Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Zoo

For my birthday my Mom renewed our zoo membership, so we can visit free for another year.  Our zoo has added lots of cool things for kids, so we like going even if we don't really look at the animals.  We knew the new Kid Zone would be open today, so we started at the opposite end and walked all the way through, stopping at a few different places.  Here are the highlights:

I thought the elephants were cool but the kids like the helicopter you can climb on and the Safari Tent better (the cot in the tent is an excellent diaper changing station!)
I looked at this next picture on our way home and went, "Holy Crap!  We have four kids!"

Rachel is way too grown up here:

Mama-Baxter selfie!

I always like seeing the Toirtoises in the desert section eating at the salad bar...

Holy Cannoli!  We've been trying forever to get a glimpse of the Red Wolves and FINALLY a red wolf was out and awake! I don't know if you can see him, but he's there by the fence!

If we were celebrities, this next picture would be all up in People or US Weekly:

I LOVE this outdoor kitchen/mud/dirt play area.  The Ingram Homestead will have one of these even if we don't build a house until our kids are all grown.  I love this!!

There was an awesome wall and sidewalk area with tons of chalk, water, and brushes.  Rachel liked drawing hearts on the wall,

Ford drew a train on the sidewalk,

and Ruby splashed water everywhere...

The last place we played was a shallow stream that was so cool.  There were pipes, tubes, fishing poles, buckets, and more.  Our kids basically ended up swimming in this area.  Even Baxter dipped his toes in the water.  We will be wearing bathing suits an sunscreen next time because we could have played here ALL DAY!

Luckily, we had a change of clothes for almost everybody (Ford had to let his pants dry, but it was worth it).  So we sat in the warm sun and ate some peanut butter tortillas before getting on the tram ride back.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Swing Break

Baxter's first swing at the park
Canoeing at Dr. Ed and Ms Lisa's
Movie morning!
Vacation is awesome!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

We had a very Happy Easter Day with a visit from the Easter bunny, an Easter egg hunt at church, a successful day in church with four children, fun in the dirt outside, a family walk in the sunshine, pizza night, and lots and lots of candy...maybe there should be a second Lent after Easter where you give up all the things you eat too much of on Easter!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What have we learned?

It's been a long while since I've updated what we've learned, so let me give you a quick rundown:

Baxter:  He rolled over all on his own for the first time today!!  Watch out solid foods...coming soon!

Ruby:  Can write her own name.  Seriously, she taught herself.  The girl is a genius.  She traces letters everywhere she goes (on books, on sweatshirts, on signs, etc.)  She can write every single letter of the alphabet and just needs a little help on a couple of them.  It's amazing what a third child can pick up from just watching and listening!

Ford:  He has started to read!!  He really, really, really wants to be able to read, so we got him the Bob Books pre-reader set and once we finished that together, he has started the Bob Books that he will read on his own.  He is already on the fourth book and doing pretty well.  In my mind, I think Rachel just picked up the books and zoomed through, but I know that she had troubles here and there, so I know this will take time, but Ford is doing remarkably well.  He has been doing great with his math.  He can add +1s and can do a few of the doubles.  Adding was so fun for him when on his math video Mr. Steve told him it was just like coupling up trains.  Couldn't have come up with a better analogy myself!

Rachel:  She has almost made it all the way through subtracting with single digits.  We need to go back and do some review, but she's really starting to get it.  Once she figured out that subtracting meant the number had to get smaller, no problem!  She is an extraordinary reader.  She's reading chapter books on her own during nap time (as in almost an entire Nancy Drew notebook each day).  She tries every day to make her handwriting neat so that she can move up to the next handwriting book and start cursive.  She tries all the time to write in her own kind of cute.  We've been learning poems and figurative language.  In Social Studies, she's learned about Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt.  In Science she found out about conservation, pollution, and taking care of the Earth.  We've been pretty busy and I'm starting to get my groove back as far as planning goes, so hopefully this Fall we'll have a lot more focused lessons and activities.

Extra-curricular:  Baxter can laugh :)  Ruby is so excited about starting ballet in the Fall.  We use it as a reprimand all the time.  "You can't do that at ballet class."  "You don't want to act that way for Ms. Kelly in ballet class, she'll send you home." etc  Ford started up his Spring Soccer League.  Rachel continues violin and has gotten really good.  She will finish up Daisy Scouts in a few weeks and that will be the end of her girl scout career for now.  It was fun, but it's taking up a lot of time and energy that we can put elsewhere.

It's been a regular old Ingram Roller Coaster of ups and downs.  We spent a lot of the winter with Allen on snow days, so his spring break is very short, but we still intend to make the most of the next few days with him and enjoy our Easter/Spring Break a lot!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where, oh where, did the Ingrams go?

I've been trying to only use the Internet when I need something (banking, email, school info, etc) during Lent.  It's been a nice break from reading blogs of friends of friends  of  friends and worrying more about useless info than what's going on in my house!  I have missed blogging about our life but it was safer to just stay away!  Lent is almost over and  I have much less desire to just surf the Internet these days, so I may try blogging a little more.  We'll see...  The big news is that I have a new phone and a camera available all the time, so maybe I can figure out how to have more pictures on here soon :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Spring has sprung, sort of

I know, I know, there is another month of winter left to go.  Next week we'll be back to the 30s and 40s, but for 24 hours I'm going to make like Sheryl Crow and soak up the sun.  I think my patience grows as the temperature rises.  I will kick myself later for saying this, I'm sure, but what a great day we've had at Ingram School!!!
To begin with, Baxter took a nap in his cradle and we got tons of school work done!!!  We talked about colors today.  Rachel and Ford used the markers to practice spelling and handwriting.  Rachel had to write all 12 colors on lined paper by looking at the marker herself and spelling them correctly. Ford picked three markers and practiced spelling them and, of course, drew a train with them.  Ruby would pick a marker out of her jar and as I wrote the color name she told me the letters, then she colored with that marker.  She felt so grown up.
Ford did his math lesson almost completely by himself, then did some letter work.  Rachel had trouble focusing on her math test due to her 6 year-old molar bothering her, but she got all the problems from this week's lesson correct...we need to do some addition review!  Ruby did some counting all the way to 30!
Rachel read us a story, we did another Mother Goose poem together, and then we talked about Christopher Columbus asking Queen Isabella for some ships for his voyage.  We also talked about the calendar, Ruby did some matching work in her "school book" and everyone looked at library books.
Now for the real fun...after Baxter ate, we all went for a walk to the dentist's office down the street (had to pay a bill) and when we got back we decided to ride bikes.  Ruby did something bad (I can't remember what), so I told her she could only watch (consequences are working today!).  Ford and Rachel had so much fun.  Ruby watched nicely for five minutes, so I pushed her around in the neighbor's play car.  I kept cracking up at the game they came up with.  One of them would sit on the steps to our neighbors' porch and the other two would ride by and say, "Hey, my friend from school, want to come to my house and ride bikes?". The one on the steps would hop down and get on a bike and they'd ride a few laps, then somebody else would sit on the steps.  While they were riding they'd invite each other to lunch or dinner or movie night with their Dad.  So funny!
When we finally put up the bikes (they rode for a LONG time).  We decided to eat lunch on the porch.  They played so nicely while I got lunch ready.  We put out a blanket and had a fun little picnics, then read stories on the blanket before come in for nap time.  It was such a great morning!
If we can just keep the post-nap crabbies away, this day will be awesome.  And if we could just get rid of the mud before it rains again, we could do this every day!!!  I think it also helped that Baxter did some great napping today, too.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Lessons I've Learned on Enrichment Day

Wednesday is kind of our "enrichment day" around here.  We used to go to story time on Wednesday mornings (more about that later) and now Rachel and Ford are both taking art classes on Wednesdays.  It takes up just about the whole day to do a 10:30 story time for an hour, figure out lunch for an hour, get Ford to art at 12:30, pick him up at 1:30, try to squeeze in a nap for anybody who will take one, get Rachel to art at 3:00 and pick her up at 4:00.  So, today, I learned a lot.

1.  No more story time for this crowd.  Why?  Well, Rachel has definitely aged out of story time, the stories haven't been that great lately, and too many people want to talk to me and take my focus away from the kids.  The crazy thing is the people who I like to see at story time weren't even there today...they're the ones I like to talk to, but not today, boy!  Allen used to work at the library, so everyone that works there wants to talk to us and check out Baby Baxter (understandable, but hard to do with three other kids tugging at you and making bad decisions like pulling all the books off the shelves--Ruby!).  Some of the people who work at the library I have known for a long time and enjoy talking to, but other people come get in those quick conversations and make them take way longer and test my patience and politeness because I'm just not good at cutting people off.  I think I'm going to start getting better at that!  The kids don't like the stories, they aren't real sure about the crafts, and we usually end up in an argument about how many Thomas or Fairy books they can check out or why they can't play on the computers or take all the books off the shelves.  I'd rather go to the library when there aren't a ton of other kids there and nobody cares about talking to us!  I can do my own story time here at Ingram School.

2.  My kids trust Ms. Lisa more than just about anyone else in the world.  I don't know what we'd do without Lisa.  She teaches their art classes.  She could tell how crazy I was after the library today and was there to help out when Baxter decided he needed to eat and Ruby had an accident in her tights all at the same time.  She offered to bring Ford home so that we wouldn't have to load everybody up again in an hour and Ford jumped on his chance to ride with her!  I'm pretty sure the only other person he's ever ridden with by himself is Hobo.  The boy knows who will take care of him.  When she dropped Ford off, she offered to come back by and get Rachel (who has never ridden with anyone else by herself) after picking up her nephew at school.  Now it was Rachel's turn to get excited!  Lisa promised me that she'd let me know if she had too much going on to pick up or drop off, but I think we may have a system here!  Allen picked Rachel up afterwards and I spent a lot less time in the car then I had thought I would today!

3.  Cloth Diapering a newborn is not for me.  I have done four loads of laundry today and I can't keep up.  Most of it is the diapers, some of it is the muddy clothes from the two middle children who make bad decisions outside like going head first down the slide into the muddy spot of the yard.  I know that newborns poop a lot more  than big kids and it could get easier when he only poops once a day, but goodness gracious, does every.single.diaper have to have poop in it?!?!?!  I can't figure out a good system in our house, so for now these cloth diapers are going back on the shelf.  A million jillion trillion times thank you to Amanda and Chris for letting us use their diapers and possibly, just possibly I might pull them back out when we're doing one poop a day, but for now, I need to just throw that sh*t in the trash (pun intended!).

4.  Screaming doesn't help, but it makes me feel better.  Well, then it makes me feel worse.  Hell, I might need to give up screaming for Lent.  We live in a teenie tiny house and I still have to scream from one room to the other to get a certain little girl to come when I call her.  I get mad at her for screaming all of the time and then I realize where she gets it when I scream at her!  Same thing goes for the hand on the hip and the mean faces.  I know I do those, too, but does she have to be my exact duplicate?!?!  I make a lot of bad decisions, too, we're soulmates, I know it.  I am seriously (again) going to start over (again) tomorrow and be more intentional about giving her consequences.  I just really don't know that she cares.  Sometimes I feel like I'm being so mean, too, that I remind her that I love her, I just don't like how she's behaving or the choices she's making.  I'm pretty sure all she hears is, "I love you...." then her mind wanders.  Maybe her Pavlovian response to "I love you" is to just tear things up and go crazy.  Tomorrow.  It's going to get better tomorrow.

5.  Babies cry the most when you're the most frustrated and especially when you're trying to calm everyone else down.  Two nights in a row Baxter has screamed and cried during story time right before bed.  So much for hearing the story, but we just plow through.  I just had to laugh tonight as I'm reading (loudly) and bouncing Baxter and I look around to see everyone covering their ears.  I guess covering your ears drowns out baby crying but not story telling???  We've got to get this figured out soon, though, because Allen will be teaching four nights a week during the summer and I'll be solo for bed time.  Baxter will be old enough to cry in his crib at that point!  I'm just glad Allen will be home during the day!! Yay, summer vacation!!

6.  When is a baby most likely to spit up?
a)  After a nap.
b)  When you're wearing old clothes that are already dirty.
c)  Never, my baby doesn't spit up.
d)  Right after you've finally calmed him down and given him a bath and he's all nice and clean!

every.single.bath.time...spit up follows immediately, and sometimes pee all over the towel, I'm sure poop will be next

7.  Even the worst days at Ingram School have great moments.  Ford, Rachel, and Ruby all did such great school work today.  Everyone ate their meals so nicely today.  It was 70 degrees and despite the mud, we had a great time outside today.  There are always high notes and I'd rather write about those, but sometimes I need to remind myself of the things that drive me crazy, too.  And learn my lessons!