Monday, June 29, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 29, 2015

In the great outdoors...a rather hazy day, with temps rising again after a slightly less hot weekend.

Within our four walls...a little taste of routine as chores have been reestablished.

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Yet, also as much rest as possible today. The past two months have been utterly exhausting. We are ready for rest!

A heart of thanksgiving...for air conditioning; for a less busy week; for the chance to begin to reintroduce routine and cement the settling-in process.

A heart of prayer...for a precious family leaving the only home their children have ever known. Since it’s a move from overseas back to the US, it will be a much more permanent goodbye than ours was. My heart aches for them, especially as today is a homesick day for my kids. So, I feel the mama tug of what my friends are dealing with on a much larger scale. But I’m also excited to see where God leads them next!

Random observations...I’m not a big fan of summer. Praying for a cool spell so we can work in the garage and the yard. 

My fantastic children...are rolling right back into the chore schedule without a word of complaint. So thankful for them!

Thoughts from the kitchen...leftovers, probably.

On my bookshelf...stacks reminding me of the need to reestablish a reading schedule.

Projects...this week the primary project is school stuff, I do believe. And a little preparation for joining a local AHG troop.

Sounds of the moment...a lawn mower outside; music wafting in from the living room.

From Hibbard Academy...planning and prep

A favorite thing from last week...Saturday night date night after a full week without much hubby time.

The planner...a couple of lunch dates/get togethers; a bit more progress toward routine.

Because visuals are fun...the dining room floor. Why? I have no idea. The picture was on my phone for some crazy reason. So, I thought I’d share it with you. Because that’s about where I am mentally today!

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Steven’s New Hobby

The other day, Steven came to get the Jenga blocks. Next thing I know, he’s calling me to his room to see the domino effect he’d created! Oh, how I wish I’d had my camera! It was really neat!

Then, he pulled out the dominoes to go with the blocks, and moved to the living room to create another display. He quickly learned the frustration that comes when you’ve made a great deal of progress, only for a domino to tip and set of a premature collapse.

Daddy to the rescue with some spare bookends, placed strategically along the path. Only one little section at a time could fall.


His final creation was a little hard to photograph because it wound under tables and around furniture.


The tail end, though, was a pyramid – a bowling pin setup, actually. Had it worked properly, the whole thing would have ended with a delightful “strike”!


Unfortunately, he accidentally bumped it, and it went backward. Which means it didn’t work right. This time.

We’ll help him build another one. His creativity is fun!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Field Trips, Museums, Choates, and Lots of Pictures!

For the first time in nine years, the Choates and Hibbards live relatively close to one another. Not quite as close as seminary housing, when Joanna and I could join our sweet friend Charlene for a brisk walk every morning. But, it’s still just a 45-minute drive from house to house, and Little Rock is right in the middle. I call that a win!

This week, our in-the-middle meeting point (moms and kids only this time around) was the Historic Arkansas Museum.

If only our kids liked being together as much as Joanna and I do…




Much of the indoor exhibit space is currently under reconstruction, but we arrived shortly before the next grounds tour was scheduled to begin. So, after spending a few minutes in the children’s area, we headed outside.

This particular museum began out of a desire to preserve early Little Rock history. Original homes and buildings dot the museum grounds, some transported and others simply restored where they stood. A couple of other buildings were destroyed over time, but have been rebuilt according to the original specs.

This well still holds water.


As Sonlighters, both of our families have learned to love living history!


The printing press was a delight for all seven book lovers.

inking the press


a little more inking


preparing the paper


Angie rolling the paper into the press


examining the letters


Benjamin noticed that the top tray was Greek and Hebrew – not quite his languages of preference!

Meanwhile, the goofy kids enjoyed a bit of a rest on a bed in the corner!



Of course, Angie’s favorite part was the reproduction of Arkansas’ first lending library – just a column of shelving in the print house. AHM11

When the tour was over, we stepped back inside to cool off and enjoy some visiting and play before finding our picnic spot. After a quick perusal of the Native American exhibit, we headed back the children’s area where the kids played Arkansas Twister and were their general silly selves, while Joanna and I sat on the floor and enjoyed one another’s company.


beautiful spectators


These kids love squeezing into tight spaces together to see if they can all fit! I count seven smiling faces!


Finally, we headed back downstairs to peruse the gift shop.

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The museum folks kindly unlocked the door to let us back outside for a picnic under the trees. The day was shaping up to be a hot one, but the Lord blessed us with low humidity and a wonderful breeze, making our lunch spot absolutely perfect!







We never want to say goodbye to this sweet family. But at least for the time being, goodbye only means “until the next field trip,” instead of “until you’re in the country again.” We’re going to absorb every moment of Choate time we can while they’re in Arkansas!

After all, who can resist friends you can be completely goofy with?


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In the great After a couple of very pleasant summers, we’re back to heat advisories and bathwater-temp swimming pools.

Within our four walls...lots of quiet today. Everyone is rather low-key from a jam-packed June, which is wrapping up with VBS this week. So, today there will be a good deal of relaxing. Oh, and catching up on laundry since we haven’t done any for a few days! Oops!

A heart of thanksgiving...for friends. So many friends – oh, we’re so incredibly blessed with friends old and new! I’m just in awe of the relationships that God puts in front of us.

But, today, I’m specifically thankful for those who re-energize us. Oh how we love all our friends, but we are introverts. So, we frequently need to step back to recharge. But, God still created His children to be social and need one another. Fortunately, we have a Creator who not only made us the way we are but knows what we need even more than we do – and makes perfect provision for those needs! There are certain people He brings into our lives who can help us with that recharge when we need to pull back but still hunger to spend time with others. It still amazes me the way God brings those friends around. And those are the friends I’m especially thankful for today.

A heart of prayer...for a sweet young couple who just found out their unborn baby has heart problems; for dear friends with health issues; for loved ones facing life without the amazing presence of Christ in their lives; for the remainder of VBS; for my wonderful hubby whose voice started to fade on Saturday, and who has since been battling the exhaustion of being pastoral during VBS even with breathing issues and no voice; oh, and for wisdom as we process through what we can and can’t do with this house before we buy it, and for wisdom about purchase timing.

Random observations...three weeks ago today, we loaded a moving truck. Wow, it’s been a packed three weeks…on the heels of a busy May. No wonder we’re exhausted and having through fighting off colds and such!

My silly children...have always been early risers. The earliest to rise this morning was Steven – at 8:00. It was around 9:00 before everyone was out of bed. See previous comments. Yep, that.

Thoughts from the’s hot. And the temperature in the kitchen is three to five degrees warmer than the living room area. That’s about the full extent of my kitchen thoughts for now. In another hour or so, I will have to go further, but for the time being, I’m in blissful denial!

On my bookshelf...Heartbreak Trail, a new YA fiction review book from Susan K. Marlow. Steven has really begun to love her Circle C books. After VBS I’ll get my own reading schedule re-established.

Projects...still processing through the house. It’s really pretty much in order, but there are just those things here and there that don’t have homes. We also are praying hard for a cool snap so we can finally get into the garage without having heat strokes. That will help a lot with finishing everything up. Why, oh why, do we always have to move in the summer? I can only recall one move in our married life that was not a summer move.

But I digress…

School is my other project. VBS this week, but next week I’m going to organize Angie & Steven’s stuff (they’re in the middle of cores right now); label, organize, and familiarize myself with Sonlight’s Core 100 for Olivia, and determine what remains to be ordered for all three hoodlums.

Sounds of the moment...the ceiling fan whirring above me. I’m in the sunroom, which is also warmer than the rest of the house, so I’ll probably either plug in a second fan or move the laptop to the living room this afternoon.

From Hibbard Academy...the kids are supposed to be doing math (Angela & Steven) and language arts (Olivia) for the time being. For the most part, they are working diligently, as long as I remind them. Yesterday we chose a field trip with the Choates instead – definitely a preferable choice over just about anything!

July will continue to be low-key – probably adding in a little more than math and LA, but not a full slate. We’ll probably dive back in the first week of August, once camps are behind us.

A favorite thing from last week...heading back to Almyra for Read’s birthday party. It made my day to see his smiling face as he ran up to the car yelling, “Steven’s here!”

I’d hoped to get a lot of good pictures, but my battery died. I did manage to get this great splash shot of Steven, though…slip-n-slide baseball, with Eric right there at home base waiting to tag the boys “out.” Somehow he just kept missing them! Smile

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Eric, Jennifer, and Read are just another example of those special friends I’m thankful for.

The planner...well, it’s VBS week, so that’s most of the planner! Although we just HAD to squeeze in that Choate time yesterday – you know, more of that re-energization thing. (Yeah, the editor just made up a word. We do things like that.)

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

House Progress

Nope, I don’t have new pictures. But, yesterday I unpacked the last box and tub! It’s still not all put away, it is unpacked!

Our bedroom is now peaceful and lacking in chaos and clutter (for the most part), but it still isn’t quite done. It needs wall hangings and my jewelry needs to be unpacked.

The living/dining room is done, but still just has some move clutter – our “first needs” toolbox, a few empty boxes from yesterday’s final unpacking, a couple of crates full of wires and cords that need to be sorted, and some everyday use stuff that has ended up piled on end tables while awaiting a permanent home.

We inherited a beautiful roll-top desk with the house, and I can’t wait to get a picture of it! It was piled high on day one with stacks and toolboxes, and it hasn’t been tackled yet, so that will have to wait a bit.

The sunroom/schoolroom/office/library is taking shape. Every time we have rearranged in the past few years, it has been with the mentality that “this” goes on “that” shelf because that’s where it all fit best. That’s not going to work here. So, I’m sorting out what those changes mean.

Partly, it means that this amazing stack of crates might not be as useful here!

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Would you believe there are seven more full crates on shelves right now, two others full of cords, and a myriad of minis scattered hither and yon? We had no idea we had collected so many crates until we prepared for this move. In Almyra, we were using every single one. Wow.

But the most exciting part of all of this is the continually discovery that I have more room than I thought. In every single room, I’ve hit a point of “it’s not going to work/fit, and I don’t know what to do” frustration. I usually stare around numbly without a clue what to do next. I walk away and come back later, at which point everything just seems to find a spot. Then, suddenly, I’m done! Everything has a place, and sometimes there’s even lots of wiggle room or space leftover. Amazing.

So, I’m heading into another day. Tackling clutter. Finding spots. Rethinking everything. Getting rid of stuff that doesn’t work in this house (although I don’t know that I’m ready to part with any unused crates; they’re like plastic tubs – very handy to have around!).

And then when it’s all done, I get to truly organize the personal library! Happy dance.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Celebrating Olivia

Well, I got the birthday girl’s official birthday pictures up in decent time, but it has taken a little while longer to get back to posting our celebration.

Let me just put it this way: it was VERY low key! Per the birthday girl’s request.

About a month before the big day, we asked Olivia how she wanted to celebrate. At the time, we were in the middle of a very busy stretch, gone almost every day of the week. So, she requested a nice, quiet at-home birthday celebration.

We thought that would be perfect. Then, we started interacting more with the moving company and realized that they really didn’t want to have to pack our entire house for us. So, we started packing. Which meant that the house was pretty chaotic by the time her birthday rolled around.

So, we all decided that a bit of time AWAY from the chaos might be the better way to celebrate the birthday girl. No temptation at all to pack – just be together.

But first, snuggles and breakfast were required. Angie took delight in wishing Olivia a happy birthday by plopping down on her lap! (For the record, Angela is happiest when she’s sitting on top of someone. Olivia, on the other hand, is rather particular about her snuggle time and method!) These two really do love each other, even if their differences do make them clash at times!

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Snuggles were followed by a delicious breakfast of pancakes (complete with whip cream smiley faces) and bacon. Mmmmm…


It was then decided that our destination would include birthday pictures, so Olivia changed clothes before returning for present time.

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With help from Bunny, Bun-Bun, and Arwin, of course.


The big Swiss army knife was a hit!


Of course, she needed a goofy gift and wanted a Doctor Who gift, so why not combine the two with this adorable stuffed Adipose? (And yes, for those of you wondering, it is actually named Adipose because it’s a fat blob. A cute little fat blob, too, don’t you think?)


I’ve already mentioned Angie & Steven’s fish tank gift. Angie made a cute fishy note to put on the front. I love her creativity!


After breakfast, we loaded up and headed to Memphis to visit the brand new Bass Pro that was opened in the Pyramid. It definitely was elaborate! (This is just glimpses of part of it, looking from the second story in two directions down onto the main floor.)



And a perfect place for those birthday pictures (in addition to a few other fun pics).


(Reading about the ducks we saw all the time in Almyra.)




By the time all was said and done, Olivia could tell her baby brother needed some snuggle time, too. So, while Angie & Doug headed off to seek some fudge (you know, to tide us over until we could get lunch!), Livie crawled up behind Steven. They snuggled and enjoyed the small pond (this is not one of the ponds in the pictures above!).

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From there, we headed to Red Lobster for a birthday treat, then made our way back home. It was definitely a nice break from the chaos!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In the great outdoors...partly cloudy skies, moisture glistening on the grass from last night’s rain and dew.

Within our four walls...silliness, apparently, as the kids tackle the assignments they were given this morning. We don’t have a new chore schedule in place, so they’re just doing whatever we assign them each morning. Such great helpers.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the reduction of boxes and the increase of organization, for old and new friends, for working air conditioners and a solid roof. Oh, and for the discovery that the roof is NOT 25 years old like we originally thought.

A heart of prayer...for so many things and people. Praying Psalm 94:19 over several friends and loved ones.

Random observations...something has been biting my legs between the knees and ankles every night for the past three nights. I wake up each morning (if not in the middle of the night because of the itching) with about half a dozen new bites. Fortunately, the old ones stop itching by then, so I only feel the new bites. But, ugh! It’s getting old.

My silly children...are settling in, I think. We endured a few days with a lot of snipping at one another. But, yesterday was a really good day, and today is starting off well.

Thoughts from the kitchen...It’s summer. It’s hot. So, I don’t really want to cook. But, it’s run pretty smoothly the past few days. And last night, Doug put a pork butt in the crock pot to slow cook all night. Oh my. It smells good!

On my bookshelf...I actually have a bookshelf now! Well, actually it’s a cubby set. I have a cubby for review and “want to read” books, another for school stuff, one for planners (yes, I have a lot), one for editing books and resources, and a sewing cubby for patterns and my accessories box. The remaining four are work stuff, notebooks and AHG binders, Bible studies and my giveaway book stash, and, of utmost importance, the sanity shelf with my chocolate stash! Now to get back to working through the books on that review and wish list cubby.

Projects...create a new chore schedule, make a menu plan, finish emptying the last few boxes, organize bookshelves (both school and personal library), and evaluate what we still need to gather before school starts back. 

Sounds of the moment...something rattling as Steven makes noise in the living room. He’s a born drummer, I do believe!

From Hibbard Academy...Angie & Steven are doing a math lesson a day, now that we’ve found the books, and Olivia is finishing up language arts.

A favorite thing from last week...I’m not sure I even remember last week!

The planner...lunch with the senior adults today, church tomorrow night, continuing to settle in, then a quick trip to Almyra for a birthday party (and some hugs) on Saturday.

Because visuals are fun...goofiness with a new friend. We love people who are willing to be silly with us!

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Making Progress

We’re slowly but surely seeing things come together! I’ve been posting pictures on Facebook, but thought I’d upload them here, too, since this is more of my scrapbook.

The kitchen was my first “happy place,” thanks to amazing cleaning/cabinet lining help from church members last Monday and Joanna’s unpacking help Thursday. Of course, it didn’t take long to have both clean and dirty dishes piled up on either side of the sink!

View from the dining area.

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View from the back door.

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The only organized wall of the dining area.

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There is a larger, brand new refrigerator in the garage (both came with the house!), but it doesn’t fit in the fridge slot. But, we really want to bring it up and put the older one down there. We’ve got the rearrange mapped out in our heads, and we think we can make it happen. It’s just at the bottom of our list!

Next, I have the girls’ room. I really like clean, open spaces. But, we all just have stuff. We’re really trying to simplify. Really, really. It’s just taking time. In the meantime, we’re squeezing two full rooms into one. I can’t believe it worked! But, it did. We’ll continue to simplify as time goes on. But, the girls seem happy with what we have right now.

Olivia’s side.

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Angie’s side – complete with her library right by the bed! She’s a happy girl!

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Closet side.

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Steven’s room is a shade smaller but looks so much more spacious! Makes a difference when you’re not trying to cram two beds (including a double!), two dressers, a vanity, and three bookshelves in together.

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It didn’t take long at all to get a pile of Legos on the floor.

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The master bedroom is almost cleared of chaos, and the bathrooms are done. Today I’m working a bit on the living room “pretties.” It’s coming together!