Friday, October 16, 2015

UT Gardens

The UT Gardens, located on the Agriculture campus at UT Knoxville, is one of my absolute favorite spots to spend some time relaxing, walking, sitting, writing, or playing with the kids.  This past week, my lovely husband showed up at my office, kids in tow, and pulled me out of work to go play in my favorite spot.  So sweet.

Mostly I think Brian was going crazy with both kids at home all day due to Jeremy's Fall Break, but still, I love him and them.  :)

Some of the beauties from our visit:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Smart Kiddos

I wanted to quickly highlight current projects we are working on with the monsters.  I find that things are most effective when I can hyper focus on one project per child, so here are the current ones we tried out.


Little missy is a stubborn gal.  She will never do today what she can put off until never.  She bats her eyes and feigns ignorance and the next thing you know, you have done the task for her and she is lovingly telling you how amazing and wonderful you are.  Stinker.

Our struggle recently has been with writing.  She flat out refuses to write.  She won't color, paint, or write at all.  With any pen, marker, crayon, etc.  She says she will do it when she is Jeremy's age.  If we try to hand-over-hand help her, she goes limp and cries.  I don't understand.

She is almost ready for kindergarten and she is ridiculous, so this past weekend, she and I made a special princess box with glitter and jewels.  Then we made special tickets.  A princess has to write her name on the ticket and place it in the box every day in order to unlock the TV.  If the name is  not in the box, the TV won't work.  It is some sort of crazy witch magic.  Whatever.

Shockingly, this mess worked.  She bought it hook, line, and sinker.

And yesterday morning, this was what she produced (click on the 2nd pic to really see her name):

Amazing.  Less than one week of being willing to try something and she can freaking write her name perfectly.



As I wrote in my last post, Jeremy had his first ever book report due at school.  This was very exciting for me, as I am that nerd that LOVES book reports.  These were like my reason for living back when I was a student.  Jeremy read a biography on George Lucas, and then had to make a paper pumpkin head and attach it to a report.  He is currently learning how to write a proper paragraph in class, so this was an excellent culminating project.  Then, he had to read it to his class.

Here is his final product:

He did such a great job!  We were thrilled when Mrs. Mitchell told us that the kids could type the reports since Jeremy's handwriting is not the best.  Little did we know his typing is slow as molasses, but he loved using the computer.  I taught him how to copy and paste certain words that came up over and over again, and that is his new favorite thing to do in the world.

Isn't his head so good?  He made the glasses out of pipe cleaners and Ziploc bags for the lenses.  He had a little too much fun with the hot glue gun, but hey, my kid was super pumped about a school project and I could not be happier about that.  His paragraph could have been 8 pages longer, he loved the book and had tons of facts he wanted to include, but this was more than enough.

And his final grade:

Perfection!  He was SO proud.  Love that kid.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekend Fun

These past few weeks have been very stressful as I have traveled a lot to spend time with my parents in Memphis, leaving my children behind for extended periods.  Luckily, family health issues are improving, so I am back home loving on my babies.  This weekend our goal was simple: focus on the kids and our little family unit while making some memories.

We started the weekend working on Jeremy's school project - which he was a week behind on since he missed school - oops.  He has to read a biography and then write a report and illustrate it with a corresponding paper pumpkin head.  Naturally, Jeremy did not choose to do a US president or famous inventor.

He chose George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars.  Parenting win.
the book Jeremy read - it is for 12 year olds and over 150 pages, and he knocked it out in one day with full comprehension

So, we spent Friday night and Saturday researching George Lucas and his contributions to the world.  Our research uncovered a startling injustice, though.  Apparently, I have hitherto failed to introduce my son to Indiana Jones.  I am ashamed and I hope he will forgive me for depriving him of 7 years of Nazi monkeys, magical fedoras, and bug delicatessens.

Clearly, we rectified the situation immediately (after he read his biography and made a draft of his report, of course).  We had a movie marathon complete with big comfy pallets on the floor, huge bowls of popcorn, and delivery pizza.  Jeremy is officially hooked. Nothing was too gross for him, and every fight scene needed reenacting.  And he proudly yelled out George Lucas's name each time it came up on the credits, so it was totally an educational experience.  :)
ugh, my first real crush as a child

For the record, Violet is not an Indy fan.  She happened to walk in during some face-melting arc-watching and then later some epic ripping-out-of-hearts-with-bare-hands.  Needless to say, Princess Vi was less than impressed with the gore and ran around screaming like a crazy person (which, let's be honest, is not that much different than a normal day).

On Sunday, we headed out for Jeremy's Religious Education classes (not being able to afford Catholic schools means your kids have to suffer through extra school on weekends in order to get their sacraments) at 9am and did not return home until around 3pm.  We totally forgot that it is St. John Neumann Church Homecoming!  Free food and inflatable games galore!
Totally my new favorite photo

The kids LOVED the games, and Jeremy ran into a friend from school who won 2-3 tug of war games against him.  I was worried about Violet taking on the big kid obstacle thing, but turns out, she smoked every kid she was up against (including her older brother) and ran that course like 40 times.
I need to learn to stop underestimating that girl.
he literally stopped to pose in the middle of the obstacle course

dramatic finish

handsome man

tug of war with Ann-Elise

the one time he beat her after she beat him twice

in her skirt and headband killin it

panty shot!

I have a whole file of embarrassing picture of my kids.  it is my favorite thing ever.  

It was a fun weekend and I am thrilled with the quality time spent with my monsters!