Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Fun

Getting back into the swing of things
The kids have started getting back into their regular routines and in their free time, continue to find creative ways to play.  

Home School Update
Aria started school at Park Forest Elementary last week. I had been debating putting her back in school for awhile.  I love homeschooling and I really feel that she has learned a lot thus far.  She has been challenging though recently, and not always agreeable when it came to completing the expectations that I had for her.  I still feel that perhaps I should have at least finished the school year at home, but thankfully, the transition to public school has gone smoothly.  She has a wonderful teacher who only lives a few houses down from us.  She also has a lot of kids in her class from last year, and everyone is very anxious to sit by her, include her, and let her know that she has been missed.  She doesn't seem at all behind in any of the math, reading or writing that she is currently doing at school.  Aria says that she misses home-school, but that she enjoys public school.  I don't know for sure what the future will bring.  I think if Aria really wanted to try homeschooling again, that I would be willing to try again in the fall.  There is something very sweet and wonderful about being home together all day with all of my kids.  Some people might think that seems crazy, but we enjoyed our days for the most part.  On warm days we would sit outside on a big blanket and ready books, and on cold days we all climbed in my bed with lots of pillows and blankets and read story after story.  We did crafts, and cooked, sang songs, memorized poetry and had puppet shows. We have a lot of memories together.  The last month or so, though, I think that I let the outside world unnerve me a little.  I began to worry too much about whether we were accomplishing enough each day, instead of enjoying the process enough.  I think because of the pregnancy and my calling as primary president, I let myself get caught up a little too much in tasks and not enough in realizing the long-term vision.  Perhaps I am partly to blame in Aria's rebellious attitude.  That being said, though, I still am not positive the home-school environment is the ideal place for Aria.  We shall see how this spring goes and re-evaluate from there.

Roller Skating
We have a roller-rink just down the street from us.  Aria loves roller-skating!  Zade isn't so sure about roller-skating, but the roller-rink lets the kids bring in anything with three wheels, so Zade had fun zipping around on his scooter.  In the first picture, Aria is competing in the limbo.  For being the tallest kid, she did really well!

A few thoughts about Zade- Right now he is absolutely obsessed with legos! It's all he ever wants to do!  I've decided I'm only going to buy legos that don't come in a kit from now on though.  He becomes too preoccupied with putting the kit together just right, and then when something falls apart, he gets so upset!  It's much more fun, for everyone involved, when he just builds whatever creative thing he wants to, instead of trying to build what someone else created.  Zade loves the idea of building things.  He says he wants to be an engineer, and is always telling me about the various machines that he is going to make.  Sometimes I don't fully appreciate Zade's sharp mind, but then I get around other little kids his age and I realize that Zade is a smart, little guy.

We got a nice amount of snow

 The kids built a snow fort with the neighbor kids.

 During the snowball fight, our neighbor Brian took a head-shot and became a casualty of war.
A couple thoughts about Ryzen- He is such a sweetheart!  The other night I was feeling disappointed about giving up on home-school and resting on the couch.  Ryzen came and snuggled up with me.  He didn't leave my side for almost 30 minutes.  In fact, he wouldn't leave until I finally got up.  He loves to give kisses and is so tender-hearted.  He is finally sleeping through the night and not nursing!  Amazingly, it all happened naturally too, without much of any tears.  He still asks to nurse sometimes, but I tell him that he is too big.  At night, after we have cuddled, I put him in bed and say "Night, night," and he responds, "Night, night," and then goes to sleep.

Penn State had a joint men's and women's gymnastic meet where the men were facing Michigan and the women were facing Maryland.  We'd never been to a men's gymnastic meet before, and the fact that both men's and women's teams were competing simultaneously made the meet even more fun.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Since Tara is now pregnant with our 4th child, which is due next summer, we realized that we were probably going would have to cancel our trip to Oregon next summer, so we bumped up our trip and headed to Oregon for the Christmas holidays. We had the kids open a few presents a few days before we left, so that we'd have fewer presents to haul with us, and then took off for Oregon on Christmas Eve.

Below are a few fun pics of the kids with their Christmas presents:

Aria got an American Girl doll, which she'd wanted for a quite a while.  She's been reading a bunch of the American Girl doll books recently.

Zade got a Lego ship, since playing with Legos is his favorite thing to do:

 And Tara picked up some Waldorf dolls for the kids as well.

 Ryzen received his own set of play dishes, which he put to good use.

Once we got to Oregon, the kids got a second round of presents from Grandparents. Yeah, spoiled, I know. :)  Ryzen was quite thrilled with the Duplo Legos.

After the festivities ended, we tried to give the kids plenty of opportunities to build some memories:  

Papas Pizza is a favorite of all. For some reason they didn't turn on the heat in the playroom, but that didn't slow us down. :)

We went to Get Air, a giant trampoline arena with my sister Kari and her kids.  Vivian enjoyed summer-saulting down into the foam blocks over and over.  

Bowling with my brother Derek and his family.  Shortly after we got there, they started the cosmic bowling, which the kids thought was pretty cool.  My dad got the high score in the 170s.  I got three strikes in a row (i.e., a turkey) and got a score in the 160's.  My brother got a similar score, and everyone else did well too.  

Zade's also really been into making his own potions, so we took him to Grandpa's laboratory.  

There in the lab, Aria decided it was time to show off her math skills. :)

We also stopped by Grandpa's office. It looks just like I remember it when I was a kid: piled high with papers. :)  We capped off the lab visit with a trip to DQ for old times sake. 

The Crazy Bounce House:

We also went to Eugene and hung out with Tara's best friend from college: Jenna. We went to the mall and enjoyed some frozen yogurt, where U of O fans were everywhere to be seen.  (By the way, it was fun to watch the Oregon / Florida State football game on new years day.  That 3rd quarter was action packed!)  We also enjoyed checking out the foothills of Eugene with Jenna.

For New Year's Eve, we hung out with the Christison's, but forget to bring our camera, so we don't have any pictures of that. It was fun to catch up with them, since we hadn't seen them in roughly 10 years.  They now live in Corvallis!

Additionally, we enjoyed some good quality time hanging out as a family:

Here's Zade and Ryzen with their cousin Duke. This was the first time the boys had ever met Duke.

The kids also managed to just enjoy having some down time.  Here's a Tea Party Aria set up for everyone: 

Zade also made sure to take advantage of the fact that at Grandma and Grandpas he could have Chocolate Cheerios in chocolate milk for breakfast.  He was loving it!

Overall, it was a fun trip (despite several tantrums by the kids at various points).  It was definitely a nice break from the cold of Pennsylvania.