Tuesday, August 05, 2014

E! turns 4!

Happy birthday to E! Mr. Personality is 4 years old!
GPa and GMa were already in Wyoming when his bday arrived, and we met up with them a week later - so they sent a cowboy hat to get E! ready for the trip. Yee haw!

E! loves pirates. So he also received a gold spyglass, treasure map and other pirate equipment.

Playing pirates ... :)

That evening, we met Grandma and Papa at a nearby golf course for a pirate party!
At the end of each hole were pirate instructions and prizes.


There were sword fights, plank walks, pirates booty and more ... intense!

And at the end of the course, X marked the treasure spot on a cooler filled with popsicles - which was the perfect treat on a sunny summer day. 

We adore E! He brings smiles and giggles to our family. He makes friends quickly and with everyone. He is impressively smart, and has no problem keeping up with the group. We're so thankful Heavenly Father sent him to our family!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ballerinas 2014

Our ballerinas are wrapping up their first year in pink tippy toe slippers.
They've each blossomed in different ways, and it's been a positive experience.

They're so sweet ... they just melt me.

Monday, June 23, 2014

School to summer

Are we still doing school this summer? I get that question a lot ...
and the answer is yes and no. It's pretty light school, but learning is a way of life - so we can't just wipe it away. It's just less structured, and we're spending more time playing in the sun with friends (which is learning in a different way) or getting projects accomplished (more learning).

Plus, we'll do a bit of formal education here and there too. Here are some pages from their nature books, for example:

This is Lil Sis' page about different shapes of leaves and the life cycle of a frog (above).

Here's Big Sis' frog life cycle page (above). 

Even E!'s pages are purposeful. He had me help label some of his work on this page. 

I'm also slightly obsessed with birds lately. This bird game entertains and teaches, and it helped us identify the gorgeous American Kestrel who ate our darling house sparrows and their babies. (boo!). 

We finished up our history book ... oh how much I learned about history!
I now have a special place in my heart for ancient Rome ... hopefully the littles do too.
We had to keep these four powerful leaders straight, so we made up this sheet to refer to.

And just to prove that educational activities are all around us ...
Sara gave us a box of tiny beanie babies (originally from GG), and each child picks one out a day and we learn interesting facts about that species. They write the name of the animal on a card, and the facts on the back/inside of the card ... creating an informative beanie baby museum. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lil Sis is SIX!

It happened a month ago: Lil Sis turned sweet six years old!

We started the morning with a few presents and cards.
I love this sister snap shot. They're best friends.

Her big present for this "Frozen-ish" birthday?
Her own snow cone machine!

After a few hours at the swimming pool, the grandparents came over for the party.
She had a cupcake pinata ...

All the kiddos enjoyed giving it a good whack. 

And Papa wore the top as a hat. :) 

Here's Gpa and E! playing a balance the panda game that GG and Joe Joe gave. 

And here's the birthday girl with her beloved snowcone.

When asked to name one of her talents, Lil Sis said she's good at stopping fights.
She's our peacemaker and snuggler. She loves backrubs, sugar, dancing, singing, and acting.
Her favorite color is pink, and her favorite animals are pandas.
She loves her family - especially her cousins - and she's a wonderful reader.
And now she's SIX!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Homeschool: Gnomes in nature

I spy with my little eye, something small but mighty, earthy but educated, and chipper as a songbird ....

Yes, it's our Gnomes in nature. And it was time for new nature notebooks.

We've been seeing such amazing things in this Northwest spring - we simply must record and report them!
Like look at that diligent snail atop dew decorated leaves - or the balanced trillium in full bloom!

I wish I knew more about botany and birds - but we're learning, and learning from others too.

This week we went to the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge and met a wonderful Gardner's Group, who let us tag along and learn from an onsite naturalist. Big Sis got right up to the front of the group - and soon Lil Sis joined her. We found out fascinating things, like:

Here's wild Indian lettuce - completely edible from petal to stem.
We tried it (yum), and now I'd like to grow some!

Here's an "inside out" flowering duck foot plant.
Hard to see - but it was a wonder.

Here's a stalk of bed straw stuck to E!
We learned that pioneer children would gather it to stuff pillows.

My trio having a break after a long hike - and using those new nature notebooks. :)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Skamania mania!

To celebrate the end of tax season, Alex and I scheduled a weekend getaway at Skamania Lodge.
We first went on a beautiful hike to Falls Creek Falls ... gorgeous!

I loved this big, unplugged tree - bare roots dangling.

To give an idea on size, here's Alex standing in front of those dangling roots. Crazy huh!?
Even big trees fall.

For about an hour, Alex and I tried to recreate the winning trick put that scored us tickets to the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet (delish!!) that we enjoyed at the Lodge. A few months ago he won a putting contest with an amazing shot .... so amazing, he couldn't duplicate. I'm thankful I could reap the benefits of his luck!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Oh, Cozy!

While GMa was caring for GPa, we had the chance to snatch up Cozy for her first sleepover!

She panted and pranced throughout the adventure - I think that's her version of the happy dance.

She snuggled up ...

Read along with us ...

And shared beds ...

It was one "howl" of a good time. :)