A Week, Briefly (#24)

On Saturday Nature Angel got to model for a church friend who is working on publishing his first children's book.  She spent over 3 hours being photographed and videoed so that the illustrations of his main character (who looks exactly like Nature Angel) will be what he wants them to be.

She came home exhausted--no fanciful imaginings about the glorious life of models for her!

But she has the promise of receiving a copy of the book when (and if) it is published, and if it doesn't get published, she'll at least get a privately printed copy of it.

Too fun!

Somehow, between illnesses and a heavy church schedule, we managed to have our family Valentine's Day celebration on Sunday.  Exchanging our handmade cards each year is a major stress, but it is also one of our most rewarding family days.  I still catch kids going through their bags of valentines and feeling loved as they look at each one.

As Monday was a holiday, and the library was closed, we had a regular school day so that we could go to the library on Tuesday.

We added family scripture study to our morning meeting--moved there from the dinner hour that it has occupied for the past almost-4 years.  Dad has changed from working nights to days, and we don't have to cram in our prayers and scriptures before he leaves anymore.  Changes are hard, but I have leftover Valentine candy that I'm using to reward kids who participate in reading and discussions.

I'm hopeful.

We're nearly at the end of Little House in the Big Woods, and the older girls have learned well how to use their literature marking pens.  I am delighted with their delight at sharing highlighted parts of the story!  I am charmed every time I ask, "Who has a character (or plot or style or whatever) element to share?" and all 4 girls start talking at once.

Nature Angel, Little Princess, Ladybug, and Mister Man each got a chance to "do school" with me.

Through her school, Nature Angel has discovered the art of Grace Carpenter Hudson, and getting to use the paintings to inspire her grammar lessons has been a delight.  She smiles and is rendered almost inarticulate in her joy at studying these paintings.

We're having spring in February, so everyone under 10 also spent hours and hours outside playing in the sunshine.  The girls rode bikes.  The little boys played on the deck with scooters and toy trucks.

We finished The Storybook of Science!  80 chapters and 400 pages!

Now the joy of choosing something new to read is ours.

Tuesday was our Monday, and Dad was home for the day.  We had a successful morning meeting (moving scripture study to before Bedtime Math was good, and I still had that bucket of candy out), and then we returned 60 library books while only checking out 36.

That's a relief because we've still got well over 100 checked out, and I was starting to worry about whether we could find all of them all around the house and incurring fines when those 100+ come due.

We added Ladybug to our illness casualty list and canceled her therapy appointment for the week.  I also called our parent educator and canceled our meeting with her giving half a dozen sneezing, coughing, dripping children as a good reason to stay away from our house!

Then I made lunch, gave haircuts to Sir Walter Scott, Mister Man, and Baymax, got a shower, watched Persuasion with the older girls (they're so in love with all things Jane Austen), did school with Ladybug (patterns and beginning sound sorts), Mister Man (beginning and ending blends), and Little Princess (she's writing a story about twins who lose things), and helped Super Star make sloppy joes and roasted potatoes for dinner.

 I wanted to help Ladybug make another pot holder, but we can't find the loom.

Nature Angel studied her new library books:

After dinner I stayed home with the 5-and-under set while everyone 6-and-up went with Dad to the church for youth activities.

On Wednesday, the temperature went back up.  Kids spilled in and out of the house all day long.  I tried to help Little Princess work on her story, but she was too busy down at the creek, and honestly, I'd rather see her down at the creek than sitting at the kitchen table.

In Morning Meeting, we moved Isaiah 1:18 to our memorized list and began working on Joshua 24:15.  We also finished reading the book of Jacob in The Book of Mormon.

I tried to follow the lesson plan for the chapter the girls read in Little House in the Big Woods, but it killed all discussion.  Fortunately I didn't stick with the plan for too long, and by chucking it was able to salvage the school day.  My girls love to talk, and as long as I simply ask, "What do you have to share?" we can have lively, thoughtful discussions.

So that's what we did.

Their assignment was to finish the 4 final chapters of the book, paying particular attention to the theme of each chapter and highlighting literary elements that contribute to the development of the theme.

Nature Angel and I did some geography together; she got to make a map of an imaginary country.  Doing so helped her practice physical map-making skills.

Ladybug learned the words "look" and "at" and colored in her letter A coloring book.

Ladybug and Mister Man played a game from this month's issue of High Five magazine.
 Mister Man listened to a story about a boy and a robin, then he answered comprehension questions, studied robins with me, and colored a picture of a robin.  He was so sweet and funny as he explained his coloring techniques to get the robin to look real, "I know the robin is not black, but I have to use black first!  I will color white on top to help the robin look gray . . ."

I spent hours with Rose Red researching ideas and planning her 16th birthday party.  It was exhausting, but we finally decided on a party at home.  The work has only begun, but I'm so glad to have the basic decision and plans outlined!

Little Brother cried a lot.  I don't know what's wrong, but anything anyone said or did to him reduced him to a noisy puddle.  Because my arms are always full of the actual babies in our home, I forget to hold this little fellow who is still more of a baby than most 3-year-olds are.  I keep trying to treat him like his chronological age, when in fact I need to treat him like Little Sister and Baymax.   This is a lesson I need to learn.

We added Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know to our evening reading.  The older girls know these tales, but the littler girls only know some of them, and the older girls are enjoying hearing them again.

Sir Walter Scott snapped this picture of me at bedtime with the babies.
 On Thursday, during morning meeting, we adjusted our family scripture reading by jumping right into a lesson on Enos in Scripture Study for Latter Day Saint Families.  The lesson really pumped up our discussion; I like this addition to our studies! 
After finishing our discussions inspired by Little House in the Big Woods, I assigned the girls a character study essay.   The littles played outside on the deck all morning because we're having spring in February.

Then we headed off to dance practice.  I took some school supplies with me this time to give Mister Man and Ladybug and Little Princess some one-on-one attention while we waited for various dance classes to meet.

I was able to work with Mister Man (phonics readers) and Ladybug (sight word "at" and writing A/a), but then Ladybug pitched a monster tantrum over a toy she wanted that resulted in me having to take her out to the van and strap her in her car seat to keep her from damaging anything or anyone.  Between that and Little Sister's fussing because she refused to nap and Little Brother's continued weepiness, we never got to have dance for the youngest group.

At least all of the older kids had great rehearsals with new, challenging dances to learn.

When we got home I threw a lentil soup together, a load of laundry in the washer, then walked away from my other chores and spent time outside with the kids.  It was actually very hard to do--it took a lot of conscious self-talk to stay focused on my plan to share in their outdoor experiences and to try to relax a bit in the afternoon to see if I could have more energy for Sir Walter Scott when he gets home at night.

The kid part went fine; the relaxing part not-so-fine. :)

I'll keep practicing.

I notice how I keep making noises about not pushing reading on Ladybug, but then all of her school lessons are reading lessons.  She's 100% aware of Mister Man's reading skills and the fact that he's 14 months younger than she is.  I'd love to drop the reading, but she's desperate to feel that she's keeping up.  I'm using a plan that is mostly centered on initial sounds, writing practice and sight words.  She can memorize the sight words, practice the sounds, totally ace the handwriting practice and do her "reading" by context clues.  She feels good about reading lessons; I feel good about not pushing her.

Our friends were sick, so we had a day open to us.

The weather started at 50 degrees and climbed to just over 70.  We had morning meeting, and not much else.

The older girls finished their character studies.

I worked with Nature Angel on grammar and spelling for about 20 minutes.

Otherwise, the kids spent the day out-of-doors with Dad, who was finally getting the last of the Christmas lights down. :)

I took Pixie to buy her first pair of high heels.

And Pixie, Super Star, and Belle went with Dad to a church Daddy/daughter dance.  He was the only dad there with 3 daughters (it was only for 12-13 year olds).

(The whole body shots were blurry, so here are the close-ups.)
While Dad and the other girls were gone to the dance, Rose Red and Little Princess had some fun with the camera.
The kids have begun to ask for picnics . . . I'll have to start keeping picnic supplies on hand because there just might be more picnic weather in the week ahead.


  1. As always, I love love love the pictures. That last one of Biggest Sis and Little Sis cracks me up! And I didn't realize that's how you fed the babies... bunkbed style. The girls are beautiful; so hard to believe #2 can now wear high heels...

  2. Your family is so beautiful. I hope all the coughs and dripping clear up soon.

  3. I never comment on blogs, but a wanted to step out and say I am so inspired by you. We have a lot in common, and I relate so much to you and your family! I love reading about your days and how Heavenly Father works his miracles through families like yours :)


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