Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Emily got her own library card!

You can have your own library card once you turn 5. I have been meaning to take Emily in to get her very own card for a while now... well we did it tonight! This was very exciting for her. She very carefully signed the back of her card (Emily Nelli) and carried it proudly to the car. When we got in the car, she looked at it again, and her face kind of collapsed and she said "Oh no!"
"What is it?" I asked.
"Mom, I signed it Emily Nelli... I won't always be Emily Nelli... When I get married I will have a different last name. What will I do then?" You can imagine the extreme look of concern...
I tried not to laugh.
Then I carefully explained, that after you get married you get a whole new set of personal documents, like library cards and driver's licenses... It was really sweet.

Now that she has her own card, she can request her own books off her 1st grade summer reading list. I have been doing it for her but you can only request 10 at a time... her requested items were starting to creep into items that I wanted to request for myself or for David... so it is very nice we no longer have to share. I will post a picture of her proudly holding her new card soon. And by the way, she is reading her stacks of books as fast as I can bring them to her... we are now making weekly trips to the library to exchange things. Amazing!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dinosaur Egg

Emily went to a birthday party (Nicholas H.) at the Museum of Natural Science (The Woodlands branch) and brought home a pretty cool party favor. Here is the egg submerged in water. We were to wait 12-24 hours for it to hatch. This is what the egg looked like when the kids reluctantly went to bed. They could not wait to get up in the morning to see if it had "hatched".

The next morning, the excitement began.

It was very exciting!

And on the next day... the dinosaur had come out of her egg a little more.

The kids couldn't wait any longer... so they got her out!

And there was much rejoicing! They named her "Dinosaury." They have been taking good care of her.

Now we are reading Madeline...

We lost a week, but we read Ping (set in China), Lentil (set in Ohio), and now we're reading Madeline (set in Paris). We found Paris, France on the world map and added our story disc. We colored the French Flag, drew the Eiffel Tower, and played counting games with pasta. The story has the girls line up in 2 rows of 6. So we practiced making different groupings of 12... sets of 3, 4, 6, etc... Emily got quite a bit out of it. She learned that 12 can't be divided by 7 evenly, etc... Oh yes, I love google images, so we googled some beautiful pictures of the Eiffel tower. The illustrations in the book cover lots of famous Paris sites - The Opera, the Place Vendome, The Hotel Des Invalides, Notre Dame, Luxembourg gardens, Sacre Coeur, and the Tuileries gardens at the Louvre. If I am not mistaken, Lia's rosary came from Sacre Coeur so it will be fun to look at those pictures later this week. I am hoping to run by the library and find a picture book of Paris so we can match the sites. Then maybe, we can just jet to Paris and see them for ourselves!
Emily is reading the book to David here. So cool she can read now!

The difference between the sexes...

(as illustratred by my 1 and 3 year old)

I am sitting on the couch and David and Lia are climbing all over me... as usual. David has his toy dinosaur. Lia has a toy car and that silly bottle she uses to feed her duck. Lia is diligently trying to feed the toy car a bottle... there is a little spot on the car that the bottle kind of naturally fits into. I say, "Look Chris, Lia is trying to feed a bottle to that car." David says, "My dinosaur wants to eat that car!" And then David proceeds to attack the car with his dinosaur.


Friday, June 26, 2009


Little Lia seems to have passed pink eye to me. It is gross. Along with it, I have a sore throat and have completely lost my voice today. Surprisingly, my household runs pretty smoothly when I can only whisper. The kids have to come close to hear me. If I lost my temper, they would never know b/c I can't yell. Hmmm.. go figure. I went to my primary care doctor who I have not seen since 2005. He considered me a new patient... I guess I have been having babies for too many years. If I was pregnant, my OB handled all my health issues. Anyway, I have some antibiotic drops to fix my pink eye so let's hope it works. I would like my voice back too.

We had our AC worked on this morning. The large furnace was replaced and all the nice cool air that was leaking into the attic was fixed. A new transition and box around the ducts were installed and our house is nice and cool again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Emily and David's Summer Milestones

I am proud to report that Emily can finally take a shower independently. She can turn the water on, adjust the temperature, soap her body, shampoo her hair and very importantly, she can wash all the shampoo out (we had to work on this). It is very liberating for me to be able to put her in the shower and know she'll get herself clean on her own. She does not get dressed without prompting though... she still prefers to be naked... but she will go pick out an outfit and dress herself after being asked or nagged.

Emily can also fully dress her sister and delights in this task. They go pick out an outfit together. Emily dresses Lia (buttons/snaps too!) and even puts her shoes on for her. Again, I cannot express how much this helps me. The fact the girls love it, is an added bonus! Emily still insists that she will share a room with Lia and talks about the day Lia will move in. David has requested to share a room with Lia too... Emily informs him that he can have the next baby 'boy'... oh my!

David, on his own, has been practicing making letters on the chalkboard. I guess he is ready for handwriting lessons. He likes to make the letters in his name. For the most part, he has been perfectly happy to scribble... but now he is making some shapes and letters though his drawings are still. He can also scrub himself clean in the bath... and as a boy with a shaved head, he doesn't have to worry much about washing all the shampoo out of his hair.

David and Emily are also making up stories. There favorite "silly story" is this... "Once upon a time, there was a little monkey. The End." Then they giggle. Then they add some details about the little monkey eating everything in sight. Then more giggling.

Currently, we are listening to books on CD. We listen to stories that are appealing to them but too difficult for Emily to read herself. We worked our way through A.A. Milne's House on Pooh Corner. There are 9 stories, about 20min each. The literature is beautifully written and wonderfully told. The beauty is that the kids listen to it and then have to use their imagination to "see" what is going on. Emily listens intently and asks for more. David listen's in for a while and then tunes out. I think he will listen more and more as time goes on. It is a nice way for me to get things done. We are now on chapter 18 of Charlotte's Web, narrated by the author, E.B. White. I loved this story as a kid so it is fun for me to listen in as well.

More later...

The newest addition to our family...

Lia and I went shopping at HEB and I happened to go down the "toy" aisle.... Lia's face lit up and she started pointing furiously at this duckling in its box. I handed to her thinking it would give me some peace to finish my shopping. The duckling was packaged in the sort of way that allows kids to try out their toy before buying. She quickly found the bottle and began to feed her duck. Well, this is on of those "Fur Real" ducks that makes swallowing motions and happy "thank yous" in quack language. I was rewarded to lots of baby giggles as she fed her duck and I was able to easily finish the grocery shopping. And yes, I was suckered into buying this $13 duck.... So let's document it. Added bonus, the big kids were enchanted by the duck as well. Emily named it, "Ducky."

There is no doubt that Lia got the mothering gene.... Funny how they just know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

We have been celebrating Father's Day all weekend and have had lots of fun. Friday night, the ShadowBend YMCA began their Movie Under the Stars series.... They set up a big screen outside and allowed families to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy a movie. The kids got to do a little Father's Day craft, they had popcorn and lemonade, and we watched Daddy Day Care. The big kids really enjoyed it. And most importantly, the weather was fantastic! We have had very hot afternoons here in the upper 90's... however, it is very dry and the evenings are cool with a nice breeze. Hard to believe but we are certainly enjoying it.

Saturday morning, we had our family portraits taken at church by Olan Mills. St. Anthony is putting together a photo directory of all its families. We got some great shots of the family including one of Chris and I that I love. Our photographer had a silly monkey that really made the kids smile. Unfortunately, we don't get our pictures for 3-4 weeks!

Saturday night, we spent the evening at Alden Bridge pool. David has overcome his fear of the kiddie slides. Alden Bridge has a butterfly theme slide and David spent his 2 hours going up and down the slide about 100 times! Emily's swimming is really coming along and she was able to do the big kid tube slides at the same pool. These slides spit you out into the deep end - pretty fast I might add. She very calmly swam to the side of the pool after going down these slides. We were very impressed. She can also float on her back for almost 2 minutes now. Big Girl!

We took the family to church on Father's Day morning and had a nice brunch at home to celebrate. The kids were very excited for Daddy to open his present. The D-A-D letters were painted by David. He was quite proud of them.

Here are David's and Emily's artwork for Daddy and his Father's Day T-shirt.

And... Emily made a painting for her Grandpa as well:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sweet Lia

More Science...

And on to #87 - Currents of Color

Another easy one - milk, food coloring, and dish soap. Simple ingredients... big wow factor for the kids. Gotta love it!

Food coloring in milk will form little pools of color that do not dissolve because of the fat in milk. When you add the drop of dish detergent, the colors move outward because of a really complicated explanation of the surface water molecules pulling on the molecules of color with equal force in all directions... (surface tension?) Regardless, it is very cool! Love the kid commentary.

Tuesday's Fountain Play

We met Peg and Emma for some fun at the Waterway Fountains on Tuesday morning.

Lia spent some time scooping the water from the fountains and putting in her bucket. It was quite cute.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We are now reading Robert McCloskey's book, 'Lentil'. It is a cute story about a boy who learned to play the harmonica because he couldn't sing and ends up saving the day at the town's celebration of their hometown hero.

This mean guy, Sneep, in the story stops the band from being able to play by sucking on a lemon. Apparently, you can't play instruments if your mouth puckers up... so we learned about taste buds today.
We rubbed a lemon on the sides of our tounge to see if it was sour... yes, it was!

But we were also able to observe that it wasn't as sour when placed at the tip of our tounge or in the middle as the diagram suggested.
The Colonel's house in the story was designed in an architectural style known as Second Empire. I was impressed that Emily was interested in learning about the unique features that make up these kinds of "fancy" houses. We learned some new words like "mansard roof" and "cupola"

Mom's Night Out

I thought I would document this occasion because I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with some women from my Familia group tonight. We met for dessert at Black Walnut and had a lovely time. I got gelato - chocolate and mint. (of course)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Melissa's Birthday Party

Today, we went to Melissa Chou's 6th Birthday party at Bear Branch Park. Emily and Melissa are in a playgroup together. They also sing together in the children's choir at church. It was lots of fun. The kids got to play together and have pizza and cake.
We got Melissa some new jammies - We hope she like them!

Melissa is next to Emily in the yellow and blue shirt. Doesn't everyone look sweet!

Olivia, Warner, Emily and Payton.

Mom, Dad, and David had fun...

And Lia did too!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday's Adventures

After breakfast today, we decided to try an experiment from Janice VanCleave's 200 Gooey, Slippery, Slimy, Weird and Fun Experiments... With a name like that... the kids are bound to like it, right? We did #110 called Erupting Colors. You fill a bowl with water. Then you add 4 drops of red, blue, and green food coloring to some oil and mix it up in a little cup. When you add the oil (with the dye) to the water, these pools of oil form and the colors "explode" outward then sink down through the water. The kids thought this was pretty cool.

Emily caught on to the fact that oil and water don't mix - hence the pools of oil in the water.... I'm not sure I adequately explained that the food coloring is water based, which is why you see the colors form spheres that don't dissolve in the oil... Then when the dye sinks into the water layer it dissolves there. Since it was so easy to do, we will definetly do it again.

It also gave me some time to wash the maple syrup out of the baby's hair. ;-)

We are done with Ping. Today, we put the little story sticker on the map where the story took place. The books we read in this curriculum are set all over the world so we will add to the map as we go. As you can see, our little Ping was placed in China along the Yangtze river. We move on to Robert McCloskey's Lentil next.

We made a quick trip to the library to turn in and pick up books. From there, we caught the trolley to the mall. The kids wanted to play at the mushroom place... I got a cute shot of Miss Lia. They are all in their rooms now for quiet time. We had a good morning.


Yesterday, we talked about drawing water. We looked at how the Ping illustrator drew reflections and we also looked at how the artist showed movement in the water with ripple lines. Here is my setting sun...

And, you can see Emily's setting sun in the picture below. She also drew her ducks getting on the boat and if you look really close, she added the master saying "La La La La Lei" - that is how he calls his ducks in the book. She wrote it in a word bubble... we learned that in our cartooning lessons from Activity TV. :-) And if you look really really close, she put some ducks in the water with ripple lines to show water movement. My girl really does chew through all her lessons.

We also made a trip to the pet store for dog food. We made the animal tour - gerbils, mice, and rats, then birds, then fish, then pets for adoption - cats only that day, and they also had some turtles and lizards. I think David likes the rats the best, Emily likes the fish, and Lia liked everything she saw!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Harper's Landing Pool

Our Neighborhood Asssociation sends out this great pamphlet with pictures of all the pools in The Woodlands and information on each one such as the hours they are opened and the days they are closed for maintenance. It is Emily's job to tell us which pools are open and closed so that we can pick which one to go to - she loves this job. "Okay, what day is it?... Okay, Ridgewood and Windvale are closed on Tuesdays... so let's go to Harper's Landing because David will like the spray park." We are really spoiled here. We have 12 pools now and a water park to pick from.
Here is Lia (in Emily's old swim suit). She had a ball at the spray park too!
Now let's do a sibling comparison.... Here is Emily (below) from July of 2004. Emily is 11 months old in this picture from the beach. Lia (in the picture above) is now 16 months - but goodness they look so much alike!

More Art Lessons

The kids are all about their art lessons so we are continuing along that theme... We looked at how the Ping illustrator (Kurt Wiese) layered colors in his drawings. He layered red and blue for his picture of the sky. We practiced doing it ourselves with colored pencils. David happily discovered that when you layer yellow and blue... you get green!

Emily said, "Wow Mom, you're pretty good!" High praise. To be honest, it really is a lot of fun.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I have been inspired by all things Charlotte Mason. She recommends you read poetry to children - one poem a day. Emily and I found this poem and we thought David would like it. I think he did. He has gotten quite elaborate with his block play... he has progressed past making towers and knocking them down... Now he makes these elaborate cities with the blocks along with his cars and play animals. And of extra bonus, we learned that a "kirk" is a church. My Dad, "Grandpa", took this picture of David in October of 2007 - I still love this shot.

And of course, if siblings stack blocks, Lia stacks blocks. Notice the red chinese slippers. She loves wearing these.

And look what Emily can do...

Block City
by Robert Louis Stevenson

What are you able to build with your blocks?

Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I'll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.

Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors aboard!
And see, on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things!

Now I have done with it, down let it go!

All in a moment the town is laid low.
Block upon block lying scattered and free,
What is there left of my town by the sea?

Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where'er I may be,
I'll always remember my town by the sea.

Summer School - "Fun School"

To keep us busy and help me experiment with homeschooling, we are working our way through Five in a Row... You read a book 5 days in a row and then do a little activity after each reading session. This week we are reading The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack. It is a really cute story about a duck named Ping on the Yangtze river in China. We pulled out the big map and found China and the Yangtze river... a great review for Emily from the days when we used to track her Daddy's world travels. David has never really looked at a map and had no idea about any of it! Poor second child. Emily has been looking at maps since she was 2! Anyway, after we looked at the map we found a satellite view of China and the river on the internet. In pure Chris Nelli form, Emily zoomed in and out of the map view for about half an hour!
In the story Ping has a mom and dad, 2 sisters, 3 brothers, 11 aunts, 7 uncles, and 42 cousins. So today we cut out a duck family and glued them onto pictures we drew of the river and the boat. I suppose you could call this math since we practiced our counting. ;-)
Here are some pictures:

I helped David draw his river and boat. He was very excited to color it. You can also see we gave him a hair cut on Sunday. So cute!

Emily is busy glueing her ducks on her boat. Lia insists on having her own work to do as well. I've said it before, but it is amazing how beautifully she fits in our family.
Emily went on to practice her handwriting (2 worksheets) and then played with her Norwegian puzzle from our friend Runar's family. To get some play time in for the kids (and some Mommy time for me) we headed out to the YMCA so I could take a Body Pump class before lunch. Now we are all having some quiet time. Emily starts round 2 of swimming lessons this afternoon.
More later!