The things they say

I've been so bad about these but Norah has started talking a ton lately and she cracks us up.

Me: I love you, Norah, goodnight.
Norah: I love...
Me: pauses before walking out the door
Norah:...mine band-aid.

Well, good to know.


Another day I hear her in her room, not napping like see was supposed to be but I couldn't get upset because she was naming all the people she loved, then all the people who loved her, then all the people in our family and the other people they loved. It was very methodical. I wuf mommy, I wuf daddy, i wuf jojo, I wuf noona. Noona loves me....all the way to Noona loves the piggies, Noona loves the puppy, Noona loves the chickens.


So is so sneaky! But also really bad at being sneaky!

I'm cooking and she comes up to look, then takes my phone, climbes down from the stool and walks away.

Me: Norah, what are you doing.
Norah: I'm hiding so I watch your phone.

Then I watch her go into the living room, climb up into the bay window and close the curtain so she's blocked. A few seconds later I hear baby nursery rhyme songs start to play - loudly. So even if her not so subtle hiding had worked, I think the fact that "5 little monkeys was blasting through the house" might have given her away.


She may also have found some easter candy lying around, hid in her room and come out with tootsie roll on her face and hands saying "I found candy. I sticky" When I acted duly surprised and shocked that she ate it without permission, she smiles and says "But I eat it all up now. All gone!" I guess she didn't mind telling me once it was too late to take away!


Hiking, just me with the kids and the puppy. Half way through the walk, she found a stick and was so happy -  then it broke. I could tell both Lucy and I were holding our breathe because we knew I couldn't carry her and hold the puppy's leash so it could have been a disaster. Norah looks upset for a second, says "oh no, oh no, my stick boke" then calms down, picks up both pieces and says so joyously "I has two sticks!"

A similar situation with a broken banana did not end so happily but at least we were home so I could just let her cry it out for a bit.


Lucy asked Norah what 1+1 was and was so excited when she said 2. That may or may not have been a total coincidence, I wouldn't be surprised either way. But then Jonah started quizing her. She put up with it when it was things like "Norah, can you count to 10?" but when he advanced to "Norah, what is 2 less than 18?" and "What is two groups of 4?" she decided enough was enough. She gave him a stern look, said "I is just a baby!" and walked away. She may be the youngest child at our church, the youngest in our neighbor gang of kids that always plays together (at least until Neighbor J's actual baby is old enough to join in) and in general, just the little tag-along, but I don't need to worry about her sticking up for herself!


Potty Training, Puppies and Pregnancy - Oh My!

Yes, it's been a bit busy around here lately.

First up, potty training! This is actually round #2 with Norah. Round #1 was halted, not due to toddler, she was doing pretty good but the day I got the BFP, I called it quits. I just knew I couldn't be running at any second to help her when she needed it during my first trimester. And I was actually planning on waiting until it was a bit warmer to try again but she got a rash and needed some diaper free time and when I told her that one morning, she was so excited and ran to get her little potty yelling "I wear undies again!"...so it I guess it was time. It's been almost three weeks now and she's doing great. Earlier this week we drove 45 minutes to the midwife, had an hour long appointment, drove back to Costco and shopped, then stopped at Culvers for some ice cream. And all in the same pair of pants! So it looks like I'm going to have a full 20 weeks or so of the daytime diaper free life before we start up again. Woo Hoo!

And yes, I am 20 weeks now (Actually, 21 tomorrow - it's taken my 4 days to write this post :-). I keep meaning to do another belly shot but life seems to happen. Maybe on Sunday (because I'm actually dressed decently then due to church) I'll make Craig snap one. Poor 4th baby. But we did go to the midwife and baby is doing well. I, however, am quite anemic again. I've been quite tired and out of breath the last few weeks so I knew it was coming and actually asked her to check. But I've ordered some supplements and we'll see. Hopefully catching it early this time means I won't be so panicked trying to get it up at the last minute (by which I mean spending the the last two months of N's pregnancy on 3-4 different iron supplements with vary little success until the last minute :-)
 when my body finally figured out what it needed to do.

And I'm starting to think about the baby actually coming. Norah reminds me a lot that there is a little tiny baby in my belly and that it will have a belly button when it comes out (she might be disappointed at how gross that belly button is at first but no use trying to explain that now). I'm checking all our car seats and alas, many are expired. (Not the ones currently in use, the random assortment of extra ones we've somehow accumulated over the years.) So despite starting this month having 8 car seats for going on 4 children, it looks like I might have to start researching those again. I hate car seat decisions. Too many variables to consider!

The baby is not the only one growing. So is the puppy. Look at the change in her face already!

A few days ago, again trying to be a lap dog which is hard considering I don't have much of a lap these days. She's only allowed on the couch after the kids are in bed when I explicitly invite her up and she knows this and takes full advantage of that fact!

On our way home from the breeder back at the end of January. So little!

 I actually love it because I think she's going to be a very pretty grown-up and I'm looking forward to her being a little bit more past the mouthy stage. She's already less work than those first few weeks so I can't complain too much. They said at our last appointment that we could double that weight of 23 lbs to get an approximate full grown weight but I'm pretty sure she's gonna be bigger than 46 lbs full grown. She's a pretty skinny pup so that guesstimating device might be assuming a little more puppy chub that she has. I'm not trying to keep her skinny, she just self regulates her food at the low end of the spectrum although she is a better eater now that we've switched foods to better quality grain free mix. The vets not worried though, I guess she and J just like to stick together in the lower percentile club. 

And to round our P's theme of the day - prayers. I'll take all I can get. I try not to whine too much in my posts but it's been a hard week but I also don't want this to be insincere. Life is busy and good. But rough too, especially this week. I've had a lot of nausea and vomiting, so out of breath I can't read aloud more than 5 minutes and back to depending on Craig for a lot of help which is hard for him too.  Physically, I'm actually ok-ish. I am well enough that I'm not losing weight, baby is doing good, I'm okay enough during the mornings that we can get school and housework done and groceries ordered for Craig to pick up and I get enough breaks in the nausea that I don't feel as dead anymore.

But my attitude is slipping. I definitely feel like I'm in a season where I'm Moses and the prayers of friends are holding up my arms to keep going. I'm praying too but my prayers are pretty succinct and desperate sounding - but sincere! Yesterday I was thinking about how long I've actually been sick and I realized it was exactly 16 weeks from yesterday that I started taking Zofran. That's a lot of nausea and vomiting and one can only be nausea 50%+ of a day for so many months before starting to get worn down.  I'm extremely thankful I did not know how long it would last because back at 7-8 weeks so I could just being thankful I wasn't as sick as I was with Norah. I would have panicked. But through that God is teaching me that I don't need all the patience and longsuffering to last this whole pregnancy. I just need enough to finish this day, and repeat the next. And those days when I do stop and pray and ask others to help me, things go smoother and sometimes, we have sweet moments when life feels a bit normal. Like yesterday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon had been really bad and I laid down on the couch at nap time and never really got up. I was worried Thursday would be similar and the kids know Thursday afternoon is tea time and they LOVE tea time and I didn't want to, once again, have to bail on them. I normally make a special treat for us to eat but this time it was just hot chocolate and orange slices but no one complained. We studied David and had some great kid speak moments that I have to write down or I'll regret not remembering *, we learned about hot and cold countries and found the country where our new pastor and his family just returned from being, missionaries on our map, we worked together to write our solfa song in shaped notes and practices it together and everything about our afternoon together just felt picture perfect. Now today we went on a good nature hike before the rainy weekend weather began but then tried to do some nature journaling with watercolor that ended with 2 out of 3 kids crying. So regular life. But it's my life and I do love it so.

*I'll let y'all use your imagination for now but I will say we studied David which was not only our first nude but also Norah's favorite Bible story that has replaced the three little pigs as the twice daily bedtime/naptime story request so some little people had a lot to say about those things.


Classics Challenge: The Scarlet Pimpernel

I find it so odd how sometimes you know bits and pieces about a book without having any idea why. While reading through a list of "classic" books with color in the title, I was getting a bit frustrated finding one that was actually a classic (Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey has a color in it's title, No, it is NOT a classic!), that fit this challenge (delightful as Harold and the purple crayon is) and that I hadn't read before. It was getting tough. But when I read the title, The Scaret Letter, it reminded me of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I've read the former but not the latter. And I don't think I've seen the movie. But then why do I know the ditty "We seek him here, we seek him there... that damned elusive Pimpernel!?" I still have no idea! I've even watched youtube clips to see if it seems familiar but no, I've pretty sure I've never seen the movie. Culture - it's so weird!

Anyway, as delightful as the poem is, the book is more so. It's not a classic in the sense that it's a must read book for of ideas to ponder or characters you relate to for years to come. It reminds me somewhat of a Georgette Heyer book but maybe a step above it in quality (although I also find those delightful at times too). Just a fun historical fiction book perfect for a beach read or a weekend when your in bed with a bad cold. The story revolves around Marguerite, supposedly the smartest woman in France (although honestly, this is doubtful) except she's not in France, she's in England now. Add in her foppish husband Sir Percy and their tense relationship, a brother taking some risks, a dastardly French agent Chauvelin blackmailing her, the threat of the guilotin and the danger abounds. Whatever will she do and who will rescue her? Why, the Scarlet Pimpernel of course!

Since finishing it, I've realized it actually a series and I would not be opposed to reading another in the future if my light reading stack runs low.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is my Back to the Classics Challenge Classic with a Color in the Title. Go visit Books and Chocolate for more Classics Challenge reviews.


Classics Challenge: Howard's End

My first classics challenge read complete! I followed along with the Close Reads Podcast which honestly, motivated me to complete this when I don't think I would otherwise.

I originally felt hesitant because I was worried it would be dark. Anthony Hopkins just gives off that vibe I guess. That was not an issue. It's basically the story of two Romantic thinking sisters, Margaret and Helen, and their interactions with the more modern Enlightenment thinking Wilcox family. I feel like I should say more but honestly, until past the half way point, that would be my only way of describing it so anything more would be a spoiler. But I promise no hidden wives in the attic or skeletons in the closet. But I still didn't really like it - at least not until the very end.

My issues with it at the beginning were mostly the meandering and slow moving plot and the distance Forester keeps between us and the characters. There were some great quotes and ideas and I'm sure if I had a physical copy and not just an e-book, I would have be putting book darts all over the place.  But that's not enough for me. I want to me immersed in the world of the book, the people and the places and I just couldn't do with this book. Instead it's like your in a helicopter, watching these people you don't really know, not really do anything. I do think, especially after listening to the podcast, that was intentionally, but I didn't enjoy it.

Around the half way point or a little bit after that, we finally start to have some story and some sense of where the book is going. But at that point, I didn't like where it was going! The only character I had at least some sense of connection with was Margaret. And from mid-way on, I was annoyed with her - and Forester. It's not just that I didn't agree with her choices, I didn't understand why she was making them. I still don't. It didn't seem like something she would do and all the logical reasons I can think of why someone in her situation would make that choice, don't really seem to match up with what Forester is trying to say. I can not like Mr. Wilcox as a character, and I don't, but not have an issue with Forester's portrayal of him if it's real. And I have no doubt that there were men just like him in those times.  That's a different issue that the Margaret issue. And that I do think it's a failure on the book's part.  He manipulated characters for a purpose, specifically Margaret, instead of creating characters that would actually act that way.

That said, it did pick up at the end and I read the last quarter of the book quite quickly. And happily, I do feel like Margaret somewhat redeemed herself from poor choices and I was able to feel like she was acting like Margaret again. So I didn't end the book with quite the bad taste in my mouth that I had expected and I certainly enjoyed listening the David, Tim and Angelina talk about it, but it's not a heart book, I have no plans to re-read it and I will mostly likely skip watching the movie even though I had thought I would since it's available on Netflix.

Howard's End is the Back to the Classics Challenge 20th Century read.


Mason for Me - Spring 2018

So it's not technically spring quite yet but just writing a title with Spring in it has me excited. I'm so sad that February is such a hard month for homeschoolers. It's my birthday month and I wish I could say that redeems it, but it's just a hard month. And for me, it's coming on the tail end of a longer hard season (thanks to some big but happy news), so I don't have a lot of links for you. I'm really hoping, you all chime in with things that have kept you inspired over the last winter months and the ways you've kept the Mason for me concept going despite having to push through February to arrive at March! We do have a few good ones though:

Arenda over at The Upcast Eye shared her goals and some beautiful pictures of her reading journal.

I recently publish my first year 8 update which is basically just my gushing over my love of AO year 8 so far. I also included some pictures of my reading journal. Once you go look at Celeste's and Arenda's reading journal and get all inspired by the prettiness, you can come look at mine and be reminded that it doesn't have to be very pretty to work. I keep it real for y'all.

Elaine at Humble Adoration talks about reading hard books slowly. This is such an encouragement as I got to the end of 2017 and Goodreads showed me my book numbers for the last few years - and I've gone down in number of titles each year. But I know I've read harder things and learned more from them. So go slow reading!

Roots and Books shares here Back to the Classics Challenge list for 2018. I love finding other mom's merging Mother Culture with the Classics Challenge. It works well - and it can really help me if I'm stuck on a book category.

And don't forget to check out the hashtag #MasonforMe over on instagram. I love how its a mix of pretty quotes and books all laided out and then the realistic ones with computers and papers for planning and storage bin images. Isn't that just such a reflection of a Charlotte Mason homeschooling life. It's beautiful and poetic - and messy and real. Until the summer, keep reading, keep writing and keep sharing with us!