Wednesday, November 25, 2009

House Update

Since my "readers" have been requesting a house update - here it is! LOL
(Yes, that's you, Jenn!)

These pictures were taken in our homeschool room. It has been rearranged a little since then because of the wood stove, but it's pretty close. This is Daniel's little play area where I can keep an eye on him while the girls work. Garr's mom gave us the rack and bins and it has been great for keeping Daniel's toys organized and close at hand. We really like it. Below that are Daniel and Olivia working on patterns at the homeschool table. Too cute!

We tore out that disgusting green carpet and replaced it with this Brazillian Cherry hardwood. We love it! It is a bit tough to keep swept up between the kids, the animals, and the wood from the stoves, but it is way easier than carpet! These photos were taken back in Sept. before we arranged the living room. The flooring runs the whole length of the living and dining rooms - about 44'x20'. Garr installed it - he did a great job! I'm so blessed to have such a handy husband!

Here is our living room fireplace before we got the insert. I haven't really done any decorating yet in these photos. Everything on the mantle was just stuck there for lack of a place to put it. Garr and I aren't thrilled with the colors in the living room and will probably repaint - the wall color just looks like mud to me (it's supposed to be "Linen") and I want something warmer - maybe "Cocoa-ish." The next two photos are our dining room (still nothing on the walls yet.) It's our favorite room of the house though! And the last two photos are our "game/puzzle/folding laundry" table in the living room! I've always wanted a table set up for games and now I have it!

The kids have enjoyed making smores in the living room fireplace!!

Our house has only a fireplace for heat. And our house is too big to heat with one fireplace. There is also baseboard heat, but the people before us took the fuel tank. And there are cracks in the baseboard (it's solid steel) so that has been tricky to fix. Add to that the price of fuel oil, and the fact that we have been offered a TON of free wood (that Garr has to chop and bring home, but still!) So we decided to heat with wood. We bought this wood stove and Garr installed it in the homeschool room. The kids were helping to carry wood in these pictures. I wish I could have gotten a better one of Daniel - he looked so cute carrying his little log into the house!

Garr cleaned out our fireplace chimney and installed an insert (more efficient and better heat.) This is him afterwards, finally sitting down. We joked about him looking like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins!! lol Poor guy! I made him smile for the first picture, but the second photo is how he really felt. lol What a great husband I have!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mount Vernon

This fall, we have begun our homeschooling journey. It has been great! I really enjoy teaching (and learning alongside) our children. We've gotten to do some fun things together as well.

In September, we visited Mount Vernon - George Washington's home. What a beautiful, interesting place!!! If you have a chance to go, I would highly recommend it! There is so much to see and do. George Washington was a truly remarkable man. Garr had to work, so my mom and dad went along with me. We went through our homeschool co-op (a great benefit of co-ops!) Some friends (thanks Sami, Kimi, and Katie!) tag-teamed Daniel and Liv for the day, so just Eme and Abby went.

This is a life-like statue of GW's inauguration. Amazing how they used science to find out exactly what he would have looked like at this age. There was a lot of information on how they figured this out. Very interesting!

In the play room for the kids, GW, his wife Martha, and step-children.

Abby and a friend from co-op dressing up in period clothing

Eme putting a shattered pot back together

One of the many livestock on the premises

Enjoying a rest on the bench during the trail through the woods

Beautiful view from the trail. Amazing to think what our country looked like back in GW's day.

Feeding hay to the horses.

Reading about the history of this land.
Sitting on the wharf - GW had many business enterprises running from his property.

This is a building that GW invented for treading grain. Just amazing.

Eme and Abby checking out the sheep.

The wharf


Eme found a perfect spot in the this tree!

We were amazed at the size of some of the trees on the property. This one looked like someone's fist to us. The girls enjoyed climbing on the "knuckles."

Above the burial tomb that GW designed was this Scripture verse. The girls and I enjoyed thinking of meeting GW and Martha someday in heaven. Eme has lots of questions for him! lol

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the house (it was AMAZING) but we could take pictures out here in the kitchen. There were so many examples of how life was lived back then - so interesting!!

The view of the Potomac River from GW's veranda
Waiting outside to go in

Monday, November 23, 2009

How did I get on that tangent?

I haven't blogged in a while. That's becoming a theme around here, isn't it? It's not that I don't want to keep this little scrapbook of sorts up to date or share our lives with you all. It's just that with a new house (that requires a lot of upkeep and fixing,) 4 children (one at age one and 3 that I am spending my days teaching,) and 5 animals to clean up after (one in particular I have to keep chasing down the street,) well, life just is busy. Too busy to get photos uploaded and sit and wait for them to appear on my blog. And too busy to tell you all what we've been doing. And then when I sit to do it, I get overwhelmed by how far behind I am. (I have this 'thing' about doing everything in order.) I hate to make dinner if there are dirty dishes in the sink - in fact, for some reason I can't bring myself to. Yet I'm so tired after cooking and feeding everyone, that most days the dishes don't get washed right after dinner (gasp!) and so I end up doing dishes before I start cooking the next meal. Which means we start eating later, and I get done cleaning up later, and then I'm too tired to do the dishes, and ... you get the idea. And yes it's the same with uploading the photos. Well, it is to me anyways, but you all are probably thinking I'm crazy by now. So I haven't actually decided if I'm going to post all those pictures and try to tell you about the events, or just pretend all the fun things we've done for the last 3 months didn't happen. Ok you know I'm going to post the pictures, I can't stand it. Here goes!

On October 29th, our baby turned 10 years old! It is hard to believe. We are so proud of who Emelyn is becoming though. She is a wonderful helper, smart in school, more like a second mommy to her little brother than a sister, and genuinely cares about others. We had a little party for her to celebrate and she also received swimming lessons at the local Y as a gift from Garr and I. She loves to swim and is a natural at it.

Daniel still says very few words - mostly he grunts, giggles, uh-uh's, or says mama, daddy or dad-dad, abby, and no. Oh and he can say "mine" too, of course. :) I'm proud to say he said his first sentence this weekend, in sign language! Here he is talking to Grandad - he said ...


(goldfish crackers)

Here they are laughing about it together! :)

This past weekend, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and his son came down for a visit! What a great time we had! We took them to the beach since my nephew had never seen the ocean. We had a big (practically Thanksgiving) meal at our house on Sunday afternoon. It was so great - we love having a house big enough to entertain. All 16 of us (the girls had friends over also) sat comfortably in our dining room, with room to spare. Daniel is pouting in the picture of him at the beach. He loved the waves at first, but once he realized they "chased" him, he wanted to go back up on the boardwalk with Grandad. He was not happy with me for making him wait! The next is Eme, who just turned 10. Everytime I look at her I can't believe how beautiful she is. Next is my parents, followed by Abby, Liv, and my other nephew Justin. Then our out of town family!

We have a Japanese Maple outside our window that turned the most gorgeous shade of red this fall. The leaves have recently fallen and the kids have had so much fun with them. Here they have raked them into piles around the driveway, making an obstacle course to ride their bikes through. Rocky loves laying in them too. The tree is also great for little girls to climb and hang from. Unfortunately there was a glare (I was taking these pics through a window) but if you look carefully you can see Livy hanging from the tree and her friend playing inside it. And Daniel has fun with them also :)

That's it for now. I really should head to bed. I'll do two more posts - one an update on the house, and another a school update!