Guess who went short?

She is notoriously indecisive.  So when she announced last week that she wanted her hair cut short, I just assumed that she would change her mind before we actually made it to the appointment.

But she did not change her mind.  She never hesitated.


I worried that she might have regrets after the hair came off, but she most certainly has not.  She loves it!

Mom, that long hair was annoying.  This short hair feels good!


If you know Piper & Esther, then you can probably guess who went short.  Because, in all honesty, her cute little haircut fits her cute little personality!



Tiny Dancers

The girls loved their dance class this fall.  They had such fun!  I was never able to get a decent picture.  But my friend Brenda, with her top camera skills, shared some of her lovely pics with me.  Allow me to share them with you!






The cuteness was mind-blowing.  We will definitely take a ballet class again next fall!

~ K

He goes big.

Silas stays busy.

Learning, exploring, working, creating.  He does nothing halfway.  He goes big.



He was determined to cut the entire back yard.  He succeeded…& earned his first blister.



He makes cheese.

He makes lego masterpieces.


He makes mischief & he often makes me crazy.

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He put together a 100 piece puzzle.


He saved his money for a whole year to finally get a 100 dollar bill.


When it is time for school, Si’s enthusiasm is wonderful.  Si has a knack for learning.  And I so enjoy watching him learn.


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Silas is quite spirited.  At times, his spirit gets him into trouble.  At times, his spirit leaves me feeling threadbare & utterly frustrated.  But, many times & in many ways, that spirit serves him well.


~ K

A nice visit

When Dustin moved to Michigan in August, he was living in Escanaba, a little town way up on the upper peninsula.  His ship was in dry dock there until about a month ago.

Now the Bristol Bay & crew are back in their home base of Detroit.  Detroit is only a six hour drive from Louisville.  We hope to see him more often now!

I have never heard anything particularly good about Detroit, so I have worried over Dustin living in this strange city, far from his family.  I didn’t know what type of people he was working with or what type of environment he was living in.  All of these unknowns have caused me to worry.

So I was delighted when Dustin had a couple of days off & invited me up for a visit!  It was a very nice visit that put all of my worries to rest.

Dustin showed me around the city.  It seems that Detroit is not so scary as I had imagined.  It’s just a city like any other, with good & bad areas.  He also showed me around the USCGC Bristol Bay & I met a few of his shipmates.  The ship was quite impressive.  It was grand on the outside & the inside was all tiny rooms with low ceilings & levers & switches & buttons everywhere.

And yes, I did make Dustin pose for pictures in every room.

I am still not sure what Dustin actually does.  The Bristol Bay is a huge ship that connects to a huge barge.  In warmer months, they spend days out on the lakes, maintaining navigation aids.  In winter, they work without the barge, cutting ice to keep shipping channels open as well as assisting any boats stranded in ice.  What Dustin actually does on the Bristol Bay is still a kind of mystery.  He tries to explain to me his many different duties, & I really do not understand what he is talking about.  But I can tell from his pictures that he is some kind of a super hero.

We missed Dustin on Thanksgiving, his first away from home.  But I got a call from him the very next day, with news that he was granted a week’s leave for Christmas!  Joy!


Catch up

Let’s catch up.

We are enjoying our second year of homeschool.  We are using Sonlight again this year.  Our books are from the first grade core.  We use first grade language arts as well, but I modify it for the girls.  They are reading & writing at kindergarten level.  We use Singapore math, which is just wonderful.  Silas is doing second grade math, a perfect fit for him.  The girls are doing the kindy math & are moving quickly thru so that I think they will start into first grade math this year.

So, when people ask us what grade we are doing this year, I have to say that my kids are first grade-ish because we are kind of all over the place!  Because they are so close in age (only 15 months between Si and the twins) I had hoped to keep everyone together, for simplicity sake.  I am finding that to be less practical.  I could keep them together, but it would be unfair to them.

Piper & Esther simply do not learn in the same way that Silas learns.  The girls need a little more time with new concepts & much more review than Si.  Silas moves along quickly & grows bored with too much review.  Trust me, a bored Silas is not a joy to teach.  But an engaged & challenged Silas is a delight!

So, since we are free to move at the pace that best fits us, I have been playing around with our schedule this year.  I have been doing their math & language arts lessons separately.  They do their copywork independently.  In the afternoons, we all read & discuss our science & history together.

I feel two ways about this new schedule.  First, I love it.  I love working individually with each of the kids.  Our time is more focused & productive.  I’m not bopping from one to the next, Piper & Esther are getting the extra time & help that they need while Silas is not held back.  Without distractions & busy work, Si is free to work at a pace that works for him.  Lovely.

But this new schedule takes more time.  Of course, that is the downside.  We were finished with school by lunch time each day.  Now, school often carries over into the afternoon.  In addition to school, we have a gymnastics class for Silas on Tuesdays & ballet for the girls on Thursdays.  Makes for a busy week.

With all of the other daily life happenings thrown in, I sometimes feel overwhelmed.  But I truly do enjoy myself with these full days.  We work hard & still find time to play!



I miss him.

As the season changes.  As we go about our lovely busy autumn days.  As the holidays fast approach.  There is an empty place in this home.  Dustin is gone.  When Dustin left home in June, a little piece of my heart broke.  Now it is October.  I wish I could say that I my heart has healed…but no.  I miss him each & every day.

When Dustin left, I knew that I would miss him.  But I was not prepared for how fiercely I would miss him.  I was not prepared to feel quite this sad.  Although I knew it was coming, it happened so suddenly.  One day he was a boy, living at home.  He was playing video games & I nagged him daily to fold his laundry.  The next day he was gone.  Then came the realization that he no longer lives here.  That he belongs to the Coast Guard now.  That his childhood is over.

I will say that Dustin seemed to handle boot camp much better than I did!  Eight weeks.  It was brutal.  He was allowed to write home on Sunday of each week &, like a good son, he did write his mother every week.  The first letter home was heartbreaking, as he shared how difficult his days were & how terribly homesick he was.  But even at his darkest moment, he made very clear in his letters that he would succeed.  He was determined.  Every letter home was more positive, more confident than the previous.  He shared his successes.  He was proud of himself.  He was changing.

During week six, he was allowed a day of liberty.  He called home.  During our hours long conversation, I got to hear just how much he had changed.  I was so proud of his accomplishments.  I was also sad, as he was no longer the same boy who left home.  How could this be happening so quickly?

As I counted down the days until his graduation, I was focused on seeing him again in Cape May.  I was focused on bringing him home & how very nice it would be to have him back.  I gave little thought to the fact that his time at home was only a visit.  That a brief week later he would leave again, this time for much longer than eight weeks.  The second goodbye was harder than the first.

A lot of my sadness comes from the acknowledgement that time is passing & that all of my kids will grow up someday.  Much of my own sense of purpose comes from mothering but this season will pass.  I will put forth my best effort, raise them up, & call it a win when they no longer need me.  A bittersweet win.

I know that this is exactly how life is designed.  I know that his independence has always been my goal.  I know that Dustin is safe & happy.  I know that time will heal.  And knowing these things does help…a little.


Hello. Goodbye.

Hello Autumn.  This morning, the heat kicks on.  Put on my knee socks for the first time, oh how I’ve missed your coziness!  Goodbye humidity; loving the brisk, clean air outside.  Suddenly the leaves are changed & falling & blowing across the back yard.  So beautiful.

Our pumpkins are gathered & waiting for their faces.  Our costumes are hanging in the closet, waiting for Halloween.  We are back to our school & back to our weekly camping trips.  This season comes & goes so quickly, we must enjoy it to the fullest.  It is so beautiful.

Saying goodbye to summer.


My Coastie

What an adventure!  After a very exciting summer, Dustin is now a Seaman Apprentice in the United States Coast Guard.  He is doing well.  We are so proud.

Dustin left for boot camp on June 26th.  His family watched him swear in before saying goodbye.

He flew to Cape May, NJ for eight weeks of training.  Dustin told me that boot camp was the most difficult thing that he has ever done.  And his graduation from boot camp was certainly his proudest moment.  He seems to have a lot of respect for his CC’s (you mean the men & women who screamed at you constantly?).  He says that no matter how hard it got, he did not regret his decision to join the Coast Guard.

We had very little communication with Dustin while he was in boot camp, except thru letter-writing.  Now, writing letters & waiting for the mail can be tedious.  But it was actually a nice way to communicate.  Dustin is not normally a sentimental guy & rarely shares his feelings.  But his letters home were very heartfelt.  It was nice to hear how much he appreciates the love & support of his family & friends.  And he so appreciated getting letters from home, as he was terribly homesick!

I joined his company’s Facebook page.  It was comforting to hear from other parents whose sons & daughters were going thru boot camp with Dustin.  Pictures were often posted, & we would get an occasional glimpse of Dustin in a picture, running or marching; always looking quite serious & military-like.  It was surreal to see my boy in those pictures.

During week five, I got a brief phone call from Dustin.  The call was only to inform me of his duty station, no chit-chat allowed.  He let me know he will be working on the USCGC Bristol Bay, an ice-breaker on the great lakes.

In August, I made the trip to Cape May for Dustin’s graduation.

The morning of graduation, as we were walking into the building, Dustin’s company marched by.  Seeing him for the first time in eight weeks, so changed…it was very emotional.

The ceremony was nice.

The best part, of course, was finally giving him a big hug!  He looked different, he sounded different, but he was still my Dustin.

I enjoyed the long drive home from New Jersey with Dustin.  I loved hearing all of his boot camp stories.  I admired the maturity & confidence that his experience had clearly brought forth.  I am glad I got to spend that time with him, because his week at home was a flurry of activity; packing & preparing for the move to Michigan.

It was nice to have him home, if only for a week.

On August 25th, we said goodbye again & Dustin left for his new home, his new career, his brand new life.  He is not nearly so homesick these days!  He says he is working very hard, learning lots, & he speaks highly of his shipmates.  He seems very happy.

Dustin made the decision to join the military, left home determined to succeed, & came back to us a Coast Guardsman.  He did that on his own.  His family & friends are proud of him.  He should be proud of himself.  I am excited to see what the future holds for my Coastie!