Friday, May 30, 2008

1300-Mile Detour

Hello! It's been quite a while since I've posted anything. We met up with Joe's sister, Ellen, and family in Lubbock for Memorial Day weekend, and the 8 cousins had a blast playing together. The day we were to leave, things got interesting--all good and lots of fun! So, I'll wait until I upload some pictures to fill you in on our Lubbock rendezvous and our 1300-mile detour.

Friday, May 23, 2008

P.E. Homeschool Style

Once in a while...and here in Texas, it can be a long is considered too warm to run around much outside unless you're wet. Today, on the heels of upper 90 days and this day over 100, the kids decided to forego their regular wiggles release, "Laps: Variations on the Theme" where each one decides on the style (backwards, skip, sideways, gallop, etc.) of each of their four laps they run around our yard.

Instead, they decided to stay indoors and do gymnastics...and other displays (?) of energy release. Good thing we recently picked up most of our people rollers (toys) off the floor!

Here are the kids in some of their glory!

This kept them busy for 1/2 hour. They would have gone on longer if I hadn't stopped them to finish more school work. Who knows how long they would have continued if I actually turned on some music for them. Maybe I'll do this when I'm fixing dinner tonight!

Sleep well, my children!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yi, Er, San...or E.R. Son?

Jimmer was pretty excited to be able to count to three in Chinese. He came to me after watching Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, a Chinese learning show...

Jimmer: "I know how to say something in Chinese...'E.R. Son!' Do you know what that means?"

Me (referring to the number of times we've taken him to the hospital): "Is that how you say your name in Chinese?"

Jimmer: "Nope, that's how you say, 'One, two, three.' in Chinese."

Me (hospital thought persevering): "Good job! Don't you think it's funny that it's the same number of times you--my son--have been to the E.R.?"

Jimmer: (silence)

For the record, the real way to pronounce the numbers 1, 2, & 3 in Chinese is:

However, the only way I'll ever remember how to say these numbers is "E.R. Son."

Maybe we should refer to Jimmer as "E.R. Son II" since he is the son of another E.R. Son, Joe, whose mother took him to the E.R. so frequently she felt she had to dodge questions from the E.R. staff so as to avoid any CPS red flags!

I guess this picture of Jimmer isn't close up enough to notice where he had 12 stitches above his right eyebrow. The foot he had x-rayed certainly isn't in view, but he's holding up the same hand that got slammed in our van sliding door!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mobile Loaves and Fishes...and 102 degrees

We hit the century mark yesterday!

Up until now, I've been able to dodge the oncoming heat. We've been blessed with a nice variety of cool and warm temps throughout the spring. Yesterday's outdoor adventure, however, was unavoidable.

I took the kids to a local church to stock its Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck. (This is one of the girls' Little Flowers service projects that we have the opportunity to do every month.) Before the girls started making sandwiches, we sat outside making tissue paper flower decorations for their upcoming awards ceremony. Then, while still outside, we practiced the old 70's songs they'll be singing at the event. Did I mention that it was 102 degrees outside?

The girls made 100-102 sandwiches (we'll say 102 to match the heat).

Loading the truck.
Here are some of the girls who helped.
You know you're a true Texan if it's over 100 degrees and you still wear pants. I guess we're not true Texans...yet!

The official temperature for the general area yesterday was 101 degrees, but since I saw a thermometer near the church that said 102, I'm stickin' to it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Curious George...and Kathleen...and JOE!

What is wrong with this picture?
We like to read whole, living books. Mostly. I guess I can't consider Curious George books true "living books" but our kids read them nonetheless. So, this is the idea Kathleen got after reading Curious George Rides a Bike: to ride her bike, a little differently. Even if the book isn't "living", we can put some life into it by DOING what's in the book! NOW the book is living! But there's certainly nothing wrong with this picture.
So what IS wrong with THIS picture? Hmmm, Joe got in on the action. He's also riding a little differently. Yes, backwards. With how easily he hopped on the bike and rode backwards (through the whole yard), I'm pretty sure he spent half his childhood on a bike riding just this way. But isn't there something wrong, or should I say missing? We are quite careful when it comes to safety issues. Dad is especially careful with bike safety for the kids. So...where's HIS helmet? That's the only thing I see wrong with this picture!
Have any of you tried riding your bike differently lately?

Joe later mentioned that he used to race his bike this way. The other person would race facing forward as fast as he could, and Joe would race with Curious George...riding backwards. There's no wonder why he scraped off a whole eye brow and was in the E.R. so often when he was younger! I've known him for over 20 years, and I'm still finding out new things about him!

NOTE: Kathleen will not practice riding differently today. After an 8-mile bike ride with her sibs and Dad yesterday, her bike chain broke AS she was turning into our driveway. If it had to happen, it certainly was perfect timing!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Things we've learned this week

Don’t shake rugs outside near an open window.

Spiders like angels too! (See the web draping over the halo? The kids wanted me to leave it there because they think it made the halo effect look more heavenly!)
We need to keep all of our doors closed. Otherwise, our neighbor’s dog and a different neighbor’s cat will wander in for another visit.

Mikey (and likely other kids too) doesn’t like it when his fingernail falls off.

Self-assemble gliders kids get at the dentist’s office aren’t meant to last, but the sticky eyeballs will last forever and will become one with the ceiling if you accidently leave them there overnight.

We need to clean our carpets.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nature Fun Friday

This morning as Joe drove off to work, the kids chased him down the street to send him off, and they spotted a turtle in a neighbor's yard. Of course, this set off our "Nature Fun Friday"...even before all the kids had breakfast! They watched him slowly stick out his head, move his eyes round, and be brave enough to walk around...down the sidewalk, over the curb (clunk!), and down the street. I guess he's a city turtle! Here's their new reptile friend they named Buster (He's the small one in the middle!).

After fending off the kids' pleas to keep their new friend, I thanked my lucky stars when they noticed new growth on our neighbor's Sago Palm plant.

Here's a top view.
The Sago Palm in our back yard is a little further ahead and now looks like this from the top.
Look at the new still-curled fronds.
See how they slowly unroll into the straight frond spikes?
Our bonus nature friend who also enjoys our Sago Palm!
Kathleen, our Monkey #2.
An impromptu nature study...and I didn't even have to organize or plan anything. I guess I'll consider this another type of Good Friday!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Book Bag

This picture really says it all. Joe has had a busy month, particularly with our church building committee!This bag is looking like the grown up version of what I remember from his grad school days. At the end of his coursework, his back pack was (and I'm not kidding) held together with a series of safety pins. I even put it on display at his graduation party!

Our Little Flowers

Today at our Little Flowers Girls' Club meeting, five of us moms made the girls' new uniform skirts. In all, 14 skirts were completed in 2 hours--with no injuries! Quite a productive sewing bee if you ask me!

I even hauled my old heavy Singer sewing machine, that my dad bought for me at a garage sale when I was in high school, to the meeting! It's a well-built, well-used work horse that never fails! Thanks for the great purchase, Dad! And thanks to my friend's son who carried my "horse" back to our van!

Here are the girls in their uniforms with their new (unironed) skirts.

Whoa! Two posts in a row showing Kathleen in a skirt. I'm sure that won't happen again, so take a good look now!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mikey & Kathleen's Piano Recital

Tonight was a fun one for all of us. It was Kathleen's second and Mikey's first big piano recital. They both did a great job! They love their piano teacher (pictured) who is also one of our accompanists at church.Mary Kate is looking forward to starting piano lessons in the fall.

Jimmer was mainly looking forward to eating the treats at the after-recital reception!

When the time came, they all dove into the mocha truffle cookies we brought.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our kids did the windows on Mother's Day!

What is this all about?
Sometimes leaving childcare up to Dad is a much different picture than when they are left in my care. For example, after my nice breakfast in bed that the kids prepared for me yesterday (Mother's Day), Joe took the kids downstairs while I read the paper and got ready for the day. Since it was such a beautiful morning, we had all our windows opened. I heard it getting a bit noisy and I needed another cup of coffee, so I went downstairs to check out all the commotion. Here's what I found Dad letting them do.

Out from the living room...
Yes, he's going THROUGH the window.
...onto the deck

No stopping them now...

Cannonball #23

I believe we agreed not to get a skateboard ramp/jump....for WHAT reason?

Maybe we should put our solar screens back on the deck windows afterall!

We wouldn't want any "spread" eagles flying through our windows!

Afterthought Disclaimer: Oops! Just thought I better clarify... No, the kids weren't jumping over the deck rail into our pristine backyard pool--that we don't have! And no, we weren't letting our kids crush their knee joints by flying through the air onto hard ground. As a structural engineer who is Type-A when it comes to child safety, Joe hauled 2 full dump trucks of pea gravel into our back yard--coming in at 9 inches deep. The kids had a pretty soft landing! Much softer, anyway, than the landing I remember as a child when we'd jump off the roof of our garage onto a packed pile of snow!

And no, I'm not sure what we're going to do with all the pea gravel when the kids outgrow the playscape!

Mother's Day Fun with Kids

It's probably a good thing the kids first ran and jumped off lots of energy "doing the windows" (above post) before we took a ride through the Hill Country. Even though the bluebonnets are done blooming this year, there are still lots of beautiful Indian blanket wildflowers gracing the sides of the roads. Lady Bird Johnson lives on!

There are also scads of blooming prickly pear cacti growing as weeds along the roads and ranch fences.

We stopped at Lake Buchanan and enjoyed the warm, dry weather!

Well, the kids didn't stay very dry!

After we got home, we watched the video Joe took of the kids "doing the windows" in the morning--BACKWARDS!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fine Arts Friday...not so much!

We like studying the fine arts. We really DO! Yes, the kids love classical music. Oftentimes we turn on NPR for some background music while the kids are reading. We also listen to some of this, and they enjoy Beethoven's Wig and the Classical Kids series. For part of our history, we're also using Meet the Great Composers.
This week we're studying this piece of artwork called Prayer by Albrecht Durer.

But today, the only fine arts our kids created were these little marshmallow snowmen "sculptures" during their snack time. Look, one's even doing gymnastics warm ups.

Then (for music?) they resorted to doing this.
Now, I try not to pressure them and compare them to all the fine artisans of long ago. I just want to know WHY this armpit thing is so compelling for ALL children to attempt and enjoy.

Okay, I never could do it with my arm. I WAS, however, a master performer using the back of my knee! Regardless, I think I need to rename this post to "Can You Tell It's Friday" or "Spring Fever Friday"!

More Adventures with Jimmer & Chimpy

Okay, let's just get this out of his/our system...

When Jimmer makes a new discovery, he oftentimes likes to share his experience with Chimpy, his favorite stuffed animal.

Yesterday's post was about Jimmer & Chimpy. As you can see, today's post is about Jimmy Chimp. There's been another post about the duo. Kathleen thinks it's so cute watching Jimmer "help" Chimpy, that she has wanted to take lots of pictures. We'll post some of them and get it all out for a while!

Here's Jimmer counting 100 beans...then showing Chimpy how he makes piles of tens to make it easier to count. Jimmer started counting by twos and made it up to 80, but then said that Chimpy was getting tired so he had to stop! Hmmm...

Jimmer set up this nice breakfast for Chimpy--before he even fed himself this morning.

Chimpy had the much-coveted job of feeding the tadpoles today.

Chimpy also learned how to use the tools in Jimmer's work bench, and he started his reading lessons as well.

Next on Jimmer's "to do" list is to teach Chimpy proper etiquette for using the telephone.

I think Chimpy needs to take a nap for now!