Friday, October 25, 2013

Feeling Spidey

Tessa has been studying spiders all month in first grade and is officially both in love and obsessed with them. Fortunately for her, she had a visual display on spiders do at the end of the month. It could be a poster, pictures, a fake habitat or anything you want.

So while we were home today recovering from illness (and on fall break) we dug out a shoe box, some materials from the yard, glue and paint and went for it.

An old fashioned diorama.

They had to chose a spider type and Tessa chose blue tarantulas. Did you  know there was such a thing? Me neither.
Tarantulas build burrows instead of making webs. Didn't know that either. So we made a little burrow out of a red solo cup, some glue and dirt.

Another thing I didn't know before today was how to spell tarantula. See first grade projects are educational for everyone.

There's our blue tarantula in his burrow with some sand, rocks and other assorted leaves and such all provided by our yard. Gotta love free materials.

Well not totally free....we did buy all of those things aside from the leaves I guess.

I thought we'd be making blue tarantulas out of paper until Tessa told me she had some in her jar of toy spiders.....and I'll be damned, she did! Lucky for us they fit perfectly into our habitat.

Of course she then told me that that was the reason she CHOSE blue tarantulas, because she had some already. And of course I told her she was a genius.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Autumn in the Vineyard

This year's grapes have been harvested, crushed, gone through primary fermentation, strained and are now sitting it out for the long winter's wait in a 6 gallon glass carboy.

So now the leaves on the vine turn yellow and brown like so many other things do in October. In about a month we will trim almost all of the vines down and make some kind of art out them. In the past several years it's been giant crosses that were hung at our house, our church and a friend's living room. We are considering doing smaller ones this year so we can give them to more people.

When they are trimmed, we will then bury the base of the vines in a big heap of mulch to keep it warm for winter, and un-bury it in the spring.

Then do it all over again. 

Something Strange is Happening

We cleaned out the inside of the Mom-mobile.

We fully stocked the freezer and pantry with a wide variety of foods. 

We wrote some instructions about daily life at our house. 

And we spiffed up the the guest bedroom, complete with a fresh autumn sunset Scentsy. 

Could it be....could it be.....that grandparents are coming from Colorado to babysit while Jeremy and I travel to an exciting locale to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (7 months late)?!? Oh yeah baby!!!! See  you on the flip side with pictures. Here's hoping the kids go easy on them!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Varying Degrees of Lunch

We are lucky and unique in that we eat dinner together pretty much every night, and about 5 out of 7 nights it's bonafied home cooked. Please know that in my book, boxed food is still considered home cooked...not so true for my foodie husband.

When Jeremy is traveling then the kids and I eat together. Sometimes from a box, sometimes a little fancier and we light the candle and break out the glassware.

But lunch is kind of anyone's game.

Tessa's is almost always packed by me and featured on Facebook, because I'm that big of a Facebook dork. This was today's featured bento.The kid loves all kinds of food and is easy to please.

Charley comes home from preschool around 11:45 and needs lunch stat. About once a week that comes in the form of a happy meal or some Chick-Fila version of the same thing.

The kid loves nuggets with a burning passion. He would eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner but we try not to let that happen. We feed the obsession....only occasionally.

Lunch is where he is allowed to really explore kid food...something easy and fast like grilled cheese, ham and cheese with crackers, boxed mac and cheese or like today, hot dogs. In the evening we make him eat fish and vegetables just like everyone else, but lunch is kid time.

He really didn't want me to take his pic eating lunch, hence the sour puss.

Once he's eaten his lunch, I get him settled in for rest time on the couch which usually involves a movie. Sometimes he falls asleep and sometimes not, but we don't really force the napping like we did when he was younger. He comes home so tired from preschool, we usually vegetate until it's time to pick up Tessa at 3.

After Charley eats, then it's time for  my lunch...

This is my portion size since surgery and will be my maximum portion for life, about a cup. Today's featured leftover was chicken pot pie from last night's small group.

Since Jeremy is working at home when he's not travelling, he often pops out to grab a quick sandwich or will request a delivery from the kitchen. He usually doesn't have a lot of time to sit and chat or anything. Yesterday I caught him making himself a beautiful caprese salad with some of our homegrown tomatoes and basil.

So the four of us usually have something different from lunch (which is actually true for breakfast now that I think about it)....but you can always find us congregating and eating the same meal at dinner. The rule for dinner is eat what Mom makes or go hungry.  A little hard for picky-ish  Charley sometimes but we make it happen anyway. Life can't be all hot dogs and nuggets.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Mom Guilt- We All Have it at Some Point Right?

My kids were great sleepers and still are.

My kids both potty trained easily and early.

My kids are generally well behaved.

My kids have great social skills with other kids and adults.

My kids know a lot about Jesus and the bible.

These are some things that I can count as small victories in our life together so far. I can look to these things and success for me personally as a Mom. I can say...potty training, yes no problem!

But that by no means, NO MEANS implies that we haven't had other struggles. I guess it's bound to happen at some point. There will be something that your kid just does NOT get and you will feel guilty as a you've failed them in some way. Be it the potty, or sleeping, or eating properly or in our case, reading.

I'm going to openly confess that I wasted a lot of time when Tessa was 4 and 5 doing other things like playing, painting, watching TV and did not invest very much time in reading at all. She vaguely learned her letters in pre-school and I thought that going into Kindergarten that would be enough.

Until she started struggling in Kindergarten which carried into first grade. At age 6.5, she can still barely read. She can spell great which is a mystery to me, but I've started to think that's just pure memorization. When it comes to applying that knowledge to reading a book, she's often lost.

Yes we've tested her eyes, and he teacher is finding a reading tutor for her at the school. We're on it.

But I still feel bad. I could have helped this. I could have been teaching her letters a lot more back when she was 4.

And now Charley is 4 and in the same boat. I worry about him going forward to Kindergarten. His speech is improving all the time, which is good...but now I've started giving him a daily 'homework' sheet which mostly includes writing his name over and over.

But when I show him the ABC cue cards, he only knows C.

I worry that this will be a struggle for both of our kids. Those other things we mastered without trouble. And I'm sure there's some Mom out there who's 4 year old can read but still poops their pants. It seems like there's a hang up for every family...and I've come to think this may be ours.

To each their own struggle.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Big Ol' Pumpkin Retrospective

The same pumpkin patch, always the first week of October, always with the camera in hand...we pick our pumpkins.

 Age 18 months

 Age 2

 Age 3

 Age 4 
(couldn't find a solo shot from her that year but it was a weird year. I was still unable to walk)

 Age 5

 Age 6

 Age 9 months

 Age 21 months

 Age 2

 Age 3

Age 4

Group Shots


 (I was still non-weight bearing on my boot at this point so how I got over into the picture was a big feat indeed)



Pumpkin Pickin' 2013

Today we ventured out on our annual pumpkin picking adventure/photo shoot.

The people there are so nice. It's not like a bonafied pumpkin patch or anything, just a farmer's front yard out in the country.

But we go there every year and act like it's a photo shoot. Usually we're the only ones around. I'm almost certain we make fools out of ourselves saying...cheese! no over here! Charley, for the love of God SMILE!

The kids had a fundraiser party after school before we went there, so they were already a little worn out.  Car nap.

This may be my new favorite family picture. Notice that I'm the only one looking into the camera and not making a face at themselves in the display?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A Perfect School Morning

Last year when Tessa started Kindergarten, it took us at least several months to finally hone in on our morning routine. And now that we've got two kids going to school (well in the morning at least, since Charley only goes half-day)....we are a well oiled machine. 

You can call me anal and I don't mind it. I've been called that before. But I like our morning schedule to be the same every day almost down to the minute. The kids know what to expect and we have yet to run late to school. Also, since Jeremy is sometimes here in the morning and sometimes not, it's all manageable by myself. When he's here of course, even better. 

It's not always perfect but on a perfect day, it would look like this.....

6:40- Kid 'okay to wake' clock turns green, my alarm goes off loud enough to wake the dead.

6:45- The kids get to watch some morning PBS kids in our bed while I get dressed, do makeup and hair. (I'm a long time night bather, as are the kids)

7:10- I'm done getting ready and LOUDLY and obnoxiously sing "this is the day that the Lord has made" to rouse them out of our bed. They groan. Every day. 

7:15- Kids get dressed and I do their hair. I collect that day's laundry to take downstairs (yes I have a laundry schedule. I told you I was anal.)

7:30- Dogs get breakfast, then kids. When Jeremy's around he helps make breakfast. They also get gummy vitamins and allergy pills. 

7:35- I pack Tessa's lunchbox and Charley's snack, start laundry, do any dishes that are hanging around while they eat. We chat at the same time. 
7:45- Breakfast is done, kids brush teeth and get on shoes. 

7:50- We review Tessa's daily list of sight words several times (she gets quizzed on them first thing every day).  

8 am- Our the door and into the car!

8:10- Arrive at school drop off where I give them their daily pep talk (more on that later), and watch them walk into the building holding hands. I lament over how quickly my babies are growing up.  

8:30- I get to eat my breakfast!

I just re-read this and think I'll file this blog post under the 'nobody really cares' file. But hey, it's written now. Enjoy.