"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bald Eagles

 I don't know how well these pictures will show it, but the five year old and I stopped on the way home from preschool to watch a couple of bald eagles.  I had spotted them on the way to pick him up.  They were hanging out at a pull out on the highway, munchin on a dead bunny.

 So on the way home, I pulled in to see if they were still there.  Unfortunately they flew off a ways.  We stayed put for a good 10 minutes hoping they'd come back up to the road but they didn't.  I only had my phone with me, so I couldn't zoom in very well.  Anyway, it was neat to watch them for a bit, even if I didn't get a good picture.

This is only about a mile from our house.  We've seen them here and had them land on the house.  I'm thinking I need to throw out some scrap meat or something to see if I can lure them in ;)

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

 Such a beautiful sunrise!

 While this was going on in the east...

This was what it looked like in the north. Very pretty pink glow.

Remember when I told you the five year old said this was the kitty bed?  Well, this is what I found yesterday.  I guess to him, this is literally the kitty bed ;)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pizza Night

 We made homemade pizza for dinner tonight.  I made the dough and the nine year old did the rest.  Half Hawaiian, half pepperoni mushroom.

It only occurred to me when I was loading these pictures to the blog that I had failed to take a picture of it when it came out of the oven.

Meanwhile, the five year old used our train tracks to make a road for Finn McMissile.

 He actually had pizza twice today.  The preschool had a field trip to the pizza place and got to make their own mini pizzas.  He talked about it all week, and put on exactly what he said he would use for toppings - pepperoni and olives. :)

He was starting to make another track here.  Last time I looked he had two perfect circles like the first one.  He's very precise :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snow (Yes, More), Sunrise, and a Kitty

 When I got up Sunday morning we had more snow.  I was surprised when I walked past the patio door in the dining room to see how deep the snow is getting on our deck.  This was not all new snow.  We already had quite a bit, but it's been melting and settling and snowing again.  See that it is about as deep as the seat of that chair?!?

Maybe you can see it better on the picnic table.

This gives a better idea just how much we got Sunday.  The sidewalk, bench and bike were all snow-free the night before.

The sunrise this morning was beautiful, and unique from what we normally see.  There was enough cloud cover that we couldn't see the mountains.

 I love fresh snow.  I especially like to see where the animals have been.  This one made me crack up though.  It was like the deer was wandering or something.

 Isn't there a poem that starts out, "There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile"?

 This afternoon the clouds lifted and the sun came out and it got downright toasty :)  See the open window?  I left it open all afternoon and it was beautiful.  And it didn't make the heat kick on.  It stayed 71 degrees in the house all afternoon.

 And we were able to see the mountains.  If you look close, you can see the snow being blown on the mountain.  Everywhere it's hazy looking is really blowing snow.

Tonight the light on mountains was a pinkish color.  I love that time of day when the valley is in shadows and the light just glows off the mountains.

Now I bet I had some of you (family especially) worried about the kitty part.  :)  Meet the kitty.  He told me he was a kitty in a bed.  I'm thinking it was more like a kid in a crate.  Good imagination, though.

And the two year old played right along, bringing him kitty treats (pretending to feed him).

Pretty fun game.

Other funnies:
The five year old kissed my cheek, then asked me if he got his "kissing germ" on me.  He's been learning all about germs at preschool.  I guess he figured there was just one for kissing.

Today the five year old's preschool was taking the kids on a trial run on their bus.  They have a field trip Wednesday to a pizza place, where the kids will all get to make their own pizzas.  He's very excited. We've heard nothing else.  So he got up this morning and was asking if was going to ride on the bus today.  I said yes.  Well, he's been in a very set routine with his meals, which is very typical for kids with autism.  Breakfast is always toast and bananas, lunch is always grilled cheese and some other fruit and veggies, and we go to preschool right after lunch.  This morning he asked for grilled cheese for breakfast (I said no).  I soon figured out that he thought that if he ate the grilled cheese, it would be time to leave for preschool. :)

The two year old cracks me up when he prays.  I know. I'm not supposed to laugh at those times.  But still...  Lately something like this: "Dear God, please help me stay in bed. Help me not to cry."  Then I'll prompt him with "Help me to be good" and he'll say, "Help me stay warm." or "Help me get gatorade."  Last night I prompted about a dozen times and every time he refused to pray that he would be good.  HA.  At least he's honest in his praying.  The one that takes the cake though was a month or so back when his brother was having a hard time going to sleep without a fit.  Then, the two year old prayed, "Dear God, Please help T--- to be quiet. Amen."

Monday, February 24, 2014

They Can't Get Rid of Us ;)

After burning 45 minutes at the library this afternoon, we were back for more.  The two little ones and I went back for another hour this evening to wait for the nine year old who was at a 4H meeting.  It's kindof bad when you walk in and the first thing the librarian says is, "I thought you were here already today."  She was just giving me a hard time though.  The librarians are all so nice.  I love visiting with them.  Someday I may join their ranks ... after the boys are grown.

 Anyway it was for a good cause.  I love 4H.  Our nine year old has had so many good experiences and opportunities.  Just this month he was the chairman of the committee for "Hero Packs" - a project that gathered donation items to be put into backpacks for kids in Wyoming whose parents are active duty military.  That duty included hosting a meeting for the committee, coming up with fund raising ideas and visiting local businesses to ask for donations.  He also worked on the Share the Love food drive, did a presentation instructing his club members how to draw an elk, practiced with the archery and air rifle clubs, and took care of his role as recreation director (he's basically the game director for each meeting).  I'm glad he has the opportunity to participate in such an in-depth way.

My philosophy on extracurricular activities has changed over the years.  I used to think more time at home was better.  I don't necessarily think more running around is better, but I do think it is good to allow the kids to explore the things they are passionate about.  I've been doing a lot of meditating lately on the idea of pursuing passions.  So much of what I've read or heard about to help our five year old with autism, as well as learning from homeschoolers who have had amazing levels of success centers around pursuing wholeheartedly and in great depth the things the child is passionate about.  Like I said, I've been meditating on that lately.  Stewing, really.  Like a simmering crock pot.  I haven't come to the end of that yet, so it's hard to put it into words, but there you have it.  That's what's been on my mind lately.  We'll see where it takes us.

Chess With the Boys

 We were burning time again today, waiting for the five year old to be done with preschool.  We live far enough out of town that it doesn't make sense to go home when we would just have to turn around and come back. Normally we do go home but I had a bunch of errands to run today which left us with 45 minutes to burn.

So, our standard go-to place to hang out is the library.  We decided to play chess today.

The two year old likes to play with us.  He gets all the captured pieces.

Today they were finger puppets :)

And in case you're wondering, he does this with olives too ;)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fun With My Silly Boys

 This kid is too much :)  Minion shirt, ski helmet, minion goggles, and he asked me to take his picture.  But before I could, he made sure to run over to the big picture window so there would be snow behind him.  He asked me to get him some skis ;)

 The five year old took this picture.  Not too bad :)

 More ski helmet fun, this time with his stuffed Minion, wearing a ski mask.  This kid is SO creative.

(Notice the chin strap is even holding him in...

The two year old discovered the fun of self portraits.  We took these with my phone, with the feature that allows him to see himself on the screen.

He was noticing the raccoon on his sleeper. :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Homeschool Fun - skull studies and show and tell night

We had a busy homeschool day.  We didn't get much done at home, but this afternoon we had a group class on skulls.

The boys got to explore real skulls and do some fun activities.  In case you're curious, the larger skull in the foreground is a black bear, and the smaller one behind it is a mountain lion.

One young man brought a fox skull he had found and preserved himself, but I didn't think to get a picture of it.  I loved that the boys were able to handle the skulls and really study them.

Sorry to include so many similar pictures, but the magnifying glasses just crack me up.

So studious!

 I was impressed with the amount of small bone structure still inside the nasal cavity.  I will say though, that I hope this is the closest view I ever get to a bear skull!

 The skull doesn't look to imposing until you imagine it covered with fur ... the head of a black bear right next to my two year old...

 One of the projects they did was to create a skull of their own.  It's kind of hard to see in this picture.

There were lots of papers for the kids to look at - pictures the skulls of different animals.  This page compared a wolf to a coyote skull.

The kids also did a project where they counted one another's teeth and recorded the results.  There was much discussion about different types of teeth - incisors, molars and canines - and what each was for.  And the kids classified skulls into predator/prey and carnivore/herbivore/omnivore categories based on their teeth and the position of their eyes.  They also did an activity where they had to identify an animal based on the skull - with a page of questions to help them figure it out.

 There was no real human skull to see, but a plastic one.

The little boys just wanted it to bite their fingers.

Shifting gears now...
 Tonight we had a get together with other homeschoolers for our kids to show and tell what they've been learning.  This was such a fun idea.  This mother/daughter team had just finished their studies of the civil war, and the daughter recited the Gettysburg address.

 They had such fun costumes!

The two year old was at the end of his rope when we first arrived.  With the skull class in the afternoon during normal nap time, we had to wake him to get to the evening show and tell on time.  He was not very happy about it, but thankfully sat on the floor eating his cereal while the kids did their presentations.

 The nine year old brought one of the stories he has written in our co-op Institute for Excellence in Writing class.  A couple of the other boys in the class read stories as well.

This young man has just learned how to read, and did an amazing job reading Psalm 23.  It was flawless, and one of the most touching moments of the night! :)  I think he's 5.

 Afterward, the kids all ran off some steam and enjoyed playing together.

 By the end of the night it looked like a battlefield :) but they all had a great time.  There was a good mix of presentations - some of the other things included one girl reciting a poem she had written, and another boy explaining a lap book he had made for his study of electricity. Some children just had things on a table for people to see and did not get up to explain them.

 I got lot of ideas for the next time we do this (which will be in about 3 months). We were supposed to have one of these nights back in November, but everyone headed out of town for Thanksgiving earlier than expected, so it was cancelled.  I hope we can keep these going more frequently.  It was fun and interesting.