Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the bug wisperer

It is possible that I may be exaggerating just a tad by calling Porter the bug whisperer on the title.  However, the little cricket, or baby grasshopper as the kiddos call it, is sitting serenely on Porters hand, unmaimed as of yet (yes, yet).  In this house that is enough to qualify you as 'the' bug whisperer.  The truth is that Aimee usually catches the bugs.  Chad was mowing the lawn, so they were a little easier to find.  Aimee also usually stuffs them in a container as quickly as she can.  In fact, we recently found one of the bug bottles had fallen behind the toy box upstairs.  It had been there for a couple of weeks, according to my calculations.  There was a bug inside that was still living.  Hardy little thing I guess.  Porter, is happy to just watch them crawl on him until they get away. Even though this cricket had a leg at the wrong angle when he let it go, it may have a better chance at life than his friend that lived in the bottle behind the toy box. Hence, bug whisperer.
video

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

apple field trip

One of our themes for preschool this month has been apples.  It has been a fun means of presenting information, and it's cutsie.  Either way, it works.  We decided a trip to a local apple orchard would be seasonally appropriate, and a fun adventure.  We were missing about half of the crew, and the weather wasn't exactly in our favor but we made the trip anyway.  It was a cute little orchard that was free (my favorite part) and fun for the kiddos.  They started out by meeting and feeding a few of the farm animals.  I am pretty sure this was my kids first experience with a Tina, but they passed with flying colors.
Each kid got a basket and we turned them loose in the orchard. 
 Luckily, the drought reduced the apple crop substantially, so there wasn't a huge selection.  This was good because Porter's muscles couldn't carry very many apples. These apples cost more at the orchard than at good ol' Wal-Mart. 

 Note the muscles in this picture...

 After we paid for the picked apples, we took advantage of their freshness (although we save enough to supply Chad with his favorite dessert, homemade apple pie), and let the kiddos play a bit before heading home.
In this picture, Pratt decided it was more fun to eat the animal food than give it away.  Figures.

the pool

While we weren't looking for a home with a pool, that is what we got!  It is pretty much the only thing we can see that our HOA gets us, so we tried to take full advantage of it.  It was a great way to kill a hot morning or afternoon.  It was also nice to have something close to us to do while we were getting to know the area and make new friends.  It was so funny to see how my kiddos personalities were directly reflected in the way they played at the pool!
 
Aimee started out very enthusiastic.  She found her limitations and then spent her time in the pool telling me about accomplishments.  For example, she quit running after she ate cement, and waited for me to cheer when she held her breath under the water, or was able to get a water stick with help.   
 
 Porter spent nearly every minute we were at the pool doing exactly what he is doing in the picture: standing on the stairs and holding on to the hand rail.  You might also note that he has on a life vest, even though he was the child with the least rick of getting hurt because of his extreme caution.  A few times he would copy Aimee and jump from the edge, but only if you were close enough to touch!
 Pratt.  Pratt, Pratt, Pratt.  This kid doesn't believe in mom relaxing at the pool.  When we first started going I had read up on teaching a baby to swim.  We went and did all of the things we read.  I think it would have probably worked if A. Pratt had been younger, and B. It hadn't been Pratt.  He became very comfortable with the pool, and thought it was a fun game to run to the deep end of the pool and climb half way in while he watched me frantically bolt to "save" him.  He eventually lost interest in that game when he got in trouble.  Still, swimming was too much of a game to work on skills.  He had fun though!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

fishing

Chads time with us is pretty limited these days, so when we have time together we try to make the most of it.  I recently told Chad of a park that my friend took the kids and me to.  It had a cute little play ground, picnic tables, and a shallow stream.  The day she took us, I caught 4 little fish with an aquarium net.  I brought one of them home.  From that moment on I knew that the first chance we could get a couple of daylight hours together what our next family activity would be.
As it turns out, I am a better fisherman than Chad!  He only caught one little fishy.  He did however out do me on the crawdads.  Three of those. Me: none.

The kids had a blast!  They loved exploring and getting wet with their dear old dad.  Aimee chased fish up and down the stream, while her little brothers spent most of their time filling up buckets and cups.

Luckily, I had an extra set of clothes for the kids in the van!  It was a good time, and Chad is already looking for another chance to go again!

Monday, September 17, 2012

willcropeariams preschool

Last year I decided that Aimee would not be going to pre-school again this year.  This is my last year with her before she starts Kindergarten, and I was feeling selfish.  Well, that sort of changed.  One day when I was at play group with my ward, a few of my friends were talking about a home preschool they were organizing for their kiddos.  They asked if I wanted in, and I said yes.  It is however a little diffrent than one might think.  There are four moms with a combined total of nine kids participating.  The plan was to have a group of 2 year olds (Pratt slipped into this group), 3 year olds, and 4 year olds.  Each mom would take a turn teaching each group with one "floater mom."  We set up a rotation schedule for which house it will be at each quarter, and which mom will teach with class.  This is not a drop-your-kid-off-and-go kind of a thing.  All four moms are busy everyday doing something.  We got together and planned monthly themes, schedules and curriculum.  The kiddos were so excited to start preschool, especially knowing that it would be with friends.  And I was happy that I wouldn't be missing out on my babies since I would always be there as well.
 
Aimee holding her 1st day of preschool picture from last year.  Her class is the biggest with four kids.  One thing that has been a little tricky is that these kids are all at different levels.  Aimee can read (yes she finally finished her Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book, and it definitely worked), but is still learning to sound words out to write and handwriting.  Her friend Norah can sound things out and write, but is still working on reading.  The other boy and girl mostly know letters and sounds.  I like that this will give Aimee a chance to do a lot of reviewing and hone some new skills while helping her peers where she is already strong.
 
 
Porter insisted that Eeyor was in the picture with him.  His class is just two boys.  They are both smart and at about the same level, but have very different personalities.  I am teaching them this quarter, and have leaned that I have a lot of learning to do at being a teacher!

Pratt-man, as always, is just happy to be included in the excitement of it all.  His class of three is mostly nursery style.  They play for most of it with a very short lesson and/or story mixed in.
This endeavor has proved to be a lot of work, but I think it is worth while. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

ohio summer #1

We made it!  We had something of a rough time getting here, in a lot of ways, but we did make it!  We got all of the boxes put away, and we even got the pee soaked carpet (that was a fun surprise) replaced and the floor sealed.  We are settled, and we love it here!  With that said we have moved on to finding the fun summer life the area has to offer. 

We celebrated Porters third birthday for third time when we made it to our new home.  Since we didn't have our own yard back in Omaha, we used the occation as a great chance to get a little stocked with some small back yard furniture.
Pratt got his first shiner after a good fall.  I was impressed it took him 17 months get get it!  He is my busiest kid so far, but luckily, not the clutziest!

 Our back yard is about half grass, half cement.  It has a small basketball court, and decorative cement pad where the former owners hot tub was situated.  Initially I was kind of bummed about this.  It has turned out to be a really fun yard.  The landscaping gives us lots of options.  This is great because the backyard is fenced and I can turn the kiddos loose.  It also means I can do everything in the back, including all of our sidewalk chalk. 
 This is Porter, not a Romulon (yes, I was a treckie with my dad as a kid).  We thought that this forehead swelling was a result of an exciting day in nursery.  Not so.  The bugs here can be fierce.  It doesn't help that the kiddos are sometimes out the door to play as early as 6:30 a.m. and until tubby time.  They get plenty of opportunity to attack. I think it is worth it, although, I doubt my neighbors enjoy our vigor in the early hours of the weekend.
 We have officially traded rolly pollies for frogs and ants.  The kids will imprison and play with anything that moves, but these things just happen to be the most available creatures.  Luckily I have saved enough plastic food containers to keep up with the demand. 
 We have also become regulars at this spray ground.  Our new ward holds a playgroup once a week, and for the last two months it has been here.  We have also found opportunities to visit as a family, and to another spray ground a little closer to home.
Chad has been one busy boy lately!  He recently had to talk to his attendings about problems going over 80 hours a week.  Luckily for us, when he is home he gives us his best!  The kids run to the door the second they hear the garage door move, and don't stop talking to him and crawling on him until the door closes when we put them to bed.  Aimee capitalizes on her time.  She loves that daddy makes a great and willing prince.
video
I wish I had more photos, I have been slacking.  We have found all kinds of fun new adventures here.  We have been to the metro park Children's Gardens, we have been stream fishing for minnows, we have been for "hikes" (there are no mountains here either), and have played more tag in the back yard than I thought possible.  We have amazing neighbors, a fantastic new ward, and lots and lots to be thankful for!