Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review : Jaeger Style Part I

If pictures are worth a thousand words, I am certainly over my limit. I have been trying to write my annual year-end letter, looking at the calendar and pictures and journals and reflecting. It was been overwhelming to capture in a one-page letter format. Here is a beginning with some of our photos. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Day in the Life

Crazy idea boy with lots of duct tape meets boy with no fear.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Company Girl Coffee

I linked up today with Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary for some company girl coffee because 'talking' (or blogging) with women and drinking coffee are two of my favorite things. If you're interested joining us, link on over either HERE or HERE to read and share Christmas memories.

Enjoy! Kathleen

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here and I didn't really have anything to do with it. Oh, perhaps you could say I had one teeny-tiny thing to do with it. You must not blink, though, or you just might miss it.

While I was scrubbing the bathroom floor (on a Sunday afternoon), I could hear my husband strum a guitar. He was playing some music while he waited. I didn't know he was waiting for me. He didn't know I was cleaning.

(I don't usually work at all on Sundays much less start deep-cleaning projects so why I felt compelled to get on my hands and knees to scour the bathroom tile is hard to say -- except that it was WAY over due and that I had folks coming over on Monday. But, I didn't really remember that I had company coming before I started disinfecting. At some point the dirt simply screams to be eliminated and I oblige. But I digress.)

So, while I am scrubbing the bathroom tile, the Hubby finally comes to find me instead of just waiting. He asks if I want to set up the Christmas tree. I say, "Sure."

And that was the extent of my involvement.
That is all I did. I said, "Sure."

This is a true statement.

The Hubby and Sweet Number Three -- who is nine -- brought all the boxes down from the attic. Then, while the Hubby and I were discussing where to displace the trunk that lives in the corner so that we could put the tree in the same spot as last year, the Youngest ran by us and said in a loud voice, "Don't look in the living room or the dining room."

Hmmmm. Could they really do this all by themselves? The Youngest came by again, delivering the same message, "Don't look in the living or dining room."

But the Hubby, who has always been in charge of setting up the tree, had had to modify the tree last year. He needed to go help. He couldn't just let them do it. (He is not, by the way, a control freak. He just wanted to prevent Disasters of Much Greater Harder Work for us later on.) He walked to the living room. The Twelve-Year-Old First Born Son said, "You made a diagram last year, dad. It's clear. I'm following your instructions."

They had moved the trunk from the corner. This capable young man, who builds all-of-the-time, was doing just fine. They were all working together, pleasantly. The Firstborn said, "We'll do this. Put your feet up. "

And so we did.

The Hubby made popcorn. I made hot cocoa. We sat down on the couch, drank cocoa, ate popcorn, and watched the children do all the decorating, including the lights. After we sipped our last sip, we drifted off to a quick cat-nap.

I was thrilled because I had wanted a nap and I wasn't really up for decorating the house. (Though I had been up for scrubbing bathroom tile? As the Hubby said when he found me cleaning on a Sunday afternoon, "You are a strange creature.") But things are a-changing around here. The children really are helpful and able to do. And I was able to nap.

So on Sunday: The children set-up the tree, the nativity scene, the outdoor lights, and the various Christmas knick-knacks around the house. The Hubby strummed a little guitar. I removed the dirt from the bathroom and kitchen floor. (The kitchen floor mopping came after the Christmas decorations and before the movie.) The Hubby & I took naps. We all watched Prince Caspian, which I had checked out from the library. (Which was another first, by the way, because usually the DVDs from the library are so scratched up they simply just do NOT play.)

Life is changing around here. It's not all bad. Actually, it is quite good and it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Giving Away Her Hair

Once upon a time there was a young lady who had beautiful long hair.

She decided to cut off 8 inches and give it to another child who needs it. She has done this once before. She had long hair, cut it off, grew it out, and now she is cutting it off again.

Her hair sure grows fast.
This is the second time she has undergone this transformation. And it wasn't that long ago that she did this.

Here it is the big cut and the beautiful girl who now has beautiful short hair.
The hair is different, the same lovely lady underneath.

This transformation actually took place in early July.
She wanted me to post this on the blog and here I am getting around to it;
her hair is longer now but at least she isn't ready for another donation!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It 'tis the season to be thankful. We had our Thanksgiving service on Sunday where the congregation was encouraged to give thanks unto the Lord. I was convicted to stop and count my blessings more often. In response to that conviction, here is a sampling of things I'm thankful for, in no particular order:

I am thankful for the folks who have come into town for Thanksgiving this year and that we get to have an unexpected mini-reunion.

I am thankful for my health and the health of my family.

I am thankful for kindred spirits.

I am thankful to have been there for a loving vigil and for all the people there: my family, his family, and their friends that are now like family. (You'll need to read this and this to catch a tidbit of understanding.)

I am thankful for the firstborn's baptism in early March.

I am thankful for friends who have come to visit us in Tennessee this year.

I am thankful that I met my husband in college and that we have 21 years of memories -- 17 of which have been married years, and 12 of those as parents.

I am thankful our house stayed on dry ground during the Historic Flooding.

I am thankful for the Teacher's Lounge.

I am thankful for my in-laws (and that they relocated to a warm place such as Tennessee since I followed hubby here (before he was hubby) who had moved "home." I had wanted to move away from The Winter for a long time.)

I am thankful for the Word of God.

I am thankful we finally built The Treehouse (photos and a post is coming soon...stay tuned).

I am thankful for my children. (All five of them. Several years ago, I miscarried one when I was twelve weeks along. I wouldn't trade the lessons I learned through the sorrow of that time.)

I am thankful for a church of no pretenses.

I am thankful for books and fresh paper and ink.

I am thankful that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

I am thankful for new bedroom furniture and a beautiful hand-made quilt.

I am thankful for the Body of Christ.

I am thankful for blessings in disguise.

I am thankful that this does not have to be a complete list of everything that I have ever been thankful for before I post it because this surely is not a comprehensive list.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. . ..remember the wonders He has done, His miracles. . . " Psalm 105: 1,2 & 5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It was only $4.35

It was only four dollars and thirty-five cents. And yet tears sprang to my eyes.

It was a quick and unexpected action. She reached over my water glass and said... something. But, it was loud in the restaurant so I couldn't hear her. We'd both had hash browns for breakfast so I thought she was checking to see if our tickets had been switched on accident.

But she said, "I'm getting this today. You need a break." She was paying for my small breakfast.

I had enough in my purse to pay the ticket. But, truth be told: every penny helps. Because it has been four months since my husband last worked.

It was more than just the money. I had enough for today. My friend has been going through difficulties herself. Her son was ill and they're still determining all of the side effects. But she saw past her own troubles and saw into a small thing that she could do for me -- a thoughtful, caring gesture: to pay for the weekly breakfast cost at an early morning Bible study.

It was only $4.35. And tears came to my eyes because it meant so much.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Mark on the Door

I have tucked all my children into their beds. There are no cribs here anymore. I threw away the diaper bag more than a year ago. The step-stool by the bathroom sink has been set aside because they can all reach the faucet "flat-footed."

And, now, for the first time I can say, "My youngest is five."

I have had other five-year-olds in my house (three to be exact) but they were never the youngest. There was always a younger sibling. Up until now motherhood for me has been defined by nursing & naps, sippy cups & child's silverware, playgrounds & interrupted conversations.

It didn't really happen in one moment this change from babies to children. They grow gradually. And that is precisely why it is hard to see the growth. So, every once in awhile I back them against the door: heels on the floor, head straight & a pencil line. They step aside. We measure and date the mark and see how much they grew this year.

This turning of five for my last-born is like a mark on the door of my motherhood. One day he was four, and now he is five. Though it didn't happen suddenly, it seems that one minute ago I had babies and now I don't.

I'm not sure how I got here. But I do know that this is the first time in twelve years that I have ever said, "My youngest is five."

Things have changed. And I'm stopping to notice this mark on the door of my heart.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friendship & Forts

Our friends were here. And they took this photo of their daughter coming down out of our new tree fort. (Our personal favorite of all the photos.)

Instead of traveling to MN for our annual summer vacation, we stayed home and hubby built a fort. Well, we didn't stay home to build a fort -- per se -- but to make the savings last as long as possible. But the fort would not have been built had we gone on a long road trek & kept at the usual bluster working-schooling-every-day-plus-every-minute-of-every-weekend-filled pace. Fort building has been a stress reliever for hubby during his job quest. Friends coming to visit refreshed all of us.

Our friends stayed with us for three days.

Warm sunny days and cool nights with friends that made it a priority to visit us. I mean really visit: to simply hang out and BE with us. With whatever we were doing or needed to do. Just so very delightful. And filled my love tank very much. We had long lingering conversations. Children that played well together (no tears until that last night!). We roasted s'mores and the four girls had a sleep-over in the tent in the backyard. (It rained a little in the morning. They were troopers and enjoyed running around the yard despite the chilliness.)

Their seven year old taught the whole lot of ours how to sew. My nine-year-old is thrilled! I did not realize that she had been yearning to sew!

After the sewing lessons, they mended clothes that had been on my to-mend-pile for quite some time. Who knew? It had never occurred to me to show them how to sew on a button or to mend a tear in one of their favorite pieces of clothing and thereby helping me to get rid of that stack! They mended their own stuff. In record time (except that it had been sitting around for a long time and some of which no longer fit them! Does that make it record time?) Sometimes it takes a seven-year-old to help you out.

The men went running. The women walking. We went out to eat Mexican. The adults ate ice-cream after the children went to bed. We delivered a meal to a friend that just had a baby. They read tons of the books on my shelves. How fun to have some folks devour books quicker than I do on subjects that I enjoy. It really couldn't get much better than all this!

Thanks friends.

I hope everyone will enjoy such a dose of 'being' time as we did this fall break.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sailing on a Sea of Saturdays

We've been sailing on a Sea of Saturdays since mid-July. There have been some becalmed seas and a few rough patches. But for the most part it has been sunny, smooth sailing.

This Sea, this Sea of Saturdays, what is this sea of which I speak? It is the Unemployed Life. And Why a Sea of Saturdays? Because for days and days and days on end (or at least so it seemed) as we'd round the bend toward evening, we'd think, "Okay, now who still needs a bath before church tomorrow? "And then we'd realize, "Oh,'s not Saturday. It just seems like Saturday because Daddy has been home the whole day. Again." Sigh.

Now, we've graduated from thinking every day is Saturday to trying to remember it's the night to Take The Garbage To The Curb. Who knew that this could be such a difficult thing? Not I! We haven't got our bearings. And so. we are only getting the garbage out to the curb every other week.

Oh, to find our bearings on this Uncertain Sea of Saturdays is not found in asking these questions: Where will we land? How long will it take to get there? How many storms will we go through? They only lead to...well...Uncertainty.

Even though I would rather not be here and am eagerly looking forward to stretching my land legs on some job ashore, I do know that there is One Who is Certain about the future. It is He Who Has Been Providing for us for 171/2 years on land and for 3 months at sea. Things are Uncertain but He is not.

So while we wait to hear "Land Ho," I'm wishing you & yours:

Happy Sailing,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Link for You

I read today in Edie's blog, a post that I wish that I had written myself. Though I have never been a doctor or in any kind of profession that garnered respect simply because of the position, I totally resonated with the whole post.

May it encourage you as well. Go HERE to read "What Homeschooling Has Taught Me About Myself. "


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cheery thoughts on a rainy day

Spring flower offerings from my lovely offspring.

Encouragement comes from unexpected places at times. A few days ago I read these lines:
Mrs. Kelly was stout and gentle. She was like a large anxious dove. She was different from Betsy's mother who was slim and red-headed and gay. Betsy's mother knew how to scold as well as to laugh and sing. But Tacy's mother never scolded.
from Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
These matter of fact descriptions about two different mothers cheered my heart about my own mothering. Good mothers come in different shapes and sizes. They look different. Some are gentle, anxious, non-scolding mothers. And some scold but also laugh and sing.

I asked my daughter which mother I was like and she said Betsy's mother. And it helped me embrace some of my mothering strengths -- laughing and singing. And not to stress so much about the scolding that I do. I prefer not to scold and am working on that. But it doesn't negate the strengths.

I thought what cheered me may cheer some of you. Enjoy!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

This must decrease , so that That can increase

Build relationships over the phone or in person. Use the computer to transmit information. Spend more time outside. These are some of the nuggets I've been pondering due to at least two women: Rachelle Gardner's post about her vacation and Elizabeth Foss' post that answered a question about Time Spent Online over here.

These posts resonated deeply within me and also the Carole Joy Seid conference that I attended two weeks ago. They have helped me to consider what I really want to be about. I've been thinking about how much time I really want to spend blogging. I've aspired to post 4-5 times per week. But that has never even remotely happened.

I thought creating a blog would help me write more often. Perhaps it has on occasion. But I'm not truly focusing on writing, which is a desire. At times, the computer seems to be a greater distraction to writing (there are so many cool things to read & look at here on this world wide web!) than a help.

And so as I consider how to spend more time with these guys:

...and manage time at the computer, I'll be posting less than I was.

I know, I know it is hard to imagine even less postings from me OR spending more time with the children that I home school... . Nevertheless, I want to officially declare to the blog world that is is my plan to decrease my amount of entries. It is intentional to do less and yet not eliminate it entirely.

If you know me, call me and let's do coffee. Or come & over and we'll linger & laugh over a meal. And then just maybe, I'll post your picture here (as long as that's okay with you). Less time on the computer, more time face to face.


p. s. The flowers are all from our yard and are pictures taken by me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Carole Joy Seid Inspires Again

My new friend Hope, Carole Joy Seid & me

Last Saturday, hubby & I went to hear Carole Joy Seid speak for the 'many-nth' time. (I'm not sure just how many times we have heard her.) We brought along some friends who hadn't listened to her before. They went away as refreshed as we did. Hearing again, "Read, read, read to the children; take them outside; and bake cakes with them" resonated deeply within the heart of Kip & I. It is more than a way to home school; it is a way of living.

We have implemented many of her recommendations. We have decorated with books. The highlight of our day is Reading With Daddy. We have purchased real tools for the children. We have turned off the TV and most media (at least for them). We try to praise them for their work ethic and character. (I always need reminding to do lots more of this.)

We still have more things to work on especially spending more time outside and just being comfortable in nature. (Even though we all enjoy the outdoors, I find it difficult to go outside much. Part of it lately has been how hot it has been -- whew!) .

Even though hubby recently lost his job, we were able to purchase some new books. What a huge unexpected treat! Not only are we watching each and every dime that goes out the door (let's make those savings last as long as possible), this was also the first time in a few years where there have been any books left to purchase. Most of the time the books have been sold out before the seminar has started.

In addition to books, we also brought home two Seeds CDs. (The kids were so excited about this. If you haven't listened yet, go and listen HERE. You'll be blessed.) I must confess we were somewhat persuaded by the quote, "Wear the old coat. Buy the new book." We bought these books: The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter, Stephen Foster And his Little Dog Tray by Opal Wheeler, and Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth.

I am hoping to do more nature walks and simply observe outdoors in our yard during this school year. We have already begun! Just today, we had a big snapping turtle in our creek. We verified it in our field guide. We tried to get it into a bucket. We watched it swim away and then speculated on where it's hiding. I'm thankful for our yard that has such outdoorsy, woodsy kind of atmosphere right here in the middle of the city. It is possible to go right outside our door & enjoy nature. That's good news! May we keep it up all year long -- actually, may we keep it up all of our lives long.


Click HERE for the link to Carole Joy Seid's website, but I will warn you there is not content from her seminars but mostly a schedule of where & when. You can get a little flavor of her speaking on the radio interview and hear her style.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our School Room

Our school room is the dining room, the same room in which we eat all of our meals. It is a simple approach. A college friend of mine (for those that knew us in college: it was Jinna) encouraged me that we didn't need a special school room to educate our children at home. I love the look of school rooms and having wall space to put up things we're learning about or projects we've done. But because it is a central room of the house, I don't put up much school stuff to look at (unless you count the wall of books in one corner that you can see HERE .) Even so, this space works for us.

A chair at our dining room table is the place our students spend most of their time at our school.

The big windows in the dining room provide lots of natural light and a view of the stray cats and dogs from the neighborhood, some birds and butterflies, the mail carrier putting mail in the mailbox, the changing weather, and other children walking home from school.

The hard part about schooling at the dining room table is that this is also where we eat. At times it is a hassle to clear the table to eat and then start again. But to compensate I often read at lunch time before we've cleaned up the lunch mess.

When the kids are working independently, one or two will scoot off to their rooms or another area of the house so that "they can concentrate." And this is the evidence that is often left behind that readers have been here. We also read in the living room. And the highlight of the day is the evening book that Daddy reads in the living room. In the winter, everyone gets nice and cozy to listen up.

Do you have a special place that you school? Want to see how others do it? Jump on over to the Not Back to School Blog Hop to be inspired.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Books, Books and More Books

McGooger Academy will launch its 2010-2011 school year on August 23rd with the theme of Books, Books, and More Books. I loosely follow the 'Carole Joy Seid' method which combines the best of Charlotte Mason, Dorothy & Raymond Moore, and a little bit of classical methodology. This translates into math, nature exploration, chores, time to create, some writing and MUCH reading (i.e. on their own, read-alouds by mom, read-alouds by dad, and some group reading out loud to each other and to their youngest brother).

My main plan is to use already purchased curriculum but not yet finished. Some of the books I hope to dent heavily:
* Considering God's Creation
* English From the Roots Up, Vol. I
by Lundquist
* A Child's History of the World by Virgil M. Hillyer
* Five In a Row Vol. 1
(for the pre-K student but all will enjoy, I'm sure),
* Emma Serl's Language Lessons (Both Primary & Intermediate depending on which student)
* Catherine Vos' The Child's Story Bible,
* Life of Fred: Fractions

* Making Math Meaningful
by David Quine (three different levels),
* Drawing with Children
by Mona Brooks
* Creating Books with Children
by Valerie Bendt (oh.. to finish this project! it is up first!)

Additional items:
** nature & field trip notebooks (they draw a picture & write a bit (varies based on age of the child) about our nature walk or field trip)
** global puzzle, Rummy Roots, math games (Yahtzee, cribbage, muggins)
** AWANA handbooks
** sign language class
**Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie Bendt (for further ideas, just in case (gasp!) I finish all this and need more to do!!)

And we'll read, read and read some more some great books. I'm sure there are more books that I want us to cover for there are many on our shelves and those of the library that we would like to read. But this looks like a good place to start.

May we be encouraged to walk out the path before us.

With joy & peace,

p.s. For more curriculum choices look at Heart of the Matter Online's Not Back to School Blog Hop and with Angie at Bring the Rain. I found these links through Edie's blog at lifeingrace.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Camp, Change, Loss and Being in the Moment

I didn't mean to stay away so long. The kids & I went away to camp for a week. We loved it. And I thought I would return to blogging right away. Wrong! My husband stayed home to job hunt. After 17 1/2 years at the same company, he was laid off the week before we went to camp. (Yes, it was a surprise! But not so much as he looked back.) So we've been doing a lot of reassessing, thinking, talking and reminding ourselves that it is not Saturday.

After camp, we attended two funerals (older women-- one from our new church and one from our old church) and mourned the loss of Grandma and Grandpa's dog who also died while we were away at camp. Our hearts have endured much loss in the past year: this was the fourth and fifth funeral we have attended in eight months, plus two pets (our cat & our grandparent's dog) and daddy's job loss.

All of our losses reminded me of this verse, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that comes from God and is by faith." Philippians 3:8-9. Now it is a little out of context, but it helped me gain perspective on all that God is doing in our lives and the character formation that I am seeing in all of us. And that we still have so much to be thankful for.

In other news, I have been pondering this post at Rachelle Gardner's blog about her vacation and unplugging and being there in the moment. While I was away at camp, I did not miss for one second the lack of a computer. I was there in the moment working hard, playing hard & sleeping hard. But when I got home, I've been drawn to the computer (although I am having to share it more with a job-seeking hubby). I want all of life to be more in the moment. Being there with these four kids in the here & the now while they are still here under my roof.

So in addition to life changes and lots of activity, I'm pondering how much I want to be blogging. Haven't decided, yet. But the slower activity on my blog (not that I have ever posted at a rate that I'm aiming for.. .sigh...) is due to all these things. And I thought someone out there might like to know.


p.s. We've been experiencing much peace in the job loss/hunt and much love & encouragement & support from friends and family.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'll be on my way

Hello friends,
I will be out of pocket for over a week & will resume bloggy posts a week from Monday.

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." I Peter 5: 10-11


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An Uncle, A Flood & Other May/June Highlights

May 1 & 2: Flooding of Historic Proportions

May 4: Dance Recital

May 7: Visit with Friend from Croatia

May 9: Mother's Day with home-made cards & breakfast in bed

In honor of An Uncle: May 16th
(our lives interrupted from May 13-June 2nd)

My husband trekked to & from Minnesota solo with four children for the funeral & visitation of our brother-in-law/uncle. Inspired by the photo boards at the visitation, Assistant Mom suggested imitating the pose of a photo of their uncle with Babe the Big Blue Ox of Paul Bunyan fame.

June 13: Piano Acquisition

Culmination of a Great Baseball Season (late February-mid June):
Sportsmanship & All-star Awards June 19 Award Ceremony

Friends who came to visit. June 19-20

Everyday drama & fun that happens at our house.

Jaeger Cousin Lollapalooza: June 24-30
7 great kids + 6 over-90-degree Tennessee days =
memories of a lifetime

Good readers make good story-tellers


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