Daybook: Beginning of May

Outside my window: we had snow for three days this weekend, but the sun is back.  Lots of little birds are singing, and the grass is all uneven and needing a cut. Kind-of like my boys’ hair.

In the kitchen: I have this Cooks’ Illustrated Almost-No-Knead Bread in the oven.  I haven’t decided yet what we’ll eat with it… but it should have some kind of yummy sauce we can sop up with the bread.

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In the garden: Everything is very green.  My spinach and lettuce are coming up and are almost big enough to attract the attention of the vicious predators in my yard.
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In my shoes: Between the bad weather and our 30 hour famine, last week’s mileage was low.  I’ve penciled my runs for the week and am hoping I can make them happen.  With Sam and Jonah in China next week, it may be harder then. I did have one lovely morning run where cranes unidentified water birds were still dipping in the creek when I went by.

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The lilacs will be blooming though, so that should make it easier. Can you tell I plan my runs entirely based on the flora and fauna in season?
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Good thing I’m not shooting for pace.  All my photo-taking would surely throw that off!

In the school room: Jonah’s in full exam-mode.  The rest of us are focusing on geography and reading. What about you?
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Grateful: For this energetic group who joined our 30 hour famine this weekend. (More details to come.)  The church gave us a weekend away (where/when TBD) as a thank-you for our service with the children, but more than that I’m grateful for our new children’s church coordinator (that might not be the right title) who’s coming on board.  For lilacs and bird song and meaningful work.

Praying for: So many marriages.  Youth making decisions about college or not, and how to pay for it.  Campus ministers. Foster parents. Those who grieve. Faithful servants around the world and at home. Mandy, Heather, Danielle, Justine, and Becky. Gabby and Joshua. Refugees. The hungry.

Daybook: End of April

Out my window: dawn.  The tulips are at their end (here’s one last photo for you) and the iris are thinking about opening.  The birds are noisy already.

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In the kitchen: nothing yet.  I’m sure someone will be begging to make some kind of dessert before the day is out.  I love that the children like to bake, but I think it would be better if they wanted to cook actual meals.

In the school room: I’m writing Jonah’s last AP biology exam.  He has a week and a half until his AP calc exam, and two weeks till the biology exam.  I’m feeling the pressure and am hoping not to pass it on to him.  Meanwhile, we’re trying to balance hikes and outside time and art with reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.  We just read a lovely book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin.  (It was my answer to the kids’ request for a book that “isn’t sad.”)

On my mind: I’m thinking about next year and beyond.  Owen & Moriah have expressed interest in “regular” high school, so we’re looking into those options. We’re blessed to have several good choices and time to evaluate them.  The kids have been thinking about their ITBS tests and have identified areas they’d like to add to our learning for next year (that’s the point of it, right?).  So I’m exploring more formal geography and science curricula.

In my shoes: We visited friends yesterday and had planned a hike, but then the kids were all in their play-groove and none of them wanted to go.  So we adults hiked without them.  I can’t tell you how unimaginable that scenario would have been to me even 5 years ago, but they really are growing up!

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There was still snow in the shadowed areas, and as we climbed out of the trees and up toward the light, the snow melted, the water flowed, and baby leaves unfurled all around us.  I thought I was in Narnia, when everyone kept saying, “Aslan is on the move!”  What a gift.

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Grateful: for the hike, and old friends.  (Or, maybe better phrased as friends to grow old with.)  An amazing sermon yesterday. Spring. Sam.

Also, my paperback is out!  A box of them arrived on Friday.  So fun. If you were waiting to read it in paper, it’s now available on amazon.

Praying for: Mandy, Heather, Justine, Danielle.  Marriages. Teenagers graduating. Refugees, and those who serve them. Sarah, the Neals and the Simons.

 

 

Not Quite as Bad as Predicted…

The snowstorm, I mean.  All the same, we spent lots of Sunday shoveling and banging the fruit trees to keep the branches from breaking.
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They may not plow the streets in Denver, but they do clear the running trails. I was grateful to take a run in the afternoon. When I got back, this was all that was left of our little friend.

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Quick Lit: April 2016

I’m starting with the YA titles this month.

The Fourteenth Goldfish (Jennifer L. Holm): This book is a delight.  Ellie is your average 11 year-old whose grandfather is a mad scientist.  And yet, maybe he’s not mad.  We listened to Georgetta Perna’s lovely recording and enjoyed every minute, so much so that we fought over the CDs when we had to take 2 cars.  Highly recommended.

Product DetailsFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Kate DiCamillo):  DiCamillo’s highly illustrated novel may seem like an odd choice for an audiobook, but K.G. Campbell’s reading made me wish she read me all the comics my children bring to me.  Flora and Ulysses are an unlikely pair, but when I need a superhero, I’ll be calling them.  Highly recommended.

Product DetailsOne Plus One (Jojo Moyes): Like its characters, One Plus One is a hard sell.  Its narrators are a divorced cleaning lady/waitress, her odd math genius daughter and mascara-wearing stepson, and a tech developer accused of insider trading. It took me a bit, but knowing how much I’ve enjoyed all Moyes’ other titles, I persevered.   Once the pieces had come together, I was hooked.  There was only one moment when I had to put the book in the freezer.  Highly recommended.

Product DetailsThe Bronte Plot (Katherine Reay): I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I expected to.  Like Reay’s other offerings (here are my quick reviews for Lizzy and Jane and Dear Mr. Knightley), The Bronte Plot depends heavily on a literary background of the Brontes and Austen.  This time, however, it felt less like name dropping and more like dysfunction.  I was still rooting for Lucy, the troubled MC, but this time it was harder to find her among all the books and vases and tourist attractions.  Still recommended.

Who has time for a haircut? Not me.

I know there are people who know how their hair looks best, and they keep it just that length/style/color and make it work for them. But I am not one of those people.

I’m in the camp of people who grow their hair out, only to cut it short again. But because my hair is my one beauty (thank you, Amy March), it gets lots of comments. (Don’t think I haven’t noticed your eyes wandering to the top of my head as you’re talking to me at church.) Lots of positive comments when it’s long, or very short. When it’s in between (which is about 85% of my life), it gets a lot of comments like, “So… did you get a haircut?” and “Are you, um… doing something different with your hair?”
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My hair is unreliable. It looks good super short for about 2 weeks, and then it looks ridiculous for another month before I can make it to the “salon,” where a helpful professional invariably asks me, “Have you considered covering up some of your gray?” But when I can’t even manage to make it in for a haircut more than once every 8 weeks, I suspect that “covering up my gray” would become yet another personal hygiene task at which I fail.

So yes, I’m growing out my hair. And no, that’s not a dead animal on my head. Thank you for asking.

Daybook: Sunday afternoon in April

Outside my window: the tulips are blooming!!  And the crab apple trees.
On Friday:
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Today:
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In the kitchen: pizza dough is rising, and Moriah is making banana-zucchini bread. It smells great in here.

What I’m hearing: Phoebe is having a tea party under the kitchen table and listening to Ramona and Her Father on her CD player.  In the living room, Owen & Moriah are playing quiz up together.  It’s a rare minute that the two of them are enjoying something together without someone acting as a buffer, but I am loving the moment.

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Quiz up!

In the school room: (I say that, even though we no longer have a “school room.” You know what I mean, right?)  Anyway, we survived our Iowa tests last week, and I’m hoping for a more normal rhythm this week.  We are wrapping up biographies and starting new math books.  Fun all around.  Jonah is studying hard for his AP exams.

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In my shoes: I took two great hikes last week, one with Phoebe and one with a friend who drove up to spend Saturday with us.  What a treat.  Spending time in the mountains was good for my soul.

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What I’m reading: I started another Inspector Gamache, which has yet to grip me. But I just read a book I loved- more on that on Friday!  I’m also reading Sofia Cavalletti’s The Religious Potential of the Child, and I’m inspired.

I’m grateful for: Hiking, a date with Sam this weekend, sunshine, and tulips.

I’m praying for: Mandy, Judy, Heather,  Justine. Our friends serving in Fiji and the Philippines.  Energy to spend at home on the ordinary means of grace for our family: dinners together, attentive listening, bedtime routines, and laughter.
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phfr: spring flowers

Pretty: I can’t get enough of all the flowers outside… and so far it’s just trees and crocuses. (Sorry, all you people with tree allergies!)  We’ve been taking a photo every day of our peach tree as it blooms.

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Happy: The Match is featured over at Karen’s Killer Book Bench today. (I’m doing a giveaway, if you don’t have a copy.)

Funny: Now that the snow has melted, the chickens are exploring again. Edwina would like to explore inside the house now.
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Um, no.

Real: And still, with all the gorgeousness happening outside, there is still math to do.

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Alas.

Here’s to finishing strong, friends!

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