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16 Years Ago…

16 Years Ago…

Vacation Bible School week…

Crazy Hair Day for students and leaders…

School board meeting…

And our 16th Anniversary!!

I’m pretty proud of this anniversary photo–the two of us, together, doing things we love.  A cathedral length veil and flamingo shorts just says a lot!  We look forward to celebrating “properly” next weekend with a getaway for just the two of us, but the day didn’t go uncelebrated in spite of the timing!  Than had volunteers bring me flowers throughout the day, and I ended up with a huge pitcher which I displayed next to our wedding photos for anyone who was patient enough to stop and take a peek.

We squeezed in family dinner at Chik-Fil-A, always the height of romantic destinations, and were happy to serve together surrounded by people who care for us well.  It really was a happy anniversary, and who knows what we will be dressed in after 16 more!

Nathan’s Hero

Nathan’s Hero

One more “student work” post from Nathan…

Hero Project

My hero is my little sister, Katya. She is a charismatic person who loves acrobatics, art, and people. She is my hero because she proves that the best gifts come in small packages and she shows me an example of generosity. She is generous, creative, sweet, adorable, innocent and brilliant and she shows me how to have fun even when everything seems serious. She is very creative and adds new things to playtime every day. She is very responsible and she is similar to Aurelianus [a character in the book this pieces was an assignment for] because she loves dogs, she is a lover of harmony, and she loves magic. She also is very observant and knows lots of things. She is different than Aurelianus because she does not have a very conventional mind she has more of a creative one. (She also doesn’t have a fur coat that changes colors, wink, wink.) Katya helps so many people have love and joy in their lives. She gives gifts and smiles at what people say. She fills people’s lives with creative ideas. Katya and I are alike because we both love each other very much. We are different because she is very creative but I like orderly, conventional thinking.

Hard at Work

Hard at Work

Here’s a peek into daily life at the Baylors.  On the rare evenings when we eat on time and don’t have dinner guests, Than and I often take a walk while the kids clean up from dinner.  One night they decided to keep us up to date via text message with their progress.  Check it out:

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Good work, guys!!  (And thanks for the gummy bear treat when we got home.)

Something’s Missing…

Something’s Missing…

Look who has a gap in her grin!

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Katya finally lost her first tooth, an anxiously awaited event that has been a long time in coming.

Since she sleeps up high in her loft bed and knows that the resident tooth fairy can be a bit forgetful, she left her treasure down low with the following note:
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To: The Tooth Fairy

I lost a tooth.  It is OK if you don’t have time to come.  Just write me on your list to see.  If you want to see tooth, follow this path.

(The tooth was hiding in the pocket of her little owl.)

Fortunately the tooth fairy did not forget, and the next day Katya drew her a lovely picture!  Alas, because it was drawn on the whiteboard, the artwork has been lost and replaced with something new.  Oh well.  There is another tooth getting wiggly…

Back to School

Back to School

Back to school?  How did it happen?!!  This one is a smart, tall, thoughtful 5th grader.

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And here is my cheery, careful, confident 2nd grader.

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They were both pretty ready to go back.  Back-to-school shopping is an expensive but joyous day in our house, helping to get everyone excited about the year to come.  Perhaps our not-even-close-to-Pinteresty-perfect last day of summer helped too.  In any case, it wasn’t as hard as I thought to get everyone up and going for the first day of the year.

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Off to new adventures!  (And mom came home to a quiet house.  Ahhh….)

Summer Play

Summer Play

After a few recent posts, you might be tempted to think that I spent the entire summer devotedly cooking and crafting creatively with my children.  Hah!  Just remember two things…

1) My blog is a highlight reel of the things I happened to remember to take pictures of.  NOT real life, only an edited glimpse of life.  Always keep that in mind.

2) I spend LOTS of time on the computer–having fun, writing this blog, wasting hours on Pinterest, and working for Get HOPE Global.  I also cook and clean and do laundry and whatever else.  That means lots of time when my kids are off doing their own thing.

And what, you may ask, do they do when they are doing their own thing?

There are the usual suspects: slogging through piano practice, doing household chores, fighting as siblings do, and hanging out in the corner with a pile of books.  I have been surprised, however, that the older they get the more fun they seem to have with each other.  It is neat to see their personalities interact, and to watch how the unique combination that is them turns into a variety of interesting activities.  Here are a few of my favorites from this summer:

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Creating a miniature world with lots of little objects, plastic animals, and random other things from their rooms.

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Turning the IKEA umbrellas into the base of a fort/ship.  Blankets, games, books, stuffed animals–all kinds of stuff ended up out there.

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Crazy backyard water play.  We’ve sure gotten our mileage out of that kiddie swimming pool and the little toddler slide!

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Garden experiments–mixing, stirring, lots of picking leaves and making mud.  This particular time they added some almost-dried-out paints and glitter glues that were headed for the trash.

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Time alone–the scene above is a fairly typical one.  Katya keeps going with a project long after Nathan has left to go back to his book.  Sometimes they do really well at drifting in and out of interacting together.

Can you tell I love summer with my kids together?  Yep, I do!

Pinterest Projects

Pinterest Projects

Here’s round-up #1 of some of the fun projects we’ve done this summer.

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Ice Cream Art with Real Sprinkles!

This turned out really cute, and it was fun to see the different ways each person customized the original idea.  Using real sprinkles was fun (instead of glitter).  Maybe I will make a smaller version for the front of a birthday card someday…  The downside?  Sprinkles bleed a little in the glue, and now they occasionally fall off the artwork and roll all over the floor.  (And no, I don’t require kids to dress up for crafting–the kids were playing butler and queen before we did the project above, hence the unusual artist attire…)

A great deal on tape from Sam’s Club put me on the hunt for duck tape crafts.  Our best use so far was covering the fronts of our summer journals.  On a different afternoon, we tried using the tape for various boats.  We tested out Sponge and Duct Tape Boats and Origami Duct Tape Boats.  The sponge ones floated better and are cuter, but the origami ones required less in the way of additional equipment.

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I got some liquid watercolor paints for us this summer and we have used them in lots of ways.  My favorite is painting this modern house kit that we got from Target.  It turned out really cool and I had fun doing the project with the kids.

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We have also used our paint for Crumpled Paper Art, traditional watercolor resist painting (painting over white crayon drawings), rubber cement resist, even shooting watercolor at paper using little pipettes.  Katya displays her favorites as an art gallery on her bedroom door.

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Katya and I had a fun morning creating Ladybug Rocks which are now hiding in my garden.  We didn’t follow the instructions exactly, but ours turned out great.  It is so fun to find them peeking out of the garden wall around the patio!

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In the “mommy only crafts” department, I worked with my new Sharpies (thanks, mom) to create these cool Kaleidocycle paper toys.  They are kind of mesmerizing to play with, although they did take a long time to color.

Wow, that’s a longer list than I thought!  I have a few more projects to share–some that worked, and some that really didn’t, so I guess I’ll make one more post.  Hooray for summertime crafts (and for actually DOING some of the things I so abundantly PIN!)

 

Why Don’t I Blog?

Why Don’t I Blog?

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There are lots of reasons I write for this blog, and that is the subject of a future post, but the thing that is getting in the way for me today is why I DON’T write.  Therefore, in an attempt to clear my head and get on with it, I’m going to write about not writing.  How’s that for confusing?!!

Sometimes, there just doesn’t seem to be anything interesting going on.  Kids are at school, I’m doing housework and lesson teaching and baking and admin work, life is just routine.  I could nearly identical posts about those things several days a week, but you would stop reading pretty quickly!

HOWEVER, when I do challenge myself to write about the “ordinary,” I am surprised by what I discover.  Looking at the everyday with eyes that hope to share it helps me to notice things I would otherwise take for granted.

Sometimes, there is way too much going on!  Schedules get crazy and my normal times for reflection and writing disappear.

HOWEVER, these can often be the times when the challenge to write is a very powerful tool to help me slow down and take notice, hanging on to precious moments before they disappear in a flood.

Sometimes, I totally forgot to take pictures of the things I want to write about.

HOWEVER, that’s just silly since I take tons of pictures of things I never write about.  Who says the photos actually have to match the words?

Sometimes, the things that are going on are really hard to write about.  They seem important to me but I worry that no one else will be interested.  Or they are things that I am anxious to share, but not in a general public forum to whoever might be reading.

HOWEVER, feelings like these remind me of the importance of staying connected.  I need that, even though I usually operate as if I don’t.  The blog certainly isn’t the place to write every thing and anything, but that drive to know and be known should be listened to.  If I can’t write about it, then I need to pick up the phone or try pen and a notecard or dash off an e-mail.  Some things in life just need to be shared!

Now that I’ve cleared that up, it’s time to return to my regularly scheduled blogging program.  Thanks for your patience as I clear the air!

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What? I Have a Blog?!!

What? I Have a Blog?!!

Our in-house blogger (OK, that’s me) apparently took an extended holiday vacation, covering Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Epiphany, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  However, perhaps she is returning before we get to Groundhog’s Day, President’s Day, or Valentine’s Day–there’s always a holiday somewhere, right?!!

In any case, get ready for some out-of-date holiday pictures while I play a slow game of catch-up.  If you want some current info, you can always check the sidebar to see what books I’ve been reading while you wait for some new content to appear here.  As a welcome back present, here’s how the family looks now, in case you forgot…

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More soon!

Budding Chef

Budding Chef

One fun feature of this summer was the advent of Nathan’s cooking career!  Since he got a cookbook as a birthday present, he was excited to plan and cook dinner for us a few times each month over the summer.

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Nathan and I have enjoyed spending extra time together.  It has also been a good way for me to share a useful skill that I enjoy, and an excellent challenge to develop patience in this mom and life skills in this boy!

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Here are some of the yummy things Nathan has made: Tabbouleh, Carrot-Raisin Salad, Oven Fries, Chicken Burgers, Oat Bars, and Knickerbocker Glories (the fancy ice cream sundaes pictured below.)

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Come on over for a meal sometime!