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.

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.

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 ❤

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.

in which i revel in girlishness.

i would like to admit, once and for all, that i am a girl. i like tea parties, lacy things, and pink. i also feel insecure, awkward and sometimes even have jealous tendencies. i wish that i was confident in the fact that i am a beautiful woman.  i am amazing. i have brought three beautiful children into this world (without any painkillers, while i’m gloating), i am married to the most generous and tender man, i am kind and thoughtful, i am witty and clever, i would want to be my own best friend if i happened to be anyone else!

yet i am plagued with these insecurities. these ideas that i am clunky, not pretty, uninvited, too loud, too invasive, too opinionated at the same time not sharing my opinion enough! (it is amazing the contradictions i will come up with to continue the self-flagellation)

but i cannot blame others, though this sick society that disrespects women and girls at every turn does nothing to aid confidence. no, the blame lays on myself for letting this attitude permeate my thinking long past girlhood.

right now: i am coming clean. while i am a girl woman, i am strong and determined. and i have made up my mind to put aside these girlish tendencies and embrace myself. if not for myself, for the sake of my daughters.

if i don’t like me, how can i expect anyone else to?

flashbacks.

while perusing my old notes on facebook, i found this little gem. only from february, it feels like it’s been so much longer.

today is a beautiful day.
i woke up nestled between two beautiful ladies, who seem to migrate to my bed at some point in the middle of the nite. (violette has been waking up between 2 or 3 saying “oh, i’m really really really hungry” and then crawling up the stairs to our bed, where she crashes immediately.) my kitty was cuddled up at the foot of our bed, watching over us all, and my husband was playing footsie games with me under all the covers, pausing only to reach over to hit snooze on the alarm.

emma woke up, and we laid there talking about what we were going to do today, while brady started his day by turning on his “woody guthrie playlist” and telling his mom happy birthday on facebook. emma and i moseyed down the stairs in our jammies and fixed bowls of cereal and giggled at things like squirrels in the backyard and zeke barking at birds.

we watched an episode of “olivia” on nickjr.com, and i helped brady make his lunch and got him out the door, only after a rousing rendition of “the eagle and the hawk” by john denver, brady rushed out the door and emma and i were left talking at the breakfast table. she felt inspired to make a painting this morning, so i lugged out our suitcase of paints and brushes and all the goodies, (all the while, em is saying things like “mama, are you sure you’re strong enough to carry that?”) and got her set up. she was very excited that i had a leftover canvas and she got to use that instead of paper. after many mixed paints and good messes, we got all cleaned up and were a bit bummed out violette was still sleeping. she is so fun!

so we got dressed, mommy in a pair of brown maternity cargo pants from old navy and a harry potter t-shirt from the thrift store with black and white stripey socks and my worn, torn simple shoes, and emma in her “kitty” tshirt and “christmas pants” and absolutely never ever anything on her feet, we are now cuddling and counting coins from her coin purse while i type this.

and just now, she said “mama, i just love you”.

my life is juicy, and sweet and tender. and i don’t want to forget a single minute of it.

children are people too!

“if there is something we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves”- carl jung


this quote sums up my thoughts on children completely. i see a disrespect and sense of ownership towards most kids, and it breaks my heart. i am not talking about spanking, or time-outs, or any other punitive measure the majority of people in America use, but the general attitude behind all of it.

i have yet to figure out why, if parents/grandparents say they want to spend time with their children/grandchildren, when it comes time to actually being together, the adult usually ends up chastising the child, and the child ends up in tears. for not playing the proper way, for not “staying inside the lines”, for not posing just so for the photo, for “being sassy”… the list is endless. next time, why not step back and watch the child at play? marvel at the ingenuity and creativity that is naturally intrinsic. why not sit back and see how cleverly kids can work out problems themselves, instead of directing how they are playing together.

children are resourceful and capable beings, they do not need nearly as much “help” as we assume. let them figure out how to put on their shoes, dress themselves, feed themselves, cook with you… when we do these things for them, usually out of impatience or inconvenience for ourselves, we take away the child’s independence and will to try something new in the future!

children are not malicious, nor do they have the capacity for manipulation or deception. curiosity is not equal to impertinence. (sidenote: honestly, i’d rather have an impertinent child who thinks for herself, than a “good girl”, who does not question anything.)

simply put, there is never a reason for an adult to make a child feel badly about himself. when i am with my daughters, i want them to feel huge and confident and complete in themselves, not belittled or shamed.

steps to take towards respecting children
from john holt: the needs and rights of children.

being genuinely courteous towards a child, using the same tones you would towards an adult
-not treating a child like a servant and demanding from him favors or services that we would not think of asking of someone our own age
respecting and protecting the child’s right to privacy, that means privacy of thought as well as space. (People who really like hearing what their children have been doing don’t usually have to ask them.)