Friday, February 4, 2011

back in 1840

It was a pleasure joining Catherine and her 3rd grade class as they spent a school day at Brattonsville Academy, a school that Dr. Bratton started for his daughters back in the early to mid 1800's. The children recited a poem, practiced writing, learned about quill pens and how to write with one, did math on a slate board and reviewed the geography of South Carolina as it was in 1840. Once they completed their work, they enjoyed playing outside... games fitting to "back then." After playtime and using the privy (or out house), the children ate lunch: a ham biscuit, apple, dill pickle, milk and a cookie... served to them wrapped up in a towel and placed in a little basket. They finished up their day with making butter and doing a little dancing outside. Catherine really enjoyed the experience and found so much about it intriguing... it was a different sort of school day for sure... different in good way!

Having experienced a school day like it would've been "back then"... I continue to ponder if that would have been a good fit for me. As I observed what was being taught and what was expected of the children, like the way they had to stand while answering questions and speak in complete sentences, there was so much about it that drew me in. I thought a lot about why I, and so much of our society, has bought into the belief that we have to teach our children so much, so early. It seemed to me, as I watched and listened, the focus was more on speaking properly, using appropriate manners in a respectful way, and doing what you did well. It came across as a much simpler time, though I know it was "hard" and had it's own set of challenges. Certain things about that time continue to break my heart... especially the use of slaves and the way they were treated. But I find so much about it appealing. I think it's a craving in me to peal back all the layers of complexity I've allowed to creep into my life, often due to giving way to pressures from this "world," and find simplicity. Determine what is truly best for Brian, Me and our children - our family... be sure that what we determine is best is in alignment with God's desires for us. Though I feel we do a fairly decent job of not over-committing, there are still things at home we allow to eat up and complicate our time... often related to technology (it's beneficial but harmful, too), and for me, not using my time wisely. There in lies the challenge... how to edit such things so they are balanced in my life. And within an edited life, embracing what it offers as to enjoy the simplicity rather than allowing the ways of the world to steal the very joy that a simple life offers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time for tea...

beautiful and proper

wearing a pretty dress that belonged to me when I was a little girl

Mary Scott and Mommy

time for a tea party!

Mary Scott thought the tables were so pretty

ready for 9 little ladies and their dollies


enjoying the tea party

yummy snacks

Mary Scott and "Lily Anne", one of her Bitty Twins she got for her birthday

a spot for the birthday girl

decorating straw hats for the dollies

"Lily Anne" wearing her lovely hat

the little roses added a nice touch

will you join me for a cup of tea?

one of the cutest little "friends" at the tea party

We celebrated Mary Scott's 5th birthday this past Saturday and had a delightful time. I enjoyed every minute of it, even the planning and preparation. It was my first time giving a tea party, and somehow it just captured me. The days leading up to it, Mary Scott became more and more excited and kept saying, "Mommy, I'm so excited about my tea party! How many more days?" Her anticipation sure made every bit of my effort worth it.

When Saturday finally arrived and the tables were set, the food was out and the candles were lit, we were thrilled to welcome our first guests. As each precious little friend came in, we started one of our crafts: decorating a straw hat for their dolly (or whatever they brought). Once all the dollies were dressed in their beautiful hats, the little ladies gathered around the table for snacks and "tea." The girls were so sweet and well mannered. After finishing their tea and singing Happy Birthday to Mary Scott, it was off to the craft table again to make tissue paper flowers. We finished up our time together with a lesson on setting the table.

It truly was a wonderful time. Mary Scott kept a beautiful smile on her face and seemed to have so much fun. Of course, Brian was pitching in and helping all along the way, and Benjamin and Catherine were wonderful helpers, too. We appreciated our friend Ashlyn helping with the crafts and all the moms, too. I'm so thankful it all went wonderfully, and most of all, I'm thankful Mary Scott felt loved and celebrated.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

a weekend at the farm

We always enjoy getting down to the farm where I grew up. The children could spend all day playing and wondering around outside... free from the constraints of city life. Soaking up family time, riding the four-wheeler, hunting, taking down deer stands and celebrating Mary Scott's upcoming birthday made the weekend especially enjoyable. It always seems the time goes by too quickly!

Mimi playing with the grandchildren

Uncle Casey getting the 4-wheeler all gassed up

nephew and cousin, Abrahm

nephew and cousin, Ezra

Catherine and "Ezzy"

Mary Scott ready for a trailer ride

we were excited to have Brian's parents, aka Nana & Popa, join us at the farm

Brian's little sister, Katie Beth joined us too... fun!

three generations

Mary Scott giving Nanny some sparkle!

three generations again

we celebrated Mary Scott's upcoming birthday with a cake

Anna's not to sure about Benjamin and all his hunting gear

Benjamin and CJ, nephew and cousin, heading out to deer hunt