Monday, June 24, 2019

Happy Birthday Jordan!

(Those flowers were leftover Springtime decorations, not birthday decorations :)

Jordan had the kids ready for church by about 7:00 in the morning yesterday so they could all get started on a marathon game day for his birthday!

Jordan likes to say that he's old (and to be honest, I remember my parents being 40 and they were old ;) but I still just can't wrap my brain around the fact that we might just be getting old too, so I'm still not accepting it!

For the last two years on his birthday, our family went out on an all-day biking adventure around town with fun stops throughout the day. This year, the day before his birthday Jordan woke up and decided to see if he could run a half marathon (!) 

(Side note: Once in college Jordan and a friend decided on a whim to see if they could run a marathon -- they mapped out their own 26.2 mile route and then they ran it, just like that!)

The kids took turns biking along with Jordan as he ran his half marathon in laps around our neighborhood! And he did it -- he's one tough guy!

The kids picked out such sweet things for Jordan for Father's Day and his birthday, and I though it would be fun to remember: 

Landon: A fancy board game (Splendor) that he saw Jordan was interested in on a game shop stop earlier in the week, and 24 fun-size Reeces 

Ellie: A Father's Day song cello performance and a mini sculpture of Jordan at work in his office, and some Peach Habanero jam and Reeces pieces

Owen: Firewood for a campfire and a batch of his favorite (thumbprint) cookies

Porter: A "Best Dad Ever" wood block decoration and a badminton set to play together

Isaac: S'mores ingredients and a few various tape/baggie/paper creations :)

Happy Birthday to this great guy!

Monday, June 17, 2019

School Time Lessons So Far

Each day for our summer school time, one of us (me or one of the kids) has a turn teaching our group time about a plant, tree, bird, or flower and planning an activity to go along with it.  These little lessons have been so fun - I thought I'd write down a bit about them so far so I can remember :)

Knowing we were going to be planting a few this summer I started with boxwoods, and it has been so fun to see the kids pointing them out wherever we go. (I had everyone first draw what they thought of when they heard the word "boxwood" and they made the greatest little pictures. Then I showed them some pictures of real boxwoods and we went for a walk/scooter ride to go find a few in the neighborhood) For my next turn, I taught about Honey Locusts and about how you can identify a tree by the leaves/bark/etc. and it was so fun to hear the kids pointing out all the honey locusts as we drove to and from Harry Potter camp later that day!

Porter took us on a walk to find a flower he'd picked out the day before, then we talked all about peonies. (He noticed right away all of the ants crawling on the buds, so it was a fun surprise to read in the flower description that you'll often see ants on the buds because they like the nectar). Then we went home and played a double jump rope game spelling out the word "P-E-O-N-Y" as we jumped. 

Ellie taught about peacocks and then we all made word searches using words related to them from what we had learned. For her next lesson, she taught us about cranes and then helped us all make paper cranes (one of her favorite things to do! :)

I stretched the rules for Owen when he told me about the plan he had made to teach about frogs (not a plant, tree, flower or bird, but such a well thought out plan that he got to do it still :) He taught about the stages of a frog's growth and made a little card game up all about it. (Later when it was his turn to play with Isaac during rotations, he taught him also and Isaac could name each card - egg, tadpole, young frog, frog :)

Landon taught about robins and took us on a search for robins with a prize for the first to find one (which we did very quickly right at the park.) I remember several years ago feeling so excited to finally learn what a robin was -- it seemed so silly that I didn't know, and once I did I suddenly saw them all the time! I am loving this school time for how it is helping all of us pay attention and notice these things!

Friday, June 14, 2019

happy Friday

Whoosh - Our second week of summer was pretty different from our first! While our first was full of new routines and summer school mornings and open afternoons... this week the kids jumped in to Harry Potter Camp afternoons (and Portuguese Camp for Porter), I had a last minute overnight trip to Provo, we're tending for some friends for a couple days, and we just managed one day of summer school!  (Still, thankfully summer jobs have continued so even with a lot more going on, our house hasn't fallen apart :)

I still need to work out a quiet time, or I know our summer will fly right by and I won't have anything written to remember it...

For now...
Happy Friday! The kids convinced Jordan to wrap up early and join them in a game of King of Tokyo. The boys all spent the morning running in and out, playing in the hammocks and with the water outside with friends... a really lovely summer morning! Poor Ellie is sick with a cold (which Owen, Isaac, and I are getting over).

It's bright and sunny and yesterday I (mostly) wrapped up a big thing that has brought a lot of stress over the last few months so I'm reminding myself that I can breathe a little easier and maybe even celebrate a bit today :)

Happy weekend!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Summer Lunch

On Monday afternoon as we were just about to lunchtime, I remembered a new thing we had tried out last year with each of the kids taking a turn making lunch (for all the kids). I wasn't sure how the kids would feel about it, and when I brought it up I kind of expected at least a mini-revolt. Instead it went (wonderfully!) something like this:
Me: "So guys, do you remember last year how we had the kids take turns making lunches each day?"
Ellie: "Can I make it today?"
Owen/Porter: "Can I make it tomorrow?"

Woohoo! :)

This was today's lunch (above) that the kids all helped Landon make (with some kind of a deal in place -- 'I'll make regular waffles if I'm making it alone, but I'll make chocolate chip waffles if everyone helps...' :)

I have been feeling this first week of summer that things have shifted for us. I keep hearing in my mind little clips of conversations with friends who have kids older than mine, 'oh, just wait till such-and-such happens, it's a game changer!'

Each little thing has been kind of subtle, but all together I'm just noticing. The kids all made lunch for each other this week with hardly any help from me. I ran to the store in the middle of the afternoon with just a couple kids and the rest home together and I wasn't worried about racing back. So far, I leave on my morning walks in the morning while the kids are happily playing together, and I come home to the kids happily playing together.  Not every moment is magical, but some of these little moments sure feel like magic.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Home Office

Jordan sent this to me this morning from his home-office-for-the-day :)

Yesterday he and Landon spent the afternoon hiking up to this spot and discovered that it had pretty great this morning Jordan woke up early and set out again with all his gear and set up a little office for himself where he got to work for the first half of the day. (He even had a few hangouts scheduled and a team meeting, so he got to show off the scenery to his NYC co-workers :)

We sure love this place we live, and Jordan is sure great at getting out and enjoying it!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

First Summer Days

A few things from these first few summer break days:

+ The kids discovered the card game "Authors" and have played it probably a dozen times in these first 3 days of summer!

+ Two trips to Whittier park to play (in connection with cello rehearsal for Ellie)

+ A library trip (so many good books to bring home!)

+ Summer school (and such a happy surprise when the kids recognized the boxwood plants at the library that we'd learned about the day before!)

+ Some fighting, some grumpiness...

+ More searching/researching/working/helping to find a place for my Mom to live before an upcoming deadline

+ Kid made lunches of chocolate chip pancakes and pita pizzas (hooray for this remembered tradition from last summer!)

+ Young women's, scouts, cub scouts, activity days

+ Starting new summer jobs of taking care of the garden, and morning exercise (I love how the kids have been creatively completing their '15 minutes of exercising' job -- bike rides, runs, sit ups, running laps around our front room loop, a dance party, walking/jogging in place while making pancakes...)

+ Lego playing, hammock swinging, slow afternoon fun.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Here we go! (+ Summer School Plans)

after lunch lego time
Today is our first day of Summer Break! I've been excited to be prepping routines, job schedules, and summer school plans. And it was great to see everything work out pretty well today so far. Here we go!

Things I will miss about this school year: 

+ Porter and Isaac's morning playtime. While I'd do my morning jobs, they'd play close by in such a sweet, happy, imaginative way -- but in a way that I know won't happen with the energy and presence of all the older kids.

+ Helping in Porter's class. Kindergarten is the best.

+ Quiet time! :) We were all ready for Summer, but still, summer for me is definitely more work. More work that I love, but also just more!

Things I will NOT miss about this school year: 

+ School mornings of trying to help/encourage/persuade the kids through their morning routines

+ School mornings of trying to help/encourage/persuade the kids out of the car to go in to school (phewph - I'm glad this is done!)

A few things I'm excited for this summer: 

+ School time! We had our first day today and it was a success -- We had fun and everyone was happy -- hooray! :)

We're doing a nature theme this year with one of us introducing a new plant, flower, tree, or bird each day along with some kind of activity.

Then the kids have rotations:
1. Read with Mom (I'm excited about all the great books I get to read with the kids and for this scheduled in one-on-one time. Here are our books for now (oldest to youngest): Far North, The Wheel on the School, Frindle (then Justin Case), Nate the Great)
2 . Play with Isaac
3. Writing (with these penmanship and writing workbooks - we haven't used these before, so we'll see how this goes.)
4. Tech (keyboarding/ math) and
5. Piano practice (or Portuguese for Porter)

+ Good routines -- sometimes it takes a while for these to fall into place, but I feel like we're off to a pretty great start. (The kids were halfway through morning jobs before I was up, so that's a good sign!)

+ Morning walks

+ Summer programs at the North Logan library

+ Swimming

+ All the fresh fruit! And planning dinners around 'what's good with watermelon?' :)