Monday, July 22, 2013

And the beat goes on...

A couple weeks ago I packed away all the dress up clothes Gavin has outgrown and gave him the 2 new outfits I bought at a consignment sale a few months ago:

 bad Spiderman:
 Shaving cream bathtub fun. Refuses to write letters in it, prefers to just smear it around:
 Saturday the 13th we took Gavin to his 1st Lowes build and grow workshop. It was really cool, especially considering it's all free. He got a free apron, goggles, and wooden kit to make a toy truck from Toy Story 3. They loan the kids little hammers and they all go to it in an aisle at Lowes, building their toy from the included instructions. A little loud but lots of fun, we will continue attending these when available. Brayden was there too, and afterwards our families went to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and then played at the park for an hour or so till it started raining. Just an awesome day.

This past Saturday we did a little cleaning in the attic and garage. We gave away Gavin's old car seats (they will expire in another year) as well as his basketball goal he rarely used and a few other toys. You know how the best way to get it to rain is to wash your car? I'm hoping the same is true in our situation. I will gladly run out and buy another car seat when needed. For the first time, we're starting to contemplate a life with only one child. It's an interesting exercise. Not one I particularly enjoy. But the plus side is it helps me to enjoy the time we have with Gavin at this age. I try to get all the hugs and lap time I can, I know this young age won't last forever. I'm not sure if this influences my decision to homeschool, I'm pretty sure no matter how many kids I had I wouldn't feel right sending my 5 year away to school for 8 hours a day. School starts around here August 1, and if Gavin were in public school and riding the bus he would get on the bus around 8:10 and get off the bus at home at 4:40. If I drove him he would be in school 8:30-3:30. I tell Jake all the time how thankful I am to get to be a stay at home mom, especially now that we have decided to homeschool.

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July Fun

We had a fun, laid back, damp 4th of July. The food was good, the company was great, and the kids had a blast. Our neighbors treated us to another high quality fireworks show this year, and since it was so damp we didn't have to worry about them catching any trees on fire. The rain stopped for the evening by 7, and it was nice and cool in the low 70's for fireworks. The kids were really into sparklers this year - Jake spent a long time patiently lighting sparklers for the kids one after another. They liked the poppers too, but the sparklers were the favorite. Gavin said he was a Jedi with his.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Life goes on

Last Thursday was Gavin and Carleigh's last day of swim lessons:
 Most of what Gavin did in class was review, but it did help refresh his skills. At this point it's mostly just a maturity thing. Gavin can swim using correct form but often chooses not to in our pool. I make him do it the right way occasionally just so he doesn't forget but I'm not going to nag him every time he swims. Maybe next summer he'll be more interested in doing it right.

One day last week Gavin and Brayden ate lunch and played together at McDonald's and then we all went to see a puppet show at the library:

 The police station is next door to the library - I think this little car is for parades:

 In beginning to homeschool Gavin I have found he is an extremely hands-on/kinesthetic/tactile learner. Whatever you call it, he learns best through doing. This doesn't come as a shock, this is my lego constructing, minecraft building, playdoh playing for hours kid. Math worksheets just don't cut it. And, while he likes being read to, he has no interest in learning himself. Sometime in the past month or so I ordered unifix cubes to use for math (I had been on the fence about ordering but saw a good review from my friend Jenee on her blog - thanks!). They are perfect! We have used them to work on counting, addition, subtraction, patterns, estimation, and following instructions. Gavin likes them so much he asks to play with them. I make our math sessions fairly short to keep his interest and avoid burning out the fun:

 The unifix cubes worked so well I ordered unifix letter cubes to help with learning to read. They are a hit too, although given the choice Gavin would rather play with the ones without letters:

 (My Uncle Bill gave Gavin this I love Ft Walton Beach shirt a couple years ago - it was so big at the time I thought it would never fit - it's perfect now!)
Another educational tool we are exploring is Classical Conversations (to do at home, not attend classes). It combines memorization of facts with songs and hand movements. When I was researching it about a month ago Gavin quickly learned 3 parts of a plant: leaf, stem, roots with the accompanying hand gestures ( . Once in awhile out of the blue he'll recite it, and has told me he would like to learn more this way. I plan to order that material soon (once we pay for all the lightning damage!). 


When I was a kid we watched a movie called Brewster's Millions. In it Richard Pryor's character has to spend 30 million dollars in 30 days with nothing to show for it. It occurred to me yesterday that we are living that movie this week.
Last Friday at about 5:30 after I got home from work there was a huge thunderstorm. Lightning hit our big pine tree out front.
I was relieved that no limbs hit my Jeep. I would find out the next day that my Jeep got zapped - it wouldn't start. Had it towed in, 4 modules (computer systems) got blown out. It's still in the shop, maybe ready to pick up on Friday. $500 out the window (deductible for a claim under our comprehensive coverage.) We also got to replace our security system, sprinkler system controls, modem, router, and ooma. Jake is installing a new garage door opener right now. A stereo in his room also got zapped.

 debris was scattered everywhere:
A couple people have commented that it doesn't look like lightning because there is no charring on the tree, that it looks like wind damage. We saw the lightning. If it didn't hit the tree it was mighty close.

I convinced Jake to call some friends from church to help clean the limbs off our driveway. They came over Saturday morning and had it all cleaned up in under an hour. Awesome guys. They even raked the yard.

 Yesterday the tree guy came to remove both our pine trees (one was in the back yard.) It was pretty cool to watch them work. This shook the house when it fell:

The tree in the backyard:
A guy had to climb it, cut off the limbs, and lower them to the ground. It was scary to watch. It was at this point I understood why it costs so much to have trees removed (although we got an awesome deal - $680 for both trees and to grind the stumps):

Then he cut off the top in one big chunk:
And used this thing to pick up the fallen limbs:
no tree!
 front yard:

 a guy came out this morning to grind the stumps. It's like it was never there:

Jake just finished with the garage door opener. Once I get my Jeep back it will be like it all never happened. Minus about $2000. Brewster's Millions. 

* I should note that we are very fortunate that no one was hurt and our house didn't burn down. When we walked out front and saw the tree for the first time after the lightning Jake and I laughed. Gavin was a little freaked out. He said we should say a prayer for the tree to be fixed. It was a good reminder, we did stop and say a prayer of thanks for our safety.

* When we told Gavin the trees were going to be removed he sobbed inconsolably. He exclaimed sadly "Now Brayden can't knock down that tree!" When Brayden plays in our back yard he likes to bang on the pine tree with a toy hammer. Gavin was upset because Brayden won't have a tree to play with anymore.