7 Things Making Me Happy Lately

1. Kids Who Love Playing in the Rain.

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2. Reading Through “My Book House” with James.

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3. Autumn Breezes Through the Kitchen Window Whilst Making Dinner (and Kids Who Love Their Sugary Vitamins).

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4. Alice’s Smiles. They’re the Best.

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5. Nature Walks with the Whole Family (and James Saying, “Happy Anniversary!” Ten Times That Day).

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6. Sheets Dried in the Sun (and Kids Who Love to Eat Outside Thus Sparing the Dining Room Floor from Excessive Messes).

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7. The Thrills of Childhood.

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Generosity

Today I’d started making dinner when James walked in from outside, a question on his mind. “Mom, do you think I’m old enough now to use the sprinkler that moves back and forth instead of the little one that just stands still?” I told him yes, that I thought he was old enough and would really enjoy it, too. Seeing as the weather was beautiful, he asked if we could set up the sprinkler right then and there.

At first I said no. James’s shoulders slumped and he looked so disappointed. And I thought, I’m only saying no because of the personal inconvenience. Setting up the sprinkler for the kids meant I’d be out there with them making sure June wasn’t dashing through the carport onto the road. But really, the veggies were already in the oven and there was another 25 minutes to go before they were ready . . .

I read a blog post at the beginning of the year on having a Word of the Year. At first I dismissed the idea as being far too dorky; but then the blogger went on to say that her word for the year was going to be Generosity. She wanted to say ‘yes’ to her children more often than ‘no’ when they came to her with requests for games and play. I’ve thought about that a lot this past year, and while I certainly haven’t said yes as often as I might’ve, I changed my mind and said it today – and, oh, we had such fun.

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Alice, 2 months

This past Wednesday Jeremy and I had a hot date; yep, you guessed it – we attended Classis together for Steve and Randall’s exams. We took Alice along, and she was just the sweetest little peanut. She nursed quietly and then laid on my lap smiling smile after beaming smile as Randall preached a wonderful sermon about our heavenly inheritance. (What a great thing to be happy about!) And when it was time for her nap, I tucked her in her carseat and rocked her back and forth for a few minutes and she dozed off.

Honestly, she’s the sweetest, easiest, most content little baby ever! Here are a few photos of our little darling from the past week . . .

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Quick Lit // September 2015

lizzyLizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay ★★☆☆☆
Summary: Fancy food chef Lizzy moves from New York to Portland to help out her sister Jane who is going through chemo. And by “help out” I mean she prepares food for her sister who, seeing as she’s going through chemo is not really interested in eating. Yep, that’s about how well Lizzy listens to Jane’s concerns.

My thoughts: I had high expectations after quite enjoying Reay’s last novel, Dear Mr. Knightley; but Lizzy and Jane was disappointing. Lizzy is a pretty unlikeable protagonist because she’s incredibly and annoyingly self-absorbed. I wanted to just shake her for most of the novel. Lizzy, are you really going to sulk for days because Jane didn’t eat the food you prepared? Even though she clearly just had chemo? And can’t help getting nauseous? I think someone needs to shout in your ear that NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU! And another thing that made me wonder about Lizzy is that she prepared food for people based on the sort of books they enjoy. Which sounds kinda cool until you realize that she’s making meat pies for her sister who’s a Jane Austen aficionada. I love Victorian novels as much as Jane, but there is no way I’m eating mutton. Aside from that, about all I can say is that the book was a very easy read and there were a few cute moments.

Recommended: if you’re in the mood to huff or shout aloud at a character or want to read a fluffy book about cancer.


daddy-long-legsDaddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster ★★★☆☆
Summary: Jerusha, spunky orphan, is noticed by an orphanage trustee and is sent to college to develop her writing skills. The only stipulation? That she write him letters. And so this epistolary novel is born.

My thoughts: a short, fun, fresh novel. Jerusha is infectiously lively and cheerful; I brightened up just reading the book. I definitely disagreed with her, though, when it came to her thoughts on God, church and faith. And yet – it’s fascinating to me that the characters actually do attend or skip church and discuss the ins and outs of church life. That’s something that’s missing from many contemporary novels. Take, for example, Lizzy and Jane. The title characters both believe in God and share some “we’re not given more than we can handle” type conversations, but church clearly is not a part of their regular lives. Something to chew on  . . .

Recommended: for anyone looking for a quick and absorbing read.

I’m linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit today; you can check that out if you’re interested in more book reviews.

Vacation and Visiting

Earlier this week, Jeremy took James to a lovely little lake-side campsite for three days for a father-son camping trip. James was totally excited about it and the swimming, playing and rounds of UNO lived up to his expectations.

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I was pretty excited about having some quiet time at home with the girls, and it turned out to be both refreshing and productive. Okay, so maybe not the first day during which my eyes began to glaze over as I compared and contrasted reading curriculum. But after that, it was lovely!

June relished being able to hold Alice whenever she pleased instead of having to compete with James for that joy.

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While They Were Camping

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And shortly after Jeremy and James returned home, our out-of-town guests arrived! When Tim mentioned during one of our FaceTime chats that he and Kristi were planning to visit, I actually got the shivers! I was so excited!

It was special being able to host them here and share a few days together. Admittedly the last few days have been a little seminary-heavy! We toured CRTS, had a JOY meeting and Jeremy, Tim and Kristi attended CRTS convocation. But I think I can safely say they enjoyed seeing where Jeremy spends his days and getting a glimpse of what life is like for us in good ol’ Hammy.

It was also very special to introduce them in person to our dear little Alice! She was such a sweet little thing during their visit.

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Today we visited Niagara Falls with Tim and Kristi, but I forgot my camera in the van and the sprinkle of rain turned into a downpour as we caught our first good look of the Falls. So, this photo of June napping en route will have to do!

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Safe travels home, T&K! We loved having you stay here!

A New Blog, Hurrah!

The Upcast Eye has sadly reached the end of its short little life (may it rest in peace). It reached its max photo capacity and seeing as I’m too stingy to fork out $99/year to upgrade to more memory, I’m just going ahead with a brand new blog instead. It’s going to be an amalgamation of The Upcast Eye and Arenda Reads – but confusedly retaining the name The Upcast Eye.

Anyways, you, dear reader, can expect to read updates on life in Darlington Manor with all its quirks and joys and pains, with sundry photos sprinkled throughout the posts, as well as some quotes from my commonplace journal and thoughts on books I’ve read.

And because I’ve been thinking about the point of education lately (we’re gently easing into homeschooling this year), here’s your first quote from the venerable John Milton:

“The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection.”