I have been moving rocks (see background of first picture) for the last couple of weeks trying to prepare a spot for my garden. Don't worry - you'll see a full span of pictures once I'm ready to plant. :) Anyway, one day while we were out there working, the kids decided to study the rocks. They collected their own samples and then drew about them in their journals. They also studied birds and spiders while we were out there. Carter's second love, behind building of course, is science and Isaac loves it, too. They're always asking to do science experiments, so if anyone has any cool ones, let me know! You can only do so much with baking soda and vinegar, although I have been able to stretch it pretty well! We also did an acid/base test on lots of different liquids in our house. Carter had a chart that he would draw a picture of the liquid in the correct column after we did our test. I thought it would be a good idea to draw a picture of a lemon for lemon juice, etc., but he wanted to draw the liquid. So each column MAY have a bunch of indistinguishable pictures of liquids in them, aka - scribbles, but at least we had fun!
Always need a little refreshment after a hard day of brain work!
Their constant desire to learn and do really stretches me. Sometimes I'd rather turn on a movie and leave my mind dormant than have "science school" or "building school" or "cooking school" - and I have to admit that sometimes I do, but I'm trying to be better. Thank goodness for the internet. What did parents do without it? It saves me from always having to say "I don't know." Instead, my new favorite phrase to their endless questioning is "Let's look it up on the internet." It doesn't save me entirely, though. Even the internet doesn't know who made the first toy sword.
These last several weeks since we've been here we've really enjoyed going to Lowe's on every other Saturday for their "Build-it-Yourself" workshop. I thought it was just a summer thing, but was overjoyed to learn that they do it all year long. The kids have a blast getting to hammer and create something and it gives us something easy and free to do. Eric has been able to go, too, which makes it a whole different experience in and of itself. My wonderful friend, Lisa, makes it all the easier for me and just signs my kids up when she signs up her own. Isn't she great? Ashlyn is surprisingly good with a hammer. I thought I'd be chasing her up and down the aisles while the boys tried to finish their projects, but she hangs right in there. Carter is in heaven being able to build something and not being told "Yeah right" or "Not right now."
Isaac really enjoys it because the projects are simple enough that he can read the instructions and pretty much build it all by himself.
Kadyn, Carter, Isaac and Talon showing off the finished product - a power boat.
Ashlyn and her boat - the only way I could get a picture!
They've also built a helicopter and Lisa grabbed us some school busses (didn't I say she was great?) because we missed the last one. We're hoping to build them tomorrow. Good times!
I have quickly found out that owning a home makes your "to do" list a LOT longer and a LOT more painful! Several people have requested pictures of the house, but I haven't wanted to send them because it's not how I want it yet. I have finally come to realize that it will take a very long time to get it how I want it, but I do have a start. Here are some pictures of the front room - the first room you see when you walk in the door. It still needs a few more things, but it's the only room that has made serious progress. My sister, Cari, was an angel and came down one weekend to help me surprise Eric and get it painted. She got here in the evening, we painted until 2:00am, woke up and painted until noon, ate, swim, and she headed home. I NEVER would have gotten it done without her. Thank you! Thank you! Now I just need her to come back to help me paint more rooms! Dad and Cindy were also life savers. They came down and back one day just to help me get things done. Dad hung ceiling fans and light fixtures, etc., while Cindy helped me get some pictures on the wall and vacuumed all of my blinds. Once again - it NEVER would have gotten done without them. I'm anxiously awaiting their next visit. I have plans! :) Huge "Thank yous" to them as well.
The pictures aren't at the same angles. The ones we took of the house before were at angles they didn't have on the internet. I didn't want to show my other room yet (it's next on the list) so I took my "after" pictures at a little different angle, but you get the idea.
Before - I love the green color, but they had it in way too many rooms. I'm leaving it in the kitchen, but it needs a little touch up. After Before
Today was Isaac's first day of the second grade at Twin Peaks Elementary School.
Ashlyn wanted her picture taken with Isaac on his big day. He's been so ready to get going with school again and to make new friends. Surprisingly, I was the one who had a hard time. I wasn't one of those mom's who weeped on the first day of kindergarten. He was excited to start school and I was excited for him. Today, after dropping him off at an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people and seeing how nervous he was, I had a hard time. I called my mother-in-law to tell her he was officially at school, and ended up blubbering to her all the way home. I was going to miss my friend and I hoped that he would be okay. I had told his teacher that he would ride the bus home, and then went back and forth on my decision all day - wondering if I should just pick him up. I decided to stick to my original decision (after consulting a couple of sisters and yes, the office) and me and Carter and Ashlyn headed out to his bus stop with camera in hand to greet him after his big first day. The bus was late and then when it finally did show, craziest thing - Isaac wasn't on it. I ran back to the house and called the school to try and figure out what happened. They said they'd check into it and call me back. Meanwhile, I'm a total mess. It would have been bad enough if I hadn't had such a debate all day long. They finally called back and said that they found him, the principal was going to pick him up and that I could get him at the office. I raced to the school and there was a smiley Isaac who had had a great day at school. The first thing he said to me was "Now I get to tell MY kids that I was lost!" What had happened was that at his old school, he got off at the first stop, so when the bus stopped and the neighborhood looked familiar (everything looks the same) he got off - five stops too early. (Yes, I had showed him where his bus stop was and yes, I told him we'd be waiting for him - at least I think on that one!) Thankfully my morning prayers for my son were heard. Another parent noticed him wandering around, looking lost, and called the school. It makes me sick to think of what would have happened without that parent. But other than that, he loved his teacher, he made new friends, he thinks the work is SOOOO easy here (does he not remember what first days are like?) and he's excited to go back tomorrow. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, too. I think it will be great!
I wanted to do something fun with the kids on Saturday before Isaac started school on Monday, so we decided to try out the Children's Museum. We had a really hard time getting past the first exhibit. It had a real police motorcycle and a firetruck. All three of the kids were in heaven. Carter's favorite was the motorcycle and Isaac and Ashlyn's favorite was the firetruck.
All three of them had a great time in the mock submarine. That's probably where we spent most of our time.
They had dinosaurs that moved every now and again. Isaac was the only one brave enough to get close enough for a picture.
I wish Carter's face wasn't so washed out in this picture. It's classic.
They had a really fun "Body" area with a rock wall and everything.
Ashlyn kept going back to the trains no matter where we were.
She also loved cooking in the kitchen. She might have to get one for her birthday.
They had a maze that Isaac mastered at 10 1/2 seconds. Ashlyn would just crawl under the walls!
The kids had a great time and are already begging to go back. They were so excited about everything, that we ran from one thing to the other. I wouldn't mind going back again and taking it a little slower. I still haven't decided if I want to get a pass or not, though. We'll see. I know they'd love it!
...well, mostly. But it's definitely on it's way! We still have a little bit of a stump, but it has to wait on a shovel. We had another incident, this time with Isaac, and luckily Eric had the next day off, so it was top of the list. I feel a little bad about destroying a living thing, but not bad enough to cut of my "HOORAY!"
Here is a picture journal of some of the things the kids have been up to. Isaac and Carter used some of our empty boxes when we were moving in to make their own museum. Admission was a nickel, unless you paid your dues of a dime to volunteer, and then it was only a penny. I think it was partly inspired by a Boxcar Children book we read a while back where the children made their own museum and partly by visiting Grandpa at the museum where he volunteers. It was a lot of fun. My Relief Society President was especially a good sport. When she came to visit me, she paid double admission and spent quite a long time admiring each of their "artifacts." Carter loves to make and play with ice. I got on the computer to show him some ice sculptures, and then he was ready to create. His only folly - trying to make it outside in Arizona in July. He lost most of his ice in a manner of minutes. He's still determined, though. I think I have 5 or 6 things of ice in my freezer waiting for their creator.
Once we got here, Ashlyn decided she needed to sit on the bench in between the boys. I love watching the three of them together. They get pretty funny. This is them praying - okay, posed, but it was exactly how it looked!
Nana sent each of the kids their very own package with a Texas shirt in it. They've become favorites around here, especially with Ashlyn. She wears it about every other day and it has become a serious rival to her pink shirt.
Oh wait - that's not one of the kids - yet it was at our house. NOT A FAN!
Isaac and his genius robot that moved all on it's own. Amazing!
Ashlyn loves to dump out her bucket of board books and read a few. She sprawls out, carpet or no.
Since we have lived here, the boys have kept their bikes squeaky clean. They look for any excuse to play with the hose and have found that washing their bikes gets the most "yes."
Ashlyn has been struggling with nap time these last few weeks. She'll stay in her room, but she won't go to sleep. One afternoon after swimming she was having a particularly hard time, so I bathed her and threw her on the couch. These are our efforts of waking her up for dinner. Her eyes were open for a second, but she was sound asleep again when we turned back around.
Carter's mind has been going 10,000 miles a minute lately. Mostly it is busy with his inventions. He's had some great ideas, including - but definitely not limited to - gas fueled flying wings made out of cardboard and plastic bottles, a military airplane that really flies, a steam bike made out of his current bike but with all the glory of a steam engine added on it, a crane, his own computer, etc. He's always wanting help with his creations and I feel bad always telling him it's impossible - especially with the materials he's using. Any piece of cardboard, styrofoam, toilet paper roll, bottle, wire, twistie tie, or other random piece of trash I have to sneak to the trashcan or it is immediately claimed with an enthusiastic "I can use that for something!" He finally put his brain power to use during quiet time and made himself a cape out of paper towels, yarn, and tape. Finally something reasonable! We've also made a catapult (Thanks, Briana), a helicopter at Lowe's, and we're going to make a boat at Lowe's this Saturday.
Little girls in their mom's high heels is nothing new, but it's always just as cute and this little girl sure was proud of herself when she came around the corner on Sunday.