So today, it's been a full year to the day since I have posted on here.
I can't believe it's been so long. Where has this year gone??? Goodness. My poor, sad little blog.
As for me, my life hasn't been poor, nor sad, nor little. In fact, many of the "little" things in my life have blossomed into bigger ones! Especially my children.
So as a way to start up blogging again on this one-year anniversary, as it were, I am going to post some bits from the last year, month by month, starting with October 2009. Enjoy!
October 2009 was a busy month for sure! We went to a pumpkin farm and did everything from pick our own pumpkins to a corn maze to petting cows and turkeys. For Halloween, KayKay was an autumn fairy, and the Ladybug had her own purple-and-green twinkle fairy outfit. They were both RIDICULOUSLY CUTE, but alas, I don't have any photos of them in their costumes decent enough to share. So instead, you get the cool old wagon wheel from the pumpkin farm (I know, I know, it's not very October-ish, but it's what I had, okay???), and the AH-MAZING full moon shot that the darling Daddy captured ON HALLOWEEN, WHILE TRICK-OR-TREATING. Is he not AWESOME? (Sorry, I'm still in awe of this pic!) The pic below is of the Ladybug at the pumpkin farm, being her normal, silly little self.
November 2009 was great, too. A time of traditions, good friends, family, and great food! The first picture is of a dear friend, Miss Patricia, who so sweetly posed for me in her very autumn-themed clothing while we were at another dear friend's house (yes, Miss Julie, I'm talking about you! Do you recognize your dining room wall??). The second was of the spread we had for Thanksgiving. It was just us last year, but it was lovely nonetheless. We had a great day, and the food turned out lovely (which is always a plus!). It also happened to be the Daddy's birthday, so we got to have a wonderful birthday celebration for him. I love that his birthday is so often on Turkey Day - in my opinion, it simply makes the day that much more special!
In December 2009, I officially lost my mind. As the Daddy was (unfortunately) having to work pretty much through the holidays with no time off, I was persuaded (by various family members) to go on an extended visit to see many of them. The Daddy and I had agreed to this, but it is not something I care to repeat, at least not without him tagging along! It was very hard to be apart for the holidays, and the girls and I missed him terribly. The trip was a many-legged monster of a thing that crossed and crisscrossed many thousands of miles, and ended on my Mom's farm in Oregon. The farm was wonderful, though cold (as things generally are in December). In between, we got to visit with my Dad, step-Mom and both grandmothers, several aunts, uncles and cousins, my in-laws and my dear step-daughter, KitKat. The above photos are from the farm, of course, and this one below is of all three sweet sisters together. It's one of my all-time favorite pics.
By January 2010, we had finally finished our whirlwind tour of the U.S. and came home just in time to enjoy what can only be described as a winter wonderland. It was fabulous and the four of us got to romp in the snow for several days before it disappeared. Yay! These pictures above were both taken after many hours of fun, and as you can probably tell, they were both getting tuckered out, while the one below is when the fun was just starting. Just look at that smile! My Dad had bought us a hot cocoa maker for Christmas, and we nearly wore out the motor during the month of January. It was PERFECT weather for curling up with a steaming mug of cocoa and a good book or movie.
February brought bitterly cold weather, and my 30th birthday, among other things. I decided to throw myself a party, seeing as I hadn't had one in over a decade (wow, it's kind of scary to me that I can now actually USE that word!), and so we had a costume party. Although not as many friends as I would have liked could make it, it was still one of the most memorable experiences of my adult life. Everyone had a blast. I even had a very dear friend whom I had not seen in several years FLY ALL THE WAY HERE to spend the weekend with me (yes, Amy, you are the bestest!). It was an amazing memory and I am so glad that I got to spend it with such wonderful friends!
To be perfectly honest, I don't remember much about March. Except that it was still freezing outside for most of the month and we were ready for winter to be OVER. And that we caught these two little imps on film. Or in pixels. Or whatever.
I think I probably blocked most of March out because it was a hard month for me. That much I do remember, so we'll go with that. :O) I had really lost my sense of purpose, and was just... Drifting. Misery WAS my company for a good long while there. I am SO GLAD to be out of that funk and into a place of contentment. And peace. And joy. And prayerful reflection.
By April, spring had officially sprung. We were outside all the time and having a blast. This photo was taken at a favorite local park, and as you can see, KayKay and the Ladybug were having fun. I love the spring - the flowers all in bloom, and the happy little birdies making their happy little birdie noises outside our windows, nesting and chirping. Unfortunately, our happy little bird who (literally) nested in our window also brought us an unexpected and unwanted gift: bird mites. They're nasty, bloodsucking, nearly miscroscopic little fiends who come and slither all over everything and try to bleed you dry. And of course, they can only be killed if the birds move away and you cover every possible surface with a powdered poison. And guess whose room they invaded? Not ours, OH NO. That would be too easy. The adults love toxic fumes, so no, let's go in the GIRL'S ROOM and take over. Not that I blame them, my children are pretty succulent-looking. I mean, look at those pink cheeks! But still. *Sigh* I had to cover EVERYTHING with mite poison and not only that, but LEAVE IT ON and then clean it all off days later. Argh! No more, "Oh, look at the cute little birds outside the window," for me! (Can you tell I'm still upset???)
We also had started back up with riding lessons. The girls had started riding lessons in Fall 2009, but the weather was so bad over the winter until April, that we weren't able to continue. It has been great, though a bit sporadic (totally my fault!). We are gearing up to start again soon, and both the girls and I are excited. It is a wonderful experience at Miss Patty's. These photos of KayKay were taken by the indomitable Miss Amber Beckham, who is a fantastic freelance photographer and just happens to be one of my very best friends.
May was another month of insanity. Personally, and in general. There was major flooding here of unprecedented proportions, which did untold damage and displaced many thousands of people. There are still some living in shelters, from what I understand. Schools were closed for a long time, and I had hoped that they would be closed for good, but that wasn't the way it worked. KayKay had her last romp with official school friends during Field Day, and just after, we headed down to Florida to visit family, and also for me to look for a job. It had been two years since graduating, and nearly two years of intensive job searching. Although I had no desire to move back to Florida, I was so desperate for a job, that I thought I would scope out my connections down there. I did, and met some great people and had a couple of really promising interviews, but it wasn't meant to be. And oh, I am glad for it. I love it here, and was desperately sad at the thought of leaving. I was able to make some wonderful connections while I was there, though, and really enjoyed my time with family, so it was a blessing, though incredibly hectic and (again!) long.
In June, we were still in Florida. It was a time of reconnecting to old friends and rekindling relationships which had been neglected for too long, along with enjoying family (all the while hunting for a job!). KayKay made a "new" friend of Davy Crockett the Wildman... They were inseparable, two peas in a pod. She's writing him a letter as we speak. Such sweet memories, such innocence. I love these photos.
July was... Interesting. And good. And hard. All rolled into one. The first weeks were spent leaving my family in Florida and heading out to my sweet in-laws where the Daddy finally joined us for 10 days of vacation. Right before leaving, I conned my Mom into letting me take a portrait of her, something which I haven't done in a number of years. She's so photogenic, right? So beautiful. It's easy for me to see where my girls get their good looks from! I have some amazing ones of her with my step-Dad, too, but no time for those today. Maybe later. Then of course, the Ladybug had to strut around in my heels for a while, only to get all pouty when I wanted to take a picture of her in them. Still super cute, though. The light is awful in that one of the Ladybug, though, because it was dark as pitch. I've lighten it up as much as possible, but I wish I could have gotten a better-lit shot. Oh, well. We didn't take any photos at my in-laws, unfortunately for you. We were having too much fun! :O)
August was a month of changes... Wow. We got home and settled just at the end of July, and before I could blink, it was nearly time for school to start! KayKay's second grade had not gone so well for us. There were some very unhappy influences making their way into our home, and I did not want a repeat performance during third grade. And the Ladybug was supposed to start Pre-K, but the turned her down for our school because - get this - she's too smart! Ha! SO... Ten days before school was to start, we decided to homeschool. WOW. Talk about a change. And I was COMPLETELY unprepared. I had no idea how much STUFF was out there for homeschoolers. Although I started KayKay's schooling right away from a mish-mash of stuff I had, it took a good month of research to figure out which end was up. Wow.
In the midst of all of that, my darling friends, the Great Brit Kayleigh and Miss Australia herself, Emily, dropped in for a visit! It was SO good to see them. I simply must get across both the ponds to visit sometime soon! And then, a few days after they left, Miss Amber asked me to be her second for a wedding shoot! It was such a beautiful wedding, and I had a blast. Nick and Ellie were so very much in love. I love the shot above because it's SO totally romantic, and very evocative of who they are as a couple. I wish them all the best.
September has been NUTS. We started it out with a bang! KayKay's birthday number EIGHT (AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! NOOOOO!!! My baby!!!) was at the end of August, but Mommy being completely unprepared pushed the party off until the beginning of September. We had a rootin', tootin' good time at her cowgirl party. It was a blast. And we had a rainbow cake. Oh my. You should have heard the Ooooooh's it got. I'm quite proud. :O)
Much of this month has been rough for homeschooling, but I feel like we are finally settling into a good rhythm. KayKay has had some resentment about being pulled out of school, but I can tell she is starting to really appreciate the freedom she has here at home, and she's not being held back by teachers who teach to the lowest common denominator (this was another issue in her school). There were some fits and starts in the curriculum department, too, but I am confident that what we are doing now is good for ALL of us where we are at. The Ladybug is also working hard at her letters and numbers, although I have to remember not to push her too hard, because learning is supposed to be fun, not a chore. And the same for KayKay, but she tends to whine a lot about things that aren't really challenging to her at all, she simply doesn't want to do them... So I have a little less patience. :O)
But we've been exploring lots of fun things. Sidewalk chalk multiplication and counting, poems and letter writing, sand sculpture and map-making, and even dress-up geography (which I need to to again, there have been multiple requests... :O). It's going well. Today was amazing. I haven't had such a smooth day with both girls in AGES. KayKay has had some attitude and obedience issues and they started up again this morning, but I stopped her and prayed for her, and after that, everything was GREAT. I also started asking her to "choose obedience." I think that has helped, too. Yay! I'm so thrilled.
I also decided (with some prompting) to start my own baking business. I have developed an organic, low-carb and gluten-free baking mix that the girls have helped me sell at the local farmer's markets. We three are The Flour Girls, and our blog can be found here. I have posted some recipes and ideas for the mix on there. So far, so good. The hardest part has been getting ready and making sure I have ENOUGH of everything. Yikes. But I'm going to keep at it!
This, here, now. My children, my home. The work that my hands find to do. This is my JOB. And I am so thankful for it. I need nothing else. I am blessed.
So there you have it. The year in a nutshell. Wow, sometimes I wonder if I had a hard hit to the head when I was a baby or something. It has been a wild ride!