Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Things: The Mega Post

{I started this post days ago. Yesterday was a nasty day: just about every tantrum, bad attitude, and stressor you could imagine occurred during the course of our homeschool process. A perfect storm of...nastiness. I may or may not have gone running from the premises and had some blackberry cobbler with Mrs. M late in the evening. Wink.

This morning two awesome things happened. First, I listened to NPR all the way to school with all seven peeps in the car with nary a complaint from them. Sweet.

Then, crazy CJ and I rolled the windows down and enjoyed the wind in our hair and the comfortable 80 degree air on the commute home. Wheeee! And now, back to the regularly scheduled post.}

I've had a pile of happy things growing in my mind of late - circumstances, beauty, laughter...and so I'm dumping the pile out here today, and sharing them with you.

Not much is growing or blooming right now in TX, but we have a few lantana blooms that the heat and the rabbits haven't destroyed. Can you believe all that multicolored intensity?

Same thing here - we have one little lonely portulaca plant thriving in the back yard - what happy, sunny blooms! My camera was very grateful to me that I dusted it off and then fed it these lovely images...

That's my boy. He's just super-handsome, you know. He doesn't talk and cannot seem to acquire more than 6 teeth, but he melts all of us with his smile and dimples.

Striking the more serious GQ look here. We took the kids to tour some caverns at a nearby state park over Labor Day weekend. It was a neat outing - perfect for such a hot day, happy family memories there. We'd prayed for an idea of something to do as a little getaway and the Lord provided just the solution.

Eating lunch at the caverns with Mr. Dimple Wimple. In this photo, we are regarding one another

CJ is looking rather radiant here. It was a quick snapshot, but I like the composition, and her expression just makes me think of her fearlessness and non-permission-asking adventuresome self! (read: we cannot take our eyes off of her when we're away from home - she does scary, impulsive things!)

This was AH saying,  "Aw, mom, stop it! What are you doing? Why do you keep taking pictures?!" I probably took like a dozen of her at that moment. I said to her, "Well, it's like this: I love my kids and I love to take pictures of them and capture good-memory moments with them, and also, I'll do anything to make you smile!" I've learned - slowly - that verbalizing truths like that to AH is super-important as we work toward bonding and settling her heart into this family, because she did not experience a parent-child relationship before that reflected such truths.

What's not to love about Princess Precocious popping her face in behind my desk?  Sweet thing.

Ok, so bear with me on this series of photos...this is the first year in a very long time that I've had A Desk of My Own, a command-central, so to speak, where I can sit and teach one-on-one, store my various books, planner, laptop, etc! Before now, these items were all over the place. This is my happy spot in our house.

The desk is old - I don't know how many years we've had it. When we "purged and purposed" the gameroom upstairs, it found a new home downstairs in the "schoolroom," which would be a formal dining room if we were formal people. 

It was fun using things we had already to outfit my little office spot - happy little things that have a visible, inspiring home now. When I purged my homeschooling supplies several months ago, I came across my set of black, tactile A-B-C cards. I used these years ago when I realized that MK could use some more creative learning helps. Each letter's shape is a raised, sandpapery texture. Anyway, a few letters are missing, but I so hated to chuck such a cool item, so it hit me to repurpose them. So, I spelled our family name down the side of my desk's marker board. Fun!

We don't have bookshelves downstairs, but there are many books that need to live on the bottom floor for practicality's sake, so I'm rejoicing that my books now have a tidy home! And I love a good, frank quote!

These canisters were in my MaMa's (pronounced MawMaw in Deep-Southern!) kitchen. I remember seeing them all of my growing up years, and watching her cook and bake from them. It's a treat that I get to enjoy them now. They aren't actually holding anything useful right now - just a nice pop of color.

The quiet little bird was a gift while I was living in the hospital before Baby H's birth - a cheerful pick-me-up to decorate my room then...and now! The retro timer was also a present from a thoughtful friend.
CJ kept on taking it apart and managed to lose the handy little red needle inside, but I put a dot on the face with a Sharpie and it's usable again.

I set myself up in this new office spot, and then slowly realized that I'd do better with a few essentials at hand - a clock, a calendar, a pencil cup, a stapler. The pencil cup is a cheapie from Ikea, as is the fun napkin holder that I use to keep letters and such (because it's tippy and kept slamming over on the supper table, scaring the wits out of an apparently jumpy me). The calendar - ahhhhh - happy happy. 

It's all birds, art by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. Love.

How the room really looks - study space, Risk scattered all over the place, clothes sorted on the floor, mysterious giant cardboard box against the wall...

A neat place to put papers that I want nearby, but not stacked all over the place gathering dust. They can just gather dust in a tidy manner in these bins. In a strangely DIY, nearly-crafty moment, I found these free printable labels online and took the time to do the tedious work of cutting them out. It was worth it.
I'm so thankful for little-big things like this office space for me. It's part of the putting-back-together that Jesus is granting after a season of coming-apart. It's beautiful and I'm thankful.
The dedicated workspace is a huge benefit practically and being more organized lets my brain exhale a bit more often, more freely.

And two last happy things here: the first, above, is a little persuasive essay that MK cranked out on Sunday, when she and her sibs were craving homemade blondies. Cracks me up. She disappeared upstairs for half an hour or more, then returned with this page and a half piece, all properly organized per the guidelines she's been learning at school. We'll just ignore the creative spelling for now. 

I did make the blondies, but only after making a deal with the kids: you guys clean the kitchen and pitch in a dollar each for supplies (we had no chocolate chips or ice cream!), and I'll make blondies. 
A good time was had by all.

Lastly, BB and I got to take a wonderful two-night stay-cation about a month ago. We disappeared for two nights, but stayed right here in our city. In our suitcase, we found this charming little surprise. The photo's not great, but what a special and thoughtful note from LC and CA! My favorite line: thanks for such loving care, and all of the food.

I'm so touched by their thoughtfulness and lest it sound like they're constantly thanking us for the necessities of life, the food she's referring to is some special treats she saw me purchase for the kids to eat in our absence. Still - thankfulness and acknowledgement is wonderful! I also loved that LC was able to be honest about her sadness but still wish us a good time.


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