Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving review

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. After a small schedule mix-up, Keith was able to join us. Grandma and Grandpa came over and we all enjoyed a nice meal. After lunch, some of us napped, while others watched Miracle on 34th Street in the family room by the fire.
We went for a walk around the park and I attempted to take some pictures for this year's Christmas cards. I'm convinced that I'm not going to get a decent picture of everyone looking happy, or even looking at the camera.

We went out to purchase a live Christmas tree on Friday afternoon. Our last live Christmas tree was cut down by Keith during our first Christmas in Kodiak. After about 2 weeks, our tree was so dead, it was nearly a fire hazard. This year we are hoping to have better luck. In other news, we are sad to report that Bunny Foo-Foo is officially gone. We had to throw her away after numerous trips to the sewing table. She's been loved so much that there really wasn't anything left to her except a big huge head and a ratty, mangie body. Sadly, we can't keep every toy, even the favorites, and since I've already packed away a few of the kids favorite lovies, I had to face the reality that we needed to give some up. Of course, Keith helped drive that point home when he waited until Megan wasn't looking and then ripped off Foo-Foo's head and buried her in the trash so that I wouldn't dig her out and try to repair her again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hanging out at the science museum

Today the weather was a perfect. The kids and I met Grandma and Grandpa for lunch and then we all went over to the science center. There were quite a few newer exhibits that we hadn't seen, yet. The kids played in different simulators driving cars and flying planes.
In the dinosaur room, they watched a movie about gigantic creepy crawly prehistoric bugs.

There is a new tree exhibit. The kids climbed all over the tree. They also listened to different outdoor sounds and tried to identify what made the sound.

Megan hanging out on the planets.

We had a great time. Then we came home and made a bunch of muffins for breakfast tomorrow.
I think our trip today will probably be out last big outing for just a little while. I think we need to spend some time home refining our listening skills. In the same manner that we hung around the house when the kids were potty training, I think we need to take a bit of time to work on some "listening training". Each of the kids each taking their turn with going through a defiant/disrespectful/lack of self-control phase. It pretty much revolves around here and sometimes we can nip it in the bud and help whoever is having the problem work through it by emphasizing more down time.
This time around it happens to be Joshua's turn. Today, Megan asked if she could go play in the treehouse (we were wrapping things up in that part of the museum) I had told her, "no, we are moving over to the dinosaurs and then heading to the bathroom and then to the movie", Joshua was standing right there looking at me and as soon as I was done speaking, he says, "well, can I go play in the tree house?". I absolutely hate having to repeat myself, and lately I'm doing that all day long. Part of me thinks that's par for the course, but a bigger part of me thinks that at 6 years old, he can take a more active role in listening. I've had to resort to gently cupping his face in my hands and trying to block out all the distractions around us, but is that really necessary?
I also see him making the choice to be naughty. Tonight he was holding the bathroom door closed so that his little brother couldn't get in there. Which resulted in Daniel peeing on the floor and being very upset with himself. And me being upset because now I have to wash up Daniel and clean the floor again and throw in another load of pee-soaked clothes. I won't tolerate purposeful meanness, not even in a joking way. I'm sure a time will come when practical jokes will abound in our house, but at an age where the maturity level allows for the wisdom to differentiate when something will be perceived as fun or perceived as hurtful.
He is a very anxious little person as evidenced by his nail chewing and teeth grinding, and he needs to know that the rules are always the same, regardless of what the situation is. Right now a big thing for him is Daddy going back to work. Joshua feels comforted when his routine stays the same; and when that gets shaken up, he loses his self-control. So for the next few days, we'll really focus on giving him a chance to retreat to his room to his little cuddle corner when he starts to feel out of control.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparations

We have a bulliten board that we keep in the family room. We hang the kids' artwork when it comes home from school. The kids are eager to show off their work on Fridays when their folders come home.
Today after a hearty breakfast of yogurt, granola and fruit (thanks for the yummy blackberries!), the kids got to work cleaning their rooms. The plan was that everyone who had a clean room could watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving specials that were on tonight. They cleaned their little hearts out today and even helped me rake the front yard. They barely stayed awake through the tv special.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Thanksgiving lunch with my little Indian

Friday morning, Megan's classroom had a Thanksgiving feast. I baked a sweet potato dish and joined my little Indian for lunch. Megan ate quite a bit. So much so that she didn't really eat much of her dinner that night. It was so funny to watch the peer pressure in action, "I need tomatoes because Samuel has tomatoes on his plate".

Megan with her mouth full.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

On Wednesday this past week, Daniel and I went with Joshua's class to see the play If You Give a Moose a Muffin based on the book by Laura Numeroff. We are huge fans of Laura Numeroff and have quite a few of her books. We even have an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie set of felts for our felt board and the kids retell the story over and over again.

I had never been to the Shakespeare Theater before. It was awesome. Joshua's teacher prepared the classroom very well for theatre etiquette. This is something we've been really working with the kids with - respecting all parts of a performance/movie/church, not just the parts that interest them. I have brag that they are doing fantastic with this. Or perhaps I'm just perfecting my "mommy glare".
The kids were seated on little mats to watch the performance. I was so proud of them for resisting the urge to touch the characters. The moose got very close to Daniel and he moved from his place on the mat up into my lap.

It was a great play. The people at the theatre were extremely kind to our group. I sent them a nice email thanking them for a wonderful time, since I am the field trip coordinator for Joshua's class.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Down time

We had an extremely busy weekend this past weekend. Sunday afternoon was a bit tough because the school play really messed with our usual schedule. Then there was our big 2 hour drive over to Clearwater and back. By the time I got back to our house, the clock was creeping past bedtime, and heads were nodding in the back seats.

We try to balance busy times with down time. So Monday evening instead of the usual room tidying and before bed shower frenzy, we had a chill-out kindof night. The kids got a chance to each play in the tub for quite some time and then enjoyed some breakfast for dinner. We snuggled on the couch enjoying a cute movie about a bear and then it was bedtime.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving Play

This afternoon was Joshua's class Thanksgiving play. It was so cute! The kids all worked so hard.
Joshua and Mrs. Stewart, his teacher. She is so wonderful!

Joshua was the first speaker of the play. He said the opening prayer. He did fantastic! He also got his other line perfect - so loud and clear!

My favorite little Indian brave.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Feeding the ducks

Keith and the kids and I went to feed the ducks this afternoon.

The ducks were rather aggressive and one snapped Megan on the finger.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our two new trees

Presenting.... our mango tree and avocado tree. Megan keeps calling the mango tree the "flamingo" tree. Fortunately, she loves mango, so when the tree yields fruit next year and not pink long legged birds, she won't be too terribly disappointed.
At the tree farm today, the workers gave Daniel a bunch of food to toss into the fish pool.

We're very excited to plant our new trees in our yard. The pine tree that was removed earlier this summer had been crowding our little lime tree. Hopefully we can nurse the lime tree back to health. Next year we'll have mangoes, key limes, and avocados.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Austin's 3rd Birthday

This weekend we celebrated Austin's 3rd birthday. Austin is my little sister, Pam's, youngest son. His party was a Yo-Gabba-Gabba party. There's the birthday boy!

Daniel was pretty brave at the park, except for the slides. He didn't want to go down the slides.
This park was really awesome. The different castle towers made great hiding places for hide-and-seek.

Megan and Aidan on the swings hanging out.

The kids all loved the park. We'll have to visit this one again. Pam and Bruce picked a great place for the birthday party.

Bruce made this cake all by himself. It's one of the characters from Yo-Gabba-Gabba.

At the Beach

After climbing the lighthouse, the kids all rushed out onto the beach to play in the sand. They had a great time digging and dumping the sand.

The kids had a lot of fun sleeping at Nana and Bill's house.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

This weekend, the kids and I drove out to Daytona Beach to visit with my family. Joshua was very excited to see a real lighthouse. Daniel was pretty tired by the time we got there. He had only taken a 15 minute nap in the car, so I wasn't sure how well he was going to tolerate such a big outing.

The kids were pretty excited to climb up into the lighthouse.

The spiral staircase was very fun to climb. There are 203 steps.

The top of the lighthouse was beautiful. The kids loved looking out over the water looking for pirates.

This is a view of the top of the lighthouse from the viewing deck.

Daniel is pouting because he wanted me to carry him. I had forgotten that the "grumpy threes" follows the "terrible twos". He's so moody lately. Once we were heading down the stairs he was happy again.

Megan was yelling down from the top of the lighthouse trying to get Nana's attention.

The kids each enjoyed banging on the big bell outside one of the buildings. There were quite a few Coast Guard pictures on display and that always excites this crowd.

There is a really cool exhibit about the actual light that lights the lighthouse. Joshua thought the different refractory lenses were cool to look at.
The kids had a great time. We'll probably drive up to St. Augustine to check out that lighthouse sometime soon.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Making Daniel Beautiful

Today, Megan made Daniel beautiful by brushing his hair and putting on some pretend make-up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Indian Trail Lunch

While Grandma, Daniel and I were at Green Meadows with Megan's class, Grandpa and Daddy were helping out with Joshua's class Indian Trail Lunch. The kids were all given Indian costumes to dress up in for the day.
The had many games to play - riding horses, using bows and arrows, and tomahawk throws. After their games, the kids foraged in the woods for their food (snacks that the parents had packed and sent in).

Back at the camp, the kids had lunch and learned about the Indian lifestyle. Joshua tells me that this was is best day of school EVER.