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The great boot exchange, I call it. Snow boots hauled up, rain boots hauled down from their upstairs closet winter home. April now, and I’ll expect a spate of showers before the sultry of summer comes to stay.

The rain boots tumble from my arms. Frogs, and monkeys, and the green Hunters I like so much. Chatter, and light in my lads’ eyes as they recall past springs and puddles splashed.

Then I send them out with boots and brushes to wash away the winter mud, for boots must be stored away clean.

I peek from the dining room window and watch them sitting on the steps, lips pressed in earnest as their little hands scrub.

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Then I’m caught up for a while, sizing up which rain boots now fit who, and which can be given away—just another part of motherhood one wouldn’t think to list, though it takes an afternoon twice every year.

But I leave my work now, and step out. So new the spring, the grass yet a patch of green and straw.

Birdsong. Warmth. Flat blue beyond the branches bare.

I gasp. I’m gasping. And I cannot gulp enough of this sweet, this air.

And I watch my lads for a moment, as they laugh and run.

My curly top squats beneath our big old tree, and I’m called to see the wild violets growing there.

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A moment more, then in again to think of dinner.  And as my hands chop carrots into little discs, I think of this day. And I think of motherhood, and the labor of making a home. I think of how it’s disregarded. Seen as unfulfilling and of little worth. But I know otherwise.

And I sigh contentment for all I am and all I have. For the pleasure in this exchanging of boots. In this marking of the seasons, and remembering of dear times past.

I am building their memories, building their lives.

May my lads always find pleasure in order and in a job well done. May they find joy in little things. May they have thankful hearts. And may they one day go into the world with the strength that only a mother’s love can bring.

Avonlea x

Happy Little Sigh

Finding beauty in the everyday

For more inspiration, bookishness, and mad stories of life homeschooling 4 wee men,

Find me on Instagram @happylittlesigh or Facebook @happylittlesigh

 

 

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We said “No, thank you” to everything we could this summer. Library reading programs, and classes for the children, and fancy vacations. After a hectic year where we had something going seven days a week, plus frequent trips to the dentist for the Professor’s retainer (Yay! for the middle school years!), and frequent trips to the natural health doctor for me (a real, true Yay! to finding out why I’ve been so very tired for the past decade), I was ready to say “No” to those things. This made us able to say “Yes, please” to a lot more of what we needed, body and soul. Hikes in the woods. Trips to the beach. Sitting on the porch eating popsicles and playing Yahtzee. And Vikings. We said “Yes” to Vikings, too.

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We’ve never studied a topic over the summer before, but it worked out just perfect. We had loads of time to read all the books, watch all the documentaries, make all the costumes, and best of all–build a Viking Longship in our playroom! My boys soaked it all up, and we had loads of Viking battles fought in the back garden (and sometimes in the house!) as they re-enacted what they’d learned. I’d love to share with you the resources my four wee men and I used during our Viking summer.

The books we read–

  • Leif the Lucky by Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire ( a GORGEOUS picture book telling the story of Leif Erikson, son of Eric the Red. If you aren’t familiar with the D’Aulaire’s books, you’re in for a treat).42124199_295240854406877_305622047352946688_n
  • The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway (a living history chapter book that weaves the details of Viking life into a story on the life of Leif and Eric). 42201333_476219392878002_208868442902626304_n
  • The Story of the Vikings Coloring Books by A.G. Smith (a detailed coloring book that includes descriptions on each page, and quite a broad history of the Vikings).

Those days we had to travel and couldn’t read, we listened!

  • The Dragon and the Raven – The extraordinary adventures of G.A. Henty (an enthralling audio drama with an impressive cast, including actors from The Hobbit, and British drama Call the Midwife). That can be purchased here. 42185898_652046728529508_3880848254421696512_n

Our study also made them curious about the countries of Greenland, Iceland, and Norway, and so maps were studied, and documentaries on YouTube watched. A couple of good videos I found can be found here and here.

I purchased all of their Viking helmets from Amazon. I decided on the plush kind, since the hard plastic hats often don’t stay on, and get cracked so easily. My favorite is the brown plush hat. The link to that can be found here. We also made a miniature longboat to sail at the park.

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Emerging ourselves into the world of the Vikings sparked all kids of creative play in my boys. It caused many a village to be plundered in our back garden, and many a sea to be sailed and new land explored in the Viking longship we built in the playroom! They set up Viking villages, and wanted to read our Viking books again and again. I’d recommend this kind of focused, immersive kind of play-learning for any topic (especially history or literature, or science related) that you want your children to not only enjoy learning but also remember!

This autumn our focused study will be about the first explorers of North America (after the Vikings, because of course we know they were really the first!). So for more ideas, and to follow along with our life of 1 Scottish Daddy + 1 Writing Mummy + 1 Rambling Victorian House + 4 Rambunctious Boys, follow my blog or find me on Facebook or Instagram @happylittlesigh.

Avonlea xo

Happy Little Sigh 

Finding beauty in the everyday

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I had nothing to show for the day.

Nothing but a pail of wet nappies and some autumnal paintings drying on the porch.

Oh, and the fridge was emptier, and that basket of clothes that needed folding,

well, it sort of overflowed.

Outside the rain fell warm,

but we hadn’t seen a drop of sun all day,

and even the yellow trees, and the red, and the orange,

they all looked

just grey.

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And it felt a cold place, a lonely place, to be doing battle.

And I’ve told myself a thousand times that it shouldn’t be so hard.

It should be nothing at all to

wash sticky hands and faces,

change nappies,

sweep floors.

Couldn’t anyone do it? Anyone at all?

But there’s a little more to it, always a little more.

Because they howl when you do it. When you wipe their hands and face.

And they howl when you change them, and they try to crawl away.

And the crumbs are never nice, dry crumbs that skid across the floor.

No, no.

They stick. Mashed peas and bread crusts. Cereal welded to the wood.

And you’d have to use a crowbar, or at least your nail, to pry them free.

And it wouldn’t be so bad if it were only once.

Not three times.

Every day.

Or if your baby had actually taken his nap,

or your toddler hadn’t been ill and bit hysterical at every little thing you asked him to do.

And there isn’t a room in the house (not one room) where they don’t come after you

with their quarrels and their tears and their demands for more food.

And so yes, it is a battle. And it’s hard.

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And sometimes, it can leave you wondering what you’re worth.

Because you can’t help but feel that there are grander things you should be accomplishing.

And your husband, yes, he has to hear about it all, and you can’t help but feel that this is all

just a little bit his fault.

And part of the battle is taking it all—all the busyness, and the fights, and the tears

and turning it into something good.

Finding reason for us all to give thanks.

And there’s always a reason.

Or instead of shouting,

kneeling down to look your child in the eye

to find the cause for his tears.

Or forgetting about all the good things your spouse should be doing for you,

and finding something good to do for them.

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Because souls, they live in people.

In your children. In your spouse.

And people are more important than things,

and being kind is more important than being right.

And when it all seems a bit of a mess, that’s what you’ve got to remember.

And as many times as you can remember in a day, you’ve got to tell it to your children

Tell them how very much they’re loved.

By God.

By you.

And when there’s no one there to tell it to you, you need to read it.

Read it till it sinks in deep.

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“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:17b-19

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Avonlea x

Been inspired by this post? Follow my blog for more Literary inspirations for heart & home.

OR find me on . . .

Instagram/Facebook/MeWe @happylittlesigh

Happy Little Sigh

Finding beauty in the everyday 

You might also be inspired by A Walk with C.S. Lewis — https://happylittlesigh.com/2013/10/18/a-walk-with-c-s-lewis/

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