Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School

I went to take a nap at around 1:30 on June 30th, and woke up this past week to find it was time to start school again!  So we've hustled around and gotten all the plans and routines set, and as of this morning, Poplar Streams Academy is back in session.

Over the weekend we had our traditional Treasure Hunt, preceded by making some homemade ice cream.  Both events were greeted with glee!

Making ice cream (without an automated maker... thank you, Pinterest):

 Going through the spoils after all the Treasures had been found:

Check out this super-long Timeline that folds out of a book we got. (Thanks for the tip, Mom!)

The whole school
The first day of school wasn't exactly greeted with glee, but there were plenty of smiles.
1st day of 1st grade
1st day of 5th grade

 And even some laughter -- for some reason, doing the Pledge of Allegiance and singing some songs became quite funny.

We had our Annual First Day of School Breakfast -- Apple Pie -- so that might account for the extra giddiness and energy.  :)

Then we got down to the real work of the day, broken up by a mid-day bike ride.  (And somehow someone's bike ended up in a tree.... but that's a different story.)

Really, they DID learn some things today.

It makes me a little sad that this is probably the last year of Poplar Streams Academy at full capacity.... Next year we'll have a high-schooler and that will undoubtedly mean some changes!  For now, I'm soaking up the moments with these pupils.

...And I'll add this little gem in, too.  Here is Strider on the first day of his school program ("Bridge"), trying not to smile.  I think he looks so handsome with his shirt tucked in (a school requirement)!

He had a good first day there, too.  Everyone's looking forward to the new school year.... mostly.  :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sometimes they surprise me

Usually I think of my two little guys as a couple of cubs (Colsen is a bear cub, Miles is a lion cub), wrestling together, head over feet, rolling through the house, leaving a wake of broken furniture, ripped window screens and overturned grandfather clocks.  (Yes, all of those have happened recently.)

But sometimes I see different facets of their little personalities that I wouldn't expect.

Like when I hear Colsen tell his grandmother how much he appreciates the garnish of parsley that she put on the platter of meat.  "I only like to eat meat that has a garnish - -a green garnish, like parsely," he said, much to my amusement.  (I never use garnishes!)  Later he also explained to his grandmother how to do a basil chiffonade.

Or like when Miles surprised us in a 20 Questions game.  He told us he was thinking of something "really, really hard" -- and he was right.  It turned out to be "this music - -I don't know the name of it, but it goes like this:  na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-NAA."  Pete and I stared at each other because he was clearly humming a piece by Mozart, one that I didn't even know he had ever heard before!

Or like when Miles brings me one rose from our rose bush every single day.

Or like when Colsen very patiently tries to teach Miles how to swim, step by step.

Or like when Miles reaches over and gently touches Colsen's face when they're sitting on the couch, just because he likes to be near him.

Or like when they started mowing the lawn -- with their invented lawn mowers.  Cole said, "Look, Mom, we made these out of upside-down rakes and hand-saws!"
Open blades on the ends of lawn tools... nothing could go wrong here, right?

Actually, that last one was more like what I expect from these two.

 Dangerous activities, wild romping, animated playing, random thoughtfulness, and snuggly sweetness.... I'll gladly take the whole package when it comes to these cubs.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New River Gorge Bridge

On our way to and from Ohio and/or Pennsylvania each year, we often like to stop at the New River Gorge and check out the longest arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere.  (After building a bridge like this out of Jello boxes for school a few years ago, we have a new appreciation for the design!)

It's becoming quite a tradition.  The bridge never changes, but our family does!

Here are some pictures from one of our first visits in 2005:

And then a few years later, when we were a family of 5 in 2007:

.... and now as a family of 6 in 2013!
(The boys were happier than their faces reveal here)

I guess it's a good spot for family pictures.

And it's also a great place for a rest stop since the bathrooms are clean, and there are a couple hundred steps for the kids to run up and down to get out some energy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Other Ohio Occasions

We had a lovely time at Grandpa and Gee-Gee's new (to us) home in Ohio.  Some of the other things we did that I haven't already documented:

Another visit to the Bird Sanctuary -- definitely Colsen's most favorite place.

Another visit to a go-cart place  (WHAT kind of family are we becoming???  This is not our normal form of amusement.  I almost didn't recognize ourselves.)

And a lively round of miniature golf:

Here we learned that the Frank men sure have some unusual putting forms!

We also visited a huge hostas breeding operation, visited with some friends from Grove City, went on a 12-mile bike ride (just a couple of us) and enjoyed a few hikes in a nature preserve... none of which I caught on film.

It was a very nice time in the Fun Center of Ohio!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Turning 11

Our little lady turned 11 this week!  And she is soaked up every drop of joy on her birthday.  I saw this quote that day and it reminded me of her:

There is no desire to stop playing in this child!  I doubt she will ever grow old.

The first birthday treat for her was to go to her beloved carousel:

 Afterwards, we went out to lunch at a wonderful cafĂ©, and then wonders of all wonders, we went to a chocolate shop and actually each picked out a special chocolate!  (Obama was here recently so we were excited to see what he bought.)

 Then, Gee-Gee took the 3 younger kids to a children's interactive play museum and Rayna (and her brothers) got to play and play and play!  She LOVED it (they all did).

Playing pediatrician

Styling Milo's hair

Playing school
 After all that PLAY, we came home to a lovely salmon dinner and then ice cream cake!

As with everything else in the day, Rayna LOVED her gifts -- a couple purses, some jewelry and some art supplies.

This girl is the most fun person to plan a birthday celebration for because she appreciates everything!  All day long we've been hearing, "Thank you for hanging up those streamers!  Thank you for getting me a cake!  Thank you for taking me out to the carousel!"  etc,, etc. 

We love our grateful, enthusiastic, joyful, playful girl!