Tuesday, January 27, 2009

School Day

We've come a long way in the past 6 months to a year...Sissy and Dash are "growing up," and we are able to get more done in the way of school and housework. They are all three focusing on their own workbook pages here. Dash whizzed through this I Can Learn with Pooh: Early Skills workbook in two sittings. He likes to trace shapes and letters. Wearing his Spiderman costume, nonetheless. Tornado is continuing to work in his phonics workbooks. We began a United States study this week, and I'm really excited about many of the activities I've got planned.
It's been so much fun with Sissy learning to talk. Her favorite word right now is "boys." She got this from me calling, "Boys!" whenever I need them. Now, all the time, when she's looking for them, she calls out, "Boys!" as her little ten inch legs go padding through the house. She says it very clear. Another adorable thing she does is say "bye" every time she leaves my side. She'll stand there, wave at me, and say "bye" - it's a big production - until I say "bye!" back to her. She's so used to being glued to my hip, in my lap, next to my legs, etc. that I think she thinks I'm going to miss her if she leaves my sight for a few minutes. She's also very quick to bury her face against my leg and say, "Sorry," when I've disciplined her in the slightest. She's started getting some sentences down. She says, "I want some," or "I want this (or that)." I love it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just Enjoying the Week

I can't even believe how nice it was today. There wasn't a chill in the air at all. We have spent a lot of time outside the past few days. We've played at the park and played outside our house a lot. Yesterday we went to a library that has a lake behind it. There is a boardwalk all around the lake, and it was really nice and peaceful walking around it. I did have plenty of - "Be careful!" "Not so close!" moments because there is only a simple chain separating my children from a high plunge into the water. I was mentally preparing myself as to what I would do if one of them fell in...scream for help, dial 911, and hand the phone to another child before I dove in. That was the plan. If you knew my swimming skills and my children's phone skills, you might know it was not a foolproof plan. There were ducks (geese? I don't know.) that started swimming our way, thinking the kids' pebbles being thrown in were treats for them, and we made plans to go back very soon with food in hand. I just read that it's not really that healthy to give them bread so we'll be researching the best snack for them. The boys rode their four wheelers outside today for a long time. We played football and ate our apples, cheese, and crackers outside on the steps. Sissy tried out the roller coaster for the first time all by herself. It was the first time we've played with it in a couple of months, and I'd always held onto her before, being overprotective. She did great. They took turns over and over and over again. The incline takes the car all the way to the end of the pavement ahead. When I came inside to get snacks, I looked out the window and saw Sissy going down backwards, too.Dash was proud of his Lego robot he made the other day. That funny kid...is getting funnier by the day. This morning, we were all sitting on the couch together, and he crawled into a little hole between my legs and the back of the couch.
He grinned really big and said, "I'm visiting you."
I said, "Well, thanks for coming to see me! I haven't seen you in so long. What have you been doing lately?"
He said, "Going to work...and drinking soda." (funny - things his daddy does)
"Really? How old are you?"
"Five." (He's 3; "5" must have seemed like the age he'd be old enough to do those things.)
"Oh, you work and drink soda now? Wow."
"I have a baby, too."
I asked him if he was married, and he said he wasn't.
"She jus' has a daddy. She can talk and say 'apple'."
"What's her name?"
"....her name is...Winnie. She eats big carrots. I'll show you my baby." He went over to where Sissy was now standing and said that she was his baby. He picked up an empty plastic paint tray that was sitting there. (I don't know why it was sitting there, and yes, I need to clean my house.) He said that was where he changed her diaper.
He said he's also been eating sandwiches lately and riding his cowboy horse.
"He's a real one. I ride my pterodactyl, too. He's got a big, long tail."
He's a silly one.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Books, Birdhouses, and Kittens

Scott and Jyldyz gave Tornado a wooden birdhouse to paint for Christmas. He worked on it a few days ago, and it turned out great. He painted his name across the roof.
Today we walked around outside and looked for the perfect place to hang it. We found it indeed.
Since I haven't included many of our educational endeavors lately, here is a picture of our kitten books that I set out this week. I checked these books out from the library a couple of months ago, but I had to keep rechecking them because we never got around to the kitten part of our next section of the letter of the week curriculum. Tornado and I had been working on other skills in his workbooks and reading a lot. Also, taking weekend trips and celebrating the holiday caused our routine ("routine," hee, hee; I'm trying to sound like my other home school friends I admire so) to change up a bit.
Besides reading kitten books the past couple of days, we have worked on our The Owl and the Pussycat word-find and coloring pages. He added words to his Word Chart and completed a couple of pages in his Big A, Little A...What begins with A? book. (Word Chart: file folder with pages stapled in it - blanks under each letter to fill in appropriate words. Big A book: He loves Dr. Seuss's book ABC that goes like that. There was a print off on the Mailbox magazine website that could be used to make your own sentences. For example, today he did V: Big V, Little V, what begins with V? A vacuum eats a violin. V, V, V. And then he drew a picture of it.)
We also took quizzes with Book Adventure on some of the books we read today. We love this site; I may have mentioned it before. Kids read books, and there are quizzes (not for every book out there, but there are a lot) for them to take. He can read the questions and answers all on his own now. In the past few months, something has flipped the switch to his confidence in reading. It's not like he's reading chapter books by himself, but we are proud of what he is doing. They receive points for all their correct answers, then work toward prizes like posters or books. It's all free. He has earned almost 3,000 points so far. That kid remembers more details about the books than I do. Ryan was mentioning that tonight when they were doing a page out of his reading comprehension workbook that Scott and Jyldyz also got him. It's like how kids are always better at Memory, etc. than I am. And better than most adults, I think. Why is that?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas Comes to a Close

Finally, here are some pictures from our final Christmas get-together this past weekend. Ryan's parents and sister-in-law Kristi came with our niece. Unfortunately, the rest of the gang were unable to make it. Sissy, with her matching 9 month old cousin - the only cousin, so far, on Ryan's side of the family. Grandma bought them these outfits and made the scarves. I should add that yes, 22 month old Sissy appears to be the same size as her 9 month old cousin. It might have something to do with the fact that her mom is over 6 inches taller than me, and her dad, Jeff, is much taller than his big brother, Ryan. It was her first visit to our house. She's such a happy baby! She and Kristi were the first overnight guests in our house.
Since my fine husband and I don't often appear together in pictures...brother/sister/cousin love
Ryan's parents
The kids enjoyed another round of presents...that's Tornado looking in the gift bag while Dash reads on.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bowling Fun and Product Review

We culminated our weekend activities (more blogging on that tomorrow) with a trip to the bowling alley with Ryan's parents and our sister-in-law and niece. The boys love, love going bowling. I'd probably love bowling, too, if I got to use bumpers and the ball roller thing. Okay, I'm just being a sore loser because I got the lowest score.
Here's Dash, in the middle of one of his victory dances. The big surprise of the day was just how good Grandma and Grandpa are at bowling. It was strike after strike. Who knew.
I took so many pictures of Sissy posing and entertaining herself, sitting on the little step up to the lanes. She helped the boys polish off the three bags of peanut butter crackers and carried the empty bags around with her the rest of the time.
The four of us (minus Dad...he really needs to start taking chances when he gets them) all took naps when we got home. The kids slept about three hours. They apparently had some catching up to do. Hopefully, the boys will be rested up for their looming dentist appointments tomorrow. Argh...I don't even want to think about that. Anyway, the kids have had lots to do tonight, playing with new Christmas gifts. They all three got into the bag of Magic Nuudles, a gift from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kristi. Tornado and I had gotten these once a long time ago and had really enjoyed them. I had always meant to buy them again so we were very pleased to receive this gift. They are biodegradable building blocks made of cornstarch. You press a moistened Nuudle against a dry noodle, and they instantly become glued together. They made forks, rafts, spaceships, letters, and even an anteater. Tornado just told me to tell you that "Sissy destroyed Dash's spaceship, and he had to use the bottom part and build another one." We highly recommend Magic Nuudles. You heard it here.