Takin' Time Off

We’ve been taking lots of time off from our regular school activities. Our holidays have been full of family time. Our favorite way to spend them. First off, Papa and Nana drove out from the midwest and spent a week with us at our home. They drove for two days to get to our house and saw snow covered ground on the whole trip. It was bitterly cold part of the way too. They even saw -24F in one place. Brrr. We were sure happy when they arrived safely.

Here we are with them after trying out some sledding.

Family Dec '08

Then after much contemplation and discussion amongst the adults on the danger of traveling on bad roads, we decided that we would head over to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. What normally takes us 5.5 hours, took us over 10 hours. It was a long trip of driving on packed snow. Airplanes and buses weren’t making the trip, but we did. We even managed to find out that a friend was grounded here and couldn’t get a flight out, so she hitch-hiked with us.

This turned out to be a special Christmas for us because Nana and Papa came to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the day, so we got to spend the day with both sets of grandparents at the same time and lots of aunts and uncles and even great grandparents. That was special.

Papa and Nana

Grandma and Grandpa

And a pose from my side of the family:

Family 12/08

We might have to mark down that basically all we got accomplished for school in the last couple of weeks is social studies–as in learning about our family. But that’s important and we sure have been enjoying it.

A New Family Member!

My husband and I have been dragging our feet for years about getting our kids a pet. I’m already so busy, you know. Well, we finally gave in and agreed for the grandparents to get them a pet for Christmas. They and she safely arrived yesterday and we’ve had constant entertainment since. The kids are in love with her. They even went and bought her some outfits. So now they can see if she’ll be agreeable to dress-up. But she’s not a cat, she’s a dog, so they’re going to have to work hard at it. She’s not just any ole’ laid back dog either, she’s a Jack Russell, and let me tell you she has energy.

Now don’t you think she’s the cutest thing you ever saw?

Sadie Close-up

Here are some pictures of three very happy children with their new pet. (They had just had grape juice before these were taken, hence the smiles.)

John Deere Boy loves the dog, but he’s getting over having a little fear, because she knows how to nip his toes. He loves to play with a little ping-pong like ball with her.

JDBoy and Sadie

G’tums is excited to hold her and play with her, but he isn’t quite sure what’s okay and what’s not. He finally decided it was okay for her to stick her nose on his cheeks so they’re going to make it now, I think.

G'tums and Sadie

Zippy is thrilled. She was has been telling me for a week that the only thing she wants for her birthday is a dog. That’s not until March, so she got it even earlier. She’s pretty sure she knows everything about dogs, since she’s been wanting one so bad. She’ll be busy because she’s the one who will have to feed and water the dog and take it out and all that kind of stuff.

Zippy and Sadie

Oh, I almost forgot, her name is Sadie.

Let it Snow!

I live in a place where the almanac claims that it supersedes 90F 4 days a year and it stays below freezing 4 days a year. Well, I can’t always understand the whole global warming thing, because since we’ve lived here, the almanac has been about right on the over 90F part, but we’ve had more freezes than that. I know global warming is a complicated theory and I’m looking at it simplistically, but let me just say that it’s freezing here right now. It’s the 3rd day in a row to not get above freezing. So we’ll see if the almanac proves true this year, but the weather better cooperate soon! With all that said, we don’t get a lot of freezes probably not more than two weeks a year and it doesn’t stay below freezing all day long all of those days either, so maybe the almanac is right, I don’t know. Anyway, according to our kids we don’t get near enough snow, so when it comes, it is very special. It snowed here Friday night and we still have snow. And we’re supposed to get more later in the week.

The only problem with this whole pictures is that my in-laws are supposed to be driving half-way across the country this week to see us, and I wish the weather would smile on them. We’re all so anxious for them to arrive.

Since we are having fun in the snow, here are a few pictures.

Zippy Sledding 12/14/08

JDBoy Sledding 12/14/08

Let me tell you what I discovered yesterday about this weather–it is very time consuming. Since we get it so rarely the hats and the mittens and the snow pants are all packed away and not necessarily together. And then since we don’t have it too often we don’t have a dedicated spot for this stuff that is handy to get to, so I either leave half of it on the floor in the entry or I put it all way back. So yesterday, when the kids went out to play, it took me 1 hour to get them all dressed and my toddler was cold within 30 minutes after going out. Oh, well it was worth it!

Here is my toddler all bundled up.

I Cold! G'tums 12/14/08

Let it snow!!

Thanksgiving Lapbooks

I’m finally getting our Thanksgiving Lapbooks posted on here. Thanksgiving came at the right time this year! We had just finished studying Jamestown so studying about the Pilgrims was the next chronological thing.

The books we read on this subject were Squanto And The Miracle Of Thanksgiving, Stories of the Pilgrims, The Thanksgiving Story and we continued reading This Country of Ours.

The books we got most of our printouts from for our lapbooks were History Pockets, Life in Plymouth Colony and Easy Make and Learn Projects: The Pilgrims, the Mayflower and More. We got one printout from daniellesplace.com and we used some of the timeline figures from Amy Pak. We also used some stickers that we picked up at Michael’s in the scrapbook section.

Here is Zippy and her Thanksgiving Lapbook:

Be sure to check out her whole set of pictures on Flickr as she has some really neat pop-ups in this lapbook that she did a really great job on. You can see her set by clicking here.

Now here is John Deere Boy and his Thanksgiving Lapbook:

We hope that you will be able to take the time to see his pictures, at least his interactive map on Flickr. You can do that by clicking here.  He is very fortunate to have had his lapbook displayed on the Thanksgiving Lapbook lens on Squidoo by Jimmie.

And because I know somebody is dying to know what his shirt says, since it shows out from under his lapbook, I will tell you. It says: "When it comes to education, there’s no school like home." We got it at our homeschool convention last summer.

Birthday Boy

We had a very happy birthday in our home this weekend. John Deere Boy turned 6. His Grandma and Grandpa were able to drive all the way over from the other side of the state to spend the weekend with us then celebrate with us.

JDBoy's Bday candle - age 6

He received gum from his sister. An educational game from his grandparents and lots of Legos from his mommy and daddy and his other grandparents. He got to go to the Lego store and pick out his present this time. That was real highlight! He’s been busy building his town ever since.

JDBoys Bday Legos- age 6

Happy Birthday John Deere Boy!


To the Zoo with Cousins

We were privileged to get to go to the zoo with family the day before Thanksgiving. (This is getting up late, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.) I never know which is more fun at the zoo: watching the animals or watching the kids. They had so much fun especially since they had cousins to go with.



One funny thing happened. I was hanging behind with my husband because he was trying to take some pictures of the ducks and all the kids (six, ages 8 and under) ran ahead with my sister-in-law. A mom with one child came through the doors as we were going out. They had just seen our little mob. The little girl was looking up at her mom saying, "Mom, why does that lady (my sister-in-law) have so many kids?" I had to chuckle.

I still had to regularly count all the kids to make sure that we had six of them with us. G’tums has this very bad habit of wandering off. Sometimes I can be standing there calling and calling him, but something else has his attention and he doesn’t hear me. Anyway, even though we did have to chase him down a few times, we had the best helpers–his older cousins. They kept really good track of him.

G'tums with cousins

The favorite thing at the Portland Zoo is feeding the Lorikeets. The kids love it. I’m not too sure about it, because there is no shelter to hide from the birds and I’ve been bombed before in their cage. This time we all made it out safely.

Zippy With Lorikeet

This is one of the pictures of the ducks that my husband managed. It’s my favorite shot from the day.

Pintail Duck

Smith Rock–a walk with Daddy

Our vacation was enjoyable and refreshing. In fact, a couple of days ago I was introducing myself to a lady who knew one of my siblings and as I chatted with her, she asked me if I had started a family yet. I told her that we have three children and introduced them to her. She said, "Oh! You’re so young!" I decided my vacation must have done a lot of good, if I look too young to have started a family! I’m not going to ask anybody else for their opinions. Thank you very much!

I want to share a few of the things we got to do while we were gone. (Besides doing math in the car.) We went to walk at a really neat place called Smith Rock. It is located in Central Oregon and is a favorite attraction for rock climbers. Actually, it’s considered the birthplace of modern American sport climbing.  It has climbing faces for every expertise and has miles of trails that wind around it. The Crooked River runs around the bottom of it. We’re not much of rock climbers, but we like to take walks in nice places and this definitely qualified.

Smith Rock

G’tums fell asleep right when we got there, so I stayed in the car. So it turned into a nice time for Daddy and the two big kids to spend together.

Zippy & JDBoy at Smith Rock

They hiked for quite awhile and got a nice view of this massive rock. They got to climb in a little cave.

Cave at Smith Rock

Why is it that hiking somewhere far from home is so much more fun than at home? It always is. Someday maybe we’ll learn how to be rock-climbers and go back! At least, that’s what JD Boy hopes.

JDBoy at Smith Rock