Funny Kids

January 3rd, 2013 by Rachel

I drafted this post a few weeks ago, but forgot about it.
The kids had us in stitches last weekend with all the hilarious things they were saying. The bigger two participated in their first race. While they have attended several races to cheer on Mom and Dad, this was their first to run in. They surprised me with how well they did on the 1.2 mile course. I hoped and prayed that they would finish it without giving up halfway, and they did!

Sugar refused to let Thomas run with her, and opted to run with a friend of hers and his daddy. Afterward, she boasted about not needing a daddy to run with like her friend did, but I pointed out that she just used her friend’s daddy instead of her own. Her friend’s daddy relayed some of their conversation along the run:

Sugar: I just had to wear my hair in a ponytail this morning or else I would have hair all in my face. You can’t run with hair all in your face! You can’t see where you are going!

Later, Sugar: I am going to need a bath after this! Running makes you sweaty and stinky like a hamster. Hamsters stink and I am going to smell like a hamster! (I have no idea where this came from!)

While explaining to Bud about Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy, Bud failed to see the significance of the event. Finally he said, “If the trophy isn’t made of solid gold, I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Thomas and I got all dressed up to go to his company’s Christmas party. I bent down to tell Sugar good-bye while she patted my hair, dress and jewelry.
Me: I love you, Sugar.
Sugar: I love your earrings.

December in Our Home

January 2nd, 2013 by Rachel

We upgraded to a new camera after a Black Friday sale we couldn’t resist. Our old camera was purchased before we got married, and the quality of pictures has steadily declined. (I blame the children.) This month, we took twice as many pictures as we took in any other month. Of course, December is full of picture-taking opportunities, but still… this post has a lot of pictures. Click on any to enlarge them.

We went on several nature walks during the first part of December when the weather was gorgeous. We have been learning about plants and classifications of living things, and the kids have really enjoyed the nature walks. Bud was determined to catch a butterfly, but found lots of caterpillars instead.

The kids also ran in their first race, a one mile kid’s race as part of the BCS Marathon. They both finished and had a blast, though training for it had its highs and lows.

December was full of parties–end of CC semester party, a CC review day party, our PE co-op Christmas party, Thomas’ company’s Christmas party, and Christmas celebrations with my mom, Woody and siblings, my dad, Gigi, and sister, Thomas’ parents, and our little family on Christmas day. Whew! We also drove through Santa’s Wonderland one night (Speedy sat in the drivers seat and had a blast), and we walked through Christmas at the Creek one night. While visiting my mom, we spent a morning in Tyler catching up with our friends, the Eylers. (It was so much fun to see you guys!)

Christmas with kids is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed seeing them soak up more about the meaning of Christmas–God with us. Our tree was typical of one with a toddler in the house, no ornaments on the bottom three feet, though Speedy was often found standing on one of the presents he drug out from under the tree in order to be able to reach an ornament.

We also harvested a measly crop of sweet potatoes (we didn’t water enough), and have had lots of broccoli and lettuce. Did I mention we got a new camera and took a ton of pictures?

November in Our Home

January 2nd, 2013 by Rachel

I am a little behind, but at least my pictures are organized on the computer by month. November was a busy month for our family with homeschooling, Classical Conversations, gymnastics, and starting a new Bradley series. I also taught a breastfeeding class at the crisis pregnancy center. Bud also started Upward basketball, and Thomas jumped in to coach his team. They are enjoying that special time together, and Thomas is learning how to coach six to eight year olds with limited basketball experience.

We spent a lot of time outside this month enjoying cooler temperatures.

We made a trip to Hamilton to visit Thomas’ parents. There was a benefit for the fire department, and the kids enjoyed climbing all over some of the fire trucks. We had fun walking around the square.

I cut 11 inches off my hair, and I love it!

Newborn got married to Sam with Thomas officiating the wedding. As you can see by the picture, he had a really hard time keeping a straight face while saying things like, “Newborn, do you take Sam…”

We spent a Saturday at the Brazos Valley Worldfest. With a huge amount of International students at A&M, there were many countries represented. The kids enjoyed learning more about countries they have learned about with our geography lessons at home and their CC memory work. Sugar was amazed by the fancy dresses, and we all had fun with the food.

Thomas built a bike rack for the garage. This has been helpful in preventing the pile of bikes that has been growing over the years.

A sweet friend of ours got married, and we all had a blast at her wedding.

We celebrated cooler weather by roasting marshmallows in the backyard.

We spent Thanksgiving here with several friends coming over. There were 10 adults and 9 children, and more than enough food. Once again, we bought a smoked turkey from C&J’s bbq, which was delicious. We had a great time, and were so happy to spend time with lots of friends, but I didn’t get any pictures.

Pumpkin Patch Pictures

November 20th, 2012 by Rachel

We made our annual trek to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins for the kids to paint. Speedy had a blast trying to lift all the “balls” and succeeded in rolling several off the pallets. You will notice is mouth saying “ball” in many of these pictures.

October in Our Home

November 20th, 2012 by Rachel

Wow, I got really behind on the blog, but I want to keep these going as a digital scrapbook of sorts. We had a busy, fun-filled month in October. We enjoyed a nice, long rain at the end of September (yes, I know, the pictures were still on the camera when I did my September post). The big kids and I also went to see our community theater’s performance of The Music Man. It was a great production, and the kids loved it and begged to go see it again and again. One of my someday-dreams is for our family to perform in a musical together. Wouldn’t that be a blast?

We hosted a block party in our driveway for National Night Out. We have done this before, but we decided to go all out this year and we rented a bounce house and grilled burgers for everyone. We have amazing neighbors who are all very friendly, so it was a great time. The only pictures I got were of the kids in the bounce house before everyone arrived. I was too busy chasing Speedy to get any other pictures.

In celebration of cooler temperatures, we roasted marshmallows and made smores, and we picked out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. Speedy tried to haul around all of the “balls”. We also planted our fall garden of lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.

We did a lot of school, enjoyed our Classical Conversations community, lived it up in our PE co-op, went on a few field trips, and I took the kids with me to vote.

Bud and Thomas joined some of their favorite guys and boys for their annual Boys Only camping trip. It was the day we got a serious cold front, and they got to camp out with temperatures in the upper 30s. Sugar and I put Speedy to bed and painted our nails, made ourselves a treat, and watched Cinderella together. This is Bud all packed and ready to go.

At the end of the month, our polo-playing neighbors invited us to watch them play polo in a benefit match. It was a beautiful day, and we all had a great time watching our neighbor score the one and only point. Speedy thought the horses were dogs and kept panting at them, and all the kids lived it up in the bounce house between rounds.

October Field Trips

October 27th, 2012 by Rachel

We were able to go on two field trips this month. I’m not sure if that is what you call them if you are homeschooling, but you understand.

Our first trip was to Washington on the Brazos for one of their homeschool days. It was a wonderful trip, and I highly recommend it. Speedy stayed home with Thomas which made the experience much more enjoyable.

First, one of the ladies that works in the museum talked to the kids about life for pioneer children who were early settlers in Texas. They were able to see different tools, chores, clothes and toys from that era. We made a few simple toys together, and then we toured the museum before enjoying a picnic lunch outside.

In the afternoon  and during their outback adventure , the kids got a tour of the Barrington Farms portion of the museum. First, there was the tour of the pioneer house and time to do some of the chores–feeding chickens, carrying water, and washing rags in a bucket with a washboard and then hanging them on the clothesline. Sugar loved the “laundry”.

Afterward, we got to see the farm side with pigs, turkeys, cotton plants and lots of dried corn.

We got to see the slave quarters and compare them to the house. They were exhausted by the time we were done, and Sugar was out of smiles.

Last week, we went on a tour of the air traffic control tower at our local airport with our PE co-op. We also got to sit in a little airplane and look at other planes in the hangar. The kids enjoyed it, and Speedy learned the sign for airplane after watching a plane takeoff on the runway nearby.

This was my favorite picture of the trip.

September in Our Home

October 5th, 2012 by Rachel

September was a whirlwind of a month for us with our Classical Conversations group starting back for the year. I am tutoring Bud’s class which is a lot of fun and sugar is in a big kid class, too. Our PE Co-op also began, thus homeschooling is going full-force. We started reading Story of the World about ancient times. We even made some little caveman wall paintings.

Thomas spent a week in Canada for work. It was our first week of CC and PE, but we survived! To help pass the time, we did fun things like getting yogurt in the afternoon.

Thomas celebrated another birthday. He is still a kid at heart, as you can see. The kids were really sweet and put together a whole shoe box of presents for him–stickers, their favorite crayons, pencils, drawings galore. It was really sweet.

We had dinner with some of our international student friends. They took us to a Korean restaurant (they aren’t Korean), and we had a lot of fun trying new foods and catching up about our summers.

We enjoyed the cooler weather and ate dinner outside one night until the mosquitoes drove us inside.

Thomas and Bud built a bird feeder in the backyard. The kids planted many of the sunflower seeds in their sand toys and many have sprouted. The feeder attracted a cardinal several times, but now the seeds have been consumed by a squirrel, hanging from the branch by his tail.

Sugar built a high chair for her baby, who enjoyed some scrambled eggs one morning.

August in Our Home

September 5th, 2012 by Rachel

I have done a much better job documenting some of our bigger events in August (the Supercinskiad, Speedy’s birthday, my new pull-up bar), so this is light on pictures.

August seemed to fly by as we spent many days at the pool and hanging out with friends. I felt like I finally mastered our summer routine: park after breakfast before it is too hot, home for Speedy’s nap and school with Bud and Sugar, errand or trip to the pool, home for lunch and more naps, hang out or errands until dinner and bedtime. Sugar is swimming really well these days and loves to dive into the pool. She can swim at least 10 yards to me, then take a breath and head back to the wall. She likes to pretend to be Missy Franklin, and Bud holds a noodle in front of her as she swims to be the world record line.

I spent the last few weeks of August easing into our transition back to full-time school. I continued math, reading and spelling a few days a week during the summer so that Bud wouldn’t forget everything, and I just recently added science back into the mix. The kids have had a blast with science, and I am really happy that I started early to cover the extra lessons we wouldn’t need later in the year. We made some molds of pawprints and the kids pretended to be scientists for a day in their museum. We observed animals at two local pet stores, charting the invertebrates and vertebrates we saw, and we bought two sea snails to join our goldfish, and we have a gigantic bowl of mealworm larvae living on our kitchen counter. Fun times!

Thanks to the Maid2Match service I was able to free myself up and I spent much of my free time while the kids were sleeping working on lessons plans for the class I am tutoring at Classical Conversations this year and our at-home lessons plans for the fall semester. I really enjoy all the filing, copying, binder-making and such that goes along with this time. The Olympics were a nice time to get stuff done.

We said good-bye to some of our dear friends who moved at the end of August. I am sad to see them go as they have been sweet homeschooling friends.

We also enjoyed a birthday party with another friend who introduced Bud to the wonders of Wii dancing games. He was really good at it, too.

The garden is empty except for sweet potatoes. We are planning our fall garden and looking forward to fresh lettuce again.

I wrapped up another Bradley series of 15 total couples (!!!) and I am thoroughly enjoying a break before the next series begins.

A New Year of Homeschooling

August 28th, 2012 by Rachel

Bud is starting first grade, and Sugar is doing a little more school this year than the last two years where she basically played and colored. This is what is on our plates for this year:

Reading/Phonics – All About Reading Pre-Level 1 – We have been working in this for a few weeks now, and it is very appropriate for her reading level. We are working on letter recognition, sounds and handwriting.

Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears and various activities (stickers, playdough, gluing)

Math – We are working on skip counting songs, counting, number recognition and writing numbers. So far, this has been through a few workbooks, but I plan to start doing Saxon 1 with her once or twice a week starting later this winter.

Geography, Grammar, History, Timeline, Latin, Science – She will be participating in a Classical Conversations class this year and will be working on memorizing her weekly memory work through CC and at home. In addition, she will completing many activities with Bud to supplement our weekly history and science.

Reading – We are working through Explode the Code Level 5, a few sheets a week. He also reads chapter books to himself and some aloud to me (A to Z Mysteries, Magic Tree House).

Spelling – Bud just finished All About Spelling Level 1 and will be starting Level 2 next week. I love this curriculum!

Math – Bud is already almost a third of the way through with Saxon Math 3. He made some great progress over the summer with speed and consistency with math facts. Math is one of his favorite subjects.

Language Arts – First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer. We have been doing a few of these lessons a week with both Sugar and Bud. He is memorizing poetry, practicing narration and learning more grammar.

Geography, Timeline, Grammar, Latin, Math, History, Science – memory work through Classical Conversations

History – we will supplement our CC weekly history sentence with readings from Story of the World and various activities to go along with them. I have lots of fun activities on Pinterest.

Science – For the fall semester, we will be supplementing our CC science memory work with lessons and activities from Evan Moore Science books for grades 1-3 on Vertebrates, Invertebrates and Plants. We are also planning to raise some tadpoles into frogs and caterpillars into butterflies. We have completed most of our vertebrate unit already as the kids have been begging for more science.

Geography – we will supplement our CC memory work with learning a bit more about the countries we are locating (each week they will work on finding different countries and physical features on their maps and practice tracing them–we are doing Africa and Asia this year). We will also read biographies of missionaries to those countries, and use Window on the World to pray for those countries. We will also eat food from those areas and perhaps watch a travel guide show about some of them. This is not applicable for every week, but several of them.

Fine Arts – through CC we will be working on drawing for the first six weeks and supplementing at home with various activities and lots of time with Ed Emberley’s drawing books. Then we will do music and practice playing tin whistle and reading music (perhaps we will get a keyboard do more with this?), then in the spring we will work on art history and painting along with orchestra and classical music.

Physical Education – we are part of a PE co-op that meets weekly. The kids will also continue with gymnastics for the fall semester.

Scripture Memory – both kids will be memorizing Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments) with CC. In addition, we have been memorizing a verse a week from My ABC Bible Verses. I really like the applicable stories that go with each verse. Bud practices handwriting by doing copy work for the verse each day. We are also still plugging through some simple catechism work.

July in Our Home

August 22nd, 2012 by Rachel

Once again, better late than never! July was a busy and fun month for our family. We had a few weekends away, too.

We spent the weekend of Independence Day at my mom’s house with my grandparents. My grandparents drove all the way from Arizona to East Texas, and we were happy to get to see them.

Sugar practiced swinging on Nana’s swing, and Speedy had his first taste of snow cone. He wasn’t so sure about it.

I spent a weekend watching the Crossfit Games (so awesome and motivating!) and organizing my ridiculous amount of fabric scraps and remnants. I can’t bear to throw away fabric, even if it is small bits because you never know when you might need a small piece for something. I collected cardboard boxes for a month or two and cut them into rectangles to wrap the larger remnants around. Small scraps were organized into bags. Anyway, this is what my living room looked like that night while I worked on it, but the end result was worth it.

We picked our first watermelon. It was really great! I took a picture of their faces as they were taking their first bites. It was good!

Our super-sweet next door neighbors (the ones with a little boy 3 days older than Speedy), moved at the end of July. We got to spend some extra time with their little guy (who isn’t so little, this is the only way Speedy was bigger than him).

Our neighbors had a moving garage sale and we put a few things in it. Bud finally realized his dream of a paper airplane shop and actually made a dollar or two. Bless those people who bought one!

We continued doing a little school over the summer, and plowed through Bud’s spelling curriculum. The kids also got to dissect a crayfish one afternoon after my tutor meeting (one perk of being a tutor’s kids, spoilers!)

Thomas took Sugar on a date on evening to Olive Garden. He brought her a corsage. I love it.

And some of my other favorite pictures from the month: