Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Week In Review

This is actually for the week before last, but the new way blogger has me uploading and manipulating photos took a bit of time for me to figure out, so I was avoiding posts with pictures unless absolutely necessary (such as for my daughter's birthday!  that's necessary!)  haha

We are up to the Revolutionary War in history, which is staggering to me considering that we started the year at the fall of the Roman Empire, around 400 A.D.  Last week we had a tea party!  While we drank our tea we discussed all the various taxes that King George III and the British Parliament levied on the colonies, and the reasons for the colonists' initial rebellion against the crown.  We also talked about the role of tea in the colonists' lives, and how to behave properly while drinking it.

We tend to associate tea parties now with little girls, but in colonial times both women and men drank tea on a daily basis.  In addition to being a staple drink, the process of making, serving, and drinking tea was something of an "event" and a social convention.  I don't have a tea strainer large enough to steep an entire pot at once, so we used tea bags, but we discussed how the tea the colonist's purchased would have been loose tea.

We also talked about what they would have put in their tea to sweeten it.  Most likely honey rather than sugar, as sugar was largely imported and therefore very expensive.  We pretended that I was a wealthy colonist, so we had both honey and sugar available. :-)   Several of the children were brave enough to try milk (our substitute for cream) in their tea as well.

We practiced good manners at the table!

From our reading we learned that the colonists were not just upset that the crown had taxed their tea and many other daily household items, but that they had taxed them without the colonists having representation in Parliament.   And they had taxed only the British colonists, not the British subjects living in Britain.  Many of the colonists, even at the start of the war, still considered themselves loyal British citizens.  If King George III had allowed them representation in Parliament, it is entirely possible that the Revolutionary War would not have happened at that time.

After the Boston Massacre in 1770, and the various taxes that were levied both before and after that time, tensions increased almost to the breaking point.  The breaking point came when the British responded to the infamous Boston Tea Party by closing the port of Boston to all ships, and posting soldiers on the narrow spit of land connecting the peninsula of Boston to greater Massachusetts, thereby severely restricting the flow of merchandise into Boston, and controlling who went in and who went out.  The people of Boston had their very own version of The Starving Time (original starving time happened during the winter of 1610 at the Jamestown Colony in Virginia).

Forget tea, they could not get basic food supplies.  Shops could not replenish their shelves and soon there was nothing to buy.  No raw materials for any of the trades could be obtained.  Work came to a standstill.  Many people lost everything they had.  Sickness was rampant and many people died.  Much as a parent may punish a rebellious child too harshly and wound their spirit, King George did not know that his heavy hand would wound the feelings of loyalty so deeply there was no turning back.

It was perfect timing that Paul Revere's midnight ride happened the night of April 18, and the morning of April 19, 1775, exactly 237 years before our little tea party!  The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington on April 19, a few hours after Paul's ride had ended.

Then this past week we learned about the early battles of the Revolutionary War.  How and where it started.  Such gripping tales can be told of those early battles!  It is so unlikely that the colonists would have had early success, but they did.  We passed around a poetry book, taking turns reading Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride.

I love that poem, and the last paragraph bears repeating:

"So through the night rode Paul Revere,
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm -
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the past,
Through all our history to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoofbeats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere."

Sunday, April 29, 2012


 We officially have a fifteen year old in the house!  Here are her happy looking presents, before opening.  We let her open before dinner this time, mostly because we were on pins and needles and couldn't wait!

We gave her a bunch of clothes, and......  a little matchbox car with a note saying she was signed up for driver's ed class.  Whoo-hoo!!!!  She knew it was coming eventually, but did not know we had arranged it in time for her birthday.  She was very happy. :-)  After the festivities were over, we collected from her half the cost of the class, as was our arrangement (she has been saving for over a year for this!).

For her birthday dinner she requested salmon, mashed potatoes, and fruit salad.  Yum!

We celebrated my amazing father-in-law's birthday too.  94 years young! 

The day after her birthday we took the day off school and went to an historical venue.  The birthday girl got to pick whatever she wanted to do and look at.  We had a fun time!  Behind the children you can just make out the steam from the train that is heading toward the station.

We found this log full of turtles sunning themselves!  So cute.

For the first time in a long time, I got to ride the carousel without holding on to a little person.  Daughter G and I rode next to each other.  Fun!

Later that evening we experienced yet another milestone.  I dropped her off at a movie theatre where she was meeting a girlfriend and seeing a movie with her.  First time to just drop her off and go!  She is definitely growing up, and I am growing with her.  Every time she does something new, it is another lesson in letting go, and in learning how to parent a young adult versus parenting a child.  It is new ground, and for me a mixture of scary and exhilarating.  So thankful God is with me and I am not walking this new ground alone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy 15th Birthday Daughter G!!

Dearest daughter, fifteen years ago today you entered the world, and we saw face to face the "you" we had already come to love.  How we dreamed of you, prayed for you, planned for you!

From the very first you were an incredible joy to us.  We used to say that baby admiration took so much time!  As most new parents, we thought every single thing you did was fascinating, wonderful, and advanced (and of course, it was!)  ;-)

Don't daddy and I look young?  Yet at the time we felt like such "old" first time parents.  Most of our peers had had their first babies years before.  You were God's gift to us in His perfect time. :-)

You were such a smiley, happy baby.  Here you are at 9 months. Look at those cheeks!  They were irresistible.


And at one year.  So bright eyed and ready for the world!

As you know, Aunt Sally's son N was your first friend.  We used to do things together all the time!

When you were one, we took a cross country trip, meeting with my side of the family for a week of camping.  You had new experiences every day, and it was super fun!  You even did well traveling in the car for such a long distance.  We were so happy that your aunts and uncles got to know you better, and that you were able to play with your cousins and begin your life-long relationship with them.

 Grandpa *almost* taught you how to walk on this trip!  You were so close!

Back home, we started you early on our now customary summer trips to the cottage.  This was daddy's second Father's Day.  You made him a happy daddy. :0)

When you were 15 months old you learned to walk, with a hairbrush clasped in your hand!  I was really happy you weren't an early walker.  Life changed forever when you learned to walk!

One week after you turned 2, you became a big sister.  I love this picture of you and your brother G!  Despite how this picture appears, you were a wonderful big sister and doted on your baby brother.  As soon as he was sleeping through the night, you and he began sharing a room.  We had two cribs on opposite walls, with two dressers side by side between them.  Most mornings after you woke up, you would climb up onto the closest dresser, crawl across them both, and lower yourself down into your brother's crib.  I would find you together giggling and chatting away in baby talk!  Even though we normally discouraged climbing on furniture, I could not bring myself to put a stop to this sweet morning ritual.

Because we are slightly crazy, when your brother G was just two months old, we took another cross country trip, this time all the way to Yosemite, CA!  We camped there for a week, again meeting up with family, and we had such a wonderful time.  That was the trip where baby G slept in a laundry basket on a thick foam "mattress" that we had made, which I know you've heard stories about.  Check out daddy's hair in this pic!  Pretty wild, huh?

Life was busy, with more brothers coming.  By the time you were four and starting preschool at home, brother L had arrived, and brother C was growing in my belly.  You loved learning, you loved to read with me and daddy, you loved to play outside.  It was a very fun and sweet year.  For me it was significant because it was the official start of our homeschool journey, but it also felt really natural because it was simply an extension of the lifestyle we were already living.

We did lots of activities and field trips with other homeschoolers.  Here you are (second from right) at a one room schoolhouse!  This was back when I could still dress you however I wanted. :-)

It wasn't long before your love of horses became a passion.  I loved seeing you doing "big girl" things, knowing that you were becoming more independent and learning to do things without me.  Which is at it should be.  I still love seeing you grow beyond me.  I never want to hold you back.

When you were seven, Little Man was born.  Oh, how you loved him!!

To make room for Little Man in the nursery, we moved son C in with you for a while.  You were super excited to have a room-mate.  I still love that about you ~ though you love your own space, you are willing and happy to share your room whenever we need it.

Here you are at age 8, going to a Mother-Daughter tea with me.  Again, I could coerce you into wearing hats back then!  You were (and are) a delight to be with.  Spending time with you is one of my very favorite things to do.

On your 9th birthday ~ you got your soccer chair! We've sure used that a lot, haven't we??  You and your brother G both played soccer for the first time that year.  It was the beginning of our family's love of soccer!

And now you and your tree are both 15!  As you have always been, you continue to be a JOY to us just by being you.  We are so thankful that you belong to Jesus, and that your heart's desire is to live for Him.  We see His grace so evidenced in your life, and are proud and humbled to be your parents.  We know that God is working in your life to make you the woman He wants you to be, and it is sometimes a hard thing, but a beautiful thing to watch.  How we love you!

Happy, happy birthday dear daughter.  May you always know how precious you are!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Blogger has made lots of changes to the backend of things, that will take some time for me to figure out.  It took me three days to post the last one!  It apparently looks the same to you, the reader, and I will probably love it eventually, but right now it just adds time to the already fleeting time I have to post.  If my posts look a little catty wampus for awhile, you'll know why. :0)

Wonderful Weekend Away!

Weekend before last we drove to a town a couple hours away to visit some friends.  We had the most marvelous time!  On the way there we utilized the dvd player/tv in our new vehicle to watch a movie.  This picture is a sight I am not used to yet, but I'm glad we have the option of watching a movie when/if we really want to!

We went to a family fun center on Saturday, with go-carts, laser tag, and lots and lots of arcade games.   I played Guitar Hero for the first time, with son L, and though it's not a game I want my children to be exposed to very often, I have to admit that it was fun!  I totally rocked it.  We played laser tag as a family, and that was fun too!  Thank you M and L!

The children played together beautifully, and had SUCH a good time.  Other kids' toys always seem so much better than yours, right?  Hubby and I enjoyed the change of scenery and routine, and had a wonderful time visiting with our friends.

When it was time to go, no-one wanted to leave.  That's always a sign of a good time!