moments from the week

Harvey and Zion playing with trucks in an unused garden bed

big trucks at work

Moments and images from a cool sunny week.

boys and friends at the little picnic table eating hot dogs

lots of picnics

Harvey working at his desk, Zion and Mama playing a board game

work time

Harvey and Zion playing with legos on the front walk

some new legos

Zion sitting in a pile of marsh hay with a bowl

eating like a bird

Lijah picking violets from a lawn

stopping to smell (or pick) the flowers

Harvey pushing Lijah and Zion on the little train car thing

the little Harvey that could

Harvey and Zion running up the lawn to the William Smith house

more visiting history

Lijah walking on a path eating a watermelon

have watermelon, will travel

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Harvey sharing books

We don't devote much daily time to "school work" here, and pretty much none at all to reading instruction. Our literacy time is all taken up with read-alouds, story-telling, and, this month, poetry. But nevertheless, while I was doing the dishes the other day this is how the boys were occupying themselves in the other room.

Harvey reading to his brothers on the couch

good brother

A couple different things going on. Like me Harvey doesn't want to work on something unless he's good at it, and unless he has a good reason to; he also likes to be helpful, especially when he doesn't have to work too hard. Practicing reading with me is frustrating and annoying to him—totally understandably! But he's spent a couple hours a day with his nose in a book every day for at least a year, slowly figuring things out by himself. So when I ask him to read to his brothers while I do some other work, he doesn't see a pointless difficult task, he sees a chance to be useful while showing off a developing skill—and being the focus of uncritical attention!

Don't tell him, but it's all great practice. He's moving up to comic books now—whether they like it or not!—and apologized to me for not being able to do the voices. I pointed out how well he reads with expression from the books he knows better; I'm sure the comic books will come in time too. His audience is delighted either way.

Of course, remember: he still doesn't know how to read.

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awful waffle birthday

As Harvey planned, we took advantage of Leah's absence to get ready to celebrate her birthday this evening (the 15 minutes she's home before bedtime this week is the perfect length of time for her to think about her birthday). We wrapped the present—a waffle-maker—in brown paper and decorated the wrapping, and water-colored cards (washable tempera for Lijah). Harvey wanted to include clues to the present's contents both in his picture, and in a poem inside the card—he's just that excited about the work we've been doing for National Poetry Month. After he thought for a while he admitted, "this is going to be just a rhyme, not really a poem," but I think it does the job.

Harvey holding the card and the waffle-maker

a poet and he knows it

No, it's not a commentary on the edibility of paleo waffles—that's just where we are in our first grade poetry study. Proud of finding rhymes! (and indifferent to rhythm, mostly).

The present was really from the boys (though I put it on my credit card, and they haven't paid me back yet...). I got my mom a waffle-maker for Christmas one year, and it was the gift that kept on giving—to me! So they're definitely on to something. But they were also very excited to be celebrating Mama, and put a lot of effort into the presentation. Even if she doesn't care so much about her birthday, we care about her and want her to know it!

So happy birthday Mama, and here's to some delicious awful waffles.

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soloing

Leah is away at a conference the last half of this week and I'm on my own with the boys. Well, she's not really away—she's back 6:30 or 7 every evening to handle the all-important night shift. And I'm not really on my own, since I had to work yesterday so the boys spent all day with Grandma and Grandpa. But today was all me! We had a picnic.

the three boys eating at a picnic table

cheese sandwiches

Lijah's been coping pretty well, all things considered: eating and napping as well as we could hope. He even survived me waking him up this afternoon when he fell asleep in the car on the way to get Leah a birthday present! I drove the extra-scenic route home in hopes of getting him to sleep again, and when he didn't I was pretty dismayed. Then he fell asleep in four minutes listening to brass band music (just like old times!) while his brothers played with legos. I think he was tired because I made him fend for himself all morning.

Lijah walking into the woods

into the woods

Leah's doing well enough with her 11 or 12 hours of child-free time (it has its benefits and its drawbacks). I'm not sure how she feels about spending her birthday away tomorrow, but as Harvey put it: "It's good Mama's going to be gone so we can make her cards!" Yes indeed. That's what we'll be doing tomorrow. And probably some other things too...

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the water in april

Zion looking at water going over a dam spillway

water water everywhere

It got warm for a couple days, so our thoughts turned towards splashing in the April water. Well, relatively warm... but as you can see from the last post, we made it all the way to the pond. Of course, we had to start small first.

Harvey and Zion, in swimsuits, looking down at the kiddie pool

looking dubious

The air was plenty warm in that picture, but the water from the hose not so much. There was not much playing done in that little pool before we headed out on our afternoon adventure to a playground—but the playground was so hot and dry that I needed to find somewhere wetter, just to look at.

Lijah looking out over the pond and falls

spring vista

Of course, the big boys need to explore more closely!

Zion atop a high wall by the waterfall

a different perspective

They threw sticks and rocks, then found some cardboard to make into boats to float downstream. Then getting the boats unstuck from the rocky rapids was a project that took the rest of our time there. Nobody fell in!

The next day wasn't quite as hot, so when I suggested a trip to the pond I wasn't thinking about actually swimming. But everybody else was!

Harvey in his swimsuit and life jacket standing in the pond

hardy New-Englander

At least we communicated about it before hand, and were fully prepared. Lots of other families visiting historic Walden Pond on a mild spring Saturday were thinking about visiting the Thoreau house site, maybe taking a hike around the pond, and not expecting that, on seeing water, their children would need to immediately jump in. They should have known better.

somebody we don't know splashing neck-deep in the pond

that happened

The girl in that picture went from dipping her feet in to fully submerged—fully clothed, of course—in under a minute. Most kids took a little longer, but they all got wet. As cold as the water was, though, nobody could just swim: we needed other entertainments as well.

Zion working on our sand castle

sand walled village

Of course, even in early spring, it's the water that's the real draw. Yay water!

Zion airborn, leaping from a rock into very shallow water

jump in!

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