Category Archives: Nature Play

She turned 5! And catching up on September

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Silvia and cousin Graham had a fun mutual birthday party at Nana and Pop’s house in Fort Wayne. She was all too eager to put on her new nail polish and jewelry from Aunt Danielle and Catherine.

Baby Graham was not impressed with his birthday cupcake, but still had fun playing and enduring the torture from his cousins (Melanie not excluded). To pick out presents for their sister, Joe took Leo and Theresa to Goodwill. Leo did an excellent job finding a pony for Silvia. Theresa did an excellent job as well. However, Theresa was a little surprised that all those gifts she picked out were for Silvia…

Saturday morning coffee, back-yard jam-session!

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Finally, all her hair fits in a pony, but it doesn’t last long.

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This couch serves as Simon’s climbing wall. Lately, he’s been plopping off the back-side only to moan and whine 10 seconds later that he’s all alone and stuck.

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Oh come on Simon, Theresa is a professional stroller walker….you’ll be fine…

Trying to make the best out of the dwindling days of summer, we picnicked at Garfield park. The older kids were not interested in soccer, so Joe set up races for Leo and Silvia, while the “babies” and I stayed in the shade.

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It took several wipe-outs from Theresa before she realized that plastic wheels and tight-turns don’t go well together.

Silvia took a gymnastics class in August.  She really liked it and Simon and Theresa had fun playing in the kids area right next to her class. Leo completed a swim class in July as well.

The kids just finished the first 5 week semester of co-op.  They are both really enjoying it this year.  I taught 1st/2nd grade math which was one of Leo’s classes.  Next semester I’ll be teaching a humanities class for 3rd/4th graders.  I think my teaching partner and I will be doing a Little House on the Prairie study with them.

Homeschooling has been going fine so far.  My only problem is that I haven’t been as consistent as I’ve liked.  I unfortunately chose to remove wall paneling in our family room, which created a big project.  Our family room is still out of commission…which is annoying since it’s the homeschool room.  But I think we’re pretty much caught up on the days we missed and I am still really enjoying it.  I just finished reading what I think is the original version of Pinocchio to the kids.  It was over 250 pages, but excellent.  Numerous lessons to be learned from it.  Leo can swallow whole books in days if he gets into it.  He finished a Boxcar children book and a book on the Titanic.  I got 4 Rick Jr. magazines from the library and he read them all in 1 afternoon.  Lol

Silvia is 70% of the way through “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”.  She’s been doing great with it and has begun to read some Bob books for extra practice.  I think she’ll finish the reading lessons and move on to real books in the next couple months.

Leo does copywork almost every day for writing practice.  We read short stories every week, play math games or Leo does a math worksheet.  Silvia and I use the abacus or play a card game in which we try to “make 10”.  I think Leo is at a 2nd grade level in math.  He can tell time and count money and add double digits.  I made the kids these jars to help them work on money management:

Being the antithesis of a “crafty” woman, this tiny project meant that the after-lunch dishes were neglected 🙂

As every adult knows, the amount of housework is never-ending, but for me, to work on anything other than my typical chores and homeschool is to get behind in some other area.  I suppose in my desperation for help, I will hopefully teach the kids chores at a young age as an investment in their future ability to help me keep the house clean and tidy.

We’ve been so busy with projects, visitors, trips, book clubs, bible clubs, CL.  Our former Indy neighbors stayed with us for a couple days.  It was great to have them.  I think that with our super-involved lives we live, I need to come up with a really good rhythm for our evenings.  Sometimes there are 2 or 3 events in a week that Joe or I attend.  It’s been great for building friendships though! There are so many intelligent, thoughtful, interesting women in the book clubs I attend.  And Joe is beginning to make friends in a Bible study.  🙂

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1st birthday, Home School Activities, Getaway Vacation

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Leo took these pictures.   He impressively got a frown and smile out of Simon.

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The girls love this thing.  Thank you Kroger! 

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Silvia got a visit from the tooth fairy this month!  

Happy 1st birthday to Simon!

I went on a vacation to the lake with my sisters and mom.  It was so nice to hang around other adults who can do everything for themselves. 😉 We went to Put-in-bay, the beach, the pool, putt-putting, and made delicious coffee shakes and cocktails every day.  We watched a movie and played games and read.  Ahhh…..just talking about it relaxes me again.

Top pic:  Leo watches the eclipse through our homemade pinhole viewer

All the sand pics: After listening to the intro to Story of the World, we did one of the suggested activities of burying items that will explain to future civilizations what our generation did for food, entertainment, transportation, tools.  I buried a bunch of things and the kids tried to dig them up like archaeologists.  It was fairly realistic since I forgot where I buried half of them….

Another Story of the World Activity:  Building a hut or shelter out of materials we could find and gather.  We just so happen to have a giant log pile in our yard, so this was pretty easy.  We also pulled up a little moss and leaves and weeds to fill in the holes. Then their shelter was a nice home for their fairies….(top middle and right pictures).

Snapped these pictures a couple days into our first “official” week of homeschooling.  I am mostly following a free Charlotte Mason curriculum this year.  Leo finished another round of swim lessons.  His swim instructor told me he swam across the whole pool and asked if I’d seen it…..Whoops.  Was either on my phone or walking around with Simon. Silvia has been taking a gymnastics class and loving it.

Co-op starts in a few weeks!  Looking forward to it.

Exactly 1 month later…

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Here’s a little slideshow of our spring/summer shenanigans.  Simon’s been crawling up the stairs and climbing onto low beds.  He likes to hang out under tables, which forces me to keep it swept, so he doesn’t eat all the scraps….like a dog.

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We celebrated our anniversary on June 5th.  (Most of these pics are repeats of what I’ve posted on Instagram or FB).  We went on our (2nd) date since moving to Dayton.  Hit the Oregon District up again for dinner and a walk.

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Leo turned 6 in June so we had a couple little “parties” for him.  6 other kids came over to play and I gave them crackers with cheese and salami, apple slices and brownies.  Simple and not the least bit impressive, but my focus was on giving Leo a special day with friends.    In the picture above, you can see our new sandbox that Joe built.  We got rid of our little crab sandbox which the kids were outgrowing.

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Hiking in Yellow Springs with Oma and Opa. Of course Simon pooped all over Oma and the Ergo carrier in the woods.  (Hence why he ended up in nary a clothes, only diaper)

Doing a tiny bit of “school” on random days.  I planned to keep going through the summer, but we’ve pretty much taken the last 2 weeks off.  Except we’ve gotten in some math because Leo enjoys the challenge.  He’s learning some tricks and patterns in addition and multiplication.

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My almost daily habit of drinking a mocha on the porch swing.  Always a relaxing few minutes before somebody wakes up or interrupts me. 😉

Sweet little Simon napping next to his Jesus doll, which someone gave him as a baptism present.

I took Theresa and Simon out on a walk yesterday during Leo and Silvia’s first day of Vacation Bible School.  Then I tried meal planning on the couch and fell asleep only to wake up and find Theresa had also fallen asleep….on the floor!  Next 2 pictures are the kids at the Boonshoft museum, which Phyllis and I went to while Joe and Phil were out of town (on vacation…ahem).  Last picture is Theresa asleep at Mass.  She fell asleep in the car on the way to church, much to my surprise.  The girl just keeps passing out everywhere. 😆

May with the kids, family and friends

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Simon was finally baptized on May 7th.  Both of our parents made it.   My brother and his family and some friends, plus the godparents.  It was a beautiful day.

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Simon’s getting to be a little troublemaker.  Can it really be starting already???? He bee lines for the stairs so we’ve put up a gate.  He crawls all over and pulls up on everything.  He has just started to stand alone for a few seconds.  In the bottom middle picture, Theresa is pulling him by the legs.  Oy!  This kid takes a lot of crap.  But he’ll be terrorizing the big kids and their toys in no time.

We went to Fort Wayne for Mother’s Day weekend and then the kids and I stayed there while Joe went on a business trip to CA for a week.  We stayed with both sets of parents and had a nice time.  So thankful for their help! And so grateful for the time I got to spend with friends.

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Pizza party after the last day of co-op

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The big kids chasing Theresa with cousin Melanie in the background

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picnic with my family after playing at Shoaff Park

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Cousin Graham

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We had friends over to play and my friend brought a tea set so the kids loved having a tea party!

Leo and Silvia watered the flowers with a spray bottle. In the bottom pictures they are showing off a poem they memorized.  Every day this week we worked on memorizing a poem and a bible verse.  Leo worked on writing upper and lower case letters and learned how to write all his numbers this week.  We got together with friends twice this week and went on a long walk/bike ride.  We’ve had a lot of rain and several tornadoes touched down around our city, but we’ve had a few good days of sunshine and warmth. 🙂

Easter, family, books

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Leo just finished reading his first Magic Tree House book.   Below I caught Leo reading to Silvia all on their own.  I had to run get my camera.  Silvia will sometimes ask Leo to read to her now that he is able to read well enough. At first she was too impatient with his (lack of) speed.  Since Leo is improving by leaps and bounds on his reading, we have turned our focus to writing.

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Simon is 8 months now and started crawling a few weeks ago. He likes to chew on cords. He loves playing with doors. He pushes it open, crawls over to it, pushes it almost closed, crawls over, opens it…repeat. I am red in the face in the top right picture b/c I’d just finished a run.  Simon is going to be a math genius since we are starting him early on the abacus.

The weather has been pretty warm lately, so we’ve gotten out on some strolls/bike rides and gone to the park.  We also went to the Boonshoft museum on Good Friday because I thought we still had co-op that morning and drove downtown to find nobody there. So we made a detour to the museum.  The evening of Good Friday we drove 50 minutes to meet friends in CL at a park to do a Way of the Cross.  Afterwards the kids played while we waited for pizza and ate.  Leo and Silvia made new friends and were having the time of their life.  We were so amazed to see them playing with the other kids as they are so shy! I think being around the kids during the Way of the Cross warmed them up to new people.

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We drove up to Ann Arbor for a day and half over Easter weekend.  My brother was hosting and all of my side of the family made it.  The kids had a blast playing with their cousins and it was cool to be with all my family, even if it did feel like a whirlwind.  There was an Easter Egg hunt and a walk to a neighborhood park.  In one picture, Joe is trying to get Simon to grab the Easter egg up in the tree, but he wouldn’t do it.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve started a new goal of making Sundays a day of rest/family day.  It has been a challenge! There is always so much work that needs to get done around the house and projects to be completed.  So Joe and I worked hard all day Saturday and let the kids join us in the projects.  Pictured above: Sunday we had a lovely day outside playing with the kids and going to the park.

Colorado and Current Events

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A slideshow from our Colorado vacation.  Theresa turned 2 the day we traveled to CO.

Theresa is talking more every day.  She loves to play with Simon and is getting better at playing with Leo and Silvia.  She is doing some cute little 2-year old antics like dragging a step stool around the kitchen to watch me and Joe cooking or doing dishes.  She likes to help in the kitchen and has started helping Leo unload the dishwasher.  She’s been driving me a little crazy though lately as she has been clingy and wanting to be picked up frequently or sit on my lap whenever I sit down or am eating. I’m sure it’s just a short phase….

Simon is a tiny little baby who doesn’t like to eat.  Nevertheless, he’s a happy baby and  squirmy/mobile.  He just started doing something between a crawl and a scoot to reach the objects that he wants.

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This picture cracks me up because Joe is being attacked by all 4 kids.  Really outnumbered.

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We made it to an Ash Wednesday service.  Simon even got ashes.

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A day in the life: grocery shopping with 4 kids

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Sometimes they play together. Sometimes they fight (together).

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On Friday we met Joe at Huffman Park when he got off work.  We went on a family stroll to the edge of a peninsula. 

These sick winter months

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At the end of January we attempted a trip to Indy to visit friends. We were having a lovely time, had put the kids to bed and were playing games, drinking wine and eating no-bake cookies (Yum!).  As we started to get ready for bed, Theresa began coughing and then puked.  And then it just went on all night.  It is no fun having a puking child, but especially when you’re not at home.  Thankfully, our friends were so gracious and helped us clean up the mess and did lots of laundry. We left town early, but our former neighbor girls in Indy still wanted to come with us, so we picked them up. After we got home, nearly everyone in our house came down with some sort of bug one at a time.  Thankfully, most of us started feeling better after about a day.  Theresa was the only one that puked off and on for a week.

Before we knew what was to come of the night….

Theresa’s gotten the hang of the balance bike and wants to ride it instead of the stroller now. Which means our walks are a little slower 😉

Playing at the park a couple blocks from our house

She is saying “shhh” to me.  Whenever I start to sing she tries to “shhhh” me

Getting closer to crawling

One of the few snow days we’ve had.  Not enough snow for a snowman.  I tried.

He spent a while trying to break the ice free

Leo finished his Reading lessons book and is reading books now.  Mostly level 1’s and 2’s.  He can read Danny and the Dinosaur and Nate the Great. But I’m trying to find a book that will get him really  excited. I bought the Story of the World audio cds for us to listen to in the car.  Leo is enjoying it. He has had plenty of “history” this year as he has learned so much about prehistoric animals and the ice age.  But since history is so fun, I thought he’d enjoy Story of the World as well.  Also, I’m in the midst of figuring out a home school room in our house.  And trying to plan curriculum for him for 1st grade.

Theresa’s talking more profusely.  Stringing several words together.  And riding her bike.  Simon is getting more active and is very close to crawling.  Nothing new with Silvia.  🙂

Next post will be about our trip to CO.