A Week, Briefly (10/23/17)

We finished up the diary of Remember Patience Whipple at lunchtime on Saturday . . . just because we could.  Instead of reading the epilogue to the kids, I asked them to share their thoughts about what they hoped for these now-beloved characters.  It was a less-than-stimulating few moments, but at least we talked a little bit. :)

Perhaps with practice, they'll get better.

Then Saturday night was the teen Halloween dance, and I had to run out the door to pick up my poor stranded sister and her family (their truck died on the way home from a mini vacation), so I missed the final costume results.  I begged, begged, begged them to take pictures before they left, and I left amidst a barrage of assurances that they would.

But they didn't.

However, they did get their pictures taken by the dance photographers.  This photographer didn't make sure Rose Red wore her straw hat or make Pixie put her tail back on, nor did she get make-up close ups, but I'm still thankful for what I have.

Rose Red did Super Star's make up.

Pixie made Belle's dress--no pattern--just a picture and a mom she could turn to for occasional advice.  She whipped up the dress in an afternoon.

That's her real hair--bendy straws as curlers do the trick. :)  Her tail was so cute . . . I wish it were in the picture.  And I did get to see her make up before she left.  When she held a straight face, it was hard to tell she was herself.

Off to see the Wizard . . .

Finally, a shot of the ruby slippers!

On Sunday we had Family Night after church.  Because Ladybug will be our next 8-year-old, but her reading skills aren't on par with reading The Book of Mormon herself, we're focusing on preparing her for baptism via Family Night lessons.  I've chosen Behold Your Little Ones as our guideline, and I expand on the lessons for the older kids and teens by looking up a General Conference talk on the same subject as each lesson.

I realized over the weekend that the month is passing and we still hadn't visited a pumpkin patch!   Our favorite patch is a truly family-run small farm affair that adopts unwanted kittens every fall, allows the kittens to run all around the farm and then finds a home for each kitten at the end of the season.

We call it The Kitten Farm.

I made sure to have mentor meetings with the teens, and then we headed out the door after snack and a bit of read aloud time with the Elementary 8.

45 miles later we pulled up to the gate only to find that The Kitten Farm is only open 3 days a week this year, and Monday isn't one of them.

Some of us cried.

But it makes sense, as the owner is very old now and was carrying around an oxygen tank last year.  I don't think he can manage a full week these days . . . makes me sad.  It was his kids who started the patch some 40 years ago, and I guess none of them are around to run it now.  I hate to see the end of such a lovely era.

Fortunately we were way out in the country in an area where agri-tourism abounds, and we drove another 8-ish miles to a set of farms just across the road from each other.

At the first we purchased apples, apple cider, and apple butter and picknicked and played.

At the second we roamed around the animal pens and orchard.

We took a ton of pictures--my request of Pixie was to "finally get our school pictures done because it is October!!!"

And she did--along with over 400 others.

Here are less than 400--but still a whole lot of--pictures:

The rest are raw photos as Pixie didn't ever have time to edit any more than the portraits and the three above.

On your mark, get set . . .

 . . . Go!

Wait!  Ladybug's pump wasn't working.  Go, Ladybug! Go!

You can do it!

Wahoo!  You win, too!!!
Baymax loved these "flingamingos."  I don't think I'll ever call them by their right names again.

Whispering sweet nothings into Johnny Appleseed's ear?

"Is this a worm?"

On library day I realized that Nature Angel has read a couple of really good books that ought to be documented for school hours:

One Eye Laughing, The Other Eye Weeping:  The Diary of Julie Weiss (Dear America series)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

She's continuing to design and make doll clothes, but right now the little shoes are capturing my heart!

Little Princess's broken tooth turned out to be a broken piece of sealant--no filling needed.

The oldest teens worked.

We borrowed 10 more library books than we returned.

The Elementary 8 did individual school and Academy.  We started Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims and A Lion to Guard Us.  (We're Clyde Robert Bulla fans.)

We successfully completed 6 piano lessons!

After dinner we saw the teens off to the bonfire scheduled for their church youth activity, and Sir Walter Scott took Nature Angel and Little Princess to the church for their activities--crocheting and family history.

The sweetest moment of the day was looking for the toddlers and finding them playing Sorry! with Belle.

Rose Red got a call at 6:25 am informing her she was supposed to be at work.

She'd checked the day before, and she was not on the schedule.

So Belle came upstairs to babysit, and I threw on clothing as fast as I could and was the licensed driver in the car for Pixie and Super Star on the way to and from seminary so that Rose Red could go to work.

Cooler temperatures inspired the desire to snuggle up close at home, so we stayed indoors for most of the morning doing one-one-one school and Academy.

Then I sent kids out to play while the teens and I did a quick tidy up of most of the house before our dance director and her 6 kids came over for an extra rehearsal.  Pixie teaches a class, AND she's supposed to dance in all of the upper-level dances.  The fact that both classes run simultaneously has been something of a challenge.  Our sweet director sacrificed several hours of her own family time to help Pixie catch up and prep for our 2 shows coming up in November.

Her kids and mine played happily outside, and when the rehearsal was over, I set the Elementary 8 up with a Spanish video and quiet time while I conducted Symposium with the teens.

We howled with laughter after our lesson on Savonarola when Super Star called him Savannah-hole-ah.  She said his name wrong on purpose to play with the sounds, but we took it all to an over-the-top-level of making fun of homeschoolers for not knowing anything.

It was surely one of those you-had-to-be-there moments.

But it was good to laugh and laugh and laugh.

I ended up needing to supervise Rose Red driving Pixie to dance again this week, but she did fine, so I feel comfortable leaving her to the driving next week.  I did have time to get kids ready for bed and tuck in Baymax before leaving, and when we got home, I found Super Star and Belle watching the new episodes of Studio C.

I must admit that rather than insist on evening reading, I joined them for half an hour. :)

A rough day in my brain.

A rough day to be my kid.

Kids played outside a lot, and we did both one-on-one school and Academy.  The books we're reading are intriguing enough that the kids groan when the chapters end. :)

In spite of my weekly meetings with them and our family outing on Monday, the teens feel somewhat lost to me.  I don't get the sense that they're thriving.  I have a number of concerns about their various educational, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, and I keep putting my foot in my mouth every time I open it.  They're prickly and difficult--all of them in their own ways--and though I love them, I'm not expressing it well.

I'm praying for guidance.

Dance was intense as we only have 1 rehearsal left before our 2 autumn shows.  None of us feels ready, and the insecurity permeated all of the classes . . . except the littlest littles.  They're just too cute for words.

I had a lovely, lovely hour in the rocking chair sandwiched between 2 toddlers, each clutching a stack of storybooks.  We read and rocked until dinner time.

The evening was rocky with taking Pixie to her dance class and uncooperative teens at home babysitting.  I smoothed out what I could, but I managed to add a few rocks to the pile with snarky comments that would have been better left unsaid.

I felt humble and foolish as I went to bed.

It took all day to get ready for the church Halloween activity--volunteering at the local hospital's trunk-or-treat/carnival night for special needs kids (and anyone else in the community who might like to attend).

We managed Morning Meeting, Academy, and one-on-one time with Ladybug, Brother, and Beowulf.  Nature Angel and Little Princess said they got their math done.  Pixie is still struggling to finish her essay for A Separate Peace.

But I think that's it.

Otherwise we cooked and costumed all day.

Baymax as Iron Man

And a make-up close up . . . not because it's needed but because it's fun!

Lola as . . . is this a Littlest Pet Shop creature?  We're not sure.  She just liked being a birdie.

Some of us knew this was Blue, but Beowulf didn't; he was tickled pink to be a blue doggie.

Brother as Iron Man, too

This make up close up cracks me up!  I think he's so cute!

Could there be a more all-American Captain America?

Ladybug was very happy to be a China doll.  She was enamored of the texture of the silk.

Little Princess as Indian Princess

After the event, she said to me puzzled, "Everyone complimented [Pixie] on my make up, but no one complimented me!"

Nature Angel as "Oh, dear!"  Her best friend was "Holy cow!"  They were so cute together.

Sweet Belle actually used her costume again.  Countless small children gasped with pleasure when they saw her, tugging their mother's sleeves and saying, "Look, Mommy!  It's Dorothy!"

Super Star as Cat Woman.  I think she did this costume to be part of a Super Hero themed group next week . . .

Poor Pixe worked so hard on her Minion costume only to be mistaken for a farmer all night. :)
Rose Red refused to dress up, but it was barely 40 degrees outside, so she was able to bundle up and stay warm.  I layered the kids up in jammies and tights and gobs of extra shirts under their costumes, and we still took their coats and hats.   They made it through the trunk-or-treat portion of the evening with costumes on display, but they were very quick to put on their coats and snuggle up in the van while I manned my volunteer station handing out candy . . . 7 super jumbo-sized bags . . . at least 2,000 pieces of candy!

I hate Halloween--the candy, the craziness, the spookiness--but I have to say that I had a truly joyful time getting down on my knees to greet small people eye to eye and putting a piece of candy in their little hands or little bags and seeing the look of wonder on their faces.  When I greeted them by their costume identity, they just beamed.

And the miniature lumber jack, probably all of 14 or 15 months old, wearing an awesome fake beard, stole my heart.

(linking here)


  1. The Wizard of Oz costumes are adorable - as is "Oh dear." Very clever. My heart is melting at flingamingos. I will still sometimes call calculators "conkulators" thanks to a 3 yo boy I babysat back when I was a teenager. And I sympathize with you about words you wish hadn't been said. I once went to a parenting course focussed on the acronym STAR. I don't remember most of it now but I know S was for stop. If I manage that I mostly do okay in dealing with issues. Sadly there is no magic formula for remebering to stop though :-(

  2. I love the sisters' wizard of oz pictures and the boys on the tractor...that one needs framing. Your Pixie has talent with a camera. I love the "Oh Dear" idea. What a fantastic week even with a hard Thursday.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. Such a fun post! Love all the costuming!--and what a lot of time it must take to costume that many children! Tell Little Princess for me that I think she is a beautiful Indian princess. The pictures are wonderful--I agree that the one of the boys on the tractor is a classic...

  4. Oh goodness, those Wizard of oz costumes look professional! And I love the little Iron men (Iron Mans?) :)


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