Monday, January 26, 2009

Coping Mechanism for Cold Winter Days

What do you do with three rambunctious boys, ages three and under, on a very cold winter night that have a LOT of energy to burn off? Take them to the indoor play land, of course!

It was another one of those very cold and very long days were the boys were jumping off the walls. I had been corralling them all day and ended up loading them up into the car and driving to the Burger King play land, ordering a pack of apples and letting them run off some energy for an hour or so. I really needed the break, and they really needed it too.

In the winter it's somewhat more of an effort to find opportunities for physical exercise but it's worth the effort. All the running, crawling, sliding, twisting, turning, and jumping is not only good for their hearts and lungs (and sanity!) but necessary for the organizing of their brains. We'll be visiting the play land quite frequently between now and April, much to everyone's enjoyment!

"I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart."
Psalm 119:32

Hunter is 3 years, 10 months old

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snow, Snow, lots of Snow

It's been snowing here. A lot. I don't think we've had a snow-free week since mid-November, which is unusual. Where's the global warming when you need it?

That's okay, I don't mind much. I'd much rather have an unreasonably long, sometimes horribly cold winter with the beauty and fun of the snow than without it. And believe me, we've had plenty of winters without much of it. And besides, the snow brings with it plenty of wonderful discussions of precipitation, climates and temperatures, molecular physics, weather in general and - of course - it's just plain fun.

We haven't been playing in it much though, which is unfortunate. I've been realizing that, even though winter isn't exactly my favorite season and I would much rather stay out of the cold as much as possible, this is Hunter's only winter ever of being three years old and he's never going to get the wonderful experiences of snow play unless I make the jump.

So this evening I had one of those "spur of the moment" occurrences and, as there were just a few minutes of sunlight left in the sky I said, "Hunter, do you want to go make a snowman?"

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of a snowman to show you because unfortunately, there was no suitable snow to make one. The snow may have been about eight-inches deep but the amount of packing snow was zero.

Even though we didn't get to make a snowman, we still had a lot of fun for the whole thirty minutes we were out there.

After I distracted him from attempting to form a snowman out of non-packing snow right outside the door (Why not, Mom?) he headed straight for mid-yard and laid down to make a snow angel, a skill which I can't be credited with for teaching him (Uncle David? Probably the likely instructor.) As usual, he's always surprising me with what he knows.

Subsequently, he immediately got back to the business of what we were out there for (creating a man of snow) while I hopelessly snapped away with my camera.

After watching him carry handfuls of fluff over to a growing mound of snow for a while, I decided I had better get down and explain the disappointing news: Sorry kid, no snowman today.


"Well, because, it's not the right kind of snow..."

I started to mumble around, trying to find a more definitive response that satisfied his curiosity and mine.

What exactly
is packing snow, I wondered. How do you explain something to your kid that you don't quite no the answer to yourself?

I came up with something about how this snow is light and fluffy because it has a lot of air in it and not as much water and snowman snow has more water in it, so it sticks together to form balls and blocks and such. I think.

Truth be told, I have no clue what makes packing snow pack and fluffy snow, well, not. Water and air? Sounds good to me. But in the end, it's nothing more than an educated guess, which I suppose is okay sometimes.

I suppose that is, in a sense, the beauty of parenting. We can give kids all we've got, teach them all the "why's" and "how's" that we know and then in the end, we let them go discover all the questions we've left unanswered.

We had more fun talking about weather and science topics. There was steam pouring from the drain by the basement window, which he pointed out and we talked about what it was. We talked about how snow is made when water crystalizes, and had a really fun time studying the amazing frost patterns left on the windows. God certainly is an amazing artist.

We said goodnight to the sun as it made its "journey" to China. We've been talking a lot about where the sun goes when we sleep (the rotation of the planets) as well as the orbit and tilt of the planet (i.e. the reason for the season). He seems to be gobbling it up, or at least talking about it a lot. Maybe he can't fully comprehend it all yet but that doesn't mean I shouldn't talk about it (and, truly, can any of us actually comprehend the vastness of space and the wonders of the universe?)

It's been a fun evening.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Hunter is 3 years, 9 months old

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I didn't really intend to go some three weeks without blogging. The holidays came and went in no time flat and I took a two-week "vacation" from normal life to get everything for Christmas ready as well as doing a hyper-focus on getting all my ducks in a row.

Ducks still not quite in a row but we had a great Christmas. The whole December season was not everything I hoped for it to be but it was great, a memorable season we won't soon forget.

We did a lot of stuff this Christmas season. Not hardly a fraction of the stuff I anticipated but it was still fun nonetheless. I'll be "back-blogging" about them real soon (writing a new blog but with an old date to put it in the December archive).

This past week we've actually been doing some school (hurray!). Would you believe that we went the entire month of December and a large part of November doing no bits whatsoever? And no, I did NOT plan for us to take the entire holiday season off.

It's not like Hunter wasn't learning things throughout that whole time and it's not like I stopped teaching him, as I'm always teaching him something. But as for organized, planned topics to cover? Nada. So it's nice to be back into the flow of a schedule again.

We still read a lot. We learned Christmas songs and read poetry and retold the Christmas story. We learned about Hanukkah and actually celebrated it. We did our countdown to Christmas (most days) and he learned a lot of numerals, and although he doesn't know them all yet as the countdown didn't go nearly as consistent as planned, he got a really good introduction and has had a lot of practice doing mental math.We did multiple other things that I can't even remember, and as always did lots of talk, talk, talking.

And now, after one week of schooling into the new year, we're slowly getting the hang of it. We did lots of bits this week and I have spent a ridiculous amount of time planning, making materials, and researching information. We're praying for Chad. We're learning the bones of the skull, dinosaurs, art by Paul Cezanne, great composers, elements of the periodic table, the last set of state map outlines and flags, and music by Vivaldi. We're reinforcing (playing lots of games with) the numerals 0-9. We're still working on memorizing the first few chapters of Proverbs and are learning about Abraham and ancient history. Our main focus is our science of the week, which is about the sun. We're going to spend the next two to three months studying astronomy (we could study it for much, much longer but I have to contain myself and remember - this is just an introduction to the world of astronomy, we do not have to cover everything right now!) Once we're done with astronomy we will be doing an earth science curriculum made for 8-12 year-olds called How Does God Do That? by Paul and Danielle Harris.

There's so many things going on. Hunter has been obsessed with puzzles, his knight suit, and his "baby" monkey (previously known as simply "monkey" but has now taken on the status of an infant). He's been learning how to button his shirt, loves to vacuum, and is always full of surprises, saying the funniest things constantly.

I've been crazy busy, spending as much time as I possibly can attempting to get ahead in lesson plans, get finances in order, organize files, and keep up with household duties. In the meantime I've still been behind on most of these thing (especially household duties), haven't been online hardly all (haven't been active in the forums), and still have a lot to do with the article I'm supposed to be writing.

It hasn't exactly been the best week, as, like I mentioned before, my ducks are not even close to being all in a row. But I CAN say they are much closer than they were a month ago.

So, I just wanted to sit down on here for a few minutes and let you all know that, Yes! We're still alive! And yes, we had a great holiday and a great new year and I hope you all did too! I'm looking forward to a great year of learning, discovering, and sharing all of our adventures with you all! May God bless your year and your children and, as always, happy learning!

"I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope."
Psalm 16:7-9

Hunter is 3 years, 9 months old