goings on.

praying for rain, inspired by children, teaching littles respect- learning just as much, sweet sunday as a clan, worship in all things, it’s all love-without love i am a clanging cymbal, speaking the truth is not the same as being unloving, pushing back the start of school a week -it’s wrong to do school when it’s over 100 degrees outside, a bit sad summer is coming to a close – but still savoring the last bit, thankful, always thankful: home & family & the Spirit surrounding.


The Little darling Spring has run away
The sunshine grew too hot for her to stay
She kissed her sister, Summer,and she said
“When I am gone, you must be queen instead”
Now reigns the Lady Summer, round whose feet
A thousand fairies flock with blossoms sweet.


eleven things to do in twenty-eleven.

1) be intentional with my thoughts, words and actions. love folks, always

2) sing, dance and make merry – every day

3) fill up my house with flowers and other pretties 

4) be silly with my family and friends

5) read 52 books + study the Bible intensely 

6) bake something delicious once a week 

7) take lots & lots of pictures

8 ) invite someone new to shabbat once a month

9) write. write in my journal every day, write poems and short stories, write ideas and inventions. write mundane details and summarize my grandest adventures. write!

10) get messy                     

11) spend a lot more time doting on and spoiling my lovey

nablopomo and menu plans.

in keeping up with all the cool kids, i am posting my menu plan for the week:

monday-meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn                                                                           tuesday- spaghetti + french bread                                                                                                     wednesday – brinner (pancakes or omelettes, game-time decision)                               thursday – red beans and rice one pot dish + chapatis                                                                  friday – lasagna + challah +  ‘effie’ salad (spinach + cubed mozz. + halved boiled eggs) saturday – pizza                                                                                                                        sunday – popcorn + snackies

it’s november- which means nanowrimo/nablopomo, i cannot commit to 50,000 words at this point, but i can aim for a blog post every day. not that i will succeed (hi, september!) but i will try my darndest!

halloween was fun, pictures coming soon.

at the moment, my brother has all 3 children occupied with designing a house on autocad. this is amusing me immensely.

time for tidying up and cooking lunch.

have a beautiful and blessed day, okay?

a typical day.

what a day looks like in the crandall household:

brady’s alarm starts going off around 5:15 and we snooze through til about 6 or so, i typically don’t get up until he’s already left, about 6:30. i cross my fingers that theodore will stay asleep and tiptoe down the stairs to start my coffee, if i haven’t already set it to auto-start. i’ll get dressed, eat a simple breakfast: granola bar, apple or yogurt and then turn on my morning music, have some time in prayer, check my email and print off schoolwork for the day. this is one of the highlights of my day, this time in the quiet, with music and the spirit and hope for a lovely day ahead. usually brady and i will be texting each other/ have a short phone call during this time.

about 8, the kids will wake up and wander into the living room with questions of what day it is and what activities occur on each day. for instance, today violette came out of her room this morning, sat in the rocking chair and said “oh, it is friday, challah day!”. (oh, funny little story – violette was confusing “holiday” and “challah day” and thought we were going to have challah on labor day. she is such a doll baby. ) after a bit of cuddles and talks of dreams and sleep, we will get dressed and sit at the table while they eat their breakfast. breakfast is usually when we have our deep conversations and the girls come up with a grand, albeit typically in the realm of fantasy, plan for the day.

9 is our official “school starts” time, and we do schoolwork til about 11:30-11:45, when we stop for lunch. we normally eat lunch outside at the picnic table, unless it’s raining or they are being difficult. after lunch, we do a quick tidy up of the house and violette will disappear into her room to play by herself. i will finish up any schoolwork emma has left, and then we have quiet time. emma will choose a movie and violette will either rest on her bed or continue playing quietly with her dolls and animals. i nurse theodore down while reading, or sometimes we’ll go lay down, he usually sleeps for 2 hours in the afternoon. then i clean or work on whatever project i have going.

of course, you’ll have to imagine that during all of this, my phone is abuzz with text messages/phone calls/e-mails popping up and teddy nearly always getting into some kind of mischief. interspersed through the day are also visits from my siblings and/or parents. they might pop in for ten minutes for a quick cup of coffee or chat, or come spend the afternoon with us.

around 3:30 or 4, i will mosey in the kitchen and wonder about supper, sometimes i’ll do a sink-full of dishes, or sometimes i won’t. brady gets home anywhere from 4:30-6:30, sometimes he’s out as late as 7:30 or so, depending on what round they are on. daddy coming home is a very exciting time for the kids, and me too 🙂 after he gets settled in, we usually have supper and then spend the evening talking and hanging out, or doing whatever we have planned.

the bedtime routine is perpetually being tweaked, but as for right now it looks like this. around 8, we start tidying up their room and any messes they’ve made in the living room/dining room. we put on jammies, read a chapter in whichever book we’re reading (at the moment, it’s peter pan), and then i’ll sing a round of our favorite bed time songs. twinkle, twinkle; you are my sunshine (or you are my bunny, or you are my door, or whatever funny things they come up with); all the pretty little horses; stay awake from mary poppins; and go to sleep. violette will be out before i’m done singing ‘all the pretty little horses’ and emma will ask for me to sing them through a second time, which i usually do. then it’s goodnite kisses, and i go lay theodore down, and breathe a sigh of relief. (remember, this is on a very smooth, and easy nite…probably once a week hah!)

brady and i talk, read or sometimes just go straight to bed. usually we eat some kind of sugary treat we don’t want our children to consume. when we go to bed, i like to lay there and note the things that happened during the day and take stock of the things i am grateful for and pray for people/situations that need it. i usually fall asleep singing a song in my head, and wake up singing it in the morning.

my parents

(mom and dad, 1985)

on the subject of my parents, where to begin? it is difficult to articulate one’s feelings and attitudes towards the beings from which one came.

my parents have been married for almost 25 years, their anniversary is about a week after brady and i celebrate ours. my mom is, save for brady, my closest friend and confidant. my dad rarely fails to make me laugh and/or rile me up, usually both.

it is so interesting, and at times even awkward, to know that most of my thoughts, attitudes, ideas and opinions come directly from thoughts, attitudes, ideas and opinions passed down from them via genetics and years of learning from their triumphs and mistakes.

it is comforting to know that they will always love me and welcome me, i will never have to knock on the door at the house on n.w. 24th street. even after our darkest period: months of not speaking, after hateful words, anger and extreme hurt on both sides, my brand new husband and i were asked to stay for dinner and to sit on the couch talking for hours about what had transpired in the meantime.

my parents have taught me that love and grace are key, and they’ve shown me that laughing and being together can get you through nearly any situation. they are not perfect, and i am not perfect. sure, we disagree on some points, but all of that melts away when we’re sitting around the living room, talking and laughing and sharing stories over a cup of coffee or a box of granola bars.

i am indebted to my parents for raising me to think for myself, to buck the norm, and to act on my feelings. i am thankful that my mom shared her immense love of reading and learning, and that my dad passed on his clever, yet subtle, way with wordplay and punnery. i know without a doubt my, at times, too sensitive and big heart came from a perfect marriage of their sensitivities, kindness, and willingness to help anyone, anywhere.

i love seeing my parents as grandparents, and watching them interact with my little ones with wonder and awe. their compliments on our parenting mean so much to me. it’s so sweet that my kids know bumpy always has time for a willy the worm story, and mammy will usually have some form of treat.

sometimes i wish i could express my gratitude towards them, but i know there are no words. my parents gave me life, shaped me into the person i am today and while the road was not a smooth one to the place we are now, we have a lot of great stories and memories to share.

my siblings

a friend posted some blog prompts, and i snatched a few for myself as i am in need of a few new ideas!

my siblings, oh, this subject is tucked away in my heart. sometimes i feel like my siblings are such a part of me that it’s hard to separate us. we are a strong and deeply connected collective, our unique individuality making the corporate strand of “siblings” that much tighter knit.

i am the oldest of five. i have always loved being the oldest, and being the self-appointed troupe leader. i have a memory of when we lived in arcadia, a 30 minute drive from civilization and 5 acres that stretched for miles and miles in my child’s mind. we were on a “nature walk”, and i was in the lead, with each kid behind me, save for jacob as he was still a baby. i remember so vividly making up completely asinine “facts” about trees, butterflies, quail and sincerely passing on my knowledge to my siblings, who were listening with rapt attention. we fancied ourselves the boxcar children, and spent hours playing outside in our various forts and treehouses.  in fact, there is not a memory i have before the age of 10 without one of my siblings involved.

jonathan, or jonnie is the next in line. he is 16 months younger than me, and was my best friend from the time his life began. i honestly cannot remember living without him being around. we have made horrific fashion choices together, made beautiful music and some really awful junk in the pop-punk phase, we’ve had several “bands”, and share an immense appreciation for harry potter. jonnie makes me laugh so hard that i snort, and double over, slapping my leg. jonnie is 6’7, and hugging him makes me feel really small, in a good way.

and then there is whitney, my only sister. she is about 3 years younger than me and has been at once, the closest to understanding me completely yet the one person i’ve fought with most in my life. we are almost the same in some regards, and polar opposites in others. we have learned many things together, and from each other. as we age and mature, we are coming closer each day. whitney is a strong and determined woman, the hardest worker. i admire her desire and efforts to create change in our city, and the world. she cares deeply about many issues and acts on her feelings, instead of sitting back and wishing and praying for good things to happen.

jedidiah samuel is 5 years behind me. i recall his birth (at home!),  and one particular instance of not getting to help give him his first bath as my cousin from california was visiting, and mom let her help instead of me! i remember running and curling up on my bed, crying my heart out. didn’t they understand he was ours?! looking back, i laugh at my child-self and how much i wanted to help, and how deeply it hurt not to feel a part. (and no matter how much we change, some things stay the same.) jed is a quiet guy, very wise and insightful. he has just started his first year of college, he’s playing basketball and going to classes and it’s so amazing to see him as an adult. i’ve spent so much of my life viewing him as a child, that it’s a new and exciting adventure to have conversations and share ideas and interact on a new level.

jacob is the baby, i was nearly 8 when he was born, and what a joy he was and is! he was our little “doll”, from day one. we would dress him up, carry him everywhere (well past when he should have been walking) and try to teach him to say words quite early. jacob is the sweetest little guy, though calling him a little guy is a bit ridiculous and he grew larger than me several years back. i still think of him as 10 from time to time, and have to shake my brain into realizing that he is 16, and about to start driving a vehicle!

it’s such a joy and wonder to witness all of us, standing on our own yet still as close as ever. i am so grateful to have such a close bond with my siblings, and i know that there is nothing any one of us could do to lessen our love for each other. i only hope my children have the same bond with one another, that grows and strengthens each day.

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.

summer, pt. 1

a day late on the happy solstice, but here nonetheless. summer is in full swing around these parts, we are spending the mornings outside playing and the afternoons in our swimsuits in front of the air conditioner, watching movies and reading books while eating ice pops and drinking iced tea.

1. 1, 2, 3, 2. fresh laundry (smooth), 3. Drizzle…, 4. Untitled, 5. spinach, 6. Untitled, 7. at the bricktown candy company, 8. picnic one…, 9. Untitled, 10. 11-05-2010 Tender feliz / Happy laundry line, 11. Beauty is not caused. It is., 12. Untitled

of ice pops, wuthering heights and tomatoes.(click to download)

1.born ruffians – little garcon
2.half-handed cloud – bees are trying to build their nest in you
3.rosemary clooney – hey mambo, mambo italiano
4.the beatles – she came in through the bathroom window
5.ferraby lionheart – tickets to crickets
6.langhorne slim – checking out
7.regina spektor – folding chair
8.page france – mr. violin and dancing bear
9.the innocence mission – colors of the world
10.cotton jones – photo summerlude
11.the decemberists – isn’t it a lovely night
12.the finches – step outside
13.seabear – seashell
14.piebald – catch you
15.the kooks – shine on
16.the polyphonic spree – light&day/reach for the sun

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.

center & calm.

this morning i woke up at 6:45, which is not all too early, but a good 2 hours earlier than my usual wake-up time. i woke up so early because i have been anxious, fretful and worried about tonite.

tonite i am going to my little brother’s graduation, and reading a short bio about him while he walks across the stage. i have been freaking out for the last few weeks about having to walk onstage, read for a minute, and walk off. no, it’s really not my idea of fun, but it’s also not quite as traumatic as i’ve been acting.

so, this morning i have been standing at my window, drinking tea and watching my garden grow. and i realized how insanely self-absorbed i’ve been. this isn’t about me in the slightest. it’s about celebrating my little brother and his journey.

i’d be lying if i said i’m not still nervous about falling on my face, or saying “jess” instead of “jed”. (i’ve been watching a LOT of gilmore girls lately and tend to get pretty outrageous in my imagining interesting circumstances.) but it’s going to be fun. and afterwards, there’s a party. and cupcakes. and hey! my baby brother is graduating!!