Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's Coming...

Two more sleeps and it will be Monday, our first day of school.  And I am so excited! 

Getting ready for the first day of school is like getting ready for a birthday party or a holiday for me.  I love planning for it and I want to make it the best that I can. 

Back to school sales seriously give me a rush of adrenaline.  25 cent bottle of glue and boxes of crayons?  Notebooks for 10 cents each?  How can I not stock up?  My husband thinks I'm crazy, but in my defense, I do include a lot of it in our Operation Christmas Child boxes later in the year. 

I've been looking for ideas about how to make our first day a special day for the kids.  I've got some ideas but I'll wait and post pictures of those ideas that I actually implement!  My mind can think of many more fun things than my energy or time allow for.  

"Box Day" is what we homeschoolers call it when our big box of curriculum comes in the mail. Hours are spent at taking in every book, flipping through the pages, taking in that new book smell. That was a few weeks ago for me. Now I'm getting the rest of the school supplies we need/want and we will be ready.

I can not thank God enough for leading us straight to the My Father's World curriculum that we use. Every year I get more excited about what we will be learning about. Notice how I said we; I'm learning, right along with my children. I may have heard it before when I was in school, and while I did like school when I was a kid, and did very well, I either didn't learn, or don't remember, a lot of it.

Christopher and Matthew will be using the Creation to the Greeks program and Gabriel will be using the My Father's World From A to Z kindergarten program.

Gabriel has been asking for weeks now how many more days until he gets to start school. Matthew is excited too. Christopher, on the other hand, thinks our summer break was too short. And really, it was only four weeks, but we'll be taking several weeks off later this fall when we move, so I wanted to get a head start.

Although we just went through a week of Vacation Bible School at our church and I'm exhausted still from that. And Chris is on a TDY to Alaska right now (I'm totally jealous) for six days and won't be back until Tuesday. So he'll miss our first day. But I'm ready to dive in.  I do need to muster up some energy though.

Two more sleeps!

Friday, July 30, 2010

His First Book

So Matthew learned to read this past school year.  He did well and didn't fuss too much through it, but it just wasn't his favorite thing to do.  He didn't share my and my oldest son's love of reading for fun, and that was a little disappointing, but still okay if it wasn't his favorite thing.  I gave him his space, apart from reading what was required for school. 

But three days ago, for the first time, he brought me a book and asked if he could read it to me.  That made my day.  And even better, I've seen him reading to Leah up in her room a time or two since then. 

So he read Danny and the Dinosaur to me over three days and he did so well. I think he must have been reading to himself for practice because he had improved so much compared to just a month ago when we finished school.

I hope this is a start to a love of reading for him. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Lego 7th Birthday

Seven.  My second born child turned seven on July 18th and it just reminds me that seven years go by way too fast.  My little guy who still sucks his thumb and cries when someone buys the property in Monopoly that he has his heart set on.  My little guy who showed me that it indeed was possible for my heart to have love enough for more than my first child when I couldn't imagine how.  Matthew was my most content child from the moment he was born.  He was the easiest to deliver, he was the earliest to sleep through the night (at six weeks!), he has been the least pickiest eater we've had, and he's just a pretty mellow guy in general.  He's wonderful and loving and kind to his brothers and sisters.  He has sound effects for everything he does, whether he's playing with toys, coloring pictures, or just making his hands blast off as a space shuttle.  He's a great best friend to his big brother and an awesome big brother to his little brother and sisters.  And he's such a sweet son.  We are so blessed to have him in our family.  Thank you God!

I think I say this of every age that my kids come to, but I love this age.  I love this kid.  I love them when they are little and need me for everything and I love as they grow older and are fun to hang out with as well as take care of.

Chris was TDY for three nights before Matthew's actual birthday and returned the afternoon of his birthday.  We let Matthew pick what to do for the rest of the day and he chose to go downtown to see the Alamo and to go the the Rainforest restaurant that we heard about on the Riverwalk. 

The boys had a great time floating leaves down the waterfalls on the way to the riverwalk.

The Rainforest Cafe servers sang their version of Happy Birthday to Matthew while they made him scratch his head and beat on his chest like a gorilla!

We had a great time and he was really excited about the Volcano Brownie dessert that we all shared.  When we got home he opened his gifts from Chris and me...Legos, his favorite.

We celebrated Matthew's birthday some more with a party on that Saturday.  He chose a Lego theme and the kids pretty much played Legos the whole party, with some Lego games thrown as well.  It was fun and most important of all, Matthew knew that he was special and that we wanted to celebrate him.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our Little Photo Shoot

Ever since we had family/maternity pictures and newborn pictures of Anna taken by a friend of mine who is an awesome photographer, I've been wanting to try it out for myself instead of going back to a chain studio.  The kids and Chris gave me a new camera for Mother's Day this year and I love taking pictures with it and love the memories that I capture with it.  I'd love to take time to research tips about how to take better pictures, but for some reason (or five walking, talking, needy reasons), I don't get a lot of time to better my skills other than just doing it.

So this morning I used the good natural light that comes into my bedroom through our east facing wall of windows and we did a little photo shoot. 

Leah is a natural little model and loves having her picture taken.  Anna wasn't into it for very long and the boys didn't like it much either.  I still got some cute ones though and they are already enlarged and hanging on our wall.

So those ones above are the ones that are now 10x13s hanging in our home.  The rest of these are some more of my favorites.

One of these days I will get some of my childhood pictures scanned and up on here so you can see just how much Leah is turning into a mini-me.  And she's adorable, so that says good things about me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hand Guys

Hand guys have been in our lives for almost two years now.  I'm not sure where they came from or what inspired them in our children, but they are obviously long term imaginary friends of my children.

What are hand guys?  They are simply the boys, and now Leah, making their hands talk.  The boys have many different hand guys and have named them and our list-maker, Christopher, types up lists of everyone's hand guys' names.  It's pretty entertaining, but we've had to ban hand guys from the dinner table several times because they distract the kids from eating. 

I remember two Christmases ago when my sister came down from Michigan to visit and we drove downtown and hung out there for a few hours.  As we were driving home, my sister commented about how the two older boys had started talking at the house before we left, talked the whole drive into downtown San Antonio, the whole time we spent walking around downtown, and the whole drive home.  Most of their talking was either them making their hand guys talk, or them talking about their handguys.

They do have great imaginations, and like I said in the last post, they do not have short attention spans!  

Not saying that it's absolutely correlated, but they also do not own a video game system. 
Hey, I'm just sayin'.  Maybe it's a coincidence.

Leah has recently started making her hand into a hand guy (hand gal?) and says its name is GooGooGaaGaa or Doodlebops, which are actually her brothers' hand guys names.  We were somewhere a week or so ago where one of her two year old friends was and I saw her do the hand guy motion to her little friend.  He had no idea what she was doing but it was so cute to watch her act like her brothers while she's so young. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Break

What are we doing with our summer break from school?  Well, we are going fun places sometimes, but we're mostly being homebodies and enjoying our air conditioned house.

The boys are BIG into board games right now.  And they are good at them too.  And they will finish their games.  Whoever thinks kids don't have long attention spans hasn't met my kids.  They have been playing games for large amounts of time every day since we finished school.

Playing Clue Junior.

Playing Monopoly.  And this is real Monopoly; no junior stuff for them.  Although we do have Monopoly Junior; they just prefer the real deal for some reason.  Maybe because the money comes in larger bills?  They've been playing everyday.

On Saturday, I played Monopoly with Christopher and Matthew and that game was several hours longs, probably four or five.  Matthew won that game.  I'm not very good I guess.  It is so fun to have kids old enough to do that with.  If only they didn't fight over who gets to be the truck.

We've been baking more than usualy.  Someone showed me the Pioneer Woman blog and how good her recipes are and I think I need an intervention now.  Leah too.


We went to the Children's Museum again with a friend and her two year old and nine month old. 

This is the boys' favorite thing to do at the Children's Museum.  It's the same thing that they do in the creek at our favorite park, building canals.

Leah and Ethan playing with the bubble toys.

Anna seemed to be having fun too, right?

That man is holding a baby monkey.  It was so cute and was even sucking its thumb!

Fun times.  Two and a half more weeks until we start school up again. 
I am so excited!