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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We're back!


We're back, and this was only one of our many beautiful surroundings! :) 

I look forward to sharing more with you this week!  For now, kids are demanding attention.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


This sweet night gown is another thing my mom brought for Sweet Pea when she came.  

 "Why is it white?" Sweet Pea asked when she brought it out.

 "Because I wanted it to be white,"  Grammy answered.

"And you know I like pink???"  Sweet Pea added... sounding a little pathetic.

 Like a knife in the heart.

But isn't it cute?  I just love it! :)

Note to grandparents though... pink! :)


Monday, July 23, 2012

Winning My Man's Heart: The Biscuits and Gravy Edition

Another recipe I'd never tried... one of his favorites.

Now, in my defense... we don't usually eat sausage.  That makes it a little hard to do this recipe.  But when he brought lard home from our favorite farm a few weeks ago, biscuits went on the menu and he went out and bought some sausage. :)

Yum!  And easy!

One more piece of his heart forever in my hand. :)  I'm so glad.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Matching Dresses

When my mom arrived here from Oregon several weeks ago, she brought with her a pair of matching dresses she'd made for the girls.  This is especially fun since my girls are 4 years apart and there are never matching outfits in the stores.

Here's my little Belle in her dress.  Isn't it cute???  I just love the lace at the bottom.

And Sweet Pea's dress!  Love those flowers at the top.  She calls this her "overall dress."

I love how long and flow-y it is.  :)  And those cute toes poking out at the bottom.  Sigh.  Love it!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Teaching Littles to Sew

Over the last year or so I've been wanting to start teaching Sweet Pea handicraft skills.  Real, useful skills... beyond housekeeping, which is another post altogether.  I've searched and I've searched, but not much comes back.  There is plenty on teaching your kids to sew, but not so much in the preschool realm. Most things for the very young (she had just turned three when I started looking) list lacing cards or lacing beads or pasta on a string.  Nothing against them, but it's not what I was looking for.  I wanted something more... real.

One I did find brought inspiration.  So I ran with it.

I grabbed a piece of pink felt, left over from my mom's visit last year, and put it in a hoop. 

It's easier for her to turn the whole project over, rather than poke up from underneath.

As you can see, this first project was more about experience (and practicing not stitching around the hoop) than design.  But she was so pleased with it!!!

Next, I drew a heart shape on the pink, drawing it on the front and back so she could flip it over to see where to sew also.

Once she was done she decided to make it into a pillow.  I layered it with some pink cotton print, drew a line around the edge on the front and back and let her go.

I decided to teach her a running stitch.  Maybe not the stitch I would use for the same project, but a good one to start on for her.  Not every stitch is on the line, and I do take some of them out for her to do again, but she's learning.

And ultimately, it's about growing a love for sewing.  Something she can do that's like mommy. 

I'll have to share the results when it's done.  But I love that it's a fine little beginner project for her... yet it's still real. 

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Monday, July 16, 2012

A little time away

Won't find me at home today.  Yesterday we packed up and headed south for the first stop of our  two week journey.

The office My Beloved works for holds a conference each July (the same conference from our love story) and he stays busy working it.  Last year they moved it down to Baltimore and blessed our family by including us.  It's not a whole lot of family time because My Beloved is working long hours, but it's worth it to me.  We aren't home alone over night (I don't like that so much), we get to share our meals with Daddy, we can visit him in his "little cave" where he works on missionary computers for hours on end, and... we get to play in the pool every day!

The next part of our journey is, as yet, unplanned.  We're headed down to North Carolina for a week long vacation at a sweet Christian retreat, but... we can't check in until Saturday.  And we'd hate to drive the hour plus back home Thursday afternoon just to turn around and do it again.  Not to mention, the overall drive to NC is a little more than 10 hours.  And that's not counting multiple potty stops and nursings.  Let's make that 15 hours, shall we? 

So, in lieu of that 15 hour chunk, we're going to make it a bit closer to 10 hours and make our way slowly down to our destination.  I just don't know exactly what that will look like yet.  Camping?  Only if it's in the mountains.  Otherwise it will be too hot.  Hotel?  That is a bit pricier.  Not sure... as of now (and I'm pre-writing this) this section is unplanned.  What I do know is that during this time we'll be stopping somewhere to do laundry. :)  And probably be picking up some groceries for the cooler!

And then, the entire second week we'll be vacationing with friends (they have 2 kids not much older than ours--their youngest is the same age as Tornado).  It's a bring your own food and linens sort of cabin retreat.  We've never been there, so I don't know what else to say. 

What I do know is that I will have limited, if any, access to a computer.  If anything I may just moderate a few comments.  I do have a handful of posts scheduled, but if it starts to look like a ghost town around here in the way of moderated comments, you'll know I'm having fun! :)

I hope you all have a great couple weeks!  See you on the other side!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Catching up on some Sewing

Ok... so I mentioned that my mom was hereI mentioned that we'd been sewing.  So here I am to report on a little of what is now finished... at least finished enough to wear. :)  This was my list of things to sew for Sweet Pea that never got done before the baby was born... and never since.  (Thanks mom for helping me catch up!)

Isn't this dress sweet???  (Butterick 3762)

I picked out the fabric and pattern last year, but then the sewing machine was broken... you understand.  I made a green dress from the same pattern last year.  This one's even cuter!

Especially when my mom put these cute little flowers on the collar.  

And the sleeves!

Another of the projects on my to do list was a couple slips.  We needed a little something to lengthen shorter dresses, and to make a couple more see through fabrics a bit more opaque.  Not to mention they'll add warmth in the winter.  (McCall's 4505)
 And what little girl isn't adorable with a bit of eyelet peeking out from beneath her dress???

Can I tell you a secret???  The slips aren't white.  Oh, the eyelet is... but not the slip.  We made them out of old (three cheers for upcycling!!!) crib sheets that were far from the original white.  Three babies far!  With my little Belle, we decided it was time for new ones. 

 Can you see that little bow at coming from above the eyelet trim???

It's attached to a little white ribbon mom sewed around the whole thing about 1/8 above the white eyelet.  It makes the whole thing look deliberate.  Love that!

 Then there's the bloomers... love me some bloomers!  Aren't they sweet.  Also made from old crib sheets! (Also McCall's 4505)
 There's another longer pair for winter... but it's not quite finished.

 Anyone guess what this was???

 It's a bathing suit!  Isn't it cute??  Complete with ruffle around the neck...

 and little leggings.

 I'm thrilled she likes it!

The next test is going to be whether it works in the pool next week. :)

No pattern for this one.  We kind of came up with our own pattern.  

Do you sew for your kids???  I'd love to see!

Participating here:

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our Fourth of July

Time gets away from me when we have visitors in our home.  Then Grammy left and we started another adventure the very next day.  All that to say, here we are, 8 days later and you're only just seeing pics from our 4th. 

None of the headless people pics turned out great.  Sorry.  Suffice it to say that among the kids outfits you would have found red white and blue, though not necessarily all on each child.  Still, if I'd thought to take a group picture, it was all there. 

The day truly revolved around food.  That seems a pretty normal holiday ritual.  Even though, as it usually is, it was just us.  Still I found some fun ideas to make the day special for the kids.  In all the reading we've been doing lately, there has been plenty of talk about the American flag.  Plus, Tornado has been recognizing it himself lately anyway.  So I worked it in where I could. 

 Found this idea here via pinterest.  She made it for breakfast and put cream cheese under the jam.  I called it lunch and put our "Sunny Butter" (sunflower butter since our Tornado is allergic to peanuts) under the jam.  The kids loved it and Tornado was delighted that it was a flag!

 Cute cute cute.  Their excitement made my day! :)

 I found this idea online too, though, I'm not sure where.  Sorry.  I could have made one more column of hot dogs (we ate that many in the end since a friend stopped by to help My Beloved with last minute firework details), but I didn't have a tray to put it on. 

Kids loved it too!

 In my head I had a fun picnic or nicely laid table pictured.  In the end the fireworks took up all but the little corner I cleared for Little Man to eat.  The kids thought it was funny to eat on this little "table".  My Beloved ate on the living room floor surrounded by fireworks he was attaching fuse to, and our friend stood at the end of the table.  My mom and I floated around.  Overall, I think the memories of the chaos in those last hurried minutes is more fun. :)

 And to finish the evening we headed to church where My Beloved put on a 50 minute kid friendly firework fountain show.  In retrospect, there were too many fireworks.  We learn how to make it better every year.

He did a great job with his helpers and everyone seemed to have a great time! :)

I hope your 4th was fabulous!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012


A few weeks before Belle was born this past winter, My Beloved determined that it was almost time for Tornado (5) to start on a math and handwriting curriculum.  He needed something more.  Something official.  Something to keep me accountable to doing it.  Something to help us look back and see real progress.  I don't know that all our children will begin such a thing at this age, but I agreed with My Beloved.  Tornado was ready.  If only I could bring myself to do it.  Consistently. 

In continuing with our completely rational and non-defensive discussion of this whole topic that day last February, I was able to share with him some ideas I had to fulfill his wishes.  As it turns out, I'd thought about it already.   I simply hadn't made any decisions on when to begin.

I'd already done a bunch of research and had determined that, when it was time, I wanted to use Math-U-See for math.  I liked the look of the program, loved that it went all the way through high school math, and the price is reasonable.  I just didn't realize that it was time.

I'd been thinking through handwriting too.  My big hang-up over starting was that I hadn't decided which manuscript to teach.  I didn't really *love* any of them.  Then I found BJU's Precursive New... downloadable!  I liked the look of their manuscript and their curriculum.  Perfect!

When My Beloved brought this up, it's entirely possible that he meant for me to be thinking things through for the next "school year".  I'm really not sure.  I never asked.  Instead, (with his blessing) I started a new plan.

I mentioned already that I wasn't as consistent with our 2011-2012 year as I'd hoped.  Various stages of pregnancy helped with that.  My own lack of discipline and organization were a part of it too.

What I don't think I've ever mentioned is that I intended this past year to be an unofficial kindergarten year.  I don't care much about grade levels anyway, and I figured that, if need be, next year could be "real" kindergarten.  Tornado has always seemed ahead of the curve, and while I don't intend to push him into academics (I really like the delayed academics approach in general), I also want to follow his readiness cues.

So I set to work figuring out a new plan.  I purchased the Math-U-See "Alpha" level curriculum and, having already spent the money on math, designed handwriting worksheets for each of the letters and numbers.  (With My Beloved's blessing of course!) 

Next Week:  The plan

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Monday, July 9, 2012

The Second Best Love Story EVER ~ Part 6

Four years ago today, I started a series that I never finished.  Our love story... from four years before that.

Well, 8 years ago today I met My Beloved... in honor of that, I thought I'd share another installment of that sweet story that still brings little butterflies, a bright smile and day after day of happiness.

Haven't read it before?  Or need a refresher???  Start here with part 1.


I was thrilled to see My Beloved that night at the evening session and even more excited when our group filed into a row and he was right beside me.  Being a through and through California girl, I slipped off my sandals during worship and slid them beneath my chair.  At one point I caught My Beloved reaching down to do something.  I thought he was going to hide them, but as it turns out, he simply wanted to switch them around so I'd have trouble putting them back on.

I remember the room being crowded, with people close on both sides.  Months later, I heard it told from a friend of his who had been sitting behind us up in the bleachers with her [then] fiance.  She leaned over and whispered to him, "You couldn't fit a piece of paper between those two."  Apparently, as much as I was trying to hide my feelings for him, he'd been pretty open around the office.  We were sitting close... both of us... and all in the name of it being crowded.  Funny, though, how we weren't pressed up close to the people on the other side of us.  And funny how neither of us noticed anything funny about what was going on.

After the session, a group of singles planned to play games in the lobby of the lady's dorm and My Beloved had been invited to join us.  I was sticking around to practice a song with a couple guys who'd volunteered to play for me, so I was going to meet them there when I was done.

I knew My Beloved didn't know where he was going.  He lived locally and didn't know where the dorms were and was supposed to walk over with the others.  I noticed, while working on my song up front, that he was still talking in the back, and that the others were gone.  I smiled inside.  Now I was the only person who could help him.  He'd have to wait for me.  Little did I know he'd done that on purpose too.

When I was finished, I stopped by and asked him if he knew where he was going.  Shockingly, he said no and I offered to take him over.  I remember thinking how fun it would be to do this walk across campus in the dark, with fireflies blinking all around.  When we got outside, it was raining.  Not a firefly to be seen.  Still we walked, just as slowly as possible, through the rain to the dorm.  I wished the campus was bigger so we could just keep walking.

Upon arriving, we settled, him on one side of the table, and me on the other.  The only two remaining seats.  We played some board game involving passports and travel.  Appropriate for a group of missionaries.  When that game was through and all put away, I put it up and grabbed the next game... Cranium.  A team game.

While I was across the room getting the game, another guy joined us... right in my chair, the only chair available at the moment.  That worked out great for me.  When I returned with the game, I grabbed a chair and pulled in a little spot made for me... by My Beloved.  When pairs were made, we were a team.

I was paying special attention during those games, especially after we ended up as a team.  I love to play games, and although I can be pretty competitive, I don’t care if I lose.  We played hard, laughed lots, and lost miserably.  It was great.  I had so much fun that I forgot I was trying to keep others from knowing I was interested.  

That night in the elevator, one of the girls looked over at me.  "So," she started.  I looked at her and told her not to finish her question.  She ignored me.  "What do you think of [insert My Beloved's name here]?"  I took the next minute to lie through my teeth.  I don't remember what I said exactly, but it was denial and an outright lie.

When I got back to my room that night, I spent an hour or more sitting on my bed with journal and pen in hand working through why I'd lied to her.  What was wrong with feeling the way I did?  What was wrong with people knowing it?  I determined that it came down to two things: fear of man and pride.  A fear of what others would think... truly, who cared?  And a fear that he'd find out and I'd feel foolish... again, truly, what could possibly happen if he found out and didn't feel the same way?  If he was worth my interest, then it really shouldn't matter.  The next morning when we all loaded into the elevator, I confessed my lie to my new friend and answered her truthfully.

It was official.  I was interested!

To be continued...


Sunday, July 8, 2012

We've been busy

My mom left today.  It was a great couple of weeks.  Games every night.  Sewing every day.  And lots of playing with kids and doing my dishes (this was her schedule, not mine). 

I'm hoping to share some of the sewing we got done, but I don't have any pictures of it yet.  Just to wet your appetite (and to encourage me to finish it), I did take one picture this evening... just for you!

I need purple thread before I can finish it up and we can't get that until Tuesday, so you'll have to wait to see the rest. 

Anyone have ideas what it is???  (Mom, you can't play!)

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Every Situation

Have you ever found yourself dreaming of your life a year or two in the future?

Your oldest will be older.  Your youngest will be older.  Hopefully that middle child will be out of these "terrible" days.

It's easy to find yourself daydreaming.  But as I found myself thinking just that today, I stopped.  Paul said that he had learned "the secret of being content in any and every situation."  Doesn't that "any and every situation" include these days of mine too? 

This young children stage is hard.  Lord let me learn to be content in every situation!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth!


This is what we'll be doing today.

My Beloved just loves fireworks.  Every year for Father's Day we go down to a Firework tent a friend of ours has and he picks up a new load.

All of them
Several years ago we decided to include another family (with a young son) to join us when he lit them off.  It was so much fun that we did it again the next year, but we invited a handful of families.

Last year, we needed a new place to do our "show", so we talked to our church.  At the last minute plans were made and an email was sent out (with 2 days notice) that we'd be doing fireworks that Friday night at the church if anyone wanted to join us.  The pastor loved it so much he said he wanted to do it more "officially" this year.

And so here we are.  My Beloved's been working on the perfect show with a whole bunch of ground fireworks.  Should be more than 30 minutes long with a huge finale.  Now we're just waiting to see if we'll need that rain date.

These last couple weeks the kids and I have been reading about the colonists, the Revolutionary War, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  With all that's going on in our country these days, sometimes it's hard to get excited about celebrating it.  This year I'm excited to be celebrating our beginnings... and praying for our future!

Happy Independence Day to you all!!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A{nother} Change in our Homeschool Plan

Being a "mouse trap" with felt cheese
In my review of this past school year, I mentioned several places that I would share more later.  Well, here is one time I'm actually going to follow through with one of those promises!

The five of us were all loaded in the car one day in February.  Well, six of us if you include Belle, who was sharing my seat belt... and my body for that matter.  We run our errands together.  The whole family.  And this was one such outing.

"You know," My Beloved started as we turned passed the house that always counts down Christmas, "it's probably almost time for you to get a curriculum for Tornado."

I went hot.  He continued.

Toilet Paper Roll Pilgrims and Indian Craft at Thanksgiving
"You're not going to be able to be consistent enough on your own."  

We'd had conversations about curriculum half a dozen times or more over the last couple years.  But this was the first time he'd said that last part.  The first time he'd had some solid evidence.  The first time I knew he was right.

I wanted to argue.  Like every other time he'd mentioned curriculum.  I don't like curriculum.  We don't need curriculum,  I wanted to say.  I was tempted to dive into my heated explanation about how "homeschooling doesn't have to be just like a classroom."  To explain that I could come up with my own plans.  But I didn't.

I've been realizing that communication is always something that needs to be worked on...even in a happy marriage.  Out of no where it occurred to me that I should make sure I knew what he meant by "curriculum" before I got offended and upset at the notion.  When he said curriculum, I imagined he meant some all inclusive every subject and everything spelled out for me kind of curriculum.  He didn't.  I'm so glad I asked.

Planting flower seedlings

My initial burning was forced out as I started cautiously, measuring my words for calm.  "What do you mean by curriculum?"  There.  That was a normal conversational question.  Not an attack.  Not defensive.  Not as defensive as I was feeling anyway.

And I'm so glad I did.

Turns out, he didn't mean an all inclusive, take away my flexibility and creativity in educating the children kind of curriculum.  He didn't mean structuring our home school day like a classroom.  He meant math.  And handwriting.

That's all.

Math and handwriting.

"Oh," I said, shocked.  Is it possible that this is what he's always meant when mentioning curriculum in the past?  I have no idea.  I try not to think about it too much.  "I can do that."

So there you have it.  My Beloved, the leader of our marriage, head of our home, and official "buck stops here" guy of all things children, thought it was about time to start Tornado on an official math and handwriting program.  Now that wasn't so hard after all.  I didn't completely disagree.  More than that?  It was such a relief to have "permission" to "cop out" of designing the whole program from scratch.  And I can still do what I've been planning for the other stuff.

Next Week:  What came of this decision.

An aside:  There are a lot of great curriculums.  I don't mean this post to be an attack on curriculum, or on those of you who use it.  I know it is a great tool.  I simply mean that I've never wanted to use it and have always pictured myself coming up with my own stuff.  I hope I haven't offended anyone.  If you love pre-made curriculum... go for it!

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