Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day Trip to Huntsville

On Tuesday, May 15th, we were supposed to take a field trip to a corn farm with a big maze but it got cancelled due to rain.  Since Chris had already taken the day off from work, we decided to drive to Huntsville and see the big Sam Houston statue.  This landmark is always one of the highlights on our trips to Dallas but we have never stopped to see him up close and personal.  Unfortunately, this is the only picture I got before my camera's battery died.  We enjoyed seeing Sam Houston up close and personal.  We also drove around Huntsville and had lunch near the Sam Houston museum which we plan to visit another time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our Godson's First Communion

Our Godson, Abram, celebrated his first communion on Mother's Day and we were so happy to be there to help him celebrate.  He was joined by 5 other first communicants, all boys!

We found his banner in the church and I had him pose under it.  So proud!

After church, there was cake.  All the kids enjoyed it, especially Baby Jude.  We loved seeing him walking, humming "twinkle twinkle little star", and basically melting everyone's heart.  He is such a cutie.

At Doc's on Saturday night.  The kids got to play together and the grown-ups were able to enjoy some live music outside.  It was a beautiful night.

At Salt Lick on Sunday.  Since it was super-crowded for Mother's Day, we were happy to see a great play area for the kids to play while we waited.  Salt Lick is always worth the wait.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I've got math covered.  We use Singapore Math and it works very well for us.  Math is easy for me to teach.  We always start our school day with math and are very consistent about it.  Singapore Math is logical and progresses slowly and methodically.  The teacher's guide shows me exactly what to do and I have enjoyed teaching David with this program starting at the Kindergarten level and seeing how it progressed to the third grade level for Emily.  I have enjoyed all the suggestions for using manipulatives so my kids can really visualize what they are doing.  We spend a lot of time counting cubes, seeing how many cubes are needed to make a ten, grouping tens and breaking them apart, etc...  We have enjoyed playing all the games to reinforce their skills.  It is funny how your can get out a deck of cards and some dice... and somehow math is not so boring anymore... and my kids want to play till they win!  David and Emily learned to sing all their times tables in Classical Conversations so they breezed through all the multiplication units.  I'll admit that chanting the sixes to determine that 6x7=42  (6,12,18,24,30,36,42...) is different than the way I learned... but if you chant the sixes enough times to recognize that 6x7=42 then eventually you just remember it without the chant just like you would with flash cards.  What I have noticed, is that all this number chanting has given them a very good knowledge of factorials and we haven't studied that yet.  David can tell me that 12 is in the 2 chant, the 3 chant, the 4 chant, and the 6 chant.  So overall, good training for the brain.  Singapore Math seems to be one semester ahead of public/private school so even though Emily will start her 4th grade year at level 3B, she is still on track.  David, on the other hand is really far ahead.  Technically, he has started 2nd grade level math in the 2nd half of his Kindergarten school year.  I have moved really slowly making sure he understands all the concepts and he is just chewing through the material so we just keep going!

David's PreK4 School Year
Completed EarlyBird Kindergarten A, Fall 2010
Completed EarlyBird Kindergarten B, Spring 2011

David's Kindergarten School Year
Completed Primary Mathematics 1A, Fall 2011
Scheduled to complete Primary Mathmatics 1B, Spring 2012
Math-It for drill

Emily's 2nd Grade School Year
Completed Primary Mathematics 1B, Fall 2010
Completed Primary Mathematics 2A, Fall 2011
Math-It for drill

Emily's 3rd Grade School Year
Completed Primary Mathematics 2B, Fall 2010
Scheduled to complete Primary Mathematics 3A, Fall 2011
Math-It for drill

Homeschooling Wrap-up

I have read and enjoyed so many posts from homeschooling Moms about their homeschooling plans, the resources they use and why they enjoy them, their struggles, and their successes.  After 3 years of homeschooling, I have started to understand what works for my family and I'd like to spend some time reviewing the last couple of years as a way for me to reflect on how I can do better.  My family is unique.  I know my kids better than anyone else and I continue to believe I am the best person to teach them and to find new ways to challenge them.  My prayers always so something like this:  "Lord help me to teach my children.  Grant me more patience.  Help me teach them to know you and to walk in your ways"  But goodness, it is difficult at times.  I struggle with consistency.  I struggle with being lazy.  I struggle with my temper.  I struggle with anxiety that I'm not getting it all done... but at the end of the day... I still want to teach my kids and they still want me to teach them.  So I guess we keep doing this.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tough Life...

This is how we spent last Saturday night:

May Crowning

We were able to attend the May Crowning at church last Saturday.  The kids and I went to Kroger and I let them pick out flowers for Mary and they were very excited to process up to the altar and present them to her.  Mary and Johanna sang Immaculate Mary and Hail Holy Queen together and it was beautiful.

While the big kids are busy with Pickwick and Catholic Boys club, I usually try to have a craft for the 3 little girls in our group.  Since May is the month dedicated to Mary, we made this precious craft that I found on (surprise, surprise) Catholic Icing  The little girls dearly love these crafts and it is such a blessing to have this time with them.  They used their foot for Mary's blue dress and the palm of their hand and part of their fingers for her crown.  The twelve stars are symbolic of the twelve apostles.

Welcome Mason!

My cousin Nichole had her baby!  Here is the announcement from my Aunt Val:

Mason decided to come early!
He was born April 25th @ 5:44pm
Weighing in at 7lbs 9ozs
21inches long.

I don't think Max could be any prouder of his little brother.

Look at this baby face!  I'm in love.

Nature Class

There were a few openings in our homeschooling group's nature class that we were happy to fill.  We attended a few classes at the nature center last year but had too many other things going on this year to participate on a regular basis.  The guides are very knowledgeable and it is such a treat to take the nature trail and listen to them talk.

The kids learned how to count tree rings and determined this tree was about 25 years old when it was chopped down.  Interestingly enough, there is a dark ring and a light ring for every year of growth.  The dark ring is for winter and fall when the tree grows slowly and the light ring is for spring and summer when the tree grows faster.  So you only count light rings or dark rings to determine the age.  If you count both, you have to divide by two.

A butterfly with an injured wing.

Guess what they're about to do with their field kits?  Yes, dig in the earth for bugs.  Oh boy.

The boys really liked this.

Emily got a millipede.

Boys, dirt, bugs...

And I had something really knowledgeable to write about this knarled tree.  But my memory fails me.  I waited too long.  If it comes to me, I will edit the post.

South Shore Visit

We drive by Southshore Park at least two times a week and my kids have been asking to go there for years to see the sea serpent, or what Emily calls the "leviathon." We have lived in this area for 7 years now and we have never been to this park for the primary reason that there is not a parking lot or easy way to access it.  So finally, after years, I decided that we would finally do it.  We parked in the extremely nice East Shore neighborhood and walked the hike and bike path to access the park.  It was a beautiful day and I discovered my new camera takes great pictures using the landscape setting.

Here we are... kind of trespassing on the grounds of these swanky condominiums, on our way to the hike and bike trail access.

And here is the sea serpent we have seen so many times from Woodlands's Parkway.  How awesome to finally stop and enjoy it!

The zoom on my camera works pretty well.  The kayakers like to paddle around the sea serpent and grab his tounge.

The kids were excited to finally get to climb the tower.

"Hey Mom, Look at me!"

And here we have a boy under the bridge.  Guess what he is doing?  He is making little boats out of sticks and seeing how far they will float.  He did this for about an hour.

Pretty place.  Beautiful day.  Leviathon conquered.  Check.

Driving around East Shore I found this house.  Here is the front and back.  The kids and I decided it was our favorite of all the beautiful homes in the neighborhood.  I went home and found it online.  It is available for the bargain price of 2.3 million.  And yes, it is perfect inside too.  It even has a library.

End of Year CC Party

The kids finished their 24th week of Classical Conversations on April 17 and had their end of year celebration the following Friday at The Main Event.  We had never been to the Main Event before so we were in for a treat.  The kids were able to participate in group bowling, eat pizza for lunch, and received a loaded game card to play games after lunch.  It was a great last hurrah with their "school" friends and we are excited to enjoy a nice break till next year.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


On Thurday mornings we go to AcroKidz class which is held in a big warehouse full of equipment for dryland diving training.  Coach Christine teaches our kids techniques they could use for diving in the big pool later... which translates into big fun as they do gymnastics and tumbling, bounce on olympic sized trampolines, and bounce off real diving boards onto big padded mats.  She usually sets up some sort of obstacle course for the first part of class... where the kids work on their balance, practice their tri-pod headstands and cartwheels, and work on hand/eye coordination.  Lately, she has had a bean bag launcher that you stomp on with your foot, which tosses the bean bag in the air for the kids to practice catching.  Lance, a classmate, jokes that this should be called Eye/Hand/Foot coordination. 

Here they are practicing tuck jumps on the mini trampoline.

Emily has perfected her tri-pod headstand.  David just tumbled over in this picture.

David's Project

When you have children at home, it is always a good idea to have construction paper available.  David likes to work on "projects" and will often ask if he can work on a "project."  This used to be difficult because I would have to come up with some project and do the project with him.  Not so much anymore.  He got a book called Look and Make with Paper and had his own ideas.  And he didn't need me.  Well... he did need me to trace his feet on some cardboard.  He did the rest.


Hard at work making shoes!

He even labeled them Left and Right... so he wouldn't get confused.

Looks pretty proud of them.

And they fit too!

(I think he shredded them 3 days later... so I'm glad I got the picture!)

Easter Roses

Chris gave me this rose bush for Mother's Day several years ago.  Given how bad it looked this winter... I was ever so pleased at all the roses for Easter.  What a gift.