Wednesday, November 19, 2014

October field trips and more

October was a busy month, as I am sure it was with most of you too!  One weekend headed up to Maryland to go to the Washington DC temple.  After we swapped babysitting with my sister Lois, we headed out to IKEA.  Amazingly we were only there for about 20 minutes!  I want to go to IKEA on another trip up to Maryland, but I am not sure how to squeeze it in.  I think we'll have to forgo it till December.  I want to buy a mirror there. I let each kid pick a $1 item (or under) at the snack place by the registers.  Always fun to see the different things they pick out.
Oct 18 2014 IKEA

Though, not very safe, I love it when my kids play games together in the van.  They had no idea that I was even taking this picture! 
Oct 18 2014 van games

After IKEA we drove straight to a church building for a "road show".  I am not exactly sure how to define what a "road show" is, but the different LDS church congregations in the area travel on the "road" to perform a "show" at one location.  This year the road show was held in Charlottesville at a church building and the main skits/plays were done by the youth in the church. 
Oct 18 2014 Stake Road Show

This is the group of youth from our ward that participated.  They did a great job acting out two different scenarios where they had to stand up for themselves, and then sang a song that some of them had rewritten the lyrics to for Katy Perry's song "Roar". If that sentence made sense.....
Oct 18 2014 Stake Road Show (2)

They performed fourth and once they were done, we took off to do even more shopping.
Oct 18 2014 Stake Road Show (3)

Lee had to go to a store to exchange some shirts so I had him drop us off at Trader Joe's (minus Shanna who tagged along with Lee).  I love Trader Joe's!  They have such fun food and pretty decent prices too!  I am stopping by there this weekend to stock up on peppermint Jo Joes for the holidays.  YUM!!! After Lee dropped us off, I realized that wasn't the smartest idea I've had!  It was kind of cold in the store and I had to buy only a couple of items...but we had more than 20 minutes to kill.  Thankfully we found out that the kids could find the polar bear (can't remember his name) that was hiding somewhere in the store and get a sucker once they found him.(And they had free hot apple cider samples!)
Oct 18 2014 Trader Joes

Sadly while they were looking some kid realized what they were doing and told them where the polar bear was.  Oh well.  They got their suckers anyway.
Oct 18 2014 Trader Joes (2)

Oct 18 2014 Trader Joes (3)

Elden wanted his sandwich cut into candy canes.  Lee obliged.
Oct 19 2014

On that following Monday Lee assembled our IKEA purchase!  I've said it before but with renting for about 11 years, I had no idea how handy Lee was!  Just last week he put in new brake pads and rotors on his mini-van.  Yes, we have two mini-vans.  Don't be jealous!
Oct 20 2014 IKEA shoe cabinet

Oct 20 2014 IKEA shoe cabinet (2)

And here it is!  Our "shoe cabinet" from IKEA.  I really like it, plus it adds an extra furniture piece to our house.  I have never really decorated before and it shows!  Right now the shoe cabinet has a cute wooden pumpkin on it that my visiting teacher gave me.  
Oct 20 2014 IKEA shoe cabinet (3)

Another picture with more funky lighting...cell pictures. We wanted to put it right by the door, but there wasn't enough room.  I like having it here though.  Now we just need to get used to using it all the time.  It's great to have a place to put shoes other than in our small coat closet on the small bookshelf in the closet.
Oct 20 2014 IKEA shoe cabinet (4)

I still do copying at the school.  I love it!  I go in once a week and copy for 10 teachers.  Some days I go through many reams of paper!
Oct 20 2014

On to the field trip part of this post. Elden and I went on a second field trip together to Brethern Woods.  It's a type of retreat/camp.  They had a nature type field trip that day.
Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (2)

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (3)

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (4)

Seeing pictures of him doing school stuff and even picking him up from school I can't get over that he looks too young to be in school!  I don't have the disposition to home school, so unless there is a dire need, my kids will go to public schools.  Plus we are very blessed with such great schools here.  I LOVE the schools!  I love how the teachers in personal conversations will mention things like prayer and faith.  And that at school wide PTA meetings we pray--I got to pray at the meeting last month or the month before, and have prayed at other meetings too.  Several of the teachers also have their master degrees, which I think is awesome.  The principal is great, the secretaries are wonderful, the teachers are fabulous...I just love it all!
Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (5)

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (6)

I may have mentioned this before, and I know I've talked to several people about it, but I did not get Elden "ready" for kindergarten.  I had great intentions and we did do a little bit. This is not my forte. I can help with home work and studying for tests--I don't mind this at all. But actually sitting down, preparing a lesson and executing it...not so much.  He did know how to spell and write his name, knew all his colors...and that's about it.  I felt guilty for a long time about it, but basically one day I thought, I am just not going to have him "ready" in time, so I need to just let the guilt go and deal with him starting behind in kindergarten.  Elden never went to any type of preschool either.  I will say, he did have fun at home!  He enjoyed playing by himself at home, going to storytime and playing with his friends at the park.  And I loved in the afternoons when he would come and snuggle with me.  He is still a snuggler and I love it!

Now that he is in school he has been progressing well.  At parent/teacher conferences his teacher told me by January she'd like him to know all the letters and their sounds.  He had learned several of them, but not all of them.  Last week I heard a great report about him. I went to say hi to Elden in the computer lab as I was passing through the hall and saw that his class was in there.  His teacher talked to me for a moment and said that Elden knew all of his letters and sounds!  She also praised his hard work and personal responsibility.  He and Shanna are on a board in the school hallway actually recognizing them for being students with great character.  It was so great hearing this!  I've heard from time to time that kids usually catch up to each other by around 2nd grade or so.  I still felt bad about not having him "ready" like other preschool-going kids. But now is getting pretty much caught up. YAY!  He also knows some site words too which is great.  Now we need to work on numbers, ha ha.  Great job Elden!
Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (7)

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (8)

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (9)

Oct 21 2014 Bretheren Woods (10)

Oct 21 2014 Brethren Woods

Later that afternoon I took the boys to deliver bags for Scouting for Food.  Elden was so excited to help, it was cute.   
Oct 21 2014 Scouting for food

Another child grumbled about delivering the bags.  I of course gave the you're-very-blessed-we-can-do-our-small-part-to-help-those-in-need speech. After the activity was done I heard from said child that an enjoyable time was had.
Oct 21 2014 Scouting for food (2)

Now for the last part of the field trip bit in the post....Cal and I went to the nearby James Madison University Planetarium.  It was pretty cool!  I want to take all of my kids back there.  They do free shows on Saturdays too.  Something that sounds really neat too that you would love Mom is a star party at their Astronomy Park at night time.  During the school year you can go and look through their telescopes at night-time.

I didn't get any pictures at the planetarium, but afterwards we went to Wood Grill Buffet for lunch.  Since I was already on the field trip I had to go anyway, but didn't eat.  I do like Wood Grill though!  I hadn't set money aside to buy lunch and I didn't want to use up some of my play money to do so, ha ha.
Oct 22 2014 Cal planetarium field trip

When in Rome....you just have to blow the wrapper off of the straw, and of course sometimes try and slide the straw back in the wrapper.
Oct 22 2014 Cal planetarium field trip (2)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

We did some fun things leading up to Halloween.  One thing we did, which was not fun, was getting flu shots.  I never tell the kids that we are going because some of them will unnecessarily stress out about it.  I think so anyway.  We biked over to the pharmacy after school and they were wondering what was going on.  Once inside I told them what was going to happen. Every year seems to go better and better.  I remember one year getting our flu shots at Walmart.  Most of the kids were screaming or crying really loud, and of course the flu shot station was right up front by the registers.  Anyway, I figured we better get these flu shots done while we were all healthy and well.   Glad they are over....for one year at least!
Oct 17 2014 Flu shots

We don't have hardly any leaves in our yard.  Mainly leaves that blow in from our neighbors' yards. We have one little apple tree in our front yard.  I wish we had at least one, big tree!  Live and learn.  When we lived in the house across the street there were a few trees on that property and we didn't mind the raking.  But again that yard is pretty small too.  I am not sure as of right now, but a week or more ago there were lots of leaves in the schoolyard. Elden played in them briefly almost everyday after school.  It was so cute. He even grabbed an armful to bring home.  Right after I took this picture he threw them on the ground though.
Oct 15 2014

Earlier that day (same day as flu shots) our school had their annual Race For Education.  I love this fundraiser!  I am going to be in charge of it next year so I helped out with it this year.  Our school raised just over $15,000!  All of the money goes directly to our school.  Some of you may have received a letter in the mail from the kids' school.  The basics of the fundraiser are fill out some address labels with family and friends' names and addresses, then the school sends out a letter (that each child helps fill in) asking for a donation that will go directly to the school. The kids get prizes for how many labels they bring in!  There are some fun prizes too. One I will mention in a later post.  But seriously...fill out address labels?!  I can do that! Since I have multiple kids in elementary school, I only had to fill out one set.  The kids got to pick a little prize, have ice cream at lunch, get an Elk Buck (a reward system at their school) and get a free t-shirt.  Sweet!

There is a race day too and all of the grades go to the nearby park to run laps.  Cal ran almost 5 miles that day!!!  He did a great job!  The class that brings in the most money gets to go to a nearby indoor waterpark in January--Massanutten. Lee was able to count his donation as a corporate donation along with giving credit to Cal.  And Cal's class gets to go to the waterpark!  He actually got to go last year too.  After expenses for stamps, paper, prizes, etc, we will clear basically $13,000! 
Oct 17 2014 Race for Education

I love seeing the kids' artwork and projects in the hall.  This is what I saw in the kindergarten hallway one afternoon.
Oct 16 2014 Elden

A snake!
Oct 16 2014 Elden (2)

Despite getting the flu shots, my kids were so excited to go to our friend's, the Dollers, to carve pumpkins. Sunny made yummy chili for dinner and we enjoyed visiting and of course carving!
Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (2)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (3)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (4)

Can you tell by the way the boys were holding their knives that they quite enjoyed using them?
Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (5)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (6)

Clark stabbed his pumpkin. Of course.
Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (7)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (8)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (9)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (10)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (11)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (12)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (13)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (14)

Oct 17 2014 Doller pumpkin carving (15)

Thanks for letting us come Sunny and family!  We love getting together with our friends.  We need to do visit and do things more often with our friends here, but it can be so hard! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Woodrow Wilson Birthplace

Yes, folks, yet another field trip!  And you'll see more posts on fieldtrips in the future.  This time I was able to go with the 6th graders to Staunton, VA to visit the birthplace of past president Woodrow Wilson.  There is also a museum there and a memorial library.
Oct 10 2014 Woodrow Wilson birthplace

I thought the "Robertson Hall" was kind of fun.  President Wilson's limo is on display in there too.
Oct 10 2014 Woodrow Wilson's birthplace

Oct 10 2014 Woodrow Wilson's birthplace (2)

It was interesting hearing more about World War I too.  We also learned about the secret Indian group that used their native language to send messages so the Germans or whomever couldn't decode it.  (Can't remember the name of the tribe...)
Oct 10 2014 Woodrow Wilson's birthplace (4)

There was a trench display down in the basement too.  The kids liked it.
Oct 10 2014 Woodrow Wilson's birthplace (5)

It was fun going with them.  I love that he wants me to come to stuff like this.  And I loved it even more when he would say across the room with all the other 6th graders, "Love you Mom!"

I had been slacking on getting Fall Sunday outfits together for the girls.  Shanna told me she wanted a maxi skirt and I looked around online, but didn't want to pay the prices that I found.  I searched pinterest for a free tutorial for a maxi skirt and I found a good one.  I normally use a pattern to sew things so this was somewhat of a first for me.  I found some fabric and sewed them up!  It was pretty easy to make them too.  They really like them.  I think I'll be making more maxi skirts in the future!  Not very "fall-ish" colors, but they turned out cute. They'll work for the coming spring too.
Oct 12 2014 maxi skirts

We had a couple of back to school nights this fall.  Shanna decided to wear this outfit that particular night.  Her friend gave her some fake glasses awhile back.
Oct 14 2014 back to school night

A few weeks ago Lee and I had our weekly date over his lunch break.  Our local community center has a ping pong table, so I surprised him by taking him there.  He won all the games, of course.  Someday we'll have our own ping pong table.  This month we actually bought a family pass to the community center and we've been there a couple of times already. 
Oct 14 2014 Pingpong Date

We can't believe that the holidays are just around the corner!  I am in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations for 39 people!  It's going to be awesome!  I have the rolls baked and in the freezer, in addition to 14 pie crusts all ready in the freezer.  I also made some potato soup, and the froze it.  I have a couple more things that I am going to make and freeze/store. I don't mind cooking while people are here, but I want to have as much done beforehand as possible.  It's going to be so busy that I want to have as much time as possible to just hang out and have fun with my family.  Five of us siblings will be together, along with my parents. 

In addition to food preparations, I have been shopping, shopping, shopping for food for the big week.  Anything that can last till the end of the month I've been buying.  We had bags of food and household items sitting in our hallway for a good week.  It's been busy around here lately.  Lee was kind and put a bunch of stuff away for me one night.  Then Saturday night I finally put the remaining stuff away, and organized our food storage shelves.  I also reorganized our chest freezer and kitchen freezer, which was good.  I hope I can fit everything that I want to freeze!  I even have a turkey waiting to be cooked.  I still need to buy one more turkey.  I have the menu all planned out too for while people are coming and going around Thanksgiving.  I need to get some little house projects done too before people come, plus we want to redo the front porch. Well, we are hiring someone to do most of the work.  We'll do some, but not the majority of it.  Anyway.....that is what I've been up to lately.  Maybe I'll have Halloween posts up by the end of the week!