There are three fun posts in the hopper... all to be completed before we head off on vacation Saturday. In the meantime ~ a little update on life without our van.
The one and only downside has been that Lael is too little to travel in the bike trailer and so we can't go super long distances with her like we can with the other kids...that would be because we are walking and I just am not that into pushing a stroller over a mile or two at a time.
I think the older three kids and I have biked nearly 15 miles since my last post. My second trek to swimming lessons was much less grueling and I can not begin to express how good it feels to be building endurance and to actually "feel" strong. Ironically, there is something very freeing about being forced to get out and excersise. I am realizing the benefits of this as we bike and walk and I love it...I am beginning to wonder how to incorporate part-time car use into our norm throughout the year.
I knew from some of our nature study walks we incorporate into our science education, that walking allows you to take in your surroundings in new ways, to really "see" what is before you and enjoy it through smell and touch and observation that isn't available in a vehicle. This has been true of our time out of doors this week. The beautiful piece that I didn't expect was the interaction this type of transportation affords with other people.
Everywhere we walk, we greet others along the way. Neighbors in their yards, other walkers or bikers... And when we are biking, we get waved to by nearly every car that passes us! Sometimes people double take and then smile big... sometimes wave immediately...it seemed odd on our first ride and I thought it must be because I was going so slow hauling that bike trailer full of kids and trying to keep up with Halle! But time after time it happens again! And again and again.... and this is not on po-dunk streets either, its on major roads(for our town anyway) with steady traffic.
I think people either really do think I'm crazy towing a trailer uphill or something is stirring in them when they see a mom riding bikes with her chidren.
I like to think we make them happy.
I like to think that all those waves come from something in their hearts that is awakening~ the love they had of being on a bicycle as a child or maybe just the idea of how lovely it must be to be out of doors on a warm summer evening... maybe they want to join in! Whatever it may be,it has been great. I love seeing the faces of total strangers light up as they smile and wave at the kids and I love seeing my children find joy in waving back.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
There are three fun posts in the hopper... all to be completed before we head off on vacation Saturday. In the meantime ~ a little update on life without our van.
Monday, July 28, 2008
is my ride.
BUT, this week it happens to be in the bodyshop (I had a nasty run in with a trailer when my parking sensors were off... what did I do before parking sensors hmmm...) So, on the way to pick up our rental car, Josh and I had an incredibly radical idea...hang on here it comes:
We are living without a car this week!
Its a little bit of suburban adventure. As a disclaimer, we do have my dad's truck handy to be able to haul some branches that have been encroaching upon my driveway for two weeks. But, as the kids can't fit into the small rig, we are basicially biking.
Needless to say after just having a baby a few months back, cardio and I aren't the best of friends these days, but I still hauled Maia and Jones in the bike trailer (Halle riding beside me) all the way to swimming lessons. Three miles...100 pounds to tow...100 degrees outside...all uphill!
Besides the excersise, I am thrilled to be doing something for the environment by not driving for a week. Unlike most people you may encounter, Josh and I are actually kind of pleased by the hike in gas prices....We believe that until average Americans start to feel the crunch of high prices at the pump, they will never care enough about looking for alternatives to fossile fuel or alternative transportation. We have only one vehicle for this very reason (Josh drives an on/off road motorcycle or we arrange our days so he can have the van.)
Riding our bikes for a week in the summertime is a lot of fun, but it is also a bit of a social experiment: We are taking time to think about where we go and why and that simplicity is pouring over into other aspects of how we are living. Am I stewarding my water well? Do the lights really need to be on right now? The kids are having a blast (who doesn't like a bikeride with mom and dad?) and they are considering other ways to save and reuse and conserve what we have at home. I think its a great lesson for them and for us!
If you have time, I would highly reccommend a great article on Progville about gas prices and America's addiction to oil. Its called 9/11 and 4/11 and is by Tom Friedman. It just might start some interesting thought and conversation around your home!
I plan to write about any bumps in the road we encounter this week as well as any unexpected blessings...stay tuned for a glimpse at life without wheels! So far, the only downside are my sore calves and the $3.00 I lost at the Athletic club buying extra Powerade after my big ride! It was tasty though, so its not all bad!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So, Sunday was wonderful, we went down to the river to see some people from our church get baptized, which was lovely. It afforded some great talks with the kids on the way there about what baptism is and later on about what a sacrament is and the vitality that is brought into community by outward signs of internal heart commitments and covenants. It is so sweet to even be at a place in their lives where we have these talks and it is even more sweet to hear their questions and responses.
Of course, with children (as with all of us) there is a learning curve with truths seeping in as the divine power of the Holy Spirit brings understanding...This couldn't have been displayed more pointedly than later on in the afternoon in our kiddie pool...
Upon hearing Jones laughing hysterically, Josh and I decided to check out what was up, only to see his big sisters standing beside him dunking him underwater... When we told them that even though he liked it, it would be best to stop... the response was,"But we were just baptizing him! Don't you want him to show how much he loves Jesus!?!"
We about died laughing...even the kids started giggling, but they may not have quite known what exactly we found so funny.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I am trying something new. I found a beautiful blog filled with simple ideas for enjoying everyday small moments. I am going to use the framework given there in this post to enjoy some of the small things surrounding me today. If you take part as well, please let me know, I'd love to visit and read what inspires you...
Outside my window...a robin's egg blue and cobalt sky fading into the moonlight, the sprinkler's pitter pat, patter on the driveway as it helps new grass grow.
I'm thinking... about how to genuinely show love and listen to my family, how to participate fully in their ideas, their joys and their hurts and how to make laughter the norm in the walls of our home.
I am thankful for...FREEDOM. The freedom to be a personality full of vibrant life through Christ Jesus. And so incredibly thankful for a husband who nourishes freedom in our home, manifested in our hearts and through silly moments throughout the day.
From the Kitchen...mixed berry smoothies with scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast for breakfast in the morning.
I am wearing...a deep tourqoise cotton summer skirt and white tank top, bare feet and feathered hair.
I am creating...a painting from a verse the Spirit breathed into our home:
"Let my teaching fall like rain and my words decend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." ~ Deuteronomy 32:2
I am going...to wiggle my toes in the grass and swim in the river with my children tomorrow afternoon (I can't wait!)
I am reading... Instructions for Visitors, a memoir on an American woman's life and love in a small French village. I can't get enough of France right now...remember this?
I am hoping...that our pet bunny(a house rabbit who lives only inside much like a cat, with a litter box and all), will overcome illness and stay with us a while longer, we can't bear to lose him, but this is looking inevitable.
I am hearing...the whirring of our central air working overtime (it was 106 degrees out today!
Around the house...I am picking up, a final sweep of sorts, before the cleaning woman comes to make my home sparkle before we put it up for sale this week.
One of my favorite Things...how about 4? I am obsessed with the fingers and toes of each of my four children. Something about the scent of sunscreen and pruny fingers fresh from the kiddie pool makes for extra hand and foot kisses.
A few plans for the rest of the week...giving TLC to the bun, swimming, sunning, and sneaking in the work of creating my week-by-week goals for the upcoming school year in the following subjects: language arts, reading, math, history, grammar, spanish, art, music, natural science, copywork and literature...more to come on this progress I promise!
A picture I am sharing...
This is me last October when Josh sent me to Mexico to spend time with Jesus, to relax and also to wrestle with some hurts that were swirling in my heart and head. It represents a sweet time with my Saviour that I have needed to remember in recent days. He is so good, so sweet and so ever faithful!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
A little update on how I am spending my summer... Much of the summer for me is spent lesson planning and making sure we have everything we need to get through our upcoming school year. I think this will be the first of several posts throughout the summer of what we are planning to study and do, and some of our philosophies about education.
We apply a Charlottle Mason philosophy of learning in our home, combined with some Classical education as well. Some great resources to discover more about both of these ways of teaching and learning are
Ambleside Online and
When we first started to consider homeschooling I read a book called For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCauley. The author is the daughter of the theologian, Frances Shaeffer and he and his wife Edith have literally changed our lives personally through their writings. When I found their daughter's book it was so life giving and began to shape much of what we do in our home.
Here is a quote that I have been considering over the last few days:
The Child is a Born Person
" This first position of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy may seem merely a statement of the obvious. But it is not some minor element of a greater truth. It is a central truth in its own right, and if we ignore it, great sorrow and malpractice can result. Try a smiple experiment. Take a small child on your knee. Respect him. Do not see him as something to prune, form or mold. This is an individual who thinks, acts, and feels. He is a separate human being whose strength lies in who he is, not in who he will become. If his choices now and in the future are to be good ones, this person must understand reality and see the framework of truth.... We are told by many in our generation that this small child is a cog in a machine, or even that he is a possession, like a pet animal.... We must answer: NO. You are holding a person on your knee and that is wonderful."
Friday, July 18, 2008
Overheard from the living room while making dinner:
Halle: "So you know Maia, every single person has sinned and needs Jesus...EVERY single one of us."
Maia: "Yep, Halle, I know that...everybody has sin and everybody poops."
(Lots of laughter from Halle)
Halle: "Well, except Jesus didn't sin, he's the only person..."
Maia (looking a little concerned): "Halle, did Jesus never poop?"
Where do they come up with this stuff???
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The girls are really into exchanging phone numbers with friends right now, just in case they need them for playdates and princess tea parties, its a pretty big deal to them. Maia is working on writing her numbers these days and last week pulled out a stack of index cards to begin writing her name and number on them, so she could hand them out to people she met...(don't worry, a big stranger danger lesson was soon to follow).
What also followed was my idea to have a cute little card to give people with my name and info on it. How many times do I give someone my number or email on a slimy piece of paper from my purse? Yuck and I'm sorry to any of you that have received one of those. If you were to ask me for my number today, you'd get one of these babies:
Vista Print rocks. They have a great deal right now on premium business cards 250 for $3.99 ladies! You just pick what style you want and fill in the blanks. Its helping to make me feel special in my role as mom too, that is my title on the card of course.. and plus I think they're pretty cute.
So, I've been ignoring the blog.
This weekend I was so extremely blessed to head to Bellingham for a special wedding. The father of the bride married Josh and I and his daughters (the bride!!)were Halle's first ever babysitters. Lael is named after the fourth child in their family and it was so special for them to meet in person. I was crying as this father gave away his first little girl and the beauty of family, a family I know and love so dearly, was so visible in all the pieces of that moment.
It was also incredible because I got to hang out with an old pal, Cutzi, from Moon With a View and our friend Amy. We played at the park, I decided their children are incredible and I am negotiating the marriage of one of my daugthers to one of Amy's sons.(Thanks for the little reunion girls!)
Josh and I dated and got married while we lived in Bellingham,we started our family there... In high school I first began to fall in love with Jesus at a Camp Firwood and all my memories of adolescence revolve around that place... In so many ways it is home. It is not where I was raised but it was very much my starting place.
Then, I was off to attend a party at my Aunt's house near Seattle. Each year she and my cousins host a party for all the women in our family. It is a purposeful way they have created for all of us to connect and share life together as girls.
This year it was a Garden Tea and let me just tell you... it was inspiring. These girls host like no others. In case you don't believe me (or just because I say please) I would love it if you would head over to my cousin, Kyla's Blog, to check out the details and photos.
Those pictures look like they are out of a magazine... and they could be. SHE IS THAT AWESOME. She is also just starting her blog and so I want to send some fun readers her way.
So, what did YOU do this weekend?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Happy Fourth of July Everyone!
We're in the midst of a rainy day around here, but still plan to celebrate! When they wake up the kids are going to be greeted with their own sparklers and fun coupons for an ice cream cone later in the day.
We love reading poetry and singing songs about America (this usually happens outside picnicing, but today it might be on the couch). There is an awesome book we found a Costco last year called "Let Freedom Ring" that has a collection of stories we love to look through and really beautiful vintage pictures like this one:
We will have a spa time and paint the girls nails bright red for the special day and while the little kids nap, Halle and I will make some Apple Pie to enjoy after dinner. We are going to cook and eat with my parents and then we're off to watch the fireworks! We usually head down to the point right on the river and sprawl on the grass to watch the show. Tonight we may have to find a good viewing spot from the car if its raining.
I bought some inexpensive chinese take out boxes in red...
They are filled with goldlfish crackers, special candy and of course...earplugs for firework viewing. They have each of the kids names on them with blue and red stickers and we'll give them to them before we head off.
So, how will you be celebrating today?
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
"We have come to the place where we can honestly say that there is no distinction in our home school between home and school--we are living to learn and learning to live all at the same time. That is what happens in a home." ~Sally Clarkson
I am letting these words seep in deep today. Do any of you question this from time to time? Do any of you try to mimic what you knew to be "school" and get locked into your lists of 'what must come next...and then, and then...?' I do this more often than I'd like to admit...
I think it is reasonable for moms to feel a little overwhelmed at times...there is so much involved in the keeping of our days and the running of our homes. There is so much involved in our own hearts as we nurture and pour out our lives and gifts and loves to our children. There is oh so much involved in the little hearts of our young ones as they discover life in a family, how to relate to the God who made them and loves them so dearly, how to relate to others...
My days since Lael was born have felt overwhelming more often than not. I think that beyond the reasonable reflection and questioning, I have fallen into a bit of a "got to do it right" attitude. It is quelching my joy.
So, I am throwing out my list of to-dos today. Right relationships and fun are all that is on the docket. The sweet scent of summer is changing things up around here: the laughter, the play,the time together... oh the time! This season is infusing our home with renewed vision for living and learning...I am inspired to have this season spill over into our "school" year and have those distinctions beween home and school entirely diminish.
I'm procrastinating with my next post, so in the meantime I am going to put up a new picture of my nephew, Zeke. Thanks for letting this auntie relish in her joy...between Zeke and Madeline my heart feels so full. They are such precious gifts and I want to snuggle them both endlessly...Isn't he adorable?