Tony the Pony Has Arrived!

So last week Brenin told my sister that she was "the coolest." 

A few days later, my sister bought her a horse. 

Sounds healthy, right? 


Introducing, Tony the Pony

Brenin is just mildly elated. 

Tony's been washed, scrubbed, scratched, brushed,
braided, petted, hugged, talked to, sat on, laid on,
ridden, pushed, pulled, kissed and adored. 

We celebrated Bren's 9th birthday with the family at a BBQ joint (her choice).  She received some fancy schmancy cowgirl boots, a new cowgirl hat, her own aviators and a Kindle to carry her millions of books around on.  :)  This Friday she'll celebrate again with her friends at a Spa Sleepover party (hopefully "sleep" being the operative word...pray for me!) 

Spending the whole dang week celebrating my super special 9 year old. 

Gonna be a good one! 


On Snow and Falling

My knees always tremble and hands grip tight to the wheel.  I swallow deeper and think the worst.  Always.   The morning was so fresh and already so long and disappointing, but the week before it harder even, and the month that came first nearly unbearable under the weight.   

My heart wanted to bury itself deep in the bed,
warm and unconsciously brave to the world. 

The little one sniffles and the snow blankets
and the sadness arrives with the sun. 

The bed is so much kinder than it all. 

But already through the panes I can see what He has done.  

Masterpiece of stillness. 

Outlining each. and. every. branch in fine stroke to say, "Look closer.  There's more."

Look here; there is more.  And over there; still more.  To all that you see, more.

And the path whispers in my very soul. 

"Beautiful places are almost always hard to get to." 

I devour every word and carry it like the most loved blanket that smells like home back to the wounded and bleeding parts. 

I stand breathless before the pines and the branches like fine lace and the sorrow and snow and trembling knees. 

My fingers hold fast to the wheel, but the tires are lost to the beauty. 

And I am lost too, but through the pains I see the Master peace. 


We've seen so little of the snow this year, I'd almost forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful it can be.  A while back, I planned a snowshoe outing for our homeschool group, thinking we're SURE to have snow in February (in Wisconsin!), but sure enough we faced changing our plans to a "winter hike" because we had no SNOW!  This is, for certain, the winter that wasn't

So this morning when I woke up and saw the fresh covering and awe.some. beauty that was every. single. tree. in sight, I couldn't WAIT to get out into those woods!  Nature is the wisest counselor, and I just knew being there was important and oh so right. 

Our Guide

Poor Luca wasn't feeling very good but was a real trooper. 

We Northern folk love our evergreens. 
Proof of life in deadness of winter?  Yes, please! 

Fave Fact from the Day:  To determine if you're looking at a red pine or white pine, count the number of needles in a bundle.  The word "white" has 5 letters in it, a a white pine has 5 needles per bundle!

Couldn't have planned the snow better myself...never thought I'd catch myself praying for snow, but there's a first time for everything I guess.  :) 


Our new unit focuses on the character trait of "determination!"  We kicked off with a study of bridges and canals and a super fun bridge day! 

Here we are at an actual canal to do some exploring. 

And of course, always with the camera....can you say "addiction???" 

The Canal

Our super studious bunch....all business, of course. 

The kids got into teams and had to design their own bridges, which we then tested to see whose could hold the most weight and what caused it to fail. 

I absolutely LOVE to see kids thinking and processing this way.  Everyone in this picture is at a different level, but they're all taking valuable insight from the experience that THEY found themselves!  They're not only learning something, but they're also learning how to learn and experiment and seek for themselves...So exciting! 

I recognize these cross beams from the under side of the bridge above!  :) 

Human Suspension Bridge

We even got to make our own walkable suspension bridge outside! 

Side view....this was really fun! 

The kids got to build their own bridge of choice out of a myriad of craft supplies.  Luca chose a tressle bridge and decked it out in full on fancy in true Luca form.  :) 


Brenin chose the arch bridge. 

Culture / Missions Fair & Waterpark Weekend
We had a culture / missions fair at our homeschool group where families who wanted to could come and represent a chosen part of the world and a ministry working there.  Of course, we brought the Ethiopia!  :) 

Let me just say, we have serious love for some Ethiopian cuisine.  Luca I think about ate her weight in doro wat, injera and lentils that day.  Seriously. 

We had a little bit of everything, and my friend Tracy brought her coffee ceremony and some more goodies.  So many memories of our trips came flooding back with the smells of the spices, the items we found, the pictures....it was really fun to "play with everything"  :)  as well as to hear what other neat projects others were supporting around the globe. 

That same weekend, we got to tag along to the Corn & Soy Expo (sounds exciting, I know), which just so happened to be taking place at the loveliest of resorts in a nearby town, which just so happens to own an indoor waterpark the size of Miami (okay, maybe a slight exageration).  ;-)  The girls and I got to participate in some Ag in the Classroom fun and then hit the waterslides. 

Wonders of Physics Show

This was a really neat show put on by the Physics Department at the University in Madison.  A variety of speakers did all sorts of interesting and silly things involving physics.  The kids were mesmorized.

Drop test to test your reflexes

Just waking up the tin man with a Tesla coil....

So much was happening here from exploding hydrogen balloons to geysers to x-rays....quite the show! 

Exploring the physics museum after the show.

Full House
We also added to the population of this 'ol house again, as a friend moved in for the coming months.  He happens to be Kenyan, so we're enjoying the sound of Swahili and as always balancing the joys and challenges of sharing space and doing life with a larger crowd (his 2 kiddos joining some weekends as well).  This house just doesn't seem satisfied until there are not one, but TWO African countries representing!  :)