Wednesday, October 15, 2014

an apple a day

The local school administration gives each child a piece of fruit as they leave school.  Almost. Every. Day. 

[I'm not sure why it's not every day, but it's unusual if the fruit isn't given out, and I'm guessing it has something to do with a faulty delivery truck route or something.]  

I know at least one other local school where this happens, so I'm assuming it's common practice, and likely government funded?  It surely isn't funded by the students, since tuition is free.  

I love this practice.  I love watching the children marching out of school munching on apples (or bananas, oranges, pears, whatever the fruit of the day happens to be).

I love that my little boys clamor to see what snack the girls are bringing, and I'm grateful that (most of the time) the sharing of bites of apple is a happy time of day for this little band of five. 

I wonder about the logistics of 2000 pieces of fruit a day!  I imagine a big delivery truck making it's daily rounds, leaving behind boxes and boxes of fruit in it's wake :) 

Yesterday we waited til we were back inside the complex to start in on the fruit consumption.  It's a pretty peaceful place, huh?  The building beside the fish pond is ours.  In the photo below our windows are just on top of Julianna's head :)  

The afternoon 'pick up the girls walk' is a new routine for us.  Sure, at times the not-quite-one-mile-round-trip can feel long.  It's hard to cover much ground when you pick up every bug, jump on every loose sidewalk tile, stop to look at every interesting vehicle.  Add in the "together five of us are sharing two apples bite by bite" and it can take us 20plus minutes to get home!  

But it's a great late afternoon activity!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

zoo coffee and a night away

One last highlight from our October holiday break..... the girls got such a special night away with precious local friends.  They were beyond thrilled to do this!

This sweet auntie of theirs is a long time friend of our family and she is so great with the kids, all of them, and was so kind to suggest this little night away.

Although we live in the same city, our homes are very far apart - about an hour in a private car, two hours by public transportation, so this was quite the trip for the girls!

There were many highlights - but a trip to zoo coffee was one of them :)

I've never been here but it seems like a unique place to get a cup of coffee (or ice cream!)

The girls just loved this trip.  I'm so thankful for friends like these.

Now we are full swing back into local school.  Although a super long break right at the start of the school year isn't my favorite... it seems like such an awkward way to disrupt the routine, right as everyone is getting settled in the routine!..... but I did really enjoy the freedom it allowed our normal schedule and for the fun experiences we chalked up during the holiday!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


This year's camping trip's biggest boasting point?  Great weather and solid sleep! After last year's downpours and lost sleep I think Matt went into the event with fairly low expectations - and was pleasantly surprised!

{and they picked the best weekend to go - today it's cool and rainy but last Saturday was absolutely gorgeous!}

Matt and three other dads teamed up for the experience.... these families are sweet friends of ours.

Car camping at it's finest folks :)  There is little in the way of official park service here but we have a friends who own land out here - about an hour from our home - and this place has proven itself a great camping spot.  Bonus that the "road" dead ends at this flat patch of ground.  It's part of an old youth training camp or something, no one seems to be exactly sure of the history but we do know that the old fire pit that comes in handy!    

The morning was plenty cool - a little taste of fall weather to come.

These boys are every bit as fun as you think they are...

Matt said John Paul was a camping legend.  He was the youngest by a long shot, but held his own.

I love this picture -

and I'm so glad our kids get experiences like these with people like these.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

cut and glue

There's nothing quite like illustrating your own story :)

Both my girls enjoy it, but Julianna's whole body practically sings when she's engaged in some kind of creative endeavor.  It brings me much joy just watching her.

Of course the boys are never far away.  John Paul is becoming a cut-and-glue fanatic.  He's been a scissoring-fool for quite a while - he will sit and just cut cut cut til the floor is littered with paper scraps.  Now he's added some Elmer's school glue to the occasion and he is becoming quite a craft-y little man!

I love this photo of Isaac working.  (from earlier in the week.)  He is standing with his feet in two different chairs!

Today was a full day (aren't they all?) at the end of a full week.  But while the days are full I don't feel exhausted or overwhelmed or discouraged.  Mostly I'm thankful.  Our home school days are really (mostly!) smooth.  Our local school is experience is gobs easier than it was last fall.  Isaac seems to (finally) be in a solid spot with his preschool and the little boys are rolling through their days, learning and loving and learning to love.

The last weeks of October and then through November will be very full for Matt.  We looked at the calendar and counted travel days a few nights ago.  I had to take a couple of deep breaths :)  But for now I'm still feeling optimistic!  So we'll run with that :)

[The picture above is from earlier this evening - it seems that all of a sudden the skies darken early and streetlights are on and some of the kiddos pulled up stools to watch a man washing restaurant pans (in the plastic tub by the curb).  They were fascinated by him, he was fascinated by them.  win-win-win

Monday, October 6, 2014

throwing rocks in the river

While Matt took the oldest four camping Luke and I decided to have a little fun of our own.

The skies were crazy blue and the temps were plenty warm and we cruised the riverfront.

It was primarily a rock-throwing expedition :)

It's fairly rare that this little guy sets the pace in our family.  And he loved it.

We two found plenty of ways to keep busy (in addition to rock throwing which, truth be told, would have kept Luke busy for hours but I did tire eventually and steered us towards new and different pursuits).

But the hours with this little guy were a treat.  He woke up the next morning and it didn't take long for him to start asking for John Paul!  And the campers were home by lunchtime - happy and dirty and eaten up by mosquitos (ugh!)

Next year Luke's up to bat - all five on the camping trip.  Matt thinks I'm coming too, but I keep teasing him about how much I'm going to some alone time! He he.  I do love camping and while the days we camped and backpacked together are distant memories now it'll be fun to get out again with the whole crew.

But this year it was a treat to spend some time with my littlest man.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

all about whales

No local school in the afternoons opened up a whole host of fun options for the family!  I decided to invite a few friends to science mini-camp ....   I didn't have a lot of firm plans, or really any clue what I was doing, so I kept it small and simple.  One hour each afternoon for three consecutive afternoons.

We usually don't cover science topics in a formal sense during home school, so this was a sweet way to squeeze in a bit of science and have a ton of fun.  If I can manage to arrange some more of these mini-camps over the next months then we just might cover a lot of territory :)

Having a few friends join our camp totally shaped the experience for my kids and made it feel special.  We covered whales (and dolphins) and if they had half the fun I did then it was a big success :)

[The pic is of my 'campers' at the end of the last session, showing off their best page in their science camp notebooks!]

The kids will be asking for science camp again soon, they had a blast.  And I'll be glad to do it - the trick will be finding the right time once we head back to local school on Wednesday.

Science isn't the only camp we've been talking about this week - Matt and the older four are out camping right now!  This has been an early October tradition for our family for years - so glad we can keep it rolling.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

cardboard weapons

After starting out strong with two little girls and an abundance of pink frills, we've taken a solid swing towards weaponry in the past few years.

And I love it.  Something tells me I'll be cutting weapons out of cardboard boxes for years to come :)