Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

A group of toothy grins from our house to yours--wishing you a Happy Halloween!





Have a boo-tiful weekend!

~april

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What the Bluster Brought


Beautiful!

~april



It looks like it may turn out to be. . . .

feels like it will undoubtedly. . . .
looks like a RATHER blustery day---to-day!
I love Pooh bear. He was a discovery of joy for me later in life, as I didn't really come to know and love the silly old bear till after I was married. My husband's niece was two at the time, and she LOVED Pooh so much that as part of our wedding-gift spending, we purchased the classic Disney video! When our firstborn came on the scene eleven months later, I would put the video on in the afternoons sometimes when she and I were together playing in the living room--she was too little then to care about the television, but it was always nice background talk and music, and before long she could watch and then sing along with the songs. Too sweet!
They grow up too fast.(I know I keep saying that, post after post--I guess that should be my blog subtitle!)
Anyway, TODAY here we are finally getting the wind that has been sweeping across the country this week. The humidity is in the lower 40s, and it FEELS LIKE FALL outside. WOW!

Enough to inspire SOMETHING. . .haven't quite figured out what, though. For now, though, I am puttering around the house humming the "blustery day" tune from Winnie the Pooh.
TTFN!
(ta-ta for now!)

~april


Monday, October 25, 2010

School Shelves Update

I am linking this post to Susan's Metamorphosis Monday over at her great little place--Between Naps on the Porch. Check out her blog for some fun, wonderful posts(mostly!) about decorating!
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You may recall that a few weeks ago I posted pictures of the very EMPTY new shelves my husband kindly spent Labor Day weekend assembling. . . some lovely readers have since asked how they filled up, turned out, are serving me, or if they are all I had hoped. . . so here's the update.

First, a picture of the VERY FULL SHELVES.

In answer to are they filled up--YES.
Are they serving me? YES.
Are they ALL I had hoped--well, not exactly.
Is ANY shelf ever able to hold ALL that I would desire to put on it? Doubtful! That said, it is wonderful to have things in arm's reach from my($10 Goodwill find, VERY STURDY) chair.
I have simply had to resign my (rahther perfectionistic, ahem!)self to the ongoing need for boxes to hold things that we are not currently in danger of using. I still have not found a great place to store those boxes, but for now the space between the Monstrous Cabinet and the french door is working okay.
The room is still too full. It is full of a piano.
Wonderful though it is, this piano is in need of a "room of its own". Too bad we built its room so large, because whatever space it goes into, it totally dominates. That said, I have to resign myself(ah-GAIN! ahem!)to the less-than-perfect arrangement of storing SOME bins of things UNDER the oh-so-grand. . . sigh.
I have even entertained notions of hiring someone to come MOVE the piano to the "front room" which is much smaller.
Then it could sit happily on its three legs and dominate without quite taking up so much living area--THAT room has bookshelves, too. It is looking better as a result of my school shelves' addition!(Thankfully!) The shelves still need major straightening, now that I removed so many books from them. I do apologize for the messy picture!

Here's a picture of the school-table-in-use with kids sitting there--we are still dragging chairs from the dining table to the school table, as I haven't found folding chairs that are both comfy AND in my price range--YET.


The piano is just behind C to the left--I was probably leaning against it to get this picture. She is sitting on the piano bench to be at the table--that's just how close they are!

The end result? Well, to me the room still feels and looks terribly cluttered. It is a shame because the best view of the back yard is through the windows of this room. Combined, the piano and the school table really keep the view hidden.

I would like to , ultimately, keep this room as a school room/sitting area, removing the piano to another space like the front room where it can be enjoyed and on its own while we are able to enjoy our sunroom-on-the-north-side for a peaceful learning/lounging area.

I don't know when that will happen. Have to convince the hubby first :-). He's been ducking lately when I get that stand-and-stare look in my eyes--
and then there's the OTHER question:

WHERE DO WE PUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE THIS YEAR?


Happy Fall rearranging!
~april






Thursday, October 21, 2010

Things at Which I Am Not Good

Or, "Things I'm Not Good At".

In light of a sudden rash of "confession" posts all over homeschool-mom blog land, this post has been rattling around in my head for two or three weeks now. Why such a depressing title? I think it is rather ENcouraging, considering where I've come from--"I'm not good at ANYTHING" was the original idea!

So, a list, with a few descriptions, of WHY I am not good at (ahem!)anything. . . or many things.

1. Grammar. Rules. I have a DEGREE in English. I know grammar. However, the inability to THINK in terms of NOT-PUTTING-PREPOSITIONS-AT-THE-END-OF-SENTENCES, or the impossibility of properly using quotation marks when their use comes into question without first looking it up via Google REALLY bothers me.

2. Sewing. I currently have three sewing machines in my cabinet. Two that belong in my house, and one that belongs to a friend. She loaned it so I could try a new thing I had seen, and I've not taken it out of the case. Why? I am afraid. I have no table space to set up a sewing machine. I DO NOT READ PATTERNS. That is, I could do it, if I wanted to, but it takes SO LONG to follow a pattern. I'd rather not sew than do that. It's a shame, because I really LIKE to sew!

3. Cooking. I do not use recipes. Not saying I don't like reading them, collecting them, pulling them out with intentions of using them, but I inevitably do NOT follow them to the letter. I cook yummy things, but I can hardly EVER replicate what I've ad-libbed. This creates much stress when it's time to have company and I truly don't know WHAT'S FOR DINNER--because I may know what it SHOULD be. . . .haha. I have a (tentative)plan. . . I just don't know for sure how it WILL be.
STRESS.
Maybe this one is related to #2--something to do with direction-following?
4. Map reading. My hubby wants me to be "navigator" when we are in the car. He likes to drive. I hate following directions. All those little details get me confused, and half of the time the map is not turned right or the road we need DOES NOT EXIST. . .GPS? Not for this man. I am telling him he NEEDS it more than ME.

5. Crafts. I have tons and tons of "interests". I have the supplies to go along with them. Do I make things? Do I create beautiful stuff that is fun to photo and post about?(see, there's that grammar thing again!) Do I DO crafts, and do them well? Sometimes. Rarely. Usually I just move the stuff from one place to another and then run out of time.

6. Driving. Granny likely does better. REALLY.

7. Scheduling. Boggles my mind how some people can take a family of ten and schedule every waking minute for each family member, and I can't get ME on a schedule, let alone figure out how to write out a tentative plan for my KIDS on a daily basis. . . my eyes glaze over when I think things like, "While C is doing math, J could be working on . . .while Brenn and I are. . . .and the Redhead is. . . .ACK!"

8. Writing. I dislike writing. That has come out again since my oldest child is taking an online writing course--UGH. I hope she doesn't see this. I have always hated having to write.

9. Cleaning. What needs to be done when? Seriously, about all I manage is to keep the bathrooms somewhat liveable, the laundry somewhat un-piled, and the kitchen usefully clean--dust? windows? soap scum in the showers? Who has TIME for that?

10. Teaching. There. I said it. I am a LOUSY home educator. Not to say my kids are not learning, but most days they learn because they are insatiably hungry to occupy their minds, NOT because I am good at putting together inspiring lessons and involving them in the process. No. They have interests, and they have STUFF TO DO. They happen to learn a little and we read a bit of history, science, or do a little grammar or math practice at times during the process. I am not a good teacher!
11. Gardening. I give up. Really. C is good with plants. I am not. Whether this is a time or a weather issue, or just that I hate outside and bugs, I do not know. Seriously though, I give up. I am not good at it!

12. Decorating. Something I love to dabble with. (end-of-sentence preposition again) I once thought I was good at it. Then we designed and built our own home. I currently feel it is an eclectic mix of shabby farmhouse vintage dorm travel beach kitsch. . . .and in a constant state of flux. Goodwill. That's the look I'm apparently going for!(Prepositions! ack!)
13. Furniture arranging. Enough said. Ask my hubby. I LOVE to move stuff. Probably only because I never get it where it WORKS.(and the dustbunnies DO get the best of me at times)
Maybe this one should be furniture STAYING. :)

14. Patience.

15. Group involvement. I always have too many ideas of how things could be BETTER.

16 Leadership. Having people depend on me to be up front telling people what to do STRESSES ME OUT.

17. Friendships. I have one really good friend--thank God that He gifted her to me. I am no good at pursuing shallow small-talk-oriented relationships. At all. Unfortunately this makes it very difficult to get to deeper levels of friendship, as well. I also find my interests are not NORMAL.

18. Parenting/discipline. The big four-letter-word: CONSISTENCY(sorry for using SUCH LANGUAGE here!).

18. Math. 'nuff said.

20. Bill-paying. Checkbook-balancing. Correspondence. Menu-planning. . . .

Knowing when enough is enough(I think I'll stop at 20).
You know what listing all these things makes me think of? When I am weak, He is strong. He who began a good work WILL BE FAITHFUL to carry it to completion. We have this treasure stored up in clay pots--and we can be useful in His hands anyway, somehow. It's a marvelous mystery.

Furthermore, He knew the number of my days, the hairs on my head, the steps of my path, BEFORE ANY ONE OF THEM CAME TO BE.
So I am thankful, and while I've not arrived to a perfect place with that, I am improving. I guess all of these things are about the journey, anyway. It doesn't do to get too settled into this world, as it is just a place of sojourn. I'm not home yet, but I know The Way.

How about you. What are you NOT good at? What are the bumps and the joys along your journey?


~april


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seven Years Old




My baby boy turned SEVEN today. Hard to believe. I say that for every kids' birthday, but REALLY. He is the BABY. They're all growing too fast!

I think he had a good WEEK--we started celebrating his birthday Sunday, and ended with a few close friends over for dinner tonight.
Sunday's party setting(above).

Today's party table.

His theme this year was Hank the Cowdog, and we had quite a bit of fun with it!

Pictures speak louder than words.

The amazing thing about his gift-opening this year(other than NOT cutting a finger open with his much-used pocketknife) was his CONTINUAL excitement.

Not a single "oh, that's nice" to a gift, but EXCITEMENT.

If he was acting, he is GOOD.





No cowboy worth his salt goes without a stringed instrument. . . we had quite the mandolin concert Sunday.
(Move on over, Kenny Hutson!)

Today they had a "rattlesnake toss" competition. He's got good form for reptile flingin'!

Minnie mouse wore her pink boots to the party.

There were a few tough characters.

The occasional happy cowhand.

Goodies for guys and for cowgirls, too.

Cake. Complete with ranch.

The boy had some "directing" to do as we sang "Happy Birthday"--we had to sing "Happy Birthday Hank the Cowdog"!

Happy Birthday to you, Brennan! I love you!