Did you, my half-dozen dear and faithful readers, wonder if I was ever going to do this again? My kids did. My camera has been virtually abandoned since about half way through our summer vacation, since Amy has taken over as family historian. The problem is that I have to rifle though about 10,000 photos in her files to find a few to write a summary of our month here. :) I am thankful to be able to say that Amy keeps her photos organized by month, so it can't be that hard. Can it? In no particular order, here I go.
We had two birthdays. My first baby and my last baby both got older. Alison is now the age (finally -- we did not go through this when my girls were little) where she wants to wear nail polish, earrings, make-up and high heels. :) Who can blame her? These things make a girl feel pretty. But without quite a bit of discretion, these things can also make a girl looked used up. Her daddy has asked her to wait til she turns 18, and Alison has sweetly complied. Eighteen is just around the corner anyway! Pureness of heart shows in a girl's countenance and in her attitude; I am so grateful for her desire to please her daddy and the Lord.
Emily turned seven. She is learning to pull some weight around here, thanks to big sister, who is teaching her how to sort laundry, pick up after herself, and keep her room somewhat presentable. Below, the watch that "lights up", thanks to Nana and Papa, and another wonderful birthday gift, sitting with Grampy and a book.
The dentist/orthodontist's office has been kept busy with little Diamonds in the office regularly. I believe this is Elisabeth's mouth. ?? (Amy says, "Mom, you can't tell by looking in her mouth?" No.) If this is Elisabeth (must be-- Alie is missing teeth), it is just short of a miracle to see her with the isolite in her mouth, and NOT gagging. Poor kid.
There is nothing more fun than a day at the park with our friend, Mackenzie. :D That kid has more energy! Our local park has a nice fountain for cooling off on hot April/May/June/July/August/September days. The kids are soaking wet, but don't worry. They will be dry in five minutes.
Some of Alison's violin students have a date orchard. I was the blessed recipient of gallons of delicious dates! Here we are pitting them. So far we have enjoyed a batch of oatmeal date cookies and four loaves of date nut bread. So yummy! These were the high-protein variety; I am sure they included a few worms. My neighbor ate a pint of them and never knew it.
It is finally bike-riding season here again, and I love it, because it means my kids play outside more! Kids need sunshine, you know. We don't lack sunshine, but for half the year it's too much for us. Unless we are under water, of course. When you don't have a horse, you have to settle for a bike:
We resumed school. We're using a lot of ACE this year, with some other stuff thrown in. It's going okay, pretty good actually, but it's school, not really learning. That will be my homeschooling struggle til my kids are all gone. Nine weeks down this year, twenty-seven to go. Wait. This doesn't look like school work to me:
We joined 4-H! I am feeling a bit squeamish about this. For one, I am not a global citizen, or not a good one, anyway. I am not a very good team player, and not competitive. I am not into making points for our club. Second, I really don't like feeling an obligation to be as committed to 4-H as I am to our local church. But we're in it now. Elisabeth and Emily are loving leathercrafting, and Emily is going to start sewing, as well. And Amy is going to take up the 4-H digital photography project.
Had to add this one -- a rare photo of Amy!!! She generously shared her camera(!) with one of the little girls at 4-H, who was just dying to take a picture and then see it on the little camera screen. That Amy is so good with little kids. They love her. :D And she loves them!
Elisabeth is getting quite good with her Sculpey clay. After several years of begging, Emily got some for her birthday, as well; someone should have told her that you make little things with Sculpey. Her first project consumed at least a block! Oh well, says the seven-year-old mind. We can always get more. Ha. Betsy's Tiny-Dream-sized dollhouse people:
The aforementioned Mackenzie indirectly inspired us to have a family soccer game. We don't play by the rules, and we don't use the right ball or the right goals, and we don't wear the right shoes or clothing, and we play in the wind so one team is at a distinct disadvantage. But we had a very fun day together! One of the Diamond family preferred the playground, but what do you expect from a little girl? Even Mom got in on the fun here. If I am on the opposite team from my husband, I cheat. I admit it. You have to push him around and get him out of the way if you want to make any progress. :)
Amy tried her hand at portrait photography, among many other genres. Is there such a thing as a photography genre? Isn't it just amazing that a child who can't remember a single fact from her history/science/English curriculum can quote photography tips from photo-bloggers at me all day long? :) This is why we need to be unschoolers. I would feel better, at least. :) Amy has more posted more details of our activities here, here, and here.
The highlight of October was, of course, a visit from the PlainJane family! I can see how people who meet on the Internet end up married to each other. :) Jane and I met more than three years ago over a comment left at someone else's HSB blog. I commented back at Jane, we connected our girls, and that was the start of a sweet long-distance friendship. Our girls have emailed, chatted, and talked on the phone almost every week for the past two years or more. Even our husbands share avid interests in the weather and cycling. While I do complain about the desert (because that's what you do when you live in extremes), we did our best to show the Janes how wonderful it is out here in our wilderness, and we all tried really hard to convince them that they should move here. :D While Mr. Jane (lol) seemed to really enjoy the exploration potential of our desert home, I don't think he bought it. We had a wonderful time, and we miss you, Jane's family! See her blog and Amy's for the details of their visit.
In un-photographed news, Alison is now busy with eleven violin students; Amy has been keeping my sewing machine running non-stop making towels, quilts, curtains, rugs, and warm clothes for her little sisters' dollhouse people; all the girls have been busy practicing their instruments; John Garrison, the man of the house, fixed my kitchen disposal; and I... ? I'm here. Thanking God for his goodness in all kinds of situations. Feeling more contemplative lately, but not coming up with any thoughts of my own to share. The scripture is good for that, rather. :)
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. Psalm 130:3-5
Now look. Here it is, only the 30th of October. Done ahead of time!