Happy Labor Day Everyone!
Hope you are able to enjoy your time off work and school!
Now that school is in session around here let’s talk about ridiculous homework.
Last year my son studied Texas History in 7th grade. It’s not really a topic that thrills him which is surprising because he is such a history buff. Give him US History or World History and he is set. But Texas History for a whole year can be a bit much.
At some point when studying Texas History one must cover the Indians. When my son got to this part in the curriculum his teacher gave the class the assignment, “How to Make a Bow and Arrow.”
Sounds kind of cool.
But some of the specifics of this assignment are kind of crazy. Below it says, “Choose a piece of wood for the bow. Find a piece of dry, dead hardwood – oak, hickory, yew, black locust, or teak.”
Now teak wood is found in Indonesia and Myanmar while there are several types of yew wood some of which are found in Europe, Pacific, Canada, China, Japan, Florida, and the Himalayas.
What the assignment should have said was find a piece of wood at your neighborhood park.
We did just that.
The directions above say that the wood should be free of knots, twists, or limbs.
The next step in bow making comes in selecting a bow string.
Yep, you read that right. Just go back outside and grab some strands of silk from your caterpillars.
We used string. Good ol’2015 string on our bow and arrow.
Next you need to make your arrows. “You can straighten the arrow by gently heating the shaft over hot coals – be careful not to scorch or burn the wood.”
I feel like there’s a lawsuit just waiting to happen with this assignment.
We skipped the hot coals part.
The arrow ended up flying about 5 feet.
At school the teacher had set up a large paper buffalo on a string. The idea was that the buffalo was pulled back and forth so the kids could try and hit it.
My son did not hit the buffalo with his wooden bow and arrows.
Guess which kids hit the buffalo.
The ones who used PVC pipe for the bow and proper arrows.
Man oh man was my son angry when he found out they got the same 100 that he did for the assignment.
I did have to point out to him that he too kind of broke the rules when building his bow and arrows – no wood from the Himalayas, no hot coals were used, and certainly no caterpillar silk.
Can’t wait for homework in US History this year.
Maybe he’ll get to practice medicine on his brother using only tools that were available during the Civil War or perhaps he’ll get to brew his own beer while studying Prohibition.
Today is National Waffle Day (August 24th) and the 1st day of school for us!
To celebrate both events we had waffles this morning.
This year we have a kindergartner, a 4th grader, and an 8th grader!
Pretty good start to the school year as we only had one kid who forgot their lunch…the 8th grader of course.
Can’t wait to ask them after school what they did all day and for them to respond with, “I don’t know. Nothing much.”
Ahhhhhhhh! Tell me something!
*By the way, tomorrow, August 25th, is National Banana Split Day!
Our family had a great 4th of July long weekend.
First item on our weekend was a splash and dash race for my 10 year old.
The race consisted of a 100m swim and a 1 K run – short but lots of fun to watch. Plus the weather was ideal with clouds and misty rain.
Next up on July 4th morning was a 5K race for my 13 year old. Alex wanted to run the race for fun, partly to keep in shape for soccer and just because he likes to race. For fun, I sat on the side lines and cheered 🙂 I can’t believe he’s smiling at the end of this race considering the second half of the race was uphill.
His cheering section – we tried probably 15 times to take a family picture but someone always had their eyes closed or was looking the other way.
In the afternoon we headed to the pool for a few hours of pool time which was lots of fun.
At night, my husband took the boys to a soccer game where their team won and the night ended with fireworks. My six year old and I opted to stay home and watch a movie. After a long day she feel asleep at 8 o’clock and then I had the whole house to myself for 3 hours! I had big plans to get some things accomplished but I ended up sitting in bed watching tv and eating ice cream – it was wonderful.
Hope you had a terrific 4th! (Or wonderful July 1st if you are Canadian).
Since we are just 2 days away from being done with school this year I thought that now would naturally be a good time to share some spring break photos. For their Christmas present this year, my sister and her boyfriend gave our kids a ski trip to Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada. The kids and I had never been on skies and my husband had only been on once decades ago. We were excited but a little nervous.
We flew up to Toronto and then took about a two hour drive to Blue Mountain. Our hotel sat right on this skating pond and had little shops all around.
Here are Caroline and Andrew wearing their “Dallas Winter Wear.” We had to borrow real ski clothes from Derek’s sister and all her generous friends who let us borrow clothes.
And yes…we did go swimming on this snow covered day.
We signed up the kids for ski school which was from 10:00 – 3:00 everyday (with a 1 hour break for lunch). Caroline had just turned 6 ten days earlier so she qualified to go to all day school with the boys. She was a little reluctant on the first day but went along since “her boys” were with her.
She’s the littlest one on the right.
It was amazing to see the kids in ski school. The instructors had the kids going up the magic carpet (ride that you stand on to get you up the hill) almost immediately and even more impressive is that they were coming down almost as fast. Our kids enjoyed their first day but I know Caroline definitely got tired of falling down.
Once the kids were situated in their lessons, all of the adults took a beginning lesson where I promptly fell down. Did I fall while moving? No. I fell while standing still listening to the instructor. Once the beginning lessons were over the instructors sent us over to practice on the same little hill the kids were already practicing on. My first attempt at getting on the moving magic carpet? I fell. They had to stop the whole dang thing for me to get up. Complete fail.
Once we had gone through the various stations and practiced what we were supposed to practice my sister and I asked the instructor what was the next station. The guy pointed up at this enormous mountain and said practice on that. What? That can’t be. There must be more stations. After practicing on the baby hill a few more times my sister and I worked up the courage to try Mount Everest. Trust me. It seemed enormous from the bottom.
When my sister and I attempted the chair lift for the first time we got on with two other people. For some reason they never pulled down the bar which is supposed to go in front of you so to say that my sister and I were panicked for about 4 minutes is a complete understatement. We held on for dear life and were never so glad to be at the top of a mountain.
Until we looked down to the bottom and sheer panic took over.
Somehow we each manged to get down. I’m pretty sure toward the end I was racing down the mountain at 40 miles an hour. After that experience we promptly went back to the baby hill and told the instructors that we needed some serious help. With some help and a private lesson the next day we did get a little better but it’s a safe bet to put your money on Lindsay Vonn this world cup racing season and not one of us.
After ski school ended at 3:00 we picked the kids up and headed back to the hill/mountain until 4:30 everyday. For us it was like when we go to Disney – up at the crack of dawn and at the park until the fireworks at night – we were committed all day.
The kids at the top of the practice hill
Aunt Kelly & Caroline
Andrew & Uncle Duke
Alex, Dad, and Caroline (in her tuck) coming down the hill
At the end of day one the boys were begging to go up “Big Baby,” also known as Mount Everest to me. I kept saying no but their dad and uncle won out (caved) and took them up. Once Andrew got off the ski lift and looked down the mountain he threw himself down on the snow and said, “I can’t do it. Get me down.” He was completely heartbroken to find out that he had to ski down. It took a loooooong time for him to come down the mountain with my husband. He’d ski a tiny bit and then fall. Ski a tiny bit and then fall. And so on. For a long time. But…he finally made it down and promptly announced that he was done for the day.
After spending 6+ hours on a cold mountain what treat do you naturally turn to?
Ice cream of course!
Day 2 – Andrew & Alex take snow board lessons, Caroline continues with ski lessons
Lots of falling on your bum is apparently par for the course when learning to snow board.
Alex ended up loving snow boarding so much that he took lessons again on his 3rd day. He impressed everyone by even going down some blue trails on the 3rd day.
Dad and Caroline going up the magic carpet like pros
Snow board victory!
Finally a picture of me coming down Mount Everest / Big Baby.
Ski Lift Fun – Andrew and classmate below
Mom (me) & Caroline
Caroline & Dad
Day 3 – Last run of the trip – from the top down – Andrew, Alex, Derek (Dad), Caroline, & Uncle Duke – not pictured, me: I was too slow and still making my way down Mount Everest / Big Baby.
Blue Mountain Photo Spot documenting the miracle of no broken bones!
And finally a family photo at the top of the mountain…could it be we already have our Christmas card photo in March?
My kids have been waiting and waiting for some snow days this year. Unlike the north we just need some ice and SCHOOL IS CANCELLED! Yippee!
I’m not going to lie. When we got that call last week that the first day of school was cancelled due to the ice I was thrilled. And then to get another call the next night? Eureka!
What did we do? Cleaned out closets, baked, played games, watched tv, and stayed in our pajamas all day long.
And then 3 days later it started snowing! We got about 4 inches of snow and once again everything in Texas shut down. All our weekend plans (about 8 sporting events) were cancelled and we stayed in our pajamas. Just the best.
Forecast is calling for more snow on Thursday….and possibly a delay in school start times….to dream the impossible dream.
Last week I shared our 2014 family words and today I’m going to share with you our 2015 words.
For the canvases last year we used colorful magazine clippings but I decided to try and make it a little different (and easier) this year by just using paint for the undercoating.
I gathered all of the blue and green paints we had and explained that each person was going to choose several colors from this palette and cover their canvas with it.
All five of us sat at the table on a cold and rainy morning in our pajamas and painted for an hour.
It was my version of heaven.
After letting the paint dry, we picked through the stickers we had to create our words and names. I then spray painted the canvases with white paint. Once dry I peeled off the stickers.
A few days after making our word canvases I said to Caroline would you like to try some cinnamon toast? She gave me this pitiful look and said, “Mooooooommmmmm, when I said try for my word I didn’t mean to try new foods I meant to try new activities.”
Now keep in mind this kid has eaten cinnamon bread before and loved it.
“You don’t have to eat the whole thing, you could just try it.”
“Maybe later but I just can’t right now.”
She later ate 2 pieces of cinnamon bread and loved every bite. On her own time. When she was ready.
I’m thinking maybe her word for the year should have been “go with the flow,” or “don’t make trouble just for troubles sake, ” or even, “every once in awhile just agree with your mother.”
But for now she’s sticking with “try” for 2015.
Do you have a word or a family motto for the year? I’d love to know.
Last year was the first year each member of our family came up with a “word” for the year.
The word each person chose was entirely up to them, although I did provide the 4 yr old with some choices.
The idea is that the word is supposed to be one of the things they want to focus on for the year. Kind of along the lines of a resolution.
Our words are hanging on a large corkboard which I found at the Habitat store for $4. I then glued on some left over fabric (burlap with gold circles) and placed our word canvases on there with push pins. I then took pictures we had printed out already and let the kids pin those up.
It’s literally my favorite thing in my house.
Here’s a close up look at the canvases and how we made them. The idea is based off the same project I saw on Shannan’s blog. We’re not really friends. I just like to pretend we are so I call her by her first name 🙂
The project starts off with scraps of magazines – the best in my opinion are the Boden catalogs because of the vibrant colors – I spent a couple of nights watching tv and cutting out different patterns and colors.
Then we hodged podged the heck out of those scraps onto a 9 x 12 canvas.
Once Caroline was done, I went back over hers with the hodge podge several times since she was rocking about 4 layers in some parts.
Once the whole front was covered, we used old science fair sticky letters we already had and placed our words onto the canvas. I then spray painted the canvases (I initially painted my with white acrylic paint but liked the look of the spray paint better) and then peeled off the stickers.
Can I just stop for one minute and say that this kid “DID” 2014.
Signed up for the Geography Bee all on his own, finished the school year with awesome grades, made the school band he wanted to, became a leader on his soccer team, made the state meet in summer swimming, made the region band, joined the school pentathlon team all on his own, ran for the cross country school team, and so much more!
Middle school really agrees with him. So proud.
It’s funny how you start out the year thinking your word will mean one thing and it really ends up meaning something else. I thought my word would mean to find the courage to travel to Ethiopia but what it really meant was to find the courage to be around those who could add to their families. With each person who told me they were pregnant the pain of our loss really struck home again. While happy for them I found it just brought out sadness for me.
Courage for me this year was finally visiting my sister who had a new baby and experiencing that joy with her. I went back and forth and back and forth about making plane reservations but what I kept coming back to was my word for the year: courage.
I could do it. I needed to do it. So I did it. And it was wonderful.
Next week I will share with you our 2015 words.
It should be interesting to see what path those words take us on.
Yesterday was officially the first day of Fall and the kids have started their 5th week of school but I still can’t shake the feeling of it being summer.
Maybe it’s because it’s still in the 90’s here or that I still love to spend days with my kids in our pajamas.
But I’m proud to say that I am moving in the direction of fall since in the last week I drove my kids to school only 50% of the time while sporting my pajama pants.
I thought it was now or never to show you our summer fun list since it’s time to move toward ghosts, goblins, and all things pumpkin.
We were all quite busy this summer…
visiting many people and places…
…and having tons of fun.
I guess it’s really time to say goodbye summer…
and hello Fall.
But maybe we’ll do that tomorrow since we are too busy going to the pool today.