Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Leading into Schooltime

We've had a full summer. 
Camps, travels, school planning, birthdays, outings with friends, breathing time, boredom.

I don't know if the kids are, but I'm ready to start school.
Of course, are kids ever ready to start school? I still have Harrison on my side; he's excited. 

The youth group had a Marvel-themed lock-in last Friday. Elizabeth made a subtle Black Widow costume. She won the prize gift card. 

She had a lot of fun making it (and she let me do her makeup!).

Liz is also taking another cake decorating class this year; it's all about fondant.

 Her roses look pretty real.

We had our first week of school this past week. This year I did my best to "cut back until there is peace". This has to happen in the planning stage for me. I'm not sure I could drop a book that I scheduled for the year. I've never done it. Maybe I should try it one day, just to prove to myself that I can. Anyway, I have a hard time letting go of all the good books that are suggested for each child's grade. But I'm realizing that there's absolutely no way to get through all the books this world has to offer ~ not even all the really good ones. And the more we have scheduled for school, the less all that good stuff sticks in their minds. They're always rushing to get the next thing done and don't have time to stop and mull over what they are on. This is not the way a living education works. 

So I took out a couple books from all of their plans and chose a couple of easier ones to replace some hard ones. I also planned for more time on math and grammar, but decided to alternate some subjects instead of do all of them all year long. Some subjects we'll alternate yearly and some we'll alternate by term. I feel like I might get good at this by the time Harrison is ready for high school. 

He's in Kindergarten this year. My baby. The last year to read Winnie the Pooh to my children. I might read it over the summer sometime anyway. The kids all like to come sit in while I'm reading to him. Winnie the Pooh is fun at any age.

Having school definitely helps the kids enjoy each other more. It also gets their creative juices flowing. They spend more time doing stuff they "have" to do (mostly on their own or with me) during the morning/after lunch, so then in the afternoon and evening, they enjoy one another's company again. Summertime brings out the opposite! And then they also seem to be rejuvenated in the afternoons and weekends to try all sorts of new things: drawing, sculpting, planting, card games.... That makes me happy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Jonathan's 11th Birthday

Jonathan had a couple of friends over for his birthday this year. 
Elizabeth made Minecraft Diamond Cupcakes at his request.

He wanted to do the ropes course at Natural Bridge Caverns for his chosen birthday activity. This is the third time he's done it. Uncle John and Aunt Kristy started him on to something, I do believe, when they took us the first time!

It's four stories high. But you're harnessed in, and once you get used to it, the heights aren't bad. I saw a girl loose her footing on a rope and the harness caught her just fine.

There they are: Jonathan, Wyatt and Westley.

And what do you know ~ Legos for his birthday. It's like somebody knows him.

Another fun item that continues to entertain the kids.

This isn't from the birthday but from a day we had some fun roller skating.

Alisa and Emily.

Jonathan and William.


Elizabeth refuses to let me post pictures of her. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Missouri Time

Ah, Missouri. We do love us some Missouri time.

We entered the lower western corner of Missouri in the evening and had some supper at this travel center in Joplin.

We decided to go this exact week because the fair was happening in town. We first arrived to cold rain, however, and the parade and fair were canceled for the evening. The rest of our time was mostly sunny and hot, so it all turned out okay.

Jonathan and Phoebe were the ones who most enjoyed the rides. 
They rode all three nights.

Phillip met a couple of high school and college buddies at the fair and had some good catch-up time. 
Those aren't high school or college buddies in the picture above ~ they're his parents. :-) 

A new Vandalia Museum that we walked around. 
As a kid Phillip used to play on the white scale shown in the back of the picture. It was in a bank in town.

The parade which was moved to Friday night.

Kids in the corn. This has been a bad year for crops around Vandalia. Too much rain. 

Lots of time was spent hanging out at Mimi and Papa's house.

We stopped in to see Grandma Phoebe. We always have to get a picture of the two Phoebes. 

Usually we mostly hang around home while we're in Missouri, because we're so tired from traveling to get there that we don't want to travel to see anything. But this time we talked ourselves into going to St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch. 

And it was a hot day for it! The kids mostly wanted to go to St. Louis to see the Eads bridge. Can you see it in the background here? We were so hot and tired after the Arch that we barely tried to get very close to it to get a better look. Anyway, they learned about the bridge from "The Men Who Built America." Carnegie was a key player in its construction. He provided the steel or something like that.

After the Arch we walked to see the old Courthouse nearby. 
It's famous for the Dred Scott lawsuit having begun there. 

Phillip's brother and his wife also came to spend time with us over the weekend, and I went to see my college roommate Jessica in Quincy. I didn't get pictures of any of them though. I also got my school books ordered while in MO and finished reading several books. Gotta love accomplishing things even while on vacation. :-)

On our way back home to Texas. We. Were. Tired. 
But the kids did excellently on the long road trip back. We made it home by midnight with almost no arguing. Pre-tty im-pressive.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th of July in Loosin'Nana

Harrison pronounces Louisiana as "Loosin' Nana." That's where we spent the 4th of July this year. I believe we spent last year there too. What do ya know....

On the way, we spent a couple hours at the mall in Beaumont where Elizabeth spent some time with her Beaumont girls at a bookstore. Phoebe decided she wanted to pay for an experience. I really didn't think she'd like it, but she did. 

The kids made a house out of hay at the park. I remember doing this as a kid too. 

At Oil and Gas Park in Jennings. 
We showed up to play (the Jennings Park is a tradition for us), and found that they were having a 4th of July Celebration with free music and bouncy things. How fun! We stayed about 7 hours, all the way through to the fireworks. Barbecued, played, tried a little fair food, and listened to some good 'ole Cajun music. 

Elizabeth and Jayda!

Jonathan coming down the water slide. It was a hot and sweaty day. The kids were glad to get a little wet.

This bouncy house actually collapsed at one point with Harrison in it. He was the first one out, sha baby. And he went around telling everyone the story. Everyone got out safely and they fixed the problem.

Cajun band complete with an accordian, triangle, fiddle, and pedal steel guitar. 

This was the annual family reunion at Uncle Gib's farm. Sugar cane and rice were in the fields. 

They make jambalaya outdoors in a big pot every year. 

And as always, everyone was very tired as we headed home. It's such a blessing to be able to go so often to Louisiana. I get to have good conversations with so many people. I love getting to know my Grandpa, the kids getting to spend time with Nana and Aupa, spending time with childhood friends. Thank you, Teressa, for keeping us every time we come!