Sunday, October 9, 2016

Summer's end

On August 26, Jared and Todd left for an overnight hike.  We didn't tell Jared about it until the morning they were leaving, since he gets excited and can't sleep.  He was beyond excited.  He has been asking to go backpacking with Daddy for about two years.  
 Todd and Jared went with Cambell and Grant to Barclay Lake for an adventure.
 We stayed home and played in the sprinklers, then had pizza night with the rest of the Christensens.  We also ate carrots right out of the garden, complete with dirt. They taste better that way, don't you know?
 Sammy climbs ladders.  He can actually climb up and down unassisted.  When I think of all of the time I spent spotting Jared and B on ladders, this makes me laugh.  Eloise did not like to be spotted.  I usually keep the ladders put away, since when I think about babies with broken bones, I usually am also thinking about bunk beds, but I've caught Sammy climbing up the windows of the playhouse bed, so the ladder might be safer.  He loves his proximity to the ceiling here.
 At Sammy's 18 month checkup, they asked me if he can identify two different body parts.  Yes, he can, but he has one favorite.  He will show you his belly if you will show him yours.  
 Summer means shopping at the market for local produce, and, of course, riding the rooster.  I bought Jared these skinny jeans so that I could secretly laugh at him in them.
 Now that I have a bunch of independent kids, I decided to tackle a home project all by myself.  And by all by myself I mean that I recruited Rebecca and her boys to come and help me and all of my children stain this back fence.  And then I hired a neighbor girl and roped the missionaries into helping with the second coat.
 But we got it done!  Not a moment too soon, either.  This was probably the last stretch of warm and dry weather we had for the year.  I was really proud of Jared and Eloise.  They painted like crazy for the whole two coats, putting in about four hours worth of work.  I just got the last of the stain out of Eloise's hair this morning from this messy job, but we did it!
 Sammy loves bossing Shadow around.  He uses his deepest, most authoritarian voice to say, "Dadow, mum! (come)" Sometimes Shadow even listens.  She is very patient with Sammy continually eating her dog food and dumping out her water.  She doesn't seem to mind being Sammy's plaything.
 All of our neighbors went back to school after labor day, so we started easing our way back into a school schedule, too.  We have been doing a lot of school with the Carvers.  Sammy loves Dorothy, who he calls "Doh-ty," and lets her mother and manhandle him.
 School in nice weather often means we take it outside. Minds learn better when bodies are active, so I don't mind very much that outside school sessions often devolve into bike races around the driveway.  They only get one childhood.
 On September 13, Eloise had her first piano lesson with Jared's piano teacher, Sam.  She was beyond excited.  She spends at least an hour at the piano every day, practicing her assigned material, and then picking out tunes by ear, or playing the three pieces she has memorized ("Old MacDonald," "Mary had a Little Lamb," and "Ode to Joy.)  Tuesday is piano lesson day, and she seems to glow with excitement when she is with the teacher.  I hope this enthusiasm lasts.
The week of Eloise's first piano lesson was also the week when we had a live, interactive broadcast with scientists aboard the Joides Resolution research ship.  It was docked in Singapore when had our broadcast.  We opened it up to any of our home educated friends who were interested, and we ended up with 19 kids in our house to learn about the research they are doing in pulling up samples from the subduction zone of the tectonic plates in the Indian Ocean.  It was pretty amazing.  

Jared and Eloise want to learn how to type, but they have a tendency to click around at random when they are turned loose on a computer, changing settings willy-nilly.  Since I don't often have the time to supervise individual computer time, we do some of our keyboarding practice on these old keyboards Todd has collected (he has a thing for the old, clicky ones), which I color coded with a marker so they can learn which finger types each key.  
 The temperature took a sudden nosedive a week before it was properly the end of summer.  The Knight children who can read calendars were absolutely outraged that the weather was not cooperating with the autumnal equinox, until we went to the market for fruits and vegetables and they were each allowed to pick out a pie pumpkin.  They insisted on painting them that very day.
Cooler weather means the pace of our lives slows a very little bit, since we can't cram a park visit into every afternoon.  Between library trips, science classes, piano lessons, weekly field trips, neighborhood walks/bike rides, errands, play dates, chores, pretend play, and daily school work, our days and weeks slip away.  We still manage to have an extraordinary amount of fun, though, even when the days are gray.

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