Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sunday Hymns and Herrington Babies: It Was Nothing I Did to Deserve These Gifts


All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

These three were such little angels this week while their papa was sick with the flu. I'm so proud of my big two, especially. They had been having more sibling conflict than they have since they were tiny, but lastweek was amazing. And nobody said one cross word about how we weren't going and doing much when I chose to just buckle down with school and things around the house. They came up with so many creative things to do on their own (and let's be fair, made some huge messes). 

 Sometimes I see people say "I don't know what I did to deserve them". And I think "yeah, but that's not how that works". Of course, like so many things, they are a gift and they are a gift precisely because I did nothing to deserve them. I'm glad, because there's nothing I could do to earn the blessings that are these three souls.

Letter to (Eight Year Old) Annie


     I fell in love with you the moment I saw you and it's been the same ever since. You're an inquisitive, thoughtful girl with a determination that can take you quite far if you make the right choices. Over the past year, you've become more of your own person. You certainly still rely on us quite a lot to help you make choices, but you've started to understand things about yourself. You know that you need alone time and space at times. You can reflect back about disagreements and explain why you felt the need to act in a certain manner and where you perhaps made bad choices concerning how you acted. Flexibility still isn't really too much of your thing, but I feel like you try to be more flexible at times.

     You're at a stage where you're floating towards independence more each day. You often do so in a surprisingly mature manner. And I don't mean to paint everything with the same broad brush, because at times it's certainly with a screaming fit that you push for more space, or being the "one who makes the choices". But often you're able to calmly express to us through a frustrated voice that Graves is bothering you and you'd like him to stop and give you space. It's a joy (and at times an annoyance) to watch the interactions between you, your brother, and your sister change as you get older.

     Speaking of your sister- Sallie and you have really fallen in love with one another lately. Part of it is your desire to be helpful towards us, but I think much of it has to do with your deep care for Sallie as you've seen her personality emerge. This is true with me as well and I think we both began to enjoy Sal more once we felt that we were connecting with her. After she began to interact with us it was easier to see how she valued and loved us...which allowed reciprocation a bit more.

     Annie I look forward to seeing you continue to grow and mature into the person you'll one day become. It excites me that you latch on to some things with a passion and love that not everyone can keep lit within. I'm not certain where this life will lead you or to what cause you'll dedicate yourself, but I'm glad I get to ride along and watch as you develop.

I Love You,
Papa (and Momma)

P.S. Your dress is like a size eight that I (Momma) bought at T.J. Maxx to wear myself when I was like seventeen. Of course you loved the matching headband.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Letter to (One Year Old) Sallie


     This year has brought many changes as the first year of life tends to for each small person. You've gifted us with your little personality and the joys that go along with it. I'll have to admit that I wasn't planning on being a big playmate of yours until you were 2 or 3, but it's hard to hold out when you're such a fun baby. The first three or four months of your life were pretty typical- sleep, poop, and eat with a bit of crying thrown in for a healthy mix. Then around month four we were able to see a bit of your playful personality. By the time you turned six you and your brother were thick as thieves, and by 7 or 8 months you won Annie and me over as well. There's really little reason to mention that you had mamma wrapped around your finger from the start.

     You may be the most social child we've had. You get terribly upset whenever you're left in a room alone and though he annoys you, the constant showers of attention that your brother gives you are pure gold to you it seems. Whenever you're in a cranky mood we can take you for a walk and everything in your world is right again- especially if it's a walk on a busy NYC sidewalk or a crowded Target!

     You don't have the longest attention span...except for that daily time when AP reads to you. She seems to be the only one you'll sit still for any amount of time and pay attention to. Your sister has grown to love and appreciate you, which makes Momma and me so very pleased. We look forward to seeing your relationships with both your sister and brother continue to blossom.

      And I look forward to enjoying your joyous and busy personality more as the years go by. Just tonight you walked more than you wanted to because you figured out that I'd clap and praise you for doing so. It's clear you're quite bright and deeply desire my affection - a charge I take seriously. I love you and look forward to seeing you grow more each day (and maybe sleep more each night).

We love you Little Sallie Sunshine,
Love, Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your dress is a 9 mo.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sunday Hymns and Herrington Babies:


Come away from rush and hurry
to the stillness of God's peace;
from our vain ambition's worry,
come to Christ to find release.

Come away from noise and clamor,
life's demands and frenzied pace;
come to join the people gathered
here to seek and find God's face.

In the pastures of God's goodness
we lie down to rest our soul.
From the waters of God's mercy
we drink deeply, are made whole.

At the table of God's presence
all the saints are richly fed.
With the oil of God's anointing
into service we are led.
Come, then, children, with your burdens--
life's confusions, fears and pain.
Leave them at the cross of Jesus;
take instead his kingdom's reign.

Bring your thirsts, for he will quench them--
 he alone will satisfy.
All our longings find attainment
when to self we gladly die.

Church was a good bit longer than usual last week. There was lots of rain coming and I was feeling the pressure changes, but somehow I made it. More impressive, somehow Bud made it-- an hour and a half, a solid thirty minutes of which was tail in the pew preaching (praise God for liturgical leaning churches that encourage congregants to go between sitting and standing frequently; so helpful for incredibly active six year old boys).

Rush and hurry are hard to avoid and noise and frenzy harder still- the same little boy that made it through that service started the day by busting a bag of flour, most upsetting because he was chunking it across the room in anger at his sister. We did come to the table that morning (another reason for a longer than usual service) and he loudly, obnoxiously slurped grape juice (per usual) and then articulated well the significance of the juice (per usual). He's such a conundrum and I'll never understand how his mind works.

 But I'm glad he stays through the whole service and is richly fed from the word and at the table. Even if he- and I- miss much it. Lately I've struggled more than ever to answer his and Annie's questions and effectively express theological concepts. Life's confusions, right there. But I'm hopeful that, often in spite of me, God is showing them that it's His mercy that can make them whole.

August Goals and Happenings

I wasn't sure I'd like this design, but it turns out I love it. Sunshine and clouds are always fun and I love some whimsy. I thought the fonts coordinated well with that vibe. The quote seems perfect for starting a new school year and the pictures feel perfect for closing out summer.

August is already in full swing and I wanted to share my goals and happenings before the month got away from me!

July was a strange month. Sallie spent about half the month sick which felt so strange in the summer. I told several people this, but I think it's harder for me in the summer than in the winter because it's so not expected. But we did do some fun things:
- We enjoyed the pool on the Fourth; Annie swam at City Meet and Peyton was up there the whole time all three days since he was kind of "in charge"; and we had a blast at the swim team awards banquet.
-That was the first half of the month, basically, and the second half was mostly Sallie being sick. Whew. Glad that's over. Too bad Peyton has the flu now!

Mostly, we're just spending August getting into our school routine for first and third grade. A few other fun things:
- We're taking a trip to Nashville to visit my sister and brother in law and to see the eclipse.
- Carrie and I are definitely going to dinner once everyone is well.
- We're still trying to figure out extra-curriculars for the big kids, but those will start soon.
- The Grief Center will start back soon and I'm super excited to be doing my placement there again.

Some additional Notes on August:
1. Fall gets so much hype. Why, y'all? Has it always been this way? Do you guys feel like fall is trendy?
2. I do love it once the air actually gets crisp and you can smell those roasty fall scents just from walking outside. But there's always that girl who's gotta bust out her flannel and scarves and Uggs and burn a pumpkin candle when it's still like ninety degrees. I mean, you do you, but, honestly? It makes me gag a little bit.

3. Mostly cause I grieve the end of summer the way a lot of people experience post-Christmas sadness.
4. I am NOT ready for the Back to School decorations Target has on display. And obviously, the students here aren't going anywhere and even saying "back" is a misnomer as we've been schooling all summer. And actually, I'm very excited about first and third grade. Like incredibly so. Like can't even articulate it. We're dipping our toes into third and first grade and I couldn't be more excited to phase more things in over the course of the month. I just love summer and this one has been especially wonderful and I hate to see it go.

Here were my July GoalsI kept the list super manageable since I didn't even make it until I was two thirds of the way through the month! Even though it was a very minimal list, I'm pretty proud of myself. I feel like I did much better than I typically do!

1. Read both my devotions daily. I did a lot better at this. I did way better with my morning one than with my evening one, though. (Faith)

2. Go over to my parents' house by myself. I didn't do this, but I did take Sallie while the big kids and Peyton were at the farm. It was so nice and relaxing. (Family)

3. Call Ellis.  I did this and we talked for a really long time. This was also wonderful. (Relationships) 

4. Try to cut back on how much OTC medicine I take for headaches. I did a bit and then I got a bad sinus infection and NOPE. (Health)

5. Keep working on catching up on the blog. Sort of. I wish I had devoted more time to it. Always. (Creativity/Passion)

6. Pick and start a new read-aloud book for Annie and Graves. We did! We read Stuart Little and really enjoyed it. (Education/Edification)

7. Organize Sallie's pj drawer and sort stuff she's outgrown. I knocked this out. Bittersweet, as usual. (Organization)  

8. Start planning a couple of tentative trips for the fall. We still need to plan a bit more but we worked on planning our Nashville trip for later this month. (Travel)

9. Spend very little on going out to eat. We did do this. I was really proud of us. (Finances)
10. Surround myself with music that bring joy. Kinda. I want to be more intentional with this sort of thing. (Joy/Gratitude/Perspective)
11. Have a few more Wonder Years marathons with P.  Yeah, not really. We watched other stuff instead.  (Fun Goal) 

12. Start a Couch to 5K program. I started this a couple of weeks ago and I'm so proud of myself. I'm planning to write a full post soon. (Bonus Goal) 

 And here are my August Goals. My focus is going to be on starting fresh.

1. Do a SheReadsTruth study. I haven't been very consistent with a Bible study in a long time and I love the SRT studies so I'm excited about this. (Faith).

2. Visit Cookie and Conrad in Nashville and visit Peyton's aunt on the way home. The kids are SOOO excited about this. They've been wanting to plan a trip forever. It's just a short one but I know we'll have so much fun. (Family)

3. Go to dinner with Carrie and have a Sunday picnic with Mallory. That intentional investment of the phone convo with Ellis was so rewarding and I want to make time and space in my life with two of my other best friends. (Relationships)

4. Keep working on my Couch to 5K program. Ahh, jogging. So hard. But I've sorta, kinda started to enjoy some aspects of it. In the interest of full disclosure, there are many aspects I still hate. (Health)

5. I decided to set some specific blog goals this month. I want to catch up on my Weekly Happenings posts through May and get Sallie's letters current and write Annie and Graves their eight year and one month old and six year and one month old letter, respectively. (Creativity/Passion)

6. Start all new first and third grade curriculum. I need to do a whole post on this, but I'm super excited about it. As an aside, the kids' focus area this month is independence. (Education/Edification)

7. Sort stuff and send a bag to Bagsy. I haven't had great luck with consigning the kids' stuff in traditional consignment stores, so I'm hopeful this will work out better. (Organization)

8. Plan our Nashville trip and enjoy the Nashville trip. Yay! (Travel)

9. Don't spend any money on impulse buys. I spent a good bit in the spring and summer and I need to keep going with the spending freeze I've been on (with a few exceptions). (Finances)

10. Think about and write down (at least) one thing I'm grateful for each day. (Joy/Gratitude/Perspective)

11. Create an End of Summer Bucket list. I thought we'd each put two things on the list. (Fun Goal)

 12. Prioritize weekly family pictures and the kids' monthly pictures. I've gotten so bad at this and I used to be so disciplined. It may seem silly, but it's a special thing to me. (Additional Goal)
Here's to August, sweet goodbyes and fresh starts. Let me enjoy our farewell to summer and throw myself full force into this new school year. 

I think the Airstream may be may favorite from the series of "Dwellings" in this year's 1Canoe2 calendar. I love them so much and it's sort of a fantasy of mine. P and I used to talk about homeschooling in an RV and adopting babies (I even had one named...shhh) and having about eight kids when I was in college. One of my absolute favorite practices is changing up my little side table each month. I just don't decorate elaborately as some people do as far as seasonal stuff (as far as anything), but it's a fun little place and I adore flipping the calendar and finding a new monthly quote and shopping my house to fill this space with things I love.

Monday, August 7, 2017

What I'm Into: July

On the Nightstand:
Not a lot. One of my goals this month was to get back into the habit of reading my devotions and I've done pretty good with that!
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 
The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day)- Ethan Richardson, Sean Norris

On Their Nightstand: 

Stuart Little- E.B White

"Summertime is important. It's like a shaft of sunlight."
"Or a note in music," said Elisabeth Acheson.
"Or the way the back of a baby's neck smells if its mother keeps it tidy," said Marilyn Roberts.
Stuart sighed. "Never forget your summertimes, my dears, he said.

We finished this as our read-aloud. We decided to read this one since we loved Trumpet of the Swan so much. I'll be honest- I didn't love it as much as Trumpet of the Swan or Charlotte's Web. The writing is still simple, yet delightful, but the story just isn't as interesting to me and doesn't seem to flow the same way the other two did.

That said, it's still an excellent children's book and Annie, Graves, and I all really enjoyed it. And I just adore E.B. White, maybe above all other children's book writers (which is saying a lot because I love children's literature so very much).

I hope they are always, always on the lookout for presence of wonder, as Mr. White advises us to be- in a bit of sunlight coming in through a window, or in a beautiful piece of music, or in the smell of their baby sister, or in a million other things that they are uniquely inclined to notice- and I hope they never forget our magical summertimes. I know I never will.
On the Shelf:
Well, I still have my Faulkner book for bookclub (which we haven't even picked a date for).

At the Theater (or from the couch):
Nothing new here.

On the Small Screen:
Some of my all time favorites and a new fave!

The West Wing
I'm still enjoying season four a lot.

The Carmichael Show
This is mine and P's current show. The past couple of episodes weren't as hilarious as some of the others. One was about gender roles and it just seemed tired and overdone and one was about social media and it was kind of the opposite- maybe a little try to hard and just not something that will be funny in even a couple of years. I loved the ones on gentrification, depression, and Muslim neighbors. It's really hysterical and well done.

The Wonder Years  
Peyton and I watched a bit recently and it's the perfect summer show.

In My Ears:
Same old, same old really. Lots of Bruce. I really meant to do some summer playlists this year but it didn't happen. Maybe I'll make a fall one?

Around the House:

Dollar Spot decor, some of my favorite napkins, and a random book from the bottom shelf of the bookcase 

We made a few changes in the kids' room recently. Sallie was pulling the frames off the wall above her crib so we rehung them and Annie got back these framed calendar pages she adores. She also told us that she thought it was time to "stretch" her extendable Ikea bed (which, she was eight years old and sleeping in a toddler bed, so yeah, about time). Then she asked if we could build a shelf to house some of her bigger books and Beanie Boos and bird box. I found this little table we weren't using instead. After a couple of weeks, I realized it was crazy not to stretch Graves's too because he's almost as tall as she is and because I like things better when they're symmetrical. The foot of Annie's bed is pretty close to the end Sallie's crib now so we moved the play kitchen to between the big kids' bed and put Rocky Frog by the crib.
One thing about our crazy Voluntary Simplicity set up is that if you do it this way you have to be willing to mix things up pretty frequently to accommodate different needs.

In the Kitchen:

Easiest supper ever just got even easier. This sheet pan meal trend is amazing. Parmesan encrusted tilapia (or plain baked fish in Annie's case cause she's cray), roasted asparagus, and this "better than steak broccoli" we're obsessed with which all happens to go in the oven for around twenty minutes at around four hundred degrees. So excited I realized it. Stupid simple. Stupid good.

And we had my absolute favorite for supper recently- brisket. Those things have gotten super expensive (Minnie told me  that "back in the day" when I was growing up and we ate it every week, it was NOT that way). This particular one Peyton picked up at a farmer's market and it's one of those that come from a "cow they've been nice to" and when they rung it up it was $81 (to be fair, it is giant but you don't early retire making decisions like that). He was too embarrassed to put it back and we kept saving it for company (and that's what we had it thawing for but we had to cancel our plans because of Sallie being sick). It was already thought so we had to just cook it and man, was it great. I actually sort of hate meat but this was soooo amazing. Annie freaked out (she loves meat) and told us "the soft part" (fat) was really good. Ewwww. It reminded us of the first time she had meat- a piece steak at Walker's for my birthday when she was a year old (it was a different time, folks) and the first time she had brisket (she was about eighteen months old) and asked for "meat" the next morning for breakfast. And clearly Sal was a huge fan, too. I think it was her second time to eat meat, so I had to document it. Graves loved it, but I think the girls are the real meat-eaters. All these people make me laugh so hard.

Peyton made these desserts for the cake walk at the pool on the Fourth of July.

And he made rice krispie treats for us. Obviously, I'm a fan.

pool suppers are the best suppers

Graves "helped" Sallie eat a smoothie. She loved it, but wow.

He's super into helping Peyton cook but onions bother him SO bad. So he's been using some old goggles when they cut them.

In My Closet:
I put on makeup and blow dried my hair and wore clothes other than gym shorts for the first time in over a week to take Sallie to the doctor. Even though I was only going to see Dr. Denney and my own momma and daddy today (I have a rule that I try to wear real clothes for well baby/yearly kids check ups, but when they're sick, all bets are off and it's mostly gym shorts and t-shirts), it felt like good self care. It also felt like a heck of a lot of work with a sick baby. But I'm a low energy mom.

And of course....Annie's dress
In Their Closets:

little patriots the Sunday before the Fourth- sure do love dressing for the holidays!

On the Fourth of July, Sallie gets dressed in seersucker, ruffles, polka dots, and nautical motifs.

He loves wearing his Saltwaters with what are basically gym shorts. Initially, I thought it was a weird look but I've fallen in love with it. This is one of my favorite play outfits of his this summer- significantly above the knee knock off Boden shorts from Amazon (I hattttte long, baggy shorts on little boys) and this super soft, distressed looking whale tee hee and I are both obsessed with. Bruises, bandaids, a wiggly loose tooth, a big mop of hair he doesn't want to cut because it provides "shade", and the sweetest little grin are the icing on the sartorial cake. He's so soft and so charming and I just want to snuggle him all day.

Sallie in mint and pink and fish and pompoms. She likes to dress especially fine for big occasions like taking her first step at the Swim Team Banquet.

When we're rushing and she can't find another one, Annie likes to wear her 5T watermelon suit.

I just love Sister in stripes and ruffles and a beach motif. This was one of my favorite little knit play things of Annie's. It felt classic but maybe a little retro 80s, like something I would have worn. The brand is "Le Top" and after I discovered it, it was one I added to my saved eBay searches.

Also? When the plush rattle you got for your first birthday perfectly coordinates with your seven year old hand me downs.

Space girl and space boy (Peyton used his "spendy money" on these but still asked for my thoughts- so sweet.)

I got down the 12-18 mo. summer stuff from the attic cause it's now or never. Annie said "you aren't planning on Sallie wearing that, are you? It looks huge!" and said she though she or Graves could wear it. To be fair, it does look big on the hanger. I HATE when bubbles and sunsuits look like they're causing wedgies and really even when they're so snug they don't poof out and look like a tight swimsuit. Then Annie said she thought it was a bathing suit. Anyway, love her in mermaids and halters.

Bud relaxing after a long day of work. Hahaha.

Since this exhausted girl is about to outgrow Rainy Days and they're some of my faves I figured it was time for an OOTN post. I've mentioned it before, but this type of PJs aren't really my style anymore. I like the more fitted zipper kind and I like patterns (shapes or stripes or florals) not so much little scenes and pictures- there are too many random little things going one here. In general, I don't really love big appliques like the umbrella-ed chick, either (though, in this case, I adore her). I got rid of most of these types but there were a few I couldn't part with. There's so much I do love about this one- the colors (I love aqua and yellow pairings); the polka dot details on the umbrella, trim, and bottom of the footies; the umbrella motif itself; and the overall whimsy of it. I'm gonna miss them.

Obviously, I never dress Sallie in stuff like this (it's just not my taste), but curiosity got the best of me this morning. I just wanted to see what she even looked like in this and shocker, she's darling (I mean, I'm biased and think she'd look adorable in a trash bag). I bought these shorts for Annie for like $3.99 on clearance at the Gymboree outlet at the beach. At that point in my life, I bought things I didn't really care for because I "found a good deal" (which is actually not a good deal if nobody ever wears them). For some reason, I did hang on to them (because one year olds need grungy clothes they can paint in or something? what is wrong with me? NO.) Anyway, as a pair of shorts, they are really cute. But my philosophy has always been "don't dress them in things now that they can wear later" (e.g. don't buy a bubble when a day gown is appropriate, don't buy a jon jon when a sunsuit or diaper set is will still work, don't start separates until you've phased out the jon jons, and don't buy belts and ties until kindergarten at the earliest).
She looks so funny in "casual" duds (I won't even say "comfy" because I don't think a waist band is the least bit comfortable, actually).

Last day of swim practice was wacky day. Annie wore her parrot costume but had already stripped it off. Sallie wore her hair like Cindy Lou Who and wore a thirty year old San Destin tee and Yoda socks. Carrie and I discussed how we both think babies are so cute in t-shirts. I love super soft and/or vintage ones best and I feel like there has to be significance or something involved (i.e. I'm not going to just put her in a random t-shirt from Walmart but if it's got R2D2 on it I probably will).

I though an aqua, pink, and lime palette would be fun and Graves decided to take his cool factor up a notch and add an accessory. He decided he's too cool for any of us. (He told me he was going to surprise Mrs. Cynthia with his glasses. He had them in his hand and right when we got to the door of the building he flicked them open, put them on, and strutted in like he was the big man on campus or something.)

In My Mailbox:
A few new homeschool resources for fall! I'm sure I'll share more about them later!

In My Cart:
Well, I did get a planner specifically for lesson planning. It was a fun purchase!

Around the Town (and At Home): 

We had so much fun spending literally all day at the pool on the Fourth!

Peyton and the big kids at City Meet. Peyton was the president of the Jackson Swim Association this year so he was there all day all three days. 

This goofy guy was so proud of his metal at the swim team banquet!

Best friends and babies. (We're actually not all this pale, I just had to filter the mess out of this because apparently my mascara isn't actually waterproof (or my circles are just that bad under my concealer)).

And more BFFs: eight years and counting

Y'all. I don't not run...unless I'm like being chased by a bear. But P found me a couch to 5k program that wasn't an app you have to pay for. I thought it was for like SUPER out of shape people and forgot that oh...that's me. It was way tougher than I expected.

Poor Sissy had 103 temperature one night and then stayed sick for a solid two weeks. Even the inside of her little mouth felt so hot when she was nursing, which is mostly what she wanted to do that whole night. I was kind of glad because I wasn't worried about her getting dehydrated, but whew that was a long night. Peyton said "Be completely honest with me: are you making this baby sick so she'll keep snuggling with you all day?" No, but I don't hate it.

After a week, she really turned a corner. I'd say she was about seventy percent her usual self for about a quarter of a day and then she was up a bunch again in night, had a runny nose and tiny cough and then it moved to her chest.

Sallie was SO sweet and patient at the doctor's. We had to wait over an hour (it was a weird, very justifiable situation) and she was pretty irritated I would let her crawl around on the floor (which of course she had no desire to do at home). She was a squirm work, per usual, but she let me read to her a lot and also we just visited. Like more than I ever have with her. I think she really loved all that special time but her introverted momma who is NOT used to not having some assistants to entertain the social butterfly had to lay down on the couch herself when we got home. Both ears were still infected but the good news is that she doesn't have pneumonia, just a tough upper respiratory infection. We got a new antibiotic and it finally cleared up!

In more fun news, this guy lost his first tooth!

We did the whole family game night thing. Y'all, I HATE board games in general. I hate Monopoly even more. I hate Star Wars Monopoly even more than that. But the big kids had fun.

Annie came up with this delightful little "game" and we had so much fun playing.  It's super simple and it's not a "winning game" (it's really more of an activity). And she told me that "if anyone needs a little break and to just rest their mind, that's fine". Basically, you just write little notes and put them in these tiny envelopes that she and Graves made out of the things that go between slices of cheese. Then you pick a person to pass it to. Graves drew pictures for his (one was a monkey, one was a sad little boy because his momma was taking him to get a haircut, one was him and Annie eating spaghetti, and one had me on the front and him on the back and he said it meant "I love you, momma"). Annie's said "A magnolia is an evergreen", "I ate a good dinner tonight", "vanilla is one of my favorite smells", and there was another one that was a joke from The Magic School Bus. I wrote "Summer is my favorite season", "I love this game", "I hope Sallie feels better tomorrow", and "I love babies, but big kids are amazing, too". This stage is just so much fun.

Annie decided to have a tea party in her closet with Darth Vader. She was in there just talking and talking to him (and avoiding Graves).

P took the big kids down to the farm for an overnight visit. He worked the next day and they hung out with his parents. Sallie and I stayed home and relaxed and accomplished a few things.

One of the biggest gifts of living near my parents is that, unless the children are like actively throwing up or have a hundred and five fever, we don't really worry about exposing them to sickness. When I'd feel terrible guilt about going anywhere else (and honestly, lack the energy it would take to) but the isolation is bringing me to dark places, this is where I (we) escape to. While P and the big kids were gone, I took Sallie over there. It was so nice. Minnie played with Sallie and took her on a walk and I got to enjoy this beautiful view and the breeze and got to visit with her and Mick in a way I don't when there are three small people vying for their attention. A very relaxing end to a very relaxing day!

At the Schoolhouse:

Annie likes to scribble out notes of things she reads that are particularly interesting on little scraps of paper or Post-Its. She especially does it with her magazines because, as she explained, they tend to get torn up and lost pretty quickly. I decided it would be fun to have her put her notes all in one place. She was excited about the idea of creating this reference book for herself. I decided I was even going to try to teach her a very basic way to cite the source (just the name of the magazine or the book, page number, and the month in the case of "periodicals"). When I went to look at her first one, I read the section of the magazine she had copied it from and I realized that she had summarized it- leaving out words she felt were less important (just like we do with her writing curriculum) and even changed a few words so that it sounded more like her voice. Spontaneous things like this are one of my favorite things about the Schoolhouse in the Suburbs. I have said that if I was back in a classroom, third grade might well be my sweet spot and I'm looking SO forward to this year with her.

So, there are a few distinct differences between Sallie as a newborn and Sallie as a sick toddler. And in some ways, the latter has had its own unique gifts. This weekend we played with blocks and I had (made) time for things I, regrettably, often don't prioritize. Like reading poetry aloud to her. This selection from the board book version of a Child's Garden of Verses seemed especially apropos of a sick small person.

Peyton's really gotten into the science curriculum he's doing with Annie (he's doing something more low key with Graves). Here they were testing if air has weight!

He did this project with both kids- they added different things to water to find out what would freeze the quickest. 

And here was one of Graves's projects- they filled up several different containers and determined which produced the tallest bubbles! 

Annie also started a typing program this month!

I worked on this while the big kids and P were at the farm. We have SO many resources and I love them all. I organized everything into categories:
1. Annie
2. Graves
3. stuff they do together/during our "night school" routine
4. special stuff for Fridays and Saturdays (which I'm going to try to make have a more project focus this year).

I goaled for the month, picked a focus area for the kids, and determined a few August activities. After that, I worked on getting down to the specifics. This is the first time I've planned a month of school like this but with all of this I need a plan to make it work!
On the Blog:
Not as much as I would have liked to have written (as always), but I did start a couple of fun new series.
If I Did Things Differently- This was a prompt a friend and I discussed awhile back and I kept meaning to share it here. 
Sunday Hymns and Herrington Babies: How Great Is He Who Has Made All Things Well
- I decided it would be fun to share weekly my little Sunday pictures and hymn lyrices and reflections that I put on IG and I decided that it made sense to make it its own post
Postpartum Check In: One Year Out- last one; it was a little bittersweet
Monthly Mental Health Check In: July 2017- I decided to start this series to replace my PP posts. I think it will be a good place to process. 

On My Heart and Mind:
- Honestly, the sickness has me exhausted and overwhelmed and questioning everything. I'm just tired- mentally and physically.
- I'm also just so beyond ready for a "normal" week. It seems like it's been ages since we've had one.
- I'm very thankful for the friends I have who come alongside me and just affirm and encourage and support me when I am feeling frazzled and exhausted.

In My Prayers
- I'm praying for health. Sallie is FINALLY well and I'm pretty sure Peyton got the flu at work this weekend.
- I'm praying that I can remember not to compare myself with others. I really struggled with that this last
   month and truly no good ever comes from it.
- I'm praying that I become more aware of my children's (and Peyton's) unique gifts.
On the Calendar: 

We're planning a little trip to Nashville to visit Cookie and Conrad and see the solar eclipse. Beyond that, it's mostly just jumping into first and third grade!