How do I start blogging again? I have been out of rhythm of blogging for awhile now it seems. This has been a fall of living the moments as they come and little time for anything else. I am tired and don't have the energy for much of anything extra. We have had a lot of missed blogging opportunities but have enjoyed just living life.
I went on a special vacation to see my brother and SIL and new niece in sunny Southern California. We had a great time, it was so nice to see them and to soak in some sunshine. Appreciating that even more today as the first snowflakes are falling in Minnesota! I think if money was no object Laguna Beach would be the place I would choose to live. It is simply gorgeous there even if I could not find a single geocache we tried to find due to altitude issues in California. The beach always holds a special place in my heart and that is a beautiful one with many private corners and interesting rocks and jetties. We had a nice visit and I enjoyed some baby time. I do miss the feeling of a baby in a sling held so close but I must admit I don't miss the sleepless nights! Enjoying that part of having older kids along with the independence it brings.
I arrived home and the next day my parents arrived for a nice long stay. Seems those weeks went by in a blur but we had a lot of fun. The time always passes quicker then we think it will. It is always the last day and we are taking pictures. The kids really enjoyed having the time with their grandparents. Since we only get to see them once or twice a year we really try to make the most of the time that we have whenever it comes up. This visit included a kids musical performances and plays, a trip to the zoo, an apple cider field trip, volunteering together at Feed My Starving Children, and of course the kids favorite a trip with an unlimited bracelet to the Mall of America. But really we just enjoyed being together as a family. One of my favorite random moments I think came when we were eating out and Serona was trying to convince Sirah to eat a little more before desert. He commented on how small her bites were and she took some on her fork and said "Is this a sizeable bite?" We all took a double take to see if that is really what our 4 year old said - It was. Mom and I even got out for an evening away and Serona and dad enjoyed playing video games together.
During their visit Serona and I purchased Zunes on clearance and began the HUGE task of ripping all our cd's into digital format. We were saving them onto a backup drive that just died after about 4000 songs. It crashed, all our music, backup files and pictures. Thankfully we have backups of the photos in other locations but all the time we spent ripping cd's - gone!
When the grandparents left would have been a natural time to calm things down - but our schedules did not really allow for that as last week was also really busy. It was a good busy but still busy. We had a great field trip to the Minnesota Raptor Center. I highly recommend it if you live in the area they did a great job and all the younger kids really enjoyed it. It is hard to tailor to our groups sometimes as our age range can be rather wide. Sirah was really excited as her favorite animal right now is the owl. She loved being able to see them up close and see so many different ones. I think this is a trip we will do again in the spring. All the kids enjoyed it and it made some of our craziness feel worth it.
Horseback riding lessons are still going steady but will be wrapping up soon with Rhiannon's first horse show. After she completes the show we will be stopping for a time. The overall experience has been great but intense for her. She really learned a lot about horsemanship and competition. She has enjoyed her time doing it and I am sure it will come back to be part of our lives again soon.
Next up for our family - Ciaran's first foray into basketball. Our neighbors generously gave us their basketball hoop and trampoline for Free!!!!! How wonderful is that for my very active kids? We have been playing together outside a lot lately and using their interest for some PE time for school even. That is the next activity we will be doing here.
Sirah is starting to pipe up interest in being brought into the rotation so I am going to need to figure out how to work it with three kids and we will see what she gets interested in and brings our family into.
Geocaching has been non-existent lately due to our schedule. I did try 6 or 7 of them in California with no success. My brother is convinced it doesn't really exist. Of course geocaching where he lives adds new elements like altitude, mountain lions, rattlesnakes and coyotes. So alas we have not been doing much in that area lately.
Our homeschool coop has been moving on steadily. The kids have been enjoying their classes. Ciaran is enjoying his so much that I am contemplating shifting next semester to just teaching him Five in a Row since he seems to really get a lot out of that type of lesson. Rhiannon has been enjoying K'nex, snack preparation, and learning about the oceans. Sirah loves having her own special class and all the crafts and games they do. I have been enjoying teaching my classes. This has been the most laid back semester I have done yet and I really enjoy it. I am teaching less intensive classes and having fun with it. The kids seem to be enjoying and still learning and getting things out of it.
I taught class in full jedi get-up last week and that was fun. Serona sewed all our family costumes. At least one of us knows how to sew. The kids in my class enjoyed it but I think the boys in the 8-11 year old group at our co-op really enjoyed seeing it more. I let several kids try out the lightsabers and tried to answer questions when asked. It was a bit uncomfortable for me at first, like when I went into Starbucks in costume or met the man replacing our garage door in full costume, but I eventually grew more comfortable in it. I have worn the costumes many times but usually for an event or special day - it is usually not quite so out of place as it was that day and in general I don't feel comfortable in a role of attention. But it was worth it and even fun.
I have really enjoyed teaching this Star Wars class. We are talking about different film and literary elements from the saga. I have found out more interesting details and the more I study and teach it the more impressed I am with George Lucas' work. We have covered things like: protagonists, antagonists, coming of age, climax, plot elements, themes, costuming, character creation, setting, special effects, sound effects and soundtracks. It is fun to see the kids understanding these concepts in a fairly natural way because it is related to things they understand really well from the movie. We even had the group over to play Star Wars trivia pursuit. It was a fun evening and a fairly close game. We did not let Serona play :)
My other class is just as fun to teach. The kids go outside each week and have free time to sketch things they see in nature. We provide minimum structure and offer ideas and suggestions but they are free to do as they want. The kids have made some really wonderful and creative drawings. I think they are most appreciating just having the time to sketch without being rushed or pressured. Some do just one drawing the whole time and others do many. This class can easily be taught for a variety of ages with very little prep.
At home school has been fluid. We have had intense days and slower days. Some days we get a ton done and others just a few subjects but somehow we have managed to stay on track overall. The biggest news here is Ciaran who has gone from resistance to reading bob books this summer to finishing reading his first Magic Tree house book last week! We are so proud of him. He is excited. He is also really enjoying that he gets to play more video games now that he is reading better. As I type he is playing Lego Star Wars and loving it.
Well that is all the time I have for blogging now, Sirah woke from her nap and came to snuggle in my lap. You can guess which choice I am going to make! Well I am back and hopefully more regular now :)
Now playing: Hawk Nelson - 36 Days
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