Monday, June 23, 2008

Birthday Blog!

Birthday Graphics

She had her last day of school on Tuesday and then we headed to Ra-ra's for a sleepover! We had such a blast. We went up to the creamery for dinner and ice cream. It felt like it had been so long since we had been there! The kids had so much fun feeding the goats, watching the baby goats play and playing on the climbers. The ice cream was so delicious too. I tried a kind I had never had...Monson tracks (I think) and it was so delicious!
One of my favorite things about the creamery is watching my children devour their cones and create sticky ice cream beards. This year, however, the reality of how fast my children are growing became glowingly apparent as I realized only Ian had a beard at the end of the night. Isabella, being 7 and all, is very lady like about eating her ice cream and now has full understanding of how to use a napkin. Isaac, being the tidy guy he is, opted for a bowl instead of a cone. Thankfully Ian still covered himself w/ melting ice cream and required me to lick his cone. I prayed that I would remember to value each minute of change with these guys as I headed down to see the goats clutching Ian's sticky, chubby, warm hand, knowing Isabella and Isaac's hands just don't feel like that anymore...
I don't know why Bella turning 7 seemed like such a big deal to me. She just seems so grown up...I feel like we are leaving so many "little girl" things behind lately as we give away toys she no longer plays with and move on to more sophisticated items like diaries and a big girl bike. It's so exciting to experience each new stage. Some days I just marvel at these little miracles God has entrusted to me.

On Bella's actual birthday we went to the Palmer/ Monson Family Network summer kick off picnic at the park. (Terrible day to forget the camera. I would love pix of that day if anyone has some of my kiddos) It was so great to see friends that we haven't seen in such a long time. Isabella and Isaac were so so happy to play with Lily and Sophie. Bella said playing with Lily was the best birthday present she got that day (how sweet!). I got to catch up with friends too. It makes me miss them all the more...
So anyway, we weren't really going to have a birthday party this year, just a few friends over after church like we do every week but I just couldn't let the day go by without at least a few party games...
I had asked Isabella about a month ago what kind of cake she would like and she couldn't make up her mind and asked me to surprise her with a theme. Since she is loves art, drawing and coloring I decided to give her a box of crayons!

Although the rain kept us in for most of the day when we did get outside the kids had a blast being artistic on the wet driveway with sidewalk chalk. They also loved the pinata (of course). I added a little twist this year, because I don't like the idea of everyone running greedily to get as much goodies as they can before someone else does. I put a variety of items in the pinata and told them that the object was to grab one of everything for their bag, whatever was left I divided up fairly. It kept them busy for a while sorting through the loot and the little kids ended up with the same things the big kids had so overall, it was a pleasant pinata experience.

After the pinata we played an "artistic" version of musical chairs. Each kid had a chair (no one was eliminated each round) with a paper and a box of crayons on it. When the music started they walked around like traditional musical chairs but when it stopped they had to start drawing a picture on the nearest paper. They left their picture when the music started again and when it stopped they continued the work someone else had started on their picture. It was fun and they each had a collectively made picture to take home (although I think they all got forgotten here lol). In the end it turned into a techno dancing free for all and they loved it! (the request for techno music was another milestone for this birthday, no more Miss Pattycake or Backyardigans cd for this big girl)

Our last game wasn't a planned one but when I cut open the watermelon I had bought and found it loaded w/ black seeds (which I hadn't seen in a long time!) we had to have a seed spitting competition. It was so cute! I forgot how much fun that is (and how good I was at it lol).

This week is going to be very laid back and relaxing for us. Hopefully we will get in some strawberry picking a trip to the library, probably a few rounds of family bowling on the Wii... I am planning to get a yard of mulch delivered. Isaac will love helping me spread it. He's always eager to work. We have done some gardening but have a very obnoxious and evasive ground cover that just won't go away. I am hoping mulching over it will kill it back a bit. We planted a few veggies but they are in rocky soil on the side of the driveway because it's really our only sunny spot beside the front yard so we'll see how they do...

We've got a big family party this weekend and our last t-ball games too and I'm turning 30 on Sunday!!!! Lots to blog about for next week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Soak up the Sunshine!

Did I say this was going to be a weekly blog? I guess it's becoming more like a monthly blog...w/ lots to pack in each time. The more we do, the less time I have to blog, but the more I want to blog about!
We've been on lots of outdoor adventures! Hikes, playgrounds, boating, birdwatching etc... Spring is just so much fun!

A few weeks ago we went to Stanley park for the day. We met my mom and sisters there for a relaxing picnic and some time on the playground. It's a great playground and they have a huge shaded sand box which the boys loved! It was so cute to see my niece Madi running all over the place! She is such a little nut! Not an easy child to capture pictures of. She moves way too fast! She's so cute I just kept trying though.

After my family left the park, the kids and I went on a little hike through the woods behind the playground. It was beautiful. The rhododendrons were in full bloom and some of the azaleas were still in bloom too. We were even lucky enough to see some lady slippers!! On all of our hikes we have been keeping our eyes open for rare woodland plants. We saw some trillium in the state forest and now we saw lady slippers too! We're keeping our eyes peeled for jack-in-the-pulpits too. We also passed by an area where there had been a forest fire. It was such a great opportunity to discuss fire safety and explain the process of a forest fire and how the forest recovers. Just another example that "school happens" wherever we are. There are always opportunities to learn.

Since everyone did so well on our walk at Stanley park we decided to join Amira and Hannah for a hike at the Audubon society center. We purchased a family membership so we can go back any time! It was so awesome. We took a short hike and passed a beautiful pond. We came a cross a stump of a tree that a beaver had chewed down. The boys were particularly interested in the teeth marks of the tree. Hannah and Isabella picked beautiful bouquets of wild flowers and despite our somewhat noisy bunch trouncing through the woods, we even saw some birds! I can't wait to go back! We have a bird guide book and will be marking down all of the varieties we see on all of our outings, or here at home.

The children had a fun boating adventure on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We are blessed to have very hospitable friends who live right on the lake and Bella, Isaac and Ian got to take a boat ride with some of their friends and their daddy. They cruised around the lake (I think they even got turns driving!) and they came across a huge bass floating dead in the water. They couldn't figure out how it had died but they sure were excited about the catch either way lol! It turned out to be over 7 lbs! Isaac has enjoyed retelling the story to anyone who will listen. We also got to see a family of ducks. They were so cute!

We were super blessed to have Auntie Kimmy come and stay with us for a night! It was so nice to have her here for a visit. She came to a t-ball game and helped us with school the next day and just hung out. It is nice to have visits where the only purpose is to visit and be together, no plans or schedules, just time together. She helped us make clay planets to go along w/ our brief lesson about outerspace that went with our memory verse for the week, He counts the stars and he names each one. Psalm 147:4.

Suddenly, the weather turned atrociously hot!! I don't think I have ever enjoyed a heat wave so much in my life! I am still so glad it's not winter that every bead of sweat was a droplet of joy! I will take 95 and humid over winter any day! (well maybe not at Christmas, that would just be weird). The first day of the heatwave we were visiting my mom and we got together with Jen, Lindsey, Jackie, and all of our 9 kids!! Unfortunately I forgot my camera that day. Later we went to our cousin Angelique's birthday party. It was a really hot day to be outside, especially since we aren't used to this weather but no one seemed to mind.
When we came home we set up the pool! Unfortunately we don't' have much in the way of grass, it's mostly pine needles and dirt where the kids play so the pool is going to get very dirty very fast but we'll see how it works out...I don't think the kids care either way. They've been in it everyday (taking care to wash their feet in a bucket first). I have enjoyed sitting close by and reading or gardening while they play. I feel so spoiled now that i don't have any toddlers to chase or hold by the pool.

On Monday we got to go the home opener for our local collegiate baseball team, the Dukes. They have a great old park right near our house. We were blessed with free tickets and the kids had some money from their papa for snacks and drinks. Despite the sun beating directly in our faces for the first few innings we had a blast! Ian was happier than a pig in mud sitting on the bench w/ his popcorn and vitamin water. Isaac couldn't take his eyes off the game. He's been practicing his pitching ever since (w/ great form I might add). Isabella was also very into the game and had lots of questions about rules and the process of the game.

Now , after a lovely and relaxing trip to mom's yesterday (and a sunburn for me) we are going to lay low and finish school!!! Bella's last official day will be Tuesday and then she will turn 7 on Wednesday!!!!! We are winding down the year w/ a unit study of Charlotte's Web, finishing up our last spelling unit and math unit too. We've been doing some neat crafts to go along with our unit. On Tuesday Isabella made a spider web out of spaghetti glue and glitter. We also made web pictures by rolling balls over a blob of paint. We made spiders last week too. We'll continue to do some fun stuff through the summer but on a pretty laid back schedule. I'll keep you all posted anyway...