Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jumping In

I just finished my last lesson plan for our first taste of homeschooling. I've printed, prepped, and planned for the first 5 weeks, not wanting to commit to more before I know how this will work. We will be taking things slowly and open to changing plans, beginning our journey with the preparatory curriculum at Brightly Beaming. 
We will be following their base lesson plan though we have made some changes and additions.  We'll also be looking to places like Catholic Icing for alphabet and number based crafts and activities.

So... yea.  I'm excited.  Nervous. Anxious.  All that.  But still, trying not to put a lot of pressure on myself.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Taking a Hike

Thankfully the trail was mostly shaded and it was cool enough that we could actually enjoy ourselves.  Though the kids did get tired after a while.  At one point, Addie sat down in the middle of the path and said she couldn't walk anymore.  But, energy was regained... right about the time we passed through the playground on the way to the car.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Play Time!

*Click on the slide show to watch at Picasa and view the videos.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Baby Love

Ana has made a new best friend... a soft, white teddy bear from Gran! She loves how soft he is and giggles uncontrollably when playing with him.  She also gives him huge hugs, tackling him over onto the floor and burying her head in his fur.  Now we just have to decide what to name him....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

She walks!

Ana decided to skip right over cruising the furniture. One minute, she was bopping up and down holding on to the couch, and the next, she crawled over to the wagon, pulled herself up and off she went!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wonder Twins

A. Those blue eyes are piercing.  Goodness.
B.  When did they get this big?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Crossing New Bridges

I have long had a phobia of crossing bridges that are over water.  Usually, just in a car.  Something about the idea of being trapped in the car if the bridge collapsed into water made it more terrifying to me.  I have made real progress in dealing with this fear though, and have progressed to the point where I can drive over and look out over smaller bridges.  You will not find me heading to Key West or checking out the Golden Gate Bridge though.  But I have assumed that this fear of bridges was simply about driving over them.  I hadn't figured on being afraid to walk across some.

This past weekend we found a state park in our area that has lots of wonderful hiking trails down by a river.  We took the kids out for a little hike and came to a suspension bridge.  Steve wore Ana in the carrier and walked out with Gabe as I followed shortly after holding Addie's hand.  I got as far as seeing the water below the bridge when I stopped.  Had to stop.  A wave of anxiety hit me and I told Steve I had to turn around.  I apologized to the people behind us, who were very polite, and came off the bridge.  Steve wanted to help me conquer this fear and encouraged me to try again.  I asked to go first, so that I wouldn't see the bridge swaying as he walked, grabbed Addie's hand and started out again.

At first, I told myself, "Just look at the bridge, just look at the bridge."
 But as the bridge swayed and dipped with every step I soon found myself saying, "anywhere but the bridge.  anywhere but the bridge!"
My eyes shot out to the trees beside us and I tried to focus on them, but even they were swaying in the wind.  I finally focused my eyes on the unmoving bridge anchors at the end and, taking very small steps and deep breaths, made it all the way across.  I sat down on a bench, feeling slightly dizzy, my body buzzing from adrenaline or fear, and on the verge of tears.  The feeling passed quickly though as we continued our hike. Of course we had to cross the bridge again to get back out, but I did better that time.

The rest of the day I felt good.  Really good.  Empowered, even. I hadn't expected to conquer a fear that day, especially one I didn't even know I had.  A small accomplishment, but having that knowledge that you can do something you thought you couldn't... priceless.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good ol' Boy

We have recently noticed that Gabe seems to be developing a southern accent.  Steve and I do have accents ourselves, though I wouldn't say they're terribly pronounced.  Unlike this child who seems to have been steeped in some strong, southern style tea.
Toys : "toe-ways"
wind mill : "win-mee-ow."

Friday, August 6, 2010

You know it's been a long day when...

You walk into the playroom and see your children riding a toppled over basketball goal like a slide and see the baby chewing on a piece of chalk, and your only response is to turn and walk out of the room.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Small Successes


1. We are making progress at getting the nursery cleared out for Ana.  We moved her into the room earlier than we had anticipated (we had also been considering rooming her with the twins.  Yeah, big fat no to that.)   There is still a lot to be done, but at least her co-sleeper (got to get that kid a crib) is not still stuffed in a corner surround by huge boxes and bins.  heh.

2. We've had two great homemade dinners in a row this week.  Which is somewhat surprising since I haven't made a meal plan in ages and these were both by-the-seat-of-my-pants dinners.  The first was chicken pasty... without the pasty.  Essentially, it's a filling of ground chicken, red potatoes, onion, carrot, and corn.  Topped with a brown gravy and served over biscuits, it was excellent!  The second dinner (last night) I breaded chicken pieces and zucchini slices in panko, parmesan, and ranch mix.  They were baked at 400 for a while, then finished up under the broiler.  I also made some risotto to go with it.  Yum. 

3. Steve and I cleared out all the toys from under the couches and entertainment center.  We put them with the other jumble of toys in the playroom (that was taking over everything) and re-sorted and stored them.  All.  It makes me so happy and the kids are getting better at putting one activity away before getting out another.  Win-win!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pretend Play

In the past few days the twins and I have come up with some fun games for them to play that use their imaginations and have them sharing and taking turns.  (Hoorah!)

The first game I came up with on the spot because Gabe was carrying his fishing pole around, obviously wanting to use it, banging it on the floors and walls.  Not wanting him to break his precious pole I decided to make him a fishing game.  I cut about 15 different sized fish out of colored construction paper and drew eyes, smiles, and scales on them, then put on a small piece of double stick tape.  I grabbed his pole and wound more double stick tape around the end and he was ready to go!  I turned over an activity mat and we used that for the water, spreading out all the fish on it.  Then he went to town, picking out his fish, lowering his rod, tapping the fish gently, reeling a little and then lifting up his prize.  He was so excited.  I think we played for a solid hour the first day.  When Addie came home she was excited, too so we set up her pole the same way.  We've played this game every day since.  Not only do they have to take turns in this game, but we name the colors of the fish as they're caught, count them when we're done, and fish for them by size ("Catch the smallest fish!")

In the second game they get to pretend to be garbage truck drivers!  First, we used bristle blocks to build the garbage trucks.  Then we rounded up six small containers to use as garbage cans and filled them up with crumpled up bits of construction paper.  We set the cans out, 3 per street, and got each kid a truck to start their route! Driving down the street, one house at a time, they carefully lift each can and dump its contents in to the back of the truck. After they've emptied all the cans they drive to the dumps and unload their trash.  Then we fill the cans back up, set them out on the streets again and switch routes!  They're having a great time, making sound effects and taking turns.