Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Blessing

Day 31.

Summer blessing.  

This man.

I am so blessed to know and love and share my life with this man.

This summer, he has blessed me with time. Quiet time to myself. Time for things I enjoy. Time together. Time with friends. Time to be.

He is currently at the pool with the kiddos, letting me spend some hours alone at home (such a rare thing) to think and write and read or clean and plan and prepare.  They've been doing this several afternoons a week, and it has been a blessing.

We are tweaking some homeschool stuff...as you see above, he's working with Hadleigh on math. His schedule this year should be a bit more predictable, as he will be a student again, beginning tomorrow, in a year-long military course. And so, he's going to take over the reins in Hadleigh's math course...and maybe Nathanael too. He is excited and so willing to participate more directly in the schooling process which is such a blessing to me.

His creativity and enthusiasm and discipline and tenderness and study inspire me.

Tremendous blessing.
Thankful heart.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 30: Summer Space

During the summer, this space hasn't been getting the use it soon will.  

Our homeschool space.  Probably my favorite spot in our house.

It's beginning to resemble the image in my mind of what I hoped we would one day have for a homeschool room.

There are still posters to hang up and books to reorganize (because what kind of bookshelf is not kid-friendly and thus always a mess?)

There are still random objects from unpacking around the perimeter, looking for a permanent home to spend this next year.

There are still books needing to be ordered before the new school year begins.

There are still planners to fill and guides to print and supplies to purchase.

But I'm excited about this space.

Excited to have a spot where we can focus on learning and reading and adding and crafting sentences and playing with art supplies.  Writing letters and listening to composers and subtracting and storytime snuggling. (Excited about our reading corner!)

I'm excited about what this next year will hold academically for my three. Ready for those lightbulb moments.  Aware that self-control is a fruit that we all learn in the classroom.  Eager to incorporate lots of historical field trips while we study early American history. Mindful of our desire to foster a love for learning and not just correct answers. Prayerful.

I'm hoping to share a bit more about our homeschooling journey in this space over the next year with you...so if you have any questions or something you'd love to hear my take on, please leave a comment or email me!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nearing the end...

Just a few more days until the end of the challenge...

Day 27: Summer Craft(ing) 
I had planned on some fun summer crafts with the kids this day, but a stomach bug for Madeleine changed our plans. (Thankfully it was short-lived & only affected her.) So here's a shot of what my crafting space looks like right now. A stack of instagrams for a mini-album I hope to begin this week, a surprise project for someone dear to me, memorabilia to add to Project Life, and some new stamps I'm excited to try out!

Day 28: Summer Joy
These three. Life with children is never only all smiles and sunshine. But this moment, when they each read a portion (really read) of Psalm 117 on their own, well. It filled my heart with joy. For seeing something for which we've worked so hard (reading) becoming applicable to them. For seeing their excitement in knowing they were reading the Bible by themselves. (Brent had printed out the words all together and then enlarged their part to read. Love that he thought of that.) For seeing them willing & eager to contribute to our family worship time. Joy.

Day 29: Summer Discovery
One of the first plants I noticed in our yard when we moved in were these three tiny grapevines, growing in a somewhat strange spot along the ground, just a couple of leaves and a short branch of a stem.  They're not supported by any structure; I wondered how they would grow. But grow they have.  The branches are strong and heavy and have spread a lot more than I imagined they would.  The kids and I were delighted to discover that they are actually producing grapes...and we're looking forward to the moment they're ripe!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July flies...

...but I'm back with the last week in photos:

Day 19: Summer Reading
Each of the kiddos has been doing a great job reading daily to one of us (usually Brent). I'm excited at their progress!

Day 20: Summer Treat
Brown sugar walnut tart from Starbucks...on the road to Rochester, NY!

Day 21: Summer love
Traveling to visit new places! Our first trip to see my sister Katy since she & Alex moved to NY! Loved this beautiful day visiting the gardens at the Eastman House!

Day 22: Summer style
I am all about skirts & dresses in the summer. Photo taken after church, today included an old favorite long skirt from Loft (a violet-blue to match the necklace), a 3/4 length white shirt , and these sandals.

Day 23: Summer shadow
I do appreciate the shade of trees on our property!

Day 24: Summer chores
Laundry day, after traveling, always seems endless...but for some reason, today, I got it all done & put away! (Might have something to do with our company expected at the end of the day!)

Day 25: Summer splash
Brent has been taking the kids to the pool in the afternoons after work...giving me some quiet time here at home.  He sends me pictures, and it is SO fun to see all three of them loving the water.  There were some summers past when I thought they would never enjoy learning to swim...but it's official.  We have three little fishes!

Day 26: Summer refreshment
Iced hazelnut latte.  It's my go-to summer coffee drink & even better when I can make it at home:
 Pour milk over ice in a cup. Flavor with syrup according to taste. Brew espresso and pour over milk. Admire how pretty it looks unstirred.  Then stir. Sip.  Enjoy. 
(I love the Starbucks insulated cups for cold drinks...use mine all the time!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Catch up: days 16, 17, 18

Just a quick minute to post these before too many more days go by...July has been full of travels & company and the month isn't over yet! Hope you are all enjoying your July days as we are!

Day 16: Summer Self Portrait, over tea, of course.

Day 17: Summer Work: math, reading, mothering, teaching, loving

Day 18: Summer Sunrise 

Evidence that I woke early and started a new (hopefully permanent) habit of exercising & rising with the sun.  That's tough for this night owl...but I'm determined and excited (except for the moment my alarm goes off!)

p.s. I've been posting all of these over instagram...you can follow me there @ kimberleighd !

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 15: Treasure

On hot summer days, I treasure afternoon thunderstorms. 

And that is exactly what we've enjoyed for the last two days.

Ominous clouds on the horizon, slowly approaching. Thunder, at first distant and then immediate and close.

And then the sound of hard rain. Followed by a softer, soaking rain.

And then sunshine again.

I remember moving to Asheville the summer before I began fourth grade. We were moving from Texas and were so excited because the house we were renting had a pool. A pool! Every child's dream. We planned on spending all our days splashing and swimming.

That summer, we had daily afternoon thunderstorms. And you've never seen a group of four children more disappointed than we were.  All we wanted to do was swim. And then the thunder would start to sound.  We were ready to move back to Texas!

So, I guess I haven't always found rainy days inspiring...but I do love them now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 14: Flowers

Cheerful flowers, found outside a chocolate shop in Fredericksburg today. :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 13: Summer Play

Most of their summer play is active. Lots of bike/scooter riding. Lots of chase. Lots of swimming. Always lots of movement.

This morning, they were chasing each other around in circles in the basement.  I was amazed no one fell over dizzy. :)

So it was special to see them here this afternoon, sitting on the deck together, involved in the careful crafting of stories for them to later act out.  I creaked the back door open ever so slightly to listen to the three of them share ideas about adventures, each adding their own details to the story. (It took a few minutes before they noticed me.)

My little story-tellers. I love their creative play. I love their adventurous ideas. I love their sweet friendships.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 12: Summer Drink

The 172 Degree Cocktail, from Society Fair in Old Town Alexandria was the perfect ending to a fun-filled day of adventure in Washington DC with my friend Missy.  It's a wine based cocktail, with a wonderful Tahitian vanilla flavor and a brandy-soaked cherry at the finish...yum.

Society Fair is a wonderful Wine and Tapas bar that also has an amazing market of fresh foods! It's one of my favorite discoveries in the DC area.  I can't wait until our next visit there...I'm hoping to be able to get a seat at the Demo Kitchen next time!

12 on the twelfth

This month, from Washington D.C.


  1.  The National Archives
  2.  Lunch in the Kogod Courtyard (at the National Portrait Gallery) is peaceful & calming!
  3.  The Old Post Office (viewed because we walked the wrong way down Pennsyvania Ave!)
  4.  Bachelor's Buttons remind me of childhood memories in Texas
  5.  Inside the Library of Congress. It's absolutely gorgeous & my new favorite library.
  6.  This exhibit of Thomas Jefferson's personal library is inspiring and beautiful.
  7.  My favorite view of The Capital today.
  8.  Love the detail & patina.
  9.  Metro adventures all. day. long.
10.  The streets of Georgetown
11.  Key Lime cupcake is to die for.
12.  Georgetown Cupcakes did NOT disappoint. (We found a table & our line was pretty short too!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 11: Summer Fun

Summer fun is spending time with friends. My children agree, as each afternoon they anxiously await all the neighborhood kids to come outside to play. Scooters, sidewalk chalk, Legos, bikes, games of chase.

I may not love to play outside each afternoon in the heat of the day ;) but I am no different in that I find great joy in spending time with friends.

We are enjoying a visit with our friend Missy (who has come all the way from OK to see us!) One thing that Missy and I share in common is our love to cook.

Summer fun is cooking with friends...especially if the end result is yummy artisan bread!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 10: Summer Shoes

This was an easy one.  :)

I live in these slightly wedged flip flops. They're Reefs, and I really, really like them. So much so, that I bought a second pair before my first ones had worn out.

Seriously, the most comfortable flip flop I've ever worn.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Day 9: Summer Surprise

I thought today's surprise would be finding a desk for Hadleigh. But the timing didn't work out (and we'll get it tomorrow.)

Today, we arrived home from our week in Asheville.  It had been a long day on the road.  We unloaded the car, and I took off to get some essential groceries and a redbox rental to unwind.

It was as I was backing out of the driveway when I stopped and took this picture.  I realized that returning to Virginia today felt a bit like coming "home" for the first time. And it surprised me.

A few months ago, Madeleine and I went to New York to visit a dear friend.  The night before we left, while trying to fall asleep, I remember thinking about returning home...what needed to be done, etc.  The first image in my mind was entering through my laundry room, setting my purse on our mudroom bench, and walking into my beautiful red kitchen...back in Oklahoma. I remember tears filling my eyes when I realized that wasn't home anymore.  And yet, returning to a house we'd lived in for less than three weeks didn't feel like home either.

I felt that same pain about "heading home" while in Asheville when I thought about the end of our vacation.

So it was indeed a pleasant and joyful surprise to find this new place beginning to be home.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Day 8: Summer Colors

While visiting with Kammy & Pappy (Brent's parents) in Asheville, these colorful beads filled the breakfast table each day.  

For a good part of each day, Madeleine and Hadleigh (and even Nathanael) spent time making bracelets and necklaces for each other. (Nathanael made one for me.)

Even I was enticed by the colorful spot...I made several bracelets for the girls (you can see part of one for Hadleigh in the bottom corner).  

And here's something you might not know about me:

I like organized crafting.  Love to color coordinate crayons and colored pencil boxes. And so, I started to sort the beads.  Not all of them; mostly just my favorite designs. 

They made such lovely happy piles! :)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Day 7: Summer Sunset

Saturday night sunset.
North Asheville...on our way out for dessert...just the two of us.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Day 6: Summer Detail

This morning, at Brent's parents home, I discovered a few of these echinacea blooms. A chubby bumblebee was happily buzzing from one to another.

I was struck by the design...the hundreds of stamen taking attention from the unfurled petals.

The beauty and variety of creation always leaves me in awe of the Creator. The details of His creation remind me that He is also concerned with the details of my life. Consider the lilies of the field...and the echinacea blossoms.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Day 5: Summer View

There are hardly words for this view.  A grassy knoll with 360 degrees of North Carolina (and Tennessee) mountains views. 

We hiked up Max Patch with my parents today...and I hope that we will get the chance to do so again.  It's not a difficult hike, but the view from the top is breathtaking.  I may have sung a few bars from "The Hills are Alive..."

The girls (with help) made clover crowns. Hadleigh ran all over the mountain, exploring the paths in the long grass with her Daddy.

Nathanael (after downing two water bottles and asking for another) also went adventuring, trying to catch up with Hadleigh & Brent.

Madeleine (who looked like a 70s era Heidi in her "hiking gear") was content to eat strawberries and cherries and sit on the picnic blanket. :)

There is something about a beautiful view...and watching your children be a part of it.

What's your favorite view?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Day 4: Summer Sparkle


My country, 'tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers dies,
land of the pilgrims' pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
land of the noble free, thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
thy woods and templed hills;
my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song;
let mortals tongues awake;
let all that breathe partake;
let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of liberty, to Thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom's holy light;
protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

~Samuel F. Smith

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Day 3: Summer Memory

I thought that today's picture would center on an old special memory of mine. After all, I spent most of today in the home where I grew up. Every turn and nook and cranny are filled with memory. Almost every inch of the three acres reminds me of some adventure from my youth.

But it was a new memory that captured me today. One that I will remember for a long time. One that is almost historic for our family. And for Hadleigh.

Today, Hadleigh came face to face with Stella. And then proceeded to pet her.

Stella belongs to Matt, Amanda, & Rylie, my brother and his family. She is a Great Dane (their second) and by far, the tallest dog my children have ever seen. She is a sweetheart, calm and gentle and affectionate.

When Hadleigh was very small, a large dog startled her, and ever since then, she has been fearful of dogs. Big, small. Yippy or quiet. Calm or hyper. Any dog has always caused her to pretty much freak out and seek out the highest ground around her, often scrambling up her fathers shoulders at lightning speed.

But today, with only Rylie around, she conquered that fear and touched a dog that is taller (on her hind legs) than any of the adults in our family. She agreed to pet her again just for Mimi (and Madeleine), and I caught her secretly from around the corner.

This will be a moment that Hadleigh and I will remember forever.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Day 2: Summer Smile

Today, we toured our hometown of Asheville, NC on the Gray Line trolley tours. We had never done this before, and I have to say that it was a lot of fun to see "my" city as a tourist would!

There were new places I'd never visited, like our lunch stop at Chorizo and a quick visit to Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar...and lots of old favorites. (Including all but one restaurant from our engagement night progressive meal!)

One of my favorite areas to visit was the least familiar to me: the Montford district. There are sprawling lawns with stately buildings from the early part of last century...I could almost see those bygone days. For years, I have known that Zelda Fitzgerald spent time in Asheville...but today was the first time that I saw the Highland Mental Hospital where she spent her final years.

I think my favorite part, though, was getting to watch the kid's responses. I loved seeing Madeleine's smile. She loved feeling the wind on her face and seeing the next place we were headed. She also fell asleep on my lap just before we stopped for lunch. :)

Nathanael loved his tour sticker (which served as our ticket on and off at stops) and enjoyed finding a paper airplane origami book on one of our stops.

Hadleigh, in true form, pored over the tour map, counting how many stops until lunch and how many until we were back to our starting point. And at the end of our travels, she sweetly shared bites of her peach ice cream cone.

It was a special day...and I highly recommend taking a trolley tour! Such fun!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Day 1: Summer Pastime

Catching fireflies has always seemed to me such a classic and old-fashioned summer activity.

I remember as a little girl chasing down the dusk, fist full of mason jar and eyes aglow with the sparkle of hundreds of tiny lights.

I remember looking forward to sharing this magic with my own children...and yet, I couldn't find many fireflies in Texas and Oklahoma. And those I have found so far in Virginia venture out only once it's quite dark.

So it was on this first day of July, in Asheville, that my children first learned the joy and anticipation of catching (and releasing!) this childhood treasure!


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