Saturday, March 20, 2010

Homegrown Sunshine Is Moving

It is official. This is my last post for this blog (sniff sniff). I have created a new blog at I hope you all will follow me there. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


“A kind word is like a spring day.”
—Russian Proverb

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Kind of Insect Would You Be?

During lunch today, I asked the kids if they could choose any insect they would like to be for a day, what would they be?

(word for word)

Brayden's response: Mommy, I would be a ladybug 'cause they have wings and they can fly high in the sky.

Kalen: I think I would be a bumblebee 'cause they have those hard stingers and they protect themselves that way. And 'cause they have these wonderful stripes, they are so cool. Oh and they have these antennas.

Maddie: I would be a butterfly, because they can fly. I like the way they look and how they flap their wings.

Julian: Definitely a dragonfly, because they are the fastest bug and they can fly.

We have been studying insects within our science lessons. The other day at the library Kalen suggested that we study bugs. We loaded up on library books on this topic. Ah, the joy and freedom of homeschooling. I looked on the web and found this site. I have been winging it (no pun intended) and the kids have really been digging it (okay that was intended). However, today is not our day to actually do science (I had no lesson planned), but I thought this conversation starter might be fun.

Do you all have fun ideas for conversation starters during meals? I would love to hear.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Camping at Hunting Island

Last weekend we had the privilege of meeting up with our friends, the Kruideniers, and heading to Hunting Island, SC. They had camped there before and suggested we all go when the guys could break from their school responsibilities. We went to the mountains last summer and had a blast. We knew we were in for a treat this go around.

We had wonderful weather at Hunting Island. Sure, it was cold at times, but the sun was out during the day. The beach was simply gorgeous. We had easy access to the beach from our campsites (we had two right beside each other). This state park has a lot to offer; we enjoyed nature trails, a lighthouse (with 166 steps to the top that we climbed), a marsh boardwalk, and a nature center. There has been a lot of erosion, but I found the aftermath of that to be beautiful. There are tons of amazing bare trees lying on a naked beach. They looked like pieces of art. They were great natural climbing structures for our crew.

If you asked any of our kids about our camping trip, they would mention the raccoons. There were several raccoons that go from campsite to campsite in search of food and such. You can see them. The kids even named the ones that seemed to frequent our site. They are used to people, I guess. Our fellow campers beside our tents had to rescue one of my canvas bags of food and my tupperware of muffins. They came in brood daylight, those rascals!

Our time with the Kruideniers around the campfire was just priceless, from the huddling around the fire with sticks to looking at one another with sleepy faces each morning. We enjoyed so much conversation, laughs, great beach walks, and super vegan camp food. Daniel even made pancakes for our final breakfast. Our kids love to hang out with their girls. Daniel, Jen, Ellen, and Arianna are such troopers to want to go on this adventure with all of us. I am so thankful for our close friendship with them.

So, a definite thumbs up from me for camping at Hunting Island State Park. We had a really good time. I forgot how much work it takes to actually camp out, especially with small children, but it is so worth it!

Oh, and do any of you know how to get campfire smoke smell out of hair? :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keeping Our Options Open

A few months ago we stumbled upon a really unique school in downtown Durham. It is a free year around public charter elementary school (K-5). We know several interesting families that have their children enrolled there. Scott and I decided that if we are indeed responsible for our kids' education, we might as well find out about a school that appeals to us. Scott and I are not the type of homeschooling parents that think that homeschooling is the only way to go. I think it would be way too restrictive to assume that homeschooling is the only way our children could or should thrive or be educated. My preference is to have them home. However, I think it is important that Scott and I keep our options open and not close a door to an opportunity that could be both refreshing and a good experience for our children.

Our family went out one morning to visit this sweet little school. We had contacted the school and signed up for one of their tours. Evidently, they do tours fairly often. The students that attend school there were all in there appropriate rooms at that time. We joined a group of about twenty parents and strolled through the halls as a parent gave us a guided tour within the building. My first impression was that the classrooms and the school building itself is cozy. I am not saying that I felt overly cramped. I am truly saying that it felt cozy to be there. Our kids peered in the classrooms just as we did, their eyes wide with curiosity. We even went outside to the playground. Of course, our kids thought the playground was fabulous. I enjoyed hearing about how the school is very project based. I saw evidence on the walls and within the classroom of that. The tour concluded and then there was little discussion period. We walked our children outside with enrollment applications in hand and an open mind.

The school has a lottery system for enrollment. Scott and I decided to go ahead and fill out the paperwork and enter the lottery and see what happened. This past Monday was the actual lottery. We were notified that Julian, Madelyn and Kalen are now on the waiting list at the very top (1-6). I guess that is pretty good for this sort of thing.

Right now we are thankful to have learned about this sweet school. I feel good about entering them into the lottery and allowing ourselves the option should they get accepted. It is good to have options. I don't want our children to ever think that we have boxed them in at home and not considered other opportunities and such. I want them to see Scott and I actively seeking out what is a good fit for each of them and our family as a whole.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy To Report

Scott turned in his comprehensive exam. Whew! That was 6 weeks of intense research and writing. We are so proud of him. Last night we fixed him one of his favorite dinners, put streamers, banners and signs up and spent some quality time with our hero.

He (we) will wait up to six weeks for his exam to be graded. In the meantime, he has student teachers that he advises, assists a class taught within the education program at UNC and will begin brainstorming for his dissertation proposal. Oh yes and he has five presentations tomorrow in Greensboro. He is such an important and busy guy.

As I have mentioned before, Scott wears all of his hats extremely well. I am so thankful for him, so proud.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Considering A Switch

Blogger is telling me that I have met my limit of pictures for this blog. Didn't know this was possible. In order to continue uploading photos, I would have to pay for space. I am not going to choose that option, so I am considering creating a new blog and have a link on it to this one. It kind of bums me out a bit. Until I make the switch, I will just be writing with no pictures. I am such a visual person, so this is disappointing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This Day

The following song lyrics came to my mind today. It is an older song by Point of Grace. (Scott will be cracking up over the mention of Point of Grace) I use to listen to this group a lot in college. It is a song that I remember singing over and over.

This morning I got a call from my mom before 8 am. So, I knew as soon as I saw her name on my phone that something was possibly wrong. She informed me that my great aunt had passed last night. I knew Beulah had been sick, even recently broke her hip. It was pneumonia that took the last bit of strength she had. My breath was taken as I took in this news. What an amazingly strong woman. What a powerful and capable individual. I have such fond memories of summers spent in her and my grandma's company.

Sadness lingers as I go room to room with our children continuing in another day's work. Life here goes on. I know my grandma and mom are super sad and I would give anything just to sit with them right now. My aunt is at peace now, that is what I keep telling myself.

I moseyed over to my computer and found a friend's post announcing that she is expecting her fifth child. I have heard it said that when a life ends a new life begins, this is true and there is such hope in that.

This Day
Words & music by lowell alexander

This day is fragile - soon it will end
And once it has vanished, it will not come again
So let us love with a love pure and strong
Before this day is gone

This day is fleeting when it slips away
Not all our money can buy back this day
So let us pray that we might be a friend
Before this day is gone

This day is fleeting
When it slips away
Not all our money can buy back this day
So let us pray that we might be a friend
Before this day is spent

This day we're given is golden
Let us show love
This day is ours for one moment
Let us sow love

This day is frail - it will pass by
So before it's too late to recapture the time
Let us share love, let us share God
Before this day is gone
Before this day is gone

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thoughts on Love and Recent Reading

Don't tell the old Anna, but I love reading. Over the past year, I have been reading novels for the first time. For the past 15 years, I have been reading self-help books on single life, faith, marriage, motherhood and parenting. I have picked up a number of novels at used bookstores in our area. Most of the novels have been written in the past ten years. I have been drawn to authors like Bret Lot, Anna Quindlen, and Kim Edwards. The book I am reading now is entitled The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve. It was published in 1998. 120 pages in and I am hooked. Kathryn, a pilot's wife, gets that knock at the door one night. The kind that changes her forever. Her husband's plane crashed. The plot is full of emotion as Shreve presents a character that learns to live with this devastation. Within this story Shreve allows the reader to go into Kathryn's memory of her life with her husband. I want to share several lines from a chapter I was reading yesterday. Kathryn was remembering a fight she had had with her husband. Basically, Kathryn had confronted Jack, her husband, about his behavior at home. He had appeared disinterested and disconnected. They fought and made up and this what was written about the short time that followed.

And the voracious momentum of that night changes, for a time, the tenor of their marriage, so that they look more often into each other's eyes as they pass in the hallway, trying mutely to say something meaningful, and kiss each other with more enthusiasm whenever they meet, in the house or outside by the cars or even , several times, in public, which pleases Kathryn. But after a while, that too passes, and she and Jack go back to normal, as they have been before, which is to say that they, like all the other couples Kathryn has ever known, live in a state of gentle decline, of being infinitesimally, but not agonizingly, less than they were the day before.
Which means, on the whole, she thinks, that it is a good marriage.

I love the language used, but what is being said here troubles me. I can understand what Shreve is trying to allow the reader to know about Kathryn and her thoughts on her own marriage. It touches me. It touches me in a way that makes me never want to line those thoughts up in my mind about my own marriage.

I desire a marriage that strengthens over time. I want to grow more in love versus living in a state of gentle decline. Love takes time, patience, persistence and work. The love that Scott and I share is sacred. It is not always perfect. It can be down right messy. However, we are very determined and enjoy each other very much. Is it uncomfortable sometimes when we argue, fuss or fight? Yes, of course. No one likes to have to deal with the messiness of marriage. But it is there and we have found that you have to push through and choose love. Marriage takes work.

As I read about what Shreve wrote about Jack and Kathryn's attempt to love one another with more enthusiasm just after they made up, I get that. There are times that I feel like I love with more enthusiasm than other times. When I come down off of that enthusiasm, what is it that makes me choose to love authentically instead of give up and just settle for less than what I want? Words like devotion, attraction, faith, servant hood, hopefulness, thankfulness, unconditional, comfort, need, and desire come to mind.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. America's day to be lovey dovey. I think it is cute. I do eat up any special attention or affection I get. As the word love is thrown around all day tomorrow, what I want is to keep pursuing love and be loved with assurance and delight.

I love being married. Sharing my life with my best friend is really enjoyable. I love Scott. Our life together is better than I could have dreamed up. I am so thankful. I don't want to stop here, I want to grow and enhance the love we share. There's work to be done! I am so thankful for the gift of marriage.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seed Starting

This past week we started some seeds indoors. We tried this last winter and didn't do so well. With the help of the Kruideniers (our friends in SC) Organic Gardening, and we have put a lot more thought into this process and taken a chance with several flowers and vegetables.

I am happy to report that days later, we have sprouts. :) We are crossing our fingers that we will be able to transplant lettuce, cabbage, marigolds, kale, and collards in mid-March. These are all plants that would be more tolerate to cooler temperatures. In March we will also be planting other vegetable seeds straight into the ground. Vegetables like sugar snap peas, turnips, chard, kale, lettuce varieties, and some sweet pea flowers.

As soon as our ground dries up a little more here, we are heading back to Carefree Ranch. This is where we go with buckets and shovel up horse manure to bring home for our garden. The manure enriches the soil. I am sure I will post about that again.