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!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TaeKwon-Do

2014 Cypress TaeKwon-Do Homeschool Class

Back in February, Caleb started Taekwon-do, on the recommendation of a friend of mine.  I had been told all manner of things about the class and the techniques and how it was so great for my friends' children.  But, class is held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12:30, all year long.  Y'all, let that sink in.  Oh, and I have to mention the drive.  It's about 30 solid minutes from our house in to the school.
So, to say that I was hesitant is a gross understatement!
I bit the bullet and we went for a free trial class in February, wherein he fell in love.  I was a bit unsure if he would even like it since Caleb is not athletic in any way shape or form.  However, my bright, unimaginably intelligent, but super clumsy boy has excelled! Since February, he has belt tested and is about ready to do so again within the next month!  He also competed in a tournament where he won a medal for patterns.
I can't even express how good this class has been for Caleb.  His balance and focus has increased to a level that I've never seen.  He has made some very good friends who are all just a bit different from society, just like him, which was something that I worried so much about when we moved away from the only friends he's ever known.  I think we have officially found Caleb's sport!

Monday, August 04, 2014

San Felipe de Austin

This past Saturday, we went to San Felipe de Austin, near the town of Brookshire, Texas.  Jes rides with a motorcycle group in that area and has passed this place a few times.  Since the weather was not blisteringly hot, we decided to hop in the car and go explore!


C & P at the state historic site sign.


Here in Texas, we fondly refer to Stephen F. Austin as the father of Texas.  He was instrumental in founding and establishing Texas as it's own republic, ensuring its freedom from Mexico.


This town was the first town established in Texas and included all the things you would think would be included in a town.  A town hall and various homes, shops, etc were on this property.  It was cool to stand on the ground where so many of our founding families stood.


This was the town well for everyone.  It's pretty neat that this still stands!


The historical association have a great little program for all the kids to participate in where they can do some of the things that these settlers did.  Here they are making printer's hats out of large pieces of printing paper.


My babies and their hats.  They are so silly!


There were some Lincoln Logs set up for the kids to get an idea of how the construction of buildings were done in that time period.  I had tried to buy Lincoln Logs for years, but neither kid was super interested, but I may need to now.  They absolutely loved building with these!


Not much of this town still stands because Stephen F. Austin caught wind that the Mexican army was on its way to invade the town.  So, instead of abandoning everything and giving them a leg up by providing shelter, food, etc, so they set fire to the whole town and burned it to the ground before fleeing.  This was a really cool outing and we are having fun discovering all the cool Texas history sites!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Feed My Starving Children

This past Saturday, we traveled about 15 minutes up the road with about 300 other folks for our shift to pack meals with a charity called Feed My Starving Children.  We got to wear fun, snazzy hair nets and pack food packs for children that will be shipped all around the world to needy children.  It was a great way to serve and include the kids in another ministry project!








Sunday, July 20, 2014

Science Camp and Fun

This past week, Piper went to science camp at our church, something I had signed her up for months ago.  She is my independent free spirit, so she was super excited to have her own thing and go have fun.


Since we have to pack up and take her food everywhere, I decided to go ahead and get her a new lunch bag.  Let's just say she loved it and it was perfect for her lunch, snack and drink to take with her all week to camp.  I'm confident it will also be super useful in the future too!


Mid-way through the week, I took the kids to Studio Movie Grill for their monthly family rewind movie.  This week, it was Annie.  I was a little unsure if the kids would like it, but this was what I saw of P the whole night.  She was enraptured!  But who could blame her?  It involved all her favorite things: girls, singing, dancing and major role played by an animal!  Caleb was kind of "meh" about the whole thing until the end and then he really got into it!


On Friday, Caleb and I trekked over to the mall to the Disney store and found these gems being put out.  I have looked all over creation for Elsa, Anna and Olaf for P and haven't been able to find them, even in Disney World.  So, let's just say when I did find them, I bought allllllll of them!  Someone is going to be a rockstar Mommy on Christmas morning...  :)

 Caleb and I then went for a sushi lunch at a nearby place.  He is so, so easy to please on the food front and we share many of the same likes and dislikes, so anytime that we can escape and get sushi, we do!


Caleb had taekwon-do all this week too, but all the other boys were busy so he basically had private lessons all week.  He took advantage of this and worked really hard, gaining some serious traction on some skills he needs before his next belt testing!

The Mathis Family