Sunday Snapshot: The big "4"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Last year, we cheated.

We celebrated Madeline's 3rd birthday at home and waited until April to take her to Disney for her birthday.   
And for good reason.  

Disney crowds in March are insane.

Next year, we might have to revert back to a delayed Disney birthday celebration.  Don't get me wrong.  We had a blast.  Everything just took extra long.

My sister, brother-in-law, and neice all joined us.  
(Actually we spent the night before at their place so we could get an earlier start.)  
Andy was a HUGE help.

While waiting in line for one ride, going potty, or eating, he would dash over to a ride and pick up fast passes. This way we waited in line for one ride the estimated amount of time and then scooted to the front of the line for the next ride.  Score!

We started off with the teacups.  Then ate lunch before the crowds came.

As you saw in the previous post, we managed to head over to Cosmic Rays for some lunch a little birthday cheer.  Madeline loved the extra attention.

After lunch, we battled the evil Emperor Zurg.  

Then we took a quieter ride on the People Mover.

Madeline occasionally smiled for my camera but otherwise was not interested in having her photo taken. 

Here I asked her to show me her best grumpy face.

Caleb, on the other hand, was pretty cooperative.

He loves to help me carry the backpack.

We all had a blast on the raceway.

We headed over to Small World, while Andy grabbed fast passes for Pooh.  Again, big plus.  
It was like waiting in just one line for two rides.

By the end of the afternoon, I managed to get Leah to smile my way.

However, Madeline was interested in other things.

We had to leave by 3-4pm because Caleb had a 7pm baseball game back at home.  Madeline fell asleep walking back to the monorail.  I guess that put her in a better mood.

After hitting the potty before heading out, she let me snap a few photos of her with Caleb.

Then I relented and let them jump off the planter, which they thoroughly enjoyed, since I'm usually nixing jumping off anything.

When we arrived home, the kids hurried into the house to eat some dinner and get ready for Caleb's baseball game.  Little did Madeline know that Daddy had decorated her room with streamers and balloons.

She also got some princess stickers and Disney classic DVD of the Three Pigs.

We gobbled down dinner and scooted out the door, just in time for pre-game warm ups.  That was a close call.  Despite running around at the Magic Kingdom all day, Caleb played a great game.  I'm so proud of him.

I have more pictures to share from that weekend plus a few dance photos from Madeline's last observation day before her June recital.  I'll get them up in the next few days.

For more fun photos, check out Stefanie's blog.

Sunday Snapshot

A great birthday

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Popping in for a moment to say we had an absolute blast celebrating Madeline's 4th birthday at the Magic Kingdom.  Truly a red letter day.  I took a handful of photos that I haven't even uploaded to my computer.  However, here is a short little video, courtesy of the Cosmic Ray's cast members.

I'll be back later with the rest of the scoop!

Homeschooling update: Expanding

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I've been meaning to do a homeschool update for a while.  We've just been so busy that I haven't found the time.  The following principle sums up our latest happenings.

“The question is not—how much does the youth know when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

In order to expand the number of things Caleb cares about, we have added classical music/composer study to our curriculum.  Before jumping in to the Ambleside Online composer study schedule, I thought I would first introduce the genre of classical music.  We began with listening to Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.  The kids really love it and usually ask for it right after we sing our hymn at breakfast.

We've also been listening to Carnival of the Animals composed by Camille Saint-Saens and The Nutcracker by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, additionally playing them as background music while doing copywork and such.  This has been such a delight, not only for the kidlets, but for me as well.  The kids particularly love to act out Peter and the Wolf.  It's such a joy to see.  Perhaps I'll have to get them doing so on video.

Speaking of videos....a typical narration for Caleb takes place at the computer.  He narrates as I type.  However, I have been videotaping his narrations from The Trumpet of the Swan.  Here's how Chapter 14 went.

Generally speaking, Madeline isn't this distracting. She's gotten so much better at waiting until the end of Caleb's narration before speaking to me.  The both of them were just a wee bit giddy that day.

On to nature study...

Since we do most of our schooling four days a week, we set aside Fridays for nature study, errands, doctors appointments and such.  It seems that every Friday as I drive over the causeway (across the river) to run errands, I spot a Great Blue Heron hanging out along the shore in the same area.  I am constantly scanning the shoreline as I drive now instead of just occasionally.  However, no sooner do I spot it, then we drive past, and it's too late for the kids to see.  

Yesterday was no different.  However, upon returning home, I spotted both a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret and determined that the kids were going to see one of these birds.  We parked in a recreational area, got out, and started walking along the shore.  As we turned a corner (we had walked out onto a point), we practically walked right into the Great Blue Heron.  I was so glad the kids finally got to see one.  (It had been several years since Caleb had seen one, which he has regularly reminded me about lately. lol)  Anyway, we saw it just in time because as we looked out on the river (thanks to another onlooker), a sheet of rain was coming our way.  That was pretty cool to witness.

Because we school year round, we just continue on to the next thing once we've completed the current year's work.  So we'll be starting up fourth grade math and third grade grammar next week.  This past week, Caleb finished reading Stuart Little by E. B While and has since started reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  He thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it aloud to him not too long ago, and he has the same enjoyment while reading it aloud to me!  It's precious.

So back to science/natural history...

As you can see, we have been studying birds a great deal lately.  We now have two bird feeders hanging from our oak trees, one in the front yard and one in the back.  Next thing we need to add are a few bird baths.  I've managed to capture a few birds with my camera.  So I will be putting together a little post on that.  

Anyway, what I love about learning at home is seeing Caleb question the world around him.  Last night as I put him to bed, he was thinking about Louis, the trumpeter swan and asked me how birds fly.  Thankfully, our science curriculum has a lesson on this physics principle, so I will be able to lead Caleb to his own understanding of how birds fly. Love it!

I have so much more that I want to blog about.  I surely hope to find some time in the next few weeks.  Monday Madeline will be celebrating her 4th birthday.  It's hard to believe.  She was just 19 months at referral.  Time has passed so quickly.  It really needs to slow down.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend!
I'm sure I'll be back to share some birthday fun!

Hey #9

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Great hit!"

"Awesome catch!"

"Way to hustle!"

These types of comments were bestowed on #9 of the Phillies at last night's baseball game..  Who's #9, you might ask?  None other than our precious Caleb.
And the end result?

A game ball!

Now, game balls aren't necessarily given to the player who has the best hits, or makes the most outs.  Sometimes they're given to the player who tries his best.
But you know something?  Caleb demonstrated all of the above.

I knew he was going to have a good game when, during his first at bat, he swung at the first pitch and nailed it into center field.  His best hit ever!  And it only continued.  

He hit the ball hard during every at bat.
He outran fielders trying to make the tag on him.  Nope. Safe.
And then, when he was playing first base, he made all three outs in the inning.  That pretty much sealed the deal.  His first out was a short hit down the first base line.  He retrieved it, stepped on the bag.  Next out was a nice throw from the pitcher.  Third out- a high fly ball!

Caleb had the game of his life.  And the whole time, he wore a smile on his face.  Seriously.  He never stopped smiling.  One of the moms told me that he is such a joy to watch because he's always so happy.  I think I grew about 10 inches then.

Once the game was over, there were a lot of players complementing him on earning the game ball.  Caleb just smiled and said thanks.  But Patrick still had a chat with him afterwards about the importance of remaining humble.

When I was chatting with him about all that happened during the game, he said something that made me put the brakes on.  He started telling me about the fly ball he caught and said something about how he didn't think he was going to catch it.  I quickly stopped him and said, "Caleb, don't ever say you don't think you can do something.  Don't put bad thoughts in your mind like that.  Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you."  It just about broke my heart that he didn't think he could catch that ball.

Anyway, Patrick and I (and Bei Bei too) are just so proud of him.  I wish had photos or video to share, but I didn't bring my camera.  And Bei Bei had me busy in the stands so I couldn't whip out my phone for a video.  You'll just have to trust me when I say Caleb had a great night at the ball field.

We love you, Caleb!

Way to go, #9!

Sunday Snapshot: Is there a thing as too much fun?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'll answer my own question....NOPE!

That's exactly what we had last weekend.  Yep, I'm late as usual.  Last weekend was Opening Day for Spring Ball where we live.  What does that mean?  A fun parade full of tee ball, baseball, and softball teams walked down the street, past our house, to the ball fields.  Then it was bounce houses, competitions, hot dogs and soda.  It was great fun to see all the teams together.

This spring Caleb happens to be on the coach pitch Phillies.  Yep, same name as his spring tee ball team last year.

He has the same coach from the fall, and a few players from that team are also on his spring team.

This year he participated in some of the competitions.  He had fun with a few of his teammates and reconnected with a player that was on his first ever tee ball team (the boy in green below.)

Then, if that wasn't enough, the following day we headed over to Epcot for lunch with the princesses.  Patrick originally took off work for Madeline's birthday, so we can all go to Disney together (like we usually do for birthdays.)  Anyway, since it's still unclear whether or not he will have that day off, we decided to be sure Madeline got her birthday lunch with the we did it a few weeks early.

Madeline was very friendly with all the princesses.  
She talked to Belle a lot.

Caleb was so cute.  The princesses would often call him over and say hello.  He would just get so shy.

After lunch, we headed over to China to let the kids pick out a gift.  We let them do that in January for Caleb's birthday.  Since it was Madeline's birthday, she got two gifts.  

I picked out this Uighur princess hat.

And she picked out a purse, which has gone everywhere with her this week.

Caleb picked out a diabolo (Chinese yo yo).  The two of them have had so much fun with it!

As you can see, the kids have had a lot going on lately...and a lot of fun, too. Baseball is in full swing now. So we are down at the fields three days a week. 
 Add to that Madeline's day of dance...and that means lots of busy afternoons. But oh, are they worth  it!

For more Sunday Snapshots, check out Stefanie's blog.

Sunday Snapshot

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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