Fun Times Photoblog

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This week is our Spring Break. Wahoo! That’s something to celebrate! I have about 5 billion goals to accomplish and all of 5 days to do it in. Mostly, we are prepping for the big move. It’s three months out, but hey, that’s like three weeks in Mom years.

I could tell you what’s been going on around here, but I thought it’d be more fun to show you, so today’s blog is a photoblog:

 

Raynaud's syndrome

My Raynaud’s syndrome has been acting up lately. 

 What happens is that the blood vessels constrict when you’re cold, cutting off blood supply to the extremities. First, the finger tips go purple and then they go white and extremely numb. I suppose I should start wearing gloves. This would happen to you too if you were freezing in Alaska or something, but this happens to me if I’m even in a building with too much air-conditioning. My cold threshold is crazy low. No worries. We’re moving back to the land of sweat and mosquitoes. 

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The other day I put Daniel down for a nap. He’s five now, and he rarely ever naps, but sometimes he gets so sleepy and grumpy that I deem it a must. This was a must-nap day. However, once he was upstairs all quiet and alone, he got down and had a BALL playing in the hallway with cars and who knows what else.

As I came up the stairs, I heard that classic boy-running-to-bed to pretend to be asleep sound. Because apparently he thinks I’m deaf.

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Now that Caleb and Joshua are too tall to fit into any of their costumes, they have taken to putting these size 8 superhero costumes on JD and Daniel. Who needs pets when you have little brothers?

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This is a Velociraptor.

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Woody and Buzz.

 

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Because finding gluten-free pizza was one of the happiest things that happened this week. It is a big deal.

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Don’t tell Daniel these are weeds. I think he is the sweetest thing in the world, always bringing his momma flowers.

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One of my neighbors gave the boys a bag full of snacks, from the “Easter Bunny.”

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Dan painted this at Cubbies this week. He even said, “I put blue on this side, and red on this side, and put it together to make purple in the middle!”

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Daniel made this “shapes” bird-house at home-school this week. We do preschool at home two days and regular preschool three days.

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Dan took his new Star Wars ships everywhere the last couple of days.

Actually, he’s already broken one ship. He explained, “Mom, that’s because he was shot in battle. Mom, that’s why he’s broken. He’s supposed to be.”

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People are always giving us stuff! Our homeschool umbrella school director gave this set to Daniel, and he LOVES it.

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But someone really should follow Dan around all day with a vacuum cleaner.

Guess what I did yesterday…..

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Oh, yeah, I took my birthday money shopping. It was GRAND. (No, I did not buy a cooler. I keep that in there to hide the large amounts of Easter chocolate that I’m saving for some special people.

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And guess what I found near the stores??? SONIC!!! I didn’t know these existed in California.

That afternoon I also took Caleb to a Star Wars-themed birthday party. She themed it out so well, y’all. They got to fight Darth Vader, hop on a tree-stump obstacle course, shoot a Star Wars ship with Nerf guns, and last but not least, they threw pine-cones at these clone troopers:

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I totally wanted to play this party game. The kids were not able to pop them all, so the adults DID get a shot at it. It was fun!

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close-up

 

 

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend as well. We have basically zero plans for Spring Break, other than to catch up on all the work we have to do, but that’s okay. Even work can be fun when you tackle it with the right attitude, with a little happy music playing, of course.

(Enchanted move clean-up scene: You gotta watch it.)

 

 

 

This Week: Library Days, Bed Sharing, and Amanda

Art by Joshua: Grandaddy, with rocket boosters and lasers.

There are cupcakes in the oven. I can hear two children having a discussion about who knows what downstairs. JD is asleep, and another boy is serving penance in his room.

It’s over. I can’t believe it. The school year is over. I’ve been keeping records of grades and attendance all year, and now I need to actually put that into an official document. I printed out this one from donnayoung.org

Click here if you need one too! Report Card Printable

It’ll do for now, but I want to personalize it with the typed out name, address, and contact information of our school. Alan, do you think you could help me with that?

Poor Alan. He has been doing my helping me with my computer assignments since my senior year of college. I never bothered to learn Excel, and as an adult, wouldn’t you know, that’s the one computer program from my adolescence that is still relevant!

So here’s what’s new with us this week:

The boys have become obsessed with baking. Once one discovers that delicious food is actually not that hard to make, it’s really unavoidable.  This has become quite the delicious house to live in!

They are such practical boys:

Caleb was admiring Daniel’s uniform the other day, and he asked me, “Where’s my old soccer uniform?”

“You had to turn it in,” I reminded him.

“Oh. What sports let you keep your uniform?”

“Baseball. Would you like to sign up for baseball?”

“No, I just don’t want to ruin my own Saturdays.”

HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Joshua feels the same way, so when it comes to the sports circuit, we have it very easy as parents!

Daniel only has two games left, and he’s going to miss the last one because we will be on vacation. None of you are allowed to tell him that. He would be crushed.

sweet brothers

What we did on our last day of school:

We did quite a bit of testing, to make up for the teacher that had spring fever and wasn’t taking very many grades the last few weeks. Then I made them tell me everything they liked best and least this year and things they’d like to do this summer.

For Joshua, everything seems to revolve around Big Nate.

I broke the news gently to them, “I’m making you each a packet of papers, and over the summer you will still need to practice spelling and math…”

*Sounds of agony and protest*

“That way you don’t lose everything you learned over the summer. You have to practice to keep your brain working,” I explained to my reluctant work force.

Joshua was surprisingly calm and rational about it, “Oh, yeah, I read about that in Big Nate, so yeah.”

Yes, we have a new obsession. Yes, I sometimes exploit that to my advantage. For every 3 chapter books he reads, he gets 1 new Big Nate book.

I went on to tell the boys a few things we’ll be learning about next year. I mentioned ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Joshua perked up, “Like Greek myths!! I know all about Achilles, and his heel.”

He went on to tell the full story about Achilles’ heel, and that people now refer to it, meaning weakness. He learned all of this from Big Nate’s sister’s school assignment.

See, everything revolves around Big Nate. Wedgies aside, this has been one hobby that I have viewed favorably. He LOVES those books, and I love that he’s reading and learning so much.

Some parents look down on comic books. We do not. I love that my boys read Garfield, Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes, and Big Nate. It encourages a love for reading. It’s a great bridge between picture books and longer chapter books. When I was their age, I read every single Charlie Brown book our library owned. I remember we had to dress as a book character for one of the Summer Reading Program days at our library. I went as Lucy. A local talk show host came and filmed it all, so I even got to be on t.v., in my royal blue flower girl dress, and my hair in the bun that almost never was. Trying to get my 30 pounds of hair into a bun was about impossible.

My mom hauled us to the library faithfully every summer. We went to every puppet show or children’s reading day there was. Those were great times. My mom was quite the trooper. My sister, Amanda, cannot walk, talk, see, or think past a 16-month or so level, due to a neural tube birth defect. Amanda was a year older than I was, so we’re talking about a 50-ish pound child, but Mom would rise to the challenge, and load up that wheelchair in the trunk of the car. Then she’d pile us in, along with the three kids she babysat, and cart us all off to swimming lessons and library days all crammed into the Mercury, sharing seat-belts. Those were the days! All total, that was 6 kids, including my sister who you can’t leave for a second.

I remember we would all take turns sitting next to Amanda. See, blind people have a need to touch things more. Amanda loves to grab the arm of whoever she’s sitting next to. That’s not so bad, except her hand was usually wet. Plus, she had this talent for squeezing your arm with her fingers, right between the two bones in your forearm—eeeek! I still shudder at the thought! Ha! It was just the kind of minor nuisance that would take you by surprise and about make you jump out of your seat! You better believe we were pretty happy when my parents bought their first mini-van!

Just thinking about those summers makes me smile. I hope I can give my own boys those kind of memories.

I’ll leave you with one more story: sharing beds!

The boys love each other so much, sometimes they try this, and we go along with it. Last night was one of those nights. JD climbed into the bottom of Dan’s bunk while we were putting Dan to bed. We let them try it, and they were very good and quiet for a little while. Eventually, Dan got JD out of bed, and we had to send him back to his own room, but they were awfully cute and happy for a little while.

Joshua and Caleb also tried sharing beds last night. They begged us to let them sleep in the double bed in the guest room so they could watch for our owl. There’s a great horned owl that frequents our yard. It’s as though he knew they were waiting for him last night, though. For the first time in ages, we never heard him once. Those poor boys. They waited in that room, silently, believe it or not, for a long time. By the time I went to bed, Joshua and Caleb were both passed out, each in their regular twin beds, as usual. Oh well. It is terribly difficult to sleep in a different bed than your own!

They might think it’s hard to share a bed with their brother, but you don’t know anything until you’ve shared a bed with Amanda, my sister! She used to pat the wall, over and over again, and she hummed a lot. The humming never bothered me, but she sure got me one night. I’ll never forget it. I was already asleep, and I was the kind of kid that had an overactive imagination. I regularly saw toys moving on my shelves and couldn’t get to sleep because I just knew a ghost was going to come into my room. (I read one too many 13 Ghosts of Alabama books.) I had just drifted off, when SPLAT! A hand cupped my face, straight across. I’m pretty sure I screamed. Poor Amanda. She was just giving me a good-night pat.

Caleb, showing off his latest drawing

I hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll be announcing the winner of the give-away tomorrow!

Click and done! It registers your visit from my site as a vote.

 

The Boys’ Goals: Teaching Math, Eating French Fries, and More

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Caleb’s long-term goals, at age 7

Each week at tutoring, the boys are required to give a presentation. Some weeks we are super prepared for this, and other weeks we are not prepared at all.

Last weekend, Alan and I talked to the boys about goals. Then we asked the boys to write their goals down and use that as their presentation at tutoring on Monday. I thought they did a great job with their goal papers.

Caleb:

1. (Become a) math teacher.

2. (Become a dad.) Have someone to play catch with.

3. Go to Lego Land.

Sooooooo… I went to Caleb’s class for tutoring last week. (Some weeks I go to Joshua’s class. Some weeks I go to Caleb’s. The babies are, thankfully, in child care during that time.)

Presentation time came, and I saw Caleb snatch three Lego men out of his book bag and head to his seat.

“What!? Caleb, aren’t you going to share your goals?? You worked so hard on it.”

“No, I just want to talk about my Lego men.”

He pretty much does this to me every week. The boy loves to talk about his toys. So that was that. One of the other moms said, “Maybe you should present Caleb’s goals, April.”

haha  Oh, you have no idea how badly I want to jump in there and perfect everything they do. I am constantly having to hold back my inner control freak.

I was THAT kid, you know? My papers were always neat, orderly, and I was always finished way before most of the class. I sat up straight in my seat and listened. I LOVED school, sharpened pencils, and …….but wait.

Classical Conversations, the boys tutoring service, is actually nothing like that. I would have been much like they are in class, especially if I had just moved to a new place, as we have.

The boys, especially Caleb, are very quiet and withdrawn in class. They don’t want to answer questions, even when they do know the answers. You know what? I was exactly like that. I lived in mortal fear of being called on, even though I had straight A’s most of the time, so this is a very different environment, not so simple for shy extroverts.

I know: shy extroverts, that makes no sense. Actually, I think it does, but that is a topic for another day’s blog post!

But do you know what Caleb does WAY better than I would have done in this situation? Presentations. Sure, sometimes he looks at the floor and mumbles, but not usually. Usually, he is eager to get up there and tell all about his toy, and he talks and talks and fills up his time slot. I never had to do any presentations like that until the 4th grade, in Talent Pool, and I can remember being so incredibly nervous.

I try to remind myself of these things when I am tempted to feel exhasperated….so I sat back and enjoyed Caleb’s Lego Man presentation.

Meanwhile, I think his goals and drawings were fantastic.  Caleb said that the insect/monster drawings at the bottom were just for added fun. He is such a cutie.

Also, I learned that maybe I should play catch with Caleb more often. The one day I did, his brothers took over. That happens a lot when you have this many brothers.

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joshua's goals

Joshua’s long term goals, at age 9

Joshua actually did follow through with presenting his goals to his class, and his tutor said that he did a very good job.  Hurray!

I loved both boys’ illustrations. 🙂

Joshua’s goals:

1. Climb Mount Everest.

2. Win a year’s supply of McDonald’s french fries.

3. Become a comic author.

4. Get a Powerade pool.

5. Be a famous band drummer.

 

The picture of Joshua at a desk with a giant stack of papers is a realistic drawing. This is what his room looks like now. Joshua reads, writes, draws, and jumps on the trampoline all day, every day.

I told Joshua, in reference to the french fries and Powerade, “Ugh, Joshua, everyone’s going to think that all I feed you is junk, and you know people are very healthy here.”

He giggled.

I enjoyed doing this activity with the boys. I think having both short and long-term goals are very important. Writing goals down makes them feel so much more real, too.

Now MY biggest goal for the next 24 hours is to get photos of the boys with their grandparents before they leave! I have been terribly negligent with the camera this visit, but I do have a good excuse. Joshua keeps running my camera battery down, making movies with his brothers and his friends. That kid has lots of hobbies!

I did take ONE picture during this visit, at Point Lobos:

JD, our smallest hiker

This was the FIRST time we let JD walk the trails, rather than ride in a baby carrier. Woohoo! Go JD! He did a great job!

We have had a wonderful time, as always! I hope y’all had fun too, Mom and Dad! You will be missed!

Hope everyone has a great week!!

 

Go ahead…you know you want to click it. 😉

 

 

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