Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 24th -29th

     Since cleaning up our flooded basement on Thursday after we came back from our mini vacation in Minnesota, I've not been feeling very good. I had sinus surgery about a year and a half ago, and yet I still get sinus infections and blockage. So, I haven't had my camera out that much or been very interested in writing. Still I wanted to capture some memories from this week, so here goes...

~ making fudge with Steve and Jared late one night after Alexa had gone to sleep. We used the quickie recipe off the back of a Marshmallow Fluff container. Yum!

~ going to see Shrek Forever with Steve and the kids at the cheapie show

~ going on a Home Depot run after the movie to pick up custom made storm windows for the upstairs rooms. They were already two weeks late, we had ordered them over a month ago, and found out that they had reversed the dimensions on the windows so we still had nothing to take home. Needless to say, we cancelled the order, got our money back and will be going elsewhere.

~ having Jared call me out to look at his sidewalk drawings. He made one of me, Steve, Shrek, and Rumpelstiltskin. He has really taken off with his drawings, usually wanting to draw every day, whereas before it had been months since he'd picked up a pen or crayon. He now includes lots of details in his drawing like eyebrows, bottons on clothes, and eyeballs inside of eye sockets.

~ lots of reading

~ going to church. Afterwards, I took the kids to a local indoor fruit market while Steve stayed to play electric guitar for second service. It was one of the worst times with the kids. Even though I hate to put the kids in the cart (they are four, for goodness sake!), it does help to keep Jared from dashing away from me. Jared did everything from fling fruit on the floor, knock over pails of juice, to run all around the store with me chasing him before I finally gave up. Then when I finally was able to scoop him up when he ran close to me, he yelled, kicked and screamed for awhile. UUUUUUGGGGHHHH. I love him so much, but he is a very intense, little boy, from having huge temper tantrums, to sitting up in bed at 9:30 and talking your ear off for an hour.

~ catching fireflies and swinging in the dark

~ watching Bedtime Stories together on movie night.

~ having Grandma watch the kids for three hours while I saw the sinus doctor and had another CAT scan done. Turns out the two upper sinuses have severe blockage and the lining has thickened. Now I'm on a steroid treatment and taking antibiotics. Monday evening I crashed at 7:00 and didn't wake until 8:00 the next day.

Yesterday, I still felt horrible, so I lazed around the couch most of the morning. Still, as I look back over the day, I'm amazed at what we still accomplished.

~ had a Joker's Birthday Party. Jared made up this game a few weeks ago. We sit around in a circle and have a birthday party for the Joker (who is really a pirate figure). Everyone brings him gifts to open up, ranging from diamonds, to poison, to knockout gas. Then sometimes we dance and then sing Happy Birthday. Then the Joker blows out his birthday candles.

~ did many mazes with the kids from a Maze book, and Alexa practiced writing her letters in a Big Kindergarten workbook I bought her a few weeks ago.

~ lots of jumping on the bed

~ watched several episodes from both Liberty's Kids series and the original Inspector Gadget series.

~ I squeezed in a shower

~ during lunch I read to the kids several Step into Reading Spiderman books, and a Graphic picture book about Patrick Henry.

~ my mom came over for a few hours to watch the kids so I could get some rest. But right before she came over, I found the kids in my room naked, rubbing my Vaseline all over themselves and the wall. They had been quiet for a few minutes, but it was so nice to eat my pizza lunch in peace, that I didn't go in there right away. That cost me twenty minutes of my resting time. What time I did have to rest after getting a bill ready to mail, washing the dishes and cancelling an appointment, my mom took the kids for a little walk, they washed the car with the hose, and read together.

~ In the afternoon, we did a project out of Mary Ann Khol's awesome book ScienceArts called Wet Paint Design. The kids dipped construction paper in water, then dropped diluted paint from a medicine dropper onto the construction paper to make designs.

Jared called his picture Volcano and Alexa labeled hers Ogre. We talked a little about the process of diffusion, too.

It still amazes me how even with such little planning on my part, and even when I feel bad, if we discuss the things going on in our lives and take advantage of everyday opportunities, the kids learn and pick up so much. Just in this week were were able to discuss everything from the American Revolution, sinuses, getting a refund, why it's not safe to run off in a store, how to make fudge, and diffusion.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book/CD/DVD list for May 2010

I was pretty shocked when I looked at my list of everything we had read this past month. Of course a lot of the books are picture books (we have been getting into the habit of reading a lot more chapter books or novels), but still there are quite a few. For the twin's birthday, I asked people to get books from thrift stores, as the kids go through books so quickly, and they received a lot of books. I had also done a thrift store run myself right before then, too. So, without further ado...

George Shrinks
Creepy, Crawly Caterpillars
Thunder Cake
Harry's Pony
Mary Clare Likes to Share

Batman: Green Gotham
Batman: Heads or Tails
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Biscuit Visits the Big City
Magic School Bus: Inside a Hurricane
Franklin in the Dark

Curious George and the Firefighters
Franklin's Birthday Surprise
Pal the Pony

Mice are Nice
Olive my Love
Froggy Goes to the Doctor
Cat and Bird in the Hat
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
I Knew You Could
Big Red Barn
Witches Four
Sir Small and the Dragonfly
Dinosaur Days
Roudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Shines Again
Dinosaur Dream
I'm a Ballerina (Fantasy Tales)
The Flea's Sneeze

Melanie Mouse's Moving Day
Penguins' Big Hill

The Ant Bully
Henry and Mudge: Best Day of All                                                             


Best Loved Stories in Song and Dance                                                             


Magic School Bus: Dive to Coral Reefs
Justice Legue
Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword
Time Warp Trio: Passport to Adventure

Minnesota Day #3 - Heading Home

Our less than 48 hours here in Minnesota sure seemed like it lasted many more hours than that. We had full days and spent so much undivided time with the kids. While packing up, the kids decided to make a cave with everything they could find in the room. So they arranged all the pillows, towels, chair cushions, and even dumped the suitcase Steve had just finished packing (Yikes!) on top of their "cave."

When we finally got back on the road, we were pretty beat. The kids did take some naps, which helped, as well as some milk shakes, but towards the end of the trip, they were getting WHINY! Then I put in a few of the audio books I had brought and that totally changed their attitudes. As an interest-led learning family, it still amazes me how much the kids learn through listening to stories and how much they love it. The vocabulary they daily use and the way they incorporate head stories into their pretend play in new ways, is priceless. Jared was glued to the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,  and they both loved listening to The Giant Jam Sandwich.

Lost of jumping at rest areas also helped relieve tired muscles.

When we finally pulled up to our house, we were greeted by utility trucks and a man up in our front yard tree. Although we drove through the tail end of the storm, a huge storm hit our area while we were driving. Almost half of a tree crashed into our front yard, narrowly missing our living room picture window. We also found out our basement had flooded, dumping layers of black sludge and other stuff from the sewer all across the basement floor, as well as soaking several boxes that were up on shelves.

Our power was out, too, so we picked up some Chinese food, and ate dinner with candlelight at 9:00. The power came on about 12:30 that evening, and I was so thankful to God, because our freezer downstairs was packed with ribs for our 4th of July BBQ and that would have been a lot of money wasted.

The really eventful, packed three days we've had left us all tired, and I had hours of clean-up the next day. But God really was graceful in that we could have come home to a smashed in window and loads of water pouring into our home.

Minnesota Day#2

Despite staying up until 11:00 the night before watching Hook, we were in the pool by 8:00 Tuesday morning. I think Alexa would have stayed in there all day if she could. The pool was ours alone again.

We brought cereal and bowls in the room for breakfast, so we packed the backpack for the day and made our way down to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

The kids were a bit cranky from being tired, but after getting a little juice into them, and insisting they walk for a little bit (our backs were killing us from so much carrying!), they perked up a little to appreciate some of the unique sculptures in the park.

I would have loved to spend a little more time in the time conservatory on the premises, too, especially in the room with the Frank Gerty sculpture of the glass fish (sorry, I can't remember the exact title). 

The flowers in the pool around the fish sculpture were simply gorgeous. 

Since we arrived at the Gardens later in the afternoon, we didn't stay more than an hour when everyone started getting really hungry. We drove to the Mall of America, where we ate a quick lunch and headed to the 7 acre amusement park for some fun.

We bought a pass for around $60, but it turns out we should have only spent $40. Since the kids are still so young, we needed to chaperon on most of the rides, and they didn't charge for chaperons. Oh well. We gave a mom with her daughter our last 15 tickets when we ran out of energy (after ten rides!).

I don't have pictures of Jared's favorite ride - the log ride, but here's a picture highlight of some of our favorites. The last picture was taken on top of the Ferris Wheel. Also, I couldn't help but laugh at how silly Steve looked on the bouncing ride with with the kids. One older lady standing next to me commented on what a great dad he was, and how most dads wouldn't ride with their kids on a ride like that.

We grabbed a pizza on the way to the hotel and ate there. Then we headed down for more swimming, and a movie before bed. It was another tiring day, and it's hard to believe that Steve actually squeezed in several hours of work in around it all, but we have so many wonderful memories from that day.