finish time in the afternoon is largely up to their motivational level.  If they stay focused, they finish what's on their Evernote checklist for the day.  They have my guidelines for how much work has to be done, but they write their checklist and then, when the day is done, they record that work in our big checklist that tracks how many days of school they have in for the year.  Blossom1 also checks and corrects her own work.  I still check Blossom2 and Blossom3's work.

Having been schooled with A.C.E.'s School of Tomorrow curriculum, I still love using their stuff for our core subjects.  It fosters independence in their education.  Learning how to manage your own workload is truly a life skill.  For our science, we're doing our own experiments, studying some small animal science I compiled and in conjunction with 4-H and using a little bit of the A.C.E. science.  This was a great way to tweak science to fit their interests and passions.


It's 2:45 pm and Blossom3 and Blossom4 are up/out of their rooms by now.  Blossom2 and Blossom3 correct any mistakes or wrong answers.  I write Blossom3's goals for the next day.  And again, everyone's work gets sorted into independent and assisted work drawers in three drawer rubbermaid units.  At this point, whoever is done with schoolwork is free to play.  Many times, they choose to play outside.

Mommy is not free to play right now though.  Whatever my chores are for the day, according to my daily rotation, I try to tackle it/them before school starts, at snack time or now.  Sometimes I work a little during all three of those times slots, especially if it's bathroom day.  This is also the time that the girls help me or do their inside chores, like helping me clean the three bathrooms or vacuum their own bedrooms.  And in between all of that, I'm throwing in wash and shooting out emails.



The day is flying and it's 4:45 pm.  Daddy's home.  We greet him with much fanfare and I turn my attention toward evening things, like preparing supper.  The Blossoms help here and there and they set the table too.  We sit down, ignore the phone and eat together.  Perhaps it's old-fashioned, but it's normal for us.

Right now, we're enjoying the new state map under the clear table cloth on our kitchen table, so the supper time talk turns to how many state parks there are in our state and the fact that other states have towns the same names as our state does.  When I'm finished eating, I get out the daily math problem from Bedtime Math.  It's great verbal math, mixed with interesting trivia.  Our favorite thus far was the one where jackrabbits were multiplying fast in North Dakota!  We all laugh and figure out the problems.  Daddy, being an engineer, thinks this is a cool new addition to our supper repertoire.  While the girlies finish eating and start cleaning up, I hang out in the living room with Daddy.  We chat, catch up or read sometimes.  Usually he heads off to do a few chores.



Around 6:30 pm is an interesting time in our evening.  I fold clothes, work on the computer, tie up loose ends, give verbal nudges on cleaning up the kitchen and hang out with the girlies.  It's kind of a mix of working together, working separately and hanging out together.  We do things like putting away clothes, practicing lines for an upcoming play together, build block towers or other miscellaneous tasks.



By 8:00 pm, I start doling out bedtime orders.  I try to remember to have Blossom1 fetch the chore packs and hand them out.  It's so much easier than rattling off the teeth-brushing, hair-brushing, plug-in-your-Kindle reminders to all of them... multiple times.  I'll be honest; sometimes I just forget or don't feel like it. Lame, I know.  We also tidy up the house.  It just helps to not feel so behind when we start again tomorrow morning.

It's 8:30 pm and I'm tucking the little Blossoms in with a prayer, a song and a chat about their favorite parts of the day.  Much as I'd love to be a Mary Poppins mama every night, usually by this time, it's taking all my self control to pay attention, smile and be patient.  I just want to sit down and enjoy a little bit of quiet!  The bigger Blossoms are out in the living room with Daddy, pontificating about their latest rabbit breeding plan and new breeds of chickens to be purchased.  They'll go to bed in a few minutes.  When I finally come out, I shoo them off to bed after a few calming words.  It seems like if they're worried or upset about something, we usually talk about it now.  They head to bed and I plop down on the couch to read or jump on Shutterfly to "scrapbook."

Around 9:00 pm, I turn on the blue shade on my Kindle or turn down the brightness on my computer so the blue light doesn't keep me awake.  The idea is that the Rugged Mountain Man and I are winding down now.  Sometimes we have a cup of tea as we chat and read.  I throw a few touch-ups on the kitchen and house, picking up things the girlies missed or putting away few dishes that are now dry.  I lay out my man's coffee and a few breakfast things for tomorrow morning.  After our own bedtime prep, we basically fall into bed, thanking God for grace to do it all again tomorrow.

The days are long, but the years are short, after all.

Thanks for reading, friend.
Dominique

PS - Other day in the life posts here and here.