Monday, April 18, 2016

April Family Happenings

It's been a while since I shared what our family has been up to.  So, I decided it was time to do so!  Here's what we have been up to lately.

Luke has been enjoying soccer.  I feel like by moving up to the next age group, the games became much more competitive (and really fun to watch).

Abbey got her first "big girl bed."  She has been in her converted crib-toddle bed for far too long and that thing just wasn't very comfortable.  I have known for a long time that I want Abbey to have an antique iron bed.  So, I had been looking through craigslist every day for quite a while searching for the perfect bed.  I finally found it, and negotiated a good price for it.  But, it sat in our garage for a while as I needed time to paint it.  Over two weekends, I worked on painted it.  Once I was finished painting it, we went to ikea to pick up a mattress, and went to home depot to cut some slats.   We also found an adorable bed spread at Target for 50% off--score.  Now, Abbey has a new, comfy bed and she loves it!

 We received a package in the mail a couple of weeks ago that was pretty exciting.  My aunt and uncle bought a very thoughtful gift for the kids for Christmas this year.  Do you remember the butterfly release we did after my mom passed away at the Clare House?

The Clare house had a butterfly habitat inside their facility.  It was fun to watch the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises, while we visited mom.  When your loved one passes away there, you can release a butterfly in their honor.  My aunt and uncle loved that idea and came up with a fun idea to buy each family of mom and dad's grandkids a kit so that we all could experience the entire metamorphosis process at home.  Our kit with 8 painted lady caterpillars arrived in the mail a week and a half ago or so.   The larvae were tiny and it was so hard to imagine they would become huge caterpillars in such a short period of time.  But, they did.  And they ate way more food than I thought they would to become that large.  Currently, 7 of our caterpillars are in the chrysalis stage and one is hanging from the top of our cup trying to get there.   I am completely amazed at how the whole process happens:

The kit above is similar to the one we received.

The caterpillar finds a safe place to rest. With a silk thread that comes out of a hole just below its mouth (spinneret), the caterpillar spins a silk pad to attach to. The caterpillar hangs from this pad. Soon, the caterpillars’ skin splits open, from head to abdomen, revealing a dull, brownish case underneath—the chrysalis or pupa.  What is happening in the chrysalis? Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar is becoming completely liquid and reforming itself into a butterfly. The butterfly pushes from inside until the case splits open, and it slowly struggles out.

Soon, we get to transfer our chrysalises so that we can watch the butterflies emerge.  

We are still enjoying the wildflowers.  One day, after dropping Luke off at his one day enrichment academy, Abbey agreed to let me take some photos of her playing in a beautiful field of Indian Paintbrush near our home. 

We hosted lego club at our home last week.  Look at all of these kiddos in focused on building masterpieces.


Presentation time
Here, Abbey is telling everyone about her spaceship. 

On Thursday, we attended a play in Austin of "Where the Wild Things Are."  The kids have always really enjoyed reading this book, so it was extra special to be able to see the book come alive.  The play was very interactive and the audience participated the entire time.  In fact, we were the "Wild Things." 

Me and my friend, Sarah, as "wild things" at the play.
After the play, we enjoyed a yummy meal together with some of our homeschool friends and then Sarah and I let our kids play in the creek near our home.  (I haven't mentioned this, but they are our new neighbors!!  This deserves a separate blog post which will come soon, because I think it is totally awesome how God has orchestrated this). 

The kids had a BLAST!  They started out taking just their shirts off, so we would know at least one article of clothing would be dry for the travel back home.
But soon, pants came off.  Which was fine, as we were the only ones in this secluded area.

The kids had so much fun exploring and pretending.

They were pretending this large piece of algae was a mermaid.  They were rescuing her (as she had washed ashore) and throwing her back in the water. 
I love letting the kids explore and be wild and free.  I think this is extremely important for kids.  In fact, I believe it is a vital part of their development.  I know that when the kids look back at their childhood, they will remember moments like this.  They were giggling the entire time while playing in that creek.  There were so many sensory experiences there.   The great outdoors holds so many treasures for kids and parents. The fresh air and playing in the dirt and fresh creek water isn’t just good for your body, but it’s great for your mind and spirit too. I believe some of our best memories are made outside. I guarantee few will look back at their childhood and say "wow, that day I spent playing super mario cart was amazing!”  Later in life, I believe the kids would not be able to tell you their highest score while playing that video game, but I know they will have countless outdoor experiences to tell you all about.  I am sure someday they will tell you about the highest trees they have climbed, or days like on Thursday, when they played in the creek in their underwear. 

And I am sure Luke will have lots of tree-climbing in his childhood.  

Capturing and observing butterflies.

What else is going on?  We are really enjoying attending Music on Main each Wednesday evening in our little downtown.  They have brought some really good bands in.  Last week's band sounded a lot like Mumford and Sons yet was still very original. 

And Abbey is always the first one out on the dance floor!

Speaking of dancing, Abbey is getting ready for her first recital--it's coming up on May 14.  She is so excited to be able to perform on stage. 

Also, we are getting our pool ready to open for the season.  the kids are extremely excited about this!!

And lastly, the kids and I are working on some big projects--some for school and some for fun.  One that is coming up is our participation in Austin's Maker Faire on May 7-8.  We are creating costumes that light up for a fashion show.  It has been fun to "create" together and brainstorm how we can light up their costumes.  Luke is going to be "Toothless" from "How to Train Your Dragon" and Abbey is going to be "Tinkerbell."