Reading for Big Ideas & Chasing Twins

An August Daybook


photo credit: Julie Harrell

Outside my window…

I’ve been enjoying the cool bright early mornings with the birds and flowers out on the back deck. It’s much better than spending the early mornings facing a screen, though I admit I miss my writing time a ton, and it’s hard to find it otherwise.

Giving thanks…

For family photos that went well! My friend Julie took them, and at the time I didn’t think she’d get any. That evening felt so chaotic to me! Posy was throwing fits, the twins were tired, and I was not optimistic that she would get anything worth keeping. I was so happily shocked when she sent me a big fat file of images worth printing. Julie is amazing.


photo credit: Julie Harrell


photo credit: Julie Harrell

I am thinking about…

School. The big problem with posting your plans on the internet is that they will inevitably change (or at least mine will) within 24 hours of posting them. I’ve simplified my loops after taking a hard look at my current state of crazy and having a little meltdown on the phone with a friend.

She talked me down from my hysteria and reminded me that I don’t need to teach spelling AND writing AND grammar AND Latin to my middle-graders, and that the kids can do more independent work than I had originally chosen for them. Not that I would forget the very things I’ve been ruminating for a solid year now. No, never. Of course not.

In the Schoolroom…

It’s a big giant mess! White flag of surrender- my bookshelves have no hope of being orderly for 60 consecutive seconds now that the twins are on the loose.

From the kitchen…



photo credit: Julie Harrell


photo credit: Julie Harrell

I am creating…

a reading list for myself. I meant to only include about 15 books on it, but it’s gotten (cough) a little out of hand. One thing is for sure, I want to emphasize meaningful reading rather than prolific reading this year.

Reading is a life-long process. There’s no hurry, no semester schedule, no end-of-term panic, no final exam. The serious reader is not attempting to assimilate a huge quanitity of information as quickly as possible, but to understand a few many-sided and elusive ideas.  –Susan Wise Bauer

I tend to fly through books so that I can check them off my list and read more quantity, but this year I’d like to really mine my reading for big ideas and then let those ideas transform me. Susan Wise Bauer and Mortimer Adler both tell me that will take reading a book 2-3 times before moving on, so that’s what I’m hoping to get in the habit of- not with every book, of course, but with some carefully chosen ones.


photo credit: Julie Harrell

I don’t ever want to forget…

The exhaustion of these harried, full, loud, and overwhelming days. I want to carve them into my memory and draw on them when I’m old.

I am working on…

heading to bed with a book at 9:30. So far I haven’t done it successfuly once yet. :P


photo credit: Julie Harrell

I am reading…

I am praying…

For Camilla. For Carl. For Courtney. For the Harkins family. So much heartbreak.

I am hearing…

Blue Clouds, which the boys got for their birthday. We are die-hard Eliabeth Mitchell fans around these parts.


photo credit: Julie Harrell

Clicking around…

Around the house…

Destruction in the form of two adorable little people. I have a whole new understanding of the word “child-proof” these days. Snap was like this too, but there was only one of him!

One of my favorite things…

Chocolate wine, which is needed in undisclosable quantity after chasing aforementioned little people all day.


photo credit: Julie Harrell


photo credit: Julie Harrell

A few plans for the next week…

I’m thinking we could start math. Nothing else, just math. Then perhaps we can layer in one more subject at a time. Depending on how well the chocolate wine stores are replenished, of course. Ahem.

The news in twins…

Gaaaaaaaaaaah! ;)

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  1. says

    Oh! That family picture with all of you looking and still and beautiful! That is a miracle in and of itself right there! On the wall, stat.

    I feel the same way about the curriculum plans. I posted them in order to get my bottom in gear but already I’m thinking about what’s NOT going to work :)

  2. says

    The family pictures are so great! I remember my youngest, who is now 6.5yo, when she was around 1yo, she loved to pull all of the DVDs out of the cabinet. And it was a pretty spacious cabinet too…on floor level obviously. There would be DVDs all.over.the.floor. Too funny. :)

    • Sherry Campbell says


      I’ve been reading your blog all summer long and have been greatly encouraged! Your style is lovely and your joy is contagious. In this post, I especially appreciate your transparency. It’s helpful to other mom’s, I believe, when we share that life is not perfect and that we can’t do it all.

      For what it’s worth, I agree with your friend about not needing to do all those subjects with your middle schoolers. Martin Cothran (from Memoria press) says that you’ll learn more English grammar through the study of Latin. He recommends Latin as the primary way to learn English grammar then study English grammar as a supplement to the Latin.

      Chocolate wine?! Sounds Heavenly! I’ll have to try that.

      Looking forward to future posts. :)

  3. Olivia says


    These photos are beautiful! I have a sort of odd question for you. I LOVE your hair style. I am a first time mother of a 3 month old and am starting to figure out that my super long hair is just too much to manage. I was wondering, do have a stylist cut your hair or just go to a place like Great Clips? My husband and I are on a budget so if I am going to get my hair cut it will be at a budget friendly place and I know sometimes they don’t do the best cuts. Do you have wavy hair or naturally straight hair? Super thick or fine? This is so odd, but I am looking for a new hair style as a new mom that doesn’t scream “Hi, I am a Mom and have given up on any sort of style”, and your hair is just so cute! Thank you so so much!!!

  4. says

    wait, what? Chocolate wine? Is that a thing? How can that be a thing and I not know about it?!

    Those pictures are so lovely! Just perfect. And Snap, wow, could he look any more like his Dad?

    Look, try to take it easy this year. I feel like you are really itching to get more done this year…give it another year. Homeschooling with young toddlers is insane. I can’t imagine doing it with two!

  5. says

    Are you enjoying Growing Up Duggar? I am not finished, almost…but I have really enjoyed the book. My three older girls have read or are reading it. It has opened some discussion on dating/courting that have been enlightening and fruitful..I think. I think one of the things I most enjoyed about the book was the openness portrayed between mom/dad and children. I appreciate the focus on parental wisdom being a very real and necessary aid as they navigate life.

  6. says

    Sarah, those picture are simply beautiful. Your friend did an amazing job to not just take great pictures but to take real pictures. I like real.

    I am so glad that you had a chance to listen to the art of memory talk. Isn’t it amazing? I am so glad that I hadn’t done too much school planning when I listened to it because this has changed how we are going to be doing our learning this year. I am looking forward to our year due to Rallens’ talk.

  7. says

    book list. i want *your* book list. are you on goodreads? maybe you should be…i find it’s a great way to track what i’ve been reading.

    also, those are some amazing pictures. love the mama/papa with a single kid especially.

    thanks for the audio links….you’re always so good like that!

  8. Valerie says

    Your family photo is stunning! I would totally get that printed on a big ole’ canvas at Costco and hang it up on the wall ASAP. You have a beautiful family, and as always, your homeschooling ideas are so helpful. Thanks for blogging and sharing! God bless you.

  9. Penny says

    Somehow, I managed to miss a lot of posts. I think I signed out of one thing and lost everything. Not just your site, but several others too. I guess… I’m not a techie… yeah.

    Ah well :)

    Lovely photos of a loving family. Sweet

  10. Marie G. says

    Beautiful photos!!! Each is so precious! I love coming to your blog! You always have such a postive and contagious outlook on things even when you feel like pulling your hair out. You make it so real that it gives me the strength to think that I can do it too. :)

  11. says

    Julie’s photos are incredible.
    Glad you’ve found a way to focus on cherishing this busy time rather than closing your eyes and holding your breath – thought that can be a useful tactic now and then, I think. :)
    I awoke in the middle of the night last night with an ‘aha!’ moment – as it occurred to me I should use your LOOPING idea to feel accomplished about all I try to squeeze in after the children are in bed. I’m going to write myself a loop tonight and I think I’ll feel satisfactorily “accomplished” with my goals as well as flexible to whatever may come, allowing spontaneous chats with my husband, impromptu girl chatter with my new *fav* neighbor, or whatever may come.
    love from HK!

  12. says

    Oh I hear you. My twins are just over 2 and they rule the house. I am praying everyday that I can balance enjoying their terrific two’s with getting school done with my biggies. It will take a torrent of grace from above. I liken twins to a tornado. I follow the destruction from room to room. Somehow i trained the first set, so I know their is hope.