Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Man of Many Talents

I am married to an amazing man. One thing that I find fascinating is that he is constantly surprising me. Anytime I leave him alone at home for any amount of time, I can expect some sort of excitement. He's constantly rearranging, decorating, painting or making something. It makes me laugh- mostly.
This week, I went to a mom's night and Ryan stayed home with the kids. His surprise for me that night was not a house project, but a hair cut. Lily was definitely overdue for a haircut, and Ryan decided to save both time and money by doing it himself. I think he did a good job, don't you?

Lily looked like this when I left for Mom's night

And this was when I returned from mom's night

Here she is before co-op the next morning. I think she likes her new do!

Cereal Boss

On Tuesdays, I get up early and go to work at the church. Then, Ryan brings the kids to the church and we have our weekly children's ministry staff meeting. I then take the kiddos home for lunch and afternoon school. So this past Tuesday, when I picked Isaac up after our meeting, he was complaining that he was starving because he hadn't eaten any breakfast. I found it hard to believe that Daddy had refused him breakfast, so I questioned him about it.
The reason for his hunger became clearer when he explained that he had gotten some cereal, but he got too busy making something with it and he forgot to eat it. I wasn't sure exactly what he meant, until I walked into the kitchen and found the above creation. I suppose the puzzles, legos, tinker toys, lincoln logs, and blocks he owns aren't adequate. Instead, he has to design with Froot Loops!
Oh well, he ate a good lunch and what can I say? Watch out TLC, here comes the cereal boss!

Trick or Treat!

The first year that Ryan was serving as a children's pastor, we were working at a church that had a big fall festival. It was his responsibility to coordinate it, and so we had a no-brainer decision about what to do on Halloween each year.
Abby was 3 that first year, and from the very start, we enlisted Grammy to make costumes. It became tradition that she would make costumes each year. We usually settled on our costume idea several months before the festival. We have a variety of animals, fairy tale characters, and historical costumes hanging in our attic, all products of our Halloween efforts.
This went on for several years, until we came to our current church. Our church here does do an outreach at Halloween, but it is actually a haunted house alternative that is geared toward adults. It's a very effective ministry, but it left us without a plan for our children. We weren't sure what we should do. So, we've floundered for the last few years, trying a variety of church festivals.
Finally, last year we decided that we would just Trick-or Treat in our own little neighborhood. We felt really convicted that we needed to use every opportunity to build relationships with our neighbors. We knew that many of them would be participating in Trick-or Treat, and it would give us an opportunity to meet and greet some of them. It ended up being a great solution. We take a short walk around the neighborhood, get just enough candy to excite the children, and we get a chance to be friendly with our neighbors.
We did decide this year, that we would give Grammy a break. I knew she was short on time, and I knew that we could save both time and money by using what we had. So, I told the kids they could trick or treat, but that their costume had to come from what we already had. They had no trouble finding a costume and here is what they ended up with...

Abby went colonial, Lizzie went '50s, Isaac was a superhero, Lily was a brunette Alice in Wonderland, and Farmer Abe went along too!

The best part of the evening was definitely watching Abe. At the first house, he just sorta followed the kids up the sidewalk, having no idea why. But by house two, he had the concept of the game. He ran behind them calling for "canny" Needless to say, it was one tradition that was a hit with him!

Pumpkin project

Lily is in Kindergarten this year, and I decided early on that I was going to be sure we included some typical Kindergarten activities. Because she is the youngest of the 4 school age kiddos, it would be very easy to just do a daily math and phonics lesson, and call it a day. But, that's sorta what I did with Isaac, and I've often regretted it.

The year he was in K, we were just starting our Tapestry co-op, and so he just sort of got dragged along with whatever the girls did. For the most part, that was fine. Especially since we started off with pyramids and mummies, which any 5 year old boy would love. But, I missed all of the holiday and seasonal projects that I equate with Kindergarten.

So, I came up with a plan that would allow me a little time to fit in the traditional topics I wanted to tackle, while keeping our basic skills on the front burner. At first, I thought I would just include Lily, but then it became obvious that Isaac would both enjoy and benefit from our "unit time" as we now call it. Last week, we did pumpkin math during our unit time. Currently, our unit theme is pumpkins. We've studied their life cycle, memorized a pumpkin poem, made pumpkin tarts, and had a morning of pumpkin math. But on math day, everyone got involved. Here are some photos of what we did:
Isaac and Lily began by measuring their pumpkin and estimating how many seeds we'd find inside. Then, we cut it open and began cleaning it out.
It wasn't long before everyone came to participate in the mess.
Lizzy liked the pumpkin slime!

We counted the seeds- there were 448! After we counted them, we roasted them.
I wasn't sure that anyone would eat the seeds, but I was WRONG! They ate all 448 in about 3 hours. Needless to say, they were a big hit.

Fall Fun

It's no secret that we love fall at our house. It's absolutely our favorite season, hand's down. I love the cool weather, the fall leaves, the apples and pumpkins, the clearance Halloween candy. I love it all.
Here are some photos of some of our favorite "ordinary moments" this fall.