Thursday, May 21, 2015

Homeschool Showcase: Volcano Eruption!

It was such great timing that while Pops and Mimi were here, the annual Homeschool Showcase was scheduled at the library. Russell chose to do a project about volcanoes - mainly because we had gotten a science experiment book from the library that had a "gooey volcano eruption" experiment in it!

We did a lot of the research the week before the showcase: reading library books, watching videos of volcano eruptions, and coloring and writing worksheets about volcanoes, and also making a volcano art project out of canvas, paints, and melted crayons. Russell completed all the work and determined where everything should go on his poster.

 The final piece of the project was the gooey volcano eruption  - we did that with lots of help from Mimi. Russell LOVED it and played with it afterward until the "volcano" (Jell-O) had disintegrated.

The homeschool showcase was open to any homeschoolers of any grade, K-12. Russell's friend Lailah presented her poetry right beside his volcano project.

We'll be at next year's showcase, for sure! It was a great experience.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A week with Pops and Mimi

And what a wonderful week it was!

Pops and Mimi came to our house on Saturday, May 2 and left on Mother's Day (May 10).

We had lots of fun around the house:

On Sunday afternoon, everyone but Paige (who was napping) and me visited the military tank park and museum:

On Saturday, we all went to Chicago for the morning and spent a few hours in the Museum of Science and Industry. (We have a membership.)

Everyone except Paige and me toured the U-boat (a German submarine captured by the Allies in WWII. I did not think Paige would do well in there for a half-hour guided tour!) I think the boys - Russell, my dad, and Jason - particularly enjoyed it. Russell is fascinated by WWII - he knows more about it than any other 5-year-old, probably.

Clowning around at the circus exhibit:

Rock climbing at the Toy Maker 3000 exhibit (Meredith loved this! Russell was more hesitant):

Choo choo!

Our kids did NOT want to be in this picture with us. Well, fine! We'll take it ourselves ;) This is in front of the amazing miniature model of Chicago:

On Sunday, before Pops and Mimi had to leave to visit our Ohio family, we had breakfast together at the same adorable place we went last year for Mother's Day - but it was so special to have my mom there this year!

And just like that, they had to leave :(

We actually did pack a lot into that short trip - some events I didn't get pictures of, and others (like Russell's homeschool showcase and the kids' CBS Spring Sing) will be pictured in other blog posts. It was a great week to have them here - the weather was beautifully warm, the kids had activities to involve grandparents in. We miss them so much already!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Baby 4 at 25 weeks

Could there be a better day than Mother's Day to give an update about the new baby? :)

(Picture taken at the Museum of Science and Industry yesterday)

How far along: 25 weeks
Cravings: Totally depends on the day - most days, I'm doing well just to eat sitting down - busy, busy!
Gender - what do you think?: I think it's a girl. Jason thinks it's a boy. We've each been right 2/3 of the time, so it's anyone's guess - that's the fun part! Russell thinks it's a boy; Meredith thinks it's a girl. (Probably just wishful thinking on their part!)
Name(s): I added this in just because people ask, but we're keeping the names a secret! ;) We have a definite girl name and a possible boy name.
Movement: Now we can see baby's kicks! I feel them every day :) Such a sweet part of pregnancy!

I am feeling slower and have no more lap for the kids to sit in - well, there is a lap, but nowhere to lean their backs, so they don't prefer it! But overall, I'm feeling pretty good! I just can't believe it's going by so fast. August will be here before we know it!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Meredith at 4 years old

Some updates about Meredith as a big 4-year-old:

Meredith received her first big-girl bike (with training wheels) on her birthday!  She chose a decked-out Disney princess bike and a Frozen helmet.  She rode it around the block a couple days ago, so she is continuing to get better and better as she practices!

Meredith's weight: 36 lb 2 oz (58th percentile)
Meredith's height: 39.3 in (39th percentile) - surprising, as she's always been tall - I'm thinking she'll have a growth spurt soon 
At her doctor's appointment, she had to get one shot, which she did not appreciate. She did get to choose a treat afterward though, and she picked Dunkin' Donuts:

Favorite food: sweet treats, berries, baked chicken, cheese
Favorite book: the Strawberry Shortcake series
Favorite TV show: Octonauts, currently
Favorite movie: any Tinkerbell movie
Favorite activity: jumping on our new trampoline

Meredith is compassionate, sensitive, and smart. This means that she's very eager to help, quick to get her feelings hurt, and intuitive about others' feelings, often interpreting body language correctly. She is ready to learn how to read, but the current curriculum I have is just as boring to her as it was to Russell (Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons), so I'm going to order her a different reading curriculum to start either soon or in the fall (probably All About Reading).

Our goals for Meredith at 4 for self-help/practical skills: buckling her own seatbelt (she's got it down 75% of the time), pumping her legs to swing (still working on it), and bathing herself (still working on it but getting close). I'm thinking she also may learn to make her own lunch.

She's growing up so quickly, right before our eyes! I can't believe she's so big.