Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Catching up 7 months.....

Hey, I've been busy! Doing: baby #5; homeschooling four kids, with a baby; teaching homeschool co-op classes; regular housework; yard work; learning a completely new way of cooking, and dealing with the holidays. So, here are the highlights of the last seven months:

Lovin' Annie. 

We are all crazy about this little girl. She has been so sweet and so easy from the very beginning. She's a little ray of sunshine in our home.

The kids all adore her and are constantly asking to hold her, play with her, read to her, feed her, etc.

They've been a set of super-helpers when mom needs an extra pair of hands.

Here is the little girl on her blessing day with Aunt Sarah.

 At about 3 months old, she started sucking her thumb... like one of her older sisters who shall remain nameless... But within a few weeks, she had changed to sucking her fingers in an "I love you" sign.

And she still loves them! (Taken today.)

Here she is learning to sit independently, about 6 months.
She is now a vibrant 8-month-old, crawling all over the house sticking anything she can find into her mouth. (Hurray for babygates!)

She loves swinging at the park... we're still working on sliding skills.  And she is just starting to enjoy finger foods.
This is Annie enjoying her first "solid" meal, at 6 months.

Summer Fun

We had a lot of fun over the summer --as much as we could with a newborn, anyway.

My uncle Richard was nice enough to let us stay at his house on Houston Bay for a few days. We had a beautiful view watching the big ships sail up the channel.
 And we loved getting to spend time with my nephew and niece, Cole and Kylie.
 We also visited Moody Gardens in Galveston and saw the amazing Aquarium and Rainforest pyramids they have.

Back at home, the older kids had some fun learning archery. (The county parks near our house are amazing! They have so many free activities.)

We also visited San Antonio. Here the kids are doing funny poses outside of Aunt Sarah's work at SACC.

Right next door is a planetarium which we enjoyed immensely.

 The kids got to enjoy their first rodeo from the bleachers
  and down in the ring "mutton bustin'".  At first, Joseph didn't want to go down and join the other kids, then as any "rational" two-year-old would do, he changed his mind and ran out on the field with the big kids.(Thankfully by then, the sheep had scattered to the other end of the ring or he would have gotten mowed down by the sheep and/or the frenzied children running after them.) When all the sheep had been penned, the announcer told all the kids to go back to their seats. Joseph had no idea where he was going, he just ran off in a random direction--right to where the rodeo horses ride into the ring. Thanks to Aunt Sarah's fleetness of foot, she found him before he got kicked or trampled.
Joseph is closest kid in red, to the left.

Michael enjoyed cub scout day camp, even though it was blazing hot.

Loving on the garter snake he found while shooting out in the country with Dad.

He came close to winning the "rain gutter regatta."


So, we started homeschooling for real in August.  It's been a fun adventure, as I have learned right along with the kids.

 We attend a co-op every Friday where we meet up with other homeschooling families, and the moms take turns teaching enrichment classes. --Anything from science, to reader's theater, to origami, to "lego physics."

Ada attended my nature class last term.

We had some amazing hands-on science instruction from Ms. Kris from the park's department. 

Sadie having fun with math manipulatives.

The other days of the week, we do our "normal" school work and enjoy lots of time at parks, museums and other field trips.
We love the Natural Science Museum downtown!

 One day at the Museum of Natural Science, they had a sword fighting demonstration and the kids got to show their stuff.

Early in the fall, we enjoyed a day at Galveston State Park learning about aquatic life.
We used a drag net to capture tiny animals

and we got to observe them in these cool little buckets.

We also enjoyed a boat tour of Houston Bay.

Mercer Park...one of our favorites!

 At NASA Space Center.

At the Butterfly House. I love coming here. There are so many different butterflies fluttering around everywhere!

This is Michael holding very still hoping a butterfly will land on him. ....No luck!

Here are the girls--notice the floral prints of their clothes and the flowers worn in their hair in the hopes of a butterfly landing on them... Again, no luck!

Annie, however, had several butterflies land on her head.  --Maybe they mistook her head of fuzz for a giant thistle?

The kids did get to pet a giant iguana. I think that made up for the butterflies lack on interest.
I am trying my best to give the kids a solid foundation in "the Arts," so Sadie is enjoying a ballet class and Ada is loving her music theory class (Let's Play Music). Michael is taking piano lesson and loves pounding away at random times throughout the day.  He has a really good ear and even before lessons, could pick out the notes to play lots of different songs, including his favorite tune, Star Wars.

What's Cooking?

This fall, Michael started having lots of mini-seizures, called absence seizures.  He had an EEG done, but they didn't see anything unusual.

 Knowing of the family's history with gluten problems, and doing my own research, we put him on a grain-free, sugar-free diet (the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, to be exact) which has really helped.  It has meant completely changing our way of eating and cooking -again- but it's worth it.  Poor Matt, though! Eating "grain-free" means making any baked goods out of nut flours -which he is allergic to. He misses out on a lot of tasty treats, but he's been very understanding. 

Birthdays 1, 2, 3

We have four birthdays in a row from September to November.
Our little boy is growing up! Jojo turned 3 and we celebrated with a fun little train cake.

He absolutely LOVES the superhero outfits and light-saber he got....
Can you tell?

Other kids have fun with them too.

Our sweet Sadie turned 7.  She is turning into quite the young lady --always cheerful, cooperative, and ready to lend a hand.

Instead of cake, Matt got his favorite --creme brulee. The best part is getting to use his butane torch to burn the sugar on top. (Yes, he bought it solely for this purpose!)


Halloween is always lots of fun. Here are a few pics from our church's Halloween party.


Pictures with Santa from my parents' ward Christmas party.

Joseph's just chillin' with Santa here.

Michael obligingly condescended to sit on Santa's knee for a picture.... and to get a goody bag that Santa was giving out.

Here is Sadie telling the Santa from our ward Christmas party that what she wants most of all for Christmas this year is her own little pet birdy.
Here is Sadie a few days before Christmas just after a friend from church knocked on our door with a SURPRISE! (...It was a surprise for mom and dad too!)

Joseph got to be Joseph is the Nativity pageant they did in Nursery.

Christmas at home.....

Christmas at Grandma's.....

Aunt Claire gave us this bunny outfit to use as a Halloween costume next year...

Anyone ever seen "A Christmas Story'?

I couldn't help putting it on Jojo, and I couldn't help laughing like crazy.  

The day after Christmas, we met up with lots of folks from Matt's family to enjoy some time at Breckenridge Park and ride the train together.

Other News...

Sadie was a very lucky girl last fall to loose one,

the two,

Then three teeth within a few weeks of each other.

Within in a week, Ada lost her first tooth too.  The tooth fairy was busy at our house!

We regularly have the watercolors out because my kids LOVE being crafty. Who knew they would decide to turn watercolors into make-up?

More pictures from the park:

I sure do have cute kids!

(And I'm not at all biased!)
We love having Grandma come visit!

Some mornings, we awake to find Jojo in really weird places. I'm not sure if he sleepwalks or just walks around half-asleep until he finds someplace worth settling into.

A big wind knocked down a dead tree close to our house. Rather than let it go to waste, we pulled off the dead branches, hauled them home and had a little hot-dog roast over a bonfire. It brought back lots of memories from childhood.

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