Watching these chickens grow up has been so fun. They aren't even laying eggs yet and I'm ready for a few more chicks! :) While they are entertaining and endlessly fun to watch, I find myself kind of grossed out by their feet. I don't know why. They start out just tiny and pink. But they grow fast and now they have these really weird looking legs and feet. Milly (white) and Hattie (red) have yellow legs. Milly's are really quite huge. Sister Hazel (the easter egger) has green legs. Green! And Jemimah (black), I kid you not, she has black legs with yellow toe nails...or claws...I don't even know what to call them! She is the prettiest chicken (IMO) with really shiny black feathers, a shorter beak and big black eyes. And then to top it off it looks like she's had her toenails painted. I like it! ....And yet it kind of grosses me out at the same time!
Today we celebrated Easter. It was a day early, but we do what we have to do!
Easton missed out on a bit of the Easter tradition fun because he just needs to sleep more than the rest of us, but I am sure he is none the wiser. :) He did "hunt" and find his Easter basket this morning, hiding in one of his most favorite places.....the bathtub! And he joined us at church which is the most important of our holiday celebrations. Next year I'm sure he will want to be a part of the egg coloring and hunting, and I'm sure he will be!
Awww, look at us last Easter! (what I mean is, look at Easton!)
This year, we opted for simple, traditional, food-coloring egg dye. Just me and the big boys "after hours". Easton was asleep (which made the activity a little more slow paced and easy) and Rand was working (which made the activity a little sad).
Easton is growing up fast. Everything changes when they can finally walk! He is off and exploring and already walking a lot better than when this video was taken. Someone should remind me, too, not to take videos of kids right before nap time. :)
Not only walking, but also climbing. He is now constantly on top of the school table. I guess he has a better view from up there.
"See this knee right here? That's what I use to climb up onto this bench. And I still really like to point."
wish this picture was clear! :( It was such a cute moment!
And he wants to color. Slow down, Easton. You don't have to get too big yet! (although it is nice that he isn't eating the crayon in this picture)
Today is an anniversary. It is not the kind you celebrate, the numbers stacking up to year upon year of life or love. It is the sad kind. An anniversary that counts lasts and loss and deep missing. This kind of anniversary is the kind you dread. Ugh. It's April 14th again. April 14th. The weeks before, I find myself dwelling...thinking about the lasts. The last dinner, the last Christmas, the last laugh, the last hug, the last picture of all 5 siblings.... I think long about 26 years with my brother and search hard for lost memories that give me a little more to hold onto and remember.
Minds can move fast to dark places. The "why" question pops up too often and without answer. Visions of his last moments haunting. Self pity and bitterness at the awful fall-out that has ballooned a tragedy much bigger than it had to be and that continues now, four years later. I quietly long for healing from all this. Real healing.
I think I have changed a lot the last 4 years. Maybe it is only visible to me. A lot of it is just a different way of looking at life, and family, and priorities, and sin, and God's love. I fear more pain because I'm human, but I know I can breathe through it with the One who provides my very breath. His grace is sufficient for me.
2Corinthians 12:8-10 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It has been since before Christmas, I think, that Wyatt has had a haircut. Brendan has only had one. He is very much due for another and has asked daily for a week. (Today, I think....) Wyatt decided before the last haircuts that he wanted to grow his hair out. Why, you might ask? Because it's cool right now? Because Justin Bieber has long hair? Because getting haircuts is an itchy bother?? Oh no. Wyatt is on a mission to look like Anakin Skywalker (It started out to look like Luke, but Luke is blond and Anakin's hair is brown so it follows....)
Earlier he told me that maybe he was going to cut his hair short again this time. "Should I??" he asked. I said, "Whatever you want." He decided that he would keep it...maybe just a trim because he thinks that all the girls will think he looks cute. Ummm, I thought I was the only one who mattered???
I think he might be heading to the dark side...
this is what we are shooting for apparently
this is one of my favorite recent pictures of the little Jedi.
I hesitate to call these Workboxes because they are so far from the real thing in which they are named after. But this major modification is inspired by them at the very least.
note: I realize that some (maybe most) of you have no idea what in the world a workbox is anyway. If you want to know, you can go here. If this is something you could care less about you can stop reading now. :) It's just a part of my homeschooling journey.
Multiple times throughout the year I have to do some major modifications in my schooling regimen in order to continue to have the motivation, desire, inspiration, etc., to continue on doing the job I want to do in a way that is good for the kids (and me)! Whether it be adding in fun activities, or buying new supplies, or totally re-organizing the whole room, something has to give or I will just throw up my hands and quit! There are dry, dull spells that come upon us throughout the year and I happen to be in one right now. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it through the last 7 weeks of our lessons. UGH! Last year before we started I had researched Sue Patrick's WorkBox System. It interested me, but I never really did anything about it. Didn't want to purchase the whole system without knowing how it might work for us and how school was going to go with a little baby in the midst etc.
Anyway, I started looking at it again because we need more organization something fierce right now. The curriculum I use is great because the lesson plans are already created. I don't have to do any prep work. In the morning I can open my giant folder, point to the day and see exactly what we are doing. This book, these pages; this kid, this writing assignment; etc. However, I felt like I was just going through the motions big time and only doing the bare minimum and was always torn between getting Wyatt onto something and Brendan needing me at the same time. And if someone didn't have something to do they would have to wait until I finished with the other, etc.
So now we have our version of workboxes. It's a trial for the rest of the year to decide if some of the Workbox ideas will work for us or not. We are using file boxes instead of individual clear boxes because I wasn't sure we would have room for the racks AND 24 individual shoe boxes in our already too cluttered school room.
So far it's working pretty well. The boys love them and it gives them a renewed since of purpose with school (me too). They are doing their work well and not dragging their feet like before. I have to prepare the boxes ahead of time, the night before, which takes discipline, but is well worth the ease of our morning the next day. I also find lots of extras to include that I tend to leave out when we are just wingin' it out of my Instructors Guide.
The file boxes I found have a nifty storage compartment in the top of the lid where they each have all the individual supplies they might need for any given assignment. I really like the added organization to our school day. Just after I started doing this we acquired 3 new bookshelves. At least 2 are going into the school room and I am planning on getting the clear shoe boxes for next year and implementing the system more along the lines that Sue Patrick recommends. It will ease the loading and unloading of the files that has already proven to be a little bothersome for little boy hands.
Wyatt's workbox with folders holding all his assignments for the day. In the back is his 3-ring binder that holds his completed (loose leaf) assignments, a drawing book and a small white board.
The front of Wyatt's box. The numbers attach to the folders when there is work to complete. They get placed on the chart on the front of the box when the work is done.
Wyatt's box lid has his handwriting strip on the top.
A folder with an assignment (15mins. computer. Hooked on Spanish)
Here's the top of Brendan's box opened. Oh, and also, I moved Brendan to his own desk in the corner because sitting across from his brother was rather distracting. :)
Doing this (loose) system has really encouraged me to think a little more about adding in the extras that we just never seem to get to. We incorporated extra learning centers for reinforcing things they are learning and adding extra practice that is more hands on as opposed to their workbooks.
Here is our "Money" poster center.
the envelope holds cards with amounts and real money$$$
I think we just might make it. Let's see...5 weeks and 3 school days left! :)
I've already started loading my online shopping cart with next year's school!
I took the week off from blogging, so sorry to say there is going to be a weeks worth of pictures in this one post. :)
Having my Dad around was a lot more kick back than the week before with my sister and her fam. Not saying one was better than the other, just saying...
We were much less busy but had an equally good time. The weather was HOT! Broke a record, had our first 100 degree day....all without A/C. Awesome. We had baseball practices and games and we swam and played another round of miniature golf.
Let's start with swimming.
My dad likes to rough house with the boys and it has been interesting watching him continue as the boys have gotten bigger. Brendan, in my opinion, bordering on the "too big to be launched into the air in the pool." Fortunately, my Dad has been working out and was able to hold his own with the two wild animals.
Most of the week we lounged around. Friday night we went to Castles and Coasters again. It's a fun place to go with the kids and when we have guests. The older 2 are the perfect age for it and Easton can still be packed. I won again. :) (Believe me...it's just a fluke)
Don't know why we didn't take pictures at Brendan's practice, but we got a few at Wyatt's.
Brendan practicing with Dad while Wyatt has practice
Saturday was HOT and we had 2 games. Glad we got them done by noon! It was still hot that early. The big deal was that Brendan got to catch. He's been wanting to forever and so he's been practicing and Saturday was his catching debut. He was pretty excited to put on the gear.
Oh and check this out. Easton destroyed my sunglasses. Ripped them right off my face and chucked them on the ground. So here I am stealing Rand's hat for the games....also entertaining Easton with pictures of himself (it starts so early).
Wow! I exist!