Back to school, back to life

“The giving of love is an education in itself.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Second grade and Kindergarten!

We recently kicked off the new school year and I’m still in shock that I’m officially teaching not just Ella in second grade this year, but Gavin now in kindergarten. Three years into this already and it feels like yesterday that it all began.

I jumped into homeschooling not really knowing how to swim, but I never imagined the rewarding and truly incredible experience that treading through with faith would bring from it. I just feel grateful to have the opportunity to continue another year with it.

Though it isn’t the usual hustle and bustle normally found on a first day of school, which I fondly remember. I still like to treat it specially. A few new outfits, and setting up the desk for them to discover on the first day are a couple of ways to keep a sense of excitement about the new year! Ella also wanted her first day of school hair and we had the rare apple fritter and blueberry breakfast! 🙂

Preschooler!!

This is a glimpse of what our school/learning area consists of. They are enjoying the shared space now but in time I see us growing out of it. For now it works though and Grant definitely wants to be a part of it. Of course this is where the ‘official’ yet unofficial work gets done when it comes to workbooks and specific lessons. Still a lot of our learning happens in the kitchen, around town, or snuggled in a bed with books, to name a few of the unique learning opportunities which are what I so love about all of this!

And really these school days are not so much about me knowing exactly what a perfect education means, or possessing all the skills as the perfect teacher. What I do know is that the love I have feeds through my desire to play the biggest role in their learning at this age. Hopefully it fosters a love of learning in them that continues throughout their entire education, no matter what direction it takes in the future!

Still alive.

Yes, we are still fluttering around over here. It seems as though the summer has gotten away however. Between beach days and zoo trips, to visiting friends, along with a couple of vacations scattered in here and there, summertime was rich with experiences. And not much room to spare!

Filling up those little spaces in the memory banks of the youngins’ is always a treat for me.

Sunsets at the beach..

I admit, the beach was calling our name almost every week it seemed like! But we love it there and the kids could literally spend hours digging and playing in the sand. The best part is that they are all the perfect age now for me to pack us up on a whim for the beach without having to plan too much for it. I’ve been waiting for this day to come forever now!

Little diggers

Silliness

And football was a must during the fire pit night we had one evening…

Football fanatic

Might I add that beach nights are absolutely AMAZING to me!!! 🙂

On the flip side, there was more to these summer beach days of fun. There was the reality of life that still ran through my entire sence of self, as I escaped to sunny days in the rays. The changes and choices that still go on, no matter where I am at any given point. I haven’t felt so inclined to write about these changes yet, let alone have time to keep up with my posts this summer. So much to do, so little time right?! It’s been really great though letting go of my grip with technology, remaining present in every moment and forced to feel life without distraction or escape in that way.

The sand is to my kids what the waves are to me. But not so much for play, for thought really. Whether it’s the mesmerizing water colliding so relentless against the sand. Or the lulling crash and fading away of waves, with a force and song all its own. The vital sound could overcome anything around. Waves unceasingly abound the shore, although each in its own unique manner. Every wave comes with its own speed, size and depth.

When I watch them, I can almost fell the earth speaking. I can relate to its perpetual longing to make it to shore with each break that it makes. It’s the same consistency I find myself clinging to throughout life recently. Everyday brings something new. Whether it’s a fresh idea, inspiring thoughts from friends, soaking in moments with my kids, a new experience or just a renewed energy overall. It’s a pattern much like the uniqueness of every wave. God continually provides opportunities for growth, many times in a different way. To see each one as significant and special is what I try to acknowledge. The subconscious desire to carry on with life is always there regardless of any setbacks. I know that it’s essential to stay constant to get to the place I need to be. Constant and steady like the waves…

Loves.

I have always felt so connected and inspired when I’m at the beach. I’m sure I’m not the only person who would feel that way. How could one not feel affected by the beauty of something so magnificent? It’s energy is undeniable to me.

The beach days of summer are starting to fade to memories, as the new school year is underway. All the experiences will be safely tucked away into the minds and hearts, as we make room for new ones. And as the proverb so gently reminds me… just when parts of life start to seem undone or coming to some sort of end, it is the chance to transcend into the next beautiful chapter!

SEESTERS xo

A sister shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams. ~ Unknown

Jackie and I shoulder to shoulder, against the world

My younger sister and I, 1988 on my first day of kindergarten going to a new school half way through the year. I remember being scared to not know anyone in a new school. Looking at this photo though leads me to believe that I had a nice pep talk given to me from the mouth of my little sis and partner in crime. I was always good at leading her and picking up her sentence where she’d leave off. But she was also good at sweet encouragements and always believed in her big sis.

This union of sisterly friendship has carried into our adult life and I am ever grateful for that. I really don’t know what I would do without either of my sisters really. Jackie still looks to me for answers in life the way she seemed to early in our childhood. Though I thought I had all the answers being the oldest… and I still think I have them all. Some of the time. (And she believes me!! Don’t tell!) But in all honesty her and I bounce off of each other with ideas, encouragement and questions still all the time. I’m sad I don’t get to see her as often as I’d love to, or that our kids would love to, but that makes the times that we do even more special.

This weekend was an extra special moment to come visit…

She did it!!

My sis and her husband both ran their first half marathon together at the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon this past weekend. They were super excited to set out on this venture together, and I was very proud to see them accomplish it! They had a couple of set backs along the way of training but were still very determined to get out there and finish. Our Dad ran it with them in his usual supportive fashion! They each had a unique story to run for: Jackie set out on this goal a mere four months after having her second baby… Awesome motivation right there! Her hubs Andy was out to do it with her, winds up pulling a calf muscle half way into the training program, as well as had an appendicitis a month before the race… My Dad trained his tush off for a Cabo trip that my parents took a couple of weeks ago.

Needless to say they wore their reasons, LOUD AND PROUD!!

GAVE BIRTH 6 MONTHS AGO…APPENDECTOMY 4 WEEKS AGO…CABO 2 WEEKS AGO…

It was a beautiful day down in San Diego, perfect race weather! I didn’t brave the crowds and street closures at the race but our Mom and I had the post-race breakfast ready to go for them upon their return. We had a champagne toast and hashed over the pain and stories of their experience. That’s what I love to hear, everyone’s personal take on the experience and how they got through it.  All in all it was not too hard for them, which was encouraging for them to feel as though they could do this again! (I plan on doing the next one with them, if it can work out that way) The cool thing was that my Dad got to hop in on the drums at one of the band stations set up along the way. He did Blink 182 with a band set around mile 9. He was totally happy about that, since he was scheming it up in his head to try to do this during the race I know.

I’m so happy for my sister and bro-in-law to have accomplished this! It’s definitely a huge deal to take on goals with an area in life that is not your forte and then totally DO IT!! Neither of them were really  into running before this, so it just goes to show that anything is possible. I think my sis might even be obsessed about medals now like I became… Maybe she caught the B-U-G!

Either way, I’m so proud of my sister for this accomplishment. I know that she can do anything she puts her mind to really and this is one of many ways that she shows it!

ROCK ON JACKIE AND ANDY!!! 🙂

 

The Empty Nest: Part 2

To follow-up on our lovely little nest find:

Conveniently spread out over the span of a couple of weeks, we took our time with the study of our nest. We used a couple of bird worksheets (here and here for a few ideas if needed!) The kids also made this nifty little bird mobile which we found the printable for on this site. We changed it a bit however, and decided that it needed a sturdy oatmeal box as the tree and real leaves to make it more realistic. Fun stuff!!

The bird mobile

Then there was the bird nest experiment, that I found on education.com. I also needed to adapt this for our own use. This experiment could have been more thorough had we already invested in a microscope and some petri dishes, but we just aren’t there yet. It was a very neat little experiment though. I had Ella write out her official hypotheses on whether she thought there were other living organisms in the nest, besides the bird and egg/s that inhabited it. She decided that, No, it only has seeds and probably no other ‘living’ things really.

She was right… (unless of course a microscope would have shown otherwise.) But our findings after leaving the nest under a hot lamp for a few days, was that nothing else had set up home in the nest after all.

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

Looking for clues

After discussing the reasons why birds make nests the way they do, and the benefits to making a nest in a hidden, far to reach place, we watched a couple of videos that I was able to find on YouTube of a real bird building its nest. Then I challenged them at making a replica of a nest and for a minute we joked that they should make it without using hands! They quickly saw what a hard thing that would be to carry out, and now appreciate the amazing skill that birds possess to create a nest using only their beaks!

Here is what they came up with:

Looked pretty good to me!! (Bendaroos, yarn, plant base stuffing and burlap made nice materials for that.) While their nest wasn’t as structurally sound as the real one, its colorful style added so much ‘flare!’

Speaking of nest styles, the nest that we found had one particular clue which stood out about what type of bird was living in it. After desperately scanning several sites to try to identify this nest, we narrowed it down. I should add that this bird nest identification business is a tricky thing! We noticed that there appeared to be a hole towards the bottom of the nest and that the description of a House Sparrow nest stated that it might have a hole about to the bottom of it. Normally the sparrow nest might be taller than ours, but it also depends on the location. The position in the tree that we found it was about roof height which is also a quality of that type. Luckily we also saw the egg which was a smaller greyish, white color with speckles and about the size of a dime and connects it to the House Sparrow description as well. There were plenty of qualities that immediately crossed off other birds from the list, such as mud used on the nest, an enclosed nest, many feathers used throughout the design and the type of grasses used.

I think all clues point to one answer in my non-expert bird opinion: It’s a House Sparrow nest!! 🙂

Overall the nest study turned out a success and was a fun way to end the ‘official’ school year these past couple of weeks. Be sure to be on the lookout for abandoned nests… it just might be the inspiration needed for a little study on the sweet little winged friends, whom love to bring us happy song!

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” ~Dale Carnegie