Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stephen's Birthday

Happy Birthday, big guy! He is growing so fast and SO tall. This year's birthday theme was Wall-e from the new Disney-Pixar film. We began our party with a treasure hunt game. I had hidden clues and mini planter pots for them to find, just like in the movie. For those not familiar with the movie, the earth had been evacuated to space in order to clean up. Wall-e was still left on eart when a probe bot, Eve, came to investigate life. She found a plant, but it was then taken from her when she arrived back to the ship. The movie was filled with both adventure and a sweet love story. Most important, Stephen LOVED it and I was ready for him to move on from the Disney Cars. Sorry, but I can only watch movies 1150 times in a row.

Good friends, Ruby and Macy came to join the party

Beetle Barn - Yes we are going to raise our own beetles

Slot Car Time

All Stephen wanted from me was a new quilt. He had been asking for a new one for about a year and I told him that I would make one for his birthday. We decided on a Wall-e blanket, so I found some sheets to cut up and make him his own. It was a long three days in the making, but he makes it so worth it. I think I have made him four quilts now and he keeps three of them on his bed at all times. The fourth one is boxed up in his baby stuff, but I am sure he would hold on to that one too if he knew we had it. Seeing him treasure these really makes my heart melt. Oh ya, he managed to get a pillow out of it too since there was left-over fabric; a bonus he didn't know about.

Ah, the pinata. This was my attempt at a quick and easy game. However, I had forgotten that this was a bit of a struggle at our wedding rehearsal dinner. These things just don't break easily without a little help. Thanks Dad.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

The month of December was full of Christmas fun. I thought I would start with our Christmas Eve picture and then tell you about the month. Rhea had left her necklaces in the car and managed to talk us into taking them in. She didn't part with them the entire time.

We began our Christmas celbration by making gifts for our family members. The kids put together key chains, Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, and reindeer bags to put everything in. To by surprise, Stephen finished almost everything on his own over a couple of weeks. Rhea enjoyed the projects for a few minutes, but Stephen sat for hours working on everything.

Our church had their annual kids moment in the second Sunday service of December. Rhea pretty much hung out while Stephen really got into it.

Grandma and Grandpa always get us a membership and we chose Morton Arboretum this year. Fortunately, our cards arrived early and Grandma said it was OK to go before Christmas. We were able to see the Christmas train which facinated the kids. I had to keep Rhea from playing with the track and taking the little presents out of the backs of the trains.

Snowball Fight

Gnome Hunt

Wrap up for the nature hike

Why doesn't this pump work?

Merry Christmas

Rhea's New Sled

Stephen's New Robot

Rhea's Dolls

New big girl bed and new bedding

Wow! A Globe!

Princess Dress-UP

Daddy had to ship out with the NIU football team, so we headed to Grandma's house to keep the Christmas high going. My sister and nephews were there, so the kids had a GREAT time. They had to leave on Sunday, so we ended our trip by going to Chucky Cheese with Grandma and Grandpa.
Ryan and Stephen

Alex and Rhea

Chucky Cheese

Monday, December 1, 2008

Winterpromis I'm Read to Learn - Pond

The pond was next on our Winterpromise journey. These little guys were played with until they fell apart. We played games for each animal and had a little song to teach the kiddos too. They still sing the frog and dragonfly songs months after we have been done. We also threw in the poem "I Caught a Fish." Stephen really enjoyed this particular poem since it involves eating fingers. So, what do I do with all of these critters when I am done? Good question. I have a toy box downstairs dedicated to paper plate projects. I figured they would ask for them as soon as I threw them out, so I have kept them all. They haven't played with them much lately, but they at least know their animals are safe.

Our journey to the pond began with a version of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" combined with "I Spy". There was a line that stated "Pull out your binoculars, what do you see?" At that point, we would name the animal and either row faster if it was something like a crocodile or slow if it was a turtle. This was one of those endless games that would typically get out of control with the "what do you see" part.

The frog segment got me thinking about implementing more streching and yoga into our circle time. I have been modifying the songs and movements to get more of a range of motion for the kids. Dad hangs in there when he joins us and the kids are VERY encouraging! I wanted to see how the kids would like the yoga since I have a ton of it planned for next year. They more than LOVE it and request to do poses literally every day.

I know that it is hard to tell that the kids are having a great time here. We decided to make shapes out of our stuffed animals. The kids added the element of running around the shapes when they are finished. I just love when they come up with their own games. Well, most of the time.........

We have been talking about ways we show God's love during our bible lessons. One of the ways we are teaching our children is by reaching out to our neighbors that don't go to church. We combined this with making letters out of dough when we made beginning letters to each of the four neighbor kids names. They worked really hard on this project and I regret not getting a picture of the letters when they were done. We made the letters, cooked them, and then painted the finished product. We then repeated the process a few days later and made animals out of cooked dough. Overall, a great use of flour and water for the week!

Dad is gone, so it was time for Mom to start getting creative with what to do with all that time when it is too cold to play outside. Answer: Ants in the Pants and every other board game that my mother kept when we were little!

Stephen decided to build a house out of paper

We have a ton of fun, but still stop to take time out for our reading, writing, math and geography. This was going to be an example of why Stephen is not going to a regular school. There was really no part of his lower body remotely close to the chair prior to me taking the picture. He figured out that I had caught him and lower his knees quickly.

Rhea had just recently been joining us for afternoon school work since she wasn't going to sleep at noon any more. She does matching type worksheets and then cuts them to shreds with the scissors. She also enjoys playing with her pocket charts and manages to be productive until she is ready to take a nap.