Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday

Lots of morning cuddles and watching the movie Ratatouille. Dinoguy asks if we can open our own restaurant and feed rats. Make sweet potato waffles.

Hang Christmas lights on the outside of the house. Boys sing impromptu songs and help joyfully.Trainboy in front of the lights this evening

Lunch and then we drive to drop Dinoguy & Fixitman off at the super secret location of Dinoguy's (late) birthday surprise with dad.Fixitman doesn't want to deal with a camera. So here they are when we dropped them off.

Trainboy & I go and find a letterbox then come home and make saxophone cookies (and other instruments and Christmas ones too!) Watch videos of Thomas' Christmas and Toy trains at Christmas.
I also got a saxophone, drum & piano concert. He is asking for a flute and guitar now too!
Prepping and freezing produce from cheap sales earlier in the week. Snacking on leftover pie, salad, cheesecake...

Took Sarge for a walk/looked at the Christmas lights in our neighborhood.

Checked out Bembo's Zoo and Classics for Kids games with Trainboy. He likes Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Spring better than Handel's Water Music. Though he did say it sounded like Water. He wrote his own Spring songs in their compose your own music area afterward.

Time to go pick up Dinoguy & Fixitman. (They were at Six Flags with the free tickets Dinoguy won this summer.) Lovely day.

Pregnant belly

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Fixitman and the bird.

Part of the table and some of the food

Another view of the table and food.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food, I love getting together with family and friends, I love planning and cooking the food. I love thinking about thankfulness. We had a lovely Thanksgiving this year with Fixitman's sister's family and friends. It was more of a potluck, so we didn't cook as much as we normally do. So we're cooking more tomorrow! :) Mmmm...Mmm...pie...(and cheesecake!)

Fixitman improved upon his turkey frying technique and the bird was awesome. The brine recipe was a winner and not over frying the bird made it super juicy as well. He also made his fabulous macaroni salad. I made my favorite sweet potato casserole, pumpkin cheesecake and Grandma's fudge pecan pie. I also tried a new variation on cranberries - a cranberry dipping sauce for the turkey from Alton Brown that was awesome. I want to bottle the sauce and put it on sandwiches year round it was so good. Fixitman's sister made their family's traditional orange rolls, and there were a ton of other delicious dishes from others, including cornbread dressing with giblet gravy, a first for me (it was good!)
Trainboy jumps at a rare time when there aren't 12 kids on the trampoline at the same time.

The boys had a great time playing with their cousins and making new friends. I seem to not think of snapping good pictures of them as much as I should when we visit, I guess we're just having a good time.
Dinoguy practices his kung fu

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Costumes!


We were given some fun costumes recently. We've had dinosaurs, luchadors, policemen, power rangers and spiderman running around our house as a result. Good times!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading practice


Lately Dinoguy has been making an outward effort to read. He has started verbally reading signs, cereal boxes, books when I am around...

This past week he read almost completely on his own the book "This Car" by Paul Collicutt to me. It's a favorite pick from the library lately, both boys seem to almost have it memorized.

When he was younger (age 2-3) I used to try and get him to sound out words and practice reading and such with sites such as starfall.com and I think I overwhlemed him. When I backed off and stopped pressuring him, he didn't try and if I ask him to try reading something his response was "I can't read!" We've always read books to him and he's taken them and read them to himself but not in front of me.

So him practicing his reading skills openly in front of me is a big deal to me because I feel like he trusts me now not to criticize him or tell him how to do it. I talked with a friend about it - when he doesn't get something right I feel compelled to correct him but she said not to unless he ask or it flowed naturally in the conversation. She compared it to me getting a math paper back covered in red ink and how negative that feels and that made sense to me. Doesn't make it easier, but I now consider how I would feel if my mistakes were constantly being pointed out in things I was trying to master when the correcting urge hits.

Where has he learned his words? Reading the show guide on the TV, from computer games, from books, board games, road signs, cereal boxes... from living life and feeling the need to read. Since deciding to unschool, we haven't done a single worksheet, set of flashcards or anything that was only for teaching and learning reading. We have read hundreds of books and played games and lived life and life is full of words.

Though his Sunday School teacher today mentioned that he probably felt some pressure there as all the other kids were reading and writing now (they are in public school Kindergartens) and he had said something about how he couldn't read as well as them and she said "but you can multiply!" which cheered him up. (I'm glad for the positive comment from her in his time of need!)

He has some competitiveness in him already, most things turn into a competition with his brother, I hope he won't be drawn into competition over school things with his friends who go to public schools.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Building the swingset

Last weekend we serendipitously got a free swingset on Craigslist. Someone who had recently moved into a home with a swingset and didn't want it there offered it up to anyone who wanted to come get it so off we went!Of course we had to go there, disassemble it and bring it home and reassemble it - not a quick task - but for Free? The boys were super excited and big helpers. It was an all weekend project! The kids have played on it almost every day of the past week, having lots of fun.Eventually we may give it a nice new coat of paint to stop the surface rust that has sprouted up in a few spots and make it look newer. But for now, it is ready for playing in our yard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cleaning the gutters and roof

Dinoguy and Fixitman got up on the roof this past weekend and cleaned out the gutters/cut back tree branches/other fix-it type stuff. Hopefully no more critters can crawl thru the mesh screen into our attic - the holes are gone.Mostly I like photos like these to scare the grandmas. Is that bad? Of course they were careful! Plus old houses don't have as steep of roof grades as those new fangled homes. Yet another reason that I like older homes!

The Stinky Cheese Man play + a nature walk with friends

The set of the show before it began (no photos during allowed!)
Waiting for the show
What a pose!

We checked out a children's theatre program last week with friends, going to see "The Stinky Cheese Man". What boy wouldn't be enthralled with that title? Great book, but would it be a fun play? We got there early not realizing that it didn't start right at 10, but seating began at 10. So my mama calm was wearing thin by the time the show started, but we were rewarded with a fast paced, high energy version of the book and its other stories all woven together.While Trainboy kept telling me it wasn't actually the stinky cheese man but a guy in a suit, Dinoguy was laughing hysterically and when it was over proclaimed "That was totally awesome!" I think it was a successful venture into the world of theatre, seeing how the squirminess of my kids wasn't the end of the world since it was a theatre full of children.
That is Trainboy's head popping out of the log

Afterward we had a picnic at a nearby botanical gardens and then went on the nature walk trail. It was an awesome walk, but the combo of the theatre plus walk was too much for me and again I got to learn that when you are halfway thru the third trimester, it's time to start taking it easier. Even after the drive home, I spent the rest of the day parked on the couch, sleeping or resting.Fun times with the hollow log
Looking at the baby animals hidden in the holes

It was a grand time though and I am glad we went.

Playing in the leaves

Last year there just weren't any leaves and we mourned not getting to play in the leaves like we had done in Utah. There are some great memories and photos of leaf play in our family.
I've determined it was the new neighborhood without giant trees that made for the lack of fall foliage for playing in and it is just another strike against the modern subdivision for me. I like older homes with big beautiful trees.
We don't have as many awesome leaves here as we might, since our front yard tree is a live Oak that doesn't really lose it's leaves in bulk. But our back yard has some good leaves and Fixitman made some piles for the boys to jump in this past week.Dinoguy was out there in a flash, his first comment on seeing leaves fall from trees was to ask if we could jump in them like we use to in Utah. Trainboy joined in the fun and even Sarge decided that leaf play was fun.

Park fun equals tired mom

I must be getting pretty pregnant. It is time to slow down I guess. Mom, stop laughing. 3 hours at the park was hard on me and we headed home not because our friends were leaving or the kids were tired - but because I needed a nap.

I love being in Texas where we have nice weather most of the fall and winter and park play is just as possible. It was a beautiful fall day at the park and the boys had a great time. Dinoguy was excited to have his own light saber for play. The back of our truck and the top of another car became a fort at one point; the kids dug to the bottom of the sand box and found the plastic lining - they had more slide + rock experiments and more. Good times were had.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We voted!

We voted today of course. :) There were no lines or waiting at our precinct when we went, though the two boys running around the gym made it a bit noisier while we were there. Voting is very important to me and I hope you voted today too. It is a great privilege to be able to vote in my opinion. I also take the boys with me to make sure they know that I vote every chance I get and consider it a very important part of civic duty.

Blanket completion & blessing

Sunday we went to the blessing of my cousin's baby and I finished up the blanket I've been working on as a gift. It is strange to be done with it, I've been crocheting as fast as I could to finish it up the past 2 weeks. But I did it! I finished! Woot!
Dinoguy loves to hold babies. Here the baby is smiling, while Dinoguy makes a face.
Now Dinoguy is smiling while the baby thinks about it.
Handsome little chunk isn't he? We were trying to get that elusive smile...
Awww...the cute baby on his blanket!
Lots of kids playing Break the Ice with the proud daddy. Note Dinoguy trying out a carseat. He likes to fit into small spaces I guess.

Home Depot day - making leaf presses


Home depot day this month was making a leaf press. Seems simple enough but I managed to mess up Dinoguy's while helping him and Fixitman demonstrated his fix-it skills in correcting it. I learn as much as the boys from all these building projects!

As soon as we got home we found some beautiful Autumn leaves to press and have been pressing leaves since then! Fall has come to our neighborhood and it is gorgeous. We are collecting leaves and enjoying the weather a lot. :)

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