Friday, July 31, 2009

Starting a New Home School Blog

Today I realized that I might have reason to keep a blog of our homeschooling journey separate from my regular blog. Lullabies and Lace blog began as a way for me to tell the story of my crochet projects and other hobbies I enjoy. It quickly became much more than that. I tell of my family and our way of life. I tell of my spiritual journey. I even write of my coffee moments and afternoon teas. Yes, this blog contains a plethora of trivial information and, quite frankly, relating to you our journey of home schooling would only add to the confusion and randomness that is Lullabies and Lace.

With that in mind along with the notion that I could potentially post every day of our home schooling events, I started a new blog. Come on over to Journey to Ladyship if you feel so inclined and keep up-to-date with our home schooling adventures. I am quite excited and thrilled about this new chapter of life that I see opening up before us. I hope you will join me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Luray Caverns

Before more time gets away from me I think its time to tell you about our trip last Thursday. We drove through some of the most beautiful country I have seen this side of Europe on our way to visit Luray Caverns, Virginia. We didn't realize how expensive this place was but after we spent all that time in the car to get there we felt we should go in. Let me tell you...it was completely worth the astronomical fee. Take a look.

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This last picture took my breath away. The top is reflected in a pool of water on the bottom. It really looked to me like a village out of fairyland. I expected to see a tiny person walk out and stare up at me.

After the caverns, we took a detour through the maze. How much fun. It was my first time in a lifesize maze and I worried a bit how Chloe would take it. I should not have worried. She LOVED it.

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I found the perfect location for our dream farm. Oh yes...gorgeous. Green, green, green. And trees galore.

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James sister and family arrived in town last night so we are headed out for some sightseeing today. Have a fantastic day all day long!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Goose, please!

A conversation which took place earlier this morning with my wee babe...

Me: "What would you like to eat for breakfast?"

Chloe: "Goose, please."

Me: "Would you like some scrambled eggs with that?"

Chloe: "No. Just goose."

Me: "What about cereal?"

Chloe: "Sure. (pause) And goose."

Me: "Would you like apple juice?" (showing her the bottle)

Chloe: "No. I want the other goose."

At which point I dug into the back of the fridge for the orange juice in an individual sized bottle with the sport cap top and held it up for her to see.

Chloe: "Yup. That's the goose I like. The top comes up and down."

Thankfully, I speak Chloean. I understood perfectly from the start what she desired.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time of Discovery and Learning

Isn't it funny how the smallest things can be the ones that teach us the most? I grew more personally in the past 4 days than I have in the past year. At least it feels that way. We are well within sight of this looming deployment and I am reminded that I, once again, must become independent. No simple task for a dependent person such as I, let me tell you. So, our little trip this past week has taught me a bit about just how independent I can be.

You see...while James was in school for the better part of the day, I was free to come and go as I pleased. That's one thing when we remain at home in an area I am familiar with but when we traverse a new part of the country...well...let's just say that I feel a little timid in those areas.

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But I did it. I really did it! I feel like a great explorer now. Wednesday I drove down to Old Town Winchester where constructions vehicles and detours abounded. GPS told me to turn left, only to find out that left was a one way street which told me to turn right. With white knuckles and a racing heart, I finally steered myself into a parking garage and there left my beast of burden for a lighter mode of transportation...my feet. I smiled gratefully when at last I spotted my destination.

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And what a great place too. It reminded me of Storyville but with a science theme.

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We played for about 45 minutes before a busload dumped out about 100 little kidlets and we could no longer roam freely. That meant it was time to say goodbye and head out to our next destination.

The drive out to our farm market proved worthy. The magnificent houses along this stretch of road seemed to expand and grow before our very eyes until they appeared larger than life. I saw more than a couple with 6 car garages and more. The land rose and fell with the country road and trees, creeks and green, hilly pastures filled the entire valley. It really looked like the perfect location for my dream farm. We found the farm market with ease and Chloe played to her heart's content at the playground.

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One nap later...

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...and we were ready for a lovely supper at Winchester Thai. James chose the steamed mussels for our appetizer. Yummy with a hint of mint in them.

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I decided since we were on an adventure that I would pick something outside my realm of knowledge to try. I debated over a couple of items but finally settled on the soft crab with mushroom, black bean and garlic sauce. When they first brought the dish to me, I couldn't recall what I ordered but was sure it wasn't what they set before me. Once I realized I had indeed ordered myself soft crab, I proceeded with trying to consume it. Funny, but I didn't know how. I have never before tried soft crab and was trying to figure out how to open up this crab so I could get at its innards. The hostesses leaned over and quietly asked me if everything was okay. I sheepishly questioned how I was supposed to eat it. She laughed and with her heavy accent explained that it was a soft crab. The crab took his shell off and while he was walking around looking for another shell, they captured and cooked him. (This explanation was complete with movement and motions as if she were the crab. I tried not to laugh.) I could eat the entire thing, which I promptly did.

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It was truly a fabulous day. I can't wait to tell you about our trip yesterday. For now I must sign off and commence our Friday. It will prove busy indeed as we prepare for James sister and family to visit this next week. I hope you all have a great day. Go try something new that you have never tried before. Even if its something small like adding lemon to your iced tea or pouring fresh cream over your steaming gingerbread. Just try it. You never know what you might learn from such adventures.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Exploring the World

We stepped back in time yesterday to a pre-historic era. The era of dinosaurs.


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Chloe entered dinosaur land with great trepidation.

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After some convincing, Chloe finally touched one of the animals. (the giant shark)

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I showed her my favorite dinosaur.

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Chloe then immediately ran up to a random dinosaur pronouncing it as her favorite. (I think she chose it for its small size.)

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She commented quite a few times about how huge the dinosaurs were. It was neat to tell her that these great creatures once roamed the earth. She was pretty amazed.

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After Dinosaurland, we drove over to the Wild Animal Park. We purchased some food for Chloe to feed some of the animals. Upon opening the door outside, we were immediately greeted by a hungry little goat.

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My favorite was the panther (they didn't have any tigers). Chloe's favorite was the baboons (or monkeys).

For supper James and I decided to find some place interesting and new. We chose to eat at an Indian restaurant. Yum. I experienced my first taste of India in England. I have wanted to try it again ever since but we just never seem to when it comes time to chose a restaurant. We loved this place. It was quiet and the food was fantastic. I loved the dishes they served the food on.

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James ordered his meal with medium heat. I warned him that Indian spices are different than South American spices. He failed to heed my warning and ended up with a bright red face and watering eyes for the duration of the meal. He claims he liked it though.

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That's my brave husband.

Today, Chloe and I are off for more adventures. My fingers are crossed for finding a tea room somewhere. Have a fantastic day everyone. I will chat at you again soon. May God bring you a smile today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Sleeping Arrangements

It amazes me that my child still thrives on climbing inside things. All of you long time readers of my blog have seen multiple pictures over the years of Chloe inside small spaces. She has not outgrown this fascination.

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"Can I sleep in here", she asked me yesterday. She cracks me up.

Anyways, here are a few pictures of our swim yesterday. The indoor pool was warm as bathwater and felt soooooo good. The best time to swim, I found, is midday when everyone else is at work. The pool was packed last night during the evening so we were unable to get a second swim in before bed.

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Now we are off to Dinosaur Land for our morning excursion. I will be sure to get loads of pictures for you all. Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Travel Time Again

We've hit the road again. This time to the lovely Shenandoah Valley. I am sitting at the desk in my hotel room, fascinated by the fact that I can type on my blog and upload pictures here with complete ease but also mindful of the fact that anyone in the building now has access to anything I open on my computer. So, I will keep this post short.

While I unpacked and settled in yesterday evening, James and Chloe made themselves quite at home.

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After making sure we had internet access and all electronic toys could charge properly, we headed to the local steakhouse for dinner.

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Local and yet we are not in Texas. Maybe they should have named it Shenandoah Steakhouse for some authenticity. Anyways, after dinner it was time to pick up some supplies. James dragged me to Walmart (I say dragged because I avoid Walmart at all costs and would rather buy my groceries from a gas station than Walmart) and we bought some breakfast items and snacks for the hotel room. (which has a lovely little fridge in it)

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Chloe found a friend who she convinced to pose with her. He was extremely patient through the entire thing too. Just sat there and let her climb all over him.

So, that was the beginning of our adventure here in the Valley. We hope to have more to show you before the week ends. Right now, I have a patient little girl telling me we are late for the swimming pool. I guess that means its time for me to get my swimsuit on and head down. Have a gorgeous Monday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Bit of Anxiety

James came home the other day with a deployment checklist full of all the things he (we) need to accomplish before he leaves. Not only that, but this booklet also includes information for the spouse and children of a deployed person. I have to be honest with you...some of the things this book stated hit a little close to home and my eyes began tearing up as I tried to hold back the sobs.

Short. Everyone in our home is short. I try not to be short but it just comes out. Somewhere, deep inside of me, I am anxious about his leaving for 6 months and so the tendency is to push him away, to snap at him. Even to snap at Chloe sometimes. Its like I just want him to hurry up and leave so we can begin the countdown to his return. The departure looms overhead like a giant cloud ready to unleash a lightening storm on all who stand beneath it.

Part of the anxiety stems from the fact that we have done this before. Last year. I really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into that time and I found out that it is hard and long and extremely hard and a very long time. Those memories remain fresh in my mind. The sleepless nights. The lonely dinners. The empty coffee cup next to mine. Yes, this time I know what we are getting ourselves into and I suffer from a bit of anxiety over it.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Philippians 4:6


Sometimes the simplest thing is not always the easiest one. I find this "do not be anxious about anything" part a little hard. It is so easy to say though, don't you think? When we see others anxious about little things we often quote this verse to them lickety split. But when it comes down to the hard, cold truth, we realize that being anxious for absolutely nothing truly is difficult.

Quite frankly, there are things in life that I feel DO warrant our anxiety. I mean, I could lose my husband. It is a fact of war. This warrants a modicum of anxiety if anything does, right?

Nope!

Wrong!

Read that verse again.

Be anxious for nothing! How? (I know you were asking that, as well as I) How can I not be anxious over this looming deployment? Prayer. By prayer and petition and with thanksgiving I am to make my requests known to God. I am reminded of another verse here.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
James 1:22


Don't just read the Bible. Do what it says. It cannot get any plainer than that. I am to stop being anxious and I am to pray. Its funny how I can go through my Christian walk for so many years and still not grasp the simple concept of these verses. But I aim to practice them this week. And, Lord willing, I will get this anxiety under grips and stop snapping at my family enough to create a happy home for my dearest to remember and eventually return to next spring.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Getting Outdoors

I have determined in my mind that we shall get outdoors more often this summer/fall. It is hard for me seeing as how I don't particularly enjoy driving and am a little shy of new situations and people. But, the fact remains that we need to get out more, thus, I have determined we shall indeed get out.

One idea I had was to make our backyard a little more playful. Currently, it lacks anything remotely exciting, aside from my lovely garden. So Monday, with fun on the brain, Chloe and I headed to Kmart and purchased a swimming pool for $13. What a fantastic investment! We played outside for 3 hours Monday afternoon.

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I also recently purchased some freezer popsicle maker thingie-ma-bobs at Micheals for $1 which I poured 100% fruit juice into so we could enjoy something ice cold yet healthy.

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Now I have to tell you that it took me a good hour before I warmed up to the idea that I was sitting in my backyard in full view of anyone who wished to spy upon us from their windows. This very notion has prevented me from enjoying my backyard previously. I have an extremely difficult time letting myself loose when people are watching...or if the potential for people watching me exists. But after that first hour I finally let go and we had a fabulous time playing in our pool. (and I even got the flowers watered while I was at it)

Yesterday I decided we should venture out and find a pick your own fruit farm. Oh my goodness. Now that I have tried it, we shall be doing this again and again. I might even look up a pick your own veggie farm and try that out as well. We only had time and money enough to pick 5 lbs of blueberries yesterday, but I have plans to head back and get some of those purple raspberries before they are out of season.

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We came home and made two batches of blueberry jam. We still have enough blueberries left over to make a blueberry pie this afternoon.

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Before I head outdoors again for another morning of swimming, I wanted to show you just how sweet our new little kitty Twillerbee is. Bumblebee won't have much to do with us unless we play with him, but Twillerbee constantly cuddles with anyone (especially me) and thoroughly enjoys a good petting. I snapped a few cute pictures today of her allowing Chloe to hold and pet her.

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And now, my little angel has been so patient with me while I typed this post so I believe it is time to reward her and get outdoors. Have a fabulous day today...all day long. And remember that a little fresh air everyday does the soul good. Take a deep breath and soak in some delicious sunshine.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Meet Bumblebee and Twillerbee

Pattycakes tolerates Chloe. She used to despise her when Chloe was an infant but has grown to tolerate her. I believe that if something happened to Chloe, Pattycakes might even miss her a bit. But that is as far as the affection goes. Chloe loves to chase Pattycakes around the house, but being the older and wiser of the two, Pattycakes quickly finds a place to hide where Chloe cannot reach.

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I've been thinking for some time now that Chloe needs a kitten of her own. A little baby who would grow up used to all the attention and love my rough and tumble princess possesses in her heart. I also thought it might be a good idea to have a little kitten for her before something happens to precious Pattycakes. (who is no spring chicken any more...about 15 years or around there somewhere) And I also thought it might help Chloe through the loss of her Daddy who is once again deploying overseas here pretty soon for 6 months.

Friday, James agreed to take us to the shelter and let her pick out a kitten. You have no idea how excited she was. I can't even describe to you the excitement of the day. Wait...here's a clue. NOTHING I said landed on listening ears. Yup! I could have said, "Would you like ice cream, Chloe?" and it would not have even registered. Yes, siree. Excited!

The whole process took us all day. Literally. We left our house at approximately 11:30 am and returned home at about 6:30 pm. But look who we came home with...

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Meet Twillerbee. We wanted a little girl kitten and this sweet little girl had been spayed that very morning. Most of the kitties are not spayed until they are adopted so there is usually about a week wait before you can take them home. Not for this one though...she was able to come home with us that evening. The lady gave us a private showing of this precious little one. She fostered this kitty in her home instead of leaving her in the kennel with the other kitties and had brought her in that morning for the surgery.

We were petting her and holding her and letting Chloe decide if she wanted this kitty (it wasn't a very difficult decision for her) when the shelter lady showed us the kitten's brother. Ahhhh...I, of course, fell in love immediately and the lady offered us a two for one deal. We could take both of them home with us. Well, you all know me and my affliction for kitties...especially abandoned kitties with no home. James quietly looked at me and said the decision was up to me. I knew that meant yes. If I wanted them both, I could have them. So, we came home with Twillerbee and Bumblebee.

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I can already see their personalities coming out. Bumblebee sits halfway in the food bowl while he eats. Twillerbee is going to be a Mama's girl. She follows me everywhere I go and loves for me to hold her. She already knows her name (which Chloe gave her...she named both kitties herself) and will sometimes come when I call. Twillerbee was a little shy at first and wouldn't come out from under the bed, but once she warmed up to me she was okay. She is the sweetest and gentlest little kitty ever.

Here are more pictures of our new little babies. This is Twillerbee.

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And this is Bumblebee.

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Chloe has spent every waking moment this entire weekend with her new kitties. She plays with them and chases them and carries them all over the house. The very reasons why I wanted to get her a little kitty in the first place. And they are so tolerant of it all. I hope they grow up actually enjoying her preschool-age affection.

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