Monday, November 30, 2009

They Came!

We prepared beds and food and activities and....
They came!
Bearing gifts.

A UW sweatshirt for Ezra...

Bracelets for Caroline...
Ah, I don't call them "Mom and Dad" for nothing--they know how to make me smile! Guess who these gifts were for? Well, they are for Tadd too...but he never got the memo : ) Who came bearing these gifts? Grandpa and Grandma Tractor and the Uncles--Brettskis and Heffay. They arrived the day before Thanksgiving and the festivities began.

Thanksgiving day we relaxed and cooked. Grandma and Mommy stayed home to work on the meal while Grandpa, Daddy, the Uncles and the kids drove down on the beach to throw rocks into the reservoir. They didn't stay away long, because it was quite cold. Then the kids went down for naps and the adults enjoyed "the feast" in peace and quiet. I did feel a little guilty about this because after our 3 week Thanksgiving study, Ezra was quite looking forward to "the feast". We left the food out for the kids to enjoy when they woke up. And I needn't have worried. Ezra said with great feeling "Thank you for making this good food mommy, I really like this feast!" And he ate several helpings of the corn he had specifically requested.
A little sustenance to tide us over between breakfast and the feast.

The turkey carver in his dressed-up holiday look.

I still love my china and use any opportunity to bring it out.

Little Miss took the second half of her nap on Grandpa's shoulder.
And then we sat moaning and groaning while the turkey sang and danced the afternoon away in our big fat bellies.
That evening we took this cranberry-pecan pie (the reviews were favorable)...
and this pathetic turkey pinata
over to Uncle Alan and Aunt Heather's house for dessert and games.
The kids were a little disappointed to find that the pinata contained not one piece of candy...but they were happy with the stickers and toys.
And my favorite newborn nephew was alert the whole evening long. I even got to hold him for the better part of an hour. I feel like I know him now.

After all that eating the kids felt the need for a bowl of cheerios.
Whilst the adults nursed indigestion over a game of hearts.
And the Uncles graciously played "Guess Who" with the kids.

Thank you Lord first and foremost for the gift of salvation given freely. Once accepted it leaves us free to enjoy these many blessings You have bestowed upon us. Blessings too many to count. Blessings in the form of the family--born and unborn and friends who surrounded us this Thanksgiving day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today during our Thanksgiving Study time we made our Thankful Lists for this year. I asked the kids first of all what things they thought the pilgrims had thanked the Lord for those many years ago and we brainstormed for a bit. Then I got out paper and asked them what they say "Thank you" to the Lord for. These lists were written just as they spouted them off. Ezra's list is in the order he gave me without any prompts.

Ezra's 2009 Thankful List
1. Toys
2. Mommy & Daddy
3. Furniture
4. Warm house
5. Tool shed
6. That we're having a Baby
7. Cute flowers
8. I love the Lord Jesus
9. Food to eat
10. Fruit growing in trees
11. Playing with my sister
12. Playing with my Baby
13. Apples, food, fruit

Caroline's list was mostly her own and in the order she dictated it. A couple items she had to be coaxed/led/prompted into adding.

Caroline's 2009 Thankful List
1. God
2. Baby
3. Horsies
4. Food
5. Pancakes
6. Bread (suggested by Ezra)
7. Daddy & Mommy (a little coaxing by mommy)
8. healthy stuff
9. Ezra (prompted by mommy)

These are so easy and fun to do with the kids. I have a thankful list done by Ezra every year for the past three Thanksgivings. They will be fun to add to his scrapbooks and look back on as the years pass. And here are a couple fall pictures of the thankful little munchkins themselves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's been a while! We've just been putting along living life without anything too terribly exciting going on. A week ago we had a meeting harvest party that I was real excited to take pictures of and blog about. I made sure to remember the camera and took it out as soon as we arrived at the elaborately prepared Diesel Depot. I aimed the camera at a tray of decadent and lovely home-prepared caramel apples...I focused, I pushed the button...nothing. What? Try again. Nothing. Error message--no memory card. Major bummer. There was a delicious dinner of ribs and baked beans and corn bread and salads and fresh pressed cider (as in, the press was right there and the mess was still underneath it). We sat at tables amidst friends and had a "drawing on our table cloth" contest. Ezra sat at the kids table waaaaay across the shop from us and would randomly come tell Tadd "I love you, Daddy" and then go running back to be silly with the other kids. We dressed up in old fashioned clothes and had family pictures taken. We played humiliating games. We talked and ate some more and laughed A LOT. You'll have to imagine what it all looked like. One of my favorite parts was watching Ezra in the "donut hanging from a string" eating contest. He turned in about a dozen circles trying to get a good hold on the donut with his mouth (hands are tied behind the back) before someone took pity on him and held the donut still.

Aside from all the picture-less fun we had...a couple weeks ago Tadd enjoyed playing with the camera while the full moon was rising over the reservoir.

Ezra and Caroline enjoyed a Saturday of playing with their cousins.

And during the week the kids and I have been doing a Thanksgiving study. It's nothing too detailed and I highly suggest doing it with any toddlers you have at home. Each day we read a book about Thanksgiving--the first Thanksgiving or current Thanksgivings (most of these books are from my classroom, but you can find many at your local library). Then we read a poem or two (I searched for them on the internet) and sing a song or finger poem (found these on the internet as well).
We talk about what Thanksgiving is, what it meant to the pilgrims, why they left for the new world, what Thanksgiving means to us, etc. It's amazing how much the kids can remember from our lessons. This week we'll be studying Thanksgiving traditions, then and now--and foods, then and now.

We do a coloring sheet and/or project each day at the end of our study. There are a lot of good coloring sheets online and a lot of simple projects. We made hand print turkeys last week. This week we'll be working on a paper mache turkey pinata just like we did last year. We'll also make some pilgrim hats for the kids to wear around the house Thanksgiving week. It's fun to have a theme to play with for a couple of weeks. And if you haven't started yet, don't despair--you still have a week and a half and that's plenty of time for a Thanksgiving study.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alphabet Sounds

Yep--a video! A what???? I've never posted a video before. We did not own a cord to our old video camera that allowed us to upload clips to the computer. Then we went and lost the charger sometime around the time we moved. The cost of a computer cord and a new charger was more than we wanted to pay for our outdated video camera. So, we took the tapes to a specialty store where they are putting them on dvd for us. And we are trying out a handy-dandy new video camera. Still undecided on whether it's a keeper or not.
This video is especially for Grandpa and Grandma Tractor. I can remember my mom volunteering in my kindergarten classroom while my teacher went over this very exercise with all of us each morning.
Please, please, please excuse the loud sound of my voice. Is there anyone out there who likes the sound of their own voice on video??? Without further's a sample of the kids practicing their alphabet sounds.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just For Lucas!

Lucas, we really, really, really missed you last Friday! Wanna know why? There was a BMX show for free at the middle school by Grandpa and Grandma's house. We heard about it while we were at story time at the library. So, after lunch we headed over to check it out. They had 3 professional riders and a big old ramp. We all knew that you would love to see these rad tricks we were watching : ) Ezra and Caroline were seriously wowed. This guy made it around the gym 1.5 times standing up on the seat and handle bars that way.
We saw full flips, 360's and plenty more!
The riders jumped over volunteers who were willing to risk their bodies by laying down on the gym floor.
They ended up with jumping 7 kids at a time.
The above trick is hard to see...but the rider would ride in on one bike and then hop onto another bike without ever stopping. The other riders were standing there to catch the bikes so that they wouldn't get ruined.

Lots of tricks whose names I cannot remember.

Caroline had fun jumping around on the bleachers.
And my final trick of the day? Tripping down the last two bleacher seats while carrying Caroline and falling onto the gym floor. Don't worry, none of us was hurt. Beyond pride, that is. Thankfully everyone was too busy getting the autographs of the riders to see. And Tadd and Ezra were over checking out the ramp, so they didn't even notice : ) Guess I should have worn my helmet just to watch the show!
Hope you enjoyed the pictures, Lucas. Wish you could have been here with us!