Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gabe's Math and Other Schoolwork

Gabriel has been doing Queen Homeschool's Math Lesson for a Living Education this term and has been doing very, very well with it. Like everything by Queen's, it' CM-ish in approach, so there's a story at the beginning of the week followed by 5 lessons related to math topic discussed in the story.  

He works with a "Place Value Village" to help him understand place values like ones, tens and hundreds.
At the end of the week, there's usually a recap page that's in the form of a letter from the children in the story to their parents.

The story weaves in a bot of nature study with the math and talks about things like weather, various animals and life cycles.  One topic was about how plants grow, so he actually had to grow a bean plant. He then had to draw it every day for a week to document its growth. It got quite tall and started flowering in the jar before a mishap caused its demise. 
 For practice, he uses a dry-erase sheet to figure out math problems that we give him. He's gotten to where he's pretty quick with the answers.
However, if he gets stuck, he can use a counting chart to help him.

He's been enjoying the lessons every day. Once we finish this, I think we might try Life of Fred with him to see how he does with that.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Parents' Only Weekend!

At the end of September, Rebecca's cousin, Hunter, got married on Emerald Isle, NC. We were blessed to have friends from Valley of Blessing volunteer to stay at our house and watch all 5 kids so we could go alone! We got two whole nights without our children so we could spend time celebrating with Rebecca's cousins and family. Sadly, we didn't bring our camera with us, so we only had our cell phones (not smart phones, btw) to take pictures with. We arrived Friday evening just in time for the Rehersal Dinner at The White Oak River Bistro. Delicious and lovely. We visited with family and ate. My grandparents even made the trip and it was so wonderful to be together. After dinner we sat and visited with Rebecca's cousins on the large porch overlooking the water. We haven't all been together in a really long time (?maybe our wedding 14 years ago even!) so this was a treat. We stayed at a condo on the sound side of Indian Beach with 3 of Rebecca's cousins. So nice! We slept in Saturday morning, read an entire book each, visited the beach, ate pizza, swam/sat at the condo pool, and got ready for the wedding leisurely...this is not the life we are used too at home... :)
 The night of the wedding, we got to see a gorgeous sunset over the sound. The wedding was at The Watson House on Emerald Isle and this picture was taken from the yard.
 And the next morning, we saw it come back up again over the ocean.
We went to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores before returning home on Sunday. It was very enjoyable. Overall, we had the most wonderful time enjoying each other's company without interruptions or fights or noise or diapers!

Oh wait! there is one more thing... Hunter and Jenny had a photobooth at their reception so people could get their pics taken and have fun with them. They had all kinds of silly costumes and things. We did go in once by ourselves, though we didn't opt for the crazy stuff.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur 2014

Hear that?

It's time for the Fall Festivals again! As always, the season starts with Rosh Hashanah or Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets. It is a day of shouting or blowing the shofar in rememberance and looking forward to the return our King Messiah. It begins the month of Tishri, a month to examine ourselves and prepare our hearts. To celebrate the day, the kids made their own shofars from paper and noise-makers. We attended a service a our community center and heard the different traditional shofar sounds. It is a very upbeat and fun service with lots of shofar blasting and wonderful worship.


 Then we baked an apple and honey cake and cut out various shapes like shofars and torah scrolls. We also had pomegranates, apples and honey.

 As fun as it was to play, it was even better to eat!
 Finally we took a walk to Lake Brandt in preparation for Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. 
 It's traditional (Tashlich) to throw crumbs of bread into the water as you confess your sins to symbolize how our sins are as far removed from us as East is from the West. We read Micah 7:19.

While we know that Yeshua paid the ultimate price for those sins, the symbolism of watching those pieces of bread slowly float away from us still holds a great deal of meaning and power. We do sin and we are held accountable for those sins and yet even more so, we are forgiven if we ask. It is with grateful hearts that we worship the One True God who loves and forgives us in the midst of our shortcomings.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Boys In The Yard

The boys were having fun the other day with some tunnels we have. They like to walk around in them like giant caterpillars or something out of Mummenschanz.

 Ezra thought it was great to roll down the front yard in it.

 Then he'd run back to the top to do it again.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Irene's Scoot

We have tried very hard to get Irene to crawl like a normal child... We have failed thus far. She finds this to be much more efficient.

She's not the first of our kids to do this. Ezra did it when he was her age, though he did crawl first and then switch to the scoot.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Uh-oh...Here Comes Trouble!

Somebody figured out how to climb stairs...
 Olivia found her here, about 3 steps up. 
 We all then watched and cheered her on. I stood behind her to make sure she didn't fall.
 You'd have thought she was climbing Everest...

 "Whoo hoo! Made it!"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Birthday, Gabe!

It's hard to believe, but our little guy turned 6 on Friday! As he grows, it's wonderful to see that his gentle, sweet nature and ready laugh are growing with him. He told us that he wanted a dinosaur cake for his birthday, so Rebecca took that idea and ran with it. She came up with some pretty cool ideas for games and activities, which is certainly no surprise with her. When asked what he like about dinosaurs the best was that they shook the ground when they walked, they were big, and they roared. So that was our inspiration. 

You can't really see it, but the sparkler is in the shape of a "6" 

Banners and balloons--a family tradition! The kids have always have so much joy from balloons. The banner says "RAWR" means Happy Birthday in Dino speak.
Irene was so enamored with the balloons that she had to have one for herself.

 Rebecca found these dinosaur costumes on clearance at the party store ($2 each!) and thought it would be great to let them dress up. I just thought it'd be great blackmail material for when they're teenagers. 
We fed them a dinner of Dino nuggets (which were conveniently on special this week. see this dino theme was meant to be.)--something we haven't had in years but certainly delighted them. Then we took them to the candy story at the mall. They have each saved a few dollars to spend there on a special occasion. They all wore their hats and noses and had fun stomping and roaring around the mall. :)

After they were good and sugared up, we brought them home to work some of that off. The first game was an obstacle course. Sadly it was pouring rain, so we had to improvise and set one up inside. We found some "dinosaur feet" bucket stilts for the kids to use and they were supposed to stomp their way around the house. This turned out to be more difficult than we expected. 
First was a rope ladder that they had to stomp through 

Then a tipping ramp. This actually turned out to be a little dangerous, so we helped them over it. 

 Then a hurdle through a doorway.

 Navigate some cones...

and finish by stomping through the rings. The feet turned out to be really slick on the hardwoods, so after one time through, we let them run it without them. Ezra, in particular, liked to roar and stomp the whole way. No surprise there. 

Next was a game of "Stick the skull on the skeleton."
Gabe did remarkably well, nearly hitting it dead on with his first and third tries.

Ezra was a bit off. 

Emma didn't use the blindfold and still missed. 

 Olivia was consistently high. She's just too tall for her own good.

Winner! Don't you love his genuine happy fist pump!

Next was a game Rebecca came up with. The kids had a squeezable dinosaur that popped a ball out of it's nose (mouth?) and they had to get it in the basket. Squeeze too hard and it would bounce back out; too light and it would stop on the rug. Olivia got 3 of her 6 in the basket. 

Overzealous Ezra squeezed so hard that all 6 of his bounced back to him. 

 Gabe managed to get one in after some aim adjustment.

We then had not one, but two different "Hunt for Dino Eggs". Rebecca painted 5 "eggs" and I hid them in various places around the house. The kids had little trouble spotting these huge "eggs", though Emma had a little trouble carrying hers.

 Once found, they wanted to know what was inside...

 After a brief snack on the big eggs, they started in on the second hunt. These eggs were much smaller and a little harder (for some) to find.

These eggs required a little more work for them to find out what was inside... 

They were made of a hard plaster and they had to carefully excavate the surprise inside with a sharp stick and a little brush. 

After a lot of hard work and a huge mess, they started to have some success. (Although there was a lot of help from Dad...) *if we had had more time (like not waiting until two nights before to plan...) we would have made our own. great idea here.*

 Little Dinosaurs!

We did fulfill his wish for his birthday with a T-Rex cake! Friends gave us this cake pan a few years back and it sure did come in handy. And he got an Operation type game that is a Dinosaur bones dig.

Friends of our gave him Dinosaur stencils and rubbing plate before they even knew his theme was dinosaurs. How cool!

 After the cake, we finished the evening in the sawdust pit finding the myriad toys that were hidden in there. They found little dinosaurs, glow bracelets, balls, and lots of other things. Those are dinosaur underwear the boys are wearing...

The next morning Grandpa surprised him with a visit. We made cupcakes to bring to church to celebrate there, too! The kids got Dino "tattoos" to wear.  

We also got him a huge card for everyone that he saw over his birthday "days" to sign.

I would say he had a happy birthday and we're so glad that we have such a wonderful, special 6-year-old! He is a genuinely thoughtful and easygoing child. He has always had such a free and wonderful belly laugh. He looks at life with simple joy. Love him!