Author Archives: theuprightbaby

About theuprightbaby

Christian, mom, wife. Read the blog to learn the rest.

Daily by God’s grace we go.

By God’s grace, we are settling in for the evening. It is really by His grace we do every day, but today, I feel it powefully… and humbly.

This morning we set out for nature study at a local state park. Three moms, 10 children and great expectations. There was a glitch, though. A strange man tried to join us, and after being aggressive in attitude, he tried, unsuccessfully, to assault another mother. Overall group response was poor (you can’t ignore bad guys in the woods, things get really bad), but suffice it to say that some strong words, backed by the Holy Spirit, and the man retreated long enough for us to get in our cars and flee.

Ranger reports completed, we stopped long enough to realize what had happened. It became apparent that man was lying in wait to harm someone, and he targeted us. Ten minutes into the woods and we’d have been unable to flee. Lives would have been changed forever. We are blessed to put our little ones in bed safe tonight.

And I am left wondering…what is it I fear day in and day out, when God Himself has delivered us?

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:13-15

Polyphemus caterpillars

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One of the young men in our nature study/co-op group found a female Polyphemus moth. Within the plastic takeout box he’d brought her to his mother in, she laid many eggs. So after she was released, the boy’s mother gave me the box with the eggs. They can be seen in the lower right hand corner of this photo.

Learning that the eggs were to hatch in 10 days (if fertilized), and that today had been 10 days, I took the box to one of the maple trees in our yard and attached it, open, with rubber bands to a low branch. We noticed some leaves had been munched- and there were tiny caterpillars! They seem to be enjoying themselves and we have enjoyed watching them. Hoping we get a Polyphemus moth in our yard next year 🙂

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Kids Clothes Week, Day 4

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For Kids Clothes Week, day 4, I made this hat for baby girl. She really needs to wear a hat along with a long sleeved swim shirt if she’s going to spend a day on the beach for sun protection.

I used McCall’s 6762 View A for the pattern. I measured her head and selected a size S, as her head is was 19″. That didn’t work very well. It was much too small. So I let out all the seams to 1/4″ seam allowances, as I’d assumed they were meant to be 5/8″. Maybe I’d missed something as size small was not 19″ when sewn at 5/8″. Oh, well. It fits now, and I think its cute. The crown is a little too tall for her, if I make another, I’ll shorten it by 1/2″.

Its of the same fabric as her swim shorts, made for KCW, day 3. As a polyester, it won’t hold much moisture, which makes it a good choice for “swimming” [read: splashing in the shallows and persistent attempted pebble eating, possibly just to make Grandma panic repeatedly].

I selected a contrasting fabric for the lining. As a conservative, its almost too wild for me.

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To finish up, here’s a photo of my babe with the swim shorts I made yesterday (hurray- she’s got a complete girly swim outfit now- no more Thomas the Tank Engine and extended family gathering at the lake house forgetting our newest family member is a GIRL). She was not very interested in modeling today, so this is the best photo I’ve got. They are more becoming on her when she’s not smooshing her back against the couch in attempt to get farther from the camera.

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Hope you’re enjoying KCW as much as I am 🙂

What are you growing?

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The first time I tried weeding my tiny carrot seedlings I quickly learned that they were easily uprooted when the more vigorous weed roots were pulled out disrupting of the soil. The result of my weeding labor was the complete removal of tiny carrot plants. When I was finished, there was a row without weeds, but also without carrot plants. I tried to replant the tiny carrots, but they never took, wilted, and then died. If I had left it as it was, come October, I would have worked really hard to produce an empty plot of earth. Not exactly a fruitful endeavor. So, next year, I waited until the carrot plants were bigger, more established, and I gently and carefully pulled out the weeds, a few at a time, until the row was growing only (mostly) what I wanted it to be growing.

The interesting part of this tale is that one day I realized that parenting is very much like gardening. If I vigorously remove the weeds (undesirable characteristics) from my children’s lives while they are very young, the process is likely to uproot the qualities I am attempting to “grow”. Once the desirable qualities are well established, it is safer to begin working out the undesirable, still very gently and carefully. What exactly am I trying to say? Harshly disciplining out the problems in our very young children disrupts the growth of their talents and character qualities. This matters because I don’t want the October of their lives to come around and for there to be rows of empty dirt. It would be rather like the servant who buried his one talent in Matthew 25:14-29 and upon his master’s return was chastised for wasting that talent instead of using it. It would be a waste of my parenting effort, and a waste of their potential to produce something great for the LORD.

The weedless rows might look nice to the momentary onlookers who pass by my garden though. Those rows might produce accolades from fellow parents.

This is where the trouble comes in. I’d better keep in mind what kind of fruit I’m trying to produce with every task I undertake- gardening, parenting or otherwise. If I’m after carrots, I’d better let them establish before I weed them. If I’m after weedlessness, I had better get out those weeds as soon as possible, regardless of the carrots, or anything else that’s growing.

Whether I am heading up a children’s program at church or discipling my own children, I had better fix my eyes on the growth of those little people toward the Son (Christ), rather than the approval of others.

“… whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Cor 10:31b

Kids Clothes Week, Days 2+3

Yesterday was a tough day to get much sewing done for Kids Clothes Week. Yet, today I am pressing on 😉 Here’s the swim shorts I made for baby girl.

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Swim shorts for a baby girl? Yes! She is very fair and for long days by the lake with Grandparents (there’s the traveling theme again!), we have found protective clothing to be superior to sunscreens. Note the long sleeved swim shirt. I intend to make her a matching sun hat for this outfit, if fabric and time permit. She is not modeling her new pieces today as she is napping- which is why I am blogging! And my poor husband will be doing the dishes tonight 😦 since this is how I am spending nap time.

I chose tutti frutti for these swim shorts because polyester doesn’t hold much water, so it will dry really quickly, and they won’t be super heavy when wet. The little lady selected the little bird print herself. The thick waistband is to help them stay up and prevent tummy show, while the back rise is significantly longer, and the backwaist is elasticized, both to provide coverage and movement. They’re a modification of the PJ shorts pattern from day 1. I trimmed down the casing allowance (so the shorts themselves end at the part of her tummy where her pants usually rest + added seam allowance), created a wide waistband (which will sit higher on her tummy than usual) and trimmed about 1/2″ off the width of each leg (so she won’t have so much extra fabric to weigh her down when wet).

I also revisited that pajama top from day 1 as well. I decided to make her a second one, which fits better. I completed the modifications I mentioned in the day 1 post. It was very quick sewing, and I will try to include a pattern and a tutorial here on the blog in the next few weeks as it may be something other seamstresses might enjoy.

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Kids Clothes Week, Day 1

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This is my first time sewing along for Kids Clothes Week. Here’s what I made today- a pair of summer jammies for the tiny girl. I wanted her to have something cooler and cuter than a onesie to wear to Grandma’s lake house while all the family is visiting this summer. That fits the “traveling” theme, right?

I used fabric from my mom’s stash, that she brought to me. It is likely 100% polyester, not ideal, but it should be cool anyway. I love the design, but I wish I’d made the top smaller. I plan to reuse the shorts pattern later this week; they are already a modification of a pants pattern I drafted earlier this year for her. She’s a tough tiny to fit, and I am satisfied with this pattern, though it isn’t perfect. If I had time, I’d modify the top by replacing the straps with narrower ones, take in the elastic 1/2″ across the bodice front and back, and lower the casing about 1/2″. Next time I sew a top like this I will also put the bias tape around the arm holes before I stitch the casing across the bodice front and back. Don’t know I didn’t this time…

I look forward to tomorrow’s project and seeing what everyone else is making 🙂

The divergence begins here.

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I don’t want the standard of our education to be how closely it resembles Charlotte Mason’s, but instead how closely it resembles the Christian life described in scripture.

Why am I saying this? Among my CM circle, as I suspect in many CM circles (exemplified by the 3 bizillion CM blogs), there seems to be a strong drive to be ever more Mason-ish, even competitively so.

Point #1: Volume 6, chapter 10 section I. Miss Mason describes in this section her method for instructing children in the Bible. This method is distinctively different from her method for other subjects; in other subjects she aims to connect the child directly to the mind of the author by not inserting, disrupting or adding to a work. This contrasts with her method for teaching the Bible where she inserts commentaries and word pictures before reading scripture to children. The author I am most interested in connecting my children to is God Himself.

Beyond CM’s recommendation, commentaries must be utilized with care as all human works contain errors which can not add to God’s perfect work. The commentaries Miss Mason advises, from which her examples were given, are full of errors! The example errors are particularly disturbing because they invalidate the completeness and sufficiency, of scripture. The questions regarding Genesis 3 on pg 163, which are to be read to a student, are presented as though they are unaswerable, when in fact, the answers are clearly within scripture itself (Heb 11:4 is one obvious answer). If a student is presented with these questions from the vantage that they are unanswerable, then the inerrant nature of scripture appears negated.

Another type of error included in examples is the addition of information not included in scripture. The Philistines, on pg 162, were described as stupid, among other erroneous assumptions. While this is not only inaccurate, it also devalues the significance of what the Israelites were truly up against.

A historical query turns up that Miss Mason’s Anglican background firmly held to the need for commentaries in order for laypersons to understand scripture, and she dutifully held to this in her curriculum, despite its apparent deviation from her other ideas. This flatly disappoints me, though it is excusable from her perspective and respect for authority; it is not excusable to dismiss this error when we apply the CM education to our own students.

Here, we (finally) arrive at my purpose. Miss Mason was human. Her methods can not be accepted without critical thinking. It is unwise to accept and apply anyone’s philosophy without testing it against scripture. When we become so willing to apply something that we refuse to consider the failings, our motives come into question. I come back to the goals my husband and I established for our homeschool and I can clearly see why I need to reject Miss Mason’s method for Bible instruction.

In case you wonder what I do instead, I read scripture directly, and have my students narrate each portion we read. I also complete a study of the geographical area with mapwork, often on a different day because my children are so young. This is principally her method for teaching other subjects. Soooo…what I do instead is not really very dramatic. The drama seems to come from my CM group over my rejection of one of CM’s methods.

What about you? Do you think a CM education is all or nothing, or must it be critically applied?