Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bucket List

Between the snow, the sub zero temperatures, and the arctic blasts of wind, we've had plenty of time to not only create, but to check, and double check our winter wishlist.
Swinging in the snow: check. Jumping off the swing into the snow: check.
Landing face first after jumping off the swing: check.
Staying outside until you can't feel your fingers and toes anymore: check, everyday for the past week
Monkey bars in the snow: check (Note for the future, frozen metal monkey bars are not kind to fingers)
Hiking in the frozen woods: check...with a sled:check
Sledding:check - Including a day full of lessons from Dad. Both boys passed sledding 101, 2 man sled, how to bail if you can't stop, downhill fast, downhill faster, and so fast you freak out your mom.
Snow cave spelunking: check
Snowball fight: check, check, and check. (Note: Harrison doesn't build the same size snowball as everyone else.)
Snow Cream: um, about 16 checks...why not?
Asking how many days until Summer: check, everyday and counting. So we're trying not to take these memory filled days for granted and live in the moment, even if it is frozen :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homeschoolers Don't Take Snow Days

It's true and some even say it's cruel; ok growing up, I said it was cruel, but school goes on when you do it at home.
What else are you going to do in between snowball fights and thawing out? That's rhetorical.
And actually, as of this school year, I've got little guys begging to do more school and I'm the one asking if we can be done for the day.
So I'll enjoy these school junkies while I can and dive into what homeschoolers do best...school without books.
Why be confined to curriculum when you've got a whole world of education right outside the door.
Snowflakes, nimbostratus cloud formations, the states of water, animal hibernation, spelling words in the snow, and subtraction - if I eat this whole bowl of snow cream how much is left?
With boys, school takes on a whole new level as we take time to study their individual interests. Lately that's been researching how sleds work and what happens to our circulation when we refuse to wear gloves in the snow.
The whole time we're playing, throwing snow, tackling, hiking, talking, and laughing, they're learning; we are all learning. I forgot about a lot of the stuff they want to know.
So watching their faces light up when they "get it" and reigniting the information in my own mind that had been packed away behind decades of life since makes all these moments even more wonderful.
And I think that's the best part of homeschooling for me, both growing up, and now as the "teacher". We're doing it together.
There's not a moment of feeling alone or lost in a crowd. It's the rich classroom of life we study all together and explore side by side.
And I kinda like not watching the school closing list troll along the bottom of the news screen. I love just waking up with my guys to a white winter schoolroom and seeing what lessons this day holds.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jar-Full

I'm not an all boy expert, but I'm pretty certain competitiveness lies deep in the heart of all males.So keeping score appeals to an innate drive to win and excel.
My boys are no different than pro-athletes, CEO's, or Capitol Hill lobbyists; a win's a win. And the score goes up with each one, or in our case, the jar fills up.
I took the boys to choose out their own colors and we keep their jars in full view. Their points (pom balls) fill up when they go above and beyond what's expected of them.
Opening doors at the store, unloading the dishes without being asked, sharing a prized toy with a brother all get rewarded with a 'point'. When the jar is full, a prize is awarded; usually a trip to the Dollar Store to pick out one thing.
There is an unspoken race to fill up their jar first. While competition drives the main desire now I'm seeing this reinforce the character we are getting glimpses of. My boys aren't perfect, but they are striving for it. So when they aren't fighting over the last cookie or tackling a brother against his will, you better believe I'll being cheering on their race to fill a jar full of visual awesomeness.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Skate Party

The day was cloudy, there was no fun outside...
Too cold to hike, and too cold to try.
But legs wanted moving, there were jumps to get out...
There were giggles and shrieks just waiting to shout.
So bright lights were strung and the overheads dimmed...
And skates were attached to the feet of both hims.
The music was playing and the party took off...
Boys went around, down, and aloft.
One thing with boys is, tricks will be tried...
Resulting in laughter, and bruised behinds.
But boys of all ages, both skating and crawling...
Had a blast at their skate party in spite of the falling.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

9 Month Wils

 My Sweet Handsome Wils, today you are 9 months old. I look at you taking off across the floor or making engine noises with one of your brothers' cars and I wonder who you are what did you do with my baby?
 At nine months old you are proudly sporting 15-18 month old clothing and looking even more grown up since we've moved beyond one piece baby suits and you are now sporting cargo pants and button downs.
 I have no idea what you officially weigh, but my rough estimate is around 45lbs...ok, probably not, but my arms sure feel like that. But I'm not complaining. I'm going to eat up every single second of cuddling your sweet little self I can get.
 You just started crawling on New Years Day and I know my days of holding you close are numbered. Your eyes stayed glued on your big brothers running around, walking in the store, and chasing each other through the house.

 Your feet are anxious to join the shenanigans. But even all the surrounding calamity doesn't distract your growing appetite. You are starting to wean and have made countless lunges for more grown up food. You have a snobby pallet though since you now turn down baby food with a polite shove and grab for my pizza.
 And when you can't find pizza you've been caught red handed raiding your brothers' chicken nuggets, mac 'n cheese, spaghetti, goldfish, and pop tarts. And just so anyone wonders if he lives off junk food he also is a huge fan of green beans and peas, but not pureed. Like I said, baby food is so yesterday and we have moved on to bigger and better.
 Speaking of bigger and better, you have discovered the world that awaits you above floor level as you attempted to pull up on the table and toy chest this week. Your eyes lit up when you saw the endless toys waiting for you, or maybe it was the tv remote, but you were still excited to see what you could get to when you get up off the floor.
 I also have to say Wils, I love the sound of your voice. It's slightly raspy and perfectly sweet and you have made it reach notes I've only heard in Operas. I'm pretty sure it's all competition based since you sense the urge to vocally defeat your big brothers, but even with your crawling skill aiding your disappearing acts, I still can find you pretty fast since you are usually babbling up a storm about something.
 My handsome Wils, as I watch you become bold, daring, adventurous, and brave, I also see the same laid back and very sweet little guy you've always been. Even when you're sick or sad or scared you are never demanding, but you have a way that wraps my complete heart around you and I cherish every little minute you seek to spend in my arms.
You pass out beaming grins to anyone we meet. You are a favorite in church nursery because of your super napping powers and flirty grins. Your brothers can make you laugh like no one else and your Daddy's voice is your favorite sound in the world. Your sky blanket is always close at hand, and your thumb is even closer. And you my precious Wils are an amazing man in the making and Mommy and Daddy love you so very much. So proud of who you are becoming! Happy 9 months Wilson!

Monday, January 13, 2014

They Never Stop

It's a proven, well known, non-debatable fact...boys never stop moving.
And for the most part this works well with my on-the-go personality. We kick the mess out of excess energy with hikes, a game of football or soccer, tackling, fort building...and destroying, and endless games of tag and dodge-ball.
But sometimes creativity needs to step it up, especially when it's cold and I'm a baby and don't want to go outside. So pent up energy trapped inside four walls puts picture frames, vases, and big screen tv's for example at risk for accidental casualties.
So energy needs another path to follow and lately we've been finding some imaginative outlets. We had an indoor pool party. Ok, actually it was dozens of large mixing bowls and stock pots filled with water across the kitchen floor with beach towels...but it was a wonderful mess of water and giggles, and provided a temporary diversion from "who can jump down the most stairs at a time"?
And then we made sleds...indoor sleds. Christmas provided plenty of cardboard boxes so we cut each boy a personalized "sled", piled pillows and blankets at the bottom of our short staircase and the happiest shrieks ever heard pierced the air for hours minutes. Did I also mention boys' attention span is as short as their energy is long? So if it occupies for more than 10 minutes it's a winner!
And in case anyone thinks we've lost our minds to let little boys sled down the stairs on cardboard, maybe we did...but afterwards we put the cardboard to more good use. It also makes an excellent Ninja. To little guys who can't get enough "fighting bad guy" practice in, we now have our very own ninja opponent.
Swords, kicking, and extremely loud "hi-ya's!" are going on all day every day due to the presence of our cardboard kung-fu master, but my walls aren't taking the brunt of their sword wielding and no brothers have gotten dragged into a karate tournament against their will.
It's only January and we've got a few months of more indoor excitement ahead. After stair sledding and cardboard ninja's, who knows what will happen next? :)