learning together: W10Y01

argh! i'm two weeks behind!  time for some catch-up.  we finished week 10 in our AO year 1 curriculum 2 weeks ago.


last week we read the travelers and the purse and the lion and the [ahem] ass (that was a nice discussion on the history and current usage of that particular word) from the aesop for children.  the narrations for both went quite well.

we read more poems from a child's garden of verses.  many were repeats of ones we've read in weeks past-the kids have their favorites!

language arts:

spelling words for last week were hid, lid, sip rip and trip.  we spent four days on the words.

we went through lessens 32 and 33 in the mcguffey first reader.  we talked about syllables and she practiced finding one and two syllable words from her reading.

for copywork she used her memory verse from sunday school (3 days) and an excerpt from the poem the gardener by robert louis stevenson.  gibson also did his own copywork again this week.  i love that he's been getting into more table work stuff.

independent reading:

emma was very into reading some of the stories in the hans christian andersen fairy tales book (it was mine and my sisters' when we were little).  she spent the week reading the snow queen, the tinderbox and the shepherdess and the chimney sweep.  i will say that it has been nice to own a good fairy tale book, and one with language that hasn't been "dumbed" down for kids.  eventually, i'd like to acquire another one full of the brothers grimm's fairy tales.
bible and scripture memorization:

we read through and discussed 1 samuel 14:1-46 this week.  our memory verse was the second part of matthew 10:8.


we completed chapter 10 in life of fred.  questions at the end of the chapter covered problem solving exercises for numbers that added to 9 and total nickels needed to make 45 cents, an addition problem and reinforcing days of the week.

a couple of times during the week, she took out the measuring tape to measure various objects (and people) around the house.  this was just something she was interested in doing on her own, which was cool :).


we listened to the audio reading of king alfred and the beggar from fifty famous stories.  she did okay for the narration.  the downside to the audio readings is that sometimes it's hard for me to pay attention to the whole story so i don't always know the whole story.  maybe i should be doing narration exercises too.  ha!

we worked on her benjamin franklin lapbook the rest of the week.  it was nice to be able to gather some of the information we learned in the book and break it down in chunks.  there's a lot to know about ben!  i'll have to share the specifics on the lapbook in a different post.

handicraft/life skill:

more breakfast prep awesomeness!  she made toast for herself and her siblings one of the days.  another day she doctored up some leftover pumpkin pancakes (after i heated them up for her).

we took a short trip to a nearby grocery store.  we talked about the basics of money management after they asked to buy a few extra items that were not on the list: while sometimes mom and dad will pick up an extra non-list item as a treat, we can't do that all the time or we will quickly go over our budget and run out of money.

folk song:

we moved on from hymn study to learning and listening to a new folk song each week.  for week 10 we listened to gypsy rover (or also known as the whistling gypsy).  i'm not quite certain of the origin.  some sources say english while others say irish.  anyone know for sure?  this one didn't interest the kids much for some reason.  maybe it was too slow for them?  or maybe they just couldn't relate to the words?


we read chapter 9 in paddle.  he was stuck in a marsh in this chapter so there wasn't a whole lot of action.  we did identify some of the animals pictured in the book and went over the names of the great lakes.


we did not study a new piece from camille pissaro's work, because our printer is running low on ink (again!).  but i did turn his the market at gisor into an outline picture for emma and gibson to color in.  we used oil pastels and they were encouraged to try and mimic the colors in the original work.

emma also did plenty of self-initiated paper art (many paper chains and little collages from construction paper) while gibson enjoyed wielding the scissors to "make stuff" out of paper.  cash has recently shown more interest when big brother and sister are crafting so he's gotten his fair share of crayons, colored pencils and stickers.  these crafting moments don't last long with him though.  before long the box of crayons have usually been dumped out or he's using the colored pencils for drumsticks.

science/nature study:

we read peter discovers two old friends from the burgess bird book for children.  afterward, the kids looked through the bird cards (i made them from here)to find all the birds mentioned in the story.

emma caught a bug inside the house and put it into her gibson's bug box for observation.  i have no idea what it was since i've never seen that kind of bug inside our house before.  it looked like an ant with wings and orange stripes on the back of the abdomen.  it didn't look like a wasp but i have not been able to identify it.

there were a couple of other science related things we did but it ties in with the benjamin franklin lapbook so i'll save those for later.

other things:

emma got a little impromptu music lesson from her dad.  they played amazing grace together: dad on guitar and emma on the toy xylophone.  it sounded good pretty good.

ballet continues to be the highlight of emma's weekend.  she showed me some chasses which she learned in class this week.  and speaking of ballet, the kids requested that they watch the nutcracker on video.  how could i say no to ballet??  they like to act out the story with emma usually being clara and gibson as the nutcracker.  it's cute to watch.


RE POST: black friday and winterfest sensory overload

i thought it fitting to re-post this today.  it's that time of year again for our family.  i am mentally preparing myself for the onset of THE most exhausting time of year for me and especially my husband. the time of year where our kids will probably see him 1 day out of the week for the 2-3 weeks leading up to christmas.  where 12 hour workdays turn into 15-16 hour workdays for my husband.  thinking about it makes me look forward to christmas day even more...where we can all finally be re-united, chill and celebrate jesus.

side note: winterfest is this saturday.  if you've never gone, it's worth checking out at least once.  also many cleveland handmade artists will be there selling some of their awesome stuff from 3-7 p.m.

originally posted on 05 december 2011.
much like years past, black friday for us does not involve getting up in the wee hours of the morning (or nowadays it's more like staying up until the clock strikes 12).  well, except for my husband who has to work the day after thanksgiving.

we are not fans of the whole black friday thing anyway.  the madness and long lines just to save some money?  don't get me wrong, i'm all for living frugally and managing your money wisely, but i don't think it's worth the craziness of black friday.  and it makes me cringe a little thinking about what that whole day represents (at least to us).

i just don't see how i can support a shopping day where people fight each other for the same item to the point of injury (or ignoring someone who needed help).  it's appalling.  and what about the workers at these big box retailers?  you have some stores opening up at midnight or even on thanksgiving day.  some of these people are missing out on family time just so that they can serve the needs of consumers hunting for bargains on things they probably can live without?  i know what that's like.  i'm married to a man who has a job where the busiest time of year is this time of year.  the weeks before christmas mean longer hours (for the same pay).  the days leading up to christmas day means our kids don't see him at all (one day he was at work at 5 a.m. and didn't get home until almost 9 p.m.), and i am left with an exhausted husband.  we have dealt with this every year for the past 8 or 9 years, and i can't say that i've gotten used to it.  i've learned to expect the worst in december, but it doesn't get any easier.  while i am thankful that he has a job, and that the busy season means money coming in for his company (which means he can continue to get paid), it's hard to find joy in the reason why he's busy: consumers doing what they do best.

maybe instead spending money on more stuff, we learn to live with less.  maybe instead of buying the xbox or flat screen TV at a huge discount, save your money and wait for the item to go on sale at another time of year.  or maybe consider not getting it and be content with that smaller TV or the more dated game system.  or buy used and create less waste.  what do our actions represent on black friday when we choose to participate in all that madness?  what exactly are we supporting?  i'm not saying you shouldn't go shopping at all, but maybe re-examine the intention behind choosing to shop on that particular day.


so what did we do on black friday?  well, we did spend a little money.  but instead of heading out to the chain stores at midnight and fighting the crowds we hit the local shops.  as i mentioned here, room service had their made in the 216 holiday shoppe opening that night so that's where we headed.

like years past, i have never been disappointed at the quality and variety this store has to offer.  their holiday shoppe always features a nice selection of local artists, from clothing, jewelry and other accessories to paper goods and kids' toys.

then we hopped over next door to say hello at another local favorite, salty not sweet.  i found thee perfect gift for someone.  and i mean perfect (at least in my opinion).  and it worked out because i didn't have a clue yet what to do for this particular recipient.  i'm just a little excited over the find.  just a little.

the following day, we decided to check out winterfest in downtown cleveland after aaron got off work.  when we went last year, we had a great experience checking out the gingerbread homes and tooling around downtown that we figured we'd try that again this year.  note to self, if we go downtown for winterfest again we need to go in the morning or early afternoon.  by the time we arrived, the streets were blocked off and there were TONS of people.  tower city was packed.  people spilled out into public square.  there were people, people and more people.

oh yeah, and we saw some lights, and i think some gingerbread houses and more people.  while it's fantastic to see such a great turnout for cleveland's tree lighting event, being crammed like sardines and worrying that my little ones are going to be swept away by a sea of people is not my idea of fun.

it was definitely one of those experiences where you were glad to be able to go do it once (so that you could say that you did go), but probably won't do again in the future.  as emma so eloquently stated about her winterfest experience (and i think she spoke for all of us): "i'm ready to go home."

so we did.


learning together: W9Y01 review

we wrapped up week 9 last week.

language arts:

for spelling we had the words if, is, it, bit, lit.   she got the pattern pretty quickly so we only spent 3 days on spelling.

copywork was 3 days of her memory verse and 2 days from an excerpt of bed in summer.  gibson requested his own copywork a few times so i printed off a few tracing sheets for him.

we went through lessons 30 and 31 in the mcguffey reader.  all words she knew, but it gives her a chance to slow down and talk about some of the words she's read.


from the book beautiful stories from shakespeare, we listened to the audio version of the tempest.  i think she had a hard time grasping the whole story..."there was this big storm and this man and this girl were on a boat.  the man was the girl's dad and they went to this place and the daughter got married."  but i think she did a pretty good job narrating, don't you think?

we read the farmer and the stork and the sheep and the pig from the book the aesop for children. the aesop stories are usually pretty easy for her to narrate since they're short.  she seemed to particularly enjoy narrating the sheep and the pig...probably because the ending had the word "bacon" in it.  haha!

we read the story how the rhino got his skin from just so stories.  actually, we listened to the audio version and emma and gibson followed along in the book (since we own it already).  it gave me a nice break from reading so that i could do other things, and the kids were able to enjoy the pictures from the book while listening to the story.  narration was a little choppy for this one (possible because gibson kept trying to throw in his 2 cents worth), but she got the basic idea.

we read a few poems from a child's garden of verses.  i can't remember all of them but some were bed in summer, the gardener and marching song.

independent reading:

some of the books read included angelina and the princess, the berenstain bears media madness, greece, the beginners bible, and princess emily and the wishing star.


we finished reading benjamin franklin.  we read 3-4 pages at a time and i had emma narrate after each reading sessions.  there's a lot of information in that book!  even i learned things i didn't know about ben.  we'll be working on a benjamin franklin lapbook week 10 to help gather all that information and put it in one spot.
we listened to the warrior queen from the book our island story.  we had already read that in week 8 but emma wanted to listen to the audio version (i guess she gets tired of hearing my voice sometimes...ha!).

we read the story of androclus and the lion from fifty famous stories retold.  side note: i downloaded this book (for free) on my kindle app (also free) for my phone and it's been fantastic to have!  emma really liked this story because of the sweet ending - androclus is reunited with his lion friend.  she did excellent job of narrating this particular story probably because she thought it was so sweet.


i still haven't done much of what i had planned for math except for going through life of fred.  it seems to be enough and there doesn't seem to be a need to supplement with additional activities through out the rest of the week.

emma completed chapter 9 in fred with questions at the end addressing time telling, days of the week, counting by 5s (in nickels), using ordinal numbers and numbers that add to 9.  i think after this term ends, we'll probably do a chapter from fred 2-3 times a week instead of 1 time a week.


we listened and tried to memorize "anywhere with jesus."  i found a youtube video of a vbs group doing this song with moves.  i think i had more fun doing the dance moves than the kids.  check it...

bible and scripture memorization:

we read through 1 samuel 9:1 - 12:25 where saul is annointed king of israel.  both emma and gibson colored a coloring sheet and we discussed the story together.

the memory verse for week 9 was from john 14:15.  it was a pretty short verse to memorize, though we also discussed the meaning of that verse, its context and how we can apply that practically.


we read chapter 9 in paddle to the sea in which grain elevators were mentioned.  we found a couple of videos on youtube of grain elevators doing their thing and talked about their purpose.

i still haven't gotten around to printing out a large sized map for the kids to trace paddle's journey.  i need to get on that!!

handiwork/life skill:

i taught her how to toast bread and she was able to prepare breakfast for herself and her brothers one morning.  oh man, was that awesome...for me.

emma and gibson also helped dad with the raking.  gibson came back in with a muddy face.  i think he had a great time out there.


we didn't spend a whole lot of time on our language study this week.  we did listen to the CD that came along with the book a few times.  

other things:

it finally dried up a bit last week so we were able to spend some time outside.  there was some serious biking and running going on!

ballet has been going really well.  last week they got to dance in the dark with glow sticks and used the barre to do plies and tendus.  emma is very serious in class...at least when i peek in there.

emma was really into making paper bookmarks last week.  there were LOTS of colorful strips of paper. gibson was into doing his own "crafts" too which involved some papers stuck together with glue.

side note on narration: i came across a thread in the AO forums where parents were recording their kids' narrations and then transcribing them.  some of the narrations were pretty funny, and it made me feel better that some days emma's narrations are a bit off the mark.  i think i might have to try recording a few of hers.  it would be interesting to see the progression over the years.

wordless wednesday::sweet on you

the boys love their baby sister.

i had to pry her away from this guy, because he did.not.want.to.let.her.go.

more wordless wednesday here, here and here.


3 months

my dear baby girl,

have i told you how sweet you are? 

have i told you how i love having you nuzzled right next to me in bed and seeing your cute face when i wake up in the morning?

i love looking at your little fingers and toes.  this time next year they wont be so little anymore.

you are growing slowly but surely, weighing in at 8.1 lbs at your weight check last week.  you know your brother was about that much when he was born.  it's funny to think about it.

your smiles and coos are more frequent (unless you're hungry, sleepy or both), and i still can't stop smothering your sweet little face with kisses.

one of my most favorite things is watching the bond and love that grows between you and your siblings.  and your cash-cash would literally smother you with hugs, kisses and drool if he could.

i'm thankful for having you here with me.  i'm thankful that i have the opportunity to be your mama, and that you have a daddy, brothers and a sister that love you so, SO much.

kisses, love!


sandy's surprise

one week ago today was sandy's debut on the east coast.  it's weird to think that a week from that crazy storm day has passed already when so many parts of the east coast are still trying to recover from the wreckage and loss.

sandy even managed to reach us here in northeast ohio, though the mess she left behind was nothing compared to the devastation on the east coast.  there were huge pine trees uprooted, damage to roofs, and many neighborhoods lost power.

i wasn't prepared for our area to be so affected by it, especially after waiting for our power to return 24 hours after the storm came through.  we ended up losing power for 3 days (though there were others who lost power for almost a week).  the days were spent trying to generate heat from our gas stove and keeping the sink from overflowing with dirty dishes. 

emma made her own school activities during the outage.
the kids didn't seem overly affected by the loss of electricity, except for at night when they didn't have their white noise to lull the to sleep.  they spent the day doing many of the usual things, though we didn't do any of our school readings for the week since i needed the computer for it.  i tried to wear lani as much as i could so that she would stay warm, and i will say that i was SO thankful that all she needed for nourishment was my milk!

gibson completed another 24-piece puzzle.
 while the loss of power wasn't a pleasant experience, we weren't miserable.  make no mistake, 3 days without power with 4 young kids and no car during the day was no walk in the park, but we still managed to have fun and share a few laughs.  and here is the best part about losing our power: experiencing God's love.

enjoying some electricity and heat at the mall.
that's right. 

sometimes, it's easy for me to forget how much he truly cares for us.  he shows us he loves us (pursues us daily) in big and small ways, and sometimes i totally miss it!  when we lost power, we had friends and family that stepped up to help us and care for us.  homes for us to stay at were offered, freezers were made available to save our food, batteries were provided to charge our phones and the "can i get you anything?" messages were many.  clearly, we have some awesome people that love us.  but even more clear: God loves us.  there was no reason to be miserable during that time, because i was reminded every single day that he was with us.


learning together: W8Y01 review

week 8...let's get right to it, shall we?


we read 2 stories from the aesop for children: the gnat and the ox and the plane tree.  since both stories were quite short and emma was still engaged, we read both in one day instead of splitting them up over two days.  for the narration practice, i asked her to summarize the gnat story and whether or not the tree was indeed useful for the plane tree story.

this week, some of emma's books of choice for independent reading have been a tiara club series book, a junie b. jones series book, 100 things you should know about ancient rome, a nancy drew book, an angelina ballerina book, and big anthony and the magic ring by tomie depaola.


on monday we read about cincinnatus from fifty famous stories retold.  the rest of the week was left open to start benjamin franklin by ingri d'aulaire, but wouldn't you know i didnt have the book ordered yet.  oops!  so we jumped ahead to week 9 and read about boadecia from our island story.

boadecia was a celtic warrior queen who fought against the roman invasion of britain.  the title of the story alone, the warrior queen, captured emma's attention.  ooooh!  a fighter queen!  the topics of revenge and suicide did come up during our reading, which caught me a bit off guard since i didn't read this story in advance.  but we had a great, in-depth discussion afterward about those subjects.


we are in the second life of fred book (butterflies), and finished chapter 8 this week.  some of the topics covered in this chapter include counting by fives and ordinal numbers.  the practice problems were a mix of review from previous chapters and new topics introduced in chapter 8.

i didn't do a whole lot of supplementing this week since emma went through the practice problems easily.  the only thing we did was practice identifying u.s. coins and adding coins together.


right now we are going through 1 samuel.  this week we went through 1 samuel 3:1-20 (samuel is called) and 1 samuel 4:1-7:2 (the capture and return of the ark).  we use the curriculum from this site, but i don't always print out the activity sheets.  gibson likes to do the coloring sheet so sometimes i'll print that for him.  emma likes to alternate between the coloring sheet and the fill-in the blanks so we did that for this week.  other than that, we really just take some time after reading the scripture to simply talk about it.

for scripture memorization we currently use the weekly memory verse from the kids' sunday school.  it keeps things simple and streamlined that way.  this week's was from matthew 6:13.

language arts:

for daily copywork i used the memory verse emma needs to memorize for church.  not only is she practicing her handwriting, but it's also another way to help her memorize  the verse.  sometimes i'll add a few sentences from a poem we've read for variation, but i didn't get to that this week.

spelling words for this week were went, sent, spent, felt and melt.  by the third day of spelling review she had mastered the words so we bagged spelling practice for the remainder of the week.

we did lesson XXIX and XXX from mcguffey's first eclectic reader this week, and talked about how some words are spelled the same but pronounced differently (wind and wind) while other words sound the same but are spelled differently (fair and fare). the more i teach her about the english language, the more i see how difficult the language is to learn.  all those exceptions and grammatical rules...wow!

nature study:

we collected a few leaves and did some leaf rubbings.  gibson found a few sweet gum pods and took them home, while cash was quite content to gather a few leaves of his own.  the unseasonably warm weather was perfect for plenty of outside time, and the kids managed to return from our walk with some sort of leafy collection.

emma also managed to capture a moth while she was sweeping the leaves in the backyard.  the kids were enthralled by the little guy, and emma recorded her findings in her nature journal.


we reviewed the phrases we've learned so far from this book (a great library find for us!) which included identifying family members, days of the week and simple greeting.

arty stuff:

in music we learned the hymn "for the beauty of the earth," and had fun singing it each day.  we discovered two different melodies for this hymn so we listened to both.

in visual art, we are still looking at camille pissaro's market at gisors rue de cappeville. we didn't get to using the oil pastels as i had originally planned but hopefully we can for week 9.  she did make a hot dog out of our leftover salt dough and she's waiting for it to dry before painting it.

ballet class has been coming right along.  she's learned first-third positions, demi plie and some basic stretches.  and of course her teacher also provides plenty of opportunities for creative dance.

that wraps up our week!


learning together: school round up

it's been 7 weeks since we started with ambleside's year 1 curriculum.  i have been meaning to post weekly summaries of what we've covered, but here we are in week 8 with no school updates until now.

better late than never, right?

the ambleside curriculum is divided into three 12 week terms.  obviously, we're in term 1 right now. we operate on a four day school schedule using this curriculum.  i had planned the 12 weeks to go through the second week of december, but it looks like we'll be done by mid-november.  sweet!

i try to limit the structured school stuff to about 2 hours max monday-thursday, with friday left a bit more "unplanned."  any daily table work that emma has to do is limited to 30-35 minutes.  that would include any copywork, spelling, oral reading, journaling, bible study, french and math.  of course we don't do all of that each day, with the exception of copywork.  we also have daily readings from the year 1 book list.  that's usually something all the kids like to do together.

realistically, any of our structured school stuff (including the readings) takes only about an hour.  but if you count some of the little "breaks" we have in between (like changing a diaper, putting dishes away, getting a snack, tending to the wee babe, etc.), some days the school stuff end up taking about 2 hours.  if it's nice outside, we usually end up doing some of the readings during lunch or as the "bedtime" story before naps so that we can enjoy some precious outside time.  then there are those "off" days where we just bag the day's plan and go with what works.

so to re-cap the past 7 weeks...

we've learned a bit of early british history and ancient greece and rome through the books Our Island Story, Fifty Famous Stories Retold, and Trial and Triumph.  some of the people we've read about include cornelia, horatius the cocles, blandina, and leonidas and the 300.  the short stories presented in these books have been a great way to teach history.  next week, we'll be learning about benjamin franklin through the book benjamin franklin by ingri d'aulaire (i still need to buy this...it's a hot commodity at the library with 2 holds on this one particular book).

emma keeps a timeline folder which we fill with some information and a picture of each person we've read about thus far.  it has been a great way for her (and me) to visualize the order in which all these events have occurred in time.

we've got some great books we've been reading for literature.  literature reading is done almost daily and there's usually at least one reading a week from The Aesop for Children.  Other books we've used so far this term include Just So Stories (which was Aaron's book from when he was a kid), The Blue Fairy Book, Parables from Nature, Tales From Shakespeare and A Child's Garden of Verses.  one of emma's favorites is an Aesop story called The Boy And His Filberts, and all the kids like the Aesop stories so much that we've re-read some of the stories quite a few times.

we do a geography reading once a week from the book Paddle-To-The-Sea.  coincidentally, this book is about the geography of the great lakes, and we live right by one of them.  so cool!  a few field trips to lake erie are in order!

when we first got the book, the kids wanted to read it so we've already read through the whole thing.  but it's nice to go back and re-read it at a slower pace.  i've been meaning to do a big map of the great lakes region so we can map out Paddle's course, but i haven't quite found what i'm looking for.  i kind of want to just make my own...

reading, writing and arithmetic:
we use mcguffey's readers for her oral reading practice (upon a recommendation from my dad), although she can read quite well independently.  the "problem" (but i guess it's not really a problem) is that now she reads so fast that she'll skip words.  so the short, little lessons in the mcguffey reader is perfect to "slow" her down a bit.

we also use mcguffey's for her spelling words.  i just pick out five words on the list (e.g. went, sent, spent, felt, melt) and we do a quick daily run through of them on paper.

other writing stuff include her daily copywork and not-so-weekly-but-should-be journal writing.  but she writes enough in her free time that i'm not too worried about it.

math has been great with the life of fred series.  she LOVES it and has devoured these books in her free time.  the stories are funny and the practice exercises are short and sweet.  we do a fred reading once a week, and if needed i'll find activities during the rest of the week to reinforce some of the things she learned from the fred book.  i think after this term, we'll start reading fred twice a week.  although that means we'll blow through the rest of the book very quickly, but that's okay.  we'll just get the next one.

my original plan was to do 3 lapbooks each term, but i think i was a bit ambitious in thinking we can complete 3 lapbooks in addition to our other school stuff.  and there's that whole just had a baby thing...yeah...

so, we've completed one and will most likely do one more before term 1 ends.  we FINALLY did a spider lapbook, which emma had been asking about doing since the beginning of summer.  and for gibson, we did a mini one for him since he seems to enjoy the whole lapbooking idea as well.

everything else:
i try to stick to charlotte mason's approach so "everything else" would include narration, art study, music study, language (french is what we're doing for now), scripture reading, nature study, handiwork and habit "training."

additionally, the kids have plenty of free time which has been used up with paper crafts, painting, drawing, dancing, clay art, making blanket forts, playing outside or going on walks (that counts as exercise time) and the occasional field trips here and there.

while i would love to expand on all these other topics, this post would end up very, very long if i continue. so hopefully by the end of this week i can post our week 8 school round up, which will be shorter but with a bit more detail.

wondering why we're on the road that we're on?  here's some background...

::part 1::      ::part 2::      ::part 3::


wordless wednesday::say cheese

practicing her smiles...

more wordless wednesday here, here and here.



2 months

happy 2 months, my little dear.

you are truly the peanut in the family.  still so small, you just recently grew into your newborn clothes.

you've given us smiles and a few coos, and your short, quiet-alert moments usually turn into a time when your brothers and sister shower you with attention.  even baby cash (who i guess is not really a baby anymore), loves to cover you with kisses (and drool).

right now, your most favorite place is close to mama.  and i'm not complaining, because soon enough that will be a distant memory for you.

thinking about the fact that you are in our lives is still a bit surreal at times, since you were a sweet surprise to us all.  now, it's hard to imagine life without you.

i love you so much i could smother you with hugs and kisses and eat you all up.


this being a girl thing just became official

i knew my emma was no longer a baby a long time ago, but i can't help but still see her as my baby every once in a while.

she has gone through many first moments this past year that remind me without a doubt that she's growing up...taking showers by herself, tying her own shoe laces, reading chapter books, riding a two wheel bike, fixing herself and her brothers breakfast (when she wants to), ballet class.  she really is a full fledged independent girl (no more baby-ness on that face of hers).

and now she's lost her first tooth (and a second one is already loose).  she's ECSTATIC.  so much so that she readily headed upstairs for bedtime.

while i share in her excitement, a part of me is feeling a little like this:  waaaaaaahhhh!!! 

maybe you're thinking i'm a little worked up over something like a lost tooth...and yes, you're probably right.  but she's my first baby and she's doing all these "firsts" which are firsts for me too (though i'm not saying that "firsts" with the other kids won't be as special or meaningful). as i type this, my little girl is sleeping soundly, knowing that tomorrow will bring her a special surprise.  sweet dreams, my baby!


little dancer

my girl started her very first ballet class this past weekend. she was very excited, and so was i. actually, it's probably safe to assume that i was WAY more excited than she was.

as i was doing her hair and helping her get dressed for class i had flashbacks of my own childhood memories of ballet.  all those years and years and years and years of ballet, costumes, hairspray, blistery feet, rehearsals...the ballet studio was like my second home and i loved it.

we packed her mommy-made ballet bag with the essentials: spare tights, ballet slippers, extra bobby pins and extra hair clips.

her class was full of other little girls in black leotards and pink tights ready to dance.  we said our good-byes, and as i sat outside the classroom catching short glimpses of little girls fluttering and jumping around i couldn't help but feel excited for her again.

dance has been such a big part of my life that i can't help but hope that it will be the same for emma (and lani too).  i mean, i definitely don't want to be like a crazy dance mom or anything like that, but if she truly does want to be a ballerina when she grows up have a passion for it then i want to be there to support her.


wordless wednesday::impromptu

sometimes, all you need is a little impromptu dip in the river to turn a good day into a great day.

more wordless wednesday here, here and here


eight is great

11 years ago (wow...i think i just made myself look old) this dude with spiky blond hair and a sense of humor that i somehow found funny caught my eye.

8 years of marriage and 5 kids later, he is still that dude that caught my eye 11 years ago.

the journey to the here and now together has been amazing.  i have seen both of us grow and change for the better.  i have seen our love and friendship grow and strengthen with each year.  we are each others best friend, as cheesy as that may sound.  we understand each others quirks, and have no qualms about being open and honest with each other (whether it's regarding a serious or lighthearted matter).  i take his feedback seriously (even when it comes to clothes...though sometimes i may not agree), and always appreciate his way of not sugar-coating things.  we are in-step with each other and we know each other like the back of our own hands. 

being with my man has been so, so good, and i'm quite certain that it will only get better with time.  kind of like good wine, right?

to my partner in crime and my number 2 guy: i love you dearly, my sweet baboo.  i'm thankful that we can share in the adventure that God has planned for us.
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