confessing a little lesson


i have always felt that any place begins to feel like home when you are out and about and you recognize people.  not sales associates.  not the barrista that typically works her shift when you go in.  no, its a different kind of recognizing.

its community.  it starts of so weak... but you can see a glimmer of community.  i recognize you.  you recognize me.  outside of where we normally see each other.

well, yesterday, i had my first glimmer of community here in sunny socal.  it happened twice.  i should feel happy, but really, the whole damn thing humbled me.  and that's okay.

espisode 1:

i am in trader joes... stocking up on all the essentials that i can never seem to keep more than a few days at home, and then i noticed to my right a pregnant lady.  she is the hugely pregnant kind... the kind where surely she must be very close.  {and don't worry, i did not say anything remotely offensive like that}

she had opened a four pack of iced cupcakes and was inhaling it.  she also had 3 other kids with her... middle school and junior high looking kids.  we made grocery store/pregnancy story/homeschool small talk.  i had thought that i recognized her, and was correct.  but she mentioned it to me first!  she recognized me too.

and this is where my mind should have left it.

but, oh no.  not my ego.  i had to mentally trash this lady's poorly behaving children.  she must have not demanded respect!  and unschooling! sheesh!  and her son was kicked out of our learning center for a bad attitude!  he admitted that in a bragging tone!  control your kids.  give them structure.  c'mon.

my sad, sinful heart.  i didn't express this aloud.  i was kind to the lady, i didn't give one disapproving look or glance.  i was upbeat.

i was proud of myself.  in several different ways.  proud to not unschool.  proud to be a hard ass when my kids sass me.  proud i wasn't eating an iced cupcake in the store while my kids whined they wanted one.

i was proud that i thought all of this and managed to act otherwise.

we are kidding ourselves if we think we only do this occasionally.  unless we are deliberate, our lives are swathed with this judgmental outlook.  we do ourselves no favors.  we certainly don't embody love when we judge others.

now... fast forward.  preschool pick up.  my precious little angel savannah.  who i will admit has her own moments of crazy disobedience.  pushing the limits.  adding gray hair to my head.

but she looks so darling.  i want to drink her in.  i simply cannot get enough.  we go to the library.  the post office.  the park.  she is charming everyone we encounter.  our cup overflows with compliments.

episode 2:   

at the park.  a new {to us} park.  near her school.  and the beach.  its overcast now, but still lovely.  i snap photos of our sweet lamb...

i sit down... i think i will just instagram a few... then i hear someone say, "hey, i think that they are in the same preschool class"

indeed.  they are.  and this is the nanny.  i get a weird vibe right off the bat.  my ego wants to list off how i am awesome.

oh, stephanie.

savannah decides then that she needs to pee.  nevermind that 30 feet away are nice bathrooms.  nevermind that she has been potty trained for a long time now.


she raises her dress.  pulls down her bloomers and hanna andersson panties.  and pops a squat.

time moves like glaciers.

swoosh in - pick her up while pulling up panties - football hold as i run like a QB for the facilities - she begins to dribble like a watering can, sprinkling the perimeter of the playground and the spongy ground covering.

we end right in front of the super put together mom and dad, sitting on a bench.  think -- j.crew family.  one child.  perfectly mussed hair.  mom and dad in just-for-looks active wear.  what was an adoring look at savannah when we first arrived at the park was now a look of horror.

it was a look of:  we don't do real life.

and then we had the wet underpants and bloomers.  she wanted them off NOW.  LOUDLY.  i chose to comply rather than keep hauling her to the bathroom.  i made idle chit chat with the perfect couple... stunned by the events i said she's been potty trained for ages.  totally crazy.  engrossed in playing and forgot.

i got the look that said it all... "sure lady.  i call bullshit."

but i thought to myself... shake it off.  nbd

and then i sat down... sister now playing happily in fresh underpants and same darling dress {thank god for extra clothes in my backpack}

then i sit down again.  start to chit chat with nanny.  apparently still a bit overly chatty from the tt issue.  i talk about potty training.  where we go to school.  god knows what else.  but all she does is wrinkle her nose and do that sneering frown smile thing and say things like, "yeah, well.  i don't know..."  the tone and the sneer where clearly disdainful but i can't type anything to explain the energy she was throwing out.

and then it hit me.

and i was grateful.

i was happy savannah peed on my feet and the playground.  i needed to be peed on.  i needed to be reminded that episode 1 was linked to episode 2.  that i get what i give.  i sent out disapproval into the universe and received it.

i didn't give out honest lovingkindness earlier.

it was like i looked in the mirror.  at my ugly.  and i feel like i need to share my lesson.  it was so crystal clear that i had to share.

people are doing their best.  they really are.  and you get what you dwell upon.  view the world with a lens of love.

xoxo, s


hello folks


i am alive.

i wrote out a blog post at the beginning-ish of the month... it was all about where we've been... what we've done... but it felt soulless.

so i couldn't publish it.

and then, while sitting at the beach (alone!  whoohooo!!) on a sunny tuesday morning, i wrote out another post.  more soulful.

i just haven't sat down to go from handwritten to typed up.  and then add pictures.

and really, i shouldn't even be doing this.  i have a messy house.  we still need to do math.  and i must, and i mean MUST get to the store.  food makes this house happy.

but i have this aching in my heart to write on my blog.  i miss it.  and it feels so good to spill my thoughts into my own little space.  but rest assured that in the last month we have lived it up in SoCal.  and i am, i really am, finding a groove with this teaching stuff.

and i am trying to live struggle free.  and complaint free.  and seek out patience and joy.  and soak up the gorgeous scenery that surrounds me.

and today, fight some sort of pathetic head cold.  in my mind... i thought i wouldn't have a lick of allergies in this part of the world.  what was i thinking?  something is ALWAYS blooming here.

xoxo and achoo.

and i will do a photo dump soon.  i mean, we have had first days of school, and photo ops galore. 


a touch of homesickness

i woke up this morning, and looked at instagram and facebook... looking for pictures of all our friends starting their big kindergarten year.  and since i am two hours behind them, they were posted by 7:00am.

i would lie if i said i wasn't a little on the homesick side this morning.

your kids are so cute.  they have grown so much.  especially ethan's little friends from preschool...

and i would be completely dishonest if i didn't tell you that i wasn't sad that my baby was getting the same kindergarten experience.  one similar to my own.  one that i understand...

squint and you can see our neighborhood.  kinda :)

but you see, things get to be different and more of an adventure for us.  we get to spend a year "on vacation" and we get to do school in our own way.  a way that will work for this year.  and if i wasn't doing homeschool, and we were starting kindergarten at the elementary school next week, i still think i would feel this way.  i just spent a good 15 minutes looking at the website for our elementary school we are zoned in.  it would not be the right fit.  i know it.  for a variety of reasons.  this is better for our family. 

its really weird to be in a temporary spot for an extended period of time.

its hard to be different.  you can't look at benchmark comparisons.  there is a deep life lesson embedded in this.  its so obvious it is comical.  this is better for us.


do y'all have dealing with sand tips?  seriously...

on to my really good news.  still about school... we got in to our school.  the seemingly impossible situation.  WE GOT IN.  honestly, i view it as nothing short of a miracle.  an absolute miracle.  there are 8 or so kids in the class.  he wasn't close to the top for the wait list.  he was on the bottom.  spot number 8.  unless you have held your breath on a wait list, you can't truly appreciate how grim those numbers are.

i prayed for us to end up in the situation we needed to be in -- even if that meant i had my kids in school on different days.  even if that meant that throughout this year i never had a morning to myself.  maybe we were supposed to be in the charter school that i didn't want to be in.  maybe it was safer.  or happier.  or good in some way i had no idea about.  maybe the less impressive curriculum was actually fine.  maybe my faith was being tested.

i had moments of doubt.  i had moments of panic.  but i tried to stay upbeat.  we will be where we are supposed to be.  if it is my charter school of choice, there will be a way made.

after i found out it was official, i felt a weight lifted.

zoo photo op.  did you know the sd zoo is fantastic?  ;)

if i sound dramatic, i encourage you to think about not having a mental break from the care and education of your children.  my husband works long hours... i am fortunate to be at home with them.  but the mental warfare of not popping into a grocery store without the carseats, hand holding, please don't scream, please don't touch, no we cannot have xyz...  or have you ever been to the obgyn with your kids?  how about a haircut.


enough of my mellow drama.  we have a busy week ahead - last week of summer and a visit from my mother in law.




the above pictures are from legoland.  this was our second trip... yes, we are season pass holders.  sigh.  legoland is enchanting if you are under 8.  there are rides.  there are larger than life lego models.  it is crowded.  there are lines...  i mean, i do it for the kids.  its not terrible... but lets just say i would so much rather be at the zoo.  or the museum.  i am hoping that when school starts we can come on a friday and it won't be as crowded.  and i am praying that people are right when they say that once the races are over in del mar, traffic is improved.  because, man.  all i wanted to do after legoland was be teleported home.  not drive an hour in traffic.  mercy.



school stuff | park pics

this isn't going to turn into a homeschool blog.  so i am going to just insert photos from a day at balboa park.  which, ethan kept meshing with boba fett.  at first on accident, and then to be funny.  the child has been obsessed with star wars lately.  bal-boba fett park




if we talked at all last year, you probably noticed my twitching eye as i listed off my certain dilemmas surrounding school choices.  in the end, i felt like we would be best served to have ethan do a year of homeschool that was affiliated with a charter school that had a twice weekly learning center class.  the bonus:  charter schools are free.  the dilemma:  charter schools won't enroll you until you are actually a resident.  annnnd we just moved here.  and now we are on the waiting list.

this is where i ask you to pray for a miracle.  i'm being serious. :) like, there are 8 in a class.  in july, he was number 8 on the wait list.  ugh.

anyway, sister has a precious pre-school that begins after labor day.  and brother and i have already begun to work.  and because i can't do anything the easy way, i cherry picked my curriculum from several different publishers.




so, for the curious, this is what we are attempting to do.  i don't dare post my daily schedule.  it will be short lived this way.  once pre-school begins and the learning center starts up (i am being hopeful here) things will change.

first language lessons, level 1
writing with ease, level 1
ordinary parents guide to teaching reading
all about spelling, level 1
right start mathematics, level a
five in a row, volume 1
wordly wise, level k
story of the world, volume 1: ancient times
telling god's story, year 1
little pim spanish dvds
handwriting without tears
singapore math worksheets
explode the code worksheets

for science, we are talking about dinosaurs and then also utilizing the zoo, safari park, tide pools, the museum here, and the aquarium.  no formal program.  occasionally, there are science application in five in a row as well.

i am only posting this because some people have asked about it... i am fully aware that some people will disagree.  and some people will think i am downright insane.

it won't be the first time.

but i spent hours upon hours reading, researching, and thinking about what would serve ethan the best for his learning strengths, weaknesses and enjoyment.


do you remember the feeling you had as a new mom, or a mom to be, when you realized just how vast the baby product world is?  that there is an entire long aisle devoted to bottles and nipples.  that they are all different and special and "the best" at whatever?  well.  that is like the homeschool world.  vast.  horrifyingly complex.  chock full of opinions and passion.  different styles.  some pitted against each other like the middle east religions.  i am serious.




anyway, if you want, i can occasionally update this space with the homeschool stuff.

because we are homeschoolers now.  i would have sworn with all my soul that those words would never be uttered by me.  and now look at us.

and don't these pictures make you want to go to balboa park?  i mean.  enchanting.  we watched the free outdoor organ concert, watched caterpillars eat and hang and emerge from their cocoons as butterflies, and hiked amongst giant palm trees.  and climbed trees with dad.  and enjoyed the koi.  i could go on and on... 



long time no post

i swore i would never abandon this blog... and then... this last year happened.  the past year of living in fort worth was rich, and full, and savory...  my precious friends made sure to love on me enough to make it last through this coming year.

and now we are here.

and its not a bad place to be.  and it is good for my soul to know change.  its good for me to practice dealing with change with a graceful and grateful heart.  it is good to pray for strength and courage rather than ease.

it is good to be in a beautiful place.  stay tuned.  i'm back :) like, i am already writing the next post...






and i am trying.  trying so hard to tote the big camera along.  and then hopefully, when the new iphone comes out, i will get it! so then my iphone pics will be a bit better as well...  and then i will feel like i can post more photos... you should follow me on instagram too... i have been a bit more present there...


spring break and a chocolate bunny


spring break has been so speedy this year.  we have enjoyed it.  i have even enjoyed it.

let me say that again:  i have enjoyed spring break.

the mornings have been slow, and quiet.  the children have played together.  i have played with them.  we have played with friends.  i have procrastinated on grocery shopping.  i took the kids to yoga.  i have leisurely cleaned out part of my closet... in anticipation of that pesky move.

ahhhh.... that pesky move.  i had a friend that told me i should print out a moving checklist.  does this mean i have to pull my head out of the sand??

i can't even honestly tell you that the move is what fills the space in my head... i seem full of so many random things.  i feel like such a dabbler these days.  a dabbler that wants to share and feels so fractured when i sit down at the computer.  

i am working on it.  i swear.

i have recipe to share... that i plan on cooking tomorrow.  it will be time number 2.  i have to make sure time number 1 wasn't a fluke.  it was good.  and grain free.  mmmm....

and the photo above?  taken {sheesh, by my iphone not the dslr} in our neglected garden - of our new, real life, chocolate bunny.   our bunny lives in our backyard now... it was hopping from front yard to front yard at dawn and dusk... and i noticed him out the back window two evenings ago and shut the gate!  he seems like a pet bunny that someone let go... i hope i don't become too attached :(

xoxo, s


a fraction of what we've been doing


i am basking in the glow of long over-due snuggling a friends new baby after a chickfila playdate.  and i am listening to one of my children fight a desperate need for a nap.  the other is sound asleep.

and i am putting the finishing touches on a very large and complex event i am coordinating on saturday.  and i am thankful for god's provision to give me this event.  and the financial compensation for it to coincide with the change of our volvo's timing belt.  sometimes stars align like that.

and i am grateful.

i feel like i write less and less about my children for fear that it would be taken wrongly.  like i am bragging or something.  which it definitely isn't intended to be.  and you know what?  doing things out of fear is the wrong way to live.  absolutely an energy suck.  "what would people think?" "would they think i am boasting?"  "do i sound like i am bragging?"

you know what?  so what.  i am proud of my children as any mother should be.

so i am super proud that ethan memorized the lord's prayer in less than a week.  and savannah has almost memorized it.  i need to find more things for them to memorize.  clearly its a better use of brain space than all the theme songs to tv shows.

and savannah is a smart little stinker.  today i told her she was acting like a monkey and she looked at me and told me that she is not a monkey; she is a human.

well then.

and ethan is building a very detailed, difficult lego house ALL BY HIMSELF.  as in, i don't help at all.

which also means that we have all of our legos out.  but i don't really mind.  as long as i don't step on any barefoot. 


more later.  so much to share, so little time.

xoxo, s


basically, if i give it my all, it's tough :)


hmmm.... first off, this is not a post about ethan's birthday party.  at our tae kwon do studio... ninja turtle themed.... i just wanted to post these.  i did absolutely nothing to make this party a complete success (reserve the space?  i mean, a padded room, a bunch of kids, two party leaders and cake.  e a s y)  well... i did make 40 ninja turtle masks.  and i did at the last minute find a replacement cake.  so not completely effortless.  but close :)  totally the way to do it.  

anyway, the real post.

today at yoga, the instructor droned on about setting our intentions.  and living with intentions.  she talked about how hard it was... how it makes all the difference.

well, no joke.

i've been struggling to do it everyday now... probably going on 3 years.  since before i had savannah.  it's tiresome.  rewarding, but so tiresome.  being intentional with my children, my husband, my job as our home-maker, myself and how i treat my body, my food choices.

why does she look so old??

it will wear a girl out.  and i still fall flat on my face and fail all the time.  all.  the.  time.

and occasionally, i get skewed one way in the intention category.  skewed far away from myself.  and occasionally, i look in the mirror, and i think, "hello, stranger."

its not just me, other moms do this too. and i'm only sane because i know i am not alone.

check out the mask... i have leftovers... want them?  
hate to throw perfectly good ninja turtle masks out... :)

but i desperately need margins.  i know that everyone needs different sized margins, but for some reason i think i desire extra large margins.  and it should come as no surprise (it is my fifth season of spring at our preschool) that the fine folks at our preschool have a way of shrinking the weeks down into nothing.  holidays.  conference days.  spring break days.  staff development days.  god forbid you have a sick day or a snow day in the mix.  don't get me even a teensy bit started on what a rip off that is.    sheesh! 

so, my children have school from 9 to noon.  we drop off and pick up outside the classroom door.  it means i have roughly 2.5 hours, twice a week where they are both taken care of and loved on by sweet teachers.

5 hours, people.

and i am being intentional.

and i have a need for wide margins.

so that's why i sometimes ditch hours of sleep for hours of late night solitude.  i can read.  i can sit.  i can just "be." and here is the best part, it's in the quiet.

please tell me you sacrifice your sleep for this worthy cause, too?  and then, please tell me how you cope with being intentional while you are so tired the next day.


ethan was intense with the cake.  
possibly because they aren't getting refined sugar too often these days.  #yikesiamoneofthosemoms


savannah was too.  she had more than one piece... that child...

i am sure you are wondering at this point if i am of sound mind to homeschool next year.  this is were i have to tell my self to not be afraid.  and to believe that it will be like this year, just with really REALLY intentional lessons.

and probably less house cleaning, if that is even possible.

oh boy.  i need to go bury my head in the sand because we are leaving in less than six months.

xoxo, s 




life is swirling by me...  and i am writing none of it down.  and that is pathetic

insert extreme mom guilt.

but you know what?  it is okay.  because i am trying again.  and that's what you do when you want to keep moving forward.  you get up, you try again.

so... did i even do a proper christmas recap post?  no?  hahahha.  not surprising.  to fully recap at this point is downright silly.  so here is the short of it:  santa gave savannah a dollhouse.  she loves it.  ethan got a pellet gun.  he's "killed" a rabbit.  that we ate.  and it was good (really!).  and i let go of my desire for beauty and perfection with christmas and it was very nice.

there is something to be said about honestly embracing the season of life in which we are living.  which means giving up yearning for beautiful matching stockings and gorgeous live garlands.  it ain't gonna happen for a couple more years.  period.  and that is a-okay.

so for january... i did a lot of january things:   survive the flu.  clean up my diet.  work out a lot.  wear heavy jackets and shorts in the same week.  have a birthday party for ethan.  have our internet repaired -- again.  make a pilgrimage to ikea for organization containers.  make multiple trips to goodwill.  

and then there are things we haven't done because this is our last year here -- like plan a garden.  and for this i am sad. 

and then there are things that i wanted to do in january that i will pathetically try to implement in february:  my cleaning schedule.  more intentional "lesson time" with my kids.  waking up early.  going to be early.  reading quality literature to myself.  the kids.

living an intentional life is brutally hard.  and completely rewarding.  and my goal is to document it here.  our food.  our life.  our move.  creativity.  friendship.  hardship.

cheers to february. 

xoxo, s


merry belated christmas

e501-front working

do you know that i tried to write a post recapping christmas.  but it was short.  and choppy.  and felt like i was going through the motions.

i can't be like that here.  it just doesn't work for me.

so... i will post our christmas card until i can get it together to write what i want to.  which honestly requires quiet time.  alone.  what is that??  :)

i hope your christmas was merry and i hope your new year is bright.

and i am hopeful i can make my little place on the internet a priority in 2013.

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