Weekly Photo Roundup {158-164}

 
week ending 5-30

{158/365} – In case you all were wondering, this is what Mass looks like outdoors, when the sun’s directly in your face.

week ending 5-301

{159/365} – I’m not sure, but I think this little guy could go for Memorial Day picnics every day. What you can’t tell from this photo is that he worked on that watermelon rind for at least 20 minutes.

week ending 5-302

 

{160/365} – My alternate entry for “T is for…” It was going to be for Time, but I ended up picking something else (click that link to see – hint, it’s in India!)

week ending 5-303

 

{161/365} – My brother came to mow the lawn. This is probably one of the highlights of the kids’ summer-time. This year they even got to “help” push the mower. {You can head over to Instagram to see a few videos}

Kat and the letters

 

{162/365} – Not sure how clear it is in these photos, but I hung up two handmade charts, one with Vowels and one with the “vowels walking together…” phonics rule. We’ve been working on reading for a while. Katherine gets it most of the time, but the particular book we’re using doesn’t lay out any actual phonics rules, so these are to reinforce what it is we’re actually learning.

Anyway, she was super excited to have the charts up on the wall! #itsthelittlethings

week ending 5-305

 

{163/365} – Guys! The roses finally bloomed!!!!!!!

week ending 5-306

 

{164/365} – Bath time. Karl is counting his line of bath toys (specifically asking me to “take a picture, mom”) and Zachary’s just taking it all in. Gotta say, it’s so convenient that he’s learned to hold himself in a sitting position, it makes baths so much easier 🙂

~~~~~

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

 

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Washing the truck and Finding Joy

We’ve got a lovely tree… well actually, let me rephrase… The neighbors behind us have a tree that spreads primarily over our yard and driveway. It casts lots of shade so the garden has a hard time growing and it produces a good amount of pollen which covers the driveway (and the birds enjoy nesting in it so we have their droppings as well). Anywhos, it’s warm today and Jared got inspired to get his truck washed. So of course water + kids = a whole lotta fun!

The Blessed Is She Link-Up topic this week is: Finding Joy. And I’ve been thinking it over, trying to find the words I want to say. At first I thought that I’d just take a few pictures and call it a day, because thats usually what I do when I “find joy”. But then I realized that capturing joy (taking photos) and finding joy aren’t necessarily one and the same.

Well, it is but it isn’t. I’ve been doing a 365 Project  for close to six months now, and it’s been great. I’ve become a bit more aware of my weaknesses as a photographer, and I’ve been able to capture just those everyday moments with the kids and that’s been great (and I’ve also managed to fill my computer with roughly 7000 photos, but who’s counting?) But at the same time it’s also becoming routine. Dare I even say, mundane?

I’ve realized this week that I have to put some additional meaning behind those photographs for them to NOT become mundane. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states

The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator…”
(341)

Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty… But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God… “from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator,”
(2500)

By remembering each time I take a picture that I’m in a sense taking a picture of God, how much more respect can I be giving to my Creator? How much more awe inspiring can that process be? How much more can God speak to me?

Everything then, down to the tiniest drop of water becomes something to find beauty in. It becomes a pathway for finding Joy in our Creator!

A blogging friend, Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings, said this about an instagram photo project she was doing during Lent:

The important thing isn’t to do this one {project}. The important thing is to remind ourselves that God is always working, even in the most ordinary, mundane moments.

That is what I’m striving for when I take these thousands of photos. That’s what I was looking for today while my husband and kids joyfully washed the truck.

This is how I’m trying to Find Joy.

washing the car-17

…even when the baby isn’t happy to be left alone in yard while the others have fun in the driveway!

~~~~~


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Reading ’round these parts

reading

I’ve been feeling in a blogging slump lately. Not with the photo posts, there’s been plenty of those, and I have been trying to add little details of what we’ve been up to in those posts, so those of you that follow the blog to keep up with us should be somewhat in the know. But other stuff hasn’t been written about.

There are things that I’d like to write, but some days I feel a big lack of confidence in the writing department. Writing in and of itself isn’t something that comes easily to me (why start a blog then? I dunno.) But, I’m stubborn.

Anyways…. tonight I thought I’d share with you what reading looks like over here. We certainly do our share of reading. I realize this may not be how or why your family does read alouds, and that’s ok, this is what works for us.

When We Read:

I’ll admit, with the weather turning warmer (Thank you God!), we’ve been spending almost literally every spare minute out of doors. Which has lead to a slight decrease in the amount of time I’ve  been reading aloud to the kids. Most days we end up reading before bed, and somedays we read a few books in the morning.

What it Looks Like:

Generally speaking I mostly read without Zachary. I know, I know, start them when they’re young and all that… and I do think I’m going to start him soon, but… when I’m trying to read to the older kids and they’re all scrunched up as close as they can get, add in Z trying to grab and eat the book and it just makes it too much wiggly in not enough space (while trying to hold a book so everyone can see…). So, I usually leave him laying on the floor so at least he can listen. And honestly, sometimes if he’s tired and fussy, we just wait until he’s in bed.

If we’re reading picture books the kids all squish next to me, and take turns switching to sit next to me. Sometimes Karl still sits on my lap (not so much in the sticky weather) and that erases the “outside” person (not sitting next to me).

Jared reading

If we’re reading a chapter book, which doesn’t happen every day, (but, I’m *trying* to get it back to a more regular schedule) I usually have them spread out just a little. I have my limit for how much I can be squished by little people, they can be close, just not on top of me.

So far, with the chapter books, I haven’t had any issues with them getting antsy, but we haven’t tried more lengthly read-aloud times with those. I’ve found with the longer read-alouds it’s a skill to learn. With the picture books there’s a lot of starting and stopping and they’re usually pretty simple (and half memorized), but the chapter books I actually have to pay attention to and it’s a work out for my mouth. But, baby steps 🙂

Why We Read:

Way back a long time ago, I was complaining to my mom about one of the boys (I think it was John), not wanting to sit and read a book (I think he may have been just over a year?), she told me:

Well, you should have him at least finish the book before you let him get up and walk around, that way he learns how to finish something. He also learns how to sit still, because there will be times when he’ll have to sit still, and there won’t be a book, but he’ll already know how to do it because he’s had the chance to practice it.
{or something to that nature}

Now, when you’re expecting a, lets say 12-month-old, to sit still and listen to a book start to finish, be reasonable, don’t start with Blueberries for Sal. A shorter board book such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar would be much better option. I think sitting and being still is a learned thing, so if you’ve started reading to them young (and requiring them to sit still while doing so), they’ll get better at it. True story: I didn’t think it would happen, but now John (and Katherine) can sit indefinitely while being read to.

Another reason I read to the kids, especially before bedtime is the calming-down factor, for them, yes, but probably more for me. Usually by bedtime, my mama-tank is empty and has been running on fumes since about dinner time. So, needless to say, my mood from dinner time to bed time is usually a little on the short side.

But. When we sit down to read those last stories before bed I can feel the tension letting go. I’m still tired and I still need them to go to bed, but the shortness usually starts fading away. Which then leaves me free to tuck them in, say their prayers, kiss them goodnight and actually not be all flustered. And no, this doesn’t mean that every night is perfect, because there are definitely those nights where them asking for their 37th sip of water/fingernail cut/blanket adjusted/he’s talking/etc…. really gets to me. But, for those few minutes we’re sitting and reading, we’re able to just be without anything getting in the way.

And I know that, THAT is what they’re going to remember. Because I remember reading aloud with my mom and siblings when I was littler and those were some of the best times ever. {And I still wish my mom could come read aloud to me sometimes 😉 }

~~~

Do you have any favorite read-aloud memories or stories? Do share!

T is for…

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal-13

 

So, since I started showing India pictures last weekend, I thought I’d just continue the theme since this week’s letter is “T” and it’s so super convenient.

I know, I’m putting them all in BW again, but… I mean, you could just google search Taj Mahal and come up with thousands of photos, and all the ones I saw were in color… so I’m doing something a little different.

Customary tourist-y shot… I’ll let you take a wild guess as to which one’s me 🙂

Taj Mahal

 

I mean, apart from that fact that I’m looking at the camera, I was one of exactly two (as in 2) white people there.

Side note: if you’re in India and you happen to be white: you ARE a tourist attraction. Even if you’re at a tourist location, YOU, your person IS a tourist attraction. I lost count of how many times I was asked if people could take a photo of me. It was cute the first couple of times with some of the families, but then you get all the guys asking, and immediately proposing marriage right after, and… yeah… it got old fast.

But, anyways…

I shall let you enjoy some of the other shots I have of this visit.

~~~~~

Linking with

ABC Wednesday, Alphabet Wednesday