Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Weekend of Summer Vacation

I don't think we could have added one more thing to our last week of summer vacation and had it be any better. Phew, what a weekend we had! The kids and Dan had been sick all last week and I was looking forward to a weekend at home to make sure everyone was completely mended before the first "official" week of school began, but that was not to happen. It started off innocently enough. Friday afternoon Dan was helping me in the kitchen put together our favorite family casserole (the Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti) for dinner that evening. About halfway through Dan starts talking about going to Disneyland. That sounded great to me, but we were up to our elbows in chicken and it was 3:30. He suggested us baking the casserole and putting it in the refrigerator for the next day, and while it baked we could pack up and get ready to go. Okay, twist my arm, make me go to Disneyland. We had been blocked out during the summer and this would be our first trip back. So in the oven the casserole went, and upstairs we went get packed up and ready to go. I suddenly got an idea, what if we were to find a room and spend the night? I checked the Disney hotels. Ha Ha, not going to happen. Then I checked Howard Johnson's. I had heard they were a great hotel and an easy walk to Disneyland. I called and got a terrific rate. There was no parking fees, and the hotel would let us check out Saturday and give us a room to their pool area so we could stay and play for as long as we wanted. Perfect! I packed up two bags for the family, an ice chest with green juice and milk, the casserole went in the fridge, and off we were.
Luke's favorite ride.
One of these days that sword will come out for us!
We can not come to the park without going on this one.
Zach and I opt to sit this one out, but those three LOVE spinning.
Last ride of the night.
The hotel was perfect! The walk to the park was only 5 minutes and easier than the Disneyland parking lot. We got to the park at 6:00 and played until midnight. We walked back to the hotel, had a great nights sleep, and got to play at the pool area for a good part of the day. Then when we got home Saturday evening, all I had to do was pop the casserole into the microwave and dinner was done. Ahhhh.... It was even a mini vacation for mama!

That's Zachary getting clobbered by water.

Dan and Luke going down the water slide.

This little 1 foot pool was a perfect way to stay cool.

A perfect afternoon indeed.

I slept in Sunday morning and was awaken by my lovely husband who was dressed and saying something about, "the car is packed up, we're gong to the beach..." Once I came to I jumped in some clothes and off we were again. Except I had no idea that the beach was not our only destination. Dan had found a beach cruiser for me on Craigslist in Irvine and we were on our way to pick it up. From there we headed up to Gardenia to pick up another bike he had found on Craigslist for himself. So with three kids, two adult bikes and a car load of beach stuff we headed to Seal Beach to try and find a parking spot. This was not to happen, so we called Nana, changed our course and headed south to meet her and Papa in Mission Bay to have a beach day and enjoy some fun on the bay. A few tacos (and perhaps a couple Corona's later) we were home again to sleep the night away.

Teacher got to have sandy feet the day before school starts. Not bad at all ;)

Monday morning... Labor Day... 1st day of school... to be continued...

Monday, September 3, 2012

And we're off... kind of.

We have been waiting all summer for this week. Our astronomy class from last year was going on a field trip to JPL in Pasadena on Wednesday. Unfortunately by Sunday afternoon it was pretty apparent that all three of my kids and my hubby had come down with a bug. To make a long story short, the field trip was cancelled before I had to make the 'mommy decision' to not let my kids go because they were sick. Anyway, I had decided to put off starting school until the following week so we wouldn't have a field trip interrupting our first week. God had other plans. So Tuesday I decided to have a 'soft' start to school. Emma has been working on writing all summer and Zachary has kept up with math and they both have done a ton of reading. I decided that I would have Zachary start his new IEW writing program and have Emma start her new Singapore math program, while continuing what they've been working on through the summer. What a great day it was. We didn't feel rushed or overloaded. I had plenty of time to explain the new programs. Emma did great with Singapore. I'm doing the same thing I did in 2nd grade with Zach with her. Starting at the very beginning, which is super easy, mainly to build confidence in math. Zachary did awesome with the IEW program. He did a lot of brainstorming with me and is ready to write the rough draft of a poem tomorrow. He was also very diligent in his math lesson today which took him more time than he is used to. Emma did great with her summary and writing, even after writing all her thank you notes for her birthday. And I even got some one on one time with Lukey doing a sticker page, lacing cards, color matching, and reading. He loved it, and so did I.

I plan on 'officially' starting school next week. Going full bore with My Fathers World, Creation to the Greeks. I'm very excited about it, but I think this start to school was exactly what we needed this year.
Zachary's brainstorming activity for IEW.

Lukey hard at work lacing an airplane between snuggles.

Summer Birthdays - Emma

Emma's birthday celebration started Friday, the day before her birthday. We decided she could have a small party this year. Emma had been to a friends birthday party a couple weeks prior, and we had so much fun. The girls all brought their dolls and just played and did some fun crafts. Thankfully, this was just what Emma wanted to do. Between borrowing some things from that friends mom and Pinterest, the party went together pretty easily.

This cute cupcake stand is what we borrowed from Emma's girlfriend. Emma wanted cupcakes with chocolate pink frosting. Once I explained to her that the chocolate was going to make them brown, she settled for just pink frosting. I think it was a great decision, even though its hard to say no to chocolate.

This was the sweets table. Cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, puppy chow, red licorice, and our homemade marshmellow pops. Yum!

The Marshmallow pops turned out great and were the perfect take home gifts for the girls.

We had lots of little snacks, but these were perhaps my favorite. Little corn dogs. Cornbread made in mini muffins with a slice of hot dog in each muffin. 

The girls enjoyed making an American Girl treasure box from a kit I found out Micheal's. I was surprised how long they each worked on them, and they all turned out great.

Enjoying birthday cupcakes and pink lemonade.

And now we have an amazing and beautiful seven year old!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Birthdays - Zachary

Zachary celebrated his 9th birthday in July. It's hard to believe I've been a mama for almost a decade. He really makes being a mama so easy. He is so gentle and kind, and he is a good example to his sister and brother.

On his birthday morning Danny woke him up early and took him fishing at the lake. He came home with a huge bass and a story about the "one that got away". In the afternoon we joined some friends for a field trip to a place where you can paint pottery. We picked up some cupcakes to share with our friends. Nana joined us fir dinner at home. He chose a seafood dinner with stuffed clams, bbq'ed shrimp, his birthday fish, corn on the cob, and couscous. Nana made him his requested pineapple upside-down cake fir dessert. An action packed, fun filled birthday for sure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Last Week of Summer

We have had such a fun summer this year. This was the first "summer" we have taken since we started homeschooling. We took the entire month of June off, and then started working on writing with Emma and math with Zach. They both also read everyday during quiet time while I put Luke down for his nap. Zach has gotten into the Narnia books this summer, which I am very thankful for. He has been hooked on Magic Treehouse books for quite sometime and would read a couple of them a day. I felt like his reading skills were not being challenged enough with them. They are great for some quick fun reading, but I am glad he is branching out some now.

We have been fortunate to get some beach days in, as well as some pool days. We had an amazing vacation to Idaho with my family, and I got to go on a girls weekend to Oakland with my cousin. We have had several overnights at both my parents and Dan's dads house, and lots of time with friend both near and far.

One would think I wouldn't want summer to end, but that is not the case. I'm ready to get back to a sense of schedule. I'm ready to start learning again. I'm looking forward to our first year of both my big kids doing the same curriculum. I'm curious to see if this year will be any easier to get through our school days with a two year old. I am ready for some cooler weather (although I'm sure I am going to be waiting awhile for that!).

Some of our summer fun...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Day of Summer

We spent the first day of summer at home, all day. It was so nice to just be. There's much to do around here and I went from task to task slowly knocking things off my mental to-do list. I have been moving rather slowly lately, more tired than normal. I was determined to make a good dinner for my family. I decided pizza on the BBQ was in order, complete with the first ripe tomato from our little garden. Pulling the last pizza off the fire, I decided that dinner ought to be enjoyed alfresco. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Today starts dance recital madness with rehearsal before the big show tomorrow night. Then a couple months break from dance classes. Another thing checked off the list ;-).

Happy Summer!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Donut Break

The boys and I drove down to pick up Emma from Nana's house a couple days ago and decided a walk to the beach via the donut shop was in order. We love the beach and we love donuts, so put them together and you've got one great time. Throw in Papa's awesome wagon and getting to see two trains, and well, that just (almost) too much fun to have on a Tuesday. To top that all off, Emma lost another tooth while eating her donut.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Calm After the Storm

I'm very blessed to be able to say that my kids are normally very well behaved and good tempered. Today, however, has been a challenging 2 year old temper day. It started first thing this morning, so I know it wasn't because he was tired. I can't even explain it, because 2 year old tantrums don't really make sense. So I will just say that his little body falling to sleep on the way to astronomy class was just what I needed. We dropped of Zachary at class and I drove straight for the library. I found the biggest tree I could to park under, opened the car windows so the breeze could blow through, and we've been sitting in the parking lot for over an hour. I have water, my iPhone, and my knitting. Ahhhh, it's like a mini vacation in the middle of my day.

Now, here's to hoping he doesn't wake up so late that there isn't any library or park time left. Because then the tantrum will start all over again. But at least mama is rested now, and ready...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I love how my iPhone is so kind to send the photos I take on it directly to my computer. It's quite convenient. Here are some of my faves from the past several days.

Zachary is totally schooling his father in Backgammon. He serious rolled no less than 15 doubles. It was awesome, and at the same time scary. I'm thinking of checking the Google search on his iPod for "weighting dice"???

I got to "borrow" a baby for a couple hours one night. Awww, two weeks new and snugly as can be. This is good stuff for my soul.

We had a Disney day last weekend with the cousins again. While the dad's took the big kids on Soaring Over California, the moms went for a glass of wine. We found these guys on the way to the wine bar. Luke was so excited to meet "Ka-chow" and Mater. He got a little camera shy when we had our turn, but he really was amazed. I was amazed that we got a relaxing glass of wine while the men corralled the kids :).

On Monday we had Astronomy class at the park. The weather was perfect and the labs were so fun. There were rockets, Mento's and diet cola geysers, and marshmallow guns. A GREAT science day indeed.

This photo was taken by my mom of my dad on his new yacht. (Well, perhaps "yacht" is a bit of an exaggeration, but I'd hardly call it a kayak) I can't wait to see this in person, perhaps with a grandchild on board?

What have you been up to lately?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Right Now

Outside my window... it is sunny, but chilly.

I am thinking... we should be doing spelling, but I would love to get his post done first.

I am thankful for... the fact it is Thursday, which means tomorrow is the start of another three day weekend with my love.

From the kitchen... my crock pot is my friend. Tonight it's making split pea soup for us. I believe it is the third time it has been used this week.

I am wearing... my new favorite pants. Black cotton yoga pants with a built in skirt and wide legs. I could seriously live in these pants.

I am creating... nothing at the moment. I'm between knitting projects (recently finished a beautiful shawl). I have had the urge to scrapbook lately. Perhaps that will happen soon??

I am going... to be taking the youngsters to dance class in a couple short hours.

I am reading... just finished The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. A fun and fast read.

I am hoping... the events in front of us this weekend go smoothly. (Perhaps more information on this in an upcoming post?)

I am hearing... Zachary practice piano. Both he and Emma started lessons last month with our favorite science/piano teacher. They both seem to be enjoying it, and I love to hear practice going on in the house.

Around the house... cars, Legos, books, dolls, school, and lots of dust... need I say more?

One of my favorite things... time spent with my hubby on Wednesday nights at a new class we are taking.

A few plans for the rest of the week... taking things one day at a time, as much as I can. Butler taxes on Friday, desert property on Saturday, and visiting the "Mouse" on Sunday. Time with my family.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This Kid

Need I say more?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Camping, Riding, Shooting... Oh my!

We rung in the New Year this year at Joshua Tree Dry Lake. It was the first time we had been to this campground, but I doubt it will be the last. Any place our family can camp with a gorgeous view, where we can let the kids ride their quads, where we can have dark skies for telescoping, where we can take the van out in 4-wheel drive, AND where we can shoot.... well let's just say we will be going back.

Here are a few highlights from the trip...

Seems both the boys enjoy riding!

Playing with the glider on the dry lake.

Looking for meteorites.

The sky was beautiful! Cold, but beautiful.

One tired boy, one happy mama.

Lukey getting his first shooting lesson with sissy's bb gun.

Zachary using his new pellet gun.

Girls RULE!

Fun for the whole family :)