Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Random cool pictures

In spite of already photobombing every one of my most recent blog posts, there still are a ton of pictures that didn't really fit in anywhere, that I'd like to preserve for posterity. This is that post! Put your seat belts on, there are A LOT of pictures coming your way, and they are all precious, adorable, cute, and totally not be missed! I am not being biased, either ;)

 This little guy reading (upside down, but who cares)

The time we redeemed the free ice cream coupons the kids earned as part of the Summer Reading Program at both places one after the other in lieu of lunch (Coldstone Creamery and Ikea).

 This little guy just brightens every day! 

 Being a ham in his Sunday best

 Miriam loves this East Indian dress her Dad let her pick out on a special outing

 The kids were clamoring over who got to sit next to their uncle at each service

Side note: Multiple people have asked me if my brother believes like us in regards to the Bible and Christianity. In a nut shell, no, he does not. That didn't stop him from attending the church services, though (we do not force our guests to attend - duh!), and he even expressed that he liked and agreed with various points. He respects our beliefs and our way of life, even though it is not what he himself has chosen. In spite of both of us having our own views and opinions, getting along with just about anyone, let alone my own sibling, comes pretty naturally. I feel silly for even having to point this out, but the question keeps being asked.

In a bit of spare time, I managed to make these two matching shirts for the little boys on my cool embroidery machine. They are currently their favorite shirts - I have to hide them to get them through the laundry.

As we did last year, we went to Krispy Kreme again on "Talk Like a Pirate" day. It was great fun, though I still don't care for doughnuts again yet.Ten dozen doughnuts will do that to a person!

Rebecca and Isaac hate having their pictures taken lately. Hopefully, this phase will soon pass!


 Anna is such a sweet little doll

 Boaz thinks he is an adult, and ready to take on the world. He grabbed this little lunch box "suit case" and just started heading down the sidewalk. 

 Stephen showed him how to get the mail instead, which I thought was beyond precious. 

 If you know my husband in real life, you know that Stephen is copying him to a T without even trying. 

Milk delivery day. The boys thought if they got into the crates, they could ride back to the dairy on the delivery truck. Stephen hopes to have his own farm some day, and keeps asking the driver to take him to the dairy to see the cows.

An outing to Shakes and Cones in Scottsdale for Solomon's birthday. So, so good! Like Dairy Queen, but all organic, and without the toxic aftertaste. If you are local and have never been - you need to go! 

A favorite board game before bed with the younger kids

See, I told you, cuteness and picture overload! :) 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Homeschool update

We are currently done with ten (of 36) weeks of this school year, which is the farthest along we have ever been at this point in the year. Yay for starting early! It feels a lot like getting up early in the morning and getting a head start on the day. I am hoping this feeling of "being ahead" will last the entire school year.

In spite of an impromptu 3-day trip to California to celebrate 15 years of marriage, we managed to stay on track by working ahead,  bringing books for the drive, and finishing up loose ends on the weekend after getting home. There were a few groans from the kids, but in the end, they were all happy to not have fallen behind a week, which they know they inevitably have to catch up. 

Boaz hanging out poolside. This little guy is a riot.  

The older kids are motivated each day by how well they are progressing in their school work, and how thanks to my having completed finished their lesson plans for the year before we started, they are able to stay on track easily. The sooner they get done, the sooner they - well, get done!  

Miriam is learning to work independently, and Rebecca is just really taking flight with her reading. Anna is starting to sound out little words, and is a fast learner. She still has only a short attention span, as she loves playing with her two little brothers. Since we now have more "students" than young children who mostly play, our home during weekdays has a fairly structured and academic atmosphere, which naturally makes the little kids want to "do school" like all their older siblings. By contrast, when Solomon was just getting started, he wasn't always interested in doing any school work since all his younger siblings were playing and he was the only one working. Some things do get easier the more kids there are!

 A little Daddy-daughter walk in the morning.

 Making and painting a pinata for the week we learned about Hidalgo and Mexican Independence 

 An experiment John and I did to show different pH values

Story time continues to be a much loved nightly tradition at our home. Even though I had thought the older kids are past the age of enjoying story time, and even though we are currently on our third time (for the boys) through the Little House series, they always put down what they are doing and join in when I sit down to read to the younger kids before bed. Other nights, they offer to read to their younger siblings while I straighten the house one last time before bed.

 Story time before bed each night - I am no longer the only read-aloud choice

On a different night. All the kids are book rats!

 My husband bought me this Bible, and I just LOVE it. You can find it here

This is our new splashy addition to the front yard. The playhouse has seen better days, but I am glad it has made it through the season just this once more. Temps are still in the triple digits here, so mid-morning splash times are very popular. 

The kids are pretending to put out a fire in the play house.

Doing school work in the front yard
When my brother came to visit, we did school work the first week he was here, which he enjoyed helping with, and took the second week off by trading it in for one of the two weeks of fall break we had scheduled. 

Our family has gone on field trips virtually every single week so far, and once a month, there is a church-wide field trip. This was at Butterfly Wonderland last month.

Today, we visited the Wells Fargo History Museum in downtown Phoenix, followed by lunch at our new favorite pizza place, Pizza Studio. I thought this trip would probably mostly appeal to the younger ages, but the older kids also had a great time, and enjoyed hanging out with their friends (and eating pizza!). 

We are taking next week off for fall break. If the weather ever cools down, it might even start feeling like fall! 

And now you know what we have been up to in our homeschool! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Solomon turns 14

Before I'm even used to the idea of having a teenager in the house, Solomon turned another year older - 14. Let me tell you, it is just crazy how time flies!! If I didn't have the little kids to keep me too busy, I could just sit and have a good cry about how fast the kids are growing up any time I think about it.

Having older kids is so wonderful! They are funny, you can have intelligent conversations with them (well, mostly...), they delight us with their individual skills, they are great helpers, and they just all around make us happy and proud.

Of course, they also moan when you hug them, eat like a small army, have busy schedules, are much more emotionally complex than a toddler, and worst of all, will never be little again and snuggle up in our laps or make us marriage proposals.

Since I still have all ages represented at home, I have not quite yet had to face the bittersweet reality that someday soon, all these arrows we have been shaping and sharpening will truly take flight. But oh, I can see it on the horizon, and it is approaching faster and faster. 

Anyhow... Solomon's birthdays are always the hardest, because he's the one paving the way, like the beginning of a great, swelling tide. And yes, our tide is (hopefully) still swelling! :)

 Anna positively adores her big brother. So sweet!

 Miriam's look is priceless

 As is her "fresh out of bed" hair

Breakfast beauties

The special birthday tart was a gift from sweet friends at church

 Playing the new extension to his current favorite game with the bros

For the party, Solomon had liked the idea of playing laser tag. We hired a local company to set up a laser tag course at the park near our house, which was a huge success, in spite of the temps still being in the triple digits here in early October. 


 Miriam and her almost identical-looking friend

After the laser tag, we had a BBQ lunch at the park. In all, between the parents and children, we had about 40 people, so it was a great, big, fun party.

Stephen was enjoying his unfettered access to the sodas. And yes, stripes and plaid is a dead giveaway that he dressed himself that day. 

Try as we may, we could not get the candles lit in the breeze. Solomon was kind enough to play along with this important "photo op"

 Then there's this little guy... :)

... and his best friend (no, not the cake, though that's a close second).

Becky's birthday is up next, in just a few days, and we will be staying busy with birthdays all the way through February.