ditl: may 11, 2018

There’s something about the end of the year that makes me want to tidy up all my photography editing, narrating & printing. So, I’m revisiting our day in the life back in May & sharing some of my favorite images here. That was no easy task- I tried really hard to limit myself to a few images. (btw, I already shared our Circle Time from that morning here- go check it out!)

These images only become more special with time- I can’t believe how much Timothy has grown in the past few months! Seeing all these images reminds me why I’m tired. This season of life is crazy full- it’s wonderful but busy as we seek to pour ourselves out in loving one another & serving Christ.

If you’ve never documented a regular day, go do it! Life changes so quickly & these images help preserve those precious memories. I’m beyond grateful to Kaleen Enke for capturing our ditl!

Here’s a bit of one ordinary, glorious day of living, learning & loving one another:


project 365: Timothy

Recently, I finished documenting Timothy's first year with a Project 365. I was suppose to capture one image each day. In reality, I only captured 213 images & shot only 171 days. So technically, I failed another Project 365 (it's not the first I didn't complete). But... I don't care!

Actually, I care very deeply about taking up this project! It helped me to better see our baby boy's first year. It helped me document the love this big family has for it's youngest member. It helped me get in front of the frame 42 times. But it's not about the numbers. It's about the pursuit of pushing myself to pick up my camera & beholding the wonder of my son! I knew I wouldn't strictly keep a Project 365 but I also knew whatever the results, it was worth the endeavor. 

Motherhood has shaped me in countless ways. I fall short daily but I pray my children will always know my deep love for them. And I think this project is a testimony of that! We love you, Tiny Tim!

Enjoy this slideshow of Timothy's Project 365:

ditl: circle time

If you've been around here for any length of time, you'll know two things I'm passionate about are documentary photography & circle time (the first part of our educational day where we gather to learn together). I love capturing a whole day in the life, both for myself & for others. And while I strive to get myself in the frame, the process can be difficult. (Completely worth the effort but not easy, especially when shooting a ditl!)

Back in May, the amazing Kaleen Enke came a documented a 12-hour ditl of our family! I knew her work was amazing but I'm truly blown away with what she captured that day. I love Kaleen's sense of humor- for instance, she documented a lot of feet throughout our day. Each image she delivered is a treasure, weaving a story of our family. I'm grateful beyond words for these pictures! If you're local, you need to connect with this lady!

I thought I'd share our circle time in this post & then come back later to share the remaining parts of our day. I want you to notice a few things: 1) how much the littles do not sit & 2) the food because someone is always eating around here or at least, asking to eat. Hopefully, you also notice the love. Gathering together as we begin our day, learning alongside one another, bearing with each other... I truly believe it strengthens our family's culture, feeds our souls & educates all of us. Yep, all of that goodness!


remembering Uncle Lorimer

Our lives are touched by many people, often in small ways and sometimes in big ways. Uncle Lorimer was one of those that impacted us greatly! This past December, he went to be with his Savior & King Jesus. He loved his family deeply- they were his world! Through the years we grew in friendship & became just like family. We almost never miss a Thanksgiving together and even though we now live in different states, we continue to visit each other several times a year.

Lorimer was a leader in his community but we knew him best as simply Uncle Lorimer. His testimony lives on through the lessons he shared with us. He lived out his faith in Christ, always opening the Word each night because he knew it was the source of life. He had a saying of "do the right thing" and he did it- quietly, not drawing attention to himself. It was enough to simply do it. He was great at getting our boys to WORK HARD. His smile & love of music brightened the room. The children looked forward to special treats from him- if the mamas said no, maybe Uncle Lorimer could make it happen. "Just this once" or "it's a special time" he would say.

Our hearts have been broken for his family. I can't even comprehend the sorrow of losing your best friend, spouse and father. But there is One who can & we pray that Jesus would lift them up during this time. In the midst of such pain, there has also been rejoicing because Uncle Lorimer is no longer in pain from cancer. For the believer of Christ, we know separation from our loved ones is temporary- we will see them again & live with them forever in heaven! There's also rejoicing because Uncle Lorimer DID finish his race well. Thank you, Uncle Lorimer, for your testimony! We miss you but we'll see you again!

If you click on the image below, it will take you to through several images:

fall term, part 2 review

I wanted to make sure I shared our fall term, which ended way back in November just before Thanksgiving. This fall term, part 2 lasted eight weeks (totaling 12 weeks for the educational year) and man, were we ready for our Thanksgiving break!


Circle Time for ALL:

  1. Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy
  2. Bible Memory: Exodus 20:1-17 (the Ten Commandments) & The Nicene Creed
  3. Catechism: the Children’s CatechismThe Westminster Shorter Catechismthe Heidelberg Catechism
  4. Poems: The Fool's Prayer (Patricia, Benjamin & Matthias); Persevere (Jonathan & Elizabeth); Singing Time (Abigail); The Little Man Who Wasn't There (Emily); Ooey Gooey & Celery (Katherine).
  5. Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (memorizing lines & listening to it while we read along)
  6. Folk Song: Billy Boy
  7. History & Geography: National Anthem the Southern Border of the United States + we listened to several of the podcasts about Martin Luther from 5 Minutes in Church History
  8. Plutarch: Marcus Cato the Censor using The Plutarch Project, Volume One
  9. Read Alouds: Little Pilgrim’s ProgressPoetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth LongfellowReformation Heroes; Augustus Caesar's World
  10. Composer: George Gershwin (we listened to Rodeo & American in Paris)
  11. Artist: Winslow Homer (Home Sweet Home Snap the Whip)

Mama's Assessment of Circle Time: this part of our day has become a habit for all of us. YAHOO! We need to build in review next interval.


Reading Aloud for ALL:

  1. Ember Falls by S.D Smith
  2. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  3. Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsorth Longfellow by Frances Schoonmaker

Afternoons for ALL: I think the habit of filling our afternoons with handiwork, music, reading, outside time & projects went well. I won't lie & say we had no screen time but we definitely worked towards less of it. Our beautiful southern fall weather helped to call us outside! The constant hustle & bustle makes this mama tired, so I need to think through how to have some down time while allowing the older children the freedom to use their afternoons. Nature study still didn't happen with consistency on Friday afternoons. Actually, it just didn't happen much period. I think I need a support group for this. This is definitely an area I need to grow in!

Mama's Assessment of Afternoons: I need to think through nature study & ways to hold myself accountable to getting it done. Maybe Fridays are not the day for this? Benjamin needs to find a handicraft to work on & mama needs some down time to recharge!


Little's Hour: (Katherine, age 4; Josiah, age 2; Timothy, baby) mostly just play & reading picture books with lots of walks & "helping" do some chores. It's grand to have time just with these little folks... even if it's crazy busy & messy. 


Young Ones Lessons: (Abigail, age 8 & Emily, age 6) we continued our loop of Bible memory, phonics (Primary Language Arts + reading aloud for Abigail), copywork, math (we use Singapore Standards but add enrichment activities), history, map blobbing, mapwork (following our readings) & AO reading + narration from year 2. They both do their music (Agigail: piano; Emily: violin) after a different part of the day. I decided to switch to using AO for their history & we have all loved the readings, in particular Our Island Story! Abigail especially enjoys adding things to her history timeline.


Here's a list of what they read during our Fall Term, part 2 (remember, most of AO readings are spread out for a LONG period of time so nothing was finished this term but we did begin a few new ones):

  1. The Burgess Animal Book for Children
  2. Tree in the Trail
  3. Parables of Nature
  4. Understood Betsy
  5. Little Duke
  6. A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys
  7. A Child's History of the World
  8. Our Island Story

Mama's Assessment of Young Ones Lessons: I still need to be more consistent with map blobbing. I've delayed adding in spelling for Abigail & instead am working on reading with her plus copywork. I'm happy with Emily's progress with narration, as she seems to be paying better attention to readings.

Middlings Lessons: (Elizabeth, age 9 & Jonathan, age 11) together, we continued our loop of Bible memory, math (Singapore Standards), science experiments, writing/grammar (mainly 1 written narration per day + Language Lessons for Grammar Students: Fable & Song), copywork or dictation & reading aloud to mama, as well as going over any Latin from their co-op class. We dropped reading aloud Age of Fable. Both children continued to work on their independent lessons: history & Latin for co-op, mapwork from various readings + learning to draw the USA (Draw the USA), science (Physics, form 2), music (violin for Jonathan & piano for Elizabeth; both have lessons once a week), free reading for half hour & AO readings + narration from year 5. They started their Book of Centuries as part of their keeping but I think they only added one entry. That's okay- I suspect this will become more consistent next year when they transition to AO history.  Here's a list of what they read during Fall Term, part 2:

  1. Storybook of Science
  2. Wild Animals I Have Known
  3. Magnets- FINISHED!
  4. Always Inventing: A Photobiography of Alexander Graham Bell- FINISHED!
  5. The Story of Inventions
  6. A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land
  7. King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table- FINISHED
  8. Free Reads (which means they do not have to narrate to me me nor are the assigned what to read when; its sometimes "fluff" and I'm good with that): Puck of Pook's Hill (FINISHED!); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (audiobook).

Mama's Assessment of Middlings Lessons: I'd still like to see more careful work (penmanship, spelling, detailed illustrations) in their written narrations/keeping journals but I did hear more through oral narrations, which is even more important for them right now.


Upper Lessons: (Matthias, age 13 & Benjamin, age 15) they continued their loop of independent work during the day, meeting with me most afternoons for narrations (1 written per day & the rest oral) & any help needed with grammar or Matthias' math. Eric continued to meet with them for logic & Benjamin's math. In addition to written narrations, they began their Book of Centuries. They also continued to write about a current event for science & history most weeks. Their studies include personal Bible reading & journaling + a Romans Bible study from co-op with our Pastor, math (ChalkDust), Biology & Physics science & experiments (this guide for biology; this guide for Matthias physics; this guide for Benjamin's physics), Spanish (co-op), writing & literature (co-op), grammar (Jensen's Grammar), logic (Matthias: Art of Argument; Benjamin: will begin next interval), history (co-op with Daddy as teacher: Christendom), mapwork from various readings + learning to draw USA (Draw the USA), music (Matthias: piano with lessons each week), free reading (at bedtime) & AO readings + narration. Matthias got a red-footed tortoise, which is perfect as a nature study!


Mama's Assessment of Upper Lessons: Spanish class at co-op has been a struggle for both boys. We need to work on study habits & simply (but not really simple) put in the hours to get it done.

Patricia: (age 17) her dural enrollment classes for her second session of the fall semester where Freshman Composition II US History. It was a very challenging session, with the need to learn how to better manage her time. However, she continued to do very well, acing all four classes in her first semester. In addition, she studied music (piano & mandolin at home + she teaches Abigail piano), math (ChalkDust), ACT prep, art & assigned reading. Here's a list of assigned reading that she journals & we (usually) discuss (the girl reads way beyond this list!)- none of them are finished yet:

  1. Rob Roy
  2. State of the Arts
  3. Economics in One Lesson
  4. Lectures in Calvinism

one second project: 2017

During 2017, I attempted to take one second of film each day. It didn't happen every single day but I kept going. I shared those films along the way & now I'm ready to share our entire year. This year, our family has learned afresh how precious life is, how valuable every second is lived together. I'm so grateful we have this film to help us remember! I love these people!

So, pop some popcorn & enjoy seeing our family's 2017 (its about 6 minutes)!

merry Christmas!

It's not been the typical Christmas here with the passing of our dear friend, a trip to Texas & then sickness but even in the midst of all this, there is reason to rejoice in our Savior being born to save His people from their sins! Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

a week of mama

Once again, Heather Robinson encouraged her alumni students to get in front of the camera for another "week of mama" project. (We did this back in March & I shared it here too. Just click the tag at the end of this post.) Capturing me in our family story is important because I was there too.... but so often forget to document that. Heather's class, Family Historian, helped me to link my photography with writing. It's helped me share my heart with my children and provide a way to leave a legacy for future generations.

Here's November's "a week of mama:"


day 1: I'm fiercely protective of guarding your childhood, of giving you time to be a kid, be outside, time to enter the world of imagination, to build relationships with your siblings & time to create. it's not easy- it seems like so much presses in & grabs for our time, especially as you grow older. many of those things are good but so is this. so I pray for wisdom & reevaluate, making room in our busy schedule for childhood. so while your brothers were being their crazy, loud selves, I made sure you had time today to feed your soul & create. 


day 2: my, you're good for my soul! people often comment how much you're like me & while that may be true, I think you've got a lot your Daddy in you. you both share a love for sci-fi & fantasy. (can you see me crinkling my face into icky shapes as I write that?) you both love discussing politics& cultural happenings. but your quirky personality is all you're own. wherever it came from, I'm grateful because I needed a laugh today. and we both needed the coffee after I was gone for majority of the day with appointments while you held down the fort at home with the littles. the wisdom & kindness you possess at such a young age... well, I hope it can be said that I'm like you!


day 3: today was hard. I was far from being the mama I wanted to be, no where close to being the one you needed. you were not innocent but it doesn't matter... in fact, because of that, my love should have poured out all the more. and that's why it shook me to the core when I didn't show you kindness & patience. I had to flee to this spot- the only place I could find in a busy house where I could be alone to cry & pray. I needed to pour out my heart to my Savior before I could pour it out to you. because no matter what, I will always come to you & be honest about my own faults. I will always ask for forgiveness before expecting you to do the same. we can cling to Christ together! because that's the mama I want to be & exactly the one you need.


day 4: almost two hours past dinner time, your daddy & I finally snuck out for a date. I always try to actually do my hair because he likes it when I wear it down. we both look forward to our weekly date! it's rarely fancy but this mama's heart needs this time just with him. making our relationship a priority isn't always easy & there's seasons when it's near impossible to have time for just the two of us. that's okay- it's the reality of living a full life with all of you. but focusing on just us helps us focus on all of you. you all don't quite understand that yet- you wonder why we're leaving you behind & sometimes you older ones buck at having to care for the littles. but I promise I still love all of you... I just don't have to be with you 24/7 to show it. 


day 5: I love how the holidays get me in the kitchen more with all of you! these days, I've become more if a ringleader where household chores are concerned, including some of the cooking. it feels like a circus with all the hustle & bustle of running this house so I'm grateful for moments like this to slow down & gather all you littles to bake with me.  truth be told, I didn't always love cooking with lots of littles- it had to grow on me through the years. I had to learn to smile at the mess & craziness. knowing all the workload no longer falls solely on my shoulders helps. so, thanks!


day 6: oh, I love smooching your face! it hasn't always been easy for me to slow down & savor what's in front of me. I think for a long time, I thought in order to do that, I first needed everything in order & checked off. I thought quiet equaled peace. but here's the thing, life keeps going & a mama's job is never accomplished- the next thing is always waiting. it's a blessing to have all those things to do even though there tension from a fallen world. all these tasks are the fruit of a full life lived with all of you & I've learned peace is a matter of my heart, not the volume level in this house. but it's also a blessing to let it all go & just be. with you... and usually several other children running around being loud, which was the reality outside this photo. that's okay- I'll just breath you in for a bit longer.


day 7: teaching each of you to read is one of the highlights of my life. each of you have learned at various speeds & ages. one of you truly struggled & took years to learn- we both shed a lot of tears along the way. I still get choked up when I hear you reading aloud & I expect I'll still do that when I'm old & gray. I often tell you all that I want to be the grandmother who comes over with a bag stuffed to brim to read aloud to my grandchildren. what fun that will be! maybe I can take some pictures too. and I definitely hope I'm still getting in front of the frame with you all!

day in the life: october 13, 2017

Since Timothy was born, I've been feeling like I've been in a rut with my photos. That's no surprise because newborns are time consuming and so is home educating 6 children. All lovely things but it can make picking up my camera difficult. It's worth the effort & I'm never sad when I stop and focus on it though so I decided to shoot another day in the life. To be honest, at first I was disappointed when I culled my images. Disappointed by the zillion shots I missed. Disappointed by the lack of "good" shots. Disappointed I fizzled out & stopped shooting in the early evening.

Then I got thinking why I was disappointed. It's partly because I know where I want to be with my photography and many of these images do not meet that standard. But you know how you get there? Shooting lots and LOTS of photos. And I truly mean LOTS! I also think I was disappointed because I forgot that part of shooting a ditl is excepting the day as it is because I'm documenting real life with no directing. Shooting it and seeing a ditl takes acceptance. Lastly, I think I was disappointed because I did miss a lot of shots- it's just the reality of any ditl, especially if you're that mama who is nursing and home schooling. 

I had to wait to edit my photos and something magical happened. I came back with gratitude that I shot that day. Thankfulness that I captured our memories because I want to remember life as it is! And as I remembered these various moments, they made me smile. I have a feeling that my children and future generations will care less that this isn't my "best" work! So, here's me showing up and preserving our memories and learning to be content with what I can do now as I grow.