Tessa the swim star

After two weeks of swimming lessons with AquaTots, Tessa is able to swim as far as she can hold her breath. She knows how to use her arms, kick her legs, and even jump off the side. It of course goes without saying that she is ALWAYS supervised in the water and knows that the first safety rule is not to go into the pool area without a grown up. She had one lesson where she blatantly said, “No” to every request of her teacher’s. But after a little talking to, she was back on track and moving in the right direction.

Moving Right Along

Things are picking up speed again in the Groftzoo. Paisley recently returned from a 10 day stay at a Carmelite convent. She and other girls worked there while the nuns put on retreats. Paisley is VERY glad to be home, and very glad to be able to take a nice LONG shower after 10 days sharing a shower with 7 other girls! She had a good time and missed her family all at once. The rest of us are very glad to have her back.

I am still feeling nauseated several times a day. Some days are better than others, but I am able to do more and more of my usual duties. Everyone is relieved to have real dinners made for them again! (Well, at least sometimes!)

Summer is in it’s fullest, hottest swing right now with daily temps ranging from 106-112 or so. The monsoons blew in this week with a doozy of a storm while Jay was out of town. The kids all slept through it, but the dogs sat by my bed and cried the whole darn three hours of thunder and lightning! Big babies!

I love to watch the clouds grow around the edges of the city as the afternoon wears on. There is always a little suspense about whether or not there will be a dust storm or even a bit of rain. It is interesting that after a big storm like we had a few days ago, it takes a few days to kind of charge itself up again. But today driving around at noon, I already saw some thunderheads forming! It is so exciting!

Tessa is talking up a storm and always surprises us with new full sentences. The other day she came running around the corner and ran into me in the kitchen, falling on her bottom as she did so. She looked up at me and exclaimed, “Look what you did with me!” I hemmed and hawed a bit and then she pointed her fat little toddler finger at me and accused, “You did it on PURPOSE!” I tried to plead not guilty, but she would have none of it!

Her other favorite thing right now is to walk around the house saying, “Rock, Pa-PER scissors” over and over. She doesn’t understand the game, but she knows it must be fun since her brothers and sisters play it!

Tessa do you want a drink?

I asked Tessa if she wanted a drink this morning, but she kept ignoring me. So I asked if she wanted a drink of milk or a drink of water. She looked up to the ceiling and pondered for a second and then said, “A drink of socks.” and cracked up laughing! She thinks she is so funny! (And I have to say that seeing a two year old laugh at their own jokes is pretty darn cute!)

Springing Back

What a school year! It has been quite a ride, and it’s not over yet. Looking back to the beginning of the year, I can see how much progress we have made. Reading abilities have improved, study skills are becoming more ingrained, and math facts are becoming more natural to all involved. Even the kids are starting to notice that learning is coming a little easier to them these days.

I still have so many days where I fantasize about sending them off to school, doing my house work, a little studying or scrapbooking, then fixing a snack and greeting them with a smile when they come home from school. But then I remember that this is really just a fantasy, and most days wouldn’t be like that anyway. Besides, I would really miss them.

Spring is a time that homeschooling really meshes with our family culture and stops being a way of studying. we have spent several months working really hard, but now there are things around the house that we have neglected, and yet there is still studying to do. In order to balance the two we have to kind of squish them together. The result is a day of housework here and there punctuated by reading, math, and quite a bit of play.

Lately James and Posy have been reading “Archemedes and the Door of Science” aloud to me. So I decided to just follow along on that train of thought and added in some Greek Myths (which Ben has enjoyed listening to as well) and some projects. Last week James and Posy spent a whole morning making a cardboard Labrynth for our guinea pig “Minotaurs” to run through. Tessa got a hold of it, though, before any pictures could be taken, and pulled it to pieces.

Paisley is working her way through Key to Algebra, slowly and in spurts. She has really been concentrating on History this year and the writing assignments that have gone along with it. Her writing skills have really taken off this year! She has also just begun working through C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and we are discussing that.

Posy is learning her division facts now. She is really getting fast with them. Her math book, Rod and Staff grade 3 only goes up through the 6s, but we will cover the rest this summer.

Ben’s reading abilities continue to amaze me. Yesterday I started having him read to me from McGuffey’s Third Reader. He struggled just a little bit, but overall he did better than I expected. He has been devouring Magic Tree House books like crazy, going through 3-4 of them a week!

Tessa and I have been doing a few activities in Slow and Steady Get Me Ready. She really enjoys working one on one and loves to be read to as well. Some of her favorite books are Corduroy, Goodnight Moon, and Elephants Never Forget. She loves hearing nursery rhymes and is starting to be able to fill in the blanks if I leave out a word and wait for her to say it. But she gets tired of that game pretty fast and after the first two or three times will just say, “I don’t know.”

Tessa Turns Two!

Our little princess turned two. It is hard to believe how fast time has flown. One minute she was a tiny baby in our arms, and now she is running around, making her own jokes, taking her shoes off (again and again…) and talking our ears off.

She is learning to count. She usually just counts “6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.” She can say her ABCs along with us. She loves to go bug hunting with her sister, Posy. She sings all the time. When she can’t think up a song, she will just hum to herself and make up one. She has been fully potty trained for sometime now, and is sleeping mostly in her own bed (but still in Mommy and Daddy’s room!)

Tessa is learning to make the sign of the cross, how to pray a Hail Mary, how to wait for our grace to be said before she eats. She knows Jesus when she sees statues or pictures, and always wants to kiss his owies. She tells him she loves him and we tell her how much he loves her!

She just exudes sweetness, and we are so blessed to have this little jewel in our lives!

Evil Twin

The EVIL TWIN is back.

It all started last week with some random whining, but yesterday when Tessa threw her head back and let out a scream that would make any banshee proud while leaving a toy store it became official.

We have a 2 year old.

Sure, she is only 21 months (as of this coming Saturday) but she has always been one step ahead of the game.

We had walked around a very pleasant little toy store for a while, and after a few warnings of imminent departure, I told he kids we were leaving. Now. Tessa responded by immediately trying to run from me, and when I picked her up she tried the “my body is too straight and slippery for you to hold” maneuver. When that didn’t work she let out a howl that I had no idea she was capable of. She cried the rest of the way to the car and half way home too.

Here we go…

A Trap?

Tessa picked up one of those little pony tail holders the other day… the kind with a little marble on each end and said, “Look, a trap!”

Thinking I might have heard wrong I asked her, “A Trap?”

“Yes!” She replied and toddled off on her merry way.

Poor kid, it’s a good thing she doesn’t have hair, she’d be thinking I spent all my time trying to TRAP her!