Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy Weekend-Halloween Prep and the Spooky Symphony

I had a TON of work to do this weekend, but we still managed to squeeze in a bunch of fun things, as well as prep for Halloween.

We took the kids to Lowes on Saturday morning to build Monster Trucks. Our schedules haven't really allowed us to do their workshops in a while. It was CRAZY, we had to stand in line for 20 minutes to get them. We brought them home to build them, but the kids had such a good time. They were so proud of them that they were able to be nice to each other long enough for me to get this shot:

Since they cooperated, I indulged them with a silly face session. It looks like Summer is going to take a bite of Garrett's arm . . .

but these are always the funniest photos!

While at Lowes, we bought a pumpkin. After much debate we decided to just get one and make it family pumpkin. I suspect this is the last year that is going to work. Garrett drew the face ALL by himself. He drew it on paper then I cute it out and transferred it to the pumpkin.

We took turns cutting it out (Summer obviously needed a lot of help there)

and the kids had a BLAST scooping out the guts.

Finished product.
Why is it so much to ask for EVERYONE to have a nice face?? :-)

Brad took the kids to see a "giant" model airplane show, the three of them had a blast. The weather is absolutely glorious here, its nearly impossible to focus on anything because it was so beautiful outside. But alas, I stayed home and worked.

On Sunday, Garrett and I trekked downtown for the "Spooky Symphony" put on by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. I love orchestral music and thought this might be something Garrett would enjoy. We met up with some old friends, Jon and Bryland, and had an excellent time. Here they are pretending to be a train on the way to the theater.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hispanic Heritage Day

This past Friday was Hispanic Heritage Day at Garrett's school. His classroom did Cuba, and it turned out to be quite a fun day. Leanne was awesome enough to take Summer for the day so that I could help out in his class. This was the first time I have been able to volunteer in his class, so it was nice to get to know some of his classmates.

(PS-family, please go support Leanne as she does Team In Training in support of the LSS. Great charity, great cause, and as a mom of two I know exactly how hard it is to do what she's doing. Please pop in and support her as she has helped me SO MUCH with the kiddos through the course of our friendship)

The parents and his teachers did a great job making decorations for the class.

And thanks to my friend Shelah, we even had some real sugar cane to display on our table!

The kids danced to Cuban music. It was HILARIOUS. They did a conga line too, but somehow I missed getting a shot of Garrett in it. Not at all sure how that happened.
They did portraits in "traditional' Cuban caricatures.

I learned quite a bit about Cuba in the process of gathering things for Garrett's class. PBS has a really amazing special available online about it that I would recommend watching, it was fascinating!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Why I love the Marble Jar

A long while back, I read an article in family fun about using a marble jar to encourage your child to become involved in household chores. We've been using it for well over a year, and its STILL paying off. Not only because Garrett (and now Summer) get involved in the housekeeping, but also because they have SUCH fun with their rewards.

When Garrett filled up his jar last week, he got a bug collecting kit from the dollar store. Quite possibly the best dollar I've ever spent. We have spent COUNTLESS hours outside ever since hunting for (and occasionally catching) lizards, bugs and other creepy crawlies. Lizards are by far the favored critter to catch.

You can't beat a "special surprise" that gets you outside in the beautiful weather. Garrett loves to create a habitat, observe his catches and look at them through the magnifying glass on top of the container before we let them go.

The other reason I love this jar is because Garrett truly takes initiative to help at time. It gives him a tangible reward for helping me. Last night Brad had a meeting and Summer is to a point where she is very hard to put to bed (we just switched her to a Full Size bed). While I was putting her to bed, Garrett asked if he could do something to earn some marbles. I told him to clean whatever he wanted and then tell me how many marbles he thought he deserved. He decided he would earn 20 marbles. He wrote the numbers 1-20 and then would go find something to clean. As he did an item, he would cross off a number. By the time Summer was in bed, the horrendous amount of toys were put away, the dogs were fed, and the floors were vacuumed. He worked very hard for those 20 marbles, and I didn't have to stress about getting the house clean. It was great.

Other than that, we've been busy, but not doing anything terribly special. Football, school, family time. We switched the beds around this weekend are in the midst of a massive declutter. That will (eventually? hopefully?) get its own post. Summer did sign up for a tumbling class, but that only lasted a week before she got a nasty cold. We haven't been back since. Or rather, we have tried to go back, but she refused to participate. Maybe because she is still sick, but who knows. It was a fun (but apparently expensive) week.
She's very much into letters right now, so we're going slow and introducing a letter whenever the opportunity arises. She can identify O, L, and S so far and likes to find them WHEREVER we go. Potty training has been successful (knock on wood) and we've been slowly getting more adventurous in our outings. It even cooled down enough for a family trip to the zoo this past weekend.

Other than that, we've played with our food.

We've gotten the occasional sweet treat for working/playing hard.

Garrett has FINALLY started doing what I consider REAL school work--first spelling test is this week. Now that they have finally started doing sight and spelling words, Garrett is reading and writing even in his free time. He's also having tons of fun drawing too. Here are a few of his fun little "just because" projects.

Every day is crazy and chaotic and absurdly wonderful.