Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nerf Wars

Nerf Wars

We recently joined a home-school co-op that meets every Tuesday afternoon.  This past Tuesday all the kids brought nerf guns and played capture the flag.  I was impressed at how brave Aria and Zade were considering they were the youngest and had never been shot at before. :)  I'm conflicted as to whether or not to continue attending this co-op.  It's a nice social opportunity, but they also do a lot of academic work that is a little advanced for Aria's stage.  I also don't want us to become so busy that we don't have time to do everything we need to do at home.

Ward Christmas Party
Somehow I managed to get myself in charge of the ward Christmas party- a mistake never to be repeated again! :)  The primary kids performed the Christmas Pageant.  Aria and Zade were both angels.  Santa came to visit and the kids got to sit on his lap.

Here's our cute, little Ryzen, testing out his piano skills.

Home School

We had fun making some Christmas ornaments.  I'm hoping we can spend a lot of time this next week making cookies and lots of other fun Christmas items.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Polar Express

I gave Zade and Ryzen a bath and had to capture a few moments of the fun they were having:

Polar Express
The Schlow Library was having a Polar Express activity for kids, where a librarian read that story to the kids, then they hopped on a trolley and rode out to where Santa was hiding, and got to meet him.  This was Ryzen's first time ever meeting Santa.  As you can see, he wasn't too sure about Santa, not that I can blame him.  Santa looked pretty tired.  :)

Afterwards, the Penn State Thespians put on a little play at the library about Amelia Bedilia, which the kids enjoyed.

Ryzen is learning a lot of words, but he still has a few of his own.  Whenever he sees a movie, he calls it a "gobley", which we find pretty funny.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


We were going to get together with Jeremiah Green's family this year for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately several members of their family got sick, so we ended up doing Thanksgiving on our own. This was actually the very first time we celebrated Thanksgiving by ourselves. Aria and Zade chipped in and helped to make some of the food, and seemed to have a good time. They are both especially fond of Acini De Pepe, which is nice to see, because I love that stuff. :)

On Saturday we went to a U-Cut farm and picked out a Christmas tree.  As the mighty matriarch of the family, Tara kicked off the sawing.

And after she did all the hard work and got tired, I got to finish off the job. :)

As the pictures also reveal, we had the first snow of the winter.  The kids had fun sledding down the hill in our front yard and building snowmen in the backyard.

We also tried taking some family pics.  None of them turned out great, but a few were alright.  Such is life with children.

At church today Tara taught a lesson during Sharing Time in Primary about forgiveness.  During the family pictures Zade got hurt and got mad at Tara for not showing him as much sympathy as he wanted.  Later Tara asked Zade if he would forgive her. With a sparkle in his eye he responded, "Maybe.  I'll have to talk about it tomorrow during my meeting with Ryzen."  :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tooth Fairy

Guess who lost her first tooth?  :)  Apparently some of Aria's friends brought them $5 when they lost a tooth.  I couldn't believe it.  When I was a kid I just remember getting a coin or two.  Fortunately, the tooth fairy found some nice middle ground and Aria awoke to find a nice $1 bill. :)

Tara also read Charlotte's Web to Aria and Zade and then took them to see the play.  The kids loved it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Fun in the Forest

Each Tuesday we have a group that goes for a hike together.  My friend, Katrina, wants the venture to be like a Forest School.  We always hike to the same spot.  It takes about an hour to hike each way.  Once at our spot, the children run and play in the woods.  We also have an organized circle time at the end where we tell stories, poetry, sing songs, and play games.  Katrina has taken some beautiful pictures of our experiences thus far, but I don't have very many to put on the blog at this moment in time.  During the last hike, Aria found some fallen leaves and had fun making witch's claws. 

Below is a Monarch butterfly that Zade spotted on one of our morning walks.  It was injured and probably will not be able to make its' migration South.  We enjoyed watching it though.  We carried it home and placed it on one of our roses.

Our new math unit covers all four math processes: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  In Waldorf curriculum, everything is introduced through stories in the early years.  The kids are enjoying learning about math through the story of a mother and her four squirrels.  We have many of our own squirrels in the front yard right now, so gathering acorns and counting them like squirrels ties in perfectly with what we are currently experiencing.  

Halloween 2014
For Halloween this year we invited the Brushwoods and Tysons over for dinner and then headed out trick-or-treating.  Here are some fun treats that the children and I made.

We never got really good pictures of the kids' costumes this year.  Aria was Sleeping Beauty, Zade was Wolverine, and Ryzen was a panda bear.

Messy Fellow
Ryzen now consistently refuses to wear a bib, so he is always getting his clothes dirty.  He likes me to give him a paper towel so he can clean himself.  He really likes to be independent like his older siblings.  He can now scoot down the stairs, and he insists on doing this by himself.  The only thing he does not want to give up is nursing. :)  Whenever he is tired he wants to nurse, whether we are at church, or with other people, or wherever.  It is such a great sedative though.  All he has to do is nurse for a few minutes and he passes out into sweet oblivion.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall Fun 2014

We took the kids to a bug festival in State College.  Above the kids are having a cockroach race.  We had an interesting time looking at many dead and many live bugs, including watching a spider eat another spider inside a cage.
The kids and I have loved fall.  We spent a couple afternoons planting tulip bulbs so that our yard will look beautiful this coming spring.
We enjoyed making a gingerbread haunted house.
We had fun at Way Fruit Farm pumpkin patch.  We ate apple dumplings, held bunnies, picked out pumpkins, went on a ride, and picked apples.  Home school is still going well.  We are currently in a math unit that the kids are enjoying.  I love the artistic nature of the Waldorf program.  We are also having fun with lots of Halloween songs, stories and poetry.  Ryzen is now officially walking!  He was doing really well on the trip and within a few days of being home he just took off.  He walks everywhere now!  He still nurses and wakes up at night!  I know this needs to change and we are starting to make some progress. I think one of the reasons I've decided to nurse him so long is because I feel like it's my special bonding time with him.

19 Ticks
Yes, that's how many ticks that Mira had on her this week.  Ryzen opened the back door and she got out and headed into the forest behind our house.  When she came back in the was covered in ticks.  Dane took some tweezers and pulled off 15 before he gave up and we called the vet.  The vet found 4 more, and gave her Frontline (a topical solution) to kill any others that may be on her. Not a fan of ticks, no sir.

Aria's prayers
At the end of Aria's prayers each night, we've taught her to try and listen to see if she gets any inspiration in response to her prayer.  She's basically implemented that by saying things like, "Heavenly Father, if there's anything you'd like to tell me, please do."  And each night she reports to us that she heard Heavenly Father say something like "I love you very much."  Earlier this week, she reported an interesting experience.  She said she was told something to the effect, "Aria, you need to work on your prayers."  (Sometimes she says a pretty casual prayer without much thought.)  She found that very surprising and interesting.  A response like that gives me a little more encouragement that she may actually be listening to the spirit.

Northeast Trip

Last month the three kids and I drove from our town in State College, Pennsylvania all the way to Boston, Massachusetts- a 7-8 hour drive.  I was quite apprehensive about driving all that way with Ryzen, who is only 15 months old, and no other adult to help.  I had Ryzen seated next to Aria in the back seat.  Aria was a wonderful big sister.  She handed him snacks, drinks and played with him whenever he was in need.  We listened to two full books on tape and the kids only watched one short movie during our entire drive.  I was relieved with how well the drive went.  The only trouble came when we got to Boston.  We arrived at 6:00 PM .  The traffic was awful and even with my GPS unit, I kept taking wrong turns and getting into the wrong lanes.  It was stressful, but we finally made it.  My sister Sharalee and her family just moved to Boston about a month ago, so we got to see her new place and hang out with her for a few days.  My parents had also just flown in from Utah.

On our second day we went to a farm and picked apples.

My parents and I, along with the kids, took a 7 night cruise from Boston, all the way to Quebec, Canada.  Below is a picture of our first stop in Bar Harbor, Maine.  On our first night on the cruise I stayed up a little later then the kids to read a book.  After I had read for a bit, I checked my phone.  It said it was 2:30 AM! I couldn't believe it! How had I read that long!  Of course, I figured it had to be wrong, but I didn't know what time it was.  Ryzen woke up at 9:30 AM for the day (at least, that's what my phone said).  I wandered around the ship with Ryzen in my arms.  Hardly anyone was up.  Finally a worker told me that it was only 5:30 AM!

Below is a picture of our stop in Charlottetown.  The kids had fun collecting feathers and sea shells along the rocky inlet.  
One night on our cruise the waves were high and the wind was howling.  Our boat rocked quite a bit during the night which made for a challenging sleep.  When we awoke the next morning Aria's tummy was not feeling well.  She threw-up twice during that day because of the boat rocking. Thankfully the rest of the days were fine.

The kids loved swimming with my dad, and we tried to go swimming every day.  Ryzen wasn't allowed in the pool, so this made it challenging for me to swim because Ryzen never wanted to leave my side.  He was very clingy on the trip, probably because everything was so new.  I had to be holding him all the time, and if he was in a stroller then I had to be holding his hand.
I was crazy enough to bring these kids to many of the formal dinners.  Things usually started out well, but the kids would drink a glass of chocolate milk, a glass of apple juice, be completely full, and then spend the rest of the time getting into trouble- especially Ryzen.  My kids were the only kids on the entire boat, except for one other little boy.  Most of the old people on the ship were very kind and made comments about their own grand-kids, but we also got our fair share of disapproving looks. :)
My parents were so kind help out with my kids!  They could have had a much more relaxing trip without us, but they wanted us to come along.  I came and knocked on their door every morning with Ryzen around 6:30 AM and woke them up, so that we could hang out in their room until Aria and Zade woke up.

We enjoyed listening to this man play songs in the city of Quebec.  Ryzen started crying while we were listening and this man played him a lullaby.

After our cruise was over, we took a bus from Montreal to Vermont to visit my sister Shannon.  Unfortunately, we arrived late at the bus stop, so my parents missed the bus and had to take a later one that night.  The kids loved playing at the beach at Lake Champlain.
Aria and Zade pretended to build a beaver dam in the water.

I stayed at Shannon's house with Ryzen and my parents stayed in a hotel and took the older kids to sleep with them every night.
The water at the lake was so shallow that you could walk out 60 feet and the water would still be below your knees.
Here is picture of my mom and Shannon's baby Ashlyn.