Monday, November 28, 2005

The Latest

Well, let's see here. It's been a while, and lots has happened. We had a nice Thanksgiving at Gma & Gpa Seelye's house. It has been a few years since we spent it with them, so that was fun. Before going there, we went with Heather and David to a park, and the kids played while we talked. It was fun to watch Madeline, Abigail and Espen zoom around on their scooters. Sam (3) and Able (4) get along well. They are almost exactly one year apart, and are getting old enough to really communicate. I love hearing their little conversations. In the car on the way back from Edwards Air Force Base last month I heard this one:

(lots of shooting noises)
"Do you have any guns?" (Able)
"My mom is going to buy me 100 guns." (Sam, a little unsure, for good reason)
(lots of shooting noises)

We really enjoyed having five days off for the holiday. It was great to sleep in, and spend time with each other, and relatives. On Friday we went over to the DeHarts, where Jenna made gingerbread houses with the kids. Its the kind of project I definately don't want to tackle. But they had a lot of fun. Here are some photos.

Sam's house was made by Jacquie and me, mostly. He ate a lot of candy.

Abby's house looks great front and back...

Madeline's had beautiful decorations all over the roof, but then there was some structural damage...It was still fun.

I made myself a purse that I am rather proud of. I needed something bigger than my very old leather one, and I got some fabric and zipper for less than $5. Jacquie gave me the lining fabric, which I love.

For the last month or so I have been reading from my Norton's Anthology of Early American Literature. I realized that I had very little awareness of the timeline for American events, like John Smith's arrival in America, and whether or not it was before or after the Pilgrims. So, I've been reading all these journal entries, and official documents. It has been fascinating to me. I am really gaining an appreciation for how America started, and what the hopes and dreams of the people were. It is making me value America more. So this Thanksgiving had a lot more meaning for me than usual. It definately put into perspective a cross country move. At least I'm not on a boat for months from Holland, stuck with 100 people below deck the size of a volley ball court, arriving at an uninhabited country in the dead of winter with no food. It a miracle the Pilgrims survived at all.

I made my first full Thanksgiving dinner for our family. Granted, I did use a 7 lb chicken instead of a Turkey, but the process and side dishes were the same. It was fun to realize that I can make good gravy and stuffing. I feel more confident for future years.

Oh, I also have to include this photo of some soft pretzles I made. They tasted great.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Homeschooling Abigail

The latest in Abigail's schooling saga...Abby started out this year repeating first grade. Some of you may know that we held Madeline back last year to get strong in reading. So she was in Second grade while Abby was in first. At the end of first grade, Abby was reading at end of kidnergarten level, so we decided to hold her back this year. We realized that our kids just needed that extra year to develop into readers before we sent them on. So, Abigail is more socially aware, and really didn't want to be at school. Every morning she'd announce that she wasn't going, and then when it was time to get out of the car she'd cling to me and beg to stay with me. Poor thing. So, we started asking her all the usual questions about how she felt about school. Nothing specific seemed wrong...but I started to think about homeschooling. Will and I both thought it might be a good idea, and we asked Abby what she thought. She got all excited, but needed a couple days to think about it. In the end, we all felt it was best, and we started last week. I talked to her teacher at the parent teacher conference about it, and she could see the pros too. She gave me some input on what to practice, and I'm using the same phonics book they use in the class.

So, Abby and I are enjoying it. Since it is a repeat of first grade, it is pretty main goals are to get her reading and writing well, learn to hold her pencil correctly, and keep up in everything else. We do cooking projects once a week, and also go to the Palmdale children's library for lots of books to read to each other. It is nice to have time together that we havn't had before, and it's good for Abby and Sam to play by themselves too.

Another exciting event: Today Sam stuck a dry piece of rice in his ear, and was trying to get it out. I immediately started imagining the trip to the doctor, but thankfully I was able to get it out with tweezers while he sat very still. Whew.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Still more about Fall

The last few weeks I have composed a number of blogs in my mind, but have never sat down to write them. We've been doing lots of fun fall events...Visiting a local pumpkin patch, seeing an air show at Edwards Air Force base with Heather and the kids, homeschooling Abigail, going to Halloween parties, and lots of cooking. As I type, my hands smell like onion because I am making stock (thank you Carol for the particulars) from a chicken carcass, and I threw in the onions after checking up on Carol's blog to make sure I did it right.

Here are some photos from the last month or so...