Friday, November 30, 2012


Matthew's latest creative craze was mask-making. He did a few animals, and then he hit on super heroes and went wild. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine. I took a picture of his first attempt at the Hulk, teasing him that he looked more like Frankenstein. He didn't know who Frankenstein was, so I showed him a picture, whereupon he pointed out that Frankenstein does not have an angry, open Hulk grimace, and Matthew's mask clearly does. So you can be the judge:
Do I stand corrected?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Field Trips

We had three fun school outings this month. The first was to the Sackler Gallery, one of the Asian art museums at the Smithsonian. My friend Maria organized this trip for a small group of families who are studying ancient history this year. I never would have thought to take littles to this place, but what a great idea it turned out to be!

I left Esme with Nana, and Meg, Matthew, Graham and I braved the Metro. (All of these pics are from my little flip-phone, so I apologize for the quality.)
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We made our way to the museum and met up with our docents. They split our group into two and whisked us off for our magical mystery tour through ancient Asian artifacts. Our docent did a super job with the kids (even our wiggly and distracting Matthew man, who required a little patience at the beginning). She had them search for the faces in these ceremonial vessels.

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She let them hold this bronze pot so they could see how heavy it was.
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She showed them this chimera, guardian of an ancient tomb.
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This one too... yikes. I'd stay out of the tomb if I thought this guy would be after me.
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She had them gallop like this horse.
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She led them in examining a roomful of Iranian pitchers...
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...and then helped them create their own!
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I was quite surprised by what a great trip this was even for very young children. Bravo to the Smithsonian and its employees for making their treasures and knowledge so accessible to all, and kudos to Maria for her educational sleuthing!

Okay, second field trip, to the Living Classroom at Glen Echo Park, where we learned about animal habitats: this trip was planned by our beloved Mrs. Apple. We started the morning in this nifty room, which had some very cool play spaces, as well as various tanks and cages...

The kids got to meet this gal:

I have chills just looking at these pictures. I'm not exactly a wuss about spiders, but tarantulas are in a class by themselves...

You can't see it very well, but in this picture the lady is showing the little hollow log where the tarantula lives. We learned that she catches her prey by lining the inside of the log with her sticky silk and waiting for something to get stuck within. Neat trick for someone who's too heavy to spin a web.

This critter was much more to my taste (and the taste of many of the kids).

The admiration was not necessarily mutual; when the kids got too noisy, the bunny took off for a far corner of the room and hid behind the turtle tank, forcing her keeper to go through some interesting contortions to find and extract her. Fortunately, Meg still had the chance to pet her.

Matthew too.

(Matthew recently started sucking on his fingers. Normal for a five-year old???)

I have no pics of this part, but we concluded our morning by going on an outdoor scavenger hunt and looking for animal habitats of all kinds out in the woods and by the creek.

Our third and final field trip for the month was to a local Chick-Fil-A restaurant. Matthew was sick and stayed home, but Meg got to learn a bit about the history of the franchise and then go into the kitchen and see how they make all that yummy chicken. Meg tells me (I did not get to hear this personally), that it takes 48 hours to thaw a boneless chicken filet for a sandwich, and only four minutes to cook it. We also learned that there is a designated Chick-Fil-A employee who does nothing but slice fresh Sunkist lemons for an hour each morning, to get a head start on all of the lemonade (just lemons, water and sugar!) the store will sell that day. Of course, what Meg was most psyched about was the mini Ice Dream cone she got at the end of her tour. (Can't blame her. Dessert at 10:00 a.m.? Sign me up!)

We are so very blessed to have such a great community of home schoolers around us and to get to have so many fun and diverse adventures with them. We look forward to many more exciting trips later this school year...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The evening of Black Friday we spent by my parents' fire place, enjoying the first blaze of the season.


The kids roasted marshmallows, then settled in for a story.


Jacqua read Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Metaxes. What a lovely picture book and refreshing retelling of the first Thanksgiving.



Our little Indians were getting kinda tuckered after their two days of celebrating together, so this was a nice way to wind down.



If there's any nicer way to relax than a fire and a good book, it's probably a fire, a good book, and being near the people you love.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Few of My Thankfullest Things

Our Thanksgiving celebration was on the smaller side this year--only Dad, Mom, Lena, Jacque, Asher, David, me, and the seven kids. We missed being with our more extended family, but we had a great time even so.

"Black" Friday was a pretty bright affair for the Nalle clan. We spent the first part of the day at a park to play off our Thanksgiving calories. It was a gorgeous November morning with some of my richest blessings...

The humblest, warmest-hearted, most serving lady I know,

My precious Daddy and Lean,

Dear Jacqua playing velcro-catch...

...with our big girl,




A little Rosebud...

...and her daddy,





Boys great and small,






Judah, future linebacker,


Big, squisha-squish cheeks,

These two bein' all lovey,

Getting to mother my littlest baby blessing

(who would only look at the camera for one shot),

my favorite women all in one place,

my family together, enjoying God's creation.