Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bud Performs

Bud performed in his school's Oral Language Festival tonight. I was so proud of him. He did such an incredible job. I know how nerve wracking it can be to get up in front of people, and I know that it's something that makes Bud nervous, so I was super impressed that he kept so calm and didn't stumble or forget any of his lines. 

Instead of just picking a short poem, Bud chose to memorize and recite the humorous children's book, "Falling for Rapunzel" by Leah Wilcox, in its entirety. He managed to perform it with humor and wit that elicited chuckles and laughs from the audience. I loved to see how he beamed every time what he said garnered a reaction. It really was so much fun to see. Bud was super happy that along with his dad and me, his grandma and auntie Opera were able to come, as well.

I have really enjoyed seeing Bud blossom this year, what with presenting his Great Brain Project, and now the Oral Language Festival. His teacher this year has been such a perfect fit for him and it has allowed him to stretch his wings. I sure hope Bud chooses to perform in the festival again next year, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for him. Good job, Bud! We love you!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Outdoor Love

I really do love the outdoors but sometimes I let my homebody-ness get in the way of enjoying it. I want my children to appreciate and love the outdoors the way I do, so I'm making a bigger effort to get them out in it more often. Not just sending them in the backyard or taking them to the park, but going out to places where they can really explore. Explore and just breathe. I can thank my dad for my love of the outdoors. I have that great gift in my life because he took me on so many outdoor adventures to fish, hike, camp, canoe, etc. I know it's up to me to help my kids gain the same.

I have a fantastic backpack for Edith to ride in (I mean, I love it) and we have a canyon 1 mile from our house we can hike at, so I really have no real excuse not to get them out. It helps that Edith no longer beats me about the head whenever I stop moving. She has grown to love the backpack because she recognizes that it is a way for her to go higher and farther than she would be able to hike alone. She pushes me to continue on up the trail (it is all uphill on the way in) when I might let the other kids convince me to turn around, saying, "Higher! Higher! I want to go higher!" Thanks for helping me get a good workout, Edith. Getting my workout hiking up a hill with an extra 35 pounds of cuteness and pack on my back rather than in my living room using an exercise DVD? No contest. 

I'm not quite sure what she saw in the first photo, but it makes me laugh.

I also realized that if I let Edith pick a few side explorations as we hike it makes her feel a little less powerless as she's strapped in the pack. The boys have really appreciated doing more of that, too, instead of feeling like we just need to stick to the trail. It makes it an exciting new adventure each time we go. It's so fun to see them scamper around with smiles on their faces as we look for a new adventure. Plus, Edith now knows that I'll always let her out at some point to do some climbing and hike for a bit. Knowing she's not going to be imprisoned forever helps.

You can tell the weather for our hikes has really varied.

I don't always get all of the kids to come along, but I feel okay with that. It's not a mandatory thing. If I let them take part when they want to they'll enjoy it more. And I think it's comforting to them to know that if they don't feel like going one day the offer will be there again soon. I'm trying to make sure that's the case, anyway.

The expression on Edith's face in this last photo seriously cracks me up. What a hoot.

We sure are having a lot of fun getting out this Spring. Hopefully we can fit in one more hike tomorrow before I get my gallbladder out on Tuesday morning. I'm not super happy about the interruption, but hopefully it won't ruin my momentum. Nope, I'm determined that it won't. Not at all. I love it too much.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The 'Nuggler

Edith is still having a hard time saying most of her 's'-with-another-letter combinations. I think the only one she says is 'sh'. (I'm a little bummed that she can say the letter 'v' now-- no more getting her to say 'wulture') Anyway, she came up to me this afternoon and said, "I want to 'leep with you. I want to 'nuggle."

While we were lying there I decided to work with her on saying those difficult combinations. 

Me: "Edith, say sssleep."

Edith: "'Leep."

Me: "Say sssss."

Edith: "Ssssss." 

Me: "Now say sssssleep."

Edith: "Ssssss. Leep."

Me: "Okay, now put those together. Ssleep."

Edith: "Sssleep."

Me: "Yay! You did it!"

We then went through the same thing, trying to change 'nuggle to snuggle. When she was successful I once again cheered, "Yay! You did it!" and gave her a high five. 

Then Edith says to me: "Say blue."

Me: "Blue."

Edith: "Yay! You did it!"

Thanks for being supportive, Edith. 

Edith then looked at the pillow we were resting our heads on and said: "Ssspillow."


Friday, April 12, 2013

Living with Joe

Joe is back! I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am about it. Big doesn't feel like doing something? Why, Joe would be happy to assist! I'm not ready to welcome all of Big's characters back into my life, but Joe can come by anytime.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Break Stay-cation: Part Two

Friday morning was a bit rainy, so it seemed like the perfect time to go to the little dinosaur museum at our local university that we had been wanting to check out. I mean, with Big's love of dinosaurs it really is a must. The older girls couldn't be convinced that it was somewhere they would enjoy, however, so we headed out with just the 3 youngest in tow. 

I wasn't sure what to expect when we pulled up outside the building and kept my fingers crossed that the trip wouldn't bore the kids and be a bust. The museum was small but had plenty of stuff to hold our interest (without being overwhelming). It ended up being so much fun. No complaints of boredom or hunger since we weren't there for very long. A perfect little morning activity. 

I had Big and Edith lie down next to the humerus (upper arm bone) of the Brachiosaurus that was on display.

Pretty huge, huh? The kids had Rophone lie down next and he and the bone were about the same length (6' 3"-ish). We all thought that was cool.

Big and Edith almost got eaten a few times while we were there. I'm thinking that if giant crocodiles were still around there would be fewer people living in Florida. Well, and just fewer people alive in general. 

I'm so glad we finally checked out this little dinosaur museum (after driving by it about a gazillion times). We'll definitely be back.

The kids were so good during our museum jaunt that we decided to take them for ice cream. It is Spring Break, after all. A time to celebrate by doing special things. Plus, we knew it would make the party-pooper older girls jealous and sad they didn't come. A bonus. Ha! It had cleared up a little by the time we got our ice cream so we got to eat it outside. 

Big declined to have his picture taken. He was busy pretending to be the boss of the worker guys at the worksite next to where we were sitting. As he licked his cone he was  saying, "Put that over there. Perfect." "Wait, what are they doing? I didn't tell them to do that!" Funny.

After lunch we drove to a park a few minutes away. It has cool little rock climbing monoliths and a fun path to walk. I'm definitely going to take the kids back up there to ride bikes. It was nice to be out in the fresh air, all together. No party poopers this time, although it seems like it. None of the photos of Ginger or Big turned out, but they really were there. For real.

After the park we left the kids at home waiting for pizza delivery and headed to the big city to pick up my returning mother and visiting sister from the airport. Not that we were excited to be cutting ourselves loose, or anything. 

We went to a family party and had a lot of fun. I think the kids had an equally (if not better) good time watching a movie and eating pizza without any parental supervision. Partying it up during Spring Break!

The next day we went to the museum at the local university. The kids love to go, although Rophone and I need to visit again with just the two of us so I can really take my time checking out the Burtynsky photos. I'm in love with them. We visited this time specifically to see a piece by Rophone's cousin that will make the museum its home for the next 5 years. Way cool. See?

It's a family history piece-- Rophone's cousin's name is on the top piece of folded rice paper, with her family tree branching out from there. 

It was fun to be at the museum as a family and with my sisters, both Art and Martha, too.

Martha even bought me a new pair of earrings that were on sale in the museum gift shop. Totally awesome.

We had such a good Spring Break. Who says you have to go anywhere to have a great time? I'm glad that we were able to discover and enjoy just a few of the fun things that are right here around us. I can't wait to find more. Thanks for a fun Spring Break, family!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Break Stay-cation: Part One

The kids were out of school for Spring Break this past week. It started with Easter weekend, but I've already posted about that (thank heavens) so I can just cover what we did for the rest of it. Rophone wasn't able to get the week off from work so we knew we had to find some local fun to fill our time.

Monday and Tuesday were rainy and cold so I didn't make much of an effort to get the kids out to do anything. Plus, that early in the vacation the ability to hang out at home with out having to go anywhere is still a fun novelty. I felt really crummy so it seemed like a grand plan to me (stupid gall bladder-- just had an ultrasound today and it needs to come out)

By Wednesday I was feeling quite a bit better and the sun was back so I wrangled the kids for a hike. I have plans to do a lot of hiking this spring so I wanted to take advantage of the great weather and no school schedule to work around. There was one kid I couldn't wrangle, however. She appears to be 'turning teen' for real. Whatever. I wasn't going to let her spoil my fun. 

I made Edith get in the backpack, though, and took her picture. I spoiled her fun for sure. While she was in the backpack, anyway.

Get used to it, Edith.

The beginning of this hike isn't usually my favorite-- it's a wide, barren, paved/gravelly road. But, this time around I found it to be a bit more enjoyable. Probably because instead of being bugged by the ugliness of the route I lagged behind and let myself be entertained by my kids instead. 

Big warning us to watch out for the dog poop (thanks, Big) and Bud feeling the need to give the dog poop a closer look cracked me up.

A little ways into the hike there's a great spot to scramble over some piles of rocks and explore a little. I freed Edith from her backpack prison so she could give it a go. She thinks she's big enough to do it, too. Even after she gets stuck she hollers at you while you help her. We always spend a bit of time there and sip a little water. 

A little further up the trail there's a wall that's just perfect for a little free climbing. Or free dancing.

I really do love this hike and I'm so glad it's only a mile from our house. It was the perfect first activity to start off our spring break adventures. Too bad one kid was a party pooper, but we had fun anyway.

I had a great time with the kids, but I'll admit to being more than a little excited when Rophone announced that he'd gotten enough work done during the first part of the week to enable him to take Thursday and Friday off to play with us. Hot diggety dog!

On Wednesday afternoon (with very short notice) the management company decided to do some work on our main bath. The thought of living with only one bathroom for a few days was terrifying, so we quickly packed up and went to my mom's vacant house to camp out for a few days. Inconvenient? Yes. But, hey, it made our Spring Break feel a little bit more like an adventure.

We decided to take a more leisurely hike/walk (yes, a halk) on Thursday morning so that Edith could spend more time exploring and expending energy. The gradual slope and nice, paved path make it perfect for a toddler to maneuver on their own. And then Edith insisted she needed to ride in her stroller. Ha! At least she only rode for a little while.

When we got to the bottom of the falls we were surprised to see that they had dammed off part of the water to create a little pond that they had filled with fish to feed. The kids were bummed that the water is still too cold to play in, so it was nice that they could feed the fish to make up for it.

Usually we don't make it past the base of the falls when we take this hike because the kids just want to play in the water. I was glad to continue on up the path this time around to see what we could find.

We were happy to find a steep, zig-zagging trail etched into the side of the mountain and some boulders to climb. Edith and I helped each other hike the trail.

At this point it was nearing lunch time, so we decided to continue up into the canyon to a little resort town for some lunch and shopping. Such a nice, pleasant idea, right? But, alas, when we got there, a different child decided to be a party pooper.

And then there was the fact that Edith had gotten it into her mind that we were going to the park, so every store we entered she would sadly ask, "But, where's the park?" It was pitiful and sad so we decided to scrap the shopping and just go to the park. Big, still feeling party pooper-ish, refused to get out of the car when we got there. Until we told him what he was missing out on, that is. Then he couldn't get out of the car fast enough.

The weird part is... see that little kid watching Bud on the digger? He was dressed very much like Big does every day (even wearing gray and green high tops like Big) and he's just as obsessed as Big is about the digger toy. What makes it really weird, though, is that Big and his mini-me from the park share the same first name. See? Weird.

Anyway, even though the older girls are a little large in stature to play on a park play structure, they enjoyed being out in the fresh air in a different place. Once the digger pulled Big out of his funk it was a lot of fun for all.

I think we've made up for the first few rainy, do-nothing-much days kind of nicely, don't you think? The amazing part? Even though we're pretty lazy folks over all, we did even more over the next few days.