Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Calvin!







Sweet boy of ours,

Mommy and Daddy love you very much!  Today you are 4 years old!  It seems like just yesterday we were taking a squawky baby home from the hospital.  We didn't know what it would be like having a Calvin, but we were so excited to find out!

You have had a great year!  You've grown inches and are now as tall as Mia was when she was 5.  You will surpass her, just not for a little bit longer.

By the grace of God, you finally potty-trained this year!  Woohoo!  It wasn't easy because you were motivated by nothing...but one day it happened and it is fastly fading what it was like before underwear.

You have a love for learning just like your sister.  You can already read and counting is a breeze.  You love practicing writing and can scribble a pretty good Calvin.  Your drawings are starting to improve and we can tell what is on your picture most of the time.  ;)

You still love frogs, but now we've expanded into a love for sharks, whales, eels, snakes, bugs of all kinds, and germs.  Yes, you really want rabies and heartworms...in the plush form.

Your favorite food is peanut butter and jelly.  You ask for it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  You still do not like vegetables, but will tolerate an occasional carrot.  We make you eat 3 bites of veggies before you get dessert and you usually get it done.  I'm not sure you will like it when we up it to 4.

You have an innocent, childlike faith, which is so sweet.  Your favorite Bible story is Jonah and the Whale.  The other day we were talking about how when you disobey God, there is a consequence and you replied, "Jonah's consequence was going in the whale."

We love you sweet boy, we love watching you grow and learn about life.  We thank God that He gave us you!

Love always and forever,
Mommy and Daddy, Mia and Asher

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Grade




This year we took the plunge and decided to homeschool.  It had been tugging at my heart for awhile and after weighing all the pros and cons of public, private, homeschool...we landed in the homeschool camp.  Just to get our feet wet and see if homeschooling would really mesh between Mia and myself, we started in June as a sort of trial period.  We figured if we sank horribly, we would just go with the plan to enroll Mia in a regular 1st grade classroom with an aide to assist her when necessary.

This summer went great and so we are jumping in completely to this challenge.  There were so many different reasons to do this, one of the biggest motivators was to address Mia's shortcomings.  She is so bright, academically she is further along than a first grader already, so in that sense, school would not be extremely challenging to her.  Yet, physically, she is a bit behind.  In some ways, Calvin at 4, is more advanced than she is at 6, physically.  We wanted to tailor her learning to her needs.  Homeschooling lets us do that.  We get to work on some of her struggles, while still challenging her academically.

One of her biggest struggles will be writing.  Her fine motor skills are behind and there is a disconnect between knowing how to write something correctly and physically making your hand do that for you.  I've seen little bits of improvement over the summer, and many of our activities are very purposeful in that area.  She gets the one on one attention she needs and the time to practice.  Of course, she is rather stubborn and will fight me in writing, but we are working on the concept that we can't do everything perfect and we all have to practice and redo things in life...that is life.

It works great with Calvin and Asher here.  Sometimes Calvin joins in with the lesson (and Asher too) and sometimes the boys just go play on their own.  We aren't doing anything formal with Calvin at this point, but letting him be a part of as much as he wants.  Calvin and Mia work very well together, so this is another great thing.  They really are best friends.

Everyone's big concerns are that socially, she won't get to play with her peers enough, but we've already had other homeschooling moms and their kids come over for play dates and I think we won't be short in any of those.  She does Sunday school and Awana on Sundays and she will be part of a grade level specific bible class on Wednesdays when I am at Bible study myself.

So, we are just going to go with it.  We are going to trust God as He continues to provide for us and for our children.  We are excited to see what God has for us this year!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Whales, Sharks & Eels...oh my!

We celebrated Calvin's 4th birthday a little bit early this weekend.  He invited a few of his friends over and we had a great time!  There was a bounce house, which was a huge hit and kept the kids fairly occupied.  I've noticed he has a hard time settling on one special want, he sees different things and will change his mind constantly about what he wants.  So, settling on a birthday cake was extremely difficult!  We went from a germ cake, to a ghost cake, to a mario kart cake, to an eel cake.  I was happy when we settled on the eel cake because I felt like that was doable.  I used two bundt pans and chopped the pieces and rearranged.  He was very happy with his eel cake. 







He told me he wanted a chocolate cake and he wanted his eel to be brown.  I was so excited because Calvin has a hard time with artificial coloring, we steer clear of it as much as possible.  When he has artificial colors, he tends to have an inability to listen by the end of the evening.  Brown, I can do brown.  He told me he wanted a "spotted american eel", where does this kid learn this stuff?  (From our visit to the aquarium of course, someone must have mentioned it to him...he has such a good memory!)  So the chocolate chips came in handy for the spots. 









One of Calvin's gifts was a germ plush, Mange.  I don't know exactly how he stumbled upon germ plushes, but he is obsessed with them.  For awhile he was begging me, "mom, I want rabies, I want heartworm, I want toxioplasmosis."  Which sounded really funny coming from my 3 year old's mouth, I would have been really confused if I didn't know he wanted plushes!  He has learned to search on google for whatever animal he really wants with plush attached to the end...he can then look at pictures and ask me how many dollars a particular animal is.  The other day, Brad and I were looking at our mini ipad (the one he uses to browse) and there were so many different tabs open and his spelling was too cute.  Bllfrog Plush, Big Wale Plush, Eele Plush, Jerm Plush.  Google is so smart, it quickly adjusted each of those for what he was looking for. 



Look at this girl and her missing teeth!  Love this smile!

To end the party, every kid got to take home their very own snake...I mean, eel...that's what we are calling them.  They were a huge hit.  Calvin really enjoyed his party, he loved all his friends that came and for the rest of the day he tried out every gift he got that I let him.  He loved everything.  Our sweet boy, he is a blessing from God and we are grateful for him.  Thanks everyone for helping us celebrate today!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Family

Brad's Grandpa Bob came out to visit us in California for a few weeks.  He split his time between our neck of the woods and other family near LA.  So, on the weekends, we got together down in LA and did some fun, family activities. 

It was a great time for everyone.  Mia, Calvin & Asher loved all the fun stuff and especially all the family.  Brad's extended family down south has cousins that are close in age to Calvin and Asher and they had a blast playing together.  Calvin keeps asking when we can go back. 

And of course, time with Great Grandpa was especially sweet.  All the kids loved spending time with Great Grandpa, but Calvin was especially fond of him.

We visited the California Science Center, which is in LA across from USC (my old stomping grounds).  I immediately noticed how different everything was since I've been there.  So many new buildings and changes.  Isn't that how life works? 

The kids loved the science center.  There are so many hands on activities and it is free!  We also got to see the Endeavor (not free, you had to pay to see that.)  How amazing to be so close to the shuttle, it is huge. 

The following weekend we ventured down to the Long Beach Aquarium.  The kids enjoyed all the animals.  Asher especially liked the huge fish and the birds.  We then headed up to Brad's Uncle's house and enjoyed an evening meal and S'mores on a fire pit.  That was a huge hit with the kids, there first time having s'mores. 

The next day we did a few fun activities around where they live and headed to the beach.  This was the first trip that Calvin probably could remember.  He loved the ocean, wanted nothing more than to go deeper and deeper into the crashing waves.  I was super grateful that Brad didn't let go of his hand.  Mia wasn't opposed to the water, but she wasn't rushing to get into it...and Asher wanted nothing to do with it.  He was content to scoop in the sand and just play close to mama.  Such a fun time!

Sadly we had to say goodbyes, but there were so many great memories made and such a blessing to have Great Grandpa here for a little while. 















More Pictures





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