Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Elizabeth has been burning through the books this summer. Her reading has just recently gotten to the place that it's becoming more effortless so she's enjoying it more. She mentioned to me the other day that she really likes reading more now, like she was surprised that reading was becoming more enjoyable and less perfunctory. We've really been hitting the library hard this summer since both she and Paulie have been enjoying easy readers that only take 1-2 days each to complete. Elizabeth's favorites have been Junie B Jones and Magic Tree House. We, unfortunately, have read most of the Junie B Jones books together, but she's just getting started on the Magic Tree House and has already travelled, via literature and imagination, to space, the wide seas, Japan, Vesuvius, Egypt, England in the Middle Ages, and the Amazon.


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” --Dr. Suess

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life is Goodmama

Finn has really started enjoying being outside over the last few months. Frequently, on mornings or evenings when it's not quite as hot, Paul will leave the back door open and push our deck box in front of the stairs so that Finn can come and go as he pleases. He will walk outside, putter around, walk back inside, close the door, squeal until someone opens it for him again, then walk back outside again. He also frequently drags his beloved Matchbox cars outside with him to roll around on the deck, or off the deck so he can demand, in his verbose gibberish, that someone fetch it for him. The other Sunday afternoon, he was running around in his goodmama diaper when the back door was left open and out he went. Of course, he needed his Life Is Good hat because he and the sun don't mix very well. Without the hat, he will just stand out there covering his eyes with his fists whining until the problem is rectified.

Speaking of the goodmama diaper, there is a WAHM that has apparently hit upon a good thing. She makes these organic cotton/bamboo velour diapers that, when she stocks them, sell in minutes flat. On the occasions that she auctions them on hyenacart, an eco-friendly auction site, they frequently go in the $100-170 range...for 1 diaper! Anyway, a local friend of mine managed to snag a couple for less than retail and sold one to me. They are soft and really nice, but I can't think of anything a diaper would do that might make it worth $100! (to me, anyway)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lazy Summer Saturday

Paul and Elizabeth spent their Saturday afternoon taking advantage of the fact that Finn was sleeping (for 4 hours!) and honing their fort-building skills. As usual, they dragged a huge pile of blankets from Elizabeth's closet, where she hoards them for this particular purpose, down to the living room. They covered every piece of furniture, stuffing the blankets in every nook and cranny to keep them from falling in. Once their fort was declared complete, which took more time than they actually ended up having left to play in it, they camped out under the main portion behind the couch and drew pictures and made cards to be delivered through the "mailbox" they had established outside the fort.

Philip, not one to be a joiner, preferred to work on puzzles. He especially enjoyed putting together his 12 foot long puzzle that we brought back from our NYC trip last fall. Philip has been enjoying doing things on his own alot lately, usually building with legos or playing with a small pirate ship that he frequently lugs back and forth from his moms.

It's interesting to watch the ebb and flow of their interaction with each other. Last summer, Philip and Elizabeth were inseparable, playing their games of make believe. This summer, Paul and Elizabeth are inseparable, constantly on hunts for various rocks or other treasure, batting ideas for explosive science experiments between them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's a beautiful morning...

Ok, it was really evening, but the weather has been so great for the last few days. Not to mention, Elizabeth loves that song since she listened to it during opening exercises nearly every day of both kindergarten and first grade. We finally got some relief from the 90+ degree temperatures that set in at the beginning of June. Wednesday and Thursday were both in the low 80s! We took advantage of the brief respite and spent all Wednesday evening outside in the backyard playing with the kids, ours plus a few that don't belong to us.







Wednesday, June 18, 2008

fa·ther

n. A man who begets or raises or nurtures a child.

Father's Day turned out to be such a wonderful day. A break in the heat finally came and we were able to spend some time outside with the kids rather than we cooped up or at the pool. We took the boys to Triad Park for an afternoon walk to enjoy the nice weather. Finn is shaping up to be quite the little hiker. The sun even cooperated and gave me some great light while we were there, and I was able to get several great shots of the menfolk walking.






It is a wise father that knows his own child. --William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Warp and Weft

Last summer when we were in Boone on vacation, I bought Elizabeth a weaving loom at the Mast General Store. The weaving loom is made specifically for weaving potholders and came with lots of brightly colored cotton loops. The loom was purchased with the intention of saving until she had a few less active days when she might enjoy learning a new hobby.

In the few days Elizabeth had at home last week before heading off to Lindley Rec this week, I decided the new hobby might be welcome. The first potholder she wove was red and white; the second one, pictured here, she made to show Paulie how to use the loom. After weaving this second potholder, she even learned how to finish the edges with a crochet hook. She so enjoyed weaving potholders that now she has grand plans for weaving all her loved ones handmade Christmas gifts.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We've been slimed!

Paul and Elizabeth were home all day Thursday (Paul's last day of school was Wednesday) since the summer camp at Lindley Rec, where they will be spending much of the summer, didn't start until Monday. They spent most of the day reading, completing book reports (Paulie on The Great Brain, Elizabeth on Magic School Bus: The Truth about Bats), playing games (both board and video), watching a movie (Willow) and folding laundry for me, but the best part of the day was when I let them make slime. They stretched, swung, rolled, smooshed, dripped and made inappropriate snot jokes for the better part of an hour with just a little bit of white glue, water, borax and food coloring with a recipe we found here. All in a day's slime. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days...

Elizabeth's last day of school was Tuesday, and to get her through the next few days before the summer program starts at Lindley Rec, we headed off immediately when school got out to the library. She picked out a few books from several different series she enjoys, Magic Treehouse, Magic Schoolbus and Junie B Jones. We also chose a few Encyclopedia Brown books for Paulie since he'd be hanging out for the day on Thursday after his school let out.

First thing Wednesday morning, she cozied up with her Magic Schoolbus book, The Truth About Bats. Eventually, she busied herself with a few other things like drawing and chores, but she came back to her books several times during the day.

Of course, you would think from the picture that it's morning, but actually she spent most of the first day of summer vacation in her pajamas; the picture was taken shortly before lunch.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who loves ya baby?

A few family members were feeling under the weather on Sunday, and as a result, everyone was extra cuddly. Some of the shots didn't turn out great, but the love was
apparent. :) Too bad illness is required to bring out the warm fuzzies toward each other.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Becoming a fish...

Paulie and Philip both took swim lessons for two months earlier this spring with their mom, so Elizabeth, needing to get in on the action, decided to enhance her swimming skills as well. Her swimming lessons started yesterday at the Y in Kernersville, and of course, mom was on hand to document the occasion. The class was split into two groups, those who were pretty fishy already, the Guppies, and those who wanted to become a little more fishy, the Polliwogs. Elizabeth, still needing some variety of floating device to keep her head above water, fell into the latter category of Polliwog. Over the 45 minutes of class yesterday, she learned a variety of floating exercises, kicked with a floatboard, swam with a float belt and jumped off the side of the pool. She was thrilled to hear the teacher proclaim she did a "great job" at the end of class. She's already anxiously anticipating next class to further hone her skills. Between the swimming classes, Paulie being on a swim team, and our new membership to the Y (which we've been utilizing to go swimming once a week), this summer promises to be very fishy indeed!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dyeing...Dyeing...Dead

So, I think I bit off a little more than I could chew this week. As is typical of the last weeks of school, there have been various violin recitals, field days, etc. going on at both Paul's and Elizabeth's schools. In between all of those activities, I also volunteered to help the entire first grade at Elizabeth's school dye silk scarves using a technique called low water immersion dyeing.

Before I could fill my dye bottles with the pink, blue and yellow needed for the school project, I had to dispose of some odd colored dye that was left from previous projects. So I tie-dyed a few shirts, which turned out beautifully, using the rest of my dye. (Finn actually wore the orange one today.) The next night consisted of refilling bottles with dye, mixing TONS of soda ash solution to set the dyes, and cutting the tops off of plastic milk jugs so I'd have something to dye the scarves in. Then I sat back and tried to relax at the notion that the next day I'd be taking hazardous chemicals into a school to use with a bunch of exuberant first grade art students.

The morning unfolded as frenetically as I anticipated. I now understand what The Sneetches were going through when they went "off again, on again, in again, out again, through the machine and back round about again". After finally managing to get all 60 scarves dyed, I went off to work for about an hour, then I returned to school to rinse them and take them home for washing. About ten of them needed touching up. Six loads of laundry later, they were all rinsed and set. Wow! What vibrant colors! After I brought them all downstairs and dumped them on the couch to fold, Paul said it looked like a hippy vomited all over our couch. Indeed!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Zin, Zin, Zin

Paul's violin concert was yesterday morning and we were amazed at how far he's come in three years of taking violin lessons only two days per week at school. The violins are provided through the school for lessons so he doesn't even really get practice time outside of school. We were able to hear some 1st and 2nd year first graders play some of the same songs he had played when he was beginning, and hearing them play now really emphasizes how much he's learned in the last 3 years. The sound has really smoothed out, and they were able to stay together nicely. It was really fantastic! I hope you enjoy the clip at the bottom of Paul playing his last song of the concert.



video

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Material Girl

While Charlie was in town visiting, she created the first project using scraps out of our scrap box. She had a lovely time squirting glue all over her paper and rubbing the material around in the glue. Watching her stage of development (right in between Philip and Finn) was fun since she doesn't quite have the precision of our older kids, yet she knows what she wants to do, unlike Finn to just likes to throw material up in the air or dump it on the floor.

Jenni had brought me a great basket with some homemade bath salts, salt scrub, massage oil and chocolate. (The chocolate is worth a mention because she brought me 2 bars of the EXACT same chocolate I bought for her: Chocolove's Dark Chocolate with Raspberry and 65% cacao Dark Chocolate! Yikes!) So since the material scraps were living in an old shoebox, I decided to move them over to the basket which, even though the scraps had only been in the box for a week, offended Finn's sensibilities and he's been, on the stealth, moving material back into the shoebox and putting the lid on, ever since.



Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Day at the Park with Charlie

Our dear friends, Paul and Jenni, were in town this weekend with their little girl Charlie. Although we never seem to see them as often or for as long as we'd like, we did enjoy our brief time with them. Even though it was the hottest weekend of the year so far, we ventured out to the park for a bit on Saturday morning to let the kids monkey around and burn off some energy.


Finn, as usual, had lots of fun on the slide.


Charlie enjoyed peek-a-boo in the tunnel.