So I (mom) decided that this week we are going to start taking advantage of this gorgeous weather and start walking in the mornings before school. Today was day number 1, and all things considered, it went really well. We only had to carry Jack 1/4th of the way home as opposed to half the way ;-) We got back home around 8 am, had a light breakfast and dove into school. Ryan and Olivia take their book baskets and flop on the floor or a couch and start in, while Alec and Jack sit at the table with Taylor and I. This works out pretty well, if you can get Jack to sit up instead of upside down! But whatever works is typically the rule here. Alec and Jack typically start with math and Tay and I work with them, then they do a subject like handwriting and this gives me a few minutes to check in with Ryan and Olivia and answer any questions they may have. Then Alec and Jack do reading and language arts, and Tay and I usually split them up for this. After they both finish their individual subjects then they come back together to do history, science, art and music. They LOVE science, and now that Alec can read just about anything, they love to attempt their experiments by themselves. They are quite funny in the kitchen getting out their supplies and talking about their experiment and why it did or didn't work out. Ryan and Olivia are pretty self learning unless there is new material being introduced in math or science. Then I prepare ahead of time and teach the new concepts to make sure they understand it. Their other subjects are pretty self explanatory and when they have a problem they come and ask and we work it out. I try to check their work as soon as they complete it. This lets me know where they are having any difficulties, and what needs to be gone over again. It is also easier for them to see their mistakes while it is fresh in their minds. We love to read and discuss anything. So we typically add a lot of reading and discussion time to history, especially. We were all done today by 12. The boys went out and started demolishing their old swing set. We are really hoping to replace it come spring. The boys had a blast using the big mallet and the ax to chop it all up. Now lets hope they picked up all the screws and bolts before Ryan mows again! Taylor and Olivia go to piano Monday's at 2pm. Their teacher is wonderful! They both love Miss Faith. They have learned so much since starting lessons again. Faith is also good for Taylor. Since she was a lot like Taylor when she was younger, she is really good at pushing Tay out of her box. For those of us that really know Tay, this is huge! We are making homemade pasta carbonara for dinner and have both our crock pots filled with apples to make applesauce and apple butter tomorrow. Ryan goes to Boy Scouts on Monday nights. He is a Star Scout and is two ranks away from his Eagle. So that about wraps up our Monday! Have a great and blessed week!
We got the rare occasion to spend today as a family since mom worked last night instead of her normal 12 hours on Saturday. So after a short nap and making a quick Apple Custard Pie, we went to enjoy fellowship and a fish fry! Both were excellent! I have to thank a new friend of mine, Amanda, for inviting us to the church her husband pastor's for a truly enjoyable evening. 4 of my 5 children actually ate fish! We all know who did NOT eat any fish. . .Jack! He stuck to his regular fare of peanut butter, chocolate chips and crackers with a few french fries on the side! Yum, if you like that sort of thing. Taylor and Alec have always eaten fish, Ryan and Olivia have NEVER eaten fish! One smell of it is usually enough to send them running the other direction. But not tonight, they both really enjoyed it.
We decided to go to Branson the Sunday before Labor Day and spen a few days letting Ry, Liv and Alec & Jack have a little vacation, while Taylor was gallivanting around Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with her grandparents (Grandpa Bob & Grandma Darlene). More to come on the Nova Scotia trip later! Anyway, I would post pictures, but seeing that we sent the camera with Tay, we don't have any! And sometimes certain trips are better not remembered later anyway! That would be the case with this one. We lost Alec in Silver Dollar City. Upon finding him at the Ice Cream Shoppe, the kind employee who sat with a hysterically crying Alec, felt so bad for him that she gave each of the kids a HUGE free ice cream cone. Now Ryan is trying to convince Jack that next trip it's his turn to take one for the team and get lost so we can get more free ice cream. Aw, the brotherly love! Did I mention that this was day 1 of our trip! Maybe that should have told me something. Jack was. . .well, Jack the entire time we were gone. So when he accidentally washed his mouth out with Tide, I wasn't feeling all that magnanimous! I forgot the laundry detergent, so Bobby's Aunt had given me some and we had poured it in a glass. Well, the washer/dryer combo was situated right behind the double sink in the master bedroom of the condo. It was hidden behind a set of double doors and I would make sure to put the detergent on the washer and close the door, but I had placed it on the sink top to switch the load. I got distracted by Jack getting into something and then I left for the store, forgetting to move the soap back to the wash machine. Jack comes bee-bopping into the bathroom, thinking that the soap is his Agent Cool Blue mouthwash (hence I said blue. . . it was the same color as the soap!). Well needless to say there was a very mad bubble blowing dynamo until his dad calmed him down and rinsed all that soap out! Dad told him he got 1 free bad word to me since he had already prepaid for it with washing his mouth out with soap on accident! Later in the day Olivia fell of a rock retaining wall. (crocks and wet rocks do NOT go together) She tends to be a little heavy on the "drama" so trying to assess the situation sometimes gets a little frustrating. She scrapped herself up and bruised her ribs pretty good, but thankfully no broken bones. A short time goes by and I am still tending o Olivia, when we here this loud banging. I do a quick head count and guess who's missing? Jack! Well, he had gone back outside with his Uncle Dave who was grilling, but when he came back up to the condo, he went 1 floor to high and was banging on the door upstairs from us. Jack started yelling at Uncle Dave, "My dad locked me out and won't let me in!" Dave is cracking up telling Jack that it's the wrong door and he needs to come downstairs, but my bright child just keeps banging away until his dad picks him up, shoves him in our door and tells me to keep him inside! Less than 10 minutes later, Jack "accidentally" pulls the glass front off the fireplace. It is the kind that has the fake logs and the glass front has two handles on it for cosmetic purposes only. But Jack, thinking it would be like Grandma Barb's, gave a good yank and there it went! Bobby and Ryan were able to fix it, but after that we adults were ready to go home! Talk about needing a vacation from your vacation! So we are now back home and back to a school schedule and all is right with the world!
Interspersed with our trips and travel over the summer, we have had the pleasure of watching the twins. They are growing into such characters! The kids can't get enough of them. They have twin withdrawl if we don't see them for a while! So here are some cute photos of my kids favorite past time!
Teagan and the bike helmet! Both she and Mairin played with this for hours!
Teagan helping Alec with his reading work. He would read, she would clap!
Here the tiny twosome jump on the couch and cheer while Olivia plays the piano for them!
For the last three years we have done VBS (Vacation Bible School) at the First Baptist Church in Washington. This year, not only did Taylor volunteer, but Ryan was old enough too! This year's theme was "The Life of Paul and the Underground Church" So off to Rome we went! Tay and I worked in the leather working shop where the members of the underground church could make bracelets proclaiming the gospel story of salvation. Ryan worked in the Animal Sacrifice tent. Think small petting zoo! All the children that come are given costumes to look like Romans and all the adult volunteers dress up and get into character. My family is always blessed by our week at VBS!
The gang dressed and ready for VBS day 1!
Alec and Jack dress up like the Roman guard!
Taylor helps make a bracelet while teaching about God's love and our salvation.
Jack working on a toy top in the Carpenter's Shop.
Alec listens intently in the Grammaticus School before making his scroll.
Olivia and her group, getting ready to leave the market place.
We also attended the CHEF Home school Convention in June in St. Charles. I love this conference because it really helps me to recharge and focus on the new school year. It also reaffirms why we home school.This year there were many great speakers, but my family and I really got a lot out of hearing Voddie Baucham. If you have never heard of him check out his website at http://www.voddiebaucham.org/. His book Family Driven Faith is really a great family building book. We saw lots of friends and Ryan got a picture of his comedic idol! Tim Hawkins is a really hilarious clean comedian. We have the Mulhearn family to thank for introducing us to his stuff! Ryan LOVES him, and he just so happens to be a homeschooling dad who attended the conference with his family. He was very nice and Ryan was able to get a picture with him, along with Olivia, Josh and Leah! If you have never seen him, check him out, he is seriously side splitting funny! (http://www.timhawkins.net/)
In June, we visited Mansfield, MO with our friends the Mulhearn's! We made a stop at the Laura Ingal's Wilder House. We didn't realize how short Laura and Almanzo were! From there we drove through the Amish community in Seymour on our way to spend the night in Springfield.
Jack and Leah, aren't they cute!
An Amish horse and buggy! The girls were in heaven!
Swimming at the hotel pool in Springfield! We took up the whole pool!
Jack, our little fish!
A full day made for very tired kids!
The next day we visited the Wilson's Creek Civil War Battlefield. My boys love this kind of stuff, especially the biggest boy. . .DAD! Here dad is giving Alec and Jack a lesson on how they loaded and fired cannons back then.
A kids group shot on the porch of one of the houses at the Wilson's Creek site.
And last we stopped at Bass Pro. Here everyone works on their shooting skills! Below, Brian ever so patiently gives Jack some help and a few pointers!
Carol and I found a new bookstore called "Redeemed Music and Books" in Springfield. It is a homeschool mom's paradise! We were both overwhelmed at the amount of used curriculum and books they had there. Needless to say, it is now a "must stop at" site whenever we go to Branson! We had a great time hanging out with the Mulhearn family. We found that we travel well together. We got lots of looks when we went out to eat! 12 kids and 4 adults make quite a group plowing into a restaurant. It was such a blessing to see our children be so well behaved and considerate of each other. It was a great trip for all of us!
Another May excursion was to the Rendezvous at Fort de Chartres in Prairie du Rocher. Aunt KK and the mighty munchkins met us for a day of fun! The boys absolutley LOVED this. The teepees and the cannons were a big hit. And of course the ax throwing, which was Jack's favorite!
Olivia was in her first stage production "American Ideal" at church with the kids choir. It was a spoof on "American Idol" and Olivia played the part of Willa Win. Other contestents were Anita Ward, Emma Tate & Neal Down. Liv had her first solo and she did a great job!
On May 15th, Ryan's birthday, we decided to take a day trip to Springfield, IL. We visited the Lincoln Museum and Home site. The kids had a great time at the museum, learning a lot about that time in history. Their "Civil War Battles in 5 min." display was really incredible. We got a little wet in the rain while touring the Lincoln home site, but we were prepared and a little rain didn't dampen our day!
Jack and Abe hanging out!
Jack after a long day !
The Lincoln's Home
Below are pictures of the really nasty storm we drove home in. Baseball sized hail doesn't sound good from inside a moving vehicle! On a funny note, Taylor cracked us all up when she snapped the picture and got back in and shut the door. The lightening was so close that the thunder would shake the van. When the over head light automatically went off it happened to lightening at the same moment and Tay, with a resigned sigh, says,"Great, the power went out!" At that Ry, Liv and I started to crack up! As we were composing ourselves, Taylor smacks her forehead and starts laughing with us, realizing that we were in the van! So it's become yet another in a long line of Davis family inside jokes! These pictures were take 3 minutes apart, it seriously went from day light to darkness that fast!
Jack: "Why? Ryan, Alec, Taylor and Olivia can just read for me."
Olivia: "Hey Jack, knowledge is power!"
Jack: "You don't want me to be any more powerful than I already am!"
That about sums it up ;-)
Above: Jack doing his best mean look! (looking like a mini Ryan while doing it!) Below: Our cute happy guy!
Jack is my constant reminder that without God I can do nothing! He is a sweet boy who really just wants to please you. . .but on his time! We have two types of "time" in our house, our time, which runs on a normal clock. Then there is Jack time! The time it takes to slowly walk from the van to a store in a rain storm, or the time it takes to find the missing shoe when we are already late. Or the 20 min. (okay, probably not that long, but it sure seems like it!) it takes to get out of the van at church every Sunday because Jack is looking for something under a seat! Or hanging upside down on the bench under the table, beating the floor like a set of drums while doing your math worksheet! Yup, that's "Jack time"!
First up in our colorful cast of characters is Taylor (pictured here with her very cute little cousin, Mairin). Tay is her mom's right hand, left hand, brain. . .you get the picture! Has a rather heavy bent to the obsessively organized side. You know the type, she has lists for her lists! Taylor is a senior this year and can't wait to check that off her list! Her adoring fans (i.e. little brothers) love spending time with their Tay-Tay!
Next up is good ol' Ryan! Ryan is a hard working guy who is into guns and Boy Scouts. Ry is a Star Scout and is two ranks away from his Eagle. He loves to mow lawns and go to work with his dad where he puts in a mans day of work. Ryan loves to cook and he is a great griller! Ryan and Taylor are a hot commodity on the babysitting circuit and often tag team sit. Ryan is an aspiring stand up comic! But 9am when mom is trying to teach anyone anything is not a good time to practice your new material! His little brothers think he is pretty hysterical (and so does the rest of the family!). In the picture above Ryan is showing off his new gun a bolt action .22 Springfield which he has since outfitted with a scope. He spends many Friday afternoons at the shooting range with our neighbor!
Smashed in the middle is Little Miss O! Olivia, who at 11 is so very academic, but can't seem to find her shoes on a daily basis! Olivia has a touch of the drama gene and her brain is always going in 80 different directions. Olivia will read ANYTHING and everything! She also has a photographic memory and can look at something once and never forget it. We have learned never to debate her on facts because if you look it up, she's probably right. Olivia is starting to be a big help at home with cooking and baking and taking care of the house. Under the tutelage of her big sister she is really blossoming into a little lady. Olivia plays piano along with Taylor. She is also into animals and very much wants to be a vet. She has just signed up for 4-H and will be doing horsemanship, veterinary science, archery and quilting! Olivia not happy with the headgear, dressed as a Roman during the days of the early church for VBS!
Alec and his big boy bible on his 8th birthday!
4th in the line-up is Sweet Alec! Alec is almost 9 and he is a great joy to us all. Alec is sweet and considerate and laid back. He loves to snuggle! Alec LOVES to garden and be outdoors. He is into bugs and wildlife! Alec is in 3rd grade and moving right along in his studies. We call Alec "Butter" because he is so soft and cuddly!
Jack tickling the ivories at the Scott Joplin House!
Last but certainly NOT least, is the Jack-attack! Jack is a 7 year old ball of energy! As those of you who know Jack, can testify, he's a trip! Sometimes a trip better left un-taken! Jack keeps us in stitches around here, and he also makes sure that our frustration capacity is stretched on a daily basis :-) You never know what Jack is going to do next! Alec and Jack are always together, where you find one, there is the other! I love to listen to them play together and create their make believe worlds complete with dress ups. Jack is as high maintenance as Alec is laid back, but they get along great!
Here is Jack (in his dad's kimono) playing with one of his swords.
Did I forget to mention he is a self described "100% weapons lover!"
Here's mom and dad! We are the parents of this gang of great kids! We are very blessed with a dad who is a good role model of his Christian faith to his children. We covet our family time and really enjoy doing lots together! We are thankful to God that he gave us each and everyone of our children. We have a loud, noisy and fun house and we wouldn't have it any other way!