We enjoyed a visit to the science center this weekend and the children got to hold a bearded dragon (lizard), explore the rainforest room (seeing the stuffed leopard, real frogs, and a coconut were highlights, held baby mice (ew), touch sting rays, see and touch live tadpoles in various stages of development, and seed and spin cotton. Afterwards, we enjoyed a lunch we'd made ahead and dropped off at Gran and Pa's and then went swimming. Anna Kate learned how to swim, both over and underwater, and proceeded to swim all the way across the pool (the short width)! On Sunday, I was able to see two very good friends have their baby daughters dedicated at church.
The meteor shower was awesome! I told the children that I would wake them in the middle of the night, but they all woke up independently around 2 AM (I had been planning on 4AM), so We sat on the front steps to see what we could see. It had rained and the ground was wet, so after glimpsing several flashes in the sky, we moved the party to the back deck where we snuggled between two quilts and saw dozens of meteors. The best were a few beautiful long trailing meteors that reminded me of the opening to Smallville (execpt they were smaller and not headed toward Earth :^) and had us squealing in delight, then shushing up so that we didn't wake up the neighbors. Brian had had a very painful day on Sunday, so he skipped them, but the kids and I were up until we finally had to get some sleep around 3:30!
This week we are studying the American West in preparation for an upcoming visit to see a cowboy band at a railroad (more details after the fact!). The objective: Get the kids "in" to cowboys so that they really get a lot out of the adventure. Day one (yesterday) included a Wiggles Cold Spaghetti Western (not very educational, but it set the mood), a section form ABEKA's grade two history book covering pioneers and cowboys, Gail Gibbons Yippee-Yay!, and a trip to find straw cowboy hats, a plastic set of cowboys and Indians, and a gun belt with cowboy guns and silver bullets. Mission accomplished already: Ethan comments, "I love cowboys!"
I was so pleased today to actually have everyone, up dressed, hair done, rooms cleaned up, math started, and the water for the grits boiled on time...just in time to get a call from Brian that a coworker was about to take him to the hospital for kidney stone #5. The last one was six years ago, much better than the four that were 18 months apart, but still no one's idea of fun. So school work was shoved into a backpack, children were taken to Gran's and the craziness commenced. Brian's sweet coworker drove him nearly all the way home until I finally intercepted and got him to the ER for some much-needed pain meds. The good news is that just a couple of hours after getting back to his mom's from the ER, he passed the stone. So, he's worn out and sore, but seems to be recovering well.
Despite all of that, the kids and I managed to make it to the Western Round-Up at the downtown library this afternoon. They had so much fun playing western theme games like lassoing the cardboard steer, throwing Indian spears through hoops, stick horse relays - and the highlight - square dancing! They were decked out in new hats and bonnet and bandannas, and Ethan had his badge and gunblet as well. He earned the nickname "sheriff" in the hour we were there. Today in school was Tall Tales day with a book on Pecos Bill and John Henry and a DVD of puppet-acted tall tales.
Anna Kate is grasping phonics like wildfire. She was so pleased to read her first word at her first lesson last week ("as"), and read a few of small words (like"dog") yesterday even though she really was just starting on blends. Ethan is just starting two digit addition with no problems. He also lost three teeth in six days, bringing his total to four. He refuses to leave them for the tooth fairy; he's saving his "tooth collection" in a jar. And Rose. Well Rose has taken a liking to splashing in the toilet. And as of last week, she is no longer "the baby". Previously she refused to identify herself as anything other than "the baby", but suddenly last Tuesday when I asked "are you my baby?" She replied, "no, I Rose." And that's that. She now says her name, and is not the baby. She's also not a big girl or a little girl. She's Rose.
Oh, and thanks for the ideas for a food gift. You inspired me to go to the farmer's market for treats. I got local honey, blueberries, peach cider, a miniature apple cake, handmade gardener's soap, and grape tomatoes.