Lucy's Year 1 Term 1 Exams

I really enjoy reading the different exams that Celeste shares over at Joyous Lessons so I thought I'd share Lucy's. Plus this way, I know I can find them if I want to look back later. Yep, totally selfish mom blogger over here!  These were Lucy's first exams so I had no idea what to expect. She does a great job narrating normally but she's never had to recall things at a later time "on demand." Keep in mind that these are transcriptions of her oral narrations not her writing and that we did these over an entire week, just a few questions at a time.


Tell your favorite Bible story so far.

How about Moses. So God told him to build an ark (Mom interrupts. Do you mean Noah?). Oh yeah, Noah. So God told Noah to build an ark because God was going to send a flood. A big flood to cover the whole earth. To cover the whole world. And so he built an ark and how long did the ark take to be built? It took a whole year. Well, at least it took a year, it might have taken more than a year. So, uhm, he built the ark and then he put all the animals in. The animals came two by two. The animals were all on the ark and God sent a flood. And it lasted, how long did it last? Uhm, well. Then once the flood came and then there were mountains and mountain tops and they were stuck on top of the mountain so he sent a dove out and it came with a leaf in its beak. So they all went out and they went and lived in different places. The end. 

 Tell about Gideon and his three hundred.

There was an army being kinda rude to them so they decided to fight them. So they went to the stream and whoever lifts it doesn’t but whoever licks it like a dog, can. But God said “it's still too many, still too many.” So the man told his dream before the fighting but they didn’t really fight. They had pitchers and lamps in the pitchers and they broke the pitchers and blew the trumpets and everyone got scared and they ran away.


Copy “The friendly cow, All red and white" and add a picture narration.

Note the bucket of cream under the cow and the floating apple tart.


Tell a fairy tale you remember from this term. 

Beauty and the beast! So there once was an old man, a rich man, and his house got burnt so they
found a cabin in the woods and one day beauty had to go to the palace of a beast. And in one day,
he said, you can go but come back here just when I say or you should see your beast dead. And so
she didn’t, she said “oh no, I can’t go back’ but one day she came back and she found the beast in 
cave and it was the beast sleeping. And later, some dragonflies said “Long may the prince and 
his bride live!” And she turned to ask the beast because she didn’t understand this and he 
disappeared  and there was a prince there. And that’s all. They lived happily ever after.

Mom note: I was surprised she picked this one. Beauty and the Beast was one of the hardest stories we read (for her).  She really enjoyed the story but it is long. She does very lengthy involved narrations and struggles to let details go so we could only read a paragraph or two before she begged me to stop so she could narrate which means it took us a long time to get though. By the end, with a bit of encouragement, I got her to let me read a bit longer and had her focus on the bigger story and not panic about memorizing every single detail. Summarizing is hard so I wasn't expecting her to even make that much progress. She didn't struggle nearly so much with the later fairy tales. 

Tell how the Leopard got his spots, or Moses the Kitten.

Moses kitten was found by the reeds and that’s why they named him Moses. So next time I visited the vet, he was still there and the next time I visited the farm again the kitten was not there. And they said “wait! I’ll show you where he is.” and he was with the piggies. And he’s always there, the end.

Mom note: She remembered more about this story than I did! But what I found most interesting is that she narrated it (both this time and the original narrations) in the first person because it was written that way. The poetry book this term was Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses and she's written several poems since which definitely take their style from that too. I knew that narration was a form of composition and that kids would learn style from reading but I guess I didn't expect to see it emerge so soon. Fascinating!

Tell about Boadicea, or, about St. Alban.

St Alban was the first one to die there because he loved Jesus, right? (Me: Right, he was the first Christian Marty in Britain.)Hmm, Okay, so there was a queen whose name was Queen Boadicea and there was another army trying to get them. She lived in Britain. So she said you must all fight and she gave a speech. "And if we do not win, we must die!" And they didn’t win so they died. Because she poisoned her daughters and her because they didn’t want to be slaves. But you don’t think its better to die than to be a slave, do you mom? 

Tell the story of William Tell.

So William Tell was a great hunter and one time, well, William tell was not always happy because there were people who wanted to rule over the country so they tried to take the country. And one king he put his cap on a post, a fence post, and said “everyone who passes this tower must bow down to it” but William Tell didn’t bow down to it. And he said “you must put an apple on your son's head and shoot it off” and so he did shoot the apple and his country was saved. 


Find Canada, China, Japan and Italy on our scrunch map. Easy peasy!

Find Lake Superior on a map. She struggled with the world map but insisted on using it at first so I reminded  her to find the right countries first and she got it. She found it very easily on our paddle map)

What is the shape of the earth? A circle but not flat. 

Map work

Natural History and General Science

Describe your favorite nature study this term. What did you find?

This was the only question she really struggled with. We've done a ton of outdoor time (I've logged 190 hours since January) but I intentionally kept most of that informal since they are young. And it was hard for her to know what time period I was asking about. She kept mentioning nature things from last summer or even two years ago! Eventually I told her just this spring and she said "When we saw a black capped chickadee in the yard and we learned about it." which I don't particularly remember. I'm not saying it didn't happen, it probably did as we've done a lot of bird watching, just that it wasn't memorable to me. Later on when I was going through her paperwork to pick out a few things to save, we found a couple different paintings and drawings she did and we remembered a lot more of what we learned.

 So this was more an issue with the exam rather than what we did all term. Not sure the solution or even if it needs one. Maybe just mentioning that "This is nature study" would help her know that since I think she's just been thinking we've been playing outside and observing things. Because we've mostly just be playing outside and observing things ;-) But because of that, I wanted to add in another nature study questions so then I asked.

Can you tell me the difference between henbit, ground ivy and dead nettle?

The henbit has leaves going all around and they are separate and in clusters and the flowers are very light. And the ground ivy, its flowers are darkish blueish purple. And the dead nettle has a square stem (and the henbit has a square stem too) but then the dead nettle, its flowers are light and they seem to be turning. They were dark but now they are getting light.

 Tell about "the bully in the old orchard."

The bottom was not pretty white, dirty white and the top was ashy brown. And so the bully was trying to take the nest and he said “It was your nest before, but it is my nest now, you must make another nest or find one” “No it was my nest only!” and finally they just let him do it. He’s a house sparrow.   

 Describe three birds we’ve seen in our yard this spring.

Black capped chickadee – Black on the head, it’s not a woodpecker. It’s small and its white. It has white on it. That’s all.

(Eastern) Bluebird – Blue right here (demonstrates) on the wing and blue on the head. Not blue everywhere, they have some tanish and short little beaks. They are not a woodpecker. But I don’t know how to tell the males from the females.

Downy woodpecker – Downy woodpecker has a little red on its head here (again demonstrating). It doesn’t so south when it’s the winter. And it’s a woodpecker. It has a long beak for reaching into the tree.

Jonah was getting upset he didn't have "xams" too so I asked him to name three birds we've seen this spring in our yard: Black capped chickadee, robin, bluebird.

Foreign Language

     Pick a French song and sing me the first verse of it.

Jonah sang frere jacques and Lucy sang the first verse of Au Claire de la Lune, mostly correctly. She fudged a line or two. :-) 

Picture Study

     Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study.

Jonah – The horse one. (Napoleon Crossing the Alps)

Lucy – I think my favorite is the horse one too. So there is a person riding a horse and he has a hat and he has a red cape, I think. And there are writings on a rock. 


     Father should choose a poem, and two Bible verses learned this term for student to recite. 

Psalm 100 and another verse plus "I'm Nobody" for Lucy and "Celery Raw" for Jonah. 


Sing your favorite folksong from this term.

                She sang The Star Spangled Banner which technically was from last fall but she sang it                     with such gusto and heart that I didn't have the heart to correct her, especially since I've                     heard her sing each other folk song at least once this week while playing. Next time I'll list                 her options since she really doesn't know what a "term" is. 

Sing your favorite hymn from this term.

         She couldn't pick her favorite so I let her sing both Lift High the Cross and Come Ye Sinners,           Poor and Needy.

Oil Pastel Piece from Artistic Pursuits

We did a bit of Artistic Pursuits but not as much as the fall because Norah was getting less sleepy. I had planned on that but Lucy wanted more drawing lessons so she picked out a few drawing books from the library and did some self studying. I'll let you figure out the topic of the drawing books she picked. 


 We did paper folding/origami. She still needs quite a bit of help. I think I should have had her practice a few of the same ones more instead of doing as big of a variety. But instead of demonstrating step by step like I normally do, I talked her through one with the book and she managed just fine.

 I think she did great and I'll be back with more thoughts on term 1 overall soon.


Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

Lucy is my little Shakespeare lover. We finished up the Tempest recently and it wasn't quite as big of a hit as A Midsummer Night's Dream but I'd say it was in her top 5 stories of Term 1. She's been asking for a Shakespeare birthday party but that isn't really going to work out for a couple different reasons but when I realized that April 23rd was Shakespeare's (supposed) birthday, I thought we could have a bit of fun with that for her sake.

I didn't get great shots but we all had fun so hopefully some of that shows through. We sang him happy birthday and ate some carrot cupcakes I had stashed in the freezer. (Sidenote: I love this recipe and it makes great cupcakes too but a lot of them. Last time I made it I got 36+ cupcakes! Good thing they freeze well.)

Played "Pin the birthday hat on Shakespeare"

 Neither kid wanted to use an actual blindfold so Lucy closed her eyes. Jonah pretended to but he's a bad liar so after three tries, Craig helped make it easier by covering his eyes.

They decided they all tied but me. I was way off and my blue hat is hidden by Lucy in this picture. At least no one can accuse me of cheating!

Then they dressed up as their favorite characters. Lucy had worn her hair in braids all day so it would be "bumpy" (aka wavy) because that's how she imagines Puck. She wore some silks. Jonah was bottom and drew himself a donkey face mask hat. Which was pretty hilarious because his drawing skills aren't great so it was basically just a smiley face on a piece of white printer paper. But he was excited. They were only going to recite their favorite lines but that quickly led into acting out their favorite scenes and a costume change or two. Jonah even made himself a microphone out of magnatiles and Lucy found a flower shaped bracelet for him to sprinkle in her eyes. At one point the needed an extra person and I asked if daddy could participate but I was told no. Apparently all the grownups were supposed to do was clap at the end and ask questions. They made do by having Jonah quickly change from puck to bottom and back again.

The play we watched last month included a q&a session afterwards with the actors so Lucy and Jonah included that in theirs as well, they sat on the edge of the stage just like those actors did and asked us to raise our hands. It was so cute! Front state to finish, the whole show really reminded me of that Christmas pagent scene from The Bells of St. Mary. Nothing was pre-planned and they talked it out as they went and made up lines to fill in the gaps of the passages they knew.

After that, the kids headed out to the backyard with Craig to test drive our new tent. That wasn't really part of the planned party but it was a nice addition. She told me "Yesterday was so fun. First Shakespeare and then camping. It was all my favorites!" I don't think this will be the last time we celebrate April 23rd.


Baby gets baptized

Norah's baptism was last Sunday. It went well. Lucy and Jonah were wondering if she was going to cry when she got wet. Considering that she normally falls asleep around that time in the service, it was a legit question. But she did really well and appeared to be listening to Pastor Bill the whole time. Lucy and Jonah, especially Jonah, did a wonderful job of standing quietly next to us. I was more worried about that than any crying from the baby because about 10 minutes before this happened...

this was happening.

He was just not feeling the family photo op. I'm not sure why he gets like that. Sometimes he's just fine with photos and other times it's like he thinks the camera is going to suck his soul out. But Craig and the girls went inside and I was able to calm him down. We did get a decent one of the baptismal girl and me although I'm making a fake smile because what you can't see is Craig holding a thrashing tantruming Jonah just behind our lovely photographer. 

But after the service, he was all about the pictures and insisted we stop and take one of him and his favorite baby on her special day. Of course, I'm not in it, the lighting is bad and Norah's got her scrunch face on (its a common face of hers but it doesn't really reflect a bad mood). 

This is why the family portrait in our living room gallery wall is from the week after he was born. I haven't been able to get a really good one with all of us yet. It will happen! Until then, I'll just keep sharing the disastrous attempts.


Classics Challenge: The Warden

The Warden is my first Trollope novel. It was published in 1855 so it will be my 19th century selection. To be honest, a few months ago I'd never even heard of Trollope which seems crazy now because having been made aware of his name, its everywhere I look. Funny how that happens ;-)

The Warden is the story of Mr. Harding, his daughter and her would-be suitor John Bold who spends the novel both trying to win her hand and trying to reform the hospital that Mr. Harding is in charge of because in his opinion, it's warden (Mr. Harding) is being unfairly compensated for his work. Just in case that was confusing - yes, Mr. Bold somehow thought it was going to be something other than a disaster to attacking the income of the father of the girl he hoped to marry. But was he wrong? Mr. Harding's other daughter is married to Archdeacon Grantley who considered it his personal duty to protect the church's rights. Because it wasn't messy enough already.

After picking him as my author of choice for this category, I did a bit of researching. This is the first in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series and while the series overall is often considered to be the his best, this particular book is thought of as the weakest of the set. Despite knowing that, I could not conceive of starting a series on the second book. I actually finished it about a month ago but have been pondering it since. Now that I'm about half way through the second, I think I've settled my feelings.

The Warden a short novel and focuses pretty much exclusively on this small issue and the few people involved in it. The issue itself gets a bit church politic-y for me. Even raised in a "high church" the various roles in the church (precentor versus bishop versus archdeacon) and what is occurring with church reform made me scratch my head at first but I persevered and Trollope does a good job putting up both sides of the story.

That seems to be what he does well, really getting inside the head of his characters and showing what they are thinking. He does this in an odd way. Most of us have probably heard that good authors should "show not tell" us but Trollope seems to do both. He shows and then tells. And when I say he "tells" I mean, Trollope as narrator actually steps into the book. Like breaking the fourth wall but in literature, is there a name for that? Its actually quite fun. After describing a character and then having us follow him/her along for a few chapters, he'll just flat out tell us we aren't supposed to like him. Of course, since he's the one painting the picture, its quite easy to agree with him and don't we all like to be told our opinions are valid? I liked his variety of characters. There were characters I was really routing for, one or two I just wanted to chuck out the window and a few that I was annoyed with but couldn't quite bring myself to hate. But of all the characters, I liked our dear warden the best. Poor guy.

As I mentioned, the plot itself isn't about the most interesting subject but I did enjoy it and I got much more engrossed in trying to figure out how it would all actually be settled that I would have thought at first. That was my biggest hang up. The end. It did end and not particularly badly. I don't do bad endings. Some people can get past it and say they enjoyed a book despite a less than satisfying ending but not m. To me, bad ending means bad book. But, and I'll try not to spoil anything here, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I felt like should happen and also what I felt like would and when the end came, it felt a little too realistic. A little sad but mostly just strangely unresolved. Although really they were resolved but felt like they weren't. I couldn't put my finger on it.

But now that I'm into the second, I can see that The Warden really was just an introduction to the series. This second book is meatier - we have a lot of the same characters but more of them and more interactions, more plot, just more. Keeping that in mind, the first book becomes more enjoyable. Because I really wasn't done with Mr. Harding and all the people in his life.

So I'd recommend it if you think the series is one that would interest you and you don't mind a bit of an investment. Just don't be fooled into thinking that you've found a nice short Victorian novel. Technically you have because The Warden is that, but I personally would have been unfulfilled if it ended there.

Sidenote: I'm reading Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders. While obviously not a classic itself, I am really enjoying it and think it will add quite a bit to my understanding of the smaller details in many other classics that I would otherwise miss. But she quotes Trollope all over the place. She's mentioned Dickens and Gaskell a few times too as well as a few authors I wasn't familiar with but I feel like every other mention of an author or book involves Trollope!

The Warden is my 19th Century Classic Selection for the Back to the Classics Challenge. Head over to Books and Chocolate for more classics reviews and Challenge information. 


Norah Jane @ 6 months

Dear Norah,

 You've made it through your first half of a year. Yay you!

Her first time sitting herself up....How did I get here? What just happened?

You've really started to make your way around. As of about a week ago, you can get into a sit by yourself and stay there without tumbling (you learned to get there before you learned how not to tumble so it was a rough few days but you're past that now).

That does not look comfortable but you did it to yourself. 

You can crawl forward 2-3 hands then you give up and just lunge forward. And if something is farther away than that, you just don't even try. So you can crawl*, you just don't know it yet. (Ahh, my baby is only 6 months old and has self esteem issues. I'm a parenting failure. Just kidding :-) You're a pro at going backwards though, both scooting and real arm and arm crawling. So the floor is getting cleaned much more than normal and I'm trying to help your big brother and sister keep their stuff of the ground. You've already ruined a few drawings with your drool so I'm sure they'll start learning. So far they haven't gotten mad at you for it which confirms my theory - you pretty much have everyone wrapped around your finger.

Happiest while being pushed around? Someone is happy to oblige. Although be careful what you request, it might be a bumpy ride if Jonah volunteers. 

As soon as they hear you start to make noise in the morning, they rush in. "It's me Norah! Your favorite brother!" and "Lucy's here, can you smile for your favorite sister?!" And you always do smile for them. I'm so glad you don't wake up noisy - sometimes we trick them into thinking your asleep for the first 15 minutes of the day so they stay in their beds talking to each other and let us ease into the day. It's our little secret.

We had your well baby back on the 5th but you were already 16 lbs, 3 oz and 26 inches long. I don't remember the head size but everything was 60-80% so your pretty well proportioned.

Learning the fine art of photobombing

You've started really sleeping through the night, as in 8-10hrs. It's glorious! None of my other babies have done that as babies at all. But I still get my snuggles because you tend to waken right about the time daddy goes to work so we nurse and sleep another couple hours in my bed. Best of both worlds! It know it may not last but can I just ask one thing - pretty pretty please will you keep sleeping?

In addition to loving sleep and your siblings, you love the swing. I only put you in it when I need you off the floor but you love it still. Especially when the big kids stand in front of it and make faces or rush at you. Really any face to face time is a hit with you. Its one of the only ways to make you laugh.  We've even tried the swing at the park and that was laugh inducing too. Generally you're pretty quiet. I worry about that a little (okay, a lot) but I'm hoping its because you're just mellow and relaxed. You're also a people lover. You don't mind being held by almost anyone and love to sit and watch people. I'm wondering if our family is finally gonna have an extrovert in it? I can't wait to find out!

*6 months and 1 day began to really crawl for a purpose. Lucy and I were calling and coaxing her to us and she just looked at us like, not gonna happen people. We gave up and a minute later, Lucy dropped a paper she was drawing and Norah was up and on her way to it in a second. Mom - none. Paper eating - 1. The kid's enthusiasm for this development is waning by the minute as they learn that no floor space is safe from the Nor-Nor monster and her drool.


Happy Half Birthday Photo Shoot

Norah's full 6 month post is coming (I love my milestones. Sorry not sorry) but Wednesday happened to be gorgeous so I was able to find a nice spot to grab some extra pictures. She's just now starting to crawl so I'd better take advantage of this sitting but not always on the go stage while I can. It never lasts long!

Jonah wasn't cooperating for a sibling shot and Norah was pretty much done by then anyway but I did snap this one. 

Words on Wednesday

I couldn't fit the whole quote into my image but it's too good not to share. 

A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all people are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image f an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation. ~ Edith Schaeffer.

I think this is great encouragement for those pursing a traditional classic education (of which I consider Charlotte Mason and her educational philosophy to be a part of).  Some of the parts of a CM education are easy for me (books! All the books!) but others (poetry...uhm, all the poetry) are not. Being new to the formal side of schooling and keeping things very light means we haven't had too many bad days (although I have been on the other side of homeschooling so I know we will) so I don't need much encouragement there, but I am still working out exactly what a CM lifestyle and education look like in our home.

Keeping my eye on the prize helps a lot.  I need to remember, I'm not doing this so my kids can be successful and get good jobs (although that would be nice). And despite what is sometimes the perception, I'm not doing this so my little snobs children will turn up their noses at twaddle and exude worldliness. I'm not trying to value education higher than God. No, my goal is for us to yearn for and pursue the attributes of God.  The quote talks about creativity but I think it can apply to other attributes like wise and orderly as well. And that goes as much, if not more so, for living it out myself as teaching my children. Education and a CM lifestyle is the tool, God is the aim. God should always be the aim. Or I'm doing something wrong*.

*You caught me. Sometimes the "doing something wrong" happens too. But I'd like to at least have my goal be to the right spot then when I mess up, I just start over again with a bunch of prayer and a reminder to myself that "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it."


A Mother's Daybook - April 11th

Excited - About Gilmore Girls! I have been since the first news but now I keep seeing little tidbits on facebook and other sites and it's getting real. My absolute favorite television show is coming back! I feel like I should be ashamed of how happy I am but I can't be. Sorry.

Appreciating - My husband. He's been working so hard on our yard and fence. We've been having a bit of a chicken containment problem. Over the past year they have decided they like our neighbors yard better than ours. I don't really know why, the yards seem pretty similar to me. The fence was 90% done when we moved in but we are now finishing the two short front portions. The weather hasn't been exactly cooperative. It seems like any nice warmy sunny day is a work day and any day he has free time it is windy or rainy. And then when he can work on it, he has lots of "help." But it is getting there. And while if the "good fences make good chicken-owning neighbors" reason was our original motivation, I think having a fully fenced yard will make me feel better about sending both kids out to play without me.

Eating - Chik-fil-a! If you follow me on any social media, you already know this but Craig and Lucy spent the night camping in a new Chik-fil-a's parking lot before it opened and scored us 52 free meals! We rarely eat out so this is a big treat for us and even though we have to split that between all of us, that's still about 17 trips this year which I think will be plenty.

Here is Lucy, still in her pajamas, after coming home and showing me her prize button. It was pretty rainy and stormy when I was leaving her and it had all been a last minute thing (I literally threw the stuff in the car and got to the parking lot 30 minutes after we had decided they would give it a try) which meant she had no time to prepare so there were a few tears and she almost backed out. I told her it didn't matter what she decided to do and that she could come home if she wanted but I thought she would have fun with daddy and her friends (another family from church was camped right next to them). She wiped her tears and said, "I'll do it!" and she did! Her favorite part was the dance party and Craig said she really really enjoyed dancing at night when the dj came. Her least favorite part was waiting in line for food! You can tell she's a homeschooler. Her kindergarten education has not provided her with line waiting skills :-)

So Over - Appointments. We have had way too many dentist and doctor appointments in the last two weeks. We have 1-2 more this week and then I'm hoping that's it for a while. I'm a homebody and if I'm going to bother with getting everyone up and out the door, I like for it to be someplace fun (and time flexible!). It does make me extremely glad Lucy doesn't have to be out the door every morning for school though!

Enjoying - The nice weekdays. Last Monday was gorgeous so we headed out to the nature center for some daffodil spotting and nature playground exploring. And thanks to a friend's mentioning pictures, I actually took the nice camera and was able to get something a bit nicer than a blurry phone camera shot. And this actually shows what a regular smiling Jonah looks like. Anyone that has taken pictures of a preschooler know what kind of miracle that is. Another miracle, that this picture was taken after he ate a pb&j sandwich and I didn't have to photoshop any off his shirt or face.

Lucy. And her hair. We both have a love/hate relationship with it. It's so pretty and thick but it gets so tangled and she has a very sensitive scalp. Every week or so during a shampoo or hair brushing "event" (and yes, they are "events") she tells me she wants to cut it short. I don't have a problem with this, I think she looks adorable in a bob too and I know there will be less tears in my life, I do insist that she wait three days without changing her mind because once it is done, it is done...still hasn't happened yet. And I'm sure if I tried even a bit to convince her, it would happened. But then I see pictures like this and think "No! Your pretty hair!" We are both torn.

Now Norah, well, I don't have issue with her hair. At least not yet. But this is the only shot I got of her that day.

Don't worry, her 6 month post is coming up soon and I'm sure I'll find a few blog worthy images to share.


Mother's Daybook - April 4th

Wearing - Harem pants. Or drop crotch joggers if you prefer although I don't particularly like either of those names. But I love these pants. I've never done the playground mom yoga pants thing. Not that I'm always super stylish - ha - but I have made it a priority to wear actual clothing like skirts and jeans. But I've been reading Move My DNA and learning more about the idea of nutritious movement and needed some pants that I could wear all day while I squat and stretch throughout the day. And now, I've fallen for the trap. Craig's been making fun of me but I don't care, I would marry these pants if I could. They are so comfortable and unlike traditional yoga pants, aren't immodestly tight. I would be comfortable wearing these to the gym, if I wore pants to the gym. Which makes it sound like I go to the gym pant-less which I assure you is not the case, I just don't go to the gym at all. Best $30 I've spent at target in a while which is saying something because you can buy a lot of cute crap at Target for $30.

Coveting - That sounds bad too. But its a lot shorter than "things I'm currently trying to find room in the budget for" although that is technically more accurate. Again, thanks to my new studies, I'm wanting to go minimalist for shoes now. The kids got water shoes in their Easter baskets but not just for in the water. They are good, inexpensive "barefoot" shoes (zero drop, securely attached, thin and flexible bottom) which is kinda rare. Thin and minimalist shoe do not normally go well together. I'm still looking around for myself but I did go on an actual barefoot hike a while back and plan to again.

UPDATE: I bought these (see what happens when it takes me two weeks to finish a blog post! I buy and wear shoes I was only talking about before). They are not to expensive or weird looking. I've only worn them one day but I like them so far. Now I can throw out my last pair of athletic shoes which I bought for my, uhm, honeymoon. Yes, that is correct, I haven't bought new sneaker type shoes in over 9 years. Despite how this post is all about clothes so far, I really don't like shopping much.

Reading - The Circe magazine. Love it! I got a hard copy which makes me really happy. I used to love magazines but stopped reading them because 1) I don't have time to sit and read in a library and I'm too cheap to buy them and 2) they were so frivolous. This one is free and completely not frivolous. And who is Wes Callihan and were has be been all my life? If you can only read one of the articles, please please read his interview. Some of his points were so simple to understand and yet, so profound.

Pondering - Prayer. It's everywhere! Our church has been talking about it recently but now its just seeming to be in every conversation and situation. That article I just mentioned, got a big dose of prayer in there! (Yes, an article about classic education!) I even picked up a silly random book from overdrive and bam - turns out its chock full of prayer! Okay God, I'm listening! Prayer has never been my strongest discipline but recently I've started realizing how much my other struggles are really the same struggle. I'd been putting prayer in this box and isolating it and telling myself "Yes, must work on prayer. I'll get to that - someday" meanwhile I struggle with discipline and priorities and cynicism in these other areas of my life. Hello! It's the same thing!

I can struggle with my smart phone and wonder if I should get rid of it or try and put a time tracking app on it (oh, the irony of the time tracking/app blocking app) just like I get a prayer journal and make a plan to pray and then..not a whole lot changes. Because those are not the real root issue. The real issues are the discipline and priorities. When it comes to many of the non-prayer areas where I come up lacking, I can kinda brush it off or compare myself to others and like what I see. But with prayer, it seems to be so glaring obvious that I can't avoid it unless I just avoid prayer altogether. I have no idea what other people's prayer lives are like and I don't really care. I don't want to be as good a pray-er as someone else, I want to be as close to God as Jesus. That's my aim even though I know I won't reach it. And to be sadly completely honest, for me I can't say it isn't priorities. Because I do make things happened in my life because I value them. I make room somehow. And when I'm not making room, it says something. I may not like what it says but it says it nonetheless. So I've got to go back to God and wrestle that out with him and be refined some more. And that has to be through prayer too since he doesn't communicate by smartphone.

But God's so good to me and is helping me out. Since all this prayer focus has started for me, he's put a couple very easy to understand opportunities for prayer right in front of me. Like a flashing light saying "Pray for THIS" because my personality was saying "DO SOMETHING" and there was really nothing else I could do. And I would, then I'd stop and again it would come up, "Nope, pray for this!" He's also put some great people in my life that when I ask for prayers, follow up with me and in a way, hold me accountable. I can't ask someone else to pray and care about a situation in my life unless I'm really there praying about it too (well, I can, and at a different point in my life I might ask them that but this isn't that time) and when they ask me to pray about something, I know they really want those real prayers, not just a chance to share news via the "prayer request" and that helps me too. Maybe my prayer for help on praying is working :-)

Preparing - For summer? How did that happen?! But I just signed Lucy up for swim lessons and the morning class was already booked for the entire month of June so I was hardly too early. Although the afternoon class might end up being a good thing since it will leave our regular morning school/outdoor play time unadulterated and that seems to help a good deal life in general. I'm not sure where we'll be school wise then because I haven't done that much planning. I'm taking it a term at at time. But we just started week 8 9 10 so our first term is getting pretty close to being wrapped up. And of course all the homeschooling conferences coming up mean that many people are actually getting ready for next fall already! Ahh! Our local one is in a few weeks. I don't plan on attending any sessions this year nor do I need much curriculum but I do want to go on the open night and walk around with my homeschool mom friends and look at all the pretty shiny curriculum...then go home with my wallet intact and be thankful for AO. Right now I'm also pretty thankful that we started in January so I'm only worrying about planning June and not past that. I love planning but life seems to be moving fast enough right now as it is.

Speaking of moving fast, my littlest two are asleep, my biggest and her dad are gone for the night and my evening of peace and quiet reading are about to pass by me so off I go to grab a book and maybe a stolen piece of Easter candy or two. Till next time!