Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is It Too Early to Start Neighbor Gifts?

I don't think so - I hope not.

The girls wanted to continue making cookies as we started yesterday. We are going to share some with our neighbors for Christmas. Mom class was making little labels "Merry Christmas from the Parks'". Then we rolled, cookie cut, and decorated cookies forever.

A quote from Amy:

"Dear nice Santa. You are the loveliest in the whole world. I love you."

"My first best person is Heavenly Father. Then Jesus. Then Santa... and the people who act like him."

Lesson learned: Sixlets are gross on sugar cookies. M&Ms much better. Sorry to our sixlets guinea pigs. I hope others like them. It might just be because I don't like sixlets.

The girls did pretty well once we got going. They hung in there a long time. (Amy got bored first.) We probably made close to 40 cookies.  I was proud of the way they shared and talked to each other.

Amy decided she didn't want to have closing routine today so I will put pictures of today up tomorrow (I hope.) I at least wanted to write about what we did so we don't forget.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cookies Cookies Cookies

Mom Class (at Amy's request) - Spanish lesson

Amy's choices:
reading marathon - consisted of one book - "The Man Who Didn't Wash His Dishes" - we talked about how we didn't want to be like that man

hide and seek - Amy's rule was you had to say "ready" when everybody was in their hiding spot. (Noel joined us by this point.)

Noel's choice:
make cookies with cookie cutters. (The dough is in the fridge. We still have the cookie cutter part to go.)

We enjoyed eating some of the dough. As soon as we're done with closing routine, we'll go clean up the mess. Eliza was just ready to come down and play.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back to School

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. We took the whole week off for Thanksgiving break. We spent 4 days at my sister's and had so much fun.

Today we are back on with kindergarten. Eliza and Noel were with us most of the time today.

Noel asked this morning during my homework time to play with her, so we started the day unofficially with Noel's activity - kids yoga on yoga mats.

We finally had lunch after that in which I ate and did a ton of dished in the time it took the girls to have their meal. (That always takes a long time.)

Then we had recess. Amy chose to play astronaut/ space super hero pretend playing. We also had mom class of helping THE rake leaves while we were out there.

Inside we had a parade with instruments.

Finally opening/ closing routine - drink of water and prayer we never did at the beginning so we threw them in here and read our scripture story.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Daddy Kindergarten

I took a day off today because I was pretty wasted and achy last night and wasn't feeling all that energetic this morning. I'm not "sick" with anything, but my body needed a rest.

Bonnie had an appointment to take the van in this morning to get some work done as well as get it registered and such. She was going to do Kindergarten while there because there is a field and a McDonalds play place all close by that could offer room for some fun activities. However, Amy was rather, well, defiant this morning, including at one point kicking Eliza in the stomach. She wasn't going anywhere.

We agreed and Bonnie just took Noel. After she left though, Amy changed her attitude and was behaving wonderfully! She did chores right away, she did her morning routine, etc. It was great! So I told her we could do at home kindergarten still since she was having such a good attitude.

We did opening routine which included a neck exercise, drank some water, and for Daddy class we learned the first verse of "Oh Christmas Tree."

For activities we played horsey and astronaut. Then we went outside to play pretend hiking a mountain on our rock and in the back of my truck. After that we came in and had snack time, then closing routine, which was a drink of water, writing in a notebook about what we did, reading a couple pages in a scripture story book, and finally, me posting on this blog.

While writing in this book, Bont came home. Perfect timing!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mom Class was a Spanish Lesson. We read the last story in our Smurfs comic book. Next Spanish lesson we'll start a new Smurfs comic book. We had fun laughing in today's story about a smurf who was really confused and kept asking everyone if they knew where his chicken was. (I'm sure you had to be there, but we thought it was funny.)

Amy chose snack time for her first activity, requesting that we play "Don't eat Pete." My neighbor taught her and other kids that at her house, but I never saw the little boards or saw it played. We decided to go ask her how to play, but she wasn't home. We'll have to do that another time.

Next Amy chose "Reading Marathon." I love reading marathons (as long as the books aren't boring ones.) (In fact, Amy and I had just been talking before we started that when I am pregnant again (not imminent but hoped for at some point), we would probably have a lot of Reading Marathon days at home school because I would need to rest a lot, especially at first. That may be why she thought of that for today.) We each chose some books. I found "The Little Prince" on the shelves which I've never read but have wanted to. We started with "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (which is funny) and then started "The Little Prince." I had to take a little pause to help Noel on the potty. When I came back, Amy was asleep. haha.

I offered to Noel to pick an activity for kindergarten, but she wanted to continue sitting on her potty in front of the Christmas tree. (We set it up last night. I am glad that Matt and I see eye-to-eye on the issue of Christmas before Thanksgiving. It is so allowed at our house.) So I think that's the end of kindergarten for today. But I may be wrong. Either Amy or Noel could request more, and I would be fine with that. Funny Amy. She can be so intense; I think she tires herself out. Fun day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Energy

We have been struggling now and then with some intensity in our home lately. This morning was some good and some bad. I prayed at the beginning of school that we could enjoy our time together and be nice to each other and love each other. I feel like we were very blessed. There was even one point where Amy was telling me how I was her second favorite person (second to Jesus sounds good to me.) She kept saying "I like you sooooo much!" I loved it.

Our brain exercise today involved writing lower case letters on top of each other. Amy decided instead that she wanted to write all the capital letters. She can do most of them without looking at anything but needs some reminders. They're pretty legible, too. When she wrote the Z it wasn't quite how she wanted it. She seemed surprised. She looked at what she had just written and said, "Uh, 3?" Like she was asking the 3 what it was doing there. Pretty funny.

Mom class was preparing a Joy School binder, printing, laminating and cutting. Amy likes this mom class a lot. She helped quite a bit and played quite a bit. At one point she sang a song to the picture of Jesus on the wall. "Oh yeah, I like you. I like you. I like you." She was shaking her hips. And I was laughing.

Amy's choice of activity was typing lesson. She likes to type her name. Today I showed her how to hold shift to capitalize. She then wanted to play a computer game, so she played 5 rounds of hearts. The first round I let her do whatever she wanted so she got 23 points. Then she wanted to try to win so she had me tell her every card to play. At the end of round 4 she was actually in 3rd place (and feeling pretty smug that she wasn't loosing.) After round 5 she was loosing again. 

By that point her sisters were awake again so it was Noel's turn to choose an activity. She thought about doing finger tricks (idea from our list of possible activities) but changed her mind. She picked Twister. We each took a turn spinning. Their attention span was pretty good while right and left totally eluded them. While I was playing and Amy was spinning, Eliza climbed on me. Didn't take long before Twister was over and we had Eliza's choice of activity: climb on Mommy and bounce. The girls all like that game. 

Now Noel and Amy are playing with the twister mat and being heroes or something. (I've heard something about dragons including "The dragon is nursing." Eliza must have been the dragon.)

I love that kindergarten sometimes brings us together instead of riling us up (like some other choices of activities.) Yay for kindergarten!

This is the one finger trick I got a picture of. Amy declared, "Whoever can do a finger trick that no one else can do, wins." Then she proceeded to do something like this. I was pretty close, but when I asked if I got it, she said no. Pretty tough judge I bet. The funny thing is she was changing the trick the whole time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Calmer Day

Today we did the double doodle exercise with chalk outside again.

Then Mom Class - Spanish lesson. We finished one story from our Smurfs comic book. Amy can go forever.

Noel chose Battledome for her activity.

Amy chose snack time for hers. They are now eating trick-or-treats while we doing closing routine.

And though I was babysitting through most of that time, the babies slept a lot. The bulk of kindergarten today was Spanish lesson. That seemed fine with me - to have most activities short.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Really Happens

I have an idea of how the ideal would go with our home school. It looks like this:

We eat lunch in our house between 11:30 and 12:00. The kids eat constantly until they are done and then clean up their dishes. They go straight to the potty (a rule after each meal at our house.) They choose books and let me know that they are ready for me to read to them. We read. I snuggle Noel and Eliza one at a time and put them to bed.

Amy and I go downstairs and quickly clean up the family room. By one o'clock we start kindergarten. We happily do each activity, starting with our opening routine and then mom class, have fun with a variety of activities Amy chooses including snack time, recess, and rest time as well as a few others. Have a lovely closing routine with Amy sitting by me while I blog, helping me remember all the things we did and all the funny things she says.

A little while later, Noel and Eliza wake up and we do dinner and our evening routine, with a little play thrown in because there's plenty of time before bed.

What really happens:
Most of those activities take way longer. Kindergarten rarely starts before 2, sometimes 3 or even 4. Things are interrupted, and the kids sometimes fight.

Today I decided Noel could stay awake just long enough to have mom class. I wanted to print and laminate some things for Joy School. Eliza had just gotten up and wanted to nurse. Noel had pooped in her pull-up and was whiney. Amy, Noel, and Vidalia got in Vidalia's bed and were squishing each other. I printed some stuff, and then the printer jammed. Then THE called twice and wanted me to find something for him. It was getting a little crazy. I finally got Vidalia changed and put to bed, Eliza nursed, and Noel snuggled and put. I came downstairs to finish mom class and start school only to find out that Amy had kept Eliza from eating bad things and had cut Eliza's hair. So we talked about that.

Finally we started cleaning up the family room to officially start school. That was taking forever but making progress when I realized Eliza never got lunch. So we went upstairs and had snack time, also working on dinner a little so it would be ready when school was over. We finally got back downstairs, prayed, drank our water, and looked in our book about brain exercises to determine what we were going to do for the day. It was a drawing with chalk activity.

So we went outside and looked all over for the chalk. Couldn't find it. Visited with a neighbor. Asked around for some chalk. Finally found a couple pieces. Drew with sidewalk chalk for our exercise.

First activity (I guess that's what it was) was bikes. Noel woke up. They rode around. Eliza pooped. Eventually we made it around the block.

Noel's activity choice was tic-tac-toe (which was really draw on the whiteboard) and dance and sing a little. It has turned into a free play free for all which is fun. Finally I'm blogging and wrapping up. It's now 6:15.

Even though kindergarten (and the rest of my life) almost never goes according to the ideal I pictured, I am working on going with the flow. Obviously I can't ignore my other children and their needs. We are not going to always want to do all the things each family member wants to do. Still somehow we learn some stuff and have fun. Today was fun too. I am glad that the chaos didn't stress us (read:me) out too much to have fun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Napping House

Today we were a bit tired starting school so I chose rest time for Mom Class. Before I knew it, we were all asleep. (I don't think Noel actually ever slept but was in quiet time at this point.) Eliza woke up a short time later, but Amy slept for 3 hours. So I took the "Time for home school. Please come back later" sign off the door and worked on my homework.

I found out Amy was awake when I heard crying from the fouton downstairs. She was worried that we wouldn't have kindergarten today. Since we had no other plans, we started kindergarten at that point. It was like 5. haha.

The girls decided they wanted to play in the front yard (despite Eliza's shorts and Noel's swimming suit). Suddenly, we decided to play at our neighbor, Lincoln's house. Noel chose to play princess, and Lincoln and Amy chose to play pirate, both games requesting that I play too. I played a little with everyone, then comforted Eliza when she was sad.

Our last activity turned out awesome. We got out yoga mats, and took turns leading stretches. But mostly Noel led us and is still going strong, long after Amy's done. She has a talent, my little yoga instructor.

And now it's almost 7:00 pm, and we're almost done with school.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spontaneous Visit to Grandma and Grandpa

Ok, it's not what you think. We didn't up and go to Farmington. Today we were at the soccer field riding bikes and scooters for recess when Amy suggested we go to the cemetery and see my grandparents' graves. It was a lovely idea, and we had a good time. They are interested in seeing the graves and learning the names of the people who died. We had a great discussion about heaven, how we felt at the cemetery, and how we want to be good so we can be together forever. It is easy to feel the Spirit there, and I was grateful for that chance to talk.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Mom Class today included looking at pictures from my dad's album. Mostly we saw pictures of his parents who are the grandparents we went to see. (I don't know if that was why Amy thought of the cemetery or if it was just because we were right there.)

Amy's first activity was to play food. We were on a date. (I was the boy.) We ate some food and talked some pretend kind of talk. Then we left for the activity of our date. I suggested a bike ride at the soccer field, and she liked the idea. We noticed Noel was awake when we went to get Amy's shoes, so she came with us.

I was impressed with Amy's skill and endurance. She did a couple laps on the bike and a bit of running. We had a good time doing mini races and just riding around.

Then came the cemetery as I mentioned.

At home we had a snack and then played on the swing set and trampoline.

Lots of good exercise and enjoying beautiful autumn weather. I enjoyed the time with my girls. At one point I was walking holding hands with both of them. Amy told me that she liked me and hugged my arm while we walked. It was just what I needed too, this nice time with them. Just before we started I was starting to feel anxious and a little discouraged - nothing big, just ordinary feelings. I am glad we had this great day to help me shake that and enjoy my girls.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lots of Pretend

During our brain exercise today, Amy got to color on whiteboards. She made a person and made up a new word with a unique spelling. Then she told me all about it. I took a picture of it (and of many other things today), but the computer is having issues uploading. Hopefully I can do it later.

lelal (pronounced like scowl or scowel) - people who only wear dresses. They are main characters. Pretty nice with funny arms. Pretty nice with funny arms. They aren't real, just people dressed up like them. They are like clowns, but they are funnier. They do funny things every day and night.

Today's mom class was organizing a cupboard that I've wanted to get to for a long time. It holds music, scriptures, and primary supplies in our living room. It's been out of control for so long. I have before and after pics too that I want to post but can't now. (See reason above.) Happy to have that done.

Noel was with us after that point. (We started school while she was at Joy School today and finished after she got home. We did it in the morning because Amy has a doctor's appointment this afternoon.) She chose an activity playing with chimes.

Next Amy chose snack time featuring trick-or-treats.

Noel chose recess which went on and on. We had so much fun outside. We played on the swing set, ran around playing tag, and then went crazy with pretend play.

First Noel was the mom, Amy the brother, and me the sister. Mom drove kids to preschool with their lunch boxes. We almost forgot the toys to share that we were supposed to bring, but Amy had tons in her pocket and shared, and Mom went inside to get some more. We got to preschool and had rest time and then shows. The shows kept changing. Each of us had different parts. Amy and Noel both kept trying to tell me who I was and what I was supposed to be doing. It was pretty funny. It all worked though (meaning no one got mad.) Sometimes someone was an audient. (That's singular for audience in our house.) At one point I was a singer than a talker than a princess. Sometimes Amy was the witch and later the dragon. Noel was the prince who saved me.

Some funny highlights from our pretend playing were when Noel was in a show and waved to the audience and said "Buenas Noches" and when we had a discussion about the princess being at a ball. I started dancing saying that I was at the ball. Noel said it's not a dancing ball it's a basketball.

After all the shows, we rode home on the bus (including the mom) and then realized we forgot to eat our lunches at school. So we got them out and ate. Our lunches were filled with Halloween candy. (I wonder what was on the brain today. :) Suddenly Amy was a dog who had 3 puppies.

I told the kids we only had time for one more activity (in order to do closing routine, lunch, put Noel to bed, and get ready for the doctor.) Amy chose doggies. The dogs went to church (but had to stay in the car because dogs don't go to church), played in strollers, ate oatmeal, and went trick-or-treating.

What a fun day we've had at kindergarten!