Friday, September 21, 2012

Wyatt::7 Years Old

My summer babies have had their birthdays. Fall may officially begin. On Tuesday Wyatt turned 7! That is so amazing to me. 7 seems so old. I think of him as so little still. Wyatt's birth story is one of my favorites. We had our own house. All my family was there. He was my first baby born at home. I have a picture on my wall of Rand throwing Brendan WAY too high into the air. Willie took that picture and framed it and gave it to us for Christmas. It was taken on the afternoon I was in labor with Wyatt. I stood in the doorway and watched Brendan being tossed into the air thinking about how his little world was about to change. I so hoped he would be getting the best playmate around. And now I know that is exactly what he got!

It is strange celebrating his birthday here. He was born here, he celebrated his 1st birthday here. The rest have been elsewhere until this year. Now he is 7! Already been places and done things. Lots of things are different than when he came into our lives. Lots.

 He is a wonderfully flexible child. He goes with the flow and is okay when things change on him at the last minute. He is a great direction follower and lego builder. And he can kill his older brother at certain video games. His younger siblings love being entertained by him and he is sensitive to how others are feeling. He frequently offers encouraging words especially when he thinks someone is feeling down. He's a keeper.

his favorite food. (scratch that. the only food he likes)

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Day of School

We started school today! Late, I know, but that's how we roll these days. The boys are taking classes again this year at ORLA (Olympia Regional Learning Academy) through their program Homeschool Connect. It is an excellent resource for us and SO fun and great for the boys to round out and supplement what we do at home. It adds a bit more of a load for me, but it's worth it. One challenge (some might call it a drawback) is that parents, or a responsible adult, have to be on the campus while their child is there. So that means me with babes in tow, which is hard, but it is awesome to be able to peek in on their classes, be involved, intercept them between classes, eat lunch together, etc.  Also this year I am still using the curriculum I've used all along (Sonlight), but because we are involved at ORLA we get an allocation from the school district to pay for many of our curriculum needs (non-sectarian only). Long story short I have been piecing together my curriculum via my curriculum website, ORLA's resource center, ordering through ORLA and friends who have bits and pieces of the "core" we are working from. So it has taken me longer this year to figure that all out. We are on our way now though!

Without going into our whole boring, busy schedule I will say this. I'm am excited for the structure and all the fun things we will be learning (even me!) but I am scared to death at the same time. I know this is a lot and there are a whole lot of people (including me sometimes) who thinks homeschooling my kids is going to be the death of me and why in the world would I do it. But I feel called and affirmed every time I take the step of faith I'm required to take every. stinkin. day. I value it so much I'm willing to do what it takes.

For my records:

At ORLA, Brendan is taking Real Science 4 Kids-Physics, Making your Art, a required POD class 4/5, Martial Arts, and Investigation Agency (problem solving)

Wyatt is taking Imagination Creation (Art), gymnastics, a required POD class 2/3, Come on and Sing! and Martial Arts.

Good times.
At home we are studying World History Part 2-From the fall of Rome through modern world history. I switched up their math this year. I enjoyed the math we have been using (Horizons). I found it challenging, and fast moving and yet the system moved them along in a way that they could grasp everything new and retain everything they had been taught. Anyway, it is published by Alpha and Omega which is a Christian organization and ORLA can't acknowledge it as something that can count towards the boys' "offsite" hours, plus I wanted ORLA to pay for our math, so we switched to Teaching Textbooks. I'm thinking it was a good move because the boys can be a lot more independent with it, and they get to use the computer, so they love that!

Other than that it is the same ol', same ol'. It's freakin' me out a bit that this begins our 6th year of homeschool...or school in general. How are my kids growing up so fast??!

Our first day couldn't have gone better. (A lot of first days are a bit bumpy with the adjustment) We operated pretty smoothly and we picked back up as if we'd never stopped. I feel so lucky to get to be with watch them learn, to help them along. It's a sweet life. I will miss it when it is over.

Lunch for everyone
UGH! He's in 4th grade!!!!
2nd Grade
had to get up kinda early this morning!
Can you see the little bit of nerves they had?? So cute. Even at ORLA you get nervous for the first day of school.
recess in one of the toddler play rooms
nothin' better than blue lollipop lips, slides and electricity

Friday, September 7, 2012

Farewell to Summer

Over the holiday weekend.....last weekend already!....we decided we were going to go to a different park everyday. Rand had Friday off, so that meant 4 day weekend. 4 parks. I think I am still recovering from the constant go, go, go and the crazy messy house and out of control laundry that resulted. BUT, we had a lot of fun. And, seriously? The weather here this summer has been AMAZING! We are going on almost 50 days straight without rain! If I'm being honest, I can say that I am ready for a dark, chilly, rainy day, but I will wait patiently (because it is indeed coming) and we shall soak up these last lovely summer days.

First up, Twanoh State Park. I grew up going to this park. It is situated on Hood Canal which has to be one of my favorite places. It never gets old. It is one of the most beautiful places ever. My mom lives real close so we went to her house first and had dinner and then went to the Canal to take advantage of the full tide. In the Sound (salt water) swimming is best at high tide, and beach exploring is best at low. It was a swimming kind of evening.

doesn't his face and teeth look great!? so happy and thanking God about his tooth!!!!
Someone at the park brought music. Dance party a given.

Saturday we decided to try out a park close to our house that we had never been to before. We went to Millersylvania State Park which had swimming in Deep Lake and camping. It was an awesome find close to home and the lake was great. Nice and sandy beach. Great roped off swimming area and shallow pretty far out there....until a great drop off. Lots of fun. Annabel LOVES swimming and splashing so she got in on the action too!

Careful trying to hug this tree! You might fall into a bark crevice and disappear!
Next up, Lake Washington. It was totally last minute, but we decided to go up north to Kirkland (near Seattle) to check some stuff out there. Kirkland is situated right on Lake Washington and has a lot of great parks. We found a great spot right at the marina that had roped off swimming and live music and a super fun vibe. We hung out there for the whole afternoon before we made our way back home. I only have one picture because my battery was toast after the previous two days. :) Oh, there were pirate ships on this lake (it's a HUGE lake) and they were firing their cannons at each other. I think the kids thought they were real and were totally confused about what was going on. It was another glorious day swimming and breathing that perfect Northwest air!
Finally, day 4! Ha! I just had to stop and think for a second, "Now where the heck did we go the last day???" Ah yes, Burfoot Park. I had picked up a brochure for this park somewhere else and it had been floating around the house for weeks. The boys had been begging to go there to explore the beach (also on Puget Sound). So Monday afternoon we headed over there. There is a great grassy play area, but what we went for was the beach. We found the trails and headed off into the woods to find it. We had no idea what we were doing or about to encounter so we were not prepared. We headed down the trail with bikes and double strollers, but had to turn around when the trail turned into stairs! We tried again with one bag and the backpack instead. Brendan kept his bike and got a great work out getting back up the trail later. The beach was beautiful and the kids mostly collected jellyfish (tide was out). We could see the Capitol building to the South and lots of sailboats and kayakers out on the Sound. I think I see kayaks in our future. :)

Phew! See what I mean? Aren't you tired after all that? I suppose it's nothing compared to what I have coming: Homeschool, ORLA, AWANAs, Women's Midweek....... Goodbye summer.