a week of mama #3

I was thrilled to join Heather Robinson & several of her alumni in another “A Week of Mama” photography project. This was my third time shooting this project & I do believe it will never get old! One week shooting an image a day with me in the frame with whatever camera I’ve got. This project wasn’t perfect- it stretched beyond a week for me to finish. But what IS perfect is capturing my story in the midst of our family’s. Sweet mama, can I encourage you to do the same?

Here's my February/March "a week of mama" :

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day 1: Bedtime stories have been told, pjs (mostly) have been put on… all that is left is brushing teeth & prayers. So we crowd into the bathroom together, you all talking more than you’re brushing. I love watching the dynamics of all of you together… but I also love saying goodnight to a day well spent. I’m definitely more ready for bedtime than you are. Our day has been ful to the brim- kinda like how we fill up the tiny bathroom- so goodnight, my loves! Hopefully (but not likely), I won’t see your sweet faces till morning!

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day 2: It’s no surprise to anyone around here that Circle Time is my favorite part of our educational day. (It’s also no surprise that I have several favorite parts. What can I say?) This daily time together, all of us learning together, has helped to lay down what I hope is a family culture. But here’s the thing: I don’t do it just for each of you or even for all of you together. That’s some of my reasoning but I also do it for ME. During this hour, I get to learn alongside you. I get to feast on riches that feed my soul just as much as I hope it feeds yours. I get to practice patience & repentance because we each know how messy this time can be. Learning, feasting, practicing... I think those are pretty good things for a mama to do. And I’m thrilled I get to do it alongside us together!

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day 3: Daddy & I I try really hard to find time with each of you big kids. It’s not always easy to find that time- often it’s squeezed into spare moments or late evenings. (Somehow, the late evenings are easier on you than us.) While we don’t always find time for long chats every day, I do try to at least check in with every child each day. But I love these moments when I get to listen to you do the talking, whether that be about life, current happenings in the world or a book discussion. And I’m not going to lie... I also love that you know how to make me a drink.

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day 4: You are the sixth child I’ve taught to read with four more to go. Wrapped in my arms, it is good for me to slow down & take you in for just a few moments. I encourage you to keep going. One day soon, the words will flow easily and then, oh the places you’ll behold & the ideas you’ll ponder!

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day 5: (iPhone pic) Happy 13th birthday, Jonathan! I love you!

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day 6: I love the early morning hour when the light turns from blue to yellow. I love the stillness of a day ready to burst forth. I love the quiet. Only a few big kids are {suppose to be} awake, working diligently before littles arise & break the calm. I do not love the laundry, especially on Monday mornings when the piles overflow all over the kitchen. (How does one day of rest lead to this much laundry?!?) But I’m trying to learn to love it. And maybe that counts for something? Because just like you, I’m learning to be embrace tasks that never end.

day 7: (iPhone pics!) Mother goose rhymes while we waited for the IP to finish dinner. Also, the life of siblings. (See the last photo- be sure to click through all three.) These two, & especially this little gal, take every bit of my energy all day long. I can’t even imagine how boring life would be without them together!

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:

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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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
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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.

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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!

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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
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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!