Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Adventures!

Before I get into our adventures, can I tell you--these last few days have been some of the absolute BEST in quite some time??  Seriously.  The Best.

I've been having a tough week or so--one day having a complete breakdown over the amount of housework that I can never seem to get done, and how can I ever even hope to break even with it and then to be an involved, happy and supportive mom and wife on top of it all??  While moping around the internet, I found a Yahoo group about unschooling and how to apply it to relationships.  I was emailing the group moderator back and forth and they mentioned that the only requirement was that we practice radical unschooling.  I thought, 'Seriously?  How much more radical can you get than unschooling in itself??'  Hahahahahaha, boy was I naive.  I was approved to be a member of the group and as I started reading, WOW. 

Radical unschoolers are pretty much "those people."  The ones who let their kids eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want, don't require their kids to do chores...sounds pretty crazy, huh?  How can you raise a decent kid in that environment, right?

Well, the more reading I did, the more clear it came--there is SO much more to it all than all of those things.  Yes, they allow all of these things but only through relationships built on vasts amount of love, respect, guidance, and understanding.

Now I'm not about ready to tell my kids that they don't have to brush their teeth if they don't want to, but in just a very short amount of time reading through some of the boards and what these people wrote--even more touching to me was actually how they wrote it.  There was such a feeling of respect and love that went into just their replies.  And not only with their children, but they are huge advocates for giving your spouse the same love, respect and understanding (which seems like common sense, but is oftentimes not so easy after everyone has had a long and full day).

Literally within 20 minutes of sitting my depressed self down to read these boards, my mood was completely altered.  Duh, it's NOT all about me.  Neither Russ nor the kids care if the dishes or done or that I have a pile of clean laundry on the bed, waiting to be folded--in fact, the kids prefer I NOT fold it as they love to use it to jump into on my bed.  So of course they're not going to notice that I actually did do the dishes or laundry and definitely not thank me for it.  I do the dishes and laundry for ME.  And that's okay, but what could I do in order to help make their lives a little better?

...And that leads me into our Weekend Adventures.

On Thursday night, Sam mentioned that he'd like to see a sunrise.  So Friday morning we were out the door at 6am, headed up to a mountain where I thought we could see it from.  Turns out, we couldn't see it so well.  But we sat and talked about how the colors change in the sky as the sun gets closer to rising.  And about the cows eating their breakfasts.  Brooklyn asked why we couldn't see the sun yet, so we got to talk about the size of the Earth and sun and shadows and rotation.  And we stopped at watched baby goats head-butting and jumping and bouncing all over the place for a good 20 minutes.  Then we stopped and watched as the sun finally came over the hill, and looked at how it illuminated the previously in-shadow valley.  And then we got doughnuts to seal the deal.

Friday afternoon Brooklyn gave her art presentation.  There were about 30 people there (the majority were under the age of 11), and Brooklyn was the last of 9 to deliver hers.  I was so nervous for her--I don't do super well with public speaking.  Over the course of the week, I'd tried my best to refrain from panicking her, "Did you finish your poster yet?  Do you know what you're going to say?  Shall we write it down?  Can we practice for the hundredth time?  Are you nervous?  ARE YOU?!"  That type of thing.

As we drove there, I finally did ask if she was nervous, and she beamed back at me in her black and white fancy dress and her white knee socks and black patent leather shoes (that she negotiated the price for and payed for with her own money), "Nope, I'm excited!"

She did so well.  No, she didn't have a laminated lap book.  Or a memorized speech that was better than anything even I could write.  But she was so confident, I was one proud momma.  She asked what people saw in her artwork and every kid raised their hand (multiple times because she kept asking, "And what ELSE do you see?" lol).  And every kid had a different answer.  At the end she asked for questions and they asked what medium it was, "Charcoal."  And who the artist was, "Me."  Yup, one proud momma.

After her presentation was over, the kids asked to go swimming (it was 73*!  Woot!).  So we ran home for some quick lunch (and milk volcanoes) before heading out.

We'd been to a creek for a playdate the day before, so we hurried home and got our swimming suits on.  It was so much fun--I mostly just sat on my blanket and read my book off and on while observing the kids (I'd played in the creek for over an hour the previous day and knew exactly how cold that water was!).  It was so interesting because they would both be very, very quiet for awhile and just walk up and down the stream, toss rocks, hunt for noisy frogs...and then they would both enter these different worlds--Brooklyn preferred to share her imagined world with me, but Sam has this stream of consciousness that is just amazing to listen to sometimes.

Brooklyn's imaginings went something like this:  "This is my little cabinet here where I store my rocks for when we need to throw them in the water, and these are my steps out of my house that is built up in these beautiful mountains.  They are steep steps to get down to the water where we fish, but it is worth it!  And do you smell that smell? (as she picks a weed)  That's the smell of home.  Mmmm...  I am so lucky to live in this beautiful place."

And Sam's went something like this, "Where is my knife?  Hmmm...oh here it is! (he picks up a rock)  Slit, slit, slit, I killed you fish.  You are my dinner.  (he throws his knife)  OH NO!  I lost my knife!!" and this would repeat over. And over. And over.  Occasionally he would take his "knife" alllll the way up the trail to where there was a tree full of blossoms and throw his rock at the blossoms to watch them fall.  He was pretty far away and I would get people who were walking by looking at me like I was crazy, but he was enthralled.

It is one of my favorite memories to date--the sun, the babble of the creek, the slight breeze, my kids doing their things...I thanked anything and everything for that magical moment.

When the sun had started setting (the kids noted that it was pretty neat that they got to see both a sunrise AND a sunset all in one day), and the shadows came out to play we headed home for a warm bath and some snuggling while watching Phineas and Ferb. 

Sam lay his head on my lap and asked me to scratch his back.  He was out cold in less than 3 minutes.  Life is good.

After dinner, we read, snuggled, and after we tucked the kids in, I gave Sam a glow stick to play with because I knew he probably wasn't tired yet.  That's what allowing your kid to go to bed whenever he wants means, I guess--helping them listen to their bodies.  Sam needed that back scratch and that nap, and sure, it was REALLY close to bedtime, and no, he didn't go to sleep right away.  But he was allowed to play quietly in his bed with his glow stick and he eventually passed out on his own.  Huh.  I guess this radical stuff isn't so crazy after all.


I woke up to the sound of a little boy out playing on the couch.  His helmet had literally fallen apart at the seams a couple of days ago, and he was playing with the shell of it.  The first thing he said when I came out was, "Mom, I think I need a new hewmet."  So we cruised Amazon and he found the perfect one.

Russ and Brooklyn made us scrambled eggs and hash browns.

Russ and the kids snuggled on the couch for some books and cartoons while I finally got caught up on blogging and got a quiet few moments to myself.

We eventually headed outside where Russ decided to dismantle our bench to paint it and fix it and work on the yard, the kids (and neighbor kids) decided to take the dismantled bench boards and make surfboards (that are hanging in our tree) out of them.  I settled on trying to get a bit more paint on the front of our house.

He has the yard looking so much better!!

Then the kids moved on to wanting to build a fort.  In the front yard.  With the kitchen chairs.  And pillows.  And cushions.  "Sure!  Do you need help?"  "NOPE!"  Then there was a request for peanut butter and jelly in the fort.

Then there was play dough and putty.  And Brooklyn constructed a wooden airplane and helicopter completely on her own (I was impressed--I couldn't even figure it out from the dang horrible instructions!).  Then there was a cotton ball fight...or two.  The neighbor kids were here all day, and after the first cotton ball fight she excused herself to go and take a bath.  Ha!  Totally my kid.

Sam and the neighbor kids played Operation! and then Brooklyn came out and asked to play a computer game.  The neighbor kids wanted to play too.  So she gave up her game for them and asked to play on the other computer.  They wanted to play with her on that computer too.  So I set things up for them on the other computer, and then Brook came back in and asked if she could watch a movie by herself.  Funny kid. 

The neighbors had to go home and we all snuggled up on the couch with some warm cookies and popcorn and watched Puss in Boots.

Then of course books and songs before bed.  And kisses.  And a glow stick.


I woke up thinking, "I'm just gonna go jump in the shower."  Hahahahahaha.  Silly me.

Sam said he wanted to cut some of the flowers we have in the kitchen (the ones bought at the farmer's market last weekend).  I said yes, so he climbed up onto the table and I expected him to chop every single flower head off, but snipped only two--"These are my favorite.  Tiger wiwwys."  He chose to string one up from the light in his room so he can look at it at night, and the other he chopped up so that he could look at it under the microscope.

We spent the morning looking at lots of stuff under the microscope--flower parts, mold, blood, brown water, fabric, etc.  The kids love it.  Then they found the catalogs that I ordered our slides and organs to dissect from and we spent a good 45 minutes perusing the catalog, the kids circling every single thing that they even remotely wanted. is the website, and they have all sorts of really neat stuff for pretty decent prices.

Later, I found Brooklyn (who was previously creating quite the commotion, but was suddenly silent for quite awhile...) sitting amidst an insane amount of mess, reading.  Love this girl.

Russ then headed outside to plant his sunflower babies, mow the grass, tend to the garden and the like.  The kids asked to paint some rocks...with spray paint.  Why not?  Then the neighbor kids joined us.  Then they wanted to paint with acrylics on paper.

Then Brooklyn asked about hearts again, so we pulled out an old anatomy and physiology textbook and sat and looked at pictures and discussed hearts and babies forming and all sorts of good stuff.  There was a photo of a cadaver and Brooklyn said, "I wish I could see a REAL dead person's insides."  I said, "Look, there's a photo right here."  "That's just a picture, Mom."  Oh, my bad.

I finally got in the shower and when I got out, was ambushed!!  Brooklyn had been waiting behind the door the entire time with a spray bottle of water!!  Needless to say, I'm not the only one that was soaked! Bwahahahah.

At lunch, we broke open a coconut.  Quite the ordeal, let me tell you.

After lunch (and Sam's 1 1/2 hour bath!!!!), Russ decided we should head out in search of some polliwogs.  We packed the kids' rain boots and butterfly nets and a tupperware for our new pets and set off to the creek.  The kids (and Russ) had a blast wading through the water and exploring.  There were no tadpoles found, but we did hear frogs.  And we did find lots of great throwing rocks--and of course sat and threw them all.  We were all freezing when we got home.  Russ and Brook snuggled in for some How It's Made while Sam and I went out and got dinner and a movie since we were all so pooped.

And then I finished off the day with a family chat on ooVoo, and attempted to watch a movie with Russ.  Attempted.  Apparently it was pretty good.  So was falling asleep at the end of this great day.

Life is so, so good.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Playing Catch-up.

We've been some busy bees!!

-Soap carving

-Library trips

-Decorating our house with LOTS of pieces of custom-made art.

-Making gifts for our friends (and delivering them!)

-Glow stick fun

-Being the Statue of Liberty

-Charcoal insanity (more on that later)

-Climbing walls with our ropes

-Eating, checking out our "babies" (Brook decided to grow wildflowers and cut them and sell them)

-Making forts (and bird watching)

-Planting more seeds (using cut-up egg cartons)

-Puzzles with goggles

-Conducting "roller coaster" experiments

-Conducting roller coaster experiments in a new environment

-Babies are growing! (Sunflowers in the back, tomatoes in the front)

-Paying a visit to Half-Priced Books...and wrapping up our finds for Daddy to unwrap when he gets home

-Eating onions (they both liked the taste of a small piece, but surprise surprise...neither finished their halves of onions, lol)

-Of course lots of snuggling with books and movies


-Farmer's market!

-Our February science kit came!! MAGNETS!

-My van's lovely new tat.

-Skate park!

-Art presentations

-Checking out a cemetery

-Lots of imagining

-Tunnel-digging, Phase I

-An early morning to see the sun rise, followed up with doughnuts for breakfast

-LOTS of dirty faces

-Tunnel-digging, Phase II (unfortunately, we had to leave before Phase III was complete)

-Throwing rocks and wading in the creek


I love the Play At Home Mom blog--especially their idea of "invitations". Essentially, it's just setting out some interesting stuff and letting the kids react and interact with it in their own time and in their own way.

This was invitation #1 this week. It doesn't say anywhere what exactly the recipe is for, but Brooklyn totally knew!

I was pretty impressed with the lack of guidance she needed. She asked a few questions, but did probably 90% of it herself, including cooking it.

Sam wasn't interested at first, but then decided he wanted to make another batch on his own.

Both kids ended up picking red for their color, and then spent an hour playing with it...

...including the idea of scanning it!

Invitation #2--charcoal. Boy, I was not prepared for this one.

They went right for the rocks, then the paper.

Then the dishes.

Then I reminded Brooklyn about her art presentation and that she needed to do her poster. So she grabbed it and covered it in charcoal. By the time the kids were done, the kitchen was COVERED in charcoal (as were the kids--I have proof, photos of a naked girl covered from literal head to toe in it), and my blood pressure was through the roof. I definitely should have tried this outside first, as I know I said some things I shouldn't have--"Look at the mess you're making!" and the like. Sigh. One day I hope to be "at one" with the mess and the fact that it only took 10 minutes to clean it up...

Invitation #3. I wanted to do something that Sam would appreciate--and oh he did. Brook never touched it, she just said, "Momma, you need to clean up your mess." Sigh.

Now to figure out what to do for next week...hmmm...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Defying "normal".

Over the past week, a vast realization has hit me like a ton of bricks...we aren't "normal." Now I know some of you are chuckling to yourselves, as I know you are quite aware of my new-found phenomenon--I knew we've never quite fit into one of society's pretty little boxes, but I wasn't aware that our "box" was more like a cloud made up of droplets of questions and hypotheses and wonders. A What If cloud, if you will. And I also wasn't aware that there are few others who appreciate the fact that we don't have a box.

Example #1: Last Wednesday
We went to the library. Brooklyn wanted to take her rope, as we were going to the park right after. No problem! The first woman approached me within minutes, "Excuse me, your daughter has some string or something trailing from her..." (I had asked Brooklyn to try and keep it wound up, alas), and I said, "Oh no, that's just her rope." Blank stare. After a moment I say, "It's wonderfully dangerous, isn't it?" "Yes." she said and turned and walked away.

As we left, the kids were playing just outside the front doors in a play area. Another little boy and girl and their mother came outside and were running and playing with Brook and Sam, exclaiming how neat Brook's rope was. "Get over here this instant!" their mother hissed. As they walked away, the boy asked, "Can I have a rope?" To which she responded with a very curt, "Absolutely not."

We went to the park with the rope and we left after a poor little girl's mother screamed every threat in the book at her...from the other side of the park....

Is a rope really that big of a deal???

Example #2: Last Thursday
I had an optometrist appointment, to which I decided to take the kids. Unfortunately, I went to the wrong office and ended up sitting and waiting for the optometrist to see me MUCH longer than I'd planned. I figured the kids would love to see an eye appointment, and I was right! They did! But of course, they got bored sitting in the waiting room for 45 minutes. They entertained themselves by using the waiting room chairs to make various shapes and letters (keep in mind, there was never another soul in the waiting room the entire time we were there). Eventually, they started pushing a chair up a little ramp that was in the office. They were making observations--which was was easier to push and pull, whether it was harder or easier with someone on top, etc. A receptionist came over and without even looking at me, walked right up to my kids and tell them that they needed to stop and get off the chair and put it away and not touch it. "You might get hurt." she added.

Darned wooden office chairs--so life threatening.

Example #3: Monday
The kids decided that they needed to spend the day turning a laundry basket, a belt, their bunk beds, and some pillows and blankets into a roller coaster. Yes, my heart was in my throat as Sam balanced precariously at the edge of the top bunk counting down "3, 2, 1..." as Brooklyn tipped him off the edge (with threats of me taking her rope away if her idea ends up with us in the emergency room...), but like any good supportive parent--I was there with the video camera to capture it all (will post soon).

Later on, the kids decided they needed to test their invention out at the park. They weren't sure whether it would go down the slide easier with or without a blanket, so we included that as well. We loaded it all up into the wagon and made our way. There was a "what in the world are those kids doing?" in a hushed voice from my right, and as Brook screamed the entire way down the slide and emerged with a giant smile on her face there was a, "Seriously?!" from my left.

Check--add laundry baskets to the "what kind of a parent are you?!" list.

Example #4: Yesterday
We went to a game day organized by our homeschool group at a library that I'd never been to. It was great--a little stressful for me, but it was amazing to be able to watch Brooklyn "do her thing" as she walked up to a group that included a 14, 13, and 10 year old and challenged them to a game of Crazy 8's...and nearly beat them.

When it was time to go, we went outside where they had a raised bed with trees and shrubs and a nice wide walkway going around. Of COURSE the kids asked to walk along it. Then they asked to go around the whole thing again. Sure! I call Russ to see when he'll be home and this large woman comes barreling out of the library, "GET OFF OF THERE! GET THEM OFF OF THERE!!!" I realize she's talking to me and she points out to me, "Don't you see that sign?! It's for leaning against ONLY!!! NO WALKING ON IT!" I tell Sam, "Okay buddy, time to get off." but off course he's concentrating on his balancing skills, but my temper went from zero to sixty in a split second as the woman turned to him and began yelling, "GET DOWN NOW! GET DOWN!! Helloooo, GET DOWN!!!!" "Excuse me, that is MY son." "He needs to get down, NOW, GET DOWN!!" I hung up on Russ and Momma Bear emerged as this librarian started moving towards him, yelling. "BACK OFF, LADY, he is MY son, you do NOT talk to him like that. MY SON." She kept yelling about liability, I kept yelling about the fact that it's 2 feet off of the ground, it was fun. Of course Sam had no clue what was going on, and as we get in the car Brooklyn said, "Well I'm glad that I listened." Ha!

Apparently raised beds are out as well.

Example #5: Today
Today was grocery day. MUCH needed grocery day. First stop, Costco. The kids were so good--they were each responsible for getting the items on their lists (which worked remarkably well, actually), and we were out in no time. On the way from the checkout lane to the man standing at the door waiting to check our receipt, Sam got the great idea to hang onto the bottom back of the cart...and get dragged along on his belly. Of course Brooklyn had to get in on it too. I wish I would have taken a photo--it was hil-AR-ious!! But my oh my, you should have seen the reactions!! Some people chuckled, a few rolled their eyes, and then there were the ones that guffawed and "what kind of mother"-ed.

Looks like grocery carts aren't allowed either.

This past week has been very frustrating for me, but very eye-opening as well. As I sit here at the park, the majority of the parents are telling their kids, "Don't you touch that sand pit. Get out of it or we leave." My kids? They are literally up to their armpits in it. The thing is that I never would have thought of ANY of these things that my kids did. Because of these things, so many unique and important things occurred...

-a rope allows my kids' imaginations to absolutely burst at the seams, plus it's a fantastic conversation starter and an instant friend-maker (for kids). Plus, I'm sure it probably lead to a new "no ropes" rule at the library. Ha! Make those librarians think outside of the box a bit.

-a chair provided a great lesson in gravity, friction, and angles...and also on the word "liability".

-a laundry basket also demonstrated gravity, friction, and angles, plus provided a lesson in creating inventions (and how to make them safe), and was yet another instant friend-maker (again, for kids...not parents).

-A raised bed allowed not only balance control, but it provided an opportunity for my kids to see that their mom has their back absolutely.

-A grocery cart provided yet another opportunity for invention-making and learning about mass, gravity, kinetic energy and friction.

-A sand pit provides the opportunity to freaking GET DIRTY.

I have learned a LOT in the past few months--the importance of patience, negotiation, listening, saying YES, watching and waiting...and let me tell you, yes it's been a struggle (often!), but it's been SO worth it. I'm proud that we don't fit into those lovely little boxes. Bring on the glares, the whispers, the eye rolls, the confrontations, because I truly wouldn't have it any other way.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos--I have them, but as you can see, we've been a bit busy and I needed to get this written out for my own sanity.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why homeschoolers don't do 3-day weekends.

Ladies and Gents, let me introduce you to one of my many selves: Debbie Downer. Because I've got some whining to do.

So in case you weren't aware, it's President's Day. What does that mean? A day playing legal hookie to students and the majority of the employed. Unfortunately, Russ does not get it off and it just means to the kids and I that there are more crazy people out there, trying to enjoy their day off.

The kids spent the entire day trying to convince me to just stay home. And I should have listened. Nothing good can come of venturing out into the public on a 3-day weekend. But like many others, I was enticed by the sales.

Stop #1: Half-Price Books

We had already stopped here once this weekend to cash in on their 40% off coupon. I scored a great deal on the book Blood and Guts (Brooklyn has been asking to learn more about the heart and this book has some sweet experiments, etc., she'll be super excited to see the sheep heart that I ordered for us to dissect! Bwahahah...I knew that zoology degree would come in handy someday!), Brooklyn found a book she liked, Russ scored on some bug and bird field guides, and Sam picked up a used game of Cadoo for $4. Here's the kicker...Cadoo was missing the freaking board. Sooooooo we headed back today to get his money back and pick something else out. And why not print off another coupon for Brook in case she found something and one for me as well?? We were checking out: Sam found a used Blue's Clues computer game, Brooklyn a GIANT book about dinosaurs that she's been immersed in all day, and I scored a great deal on a butterfly book to go with the butterfly kit and live caterpillars we got her for Brook's birthday ($5 for a $35 book--it's even new and with 5 star reviews! WOOT!). Anyway, as we were checking out this guy came up, elbowed his way in between me and my kids to get to the cashier and growled, "You need to get a manager here NOW. That *#* over there with the *$&@*( creepy hair just growled at my ($&(@&$^* kid. You'd better get him quick." He eventually realized that my kids were staring at him with their jaws hanging to the floor and he apologized and repeated what he said. Awesome.

So we high-tailed it out of there and despite my kids cries, we walked next door to Michael's. I can't find a combination of yarn that I love for a certain project and thought they'd have all that I needed. EHHHHHH. Nope. I did need some good paper and charcoal and of course the glow sticks that we can't seem to leave the store without. As I'm desperately fighting the hoards of people, Sam calls out above them all in a crystal-clear voice, "MOM, THAT WOMAN IS PICKING HER NOSE!! THAT ONE RIGHT THERE!! DO YOU SEE HER?!" Yes, all eyes riveted on this poor pregnant woman and she ducked away in embarrassment. I quickly followed suit.

One last stop--Costco. Ugh. Do I really want to do this? Oh well, just get in the car and do it. Get it done. So we went to the car...and I saw it. Some lovely, wonderful soul who must have sensed that I needed yet another lesson on "counting to 10" keyed my van. There is no way that that 3 foot long lovely deep silver mark was an accident. I KNOW those spots are small and I KNOW my van is not, and I KNOW that my 3 year old has a tough time keeping his hands off of a shiny car, especially when trying to balance getting out of a car. BUT COME ON.

I am proud to say that I fumed for a few minutes, sent an short yet explicit email to my husband to vent, vetoed Costco and came straight home....where I should have been the entire day. Experimenting with laundry baskets, slides and gravity.

Okay, I've got to get back to the experiment...we're trying to decide which has more friction--a laundry basket going down the slide with Brooklyn in it with a blanket under it, and of course without a blanket under. Photos and video on these experiments later....

Debbie Downer signing off!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The rest of the week.

Remember that last post...the one where I rubbed laying around in my PJs all day for 3 days straight in your nose? Yeeeeahhhhh.... The funny thing about PJs is that they aren't quite so comfy after about the fourth day...and lucky us, the kids caught colds so we ended up staying home for the entire week. Ugh. I was able to get out once for a couple of hours to my crochet group, and we did venture out at one point for some groceries, but this momma is ready for some social interaction!!!

Anyways, we had a LOT of this...snuggling, watching home videos. It was pretty fun. I cannot believe how fast time flies. Oh, and no that is not a large, cancerous growth in Sam's shorts--it's a pink bear. Self-explanatory, right? Apparently he thought so.

There have also been a LOT of games. Bananagrams, which when played with those who aren't so keen on actually spelling is more like, "I have more E's than you do." Fun fun.

There were tempers flaring. It's not like I enjoy picking up my messes all honesty though, he's gotten so much better about cleaning them up. The only rule about messes in this house is, "Messes are long as they are picked up when they're complete." And I'm proud to say that I've been stunned into silence more than once this week when the kids, WITHOUT BEING ASKED, went and picked up a broom or a washrag to clean a mess they made from eating something. Alas, I'll also admit that there have been at least double the full out tantrums about said messes at other times, but things are improving!

More games--Jenga, Cuisinaire rods, wooden shape puzzles....and Sam trying to steal all of Brooklyn's thunder (note the blanket. I swear, this child did refused to wear clothes the ENTIRE WEEK. When I'd ask her to put a shirt on for 2 minutes while I get a photo, she'd just grab her blanket. Alas.).

She actually got 2 more stories on that thing before it crashed!

We were making music with wine glasses and loved the varying waves that the vibrating glass created.

More games. This girl is a Rock, Paper, Scissors whiz! Seriously, she's good.

Reader Rabbit goodness.

I'm learning (very slowly) to just back off on educating my kids. It's extremely obvious when they are eager to learn something and just as obvious when they have absolutely zero interest in another thing. We'll go for weeks without reading the masses of books in our house, and then all of a sudden the kids will binge on them, asking for book after book for days at a time. Or Brooklyn will hide herself away with an enormous pile and will be gone for hours.


At Costco, Brooklyn found this box laying in the parking lot. "GARBAGE!!" exclaimed Sam, "TREASURE!!" exclaimed Brooklyn. I mentioned something about already having a box just like that in the car. Right now at this very exact moment. And it's all yours...are you sure you need another?? Silly me, of course she did. And indeed...she did. They came in handy when both kids wanted to haul it around...although it was pretty devastating when Russ crunched one with his truck. Brooklyn wrote him a lovely little note and taped it to the front door. I should have got a photo, but it said something to the effect:

DaDDy you ar not aloud in this hows intil you muv that truk!!

And yes, he moved his truck.

She book-binged for 2 days and we haven't touched another book since.

This guy on the other hand... He may be busy, but at least he listens. Actually, is scary how attentive he can be when he's busy. For example, we all sing our own songs at bedtime. A few times Russ and I have sung The Star Spangled Banner. We were sitting at dinner tonight and Sam totally started belting it out! I was pretty impressed.

Sam and I made some gluten-free "goldfish" (I don't actually have a cookie cutter, so we just did squares, plus I can't eat cheddar cheese so we substituted with provolone). This is what I found after telling them, "Don't touch the crackers--they're cooling." No joke, they were gone in less than 10 minutes. Yum!

Go Fish!

This is not the best photo in the world, but I FINALLY got to leave the house. To run to the grocery store, with sickies in tow...but did you hear me?! I got to leave the house!! Anyways, this is titled Minivan Momma--Don't Mess With Me.

I've been obsessed with crocheting lately.

This kid not only amazes me at how attentive he can be, but he also observes and make connections that I don't expect him to. I was downloading photos and he walks in and says, "Hmm, I wonder what its like with no knees. And elbows." So we had a little conversation about it and he decided that he'd be pretty bummed and showed me what life would be like...not fun, I'm told.

"And this is how I feew with ew-bows and knees!!"

Brooklyn decided it was experiment time again. I wonder if maybe I should get her an actual experimentation kit?? Or just let her go at it and keep her favorite ingredients in stock (thankfully they mainly consist of water, ice, milk, food coloring, and salt!)?? This concoction had quite a few impressive ingredients including maple syrup, raspberry flavoring, dish soap, spearmint essential oils, lemons, and glitter. It actually turned out pretty neat and when you shake it, reminds me of some sort of lava-lamp thing.

Brooklyn whooped us all at Sorry!...again.

This photo KILLS me. He was outside helping Russ do some yard work. Sam went over to the tool storage, grabbed these and got to work. I looove how he stuck his little butt out--he was concentrating so hard!

Tough work, but we now have a garden!! Woo hoo!

I showed Brooklyn a "magic" way of adding big numbers. ...We're still working on it.

I killed it at Yahtzee Jr.

I've been on the lookout for a decent, used microscope for awhile and another homeschooler was getting rid of their Magiscope. It's pretty nifty. Not high tech at all--it's super sturdy, the kids are able to swap out the lenses on their own, focus on their own, it requires no electricity, and the scope comes out so you can walk around with it! And the best part? The warranty actually covers accidents! Russ and I are having as much fun with this as the kids are!

WARNING: the last photo is of one of Russ's magnified facial Scroll down, if you dare!

Pretty crazy! We didn't try it with the closer lens.