Moss and Ferns, Redux

Well, this blog might just turn into a journal of our weekly nature walks. That’s ok with me.  IMG_8582

We noticed the first tree leaf buds this week and entered in our Book of Firsts. They were extremely difficult to photograph, as they were backlit and I didn’t have a macro lens, but hopefully you can see them!IMG_8583

I couldn’t get over how many different organisms grew on the tree bark. I must have taken 50 photos of close-up tree bark.IMG_8594 IMG_8600

I adore these tiny ferns. This was just an inch long. IMG_8605

This is what I drew in my nature notebook this week.IMG_8607 IMG_8609 IMG_8610

Funny furry moss.IMG_8615 IMG_8621

Our #elsieselfie of the week.IMG_8631 IMG_8637

Strange black fungi on the tree. IMG_8640

Three out of four monkeys. IMG_8650

I really enjoy taking my camera along. Usually I have not taken it because I felt it would make me distracted and not present. On the contrary, I think it helps me pay closer attention to all the small beautiful details around me. I was coveting a macro lens this week! So many cute little ferns, raindrops, and teensy lichens!

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In Which I Take Many Photos of Moss and Ferns

Our Friday nature walks are always the highlight of my week. And I admit, it is hard to get four kids six and under out the door with proper warm clothing, hats/mittens/boots/etc, snacks, water, diapers…the list goes on. Everyone properly fed beforehand. Everyone to the potty. Getting myself properly attired. Four car seats. Wrapping the baby properly for a long walk. I carry a lot of stuff, including a baby. But I never, ever regret it, and usually, at the end of a long week, it’s what reminds me of why we homeschool in the first place, and helps me be excited for another week of learning with my kids. I think maybe my greatest achievement in our home education (maybe along with their love of books read aloud) is how this has become part of our family culture. They’ve spent time in the beautiful Oregon forests for as long as they can remember. They love it. They notice everything. They love ferns and moss and mushrooms as much as I do. And no matter how many failures I make throughout the rest of the week, I hold on to this little achievement.

I was also thinking today that each of these walks, even though we usually go to the same place every week, is unrepeatable. The kids will never be the same as they are this week, and the forest will never be the same as it is this week. Today was a beautiful combination of a recent rainstorm and a sun break. It was dripping wet, very muddy, and the sun made it all sparkle like diamonds. Today I brought my camera, which I don’t often do, and I love how having it helps me notice all the beautiful little details. That mostly translates into “I took way too many photos of moss, licorice ferns, and rain drops.”


There is some sort of nest at the head of the trail. We don’t know what kind. Do squirrels make nests like this?


Sophia is very proud of herself whenever she stands on top of anything. Even a three inch stump.



I have a serious Thing for licorice ferns.


Every time we go on an outing I try and take a photo of Elisabeth on my front to prove she was there too, with varying results. Selfies with a big DSLR are tricky.



Running back to me because she fell in the mud. Again. 🙂


Right at this little arch the forest changes dramatically to the Big Fir forest.


One of Miriam’s favorite fairy castles.

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Yarn Along: In Threes

Well, hello there. I haven’t been in this space in almost a year. One of my dear children spilled beer on my computer and it’s been out of commission until just yesterday! I’m so happy to not be operating on only an iPad anymore. A lot has happened in a year, mostly because we added a sweet new baby girl to our family! I posted a little announcement and some of our favorite photos of her in the previous post here.


I hope to finish this little In Threes for Sophia tonight. I recently went to the NW Charlotte Mason Educator’s conference and bought this book to read beforehand, but cut it too close so I’m reading it now. Lovely, inspiring book. A favorite quote: after dwelling in depth on the history of the world’s greatest minds keeping notebooks of all sorts, Bestvater tells us that:

Charlotte Mason, under her usual banner, takes what is set aside for the enlightened and scholarly and offers it to children, “the least of these.”

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Elisabeth Eleni

On June 11th, we welcomed our fourthborn little sweetheart and third girl, Elisabeth Eleni. She was intended to be nicknamed Elsa, but so far Elsie is more common (probably to go with Miri and Sophie). She is a cheerful, sweet, darling little girl who loves to cuddle and we are all in love with her.

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Winter, but Mostly the Cute Toddler Being Cute

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Please let me go outside, Mama? Please?IMG_5949 IMG_5953 IMG_5962 IMG_6021

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Christmas 2014

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Notice that there is one extra stocking? IMG_5739 IMG_5742 IMG_5745 IMG_5750 IMG_5760 IMG_5770 IMG_5774Since the big kids got their first bikes for Christmas, Sophia got this little Scuttle Bug. And a sippy cup. I think she was most excited about the sippy cup.


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Christmas breakfast. IMG_5787 IMG_5791

And Christmas dinner. IMG_5792 IMG_5793 IMG_5796

Day after Christmas at Softah’s (my grandmother) house on Vashon Island. All eleven great-grandchildren made it!IMG_5806

With cousin Isaiah. IMG_5808 IMG_5809

Getting a picture of Softah with all her “greats.”IMG_5813 IMG_5817

The papas getting the board games started. IMG_5821 IMG_5824 IMG_5825 IMG_5827

James with his Grampy.IMG_5829

And with his Auntie Rosie. IMG_5831 IMG_5832

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Pumpkin Time

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We went to the lovely Lakeview Farms today to search for pumpkins. It’s a great pumpkin farm – not too much like an amusement park, with just enough to make kids think it’s awesome. You take either a train or a boat out to the pumpkins, which both Miriam and Sophia were rather freaked out about (and I was freaked out by having three kids five and under on a boat by myself, so we took the train both ways), but we all managed. And I loved that there was nothing scary. Even the dark tunnel the train goes through is full of happy pumpkin people rather than skeletons and zombies, something friends tell me is a change from last year. Nice change, Lakeview! I approve.

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