Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Our first stop of the day was actually at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Park, which I will write more about later, I'm sure. For now I will say that they were...hot...and interesting...and hot...and Benjamin's life was made when he got to ask a park ranger how they got their job...and we were all really hot.
I suppose we shouldn't really complain because Salt Lake City hit a record-breaking 106°F today! We were only in the 90s (with something like 97% humidity). So it was hot for us...but not as hot as some places.
What the kids really wanted to do was get to the beach already (but we had to stop for a lunch break somewhere so a picnic at Ocmulgee Mounds it was (safer than attempting a restaurant; not that many dining rooms are open yet)). The whole time we were there the little kids were trying to see the ocean from the tops of the mounds or asking if we were "there" yet, which we weren't, but after a short 2.5 hour drive we finally made it to our "beach hotel."
Alexander seems to be purposely throwing in as many /s/, /sh/, /j/, and /ch/ sounds as he can now that he can actually say those sounds. So our hotel isn't just a hotel. It's a "beach hotel." He's not even disappointed that we're thirty minutes away from the beach. He's just so excited to be here.
He also carefully pointed out each and every "gas station" along the way. Once we passed one and he said, "There's another gas 'tation..." and when he realized he forgot the initial /s/ in 'station,' he just...stuck it on the end. So he ended up sayin, "There's another gas tay-shun...ssss!" He's getting lots of good practice in and we still find it so ridiculously cute whenever he says anything with any of his new sounds.
Anyway, after checking into our "beach hotel" (half an hour away from the beach), we headed to the beach to play until the sun set (completely neglecting to have any dinner). As we were walking across the boardwalk to get to the beach, Alexander saw the ocean and exclaimed, "That's a big river!"
He was very impressed by the ocean (and practiced saying that word a billion times while he was building sand castles).
Here he is being very impressed:
Saturday, June 12, 2021
If my children ever question whether I ever loved them, please remind them that in the summer I routinely let them stay up past their bedtime so I can take them on "firefly walks" in 95% humidity.
It was absolutely sweltering this evening, but after our walk they insisted on staying outside to catch lightning bugs. I didn't take any pictures, so enjoy these pictures from June 8. I think we easily caught twice as many—even three times as many—fireflies as we caught that particular day because the firefly population seems to have exploded since then. The kids were catching fireflies left and right, coming up to me and saying, "Okay—I've got three!" Even Alexander caught several (and he's...not very good...at catching fireflies (though I really think it has more to do with his height than his skill; they so quickly fly out of his reach)).
Benjamin did not wear his flannel onesie this evening (he would have melted), but he was wearing it on June 8:
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
Due to circumstances currently beyond our control, in addition to circumstances we wanted to get control of, we had our first day of school on Monday.
For one thing, we'll be having a baby sometime in November or December (but most likely November (unless I'm jinxing myself because I've never made it to my due date before; but I'll likely be diagnosed with gestational diabetes and then they won't let me go to my due date, anyway, so...it'll most likely be November)) and I imagine we'll want to take some time off then. Probably more than we would, otherwise, at any rate. Especially because I'll be going to school full time, myself.
For another thing, the kids haven't been giving me a moment of peace! There's always a constant stream of them wanting this or that: Play with me. Get me a snack. Read me this book. Look at what I made....
No amount of interacting with them seemed to stem the flow. They just always wanted something.
And while we're not poor, we certainly aren't rich enough to, like, send our kids off to camp for a month (besides which I'd miss them too much; plus there's still a pandemic on (contrary to popular belief)). So they're just home...all the time...and I'm the only one to field their requests and complains and whatever (because somehow the kids all respect Andrew's designated work space and time) and it's been exhausting.
I was thinking about it and I thought, "You know, doing our lessons takes about the same amount of energy from me as fielding their all-day requests. Sure, I spend a few good hours with them—reading and instructing and discussing and playing—but then, once we're finished...they're sick of me. They want to go off and do their own thing, play their own games. And that gives me a few hours to do what I want (and/or need) to do without interruption every five minutes!"
So that's my secondary (somewhat sneaky) reason for starting school so early. But also, it's another pandemic summer and there's little to do with all our unvaccinated little ones and I'm preparing for a maternity leave of sorts (how a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom actually prepares for maternity leave...I don't know...but I imagine it has to look something like front-loading school days).
Anyway, we started school on Monday. And things have been going fairly well. We're reading Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth, which I initially thought was a little...dense...when it arrived (not dense as in 'stupid,' but dense as in...robust...heavy...more cerebral than the kids could manage), even though the recommended grades is 7–12 (which, I realize is more directed at Rachel and Miriam than the younger three, but I figure the younger three can sit through it since I do story time with them at various other times of the day). Anyway, yes, I realize it's recommended for middle school on up. But even then the book just seemed denser when I flipped through it. But it's been a joy to read so far. Even Benjamin likes it.
It's made up of poems and short essays and things like that, so we can pause to talk about things quite easily, which has been great.
Anyway, it's been a wonderful read so far. We're also deep into our math books, with Benjamin learning about angles, and Zoë learning about equations, and the older girls in their algebra and geometry textbooks. Here are the little ones working on their math for the day:
Monday, June 07, 2021
Sunday, June 06, 2021
and, "Ben! You are a super fun dude!"
Friday, June 04, 2021
Yesterday was a pretty great day because in addition to it being Benjamin's birthday, I also got cleared from jury duty, and we got to take our very first firefly walk of the season! I think the kids caught more than a dozen before we headed inside (they're still fairly sparse, but I'm sure there will be more soon).
Here's Benjamin showing off the firefly jar (from yesterday; they were out there again this evening):
Thursday, June 03, 2021
Tuesday, June 01, 2021
We all got out of the house for a little adventure this afternoon. It was like pulling teeth, but we did it! I wanted to do it yesterday but Andrew had put off a project with a deadline of May 31 (which he didn't realize was Memorial Day), and then Rachel had to work this morning and when she came home she immediately started baking Benjamin's birthday cake (which I appreciate) so we had to let her finish that (even though it put us a couple of hours "behind schedule," so to speak (we keep a rather flimsy schedule around here)).
Andrew suggested we could go another day, but I knew Wednesday wouldn't work since that's our busiest weekday, and I honestly don't know whether or not I'll have free time any given day this week (because I'm on call all week). But I did know that I didn't have jury duty today, and that's something, so we headed out.
I had seen a few friends post about Freeman's Mill Park and wanted to check it out for ourselves as a little local adventure (we honestly haven't gone on an adventure in ages). The park is about a half hour away from our house (longer with traffic, of course), and was surprisingly empty (given how crowded the parks closer to our house typically are).
We had fun mis-reading signs along the way. Rachel saw this sign that said, "Well water is used for irrigation" but she read it as, "Well, water is used for irrigation," and it was hilarious (because we find things like that hilarious).
Alexander has had a major breakthrough in his speech!
He started using /s/ spontaneously and organically on Sunday, which was a rather amazing thing! We've been practicing saying /s/ for quite some time now but he's never used it, on his own, in context before. And then on Sunday he was just...throwing /s/ in all over the place. And not just /s/, either. He was also using /ch/ and /j/ and all sorts of sounds that he's simply elided before (or substituted with another sound (usually /b/ or /v/).
I woke up from my nap (*yawn*) and Andrew said, "Watch this! Alexander—tell Mom what you were playing downstairs!"
Alexander mumbled something.
"Say it again," I urged him. "What were you playing downstairs?"
"Dollhouse," he said...with the /s/ (though apparently he wasn't feeling like giving me a full-sentence answer, which is odd because he's a talkative kid).
"You were playing with the dollhouse?"
Later in the afternoon I was playing LEGO with him and he was talking up a storm, throwing in his /s/ sounds all over.
"Don't do it like that. Do it like this!" he'd tell me.
And I'd swoon a little because...this!
"I'm going to build the tower. You build a fence!" he'd say.
And I'd feel all giddy because...fence!
I took all the kids (save Rachel) to the park today and the kids noticed that the bramble berries are starting to ripen. I...don't know what sort of berries they are...precisely...though I think they're more like blackberries than raspberries (because they don't leave behind the inside part when we pick them). In fact, I think they're probably dewberries (which are just...wild blackberries).