Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ezra's 6th Birthday

It's so hard to believe our little guy is 6! 
 This kid is, without a doubt, our most intense child. He does everything with great passion, whether it's playing and laughing or getting mad and upset. He does it all with all he's got. He loves to get physical, wrestling and punching, throwing balls, shooting Nerf guns, playing with cars. He's fascinated with planes and will spend hours building them out of Legos or Perler beads. 
 When it came time for a cake, I asked him what he wanted, expecting a plane or something from Star Wars. Instead, he said, "Chocolate." When I explained that I meant what did he want it to look like, he said, "A race car." Like a Cars movie car? Lightning McQueen? "No. just a plain old race car." 
Well, rather that a plain old race car, Rebecca had the idea of a racetrack with a bunch of cars, so this is what I made him. Rebecca picked up a few new cars for him and we put them around the track. Well, it was a hit. He loved it. :)
He loved getting up in the morning and seeing his giant birthday banner that the other kids had decorated with planes and cars for him. Olivia took some of the money from her own piggy bank and bought him a rubber band gun that he's been wanting for a such a long time. I think we'll all need to wear safety goggles around the house from now on....

I really can't wait to see what this next year brings. I expect more and more passionate activity from him for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Olivia's Recital - Spring 2016

Olivia had her Spring Recital today. She did wonderfully. It amazes me each time just how much she improves and how hard she works to learn her songs. 

There's no question in my mind that Olivia's got a lot of talent and can go as far as she wants to with her music.

As usual, the kids got some running-around time along with some snacks afterwards



 It's not often that I get a decent picture of all 5 kids, but today I was able to get 3! :) Unfortunately, the wind was blowing, so it was hard to keep it out of the littles' faces.



Monday, May 9, 2016

Strawberry Picking 2016

We took advantage of a beautiful morning (actually the only one that week without rain) to pick a few strawberries.
 The blooms were everywhere and just as pretty as can be.
 The kids paired up and worked to fill their buckets. Gabe and Ezra worked one row.
 Olivia and Emma worked another. Emma had quite a good eye for spotting great berries.
 And Irene followed me with the bucket. She wouldn't let me put any in it, though... She insisted that I hand them to her so she could put them in. 
 After she and I filled our bucket, she went to trail after Gabe for a while and point out what he missed. :)
We got a decent haul for less that an hour's work. Sadly, they ate them all within a week. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Olivia's Birthday Gift

Our Olivia is now an amazing 11 years old! She is so thoughtful and possesses wisdom beyond her 11 years. She asks great questions. She is an avid reader. She is also giggly and playful. She is creative. She is going through a stage of find her voice and doesn't always realize her facial expressions or how she sounds. But she is mostly respectful and continues to be a great role model for her friend and siblings. She cares for her siblings with the instincts of a mother but she also has been sure as of late about wanting her space from them too. Totally understandable. She loves girl time with Rebecca.

When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said all she wanted was to get her ears pierced. We talked about it and decided that that would be a fine idea. She peppered us with questions about what it's like and if it hurts and all that jazz, but she bravely stuck to her guns.

 Rebecca took her to My Friend Kate to have them done.
 She seemed a bit nervous.
 The lady put dots on her ears to show where they would go and make sure they would be even.
 First one...
 Then the other. So brave!
 All done! Then she convinced Rebecca to get hers pierced as well. :)
She is so excited to have them. Now she keep asking to have her hair put in a braid so that she can show them off. :) And she is counting the weeks until her studs can be changed out for a pair of treble clefs that she found.

For another treat, she and Rebecca had some "girl time" and went to get a cupcake. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gabe's First Book!

Olivia was an easy child to teach when it came to reading. she really wanted to learn and picked it up fairly quickly. Our biggest difficulty with her was getting her to slow down and actually absorb what she was reading.  Gabe, however, was a different story. it took a long time to get him interested in reading. It was a daily chore to get him to work on sounding out words and phonograms. Then, once he started with readers, we had to work closely with him and help him work through the frustration. But finally, all that patience (and impatience...) has paid off!

Gabe has finally read a book all on his own for fun! HE wen ton his own and picked out the first Boxcar Children book from Olivia's bookshelf and over the next week, sat down whenever he had free time and read his way through it. He was so excited to be reading something on his own that wasn't schoolwork. We are so proud of you, Gabe! Keep it up!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Electricity and Magnetism

We recently finished a specialty unit on Electricity and Magnetism. The kids got to learn all kinds of cool things.
 They learned about static electricity
 Magnets
 How to make a compass from a needle, magnet and cork

 Everyone got involved.
 They made an electromagnet (which promptly started to smoke and get really hot!)
 We walked in our neighborhood to look at the power transfer station and the transformers.

 And we talked about how power gets from the power plant to our home over these big transmission lines that we can see from our house.
 And finally, we bought a set of Snap Circuits so they could learn about how various electronics worked.

It has over 100 different things they can build and learn from, so we expect hours and hours of fun. :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Youthful Ingenuity

It amazes me sometimes just how smart our kids can be. Giving them free time to be able to create on their own can often yield surprising results.
  This is Ezra's glider, "Big Wings."
 Here he built a jet with a launcher, "Kinda like an aircraft carrier except it's smaller than the plane."

 And lately, the kids have been fascinated by Star Trek, so Gabe made this interpretation of the USS Enterprise. I didn't really see the resemblance until I opened it and found "The Bridge".

 I thought is was both hilarious and ingenious that Gabe had "Kirk" in the chair and all the other guys at their stations.
 In other news, Ezra is a huge fan of Falcon from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so he tried to make himself some wings out of paper.
 They weren't very durable, so I made him another set from an Amazon box we had laying around.


And finally, I woke up from a nap one afternoon to find the kids out in the back yard playing under this tent they had made from a parachute, outdoor chairs and a garden stake. They lined the floor with empty chicken feed bags. Again... Ingenious.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Peach Blossoms 2016

 It's the time of year that everything is in bloom and this year, we were lucky enough to get permission to go out to Buttermilk Creek Farm in Alamance County and see the peach trees up close. 
 It's no surprise that the trees were literally buzzing with honeybees hard at work.
 The kids were able to get up close and examine the trees and blossoms.
 They drew pictures in their nature journals and made observations about the trees.

 They also found a ton of peach pits on the ground from last year's harvest.
 The blossoms were just so stunning, it was hard to leave them behind.
But we'll be back in a few months to collect them when they've become big, ripe peaches!