Could it be a Storybook Year?

Late last summer, as I was gathering my thoughts on curriculum and trying to plan the year, I hit a wall. Actually, I was probably already flat up against the wall, but the time of year compelled me to do what I'd always done, so I pressed on. But I didn't want to plan. And I wasn't enthused about all the things that had previously sparked so much creative energy. It wasn't exactly burnout. It was more like beaten out. I hadn't wanted to share learning ideas for over a year, but by last summer, I didn't even want to write them for myself. It just wasn't fun anymore.

I thought about just sending off for several boxes of pre-planned curriculum. And then I consulted the budget. I looked around my house at all the resources we own. I didn't order anything. Nothing. That became the plan. Use what we have and just get the job done. 

We have an abundance of picture  books. I love picture books. When I was in college, I'd forego the coffee shop in the Student Union Building and head instead to the tiny corner of the adjacent bookstore that was home to the children's books. I saved my latte pennies for a hardbound copy of The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit. Way better. I loved the small room in the Ed School library that was lined with shelves of children's literature. When we were assigned a semester-long project to compile an index card file of children's books, I filled three boxes. Every card was color-coded and annotated and illustrated. I still have those cards. I loved that project.


For over twenty years, I have been inspired by the art and the literature of picture books. I've thrown my whole heart into creating with books, whether it was bulletin boards in a classroom or fullblown unit studies for many ages. Literature-based learning was where I invested most of my creative energy. Some people love their cameras, some their paints, others their yarn or fabric. For me, it was always those beautiful books and the endless possiblities of things we could do with them.


I recalled a conversation with an old friend. Several years ago, we wondered if everything in an elementary curriculum could probably be taught with a good picture book. This year became my year to test the theory. Sort of.

We read widely from the lists in Real Learning (and more), both as read-alouds and read alones. Sustaining attention for long stories is a cornerstone of how we learn in our home.

The Montessori maps come out for geography review a couple times a week. 

Nature notebook

For my fifth-grader, I have a good math text, Rosetta Stone, some art history, nature notebooks, and, at his request, Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. All the rest? Picture books.

For my third grader, math, Rosetta Stone, nature notebooks, drawing instruction, and picture books. 

For my little ones, lots of mama time. And picture books.

I take the week's copywork from the picture books. I take the poem to memorize that week from a picture book. Every night, each of the three youngest girls chooses two picture books for me to read before going to sleep.

What unfolded is not a curriculum. It's a "freedom within limits" plan that works for us. I share it here to tell you what we've been up to, not so much as to suggest you adopt it. It's entirely real learning in the heart of our home. I thought about all the categories of books, all the subjects typical programs of studies will cover. Also, I was sure to leave some grids for me to add in books I love and just don't want them to miss.  I gridded all the different categories in a weekly planning sheet. The sheet has changed several times this year as I add and delete as necessary. I've thoughtfully included the things that are important us, the components of a Charlotte Mason curriculum that I hold dear. 


We read the books together or the children read them to themselves. Sometimes, they have books in common on their charts. Sometimes, they have their own particular books. I sit down the weekend before and plan out the week. I key the saints' picture books to the liturgical year. Usually, I'll ask if there is a book they want to read and let them choose within each discipline. Occasionally, I'll gather up the stack myself. It's important for me to gather all the books before the week begins so I don't spend hours looking under couch cushions or behind beds for the books I am certain I just saw.

Sometimes, there is a theme across disciplines. Nicky might read  A Swim Through the Sea, Man Fish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau, and mom's choice of Night of the Moonjellies. Katie might ask about Manassas Battlefield Park as we drive by it daily, back and forth to ballet. The following week, I'll write in books like Follow the Drinking GourdHenry's Freedom BoxCivil War ArtistSweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War.

More often, though, this is not about unit studies, but about a wide banquet of varied topics. If a child is super-interested in something, it's simple enough to scuttle the written plan and dig deeply with more on-topic books. Two important things about scuttling the plan:  

  • There must be a plan to scuttle; this isn't freewheeling and hoping that books thrown everywhere will catch someone's attention.
  • If you ditch the plan, it's only to do something better. It's never to do nothing. And we need a written plan for the "something better."

Every day, the children respond in writing to at least one book. They can choose a writing project from a long list of projects or they can propose another. Not every book requires a formal response. Some books, we read, we talk about just a little, and then we close it and put it on the shelf. But every day requires some kind of writing. Every day. They might dictate a simple narration. They might peck out their own narrations. They might take off and create an elaborate screenplay. Whatever they choose, they must write something.


With the time that's left in the day, they can choose from other ways to respond to books and get as creative as they like with any book they've read that day or previously. We're busy. We're productive. We're surrounded by good language and great art. And the creative energy has returned to our educational adventures.

It's all good.


Tell me about your book: 

  • Write and tell a friend about the story. 
  • Make a detailed map of the setting of the book.
  • Is it a circle story? Can you draw it?
  • Did something really catch your attention? Want to research it further?
  • If historical, add it to your Book of Centuries. (we do this with every historical book)
  • Write a letter from the main character to you.
  • Choose a character you’d like to have as a friend.  Write him or her a letter. 
  • Plan & cook something to go with the book
  • Tell why it would (or wouldn’t) make a great movie. 
  • Describe an incident from it as though you were an on-the-scene TV reporter.
  • Create a collage.
  • Make up a rhyming poem about it
  • Illustrate w/drawings or photos
  • Explain its funniest (or saddest or most exciting) incident.
  • Make a new book jacket for the book
  • Do a puppet show.
  • Read the book aloud as radio theatre and record it.
  • Write 3 paragraphs in a diary as if you were your favorite character. 
  • Design and draw costumes for some of the characters.
  • Design quilt squares to go with the book
  • Tell what your home would look like if you were one of the main characters. 
  • Write a biography of one of the characters.
  • Write a human interest story about one of the characters in the book.
  • Write a letter to the editor about an issue in the book.
  • Create magazine ad for the book.
  • Create a television ad for the book
  • Draw it into newspaper cartooning squares.
  • Play charades w/themes from the book
  • Pretend a character had made an important decision differently. Write a new ending.
  • Make a list of facts you learned in the book
  • Write an Amazon review.
  • Plan a field trip inspired by the book
  • Compare versions of the same story.
  • Compare the book to the movie version
  • Make peg dolls to go with the book.
  • Compare it to another book the author/illustrator has written. This might be a comparison of art or of the story.
  • Use its title to write your own story. 
  • Write a letter to the author
  • Pretend you are the author. Write a publisher, pictching your book.

 Picture books make me happy. This blog is for sharing what makes me happy. I can't promise you a book a day. There's no way I'm going to post big plans for every book. I do hope to share a little of our picture book love on a regular basis here. A quick review, a picture or two, some ideas on where the book took us--little snapshots of books we all love. I know that not all my readers are homeschoolers. I'm certain, though, that these books can enrich the lives of all the children we love.

Morning Has Broken...


It didn't begin as a new habit, really. Instead, it was a bit of serendipity. A wave of hot, sticky days--too hot and sticky to play out of doors. A mother who was ready to add more exercise to her day and was eager, too, to be outside, instead of only pedaling away on a bike that goes nowhere. I needed to bike alone, but I needed, also, to breathe in fresh air and laughter of children. And, so, early one morning, while looking at the forecast, I made a decision: if the temperature was going to soar into the 90s and above for ten days (and beyond?), we'd have to get out early or none of us would ever get out at all.

Right after breakfast, I made the announcement. Everyone was to get walking shoes; everyone was required to come along; everyone was to be cheerful. Karoline and Sarah Annie each had a stroller. Off we went!


We traveled a neighborhood trail, roughly two miles along wooded areas, grassy areas and a lake. We talked the whole way and watched for wildlife.  When we returned home, we settled into the living room, lit a candle and had some morning prayer time. The day was off to a great beginning. The time? 9:00.


It occurred to me, after the third day of this "routine," that I rather liked beginning the day with my children this way.  The rhythm is well-established: exercise, prayer, shower, dress, tea, Bible. All before 7:30. Even if the day unravels from there, I can still take comfort in the fact that I got to those things. When I considered my personal routine in light of the new habit that was unfolding, it dawned on me that the acquisition of habits could be a layering. Habit upon habit, I could build into each segment of the day the rhythm I desired. This morning walk was the next layer.


The walk suited all of us.

I loved that we were all together. it was just the right amount of physical exertion to wake us, help us focus, and energize the day. The out-of-doors time gave birth to all sorts of conversations and observations. Nature study happened, well, naturally:-). There were questions to ask and answer. There were rocks to throw, flowers to sniff, and ducks who begged us to quack back--all in our own backyard. This was the world waiting to be explored. These were the plants and animals my children should be able to name.

This habit found us and we are eager to embrace it. Our nature study time is set now. A walk to get things started, home for Morning Prayer, and then nature notebooks to record what we saw along the way (cameras tend to come with us on walks:-). This will be the way we begin our days--from now on, well into the school year, and until it's absolutely too cold to venture forth even if bundled. And why not?DSC_0648

Our first thought with regard to Nature-knowledge is that the child should have a living acquaintance with the things he sees.


Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life.



She will point to some lovely flower or gracious tree, not only as a beautiful work, but a beautiful thought of God, in which we may believe He finds continual pleasure, and which He is pleased to see his human children rejoice in.


Let us, before all things, be Nature-lovers; intimate acquaintance with every natural object within his reach is the first, and, possibly, the best, part of a child's education.


Beauty is everywhere--in white clouds against the blue, in the gray bole of the beech, the play of a kitten, the lovely flight and beautiful colouring of birds, in the hills and the valleys and the streams, in the wind-flower and the blossom of the broom.


What circumstances strike you in a walk in summer?


By-and-by he passes from acquaintance, the pleasant recognition of friendly faces, to knowledge, the sort of knowledge we call science.


 He begins to notice that there are resemblances between wild-rose and apple blossom, between buttercup and wood-anemone, between the large rhododendron blossom and the tiny heath floret.DSC_0613

He must be accustomed to ask "why?"--Why does the wind blow? Why does the river flow? Why is the leaf bud sticky?



Every child has a natural interest in the living things about him which it is the business of his parents to encourage.


It is infinitely well worth the mother's while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst the rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse them, or rather to cherish in them, the love of investigation.


The boy who is in the habit of doing sensory daily gymnastics will learn a great deal more about the beetle than he who is not so trained.


We are awaking to the use of nature-knowledge, but how we spoil things by teaching them!


The child who learns his science from a text-book, though he go to Nature for illustrations, and he who gets his information from object lessons, has no chance of forming relations with things as they are, because his kindly obtrusive teacher makes him believe that to know about things is the same as knowing them personally.


All quotes are Charlotte Mason, taken from the excellent book Hours in the Out-of-Doors: A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Handbook, available at Simply Charlotte Mason.

~repost from the archives

The Not Really Kindergarten Post

In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother's first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.

~Charlotte Mason

I hesitate to call this post "the kindergarten post." There have been lots of notes requesting "The Kindergarten Post." So, if you've been asking, this is it. Sort of. But more accurately, this is the starting to think through "Learning at Home with 3-6-Year-Olds" post.

I had several opportunities to observe and teach in many different settings while in college and right after graduation. The three that I look upon most fondly all had quite a few things in common. One of those things stands out: they considered the "kindergarten year" to be more than one year.

In the two private school settings (each of a different philosophy), children were grouped in "family groupings" and a class was composed of children who were three to six years old. In the public school setting, I taught in a "transitional first grade," a class specifically designed to give children a three year kindergarten and first grade experience. In all three settings, there were very bright children, who were still "technically" kindergartners during their six-year-old year. And in all three settings, children were peaceful. These were three settings that considered the integrated development of the child and weighted social and emotional growth equally or more heavily than academic growth.


Karoline has been talking incessantly about kindergarten.  A couple of months ago she asked her daddy if she is in kindergarten now. He shot me a quizzical look and I nodded. We pay very little attention to "grades" around here. If she wants to say she's in kindergarten, she certainly can. And she is. She's four. In this house, kindergarteners are between three and six years old. {Interestingly, one of the big indicators for first grade readiness in all three of the programs above was the loss of baby teeth, also called the change of teeth. Not sure why I put that there. Couldn't find another place to mention it.}

So, Karoline is officially in kindergarten. And since Sarah Annie will be three in late October. (Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither.) She will soon be in "kindergarten," too. I asked Karoline early last week what she wanted to learn in kindergarten. She was sitting all curled up on the blue chair in the room that has become our craft studio. I was sewing. The reply came quickly, "I want to learn to sew." Well, ok, we can do that. We'll learn together.

I had a hunch. So I did a little experiment.

The next time I asked Karoline what she wanted to learn in kindergarten, I was cooking. She wants to learn to cook.

I began to futher test my theory.

I'm knitting. She wants to "knit better."

I'm dusting. She wants to polish furniture.

I'm doing laundry. She wants to learn to fold socks "the tricky way."

If I'm doing it, she wants to learn to do it. And if it has to do with bringing order and beauty to her environment, all the better. She is sensitive to order and beauty in her world right now. 

And so she shall work alongside me, both of us using our hands. Whether we call it "practical life"  or  "life skills," little ones should be spending lots of time doing meaningful activities with their hands. They should learn to use real tools (whether knitting or sewing or cooking or woodworking or vacuuming dust bunnies) carefully and to return their environments to order every single time. And those environments? 


Those environments, the ones in which peaceful children thrive, are thoughtfully prepared. They don't have to be special child-sized rooms; they just have to be rooms where children are welcomed and considered. They have to be spaces where children come alongside an adult who cares and learns what it is to be a compassionate, empathetic, to respect space and boundaries, to care for the small environment that he shares with his immediate community.

In two of the three environments I mentioned above, the schools strive as much as possible to create "homelike" spaces. There is intentional "family grouping," which means classes of children aged two-and-a-half up to and including age six. Those of us who educate at home already have the underpinnings of the best early childhood school environment. We have a home atmosphere and we have family groupings.

The goal within the environment probably should be clearly defined in our minds, though, even at home, maybe especially at home. We must be intentional, lest the opportunities slip through our fingers. And we must be patient. This is not about barreling through a checklist of academic proficiencies. There is a movement afoot to accelerate through academics. Is he reading yet? Can he work equations? Is his handwriting clear ? What grade is he in?


Those are not the questions of my intentions in the early childhood years. I close my ears to them. Because they are not true to my own sense of what is valuable for our family. When I first started homeschooling, a generation ago now, I was primarily motivated by the opportunity to spend our days learning together as a family.  I had taught in classrooms. Some quite good, some really awful. The idea of  family groupings so appealed to me in college that I did a senior honors project on it. Little did I know back then that the idea would grow organically in my home. We were creating our own family grouping in our own nurturing environment. We wanted to teach them to think creatively, to pursue their passions, to wonder and watch. And Mike and I both firmly believed in providing the time. Time. The desire to homeschool grew out of a life-changing experience. I talked at length in this old piece on preschool about what cancer taught me about time and young children. Really, none of this will make much sense unless you read that. 

Our primary goal in this home, with these children, is not academic excellence. It is time. 

Our primary goal is living a life of faith wholeheartedly together as a family. Our primary goal is to give them time for intimate relationships--with God, with nature, with art, with literature, with science, with us. This is what we have chosen. It is what is right for our family--for this husband and wife and the children God has given them.

Please don't misunderstand. I think academic excellence is a worthy endeavor. I just don't think my children need to get a leg up on algebra in the second grade at the expense of time in relationship to other significant people. Instead of the academic questions above, the questions framed in our home are, "Is he managing his time well?" "Does he listen to his siblings when they talk or just barrel over them?" "Is he orderly?" "Does he respect boundaries?" "Does he ask thoughtful questions?" "Is his speech sprinkled liberally with familiar references to God?" "Can he still himself and listen and watch with ears and eyes wide with wonder?" "Does he care?"

I believe that if I can work towards the affirmative in those questions in the early years, the academic success will come. And it will come with social, emotional and spiritual peace. 

Can he read? It matters not just yet. And if he can, well, then, good for him. Let him read--just don't cram stories down his throat with endless required booklists and a hurry-up demeanor.

Can he wonder? Is he curious? Do we have time to just sit and watch and ponder aloud together? We will read to him, yes, and that sense of story will serve him well when it is time to learn to read. But even more importantly, just now, that world of books will pique his curiosity. He will be motivated to learn. He will care that he can find in books what he wants to know.


I live in the most highly educated corner of the country, according to some studies. The pressure on children to excel academically is real and palpable. From very young ages, some local children are carted from one "opportunity" to the next by intellectually eager parents, all with the primary intention to assure admission to the finest universities. How they will be presented on a college application is buzzing in the minds of children before they even enter grade school. It's all about getting in--even in preschool. It's all about proving oneself smarter and more accomplished. It's all about getting ahead of the other guy, jostling for position, one-upping academically. 

I'm not anti-competition. Ahem. I think we can all agree that my kids compete. And I totally think we should nurture gifts. The real world is full of competition. But I'm adamantly opposed to sacrificing innocence and wonder and childhood joy to the grown-up agenda of beating out the other guy. I'm opposed to sacrificing family life to the building of a child's academic curriculum vitae. A child has an opportunity to be a child just once.  I don't think we should squander childhood by thrusting children into the competitive marketplace too soon.

My friend and college study buddy, Jan, was here last week and we were reminiscing about former students. There was a little boy who was in one of the 3-6 programs mentioned above when he was pre-school age. He was my student. And he was incredibly bright. Brilliant. His parents were academics and it was clear that the priority for his education was to be the smartest. Blessed with abundant natural intelligence, he was very, very, very smart. But he couldn't remember to replace his coat on the hook after time outdoors. He never played with the other children. He rarely would look me in the eye when he spoke. 

He left the 3-6 program to begin official kindergarten in another school. Coincidentally, he was in Jan's first kindergarten class. He was younger than most of the other children and she still remembers that he asked her if they were going to study plate tectonics. His intellectual achievement had so outpaced his social and emotional growth that he was seriously out of balance. Her major goal for him that year was to get him to play without awkwardness and to carry on conversations with his peers. 

There is a healing, a growing, a creating that happens in a child's play and in meaningful work done with his hands alongside a nurturing adult. They can catch up if they fall behind in math. I'm not sure you can ever restore to a child what is lost if they are not allowed the innocence of non-competitive, wholehearted play. If they miss out on plenty of unplanned time in a thoughtful environment. If they are too busy for large quantities of time with adults who love him unconditionally. If no one safeguards freedom within limits to learn about himself first. I'm not sure a child ever recovers from intense academic pressure that can lead them to think that their value is directly correlated to their proven, measurable academic conquests. There is so much more to the education of a child. There is a weaving of the social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual that comes of plenty of time with quality materials, working with their hands, absorbing the good from a nurturing environment. There is a value unmatched in an imagination fed by quiet wonder.

Unhurried childhood is a window of opportunity and it is much, much more valuable and much, much smaller that many people recognize. It's irreplaceable. So we don't skip it.

Gosh, I've gone on for a long time and still not gotten to the nitty gritty. I will, in God's time, no doubt. No rushing;-)

Actually, if you're eager to read more right now, there is this series from five years ago (oh my goodness, how cute was Katie when she was three?!):

It's a wonderful thing!

The Art Box

Language Arts for Little Ones

Number Fun

Leading Little Ones to the Good Shepherd

Practical Life

Oh, and then there is that matter of more than four years worth of books and such for the 3-6 bunch, all organized alphabetically over at Along the Alphabet Path. More suggestions for warm activities and stories at home than anyone would ever need:-)

Be back in a bit with more on what life with little ones is like in the heart of my home these days.

~~reposted from the archives

Daybook: At the Sea before my World Rocks Again

Outside My Window

Is the beach. We’re in Bethany Beach, Delaware for a few days. I’m writing, even though I have no internet access, because, well, I need to do a brain dump. I’ll post when I get home (or to a Starbucks;-).


I am Listening to

Six of my children singing Do-Re-Mi. They’re working on harmonies.


I am so Grateful for

All the things that conspired on July 30th, to find Mike, Paddy, and me alone in the car, late in the afternoon. Patrick’s cell phone rang.  It was a number he didn’t recognize, something he usually ignores. He called out the first few digits. “Say, hello,” I said, “I think I know.”  We had heard this might be coming.

Then Mike and were privileged to listen in on Paddy’s end of “the call of his life.”

“Yes, this is Patrick.”

“Yes, Patrick Foss.”


“Yes, I would like that. I’d like that very much!”

There was not a dry eye in the car at that point. Paddy had just been offered the opportunity to travel to Florida to train with the U17 National Team. If he plays well and decides to he wants to stay, they will invite him stay on for the year and train to play in the U17 World Cup next fall.

And so I’m grateful.

I’m grateful I got to share that moment with Mike and Paddy. I’m grateful to all the people who have worked so hard on Paddy’s behalf. I’m grateful to our Lord for the blessing of talent.


I’m trying desperately to focus on grateful.



I'm Pondering

Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life. ~Charlotte Mason


I am Reading

Charlotte Mason in the original. She’s my no-nonsense mentor telling me to stay the course, though this is not exactly the way I saw it playing out when Charlotte and I were introduced 13 years ago.


I am Thinking

About how quickly time passes and how precious moments are. They say that when you are the mother of little ones, the hours are long and the years are short.

They just get shorter. And all those endless hours of driving to practice and sitting on sidelines? Paddy’s not likely to need me to do that any more. Just like that. I went from being overwhelmed by what was required of me by him to being bereft at the thought of not having those things to do. He’s off on the adventure of a lifetime.

I’m home.



I am Creating

This year, I am committing my lesson plans to the CM Organizer. I spent hours the past two weeks working on plans for everyone. The Cm Organizer and the Real Learning booklist are a match made in heaven. It was such a pleasure to introduce the two and see living plans spring to life. What this means is that, unlike in years past, when my plans were Word documents, I have no real plans to share plans this year. It’s nice to focus only on my own children and their needs and not wonder how something will be received. Serendipity will remain as a resource, but there won’t be any new content in the near future. Of course, there will always be the spilling over of our life onto these virtual pages, just not tidy forethought in PDF plans.


On my iPod

Sonya Shafer Laying Down the Rails (and every other audio/video production she offers, now playing in my computer). Sonya Shafer amazes me! She really, really knows her stuff and even now—sixteen years into this homeschooling venture—she inspires and encourages me. Sonya is bright and articulate, warm and compassionate. I've heard zillions of homeschooling speakers over the last 20 years and it takes someone special for me to sit up, take notes, and (frankly) order more. There's really nothing new for me here, but there is calm, friendly assurance that this method is best above all others. Sonya acknowledges that mothers can bring their own book selections and should tailor to suit each child individually (but she also offers a full curriculum if you'd rather have someone else plan it for you--Catholics will have to add a bit). She doesn't make it complicated, doesn't act like you have to be a Charlotte Mason expert to do it well. Instead, she makes it incredibly accessible and utterly



Towards a Real Education

I’m nearly finished with our plans. I had planned to put the final touches on things this week, while I am away at the beach. But I’ve got no online access, so those last few things will have to wait.


Towards Rhythm and Beauty

It’s the rhythm of the ocean, right now. And we are surrounded by utter beauty in my friend Jen’s house. The last few days have brought such crashing waves of emotion for us. We are thrilled for Patrick of course, but we shore ourselves up, knowing that some big decisions and life changes lay ahead. Even the littlest among us is affected by this change in family dynamic. Paddy is a born leader, even (especially) amongst his siblings. It’s hard to imagine that in only a week he could be gone for a year, or more. You think you have forever, autumn after autumn, one new school year after another, to start fresh and promise God and everybody you will get it right this time. And then, all of a sudden, it comes to pass that time just might be up. It’s a big world out there. We need every single minute to get them ready to go.

Who am I kidding? We need every single minute to get us ready for them to go.


To Live the Liturgy

Don’t tell anyone, but Fr. T. actually did a little jump for joy upon hearing Paddy’s news. Paddy’s got his number programmed into his cell phone. He knows, really knows, he can call any time.

Grateful, grateful, grateful for God’s  timely providence.

I’m grateful.


I am Hoping and Praying

That we know His will and do it with great joy.

In the Garden

No clue what’s happening in my garden but Bethany’s in full bloom.

Around the House

I left my house clean. And I’m keeping Jen’s house clean. It’s easier here somehow. Not as much stuff, I guess?


From the Kitchen

Simple, simple meals. And way too much snacking.


One of My Favorite Things


Teenagers with toddlers on their hips. This is one of those moments I want to hold forever in my heart. (Of course, shortly after this a wave knocked Mary Beth over and she and Karoline tumbled. Karoline is convinced she drowned and refuses to speak to Mary Beth, even now. The moment was nice, though).


Sarah Annie this week

She sings Do-Re-Mi. Cutest thing I ever heard. Ever.


A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week

We’re here until late Wednesday, then back home. Paddy has an intense sports physical scheduled and we have some unexpected dorm shopping to do.


Picture thoughts:


Lots to think about as he scans the sea.