Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eno River Field Trip

We had such a fun time at our most recent field trip.  We went to the Eno River for a study of the river.  (Are you seeing a water theme to our field trips this month?  We first went to a pond, then a river and guess what is coming next?  A lake. Its all wet and fun!)

As is often the case, we were split into groups by age.  We had 3 groups - 2 that were school age that were exploring the river and a 4 and under group that was with their moms doing other activities.

The older kids groups gathered near the river with the rangers.

 The younger kids gathered on a nearby log.  We read the story "I am an Artist" which is a wonderful book used in the Before FIAR curriculum.  It's looking at the world and nature and seeing the beauty in it.
 A view of the river from where the little ones were gathered.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day!
 Time to explore the river to see what they could find.  They were given nets and also plastic tubs in which to gather and catch things.
 Love the excitement of finding something!

 After listening to a story, the little ones went on a nature scavenger hunt.  This is an easy to make sheet that you can tailor to things in your area.  I think there are changes I'll make the next time we do something like this.
 As we headed out for a hike, my little girl wanted to blaze her own trail.
 And find her own discoveries.
 We were with the group briefly, but Eliana is just not yet a hiker and so we wandered on our own and had fun - just the two of us.  :-)
 We made our way back to the river to see what the others were up to.  They were examining the various things they had found in the river and trying to identify them.
 Just a sweet brother/sister shot!
 Asking questions, using lists and guides (and the knowledge of the adults) to help identify things correctly.
 The oldest group of kids had gathered further down stream.  Eliana did some walking to get there.  We played a "stop and go" game which helped coax her to walk further than she wanted to.
 We saw crayfish, dragonfly nymphs and more.  It was interesting learning that dragonfly nymphs can live for years in this stage!

 After the lessons, the kids just wanted to play and get wet!  What a great time was had by all!
I'm thankful for the opportunities we have to learn and to play.  I love learning outside and in old buildings and with friends.  We are truly blessed!

In His love

Monday, September 26, 2011


Is that even a word?  I think it must be one the people who are avoiding gluten use.  I can see it being one that becomes a part of our family's vocabulary.  Anyway, it happened.

We went to church this morning and then home for lunch and then Eliana took a nap.  We all got ready to go to Awana this evening and Eliana was a little grumpy.  I didn't think much of it as she sometimes just wakes up slowly from her nap.  I tried to give her a little energy boost and gave her a chocolate cupcake (gluten free) leftover from yesterday's birthday party.  She didn't dig in.  Kind of just sat there looking at it.  Really????  This girl loves chocolate.  (As most girls - of all ages - do!)  Hmmm ... well, I sat beside her and helped her.

We headed off.  Still grumpy when we got there.  Didn't want to walk the whole way.  Just little things.  She probably seemed mostly fine to others.  She just wasn't herself.  She did participate in a lot of things.  She seemed mostly happy, though it was just small things that let me know she was out of sorts.  (And I think she has a pretty good tolerance for pain too.)

I'm not sure why it took me so long to connect the dots.  As we were hurrying in, Rebecca mentioned to me that Eliana had gotten one or two goldfish in Sunday school this morning.  They had fallen under the table.  Eliana went under the table and got them before anyone saw her.  I know this is something that is just going to happen, so I didn't worry about it.  I honestly didn't think much about it until later in the evening.

She continued to be just not herself.  Finally as I was getting her ready for bed, I made the connection.  (She was not being a good listener and I just couldn't figure out what was going on.)  Then, it dawned on me.  She had been glutened.  Poor little sweetie.  Amazing too how this little piece of information changed my whole attitude and perspective.  She just isn't able to tell me any other way other than being a little cranky and out of sorts.

Just one or two goldfish.  It seems like such a small thing.  Now, I know.  I know that she is sensitive to even a little bit.  (I did know that she shouldn't have even a little bit.)  I wish I could communicate to her in a way that she understood about gluten.  I'm trying - and will continue to try.  It's just that the communication piece is difficult.  I wish she could have told me (I know, her crankiness was telling me).  Its just hard not having the words sometimes, kwim?

It will be interesting to see how this affects her tomorrow.  Will she still be affected then?

If anyone has ideas or suggestions on communication methods for this, I'm all ears!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Joshua!

We celebrated Joshua's 12th birthday last week.  Really, 12?  He still seems so young to me.  I remember when I thought 12 was so old.  Its all perspective isn't it?  I can remember when 30 seemed really old too.  LOL

We were reminded of Joshua's upcoming birthday all through the week.  Signs on post it notes, the computer - and the funniest was a note on Daniel's fedora announcing how many days were left until the big day!

We celebrated over two days because Joshua wanted to be able to celebrate *with* Christopher.  We were all happy to have some time with him.
On Friday night, Christopher and his roommate Joe came over.  They played some football outside and then we had dinner.  Played some games on the Wii.  Had birthday cake.  One of the highlights was lighting the candles for himself.

Happy Birthday Joshua!

 The next day we focused more on Joshua.  We like to have the birthday child pick out whatever they want to do on their day.  (within reason)  For Joshua's 12th, I numbered 12 Popsicle sticks with the hopes that he would be able to do 12 things he liked.  This included picking out foods he wanted to eat at each meal - including waffles and chocolate milk for breakfast and cauliflower casserole for lunch.
 I also made a sign for him that we worked on through out the day.  This has been a really fun thing.  I've left it hanging up and I often find him looking at the list.  I recommend it as I think it is a real affirming gift!
 One of the games we played was finding a hidden lego guy.  Can you spot him?
 Here's a closer look.
One of the things he wanted to do was to visit the Lego store.  No problem!  We thought this was a lot of fun when we went in June for Daniel's birthday.  Well, it is VERY different going on a Saturday!  It was so very crowded!  (I will say that if possible, I will not go on a week-end again!)

He wanted some specific things and went right to the wall to pick them out.
 We stayed until choices were made (all 3 of my boys were looking and spending birthday money).
 Joshua wanted Taco Bell for dinner.  :-)
 One of his gifts.  Can you tell what it is?  He really liked the wrapping - it's a lego in his favorite color!
Joshua, I'm thankful for you.  I'm thankful for the many things you have showed me and taught me over the years.  I'm thankful for your sense of humor and creativity.  I see this in things you make, stories you tell and games you create.

I love your interest in so many things from learning about the Bible, to legos, to historical events and more.  You are fun to talk with because you have interests in so many areas.

I love to see you play with your siblings.  I especially love to see you sing and play with your little sister.  I also love hearing you laugh as you play legos, or wii games or outside games too.

I have watched you deal with more in the last couple of years than any child should have to deal with.  You are brave and I know that you are learning things that will help you in life.  I pray that it helps you to be more compassionate and sensitive to others.  (((Joshua)))

I'm so thankful that God blessed us with you!  You are a precious gift from God!

I love you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beyond Co-op: Sarah Plain and Tall #2

Today I was talking with one of my boys about co-op.  He asked me what *I* liked about co-op.  I told him that one of my favorite things about co-op is that other Moms teach on topics that are different than what I would have selected.  I love the shared experiences, talents and interests.  It just makes for a lot of fun.  He then asked if I enjoyed teaching and again I said yes.  It is a sweet time to teach these kids - many of whom I have none now most of their lives.  :-)

For our second co-op, we had two topics to cover - windbreaks and family resemblances.  We had a lovely day and sitting outside was a great way to learn! 
The children learned about windbreaks - what they are and how they work and the benefits of them.
Then they were put into pairs to create their own windbreaks.  They each started with a large pan of sand and were told that they could use whatever natural materials they wanted to build a windbreak.  They quickly got to work!

Then came time to test their windbreaks.  They had 2 hair dryers which were cut on and aimed at the windbreak.  The others tried to see if they could feel the wind from the other side.  The plants on the other side of this one aren't moving!  Great job!  However, they did use a lot of land in creating their windbreak which meant less room for crops.  Hmmm ... lots of factors to consider.

Oops!  The strong wind knocked this one over.

Many of them went back and made improvements to their originals designs and tried it again.  They had a great time with this one!

We enjoyed snack time and then it was time for art.  I love when we cover areas like this because this is not my strength.
The children talked about and examined various works of art in which a family or members of a family were depicted.
They had each brought a pictures and possibly some other items in which to make a collage of someone in their family that they resembled.  It could be a physical similarity or one of interests.  Whatever they wanted to choose.  (Can you see the pictures of Isaiah and Christopher and how much they look alike at this age?)
 They painted and created.  I love watching them at work!
Loved the end results too!  What a fun project!

Thanks Lea and Yvette for a wonderful morning!  Looking forward to our next time together.  :-)

With love