emma’s 6th birthday!

a brief history of emma’s birthdays:

                                            2005

                                                          2006

2007

                                                                              2008

                                   2009

                                                   2010

                                   2011

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praise through the creatures

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

-st. francis of assisi



profile: theodore welcome.

a few days ago, the littlest was 15 months old. as such, i felt compelled to write up a little profile on what he’s been learning and doing.

his favorite food is, well, anything. to be honest, i can’t recall a food he hasn’t liked. just last nite, he was walking around with half an onion he’d pilfered from the fridge, and was licking it and taking small bites. he loves pickles and condiments. if he gets quiet for more than a few seconds, i know to head towards the refrigerator and there i will find him, stacking mustard, ketchup, pancake syrup, wheat germ and soy sauce.

most of the time, theodore is dancing. his favorite song right now is “hey, soul sister”, and when it comes on, he stops, drops everything and runs to the center of the living room to dance. he has quite a few moves in his arsenal, and i would say he’s got the skills to pay the bills.

he is quite ornery, loves to pick on his sisters and make people laugh. he has a range of facial expressions, more than i’ve ever seen on a little guy. his curiosity is intense, the phrase of the moment: “what IS it?”, emphasis on “is”, going up to a higher pitch and raising one eyebrow. or in the same vein “what’s-at”, said deeper and more excitedly. he loves a good, enthusiastic “good-bye”, waving and blowing kisses and giving hugs. speaking of hugs, he kisses now. it’s more of a “face hug”, or a lick on one’s cheek, but it’s very sweet nonetheless.

playing outside is his idea of paradise, and we have been spending many afternoons out in the yard as the weather is cooling off.

he is in a bit of a difficult phase as far as keeping him occupied. he also finds any kind of stick a hilarious weapon to be used on unsuspecting family members, which is embarrassing, shocking and kind of funny. he attempts climbing on any thing he thinks he can. i admire his bravery, yet i am ready for some kind of impulse control to kick in, but i know i’ve a ways to wait.

he’s still nursing away and growing, growing, growing. it’s a joy to watch him and play with him. he reads! no, in all seriousness, it is so darling how he “reads”: he gets a book, lays down on the floor on his stomach, kicks his legs up and points at the pages, saying “ooh!” or “what IS it?”. just adorable.

his smile is contagious and his love for his sisters, dada, and mama is overwhelmingly sweet. so glad to be his mama ❤

these wee hours

as i am relishing the last days of summer, i have been staying up later & really listening to the crickets, cicadas… the symphony of summer insects, i find myself wandering to the porch, looking at the moon and wondering, is there a more perfect temperature? a cardigan is pleasant, but certainly not necessary. the breeze is light, and i feel as if the darkness is enveloping me, embracing me. the moon, with his or her face, is smiling down, and i know, know without a shadow of a doubt: this nite is a gift from the divine creator, to all of us and especially those who will stop and wander out and take notice.

school days.

monday morning started a brand new adventure for the crandall clan: school!

emma is doing kindergarten work, and violette, pre-k.

here is a basic summary of the subjects we’re covering this year:

bible and memorization: starting with genesis and working through. i give them a printed off coloring sheet to work on while i read the passage and then we discuss it. also introducing a new good habit a week: last week we started on the habit of attention and had a verse from proverbs that corresponded and then this week is obedience and they’re working on ephesians 6:1.

reading, phonics and poetry: their book list is pretty extensive, and most are checked out through the library. violette has a hans christian anderson collection and we borrowed a beatrix potter collection and little bear collection from the library. emma is reading aesop’s fables; a collection of old myths and fables written for younger kids; rudyard kipling’s ‘just so stories’, and fairy books (we’re on blue right now). the main part of the charlotte mason method we are focusing on is what she called “narration”… the parent reads the passage and then the child basically summarizes it in their own language, every few paragraphs. it’s so amazing to hear what they come up with and pick up on. we are also reading a chapter book together for quiet time/bed time and then when we’re finished, watching a movie based off the book- we’re on charlotte’s web right now, and then we’ll move on to peter pan and then little house in the big woods. emma is doing the ‘handbook for reading’ curriculum, and is already putting together sounds and understanding much more than i anticipated, especially so quickly.

their math work is pretty simple right now, basic counting and addition. they love working with the abacus. emma is perturbed that i won’t let her “finish her workbook in one day”!

we’re doing music on mondays, nature on tuesdays, handicrafts on wednesdays, art on thursdays and a bit of each on friday. friday will be our review/exam day, so i want to balance that with some more fun things too. i found the most amazing book on nature – “the handbook of nature study”, it’s gigantic and full of lovely pictures. yesterday we did a lesson on observing cats and they sketched a picture of margot and talked about what habits cat have and how we know if they are happy or upset. for music we are doing a mixture of folksongs, hymns and classical pieces, talking about the composers and whatnot. eventually i will teach them to read music and play the piano/guitar.

for art we’re studying shel silverstein, and i found several neat printables on his website, so i printed off “cutting kate” and the kids are working on illustrating that. we had to switch handicrafts and art today because i didn’t have embroidery hoops. we’re using yarn on burlap and doing free-form embroidery.

emma is doing copywork, starting with letters and numbers and as we progress doing the poems/hymns we’ve covered that day.

altogether, i can’t imagine doing anything different. i love this time we’re getting to spend together, and so grateful for the blessing of being able to be a mama and a teacher.

birthday wrap-up.

monday nite, brady and i stayed up until midnite and he was the first person to wish me a happy birthday. seconds after he kissed me and dashed to bed, my cell phone started buzzing with birthday wishes from my siblings, and the house phone rang, i answered to hear my mama singing happy birthday 🙂 i went to bed feeling so loved and happy.

i woke up to many messages and notes and phone calls from friends and family, i don’t think i’ve ever had such a response to my birthday in all my life! they continued through the day, and let me tell you, i was overwhelmed with love!

my sister brought me cupcakes and flowers.

i finished up project 365 by taking my last self-portrait of the set.

mom and dad took the girls out shopping for my birthday gift, and returned with patchouli incense from craig’s (!!!) and twizzlers! i’m spoiled rotten!

my brothers came by and we watched movies and ate lasagna and laughed a lot.

the mailman brought a great card from the cunninghams:

my sweet husband brought home chinese food for dinner, and we sat around snuggling and watching basketball til bedtime.

it was a fantastic birthday, and i am blessed beyond belief.

happy birthday lovey!

dear lovey,

a happy 27th birthday to you! this is the 8th year i’ve had the lucky privilege of celebrating with you, and i’ve enjoyed each and every one. each year has brought new joys and challenges, which we’ve enjoyed and endured with our own lovey panache. i’m so grateful for the blessing of being your wife.

to many more years of rainbow cakes, pizza, and handmade crayola cards!

love, lovey.

simple gifts.

the past few days i’ve been in a serious funk. grouchy, snappy, and very off. and for no apparent reason, other than sleepiness. today i’ve focused on getting my head in a good place, and enjoying my day. it’s gone much better. and i know i always, always, always come back to it: gratitude is what matters.

so today i’m thankful for: my little garden, cinnamon rolls and friends to share them with, my family- immediate and extended, sunshine, dirty dishes and the meals we’ve enjoyed together, my toy inhabited living room floor and my kids imaginations, theodore’s new teeth finally popping through, my love and his patience, my camera and encouragment from nice folks, cardigans, green fingernail polish, inspiration and brewing projects, the year of adventure, and slowly untangling the knots in my mind.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.