Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Running down the Yellow Brick Road

I know many people are breaking out the Christmas books. I have a shelf full of books for the holidays that I have collected from the library but my kids aren't interested in them. They are all about the land of Oz. We started reading the Wizard of Oz and are now on the 2nd book. The kids already have the next three or four books in the series for us to read. I love that they are excited about these books. I don't mind the stories at all. I do remember reading them a few years ago to Sophie as her bedtime stories and we got through about 8 of them before I asked if we could read something else. I don't know how far in the series we will get but I hope we will get through a few more. Ozma of Oz is my favorite one.

I also picked up the soundtrack to Wicked. I haven't seen or even heard the music before so hopefully it will be fun to listen to. I know many people really love that musical. So between Christmas stories and holiday music we are going to be traveling through the land of Oz.

Monday, November 22, 2010


It was November when the first snow fell my freshman year of college. For Provo this was actually kinda late. My first thought was "hurray, no school". My roommates, which were from Utah, almost laughed at me. This little bit of snow wasn't going to cancel school.  Where I grew up, in the foothills of the Sierras, even a little snow falling ment that everything shut down and I didn't understand why it wasn't the same in Utah.  I would quickly learn that this didn't work the same in Utah. Snow lasted a lot longer than it did where I grew up and you would miss a lot of school if every time it snowed they canceled everything. I soon figured out how to slip and slide my way to class and bundle up to make it to my courses on time and not frozen. But I am a wimp and don't really like snow.

We came up to my hometown on Friday night through quite a downpour. This of course means snow a little farther up the hill. We came for a memorial service for a girl I knew growing up. It certainly wasn't ideal weather to travel but many came for the funeral and luckily the weather cooperated and the sun shone on Saturday morning. It was nice to see a lot of people that I hadn't seen in years or  I only see on Facebook or through blogs.  If only it wasn't under such circumstances that these get-togethers happen.

The storm picked back up that afternoon and everything was pretty wet and cold. My kids still had a great time playing with cousins. We woke up Sunday morning to rain at my parents house. But there were all sorts of calls from others that live a little farther up the hill telling us that they had a few inches of snow. Finally the Bishop of the Ward decided that there was too much snow and canceled church for the day. This didn't stop my Dad. Since we were all dressed and ready we piled into the cars and made the drive up the hill to church. My Dad wanted to be there to hold services for those that showed up and since it was two men from the high council, which come from an hour away, that were supposed to speak that day he knew there should be at least a few show up to hear what they had to say.  So my family, my parents, my brother's family and a few other people that showed up at the church building for church. There was snow on the walkways and everything was wet and slushy. More snow was falling but it was very lite. But we were there and had the Sacrament, sang some hymns, and heard the two speakers.

After the one meeting, since we weren't going to do Sunday school or Primary, my boys ran outside and threw snowballs at each other and had a great time getting very wet in all that slushy snow. Snow is not something these city slicker, California kids have seen a whole lot of so we let them play for awhile until they decided they were cold. We hadn't packed, or even own, snow gear so the drive back down the hill to Grandma's house was miserable as each of the kids complained about how cold their hands and feet were.  We tried singing songs but they wouldn't stop the whining. We just needed to get out of those wet shoes and warm up.

As we drove back down the hill, out of the snow, I couldn't help but remember how many times I had wished they would call a snow day during those years I spent in Utah. I am sure those that read this post who deal with snow on a regular basis will chuckle at me just like those roommates did when I thought snow meant more than just another obstacle to get through on the way to class. Snow is beautiful as long as you get to stay inside your nice warm house and watch it fall from the comforts of a fluffy couch and a cup of hot chocolate.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Was Today Special?

Because Sophie went from this.....

To this......
We haven't had popcorn in the house in over a year and a half because it never seemed fair to eat it in front of her. We need to run to the store right now and stock up so we can get our fill before round 2 of braces.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Brain Freeze

I am still here. I just haven't had much to share. Or maybe my brain has just been taxed to the max. My kids seem to be keeping me running and busy. Not that we are out and about doing stuff. We have actually spent a lot of time at home. I just feel like I am pulled in every direction at once.  Each kid needs my attention at the same time and I have to juggle a lot. So that is my excuse for not having much to say lately.  I feel lucky to just make it through to the end of each day when I get to finally lay down, watch t.v. or read a book. My brain needs a rest.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What do we do all day?

I haven't posted a weekly report in ages. My husband loves to read them because then he feels like he knows a little more about what we are really doing all day while he is away. It is one of the reasons he doesn't want me to quick blogging. So, I guess, even if it is only him and my mom that read my blog, I should continue writing and posting about the things we do.

Here is a typical day....

We go to the YMCA at about 8:00 and get home sometime around 9:30. I get an hour of exercise and the kids get to play and do crafts at the kids corner. I have tried doing it in the afternoons but then I just don't do it, something always gets in the way, so the morning it will stay. I need it for my mental and physical well being.

School time starts at about 10:00 and usually starts with The Pledge of Allegiance. Then we do morning scripture study. We are still doing Book of Mormon. But we are reading the actual book and not just a reader or a picture book version so it is slow going but has been really good for us. After we take turns reading our one chapter we have been learning The Living Christ. We did our Family proclamation study at this time during September and we just replaced it with The Living Christ. We are using the visuals and copywork from Discover the Scriptures. We are only at about 2 paragraphs so far but we look up the words we don't know and talk about the phrases we are working on. It is actually going better than I thought.
I have added hymn study here too. We usually review the song they are learning in primary. Sing through a favorite primary song and then sing the Hymn or song I have picked for that month. October's song was Beautiful Savior.  November's Song is For the Beauty of the Earth. I am surprised how much my kids love singing. Molly often participates too. She is a great dancer and joins in with hand motions when we do Popcorn popping or Once there was a Snowman.

After our "devotional" time we usually do some Latin (yes we actually do fit Latin in at least 2x a week) or some Language Arts with English for the LDS child. We have a number of poems from this that we are also working on memorizing. This is then followed up with copywork either from the LA or from the Living Christ.

There is usually a snack about this time. My kids can't seem to go more than an hour without food.

We clear up the snack mess and break out Explode the code. The boys are doing great with explode the code. Henry is really becoming a reader. He is sounding out words and can do a few of the pages of his ETC 1 book each day. Ian finds explode the code a lot easier and doesn't fight it as much now that the reading is very easy for him. He actually prefers the pages with more reading and less writing. They used to be the ones he avoided.

Henry reads at least one Bob book to me and Ian reads two lessons from his McGuffey Reader and one chapter of My Father's Dragon to me each day. He is almost finished with the First Reader and will be going into the Second next week. Sophie also reads two lessons to me from the Third Reader and then narrates to me about each of them.  The reading is too easy for her but she didn't want to move onto the Fourth Reader without finishing the Third. While I work with each child the others often run off and play or read books to themselves or work on something else of their choice.

If we can fit Math in before lunch all the better but often it is first thing after a sandwich or some other choice from the pantry.

During the afternoon is when we do our science or history and also take our walks, bike rides and outings to the library or park.

Right now we are almost finished with our science unit on Simple machines and the 3 laws of motion. My kids have loved building all the different machines described in our Knex kit.

Here is the machine to demonstrate pulleys.  Ian is lifting the stapler with his block and tackle.

This is a crack fan. It really showed us how the size of the gears makes a big difference on the amount of effort you have to put in and the resulting movement created.

This was another one about gears. It is a sawmill if you couldn't tell.

We have also really enjoyed the videos of The Way Things Work. The explanations of each of the simple machines have been great! Thank goodness our library has the complete collection.

I admit it hasn't been all Science. I can't help but get a little bit of history and geography in. I have been reading to them about Helen Keller last week and we started listening to Heidi the other day after we read a few of books about Switzerland.  I have the movie waiting for when we finish the book. Oh and since Halloween was last week we had quite a stack of Halloween and pumpkin books that we read through.

Sophie has also been working on her Presidents lapbook. It was supposed to be her project for October but she just didn't finish it for the deadline so has been getting the last few things completed this week. We have also read a bunch of books about presidents. My kids now know all sorts of great facts about the presidents like Taft got stuck in his bathtub, Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans (coconut flavored were his favorite) and even the strange pets some of them kept. I should have snapped a picture of all the books we read before we returned them but in my hurry to get our library shelf cleared on library day it didn't happen.

That sums it up I guess. We haven't really been doing any art or music study recently. I guess we will need to fit them in somewhere too. For now I am pretty happy with the work we are doing and the learning that is going on.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Read Signs and Symbols

 I love Tana Hoban's books. They are just photographs, no text. I remember getting these books long ago as a go along with a FIAR book. I think it was Katy and the Big Snow but I can't remember exactly. We looked through this book and then suddenly Ian noticed all the signs around him. He would come to a door and he would read Push or Pull and he started to tell me which was the Exit and which the Enter.
I put these in my library bag a week or so ago while at the library. I remembered what a change they made in Ian and was hoping to try it again with Henry. We stared with the I Read Symbols book. He knew most of them but it helped him get used to the idea of looking at the signs and symbols around him. We then looked at the I read Signs and he loved reading what was on each sign. As we were driving down the road later that day he was telling me all the different signs he was seeing. He realized how many signs there are all around us.

It is always fun to see these little guys suddenly see things they never saw before but had always been there around them.