Weekly Wishes: W4

Last week's wishes:
  1. Go see the lights in the park and have a trolley ridewe did drive around town though!
  2. make Christmas cookies.
  3. Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.
  4. go sledding, if we get proper conditions again
This week's wishes: (I did a recap of our year earlier today)
  1. have a home cooked meal each night.  Why is this so hard to accomplish now-a-days!?
  2. write down some larger goals for the new year/months ahead
  3. get to the library to get school books.  Vacation ends next Monday!  boo.
  4. exercise in some way shape or for each and every day this week.

The Nectar Collective

2013: Year in Review

Our year in Review:
(we're west word blog for a reason, here.  lol)


We started the year so strong.  We were two months in with regular exercise and a very healthy diet of mostly fresh vegetables and fruit.  We felt amazing.  Then ... after a series of unfortunate events, for me, I quit it all.  And I so miss how I felt at the start of the year!!  Clear mind, abundance of positive energy, a fit body, an active family.

One "unfortunate event" that threw a wrench in my life:  Coconut.  I've known for a long time I was allergic, but it's always been mostly avoidable and manageable.  But this month was the month it hit me hard.  The end of this month brought on a month long period of sickness and inability to maintain running, regularly, due to being so incredibly uncomfortable and sick.  I never realized just how much coconut has "invaded" foods and toiletries.   The good news is, I mostly have it under control now.

Fave Jan pics:


February we found ourselves doing our first official run.  It was about -13.  Fahrenheit.  But we did it!  Staying warm wasn't the issue, it was the actual breathing in the cold dry air that did me in.  Duh moment:  I had a mask, I just forgot to raise it up over my mouth once we began.

I allowed myself to be discouraged that the race triggering my asthma.   However, we still were running often and eating like champs.

Fave Feb pics:


March found us getting out more as a family - which just feels amazing after having a baby with many sleepless nights and short visits into society.

Fitness wise - failing.  I pretty much took a month long break to have myself a pity party after a "slap in the face" comment from an acquaintance asking if I was pregnant again.  I so shouldn't have taken offense.  But I did.  4 months of hard hard work and weight-wise - I was well within normal range.  I was feeling great.  But I have a diastasis recti - separation of the abdomen muscles.  So I really do look like I could be pregnant, and shouldn't have taken offense. 

This month had one of my all time fave Connor quotes:  "Mom? I want to love my brother always. Just... forever. .... I want to love him because he's just .... because he looks at me and smiles and kisses my blankie and I love him."

Fave march photos:


Yet another addition into my "unfortunate events".  I severely injured my legs after aggressively throwing myself back into running in an attempt to swing myself out of my pity party.  Such attitude.  Need to work on that.  It caused me to miss a race I had signed up for and had worked hard to achieve.  And this month ends my attempts on staying fit, for the rest of the year I meet nothing but verbal discouragement and throw in the towel, of which I regret now.  However, looking back ... this month I started to suspect I'm a "highly sensitive person".  The quiz I found online brought many laughs to Al and I.  ;)

Our baby girl had her first hair cut this month.

This month Connor really got into joining us for runs, at his pace of course.


Such a busy month.  Baby showers.  Bridal showers.  Home renos.  So much driving.  So much fun.  Family.

My shyness got a work out this month and next.  This month I was asked to photograph a shower and also to photograph a church event.

Fave family moments of May:


Oh sweet sweet June.  I could talk all day on June.  But I won't.

Weddings.  Beaches.  Backyard pools.  Camping.  Family.  Backyard bonfires.  Birthdays.  Memories to last a lifetime.

And again I had the honor to be a photographer.  For my own "baby" brother's wedding!  What a blessing.

(but funny enough, the one picture I decide to share - namely because it doesn't show their faces on my public blog - my sister took, not me.  However, I did instruct her just what to do and what settings ... as I nursed my baby.  lol)


As amazing as our June was, July was just as good and just as busy.  Sidewalk chalk dates with our little lady.  More backyard kiddie pools.  More beaches.  Neighborhood flowers and weeds picked by a sweet loving boy.  Camping.  Visiting family that lives too far away.  And spontaneous day trip to Niagara with the best friend of my life.


August summed up could be:  family.  Or maybe staycations.  Adventure.

We spent so much time together, just the 5 of us, this month.  So many amazing and spontaneous day trips where we'd find the best hidden parks.  And ice cream.  So much ice cream.

This month marked the very first time Connor has ever enjoyed a "real" pool.  A huge milestone for him - he's always feared pools, greatly. (other than the kiddie ones).

This month also held baby's first hair cut.  Tissues, please!

The biggest milestone this month - 10 years married!  Cheers!

I said earlier I stopped making attempts to be fit.  And I guess it's true for just me, alone.  But I see we did stay active as a family.


We had many walks this month, as family, to parks around our community.  Leaving just after dinner and not coming back home until sunset.

We were full steam ahead for school.  And role playing.  Learning and life.

This month was a month of celebration.  Huge milestones.  1 yr old for baby.  Grandparents celebrated 60 years of marriage.  Grandpa celebrates 80 years.  Going home for this family reunion and party was the hardest thing I've ever done.  By going home I knew I'd have to also leave, and leaving was what was the hardest thing ever in my entire life.  See, my Grandma, she was just newly diagnosed with lung cancer and this was before her treatment was to begin.  Living so far away, knowing the next time I'd see her she'd be changed with chemo, or sickness, or worse.  Too look her in the eye and say our goodbye "until next spring" (they winter in FL) without becoming a complete hysterical mess.  This month was a bittersweet month.  The party was amazing.  Seeing family was amazing.  Time spent with Grandma, irreplaceable. 

So thankful for time.

Spoiler alert:  3 months in and she's doing amazing.  Grandma, you are my hero.  I love you so much.  Changed or unchanged, sick or healthy, I love you.

Our family has been through so much heartache and worry this year.  Most of which I haven't shared.  Worry over babies that might not survive the night (they did!).  Worry over Uncle who might not live (he did!).  Worry over Grandma.  Nothing short of God's good grace has kept us all together.  We are truly blessed.


Field trips.  School fun and extracurricular activities.  Walks in parks.  Halloween time fun.

This month I ventured into horse photography.  So fun!  (but no pictures shared here)  So thankful for the opportunity.



Lots of field trips this month.  Underground Railroad, museums, zoo.  And lots of winter time naps, apparently, for the littlest.  lol.


This month is a month of beauty.  Ice Storm 2013 brought destruction and heartache for so many ... and beauty.  We were left stranded at home for Christmas, but that is okay.  I am in awe of December's beauty.  For a week we lived in a different world.  A world that had crystal trees that sparkled in the sunlight.  Connor was/is convinced the movie "Frozen" has come true.

Looking back on this year, I see so much fun.  Memories to last a lifetime.  Love.  Beauty.  Joy.  Growth.  Family.  I am in love with our 2013 year.  I can't wait to see what 2014 will bring us.  All the best to each and everyone of you in the new year, and thanks for sticking with me for my "wordy" recap. 

Family, friends, we love you.  Thank you for being a part of our lives.


Weekly Wishes: W3

This week I played around with my iPhone's macro attachment lens.  And attempted to capture snowflakes.  How I wish I could afford a real macro lens for a real camera!  Surely, when I win the lotto.  First step:  actually play the lotto?

and also?  check out this nature happening right now:

Last week's wishes:
  1. wrap presents.  
  2. get outside with the kids.  and even on my own!
  3. sweep the floor nightly.  Not every single night, but most.  I even managed to mop!
  4. relax
This week's wishes:
  1. Go see the lights in the park and have a trolley ride.
  2. make Christmas cookies.
  3. Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.
  4. go sledding, if we get proper conditions again.

The Nectar Collective

The Clown of God {FIAR}

This post contains affiliate links, which means I might receive 4% if you make a purchase using these links.  Affiliate links will be shown with an asterisk (*) beforehand, to clarify.

with  Five in a Row {FIAR}

Bible Study:  {humble; Proverbs 27:2}
"Our founder, Brother Francis, says that everything sings of the glory of God.  Why, even your juggling," said one of the brothers.  That's well and good for men like you, but I only juggle to make people laugh and applaud," Givovanni said."It's the same thing, the brothers said.  "If you give happiness to people, you give glory to God as well." -from the Clown of God
Social Studies/Geography:  {Italy; Italian culture}
  • we read *Spotlight on Italy
  • we located Italy on our wall map
  • Connor painted a flag of Italy

Language Arts:  {Italian;  letter J; hooked on phonics}
  • Connor matched up vocab words from the FIAR fold-n-learn for Clown of God 
  • we learned some Italian words with the fold-n-learn, then used them throughout the week in place of English.
  • preschoolJ is for Juggler!
    • We read "the Circus Alphabet" - adorably illustrated (unique!!) abc book
    • Raising Rockstars Preschool Letter J and letter U for the booklet:  we.
    • Juggler word maker from Circus Pack
  • for our regular 1st grade curriculum, we use *Hooked-On-Phonics.  We've used this program for 3 yrs, (starting when Connor was just 3), and I just love the improvements and changes they've made.  There's fun extras to go along with each lesson.  This week we are working on -nk and -nt.  Once Connor completed the lesson he worked on drawing a Tank Car.  Connor just loves these drawing lessons, remembering and talking fondly of the ones we've done in the past each time we do a new one.
Science:  {cooking; aging; hearts}
  • we made Italian sausage soup and stained glass cookies (recipe in the FIAR fold&learn).  The kids hammered "glass" (lifesavers) while I made up the dough.

Math:  {early multiplication; circus themed math}
  • We worked on grouping eggplants, courtesy of the FIAR fold-n-learn
  • Connor did Circus Math roll and tally.  It took a bit of explaining over and over and over before he started.  But once he got it he went nuts throwing the block around the room.  At the end (he guessed right- lion!) he says, "I liked that!  Can I do it again!?

  • we read "Italy's great artists" in *Spotlight on Italy , then talked a bit of the renaissance.  Next we read *Katie and the Mona Lisa.  It is a wonderful way to expose kids to some historical art!  Connor read this often on his own, throughout the week.
  • Both Connor and Emma drew/colored clowns and marker-dotted juggling balls
  • Connor did a Path of Life pencil drawing - really super idea, check out the link!
  • Giovanni ate a bowl of soup at the market.  We made Silly Soups via Alex Toys while our real soup was cooking.

  • Stained glass Christmas Trees via KinderKraze
  • Juggling Monkey Craft at Learn Create Love.  I just love the nose we glued on.  It was an apple for a wooden play set my mom found at the thrift store.  Upside down - it makes a fantastic clown nose.

We have a clown pencil drawing hanging in Emma's room, that used to hang in her Daddy's childhood bedroom.  I pointed it out this week.  She looked at it like she'd just noticed it for the first time.   lol.

  • Sometimes I'll buy a small toy to go along with our row.  This week I got the kids a *Playmobil Clown.

For fun we had read *The Juggling Pug.  So when Connor asked what the extra pieces were, for the playmobil clown, I said ... "It's the juggling pug of course!  He's pooping on the rug!", which of course sent him into a fit of giggles.

playmobil circus

  • We made homemade playdough.  Giovanni style.  Playdough is always a huge hit in our home.

I told Connor, after the week was finished, that we were now officially on a 3 week break.  He wasted no time in putting on a Santa hat, a robe (to be a Santa coat), and thru in Polar Express on the DVD player.  He's not excited at all

Linking up with:

Delightful Learning 
 The Homeschool Village

Next up:  *Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (after a Christmas break)

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