Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sprinter Weather

No, I'm not talking about a runner, but the combination of spring/winter weather we've been experiencing here in Kansas. People native to this state are sick of it and it makes me laugh. For a couple of years now, we've had really mild, warm winters and record breaking hot summers and everybody's complained of our drought and how we need moisture. We finally get some, albeit in late winter/early spring months, and people are now complaining that we're not experiencing a spring season. I so disagree. We've had a wonderful spring, with just a couple of minor, minor bouts of winter thrown in. I've missed sweater weather we have not had the past couple of years. We've gone straight from mild winter to summer temps with no in between. Spring is my favorite season and I'm reveling in this one. I'm also glad that I make it a rule to not plant any flowers until the end of April/beginning of May, just in case we still get snow/freezing temps like we did yesterday and a couple of weeks ago that might ruin my plants. Yes, in KS on April 23rd, we received 0.2 inches of snow. This was a record for a measurable amount of snow this late in April. Plus, we had a record low this morning of 25 degrees. But, in true KS spring fashion, we will be in the 70s this weekend. I love it!

Dusting of snow on the deck, table, and trampoline

April 10th we had icy rain fall and here are some pics from that:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Girl Scout Camp Out

Last weekend was a Girl Scout camp out. Our guys don't consider it a true camp out since we did not sleep in tents, but all of our activities were "real" camping activities. Lauren and I got to the place around 4:00 Friday. We had packed all of our stuff into a suitcase, and then also had to bring some food, lawn chairs, and a griddle.
Once we were there the girls played outside until it was time to gather fire wood and cook hot dogs followed by s'mores over an open fire. None of us moms knew how to build a fire but our leader had brought a book and we followed the directions, and it was successful!
Once it was dark we stayed inside the lodge and the girls played games and sat around talking until about 11:30. By this time all of us moms were wanting to go to sleep so it was lights out, but it did take about 30 minutes for the girls to settle down. Our group slept upstairs in a room with several bunk beds with mattresses. I didn't sleep too badly. I think everyone began waking up around 7:00.
Saturday consisted of introduction to learning about a compass, learning how to tie a knot with their handkerchiefs to make cute little hats, taking a hike, playing at the playground, a nature scavenger hunt, making pizza pita pockets for supper, and then Lauren and I came on home instead of staying the second night.
Starting out on the hike
I had no idea we would come out of the woods and be by the Arkansas River--this was my favorite part of the camping experience
We followed the sign to the o.w.c.--outdoor worship center
A fun hidden area with a labyrinth

The older girl scouts did sleep outside in a tent
I had much more fun doing this with Lauren than I thought I would. The camp was only 20 minutes from our house, but you really did feel like you were isolated from anything that had to do with a city. I am proud to say that I was not one of the moms who was on the phone talking to their husbands at all during this time, and I was pretty impressed with how much I was able to contribute when it came to figuring things out involving cooking and hiking. Now Lauren and I are ready to go on more camp outs with our guys!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Go Shockers!

I am a graduate of Wichita State University and when the men's basketball team made it to the Final Four this year you better believe it was a HUGE deal in this city. Roger was out of town when they played this game, but the kids and I were able to go to a friend's house to watch it with a group of people. The team did AWESOME, but I have never been so frustrated with a bunch of refs in my life. I have a hard time seeing when fouls are made because sometimes plays are too fast for my mind to process quickly enough what I'm seeing, but there were times when I could tell when a blatant foul was being made and the refs did not call it. It really seemed like our team was not only playing against the opponents, but also the refs. Unfortunately, we lost by 4 points, but that is just marvelous to me that we were that close. I hope it's not too much longer before we make it back into the Final Four, and hopefully move on to win the tournament!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Learning Addition

Sweet Lauren has always needed a little more time than those the same age as her when it comes to school. We have tried a few different math curriculums in hopes of her learning her math facts. Yes, unfortunately she has been struggling with basic addition. Please don't judge. She just has some kind of glitch that Hubby and I have been trying to figure out what it is in order to help her learn better. If it comes down to it, we may have to hire a tutor, or take her to a learning center that might be able to diagnose what the glitch might be. We've learned not to compare her to her brother who is more advanced in school, nor to other kids in her grade level. We've also learned that sometimes we need to take one subject at a time with her and focus on that for a while so as not to stress out and overwhelm her or ourselves. And guess what--it works! One of the beauties of homeschooling. We can adjust what we need to in order to help her progress and not worry about a timeline because she is learning, just at a different pace. I'll admit though, I do still worry sometimes, and try to keep her on an average timeline like others her age and grade, but in the long run, it's all going to work out. Her reading is an example. That didn't click and take off until this past fall, but now she reads chapter books all by herself and loves it.

This math thing has really been a doozy to figure out though. I have been in tears worrying about it. I mean, she has to learn her basic math facts in order to use it in every day life. Then one day, a fellow homeschooling mom sent out an email saying that her 3rd grade daughter was learning her times tables and when she succeeded with that they were going to have an ice cream sundae party. She printed out a picture of an ice cream sundae with different parts and once the daughter memorized and tested 100% on that particular number 1-12, than one part of the sundae gets colored in. When it's all mastered than the daughter gets a sundae party. She asked others if they wanted to join them. I thought this was a great idea and Lauren could do this with addition. However, there was a time line and I knew that would not work with Lauren. But, I took this mom's idea and tweaked it for us. After talking with Hubby, we gave Lauren the challenge that when she could master her addition facts 1-12 we would take her to Chuck-E-Cheese. She jumped at the challenge. We made a pepperoni pizza and put it on the fridge and each time she masters a number (meaning a timed test within 2 minutes and 30 seconds she needs to get 30 addition problems correct) than she colors in a pepperoni for the number she mastered. We are currently working on the 4s. She is understanding that as the number gets larger, it's too time consuming to count with fingers, so she is trying really hard to memorize. She's doing great and we're taking the time that she needs to master each number. So far we have been able to conquer one number a week. One day her test took her 3 minutes, so we studied a little bit more and the next day she was under the time limit. If this way of learning her addition facts is successful, I think we will do this for subtracting, and eventually multiplying and dividing. Here's her cute little pizza:

Spring Has Sprung

I don't know, maybe growing up in Colorado where it's not unusual to receive snow even into the spring months, makes me wonder why so many people here in KS are so upset about the snow and cold temps we've received the last 6 weeks. The past two or three years have been warm dry winters. That has lead to really hot record-breaking summers and extreme drought. First, everybody's mad we haven't had cold moisture producing winters to help with the droughts. Then when we do get snow everybody's complaining that we should have warmer temps and enough with winter. People around here are wishy-washy and spoiled I guess. They don't know what to complain about, and what to be grateful for. Me, I have really appreciated all of the snow we've gotten. I didn't mind the over 20" we received in one week last month.

Well, guess what?! Last weekend we got 5 more inches of snow! It started snowing Saturday. In fact, Evan had to go play his soccer game in the snow, but he didn't mind one bit. He was bundled up warmly, but he said his feet were cold. Lauren and I didn't go to the game, so I don't have any pics of that. Then, when we woke up Sunday morning, it was obvious we had been dumped on while we were sleeping. Our main street that takes us to church was awful which surprised us. We could not tell if the plow had been through yet or not. We had to drive slow and there were drifts on the road. On the way home from church the street still had not been plowed and I think we saw 4 cars that had slid into the ditch just since the couple of hours we had been at church.
Okay, so this pic of the road doesn't look that bad, but trust me it was.
This pic was actually taken 2 days after the 5" of snowfall.
Since last weekend, the snow has melted and we have received lots of rain, sometimes sleet, or tiny pieces of hail. But, the grass has greened up. Oh my has it greened up. What a fun thing to watch how in one week we went from brown to green. Kind of funny to think that in such a short time we're going from shoveling snow to mowing. This weekend the temps were in the 70s so we were able to dig up 5 thorn bushes in front of the house. I guess the previous owners really wanted their house protected from any would be burglars so there were a total of 8 thorn bushes planted in the front. We left the ones closest to the windows in the ground, but the ones we dug up were really hazardous because if anybody walked up to the front door, those bushes were ready to snag a person's clothes let alone their skin. Roger chopped down the bushes with some kind of electric saw after we figured out it was dangerous to try to clip the branches. Some roots were deep and thick, but we hacked at them with an ax, and I am so glad we got them out. The following pics show how big the thorns were, and hopefully you can see how yellow the roots are. I'm not sure yet if I want to plant different bushes or flowers in place of the bushes we dug up.

Last Wednesday we had the most beautiful full moon. When we got home from church on Wednesday night I went to take a pic of it from our back door. It was actually yellow, but my camera didn't pick that up. But, it was big and beautiful!
Pretty cool pic of the moon between the tree branches.
 This morning we have been watching a red cardinal hopping around the backyard looking for food. Also, our resident squirrels who I don't ever think hibernated this winter seem to have become more brown. I LOVE Spring!!

Last Tuesday

Last week Lauren had her piano lessons--she started in February. She is doing so well with them just like I knew she would. Now, if we could just find a really cheap, yet nice piano to buy. We have a keyboard and I'm grateful for that, but having a piano would be better. Some day..... Anyways, her piano teacher is so nice and only lives literally 5 minutes down the street from us. There will be a recital June 1st.

After piano we went to the orthodontist so Evan could get his bottom braces on. He is doing really well with these. He's never complained of hurting or pain, just some soreness, but with both of his top and bottoms, after 2-3 days he's eating regular food again. He is so happy to have them. He's had his tops for 9 weeks now and his front tooth gap is already closed and his teeth are definitely straightening out allowing room for those teeth that haven't come through yet. They also added springs to his top wire which will allow some adjusting room for when those eye teeth grow in.