Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nature Study Outing :: Early Summer in the Bay Area

After one week resigned to "backyard nature study" and the same on the schedule for this week also thanks to our babymoon, I'm thinking back to some of our nature study adventures over the past two months.

Ever wondered what California looks like in May and June?  Here ya go!  Four different landscapes, each visited multiple times, with pictures telling the story...

At the creek --

At the ranch (well, two different ranches-turned-county-parks, one on each side of the foothills) --

farewell-to-spring clarkia + yarrow

dove mullein + a tiny scarlet pimpernel

At the pond --

owl's clover

mariposa lily


At the beach --

above: thrift + red clover
beach aster

lizard tail

sand verbena

above: sea rocket + tree lupine
coastal sagebrush

beach primrose

Saturday, July 15, 2017

{This and That} :: Announcements!

I actually have a bunch of posts in drafts almost ready to go, but for now, you get back-to-back {This and That} posts so that I can share some happy announcements!


First and most importantly for me: Baby Damien Ambrose arrived on Sunday!

Six days late, after a few days of prodromal labor, he arrived with one push and much relief at 9:53am on the 9th!  We decided on his name a couple hours after he was born and entrusted him to two favorite saints: St. Damien of Molokai and St. Ambrose of Milan.  Thank you so much for your prayers.

We got home Monday, had the baptism Wednesday, and spent the rest of the week resting -- as much as one can with nine kids in the house!

Well, some of us spent the week resting. Some of us spent the week bickering over whose turn it was to hold the baby.  At least it's a worthy issue to fight over!  I tried to point out that he isn't going anywhere and that there would be many days, weeks, years to hold him. They didn't seem to think that was any reason to stand down.



More exciting news: early registration is now open for CM West :: Conference in Old San Juan!

Our 2018 Northern California event will be February 8-10, at a peaceful retreat center nestled in the rolling hills of old San Juan Bautista, just a few miles from the Mission.

This early registration window is your chance to either put down a fully-refundable deposit to secure a spot before general registration opens in October OR complete your full registration at a discount.

This conference sold out quickly last year, so if you think you'd like to join us this February, click on over for more details!


Last but not least: my good friend Dawn Duran has published a new resource for Charlotte Mason families and groups.  It's called Swedish Drill Revisited, and it's the work of years of research into Miss Mason's methods combined with Dawn's own experience as a physical therapist and educator.  She has implemented Swedish drill with her own children and in a co-op setting, and has shared her thoughts on the method as well as many how-to resources at Afterthoughts over the past year.  Now she has turned all that information (and more) into a user-friendly, hyper-linked e-book!  I'm hoping to do a thorough review once I have had a chance to try it out with my children, since drill is something that has always looked like fun but has never gotten off the ground here.  Now with Dawn's guide, I'm thinking I can make that happen.  If you're interested in reading more, head over to Afterthoughts Shoppe and take a peek!


I told you how excited I am about In Memoriam last week; this week, I'm excited about all the posts people are writing in response to the perspective it sheds on Miss Mason and her work. A couple great examples so far:

The Delightfully Casual Element of Nature Study by Naomi (so pleased to read this since our own studies are quite casual but, so far, quite wondrous and valuable too!)
In Memoriam: Fellowship and Common Ground by Karen Glass (one in a series -- and I couldn't agree more!)

I'm hoping to write about some juicy tidbits I have discovered so far in In Memoriam...when I get the chance. ;)


Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 7, 2017

{This and That} :: Overdue Edition!

Well, I am now a few days past my due date!  I know everyone else had their mind on the holiday weekend, but I had my mind on birthing Baby #9.  Now that we're on the other side of the 4th of July, I'm getting even more eager for baby to make his appearance. Will I have a baby tomorrow?  Do I still have a week left? (!) Only God knows, but I'm hoping it's not the latter!


In the meantime, I'm trying to stay busy!  Yesterday I cut both my baby boys' hair and put together a new bookshelf, which means I'll be doing a bit of book rearranging today.  I'm so happy to have this bit of extra space, and the shelf is conveniently situated as an endtable for my rocker in the office -- should come in handy!

The day before that, I put together our tentative school schedules for this fall.  I'm still tweaking and thinking, but it's looking quite promising.  And best of all: I think I can still maintain a school day that ends by 2pm even with two middle schoolers, two elementary students, and a very eager kindergartener all having full "feasts."  We'll see how that all turns out with a newborn and a challenging toddler, plus two other preschool-aged kids in the mix.  It's always a bit of a science, a bit of an art -- as all homeschool mamas know. ;)


Have you heard the news?  Brandy has released a beautiful new version of In Memoriam: A Tribute to Charlotte Mason in print via Amazon.  This is a collection of essays, letters, and speeches written or delivered on the occasion of Charlotte Mason's death. I read it recently and it is tremendously inspiring. It has been available free at the AmblesideOnline site for many years (and still is!), but now I'm looking forward to having this lovely copy on my shelf to read, annotate, and discuss with friends.


Looking ahead to my upcoming hospital stay: I don't cause a fuss, but I really can't stand being at the hospital a minute longer than I have to, and the whole time I'm there, I'm working on making sure our paperwork is in place to get out and home to the kids right at the 24-hour mark.  So during the long stretches of what feels like really uncomfortable waiting, I like to make sure I have plenty to occupy my mind.  Here's what I'm planning for this time:

Megan Hoyt's A Touch of the Infinite (with pencil in hand)
Dianne Hale's La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language (light and fun)
Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov (easy choice since it's on my Kindle)

...and a couple podcast episodes I have been saving:
"The Nitty-Gritty Guide to Homeschooling High School Boys" from the Schole Sisters and Cindy Rollins
My friend Camille Malucci talking about sloyd on "The Mason Jar"

That should keep me occupied!


A few sweet snaps from our beach outing last week -- probably our last beach outing in a while!


We are a big step closer to securing a location for the next CM West conference, scheduled for February 2018.  I took a little tour of a potential site last Friday and it looks like it will be a good fit for our group!

The exciting news: that means that soon we will be offering an advance deposit option for those who want to be secure a fully-refundable spot for the event.  We sold out quickly last year and had a long waitlist to boot, so this will be your chance to ensure you have a spot lined up for you when registration opens officially this fall.  Stay tuned for details!

It will be announced here, on Instagram, and via the Charlotte Mason West email list, which is really your best bet for keeping abreast of conference news.  If you haven't yet signed up, please do!  I don't want you to miss it.


A couple weeks ago I hosted the @charlottemasonirl focus on Nature Study.  If you're looking for some guidance, from getting started to how to keep study fresh for older students, take a look through the posts I shared from our community over the course of the week.  I found a lot of inspiration in my own work my students and I hope you will too!


Okay, hopefully I will not be popping back in there until baby is BORN since I'm already several days overdue.  I can't imagine it will be much longer now!  So expect an update from me with happy baby news in the next few days over on the Joyous Lessons Facebook page and my Instagram account.  I appreciate your prayers as I get closer to labor day!

Wishing you a lovely weekend!