Monday, August 31, 2009

Going With the Flow

Not something I'm normally good at--once I have a plan in my head, I like sticking with it. Not possible when schooling a six year old though! Today we began our weather unit and with it being absolutely beautiful outside, we sat on a quilt under the trees in the backyard. We were reading our second book about the sky and counting the clouds when I lost him. Lost him to the bulldozer coming across the field and into the neighbor's backyard for remodeling cleanup. So for the next hour or so I guess you could say we were back on our transportation unit! He was mesmerized by the bulldozer. I think it's just something that's ingrained in the male DNA!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Transportation Unit

We just finished our first week of homeschool and with that, our first unit study. To begin the year, I decided to pick a topic that always gets Clayton's attention: TRUCKS. And picking trucks lended itself to a broader unit on types of transportation. Before we even began, I had to decide how we would go about "documenting" our work. Lapbooks are very popular among homeschoolers, but I really didn't want to deal with the storage issue that comes along with them. And after reading this post by Sheri, I decided to go with the notebooking approach instead. We will use a 10 x 10 scrapbook to keep our main work related to a unit and all other "loose" worksheets will be kept in a 3 ring binder. I will also print pictures of unit related activities and put them in the scrapbook. Everything in one spot!

So let me show you how we spent our first week!

On the bookshelf:
Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck by Lisa Wheeler
My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis
Smash! Crash! by David Shannon
Here Comes Grandma! by Janet Lord
How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani
Freight Train by Donald Crews
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Iza Trapani
Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

IPOD Playlist:
The Airplane Song by Laurie Berkner

Online Resources:

First we talked about "Things That Go." We classified each mode of transportation and glued them into Clayton's notebook. As you can see, he helped out on the gluing!

Then Clayton did some Racecar prewriting practice. This activity went much smoother after I added in the sound effects!

We also talked about things that begin with "T" and he even practiced writing his t's. And we talked about colors and shapes as we put all the shapes aboard the Shape Bus.

I helped him with the first two, but he did the middle and right one all by himself. :)

We did a bit of train art. All I did was tell him if the piece went on the top or bottom and he glued them down:

And then we got to sing the ABC's as we put together the ABC Train:

He put all of these stickers in his notebook and I helped him label each of them:
And throughout the week, we had more prewriting practice:

We made a paper airplane, but after one flight, Clayton decided to wad it up and throw it like a ball instead! (Once Daddy got home a more advanced, more capable of flight plane was made).

And then on a couple of days we counted his cars and sorted them both by color and by size. (Notice he was able to sit all by himself while I took the picture!)

And then as a reward, he had to play with his remote control truck several times!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

Today is the day I dread all year. As a matter of fact, I usually pray my way through all of August--any day after the tenth has always been a struggle. This year, I've got a new (and very sweet) distraction to keep my mind busy--no time for reflections or memories this go-around! On one hand, I'm grateful to just let the time fly by; on the other, I've been scared to death I'd let the anniversary pass without a single thought of Shawn and our time together. It's almost like I need the time to remind myself of the cherished moments we had with him, to remind myself of the amazing gift of life God gave us. But this new gift of life is part of the answer to those last six years of prayers. Jackson's birth has brought so much healing for me--I've finally been able to unload some of this incredible guilt I feel for not being able to do enough for Shawn and for Clayton. I have a long way to go, but time is finally giving me the perspective I've needed.
Holding you, I held everything.
Everything pure, everything innocent.
I held all that is new and fresh, yet still sentimental.
Holding you, I held my greatest joy and my greatest sorrow.
And while holding you, I began to learn what it meant to "Praise Him in the storm."
The hurt has been hard, but those moments with you were worth every tear shed and every heartache felt.
I love you always.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Won't Miss Us Coming!

Well, I took the plunge into double stroller land . . . and man, did it take a while to find one that would work for us! I had originally decided against a double stroller just because we already have so. much. stuff! But considering the only places I can go with the boys alone are places with shopping carts, I decided we needed to go ahead and invest in one. I started out wanting a "jogging stroller" that was side-by-side and had the three wheels. Mainly because both kids could see where we were going and the weight limit was more. But those turned out to be a no-go because they were very hard to fold up. I think they're just meant to sit in the garage and only pull out for a daily jog, which we all know I don't do! So I went back to the strollers that had one seat in the back and one in the front, but still wasn't happy since when Jackson gets older I'm sure he'll want to see out and about. And the weight limit on most of those was 40 lbs. per seat, and with Clayton weighing almost that now, it wouldn't pay to invest in one of them. But while I was perusing the stroller sites online, I found what I think is the Cadillac brand of strollers: BabyJogger. I ended up getting this one because it fits through standard doors and has four of the big all-terrain tires (need those with Brian driving!). The weight limit is also a combined 100 lbs., so I see it lasting us awhile. When I got it put together today, I was laughing at how massive it is--it's like I'm driving a Sherman Tank down the road! And it's still bulky when you fold it up, but big folded up is still BIG! We plan on keeping the third seat in the van folded down so we'll have room for the wheelchair and the stroller. That way we'll have them both handy and we'll be able to choose the right one for whatever outing we're on. I can already feel the freedom we'll get from this purchase!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Homeschooling Begins

Today we began our homeschooling journey! I am more positive than ever that this is the right decision for Clayton and for us as a family. We began the year with a tiny bit of math, some handwriting practice, and we started a week-long unit on transportation. Since Clayton is so obsessed with trucks, bikes, and go-karts, it made perfect since to start the year off with something he loved to talk about! And what made it even better was the weather---we were able to do some of our work on the porch since it's so beautiful out. Great advantage of having school at home!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eleven Weeks (+ 1 Day)

11 pounds, 4 ounces
22 3/4 inches long
Jackson is just the cutest thing ever! And as you can see, he's found his smile in the last couple of weeks! He loves the sound of Momma's voice and I even got him to laugh out loud on Tuesday. Such a sweet sound!!!
He was completely average on all his measurments this week and Brian and I loved hearing that--a big YAY for "normal!" He is really taking in his environment and loves staring at his hands. It's so wonderful to watch him grow and change but I'm already getting a little sentimental--I'm already asking "where's my tiny baby?" :) That's a mom for ya!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Meet You at Thunder Road

We had Clayton's birthday party this weekend at his current favorite place: the go-kart track! He was in heaven showing off his driving skills to everyone and bragged all night about who all he had passed (Momma included!). We had a blast and I definitely think it was his best birthday party to date!

Click on this next one to see just how much fun he has passing people!!

He did have his usual reaction to the group singing of "Happy Birthday" though--I'm hoping he'll grow out of this by adulthood!

He managed to get his smile back when he started opening up the presents and he even managed to fit in a game of air hockey with Daddy's help. :)

Thank you, Rhonda for taking the pictures!!!!! (And for my blog readers--it was wonderful having a photographer for the party--I just enjoyed myself and let her capture the memories for our family! You should try it for your next party or event!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Preschool Graduation

It's blurry and out of focus, but this picture is worth a thousand words--CLAYTON DIDN'T LIKE GRADUATION CEREMONIES!! (And don't you love the look Brian is giving the teachers--DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS?!) He gets so nervous in new environments and I feel like this one was just sprung on him willie-nillie. He wasn't able to practice with the class since we were in Florida, so it was his first time in this particular building and definitely his first time in front of this crowd! He screamed the ENTIRE FIRST HALF of the program--Brian had to go up there to help the teachers because his tone kicked in and he was one little stiff body! He finally settled down during the slideshow but he still wasn't happy about the whole thing. He did perk up when he realized he was getting the award for "Most Improved."
And he had a smile when he got his diploma as well--I think he knew it meant the whole ordeal would soon be over!

And here he is giving me the look "why do you make me suffer through these things, Mom?!!"

Just another reason I'm glad our short journey with organized education is over for now!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Other Trip Highlights

Our first family picture with Jackson (besides the hospital one)--it's too bad Clayton and Jackson weren't cooperating!!!

The view from our second condo (that's another blog post!):

Jackson was raring to go from day one--he didn't mind the shades at all!

But instead of beaching it, he and I went off to scrap with my sister-in-law, Amy, and her friend Heather. Jackson was a happy camper hanging with the girls!

Meanwhile, Clayton was just happy to sit and flirt with his cousin Emily . . . he had to do everything she did!
Jackson found a new lap he liked:

The boys went night fishing and Clayton loved it when the fish "peed on Daddy!"

Jackson and I were content to watch (well, he was content for a total of maybe ten minutes that is!)
The view from our first condo:

We visited the Museum of Science and History:
It stormed every single day except our last day:

And on that last day, Clayton finally got to go swimming:

Our last night was spent walking around downtown. They had a band playing and lots of pirates hanging around--Clayton was glad to get his set of beads!

We ended our walk at the harbor where Brian took some great photos that captured the peace of the night. I'll leave you with one: