Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall Party

I felt like I was in a test kitchen helping Kevin’s mom get ready for a fall themed bridal shower. It was fun! She put together such a great menu—everything was fabulous, with lots of delicious flavor combinations. And I loved the center piece she did. It really put me in the fall mood.

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Following Through

Yes! I followed through with the first craft I had planned for Meredith. Because it was all spelled out in a book, it was very easy. She loved it and we had fun together. Maybe this craft thing won’t be so bad (for me) after all!!

Here is the Octopus craft—this week’s theme was “the ocean” since we just got back from the beach house. We read a bunch of books with stories about sea life, scuba divers, building sand castles, taking trips to the beach, etc., etc. I also learned a finger game that Meredith loved about five fish and shark. This idea was also in that library book.


Here is Meredith copying out her name on her marker board. It’s a long name—I’m proud of her for trying so hard. She finally got her “E” right. It used to look like an upright caterpillar with lots of legs!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Outer Banks I

Kevin asked me what I thought about our vacation to the Outer Banks, where we got a beach house on Hatteras Island for a week. I told him “restorative.” There is just something about salty ocean breezes that rejuvenates you and makes you whole again. It has been a really tough past two years for our family. Now that the whole going-back-to-school-with-kids trial is over, our vacation was just what we needed to renew ourselves.

Our beach house.

View from the wrap-around deck.

Kevin and the girls walk over the sand dune to get to the beach.

Inside the house—there were panoramic views of the ocean from all the windows (four of them were sliding glass doors onto the deck). You could also see the “sound side” of the Outer Banks from the kitchen window.

I think our absolute favorite “activity” (or maybe it was a “non-activity”) was sitting on our deck and enjoying the sunshine and the ocean breezes. There is nothing more relaxing than that.

Outer Banks II

Enjoying an evening walk on the beach.

Clara’s not sure about that wave.

We had fun building several different sand castles.

Clara ate a lot of sand.

Meredith is bringing a jellyfish (held on a sea shell) to show me. We saw a lot of wildlife. We saw dolphins playing in the water on several different occasions. One morning we watched a pelican swoop down to dive in the water and get his breakfast. There were lots of fish in the water, lots of birds, lots of crabs. We enjoyed taking many walks along the beach and looking for sea shells. I brought home a whole bag full of pretty purple and orange shells.

Outer Banks III

One day we took a day trip to Ocracoke Island. We all enjoyed the ferry ride over there. On the way back we stopped at Cape Hatteras light house. It is the tallest brick lighthouse in the world and is an international symbol of the North Carolina seashore.

Being funny! I love foolin’ around with my family.

One night we ate dinner at a seafood restaurant. Meredith was so excited to order fish from the menu. When it got to our table, she asked “Where’s the fish?” We pointed it out to her. She looked perplexed and said, “But there’s no eye on it!” She was very disappointed about that.

My little shrimp.

There is a lot of history in the Outer Banks. Everything from Pirate history (Blackbeard was beheaded off of its shores), America’s first colony (the lost colony), Underground Railroad history, and the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

Outer Banks IV

Kevin made a sand turtle with Meredith. She was VERY upset to have to leave her turtle. She asked Kevin why they couldn’t just take it in the car with them. She was also very concerned that the “next children” who come will take good care of her turtle. When we left she put a pebble in the turtle's eye and said, "That is a tear because he will miss me and he is sad."

Clara was really tired this particular day and fell asleep on my shoulder as we were about to leave.

Kevin was such a “water baby” all week!!! He was constantly in the water. He loved to body surf and we also got a body board to use for the week.

On the way back to Indiana, we stopped in Burlington, NC and stayed the night. We found this carnival and the kids both enjoyed a few rides.

Shannon and Jeff drove up to see us and stayed at our hotel. It was fun to visit with them and see the happy newlyweds.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our Poor Hobby Horse Has Died

Meredith came running to where I was yesterday and was visibly upset.

A: “What’s wrong, Meredith?”

M: “My [hobby] horse died.”

A: “Oh, I’m so sorry. How did he die?”

M: “He ate too much of mommy’s medicine.”

A: “Can the doctor make him better?”

M: “No, because the doctor can’t get into heaven until he is dead too.”

A: “Oh, I’m so sad for you.”

M: “Yes, that horse got dead because that soldier took a sharp stick and poked him in half!!”

A: “What? I thought you said he ate too much medicine.”

M: “He ate medicine AND he got poked in half.”

And thus ends the life of our poor hobby horse.


Another one:

The other day Meredith was being rough with Clara. Kevin rebuked her and said, “Would a true princess, like Cinderella, act that way?” She replied, “No, but Cinderella does not have any childrens.”


I’ve decided to be more proactive about doing preschool activities with Meredith. Is this really the beginning of my homeschooling career? Lately I’ve been very reluctant about homeschooling, mostly because I’ve felt very lazy. And, if that’s how I feel, how are my children supposed to get an excellent education?

Most of my friends are sending their three-year-olds away to preschool. A huge part of me wants to do that too because it would be VERY nice to get a break two mornings a week. Plus, I really loathe doing children’s crafts. But Meredith loves it so much and I don’t want her to be cheated of that experience.

So, I’ve put together a plan. We’re going to do a bunch of mini-unit studies. I found a book at the library that inspired me. Basically we’ll read 10-12 books surrounding a theme (everything from “the moon and stars” to “bugs” to “pizza”) and then we’ll do a craft based on that theme. Each week is a new theme. And a lot of the themes are seasonal. It's great because everything is spelled-out and (appears) super easy. Between that and what she gets at MOPS, I think she should be set as far as crafts go.

We are also planning on doing a lot of nature walks and outings to give her hands-on experience and reinforce what she is learning. I’ve been inspired after reading some books on Charlotte Mason.

The other day I was talking to a friend whose son was “studying” Humpty Dumpty in preschool and then the teacher asked him what kinds of animals lay eggs. Later, out of curiosity (don’t you love peer pressure?) I asked Meredith what animals lay eggs. She looked at me as if that was such an absurd question and said, “Mom, birds lay eggs.”

So, anyway, here we go! I think it’s going to be a fun and memorable year with my girls.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

In a Nutshell

Today I forgot to bring the stroller when I took the girls to the children’s museum. This meant I had to carry Clara from room to room. All 22 pounds of her. She still isn’t walking (although she takes 4-5 steps at a time and the record so far is 12 steps). At the last room before we left, I sat on a bench and felt totally wiped out. I was also hungry so I reached in the diaper bag and pulled out a sack of animal crackers.

There sat poor, tired Amy on a bench, kids and toys swirling around her, eating animal crackers. And actually enjoying the animal crackers.

I’m such a mom these days. How quickly that happened. You sign up for a baby and suddenly you find yourself with two kids at a children’s museum eating animal crackers. Watch out, it could happen to you!

I haven’t posted on my blog this week because I’ve spent nearly every “free” moment listening to this audio book while trying to work on Clara’s baby book. I figure since she’s well into her second year of life, it’s time to start it for her!! And the audio book is due at the library today. And I still have two CDs to go. But technically speaking I have until the library opens tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., so I am optimistic that I will get through it!

I really, really LOVE audio books. I listen while I do housework and go on walks with the girls. This way, I get in about two extra books a month. Plus, it really saves me from a lot of serious boredom!!

Last night I went to probably the loveliest bridal shower I’ve been to. Heather hosted and she always does things so beautifully. It was a literature themed shower and very fun. The food was supposed to appear from the Jane Austen era and I volunteered to bring the fruit bowl (pictured above). I love making food look pretty.
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I love this pic.

It's really fun to go with Kevin's dad to our home site because he's so excited for us.

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Up, Up and Away!

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