Archive for January, 2012

28
Jan

wrist warmers/fingerless gloves

   Posted by: liz    in crafty, family

kenny has been playing the piano a lot lately, much to the enjoyment of his family!

he’s been playing every single week in church while the other pianists take a break for various reasons;  he’s been playing the piano in our home in the evenings — The Messiah during christmas, and some very complicated too-many-notes* classical pieces from his vast collection of sheet music; and just recently, he’s taken on playing the piano score for a local theatre’s spring musical in which Rowan and Sawyer are participating.

when he’s done playing, he’s always needing to warm his hands by the fire. and it’s not like he can play the piano with gloves on. so i whipped up a quick pair of fingerless gloves using a dark chalky-colored wool that i’m sure is sock yarn that my mom gave me.

i’m not sure how warm they’ll keep his fingertips, which i think get the coldest, but perhaps the warmth of the wrists and lower hands will keep the fingers from getting too cold. or something.

they were very fun to knit, and it was good to have a project i could keep in my purse and easily take with me to meetings and rehearsals this week. i made up the pattern, using size 5 bamboo needles:

cast on 40 stitches
knit the first 8 rows
knit in stockinette stitch for 6 rows
knit another 6 rows
then knit in stockinette until the piece measures roughly 8 inches (dependent on the wrists their being made for!)
knit the next 5 rows, and cast off.
putting right sides together, fold piece in half length-wise and stitch up the side, making sure to leave an opening for the thumb.

 

* that was a reference to a scene in Amadeus, my second favorite movie of all time, the first being Chariots of Fire. yes, even my movie taste is stuck in the 80s.

join others over at Stuff and Nonsense’s Fridays Unfolded ~

Stuff and Nonsense

25
Jan

honeybees!

   Posted by: liz    in crafty, earthkeeping

kenny ordered two “packages” of bees a few weeks ago. it’s time to get out the old hives, clean them up a bit (we actually have to clean them up a lot, with an acid solution, to kill any mites that could still be in the wood. these are deadly to the health of a hive) and get the area of our yard set up for their arrival in late april.

i celebrated by picking up my needles and casting on to knit a “honey cowl“.  i’m using bamboo yarn which is very stretchy, so this cowl will hang low around my neck.

i like to refer to it as my “honeycomb” cowl as i think the “right” side of the piece resembles the symmetry found in a honeycomb. of course, there is no symmetry in my knitting. a few mistakes here and there make it more of a wobbly hive.

19
Jan

a day in the life…II

   Posted by: liz    in family, family fun, homeschooling

wednesday, february 2012
5:40 finds me awake. the wind howled all night long, and there is new snow on the ground. i do not want to get out from under my very warm blankets. kenny beats me to it and gets ready for work. i join him downstairs once i get the courage to get out from under the warmth.

6:15 ~ kenny is off to work and my morning looks pretty identical to yesterday’s morning. today, though, i have to prepare dinner, so i pull a few round steaks out of the freezer to defrost.

8:00 ~ the boys begin to stir upstairs, so i start some oatmeal for Rowan and Sawyer. Adam is not a fan.

8:05 ~ Sawyer comes down and sits with his book in front of the fireplace. He’s reading Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy books. i think he likes the idea of reading and finishing short chapter books more than he’s really enjoying the books themselves. Rowan emerges from sleep and joins Sawyer with his new Franny K. Stein book. he actually is loving reading and enjoying these stories. he’s finishing a book a day so i think he’s ready for the next level up in books.

8:15 ~oatmeal is ready. adam comes down and requests cold cereal. they all eat, and go back to their books. i don’t press them to get dressed and make their beds as usual this morning. i savor seeing them with their noses in books. again, i remind myself that there are more important things than keeping to a schedule!

9:00 ~ i gather the boys to the kitchen. today we are starting off our lessons with a science experiment. on monday, we took materials for a fun science experiment over to our friends’ house and had so much fun with that that we wanted to try another simple experiment this week. Today, we are making homemade bouncy balls. the first time, it didn’t work. the materials didn’t come together into a ball, and it made a sticky mess all over our hands and bowls. we took about 15 minutes to clean all the spoons, bowls and hands. sawyer told me it was okay that it didn’t work out. he also asked me if i was embarrassed that the science experiment didn’t work (he’s such a tender-heart!). we gathered the materials again and i tried it again. this time, i skipped the food coloring step and it came together fine!    adam and sawyer decided to try again as well (rowan went back to the fireplace with his book) and it worked for them as well.  this was a great way to learn that sometimes experiments just don’t work out the way we think they will. this segued into a review of our science definition of the week: “what is a chemical?”

10:00 ~ i finally tell them to get dressed and make their beds. they have a snack first because they’re STARVING (does anyone else have constantly STARVING kids?)

10:15 ~ art project: a study in symmetry. i print out three symmetrical designs to be colored. rowan wants to read more, so i color his design myself. as we discuss what symmetrical shapes and designs are, sawyer observes that “only the outside of a house can be symmetrical, not the inside. otherwise, you’d have to have two kitchens and stuff.”

11:00 ~they all decide to play. i think they decided on laser tag. i fix myself a cup of decaf coffee and look through the circulars. tomorrow is shopping day (first day of grocery store sales!) and i want to go completely prepared. i also realize that i should probably get started on cleaning the bathrooms. i’m trying to get on a regular cleaning schedule of them. i’m distracted by the requests of yet another snack from three STARVING boys. it’s 11:30, so i start on getting lunch together.

12:00 ~ lunch!

12:15 ~ during lunch, sawyer complains of sore knuckles. he’s always had chubby hands, but they’re red and i think the redness makes them look a bit more swollen. he goes back to eating while i self-diagnos him with kawasaki’s disease. i call kenny to let him know and he talks me down from that diagnosis and tells me there is no need to call 911. he’ll take a look at it tonight. i am relieved, of course, but make a mental note to check sawyer’s knuckles and hands every day until he turns 10, at least.

12:30 ~math!  my favorite time of day!! </snark>  rowan’s lesson today is a review sheet. he hates them because they require doing problems on a page. he would much rather figure out problems in his head. i only make him do half the sheet, while sawyer and i set up our math cards for his lesson.  rowan is done before we are, so i let rowan and sawyer finish the game. adam and i start on his lesson. we breeze through 5 whole lessons – i didn’t realize how much math he actually knows, so i’m bumping him up to the end review sheets for this level, and tomorrow, we’ll start the second level of math curriculum for him.

1:30 ~ i’m so glad math is done for today. co-op review while the boys have an afternoon snack…

1:45 ~harry potter time. i was going to skip it today, but they loved it so much yesterday that they begged me to read more today. how could i possibly say no?

2:30 ~finally!  some time to work on my knitting project, read some of my book…just in time for adam to come ask me:

2:45 ~”mommy can i paint?” time to get the paints and brushes and paper out, clear off the kitchen table, and get some water and paper towels ready.

3:30 ~ mom and dad come over for a quick visit. mom comes with goodies – peanut butter filled pretzels and cookies from trader joes. i start on dinner: braised round steak with brown rice. it’s not the best dinner, but the juice is amazing – just like french onion soup!  kenny arrives home at 5:00.

5:45 ~ after dinner, i suggest we all go to the mall but kenny suggests i go alone – he’s so brilliant.  i need new jeans so badly as my favorite pair have three new holes in them.

6:00 ~ i spend some time roaming the aisles and hallways of our little country mall. i find some sales, and try to gather friends to meet me for dessert. i know it’s hard on short notice…so i head home at 8:00 p.m. to a house full of laughing boys. yes, they are still so full of energy at the hour of 8:00 (and 9:00…) every night.

8:30 ~ boys tucked in…kenny and i decide to find the first episode of the new season Downton Abbey online. a great end to another great day.

 

 

 

 

 

18
Jan

a day in the life…

   Posted by: liz    in family fun, homekeeping, homeschooling

tuesday, february 2012

6:00 ~ wake up. the past two days kenny and i have been waking at 5:00, so we slept in a bit this morning, which got him off to work a bit later.  i get up, get a cup of coffee while he makes his breakfast.

6:30 ~ kenny leaves for work, and i have a quiet house for at least the next 2 hours. i start some laundry, sit at the computer to read blogs, write a blog post, check facebook, and read the news. then i feel hungry so i get breakfast, another cup of coffee, straighten up the kitchen, change the laundry and check all the lessons for the day to make sure we have what we need.

8:40 ~ adam stumbles downstairs. i normally don’t let them sleep past 8:00, but we had a full day yesterday – with co-op, meeting friends for lunch, and then a playdate all afternoon. we were super tired last night, so i let them sleep until they woke up themselves.  i used to have 3 very early risers, and now, they have mastered the art of sleeping in. he wants to play a game with me but can’t decide between “Guess Who,” “Battleship,” or “Mancala.” he finally settles on Mancala and we start to set it up on the kitchen table as rowan comes downstairs.  i told him i’m not sure of the rules and he assures me he can teach me. somehow, i think his rules aren’t quite right, so we look up the directions online. for the record, his rules were way off.

8:50 ~ sawyer comes downstairs to tell me his throat hurts and rowan yells from the back porch that the snow is all gone. i give sawyer a spoonfull of honey, tell rowan it might snow tomorrow so they set off together on the back porch to plan a sledding party. adam declares himself an almost-winner when he accidentally knocks the whole Mancala game off the table, sending all 48 marbles across the kitchen floor. rowan and sawyer run in to see what the noise was and decide they are going to find every last marble. i snuggle an upset adam while the boys count each marble they find. after 5 minutes, all the marbles have been accounted for, and we start a new game over. it’s over in 10 minutes, adam wins, but i think he totally cheated.

9:05 ~rowan and sawyer get the breakfast dishes out while adam gathers the boxes of cereal. during breakfast, i give them a run-down of the days’ schedule. i have found this is the best way to prepare them for the day. nothing is a surprise: they know what to expect and so far, it has worked to keep the grumbling and complaining at bay. they know that “recess” or play time is coming up, so they work to keep focused on each lesson (emphasis on “work” as it is work to keep these little boys’ brains focused on one thing for more than 5 minutes most days!  but at least they are trying!).

9:20 ~all three boys go upstairs to make their beds and get dressed.  i switch out the laundry again, fold what’s clean and dry and set it out on my bed to be put away later. i head out to the pasture to water the animals. on the brilliant recommendation of a new friend who is a goat farmer, we’ve switched from square bales of hay for feeding to setting up a round bale in the barn and this has revolutionized our winter feeding. we no longer have to go outside to feed them two or three times a day – they feed themselves on a large round bale for 3-4 weeks. we need only to change their water and occasionally grain them.

9:40 ~adam is downstairs, dressed and ready to start: “i want to do math, like my brudders.”  he’s sick of practicing writing his numbers and counting, so i break out their first level of his brothers’ math curriculum and we skip to lesson 15. we learn parallel and perpendicular lines, and the difference between even and odd numbers.

10:00 ~rowan and sawyer are finally done getting dressed and making their beds. 10:00 is about an hour later than we normally start lessons, but i keep reminding myself that a schedule is far less important  than a good night’s sleep during cold and flu season! adam complains that his math lesson is too short (where did this kid come from!?) so i set him up with headphones on my laptop to do reading practice. Starfall is one of our favorite spelling/reading web sites, and he’s been going through the chapters in the “learn to read” section. he loves it, and it’s a good thing for him to do while i work on spelling with the older boys.

once adam is set up on my computer, rowan and sawyer start their next spelling lessons at the kitchen table. they are being creative today: trying to see who can come up with the most nonsensical story using all of their spelling words. they both win. i quiz them on the past few lessons, make notes of which words we need to focus on tomorrow and close the spelling books.

Roman Numeral Cookies

10:30 ~ rowan practices piano while sawyer and i do math. he and i are doing roman numerals and he loves them. he’s pretty happy with most of his math homework, but he especially enjoys the roman numerals. it’s almost like “cracking a code” putting all the numbers/letters in order.

11:00 ~ sawyer practices piano while rowan and i do math. he’s already learned subtraction in his head and now we’re doing it on the abacus. he breezes through this lesson as the abacus makes all lessons easy!

11:20 ~ since rowan’s math lesson was so short, he helps adam with sounding out some words. i love seeing the older two teach adam what they know. and he enjoys being taught by his brothers.  i love this dynamic: the trickle-down learning affect. there is more than just learning going on when they’re teaching each other. there is trust-building, and respect-growing. i always encourage them when i see them doing this. i think it’s important to always tell your kids when they are doing something that makes you proud.

11:30 ~ i’m always worn out by teaching two math lessons back-to-back. i’m looking into other curriculum, but this one is a solid choice for us now. it’s just very teacher/mom-heavy! i give the boys all a break while i start on their lunch. it’s tuesday, which means it’s sandwiches-in-the-car-from-swim-lessons-to-cubscouts night. so i make them a hot lunch on these days.

12:00 ~during lunch, we review our co-op material. today i focus on history (american) and the world history timeline memorization. tomorrow’s focus will be science, latin, and math.

12:30 ~quiet time!  for one hour each day, we are all quiet. the boys don’t sleep – they just have to be quiet, and in their room. today i change up the rules a bit. we start quiet time snuggled up on my bed while i read aloud to them. we started Harry Potter, The Scorcerer’s Stone before Christmas and then got out of the read-aloud habit. after 30 minutes, i dismiss them to their room where they read their own books, or just learn to be still for the next 30 minutes. this is a challenge for adam.

1:30 ~i finish folding and putting away laundry with Rowan’s help (and by help, he doesn’t really jump at the chance to put away freshly clean clothes…but at least he does it!).

1:45 ~back in the kitchen for our writing lesson. the older two boys have finished their chapter books (rowan is into a new series now), so we start on book reports. today’s lesson is working on a title page. it’s funny what you take for granted knowing. i had to teach them where to look for the author’s name, what an author of a book is, and how to position it on the title page of their report. tomorrow we’ll get into the first page, which i know will take a long time. they aren’t too keen on writing, and from what i read, this is totally normal for boys their age. so i don’t push them too hard.

2:15 ~ school is done for the day – a bit later than normal. we have to leave for swim lessons in an hour, so i try to finish up my work so i can sit and read some of my bookclub book (Unbroken). so i gather up the swim bag – suits, towels, goggles; make 6 PB&J sandwiches for the boys, clean up the kitchen, straighten up the school room, and sit down to check email one last time. no time to read…already it’s time to leave!

3:30 ~ to the Y for swimming. kenny is meeting us there so i can run on the treadmill.  i’ve been listening to the music of Josh Garrels during my runs and it’s kept my mind focused so the runs go faster. yesterday i clocked 2.14 miles and it felt so, so good.

5:45 ~ swim lessons are over, and we race over to Cub Scouts. i sit in rowan’s meeting while kenny stays with sawyer’s group. adam hangs out with kenny and sawyer (he’s too young for scouts, but he gets to follow along). rowan’s group is really fun: whittling, knot-tying, s’more-making. sawyer’s group is filled with rowdy younger boys who don’t listen to their den leader. we’re wodnering how it’s possible to move him in with rowan’s group, where they are actually learning scout-type stuff.

7:30 ~ head home. kenny and i finally grab some dinner, i take a hot shower (a cold front has moved in since we’ve been out, dropping the temps at least 10 degrees, and high winds have kicked in, so i’m chilled to the bone!).

8:15 ~ all five of us pile on our bed to close the day in family prayers.  boys head to bed after 10 more minutes of lego-building and reading.

8:30 ~ kenny plays music for a while while i write this blog post, finish reading other blogs and the news, and check the weather (boy, that wind is loud!).

10:00 ~ i am finally able to crack open Unbroken for about 10 minutes before my eyes get heavy. this book is a beautifully written semi-biography of a man who finds himself as a bombardier in WWII. my grampy read it and passed it along to my mom to read. i snatched it up before she could get a chance to read it. i can only imagine how amazing and perhaps difficult it was for him to read. he was a pilot in WW2, of a B-17, and this air force bombardier was on a B-24 on the west coast. apparently, air force members in WW2 had a 50% chance of survival. wow. i thank God grampy survived all of his flight missions.

and with that, i say goodnight to tuesday……

17
Jan

celebrating 10 years as a family…

   Posted by: liz    in family, family fun

last october, the boys got to spend a whole weekend with my parents (oh my goodness, the anticipation of that weekend was almost too much for them!) while kenny whisked me away on a romantic getaway to the middle of the state. my parents were troopers keeping the boys on a cold, rainy/windy weekend with one of them being sick, and one needing to go to a soccer game.  the boys keep talking about the fun they had, and we received periodic photos (via texts) of the boys throughout our weekend.

when we returned home, we celebrated our family birthday by taking the boys to Ballocity at Fun Fore All, and then out to Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse for dinner. fortunately, it has now surpassed Chuck E. Cheese in the favorite restaurant department. unfortunately, we probably won’t return until rowan celebrates his own 10th birthday (as the price warrants only big celebrations for us!).

highlights of our 10-year-celebration week:
~kenny and i were able to check out the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. The 2 mile long lane from Route 30 to the Memorial is sobering. a quiet, country ride demands silence and reverence, and the spot of the actual wreckage is subtly marked by american flags. the juxtaposition of our celebratory 10th, and remembering that scary day 6 weeks before our wedding was very obvious to the both of us.
~the best fillet mignon i have ever had in my entire life. coffee, cocoa and dark cherries over a medium-well filet: amazing.
~kenny totally surprised me with a gift: an edwardian dinner ring, to match the antique era of our wedding bands and engagement ring. i still gaze at it in amazement.  when i was in the post office the other day, the post man behind the counter complimented it and i told him it was a 10th anniversary gift from my husband. he replied: “i told my wife on our 10th anniversary that she hadn’t earned another ring yet.”  i don’t know what he meant by that, but i am thankful that my husband doesn’t see my role as his wife and mother to his children as a means to a gift that i earn.

~celebrating these 10 years of family with our boys: kenny and i both agree that all three of them are the biggest highlights of this past decade.

 

12
Jan

running thoughts (II)

   Posted by: liz    in health, running

 for the past two weeks, i’ve been working at getting back to running a 5K in my training runs. with a few weeks off over christmas break due to illness, it’s been hard. i feel like i lost a lot of ground, and my runs have been difficult and not at all fun.

until today!

the first 2 minutes were sluggish, and then i felt my groove settling in.  i ignored the first “walk” prompt and just kept running. it felt great to get to the “walk” and not be dying for a break. in fact, i couldn’t believe it was time to walk already!  it was so good to just keep running.

i saw this quote recently and i’ve been mulling it over during my runs:

There are no standards and no possible victories except the joy you are living while dancing your run. You are not running for some future reward-the real reward is now!

Fred Rohe, author of The Zen of Running

i danced my run today, and i felt like a ballerina. a rockstar. a runner.

one thing i am learning about running…if you keep up with a regular schedule, and push yourself each run, you make progress very quickly. it becomes fun! and that runner’s high for the few hours after a run?  there are only a handful of things that are better.

keep running, friends! here’s to a healthier, stronger YOU!

12
Jan

alterna-school

   Posted by: liz    in family, homeschooling

 

even homeschoolers find themselves stuck in boring teaching and learning ruts.  i’m now pretty good at seeing one coming, and for us, it’s always about MATH!

as i’ve said before, i’ve never been a math person. give me a Shakespeare comedy or Sophocles tragedy to disect, and i’m a happy girl…but once you start in on math worksheets and science concepts, i’m completely uninterested.

adam’s answer to “what would you rather do today?” always involves baking.  he’s very good at it -a cracks his own eggs, scrapes the sides of the bowl instinctively, and of course, licks the spoon all by himself.

rowan and sawyer would rather play legos or nerf gun spy war all day, so i have to be a bit more creative in the “alternative learning” department for them.

in my search for “how to teach math without teaching math” the other day, i found Math Curse by Jon Scieszka. so we got it from the library and yesterday’s math class was reading through the book. it’s a series of fun little math questions or problems with funny questions that aren’t math-related thrown in for good measure. i never told the boys to answer any of the math questions, they just started doing it. they would run to the chalk board and create tally up sums, and then figure out multiplication problems (thank goodness we memorized skip counting last semester – they use those little songs ALL the time!).

later that afternoon, we drove down to a neighborhood in pittsburgh to join several other 7- and 8-year old boys for a math club, run by an older homeschooled boy (sawyer said, “he was a teenager, not a teacher!”).  the purpose of this math club is to see how math is used in everyday life, or outside of a classroom setting. he introduced cryptography to the boys and within minutes, they were creating secret messages, cracking each other’s codes and using math in a way that they enjoyed.

we also took an hour to put together a 150-piece puzzle of the united states. since we are memorizing states and capitals and their location on the map as well as land forms and famous american sites this year in our geography memory work, this was a fun enrichment activity. we sang our geography songs, read the funny story that went along with the puzzle (“the scrambled states of america”) and called it a day.

today we’re back with regular old spelling and writing and math and memory work review. but now i’m on the lookout for 5-day-a-week alterna-schooling techniques to keep these boys excited about learning.

afterall, teaching them how to be excited to learn is a big part of our job as teachers, right?

11
Jan

family resolutions, farm resolutions

   Posted by: liz    in faith, family, farm

 

we got rid of our television before christmas.

well, okay – we have a television in our basement but it’s only hooked up to netflix and the boys’ video games. our rule is weekend-only videos/video games, and even the weekend time is limited. i have issues with artificial entertainment, and i’m one of those prudes who sees video games and reality television as just that. artificial, fake, unworthy of our precious time.

but that’s not our family resolution. in fact,we kind of fell into this new no-tv living space accidentally (that’s a whole ‘nother post). so…since christmas, my “spare time” has been filled with so much more conversations, reading, planning, and learning. and that television in the basement?  SUCH an after-thought.

family resolution
our family resolution this year is to actively pray to make us “mindful of the needs of others.” it’s a phrase from our family grace and one night at dinner, we discussed what it meant in greater detail. it’s always been the phrase that stuck out in my head, but it’s so fun to see it now making its impression on the boys hearts and minds. we are daily, looking for ways to understand and do what others need from us.

this was humbly acted out for us when i was sick at christmas. our neighbors showed up at our door with a huge vat of homemade chicken soup when they saw that i was sick the day before.  it was humbling, and touching, and our boys noticed.  so it’s our family resolution to seek out where we can be helpful, useful, and loving to everyone else. we can put our own needs aside, because they will be met, especially if our eyes are open to the needs of others.

 

farm resolution
my farm resolution is to do more. i feel as though the farm part of our life hasn’t been the joy it once was, for me at least. this is purely my fault. but january always gives me a sense of excitement as we already begin to plan for the busy spring and fall ahead.

my first order of business is to study up on honeybees. kenny’s already an expert, and when we had bees a few years ago, he did all the handling of the bees/honey, etc. i want in this year. in fact, i told him i’ll do the majority of the work – and from what i’m reading, they are a lot of work in the spring (you have to feed them), not a whole lot of work in the summer, but work returns in the fall with the honey harvest.

honeybees are one of the most fascinating living creatures. the waggle dance, the way worker bees communicate to the hive where a food source is, is amazing.  this short, 55-second video, describes what the waggle moves mean.

i hope to keep good records this year so that our honey harvest will be great. my plans are to have a pantry full of our own honey, make soap with some of this honey, and extract all the beeswax to make candles.  of course, this all depends on the health of the hive, the weather, and.,.whether or not we can protect the hives from black bear again!

our first order of business is to clean out our old Langstroth hives, and to order two packages of bees. this will be done by end of january. and then i have to patiently wait for the bees to arrive in late spring.

have you ever smelled beeswax, or tasted honey straight from the hive?  once you do, you’ll be making your own backyard apiary plans!

related:  kenny catching a swarm

6
Jan

on epiphany…

   Posted by: liz    in faith

Our friend, Bill Campbell, stated the following as his facebook status last week and I’ve been pondering it ever since. Pondering it as I rise in the dark mornings, as I run, heart pounding with music throbbing through my head, as I pull laundry from the washer to the dryer, feed hungry kids, soothe the sobs of a 5-year-old, drive to and from lessons, meeting, activities.

Here is an invitation to ponder it for yourself.

Sura 112 of the Qur’an reads: “Say, ‘He is God the One, God the Eternal. He begot no-one nor was He begotten. No-one is comparable to Him.’ ” Muslims have at least one thing to teach us Christians: that the doctrine of the Incarnation, if false, is a blasphemy so shocking, so appalling, that it should make one quake with dread. How much more should we quake to know that it is true? O magnum mysterium indeed. We ought never to say “Merry Christmas” without trembling in awe of what we have just spoken.

Merry Christmas. A Blessed Epiphany!

 

 

2
Jan

christmas, 2011

   Posted by: liz    in Christmas, family

all he wanted to know was what i wanted for christmas this year. and i gave him an earful about how i don’t want any gifts or presents, and that i think we should just do away with the whole gift-giving part of christmas forever because it makes me so uncomfortable anymore.

my husband knows better than to agree with my crazy whims. so he just smiled and never brought the subject up again. i made it very difficult on him without realizing i was doing so. i thought i’d make it easy on him by not having to worry about a gift for me.

of course, we did not do away with the gift-giving. and of course, our boys opened gifts from us and relatives and friends. and of course i bought gifts for my husband. and that made him uncomfortable since he didn’t buy me any gifts.

how selfish of me.

and yet, i was so surprised and blessed and loved what he did for me christmas morning. he didn’t purchase jewelery or clothes or housewares. he spent his time over the past few weeks painting a gorgeous folk art landscape scene. but not just any folk art landscape scene: a personal one. one with our house, our land, our hills and pine trees, and violet (the sheep prominently featured on the header of this blog).  and not just any canvas, but an old piece of barn wood from our old barn. and not just any frame, but an old window frame out of our old barn. naturally antiqued.

he has seen me loving the folk art scenes in antique shops, and amish shops over the past few years. and he took the time to figure out how to draw and paint and he knew what would be perfect for the spot above the dining room mantel that has been void of anything since moving in nearly 6 years ago (click to enlarge):

 

but he didn’t stop there. he painted a folk art cat on another piece of barn wood. not just any cat, but greymalkin

 

and there are plans to paint one of kayle, our orange tabby, so they’ll forever stay together above our piano.

it was the best gift, ever. and i still get goosebumps when i pass by these gorgeous pieces of art everyday.