Friday, September 30, 2011

A Beautiful Day

Today is one of those perfect fall days. The direct sun is deliciously warm on the skin. But, the breeze that blows across the warmth is marvelously chilly. Never enough time between breezes to get too hot, but plenty of sunshine to keep from getting too chilled!

Wednesday night we sent our kids home with Alicia Jo so that we could make our Thursday conferences in Arkadelphia. Doug got to sit under and visit with our former professors while digging into the book of Ecclesiastes. I got to go spend the day with a delightful group of Arkansas minister’s wives, including a friend I haven’t seen since college days!

And today, we’re all just tired.

So, school hasn’t happened today. (Have I mentioned I love the flexibility of homeschooling?) Instead, we headed to Stuttgart for a relaxed trip to the library. The lady who works at the library is so sweet. She brightens my day whenever we walk in. Her mother is a member of our church, so we have a “connection” anyway. My kids always haul huge stacks of books to her desk, and she never complains - just delightfully chats with all of us while stamping the books. She homeschooled her two children (now both in college), so we get to “talk shop” some days.

The kids are building a new train track, Doug is working on school, and I am trying to motivate myself to tackle the to-do list. But, in the middle of it all, we’re trying to rest and relax a bit. That way we have all the energy we need to enjoy a day in Judsonia tomorrow…our first trip to Jud since Mom and Dad’s return from Jordan. My grandparents will be the grand marshals in the parade celebrating the town’s founding.

And the blog post of that will definitely include pictures!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Outdoor Sights

Do you know what this means?

DSCF0425DSCF0426

  1. God loves us and delights in providing for our needs.
  2. People love us, and delight in being the ones used by God to provide our needs (a truth that continues to humble and amaze me to no end).
  3. Winter is coming!

And, let me tell you, those three things bring huge smiles to our faces!

And then there’s this…

I went out to the garage this morning to get the full trash bag out of the large garage trash can and replace it with a new one so the kids could empty the house trash cans. When I pulled the trash can away from the wall, I disturbed at least two dozen mosquitoes that had been resting behind the trash can. Many more were scattered all around that area, which just so happens to be right outside the laundry room door! ICK! I was afraid of getting eaten alive just being out there to switch out trash bags, and I couldn’t even imagine the mauling the kids would get when it came time to empty the little trash cans.

So, I went inside to get the hand-held bug zapper (looks like a small tennis racket – it’s awesome!) and returned fully armed to attack the hordes. I killed mosquitoes continually for close to ten minutes. But, I successfully cleared the corner for at least a few hours – long enough for the trash to get taken care of anyway!

While I was in the process of killing the mosquitoes, I noticed this not-so-little toad relaxing right where many of the mosquitoes had been resting. I don’t know if this picture really does the toad’s fatness justice. He was HUGE!

DSCF0427

He probably wasn’t too happy with me for killing off the rest of his breakfast. But, if you ask me, I think he needed a little break from breakfast! Knowing the corner is a favorite for mosquitoes, I’m sure he won’t have to wait too long for a nice, fattening dinner!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, September 26, 2011

Outside my window...a single visible branch from a nearby tree very, very gently swaying in the breeze; two young peach trees that have proven very hearty and have grown tremendously; occasional traffic on the highway; bird sounds of all sorts; and a lovely coolness.

I am thinking...about how I typically shorten the full extent of our Bible time in the mornings when we’re running late. I don’t cut out the prayer and memorization, but I frequently cut out the “extras” (some of the deeper, more time-consuming Bible study or the games). But today I felt very convicted that I was making a poor choice, so even though we were starting school 30 minutes late, we still did the entire 30 minutes of Bible, extras and all. We stayed behind and even got further behind through the morning such that we had an hour of work left in the afternoon! And yet, my afternoon was the most productive afternoon I’ve had in a long time, with something I expected to be very difficult and time-consuming taking a fraction of the expected time. All that to say…I think maybe I need to work on my teaching priorities a little bit and trust God with the results of getting behind!

I am thankful for...God’s faithfulness and patience with me; the beautiful way He answers prayers when we wait for Him; the fact that even though we had to close windows when we got home last night, we were able to open them right back up this morning.

I am wearing...jeans (yes, long pants! I love it!) and a short sleeve dark blue shirt.

I am creating...Thanksgiving napkins, Christmas calendars, and the master Christmas gift list to keep track of what all the kids are making/buying for each other. They already have it all planned out! I love it!

I am remembering...to delight in my children even in the midst of times of frustration. It makes a difference.

I am going...to have a busy week, but I’m excited about it!

I am reading...The Faith of Leap by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch (not on my list of highly recommended books!), hoping to start The Story of Your Life by Matthew West and Angela Thomas soon, and chomping at the bits to get caught up on review books so I can dive into Tricia Goyer’s latest book Along Wooded Paths for my own personal pleasure.

I am hoping...the remainder of the week runs as smoothly as today.

I am hearing...an unfamiliar voice from the living room. Doug is listening to a lecture or something on his iPod, I think.

On my mind...joy and the fact that although we can have joy even in the midst of deep sorrow, our deep abiding joy should also be frequently reflected in an attitude of happiness and delight.

From the learning rooms...the end of WWI, Roaring Twenties, robots, more magnetism experiments, basic geometry (Olivia), more intense creative writing practice (Angela),a whole new world of books (Steven – he finished his basic level books and now gets to move on to discovering he can truly read most of the books on his shelf now!)

Noticing that...it’s about time to start baths.

Pondering these words... Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath via Tricia Goyer on Twitter

From the kitchen...yummy smells as Doug whips us up some supper. Mmmm… At some point this week I might try to tackle cooking the squirrel we were giving yesterday.

Around the house...last bits of clean-up after doing a little weekend reorganization to improve the effectiveness of Doug’s home office space. (Some days it’s just plain hard to focus in the office of an empty church!)

One of my favorite things…my kids asking deep questions about spiritual growth and theology and showing signs of spiritual growth. Oh, and Steven being able to find the passages Doug was preaching on last night! He found Exodus 3 (where Doug started) and then moved on to Genesis 25 (where the bulk of the sermon was) all by himself and almost as quickly as I did!

A few plans for the rest of the week...Thursday Doug and I will head to Arkadelphia bright and early so he can go to the OBU Pastor’s Conference and I can go to a minister’s wives event. Between now and then I’ll be helping with the last-minute prep for our event (and, of course, we’ll have normal school and such). Friday after school/work we’ll head to Judsonia to spend the night with my parents and then go to the Prospect Bluff parade (Jud used to be called Prospect Bluff) of which my grandparents are the grand marshals!

A picture worth sharing...the rope attached to this car was being used to pull the car around while little Knox rode inside and the other four kids (Olivia, Angela, Steven, and Knox’s big brother Sawyer) took turns riding on the back. It was so much fun to watch!

Mill Bayou-20110924-00308

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snapshots

Everyone is dragging this week. It set in sometime while we were sleeping Saturday night and has just not let up. Maybe it’s the humidity, which is pretty heavy-duty right now. The temperatures aren’t bad, but the humidity is just thick. I grew up in a desert, and even after nearly 18 years back in Arkansas, I still haven’t gotten used to the humidity.

But, despite the dragginess, we’ve still had a good few days. Here are a few snapshots of our fun. 

We don’t have cable or satellite, and we don’t usually miss it. Except when it comes to sports. It’s now football season and we kind of miss getting to actually watch the Razorbacks play. It is fun to listen to them on the radio, though. Every Saturday the kids dress appropriately…

Mill Bayou-20110910-00292

This past Saturday, though, the game was on an internet channel we had access to. So, we set up a picnic on the floor of our bedroom and we all watched the first half of the game on the computer. There was much excitement and there were many shouts of “Woo Pig Souieeeee!!” during our fun picnic.

Mill Bayou-20110917-00293

I shared Olivia’s picture on Monday, but here are a couple of Angie & Steven:

A southern belle on the “grand staircase” at Alicia Jo’s on Monday. She looked so elegant gliding her way up and down the stairs!IMG-20110919-00295

This child would live in this helmet if he could! He even tried to sleep in it in the car yesterday while we were out running errands. I think Angie made a good birthday present choice!

Mill Bayou-20110920-00300

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, September 19, 2011

Outside my window...a beautiful display of God’s handiwork in the clouds today. A layer of colors in the background with fluffy white and gray floating past in the front, blue sky above and intermingled between, and the sun shining around and through it all. Wow. Beautiful almost doesn’t do it justice.

I am thinking...that it just can’t be the last half of September already.

I am thankful for...people who love my children and actually ask to spend time with them. That is special to me, and to them!

I am wearing...dark denim capris; black sleeveless eyelet top.

I am creating...blog posts – hopefully lots of them today.

I am remembering...finding out we were having a boy after having two girls. (Just got a text from a friend who just found out what she’s having. Fun times!)

I am going...to enjoy this day. The kids are at Alicia Jo’s (church friend) for the day just because she wanted them to come! So, Doug is working from home, and he and I are enjoying a day of doing what we need to do in each other’s company.

I am reading...What Women Fear by Angie Smith

I am hoping...to truly get started on Christmas presents early instead of just having good intentions. Hopefully today I will get ahead on writing so I can balance writing and creating.

I am hearing...music and the tap of keyboards.

On my mind...marriages and the anger that rises inside me upon seeing them destroyed.

From the learning rooms...World War I – finally about to get to the US entry into the war; computers & internet; overview of energy in preparation for more in depth learning; adjectives and adverbs; a new math book for Steven (he’s so excited!); officially starting piano and getting back to the Polish and typing that were suspended for the summer so we could enjoy the pool.

Pondering these words... Parents are destined for disappointment when they admire fruit in others and seek to emulate merely that expression of fruit in their own children. Fruit is born from the inside -- not applied to the outside. - Rob Bradley from an article in the Virginia Home Educator Magazine

From the kitchen...stuffed chicken breast and cheddar broccoli rice.

Around the house...closed windows again, but hopefully they’ll be opened again soon.

One of my favorite things...my hubby. He’s downright awesome, just for the record.

A few plans for the rest of the week...nothing out of the ordinary, that I know of – well, at least after today!

A picture worth sharing... A lady from church invited Olivia over for some afternoon baking fun yesterday. Needless to say, she had a blast!IMG_9657

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just What Flows

I’ve been trying for four days to come up with something to blog about. Every time I think I have an inkling of an idea, something derails it. I need to post about the corn husk dolls the girls made a while back, but I keep waiting until I catch them playing with them to get some good pictures. I have “in-progress” pictures, but none of the completed “family.” Gotta work on that.

It’s been a nice, average fall week. School. Windows closed the first half of the week, back open the second half. I love fall!! We had to close them again this morning because of the humidity (we’re spoiled!), but hopefully they’ll be back open in a few days. It’s kind of bizarre for it to feel like fall in southeast Arkansas before fall is even truly here! I like it!

I realized last week we will have one “off” day every week for the next three weeks. That means sacrificing what is typically my school prep day. What does a school prep day look like? Well, each child has a daily checklist of exactly what should be accomplished that day. I create that each week. I create one for myself, too. Sonlight has awesome Instructor’s Guides for history, reader, read-aloud, and science, but we follow more of a block schedule than the daily schedule they created. So, I take their divided assignments and re-arrange them on my own daily checklist – the list that also has Bible, Steven’s independent work, what I do with Steven, and what each girl does with Steven. Oh, and I also catch up on grading and determining what we need to spend a little more time on in the coming week, and I try to preview everything we’ll be reading together so nothing takes me off guard. Finally, I make copies of the reproducible worksheets. The kids do independent work while I have my prep day, and then we do core work the remaining four days of the week.

Realizing that we were going to be down to just the four core days each of the next three weeks, I did all of my prep work for those weeks this weekend. Whew! Nice to have it out of the way, but wow! That was a big deal! I did do a few extras, though, to help decrease prep time for future weeks. At least I hope it helps! Just one more thing to help me appreciate a little more all my mom put into teaching the five of us!

So, what’s our first “off” day? Tomorrow. Doug and I working at home. With…no…kids! I could have done all of my planning tomorrow, but how in the world could I waste such an opportunity?! I’ve been blessed to have people to leave them with so I can be away from home without them, but at home? That’s just a strange thought to me! So, no, I’m not going to waste such a day with school prep! I hope to write. All day long. I’m giddy!

So there. That’s what you get when I try for four days to decide what to write, only to finally just sit down and write whatever flows through my fingers. It just goes to show that my mind can be a rather random place sometimes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not Rough

Doug is critiquing a sermon this week for one his seminary classes, so at lunch yesterday I asked if he’d been listening to any sermons that morning. He said no, he’d been listening to some lectures instead. That prompted this lunch-table discussion:

Angela: Are lectures more boring than sermons?

Doug: No.

Olivia: We don’t get boring sermons.

Me: Some lectures are fascinating. Others are horribly boring. Same with sermons. I’ve heard some pretty rough ones in my lifetime.

Steven: We get the not rough sermons!

Olivia: Yeah, because Daddy’s sermons are never boring!

(Angela was in full agreement – I just can’t remember what she said!)

I had to smile. And no, they are not just trying to flatter their daddy. They’ve heard a few other preachers here and there, and they all strongly agree that their daddy is number one!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, September 12, 2011

Outside my window...a flower bed that I should probably clean out. It’s full of leaves and random greenery. Flower beds are just not my strong suit.

I am thinking...about the week ahead and my hopes for productivity.

I am thankful for...the fact that when it gets the least bit uncomfortable, we can turn the A/C back on. I don’t take that for granted.

I am wearing...blue-gray capris, white sleeveless top.

I am creating...Christmas plans and cloth napkins.

I am remembering...when we first started homeschooling, although in all honesty it’s hard to remember not homeschooling.

I am going...to reorganize Steven’s history plan so I can have a better idea of what books to look for at the library each time we go.

I am reading...George Washington Carver by John Perry. I am enjoying it more than any other biography from the Christian Encounters series.

I am hoping...to be a little more organized in my afternoon schedule starting this week. I think the fact that swimming season is officially over will help. But, I can definitely say that seeing my kids grow so confident in the pool was worth a summer of less structured and productive afternoons!

I am hearing...the ceiling fan, a ticking clock, and my chair squeaking. The fact that I’m not hearing children’s voices is actually a good thing right now. It means Steven is resting like he should be and the girls aren’t trying to work and talk at the same time.

On my mind...some school thoughts for the next couple of years and, as always, prayer needs of friends.

From the learning rooms...more light, color, and magnetism; more World War I; a great need to catch up on read-alouds. We’ve fallen way behind somehow.

Noticing that...today has gone smoothly. Typically I school plan and we don’t do a regular school day on Mondays. But, the planning was already done, so we went ahead and jumped in.

Pondering these words... I have always said that the best means…for destroying race prejudice is to make [oneself] a useful, and if possible, an indispensable member of the community in which he lives. I do not know of a better illustration of this than may be found in the case of Professor Carver. ~Sir Harry Johnson, as quoted in George Washington Carver by John Perry.

From the kitchen...pork chops, mashed potatoes, and peas. Today or tomorrow I will be pre-making some parmesan chicken cordon blue and peachy chicken for the freezer, two of my family’s favorite meals.

Around the house...signs of clothing transition: tubs of clothes sitting out, awaiting their return to the attic; piles of sweaters and sweatshirts in the top of closets, awaiting the removal of shorts, capris, and summer shirts; summer and winter shoes intermingled on closet floors.

One of my favorite things...fall. Have I mentioned that recently?

A few plans for the rest of the week...a pretty normal, routine week.

A picture worth sharing...If you look closely, you should be able to see three silly monkeys in this pecan tree. They thoroughly enjoyed spending last week outside!

In the Tree (9-5)-2

Saturday, September 10, 2011

At the Farm

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture on my Not Quite Ordinary Observations post of Steven in the cab of the combine. Here are a few more pictures from our afternoon on the farm.

The girls going for a ride.

Farm3

Steven climbing in.

Farm8

I went for my first combine ride this year.

Farm7

Checking out the other farm equipment.

Farm1Farm2Farm4Farm5Farm6

Friday, September 9, 2011

Accomplishments

This has been a great week. I have gotten some major tasks accomplished. I had piles of currently unused Sonlight cores semi-organized in stacks by the window in the school room, but it really just looked like a mess of piles. It all needed to be better organized and boxed up for storage. That was the first major task I accomplished this week. I even did some preliminary plotting for the start of our next core (spring 2012), a necessary portion of figuring out just how to store everything. That was a nice additional project to accomplish, because that lessens the work I have to do when it’s time to order school stuff. YAY!

I also got fall clothes sorted and the “what we need” list created. It’s early, I know, considering we still have forecasts in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s. But, looking at the calendar, I don’t know when I’ll have another chance! Since this was “project” week, I dove right on in. Such fun! Once again, God’s provision is wonderful! We’ll have to buy a few things, but not a whole lot. It makes me smile.

I also got a bunch of “little” things done. Tasks that don’t fall into my normal list of chores but that also pile up and really need to get done. I was very excited to check those things off my master list. Oh, and a day of errands, not counting the trip to Wal-Mart and the library run. Yes, I’d call this a productive week…and I still get a day to write and sort August pictures tomorrow!

But, none of the things I’ve done this week have been super picture-worthy. So, just because I like to include pictures…

This is a project I did a few weeks ago and meant to blog about but never got around to. This is my “round toit” moment!

We had two organizational frustrations that I had been praying DSCF0329over for a little while. First, Angie’s clothes drawers. Her clothes have been stored in these drawers for quite some time. For the record, these are awesome drawer sets. We bought them at Target over five years ago, and both the cubbies and the fabric drawers have been wonderful! But, at 12” square, Angie just had trouble accessing her clothes. So, I’ve been praying for a different clothing storage solution for her.

Meanwhile, there was the hall toy Reorg5closet issue. The toy sets all fit nicely into crates and  redesignated Lego tubs. The crates and tubs all stacked snugly on top of each other in the bottom half of the hall closet between Steven and Angie’s bedroom. Well, that was the plan, anyway. Stacking is not easy or convenient. Kids have a hard enough time keeping their toys organized when it is easy and convenient. Take those things away, and you’re left with a continual battle. Another organizational dilemma to pray over.

And the answer? A major sale on toy storage units! You know, those wooden frames with colorful cloth drawers? Yep, Doug found two sets on closeout at Wal-Mart and snagged them. I was sooooooo excited! That weekend I dove into a massive rearrange that incorporated Steven’s room, Angie’s room, and the hall closet!

First, I cleaned all of the clothes out of Steven’s dresser and redistributed them to see if they would fit in the cloth drawers of one of the new sets. My entire plan hinged on that being a good fit. Wouldn’t you know, it all fit perfectly! (Leave it to God’s solutions to accomplish that!)

Once we knew it all fit, Steven and I set ourselves to the task of assembling the frame for his new “dresser.” He was a fantastic helper!Reorg2

We moved his old dresser out of the way and replaced it with the new one. To say he was thrilled would be a HUGE understatement!

Reorg3

Yes, I was a bit concerned about how messy this would look were he to not keep it decently organized, but so far he’s done well with it. It hasn’t all been folded perfectly, but we haven’t had clothes overflowing all over the place. Yay Steven!

Next came Angie’s clothes. We cleaned out her cloth drawers and moved the whole set out of her room. The she and Olivia set themselves to the task of redistributing her clothes into the drawers of the dresser. It makes her room look that much more girly since it’s a “real” dresser. I like that.

Reorg4

Finally, we came to the task of the hall closet. I pulled out all of Reorg6the toys and redistributed as many sets as would fit into the cloth drawers. I put a few things on top of the drawers, turned two crates on their sides to make “shelves” for the big Little People accessories, and put the storage buckets for the special Lego set instructions on top of those shelves. Some of the girls’ things were able to stay on the lowest built-in shelf. Everything is nice and accessible, and no stacking is required.

But, there were still three sets that didn’t have a place: Duplos (which my kids still haven’t outgrown – and I like to have around for when babies and toddlers are visiting), Lincoln Logs, and Little People.

The solution? The as yet unused second toy storage set! Steven had a couple of crates in his closet storing some of the toys that stay in his room. Some of those we just moved over, but others we emptied out. We redistributed those toys to the top row of drawers in the new storage set and used the remaining three rows for the remaining three toy sets – which fit perfectly, of course! And, naturally, the storage unit fit wonderfully on one side of his closet.

Reorg1

And after several weeks, the new system has been fantastic! And fall/winter clothes are going to be a great fit into the new dresser system, too.

Just for the record, I love, love, love productive project weeks and successful reorganization projects. Both make me smile!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Outside my window...a perfect morning: 60 degrees, sunshine, a light breeze through the open windows.

I am thinking...the familiar thought that I can truly enjoy and truly appreciate these beautifully cool days because I’ve experienced the nasty heat of summer – and all of the applications that go with that thought.

I am thankful for...the freedom of homeschooling and the chance for the kids to get to spend this week outside.

I am wearing...denim capris, a purple OBU polo, and slippers (yes, I’m chilly, but I don’t care!).

I am creating...nothing right now. I’m working through a week of other household projects, and then I’ll get back to creating. I think cloth napkins are next on the list, followed by Christmas presents.

I am remembering...that last week I said I was going to blog here more. That really happened, didn’t it? But, at least I got Angie’s dress and all her other birthday prep done while keeping the house in decent order and keeping up with school. So, I’ll start the more regular posting this week!

I am going...to tackle a pretty big project list this week. I had been saying for a while that I would take the first cool week, cancel school, and tackle those projects. Well, here it is! So, here I go!

I am reading...George Washington Carver by John Perry

I am hoping...the gentle breeze sticks around all week so we can leave the windows open throughout the entire cool stretch.

I am hearing...birds, dogs, cars, the breeze through the trees – all of those wonderful outside noises that get blocked out when the windows have to be closed. Growing up, our windows came open in the spring and stayed opened until it just got too chilly. I miss that.

On my mind...the desire to focus and be diligent without ignoring my family this week.

From the learning rooms...a week off with the exception of a little science and trying out some review products.

Noticing that...a picture on the wall is crooked; the fluorescent lights are taking a little longer to brighten up in the coolness.

From the kitchen...I’m thinking salmon today, but I’m not sure. I don’t remember what’s on the menu!

Around the house...doors propped open so the wind won’t close them; curtains waving in the breeze.

One of my favorite things...fall.

A few plans for the rest of the week...sorting kids’ fall clothes (not to put in the drawers yet because this coolness is not here to stay -  just taking advantage of the opportunity so the permanent coolness doesn’t sneak up on me!); packing away school stuff not in use right now; getting ahead on writing; sorting August’s pictures; preparing to start on Christmas projects; etc.

A picture worth sharing...Mom and Dad brought Steven a belated birthday present – a Razorback piggy bank. When he opened it up, his face lit up and he said, “Everybody needs one of these!” He was so excited!

100_9740

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tea Party!

We gave Angela the option of celebrating on her birthday (a Sunday) or celebrating the day before. She chose Saturday. So, like with Steven, we had a “pretend” 8-year-old all day Saturday.

We started the day with breakfast calzones on Hello Kitty plates, per the request of the birthday girl. The calzones definitely were a fantastic breakfast choice!

party14party15

After breakfast, Steven and Angela went to watch some party11Muppet Show, Doug ran a couple of errands, and Olivia and I went to put the final touches on the sock doll she made for Angela’s birthday. Actually, we just had to finish up the dress. I was so proud of the work Olivia put into the doll – she did almost all of it by herself with just a little guidance and help from me. She’s proud of it too!

As lunchtime approached, the party guests arrived right on time! Angela was delighted to share her birthday with Papaw, Nanny, and Aunt Alli. Party13

We all enjoyed some of Angie’s traditional birthday quiche, and then she got to open her first present – the dress-up dress and hoop skirt I made her. Naturally, her first question was, “Can I go put it on right now?”

party12

After lunch she and Alli went outside to get her birthday pictures in her new dress (yesterday’s post!) while the rest of us enjoyed some visiting time. Then around 3:00 it was finally time for the tea party: cake ball pops, chocolate and pink candy covered pretzel sticks, strawberries, grapes, apples, and punch, all on pink plates and in little tea cups.

Alli helped perfect the table organization.

party10party9

But, we were missing one thing…enough tea cups! Fortunately, Nanny took care of that with gift #2 for the day…a beautiful Jordanian coffee cup set!

Party8

PArty7

Since we didn’t have a cake, we had to be a little creative with the candles. There were eight of us at the party, so it worked perfectly for each one of us to stick a candle into a strawberry!

Party6

We sang “Happy Birthday” and then Angie blew out her eight candles.

Party5

She calmly, quietly, and happily enjoyed her tea party while the rest of us happily visited around her.

Party3

(Notice the pinky finger properly sticking out as she eats.)

Party4

Finally it was time for the rest of the presents.

Party2

Here she is showing off her dress, new hat (Mommy & Daddy), sock doll Ella (Olivia), and tea set chimes (Alli). She also got a new hairbrush from us, a Hello Kitty t-shirt from Steven, and a delicate perfume bottle from Nanny & Papaw.

Party1

Here’s a better shot of Angie and Ella in their matching dresses.

Party16

I think the birthday girl had fun! Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Alli, for joining us!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Celebrating Angela

It’s hard to believe it has been another year. It’s hard to believe it has been eight years! And yet, here we are, celebrating eight years of our precious Angela.

Ang11

In the past year we’ve seen Angela grow in so many ways. While the excited little girl is still there, the poised young lady is also beginning to show her face. Ang2

Angie’s introverted nature definitely shows itself more and more. She needs her retreat and her time alone. But, she also loves nothing more than being with her brother and sister. She adores them both, as they do her.

Ang1

Her quick wit has not lessened in the least! She is sassy and sharp, and still has moments when we just can’t believe some of the things that come out of her mouth. Although we’ve had to remind her how to be polite in her quick-wittedness, we still get a kick out of how sharp she is!

Ang12

In her looks, too, we see that precious balance between the little girl face we’ve loved for so long…

Ang6

…and the glimpses of young lady that show up more and more with each passing day.

Ang4

Angie is still rarely seen without a book in hand, and the things she reads fuel her delightful imagination.

Ang7

Her bed is full of stuffies, her room is continually cluttered with things she has created and considers precious, and there is never any predicting what strange outfit will be adorning a stuffed animal or doll.

Ang10

If it is possible for her to have increased in prissiness, she has done so! If it is dainty, she loves it! Or if it’s Hello Kitty. That fascination continues, strong as ever!

Ang8

Her sweet face is always a delight, but then when she breaks into that huge grin, she lights up from head to toe and just melts my heart!

Ang13

Her favorite things: Bubby the blanket still ranks high on the list; favorite stuffies tend to rotate, although her new sock doll might top them all for a little while; quiche, yogurt, and homemade granola bars seem to be high on her favorite food list; her favorite clothing is anything dress-up; she loves history and continually begs me to read more, but she also is very sharp in math and science; her favorite hairstyle is lots and lots and lots of curls, made possible by either rag or foam curlers.

Ang5

The past year has shown an increased confidence on her bike and in the swimming pool, both of which have been major accomplishments for her!

Ang3

Angela’s eighth year of life has been a precious one, without a doubt. The more I see her grow and learn, the more excited I am to see how God shapes and molds her into a young woman. I am so thankful for eight years with this captivating child, and I delightfully look forward to many, many more.

Ang9

Happy birthday, precious Angela! We love you and are so very thankful that God chose to bless our family with you!

Angie’s birthday pictures are courtesy of my sister Allison Browning. These are unedited, raw pictures, but you can find examples of her polished work at her new site: http://abrowningphotography.tumblr.com/