Wednesday, January 22, 2014

105 years and counting

Brian's grandma turns 105 this week! Yes, 105!

Since I refer to the grandparents in terms of the kids, I call her Great-Grandma and that's how many of you "know" her, too!

In honor of her birthday, I thought I'd share a really fun visit we had with her during Christmas break. We went to see her for an hour or so but she was having a really good day and I DID have my camera and DID take it out.... thankfully so:)

One of the first happenings was the kids collecting massive of pretty little purple flowers. They came in with handfuls that Uncle Larry found a vase for!


And then Lydia gave Great-Grandma a Loop bracelet she had made for her:) Great-Grandma was pleased and now totally in style!

And then it was Brian's turn:) Great-Grandma's sight is pretty poor. She can see us but not really the details. After our Christmas Day visit, Uncle Larry had told her that Brian was growing some facial hair. So when Brian got close she had to have a chat with him:)

It went something like this:

G-Gma: Larry told me you were growing some facial hair.

G-Gma: Well...

G-Gma: You know what they say. If you can't grow it on top you grow it on your chin.

LOL!! She is just priceless!!

As I sat there watching my husband with his grandma I was soo touched by her show of affection for him...



and the special bond they share.


And it's from years of being one of his biggest fans and supporters. For always being a listening ear for him and encouraging him in his pursuits. For being sure each time he came to visit she would have his favorite frozen doughnuts in the freezer for him. All the little things through the years that make a big impression on a kids' heart no matter how "old" they are:)

We are so thankful for our Grandma/Great-Grandma!! We have treasured each visit we've had with her through the years. And as the kids grow in number and size she just continues to go with the flow;)

We wish Great-Grandma a very HAPPY 105th BIRTHDAY this week:)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up : The 1st Week After Christmas Break

We dug out the paints to work on our birdhouses... a 2nd coat!
After almost a full 3 weeks off of school work for Christmas, traveling, New Years and a few days of trying to get the house back together and some rest... none of were totally ready for school to start again last Monday.


We pulled out the books and got to work;) And really once we got started it wasn't soo bad:) Since we really were just starting where we left off it didn't feel like we were starting all over again.

For Bible we discussed the Seeds Parable. I am always so impressed with the kids' thoughts with some of the questions we get to discuss each day. There were some days that our Bible times were really crazy, disruptive and basically dysfunctional:/ And I didn't handle some the situations with grace like wanted. But we got to have a very good conversation about the importance of studying/reading/memorizing the Bible!

In Math, we are in the thick of multiplication, division and fractions! As much as the kids (and I) are eager to just finish their work, I remember that these basic concepts are ones that I saw high school math students struggle with often, too often! So we will work until we "get it"!

For Language Arts, we jumped back into Grammar, spelling, reading and writing. We worked on thank you notes for our writing for the week (should be in the mail soon!!!). Spelling is just spelling:) LOL!! But I realized how close Chris and Lydia are to starting on another level... finishing a grade level of spelling in 1/2 a year:) Library books that the kids picked the previous week were their reading for the week, although by the end of the week the girls were reading Molly- American Girl books to correspond to our historical time period.

I haven't written much about Anna's (our) experience with Shurley English! I'll be honest and say that it's totally kicking our tails!! There is soo much work in one week that it makes it stressful and discouraging:/ So we tweaked it because we can!! Anna is doing the 5th grade level while she's in 4th grade so we decided to do a lesson every 2 weeks instead of every week!! So one week will be new concepts, practice, labeling sentences, etc! The following week is test taking and writing assignments (pre-writing, rough draft and final draft). Two days a week Anna completes a Daily Gram  to keep her practicing lots of different Grammar skills;) So far, so good;)

Our read alouds were Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin and When Hitler Took Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr. Breaking Stalin's Nose was a very strange read because the main character is pro-Stalin throughout the book and he is soo brainwashed... it was hard to read. The ending was cool though and made it a "good" book. We started When Hitler Took Pink Rabbit right after and we all got "into"the book really quickly! We are looking forward to how the main character's family adapts as refugees.

As you can probably tell with the read alouds, in History we are starting WWII. This week was the rise of Hitler to power. Pretty scary stuff:/ We read, made some main point sentences to copy into our history notebooks.

And then there was Science:) We are loving the materials from Apologia Chemistry:) We read half of chapter 5 using outlines to pick out the important details during 2 days. And then Friday afternoon we had Lab Day... always fun:)

A quick experiment about "cleaning" metal with vinegar!

A few days later:/

Chris working hard getting it all down in his notebook;)

The first try didn't come out right (although we did redeem them later)!

So we tried again:)

Anna's expression was funny... she really wanted it to work, but it was soo sticky at first
Lydia's cheese smile! And she DID get her hair cut this week:)

The many faces of Chris:)


Lab Day, win!

I'll do a separate post for Nate... maybe:) But we've been working with Corduroy by Don Freeman last (and this) week. He LOVES the Before Five in a Row books:)

So I did it;) A wrap-up:)
Hope you all had a great first week back!!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Using a Computer for the 1st Time

On Christmas morning Great Grandma (and Uncle Larry) came over to visit.
On the other side of the world Scott and Bea waited  late in the evening of their Christmas Day.
Grandaddy expertly got it all worked out.

So Great Grandma (almost 105) could use a computer for the 1st time to connect to a grandson and granddaughter living thousands of miles away.


Her smile was contagious! She was soo excited to hear and speak to them.
And the others joined in to offer their Christmas greetings to Scott and Bea.


And we all got to be a part of an amazing moment.
Where the world got a little smaller for Great Grandma!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hugs, Kisses and Animal Mtg at the Manger

IMG_3564This morning I was greeted with a little toothy smile:)

And as we snuggled for a bit before we started the day, Nate asked, "Where is Daddy?"

Brian put the kids to bed last night while I attended a meeting, so Nate remembered being with his daddy as he fell asleep. Then Nate had slept in until 8am which is when Brian starts his day at work so he missed seeing Brian in the morning.

Nate continued, "So you are going to stay with us today, while Daddy is at work?" LOL! It was funny that he was asking this.... hmm, we have the same arrangement 5 days a week;)

Then he added, "You can stay with us because we give you hugs and kisses!" Definitely the BEST way to start the morning and the BEST reminder of the blessings of this season of getting to stay with them:)

I'm totally not ashamed that we still have up Christmas decorations!! I love Christmas and taking down all the pretty and meaningful decor makes our house look soo bare. They will come down sometime this week (or next week!) though:/

Meanwhile, Nate is still playing with the Little People Manger set we bring out every Christmas!! He loved the set this year. He's take it out of his "busy bin" and ask,"Will you tell me the story?" Music to this momma's ears... just beautiful and simple! Christmas!

This week I found a meeting happening at the manger scene... a meeting of animals.

I had to see what the "hub-bub" was about :)

I know it was a silly arrangement of Nate's, but in that moment it really hit me when I saw they surrounded Him... Baby Jesus!

I was still... I was reminded of how we should have Jesus in the middle of it all. That even a small child knows that Jesus is the most important person! And in this case Nate thought even the animals gave Jesus all the attention.

I love stopping to see sweet moments instead of just rushing through my days and tasks. I am VERY guilty of always being in a rush with an impossible "to do" list each day. And I am thankful for the encouragement and reminders I get when I take the time to stop and enjoy and even look for the small blessings among the messes and the every day moments with my kids.

Link up or share in the comments if you also have some "tiny talk" moments this week:)