Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two of the same hike

One last post from New Hampshire.

One of the best parts of Fall in New England is the changing of the leaves and the best way to see that is to hike up a mountain!

We hiked up Mount Kearsarge for the second time this year.  I went back and looked at pictures from our hike two years ago to compare.  The kids have grown so much!

Our family has grown too!

Little miss Jami wasn't even a blip on the radar last time!

I am so thankful for this family of mine!

Even though they all teased me mercilessly about being to afraid to go to the very top for the second time!  But seriously, look at them...they are practically standing on the edge of the world!  

Friday, October 4, 2013

The leaf quotes

"I've never see these yellow leaves before!"

The last time we were in New Hampshire for the changing of the leaves, John was only two so as far as  his memory is concerned, he hasn't ever seen yellow leaves.  
Or orange.  Or red.

The leaves have been a source of endless fascination for him.

Even the girls, who do remember our previous Fall trips, love to examine the leaves!

"This is so great!  We are doing a job but we are also having so much FUN!"

Because when you only have to do it once a year as opposed to every Saturday, raking leaves is fun!
My brother-in-law on the other hand would rather have an unmedicated root canal, than spend a morning raking leaves!
"Let's jump in together!"

And hey, you can't roll around in a huge pile of leaves if you don't rake them up first!

"A pile of leaves was never safe with those sisters around."  -David McPhail, author of Sisters

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Apples: Picking to Pie!

One of our favorite Fall activities is apple picking!
I was joking with Brad when we arrived at the apple orchard, that anytime you see an apple tree in a children's book or drawing, the trees are always tall and majestic.  When in reality, apple trees are like overgrown bushes!
It's like a Napolean complex for trees.
But we don't mind because these overgrown bushes are just the right size for climbing!

Even Jami was able to pick an apple or two. 
Which she immediately ate right down to the core!

When we got home we pulled out the all in one peeler/corer/slicer that my sweet sister gave to me.

Check out this bad boy in action!  
We peeled, cored and sliced 5 apples in under 5 minutes!

Here are my beautifully prepared apples just waiting for my yummy crumb topping!
And no I don't have a picture of the finished pie...that bad boy was also done in under 5 minutes!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Fall, Y'all!

Ok, so I know it has technically been fall for over a week now but when you consider that it doesn't feel like Fall until after Thanksgiving in Florida, I'm actually two months early with this post. 

We arrived in New Hampshire Monday night and woke up Tuesday morning to yard full of beautiful leaves!

The trip up here was quite an adventure!  
After almost missing our connection and and arriving home without our luggage the last time we made this trip we decided that a nonstop was non-negotiable!  

Unfortunately that meant leaving Tampa at dinnertime and getting to New Hampshire well past bedtime.  Most of our kids think it is super fun to stay up late, but Jami...well, she took great personal offense at the neglecting of her bedtime routine.  

And since she has recently developed that really fun, ear piercing habit of screaming when she is unhappy, the rest of our flight mates found her lack of sleep offensive as well!

It's just a phase, right?  Somebody please tell me the screaming will eventually STOP!!

The flight wasn't all bad though.
Emma Jane found a friend.

After the first hour, Emma Jane realized that mommy was way to busy with trying to amuse Jami to do anything fun or interesting like read a book or discuss whatever topic happened to be on her mind at that moment, so she struck up a conversation with the woman sitting on her other side.

And she proceeded to talk this woman's ear off for the next two and a half hours!  After giving her a detailed description of both of our homes, she told her all about homeschooling, Classical Conversations, her sister's dyslexia, American Heritage Girls, Jesus, gymnastics and her dream of being an Olympic gymnast someday, the woes of being a middle child, and to top it off: a full twenty-five minute discussion about the ins and outs of speaking sign language!  And then, because she was clearly an angel in disguise, that sweet, patient woman, gave Emma Jane a dollar and showed her how to make an origami boat out of a one dollar bill!

If Jami hadn't been pulling my hair and shrieking in my ear at that exact moment, I probably would have kissed the kind stranger for being so nice to my daughter. 

Mercifully, the flight ended and we made it home!

We have big plans to squeeze as much New England into the next 5 days as we can! 
First on the agenda:

Apple Picking!

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Take me out to the ball game

Little kid sports are so funny!

John is playing baseball this fall.  It is his first experience with team sports and it has been something of a bumpy road these first couple of weeks!
John is the youngest one on his team and from what I have observed, the only one that didn't already have some baseball knowledge going in.
Practices have been nothing short of torture for everyone involved, but we haven't let John quit because I knew that his resistance was just a lack of confidence.  
His coaches have been great!  
So patient with him, despite his refusal to ever run the bases!
Saturday was his first game and like practices it started off a little rocky.  He refused to go up to bat or into the outfield the first inning. 

 Brad pulled him out of the dugout and had a little man-to-man talk with him and the next inning John went up to bat, hit the ball and actually ran to first base!
He ended up getting out on third, but that didn't even matter.  When he walked back to the dugout, everyone cheered for him.  Even other kids parents!  
(Have I mentioned how great this team is?)

His time in the outfield was less productive, but at least he went out there!
John got the game ball when it was all over!
He was so excited and proud of himself!

He had practice again on Sunday and for the first time he went with no tears, participated the whole and even called baseball "FUN" when he got home!

Play Ball!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back to School

So I had this whole "first day of school" post ready, and then I forgot to post it.

And then I just kept forgetting.

The homeschooling three kids everyday reality has set in and I've realized that keeping up with a blog is much easier during the summer.

So anyways, here it is (finally)!

Our official "back to school" picture.
This was taken before heading to our CC community day, hence the backpacks.  I don't usually make them put on their backpacks, go outside and then come back into school.

We meet with our CC group on Mondays.  In the mornings they break up by age into their classes to learn new memory work for the week and do art and science.  They also each give a 2-3 minute presentation on various topics each week.  

My kids have been blessed with amazing tutors this year!
I am so thankful for these women!

After lunch, John has PE for an hour and the girls have a sign language class.  Then we go home and I make them go swimming or do something independently so that Jami and mommy can rest.
(I don't know why doing nothing while the kids are in CC every Monday exhausts me, but it does!)

Tuesday through Friday we have school at home and this first month has been really good!  After the initial shock over the increase in work that comes with moving from K/2nd to 1st/3rd, the girls have settled into a nice routine. 

 John usually ignores any work that I set out for him in favor of legos or play dough.  But sometimes he can be bribed into doing an activity with mommy.
  Especially if making a huge mess playing with rice is involved!

 Jami usually alternates between playing school
And being really "helpful!"
All in all, this school year gets a big thumbs up so far!

Friday, August 9, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum

Is it possible that a new school year is almost upon us!  
I'm feeling both more prepared and more overwhelmed than ever before.
That could possibly be because I will have THREE homeschoolers this year!

John will be staying home this year and joining us in all the homeschool madness!
I'm like 98% sure about that.  Technically, I haven't withdrawn him from VPK yet...
I should probably do that soon.

Anyway, I have been in crazy major planning mode for the past week!
I'm pretty sure my dining room table is still under there somewhere!

So without further ado, here are our curriculum choices for 2013-2014:

Libby - 3rd Grade

Math- Teaching Textbooks 3 (we are making the switch from math u see and are super excited about it!)
Reading/Phonics- Phonics Pathways and Reading Pathways (Libby is dyslexic and needs lots of repetitive drilling in phonics. These books are great for that!)
Writing- IEW Bible Heroes, Prescripts Cursive Words 
Spelling- Sequential Spelling 1 and All About Spelling 
(We are trying both of these because there are things about both programs that I like and I need to see which one Libby responds to the best before we go one way or another.)

Emma Jane- 1st grade

Math- Math U See Alpha
Reading- IEW Primary Arts of Language Reading (We will actually be done with this in October and then I don't know exactly what we will do.)
Writing- IEW Bible Heroes, Prescripts Cursive Letters
Spelling- All About Spelling 1

John- PreK

Preschool- a combination of COAH's Letter of the Week and 1+1+1=1's RRPS
Math- Math U See Primer
Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears 

We are also a part of a Classical Conversations community, so we use that as our spine curriculum. CC will drive our history, science, and geography studies for the year.

Hopefully I can get all of this organized and the mess that is currently my dining room table cleaned up in time for our start date of August 19!