Tuesday, September 30, 2008



you bet.

{and it's good for you. but don't tell}

I love KASHI and the yummy goodness they offer. And right now you can go "steal a cookie from their cookie jar."
HURRY. Go check 'em out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A New Day. A New Year.

{birthday girl by: a.blake}

It's 9:23pm.
Which is symbolic to my date of birth: 9.23
Thus, the urgency to post, on the eve of my birth date.

I have already enjoyed a traditional 9er family party, complete with all of Mom's appet. fixings & the goodness of Crystal's fabuloso carrot cake drenched in cream cheese icing. And a surprise visit by my friend, Richele and her fam. Today John deemed it "sleep in morning" since we were out so late last night. John worked and Drew had school. While Jack napped, John went outside with Drew to work on the new fort. This is very exciting in our house right now. While the boys were laboring away, I went out. All. by. myself. I love being a mom. I love my boys. But sometimes, I really love to go out by myself. To think. To take my time to look things over. To gather my thoughts and gain perspective.


I am completely cursed and doomed. Because the moment I think, "I really love having my quiet time to myself & can't wait..." I am saddened by the thought of a quiet home and grown children & reminded about the millions of women who have told me, "Enjoy them...they grow sooo fast."

So I won't think about the fact that I am ONLY 29!!!! Even though, I sometimes have a hard time swallowing that pill. Someone said, "YOU'RE SOOOO YOUNG!!!!" which made me feel better. Maybe it's because there are days where I realize I should be acting more like a 29 year old. :) And some days I still feel like I'm trying to figure this whole world of *wife & mother* out. But nonetheless, I have one more full year of *blooming* before I am officially the big 3-0. So, even though I've come a long way from high school days and college times, I have a full year of learning and growing ahead of me. But, then, don't we all?

I remember the first time LIFE really hit me. It was on my high school senior trip and it was our first night in Europe. (yeah, I know...lucky me! I dream about going back someday). We were hanging around our hostile and there were some random German kids hanging out. There was substantial evidence of the difference of our cultures, if you know what I mean. But I was mesmerized by them. I couldn't get over the thought of, "Why isn't that me? I so easily could have been placed anytime, anywhere in the world. But here I am. I am living my life. I am me." Have you ever had that *out of body* experience where you seem to be viewing your life as an outsider? Well. Anyway. It was that moment where my view of life really brought my perspective to full stop & with that came abounding thankfulness for the Lord's gift of life and providential placement of this little life of mine. I too easily get caught up in this vapor of my life. And I have had so many reminders of the frailty and brevity of our lives. But, hopefully, with that comes great depth, and influence, and impact, and love. Great love of giving oneself. I hope I do that. And to continue to do more of that each and every one of my little ol' life that I am given.
But now, NOW. I am going to go have a hunk of that carrot cake currently sitting in my fridge, waiting to be devoured. And maybe I'll go for a birthday jog tomorrow, so I don't feel so *o.l.d.*

Happy Birthday to ME. Because, well, it's my post after all!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

THE FIRST DAY of school.

{our transformed school room}

{I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have this space designated for school. It has made it easier for me to mentally let go of the house stuff and focus on Drew's time. We pulled all the furniture from around the house to fill in for storage space. Drew's little desk was a *steal* off the side of the road. I wanted to paint the walls a nice bright color, but we ran out of time. And I can't decide on a color. A project for another time.}

{Drew wore his authentic Italian soccer jersey on his first day}
{Drew's desk. We do most stuff on the floor area, but this is where he'll sit for *focus* time. The art is from the Met from our trip last weekend}
{we went exploring the first day and picked a bouquet from around the yard. it actually matches the Monet piece of art that is hanging above his desk. Those wood colored pencils are so chunky and earthy. They look like they were picked right from a tree. Could you imagine...a tree that grows it's own color}

{This is our THEME}

{Drew picked out his school folder. We used stickers to spell out his name}

{I found this HUGE board book. You won't believe me but I paid $1.25 for it! We were at a Borders that was closing and I snatched the last one on the mega clearance table. }

{I am using the
Five in a Row book. You take one book per week, read the chosen book every day of the week and draw out different aspects of it each day. The "text book" gives you springboard ideas from divisions of art, geography, relationships, literature, science, math, etc. This week was "The Story About Ping." So we looked up the Yangtze River in China, learned about peking ducks, the importance of making wise decisions, acceptin responsibility, painted a duck with watercolor, and even did a shadow puppet performance for daddy & Jack.

{using pom-poms to count out pings family: 1 mother, 1 father, 2 sisters, 3 brothers, 11 aunts, 7 uncles and 42 cousins---we skipped the 42 cousins}

{Drew's watercolor of Ping. He did this ALL by himself, with only verbal instruction and explanation from me. I showed him how to wet the paper first when painting the background with watercolors. Then how to make long horizontal strokes to make water.

{I purchased the KUMON books for writing for this term. I love the colorful illustrations and how it starts out *non-threatening* No solid or dotted lines yet}

{I stole this idea from Steph. It was fun to do and see his answers. My favorite part is "WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE "an artist and go to Berkshire Life to work." This is what John does--though he mostly works at home and occasionally goes into Berk. Life. This made, made, made John's day---to say the least}

{Now with the great structure I can hardly keep this little *pod* out of the school room! He LOVES to "daw" (i.e. draw). We have our kids start "holding the pencil like an artist" from the very beginning, as Jack is modeling for us here (thanks, buddy). It's just one of our (many) quirks}

{Jack is a pro at "dot, dot, dot." Look at how cute he is. He even placed his cap up so it doesn't roll off---just like mommy showed him}

{what Jack did the 1st day of school. The boys each got a gift on the 1st day of school...a neiner tradition in the keeping. So Jack played with his first set of Playmobil contentedly in his highchair for an hour and a half!!! I'm thinking this was an exception. Though one time when Drew was counting something out loud, Jack piped in: "TWOO, FREE, FOHR, FIGH" He can almost count to 10 on his own}

{he also had some quiet play time in his pack n play during school time. Mommy is still trying to figure it all out}

{the teacher. wow. a lot goes into that word. this is something I was not educated for, nor really have any experience in. honestly, it was always that *thing* I never thought I would have to do. But thankfully the Lord has been preparing my heart for some years now and has brought many amazing homeschooling moms across my path and expert-teachers Steph & sis.-in-law Amber who always amuse me with my never ending questions and are always full of great ideas, lots of encouragement and loads of direction. And, of course, THE LORD: Who loadeth me with benefits and grace for this high calling. And I'm thankful it's only one day, one week, one kid at a time right now. I'm easing in. And after the first day, I thought, "Wow, that was great. That was just great!"

I know Drew had a great week also, but it did crack me up on the second day when I announced, "OK, time for school!!" and his reply came with a half smile, half furrowed brow, "Mom. How many days am I going to be doing this?"

Oh, Drew. If you only knew!

{My little desk. Every teacher needs her own space}


Thursday, September 04, 2008


Today we are all a buzz with anticipation in getting ready to spend the weekend in THE BIG APPLE!!! Our friend is doing a temporary job in NYC and his family is down there this week with them. They have a condo a block away from the Met and they said to come on down!!! This is our first family trip to the city and we are SO EXCITED!!! We'll be taking the train down to Grand Central which will no doubt make for even more adventure (hopefully not the same kind of adventure we have with air flights!). Even though the weather is looking a bit bleak for saturday, we will not let that dampen our spirits! I can't wait to show the boys the big city! Highlights from the trip soon to follow!