Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Trip to the Children's Museum

Yesterday was Labor Day, so Jes had the day off.  We were looking for something fun to do that was indoors (hello Houston heat!) but wouldn't cost an arm and a leg, so we settled on the Houston Children's Museum. 
Let me start by saying that I grew up going to museums in Dallas and we had a membership to one of the best science museums in the country, so I was slightly underwhelmed by this one.  The hoards of screaming, pushy children didn't help either, but that's neither here nor there!
On to what everyone is here for, the pictures!


Jes and Piper were trying to figure out this maze thing.  It was surprisingly difficult!


Building chemicals out of models!


I think she was playing with a magnet and iron filings here.  So fun!


This museum was divided into chunks and this section was a cultural section honoring South American peoples.  The kids had a great time here.


And of course had to hop on the closest thing to a motorcycle that they could find.


This picture cracks me up, because about the time I snapped this, he was asking me why that phone couldn't text.  It had never occurred to me that he had never used a pay phone and I really think he's never seen one either.  He got a little education on this one!



A little periscope viewing...



In the basement, the museum had a miniature city built with all the businesses and services you would find in a major city.  Of course, P wanted to hang in the ambulance and hospital


and the vet clinic.  When she saw the sign for this, she was thrilled and I had to basically drag her out!



She decided that she needed to fix this poor little kitty.  Not sure what the scissors were doing, but she was hard at work!


My future veterinarian!



There was also a little grocery store where the kids could shop for ingredients, check out and purchase them with museum money.  Both kids had a blast doing this, so we spent some time just hanging out there, not unlike our normal lives!



All in all, it was a great time.  The next time we go, however, it will be during the week when all the other kids are still in school!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Day of School

Yesterday, we started our 2014-2015 school year which finds me with a 4th and 1st grader.  I'm not sure how we got here so, so quickly.  People tell you it goes fast.  Yeah, it sure does.


Here are my babies yesterday morning, ready to begin the day.


Fourth grade has seen a dramatic uptick in the amount of work that is required of Caleb.  He has officially entered a grade where there is identifiable topics that every child in the state of Texas is taught.  Fourth grade is where there is a dramatic shift away from general history topics to a very concentrated effort to teach state history.  Our curriculum is not written in Texas, therefore it does not cover Texas history this year, so I am making an effort to make sure that he is on par with his peers this year, while still covering the history that is written into our curriculum.  This adds quite a bit of work on my part, but it's totally worth it for him!


Last year, Piper was quite bored, working on kindergarten or so she says.  I don't think that it was because the material was too easy, even though it was quite simple, but rather that the idea of school was a challenge and quite different from her flighty, come what may lifestyle she had before school.  All summer, I've been talking up first grade and how fun it would be and showing her all the fun things we would be doing.  This year, she's more responsible for more work (she will enjoy having actual expectations and responsibilities) and will have lots of fun projects, which she loves.


This year, both kids are doing history, Bible and science together.  Even thought Caleb's grade level requires Texas history, Piper is participating too.  Science consists of two curricula: Astronomy and the study of creation, both of which are easy for both kids to complete together.


We haven't quite yet started all the extra curriculars that the kids are involved in, but those start gearing back up next week.  Caleb has been in TaeKwon-Do all summer, but each semester (12 weeks) ends with a break, so this week has been our break and he'll go back on Monday.  Scouts will gear up for him soon as well and we will jump right into weekly den meetings and monthly pack meetings, like normal.  Piper starts dance next week at a new dance school that is a Christian ballet school.  She is also going to start in a weekly art class on the 10th at a local art store.  This Friday, we are going to go to an open house for a group at our church called God's Little Girls, something akin to Girl Scouts, which she won't have the opportunity to participate in this year.


All in all, we are so glad that our normal schedule is starting back up, as summer is a very difficult time for us.  None of us enjoy the random, non-scheduled time that the summer provides, so we are looking forward to a fun year!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Skeeters Game

This past Saturday, Jes, the kids and I drove about 40 minutes to Sugarland for a minor league baseball game.  We had a minor league team near where we lived before and always enjoyed going to the games when we were there.  So, we were invited to go to a game this weekend and jumped at the chance!


Caleb was super excited to go to the game, but P had a great time too!


We brought the kids in their swimsuits because I had heard, and later saw on the website, that there was a splash pad and water play area for the kids.  I was so glad that we didn't end up having to change them and they could play and then it in the sun to dry out and not be too hot!


We had lawn seats, which happened to be situated right behind the bull pen, so that kids loved watching the pitchers warm up and having a bird's eye view of the field.


Piper did a fair amount of dancing while we were there, of course!


This boy loves baseball.  He would really love to play, but it's such a huge commitment and he's never been really interested spending so much time on one activity.  He loves to watch the game, though!


Caleb did a little booty shaking during the evening too.


This was probably my favorite moment of the night.  I would like to believe that Caleb was sharing the finer points of the game with his sister, but they were probably plotting something instead.  Love my babies!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Washington on the Brazos

Saturday, I took Caleb and Piper about an hour and a half away to a state park called Washington on the Brazos, the actual site where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed.  


It might have been a bit sunny.  Of course, we picked one of the hottest days to go.  On the way, the radio said that they high was going to be 105.  I think it got to that temperature by 9am.  Whew.


A little better, but not much...


On the grounds here, they had a home of one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Texas.  The house was fully furnished with all the things you would find during the period and the kids were able to touch and manipulate many of these things.  Here is Caleb and his friend Drew playing checkers with each other.


There were these slates all around too that the kids were allowed to write on to experience how kids did school during this time period.


This humongous spider was on site as well and all the kids gravitated to it, oohing and ahing over it.  Piper named her (this was confirmed as being true) Charlotte, after a certain literary arachnid.


There was a place where the kids could experience the chores and actual life on the farm, including laundry.  You know I had to have photographic evidence of this!  Here, Piper was using the washboard to scrub the cloth.


And here she is hanging it up on a line with an old timey clothespin.


She was so proud of her work!


We moved on to the part of the farm that housed the livestock and machinery to harvest and make things.  Here, Caleb is learning about a corn shucking machine.  Each kid was given an ear of corn and they were instructed to drop it into the chute and from the bottom came all the kernels.  We aren't a corn eating family, but if we were, I would have to have one of these contraptions!


P with the longhorn.  I mean, I can't see a longhorn and not get a photo!  Hook em!


Once we were done with the farm, we went to an place on property called Independence Hall.  This was just a large meeting space where the leaders met to decided business and have gatherings of large people.  We didn't hang here long because we were getting weary of the heat.


Last, we headed the the Star of the Republic Museum.  This is the one attraction that was air conditioned, so we took our time here!


Of course, we had to have a photo with our beloved Texas flag!


Piper with a skull.  I mean, she's obsessed.


Piper was cleaning a deer here.  She had the best time in this part of the museum because she was able to be hands on.


Churning butter, like her Pawpaw used to do!


Caleb had a good time too, just little less gross-ness for his chosen activities!


One last picture with Stephen F. Austin before we left and headed back to our part of town!


On our way back, we all decided that we didn't want to eat the peanut butter sandwiches I had packed for lunch, so we stopped at a local Mexican restaurant.  It was yummy and hit the spot.  At one point, I looked over and saw Piper doing this.  She was eating sour cream right off the plate. I will never understand this.  What a fun day!

The Mathis Family