Category Archives: Louise

Odds & Ends

    • 1-IMG_4953-001We had one day of relative warmth this week, and we headed for the park with our Chick Fil A lunch in hand to soak up the rays.  This was on Wednesday after CBS.  We met dear friends there, and the kids had a great time running and sliding and swinging.  Benny slid down the medium-sized slides twice, with no one to catch him at the bottom either time.  He ended up with a mouthful of mulch and I was picking mulch out of his onesie that afternoon.  Fun times!
    • Query from the DLM as he lay in bed awaiting sleep one night:  “Mom, why are the Angry Birds angry?”  :-)  Deep thoughts from a four year old!
    • Singapore Math (Primary Mathematics) continues to go well for Lulu’s fifth grade studies.  It’s not exactly open-and-go, but I appreciate the clean layout so much and yes, I want to have to think to do the math.  Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d feel like I was doing a good job.  (Put this in the Homeschooling:  If You Don’t Feel Crazy, You’re Not Doing It Right category. ;-) )
    • Our co op hosted a skating party on Thursday in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Fun times all around.  None of my kids really skated–it was more like they marched around in a pair of roller skates, avoiding the non-carpeted areas.  The video games were the big hit for the DLM, especially.  He finally earned enough tickets (70? 80?) playing the proto-slot machines games to buy two Tootsie Rolls and a mini Three Musketeers.  Generous folks they are at this skating rink!  ;-)
    • We gathered up our sixty-something library books this afternoon to return today, on their due date.  I went online to renew a few that we needed to finish (or hadn’t read yet), and I realized our current bedtime read-aloud, The Orphan and the Mouse, was unrenewable.  Yikes!  We’re far enough into it that I don’t want to abandon it, so I guess I’ll be reading double-time this weekend to avoid more late fees.  (I pay late fees pretty frequently, yes, but I don’t mind too much because our libraries are SO good to us and I figure it’s a small price to pay for so many books that I don’t have to store!)

  • I think I only walked three times this week.  Steady Eddie’s early departure time twice this week really threw me off.  It has also been pretty cold, so there is that.
  • Fun Friday today saw us doing a couple of art projects (including the snowman resist which we started weeks ago), playing math games, “checking out” on our memory work, and catching up on a few other things.
  • I was piddling in the kitchen one day when the DLM came in and announced, “I don’t like to read!”  It was an “Elizabeth, I’m coming home!” moment for me.  ;-)  Then I noticed a mischievous half-grin and twinkle in his eye, and I realized my buttons had been pushed.  He then confessed that his hero, my fifteen year old nephew, doesn’t like to read, so neither does he.  I was just about to text my sister a threatening text when my better sense and humor took hold.  ;-)
  • I finally got a haircut this week.  I considered growing my hair out, but really, the only advantage I can think to having longer hair for me is more reading time while I dry it.  Simplicty wins!
  • The girls finally got their hands on the final Sisters Grimm book mid-week, and they have both devoured it.

    • I’m feeling the urge to purge, thanks mostly to Annette’s progress.  I finally started reading the book I won on her blog to help me along.  Now to find the time to dig in!  (This will be a LOOONG project, friends.)
    • I read Stephanie’s Project Life post this morning and immediately began scheming as to how to bring scrapbooking back into my life.  After taking lots of photos (some of which I’d love to share but can’t presently due to a communication problem between my phone and my laptop) and thinking about it today, I’ve finally concluded that my best bet is to use the Project Life app and make digital pages and have them bound into a photo book at the end of the year.  That’s my plan right now, and I actually think it might be doable!
    • Last week I mentioned that Benny has given up the paci, but as I feared, I spoke too soon.  What he has done instead is switch brands.  Yes, he has gone from MAMto Nuk.  Go figure.  :-)
    • I handed Lulu Toliver’s Secret this afternoon to read as a history go-along, and she read it in about an hour.  Granted, it’s not a classic, but it is about on a fifth grade level, and it’s of average length–well over 100 pages.  One hour seems super fast to me–as in I couldn’t read it that fast.  I don’t say that to brag, but rather, to ask: does this seem fast to anybody but me?  I asked her to narrate back to me the gist of the story, and she did.  Hmmmm. . .

  • Well, that’s it for me.  I’m headed to bed!  Tomorrow will be a busy day:  basketball, groceries, library, and then, our traditional Valentine’s Day supper of heart-shaped pancakes with strawberry syrup and all the breakfast fixin’s, to which we have invited all the grandparents.  I’m looking forward to it!

How was your week?

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Odds & Ends

1-IMG_4953-001Long time, no blog, eh?  :-)  I think this almost two-week break is unprecedented in my seven-ish years of blogging.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Celebrating–we celebrated Louise’s 9th birthday both with an at-home family party and a trip to the Huntsville Botanical Garden (after lunch at our favorite Mexican joint).



DSC_0182Yes, we did make the six-layer birthday cake I linked to in my last Menu Plan Monday post, and yes, it was delicious and worth the trouble.



Last Saturday I flew out to Colorado for CBS Leadership Training.  This was only the third time I’d ever flown in my life, and the first time I’d ever flown by myself.  After a long day of travel (including a missed flight in Dallas), I finally arrived and had a wonderful, edifying, encouraging time with several hundred other Christians called to serve God through the CBS ministry.

DSCN1249Our accommodations were beautiful, but the intensity of our training didn’t leave any time for sightseeing.  Mostly I looked out the windows to see Cheyenne Mountain, which looked clear and inviting when we arrived but looked like this on our last full day there:


This is how we left it on Tuesday morning:


The surprising weather (at least for this Alabama girl) notwithstanding, it was such a blessed time, and I feel so humbled to be a part of such a ministry.  I’ve learned a lot, mostly about what I need to improve upon, and I’m eager to fulfill the role God has given me for this time in His Kingdom.

IMG_0304 IMG_0310

I came home to the glorious mundane:  laundry (and lots of it), grocery listing and shopping, disciplining and nurturing, and so on.  Finding balance in all of these callings isn’t easy, but I keep plugging away at it and praying for grace and strength and endurance and wisdom.  I came home to a little boy very eager to begin reading, and so we just jumped in.  He has read the first five Bob books and is very excited about it.  :-)

DSC_0261I also did something new:  I gave my first haircut. Well, it was actually my second, since I did buzz Steady Eddie’s hair once a few years ago.  This time, though, I actually attempted a clipper and scissor cut after watching about five tutorials on YouTube.  I just realized that paying for four haircuts (mine plus the three fellows here at the House of Hope) every month to six weeks is getting expensive!  I can’t say I did a fabulous job, but I suppose I’ll get better with practice.


What I haven’t been doing is much reading, and honestly I’m not sure how I’m going to manage to fit in everything I have going in.  My blogging may be spotty here in the next few weeks and months, and if it is, you’ll know why.

I’m thankful for and humbled by the doors God is opening in my life.  We are so blessed!






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Odds & Ends

  • 1-IMG_4953-001I’m got up super early this morning (at least for me on a Saturday!) thanks to a lengthy nap I took yesterday after a medical test I had done.  (The test came back all good.  Thank you, Lord!)
  • My night wasn’t exactly restful because, well, we have a new baby in the house yard:


  • Her name is November, and she is Louise’s ninth (get it?  November!) birthday present for her birthday which is coming up in. . . you guess it. . . November.  :-)  This girl has wanted a dog for a long, long time, and so we, her non-dog-adoring parents, have finally given in.  We haven’t had a dog since before Lulu was born, so this is a big step for us!  The baby cried a lot last night, but the girls are up early with her this morning and are already outside playing with her.  I’m not sure how much our neighbors have appreciated the crying baby or the early bird (& excited!) girls, but I’m sure November is glad of their company.  Isn’t she a cutie?
  • We celebrated my older nephew’s sixteenth birthday on Monday night with family.  I cannot believe our little red-headed baby, the first grandbaby in the family on both sides!,  is now a big 6 foot (plus!) tall, red-headed sixteen year old.  The years are flying.
  • In other news, Steady Eddie traveled yet again this week.  I’m sort of getting used to it.  Well, kind of.  I don’t love it, but I survive it.  And that’s the truth.
  • Due to Steady Eddie’s travel and my impending medical test (which required the kids to spend the night at my parents’ house on Thursday night), this week felt sort of off.
  •  Fun Friday consisted of the kids being at my parents’ house, which means way more television and kitchen liberties than they’re accustomed to, so it was indeed a Fun Friday for them.
  • Me. . . not so much, but again, I survived it.  It was almost restful, actually, to be “put under” for a while and then come home and nap.  Oh, and to have lunch (albeit a groggy one!) out with Steady Eddie.  (Did I just say all that?)
  • School is perking right along.  Highlights this week include Louise finishing her third grade Rod and Staff spelling book and Lulu making a connection between what she learned in her Rod and Staff grammar book and one of her 4-level analysis sentences.  She recognized an appositive with no prompting from me.  These little intellectual epiphanies are so gratifying!  :-)  Louise also acquitted herself very well on her first Review and Practice sheet for RS Math level D–she answered all the questions and worked all the problems correctly the first time!  For Lulu this week consisted of learning, among other things, about the Sieve of Eratosthenes.  Neat stuff!
  • We finished Sign of the Beaver as our lunchtime read-aloud and plunged right into The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  I hope to share my thoughts on Sign of the Beaver soon!
  • The DLM continues to beg for school time.  This week we learned the letter sounds for A and H and read appropriate titles.
  • I figured out this week (or last?) that Benny also knows the sound for A!  He was standing up on the love seat (a.k.a. “love couch,” according to the DLM) and pointing to a little sign hanging above it.  I realized he was pointing to the A on the sign and saying “aaah.”  I think we have Leap Frog, in all its electronic wonder, to thank for that.  :-)
  • I’m working my way through my stack of Cybils nominees.  Fun times!
  • The girls have a piano event this morning–hymn fest.  They will play a couple of hymns apiece in front of judges.
  • Besides that, I have nothing but school planning and church on the calendar for the weekend.  I’d like to take a little road trip, but I think that’s not going to happen any time in the near future.

How was your week?

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“A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry Friday ButtonFor our first six weeks school term (or more), we are memorizing “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  So far as I know, his works have passed into the public domain, so I’ll share it here in its entirety:

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real!    Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;–

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

I have fond memories of learning about Longfellow as a high school junior.  He was the subject of my first literary research paper.  I recognize the fact that his poetry has really fallen out of fashion these days, but I still like it a lot.  My girls and I were practicing it in the van the other day on the way to Bible study.  This week we’re supposed to know down through the fifth stanza:

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

What a wonderful four lines!  Of course, our recitation necessitated a discussion of the word bivouac, one of the few words I specifically remember learning the meaning of at some point during my education.  This, then, made me think of the Apostle Paul’s enduring words from 2 Corinthians 5:1:

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

This passage of scripture has doubly special meaning for me because it is the passage a beloved pastor used at my papaw’s funeral.  Sharing it with my girls–the literary connection between bivouac and tent–and then the connection to the previous stanza–this encapsulates one of the things I love about homeschooling.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

I also love that Louise pointed out, after considering stanzas four and five together, that Randy Melendy from our current bedtime read-aloud, Then There Were Five, has a particular affinity for funeral marches.

How sweet it is when it all comes together.




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