Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week in Review - Happy Halloween!

This week was once again a busy one for us.  What's new, right? 

Monday was spent doing school work, then taking Haley to choir and running some errands.  That evening we had practice for the play that Glen and I are in, A Christmas Story.  It was our first practice on the stage in the theater.  It was nice to finally get onstage and figure out where everything is going to be.  We have one week to learn all of our lines in the first act.  I am so not ready!

Tuesday we had to get up bright and early for a follow up visit to Ryan's eye doctor.  I posted about that last week, but his vision is improving!  Thank you God!!!  He now has 20/70 vision in that eye and is getting some of his 3D vision restored.  Wearing the patches isn't fun for him (or me), but thankfully its working.  He has to wear it for two more months, 12 hours a day, and then hopefully they'll change tactics and let him wear it less.  We had school work to finish up after that, followed by play practice that evening.

Wednesday we did school work in the morning, followed by an awesome field trip to see the Nina and Pinta replicas.  It was so cool to be able to walk on board and explore these two ships.  Something none of us will soon forget. 

Thursday was a day to stay home, get lots of school work done, do some household chores and just basically get caught up.  I was able to do my lesson plans for next week (something I have been neglecting), so hopefully we'll be better prepared.  That evening we once again had play practice.

Friday we finished up our school week and headed out to a local park for our weekly park date with my homeschool group.  I was able to sit under the pavillion and finish up the cheer bows that I needed to get delivered.  The kids had fun with friends while I had fun chatting and getting some work done.  A win/win situation all around.  That evening after dinner, the kids and daddy carved our pumpkin.

The kids were so funny.  They kept talking to Mr. Pumpkin and telling them they were sorry for having to cut the top of his head off and removing his brains.

Saturday daddy, Adam and Glen's father (Grandaddy) went fishing most of the day, while Haley, Ryan and I went shopping.  I was on the search for props and costume pieces for A Christmas Story.  We scoured one of the local thrift stores and were able to find a solid blue bowling ball for $2.99.  A major find!!  I also found quite a few things to add to my character's wardrobe.  Then we headed home to put the finishing touches on Haley's costume, make cupcakes, and get ready for the zillions of kids that would be coming by that evening for candy.  Halloween in our neighborhood is completely crazy!  Lastly, the kids put on the their costumes and we headed out to do some serious trick or treating.

Haley was an indian princess, Ryan is a Lego knight and Adam really needs no introduction as Darth Vadar.  Even daddy got into the act and donned a wig and cape to hand out candy while we went door to door.

Hope you had a great week too!  Be sure to stop by Kris' blog at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more great Weekly Wrap-Up posts.  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

I haven't posted a Thankful Thursday post lately, but I have lots to be thankful for this week, so here goes.

If you read my blog, you may remember my post about Ryan's vision problems and his having to wear a patch over one eye.  After struggling through the first days of patching, Ryan did just awesome.  We went in for his one month check up this week and found out that its working!  Yeah!!  His vision has improved from 20/150 to 20/70.  He also is now able to see several of the 3D images where he couldn't see any previously.  His doctor was impressed with the progress he's made.  The only bad news is that he now has to continue patching his eye for two more months, 12 hours per day.  After that, he's hoping that he will be able only patch for maybe a couple of hours per day.  It really all depends on if his vision continues improving.  So far, its wonderful news and we're well on our way to having his eye back to being fully functional, and I'm truly thankful for that!

Next, with all of the nasty weather that went through our area over the past few days, I'm extremely thankful that none of our family and friends suffered any damage.  At times it was really scary at our house.  My poor kids were so freaked out by our storm radio going off at all hours.  I'm glad its finally passed so we can all get a good nights sleep.  With that said, that's where I'm headed seeing as its 11:30 and everyone else is out for the count.  Hope you have lots of things to be thankful for today as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Visiting the Nina and the Pinta.

Sorry for not posting the first part of the week, but we've had some seriously nasty storms in our area both Monday and Tuesday, and something was up with my internet.  I was unable to post and read email until today for some reason.

Today my family had the awesome opportunity to visit a replica of Christopher Columbus' favorite sailing ship, The Nina.  We also were able to tour The Pinta.  The Nina is as close to the original as could possibly be made.  This ship was actually used in the movie 1492.  How cool is that?

The tour guide that showed us around both of the ships was extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  He told the kids all about how the ships were built, how they compared to the original ships, and so much more.

Its just amazing to think that anyone would want to sail off into the wild blue yonder on such a small ship.  Not knowing what was out there, not even sure of where they were going, sleeping on the deck, dealing with storms, yucky food, animal smells, and so much more.  Obviously, I'm not the adventurous sort.

The boys were completely fascinated by the huge tiller used to steer the ship. Here they were looking out the hole that the tiller goes through.

Here are some of the many zillion pictures I took. 

To me, this field trip was made even more special because we are currently studying explorers.  How often do you think you actually get a chance to stand on the deck of an actual sailing ship built exactly like one from 1492?  This was one of those awesome experiences that I hope my kids won't soon forget.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Fishing Fun!

Well, its a nice, sunny, warm fall Saturday, so why not go fishing?  My husband would rather be fishing than just about anything else.  He is really seriously hoping that the kids will inherit his love and become his lifelong fishing buddies.  So far, out of our three children, only one of them shows any promise of being his fishing buddy.  Adam loves to go fishing with daddy.  He will stay as long as daddy does...happily.  The other two are bored within minutes.  Here are some of the pictures I took during this particular trip.

Ryan also started out fishing with them, but he gets bored and wanders off to look at rocks, plants, and basically just play in the mud.  He also had fun feeding tortilla chips to this friendly turtle that kept attacking the bobbers in the water.

Haley stays home with me and just pops in for a visit to see how things are going and bring lunch.  Adam really is a trooper.  He was with daddy the entire time which consisted of probably 6 hours or so.  Pretty good for a seven year old.  He even had the opportunity to come home with me and the other two.  He opted to stay with daddy.  Haley and I enjoyed watching the butterflies and finding pretty flowers to identify.


How was your weekend?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Corn Maze Fun!

On Friday we went to a local corn maze for a fun afternoon of wandering around inside a seriously confusing maze of corn stalks.  We have visited this particular maze before, but this year I set up the field trip consisting of around 70 people.  Nothing like a little added stress!  Once we all got signed in, paid, and accounted for, we were off.  The group I was in seemed to do fairly well in finding our way through.

They have signs posted throughout the maze that have questions at varying levels of difficulty.  If you can answer them correctly, they will point you in the right direction.  Of course, even if you go in the right direction, there are still lots of side trails that lead you around and around in circles.  I can't tell you how many times we ended up making big loops or wrong turns.

There are also these elevated platfforms in a couple of places to help you see your way.  Its fairly easy to keep your bearings at this maze though since you can see the mountain and barn at all times.  Even knowing where the entrance and exit is, we still managed to get completely turned around.  The kids had a great time though and that's what matters, right?

After finally wandering around for quite some time, we managed to find our way out.  We then hopped on the hay ride with a bunch of our friends.

After the hayride, the kids went on a super cute cow train ride for a quick trip around the field.  

It was a nice, relaxing way to spend a lovely fall day with friends.  What could be better?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week in Review - The One Where I Get Older.

Yep, its that glorious day we ladies look forward to all year long...the one where you wake up (after being allowed to sleep as late as you'd like) to well behaved, perfectly groomed children, to find that your husband has made you breakfast in bed, and bought you the (insert whatever you've been dreaming of) you have been wanting forever.  You guessed it...its my birthday.  Now, do you have that perfect image in your head?  Okay, then imagine something completely opposite and you'll probably come closer to what m birthday is typically like.  I woke up at 6:00 am to my garage door going down, which startles me because I'm sound asleep and the garage is directly under our bedroom.  I jump out of bed to make sure its my hubby.  Apparently he was so preoccupied with finding a place to hide my card and the cookie cake he bought me that he forgot to shut our garage door and it was open all night.  Considering that we had a recent break in further back in our neighborhood, it worries me and I can't go back to sleep for quite some time.

The next time I wake up its about  7:30 am and two little freezing cold hands are wrapping themselves around my neck to wish me happy birthday.  This cute little fuzzy blonde boy (he's fuzzy because I don't have my contacts in yet) is asking if I've found the card he made me and stuck under my pillow the night before.  Yep, I found it all right, but since he didn't add his name to the card, I hadn't known which of the boys it was from.  Its a bright green piece of construction paper folded in half with the words "I" then a heart, and "U" written inside.  After a birthday hug from Ryan, he runs off but is soon replaced by his sister who crawls in on daddy's side of the bed.  She plasters her little frozen body spoon style to my back.  Nothing like freezing hands and feet to get your blood flowing in the morning, huh?  She proceeds to sing the happy birthday song to me while I'm trying my best to go back to sleep.  Just as I'm starting to doze off, along comes Adam.  He wants to know how to spell happy.  I tell him and he quickly runs off.  As I start to doze again, he's back and wants to know how to spell mommy.  I tell him that and decide there's no point in trying to sleep at this point.  Ryan has discovered the cookie cake in the kitchen and is practically drooling wanting to know when I'm going to cut it so he can have a piece. So yes, I was a bad mommy and let my children eat cookie cake for breakfast.

 Adam then presented his card to me.  He had apparently tried to do the card himself and had misspelled the words.  Rather than start over, he just marked them out and wrote above them.  He did this multiple times, so the whole card has lots of scribbles all over it. Too cute!

Lastly, Haley presented me with her card which she informed me took her forever to make.  You just have love her ingenuity.  Who would have thought of using googly eyes to make letters?  Isn't this cute?

Sorry I can't share Ryan's card, but he wrote the words in pencil and it just wouldn't show up well enough to post.  So, now that I've had my piece of cookie cake and am enjoying my morning cup of coffee, I'll share the rest of our week.

Monday we drove home from North Carolina.  Six hour ride with How to Train Your Dragon playing the entire time.  Over and over and over.  I really like the movie and all but I probably have it memorized by now.  Tuesday was spent tackling the mountain of laundry and trying to get our house clean again.  No easy task!  Wednesday was more of the same, and dinner out with my in-laws. Thursday was our monthly Nature Club meeting, but I posted about that yesterday.  Lastly, today is Friday and of course, I've already told you all about today so far.  We have a field trip scheduled to a local corn maze with our homeschool group.  Tonight I'm supposed to be going out to dinner with some of my girl friends.  Daddy is staying home to babysit.  Woo hoo!

In case you noticed, we decided to take our Fall break this week since some of the local schools were doing so and we were out of town on Monday anyway.  Before I go off to enjoy the rest of my day, here are some interesting facts from the year I was born...

The average income was $8,547.  Can you imagine???
A loaf of bread cost just $.23.  Good luck finding anything for that these days!
A gallon of gas was just $.35.  I wish!
You could buy a new house for around $15,500, and a new car for $3,300.  Hard to imagine.

Yep, you guessed it...I'm old!!  Hope you had a wonderful week, I know we did.  For more Weekly Wrap Up posts be sure to stop by See Jamie Blog.  Kris is away at a blogging conference, so Jamie has graciously agreed to host the wrap up for her.  Thanks Jamie!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nature Club

Today we had our monthly Nature Club meeting.  We met at a local hiking trail that we'd never visited before.  Aside from its proximity to the interstate, it was a beautiful area.  Didn't exactly see much in the way of wildlife, but the leaves were pretty and the weather was gorgeous.  The kids seemed to have a great time.  We started out our meeting with a discussion about beavers.  This trail was supposed to go by a beaver pond, but we weren't sure exactly where the pond was because it is all dried up.  We didn't see any evidence of beavers at all.  We did however find an old walking bridge that used to span the creek in that exact spot since the early 1900's.  The only part remaining is the wires that supported it.  It was interesting to read about the history of the town and times gone by.  Here are some of the highlights of our hike.

Off we go on our hike.  The trail is very nice and was covered in gravel most all of the way.  The city has done a great job with it.

 We did manage to get the kids to stop long enough for a group picture by the creek.

 The middle section of the trail had a really nice boardwalk over what I assume would be a wetland area during wet seasons of the year.  I think the beaver pond was in this area as well, but we couldn't be sure.

 Haley and Ryan stopped to admire the small waterfall.

 The kids seemed more enthused with the big dirt pile by the trail than the trail itself!

 At the end of the trail we managed to get the kids to pose for another picture on some fallen logs.

I thought this tree was really interesting in the way that it grew.  It was really tall and really curved.  Not sure why it grew this way, but it sure was neat.

I don't know if the kids learned much today, but we did get out and enjoy the gorgeous day, and certainly walked off some energy.  A good day all around!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Ways to be a Better Mother

I don't know about you guys, but I struggle daily with this one.  Rarely does a day pass that I haven't started and ended it without some sort of prayer along these lines...Lord, help me be a better mother.  God, give me more patience, Jesus, let me not yell at my children today, and so on and so forth.  So, after researching this topic a bit, doing some soul searching, and lots of praying, here are my top ten ways to be a better mother.

  1. Pray, pray and then pray some more.  Children are a gift from God, so surely he'll help when it comes to raising them.  Pray for His help and guidance every day.
  2. Spend time listening to your kids.  Even if its only for 10 minutes, give them your undivided attention.  Your child will love having mom listen to them, and only them.  This shows them that you respect and value them and what they have to say.
  3. Encourage your children.  Praise them for the little things.  Sometimes I feel like I seem to only notice the things they do wrong, rather than what they do right.  Its so important to notice good behavior and correct choices.  How often do we go through our day not noticing all the hours that they played nicely together, shared their toys, did their schoolwork without complaint, etc.  If you're anything like me, you probably don't comment on that behavior, but we sure notice when they start bickering or yelling at each other.
  4. Have fun with your children.  This one can be tough to do.  As moms, we have so many responsibilities to keep our homes running smoothly.  Its easy to forget the importance of taking time to laugh and play with our kids.  So, put down the laundry, put off washing those dishes, and take a few minutes and go play them.  You'll make memories they'll never forget.
  5. Take care of yourself.  It goes without saying that if you feel good, everything seems a bit better.  When I am sick, tired, or just plain grumpy, everything my kids do seems so much worse.  So, even though its really, really tempting to stay up late to watch TV, read a book, or catch up on some chores, don't.  Your days will go so much better if you get a good night's sleep. 
  6. Read together.  Even though my kids can all read independently, we still read together.  Snuggling up on the couch with a good book simply can't be beat.  Its also a great way to inspire their own love of reading.
  7. Respect dad.  Always speak highly of dad in front of the kids.  Even if you're mad as can be, keep it to yourself.  It is so, so easy to make a comment here or there when your hubby makes you angry, but its never good for your children to hear negative comments about their dad.  Trust me, I've been there, and he will hear about it.  My daughter has a knack for repeating things I've said in anger at the most inopportune moments.  Thankfully, my hubby has a sense of humor.
  8. Think before you speak.  Oh boy do I struggle with this one!  If I think it, out it comes.  I really, really need to work on thinking about what I'm about to say, and how it might be construed, before actually speaking.  Children are incredibly resiliant, but enough negative comments can seriously effect how they see themselves.  We want to build them up, not tear them down.
  9. Have a date night with your kids.  This is something I keep meaning to do, but haven't started yet.  This doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming.  Keep it simple.  Take one of your children out to McDonald's for a sundae.  Go for a nature walk.  Just spend some time alone together.  Not only will this strengthen your relationship with your child, but you might just have fun too.
  10. Pray some more.  I know I started with this one, but it is literally that important.  Pray for them, and with them.  There is nothing more powerful in this world than the power of prayer.
I sincerely hope that you find something helpful in my list.  I personally struggle with my parenting skills (or lack thereof) constantly.   So, when you're working on numbers 1 and 10 in my list, please remember to pray for me as well, and I'll be praying for you too.  For more Top 10 Tuesday posts, be sure to visit Oh Amanda's blog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week in Review from North Carolina

The reason I haven't posted in several days is because I'm not home.  The kids and I decided to take an impromptu trip to North Carolina to visit my parents, my brother and his family.  My parents live in Florida, but they also have a small house in Salisbury, North Carolina near where my brother lives.  They drove up from Florida on Thursday, and we decided to drive up rather spontaneously on Friday morning.  Its just the kids and I since daddy had to work.  So, since I posted some of the learning things we did this week already, I'll share some of the pictures I took yesterday at a park that had a nice pond with HUGE fish and turtles to feed.  This park is actually located in a nearby town called Granite Quarry. 

Here's Grandma and the kids feeding the turtles and the huge fish, which are carp.  They have to be close to two feet long.  They sell handfuls of fish food for $.25, so they are really well fed.

The boys had fun playing on the play pirate ship at the park.  They decided that they liked the park right down the street from my parents house better.  It has swings and monkey bars!   Go figure...

The pond also had one sad, lonely mallard duck.  

The turtles were so cute.  I'm used to turtles that disappear as soon as you spot them.  These guys would sit right there and wait for you to feed them.  Obviously, they've gotten spoiled by all the fish food people throw in to feed the carp.  We watched these two turtles forever.  I kinda figure it was a boy and a girl.  The smaller one was most likely the boy because he was trying so hard to impress her.  She ignored him completely.

The kids have had such a nice weekend, but tomorrow we have to head home.  Haley will miss her choir class, but I can't miss play practice tomorrow night.  Not looking forward to the six hour drive home, but it was worth coming for the visit.  Nothing like a little Grandma time!

For more Weekly Wrap Up posts, be sure to stop by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.