Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School

This week marked the official end of summer.  School is back in session!  I had three amazingly cheerful students and one incredibly cooperative toddler (for the most part). 

We have adopted a whole new school schedule since the "schooling while Reagan naps" plan doesn't work very well when nap time doesn't come until 2:00!  We are starting class about 8:00, after prayer and devotions, with language arts and math, then a break.  Next comes science and music, then lunch and a longer break.  After that is Reagan's nap, and we wrap up school with history and art.  All told, we should be done by 3:00.  Yes, that's 7 hours after we started, but we've had close to 3 hours of breaks in there, so it's not a full 7 hours of class, heaven forbid! 

The breaks allow the kids time to do chores, memorize Awana verses, read, and of course, PLAY!  And I get a little breather to get stuff ready for the next subject, start supper, do a little cleaning, or sit down (yeah, right).  At least canning is pretty much done for the year, right?

Oh.  I forgot one thing.  P.E. class!  On Mondays through Wednesdays, I wake the three older kids up at 6:00 and we head outside to move our bodies as much as we can for at least 15 minutes.  Jumping jacks, jogging, kicking a soccer ball around the house, even push-ups!  So far, it's not the most popular class, but I have faith that it will catch on!  :)

Reagan has joined in during class time much better than I thought.  I'll have to get a picture of him in "school" next week.  I have set up a TV tray for him where he entertains himself (with help) with whatever manipulatives  I set out for him.  So far, his favorite is paint!  He's not very neat with it of course, but the mess is usually limited to his tray, chair and himself...and his paper!  What more can you ask of a 2-year-old?  I also have markers and stencils (paper gets taped to the tray), play dough, lacing cards, foam cubes, popsicle sticks, a box of rice with some scoops, and a few other tricks up my sleeve.  All of which came from that marvelous store, The Dollar Tree.  

So that's my plan for this school year.  What's yours?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend with the Cousins

Relaxing in "The Man Cave" at Keith & Amy's house
We have recently returned from visiting Alabama cousins Keith, Amy, Wyatt, and Zach, and what a time we had!  We first spent a couple of days at their house, relaxing, playing, fellowshipping.  Then they treated us to a trip to a lake about 45 minutes away.  It was gorgeous!
Marian, Ellie, Andrew, and Zach in the lake
We stayed overnight in a beautiful townhouse that stepped right out onto a dock where Amy's parents have a speed boat and a pontoon boat.  Let me tell ya, it's all in who ya know-- and we are so blessed to know Sally and Michael!

The kids had their first opportunity to try knee-boarding and tubing.  When I say a good time was had by all, that doesn't even begin to cover it!  Andrew took to knee-boarding like a fish to water.  The girls had a harder time of it, but not for lack of trying!  They decided that tubing was their sport, at least for now.

Dwayne dared to take Reagan out tubing, too.  Reagan thought it was great fun-- until the boat started to move!  So Reagan came up in the boat with me and Dwayne took the chance to go solo.

As for me, I seem to have turned into quite a chicken.  Just riding in the boat was adventure enough for me!  (Who's with me?)
 Thank you, Keith and Amy!  We had so much fun and made such great memories!  You guys are the best; thinking of you makes us smile!

Ellie is 6!

Ellie has been looking forward to this day for a whole year!  Six years old!  Can you believe it?
Among her presents were a marker set, a new Barbie, a jewelry box from Marian, a super soaker from Andrew, and quite a handsome amount of cash for such a little girl!  Happy day, Ellie!  And a happy 7th year ahead for you, too!

 A funny story for Ellie's birthday...
After we had Ellie's cake and presents, we were off to attend a friend's wedding.  Dwayne had an idea that he thought would save me some work and time.  I wouldn't have to make the cake or the birthday supper.  His plan was that we arrive at the wedding a bit late, missing the actual vows, but just in time for the cake.  We would then tell Ellie that all the people, decorations, food, music, and of course, the cake were all for her birthday!  

Yes, he was just kidding.

Independence Day

Happy 4th!!  (Give or take 6 weeks!)  The Fourth of July is always a big day for us, so no matter how late I am, I must make an entry for this so-important summer celebration!

Dwayne & Curt
We always look forward to our community picnic on July 4th, and this year the kids and I had fun making Firecracker Cupcakes (among other things) for the event. 

Dwayne helped out at the grill. 

Reagan was never far away from me or Dwayne.  All those "strangers" were fine as long as they kept their distance!

Silly poses
Relaxing in the shade
The girls played with some of the other kids, hitched a ride with neighbors for the Tip Top Independence Day Parade, and went swimming with us at a neighbor's pool that afternoon.

And Drew?  Drew disappeared.  I saw him come get something to eat at some point, but besides that, he was with the boys-- getting muddy, shooting bottle rockets, and who knows what else!  Yes, they had some supervision, but NO MOMS!! 

And, of course, the whole day ended in a wonderful fireworks display!  (Through most of which, Reagan cried.  Poor thing.)  Dwayne said he thought it was the best show ever.  But then again, he always says that. :)