New Beginning

I’ve been blogging with wordpress for over 2 years and it’s time for a little change. If you’d like to visit our family’s new space, you can visit us at Calling It Progress!

The posts here will be left up for awhile, but I will be moving information from here into the new space over the next month or so.

I hope to see you there!

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This Week

Last week we finished up swimming lessons for the summer and t-ball wrapped up on Saturday. Before swimming lessons Ender was more than reluctant to get in the water. His big fear was wrapped up in putting his face in the water, and we’d tried to show him easy ways to do it, but he was too scared to try. The teachers for his class were great- they didn’t push him to do anything he was too scared to try, but they did get him to make big steps forward. By the last few classes he was putting his face in! It was really quick each time, but he was trying it! Now he has the rest of the summer to practice.


We are spending the next few days getting ready for a trip to New York. The boys are both very excited about riding on a plane for the first time- I fully expect Ezra to tell us we can go right back home the second we land because his dreams will have been fulfilled.


We have plans to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, a Yankees game, the Museum of Natural History and Wicked on Broadway. We’re going to Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. And maybe most exciting of all (for me): Purlsoho! I’ve wanted to see their shop for the longest time and now I finally get the chance to go in person instead of spending time drooling at their online shop.


And the last little thing to mention here is that there will be changes in this spot soon. I’ll be sure to share more after the trip!

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July Daybook

Outside my window…

Bright sunshine and far more humidity than we care for. We’ve been at the pool for swimming lessons again every morning this week and even though it’s before 10 a.m. all the adults are crammed under the one beach umbrella for just a bit of shade. Even Ezra just sits there during the class because playing is just too much work.


I am thinking…

about our fall schedule already. Work schedules will change again then and we need to make decisions about whether or not to add extracurriculars for the boys to that pace.


I am thankful for…

An extra day off this week. That means more project time with the boys, more knitting for me, finishing reading The Reluctant Dragon together, and just hanging out. (And maybe some blackberry tarts in there too . . .)

Always Learning…

We started working on our alphabet notebooks this week and Ender started a math journal for part of our daily work.

Ender has spent the last week or so making books. He illustrates several pages and adds text to some, then staples the group together. He has a nice collection going on our reading shelf.

Ezra received a few new puzzles for his birthday so he’s been using those every day this week. In his artwork he’s been making a real effort to make specific shapes, so that has been fun to encourage and watch.

From the kitchen…

We picked quite a few blackberries with Grandparents last weekend so we’ve had quite a lot of blackberry cobbler around here this week.

I am wearing…

Khaki shorts, a blue t-shirt and my hair pulled up. I’m still blazing hot.


I am creating…

Baby things. In the last 2 weeks I’ve made two little baby hats and two pebble vests. I’m currently on a third baby hat and have plans for a cute little sweater for a friend’s baby due to arrive in early October.


I am going

to finish working on our fall semester units this week. I have a little bit to put together for the 2ish weeks before Christmas, but that’s just about it!

I am reading…

Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey, re-reading Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss and still working through Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.


I am hoping…

To get the basement storage room re-sorted. I know there are at least 2 boxes of books that I need to get to, and they weren’t even close to where I thought I put the books. This time I’m thinking some seriously detailed labels are necessary.


I am hearing…

 The quiet of rest time.

Around the house…

I finally caught up on vacation laundry- we took turns with a stomach virus over the last 2 weeks and that put a little delay in getting everything done. But finally I’m all caught up! Now if only I could find my desk . . .

One of my favorite things…

reading aloud with the boys at the end of the day.


A few plans for the rest of the week . . .

General cleaning, t-ball this weekend, and a lot of staying cool (and maybe popsicle making and eating to help with that!)

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The Basics

I’ve been stewing for the last however many months now about Kindergarten and the “official” beginning to our home school- at least as far as the state is concerned.


I’ve worked to foster a lifestyle of education and a home that reflects that philosophy, even though my boys weren’t quite school-aged. Simplicity and order has been the focus of our home for the last few years, and despite a dedication to this lifestyle these little thoughts started to creep in:


“What if we miss something really important along the way?”


“What if we miss the perfect time to do something?”


“What if . . . “


My super-organized plan-ahead side went into a bit of hyper-drive there for a bit and lots of lists were made, sites and books read, and advice requested. I don’t know why but excessive planning helps me see that we really don’t need it all. We’re totally okay with about 1/4 of the list. Thankfully I also have a rational side that starts to complain if it looks like we’ll be “doing school” too much.


And again, it all comes down to the basics:

  • Faith
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Number work


I’d like to share our plans here with an understanding of the factors for our family:


1. I work full time in my studio, but at odd hours compared to most full-time folks. Our kids are with me in the mornings til just after lunch, with their grandmother until dinner, then daddy in the evening. Daddy rocks the whole “feed them dinner, wrestle/ride bikes/play at the park, take a bath, read books, prayer” evening thing and Grandma gives them the space they need to make all kinds of wild artsy messes and spend 4 hours in a row with legos if that’s what they desire.


2. I’m definitely a go-with-the-flow/spur-of-the-moment gal if left to my own devices.


3. My oldest son is Mr. Structure with a capital S.


4. We have to balance the two so neither of us go crazy.


5. My newly minted 3-year-old REALLY wants to be a part of everything.


So, we have a framework for the year built around two concepts: the alphabet and the continents. In between I have a few ideas for interests I think Ender might want to pursue, but I’m going to leave that open for whatever comes up. I could totally wing the whole thing and have a great time doing it, but Ender does a million times better if he knows exactly what to expect from the day.


I wrote a few “units” (I use the term very loosely), 1 for each continent, 1 for astronomy (which we’re working through right now) and 1 each for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s all based on our basics- faith, reading, writing, and numbers, with a lot of room to add or subtract as we need to.


Our alphabet framework is nothing new, but it is a way for us to include Ezra while also giving Ender phonics work. We will be working with 1 letter per week with a theme for each day of the week, working toward making a page for each letter to put in an alphabet notebook. I’m planning to use some of the materials available through homeschoolshare, but I’m making some of my own too. I’ll share more details as we complete work (provided I find out it actually seems to work for us).

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Finally jumping in with Ann Voskamp who encourages me in a million ways . . .

1. My husband, who works so very hard for our family.

2. Ezra’s smile that starts the moment his little eyes open in the morning.

3. Two little boys that love to play together.

4. My music studio and the blessing of working with families who are kind and considerate.

5. Fresh strawberry jam. It’s still sooooo good, even after having some almost every day for 3 or 4 weeks now.

6. The rhythm and peace of knitting.

7. Quiet mornings.

8. A computer that keeps track of the things my brain can’t seem to handle on its own anymore.

9. Routine. I’m a sucker for familiarity.

10. Good movies to watch with my husband.

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Seven Quick Takes



This weekend is the big birthday weekend for a brand new three-year-old! Ezra has walked around all week announcing his new status to everyone who will listen. Grocery store? Library? *Everyone* knows how old this boy is!


We’re also celebrating an upcoming birth this weekend My sister-in-law A is due at the end of the month with her first child, a little boy. We’re having a little get together to celebrate and help her prepare for his arrival with a bit of advise from the sisters who have been here before. I’ve been knitting for this much anticipated little one, and I only have a few little finishing details left before the weekend.


I think I can safely say that I’m organized for our official Kindergarten venture. We bought binders earlier this week for our alphabet notebooks and a notebook for our math journal. There’s a daily plan in place that gives us the structure Ender needs but a lot of room to explore. I’ll share a little bit here after we get into a rhythm and see how the plan works.


I love Netflix streaming. When I was a kid we watched very very little television and movies were basically forbidden. A lot of movies that people consider classics are movies I know of but have never seen. Superman is in constant awe of the movies I’ve never seen and takes great joy in introducing me to the movies of our youth.  Last night I watched Independence Day for the first time, a few nights before that I saw the original Karate Kid. I have to say- it’s really funny when you know all the popular phrases that have become part of our culture and then you see the original source. The whole “wax on, wax off” thing? I finally know exactly what that is. Superman has made it his personal mission to catch me up on all the pop culture stuff I missed as a kid.


I started to work on a Christmas list for this year. I’m trying to get an early start on the handmades for Christmas. Because my family is so large we draw names on that side of the family, so we will have 2 to knit for. I’m hoping to cheat a little and draw my brother-in-law since I already found the perfect hat to knit for him. Perhaps I can talk whoever is in charge of the name drawing thing into just giving me the right name . . .

To knit for: all of my boys, my mother-in-law, (hopefully) my brother-in-law and perhaps a few little cousins- we’ll have 3 little ones besides my boys by Christmas.


I’ve also spent a bit of time this week looking for good hat patterns for Superman and the boys for this fall. For some reason I feel like I need to get them done before September even though we don’t usually have cool enough weather to need hats and mittens until January. I’m going to experiment with the boys’ mittens this time around and see what happens, and I think I may have found a hat that Ender will really like. Now just to find one for Ezra . . .


Ender is back to swimming lessons on Monday for a few weeks. He’s getting a little braver each time he goes, and he made a lot of progress with getting over some of his fears last weekend. We were able to be in the pool almost every day. I’m hoping the progress continues in his class these next few weeks.

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I’m the same now as I was when I was 15.


Except for the fact that my whole life is completely different from then, essentially I am exactly what I was at 15. I needed time to myself and room to follow the interests I had. I was a sophomore, homeschooling in the morning hours, spending the afternoons practicing the 3 instruments I played, then performing or rehearsing several evenings per week. Saturdays were spent all day in rehearsals. I was already developing a career at that young age.


I spent my non-musical time writing stories, writing articles, journaling- writing just to write. In fact, I found myself writing “I wish I had something really interesting to write just because I really feel like writing right now” in my journal more than once as a teenager. I wanted to write for writing’s sake.


I loved it all.


I miss that life.


There isn’t anything that could make me trade what I have now for what I had 14 years ago.


My creative pursuits have since shifted to crafting. Music is still my career, but I don’t perform anymore, and I fill that need for creation with knitting and composing for my music students.


In my “days off” lately I’ve been writing again. As in real writing, the kind of writing I did before I had kids and thought I was too busy to take the time to write since then. Real writing as in words that mean something, rather than the hastily written lists that have become my standby lately.


It was while I was writing over the weekend that I realized just how much I have not changed in all this time. I still need exactly the same things- time to myself and room to explore my interests- and that hasn’t been happening for the last year or so. The last few weeks have been like waking up for the first time in a few years, looking around and thinking, “how did I get here?”


Hence, lots of prayer.


Big changes, come my way.


I very thoroughly believe that you have to be the one to make the changes you want in your life, and just as firmly I believe that if you are willing to do the work there isn’t much out there that is unattainable.


I’m working.

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A Certain Mama

Have I ever told you that I’m “Mama” here? I am never referred to as Mom or Mommy or Mother- always Mama, and we’ve kept it that way quite intentionally ever since the first time Ender managed to put those sounds together for the first time.

I will probably mourn a little bit when one of my boys calls me Mom, not because it’s wrong or anything, but because I personally find the name Mama so endearing. The sound of that word makes me smile in my heart every single time I hear it. Yes, even when someone is yelling for me to “come quick” or something of that nature.

I’ve been reading as part of this month’s devotions through an older John Piper book- Don’t Waste Your Life. I’m not done with it yet, but I need to write about it today. Piper is one of those fellows that I have to read slowly, just a few pages at a time, then read those pages again before I can think on them and pray. I’ve been praying for big changes in our family life, or as our pastor would say, God-sized changes. I’m depending on God to do the things He says He will do.

It is the scariest step forward I have ever taken.


I am quiet here for a few reasons. First is sheerly practical- we’ve had either limited or no internet access for most of this month. As these kinds of things go, it’s been both good and bad for us. There’s been some frustration over a few online services we depend on (like online access to my library account and trusty netflix streaming to help us through our 80’s movie classics quest!) but there has also been an awful lot of nights spent sitting out on the deck after little boys are in bed, and reading out loud to each other for the first time in a long time.

The second reason has to do with that Piper book. I  have realized in the reading of this book that I’m a certain kind of Mama  and I won’t ever follow the path other people expect me to go along. This book has freed me of so many of my “am I a good mother/wife/sister/daughter” worries because I know without a doubt now that I should live my life fully and not look back. Looking back, changing, or fitting to the expectations of others would mean wasting my life.

So I’ve been living life with my boys. Being very present, leaving the inspiration behind and doing whatever it is we are inspired to do, drinking wine in the evening on the deck with my husband, talking about 10 years together coming up in just a few short weeks, and most importantly- not being the mama that stands back and takes the pictures. I’ve been in the middle of it all. Things haven’t been documented, but I was there, doing it with them.

Ezra’s first boat ride

Helping Ender learn to blow bubbles out of his nose in the pool.

The boys swimming in a lake for the first time


Listening to Ender read Hop on Pop one silly word at a time

Praying with my husband for a way to make the life we want for our boys a reality, planning to take that next step forward . . .

Camping under the stars in a place you can actually see stars (unlike our middle-of-the-city home).


I do have things to share here. We’ve been *very* busy. But I’m letting go of the guilt over

  • not posting daily lately
  • not always having pictures to share
  • Not being like everyone else.


I’m much more interesting on my own.

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Outside my window…

Another humid morning. Maybe we’ll stay around 90 F instead of hitting more like 95 F.


I am thinking…

about Ezra’s poor chin! On Friday we were out running our weekly errands and he fell at the grocery store. He fell into the edge of the dairy case and cut his lip and the bottom of his chin as well as his teeth puncturing the inside of his lip. After 5 hours in the ER the outside gashes were sealed with Dermabond and we’re keeping an eye on the wounds inside his mouth and trying to protect his chin as much as we can.

I am thankful for…

an unexpected but good family trip next week, complete with my husband coming along!

Always Learning…

Grandparents gifted us with a telescope recently so we’ve been checking out the stars! Ender has been really good at finding the Big Dipper the last few days. We got a few books too, and we’re checking out some more constellations.

From the kitchen…

We made strawberry jam last week and this week I’m planning an adventure into hand pies. It may or may not go well since I don’t have a ton of experience with pastries, but we’ll try it and see how it turns out!

I am wearing…

my blue tree skirt, a white shirt and knee socks.


I am creating…

Sleeves. This is the week of finishing sleeves- I have 2 one-armed sweaters in need of a second sleeve, and I still haven’t finished a sleeve for my Tappan Zee Cardigan yet.


I am going

to stay home and try to keep everyone cool this week. We’ve been going to swimming lessons every day for the past 2 weeks and I’m ready for a few weeks of not having to go anywhere.

I am reading…

Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini, which has proven to be a really interesting read for me, but explaining what it’s about to a non-knitter, well . . . that’s *really* difficult.

I’m also reading the new Jacqueline Carey book, Naamah’s Curse and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.

I am hoping…

That the rain will stop so that something will actually grow. Everything we’ve planted this year has been drowned out, except for the gerber daisies on the back deck. I’m going to have to see about new tomato plants or give up for this year.


I am hearing…

Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty will Rise.


Around the house…

I’m trying to maintain all the reorganizing that’s been going on lately.

One of my favorite things…

Our fresh strawberry jam . . . mmmmm . . .


A few plans for the rest of the week . . .

A trip to the doctor for a checkup for Ezra, a special program at the library, packing for the trip, and then getting away with my family!

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This has been a weird week.

We are down another router and we also lost 2 windows in a storm. Add in the car trouble for Superman and you have a nice view of our lives for the last few days.

I also seem to have misplaced my camera AGAIN.


I’m caught up on laundry, I finished the body of the Tappan Zee Cardigan and started the first sleeve, finished 1 sleeve on my February Lady Sweater, and worked on getting our learning environment in good shape to make an official start to Kindergarten next month (aka the month that is too hot to leave the house unless you are forced to).

We’re going to try a little unit work in the next few weeks and see what Ender thinks of it. Nothing too serious, but lots of read-alouds, great pictures to explore and maybe a project or two. We’ll see what grows out of it!

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