The flow of our day

Okay: here's the order of our day as planned.  This is all subject to change if it all falls apart and I realize this will not work at all.  *grin*

-"3 things" Each of the kids is responsible to accomplish their "3 things" before they come to the table for breakfast:  1.Make your bed    2.Get dressed    3. Brush your teeth.  We've been working on this habit this summer, and it's gone well.  (Note: this is optional for the 2 little girls.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.  But for my school-aged kids (because they can do it by themself!) it's mandatory.

-breakfast @ 8:30

-Bible, memory work, Composer/Picture study (@ table; 20-30 min)

-chores (20 minutes)

-History (in living room) I read aloud, the kids can play quietly (as long as they're listening!)  This will likely be the time when I put a video on for the little girls.  (Because yes, I am planning on a half-hour video being a part of their daily schedule.) (20-30 min)

-individual times for English with mommy (one child per day).  The others will pair up as buddies during this time (20 min)

-Copywork, Math, Phonics  (@ table) This is where the kids do their individual work.  These are short lessons: about 10 minutes for each subject.  When they are finished, they head outside to play until lunchtime.  Math is usually a bit longer, and sometimes Ella will opt to break and play and then finish up her math on her quiet time.

-lunch (@ 12 or 12:30)

-chores (20 min)

-naps/quiet times (2 hours)

-Assigned reading/literature, Narrations, Handicrafts to be done throughout the rest of the day.  The kids will likely read during their quiet time, narrations usually occur at a mealtime, so if we didn't get to them at lunch we'll do them over dinner, and handicrafts {for Ella: embroidery, knitting, friendship bracelets, whatever craft she's into!} will likely happen while Mark reads aloud in the evenings.  {Hooray for cozy, candlelit autumn evenings of knitting with my girl while Mark reads aloud!}

Approaching our first day of school with a right spirit

Today is our first day of school.  I'm in a good place right now, but I wasn't just two short days ago, and that's what I'm going to tell you about. 

On Saturday Adelia was her wondrous, lively, *challenging* self.  That girl.  She is... three and so stubborn and willfull and passionate and defiant and just so very loud about it all.  :)  I love her so much and I know God has great plans for her life and all of that passion and I'm trusting Him to shape her and mold her for His purposes.  But some days are just plain exhausting, aren't they?  Being a mama?  My goodness!

my beautiful girl in a (rare) moment of stillness: at the zoo, holding a small bird

Anyway... so on Saturday she was in full defiant mode and by lunchtime we'd had two major sessions of disobedience (and a few minor ones, too) and I went from fighting back tears to a full-fledged sob session over all of it.  What it all kept coming back to in my fit of tears was: HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?!  ("this" meaning: start school on Monday).  How does this kind of a morning fit into a school day?  How can I be a diligent mama in training my little girl and be an attentive mama with my school-aged kids?  Sigh. 

Thankfully, once the girls were down I crept into my room for some daily peace and quiet, and resumed my Bible reading.  I was in Psalm 99 and began journaling as I read:
The Lord reigns.  Great is the Lord.  Exalt him and worship him.  He is holy.  I was instantly reminded to take my eyes off myself and refocus them on God.  So I did.  I kept writing and just focused on His greatness. 

Then I kept reading: "Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the Lord and he answered them.  He spoke to them..."

And God reminded me that He hears when I call upon His Name.  He hears and He answers.  So I called Him right on up ;) -- scribbling out prayers in my journal about all that I felt overwhelmed about.  And He reminded me then of two verses-- one in Matthew where it says "do not worry about tomorrow" and another, in Philippians, I think, that says "do not be anxious about anything but in everything, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  (or something.  I'm paraphrasing, I'm sure.)  So I asked Him to help me not to worry and to just do the *next thing*; that thing right in front of me right now, and to do it well and to trust Him for the rest of it; the stuff that comes next.  I trust that He will not give me more than I can bear and that He is with me, leading me and guiding me.  I asked for wisdom and strength.  I specifically prayed for my girl; that God would teach her self-control and that He would help ME correct with wisdom and gentleness and in kindness.

I am so thankful for God's word and how instructive it is.  I was reminded that day- in just a few short verses- of the truth.  I needed to take my eyes off of myself and the circumstances of how impossible things seemed today.  I needed to refocus my heart and mind toward thankfulness and praise (the Psalms are so great for this!) and I needed to be reminded not to be anxious, but to call on God and trust in Him to answer.  It just righted my whole attitude, that time with Jesus.  I know it will be challenging, this day.  But I know He is good and He is with me and I trust Him with all of it.
Know that the Lord is God. 
It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:3-5
Amen.  Here's to a great first day! 
I'll post tomorrow on the flow of our day, (and, ahem- quite possibly how well that didn't work for us!) and will follow in the days to come with our chore chart and all the things Michelle requested.  ;) 

Love to you all...


first pickings from our garden~ and purple beans!

Canning reminds me first of my grandma.  She canned beans, peaches, pears and tomatoes.  Maybe more, but that is what I remember.  My mom used to take us out to grandma and grandpa's house when it was bean-picking time.  They had a huge garden, and there was always extra for anyone who wanted some.  I don't remember the picking part of it.  I must have played with my cousins while my aunts and mom and grandma picked-- but I do remember sitting with bags full of beans in my grandma's yard, down on the grass near that big old apple tree, snipping the ends off of those beans, or snapping them in halves or in thirds.  I remember that part.  I remember the chatter of my grandma and mom and all of us working together toward a common goal. 

my wonderful helpers!

In later years I remember our home: the laundry room full of ripening fruit; all laid out carefully on newspaper on the floor.  I remember our kitchen all a bustle as my mom canned the same things her mother had canned.  I remember how excited she would get-- we would all get-- when those jars sealed.  

So it's tradition, why I do what I do.  It's why we have a garden and it's why we preserve.   And I've come to appreciate it so much.  It is truly satisfying to plant a garden from seed, tend it and watch it grow, and then harvest it and eat from that garden throughout the year.  We nowhere near put up enough food to last us through the fall and winter months.  Maybe someday, but for the time being that's not our goal.  But it is important to me to keep that tradition of my mom and my grandma, to be good stewards of the land God has given to us- even in our own back yard, to teach my children to garden and preserve food, and to take advantage of the opportunity to work alongside one another toward a common goal.

the beans we canned last night- Mark and I sat in the kitchen and waited until we heard the last jar seal

Our lesson plan: {sample page}

Someone asked to see my lesson plan, so here is a sample of one of our weekly plans:

[I truly hope you can see that.  It took me about 30 minutes to even figure out how to add that onto the blog!]

Let's see if any explanation is required on this:

*This is week 8 of our 36-week schedule.  Basically, I just took a thorough look at each of the kids' books ahead of time, and divvied up the lessons I wanted to cover over the 36 weeks we'll be doing school.

*The symbols represent each of the school-aged kids- it was just easier and took less space this way.  [Ella is the flower; Isaac, the star; and Isaias, the diamond-thing.] Anything that does not have a symbol is something we all do together.

*The reason I chose this format is simply because my goal was to get each week onto one page.  (Success!)

*This is a really full week of school for us.  Most weeks Mark has a day off, and on those days the only school subjects we tackle are Nature Study and English (he wanted to continue the kids' one-on-one English time and have the opportunity to do it with them.)  So, usually we truly only have a 4-day school week with Saturdays being the "catch-up" day.

I don't think having everything planned out so completely is necessary for every homeschooling family.  But it helps ME; and it has benefitted our family.  I have found that the more organized I am upfront, there's less of the frenzied decision-making I have to do throughout our days-- (Ella sitting at the table waiting for me to tell her what she's supposed to do next, but I'm changing a diaper and then I have to deal with a correction issue and aack!... there Ella (or Isaac or Isaias) sits, waiting on me.)  This solves that connundrum for us.  Our weekly schedule will be available for the kids to see and they will know what needs to be accomplished that day and will be able to roll with our school schedule if I'm not available at any given moment because I'm tending to the little girls.

It's also helpful in that I know that planning it all out this way means that we will get through all that I want to get through in our school year.  Instead of the other alternative- one I'm all too familiar with- of... getting to the end of the year but only being 1/3 of the way through a book!  ;)

If you have any questions about anything you see on the schedule, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll respond.  :)

In addition to this schedule, I have a chore chart posted up on the fridge for the kids, a "master binder" for the year, and an "order/flow of our school day" listed for my own brain that I'll consult for the first couple of weeks until we get into a good routine and it's second-nature to me and I won't need the list anymore.  :)  If anyone is interested in seeing any of those things, let me know and I'll post pictures or the list. 

Thoughts on the start of a new school year

In just one more week we'll start school again at our house. We are all very much looking forward to it! So much careful planning has gone into selecting books, choosing curriculum and creating lessons, but really all of that takes a back seat to what is forefront on my mind as we enter this school year.

Academics are always second to our main goal of guiding our kids to love God and to love their neighbor.  That's what we really care about around here.   And so we read the Bible every day and we talk about what we've read.  We memorize verses together-- because what we learn about God fuels our worship of Him.  We pray together and we point out things He has made or what He has done and we get excited about those things together.  We talk about things we have read or seen or heard and we pull those things into the context of what He says about them; what He would call us to do in that situation as followers of Jesus. 

The second part of that verse~ that part about loving your neighbor?  That begins right here, too.  God has given us a rich environment to learn how to love our neighbor because we've got a lot of neighbors (we call them siblings ;)) right here under one roof!  Each of us- Mark and I included- have unique personalities, preferences, quirks, and sins that make life full of opportunities for growth in loving your neighbor. 

Proverbs 16:9 says "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

I want that verse to be on the forefront of my mind in the days and months ahead.  While I have planned our course for the year, it is the Lord who will determine our steps.  I want to hold my own plans loosely and be willing to adapt to the ways in which He will guide our steps each day.

This is a constant struggle for me.  I always have a plan and I want to move on it, and now!  Perhaps a plan of mine is that I would like to move from the breakfast table and begin chores at such-and-such-a-time, but then that plan is interrupted by one of the kids doing something or saying something that I have to do something about.  Honestly, my initial response is usually grumpiness.  (While I don't always verbalize it this way, my thoughts might be: This isn't the plan!  This interruption isn't accommodating my timeline or my list of things to accomplish right now.  If we don't get this done right now, we'll be behind in our next task!)

I want to enter this year with eyes to see those "interruptions" as God determining our steps and our course of study.  He knows exactly what we all need and how we might best grow, and I trust Him to do it.  In the example above of getting-interrupted-during-our-transition-from-breakfast-to-chores, I need to trust that He has something far more important to accomplish in that moment than what was on my schedule.  Maybe what He wants in that moment is my obedience to Him in a right response of gentleness, patience and self-control.  Maybe what He wants is time taken for an expression of love and/or forgiveness in a sibling relationship.

My prayer is that I would rest in His sovereign purposes-- being completed in me and in our home, in the lives of our kids-- *through* the interruptions, the distractions, the messes.  I want to embrace the opportunities He brings to stop and close my planner- so to speak- in order to correct or nurture or explain or take time for a much-needed hug or a conversation or simply to stop and rest in the delight of that moment, to be silly and laugh together a little longer or to take time to carefully and diligently discipline, rather than reacting in anger or impatience. 

Anyone want to join me in this goal?  ;)

Rhubarb Sauce

Some people complain about having too much zucchini in their garden.  I used to, too, until we stopped growing it.  (There are only so many uses for zucchini, people.)

What I've got a lot of is rhubarb.  It positively thrives in our garden.  I peeked inside there this morning and I swear those stalks are tree-like in nature: very tall and sturdy! 

I knew that I needed to harvest it, and soon.  Last year I tried to freeze pieces of rhubarb and then use it throughout the year in crisps/pies, but I wasn't happy with the consistency (kind of squeaky/rubbery... ew).  So... this morning I decided to use up that rhubarb in the form of sauce!

Rhubarb Sauce

~Wash stalks and cut into chunks. (8-10 cups worth)
~Heat 1 cup of sugar* and 1/2 cup water to boiling, stir to dissolve sugar
~Add rhubarb
~Simmer 10 min. or until rhubarb is tender
~Puree (my kids don't like chunks)
*you can add more sugar if you want it sweeter

I expected it to be a little jam-like... but it reminded me so much more of applesauce!  My kids all had a bowl-full for lunch and I plan to thaw it and serve it up throughout the year as I would applesauce, or use it for muffins or as a sauce over pancakes or waffles or ice cream.  Yum!  

Hair Day: Photos

Here are some recent photos from our most recent Hair day, which is a day in which all we do is wash and style Adelia's hair. ;)  Adelia loves Hair day because she gets to watch lots of videos and eat lots of snacks, and basically gets waited on all day long by her siblings: they bring snacks, drinks, and movies upon her request. 

The first thing I did was give her a bath and condition her previous style: which was mostly braids (with a few cornrows along the front).  I got her hair all wet and we lathered conditioner on it, rinsed some of it out, and then towel-dried it.  Then I sat on our bed with the little girls and they watched a movie while I started taking the braids out.  Ella joined me a bit later, and she worked one side while I worked the other side. 

After our morning sessions (30 minutes on my bed, another hour on the couch), the kids all played outside, we had lunch, Adelia napped, and then we resumed braid-removal after she woke up.

{Photo: in progress}
I am so very thankful for Ella's help.  She works diligently, enjoys doing it *and* it saves me a lot of time!
{Photo: So that you can get an adequate picture of what we're dealing with.}
Adelia has been blessed with a beautiful head of hair.  So much hair.   :)  I love it.  

In the photo above, Ella is still removing braids on her side while I've started sectioning out my side for the next style.  It probably took us about 2 1/2 hours total to get her braids out, with both of us working at it. 

We took another break for playtime, then dinner, and then I set to work on the new style.  

{Photo: pajama break!  New style almost done}
I did flat-twists on the front (parted in the middle with eight sections across the hairline), and then tried a new technique called African Hair Threading (tutorial here).  I am so thankful for video tutorials.  It was actually very easy to do and she ended up with these thick, boingy curls.  Very cute.  This was much quicker than braiding or cornrowing, and will take very little time to take out, which is a huge bonus. 

{Photo: finally done!  I think it took me about 2 hours to put this style in.}
I have no idea how long these will stay in, though, or what they will even look like once she's slept on them (I'll post updates in the comments for anyone who is interested).  I'm hoping I can get 2 weeks out of this style, but I'm sure I'll have to pull it back in order to keep it in that long.

 * * *

Snacks today: pistachios, string cheese, and fruit leather.  (Always she requests the fruit leather.)

Videos today: Good Morning Maisy, Elmo's World, Psalty.

Best helpers: Ella, for braid removal.  And Mark, for lots of books and songs for distraction during the after-dinner hours. 

New hair tools: Tangle Tamer brush, weaving thread, and new rat-tail combs.  Good purchases, all.  I was particularly pleased with the brush-- it really worked to remove tangles and it didn't bother Adelia at all.  Also, she thought the brush was cute and was able to use it herself which she's never been able to do before. 

Fair day!

We went to the much-loved fair today.  This is the first year our kids entered anything into the fair.  Ella entered a watercolor painting, and all three older kids entered something they'd built with LEGOS.  They were so excited to see their things exhibited, and it made an exciting day even *more* exciting for them.


Here is Ella, proudly standing next to her painting (and blue ribbon!)

Then we rounded the corner to see all the LEGOS,

and discovered this:
 Isaac's bald eagle entry won Best of Division and Best of Show (!)

Here is Isaias' wagon- earning him a second-place ribbon: 
and finally~ Ella's hen and baby chick, earning her another blue.  

The kids were overjoyed.  :)

Sunday afternoon tradition

While the kids are napping or having their quiet times, Mark and I sit at the table and play a game together.   Usually it's either Scrabble, Settlers, Ticket to Ride, or Carcassonne.   Sometimes we work on a puzzle.

Today it was Scrabble.

He's pretending to be giddy about those last 5 letters but he's really not.
We're serious Scrabble players, too.

Mark is the kind of guy who lays all of his letters and gets an extra 50 points-- OFTEN.  ~sheesh~ 
But this game, I won.  It's worth recording because it happens so infrequently.  ;)

Quote from David Platt

"Intentionally work to rise above the trivialities of this world...

Don't let the adversary so fill your mind with that which does not matter
that you have no room left in your mind and heart for that which matters forever."

~David Platt, The Household of God (sermon here)

Weeding and cultivating the soul

These are the verses I've been reflecting on recently:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to unglodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  (from Titus, chapter 2, verses 11-14)

I love so much about that passage- the phrase "the grace of God that brings salvation"... which teaches us to say no... "while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"... "to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

I want this so much in my own life-- to be *his very own*; purified for him, eager to do what is good.  To say no to ungodliness and worldy passions and to live a self-controlled, upright and godly life.  I wrote this passage down in my journal and then made some lists- where do I see ungodliness in me? (and goodness gracious that list was long!) and what are the worldly passions that I am most attracted to?  I intend to pray over those.

Then this morning I read a post by Sally Clarkson called What do you want to be when you grow up? in which she talks about how to cultivate the garden of our souls- what are the things we should plant and what weeds (sin, bad attitudes) need to be plucked so that we are continually growing more into His likeness?  She asks, "What five attributes do you want to characterize your life?"  These are such good things to ponder and I love the idea of being intentional about what we feed our souls (what am I watching, listening to, spending my time doing?) and what things we need to pray that God would weed out (sin)?  I'm going to be pondering my five in the days to come.  (Sally posted her five, but I haven't read hers yet because I want to come up with mine first.)

I hope you all have a wonderful day!  We were up late with the kids last night, getting their entries ready for the fair (art and LEGO creations, of course).  And then- at about 10:20, Mark and I started rearranging our bedroom (I had a hankering for a new look!) Audra is up now, so I'm off to keep her quiet until the other kids are up.

Blessings to you and yours...

On marriage

I've been thinking a lot lately about marriages, and how so many people we personally know are in marriages that are falling apart, or devastated by infidelity or addiction.

It deeply saddens me.

I've started and stopped this post several times.  I'm just not sure how to best tackle this thing that weighs so heavily on my heart.

I love my husband Mark so much, and we genuinely have a happy marriage.  He is my best friend and I have utmost respect for him.  I am so very, very thankful for my husband and for the blessing of our marriage.  But I know that's not everyone's story.

Maybe it's not your story, either.

Maybe you are one who feels stuck in an unhappy marriage.  Maybe you are discouraged.  Maybe you and your husband keep fighting over the same issues, and you feel the chasm widening between the two of you.  Maybe you feel unloved, or never able to measure up, or constantly disappointed.  Maybe you feel as if you're shouldering a burden that is too heavy to bear.

As I prayed this afternoon, this verse came to mind.  You're likely familiar with it:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  
~Matthew 11:28-30

That's a promise.  Jesus will give you rest in the deepest parts of you, no matter where you're at right now and no matter what you may be struggling with.  Just go to Him and pour it all out and lay it down at His feet.  Ask Him to mend the broken parts, ask Him to restore and to heal and transform it all.  He can do it.  He is Almighty and He can do it.   And then go to Him again, over and over and over, and keep laying it down and asking for His help.

There are three other things on my heart:

1.  After you ask for Jesus' help, ask Him to reveal to you who else you can tell, and then go to them and tell them.  I can't emphasize this enough.  If you are struggling in your marriage right now, please go and tell a trusted friend or a member of your church body and ask them to pray for you and your marriage.  Go ask your pastor's wife.  Go ask that woman you've seen in church-- maybe you've never even spoken to her before.  It doesn't matter.  Just ask her.  Don't be too prideful or too afraid to express that you have a need.  We ALL do.  It may not be the same need, but we've all got them.  And we need to get over our pride already and be willing to say "I need help.  We need help.  Can you pray for me?"  I think that we as a Church need to get a whole lot better at this.  We need to be willing to be vulnerable and transparent and willing to show ourselves for the mess that we are, and ask for help.  (Isn't there something just so refreshing when you're with someone who acknowledges that they DON'T have it all together?  It allows the rest of us to put down our own walls and say, with a great sigh of relief, "Me too."  Then we're on a level field-- wobbling sinners who need Jesus so much, and we can pray for one another toward that end.)*

2.  Pray specifically for your marriage.  By specifically I mean: don't just ask God to help you love your spouse, but ask Him to show you how to love him; ask God to give you a tangible way to show your husband that love, today, and then do that one thing.  If you feel like all you ever do is criticize each other, ask God to help you think of one thing you can verbalize to your spouse today that would be kind; that would show respect and love, and then say it.  If you want your husband to grow or change in a particular area, express that to God, and wait and see what He does.  God is a God of details.  And He answers prayer in very specific, tangible ways.  I think He loves to surprise us and bless us by answering our specific prayers.  Even if you're at a good place in your marriage right now, you just keep right on praying.  Pray that God would strengthen your marriage.  Ask that He would guard both you and your husband from temptation.  Ask for ways to nurture your marriage and cherish this man God has given you. 

3.  And this, too: pray for the marriages of those around you.  Recently, some very dear friends of ours went through a very difficult time in their marriage.  Everyone who knew them was shocked.  No one had any idea to the degree in which they were struggling.  It prompted me to start praying for all the married couples we knew: our friends, our parents, our extended family... every marriage I could think of, I started praying for.  I truly think the enemy is working overtime to try to tear apart Christian marriages.  The Bible is clear that he comes to steal, kill and destroy.  So let's intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ and pray over their marriages.

Because this is the way my brain works, I decided that on Mondays I was going to pray for Marriages, and I do so.  Some Mondays I pray for a specific marriage that God has laid on my heart, sometimes I run through the list and pray a general prayer or verse over all of those marriages, and some Mondays I forget entirely, but Mondays are "tagged" for praying for marriages.  Perhaps you'd like to join me in that and pray for those in your life on Mondays, too?

*If you're reading this and you need prayer but you feel like you don't have anyone else to ask, email me and I will pray for you. 

{Best thing I saw today}

While sorting through some papers on the kids' school shelves, I discovered this:

A note from Ella (9) to Isaac (7), that reads:

I love you Isaac.  Your My Favirite Playmate.

(I tucked it into the front of his school binder so he'll see it often.  :))

Three good books

Three good books I'm recommending from my summer reading:

Raising Real Men

I came away from this book with a fresh perspective on my boys.  I was reminded to celebrate the qualities God has given them that will result in them being strong men someday, (Lord-willing); qualities that may drive me crazy in the here-and-now-- but that are purposeful in the long run.

Passport Through Darkness

I already shared a bit about this book here.  This is a difficult book to read in that it is about child-trafficking and its horrors, but I think it is an important book to read.   There's a passage in Amos 6 that talks about those who are complacent, those who feel secure, who lounge and dine and drink wine and do not grieve over those who are in need around us.  May we not be guilty of this.


If you've had a conversation with me in the last week (since I finished this book), I've already recommended this one to you.  It's possible that I'm the last person to read it, since I've been on the library hold list for this one for several months.  But I finally got it into my hands and then disappeared into its pages for a few days until I'd finished it.  This is a remarkable story that is so well-written and it is easily my favorite book of the year.

I hope it goes without saying that I'm all ears for your recommendations!

Grateful: Monday, August 1

{ snippets from my list over the past few months }

1519 | apple blossoms
1522 | tiny strawberry plants
1524 | picture books strewn across my bed from some early-morning reading with the girls
1539 | color.  vibrant, beautiful color
1544 | the tiny bouquet of lilacs- light and dark- sitting on the patio table
1559 | bare feet, five sets of them- scampering through the yard
1565 | our beautifully blooming Hawthorne tree
1566 | the slope of our front lawn, perfect for little bodies to roll down
1567 | pansies in terra cotta pots at the front window
1569 | that He does not treat us as our sins deserve
1571 | the way Audra calls "hair pretties" (barrettes, elastics, etc) "pretty hairs", as in: "Mommy, I have pretty hairs in!"
1572 | waking in the mornings to Adelia and Audra singing worship songs
1573 | the way they play together: tucking dollies into beds, singing songs, jumping, dancing, exploring...
1579 | coming home
1602 | Audra's prettily-painted fingernails that were done at a library craft fair the kids attended yesterday with grandma.  Several times I've seen her splay her fingers out in front of herself and admire them.  And several times she has told me about how two girls without tutus (skirts) did that (painted her nails.)  In her world, not wearing a tutu is a serious offense.