Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Day

It was a great First Day. They were up and dressed before the sun, bundles of excitement and nerves. I held it together until the last one walked into the building. Then I was a bit of a mess.

I had a terrible time with my camera yesterday morning (pretty sure my nerves/emotions were affecting my brain, rendering me unable to fix the settings). I did salvage a couple photos. And I sloppily edited out the school name from boys shirts... just don't want you to think I sent them off on their first day with strange spots on their uniforms.

My sweet girl is in 4th grade!

Hannah (after school): "Mom, I really, really, liked being there with my friends all day."

My baby is in Kindergarten.

Mom: "What was your favorite part of the day?"
Peter: "Every part. And especially Spanish."

Will - who has decided he is now 'William' - 2nd grade.

Mom (as they climb in the car at pick-up): "So...."
William: "Awesome!!!" followed with "It wasn't as long as I thought is would be."


Later that evening, we enjoyed a beautiful evening concert - Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. Such a fun show!

Dinner Club goes to Wolf Trap. Love these people!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

14 Years

The First Day of School isn't all we're celebrating today!

Hurricane Irene canceled our anniversary dinner date, so we went out to lunch today.
With my husband.
On a weekday.
We've never done that.
(It was really nice.)

And tonight we will be at a concert with our dinner club gang...
many of whom celebrated with us 14 years ago today!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bonus : 1000 Gifts

The power is still out at the school, so The First Day of School did not happen. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe. After a hearty back-to-school breakfast, we decided to spend our bonus day hiking.

With a heart full, I add to my list...

An extra day.


Moss covered rocks.

Fall in the air.

A few surprise leaves.

Corn fields and red barns.

The amazing faith and service of a godly woman - a dear friend's mom - home now with Jesus.

Encouragement from my husband.

Lessons in perseverance.

A Sunday afternoon family walk.

Apples to Apples, Junior.

Will's easy laugh.

Connor. 3 years old today!

A 'family' party.

Friends that feel like family.

Words of faith and courage from a wise, older woman.

Knowing she prays for me daily.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


She was kind. We had a few limbs down in the yard and a few hours without power while we slept. Our church family worshiped this morning by natural light with windows open to the last of her gale.

Yesterday, while the rain and wind swirled outside, we baked; we played; we puzzled. It was a sweet family day. Except for when I walked outside to play in the rain with the kids and inadvertently locked us all out of the house... all while my husband was at a funeral. Yep, I could have done without that.

Today, the sun came out and we soaked up that last official day of summer break. Well, possibly the last day. The power is still out at the kids' school.

My littlest might begin Kindergarten tomorrow! I certainly hope so. One more day of anticipation may be more than we can take.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparing for the First Day

With an nerve-rattling earthquake just a couple days behind us, we now find ourselves securing lawn furniture and buying new batteries as Hurricane Irene approaches. I could really do without all this excitement.

We also prepare backpacks, wash uniforms, and calm nerves... about school, earthquakes, and hurricanes! The First Day of School is scheduled for Monday. We'll see if Irene messes with that.

I plan to make this pencil cake for a special dessert on their First Day. I made it the first day of homeschool (3 years ago) and they still talk about it. The recipe can be found here.

My cuties that same year... they are so little!!

Hope you have a calm, dry, full-of-electricity weekend!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


When we started homeschooling we committed to take it one year at time. And after much prayer and consideration, my husband and I decided earlier this summer that all three would go to school this coming year.


We have a unique opportunity for our children to attend a small Christian school with which we are closely connected. My husband meets regularly with the headmaster and often leads the school's chapel. The teachers are wonderful. The campus is beautiful. My kids have many friends there.

So with that, it did seem a bit crazy for us to homeschool these past three years. And, honestly, having the option for my children to attend this school made those hard homeschooling days harder, but we loved being home for school. I could go on and on about all that we have enjoyed and cherished... and the things we will miss. These past three years have been a wonderful gift to our family. And my husband and I both feel by homeschooling we have set a tone, created an atmosphere for a love of learning in our home. Schooling at home was the right fit for our family for a season and we may return to it.

This week we are busily preparing to begin this new adventure. Kindergarten, Second Grade, Fourth Grade... the kids are ready, a little nervous, but very excited!

Clearly, my days are about to drastically change. From about 8am to 3pm everyday, my kids will be at school. I feel a little like someone has cut off my arm. It's strange for me to respond to "What are you going to do all day?" Well, I'm not all that sure, but I am excited to take care of my home in a way that I couldn't these past three years. And I'm thankful to have more time with women (in Bible study, mentoring relationships, and volunteering at school and church).

I'll still be here. Blogging about our family life with gratitude posts, craft projects, books, housekeeping thoughts, meals and recipes... just not a lot of nitty-gritty homeschool stuff. Not this year anyway...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Maine Vacation : 1000 Gifts

For two weeks in late July, the five of us vacationed in New England. We had a wonderful time exploring Boston, the North Shore of Massachusetts, and Acadia National Park in Maine. All of us are ready to go back. Maine quickly became our favorite summer vacation spot.

Across the miles, I pulled out my journal and scribbled additions to the list. Beautiful gifts from His hand... I want to remember each one...


:: EZ pass.

:: A quick stop at the lake. A night with Nana and Papa.

:: And many jumps off the dock.

in Massachusetts...

:: Boston swan boats.

:: A duck tour. Quack.

:: The hospitality of old friends.

:: Walking the Freedom Trail.

:: Ice cream stands with driving ranges.

:: Rocky beaches.

:: Wingaersheek Beach... 100 degree day relief. (Thanks for the recommendation, Kit!)

:: Spotting a Sea Kettler on the train. : )

:: Cherry Farm Creamery.

:: Finding a good local deli.

:: White New England church steeples.

in Maine...

:: White sail dotted bay.

:: Cool ocean breeze after a long hike.

:: Cottage #9.

:: Laundromats.

:: Charcoal grills.

:: Picnic tables.

:: Honey Nut Cheerios - their vacation cereal.

:: Walking together.

:: Pine cones.

:: Late afternoon hikes.

:: Being in nature all day. Every day.

:: Balsam fir scented woods.

:: S'mores.

:: Skipping stones.

:: Clear reflections.

:: Fern-covered forest floor.

:: Reaching the top.

:: Mountain-top picnics.

:: Sea cliffs.

:: Cold water on hiking tired feet.

:: Sea spray.

:: Wonder.

:: Being silly.

:: Taking our time.

:: Tough five year-old legs making it to the top... and back down.

:: Tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. With dear friends from church!

:: Kids that go and go and go... loving every mile. : )

:: Walking sticks.

:: Birch tree forests.

:: Wild roses.

:: Clearly marked trails.

:: Deep inhale of fresh air.

:: Rented bikes.

:: Carriage roads.

:: Encouraging words from older brother and sister.

:: Hard earned junior ranger badges.

:: Adventure-loving kids.

:: Late night mini golf.

:: Wild blueberries. Everywhere.

:: Blueberry Soda.

:: Lobster pound dining on the sound.

:: Lobsters that do tricks.

:: Lobster rolls.

:: Sweatshirts at night.

:: Starry skies. Gasps from city kids.

our last stop... back at the lake...

:: Cannonballs.

:: Sunsets along I-95.

:: Two weeks. Just us.

I know it's not Monday, but...


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