Showing posts with label Clarice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clarice. Show all posts

2019 In A Nutshell



Every year I write a year-in-review - it's quite possible that no one finds these interesting but me.  But it does my heart good to look back on everything that happened in the previous year - the surprises, sorrows and stresses, joys and beauty, the things that delighted me, and the things that didn't work out quite the way I wanted them to.  To see God's hand through it all and thank Him for the ways that He has worked in our family, and in my heart, over the course of one year.  So I'll try to make it interesting to read for all of you, but just know that these years, reviewed here on the blog, are something I need to do for me too.

Without further ado...

January



-I started the year out with making goals for the first time in many years.  Post coming about how that actually went...

-We finished up renovating the kitchen and Derek started on the master bathroom.

-We made the difficult decision to explore some of the other churches in our area, because of some drama that went down at our current church.  This led to a months-long period of discouragement for me as we realized the pickin's, for what we are looking for in our area, were pretty slim.

-I did a day-in-the-life series on Instagram - I always think it's fun to go back and watch these later.  It always brings back fun memories.

-We visited the stock show, and the kids loved it.

-Georgie started walking, and quickly took off!

-We braved a snowstorm and visited the "butterfly zoo", which was a nice spot of tropical in the middle of all that winter.


On The Blog: My Favorite 20 Books From 2018,  Four Quick Reminders About Teaching Children The Bible

February



-We went sledding at my parent's house with my sister and her family!  It was so much fun, and made me feel like a kid again.

-We did a field trip the the Nature and Science museum with friends!

-We bought valentines for friends.

-Wyatt turned 8 years old.  We had a fun day celebrating him with a trip to Bass Pro Shops and the movies!

-We had my sister over for Valentine's Day for a little mini party.

-My mom watched ALL the grandkids for me and my siblings, and we had a rare date!  We saw Ralph Breaks The Internet at the dollar theater, because we're fancy like that.

-We went on a winter nature hike.

-I started a classics book club with some friends from my college days!  We started reading Far From The Madding Crowd.

-We continued our church wandering, and I felt so untethered and lost.  I felt deeply discouraged all through February, and realized I was overloading myself.  I stepped back from a few things, which helped with my stress levels, but not with my discouragement.

On The Blog: Dear Candy Hearts | Little Letters Vol. 1, How's School Going? A Mid-Year Homeschool Update


March 



-We got alot of snow, and I came up with this list of reasons to like snow, in response to an unusual amount of local friends complaining about it.  We live in the Rocky Mountains, people!  It's going to snow.

-I finally started to get into a morning routine and I began getting up before the kids - something I've wanted to do for a long time, but it has been too hard with young babies before this year.

-I celebrated the 12th anniversary of the day I met Derek!

-We got hit by a bomb cyclone.

-We visited the zoo amidst the snowy remnants of the bomb cyclone.

-Clarice drew our family portrait.

-I got a sinus infection and the kids got another stomach bug.  We never threw up as often as we did in the 2018-2019 winter.

-I really started struggling with how much time I was spending on Instagram, and I wrote about it a little bit.

-It started to warm up toward the end of the month, and we enjoyed a park day!

-We did an "inside the orchestra" field trip with our co-op, and the kids loved playing around with the instruments!

-I thought I was starting to come out of my doldrums and discouragement, but now I think it was just the initial bounce-back from cutting things out of my schedule in February.

On The Blog: How Do You Balance Homeschooling With Toddlers?, How We Connect With Other Homeschoolers, Why We Keep A Traditional School Schedule, Why I Read Middle Grade Books

April


-My discouragement came back with a vengeance, and after sprinkling in exhaustion and some people problems, I spent a couple weeks basically just crying about everything.  I was so relieved when Derek called my parents so I could go to New Orleans with him for a work trip.  An escape and reset was really badly needed at that point.

-My dad gave me some encouragement too.

-Clyde turned five years old!

-I got back into taking the kids on "mom days", and had alot of fun on my mom day with Gwen!  She also lost her upper front tooth.

-We had a wonderful and refreshing trip to New Orleans!  Ate alot of Beignets, took a couple plantation tours, listened to alot of jazz.  I came back with a fresh perspective, and things finally started looking up for real.

-Tried a new egg-coloring method with the kids.

-We celebrated Resurrection Day!

-We noticed a sore on our dog's neck, so I took him into the vet and we found out Harvey had a tumor.  Tumors in dogs are most often cancerous, and we really thought we were going to lose him. He had surgery to remove the tumor, and thankfully we found out a couple weeks later that it was benign!  Apparently it was a type of tumor normally found in cats.

-Took another trip to the zoo and admired the thousands of daffodils they had planted!

-Derek took the boys to see spring practice for his college football team, and he scheduled the girls and I for a Mermaid Painting Tea Party.  It was not something I would have ever dreamed up, and so much fun!

-I got jury duty - something I've always wanted to do is participate in the civic process through jury duty!  But the trial got cancelled before I could go.  Maybe someday.

On The Blog: Currently | April 2019, An Easter Memory



May


-We continued the bathroom renovation, and finally finished it up this month.  I forgot how long bathroom renovations take.

-Clyde and I got a mom day this month, and he helped me pick out some flowers, since I was itching for something summery around me.  Good thing I didn't plant them yet though, because it snowed again in May.

-I discovered a really pretty back room in our local library, and have enjoyed many blogging afternoons there since.

-The trees finally flowered late!  It was a weird year, because we usually get pretty flowers in April.

-We celebrated Mother's Day in a nice, laid-back way, and it was perfect.  I got some loose-leaf tea, and we visited my mom, and we relaxed.

-I bought a new swimsuit that I don't hate.

-We finished up school for the year.  In the snow.  I just laughed.

-Georgie started to get into "coloring".

-I visited the library book sale, which is basically the official start to summer for me.

-We started a new book for book club!  The Great Gatsby.  I ended up liking it way more than I thought I would.

On The Blog: How I Kept My Hair Under Control In New Orleans,  The One Thing Your Church Needs To Get Right , When Wiping Faces Doesn't Feel Satisfying


June


-We tried the last couple churches on our list, and finally made the decision to return to our old church.  We figured out that even with everything that had happened, it was still the best one for us.  I learned alot through this whole church process, and maybe learned to value loyalty to the local church body a little bit more.  No church is perfect, and I think maybe we needed to learn to stick with a place even when the imperfection starts to show.  I still haven't mulled over my thoughts enough to express them better than that.  But it was so good to be back.  Our church welcomed us back with open arms, and it felt like coming home.

-Clyde started gymnastics!  He was so excited, he bounced all over that gym.

-I got a very weird big toe injury.  I literally did nothing.  I was sitting at my desk and it randomly started swelling.

-Clarice and I had a mom day, and she's a clever little thing.

-We tried VBS for the first time for my big kids, and they LOVED it.  Georgie and I ran around town together, and spent too much money on donuts.

-We visited the Great Sand Dunes.

-Dollar movies started for the summer!  We went to the first one with friends.

-I celebrated my birthday at the homeschool conference, ha!  Including a spontaneous visit to a hotel.

-We celebrated Derek and my dad for Father's Day!  But Father's Day wasn't as perfect as I wanted it to be for Derek, so we celebrated again the next week with a campfire.

-We went to a state park, and though the day didn't go very well, it was very pretty.

-I took Wyatt with me to see Ken Ham at the homeschool conference.

-We visited Rocky Mountain National Park, but it was in the 50's in the middle of June!  So it was a chilly day.

-It finally started to feel like summer.  Wyatt made bird feeders and hung them around our yard.  We discovered that the bush in front four house is a lilac bush!

On The Blog:  Homeschooling And Bad Attitudes, My Homeschool Mom Summer Reading List


July


-We celebrated the 4th of July on the road to my grandma's!  We had a lovely visit with her and my Grandpa Bill, and we also took a trip to Mesa Verde National Park.

-I took the kids to the pool all by myself and shared a few tips here.

-We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary!  The whole thing felt a little anti-climactic though, after our 10th last year.

-Wyatt and I had some one-on-one time, and he helped me shop for a few more summer flowers, now that we were sure they wouldn't freeze.

-It rained alot in July, and it was a quiet, nice mid-summer.

-We did some porch camping.

-We finally upgraded our mattress, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was. We have been sleeping on a 20+ old mattress for the last 11 years of our marriage, so we sprung for the really good mattress.  And it's a king now.  It's been really nice!

-We finally set up the trampoline my parent's got us for Christmas!  The kids love it.

On The Blog: A Few Homeschool Finds, Why I'm Glad My Blog Didn't Grow


August


-We saw a century plant.

-I felt ready for summer to be over.

-We took a trip to see my grandpa, and had a lovely day visiting with him and my Grandma Juanita.  They set up a unicorn sprinkler, and the kids loved it!

-We finally remembered we were supposed to take a vacation in August, and we got a last-minute trip to Florida on the calendar!  We saw the Everglades, went to SeaWorld, visited NASA, went to the largest McDonald's in the US, stopped at an orange grove, and had several pool and beach days.  We even did one day at Disney.  It was a much needed sunny vacation!

-I struggled alot with getting into fall and school mode once we were back from Florida, so that was a big swing from earlier in the month!  This is why I like to take vacation in June (but it's not an option with Derek's work).

-New classics book club pick - Dracula, which I never would have picked up on my own, but I enjoyed it!

On The Blog: Homeschool Wins And Fails (From Last Year),  Florida! 

September


-We started the school year and eased into it, because I wasn't ready.  We did nature hikes and visited a railroad museum to get us inspired to learn!  Also, Clyde started Kindergarten, so I officially have three students this year.

-I started experimenting with a simmer potpourri on the stove to get in the fall mood.

-I got involved in political volunteering for the first time, collecting signatures for a measure to stop late-term abortion in our state.  It's been interesting to learn about the process from this angle, and to see firsthand how much work goes into getting a measure on the state ballot!

-Derek and I got another rare date, and we went to see a play!  Hunchback Of Notre Dame, which was actually very depressing, but we had a nice time laughing about it together anyway!

-I started re-reading The Fellowship Of The Ring in earnest, and enjoyed it all through the fall.  I don't re-read very often, so this is noteworthy.

-My kids remembered learning about the Harvest Moon from school last year, and kept asking when it was - it happened to be on Friday, the 13th!

-There were fires in the mountains near our home, resulting from a pretty dry August and September - this is why I don't complain about the snow and rain.

-After meaning to all summer, we finally went fishing with the kids!  It was so fun, even though we didn't catch anything, and we want to go more often now.

-My little Clarice turned four years old!

On The Blog:  Homeschool Planning: How I Do It, How We Homeschool On The Go,  How I'd Do Disney Differently With Five Young Kids,  Should You Visit Kennedy Space Center With Young Kids?  

October


-I decided to try to blog every day in October.  I didn't make it, but I did blog a lot, all about memory-keeping.  It brought up a lot of unresolved feelings about social media and phones.

-I finally tried Stitchfix with a gift card I got over a year ago for my 30th birthday!

-We did a fall nature scavenger hunt for fun.  We also went fishing again, and I shared some photos and reasons to give fishing a try here.

-Wyatt started his second season of soccer, and it was fun seeing how much he has improved since last year!

-We took alot of nature hikes, and it's a good thing, because the fall colors were short lived.  I managed to get some family photos before the leaves were gone.

-It started snowing again!

-I went to visit my friends' ranch with the kids one weekend, while Derek was hunting!  We had a wonderful time, as always, and I'm so grateful for friendships that last.

-Georgie turned two years old!

-The kids hounded me until we celebrated Reformation Day again!  I shared my favorite Reformation Day resources here.

On The Blog: My Tips For Taking Your Own Family Photos, Where I'm From,  The Reason I Bought That Sweater, A Typical Homeschool Week,  The Day I Became Pro-Life , The Happiest Place On Earth 


November



-Clarice started her ballet class, which she has been dying to do for at least a year.  Gwen and Clyde started a homeschool gymnastics class, and they loved it too!

-After taking a home improvement break over the summer, we started again this month.  Derek took a week off work to install our fireplace for our new wood stove!

-I decided to take a social media break and signed out in the middle of November.  I needed some space and time to consider what I really want out of social media, and how to make sure it's serving me instead of the other way around.  More coming on this, I'm sure.

-We had a game night with my sister's family, and her Christmas decorations were up, and it was just lovely!

-We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parent's house, and Derek's mom came with us!  We ate good food, and played A Christmas Story: The Game, and it was lots of fun!

On The Blog: The Real Reason Why We Homeschool, What I Really Thought Of Stitchfix, Tools For A Social Media Break


December



-We visited a Christmas light display with my family to celebrate my dad's birthday!  We always bundle up and walk around outside enjoying the lights, and then go get pie afterwards.  It was unusually warm this year, so we were really able to enjoy the lights!

-We visited my grandpa and Grandpa Juanita again, and I loved hearing more stories from my grandpa's life.

-We visited our favorite Christmas shop!  We bought a "new house" ornament, since we forgot to last year.

-I finally made Christmas Bible verse cards for my Etsy shop.  (This might be a good time to bookmark them for next year, if you're interested?)

-Despite it being a short Christmas season, I stayed on top of things and didn't get too behind or too overwhelmed.  I shared about the presents I was most excited to give here!  I got a lovely gift in the mail from my longtime penpal Felicia, and another one in the mail from my dear ranch friends!

-It was a quiet Christmas season for us, with not as many gatherings as usual, but we did go to an ugly sweater party with our Sunday School class!  I got a fanny pack during the white elephant exchange, but it's actually a really nice one and I'm totally going to use it when we go to the zoo.

-I dabbled in creating my own recipes again, and invented this Spicy Raspberry Cheeseball recipe.

-I wrote a Christmas newsletter, just as a writing exercise, but I ended up liking it and was sorry it was too late to send it with my Christmas cards.  You can read it here.

-We did some baking together.

-We celebrated Christmas Eve with my family, and with my grandma and Grandpa Bill!  We will see Derek's family for a belated Christmas celebration next week.

-We had a wonderful Christmas Day together - it was about as perfect as a Christmas Day can go, and that is a rare thing because nothing usually goes perfectly.  We had time to reflect on Christ's birth, everyone was excited about their presents, and we just enjoyed each other.

-We celebrated Gwendolyn's and Derek's birthday (they have the same birthday, in case you forgot)!  I got Derek and Apple Watch because he has been dying to get one for years.  Gwen turned 7 years old!

-We are celebrating New Year's Eve tonight with final signature-collecting for my petition, and an impromptu dinner with my brother and his family!

On The Blog:  Bible Verses To Write In Your Christmas Cards (+ Printables),  When You Can't Find Christmas Peace

---

Wow, even though we didn't have alot of "big" events, it was a busy year!  I think there was alot of growing for me personally this year in different areas of my life.

A month or two ago, as I've been struggling with more circumstances that have left me feeling a little alone, Derek said to me offhandedly, "Maybe the Lord just wants you to learn to lean on Him more right now."  I actually think that sums up this year pretty succinctly.  I think the Lord used alot of different circumstances this year to teach me to lean on Him more and myself less.  I'm still learning how to do that, but I'm thankful that He is my solid rock, the One on whom it will always be safe to lean.



Happy New Year's Eve, friends!

Hope you have plans to do something fun!

A Third Birthday Letter To Clarice



My Sweet Clarice,

Darling, amidst all the paperwork and packing and moving, you quietly turned three years old a couple weeks ago.

We celebrated your birthday by taking a trip to the zoo as a family.  We asked you which animals you wanted to see and you said "E-wah-fants!"  Your voice is the cutest thing right now, high-pitched with a lisp.



Your hair is just as curly and delightful as it's ever been.  You are more active right now, so the curls don't stay in perfect formation.  They fluff and fly as you run around, and form the perfect frame for your sweet little face.  I've been intentionally telling you lately how pretty your curls are, and your blue eyes light up every time.

Your favorite food is definitely "choc-wat".  You went out with grandma for your birthday lunch a few weeks ago, and she told me that when she gave you a hot fudge sundae, you took a bite, sighed, and declared "Choc-wat is the BEST!"  You are a girl after my own heart, darling!



You are still very attached to one particular bear, your pink "first birthday" bear.  I've bought a couple replacements and backups for your bear, because it would be so sad if you lost it.  You call it "Baby", and carry it with you everywhere - and you are delighted whenever you get the chance to treat it like a real baby, by putting it in a stroller or strapping it onto yourself like a baby carrier.  You found the backup a couple weeks ago, dubbed it "Other Baby", and now you carry around both of them.  You came downstairs in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago, scared because of a bad dream, and you were clutching a "baby" in each arm, their heads tucked under your chin.  It was so impossibly adorable, I couldn't even stop myself from chuckling.  You act happy and sheepish whenever I tell you that you are a good little mama to your "babies".

When I think about you at this age, I think of a little girl with big feelings. When you are happy, your smile is so huge it takes up your whole face, and I dare anyone not to smile back.  When you are sad, the whole world is ending, and your blue eyes drown in tears.



Whether you are so happy you might burst, or sad enough to get my shirt all wet, when I pick you up to give you a hug your little arms wrap around my neck.  It's hard to want to put you down.  I walked past the mirror when I was carrying you the other day and realized how tiny you still are.



You are such a joy to me, darling, and the one I can always count on for a smile or a snuggle.  You light up all my days.  You have grown so much in the last year.  You have become such a wonderful big sister.  You have started talking more and more.  Your personality has become even more fun, if that were possible.  But you are still my sweet baby girl, willing to cuddle on my lap and dragging around your teddy bear.  I can't wait to see how you grow over this next year, but I also hope it doesn't happen too fast.  I know I'll want these days back.  I'm loving life with you so much right now, at three.

Love You More, Baby Girl.

-Mama


And Just Like That, She's Two



My Dear Clarice,

What a year it has been, Darling!  Your first birthday party seems so long ago, but at the same time your second birthday snuck up on me.  You have grown so much in a year!  And now you are two.  As I type that I picture how you draw out the word "two" when we ask how old you are, how your lips form this cute little "o", and you cross your eyes a little as you look at your hand to hold up three or four fingers.  

You walked shortly after your first birthday last year, but you were content for months to just say your ten favorite words, including "daddy", "mama", and "bebe" - your name for that pink bear that GG got you for your first birthday.  I should probably note here that Bebe comes everywhere with us, and you really do consider it your baby.  You tuck it under blankets for naps, you've tried to feed it a bottle, and you cradle it in your arms and rock it.  I have to wash it every other week at least, and it will probably be falling apart soon.  I have no doubt my future includes many patches of Bebe.



You also went through this funny stage where you kissed everyone with Bebe, but my favorite right now is when I am about to leave to run errands by myself, and you run up with your arms in the air, and say "hug!" and "kess!", your little lips puckering.  I bend down to kiss you, you say "mwah!" with your little arms wrapped tightly around my neck and you lift your feet off the ground.  You're so light that it doesn't even hurt having you swing from my neck for a few seconds.

You've really started talking just in the last couple months, and now that you've started you try to say everything.  You are constantly copying what everyone says, and sometimes you'll jabber sentences and crack me up.  Even though you just started talking, you can really hold your own in a conversation.  You say the cutest things sometimes, and I need to remember to write them down more in your memory book.



The other day you were not feeling particularly well.  It was cold outside, but you were determined to follow your big siblings outside to get me some wood for the fireplace.  A minute or two later you were on the porch, the last three inches of your pants soaking wet, and you were crying.

I got you dried out, but you wouldn't really stop the crying; after getting your big siblings settled back inside and cleaning up the kitchen, I checked on you, scooped you up, and climbed onto Gwen's bed to sit with you and calm you down.  Less than five minutes later the crying was reduced to a few shuddering breaths, and you were fast asleep.  You had your little arm wrapped around me, and your head resting on my shoulder.

I wasn't about to move, Baby Girl, because you were an almost-two-year-old.  I know from experience that almost-two-year-olds don't fall asleep on their mama's shoulder very often anymore.  I held you and snuggled you for a good hour and a half while your siblings played in the next room.  Taking in you little eyelashes, and your perfect pink lips, and your wild curls, and your even breathing.  And I guess I'm writing that here, because I know it might have been the last time you will fall asleep on me like that.  We have so many exciting firsts ahead, and so many lasts too that will probably slip by unnoticed.  But I'm holding on to this one, this sweet memory in my heart of my baby, snuggled up next to me and breathing against my skin.  



Now on to the glorious two's, Darling!  I can't wait to see what your third year holds.  I love you more than I could ever say.

-Mama



Woodland Tea Party (First Birthday Party!)





At the end of September we had Clarice's first birthday party!  I have probably been planning and mulling over this party more than most of the other ones I've thrown, and I picked my theme months ago when I ordered our gorgeous invitations.  Despite all my mental planning, I didn't actually buy anything else until a week before her party, but I am happy with the way it turned out!































Details

Tissue paper flowers: I made them from a kit that I got on clearance at Joann's - they were so easy!  You could easily make them without a kit, and maybe one of these days I'll do a post (or find one already written) to show you how.

String of balloons: The best idea I ever got from Pinterest.

Lemon drops and tea cups: The tea cups I have had for a while - whenever I find a pretty on in an antique shop I snag it, so they were perfect for my "tea party" vision.

Rose-shaped dessert mints: My mom made these for Clarice's party with an old family recipe!  They fit in perfectly with all the decor.  Thanks, Mom!

Tea pot: I've been wanting one anyway, so when I saw this Pioneer Woman tea pot at Walmart, I figured this was the perfect excuse to buy it!

Milk bottles with chalkboard tags:  I bought some extra milk bottles, because these are my favorite cups for the kids - if they leave them around the house, they kind of look decorative!  I added some chalkboard tags with these little cut-outs that I found at Hobby Lobby for $3.

Chalkboard: My attempt at hand-lettering!  Don't laugh.

Water bottles: I got some scrapbook paper that looked like aspen tree bark to replace the water bottle labels, and I taped them on with pretty washi tape.  The mint-colored tub I already had (Hobby Lobby).

Punch: Cranberry juice and Squirt.  It's simple and very good.

White cabinet: Can you believe I won that in an Instagram giveaway?  It was very exciting.

Small "dot" banner: Minted!

"Happy Birthday Clarice" banner: Minted!

"Sips" and "Treats" table signs: Minted!

Cupcake toppers: You guessed it - also part of the Minted party kit I received earlier this year!

Cupcakes: I made those, strawberry cake mix, store-bought strawberry frosting.  Keeping it simple.

Jello Popcorn: See recipe here, minus the peanuts.

White chocolate leaves: I made those with Almond Bark chocolate and some leaf molds.

Flowers and Aspen tree candle holder: Hobby Lobby.  I just loved the candle holders when I saw them, and it was very convenient since I could use them for Clarice's party too!

THE CAKE:  All caps, because I am so proud of it!  My sister made this cake - isn't she amazing?  All I told her was that I wanted an "aspen tree stump", and the cake turned out better than I even imagined!

Glitter candle: I saw it on another Instagram account, and when I tried to find it again later to look at her DIY, I couldn't find it!  So I just winged it and used Elmer's glue and glitter to cover a "1" candle.  It worked out nicely.

Banner cake topper: I got the little triangle cutouts at Hobby Lobby and strung them between two paper straws that I already had.

Clarice's birthday dress: I found it on Taylor Joelle last year, and it just happened to work perfectly as her party dress!

Headband: I bought it from this shop.

So there you go!  A year's worth of mental planning, and now it's over.  It's a little sad really - where did the last year go?  HOW IS MY BABY ONE?!   It's cliche, but it really does go by too fast.









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