-we are going to have another baby girl at the end of  july.

-we have three weeks of school left, and then begins the art of summering, 2012 edition!

-emma turned seven, has lost two teeth and has one quite wiggly, ready to fall out at any given moment. she is, in her words, “a genius at math, drawing and reading”.

-violette has lost her first tooth and is still mostly interested in collecting/organizing items. she reads like a champ, and her favorite books to read are the berenstein bears stories, or anything by dr. seuss.

-theodore is nearly three! he is very adventurous, charming and entertaining. he has a remarkable habit of getting in and out of trouble in a blink of an eye. he thinks he is very subversive when watching power rangers or spiderman.

-our lawn care business – crandall lawn & tree – has already achieved the goals set for this year! time to set some new ones!

-i am in the process of re-vamping this space, and have a few exciting ideas & plans in store.

“Oh I must pass nothing by 
Without loving it much, 
The raindrop try with my lips, 
The grass with my touch; “

-an excerpt from ‘may day’ by sara teasdale


emma’s 6th birthday!

a brief history of emma’s birthdays:








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.

dear emma.

dear emma marie,

today you are five years old! we have already had a lovely morning of telephone calls full of birthday wishes, choosing outfits, and discussing scrambled eggs. i told you the story of when you were born, and we giggled and snuggled. you told me your ideas for what we should do today, it’s not an “emma day” without a list and a plan. we’ve decided on hatching your sea monkeys, planting flower seeds, playing paper dolls, painting our fingernails, playing memory, and making “mud” pie. you’ve chosen chicken, rice, broccoli and carrots for dinner, with mud pie for dessert. i cannot believe how quickly the last five years has gone by, and yet it’s like you’ve been in our lives forever. at times, i can’t remember life before you! for five years you have been my constant companion, a little shadow, my little pal. you have taught me many things: patience, joy, and most of all, how to love completely. you have a piece of my heart, forever in yours.

your fifth year was full of adventures and fun! theodore joined our family, and it has been a joy to witness you becoming a big sister again, and how much you love to help. i can’t wait to see where the next year takes us, and what new things you will discover and learn. your curiosity is a gift, sweet bear. you are the loveliest little person, and it is such a treat to be your mama. i love you to kathmandu and back.

love, mama.


the children are occupied for the moment, so i’ve stolen a bit to update the world on the goings on in the crandall clan.

emma asked last friday if we could do school, so i dug out the preschool and kindegarten books i’ve collected and started in. she loved every minute of it & begged me for homework, she is most definitely my child. violette, while not ready for school, wanted to be a part as well. she colored & drew a beautiful picture of me, which will be featured in a photo scavenger hunt i’m taking part of.

last nite at bedtime, i was coaxing emma to bed and she told me that she didn’t want me to offer that to her again. sassafrass galore, nonetheless, very clever.

our sweet dog passed away, and it has opened up the backyard for all sorts of adventures. the girls have thoroughly enjoyed discovering the best hiding spots and having races.

theodore’s top two teeth popped through, i fear i have a bunny rabbit for a baby. they are HUGE and adorable. he also says “dada” now. his crawling has reached new heights and you can bet that if he is on the floor, he is headed for either one of his sister’s hair to tug on, that or the cat’s food.

i am doing very well, the year of adventure has been paused for the moment as we currently don’t have a working vehicle… w2s, where are you? i am very excited to get our taxes filed and hoping we get back what we plan on 😉 we are hoping to get a new (to us) minivan, a computer and a camera for me. i cannot wait to get a new computer and post all of the pictures i’ve taken. flickr, i miss you! i’ve tried over and over to post them on this machine, but linux and flickr are mortal enemies, i fear. it freezes if i am on the site for more than 3 minutes, that could be said of most sites though.

it’s now to make lunch and hopefully have a successful quiet time!

(i’m getting very, very excited about valentines day!!)

the song for today:


today is going to be a gorgeous day, i just know it.

we’ve just finished up mama/baby yoga and we’re munching on breakfast. my coffee is the perfect temperature and fully delicious. i’m breathing in this lovely air, full of love and giggles and i’m ready for a day of adventure, laundry, crocheting and diapers.

i am thankful for my sweet boy’s admiration and his acrobatics while nursing. for the girls and their respective hilarious (and particular!) mannerisms. for my lovey, and even when we’re picking at each other and having a rough morning of communication, there is still an undercurrent of devotion & good intentions. i’m grateful for the promises of good things to come & the anticipation of new goodies for our little clan.

i am ready for this sickness to be gone from our household & the fresh air of sunshine to permeate our home with healing.

i am wishing peace, kindness & thoughtfulness to everyone i love & that today would be an grand adventure for all of us.

i am wondering what good things are on your horizon?

gratitude and family.

this weekend we had a wonderful time with brady’s family, they came up from amarillo and we had a little christmas party at our house. the girls had been counting down the hours, and they were ecstatic to spend the day with “all their families”.

yesterday we received quite a surprising blessing. we got a check from brady’s old job, which we weren’t expecting until a few years from now. i’m always amazed at how the universe works itself out and relieved that we have a few less worries this holiday season.

the girls have been worried about santa being able to get into the house on christmas, since we don’t have a chimney. they’ve planned to put our cookies and milk on a bench right next to the door and leave the door unlocked so he will know it’s okay to come in. i love how their little brains work!

theodore is so very big! sunday morning he pushed himself up to sitting from his hands and knees. he’s learned the sign for milk, so his little hands are busy asking to nurse most of the time now.

we are doing so well, and i’m feeling very rich and full of love right now. what a beautiful gift my life is!

beautiful morning.

the weather forecast says rain is likely today. theodore and i are hanging out, he is gumming a rice cracker and coo-ing. he said “boob” twice last nite just before bed, he was fussing for the nursies and very impatient. emma’s and violette’s first word was the same: mama. theodore’s is boob. i find this amusing and quite appropriate.

today is a big day, thanksgiving at my parent’s. we will cook, eat, get a tree, purchase new ornaments and decorate. my parents have a tradition of giving each of their kids a tree ornament every year so when the time comes to move on, we have a good start. their first tree was pretty bare and they decided early on that they didn’t want that for their kids. i’m so grateful to them for that. they gave me a box full of ornaments in 2004, and it is always so fun to look through them and see what i’ve chosen through the years. that little stocking that says brady, i made it in 2002. we still have it, though the stickers are curling at the edges and threatening to fall off. my great grandmother made the little snowflake doilies. my grandma painted the wooden jack in the box. i love having things rich in tradition and history. how blessed i am to have them.

(our tree in 2006)

i want so badly to have holiday rituals and traditions with my children, and at the same time teach them gratitude and appreciation for the privilege to celebrate. i want them to understand that it is our family, being together and making memories that is important and certainly not gifts, greed and excess.

there are so many exciting things to look forward to this season: family get togethers and parties, stories to read, songs to sing, gifts to craft. i only hope i won’t get overwhelmed and anxious. it can be so easy to get stressed and snappy when all that matters is being with my children and enjoying our time together. and if things become too much, i should remember it’s not too hard to say no.

i would like to know what are some of your favorite holiday traditions? what is the one thing you and your family do that you look forward to most? mine most certainly is our “drive around”. on what we call christmas eve eve, we get a pizza and drive around the fancy neighborhoods looking at their light displays. the girls ooh and ahh and get so very excited. there is nothing more fun to me than to watch them being so happy. last year emma called the lights “constellations”, i can only imagine what she and violette will come up with this season.

if i am posting less in the days to come, please forgive me. it’s just that i will be celebrating and being here now.

(on a side note, my 365 is quite behind. i am having a hard time with this new operating system and i cannot use the photo editing program. i hope to have new pictures up tomorrow, but i’m not making any promises!)


theodore will be five months old on the 30th. i keep saying he’s four months, but i know it’s inching towards five and it’s making feel so… nostalgic. how can i miss a phase we were in just days ago? but i do.i miss his scrawny little legs, and his funny “craugh” face: is he crying or laughing? (definitely more “cry” in this shot!)

how did he go from that to this in just… days? (yes, that is a gourd. emma that is was an appropriate prop.)

tonite emma wanted me to rock her to sleep. and of course i jumped at the chance. she doesn’t want to cuddle as much any more, being as independent and precocious as she is. she will be five on her next birthday. FIVE. that is monumental. she’ll be a full fledged kid, with no hint of baby left. there really are no hints of baby or toddler anymore, but i can’t even lie to myself when she hits that milestone.

and violette, my sweet and shy little fairy. my friend vanessa captured violette’s personality so well the other day: she is almost always near me and she takes quite a while to warm up. yet, i see these glimpses of her courage gathering, and her daring to venture. irony is triumphant, though. when we’re home, she is most likely to be playing in her room, with her dollhouse or legos, entertaining herself for hours. only needing me to “make a sandwich, mama, it’s peanut butter-chili* time” and “help! wipe my butt, cos i pooped a big one.” *the other day, i was making chili, and she was so concerned as to why i was chopping onions and getting out cans of beans. i told her i was cooking chili, and she went to the fridge and got out the grape jelly and said “mama! chili’s right here!”

one of their favorite things to do right now is look at slideshows of my pictures on flickr, the other day a picture of vi came up, from before her surgery. she got very skittish and said she was scared. i asked her if she wanted to me go to the next photo, or if she wanted to talk about it, but she leaned in closer, studying her lip and asked how it got cut. i explained she was born with a cleft lip and she told me that was silly, and she just “cut it while she was playing” and mama milk fixed it. it made my heart explode, but then i was gripped with this anxiety. how will this affect her? i want her to know without a doubt that she is a beautiful, whole person, and that a scar doesn’t matter. but will it?oh, i worry.

and i worry about many other things, will theodore feel left out? emma and violette are so close in age, and he trails by nearly 3 years. and emma is so bossy sometimes! i know her intentions, but she can be perceived so harshly by other kids (and parents!) sometimes. she is so much like me, yet so different. she has a confidence i never had to back up the sassiness. i wonder if we’ve done the right thing, is it fair to them to homeschool? to live this artsy, bohemian lifestyle we’ve got, where creativity trumps schedules & inspiration matters far more than routine? what about religion & spirituality? they know about jesus, and that mama & daddy believe in god, but they always know we read books on sufis and buddha. i have a hard time telling them that one particular thing is true.

the most important thing, though, is that i’m completely honest in my intentions, words and actions. and who can see my inconsistencies more than my children, who i am around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

i am not perfect, and i don’t attempt to be. so i can’t figure out why am i so incredibly hung up on these unattainable standards? who has set this ideal that mother’s are supposed to have a spotless designer home, with little angels sitting at the kitchen table in shiny catalog clothing, happily doing some craft project, while home made cookies are baking in the oven and mommy doesn’t have a speck of flour on her apron (or the kitchen floor!)

oh, i don’t know. i do know that it’s 2 am and mr. teddy will be needing to nurse pretty soon, therefore i’m off to bed.