Friday, November 21, 2008

My Baby Turns 6!

My daughter turned six yesterday and it's about darn time! She is one of those kids that is year older in your head than her actual age, so I've been wanting to call her "six" for a good year now. She asked me yesterday, "are you going to say I'm seven now?" If you knew her, you would understand. She started reading at age 4, so she is a really good reader now, even better than some 7-8 year olds we know. She has always been socially mature. She is into hair, make-up, and fashion. And she has a natural understanding of grown up things that most kids don't have. She is very perceptive, so I have to be very careful what she picks up on if it's an adult topic that I don't want her to be ready for!
So the night before her birthday, she reminds me, "don't forget to set up my birthday table like you did last year, you know, when I got my umbrella?" As if *I* would forget something like that! My mom started that tradition and every year I would wake up with a special table set up with my presents, flowers, etc. I don't think the birthday child should have to wait until a party to get her gifts- she should get them first thing in the morning. Since we homeschool, we didn't have to worry about running late for school. As a matter of fact, we took the day off!
When Anna woke up, she said from her bed, still one eye closed, "Mommy...do you know what T-O-D-A-Y I-S?" (She can spell, too!)
"Thursday?" (Giggles)
We got past the formalities and she got up and went to the table. Our dining/school table was full of schoolwork from the night before, so I had set up a smaller table in the living room. She saw the dining table and I saw the disappointment on her face. She tilted her head in that, "really?" sort of way. "You forgot!" she said.
"Of course I didn't!" I replied and then she decided to look around. Then she saw it and a still-missing teeth grin appeared as if to say, "okay, I still love you."
She had a great day with her brother. They built a fort, and watched Nim's Island underneath it. Birthday calls came in and interrupted the movie over and over. We had lunch at Pizza Hut, her choice. Then she had her good friends (three sisters) come over for a small "Little House on the Prairie" party, where she got a new pink computer from her dad, and her favorite gift, the The Kathleen McKenzie Doll - Life of Faith Series .
I have to brag on my children for a moment. Yesterday I pretty much let them have the day. Except for cleaning up their fort before the party, they did not have any chores or requirements. Last night I was so tired that I went to bed at 9:30. They were both playing on the computer, so I told them they were to be IN BED by 10:00. I had visions of them staying up until 3:00 am like they'd done before and wondered how often I would have to repeat myself before they got into bed. But, they did what I asked! I couldn't believe it. I don't know what time they actually went to bed, because I was pretty out of it. But all was quiet when it was 11-something, so I'm pretty sure they hit their mark. They were probably worn out as well, but I'm going to take it as they just decided to give Mommy a break and obey the first time. I love my kids!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Halloween Costume Contest Winner - Again!

Two years in a row, my son won the costume contest for his age group. First with his astronaut costume, then with his policeman's costume. This year, he had an awesome costume (Darth Vader), but there were three other Darth Vaders! So...we still had a winner this year, with my daughter's Little Red Riding Hood costume! She was so cute. She chose her costume, and I just found it online for her at Costume Express. You never know what the weather will be like on Halloween, and this year it was HOT! At 5 pm it was 88 degrees! It did cool off as it got later, but the parade through main street was at 5:30 and my poor son was dying under his Darth Vader helmet. He took it off when we got to the end where they do the costume judging. His head was soaking wet! We got a laugh out of that. Here are their pictures:

Chaplin Nature Center, Ark City, KS

Recently our homeschool group visited the Chaplin Nature Center in Ark City, KS. It's about an hour from our home and was well worth the drive! If you live in the area or plan on coming through, make plans to check it out!
The project our kids worked on was checking the water quality of the creek not far from the nature center. Their job was to scoop out samples of the muck from the creek bed and investigate the creatures that they found. It was a cool day, and it never occurred to me that a creek would be teeming with such life late in October. But it was! We found lots of baby frogs, and I can't remember for the life of me all the other creatures, but there were tons. Next time maybe I'll take notes! We dug through the muck collected in the nets, some with fingers, some with sticks. The children were given boots to wade out further into the creek, and they had fun doing that. Here are some pics of our group:

You can probably see the various ages in our group and the number of adults there, too. What a difference from "school field trips!" Our guide, Shawn, was very nice and guided us through the project in identifying what we had found. On our hike back to the building, Shawn asked if we wanted to go down to the bridge where we might be able to see a snake. Of course, we did, and we saw a snake! We also saw deer tracks and raccoon tracks. Then we went inside to evaluate using a numerical scale how the water faired. It was "good," I believe. Each type of invertebrate we found was worth a certain number of points. The more and varied the invertebrates are, the higher the point value, the better the water quality.

After our "lesson" we ate a bagged lunch and then let the kids go explore. I plan on going back at some point. I will probably wait until it gets warm again! One thing I forgot to mention is that the nature center building has lots of mounted animals in it that are really cool to look at. There are other activities in there, but the most memorable are the mounted animals that most kids don't get a chance to see up close.

Tom Woods