Happy Autumn, dear family and friends! I so love this season, and am delighted that it's upon us yet again. While I'm sure we'll send out another letter around Christmas, the girls change so much every day that I wanted to send one now as well. We are enjoying the season, and have started our first semi-official little year of homeschool. We're loving the books we chose for read alouds, and all the girls love to do little projects (usually involving crayons and stickers – I'm not the most *crafty* person in the world!), play with “preschool toys” on their little carpets, and just snuggle up while we read and practice letters. Then, of course, there's the school of daily life as they learn how to keep a house, grocery shop, take care of little ones, make bread, tidy a house, remodel a bathroom, what have you!
I am officially no longer the mother of four children under four, as our eldest just had a birthday! Isabelle turned four a couple of weeks ago, and is already saying she's “almost about five”. She is no longer napping most days, so I have a little cute companion with me all day (but we still enjoy quiet time together in the afternoon). She is enjoying learning phonograms and can read pretty much any three letter, short-vowel sound word you give her. She loves the old McGuffy pictorial primer because she can read most of it to me. Her favorite “job” is unloading the dishwasher, which I greatly appreciate! She loves to have “coffee” (mostly cocoa and milk) or tea with me in the afternoon, and she loves “writing her prayers” in her journal. It's funny, she likes to write from right to left! She delights to play dress up, and twirl around pretending to be a princess (I suppose most four year old girls love this!). She also loves to hold Juliette (though Juliette is still learning to like this :-))
Hannah, delightful as ever, is two and a half. I've discovered this is one of my favorite ages – she's growing up and talking so much, but still likes to be called a little girl. She loves to “help” Juliette, which usually involves sticking a spoon in her mouth – and believe it or not she is fairly coordinated when she tries to feed her baby food. Nonetheless, I try to do the feeding myself. Hannah loves to do projects and “letters” like her big sister, read favorite books, help me with the laundry and play “eye winker, eye blinker”. She loves when daddy plays “daddy-tickle-monster” with her. I've discovered recently that she dances like me (as Matt calls it, a full-body convulsion of sorts). I'm sure this is so much cuter in a two-year old! She's such a big girl, and helps with laundry and emptying garbage (she says the garbage can job is her favorite). She and Isabelle both love learning the Catechism For Young Children in family worship, and she's so cute when she says that transgression is “doing what God forbibs”. She also loves to sing or be sung to, and is very often found requesting “Thou Be My Vision” or “Joyful, Joyful”. The funny thing is, rather than requesting a song by title, she usually says “mommy, will you sing me 'joyful, joyful we adore Thee (which she pronounces “Lee”), God of glory, Lord of Love?” or “mommy, please sing 'I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation (pronounced “inpocation”) of the same, the Three in One and One in Three.'”
Naomi is getting bigger and bigger, and we've had lots of fun playing with new braids for her pretty hair. She's still not talking much, but can carry a tune like nobody's business. She amazes me, because at 19 months, I can ask her to sit and play with the dollhouse, and she'll sit and play there till I tell her to get up. She is a big girl and tidies up her own playpen toys (after she pitches them all out!). We've been able to keep her little tummy under control better by feeding her mostly rice, yogurt, meat and cheese. These foods she does great with! And she loves her herbal minerals and juice plus to round out the nutrients till we figure this out better. She loves to dance with her sisters, be silly and goofy and snuggle. She's getting more and more snuggly as the days go by.
Juliette is just so small and cute! Honestly, she is SO cute, and smiley, and snuggly. She purrs in my ear, snuggles and hugs my neck, and smiles her happy dimples all the time. After two hefty little babies in a row, I had forgotten what it is like to have such a little tiny one, and it's great fun! She's just about crawling, and enjoys scooting about on the floor or in the playpen. She loves to snuggle -did I mention that already? She's learning what “no” means and learning to be patient for her food – at least I hope she's learning 🙂 Cloth diapers are working great with her, which is nice, and she's a pretty easy little thing as she still sleeps much of the day. God was very kind in giving us such a sweet and mellow little daughter for this busy season. She is a delight!
Matt is working faithfully on our bathroom, and as the weather cools down I get more and more excited for that clawfoot tub! He recently got to attend an interview and interrogation school he's been wanting to go to, and he learned so much from it that will greatly help him at work. His big news is that he was recently accepted as a student at Whitefield collge, a reformed Christian college with online distance learning. Thus begins his journey toward a bachelor's, and hopefully Greyfriar's Hall after that. I'm so proud of him, and hoping to help him make time for studies. He is, of course, adorable with the girls – I love watching him play “daddy-tickle-monster” and snuggle and sing to the girls!
I'm picking away steadily at my never-ending pile of books to read. I'm reading a couple of homeschool books right now (one on classical education and the trivium, and one about Charlotte Mason's educational writings). I've recently purchased a pattern for a matching Sense and Sensibility style dress for me and the girls. It's nothing all that modern, but as much as I love a good comfy pair of jeans, it's sometimes fun to dress up, too! I'm hoping to learn to acutally follow a pattern, but we'll see if it works. I'm determined to start exercising to stay strong and energetic and better take care of Matt and the munchkins. I'm swimming at the local indoor pool, and I'm very excited to start Irish Step Dance next week! I'm still having fun writing our adventures on our blog (http://homeschoolblogger.com/twaddlemenot) and posting lots of pictures, too. It's my little family photojournalism project, I suppose. I'm still dreaming of the day when we can adopt again . . . maybe from India this time . . . in a few years, anyway!
Well, I think this letter must end now, as all my pajama-clad munchkins are waking up, and we have to clean the house today! I hope and pray all is well with you, and we'd love to hear all that is new in your lives.
Melissa, for all of us
Matt, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi and Juliette
Hannah helping put the groceries/baby food away.
Isabelle in the skirt Aunt Jenny gave her years ago, and now it fits!
The girls were pretty excited daddy was home after his week at school.
Big girl Belle
Birthday dress and pinafore for Isabelle – Grandma Anna made the pinafore.
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