Life Update

3:07 PM

I realize it's been awhile since I've posted anything, and I have to say it's because I find my days slipping by all too quickly these past few weeks. 

We started our homeschooling year a little earlier than normal, and just finished our third week. Which means that, to quote Calvin and Hobbes, "The Days are Just Packed." Ah, and not to be completely overlooked, I even turned 36 since I last posted (on the 24th of August). See? Too busy to even make note of my own birthday!

So far, so good on the school front. Even Dorien enjoys "doing school" although that just means he sits beside me when I read to the kids and then tries to steal the kids' workbooks or their pencils or their chairs. He just wants to feel included, even though he has no idea how to do what they're doing. It's just being in the middle of it that matters most to him. Or being Thor, as the opportunity presents itself.


He's also a good stool carrier. Whatever may be said about Dorien, he is a superb helper. Always ready to do anything I need. With a cheerful, "Ok!"

To continue a tradition began by my parents when my siblings and I were children, Kyle is reading through the Bill Gothard Character Sketch books given to me by my parents. We've incorporated this into our school curriculum, and set aside time on Wednesday nights to do this.  If you're not familiar with Gothard's Character Sketch books, you're missing out.  I have extremely clear memories of crowding around my Dad's knees with my brothers while my Dad read through the two volumes.  Gothard takes all kinds of different character traits, like Loyalty, Perseverance, Faithfulness, etc. and teaches those lessons using animals.  

The past two weeks, my kids have been learning about Loyalty while studying the Great Horned Owl and the Canadian Goose.  It's a win-win. Science and nature combined with a practical Biblical lesson. In fact, after the animal lessons, there are Biblical stories in which the character traits are further demonstrated. 

The past week, we've been studying the countries of the Middle East in History/Geography, and the kids and I had so much fun identifying those countries on our map. We have a CD that teaches us songs to memorize the names of the countries, and so far, it's been a huge success. It even led to a big discussion of how to accurately pronounce Quatar. 

In other family events, after 7 years of living in this house and watching the wisteria vines continue to wrap up across our driveway and into the huge oak in our front yard, we made the difficult decision to cut the chord.  We severed the connection between the wisteria in the tree and the wisteria on the ground.  
What this means now is that we now have a huge snarly mess of dead wisteria vines dangling most unattractively from our oak tree.  What this also means is that our oak tree is no longer condemned to death by suffocation. Eventually, we hope to re-shape the wisteria left in our yard over a pergola of some sort. There's no way the stuff (which is at LEAST as old as this house (ca. 1935)) is going to die, it's just a matter of channeling it into something pleasing to the eye. Instead of a snarly mess of vines that bloom magnificently a mere 2 weeks out of the year. One of those fun home-owner decisions you occasionally have to make.

On that fateful day the wisteria lost its grip on our oak, my little brood was all to happy to help their Daddy haul branches and vines to the street. They even made a temporary Tarzan vine that let them swing around our front yard.

Another thing I've incorporated into our school curriculum this year is a weekly "Nature Hour" where we take our sketch books outside and work on drawing things from nature. This past Friday, we let our chickens roam the backyard and followed them around to sketch them. 

Brooklyn poses by my raised bed, which has one lone occupant - a mango seed that sprouted out of our compost pile.  I plopped it into the bed, covered it with more compost and the little guy is thriving. 

Here, our chickens slowly venture outside the familiar haven of their pen into the wild beyonds of our yard.
Aesop, our cat, attempts to stalk them. He wasn't very subtle. Or effective. 

He did get the beady eye from several bold hens.

Here's Minnie, one of our Auracana-Americana's (Easter egg layers) bounding off across the yard in search of bugs and adventure!

Poulet, our other Auracana-Americana saying Hi as I check out the interior of the henhouse.
These ladies of mine are so social. They love to visit with me, and as soon as I peek into their henhouse, several of them race up the ramp to come up and see what I see. 

Here's Rosie, one of my Rhode Island Reds, hanging out in an egg box. She laid one of those eggs, but not all three. Sometimes, I have to open the egg box and poke around under the roosting hens to see what they've produced for the day. 

A close up of two freshly laid eggs in an egg box.

At least 6 of the hens are laying regularly. Although they might have hatched all on the same day, much like humans, they each mature at different rates. You can tell the maturity of a hen by the color and size of its comb and wattle. One of my Buff Orpingtons matured way before the others and was my first egg layers. In the picture above, the green egg is from Poulet, and the largest egg, which is SIGNIFICANTLY bigger than any we have gotten before is from one of my Light Brahma's ("Little Penguin", to give credit where it's due).  

 The egg factory is officially open for business.
At 5-6 eggs per day (so far), we are nowhere near keeping up with their output. But that in no way diminishes our excitement each day as we see the bounty they continue to produce! What a beautiful rainbow of eggs produced from my very own ladies!!!

Speaking of production...I'll be 34 weeks preggo this weekend.
Thanks to regular visits to my chiropractor (where Dorien and August are pictured playing above) 
and the gym swimming pool, I feel great! 
The baby is growing and active (my stomach is aquiver with baby wiggles as I write this post) and has yet to settle head down. It does get there, but also apparently has enough room to move sideways and back to head up and then around again. I'm praying it settles head down in the next week or so.

I'll try to post some updated belly pictures in the next few days. 
Meanwhile, I intend to fully enjoy this Labor Day weekend by pulling down my infant garb from the attic and maybe painting our nursery! Changes are afoot! 
Have a wonderful weekend!

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