Natasha’s First Story

So Natasha’s English curriculum guided her through writing a “personal story” paper, and I coached her.  She did the steps over a couple days.

Listing topics

This was actually traumatic because she knew what she wanted to write about and I still wanted her to write at least one more thing down.  She doesn’t like writing any more than I did at her age, so I’m always looking for functional reasons for her to write to get a bit more practice.

Picking one (Check.), making a list of things to mention in the story, and then deciding the order of presintation of the list. Then she was supposed to write, self-check/revise and then rewrite it.

I added the steps of telling me before she wrote her first draft because (as a storyteller, and knowing how discouraging the physical mechanics of writing can be) I wanted this oppertunity to stay wonderful.

It was wonderful. Somewhere between making the list and deciding what order the things should be presented in she realised she was preparing to write a story.  Like Mama writes stories.

And her motivation was so high it was adorable and a delight.  When she got to the writing stage she sometimes had to ask how to spell words. I’d help her sound things out (unless they were sight-words.  Then I just told her), and before the end she was sounding out her own words.  And feeling GREAT about that, too.

Every sentence was a triumph, and after each one she had to stop to read me the whole piece from the beginning.

There were so many fun things coming out of her mouth I kept tweeting them, so here’s the train in 140 characters or less:

  • So excited! I’m coaching my oldest through her first writing project. “1st draft. Just get the words down- ideally where they make sense.”
  • Me: Good use of commas. N: What are commas? (The power of good reading and writing-play.)
  • Me:The little curly things after the names. What do you think they’re for? N: They’re like *ands* only… not.
  • Thank you Daddy for taking us to that rocket launch. This is so great. N (singing): This is so fun! This is so fun! I’m writing a *story!*

After we went over her first draft she rewrote it, and this is her final product.

At 1:00 AM, January 28, we went to a rocket launch. I went with Mom, Dad, Melody, and Elisha. At 1:40 AM, the rocket launched and it made a big light on the horizon. When the rocket got into the sky it made a big BOOMing noise. Then we went home and went to bed.

The End.

Kitchen’s together.

It only took a month, but my kitchen floor is now clear of boxes and cupboard doors so I can (tomorrow) scrub my kitchen floor for the first time.

I’m not a keep-it-clean-enough-to-eat-off-the-floor type, but in my old house I was much more relaxed about my kids eating that raisin or M&M that fell on the floor, or putting on the table that clean cup that fell out of the cupboard.

Not here.

Anything touches this God-knows-what’s-been-on-it floor and it’s tossed or washed at once.

I expect we’ll keep it up (this floor gives no illusions of cleanliness) but it’ll feel good to have things done for once.


In other news, Jay’s gone under the house and learned a lot about how things are plumbed. The important thing to keep in mind after his discoveries is that we shouldn’t wash clothes when it’s colder than -20 (F).  The pipes under the house stay open because the furnace is blowing hot air under there, but when it gets really cold that’s not reliably effective.

Jay says his big house project this summer will be pulling the siding off this house and adding a vapor barrier. There’s lots of insulation on this place, but it’s essentially a filter for the heat coming out, not preventative enough.

He’s also decided to insulate the shed and pour a concrete floor in to make it a combined barn/garage with heat fueled by the same tank that fuels the house.


A few of the ideas so far in the long-term projects:

  • Start chickens and raspberry bushes this summer (my main goal)
  • Maybe a kid goat (if our friend’s Saanen kids a doe)
  • Maybe meat rabbits
  • If we do meat rabbits, we’ll also get a few angora rabbits (for their fur) becasue the girls want to have pet rabbits too, and I’ve been getting back into handspinning.
  • If we are feeling especially adventurous we might get a few ducks/geese as well.  I think some of this will depend on how close the pond feels in the summer.

And of course all of this depends on the house selling.  We’ve had some nibbles and a few showings.  People are positive, but without an offer we’re still in limbo.

Definitely welcome your prayers in that area.