Monday, August 31, 2009


Now that our oldest two children are in school first thing in the morning, Caroline and Evan have their mornings together. Sure, they sometimes have friends to play with, but the majority of their time is spent together. I've been wondering, as Evan has gotten older, what kind of a playmate he would make for Caroline. There is a 3 1/2 year difference in their ages, and we have the whole boy/girl thing going on, so I wasn't sure how well they'd play together when it's just the two of them.

I have been pleasantly surprised. Sure, Caroline and Evan playing together means that sometimes Evan twists Caroline's arm to play superheroes, and sometimes Evan has to play tea party with stuffed animals and dolls, but they've really been having fun together! Its been fun watching Evan develop into a child that can interact and pretend, especially when he can do so on a level that holds his older sister's interests. :)

This picture was taken last week when it wouldn't stop raining outside. The kids transformed the living room into their own campsite, complete with a tent under the dining room table.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What do you do at the lake if it's too cold to swim?

Well, you collect newly hatched cicadas and make forts and obstacle courses for them, right?

I mean, what would you do?!

I guess that you could look for rocks...
and launch them into the water again and again and again...

or you could catch fish with your mom by throwing crackers into the water,

and yelling "C'MERE FISHIES!" (The louder, the better.)

Then you can swoop them up in the net. It's good fun!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Go Pumas!

Caroline's first soccer game was today, and she is so excited because her Dad coaches her team. The boys and I headed over to watch, bundled up in many layers. Even though it is late August we had what you would imagine to be fall soccer weather...chilly and windy. Ugh! However, it was a great first game!

Dave coaching from the sidelines

Our super soccer player!
It's always so fun to watch 5 year olds play soccer. In amongst the occasional kicking of the ball there was also plenty of dancing and spinning around.

But, they were sometimes all about the business at hand. Caroline did a terrific job of blocking a goal here!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Although we have not completely put into place the whole program from Managers of their Chores, we are loving the philosophy behind it and are adopting parts as we are ready. What we are using is definitely working, and I am very encouraged by that.

As the kids mature, we want them to learn chores that are developmentally appropriate for them, and to take pride in a job well done. We want them to enjoy serving as well as being served, and to learn that they are part of a team that works and plays together, that everything should not fall on one person's shoulders. If they are blessed to be a mother or father someday, we want them to know how to take care of their belongings and their loved ones.

So far, we've had the kids do morning and evening chores. The chores are pretty much the same everyday, and before we started them, I explained the standards for each of the jobs. In the morning, the kids get dressed, brush their teeth, make their bed, put away their laundry, pick up toys, and straighten their dresser drawers and bookshelf. They also return toys from the family room and living room to the shelves in the playroom. In the evening, they pick up toys, set the table, do their homework, and shower.

After each chore session, they ask me to come and inspect their work. I have not always been the most consistent with that step, but I've found it to be very important. The kids know what we expect (we've taken the time to teach them that), and because we hold them to it, the quality of their work has greatly improved. They are also becoming more efficient with the practice they are getting, and they are complaining less about it, perhaps because they have accepted that it is something we do every day. After they pass their chore inspection, we have scheduled something they look forward to, like a free play or going outside. If their chores take too long, they miss out or lose time. That seems to prevent the kids from procrastinating for the most part.

We have a lot to tweak in this system, but are feeling so confident that this is such a good thing. I am encouraged with the results we've seen so far, and am anxious to continue to fine tune it for our family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Caroline is in Kindergarten

...right now. As I type this. MY BABY!

(Sigh. Wiping my tears.)

She did great, even though it was hard to wait all morning after the boys went to school. Just after lunch, and right before we left, I (of course!) had to snap a few more pictures. So I told Caroline to put on her backpack. Evan heard me and said, "I get my backpack!" A couple of minutes later, he showed up with a Dora backpack, pleased as punch that he thought of it! (He is so in to Dora and Diego right now!)

So here's the results of our photo shoot!

This picture was taken just minutes before I walked her in to school. Can you tell she's a little bit excited?! On the advice of her friend who knows fashion for the kindergarten set, we painted Caroline's nails in the light pink-dark pink pattern style that's all the rage this fall.
Waiting with the other "Pink Ladies" :) (She loves these two girls, and I am so happy they are in class together!)
And off she went, without even looking back! :)

And off they go... the first day of school!

Here's our traditional first day of school picture for this year.
Seth and some of his buddies waiting to go to their second grade classroom!

Henry and some of his buddies waiting to walk into his 4th grade classroom

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The final hours...

...of summer. Wow. Where did all of that time go?!

Just like we did for the rest of the summer, we fit a lot in to this final week: playdates, school clothes shopping, picnics, parades, carnivals, going to the lake, and visiting the classrooms and teachers. This morning we had a little picnic with some friends, and this afternoon we were home to rest. I think we're ready. The kids are so excited about school tomorrow that they've been saying that this is First Day of School Eve, like it's some sort of holiday. :)'s a few last pictures from our summer...

Last Wednesday, we had our Kindergarten picnic at a park. I had sent an email to some of Caroline's friends inviting them to it, and mentioned that they could forward the email to their friends with Kindergarteners to invite them. Well, we wound up having at least 75 people (including Kindergarteners, siblings and moms) at the park that day! Everyone packed their own lunches, and a few people supplied juice and dessert for all the kids. It was so nice that the kids are going to school knowing a few more friends from the picnic.
Yesterday, the boys were able to visit their teachers and classrooms. Seth's teacher is the same one that he had for first grade. She is looping with the kids from first to second. We feel so fortunate that Seth is in her class again this year because she is such a gifted teacher and she already knows from last year how to motivate and encourage him. None of his close friends were in the classroom when we visited, so he is very anxious to see them tomorrow.

Henry was thrilled when he finally found out who is fourth grade teacher is: Mrs. Pitstick! She was the teacher he really wanted, and to top it all off, many of his good friends are in his class again this year!

All of these boys were in the same class last year and are this year too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Caroline Fashion Show

Caroline and I went out a couple of days ago to do a little shopping. It was such fun because not only did we find some cute clothes, but they were all at least 30% off! Today, while we were putting everything away in her closet, she modeled a few of her clothes for me. She was particularly excited about the dresses and skirts that we got for her. Given the choice, that's all she wants to wear lately! Now, what shall she wear on the first day of Kindergarten? (Gasp! That's the day after tomorrow!!!)

The Carnival

A few years back, Dave and I took Henry to a carnival. I think he was about two year old. He was so excited to be riding the little cars, and he went on them several times. I was so surprised by the strong emotional reaction that came when I was just watching him smiling, laughing, tooting the horn, and enjoying the simple thrill of pretend driving around and around on a little track. I just started crying. A LOT. Now, my reaction could be partly due to the fact that I was very pregnant with Seth. Or that I am my mother's daughter, as she tends to cry at sentimental moments too. But that moment is frozen in my memory, and it makes me very happy to think of it.

We went to our town's carnival last night. It's something we do every year, and we all look forward to it. On the way home from the lake to the carnival, the kids had a lot of time to reminisce and to plan. It was sweet to listen to their excited chatter. When we arrived at the carnival and got out of the car, they grabbed each other's hands, and I couldn't help but to take a picture of it. :)

Here they are, anxiously awaiting their turn on the roller coaster.

Here's Seth and his good friend, Jack, waiting for their ride to start.
Caroline is a real daredevil. She kept shouting "No hands!" with Henry at the front of the roller coaster.

You may think that Seth is smiling sweetly in this picture. I, on the other hand, see a mischievous glint in his eye. He and his brother had plans for their little sister on the teacup ride.

Look at these two big brothers working together to spin their little sister as fast as they could!
Don't worry. She loved it!

Here's our Evan, enjoying his turn on the cars. Yes, I cried. :) (And yes, the car is pink, but it is a police car.)
One of Henry and Seth's favorite rides from last year was the hang glider ride. Seth was tall enough to ride it last year.

And this year, Caroline was tall enough. She was game, but Mom was anxious. So Dad rode along.
She, of course, loved it, and she flashed me a "thumbs up" when the ride was over.
The whole evening went swimmingly until the very end. When the carnival was closing, the operator of the Zero Gravity decided to give an extra long ride. You know, that's the one that spins so fast that they can drop the floor and the riders stay stuck to the wall. Henry was on that ride with his friends. And he was on the same ride just before that.

Feeling queasy for a good hour after that, he gleamed some wisdom from the experience. Next year he'll ride Zero Gravity just once.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Very Wet Parade

The kids were so excited all day. In the evening we were going to our town's parade, and our older boys were going to be in it. Caroline and Evan were all excited to watch the parade full of floats, tractors, square dancers, you name it, and they were even more excited to gather the candy people in the parade were throwing.

All day I had been checking the weather, and I was not getting good news. The last report I read said that we had a 90% chance of rain. The kids were very disappointed, so we told them that we would head over to the parade route just in case.

It did rain. In fact, it poured. But then, thankfully, it cleared up. It was wet, but our boy scouts were able to ride in the parade, and Caroline and Evan were able to watch it and gather LOTS of candy. It was a good time had by all!

Seth, Henry and two of their friends

If you look really hard, you'll see Henry in this picture! It's the only picture I have where you can actually see the hayride. :)Notice all the candy in Evan's hands!

Henry with two of his good friends that will be in his class this year

Thursday, August 20, 2009


We had delayed my husband's birthday celebration by one day because of Caroline's Kindergarten Orientation. So, last night I made him his favorite meal, beef stroganoff followed by brownie sundaes. Just as we were setting the dinner on the table, poor Dave's birthday celebration was delayed yet again!

The tornado siren went off! We quick grabbed the kids and headed down to the basement. A few minutes later, the siren stopped, so we headed upstairs to eat our meal. Sure enough, as we were about to sit down, the siren went off again! We went downstairs again until the siren stopped, and then went upstairs to enjoy Dave's birthday meal. FINALLY!

We watched the news while we were eating to see if there were any further watches or warnings, and were surprised to hear that a tornado actually touched down right outside of our town! Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but there was some property damage. I told the kids that we would drive by where the tornado touched down on our way to swimming lessons today. We snapped a few pictures, and were completely amazed at the power of nature! Click on any image to view it bigger.

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