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Category Archives: Childhood

#write31days ~ Day 15: Tiny Ballerina in Black and White

ballet-butterfly

ballet-stretching

ballet-at-the-barre

ballet-chasse

ballet-waiting

ballet-balancing

ballet-grand-jete

For almost two years now {more than half her life–crazy!}, Evelyn has been going to ballet classes on Thursday mornings. We started in the Itty Bitty Ballet class where not much formal training was done but it gave the children an opportunity to get used to rhythm, following instructions, and learning about their bodies movement in space.

About six months ago, Evelyn moved up to the more advanced Pre-Ballet class and has continued to enjoy it, including the more formal learning of ballet steps and movements. I’ve loved watching her grow and blossom in these classes. She gives her all and absolutely loves every moment of it. I’m so proud of her holding her own amongst girls who are a bit older than her. {The class is designed for 3-6 years old and she hasn’t even reached 3 yet. But the teacher felt she was ready to move up!}

Whether she decides to stick with ballet long-term, switch to another type of dance, or abandon it altogether further on down the road,¬†I’m so glad she’s had this opportunity.

#write31days ~ Day 14: Marks-A-Lot

 

evey-coloring

evey-coloring-2

lucie-coloring-2

lucie-coloring

We had a little fun with markers the other day. It’s their first time using these as I’ve been nervous with just how messy they can be. But good ol’ Crayola does a fine job of making ‘ultra washable’ ones and I didn’t have too much trouble removing errant marks from surfaces when we were done.

And, once again, their styles certainly came out when we got creative! ūüôā So fun to observe.

#write31days ~ Day 7: Running Between Trees

running-between-trees

We were sitting in the park this morning, enjoying our snack, when Evey looked up to see two trees sitting close together. She asked if she could run between them, then proceeded to do so over and over for the next 10 minutes or so. The simple pleasures, no?

Little did she know, she also gave her mama great pleasure as she was able to practice some framing with her camera too. ūüôā

#write31days ~ Day 6: Artful Tot

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The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento does a monthly program called Artful Tot which the girls are huge fans of {as is mama since she doesn’t have to clean up the majority of the mess!}. We attended this morning where they had a wonderful selection of activities, including vegetable and fruit painting, making tracks with farm animals, and water painting. The latter was done on a Buddha board¬†{also made in a mini version}. I’d¬†never seen these before but they’re amazing. Definitely going to consider for Christmas gifting!

Gave these a little extra contrast in post-processing to emphasize all the beautiful colors happening in these pictures! ūüôā

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Brought to You By the Letter ‘T’

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

starbucks-fall-cup

Outside my window: The air conditioning is on today and, as usual, California is notorious for joining the autumn game late. It is nearly 90 degrees today. Not feeling like autumn one bit.

dancing-in-the-rain

Listening To:¬†Evey is working on her letter for the week at the white board – ‘T’. It is quiet as Lucie is still resting, so I’m just listening to her organize the markers as she works.

Clothing Myself In: A simple skirt and shirt combo that I threw on before we went shopping this morning.

L-snacktime

Talking With My Children About These Books: We are on the letter ‘T’ this week in our curriculum. There will be lots of discussion about our favorite mode of transportation this week — TRAINS! Our list includes:¬†Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherry Dusky Rinker, Train¬†by Elisha Cooper,¬†How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton,¬†Hey Mr Choo Choo, Where Are You Going? ¬†by Susan Wickberg {one of our all-time favorites},¬†Tea Rex by Molly Schaar Idle,¬†The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, and¬†One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies.¬†

We mixed it up with a few non-train books for some variety, although I doubt the girls would mind if it was ALL ABOUT trains. ūüėČ One of these days, I need to write a post about our favorite train picture books. I’m pretty sure we have come close to reading them all.

L-in-contemplation

In My Own Reading: I finished Emily Freeman’s Simply Tuesday last week and I’m planning to join the (in)courage group in reading through it again starting at the beginning of October. Such a great read, one that needs to be pondered several times over. Is anyone else interested in reading along? I would love to discuss with a smaller group too. Perhaps we could make a Facebook page to facilitate.

I also just finished Witness to Love which I wrote a lengthy review of last week. This ministry is wonderful and sorely needed.

I’ll be starting Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection later this week as it finally came in from the library.

three-of-three-cardigans

Thinking and Thinking:¬†About Christmas gifting. I have a dozen or more projects that I would like to accomplish for gifting so I’m getting my ducks in a row to get things started. So much to do, so little time. ūüėČ It really is coming up on us quickly!

watching-pope-francis

Pondering: Still drinking in all the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, from his visit last week. I’m hoping to write a post of a few of my favorite quotes, but in the meantime, here is one:

“And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross.”

~ from Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

asleep-on-the-stair

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm:¬†We are trying to get the girls on a better sleeping schedule. Bedtime has been a little¬†too¬†flexible as of late and it is making them extra tired and cranky. Better nighttime rest, also means better naps–something¬†all of us appreciate.

baby-cardigan

Creating By Hand: Still finishing up my series of three sweaters using the In Threes Baby Cardigan pattern. I’m about halfway through my last one–a red one for Evelyn. I can finally share the newborn one I made for my sister-in-law that I gifted her this weekend at her shower. There is something so sweet and precious about tiny knits, particularly ones in pink for baby¬†girls.

Also, made a little blanket with starburst stitching on the edge. I have a few more blankets for little babes in the queue this week.

baby-blanket

Learning Lessons In:¬†Patience. Mine has been a little thin the past few weeks, so I’m learning what I need to say ‘no’ to in order to reduce the anxiety which decreases it.

Encouraging Learning In:¬†Also, patience? ūüėČ These little gals want it…and they want it NOW!

E-picking-apples

Crafting in the¬†Kitchen:¬†Moving into a rhythm of Fall foods–apples, squash, pumpkins, etc. Later this week, we’ll having one of my favorites–stuffed acorn squash–which I will share the recipe for soon.

To Be Fit and Happy:¬†My brother, Raphael, is on the same crew team that I was in high school. This past weekend, his team hosted a pancake row, where they invite family members for a little breakfast and a chance to jump in one of the boats and try their hand at rowing for a mile or so. He invited me to come along and I jumped at the chance! I hadn’t been on the water since high school, and I do love it so. I wish there was a Masters team nearby that I could join. Perhaps some day. ūüôā

rowingLoving the Moments:¬†We’ve witnessed some great moments of childlike faith from Evey the past few weeks and it is so inspiring, both from a parenting aspect and in my own walk of faith. Just yesterday, we were going to see the Supermoon eclipse but there was some cloud cover which was going to make it very difficult to see the moon. We told Evey that she should ask Jesus to move the clouds so we could see it better. She let out a sweet prayer and, sure enough, the clouds moved just at the moment of total eclipse. On the way home, she kept peeking out the window of the car, hoping to catch another glimpse of the moon but all the city lights were making it rather difficult. She says from the back seat, “Jesus, could you please move the lights so we could see the moon?” ūüėÄ

supermoon eclipse

Living the Liturgy:¬†Two great saints celebrated this week — St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1st and St. Francis on October 4th. I picked up a few roses at the store for the Little Flower’s feast. I’m sure we’ll have a little treat the evening of after our dinner. St. Francis loved animals and nature, so perhaps we’ll go for a little hike on Sunday.

fall-flowers

Planning for the Week Ahead:¬†Two of my friends had babies this month and we are on dinner duty this week for their families. One we have yet to meet so are looking forward to seeing her. Our week of the letter ‘T’ involves a trip to the train museum tomorrow after riding the train down to Sacramento. So much fun with choo-choos this week! Also, about to start a ‘t’ea party with my sweet girls….

School Beginnings

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

evey's-cow

It seems silly to even call it school but I’ve put enough thought and planning into it that it¬†is instructional and semi-structured in a way.

Not too long ago, in an attempt to placate a restless child, Steve discovered an alphabet learning program on his iPad that involves our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. Evelyn loves sitting with Steve and tracing the letters that pop up on the screen alongside Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger.

Her interest in letters has evolved now to attempting them on paper with pencils and crayons. She knows “O” from her favorite Curious George episode where he learns the meaning of zeroes, and is beginning to replicate some of the letters she’s been practicing with Pooh Bear. Without any instruction, she learned to hold writing instruments from the get-go so has been practicing lines and curves and all those precursors to writing letters for a while now.

writing

Evey has also¬†longtime loved to “read” and be read too, and will literally sit for an hour or more looking at books. She stacks them high and goes through the whole pile one by one. She has an especially strong interest in Bible stories and books of saints lives alongside¬†an innocent, natural curiosity to learn more about her Faith.

sisters-reading

With all of her keen interest and strong curiosity, I decided to look into more projects that I could work on alongside her in order to keep her budding intellect absorbed {and not bored which translates often to misbehavior}.

I stumbled across an excellent, Catholic preschool curriculum called 26 Letters to Heaven that seems a perfect fit for what I was looking for. Something semi-structured, easy to pick and choose activities that fit her level and interests, and, above all, keeps it fun and playful! She will just be 3 in November, after all.

26-letters-to-heaven

The book breaks down each letter of the alphabet with activities that go with it. We are focusing on the letter {practicing with a manipulative}, the story of a saint who begins with that letter, children’s literature that corresponds with the letter of the week, art projects, cooking/baking projects, and an outing each week.

I’ve done some planning ahead of time with activities I would like to cover but I’m not stressing about when we will do each one or even worrying about that it absolutely happen. This is more just for having some ideas of activities to do with her as we go about our days but that will also slowly help her learn letters, math, religion, science, etc. but in a very casual way. Just easy exposure.

We are not covering the letters in order because I want to cover saints’ feasts that correspond with the letter of the week when I can. So, for instance, this week we are doing “R” as the saint this week is St. Rose. {A patron of both myself and Evelyn.} We celebrated the feast with root beer floats and read the story of the saint on Sunday. Yesterday, we learned how to paint a rainbow with watercolors {and then I allowed her to freestyle paint with the watercolors}. We will be making an “R” with raisins sometime and, perhaps, doing some counting with them as well. We have plans to take a picnic down by the river as our outing for the week.

letter-r-board

Our book list this week includes: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Roll Over: A Counting Song illustrated by Merle Peek, Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky {great illustrations!}, Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle, and The Rooster Crows by Maud and Miska Petersham. The author of 26 Letters to Heaven has a great booklist for each letter. We’ve had a wonderful time being exposed to new children’s literature {or re-exposed, especially in my case}. I’ve also been adding some to the list in the book for future reference.

For fun, we also picked up the movie Tangled at the library as it is the story of Rapunzel, and had a family movie night.

The beautiful thing about this curriculum is that it can be used again and again over the years because you can choose more difficult activities the following year(s) as well as new activities. There is so much to do. {And keep writing new things as they come to mind!} When she is ready, there is the opportunity to learn more about certain virtues, memorize Bible verses, perform science experiments, etc.

We love to do arts and crafts around here so I’m also supplementing with Jean Van’t Hul’s The Artful Parent. She has a great website with tons of ideas too.

As I mentioned earlier, as a family we are trying to celebrate the Church’s liturgical year more fully, especially important feast days in our family.¬†Some of my favorite resources for doing this include: The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home by Leila Lawler and David Clayton, A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Jackson Greer, The Year and Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season by Mary Reed Newland, Feast! by Daniel and Haley Stewart, and¬†Drinking with the Saints¬†by Michael P. Foley {that last one is really for adults ;)}.

Just a bit of our “school year” plans…..

Moments ~ {Vol. 11}

girls-digging-in-dirt

Dirt, dirt, and lots of dirt. Most mornings are spent outside digging. Pre-lunch time is spent bathing.

little-diggers

Digging with spoons because we’re fancy like that.

evey-scootering

Evey’s becoming a scootering pro.

evey-finger-painting

Never one to paint her body before, Lucie’s encouragement pushed Evey¬†outside her comfort zone.
evey-finger-painting

First finger painting for both girls.
lucie-finger-painting

Doesn’t mind getting messy one bit.

lucie-finger-painting

Who says paint is for paper?

dancing-with-daddy

Daddy-daughter dance to “Let it Go”.

frozen-with-daddy

Saturday morning Frozen viewing with Daddy.

sunday-morning-with-daddy

Sunday morning snuggles with Daddy. Sweetest.
Evey's-cow-drawing

Evey’s cow. ūüôā

Evey's-cow-drawing

He got more legs and accessories than he bargained for.

dinner-under-the-lights

End-of-summer party at my parents’ complete with appropriate ambience lighting.

dinner-under-the-lights

Magical.

orange-sunflower

Our first sunflower of the season!

tomato-braised-chicken-and-red-wine

Enjoying a wonderful red from a friend’s family winery in Oregon alongside a delicious Sunday dinner.

anchor-steam-porter-tasting

#muffbrews continues. We’ve been on a porter and stout kick lately.

kitchen-flowers

Beautiful flowers from a #bissisterhood friend. Makes my kitchen so pretty.

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Snacktime post-splash pad fun. They enjoyed themselves. Really.

star-cookie-treat

Grocery day treat. Bribery or reward? You decide. 

free-ice-cream

Free ice cream at the library? Yes, please. {Although, every time we go to the library now she wants to know where the ice cream van is.}

evey-purple-popsicle

Matchy-matchy.

lucie-ice-cream-cone

She knew right what to do with that cone.
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Creative sticker sticking. {She likes to place them over her eyes too. Whatever floats your boat, Ev.}

Gathering My Thoughts : Reading, Recipes, and Relaxation

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

swinging-with-daddy

Outside my window:¬†Heat, heat, and more heat. This week is a scorcher. We’ve had some fairly mild weather this summer, minus a series of a few days here and there. I’m grateful. And I’m ready for the Fall. The only good thing about this heat is that it might make my tomatoes turn red. Here’s to hoping.

Listening To:¬†My husband and daughter make pizza for dinner. She asks¬†so many questions about everything. I’m glad he’s fielding them for now as my brain hurts a little from the continual bombardment throughout the day. ūüôā

Clothing Myself In:¬†My favorite blue skirt {similar to this one} and tank top {this one but it’s sold out!}. Light and breezy to stay cool in this heat.

books-for-b-week

Talking With My Children About These Books:¬†We are starting on the 26 Letters to Heaven curriculum {loosely} this week. Evey has been showing a strong interest in learning letters so I decided to seek out a easygoing curriculum that would allow me to introduce them better to her. I’m planning to do another post in the next week or so about books I’m using for education with her and my reasons for doing so.

We’re not doing the letters in order. “B” is the letter of the week. Our books for the week are:¬†Blueberries for Sal¬†by Robert McCloskey,¬†Angelina Ballerina by Katherine Holabird,¬†Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett,¬†The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter,¬†Seven Hungry Babies by Candace Fleming,¬†Beach by Elisha Cooper,¬†Baby Bear Sees Blue¬†by Ashley Wolff.

Have any others we should add??

In My Own Reading:¬†Over the past week or so I’ve binge-read two novels: The Orphan Train and The Girl On the Train. The fact that they both have to do with trains didn’t occur to me until I picked up the second to read it. As with a lot of my pleasure reading these days, both of these came recommended by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. The first was also recommended strongly by my mother, hence, it ended up as my choice in the category of “a book recommended by your mother” in the Reading Challenge. It was fantastic. It follows the story of a young, orphaned Irish girl when she is shipped to the Midwest to be adopted and tells of the life she found when she got there. It is interwoven with the story of a contemporary orphan. Highly recommended now by me too! 5 out of 5 stars.

The Girl on the Train is a high-speed thriller {you see what I did there?} which I sped through in a matter of 24 hours. I was a bit hesitant to read this when I saw it listed as a thriller as I am not too fond of blood and guts and crazy psychological yuckiness, but it was pretty easy to stomach and the plot pulled me right along to the end. 4 out of 5 stars.

Thinking and Thinking:¬†About the Autumn and all the wonderful flavors of the season that will soon be coming. {Despite the fact we still haven’t harvested any of our tomatoes yet this year. They’re on the slow boat.}

I’m also very excited about all the crafts and such I’ve been planning to do with Evelyn. Her imagination is really taking off and she loves creating and crafting {I’ve got a kindred spirit. ;)} so we’re going to go at as many as we can stand! ūüôā

candlelight-family-dinner

Pondering: 

“It is God himself who teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplating and enjoying the fruits of our labours, not only in our employment or profession, but through every action by which we as men and women cooperate in God‚Äôs creative work, even in times of difficulty. In the workplace too, we celebrate ‚Äď a birthday, a marriage, a new baby, a farewell or a welcome. True moments of celebration make us pause from our work, because they remind us that we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is not a slave to work, but the Lord of work! And so we must never be slaves to work but rather its master!

Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God. The Sunday Eucharist brings to our celebrations every grace of Jesus Christ: his presence, his love and his sacrifice; his forming us into a community, and his way of being with us. Everything is transfigured by his grace: work, family, the joys and trials of each day, even our sufferings and death. May we always recognize the family as the privileged place to understand, guide and sustain the gifts which arise from our celebrations, especially the Sunday Eucharist.”

~Pope Francis, General Audience, August 12, 2015

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm:¬†Since we’re in the space between summer and Fall, we’re sticking to our summer routine here for a little while longer still since the sun is up a bit earlier. It also stays hot here often into the early days of October. Early mornings are spent outside in the {semi}fresh air, afternoons indoors in air conditioning crafting, watching a show or two, prepping for dinner, etc. I’ve enjoyed the rhythms of our days this summer, hoping to find a similar one that works this Fall.

knitting-pink-sweater

Creating By Hand:¬†Knitting tends to be a seasonal craft for me. So, since the cooler weather will be upon us soon, I’ve busted out my stash. There are a few babies making an appearance within the next couple months so a few items for them are first up on my list.

I found a fabulous little cap-sleeve sweater I’m creating. I’m about halfway done now. If it continues as well as it has so far, I will probably make both of the girls ones for the cooler months. {Joining up with Ginny’s Yarn Along this week. Join us if you like to knit or crochet too!}

Learning Lessons In:¬†Balance. Time is precious. I want to use it wisely. Figuring out priorities and making sure I’m giving of myself in the places where God most wants me to be.

Encouraging Learning In:¬†Sweeping. Evelyn insisted on a dustpan and broom to take home with her when we were shopping at Ikea last week, so she’ll be in charge of that chore…once she learns it is more than just brushing things around the room. ūüėČ

sunday-dinner-with-wine

Crafting in the¬†Kitchen: I’ve begun posting weekly recipes focused around what is in season¬†on Thursdays here on the blog.

A few recipes to use up the last of that summer produce include: Breakfast Peach Crisp, Salmon Bread Salad, Blueberry Banana Bread Muffins, and Tortellini Salad with Avocado and Broccoli.

To Be Fit and Happy:¬†I was having a really hard time¬†fitting exercise into my days, really just getting motivated to get it done. But I revived an exercise accountability group on Facebook that I had with a few friends, and it’s helped me get my backside in gear a little more frequently. I’ve been doing the Barre3 workouts 3 times a week. I’m hoping to up that to 4 or 5 within the next week or so. I think part of the problem was I was trying to do too much to begin {I’m¬†really out of shape} and starting out slow, not doing back-to-back days, has helped me immensely in¬†wanting¬†to do it, rather than¬†forcing¬†myself.

drawing-a-cow

Loving the Moments:¬†To go along with our “schooling” I purchased Evelyn a new easel. She¬†loves the whiteboard. Literally spends an hour or more every day doodling there. She draws a lot on paper too, but an interesting thing happened when she began drawing vertically: she’s drawing realistic figures! She made me a cow the other day and began adding accessories and such to it, naming each thing. It was quite discernible. This is the first I’ve seen her do this. I love to witness these milestones! ūüôā

Living the Liturgy:¬†This coming Sunday is the Feast of St. Rose who is a patron of both Evelyn and myself {her middle name, my Confirmation saint}. We’ll celebrate by going to Mass and enjoying Root Beer floats for dinner that evening. If you couldn’t guess, our letter next week will be “R”. I need to think of a good “R” food to serve for dinner….

painting-her-legs

Planning for the Week Ahead:¬†We’re about halfway through {I started writing this on Tuesday but the time gets away from me}. We have dance tomorrow, I’ll enjoy our monthly dinner together with my mom in the evening, then winding down to the weekend, Steve and I are looking forward to a much-anticipated date a local winery where we’ll be savoring a tasting-and-pairing menu alongside a tour.

 

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Gathering My Thoughts: The Beginnings of Summer & Answer Me This

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

lucid-eating-corn

Outside my window: The heat of the summer and thoughts of making it outside to take a swim with the girls and Steve sometime this evening.

Listening To:¬†The loud hum of the air conditioner. {Thank God for air conditioners!} Need to have it looked at before summer is in full swing. Although it may be too late….¬†Also, my daughters chatting and playing together. They adore each other and it makes my heart sing.

Clothing Myself In:¬†Pjs still. There is a trend on Mondays that I just can’t break. We had a long weekend so my husband proclaimed it ‘pajama day’ so I’m only following orders, anyway. ūüėČ

target-shoppers

Talking With My Children About These Books:¬†Evey is on a birthday literature kick. {Well, it’s not limited too literature. She wants to bake someone a ‘birthday cake’ every day and celebrate¬†someone’s birthday. Little party animal, that one. ;)} We picked up Bears and a Birthday and Happy Birthday, Bunny! at the library on one of our recent trips and we read them daily and discuss making Lucie’s birthday cake next week. Apparently, it is going to be the flavor of ‘pink’ — no exceptions. We’re also still making our way through books about trains. She really loves one called Locomotive. It is a beautiful non-fiction, Caldecott award book that is appropriate through late elementary school ages. Telling the story of a trip on the early railroad from the Midwest to California, she loves pointing out on the map at the front the spot that is Sacramento, where Daddy takes the choo-choo to work. We’re already working on our map skills at two-and-a-half!

In My Own Reading: These past two weeks have found me with my nose stuck in quite a few books. I finished Still Life, The Homegrown Preschooler, and A God in Ruins. I’m about to start The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve been waiting on it from the library for over four months. It’s a popular one and I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s all it’s hyped up to be. {And¬†hoping that it has a profound impact on my house making too. ;)}

Thinking and Thinking:¬†Trying to¬†determine where God wants us to be as a family. Now that Steve has finished his Masters program, he’s trying to figure out where to go on with his career. But that also means the possibility of us moving to another location. It’s difficult discernment. Say a prayer for us, will you?

steve-and-laurel

Pondering:¬†‚ÄúA little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.‚Ä̬†– Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator¬†

Keeping light-heartedness alive in my life….

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm:¬†Last week was hard with the girls and I sick with colds. We’re still recovering this week but I’m hoping to get back a bit to our daily schedule. Although, there are a lot of activities outside the house happening this week so we’ll see how successful we are in this.

Creating By Hand: Mostly dreaming, but really determined to get out my machine, at least by the weekend, and get some baby blankets and knit jersey dresses stitched.

yummy-pizza

Learning Lessons In:¬†Patience. I’m running a little thin with it lately. Learning to take time for self-care makes this a much easier task.

Encouraging Learning In:¬†Summer enjoyment. ūüôā I want the girls to remember summers as times of {mostly} family fun and relaxation. Of course, we have chores and such that never go away, but it is important to¬†slow down¬†and¬†savor this season a bit.

Crafting in the Kitchen:¬†I want to bake…but I don’t want to turn the blasted, hot oven on. Oh, the conundrum. I have a trio of well-ripened bananas on my counter begging to be made into banana bread. Perhaps an early morning baking session is in the near future.

getting-on-up

To Be Fit and Happy:¬†I signed up for the Barre3 classes online and even started one of the programs to help keep me on track. But: sickness. It seems like every time I start to make progress in getting active again, sickness rears its ugly head and sets me back again. I have been getting out the garden and putting in a good workout with the removal of that ugly Bermuda grass, so at least there’s that.

Loving the Moments: Very proud of my brother-in-law who graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry at UOP. Steve and I were able to have a little “vacation” while my parents watched the girls and we attended all the festivity over the weekend. I’ll have to share a post of the revelry sometime this week. Without babes in arms, I was able to take quite a few photos. {You’ve been warned! ;)}

dental-school-graduation

Living the Liturgy:¬†We¬†thought about and had the intention of doing the Enthronement to the Sacred Heart together as a family on the feast day. But it came and went. {I did write up a nice, little post about devotion to the Sacred Heart, if you care to take a look.} We’re not going to give up, though. Hopefully, sometime this week it will happen.

Planning for the Week Ahead:¬†Much on the calendar this week. I’m going to attempt to keep¬†quiet moments for us as a family even as we forge ahead through the week’s activities. It’s essential to our well-being, collectively and individually.

static-slide-hair

**********

Also, joining up with Kendra for her summertime series — Answer Me This — where you get to know us bloggers a little better through a series of fun, random questions that she posts each week for us to answer. This week’s:

1. Any big plan’s for the summer?¬†We’ve taken our two big trips of the year {New York and Los Angeles} so we’ll be hanging close to home for the summer. We’re hoping for a weekend camping trip to the coast, a day trip to San Francisco, and some time at the family cabin in Serene Lakes.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? I really can’t think of anything for this. Perhaps I am too much of a realist?

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)¬†I’m not a big fan of amusement park rides but I did enjoy the Medusa at Six Flags quite a bit in high school. Not sure how I would fare on it as an adult. {I seem to get motion sickness on swings now. No bueno.} I do enjoy the Ferris Wheel and Carousel, so we’ll go with those. ūüėČ

4. What’s on your summer reading list?¬†I’ve always got a stack of books a mile high so I’ll try to narrow it down to priorities. ūüėČ The one I mentioned above — The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — is next on the list. Then, Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation¬†by Alexandra Horowitz and, hopefully, some writing and copywriting books to help me step up my game.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public? On a park bench in Swansea, Wales. That was glorious. Also on public transit a few times, but I don’t know if that counts. I think most people do at some point if they ride it.

6. What is your favorite smell? Lavender and red, ripe strawberries.

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Here’s to Summer!

Summer hit with a vengeance the past few days.

Temperatures soaring near 100. The impossible dream of cooling off the house at night with the windows open. The roar of heat that blasts you as you open the car door to get inside. The need to drink gallons of water to replace all the water you’re losing from sweating.

But we’ve had an odd phenomenon the past week or so too. Humidity. Thunderstorms. Rain. How grateful we are. Every drop counts.

California is in it’s fourth consecutive year of severe drought. The ponds are non-existent, the lakes have turned into ponds, in some spots the rivers are just a trickle. It is a little hairy-scary.

We were planning on a large-scale garden this year, but as I watched the scant rain fall from the sky over the past few months, I began paring down my ambitious plans. It takes a lot to feed those thirsty veggies, especially when the earth is already parched.

splash-pad-splashing

We had a grand time visiting the few splash pads last year that were not shut off due to the drought.¬†Thank the Lord they keep the recirculating ones running because life would be rather unbearable if we couldn’t get some break from the scorching temps. No sprinklers on the lawn as we’re not even supposed to water it, but just let it go brown. {Not too hard for ours considering the pine needles on top do a superb job of blocking half the sunlight.} We’ll be getting crafty with water play. Perhaps getting a soak down when the few plants we have need to be watered. Or taking out the kiddie pool for a splish-splash afternoon.

kiddie-pool-fun

My in-laws, who are close by, also have a wonderful pool the girls and I can sneak away to during the day or grab daddy to tag along in the evenings.

splashing-daddy

This summer will probably look like:

early morning trike riding

trike riding

sidewalk chalk painting

chalk painting alphabet

stick wielding

stick wielding

watermelon munching

watermelon-munching

bubble popping

bubble-popping

bonfire watching

bonfire

river sitting

river-sitting

beach digging

beach-digging

sunset gazing

sunset-at-the-station

fountain watching

fountains-in-roseville

whipped cream smashing

whipped-cream-smash

library visiting

horse-at-the-library

pie making

peach-pie-heart

afternoon napping

afternoon-nap

smoothie drinking

smoothie-drinking

ice cream eating

ice-cream-yum!

and let’s not forget: gin-and-tonic sipping {for mommy and daddy, of course!}

gin-and-tonic-season

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