Friday, May 30, 2008

And the morning comes...

It's 7:20am and the boys are outside with me watering the garden.

Where is Cyan do you ask? Along with being the night owl, it means she isn't the morning person. That's ok. I have two of those. (It does give me some time with just the boys in the morning... sometimes that is nice.)

I took a few more pictures outside. Cyan's Math in the Garden box (second class is Monday!)

A testiment that we make our own sunshine:

And look who is about to rise (it is now 8:04am)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New camera and pics of kids

My husband talked me into buying myself a gift yesterday. A Nikon D60. I got the package from Costco with the double lenses, carry case, and extra SD card. I only just got it all charged etc last night, so all of these are with the flash, but they look pretty good. Can not WAIT to get outside with the thing. I think we may have to stop at the Nisqually Valley today after grocery shopping.

It is nearly 10pm... can you tell who my night owl is and who isn't?

Love my guitar. :)

My mantel... I just can't seem to change it. I love my pictures. :) Perhaps I can take some new ones to put up there or something... it has been just about the same for about 4 years.

Can we say "I love my library!":

That's it for last night... today there will be more. Garenteed. *glee*

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tangrams

Cyan and I have been working on geometry this week. Her Singapore math book is nearly done... we should be done by the time we fully give up on school this year. For now, we are still going, but only about half time for book work, and then twice as much for science, measuring, nature walks, art, and other fun outdoorsy type stuff. Today, we were told to try a simple tangram, we decided to go online and find the more traditional one.

Here is a kite she made up herself.

She tried to make one, but doesn't cut quite well enough for hers to work out. So we gave that one to Logan, and she folded another one, and I cut it out.

Here she is trying to make a cat like mine. :)

Here is a candle she made looking at the model on this page. The first thing she said was "I know that the bottom is thicker than the picture, but I liked it better this way."

'Let me out! Playing with paper is boring.' (Just for fun, check out this picture... this is Cyan, age 3)

'Finding bugs under things is much more fun!'

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shine

Ok, this one is totally wonderful. Brought tears to my eyes and made me laugh all at the same time.

I could see our girls singing this!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Medieval Garb

We had a party yesterday with a Knights and Miadens theme for a 4 year old friend. The mama had set up a jousting line, a fencing square, and an archery area too. They had a friend juggle for them (and she was really good) and a cake made to look like a castle and sheild. It was amazing! The kids had a blast although most of the kids got really hot in their long sleeved midevil outfits. Here is Cyan in hers (I missed Alex in his, he took it off the second we got there):

I made this dress to go over another I made for a winter fairy costume. A couple small adjustments and it was perfect as "Lady Cyan from house Rose" yesterday.

Alex juggling... that was totally awsome! The kids want a juggler at their carnival party now. They stood by her 50% of the party at least, just in awe and trying to do what she was doing. Cyan talked about her all the way home. (It helps that she was in the shade on this super hot May day.)

The archery area... another huge hit. Esp for the older kiddos. They had a lot of fun shooting the arrows together.

And last but not least, this was the backdrop for the party just on the other side of the fence (I don't think she could have planned it more perfectly!):

Monday, May 19, 2008

Birds

We have tons of different kinds of birds that visit our yard this year. I am thinking there were not as many last year as there are this year. But it may just be that I wasn't paying as close attention.

Here are some pictures:

A Stellar Jay

The back of a American Robin

A blue Western Scrub Jay

A Chestnut-Backed Chicadee

Another tiny bird we never identified

A flock of Grey Bushtits with one token chickadee for good measure.

Black Capped Chickadees,

And these are only the ones I have been able to capture on film. We have also had Warblers, Humming birds, and a couple Swallows.

My neighbor friend, who is 12 years old, knows easily as much (if not more) about local birds than I do. Apparently, she has studied them all year with her class and knows all of them. Her favorite being the Black Capped Chickadee which she told me all about through the fence the other day. I am finding them more fascinating watching this girl enjoy them than I ever did on my own. It is wonderful, looking through the eyes of children. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beautiful Day!

Today was the first, honest to goodness, HOT day we have had this year. It hit 91* where we are! We were all in short sleeves outside, and the kids were all in swim suits playing in the kiddy pool. :) It was a fun afternoon...

Then of course, Logan and I did some more plane watching:


See his poor sweet face? He is doing ok. But wow... he is mangled!

A plane and the moon!!

"Ok mama... my turn!"


Friday, May 16, 2008

Train Depot

I don't have pictures of this trip because I spent 90% of the time chasing Logan around. It would have been much better if I had been able to leave Logan at home.

The Snoqualmie School Train Depot is wonderful though! The people that worked there were amazing! There were four parts to the 2 hour long day. First, they talked about Train Communication. We got to watch as they demonstrated how they used to get messages to the conductors of the trains before there was such thing as telegraphs or telephones. It was fun to watch the kids as the lady and gentleman demonstrated the use of sticks with string and notes attached that the train conductor's of old would stick their arms through to get messages.

The rest of the day is somewhat of a blur. The kids and other families went to the Train Functions class, while I chassed Logan. The kids and other families went to the Trains History class, while I chased Logan. We nearly missed the actual train ride because Logan (and by now a couple other kids) were done with the day, and ready for lunch. The train ride was great! What a fun little ride. Not too long and not too short.

When we got back to the train station, we all sat down to have an honest to goodness lunch at last, and that was when Logan fell down three brick steps on one side of the gazebo we were eating at. Poor thing has such a smashed up face! He screamed nearly all the way home. I had carpooled with a friend too, and so she and her kids had to deal with him being hurt and upset. We got a small respite when we stopped for icecream, but after that he cried some more. Poor sweet baby!

He is doing better today, but I doubt I will drive very far with him for a field trip again. He is just too little.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Progress Review for April - May

Language Arts...She is really starting to read! Finally! She is reading Dick and Jane faster now (we have just started the second and harder book), and is doing Explode the Code book 1 and 2 with little or no help in most cases. She is starting to read random things like the word "mushroom" by herself. She is also starting to write by herself and not just dictate which has been the method of choice for most of the year.

Math...
We are still working on graphs, and doing some simple geometry. We haven't done much more with place value as our books have not come back to it, but I still plan on spending a few days at the end of the year firming up that knowledge.

Science...
Our caterpillars turned into butterflies yesterday. She is a very proud butterfly mama. :) We have been reading about different kinds of butterflies, and have also been reading about natural instincts of dogs, as well as how to behave around them, etc. Her garden is growing well and starting to flower. We are talking about pollination daily right now, and she is starting to understand the 'flower into fruit' concept as she watches her strawberry plants turn so well that she is telling the neighbor kids.

Social Studies...We had a family move in next door that has an 8 year old little girl. Cyan and she have been close to inseparable. We are still doing our bi-weekly story time and PE play dates with our homeschool group.

PE/Health...
We have been talking more about food lately. We pulled out our place mats with the food pyramid on them and have been talking about organics vs non organics and what they do to our bodies, etc. She is still going to PE play day with the homeschool group, and learning about water safety.

Fine Arts...
We still draw every day. She has started to draw things that are far beyond her level (like hidden pictures in line drawings, etc). She is practicing her handwriting all the time, and really getting the hang of her fancy letters, although cursive gives her more of a hard time than the 'princess' letters, which could be due to interest.

Technology...
She has started using "Starfall" about twice a week to reinforce her language arts studies. With that she is learning how to use the mouse for the first time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

New art skills...

Cyan is a natural artist. She is always drawing something. Her skills usually come out in drawing, but that may be because that is my prefered artistic outlet. It is the least messy, and the most containable. Heck, you can draw just about anywhere. :)

Here is her latest:

Yes, she accidentily ripped the corner off.

Can you see the unicorn with a man on it's back? Can you see the snake in a coil? Can you see the caterpillar? Or the perfect 'a'? Or the other thing that she doesn't remember what it is (little, to the bottom. Has a face.)

I think this type of stuff is amazing.

Alex's artistic expression lately has been very... boy... lately. LOL!

This was the inside of my Mother's day card:

And this was what he made with the pearler beads that night:


Yep, it's a guy, mowing his lawn. I just thought that was so funny!

I love the art that is coming out in my kids. I love that I am being able to capture these things on a blog too... it sounds funny. But I just wouldn't be able to find the time to scrapbook this stuff. I wouldn't dedicate myself to it. It takes hours for me to perfect a scrapbook page... and I love doing it, but it just wouldn't get done. I would rather be out playing with my kids! So this is a perfect medium for me.... it is artistic, but also can be nothing but words. It requires little thought, but still looks good, and I can do it all from my house. No new scissors or gadgets or widgets reqired.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Slugs and Butterflies

Just call my daughter "The Slug Whisperer"

At Breeseman Forest, the kids kept finding banana slugs on the pathways. The first one they were excited about. My friends daughter even drew a very detailed picture. And they continued to be intrigued by these critters the whole time every time they saw them at the park. We all talked about how slugs feel vibrations through the ground, so when you stomp close to them (I did this, so there was no accidental slug stomping... that would have stopped the fun pretty quickly) they curl up and become about 1/4 of their stretched out size. It was interesting, even for me, who has seen slugs all my life (one of the perks of living in rainy WA state I guess).

That night, just before I got into bed, I saw this little critter climbing through my bathtub.

Considering I have NEVER seen a slug in this house I thought it was a very odd coincidence.

Our caterpillars are turning to chrysalis this morning. They started climbing the sides of the cup yesterday and they are all hanging upsidedown this morning. One is even putting on his glossy shell.

I love the transformation... butterflies are so interesting! We are not doing as much with the study this time as we did the first time we did it... but we are finding it more interesting now that we know the names of the pieces, and how long to wait until they turn to butterflies, etc. Cyan likes standing on the stool and waiting for the caterpillars that are upsidedown to jiggle. She says it looks like they are dancing. Last time it was a 'lesson'... this time it is just fun. I hope we get some pictures of them as butterflies this time!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dog Education

Which means, education about dogs... not educating a dog. lol...

Since the dog bite, we have been working on our dog etiquette. She is doing wonderfully. We have had three encounters with dogs since we have talked about how to act around them... and every one, she has followed the safety directions perfectly. It has been a nice variety as well. The first dog she met was very friendly. She was able to ask the gentleman walking the sweet white pup "May I pet your dog?" and he said "Of course, she loves kids." She did it all... the holding out her hand to meet the dog, the walking to the side of the dog so she didn't reach over it's head to pet it... everything... right down to saying thank you to the man who was walking her. It was so sweet to watch. She knew some of that before, but the reasons behind it, and the actual dog etiquette was lost on her. It was nice to see her pull it off so well.

The second and third encounters were at Breeseman Forest.

A very nice, but VERY hyper dog decided to bound on us when we were studying a slug in the middle of a connected path. It was irritating, but great practice for Cyan to "stand like a tree", which is what you need to do when a dog is hyper or frightened. She did it perfectly... although I had a harder time keeping my composure. This dog really needed to be restrained. It was way too hyper to be off a leash in a public park.

The third dog didn't like children. So when Cyan asked to pet the dog, the owner actually stepped off the path and told her no (nicely), and to please go around because his dog was skittish and he didn't want them to spook her. She took that with grace, although loudly asking me why his dog was so frightened... but she didn't pester... just asked.

We have been documenting all of this (and the books we have been reading) in our dog notebook. She will draw either the cover of the book or her encounter with the dog she is writing down, and then write a bit about it. It is not only the first time she has written about dogs, but it is the first time she has written herself without dictating to me first. She is doing a beautiful job, even if spelling errors are an every line occurrence.

Her face is healing well. She may always have a little scar, but it isn't bad, and she doesn't seem phased by it at all (I am a bit upset, but that is a different story). It seems that we will weather this well afterall. I have a feeling we will have a much better time with dogs from now on. I am really proud of her. I feel like we were able to take something that could have been a tragedy (and ended with her being petrified of dogs), and turned it into a real learning experience.
The best book, in which we got most of our dog etiquette education, was "May I Pet Your Dog?".
It was a wonderful compliation of information, and a couple fun things. Very good information. I was thinking of owning it... but it is a better rental from the library since Cyan actually got the lessons that the book held. But I was impressed. It was the only book of it's kind I found. And I even had library people looking for me. Most people write funny books about dogs. Nothing about how to treat them for children. It was interesting that it was so hard to find. Yet another book I have to put in my head to write eventually. ;)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Innercity Nature Tour part 2 - Breeseman Forest

The day started out with a visit from a little friend:

This little guy has become quite friendly lately. He has taken to following me around the yard, watching me... I do suspect he is also the one that has taken to pulling up my pea seedlings and eating them too... But I forgive him... mostly. He is cute.

After some school work, and the visit from the bird, we got in the car to head for the second half of our Innercity Nature Tour with our friends.

What a lush and beautiful forest they have in the middle of Spanaway. It was beautiful! Once again, we had toddlers with us (and other children that had no voice control that day), so although we were always on the lookout for wildlife, all we saw were a few adventurous birds. Mostly, we saw things like slugs. The river was beautiful though:

The kids found lots of fun things to do and explore:

"I wonder what is living in here?"

Then they drew what they saw:

She took that quite literally:

From Cyan's angle:

Then they had a bit more fun.

After that, we had some lunch... then we got to go exploring some more:

It would have been great to spend the whole day there, but the kids were tired. When we got home, every one took a nap. I woke up to Alex getting off the bus, and this:

I love my kids... they are such goof balls!

The pictures really don't do the Breeseman Forest justice. I was chasing toddlers or wrangling a jogging stroller a bit too much to take pictures of every beautiful thing I saw. But it was a really nice place... full of new leaves, little flowers, and singing birds. All right in the middle of one of Washington's cities. I love places like that... it makes my heart sing that someone thought to save that space for my kids to walk through. I can't wait to go back. It was a great day.