Wednesday, September 05, 2018

beginning again


Beautiful Lyddie who is close enough to resembling a young woman these days that I get glimpses of the stunning woman she is becoming.  Funny, witty, so so smart and curious, she loves to explore the world around her, focusing on the external things and how they work and how they relate to her.  The way her eyes light up with wonder at the most interesting things:  the way a hermit crab hatches just the size of a pencil dot, the fact that Magellan's crew sailed around the entire world and how she traced the route on the globe three times with her finger to make sure she really understood the enormity of that feat.   She does everything fast, wanting to move through life at a clip and I try to breathe deep and let her fly on through, feeling, touching, tasting, experiencing everything before her.  Am I ever spreading a wide enough feast of learning for this one who is finished with everything before I've hardly begun? I aim to teach her to slow her pace just a little at times, to really take everything in, which is just one of the thousands of reasons I am thankful for the thoughts Charlotte Mason put forward about really going slowly enough through the Things of education that they can be savored and digested and incorporated into one's own self.  She gets so frustrated by the limitations that have been historically placed on women as we do our work of learning together, that I just cheer her on to press into the freedom she has as a girl made unique and beautiful and strong in His image.  Oh how I am proud of her strength! 

Precious artistic amazing Millie, who, with her toothless grin lights up my life with new understanding and appreciation.  She and I are so different, about as opposite as her daddy and I are, but I hope maybe we share a closeness made possible by those differences.  All she does has a touch of grace to it, whether it is dancing, handwriting, reciting poetry, telling jokes, swinging on the tire swing, or wrapping her arms around my neck in an embrace.  She is a contradiction:  soft and delicate and easily bruised but also hard as flint and stubborn as a boulder.  How can this be?  I wonder and watch and learn from her how to see the world in new ways. She needs quiet spaces and moments, and I am learning that she needs time to think her thoughts before she is ready to share them; another difference between us, since I am more like her big sister who talks her thoughts as she thinks them.  Today she made up her mind that she wants to become a professional ballerina and her life goal at the moment is to someday get the part of Clara in The Nutcracker.  If anyone can set her mind to this thing and achieve it, it is definitely my Millie, and I am her biggest cheerleader as she chass├ęs her way there. 

(Posing!  This made me laugh out loud; it's SO Rosie!!)

(the first year Rosie has had a real stack in our back-to-school reveal celebration!)

Cuddly imaginative laughing Rosie who makes my heart yearn for days past when she was truly my baby and who I couldn't delight in more than I currently do.  Rosie is in kindergarten this year and, true to her personality, is ecstatic to finally be "doing school" like her sisters.  Kindergarten here is very gentle: some reading lessons as she is interested, reading aloud beautiful books, and taking part in all the "riches" of the curriculum that we do, like drawing lessons, Spanish, gentle piano lessons, composer study, poetry, Scripture memory, etc.  She declares that she wants to do reading lessons, but I can tell she is not yet ready to think of herself as A Reader.  Indeed, I don't think she quite has made the connection that when she can read, a world of books will open to her.  Her sisters both innately seemed to have this understanding by age four and were desperate to read for themselves, but Rosie is content to go at her own pace as long as she feels she is participating in the same things they are.  I love this independence in her; she is content to play and entertain herself for long stretches of time if no one is available or interested in her chosen activity. She wakes early in the morning and comes to cuddle with me as I read through Scripture, climbing up and tucking herself under the throw blanket on my lap.  She leans her head against my chest quietly as I continue to read.  She now knows that if she chatters too much at this early hour, I will have to send her away because I truly need a few minutes of quiet waking time, so now she waits patiently until my eyes have actually opened all the way before she launches into telling me her unusual dreams and any other thought that flits through her mind.  The growing up happening in our house has the tang of bittersweet to me, but Rosie's growing up is especially so, as she is my baby and possibly the last time I will get to experience these mothering joys and struggles.  I have come to recognize that this is not a form of favoritism but a letting go in trust that the Lord has given and the Lord can take away and can give back again, and it is okay to grieve and rejoice at the same the passing of a season of life.  

These are three of my chiefest earthly blessings. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

summer begins


The spring has given way to summer.  The garden spills over with green and beauty.  Peas are climbing the teepee and producing so many that we can't keep up with picking them; the same is true of the raspberries, though I'm doing my best.  Green tomatoes appear where yellow flowers once were, and I'm on my second planting of salad greens since it got warm enough that they all bolted.  One of my favorite things in the garden this year is the new square raised bed where I just scattered wildflower seeds for now until I plant perennials to make a cutting garden.  I've always tried to grow wildflowers here and there but with no success until this year.  I now have Bachelor's Buttons, orange poppies and big floppy red poppies, calendula and other beauties in a riot of color. It's really pretty. 

Above our porch steps, on a branch of one of our birch trees, rests a tiny cup of a nest where Madame Hummingbird rests for mere moments a day, when she's not visiting our feeder, our snapdragons, or resting atop the bean trellis in the garden.  I wish we could get a peek in the nest which should contain two tiny white bean-sized eggs, but we must content ourselves with watching mama zip back and forth above our heads all day long. 

The hay is cut and lays in the field waiting to be baled.  The red-tailed hawk "chicks" have fledged and make the most unsettling cry all day from the branches of the maple in the nearby pasture.  I planted three little Rose of Sharon cuttings in the yard today.  The girls read and read and play and play.  Lyddie has found some "science" experiments in a book and decided to try the old vinegar/baking soda "bomb" activity today.  Carefully, all girls stood three feet back from the plastic bag containing their explosive, and watching with rapt attention as the contents foamed and sizzled, and finally "pop" went the sandwich bag.  A little anticlimactic if you ask me, but if you ask them, it was high entertainment.  I love that they're smart enough and big enough to completely independently gather the materials and measure it all out and follow the directions to stuff like this now.  Well, mainly Lyddie, still, but the other two were excited, too.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ballet recital

This spring held our first ballet recital for the older girls.  It was delightful to see how excited they were to be on stage before an audience; rather than having stage fright, they both were so disappointed to only have one performance! We were so thankful for dear family and friends who came and spent the afternoon with us. I couldn't love these dear girls more.  

Saturday, May 05, 2018

one of a kind

MillieKay, MilMil, Milliebug, Amelia Kay.  Your personality is so big that you need several names to go along with it.  Seven.  You are seven!  As you like to remind me, just three more years until you turn ten (followed by peals of maniacal laughter since I always tease and say you're not allowed to talk about that yet.)  You are so creative and such an artist at everything you put your hand to.  You are graceful in ballet, and drawing seems to be a second language to you.  You have been adding regularly to your nature sketchbook all the beautiful finds you are making, like puffball mushrooms and lilac blossoms, and Southern Dogface butterflies.  

You begged to have your "own party" this year, not shared with your sister like we have always done.  I conceded that your other option was to invite three friends (plus sisters) to the trampoline park and then out to Dairy Queen.  I guess that was acceptable because we piled in your friends and jumped for an hour before getting chicken strips and ice cream at DQ.  At the trampoline park, I watched you run, giggling, playing Follow the Leader in a line with your friends along the trampoline floor and I was so happy that you have these friends in your life and I said a prayer for many years of happy memories together with them.  

You are one of a kind, my Millie girl, and I am so glad I get to be your mama.  Life with you has always been and, I am sure, always will be, an exciting adventure as you balance your enthusiasm with your sensitive spirit.  Love you bunches and bunches.


My Rosie, you are so big!  Your smile during your entire little birthday celebration lit up the room whenever you were in it.  You came up with the guest list of your little friends and asked for a "flower birthday" that was "teal and pink."  Your sisters and the other big sisters of your friends were welcome as Helpers and they were really good at helping so that mommies could visit and eat and sit with their babies.  It was your idea to "Pin the stem on the flower," although I changed it a little by making it a bee we were pinning to the flower because I thought it would be easier to decide who was the winner that way.  I loved watching you and your friends decorate and create flowers, and eat sandwiches and play on the tire swing.  What a happy day!

You loved your pink cake and I overheard you taking your friend Rex over to see it, saying, "My mommy made it for me!" Birthday cakes are a fun tradition now in our family and even though they might not always (or usually) turn out exactly the way I had hoped, YOU loved it and that's what is important to me because I want you to know that I am so happy God gave you to our family now and always.

When I look at your face I can see that you are not a baby anymore but are a big girl.  I know I should just plain be happy about this, and oh, I am so so happy about how big and smart and special and beautiful and funny you are growing up to be, but I also remember all the times when you were littler and how special those times were and I miss them.  I feel this at all your sisters' birthdays too.  Time is a funny thing, how it slips away, and no matter how carefully I am trying to treasure up the time and the days, it still escapes my grasp, and I am left breathless waiting for the day when I will catch up and feel like I understand how you are growing.  I don't think that day will come, but somehow I keep waiting for it. 

So now you are five and as wonderful as can be.  You love to entertain us with stories and songs and little plays.  You love to dig in the dirt and make people laugh and you say the most beautiful original prayers in the way you know that God really hears you and cares what you have to say.  Your prayers are a good reminder to me of how to pray. You are learning to read after begging to be taught, and then oh, boy, the joys of reading will be open to you so soon!  I love you, my darling Rosemary Joy.  Grow straight and true and be brave.
Your mommy