Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Megan! The Big "8"!

Megan really wanted a birthday party this year. As soon as she suggested it, I was all about having a birthday party. After all, the kids started a new school this year, and I haven't really had an opportunity to spend much time around their new friends. We chose to have the party at a park and got to work on the rest of the fun stuff.

The kids helped me use paper mache to make a pinata. So fun! And if I do say so myself, it came out really cute! I had planned on just using the pinata goodies as the "goodie bag" item, but then I ran across these adorable bubble containers and couldn't help myself. Gosh, I can see how this party-planning thing can be addictive.

I made the Birthday Girl a special shirt for her special day.

I love this picture of Daniel! So cute! Especially because he was the one who told me that we can't have a birthday party without birthday hats!

We played on the awesome play structure for a bit and then had lunch: jam sandwiches (we had a guest with a peanut allergy), turkey wraps, watermelon, grapes, orange slices, chips and bottles of water. Yummy! The kids were all great eaters!

After we ate, it was game time! Our fist game was pin the cherry on the cupcake - which I totally forgot to take pictures of! Then we moved on to the egg and spoon races. My belly hurt from laughing so hard.

There's some serious concentration involved here. And yes, that egg does have a name on it, it's from many, many years ago...we've just used the same eggs every year.

After games and running around, the kids gathered in the gazebo again to work on their bags. I had colored bags for holding the treasures from the pinata and stickers/markers available to decorate the bags. The kids got crafty while the men hung the pinata.

And then the beatings began...

Nope, he's not cheating at all! Somebody needs to pull his mask down!

When Joshua swung at the pinata, Keith raised it up out of reach! Joshua's next swing broke the pinata open.


A busted pinata makes a great hat!

We sang Happy Birthday and then indulged in the yummy cupcakes.

The girls "ooo'd" and "aaahhh'd" over all the gifts, while the boys all ventured off to play.

Then it was time to break out the bubbles!


Megan had a great time and said it was the "best party ever!". I was so happy to see her so happy!

Magic Kingdom with the Ketchums

On the first day of Spring Break for the kids, we met up with the Ketchums and went to the Magic Kingdom. The weather was spectacular!
Megan and the horse sharing a moment.

One of our favorite rides is the Buzz Lightyear ride. Daniel and I are ride buddies - it keeps him from getting lost and it keeps me from having to ride anything scary!

Daniel told Buzz all about shooting Zurg.

Daddy and Megan on the People Mover.

The boys getting ready to race cars.

Daniel was given a driver's license from one of the Disney workers.

Daddy slightly traumatized by his driving partner.

There's some serious map-reading going on here.
Megan and Grandpa Ketchum near Cinderella's castle.

Joshua riding the carousel.

Megan on the carousel.

The two goofy youngest waiting to go into Mickey's Philharmagic. Daniel cried through the whole thing, he doesn't like 3D shows.

Joshua hanging around. He loved the Hall of Presidents.

Megan looking at the beautiful mosaic inside Cinderella's castle walkway.

Joshua standing in line for Pirates. He was handing a red electronic ticket and was told to give it to the Disney castmember before he gets on the boat. This is how Disney knows how long people have stood in line for to set the time on the signs.

It was a long, fun, warm day and to head back to the truck, we decided to take the ferry back to the Ticket and Transportation center where we parked.

Still smiling, must have been a great day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Zoo Field Trip, Math, and a Fire Volcano

I went to the zoo with Daniel's class on Friday. Upon arrival to the school, the student teacher was reading Dr. Seuss books to the kids while the teacher was finishing getting things ready for the big trip.
Daniel and Isabella are best friends. They are so cute together.

My group that I was responsible for. They were awesome.

The snakes were awesome to look at.

On the nature walk we came across a dinosaur.

Ever since the elephant died, the zoo has been keeping the Shriner's camels.

We got a chance to get up close and personal with some of the animals that are native to Florida.

Daniel and the turkey - right after I took this picture, the turkey puffed out and started gobbling.
Checking out the llama.

We took a break to play on the giant chess set and then play on the huge playground.

Daniel and Isabella hanging out in the butterfly garden.

They were exhausted and fell asleep on the way back to school.

When we got back to the school, I signed Daniel out early and we went to find some nice cool Italian ice.

This past weekend, I helped out in Megan's Sabbath School class as a table teacher. There she is in her pink twirly dress working on her craft.

Yesterday was an appointment for Mom at the Oncologist. It was certainly a very informative appointment, but did not end with good results.

This morning we had to get to school an hour before school started for Muffins, Math and Moms breakfast.
We did some tanagram puzzles and then worked on some complicated math problems.
The problem on the overhead was:

A farmer buys a horse for $50.
Then he sells the horse to his neighbor for $60.
Then he buys the horse back for $70.
Then he sells the horse to another neighbor for $80.

Did the farmer make money or lose money and how much?

Well, on paper, we were able to figure out right away that the farmer had a surplus of $20 after all was said and done. The Vice Principal got her feathers a little ruffled when I asked what kind of help was available to kids who were struggling with multi-step problems. I was not confrontational, however I did ask her to break down the problem the way the teachers want us to reinforce at home. She struggled for a few minutes trying to simplify and explain the problem, which was kindof my point. In the end, I ended up meeting with Megan's teacher today to discuss if she wants me to reinforce this new "creative" math of acting out word problems, or if pencil and paper problem solving is her preference. Fortunately, it seems as though (from what I've gleaned from spending time at the school board) everyone is grasping at straws trying to figure out how to teach math concepts and in this instance, the leadership was trying to make the problem harder than it needed to be. Keith and I both check over the kids homework nightly and if there is a problem, we usually ask how they came up with the answer they came up with and then they find their mistake and fix it. Megan's teacher said that was probably the best way for Megan to continue to grow in her Math skills.

I then spent the remainder of my day working through my on-line orientation for a math class I'm taking this summer. I have to take a more advanced Statistics class then what I took when I earned my Bachelors. This is a prerequisite for a Masters program that I have applied to.

Tonight, we met up with Shandra and Juan and Bradley and Jackson for dinner at Kobe. Yay for Tuesdays - kids eat free! Now there's some math that needs no explaining! Our kids have never been to anyplace like this before and they had a blast. Except for Daniel; he doesn't like fire.

However, he does love salad. And what's more fun than salad? Salad with chopsticks! This was after he picked up his bowl of soup and drank it down. I'm so blessed with un-picky eaters!

The onion volcano is awesome (for some of us!).

Here, you can see Daniel pulling away. We then had a quick switcheroo and put Daniel beside me and Joshua in Daniel's place.

There he is much happier and excited to be taking his umbrella and chopsticks home. It was a fun night, and I'm stuffed.