Sunday, August 24, 2008

We ARE Still Alive

I promise! Things have just been very busy! Hope to catch you all up soon! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Few Cute Pics...

Andrew has discovered his index finger. He rarely parts company with it these days and he's not even teething...I hope! :) And here he is with a super cute smile.
Here is Joshua posing for his Senior picture...15 years early!!

I would love to post a cute picture of Caleb...but they are hard to come by!!

Who’d A Thunk It?

Back in the day, I never would have guessed I would ever use cloth diapers…ever. But over the past few years, more and more of my friends have started using them…and I’ve been becoming progressively more environmentally conscious, doing things like using reusable grocery bags and recycling as much as I can…and they have all had the same story: they’re easy! So, I decided a few months back that I would go the cloth diaper route with Andrew. In the last week, we finally took the plunge and he is now pretty much exclusively in cloth. Pretty much because we only had 6 diapers to start out with and well…that doesn’t get you very far with a little baby. More diapers are on their way now that I’ve figured out which brands I like. And I have a few more brands I am going to try, so we’ll see how that goes. Anyway, it really is easy and I like the idea of not putting paper, plastic and chemicals on my baby’s bottom 24/7 for a few years. And, you have to admit, they are much cuter!!

I Can Read It!

We have a little reader on our hands! Things just “clicked” for Caleb about two weeks ago and he’s going full-steam ahead. He wants to work on his “reading book” (Hooked on Phonics) ALLLL the time. Sometimes he gets frustrated with me when I am not available and just goes and works on it by himself! Usually he isn’t allowed to do new material alone, so he just practices reading the books and stories he’s already done. He is doing really great with it and is now trying to teach Joshua. Joshua informed me at dinner last night that he isn’t “ready to read yet”. LOL. I had sat down with him last week just to see if he might be ready to start sounding things out since he knows all the letter sounds, but he didn’t quite get it. However, something must have stuck because one of the things we talked about was how when (in the book) you see an “a” and a “t” together and underlined, like this: at, you say “at”. Well, the other day, Caleb was trying to teach Joshua something (I was busy working in the other room and only caught snippets) and I hear Joshua yell to me: “hey Mommy! What am I supposed to say when it’s a “t” and an “a” ‘underground’??” Haha…underground…underlined…letter order…eh, it’s all the same.

Anyway, we are planning to start our first homeschool curriculum this fall. We’re using Sonlight’s P 4/5 program. I had planned to use the Kindergarten level, but then when we decided to use the same “core” simultaneously with Joshua, we figured we should go back a level. Plus, Caleb isn’t even 5 yet, so it’s no big deal. I will be doing level appropriate math and handwriting with Caleb in addition to his reading and phonics, as well as some a basic introduction to science…through books. We’re all excited about it and have already been working on things here and there. Once Caleb discovered I could teach him things, he’s been pushing to learn! :)

I've Been Workin' on the Railroad....Down On the Farm...With a Side of Tossed Cookies

Well, there you have it. Our PA vacation summed up in one sentence! Oh, you want more? Oh, well then I shall oblige your request. :)

We spent a week in exciting Dillsburg, PA with Philip's parents, who have recently located there, and Philip's brother's family. We had a great time...except for all the throwing up. But alas, I get ahead of myself. We'll start with the fun stuff.

It turns out that Strasburg, PA (which is about an hour from exciting Dillsburg) is
home to several railroad museums and a functioning "tourist" train, so on Monday we headed there with our train-loving boys. They enjoyed seeing and climbing aboard the old steam engines and diesels, but what they really had the best time with were all the toy trains in the "hands on" area. I think they could have stayed in there playing all day...or maybe even all week. Then we had a picnic lunch before hopping aboard the real train for a 45 minute ride. Well, it was really like a 15 minute ride, but they put in enough stops to make it last 45. :) The boys enjoyed this too and while riding we even got a sneak peek at the Farm we visited on Wednesday!

Tuesday was my birthday, but we've already talked about that! :)

Wednesday we headed to Ferry Farm...which sports it's own huge corn maze. Given we had
an abundance of small children, we decided to attempt the mini maze instead, which after we did it we decided had definitely been large enough! They also had other fun games, mazes and a petting zoo. It was a fun time...but it was really hot that day, so by 1:00 we were all fried...literally.

This part cracks me up. This was a hay maze where the rule was that you could only make left turns to get to the end. Of course, on hand we have Philip the engineer and his PhD holding engineer brother. The boys wander around a bit with no success...then they try to solve the maze backwards. After about 5-10 minutes of trying, they both concluded that the maze was "impossible" and moved on to greener pastures. I, the non-engineer in the family, decided that it *had* to be possible and set at it. A few minutes later, I casually wandered out the "exit" of the maze. But, I couldn't remember how I did it, so I tried again. I did it again and watched a few other people also complete it. The engineer boys were later informed of the impossible feat and declared "impossible! can't be done!". Paul later successfully made it through...although there is no witness other than his wife, which is highly suspect, don't you think?? Philip still asserts that the maze is impossible and that I *must* have cheated. Riiiigggghhhhttt. Ask me later about the growing list of "engineery" things I seem to be able to do that my engineer husband can't. :)

Thursday was going great with a nice picnic by a little river when Joshua threw up. And that
was the beginning of the end. Ok, not really. But there was a lot of stomach sickness after that for the next week with all of us being affected. I, of course, waited until we were back home and I had the boys by myself to get sick. Isn't that what moms always do? Alas.

Anyway, the rest of the visit was pretty low-key because of all the sickies, but it was still nice to be with family. We had a blast...and then came home. Back to reality!