Why the Tree of Life?


Uncle Beazley and Beethoven's Wig

We just finished reading The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth. It was such a good read on so many levels. I highly recommend it for the six and over crowd. Kirven loved it. He laughed out loud, was on the edge of his seat at the end and had a hard time letting us put the book down.

Also, thanks to Hannah at A Quiet Spot for her recommendation of Beethoven's Wig. We checked the first one out at the library, and the boys spent the next few days with the cd player on repeat. We now own the first three (of four) in the series, and the boys know most of the words. On the way home from the pediatician, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 started playing on the radio, and Dunagan shouted from the back, 'Hey, that's Franz Liszt!' My teacher-heart went pitter patter.

Ayla's Walking

Yep, that's right, folks. Ayla's walking at 8 1/2 months. I don't have any video proof at the moment, so you're just going to have to trust me on this, but she's taking about 10 steps before she falls.

If you click on the picture above, you can see the beating she's giving herself as she's learning how to do this new skill. As Grandpa said after seeing her over Christmas, 'She's just a fall waiting to happen, isn't she?'

And totally unrelated, I don't know if you can see it, but her hair sticks up off the sides of her head. She looks like she has wings. When I wash her hair, it sticks straight out all over her head as if I had rubbed it all over with a balloon. If you hold her up in the air, you can tell way the wind is blowing. She's very handy to have around in that respect.

Winter Nature Table

All cleared off and ready for new nature finds!

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Long Night Lanterns

We made Lanterns for the Winter Solstice. We tended to call it the 'Longest Night' rather than the Solstice, as we were discussing the lanterns. We also read an Enki story called "Festivals of Light" for a couple days before our Lantern Walk on the solstice.

The boys painted tracing paper with diluted red, yellow and blue food coloring. It came out very pretty.

We taped the paper to jars, and Daddy made a heavy-gauge wire & duct tape handle. Yay, duct tape. Good for everything. We used two old White Mountain Yogurt jars--- they were perfect.

On the Longest Night, we lit the boys' candles (3 tea lights each), as I told them something to the effect of:

Tonight is a special night. Tonight is the longest night of the year. For half the year, day by day, the world slowly gets darker as the nights get longer. But tonight that ends and the wheel turns back, and the days start to get longer again.

The darkness is never complete. A spark is always waiting.

Then the boys headed out with Dad, Aunt Hillary (and her dog Oliver) for what turned out to be a very blustery and cold (too cold for Ayla) walk around the block.

Enki 1st Grade

I ordered Enki 1st Grade at the end of November, and it came before Christmas... all 7 binders, 2 spirals and 7 cds/dvds of it. Whew. It's a lot to get through. We still have several months of kindergarten to go, but I knew it would take me that long to read through the new material and digest it. For the moment, it is sitting in the back of my closet, waiting until after the New Year.


Window Stars

We made Window Stars before Christmas out of colored paper. It was a little thicker than tracing paper, but still very translucent; it was very much like colored wax paper. I did the cutting, Kirven did all the folding and much of the glueing.

Dunagan was keeper of the 'kites' (aka the folded points). No man (or mommy) shall obtain a kite without first asking the permission of said, Keeper of the Kites, and then he may or may not dole out the requested color. No complaining! And be thankful for what he does give you.

They're pretty in a sunny window.


Cranberries and Popcorn

Much of last week was spent threading cranberries and popcorn for our tiny tree. Dunagan threaded a few pieces, but found it challenging to hold the popcorn delicately, yet firmly. He preferred moving it down the thread for us, or eating it when we weren't looking.

Kirven and I worked on it together periodically throughout the days, and it was really quite nice to sit there working companionably on a craft together.

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Airplane Museum

My parents took the boys separately to the airplane museums in the Dallas area. The best one was the one at Love Field.

Dunagan was in heaven with all the planes, but my mother really noticed a change in Kirven's curiosity level. He was wanting to read all the signs and was asking lots of questions. Dunagan was happy to climb and see and do.

I only have pictures from Dunagan's trip with Mamma and Grandad, so none of Kirven's trip. Will have to get those from Grandad...

If you're ever in Dallas, the Love Field Frontiers of Flight museum was worth the trip!



...with Grandad


Leaf Crown

We spent a little bit of the late afternoon in the sandbox. Ayla ate leaves and sand for awhile until I couldn't take it anymore and took her inside.

She had a blast. Diaper changes should be fun tomorrow.

Leaf Crowns were our scheduled craft for the day, but I was the only one who made one, and Kirven was the only one who was interested in wearing one. He liked his so much that he wore it inside for a while and even put it back on after his shower.

Just a good picture of Dunagan. He's intently watching the neighbor rev his motorcycle.


The boys saw a marionette puppet show of Jack and the Beanstalk while we were in Waxahachie, and they loved it. I thought it would be a simple thing to choose Jack and the Sass Patch, a version of Jack and the Beanstalk, as our Enki story for this week, but for some inexplicable reason, Kirven was afraid of the story during the first reading, and absolutely refused to listen to it this morning.

But, also interestingly, he was very interested in putting on his own puppet show of Jack and the Beanstalk. So, I'm going with that. We made puppets all afternoon, and the boys practiced a little bit. Dunagan is planning on selling popcorn, and Kirven was even musing about who else we could invite besides Daddy.

I still don't know why he's afraid of the story, and of course, he can't articulate it to me. I'm planning on reading Little Red-Cap (Little Red Riding Hood) next week, but I'm not at all certain if we'll make it through or not. We may have to go back to strictly folk tales for awhile. But he's close. He would have found the puppet show terrifying not that long ago.


Jupiter & Venus

...but just the moon in the end. Jupiter and Venus were out tonight, right next to the moon and really bright and beautiful. I had noticed them last night, not knowing what they were, but then heard about them again on the radio today. I was excited to hear that they would be out again this evening. Teaching Moment!

The boys, Ayla and I headed out with our telescope to get a better look about 7pm, but it was impossible to sight anything with both boys dying to touch and adjust and with a squirmy Ayla in my arms. I tried putting her in the bucket swing hanging from the tree, but she was not cool with that. Too dark and weird, and what the heck are we doing out here instead of nursing in my rocking chair? Because, helllllllooooo, it's bedtime!

So, we headed back inside to wait for Daddy. By the time Daddy made it home, I had gotten Ayla to sleep, and the cresent moon was still there, but the planets had set. While Daddy ate dinner, the boys and I headed back outside. Kirven and I fiddled with the telescope and finally found the moon, while Dunagan bicycled around the porch with a flashlight looking for 'critters'. The moon was just a fuzzy, glowing sliver, and I declared the telescope junk since we couldn't even see the blasted moon with it, for crying out loud.

Kirven and I hauled it back inside, promising each other that we would get a better telescope. Daddy gently reminded us that we needed to focus as well as sight. So, back out we went, with Dad, so that he could do it. After much here, try this and it works better if you do this and stop, don't touch and deep sighing and focused breathing, Daddy finally found the moon for us! And it had craters! And, as far as I am aware, Dunagan did not find any critters.


Kirven's Zoo Trip

Grammy and Grandpa took Kirven for a day at the zoo as well.

Rhino enjoying a pumpkin

Grammy & Kirven


Dunagan's Zoo Trip

Grammy and Grandpa took Dunagan to the zoo while we were in Waxahachie.

He spent the whole day visiting all the exhibits and rode the merry-go-round and the train twice. He got to eat at Burger King and got a little light up, plastic kitty with his kids' meal that has become a prized possession.

As I understand it, Dunagan had only one request, and that was to see the rattlesnake. Reptiles, and fierce animals in general, have become a source of interest for him lately. He even asked for a frog for Christmas, preferably one of the colorful ones (are they poisonous?), I'm assuming, from the exotic pets store.

But see, it all starts with a frog, doesn't it? Then it will be a little grass snake... maybe a corn snake... and then it will be a constrictor. Something that can sneak out of its cage and kill us in our sleep. Grammy knows what I'm talking about! And I want no encouragement from Uncle Taylor, DVM.

But I digress. Really, I think I can get over the fear factor and be a good homeschooling mommy... but, the smell. The smell will be a little more of a hurdle.

Truly, it warms my heart how much he loves animals, even the creepy kind, which he obliviously thinks mommy loves, too, and won't mind having in our house.

Here's Dunagan on the zoo train. It can't get much better than that for him: animals and machinery all in one place!



Mini Oreo cookies from the Halloween haul, eaten in the proper order.


Grandpa took the boys fishing at the farm while we were in Waxahachie. They love fishing.

Dunagan caught three fish.

Kirven caught five. They let them all go back in the tank to continue living happy, fishy lives and get bigger for next time.


Yummy Sponge

Ayla was not pleased to have to take a bath this particular time, but she loved chewing on the sponge... and woe unto ye who desire to take it away!

Waxahachie F.D.

Dunagan got a personal tour of the fire station in downtown Waxahachie while we were visiting. Grandpa took a mobile phone picture of him wearing Fireman Cooper's helmet. Dunagan was thrilled to get to wear a real helmet and was amazed at how much heavier it was than his own. He even got to sit in the driver's seat of the truck with the lights flashing.


Happy 6th Birthday, Kirven!

Kirven turned six last Friday. How is that possible?

Anyway, we opened presents Friday morning before Dad headed off to work. All the kids had colds, so we pretty much stayed inside convalescing. I had hoped that we could go do some-something activity of Kirven's choice, but he wasn't in the mood to do anything but lie on the couch. He didn't even want to go to Chick Fil-A for lunch.

We gave Kirven his first watch. He was very shy about it all day. He didn't want to put it on when he opened it, but I saw him looking at it and holding it this way and that throughout the day. By dinnertime, he had experimentally put it on his wrist. He's hardly been without it ever since, and he has enjoyed declaring the time to me at random intervals (sometimes right, sometimes wrong).

'Creature' about to be wished upon. Dunagan was the primary candle placer. They almost look like flaming teeth. Though on second thought, I think that was the tail end.

We had planned to have a party with Kirven's friends Saturday afternoon, but between scheduling it so close to Thanksgiving, other friends having other obligations, and the birthday boy and siblings getting colds, we ended up canceling the friend part of the party and just going out to dinner with extended family and back home for cake and presents.

I think he had a good time, even though he wasn't feeling the best and we had to cancel his birthday party with friends. He got to spend a lot of the evening putting together an erector set with his Uncle Taylor.

Creature the Oreo Cake

Since the day after his last birthday, Kirven has been planning out what his next cake would be. He finally settled on an 'oreo cake' and this is what we came up with:

Famous Chocolate Wafers (2pkgs) and whipped cream (4 cups), refrigerated over night to make the cookies soft.

We dubbed him 'Creature', and he was delicious. Seriously, can there be an easier birthday cake?