Category Archives: Nature Play

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. ūüėČ

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. ūüėÜ

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. ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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. ¬†ūüôā

Next post will be about our trip to CO.

Florida trip and Thanksgiving

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The kids went to FL with their grandparents for about a week before Simon and I flew down to join them for a few days. Below is a slideshow of their adventures.

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So what did I do with myself for a week you ask? ¬†Well, some days Simon slept ok during the day and some days I felt like I was trying to put him down all day because he would just wake back up. So he did stifle some of my efficiency. ¬†I thought I would get the whole house organized and cleaned from top to bottom. But surprise, surprise,¬†all I was able to do was organize the house and switch the kids’ rooms around. ¬†Switching the kids’ rooms was a big project however, as I had to try different combinations to see how I liked their furniture and reorganize their upstairs toys into smarter spaces. ¬†I moved Leo’s little legos, puzzles and audio books into the guest room so that he can use them during his quiet time.

We had turned Theresa’s bed into a toddler bed and she’d been doing really well staying in her room at nap and bedtime. ¬†But after a few weeks, she didn’t stay in her room so well. After several days of her coming into our room at 5:40 am, 5:15, and 4:50am, we converted it back into a crib….aka baby jail.

Theresa is the age that Silvia was when I potty trained her. ¬†A couple weeks ago I spent 6 days trying to potty train Theresa before giving up. ¬†I’m stubborn and consistent, and was not expecting to give up, but man, that girl broke me. ¬†Pee everywhere. ¬†Poop under the dining room table while I’m in the midst of cooking dinner. ¬†Waking up every morning stressed about the task before me and trapped at home all week. ¬†She was maybe going in the potty 40-50% of the time. ¬†Not good enough progress for 6 days. ¬†Giving up felt like a big relief.

The pics above are from Thanksgiving in Ft. Wayne. ¬†The kids had a good time with their cousins. ¬†We got in free at Science Central because of our reciprocal pass from the Boonshoft Museum in Dayton. ¬†The picture with all the men is my dad, brother, brother-in-law and Joe trying to build an arch.. and failing. How many men does it take to put together an arch? More than 4 apparently ūüėČ

I’ve been so bad about taking pictures. ¬†The kids and I went to an Our Lady of Guadalupe party with the co-op on Thursday. ¬†Leo and Silvia are starting to make friends with their classmates. ¬†It was the first opportunity they had to play with the kids outside of “school”. ¬†Then on Saturday night, Joe and I went to a Christmas party through the Church most of the homeschoolers go to and the kids were babysat in a room with a bunch of their friends. Also, last week I dropped them off at the YMCA childcare 3x so I could get in a few runs. ¬†They got plenty of socialization last week ūüėČ

What we’re Learning

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Home schooling is going well so far. ¬†Leo and Silvia are¬†flying through the¬†Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book. ¬†Leo is probably able to read over 20 Bob books now. ¬†We’re not doing them¬†in order. ¬†I just look at all the Bob books in a box at the library and pick out the ones that have sounds I know Leo can read. ¬†Silvia gets frustrated that she can’t read most of the ones I pick out but she should be able to within a couple months. ¬†She is only about 20 -25 lessons behind Leo. The Teach your Child book is just wonderful and Leo and Silvia are really getting the phonics down before sight words, which I’m happy about.

This week we had a play date with one of the families from the home school co-op who live down the road from us. ¬† They have 13 acres, chickens in their back yard and a creek toward the end of their property. ¬†Their house and property are¬†beautiful and the kids had a great time playing with the boys. ¬†One of her boys is in Leo’s class. ¬†I’m very pleased to have gone there and hope this can be a regular thing. ¬†I’m wondering about dropping Leo off to play with her boys sometime. ¬†Or vice versa. ¬†They’re probably getting to be that age.

Home school co-op has been enjoyable. ¬†Leo is in a K class, and Silvia is in pre-K. ¬†They do an art or music class together and then split into their own grades. ¬†Leo also has a geography and science class. ¬†Silvia has a letters class and a free time to do puzzles or blocks. ¬†I am doing childcare this semester but will be teaching a few classes later on. ¬†Even when I don’t have childcare duties, I tend to hang out in the nursery so Theresa can play and I can talk to the other moms. ¬† It’s kind of a social time for me and the kids are always excited to show me the work they bring home in their binders. ¬†It takes up all of Friday morning so it is good for getting us out of the house at least once a week. ¬†With 2-3 nappers in the house, sometimes I feel like we can’t get out because someone is always napping! On those days, however, we may at least get outside and go for a (nature) walk or ride bikes in the front sidewalk and do yard work together. ¬†Today, the ¬†kids were excited to help me bag the leaves off the back porch and had fun jumping in the leaf piles I made.

Leo is listening to books on cd during his quiet time. ¬†But he’s going through them too fast! He’s completed The Magician’s Nephew, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s birthday, a Winnie the Pooh one, Charlotte’s Web and is almost through Matilda. ¬†Looks like I may need to get some more before his car ride to FL with his grandparents. ¬†Also, Joe and I are reading a few pages at nap time or bed time of the¬†1st Harry Potter book.

On a side note, here are the only pics I got of the kids trick-or-treating. ¬†That is Theresa the bat who wouldn’t keep her dang hood pulled up. ¬†Below is big girl T sleeping in her toddler bed. ¬†Although she still regularly falls out. ¬†And Simon watching his mobile. ¬†I think he rolled over for the first time in the middle of the night last night. ¬†Haha

Simon is such a sweet and happy baby and has just started sleeping better in his crib. Praise God! And I’ll keep my fingers crossed it continues.