Also in 2014… Mackenzie turned 7, Caitlyn turned 4, and Daniel turned 2… but I don’t believe I took a single picture of any of those events. 🙂
Instead, I took a picture of my girls headed out the door to celebrate someone else’s birthday at a Minnie Mouse party:
That is the pose one assumes when wearing dress-ups, apparently.
On to 2015!
Cannon Beach with the Harwoods
Right on the heels of Christmas and Mackenzie’s birthday, we took a trip with our great friends who visited from Columbus. They rented a beach house with us in Cannon Beach and we had a fantastic time freezing with the kids on the beaches, staying up late playing games, and talking about everything under the sun. Our kids match up in ages really well, and both husbands are doctors and foodies so we have lots of common ground. It was incredible to spend time with old friends and I can’t help grinning every time I think about it.
True to form, Caitlyn took off layers every chance she got and ended up utterly miserable and cold. Oregon beaches are stunningly beautiful but are not for the faint of heart… or those in stretch pants and a t-shirt.
A much better way to stay warm (for both of them):
This wonderful woman and I have been friends through many highs and lows. Even though we only lived near each other for two years and have hardly kept in touch (neither of us are too good at that), when we do get together or talk… it’s like no time has passed. There’s something special about friends you make during medical school and residency, especially ones who are having children and figuring out motherhood right alongside you.
These kids were happy to see each other again too:
As an introvert, Scott really values his friends and I love that he had the chance to catch up with another good man who values his family:
We spotted seals and whales:
We had many chaotic meals:
And visited the Tillamook cheese factory:
More in Winter 2015
Scott took the girls on a date to a local high school choir concert and they excitedly dressed up for the occasion:
I miss Columbus in some ways, but I love a mild Salem winter! These photos are from the middle of February:
We also have an oversized two car garage in our rental house and only one car, which is often driven to Scott’s work during the day. That means my kids have a perfect place for wheels even on chillier days.
After being worried about Daniel’s hearing around the time he turned 2 (because he was humming to communicate), it was wonderful to hear him articulating words. He wanted to be included in all our homeschooling, and communicated this by adding “Danner” to the end of other words. “Paint Danner” and “Color Danner” and “Do that too Danner” were popular along with “sit lap Mama!” and “play Mama”, because I’m the luckiest. 🙂
I had three homeschooling epiphanies around this time:
– Mackenzie actually loves workbooks, though I’d been avoiding them like the plague previously. There is one that goes along with the Logic of English textbook I love and she was over the moon to have it and completed pages in her free time for months. That came in handy when I was sick on the couch with my pregnancy! I’m sure part of the allure is the fact that we rarely use a workbook, but her enthusiasm was enough to make me grudgingly admit they can be a good tool as long as they are legitimately free of busywork.
– I realized that my own abilities as a teacher, not just to know and love my kids but to present a subject in a clear, engaging way, makes a big difference in our homeschool. I started investing in some training on teaching writing, handwriting, and literary analysis as well. (The Logic of English has free teacher training online, and I ordered used copies of “Teaching the Classics” and the Institute for Excellence in Writing “Writing With Structure and Style“).
– I’d read this tip before, but happened to implement it accidentally one day and was stunned by the results: Front-loading the most mentally challenging subjects makes the whole day smoother. We switched to memory work and math first thing in the morning and haven’t looked back since.