So a recap on some highlights from the month of January!
We really enjoyed spreading out the holiday fun this year and hosted our last holiday gathering on January 18th - giving the girls a very good rationale for keeping up some of the Christmas decorations and lights until then. We did our final white elephant gift exchange (the 4th of the season) at that gathering and Terah is already asking when Christmas is coming around again. Due to coupons and the gift of many chocolate bars, the celebrations continue with sharing squares of dark chocolate with each other and Jason and Alida just finished planning her flower garden and ordering the seeds so now we all get to anticipate many colorful bouquets in our home this summer!
Sometimes homeschooling feels too good to be true. So much of the time it just happens so seamlessly, with joy and fun and ease. The other day, Alida and Terah wanted to paint. When I came by them busy at work, there was Alida painting and Terah on the other side learning how to paint a rainbow and a carrot. It was so sweet. Alida is really enjoying being the one with many things to teach someone. She is credited for working with Terah to write her name, writing the letters in little boxes and making boxes for Terah to try to copy her sample letters.
While on the subject of art projects, there was a lot of fun had the other day when Ivy came to spend the day with us and the girls were busy for some time making Emily birthday cards. The girls had so much fun together - it was a trial day of seeing how it would go for Ivy to be with us for a day. We started it around 10 since our girls are not early risers and Ivy integrated into the day without a hitch. I was not sure how nap time would go but she was sacked out before I even got the doors closed to keep things quiet so she would be able to fall asleep. And she remain zonked for a good 3 hours or so! I guess we tuckered her out. She has now slept longer in Terah's bed than Terah has ever slept in it - which is 0 hours! As well as the day went, I felt a different kind of tired at the end of it. It reminded me of what my mom said when we got back from the VABF conference. The girls had done so well with them but they were still glad to have us home. It's something about being responsible for someone else's child's well-being. That said, it definitely won't be the last time and I can see it getting easier and easier over time as the girls all get even more independent!
It would not be a complete update without mentioning that we have some serious puzzlers in this house! Terah has been taking apart and putting together, over and over, a puzzle that my folks had upstairs. She loves it and can do it all by herself which is a big hit. She is also getting better at putting harder puzzles together with Alida as her coach and assistant. It is a pretty common scene these days to have several puzzles out and started in front of the wood stove! And they aren't the only one working on puzzles. I imagine Jason would not call it a puzzle, but to me it feels about like Alida putting pieces effortlessly into a puzzle: I can't figure out how Jason can take boards and then come home with cabinets. Tonight he brought home the last of the cabinets. There is still a tiny bit of gluing, carpentry and sanding to do but we hope to be oiling by sometime tomorrow! We are not quite where we hoped to be by this evening, but we'll see what the next few days bring.
Alida is acquiring a love of photography - one that seems more sustained than Terah's. She gets her camera out now and again and talks about it sometimes, but it seems that Alida really loves to be named the "photographer" for a particular event or for a period of time. Today it probably took 45 minutes to download all the pictures and videos and I think I deleted about half of the 350 or so items. That said, interspersed in there with blurry and dark photos are some fun treasures. She's even getting into selfies:
The girls continue to treasure times with good friends. Looking back at old pictures and videos has inspired me to try to remember to bring my camera out every now and again when friends are over. Kids are changing so fast and I often have the thought that I'll never forget a particular moment but then the next moment seems equally momentous... A recent sleepover included about a four hour game of Monopoly. I used to love that game. Now it is about the last thing I would want to do for half a day. Right now the outdoors is calling me. If I'm feeling that way in January, when some days the high is not much over 20 degrees, what is April and May going to feel like. I just love the changing light on the mountain at different times of day.
Terah is very excited about being able to go into some of the coops and collect the eggs from the nestboxes. Today she even collected the 3rd hatching egg and brought it all the way to the house, talking about how we might have baby chickies. She is so excited about the first chicks of the year and keeps talking about what a good mama our broody hen is. She doesn't miss much and is often repeating what she has heard me, Jason or her big sisters talk about. At this point, I think 4 p.m. is one of our favorite points in the day where Terah and I get bundled up (and normally Alida is eager to join also) and head out. It seems it is really clicking for both of them how much better they too feel after a dose of fresh air. It has helped us hit the reset button on more than one occasion!
I'll end with two of the pictures I took of plants at the end of taking our monthly property pictures this morning. I feel like I'm rooting for these little plants that are hanging in there in the cold and waiting for warmer temperatures. Most namely, I'm cheering on our garlic and spinach. We have just a few bulbs of garlic left from last year that I'm savoring. And as of today we have 6 cups of frozen spinach left. It's getting to the time of year where the green veggies are becoming sparser in the freezer and we'll be eating a lot more squash and potatoes (and meat) in the coming months!