and there you have it…

“first day of school” pics

It’s the first day of school for the public schools in our county. We start school all over the place, so pictures stick with the county for consistency’s sake.

So it’s time for first day of school pictures! Well, technically, it’s time for lunch…and school, since that’s when we start, but hey, pictures, blog, priorities people. It’s first day of school picture day, we started school two weeks ago, I don’t actually have to do school today. (We will do school today, don’t panic!)

This year our little classroom has a decidedly Charlotte Mason bent thanks to For the Children’s Sake, among other things. It also has a 5th grader, a 4th grader, a 1st grader and a kindergartner. All of those grades make me think, how is that possible? So just insert shock and disbelief after each grade as you read it.

From littlest to biggest.

We start with the kindergartner. She is still the easiest to photograph. Just steps right up and smiles. This was the first picture, I took more so she wouldn’t feel left out when I had to take a hundred of the rest. She is very excited to be in kindergarten this year. Isn’t she cute?


Next is our 1st grader. He is excited to add math on the computer to his schedule this year. The older two can’t understand why. He was glad this years’ pictures were better than last years. He remembers being sad (I do too), none of us could remember why. I bet I blogged about it. Oh look here it is.  I didn’t know what it was then either, but OMG they were so little! Even the big ones, how did that happen!?!?IMG_4838

Next is our 4th grader. She has a stock picture smile this year. Better than her refusing to smile, but I still hope someday to catch the real smile! She is still in third grade math for a few more weeks (we switched curriculum about 6 weeks in last year) so she doesn’t actually believe she is in 4th grade yet. But she is, cause I said so, and I’m the teacher and the principal!


Finally we have our 5th grader! Their math considers this middle school, I do not. Everyone is elementary school for one more year according to me! I don’t know that there is anything he is looking forward to about school, but he still likes it better than being away at school all day. He is a homebody, I can relate. Also he is a giant. Notice how far above that door handle he is? Next year he’ll be through the roof. IMG_4852

Here we have them all together! You can see every one’s face! They are mostly smiling! Disregard shifty and/or closed eyes, there is not sign in front of anyone’s face or a single butt to the camera. I take what I can get people. IMG_4862

I better go actually do that school thing now! So far we are still enjoying our new school year, and I want to find out what happens next in the book, it was just getting really good last week!

Happy first day to all you starting today and happy continuing for those who already started!

so fresh and so clean clean

First things first! We have the beginnings of a new blog design. Isn’t it nice? Isn’t it pretty? I’m liking it so far. Still needs some work, but it’s much improved over the *cough* 8 year old *cough cough* previous design.

Onto the challenge. I must confess, I am not done with last weeks challenge. Papers took me for a turn in the park. I thought we were going on a nice stroll to the neighborhood park and ended up in the Sequoia National Forest.


See that’s me, staring up at my giant pile of papers. No that’s not really me, it’s some dude over at At least I assume it’s him, I could be wrong, I didn’t really even read the article. But the picture is pretty awesome. And this rabbit trail has got out of hand.

This week we are onto DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs. Basically all flat round shiny things in your house. Since I own approximately 4 of our hundreds of movies, I am anticipating being able to finish last week and this week in one. Bycemaster will be manning the charge this week.

Anybody else get buried in papers? Anybody? Maybe it’s just me…Better luck with shiny things!

Go off and tidy!

pulse, papers, adoption

It’s been a week here, especially for those of us in Orlando. I switched the tidy challenge schedule up and let last week be. We spent time with each other and gave everything else a break. Many, many others have done more justice to the sentiments of my city on the Pulse shooting. I will not pretend to match those. This was one of my favorites, if you’re so inclined to read more. 

In reading account after account of survivors from tragic events all over the world, one thing seems to stand out. People who have lost greatly implore the rest of us to live fully. Appreciate what we have, who we have, and be mindful of what we do with our lives. In that spirit, I am choosing to continue on with the tidy challenge. It may seem trivial, but it is a part of opening our family up and creating space for others. I feel that is important.

So this week we move on to papers. The best I’ve been able to do with my papers in recent years was contain them to one spot.


It works right?

I feel it could still use some improvement.

Marie’s approach to papers is very limited, shocked aren’t you. She doesn’t recommend separate files. She has a small box with everything she absolutely needs, period. She says it is quicker to go through a small amount of papers to find what you need, than a large “well organized” filling system.

I see her point. I’m keeping my files. I am planning to pare down! I know the first thing that’s going to go are all the manuals, but from there who knows!

Honestly, this one is daunting. My inbox has been something I avoid even looking at.I relegated it to a closet. It elicits mountains of guilt by its very existence. I realize those are things we are trying to rid our home of. I will try again! Maybe even re-purpose the inbox so it can’t fill back up…ack…I don’t know if I can do that. I’m trying!

Small adoption update. Our home-study renewal was just approved. So we continue on. Please continue to pray for us as we wait. It is so easy to lose hope and disengage from the process. If I’m honest, that’s where I’ve been for months. I don’t want to be there anymore. We do greatly appreciate all your prayers and support in this long journey we’ve embarked on. Will let you know when we hear more. It could happen any day, it could.

Go off and live fully!

clothes clothes and lots of books

We passed our one year “in waiting” anniversary last week. Not super excited about that anniversary. Hoping to not celebrate another one. Honestly still in distraction mode. It’s easier to wait when you don’t think about the fact that you are waiting every minute of every day. Though admittedly, the distractions are becoming less and less effective. But onto the current distraction.

The tidy challenge continues! It ended up taking us two weeks to go through our clothes and pass the joy on to someone else. Which by the way is super fun, passing on joy. I’m still not entirely done with the baby clothes, but I got through the first few sizes and found a few gems along the way!

They’re just too cute!

I’ve been loving the margin in the closet and drawers in the morning. Actually liking everything in there makes it so much easier to get dressed everyday. Who knew!?

This week the challenge moves on to books. We got a bit of a head start. My two oldest were chomping at the bit yesterday. Me, not so much, sorting through books is like sorting through friends. It’s emotional and difficult, but we did it (except for a small pile of about a dozen I need to finish). Apparently I sell ideas better to my kids, they are ready to do the whole house. They want to be surrounded by things that are their favorites. I’m getting more sold as we go on.

So your mission this week is to take all your books, all of them, from everywhere, and put them in a giant pile on the floor. We choose the living room. Here’s our giant pile.

IMG_1383The object is too see how many you actually have. Mission accomplished. It didn’t look like that many on all the random bookshelves.

We all sat down in a giant circle and passed around books for hours (with breaks of course). If anyone got a book they loved, the put it in their keep pile. If they got a book they didn’t they passed it to the right and if Bycemaster or I got a book twice we put it aside to pass on. No reading, just holding and looking and if it sparks joy, it stays. This, of course, is easier said than done, but practice makes perfect!

Here’s our end results.

IMG_1390This is all our keep. Sorry it’s so blurry, but you get the idea. Today we are going to start putting away.IMG_1389These are our books to pass on. For a family of book lovers, this is a lot of books. I purge books a lot, and we’ve never passed this many on before. But it’s different when you think of what books you want to keep. Gather all your favorites first!

It’s your turn! Looking forward to hearing your book stories!

mission clothes – part 2

So Bycemaster and I went through our clothes last week, closet, coat closet and drawers. All was sorted and bagged and removed from the house (though it is in the garage, but it’s going!)

Here’s my take-aways:

  1. I had no idea there was so much guilt attached to my wardrobe. I’ve have a war on guilt. I don’t want it and I don’t need to live with it, but I had never even considered my closet a source of it. Now when I get dressed in the morning, there is no subliminal guilt rushing in to start my day. It’s fantastic.
  2. I had much more clothes than I thought. I’ve kept my wardrobe lean for years, but there was still two giant bags of stuff I took out with no issue. There are clothes left, plenty of them actually. I must admit, I was a little scared.
  3. It looks so neat and orderly. Every drawer has a little bit of wiggle room, the hangers have space between them. I could hang up all my wraps that I’d kept in the closet where I could see them. It feels lighter.
  4. I’m actually excited to do the kids’ clothes, even if it’s still daunting.

So this week is kids’ clothes. I’m planning to have them work with me, at least the older two. I’ll do the baby clothes myself. What brings joy to me is what that little angel is going to where when she gets here. She can have her own opinion when she gets older🙂

I had originally planned these for two weeks, boys’ clothes one week and the girls’ the next. But I’m thinking I should take the momentum and do them all in one week. I know some of you did the whole family last week already! But for the rest of us, is that too much for everyone? Can we get all kiddie clothes done in a week?

Do as much as you can this week and comment and let me know if we need to stretch it another week.

How did your last week go? Are you catching the excitement? Are you feeling freer yet?


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