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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going on a roadtrip... yay?

Tomorrow we begin the ever increasingly familiar journey to the coast =
2 days x 9 hours driving each day
+ 2 adults
+ 5 children in one red Isuzu Trooper
+ uncertainty of road conditions because of recent rain
- a working cd/tape player in the car
= need for prayer and patience and lots of activities to do in the car!

Abuelito wishing our carful of kids traveling mercies

So, what keeps your kids busy in the car?

Here are a few of our favorites:

The Quiet Game :)

RaceCar (did you know you can spell that the same way forwards and backwards?) - This is a uniquely tuttle invented game where each child picks a vehicle within sight and claims it... then they keep tabs on 'their' car and who is winning at any given time by who passes who, etc.

Who owns the Road? - Another tuttle kid invention in which the kids are each self-assigned to a window to look out of. Whatever they spy out their window, is theirs; cats, dogs, crops of sugar cane, an ox and plow, electricity poles, condors circling some dead thing, etc, etc. They are amazing at keeping track of all they have accumulated and what everyone else has as well. They can then trade with each other to have a more well-rounded supply of whatever... seriously, this has kept them busy for many an mile!

Animal Log - I bet you didn't have llamas on your kids' checklist to see on your last roadtrip! Here it is actually a common occurance... The boys sometimes keep logs with the following list of animals: Donkeys, Mules, Chickens, Horses, Goats, Llamas, Snakes, Sheep, Cats, Dogs. Then they keep a running tally. This can be left off and picked up throughout the LONG journey. A more modern version would be keeping track of colors of cars or state license plates... at least that's what I did when I was growing up.

Wikki-Stix. All I can say is, these are AWESOME. Thank you Wikki-Stix inventor! And to Oma & Hammy... please send MORE! Stick them on the windows or on a plastic clipboard... you name it!

Twistable Crayons. Do you know how VERY good these are? Normal crayons melt, or the paper gets torn off and they get broken, dropped and lost or worse, melted between the seats. Colored pencils have to be sharpened every other 13 seconds... and would you like some wood shavings stuck to your sweaty leg or in your seat? But twistable crayons are the BEST! Love them... even if they still do get lost in the cracks of the seat. I admit, I thrill when I actually find valuable stuff in there.

A whole bunch of stickers and blank paper. You'd be surprised at the number of different uses my kids have come up with for these. However, stickers on windows is absolutely prohibited... *hint: GooGone may be the weirdest, yuckiest, greasiest substance on earth... but it takes off the sticky-ew-goo-glue!

Snacks and a timer. Having a bag of animal cookies (or some other perhaps healthier snack, or not) and a timer with a beep* is an interesting way to mark the time. We give out a snack at every hour on the hour, curbing the ever dreadful and constant, "Can I have a snack now?" This may have been instrumental in my children learning to tell time :) *important note: The clock must be visible and readable by the majority of travellers or else please choose to use a timer with a beep! Having to wait for the beep is useful in curbing the ever more dreadful and incessant, "Is it __ o'clock yet? No? Then, how many more minutes?" followed closely by, "How many more minutes now?"

Reading books aloud. This really is our favorite. Sadly, with 7 people in a 5 person car travelling through the jungle, a sizeable portion of our roadtime is spent with all the windows down. This not being conducive to the reader's voicebox... unless of course you are one who is accustomed to yelling at the top of your voice from the front seat, contorting your body and straining your neck around to face your listeners who can't hear you anyway. *note to self: don't bother bringing school work in the car... somehow with all the other fun stuff to do, we have yet to get to it!

Singing silly songs.

Tell a story. This is probably the kids' all-time favorite. One of them will create a wonderfully imaginative saga for the siblings' listening enjoyment that can be picked up or left off at will. Surely, a creative parent will be able to weave some really good tales. A dear friend of mine, Deb, is an expert at this and is an inspiration to me with her stories that actually even teach a lesson... that much might be a stretch, for me that is, to try and add in something educational?! oh my. But I have periodically *thought* of making a well-intentioned albeit a feeble attempt to embark on an oral tradition of storytelling.

For babies and toddlers, may I recommend:
Keep diapers dry. Non-drip sippy cup with water (I love you Klean Kanteen). Keep them busy with non-messy snacks. Use those bibs that have the part that folds up to catch crumbs. For 1-2yo, give them a container (basket, purse, etc) full of smallish things that are interesting to them. They can take them out one by one, again and again. Just reload the basket or have 2 to rotate. Items to put inside, are: small board book, Little people, spoon, a pen that has no ink in it, a hand mirror, chew toy, coin purse with zipper and something small to fit inside it (we use hair bands), a small doll with removable clothes, an old watch, etc. Things that aren't typically toys usually hold attention a little longer. Reach back occasionally to hold a hand or foot just for love.

So, what are your roadtrip/travel strategems?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Handi-Crafty Kids...

Homemade Christmas gifts are the best. The time invested on toiling over some project in order to make something for someone special is really worthwhile. That said, I prefer, if my kids are going to do some craft that they make something worth keeping or giving away. Charlotte Mason pointed out the educational benefit of handicrafting:

"...that nature and handicrafts should be pressed into service for the training of the eye and hand..."
"The points to be borne in mind in children's handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children's work should be kept well within their compass."

By nature, I'm not super crafty... artsy, maybe... but crafty? Well, perhaps I could be, it's just that I don't like the clutter of those finished crafts! What do you do with all that stuff?! I agree with Charlotte that children should not be subjected to such futilities as are many modern crafts! But the process of being creative, developing skills and care - that's the important part! So, I've found a fantastic craft site that has lots of really cute and practical crafts, that employ sewing, and other such skills to produce something useful. (You know, the kind that you would actually not be embarrassed to give as gifts, or that you might keep around the house awhile!)

Here are a couple that I've seen on the site lately. Either of the following ideas would make delicious and economical gifts for one of those small people in your life. Dress up the package with creative gift wrap, and yippity-skippity, you've crossed someone off your gift list!

And my favorite...

Felt Harvest Meal

just follow the links for tutorials :)

Craft sites with lots and lots and lots of projects:

Kids Craft Weekly

Some other creative gift wrap links:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dealing with sleep issues

Of 5, only one my children has difficulty sleeping. And even one sleepless individual sure can make an impact on an entire household! This is a response turned blog post intended for my friend Jeanne at A peaceful day. In her thoughtful post Things that go Bump, she talked about her normally well-adjusted sleeper having trouble dealing with fear at night, and the things they've tried to settle her. She brought up the question: Does anyone else have any ideas?

Here's my response :)

As to the root of the problem being behavioral or genuine fear, I'll say two things. We have found a little of both with our precious non-sleeper. She has never really slept well, but there have been times of her life where she could actually sleep regularly through the night. Because of various fears however and not being naturally inclined to peaceful rest, she has suffered (haven't we all?) many periods of time where for many successive nights she would wake crying. Some of the things we did to calm her and/or cope did not bode well, and actually did cause a habit of 'needing' to be succored in the night. But I think with careful parenting and much prayer, you will be able to discern the best thing to do in your situation.

Coping techniques we've used:
1) Prayer is always the first thing we turn to. a)Going into her room to pray for her upon her waking and calling out to us. This resulted many times in my husband falling back to sleep in her bed... b)We pray before she goes to sleep this has become a requirement. c)We have taught her that she too must pray when she's afraid - that is trusting God.

2) Allowing her to come to our room where she could prepare for herself a mat on the floor made available for the purpose. (She is violent in sleep - tossing and turning recklessly... we learned that she had to have her OWN domain) Knowing that she was allowed to come to us gave her some power, but then she had to decide if she had enough courage to actually traverse the hallway in the dark!

3) Providing a magic blue night light that 'scares away all spiders and creepy-crawlies'. I don't believe this is lying... it is using our imagination! We've done several versions of this over time. Contriving elaborate stories of how the blue light works :)

4) Singing. We have a children's CD that has a song "When I am afraid I will trust in You". She learned it from the CD and I would sing it with her before bed. When she would wake, I would sing from my bed asking her to sing with me.

5) Supplying her with a CD player near her bed with Scripture CDs or Scripture songs. She usually falls asleep to it (serves a double purpose... great way to inundate with Scripture as well as calm fear!) and can turn it on by herself in the night when she is afraid. Obviously, the volume has to be kept low enough (she shares a room).

6) Explaining to her as I tuck her into bed, that she has a choice of whether or not she's going to be afraid. I've told her that if she's afraid of the dwarf that eats children when they least expect it (thank you neighborhood children), then she can either believe them and be afraid or STOP pretending with them that there really is such a dwarf! 'But I'm afraid!'... then stop pretending he's real! God is REAL and those things are NOT. Those children told you those stories to scare you and to be mean, they were not being true friends to tell you those pretend stories. **We are currently dealing with this, and I have had some luck with the previous topic of conversation... we'll see if it holds long-term success (she's almost 7yo).

7) We've left lights on as well, but that didn't actually deal with the fear itself which was to her so real whether faced in the dark or light - to her lights left on made no difference.

Discerning Manipulation:
At some point about a year and a half ago, I realized that she was habitually calling my husband in to sleep with her because she didn't like being alone or even because she was truly afraid, and it was really disruptive not only to sleep but to our relationship as well. He went on an extended trip, and I tried some of the other previously mentioned ideas. This is tricky and I continually felt that I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. But, I called her bluff, and told her that she was to stay in bed, that I knew she was a big girl to sleep all the way through the night. I offered her a much coveted incentive for 5 nights successive sleep. She didn't sleep the first two nights, but I woke and reminded her that she could decide to go back to sleep and win her prize. This was motivating for her. I don't think she knew that she could do it! She won her prize for 5 successive nights without calling out to me (she probably woke, but she put herself back to sleep without a peep). This showed me that she COULD do it. When my husband got home, she tried her old tricks on him... I calmly called to her reminding her that she COULD sleep... she'd proved it to me... and voila! We had several months of peaceful sleep :)

Anyway, peace to you! This too shall pass! :) Pray!

PS. I'm curious what CM would say about fears... I've read something about it, but can't recall. I might go look it up!


Fisher Academy International Teaching Home
Tarapoto, Peru

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Writing Sample: 11yo

The assignment:
Use as many of the following spelling list words as possible
to write a fictional entry in your diary:

Rated P.O. = Parent's Only
for contents that include violence.
Dearest Diary,

I feel inclined to write the history of a dear, dear friend of mine, whose name was Buck Smith. He was tall, strong and the bravest of the bunch. Yesterday, five men walked through the town dressed in black and struck the town with the edge of the sword. But Buck came to the rescue! They were no match for Buck Smith! BOOM! BANG! CRASH! SMACK! Those were the sounds of his mighty club. He felled four of them like logs, but the fifth got away to tell his master. That made Buck hero of the year. People all around the world said, “That dude is awesome!” And the people of the town said:
“Let us make him our leader! Let him protect the world!”
So, he practiced Kung Fu to the highest level! He did the same with sword, ax, bow and arrow, and club fighting. But an army of infinity bad guys came. They were too much for Buck, but he fought bravely. He sent them up in the air by the dozen! BOOM! BANG! CRASH! SMACK! But he could not expect to beat those bad dudes. “Pick on somebody else!” he said. But they were very naughty dudes and did not listen. Then they captured him. They chained him between two poles and whipped him 'til his mortal wounds were many. When he was exhausted, and when they stopped laughing at him, they piled wood and hay around him and lit it. Then they threw oil on the fire. It flew high. They heard a crack, and then a roar, and out of the fire came Buck, hot chains swirling. And that was the last time we saw the bad dudes and Buck Smith.

Rip Van Javen

** Written in the Kung Fu Panda style by:

An Evolution of Math Drill

Learning basic math facts has been a bittersweet experience in our family. I'm sure many people can sympathize! While one of my kids really enjoys math, another does not. I have come to realize that much of their individual success or failure with math has had to do with how well they know their basic math facts. I never knew just how important this is! I'll explain why it is indeed so important, and how drilling math facts can be of help in this area.

photo by rolve
IF you know your addition facts, then subtraction is WAY easier and vice versa. Having the facts on the tip of your tongue cuts down on time spent on math considerably.
Imagine if as an adult you need to do the problem 876-284, and you have to get out your base 10 blocks for each simple operation. 6-4=2, find the six block, the four block - good. Now, 7-8... oh, get the blocks out again...7 is less than 8, so I'll have to borrow from the 8 hundreds space, which makes that 8-8=0, okay, get the blocks out then 7-2=5...Yes. This must be frustrating even for the kids! Knowledge is power!
IF you have your multiplication tables down, not only will you spend less time doing bigger multiplication problems, but division will be much less intimidating as well. The better you have the facts down, the more you can do in your head, the quicker the whole thing goes! Sometimes it's not really that math is hard, but that it takes too much time... more time than we want to spend on it!

photo by januszek
SO... Realizing how important it is to learn these facts, we could see no other option but to put other things aside and just concentrate for some time on mastering those necessary evils. Thankfully, my husband took charge of this area spending time with the kids and their flashcards! I recommend using fun math games throughout that reinforce the math concepts being memorized/mastered. If your child has memorized the facts without drill, way to GO! The following advice is for those having some trouble with memorizing basic math facts.

Here's how the use of math drill might evolve over a longer period of time:

Step one: Let the kids have some time for the facts to set in naturally, through experience and play. Don't drill. Though, for certain kids who WANT to drill at this age... by all means, drill!
When our kids were first learning their math facts, we didn't drill at all. We just kept it light hearted. Counting objects, adding some, taking some away, etc. We let them be entirely dependent on their math blocks and visual aids. This lasted at least until the boys were about 8 years old, around 2nd grade or so.
Step two: When they have had ample exposure to the natural method, and you are ready to have them start buckling down and memorizing, start with short and simple. Go through the facts orally, or use addition flashcards here, here, or make your own. Find multiplication flashcards here, here, or again, make your own. Start by letting them build the problem with their blocks if they don't know the answer right off. Or, if they don't answer it within 5-10 seconds, before their face falls, quickly tell them the answer. Have them repeat it after you. "Five and five makes ten." Don't use the timer at this point (unless you have a very competitive child who likes to compete with their own time - I have one of these). Spend 10min on this 2-3 times a week.
By the time our kids had gone over all the facts, when they knew a good number of them if they had all the time in the world to think, we started drilling with flashcards. We kept it short and simple. For 5 minutes, or 2-3x through the +3s for example and that's it for the day. We did this while continuing on with our math curriculum. When I felt they had a pretty good handle on the facts I took a break from this.

photo by iprole
Step three: If in the course of time, the kids still are not fluid with their basic math fact recall (mine were not), you might choose to spend some time really cementing the facts before moving on. This might include separating time a week or more where the only math you do is drills. Print off some drill sheets and start timing them. Perhaps you won't tell them you are timing them if they would be intimidated by that. In that case, you'd just keep the information for yourself in order to see their problem areas and progress. Use the information (repeated trouble with the +7s for instance) to know which facts to work on. Go back to the flashcards or find a fun game to play to reinforce those missing facts. See my links below for drill sheet links and a downloadable record sheet.
We had finished Beta (Multiple-digit addition and subtraction and other topics) and recently started on Gamma (Single and multiple-digit multiplication and other topics ) when I realized, the boys were slow with their +6, +7 and +8 facts. They were having to count on fingers or get out their math blocks for these simple operations. It was taking too much time, and they were getting frustrated. I realized that it was essential that they master these facts before moving a step further in their curriculum. So, we stopped everything and decided to drill.
Here's how we did it:

We made reusable drill sheets: I found drill sheets online at (in those days she didn't have so many level options available!) I made the sheets reusable by printing Drill Sheet A on one side and Drill Sheet B on the other side of a sheet of card stock, then had it laminated. The boys used overhead markers (less smeary than dry erase). When they were finished, I just rinsed the sheets off under the faucet (no paper towel mess).

We started out having the boys fill in the sheets taking as much time as they needed. After a week of this, I started timing them secretly, but I didn't tell them their times, and just kept the records for myself. I also kept track of the date, drill sheet used and number of problems missed. Download a copy of my record sheet here. They started catching on, and wanted to know their times and soon it became a great game. I intentionally never pitted them against each other, that would have been disheartening for the one boy. I would correct their sheets (or better yet, have them correct their own work) and they would make corrections. Often they would do this later in the day as they were about done after the drill itself.

After a couple weeks of this, they had their math facts down! Because we were doing this as remedial work, we actually did addition, subtraction and the x0, x1, x2, x5 at the same time but on a separate laminated drill sheets. In retrospect, I would advise doing a little bit of drill all along the way from earlier on through maintenence long after the facts are mastered. I would definitely recommend the use of LOTS of supplemental math games reinforcing the same concepts. We didn't. We just left it with that.
Step four: Once the kids have gained proficiency with their facts, decide on a day of the week or once every other week to pull out the drill sheets just for fun. Have them try to beat their old record. Keep it light and fun. This takes about 5-10 min.

Step five: Use online games throughout the whole process for timed drill practice to increase speed and accuracy... if they are anything like my boys, they'll have so much fun playing, they'll forget they are even doing math!

So, while it may be possible that lots of math can be learned using only fun and games, I believe there are some parts that require discipline and serious study. Basic math facts are so important that I think it worthwhile spending the extra time and effort to get them down.

**Please let me know if this information has been helpful by leaving a comment. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Timed Drills...Living Math?

After my two oldest boys had spent an entire year struggling to get down their addition and subtraction facts, we spent a month or two doing no other math than timed drills in order to cement those facts before moving on in our Math-u-See book. It helped a lot!

In particular the drills helped my eldest son (then 8-9ish?) not to rely so much on counting with his fingers. There was absolutely no time pressure, unless they wanted to try to beat their old time. I just used the information for my own use. I kept track of the date, the drill sheet used, the time in which they finished the sheet, and number of problems missed. I had 4 drill sheets that I rotated, they had different combination of problems. I didn't tell them their time, unless they begged for it ;) But I did have them go back and do corrections. I must add here, that despite the increase in speed and accuracy on their basic math facts, the drill practice did nothing for their love of math. This lasted for awhile and then we went on in the MUS book. (As a side note, I do think it would also be helpful to pull out the drill sheets once every other week or so just to keep fresh.)

For my BOYS who are by nature competitive, the use of timed drills has been very helpful.

Secondly, just recently actually, I am seeing the benefit of timed drills once again. They are now 10.5 & 11.5, and participating in contest week, which has a combination of non-timed drills as well as timed drills in the format of a race against other students for the most questions answered correctly within a set time. It has given life to my boys' previously practically non-existent interest in practicing math... once again because of the competition factor. They have seriously spent many hours over the last week and a half doing math!! This is amazing considering one of my boys wrote the following last week:
"I hate math. I can read. I can spell. I can build. I can lern everything esily, but not math. Math is not fun, it is not interesting."
Because of the online contest he is suddenly doing VERY well at math. He is attempting problems he's never even done before and excelling! (I put him at the level he should be for his age, though he is a year behind to keep the boys together in their curriculum... so he's doing next year's math in the contest!) Yesterday, he actually called himself a 'human calculator'. So it seems that the timed drills handled properly can actually raise confidence levels (for him, I put absolutely NO pressure and really didn't propose for him to participate in the contest, I only offered the option to his brother who likes math, soon however, after watching his brother, he too was lured in :).

So, timed math drills have earned a place in our home, even though I wouldn't have thought it possible! :)

My opinion: I am leaning more and more towards supplementing our math learning with 'living math' activities. At the same time, I think that cementing the basic math facts is so VERY necessary that even if it requires nothing but drill (may it never be so! ;) they ought to gain proficiency in quick access to these memorized facts. Timed drills may not be overly 'living', but for the boys because of the competition factor timed drills have worked quickly, efficiently and beautifully. However, for some kids it might not work at all! For some the pressure of the time, or the fear of not doing well might inhibit success. In fact, if it would have worked for my kiddos to cement the facts purely through playing games, I would have loved it! But game or no game, they knew and resented that they were having to do math! :) I am super thankful for whoever posted the link on the living math forum to this math website, just when we were needing an extra boost in math motivation! I'll have to let you know how my up and coming daughter does when she gets to that age... she may not even need reinforcement of the basic facts if she keeps up at the pace she's going now! ;)

Well, there you have it! That sums up my research ala fisheracademy :) heheheh.

What is your experience with timed math drills? How do you use timed drills in your family?
What success or difficulty have you seen? What other methods do you use to cement those basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts? Would you classify timed drills as living or non-living math activities?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CM Early Years giveaway

As I was saying...
I need to revamp our toddler/preschool techniques. Of course I LOVE CM principles and I put forth my best effort to keep learning and trying them out, learning more and trying them out, learning and... well, you get the idea. So, in keeping with that theme, someone has come up with a new Charlotte Mason preschool guide, The Early Years - and of course it's Simply Charlotte Mason! And what do you know, there just happens to be a contest to win it!
Go here for details.
So, I have a post of my own in drafts with my ideas for keeping our toddlers/preschoolers occupied and learning so that the rest of us can do the same... so maybe I'll just have to get that out and finish it! We'll see. Most of my time is spent in real-life doing which doesn't leave much time for writing about it all. Anyway, good luck in the contest :)


Here's one of my favorite recent pictures my little youngest preschooler, the toddler terremota {sp, earthquake} ...though from the picture you'd think she was an angel :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where did it go?

Last I knew it was September. I cannot even fathom the fact that everywhere I look and go people are saying it is now November. I barely blinked and October was gone... and that's even my birthday month, my absolute favorite month of the year! What this means is that 2009 is almost done, and the year of the Jetsons (I always thought that we'd all be driving hover craft by now), 2010 is right around the corner. Where has this year gone?! I guess for us, the whole year has been spent in moving (3x so far), and all the packing, traveling and adjustments that accompany this kind of lifestyle (especially when moving to somewhere with such extreme temps and living conditions!). However, considering all that, we have done a LOT this year. Praise the LORD!

For anyone who actually does occasionally read this blog, I just wanted to say that we are alive and well, happily settled in our new home in the jungle (only a few boxes left, that will have to stay until we have some closets... come Papa Jim!!).

Ahhh... the kiddy pool!
Are there words adequate to express how important this little recipient of water has been to our sanity here?!
Micah and the kids all regularly take advantage with quick dips in the pool to cool off.
I don't usually go to the trouble of changing clothes, drying off, getting dressed again,
all in order to be just as hot and sweaty again in a few minutes...
matter of fact, I have only donned my swimsuit twice since we came!
I have gotten wet a couple of times... I know, I am such a killjoy.

We are currently 8 weeks into our school year, and I feel really good about that. It has helped significantly that I didn't have internet as a distraction. Did you know that one can in fact live without an internet connection at home? I previously may have doubted that assumption, but now I know :) My trip to the States was a big success (amazing itinerary and all), and I was able to bring back everything needed for this school year, with exception to only a few minor things.*

Overall, school is going pretty well, though we are having to work on some minor motivation issues lately. Recent activities include (but are not limited to :)...

  • Cullen (10.5yob) is excited and proud to be participating in an online math contest. Javen (11yob) may also participate if he feels confident enough, but he's not really into math, so there's absolutely no pressure there (note: motivation problem area #1). That said, he's doing really well thinking about it as a game, I'm so glad I didn't make it an assignment! ;)
    Go here if you have a child interested in participating.
  • We are 8 weeks into our school year, and very much looking forward to a week off for Thanksgiving break, when we will be traveling to Trujillo.
  • The boys are 2 weeks away from finishing this year's math book* ...yikes! I hadn't planned on them getting through it that quickly, so we're trying to figure out what to do about that. (It seems that Micah had them doing a LOT of math while I was gone! ...a week's worth each day!!) It's a good thing I brought a whole bunch of living math books back with me from the US in September! I also bought a subscription to Quarter Mile Math online... (which was looking like it was NOT going to work out while we wondered if we would ever get internet!) All that to say, we are forced to look at math a little differently as we don't have an official curriculum. I think it will be a Godsend actually :) I had been looking into converting to a Living Math atmosphere anyway, right?! We might actually become more motivated about math!!
  • Bria (6.5yog) has finally officially started school this year which includes, reading, cursive practice, phonograms, intro to basic arithmetic, and even her own AmblesideOnline year one readings. She seriously beams when she shows me her work, or reads her words!
  • I've been trying to encourage Siah (5yob) to be more creative in play, which is seriously a strange thing since it came so naturally to the older boys. I never even thought of teaching them how to play. But he has become obsessed with marbles (because now that's what the older boys are into) and has no desire whatsoever to do anything else most of the time... so we're working on that. We went hunting with sticks in the backyard the day before yesterday as we played Robinson Crusoe. We played goat pens, turtle eggs and all!
  • Mya (2yog) is a serious challenge. I can't say more at the moment without risking sounding negative or complain-y... even though I don't feel that way at all... just as a taster I'll share with you that, today I turned around as she said calmly, "Mommy...Ow." There was blood dripping from her hand and bloody handprints on the salad spinner. She had cut her finger on the cheese grater attachment to the food processor. It was just last week that she finally attempted to climb over the gate into the kitchen, it has been non-stop disaster since then as we have zero cupboards. So... I guess we've got to update our toddler management techniques again. :)
Okay, so now that you know we're alive, I will sign off with peace of mind. I'll try to give a couple updates now and then. There really is so much I'd love to say, but to take any more time to say it would mean I'm not doing something perhaps more important... once again giving my life for my kids.

Have I ever mentioned that I don't do kiddy pools?! This is definitely a Daddy/kid activity in our home!
This picture documents the first time since we've had the pool (about a year)
that I've done more than just wet my legs! I am working on enjoying life more... :)

Enjoy the day!
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