Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Family Hike Adventures

This is a few weeks old, but while our Sunday afternoon fallout occurs I will pretend that life is always as nice as our recent day trip to the beach.  ;)

Our Saturday family hike took us to Galveston Island State Park this past weekend.

We started by walking along one of the trails on the bay side of the park.

Then we grilled some hot dogs for lunch.

After a 30 minute bathroom/diaper break, we headed over to the beach.

Everyone loved the water except for Jeremiah.  He was quite happy to stay in Claude's arms while the other kids got good and wet.  Of course, we didn't bring the swimsuits because we assumed the Crew would be content digging in the sand.  We did bring along dry clothes and towels, so we weren't wholly unprepared.

As rough and gruff as he is - being a 6-year-old boy, and all - Joshua is quite the romantic.  During our walk and at the beach, he enthusiastically exclaimed, "How beautiful the Gulf of Mexico is!"  Along with crossing the Mississippi River, seeing the Gulf of Mexico tops off Joshua's list of most exciting places to visit.

Out of all the Crew, Abby's reaction to the beach was the most contagious.  She was so incredibly excited that each time the waves rolled up to her feet she took off running and laughing up the beach.  She was truly delighted and even had some other beach-goers laughing with her.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snapshots: Projects, Park, and Pizza

The perfect Friday consists of some cleaning, followed by...

The kids are participating in a Kids' Market next month.

With a little help from Mom, Hannah has been making beaded key chains.
Joshua has been building catapults from craft sticks and rubber bands.  These airplane style catapults are what he will be selling at the Kids' Market.
But he has his own personal catapult made with a plastic spoon to launch pom poms.

Park Day
Park Day is the highlight of the kids' week.

This week Joshua decided it was time for a pizza dough apprentice.  :)

It's not meal time without a couple of trucks on the table.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Library Day

Library Day.  It's exciting for the kids to get new reading material.  It's encouraging for me on particularly crazy days because I know that once we arrive home the house will be quiet for at least one full hour.  Overall it is a winning combination.

The outing itself is becoming stressful enough that I have reconsidered our library habit.  How to tweak it and still get the benefit of a pile of new books every few weeks?  For now we're making do with the current system.  If the Crew grows in numbers (and no, that is not an announcement neither is it a reference to any future announcements) our library days will need to change...we hardly fit through the rows of books as it is.

While at the library, the kids are instructed to follow our "Library Rules".  These rules strongly resemble our "Store Rules" and other general outing rules.  Some trips are more successful than others, as one can expect with a handful of littles in tow.

The "Library Rules" are as follows:

1. Obey Mommy.
2. Stay with the stroller.
3. Books go in the bag.
4. Stop taking books when Mom says so.
5. No tantrums or arguing.

Rachel and Jeremiah are loaded into the double stroller.  Rachel stays in the front and Jeremiah sits in the back where I can open the sunshade, pull it forward a bit, and keep his little hands from grabbing fifty books off of the shelves while we cruise the narrow aisles.  Lately the older kids have picked out a board book or two for him to read while we make our selections.

We usually start out in the picture book section where the kids make a beeline for the Berenstain Bears and Franklin books.  They are each allowed to pick two. Then I look through the a row of picture books and choose some for Abby and Jeremiah.

Now that Joshua and Hannah are reading so well, they are getting into chapter books.  So, we've been stopping by the chapter book section to start getting an idea of what's out there.  I'm here to tell you that finding age-appropriate chapter books for a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old is challenging to say the least.  For now they read the Little House books - which we discovered yesterday have some extras written about Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother and great-grandmother.  Maybe there are more...we'll see.

The favorite section is the non-fiction section.  This time we skipped the animal books and headed straight for the history section.  Joshua found a cool book about wagon trains and early settlers.  It inspired him to wake up this morning and declare this a "beautiful beautiful that it's a great day to wake up, pack the wagon, and move to Wisconsin!"  :)

After braving the self check-out, we arrive home, divvy up the books, and everyone heads to rest time for some reading.  The quiet is like a breath of fresh air!  :)

We have a special shelf in the school room for our library books.  It doesn't always look this nice...

On the shelf I put a piece of painters' tape with the number of books we have and their due date.  This time we have 27 books which is on the high end of normal for us.  This piece of tape enables the kids to count up our books before the next visit to make sure we don't leave any behind.  It also helps me remember what date we must head back to the library.  The three weeks fly by in a hurry and I am almost always surprised that another Library Day is upon us.

If you stop by our house within the first few days of a library trip you are likely to find a lot of little noses in books.  Even during outside play time!

And even little non-reading noses!  :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Snapshots: Bikes, Books, and Black Eyes

The days have been abounding with activity around here.  The kids are outgrowing their shoes, their clothes, and their routines.  Claude and I are just trying to keep up!

 Recently Joshua learned to ride his bike without training wheels.

So, with some beautiful weather we decided to throw the bikes on the bike rack and head out to the park.  Everyone had a great time and declared it the "most funnest day ever".  :)

Abby rode Hannah's bike 1 mile around the lake.  She fell half a dozen times, but each time got right back up and kept on going.  She's got some stamina, that girl!

The backyard is the kids' new favorite play area now that the rain has subsided and our giant puddles have dried up.  This week they have been Asian nomads who stir-fry leaves and twigs and ride dromedary camels.

On the nomad theme...
Last week I overheard a disagreement in the backyard.  Someone (probably Joshua) took something (her tricycle?) from Abby.  She was upset, to say the least.  Through her tears she shouted, "You don't care about me!  You think I'm just a wandering nomad!"

This was before all of the nomad play.  I was quite surprised that a 3-year-old even knew the word nomad, let along the definition!

When they aren't nomads, I can usually find them lounging in their camping chairs reading a good book.  The Little House on the Prairie books are their current fascination.  Even Rachel likes to read eat them!

In the last two days, both Abby and Jeremiah have given themselves black eyes.  At their worst, both were worse than these pictures.  Abby's is fresh from last night, so she's looking pretty beat up this morning.  Jer's is nearly healed.

Of course, there is a lot more going on than riding bikes, reading books, and acquiring black eye.

Joshua and Hannah are wrapping up their second year of homeschooling.  As they finish each subject their workload decreases and their motivation skyrockets.  We have some changes for next year (which really starts in June or July) that I hope to share on here...if time permits!

Abby is learning to read.  She's a few steps away, but is spelling some basic words.  At this very moment she is saying, "How do you spell your name? A-B-B-Y!  A-B-B-Y!"

Jeremiah is talking up a storm.  Mostly, "No! Don't!"  But he also says color, poop in there, I want, more, water, car, truck, and probably 100+ other words that we don't fully understand.

And Rachel is flying through her infancy...okay, so not literally flying.  But she is rolling over , starting to sleep long stretches at night, and chewing anything she can get in her mouth.  This week we have been waiting for her to poop.  I know...TMI here...  But it's been 5 days.  I'm a little scared of how extensive the mess will be.  Earlier this week I was joking that she'll wait until we are at the park on Friday afternoon.  She likes to have blow-outs when we're out.  It's Friday morning and there are no signs of a poop.  So, I'm armed and ready for the worst later today...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Common Core Standards

This is a link to a documentary put out by the HSLDA about the adoption of Common Core standards, as a foreigner this is frightening to see what is happening to this country and how it is abandoning not only it's Christian roots but what has made it so unique and innovative and what drew myself and many other foreigners to want to live here:

Or another link if you can't get to it from there:

God bless,