Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sleepovers, Cousins, Dress-ups, and Saving Diamond

There are so many fun happenings in our life that I want to remember forever - I'm so glad I've started blogging again!
Quite often, the above photo is what John and I wake up to in the morning. As John and I talked yesterday (which is something we love to do) we realized that some of the best times we've spent together as a family is during one of our "sleepover's". It's easier to read and discuss books as they're winding down for the night sometimes and it's easy to read for long periods of time this way too.

This last week we've begun reading The Element by Ken Robinson and The Swiss Family Robinson. Both of these books have led to some fantastic discussions. And it's funny how the kids (well, Tyra and Ethan anyway) are begging me to read The Element. It's an amazing, eye-opening book that makes us all the more glad that we're a homeschooling family.

We went to the Night at the Museum at the Hutching's Museum. The kids love it! Millie was a bit afraid of the floating foam dinosaur skeleton that swung around above our heads upon entering but daddy was there to protect her!

Cedric enjoyed standing by some fossilized dinosaur poop. Ty enjoyed holding an actual factual magnetic meteorite.

While there, the kids all got to pet, touch or see some sort of living species. From a bunny sitting in a fake pot over a fake fire (which John and I thought was so funny that they'd set such a scene up), to snakes, to a hawk - which Ethan even got to hold. Not very many kids got the opportunity to hold the hawk (or wear those fancy hats) so we got pretty lucky there.

Millie loved the sweet little bunny. We can't wait to have a pet bunny again ... one day.

Some of our favorites at this event was the Indian dancing, the science professor and, the kids' favorite, the Mr. Gladd look alike. He really is such a neat addition to the Hutchings museum! We love this museum and are extra excited because we now have a year pass and can go anytime!

John has been teaching the kids how to use Windows Movie Maker. They're excited about using this new tool to create movies from still frame movie projects they've made in the past.
The weather has been warming up nicely - it's still pretty unpredictable (as you will soon see) but here's Ty and daddy having a good time on the swings. John, earthing away, wearing Millie's hat and Ty trying to touch daddy's tongue with her ever-so-clean sock! Get him Ty!!!

It's so fun to see the kids enjoying the outdoors. Everything awakes from its slumber when Spring comes; colors, budding plants, streams, and children!

We're still reminded, however, that although Spring is coming and we've had quite the "warm" winter, winter is still here. The kids had a great time playing outside in the snow - some of them barefoot!!! I believe John was the instigator for that one.

This is Ty's finished piece of art titled,"The Oxygen Factory". It's quite the piece. I'd love to turn into a mini person and check this place out. Awesome Ty!

The kids have taken up a new hobby - wood burning! First they find a stick, shave off the bark, and burn an intricate design into the wood to create a magic wand.

Cedric and Tyra were eager to make some more of these "wands" one day but didn't want to be out in the cold and wind so we made a workplace for them in the garage. They listened to music, had plenty of light to work with and burned away!

They even have a neighbor friend, Angelina, picking up this new hobby as well.
Millie and Cedric wanted to help me with my last batch of sauerkraut. We all LOVE sauerkraut. It's such an enlivening, healthy food to eat. They did a great job pushing out those juices!
We get to see Ellie almost (and at least) once a week. Millie loves to spend this time bonding with her. They played cards together last time. Ellie said, "I love this game!" It was fun to see those two spending quality cousin time together. Games are so much fun - especially ones that four year old kids can play. They're so cute!

My mom promised Cedric and Emma that they can sleep over at her house. The big day finally came a couple of weeks ago. Cedric and Emma had a great time. My mom said that they were in their own world creating all kinds of things almost the whole time. They both get along so well with one another.

Dieter, my new little nephew and the kids' new cousin buddy is the sweetie in the middle. He's SO adorable!

It's so fun to see my kids have cousins to bond with - which is something I never had. I've realized that cousins are only one small step away from being actual siblings and the bonds created within those relationships can be almost just as valuable.
We had one last snow fall - possibly of the season. So we went gung-ho trying to make the biggest snow ball ever. It ended up being a bit taller that I am - and quite wide. I went and hid while Ty went to get daddy. When he came Ty and Cedric told daddy that they covered me in snow. He actually believed it for a second and wondered how they talked me into doing such a thing. It was quite funny.

The kids had a (very hard) kung-fu test last week. They did very well, pushing themselves to the limits. Ty was even pushed to a breaking point but said a prayer while re-couping in the bathroom and returned to finish the test and get her GOLD sash. Yay Ty!

Eth is up to a blue sash and Cedric also has a gold sash now. I'm so proud of the efforts they made at the test. Way to go you guys!
Oh, Gert-is-rude! We love this cat SO much. What ever would we do without her??? Yes, that is her (being forced) into praying postion.

This is a sweet little picture (only about 3x2") that Cedric drew. He made several of these and hid them throughout the house so that when Easter comes everyone can go and find them.

However, he kinda forgot about them ... seeing as how Easter is still a month away. I love how his innocence comes through in the pictures he draws.

Speaking of Cedric - he has a favorite stuffed puppy which he lovingly named "Diamond". He LOVES this puppy with all the love his delicate little heart can muster. We've spent many minutes searching for this little friend of his.

Well, yesterday, Cedric and Ethan were tossing Diamond up in the air (don't ask me why) when - whoops! - it landed on the roof of our, very tall, house.

Cedric and Ethan came in telling me about this ordeal. I said we'd have to wait until daddy got home. Only minutes after John came home we hear a heart wrenching sobbing coming from upstairs.

Cedric's concern and worry for his dear little friend who was now residing, who knows how uncomfortably, in the rain gutter of our house, could no longer be endured in silence.

We hurried upstairs and found him in my room, curled up on my bed, sobbing away. We quickly let him know the problem could be resolved.

We called a friend, picked up a ladder, set that tall contraption up, and John climbed away to the rescue. Boy was Cedric happy! Those puffy eyes no longer held tears of sadness but were filled with relief and joy that his puppy had been safely returned to him.

What a happy ending to a sad story! :)
Ethan (having gotten a new shirt) and Cedric (having been inspired by a dress-up birthday scene in a Target magazine) were both dressed up as an "Explorer" and a "Rich Man". That next morning, first thing I saw after getting up were these two, all dressed up, playing together.

This dress up adventure of theirs reminds me a lot of what they're both like. They're both SO different from one another and yet they work and play together like best buddies. The "Explorer" takes them on a journey (along with his trusty home-made map) and they find treasures that help make the "Rich Man" rich.

Love it!
Here's Millie having a silly time. She's so funny - and her poses are always so entertaining and humorous as well. We all love her free spirit!

It's time to say good-bye to Russia. We ended our "visit" to Russia by making Sirniki (aka Cheese Pancakes) with a drizzle of strawberry sauce. They were pretty yummy - Ethan didn't like them so much but it's been fun trying some Russian foods.

Now it's on to Poland!!! In Ethan's words: "Hope they have some good food!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lionhead Performance, Russia, Obert Sky

Wow, okay three years go by and then I begin blogging again. Yes, there's been a lot that we've missed blogging about but better late than never I guess.

We've done a read aloud for six hours before. But we beat that record just yesterday. We beat this record (not that we're trying to beat our past record's by any means) by reading Obert Skye's book Pillage. We started around 10 or 11am and ended close to six. It's fun - even Cedric is able to pay attention to our read aloud's now ... especially if they're about dragons!

The above photo is of Tyra drawing a dragon on the window with dry erase markers. She did this while I read ... along with drawing a massive mansion (which was also a part of the story) with a plethora of people on the front lawn, all of them having come to gawk at the massive building and half of them lying on the ground, having fainted at the shock of it. Pretty funny, Ty! Oh how I love her.
The kids spent some time outside today. Actually, I asked them to play outside because the house was such a mess and I needed to pick up without four tornadoes messing it all up again behind me. (I know, Ty. I know. Not you) :)

They had a good time. Ethan busied himself with drawing. He was a drawing a picture of Lord Shen. (Ethan's totally in love with the movie Kung Fu Panda 2 at the present moment.) He's doing a great job drawing pictures of the characters. Especially Lord Shen and Tigress.

The boys even made themselves "hammers". Replicating the Kung Fu Rhinoceros' weapon. They spent most of the day one day last week making and playing with these weapons. (Good thing John was extra nice and spent some time and creative energy helping them make these marvelous weapons.)

Cedric had built himself a makeshift house with a bunch of wood, on our front porch, around the bench swing. He even had a window! (Which he was quite proud (not to mention protective) of.) He's such an outdoorsy type of boy. I love it.

The girls have had fun being the best and closest of sisters. Ty dressed Millie up: dress, make-up, first time attempt (and success!) of french braids and all. Millie looked and felt so pretty! It's so fun to see those two experience sisterhood together ... especially when they're getting along!

Millie was pretending that a boy "her size", named Jack, was escorting her down the stairs and was dancing with her. How sweet!! I didn't realize how dreamy and princess-y she was like until that day.
The kids got super creative with an art project we had going on. They were to construct some sort of modern looking structure and then paint it white but they, very happily and creatively, created their own works of art.

Initially the art project was supposed to be similar to Louise Nevelson's type of art work. Her art work: interesting. The artist herself: even more interesting. I'll post pictures of the direction the kids took with their art pieces ... maybe that's a good thing though! :)

Cedric made a house. Ethan is working on constructing a huge house of his own. Ty created an "oxygen factory". (more about that one later) I had to push pause on their creativity and send them off to bed. They're excited to continue their projects tomorrow.

We kept with the tradition of having a special Valentine's breakfast for Valentine's day. The boys were so cute and sneakily cut, colored and taped up a whole bunch of hearts all over the house the night before. It definitely made things more festive. I love those boys!

We had lemon water, chocolate pretzels, a bunch of fruit and some round, crispy chocolate treats. We had a good time.

John is still teaching kung fu every Thursday. Right now we have Dalan, Hunter, Tyra, Ethan, Cedric, Millie, Ellie, Zade and Dominique that come. John had been teaching them the lionhead dance with a new (baby) lionhead he got the class for Christmas.

They were able to do a performance for family just last week. Everyone had a good time ... well, I'm not so sure about John ... he was pretty stressed about the event. But it really did go quite well. The kids had a blast and I'm sure it'll be something they'll remember forever.

We started doing "A Journey Around the World" together. We will be reading about and learning about, in various ways, other countries across the world, as though we were traveling there.

Our first country is Russia. Ethan chose it because one of his Lego guys is Russian. :)
We decided to visit a couple in our ward who are going on their third mission! They happened to go to Russia ... which isn't even why we dropped by their place. We dropped by because we wanted to thank them for their example and give them a card saying so and share some of our Russian dessert with them.

The kids all either rode their bikes or rollerbladed over there. They always love to stop and say hi to Roo and Karl. Millie was carrying the little bundle and card in her plastic bike basket.
The Littlefield's were so kind. They immediately invited us in, offered the kids some cookies, which they happily enjoyed and when they found out that we have been studying Russia they pulled out their Russian hats. I don't know why but that hat is very fitting on Ty. Eth looks like he could fly to Russia ... in a very good looking kind of way.

They pulled out a Russian muscial "box" which was one of the beautiful Russian palaces, carved out of wood and beautifully painted. The kids all "whoa'd" at the same time when they saw that. It sang a song based on a love story. Sister Littlefield sang some of it. It was so beautiful. Languages are beautiful especially when they're being sung. They also pulled out their hand painted Matryoshka doll.

(It's interesting to note here that I spoke with my mom later that day and she told me how much she detested Russian - because they were forced to learn it from 4th grade until their teenage years where they then had the option to learn English if they wanted to instead.) I guess being forced to learn a language would dampen the experience a bit.

Brother Littlefield taught us some phrases in Russian: "let's go" is "paydyom", "good bye" is "dasvidania", "thank you" is "spasibo".

Sister Littlefield was so nice to show the kids how little the dolls got. Even I was surprised. The last one was almost microscopic!!!

I re-realized today that Heavenly Father truly wants us to learn and to enjoy learning. It seems that every time we are in an awesome learning groove, He blesses us with an event of some kind, such as our visit with the Littlefields, to help further our learning experiences.

I feel so greatful to Him for caring about us so much and I feel so grateful that there are such wonderful people like the Littlefield's who open their doors to others and have such a warm and inviting spirit.