The Long and Short of It

Zoe decided this summer that she was ready to get her hair cut.  Well, she said she did but she wasn’t quite ready but then she was…and then she wasn’t.  She finally pinned down that she wanted it cut before we went to family camp the first weekend in September.

She also knew she wanted to donate as much as possible.  This is her fourth hair donation and second time to donate to Wigs for Kids.  It’s fun to see her giving and adventurous spirit.

I have to admit that I held my breath through this process but she was chill and excited.

And after.  We measured about 20 inches that she had cut off.  She’s enjoying having short hair and has said she wants to go even shorter in the future!

August Randoms

Lulu is always eager to help kids do school!
She also is very loyal at guarding the bathroom.  Seriously…not hands…a tail. Our kids passed around a fun virus in July through August.  It included a day or two of fever and then feeling fine for a day or two.  Then, the fever would come back.  Usually, this lasted a week.  A couple of the kids kept having the fever but several doctor visits later and a few blood tests yielded nothing more than a virus.  Thankfully, everyone was better before we left for the beach.

This is a pile of taco shells on fire.  Forgot they were in the oven from the previous night when I set the oven to broil and make toast.   Thankfully, nothing but the taco shells caught on fire and I used my brain before taking a picture. Aunt B and I have had some pregnancy brain issues which meant a few kids lucked out and got to extend their birthday celebrations into August.  As you can see, they were totally (not) disappointed. This was the look of a puppy who needed mama time so bad she fell asleep on my computer chair. Silas decided to make a paper crown for Emmie and the result was pure happiness.
After over a month of being timid of Mark, Lulu finally decided he was okay and climbed over me to cuddle with him. My belly is still a great prop for her though.Zoe working on getting her id for SAT.

At the end of the month, I was able to take the big kids to a Samaritan’s Feet event volunteer.  For three hours, we cleaned out water tubs, washed kids’ feet and handed out new shoes and socks.  It was a ministry to a lot of kids but it was also a huge blessing to us.  

Bake It and Make It

Ceili Rain has been wanting to earn her cake decorating badge since she started American Heritage Girls.  I decided that this year would be the year.  First up, making cupcakes and decorating them.

I love how she tackles most things with such determination.  We had fun with these!  She wanted to make blue and green frosting for NF!

The Great American Eclipse 2017

We headed out bright and early on the 21st to find a good spot for the eclipse.  Unfortunately, as we drove, we kept getting in to the pop up showers.  We made it to a decent spot and found a church where we could park.

Make sure the angel’s eyes are protected.

Unfortunately, as we sat watching the beginning of the eclipse, a storm started coming in.  We made a snap decision to load up and try to outrun it to see the total eclipse.

We didn’t make it to where there wasn’t cloud cover but we definitely got to see the effects of the eclipse.  It was like night time for two minutes and then quickly changed to daylight again.

Silly clouds!

We were all amazed even if we couldn’t see the shadow bands or diamond ring from the eclipse.  We’er anxiously awaiting and planning the next one in several years!

As we drove home and away from the storms, we realized that the eclipse wasn’t over.  Mark pulled over at an exit and we hopped out to watch the last few minutes as the moon crossed in front of the sun.

What a great memorable experience for our crew!


Family Beach Trip ’17

Earlier this year, we started making plans for the eclipse.  We knew we wanted to be close to totality and started out planning a camping trip in the mountains.  Then Tobin came along and we realized, camping in August at eight months pregnant would not be fun.  For any of us.  So, we went with plan B.  A weekend beach trip and a drive down to totality.

We went to Myrtle Beach.  It’s close and slightly more affordable since all we ever do is the beach and pool.

We ate out the first night at River City Cafe (it was directly in front of where we stayed).  Ya’ll it was really, really good.  One of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

Ace got this huge Pizza Burger.

And put the whole thing in his mouth!

Tried to stay with low carbs but the onion rings were calling.  So, I compromised and ditched the bun on my chili cheeseburger.  It was still very good.

The next two days were full of sand, sun, and pool time. I’m not kidding.

As soon as the kids woke up, swimsuits went on and didn’t come off until we were back in for supper.
Sand castles were built. Races to the ocean were had.

We ventured out one evening and got some family pictures.  Since it was August, it was still very crowded and so we got some other friends in our pictures…oh well. Beautiful sky! Quick maternity pictures which I’ll do on another blog post. And Mark and I managed to get pictures with each of the kids.  I love each of their silly personalities shining through.

We left out early morning to try and find a spot for the eclipse.

Ethos Academy 2017-2018

We started our ninth official year of homeschooling with gusto.  I quickly learned that even if I claimed some normal pencils…that they would disappear…and had to resort to this.

This was Ceili Rain’s artwork on her assignment book. I giggled.  Public school kids probably have the same misconceived pictures of homeschool kids too…right?

Here’s the lowdown on what everyone is working on.  I try to buy all of my non-consummables used to keep costs down.  But, I’m including links that will have new curriculum.  Our Bible curriculum this year is PictureSmart Bible New Testament.

Emmie’s main “work” is to color, cut, and explore.  She’s doing a great job with it.  She’s also designated her self, on most days, as Malachi’s cheerleader.

Malachi is all set on learning to read. He started out in All About Reading Pre-Level but when I realized that he knew what all of his letters were (capital and lower case), I skipped over that and the past few weeks have been focused on letter sounds.  He loves it.

Bryant is working hard in Math Mammoth Grade 2, All About Reading and All About Spelling Levels 2.  In fact, he has worked so hard with his reading and spelling, he is about to move on to the third level in both!  I like the All About series because it works at the child’s pace.  When I feel they are ready to move on after mastering a skill, they can.  But sometimes, I can tell they aren’t, and we back up and work some more on it.  We weren’t getting that with any other curriculum we worked in and it’s really something that Bryant (and Silas) have both needed.

From Bryant to Liam, we are going through Apologia Land Animals on the Sixth Day, Zoology 3.  They love learning about all the different animals!

From Bryant to Ace, we backtracked from our history last year (Mystery of History Volume 4) and are doing Mystery of History Volume 3.

Handwriting goes from Bryant to Josiah and we use A Reason for Handwriting.

Ceili Rain is using Veritas Comprehension Guides for Reading.

Silas started out finishing up All About Reading and All About Spelling Levels 1.  He finished those in September and is now working through Level 2.  Some days are fast and some days are really, really slow.  It depends on moods and motivations.

Both Ceili Rain and Silas are working through Math Mammoth Grade 3.  They are doing an excellent job too!  Silas started out last year with pretty big delays in addition and subtraction and had to back track into some first and second grade things to catch up but now, he’s doing really good picking up on the third grade concepts.  Ceili Rain continues to tell us that she loves math!

Josiah is in Veritas for reading, IEW Continuation Course Level B for Writing, Math  Mammoth Grade 5 and all the other things mentioned earlier.  He’s doing a great job keeping up with his work!

Liam has turned a giant corner and for the first time in six years is not fighting me on school…most of the time.  He has a joyful attitude and, most of the time, works hard to finish his tasks.  He’s doing Math Mammoth Grade 6, Veritas reading and IEW with Josiah.

Ace’s last year before high school!  He’s in Apologia Physical Science, IEW Continuation Course C (with Zoe), Windows to the World and Introduction to Literary Analysis.  He finished up Saxon Math 8/7 and is now plunging into Saxon Algebra 1.

Ace is showing a big interest in architecture and graphic design.  We’re working on finding some introductory courses for him to take online over the next year that will help him see what direction God is leading him.

Our first high schooler!  Goodness ya’ll.  The time is going by so fast with our first born.  She is an amazing kid.  Most everyone knows that she has a gift and a passion for languages.  Which ones?  You name it.  I think I saw that she has recently taught herself the Korean alphabet.  She uses several websites like Duolingo and Memrise.  The past few years she has shown a bigger interest in learning Sign Language.  Last year, she took an online course but we were excited for this year when a local homeschool mom organized a class with an ASL interpreter.  Our pastor, also put up an offer to teach a class on New Testament Greek.  Zoe, of course, jumped at that chance.  It’s safe to say those are her two favorite courses this year.

She is also getting to experience the joys of high school in Saxon Algebra 2, English and Composition, and Apologia Biology (must get the dissection out of the way…neither of us are looking forward to that).  She took the SAT and PSAT this year and will take the ACE at some point before the year is over.

For her English and Composition, I’m combining English 1 and 2 from Excellence in Literature.  It’s been a good fit and she is learning even more about how to develop a thesis statement and support it.  Plus, she is reading some quality literature which is exciting for us both.

It’s been interesting as I jump from high school teacher to elementary teacher and then back to guidance counselor and career counselor.  I do feel quite teacher schizophrenic on some days.  The kids are doing great.  It’s always exciting when we see where God is leading their hearts to serve Him.


Step On It

We set July for our biggest project to date…removing and installing new floors on our first floor.  Our engineered hardwood was holding up okay (could have been better) but the carpet and the linoleum in the great room and kitchen were showing the wear and tear of eleven people plus animals.  We had been saving money and doing research and this month was the month to start.

First of all, we went with luxury vinyl wood look planks.  Scratching your heads yet?  Yeah we did too. When we started our research, I spoke with a sales associate at Lowe’s and gave her our demographics.  She introduced us to vinyl plank floors and I went home to do the research.  The more I learned, the more I knew that these floors would be a good fit for our family.  They are around the same price as engineered hardwood and laminate flooring.  Durable is an understatement.  Waterproof is a definite.  I ordered a ton of samples from Build Direct and finally landed on one that I loved.  However, in my pregnant brain, I ordered a different one.  To save money, we picked up the flooring in Atlanta and when Mark brought it home, I just sat and cried and cried.  However, I seriously did not want Mark to take another day to drive to Atlanta and back to return and pick up flooring.  So, I pulled up my big girl panties (as the saying goes) and decided to be happy with what Providence (and my negligence) brought us.

Installation was easy…but we did learn a lot.  First of all, do not start in the middle of the room and make sure you are staggering (don’t have two long pieces between a short pieces).  A vinyl floor cutter would make the process go smoother and a little faster.  Keep a tight fit on the pieces but also leave a small gap by the walls to allow for expansion.

Mark and his dad got the carpet pulled up.  All of us worked to get the linoleum up.

The biggest chore were the hardwoods.  Glued to a concrete slab and not wanting to permanently damage the concrete to where no one could glue anything down again, Mark had to work hard.  We tried everything. In the end,the best was renting a “stripper” and good ol’ elbow grease.  Mark worked one Saturday for eight hours.  A couple of weekends later,our pastor/friend came over and worked with Mark making the process go a lot faster.

So, here’s how we did the installation.  I will admit I spent the first week every night in tears.  We were trying to learn how to install.  My ever expanding belly and standing and sitting to install were getting to me.  And I was just convinced that we wouldn’t be able to finish before school started or Tobin arrived.  Mark was ever so patient.  The kids were amazing and little by little we were able to finish a few days before we planned to start school.  So, Mark and I worked late in to the evening.  The kids and I worked an hour or two in the morning and then an hour or two in the afternoon.  When my back couldn’t take much more and our school deadline approached, Mark came home early and got the big work done.

This was after the first night and my first panic attack. Zoe and Ace were invaluable!  We figured out the underlayment and they were my backbones to get it installed. Then when we worked big spaces, we quickly came up with a routine on how to lay/cut/install while Silas ran planks between us. Rearranging furniture brought in more organization for me. See the pantry door?  I figured out…on my own…how to work around it. The dining room went fast but we still had to get quarter round down and then realized we had to paint the trim…my trim looks brand new now though! Dining room/School room all done.  Now to get ready for school 2017 to 2018! Mark got the quarter round around the island painted a few days before Tobin was born.  Now, I can officially say our island is done! Everything is finished!

While I didn’t get the rustic look I originally wanted, I’m thrilled with the end product!  Mark and I learned, that while this project was a little draining, we can actually work together and our kids are super about working with us!  It feels great to know we did it!

July Randoms

Lest you think Tot does not get the proper amount of spoiling since he has a new sister…We are equal opportunity doggy cuddlers around here.
Emmie doesn’t take formal naps now but she usually manages to grab a quick snooze during video times. We’ve gotten slightly in to painting rocks.  I decided to spread some awareness with our Super Ems rock. Cow Appreciation Day! We got our NF Walk Shirts in this year.  Super Ems and Pigtails!  Perfect! Zoe worked on her Book Adventurer Badge for American Heritage Girls.  She had to draw a picture based on a book they have read and then send it to the author.  Since the Wingfeather Saga is our favorite series, she worked on a quote and picture from that group and sent it on to Andrew Peterson, the author. We got rocked!  Emmie was excited to find these fun rocks at our house one day!

Sadness…when you bump your two cup glass measuring cup and it bounces off the counter and shatters on the floor.  Complete sadness.