I have heard a lot of chatter this August about how it is one of the hardest and most stressful months, with chaos levels equalling that of May and December. I must not be on the same path as August’s many adversaries, because our month was blessedly calm. In the last few weeks, we said farewell to summer rhythms and eased into the start of our school year, giving us some good time to solidify our school routines before our other fall activities get underway. I know that a busy few months lie ahead, so I savored these easier days (if not the brutal heat).
|| READING LATELY ||
I accidentally read three family stories this month: this was a disappointment, as was this, but I adored this novel that I just can’t stop thinking about. I also really loved this story of a quirky bachelor, my favorite so far from Anne Tyler. As for family read-alouds it was a delight to introduce this lifetime favorite to my kids (who loved it!). We also liked this classic, though not nearly as much.
I learned quite a bit of history this month: this was insightful and thought-provoking, this was far too gossipy for my taste, and the subject matter of this was interesting but the book itself didn’t quite hold my attention. In other nonfiction, I really liked hhis essay collection (though not as much as the author’s last book).
|| LISTENING LATELY ||
A few podcast episodes that entertained, informed, or inspired me this month.
|| LOVING LATELY ||
After a summer of sleeping a little later, I was worried that it would be tough to get back to waking up at 5:00 once we began our school year. On the contrary, I’ve loved getting up and have even been jumping out of bed before my alarm every morning so that I have plenty of quiet time before the kids are up. After a couple of weeks, I’ve fine-tuned my morning routine: after getting dressed, I do some light exercises (lunges, push ups, crunches, squats) while listening to the day’s readings for my Bible in the Year reading plan on Dwell. Then I spend about half an hour digging into the Word through the BSF curriculum I’ve been working through this year. I end that time writing in my prayer journal, then I leash up Arlo and we go for a brisk fifteen-minute walk around the block. Using this walk as my prayer time keeps me focused as I pray, and it’s nice to get outside and get Arlo some exercise. I love how productive I feel with this new routine, having exercised my body, mind, and soul before the kids are even out of bed. I also love that it is entirely screen-free (minus pressing play on the Bible reading). It’s exactly how I want to begin my day, regardless of what is ahead.
|| MONTHLY KID-ISMS ||
+ On the first day of school: “Mom, you can be like a show-off mom: my twins started third grade at three years old!”
+ During a speech evaluation, when asked to identify a picture of a door: “That’s a house.” Speech therapist: “Yes, and what do you do if you want to go into the house?” Sully: “You go and press the ding-dong.”
+ Discussing our purpose after watching a Biblical worldview video: “My purpose is to hold people’s ears.”
+ “Look at the cracks on the wall.” Me: “Oh, you noticed some cracks?” Sully: “What, my nose has some cracks?”
+ Me: “Why are you so cute?” Sully: “I don’t know, I guess that’s just the way God made me.”
+ “Why did that car honk at you? Is it because they want to be your friend?”
+ “I think I need to eat some cake right now, because my tummy is really frustrated.”
+ Overheard talking in bed with Sully: “I’m not scared of the dark because dark is my favorite. It makes me not awake.”
+ “You get a ticket when you do something bad?” Me: “Yes, when you are not driving well on the road you can get a ticket.” Kali, sounding worried: “So . . . will the police come to our house and give us tickets if we do something bad?”
+ “Mom, don’t fold my paper or else I won’t be happy and you won’t get a crown for Mother’s Day.”
+ “You remember that place with the chairs that are super soft and there was a big tv and they turned the lights off? I want to go there.” (Referring, of course, to the movie theater.)
+ After overhearing someone asking if we were doing gymnastics “at the Y again.” Kali: “So we are going to gymnastics in the wagon?”
|| HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS ||
Charleston’s fourth and final day camp of the summer was a LEGO camp. How fun is that?! During each day of the Ninja-themed camp, he learned about Japanese culture, played games, and built LEGO structures alongside other LEGO-loving kids. It was the perfect cap to his very full summer adventures.
August 7 was our first day back to “school.” We’ve been keeping closely to our plans, and everything is going even better than I had hoped! Charleston was actually excited to start back up after taking the summer off and we both are loving the curriculum we’re using this year. And having the twins join us for a larger portion of our day has been amazing! The three kids love being a little class together and it’s fun to see me working together and learning from one another. School with three is much more challenging, but more rewarding too.
Charleston has been interested in baseball lately, so Luke took him to his first game. He was especially excited to come home with his own ball!
And one more Charleston update: this month, he and Luke began their first year in Trail Life, a Christian alternative to Boy Scouts. They are both having a great time at their weekly meetings and Charleston is eager to begin earning badges and excitedly anticipating his first monthly camping trip. I’m thrilled to have learned about this organization that is an answer to prayer in so many ways. Plus, how cute is his uniform?!
|| ICYMI: AUGUST ON THE BLOG ||
LIFE & FAITH:
Parents: We aren’t doing enough. (But that’s okay!) “Our kids are not recipes, and we can’t guarantee how they will turn out. All of homeschooling (and all of parenting) is an act of faith: we can invest in our kids to the best of our ability, but ultimately we must trust God with the outcome.”
Homeschooling, Year Four: Our Plans for Third Grade “As the principal/teacher/curriculum coordinator of our family’s school, I’m always interested in what resources other families are using and how they structure their days, so I know that posts like these are helpful (or at the very least interesting) for other homeschoolers to read. Much to my surprise, I have been told by many non-homeschoolers how much they also enjoy this annual glimpse into how our family spends our days, and I’m happy to share!”
28 Perks of Life in 2023 “In focusing on the downward trends, I can forget to acknowledge all that is great about living in the Year of Our Lord 2023 … there are countless luxuries I enjoy daily that would not have been imaginable one hundred or fifty or even ten years ago.”
Discerning Love (August Verse—Philippians 1:9-11) “St. Augustine taught that we are most fundamentally shaped by what we love. Augustine also observed that the heart’s loves have an order to them, and that these loves often become disordered as we love lesser things more than the important things. This disordered love leads to disordered and unhappy lives as we give too much time, attention, and resources to the wrong things while neglecting all that truly matters.”
T-E-N Years—“In the last ten years I have pressed Publish on 1,591 blog posts. Which is at least a thousand more than I ever imagined publishing when I wrote my first post ten years ago.”
Faithful 08.23—My Three-Word Testimony “I could have come up with words that were more clever or memorable, but they would not have been true to my testimony. My faith journey is not unlike the words themselves: ordinary, occasionally inconsistent, but still mine.“
“God does some of His best work in the dark. Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean He doesn’t have victory in store when the lights come on.” – Tara-Leigh Cobble
“Why is it that we look upon our salvation as a moment that began our religious life instead of the daily life we receive from God?” ~ Dallas Willard
“The first step in conforming our intellect to God’s truth is to die to our vanity, pride, and craving for respect from colleagues and the public. We must let go of the worldly motivations that drive us, praying to be motivated solely by a genuine desire to submit our minds to God’s Word – and then to use that knowledge in service to others.” ~ Nancy Pearcey
How was your August: calm, crazy, or somewhere in between? (I won’t even ask about your weather, because I know it’s a touchy subject and we ALL are eager for some relief soon!)