This will be the nutshell version with pictures of what we've been up to the last couple of weeks! Once I get caught up on here it is much easier to be consistent with posting. Here goes...
(As always, you can click on any picture to see a bigger version of it!)
OCTOBER 12--Mad Science Day
This was a home school co-op event. It wasn't the "Mad Science" that you may have heard about but rather a station event that allowed kids to visit 6 different tables to learn basic science concepts. Charis had a blast, and so did the boys, who were at their own little pre-school table doing such activities as playing with shaving cream, mixing paint colors, making leaf rubbings, etc. Since I spent most of my time keeping an eye on the boys, I didn't get to see much of Charis's activities. It was a well-organized event, and the kids all loved it.
I "caught" Charis finishing up this book on her own, a 178-page Bobbsey Twin story, the first book in the series! I had purchased the first 10 books to have as read-alouds, thinking we'd start them sometime during this school year. Little did I know that Charis was reading the book on her own in her room! She got so excited about finishing it, and Ted and I were frankly quite amazed to discover her accomplishment. She has since breezed through the next 3 books and is almost finished with book 5! (Her reading of those has been interrupted by a new reading project, Meet Felicity, one of the American Girl books that she got from Uncle Clint and Auntie Ski for her birthday!)
OCTOBER 15--Charis's Crafts
Charis has been into crafts pretty much since she was born. She has recently begun making her own paper projects using scraps I've given her. I've dumped a LOT of card stock scraps on her this month as I prepared materials for nearly 600 cards for my Christmas card workshops! She made this tu-tu for her stuffed bear--I don't know if you can see the ruffle on it, but we were impressed with the detail. Snuggle even has a hat with ear holes cut out and little ballet slippers! Other craft projects have included animal face masks for her and her brothers, I believe a rabbit, a bear, and a tiger.
OCTOBER 18--Birthday Kids
It just so happened that the well-child check-ups for my kids were scheduled on this day. We woke bright and early so we could leave for base by 7:30 a.m. The kids were great at the doctor's office for the most part. Tobin didn't want to say AHHH, and Charis refused to speak at all when the doctor asked her questions, but other than that they did well. (We've been trying to work with Charis on courtesy issues...now that she is 6, we feel it's important that she communicates with adults when we are present. She's always been shy, but this is beyond shyness and has frustrated us because she does very well conversing with adults she knows. Any thoughts?)
We also had to update the kids' shots, so all 3 got poked today. Tobin, the Drama King, wailed so loudly I think surely Ted must have been able to hear him on the other side of base. Charis tried to be brave but did end up crying. And Arden? The little guy just sat there, munching on his fruit snacks as if nothing was going on! Of course, he seems to have the most body fat, so perhaps the poke in his legs didn't affect him the way it did his skinny little sister and muscular big brother.
But a happy thing also happened on their birthday--Grandma and Grandpa K drove into town to stay with us for a week! They didn't get in until we were at church for AWANA, but the kids had a great little visit with them before bedtime.
OCTOBER 20--Tour of the Thunderbirds hangar and TTF (Threat Training Facility) with Grandpa
Mom and I enjoyed a relaxing day at home while Dad, Ted, and the kids went to base. Ted took this day off. It worked out perfectly. I was able to finish setting up for my major Christmas card workshop Saturday morning, and Mom wrapped tons of birthday presents and even Christmas presents that she and Dad had brought along with them. The guys and the kids enjoyed their time on base. It was a gorgeous day, and you can see by what the kids are wearing that the weather was great!
OCTOBER 21--Bonnie Springs/Old Nevada
After my stamping class was over, our family drove to Bonnie Springs. We got a train ride from the parking lot to the entrance of the Old Nevada "town," a replica of an old western town with real buildings (not just false fronts). The kids had a blast--they really hadn't been introduced to cowboy culture before, but they were quickly drawn in! Grandma and Grandpa bought them all cowboy hats.
The first activity was a "deputy" show, during which all the kids who were around got to sit together and listen to a deputy talk about guns and gun safety. It was well done, and I commented to Ted that perhaps we should count our trip as a field trip and a day of school, especially since we hadn't had school but one day this week! Afterwards the kids received their deputy badges and helped chase a "bad guy" and put him in jail. In the picture below, you can see Tobin and Charis, the only kids with cowboy hats on. :-)
Then we got to wander around the town a bit before the melodrama began in the saloon. It was quite entertaining, though it did have its share of risque double entendre...glad it was over the kids' heads, but still! This is supposed to be a family event!
After that, the "bad guy" returned to town, and we went outside the saloon to watch the sheriff and his deputy give the bad dude a "trial" (for which my dad was picked to be defense attorney!) and then hanged him. Much humor abounded, and I think Tobin should have won a prize for most involved spectator. Every time the sheriff asked a question, even if rhetorical, Tobin answered in a very LOUD voice! For example:
Sheriff: What are we going to do with this scoundrel?
Tobin: HANG HIM!!!!!
(Note that Tobin had no idea what a hanging was until after this day!)
By the time all this was over, the sun was going down and it was getting quite cold. We went to the Bonnie Springs restaurant and enjoyed a yummy dinner there--country fried steak for Ted, Mom, and me, and buffalo steak for my dad, complete with salad, potatoes, gravy, bread...mmm! The kids were sure pooped by the time we got home after the 45-minute drive!
OCTOBER 22--Birthday Party!
This year we ended up combining the kids' parties. Arden was too little the last 2 years to really worry about an official party; we just did family activities. This year, since Grandma and Grandpa were only here a week, we decided we'd better combine the parties. In the future I plan to try to have separate special days for them--it's not their fault they share a birthday--but right now all their friends are from the same family anyway!
So we sent out invitations asking friends to come for some Fall Family Fun. We provided each family with a pumpkin for a pumpkin-carving/decorating contest, and families also made caramel apples to take home. The kids loved decorating their apples with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and candy corn, and most of the grown-ups enjoyed the anticipation of eating a caramel apple rolled in nuts! Mmmm! The trampoline was also a big hit and kept the kids from running about the house. Each family brought a side dish, and we provided drinks and appetizers and a Pumpkin Patch cake from Sam's Club. (Charis had requested a pumpkin cake!)
It was a great party--lots of fun, and the emphasis seemed to be on FAMILY fun as opposed to necessarily spotlighting OUR kids, which was my goal anyway. We did let the kids open the gifts that people brought, but we saved our plethora of family gifts for them to open the next night.
We were able to get our ultrasound done while Mom and Dad were here. Mom and Charis drove with me to base while Dad chose to stay home with the boys. Unfortunately the staff was about 45 minutes behind schedule, so by the time I got back there, Ted had to leave for a meeting. We got a couple of good pictures but of course heard nothing about the gender. We look forward to our FUN ultrasound (during which I won't have to have a full bladder!) in December and to finding out if this baby is indeed a girl or not.
OCTOBER 25--Goodbye :-(
Grandma and Grandpa K had to leave on this day. Charis was especially sad to see them go and spent some time crying and cuddling on my lap after they left. We began reading Little House in the Big Woods, though, and that seemed to help ease the pain. :-)
Whew! I'll quit for now. Those are the highlights of our last couple of weeks since I last posted. I'll try to start catching up with other daily details later!