Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mt. Hope Academy @ The Live and Learn Studio ~ January 2012

Wisdom does not mean ‘being really smart.’
It refers to an intimacy with God that allows your life,
in every sense, to reflect something of the character of God.

~Peter Enns (Telling God’s Story)

:: Consider these thoughts by Michael Clay Thompson (emphasis mine):

There are times when memorization is out of favor in education. Some might say that “rote memorization” is not appropriate as a teaching strategy. “Rote memorization,” however, is loaded language, biased against the discipline and effort required to learn things permanently. There is nothing wrong with challenge. We must remember that the alternative to remembering is forgetting, and when we teach something as important as grammar, that will be needed for one’s entire life, the ban on memorization makes little sense. There are areas of knowledge that should be memorized, and in the past, there was a better term for it: to learn by heart.

:: Don’t miss this incredible conversation about Classical Education between Leigh Bortins (of The Core and Classical Conversations) and Andrew Kern (of the CiRCE Institute). It is an hour well spent. The seven liberal arts as a means to freedom. Bringing the eternal and timely together. Really seeing into the heart of reality. Finding harmony in the universe. Good stuff. Seriously, I had goosebumps. And if that talk doesn’t make you want to embrace the joy of learning, I don’t know what will. {grin} I need to re-listen to it monthly.



:: I’m in the middle of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. What an astounding picture of education, theology, character, history, and the destiny of a man ‘for such as time as this.’ There are so many quotable passages, but this one has been on my mind (pg. 248):

They had pushed away from the ‘world’ too much, had pushed away the very best of culture and education in a way that he didn’t feel was right. Christ must be brought into every square inch of the world and the culture, but one’s faith must be shining and bright and pure and robust. It must be free of cant and ‘phraseology’ and mere religiosity, or the Christ whom one was bringing into the world and the culture was not Christ at all, but a tawdry man-made counterfeit.

(This book prompted a fantabulous discussion at my book club. One of the best meetings we’ve had in 8 years!)

We’re wrapping up another month here at Mt. Hope Academy.

Classical Conversations (Cycle 3) Weeks 13-16 (One morning each week; includes social time and public speaking.)


CC Memorizing John 1:1-7 (in Latin and English)
Memorizing The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, first verse in Hebrew)
The Children’s Illustrated Bible (reading together)
Telling God's Story
(Luke: weekly hymns on piano)

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra by David A. Adler
Algebra & Geometry: Anything But Square! (Basher Science) by Dan Green
Teaching Textbooks
Singapore CD-ROM math games and online math games
The Critical Thinking Co. math workbooks
Life of Fred
CC weekly memory work (skip counting/formulas/laws)
Math Workshop with PDLP teacher

Human Body: A Book With Guts! (Basher Science) by Dan Green
Biology: Life as We Know It (Basher Science) by Dan Green
Several Bill Nye DVDs including Measurement
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry (re-read chapters 1-6 with oral review) 
Created a Lithium atom model
Exploring the World of Chemistry by John Hudson Tiner (Levi-IR)
CC weekly science memory work (chemistry)
CC weekly science projects and experiments

building an atom science project Lithium Atom




Swim Team practices and meet (Levi), Swim Lessons (Luke and Leif)
(mini trampoline and outdoor play)

Fine Arts:
CC weekly famous artists and art projects
Monthly Fine Arts Study (Grandma Moses, Kipling, and Puccini)
13 Buildings Children Should Know by Prestel
Piano practice and lessons (Luke)

Language Arts:
IEW Writing (Levi: Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales Writing Lessons)
MCT Caesar’s English (vocabulary)
MCT Grammar Town (finished reading book)
MCT Practice Town (4 level sentence analysis + diagramming)
MCT Paragraph Town (began)
Writing With Ease (Luke)
CC grammar memory work
All About Spelling Level 2
Handwriting Without Tears custom worksheets (vocabulary from MCT) 

Prima Latina (review with DVDs) 
CC Latin memory work

The Scrambled States of America DVD
CC U.S. geography (states, capitals, mountains, rivers, lakes, features, and more)
Geography games (capitals, states, landscapes)
Place the State online game
States games
Map drawing and 'blobbing' continents (CC) 

History/Literature/Historical Fiction:
The Story of the World: Early Modern Times (chapters 23-28)
CC weekly history memory work (American history)
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (select pages, Luke)
The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (select pages, Levi)
DK Children's Encyclopedia of American History (select pages)
The Declaration of Independence: The Words That Made America illustrated and inscribed by Sam Fink
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? by Jean Fritz
Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? by Jean Fritz
A Picture Book of John and Abigail Adams by David A. Adler
Patience Wright: America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea
Alexander Hamilton, The Outsider by Jean Fritz (135 pgs, Levi-IR)
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak by Kay Winters
Everybody’s Revolution: A New Look at the People Who Won America’s Freedom by Thomas Fleming
Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words by Dennis Brindell Fradin
George vs. George: The American Revolution as seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer
History Maker Bios: Paul Revere by Jane Sutcliffe
History Maker Bios: Thomas Jefferson by Victoria Sherrow
Thomas Jefferson by Cheryl Harness
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? by Jean Fritz
The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin by Aliki
The Amazing Mr. Franklin, or The Boy Who Read Everything by Ruth Ashby (103 pp, Levi-IR)
Benjamin Franklin, Young Printer (Childhood of Famous Americans series) (192 pp, Levi and Luke-IR)
Ben and Me by Robert Lawson (historical fiction, 114 pp, Levi and Luke-IR)
The 4th of July Story by Alice Dagliesh
John Adams Speaks for Freedom by Deborah Hopkinson
George Washington and the General’s Dog by Frank Murphy
George Washington’s Teeth by Chandra & Comora
…If You Grew Up With George Washington by Ruth Belov Gross
So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning by Rosalyn Schanzer
James Monroe (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) by Mike Venezia
James Monroe: Young Patriot by Rae Bains
If I Were President by Catherine Stier
We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States illustrated by David Catrow
The American Revolution for Kids by Janis Herbert (Levi)
The Story of the Declaration of Independence by R. Conrad Stein (Levi)
The Story of The Constitution by Marilyn Prolman (Levi)
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz
Abigail Adams by Ruth Langland Holberg
A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution by Betsy Maestro
The Eve of Revolution: The Colonial Adventures of Benjamin Wilcox (Levi)
U.S. Presidents (reviewed memorization)
George Washington (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) DVD
John Adams (“) DVD
Thomas Jefferson (“) DVD
Great Americans for Children: Revolutionary War Heroes DVD
National Treasure DVD (just for fun :)) 
America: The Story of US (Netflix streaming) (Rebels, Revolution
Liberty’s Kids and Uncle Sam Magoo (Netflix streaming), This is America, Charlie Brown (YouTube)
Stowaway by Karen Hesse (historical fiction, Captain Cook and the Endeavor-1768, 305 pp, Levi-IR)
The Mutiny on the Bounty by Patrick O’Brien
James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific by Charles J. Shields
What if You Met a Pirate? by Jan Adkins
The Golden Age of Pirates: An Interactive History Adventure by Bob Temple
You Wouldn’t Want to Travel With Captain Cook! A Voyage You’d Rather Not Make by Mark Bergin
The Orange Trees of Versailles by Annie Pietri (historical fiction, France/Louis XIV, 137 pp, Levi-IR)
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (historical fiction, French Revolution, Levi-IR)
Eli Whitney by Judith Alter
(Books on current history topics that Levi read previously, for my records: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham, The Story of Eli Whitney by Jean Lee Latham, Michael Farady: Father of Electronics by Charles Ludwig, and Robert Fulton: Boy Craftsman by Marguerite Henry)

Literature Study:
Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (a great picture book biography!)
David Copperfield abridged for public reading by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Alan Marks (Levi-IR)
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (unabridged, Levi and I read independently, part of the MCT Time Trilogy Literature Study)
Book Detectives (parent-child literary analysis book club)

Levi’s ‘Free’ Reading:
Corby Flood by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Hugo Pepper by Paul Steward and Chris Riddell
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson
A Knight’s Story: Lake of Skulls by Paul Steward and Chris Riddell
Joust of Honor by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
The Fire Eternal by Chris D’Lacey
How to Train Your Dragon: How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm by Cressida Cowell
Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Stormchaser (“)
Midnight Over Sanctaphrax (“)
The Curse of the Gloamglozer (“)
Vespers Rising (The 39 Clues, Book 11)

Luke’s ‘Free’ Reading:
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren 
lots of re-reads and half books and books we didn’t keep track of
and a bunch of Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton books

Leif’s ‘Free’ Reading:
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne
Summer of the Sea Serpent
Afternoon on the Amazon
and lots more

A.C. Gilbert Children’s Museum with new friends (Connie, I’m so glad we were able to get together!!)
(I spent the time chatting and chasing Lola around while the boys went in all directions, so I only have photos of Lola…)

Lola @ the children's museum @ children's museum

Sunday, January 22, 2012

18 Essential Books for 18 Years of Childhood

I think you all know how much I love books and lists. Put those together, and I simply cannot resist.

I’ve shared various book lists before, but just today I decide to create my own very short essential list. One fiction book for each year of childhood. (Yes, I cheated and listed a couple series or trilogies. I also left out plays, poetry, myths, and non-fiction.) I chose books that would be varied and rich in message, meaning, and ideas as well as delivery. These are the kind of stories that a reader could think about and mull over for years to come. Books that could stir up discussion and debate between child and parent or student and teacher.

Last time I shared an even shorter essential list, one reader commented that as fun as it is to make our short lists, aren’t we glad that our children in reality can read thousands of wonderful books before they leave childhood behind forever?! And that we have years of books ahead of us as reading adults?

Without further ado:

1. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

2. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (or The Little House) by Virginia Lee Burton

3. Tales of Beatrix Potter

4. Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

5. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

6. Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

7. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C. S. Lewis

8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

9. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

10. Little Britches and Man of the Family by Ralph Moody

11. Animal Farm by George Orwell

12. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

13. The Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

14.  Watership Down by Richard Adams

15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

16. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

18. Perelandra by C. S. Lewis


What books would be on your list, and why?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seriously. We’d be glad to share.


But we’re homeschoolers, and we never waste an opportunity.




Do you think the pizza guy would deliver to a canoe?

We’re safe and dry. Our house is much higher. But we do have an awesome waterfall of water running under our house from the huge hill behind us. I guess I’m glad we don’t have a basement.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anyone Want to Borrow Some Water?

We have plenty to share.


The boys are begging to launch the canoe. If this downpour continues, it’s the only way we’ll be able to get out of our driveway.

ETA: At 10pm now the water is covering the main road. Over six hours of solid rain since I took the above picture. If it continues to rain, we won’t be able to get out of the driveway…even with the Suburban. Guess Russ is working from home tomorrow…  A car in town was swept out of a grocery store parking lot and into a creek. A man and a child were rescued, but they are still searching for the second child. Prayers would be appreciated. Rain is in the forecast for the next two days.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Day in the Life ~ Day 4

Okay, I didn’t really keep track of the ins and outs of our day for the fourth day in a row, nor did I take pictures. (Y’all might be getting sick of hearing about every little detail of my unexciting life, anyway.)

It was Saturday, and I was in the mood to do something—something we would all enjoy. I had NO IDEAS. Whenever I try to think of something everyone would enjoy the only thing I can think of is Disneyland, and that wasn’t really an option. The weather was cold and wet. I needed some inspiration, so I went to the obvious source: facebook.

I received some lovely, well-meaning suggestions. Have a camp-out in your front room. Let the boys make a fort. Let them nap in it. (Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!) Have some hot chocolate. Bake some cookies. Scavenger hunt.

Now, I’m sorry if this ruins your perception of me, but all of those sound like fun for the kids (except for the nap) and work for me. I’ve lost my childlike sense of wonder and excitement. That, and I wanted something out of the ordinary.

Then it occurred to me: over the course of this past week I had been home with my children every day. They had outside classes on Monday and over an hour of free gym time with friends. They had hot breakfast every. single. morning—complete with hot chocolate with whipped cream. They had a picnic outside. They donned costumes and put on a play. They built a blanket fort in the front room. We baked cookies. They had book club with friends, including an hour of social play time afterward. They had been to the pool 2-3 times for lessons or team practice. They went to the library. They watched tv and movies. They played video games. They had lots of quiet reading time. They had special time with Dad. They had play time outside in the country where they could roam free.

By golly, it was time I did something for me. And I wanted to hang out with my husband sans children. Grandparents to the rescue. The kids had an evening with Bambi and Poppy. Russ and I went to a movie and out to dinner. That was fun. I think it had been almost a year since we went on a date—with a tag-along baby. It is high time we start scheduling some regular date nights. I’m making up a babysitter list and checking my calendar…

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Day in the Life ~ Day 3

2am Lola wakes up. It’s really cold in her room and I realize her heater isn’t on. I turn on the heat and cover her up with the blanket.

4:50 Russ is up for his day.

5:30 Leif has a nightmare and climbs into bed with me.

6:50 Lola squeals. Oh, please go back to sleep baby. She must, because I fall asleep again.

7:45 Lola is up. She goes in her playpen with Cheerios and I put in a Bill Nye DVD for Luke. Levi’s reading on his bed and Leif is still asleep. I check email, turn up the heat, open the shutters. Ahhh, the house is all nice and neat.

8:15 Levi joins Luke (and Lola) for a story DVD (John Henry). I hop in the shower. I’m down 1.5 pounds. Ha! I decide that cookies and soda are good for me. {grin}


8:40 I get Lola changed, Levi works on math (Lola helps), Luke empties dishwasher, Leif is finally up and gets dressed.

8:50 Breakfast. We play the one note samba: scrambled eggs, sausage, and hot chocolate with whipped cream. Hot chocolate gets spilled all over. I get meat out to thaw for dinner.

9:20 Clean up. Boys ready for the day. I work on miscellaneous paperwork. Luke practices piano…


10:20 The boys do some assigned reading while I put Lola down for a nap.

10:45 The boys watch This is America, Charlie Brown on YouTube. I cut up apples for their snack. I eat a banana with almond butter.

11:15 Lola still isn’t asleep so we snuggle again.

11:30 We finally make it down to the studio. Luke does math. Levi writes a letter. It's so nice and clean down here! The benefit of having company...


12:15 Luke does some writing. We review Bible memory. My command station:


12:30 Our favorite person, April, arrives to clean our house. I only scratched the surface yesterday, so now it will be really clean! (Minus the school room/office, which is currently the dumping ground.)


1:00 Geography-map drawing. I don’t feel like searching for the tracing paper, so I put Luke up on the windowsill to trace his map on the window. He thinks that is just awesome. Lola wakes up. We do a little bit of grammar.


2ish I round up the kids and we head to grab a bite to eat (shhhh) and then go to the library. Lola has a large playroom at her disposal and she goes straight for a computer keyboard. Daddy’s girl. I pick out a bunch of books for the kids. Levi reads a book he had on hold. Leif plays. Luke looks up a wii game and books on the computer and places holds.


4ish (I stopped keeping written notes.) We’re home. April and I chat for a while while the kids run amok.

5ish Dinner prep while the boys watch a DVD from the library.

5:30 Russ is home.

6:00 We sit down to dinner. Two nights in a row. Fabulous. BBQ bacon-wrapped beef filets, spiced and roasted cauliflower, sauteed onions and peppers, and spinach/fruit smoothies. YUM!

6:30 Russ plays Playmobil with the kids in the front room, while I put food away.

7:00 I escape to the grocery store and a couple other quick errands while Russ is hanging out with the kids. Listening to Bonhoeffer on the ipad. (I have such a hard time listening to audio books. It goes in one ear and out the other. And Bonhoeffer isn’t an easy book… And I hate having things in my ears. C’est la vie.)

8:00 The boys are still playing with Playmobil when I get home. Russ is watching How It’s Made. (That’s such an interesting show! I remember loving watching how things were made on Mr. Rogers when I was little. Did you ever watch that?) I feed Lola some yogurt. By the time I get her out of her highchair, it is apparent that she is waaay over-tired. She has a lovely screaming-crying fit while I get her jammies on and take her upstairs. She won’t let me snuggle with her, so I lay her down and leave.

8:30 The boys are in bed. Sorta. Lola continues to scream, so Daddy goes up to snuggle and she settles down and goes to sleep. I put away groceries, put in a load of laundry (it never ends!!!), and return a bunch of emails. The house that was so lovely just a few short hours ago is rather disastrous again and my back and neck are still hurting.

9:15 The boys are having a hard time settling down, so I go and snuggle for a few minutes with each one of them.

9:45 More laundry, computer stuff, record keeping, kitchen clean-up, house straightening, scheduling stuff (wow, did January and early February fill up!!), blogging, watching the last ten minutes of the movie I’ve been watching in ten-minute increments for the past two weeks while folding laundry…

12:00 Bed. (How did it get so late?!!!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Day in the Life ~ Day 2

In which you find out that no two days are alike at our house, some days aren’t very impressive ‘school days,’ we don’t have much of a routine, and it takes me all day to clean my house (I use that term loosely) when company is coming over. Oh, and I don’t move very quickly when I’m tired.


12:05 am Russ and I fall into bed.

2ish Luke crawls into bed next to me.

4:30ish I tell Luke to go get in his bed because I’m not getting much sleep.

4:45 Russ gets up for his day.

4:50 Russ tells me that Luke’s legs are hurting and he needs some Advil. I get up and take care of it.

5:00 Luke sneaks back into bed with me…in his Daddy’s spot.

6:45 Lola is up. I put her into her playpen with Cheerios and cartoons and go back to bed. I’m not going to win any awards today. I can’t fall back asleep, but I can’t make myself get out of my warm, cozy bed.

7ish Levi is awake and reading in his room.

7:45 Leif and Luke are up. Leif is eating yogurt.

8:00 I make myself take a shower. I weigh myself and I gained more than a pound. {sigh} I think I’ll have cookies and soda today.

8:30 I waste time on the computer.

8:45 Finally we get going. I open the shutters and let some light in, turn off the tv, change Lola, have the boys get dressed.
Luke empties the dishwasher and teaches Leif (I think he’s grooming Leif to take over his chores). Levi starts his math. Luke puts on the hot water for cocoa.

9:00 Breakfast prep. Mental note: need to go to the grocery store and the library tomorrow.

9:15 Breakfast. Repeat of yesterday. Luke makes hot chocolate with whipped cream for the boys.

9:30 I clean Lola up and get her dressed. We go up to her room and play, talk, and snuggle, then I put her down for a nap.

9:45 I’m on the computer again.

10:00 Levi still hasn’t completed his math. I threaten consequences. We both have a meltdown. He finishes. Luke and Leif play while I clean up the kitchen, make some tea, and switch the laundry. I succumb to the mini marshmallows on the counter. (Who didn’t put them away yesterday?!!!)

10:45 Lola squeals. That was a short nap. The boys escape outside without permission. I hunt them down and threaten consequences. Luke goes back to reading. Leif plays upstairs with Lola.

11:15 Levi switches places with Leif and hangs out with Lola. Leif pounds out Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano. Repeatedly. I start facing the fact that company is coming this evening, and the house is a disaster. I go through STACKS of papers on every surface. A pizza ad catches my eye. I decide to fix an early lunch to avoid whining.

11:30 Grilled cheese and veggies for the boys. Leftover spaghetti for me. Levi reads at the table.

11:45 Clean up. More laundry.

12:00 Clean Lola up and change her diaper. The boys are playing. Levi has the Dangerous Book for Boys and is making paper airplanes. I’m still trying to clean up the house.



12:30 We need an outing. And I need a Dr. Pepper. We work on memory review in the truck. I pick up a ready-to-bake pizza for dinner. I’m ready for low-stress.

1:00 We’re back home. The boys play outside. Lola plays inside. I do MORE laundry and bake cookies. I snitch. A lot. I do more house tasks.


2:00 Boys are in for quiet assigned reading. Lola goes down for a nap.

life2012-01-12_0001DSC_0017 life2012-01-12_0001DSC_0018

2:30 The boys get on the computer to play geography quiz games. I do more cleaning and organizing in the kitchen. Dishes. Sweep. Mop.

3:15 The boys clean up their room while I clean the bathroom

3:45 Lola’s up. She goes in her playpen with a snack. Luke practices his piano. Levi and Leif head outside to pick up stuff in the yard.

4:15 Pizza’s in the oven. The boys watch a Bill Nye DVD.


4:30 Russ is home. Lola squeals and goes running to him with her arms in the air. Pizza’s done.

4:35 We sit down to eat as a family. It’s only pizza, but no one is complaining. Russ feeds Lola and cleans her up.

4:50 I clean up the kitchen (again) while the boys wash up and finish their Bill Nye DVD.

5:15 I head down to the studio to clean. Russ loads up all four kids and takes them to the pool. Luke and Leif have swimming lessons. Levi has swim practice. Lola is along for the ride. (thank you, thank you, thank you)

6:15 I finish up the cleaning in the studio and am feeling great. I think it was the Dr. Pepper and chocolate chip cookies. And not cooking dinner. And the fact that I’ve been all by myself for an hour. And my house is kinda clean. I get the last few things ready for our parent-child book club.

6:40 My niece arrives to help. We take the cookies down to the studio.

6:50 My sister arrives and we go over our discussion material. (Nothing like the last minute.)

7:00 Everyone arrives, including Levi and Luke. Russ takes Leif and Lola up to the house to play. One of the moms brings her phenomenal caramel corn. Well, if today is a cheating day, I’m going to make the most of it. We have a fabulous book discussion with our wonderful families. The book turns out to be even more wonderful than we thought!

8:15 The kids are turned loose to play. Some in the studio. Some out in the dark and cold. The moms have a lovely time of chatting. Russ brings Leif and Lola down to play while he gets some computer work done.

9:20 I head up to the house to feed Lola some yogurt and crackers. The boys get ready for bed.

9:45 I put Lola in her crib after giggles and snuggles.

9:55 I give the boys snuggles and tuck them in.

10:00 My house is quiet. And clean. Ahhhhh. I run the dishwasher, check my email…

10:45 Both Russ and I get to bed at a decent hour. My stomach is grumbling and I can’t stop thinking about the leftover pizza in the fridge, but I’m too cozy and tired to get up and get it. It’s a good thing I’m going to fall asleep in about two seconds…

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Day in the Life ~ January 2012

A day in the life of Heidi, with three boys (10, 7, and 5) and a fifteen-month-old girl.

I’ve spent some time thinking about the different kinds of days we have over the course of weeks, months, even years. There are general reality days. A few lovely days. The dreaded fail days. And the once-in-a-blue-moon utopia days. Most days are a mixed-bag.

I want to post a series of a day in the life—posts that will give a better over-all idea of what life is like around here. Some days will sound really productive, but that isn’t necessarily indicative of what we accomplish on a daily basis. This series is sorta tied into my theme for the year—which I sadly haven’t even posted about yet. More about that later.

I woke up this morning feeling like this could be IT. One of those days when we are humming along, doing it ‘right,’ living in the moment, getting things done…and make it to bed feeling like ‘this is the life.’ I had stayed up late last night getting the house in order, the studio in order, our lessons in order. Lola slept all. night. long. Which is astounding considering she is working on getting four molars and her nights have been rough. I woke up ready to seize the day. Okay, that’s a lie. I NEVER wake up ready to seize the day. I could happily sleep in until 10 am every morning. It’s probably more accurate to say I got out of bed determined.

Well, I’ll let you decide what kind of day it was. Here’s the unedited version:

6:35 I’m up. (Russ left for work long ago.) Check email. Turn up heater. Turn on lights.

6:40 Wake up boys. Hop in shower and get dressed.

7:00 Luke empties dishwasher. Levi works on math. Leif is still asleep.

7:15 I start breakfast prep. Levi isn’t making much progress, so I set the timer. Lola wakes up. I put her in her playpen with Cheerios and Little Einsteins.

7:30 Luke and Leif join Lola. I boil some water for tea.

7:45 We sit down to breakfast: scrambled eggs and chicken apple sausage. I’m trying to eat Paleo again (whaaaa!!). I’m on day 9 sans Dr. Pepper, sugar, and grains. Levi makes himself an egg sandwich. Levi and Leif have OJ. Luke and I have green tea. I feed Lola a big bowl of yogurt.

8:00 The boys clear their plates, get dressed, and brush their teeth. I do a few dishes, put poison oak cream on Luke’s face (when will he learn?!), clean Lola up, change her diaper, get her dressed, comb her hair.


8:15 I set Lola loose in the front room and give the boys some assigned reading while I finish getting ready.


8:35 We grab water bottles and walk down to the studio. It’s a frosty cold morning. The boys say ‘oro et laboro’ as we walk in. (‘Pray and work.’ It’s a silly little tradition, but they get a big kick out of it for some reason.) Lola goes in the playpen. The boys sit on the couch. We sing a hymn, pray, read a lesson from Telling God’s Story, and read a story from the Children’s Illustrated Bible.


9:00 The boys do a little independent Bible reading. We listen to our Bible memory CD.

life2012-01-11_0001DSC_0048 life2012-01-11_0001DSC_0079

9:30 Lola’s ready for a nap already, so I put on a DVD lesson for Latin and take Lola up to the house for a nap. Leif comes up with us to use the bathroom. Lola and I snuggle for a few minutes, then I put her down. I put in a load of laundry, check my email, and grab bags of pretzels and goldfish to take down for the boys.

10:00 We work on memory work while snacking. I use all my will-power to stay out of the goldfish and have almonds and cranberries instead. They don’t taste as yummy as goldfish.


10:30 Lola still isn’t asleep. I snuggle with her for a few minutes and then put her back down. The boys and I spend some more time on memory work.

11:00 I put Levi and Luke on their computers to do geography quizzes while I watch Leif do his handwriting. I check on Lola. The boys dissolve into mayhem while I’m otherwise occupied. Everything comes to a screeching halt and I spend some time on character training for one of the boys. Arrrgh! (That reminds me of a sign I saw recently: ‘To err is human, to arr is pirate.’ Ha, ha!)

11:30 Leif plays educational games on his computer while I work on spelling with Levi and Luke.

11:50 We sit on the couch and read about Rudyard Kipling.

12:05 We break for lunch. The sun is shining, so I switch gears and tell the boys to go run around. Lola is up, so I put her in her swing outside. The boys take turns pushing her while I switch laundry and make a salad for myself. Leif comes busting in the house and says, ‘Mom, we’re putting on a play!’ I switch gears again and get a tray of food to take outside. It looks like it is another picnic day. The boys don their costumes. We eat and they do, indeed, put on a play.

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1:00 Lola and I are cold so we come inside. I clean up and check email and facebook. I tell the boys to come inside.

1:30 Luke gets on the computer to work on math. Leif is watching Sid the Science Kid. (I think he has already watched every single episode on our DVR, but he just had to borrow a DVD from the library.) Levi is taking care of Lola. I’m pretty sure he has re-arranged her whole room upstairs, but I need the break so I’m trying not to think about it. I get derailed on the computer, and think about how nice it would be to take a nap. I fold some laundry and look longingly at the bed. I straighten up the house and wonder how it could possibly get so messy so quickly!

2:05 I lie down on the bed…just for a minute.

2:20 I muster every last bit of energy and get off the bed, gather everyone, and return to the studio. I don’t think Luke got much math done earlier, so I put him on another lesson. Levi is assigned a few pages in the history encyclopedia. An un-thrilled Lola gets placed in the playpen. Leif distracts everyone.


2:20 Luke, Levi, and I work on some sentence grammar analysis/diagramming. They are insanely distracted by Leif and Lola. Everyone is whining about being hungry.

3:00 We go up to the house. Again. I feed Lola while the boys have a free-for-all snack-fest. Luke picks dates with cream cheese, and I join him. But just one, I swear. I try to put Lola down for another nap (she was rubbing her eyes a little bit ago). Everything gets derailed again. Lola is not liking the nap idea.

4:00 I try to return to lessons. Leif works on a train track. I start reading a grammar lesson with Levi and Luke. Lola still isn’t asleep. We’re all distracted. I finally get Lola out of her crib. I put some spaghetti squash in the oven. I am so hungry and cranky. All I want is a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a 44 oz Dr. Pepper. And bed.


5:00 We re-group on the couch. Grammar (take 2) lasts about 5 minutes. The boys simply cannot pay any attention to the lesson when Lola is being so silly in the hallway. (I don’t blame them. She’s stinkin’ cute.) I start to lose my mind and fantasize about bedtime. We scratch the group lessons idea, and I have Levi play with Lola while Luke and I do a narration lesson on my bed with the door shut. That works.

5:35 Russ arrives home. Lola is ecstatic and attaches herself to him. She won’t be put down. He has to return a computer to a client, so he takes Lola and Leif with him. I am finally able to work on a writing lesson with both Levi and Luke.

6:00 I start some dinner prep and sneak a few almonds so I don’t lose it and attack the bag of mini marshmallows on the counter. Who left those there?!!! The boys build a blanket fort in the front room. I really want that batch of chocolate chip cookies. Instead I make meat spaghetti sauce with grated zucchini to go over the spaghetti squash and some noodles for the boys.


6:30 Dinner is ready, and Russ isn’t home yet. The boys and I are starving, so we eat willy-nilly. So much for the one evening we had available for a relaxed family dinner this week. This is the first time I’ve ever made spaghetti squash. It’s actually delicious in place of noodles. Who knew. (Well, lots of people, I’m sure, but I wasn’t one of them.) I do a little clean-up and put away laundry.

7:15 Russ arrives home with Leif and Lola. The second dinner shift begins. I get a bowl of spaghetti for Leif and feed Lola while Russ finishes off a bowl and heads back down to his office to work. The boys beg to sleep in their blanket fort tonight. I consent under duress. At least it gives me a little leverage. The boys get ready for bed and Luke practices the piano (or else).

7:45 I put Lola in the bathtub. I give her gas medicine, Advil, and Benedryl while she’s in the tub. I really want to sleep tonight. Between tummy issues, a weird rash on her torso, and four molars coming in, I hope this covers my bases. I slather prescription cream on Luke’s face of poison oak. I brush Leif’s teeth and slather his dry face with lotion. Levi comes to tell me that the light bulb from the lamp under their blanket fort broke. I obviously can’t deal with the broken glass while Lola’s in the bath, so I ask the boys to go to their room and not set foot in the front room. They don’t seem to understand the directions, so I tell them that they won’t be sleeping in their fort tonight. Wailing ensues. I get Lola out of the bath. She HATES getting out of the bath.

8pm Even though I told the boys repeatedly not to go in the front room, Luke sneaks in to get his bed stuff. I’m drying Lola off and getting her diapered in my bedroom and Luke comes in….bleeding. Not badly, but still. He asks for my help to get him bandaged. I tell him ‘tough luck, there’s only one of me and she’s busy.’ Lola has a diaper rash, and I realize the diaper ointment isn’t in the bedroom. I go searching through the house holding a naked baby. I finally find the ointment in the front room of chaos. I get an unhappy baby diapered and have nowhere to put her while I take care of Luke, since the front room is a hazard area and her playpen is part of the fort. I call Russ’s cell phone, but he doesn’t pick up. (The reception is bad in the studio.) I juggle Lola in the bathroom while getting Luke cleaned up and bandaged. I rescue a few blankets from the front room, tell the boys it’s lights-out time, and threaten them with certain pain if their heads come off their pillows or if a squeak is heard.

8:30 I finish getting Lola in her jammies and take her to her room to snuggle. She flails around and won’t settle down, so I just put her in her crib and leave.

8:40 I heave a sigh at the sight of the house. How can it be this disastrous? And I’m starving. I spend a few hours cleaning up (including the blanket fort and broken light bulb) and blogging (which admittedly takes me much longer than usual).

11:15 Lola is crying. I spend a few minutes trying to get her settled back down. We might be in for a long night. And I haven’t even seen Russ yet. He must still be working in his office…

11:45 To bed. Bed, sweet bed. And, you know what? This is the life.

And that, my friends, is way more than you ever wanted to know about a day in the life of Heidi.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012


Yep. I have a son in the double digits. That’s just wrong. Of course, I’m used to a son who either acts 2 or 22 with no in between. When I began this blog, he had just turned five. That blows my mind.


Levi is my New Year’s boy. 12:06 am, to be exact. We start off every year with a bang. (And, yes, I’m slightly belated in my posts, but that is nothing new.)

I don’t know what to say about him that hasn’t already been said. He’s vivacious, funny, sentimental, talkative, smart, affectionate, imaginative, chaotic, argumentative, and emotional. He loves words. He loves to read. He has an astounding vocabulary. Everyday I hear words such as scrutinize, apparel, vicinity, jurisdiction, and hundreds of others in casual conversation. He keeps us highly entertained.

He is an awesome ring-leader when it comes to imaginative play with his brothers. I am so thankful for his willingness and interest in involving them in everything. Sometimes that backfires, but in general it is one of my most favorite things about him.

He loves swimming. He loves to draw. He loves fantasy. His favorite books are the Percy Jackson series and the Peter and the Starcatchers series, and usually he’ll also add the last couple books he has read to his list because he just loves books in general. His favorite movie is How to Train Your Dragon.



Another one of my favorite things about Levi is that he could play with his little sister all day long. They are the best of pals. Here is one more moment in a morning with Lola:


Were you surprised to find out that I have children other than Lola? I know, I’ve been posting pictures of her a lot lately. I really do have some other things to say and quite a few posts half-finished. As always, I’m just trying to find enough hours in the day…

(I have NO pictures of his birthday party. How sad is that? I really can only do one thing at a time. Hosting/entertaining and taking pictures is really difficult for me, especially if I want to enjoy the moment. Which reminds me—I never even posted pictures of Lola’s 1st birthday party! I’m really slipping…)