Friday, October 29, 2010

Boys and Girls

I found these neato dry-erase boards with lines for practicing letters and numbers. Ruthie is all about handwriting practice...

while Mac discovered he could shoot the top off the marker using the marker holder at the top...

while Harris chowed on an apple.

Fall Apple Picking

We returned to the orchard this year and brought home a bountiful harvest of Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Jonathans.

Harris amazed us by eating apples whole and really enjoying it!

Ahh, the pastry case at the orchard store.

These kids look so grown up to me!

Ms. Susan

Ms. Susan is one of our neighbors. She has two old doggies, Dolly and Kee, and she works for the DEA down in Pentagon City. The kids love Ms. Susan and when they see her walking her doggies they want to run outside and see her. She is great with the kids and lets them go on walks with her. Susan invited us down to her office (back in September), which has a wonderful view of the Pentagon plus all of DC. It was a fun visit!
Susan pointing out some landmarks.

The Pentagon (and the Beltline)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Fun

Mt. Vernon has fun fall activities, like a Colonial Fair that we went to back in September.

Sweet Ruthie, who longs to be a colonial girl. We made her sweater into a little sun shade that looked like a ruffly cap.

Our friend Joseph trying his hand at planing some wood. The kids did some basket weaving too.

Drummer boys! There were also Colonial infantry giving musket demonstrations.

We saw many demonstrations of arts and crafts done the way they did them in colonial times. Lace making was fascinating. Oh, and chocolate making. The kids were entertained with a sword-swallower and an "equilibrist." She did balancing tricks while juggling flaming torches. Impressive.

There were also various musical offerings such as this choral group. We heard ladies playing harpsichords and zithers too. It was such fun! We saw George himself for the first time- but we didn't get his picture OR autograph. Maybe next time.

what little girls are made of

Ruthie always finds flowers to bring me- I didn't even know I had these in my yard and she came in with such a lovely bouquet. Mac occasionally brings flowers; more often rocks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Adventures in Homeschooling

The adventure has begun, and we are now one of those families. There are alot of reasons why we decided to homeschool this year, which I won't go in to, and we don't know what we'll do in future, but for now we have jumped in with both feet. It started out a bit rough. I was still feeling sick, and just unprepared for beginning. The week I aimed for starting didn't happen, and I was beating myself up about it. In spite of this the Lord gave me a sweet day of realizing how much the kids are already learning with all our reading and just experiencing life together. Ruthie initiates learning on her own. She asks me what words like "immaculate" and "gratitude" mean. She practices her letters on her own. So once we started I tried to work with Ruthie in the morning with both boys VERY involved, which was fine for Mac, as I have some workbooks for him, but disastrous for Harry, as you will see. He just doesn't play well by himself. He has two entertainers, and when they're busy, well, the results are obvious. Harris became a destroyer and usurper. Here is the list of school supplies he ate or attempted to eat during one school-time:

2 tips off markers
2 pencil erasers off pencils
1-2 crayons
3-5 pieces of chalk

Here's a good moment.

Here's a not so good one.

And another. I fought for the mornings, because my only other viable option is when the boys are napping from around 2-4, which is my time to rest or read or do things around the house and even prep for dinner and I didn't want to lose that time. But I lost it. In a sense. I've gained some really sweet school time with Ruthie, and I am learning how to adjust other things.

I include these pictures because helping around the house is an important aspect of learning for children. (I know they should probably not be using Windex...need to get one of those kid-friendly cleaners...)

So things are going more smoothly, weeks in, and I'll just share an anecdote from Ruthie. She and I had been working on school work for what seemed like several hours- we had some interruptions with me trying to get some soup in the pot, and Harris waking up early and beginning his "interest" in what Ruthie was doing. Ruthie was becoming exasperated with Harry and weary of practicing her "P's" when she looked up dramatically and asked me, " Can I have recess? I just feel like I've been working on this forever!" And I laughed and "rang the bell" for recess. One more reason to love homeschooling.

What We Been Doin

I have come out of the depths and feel like a new person again. Hooray! Let the church bells ring! So really for a month I've felt better but have been swamped by starting our homeschool adventure and trying to adjust the housework and other things- so blogging has doubly fallen by the wayside. Plus, I want to catch up on posts that I should have done during the summer before I do day-to-day stuff, which is overwhelming. Plus, I've been having photo problems with my computer. So all that to say why I Have Not Been Blogging. It has been nice having a few friends and family say how they miss it- it has motivated me to start back. So here we go. I did the pictures backwards, so if you want correct chronological order, start at the bottom picture and go up. Sorry, I'm off my game.

(Early September) We went to a lovely evening picnic for Neighbors of Mt.Vernon. The kids got to go on a wagon ride, and we got to go up to the third floor of the mansion, which is usually closed, as well as the basement, which is featured in the ridiculous movie "National Treasure."

(August) We went to see Jay at work for "Lobster Fest," one of TISCOM's annual festivals.

Ruthie in a tree on the beautiful grounds at TISCOM. It is a really pretty base with lots of trees and several playgrounds.

We made it to the Zoo!

We went to see the "Sunset Parade;" which takes place at the Iwo Jima Memorial right beside Arlington National Cemetery every Tuesday during the summer. The Marine Band (bottom picture) performed, and the Silent Drill Team (above). Both were impressive, but the Silent Drill Team is just amazing. You can look up some videos of them on YouTube and check out the skill and discipline of these Marines.

The kids found a new use for those plastic bags everyone loves to hate.

One of my friends from church celebrated her 40th birthday with a totally rad 80s party. Here I am with the birthday girl, Sara.

You know I wore my Chucky T's. And others were just as cool.

Friends! Jeanette and Staci.

The kids and I went to the Children's Educational thingy at Mt. Vernon. It is really fun. Macky got to be Jacky! Ruth and Mac play Nellie and Jacky at home, so this was right up their alley. Especially Ruthie...

...who got to dress as a little colonial girl! She was disappointed that the dresses weren't "long" enough, but oh well. The flip side of this wonderful Mt.Vernon dollhouse was complete with all the rooms and furniture and little dolls for the kids to play with.

Curly boy Harry got cuter. This is back in July when he was so curly! Precious!

He also has a new fascination with hats that began this summer. It all started with the pink straw, which Ruthie calls his "old lady" hat.

Love it! (the cast came off in early August)