Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two Sisters

Rachel came bounding over to me having put her baby sister's coat on - thinking it was funny. I, of course, thought it was funny too, so I took her picture. This picture tells it all about Rachel's comedic little personality.

Little Coat

After taking her picture, Mariah and I somehow came up with the silly, but perhaps slightly mean idea (but Natalie was OK with it), of sending Rachel out to her older sister Natalie to tell her that she'd "found a coat to wear outside."

Rachel is biggest non-perfectionist that I know. And Natalie is the biggest perfectionist. We watched out the window when Rachel went to tell her sister about the coat. Out came the hands on the hips telling Rachel that this was not the proper thing to do. Pretty soon Rachel was walking around the house and Natalie was following her very upset. So, I went outside with my camera, asked her why she was upset and took her picture. Natalie then smiled when she realized Rachel wasn't just being stubborn, but that we had sent her out there.

Something Is Not Right

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Morning At The Park

God blessed us with beautiful weather this morning. I and the kids were feeling a little under the weather, but what better thing is there than going out and enjoying God's creation to perk you up a bit.

So, here are some pictures from the park. The girls and I spent several hours there and just enjoyed ourselves.


The Park
Natalie (7) always does a great job taking care of Abigail (1).

There were several people there fishing.

Sand By The River
They always love touching the water...

Digging In The Sand
...and digging in the sand.

I Love Pinecones
I love pincones, Mama!

Climbing Rocks
Rocks are great fun too!

Running At The Park
And running in a wide open field (with no cows in them - LOL) is great too! Precociousness
And sometimes I can actually get this one to look at me when I'm taking her picture. She has such a pretty face, I think.

I hope you all get the chance to spend some time outdoors appreciating God's creation and talking about it. My kids and I love it and never feel bad about other things we are missing out on for the time we take to spend in nature.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How To Draw Trees

I liked this how to paint trees link that Harmony Art Mom put on her blog. So, I'm putting the video on my blog so I can remember the link. Here it is:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Having Fun


I was just having fun. That, I believe, is our boy calf. He spunky and friendly.

President Bush

President Bush

I know I may be a little late posting this, but I just found this UTube video on another blog. I've just really got to say, no matter how tired people get of politics, it's important not to disengage, nor to stop thinking critically and biblically about the issues. Yet, getting caught up in the day to day debating can be overwhelming and I certainly understand that.

For today let me just say that I, personally, appreciate President Bush. I think he did the best he could for our country and he held firm to his principles. I didn't agree with every decision - particularly some spending decisions, and at times I wished he was more articulate so that he could have better put the neigh-sayers in their place. But, overall, I think he was a great leader. I think God placed him as President to protect our country and to stand for what is right, even in a day when many look at standing for what is right as a negative. Thank you, George W. Bush.


What Is A Charlotte Mason Homeschool?

I know I will have to add to this list. But, today I sat and wrote down what a CM style homeschool means to me. I think if I let go of society's expectations and really concentrate on the love of learning that both myself and my children will be better for it. And, Charlotte Mason was one of the most inspirational educators in terms of inspiring a love of real learning that there has been. I struggle some days with my desire to follow a natural learning pattern and want the concreteness of checking off the list from the box of curriculum. But, Charlotte Mason style learning is right for me and my kids. We have such a variety of interests - it just fits. Plus, I've always been a self-learner - a trait I want to pass on to my kids.

What A Charlotte Mason Homeschool Means To Me

  • It means I don't worry so much about my kids doing reports or writing a novel (at least until they are in High School).
  • It means learning about a wide variety of topics that both I and my children are interested in.
  • It means most of our lessons are oral or hands-on and that there is less tangible busy-work to save and show to others.
  • It means I value QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. (In reading, copywork, handicrafts, art, atheletics, music study, nature study, poetry, science experiments, bible study, and math, etc.)
  • It means learning and thinking is a family lifestyle and we talk about things we are learning all the time.
  • It means reading A LOT of high quality (living - rather than dry as bones) books.
  • It means slowing down my life.
  • It means enjoying the natural world.
  • It means allowing my kids to be kids.
  • It means trusting that soaking my children in quality literature and encouraging their love for learning will produce better results in the long run, than drilling and busy-work and sentence diagramming.
  • It means realizing my chidlren will learn to write properly if they read and are read a lot of quality literature and are encouraged to study things on their own.
  • It means realizing the value of handicrafts in my children's education.
  • It means widening my definition of handicrafts to fit our interests. My definition of handicrafts are simply skills done with our hands and our creativity, that would be handy skills to have and that give us and our children a creative and a physical outlet. Some examples of handicrafts include:
    • Photography
    • Sewing
    • Knitting
    • Basket Making
    • Cooking
    • Pottery
    • Carpentry
    • Plumbing
    • Computer Assembly
    • Car Repair
    • Gardening
    • Electrical Work

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Left Brained - Right Brained

I Am 30% Left Brained, 70% Right Brained
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Honey!

It was my honey's birthday this weekend. He is now just as old as me! :) Since I don't have my computer right now, I had to wait until my honey went to work to upload any photos. I installed the new version of Picasa 3 on his computer since he doesn't have Photoshop on his computer (so I could process the photos).

Here a couple photos from Jon's birthday.

A Mover And A Shaker

Hmmm. What could it be?!

Happy Birthday

Toddler Dilemmas

<p>By the way, in case anyone is wondering, I am having a much better day today than any day last week. I decided that since my toddler was going to cry and fuss anyhow when I was cooking or reading to the other girls, that I would put her in her crib with a bunch of toys while I was doing these tasks. She still fussed and cried, but if I do this every day, she'll probably learn not to, plus this way, she is not crying right in my ear!

Self Portraits

We finished with the animal kingdom book and are onto the human body book. The first assignment is to draw self-portraits. Here are my girls' self portraits. The first one is Natalie's (DD7) and the second one is Rachel's (DD5). Rachel wanted her hair to be a little darker than the brown pen and was bothered that adding the black on top of the brown made her hair look black - just so you know that she knows her hair isn't really black.

Self-Portrait - 7YO Girl

Self-Portrait - 5 YO Girl

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Week


Well, I read Habakkuk with my husband this week and I prayed with him a couple of times before he went to work and God really answered those prayers.

Our Farm

I did enjoy visiting the cows. They are getting really more comfortable around us. One of the Mommas comes right over to me and stands there till I scratch her back. The boy calf is also friendly and likes his tummy rubbed. Last weekend, we partially trimmed our overgrown apple tree on the bottom of the property. We really need to get to some winter garden stuff like spraying and planning out that greenhouse. I'm starting to sound like a broken record on that one.

Our Home & Health

Well, I'm happy to report that going gluten free and as of lately avoid lactose (but not cheese - yeah) seems to have done the trick for Rachel. Everyone has been quite healthy, and we've heard of lots of bugs going around, so right now for that reason (among many others), we are thankful for home schooling. I made bread this week. It's amazing how quickly it disappears!

In The Schoolroom's been a challenge this week. I started this week on Tuesday. Jon watched the girls on President's Day and I went into work. From then on, I can't really tell you what we got done. We read fairy tales and Natalie did her math three days out of four. We went to violin, dance, and soccer. Today I let the kids play, play, play in the yard as it was the most beautiful day. But I struggled to keep the house up. I struggled to do much reading with the girls or any projects. It seemed to me, this week, that anytime I was trying to clean or read with the girls or plan homeschooling projects or cook, there was my baby girl with a, "uh, uh, uh." Even trying to read with the girls with her on my lap - she'd take the book, want up and down, and just generally fuss.

I leave you with a picture from soccer. This is Rachel at the end of the line. This isn't Rachel's team. She wasn't old enough to play soccer yet this year. But she likes to go to her sister's practice and play with them and Natalie's coach is obliging.

Soccer Lines

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Out And About Today

Rachel and Abigail and I stopped by the park today while Natalie was having her violin lesson.

Here are a couple of pictures from the park.

Toddler In A Swing


Playground Steps

Rock Climbing


We also were fortunate to see Mt. Hood when we were out today with lovely sunset colors on it. Here's a picture of that.

Mt. Hood

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Week


Believe it or not, I've been thinking a lot this week about Asherah poles and every worship or pagaan practice that pulls us away from God, needs to be pulled down.

2 Chronicles 14:2-6

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest.

Quite frankly, I am grieved. I am grieved for this nation that would accept the kind of reckless lawmaking that is going on right now. I am grieved for the continuing moral decline and acceptance of all things worldly, whether it be coarse talk, pornography, television shows and movies that push the envelope, immodest dress, disrespect, etc.

And, I am convicted. I am convicted of my need to pray. Pray for our world. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders to have strength and morality and honesty. Pray for people to turn to Jesus, not just because He will bless them, but because they know He is good and strong and real, that they are willing to take up their cross and follow Him. Pray for opportunities to speak the truth in love through the power of the Holy Spirit to others.

Our Farm

Not a lot happening here, except a funny quote from my husband. "I wish I had ten times as much manure to spread on the fields." Well, I found that funny, anyhow. We are awaiting our Ruby to have a calf soon. And, I need to sit down with my husband and plan a do-it-yourself greenhouse with him.

Our Home & Our Health:

Everything has been well this week. I really got ahead at organizing the house and practically got all the laundry caught up. I've also been continuing to attack dust everywhere I can find it. I think I'm pretty much at the end of what I can do, except for keeping it up. Also, I want my husband to move our (VERY HEAVY) bed a little, so I can dust behind it. My allergies have improved with all my hard work.

I haven't made any bread for the longest time. I hope I get to that next week. Homemade bread is so much better than store bought. We mostly ate at home this week, except when both Jon and I both worked.

In The School Room

We plodded along this week. Rachel's really been picking up on her writing and sounding out words and I'm pleased as pie about that. Natalie's been moving ahead with new math concepts. She carried a two with one problem and I hadn't even taught her about that. We've continued to read Carry On Mr. Bowditch. I just love this book. I tell Natalie that she sails by ash breeze by teaching herself things, just like Nathaniel Bowditch. In science, Natalie studied paramecium, worms, and starfish among other things. She is always so gung ho about making her own little models of all these creatures. Natalie practiced violin during the week, but didn't on Friday and Saturday. I'll have to have her practice on Sunday to get caught up. Both the girls are doing great copywork for their level. One day this week, Natalie wanted to do some copywork out of the Handbook For Nature Study all on her own. And she came up with her own lesson plan. (Sailing by ash breeze just like Nathaniel Bowditch). Oh, and (of course) the girls are always doing artwork. We also went to dance this week and and we went on a nature walk. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm getting a lot done, but looking back we sure did. 

Our Business

I worked Friday evening and part of Saturday, then going out on a valentine's date with my dear hubby. Things are moving along with work and we are really excited about the enthusiasm and ideas that a couple of our employees are coming up with. Of course they come up with ideas of things for me to do, but that's ok. I want to keep improving my Photoshop and Photography skills anyhow!

Me Stuff

The biggest me thing was that my tripod and shutter release came in this week. I had fun taking some new types of pictures I needed a tripod for. My next goal with all of that is to write out a list of pictures that I want to shoot with my camera so I can check them off as I do them.

Also, I've been reminiscing about how little my baby once was this week. Oh, to have a little newborn. I love my toddler and I'm in awe of all the new things she does, but I just can't believe how she's changed.

Here is a pic of her shortly after she came home

Baby Stretched Out


A Beautiful Sunday

It was a beautiful Sunday - an absolutely wonderful day. We started off with church which is always fun. Then we had lunch with Jon's mom and her husband and Jon's Grandmother. It was very enjoyable. We had a great visit. Then, we came back home and worked outside. Jon and I pruned the wild apple tree at the bottom of the property and I took pictures.

Jon said, "bring your camera so you don't get bored." That's about right. I sometimes get bored watching him do farm stuff. However, I don't mean it to sound like I don't like farm stuff. For instance, I love to prune. It's hard to pull me away. It's like photography, it's an art and I want to keep going as I get this branch and that just right eliminating the dead wood and the cross branches and letting in all that wonderful air and light. But, when I'm watching Jon, when he is doing the challenging chainsawing I can't do, I get bored. But, I don't get bored as long as I have my camera.

Here are some pictures from today:

The Toddlers Cheeks Are Full
Abigail and her full cheeks.

Fries Are Good
Rachel eating fries.

Sweet Look
Natalie. Don't you love her sweet look?


Jon's mom - Ellen. Isn't she beautiful?

Jon's mom's husband - Chuck.

Jon With His Grandma
Jon and his Grandma

Bald Eagle
We saw a bald eagle when we were out today. I didn't get a very close up shot, but here is what I got.

I tried to get panning shots of the girls running today. I want to work on this technique more.

A Day Outside
My poseable child in the front, my eccentric five year old in the back. LOL.

Jon pruning.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Last year, at Valentines Day, I had an infant and the worst cold (flu?) of the year. I was miserable. My poor husband got me a card. I didn't get him anything. And I didn't clean the house. Or put out little I love you notes all over. Or even clean our room and put out candles. The year before that was similar since Natalie had just had an appendicitis. So, ever since I've seen the Valentines decorations going up in the store, I've been thinking about Valentines day and how I wanted to make extra sure that I did SOMETHING. Men like romance too! Did you know that?

Jon and I went to an all weekend marriage conference one year and quite frankly (perhaps I'm being too frank), it didn't do much for us. Actually, it caused a lot of conflict. I think it just made both of us have too high of expectations of the other person.

The two best things that helped our marriage were the Love Language book by Gary Smalley and just having a strong homeschool support group around between homeschool blogger and just getting to know homeschoolers in our community. point was that in all the hours we sat there in the conference, through all the conversations we had, this is the one thing I really took home from the conference. Men like romance too. It just means something different to them. It means admiration and well it means you know what. You do know what don't you?! We won't talk about that...But, the second thing I learned...(didn't I say I only learned one thing...but this is the second half of the first thing) is that you can't wait for your husband to be romantic, you have to prepare a place for romance to happen. No more complaining about your spouse not being romantic!

So here are my top 14 things I love about my husband.

14 Things I Love About My Husband

  1. He makes me laugh.
  2. Everything he does, he does with passion.
  3. That he loves to hug me.
  4. That he has eyes for me alone.
  5. His smile.
  6. How his heart breaks for others.
  7. His toughness, which he says is there so he can protect me.
  8. That he's always there ready to fight for our oneness in marriage.
  9. That he walks the land and prays.
  10. That he loves to hike.
  11. When he stands on top of logs and trims limbs with his chainsaw.
  12. His calm, relaxed voice.
  13. The way he drives.
  14. How deeply he loves our children.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Self Portrait

Well, I got a tripod and remote trigger today. So, since I'm so eager to put up some kind of picture I couldn't put up before, here it is. It's a self-portrait.



Nature Walk - Pictures

I had fun playing with pictures today. We went on a nature walk again today. The girls loved it, but of course wanted to go further. I am struck by how green everything is - and yet so bare within the Lewis Watershed. I would like to take the girls to the end of the watershed to the Ridgefield bird sanctuary, where the Lewis meets up with the Mighty Columbia. We are blessed to be so close to so many wonderful streams, lakes, and rivers. We saw a Bald Eagle fly over us just as I was setting up for the first picture. I wish I could have been fast enough to catch a picture. It flew less than 20 feet over our heads. Here are my pics.

Lewis River @ Hantwick

Lewis River

By The Road
I was having fun with my tripod here. I took a fairly slow exposure, a shutter speed setting of 8, and had my girls stand really still, getting the car moving behind them as a blur.

Moulton Falls - Soft
I was also having fun with my new toy here. Again, I had my camera on a tripod and set my shutter speed fairly slow.

Moulton Falls - Girls

Reflection of bridge at Moulton Falls

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What A Difference A Smile Makes

What a difference a smile makes. Don't believe me? Take a look at these two pictures - taken mere moments from each other.



So, smile :)

Post Script: If you REALLY want to know what caused Mariah to grimace so...then just check out the comments section. Just make sure you REALLY want to know.

BTW. Mariah thought it was a hoot that I put this picture on my blog. She thought it was funny. That's just the kind of girl she is - very easy-going and enthusiastic. :)


Friday, February 6, 2009

My Week

Faith: I've been reading and re-reading about the Proverbs 31 wife this week:

Psalms 31:10-31

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships,  bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff  and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

My sweet husband is always telling me I'm a Proverbs 31 woman. There is so much more of the Proverbs 31 woman that I want to become. But here are some of the things that strike me as I read Proverbs 31. She wasn't passive. She spoke for herself. She didn't go through her husband to speak into others lives. Yet, her instruction was faithful and full of wisdom. She wasn't selfish is her confidence. She was a business woman. Yet, she put her household first. I strive to hit that balance. And, above all of that I pray that I would become truly a woman who fears the Lord.

Our Farm: Not much has been happening on the farm front. Our two black calves are out grazing the field with all our other cattle. We have another calf due probably in about a week to two weeks.

I've been getting overwhelmed with the chickens in our yard. Even though we've moved them out of our yard into the field and then even farther away from our yard, they keep coming back to our yard to scratch and poop, which is just embarrassing when people come over and we have to tell them to watch their step. My DH put up a 2x4 under the gate where we figure they get into our yard from. This helped, but two chickens got into our yard anyhow, then couldn't get back out to go to their pen. Natalie, who is our resident junior chicken master, noticed a couple places where the livestock fence was up a bit from the ground. So, she and are hoping that Jon will be able to re-inforce these spots and keep the chickens out of the yard. I really do love having chickens. I just don't like having their mess on the sidewalks.

Our Home & Our Health: I took Rachel to get her MRI this week. So she doesn't have Tethered Cord. And she doesn't have Celiac (her tests came back on that earlier). So, I guess her issues are just a mystery and I'll just keep on keeping on and keep her off gluten anyhow and maybe work harder at getting her off dairy. All our family is really healthy as can be and Rachel's tummy issues seem to be more of an annoyance than anything.

In The School Room: We only got three days of school done this week. That's ok. We often do school when the school district doesn't have school, so it all works out. Monday, I had the MRI for Rachel. Then in the evening I worked at our business. Tuesday, the girls had dance (pic below). Then when we came home it was so warm and sunny (so unusual for us this time of year) that I just couldn't make our girls do schoolwork.

Ballet - "In The Mirror"

The rest of the days we did schoolwork and also violin on Wednesday.

We continued to read Mr. Bowditch. We continued to learn about sea creatures (this time mullusks and coral, etc.). Natalie has been finding scriptures on her own and writing them down in a journal. She was really interested this week in a scripture from Isaiah that talked about sacrifices of animals and such, and how they are nothing if a man's heart wasn't right. She asked me what it meant and I explained it. She had been dealing with just such an issue earlier in the week, and I think it really spoke to her. It was neat to see. We've done copywork. We've done math. Natalie did violin. We didn't do much history this week (unless you count Mr. Bowditch). I tried a technique Robinlyn used with her girls when they were younger, which is allowing the girls to do things with their hands during reading time. That is...allowing Natalie to draw pictures during reading time as long as she drew something related to the story. She was really enthused and motivated by this, and seemed to have improved understanding because of it.

Our Business: In addition to working earlier in the week, there was also some business I had to work on one morning when our programmer updated our website and it broke some html on our site, which is a lot cheaper for me to fix than a programmer. As much as I hate combining the business with our home life, we really are blessed to be able to be there with our kids most of the time.

"Me" Stuff: Not much me stuff this week. Yet, I just can't help myself and I'm always playing around in Photoshop with photos.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One Newsy Picture & One Strange One

So, Rachel and I went to the hospital today. She was getting a test done. Because she's so young and kids don't lay still, she had to get anesthesia. So here is a picture of her. She was excited to go, because to her hospitals mean being given things - like this puppy dog in the picture. She also told me it was neat because it was "like she was having a Mommy date" because Natalie and Abigail weren't coming.


And here is my strange picture. OK, this is what you do when you have to sit in the cafeteria for a long time. Probably not what you do, but it's what I do. Actually, I was trying to inconspicuously take people's pictures without them knowing. Then, I played with the picture after I got home - in case you couldn't tell.