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3rd Quarter Art

Here is our family artwork created with ARTistic Pursuits K-3 book 1, quarter 3. We love this curriculum! I put it here so that the kids can feel like they are showing their artwork, and so that I can keep it organized for myself!

Baird, age 4, I also included a few samples of his other drawing and writing as he is growing in leaps and bounds right now!

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Liesel, age 6, I can usually tell which is hers by the princesses and castles 🙂

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Shiloh, age 8

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Aslan, age 9

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And me. I always enjoy our quiet, focused time of art.

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Camping June 2015

Our camping has been sort of hit and miss since the first time we went as a family in 2011. In 2011, we decided to go last minute in mid-September. We bought an 8 person red tent. (Normally I hate the color red, but it was the only one that was the right size. Now that I’ve woken up in that tent with the sun shining through for so many years…the color is actually starting to grow on me!) In 2012 and 2013, the only camp-outs we went on were the planned Gillette family reunion camps at Fort Ebey in September. We always had so much fun that we wanted to camp again, but we found ourselves at the end of camping season! Last year, 2014, it would have been the same, except that we had the wrong dates for the Gillette family campout, and upon arriving on Friday evening with a packed Suburban, we decided to just grab the few things we needed for ‘lone’ camping and head out east to Wagon Wheels Campground in Marblemount. James set the tent up in the dark while I tended to Evolet who was 1 year old and very upset. We had a wonderful time and discovered our favorite camping spot so far on the second night of that trip, walk-in sites at the Newhalem Visitor’s Center. We also still got to go to the Gillette camp out two weeks later.

This year I wanted to make sure that we camped BEFORE September so that we could get a few trips in. Our biggest failure in the past had been lack of planning, so a month or so ago I wrote it on the calendar and started planning food and camping ‘investments’ for the year (this year it was chairs for everyone!). Then, everything started to go wrong… we were sick with a couple of different things at the beginning of this month, and James took 2 days off of work because of that. We decided that he better not take another Friday off for camping. Then, I got bad news about my fasting blood sugar test for pregnancy. My fasting number was high, and I need to monitor at home while keeping a log of my diet and exercise. This has been super stressful and made me wonder if I could camp. Then, when James got home from work on Friday, we found out that less than 2 hours before, camp fires had been banned in all Washington State Parks. We cook over the fire, and consider it at least half of our camping experience! We had planned to camp less than 10 minutes away from our home, making two trips to transport our stuff. We hastily did our research and found that in the National Park we’d camped in last year we could still have camp fires. James expertly packed the Suburban absolutely full with cots, chairs, and firewood on top, and we struck out for a two hour drive, knowing that were racing the sun again. Even though it was a bit stressful, I’m so glad for planning and making it happen despite the obstacles.

We got to camp and picked out a walk-in site. It’s a bit more work to get set up that way, but once we are set up we enjoy the privacy and being separated from our vehicle. We also have some strong, hard-working kids who do an amazing job helping to carry all the stuff! We did all of our unpacking and got our tent up before dusk, but James built the fire and cooked dinner in the dark. We were exhausted and it was late before we got to sleep!

First thing in the morning, no idea how early, Liesel was awake and putting on her coat. She woke me up, and then Evolet woke up.

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Evolet and I talked about the river and bird sounds.

Slowly everyone woke up and somehow I fell back to sleep and James and the kids sneaked out to build a fire and start breakfast. My husband is amazing! He does all the camp cooking, and I just take care of serving and fixing the cold meals. The kids had a blast exploring the campground.


We took a hike to the Visitor’s Center. Ah, air conditioned! There we were able to get some real (though not toxic) mosquito repellent. We explored and then ate a snack and headed back to camp. When we were in the trees, it was fine, but in the direct sunlight was HOT! Compared to the campsites up on the asphalt, ours down by the river was much cooler!


We needed some ice and more firewood, and I wanted to explore Newhalem a bit. We saw the beginning of The Trail of Cedars and the train for kids to explore, but it was too hot. We took a quick excursion to play on a swing set, but then decided that we needed to leave. Everyone was overheating.

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Back at camp… more signs of the beginning of overheating. Wow it was a hot day!  James kept us drinking water and cooling off by the river. So many things to do… and we just couldn’t do them in that heat! I handed the camera to Liesel to take some pictures, and then Baird got a turn. I’m so impressed with how some of the pictures turned out! She directed the staging of the photos with my baby belly and James. You can also see Evolet having a too-tired, too-hot, don’t-want-to-wear-any-of-the-clothes-Mama-packed fit. I couldn’t have taken those pictures, but Liesel sure did a great job capturing it!

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Here is where the camera was handed off to Baird. He struggled to push the button hard enough to take the picture, and to keep his hands steady. Still he got some nice ones!

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After dinner came s’mores! Even though I couldn’t eat any, I clumsily assisted James in making them, and the kids gobbled them up!

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James took care of washing all the dishes and set up a little kitchen for us.


In the evening, there was a sudden rush of warm wind. It was the beginning of a weather change! We put the kids to bed before dark and went to bed shortly afterward. Hot day, but still a great day!

On the last morning, we had another delicious breakfast and started taking down camp. We got our traditional family pictures on a timer. James had the idea to line us all up in our new camping chairs, but poor Shiloh got a bit covered by a branch! We were on the only camera batteries we had, so we didn’t inspect the picture well until we got home.

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All packed up and headed out! What are we going to do next year when Boots is in the 6th seat? Just one last stop for ice cream at Cascadian Farm! I went without the processed sugar and ate some delicious raspberries for Boots’ sake!

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Then, the long trip home… So glad we planned and camped despite the obstacles! Can’t wait to do it again next month!

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…Slings to Pants and Babies to Men

Today I took the first two slings that I made nearly 10 years ago and I turned them into ‘lounge’ pants for my two oldest sons. I now have a collection of slings, and I haven’t used these for at least two babies. And we totally fit the stereotype of always doing our homeschool in pajamas. And my boys are rough and quickly get holes in all their pants….

So I took a ring sling that James mostly used with Aslan I and made a pair of pants for Aslan out of the fabric. I never could quite get the hang of wearing a ring sling of this style.


Aslan, 6 days old


Aslan, 2 weeks old, with James.

I took my first favorite sling, just a 15 foot long piece of fabric tied around me, which I’d used for Aslan, Shiloh, and Liesel, and I made a pair of pants for Shiloh. Now I use a Moby, which I prefer because of the stretchiness and the tapered ends. I still have enough fabric left to make a nice receiving blanket for Boots (the name we’ve given to our baby still in utero).


Aslan, 1 month old, and me.


Aslan, about a month old, and me.


Shiloh, 1 1/2 weeks old in the sling, Aslan 13 months old, and me.


Liesel, 3 weeks old. I ate Chinese take out at home with my husband for our 4th anniversary because she would cry if I tried to put her down. I had to pick rice out of her hair when I was done!


Shiloh and Liesel on top of the sling.

Working with that fabric brought back so many memories of when my big kids were babies! It used to be that I would cling to things to remind me of times in the past. I still do that to some extent, but I’ve been getting better. I’ve been decluttering my house and getting rid of a lot of stuff because we need to live in and enjoy our limited space! “People are more important than things,” I tell myself. It feels good have less stuff weighing me down… though I still have a long way to go. I’m happy to be re-purposing my old slings for a new stage in our life, that of having boys growing into men and needing lots of clothes in the process!

Here are my goofy young warriors now:

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Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

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Lyon Family Butcher Day!

The day really started with James, Aslan, and Shiloh going to our friend’s house to slaughter her hog. It’s a good thing James brought those strapping young men, he says that without them he wouldn’t have been able to get it in the truck! Once they got home the family butchering adventure began!

Touching the hog.

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She’s really questioning the sanity of our family.

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“Mama come save me!”

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I love Liesel’s face in this one! “Yuck!”

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Anatomy lessons.

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I can still smell it!

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Lard making… we should have cut the pieces much smaller.

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The little $4.00 used grinder was the best purchase James could have made!

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Grind, grind, grind…

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Labeling the packages of meat.

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Still going… this is exhausting, all day kind of work!

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Everybody participating! The kids were so good all day. The only thing lacking was that when getting the intestines out, James didn’t blow up the bladder like a balloon for the kids to play with like Pa did in Little House in the Big Woods!

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Yummy snack of peaches after lots of work on no food!

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More grinding. Did I mention that we love the grinder?

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The cracklings. Only Evolet loves them. We burned some and we should have had all the lard pieces cut smaller.

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Our freezer, about a foot deep with just the pork…


…But the biggest reward was over 2 gallons of healthy lard!


This adventure was so different than the butchering we did 3 years ago with all little kids who couldn’t really help. We all had a terrific family day and we really enjoyed working together. Now I’d better go help the others with the clean up that we’re still working on this morning…

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Quarter 2 Art

We are now halfway through our art curriculum for this school year. While I don’t generally like to be super structured with a homeschool curriculum that tells us what to do every single day, I am loving the structure of a weekly art curriculum. We are using ARTistic Pursuits K-3 Book 1. I’m using the blog to store the art for our enjoyment and as an opportunity for the kids to share their work with others as a sort of art show. Each of the kids chose the pieces that they wanted me to include in the blog, and dictated to me any comments or title that they wanted.

Aslan, 9 years old

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Papa, Me and Shiloh fishing

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Our yard

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Evolet picking berries

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The sunset


The Bear

Shiloh, 8 years old


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This is a dragon that woke up from his hibernation and is burning the landscape.

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This is my house

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This is my baby sister, Evolet, eating ice cream.

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This is Papa, me and Aslan fishing.

Liesel, 6 years old


Winged unicorn


Panda in the mirror


The neighbor’s house




The Advent wreath


Me watching a car


Flower in the sun


Evolet camping


Me feeding the birds


A wine glass and cups


Me in the morning light

Baird, age 3. It’s funny that right after the last time I posted a blog with Baird’s work, he quit using only orange! He’s been experimenting with a lot more colors now!


Flying Unicorn Dog

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A treehouse

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A rainbow-y game

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A dark, dark morning

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An orange day

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A thing

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A blue day

And, myself. I love taking some time to be creative with the kids!


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Our church, with a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new memories.

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Since I was a little girl, I’ve hated the color red. In 2011 when we went tent shopping, the right tent for our family just happened to be red. Now, with all the wonderful memories we have of camping as a family and the sun streaming through the red fabric of our tent first thing in the morning, I think the color is beginning to grow on me 🙂

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Special Boxes

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Date night walk on the marina

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A huge green canvas tent that we own also brings back great memories of time in that tent, and the color of the room that I gave birth to Shiloh in.

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It’s such a blessing to spend quality time with my kids. For each family that looks different, but for us Friday afternoon art is something that we all look forward to! We’ve grown a lot too. Art wasn’t always a fun and peaceful time. For a long time, one of my kids would fight any planning that I’d put in to art. It was a long road to the cooperative son that I do art with now, including times when I had to warn him ahead of time of what an appropriate attitude is, and then send him away from the family during art when he resisted any project that I tried to lead. There was a time when I cried about that problem and would shy away from projects because of his resistance, and leading the other kids to resist also. I’m not sure exactly what to attribute the change to, time & maturity, consequences to bad attitudes, using structure and authority outside of myself for a while (art lessons on video or read from a book) or what, but I sure am glad that we are past that time of tears and arguing when it comes to art! I’m glad that we didn’t give up, and he is too. It encourages me to look back on that when thinking about other areas of family life that we are struggling with. It’s a journey! Keep plugging away!

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Thankful for…

It’s been more than a month since the miscarriage now. Thanksgiving Day was the day we had planned to announce the pregnancy (if we’d have made it that long!) I have been doing well most of the time, but I’m still having a good cry every so often. I know life isn’t easy, and I’ve experienced hardship to some extent in circumstances, relationships, and frustrations with myself. I have not experienced it as much as many people that I know or learn about. This is the closest I’ve come to dealing with the death of a person I deeply love. While it is hard for me, I have found so much to be thankful for in the process. I wanted to write out those things before I forget them, as I feel I may already be forgetting! It is so comforting to see bits of God’s grace and care in the little things while I am dealing with a big thing, death, the result of sin on this earth. It gives me hope that in other circumstances in the future, I will still be able to look and see Him and have hope, even as I grieve or struggle.

I’m thankful that when I found out I was going to miscarry, some people knew that I was pregnant. We hadn’t planned on telling anyone, but God placed certain people in our life who specifically asked, and so we told. We were so thankful for those people on that day. Plus, most of them had experienced miscarriage themselves and knew exactly what we were going through.

I’m thankful that it didn’t take long for the miscarriage to start after we knew it was pending. It wasn’t painful or complicated or long. The person who gives birth to 10+ lb babies at home, was terrified of what it would be like. With all the kids home and no desire to send them away or scare them, I’m thankful that they didn’t have to deal with the physical aspect of it as much as many. I’m also thankful that we did not have to wait long with the questions in our minds, “Could the lab tests have been wrong? Could there have been a mistake somewhere?”

I’m thankful for all the tears that my husband and kids shed. They love baby Juniper just like me. I’m so blessed to have them as part of my family. I’m thankful for the little ones’ silliness, since they didn’t understand.

I’m thankful for the blog I had read 2 days prior to the miscarriage. It helped prepare me, and gave me the idea to wrap the little sack I would find for burial.

I’m thankful that my fabric was at home and easily accessible. It had spent months up high in the garage and then at our storage unit. The week before, I had an itch to make a dress for Liesel so I brought it home. I’m thankful that I could easily grab the fabric I wanted to make the burial pouch out of without any hassle while I waited for the miscarriage to start.

I’m thankful that James could come home and be with me on Friday, and that we had the weekend together.

I’m thankful for Facebook and my blog so that I could share with people. Come Saturday evening, I wanted to share before Sunday morning when I would either find myself surround by people at church, or I would isolate myself by staying home.

I’m so thankful that I had to get a blog post done on Saturday so that I would be able to make myself go to church on Sunday. If I had waited an extra day or two, I’m not sure that I would have posted. So often I over-think things and end up not sharing out of fear of judgment. It felt nice to just be vulnerable at a moment when I didn’t have the strength to do anything else.

I’m thankful for comforting words. For the words of the song “All My Tears,” Scriptures that were sent to me, and kind words from family & friends.

I’m thankful for the outpouring of support from our family and church. I did not expect so many people to care so deeply. It’s made me want to be more active in community, and specifically to move closer to our church!

I’m thankful for my 5 kids that I get to be with and cherish.

I’m thankful for my husband who holds me and cries with me still.

I’m thankful that I didn’t become pregnant immediately following the miscarriage so that I could have more time to process everything. I had a rough week of hoping for an early positive pregnancy test but had negatives instead. If/when I am pregnant again I know that I’ll have to work through some new fears. It’s all quite exhausting and I’m glad for a break, knowing where things stand right now! Now we might make moving closer to town a priority before we have another baby… we’re not completely sure.

I’m thankful that in the future I am more equipped to offer support to a person in a similar situation.

I’m thankful to have had the joy of knowing of baby #6, Juniper, even though it was a last minute decision to have another baby so soon. I’d rather be sitting here thinking of the fact that we were excited to be having another, than to not have been pregnant at all.

I’m thankful for new music which marks this season for me. Though I thought it would mean pregnancy to me instead of loss, it hasn’t ruined the music for me. In the future it will remind me of different sorts of changes in my life, as music has a way of reminding me of the past.

I’m thankful for a continued spirit of more vulnerability in me. I can tell in conversations and in how I write that I’m not nearly as fearful as I was. I want to keep growing in that direction, as it’s always a struggle for me. I haven’t had much time to put together a blog with the constant interruptions of kids, but I have started several. (James and I hope to arrange some evenings to give me time to work on that.) I just sense a difference in me that I want to keep working on.

And last, but not least, I’m thankful for Jesus’ death and resurrection which makes the hope of heaven real. Without that, it would be impossible for me to look at death and still find so much to be thankful for.

This list includes so much that I am thankful for. I didn’t write my questions, fears, pain, shortcomings, insecurities, etc, but I’m feeling them very much every day. It is nice (and biblical) to take the time to dwell on those things I am thankful for. There is so much!

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:2-3

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This week I found an old post saved as a draft that I’d never published! I wrote it last December.

The day after James got home from his hunting trip in Eastern Washington in below freezing temperatures, we piled into our Suburban to get a Christmas tree out of the mountains. So that we could combine it with a bit of road grouse hunting, we went back to the area where we had had our only successful hunt of the year. Not very far in, a bobcat bounded across the road in front of us. Only James and I got to see it. It was fun driving with the snow on the ground because we could see all sorts of animal tracks in the snow. James pointed out rabbit tracks, deer tracks, and some sort of large cat track.

When we got up really high and could see the sun shining, everything glittered white. We got out to find our tree in a big clear area with an assortment of small trees. What a biting cold wind! Wow, it was cold, there were tears, kids were clambering to get back in the vehicle. Quickly, we picked a tree just so we could be on our way again. It was basically a twin, two trees growing from the same spot, but it was small enough and easy enough to get to. My fingers about froze off trying to help James secure it to the roof of the Suburban, while trying to protect a baby in the sling and keep myself from slipping on the ice. Yikes! I should have put on the gloves that James offered me. The views were breathtaking, but it was good to get the heater blowing on us again!

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The way back home was an adventure! For the grouse hunt, we went further up the mountain first. At a place where a logging road goes off the the left, there was an obvious drainage problem which left the main road below it a sheet of ice. Our Suburban climbed it but we were left wondering how we would fair on the way back down.

We were headed back home as the sun was going down. When arrived at the sheet of ice, we were a bit nervous. After the sheet, the road turned to the right, with a drop down straight ahead. James started onto the ice but then moved two of our tires off the road to the right so that we could have the traction of the grass and sticks. One would have thought that if the road was a sheet of ice, the ground immediately to the right of it would be solid too, right? Wrong. It was muddy and the passenger side of our vehicle sunk. We made our way near the bottom of the sheet of ice but suddenly the right side was no longer passable and we got stuck trying to get out of the ditch up on to the road again. By now it was rapidly becoming dark. By the light of our headlights and a headlamp on James’ head, James got out with the little saw that he had used to cut down our tree. He started cutting down saplings and throwing saplings, branches, grasses, and rocks under our front passenger wheel. We were both calculating what we had to spend the night in our vehicle, keeping 4 kids and and a 9 month old warm. With a family prayer and nervous hearts, James lurched us out of the ditch, onto the ice, off the ice, and around the corner of solid road. We all breathed a sigh of relief and James stopped the vehicle so we could offer a prayer of thanks. What an adventure! We won’t be going up any more sheets of ice!


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