Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fox Family Visit

In late July, Grandma and Grandpa Fox came to visit with Jason's brother, Scott, and his three kids, Gabe, Andrew and Amber.  It was great to see them, and we really appreciate that they all made the long trek from Indiana to spend the weekend with us.

While they were here, we went to the Museum of Natural Science in downtown.  Both the little and big kids had a good time.  We also took Miles and Vivienne on their first paddle boat ride at Bond Park.  They seemed to enjoy it, though I think they were getting a little antsy toward the end.

We all loved spending time with family and relaxing together.  Gabe and Andrew were great with the little kids, playing with Lincoln Logs.

Amber and Vivienne made some beautiful art together.

It was just a great weekend with family.  Thanks for coming to visit us!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Preschool Co-op

Miles and Vivienne are at an age where a lot of their friends are just starting preschool.  I wanted to give the kids a preschool experience, but I don't want to spend a lot of money (of course, we have to multiply preschool tuition by two) and I want to spend a lot of time with the kids.  After speaking with a few friends, I realized they shared some of the same thoughts, so we decided to try a preschool co-op.

There are 4 moms in the co-op and 5 preschoolers (and a few babies who will be aging in eventually).  We rotate each other's houses and each week 2 moms are "on" and 2 moms are "off".  We did a trial month, and it went very well.  The kids love it, and it is fun for the moms, too, once we got the hang of managing a larger group of children. 

Our schedule is similar to what the kids would do at a "real" preschool.  It includes time for outdoor play, books, music, snack, craft and lunch time. We usually choose a theme for each week (trains, farms, how plants grow, nature, etc). 

Our train theme day went like this:  The kids had free play, and then we went on the porch to play with the bubble machine for a while.  We pulled out some cardboard boxes and made them into a train.  When the kids started to get antsy, we gave them sets of markers to color our cardboard box train.  After some impromptu singing and dancing (which may or may not have included the songs "Wagon Wheel" and "Call Me Maybe" - Miles' and Vivienne's favorite songs, respectively), we had our train snacks (which were egg cartons cut in half that were our "trains" that the kids could fill with grapes, raisins, sunflower seeds, cheerios, etc).  After that we went inside for a train craft (gluing shapes of different colors to pages, creating a train picture).  Next we went upstairs to read some train books, followed by some train songs and and our musical train (the kids holding instruments, marching around my friend's home and banging playing their instruments).  That was followed up by lunch and a little more time for free play.

We have also decided to add in a "fun day" each week where we also take the kids on a sort of field trip, like visiting a museum or apple or blueberry picking or the zoo.  I am really looking forward to those adventures.

So far the kids are really, really enjoying it, and I look forward to the weeks that I'm teaching and the weeks that I have off.  It's neat to see the kids in a more structured learning environment, and it's fun to see the kids building relationships with their friends.  It also gives me the opportunity to build stronger relationships with my friends.

It's fun to be Preschool Dropouts.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Praying for Dora

Last week, we were riding in the van, and the kids and I prayed for one of our friends who has had a particularly bad week.  After praying for Melissa, Vivienne said, "Wait!  Let's pray for Mommy!"  Of course, I fully supported this plan.  "Dear God, please be with Mommy this week and help her to be loving."  "Wait!  Let's pray for Mommy and Daddy and Evelyn and Vivienne and Miles."  "Ok... dear God, please be with Mommy and Daddy and Evelyn and Vivienne and Miles and help us to love one another well this week."

After staring at the backpack in her lap (which has Dora on it) for a few seconds, Vivienne requested, "Mommy, can we pray for Dora and Boots?"

"Dear God, please be with Dora and Boots this week and help them feel loved."

(And, God, please help Dora and Boots find the Gumdrop Forest quickly and protect them from Swiper.)