Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Blessing of Friends (and a party!!)

For years our son C has not really had any close friends his own age. He has very close friends who are both older and younger than him, and a neighbor boy his age that he plays with but with whom he is not 'close'. My husband and I have prayed for a long time that God would provide a friend or two his age. What a blessing to see that prayer answered!

This was C's year for a friend birthday party, and since he has just finished his first season ever of playing soccer, he has a slew of new soccer friends! We invited some of them to the party, as well as a new friend from his Sunday school class at church, the neighbor kids, our sweet family friend H who has been to all our parties I think(!), and his own siblings.

It was a beautiful day and we played all kinds of water games. We played tag in the yard sprinklers, had a water balloon toss, played whirlpool in our big pool as it was filling up, and played water balloon "hot potato" (pictured below).

It was such a joy to see how much fun C was having. With his very. own. friends.

Thank you Lord, for the blessing of friendship. For sun, for water, for fun games, for the ability to enjoy it all. You are so good.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday C!!

Our sweet natured son C has turned 8!

Eight is GREAT!

Eight is fun.

And you are....

a very special son!

Happy Birthday C! We love you so much and are so thankful God blessed us with you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Little Man and Ice Cream

Doesn't Little Man

look happy

to be eating this ice cream?

And doesn't it make you happy

just remembering what it was like

to be 5 and not care

if your face was dirty?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our End of the Year School Celebration!

If you have read my blog much during this past year, you know that we have been studying the 20th century in our history studies. Our history curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, recommends a unit celebration after each 9 week period of study throughout the year, but this year we had a year end celebration that was all 4 units rolled into one. So we called our celebration "The 20th Century Diner". Each of us dressed up as a character from one of the decades of the 20th century, and we interspersed our presentations with food from that decade.

Up first was our Little Man, who represented a soldier from World War I. He recited the poem "In Flanders Fields" and he did a beautiful job! There is a video of his presentation below this post, and you may not be able to understand what he is saying because, despite all our practicing, he spoke too quietly and too fast. But he remembered the WHOLE thing with very little prompting!! I was so proud of him! I read an introduction to the poem before his recitation that told a bit about the poem's author, John McCrae, and gave some background information about conditions during the war.

After Little Man had finished, we shared biscuits together, as biscuits were a staple food item for World War I soldiers.

Next up was our son L, who portrayed the famous (infamous?) gangster, Al Capone. He tried to look very serious and "gangster-ish" for this picture! Notice the tommy gun under his arm. He is pretty proud of that tommy gun. :-)

After his presentation we served salad to our guests, as the modern health food movement had its roots in the 1920's.

Then our daughter, representing a girl from the 1930's, shared her report about the Great Depression. This was her final composition of the year, and she wrote a 5 paragraph report. Unfortunately, because her report was so long, blogger will not allow me to load the video of her presentation (don't you just love those 4 little words...."file exceeds maximum size"?). She fashioned her outfit loosely after the American Girl Kit Kittridge.

After her report she explained what hobo stew was, and we then served hobo stew to all our guests!

Then we fast forwarded a few decades to the early 1960's, where our son C played the part of John F Kennedy and read a report about him. He did such a great job with the reading of this report! (I wrote it, he read it)

Our son G portrayed Neil Armstrong and gave his report on the first moon landing in 1969.

After this we served the beverage "Tang", which was originally developed for the astronauts to drink in space.

Next I gave my report on the hippie movement and the Vietnam War.

Last but not least, my husband dressed the part of a naval officer during the first Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991, and shared about that experience (very cool since he has first hand knowledge!).

This concluded our family's portion of the evening, and we turned the stage over to my friend and fellow co-op mom Sally. Here her youngest son is reciting a short poem. Is he not the cutest?!?

Her 6 year old shared a poem as well. The pirate hat was not part of the costume for his poem, he just wanted to dress like a pirate. :0)

Next, her daughter shared about a colonial era book she had read about some children scaring indians away with some carved pumpkins while they were home alone. After reading this story, she had stitched a scene from fabric scraps and framed it. It turned out so well! She is already a talented young seamstress!

And lastly, her oldest son read his report on the country of Peru (yes, he is barely tolerating this picture, but since I have known him his entire life he basically had no choice!).

In our living room we had set up tables displaying some of our work from the year. This was Little Man's preschool table. On it were some activities he had done during the year, as well as crafts he'd made at co-op, his alphabet book, and his "history/science" binder (the one he insisted on having so he would match his older siblings).

We had a science table ~ here are the ocean boxes my boys made as a year long cumulative project of the ocean creatures we studied.

Our 7th grade daughter had her own, different, science book this year (Apologia General Science) and these are pages from her science notebook. I bought her a lapbook kit that accompanies General Science, and as she made each mini book she reviewed the concepts and definitions of each module in preparation for the test.

Here is our history table. It showed many of the books we have read this year.

On the walls we had a few posters/reports displayed. Here is the poster we made about segregation while we were studying the civil rights movement. Each picture illustrates segregation in a blatant way (such as different doors for blacks and whites into the same establishment, or a back staircase into a movie theatre that blacks had to use). When we originally did this activity, I showed the pictures to the children and they had to "find" the segregation and highlight it in yellow.

We ended the evening with cake and ice cream in honor of Sally's 40th birthday!!!! (whoo-hooo Sally! Now we're in the same decade again!)

It was a fabulous evening and really, really fun. I'm so thankful for the concept of unit or year end celebrations, how they help to solidify what we've learned, and give us fun memories to "hang" our information on. I know when we come around to 20th century history again in 4 years, the children will definitely remember this year end celebration where they played a soldier, Al Capone, a girl from the depression, a president, and an astronaut!

Little Man reciting the poem "In Flanders Fields"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our Week in Review - Finishing Preschool!

Well, it has finally happened and I have terribly mixed feelings about it. After 13 years we no longer have a preschooler in the house. Yes, Little Man has officially graduated from the ranks of preschool, and will start kindergarten with me in the fall!

I will admit a piece of my heart is sad. The preschool years are SO sweet, so tiring, so busy, so in need of lots of patience, so full of hugs and kisses, and did I say sweet? But most of my heart is just full of gratitude for the privilege of watching Little Man grow and mature and learn, and for the added privilege I have of spending all day every day with him. I have treasured every moment of his preschool years, and I look forward to treasuring every moment of his kindergarten year as well!

In language arts, we worked on learning to write his name well, learning the sounds each letter makes, and learning to match upper and lower case letters together.

In math we worked on counting (not just saying the numbers, but one to one correspondence, touching objects as he counted) , grouping, and learning to recognize written numbers.

In history and science he insisted on doing everything his older siblings did! Here he is making a fish life cycle wheel.

We had recess every day!

And of course, lots of snuggle time and stories with mom.

I *loved* having him home for preschool and wouldn't have traded this year for anything.

Thank you Lord!