2013 had many fun adventures! We are eager to see what 2014 holds for us.
My Grandmother passed away (my mom's mom). It was bittersweet, but mostly sweet. She lived a very hard life and she had severe Alzheimer's the past few years. While we miss her, especially my mom, we are glad she is experiencing a sense of wholeness. She was an avid genealogist and even though she struggled to make friends in this life, we know she was greeted by 1,000s of ancestors eager to be her friend. With this news, I jetted up to Alaska very quickly. I wanted to bring the kids, but last-minute tickets are hard to buy in bulk. Jackson came as my lap-kid, and made his first trek to the Arctic Frontier. I was glad to be a pleasant distraction for my mom and connect with family for a few days. I wasn't able to stay for the funeral, but it was well attended.
This semester, we are staying off cabin-fever with several activities. I've spent the last three years of homeschooling just staying above water and focusing on the Three "R"s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. This semester, I really wanted to add some fun. Alvin and Alex started a weekly art class, that will last 6 weeks. We joined a nearby gym, and we've been burning off energy several times a week playing basketball and tag. In two weeks, we'll be joining a Kindermusik group. Kindermusik will be a family activity. Even though this is a busier pace for us, we have been much happier. The past six weeks, we've run into a lot of bottled up energy and boredom that turns into pestering. Yesterday, we missed our gym time and you could just feel our home buzzing with energy. It's nice to finally have a "fix" for this!
We've started Personal Projects this semester too. Alvin and Alex choose a personal project to work on each week. Last week, Alvin wanted to draw better airplanes (Nana and Poppi Shortman gave them a step-by-step drawing book for Christmas) and Alex wanted to play with Thumb Print Art (Aunt Tasha gave them for Christmas). It was fun to watch them improve just after a couple days. This week, Alex wanted to learn how to make jello. He has made two dishes, one he dyed the cool whip green. The other, we will cut into jigglers tomorrow. I try to be hands-off with these projects. I want to be available for questions, but not hovering-over. They are at an age where they can figure things out, if I'm not there to steal the opportunity.
Today, I was so proud of Alex. He needed 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. I emphasize he needed 2 AND 1/2 cups of boiling water (not one of the other). He seemed tired of me repeating this and eventually walked away. He comes back with a half cup and asks, "Can I use this?" I ask him, "How?" seeing if he remember it wasn't an either/or amount. He answers, "Well, can't I just use this 5 times?" I was shocked! We've talked about fractions here and there, but not really drilled them in. Yet, he figured it out! He also figured out how to divide by 1, 2, and 3 in the car today... on his own. For the 3s, I just had to walk him through the first problem: 33/3. I told him, if you had 33 marbles and 2 friends want to play with you. You want to divide the marbles into 3 fair groups ("fair" is VERY important to Alex). How many would each of you get? Very quickly he answered: 11! He did 11 more problems and only missed 18/3. Anyways, super proud mommy moment! Alvin is learning how to make muffins this week. Leaving him alone with the cookbook was a bit much for me, so I helped him the first time. Today, I left him alone in the kitchen. He did great! He almost added 2 cups of baking soda, instead of 2 tsp of baking powder. BUT he stopped himself, and checked with me to make sure he was doing it right. It's been a fun day in the kitchen this week!
Rilie is loving preschool. He is talking a ton and beginning to draw again. He likes to draw a blob for a head with eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Then two arms out the side and two legs down at the bottom. Sometimes, he adds feet too. He tells us who they are: mommy, daddy, or one of his brothers. When I came back from Alaska, I noticed he was talking a lot more. He is adding little articles to his sentences, "a", "the", etc. He is also using "is". He enjoys singing still. He really enjoyed Kindermusik, and there are several four year olds there. Rilie loves telling people, "I four!" and he holds up 4 fingers. Although today, he started telling people he was 1 with a sly grin. A few days ago, he told me "Mommy, I Thomas!" Me: "Thomas the Train?" Rilie: "No! I name Thomas!" If I called him Rilie, he would correct me. He's back to Rilie now.
Christmas we made Cinnamon Roll Wreaths
Alvin kneading the dough for a cinnamon roll wreath. Alex helped too.
Giant potatoes from our friends. They have challenged their kids to help earn their way to Disney Land. They are selling boxes of potatoes they picked up in Idaho (I believe from family). They are learning how to play the middle-man. They were very yummy and huge! We will be ordering more boxes!
Spider Nick caught for the boys. It was tiny.
Rilie and Jackson received a box of bath toys this Christmas. I decided to be brave and get them art supplies for the bath tub. I'm praying this doesn't translate to other areas of the house.
Putting bubbles on our heads.
Behind them, you'll see our "water works" and basketball hoop.
Rilie and Jackson snuggling in our bed.
There is a sister in our last ward who is hosting art lessons. We started this semester. She is perfect! She plans an activity, but really goes off of the boys interests. In two sessions, they've done four projects.
I enjoy dropping them off, and they enjoy the friends and change in scenery.
Alex: White on black project - Telescope looking at the stars.
Alex: Pastels painted over - Submarine in the ocean with a hammer head shark and jelly fish.
Alvin: White on black - his "invention". He's been drawing lots of inventions and talks about being like Leonardo Da Vinci
Alvin: Pastels painted over - A rocket in space looking at a red planet.