Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Quilt for Annalise

From this:

To this:

To this:

And finally, this:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Copywork from Great Art

This week we tried the Sketch Tuesday assignment at Harmony Art Mom blog, which was to copy a portion of a painting by Henri Rousseau. Everyone chose to copy the blue flowers, except Hope. Hope didn't quite have time to finish hers but I am posting a copy of it here anyway. I liked this idea of copying part of a painting and we look forward to using this idea more in the future. If you haven't checked out her blog, you are missing out! There are lots of great ideas there.

Winter Weeds

Today our little co-op met at our house for some winter nature study. Our focus today was winter weeds. I read the chapter from Discover Nature in Winter before everyone arrived and briefly shared a few interesting points with the children. Next we headed out to the field to gather specimens. I was amazed at the variety! Even though we did not identify each find, it was fun gathering and drawing them.

The biggest hit was this mullein stalk!

I love to see the moms participating!

And even the littlest ones getting in on the action.

I never knew a vase of winter weeds could provide so much interest and pleasure.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shrinking Again

Well, just like the years when the babies kept coming in fairly rapid sucession, now they are leaving at about the same rate.

Kezzi moved out this week so now we only have four at home! It's hard to believe. After trying and trying to get a job in our small town, Kezzi decided to move to the city where she has lots of contacts and potential to start working somewhere else besides her dad's shop. She has been in and out so much over the last few months that I am hoping it won't really feel that different. I'm trying to look on the bright side as much as possible. I figure I should give denial a chance. :)

The good news is that Michael and Candace have moved to a little rental house three miles from us. They were three hours away so we really excited about this move. They came at a time when a lot was going on. With the death of my brother and trying to make decisions about what Kezzi needed to do, we have been very involved with other things. As everything settles down we should get to spend quite a bit of time doing fun things together. Candace and I were just making plans today to enjoy even the simple pleasures, like cooking and grocery shopping, together. If she gets lonely during the day, she may even buzz over to help with some homeschooling projects.

In less than three months Priscilla will be home for the summer.

So they come and go. It's just the way the new lifestyle goes now. I'm learning to adjust more quickly than I did at first and I'm even learning to enjoy the adventure.


This is a thought provoking article. Please go read it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Year I Learned to Love Winter

This time of year is full of people longing for spring. This is the first February in my life that does not find me anxious for spring. In fact, I am a little sad to see winter go.

A funny thing happened to me this year, I have learned to love winter.

There is no other season when a book, a hot cup of coffee and a blanket are so inviting. It is much easier to hold my kids' attention when the warm, sunny outdoors is not calling to them. They tend to ask for one more chapter more often in the winter. This is something I have always loved about the season, but it has never been enough to outweigh spring fever.

I think the key this year has been learning to love the outdoors in winter. I have learned to love going for walks in the crisp air. I found out that with a hat, gloves and maybe layers, I can be very comfortable outdoors so I am not deprived of fresh air. The leaves are all gone and it is easier to see things that are normally hidden. There is not so much going on in nature that is vying for my attention out there on my walks but there is still plenty to notice. It is quieter outside with most people holed up indoors. The garden does not need to be weeded. The lawn does not need to be mowed. Even though many things may look dead, they are not. They are simply resting. I've learned to enjoy that restful look.

This view of our field is one of my favorite winter scenes.
Update: I meant to give credit to the Handbook of Nature Study blog for being a big part of inspiring me to notice the great outdoors this winter. Thanks Barb!

An Outrage Against Children

I've been trying to gather information on the new CPSIA law and its effects on us all. Most people have no idea that books printed before 1985 are now illegal to sell unless they have undergone expensive lead testing. It doesn't matter that there is no record of any child having lead poisoning from a book. Not to mention the law includes many other children's products including clothing items and handmade toys. Many small cottage industry business are having to close their doors. Reports of Goodwill stores and other thrift stores throwing away all of their children's books and other children's items make me feel sick to my stomach.

I do not understand why the media has not been covering this. It's all over the internet. So, since so many people have already written about it who are much more knowledgable than I am, I will provide some links to get you a start in understanding it all.

A good introduction to the problem

Apparently only 1 child has died from lead poisoning from a children's item and that was because he swallowed a piece of children's jewelry and was not diagnosed properly. Read more here. The Book Room has many more blog posts about this.

Melissa Wiley has a good round up of helpful links.

PLEASE, PLEASE make some calls about this. Here is the information you need to do something about it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"We measure time by its death and , yes, its births. For time is told also by life. As some depart, others come. The hand opened in farewell remains open in welcome. I who once had grandparents and parents now have children and grandchildren. Like the flowing river that is yet always present, time that is always going is always coming. And time that is told by death and birth is held and redeemed by love, which is always present. Time, then, is told by loves losses, and by love continuing in gratitude for what is lost. It is folded and enfolded and unfolded forever and ever, the love by which the dead are alive and the unborn welcomed into the womb. The great question for the old and the dying, I think, is not if they have loved and been loved enough, but if they have been grateful enough for love received and given, however much. No one who has gratitude is the onliest one. Let us pray to be grateful to the last."

From Wendell Berry's Andy Catlett

Monday, February 02, 2009

God called One of His Beloved home

Yesterday we buried my thirty-two year old brother, Levi.

In the very early morning hours of Thursday morning he stopped by my dad's house, which is just about 25 minutes from me. He built a little campfire and was standing around talking to my dad. They were enjoy a sweet time together when Levi suddenly fell down backwards. At first my dad thought it was one of Levi's silly pranks but he quickly realized it was not. Levi had died instantly. My dad ran in to get my brother and they started CPR but he was already gone and they could not get any response from him. The ambulances came and they could not bring him back either.

We have since found out it was a ruptured blood vessel near his heart.

He leaves behind his parents and the rest of his siblings, which include three sisters and four brothers. I am the oldest of the siblings. He also leaves a wife and 2yo son. My brother Ben was commenting that with such a big family your chances are higher for sorrows but you also have the blessings of more people to comfort each other.

Through amazing friends and my amazing sister who organized it all, we gave him a beautiful funeral and he is buried just around the block from me at a little country church. We can almost see it from our property. I have passed by this cemetery every time I have walked around the block for exercise. I can't believe he is buried there.

Here is a video of Levi's favorite song. It's Jason Upton's Come Up Here. This is just amazing to me. How could this be his favorite?? God sure does know how to send us comfort.

Thanks to all of you who have called, emailed or posted your condolences through facebook. I haven't had the time to respond to each one but know that each thought and prayer for us is treasured.