Sunday, July 20, 2008

More milestones for Jack

This past week Jack read these books:All because of this book . . . (and a lot of motherly tutoring, ofcourse):
For the past year, I've been working with Jack.

On a good day, our routine is 1. Lunch, 2. Put Owen & Lucy down for naps, and 3. Cuddle together on the couch and do reading lessons. I have the greatest memories from all those many afternoons together. Because:

1. Jack always got it, so I never had a chance to lose my patience with him. (Okay, there were a few times. I'm not a perfect mother.)

2. He would always laugh sooooo hard. For some reason, with just the two of us working on reading, I could always get him to laugh really hard. Sometimes, a little bit too hard if you know what I mean. (He doesn't have the strongest bladder control when it comes to laughter.) The stories in the book are silly. So between the goofy stories, and poking fun at his mispronunciation of words- we had a hoot together.

I love that sweet boy. He is so smart it almost scares me sometimes. I REALLY have to watch myself around him because he doesn't miss a beat.

Oh, and on a side note. He finished yet another round of swim lessons. I think it was his second session this summer . . or was it his third? I can't remember because he's done so many in the past few years. The important thing, is that he can now swim horizontally with his head ABOVE water and actually move. (Previously, he would dunk and just sort of move around underwater without really going anywhere.) I'm not sure which I'm happier about: the fact that he can swim, or the realization that I no longer have to drive him to swim lessons anymore.
TA DA!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Snake Safari

Monday evening we took the kids down to the river to skip rocks and play on their favorite, huge, boulders which they've dubbed "Pirates Rocks."

As we were leaving, an enormous Bull Snake was slithering it's way across the trail right at our feet! Adam quickly grabbed his phone to take a picture, and got way too close to the snake. With me yelling for him to step away, while simultaneously holding Lucy and scooting the boys back as they tried to follow in their Dad's footsteps . . . the snake slipped off the trail and into the brush before Adam was able to snap a photo.
I didn't have much time to feel guilty about not letting Adam get a photo. Because- two seconds later, 50ft. down the trail we spotted ANOTHER snake on the trail, exactly like the first one. Fortunately, I had calmed down enough to let Adam take a photo.
I'd never seen snakes this large in the wild before (they were over three feet long--kind of hard to tell how big they were from the picture). It was quite thrilling to see two within a minute of each other. I was ecstatic for Jack & Owen. They were in awe! They're at the age where they can look at snake/bug/animal picture books for hours. So to see two, large, snakes in real life was quite a treat.
If you're interested in a snake safari at the river, we recommend going around 7 in the evening.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fourth of July Weekend

We had a fun-filled weekend, to say the least. We kept it busy, trying to live up to Jack's expectations. He LIVES for holidays and thrives on constant celebration during, on, and around each holiday.
Thursday, the day before the fourth, we took the kids to Manito Park. It is gorgeous! My favorite part was the Rose Garden. I could have spent hours there. I also fell in love with the Japanese Garden. But the kids' loved the duck pond. We came fully prepared with bread for the ducks. (Lucy loves saying "duck" now!)
Friday finally arrived! Jack and Owen had been anxious all week. We had a picnic at the park with friends and then headed to our town's small parade. The kids LOVE it because candy gets thrown on the street. Owen was quite aggressive and kept right up there with the "big" kids. I was so proud of him. Whenever we tell Owen to "smile" for the camera, he squints his eyes. Pictured below is a perfect example:

Friday evening we headed over to some friends' house for a BBQ. We had lots of laughs and way too much good food.
Sometime on Thursday, Adam and I came up with the brilliant idea of making a HUGE flag cake for the fourth. I was already planning on making an American Flag sheet cake from my favorite cookbook (The Barefoot Contessa: Family Style). I love this cookbook, author, and TV show so much- that I've had numerous dreams where I'm actually cooking with Ina Garten. Crazy, I know.
Anyway! We quadrupled, yes- quadrupled the recipe. After a trip to Costco, and a few extra trips to Alberstons for more berries, and more butter- we had our finished product. We were literally decorating up until the last minute possible. I'm a huge fan of The Next Food Network Star, and I seriously felt like a contestant on the show as I hurried to put the berries on the cake in an organized fashion. We baked four sheet cakes, put them together and wa-la, the finished product:
Saturday we drove out to Coeur d'Alene and hiked Tubbs Hill. Our kids did great on the two-mile hike. I was so impressed by them. Their complaining didn't kick in until the very end. The weather was amazing! It was pure heaven, especially for the boys.
We had a great holiday weekend. Unfortunately, my house suffered as a consequence. So you can only imagine what I'll be doing all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Swimming

One of my summer goals, has been to take my kids swimming at least once a week. It's quite an ordeal to pack up 3 kids, load them in the car, and drive 10 minutes to the YMCA. I never realized how spoiled I was as a child, having a pool in my own back yard.
Having grow-up in the valley of the sun, I feel an immense pressure to teach my kids to swim at an early age. Jack, age 5, is finally swimming! He's starting a second session of swim lessons on Monday. I'm confident it will be the finishing touch on his swimming skills.