Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feliz cumpleanos, Papi!

Birthdays are a big deal around here.  Not the "rent a jump house and have all matching paper goods" kind of big deal, rather the "take a day off from school and work and spend time celebrating together" kind of big deal.  So, Papi took today as a vacation day and spent his birthday celebrating with us.

We had a great day planned, and we ended up doing most of it.  We had our special birthday pancakes, and shared the cards and gifts we had made for Papi.

Then, we went to a nearby park and kicked the soccer ball around.

Later, we ate lunch at a Chinese buffet we hadn't been to yet and Papi had been anxious to try (he really misses Ming's.)

After naptime, we had birthday cake (pumpkin pie cake with cream cheese frosting) and then went to the mall in search of Wii games.  Papi didn't find what he was looking for though. :(

We had planned to go fishing, but it was too windy for that, so instead, we went to another park and the kids modeled some of the knit hats I've made that I'm going to try to sell on ETSY.

It was a wonderful day just hanging out together and celebrating another year with Papi!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day Trip to Mexico

Mexico, MO, that is.

This past weekend was Alpaca Farm Days. We were pleasantly surprised that the alpaca farm we were visiting also had a U-pick apple orchard with dwarf apple trees.  We used to go apple picking in Peoria each year on Labor Day, but that orchard was sold and the new owners didn't allow U-pick.  That was about 3 years ago, so this was quite a treat!

The drive there was only about 45 minutes, which included 3 miles of gravel roads.  Just before we arrived, we saw this trying to cross the road.  Papi and JT got out to see it up close, and it waited patiently while they took pictures before it continued across the road and into the weeds.

This is only about 1/4 - 1/3 of the length of the snake - it was about 5-6 feet long!

This male alpaca seemed friendly with people, but apparently was mean to the other male alpacas, and too friendly with the females!

She was scared to get closer, but really wanted a picture with him.

This alpaca wasn't sure it wanted to be lead around in a circle.

It had gotten used to the lead when it was JT's turn.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Notice her paint stayed nice and separate.
His colors were mixed before he even began to paint!

I love the look of concentration.
He was so happy to be painting.

The Best Day

Homeschool has been a bit of a battle lately.  Partly due to the kids' skills being beyond their developmental readiness.  As I type that it doesn't make sense, so I'll try to explain.  JA reads at a mid-3rd grade level in both Spanish & English, but she still prefers picture books, and is just beginning to have patience for chapter books.  JT reads at a kindergarten level in Spanish (he can read slowly, sounding out each syllable) and a preK level in English (common words.) He doesn't enjoy reading or writing at the moment because it still takes so much effort. His patience for read alouds is also much less than his sister's, and books without pictures are just awful in his opinion.

Yesterday, though, we had a breakthrough.  The kids listened to stories and our science text while under a blanket tent they had made.  JA even did her math under that tent!  I wonder what other ways we can make learning more fun around here.  We don't do a lot of workbooks or textbook learning (mostly learning from our reading and conversations), but there is some, and those are the things that cause the most problems.  Maybe we can work at a park one day, or find other easy changes to liven things up a bit. 

Listening to a read aloud

This is JT.  He's always so goofy and loves when he can makes us laugh.
They built this together, without arguments.  Clean-up didn't go as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It's 5:30am and I'm holding a baby toddler who woke up thirsty and cold.  He's now content, having put on more pajamas and drunk some warm milk.  He's on my lap, staring at me and discovering my eyelashes.  This moment is perfect.  I love being a mom - his mom, and mom to JA and JT, too. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

the Mighty Mississippi

We've crossed this river countless times, but hadn't once stopped the car to check it out.  Monday was a beautiful fall day, and we weren't in a rush to get anywhere, so we stopped. 

We stopped on both the Illinois side and the Missouri side.  On the Illinois side we were at a marina and saw all of the different boats people take on the river.  On the Missouri side we got to actually touch the water!

Those trees are in Illinois!


This past weekend was my family reunion.  I've been going since I was born and have only missed twice that I know of.  It has been wonderful bringing Papi and the kids to experience this tradition. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Tonight was the kids' first night of AWANA.  They loved it.  They had so much to tell us afterwards, they were up for an hour past bedtime, just trying to fill us in on everything.

While they were having fun at AWANA, Papi, JMC, and I had time to hang out.  Since JMC isn't talking yet, it was really a date night for Papi and I.  How nice!  It has been way too long since we've been out on a date, and now we'll have this extra time each week.

JT and JA with their AWANA books.  JT has his AWANA vest on, too.
Their books, along with the tote bags I made for each of them.


Last year, I made JA a reversible bag based on this tutorial, plus a pocket.  I made it smaller though, making the finished bag about the size of a sheet of notebook paper.

This week, I made a new bag for JA, as well as a bag for JT.  JA's bag is based on the same tutorial, using the suggested measurements.  I added 2 pockets and made the strap reversible as well. 

For JT's bag, I used this tutorial.  I wasn't able to figure out the accordion fold double pocket, so I made it a single pocket.  I also left of the D-ring, as I didn't have one on hand.  Maybe I'll add one later.

At AWANA tonight, a mom asked if I make the tote bags to sell! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

1 down 2 to go

Pregnancies' worth of weight gain, that is.  I don't gain more than the "recommended" amount with each pregnancy, it's just that I tend to hold on to about half that each time.  So, over 3 pregnancies, I had let about 40 pounds stick around.  Not so good - for my health, energy level, or even example to my children.

Well, I have officially lost all of the weight I gained when pregnant with JMC.  Yeah! I feel good about that, and for my goal of where I'd like to be.  I'm not focusing on it too much.  No dieting, no omitting food groups, or skipping meals.  I am trying to stop eating when I'm full, go on more walks, play WiiFit, and even just play outside with the kids.  That's it.  It's slow going, but it's the healthy way to go about this, and with both JA and JT watching me closely, that's what I need to do.