Friday, July 10, 2015

Staycation day 2: zoo

The zoo is about a half hour away from our house. Jef and Sejal had given us tickets for Christmas (SUCH a great, thoughtful Christmas present!), but the weather and our schedules hadn't aligned for us to go yet. Our staycation was a great time to go!

The kids had a good time looking at all the animals, although we only saw probably 1/4 of the zoo. Lots of the animals were lazing in the sun:

One of the employees was sweet to take a picture of our family:

Meredith and the giraffes:

We saw a few indoor exhibits, and the kids liked both the animals and the photo ops :)

Truthfully, the whole weekend left me exhausted, but it was a good tired. It was so nice to do some different, vacation-type things as a family!

Staycation day 1: Indiana Dunes

We decided to have a little staycation for the fourth of July weekend. We've been wanting to go to a beach on Lake Michigan, but Jason was leery of the beaches in Chicago. The Indiana dunes beach was about an hour away - it was perfect for a long morning.

The weather was on the chilly side. It was probably 68 degrees when we pulled up, and maybe 78 when we left at 1 pm. The lake water was freezing!

The kids played mostly in the sand and in a large tide pool (that wasn't really a tide pool but a pool created by a large creek).

And we had lots of snacks!

Baby 4 and me at 32 weeks!

Russell took this picture. I was a little nervous about handing him my nice camera on the sand. Jason and I were laughing because he was really not aiming the camera at us!

Jason, Russell, and Meredith walked up the dune twice (which is legal, unlike in NC). Russell rolled down :)

As we were leaving, Russell bought himself and his sisters some ice cream with his birthday money :)

It was a great day and sort of satisfied my need for the beach! We're hoping to go back again this summer.

Friday, July 3, 2015

First day of school 2015-16!

Well, June went by very quickly! We're still enjoying the fun things of summer - the pool, the sun, s'mores - but we're now beginning first grade, pre-k, and "tot school."

I changed everything we used last year for curriculum. We're using Heart of Dakota this year, which is an all-inclusive curriculum including science, history, handwriting, Bible, some cute "rhymes in motion," art, read-alouds, and math. It also had phonics/reading program recommendations, but I decided to use All About Reading instead.

I chose Heart of Dakota's program called Little Hearts for His Glory, which is for 5-7 year olds. So far, it actually seems perfect for both the big kids. They do have separate work for handwriting, math, and reading - the same curricula, just on different grade levels.

Meredith is going through all the curriculum with Russell and me. I am teaching her kindergarten-level work this year because she's ready for it. In the two days since we started, she has started reading CVC words like pan and bat. She and I are both very excited! 

I think the reading level I picked for Russell (a first-grade level) may actually be too easy for him. I'm planning to skim through it with him quickly and then move on if need be. Otherwise, everything is a perfect fit!

As for Paige, she is learning colors, shapes, and a few Montessori activities this year, along with doing some fun crafts. She is very verbal for her age, and understands a lot, so she's ready to start learning. She has been very excited so far, going downstairs yelling, "Do school! Yay, school!" 

Life will be very different after we add another baby, but so far, I love our routine!