Monday, October 31, 2011

Blogging Catch Up

I have gotten tons of emails from faithful readers saying, "Janet, what have you been doing, what are you up to, we hang on your every word!" (that *never* happened)

My camera quit working on me for no good reason (sprayed with sunscreen, dropped countless times, used by a two year old, left out in extreme heat) and so I had to use my handy-dandy, VIP warranty from Best Buy (does Dennis know me or what?) - and they provided me with a brand-new camera, as per our $44.99 agreement - Yeah! But for this post you will have to tolerate pictures taken with my Hipstamatic app.

We've been doing this....
and this...
Washington Rock State Park

and this...
Kid Junction - Sean had never been in a 'kiddie' place, because there are always two or three "too big" brothers with us. He said, "Ma, I no can belief this place!"
and this....
Ringing Rocks State Park, Upper Black Eddy, PA - featured in Roadside America
We participated in our homeschool clan's Annual Stone Soup Celebration. It is always a day that makes me happy to be a homeschooler!

We also did this. 
This was an impromptu Pokemon game we were generously invited to on one rainy afternoon.
There's been a snowstorm, a blackout and a halloween party held during the blackout. Nope, I didn't have my camera for those. So, are we all caught up, Blog?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Last Two Days Have Been Kind of Sh*&y

(Lest I portray that life is rosy all the time. Sorry for the profanity if your not inclined and don't proceed if you have a weak stomach.)

The utility sink overflowed. But not from utility-sink water, the kind you don't want flooding your basement. We figured that out when someone flushed and it brought a new cascade of not so clean water out onto our basement floor. There was lots of it. Roto-Rooter was called, but they couldn't come until morning. Really? Since I am the only one who can't easily pee on the grass, I think I took it the hardest.

Then the baby pooped in the tub. That's not new, but he was particularly creative this time. But we were in a rush to get somewhere, surprising, right? And I didn't mean to leave the poo in the tub. But then came the grumpy phone call from Dennis asking if that was poop in the tub? Ummm, yeah it is. Like I said, I didn't mean to leave it there.

Then Sean pooped and peed on Dennis' chair in the office, so I went to put him in the tub. When he dumped all of his bath toys into the tub, it became evident that he had 'strategically hidden' a quantity of poop inside one of the toys. Drain bath. Scrub. Santize tub and kid.

I grabbed up all the bath toys that were implicated and stuck them in the utility sink. Only problem was, the washer was running and it drains into that sink. Flood number two on the basement floor. I had recently scrubbed and dried that floor and just started the fans the dehumidifier. Rewind. Start again.

This morning the upstairs toilet flooded after being used. Are you seeing a theme here?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Visiting Arizona - Flat Style

Flat Gavin and Flat Mikey have been packed and shipped off the Peoria, AZ. They will be visiting the kids at Desert Harbor Elementary School.

I have to send props to my friend Jennifer at Toad Haven Homeschool who hooked us up with the teacher there. You can get lost on Toad Haven's site and I hope you will - we've have found hours of inspiration there!

If you are not familiar with 'flats' or Flat Stanley check it out here and here. Mikey asked the kids at the school to take pictures with their pets and stuffed animals, while Gavin told them he was excited to visit anywhere with the kids.

If you are going to any exotic or not-so-exotic locales in the future, would you consider a couple of little stowaways?!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Collegiate Quidditch & A Date with Gavin

Quidditch is an imaginary game played in the Harry Potter books - I mean, it's 'real' in HP, but it's imaginary in 'real life', right?!?! Wrong! Quidditch is gaining all types of validation here, here & here. Get on the quaffel people, this is a great game!

Gavin and I attended the 2011 Brotherly Love Quidditch Match at Chestnut Hill College. It was a beautiful setting for an HP event. Quidditch was a mix of lacross & dodgeball with some hide & seek and tag thrown in. The golden snitch was a track-caliber runner whose presence on the field prompted spectators (yes, even me) to yell, 'there he is!!'

This is a co-ed sport and every body type was represented - which was great to see. Colleges represented Vasser, John Hopkins, University of Maryland, Penn State and others. Gavin and I both liked it alot.

Also part of the HP day was the town of Chestnut Hill renaming all their shops to Harry Potter shop names and we browsed each of them. We had Philly-style hot pretzels for lunch and attended a 'Defense of the Dark Arts' Class. I don't know when the last time I spent a day alone with Gavin, but I know I want to do it again soon! And each of my other boys, too. You're going to see a few more 'dates' featured here soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Columbus Day = Cousin's Day

I am making an announcement. Columbus Day is now reserved for spending with your cousins! We received several lucky strikes that enabled us to make Columbus Day into "Cousin's Day". First was that mother nature offered us 85 degrees of sunny goodness. The other was that my sister forgot that her children would need childcare because there was no school (love you!) Another is that my kids never have school. The last is that we can drive to the beach in under an hour.

I was able to meet my best friend (40 years of friendship, baby!) with two of her little girls (yeah, more cousins!) for the day. She was able to leave her littlest and yummiest baby at home for a relaxing day for all.

Happy Cousin's Day everyone. Looking forward to doing it again next year. Oh, I hope we can do that beach part, but if not, we dig up fun just about anywhere!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Running Away to Join the Circus

Over the weekend, we visited the Grand Opening of The Circus Place in Hillsborough. They are teaching circus arts to children in a non-competitive environment. It was pointed out to me by a staff member that 'mistakes are the road to learning' and there is a cooperative effort as the kids work together. Nice, right?

Every staff member we came in contact with was patient and genuinely interested in giving the kids a taste of the equipment and skills that can be learned. My kids were inspired, wanting a tightrope in the yard and more juggling paraphenalia. The space is nice and new, and so is the equipment.

From years of having kids with a certain set of challenges, help from various professional therapists and voracious reading on the subjects, I could see so many benefits of the activities being offered here. From a sensory standpoint, most activities brought real awareness to where your body is in space. The hand-eye coordination that can be taught and developed is so important for solid function in everyday activities. I watched my kids very carefully and noticed that balance, core strength, coordination and focus were all addressed by the activities presented. Saying that the kids were engrossed and having fun is an understatement.

Ethan had an encounter with Craig Quat, the director of the program, that gave me chills. As far as I am concerned, he's a genius with extrodinary gifts and someone I want my boys around.

To understand what he was doing with Ethan, watch the video here.

To understand the kind of people we are talking about here, check out....

This is an exceptional group of people, I could feel it in the room. I am really excited about the prospect of my kids developing such interesting and productive skills. The boys want to know when they start.

Although I am generally opposed to 'school' - this one seems just perfect for us.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Non-post

I guess writer's (real ones) call it 'writer's block'. Do blogger's get 'blogger's block'? I do like the alliteration, but don't like that I have nothing to blog about. I mean it's not like there's NOTHING to blog about. I just don't know how to say it.

I don't have the literary prowess to paint the proper picture of Ethan and his friends celebrating at a Sweet Sixteen party. It was lavish and loud with all the trappings of a great party. There was couple dancing, a great DJ, a dance battle, drama, tears, cake, candy, laughter and the....well, 'typical' stuff. Seeing Ethan and his friends in that setting was fantastic.

I wouldn't know how to tell you about the boys immersing themselves in Egyptian culture, crafts, myths, documentaries and activities. We are listening to the Story of the World audio book. We could probably be moving faster, but as I said, Mikey & Gavin are stuck in Egypt. And Archeology. And ants. Ants are just random.

I can't figure out how to describe the family game night that required that I find a couple of board games that our whole family could play together. Do you get that? If I can't figure out how to include the two-year, we may as well not even try to have game night. Oh, the pressure!! But I perservered, and we ended up with Sorry Sliders, Booby Trap, and Uno.

I don't even know what to say about the weather. I don't know how to tell you that while lots of people are talking about 'crisp' air, I am beginning to feel the chill that will herald the cold. When it comes to the seasons, I am not optimistic. I am still lucid enough to know that I cannot stop it, and winter will follow fall.  What I can tell you, is that I will try to squeeze a few happy drops out of the last of any temperate weather we may have.

Other than that, like I said, I don't know what to say.