Monday, July 30, 2012

The Joy of a Rainy Day

I welcome rainy Sundays. In the summer we often get so busy with outside activities (which we love) that our indoor creative pursuits linger in the closet. This Sunday, we welcomed the rain. We welcomed the quiet that fell over our home and the creativity that came out of that quiet. This rainy Sunday was

A time for making fairies and dolls

Then playing for hours with them in our fairy house (made earlier this week)

A time for a daddy, son leather project.

Yes, it was a nice Sunday afternoon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nothing Like a Good Book

We read a lot in our house, and summer is no exception (nothing like a good book on a relaxing summer afternoon). Kaylynn has always been an eager reader. She just recently finished Little Women (the unabridged version). Her favorites still tend to be youth biographies (she loves Corrie Ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, Helen Keller, etc) or any other type of Historical Fiction. Jeremie is still in the very beginning stages of reading. He will read very simple stories but has not taken off independently yet. Kalli wants to read so badly but just isn't there, and Cami....well she's 2.
So, this means that I (or daddy or big sister) get to curl up with my kiddos everyday and read. I have 4 children's reading needs to meet which means I need to be intentional about reading. Picture books are a favorite for everyone. All of my children can sit for hours and listen to me read picture books (even my 2 year old). Each child has their favorites, though, that none of the others enjoy so I also get one on one reading time.

Currently, I am reading The Hobbit to Kaylynn. We are enjoying the language, the adventure, and the silliness of Old Bilbo Baggins.I miss so much of what she reads because she is so independent so I make it a priority to find a book that has some challenging vocabulary....something that she would not understand reading on her own. And right now, that book is the Hobbit, and what a alluring story, that I always enjoy returning to.

To Jeremie, we read The Magic Tree House series. He loves these books and will listen to them over and over. The adventure stories of Jack and Annie have often become a springboard for further study. He especially liked Night of the Ninjas, and we spent weeks studying "ancient Ninjas" afterward.

To Kalli, I read Berenstain Bears. She loves Brother Bear, Sister Bear, Cousin Freddy, and Lizzy! She will check out the entire shelf at the library. We have read them over and over. She also enjoys the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" series. We just checked out "If you Give a Dog a Doughnut," and we enjoy following the dog through what he wants until we come full circle to the doughnut again.

Cami  wants me to read the same three books over and over. I remember going through this phase with each one of my older children. I have memorized the books and can "read" them without even looking at the page. I start making up funny voices at this point or trying to find a hidden object on the page to make it more interesting (for me). Her favorites are Good Night Moon (I never grow tired of this one), and "Not Norman: A Goldfish Story.  She has checked it out from the library at least 4 times and has most of it memorized. We return it, and the very next trip to the library, she checks it out again. The librarian has even commented on how much she loves this book.

I am reading Little Men. I finished Little Women (before Kaylynn) just to be sure that the content was okay for her (as I could not remember from high school), and now I have been slowly pushing my way through Little Men. I like it, but not as much as Little Women. I am also reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where you Are (this is my 2nd time reading through this book). Sometimes her style of writing is a little too poetic for me, especially when I just want to get to the good stuff.  There are a few sections of the book that I skim through (because I am not looking for poetry). Most of it, though, is packed full of encouragement, inspiration, and has given me opportunity to re-evaluate how I look at life.

One of my (and my kiddos) new all time favorite books, though, is Miss Rumphius. This book is full of beautiful illustrations (my non-readers will pick this one up just to enjoy the pictures) and is simply a delightful story. I never knew what a Lupine was until I moved to Maine. They are beautiful, wild perennials that grow all over Maine. I have seen them on the side of the highway, on rocky hillsides, and in my own backyard. I have grown to love these flowers and wait expectantly every year for them to bloom. I think Miss Rumphius inspired me to adore these beautiful flowers. Miss Rumphius is given a challenge by her grandfather to make the world a more beautiful place. She travels the world doing many different things until she finally realizes what it is she can do to make the world a more beautiful place.

What are some good books you are reading this summer?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thankful Thursdays ~ Legos and a Hat

I could use this time sharing about how I am thankful for my kids, my husband, various aspects of nature, Christ's hand in my life, etc. It would all be real, authentic, and beautiful, but this week I am searching for more. I am searching deeper, to develop a heart of thanks beyond the obvious. Beyond what is staring me right in the face to those spaces in my life that may not look so beautiful on the surface. When I dig deeper, I find a treasure hidden. I have done it this week and found some gems. It is so easy to be thankful in the beautiful moments but maybe not as easy to have a heart of gratitude in the midst of a struggle or even mere inconvenience.
 I am thankful for piles of Legos scattered about the floor;  I step on the Lego castle in the middle of the night; I scream silently in agony, and I give thanks because these bits of plastic are evidence of  hours of imagination and delight.

And because it is so much fun, I am also thankful for a new vintage turquoise hat purchased today at La Donna Zabella Boutique, a super cute consignment store in downtown South Paris (Maine) for only $5.00. I have been looking for the perfect summer hat, and this is it. Thanks to the assistance of my wonderful photographers (Kaylynn and Kalli) I have photos too!

This one taken by my darling 5 year old.

 This one by my 9 year old, and yes that is a bug on the top of the hat.

And I captured this one later as the little ones enjoyed the new hat. 

If you feel inspired and want to join in on Thankful Thursdays, please leave a link to your blog post so everyone can read about what you are thankful for. If you do not blog, please leave a comment and tell me what you are thankful for right now, this very moment.

 It is easier to live through the ugly when we look for the beauty.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thankful Thursdays ~ A Garden's First Produce

I am intentional about thankfulness. There is joy and beauty in thankfulness. Some days, it is so difficult to "stop and smell the roses." Sometimes we forget to take a deep breath, look around, and give thanks. That is why I am going to share thankfulness with all of you every Thursday. If you feel inspired and want to join in on Thankful Thursdays, please leave a link in the comments so everyone can read about what you are thankful for. If you do not blog, please leave a comment anyway and tell me what you are thankful for right now, this very moment.
 It is easier to live through the ugly when we look for the beauty.
And today, I am thankful for our very first cherry tomato of the season. On the glee, the squealing out loud when I walked out to the garden today. And the children jumping up and down right along with me. The measures I took to eliminate the early blight worked and now we have tomatoes!

**Disclaimer** the idea Thankful Thursdays is not my original idea. I am not sure where I saw it many years ago, but I have been inspired to verbalize my thankful heart more often in order to rid my life of as much negativity as I can. I have found that searching for something to be thankful for leaves no room for negativity....almost like the Pollyanna "Glad" game. I look forward to being inspired by all of you and your thankful thoughts.
Just click on the link below and let's share our thankful hearts!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MOB Society Blog Hop

I am so excited to participate in the MOB society Blog Hop this year. Here is an opportunity for me to introduce my family while getting to know other families.
I have never done an "official" introduction on this blog so now is as good a time as any. So, pleased to meet all of you new readers and enjoy the "formal" introduction.

As a family,  we seek to live out the love of Christ in our community. We desire to share what that looks like with our children, teaching them that with love, grace, and thankfulness we can embrace those around us. Our favorite thing is being together. We are travelers and dreamers. We always have another adventure around the corner (whether it be next month or 5 years from now). We love exploring creation and challenging ourselves individually and collectively. In the fall, we hike. In the winter, we hike, sled, and ice skate. In the Spring, we hike. In the summer,our explorations keep us as close to a cool body of water as we can get whether that be a lake, ocean, river, or puddle.

As an individual,  I am a homeschooling mom of 4 crazy, wild, patient, excited, loud, compassionate children. I have three girls and one boy. Community (locally, nationally, and internationally) outreach is important to me, and I seek to instill that in my children as well through volunteering with the community garden, the library, and the local teen center. Internationally, we help support The Apparent Project by collecting cereal boxes and shipping them to Haiti. The artisans make beautiful jewelry out of the recycled cereal boxes. I teach private Spanish lessons. I am a writer. I keep this blog as the story of our lives with hopes that our stories may encourage other families. I also write, as the children's editor, for an online minimalist footwear website Toe Salad.
 I run. I dream. I play. I laugh. I dress up. I am spontaneous fun.

About my son
A big ball of fire, nicknamed Dash because he is always full speed ahead. A lover of all things that "go fast", including mini bikes, go-karts, and even golf carts.An architect (with Legos and Minecraft), a prayer warrior, a peacemaker, an explorer, a deep thinker, strong but very sensitive, compassionate, and full of silly facial expressions and fun which he loves to capture with the camera everyday.

His favorite photos are self-taken of the inside of his mouth 
which also means we get a great view of his nostrils.

In play, he loves Checkers, Legos, and Minecraft for organized sit down games. But more often, I will find him donning some odd costume which always has a character attached. A stealthy ninja, an explorer hunting dinosaurs, a stunt cyclelist, a cowboy wrangling the cattle, a circus clown, a "back then times" boy, or a brave knight fighting off a dragon which always includes Nerf swords, Daddy, and any other willing characters. 

And the girls
I know this is a blog hop about boys, but I also have three girls, and an introduction would not be complete without them. They are just as silly, fun loving, and adventuress as their brother (although in different ways). They are delightful, encouraging, and inspiring. Two of them love pink; one of them hates pink. Two of them love pretty dresses; one of them always wants pants. They all dance ballet and spend as much time in costume and goofing off as the rest of us.

I look forward to meeting all of you and your beautiful families!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just one of those days

Have you ever had "just one of those days?" I know, we all have, but seriously, how often do we tell the world? Or more importantly, how often do I tell the world? So here is another transparent moment, a time of sharing one of those days. One of those days that I desperately search for the beauty in the ugly because it is certainly not staring me in the face.
Thursday night I remember that we have a full day on Friday. The time has come to (and I whisper) butcher the chickens. We had prepared our children for this (as much as one can prepare children), and we were all ready. We have new baby chicks, and these ladies were just getting too old. So, my Friday story begins:

I wake up with plenty of time to get everyone ready, load the chickens, and drive the hour and 20 minutes it takes to get to the butchering place. So I am going slow before I remember that I forgot to do groceries the night before, and there really isn't anything "quick" to fruit, no oatmeal, no yogurt, no bread, nothing....and no time to cook. No biggie, we have plenty of time, I will just buy something on the way. I know what you're thinking, "Eew buy something on the way and eat in the car?!" And when I say "buy something on the way, I mean the grocery store" (we do not eat fast food and have not eaten fast food in years). So still feeling pretty good about the day (although missing morning breakfast at the table is never fun), I proceed to get ready. I choose my white "hippy" tank with my colorful, mismatch fabric skirt (why do I not have photos of this cute outfit....well, it was one of those days, and I didn't take any photos). I love wearing skirts in the summer! Kids are dressed, water bottles filled, and we are heading out the door to load chickens when the phone rings. It's daddy so I have to answer. He needs help with something from our home computer. I give him the information he needs (which takes another 5 minutes). At this time I am feeling a little stress but still in control.

We head out to get the chickens, and then it dawns on me. How in the world am I going to get those chickens from their pen, to the cage, and into the van? Okay kids, pile out of the van and help mommy load chickens into the cage. It takes us 15 minutes to get all those chickens in the cage (I think they know what is happening). Then the Ugh moment. We have to get this cage all the way over to the van (which is a walk across the yard). Why didn't I put the cage in the van first then load the chickens? I don't know....hindsight is always 20/20. So my little darlings help me carry the cage over to the van, all the while those lovely chickens are pooping all over my white shirt (again, what was I thinking). We try the back of the van, they don't fit. I scramble to the side and throw down newspaper and stick them on the seat. Another 15 minutes has passed, and we are ready. We pile in. We are now going to be time to stop for food. We are all hungry, but the kids are troopers. Drink your water! Meanwhile, the chickens are pooping all the way, and I am suffocating because of the smell on the hot July day.

We arrive ten minutes late (and yes I am still in my poopy shirt and my chickens have covered my van door with lots of deposits)  so we have to wait. The kids see more than I want them to, and the oldest starts to cry. I try to hide them, to shield them but it just doesn't help. I unload the chickens and almost loose my stomach. This is too much for me. I thought I could handle it, but I can't. I leave the chickens and take the kids around the side of the building and wait. I comfort my oldest while my middle two are whining because they are so hungry (who can blame them)? She says, "they don't deserve to die; they didn't do anything wrong." I hold her and love her. She calls daddy, and he offers more comforting words.

The chickens are done, the younger three are happy to be leaving because all they can think about is food. Now, where to go to get them something to eat. Ah yes, a cute little sandwich shop. We pull in, the older two start to order while the third starts crying. She says, "I don't want to eat here." Already on edge, I respond with a not so patient, "Why?" "Because Big G's will make me sick!"  Because the last time we ate at a sandwich shop, the whole family got sick, and she got the worst of it. I see. I offer what comfort I can, explain that it is a different place and that she needs to have something in her belly. She relents. We get our food, get settled at our table, and the time is 11:30am.

Then, just when I didn't think it could get any worse, my darling son picks up his sandwich , and mine at the same time (only he doesn't realize that he has mine as well, and it drops onto the floor). I do not have much patience left. I grit my teeth and ask him to be more careful. I am bummed, I want to cry. Not because of the sandwich but because of everything. He says, "Mommy, did your mom ever get mad at you just for dropping a sandwich on the floor?" I apologize for being impatient. I tell him I am not angry with him but that I am just overwhelmed. He is forgiving. I walk to the counter to order another sandwich. The manager is there. He gives me a free one. I am thankful.

The day went on with one event after another (a call from our insurance company saying that they have not received our payment, and if I don't get it in today they will cancel our coverage so I have to rush back home to deliver a payment to their office, my son complaining of a headache then feeling sick all afternoon, all while trying to comfort my oldest as she grieves the loss of the family chickens) . Have you ever had one of those days? A day when you almost cannot see through the fog. A day where you have to sift through all the ugly to find the beauty. This was one of those days. I was cranky mom which makes for cranky kiddos, and that is never a good combination. So we carry on. We remember our lovely chickens and the wonderful eggs they faithfully gave us everyday; our dearest one, Rosy, who disappeared a few months back (the kids still hope for her safe return). The beauty comes in remembering our lovely birds but also knowing that:
  I did not have to pay for two sandwiches. 

At the end of a post like this, we all need an image of something beautiful!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Photo Perspective: An interview with a photo artist

Today I am very excited to introduce you to an inspiring, independent photo artist. I initially met Lynda Hurd through my dear husband. He knows her through work, and when we were introduced to her photography, we instantly fell in love. First, we love supporting independents who are following their passions and dreams. Second, we loved how her photos were different from the norm. So we asked her to photograph our ten year wedding anniversary. Most recently, Lynda requested to take photos of my girls having a tea party, and I was so delighted with the photos that I wanted to share with all of you! Enjoy the photos and the interview

1. How did you get started in photography?
I have always had an interest in it, and always wondered how certain shots were taken.
My aunt was taking photo's one day, and I thought they came out amazing.
I asked her about her equipment, She told me what she was using and showed me some pointers.
So The next day I went out purchased my own camera, I have been hooked ever since.

2. How long have you been making art out of photos?
I have been perfecting my style for over three years now.

3. What do you enjoy most about photography?
Everything! There are so many things I can do with a standard picture, it becomes my "canvas" I can make it into a painting, or Fantasy picture's. There are so many things to do, it would be hard to pick just one.

4. What is your favorite photo session memory?
I was at a friends wedding. I was watching this little girl with her daddy. The love on her face for him moved me.She wasn't smiling just holding his hand looking up at him. After that day I wanted to do more picture's of people not smiling. Just raw emotions.

5. How are you different from other photographers?
I have never considered myself a photographer. Where most photographers take pictures, and that is their end product, this is where I begin. The photos I take, become my "stock" or "canvas", they are not the product I release with my name on them.I look at each photo and then different ideas start coming to my mind on what I could do with each shot.This is where I think I am different, each shot becomes something different.

6. Do you have a favorite photo or favorite type of photo?
I'll be honest, I love all my photo's, and I am sort of fussy on what I release to the public.
There have been so many shots that have stood out, and ones that people have praised, but my personal favorites would be of children or underwater shots.

7. What is the most difficult part of what you do?
Getting people to understand that I prefer not to pose them.
I explain what shot I am trying to get, and try to get them to sort of "act the part", just not pose and shoot.

8. Is there anything else that you would like to share about what you do?
You do not get a standard photo from me. It will be some medium of art done to it. Yes, I also photoshop.

**Friend me on Facebook, if you would like to see my work: Lynda Hurd Goodman on Facebook**

Thank you so much Lynda for taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you also for taking such fantastic photos of our family!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th of July ~ In pictures

4th of July -
Time with family
 Red, White, and Blue
 Lighting Fireworks
Good Food
Silly photos
Glow sticks
Movie making
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed our 4th!