Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bright Florida Smiles!

The kids love to eat Florida oranges (as long as I take all the white stuff off)!

Jonathan is a Beginner Orange Rind Smiler, but his sister ("Sissie" as he calls her) is a good coach in matters such as these.

Monday, July 30, 2007

And a Child Shall Lead Them...

The kids wanted to hold a church service one evening. Elizabeth had been planning it for two days!

Elizabeth passed the offering bowl and then gave us some tortilla for communion (Phoebe was really into the tortilla and kept following it around!).

Jonathan was supposed to be up front helping with the service, but he was too shy, so he stayed in the "pews" (Tot Spot chairs) with Dad and Mom. Phoebe took his seat and showed us her Bible.

Elizabeth told the story of baby Jesus. Then we sang two songs: Jesus Loves Me and another song from her old VBS Safari CD.

A winning service overall!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Prairie Walk

Ever since reading Little House on the Prairie, Elizabeth has wanted to go to a prairie and run through the grasses and "wheat" (as she calls the weeds). So we found a prairie (a field that is waiting to be bought and built on) near our local YMCA and walked to it today. We took our nature study pack and Elizabeth drew some pictures of the flowers we saw. We also picked some of the flowers. There are some really pretty ones if you look closely for them in the field. Colors of lavender, bright butter yellows, deep burghandy, and pristine whites. We brought some cold water and sat in our Lil Tot seats that we had bought for $2 at a garage sale this summer and the kids explored the "prairie".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Church Pictures Continued

Here's also a picture of the church building.

Church Pictures

Finally, we have some pictures of our family at church. Phillip preaches every Sunday (two services); he contacts/ works with visitors; he's working on the church website; he does the visual aids for each of his sermons; he goes to lots of meetings (his favorite part ~ NOT!); and does whatever else they ask him to do.

We are at Christ's Church -Fleming Island (there are two other church sites: one in Mandarin (Jacksonville) and one in Camden County, GA). I teach the 4th graders during the second church service. We do some activities, then go to large group with all the other age groups and have the lesson and sing, then come back to class and do more activities and explanation of the lesson.

Picture explanations: Jonathan, Phoebe and Elizabeth in their respective classes (Jonathan is the only kid right now because he's early). Phillip sitting in the atrium cafe talking with someone. Phillip (with our music minister behind him) doing announcements during the church service. Some of the kids in my class shaping a treasure out of play-dough (I usually have 10-16 kids). The stage used for our large group time for teaching the kids.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Library Party ~ Woo hoo!

It has been an interesting summer of observation at the library for the summer reading program. This is the first year that we've been able to make it to most of the reading sessions and the end of summer party. I love librarians! They are an interesting lot (and I don't say any of this in a negative light because I wanted to be a librarian when I was little. I think it's because I liked to read so much). The day- time librarians here are a little stricter than the night-time ones, I think. "You must wear shoes in the library" (even if your son has eczema on his feet and shoes irritate it). "You must not run." When 30 kids are playing with a parachute for a game during story hour, "no children may run underneath" (even though a parachute begs for kids to hide underneath it!). I don't believe any of the day-time librarians have children at home.

So when we went to the party this morning, I was a curious to see how it would go. I was surprised that it went very well! I attribute that to the night-time librarians putting it on and came up with my theory of day vs. night while doing the kids' craft at the party. Yes, I had to do their craft because they couldn't do it. It was more for older kids, but I enjoyed it and was kind of glad they weren't able to do it! It's called an Ojo de Dios (Eye of God) and was inspired by something a certain kind of Mexican Indian used to make. Jonathan is holding his in his hands in the picture above. We played some games and got some cookies and did a little Mexican dance and got a cool $20 children's dictionary as a prize. That was my favorite part! I"ve been wanting a Children's dictionary, but didn't want to pay that much money for one right now.

Elizabeth is wearing her new skates above. She's been wearing them all over the house and outside since she got them. Jonathan has been sending his toys to work with Dad. A car, a superman figure. And then when Dad comes back he wants to know where they are. He also put his new spiderman folder in Dad's computer case as if that's the very place it belonged. Phoebe is learning how not to throw fits. She is kenai (is that how you spell it, Mom?) or ornery. She will do exactly what i had just told her not to do with a sly smile on her face as if it were a game. So we are working on that also.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunburns and such

We had another lovely beach day last Friday. We wandered around a little looking for a new beach we hadn't been to~ stopped for a quick lunch~ then found a beach and had another good couple of hours playing in the sand (this time mom got buried) and jumping the waves. After we got home, Phillip and I found we were sunburnt. We had brought suntan lotion and then never put it on. The kids were okay because we had put theirs on before we left. But each day has gotten worse with ours. Mine isn't as bad as Phillips. His back was burning AND itching today, plus he had to wear a suit jacket to preach in and he was just about to climb the walls by the time we got home from all the Sunday activities. He's taking a nap now and it has calmed down thankfully.

There was a lot going on last week: the kids and myself went to the Jacksonville Zoo with a lady who had some free passes. It's a great zoo with lush vegetation everywhere (it's a Zoo and Gardens actually), a train to ride on, a park and splash pool for kids. Needless to say, we didn't get it all in before it was time to leave, but I do look forward to going in the fall when it's a little cooler. (After leaving the zoo we found out there was an advisory to stay inside because of the heat.)

We also finished selling our house last week, went to a skating birthday party, and have had two dinners (given by different groups of people) for our children's minister who will be leaving in a couple of weeks. I look forward to a more relaxed week on the next one.

I wanted to share a few games that the kids make up to entertain themselves at home. They are fun to watch: One is called "tossover" ~ this is where they push each other off of the couch. Another is called "hot- ti- diddy" ~ this is where they trot around in a circle and sing "hot-ti-diddy, hot-ti-diddy, going around in a circle!". Another is "merry go round" where they run in circle on the couch cushions on the floor. They also came up with a silent film yesterday. They had on some Beethoven music, and Elizabeth would pour Jon some tea, and he would drink it, and she would shake her finger at him in a silly way. It was kind of funny to watch, but maybe that's because they're my kids.

Phoebe has just been walking everywhere. Elizabeth astounds people with her vocabulary. Jonathan is coming into his own, making his own conversations now, and wanting to do his own thing (especially play cars with Daddy).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six

The following is a list from a Charlotte Mason website that a child can attain during their 6th year of life. I plan on incorporating this into Elizabeth's schooling this year. A lot of it is done naturally, but it's nice to have some set goals.

"A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six", a reprint
of a curriculum outline from a CM school in the 1890's.

from Summer 93 Parents Review pub by Karen Andreola

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the
sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundries of their own home
8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach
9. to tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3
from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (my note here, we may want to
substitute early American for early English!)
10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every
week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found
12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape
14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
15. to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
16. to name 20 common objects in Spanish, and say a dozen little sentences
17. to sing one hymn, one Spanish song, and one English song
18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own

Monday, July 9, 2007

Home Sold!

We closed on our house in Iowa today! So it is sold, and we can move on to another one if we decide to do that. It was a very good first home to own. We had great neighbors, a nice big backyard for the kids to play in, plenty of room.... a lot for which to be grateful. And now we are even more grateful to have it sold, especially when so many homes aren't selling.

Friday, July 6, 2007

New Haircuts

Just wanted to show some quick pictures of Elizabeth and myself with before and after of our new haircuts. Mine has kind of fallen because I got it cut first and, of course, the humid weather here just doesn't let my hair volumize. There are also included some random pictures of the family. The guys were making scary faces there at the end. By the way, if you click on the pictures, you can see them much bigger and better.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July and Dr. Appts

We had a wonderful 4th of July with small town parades and Apple pie and a little bit of reading (okay, more than a little bit). We decided to try a parade in a smaller town about 15 minutes from us. Elizabeth had made pom-poms, an American flag, and two blow horns (all out of construction paper and tape) for us to use. Jonathan was afraid of the loud horns from the fire engines and ambulances. Elizabeth was at first disappointed that the parade did not meet her expectations ("This isn't as fun as I thought it would be."). But then they started throwing candy and there were some queens ("Mom, I think that's the queen of the world!" she was the queen of MIddleburg High School.). It was a good thing two kids couldn't bring home candy because our kids just couldn't seem to get to the candy before it was snatched up; but the two kids would bring us all the candy they caught, so we have plenty. Yeegghhh. Phoebe wanted to be held by Dad the whole time. She didn't even want me to hold her; but I was okay with that. She would have enjoyed being on the ground also, but then she would have crawled/walked into the street. She is not afraid. Elizabeth's favorite thing about the parade is when a 'princess' (a Sonic girl in a long skirt and on roller skates) gave her a glow in the dark stick. And Jonathan's was getting candy. I remember parades being a lot more exciting when I was kid though. We always had marching bands and baton girls doing twirls and things. Lots more music and excitement. But maybe that was because we were in Louisiana and they know how to party down there!

We made an apple pie for our after lunch snack. I read a book to Elizabeth a few years ago called Apple Pie Fourth of July and it just seems like we should have apple pie for the 4th since then. Phillip read some of our country's founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It's good to read over those every once in a while. And we also finished our Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls. I thoroughly enjoyed that book again!

Today we went to the doctor for appointments for the kids. This was Phoebe's very first doctor visit ever! She had her regular shots and check-up. Shots are never fun, but she seemed fine with everything else. Elizabeth had her ears checked out; she gets pretty bad wax build-up and they tried to get it out with a water tube/squirt bottle contraption. They got some, but she went ballistic eventually and wouldn't let them finish. Jonathan just had his skin checked out (he has eczema), and we got a perscription to help clear that up. So it was a long wait, and we had tears from all sides to dry up, but I'm glad to be done with that. The doctor gave the kids each a brand new book which was a special treat. I don't know if they do that for everyone or if it was because they all cried so much!

The pictures above are of Phoebe not wanting to walk when we tried to get her to and the other two having a picnic on a really hot day (hence the umbrella to keep out the sun).