Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Some people have wondered what we do for "homeschooling." Here's a little glimpse into our morning. After breakfast, we went outside and the boys & I drew in our nature journals. The boys narrated what I should write in theirs to explain their pictures. Colin drew a bird-of-paradise blossom, Nate drew a rock (there's a theme here - I think we need to rename his journal the rock journal) and I drew the trunks of our tree out front.

We came in for a drink and then Colin started working on a time worksheet (1st picture.) Nate played with some art ABC blocks and practiced recognizing his letters (the more active he can be, the more he learns I've found.) The 3rd picture shows his excitement at being able to find each letter I asked for. The last picture shows both boys playing with the blocks.

After Colin completed his time worksheet (he can tell time perfectly, as long as it's on the hour or 1/2 hour) he read the 6th book of Little Folks Phonics. His reading improves every day, as he only had to sound out 2 or 3 words. The word he stumbled over most in this book was have - since it doesn't follow the long vowel / silent "e" rule.

Colin came up with 3 clues to describe a stuffed bear and copied the clues onto paper after I wrote them out for him, and practiced reading them. He was sent home with the guessing can last week at his enrichment program, and this was part of that. Then, he took a book and did some copy work using a fairytale storybook (unprompted, on his own.)

Nate is going around the house trying to find letters to show me. He is working towards filling up his ABC chart showing that he recognizes all the letters. It's funny -- he knows the sounds that each letter makes - but he has struggled with recognizing the actual letters in print. (His vision is perfect. We just had it tested in June by a specialist. I think he just couldn't be bothered before now.)

I'm sure there will be lots of building going on for the rest of the day, and a few drawings completed. There will be dressing up in superhero and dinosaur and other costumes. We'll read a few books (Nate has a compilation of Tonka Emergency & Tonka Building Vehicle stories that he wants to get through (can't find on Amazon - it's 4 Tonka emergency stories in one, and the other is 5 building vehicle stories in one), as well as a book about the Lady of Guadalupe. Colin wants me to read a book about the Grand Canyon and a book about animal camouflage.) If Bo is home for bedtime, he'll start a new bedtime story about the boy who saved baseball, since they just finished Ralph S. Mouse. If I'm on bedtime duty, we'll continue On the Banks of Plum Creek.

So, that's our day! Lots of play, plenty of learning, definite progress being made!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

waterfall in the pool & the boys

Yippee! The waterfall and boulders were placed yesterday. The decking will be poured next week, hopefully Monday. We're getting closer and closer to the day we'll be able to swim in our own backyard!


Monday night we had a violent monsoon storm. We were outside watching from the patio when a very strong wind blew through. I watched the trampoline, thinking it might fly over the fence (as a friend's did during the last monsoon storm), but I should've been watching the playfort! For those not familiar with it, the large green playfort side should be next to the bars with the swings. The slide & ladder were torn off as the playfort moved almost 90 degrees!

Young Picassos

The boys are doing an art program this year. This was from the 2nd lesson. It covered painting, primary colors and secondary colors. The original artwork is "Hands with Bouquet" by Picasso. Colin's interpretation is on the left, Nate's on the right.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Finally . . . more pool progress

19 yards of concrete were poured into the pool today . . .


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

and he's off!

Today was Colin's first day at Eagleridge. He'll attend one day/week as an enrichment program to go along with our homeschooling efforts this year. Bo dropped him off this morning and Nate and I will pick him up this afternoon. He's only been gone an hour, but Nate is ready to go get him!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tucson Trip

Bo got a call late Saturday that a prospect from his Friday calls in Tucson wanted to buy the unit! We decided to make a family trip to Tucson on Sunday to sign up the customer. After business was taken care of, we went to the T Rex Museum, stopped to visit the San Xavier mission, fed the ostriches and deer at the Ostrich Ranch and enjoyed dinner at the Cracker Barrel. It was a great day!

Our young paleontologists

Panning for fossils & stones

Finding a shark's tooth

Restoration work underway

Friday, August 11, 2006

another pool update

In these pictures, you can see the trench the electricians dug. Why they chose the route they did is a mystery, but at least the electric is run.

The orange flags you can faintly see around the pool will turn into trees and bushes in early September. We are getting a ficus, 2 mediterranean fan palms, 5 queen palms, 7 cape honeysuckle bushes, 3 arizona yellow bell bushes, 2 purple katy ruellias and 2 hibiscus. We're also getting 2 tangelo trees and a lemon tree to put between the playfort area and the gardens on the other side of the pool fence.

We had our first inspection today, and passed! They should be coming next week to spray the gunnite and then a couple days later they'll create the waterfall feature (note the white pipe sticking up tall, in the back? That's where the waterfall will go.)

Trip to Mesa Southwest Museum

Bo had a slow day yesterday, so the 4 of us headed to the Mesa Southwest Museum for a visit.

gold panning at MSW

The fountain/stream must have been recently "seeded" as the boys found larger chunks than usual. By larger, though, I mean the size of a teeny tiny pebble vs. a speck.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us!!

9 years ago today, I wed my true love. Here are some pictures from that momentous day!!

We planned almost every detail of our day, and I wouldn't change a thing! I've met couples who wish they would have spent less . . . or more . . . but I think we found the perfect balance and had a day full of love and loved ones.

Saying our vows at St. Rita's church in Milwaukee

Our wonderful wedding party on the church steps

We had our reception across the street from the State Fair Park, during State Fair. We ran across the street during dinner and rode the ferris wheel you see in the background. Nobody even missed us - except my brother who came along with us. They let us in the Fair for free, and let us ride the ferris wheel for free, too. It is a wonderful memory of our day -- and one that I didn't even plan!

Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family -- a domestic church. -- Pope John Paul II

Monday, August 07, 2006

k'nex creations

Here are a few creations the boys made from Kid K'nex tonight. These are some of their favorite building toys.

Nate has marker on his face - which needed a good scrub in the tub to get off.


Our backyard is turning into quite the recreational spot! A neighbor moved away and didn't have room for their trampoline at their new house -- so it's now in our yard. The boys are having a great time on it - but I haven't quite decided where it will end up in the yard.

-- Ok, these pictures were in a post that was supposed to publish on July 31. That night, C fell and twisted his knee. He was fine the next day (and, yes, we took him to the ER that night just to make sure because at first he felt he couldn't walk/bear weight on the leg - but by the time we got to the ER, he was walking just fine and the doctor couldn't find any damage at all -- by the time we got home, he was perfectly fine. I think he was scared/startled more than anything.) - but we're not sure if the trampoline stays or goes at this point. However, I decided the pictures were too cute not to post. We may implement a few more safety rules and put the trampoline behind the pool fence.

(edited to add) Thanks for the concerned emails I've received (Dad -- you weren't the only one to email your concerns - so I thought I'd post an addendum for any future concerned family/friends). We have 2 main rules for the trampoline: 1) Only one person jumps at a time. and 2) No jumping unless an adult is outside and watching. Yes, I realize I let them break Rule #1 to take these pictures. It was for only a brief time, and it won't happen again. Colin did not fall while jumping, but while getting off the trampoline. IF we keep the trampoline, we're going to add padding/cover over the springs and a trampoline ladder. It will also go behind the pool fence to take away any temptation of breaking rule #2.