4:11 PM

I had no idea that when I committed to homeschool my children, I would be left without the barest of 2 minutes to rub together. Time is money, right? If that's the case, does that mean I'm rich or poor? Besides, what does that phrase mean anyway? We all have the same amount of time per day.  So no one is really rich, right? I'm confusing myself.  Sorry for the rabbit trail.

What I am getting at is that I have tons of things I want to share through this blog every day! But finding time to sit down and post is much more difficult. 

So much has happened in just the days since I last posted! Kyle and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on October 21st! Yeah! What did we do? Well, exchanged cards and he gave me an easel to use for painting at home! How thoughtful was that??? I was so touched and thrilled!

Since the last post, Brooklyn's reading skills have advanced by huge leaps.  She sounds out everything she sees which is pretty cool. And frustrating for her as it seems there is an "exception" to just about every word in the English language.  Yes, honey, that word WOULD be Higghuh, but the gh is silent, oh and the "i" says its name. It seems like it should be spelled "Hie." So just remember that word. And G-O does look like it'd be Gah, but actually the "o" says its name too. Poor girl. She keeps persevering, though.

And also since the last post, we spent a week with Kyle in Chicago! Our favorite city! Kyle had lots of work to do, so we packed up our school stuff and all went with him! We drove up there, which I anticipated taking much longer than it did.  Actually only about 8.5 or 9 hours.  And here's a funny thing...I love Chicago. Always have. Always have wanted to live there. (Back to funny thing in a minute)

--Funny side story here---In high school, I had so hoped to go to school in Chicago thinking I'd just stay there. Well, my Dad, wanting me to stick around, said nope - we'll only pay for in-state schools. Plus, I got a a scholarship to U of A. Anyway, he figured that there was a good chance I'd meet my future spouse in college and the odds of that person being a resident of Arkansas were much greater if I went to an Arkansas school.  Turns out he was right. Almost immediately I met and fell in love with an Arkansas boy (Kyle) who I later married. Ironically, Kyle's dream has also always been to live in Chicago. And no, I didn't know that when I fell in love with Kyle. Although, to my Dad's credit, we're both still here. For now, anyway! Anywho, funny how that worked.--

Back to other thing - it has been a long time since I've driven to Chicago. But I recall that I thought the whole state of Illinois was beautiful! Even the prairie land...Just beautiful colors, trees, etc. I also am honest enough to realize that I could just be looking at the state through rose-colored glasses. I was happy to discover on our way up, that I remembered correctly.  The state really is beautiful! Arkansas is beautiful, too, but in a different way.  I really love Illinois. I wouldn't love living out in the middle of a plain when a tornado roars through, but I get plenty of that here and I don't love it here either. Six of one...

In other news, Dorien has hit the 8 month mark - yesterday. He's getting his top two middle teeth. He is crawling everywhere and cruising the furniture. And I will write in his baby book that his first words were "Mama". Yes, the barnacle I love so much has returned that love by saying Mama before Dada. Rarely happens, but it has for me. And it makes me happy. And yes, he does MEAN Mama, not just a babbly sound.

I also completed my first portrait. Or, shall I say, I'm officially ready to begin work on portrait #2, while probably continuing to tweak Brooklyn's portrait. I'm not ready to post a picture on the blog just yet. Be patient. I asked my art teacher, Endia, how you know when you're finished with a painting. Because as much as I'm happy with much of my first painting, there is much I want to keep perfecting. Endia said, to her knowledge, a painter is rarely ever "done".  You just have to get to a point where you see the person - they speak to you - and you stop.  You may, in fact, continue to tweak, but you choose to at least begin work on something else. A fellow classmate said she still occasionally pulls paintings down from the walls to add or fix something. I COMPLETELY get this. 

No, this is not mine. I WISH! This is the face of a Sargent painting. This painting took up a huge wall!!

I also have to share that while in Chicago, we fit in several "field trips".  1) The Shedd Aquarium, 2) The Lincoln Park Zoo and 3) The Art Institute of Chicago.  Oh yes, I took the kids with me to the Art Institute - my favorite place in the world, probably. Even more than the Magnificent Mile. And that's saying something cause I love clothes. (Although we also did go shopping. Are you kidding me? Of course we fit that in!) 

I looked online and figured out the Art Institute had several Sargent paintings (and that kids were free) so we spent an afternoon there where I just studied carefully the Sargent paintings they had.  The kids were so amazing. They sat right on the floor and talked about paintings they liked or didn't. I literally stared at the paintings for so long, taking pictures with my phone until Dorien needed to eat. I love my kids.  I also need to brag on myself a little - I successfully drove my Navigator all around downtown Chicago, even in rush hour traffic. I love driving in busy cities. Don't ask. AND I parallel-parked in Lincoln Park. I confess I could not have done it without the help of my friend, Kyler. Thank you, Kyler!

And then there was Halloween - Dorien was a shark; August was a garden gnome; Brooklyn was the surfer girl whose arm was bitten off by a shark (ie, Dorien).  

 Bring me munchie....

More pictures to follow from trips in separate posts. Keep coming back, I have not disappeared! 

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