Friday, August 31, 2007


Finally got school finished today - everything I had planned and then some. We started a little earlier than usual today, about 10, and started Cameron's brand new math book. It was just a review of counting the tens and ones in a number like 84, but it was still fun to start a new book. The thrill of a new book apparently inspired him to try more new things and so he read the first half of a DK Reader about rockets. I figured 15 pages was comparable to one lesson.

Next we went out to run some errands in the hopes of tiring Greyson out so that he would nap when we got home. I'll spare you the story about the nightmare time at Long's while they FORGOT to put up my number when my prescription was ready. (Yes, I finally decided to get the antibiotic as my cough is creeping back again.) Then we went for blood draw #2. I love that lab. There's never anyone in there. Greyson indeed fell asleep on the way home, so I put him into bed, made lunch, and then crawled into bed myself with my book. I think the hormones are starting to get to me because I burst into tears from stress while making grilled cheese. Cassia thought that was hilarious. *roll eyes*

When I finally felt rested and composed once again, I reemerged and announced that it was time for History. I passed out the Egyptian coloring pages and read the first half of the second chapter in SOTW. When I was done the kids were only half done with their pictures so I asked if they wanted me to read another story. They said yes! So we read the rest of chapter two, which was the story of Osiris being murdered by his brother Set and then being brought back to life by his mummification. This led to a discussion about how people used stories about gods to explain things that they didn't understand. This one was actually to explain why the Nile rises and falls each year (the tears of heaven for Osiris) but it was the resurrection that caused Cameron to exclaim, "That didn't really happen, did it??"

We finished up with the map work of Upper and Lower Egypt. I'm glad that I've been giving them the coloring pages and the maps. I never thought Cameron would be a willing participant in coloring, but it really does help to keep him focused on the story. And I also love seeing the different styles that they use to color. Cameron is careful and precise. Cassia is wild and flamboyant. Her picture today was so beautiful. The colors didn't scan quite right, but her picture is almost like looking through a stained glass window into a vibrant sunset. I'm very curious to see what kind of an artist she matures to be.

We ended the day with soccer practice. While Cameron practiced, Cassia and I discovered the best game: Follow the Baby! It's a cross between baby-sitting a toddler and playing follow the leader. Toddlers make amazing Follow the Leader leads. I've never had a more fun time playing that game.

Tomorrow is my birthday so we are going on a hike by the beach. Other than that, we don't have any special plans for the long weekend. I did receive a bit of cash in a card with specific instructions to spend it on something only for myself, so I may indulge in a pedicure and a half-caff latte or something on Sunday. Mmmm, that sounds nice. Anyway, *talk* to you next week. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Good News...

The good news is that the reason I haven't blogged in the last couple days isn't that I was sick again. I think I've finally kicked this stupid thing. *Knock on wood.* The bad news is that the reason I haven't blogged in the last couple days is that we haven't really done much.

We didn't do school on Wednesday. In retrospect, I'm not sure why except that I procrastinated too long and then life got in the way. A friend called at around 11:00 - usually when we are gearing up for school - and told me that there was going to be a big Not Back to School party at the park day which I had finally completely given up on. They were all bringing squirt bottles and I missed my girlfriends. So, suddenly, instead of having all day we only had two hours to go to the library, the grocery store, and get Cameron's soccer gear together and ready to go. Yeah, so school didn't happen. Water fights at the park happened, lol. And then after four hours of playing at the park we had to rush off to soccer where Cameron had to run for another hour in the sun. How that boy did not fall down from exhaustion I don't know! And he still had enough energy to be an absolute maniac after dinner. (You know that obnoxious, crazy energy they get when they're over-tired?) I did get everyone in bed and reasonably quiet by 8:20 so I had time to dust off the old prenatal yoga DVD. Ouch. Squats suck. So do Kegels. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, determined to do school, I got up early and made everyone pancakes. I think I must've put Extract of Annoy into them because everyone seemed to go insane after that. No wait, they went insane before then. I was cooking pancakes and I thought the kids were playing nicely together in their bedroom. Then I hear, "Moooommmmmm, Greyson is playing in the litter box!" Turns out they were playing nicely in my room which is off limits because of the litter box! I won't describe the mess in there. Let me just say that it made Mary's toilet soup seem extraordinarily hygienic.

Then I finally get Cameron in the school room and convince Cassia that her time would be much better spent looking at the books in her room rather than the books in the school room (The last time she "read books" in the room with us, she just took all the Magic School Bus books off the shelf, spread them on the floor, and then proceeded to sing and poke Cameron repeatedly until I threw her out.) and I am met by Mr. Apathy. Let's try this Star Wars reader! I don't want to. How about this space shuttle one!! No. Oh come on, I know you can read this. No. Look at the first page: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Can you guess what this next word is? He tries to continue looking apathetic but even he can't hide the fact that the rest of the sentence is "blast off!" I finally convinced him to read the rest of the page - which he did beautifully - but he wouldn't continue with it. So I pulled out the phonics book instead. That was met with more apathy and lack of trying and so I told him that I would NOT be playing Star Wars Monopoly with him until his schoolwork was done and done right. He finished the lesson.

Next was math. He loves math. He had three more pages to finish off the workbook. He really wanted to finish it and yet I was met with more apathy and guessing at answers. (Note to self: this always happens when we get out of the groove for a few days. No more than ONE random day off during the week!) I gave up, put the books away and stormed out of the room. Real mature, aren't I? I went to go straighten up something that Greyson had dumped out and Cameron almost instantly came to find me. He said he really, really, really wanted to finish his work and he promised to have a better attitude. I am mature enough to accept that as an apology. So he finished it off and we are on to Primary Math 2A tomorrow!

Meanwhile, Greyson decided to mix the wet dog food into the water dish. It (and he) was a lovely brown murky color and it was covering a good third of the kitchen floor. Again, 'nuff said.

Today was Thursday so we should've done Science, but since we actually missed two days of History this week and I counted the OB appointment as Science, I decided to go ahead and do History today instead. We finished up the first chapter of SOTW by flipping through some books on ancient civilizations and then Cameron drew a picture of a ceiling entry dwelling from Catal Huyuk. It was a pretty good drawing, too. I scanned it in and posted in the History Studies section.

Then we played Star Wars Monopoly. I won. Cameron kept mortgaging all his properties to buy new ones, lol. Not a good strategy, in case you were wondering. Then Greyson made about twenty more messes. I read a Raggedy Ann story to Cassia, twice. Greyson made more messes. Greyson spent a lot of time in his crib today.

Finally, everyone is in bed. I will be soon too, if I am lucky. I can't wait for the weekend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lots going on, not much to update

I spent the weekend in bed again. Stupid cold. During that time, DH was fabulous!! He even jumped on a teachable moment more enthusiastically than I think I would have. He was making scrambled eggs and saw a tiny embryo in one of the eggs. So what did he do? He pulled it out and put it on a microscope slide!! It was actually super cool looking! It was minuscule but I'm sure I saw what would become the eye (a perfectly spherical black spot) and the beak (a small line directly across from the eye). Amazing! I never would have thought to do that. I would've just mixed it into our breakfast, lol.

Monday I felt great so we jumped back into (most of) our routine again. Cameron did phonics and math and then I sent everyone off to their respective showers and baths for hair-washing day. Ugh, I really need to alternate days for that because it's getting to be quite an ordeal to wash three, or four if you count my own, heads in one morning. Next came all the laundry that had been neglected while I was sick - six loads. :P Then was gymnastics and after that I was beat! I decided to pretend that I never told Cameron that we would do History later, lol. He pretended not to remember either. Then came dinner. Then came yet another relapse. I slept so badly. I was coughing all night.

Tuesday I didn't even bother with school. I let the kids watch Star Wars while I tried to gather up some energy for the day. After lunch I felt better and we headed out to my OB where the kids got a very up close and personal science lesson. That one definitely counts as school, lol. One of the nurses offered to watch C&C out in the waiting room but they didn't want to. They wanted to stay and be typical homeschoolers asking waaayyyyyy too many questions, lol.

At the appointment we found out that the size of the baby is not jiving with my LMP, which I totally suspected. In fact, everybody was accusing me of being in serious denial not taking a pregnancy test sooner (like when I missed my period, lol) but I just knew I wasn't pregnant. Three weeks later my views definitely changed and I then, also, assumed I had been in denial but turns out that I was right all along. At least, we're pretty sure that's what's going on but I'm having to go in over the next week to have my hCG checked and then a repeat ultrasound in two weeks. They were also nice enough to give me an antibiotic prescription just in case my cold returns yet again. If I have another night like last night, I'm going to go get that puppy filled first thing in the morning!

After the doctors, and a quick trip to the lab where Cameron was again incredibly interested in watching every detail of my blood draw, it was off to ballet. During the lesson the boys and I headed next door to a yummy little taqueria and split a steak quesadilla and a mandarin Jarritos. Yum. I definitely think that one has got to become a weekly tradition, especially considering that Greyson dissolved into a writhing mess once we went back into the studio.

The rest of the day was filled with the kids playing nicely together - gotta love that. They even played a game where you name animals that start with different letters of the alphabet, so we can totally call that language arts. I'm sure we did something mathy somewhere too. Yeah, we did school today.

***Oh, I forgot about the soccer game Friday. Cameron did so well! He and this other little girl, M5, make a killer offensive line. The games were played 2 on 2 with a keeper on each side and then everyone rotated throughout. It was a lot of fun. Soccer is the perfect sport for little boys who cannot stop running. Except when they're playing goalie, lol. Cameron actually took off from the goal, ran across the field, and scored. Coach was mad. I was ROFL. I'm suspecting that we've got years of soccer in our future.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I did the unthinkable

I skipped my favorite park day. Can you believe it? And when I have such important news to share with my favorite moms, some of whom I haven't seen in a month! But this cold is still kicking my butt. I actually had to use an Albuterol inhaler last night before I could go to sleep. I could NOT breathe. I feel better-ish now, but there was no way I could imagine myself sitting out in 95 degree heat watching the kids get filthy. And there's a soccer game tonight too so I didn't want to push myself too hard.

Cameron asked me to do school today. It was about 11:30 and he asked me if we could do school anytime of the day. I said sure. He said, ok, tomorrow I want to do school really early in the morning. Do you think I should let him know that tomorrow is Saturday? LOL. He asked to start with math instead of phonics. We read the very last section in the textbook and then did the very last exercise in the workbook. He was so excited (and not already burned out from phonics) that he went ahead and did one of the two remaining review sections too. The whole thing! All four or five pages, bringing his daily total seven or eight. All done perfectly too. I'm so proud. :)

Phonics was relatively painless too. He's really just breezing through it now. I even had both he and Cassia chanting Roy the boy has a toy. Oh joy! in review. LOL. Much more fun when everyone does it.

For History we read about Jericho and Catal Huyuk in the Usborne Illustrated World History and then read about early farmers in the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. If I had been a good girl and done my prereading, I would have realized that those two books would have been better read in the other order, but oh well. Also, if I had been a good girl and looked at my Master Schedule I would have realized that we were supposed to make clay pots from Jericho today for Art History but I didn't have any clay. Ooops. I guess I could've made salt dough or something but there's just something cool about the feel of real red clay. I suppose we also could've just used some of the clay saturated dirt from our front yard but that is a messy proposition. Maybe another day when my head isn't throbbing. Anyway, I'll pick up some clay this weekend and then we can read some library books and then make clay pots on Monday. The next section is Egypt and I just requested my Egypt books from the library today so they probably won't be here until late in the week anyway.

Okie dokie. I guess I better get my little man all geared up (literally getting him in his gear) for his very first soccer game.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Attractive" Day

I think we're on a roll of noon-time school so I just went with that today. I put Greyson in bed for a nap and then whipped out the books. Cameron was entirely irked that I did not give him any warning and just said, "It's time to do school now." He was so pouty that he wouldn't participate in the strange little chant in OPGTR that was supposed to make us remember the /oi/ sound. Roy the boy has a toy. Oh joy! He left me chanting and clapping by myself while giving me a look that I thought only teenagers were capable of. I said "Fine, you don't want to participate with me then do it yourself. Go ahead, read." And with that I plopped the book down in his lap. LOL. He didn't like that at all. I decided to give him another chance and while he still didn't say the chant in anymore than a mumble on our second try, he did read the lesson better than I've ever heard him do. I really think we've crossed a hump here. Yeah!!

Math was more money. For some reason he kept subtracting while counting today. While adding three quarters and a dime he would say "25, 50, 75, 65" and it really took him a while for him to realize what he was doing. Can you imagine if there was a coin that took value away from the rest? LOL, what a thought.

Next was Science and I had gotten a couple library books on magnets for us. We read the Let's Read and Find Out one and it described how to make needles into magnets and then how to make a compass with that needle and a bowl of water. So we did. Cameron was the first to make his needle magnetic. I was last, lol. I don't know what was wrong with my technique but I could not get it to work! I think I was just using too long of strokes when rubbing the needle on the magnet but boy was that humbling! Then we got a bowl of water and found north with our magnets. It was quite fun. Our needle magnets started losing power pretty quickly though and so then the kids just started fishing them out of the water with magnets on strings while I read our second magnet book by Simply Science.

So that was two great experiment days this week! I'm glad that I never planned on having one day as "experiment day" or anything like that. I like it when our stuff just happens spontaneously. Which reminds me, I've been reading a lot of talk lately on message boards about people instilling more Charlotte Mason into their Classical schools. I was intrigued because I have several friends who designate themselves as "partially CM" and I could never get through the wordy descriptions to find out exactly what that means. I mean, I think I have a feeling what it means but I could never get through a Charlotte Mason article - even with modern translations, lol. Anyway, reading through those posts and seeing how people have adapted their Classical studies to be more CM, I realize that that's already how I've adapted our school! We do short lessons. We spend time outside - not exactly nature studies but we are definitely students of our world. Gee, look at this bug. I wonder what animal made these tracks? We read books to learn, not textbooks for the most part. Well, we do have a textbook for science but we always follow it up with real books. I've felt guilty about slacking on memory work, but I realize that that's CM too! No lists to memorize, just an occasional poem. I try to ask for their best work too, though not perfection. Not yet. Maybe someday.

Anyway, our homeschool is all about learning without anyone being miserable, lol. If I'm lucky we'll even end up with that elusive "love of learning." I don't care how we label ourselves - I actually like Relaxed Classical - but it's reassuring to see droves of people moving to what we have been doing all along. ;)

(P.S. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. I think I found an OB: local and female! I see her on Tuesday but the office already passed the biggest test - no problem if I have to bring the kids along! Yeah!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good day on the homefront

We all went to bed early last night (I fell asleep on the couch at 9:30!) which meant that everyone woke up in a good mood. You'd think that would also mean that we got to our schoolwork nice and early, but we didn't, lol. We started around noonish.

Phonics and math both went by in a breeze. Cameron read SO well. I think he might finally be getting the hang of this. Math was more money counting and I can tell Monopoly has paid off.

Next came History. We read the spread on The First Settlers in the Usborne Book of World History and then tried to make the "simple" loom described there. LOL. I should've followed Maria's advice regarding trying crafts yourself first. Now that I think about it, she was lamenting a woven project too. They seem simple, but there's a reason that it was the adult women who would do the weaving, not the children. I made our loom out of card stock and wound it with cooking twine since I'm probably the only woman in the world to not own a single skein of yarn. I did the first row in demonstration and then passed the loom to Cameron. He did one over-under pass and then said he was done. I made him try one more, but there were twine tangles all over the place, lol. Next was Cassia's turn and she only did one too before her patience with it wore out. I finished out the row and promised to work on it tonight so that they could see what a piece of hand-woven "fabric" looks like.

I was ready to call it quits at that point. Cameron and Cassia had dissolved into some game somewhere when all of a sudden I hear, "Sorry Cassie, I've got to go finish my History!" OK, we can do more! So I grabbed SOTW and started to read the second story in Chapter One when all of a sudden I realized that there was a map that was supposed to go with this. I hadn't looked at my master schedule coordinating all the map work and such for this story yet since I hadn't planned on reading it until Friday. I had to then call a quick time-out to scan in and print the map and coloring pages for the chapter. I almost skipped it, but am so glad I didn't. I read the story of how The First Nomads Become Farmers while they colored pictures of a farmer using an ancient irrigation tool called a shaduf. Then they found the cities of Jericho and Catal Huyuk; traced the Tigres and Euphrates Rivers; colored the Black, Caspian, Mediterranean, and Red Seas and the Persian Gulf blue; and finally colored the land between the two rivers, Mesopotamia, green. Then we located the area on our globe. The maps and pictures were fun and you can see them if you click on Our History Studies in the Nuts and Bolts sidebar.

In other news, finding a medical professional to oversee my pregnancy is proving more difficult than I imagined! First of all, there's only one OB (that I am willing to go to) in my town that is covered by our insurance. I can't get through on their phone lines. I just get a message that says where to go if you need a copy of your medical records and to not leave a message there because no one will hear it. No office hours. No alternate phone number. Nothing. Fine, I didn't really want an OB anyway. My first choice would actually be a midwife but the only ones are about 20 miles from here. DH says that's too far to go for routine appointments. Well if the OB won't answer his phone, what am I to do otherwise? So (secretly thankful) I call the midwives' office and get another message, but at least they said to leave a message and they would get back as soon as possible. I called this morning and am still waiting for a call back. Hopefully, they'll call tomorrow. I'm getting anxious since I'm pretty sure I'm approaching nine weeks here and still have no doctor. I really need to get my dates verified since the whole thing has been a bit of a fuzzy area for me. Anyway, wish me luck.

I won again!

It must be my lucky week! I have just received the "Nice Matters" award from Stephanie. I'm usually not big on blog awards because they're so random. A popularity contest really. And then others are passed on so freely that all meaning is lost. A couple months ago, Maria passed on a "Thinking Blogger" award to me which meant a great deal... until I realized that everyone and their brother had that award! How can everyone be a thinking blogger? Cheapened the whole affair for me and so I never even acknowledged the gesture of its bestowal upon me. Sorry about that.

But now I have received the "Nice Matters" award, and though I have doubts that I really am all that nice, lol, I am keeping this one to remind me that being nice does matter. We all get stressed. We all get frustrated. We all get tired. But some people have the ability to rise above that and not take it out on everyone around them. Nice does matter. I don't know if that was the original meaning of this particular award, but that's how I am taking it. So I am passing it along to the two people who keep me inspired to be nice. People who can laugh in the face of red-skunk striped hair or small children projectile vomiting in front of old high school chums. I am passing this award (see sidebar) to Maria and Meesh. Congratulations, ladies. Keep up the inspiration.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I won! I won!!

WooHoo!! I won a blog make-over from Life With My 3 Boybarians! I am so excited. I never win anything. :) What a great way to start a day. :) Better than coffee. Almost. I miss coffee already.

Yesterday school was so-so-ish. It started out well. I was all gung ho to get started again after being sick. Cameron wanted get started early too so that we could play Star Wars Monopoly. We started with a review of the /aw/ sound in phonics. Next was a money chapter in math and I realized that, despite getting a quarter each day for making his bed, Cameron had almost no concept of what the different coins were. So we went over the lesson in the text and then rather than doing the workbook exercise, we got out his piggy bank and played dice. Each roll of the dice earned him that many pennies. Whenever he wanted he could change up his pennies for something else. I tried to vary it so that he was getting practice in exchanging all the different coins. After about half an hour of that, he was ready to go back and do the practice exercises in the text. We decided to save the workbook for another day.

Next we moved on to History and that is where things started going downhill. I tried to finish reading the biography of Charles Darwin and Cameron was politely, but disinterestedly, listening but Greyson was a little maniac. He would NOT stop crawling into my lap, pulling at the book, climbing on Cameron, screaming, etc., etc. DH was working from home so going into the school/computer room (with the baby gate!) to escape him wasn't an option. I finally gave up in frustration and said History would have to wait until Grey was napping.

Fast forward a couple hours to nap time. I brought the Darwin book back out and tried to start reading it but Cameron was so incredibly disinterested that I just couldn't bear to finish the book. It was a waste of my time and my patience. And so I moved on and got out SOTW instead and read the first story in Chapter One, The First Nomads. This time Cassia was the one causing a huge disruption so I angrily sent her out of the room and would not let her listen. The story was short, less than three pages, and Cameron was vaguely interested in it but by the time I was done reading it I barely had a voice left. By the time we got home from gymnastics later in the afternoon, I had almost none at all! Luckily it was back by dinner time.

Tuesday went much better. We had a slow start to the day but once we started with school it went great. We did the "ow" sound (really /au/) in phonics and Cameron read like a champ. Next we did the workbook exercise on money and it was obvious that our little hands on drill the day before did the trick. He had a little trouble at first with half dollars, because he didn't have any of those in his piggy bank, but he caught on to them quickly. His money counting in our Monopoly game this afternoon showed some gain from that too, I think.

Next was Science and we read a chapter in MPH-3B on magnets. Actually we read two chapters and a theme introduction! The kids were really into it. Greyson started in with his regular shenanigans but since we had started so late in the day, it was actually his nap time so I just dumped him into bed and he went right to sleep. Phew! After the first chapter on magnet shapes we did a workbook page on matching the shapes with the name. I thought it looked boring and was going to skip it but they wanted to do it. Cameron said, "I'm a really good reader now so I'll read this part," and he read every single one of the magnet names! The only one he had trouble with was "bar magnet" because we haven't gone over r-changed vowels yet. I was quite proud. We learned about the poles and how different magnets have different strengths, all the while experimenting with our little magnet collection, a handful of paperclips, and a box of nails. We were sending Cassia all over the house with a magnetic letter testing the magnetic properties of various things. We finally just ended up in a giant magnet/nail sculpture building frenzy. It was fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weekend Update

Well, I think I'm finally on the road to recovery. After a nice weekend spent in bed with Harry (will I ever be finished with these dang books???), thanks to DH, I feel 100% better. Well, I'm still tired but more on that later.

We had a pretty educational weekend. Cassia impressed DH with her recital of The Four Vowels poem. We haven't actually done "u" yet, even though she knows the verse for it, so she asked DH for a prompt on the short-vowel sound of "u" - he had to ask me, lol. I'm assuming he did NOT learn phonics in school. That would explain why he is such a horrid speller, I'm guessing.

In other weekend news, Cameron learned how to play Monopoly on Sunday. What a wonderful game!! I just remember it being long and frustrating but when we played it it was really fun and soooo educational! (And I won! Ha!) So much math! And just the kind of math we've been working on. I am so thankful that he saw the Star Wars Monopoly game hiding up in the cupboard. I had forgotten all about it. DH had too. When he gets home this evening he promised to play a game with us. He's a brutal player though. He cheats. He cheats at Scrabble too, lol.

And finally... it appears that there is going to be another student joining the ranks of Shadowlight Academy. Probably sometime early April. Yikes. Four kids. I wanted to write something deep and profound about the meaning of family and the fullness of our lives and hearts and the misconceptions others tend to have when they see a large family... but I'm still in a bit of shock here, lol. We haven't even officially announced to the family and all yet (so if you are family and reading this, please keep it on the QT for a few more days!). I just thought you all should know... since you're my family too. And I need a ready excuse in case I start suddenly sounding insane. ;)

Friday, August 17, 2007

School's Closed

The head cold has moved to my chest. School is definitely closed for the day.

Or at least we're calling in the substitute teachers: Martin & Chris Kratt, Diego & Alicia from the Animal Rescue Center, Bindi Irwin, and good ole Mother Nature. Mommy Jenny is staying in bed whenever possible though.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Well, I never got around to doing school with Cameron today but that's mostly because I was too busy doing school with Cassia! The head cold came back full force today so that gave me a late start to begin with. Cameron was busy playing Transformers and Cassia was begging me to do school with her so I figured, why not. We learned the 4th verse of the poem The Five Vowels. We spent quite a while reciting that and as I was gathering up my stuff for Cameron's lessons she said, "But wait! I want to work in my dinosaur book too!" And so she did about twelve pages, finishing off her Explode the Code Primer B. She was determined. By then I was dozing in my chair, lol, so I told her that I had to go rest for a few minutes before I could do anything else. As I lay down, I looked at the clock and realized that we had been working for an hour and a half!

After a quick nap and some Sudafed and Tylenol, I went on a cleaning binge and scoured both the bathrooms. I think being sick makes me want really clean bathrooms for some reason. Meanwhile, Cassia was on a cut and paste adventure and made some very nice artwork. Then I realized that were out of a good many food staples and so we ran to Trader Joe's. And then it was dinner time.

I was really debating whether to call today a school day or not in our record book but then I overheard Cameron and Cassia's after dinner conversation. "Cameron, what's 22 plus 3?" and he answered correctly. "What's 29 plus 99?" and again, he answered correctly. She spent about half an hour asking him random math questions. Add that to the dedicated study and memorization of Transformer instructions (which are way too complicated for me to follow!) and the two Big Adventure Series documentaries we watched, and I'd say it was a pretty educational day even if I never asked him to do any school work.

We ended the day with a nice little bike ride down to the elementary school to play on their playground. See? We're not totally anti-school! ;) One final funny - Cameron asked me if the rest of the kids there (there was a flag football team practicing) we Go-Schoolers. Since we're HomeSchoolers they must be GoSchoolers, lol. I think I'm keeping that term.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

While reading a book about the round-the-world voyage of Charles Darwin in which they encountered slavery:

Me: Do you know what slavery is?
Them: No.
Me: It's when people are stolen and forced to work for other people. They have no say in what they do and have to work all day long for no money or anything.
Them: You mean like us?
Me: (stunned silence) No. Not like you. (thinking - you don't actually do any work, do you??)

Ungrateful little so-and-sos. ;)

Thank you for all the well wishes. I do, in fact, feel better today. Cameron's still got a nasty sounding cough though. Hopefully I've avoided that. We spent the morning running errands and then did schoolwork as soon as we got home. Cameron insisted that we do phonics first to get it over with, lol. He then did a 4 page review section in math without a single mistake or falter. Next was history and I was hoping to read a biography of Charles Darwin to wrap up our evolution of man thing and then write up some sort of biography summary, but we only made it through half the book. I guess we'll have to finish that on Friday.

So nothing too exciting here - oh, except for the enslavement of my poor overworked children. *roll eyes*

Oh - and my5wolfcubs... just click on "Our History Studies" in the sidebar to find the books and videos that we found most useful and enjoyable. There is a separate post for each topic covered so far. Archaeology would be the earliest one, so scroll, scroll, scroll. ;)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Plodding Along

I almost "called in sick" today, but then I realized that it's only Tuesday and I could very well feel WORSE tomorrow, so I bucked up and went on with school.... though not until about 2:00 pm, lol.

Cameron did a phonics lesson on the "aw" sound. He did a math exercise on subtracting things like 92 - 25. Meanwhile, Cassia worked on a Handwriting Without Tears workbook and a slate board. Her letter formation is really looking nice! Next was science and Cameron pasted together a plant diagram puzzle and then drew and labeled a green leaf from the backyard. He couldn't answer a single one of the questions about how the leaf makes food for the plant and I wasn't feeling very patient so I just told him all the answers, lol. We can read up on it later if he's ever actually interested. ;)

This minor day of schoolwork did bring us to some exciting milestones. We have only one review and then one more chapter left in Primary Math 1B which is on money AND we have only one section left in MPH Science 3B which is on magnetism. That means that we should be finishing up our last year's books right about the time that the local schools start up. I'm still planning on adding Spelling back in sometime soon. I was thinking of doing that the week that our local elementary starts but that's next week. I'm not sure if we're ready yet. I may wait until the first week of September. And then I was going to start First Language Lessons on the Autumnal Equinox (the beginning of our Fall Quarter) but maybe I'll delay that until the first week of October. I think we're supposed to be on lesson 140 of phonics before we start FLL anyway and we're only on lesson 117. We'll be lucky to get to lesson 140 by October.

So that was our highly exciting day. I will spare you my complaints about our internal network, printer drivers, and my sore throat and throbbing sinuses. I think I should make *something* for dinner now, so if you will excuse me...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Late Start

Late start on the day today. DH got up early (5am!) with Greyson, leaving Cassia and I to peacefully sleep in until almost 9. Nice. :) They watched some Little Einsteins and then Cameron asked to play video games early. I don't know why I let him, but I did. And of course that just sent the whole rest of the day into a dragging, bargaining sort of tailspin.

We finally started school around 11:30. We *always* start with either math or phonics. I asked Cameron which he would like to do first and he said "Neither." I'm pretty sure he meant that he didn't want to do school at all, but I said, "So that means you want to start with History then?" and he kind of shrugged and agreed. I started reading The First People and was pleasantly surprised when we made it through the entire book! All 30 pages! That's probably a record for a read aloud, lol. But it made me realize why I always start with math and phonics. When I do, I know that we can spend as long as we want on history or science later. But without them done, I spent the whole time I was reading worrying about if we were going to have enough time to finish everything before gymnastics. Turns out we didn't. Anyway, after we finished the book, I had Cameron do a narration on the subject of Prehistoric Men and he drew the *cutest* picture of a woolly mammoth that I have ever seen. (I will try to scan it in tomorrow.)

I wanted to do phonics next so that we could take his math along with us to gymnastics for him to do during Cassie's class, but again I was met with bargaining. He insisted on doing math first. I knew that he would *never* do reading during gymnastics so doing math meant putting phonics off until evening time. But that's how we did it! I don't know why I was giving in. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for a fight and he was in a stubborn mood. I did make him to two math exercises instead of just one though.

Then we went to gymnastics and I was very happy to see him putting in a higher level of effort than I have seen yet in this class. I think he wants those level ribbons. He was oggling the display case of them before Cassia's class started, lol, and I told him that he had to work really hard to get those... even when he thought he couldn't do it, he still had to try. I guess it finally sunk in. Another thing is that they paired the boys up today and it looked like his partner was really helping him to do the skills right instead of encouraging him to slack off. So it was a good gymnastics day. Cassia did great too. She is trying so hard!

Home from gymnastics and the kids disappeared into the backyard and their bikes. So much for phonics. And again, I don't feel much like fighting about it. I guess one day of skipping phonics won't kill anyone, but I do feel a bit manipulated. Tomorrow is another day though.

In other news, this weekend Cassia did two more lessons in OPGTR. She and Cameron and I are having a great time learning the short-vowel poem. Cameron is very enthusiastic about it, lol. We've also been reading Dar and the Spear-Thrower almost every night before bedtime. The chapters are really short so they are tolerating it well even though no one really seems to be interested in the story in the slightest. I think we may need to pick up the pace though and read more than one chapter a day or we'll be studying Ancient Rome by the time we finish it! Last night we all stayed up late watching the meteor shower. Gorgeous stuff.

And that's the news from here today. Hopefully tomorrow will go more in the direction that *I* decide... or at least, maybe tomorrow it won't bother me so much when it doesn't. ;)

Interesting post script: Cameron just came in from riding his bike and said, "Why do I still have to do phonics tonight?" LOL, if he would have just ignored it I probably wouldn't have brought it up. But he acted very responsibly and now we are off to do phonics. That's my boy. :) I guess it's ok to grumble about the things we have to do sometimes as long as we still do them.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Virtual Spelunking

We had a great day today. It felt very productive and all day I kept being pleasantly surprised with how late it wasn't.

We started the morning by (finally) cracking open our dinosaur fossil that had been drying all week.

It worked perfectly and the kids were both suitably impressed with how you could see the impression of the dinosaur's skin left in the mud. I had them imagine that there was only bones lying on top of that perfect dinosaur imprint. They thought that was pretty cool.

Next we did math, more subtraction but this time with borrowing, as in 63-8. Next came phonics and Cameron was thrilled to find out that the entire lesson was games! First we played "The OO Sort and Shuffle" where you had to sort words with the long /oo/ (as in tooth or moon) and short /oo/ (as in shook or wood). This was surprisingly fun to do. Next was a "OO Sound Scavenger Hunt" where Cameron was given index cards with instructions to find something "you should clean" or something "made of wood." We always have a good time with the scavenger hunts. When we finished that game, Cameron and Cassia surprised me by saying, "Remember that Crossing the River game where you had to jump on the 'U' words? Let's play that!" Um, yeah, I remember that game: I remember everyone complaining about having to read the words and it being not nearly as much fun as I had hoped! But, I agreed and set the words up in the back yard and they had a blast playing it. Cameron did really well reading the words too. Next Cassia and I (finally) did Lesson 2 of OPGTR and learned the short vowel sound for /e/. She wanted to do "i" too, but I told her it would have to wait until tomorrow.

After that was lunch and Zaboomafoo. After lunch we read a lesson in Artistic Pursuits about Art in Caves and then took a virtual tour of the Lascaux Cave in France. Both Cameron and Cassia were pretty interested in it though Cassie had a hard time visualizing the images at times, especially the engravings. Next we made cave art and I have to say I am quite pleased with how they came out. Of course, I always say that, don't I? LOL, I guess I can't help being a proud momma.

Even though this is the first time I have actually gotten around to Art or Music on Fridays despite my "schedule," I did manage to get the history related project in as was scheduled in my Master History Plan, so that's good. I think the next one in making Grecian Vases so we have a while... oh wait, good thing I looked. The next three are "Near-Eastern Pottery" from Jericho, "Minoan Fresco Painting" (though the instructions say to do it with watercolor crayons and paper. I wonder if it would work - and how messy it would be - to use poster paint on plaster of paris or something), and "Egyptian Murals." So it looks like there is a project for about every other chapter in SOTW.

So I was very impressed with the amount of work we did today and we were still done by 1:30. And I even got my blog and attendance records/log done before 4:00. Now if I can just manage to get the vacuuming and the laundry finished too, I'd be golden. ;)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

We didn't do history today

LOL, no really, we didn't do history today. This morning, after I checked my emails as blogs and such, I pointed my browser to the BBC's Prehistoric Life page. Cameron comes into the room and asks me if I'd like to play backgammon, but I said no that I was going to play a caveman game instead. "OH!" he said, "Can I play too?" Insert sly laugh here. After we finally made it through the whole game (with a pathetic 43%), I informed them that I was going to go jump in the shower. I asked if they'd like to watch a caveman movie while I showered or just play. To my delight, but not much surprise, Cameron excitedly exclaimed that he wanted to watch a caveman movie. So I popped in The History Channel's Ape to Man DVD and enjoyed a few minutes of solitude and steam. Cameron was glued to the screen the entire time. When it was over he said, "Wow, that was really good!" I have to admit, I'm a bit proud of the fact that my newly 6-yr old is into History Channel documentaries. I was afraid he'd get bored, but he doesn't appear to need the flash and hype and the catering to nano-second attention-span that most kids' videos seem to think children need to have to be interested in something educational. (That was a heck of a bad sentence, lol!)

After that we ran a few errands then came home for lunch and some quiet time. OK, I was hoping for some quiet time since I had a raging headache but no such luck. We finally got around to some book work around 4pm, lol. Bad, I know, but wasn't I just saying how great the flexibility of homeschooling was? Cameron did one math exercise, subtracting things like 68-5, and then... get ready... chose to read a reader instead of doing a phonics lesson! I was so happy! He read Thomas and Percy and the Dragon with only a little help. A couple pages from the end he said, "This is too long, I shouldn't have picked this" but then he realized how very close he was to the end. He was pretty proud of himself when he had read the whole thing. I think part of the inspiration for this is that we were looking at some of the readers in K-Mart today while we were running errands. He saw that there were a lot of cool books out there if he would just read them.

Once we finished the 2 r's, I asked if he'd like me to read him some history or some science. He said, "I don't want to learn about history today." ROFL, I didn't remind him of the two hours he spend this morning learning about cavemen. I guess that was prehistory though. ;) Oh that reminds me, we read One Small Blue Bead last night before bed and he seemed to really like it. It may have just been that dazed listening that he sometimes does when he just wants an excuse to stay up, but I think he did really enjoy it. The story was a nicely lilting rhyme with gorgeous pictures. I'm going to try to read that one to them again sometime in the next week or so. Cassia didn't get a chance to hear it; she sent herself to bed early, lol. Tonight I'd like to try reading Dar and the Spear-Thrower, but I'm afraid it might be a little long and/or advanced. We'll see. He did like listening to Harry Potter so maybe he just needs a fair bit of adventure to keep his interest and this one seems like it may have it.

And that was our day. You know, this keeping attendance thing is really keeping me honest. I've really made an effort to make sure we do school every day (no matter the time of day) and that way, when I do have to *fudge* a day - like when I counted a day of driving across the state as school because a school certainly would've recorded a day of traveling to an educational field trip as having all the students in attendance - I don't feel guilty about it in the slightest.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Loyal Friends

You know how I'm always raving about the Preschool Park Day gals? Well this week there is an apple festival that will be closing down our regular park on that day so we decided to just combine it with the regular Wednesday park day in my town. You remember, that's the one I'm always complaining about because no one shows up! And guess what, you guessed it! The only people who showed up were the ones from our Preschool Group. Not all of them mind you, but we had four families and a great time. Cameron and Cassia had an especially good time playing with C.O. and C.J.

Now, flash back to our incredibly slow start of a morning. There was this nasty overcast sky that refused to burn off and it was cold and all I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep - or if not that then read. Three little monkeys had another idea, lol. Greyson started throwing his writhing form on my face at about 6 am. It's this weird new habit of his. He rolls and thrashes and does everything in his power to lay body across my face while jabbing an elbow in my neck. Always a joy to wake up that way. Next, at around 7, Cameron comes in and starts wrestling with Greyson (whom I was still trying to coax back to sleep, lol). I finally give up and get up. They follow me. Cassia soon gets up too. They suddenly decide to teach Greyson how to play the drums. Yes, the drums. Before 8 am. Before coffee. Then Cassia gets out the harmonica and we've got a whole band going. I grab my cup of coffee and go back to bed with Harry Potter. ;)

Finally, sometime around 10 or 10:30, I finally emerge showered, dressed, and reasonably civil. Well, it didn't quite happen like that. Somewhere in there I managed to make breakfast and get everyone else dressed first, but it's all a blur. I am so NOT a morning person. So then Cameron suffered through his phonics - still choosing that over a reader - and then a math exercise (things like 64 + 29). Next was history and we read/looked at a couple different encyclopedic entries on the evolution of man. I wanted to read Stones and Bones! How Archaeologists Trace Human Origins but Cameron said, in no uncertain terms, that he did not want to listen to that one - too long. So we just looked at the pictures and I read the captions of the more interesting ones. We actually got a pretty good feel of the book by doing that. We had a nice long discussion on Charles Darwin. Cameron was really interested in how he came up with his theories. I may have to find a simple biography on him. OK, done. I love online library catalogs.

Maybe an hour or so later, I was checking my email and came across this article. So then I had to go and revise my little hominid evolution speech because it turns out that Homo hablis didn't slowly evolve into Homo erectus over millions of years as was previously thought. Turns out that they were living side by side, much like chimpanzees and gorillas do today. Very interesting stuff and a wonderful example of the way that science and history can change with each new piece of evidence. One of the things that I really wanted to impress on the kids with our Classical Education from Real Books, not textbooks, was that you should never get all your information from one source. Different points of view can form different conclusions and paint completely different pictures from the same "facts." You can never really *know* but by examining as many different views and sources as you can, you can get a clearer picture. Knowledge is power, as they say. I wasn't exactly expecting to convey the malleable nature of science and history this early on in the game, but I'm thrilled to death that it came up naturally and so well timed to boot!

As a bedtime story tonight, I plan on starting One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor, the shortest of the several historical fictions I have on prehistoric man. Hopefully they will like it, but if they don't maybe the treat of staying up a little late to hear it will be enough to keep them listening. ;)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Like a Vision

Have you ever seen anything sweeter? (Except perhaps your own daughter decked out in her ballet finest and her most demure expression.) Today was the last day of Cassia's 5-wk summer ballet class, so the parents were allowed in to take pictures while they got to dance around in special tutus. Here are some more pictures...


Cassia and Miss Lauren

Practice jumps

Unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries before they got to the free-dance, which was about the most adorable thing I've ever seen. Now we have two weeks, I think, before the fall lessons begin and I am stalking the mailbox waiting for the new schedule. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am living vicariously through her ballet and gymnastics lessons.

We spent the rest of the morning doing nothing and then finally got around to school over lunch. Cameron did a two-page phonics lesson with hardly a complaint, woo hoo! This was only because he knew there was a word game coming at the end of the lesson. He said that he "loves reading games." Hmm, who woulda guessed.

We decided to delay math for science and learned about the muscular system. I read a chapter in the MPH text and then we did two short activities from the workbook. Next I brought out the Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia and read a couple pages on muscles from that. We felt our muscles contract and relax and Cameron even swore he could feel them get warm as he moved them. Next, while Cameron was making a diagram of a ball-and-socket joint out of magnetic shapes for Cassia, I flipped through the Cyclopedia Anatomae and showed them some of the more impressive drawings of animals without their skin. Amazingly, even with the nudes in the book, there were no butt jokes. ;)

Somehow we all ended up out back. Cameron was riding his scooter and explaining to me which of his muscles were moving. Cassia was alternating between putting on a ballet show for me and doing my make-up (green eyeshadow, red lipstick, and purple nail polish!). Greyson was chasing them both and I was finishing up Goblet of Fire. We all agreed that math could wait until after dinner. We ate early and then after I got the table cleared, Cameron happily did two math exercises in less than 15 minutes and then rushed back outside to ride his bike a little before the sun went down. I love that flexibility. I still haven't worked in when to work with Cassia, but she doesn't seem to be suffering, so I'm not going to worry. Maybe I can work with her Saturday, Sunday, and Monday when DH is home and he and Cameron are spending Man Time together? That's something to consider.

Anyway, it was a nice day even though it was very slow moving. Somehow though, the slowness just seemed natural and easy and not like we were "behind" or any such horrid thing. Maybe we were just all so thrilled to see warm blue skies again after two days of grey skies and temperatures in the 60s (gasp!) that we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back to the grindstone, again.

It seems that we just get into a routine and then it gets thrown out the window, lol. But now we are back and have no plans for travel again until late September.

Monday morning we got up and Cameron did a math exercise on adding things like 67+5, where you have to add tens. He did an amazing job. Meanwhile, Cassia starting doing some work in her ETC primer but she still needs a lot of direction and it was too distracting to try and help them both. Instead I got her working on a dry erase alphabet book which is pretty much just tracing and puzzles. She was very happy with that. I need to find a time of day to work with her one on one. She's ready to learn to read and I want to continue with OPGTR and I'd also like a time of day to read aloud to just her. We started reading Raggedy Ann stories this weekend and she really liked them - especially because I have some Raggedy Ann and Andy paper dolls that she plays with while I read. The problem is that she just wants to be with Cameron all day doing whatever he is doing so if I took her aside, she would probably spend most of her time pining for him. Maybe it could be when he's playing video games because she does get bored with watching that fairly quickly...

Anyway, next Cameron did a phonics lesson on reviewing the long /oo/ sound. He said he didn't want to do it and asked me why we had to and all that and I very calmly told him that reading takes practice, like riding a bike, and one day - if he keeps practicing - it will suddenly be easy and fun. He actually seemed to understand and accept that and if we both just look at it as slow and steady practice, I think it will be much less frustrating in the end.

For history we finished up with dinosaurs by reading the last of our dino library books (he still refuses to try the dinosaur readers though!) and then wrote a narration about the subject. Next I moved on to early man and we read about Australopithecines, Homo hablis, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals in the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. I have a few books on the evolution of prehistoric man but I haven't been able to find anything simple and fun so I don't know how big of a hit this will be. I'm sure I can find some fun websites though. We had the best time playing the games on the BBC website on dinosaurs. They probably have early man things too. I have a link for a virtual tour of the Lascaux which I hope will be really interesting and then I plan to have them make their own cave paintings on crumpled paper bags. That's the plan for this week and then it's back to SOTW (nomads and the first farmers) next week. I also have several juvenile novels on cave dwellers that I'm hoping to get some interest in. I don't have high hopes though. Cameron's been really good about listening to me read non-fiction books about history. I don't know if his patience will hold out for fiction too.

Anyway, all this was done by 11:30 and then we all did our respective "whatevers" until it was time for me to take Cassia to gymnastics. Cameron is still too sick for it so he stayed home with DH. When we got back, we took a plastic dinosaur and encased him in a big blob of clay-ey mud (the only kind we have, luckily in this case) and set it out to dry. Hopefully, when dry, we can crack it open, pull out the dinosaur, and have a "fossil" imprint. We'll see how well it works, lol.

OK, 15 minutes to straighten up the kitchen (another routine already gone to pot because of too much variability in our lives lately!) and then I'm going to try and sneak in another chapter of HP. Or maybe I'll read first, because then I can nurse Greyson at the same time and maybe he'll fall asleep, and then my 15 minutes will be much more productive. Hmmmm, see what happens when I try to schedule things?? ;)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Long time no post!

Six years ago today, I became a mother. (Yes, I feel guilty for not having the birthday montage for Cameron, but my 2001 & 2002 pictures are not on this computer!) For Cameron's birthday we decided to give him a special surprise... a plane ride! On Tuesday we drove down to Los Angeles, spent a couple days with MIL, and then she dropped Cameron off to spend a day at a local beach amusement park with DH and then the two of them flew home together while Cassia, Greyson, and I drove. It was a great time and this weeks excuse for not posting in a week. ;)

So let's see, to catch you up...

Monday was school as usual. Cameron did a phonics lesson and a couple of math exercises. I decided to start Cassia on The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. We did the letter "A" and learned the first verse of the Short Vowel Poem. Cameron suddenly had a huge flashback to when he learned it and remembered that we had the audio companion, as well. So then we spent the next hour listening to the entire cd. Gah. It's fun, but super repetitive.

After lunch we read some more dinosaur books and then it was time for gymnastics. It was Star Day and Cassia passed her Level 1 Shooting Stars with 5 out of 6 stars. She has correctly mastered a Forward Walk on the low beam, a Tummy Roll on the bars, a Standing Squat-On to Knees on the vault, a 10-Second Support Hold on the parallel bars, and 5 Window Wash Jumps on the trampoline. She did not get a star for her Forward Roll with Elevator Up, but Cameron still has trouble with that one! She was quite proud of herself (though between me and you, I think they were a bit easy on her, lol). Cameron got a HUGE chart of skills to master in his new class. There are 2 main levels, Rollers and Twisters, and there are 4 sub-levels to each of those. In each sub-level there are 10 skills of which you need to master 8 to pass the level and get a ribbon. He got 3 stars: 10-Second Hollow Body Push Up Hold on the floor, 10-Second Straight Arm Hold on the parallel bars, and Casting 3 Times with Straight Legs on the horizontal bar. They were really tough on him. I saw him do several other of the skills on this level but I guess he didn't have good enough form to "pass." I guess that's the difference between Recreational and Preschool classes. Form versus Fun.

Tuesday we started the day with Cassia's ballet class and then drove down to LA. Seven and a half hours of joy. ;) Not much else to say there.

Wednesday we took a Field Trip to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. So much fun! We went with my MIL, SIL, and her girls M8 and H4. Everyone had a blast. They had the famous Pit 91 open for observation while the archaeologists excavated. Nasty stuff. They had big plastic barrels full of asphalt and double rubber gloves on. Yucky, yucky. At one point during our visit, we went in and watched a little educational movie and the kids just ate it up. Cameron was leaning forward in his seat with his mouth hanging open. Cassia would alternate between watching and hugging everyone around her, but several times over the next couple of days she would spout off facts that had been said in the movie. This really reinforces my confidence in the fact that my kids, Cameron especially, are visual learners. I can't imagine how much he would miss out on if I "limited screen time" like so many people suggest. You've got to play to your strengths. I mean, I limit cartoon time. I limit video game time to an hour or so. But limit documentaries? No way. Anyway, we came home with a saber-tooth cast replica, an ice age animal domino set (to match the North American animals domino set we got in Yosemite last summer), a prehistoric animal coloring book, and T-Rex and Dire Wolf masks. A very successful trip in everyone's opinion.

Thursday we met some friends (iVillage friends!) at the Disneyland Hotel for some swimming and hanging around. It was a short but sweet visit. Before we met them we grabbed some lunch at the Rainforest Cafe which was quite an experience. The kids loved it. Greyson was enthralled with the giant animatronic butterflies.

Friday we left Cameron for his Birthday Adventure and drove home. This time it took nine and a half hours. Lovely fun, but amazingly, Cassia did not complain once. I was very proud of her. Greyson slept most of the time because he had developed a big ole fever, poor guy. Once Cameron and DH got home from their plane ride, he collapsed on the couch and was suddenly very sick too. Again, poor guy. :( So thankfully, we had done all of our birthday celebrating early because he spent all of Saturday laying on the couch watching Harry Potter movies and building LEGOs.

And that should catch you up on our lives. I know you were dying of the suspense. ;)