Friday, January 30, 2015

1st Grade Reading

First grade reading is, by far, the most intimidating subject for me to teach. It is fast paced. It is demanding. There are tears. And I hold my breath until it all comes together and I have an emerging reader.

This is my second time through first grade reading and I knew the first half of the year was painful. Now I'm remembering that the second half of the year starts (slowly) getting easier. We still have quite a ways to go, but I can see it starting to click in his mind and last night was a turning point.

Josiah decided he wanted to do his reading assignment alone. He sat in the kitchen, instructed me not to look at the book, read aloud and spelled every word that he needed help with. (Ok, so there were a lot of words he needed help with.) He didn't get frustrated and in the end he was so proud because he read by himself.

He was so empowered that he wanted to read at bedtime. He stayed awake until I got home from Bible Study and met me with tears in his eyes because he was sure it was too late to read. Far be it from me to stop a first grader from reading just because it is late! He had his heart set on reading a Lego City book. Thankfully I located it quickly and we sat on the couch and he read. He finished the book at 10pm.

That first book that they initiate reading on their own--it seems like such a milestone. And I know that he's going to be ok. He will read. I breathe a little sigh of relief--my biggest elementary education hurdle will be cleared.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Weekend

We cashed in on Jeremy's golf tournament winnings this weekend with a 2 night stay in Ocean City. I was hoping to put it off a couple more months, but between Mom's work schedule and our own schedule this was the only weekend that was going to work. It was a bit short notice, but I was able to be excited in an I-can't-believe-I'm-leaving-my-baby sort of way.

My baby didn't cry when we left, but the other three children did! It's to be expected by now. The first night went great. My Mom promised me texts and I got plenty of glowing reports. The second night the texts didn't come and I refrained from asking how things went until I returned. Yup, second night wasn't so good.
I asked Josiah why he didn't fall asleep until midnight. He said, "I missed you too much to fall asleep." (Apparently he had himself quite worked up--tears and all.) He added, "You should never leave a boy who loves you so much." Dear me...that story will change in a few short years!!! The girls didn't sleep well the second night either, but Isaiah did fine. My Mom is pretty tough. I'm sure she is enjoying her uninterrupted sleep tonight!

Great Grandad had pieces cut out for Aliza and Josiah to assemble bird houses. That project was a wild success.
Jeremy and I had a very relaxing, very quiet time together. I wasn't even very chatty. The quiet was just so pleasant. Sunday was sunny and reasonably comfortable so Jeremy golfed and I rode the cart and read. I needed some sun and fresh air. The last couple holes were pretty chilly, and it was easy to decide that we definitely needed a hot drink on the way back.

I was pretty happy to see my kiddos and very happy to hold my baby. They were all happy to see me too! We read books this afternoon and someone was always on my lap while another someone was whining that they wanted to be on my lap (and then they changed places). In the middle of that drama and chaos is right where I'm happy to be. The quiet can wait.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Our Family Dinner Book Club--Mr. Popper's Penguins

We've been reading Mr. Popper's Penguins and when today was a raining buckets kind of day I decided we needed to finish the book and have our Family Dinner Book Club. (I'd recommend following Family Dinner Book Club on Facebook if you are interested.)
I went with my own menu and decorations this time. We had Potato Soup and Califlower Bacon Chowder (that tastes surprisingly like Potato Soup), rolls, and mini marshmallow snow on our table. We discussed the provided conversation questions over dinner.
For dessert we had cinnamon rolls and "pop"corn while we watched the Mr. Popper's Penguins movie. The movie resembles the book only in the very loosest sense, but Aliza and Anna enjoyed it. Josiah spent just about the whole movie throwing a fit. I'll just try to forget that part and remember a girl on the edge of her seat who was just about crying at the end and a baby sound asleep on me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mommy Growing Pains

My children are all happy and healthy and growing like weeds. I'm the one having the growing pains!

Josiah lost a tooth yesterday and another one today. That is a 2 tooth gap that you see. Within a week or so, he will likely have a 3 tooth gap. (Oh yes, it's the middle of January and this boy rarely has a shirt on.)
Yesterday Isaiah really discovered his voice. Today I put 3-6 month clothes in his drawer and then this afternoon I looked over and he has hanging on to a toy on the play mat.
Of course I tell myself I don't want it any other way. I really don't. Something would be wrong if these milestones didn't happy so quickly. I can honestly say that, to the absolute best of my ability, I'm living in and enjoying every moment.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Heslop Family Amazing Race

Over Christmas break we watched almost a full season of Amazing Race. We planned to watch the season finale tonight and, in anticipation, Aliza prepared an Amazing Race for the family. It was boys against girls and Aliza was the producer.
It took a little bit of decoding to figure out the clues based on the spelling. =)

The excitement was palpable. Josiah was competitive. Anna was super excited and willing to do anything. Aliza did such a great job with the clues...I'll fix the spelling for your reading enjoyment. ;)

Detour: Clear It up or Set It Up. Clear It Up: Memorize the living room setting. When you're ready, we (Aliza) will break it and you'll fix it. Note: one team at a time. (Translation: Memorize the placement of the couch throw pillows and everything on the side tables. Aliza will destroy the room and you will put it back together. Aliza will judge how well you do.) Set It Up: Memorize the table setting. When you're ready, we will break it and you'll fix it in time for dinner. Note: one team at a time.

The boys chose setting the table and the girls cleaned up the living room. The boys passed with flying colors and the girls had to "keep working on it" as the judge said.

Road Block (a task that only one person can complete): Sticking: You will have to pick some stickers and put them on the lines on the paper.

The boys were long gone, but Anna did an awesome job for the girls!!
Route Info: Go to your rooms and make your bed. When you think you are comfortable you will get your next clue. Note: If your room is taken, wait or choose a free room.

It took the girls a couple times to figure out that "When you think you are comfortable" meant that you had to be laying in the bed to get your next clue. Apparently the boys figured this out right away!

Pit Stop: Go to the DVD shelf and there is your Pit Stop. The boys won and their prize was a pile of books.

It was so much fun that Aliza immediately produced a second leg of the race to be run immediately following lunch!

Route Info: Kitchen Song: Use the kitchen utensils to make a song. When we (Aliza) thinks its beautiful you get your next clue. It took both teams a couple tries, but Daddy figured out what pleased our judge first.
Detour: Make a Lego or Summer Day. Make a Lego: Build a Lego boat out of Legos. When we think it is ready to be played with we will give you your next clue. Summer Day: Make a pretty sweet place to hang out. When we think you are having a good time hanging out, we will give you your next clue.

The boys built Legos, but the girls pulled ahead with their sweet place to hang out. I wish you could have seen Anna's enthusiasm.

Road Block: Picture Practice: Copy the picture in front of you. When we think you copied it perfectly we will give you the next clue. Note: Be careful with my crayons. (Insert Mommy giggles here.)

The girls got a head start, but Anna didn't quite understand the clue so she had to start again. Daddy didn't quite get the picture right (lol) and Anna got a bit of leeway for her age so the girls were handed their clue first.
Pit Stop: Go to the girls' room for your Pit Stop. It was a foot race to the finish line. Daddy had to pick up Isaiah before he ran so the girls finished just ahead of the boys. The girls prize was a stuffed animal.

The children really really wanted to do more races, but Mommy and Daddy thought it would be best if we stopped while everyone was still having lots of fun. At supper Anna was still begging for another race. She had to settle with watching the Amazing Race tonight. Aliza and I had a team that we really wanted to win. They didn't win, but it was still fun to watch.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Just a Fun Moment to Remember

About halfway through the school year, there is a break in the regular reading program for a Booklink. This is a stand alone book that the student reads and there are lots of additional activities to go along with the book. The reading assignments are longer and the video teaching is shorter. It works to build the child's confidence in reading. There are two more Booklinks to do during the summer or at the end of the year. Josiah finished his first book today and enjoyed the activity--making a chariot out of a cardboard box.
Josiah decorated his chariot with tractors.
Upon seeing Josiah decorating his chariot, Aliza remembered that she had also created a chariot when she was in 1st grade. Aliza was adamant that we had saved that project in the garage. She was so convinced that she and I trekked out in the freezing cold wind to find her box and, sure enough, it was in the garage. Here she is in her chariot in December 2012:
Here she is today in her chariot--I'd say she has grown!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Isaiah--3 Months

We couldn't quite convince him to smile hugely, but smiles come so easily these days. He pushes way up and while we were taking pictures she was pushing his legs and almost scooting forward. We told him to stop--just relax--enjoy being a baby!! =)