Why the Tree of Life?


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?


Two Top Teeth

Ayla's top two teeth have broken through. She woke me up about 2am exploring her new teeth by clicking them together and grinding them until they were squeaking. She was too curious to sleep, and all I could do was lay there pleading with her to stop before she broke them and drove her mother insane. Why do these discoveries always happen in the middle of the night?!



It's been a little quiet around here on the blog because we have been in my hometown of Waxahachie, TX, since November 3rd, visiting all the grandparents. Evan stayed behind and is taking the opportunity to get a lot of work done at home. I had intended for us to keep to our routine since we aren't technically on vacation from school, and last week, I did pretty well, but this week...well, let's just say that Ayla and I are enjoying lots of naps together. I've given in and admitted that our non-vacation is actually a vacation. I've even allowed myself to read fiction (a love that is too absorbing for me to indulge in typically these days).

Both sets of grandparents have been spending lots of time with the boys, and both grandfathers seem to have made it their mission to get Ayla to be happy in their arms away from me. And they've been pretty successful, I must say, because she has been more willing this week to be away from me a little bit.

The boys are even getting some individual time with each set of grandparents as well. Dunagan went to the zoo with Evan's parents on Monday, and they've taken Kirven to the zoo today, while my parents have taken Dunagan to an airplane museum up in Addison. Dunagan also got to visit one of the firehouses in town last week, and got a personal tour of their new truck-- ah, the benefits of a small town! Both boys went fishing with Evan's parents at the farm, and Dunagan caught three fish, and Kirven caught five! Pictures to come soon, probably next week. And the boys made a birthday cake for Grandpa with Grammy yesterday, and it was even 'Baking Day'! Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

I had hoped to get a chance to take them to a local beekeeper that my mom knows (we have been reading The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive), but apparently bees are hostile as the weather gets cooler, so we'll have to save that for another visit. My parents are planning on taking Kirven up Reunion Tower (or 'the ball' as it's called) in Dallas, which is always fun since you can see for miles around. They've also thought about taking Kirven to the 911 command center (Dad's a retired city employee), but I'm not sure if it will make much sense to him or if it is too removed from something he can understand.

I'm also, believe it or not, going to let Kirven watch his first non-nature film movie tonight or tomorrow night: The Incredibles. This will actually be as much of a big step for him as it is for me because he would have found something like this way too scary only a month or so ago. So, while we're not doing as much Enki work this week, the boys are definitely learning.



When Daddy asked Dunagan what he would like to carve his pumpkin, Dunagan said 'Flames.' After many rounds of questioning, we finally determined that Dunagan wanted his pumpkin to be flames, as in, shooting up to the sky in a fireball. Cool.

So, we promised to set Dunagan's on fire the next night. Kirven was appalled at the idea, and kept reiterating to Dunagan that he 'wouldn't have a pumpkin on Halloween'. Was he ok with that? Yep. He knew what he was doing.

The next night, Daddy dosed the pumpkin with diesel fuel and used a wad of toilet paper as a wick.

It took awhile for the thing to actually light, and Dunagan kept wanting to know when it was going to shoot off, or at least burst dramatically into flames. Mommy was wondering that, too.

Mostly, it just smoked and smelled like burning diesel. Dunagan was clearly disappointed. Mommy was a bit disappointed as well, but Daddy said that the city probably wouldn't like us doing much more than we did (much less the neighbors). Dunagan has requested that next year we go someplace where we can really make the pumpkin burn.

Pumpkin Carving Party

I have awesome sisters who live across the street from us. How cool is that?

We had them over Wednesday night before Halloween for a pumpkin carving party.

We drank hot, mulled cider, and Geena (the dog) ate her fill of pumpkin pieces.

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Aunt Hillary's Jack

Aunt Bettye's Jack, actually carved by Dunagan and dubbed 'TOAST'

Dunagan's actual Jack, carved by Daddy

Kirven's Jack, carved all by himself (nearly)


Pumpkin Suicide

The day after Halloween, Kirven's pumpkin was collapsing on itself. It had been sitting up on the wall with Dunagan's pumpkin, but apparently, it couldn't take it any more.


Trick or Treat...

... smell my feet, give me something good to eat!

Aunt Bettye was an alien for Kirven's astronaut, and Aunt Hillary and Ayla were dalmatians for Dunagan's fireman.

Dunagan didn't want his picture taken, so we had to catch him unawares.

The boys brought in a terrific haul of candy.

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Felted Balls

Felted balls. May I quote the kit instructions? "Making felt balls is a fun and relaxing activity for young and old."

Here are our "balls":

We followed the instructions included in the felting kit, but this is what we got. Dunagan was the first to give up. Ayla has been pulling up on everything, but she has also been falling over and bonking her head, so since she was awake, and had already hurt herself a couple times, I had put her in the Ergo so that I could continue to work with Kirven. While she was fussing and grabbing my hair in both fists and pulling in opposite directions, I was trying to bounce her into happiness and felt my wad of wool. Kirven decided to give up on his first attempt and went with a smaller strategy. He actually got his to felt some. Mine did nothing. NOTHING! Mine's that biggest ball of mess in the picture. My second attempt is the second to smallest ball on the right. A little better, but I knew it still wasn't right.

Finally, I was on the verge of screaming in frustration. And the boys were running around screaming, so I kicked them out of the house and took Ayla (who was still pulling my hair) out of the Ergo before I had a mommy tantrum.

That night, way past my bedtime, I searched youtube for the right instructions, and I was ecstatic to find vindication in this video, which is pretty much the exact opposite of the instructions included in my kit. We will be doing wet felting again soon, but we will be doing it this way from CrunchyParent:

And Part II:

So, now, I am back to looking forward to doing felting sometime in the future. Let's all just forget this ever happened, shall we?

Corn Husk Dolls

We made corn husk dolls last week during craft time. This was a fairly successful project. Kirven made two dolls.

Dunagan cut husks with scissors.

We followed the instructions for corn husk dolls in Earthways.

At first, I was disappointed that our dolls weren't quite looking like the ones in the pictures, but then I realized that this style was just the right level of difficulty for Kirven. He really enjoyed the project.

I played around with it a little bit and made a mommy and baby with a broom and a dog. Our little family took up residence on our very crowded nature table.